December 13, 2011

Christmas Envelope

Christmas tree envelopeI didn’t decorated most of my Christmas card envelopes (since I couldn’t figure out a way to match) but I did write a letter last week, and found a fun way to decorate the envelope.  The tree was a stencil, but I free handed the rest, I just used a pack of gel pens.  I think it turned out pretty cute, and was quite easy.  I ended up extending the snowflakes up to the address which I wrote in a matching pen.  Below you can see how it matched the paper.  I just think doing something like this really dresses up a letter almost like wrapping a present or decorating the inside of a mailbox.

December 11, 2011

Christmas House Tour

Nativity under treeWell, it’s time to give an overview of our house decorated for Christmas (Note: the bold, colored text will take you to a photo & post about it).  Last year I started the tour in the kitchen, well, I’ve already covered the kitchen as a whole, the top of the china cabinet, and the hutch, so I’ll skip it and you can see it in the links.  I also did a post about our table, but now for what  I haven’t posted yet.  You can see our tree at right and below, I didn’t do a separate tree post this year since it is almost the same as the tree we did last year, actually it just had less ornaments…

December 8, 2011

Kitchen for Christmas

Christmas cornerHere’s how our kitchen is decorated for Christmas.  You can see the hutch just inside the door, and more details on the top of the china cabinet/tall hutch in my posts on them.  I also posted about our table that is in another room.  But here’s an overview of our kitchen all decked.  Here you see the corner inside our door where we lay things like purses and keys when we’re getting ready to go out.  The cookie jar belonged to my great grandmother.  We use a modified sugar cookie recipe of her husband’s which we bake on cookies sheets from another great grandmother’s. Well, let’s get on to the rest of the kitchen…

December 7, 2011

Metallic Christmas Table

Christmas tableSo, here’s our Christmas table.  I decorated it a little later, I’d done something simple, but then I decided to ratchet up the decorating. My grandmother gave me the trays and we had some balls left over.  Since the table runners I already had on, and our china from my great grandmother had silver on the rim, so I decided to go with a metallic look.  One great thing about this table is I just used things I had on hand, so it didn’t cost me anything, yet I think it worked out well.


December 6, 2011

Top of China Cabinet

Christmas fantleWell, I don’t have a mantel in my house.  We live in a farm house, parts of which are 100+ years old, but there are no longer any fireplaces.  So I have a couple substitutes: this China Cabinet/hutch and the other hutch in the kitchen. The other hutch has a more refined-fancy look, but with this I decided to go for a more classic colors and look on this one with a focus on children.  Ice-cream doesn’t really make me think of Christmas, but that’s where the churn stays, and children enjoy ice-cream, so I thought I’d leave it. I hope to post about the rest of the cabinet later, and if I do I’ll add

December 5, 2011

Christmas Hutch

Christmas hutchIn the past I’ve looked at the date for Christmas linkys I’ve thought, “But I’m not all decorated by then”.  Well, this year since we didn’t get to make the trip to visit family for Thanksgiving, and wanted to be ready early since I had my wisdom teeth out last week, we were almost completely decorated before December came around.  This is the hutch just inside our main door.  It’s supposed to be a staging area, but I’ve been keeping it pretty decorated for holidays this year (Valentines Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Summer, & Thanksgiving) so that hasn’t worked out to well.  The runner is the same one I used for Valentines (it’s the back of the one I used for Thanksgiving.). The sleigh is where we put the cards we receive until they are open and hung in their place (we tend to open the cards together as a family).  This is the nativity scene is one I picked up a few

November 30, 2011

Good mail month

Card in mailboxI’ve seen some blogs that put on a report of their daily or weekly mail.  I thought I’d put on a tally for November.

My family:

Sent: Thanksgiving cards-8, Christmas Cards-42

Received:  Thanksgiving cards-4, Christmas cards-1


Sent: Thank you cards-1

Received:  Birthday Cards-6

November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving cornerSo, it’s Thanksgiving, so I thought today would be a good time to give a wrap-up of my Thanksgiving posts.  Here is an overview and links to my Thanksgiving Cards and the envelopes I decorated with the computer, markers, or watercolor.  Here you can see my Thanksgiving Hutch.  And here you can see my fall photo craft/tree

I’d also like to take a chance to reflect all that I have to be thankful for.  As I mentioned earlier this year on Memorial Day, I’m very thankful for the freedoms I have in this country.  Thanksgiving is a festival that is around the end of harvest, and I’m thankful that, unlike so many in the world, I have plenty to eat, a safe place to live, and plenty of people to love and be loved by.  I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend. 

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!

I’m linking up to:

November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving cards

Thanksgiving cardsUnlike last year when we were able to make the trip back to Ohio for Thanksgiving,  and unlike the year before, we don’t have friends whose family was also out of state to come for dinner, so it’s just us this year. So, our visiting has been done via cards.  I’ve found that stores don’t seem to stock many Thanksgiving cards, so most of these are ones I picked up another year when I found them so as to have them on hand.  I decorated a number of the envelopes, you can see my posts on the ones I decorated with: the computer, watercolors, and markers.

While doing these cards I found that there aren’t really any good stamps to use for Thanksgiving cards.  A couple years ago they had these Thanksgiving stamps from the US Postal Service. I bought a sheet and used it for a year or two, but I used them up, (I was thinking the cost

November 22, 2011

Computer Envelopes

matching patternWell, I have for some time preferred doing art-type things on the computer, but lately I have been doing envelopes by hand.  Well, for one of the envelopes for our Thanksgiving cards I went back to the computer.  You can see a bit of the card there, and it just didn’t have anything to match easily by hand, so I went with the computer, I decided to try to match the plaid boarder.  I went into Microsoft ® PowerPoint ®. I made rectangles in shapes that were the right color (& made the larger ones transparent to mimic the weave), then just grouped and copied part shapesof it up and down the main stripes.  Then I saved the finished boarder as a picture and put it into Microsoft ® Publisher ®.  I had trouble getting my printer to print on the envelope the right size, until I realized that it was 8 1/2 inches wide, so then I just treated it like a whole sheet of paper on the computer and feed the envelope trough sideways (the longest way parallel to the printer instead of perpendicular) and made sure the embellishment was on the part of the paper that printed first. I think it turned out quite well.

Watercolor envelopes

Watercolor matching envelopeSo, I decided to try something new for these envelopes.  I found this site about decorated envelopes, and I saw the envelopes from Bride design and was inspired to try watercolors. Now, I’m not very good at painting since I’m no where near as gifted as these people are, but I thought I’d try.  I had been going through some of my old craft stuff and came across my watercolors & brushes from childhood, the cards had watercolors on their covers, plus I was sending them to my aunts, and what are aunts for if not to receive one’s attempts at painting? Smile  After a lot of experimenting I decided on doing a leaf & a heart on the envelopes to match the cards.  I didn’t try the acorn and couldn’t get my trees to look the way I liked.  Now, I didn’t really freehand either of these things here’s how I did it and you can too.  One hint, practice on

November 17, 2011

Decorating envelopes with markers

matching envelopeI like to decorate envelopes, when possible to match the cards.  This Thanksgiving I’m trying different mediums.  This is about the ones I used magic markers on.  


November 15, 2011

Off they go…

Shoeboxes readyWell, we’ve sent our shoeboxes off to Operation Christmas Child again this year.  This is a program of Samaritan’s Purse where people in a number of countries fill shoeboxes with various items like toys, school supplies, candy, hygiene supplies, etc. then they send them to needy children worldwide. I believe it started in the early 90’s in response the Bosnian crisis.  Over the years these shoeboxes have brightened the Christmases of a number of children all around the world who otherwise wouldn’t have had any other presents or celebrations in hospitals, orphanages, refugee camps, and other dreary spots around the world.  Over the years my family’s boxes have gone to eastern Europe and Africa (that we know of either from letters, or through their

November 1, 2011

Baseball envelopes

baseball envelopesIf you read my blog, you know that recently I’ve gotten into decorating many of my envelopes I mail out.  Well, some of these designs are quite feminine, so here is a more sporty/masculine alternative: baseball envelopes.  On a recent trip to Ohio I went to a baseball game with family, so that seemed to be a good theme for the cards containing photos of the trip, plus I had some baseball stamps.  Here is a completed envelope:

October 15, 2011

And the winner is…

IMG_0770As many of my readers know I did a review and giveaway for My Memories digital scrapbooking software this month, and this is the big day.  My thanks to everyone who entered, I wish you could all win, but only one can, so today I drew for the winner of the My Memories giveaway.  Congratulations goes out to:

October 7, 2011

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

IMG_0688Yes, I know Christmas is still over two months away, and personally I like to avoid decorating  or listening to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving (although my entire holiday schedule is off since The Game [Ohio State vs Michigan] is now after Thanksgiving, instead of before, totally changes the whole feel).  But, we are still starting to work on Christmas. 

I’m getting our Christmas card list together and beginning to embellish the envelopes and address them.  This is taking a little more planning than normal since when we bought our cards on clearance last year we picked 3 different kinds, and are picking which one is best for which person/family.  I’m actually a little behind on this, since my goal is to have all my envelopes return addressed by now, but hopefully I’ll be able to

October 3, 2011

Fall tree craft

side view of treeLast year I made a “Thanks Tree” Just some sticks, dried leaves, and little pieces of paper with different things I was thankful for like: Family, Faith, Freedom, etc. This year I decided to make a fall tree. Once again I went out and gathered some sticks and dried some leaves. Only, instead of writing what I was thankful for, I used photos that seem to illustrate some of the fun parts of fall to me.

For the base, I used a couple rubber bands to make the sticks into a bunch, then I put them in this pitcher I had on hand which was made by a local craftsman. I then used scrap computer paper to crumple up and stuff around the bundle to hold it upright. I used other leaves I’d dried to cover the paper:

September 28, 2011

My Memories review & giveaway

square fall-002I was contacted by My Memories a couple weeks ago about doing a review and giveaway of their digital scrapbook software on my blog. So I thought I’d try it out. I’ve enjoyed making photo books for trips I’d made and having a way to do it the same no matter what printing service I used appealed to me. I’d tried doing a little in PowerPoint, but that just wasn’t the same. Plus, this scrapbook software also works for many other things like additions to decorating, cards, etc. They also have nice add-on kits to get more paper, embellishments, and texts. I really like that you can change your photos into more than 20 different shapes and apply over 15 different effects for photos from the traditional black & white to more creative ones like Impressionist Painting, I think that would be fun to use as a

September 26, 2011

Fall/Thanksgiving hutch

pumpkin and cornI enjoy decorating for fall especially with a Thanksgiving slant, but while doing so, I hope all the while, not to be here on Thanksgiving to see them. You see, my family lives hundreds of miles away, and for years, I’ve preferred to go back home to see them. While I don’t know if it will work out this year or not, I certainly hope so, but I’ll enjoy decorating even if it is just leading up to. I think Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Maybe not always the reality of how it works out, but the idea. Fall is my favorite season and since Thanksgiving is the quintessential fall holiday, that may have something to do with. I mean what’s not to love: cool weather, good food, parades, football, family, memories, laughter, games, etc. Anyways, here’s how the hutch in our kitchen worked out for fall/Thanksgiving this year:

August 8, 2011

Making templates for decorated envelopes

Return address borderWell, I’m beginning to understand the fascination mailart holds for some, while I’m not making mail art, at least yet, I’ve found that decorating envelopes is somewhat addictive. When I’m working on the envelopes I think about the people who are receiving the mail seeing it in their mail. I hope it brings a smile to the face of the person receiving it. So here’s another easy way I found recently to jazz up envelopes.

I had seen on a blog (I’m sorry, but I seem to have lost the link) about using a business card to make a border around the address on letters, then embellishing the box. Well, I didn’t really want to free hand it. So, I decided to give the business card itself the decorative edge then use it as a stencil. I wrote the address on the back of the card to check the size, then I cut around it with a pair of patterned scissors (taking a little off one size to

August 3, 2011

Shutterfly photo books

shutterfly photo bookI’ve enjoyed making photo books over the years mainly to document trips to visit family. For those of you who may have never seen a photo book, they look somewhat like a coffee table book, but with your own photos in it. They can really look professional (and shock those you show it to that you were able to make it), and are a nice, and not too costly way to keep your photos and memories handy. I have used a number of different on-line and in store providers. I used Shutterfly photo books once for a book for my great Aunt M, but have never done one for myself. I was able to check out how it turned out when I was visiting her this summer, and was quite pleased with

July 27, 2011

Getting extra books on a bookshelf

Stacked books as bookends (2)At least in my family, we tend to have more books than we can fit on the bookshelves we have. When I inherited the 5 bookshelves to put in my room as I wrote about earlier, I thought I might be set and had escaped the overflowing bookshelves. But then as I gathered my books from around the house, I discovered that I still had too many books to fit in organized way to put on normally. So, I had to get creative as to how to fit more books on the shelf.

One way is always to stack books sideways when they aren’t as high as the shelves which I did use as you can see above that doubled for

July 19, 2011

The beauty of Hospitality

IMG_7858My blog posts are often about trying to make the world more beautiful for those around me, but this post is about the beauty I found on a recent trip. You see, got back from a trip to visit family in Ohio.  I personally think that the Ohio countryside is how to beat for beauty.  I also saw two unique and beautiful moths (including the one pictured here).  I saw amazing fireworks celebrating the beauty of freedom and our country.  I saw amazing and beautiful animals.  But what I’m especially thankful for is the beauty of family and hospitality.  What can really be said about the beauty of a loving family?  It is truly a gift from God.  I think there are few things as beautiful on this earth as the unconditional love and acceptance of a good family and when that includes an extended family that is especially great.  (Well, I’m a long time in getting to the hospitality part, aren’t I?)

Hospitality is something I haven’t really had a chance to practice that much the last few years

July 1, 2011

Bookshelf update

Full bookshelvesWell, the bookshelves are almost done.  I hoped to write a whole post about it, but if you read my mom’s blog you know about the storm and attendant problems we had a couple weekends ago, and now I’m headed out on vacation.  So, you’ll have to settle for a photo for now.

June 16, 2011


Bookshelf Corner

As you can see, I’m making progress on filling the bookshelves (in time squeezed in around other responsibilities).  My sister is planning to help me over the weekend, so hopefully they’ll be done soon.  It may take a few tries, since I like my books organized, and I’m not sure exactly how many books I have of which types, so I’m not sure if I’ll need decorative fillers on the shelves, or need to put books on the top-I’m guessing the later, but we shall see.

June 14, 2011

Decorated Envelopes

IMG_7690When I send cards or letters, I like to think that receiving that piece of mail is brings a few moments of joy into the recipient’s life. If possible, I want those moments to start when the second their eye lands on the envelopes. Now, some will recognize my handwriting, and there is always the return address, but I like to have a little more than that. For instance, while the postal service offered them I used the Nature of America Series stamps (you can see a couple of them I used in this photo) kind of as a signature on the envelope. At least I like them to know that they received a personal piece of mail and not a bill or add. Sometimes this is easy as with the bright pink envelopes I recently sent cards in, other times, it’s a little harder. Recently I had to use

June 13, 2011


Well, this is my newest project:


My sister decided that she didn’t want these bookshelves anymore, so I’ve “adopted” them.  Now it’s time to find all my books, get them together, and organize them (which I enjoy doing).

June 8, 2011

6 month review/update on house goals

Well, it’s been just over six months since I was inspired by (and linked up to) The Nester’s 2011 House goals post, so I thought I should see how I was doing.

I split my 2011 house goals into inside and outside, here’s how it’s going:



  • Paint trim – not yet
  • Prepare flowerbeds – in progress
  • Have a money saving vegetable garden – I haven’t got much produce yet, but it is growing well.

May 29, 2011

Freedom is not free…


Today in America we observe Memorial Day (a day to remember those who have died defending our country and freedoms). I know I have some international readers, so this may not interest you, if not, you can just skip this post. But if you are interested in my thoughts this Memorial Day, and my reflections on my family's sacrifice for freedom, please click:

May 28, 2011

Patriotic Summer Hutch

For summer, I’m decorating in a patriotic theme since 3 of the main patriotic holidays are in a just over a one month span from Memorial Day through Flag Day to July Forth. I want to decorate the whole kitchen, so this may change as I get more time to work on this. But this is what I have right now:


Please ignore the photos in the frame, I have to find and get in the right size

May 20, 2011

Address labels for cards

Letter lablesRecently for for a holiday I had some cards to mail. At the last minute, I realized that the envelopes were dark pink, and so the machines might not scan them right the first time, so I decided to use labels since I hadn’t left extra times for the address to be hand read. I didn’t want to make the envelopes to look funny/ruin their beauty, so I thought of the half-sheet labels, the kind you print mailing package labels on. So I got out a

April 23, 2011

Kitchen decorated for Easter

Easter Hutch

Well, here’s the kitchen decorated for Easter. This i main hutch in our kitchen . The basket on the top is an egg basket from my Grandmother’s dairy farm. The eggs in the basket are the ones my sister and I hunted as a child. The jelly beans in the jar at the far right were free from CVS and I found the jar on the old farm we bought. The books at the bottom right are all about Easter or Good Friday (the others are cookbooks). If you want to see any of these parts in more detail, you should be able to click on the photo at right to blow it up.

Now for up-close photos of some of the parts:

This cross in the top, closed part of the hutch, was crocheted by my great-grandmother. The butterfly reminds me of new life and the pin

April 19, 2011

Living room decorated for Easter

IMG_5734Well, I’m finally getting my Easter decorations posted about.  I think I’ll actually do two posts, this one that covers the living room and another for the kitchen.

If you’ve read my blog before, you may recognize this stand and branches from my Valentines Family Tree.  I had removed the hearts after Valentines Day, but had left photos on until I decorated for Easter I took the photos off and moved them elsewhere.  I ended up

April 4, 2011

Picture frame wall

whole wall

As I mentioned in my house goals for this years I wanted to get my photo frames filled. I had this narrow wall that I wanted to cover with photos, then my Aunt C. gave me the “FAMILY” photo frame for my college graduation, so I decided to use it as the anchor piece. I have been working on it for some time and am almost done. Five of the smaller frames are done, one I still need to pick which photos to put in the last one. I also want to switch a photo in the anchor frame.

In addition to photos I added text to the top 3 three frames to make them even more meaningful. All three are from songs.

In the main anchor frame, I have the text to a song “Family Picture” by Jim Jordan and Steve Wick. From the Living in God’s House: Ultimate ...

March 28, 2011

Getting Ready to Decorate for Easter…

I’m trying to decorate for Easter. As my regular readers know, I’m trying to decorate for more holidays, plus Easter is a important celebration for me, personally due to my faith. I currently have all the decorations I’ve been able to gather together are all on our library table. Since this is the first year I’m going this all out on decorating for Easter, it’s going to take some figuring as to where to put it all. I hope to be able to share the results soon.

March 12, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Decorations

I put up some St Patrick’s Day decorations this year. The main decorations was the top of this stand by the back door that I also decorated for Christmas and Valentines Day.

The wild irish rose...

This oil lamp is inherited from my Grandmother R and the bottle I found

February 28, 2011

Making Simple Stationary

Do you ever have a card that you want to write a letter with and cannot find a stationary that matches? I had that problem lately I had a perfect card and really wanted to write a letter with it, but even Rotery boardthough I have a lot of stationary, I couldn’t find one I hadn’t used that matched. I was looking through some colored printer paper that matched nicely, so I decided that while it might be boring it would work. But, it wouldn’t quite fit into the envelope. So, I was thinking I could cut it down with my rotary wheel and board, but my test wasn’t really even.

February 22, 2011

Frugal decorating finds

Yesterday my mother, sister and I took a little "girls’ shopping trip", yesterday. I was able to get a few things for decorating all for under $2.
The candy was free after Extra Bucks from CVS. I plan to use the green (and probably orange since the Irish flag has both colors) jelly beans to decorate for St. Patrick's Day which I’m in the midst of trying to decorate for. I will probably use them for Easter, too, along with the eggs. The hearts necklace is for next Valentines Day.

We got the book at our library for $0.20. We have some cookbooks on display on the bottom of our hutch in our kitchen, but really could use more, plus my sister enjoys trying new recipes and may be able to make use of it in her blog: Nurturing Cruise.

I'm linking up to:

Coupon Teacher's Thrifty Thursday

Jane @ Finding Fabulous

February 17, 2011

Making Holiday Candles

NOTE: I don’t think you could burn candles in one of these candles as it would probably be unsafe due to the risk of fire.

Holiday Candles CraftSince I’m trying to decorate for more holidays this year and don’t have a lot of money to spend on it I’ve had to get creative and I found a really easy and cheap way to make candles season specific. All you need is a candle, some ribbon (which I have a lot of) and some metal in holiday shapes (I used jewelry).

This is the first one I made was this one. I had this holder for years.

February 7, 2011

Valentines Family Tree

I decided to make a Valentines tree with photos of my family. I made this tree for Thanksgiving that had tags of things I was thankful for (this picture doesn't do it justice, it looked better in person.)

Thanksgiving tree

I printed some photos at the Kodak Kiosk, it had options for mini-prints, and I selected the 9 per 4x6 inch sheet option and cut them apart. Then I cut up some white card stock with decorative scissors

February 1, 2011

The Nester Hack experiment

One of the first, if not the first, decorating blogs I read the Nesting Place written by the Nester. I really enjoy reading her blog and it has encouraged me to work towards decorating my own house more (if you haven't visited her site yet, I encourage you to do so). Last month she had a post about decorating your house for the winter with a photo of paper-whites in a pot very similar to this one I inherited, from Grandma R:
I was inspired to see if I could grow some bulbs in it. I know that it is a little late to try to force bulbs, so I decided to see if I could dig some up (that had already been

January 31, 2011

Productive weekend

Well I had a productive weekend. I worked on half of my house goals for the year. Since we had a warm day on Saturday we worked outside and got the main section of the vegetable garden rota-tiled and mulched (that's it in-progress above). It doesn't look like much, but we're pretty much ready to plant when the season come around. We also got some mulch put on some of the areas for flower beds.

On Sunday I ordered my pictures to fill five of my six photo frames as well as a few to update the anchor frame. I can hardly wait for them to get here and fill up the frames.

January 25, 2011

Valentine's Stand-top Vignette

As you can see from this post, I've been wanting to decorate for more holidays, so here we go with Valentines Day. I decided to go with a more family love instead of

January 18, 2011

1st blogger award and prayer request

I would like to thank one of my followers, MacsGirl at Just a Jersey Girl, for passing on "The Versatile Blogger" award.

I would like to join her in requesting prayer for her friend, Brian. He, like me, has Chiari Malformation. Sadly, his was not caught as early as mine, and his surgery was not as successful. It sounds like he may not have much time left, if you would like to read more about this please see her post here.

January 12, 2011

Photo Frame Planning

Well, I'm getting to work on my house goals for this year. I'm starting with the picture frames. I have this wall I'd like to cover with frames:
The frame that is there now (doesn't it just fit just great?) is a graduation gift from my Aunt C. I found these college frames at CVS (we shop there a lot due