Sunday, December 28, 2008

Handkercheif Curtain and Other Ideas from Mom

We went to my mom and dad's house for Christmas dinner, so I snapped a few photos to share with you. Mom and dad bought an old home that had been converted into apartments...thinking to live in the ground floor and rent the other apartments. Soon enough though, they realized they liked using the whole house. They left the apartments in case they want to rent them in the future...this creates a couple of mini suites in the upstairs of their home. These photos show the bedroom from one of the apartments upstairs. It's fun to go stay staying in an inn!

The color combo you see here came from using the suggested color harmonies from the old Martha Stewart paint line at Kmart. Martha and her people did a great job of showing good color combos. Our Kmart doesn't carry paint any more, but I think Sears does have Martha paint.

Another corner of the room. My mom is the thrifting queen...almost everything in her home is a treasure she found somewhere. And my dad can repair most anything if she finds it and it needs a little work, between them they are able to fix it up better than new.

As you can see there is some work needed on the old plaster walls. Mom said they will get to it someday, but she went ahead and painted anyway...that way they have pleasant rooms to use in the meantime. I wish I had done that with my old house, because sometimes it takes a lot longer to get to some of those repairs than you would think.

Another part of that room. This house has neat some great features like the lamps on the walls. Some of the original shades had been replaced with cheap dime store shades... they found some more suitable vintage shades at garage sales and antique shops. We've found the antique shops are usually more affordable than some of those restoration places that sell new replacements.

These two photos show the window treatment in the kitchen of that apartment/guest suite. Mom has a huge collection of hankies... she pinned them to the top of a white valance using a straight pin in one corner of each hankie. It looks so cute and it's easy to take the hankies off when they need to be cleaned and ironed. My mom and dad have a ton of great ideas, so you will probably see me posting some more of their house in the future.

Christmas Day!

This is just a collection of random photos from Christmas Day. Please excuse all the pjs and such...we just stay in them while we open presents. We did stockings, had french toast and then opened presents. This is me handing out stockings...the part I like is Hawkeye watching closely.

Here's Joe in his new hat I knit him...and a cool cup I found at an antique shop.

The kids examining their tools for Mike from Jill. Cool and crazy hat from the grandparents.

Relaxing and reading instructions by the Christmas tree.

Playing with the cameras.

Joe and me

Apparently Cowboy stuff is appealing to grandpas and grandsons!

Mike and Jill

Friday, December 19, 2008

Ice Storm

We awoke this morning to a very beautiful, but dangerous world. Joe made it to work, but I decided not to risk it....somehow, I don't think folks will be out hunting for antiques in this. I hope not anyway!

We didn't have any limbs down in our yard, but look at the's touching it's toes!

The ice is so beautiful though.

We heard we could get up to an inch of wasn't quite that thick, thank goodness. Joe went out and bought a generator last night. Folks, those babies are expensive! My mom just had surgery the day before though and he didn't think we should be unprepared. We didn't need it so far, but now we are prepared if we ever do. The next town down the highway is without power this morning.

Hawkeye is not crazy about our patio being turned into an ice rink.

Want to come and sit on our swing? Brrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Friday, December 12, 2008

How to Make Snowflake Ornaments

Last year I made some snowflake ornaments that have held up pretty darn well for paper snowflakes, so I thought I'd tell you about them. I made mine out of maps, just because I love maps and I have saved a ton of them from National Geographic Magazine. You could also use sheet music, old book pages, or pretty scrapbook paper. Personally, I love using things that usually get thrown away and this is a great way to use books or maps that are in very bad shape...just pick the good parts out and use them.

You fold the paper in the usual manner and make your paper snowflake. There is a great tutorial here if you don't remember how. Then iron your snowflake to get it nice and flat. Lay it on a piece of felt that you've trimmed to about the right size.

Then go to your sewing machine and stitch around the edges of the snowflake, holding it flat as you go. You could use some wonder under to hold it, but I didn't. You just can't pin it because, obviously, you'd end up with holes in your paper. I put blue thread in my machine to match the map, and white thread in the bobbin to match the felt. Hand stitching with embroidery floss would also be cute...kind of a primitive look.

After you have your paper snowflake stitched down take a sharp pair of scissors and snip out the openings in the felt and trim around the snowflake, leaving a small bit of white showing around each opening and around the edges. Add a floss loop at the top to hang it.

I wish I had some in process photos, but as you can see it's a pretty easy thing to make. Email me if you have any questions.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

One more handknit Christmas hat..........

This one is done from Cascade 220 yarn also. The red was actually white and I dyed it red...through a process that I could not hope to duplicate. The color turned out ugly the first 2 times I dyed it, then I finally dyed the whole thing again using food coloring and vinegar. I finally got a color I like. It sounds like more trouble than it is. The crock pot does all the work. The gray is leftovers from my son's hat. I made this a little bigger because my hubby has a big son is our model here.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Blagojevich Arrested

Wow! Many of us have been hoping and praying for the corruption to come to light. Now it is and hopefully our state is on its way to saying loud and clear, "This kind of politics is not welcome in Illinois anymore." You can read the story here.

For now our Lt. Governor is in charge, and I believe (and hope) that to be a big improvement.

ETA: Apparently there is no clear provision saying who will act as is it possible that we would not have that clearly spelled out? This state has a lot of work to do.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Christmas Decorating!

I thought there must be some mistake when this giant box showed up in the mail....I was looking for my prize from SC Johnson Right at Home for the contest, but I was expecting a little envelope with a gift card. Let me tell you I felt like the dad from A Christmas Story receiving the "significant award!"

They sent this huge basket of products and the gift nice! Thank you to and to SC Johnson.

I knit up a hat for Mike's stocking and made the mistake of letting him try it on...he liked it so much he wanted to start wearing it right away. Well, I'm glad he liked it!

Then I used the left over gray from Mike's hat and some red I dyed (same kind of yarn) to start a hat for Joe. He's tricky because he has a much bigger head. I altered it to fit...and I hope it does!

Tonight we started decorating for Christmas....Hawkeye's pretty sure this is not where the wreath should go.

Joe got it done in the warmth of the house and then went out and hung it up. It's starting to look alot like Christmas!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Let it snow, let it snow!

We awoke to snow this morning! I love always makes me feel better...I think it's partly just because so much light is reflected into the house. Whatever the reason, I'll take the lift in spirits I get whenever there is a fresh snow. This little carpenter gothic is one of the older homes in our town. It's now owned by the historical society.

Downtown it's a little slushy. I think we are supposed to be getting more snow tonight and tomorrow though. Right now it's so warm...I think we are at about 35 degrees.

Our babies are home! We've had a house full of kids this weekend. It's been wonderful to have the house full and hear the laughter and teasing going on all week. Most of them have to go back to school today. For all the home improvement bloggers out there...the background in this pic in our stairway. A yet to be finished project.

Hawkeye was pleased as punch to have his girl home. Every time she sat down, he'd crawl on top of her for some attention.

We did a lot of sitting by the fire this weekend. We had family over for Thanksgiving Day and had a wonderful time and ate way too much. I hope you all had a good holiday too.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gotta love a day when the mail brings you books!

I've been waiting for Danny Gregory's new book, "An Illustrated Life" to come...I ordered it months ago and it's just now out. I'll be spending the rest of the evening curled up being inspired.

I finished my little sock bag tonight. Well, except the lining....I'll have to search around for a good fabric to line it with. Actually the bottom of the bag is a better match to the knitted part than it looks in the picture...flash photography isn't my forte.

Preparing for winter..and knitting

I spent yesterday going through various baskets and boxes...sorting, storing and packing things up to take to a charity shop. I'm a stasher and piler...even when it looks neat around here there are baskets full of stuff accumulating.

Look! Empty baskets!

I put all my stashed yarn in one spot so I'll be able to find it, did some laundry, washed the windows inside and out in the kit/family room. The dining room is easy to pile up...we are readers and this is where we read and eat breakfast. The reading material tends to pile up there. I cleaned that up so I'd have a nice fresh start for Thanksgiving dinner. In spite of all this looks messier now! But that's always the looks worse before it looks better.

In the middle of all that, I found this in the bottom of one of the baskets. I bought the supplies in Galena a couple of years ago, but never knit it up. It makes a small bag and I don't carry small bags. But now I'm knitting socks and I think it will be the perfect size for toting around a sock-in-progress.

So last night I knit it up on huge needles and threw it in the washer to the colors. Just have to sew it up after it dries.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A different kind of Christmas giving........and a request for party ideas!

Times are tight with lay-offs and all the talk of the economy. Some of that has already touched members of our extended family so we thought we might try something that will simplify our giving, and enhance it at the same time.

Normally we buy gifts for all the aunts, uncles and cousins. This year instead of having the usual gift exchange we are going to gather for a New Year's Eve celebration and bring contributions to throw into a common piggy bank. Other friends usually come for New Years and they will be welcome to add to the gift too if they wish. Then later in the evening we will have the kids count it and decide what kind of animals we can buy through Heifer International. Our town has a big First Night celebration and we thought the we could mail off our gift when we go uptown for the entertainment.

Not sure what Heifer is all about? From their website:

"Heifer’s mission is to end hunger and poverty while caring for the earth. For more than 60 years, Heifer International has provided livestock and environmentally sound agricultural training to improve the lives of those who struggle daily for reliable sources of food and income. And since 1944, we have helped 48 million people through training in livestock development and livestock gifts that multiply.

Every gift of an animal provides direct benefits such as milk, eggs, wool, fertilizer, as well as indirect benefits that increase family incomes for better housing, nutrition, health care and school fees for children. Recipients “pass on the gift” of offspring of their cows, goats and other livestock to others in an ever-widening circle of hope.

Heifer currently works in more than 57 countries, including the U.S."

Now, I'd like to make this fun for the kids...especially the little ones who are still in grade school. If you have any ideas themed around farm animals, I'd love to hear them! Just leave me a comment with ideas or links to them. Thanks!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Winnings, Socks and Homecoming

I just got an email from Aaron at informing me that my post was drawn as the winner in their "Home for the Holidays" contest. I'm so the spirit of it being a winning about our home I think I will probably use it to pay for paint. My last trip to the paint store ran $295 dollars and the prize is $250. That will just about pay my bill! Woo-hooo!

If you are renovating or building or working on a house at all, you should check out There's a wealth of information there and a bunch of people who understand your pain....I mean, your joy!

I finished a new pair of socks...they don't exactly match (though they are the same length...just don't look it here) but I love them anyway.

Our baby girl came home from college for Thanksgiving...I think Hawkeye is glad to have her home. I know I am!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Perfect Tree Topper

I love old fashioned Christmas ornaments......even if they are new ones made like the old ones. We've always had a bow at the top of our tree....this is because I have never, in all these years, been able to find a tree topper that I liked. I wanted a star because of the star in the Bible leading folks to Christ. But none of them really tripped my trigger. Until last week:

I was attending the Illinois Main Street conference in Decatur and of course we had to explore their downtown. I found this Wendy Addison star in one of their cute shops. It's perfect...just what I was looking for...extremely sparkly with out actually having lights in it, large but not heavy, and two sided in case I ever have the tree in the middle of a room. And it only took me 26 years to find it!

This post was written for as part of a sweepstakes sponsored by SC Johnson’s Right@Home. Check them out at . Also please check out for more entries.

Today Joe and Mike both had the day off and we made a pilgrimage of sorts. Well, if you are a hunter or fisherman it is. This is a huge store with displays of wildlife that are almost like a museum's.
Giant aquariums line an entire room....we got there just as feeding time began. I had fun keeping my guys company, knit socks on the car ride, and believe it or not, bought more than they did. I found some great shoes that will be perfect to wear to work this winter.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Christmas Cactus

Isn't this lovely? Honestly, all the variety in nature just boggles the mind. Sometimes I feel a little guilty about all the time and energy I spend making things and and just trying to make things pretty. You know, especially when I think of some of my friends who are nursing or teaching school children or practicing environmental law and such (God bless my brainy friends!). Then I think about how God could have had everything the same color, maybe a few designs of flora and fauna, but instead, look what he did.....He gave us so much color and variety. Animals that just make us stop in wonder! Some that are so odd looking that we just have to laugh. And then I realize that He made me the way I am and gave me that desire to create.

On a more practical note, my house plants have to be tough, since I frequently forget to water them. I just brought the last ones off the front porch today and even though we've had a few snow flakes already, they are still alive! I bought this Christmas Cactus last year and it spent the summer on the back porch. It's been inside for a couple of weeks now....I went into the living room today to water it and saw that it was bursting into bloom. Maybe it's a Thanksgiving Cactus!

A little indoor garden junk....I use little chairs as plant stands. This plant is sitting in a little wheelchair that my granddad made for his oldest daughter who had Spina Bifida. He designed a wheelchair that she could use herself, and would be low to the ground so she could play with toys on the floor like other kids. Sadly, back then they did not know how to operate for SB and she died when she was five. Grandaddy and Nana refined the design and added an option for a stroller handle and marketed them to hospitals. There's that creative thing again....but boy, inspired by their daughter, they really did think of something that helped people. Every time I look at that chair I think about how much they loved their kids.