Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Spencer's Homecoming Talk and Luncheon!

Well, Spencer has been home from his mission to British Columbia for four weeks and this past Sunday he had the opportunity to share some of his experiences before our church congregation.  Lots of his friends, our friends and family came to hear what he had to
say.  In the top picture to the left he is shown with Riley Hein, also a returned missionary with whom he grew up.  The next picture is of Spencer with the parents of his last companion in the mission field, Elder Larsen.   They came down from Bountiful to hear about his mission, and of course to hear about how their son, who has 10 more months to serve, is doing.

Of course family members wanted to come to help us celebrate his successful mission as well.  Above are two of his uncles, Doug and Bruce, both shown with his nephew Titan.

My brother Clark also came and I enjoyed visiting with him about our Native American ancestry, though I am not sure how much he enjoyed visiting with me, as that proximity meant that when I squeezed the tomatillo dressing bottle a bit too hard, it was his pant legs that got drenched.  (Sorry Big Brother!)
This is his niece Eva, she is doing a happy dance.  Everyone is thrilled to have Spencer home.

Here are more fun interactions between family.  In the far left is my great nephew Jeff, then my daughter in law Nell, with her girls Elle and Eva, Becky is held by her mom, my daughter Emily. (Emily is showing off a darling dress that her mother-in-law Sheila got for Becky.)

 In this picture my good friend Jenn is giving my daughter Darby a hug.  I love having get togethers with old friends, and obviously my children enjoy it as well. Jenn was our neighbor and friend when we moved to Orem, at that time Darby was 12, so she had a chance to get to admire Jenn as much as the rest of us did.
We had several other good friends who came to church to hear Spencer speak but who had to take off for other Sunday responsibilities.  We loved seeing them and got a chance for a quick word with most of them, and we truly appreciate their support.

 My brother Bruce is seen visiting with my brother Doug's wife, Shirley, I didn't get a picture of Bruce's cute wife Dianne, though I am not sure how I missed it.  To the right is my friend Robin and her husband Jeff (also my friend) with another friend, Jerry in between .... hmmm, I also missed getting a picture of Jerry's wife Amy. 

I didn't mention food, but Nell suggested we make a little faux Cafe Rio buffet which turned out to be great. It was simple to make and was a hit with just about everyone.  We had flour tortillas, BBQ shredded pork, chicken, rice, beans, lettuce, shredded cheese, salsa, tomatillo dressing and sour cream.  Nell brought her two famous tortilla chip dips and we managed to finish off four bags of Don Julio tortilla chips, and found out that they are made by my niece Kristen's husband's extended family! (Sorry missed getting a picture of Kristen, but did get the picture of her son Jeff (above)).

Anyway, I wanted to thank Dianne, Briahnna, Emily and Robin for bringing goodies.  The salad that Eva has piled on her plate in the picture above was made by Robin, so I was not the only one that appreciated the skills of these lovely ladies.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Our Festival of Trees Christmas Tree!!

We had a great time today setting up for the Primary Children's Hospital fund raiser, Festival of Trees, in the South Towne Exposition Center.  The name of our tree is 'The King of Kings ...', our group is 'We Can', a small service organization headed up by Carolyn Shirley of Elkridge, Utah.

The crown silhouette we used on some of our ornaments was found at the Graphics Fairy.  The silhouettes came from a church program cover.

Here are a few close shots of some of the ornaments.  We used pages from the gospels in the New Testament (an old much loved and worn out copy) instead of newsprint to make our ornaments. It just seemed right, since it is Jesus' birthday that we are celebrating.
We had a lot of fun, and made five different types of paper craft ornaments for the tree.  We also added a few commercially made ornaments.

The tree skirt was made by my friend LaVern who isn't a member of We Can.  She took over the project when a member of our group was unable to do it.  LaVern also joined us in setting up the tree today!
 It was a lot of fun to wrap empty boxes to match our color theme.    
We also set up a snug scene near the tree with an antique black rocking chair and table, upon which was placed an 1880's bible opened to Luke ... all ready for sharing the story of the first Christmas.

 I love antique bibles, its so fun to imagine a family in the 1800's recording their family dates and sharing scripture stories with their children.
And here we are, with five hours of decorating the tree behind us.  We wandered around a bit after that and were amazed at the fine quality of trees available for viewing (and buying) this year.  Tomorrow, Tuesday, is bid night, then the Festival will be opened from Wednesday until Saturday to the public.  If you haven't been to the Festival you should definitely try it, its a magical fairyland.  I hope to blog later about some of the great trees we saw.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Decorating With Birds without Even Trying.

Have you ever started collecting something without realizing it, or even making a conscious decision?  That is how it is with me and birds, bird houses and conservatories. This is my kitchen window shelf.  It is full of birds and fairies.  This great conservatory box was a gift  
 from my husband.   The bird cages I collected all summer at estate sales and second hand stores just because I love wire and found them charming.  It all kind of came together as a garden theme window which makes me happy especially now that its winter.
This sweet fairy nest, complete with a bird, was gift from a dear friend.


 Another friend gave me the bird's nest to the left.  She and her family came home from vacation a year ago last summer to find that a robin had made a nest and laid its eggs on a ledge on her front porch.  After her family reoccupied the house therobin thought better of her plans and abandoned the nest. 
She showed it to the children in her preschool, and was going to throw it away.  I thought it was too precious and claimed it for another conservatory box.  The bird's nest in the bell jar was one I found in a tree after the leaves fell, and my preshool teacher friend, who also has chickens, gave me the tiny eggs from a miniature breed.  I added the fairies to the display, thinking that maybe, after all, that is where fairies come from, I mean they do have wings.

I guess sometimes we just feather our nests with things that feel right.  The thought of birds is cheerful and friendly, and when bird memorabilia brings with it thoughts of lovely friends, so much the better.  Thanks Jenn and LaVern for helping me wing my way through the winter with happy thoughts of spring.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Eclectic Advent Calendar - Be Very Merry!

 I no longer have small children at home, other than on the joyful occasions when my grandchildren come for visits, but I have always had advent calendars to help my children anticipate Christmas. (And because I have always been a crafter.)  There was the long wood Santa with a nail for a button for each day of December before Christmas and a little bag in his hand to hold the buttons.  There was the wood manger scene with the wire bowed across the top with red beads to be moved to the side for each day, with the last bead, moved on Christmas Eve being a yellow star being moved into place just above the sweet baby Jesus in his manger. 

I just thought I was past that,  but when I saw the amazingly crafted 'junquey' advent calendar in one of my Somerset Magazines, I was smitten.  (A picture of the Somerset calender and the instructions I used to make mine are at the bottom of this post) Collecting the numbers for the calendar was almost as much fun as actually putting them together.  My dear friend Cathie of secondhandstuft is as much of a collector as I am, and she helped me fill in the 'blanks'.  Working and sharing with her made it even more fun. I can't wait to see hers, and I hope she posts it on her blog too!!

My son Spencer cut the blocks in half for the '3' and the '10'. Then I found that being an antique dealer was handy as  I  raided the display of antique Santas I have for sale at the antique store.  (2, 17 and 25) Of course, as always Karen at Graphics Fairy was my fairy godmother for this project. 

From her site I netted a great vintage Santa, a snowman and a top hat (7, 15, 23) as well as the Christmas Music behind the "Merry" banner at the top. (Ever wonder what we did before Graphics Fairy?)
This is the whole deal, I am so excited it is done.  I have my grandchildren coming on Sunday, so I plan to introduce it to them, so they will have one more thing to be excited about at Grandma's at Christmas time!!  (By the way I have a four year old granddaughter who does altered art ... I am not kidding she is making me a smash book!! Am I lucky or what!)

And last of all is a close up of the 'Christmas' flag banner at the bottom of the calendar.
Here are the promised instructions for making your own calendar.
1. You start with a cookie sheet, (Make sure it attracts magnets) or as in my case, a sheet of tin, because my 'numbers' were considerably larger than the ones in Somerset. 
2.  I covered mine with wrapping paper because my 'larger format' was too large for scrap book papers.
3. I glued magnets to the back of my numbers and altered items.
4.  In selecting positions for numbers its important to balance your colors, so that you don't have red and red together, etc.
5. Its also important to mix your textures and materials as much as you can.  I did end up with a lot of game pieces at the top because most of them just go to 12.  Of course blocks, dice and dominoes look similar and tend to add up to 12 or less as well. I also tried to spread the rusty around as much as I could, and the antique santas, as well as graphics.
6. One thing I didn't consider is the weight, and both of my heavy metal (Cow tag 16 and tap handle 21) items ended up on the same corner, so it took some doing to get the calendar to hang straight once they were both on it.

This calendar is my 'inspiration piece'.  It was in the Somerset Life Autumn issue (Still available at Barnes and Nobles), which is one of the Somerset Group of magazines by Stampington.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Christ the Lord is King! Our Black and White Tribute Christmas Tree

 Yes, its almost time for the Holidays!!  But our 'We Can' Service group has been making Christmas ornaments for our Festival of Trees (Primary Children's Hospital Fund Raiser) since April.  We have met together three different times to make ornaments.  

   The top ornaments are made from a great Graphics Fairy image.  I found the crown I wanted and made it narrower, thus a better fit for the round button, then I cut off the cross on the top. (Member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,  to which most of the members of 'We Can' belong, don't use the symbol of the cross, rather we focus on the Living Christ.) We then used columns of New Testament Text accordion folded to form the rosette.  The other ornaments shown here also use pages of the New Testament.  After all we are celebrating the 'Prince of Peace', and the 'King of Kings' in the decoration of our Christmas tree this year.

These ornaments, made with Nativity silhouettes, started with lids off cans (using the smooth, not sharp edge can lid cutters) that were then spray painted black.  A circle cutter was set to the right dimension so that the silhouette could be placed into the top of the can lid leaving a black outline around it.  Trim was glued to the back with Tacky Glue.
 Here are some pictures of the ladies making ornaments.  I do have to admit that tearing pages from the scriptures was hard for all of us, and we just had to remind ourselves that we were doing it to honor Jesus Christ, whose birthday we are celebrating.

Other embellishments on our Black Tree will include large banners that proclaim phrases from the scriptures and hymns such as "King of Kings" and "Lord of Lords"  We will also hang paperboard silver crowns and doves with small word strips that say "Prince of Peace."

We will be setting up our 8 foot black tree with black and white ornaments and a quilted Amish Pattern tree skirt on the Monday after Thanksgiving.  On Tuesday individuals and corporations will bid on the Trees. The Festival of Trees will then be open to the public on Wednesday through Saturday.  100% of the money raised will go for charity care at the hospital.  The Festival of Trees is run entirely by volunteers, and includes a gift shop with locally hand made items that have also been donated.

 I will be sure to update you all with pictures of the finished tree soon after that.  Thanks for coming along and helping us celebrate the fact that our older brother Jesus Christ is the Reason for the Season!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hats Off (Or should I say on?) to Ogden's Acorn Antique Dealers - Nov 2011

While hanging out at the Acorn Antique Show in Ogden this past weekend I noticed, and not for the first time, the dealers who snaz it up a bit by wearing period hats.  This gent looked so much like a Britisher in his top hat I thought he could have walked off the set for Mary Poppins.  In talking to him later he said his family lines are Cornish ...
Here are some more dealers who wore hats the first day of the show.  The couple on the left is from Eden, and sell great retro stuff.  The sweet lady on the right has a lovely English Accent and sells Jewelry and Victorian smalls, you can even get a British Half Penny in her booth and its hard to get smaller than that!

In the group of dealers above are some of the several dealers who wear baseball caps and cowboy hats.  Alice decided she was worth keeping one of the mink hats she had for sale. The lady on the right, donned a bowler that was for sale in her booth for my temporary hat fetish, which gave me the idea ....
to annoy good friends and other dealers by asking them to don some of the hats they had for sell.  See what good sports antique dealers are? 

And last of all it was time to convince CJ of Sock Monkeying Around in Ogden that this photo journal would not be complete without a picture of her in one of her Sock Monkey Knit hats.  Of course it wasn't hard to get Rusty of Vine street Antiques in Salt Lake on board, Rusty is always a good sport and is NEVER afraid of having fun!!

And in the end, it would be hardly fair to ask others to look a little silly without being willing to do so as well.  So here I am with my antique show partner Bruce sporting a bit of antique haberdashery.
You can join us at the next Acorn Show in February (18th and 19th) for another edition of our hat parade ... someone may have even take their Easter Bonnet out of mothballs a bit early .... It could happen, and you wouldn't want to miss that, would you?!