Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Party Favors

When you plan a party of any kind, allowing the guests to take something home will make it extra special to them. The favors can be as elaborate or simple as you like. If you are entertaining a group of ladies, you could fill small vases with flowers for them to take home. Filling ivy bowls with homemade candies would be a treat for them too. Make simple place cards for each seat, or you could make them elaborate enough for your guests to take home as a favor.

Shop at party stores for things to make favors with for everyone to have. Or make something for each individual that is different for each one attending. Making the favor yourself will add to the personalization of the gift from you.

A peppermint candy cane with a bow and name tag on it can be used for a Christmas party. Use a tea light candle and holder with a name tag sticking out from the bottom for an evening party. This will allow a time frame to be established. A party that lasts too long can become boring for those attending. The tea lights will allow the hostess to know when to move guests to another room for entertainment too.

At a child's party, you may want the guests to take part in making their own favors to take home. Keep it simple, and allow time for everyone to finish the activity.

Party favors add to the function, and make it a special time for everyone to remember.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Having a Christmas Party

The first important thing to do is to make an invitation list. Invite as many people as your space can accommodate. Make sure you allow the guests to RSVP, and you will know about how many to prepare for. Send the invitations at least two weeks in advance of the function.

Prepare a menu one week before the event, and utilize grocery advertisements to save money using coupons. Prepare as many of the items on the menu ahead of time as possible to keep party day from being hectic. Make other foods needed early in the day of the function so they will be chilled properly before the guests arrive. Have waste cans available if needed for paper plates and other refuse in the table area.

Have a specified place for coats and let your guests know where it is, so they can retrieve them when leaving. Make sure the space is large enough that garments don't fall to the floor or get buried so deep that other people's coats get mused.

Plan ahead for all activities that will need items such as paper and pencils. Have them placed in the area you will be having the games. Make sure you have extras in case someone comes unexpectedly. Keep the games simple and fun. Two or three games are enough to get everyone involved in. Allow time for your guests to mingle and have conversations among themselves.
Thank people for coming to your party, and plan ahead of time to have someone else show the guests out.

If anyone brought a hostess gift, be sure they are sent a card within one week for it. Phone everyone who attended the party within two weeks, and let them know their presence was appreciated.

Planning ahead is the most important part of any function. If you plan for everything in advance, the party will be as enjoyable for you as it will be for your guests.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Coloring Pages For Children

Spend the day making coloring pages for your child to put in a binder. They can come back to their creation when a rainy day keeps them from playing outside, or when they need an activity to use while on a long car trip. Have them trace pictures, or draw some from their own imagination. Use a three-hole puncher to place the pages in a looseleaf binder. Most binders come with a slit pouch on the inside front cover. Put a small pack of crayons in the pouch to keep handy with the coloring pages.

Use another binder to keep their 'special' pictures in. Parents can use this binder for a special place to keep all of their noteworthy school work through the years along with their best coloring pages. You can purchase clear pocket pages to keep items in that can not be hole-punched for the binder. Binders come in all sizes. If you have a very creative child, the binders come in four and five inch thick varieties at office supply stores.

Making these special coloring pages will allow you and your child to spend time together. It will also give them a project to use when they can't play outside, or need some quiet time for themselves.

Silverware Decoration

This silverware decoration can be used at any time of year. You can make it by using real silverware or plastic ware in different colors for holidays. The looks of the real silverware can be changed seasonally by changing bows on it to different colors.

To make the decorative piece you will need one each of a knife, fork and spoon. Using a super bond glue instead of hot glue will assure the pieces stay together over a long time period. Lay the knife with the business end up at a two o'clock position. Next, lay the fork crosswise of the knife in an eleven o'clock position. Lastly, lay the spoon on top of them with the bowl pointing upward. All of the pieces should now be laying with the handle parts touching. Note where they meet with each other, and pick them up to put a dot of glue in that place on back of the spoon, and the back of the fork. Now place them together again in the same position as when they were first laid on top of each other. After applying the glue, you may need to hold the pieces together and blow air on the spot where the glue is to get it to dry a little to adhere. Then do the same to the first two pieces and the knife.

When dry enough to hold together, tie a ten inch length of ribbon into a bow at the front point of the handles where they all meet. Cut an eight inch length of fishing line. Tie it in a knot onto the spoon at the point where the handle and bowl meet. Turn the knot to the back of the spoon. Now tie the two pieces of fishing line together very near the ends to use as a hanger for the decoration.

You can also add tiny flowers or other decorative pieces to the center of the ribbon bow to enhance the silverware decoration. You can now hang your piece in a kitchen or dining area, or hang from ceilings in restaurants for a season. I have even used green plastic ware with yellow bows to hang on the bottom of a John Deer Christmas tree in a country restaurant. They looked great!

Friday, November 16, 2007

C D decorations

Instead of throwing CDs in the trash when they are no longer useful, make decorations and other things with them. Before throwing anything away, always think of other purposes it could be used for. You will save money by finding other uses for many of the things we throw away each day.

The shiny sides of CDs are great painting surfaces. You can paint scenes on them, or a single thing such as a snowman. You can use the hole in the middle to hang them on a small pin or nail in your home, or attach a length of fishing string through the hole to hang it with on the limb of a tree.They will sparkle if hung by themselves on large trees. The shiny sides of the CD will reflect any light from street lights, vehicle headlights, or other decorative tree lights around them. If the CD has preprinted pictures or writing on one side, simply spread glue on that side, and sprinkle glitter over it. Now the CD will reflect light on both sides! These are very attractive at night reflecting lights of all types that hit them.

The CDs make money saving decorations for large city and town Christmas trees. It could become a year-long project for an organization in your town. Paint the CDs and sell them for funding projects. Small children could dab colored dots on the shiny side, and older ones could add glitter to the other side for large tree decorations in their own front yards.

The CDs can also be used as reflectors on fence posts along your road, or on each side of your driveway to mark it for better access at night. Think a while longer, and you will come up with many ideas of your own to use the CDs for!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Branch Christmas Tree

This branch Christmas tree can be used throughout the year for all the other holidays. Find a strong, sturdy branch with many tines. Paint it green or white all over. Put the branch into a small coffee can filled with pebbles. You may want to paint enough pebbles whatever color you like to be on the top layer to enhance the tree. You can also put seasonal colored tissue around the can to decorate it.

Miniature decorations can be purchased at most discount stores to hang on the branches of the tree. In the kitchen you can use fruit flavored cereal to decorate the tree. This works well on a patio table outside of a large window if you want to give the birds a Christmas gift too. Very small scissors, spools of thread, needle threaders, bobbins and thimbles can be used to decorate a tree for your sewing table. Use a tape measure for a garland to put on the tree.

Tie crayons, erasers, protractors, scissors and such on a tree for a school room. Now that you get the idea of things to use on trees, come up with your own themes for the ones you want to have throughout your home this year. This makes a great project for younger children to do during the holidays too.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Christmas Card List

A recipe file box makes a handy box to keep your updated Christmas Card List in. You can see at a moment the information you need. Writing in pencil will keep the cards neat when information must be changed. On each card include the complete names of all the people in each family, birth dates behind each name, complete address, phone numbers (land line and cell numbers) and email addresses. Keep the box in a handy place throughout the year so you can make changes in both the card list file and and your address book when needed. Getting in this habit will save much time later, instead of trying to find a slip of paper you copied the change down on, or the envelope or letter the person sent you in the middle of the year.

I purchase a package of alphabetized index cards for each file of any kind I have. When making changes, turning the next card on its end directly behind the one you need to make a change on through the year will save time too, by returning the card you were working on in front and flipping the card behind back down. If you are not sure if an address has changed since last year, copy the one on the envelope the Christmas card came in onto the backside of the card for later.

Leave a space of about 1/4 inch below the names and addresses on the file card, and start keeping the year you sent and received Christmas cards from each family. I use the following method for this:
John 3/28, Mary 7/12 Doe
33 Joy Lane, Any Town, USA 11111, (111)111-1111, email


You can use a star or check mark to know you sent a card before the year date. When you receive a card back, you can put another star or check mark behind the year date. You may want to put an L or P behind the year date if the person sent a family Christmas letter, or Christmas photo, in with their card for that year. We attach all of the Christmas cards sent to us each year along the edges of our families living room doors to add a decorative touch for the season, and to let those who come to visit during the holidays know we appreciated their correspondence. When you take the cards down after Christmas, put a rubber band around them, and put them in a safe place for later. When you are bored with being house-bound during the winter, pull the cards and your file box back out, put stars or check marks behind the year they were sent, and look on the back of each card to see if there was a change of address. If the address has changed, now would be a great time to drop a note to that person asking them for their new phone numbers, and maybe a change in their email address. If a person in a family has passed away, I draw a circle around that person's name. Doing this will remind me not to include their name on next year's card.

This may seem like a lot to do about nothing, but a time will come when you want to get in touch with a family member, friend or acquaintance; and pulling your updated file box out will be much easier than playing seek and find through a phone book, or numerous phone calls to others to find the needed information.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Onion/Dill Cheese Ball Recipe

This is a very easy and delicious recipe for a quick cheese ball containing onion and dill. Get a prepared box of golden onion soup mix (two packages usually come to a box), about 1 teaspoon of fresh dill (diced and crushed), and two bars of cream cheese. Allow the cream cheese to come to room temperature. In a large bowl add 1 package of the golden onion soup mix, the teaspoon of prepared fresh dill (or dried if you didn't think to freeze some from summer) and the two bars of cream cheese. Mix them by hand and form into a ball. I use the heavy plastic plates that come in seasonal colors to place the cheese ball on. Wrap the plate with the cheese ball on it in cellophane wrap and attach a bow to the top. I also add to the yummy gift, a sleeve or two of round crackers in seasonal paper gift wrap.

These make wonderful gifts for family, friends or co-workers to have on hand during the holiday season. They will keep in the refrigerator for a week (but I've never known of them lasting that long). For those on your gift list that do not like dill, simply leave it out. The above cheese ball recipe is great with only the soup mix and cream cheese. The cheese balls have a better flavor if made one day ahead of time.

Leaf -Fall Wreath

In the fall of the year we begin to see many festive decorations. A wreath made of fall leaves is very easy, and will last a week or more. You will need a wire coat hanger and a bunch of fall leaves. Make sure they are different colors to add variety to the wreath. Pull the coat hanger out and shape it into a circle. Take it apart by unwinding the wire. Carefully string the leaves on the wire by punching a hole near the center of each leaf. Push them gently together until the whole wire is full.

Now, twist the two ends of the wire back together again and bend the hanger top into a small circle for hanging your wreath. Add a colorful bow near the top, and you are ready to hang the beautiful live decoration on your door. If you would like, add a few walnuts or acorns with hot glue to the wire in between the leaves or directly onto the bow.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Drink Cozies

Need a cozy to protect your table tops? You probably have a few in a drawer and didn't realize it! Greeting cards make functional drink cozies, de-clutter your drawers, and give you another chance to enjoy that cute card that Aunt Sue sent you last year. Save all of the cards people send to you, cut a circle out of a pretty part of them (inside or outside), and use them for hot or cold beverages.

Cover the sides of a whipped topping bowl with greeting card pieces you have cut out. Use the pretty front of a large card to glue on top of the bowl lid. After cutting out your cozies, tuck them inside the decorated bowl to keep them handy. You can also sell these at craft bazaars for a couple of dollars, as a recycle idea for scout groups or other organizations. Everyone gets cards throughout the year. Ask people in the clubs you are a member of to save all the cards they don't want to keep, and bring them to a meeting for you.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween Trunk Or Treating

Trunk or treating has become a popular thing for organizations to do at this favorite time of year! You can open up the trunk and hand candy out of a box in it; or you may want a more elaborate display. You could dress up as Dracula and make the trunk into an open coffin. Nothing would scare little kids worse than having the Count raise up with a hand full of candy to give them!

You may want to decorate the trunk as an Ark, and have many stuffed animals (two by two of course) tucked in around a very old fellow who hands out the candy all evening. You could even have homemade clouds with bolts of lightening drawn on them hanging over top of the open trunk.

Have a whole car sitting in darkness with all the windows rolled down. When kids come near the windows, stick a black, hairy arm out with gorilla gloves full of candy for the brave children who are still standing there waiting on the candy to be dropped into their bags.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Santa's House Key

Santa's House Key
by Carolyn French

Dear Santa I have a gift for you,
And here is what you'll have to do.
Use this key to enter our house.
Please be as quiet as a little mouse.
My Mommy and Daddy both sleep light.
If they saw you coming it'd give them a fright.
We don't have a chimney for you to come down.
Not since we moved to a new part of town.
Just put Santa's House Key into the lock.
Give it a turn and say, "Tick tock!"
It will open the door and let you in.
You'll unload your sack and disappear with a grin.
I will jump from my bed in the morning and say,
"Santa's been here, it's Christmas Day!"

You may use this poem that I have made up today to put on a card. Please use the by name with it if you copy it to use. Punch a hole in the corner of the poem card. Attach an OLD house key (that has been painted silver or gold) with a small piece of ribbon. Hang the key on the outside of your door throughout the holiday season. It will give your guests a giggle, and keep alive the joy of Christmas for children of all ages!

Surprise Chocolate Pie

To make a surprise chocolate pie you will need:
*small box chocolate pudding mix *small tub of whipped topping
*1 chocolate candy bar *large graham cracker pie crust
*1 cup chocolate chips *2 bars of cream cheese
* 10 packets of powdered sweetener *small jar chocolate fudge topping

Mix the pudding as directed on box, minus 1/2 cup milk. In mixing bowl, place pudding, cream cheese bars, packets of sweetener, and 1/2 tub of whipped topping. Mix well until smooth. Stir in by hand 1 cup of chocolate chips into mixture, and then pour into large pie crust. Smooth remaining whipped topping over pie filling. Shave candy bar over pie. Drizzle slightly warmed fudge topping back and forth across pie. Keep pie chilled until served.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Clothespin People

This craft is handy to use when small people are needed for projects. Felt or fabric can be used for clothing, and bread twist ties are useful to make arms with. Flesh colored felt can be cut out for hand shapes. The clothespins can be painted at the bottom for shoes. You can paint faces on the front tops of the wooden pin, and glue on craft hair, and add hats if you like. Set the people in a small ball of clay, or you can buy stands for the clothespin dolls at craft stores.

We have used these people pins for making ethnic world displays. They can be changed easily, and they also make cute decorative pins to wear on clothing. The pins sell very quickly at bazaars when made up in school team colors too.

Make a few of them with children in an afternoon, and add some decorated box houses, to complete a play family set. Children enjoy making their own toys, and will be more likely to take care of something they made themselves.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Autumn Leaf Place Mats

This is a project for a child to make in less than an hour with help from an adult. Autumn leaf place mats can be made for a special family meal; and doing so will allow a child to feel they have made a positive contribution. Walk outside together and collect colorful leaves on a sunny, fall afternoon. Make sure there is no dew on the leaves, and don't use leaves with parts that will crumble when handled.

You will need fall leaves, wax paper, a worn out T-shirt, an iron, and a hard, flat working space to complete this project. Set the iron to medium heat. You will need two rectangular pieces of evenly cut wax paper for each place mat. Lay the worn out T-shirt on a hard, flat surface. Kitchen counter tops that can take medium heat work well as an ironing surface. Lay a piece of the cut wax paper on top of the flat portion of the T-shirt. Now arrange the fall leaves, in a single layer, on the wax paper . Be sure that the leaves are at least 1 1/2 inches from all sides of the wax paper. Lay the second piece of wax paper on top of the leaves. Salt shakers or a heavy glass are good for holding the pieces of wax paper together until you begin to iron. Starting at one corner, iron the pieces of wax paper together with the medium heated iron. The leaves between the sheets of wax paper will flatten out as you iron over them. Leave the place mat laying flat for five minutes after ironing. You may need to trim the edges of the place mats with scissors to even them up when the ironing process is complete. Clean the bottom of the heated iron with paper toweling to take the built up wax off before using it on clothing.

The place mats can be used repeatedly, as long as they do not get liquids spilled on them. They make a great gift for grandparents from a child too. Remember that they will lose their bright leaf coloration after a few days. Enjoy them through several meal times.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Noah's Ark Trunk or Treat

If you are looking for ideas for Halloween Trunk or Treat, try decorating your vehicle to look like Noah's Ark and fill the inside, around costumed Noah, with all of those stuffed animals your children have collected over the years. Draw an Ark on a large roll of brown mailing paper, and tape it to the outside of the vehicle on one side. You could stuff the back window full of stuffed animals too, to prove the Ark could hold ALL of those little critters that were created! Roll down one of the backseat windows (have that window drawn on the Ark at just the right place), and let Noah hand out the candy from there all night.

Alright, if you really want to be cramped up in the trunk all night, you could draw the inside of the trunk to look like an Ark. If you live in the country, stuff all those animals around Noah, and have him hand out the candy from a feed sack bag in his lap all night. This kind of sack works really well in the country because all of those farm children have seen a lot of feed sacks over the year's, and of course they know that Noah had to have a lot of feed for all those animals in the Ark!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Christmas Ornament Wreath

There are many wonderful decorations used at Christmas time, and this ornament wreath is easy to make, and beautiful to display. You will need an assortment of round ornament balls of the same, or different colors. Cut a circle template out of cardboard as big as the size of the round wreath you want to make. You will not be gluing the ornaments to the cardboard, but only to each other.

Lay the cardboard template on a large table covered with newsprint or an old tablecloth to protect the table top from the hot glue you will be using. Start with the large Christmas balls first, and hot glue them together side by side using the template as a guide, until you have a complete circle. Now you can glue the other sized ornaments onto the wreath in all directions, adding as many as you like for fullness. You can even use sprigs of real holly and pine if the wreath is only going to be used for the current year, but keep in mind that fresh holly and pine will become brittle and crumble easily, and it will turn brown over time. Artificial holly or pine may be a better choice to use.

Bows can be used if you want to add more color to the wreath. The bows can be tied around the balls and changed when ever you wish to change the looks of the wreath, or they can be glued on. You may want to have only one large accent bow attached at the top of the wreath, leaving a wire on the back to hang the decoration with. It is best to store this wreath in a box after each season to avoid breakage .

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Finger Pin Cushion

A simple little finger pin cushion can be made with a 16 ounce soft drink cap that screws on and off the bottle. You will need about three inches of small width type elastic. Measure the elastic around the finger you want to wear the pin cushion on, cutting it to fit your finger and making sure the ends meet. Glue the elastic end to end and allow to dry. The ends of the elastic that were glued together should now be glued to the top center portion of the small soft drink lid, and allowed to dry thoroughly.

Push a cotton ball or two into the hollow part of the lid. Now cut a circle of cotton print fabric that is 1/2 inch bigger than the circumference as the lid. Center it over the cotton balls and tuck the edges down between the cotton balls and the edge of the lid all around. Put hot glue carefully down into, and around, between the fabric and the lid to adhere them together. Allow the hot glue to dry. Use the finger pin cushion to hold needles and straight pins when you are sewing small projects.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Brushes For Household Cleaning

All households must be cleaned and maintained frequently to aid in the health of our families. Many types of brushes can be used for various jobs, and it is best to have a regular routine for sanitizing each room in our homes. Brushes make ideal cleaning tools for many jobs.

Many brushes are used for specific areas, such as toilet bowl, and drinking glass brushes. Some brushes can be used for multiple uses, or recycled from one use to another. When a toothbrush is ready to be replaced, use the old one to clean around sink facings, or for cleaning porous textured items such as the outside of suitcases. Cosmetic brushes are useful for dusting computer keyboards and small intricate areas that are delicate such as ceramic figurines. Bottle brushes can also be used to clean automobile tires in between the treads, and the bottoms of shoes where mud has accumulated. Fingernail brushes are also useful to clean around sink fixtures in the kitchen and bath rooms.

Be sure to wash all of the brushes with hot soapy water after each use to sanitize them. If possible, stand or hang them with the handle end up to allow the bristles to dry thoroughly.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Painting and Preserving Ceramics

We all have seen ceramic pieces that have been created professionally, but those we've made ourselves are special pieces in our homes. You can purchase green ware that has not been fired at most ceramic shops. However, these pieces are very delicate and may break easily. They also must go through firing in a kiln to preserve them. Classes are given at these shops to instruct you of how to make, paint and preserve ceramics.

Small ceramic pieces are now sold in discount outlet stores that can be painted and preserved. Some are small statues or ornaments for almost any holiday throughout the year. They have already been fired in a kiln. Acrylic paints work very well on these pieces, and there is also a medium in the same stores which comes in a spray can or paint-on medium to preserve the finish of ceramics.

You can buy molds and bags of plaster to form your own ceramics, but it is time consuming, and you must mix the ingredients correctly. Buying the ready made pieces is less expensive if you are looking for inexpensive homemade gifts to give. These pieces also come in signs, plaques and an array of other things to put in your home.

Ceramics: Painting and preserving

Painting ceramics is easy. The piece must be fired in a kiln first. Green-ware is extremely brittle. When it has been fired the first time, it will not break as easily when handled. The piece will need to be fired a second time after it has been painted or glazed.

To paint small areas such as eyes and tiny fingers, use a very small paint brush. Sable brushes are the best ones to paint with. They will hold their shape longer, and not drop bristles as easily as other types of brushes. Always wash the brushes thoroughly with warm soapy water, and hang them with the bristles pointing downward when possible. This will allow the water to drain from under the metal band which holds the bristles in place, and will keep the band from rusting. Do not allow the paint brushes to stand in water too long, or you will end up with bristles that are crooked to one side.

Rinse or wash your brushes well before changing to another color, unless you are working on shading. When shading, you may want to load your brushes with two or more colors of paint at the same time. You may want to paint with one color, then add another hue to a clean brush and overlap the two colors together.

Some people want nothing more than a coat of hairspray (weak form of protective coating), but most folks want a varnish or clear coat brushed over the paint to protect the ceramic piece. Some paints will come off or spread if you do not let the last coat dry well before adding the varnish. Don't over brush the piece in one area too much. This may make the paint wet again and smear it. If you make sure the paint is dry before you varnish, you should not have any trouble. Use a cloth dampened with warm water to wash ceramic pieces that have been sealed with a protective coating. Unless the piece is extremely soiled, the damp cloth should remove dust from the ceramic piece.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Mummy Halloween Costume

Making a mummy Halloween costume is very easy. You will need about three rolls of toilet paper, and a roll of tape. Start at the legs, and work your way up to the trunk of a person's body overlapping as you unroll the paper. When you get to the trunk of the body, use a piece of very sticky tape to secure the end of the paper to a piece of the person's clothing. Follow the same instructions for both of the arms. Now, start at the lower part of the trunk and overlap the toilet paper as you work your way up, also covering the neck and head. Leave enough room for the person to see in between two spots over their eyes. Don't wrap the paper too loosely or the costume will slide down as the mummy walks around.
Keep a roll of toilet paper with you just in case an accident occurs, like the mummy coming unraveled in the middle of a party. This is a great costume for a pregnant woman to have on because she is an expectant mummy! If she already has children, wrap them as well, and let mummy pull them along behind her in a red wagon to the party, and Dad could be mummified too. A whole mummy family would never be expected to show up for a party. However, make sure children are allowed to the event ahead of time.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Silk Flower Fall Wreath

I believe autumn is one of the most beautiful times of the year to display wreaths. It's as if fall knows just the right time to put the brakes of summer on. Everyone is tired by now of the bright reds, greens and blues of summer. It's time to start slowing down before winter sets in. Even the trees and flowers realize that fact. As gardeners begin to allow their roses to form rose hips, so nature begins to paint the landscape with the gorgeous hues of burnt oranges, yellows and browns.
Wreaths made from silk leaves are easy to make, and they will last for many years when properly stored. Packaged silk leaves, and various sized wreaths, are sold at most discount stores during the fall. I prefer wreaths made of pressed straw, because they have the form needed to easily glue the leaves to. Bows can be attached with florist's T-pins, which are sold in the gardening department at discount stores and gardening shops. This type of pin will allow you to change placement of the bow without disturbing the silk leaves on the wreath.
Simply glue the leaves onto the wreath, making sure that it is totally covered, with no straw showing. Make your own bows or, you may purchase them ready-made at reasonable prices. Make a wire hanger to attach to the back of the wreath. Store your beautiful creation in a box with a lid when fall is over, and it will last for a very long time.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Hospital: in-patient or out-patient

When going to the hospital for in-patient or out-patient occasions, always have a list handy of what you might need. I put my lists on the back of the bathroom closet door. I taped an envelope there with both lists in it. It's handy and the whole family knows where it is in case they need it. If I'm the one in the hospital, being the lady of the house, this makes it easier for my family to know what is needed in an emergency.
Pack any toiletries you may need: toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, hair brush or comb, razor, etc. Take books or magazines to pass the time if the stay will be prolonged. If your mailing label from the magazine company is not on the front cover, you may want to place one of your own regular address labels on the periodical to assure no one else thinks it belongs to the hospital. If you are visiting as an out-patient or in-patient, it is best to take your own magazines or books to read while waiting. There are many germs on the hospital's public magazine copies, and that is the number one reason to avoid handling them.
Keeping all of the items you bring in an over sized tote bag will aid you in not misplacing things or leaving them behind in the area. Taking a tote that is a distinctive color will help you and your family keep up with it too.
One of the biggest mistakes for a patient to make is to indulge in cold or hot beverages just before being seen by the nurse or doctor. This will cause a false reading with an oral thermometer. Try to get to an appointment in time to sit still for at least 15 minutes before the alloted time. This will help your blood pressure reading to be more accurate. These are only a few things to keep in mind when going to the doctor, or when making hospital visits.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Coffee Mug Collections

Many of us have a collection of some sort that we enjoy. One of my favorites is coffee mugs. I find some that I want to keep, and others that I end up using as gifts. I have kept many as souvenirs from places we have visited.
A large portion that I've brought home have been given away with a piece of tissue poked in to help hold small items such as wrapped candy, pencils or pens, a bag of jelly beans or whatever will fit into them. I then take the mug gifts to friends, family, nursing home residents or hospitals. A small African Violet can be planted in a mug, and is very easy for someone to care for that does not have much room. Dorm rooms can be perked up with a coffee mug planter for a student. I have also baked cakes in coffee mugs, put icing on top, and wrapped it in clear wrap for those folks with a sweet tooth.
The best places I've found most of them was in thrift stores and consignment shops. You can get them for as little as a dime. Don't forget to watch for them at yard sales too. If you need a gift in a hurry, and have a few mugs on hand, you can bet there's something in a drawer or your cupboard that will tuck neatly inside.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Cheap Moving Boxes

There are many ways to make a move to your new home less expensive. One of those ways is to find out where you can get free, or cheap moving boxes. Many offices go through tons of copy paper throughout the year. Ask someone to check on getting you some of these particular boxes. They usually come with lids, and they are great for putting all sorts of household items in safely.
Furniture and appliance stores will gladly give you larger boxes for bigger items to be transported in, and they have styrofoam and plastic sheets of all shapes and sizes to place in between items to prevent scratching or breakage.
When you are finished moving, save some of the copy paper boxes to store things in your attic, garage or basement. They will last for years and can be stacked to save space. Purchase some large, blank packing labels to write the contents of the boxes on for easy identification. Try to stack like boxed items together for easy access, such as Christmas decorations or craft supplies. If you have extra things you would like to sell in a future yard sale, designate some of the boxes for that purpose. And if you are short on table space for your yard sale, the boxes can be set beside each other to place sale items on.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Airline Flight Times and Schedules

We recently took a three day vacation and were affected by weather over one thousand miles away from where we were. The vacation was picture perfect right up until we checked our baggage at the local airport for our return flight home. My husband and I had different flight confirmation numbers due to an oversight. It did not affect us on our flight out west, but returning home was a nightmare from the start. We checked our bags and were told (because we had our flight confirmation numbers) to proceed to the short cut ticket computer terminal inside instead of having to wait in the very long lines at the ticket counters. My husband entered the required information with his flight confirmation number and did the same for me. Our tickets did not come out of the slot near the bottom of the terminal as did the couple's tickets we were traveling with, who had just used the machine before us. An airline clerk entered the information for us and placed the tickets in my husband's hand.
We proceeded to the security check point where more than a hundred people three deep were pressing forward. While waiting to get through security, we noticed on our tickets that my husband's flight number was printed on his ticket, but mine had the word canceled where the flight number should have been. When we got through security we headed straight to the boarding pass counter at the terminal listed on our flight tickets. There, we were informed that indeed my flight had been canceled. My husband explained that he was on the same flight, and we had just had them printed out downstairs. The clerk looked at his ticket and told us that his flight had been canceled also. We explained that there were four of us traveling together. She told us that the whole flight had been canceled by the flight carrier at the destination point we were traveling to. We are not world travelers, so this situation put us at the clerk's mercy, and pitifully we asked what to do. She said she would do her best to get us on another flight (with the same carrier)to the destination point, but that our seats may not be together. We were to catch a plane in the other airport to take us on home. She got both couple's seats, two in front of the next plane, and two in the back.
We were very happy right up until we found out, after two hours into the flight, that the airport we were flying into had closed all flights landing and departing due to a terrible storm there. A short time later our captain informed us that due to lack of fuel, we may have to fly to another airport if ours did not open the runways soon to land. More than a quarter of those on our flight were foreign travelers from Amsterdam, and had less than one hour to catch their connecting flight. We finally were told by the captain that we would land in twenty minutes with clearance from the tower to come in third instead of thirteenth of the planes stacked over the airport in less than 1/2 mile visibility weather. When our plane landed and the doors opened, we all allowed the Amsterdam travelers off the plane first. We then found that we had a four hour delay due to all the flights trying to get in and out from hours of bad weather before we arrived.
If you travel, pay very close attention to the weather conditions between all destinations of your flight path on the day you are traveling. Ask if there have been any changes in flights you are taking when you arrive early at the airport. Keep a close eye on the flight monitors, as they constantly update information on any changes while you are waiting for take off. Make sure that the same confirmation number is used when flying as a couple or in a group. That way, where one goes, there go the others!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Needle Fabric Case

These little needle cases made from fabric are quick and easy. They make handy items to sell at craft bazaars, or to give as a small gift to seamstresses you may know. A 1/8 yard piece of material will make about four of the needle cases. Open the fabric and cut into four equal parts lengthwise. You will want to cut a 3 x 2 inch piece of quilt batting or felt to use in a 6 x 6 inch block of fabric for the case. Put the batting or felt in the center of the fabric about 3/4 of an inch from the bottom portion. Fold the top part of the material down and tuck the edge in between the batting and the bottom fabric piece. Sew the bottom of the case with hidden stitches, or running stitches from front to back. Now turn the fabric all around at both ends outside in by about 1/4 inch, to hide the edges, and use the same stitches to close them.
Attach a five inch piece of 1/8 inch ribbon to the center of the left third of fabric. Now fold the right third of the case over the top of the batting/felt portion. Attach the other five inch length of ribbon to the right outside center part of the fabric which you folded over the middle portion. When you tie the two pieces of ribbon into a bow, the bow should be on the left side of the needle case. Untie the needle case and weave needles back and forth through the inner piece of fabric and batting (don't let the needles show from the outside). Tie the bow again, and you have a quaint little needle case much like the ones pioneer ladies kept in their sewing baskets.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Candle Decorating With Oil Paint

When you are going to have company over to celebrate a special occasion, using candles can set the tone for a nice evening. Buying inexpensive candles and decorating them yourself can save you a good bit of money.
Melt one or two white candles in a pan, and remove the pan from the burner carefully. Add a smidgen of oil based paint until you get the color you desire. You may need to heat the wax a time or two until you finish your project depending on how large the candle is, and how intricately you are decorating it. Remember the hot wax may ignite easily, and that is why it is safer to turn the burner off, or remove the pan from the burner in between heating it. Keep a lid handy to cover the wax in case it ignites, or keep the proper extinguisher for oil fires handy when doing this project. Always use the correct type of gloves for working with hot wax, and a long handled wooden spoon or wooden paint stick when stirring the heated wax.
Using a small wooden paint brush, make whatever designs on the candle you desire. If the hot wax cools it will become clumpy, so pay attention to this, and carefully heat the wax again if you need to. You may want to try to paint a scene on a larger candle when you master candle painting on small ones. Use one color at a time, and allow each of them to cool well, so the colors will not mix. Using an old candle to practice on a little will give you more confidence when you wish to work on your newer candles. The painted candles can be as decorative or as simple as you would like them to be, and they make wonderful homemade gifts for all occasions.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Tuna Casserole

Here is a fast and easy recipe to make when company drops in unexpectedly. Use three regular size cans of tuna (drained), two small cans of cream of mushroom soup, 1/2 cup of sour cream, about 25 small round crackers (crushed), and salt and pepper to taste. Put drained tuna in bottom of 9 x 9 baking dish. Mix sour cream, salt and pepper and cream of mushroom soup together and pour over tuna. Then sprinkle crackers over the top evenly.
This tuna casserole will serve about six people. I have also added a 303 can of mixed vegetables to the sour cream and cream of mushroom soup for the recipe to make a meal in itself. Served with a salad and Italian bread, this is a great meal.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Thought For the Day

I began writing in a journal several years ago, and recently I have included a thought for the day as one of the daily entries. It allows me to reflect on things that matter in my life. Some of the thoughts may influence me to become a better person, and some of them are words of encouragement to myself.
At times I have shared the thoughts with others, but more often than not, they are meant to be a focal point for me to remember something special that happened on a particular day. Some of them are posted across the top of my computer desk to remind me of my human characteristics, either good or bad. I've learned to take them with a bit of humor, because most of the time the thoughts portray my frailties. I like to look at each of them as a building block for my character. With each one I write, I strive improve the character that is writing them!

Soap Bar Fish

Making soap bar fish for your bathroom, or for gift giving, is a fun project. For making a fish soap bar, purchase fragrance soap bars that are in an oval shape, a spool of eighth inch ribbon, several yards of pastel tulle fabric (in different colors if you like), and you will need two sequins to make eyes for each fish.
Cut a 12 inch by 12 inch piece of tulle fabric, and lay an oval soap bar near the middle of it. Gather the tulle fabric around the soap, and tie a ribbon or string around the gathered end of the soap very tightly, and tie it in a knot. The gathered fluffy end will represent the tail of the fish. Using several strands of ribbon will add to the beauty of the tail of the fish, and you may want to cut the ribbon longer. Tying the ribbon into a bow will add to the beauty of the tail of your fish too. To make the eyes, glue one sequin to each side at the front end of the fish.
Find a small basket or bowl small enough to hold several of the soap fish. Add a few sheets of gift tissue paper in blue shades to represent water to place in the basket or bowl. Line the fish up side by side in the receptacle you choose, and you will have a beautiful school of fish to add fragrance to your bathroom. And for an extra bonus, if you ever need a bar of soap quickly, you will have some close at hand.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Car Visor Extension

A friend of mine that rides in our car is so short that the sun shines in her eyes even with the visor down. We devised a car visor extension to use when she rides with us. I purchased a half a yard length of pleated 1 1/2 inch wide ruffle from the fabric store. I measured a piece of elastic that would fit securely around the visor, over the passenger seat, of our car. I sewed the elastic together to fit the visor. I then sewed the ruffle to it, stretching the elastic about three inches out wider than the visor measurement as I attached the ruffle.
After slipping it over the lower edge of the visor, my friend and I took our project for a test drive down the road facing the sun. When the sun dropped down to the point where it used to allow the brightness to be in my friend's eyes, the new ruffle extension kept her comfortably able to see with no problem. Use a fabric ruffle that matches the color of your seat covers, and you will be riding in style.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Paper Picture Frames

To add a nice touch to your photos in scrapbooks, make decorative paper picture frames for them. You can lay the picture on a piece of acid and lignin free that has been cut about 1/4 inch larger than the picture. Or, you can cut out the frame on the inside just a bit smaller than the outer edge of the picture, and still cut it a bit larger than the picture itself. If you cut it the second way, you can lay the frame on top of the picture.
Using decorative scissors will also add a special touch to your photos. If you like, you may even use the decorative scissors to cut a border on the edges of the photograph itself. There are beautiful corner punches made to enhance pictures too. Some of these punches have three or more corner patterns on them. I have a special one I use that adds a Victorian look on the four corners of my photos. Whatever method you use, it will make your albums more interesting when people see them.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Greeting Card File Box

I have found that the easiest way to keep track of cards I needed to send was to have a greeting card file box. You can use a large shoe box for this project. Cover the box with wrapping paper before you add the cards to it. Make index cards out of pieces of cardboard or large sized index cards stood on end. Make an index card for each category of cards, such as birthday, anniversary, sympathy, etc. Put the index cards in the box in alphabetical order. If you are going to be using larger sized greeting cards, you may want to use a boot box. The cards should all lay horizontally so the index cards can be easily read. Another item you may want to add to your greeting card file box is a small address book. Keep it at the very front of your box. One that has a pocket in it will keep your stamps handy too. The use of my file box has saved me time and trips to the store when I have wanted to find cards. Buying cards in quantity will save you a lot of money, especially if you buy the assortment boxes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Computer Mouse Pad

You can make a computer mouse pad with any picture you like on it. You can glue an 8 X 10 picture that you have onto a mouse pad that you don't want to use anymore, or glue the picture to a piece of thick cardboard. If you use the cardboard, you will have to adhere a non-stick type of material to the back to prevent the pad from sliding around while working with the computer mouse. You can purchase non-slip rolls of cabinet shelf rubber at most discount stores. It has a waffle textured look to it, and comes in different colors. You will still need to glue the sheet of cardboard between the rubber and the 8 X 10 picture. If you don't, the picture will have a dimpled look to it and the mouse will not have the smooth surface it needs to glide correctly.
These make wonderful organizational fund raising projects. Many businesses give mouse pads away. Find a business that has a stock of the mouse pads and ask them if you can have some to make a project with. Convey that you will mention them with a special notice of thanks in the local newspaper for their help with your fund raiser. This gives them free advertisement, and gets the word out concerning your organization too. Most local newspapers have community columns that you could put the thank you in too.
You could use a picture of one of the animals from the local dog shelter to raise funds for the upkeep there. Make an enlargement of a previous family reunion and use the mouse pad as a gift. Make the mouse pads to give away, or sell, for any occasion you need them for. Covering the top picture with a sheet of clear adhesive paper will make the picture last much longer, and allow for it to be cleaned if marks get on it.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Posters for Events

When making posters for events, you will need to add information that will target the people you are trying to reach. Always make the heading larger than the rest of the information on the poster. You can even catch more peoples' eyes with headings that are in a different color than the rest of the information.
Make sure you add the date, time and place of the event. You may want to add a few pictures to your poster, but don't over do it. Your main focus should be on the information you need them to read in order to get them to your event.
Put the posters up in businesses and establishments where the most people will see them. Always get permission to hang posters, and don't forget to take them all down after the event is over. Always thank people for allowing you to put the information up, either in person or by sending a note in the mail.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sharing Family Time

Sharing family time is something that doesn't happen often enough in our faster pace of living these days. At the moment, I'm sitting at my computer with one of our family members near by at their computer grooving to some tunes, and a third family member is working on the family budget at their desk. This is a room we use together almost as much as the kitchen...where some other really gooood memories are made.
We enjoy each other's company whenever we can get together. Don't think we can't interact as we all do our 'own thing' either. Why, sometimes this is the best opportunity we have to get into each others brains and pick around. One will make a comment off the top of their head out loud, and before you can say Jack Frost, the others chime in with their thoughts on the subject.
We all have a love for good music of all kinds, especially country! So it goes without saying that when our biggest music talent hits on a tune we all like, everyone else stops what they are working on, and we become the latest singing group to hit Nashville together.
Needless to say, we have a great time in this favorite room of our abode.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Scissor Cozy

I never can find a pair of scissors when I need them. I decided to make a scissor cozy to hang on the wall to keep a pair handy at all times. This a wonderful little project because the scissors themselves are hidden from view by others.
Lay a pair of scissors, that you want to keep in the cozy, on a doubled piece of fabric that is twice as long and wide as your scissors. Using a calico type of material will help hide any outside stitches that have to be on the viewed part of the cozy. Using a matching color of thread will help with this too. Now cut out around the scissors in a 'V' shape that is about three inches longer than the scissors and about one inch wider on the sides of the scissors.
Keeping the wrong sides of fabric together, sew around the two outer edges of the fabric using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Turn the fabric 'V' right side out. Now hem the top of the opening where you will drop the scissors into the cozy. If you would like a vintage look to the project, add some lace trim around the opening at the top of the scissor cozy. Now attach an eight inch piece of yarn or heavy string to the two top corners of the cozy to hang them on your wall. You could thread the yarn or string through the top hem before finishing it off if you would like a gathered look to the cozy. Put a large nail in the wall and attach a pretty button to the head of it with a strong glue. Now you will have a pretty place to hang your scissor cozy.
If you will be using the scissors frequently, you may want to strengthen your project by adding a felt lining to the bottom third of the cozy when putting it together to keep the pointed end of the scissors from poking through. You will need to do this before sewing the sides together. Then, using a matching thread, hem stitch the felt on the inside to the fabric with the cozy turned inside out. Doing this step will keep the scissors from going between the lining and the fabric when you drop them in. This is not a complicated sewing project, and it sure has saved me a lot of steps when I have a cozy hanging in every room where I need a pair of scissors. Like every room in the house!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Pen Pals In Foreign Lands

One of the best ways to learn information about countries you would like to visit is to have pen pals in foreign lands. It is much safer to contact a trusted acquaintance or family member that lives in a particular country you have an interest in. Write down the information you would like to know about before composing your letter or e-mail. Start your letter by letting your pen pal know of some things you have an interest in. Don't allow the letters to become too long. Remember, part of the fun of pen pals is to keep the contact going back and forth between one another.
Stamps are fun to collect from the envelopes when sending letters through the mail, and swapping snap shots with each other is another great way to gain knowledge too. We all can not afford the expense of travel, so having a pen pal is the next best thing to living overseas yourself. Many people may have a pen pal in another country for decades, and then they might decide to meet them in person. If such a trip were to ever take place, you would be safer seeing the sights with someone else rather than by yourself.

Canning Jar Labels

Have fun with canning your own food by making your own canning jar labels. You can buy a package of labels to use for the project at any office supply store, if you want to do the project on your computer (blank name badge sized labels are a good choice). There will be instructions of how to type information on them to use for addresses, but this is where you may have to experiment with one sheet of them. You might have to make a whole sheet with the same title, such as PEAS, or GREEN BEANS. But you can keep the extras for the next time they need to be used. Take a close-up picture of your children holding a can of peas, green beans, etc. Scan the pictures into your computer, and then use the cut and paste method to place the picture on your food labels. Viola! A one of a kind label for Grandma!
You can also make your food labels, the old fashioned way, by hand printing the information on them. This could be a project the whole family can do together. Print the name of the food item that will be in the jars. Decorate the jar labels by adding stickers that you can buy at hobby shops. Or let your own children draw pictures of what is in the jars after you print the name of the jar contents on your labels. This would also be a great surprise gift to give to all those grandmothers who would love to get these special homemade labels from their grandchildren.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Ink Stains

Once in a while when I do laundry for our family, I find stains on the clothing. Most of them come out easily, but ink stains had me stumped. Someone suggested using hairspray to remove ink...and it worked! Now I keep a can of cheap hairspray with my other laundry cleaning products. Almost everyone uses ink pens, and sooner or later you will find that the information on removing this stain comes in handy. I even dried a white cotton dress in the dryer, not noticing the ink on it, and it still came clean with a bit of scrubbing.
I have found that the stains come out easier if I spray first on the front side of the stain, and then spray from the backside too. I have not had a problem with ruining cotton or polyester clothing by using the hairspray to clean ink stains. If you are unsure about using the hairspray; take the garment to your dry cleaner. The best way to prevent of any kind of stain in the washer or dryer is to check all of the pockets in your clothing before washing them!

Sunday, September 9, 2007


To make rainbow colored crayons try partially melting all the colors in your boxes that are broken and not used any more. Try not to stir the crayon mixture too much or you won't get the striped texture you desire. Spray a muffin pan with a non-stick type of spray. Then pour the partially melted crayon mixture into the tins to about 1/4 inch from the top of each one. Be careful because the crayon mixture and the tins will become scalding hot! Set the muffin tins on cake pan racks to protect counter tops from the extreme heat. Doing this will also allow the liquid crayon mixture to cool quicker.
Let the mixture set up for at least three hours, or until they feel totally cool to the touch on the bottom of the pan. Pop them out of the muffin tins. Wash the crayons with warm (not hot) soapy water quickly to wash off the non-stick spray. Dry them with paper towels! Don't use your good kitchen towels or some of the colors of the crayon may ruin them. Lay them aside for a while to finish drying. Use these special crayons for drawing on large paper/posters or to make eye-catching large letters.

Saturday, September 8, 2007


One of my favorite things to do with my father was to spend an afternoon fishing. He made the search for worms almost as much fun as catching the fish. He told me that the worms liked places where it was moist and dark. I was fascinated by animals both big and small. I don't think there were many creatures in the Northern hemisphere that I didn't have in my room as pets, dead or alive, during my childhood. He taught me early on about which ones were harmful to me. And that was a good thing, because the rest of our family didn't quite share my infatuation for furry, slithery or crawly type varmints.
Back to fishing now. Dad would make a game out of who could find the most fishing worms for our activity to come. My favorite places were ones that I went back to time after time when fishing was mentioned. An old rotting board next to a shed in the backyard always had big red worms under it. I'd quickly pick up the end sticking out of the ground, and hold on tightly to the squirmy worm until it knew it could not go any farther into the ground. The worm would then begin to back out of its hole, as if it thought it could get all the way out, and then take off from me. Boy did I have it fooled. Not many of them escaped, because I knew the quicker I got a can full, the quicker we would be on our way to fish.
There's nothing like spending an afternoon fishing with your dad. Nothing that is except eating the fresh pan fried fish that you caught together!

Friday, September 7, 2007


The best way to store pictures is in an archival proof container, but we all know how often that happens. You can pick up the archival picture containers at hobby stores, or order them from catalogs. The containers are a little pricey, but they will add many years to the quality of your photos. They can also be stored safely in sheet protectors made for that purpose. Many albums are now made with the photo saving features too.
Sorting the pictures you have may take some planning and time, but you will be able to access them much quicker if they are in some mode of order. They can be put in chronological order, or you may want to sort them by holidays or events, such as birthdays, weddings, etc.
It would be a great picture opportunity in itself to get some of your cousins or aunts together to help you put your photos in order. It might make the process go a little slower, and some of your relatives may want to make copies of your pictures that they don't have. In return, ask them if they have copies of some photos that you would like to have from days gone by. Some family members may have pictures of their kin from the early days of photography, such as tin-types pictures or even hand-drawn portraits. It is much better to have several copies of these old photos kept by different family members in case some of the copies get destroyed by fire or floods.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


I've used many different types of lighting to enhance particular settings and displays in our home over the years. Natural light on a sunny day is by far the best kind, but we all know there are times when it is not available or feasible to use. An up-light can be used out of sight to put emphases on a particular object, or to bring attention to a dark corner behind furniture where an artificial tree might be standing. This type of light will add a sense of length to a room too.
Lamps used overhead or sitting on a table can also provide excellent lighting. Most light sources now come with dimmer switches that you can turn to the desired brightness needed any time of day or night. Swag type lighting may be out of style for many people, but there are certain places where you might want to consider them when table space is limited.
If you can't find the right color of lamp shade for your decor, don't be afraid to cover it with materials to fit into the style of your room. Always keep safety in mind, and use materials that will not catch fire easily. When in doubt you might want to contact an electrician or your local fire station and ask them if they can aid you. Most will do this for a small fee or free when asked.


There are many uses for greenery inside your home. Some of the best plants to use in your home are the Corn Plant, the Rubber Plant and the Mother-In-Law Tongue Plant. All three of these plants have some of the best abilities to take in the bad toxins in the air of your home and replace it with healthy air for you to breathe. All plants will help to a certain extent in this manner, but the prior plants mentioned are some of the best to do the job.
Artificial greenery can be used to bring the outdoors into a room. It does not require the maintenance as live plants do, but you will lose the air freshing quality that live plants give to your home. Some live plants will bloom, which adds to their pleasant ability to provide constant change in a room too. In the winter most plants will need to be placed in a sunny window, or somewhere they will receive adequate light during the shorter days. Read a practical book on how to care for live plants as the care of them will vary.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


Many activities can be done for families to spend time together; and one of them is to make puppets for your own family show. This can be done by using tube socks. Cut the toe-end out and replace it with a two inch circle of pink or red felt. Use buttons for eyes, pompoms for the noses, felt that is cut in the correct shape for ears, and use ready-made doll hair to complete the puppet's features. Make one for each member of the family, and invite some friends over for an afternoon puppet show.
Don't forget to prepare some popcorn and drinks for refreshments too. You can decorate large cardboard boxes for 'The Family Theater' to perform in.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Fabric uses

You can change the decor of rooms by simple fabric uses. If your walls are painted a neutral color you can use most any kind of fabric that will match the existing colors in the furniture that is already covered with material. Don't be afraid to use solids, stripes or solid types of cloth to bring about the new look you would like to achieve. An easy way to find out if you would like to have a new room make-over is by using a plain sheet of white paper. Draw your furniture into the room scheme on the paper. Then use colored pencils to fill in the color schemes you'd like to see in your new room layout.
You could also use cut out pictures from magazines or catalogs with the color of furniture you would like to have. The type of furniture may not exactly match yours, but it will give you an idea of how different colors will look with each other. You may also buy small amounts of fabric and lay them on your furniture to see which ones you would prefer to use together. You can save a lot of money by using ways to see what the ideas you have in your mind will really look like in the room you'd like to change itself. You may decide not to go to a great deal of expense, and only change a few accessories such as pillows or curtains.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Yard Sales

Our family likes to go to yard sales as often as we can. They are wonderful places to save a great deal of money on items we usually pay full price for at stores. Sometimes I have bought merchandise for 90 percent less than I would pay at even discount store prices. If you need anything at all, scour a few yard sales first to see if you can get what you are in need of.
Having a yard sale of your own can be very profitable also. Our family has at least one sale a year to clean out our closets of items we no longer want to keep. Whole room make-overs can be done for a reasonable cost. Sell what you don't want in a room you are redecorating, and make other yard sale purchases elsewhere to bring a new look to your room. If something is not just the right color, consider painting or staining it to match your decor. Fabrics can make a world of difference if you enjoy sewing. Change the fabric covers on bed or couch pillows to give them a new look.
Home decor trading parties are becoming popular in neighborhoods. When two or three families have yard sales together, most of the time they ending up trading the things they don't want for something their neighbor has brought to the sale. I went to a yard sale recently and discovered three piles of items behind the chairs of the three ladies having the sale. When I inquired to see if one of the treasures was already sold, all three of the ladies laughed. One of them told me they had traded for the items right out of each other's cars before they had time to get them out for the yard sale! Find bargains you have a need for at yard sales, and save a lot of money doing it, and a lot of fun too.

Friday, August 31, 2007


Everyone wants to have good health throughout their life. We all try to eat the right foods, get plenty of exercise and rest. But life has a way of not going just as we plan for it to. Accidents occur or we may not do as we should, and things go awry. It is a given that sometime or other we all have to make visits to the doctor.
We can make those visits on a well patient schedule, or we can go only when we become ill for some reason. When we go because of illness, we usually must go for at least one more check-up visit to make sure things are back on track. Going for those annual well patient appointments may help us avoid the illness treks to the office. Taking care of ourselves all along life's way, helps us avoid the times of illness.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Baby Gift

Having a newborn around makes everyone start looking for the perfect baby gift. One of the most unique gifts I've given was a diaper pail filled to the brim with everything a new Mom could possibly use for their bundle of joy.
You can wrap everything individually in paper, or you can wrap everything in baby washcloths and small receiving blankets, or just cram every inch of the diaper pail with all sorts and sizes of unwrapped items. Use a diaper bag as a gift bag holder in much the same way, filling it with smaller gifts. Start with a small gift, and place it inside a little larger gift; and keep doing this until you end up with all the gifts inside of the next larger one for as many surprises as you like. All of the gifts will be appreciated by the new parents.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Family Gatherings

Annual reunions are special times for everyone. For some, family gatherings are the only time each year that we get to visit. The cameras and favorite recipes come out to help make the day a time to remember for the rest of the year. Stories and remembrances are shared with friends and family. Scrapbooks appear for everyone to look through. The food tables are usually packed to the corners with the most delicious food known to man. Our reunions always include an afternoon of special music performed by family and friends too.
Everyone goes home at the end of the long day with rolls of film to be developed or downloaded, empty bowls, and full hearts. Our family tree, made of a large piece of white paper, comes out each year so we all can add our new members to the branches. It gets rolled up at the end of the day on a heavy (linoleum) cardboard roller. These are some of the best family times we are still free to have. If your family has not had a reunion in a long time, grab the address book and telephone, sit down through an afternoon and plan one with your relatives. All it takes is a couple of people to get the process started. Once the idea is shared with a few other family members, it's a sure thing that everyone else will get excited about the idea.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Stamp Collecting

Many people like to write and receive mail from family, friends and others. Stamp collecting has become an amazing hobby for many of those same people. I like to get unusual stamps from other countries, and at the same time send some of our unusual stamps to those I know who live overseas. Postal stamps come in every type imaginable. The U. S. Post Office releases many different kinds of stamps each year. Among collectors, the first date of issue stamps in blocks are the most popular. I enjoy collecting all kinds of stamps that people send to me, and they do not have to be of value for me to like them. My personal favorites are the floral and bird stamps.
Stamp collection is a great hobby to get children into. Having them correspond with others is a wonderful way for them to expand their language skills, and by writing to people in other countries, they will also expand their knowledge of the whole world they live in. That's not a bad idea for all of us to do!

Friday, August 24, 2007


Doorstops can be made of any type materials that are heavy enough to hold a door open. Some
doorstops can be made by covering bricks, or by filling objects with sand or other materials that will give weight to the item. The bricks can be painted to resemble a row of houses, or they can be painted with a family name on them, or simply a residential house number. Let your imagination go when it comes to items you can paint on doorstops.
There are many sizes and shapes of landscape bricks available now that will allow a beginning painter to look like a pro when designing these useful items for the home. Some are in shapes resembling snowmen or lady bugs turned on their sides. Check out the wide varieties of bricks in the home and garden department of chain discount stores.
Some people get as much as $20.00 or more for the doorstops. They are a perfect fund raising project for clubs attended by children or adults alike.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


We all want to be treated fairly and kindly. To be told that you are a good friend to others is a very high complement in these days and times. Honesty and openness are good traits to keep in regard to relationships too. Some people feel the need to pry into other's personal lives, but even if what you would say is truthful, there are times when not divulging any type of information is best. If the words will put a bad light on someone else in any way; the less said, the better.
If one is thought highly of, it is often because they are respected by their peers. Passing judgment on others is one of the surest ways to show bad character. A person with a positive attitude attracts people, and those with a constant negative attitude are not pleasant to be around. Do what you can to help others when asked; or if you see a need, ask them in private if you can help any some way. Being mindful of people's feelings will gain you their respect.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Family Car Trips

Most people enjoy traveling, and a day of fun-filled memories can be done on a small budget too. Family car trips are something the whole group can play a part in. Appoint different individual members to carry out a task. An adult will need to see that the tank is full of gasoline. Games can be taken along, or planned for the outing. Another person may be put in charge of filling a picnic basket, or choosing a restaurant to stop at for lunch.
Everyone can take part in some way to make the day of family memories an enjoyable one. And don't forget to take lots of pictures during the day for your family album!

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Getting over an illness can be a matter of a few days, or it can be a lengthly procedure. Wellness is as much a matter of mind as a physical condition. Most any kind of illness leaves us feeling out of sorts for a period of time. The more serious the illness, the longer the feeling of not being in control. We all like to have control of our lives, but this is one of those times when it is not possible. The illness itself dictates how we will recover, and the time frame in which we will do so.
One of the most important things we can do to hurry the procedure along is to follow directions given by medical personnel. Recovery can be a short time span if only a cold or flu bug has taken up residence in our body. Or it could be a long, drawn out time span if something like cancer or other life threatening disease has come upon us.
The support of family and friends is also very important. Don't be afraid to let others help while you are feeling bad. You will get well sooner if you have the proper rest, and letting someone else take over a few chores that have to be done does not mean you are incompetent. It means you know when to give in at the appropriate time. Others feel they are needed when you are not the one caring for them all of the time . Bottom line---when you are feeling down, let others help you!

Friday, August 17, 2007


Last night I attended a meeting that had several things going on at the same time. Our meetings can become hectic if not planned well. Remind everyone to have their cell phones on vibrate, or turned off during the meeting so no one near them will be disturbed. Always have an agenda, and stick to it as closely as possible. Handing out a copy of the agenda to all persons at the meeting will remind them to stay on track and not add new topics during the meeting. Mark a spot near the end of the agenda for a time of open questions or comments. Those attending will know they can have a chance to bring something up at the end of the business portion of the meeting. Let people know ahead of time if you will be needing them to take part in the meeting. People will respond better when they are prepared too.
Have everything in place to be used before the meeting begins. This saves time and will keep everyone focused on the business at hand. Again, appoint someone ahead of time if things must be handed out during a meeting. If refreshments are to be served, allow a time for them after the meeting is over. Having someone spill something, and taking the attention away from those speaking, is very distracting. Try to end meetings on a positive note, or with humor if need be; especially those meetings that have been difficult. Remember to adjourn the meeting before refreshments are served, and remind participants to turn in anything they need to before leaving.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Plant Containers

I got a natural love for flowers from my parents as I was growing up. One of the things that was unique to my style of growing them though was the plant containers I began to use after I had worked with them for a few years . My parents had a wide variety of flowers that had been shared with them from friends and family. Dad once got permission to tear down old barns from an area that was to be used for a large lake and dam. He was told that anything he wanted was free for the taking. Needless to say, many of the old flowers ended up being transported to all of the yards in our family. Old roses, shrubs and bulbs of many plant species have helped to beautify acres of our properties over the years. It was enjoyable to cultivate the flowers and bulbs over the years.
As our families grew and moved from home, some of the old flower varieties found themselves once again being taken to a new garden spot. I have often wondered where some of the gorgeous old species of hollyhocks, lilacs, roses and irises originally came from.
My husband and I both enjoy the flowers that have bright colors in their blooms. Each season we square off to see which side of our walkways can out-do the other. It has been a beneficial game of sorts, because our sidewalks are spectacular with color through the long growing season we live in. He likes yellow and orange flowers, and I have not met a blooming flower I didn't like! I also enjoy throwing in a little humor among my blooms. Folks often spy odd containers in my flower beds. A worn out old leather tennis shoe, with a couple of holes where sprigs of hens and chickens resided, has won me blue ribbons at our county fairs several times over the years. I have put clay pots together in graduating sizes, with hemp rope, to make pretty little flower girls who sit among my posies too. I even used doll hair that I found at craft stores to give the girls a more glamorous look. I would paint a face on the top pot that had been turned upside down, plop the hair on top with some glue, and crowned them with a pretty straw hat. To make the dolls even more stylish, I used a few small silk flowers and strands of ribbons to match, and glued them to the side of their hats. My cute little flower girls usually lasted through about six growing seasons before the rope began to rot. I also like to use a miniature table topped with an inexpensive tea set in a flower bed or two. I glue the pieces to the table and fill the cups with nectar for butterflies and humming birds to dine on.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


We all have ambitions we would like to accomplish in our lives. I had plans to join the Peace Corps when I graduated from high school. However, my plans changed in the middle of my senior year when I met the man of my dreams. We were married shortly after graduating, and together we started a wonderful journey called life. Over the years we have had two fine children, a sweet daughter-in-law (we leave off the in-law part because she is so special to us), and a precious granddaughter. We live in a beautiful home, in a small town, in a country with countless freedoms. It would seem that all our dreams have come true, but more is added to life with each passing day.

Each morning when we rise to greet the day, we are thankful for what we have. Everyone has problems that work their way into their lives, but the struggle to get through those problems with family always seems to tighten the bond that makes us stronger. There are times when we can avoid trouble. And there are times when we must work our way through those troubled times. It is a wise person that knows when to do both. No one chooses the right solution to their problems all the time, but we learn very quickly when we have made a wrong decision. One of the main things to remember in life is not that we don't fall, but that when we fall, we should get up and keep on going. It may be only one step at a time. And sometimes, we take a step backwards. But if the steps forward outnumber the steps backward, sooner or later we will reach the goals we have set for ourselves and continue to make even more goals.

I know I have not reached all of my goals. Some of them have had to change along the way. But I know I have a treasure beyond words when I think back on the journey I started with my husband thirty-seven years ago. We have cried, and we have laughed. But we have been through many wonderful experiences together. Dreams are the pathway in life that lead us to where we will go.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Cooking Hints

Over the years I've made many country style meals for our family and friends. Here are a few cooking hints I have learned from other family cooks when preparing foods together in our kitchens. I'll share some of them, along with some hints to help with cleaning up afterwards.

Potatoes and other vegetables that have a lot of sugar will boil over easily when cooking them on the stove. To keep them from making a mess, use a spoon to remove the starchy white foam that forms on top of the water after the first few minutes they are boiling. After the foam stops forming, you can turn the temperature up a little higher to get them done quicker.

Don't use a lid on any type of food that contains milk while it is cooking. You will be certain to have a sticky, burned mess to clean up if you do. When you are making dressed eggs, crack the shells on a counter top when they are finished boiling and put them in a pan of ice cold water to sit for a few minutes. They will be much easier to peel.

Here are two good ways to remove stains and smells from things. To remove dark stains from aluminum pots and pans, boil a pinch of cream of tarter with enough vinegar to slosh around the inside walls of the pans. To take the smell of fish off your hands, wash them with a mixture of 1/2 teaspoon baking soda added to a pint of water.

Put a tablespoon of butter in the water when you are cooking macaroni, rice and other dry ingredients. This will keep them from boiling over. Be sure to rinse the starch water off of the macaroni and rice with cool water. If you leave the starchy water on them, they will become very sticky and gluey tasting. Add more water or milk to them to add further ingredients called for in your recipes.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Book Markers

Reading is an activity that many people enjoy. Making homemade book markers for family and friends can be both fun and helpful. For those who like to garden, find some small pretty leaves or tiny blossoms. Put them in between two pieces of wax paper that have been cut the same size, and have an adult press them with a moderately heated iron. Leave enough room at the top end to punch a hole for a ribbon to be tied through. Make small copies from original pictures, and make other book marks using the same process with the wax paper. Cut construction paper into book mark sizes, and allow children to draw special pictures of their own for their parents, grandparents or someone else special to them. You can add decorative touches to the paper book markers by using special scissors that are made to cut designs. Add glitter, confetti or other types of decorative items to your project. Allow children to think of some other things they might use as decorations.

Using the plastic pieces, for book marks, that bacon is placed on when bought at the store is another good way to recycle. Most of the plastic is thin enough to use a paper punch on at one end, so a ribbon can be strung through the hole. Crayons can be used to color these; but you must be sure that all the grease from the bacon has been thoroughly washed off the plastic.

Ask your local doctor if they might give you a few tongue depressors from their office to use in Vacation Bible Schools, or Sunday School classes, to make book markers. Crayons, colored pencils or markers can be used to make designs or pictures on them by the children.

Cut the fronts off of used greeting cards to make beautiful place holders for books too. You could even cut out specific parts of some cards, such as a bouquet of flowers, an animal , or a special verse from the inside of the card. You can use these parts of the card by themselves, or glue them onto book marks you have cut out of a contrasting piece of paper. These will make nice gifts to go inside a book you are giving to someone, or as a small gift all by themselves.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Rainy Days

Everyday can be exciting and wonderful. It depends on how we spend them. Rainy days give us a chance to catch up on things that get pushed to the side when we are doing outside activities at other times. Cleaning out closets can become a search for treasure for the whole family or just one. We may remember that we had bought an extra bottle of glass cleaner, but just can' t seem to find where it was placed a few months ago. I always end up finding more than I was looking for; so I now carry a little bucket, or cleaning supply tray, with a handle on it each time I go looking for items such as this.

As I clean out items no longer needed, or find those I was searching for, I try to put items on the closet shelves back in some semblance of order again. All of the floor cleaning products should be together, and all of the boxes of tissue should be stacked in by types and sizes. If you have saved some worn out wash cloths or T-shirts for dust rags, place them in a gallon jug that has had a hole cut out of it near the top. You can use the gallon jugs for the same purpose with those countless plastic bags our groceries and other products come in from the store. One of the gallon jugs will hold about 60 of the plastic bags, and they will pop out as they went in, if you poke them in one at a time. The gallon jugs can be a good recycling project by using them in ways such as these.

A rainy day can become a time for entertainment when you get the family together to watch a favorite movie. Make a big deal out of it if you have younger children. Have them make up show tickets, popcorn and soft drinks ahead of time. Have each family member pick up their movie pass at a ticket window, and then have them get their concessions from the kitchen. A ticket master will take up the passes as each person files into the living room theater. Mom and Dad could sit on the couch while the children could have kitchen chairs across the front of them in front of the theater screen (leave a space in between two chairs so Mom and Dad can see too). A day of moping, griping and complaining, can be transformed into a day of family activity that could be one of your youngster's favorite remembrances from childhood.

Thursday, August 9, 2007


All of us need to get to places on time in our busy schedules. The way most of us go about this is by the use of watches. Some have bands, others have chains, and there are watches used as decorative jewelry with pins on the back of them. They are also made into ink pens, name plates and assorted office machines that we use each day.

Timepieces can be found in various craft store kits that we can assemble to hang on the wall. Some can even be put on the front of a shirt, with special instructions for laundering the clothing. Watches are made from every material known to man, and come in many colors and styles. These accessories are not only useful as timepieces to get us to appointments; but they have now become one of our favorite jewelry accessories to personalize in our own style as well.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Gift Wrap

There are many ways to cover gifts . The gift wrap used can add a festive mood, or it can be very simple in its nature. Giving a present covered with fabric that has buttons, packages of needles, and other sewing items attached to the outside, makes a uniquely wrapped gift given to a seamstress. A gift to your newspaper editor engulfed in comic strips, a package covered in maps for the service station attendant, or construction paper or unused tablet paper for that favorite grade school teacher, are other ways to hide the gift you want to give some of the people on your holiday list.

Make your own gift wrap by using several thicknesses of tissue paper and decorating the outside of the package with rubber stamps, or stickers that we all seem to get an abundance of in the mail these days. On the outside of a gift for the postman, use oodles of address labels that are sent to us by organizations we belong to. There will be no doubt who, and where, that package came from!

There are so many things to use for gift wrap today, that the cost can be almost nil. You could enclose small items such as bookmarks to your librarian tucked inside of a book you think they would enjoy reading, or give the local grocer a tie rolled up inside an empty, clean, green bean can. Whatever the gift, there are many ways to wrap it for giving to the people you know.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


In raising a family, sometimes you must take a secular job. And sometimes the circumstances surrounding a job are not the best every single day of that experience. There are people in the world who really enjoy carrying tales about others, or don't have a clue that what they are saying can hurt others deeply. I have never found gossip to be on any job description list, and nothing can do as much damage in a workplace.

I remember something that a friend of mine said in a conversation with a group once. The group had been discussing what to do when you are approached by someone who has been tagged as a gossip. A long-time friend in our presence told us to simply remember this statement, " Put an arm around my shoulder and a hand over my mouth." I remembered that wise instruction, when on the first day of a new work situation, someone approached me with the helpful news of what to watch out for in every other person in our department. Before they went very far into the conversation, I politely reminded them that I always try to do exactly as my supervisor has instructed me to do, and have made it a habit to allow everyone else to be responsible for their own actions. I then politely excused myself, and returned to my work.

I do not worry as much as I used to about situations like this. I have found that the quicker I excuse myself from conversations such as this, the more friends I have. Listening to the person who likes this activity, makes you a part of the activity itself. It takes two to gossip! Not giving them a listening ear, ends the tale.

Monday, August 6, 2007


These sachets make wonderful gifts to give to family and friends, or you can make a batch of them to sell at Spring bazaars and craft sales to raise funds easily. The only three things needed are: String/ribbon, plants for the sachet and fabric. Many people like to make Lavender sachets. Hydicote Lavender is the variety that I have found to be the best for sachet projects. It has grown well in my yard for over six years. Lavender is easy to maintain, and this variety will come back from the root. It easily reseeds itself, and I have found it to be hardy during times of drought too. Placing leaf mulch around the base of the plants will help it over-winter well in very cold temperature ranges.

Make the first cut on each straight stem at the bottom where it meets the main part of the plant. Now, cut the purple blooms off of the harvested stems (just below the bloom) before the tiny petals have opened. Do this at about midday; because harvesting the plant with dew on it will cause mold to form and ruin it quickly. Don't cut Lavender until you have time to make the sachets. The fragrance will be much better if you use the plant for projects shortly after it is cut. You may also use the leaves of the plant, but discard the whole stem, as it will dry out and sometimes poke through the fabric even when cut into tiny pieces.

To make hanging sachets, use ribbon that is 1/8 inch wide, and about nine inches long. Cut a circle of fabric that is eight inches across. Using pinking shears will keep the fabric from fraying. Gingham or Calico print material looks great used for these sachets. Place about 1/4 cup of lavender in the center of the fabric. Gather the edges of the printed material upward with your fingers allowing the Lavender to stay in a ball at the bottom. Tie the nine inch length of ribbon around the fabric, allowing one inch of space to remain between the ribbon and the outer edges of the fabric. The tails of the ribbon should be equal lengths after tying around the sachet. Tie two knots very tightly to prevent the Lavender from falling out. You may place the sachet on a hanger in your closet, or tuck it in a drawer. The Lavender will deter silverfish and moths from getting around your clothes where they can do damage by chewing holes in them. The fragrance is pleasant when you hang one of these sachets above a room vent, or somewhere in the bathroom too.

If using a batch of the sachets for a fund raising project, place about eight of them at a time in one gallon zip-lock plastic bags to keep the fragrance strong. Take them out of the bag one batch at a time, to lay on your table for people to purchase.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Silk Flowers

Silk flowers can be used anywhere in the home. Take them off the plastic stems and attach them to clothing, purses, hats or anything else you would like to perk up a bit. Use silk flowers to decorate the edge of a mirror with petals matching a color in your bathroom, or place a grouping of sweetheart roses on an upper corner of your vanity mirror with a sweet bow made of lace.

Keep a couple of zip-lock baggies with flower petals not used up in other projects. You can use the larger petals to cut your own flower designs out of. There are new medium kits in discount and specialty stores that will change your silk flower petals into flowers with a porcelain texture. Be sure to follow instructions clearly when doing this project.

I have made many beautiful swags for our home with silk flowers. Find a branch as large as you would like to use over a doorway, picture, or just to hang on a wall as an accent piece. Hot glue the silk flowers along the branch, decorating it like the flowers would normally bloom on the branch of a shrub or tree. There is no need to spray the branch or flowers if you like the natural look of them. However, there are sprays in the craft section of stores that will give the branches and flowers a shiny finish to seal them. This will not make the flowers hard, but I have found that they are sometimes sticky and will allow dust to adhere to them. I prefer the natural look of the branches. Be sure not to leave strings of hot glue on your projects. This will take away from the beauty of your work. I have seen pricey swags in specialty stores that look terrible because the time was not taken to clean off the glue strings. You will enjoy enhancing the beauty of your home with silk flowers, and they can easily be removed when you want use a different color.

Friday, August 3, 2007


One of my favorite childhood pastimes was to lay on my back in a spacious green field somewhere near our home, look up at the sky, and imagine it to be God's big blue coloring pad. He drew the most wonderful things for me to see in the clouds there...a gigantic elephant, a bunny rabbit, a crocodile, an angel, etc. Let me explain why I needed an outlet, as a child, like putting my head in the clouds.

We moved every six months to a year when I was a youngster. I was in seven schools before I got to the sixth grade. Some subjects became a real chore in school, such as Math. We would move in the middle of a school year. My new peers would have just finished fractions and percentages and be on a new part of Math. Don't you know it...I would have just finished what they would be starting (which was the very part of Math I seemed to be excellent in for six years in a row), and struggled the rest of the year when fractions and percentages were thrown into a test. I heard this comment from teachers more than once, "Missy, I wish that you would apply yourself all the time on the parts of Math you don't like, as well as you do on those you do like!" That's one of the reasons that I asked my husband in later years to promise that when our children came along, we would stay put until they were out of school. He did, and we did! I know that's a long way from the subject of clouds, but for some children's sakes, I thought I'd give those who move around something to think about from someone who has been there.

Getting back to clouds and God's coloring pad...I loved to draw as a child. I enjoyed reading too. Many of the things I would read about, and later draw, seemed to end up on God's big coloring pad too. As a child I thought God was wonderful to be so much like me! I was a sponge when it came to reading. Books became close friends that went everywhere I went. You are either shy and don't have many friends when you move about often, or you don't meet a stranger and have many. I was the latter. I learned to speak to everyone. It was my way of seeing if they wanted to BE friends with me. If they didn't want me as a friend, I'd move on to someone else that did. Even though I had many good friends, the one that I never had to leave behind when moving somewhere else was God. He was to become a lifetime friend! I guess that was another reason I thought His cloud drawings were so special. God's cloud drawings were animated too; because as they meandered across His drawing pad, they changed shapes as if they were walking. I could never make my drawings do that!

I would go on wonderful journeys during those times when I gazed at God's artwork. We all know from our childhood storybooks whose garden that pesky rabbit lived in that loved to eat the farmer's carrots. Africa was where elephants lived. Boggy swamps were where crocodiles slithered around. And lastly, who could draw a better angel than God. It seemed that as a child, as soon as I'd learn about a new continent, a new animal I'd never known before would end up in the clouds. I did have a vivid imagination as a child. I guess it's true what they say about reading and drawing: they are both forms of art.