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.

Time Management

I only work part-time, but I always have been very good with my time management skills. I have learned to crochet granny afghans for hours, and never look down at it until I come to a corner where the stitches must be divided equally. I keep extra paper and pens in my purse at all times to make grocery lists, jot down names of people with upcoming birthdays to send cards to, or just to write down a title or idea for a blog.

There is a good sized plastic tub in the trunk of my car that has everything I need (and more) in case I get stranded while on the road. I've been known to get into that well supplied tub and come up with all the items needed to clean my car windows off while waiting for the kids to leave from ball, or band practice. My husband tells everyone that the only time he sees me still is when I'm asleep. A friend came to help me get ready for a party a week ago. In the middle of the day, she told me to sit down and rest a little. I kept jumping up to do tasks that I would think of. She got tickled at me, and started timing how long it was from the time I sat down, until I jumped up again to do a chore. I knew I was really bad when she had done it a few times in a row, and couldn't time me past one minute and thirty-two seconds before I was up and running again.

After listening to many within my circle of friends tell me that I don't know how to relax;I have come up with a new thing to do for time management. SIT STILL!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Punch Bowls

Punch Bowls can be used for many things besides serving punch in them. You may use punch bowls to serve foods such as fruit salad or potato salad in when you are hosting a buffet for larger organizational meetings. There are also recipes that call for the use of large bowls to hold several cakes, which have been pulled apart, and mixed with other ingredients, that a punch bowl would be adequate for.

The larger bowls make a nice display centerpiece when used with lit floating candles on a buffet table. Weave a small set of clear or colored lights into greenery around the base of a punch bowl to add a reflective aura to your festive table.

Use a decorative punch bowl to display a cherished collection of ornaments in. You can use fresh-picked pine cones with red bows sprinkled among them in one of the large bowls. Setting it on a side table near your guests at Christmas will add to the holiday mood at a party.

Punch bowls come in all types of decorative styles. Some have pedestals, and others have glass spoons which add an elegant touch to them. I have a set which is designed so the glass cups hang on the rim of the bowl itself. A beautifully decorative punch bowl sitting on a buffet is a centerpiece in and of itself.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Miniature Flower Vases

I sometimes enter flower contests in our local county fair, and one of my favorite categories is the miniature flower arrangements. I enjoy cultivating the tiny plants, and I am intrigued by the miniature flower vases that I display them in. Each time I visit consignment and thrift stores, or yard sales, I look for items that I can use to show the blossoms in.

Some of the neatest items I've used for my flowers are salt and pepper shakers, tiny pitchers and toothpick holders. They come in such a wide variety of shapes, and are made in a rainbow of colors. Some unique salt and pepper shakers are faceted, some are in the shapes of animals and other configurations, and others are made with plain, simple lines. I prefer the shorter ones over those that are tall, because the shorter ones keep the eye nearer the flower. The judges seem to like that variety more than the taller versions.

Another pretty container for your smallest flowers are miniature pitchers that are usually found with tiny tea sets. I have a collection of these; with many of them having come from my mother's what-not shelves that I had gleaned over all through my childhood. They also come in a huge array of shapes, sizes and colors. The cream or white versions, with tiny blooms painted on them in matching colors to my show flowers, seem to have been most coveted by the judges who handed out ribbons.

Small toothpick holders that have fluted tops can be used to display the dainty little posies too. They also come in various, shapes, sizes and colors. Everyone has one or two of these sitting on their kitchen counter top, or on a shelf. Whichever type of vase you prefer to use, try your hand at entering the miniature flower category in your local fair next year. You may win first place!