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!