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.