Merry Christmas!!

Can you see us? :)

 We usually eat by candle light Christmas Eve.  

I enjoy the days between Christmas and the Epiphany and have yet one more family gathering on Saturday here at our home. 

I wish you all the Merriest of Days!!

An Easy Project...thanks Alice!

Two years ago, I saw these free printables and thought how fun it would be to add them to Christmas decor.  

What's really amazing, besides Alice's wonderful art is that I remembered I wanted to do this when I had the time.  So many plans get forgotten...can you relate?

These cute and slightly quirky cars are available for free here from Alice Wingerden from her Thoughts from Alice blog.

She is using them as part of an adorable little hand drawn village.  I just was smitten with the cars, especially this one.  Sometimes I have trouble with sizing when printing from a download.  You made need to futz a bit to get the size you want.  These were printed in the portrait mode and are 7 by 3.5 inches.  

I printed on plain old cardstock and then used water colors to add the little bit of green, brown, and yellow.  I also used a sharpie to bring back the blacks that didn't print as well (running out of ink) or where the water color paint dimmed the black.  This step really wasn't necessary though.

I cut a strip of paper and glued to the back to make a quick easel so they will stand.  Glue, fold, fold, and glue the other end.  I think you can figure it out by the picture.

This one is bigger at 9 x 4.5 inches. I printed in in the landscape mode.

Take note: I downloaded and printed from the jpeg files she shared, not the PDFs. The PDF files have the cars with a house on the same page.  The jpegs are individual.

Aren't they just so cute?! They would make great tags too if you printed them smaller.  Thank you so much Alice!!

Nature Inspired Tree

This year for our tree we decided to go with a nature theme.  And, by we, I mean me.....ha!
I bought some birch logs at an estate sale a number of years ago and really haven't found a good place to use them for decorations.  Well, now one has been sliced up!

I started wood burning and experimenting with designs and these are the ones that will go on the tree.  Wood burning at my skill level demands a simple design and great for me, I like simple designs! (I found inspiration via Pinterest)

I used water color paint to add the red and white washes.

I have  few I did that I won't hang on the tree, but will find another place for them.  The little white dots are not faces. I tried a coat of varnish on this one and the sun was reflecting off of that on the heads.  In person, it's just a dark circle.

I've also had cedar logs cut and stored for projects in our barn so made some very rustic bird houses out of them.  A piece of old trim was cut for the roofs.

As I was sitting them out when I brought them upstairs, my husband said, "You could make a village."  And, the wheels began to turn!  Maybe something to experiment with in the new year!

I'll post pictures of the tree when it's finished.  I've made a few bird nests, and wreaths from the wild grape vines on our property. 

I should have added that the budget for this nature tree was very in no money was going to be spent.  Just using up what I already had or could forage.


There are some in our extended family that will be having a very difficult Christmas this year due to a sudden and tragic loss. And, others in our periphery who have struggles, fears, and losses. My heart this Advent is with them and all who find themselves grieving or in despair this time of year.  So much and so many to pray for.  And, what a blessing to be able to do so.



It wasn't until I was in the middle of taking some pictures of the bittersweet vine outside of our back yard this morning that I saw the metaphor of the vine to today, election day in the US.

I'm so very grateful for our freedoms I can't put words to it.  So overwhelmingly grateful to be able to vote, to speak  and to live my beliefs.

And, today, there isn't a choice that brings any joy or hope. Bittersweet.
  So, I choose to put my hope in Christ.

As I was thinking about it all again this morning and trying to not despair.  Christ tells me not to despair.  I saw an irony I had not seen before.  The Democratic candidate believes she empowers women with the right to abortion.  But, the truth is, she enslaves them.  Legal abortion (and rampant use of contraceptives) enslaves women to the likes of the men who are like the Republican candidate.  Think about it. 

At the beginning of the Catholic Mass, there is a confession of sins.  A public confession that is meant to tie us all together.  We all come together before our Lord acknowledging we are sinners, but relying on His Mercy.  Together.  This bittersweet jumbled vine makes me think of that.  All of us with this opinion or that opinion.  For the most part, we are all sure hoping for good though.

So, for anyone who wants to stand with me today, jumbled but knowing the sinfulness we live in and are part of....
taken from the Mass:

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Happy Grid

Well, November 2nd was a great day!!

Welcome to granddaughter number 3, Edith Mercedes (to be known as Edie)!

I decided to post a grid instead of a parade of photos like last time. :)

It was night time and really hard to get good pictures without a window of sunshine.

My son's friends give him a hard time about all the birthday parties he has to go to...but now we have another double birthday.  She was born on my 17 year old daughter's birthday.  My husband and youngest daughter share a birthday too. :)

I went down to help with the other two girls for a bit.  Our 15 month old granddaughter, grabbed the baby's tiny bottle with newborn formula and just downed it!  She, herself is still taking a bottle of milk twice a day.  She has the most tender heart, so didn't dare take it from her as she was meeting this new sister for the first time.  It was really cute!

Such a special, special time to meet a new little person!!!!  Thank you, God!

Now, I'm back to my barn and garage cleaning (if you follow along on Instagram, you may know that) and tonight, a 35 year class reunion for my husband.  What?!?! 35 years?! Plus, we still need to celebrate our daughter turning 17. 

Of course, earlier this week, there was Halloween with Nancy Drew and Charlotte, the ghost of Thornton Hall. You may remember this post; my girls really love playing Nancy Drew! Two quick stops at the thrift store found us everything we needed for their costumes.

 A full, but wonderful week!!

Garden Notes: Love Lies Bleeding

I planted Amaranth for the first time this year.  The particular variety was Amaranthus Caudatus, Love Lies Bleeding and I will be planting it again!!

How it unfolded this summer:  I planted these from a packet of seeds in a row in the vegetable garden and didn't have the time to record what I was planting.  So...couldn't remember.  When they came up, I decided to put them in my tank garden to fill in some spots.

They had the ugliest leaves while they were growing and I told my husband that I thought I had actually planted Pig Weed.  I almost pulled them out.  Then I googled "plants that look like pig weed" For real.  And got my answer.  

Pig weed is in the Amaranth family.  And, is edible.  Then I read about Love Lies Bleeding and finally remembered that was indeed what I had planted.  So I waited out the ugly leaves and these plants got big!

So, so worth the wait and ugly leaves for the draping blooms I had to put in arrangements!  So, I will plant them again, but this time will leave them on the outskirts of the garden  so I can use them just for cutting.  I've experimented with drying them too.  Draped or hanging down...seems that either can work, depending what you want to do with them when they are dry.

And, that vase was actually a candle in it's former life...a great recycled object!

If you garden, are you planning for next year already? 

Little Wire People

A couple of weeks ago my youngest girls and I stopped at a garage sale where we found these great wire sculptures.  They decided they wanted to buy them with their own money so I agreed.

On our way home, one of them asked me if I could make them dolls to play with the pieces.  At first I was skeptical, asking what she had in mind...soft stuffed dolls?  She told me simple wire ones would be good.

I kind of jumped at this. I enjoy using wire in projects.  And even though they are fairly simple, they became a bit more involved than what I started out thinking I'd make.  

Later in the day, a dog was born too!

And, if you follow along on Instagram, you may know that magnets were added so they could be moved around on an old cookie sheet.  One thing always leads to another it seems....

So that led to a gif. :) 

(If it isn't playing, just reload your page)

Yesterday a ballerina was born.  But, she needs a bit of tweaking yet.

On a side note: last night I went with one of my girls to see Ted Kooser and it was a wonderful evening!

Black and White Rice

With my husband being a farmer and myself a gardener, I think about where my food comes from often.  But, maybe not as often as I should.

Today, while eating lunch I was reading the rice package looking for the cooking instructions and what I was drawn to was, land of origin Thailand.

And thoughts stirred up.  How did it get here?  On a ship?  In crates?  how to the ship?  a truck?  how to the truck?  manual labor or conveyor belt? how was it harvested? (Very labor intensive I know.)  I know there are you tube videos to answer all of this and maybe someday I'll look.  But, today it was enough to just think about it, pray for those who labor so I can eat,  and to pray for the hungry.

Jasmine rice is our favorite here, but I'm trying fried rice for the first time and I'm thinking that this may not have been the best choice as it is a sticky rice.  We'll see.

Fall Colors

at a slow shutter speed

just because

it was fun

and I could

These photos also make nice backgrounds!

Have a great week!

Invite Bugs?!

This past summer we vacationed in Colorado and visited the Denver Botanical Gardens.  I loved every bit of it!  So much inspiration!  
I had just learned about "bug hotels" when our Extension Office offered a class for kids to make bug hotels.  My kids didn't get to go, but some of my 4h Club members did and I thought the hotels they made were great.  Of course they were smaller than the ones we saw on our trip.  

This is a "must do" project now for our garden.  A bit ridiculous as we live on an acreage with lots of trees, lots of dead trees, leaf mulch, and water: a great bug environment! 

But, these are like art!  The shape and textures....just very cool.

The micro world of the bugs in the garden is just amazing to me.  I cut flowers all summer long for the house and all summer long after I arrange them, the little "hitch hikers" need to be dealt with.  

This quick Google search will just inspire you if you want to make a bug hotel too!

Haiku Collaboration

My dear friend, Ruth, sent me this Haiku yesterday after I posted the pictures of the milkweed pods.
I loved it and wanted to create a photo with it.
So, today, I give you our collaboration!


Meandering on a Sunday

We tagged along with my husband yesterday when he went to do chores.  The first stop was to look at this field of turnips, radishes, clover, and a few other plants I can't remember.  It's a cover crop that this farmer planted to help boost the soil with organic matter.  He said to harvest as many turnips and radishes as we wanted.  Do I want them?  I've never cooked with the greens of either nor have used turnips in cooking.  The greens are packed with nutrition I understand.  So, we will start with turnips.  Please share a recipe or recommendation if you have one!  They are starting to plant cover crops more on our farm too.  Good things happening.

Then there was a creek....while we looked for milkweeds.

Love these!

Pretty and graceful!

And there was the best deep ditch that the girls rolled down over and over giggling and laughing.

Oh yes, then there were the chores. :)

We only have one and half days of school here this week.
Have a great week everyone!

Bells Will Be Ringing

Last March I had the honor of taking the engagement pictures for my nephew and his fiance.  I posted a bit about it here.

Well, they get married this weekend! I thought I'd finally post a few of the pictures.

We really had a nice time taking the pictures.  The weather was chilly and then it rained a bit which let me break out an umbrella and that led to some wonderful photos!

They were so comfortable in front of the camera.

I hope they have good weather Saturday for the wedding. 

Chippy enamel cups were perfect for tea by the campfire. :)


Gotta love a campfire. :)

I'll end with a beautiful ring shot!

~Have a great day~

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