Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #210

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Welcome to Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop and welcome to December! Can you believe that it is December? Are you crafting, baking and fitting in some relax and enjoy time as well???

Deb is crafting! She is sharing such cute Canning Jar Lid ornaments with us today! You MUST head over and check them out!

AND congrats to Daisy of  Maple Hill Farm Blogspot! She won the note card giveaway! Way to go Daisy!

We are slimming down the Christmas decorating since we are kitchen remodeling- there are only so many hours in the day, right? We did get our tree however this week and I have a couple of Christmas favs around the house.

This weekend I am tiling in prep for the stove and that will be all the decoration I need if I am cooking up a storm on Christmas eve! Send good vibes out this way for that. 🙂

Deb did mention that we are still eating fresh tomatoes here! Can you believe it? She hinted about wanting a quiche recipe that I made this week. Well, I must confess that it is not my own, but it is AMAZING and you can get it here!  I did sub out the arugula for mizuna. I have them both growing in my cold frame and picked the wrong one so I used what I had. It was sooooo good!

Take a break from your holiday prep and share what you are up to!

Thanks, as always for joining in!

When Christmas Goes Down the Drain

On Christmas Eve in 2004, several hours before my parents were to arrive, we had a surprise! And not a nice one…

Now before I tell you about our surprise, let me just say that Mike and I had been engaged for just 6 weeks, we had the house decorated to the nines and we had more food than could feed an army. We had planned and prepped to make this the most perfect Christmas ever.  Let me also share with you that my sister had passed away suddenly early that year and we all needed a celebration.

As we were making our last rounds through the house, we picked up on a smell in the sunroom where the hot tub was. As we got closer the smell became more offensive and we soon realized we were smelling sewage! We lifted the deck flooring that surrounded the tub and we saw that the drain into the main line was totally backed up and coming up into the room and under our flooring we were covered with raw sewage!  YUCK! YUCK! and YUCK!

So what does one do when it is Christmas Eve (no plumbers available) and you have family on the way? You go and rent yourself a massive electric snack and head to the crawl space.

100 foot snake

electric snake 2

Thank goodness the tool rental place was open and could accommodate.  We made multiple trips that day as the 50 foot and 75 foot snakes were not long enough to hit the back up that was way out in the front yard.

Needless to say, I was a mess! On my last trip to the rental joint, I was crying and thought all was ruined.  Mike knew that and while I was gone, he put together a little surprise for me in the crawl space…

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Yep! Mike had hung Christmas lites in the crawl space for me while I was gone. I felt like the Grinch in the scene “it came with out tags, or  ribbons or bows; maybe Christmas is a little bit more.” Yeppers! Christmas was still coming, it was still a happy time and we would have it in our crawl space with our 100 foot electric snake!

debbie and snake

snake and mike

So we went at it in the midst of our Christmas lites and cleared that clog!

all done

That night after everyone was in bed, presents were under the tree and all was nice and clean again we paused and took a picture of ourselves by the fireplace.

us after

Mike and those lites had turned my tears into laughter and smiles. It is a Christmas eve we will not ever forget. What a mess and what a great lesson for us to learn early in our life together. We can count on each other to raise the other up when we need lifting and to see it through to the end — even when it is YUCKY!

Happy Unleashing during this Holiday Season!

FGU

 

Countdown!

Snowpeeps!Five days until Christmas; four days until company and seven days to our family vacation over New Years.  Lots of count downs, lots of lists and lots to do!  We have been traveling this week and just arrived back last night.  With all the traveling, holidays approaching and another big trip on the way, it can be a little exasperating!  BUT it is all good stuff so how can one complain?

Our trip this week was for a big party for our daughter who is pregnant. On Monday night, we had a “Gender Reveal” party (something that was not even an option when I birthed my girlies!).  We all found out together that it is a son, grandson and nephew!  Yep, it is a boy!  Such a great trip to celebrate this and also an opportunity to visit all my daughters at the save time– a feat that is rare!

Holidays right around the corner give another reason to celebrate and visit with family.  My mom and dad are coming in town something that may not be possible had we not moved closer to them.  A two hour drive is manageable for them, but an 8 + hour drive not so much anymore.  I am fortunate to have both my parents still nearby and well to celebrate with.

Our family vacation begins on 12/28.  Every year over the new year holiday we rent a condo at the beach and the girls and their boyfriends/husbands come down.  It is SUCH a blast and I look forward to it every year.  We are all spread out now and they have busy lives and jobs.  They also have partners with families that they want to spend time with at the holidays also.  So, we bring a tree and ornaments and presents and we celebrate Christmas first– we do all the family traditions- pj’s on “Christmas Eve”, stockings on “Christmas Morning”, presents later in the morning, a big breakfast and then we move into New Years Eve on the 31st.  We also have a “food throwdown” every year with secret ballot voting in the bathroom.  We have done pasta, sliders, pizza and this year’s theme for the throwdown is appetizers!

With so many last minutes preparations it is easy to get lost.  If I focus on the smiles and memories that we have shared over the years and the new ones that are about to occur, I can stay very calm and joyful! 🙂  I have so much to be thankful for and am happily finishing up things this weekend to get ready for celebrating Christmas, Jesus’ birth, family and much love.

How are enjoying your “countdown” days?  Peace to you!

Happy Unleashing!

Burlap Gift Bags

Burlap Gift BagBurlap is so versatile and my daughters love it as much as I do.  All year I have been using it to make my own gift bags.  Recently I made some really cute ones for their St. Nicholas Day gift bags.

We always give a St. Nicholas bag to each of the girls on St. Nicholas Day which generally is a couple of weeks before Christmas.  We put Christmas goodies in it like socks, an ornament, some candy and other little presents that they can enjoy during the holiday season.  Even though they are now adults, the tradition continues and they love getting these little bags and love the little treasures in them.

This year, I made burlap bags to hold the goodies.  Look how simply easy and fun they are to make!

I fold the bag at the bottom so I cut a piece of burlap twice the length of what I want the finished bag to be.  These bags are about 15 x9. The beauty of working with burlap is that it doesn’t need to be perfectly straight; they are rustic you know!

After cutting my pieces I laid them out (I am making 3 bags here) and started decorating.

I cut out felt reindeer and stars to glue onto the front of the bags.  Again, these shapes do not have to be perfect.  The little imperfections make them perfect!  I made the bodies green (doesn’t show well in this pic) and the antlers, ears and noses brown.  Choose any colors that make you happy!

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Then get your glue gun or craft glue and start creating!

gluing shapes star with button reindeer with googly eyes decorated bag

 

 

 

 

I added buttons to the stars and googly eyes to the reindeer.  I don’t know about you but I have boxes of buttons from my grandma, mom and aunt.  I can always find some really cool looking buttons in there!

 

 

Then I sewed up the side seams with a zig zag stitch.  I just leave the seam on the outside and don’t bother with turning the bags to get the seam inside.  It just adds to the character of the bag I think.

sewing the bags

 

I trimmed the seams just a bit close to the stitching and then filled with goodies.

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I used a large knitting needle to pull some yarn through to close and tie up the bag. You could use ribbon too if you wanted to.  All three bags turned out so cute and the girls loved them.  They stated that they were “keepers” to quote one of them.  Aren’t they adorable?

3 finished bags

 

Do you make your own gift wrappings?

Happy Unleashing!

FG

Primitive Snowmen: DIY

DSCN3784Do you have a favorite holiday decoration? Do you have a collection of something in particular? I have a few collections that fill my holidays with smiles and giggles. One of those are my snowmen. I cannot resist them! Each year we adopt some more of them. Many are on the same cabinet in our living room and then others mischievously show up in other locations. In a future post I will give you a tour of them.

But this weekend, with the snow falling, music playing and me in the craft room I created a couple of new snowmen. I call them “Primitive Snowmen” as they are made of burlap and buttons rather than stuff that is soft and fluffy.

They are easy; here’s what I did.

I used a Styrofoam cone; mine were 6 inches tall.  I wrapped burlap around them and then trimmed up the bottom excess so they would be flush and stand unassisted.

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For their “hair” I decided they needed to have totally different looks.  I mean what snowman wants to look just like the next guy?

I decided pigtails would be really cute so I pulled out some strands in the burlap until I had some “hair”.  Then I divided it up and put little bows on.

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I added some buttons and ribbon for a scarf.  What do you think?

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It was then time for snowman #2…  I used spanish moss and glittery stars in her hair.  I pinned the stars in with decorative straight pins and hot glued her “hair” in place.  I added buttons and a little scarf held together with a mini clothespin to her.

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I went out in the snow to get some twigs.  They were ice covered and I had to melt and dry them before I could use them.  I poked little holes in the side of the cone form with a chopstick, then hot glued their little arms in.

It was time for them to meet!

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Last night I added them to the snowmen shelves.  They are happily getting acquainted with the gang. I think they fit it, don’t you?

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Happy Unleashing your creative decorating side!

FG

Oh Christmas Tree!

DSC_1151One of our family traditions is going out to a tree farm and chopping down the perfect Christmas tree.  I know that some don’t care to do that and there is controversy over chopping vs. artificial, but for us chopping a fresh tree is the way to go.  It is our tradition and we have so much fun doing it. 🙂 Over the years we cherish lots of fun stories around these adventures!

This year was special because our oldest daughter and husband visited for Thanksgiving, so on Saturday morning after a breakfast of Pumpkin Pancakes made by hubby, we headed out to find the perfect Christmas tree.  They also wanted to find theirs and take it across the miles back home.

After a ride that ended through rolling hills and skinny roads, we arrived and were greeted by Santa of course!  DSC_1139

We looked at all the choices and all decided that Blue Spruce was the way to go.  They were so pretty in that blue hue, we had never had one before and we sought out the wagon that would take us to the area where the Blue Spruce were and waited.

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Once we arrived the search began.  There were so many beautiful trees.  Luckily we had a tape measure because trees in the open always look so much smaller than reality.  I cannot tell you how many times I pick one out, only to find when it is measured that it is about 15 feet and will not work with 8 foot walls!  This year it is going in our new sunroom that has a peaked ceiling so a 10 – 11 foot tree will do, and I was very excited about getting the tallest tree ever for us!

Hubby and I found ours first so we began the sawing down process. We took turns and in a few minutes we had captured ours!

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There is my handsome cowboy hubby with our new tree!

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Next the “kids” found theirs!  They too took turns and began sawing.  I have to tell you that ground was cold and damp!DSC_1171

They dragged theirs up to the road and we waited for the ride back!

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We loaded them up and back we went to the car.  (Where the real adventure began of getting them secure for our drive home and their very long drive home!)

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What holiday traditions do you carry on?