Diary, musings on life, people, interests. Posting my poetry

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Location: Lacey, WA, United States

I have a Certified Artist/Teacher degree with the National Society of Decorative Painters. Taught decorative painting, color theory, calligraphy and other art related classes for 12 years. I enjoy using my artistic talents, especially to update furniture and repurpose found items. I am married to the world's most wonderful husband. We celebrated our 48th anniversary this year (2016). We have raised six children, three boys, three girls. Have 10 grandchildren. Through the NSDP I have paintings in the White House, Blaire House and Smithsonian Institute. I was given the honor of being the Chair of the Pacific NW, "Breeze and Brush" Decorative Painting Convention. What fun we had! I like keeping healthy and enjoy life. I love humor and people. God has been good to me!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas in the Village

A Christmas village is something our grandchildren always look forward to each year. I'm more than happy to supply that good memory for them because i love it as much as they do.

December is a wonderful time to start checking Goodwill and thrift stores for 'village' houses and figurines, I also buy them after Christmas when they are marked way down.

Michael's also will have after Christmas sales, that's where I bought the winter tree that has little lights in the branches.

I push lights up into the inside of the houses also.

Use a mirror under the buffalo snow for a skating pond, I also like to sprinkle some plastic snow here and there, some of it has Diamond Dust glitter mixed in and it looks so pretty when it reflects the colored lights.

I have a lot of different skaters, the more the merrier.

Goodwill has wonderful prices for Christmas items, you have to look for quality but I found it was very easy. Over the years I have bought houses and figurines to supply our grandchildren with villages of their own.

The reindeer stable, bakery and Santa's workshop, all hand painted. I get the figurines usually at bargain stores, like big Lots, always after Christmas when they are on sale.

I also check Goodwill regularly during Christmas, you can buy them very cheap there and they have some really nice ones.

I do the same at Easter and Halloween, you would be surprised what you can find there.

I purchase fabric, brand new and furniture, because I love refinishing furniture or repurposing other items by painting and also decorative painting them.

I also find a lot of tupperware items there, very inexpensive compared to what you would pay to the company.

This was one of the first porcelain houses I painted, the bakery. I used acrylic paint, water based, fast drying and easy clean up. I put 'snow' on the roof and chimney (out of a jar), added glitter and used a gloss vanish for shine and reflection of the lights.

It is so much fun putting the village together every year. Nothing goes in the same place twice, that's what makes it so much fun, you can be creative and do whatever you want.

The grandchildren always inspect the village when they come and find the figures they like the best.

It's also fun to get a few new figures and put them here and there for them to find.

I sometimes will buy extras and give them to the kids to take home with them.

How fun it is to build a Christmas village. Mine started when I painted several porcelain houses; a bakery, Santa's workshop, the reindeer stall, a church (pictured here) and many others.

I have a long buffet in the dining room where I put small twinkling lights, buffalo snow and my houses and figurines. I didn't have anything like it when growing up so I have accomplished recouping a part of my lost childhood, lol!

I love evenings, when I can turn off the room lights, turn on the village lights and enjoy the sight.

Now this could get very expensive but I am a bargain shopper and my motto is "NEVER pay full price".

Merry Christmas to all!

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Family and decorations

Christmas wouldn't be as much fun without our grandchildren. This is Nate and his cousin Alyssa, unwrapping presents with the help of Schultz our grand dog. Taken a couple of years ago at Nate's house.

Ribbon and torn paper, open boxes, laughter, whoops of happiness, warm hugs and kisses, lots of thank you's, that makes Christmas special.

Schultz is gone now, died just three months ago, we miss him. You can see a video of him by a pond where they walked him. It's on Utube "Birthday Schultz", when I think of him I view the video and remember the fun times. We have lost a lot of animals over the years, our Jenny, a sheltie/Beagle mix and our daughter's Jenny, named after our dog, a Beagle, just a week after we lost our Betsy, last November. They are so much a part of our lives. It hurts just as much losing your grand dogs as it does your own. We did a lot of dog and cat sitting over the years too.

Our granddaughter, Emma, a few years ago. She is relaxing in our glider rocker. Happy and content with her jammies and stuffed animal.

She set up a bed for our dog in front of the fireplace.

I laugh when I look at the fireplace. It used to be that awful red brick with insets of charcoal and black bricks here and there. And the fireplace doors were brass and burn stained on the bottom. I changed all of that when my husband went to San Diego to visit our son and his family. I had my turn earlier and stayed home to care for our elderly animals.

I primed and painted the fireplace and the screen. It was in the 90's, whew! was I ever hot. Check out the results in one of my posts, "What not to do on a hot August day", to see how great it looks now. What a makeover!

Our grandson, Aidan, with his school Christmas craft. The wings on his angel are copies of his hands. He was so proud of his creation and we were too.

this was a couple of years ago at their home.

Aidan is all boy, loves his skateboard and is very good, has great coordination and balance. Most of the boys on the cul de sac where he lives are a few years older. i think it's rubbed off on him.

He also loves computer games and his Gameboy. Kids now are growing up with technology we never dreamed of.

I'm an 'old grandma' but I am always challenged to learn new things and absolutely love my Mac!

I'll still be creating when I'm 90, Lord willing. There's still a lot to learn.

The bathroom gets a garland of evergreen, cones and wired ribbon, special candles and Christmas figurines here and there.

I wonder if there isn't a Christmas print toilet tissue available, lol!

Every room in the house has some kind of decoration. I have a brother, Pat, who is mentally handicapped, he is 58. Pat spends all of the holidays with us and i always decorate the room he sleeps in, to the hilt. Lights, village houses and figures, nutcrackers, Christmas runners etc. He loves it and always leaves the twinkling lights on all night. He is a gentle soul and so much fun to have around. Our parents are gone and he is my 7th child.

Every year I put our picnic bench below the kitchen window, outside on the walk to our front door. I run a string of colored, twinkling lights over the top, cover them with evergreen boughs, cedar, pine, holly and even Sword fern leaves, spray with snow and sprinkle on some Diamond dust (a clear multi-colored, like oil on wet pavement, glitter)

I put a nativity set in the center, a french horn, bulbs and other decorations on top.

At night it glows and twinkles and the lights from the eaves reflect on it also, It creates a very warm and welcome sight for visitors. And it isn't hard nor costly.

A wreath hung on the outside of the house always adds a warm welcome. This one also has lights on it and is very pretty at night.

Big Lots is a great place to buy decorations, pretty and inexpensive.

I use a lot of evergreen boughs, we live in an area where, usually, there is a wind storm the end of November or early in December. It provides me with a lot of supply for decorating. I also have Juniper Tams, a small Pine and a long needle pine in the back yard that I planted. All of the different textures are beautiful when combined in arrangements. Especially when sprayed and sprinkled with Diamond Dust.

You can use any container to do an arrangement for your porch or step, the overhanging boughs hide the container. Or you can always spray paint a large cottage cheese container with gold or some other color.

Put rocks in the container, about a third full, add some water, this will also act as a weight. Collect fallen branches, you can use Juniper Tam branches also. Place them in the container, spray with canned snow, sprinkle with glitter.

You can then add any decorations you desire, cones, Christmas bulbs or ornaments, ribbon etc.

Of course, I always have our iron cat sitting by the arrangement to greet visitors.

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Christmas at home

Ah Christmas, a wonderful, heart warming and special time of the year.

I love the lights of Christmas, both outside and inside. We have the lights up on the house, wrapped around the Ivy on the lamp post and draped over all the bushes around the front and down the side.

I used to put twinkling lights around the inside of all of the windows in the bedrooms but with our new windows and blinds there isn't enough room, so they are now outside.

I have a lot of decorating to do before the week is done and it is always a joy to see how happy the grandchildren are when they see it all.

I don't think there is anything more soothing and relaxing than the soft glow of lights on the Christmas tree at night. Turn off the room lights, pour yourself a glass of wine and sit back and enjoy the view.

Kids love it, the cats love it and we do too.

It's even better when you have a fire in the fireplace to crackle and put you in the Christmas spirit.

We wish for you all a wonderful, relaxing and spirit filled Christmas.
Remember, it is the celebration of Christ's birth and the wonderful promise of forgiveness and salvation and life everlasting.

Can you imagine what Christmas in heaven must be like? Merry Christmas moms, dads, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, grandparents and children who have gone before us.

Have a wonderful Christmas and God bless you.

I love decorating at Christmas, not just for myself, we have 19 grandchildren and they are always so happy to see the decorations and enjoy each other's company. I buy one new, special ornament each year. I like our Tillamook cow, we bought him at the Tillamook Dairy operation in Oregon several years ago when we toured the facility.

He hangs with his dangly legs to bring smiles to our faces.

I have decorations my children made over 40 years ago in their classrooms at school. Decorations the neighbor children made and gave me as gifts. Lots of memories.

Christmas is decorations and family, worship and singing, cookies and special meals, gifts and laughing and all of it is a gift from our Lord.

Can you tell we love animals? We presently have four cats Mylo, Blue a Siamese/Burmese mix 12, Emily a black and white Tuxedo cat 15, who I found in the street with her babies and Kirby an orange striper who I rescued from Pet Smart, he is 3 now. All were strays, all are neutered and spayed and have their shots and regular checkups. Please take care of your pets, they depend on you.

So it isn't any surprise that this is one of my favorite ornaments of several cat ones that we own.

Does he look comfy? This is Mylo, our big fluffball of love. What a laid back guy he is and his favorite place at Christmas is laying under the tree, he loves the warmth and the lights; my tree skirt doesn't love the fur!

Mylo is now 12 years old, we've had him for 9 years. He showed up as a young boy and kept hanging around our house, he would sleep in the beauty bark behind one of our Rhododendrons. We were told he belonged to a neighbor.

After treating several wounds and taking him to our vet for treatment, I got mad, had him neutered, got his shots, went to the neighbor to tell them only to find out he wasn't theirs. He's been here ever since.

Our little Yorkie/Doxie mix dog, Betsy, was 14 years old in this picture. She was so patient with me when I set up her Christmas photo session. The look tells me "what the heck does she think she's doing"? She didn't understand the ribbon around her neck nor the reason she was sitting on the end table.

Being the loving little sweetheart she was, she went along with all the fussing and I was able to get this darling picture of her, I'm thankful because we lost her just a little over a year ago.

We had her for almost 7 years, she was eleven when we got her. I will never understand why people take animals and then get rid of them. We gave her seven great years of love and care.

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Christmas is almost here

Christmas is coming, a time to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. My husband and I sing in the choir at church and have been practicing for a couple of months. I was glad to discover that most of the songs we had sung before and were comfortable with, otherwise I would have had to spend hours going through my Alto part in my mind, humming it until it became the 'melody' to me. I don't read music so I have the pianist play the Alto part and I record it, much easier to learn.

It was time to bring out the decorations and that's what sparked my creative bent. Now that I am retired I have a little more time for the creative things I've always wanted to do. One of the projects this year was to do my own Christmas cards using my painting and poetry.

This is a 'triptych" meaning three/fold. Three panels with pictures, designs or carvings, hinged so that the two side panels may be folded over the central one. They were originally used as an altar piece.

Mine is painted wood, with the birth of Christ as the central theme. On the outside panels the roses signify purity, the heart, love and the Dove the Holy Spirit. I can't believe this painting is already 27 years old, painted in 1982.

When open the painting in the middle is of Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus with the animals, chickens and Angels, dangling little hearts, looking on.

The left panel depicts Calvary, the right, the town of Bethlehem, Jesus birth place.

The entire piece was based with a green/black and the design painted with soft washes and transparent side-loads of color; the dark background provides the shading.

The routed edges were painted Red Iron Oxide and then given a coat of Antique Gold bronzing powder mixed with varnish. The entire piece was varnished
several times with a satin water based varnish.

I had also painted the same design on a large card for our church several years ago. I decided I would use this as the design for my Christmas card so I scanned it into my computer, added the scripture from Isaiah 9:6 at the top.

I printed it on half-fold card stock and put the verse I have composed inside.

You can get wonderful deals on card stock and envelopes on eBay I ordered 500 of each and do all of my own cards for birthdays, anniversaries, get well, just for fun, etc. It's fun and counting the large color cartridge I use for printing, they cost me just .54 cents each.

Try it, you can use photographs you take yourself, add 'talk bubbles' to the people, it's a lot of fun.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. God bless you all.

Here is the verse I wrote and put inside the card.

The Lights Of Christmas

Across the land at Christmas
Slowly now, begins the glow
Celebrating the Christ child's birth
The twinkling, colored lights below

Soon there comes a glorious sound
Angels bend their heads to hear
Thousands of choirs praising God
With heartfelt thanks and music dear

Those familiar, beloved, songs of old
Like heavenly Angel wings unfurled
To lift the spirit and excite the soul
Spread joy and hope across the world

Our wonderful God, Creator, Father
Love, forgiveness and salvation imparts
And gazes with pleasure on His children
Who celebrate Christmas in their hearts

God's Christmas gift is yours for the taking
The God who loves you, bids you come
Accept, believe and worship the King
That babe in the manger was Jesus, His son

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