Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Is there a Pickle in your tree?

There's one in my tree! In fact, there are two pickles in my tree................
I bought the glass pickle a couple years ago, at about the same time that I won the Santa Pickle in Mark Lipinski's Yahoo group. There is a legend that goes with this pickle ornament and if you'd like to read more about it just go here and you will find everything you ever wanted to know about putting a pickle in your Christmas tree.  I didn't know about the pickle legend until a few years ago so it's not something I did with my kids when they were small. Could be fun though, if you have little ones who could go in search of the pickle. :-)
My husband bought some more lights strings and I put them on the tree in the family room that's off our kitchen. I'll get that decorated in the morning and share a picture in my next post.
Sandi Claus

Monday, December 13, 2010

Underneath the tree.............

Can you find my wool tree skirt? 
I can't either!! Once I add a few gifts and set my manger scene in place, the wool tree skirt is no longer visible. Not all of these packages are real gifts. I am the "Queen of Fake Gifts"! LOL! Only a few are gifts in fact, but some hold the gift tags, ribbon, tape, etc. And another bag holds gifts to wrap. Yet another holds a craft project that I may or may not get finished before Christmas. Some of the bigger bags hold the knick knacks that were on the end tables and removed for Christmas candy dishes, etc. I think I already covered that aspect but when the tree comes down and the ornaments and decorations are packed away, the regular knick-knacks come out of the gift bags and go back to their year round places on the end tables. Clever, huh?

I've talked about my manger/creche scene before and it is placed where I have set it for a number of years.........under the boughs of the tree, with the glitter star my daughter made many years ago, propped against a branch. There is comfort in the familiar routine of favorite customs and traditions. :-)

Sandi Claus

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Decorating for a White Christmas!

While the snow fell outside, I was warm and cozy inside. My husband finally got to the light strings that needed some help and so I was able to decorate this little tree in a corner of our dining room. If you go over to my quilting blog, you can read all about this little tree. These ornaments are ones I set aside last year when I was thinking I'd do a tree that was all silver, white and gold. Now I'm thinking maybe that will be next year when I do that. Time will tell. :-) Anyway, this tree is sparkly and looks very sweet in the dining room. I'm going to be watching the after-Christmas clearance for a slightly bigger tree for the dining room. Some folks shop for great buys in clothes after Christmas. I am always shopping for next year's Christmas cards, gift wrap, trees, wreaths, etc. I love Christmas and quilting more than I do clothes shopping. :-)
And speaking of clothes............
can you guess what my tree skirt is made from?
It's a skirt!! Yep, it's a tree skirt made from an old wool skirt. I've had this one for years and just cut a slit in the back so that I could drape it around the base of the tree and cover up the plywood piece that keeps the tree solid. I was always going to make a fancy tree skirt but I figured why bother when I cover it up with gift boxes, bags, etc. You'll see what I mean when I post a picture tomorrow of what it looks like under the tree now.
It's been a long day. I mean, after all, this big snowstorm was pretty exciting! I'm writing this just after midnight so think it is time to get some sleep. No church in the morning as it's been cancelled along with most other things this Sunday. Once those plows are out, though, I'll bet there will be folks headed to the malls. At least that's what the shop owners will be hoping for so they can recoup some of the lost sales from today. I won't be one of them. Too cold for me. I'm going to be working on my Christmas letter and some Christmas gifts. Have a lovely Sunday!
Sandi Claus

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Two of my favorites!

I have lots of favorites in my ornaments but these two are two ornaments that I really like.

There are two reasons that I like these ornaments. First reason is that they are unique. Second reason is that I bought them when I went to a craft show with my daughter several years ago. The minute we spotted these ornaments, we both had to buy one of each. They are cut from logs and then the maker cut out part of the log slice to make one a Snowman ornament and one a Santa ornament. I don't know the name of the maker but we bought them at farm craft sale north of Waseca, MN in September of 1996. It was called "A Touch of Country Class" and featured a barn full of craft items and other little outbuildings just loaded with fun crafts and gift items. We had a wonderful day together and enjoyed gorgeous fall weather and just an all-around good "mother/daughter" day together. :-)
I didn't do any decorating on Friday. I went grocery shopping in the morning and then home to unpack and then out the door again with my husband. We went furniture shopping for living room furniture. Our current furniture is stuff that we bought in 1985. It just seems to last forever and I am way tired of it. Amazingly, we found some things we liked and we were really fortunate that the sales associate we were working with really understood what style we were looking for. Someone had checked out the upholstery samples for the sofa we liked so we'll go back again after Christmas and check them out ourselves! We're in no hurry. The current sofa has lasted this long, so I'm sure it will last a little longer! Then we went to a party hosted by one of my husband's co-workers and got to drive home in blinding snow. You may have already read about that over on my regular blog. It was not fun. Snowplows were out in force and I am sure it will be that way even through the day Saturday.  While I was grocery shopping my husband was repairing light strings. Looks like I can get back to some more decorating on Saturday afternoon.
Later then.......
Sandi Claus

Friday, December 10, 2010

The oldest ornaments on my tree............

I got to wondering which ornaments are the oldest on my tree and I think these are it. They are all ornaments that were given to me by my husband's mother, Ora. They are pre-1968 because that's when I met my husband and she put them on her tree then. I suspect they are from the 1950's/1960's.

Ora and Steve's dad, Ed, co-owned an old-fashioned variety store in the town of Humboldt, Iowa.  Their partners were Ora's sister, Norma and her husband, Floyd, who was always called Tuffy, never Floyd. :-)  Anyway, the two "girls" basically grew up that old store, Clayton's Variety Store, because they bought it from their parents, William and Lulu Clayton. It's quite likely these ornaments came from Clayton's Variety Store. I have a couple of quilt tops made from fabric that came from Clayton's. I remember going into the store in the late 60's and early 70's and loved that feel of the old-fashioned variety store. We're fortunate to have one not far from us and whenever I go in there, I am remind of Clayton's and even more of the variety, and also what we called "The Dime Store" when I was a kid. I think I know why I like the Dollar Store so much. It reminds me of "The Dime Store"!!
Some of my decorating is "on hold" due to the need to get some light strings working. Lots going on around the household and my Mr. Claus has not had time to fix the light strings. I arranged some "fake gifts" under the tree this evening so that it looks like there are lots of goodies there. The "fake gifts" are just a couple gift-wrapped boxes that hold Christmas craft supplies so they are right where I can find them if I want to make up a gift ornament. And then there are gift bags that I fill with the regular knick-knacks that are on end tables and shelves that I remove to put up Christmas stuff. This way, I'm not tucking them in some cupboard and then can't find them. When I take down the tree, and pack away all the Christmas stuff, I just unpack those gift bags and put the regular knick-knacks back in place. I'm thinking that Ms. Martha hasn't even thought of that idea. LOL!
Snow is in the forecast for us on Saturday so Mr. Claus will be homebound and should be able to get those light strings working and I get to the finish line on my decorating. We shall see!
Sandi Claus

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Forty years ago.............

I made these little ornaments in a ceramics class. My husband was stationed overseas in Japan and we lived in a large military apartment complex. It was huge and in addition to six wings that held the apartments for military families, there was also a grocery store, base exchange (you could buy almost anything there), library, nursery (daycare as we call it now), theatre, flower shop, post office and a hobby area. There was also a base chapel and dining areas for both enlisted and officer personnel. I was just 21 and with a tiny baby and more miles from home than I really wanted to be at that time. My husband's job took him on temporary duty to places like Korea, Taiwan, the Phillipines, and Okinawa and so there were long stretches by myself. I remember that it cost just 35 cents an hour to take your child to the base nursery. I was able to use it and took a few ceramic classes during our time in Japan. These little ornaments are one of several items that I made during those classes...........
I vaguely remember that I rolled clay very thin and then cut out some craft patterns and traced around the edges, then cut the design from the clay. They were fired and then I just used craft paints on them and finished with a glaze. They have survived all these years, including a few moves, except that........if you look really closely at the snowman, you will see that he is cracked and has been repaired. Oh, well, at least he didn't melt. Ha! Ha! I just love these little ornaments and when I see them they remind me of days that are soooo long ago. How can it be that they were made forty years ago? Of the almost 600 ornaments that I have, almost 100 of them were made during the time we stationed in Japan. More on them in upcoming posts.
On the "decorating front", I started working on the little tree in the dining room that I am going to decorate in silver and gold but I didn't get it finished. I have a light issue again so I removed some older strings and will put on two new ones. So what did I accomplish? I made fudge!  Then I portioned it out into little cupcake liners, two each and wrapped in plastic so that they can go in the goodie bags that will be prepared at church. The filled bags will then be delivered to church and community members who are homebound. I remember doing this when I was a kid and love it that I found a church that does this. It's the women's group that coordinates the project and when the goodie bags are all filled everyone enjoys a potluck! I haven't figured out what I will bring for that yet. Something will come to me. ;-) I also did some cleaning, worked on Christmas cards and tried to get in some sewing but never found time. I'll try again today........or tomorrow. Still plenty of time til Christmas. :-)
Sandi Claus

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Oops! too fragile!

One of the things I'm doing to inventory my ornaments is to take photos of "like items". I set out these ornaments that were all bought for just a dollar each at Dollar Tree about 2003. Many of them can still be found in their stores now.

Each one has it's own velvet box.
One of those boxes will be empty when I pack up the ornaments this year because unfortunately I clinked the Santa ornament to close to the Tree ornament and it shattered. :-(  I remember buying more than a dozen of these and giving them as gifts that year.
Some ornaments are special and I even wrote notes so I would remember why........
I remember buying this glass ball ornament at our Snyder Drug store one Sunday after church. It was a time when our church membership was dwindling and our congregation would eventually be disbanded but I wanted to remember that special Sunday. ;-)
With the tree all decorated, I took a day off from Christmas decorating and just enjoyed the afternoon with my friends in our Bible Study group. I thought about putting lights along the front porch railing and then thought better of it because it was so cold!  I never did get to the dining room tree so I can do that today and leave the outdoor stuff til this weekend. My husband said he'd do it so I may just let him!
Hope you are enjoying these days up to Christmas!
Sandi Claus