Monday, November 20, 2017

Craft A Miniature Sweetgum Ball Wreath

A tiny sweetgum ball wreath on a iron lattice.
       Decorate a Fall twig tree with a set of sweetgum ball wreaths like this one or leave the ribbon off and slip these tiny wreaths over a brass candle stick or two to place at the center of your Thanksgiving table. Either way will look festive and be inexpensive for holiday decorating.

Supply List:
  • hot glue gun
  • ribbons in fall colors
  • hook for hanging
  • kernels from dried Indian corn
Step-by-Step Instructions:
  1. Clean six sweetgum balls free of dirt and insects.
  2. Hot glue these into the shape of a small wreath. 
  3. Pull off dried kernels from a piece of Indian corn. These kernels come in a wide variety of colors: russet, yellow, white and brown.
  4. Fill random whole of the sweetgum balls with glue and quickly push the dried kernels into those holes.
  5. Wrap a wire around the wreath for hanging and cover this with the ribbon.
Sweetgum ball wreath and ribbon
Close up photo of the dried kernels glued randomly inside
the gumballs to add a bit if color and different textures.
More Crafts Using Sweetgum Balls:

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Refinishing a small carpenter's workbench

Above is a repainted workbench and play tools perfect for any three to four year old toddler.
       Above is a small wooden workbench that I purchased for only $6.00 in a resale store. All I needed to do was repaint a few select parts: drawers, trim and workbench top. I also glued a ruler to the top counter as well.
I'm amazed at how often I find children's toys or furnishings tossed out by parents simply because they are
unwilling to apply a little paint to freshen their surfaces.
       Here you can see the workbench prior to the refinishing. Someone thought that a bit of messy paint would ruin this perfectly sturdy carpenter's cart/workbench. I sanded the counter top, removed a few useless attachments and filled a few holes with wood putty. The painting took only a few hours after carefully masking off the areas that I chose to leave unfinished.
I left many of the surfaces unfinished. All I need to do is seal the surfaces with a clear lacquer to finish this project.
A side view of the wooden workbench, with the drawers open.
Build a Child's Workbench:

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Take a Peek Inside The Grimm Playroom

Just one wall of children's furniture in the Grimm family playroom. The rug beneath the cradles and highchair is braided in burgundy, red, ivory, grey and Colonial blue colors. I have recently striped, sanded and repainted the cradle you see in the far lower left hand corner. Soon I will add a bit of folk painting to it and post the design on this blog.
       Last March I posted a DIY Play Kitchen Stove Top & Oven project featuring my latest addition to a child's kitchen. Here I have photographed the oldest child furnishings built by my husband's great grandfather. Carpentry was a hobby for him I believe. I refinished his two pieces, a pantry on the far left and a dining cupboard on the far right. My husband's mother and aunt played with these when they were very young and so did my children.
      The pantry was painted yellow and converted into a doll closet and the cupboard was covered with decals, applied by a very precocious, blond toddler. So after the last group of young family members grew out of the furnishings, I decided to refurbish the lot. I did a bit of research at the internet archive and discovered adult furnishings similar to these in catalogues dating from 1910. To my surprise I found my furnishings to be exact replicas of a pantry and cupboard kitchen combination! So I decided to refinish the doll closet, now a pantry, and the child sized cupboard as a matched kitchen set in Colonial blue, one of my favorite colors. I left the counter top of the cupboard with it's original stain to match a few other pieces of stained doll furnishings that I have collected over the past five years. 
       The center dry sink pictured above is a flee market find.  I paid only $8.00 for it. I had to refinish the sink with grey enamel paint because it had rusted and I thought this would be unsafe for future play. I painted the cabinets below with the same Colonial blue as my older pieces. You can see there is a missing trim piece just behind the sink. Eventually, I will cut a new one to match (probably this winter) and then stain it.

Left, the refinished doll closet is now a Colonial blue, kitchen pantry. As of yet, I need to add shelving behind the long, narrow door.
Today it houses a black furry hobby horse, child fishing poles, and car mats. I use the drawers to store the girl's plastic animal toys for now.
This blue eyed, red headed, toddler doll sits with her soup in a very old doll high chair. What I love most about this piece ...
someone attached the tray to the chair with old dresser drawer knobs.
Above left is the cupboard that once was decorated with decals. Center, it is now used to store tiny tea sets,
figurines and silver plated tea/server sets. All of these small things were purchased for mere pennies at second hand stores.
I wonderful $8 dollar purchase from a local flee market. It looks like it was built at the same time as the two pieces that flank either side of it,
but it is a much newer furnishing. The tea pot on the sideboard is made of tin, there is an old wire basket for eggs and an old-fashioned
 toy telephone next to the sink as well.
We call this little doll our kitchen mother. I love her stripped skirt,
 gauzy apron and pale pink shawl. She watches over all the babies
in the Grimm nursery and efficiently tucks in their covers at
 night so that they will sleep soundly.
A needlepoint that once belonged to my husband's mother.
She finished it for her mother but had tucked it away inside
 her sewing basket for years. I stretched it carefully and put
 it into an old walnut frame to match the children's furnish-
ings. Text, "Bless This House O Lord We Pray." She would
 be pleased to know that someone small can appreciate it now.
More Old-Fashioned Playrooms:

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Dreamer


If in the greenwood of a dream
I sit as still
As still may be, and hold my breath
And listen, till

Soft rustlings of a leaf I hear,
A whispering bough;
Catch a swift, guarded glance that darts
From a branch - now

If in that greenwood wild and sweet
I stay so still
As if a breath would wreck the world.
If I wait, till

I hear a soft, soft sound that seems
Scarce sound, but more
The thinking of a bird that first
Is murmuring lore

Half-way remembered by his throat -
Catching a note
Before he flings to melody,
Be-starred, remote -

There in that woodland, while I stay
Unmoving, come.
If I am grown into the moss.
Things that were dumb.

Songs of remembered, unchanged dreams
Float close to me;
Souls that were hid slip out from flowers,
Leap from each tree.

But when I move to snatch, to trap
A song, a soul -
With the first finger's-breadth I stir.
Lost is the whole!

The Christmas Road of Salem

       The only way to visit old Salem of the old South is with a child's heart for luggage. Otherwise this old town in the middle of North Carolina may lie before your eyes actual enough, with its old streets, its old houses, its old Square, its old Home Church as its inmost core, and Salem may welcome you with the gentle, unobtrusive courtesy pecularily its own, but unless you have learned the wisdom that knows how to put away grown-up things, you cannot really enter the Christmas city.
       In Salem of all places I have ever seen, it is easiest to drop from one's shoulders the crippling pack of maturity and become once again a little child stepping along a Christmas road. Of all places it is easiest in Salem to forget the jangle of faiths and of no-faiths that have deadened our ears, to slip away from the clamor of an age proud and fevered as ancient Rome, and to listen to the confidence of old carols ringing along moonlit dreamy streets, mysterious with the black of magnolia and of boxwood, or to hear floating down from the church belfry high up under the stars the silver melody of the ancient horns which, better than any other instruments, express the soul of the Moravian church. A most musical religion it must seem to every visitor who yields his spirit to the spirit of Moravian Salem. Not only the church liturgy but also the everyday life of the community is keyed to old tunes that date back, some of them, to the Bohemia of five centuries ago, and were familiar in Moravian households in the days when John Huss was martyred for the beauty of his faith. There is a spell on southern Salem, the spell not of a dead past but of a living one, constantly revitalized, so that as one walks these uneven red-brick pavements, one is haunted by memories of long-past Christmases, thoughts of those far times, when in secrecy and fear, the Hidden Seed kept its feast of candles and of anthems, thoughts of happier festivals in Saxony where young Count Zinzendorf offered the heretics the refuge city of Herrnhut, thoughts of brave long-ago love-feasts right here, when a tiny, intrepid band of colonists sang its Christmas chorales in the midst of endless miles of wilderness, while wolves nosed and howled at the cabin door. Along with these Moravian memories come thronging recollections of one's own childhood Christmases in all their unforgotten wizardry, so that here in Christmas Salem, I seem to be walking again the midnight aisle which leads through a great wood of fir trees looming black beneath high stars.
       Just as at five years old, I am aware again of mystery and danger and bewilderment lurking far off in the forest, but along the Christmas roadway, there is no fear, only joy and magic, for it lies straight as a shaft of silver through the black wood, and along it troops of youngsters go dancing onward. At the instant that the children pass, each dark, bordering fir tree becomes bright with tinsel and candles, and along the spicy twigs gay little bells stir and tinkle. From time to time there come snatches of happy chants echoed among the tall dim trunks. Since the wayfarers are children, they know that the soft, unearthly radiance upon the road before them is the long beam from a star not yet seen because it hangs so low above a stable cave, and they know, too, that their silver path is leading all child feet toward that star. Small difference for children between that spirit-light of Bethlehem and the merry twinkle of Christmas-tree candles. For them, readily enough, their own carol-singing mingles with the voices of herald angels, and even Santa Claus, himself, all ruddy and kind, may steal to the stable door and gaze in on a divine baby. Even so is Christmas faith and Christmas fancy interwoven in old Salem, where white-headed men and women still have their Christmas trees, and still with their own hands construct beneath the green boughs, the wonderful Christmas " putzes," for while we who are visitors must retread in stumbling unfamiliarity the Christmas path, the Moravians of old Salem have always kept straight and clear within their hearts the child-road toward the star.
       When, a few days before Christmas, I arrived in Salem, people told me I had missed what for Moravians is always the opening key to the Yuletide season. For unnumbered years there has always been sung on the Sunday before Christmas the anthem of " The Morning Star," written in the latter seventeenth century, and set to music in the nineteenth. Although I never heard choir and congregation unite in its mighty joy, I seemed, during my two weeks' visit, always to be catching its echoes, as if the strains of Christmas minstrels had come floating back to me where, unseen in the distance, they had passed on before along the silver-lit highway, so that the words and the music of "The Morning Star " voice for me the innermost spirit of a Moravian Christmas.
       The anthem has both the quaintness of old Germany and the vigorous confidence of the new world, so that the old words and the new are equally expressive of the unchanging faith of present-day Salem, while the music vibrates with the sheer child-gladness of its praise.

" Morgenstern auf finstre Nacht,
Der die Welt voll Freude macht.
Jesulein, O komm herein,
Leucht in meines Hertzens Shrein."

       When in stanza two, music and words swell out into grandeur it is as if, out of the black forest mystery of life, some hidden joyous congregation suddenly pealed forth a psalm to the mounting Christmas dawn:

" Morning star, thy glory bright
Far exceeds the sun's clear light ;
Jesus be, constantly.
More than thousand suns to me."

       For the holiday guest there slowly emerges upon that glamorous woodland roadway of his child memories a silver-lighted city, gradually shaping into the everyday reality of actual Salem. As I look out from the window of the little gray cottage that harbors me, there become sharply etched against the mistiness of dreams the tall water-oaks of the old red-brick Square, the domes of boxwood against old walls of buff stucco or of brick, the stretching flat white rows of gravestones holly-trimmed, the white belfry of the Home Church, where in Christmas week I heard little boys, high up there in the soft December sunshine, sound the trombone announcement of death. So unobtrusive and yet so sweet were those strains out of the sky, so blent with the Christmas air, that I listened to them for some time, supposing them merely carol-singing floating out from some home where the family had regathered for Christmas.
       On one side the little cottage looks forth on the sunny graveyard where Moravians keep their dead too close to life for any sadness, and on the other it nestles to the prouder, taller buildings of the Square, laid out in the seventeen-sixties by founders who established Salem as the central city of their Wachovian grant of seventy thousand acres, to be built and to be kept a city meet for their faith. The solid eighteenth century houses still remain, skilfully adapted to modern usage, or unobtrusively altered. Half of Salem traces its ancestry back to those earlier days, and all of Salem keeps alive, both in family life and in public, the traditions and the customs of its unforgotten builders.
       Perhaps it is only in our own South that so gentle and half-romantic a faith could have found so gracious a flowering as is typified in the Easter and the Christmas customs of this Salem of North Carolina. There is a blending of native warmth and glow and kindliness in the spirit of this Southern Province of the Moravian Church. The first colonists came seeking a mild climate and friendly neighbors, and found both. For a hundred and fifty years Salem has been true to its first purpose. Long ago it was a little refuge city of peace in the wilderness, and still, today, it offers its benediction for all who seek to penetrate beyond the mere externals of a locality into the inner sanctities of tradition.
       Long ago a brave little band kept to their secure daily round of work and worship amid perils of Indian attack and the backwash of Continental armies, and freely gave their hospitality to everyone that asked it, and today the mind of those first settlers still dominates and molds the life of the city. Yesterday and now the people of Salem have possessed both the art of shrewd adjustment to the contemporary and the power to withdraw from all its fever and conflict into the peace of a child-faith. With quaint literalness those early founders looked upon themselves as all members of one family, and today one of the strongest impressions of any visitor is that of a great household, close-bound in sympathy, and all turning toward the old Home Church as to a central hearthside, while up and down the worn old streets there moves the form of one still young at eighty, who in himself is host and shepherd and father of all the city.
       One wonders if the inhabitants of Salem fully realize their high privilege of living in a community which both expresses their religion and preserves the finest traditions of their ancestors. In these bewildering days it is the lot of most idealists to live in a solitude, unable, amid the surrounding mists, to distinguish the shapes of their fellow believers. But in Salem people have the sacred advantage of dwelling with those who constantly share and reinforce each other's faith as naturally as they have shared each other's childhood and each other's memories of the old Infant School. Probably Moravians do not dream with what strange nostalgia a visitor listens to persons who treat God conversationally, who talk of Him as spontaneously as a little boy speaks of that splendid comrade he calls Daddy. Normally enough, naturally enough, has the Moravian spirit been able to strike deep roots in our own South, for in our South religion is still a custom unquestioned, and leisure can still be found for an obsolete, old-world culture, and intellect still bows in reverence before the soul. In old Salem of the old South there can be no blur upon the radiant confidence of the Christmas story, no smirch upon the silver purity of that far-lit path toward Bethlehem's cave.
       In Salem I feel myself to be sometimes in Cranford, sometimes in Barchester, while all reminiscence of those two familiar home-towns of the fancy is touched by an atmosphere sacred to Salem. From one window of my room I can gaze up the long, silent avenue, forbidden to all vehicles, that skirts the high ivy-hung picket fence of the graveyard. Even in December the graveyard grass is vivid in the sunshine. I am so near that I can almost see the crimson berries of the holly wreaths laid on the little flat marble slabs. Cedar Avenue lies as a white path at the heart of Salem. On one side of it are gateways whose sunny arches, blazoned with texts of hope, stand bright against the shadowy spruce and cedar massed beyond the triumphant marching lines of the little gravestones. Along Cedar Avenue I have watched a funeral procession move with confident tread, while the trombone strains floated forth delicate and clear upon the New Year's morning.
       Another window of my room looks toward the old Square, toward the Bishop's home beside the Bishop's church, toward the aging buildings that still bear names witnessing to the deep Moravian reverence for the family as a holy entity, - the Sisters' House, the House of the Single Brethren, the Widows' House. In the cavernous cellar of the most venerable of all these buildings I was shown, one afternoon, the mysteries of the Christmas candle-making. In those great, white-washed catacombs one peers into dark, haunted corridors through wall arches three feet deep. The floor has the stone flagging that was laid a hundred and fifty years ago. In the long kitchen of the Single Brethren the great, hooded fireplace with its built-in Dutch oven stands intact.
       Here, in precisely the same molds and with precisely the same methods through unbroken generations, have been made the famous Christmas candles of Salem. The molds hold, some of them, six candles, some a dozen. Into the manufacture last year went two hundred pounds of beeswax and fifty pounds of tallow. From the first melting to the final polishing each candle requires an elaborate process of handwork. It took two women six weeks to make the candles, achieving, as they did, six thousand five hundred of the slender wisps of green wax familiar to everyone who has ever known a Salem Christmas. The decorating of the candles, as well as the dipping, is a matter of far tradition. According to methods of cutting and of pasting long in use, each candle is encircled by an outstanding fringe of scarlet paper before it is at last stuck in its hole in one of the long trays and borne off to be kept for the love-feast of Christmas Eve. To visitors and to Moravians take the preparation of the candles is symbolic; when Salem trusts to alien hands the making and the decorating of its Christmas candles, Salem will not be Salem any more.
       A simple, vital reverence for tradition is as characteristic of each individual home as it is of the larger home life of the church congregation. In the tiny cottage that offers me hospitality there is a little wooden rocking chair carefully treasured. One turns it up to find on the bottom, in a handwriting too alive ever to be forgotten, these words, "This rocker was used by mother to rock all her nine babies to sleep from 1828-1844. Keep it in the family." There lies on this little chair a touch of that personal, homey immortality that the home-going dead must value, - and yet it is only a little wooden rocker, tawny drab, and finely lined like an old parchment - or an old face. It has no arms, therefore had no bumps for little heads. It has spreading legs and rockers, and on each rocker is painted a bunch of fading wild roses.
       All the little home is gentle with old memories. Each morning at the close of breakfast I listen first to the daily reading from the Moravian Textbook for the year, the custom of the Text-book dating back to Count Zinzendorf, and after the Text-book comes the reading from birthday and memory books. As I listen, a kindly past made up of small family events becomes vital for me, the guest. Yet the little cottage is alive to the present as well as to the past. The neighbor children blow in and out all ruddy with ball-playing. The Moravian is a children's church, its services crowded with jolly youngsters, seated as happily beside their parents as seedlings grow around a tree. To Moravian children the story of a children's Friend is no dead tale. The rosy seven-year-old Harold who comes flying so often to our door has a hearty affection for Santa Claus, but with that Other he is even more familiar. A few weeks before this last Christmas a little playmate died. Harold was puzzled by the sorrow of the grown-ups and protested, "But Louise has gone to Jesus, and she will be there for His birthday." Winifred Kirkland, 1924
Bethabara Moravian Church Christmas Lovefeast in Winston Salem. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Capturing the veiled lady in cotton...

Cotton batting veiled lady mushrooms.
       Even though the veiled lady mushroom is not common to Missouri, I thought it an unusual addition to my woodland Christmas ornament collection. It grows in Asian climates primarily; read more about it at Wikipedia.

Spray painting an onion sack.
Supply List:
  • paper mache pulp
  • white school glue
  • newsprint
  • onion bag
  • white spray paint
  • grey drier lint
  • white cotton balls 
  • newspapers
Step-by-Step Directions:
  1.  Clip off the ends of an onion sack, stretch it out on top of newspapers or cardboard and spray paint it white to mimic the indusium "skirt" of the veiled lady mushroom.
  2. Chop up a clean paper egg carton. Trim and keep the bell cap shapes for the tops of your mushrooms.
  3. Insert a small wire up through the tops of the caps for hangers. Tape these firmly into place.
  4. Crush the newsprint into stalks and glue these to the inside of the bell cap shapes. 
  5. Add a small amount of water to paper mache pulp to spread on top of the caps and also the underside of where the stalks and caps meet. Let these dry completely before continuing the project.
  6. Glue the onion sack along the outer edge of the cap. Layer more paper mache on top of the netting that you do not wish to be seen. Let the dry.
  7. Unravel the white cotton balls. 
  8. Alternate the white glue and cotton batting in fine layers over the stalks and underneath the bell caps. 
  9. Layer the glue and dryer lint on top of the cap until you are pleased with the patterning.
  10. Apply the white glue over the entire surface of the veiled lady, excluding the indusium, until you are satisfied with the mushroom.
From egg carton to recycled mushroom forms.
Slow motion of the veiled lady growing
 with strange alien music.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Grandpa's Wooden Morels

The finished painted morels rest on a mossy bed
just outside my kitchen door.
        Grandpa took a trip to Kentucky this last weekend. He visited the Shaker Village, The Kentucky Folk Art Center , Noah's ark, The Creation Museum, and quaint restaurants etc... He brought back these three hand-carved, wooden mushrooms for me to paint. He wanted them to be painted as morels and to display them under a Christmas tree, of course! 

Supply List:
  • tiny soft paint brush
  • acrylic paints: burnt umber, a redish tan, and creamy white
  • wood varnish 
  • eye hooks (if you plan to hang them on a tree) 
  • a soft sponge or soft rag
Step-by-Step Instructions:
  1.  Make sure your mushroom blanks are clean, free of dust and dirt.
  2. Select the burnt umber acrylic to paint the deeper pits and ridges of the morel cap. Load the small brush with paint at the tip only and randomly place the ridges over the entire surface of the cap only. Let the caps dry.
  3. Layer random washes of a reddish tan water color over the surface. Let dry
  4. Paint the bottoms of the stems burnt umber. 
  5. Paint the underside of the caps burnt umber.
  6. Water down the creamy white acrylic and brush this over the surface of the wooden morels. Rub some of the paint off quickly with a soft sponge or soft rag. Let the morels dry.
  7. Brush the surface with a thin coat of wood varnish and let the wooden fungi dry overnight.
  8. Screw in the eye hooks to hang these natural looking ornaments on the tree or leave them without hooks and put them in a woodland display underneath your Christmas tree.
Purchase Wooden Mushrooms:
Left, the unfinished balsa wood mushroom blanks. Right, the first coat of paint.

Friday, August 25, 2017

An assortment of blocks for coloring

Description of Coloring Page: wooden blocks for play, wooden wagon for storing blocks

Don't forget to drag the png. or jpg into a Word Document and enlarge the image as much as possible before printing it folks. If you have a question about this coloring page, just type into the comment box located directly below this post and I'll try to get back to you as soon as I can.

Color the wind in his beard...

Description of Coloring Page: St. Nickolas, snow, wind, holly frame

Don't forget to drag the png. or jpg into a Word Document and enlarge the image as much as possible before printing it folks. If you have a question about this coloring page, just type into the comment box located directly below this post and I'll try to get back to you as soon as I can.

A toy rocking horse coloring page

Description of Coloring Page: pretend horse, large enough to ride, safe enough to tumble from, stuffed pony, child sized saddle

Don't forget to drag the png. or jpg into a Word Document and enlarge the image as much as possible before printing it folks. If you have a question about this coloring page, just type into the comment box located directly below this post and I'll try to get back to you as soon as I can.

Color an armful of Christmas dolls!

Description of Coloring Page: St. Nickolas, armful of dolls, stuffed animals, sailor boy, bunny, monkey, china dolls too

Don't forget to drag the png. or jpg into a Word Document and enlarge the image as much as possible before printing it folks. If you have a question about this coloring page, just type into the comment box located directly below this post and I'll try to get back to you as soon as I can.

A Christmas Hug for Coloring

Description of Coloring Page: Victorian child cradles her Christmas doll, old-fashioned costume

Don't forget to drag the png. or jpg into a Word Document and enlarge the image as much as possible before printing it folks. If you have a question about this coloring page, just type into the comment box located directly below this post and I'll try to get back to you as soon as I can.

The toy piano coloring page

Description of Coloring Page: portrait of St. Nickolas, toy piano, doll, wicker cradle, smiling twins, holly

Don't forget to drag the png. or jpg into a Word Document and enlarge the image as much as possible before printing it folks. If you have a question about this coloring page, just type into the comment box located directly below this post and I'll try to get back to you as soon as I can.

Brother and sister visit Santa Claus...

Description of Coloring Page: portrait of St. Nickolas, boy and girl, smiles, wishes, tassel, fur trimmed hat

Don't forget to drag the png. or jpg into a Word Document and enlarge the image as much as possible before printing it folks. If you have a question about this coloring page, just type into the comment box located directly below this post and I'll try to get back to you as soon as I can.

"What do you want for Christmas?" coloring page

Description of Coloring Page: Santa, the twins, gloves, beard, fur trimmed hat, holly

Don't forget to drag the png. or jpg into a Word Document and enlarge the image as much as possible before printing it folks. If you have a question about this coloring page, just type into the comment box located directly below this post and I'll try to get back to you as soon as I can.

"A Merry Christmas To All" coloring page

Description of Coloring Page: portrait of St. Nickolas, holly berries and leaves, text "A Merry Christmas To All" big beard

Don't forget to drag the png. or jpg into a Word Document and enlarge the image as much as possible before printing it folks. If you have a question about this coloring page, just type into the comment box located directly below this post and I'll try to get back to you as soon as I can.

Color Santa Under The Christmas Tree

Description of Coloring Page: toys, tree, Christmas candle lights, dolls, boats, books, toy soldier, baubles, Santa delivers toys

Don't forget to drag the png. or jpg into a Word Document and enlarge the image as much as possible before printing it folks. If you have a question about this coloring page, just type into the comment box located directly below this post and I'll try to get back to you as soon as I can.

Color St. Nick as he climbs down the chimney

Description of Coloring Page: chimney, snow, rooftop, bricks, bag of toys, Santa, St. Nick, attic window, bells

Don't forget to drag the png. or jpg into a Word Document and enlarge the image as much as possible before printing it folks. If you have a question about this coloring page, just type into the comment box located directly below this post and I'll try to get back to you as soon as I can.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Christmas Bell Tags in Four Colors

       These vintage Christmas bell, gift tags come in blue, green, gold and red. I have cleaned, redrawn and restored these designs for visitors to use personal crafts only please.

Monday, August 14, 2017

DIY an Old-Fashioned, Picket Tree Stand

       Nobody will deny that a Christmas tree has plenty of backbone, but somehow it doesn't seem to have intelligence enough to use it. Or else it resents the taking away of its roots and the substitution of a shop-made standard that it considers inadequate. As a matter of fact the standards that you can buy in the shops are inadequate for a tree of any size. And so, if the boy of the family is handy with tools, it is up to him to make one.
       A very good standard for a Christmas tree - strong, durable, and ornamental as well - may be made from a strip of one-by-two-inch-dressed" lumber 12 ft. long (which costs about a cent and a half a foot), and some pieces of an old dry goods box.
       First, saw off from your one-by-two-inch strip four pieces twelve inches long and four pieces eleven inches. These are to make Figs, i, 2, and 4. Make four pieces like Fig. i and two pieces like Fig. 2 ; the notch at the end is cut with a saw across the grain, and then saw out with a chisel.
       When these are done, join two of the twelve-inch pieces and two of the eleven inch to form a square frame. The joint is shown in Fig. 3, and it should be glued or nailed, or both, which is safer.
       Next make the other two eleven-inch pieces like Fig. 4. These are just like Fig. 2 except that a groove four inches wide and one inch deep is cut in the middle of each. Then they are joined with the other twelve-inch pieces to form a frame similar to the first. The first frame is to go at the bottom of the standard, and the second frame, placed with the grooves tip, is for the top.
       Now cut from the remainder of the strip two more pieces twelve inches long. With a compass set at an inch-and-a-half radius, and the center in the exact middle of one edge, draw a half circle on each, and chip it out with a chisel like Fig. 5. The use of these will be described later.
       The remainder of the strip will make four pieces eighteen inches long, with a bit left over. These are to stand on their two-inch faces, and the upper edges of each end should be rounded off with a ''block'' plane. Then two grooves are cut in each piece, two of the pieces having the grooves on the upper side and two on the under side, like Figs. 6 and 7.
       Now cut from your packing box sixteen strips or pickets one and three-quarters inches wide and fourteen inches long, like Fig. 8. These may be "ripped out" with a saw and smoothed up with a plane and sandpaper. 
       To "assemble" the standard join first the two Fig. 6 strips and two Fig. 7. This leaves a hole two inches square in the center and two strips projecting from each of the four sides. Place the first square frame that you made on this, so that its sides will be equally distant from the center, and nail in position. Next nail the pickets in position so that the lower end of the pickets will be "flush" with the lower side of the frame. Next, hold the upper frame, with the grooves up, in position, eight inches above the lower frame and nail the pickets to that. Fig. 9 shows the complete assembly.
       Now give the frame, and the two pieces like Fig. 5 a coat of dark green paint, and the standard is ready for use. Slip the tree into the square hole in the base. If the trunk is a bit too large, whittle it to fit. Then place the two pieces like Fig. 5 around the trunk at the top of the frame for a clamp, and slip them into the grooves in the upper frame, and you will find your tree quite ready to stand up and behave. 
The finished picket tree stand.

  Build a Christmas Tree Stand Box by Gray House Studio.

Free Plans for A Tudor Doll House

Photos of Tudor architecture in England.
      The Tudor architectural style is the final development of Medieval architecture in England, during the Tudor period (1485–1603) and even beyond, and also the tentative introduction of Renaissance architecture to England. It is generally not used to refer to the whole period of the Tudor dynasty (1485-1603), but in prestige buildings to the period roughly between 1500 and 1560. It followed the Late Gothic Perpendicular style and was superseded by Elizabethan architecture from about 1560 in domestic building of any pretensions to fashion. In the much more slow-moving styles of vernacular architecture "Tudor" has become a designation for styles like half-timbering that characterize the few buildings surviving from before 1485 and others from the Stuart period. In this form the Tudor style long retained its hold on English taste. Nevertheless, 'Tudor style' is an awkward style-designation, with its implied suggestions of continuity through the period of the Tudor dynasty and the misleading impression that there was a style break at the accession of Stuart James I in 1603. Read more...
       Included below are three elevation drawings for building a Tudor doll's house. Also included is an amazing video of Gerry Welch's doll house below. Wow! He's quite talented.
Front and side elevation drawings of the doll's house with measurements.
Front and side elevations including the placement of the timber.
A elevation drawing showing the front of the doll's house swinging open.

"Building a 12th scale Tudor dolls house. A true timber framed dolls house . The plan I am using was found in a old Dolls House and Miniature Scene magazine from about 2009. The plan is by Gerry Welch of Manorcraft who builds wonderful dolls houses for adult collectors. This is my first attempt at building a dolls house." Fantastic Job!

DIY Jacob's Ladder Toy for Christmas

       This is a very old and ingenious puzzle and an amusing toy. It is very simply made. A number of blocks of wood must be cut, 4"x 2 1/2" x 3/8". Any number may be used, but not less than seven - twelve for the most traditional type.
       Round the edges of the blocks and make them smooth with sand-paper, as in Fig 488. if the toy is to be given to a toddler. Cut strips of tape about 1/4" wide and long enough to go over the rounded ends of the blocks, a, b b, etc., in Fig. 488. There are three tapes to each block. Nail and glue tape a to the center of upper end of block A; it is then brought over and downward under the middle of the lower end of block B and fastened.
       Tapes b b are now fastened to the opposite end of A about 1/4" from the end on either side, and are then brought round the opposite end of B, as shown in the diagram. The center tape c is fastened to B and then brought down underneath to the center of the opposite end of C. The tapes must be arranged like this throughout the whole set of blocks. 
       Fig. 489. shows how the blocks are held when they are all complete. Top block A must be turned so as to bring the second block to the same level. The top of this block then falls, and it appears to pass rapidly down first on one side and then on the other, until it reaches the bottom. This is only what seems to happen. What really happens is that the second block becomes reversed and falls back again, in its former position. This makes it come level with the third block, which at once falls over on the fourth, and so on to the end of the ladder. A very illusive effect is thus produced. The blocks might be colored with some bright enamel paint, contrasting colors on opposite sides.

Jacob's Ladder Toys from Victorian Era

Sunday, July 9, 2017

An Uncle Sam Jumping-Jack for Your Patriotic Tree

This Uncle Sam paper doll was designed
by George Piper in 1920.
   I've restored this 1920 Uncle Sam Jumping-Jack by George Piper for your all American, patriotic Christmas tree. You will need some tiny brass brads, scissors and string to assemble him after you have printed out this paper doll.
   Once he is assembled, use a hot glue gun to adhere a tiny bottle brush wreath or tree between his hands. 
   If you want your Christmas scrap to look "older" simply print it out onto yellowish-tan or beige paper.

More of Uncle Sam for Christmas Decorating:
      Did you know that there are 38 total other countries that have red, white and blue colors in their national flags? Patriotic Christmas trees aren't only for Americans; countries like: Australia, Cuba, France, Haiti, Norway, Russia, Taiwan, and even the United Kingdom all have the red, white and blue as their very own national colors!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Red, White and Blue Christmas

A vintage American shield graphic.
       This graphic comes from a very old catalogue that is about 100 years old. I've cleaned it up of course.  I hope that those of you who have red, white and blue Christmas themes on your trees this year will enjoy including it with a few tinsel trims among the the branches of a dusty green pine.
       There are many other countries around the world that also have red, white and blue colors to represent their flag. So this new category here at my Christmas blog may inspire their holiday projects during December as well.

More eye candy about an antique, patriotic Christmas:
Two suggestions for temporary pendent trims of a chandelier making alternative use of the shield graphics.
 These vintage suggestions come from a vintage Dennison company catalogue.
A Vintage Canadian/British shield graphic.

"This is our Christmas Tribute to military men and military families.
 Thanks for your sacrifices so we can have the freedoms we do."
These girls have lovely voices; check them out. Watch out for those
BB guns however, "You'll shoot your eye out!"

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Owlets in a sycamore tree ornament...

The completed baby owls stare out from their cozy candy
container. These are adorable on a woodland inspired
Christmas tree or a cotton batting themed Christmas tree.
        This woodland inspired ornament craft includes both natural materials and traditional cotton batting applications. It is made from a hollow cardboard tube so that Santa's elves may insert small toys or candy inside of it on Christmas morning.
       In order to complete this ornament with success, I am presuming that visitors here have been working with cotton batting for a while. If you are new to my blog and have never tried crafting with these materials I will include links to simpler cotton batting projects where I describe the techniques in greater detail within the text of the step-by-step directions.

Supply List:
  • cardboard tube 
  • white school glue
  • masking tape
  • acrylic paints: yellow, white and black
  • tiny paint brush
  • cotton balls
  • dryer lint
  • wire for hanging
  • extra cardboard
  • one walnut, cut in half
  • black thread
  • scissors
Step-by-Step Directions:
This tube was not masked properly, but I have
included the picture for you to see how the
walnuts look when glued in place.
  1. Select a cardboard tube and cut it to the size you prefer. Mask all of it's surfaces with tape. 
  2. Use the sharp end of your scissors to puncture two holes on opposite sides of each other at the top of your cardboard tube in order to thread a wire for hanging.
  3. I covered a wire with cotton before looping it through these two holes at the top. (wrapping wire with cotton)
  4. Use the sharp end of your scissors to poke two holes into the side of the tube where you will glue the walnut shells into place. These will become your baby owl's heads. Do not make the holes too big! When gluing in the walnut halves, you want a little resistance from the cardboard tube. These shells should be nestled into the tube with both glue and the firm application of dryer lint surrounding them. Saturate the dryer lint into place under the edges of the nut shells with glue and then let the tube dry over night. You need to make sure that your walnuts are set firmly into the tube before continuing with your process. The tube may take on a warped shape after drying but this will lend a natural appearance to the tree trunk idea.
  5. Cut from extra cardboard a circular shape to fit and seal off the bottom of the tube tree trunk. You can do this by setting the tube on top of a piece of cardboard and drawing around it's circumference with a pencil or pen. Cut the shape out and tape it firmly to the bottom of your tree trunk.
  6. Now apply with white glue and your finger tip, the dryer lint to the opening of the trunk.
  7. Unravel your cotton balls and glue down a first layer of faux, white bark to the remaining sections of the tree trunk. 
  8. Between layers glue in some wrapped areas of black thread and then glue and layer on top of this thread random layers of white cotton. (practice imitating bark for a yule log) This will application is intended to imitate the surface of a sycamore tree. (film of owls nesting in a tree trunk)
  9. Roll cotton between your finger tips to make the eyes and beaks of your owls. Glue these in place and let the faces dry over night. (Practice rolling cotton between your finger tips while crafting peas in the pod.)
  10. Paint the features of the owl eyes and beaks. I used a bit of white paint to complete a few feathery strokes in the crevice of the walnut shells. 
Close up pictures of my owlets in a tree trunk ornament.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Sheave of Wheat Chrismon

Above, you can see that I've painted the final
 Chrismon with gold metallic paint but you
could leave it natural looking if you like.
       A description of this Sheave of Wheat Chrismon it at Christian Clip Art Review.
       This faux sheave of wheat is made by first covering the outside of a paper tube with wheat stalks before gluing on the choicest kernals onto it's surface. By doing this you will: stretch your  budget and make the Chrismon lighter weight. 
       Note also that there is a difference between a sheave of wheat symbol and a singular wheat stalk Chrismon in symbolism. Although their meanings are related, these two symbols are not necessarily interchangeable. Many stalks bound together refers to a group of people.

Supply List:
  • hot glue gun and hot glue
  • preserved wheat stalks (pricey, I know)
  • cording to tie the stalk off
  • paper tube
  • masking tape
  • scissors
  • metallic spray paint (optional)
Step-by-step Directions:
  1.  First cut the length of a paper tube and shape it to the thickness you desire your sheave to have. Tape that shape in place. 
  2. Cover the tube entirely with masking tape.
  3. Cut the straw parts of the wheat to cover the tube entirely using hot glue. It isn't necessary to measure these so much; they are easily cut even after applying them to the tube. 
  4. Select the nicest kernels and leaving these attached to an identical straw length to that of your "sheave" tube, proceed to hot glue these to the ornament every 1/4 of an inch around the outside of the tube.You will need far fewer of them to make your Chrismon sheave look full, had you simply bound a giant handful of wheat stalks. This way of making the ornament may be a bit fussy but it allows for the finished product to be considerably lighter weight.
  5. Tie a rough looking cord around the sheave and trim.
  6. Spray paint the Chrismon metallic gold to match the traditional color scheme of a Chrismon tree if you like. I actually prefer the natural gold color.
Left, the cording and preserved wheat stalks for my project. Center, paper towel tubing cut and
masked prior the hot gluing the straw on them. Right a finished Sheave of Wheat Chrismon unpainted.