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Monday, December 13, 2010

The holiday "Happy Hands at Home"tree

toothpick nose felt snowman

I am posting images of my holiday tree for good ole' Jane LaFazio since we have had a very funny conversation about toilet paper roll ornaments!   For the last few years I have been busy collecting handmade holiday ornaments from the local goodwill stores.  I especially love the "Happy Hands at Home" variety, probably made by kids with their grandmothers (or at least that is what I like to believe). Who else would be gluing pasta  angels or finding uses for toothpicks, popsicle sticks, fuzz and all those other easy to find materials laying around the house?  I have about a zillion ornaments now and here are my favorites.

Top of the tree Dolly Parton cotton balls and pipe cleaner on clothespin STAR!
Toilet paper sitting santa
I have a whole series of punched canning jar lids
Here is a related series - the punched tart pan ornament
For gardeners the painted flower pot and wax santa
For lovers of plastic whirly-gigs, a minature for the tree
I personally love the painted tongue depressor santas
And there are LOTS of yarn over plastic rings santas
Even the beach offers opportunity - a skate egg case santa
And being from the south now how could I pass up the orcra santa
This is a multi-media, pill container and styrofoam balls with gold rickrack
thingy with plastic preserved holly.
A santa lightbulb (filled with plaster) and that weird wax again
If you look carefully, there are two clothespin reindeer hiding in the tree.
This year's prize find has been the angel framed by toothpicks
Here's the pasta angel
The closest I can describe this is a watermelon faced clothespin angel of sorts
I have a large series of these bird feeders
Another gift from the sea - the decorated sand dollar
Another southern beauty - the cotton boll angel
A single felt ski, sad but preserved
Walnuts apparently are fair game because I have a dozen of them painted up like strawberries with green felt leaves
Another 2010 addition - a hand painted winter scene on wood. 
Reverse side "From Donald 1983"
Don't forget that santa can be painted on wooden spoons -
just don't stir the holiday fudge with it.
These socks were knit on size 000 needles and given away as table favors at a guild meeting where I taught a few years ago.  I went around and collected as many as I could while people had their backs turned.
I do have a soft spot for "memorial" ornaments with dates
- and made from popsicle stitcks
This is an interactive rudoph the red nose reindeer
Here he is smiling at you!
And of course there are thousands of the "quilted in holiday fabric and stuffed" bells, wreaths, etc.
Hot glue gun days - the wooden tree with misglued buttons and trim
And I am a sucker for anything felt related
Ah, Mr. Whiskers even got his own ornament in 1996
This stuffed and half-hearted reused sweater star probably has a good story
Crocheted drum with Q-tip drum sticks
A real glass ornament dressed up with cotton balls,
ribbon and one googly eye
Gotta love this tired elf(?) crocheted and crowned with a plastic thimble
And amazingly I have a whole set of these painted cooky dough roll outs.
Old music sheets folded into fans with glitter
I left off all of the felt ornaments this year as not only was the tree
getting crowded
but I thought that I woud make a wreath with all of these.
More of the toothpick nosed, snappy eyed snowmen with their walking twigs and fancy buttons
And I have three of these trees each made from rolled up green pipe cleaners
which are then glued to cardboard and magnets for the refrigerator holiday spirit
And finally, as I was getting tired of snapping photos, this great holiday
addition to my wire spring wooden clothspin note holder collection!!

Here's some of his buddies ( I have about 68 ducks - send more if you find them)

And that's my holiday tree collection.  I love each and every one of these sweet little home-made decorations.   (but I tell ya, for $5000, I'll ship the whole shebang to ya before xmas!!)

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Honey Crisp apples before and after the dryer
Boy, I am certainly having trouble figuring out the photos for this blog entry.  A headache of major proportions.  All I want to do is line them all up in rows.  Too much to ask of Blogger apparently. And while I'm whinning, I'd like to have spell-check on Blogger also.  I'm much too tired to bend over and get the dictionary.

But it's been that kind of day.  I went to find a file in my newly moved file cabinet but couldn't get the top drawer closed nor the bottom one open - not even with several rapid (and frustrated) whacks with a big hammer.  But I noticed that I could see the bottom drawer files way in the back when the top drawer was opened all the way and of course I decided to yank all the bottom files out through that narrow opening and laugh at the gods making my day so hard. And ha-ha, I did get the files dragged out, but hopefully the blood dripped on them from my stupid arm that got caught in the cabinet won't hurt them much.  Not as much as it hurt me.

Photos on the Sea Islands

It's that time of year when I take inventory of everything - finances (hence the bloody battle with the file cabinet), books: handmade, listed with amazon, private collection and boxes of unknowns, crap in the basement, colors and amounts of thread, just about everything in this house and in my head and written on lists - it all gets inventoried.  I love the idea of A New Year and A Fresh Start.

I am a sucker for articles on improving one's creativity and time management.  I keep hoping that they will help with the inventories.  I was convinced by one blogger that all could be vastly improved if  I used the Goggle calendar to schedule my life.  Apparently a pop-up appears on the computer desktop when something is due alerting the user to send off the proposal, pay the bill or enter the show.  Since I spent close to four or five hours trying to figure out that damn calender before I started trying to erase everything, not only did I not improve my productivity but now every Wednesday at 4pm I get a pop-up message alerting me to clean the catbox.

My ideal choices.

 I have found that the best way to get organized and more importantly - start to produce artwork - is to completely clean out several rooms in my house.  Then of course, any inventory is a lot easier.   Since the last blog post I have finished painting the last two walls of the kitchen and tossed out about 237 items to the holiday present pile, or to "the too good for goodwill but not enough for Johnnie's auction house pile" or to the actual goodwill pile and/or garbage can.  I love the calm that comes with having less stuff around.

In a conversation with my friend Jane, we figured out that we all spend the first 50 years of life collecting necessary 'stuff'.  Stuff for that camping trip to Everest, canning 70 quarts of tomatoes for winter or building (and stocking) a fall-out shelter in the back yard.  Then in the second 50 years of our lives we realize that 90% of those plans and boxes of stuff will never happen so we can start to pluck them out from the things we really want to do and haul 'em away.

How I want my house to look.

And that is really true.  I hate camping so why do I keep the tent, sleeping bag, ground pad, camping dishes and pots, oil lights, fish poles etc, etc, etc?  The power here has never gone out for more than 3 hours in the 15 years I've been here and I have absolutely no interest for staying alive if all the countries bomb each other or the half-witted tea party takes over the country.  Out it goes to goodwill where some cute 20-somethings will grab it, think they are the luckiest people on earth to be so prepared.  Wait until they turn 50, but by then my purged stuff will be appearing on Antiques Roadshow.

Today's inventory is of the books still available for sale and need to be listed on Etsy and Flickr.  Writing this blog came first in the alphabet (yes, I organized my daily to do list alphabetically.  Doesn't everyone?) so I will post a few of my newest books here... if I can get the little pictures to go where I want them to go.  (oh, and the inventory of Control Issues came before writing this blog...in case you were wondering).
Coptic bound Book #40  ($125) SOLD
Book #60 ($40) SOLD
Book #58   ($40) SOLD

Book #54   ($40)

Book #59  ($40)SOLD
Book #57  (sold)
Book #55  ($40) SOLD
Book #51  ($40) SOLD
Sunset on the InterCoastal Waterway. Calm, no clutter.