Thursday, November 29, 2007

Pay It Forward

Come join in the fun and make the world a happier place.

So this is how it goes...

It’s the Pay It Forward Exchange.

It’s based of the concept of the movie “Pay it Forward” where acts or deeds of kindness are done without expecting something in return, just passing it on, with hope that the recipients of the acts of kindness are passed on.

So here’s how it works:

I will make and send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment to this post on my blog requesting to join this Pay It Forward exchange. I do not know what that gift will be yet, and it won’t be sent this month. I'll probably send it next month or the month after. It will definitely be sent (within 6 months) and that’s a promise! More than likely I'll get it made after Christmas and sent out early in the New Year.

What YOU have to do in return, then, is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog to 3 different people. Unfortunately this is only possible for those of who have a blog.

So the first 3 people to comment to this post on my Linda's Blog and join in will get a handmade gift from me....

Ready, Set, GO!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Snow, Snow! Go Away! Don't Return Another Day!

It's hard to believe that we are already at the time of year when it will be snowing once again. In fact, it has already snowed an inch here and they are predicting snow for Thanksgiving Day. The good news is that it will melt quickly. The bad news is we're just at the start of the season. Oh, joy!

Something has happened to me over the years. Aging has definitely changed my attitude towards snow. When I was a kid I LOVED the snow, mainly because it meant no school. I loved playing in it, making snowangels all over the lawn, building forts at the end of our driveway, making snowmen, throwing snowballs, etc. To me there was always something magical and mystical about snowflakes and snow.

Of course, snow also meant shoveling the driveway, which I hated. It wasn't the act of shoveling that bothered me. It was the fact that I had to help my brother shovel the driveway when his chores were outside and mine were inside the house. This was a long time ago when women had household chores inside the house and the men had household chores outside the house. My brother didn't help me with the laundry, dusting, washing the dishes, etc. Why did I have to help him shovel, rake the leaves, mow the lawn, etc.?

When I questioned this , my Mother would say, "Just help your brother!" I'd reply, "Aw, MA!!!" She'd look at me with one of those Mother looks (you know what I mean) and say, "Linda, just do it!" So, being the dutiful daughter that I was, I did it. However, just because I did it, it didn't mean I liked it or agreed with it.

I'm always getting side tracked, aren't I? In any event, back to the aging! I think that as you get older, and older, and older (like me) you prefer looking at pictures of snow in a magazine, not at snowflakes falling on your lawn, or on your driveway. An accumulation of 189" of snowflakes in a winters season can change ones childhood view of snowflakes being magical and mystical. With age snow becomes much more of a nuisance. It's hard to walk in, hard to drive in, and, most certainly, a pain to shovel. Isn't aging grand? To quote Doug Larson, "The aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball."


But, it's not just what I have to do with the snow, it's even annoying with regards to my wonderful dog. Don't get me wrong. He just loves the snow. In fact his middle name is "Snow Doggie!" He just loves to run and jump in it. He could stay out for hours. It's baffling that he just loves the snow, for he HATES the rain with a passion. That is truly mystifying because in both instances he gets wet. What's the difference between being wet with snow and wet with rain?Must be a doggie thing!

In any event, the problem with the snow is that after he's had all his fun he comes back in the house with snowballs all frozen and caught in his fur. The snowballs get all over the floor and the furniture. Ah, man! You have to drag out the "doggie blow-dryer" (of course he has his own blow dryer!) to melt the snowballs and dry his fur (which, of course, he just LOVES!!!) And, all the time all you can think about is "Snow, snow! Go away! Don't return another day!"

So, given that aging has dampered my childhood love of snow, you might wonder how can I possibly love snowmen and snowladies as much as I do? Why would you want to design a doll based on something that, in it's natural state, is so annoying to me? Well, possibly because snowmen and snowladies are dolls (which we all know I love) and as dolls they don't make a mess. They can't melt all over your floor. You don't have to shovel them and throw your back out. They just sit there very lovely, allowing you to enjoy them, and to recall your wonderful childhood memories of mystical snowflakes and magical snowmen, snowangels, and snow castles.

So, like most crafters I just adore making snowmen and snowladies. Why? Because you can do so much with them. They can be Victorian, primitive, modern, grungy, raggedy, shabby chic, etc. They can be made of cloth, Styrofoam, Warm & Natural, felt, wool, terry cloth, cotton, corduroy, wood, clay, terra cotta, etc. Just about anything. They can be happy. They can be sad. They can be partially melting or three levels full. They can be skinny or fat. Large or small. Ornaments or full size dolls. They can be added to wreaths or hung from garland. The possibilities are endless. How could you not love them so?

If you've never made a snowman, you should. They're so enjoyable to make and such a pleasure to display. You can display just one or a whole bunch together, or various clusters all around the house. Just let you imagination be your guide. Display them inside, all around, or upside down. Put then on your door, on your walls, on your shelves. Put them inside, put them outside, put them anywhere. Make them, decorate them, and then relax and enjoy them. For to be sure. In a few short weeks they may be watching you as you bend your knees, lift and throw (there goes my back!) all that snow. SNOW, SNOW! GO AWAY! DON'T RETURN ANOTHER DAY!

Here's a few "snowman" riddles for you:

Q. What is a snowman's favorite lunch?
A. An Iceberger!

Q. What does a snowman take when he's sick?
A. A Chill Pill!

Q. What kind of hat does a snowman wear?
A. An Ice Cap!

Q. What do you call a snow party?
A. A Snow Ball!

And the best snowman riddle:

Q. What happened when the snowlady got angry at the snowman?
A. She gave him the cold shoulder!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

My Favorite BIG Christmas Dolls and Wood Crafts

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas at our house without all the holiday decorations.

While we have decorations out during all the other holidays and seasons none takes the cake next to our Christmas decorations. Each and every doll or wood craft has their particular place in my Christmas home decor and each and every year they go to the same place.

My grandchildren have gotten really good at reminding me which decoration goes where. After awhile with so many I tend to forget. Either that or I just love seeing if the grandchildren are paying attention. Most times they are.

In any event three of my favorite Christmas decorations are guess what?

You got it - BIG dolls and wood crafts.

One is an olde fashioned wood Santa and another is a Santa and Mrs. Claus pair of wood and cloth dolls.

The olde fashioned Santa stands 45" tall and is made our of 3/4" pine wood. I named him "Kristopher" and he was made based upon a "From My Heart To Yours" design.

He is a "sponge" painted Santa and was painted a deep burgundy red for an "olde fashioned" appearance. The fur along the bottom of his outfit, along his shoulders, and on the edge of his hat are all "sponge" painted with ocean sponges. His pompom is "sponge" painted as well. And there is blue, black, white, and red "sponge" painting all along his edges.

Kristopher is carrying a "sponge" painted sign that says "An Olde Fashion Christmas" and is carrying a medal bell.

Hi beard and moustaches are painted with multiple colors and applied using "wispy" strokes.

He proudly stands in his place in our sun room during the Christmas holiday season and everyone who goes into our sun room makes sure they say "hello!" to him.

My BIG Santa and Mrs. Claus wood and cloth dolls were actually made to decorate the area just outside my mother's apartment.

When my mother lived in an apartment building for senior citizens each and every year my mother and I would decorate an area just outside her apartment for Christmas. She loved it as did all her neighbors. Many of them commented to her about how much they loved our display. She no longer lives there so now they have their respective places in my house.

Santa is wearing his favorite pair of jeans, his favorite green striped shirt, and his favorite embroidered vest. He has multi-colored buttons on his shirt, white socks, and 1" pine painted black for his shoes. Rope is glued to the tops of his shoes for ties. He has a full beard, glasses, and is wearing a Christmas cap.

He is carrying a candy cane tucked into the waistband of his pants. You never know when he might get hungry, so he wants to be prepared.

Mrs. Claus is a wood and cloth doll that stands 36" tall and was made based on a Sharri's Country Classics design.

Mrs. Claus is wearing her favorite lace decorated Christmas dress and favorite coordinating apron with a pocket. She has to have the pocket as she never knows when she may need to carry something and one only has two hands. That is - unless they have pocket. She also has her favorite Christmas shawl wrapped around her shoulders and is wearing her favorite white Christmas socks.

Mrs. Claus has a wire ribbon bow just under her chin and cloth bows on the tops of her feet. She has a full head of white hair and is wearing her favorite Christmas bonnet.

Because she never knows when she has to drop everything she's doing to bake Christmas cookies for the elves she is carrying the cookie molds around with her.

Santa and Mrs. Clause have their place in our dining room at Christmas time. Sometimes Mrs. Claus even helps me bake the Christmas cookies. Never Santa. He's too tired.....

I hope you like my favorite BIG Christmas dolls and wood crafts.