Saturday, December 6, 2014
Monday, December 1, 2014
Printable Christmas Village!
To give the village a little more depth, you can now print out this mountain background to put behind the village. There is also a little skating girl, which can be put in front of the village, though properly she should be put up as side piece to the town. (Mountain and Skater Here
Mountain Sides here)
The mountain is named "Mt. Merry Christmas." The credit for that name goes to one of our Field Editors, who is great at "discovering" and naming mountains. He graciously allowed me to borrow this unique name for my village mountain.
Of course, you can leave it one layer and glitter it and it will still be lovely.
Once you have done as much as you want to do, you can tape the side pieces to Mt. Merry Christmas, and fold them inward slightly, so that the mountain ranges will stand up for you.
You will notice one little moose/deer/elk (or maybe a new species!) who has ventured out of the woods. Perhaps he isn't afraid of the hunters since they are all at home by their warm fireplaces!
On the other side, there is a waterfall and a stream that isn't quite frozen up yet.
I will be adding these links to the original Christmas Village posts as well.
Enjoy and have a Happy December!
Mountain and Skater Here
Mountain Sides here
The original Christmas Village posts:
The Meeting House and Woods (PDF page) (blog post for the Meeting House ) (blog post for the woods)
The Village Shops (PDF page) (blog post)
The Village Houses (PDF page) (blog post)
The Farm (PDF page) (blog post)
If you have made up the Christmas village I'd love to see a picture! You can email me at
"the pleasant times @ gmail . com" (no spaces)
Thank you for your interest in The Pleasant Times' Christmas Village! You may print the village out for free; if you felt it was useful to you, please consider donating to help fund my craft room:)
Sunday, November 30, 2014
Mrs. Jones reading the reply
Dear Friends the Joneses,
How nice of you to go to all that trouble to send us a card, seeing how busy you are. And thank you for the long letter updating us on the doings of your family. The paper was such nice, fine quality. It was a pity to throw it away but we had to use it to light the kindling in our little tin-can stove. It is the only heat source we have now, in the garage, since our home burned down this year, just before the snow storm hit.
Congratulations to you for your new son-in-law, and that your daughter married so well. It sounds like you are enjoying your grandchildren. We are, too, since the job market crashed and all the kiddos moved back home-- with all 17 grandchildren. Fortunately they think tent camping in winter is "fun."
Our in-laws have parked their RV close by, so we have some access to plumbing and running water. Since my son's father-in-law lost his job, they have been strapped for cash. We felt that it would only be fair to let them stay in the driveway and enjoy their grandchildren, too. We are hoping that the landlord will see fit to take our collected rent and let us stay a little while longer, since we can't go anywhere else as gas prices are high and we only have one car now, since we sold the others to buy food.
I hope you don't mind us re-using the front of your Christmas card. The post office forgot to cancel the stamp, which was a boon for us. You are the only person to get a card from us this year-- until the post office forgets to cancel another stamp.
If you are ever up this way, be sure to drop by and say "hi." We'll put more water in the soup for you.
We are sure you will have a warm and merry Christmas.
Friday, November 28, 2014
Good News from...
Buy This at Allposters.com
Dear Jane and John,
Well hello again, friends. It has been another fantastic year. I hope you enjoyed it! Our family grew by leaps and bounds again this year-- we were so busy we met ourselves coming and going!
Our daughter's wedding in France was beautiful-- it was quite a feat not just to host 600 people for a wedding, but to get them on planes to the wedding was something else! She pulled it off beautifully. It was a good thing the chateau was large. And here we have yet another son-in-law that is a millionaire. Our daughter continues in her highly successful career as a consultant, and she is often called away from her Island home in the Mediterranean to fly all over Europe and offer her advice.
Our second son graduated this year with all the usual honors from Harvard, Yale, and Cambridge all in one month! You can imagine how tired he was from all that studying and traveling. He is excitedly looking toward the future as he starts his new job in a prestigious law firm. He is already on track for the presidency and sure that in a couple years he'll win an election. Pretty good for a 15 year old.
Our youngest boy-- the baby of the family!-- is really into sports. He's won every major competition in swimming, basketball, biking, skateboarding, track, skiing, hockey, soccer, football, figure skating, volleyball, baseball, chess, and Frisbee. His coaches are talking about sending him to the Olympics. If so, that would make 3 of our kids who have competed in that venue.
My Uncle Hal won the lottery again!! That makes twice! Can't believe the luck of that man! We enjoy having him around-- he was a 5 star chef and he makes the most wonderful meals for us. We want him to retire and stay with us forever, but he is in much demand in Hollywood.
Hubby and I continue our busy week of work, he has been with his company for so long they are naming the new office building after him, and I am still called upon again and again to run the bank. I guess a person of my abilities can't be done without! But I have to get off work early so I can oversee the construction of our new house. This is our 5th custom home, and I think I'm beginning to be an old pro at being my own general contractor.
The new home will be our biggest yet, as we are expecting to host a lot of family gatherings, now that our oldest has had their 3rd child. Yes, we are grandparents yet again. All the little ones have far exceeded the normal milestones; Ace was supposed to enroll for kindergarten, but the teachers in 2nd grade begged to have her there! Topp is reading already-- at 2 years old. This isn't a surprise as his Daddy already was writing up his thesis at 2 1/2, and his Mother had cut an album of original songs by that age. And the new little baby is as bright as they come, so they named her Starr.
Lest you think it is nothing but work, work, work around here, we did enjoy 5 weeks of vacation this year, besides the wedding (which I don't think you can call a vacation!). Two relaxing weeks we spent at our summer home in Aspen. Then we spent some time visiting friends in Italy, and took a hop over to India and enjoyed a resort. Then off to Australia! You can imagine we were glad to get home and take a rest! But with the Christmas holidays upon us, we will be glad to take some time off of the hustle and bustle and celebrate the New Year on our Yacht in the Caribbean.
We hope that your family has a happy holiday!
Hi Smiths-- how are you poor people doing this winter? I heard you had 6 feet of snow and no power for a week! Hope you stay warm!
Monday, November 24, 2014
Here are some printable paper easels to use for displaying holiday cards. These easels are also nice for displaying any home-made cards you might get for birthdays, etc., which can often be so elaborate that it is a pity to store them in a box! If you are handy with your printer, you could print the easels out smaller and use them for place card holders on a holiday dinner table (though you would have to have a lot of patience or many willing volunteers to cut around all those leaf-points for a large Thanksgiving gathering!).
Print the easels on heavy card stock and cut, or glue two print-outs together if your card stock isn't thick enough. If you find the cards aren't standing right, you can bend back the upper branches of the tree slightly, but I have tried to "engineer" that trouble out of the templates for you!
Click the links to go to the Google Drive page, and look for the little printer icon to print.
Christmas Tree and Autumn Leaf Easel
Here is a Christmas card displayed on the tree easel.
Just for fun, I've included some print-outs for other seasonal and holiday cards.
Christmas Tree and Autumn Leaf Easel
Heart and Flower Easels
Another two-tone easel, perhaps for Springtime or Easter, with the bottom part cut out of green card stock and glued to some pink card stock.Heart and Flower Easels
Plain and Fancy Easels
Plain and Fancy Easels
And here is a BONUS idea for you! Use the "negative" side of the print-out to make a card! I have used the "Scrolly" easel on red card stock to make a flourish (below) and I think the Christmas tree negative would also be neat glued to the inside of a card.
Or you could use the easels themselves glued on a card.
I hope my readers enjoy this little craft, and that you all have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!
Monday, November 10, 2014
First, get an early start. Pull out everything you can to make a path through it so once you get in, you can get out. By the time you are done with this, your friend next door will be awake and texting you, so you can have a break and answer her text and then send her a picture of the massive project you are undertaking. If your friend liked the photo, it might make a neat Facebook update, so upload the photo to Facebook, and put a clever caption on it-- "boy I need a Starbucks right now..."
Look at the mess again, decide where to start. Move a box. Say, it might be a good idea to have "before" and "after" photos-- so take another picture of the mess and upload it to Instagram.
Now a few comments are trickling in on Facebook. Some of them are very clever-- answer with some cute replies of your own before going back to work.
Pick up the old lampshade, and wonder whether to keep it or toss it, then wonder why you wonder whether to keep the out-of-style thing! Say, this project might make a great blog post: "How to stoicly let go of useless objects for a cleaner house." Take pictures of a few items that you might want to toss, to post on your blog.
It isn't any good typing a whole post on a smart phone! Besides, it must be almost lunch time. So go in the house to fire up the laptop so you can do some decent typing. Get out the tablet to look up a good lunch recipe.
After lunch, and typing your post, uploading photos, getting on Photoshop to crop and write quotables on the photos, searching your affiliates for any links that could be useful in your post, and looking up to see if "stoicly" is a word since the spellchecker seems to think that it isn't (you know you've heard it used before), publish the post, then read and edit it for the things you left out or shouldn't have left in.
By now your friends on Facebook have simmered down, but there are some comments on your Instagram that could be answered.
My, you didn't realize that the sun was getting lower in the sky. You really got distracted! But at least you have a great blog post to show for your time.
It's time to get back on task, but you just don't feel like it. Maybe a jaunt over to Pinterest to look up "Organization" boards will inspire you. Say, there are some really good ones there that you should add to your own boards, and some pictures to embed on your latest post.
Well, it's time to get down there in the basement (or up there in the attic) and start following all that good advice you wrote about on your blog-- at least with the time left you can start a pile to take to the thrift store. Oh wait, your friend is texting you to say that your blog post is great! I'll bet there are some comments on the post already. Better check to see.
It's dinner time now, and you are getting awfully tired-- mostly your eyes hurt. You only moved one box and a lampshade. Well, Rome wasn't built in a day! I'll bet those Romans never had to clean out a basement anyway. They probably filled it in with dirt and built on top of it. Yeah, that's what they did! That's why we have archaeologists today-- to clean out those old basements.
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Buy This at Allposters.com
By Arthur Helps
Regarding, one day, in company with a humorous friend, a noble vessel of a somewhat novel construction sailing slowly out of port, he observed, "What a quantity of cold water somebody must have had down his back." In my innocence, I supposed that he alluded to the wet work of the artisans who had been building the vessel; but when I came to know him better, I found that this was the form of comment he always indulged in when contemplating any new and great work, and that his "somebody" was the designer of the vessel. My friend had carefully studied the art of discouragement, and there was a class of men whom he designated simply as "cold-water pourers." It was most amusing to hear him describe the lengthened sufferings of the man who first designed a wheel; of him who first built a boat; of the adventurous personage who first proposed the daring enterprise of using buttons, instead of fish bones, to fasten the scanty raiment of some savage tribe. Warming with his theme, he would become quite eloquent in describing the long career of discouragement which these rash men had brought upon themselves, and which he said, to his knowledge, must have shortened their lives. He invented imaginary dialogues between the unfortunate inventor, say of the wheel, and his particular friend, some eminent cold-water pourer. For, as he said, every man has some such friend, who fascinates him by fear, and to whom he confides his enterprises in order to hear the worst that can be said of them. The sayings of the chilling friend, probably, as he observed, ran thus:--"We seem to have gone on very well for thousands of years without this rolling thing. Your father carried burdens on his back. The king is content to be borne on men's shoulders. The high priest is not too proud to do the same. Indeed, I question whether it is not irreligious to attempt to shift from men's shoulders their natural burdens. "Then, as to its succeeding,--for my part, I see no chance of that. How can it go up hill? How often you have failed before in other fanciful things of the same nature! Besides, you are losing your time; and the yams about your hut are only half planted. You will be a beggar; and it is my duty, as a friend, to tell you so plainly. "There was Nang-chung: what became of him? We had found fire for ages, in a proper way, taking a proper time about it, by rubbing two sticks together. He must needs strike out fire at once, with iron and flint; and did he die in his bed? Our sacred lords saw the impiety of that proceeding, and very justly impaled the man who imitated heavenly powers. And, even if you could succeed with this new and absurd rolling thing, the state would be ruined. What would become of those who carry burdens on their backs? Put aside the vain fancies of a childish mind, and finish the planting of your yams." It is really very curious to observe how, even in modern times, the arts of discouragement prevail. There are men whose sole pretense to wisdom consists in administering discouragement. They are never at a loss. They are equally ready to prophesy, with wonderful ingenuity, all possible varieties of misfortune to any enterprise that may be proposed; and when the thing is produced, and has met with some success, to find a flaw in it. I once saw a work of art produced in the presence of an eminent cold-water pourer. He did not deny that it was beautiful; but he instantly fastened upon a small crack in it that nobody had observed; and upon that crack he would dilate whenever the work was discussed in his presence. Indeed, he did not see the work, but only the crack in it. That flaw,--that little flaw,--was all in all to him. The cold-water pourers are not all of one form of mind. Some are led to indulge in this recreation from genuine timidity. They really do fear that all new attempts will fail. Others are simply envious and ill-natured. Then, again, there is a sense of power and wisdom in prophesying evil. Moreover, it is the safest thing to prophesy, for hardly anything at first succeeds exactly in the way that it was intended to succeed. Again, there is the lack of imagination which gives rise to the utterance of so much discouragement. For an ordinary man, it must have been a great mental strain to grasp the ideas of the first projectors of steam and gas, electric telegraphs, and pain-deadening chloroform. The inventor is always, in the eyes of his fellow-men, somewhat of a madman; and often they do their best to make him so. Again, there is the want of sympathy; and that is, perhaps, the ruling cause in most men's minds who have given themselves up to discourage. They are not tender enough, or sympathetic enough, to appreciate all the pain they are giving, when, in a dull plodding way, they lay out argument after argument to show that the project which the poor inventor has set his heart upon, and upon which, perhaps, he has staked his fortune, will not succeed. But what inventors suffer, is only a small part of what mankind in general endure from thoughtless and unkind discouragement. Those high-souled men belong to the suffering class, and must suffer; but it is in daily life that the wear and tear of discouragement tells so much. Propose a small party of pleasure to an apt discourager, and see what he will make of it. It soon becomes sicklied over with doubt and despondency; and, at last, the only hope of the proposer is, that his proposal, when realized, will not be an ignominious failure. All hope of pleasure, at least for the proposer, has long been out of the question.
-McGuffey's 5th reader
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
This reminded me of my mother's little etiquette lessons before tea parties, however she would add a little bit to the part about the scone: instead of slathering the whole half with jam and cream, she recommended tearing off a bite-sized piece, and loading that piece with jam and cream. It is a wee bit neater than trying to take a bite out of a large scone. A side benefit is that you get more cream and jam per bite!
Saturday, October 11, 2014
A friend of mine recently got married, and I knew she liked things from the 1940's. So, I took an idea from one of the cards in my grandma's scrapbook to make my friend a wedding card.
Front of original card, c. 1940
Inside of card (the bride had made a note that she received a red, black, and tan tablecloth from the guests.)
The card is a large sheet of parchement-type paper folded in fourths, and has a circle cut in the front, lined with champagne/gold colored thin metallic paper, which also has a circle cut in it. The pretty cottage picture is on the inside of the card, with the verse.
My card is, of course, a little different, considering that I did not have the same materials, and I used what was on hand. I used card stock, and some silver paper I had, but I was pleased that I had the little cottage rubber stamp with a path that looked similar to the original image. I added a couple more stamped images and colored them with chalks. I thought about using scalloped scissors on the circles, as I could have imitated the original better, but I didn't trust myself-- I was afraid I would end up with funny ovals instead of circles! I guess I need to go buy some scalloped dies just in case I need them for a project like this:) And some shiny papers, while I'm at it:)
The rubber stamps I got a long time ago, but I suppose they could be found on eBay or Etsy these days. I'll list the details if any one is interested in trying to find them:
Scene: Stampendous P012-Country (1995)
Doves: Embossing Arts, no number or title on my block, and no date.
Roses: Emobssing Arts 832-J Roses/Corner 1992
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
One of the things that annoys me as I read websites, blogs, or even magazines nowadays, is the misuse of the word "loose" for "lose." It's probably a mistake to blame on the spell-check feature of computers -- the words aren't misspelled so of course the spell check will not call attention to them. I'm sure most writers just miss the mix-up in proof-reading, as sometimes when you are writing and reading and editing (and typing too fast), you just don't see the mistakes until the article is published!
The Parable of...the lost coin
I just wish the computer knew that we don't loose weight, we lose it. We don't loose things, we lose them!
And of course, we don't find that the knob is lose on a door... it is loose. I see the loose for lose mistake the most often, though.
Monday, September 29, 2014
I stamped the background blue on blue with some little stamps, then stamped the shapes. I ran the shapes through the cuttlebug in a swirl-design embossing folder. It doesn't show up too well in the photo, but there are glitter outlines on the shapes.
The card above I followed a video tutorial for; I am not sure what to do with all that hot-pink card stock that always seems to be leftover from the multi-colored paper packets, but it seems to be okay in roses. I have since made the card using other floral stamps in my collection; the "lattice" technique is a fresh way to use some of my old stamps!
Here is the video, the tutorial part starts at about 2 minutes in:
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Isn't this a pretty cover for a book? I found a couple of old spiral-bound manila paper scrap-books in my grandmother's things.
This one is called "River of dreams."
In one of the books, there was a newspaper clipping that interested me, since it is talking about my great-great grandfather, John McMaster. Born of Scotch parents in Nova Scotia, he settled near Gray's Harbor,Washington and called one of its "earliest pioneers." I found the writing beautiful in this clipping.
Click for larger view.
Friday, September 12, 2014
Painting from Wikimedia Commons
Nowadays, there is a Bible to suit every age, every occupation, every hobby, every doctrine, and every situation.
You grow up on the Toddler's Bible, the Children's Version, the Tween Bible that reads like a comic book, and the Teen Bible for Girls that reads like a fashion magazine. Then when you are an adult, you can get the Engaged Couple's Study Bible, the Young Marrieds Bible, the Mother Of A Newborn Bible, and the Parent's Guide Bible. Don't be tempted to start thinking that you can recycle those old children's Bibles so that you won't need to buy another bookshelf, because the next generation is more modern than you are and they will need their own versions of kid's Bibles in all the latest graphics and colors.
Then of course, as you are reading to the children from their assorted Bibles (a different one for every age), you are probably reading the Parent's Guide Bible; but you need to feed your soul, too, so you have to get your own editions that follow your interests: The Bible- Video Game Edition, The Knitter's Bible (the one with devotionals, not stitches), The Chef's Bible, Traveler's Bible, Writer's Bible, Fly Fisherman's Bible (contemplations on Fly Fishing and Fishing for Men), Hunter's Bible or the Nature Lover's Bible.
Don't forget your occupation, too: The Computer Programmer's Bible, the Teacher's Bible, the Lawyer's Bible, and the like. Oh, and now that the kids are in school, they need the Student's Bible, Locker edition. And as life throws you all kinds of responsibilities and unforeseen events, you may need the Debt Relief Bible, the Moving Bible, the Weight Loss Bible, and the Caretaker's Study Bible. Then of course you may want the Busy Person's Bible, the Split-Second-Glance Bible, or the Bite-Size Bible for those times when there isn't time.
Then as the kids get older, you will buy them the New Driver's Bible, High School Grad's Bible, and the College Bound Bible, Dorm edition. You will need the Empty Nester's Study Bible, and the Second Career Seeker's Devotional Bible, and they will need to start on the Devotional Bible track as mentioned above, with the addition of the New Job Seeker's Devotional Bible. Then as you get older, there will be the Retirement Bible, the Social Security Bible, and the Nursing Home Bible.
You can also get Bibles with notes from your favorite contemporary authors or preachers in the margins. Don't forget to make room on the shelf for their best-sellers, as the Bibles are companions to their more in-depth devotional, self-help, sermon books, and novels. As the children leave home and move around, they will need somewhere to park their old Bibles, so you better make room on the shelf for those, too.
Let's not forget in all this which version to read. You may have started with your Grandpa's archaic version, but now you have so many more to choose from: The updated versions, the simple language versions, the easy-to-read versions, and the one that reads like a novel (compiled by your favorite authors, with their transitions written between the scriptures to make it "flow"). You may want to try them all until you find one that says what you want it to. It is a hop, skip and a jump from there to a paraphrase, which will also get simpler over time. I have noticed that paraphrases and simple-to-understand Bibles often take more words to express something than the older versions, but I have no doubt that there will come a "few words" version of the Bible to make it even more desirable to read. And of course, you want to get the ones that are printed just for your particular denomination.
I wonder why there are all these Bibles for all these different interests, but not any for some of the other things or people that need specialized, focused Bibles? Maybe they are out there, I just haven't seen them yet. The Blogger's Bible, The Occupy Wall Street Devotional Bible, The One Percent Bible, The Jane Austen Devotional Bible, The UFO Sighter's Bible, or the Backyard Chicken Lover's Study Bible? I wonder if a Bible Publisher should contact me for my ideas. It might be a profitable business to be in.
If I were to have some customized Bibles published, one would be The Dishwasher's Bible: a short, thick Bible that stays open on the windowsill above the sink, with large print and waterproof pages and ink. Hey, I think I just invented something there.
Now what do you think that girl in the painting is doing? I think she's saying "I'll keep my plain little old HOLY Bible, thank you very much."
Monday, September 8, 2014
Here is a fun way to display your cards, postcards, or photographs! It can also show off a pretty piece of fabric or some fabulous trim at the same time. This is a lazy craft, as long as you have the materials on hand, you can do this in less than five minutes and just lifting a few fingers:)
Frame with backing but no glass (I had a dollar store diploma frame fall from a desk, and the glass broke, but the rest was good, so this is a good craft for reusing a frame)
Scrap of Fabric, a little bigger than the frame
Ribbon or cord, enough to go around as seen below
You could also, as mentioned, wrap ribbon around it in different configurations. I can see a grid of ribbon, perhaps, or even just a "crazy quilt" style application of ribbon, to provide more places to tuck in cards or photos.
You could also pad it by using batting under the scrap, and then you could use some decorative sewing pins to hold items for display.
I have had fun with a technique for making a glass-like finish on cards, a couple of which I have displayed in the above photos. Here's the tutorial I followed:
On the top card displayed in this post, I went ahead and "cracked" the rose image, then embossed the edges in gold to look like an old plate. On the other card shown, I did the same embossing technique on the scripture, but did not crack it, preferring to leave it smooth. I also did the first layer with glittered clear embossing powder, then topped it with more layers of regular clear embossing powder, so it has a sparkle to it but a glassy feel. The leaf embossing folder used for the background was a recent gift from a friend!