Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Holiday Hint: Mug Scarves

Here's an idea for entertaining during the winter holidays (or just the family at home!): give each of your cocoa mugs a colorful felt "scarf" tied around the handle. It will help people remember which cup is theirs. Use a 1/2 inch by 4 inch strip and tie once around the mug handle (it has to be removable for washing so don't tie a double knot!). Sparkly or printed felt would be extra nice!

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Pleasant Times Christmas Village Mountain and Skater Additions

2022 Note: I was getting a lot of requests for access to the files ("request to view" in Google Drive or Docs).  No matter how I updated the settings I still had to manually approve many people. Therefore for this year I have moved the PDF to a new hosting platform so the updated links will take you there. It is still FREE and should be accessible to you all 24/7 without waiting on me to approve you!
Happy December! I'm very happy to announce that there are now some extra pieces to the popular 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.

 If you are just starting with the village, you will want to edit the town and home pieces a bit. I would suggest cutting out the sky where you can, or just leaving it white. As you can see in the above photo, my original village had a snowy night time sky. I still think it looks great with the mountains in the background!

 Here we finally have a person in the village; I'm not terribly good at drawing people so until that changes this is all you get! Lest you think she looks lonely, let me assure you that she is not the only person in town. This little lady is the proprietress of the cocoa shack, and waiting for the other villagers to come out for an hour of skating under the stars.
 For a simple village, you can just color and cut the piece out. You can add glitter for a step up. If you print one more piece, you can cut one up and layer them on the other so some elements "stand out" more.
 Here is the skater with all of the above. The skater and pond are layered, the little cocoa house and a few of the Christmas trees are also layered.
 You can do the same thing to Mt. Merry Christmas, and the more copies you print out, the more layers you can do! Here I did two layers: the middle hill and the trees are separate layers.
 I hope you can see it better from this photograph what I'm talking about. If you print out one more, you can make the tall trees another layer. These trees are really tall- they are as tall as ship's masts.

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)

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Reply to Ye Olde Christmas Letter

Woman Writing a Letter

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.

-The Smiths

Friday, November 28, 2014

Ye Olde Annual Christmas Letter

Good News from Abroad
Good News from...
George Smith
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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!

-The Joneses

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

Printable Card Display Easels

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!).

 The Christmas Tree card holder (pictured above) has been cut out of green card-stock.

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.

 An Autumn leaf  Easel. (The print-out has a slightly longer base, as I found it was a little sturdier that way, so yours will be slightly different than the picture.) Just for fun, I decorated the easel by just stamping it with ink pads.
Christmas Tree and Autumn Leaf Easel
 Here's one for Valentine's day, perhaps. I glued two easels together for this one, to get two colors.
On the other side, I glued pink hearts to the card stock.
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

And just in case you would rather have a simply shaped card easel, here is a plain one. The one above I covered in scrap-book paper. Plain and Fancy Easels
 And another one with just a few scrolls to make it a bit fancy. This one I am showing decorated with rubber stamps (below).
 This particular easel does well displaying open cards, too, so you can see the message inside of your card.
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

The Modern Way To Clean Out The Basment

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

The Art of Discouragement

Discovering the Telescope, 1855
Discovering the...
Edouard Ender
Buy This at

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

   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

   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

Tea Etiquette

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

Vintage Card Inspiration

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

I Don't Like Loosing Things.

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!  

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

A Couple of Cards

 Having fun with the cuttlebug again... the above is a card I made for a lover of tea and of the color blue. The teapot and cup cut-outs were ordered from eBay quite a while ago; unfortunately the seller seems to be out of business now. For until I can afford the actual die, I found that several die cuts can be had inexpensively through a seller who does have the dies.
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

From the Scrap-Book

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

The Modern Bible Bookshelf... or shelves

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

Easy Card Holder Frame

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:)

Materials needed:
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

 Take the backing off of the frame. Lay the scrap over the backing as if it were the picture you were going to display.

 With cord or ribbon, lay across the scrap as shown, adjust until you are satisfied. If you have enough ribbon (like several yards), you could wrap it around several times and in different ways.

 Pop the frame on.

 Around back, adjust the little clips over your fabric and the ribbon or cord, and then to the frame. This should hold it all in place. If you prefer not to have the fabric sticking out the back, you could wrap the scrap around a piece of paper first (and maybe flat ribbon, but not cording), then put it all together.

Display your favorite things!

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!

Friday, September 5, 2014


Religion is a social concern; for it operates powerfully on society, contributing, in various ways, to its stability and prosperity.

Religion is not merely a private affair; the community is deeply interested in its diffusion; for it is the best support of the virtues and principles on which the social order rests. Pure and undefiled religion is, to do good ; and it follows, very plainly, that, if God be the Author and Friend of society, then the recognition of him must enforce all social duty, and enlightened piety must give its whole strength to public order.

Few men suspect, perhaps no man comprehends, the extent of the support given by religion to every virtue. No man, perhaps, is aware, how much our moral and social sentiments are fed from this fountain; how powerless conscience would become, without the belief of a God; how palsied would be human benevolence, were there not the sense of a higher benevolence to quicken and sustain it; how suddenly the whole social fabric would quake, and with what a fearful crash it would sink into hopeless ruin, were the ideas of a supreme Being, of accountableness, and of a future life, to be utterly erased from every mind.

And, let men thoroughly believe that they are the work and sport of chance; that no superior intelligence concerns itself with human affairs; that all their improvements perish forever at death; that the weak have no guardian, and the injured no avenger; that there is no recompense for sacrifices to uprightness and the public good; that an oath is unheard in heaven; that secret crimes have no witness but the perpetrator; that human existence has no purpose, and human virtue no unfailing friend; that this brief life is every tiling to us, and death is total, everlasting extinction; once let them thoroughly abandon religion; and who can conceive or describe the extent of the desolation which would follow!

We hope, perhaps, that human laws and natural sympathy would hold society together. As reasonably might we believe, that, were the sun quenched in the heavens, our torches would illuminate, and our fires quicken and fertilize the creation. What is there in human nature to awaken respect and tenderness, if man is the unprotected insect of a day? And what is he more, if atheism be true ? Erase all thought and fear of God from a community, and selfishness and sensuality would absorb the whole man. Appetite, knowing no restraint, and suffering, having no solace or hope, would trample in scorn on the restraints of human laws. Virtue, duty, principle, would be mocked and spurned as unmeaning sounds. A sordid self-interest would supplant every other feeling; and man would become, in fact, what the theory of atheism declares him to be—a companion for brutes.

-William Ellery Channing, b. 1780 d. 1842

Editor's note: From the McGuffey's 5th reader. The original was reformatted for this posting. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Recycling an Old Window

I've seen a lot of re-purposed windows in decorating magazines and online. I now have had the privilege of salvaging a couple old windows myself.

This old building used to be a country schoolhouse, and then it was bought to be a church building. I don't know how old it is exactly, but I met someone who went to school here in the 1920's. I guess that means that I can safely say that the building is coming close to one hundred years old, but it could be older. The multi-paned windows were all around this building originally. The above photo is from 1972.

 Over the years, update after update, replacement after replacement, and the need to renovate for different purposes, have altered this old building. The change from a schoolhouse with desks to a church building with pews, and the addition of more rooms took out many of the old windows. The entrance was moved from the gabled end shown above, to another part of the building. That was my grandfather's idea, who preached here for many years. There were two old windows left, on either side of this gable, and those were the ones I salvaged. 
It was time for the windows to be replaced with modern ones that wouldn't let all the cold air in. I was happy to have the old ones! Since one pane in each window was cracked, and I didn't have any replacements, and since the glass made the window so heavy, I thought it best to take all the panes out. I also only saved the top half of the window, as the bottom halves were much rotted from the weather. Several days of scraping away many types of plaster that held the panes in, and pane-stakingly (sorry, I couldn't resist!) taking out the little metal tabs that also held the panes in, left me with the wooden window frame.

A bit of advice to anyone who may want to try this-- set a big cardboard box under your saw horses as you work. It will catch all the bits of glass and plaster and make clean up easier. Next, the glass will break, even if you are careful, and actually on most of my project it was much easier to get out that way, and let me have a go at the stuff that was plastering it in with more vigor. Wear work gloves. Lastly, slow and steady is better than having an accident with sharp tools and shards of glass!

 A nice coat of paint (Benjamin Moore "Capri Coast") and my week's project is done! I gave one window to my mother, and the other I'll keep. Shown above is the window displayed on my mother's wall, above the mantel. I'm sure she'll have it decorated in many interesting ways as the seasons change. I haven't decided what to do with mine yet, so it is leaning against the wall. I'm glad that I have a story to tell about the building that these windows came from, and the relation to my family, so that instead of just being another decoration, they may become a family treasure. 

For all kinds of ideas for old windows, just do an image search for "recycling old window into decor," or here is a site with lots of uses for old windows!