Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Dream Banner

I saw this idea in a shop a few months ago. Instead of just buying the thing of beauty, I said to myself, "I can make that!" I'm sure I'm not the only one that says that to herself while shopping!

Of course, I can make a lot of things, but I can't always make time.

For months, a sticky note with a scribbled sketch of the banner floated around my craft desk. Yes, it was there so long that the sticky note lost its sticky.

But here at last, is the banner! And, I do believe it is my first ever banner. Not as pretty as the one I saw (which was a lot pinker than mine with better letters and more texture!), but I am glad I tried it. To my surprise, as soon as I had put it up, I had some little admirers, who thought that the "Dream" banner was beautiful, and it made them very happy!

There is a fellow who works at our local dollar store, and he always asks the customers, "what is your good news today?" He says he likes to make people think about the positive in their lives. Of course, the Gospel is a good answer!
Maybe we all should be in the habit of thinking about what the good of the day has been, instead of dwelling on all the disappointments. I was in that store tonight to pick something up, and I thought I'd better have something ready for when the fellow asks his question. So the good news for today is,
that we are all able to do beautiful things to make people happy. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The New England Fireside

Excerpt from A New England Girlhood  by Lucy Larcom. 

Primitive ways of doing things had not wholly ceased during my childhood; they were kept up in these old towns longer than elsewhere. We used tallow candles and oil lamps, and sat by open fireplaces. There was always a tinder-box in some safe corner or other, and fire was kindled by striking flint and steel upon the tinder. What magic it seemed to me, when I was first allowed to strike that wonderful spark, and light the kitchen fire!
The fireplace was deep, and there was a " settle" in the chimney corner, where three of us youngest girls could sit together and toast our toes on the andirons (two Continental soldiers in full uniform, marching one after the other), while we looked up the chimney into a square of blue sky, and sometimes caught a snow-flake on our foreheads; or sometimes smirched our clean aprons (high-necked and long-sleeved ones, known as " tiers ") against the swinging crane with its sooty pot-hooks and trammels.
Maine - Interior View of a New England Homestead, Woman by the Fireplace
Maine - Interior...

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The coffee-pot was set for breakfast over hot coals, on a three-legged bit of iron called a "trivet." Potatoes were roasted in the ashes, and the Thanksgiving turkey in a "tin-kitchen," the business of turning the spit being usually delegated to some of us small folk, who were only too willing to burn our faces in honor of the annual festival.

There were brick ovens in the chimney corner, where the great bakings were done; but there was also an iron article called a " Dutch oven," in which delicious bread could be baked over the coals at short notice. And there never was anything that tasted better than my mother's "firecake,"— a short-cake spread on a smooth piece of board, and set up with a flat-iron before the blaze, browned on one side, and then turned over to be browned on the other. (It required some sleight of hand to do that.) If I could only be allowed to blow the bellows — the very old people called them "belluses " — when the fire began to get low, I was a happy girl.
The Three Orphans, 1860
The Three...
Frederick Daniel...
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Cooking-stoves were coming into fashion, but they were clumsy affairs, and our elders thought that no cooking could be quite so nice as that which was done by an open fire. We younger ones reveled in the warm, beautiful glow, that we look back to as to a remembered sunset. There is no such home-splendor now.

When supper was finished, and the tea-kettle was pushed back on the crane, and the backlog had been reduced to a heap of fiery embers, then was the time for listening to sailor yarns and ghost and witch legends. The wonder seems somehow to have faded out of those tales of old since the gleam of red-hot coals died away from the hearthstone. The shutting up of the great fireplaces and the introduction of stoves marks an era; the abdication of shaggy Romance and the enthronement of elegant Commonplace — sometimes, alas! the opposite of elegant — at the New England fireside.
Afternoon Pastimes, 1917
Evert Pieters
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Have we indeed a fireside any longer in the old sense? It hardly seems as if the young people of to-day can really understand the poetry of English domestic life, reading it, as they must, by a reflected illumination from the past. What would the "Cotter's Saturday Night" have been, if Burns had written it by the opaque heat of a stove instead of at his
"Wee bit ingle blinkiu' bonnilie?'

By the Hearth, 1894

Friday, January 10, 2014

Ornaments or Favors

Dear me, I meant to post this at Christmas time! These ornaments were made in the Cuttlebug using Nestabilities cutting dies. The idea can be used to make decorations for a Christmas tree, though I made these as tea party favors for an Autumn tea last year. 

The cutting dies come in graduated sizes. I used the Die Cuts With a View "Mariposa" Matstack, and some sparkle paper, and cut different sizes of my shape out.

Then I used mounting tape to put them together.
With the convenience of pre-printed in color, pre-glittered and embossed papers, and stickers, these can be whipped up fast! 

For the one on the right, I used a tea-cup sticker that had the same Autumn-y colors in it. On a couple I cut out smaller butterflies and mounted them on the last layer. I didn't put ribbon through them, though for hanging it would be a nice touch. These were laid by each tea setting, to add an extra decoration to the table.
 For ornaments that might be displayed on a tree, you can make these double-sided (The top one in the photo is actually double-sided, I didn't have a picture of the other side, sorry!). Done in pastels, these oval ornaments could be pretty on an Easter tree or as favors for an Easter tea! Hmm... maybe I should get out the hearts and see what I can do for Valentine's day...