Days Until Christmas....

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Martial Arts Ornaments!

I am a firm believer that amid all the "pretty and sparkle" on the Christnas tree, there should be a yearly ornament for each of us to remember the year by.   My two little guys (ages 10 and 6) participate in TaeKwonDo.  They work hard and love their sport.   We found a gem of a studio in town, (Colbert's TaeKwonDo Academy).   My husband and I love that they're learning self-discipline, respect, and self-defense in the midst of their fun!

This year my children's ornaments have been my little secret, in order to surprise them Christmas morning!  They are time consuming, but I enjoy making these Personalized Martial Arts Ornaments.  They are just five and a half inches tall, and hang on the tree by their cute little clothes hanger.   What better way to remember their 2010 year of TaeKwonDo!?  I am sure they will cherish these ornaments and memories on their own tree when they are adults with their own children!

I added a few of these ornaments to my etsy shop.  I guess others were searching for Personalized Martial Arts Ornaments also, because I haven't stopped getting requests!

Best Wishes,

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Is Soon!

This week has been one of Christmas activities; Christmas shopping, parades, concerts, and Christmas parties. Christmas is in full swing at our house! 

My overall, hands-down favorite part of the Season is to neatly package my handmade items to get ready to give or mail to loved ones.  I've been busy this week doing last minute creating too, (secretly getting special ornaments ready for my little Martial Art lovin' boys!)  I'll post photos of those ornaments later this week....but right now, it's Pink Saturday again with Beverly over at HowSweetTheSound, so here's a photo of my favorite pink this week.   

They come in other colors, so check out my etsy shop, but you've got to love this Cottage Pink Poinsettia!  
Cottage Pink Poinsettia
With that, I'm off to finish my evening of crafting as I watch another sappy Christmas Movie.  My Christmas Season cannot be complete heart-touching holiday movies full of happy endings!  

Until next time.....
Warm Christmas Wishes,

Friday, December 3, 2010

Pink German Stars

Imagine a full Christmas Tree of Pink German Stars floating by clear thread, looking as though they are suspended in mid-air!   Magical!

Pink German Stars.  I have done these stars in every color, except pink, until now.  I'm not sure why I haven't ever made pink before, but now in celebration of Pink Saturday, they are!  They won't be my last!  I've just added them to my Etsy shop, too.  

If you love Pink, drop by and visit Beverly at How Sweet The Sound for Pink Saturday.   Beverly is all about pink, so check it out!   (She asked that we share a favorite recipe also, but honestly, my cooking isn't my strong suit.   I'd rather eat these paper stars!  He he he!)

Hopefully, I'll get a chance to blog again before next Saturday.......  Where is the time going!?

Warm Christmas Wishes,

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pink Saturday!

Hopefully your Thanksgiving went well!

Now, if your like me, you'll do some internet shopping (in your pajamas, from your lounge chair) to find the perfect ornament for the special people in your life.  If pink is your thing, then why not add it to your Christmas tree too?  I know it's not a traditional Christmas color, but it's easy to love pink!

Here are a few of my favorite pink ornaments.  Check out my shoppe for more pink (and other colors to....I'm also a huge fan of purple!)  If you don't see what you want, send me a message and I'll make your favorite color.  In the meantime, check out these pinks!

Happy Shopping,

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Oh My Stars!

It's the week of Thanksgiving and I'm cooking, cleaning, blogging, and making stars!  Well, it wouldn't be a holiday at our house without these geometric sparkles at each table setting.  I place one at each table setting (this year in festive fall oranges and browns) to decorate the table.  They make wonderful bowl fillers too.  One bowl in the center of our table will overflow with German Stars.   (I'll take photos of Thanksgiving table settings and post that at a later date, but due to time limitations right now, I'll post a few other German Star photos).

I started making stars for a dinner party about five years ago. I needed a bit of sparkle on a budget.  Yet, I wanted something for each guest to bring home to remind them of our time together. Since then, they've become a tradition in our home.  They are the favorite place setting decorations, decorative bowl fillers on the coffee table, and Christmas Tree Ornaments (my favorites!)   We hand them out to the teachers, Sunday School teachers, friends that visit our home to show them they are a star in our lives!
I've made them for wedding favors!  White is a very popular star color this year, as that is what I've made the most of! Strung on clear thread, they look as though they are floating in mid-air.

One of my friends calls me every year as she decorates her tree, to tell me that she has just put the German Star that I made on her tree!  She remembers this star ornament had time and love put into it so it would match our dinner party decor years ago.  She remembers the laughs we had at dinner, and the quality time our families shared together.

A German Star......light-weight, geometrical-origami-magic, created in a rainbow of different colors.  And when they are glittered, they are like a little bit of heaven!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sugar Plum Cone Ornaments!

It's been so busy at our house, that my crafting time has been limited, but I did get a few things made in the past few weeks and I wanted to share.  They're so cheery, that I have these little cones hanging all over the house.  I know it's not even Thanksgiving yet and I'm already thinking of Christmas Ornaments, but they're so much FUN!  And before we know it, those Christmas cards will be arriving in the mail's right around the corner!  I just can't wait!
I have fond childhood memories of cranking the homemade ice cream maker! Sugar Plum Cone Ornaments bring back those memories. These zero-calorie cones were made with the thoughtful suggestions from my professional ice cream crew, (my two little guys).

The countdown is on.  Just over a month left to plan, create, and prepare!  Are you getting ready for Christmas?

~ There's Nothing Like A Homemade Christmas ~

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Decor Tutorial

It's November already!  To celebrate the beginning of the most wonderful season there is, the boys and I took some time out to do pumpkin art.

These charming little pumpkins are so simple!  My little guys did a great job helping me.  We even made a few extra to deliver to daddy's work, and a neighbor or two!

I've included a few photos as a quick tutorial of how to create these little goodies!  Take a look at this simple, yet fantastic little project!

Fabric Fat Quarter in festive fall colors
Batting - to wrap a bit around the toilet paper roll to make your pumpkin a bit rounder
Paper Bag

Optional:  Ribbon and Leaves for extra embellishment

Almost done!  Add some fun leaves, and maybe a bow.  Another stem option is cinnamon sticks!  

Project completion!  Now make a few and deliver them to someone you care about!  

Friday, October 15, 2010

Weekend Creation - Vintage Style Ice Skates

Vintage Style Felt Ice Skates
It's been another busy week here, with my oldest son's 10th birthday, more family coming through town for a visit, and our regular busy lives!

I have had to 'squeeze' in some creating time.   I know as we get closer to Christmas, the faster time goes!  I wanted some gifts ready ahead of time.  (I'm a "plan-it-and-have-it-done-in-plenty-of-time" type of person.  I like to be prepared!)

These Vintage Style Ice Skates are so fun to make.  I really enjoy sitting down and doing hand-stitching.  It makes me slow down, and my mind clears!

Anyway, here is a quick look at what I've been up to.   How about you?  What are you creating lately?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fresh Bread in the Breadmaker

The kitchen is not my favorite room in our home for the simple reason that I am not a good cook. We get by. After all, we have to eat! I must say that I'm improving as the years go by, but by necessity, not the pure enjoyment of cooking. However, when I became a diabetic a few years ago, we made dietary changes and one of them was to eat less preservatives. I'm constantly on the lookout for ways to do just that. And that is why I decided to try a breadmaker.

I found a breadmaker at a local thrift store. I didn't want to put too much money into this project until I was sure I wanted to continue with it.  I did an online search for the instruction manual to match the breadmaker that I had purchased, and I was off to make my first loaf of bread. My goal was to make only whole grain bread. Whole wheat bread was taking a toll on our grocery budget, and I wanted to make my own with no preservatives.

I got the bread pan out of the breadmaker and added the ingredients. My two boys (ages 6 and 10) were very interested in this machine that was going to give us fresh bread. After three and a half hours, and the delicious aroma of fresh bread in the house, we had our first flop! That's right. I made a ball of bread that looked like a brown cannon ball. It did not raise much and was heavy. I pondered what I might have done wrong.  Did I add too much water, or too little yeast?  I did another internet search and found it could have been any of many different issues. In Florida, it was possibly a high humidity issue that had to be adjusted for also. I kept going. 

My boys were still interested as I mixed another loaf.  They were anxious to peek in the churning machine, and were teased by wonderful scent of fresh bread again, only to view a final heavy glob.
This happened over and over. Many loaves of bread went into the trash. Then one night, fighting with the breadmaker recipe quite late, I was too tired to do more than empty the bread onto a wire rack, drape a towel over the loaf and head to bed. I had intended to take it to the outside trash can, but decided it could wait. The next morning, I woke up to my husband and the kids eating loaf number nine! It might not have raised to the big puffy, beautiful loaf that I had envisioned, but it was edible! Looking back, the earlier loaves were probably edible, as well, even though they didn't raise very much. When hot, the yeast has a strong odor when the bread is cut open.  Once cooler, the yeast smell disappeared.  The  taste was wonderful. 

I kept playing with the ingredients and finally got the recipe that works. It's completely whole wheat, which was important to me. I prepare many (Ziploc) twist lock containers of the mix ahead of time to keep in the pantry. When I make bread, sometimes I add additional ingredients for variety. (Rosemary, sage, and chives from the herb garden make Herb Bread. Chopped, fresh garlic can be added for Garlic Bread. Fresh or frozen whole cranberries make a wonderful Cranberry Bread, and there is the always favorite Raisin and Cinnamon Bread).

Recently I was reading the top ways to cut costs on Yahoo! news, and there it was: Buy a Breadmaker! Yes, we've cut some food costs by making our own. Depending on what ingredients are in your recipe, making your own bread will be less expensive. (Our bread is around two dollars per loaf).

Over the past few months, I've encouraged a few friends to get started with their own bread making. I enjoy listening to how their experience is going. (And encourage them to try to eat their mistakes!) They are having as much fun as we are, so far.

Recently, in a school journal, my son had to write about a scent that reminded him of something. He wrote about how the scent of fresh bread reminded him of our home. I felt so proud....Proud that the bread we make is a healthier, preservative-free choice, and that my guys still love it so much. It makes our home smell homey, and my guys appreciate that as much as they do when they eat it.  Their friends drop by and like to sit down for warm bread with melting peanut butter and strawberry jam. And I'm thankful for what my husband calls my "tenaciousness" that didn't let those first loaves beat me! 

All in all, it's been worth it.  I am still using the same breadmaker that I started with.  It's proven to be worth every penny!  

Here's our recipe.  It's basic, with simple ingredients.  If you have questions or comments about breadmaking, please share!

Whole Wheat Breadmaker Bread
9 Ounces of Water (1 Cup and 2 TBSP)
1 Tbsp Molasses
2 Tbsp Honey
2 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Dry Milk
2 Tbsp Flax, ground or semi-ground
1 1/4 Tsp Salt
1 1/2 Fast Rise Yeast
3 1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour

Add wet ingredients first. Then add dry ingredients, except yeast. Make a small well with your finger and add the yeast into the well. Follow Breadmaker Instructions for Whole Wheat Bread settings.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Painting with Brenda

My dear friend, Brenda (from, is a wonderful decorative painter.  She makes beautiful ornaments, decorations, wall hangings, and more.  In fact, if it stands still long enough, it will likely get a coat of paint, a cute little face, or a beautiful rose added to it!

Brenda recently mentioned she could teach me to paint.  (I had attempted before.  Sorry Donna Dewberry, but you helped very little on my past attempts!)  Brenda was optimistic and with her encouragement.  I agreed to try again.  Time flies when Brenda and I chat on the porch swing.  Well, if the worst that could happen would be us spending an afternoon together laughing and chatting, and I might learn to paint a simple shape,  then I'd take the chance!  Brenda got the brushes and acrylic paint ready!
I did it!  Snowman Sled by Rebecca

I was stunned to see my first project when I arrived.  A painted sled  awaited me.  Brenda gave me a book to choose an idea of what to put on it.  The ideas in the book looked difficult.....a santa face or a snowman face?!  How was I going to do this?  Brenda was still looking optimistic as she put the sled in my hands, so I didn't share that I  actually thought I'd return home later that day with something that looked like it was  from my son's kindergarten art class!  It was my first real painting class after all!

Brenda is quite a teacher.  She has taught many projects to her local artist group.  She gave me a list of necessary supplies and explained painting terms to me.  She taught in an organized step by step manner and explained as she went.  Brenda slowly worked the techniques, like shading, and then had me practice the same.  She has many painting tricks from her years of experience, and is quite happy to share them, unlike many crafters that I've met who know, who guard their craft closely!  It was a pleasant afternoon.  And like time chatting on the porch swing, the time sped by!

I got home that evening and amazed my family with the sweetest snowman face painted on a sled wall hanging.  Brenda taught me to create eyes with a lively little sparkle, and make a unique grin for my little snow guy.   My snowman actually resembled a snowman!  Just like it was supposed to be!  I have much yet to learn, however, I'm not intimidated by the mighty paint and brush anymore.  The next time Brenda happens to mention "You could paint that",  I might even believe her!  In the meantime, I'll be practicing my painting and probably running to Brenda for help with the right techniques and tips often!

Check out Brenda's latest.  She's filling up her etsy store for the upcoming holidays.  She does beautiful work.  You are invited to view her etsy store and blog site!   She has a tutorial on her blog about how to paint a light bulb Santa!  It's fascinating how it progresses from a burned out bulb into such a jolly character!   and
Make sure you leave her a comment and tell her where you read about her!

(Isn't this a fun ornament?!)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Just A Quick Hello!

I wanted to say that I miss blogging this week, but I have my aunt visiting this week and we're spending it catching up on lost time since we don't live near each other.

I'll leave you to check out some of these Christmas Stockings.  You can find a variety of different denim stockings at my etsy shoppe.   I love to "reclaim", and denim is durable, and fun.  These stockings are cowboy tough!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Change Can Be Good.....

A few years ago, I found out I was diabetic.  Yep, 35 years old and the genetic genes of my father's side caught up with me.  I decided to do all that I could to fight having complications for a very long time.  I attended a Diabetic Education Class.  The instructors taught me to shop differently, cook differently, and definitely eat differently.  I began to walk on my treadmill and be more active with my children.   I turned my life upside down...but I also lost twenty pounds of weight that I'd held onto since having my children.  

In my struggle to eat differently, I realized I didn't want to pass this diabetic gene on to my children if I could help it.  So, my new diabetic lifestyle went full circle!  The whole family needed to get on board.  Thankfully, my husband is a great support.  And we all made some healthy changes for our lives.  

My family has joined me in eating more vegetables, and less sweets.  We eat whole wheat bread, choose organic fruit when we can, and have cut out sodas.  We eat "colorful" fruits and vegetables to give our bodies wonderful health benefits.  When we aren't very happy about eating that veggie, we support each other by reminding that it's going to benefit our body by keeping fighting diseases, building our immune system, and giving us strong muscles!   (The boys love the strong muscle thing....they're in Martial Arts. Good muscles and strength are a big deal to them!)

Sometimes we cheat.  We have to eat cake or a cookie now and then!  But we shoot for eating our best 85% of the time.  It doesn't sound like that would be too difficult, but when lives get hectic, it can be a struggle.  We're improving and doing our best day by day!  

I remind my guys that a few simple, but good choices now will hopefully help them avoid pricking their finger daily for glucose samples like Mom does. 

We try to live by these simple tidbits at our house:

*  If it needs SUN to grow, it's probably a good food choice.  (Snicker bars do not grow in a garden!)  
*  Food items with just a few ingredients at the grocery store are better than the ones with a long list of huge words that you can't pronounce (which are likely chemicals and preservatives). 
*  Drink water! (Add lemon or lime slices if you're bored with plain water.  Green Tea is good too). 
*  Make it all homemade.  Even a cake is better for you if it's made from scratch.  Pre-packaged has too many preservatives, trans/saturated fat in it.
*  Eat veggies!  Fresh, frozen, canned.  Whatever.  Just eat them.  Veggies should be the main part of the meal with the meat and bread as smaller sides.  
*  Exercise is good!  (This one is a big one for me.  I'd rather be creating a fascinating new ornament  than working up a sweat!)  

Well, there you have it.  Diabetes is not what I had in mind for this time of my life.  It did get my attention though.  It made me re-evaluate my priorities.  Once my diabetes was under control, I felt better.  I pushed myself to take off the first pounds that I had been hanging onto.  I still am working toward the perfect hour-glass figure, but I'm a work in progress!  Change has helped me, and I have faith that the changes we've made as a family will benefit my children's future health, too.  

Saturday, September 25, 2010

90 Days Until Christmas!

Time is flying by.  I can't believe it's already late September and next month we'll have even less warm sunshine in our days along with the earlier darkness each evening.  (Yes, even here on The Gulf Coast we get cold weather and freezing nights as we get deeper into Autumn).

90 Days until Christmas!  I love it.  It scares some, but it inspires me!  I want to get out my fabric, ribbon, needle and thread and start crafting like crazy for the full countdown!  

I'm currently working on Quilted Ribbon Ornaments.  I keep saying that I'm going to use all my ribbon up, but as I go I need this or that to finish the project, and honestly, my ribbon boxes have not shrunk at all. The inspiration continues though, and I have many handmade ornaments to show for it.  

The Quilted Ribbon Ornaments are constructed by folding and putting together many cut pieces of ribbon or fabric.  Each piece is pinned in perfect position with care into a styrofoam ball.  Each ornament takes 70 to 90 straight pins.  (I definitely recommend using a thimble!)  

Here are a few of my latest additions.  They really pop against a Christmas Tree.   

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Name "ChristmasGal"

Are you ready for Christmas?  My favorite part of Christmas is the preparation!  I know most people dislike that part, but I start early and go slow and steady.  If cards are ready to drop in the mail before December 1st, cookies are in the freezer, and gifts are purchased and wrapped, I can enjoy every single minute of The Season when it slips upon us!  .....It also helps that I love to make Christmas Ornaments year around.  That's how I chose the name ChristmasGal!  I can't wait for Christmas just for the reason that we get to get out the ornaments!

My fascination with Christmas Ornaments started when I was a child.  My mom took my brother and me to pick out one special ornament each year.  We often choose something that reminded us of an important event.  Other years, we simply chose one that interested us.  I remember the year I choose a vanilla ice cream cone with sprinkles on it (my favorite).  Another chosen favorite ornament: a small gift with a red ribbon and bow attached to it.  The tiny gift box is made out of squares of mirror.  My dad was a glass man at the time, (replacing windows and windshields) so that ornament reminded me of that.  I could go on and on!  The ornaments I chose over the years were given to me once I had my own tree to decorate. A whole set of ornaments full of love and memories to put on our tree the first Christmas after Tom and I were married.   

I have the same tradition with our two children.  They choose their ornaments with such care.  Each year when the tree goes up, it takes hours to decorate because we look over each ornament and reminisce over who chose it and where it came from.  We've also started the tradition of making one ornament each year.  The kids love that just as much as the ornament they have purchased!  

Through the years, I started crafting my own ornaments.   It turned into a hobby that I now enjoy all year around.  Sometimes it's a pretty "girlie" ornament that I've envisioned, and other times, it's something like this TaeKwonDo Ornament that I made for my boys, who love their Martial Arts TaeKwonDo class.  I made duplicates of each of their uniforms.  Each year I make new ones to show their current belt color.  They love to see them on the tree each year as they graduate to higher belt colors.  

And so the story continues.....follow me as I craft ornaments!    Tell me some of your crafting ideas and traditions.  

You can view more of my many ornaments on  

Meet the Family...

  I wanted to introduce you to our family.  Justin is our oldest son.  Aaron is our little red-head.  My Hubbie and I love to get out and travel with our family.  My husband works for an airline, so we travel stand-by everywhere we can!  We love traveling so much that we homeschool, so we can go-go-go as often as we can get away.  The boys learn about the world as we travel around it.  So far it's been an amazing adventure.

  We live in Florida, and have spent some of this year traveling around our own state, too.  When flights are full, we get in the car and explore the places that are closer.

  Our little guys love the beach, and since the Gulf Coast still (possibly) contains oil....we recently went to a place that has been on our Travel Wish List for a long time.  Amelia Island, FL.  We had a lovely time.  The boys loved the waves.  (We don't normally have a lot of waves near the beach on the Gulf).  You can see in these pictures that they enjoyed playing with their boogie boards in the sand  and the waves.  We only had one jelly fish sting, but nothing that would keeps us all out of the water for very long.  (Sooth with vinegar and keep having fun!)

Friday, September 17, 2010

And we're blog!

Today I finally gave in to my friend's urging and started a blog.  I can say, now that I've started, I feel a bit of freedom.  All of these blank spaces to fill in!  I hope to blog about life, family, homeschooling, and crafting!  Join me!  I look forward to new friends, and your comments along the way.