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My Green Velvet Life

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Repost: (Tight)wad Bows

Last year after Christmas, I was fooling around with the gigantic mess of leftover wrapping paper on my art room table and I discovered a fun and ultra easy way to use leftover wrapping.  I had decided I would not publish it until the following year during holiday season, so it would be fresh in your mind as you find yourself buried in a mountain of leftover Christmas cheer.  (And you will, no matter how neat you try to be!)

Well here it is the Christmas season once again and . . . ta da!  My idea makes its debut tonight:  Use your leftover paper to make bows!

Take the wrapping paper in your hand (pattern right side up), then squeeze and wad up in the middle:

Take the ends and fold under (all around, until it has a circular shape), then staple in the middle:

At this point, you have a respectable bow, although your staple will show if you look closely.

But don’t stop there! Make at least one more bow to layer on top. You can layer even more if you’d like. I did cheat a bit on the smaller red bow. Instead of stapling I just taped it in the bottom.

These bows might be perfect for you if:

  • You love the less-than-perfect, homey, vintage look.
  • You don’t want to spend one cent on bows.
  • You are creative but not crafty.  You are maybe a little clutzy.

You could even wad up the kids and let them make all the bows for you.  They love elf work!

So wad do you think?

How Big is Your Easter Basket?

As we celebrate hope and love this Easter, I’ve been thinking about some of the words of Jesus:

Be like children.  Faith and love. These are natural states of our being, from the moment we enter life. Babies bask in love. You might wonder how a newborn baby can have faith. I believe the very act of being on earth is a commitment of faith. How beautiful and strong you are, just to be born into God’s creation!  Religion is very lovely, yet with many rules we must learn as we grow up. Many people need the structure of certain kinds of religion to help learn and share God’s love–we’re all at different levels of understanding–but let’s remember that religion is structure only–not the contents–of God’s love.  Think of it as a jar or a box we use to help us hold God’s love. If there is no structure, the contents simply spill into everything–not exactly a bad thing, considering the content, although it can be a bit messy for us humans who tend to like structure.

Love your neighbor as yourself.  This gets complicated only because we each have different ideas about how to share love. We get hurt when we expect others to love us in the same way we give our love to them. This is why babies are so easy to love. They haven’t learned to think of love in different ways yet. For them, love is easily defined: sleep, eat, clean clothes, warm cuddling . . .

When much has been given a person, much will be asked of that person.  I don’t think Jesus had socialism in mind. I think he was talking about personal responsibility. God gave each of us our own free will. What shall we do with this amazing gift? Use it! We help write The Story God Made. He is with us as we make choices that affect every page-turning scenario, but he wants us to do the page turning.  Every time we make a life-affirming choice, no matter how small, we help push our story into a higher level of light and love, to the place God has promised to us.

I am The Way.  But what of people who have never heard of Jesus or the bible? Who’ve never been baptized? No problem, because God works big. Just think of what Jesus embodies: Simple, beautiful love. Love is The Way. It is so big you can’t fit it completely into any jar or box.  It is, however, pure delight to try and fit into an Easter basket.

Happy Easter! Wishing you light and love!

Wee Bit O’ Green

How could I not share some of my favorite color with you on St. Patrick’s Day?  You might wonder why some of these images have only a touch of green.  Sometimes just a dab will do.  I think that’s why I love green so much.  It has a way of making all the other colors more beautiful.

I’m so cute I should be on Pinterest.

Dear Green: I love you.

I shall name you Lucky Leprechaun Moth.

Dear God, help me be a green friend who helps make others more beautiful.

You can slow down a wee bit and still win the race.

Goodnight & Sweet Greens . . . but first, you might want to try your Irish luck at the end of over the rainbow: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FBKa-bCasY

(Tight)wad Bows

Last year after Christmas, I was fooling around with the gigantic mess of leftover wrapping paper on my art room table and I discovered a fun and ultra easy way to use leftover wrapping.  I had decided I would not publish it until the following year during holiday season, so it would be fresh in your mind as you find yourself buried in a mountain of leftover Christmas cheer.  (And you will, no matter how neat you try to be!)

Well here it is the Christmas season once again and . . . ta da!  My idea makes its debut tonight:  Use your leftover paper to make bows!

Take the wrapping paper in your hand (pattern right side up), then squeeze and wad up in the middle:

Take the ends and fold under (all around, until it has a circular shape), then staple in the middle:

At this point, you have a respectable bow, although your staple will show if you look closely.

But don’t stop there! Make at least one more bow to layer on top. You can layer even more if you’d like. I did cheat a bit on the smaller red bow. Instead of stapling I just taped it in the bottom.

These bows might be perfect for you if:

  • You love the less-than-perfect, homey, vintage look.
  • You don’t want to spend one cent on bows.
  • You are creative but not crafty.  You are maybe a little clutzy.

You could even wad up the kids and let them make all the bows for you.  They love elf work!

So wad do you think?

By-the-Ways: Quick Pull Overs

I have a big green blog. I need a big green car.

I haven’t forgotten you.  Just trying to keep up with life in the granny lane.  What lane are you in?  I don’t think any of them are slow any more.  So pull over and take a little stretch: 

  1. 7 Keys to Your Creative Genius – Keys??? Heck, I’d like to know where the CAR is. 😉
  2. What would Don Draper do? – I’m really mad for Mad Men.
  3. Fingerprint Trees – You don’t have to be a kid enjoy this.
  4. They Might Be Awesome – Or this.
  5. Sexist Retro Ads We’d Like to Forget – But love to remember!
  6. Mates for Supper + Naked Ladies – Hmm . . . in case the first five didn’t get your attention.

Now back to the super highway of life.  Drive safely!

Happy Birthday Freedom!

Have a safe and beautiful holiday in the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Cheap Easter Fun

Don’t throw away those pretty foil candy wrappers! Use them to make these colorful crosses with the kids on Easter afternoon:

Supplies
  • White school glue (and a plastic lid or disposable container for your glue)
  • Foil candy wrappers – a mix of colors is the most fun
  • Wooden Popsicle sticks
  • Fat paint brushes  or just use your fingers (we did and it worked better than the brushes)
  • Large plastic bag or packaging to work on (plastic is nice because it won’t stick to your project)
  • Wet paper towels or baby wipes.
  • Optional: magnets to put on back.
Instructions
  • Eat candy.
  • Save your wrappers, smoothing them flat (this is a little tough for preschoolers).
  • Tear wrappers into little strips or whatever shapes you like.
  • Stick your brush or fingers into the glue, then, one at a time, smear over strips and press onto 2 wooden sticks .  It doesn’t matter if you get glue on both sides of the wrappers.  It’s messy, but the glue dries clear.
  • Once the sticks are decorated, glue them together to form a cross.
Notes
I made these with my five-year old grandson.  He loved it, but it was difficult for him to press the wrappers all the way.  I helped him a bit, and then quickly decided his looked great even if not perfectly pressed down.
 
Your fingers will be full of glue!  But clean-up is easy.
 

Have a blessed Easter!

 
 

Greetings from One Lazy Chick

Happy weekend!  Would love to tell you that I’ve been pecking away on many creative projects, but really I’ve just been a tired old hen the last couple of weeks.  I’m yearning for a little sunshine and simplicity.  Who isn’t lately in this crazy world?

In keeping with my lazy mood, I’m simply sharing a few of my favorite vintage Easter cards.

What color is your bonnet?

Hi Easter Bunny!

Spring is throwin’ a party! (Wisconsin just didn’t get the invitation yet . . . )

This is what Easter Bunny does with his free time.

Now you know why some eggs are cracked.

Do these jammies make my butt look big?

All chicks need their beauty rest.

Wishing you a little simplicity, sunshine and laziness.

BY-THE-WAYS: I found an Elf and some other Treats on the Poetic Path to a Rockpool! (Translated: It’s late and I’m getting punchy.)

Although I haven’t been very visible on Green Velvet lately, I promise I’m here, hanging around in the background.  I’ve been very busy learning more about digital art and even a little web design.  You might have noticed I’m showing off a few new visuals to the right.  Fun!  But don’t be too impressed.  It took me all of 6 months to figure some of this out . . .

I’ve also been on some wonderful poetry adventures.  I’ve met so many amazing and talented people lately.  Amazing people you ask?  Who?

Even if you’re not a poetry fanatic, I promise, you could use a little Poem Elf in your life.  She has a wonderful collection of poetry and an even more wonderful way of sharing it with others.  At least take a peek at her fun blog header!  Do it!  I especially enjoyed her post re: Robert Hayden’s Those Winter Sundays.  Beautiful.  In these hard times, I pray that people appreciate and support those leaders who serve us in “love’s austere and lonely offices”.  (Hmmm . . . yes I’m a Wisconsinite who fully supports our Governor Walker as he works to save our teachers’ jobs.  Not pleasant but necessary.)

Carys at Rockpool Poetry not only writes beautiful poetry, she knows her stuff in the poetic form department.  She even divvies up her poems in categories such as Cinquain, Sonnets, Couplets, etc.  She also has fun with form in her poetry.  I am in awe.  This is definitely not my strength.  I’v studied poetry on my own for most of my life and I will never, ever have the patience or discipline to write (or even remember) any strict form other than haiku.

Geraldine at My Poetic Path  not only writes lovely poetry and keeps a couple of other fun blogs, she inspired me to add my coming of age photo to this blog.  I am not a beauty queen, but I am filled with 50 years of beauty (well, distressed beauty, but that is the best kind).  She also has a very nice list of writing resource links.  She also knits.  See Veggies, Yarns & Tails.  Her red shrug is to die for!

And for you techies or wanna-be techies and/or blog starters:  Check out Web Treats for some delectable vintage wallpapers and graphics.  All free beauty!

BY-THE-WAYS: A Little Holiday Help (If You Need It)

Well, you’d think I’d be busy baking and wrapping.  Nope.  Plenty of time for that later. You know why?  Because I’m off tomorrow!  No alarm clock!  So here I am playing Holiday Fairy (aka, Goofer-Offer in Web Land).  But I have a good excuse: Readers who might need me!   

Here’s a fun surprise for any of you who are chiding yourselves for forgetting to buy fun gift tags for Christmas: http://bethleintz.typepad.com/gathering_dust/2010/12/last-minute-gift-tags-recycled-crafts.html.  I love Beth Leintz’s idea of using vintage Christmas packaging.  You can even print a pdf copy for your own personal use.  And her naughty gift tag (don’t worry it’s not that naughty) will give you a St. Nick chuckle.  I know a few sassy-mouth family members who would be appropriate receivers of this tag!  Thank you Beth!

This next one is a swooner.  If you love houses, and especially if you love movies, TV and celebrities, you are in for a treat at http://hookedonhouses.net.  I took a peek at Iris’s cottage.  Iris lives in a fairy tale English cottage in the movie The Holiday, a lovely romantic comedy that’s also just a bit about Christmas, which makes it the perfect choice for a quiet night over the holidays.

I’m also including a link to http://www.netflix.com.  Even if you aren’t a member, it’s an excellent place to read about movies.  Start with The Holiday!

And one more for tonight because you last minute shoppers might still have time:  You can find the most beautiful and personal gifts at etsy.com, a marketplace for sellers of everything vintage and hand-made.  Many of you are well acquainted with it, but if you’re not, I promise it is a treasure.  You will be impressed with the amazing array of hand-made and vintage items, and prices for every budget.  At least do a little window shopping!

Yep.  I waved my wand so all of these links would also appear in my list to the right.  Now I’m waving my fairy wand and wishing you all a blessed Christmas!

What’s on Your Christmas List?

Are you feeling it? That longing for simplicity and joy in the midst of running around like mad trying to keep up with the season? What is on your wish list? I have a feeling it’s not something from a department store. Most everyone is feeling the pressure of producing lovely Christmas memories on an increasingly smaller budget, while of course the dollars we get hold less and less value. Time to take a deep breath and think about all the things that make you smile at Christmas time.  Here are some of my favorites. (Cliche warning!  If you venture beyond this paragraph don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

Enjoying the views of Wisconsin winter from our house on the hill.

Off to the woods to cut down our tree.  Okay, the woods aren’t ours.  They belong to the Christmas tree farms.  We’re lucky to have so many beautiful places here in Wisconsin.  This year we got ours extra early so no snow . . .

Our tree filled with memories of a lifetime.

Christmas carols.  We all have our favorites.  Here are some of mine:

That Spirit of Christmas by Ray Charles
Blue Christmas by Elvis Presley
December Child by Cyndi Lauper
A Baby Just Like You by John Denver
Christmas Canon by Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Music Box Blues by Trans-Siberian Orchestra (anything by these amazing people!)
Bluegrass, White Snow by Patty Loveless
Santa Train by Patty Loveless
Suzy Snowflake by Rosemary Clooney
Frosty the Snowman by Fiona Apple
Face of Love by Jewel
Here was a Man by Johnny Cash
Cool Yule by Louis Armstrong
Winter Song by Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson
Winter Light by Linda Rondstadt
Mary Had a Little Lamb by Garth Brooks
Beautiful Star of Bethlehem by Patty Loveless
Go, Tell It On the Mountain by BarlowGirl
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus by Jimmy Boyd
What Child is This by Tanya Tucker
While Roving on a Winter’s Night by Darol Anger
 

Making cookies with the kids.  It’s always a mess and there’s usually yelling at some point.  This is actually an old Easter picture but you’ll get the idea of the craziness.  Don’t worry.  No human mouths touched his finished cookies.

Christmas cards, a dying tradition I just can’t let go.  I save all of my favorite cards and dream over them during the season.  What a sap I know.  But don’t knock it.  It’s a great way to relax and simply enjoy beauty–no standing around in an expensive art museum, plus you can drink hot cocoa if you promise not to spill.

Handmade gifts.  When we were young newlyweds, we made most of our presents for family members.  Nowadays I try to at least make ornaments for all of our kids and grandkids each Christmas.  Here is one I made in 2008 using an old greeting card and painted cardboard.

Finding gifts in unexpected places.  My daughters and I love to spend the entire year keeping our eyes open for presents at rummage sales, Goodwill, St. Vinny’s  and small thrift shops.  No amount of mall shopping could have unearthed this little treasure.  Does anybody know more about these beautiful containers?  I’m picturing a little granny with her crochet hook . . . The cards all have a similar look.  I’d love to know who the artist is.

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Attempts to get all the grandkids in front of the tree and smiling at the same time.  We came close in 2006!

Remembering the excitement of getting ready for Christmas when my girls were little.   I can still smell their little shampooed heads.  My doll babies.

Wishing all the hurt away.  Let us remember the beauty of Christmas can be a source of great pain for many people.  But don’t stop celebrating because we have sadness and worry.  Just add a little compassion and gentleness to your gift list.  It’s the ultimate gift you can afford to give everybody, even yourself.  It’s free and personal.  It’s the original Christmas gift, recycled for over 2000 years.

DISH DARTS: Peppermint Patty Cake Box Cookies

Cake Box Cookies are your friend.  They are so quick and delicious.  There are many recipes, all very similar, and the combinations are endless.  Just pick a cake flavor and add your own flair (raisins, nuts, chocolate chips, etc.).   I recently used a chocolate cake mix and added white chocolate chips and crushed soft peppermint.  It’s my new favorite!  Easy and fun for everybody.  And pretty enough to leave for Santa himself.

Here is the recipe I use.  But first . . . the most important step:

Stock up on Bob’s Sweet Stripes Soft Peppermint Candy.  This old-fashioned treat is much softer than most peppermint candy.  In a cookie it’s heavenly!  I find it at Walmart every year at Christmas time where you must snatch it up immediately.  It disappears fast.  You can also order it from this fun candy site:  http://www.oldtimecandy.com

Soft Peppermint Patty Cakes
chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
6+ crushed soft peppermint sticks (I recommend Bob’s)
white chocolate chips
 
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together cake mix, oil & eggs.
Stir in crushed peppermint sticks & white chocolate chips.
Place by large spoonfuls on greased cookie sheet and bake approximate 10 minutes.
 
Now patty yourself on the back and eat some!  Makes about 2 dozen. 
 

Busy Peeps!

I made a few friends last night.  Pretty crazy but I think I like them:

I hope to keep in better touch with you this coming week. In the meantime, here are few pictures from our Green Velvet Studio.

I made Christmas ornaments out of recycled cards and painted cardboard for my Sunday School kids. This is one of my favorites:

My daughter Tara made some fun crosses:

And more in progress. (I hope one of them is for me!):

I planted a little garden of jewel flower magnets:

And while cleaning up I found some beautiful art in one of my favorite places–underneath everybody’s projects. (Will do a post on Leftover Art one of these days.) This one is from my granddaughter Beans. Quite impressive, don’t you think?

Oh we made cookies too, but that will be another post. Stay tuned. They are easy and delicious . . .

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