Happy New Year!

I'm wishing you a very happy new year. May you experience great joy and happiness throughout 2009!

Looking forward to the new year!

Happy New Year! Just two more days...I can't wait! So many exciting possibilities await!

I came across this nifty little Web site with lots of great ideas for reducing what we buy and recycling our trash instead of sending it to the landfill/dump. has lots of great information. One section offers instruction for making a variety of toy musical instruments for kids from boxes, cartons, etc. Another page suggests alternative uses for everyday items (turn old clothes into seat cushions, for example).

There's even a blog. Much of the information there pertains to the UK, but some of it is useful no matter where you live. The Yoyo paper business that collects used paper from businesses and returns to them recycled paper sounds great!

Lots of great ideas for making the world a better place in 2009!

Let's play Christmas Tag!

I've been tagged by Natasha at Creative Nachos! She turned it into a game of Christmas Tag. She sure sounds like a fun person to be around at Christmas!

Like Natasha, I usually wake up early on that my daughter is 8, I have someone else to enjoy the early morning festivity with!

Here are my five Christmas-related tidbits:

1. I collect Santas. I have old ones, new ones, large ones, small ones. I have old-world Santas and new-world Santas. I have stuffed Santas, and I have porcelain Santas. I even have some dough-art Santas that I made myself. I love my Santas!

2. I think the real Santa wears green gloves. Well, they could be mittens, but "green gloves" sounds better. Many of the Santas in my collection have green gloves. No matter how many Santas I already have, I rarely pass up the chance to buy a new one with green gloves.

3. One of the "funnest" things to do at my parents house on Christmas is for me, my brother and my sister (likewise grown and with kids of their own) to search my parents' tree high and low for all those ornaments we made as kids. There's the one with Deena's first-grade picture on it! And, there's the one Kevin made out of Popsicle sticks! And, there's the one I found in the field on the way home from school! What fun!

4. My favorite traditional Christmas carol is "Away in the Manger." My favorite new Christmas song is "A Baby Changes Everything," sung by Faith Hill.

5. I also collect vintage Shiny Brite ornaments in their original packages. I usually won't buy them unless I find them cheap at thrift stores. I bought most of my collection for 50 cents, maybe 99 cents, a box. I usually just display them under the tree...boxes and all.

OK. Now for the next part of this game of Christmas Tag. I have to post the rules and then pick and notify six other bloggers.
Here's the rules:
1. Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
2. Share 6 facts about yourself on your blog; some random, some weird.
3. Tag 6 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as their links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they have been “tagged” by leaving a comment on their blog.

And, here are my picks:

Merry Christmas! Now, tell me about your favorite Christmas memories or traditions!

Staying 'green' on Dec. 26

I've always liked a "real" Christmas tree best, because of nostalgia, I guess. That's what I grew up with, and that's what makes it seem like Christmas to me. But, we decided this year to get a "living" Christmas tree, one that we could plant after the holidays. Alas, that didn't work out for us. The price tags on the few at the little local nursery were just out of our budget range.

The days ticked by, until it was really too late for us to do anything but put up a little artificial tree a friend gave us last year. We'll save the living tree for next year.

Fortunately, this year, we'll be at my parents' house for Christmas Day, and they have a big tree and lots of decorations up. So, our daughter, Anna, will be happy with the little tree at our house and the big tree at Ma and Pa's house.

In the past, though, we've always had a dilemma about what to do with our "real" tree after Christmas. I found some great ideas at It's a great Web site with ideas for Treecycling, post-holiday tree uses, and starting a Christmas tree recycling program in your community. Check it out!

And, have a very merry, green Christmas!

Dreaming of a 'Green' Christmas

If you're anything like me, you're dreading all of the trash that will be generated by the upcoming Christmas holiday. At our house, the wrapping paper, ribbon and packaging fills up at least one large trash bag, sometimes several. It's such a waste.

I found this great article on's all about Christmas Recycling!

There are some wonderful ideas there, like making your own gift bags. Read the article for lots more ideas.

One idea that I have is to get unused newsprint and decorate it yourself, or let your kids decorate it, with Crayons, rubber stamps, paints, etc. that you have on hand. Check with your local newspaper to see if they have "end rolls" to give away or to sell for not too much. See if you can look over their stock and pick out the biggest roll. If you don't use it all for Christmas, you'll have craft paper for the new year!

Here's wishing you a very, merry "Green" Christmas!

Crafting disaster

My 8-year-old daughter's third-grade class exchanged "Stocking Stuffers" today. Each child needed to bring 18 small gifts. They decorated Rudolph bags for the goodies.

She decided that she wanted to make handmade soap in Christmas shapes for everyone. No problem. We've never done it before, but with the glycerin, melt and pour soap, I figured it would be fairly easy. And, it was.

We found some molds and bought the soap, fragrance and dye. Anna had seen on that kids' show "Cake" that you could put glitter in the soap. So, she found some little glitter stars. Only, they weren't so little.

After we had all the soap made and packaged into 18 little bags with tags, I used one of the rejects. The little stars were made from razor-sharp metal! Not something we needed to be handing out to kids. As I tried to wash my hands, I could just envision screaming kids all over town as they tried to use Anna's gift.

So, at 6:30 this morning, I started making a new batch of the little soaps -- without the sparkles -- hoping it would harden fast enough. We got to school with just minutes to spare.

At least we figured it out beforehand and not after some irate parent called me up over the holidays!

The good news is, I have a little crafter on my hands. She can't wait to make more soap, and she wants to open her own Etsy shop. I told her I'll have to investigate all the rules and regulations about making and selling soap, even if it is just the melt-and-pour kind.

Check out The Gilded Bee on Etsy!

I came across The Gilded Bee Etsy shop and blog yesterday and just fell in love with the products Sasha Lynne North offers there. They are so pretty and romantic, that I just had to feature the shop on my blog! Be sure to click on over there and check out what she's offering.

Here's a little interview I did with Sasha:

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself….where are you from? What kind of art do you create? Etc.

I’m from Rural Southwest Iowa, USA, I’ve lived in the country since I was 2.
I make my own clothes, am a milliner, I cook and bake a lot, I write the recipes on this blog: I have a nice big garden so I can grow organic produce and flowers, I have 3 cats and a Collie, I draw and paint. I have been home schooled K-12 grades, as have my sisters and cousins. I love collage (think somerset studio) and those elements make their way into my projects often.

Q: Many of the items in your Etsy shop are made from paper…why do you choose to use paper in your projects?

I have many passions material-wise, I decided to do the paper items because I have worked with them the longest out of all the materials I have used, and I love working with them.

Q: What inspires your artwork?

Beautiful colors. I love to walk into a paper store, and hold up a solid sheet of paper and just imagine. Other things: My garden/the outdoors/David Austin Roses. Buildings, fish. Vintage artwork and ads, textiles, even something like a towel, Japanese papers etc. Almost anything…

Q: Your Etsy profile mentions your love for vintage things...what do you like best about antiques?

Mmm, the finishes are often times different, such as on vintage glass ornaments. The detail work on furnishings. I love the opulence of the Victorian/Edwardian Ages, the velvet, the silk, the tinsel, the flowers. I love to hunt for/collect vintage millinery flowers on my antiquing trips. I love the detail work on garments, and I am crazy about 50’s fashion. I’m in the process of starting another blog for fashion related stuff and handmade garments/hats and accessories.

Q: Your shop has an unusual name...what's behind the name “The Gilded Bee”?

I just thought of it a couple of years ago, I liked the way it sounded. I decided it would make a great name for a stationary shop. I came up with it long before I had heard of Etsy, and when the time came, it clicked.

Q: What can Gilded Bee fans expect to see in the near future? What are you working on now?

Oh my, my house is covered with glitter and crafting stuff everywhere, I have ideas coming out of my ears. Always more tags, I didn’t realize how addicted I was to them till I started listing more. Stationary with candy, cake and ice cream, more ribbons and trim, more envelopes, both solid and patterned and both large and miniature, thank you cards and invitations, more flowers, both ribbon/fabric and paper, gift and favor boxes, labels and stickers and whatever else I dream up.

Why buy 'recycled'

I doubt any of us need experts -- whether they're economists on the news or professional organizers on HGTV -- to tell us we have too much stuff and most of what we buy nowadays is junk. Now, some of us may be working to remedy the problem in our lives, but the problem still exists for most people.

If you haven't seen "The Story of Stuff," please do so now! Be sure to click on The Story of Stuff blog, too! It's very enlightening. And, it shows us why if we're going to buy more stuff, it's better to buy recycled, vintage, reused, repurposed, upcycled, etc.

While we're on the topic of recycling, visit this Web page for instructions on how to make a small-sized geodesic dome for kids to play with. The materials? Old newspapers!

We haven't made one, yet, but it looks like great fun!
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