September 25 - 27, 2020. Registration will open in spring!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Friday, December 23, 2016

Baking and Job Interviews

It's nice to have a Girl Scout around the house to help with the Christmas chores.
I was away for an extended trip starting before Thanksgiving.  I dreaded coming home with only one day before a scheduled Christmas party.  But I found that all the Christmas prep had already been done by my DH and DD.  While I was gone DD baked enough gingerbread cookies for my troop to be able to decorate two each, and more for the party. 
She subbed for me at the troop meeting, while working and going to school.  I can't guarantee that all Girl Scouts will be as good at baking, but employers, if you interview a young person whose resume shows a long commitment to Scouting, you can assume that they have gained good time management skills as well as a 'can do' attitude.
Happy Holidays to all!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Hot Cider

One of the innovations at GE this year was hot cider on the hospitality bar.  I made some for a party this weekend, so I thought I'd share the simple recipe - it always is a hit!

Take one navel orange.  Peirce the skin with a toothpick or skewer. (If you ever get one of those fruit arrangements, save the plastic skewers.  They are the best ever for piercing citrus skin! Trust me, I used to make pomanders every year.)  Insert a whole clove in holes in some pretty pattern.  I also make a few extra holes to allow the orange flavor to come out.

Put the orange and three large cinnamon sticks per gallon of cider in a pot or crockpot.  Add cider. 
Bring to edge of a boil on stove top, or cook on high in crockpot until almost bubbly.  Turn down stove to lowest simmer, or turn crockpot to warm.  Serve.
If you have leftovers, use a strainer and funnel to pour the leftover cider back into the original jug.  Refrigerate for up to a week; warm leftovers in the microwave or on stove.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Wallpaper Wreaths

Since the wonderful Laura Ingalls Gunn of Decor to Adore liked my Thanksgiving wreath, I feel justified in showing two more that I made to decorate my house for Christmas.  They were easy to make from supplies on hand, and made me happy!

Cutting paper is therapeutic and keeps me awake after dinner.  If I sit down to read or watch TV, unless the book or show is totally fascinating, I go off to sleep. Using a box cutter to cut the paper out of the wallpaper books, tracing (on the back side of the paper) and cutting the leaves keeps me engaged.

BTW, I don't just use the actual wallpaper samples: as you can see from the picture below, the high-quality stock that they use to print the frontispiece and section markers can be a great source of high quality paper! If I can't find the colors I like in the books, I may throw in a few cut from scrapbook paper.
The templates are at the left, and some of the cut out leaves to the right.  The leaf on the far right, top row, looks as if it's red and gold - it's really just red but so shiny that it won't photograph properly.
After I've cut out large numbers of leaves, I go through and choose those I think will chime with the color scheme I have in mind.

For a wreath form, I use recycled cardboard or foam board. The Dollar store has foam board for $1.00 per sheet. It's a little smaller than the standard, but perfect for wreath making - each sheet yields 2 14" forms.

I use mixing bowls to outline a large circle, then use three smaller bowls to delineate the circles to which the leaves will be glued, and the middle. (Yes, I have used a compass or even a string and pencil, but only when I need to measure.  Because the wreath form won't show, it doesn't have to be perfect.) Cut out the inmost and outermost circles.
The cut out middle piece can be covered and used for the inside of the wreath, as in the red and neutral example, below, where the inner circle has been covered with paper which was cut out using a decorative edged scissor, or for another project.  This red and neutral wreath consists of one round of large (7.5 inch)  leaves, laid out with the bottom points touching the cut out circle, each overlapping the other half way. (For this one, you don't need to draw the inner circles.) I assemble the leaves in a stack in the order I think might work, lay them on the wreath, add more leaves and change the order as needed, then take them all off.  Then I use good old white school glue and glue the leaves on 6 or 8 at a time.
Work fast, because the first leaf will need to be lifted up so the last one can slide under it.

A generous artist gave me 39 wallpaper sample books on Freecycle.  If you have access to Freecycle or a similar organization, use it.  It's saved me big bucks over the last two years, plus I've saved a lot of stuff from landfills - win-win!

The JOY and THANKS wreaths are made from three concentric circles of smaller (6 ") leaves, glued to the cardboard using the inner circles as placement guides.The last, inner circle is snipped at the base about an inch up, edges folded to the back and glued. 

I create the letters on the computer, print them out on regular white paper, tack the page to the wallpaper with removable adhesive, cut them out and then remove the white paper.  I made two attempts at "Joy" before I was satisfied.

Note the leaf shape template to the right of the cutting board.  BTW, that's a cheap IKEA kitchen cutting mat; they are portable and just the right size for projects.  I have two larger, more expensive cutting mats, but these are convenient and washable, which is nice for messy glue projects!

If you read this far, perhaps you enjoyed this tutorial!  In any case, I wish you thanks, joy and peace this winter season.

This was my 350th post! I hope you have enjoyed this blog over the years.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Holiday Handbell Concerts

I'm the MC for both of these.  A few Great Escapers have attended in the past and enjoyed the concerts (HI Roxie!) so here are the details.  Holiday hugs to all of you!
MORNING Concert - Friday, December 16th at 10 AM.  Family friendly, and accessible.

SUNDAY AFTERNOON Concert - Sunday, December 18th at 3 PM.  Both feature traditional carols and popular holiday music.
Hancock Church is the stone church on the Lexington Battle Green. Click here for directions.