Winter in the Pacific Northwest

Snow has been slow to make its appearance here in our 'neck of the woods.'  It is still not up to usual standards but has arrived.  I am in the midst of redoing my studio and recovering from a bug that has had me down most of the week.   I leave you with some scenes from my side of the lens!

Snoqualmie Pass, Washington.

Cascade Mountain Range


                                                    EASTERN WASHINGTON FARMLAND






                                                               OUR BABY SHELKA


Thanksgiving Blessings

Tornado Tuesdays  are very busy but very fun.  I always try to have the kids make projects for the upcoming holidays when we are in a Holiday month.
I had some leftover Thanksgiving decor from last year and pulled those out.

 I went out and cut branches for each child.  Then they divided up the goodies and wrote things they were thankful for.

 The kids are all friends or relatives of each other.  We have meshed into this big family with love and support...and yes....some minor spats carried over from the playground or the neighborhood.  The latter are quickly squashed.  The kids helped make their own rules.  No gossiping, no tattling, and they have to remember their manners.  If not Oma steps in and gently reminds them.

 I am thankful for their presence in my life. They all bring their own smiles and hugs and so much joy......and yes......even frustration at times.  I have learned each child's strengths and weaknesses and how to teach them each in the way they are able to learn.  I love hearing about their day and their dreams and what makes them happy and even unhappy.  When someone is sad, others rally around in support and empathy.  When someone shares something exciting that is celebrated as well.

      It is sweet to see that we all have the same blessings in family and friends, food and shelter, and
making special memories to look back on years to come.
 Two days before Thanksgiving, we had our annual  pie baking afternoon.  I opted for premade crust, due to the time constraints and there is only one of me!!  Ten pies were made in all and this helper was too busy to take a lot of pictures.
 fluting the edges  is fun.............
Taking turns with my small mixer worked well.

Peeling apples is a chore....I helped peel and cut apples for 6 pies.  Five others made pumpkin cream pies.......yum.
i have been reflecting on just how many blessings I have in my life and am forever grateful.
Hope your blessings are very abundant.


Birdcage Lamp

Since I am not in school, I have made it a priority to work on stalled projects as well as new ones.
I bought this great wire birdcage a few years back, with every intention, of making it into a hanging lamp.  You know that story and how it goes.  But I did finish it.

I had to use what supplies on hand and that was not a problem at all.  I took strands of pearl beads and tied them on with thread.

Then I got in my stash of red plastic hearts ( found at a garage sale for cheap). I cut out words from magazines and decoupaged those on front and hanged them with colored ribbon.  I also added a row of bead trim.
I used lace and red bead garlands for the  middle brackets.  I then went through my stash of crystals and beads to make the hanging bead garlands.  I have to admit I did buy the red heart beads. This was initally intended for hanging over the bathtub, but it turned out it was an accident waiting to happen.  It was way too long!! 

Insert a light and hanging chain and VOILA  it graces a corner in our family room.  John and I love it and that is all that matters. Two of our granddaughters loved putting their dolls or animals in this birdhouse and carrying them around and were a little sad about its new use.

When Lauryn saw it she said,  "I want one JUST LIKE YOURS for my room."  She will be here next weekend so we will make one together.  I have a green birdcage that isn't as elaborate, but it will work fine.

Hope your days are full of finishing new and old projects.


We Have SNOW

On Tuesday of this past week, our weather was drizzly in the early morning and then turned into a balmy 62 degree  by early afternoon.

This rose bush, among others, has been loving this unusally mild weather.

I bought it at a local nursery and it's called 'California Dreaming.'
Granddaughter Lauryn picked this one out for the rose garden we just started.

Even the dandelions have been in full bloom in the yard!!!

Here the roses are more wilty....and this is our bird hotel.
It has sat under a big fir tree for the last two summers.  This year our friend Aaron
constructed the pole platform with John's help.  Another friend helped as well.  I can't wait until spring to see if the birds like it as much as we do!!!


It started snowing lightly on Thursday night and a little Friday.  So we only have about an inch in our area.  Other areas have a little more.  I am sad to see the flowers gone now.  It was an extra treat to have them blooming as long as they did.  As much as I like the warmer weather, I love the different seasons.  Snow always brings  on the Christmas sentiment.  So  off to do some projects.
Hope your seasons are changing as well.



First of all, I am praying for all those in the East that are without homes and electricity tonight. My thoughts are back there and it feels so sad for the rest of the US to be able to carry on the Halloween tradition while they are suffering so much................................................................................................
Whenever we go to visit our kids and grandkids--Three live on the Washington Coast with their families and are only minutes apart-------Oma has to bring a "project" to do. It is a 4-5 hr drive so we make the most of it.
I saw a cute idea for battery lights in mason jars with gauze over them.  We attached googly eyes and stickers  and put them in a tray.  Here are sisters  Sydne, Lauryn and Rylee with their jars.  Rylee, 4, told her parents they made "estimation" jars for Halloween.  Five year old Lauryn is in Kindergarden and they all brought things from home to put in a jar to learn how to 'estimate' the number of items inside.  They are called estimation jars.  So precious.
Here Nai'a and brother Elijah pose with their jars.   The first thing the kids ask when they see me after hugs and kisses  is "Oma what are we making this time?"  Or  "Oma what is our project?"
When they come to visit us my whole studio is open to them to explore and of course the messier the better.  Sorry Moms, I can't help it. Heheh
One day I had no ideas  and made myself go into the studio and make Something Halloween.  I have an 8x10 canvas and used spray inks to get a purple, pink orange background.  I had old fold out white wedding bells and cut them into pumpkin shapes.  I then used the spray inks to color them and let them dry.  I mounted them on the canvas and added a few little halloween embellishments.  I aim to find a frame I can paint black at a thrift store and keep it for future halloweens.
This was a fun project.  While on vacation in August we stopped in an antique shop and the owner had some fake cakes.  These are so fun and easy.  I took thrift store tins  you know the ones we all use that house cookies and candy and popcorn and crackers, whatever. I painted the tins with vinyl joint compound  like buttering a cake.  You have to make sure the tins that top the bottom one are secured with enough goop because they have those rims on the bottom and the bottom is recessed.
After letting them dry for a day or two, you are ready to decorate.  I painted the 'frosting' orange,
covered wooden letters in green glitter, and pulled out 'stuffs' from my holiday stash.  I had this cute black  tin container that I stuffed with skellies and candy corn, etc.   I added the spider web when I was done to complete the project.  I just used hot glue to adhere the objects and letters but you can also use a strong adhesive of any kind.  You just have to wait for the items to adhere longer.
I had so much fun I decided my Mayhem Monday kids should make them as well.  We are now meeting on Tuesdays, so the majority of the kids can come.  I renamed our group  the Tornado Tuesdays  I love it.  I have about 11-12 kids coming and average 9-10 every week.
These kids love coming here.  I have been doing this for the past five years now, year round.
When I have to miss for any reason and cancel a week they are all so upset.  They will often come to visit in between because they all live in the neighborhood.   Some of these kids are younger siblings of kids that I started this for.  Those kids are in high school now but still come to visit on occasion.  There is always lots of hugs and smooches when we see each other.  John has been such a positive influence.  He teases them and helps when he is off work and home.  They even like to run and hide if he pulls up to the house when they are here. (Like he won't walk into the front door and see
both the kitchen and dining room tables full of projects and pounds of supplies scattered hither and yon!!!
He always plays along and acts surprised or scared  when they jump out at him.  Every once in a while, if someone has had a bad day at home or school, they will ask if John is home and ask for a
"special hug' from him.  That always makes his day.  Our grandchildren are so far way but it is so nice to love on these kids!!
I always show the kids a premade example of what we are making and then let them go for it. Our number one rule is no one can criticize their own work or anyone else's.  I tell them what they make comes from their heart and they need to embrace their creativity and be proud of it.  Some times the projects are far from what I have shown them and that is the beauty of letting kids do their own thing.
They are all seeing the same thing with a different eye and muse!!  I wish it were easier for myself to create with such freedom.  My inner critic jumps up and down immediately if I have any doubts.
My hope is that these kids, and my own, realize that we are all talented and need to just make our art for the special thing it is.

On Monday I was concerned about how to get 10 pumpkins for carving.  Everywhere I went they were so expensive!! I was shopping at a local chain store and happened to go through the Managers" checkstand.  We have been going to this store for 38 years and he has moved up through the ranks in all this time.  Anyway I brought up the kids and our weekly events.  I asked if he would be willing to donate any pumpkins for the cause, at the same time pointing out that many of the bottom pumpkins,were visibly rotting at the bottom of the huge boxes.
He told me to bring them back into the store in the cart and come through his checkstand.  I picked out the smallest of the pumpkins----still they were $6.99 each!!  Egads.
I returned to his stand and we talked a few minutes and then he got very stern and said----Just take them---all of them----but if you breathe ONE word to anyone you will have to come back and pay the full amount.  I mean it!!  He got embarassed but winked at me.  I said does this mean you won't expect a Thank You from the kids?  He said NO NO GO.  What a great guy.  I rarely ask for donations but this was just meant to be. And  I can tell you all because you will keep the secret.
Usually this time of year it is cold and awful but we all sat out on our back deck and carved away, telling ghost stories while we worked.  The kids were so excited when they saw the size of the pumpkins. 
I told them a very nice person donated them and we yelled 'Thank You nice person' out into the universe!

He wanted a fabric head band  so he coud be a ninja

When I brought my fabric scrap bin out they all wanted something for their 'people'.


For the first time in years I am not dressing up---just not feeling up to it today. 
This lovely lady is my full sized mannequin---Stella.I bought her an estate sale a few years back.
I dressed her up as a witch this year and painted her with green make-up. 

This is her looking out the dining room window--right next to the front door.
Hope your little ones are enjoying their time trick or treating or at Harvest Parties at their church.