spring has finally arrived

Spring is running about three weeks later than usual here. But things are looking up. It finally got warm enough that I ventured out into the garden to see what’s blooming.

spring. finally!

First the daffodils. So cheery! And they can take a freeze and keep on blooming.

daffodils

These are ‘Easter Bonnet.’

'Easter Bonnet' daffodils

Mini daff called ‘Tete-a-Tete.’ The blooms are about an inch across and the plant is 6-8″ tall.

'Tete-a-tete' daffodils

daffodils

‘Poets’ daffodil…these came from my husband’s family.

'Poets' daffodils

The peonies are up, though not showing buds yet. The daffodils in the background also came from DH’s family farm.

Peonies are up!

The grape hyacinths are up!

daffodils

The flowering almond will burst open in the next day or two.

Flowering Almond

And the lilacs, too…

Lilac

The ‘Jane’ magnolia just opened its first blossoms Thursday. It will be covered in a few days.

'Jane' magnolia

'Jane' magnolia

This flowering fruit tree popped up next to the compost pile. A volunteer. We will have to wait to see what quality of fruit it provides, but the blossoms are beautiful!

peach tree?

The Lenten Rose has been blooming for a few weeks. We found a volunteer Lenten Rose about fifteen feet from this one.

Lenten Rose

And the hostas are popping up! This is ‘Journey’s End’ which gets quite large.

'Journey's End' hosta

We host a beehive for friends and the bees are busy enjoying all the lovely flowers.

honey bees

In our little one acre wood, the bluebells are nearing the end of their bloom time.

Virginia Bluebells

The bloodroot is out. Such a beautiful white!

Bloodroot

We found a lone trillium.

trilium

If the warmer weather holds, we will soon have peonies. I’m looking forward to those!

~~Rhonda

gallery of putz houses…part 2

The first part of this “gallery of Putz houses” can be found here:

gallery of putz houses…part 1

Following are more Putz houses I have completed during the past few months. The first one is one of my favorite Easter Putz churches. It has sold. Wasn’t in the Etsy shop long!

Putz House

I love the details on this one. The little mulberry paper flowers were purchased. I made the tiny Easter eggs from clay.

Easter Putz Church

This Easter church is similar with the same kinds of flowers and Easter eggs. The base measures 4 3/4″ wide by 6″ deep. The church is 6 1/4″ tall as measured from the bottom of the base to the top of the steeple.

Easter Putz Church

Easter Putz Church

Putz House

Next up are two Christmas Tree Lots. The first one features lights, Santa’s mailbox, trees and wreaths. Each of my Christmas tree lots gets a unique name. This one is the “North Woods” tree lot.

Putz House

Sometimes it can be hard to find a large enough Christmas card with a horizontal layout for the base of the tree lots as they are a bit larger than the usual Putz I make. This one was perfect at 7 3/4″ wide by 5 1/2″ deep.

Putz House

The second tree lot is the “Holly Days” tree lot.

Putz House

The base features a classic Christmas plaid with the red done in foil.

Putz House

This tree lot is decorated with a garland of evergreen all along the fence.

Putz House

I designed this simple Putz because I like the idea of a curved roof.

Putz House

Putz House

The base is a picture of a cozy Christmas kitty.

Putz House

I drew the pattern for this one from a picture I found online of someone else’s house, so this pattern isn’t featured in my Etsy shop. But I love the design and, at some point, will draw a barn and silo pattern similar to this house.

Putz House

I designed this simple country church with a curved roof, also.

Putz House

My Putz churches are always done with a religious Christmas card as a base.

Putz House

Another new design. I love this shade of blue.

Putz House

Putz House

And its base.

Putz House

This is the same pattern as the house above, but done in a different color scheme. Wisps of polyester stuffing make perfect puffs of smoke.

Putz House

Putz House

Putz House

The base is a pretty Christmas card in grey and ivory.

Putz house base

The last house is a personal favorite. I wasn’t sure about the color scheme at first, but once the house was finished with the embellishments, I decided I love it!

Putz House

The colors are taken from the Christmas card on the base.

Putz House

Putz House

Putz House

If you’re still here, thanks for hanging on till the end! I hope you enjoyed it. Comment below if you have a favorite and what you like about it. I’d love the feedback.

My Putz houses are available for purchase in my Etsy shop ChristmasNotebook.etsy.com.

All proceeds from my shop support Kenya Mercy Ministries. This organization provides help to the urban poor of Nairobi, Kenya, particularly the children and their families of Kibera, the largest slum in Africa.

I appreciate each person who helps me provide for these children by purchasing items from my shop! A big shout-out goes to all those who donate greeting cards to me for the crafts I make to sell in the shop. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the donations of Christmas cards and other greeting cards.

If you are interested in making your own Putz houses, check out the information, how-tos and tips in my Putz tutorials. Putz Tutorial List
I am always happy to help with advice, if you have any questions. Just ask!

~~Rhonda

gallery of putz houses…part 1

I have taken quite a bit of time off blog writing. Not intentionally. It just seemed to work out that way. I do enjoy writing my blog and have no desire to give it up. Sometimes, though, other than a few faithful commenters, I wonder if anyone else is listening. The other day someone I just met told me he has followed my blog for a long time (thank you, Clinton!). That makes me think there are surely others out there that enjoy reading this little blog. You never know who’s listening. But knowing someone is, gives me some energy to get back at it.

I have made quite a few Putz houses in the past six weeks or so. I’m going to share some pictures. I hope they inspire other Putzers out there to continue to create, hone their craft, and share what they’re doing.

This little dusky rose and medium brown Putz house is one I designed last week. The bottle brush trees are decorated with pearl beads in shades of pink and brown. The fence was cut with large-scallop decorative scissors.

Dusky Rose and Brown Putz House

I make the bases for my Putz houses from greeting cards. This one, for the base of the dusky rose house, has a Victorian theme. I chose the dusky rose to match the shading on the angel’s wings.

Dusky Rose and Brown Putz House

I wasn’t sure about the color scheme for this Putz house until I finished it. I love the way it turned out. The trees are decorated with vintage mercury beads.

Blue and Orange Putz House

The base is one of my favorite Christmas cards. It has tiny metallic gold dots over the entire picture.

Blue and Orange Putz House

This little house reminds me of a Swiss chalet. I kept the decorations as simple as possible. Two undecorated trees and lots of snow. After I made the pattern, I realized the inspiration picture I used for the design was not of a vintage house, so this particular pattern won’t show up in my Etsy shop. I’ll put it in my personal collection.

Putz House

Putz House

Its base is another card I love.

Putz House

Isn’t this house lovely? It evokes nostalgia for me. I can just imagine the family gathered around the Christmas tree, happy and delighted.

Putz House

The card is a simple design with the gold done in foil.

Putz house base

Next time I make this pattern, I will make the window frame for the four windows in one piece.

Putz House

The small blue and green Putz house is a favorite. I like the bump-out doorway.

Putz House

The base is a cute little teddy bear and his toy sheep.

Putz house base

Here’s another small and traditional design…

Putz House

…with a sweet Christmas card as the base.

Putz House

I have seven more Putz to share. I’ll do that in another post.

My Putz houses are available for purchase in my Etsy shop ChristmasNotebook.etsy.com.

All proceeds from my shop support Kenya Mercy Ministries. This organization provides help to the urban poor of Nairobi, Kenya, particularly the children and their families of Kibera, the largest slum in Africa.

I appreciate each person who helps me provide for these children by purchasing items from my shop! A big shout-out goes to all those who donate greeting cards to me for the crafts I make to sell in the shop. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the donations of Christmas cards and other greeting cards.

If you are interested in making your own Putz houses, you can find a lot of information, how-tos and tips in my Putz tutorials. Putz Tutorial List
I am always happy to help with advice, if you have questions. Just ask!

~~Rhonda

last week in pictures / january 22-28

Monday / Lots of cloudy days lately. I got a shot of the 15 seconds of sun I saw that morning.

a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day

Tuesday / Ski and Winston enjoy their favorite fountain.

cat fountain

Wednesday / I ❤ glitter.

I <3 glitter

I ❤ lots of glitter. I’m glad to have it organized and ready to use!

I <3 glitter

Thursday / Clark stands guard over Middle Daughter’s packing.

Clark stands guard

Friday / I didn’t get a picture on Friday, so here’s one from Saturday. Amy loves a good belly rub.

Amy gets a belly rub

Saturday / While I took the ornaments off the living room tree, I paused to take a picture of this one. My maternal grandfather did a lot of carving with his pocket knife. He gave me this little trinket on my 21st birthday.

carved by my maternal grandfather

Sunday / When we went to evening church, just at dusk, we saw a herd of nineteen deer in the field behind the church. How often do we overlook the blessings of nature when we see them every day? Then we see something out of the ordinary, and it reminds us of God’s creation and the every-day beauty all around us. Even in the dead of winter.

herd of deer at dusk

Another week of decluttering under my belt. Looking at another one this week.

~~Rhonda

menu plan monday ~ january 29, 2018

The past week hurried by. I stayed busy clearing, cleaning and decluttering the craft room. Making good progress! I did skip that on Saturday when I helped DH take down some Christmas decorations. Yes, we do it slowly. No stress involved unless we leave it up way too long! We got everything off the large tree in the living room and I took about half the ornaments off the glass tree in the library. Here are a few of my favorite glass ornaments.

Cinderella’s carriage…

glass ornament

And, nearby, her glass slipper…

glass ornament

A bucking bronco, which was gifted to me this Christmas by Older Son and family. Isn’t it fabulous!?

glass ornament

A piano with a bench…

glass ornament

Santa riding a dinosaur! I found this one on Etsy. Santa’s plastic but I made an exception to the “all glass” rule because I love this ornament. It makes me laugh!

glass ornament

This week’s menu is as follows.

Monday
Cheesy Burgers
Steamed Green Beans

Tuesday
Fridge Food

Wednesday
Pork Steaks in the Oven
Roasted Cabbage with Bacon
Sliced Cucumbers

Thursday
Chicken Veggie Casserole with Cheese
Garden Salad

Friday
Chicken Soup

Saturday / Celebrating Youngest Daughter’s birthday!
Roasted Chicken
Mashed Potatoes
Creamed Mushrooms
Buttered Asparagus
Garden Salad
Chocolate Cheesecake by request

Sunday
Taco Salad – something light after the big meal on Saturday.

I am hoping to have the last of the craft room cabinets done this week and then I will be ready to put things back. I’ve sent off loads of stuff to donate and taken out bags and bags of trash. It’s looking better!

~~Rhonda

last week in pictures / january 15-21

Monday / snow and sleet

snowy day

Tuesday / kitty love

DD#2 with Riley and Zilli

Wednesday / organizing the craft room / Putz embellishments in bead boxes

organized embellishments for my Putz houses

Thursday / honey-do / I need a storage system for large poster board and cardboard pieces.

honey-do

Friday / Before and After

solder drawer before

solder drawer after

Saturday / Yummy breakfast / Cabbage, spinach and arugula sautéed with bacon

yummy breakfast

Sunday / New valances in the craft room / I had two valances on each window and it wasn’t full enough. Ordered three more so each window now has three valances. Looks a lot better.

new valances

That was my week in a nutshell. Lots of decluttering and organizing going on in the craft room. More of the same this week.

~~Rhonda

menu plan monday ~ january 22, 2018

It is hard to believe we are heading into the last days of January, 2018. The passing of time always catches me off guard. Life happens a moment at a time. And those moments seem to last forever sometimes. But they keep marching on and suddenly, time has passed!

Who’s into minimalism? Living with less? Decluttering? I think I caught that bug. I have always been a keeper rather than one who likes to get rid of stuff. But in the past year or two, the desire to have less has been gnawing at me. I started in my craft room. It was cluttered. The counter was piled. I didn’t have the space I wanted to work. I couldn’t find supplies I knew I had. After watching videos on minimalism, listening to audio books about decluttering, etc., I found the motivation to get to work. I’ve been boxing donation items and bagging trash! And it feels good! I’ll write another post about that.

We had the twins here for a long weekend over New Year’s. They wanted to make Putz houses, so we worked on that project Saturday afternoon.

They chose the patterns they wanted to make, copied them onto card stock, and cut them out.

Making Putz Houses

They needed a little help with gluing the pieces together. They managed the painting part by themselves.

Making Putz Houses

Making Putz Houses

The paint had to dry before I could glue the Putz houses to the bases the girls chose.

Making Putz Houses

That’s as far as we got that weekend. They will finish them with a fence and embellishments when they come back to visit.

Making Putz Houses

This week’s menu is as follows.

Monday
Fridge Food

Tuesday
Roast Chicken Thighs
Roast Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
Garden Salad

Wednesday
Cheesy Burgers
Sauteed Zucchini and Summer Squash

Thursday
Pork Chops
Green Beans with Mushrooms
Garden Salad

Friday
Stir-Fry Broccoli Beef

Saturday
Baby Back Ribs in the Instant Pot
Cole Slaw

Sunday
Pork Steaks in the oven
Stir-Fried Cabbage, Arugula and Spinach

Do you have your menu ready for the week? If you aren’t in the habit of preparing a menu, try it! What a time saver!

~~Rhonda

menu plan for the rest of december, plus one

Christmas night, I came down with the headcold/sinus thing that’s going around. Here it is Friday and I feel worse than ever. But I’m staying in bed and being pampered by Rose Red and Snow White who come running if I call. Helpful girls who are quite able to take care of themselves while Ma is sick in bed.

Rose Red and Snow White

I’m drinking the chicken-bone broth I made in my Instant Pot last week. So thankful to have it.

broth for the sickly

Buttercup is braving the cold weather by hanging out over the floor registers.

There's a cat-cover on the register...

And snuggling with her best friend, Youngest Daughter.

Buttercup's best friend

Winston’s glad he has a long furry tail to keep his toes warm.

Winston and the Garden Tree

I have Tacoritos on the menu for this evening, but I’m thinking it may be fridge food instead…we’ll see how I’m feeling.

Friday
Tacoritos

Saturday
Chicken Wings in Instant Pot, then Broiled with BBQ Sauce
Garden Salad
Brussels Sprouts

Sunday
Baby Back Ribs in Instant Pot
Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Green Beans with Bacon

Monday / Belated Christmas with Older Son’s family
Cheeseburger Soup
Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup with Chicken
Cheese and Crackers
Triple Chocolate Cheesecake
Key Lime Pie

Just a reminder…if you have Christmas cards to dispose of, I would love to have them for my crafting. They are used to make items for sale in my Etsy shop, ChristmasNotebook. All proceeds are donated to Kenya Mercy Ministries. They work with the urban poor in Nairobi, Kenya, particularly those living in Kibera, the largest slum in Africa. Cards can be left at our house, between the doors if there’s no answer, or at DH’s office. Thank you!

~~Rhonda

happy, happy birthday to my beloved

There is one man in all the world who does this for me…

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:12-14

My beloved husband is celebrating his birthday today. He has a tradition of riding his age on his bike during his birthday week. He accomplished that by riding in this freezing weather, combined with some miles on his trainer. Dressed more warmly than in this picture, I might add.

RAIN ride 2013

Clark is always happy when DH comes home from work.

Father's Day

helping Pa

Happy birthday to my favorite.

help with the candle

Thank you for all you do for me, our family, our church and the community. I love you!

~~Rhonda

chalkboard Christmas tree 2017

Here it is! This year’s chalkboard Christmas tree. You can see the previous five chalkboard trees here: Chalkboard Christmas Trees

Our theme for this year is “…not even a mouse…”

Chalkboard Christmas tree

As in previous years, I googled the internet for images that would fit the theme. I searched < Christmas mice >, printed the images I liked and then edited those pictures for the final image.

IMG_2930

The chalkboard is first divided into the sections, with a vertical line for the tree trunk and horizontal lines for the branches. Then we tape up the pictures, move them around, move them again…till we’ve decided on the design we want.

IMG_2941

Each design is transferred to the chalkboard.

IMG_2946

IMG_2948

Then the chalking begins. We decided to add popcorn and cranberry strings this year.

Chalkboard Christmas tree

Starting at the top…

Chalkboard Christmas tree

Chalkboard Christmas tree

Chalkboard Christmas tree

The bottom of the tree features Clark and Winston. Clark is being entertained with Christmas carols and Winston is napping with a little mouse napping on Winston’s head.

Chalkboard Christmas tree

Another year, another chalkboard Christmas tree. I wonder what next year’s theme will be?

Merry Christmas from all of us! ~~Rhonda