less than two weeks till the open house

At the end of last week, I worked on making twelve boxes for Chistmas card shadow boxes.

making Christmas card shadow boxes

I managed to embellish one of those before setting the project aside for the weekend.

Christmas card shadow box

I know size is hard to figure out in pictures. This box is about 5″ wide by 3″ tall (not counting the hanger), and 1″ deep.

Christmas card shadow box

If you are interested in making Christmas card shadow boxes, here’s the link to my tutorial. Feel free to ask if you have any questions about the process. I’m happy to help.

Making shadow boxes from Christmas cards.

Genny came down for the weekend and we picked up with decorating again. I washed the prisms for the glass tree. All the ornaments on this tree are made of glass, mostly clear glass. I like spun glass ornaments the best, but I also have lampwork ornaments, molded glass ornemants, and more that 150 chandelier prisms, as well as chandelier chains as the garland on the tree.

prisms

We finished the glass tree (my favorite!) with DH’s help on the high part. The tree sits on a two foot high wooden box and the box has an eight inch high “box” on it to give the tree a little more lift. It’s a 7.5′ tree, but the ceilings are 12′ tall, so we put it on the box to give it more oomph.

glass tree

Genny and I put stars up on the arch over the bay where the glass tree sits. These gold stars were on the Three Kings Tree but, since we didn’t put that one up this year, we are using the stars on the arch. Check out that 150 year old, walnut woodwork. We have lived here for twenty years, but this house continues to amaze me.

stars on the garland

This is the Three Kings Tree, as we used to set it up. This year, because we aren’t decorating the upstairs, we didn’t put up this tree. We put the “Glass” tree where the Nativity used to be (in the bay). We used a smaller tree for nativity ornaments on the desk in the music room. And the Bubble Light Tree that is usually on that desk is set up in in the front window in the library (where the glass tree also is). Got that??

three kings tree

Where the Three Kings tree used to be, we put the green cupboard that houses our games and puzzles. We had to move it there when we put the Bubble Light Tree in the front window.

Anyhoo…DH did another high job for me. He put lights around the 12′ ceiling in the music room. We are so thankful for our Little Giant ladder! It is wonderfully secure while reaching high places. That’s unsolicited praise! No affiliation with Little Giant. It’s just a great, great ladder!

haning lights

While Genny put vintage ornaments on the laundry room tree, I wrapped my “favorite gifts.”

baby pictures wrapped as gifts

Genny also put Frosty and his laundry on the dryer door.

Frosty's doing his laundry.

Some of my friends in other parts of the country had their first snows of the season this week. Thankfully, we are still enjoying fall here!

kitchen window

Friday we even opened the windows for a bit. Ski, Winston and Clark enjoyed that! Ski continued to chill in front of the open window, but Winston and Clark watched intently as DH adjusted my TV in the craft room for me.

Ski, Winston and Clark

You can see five of my ten boxes of Christmas cards in the above picture. And boxes of embellishments sorted by color. I’m always looking for more cards, if anyone has some to give away!

I’ve made 25 kinds of cookies and candies in the past few months. All in the freezer waiting for the party! I have two more cookie recipes to bake. Then I have seven goodies left to make, but they are things that have to wait until closer to the party. We have ten trees decorated and four to go. Well down from the twenty-two trees we usually have. But not decorating the upstairs is the best option for us this year, so that has cut our tree decorating down quite a bit!

Back to work! I’ll check in again soon!

~~Rhonda

green putz with copper embellishments

I finished this little house today. I like the color combination. The embellishments are copper colored. The base is 5 1/4″ wide and 3 3/4″ deep. The Putz measures 5 1/2″ tall, from the bottom of the base to the top of the foliage.

green and brown Putz house with copper embellishments

green and brown Putz house with copper embellishments

A tiny brown, glass bead serves as a door knob. The corrugated fence has two fence posts at the entrance. Both are topped with a copper colored pearl.

green and brown Putz house with copper embellishments

~~Rhonda

custom order putz village

My first custom order. I made it for a local friend. She wanted gray and yellow and no green to match a particular room in her home.

custom order Putz

It was the biggest Putz project I have undertaken. Here is a close-up of the first little house.

custom order Putz

And the church.

custom order Putz

And the other little house.

custom order Putz

Top view. The cut-out in the base is to fit the village under a particular tabletop tree.

custom order Putz

From the back…

custom order Putz

The embellishments are clear plastic beads wired into leaves and flowers, bottle brush trees, pearl beads, and artificial foilage in champagne and white. My friend gave me some plastic round beads that were wired into sprays. I used those to make “trees” for the background. The ivory bottle brush trees were perfect with the gray and yellow.

custom order Putz

custom order Putz

Two little white glittered deer can be found in the front yard.

custom order Putz

custom order Putz

custom order Putz

custom order Putz

custom order Putz

I hope she will enjoy it for years to come! ~~Rhonda

putz country church

I finished this little white and blue church today. I had put it on the base and added the fence a few weeks ago, but had set it aside. It slipped my mind until I saw it today while clearing space on the craft counter. Decided to finish it.

Putz country church

The foliage is pink and a sort of blue/green. Not really teal.

Putz country church

The two small bottle brush trees are decorated with pink beads.

Putz country church

I’ll post it to my Etsy shop, ChristmasNotebook, tomorrow.

Putz country church

Besides the Putz church, I have this little brown and green house ready for embellishments. I have added the snow to the roof…just didn’t get a picture of that. I’ll try to get the house done in the next day or two.

green and brown putz house

A week or so ago, I had finished a custom order. The customer had given me a few things to add to it, so I completed that today. I love the way this turned out.

custom order

I also baked Peppermint Meltaways today. They are ready for the freezer. I packed a box with four kinds of cookies and a few other goodies for DD. DH mailed it for me.

Tomorrow, a friend is coming to help me decorate the “glass” tree (all spun glass and molded glass ornaments) and my dear daughter-in-law is coming to help with Christmas prep, as well. It should be a good day!

A big event tomorrow (Wednesday) is the opening of Breath of Eden Country Store. Among their wares are some of my Putz houses and Christmas ornaments that I have made. If you’re local, I hope you will stop by for their grand opening!

~~Rhonda

the past few days

This is a very busy time of year for us and the past few days were no exception. As is usual this time of year, my sister Genny was here to help. We managed to get quite a bit done.

We put snow on the small tree that sits on top the dining room cabinet. Snow = cotton. I used to use shredded plastic snow, but I can’t do that in good conscience any longer. Plastic waste is so bad for our planet. The cotton gives us the same effect. Doesn’t look exactly the same, but it works. The two trees with cotton snow on them are taken to the attic for storage with the cotton and lights still on them. This year, the lights had to be replaced on the small tree, so we had to redo the snow, as well.

IMG_3729

I opened the box with the Christmas tree toppers in it, so I put them on the candlesticks for display. We’ll probably use them on the cookie table for our Open House.

tree toppers in candlesticks

I made Macadamia Nut Shortbread Cookies with white chocolate chunks.

cookie dough

Macadamia White-Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

While baking, I noticed this onion. Seems to think it’s time for spring.

the onion thinks it's spring

These items went to the freezer. Still some cookies and candy to make, but I am gaining on them!

more cookies for the party

DH and I put the red beads on the living room tree. With a little help from Clark. Winston was hiding on the box under the tree and watched the activity with a great deal of interest.

decorating the living room tree

Last Friday, I finished this little house. So cute. It’s posted in my Etsy shop ChristmasNotebook.

green Putz house

Today, some craft therapy. I’m going to work on making a few more Putz houses. I’ll try to remember to take some pictures and let you see how I progress. Sometimes, I get so caught up in the project that I forget to document it with pictures!

~~Rhonda

Christmas this and that

Wednesday DH and I worked on the living room tree. It is a nine foot tall tree that sits on a two foot tall box. To take it to the attic for storage, the bottom four layers of branches and their lights come off. The rest of the tree stays intact and is carried to the attic in two pieces, with the lights on. That saves a lot of time each year.

I spent a few hours putting on those four branches and than adding the lights. When that was done, DH put the popcorn and cranberry strings on the tree, under my supervision.

living room tree

living room tree

living room tree

living room tree

I made a fourth Putz church, using some of the new embellishments Middle Daughter brought me from the Big City.

white church with blue roof

The grands were here earlier in the week. They had fun making their own gingerbread Putz houses, using printable houses.

gingerbread Putz houses

gingerbread Putz houses

gingerbread Putz houses

Rose Red chose the embellishments. I did the hot-gluing.

gingerbread Putz houses

Snow White went all out with the embellishments. She had a ball. Even glittered the roof.

gingerbread Putz houses

gingerbread Putz houses

Tomorrow I will continue to work on my next Christmas Tree Lot Putz. It’s coming along well. I should have pictures tomorrow.

~~Rhonda

three Putz churches

These three Putz churches will be posted to my Etsy shop, ChristmasNotebook, in the next day or so. I just finished them. Lots of fun to do.

This little white and pink Putz church is trimmed with silver glitter. I kept the design very simple by adding two bottle brush trees.

Putz church

Putz church

The second church is white with a blue roof.

Putz church

I love to see them lit up!

Putz church

This one is almost a coral color.

Putz church

A close-up of the foliage embellishments.

Putz church

I just started another Christmas Tree Lot Putz and will be posting it to Etsy when it is finished. More about that soon!

~~Rhonda

finished three putz houses today

I finished three Putz houses today and worked on a couple of others. I am trying to use up the stash of houses I started during the past year or so and never finished.

I love the purple and green one.

Putz house

The beads under the roofline show up better in this picture.

Purple Putz

I think this little yellow and pink one is a charmer. I did add some foliage to the back and sides of the house, but kept it pretty simple over all.

Putz house

This design is taken from a vintage Putz house. I drew the pattern several years ago and made this house last summer. Today, I put it on a base and added the arches and the foliage.

Putz house

I have been asked to place some of my Putz houses and Christmas ornaments in a new local country store / gift shop opening in a few weeks. These houses will be part of that display.

~~Rhonda

busy!

I’ve been meaning to post but am so busy that, by the time I can, I am too tired to think about it. But I’ll take a stab at it now and see if I can get something coherant up. As most of you know, this is the busiest time of year for us. We are focused on getting the house ready for our annual Christmas Open House. It takes a lot of work and a lot of coordinating of what we’re doing.

Today, DH worked on the 9′ living room tree. We’ve had incandescent lights on it for years. The past few years we have had trouble with it blowing a fuse, so this year we are moving to LED lights on this tree. Not a happy choice for me, because I think colored LEDs are a bit garish and bright. But it’s a big tree and needs a lot of lights, so I am willing to make the change. Besides, burning the house down doesn’t seem like a good trade off.

Because we aren’t having the upstairs open this year for the party, we are juggling some of the trees around. We won’t be using the second 9′ tree for the nativity tree in the library this year and it is already strung with LEDs, so we’ll use that in the living room. I took all the lights off the first 9′ tree and we stored the tree without lights. If we need it another year, we can string it with LEDs. I will miss the incandescents.

In the afternoon, a friend stopped by to help me string popcorn and cranberries for the living room tree. It was great to have time to chat and catch up with her. We managed to string four and a half bags of cranberries (out of six needed for the tree). A second friend stopped by unexpectedly and she gave us a hand, too. It’s a good feeling to have that much of the project done. I’ll finish the rest tomorrow or Friday.

I have been asked to put some of my Putz houses and Christmas ornaments in a new gift shop opening locally, so I am going through my inventory and deciding what to send over for that. I am also trying to make some new inventory so I don’t have to take too much out of my Etsy ChristmasNotebook shop.

A friend stopped by to pick up a special order today. She wanted three yellow and grey houses on one base to use below a table top tree. Nothing green. The ivory colored bottle brush trees were perfect for this project. I am very happy with the way it turned out.

custom order

I finished this little Putz house this week and it is posted to my Etsy shop.

little blue Putz house

I also made this little house. I like it so much that I’m keeping it for myself. But I will be making a few houses in that color to post to Etsy.

blue Putz house with chimney

I finished the little autumn house.

autumn Putz

My dear friend Marsha and her husband visited last Thursday. Marsha and I crafted and Paul watched soccer. He grew up in Brazil so loves the sport. It is always refreshing to visit with them and I enjoyed the day a great deal. Totally forgot to take pictures, though! I did take this picture the night before their visit.

craft room

And that is about as clear as my craft counter ever gets. So it’s good to invite friends over. Gives incentive to tidy up!

~~Rhonda

cookies here, cookies there, cookies, cookies everywhere

I managed to make four kinds of cookie dough this weekend. Baked three of them. And made a batch of truffles. Most are on their way to the freezer. Some will be on their way to Youngest Daughter in a small care package.

The truffles are Minty Cream Cheese Truffles. These are delicious.

Minty Cream Cheese Truffles

I made dough for a double batch of Sour Cream Sugar Cookies. Those are waiting in the fridge for baking. The dough is very tender and needs to be cold for rolling. In a few days I will get to that and then I’ll have a pile like this. They will go into the freezer and we will take them out to thaw the day before the Open House. I’ll decorate them then.

sugar cookies

Nutmeg Logs…I’ve been making these for a long time.

Nutmeg Logs

Elfin Bites are tiny shortbread cookies. One of my very favorites. Please use butter, not margarine, when making shortbread. There is a world of difference!

Elfin Bites

Holiday Oatmeal Cookies were next.

Holiday Oatmeal Cookies

And with all that baking going on we also managed to make a loaf of sourdough bread. It’s too bad more people don’t know the pleasure of hot bread fresh from the oven.

Sourdough Bread

On Saturday Older Son and his lovely wife cleaned out the kitchen pantry for me. We got rid of a lot and they organized the rest. My pantry is eleven feet wide, three and a half feet deep and twelve feet high. It holds a lot! The pantry has two smallish doors, one at each end. I like having it cleaned and organized just before the holidays. That makes all the baking and cooking so much easier to do.

Kitchen photo wall

I didn’t get a picture of the shelves on Saturday. Here’s a picture from a previous cleaning that gives you an idea of what we were dealing with. The six big shelves go completely across the back wall, eleven feet long. There’s a window at the south end, which I love.

pantry storage

My sister came on Saturday evening and on Sunday she finished the chalkboard tree and decorated the tree for the downstairs bathroom. It has a garden theme. I didn’t get a picture of that, either, but will at some point. And you’re going to love the chalkboard tree! It came out so cute! Thanks, Genny, for all that hard work!

Tomorrow, I am taking a break from baking and plan to relax with a little craft therapy. And probably an afternoon nap!

~~Rhonda