Glass, Stained Glass

I have a friend that is a beautiful stained glass artist. Although she lives in a different state, she posts her creations online. This inspired me to attempt to create some stained glass on my own. I read up on pinterest, and watched a billion youtube videos, then set out on making some stained glass.

I was able to find a pattern that I really liked of a dragonfly and some long grasses. So I cut out my glass. Yes, the two left pieces of purple are going the wrong direction. This detail escaped me as I was trying to get the pieces cut out and fit together, which is harder than I thought it would be.

For me it was really relaxing. I got it all together. I’d like to put a frame around the outside eventually. My welds are a bit bumpy in spots, but I think with practice I could smooth them out.

Last Christmas I made several small pieces as gifts, but unfortunately life has been very busy lately and I have not gotten to it in a while. I think I’ll have to schedule it in.

Crazy how different it looks with sunlight passing through it. This one is at my moms house. Funny enough, the only one that I have at my house that I have done is a cross I made for my grandmother. She passed away this summer so I got it back.

Glorified Grahams

Otherwise known as Christmas Crack by my family….

This is the easiest cookie that we make in our Family Christmas Cookie Marathon Baking day.  It’s always been one of my favorites, and because it’s so easy, it might become one of your favorites too.  It is buttery, sweet and the nuts top it off with saltiness.  It hits all my taste buttons!

Glorified Grahams

Graham Crackers

1 C butter

1 C brown sugar

1 C chopped pecans

Line your cookie sheet (must have sides) with graham crackers.

In a small sauce pan heat butter and brown sugar and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Pour mixture over crackers, then sprinkle nuts evenly over crackers. 

Bake in a preheated oven (350 degrees) for 10 minutes. Cool slightly and cut into oblong bars. Store in an air-tight container.

Wrapping it up in Style

One of my favorite parts of gift giving is creating beautiful packages. When I was a child I learned to wrap gifts from my maternal Grandmother Midge, who incidentally called me Tulip as a child. Hence, the name of this blog.

She always had the prettiest packages on Christmas Day and always had mountains of wrapping to do. So, when I was old enough, I was enlisted to be her elf.

She taught me all about the right kind of paper to use, and color combinations, as well as technique. The foil paper was always used for books or special treasures, and kids packages didn’t get cloth ribbons. It always made me feel special to receive these beautiful packages.

Now that I am an adult I want to make people feel special too with my packages. I only hope in this technology age they can appreciate my effort. Even if they don’t, I’ll enjoy them underneath my tree until I give them away.

Mr Gibbs : He Picked Me

He wasn’t what I was looking for, but he’s the best cat I have ever shared my home with. 

If you asked me to choose between dogs and cats I would say that I am very much a dog person, but when you love all Gods creatures large and small, fury and slimy, cute and ugly, it doesn’t really matter.  Having a pet to share your life with is what counts.  

At the time we crossed paths I was living with my mother and was separated from my now ex husband.  Our cat had passed away, and I was missing the comfort of a furry companion.  I looked on Petfinder and found a few kittens at my local humane society.  I went in thinking I was going to get an little orange tabby cat that I could name Clementine.

When I took the kitten I had chosen into the visiting room she was not very friendly.  My previous cat Lucy, was the same way, and I really wanted a more cuddly kitty this time.  I was heartbroken that this little bundle of fur was not interested in becoming friends.   I decided that I would wait and something else would come along eventually.

On my way out, I stopped in the atrium where they have the older cats that are friendly in one room.  This was the best choice I made that day.  Of course, I was drawn to the younger orange tabby cats, but alas, we didn’t click.  I was bummed, but being the sucker that I am, I didn’t want to leave without spending a bit of time with all the cats in there.  There was only 10 or so, it wouldn’t take much of my time, and who doesn’t love playing with animals.

Making my way around the room I noticed that there was a black and white cat following me.  He didn’t come too close, but every time I would make my way to another cat tower to love on another cat in the room, he was right there.  A few feet away, but still my shadow.  I checked the board with his info. His name was Charlie, and he was 6 months old.  It also said that he was brought in as a baby as part of an unwanted litter with the mother.  I felt so bad for him, but I think I could see why he was overlooked.  He appeared grouchy.  The ‘mask’ as I like to call it , on his face could be off-putting to some. 

Before going into the room I had already decided that I was going to wait for a female orange tabby.  I was about to leave, but as I was pulling the handle on the glass door, I looked over my shoulder and my shadow was still there, looking up at me.  So, I turned around and scooped him up.  He nuzzled right into my cheek and I knew that he was mine.  So, whenever someone asks I tell them that he picked me, because he really did.

In the future I will give you a run down on all his crazy quirks, but for now I’ll leave you with this….notice the tail curl ❤

The Best Tasting Holiday Tradition: Cookies!

On Sunday I spent 9 hours creating hundreds of cookies to be gobbled up by family and friends.  Every year my sister and I get together for a whole day of baking.  On various years we have different helpers.  This year we were joined by my Auntie Barb and my niece Harper.  Of course Harper is only really interested in eating the sweet treats and decorating with sprinkles.

This is the first year that we have had Aunt Barb with us and she is so much fun.  She only has boys, and now that my mom lives in Michigan, it’s great to spend time with her.  It’s fun to gossip about my parents as teenagers and my grandparents too.  She’s always full of good advice and I love to hear all her fun stories.

We start out by putting all the things that we will need on my sister’s card table.  On a side note, do people use these for playing cards anymore?  It helps to have all our ingredients in one spot, we just have to make sure that we put it back so that we can find it for the next recipe.  This is apparently a difficult task for us at times, but at least we try to get ourselves organized.

My sister and I work really well as a team.  Her kitchen is small but we make it work  with these stack-able cooling racks.  Peanut Butter Blossoms take a long time to cool and you don’t want to smoosh the kisses.  There’s got to be a joke in there somewhere.  New to the cookie line up we added Sandbakkels this year in honor of my grandmother LaVonne, Auntie Barb’s mom, who passed away this year.  They are buttery goodness, but take up lots of space when cooling.  Thank goodness for stack-able racks!

(Cookie Lineup : Almond Bark covered Pretzels with sprinkles, Peanut Butter Blossoms, Spritz, Sandbakkels, Haystacks, Melting Moments, Glorified Grahams, and Pumpkin Cake-balls at the top.)

The marathon day of baking is the fun part for me, and the copious amounts of delicious treats aren’t bad either.  I can’t wait for next year!

Somewhere between a Zendoodle and a Zentangle

I have not counted the number of sketchbooks that I have full of these things.  I do them when I sit on the couch after a long day.  It helps me to relax, but I have never really done it in a structured way.  It’s really whatever comes to me.  I might make a grid one day and swirls another day.  I might chose one or two patterns to fill my whole page.

Or maybe just a whole bunch of versions of the same thing.

My object is just to keep my mind and my hands busy doing something.  It is very relaxing for me.  Purists of zentangle say that you have to create with purpose so that your mind is occupied by something other that thinking.  Your supposed to be focused on what you are doing.  Part of me is, but part of me is talking to the people around me or catching up on the news.

For me it is having the desired affect, and maybe I am doing it write.  Either way, I enjoy it a lot and have come up with some pretty amazing designs.  I have the sketch books to prove it!

Teaching Children to Read and my Childhood Favorites

I believe that you should instill the love of reading in children at an early age.  These are some of the ones that I remember very vividly from my childhood.  My grandmother Midge really encouraged our reading.  She often bought us books as gifts.  I really wish I had kept them for myself instead leaving them at home when I  moved out. Sadly they have lost to donation.

She also encouraged our reading by providing a good example to us. She loved mystery books and often had one sitting next to her chair in the den.  She also read the newspaper every morning.  It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I started to devour books regularly and it is something that I have kept up. 

There is nothing like cuddling up with a good book on a cold day with a cup of coffee or tea and a warm blanket, or, in the summer a glass of lemonade and a hammock strung between two strong trees on a nice day.

The internal stories played out in your mind are much more vivid, and full of feeling.  It’s hard to explain it to non-readers.  I have never found a way to encourage someone that didn’t develop the love of reading from a young age to start, but those with the love of the written word know exactly how I feel about reading.

So, get them started young!  Reading is so fundamental, and will only help them in the future.  It will expand their mind, their imagination, and their vocabulary.