Gifting handmade presents …

The gifts are open, the work is done.

So now it’s time, to have some fun.

By fun, I mean starting anew on various craft projects. (Or finishing some of the projects that didn’t get done.) This year I was fairly productive. As usual, I planned to get more done than I actually got done. However, as Christmas approaches and activities increase, it is okay to simply let it go and  save those unfinished projects for later. Too much self-induced stress takes away from the joy of giving handmade presents.

Why spend hours and hours crafting handmade gifts? There are several reasons: 1. They are perfect for the person who has everything. I’m pretty sure we fall in that category. We have lots of stuff. When we ‘need’ something, we usually just buy it – which doesn’t leave much on our Christmas list. 2. Handmade gifts are unique, one of a kind. I enjoy having things that no one else has. 3. They are special. Handmade gifts take a lot of time to make. If handmade gifts were valued based on the time spent in creating them, they could be considered some of the most expensive gifts. More importantly, it shows that you (the receiver of the gift) were worth the time that was spent creating that gift. Time is one of the greatest gifts of all. 4. They are fun to make (unless you try to do too much and make it stressful).

This year, I managed to create gifts in several craft categories.

Ornaments. Shown below are a few of the ornaments completed, including the snowman pair of corrugated paper, the snowman and Santa wreaths – knitted of many pieces and then sewn together, and the peppermint decorations make of  peppermint candies placed inside cookie cutters and then melted. The peppermint decorations are also edible. I made them with one of my granddaughters for their Christmas tree. Rumor has it that two were broken on the trip home so they had to eat them.


Earrings. For the first time, I tried my hand at jewelry making with these very simple post earrings made of buttons and scrapbooking gems.  I think the earrings made with ladybug buttons are probably the favorite. The added bonus – if they get lost or misplaced, Grandma can simply make some more.


Doll Clothes. While I had intended to sew some doll clothes, I never quite got my sewing area set up. Instead, I focused on knitting. The outfits below fit 18″ inch dolls, such as the American Girl series. They include a bathrobe, a sundress with matching underpants, shawl and purse, and a shrug.

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Paper Craft – Personalized Journals.  The journals below are made of composition notebooks with paper craft decorated covers – each personalized. These were easy and fun to make!


And last – very quick projects – knitted Towel Holders. Most often, the towel holders are crocheted. Since I have not yet mastered crocheting, I was happy to find this knitted version – which take no more than an hour each. A purchased towel completes the gift.

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Hopefully, if I get busy, I will have a lot more done for next year! I have a few new areas to work on – sewing, card-making, drawing and painting. You never know what I might create.

Thanks for reading!



Image from Lion Brand Yarns





Merry Christmas from our house …

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Christmas Time

Published by Ronald Doe – December 2010

Christmas time is finally here.
It only comes but once a year,
And it’s a time to spread good cheer
To those we love and hold so dear.

Christmas time is a time of glee,
A time when peace and love run free,
A time for those like you and me
To sit beneath the Christmas tree.

Christmas time is a time of joy,
A time to sit back and enjoy
The smile on each girl and boy,
As they play with a Christmas toy.

Christmas time is a time to share
The passing of another year.
Birth of Jesus, a joyful prayer,
To show loved ones how much we care.

Christmas time is a time for song,
A time for us to get along,
To make us feel Lord Jesus strong,
Forgive all those who did us wrong.

Christmas time is a time to pray,
Put love and kindness on display,
Show compassion along the way.
Christmas time should be every day.


Merry Christmas from our house to your house, wherever that may be.

Let the decorating be done …

Yesterday we gathered for our family Christmas. We were only missing a few so it was a great day for our siblings and the cousins to catch up.

I finished my decorating just in time.

First, the dining room table – a quick switch of the tablecloth, a new runner and a new (on sale, of course) centerpiece .


Many of the plants got a light festive touch –



And a winter bouquet for the end table …


One of the many doll cases got a bit of greenery … 055.JPG

Along with decorative (and fragrant) potpourri …


The mantel become home to a holiday train …


And the kitchen table had a snow theme … (complete with snowman) …


And, in the living room, the Charlie Brown Christmas tree …


Complete with old-fashioned bubble lights … 049.JPG

And the final touch – our singing dog … who sang “Home for the Holidays” many, many times yesterday … I think he is about to loose his voice (or his batteries).


Until next time … Thanks for reading.










A little bit of white …

For us, the Christmas celebration first comes on December 19th – this coming Saturday. I am in crisis mode, trying to be ready. This morning, however, I awoke to a new, fresh blanket of snow. Perhaps we will have a white Christmas – although it is melting quickly. The forecast is for more, so maybe, just maybe – if it doesn’t rain. What a crazy winter.





Thanks for stopping by!












My natural holiday colors …

Today I finally starting my holiday decorating. I couldn’t help but notice some of my plants, especially the violets. They may not be your typical holiday colors but …

This is the violet I re-potted earlier in the year.


This is what it looked like when I potted it. For some reason, the colors are now more pink.


For more information on the potting process, click HERE.

I  also noticed the violet in my kitchen, yet to be re-potted. It bloomed earlier in the year for quite a while then, after a few weeks, it bloomed again and has been blooming like this for at least two months. I hate to disturb it by re-potting it.  So, for now it will stay as it is.


And here is just a hint of the holiday decorations … more to come in the next week or so.


Thanks for reading!

Valley of bridges …Valley City, N.D.

On the way home from my recent trip to Jamestown, we decided to jump off I-94 at Valley City, N.D. in search of the Bramhill Dam. We had no idea that Valley City is called the City of Bridges, home to eight bridges in the county-seat town of about 6700.The dam is about 12 miles from Valley City. On our way through the town, we noticed another bridge … but we’ll come back to that. We also found a U.S. Air Force jet in the city.

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Heading generally northwest, we next found the spectacular HighLine Bridge, one of the eight bridges in the Valley City area. The Highline is one of the longest and highest single track railroad bridges in the U.S. at 3,860 feet long and 162 feet above the ground. The bridge, originally on the Northern Pacific line,  was built in 1908 to replace an existing low bridge that crossed the Sheyenne River and to better navigate the extreme grades of the valley. The bridge is important for freight movement through the valley. During the World Wars, the bridge was closely guarded because of its importance in moving people and supplies across the valley. In 2004, the bridge was listed as a National Civil Engineering Landmark.


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Photo from the Valley City web page.

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We also discovered this vintage elevator … Jamestown Nov 2015 045.JPG

and this homestead – home only to the animals living there.

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As we traveled to the dam site, we occasionally saw these signs …

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and a little train traffic.

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And then we arrived at Bramhill Dam on Lake Astabula. The dam was completed in 1950, primarily as a water supply structure but also provides important flood control benefits along the Sheyenne River.

Looking northerly from the dam observation area:

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Looking southerly from the dam observation area:

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The views were well worth the short delay but then it was time to get back on the road (I-94, that is). But we had one stop to make – the bridge we spotted on the way through the city.

The Rainbow Bridge was the first bridge built in Valley City. The original wood bridge was built in 1879, then replaced by a steel structure in 1899. The Rainbow bridge was built in 1925-26. The design was chosen for its strength and beauty and was unique in that concrete arches carried the weight. It was one of its kind in North Dakota and one of few “Rainbow Arch” bridges still in use in the U.S. Due to deck deterioration, it was replaced in 2004, again as an arch bridge (despite the complicated design and associated costs).

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And so ends our short tour of Valley City. We’ll need to plan a return visit to explore the other six bridges.

Thanks for reading.