Category Archives: Christmas Bunny

Get the Flock Out- Show Off Your Collections for Christmas

Loving the sparkly lights, crystal and my sheep collection for Christmas

I am sitting here in front of my computer, writing and listening to Percy Faith and Mantovani”s Orchestra playing the Christmas music of my childhood. Thank you iTunes for not letting this wonderful stuff disappear from my life. I got a new photographic backdrop this week and I was just dying for a free morning to play with it.

Between Instagram and my new gradient background-winning! These are my first two sheep, Germany and 56 years old.

I love what it does to ‘product’ pix!  For fun, I got my two sheeps, yes sheeps, out and took their portrait. That reminded me of childhood Christmas memories of being a kid in Germany. There is no place more magical during the holidays than a German city. Its like every old fashioned Christmas card ever printed. To this day the smell of coal burning almost makes me cry with nostalgia. I loved living in Europe and I still miss it every day. that being said, I’m lucky I have so many amazing memories of Christmases past–including my sheeps.

These two funny looking animals are made of plaster or clay with cotton flannel ‘wool’, painted faces and wooden legs, circa 1957. We got them as a gift from Saint Nicholas, one each for my brother and me. They always had pride of price in the manger when we were growing up although they didn’t match anything else in that elegant Italian manger.

Tiny Wade sheep and English sheep and Japanese sheep mix it up.

I have to hand it to my mom, she knew how to entertain kids. She would hand us a giant enameled tray and send us outside to build the landscape for the manger each year. Moss, trees, sticks, rocks and hours of labor went into the building before it was carefully carried inside and installed. Then we got to put the actual pieces in place. Three wisemen, a camel, a cow, a donkey, Joseph, Mary, the baby Jesus, a shepherd, his sheep and our sheep.

Not sheep, but I love, love, love what happens when  you cover little trees with glue and roll them in glitter. So pretty!

The years rolled by and I left home and sheep behind. Over time,  I kept looking for the right sheep to replace those two funny looking sheep of memory. Sheep became one of my first collections and mostly they live in a cabinet these days.

I couldn’t resist these goofy sheep from a thrift store. They remind me of my youngest son’s favorite story from his childhood, “Sheep in a Jeep”, although this is definitely a sled.

I never found a sheep to replace the first two, but last time I was home I found THEM. They were abandoned in a drawer in my mother’s antique desk. I tucked them in my suitcase and now here they are, Christmas again, 56 years later. Holy crap, how did that many years pass me by?

Pretty and romantic.

I decided to bring the flock out and use them to decorate for Christmas. After all there were sheep in the Holy Land when Jesus was born right? I highly recommend to anyone, if you have a collection you love, bring it out and integrate in your celebration decoration.

vases are pretty with crystal garland wound into arrangements, light catchers!

I mixed my sheep with little bits of crystal, perfume bottles and spheres, because they do such a great job of catching and reflecting light.

The fat sheep in the background was made by a famous Dutch artist who lives in France, I got to stay at his bed and breakfast and buy this little sheep treasure.

There are my two old faves and a charming china doll, tiny, along with a crystal jar that has an enameled lid. Sparkle!


If my brother ever finds out I liberated his little sheep, in the foreground, I’m in trouble. It needed a home and now it has a whole flock!

Project Snowman Conversion


Snowmen formerly known as Salt Shakers

I can never resist a saltshaker, especially those big heavy glass ones that no one uses anymore. Glass bottles make me happy too, especially little ones. But what do you do with a batch of bottles? In this case Snowman conversion.

I started with this idea last week and made a batch of heads using Celluclay, a papier mache mix that comes pre-packaged. Add water, squish until its the consistency of butter and shape. I keep bamboo skewers around and they are the perfect head handle. Macabre, I tried not think of a head on a stake… I dried the heads for a few days and then got to work.

Saltshaker, German glitter, paper mache head made of celluclay papier mache mix, great stuff!

The next step is to wash and dry your containers–save the tops, especially the cool metal ones. I decided I wanted to put something inside my containers.

I like words in the bottles

I couldn’t find quotes I liked so I wrote snowmen haiku and printed them out. I printed my haiku on silver paper in landscape format, that’s lengthwise, because I knew I would be cutting them out in a long narrow strip.

Haiku for Christmas

Meyer Imports on line carries exquisite, gorgeous, fantastic German glass glitter. Its the stuff that is made of glass, shiny and old school. I like that for sparkly outsides but I have discovered glitter inside a jar can cloud the walls with a static electricity cling. The answer? Tiny glass beads. They are available in the glitter section of your local craft store and come in a ton of colors, Martha Stewart makes my favorites in color, but Meyer Imports gets my vote for buying a large quantity.

Glass beads, just enough for a “pop” of snow and a haiku in place.

I carefully rolled my haiku around a pencil and worked them into the bottle necks, using a skewer to help them untangle and unroll. A quick pour of about a 1/4 inch of beads for effect and a few pearls for pretty and the bodies were done.

I took the heads and fitted them on each bottle because each one has its own personality and it was fun to decide where they looked best. Before they got glued down with E6000 killer glue, I used my dremel to make a hole for the nose, a toothpick in its original life. I trimmed the toothpick to fit for length and put on a quick coat of paint with a Qtip.

I made small holes for the eyes and mouth.

I used my pointy tool, which is really for starting nail holes, to ‘drill out’ a little opening to set each small black piece of coal in the face, aka tiny black beads.  I put a good dab of E6000 in each hole and set the beads and the nose piece. I glittered the face at this point to make sure the glue got covered. Voila, sticks to the excess and I don’t have to go back and glue paint the details of the face. Smart me.

Finished face before glittering with my pointy tool and glue tube.

I let the eyes and mouth set for about ten minutes before I went back with white glue and a small paintbrush to coat each head thoroughly before dipping it in my glitter box and sprinkling glitter all over.


To keep my studio from looking like I just murdered Tinker Belle, I keep the glitter I am working with in a wooden cigar box, I use a piece of sandpaper for a scoop and pour it over the piece. When I’m done it makes it easier to collect and save the unsued glitter and it keeps it from spreading everywhere like fairy dust.

drying time again.

I leave the heads on their skewers to make it easy to work with them until I set them in place on the bottles. While they dried I cut out scarves.

felted sweater bits, handy to have around.

Old wool sweaters that are felted and shrunk are wonderful things for a lot of reasons, they cut just like material and don’t fray like woolly is wont to do.

teeny little scarf, cut and measured.

These tidbits from last year lent themselves nicely to become tiny snowman scarves. I wrestled with them and tied them down first, then lifted and dabbed glue on to hold them in place.

Next task was to set the heads on with E6000, I resprinkled the heads and necks with glitter to disguise any excess glue, being careful not to tip the bottle and lose the head.

Ready for my hat!

The most fun of all is selecting which salt shaker lid works best for a hat, who knew these little doodads would make such charming helmets? I even put rhinestones on one snowman in place of a scarf, making it a snowgirl with a lot bling.



Snow couple finished and ready for Christmas.

These are a complicated project and there are a lot of specialty bits required, that being said, if you wanted to tackle something like this everything you need is easily available and not expensive. What are you going to make this Christmas?

heading home in the snowhed

St Nicholas and My Shoes

Once upon a time…

This is where we came from, 1955. Easter in the desert, home.

in November 1956, as an eight-year-old California kid, moved to Germany with her family for her Air Force dad’s three-year tour of duty.

We were posted to Bad Kreuznach where there was a huge army base. My dad was Air Force and did not work on the base. He did something arcane and secret with codes, working in a locked facility close enough to the Rhine River to toss a rock into it from his window. My mother was having none of living on an army base with THOSE people.

To her way of thinking the vast herd of army people (in the 1050s) were small town culture-free morons.  For my family it was total immersion in the European community for which I will always be grateful.

Priegerpromenade, where we moved and lived for three wonderful years, in the snow. (Thank you for this marvelous picture. It has not changed at all).

I wasn’t so grateful in November when we moved from California sunshine and the 70s to snow and frigid temperatures.  We arrived at night and were driven to our temporary housing, which was an apartment on the fourth floor of an eight apartment building, until our house was ready for us.

It was like falling down a snowy rabbit hole, everything was different. I remember vividly dragging up and down the stairs with a coal scuttle to the basement to get coal from the bin several times a day.  It was terrifying to go down into that dark place, but facing my mother’s wrath by resisting her orders to fetch the coal to fill our wonderful old ceramic stove was worse. over the course of the next few weeks my little brother and I met all our neighbors coming and going  on the stairs with our coal buckets.

We spoke no German at that time, and that was terrifying too. To see smiling faces chattering down at us in a completely unknown language, to see signs I could not read, to always be cold was scary, my whole life was scary and I lived in terror of getting lost and not being able to find my family.

We made good friends among the American air force families. Our best friends and our parents were musicians. My dad is in the foreground and Jim Fahey is in the background with the Clark Gable stash. Mom is in the front on the right and Arlene Fahey is in the bark. The four of us kids who should have been in bed were probably hiding under the table where we couldn't be seen.

The fear passed with the enchantment of getting out of our apartment and discovering I lived in a fairytale. The houses were old and looked like something in my books. There was a river, the Nahe, and a bridge with little shops on it stretching over the river. The streets were cobblestones and people shopped with  string bags at bakeries, butcher shops, and the open market. There were no grocery stores and I loved it.

The bridge houses, medieval and marvelous on the bridge over the Nahe river.

Downtown there was a wonderful department store that smelled amazing inside, and just outside the store there was a pretzel vendor with warm pretzels in a basket and next to him was a lady selling hot chestnuts. Chestnuts and hot pretzels are still two of my favorite things in the wintertime.

The Corn Markt, where we bought our produce twice a week.

The first place my mother took us and her dictionary was to that store. I got furry silvery reindeer hide boots with silver metal zips and red trim, long woolly stockings fastened by garters that were part of warm pink silk undershirts, and warm woolly sweaters and a thick coat and hat. The American kids in their Mary Jane shoes and anklets laughed at me–for about five minutes, until they realized I was warm and their bare legs were turning blue.

The summer I turned 9, Me on the left, my brother in the middle and our cleaning lady Annie and her daughter on a picnic on Kuburg hill.

To this day, the smell of burning coal in the evening air makes me happy. I associate it with those magical holidays long ago and it brings back so many memories. My very happiest Christmas memory was made even more intense because I was still a lost little American kid figuring out my new world.

We got to Germany just before Christmas and somehow, the other apartment dwellers  got it across to my parents that we should put our shoes outside the door on December 6th because Saint Nicholas would come and leave presents in our shoes, and if we were bad we would get a switch (rute) instead of treats.

Saint NIck, who comes on December 6th

In trepidation, my reindoor boots and my brother’s reindeer boots went out on the landing to wait for St Nick. In the morning, we ran to yank open the French doors that led to the landing outside our apartment. Our boots were full of oranges and chocolate! We were dancing around and squealing with glee at our bounty. My mother shushed us when we started hearing the neighbors doors click open, echoing up the open stairwell.

When she turned to shoo us inside and shut the doors we saw it. There was a giant green wreath with a huge red ribbon hanging on our door. We had pushed open both doors to rush out to the landing and see what was in our shoes and the open door on the left had hidden the wreath.  It wasn’t until we turned to go inside that we saw the wreath.

It must have been three feet across and it had a red ribbon bow across the top. It smelled like Christmas, but even better were the toys and candies and cookies and fruit fastened all over that wreath. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

He made a believer out of me. The good in people is everywhere!

We were the only kids in the building, just two noisy little American kids clattering up and down the marble stairs, tracking in snow and mud and spilling coal. We were lost and lonely and completely confused in our new life  and our neighbors knew that. They had gotten together and purchased that wreath and the toys and cookies and candy tied all over it to surprise us. It was 1956 and there were still ruins from the war everywhere, bombed out buildings and broken hearts. No one had a lot of money and I know that filling our wreath was a sacrifice for each of those people. To us it was St Nicholas who made the magic and it wasn’t until many years later my mom told me it was our neighbors who wanted us to be happy that cold winter morning in our new home.

We were.





Applesauce and Glue? Who Knew? Christmas Fun to Make at Home

This blog is the how to step by step for  fun and fabulous ornaments made out of cinnamon, glue, applesauce and spices. These  smell so good you may want them hanging around all year long.

Finished "cookie" ready to hang and smelling wonderful

My Christmas Forest tree for the annual Providence Saint Peter Foundation fundraiser is themed as a “Teddy Bear Christmas Tea Party”, and tea means COOKIES.

The recipe is easy to make, the hardest part was finding a giant container of cinnamon. My Tbear Tree posse person, Carolee, recommended that I look at our local restaurant supply store. Bingo. Giant jar of cinnamon around $15. Enough to make dozens and dozens of cookies! Cinnamon also keeps almost  forever if you keep it dry and cool, leftovers can be saved for next year’s fun.

All the Magic Ingredients

The Ingredients:

White Glue ……….. 2 Tablespoons
Ground Cloves………1 Tablespoon
Ground Nutmeg……1 Tablespoon
Applesauce…………………3/4 Cup
Ground Cinnamon………….1 Cup

By the way, I have discovered this is easy to double and very forgiving.

The dry stuff

In a mixing bowl stir together all the dry ingredients,




Add the Applesauce next










Add the glue too









Use your hands to mix all the ingredients together. If it feels too wet to roll out, add more cinnamon. Too dry? Add a little more applesauce. Knead it well and then grab a chunk of it and your plastic wrap. TIP: It’s easier to roll glue dough or cookies or piecrust or anything you have to roll out with a rolling pin if you roll it between two sheets of plastic wrap. It keeps your rolling pin clean, nothing sticks to the counter and clean up is  much easier.

Plastic wrap helps keep sticky mess to a minium.

Roll the dough just like cookies and peel off the wrap before cutting. Dust the counter with cinnamon before cutting the ‘cookies’ and if you don’t use plastic wrap, make sure you dust everything very lightly with cinnamon, it acts like flour does when you make real cookies.

Ready to cut

If your dough is rolled too thin thin  your cookies will curl. If its too thick  they dry very, very slowly. Mine worked best a little over a quarter inch thick.

Heart in Hand, perfect no?

I choose two cutters, one is an old, old heart in hand which I love, love, love and the other is a bear. I collect cookie cutters and I’m always hunting for more unusual ones. If you want to collect something that is inexpensive and fun to find anywhere, go for cookie cutters. I even found one this summer shaped like a chili pepper at the gift shop on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. This past weekend I found a vintage plastic duck and a clown for two bucks each. See? cheap. I’m not a purist, I don’t insist on copper, I only care about the fun factor.

Cookie tasters always lurk in the shadows.








Every year we use those cutters and have a big cookie party and the kids have a ball, and make a huge mess. Notice the tasters slipping into the room? Nothing goes to waste.

if they want to stick, slide a spatula underneath.

Back to these non-edible cookies though: Cut them out and have a sharp edged spatula handy to help slice them loose if they want to stick to your counter. Plastic spats, not so much. One of those old cake decorating spatulas works great.

TIP: Use a plastic straw to poke a good sized hole where you want run your ribbon or string through. I got smart and did this with batch number two.

I covered my cookie sheets with tin foil, there is glue in the dough and I didn’t know what kind of sticky factor I was facing.  I was going to use the same foil to make sure I didn’t spread ‘frosting’ all over the place either.

Drying in the oven

 If you live where the sun shines and the air is dry, you can air dry your ‘cookies’ over several days. I however, live in damp Washington State, so into the oven they went at 180 degrees for several hours.  After about 4 hours, I flipped them over so they dried evenly.

They are very nice just the way they are and they smell wonderful. I really like the nutmeg and cloves added in this recipe because it does cut down the overpowering cinnamon smell a little bit. While these bake your house is going to smell like a craft shop at Christmas so open a window if cinnamon overpowers your nasal passages.

I can never let well enough alone. I thought for awhile about using plastic or joint compound to pipe on decorations that would be permanent and not spoil but I had a better idea.  Ah ha! Fabric paint! I used yet another coupon from Michael’s and got two three dollar bottles of puffy fabric paint. It worked perfectly! After an all night drying the paint looks just like frosting.

Hands with ‘frosting’


All dry and time for ribbons

 I made life difficult for myself by not putting in big enough holes, which meant I had to take my dremel tool and drill holes in my cookies. Not bright, but it worked well. You could use string or cord to hang your cutouts but I love the way narrow ribbon looks.


I also discovered glue will put broken ‘cookies’ back together. I had to stick a finger back on and you can’t see the mend.

Finished and ready to hang

They really look cute and I made a few to keep for my family too.


The only person who didn’t like the cookies was Mooshka who was hoping for real cookies. Fun, easy to do with your family too.



Cupfakes for Christmas: funky and fun fakes

Chirstmas Forest Update: The teddy bear tree is well underway, the Christmas Forest installation is Tree minus 7 and counting down. 125 plus Teds are in the attic waiting for their debut, trays are painted and waiting to have tea sets applied. The tree topping tea pot is drying , the tea table has been found, and the most fun of all so far is CUP FAKES!

What’s at tea party without treats?  Pretty dull all around. The problem was how to make fun treats that looked real but weren’t. After dredging around on the internet I came up with a few ‘recipes’ and here is the first ‘treat’ result and the how to for your own. Won’t these be fun hung on the tree?

The first thing to consider is what are you going to use for a pan? I went to Good Will and scrounged around for some muffin pans because I try really hard not to combine food and chemistry if at all possible. I picked up cup cake papers in vibrant colors and popped them in each hole of my pans. 

I read on line about the perils of expanding foam. This is the stuff you use to fill holes and for insulation around the house. It really does expand and its horribly sticky and gooey. Rubber gloves, paper towels, acetone and all kinds of goo removers were encouraged in each ‘recipe’.

Strolling down the aisles of Lowe’s Home Improvement store I actually found some foam that was water clean up, Daptex Multipurpose foam sealer, which  promised not to expand hugely. A shot in the dark. Would it work as well?  I thought it was worth a try.

My gal pals aka, elves, were in the studio sticking tape to tea pot trays and we all had a try at filling the muffin pans. The result looked rather like angel food cake. I put them aside to dry after reading the instructions that the foam would be cured in 24 hours.

Word of advice: this foam has a lot of water in it and I discovered the next morning that the cupfakes were dampish on the bottom and firm on the top. I simply flipped each one upside down in their holes and let them dry another two days. This foam does not get crispy and hard like the tan horribly gooey stuff that is also used for expanding foam purposes. This stays somewhat pliable which has its own set of problems and rewards.

When everything was dry it was time to make them look like cake. Cake is not white, cake is golden, I wanted to seal the tops of the foam ‘cakes’ so painting them with acrylics seemed to be the two-birds-in-one solution.

I used two colors, including one that looked orangey:gold ocher, and a brown: burnt umber, I also put a blob of white on the plate to mix with.  I used a little cup of water to rinse my brush and thin down the paint. I wanted to cover them not frost them with the paint.

I used a stiff bristle brush and did not drag really hard on the cake tops because this softer foam will get soggy and it will tear if addressed with heavy-handed enthusiasm. A light touch works best. I put the painted cakes away to dry  overnight.

For frosting I used a quart container of Dap patching plaster. In hindsight I’d like to find something a little stiffer next time. This stuff took two hours to harden up enough to put in a  piping tube. I’m not sure if it was because of the addition of paint as a colorant or if it is just really squishy when you stir it.

I made a batch of pink cupcake frosting and a batch of green cupcake frosting.





It was fun getting the plaster into the piping tube. I used a big rose tip that cost me $1.49 and I also picked up a batch of disposable bags to make easier. I found a collar thingie that holds the tip for $2.49. (Michael’s in the Wilton section) This I scrubbled thoroughly after I used it because it will work for pretty cool real cupcake frosting in its sterilized and now plaster free state.


I used a big old silver spoon to ladle the plaster into the bag while trying not to get it all over me. I did a test run on a paper towel and then piped a long spiral onto each cupfake. I started on the outside and wound the piping around and then pulled it up into a peak by just pulling the piping tube up and away. It really is easy.

I piped one color of frosting on all the cakes that I wanted green and then cleaned the bowl and tip and did the same with the pink, again waiting for it to get a bit stiff so it would hold the shape I was piping.

While the cakes were good and wet I put a cherry on top of each one. My ‘cherries’ were made of Crayola air dry modeling foam. Great stuff, weighs nothing and easy to use. I couldn’t resist, I had to roll my cherries in German glitter….

I quickly put ‘sprinkles’ on each cake too. I found the little bittly glass beads work great and look like sugar sparkles. $2.99 for a small tube, again at Michael’s.

I finished all the pink ones last night and the green ones today. Note to self: small pearls don’t work worth a darn. I had to go back and glue them on one at a time.

I picked up one of the pink dry ones found it was a little pliable and almost eerily real. Next problem: how to hang them from the tree?

Solution: I took a long piece of wire, made very sure it was very straight and ran it from the top down, taking care that it exited the fragile paper wrapper in the middle of the bottom of the cupfake. I pulled it all the way through with about three inches showing and laid the cake on its side. I put a little bead on the bottom and then did a wire wrap finish. I pulled the finished wired up firmly above the cherry and wrapped it and clipped to create a hanging loop that looks polished and perfect.

I love these, they are adorable and they have made me lust after real cupcakes which I will bake tonight and really enjoy after this foray into fake food.

snow head

Do it Yourself Christmas Sparkle Project

I love sparkly things. I must have been a magpie in a former life because  I’m easily distracted by glittery stuff in this one.  For me the holiday is all about sparkle, the glint of moonlight on snow, tinsel and twinkly lights on trees and glitter. Lots and lots of glitter.

Even cuter than glitter, baby Meesha last year at Christmas.

The best glitter on the planet is German glass glitter. I used so much of it last year it looked I murdered Tinkerbell in my studio. I have since discovered that Martha Stewart makes some pretty nice glitter here in America and you can find it at Michael’s. Lots of colors including black, which I love. It comes in little round beads, irregular and round flakes, and in different sizes of all of the above.

We have established I love glitter so its fun to find things that look better with glitter than without, like these funky little mirrors.

In the beginning there were ugly little mirrormirr

Mirrors like these were very hot a few years ago, they are that acrylic plastic stuff all dolled up to look like stone. Most of them have gone to live in backrooms or on the shelves of Good Will. I kept seeing these ones piled on my work table until I had my Eureka! moment.

You can use this same technique on a picture frame or wheatever strikes your fancy. I just happened to have these laying around and I am all about repurposing stuff. The first step is to take some acyrilic paint and a coarse brush and give the mirrors a rough coat of white. For me the  goal was to keep their psuedo-aged appearance so I did not brush the paint on solidly.

Roughly paint the mirrors

I painted all the mirrors and put them aside to dry for a few hours.

I dried them thouroghly before the next step

Find an old paint brush, not a house painting brush, a painting a painting middle sized brush with fairly stiff bristles and get out a bottle of glue that will dry clear. I used Alene’s clear glue which I keep around the studio. Note to self: wash the brush if you intend to use it again.

Painting a good thick coat of glue on the dried mirrors

Lay the mirror on a glitter catching surfacing, an old tray works well. Paint a nice thick coat of glue all over the surface, remember the glue is drying so a) work fast b) get it on thickly c) don’t get it on so thick it drips. I did not glue the outside edges of the mirrors, no one will see them and it makes moving them a problem.

Cool glitter pouring shot, one handed no less

I actually use a giant pie pan and these mirrors are round so it worked great and I could recapture all the glue that didn’t stick for re-use.  Pour glitter all over the mirror on your gluey surface.

Carefully pick up the mirror and shake off the excess glitter onto your tray.

Some of the surfaces will still have excess glitter stuck on them, like the mirrored parts. After the glitter dries completely on its glue base, get your paint brush, the one you washed, and use it to dust off the parts you don’t want glittery, like the mirror bits. I took Qtips and sprayed them with windex to carefully clean the  really intricate mirrored parts afterwards.

After shaking, before dusting the excess off and cleaning the tiny mirror bits.

The most labor intensive part was the clean up and it only took about 15 minutes for four mirrors. The entire project including drying time took less than a day, and most that was just watching paint dry. Yes, Virginia, some people watch paint dry…

The payoff, Shiny Pretty Gorgeous Christmas accent!

The glitter is subtle and hard to catch with a camera because it depends on reflected light which changes as you move. These really turned out nicely and they are a great addition to my lighted sparkle wall.

hung up and shining!


Bling, Zing and Inexpensive Holiday Sparkle

I have gotten so many oohs and ahs over my ice white mantel piece I thought I’d share this easy idea that turned into something spectacular. I’m loving the way tiny white lights make magic with crystal and clear glass. There is something so festive and romantic about the combination–and since clear glass is not at the top of everyone’s must have list you can find some adorable pieces for not very much money. Add junk store finds to those cut glass and crystal pieces that mostly catch dust but are too nice to toss and presto! You have a stunning and icy sparkling holiday display.

I put together old soda fountain glasses, paper weights, clear vases, candle holders, candy dishes, odd little clear glass pieces I picked up for their sparkle, and of course my peculiar favorite, glass door knobs, together they make a glittery wonderland on the mantelpiece.

Take a long sparkly garland with crystals instead of flowers and wrap a long string of lights around it to hang around a mirror. I found my garland at Michael’s and saved a bunch with a coupon. Even old cut crystal salt shakers can add zing to your bling.

So pretty, mix it up with crytals, crystal and clear glass to sparkle up your room. I put as many pieces as I could fit  on my shelf, all shapes and sizes too. I used solid glass like this Laurel Burch kitty, pressed glass like the little horse in front and cut glass like the candy dish top shown here. Good Will and Value Village often have cheap glass pieces for sale. The candy dish top is precious and for my purposes I didn’t care that the bottom was long gone, I just wanted it for its fun sparkle. I love this mantelpiece so much I may just keep it up year round!

NEXT ENTRY: Repurpose mirrors for a glittery accent



Revving up the Christmas Rabbit: Teddies and Tea Sets

Tiny tea sets everywhere! Waiting to be sorted and put on tea trays for the Victorian Teddy Tea Party Tree

Yes, it’s not even Halloween yet, but Christmas is underway around the rabbit’s rancheroo. Seven weeks and counting down from here to Christmas Forest and the Victorian Teddy Tea Party Tree. My 2011 extravaganza actually started the day I finished last year’s tree.

bunches and bunches of bears. 211 to be exact. All but 23 are wearing clothes.

My very favorite is this adorable Victorian style bear, I don't know if I can 'bear' to give her up!

Buried in bears in my studio loft. That's my foot. I had to wedge me in with all the bins to sort the furry beasts.

I  started thinking about 2011’s tree before 2010’s was even up! I understand from the other designers that is S.O.P. We all slink around and look over the other trees on display and start plotting on how we can top ourselves and them-next time.

These two are the most exquisite and valuable of the bushels of bears. Both handmade and incredibly high quality. I got one for 10 bucks and the other for 20 bucks. Probably 300 dollars or so, retail. Gotta love being a Value Village vulture.

And bear gear: buggies, rockers, chairs, prams, tiny desks, even an upholstered granny style rocker. A year of hunting paid off.


I found so many Victorian style dressed bears, the Victorian Teddy Tree pretty much named itself.

Sorted by size and style and binned with the number of bears inside on the bin. Whew. That's a lot of bears! I don't want to see any green on the tree, just bears, tea stuff and treats from top to bottom.

These are teeny tinies. So adorable! A whole box of fun.


I haven't even counted these yet, unpacking them was staggering enough for a start.

I started thinking about my concept a year ago : Bears and a teaparty. I loved the song, “Teddy Bear’s Picnic” as a little kid. To that end and with something Teddy Bear Picnicish in mind, I have been collecting bears and tiny sets for a year. This weekend it was time to go up into my loft and begin the sorting process, bears up and tea sets down.

From right after WWII, made in Japan. Can't you just picture a little girl getting this set for Christmas?


Exquisite, only one cup. Some of these are so beautiful they will stay in my own trinket collection. Trust me, there are so many tea sets here, no body is ever going to notice!

I have mostly been standing on the first floor and throwing bears overhand up onto the loft bed, or carrying them up and just stashing them and all the bear accoutrements overhead and ignoring the whole mess all summer. How many bears? How many tea sets? A bunch.

Teeny tiny Spode tea saucer. Wish I had the whole set.

Other side of the Spode saucer, cute no?

My goal with this tree of tea toys and teddies is to transfix every small child who sees the tree. I want to create something so magical they’ll remember it for years.

The teeny tiniest tea sets are in this cigar box. Doll's house tea sets perhaps?

I am going to use rubber cement to fasten the tea things to the tea trays and furnish the buyer with instructions on deconstructing the tree. It is my biggest wish that whoever buys this tree will take off every tea tray and tea set and every teddy bear and give them to a child. I kind of hope a pediatrician buys the tree, that would be perfect.

Funky little set from the 50's, tres cool


Gorgeous antique child's teacup with a parrot handle. I found 3 of them at an estate sale.

Tiny teapots!


teeny weeny sugar bowl, probably holds about 3 grains of sugar

My personal favorite? This Miss Muffet tea saucer. Mine,mine, mine.

antique blue willow tea set creamer. How cute is this?

Even if a few bits that aren't in sets stay behind to remind me of this amazing experience, I don't think we'll have a shortage of tea sets. I counted 14 tiny teapots yesterday and I didn't even try to count cups and saucers.

Christmas forest raises a ton of money for the Providence St Peter foundation. They do so much with the money, including providing health care for moms’ and kids’ without insurance, that I am glad to add my own funds to match theirs, along with all the time and effort it takes to do one of these trees.

Over the next seven weeks I will be posting how the tree is put together from making the giant tea pot tree topper to the “cupfakes” decorations. Furniture refinishing and detailing is taking place already. My friend Linda is waiting for measurements on the bear bed to create hand made linens which will be gorgeous. My Christmas crew is standing by and mid-October we launch all the fun details. How to projects will be shared so readers can create fun at home too.  This one is going to be fun for all of us who never really wanted to grow up, starting with me.