Tuesday, December 16, 2008

He's Making a List and Packing the Sleigh

vintage Santa Claus graphic

Have a Classic Christmas!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Christmas Past or Christmas Presents?

vintage christmas card graphic, kids and fireplace with stockings
How do you think people will be celebrating the holidays this year?

Will they spend far too much money on gifts, greeting cards, lavish entertainment and food, or will the trend be toward more frugal ways to celebrate and classic gifts?

Vote and voice your opinion at Have a Classic Christmas.

Me, I'm going retro for Christmas, making cards and gift tags with vintage clip art.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It's Turkey Trot Time

wild turkey henLast spring we had turkeys visiting our garden to snack on bugs without any fear of humans or cats on patrol.

Not so in November. Although I haven't seen any of the flock since the weather turned colder, I've heard them talking in the trees out back where they roost after dark. Lately during the day I'm also hearing gunshots, so the hunters are out in the back woods looking for turkey and deer.

I get my turkey at the market - not to worry birdie. See ya next spring!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Yo Gabba Gabba Pumpkins

Yo Gabba Gabba Pumpkins
Originally uploaded by pairadocs
My grandson loves Yo Gabba Gabba - if he still does next year, I think I know what I can do for his Halloween pumpkins ...

Monday, November 03, 2008

Fall Flea Market Fun

thrift shop chair as garden planter with flags
I love to collect old stuff. Some might call it junk. I call my oldies but goodies collectibles. I decorate my home, garden and studio with my funky flea market finds. It's the most basic form of recycling - reusing something old instead of throwing it in the trash. Better still: picking the trash to find new funky junky treasures.

I spotted this purple chair working a second hand life as a planter and garden decoration in a Vermont garden over the summer. It was July 4th weekend, so the gardener spiffed up the chair planter with American flags to add a seasonal decorating touch. Just the type of thing I like to do - I'm the Thrift Shop Maven.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Fresh Apple Cake

macintosh apples for fresh apple cake recipe
Autumn in the Apple Orchard

It's Apple Picking Time, and that means I'll be baking my favorite cake: Whole Wheat Apple Supreme Cake.

This cake is so good it needs no icing or embellishments, but if you really need to make it special, dollop on bit of sweet whipped cream or vanilla yogurt.

All you need are the basics for any cake: flour, oil, eggs, sugar, baking soda plus a few good apples, some spices and some walnuts to add crunch.

Hungry now? Here's the Recipe for Fresh Apple Cake.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Chore Charts - Star Charts

Did you have a chart for chores when you were a kid?

We had lots of them in school, especially the star charts for attendance and reading. And then there was the class schedule, and homework tracker ... I guess the make-a-list trait stayed with me. As a mom I made charts for the kids to keep track of goals, dentist visits, meetings, ball games, scouts and yeah, chores. We had countdowns to holidays - and of course an Advent calendar with chocolate treats behind little doors.

I used a year-at-a-glance calendar and then a looseleaf day planner book to keep track of meetings, travel arrangements and appointments when I was a traveling executive.

Nowadays my life is less hectic and I report to and for only myself, but I still make lists, and lots of them. I have lists for the grocery store, lists of garden chores and plants to buy, pet care lists, auto service lists, lists to keep track of things to do/buy/remember, and lists of creative ideas that fly into my head at odd hours.

Is it a sign of good organization, or am I having a fear of senior moments?

Now where is that list I made for Santa?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hot Air Balloons and Fall Foliage

Sunday mornings, between 6am and 9am when the weather is good, it's flying time for hot air balloons in sleepy Milford, New Hampshire. This weekend was no exception - I heard the familiar sound of the burner overhead as I was waking up, and grabbed my camera to snap this shot out the bedroom window as this beauty was preparing to land.

hot air balloon milford new hampshire october 12 2008

Usually the noise the gas jet burner makes to keep the balloon afloat wakes up all the neighborhood dogs, but not today. Just me. And my digital camera.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Milford Pumpkin Festival 2008

milford pumpkin festival logo19th Annual Pumpkin Festival
Milford, New Hampshire's annual Columbus Day weekend celebration kicked off Friday night with perfect Autumn weather.

Saturday was also picture perfect with bright blue skies, temperatures in the mid-60's and lots of warm sun. There was plenty to do, see and eat all and it was easy to get around - police blocked off portions of the traffic circle (Milford Oval) to create a pedestrian mall between the Community House and the Town Hall in the center of town. I got lots of pictures ... here are a few favorites:

giant pumpkin

Milford Band Stand Gazebo on the Oval

kids spray fire fighting hose at target

Friday, October 10, 2008

Lego Halloween Fun

Lego Fun for Everyone
My family loves Lego bricks. No matter what age, Lego is a favorite toy in the extended Hansen family. My Dad enjoyed Lego almost as much as Tinker Toys. My daughters started playing with Duplo (the larger toddler safe version of these wonderful snap-together building blocks) when they were first able to grasp blocks.
Lego craft pattern, Halloween witch decorationMy grandkids have lotsa Legos. My nieces and nephews build elaborate Lego constructions - and they're all teenagers or young adults! I confess, I still love Lego bricks.

Here's a Halloween witch decoration made with Legos you can make with the kids (or grandchildren, nieces, nephews, friends). There's also a pattern for a Halloween pumpkin, and if you're really into it, a 3D pumpkin built with Lego blocks.

Halloween Crafts for Kids
Lego Halloween

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Halloween Parade

Temple Halloween Parade - Muhlenberg Township, 2008

We ventured out to watch the annual Halloween Parade in Temple, Pennsylvania on Saturday evening. We arrived at 5:45, and stationed ourselves across from the Post Office - about half a block from the judges reviewing stand. This spot is only a mile from our home, and about a mile from the parade formation area. The first picture above shows the crowd already gathered, waiting for the parade to arrive. The parade is a big deal in this area - Temple holds the first Halloween parade in the region, although the major spectacle - and largest Halloween parade - is the King Frost Parade in Hamburg (that takes place closer to the end of October).

The souvenir vendor lady looked like she was guiding a parade float. She did a big business that night with the kids.

We, along with the crowd of families, vendors and a few not-too-sober onlookers, waited until past 7:00 before the first marchers passed by. In the meantime, there was plenty of diversion and humble entertainment (people watching, junk food eating) for everyone to enjoy. It was cool but not freezing, and we managed to hang on until the precision motorcycle riders came through around 8:45.

Next week I'm returning to my home town un New Hampshire to attend the Great Pumpkin Festival. It will be a bit chillier (in New Hampshire), but instead of a parade I'll be watching the Giant Pumpkin weigh-in, pumpkin catapult contest, lighting of the Jack O'Lanterns and the scarecrow building race.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Design a Book Cover for Wiley

Okay all you Photoshop Phanatics - here's your shot at fame and fortune.

Design a book cover for Wiley, a leading publisher of Adobe how-to books (and many other tech-geek-design books). This is one sample design from the entries already received. Contest ends October 31 - get on over to the Wiley contest site to check out the rules and start making visual history.

Friday, September 19, 2008

All I Want for Christmas is My 2 Front Teeth

Did the tooth fairy visit you as a child?

She visited me, way too early in life.

I knocked out my two front teeth (in separate accidents, mind you ... ) while I was still a toddler. Almost every photo of me as a child shows a toothless or crooked smile until I reached third grade. The song "All I Want for Christmas is My 2 Front Teeth" was popular then, and I certainly got requests to sing it - lisp and all - from family and friends until I got my permanent teeth.

Because of my childhood misadventures and memories of leaving silver coins for my own children's baby teeth as they fell out naturally, I was inspired to write an article (lens) about the Legend of the Tooth Fairy at Squidoo. It's a charity blog - I'm donating any royalties I earn from that lens directly to MyTwoFrontTeeth.org.

If you have a few minutes, check out my Tooth Fairy lens, and if you care to help a child in need during the holidays, simply click on the donation button there.

Friday, September 12, 2008

National Pet Memorial Day

Loss of an Animal Companion

Our pets become family members, confidants and bonded companions. When we lose a pet to death, it can be as painful as loss of a human friend or family member. In recognition of the impact a pet's death has on human companions, and the need for people to deal with the loss of an animal companion, the International Association of Pet Cemeteries (IAPC) designated the second Sunday in September annually as National Pet Memorial Day, a day to remember a pet who's crossed the Rainbow Bridge and the day for you to celebrate his/her life on earth.

We lost our beloved black cat Ebony in in the summer of 2005. Her death caused my husband and me as much grief as the previous year's loss of a mother, a father and a newborn granddaughter. We created a special burial box and memorial stone for Ebony, and buried her in our garden near her favorite tree adjacent to the bird feeders.

The Humane Society of the US offer suggestions for managing the mourning process and celebrating the memory of your beloved pet. They suggest the following activities:
  • Hold a memorial service at a pet cemetery, in your backyard, or in a place that was special to your animal companion.
  • Add an inscription to your pet's gravestone.
  • Find a special urn for your pet's ashes.
  • Create a living memorial by planting a tree, bush, or flower bed in your yard.
  • Contact a pet cemetery or community park to see if you can sponsor a bench or tree affixed with an acknowledgment plaque memorializing your pet.
  • Frame a photo of your pet and put it in a special place.
  • Keep your pet's favorite toy, collar, blanket, or bowl as a symbol of your pet.
  • Create a scrapbook or collage with photos and other reminders of your pet.
  • Volunteer at an animal shelter to help other pets.
  • Participate in online memorials and candle-lighting ceremonies.
  • Write a poem or story about your pet or write a letter to him.
  • Offer a memorial scholarship at a veterinary school.
  • When the time is right, adopt another pet from your local animal shelter or humane society.
Pet Memorial Resources

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Tomato Lust - Harvest Happiness

Make Your Own Gourmet Goodness -Dried Tomatoes

We experimented last summer with drying tomatoes from our garden. It was such a success that this year I planted many more Italian plum tomatoes and Amish paste tomatoes so we could enjoy summer's bounty all winter long.

The fall tomato harvest is in, and still coming, so I've been drying organic plum tomatoes in the oven for the past 2 weeks. It's easy to dry tomatoes at home - just follow these simple directions and you'll be enjoying gourmet dried tomatoes for a fraction of the store-bought cost.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Garden Crafts - Leaf Embossed Birdbath

leaf embossed bird bathMy sunflowers produced enormous leaves this year (not to mention 12-foot tall plants) so I used one of the leaves as the pattern for a sand cast concrete birdbath for our garden. It's about 18 inches long by 12 inches wide with nice wide edges for the birds to perch upon.

The casting wasn't really hard at all. I'm waiting for the concrete to finish curing (in about another month) then I'll add sealer to protect the surface and make it easier to keep clean.

If you want to make one of your own, you can find step by step how-to directions for making a sand-cast lightweight concrete bird bath plus lots more ideas for unique garden craft projects at Squidoo.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The President I Want

Smart, Thoughtful, Sincere, Honest ... My Ideal President

I found a blog today that summarizes my opinion about what I want in a President. I couldn't have said it better myself:

I want (and will likely not see in my lifetime, sigh) a thoughtful president, one who lives in the same world of gray that I do because he understands there are very few absolute truths in our world. I want a strong president, one who will do what is right for the country above her own political ends. I want a constitutional president, one who understands there are hard boundaries that the government shouldn't cross no matter what anyone says.

So simply stated, yet so right on target. Visit Lewister to read the full blog entry.

I'll amuse myself until the elections with Presidential Campaign Slogans and US Presidents Paper Dolls.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Happy Birthday Maggie!

Maggie blows out the candle, the lighter, the lighter, the lighter ... Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Final Days of Summer

Sunrise at Dewey Beach on the Delaware shore - a big thank-you goes out to my sister Lisa for capturing the sunrise for me.  No matter where I am or what the weather, I can always get to the beach now.

Monday, August 11, 2008

MusikFest 2008

Musikfest 2008 is done, and the souvenir beer mugs are back home waiting for next year's music, art and beer extravaganza.

MusikFest Video Showcase

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Apple Tree Man

Our ancient backyard apple tree is much happier this year after a mid-winter pruning to remove top growth. He's smiling brightly these days ... despite a week of 90 degrees plus weather without rain.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

'Tick Season ...

Are you already tired of the US Presidential campaign? Here's a lighthearted Jib Jab video look at all the hoopla about Obama and McCain. It's Time for Some Campaining - co-starring one of my own family members! After you watch this video, go vote in the US Presidents Paper Doll Election Poll.

Send a JibJab Sendables® eCard Today!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Bekah

Rainbow with clouds free clipartToday is my younger daughter's birthday (the one who loved rainbows as a little girl). The weather is exactly the same as it was 33 years ago - gloriously sunny, low humidity, and warm - a picture perfect first day of summer.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Father's Day BBQ - King of the Grill

I created the original design of this BBQ graphic for customizable chef aprons to sell in my Zazzle shop, then decided to make a special clip art version for Father's Day.

King of the Grill clip art

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Rainbow Connection - Winter's End in Vermont

Lee on a photo-hike in Vermont snow, between the blizzards December 15 2007Winters in New England are tough, even for natives like me and my kids. It starts snowing in October, and keeps on snowing until April (sometimes May). In between snowstorms ithe precipitation changes to sleet or the temperature gets down well below zero. Sometimes the sun shines and other times the wind howls right out of Canada - the old Montreal express can shake any house to its bones in mid-February. It's no wonder so many people flee southward after Thanksgiving.

This year, central Vermont (and much of New England) got hit with record-breaking snow levels that put even old-timers to the test. Late last week, though, old man Winter finally realized his time to rule is over for this year. April made a colorful arrival in Brandon, just north of Rutland late last week ... reminding everyone that yes, there is a rainbow after the storm. And if rainbows and rain are in the forecast, mud season is here and summer is not too far away.

Welcome, Spring!!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Peace Symbol 50th Anniversary

The Peace Symbol is 50 years old this week.

The internationally recognized graphic's been around almost as long as I have.
It was originally a Ban the Bomb protest symbol in the UK, but Woodstock nation adopted it to protest Viet Nam and it's been associated with anti-war movements ever since. The peace symbol and it's partner the V-fingers Victory and/or Peace gesture are still heavily in use today all over the world.

Teach peace - print a sheet of free peace sign stickers like these.

Not to be missed - check out the peace symbol made from hands in a high 5 gesture (below). It's not in the free collection above - but it is available at Zazzle.