Thursday, November 29, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like.....

well, you least outside it is looking and feeling like Christmas. That or Syberia. Haven't decided...what a time we have been having! I have been right out straight. Woke up with a doosy of a cold yesterday morning. There are hardly any decorations up in the house yet, but I have ornaments out the wazoo!! I have been making Christmas ornaments for weeks now, when I have a bit of free time here and there.
I took on the task of German Paper Stars, something my Grandma Brooks had made close to 50 years ago. My Grandmother, along with all my aunts and the rest of the youth group at the local church, ordered paper strips, and made a ton of these stars for a fundraiser. My mom and I think it was in the late 50's, early 60's time period. I had a few original stars that my Mom had given me, but wanted to learn how to make them so I could put more on my tree..They remind me of my Grandma, and I love the old fashioned look they have! They sold the original stars for $1.00/dozen, and made enough to buy an organ for the church!! That is alot of stars!! They made mostly pastel stars, because that is primarily what was available for colored paper back then, so I made pastels, too, but also used some patterned scrapbook paper and primary colored cardstock as well. After they are folded, you dip them in canning wax, and sprinkle them with glitter! They are beautiful. The wax completely changes their texture and appearance. I hung them on a cheapie plastic clothes drying rack to dry, and look at them all!! I ended up making over 125 stars-some to give as gifts, some for my Mom to give as gifts, some for me, and some for my Mom (she only allows handmade ornaments on her tree!!)-a little bit of everything. They were fun, but I gotta admit-I am glad they are done! I have had my fill!!

I also found this great tutorial for Paper Pine Cone Ornaments. I have made half a dozen of these so far. I used some really cool Doodlebug paper I had been hoarding. The look very impressive, without a lot of work!

I also got my order from LTD this morning. I go to the LTD site every Monday morning to see what they have for New and Exciting Values. They had THE cutest "Pathetic Charlie Brown Tree" that I just had to have...It is an exact replica of the tree on the cartoon, including the red ornament....I am in love!!

So, that is what I have been up to!! Hopefully, I will bounce back from this cold soon, and get my house decorated! We finally finished remodeling our shed, and it is now a functioning family/trophy room! It is great, so check back for photos after the decorations are up!!
Have a great Thursday!! **keri

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Day Approaches...

Things have been crazy around here? When are they not, though!? This is the Thankgiving card I made ever so quicky on Monday morning. If Peter's Grandma doesn't get a card, heads will roll! She looks for the on every holiday and in between!! It is VERY simple and understated-I didn't have much time to devote it, but I like how it turned out! And, I got to use a couple of my newest and now favorite punches!

This Thankgiving, I would like to remind you of something. Actually, a couple of things. First off-if you haven't heard on the news, the local food banks are empty all across the country. This is near and dear to my heart because my parents are in charge of the food pantry in their town, a few miles away from me. People are having to choose between paying for gas/fuel, and buying groceries. I know we have felt a crunch having to pay these prices for gas since Peter has been sent up to work in Lake Placid again. He has to drive an hour and a half ONE WAY, and our regular unleaded is 3.37 a gallon. If you are looking for a way to donate to a food shelf-there are always bins in the stores this time of year, or make a monetary donation-and the money goes for buying what the food shelf needs the most. Usually things like peanut butter, jelly, spaghetti sauce, boxed dinners, canned soup and vegetables are the first things they run out of. It is a great way to help out!
The other thing I want to remind you of is how important the people are who surround you. I am so thankful that I have WONDERFUL people in every aspect of my life. I have great people at school looking out for my son! I have a wonderful network of neighbors-we are like a little family. I have two great parents and two great in laws. A big brother and a little one, and brother and sister in laws to boot. Scads of nephews and nieces, 2 grandmothers-one for Peter and one for me. A wonderful church family, and great stamping friends, both in person, and on the net. I know, no matter where I turn, someone will be there, whether it be up the road, or in Tennessee, and I am so thankful for each and every one of you!! If you have a loved one in a nursing home, go visit them!! I know how hard it is, BELIEVE ME!, but it isn't gonna kill you, and it does so much good! If losing Peter's cousin has taught me anything, it is to ignore the small stuff, the petty arguements and indifference in the world, and appreciate your family before it is too late. You never know when they could be gone forever! Hug em, and kiss em and tell em you love em! Happy Thanksgiving from our home to yours, Love Keri and the whole Brooks/LaClair/Manor/McNeil clan...XO

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Coaster Album....My Prized Possession!!

I started this album back at camp time, during my surgery recovery! It was one of those things, where I didn't really know when to draw the line and say it was done. I kept going back and adding more and more until it weighed three tons, and I couldn't find any larger rings. I used Cosmo Cricket paper from the Wanted line, as well as SU! Chocolate Chip, Cranberry Crisp, Cool Caribbean, and Very Vanilla cardstock. I used those same colors in ink, as well as Tim Holtz Distress pads in Vintage Photo, and Antique Linen. I used several stamp sets, including Purple Onion Wanted, SU! Define Your Life, and backgrounds such as Weathered, Print Pattern, and Canvas. I used Cosmo Cricket's cardstock stickers and punchouts, several rub ons, and everything else I could find room for. There is one page for every letter in the alphabet. I printed all the photos out in sepia tone, to match the patterned paper better. I also tried to add some type of embellishment on each page, whether it be a ribbon, tag, tab, etc. I didn't take a photo of every page, but I think this will give you the right idea.
As a side note-I know I have been MIA-it tends to go in cycles with me. I get all tied up for weeks, then have some down time. The down time has not arrived, but I miss my blogging duties, and my blogging buddies!! We are anxiously awaiting Thanksgiving, and all that that promises-the anticipation of Christmas! I have several things on my plate right now. Besides my Design Team duties for Buzz and Bloom, I have been making several different types of hand made ornaments for our family tree. I am excited to share them with you, I just have not finished them yet! I need to whip up a few Thanksgiving cards before it is too late, and I also have a project that needs to be done for the Church's Christmas program. Good news! Our renovation is almost complete! I can't believe we used to park a car in that room! We laid the carpet this morning. The stairs were put in last week, and I finished stamping my border! I can't wait for you all to see how it is progressing. All that is left now is the deer heads, the trim boards around the floor, and the cupboard doors under the landing!! Just in time for my new 9 foot tree!! Thanks for faithfully reading and commenting. It means so much! Hugs, Keri

Saturday, November 10, 2007


I caught this amazing sunset 2 weeks ago. Actually, Cody happened to see it, and came and got me. It was SO COOL!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Construction Update...

I finally put together a few pictures for you to see our progress on our new family room. This has been a long time coming, for sure. We started it several years ago, and did what finances allowed from time to time. It is going to be a family room, along with a room to display all of Peter's hunting trophies that he has accumulated through the years. It is going to have a Rustic Adirondack feel to it-with many things in it that have sentimental value. Here are some photos from 3 years ago...

We bought my grandmother's house from my parents when she moved in a senior housing building nearly 10 years ago. This was originally an old woodshed when I was a kid. Literally packed full with wood for the two stoves my grandparents had in the house. After my Grandfather passed away, the woodshed was made into a one car garage from my Grandmother. It was a tight squeeze, needless to say! We used the garage for a while, but we bought a different car that was a tad too long, so we decided a new garage was in order. Not only because the car wouldn't fit, but the old garage was not in the best shape! We had to shore up walls, cut through cement-any and every situation came up with this room! We took out the overhead garage door, and the garage door opener. We ripped out the steps and made a new landing. We still have no steps. I have been climbing a ladder for over 3 years to get into my kitchen from our new garage!! There was a ladder that accessed the attic that was torn off (other access upstairs) and the chimney was ripped out this summer. We didn't want the clean out inside our family room, so we put a new stovepipe in another location...You could literally see daylight through the wood walls, it was so bad!

Here is what it looked like after Peter re-inforced the walls, and sheetrocked everything. The ceiling even had to be insulated, covered in plastic, and sheetrocked. The ceilings are 10.5 feet high. The room is off our kitchen, and you have to walk down half a dozen (give or take) stairs to get down into it. There is one tiny step up into the room from the french doors or the garage entrance.

This is closer to how the room looks now! We got some paint, and it is looking better! We kept the old door casing, but just took off the heavy door and the screen door last night, so now it is just a doorway. The house was an old farmhouse from 1910, so there is still some great stuff like the old worn door casings that I wanted to keep.

Here are the barn beams that we put in the room. One up each side wall with a main one across the top. We will also make the stairs out of the beams. They came from my Grandfather's grainery on his farm next door. The neighbor's let us take the beams and barn board so it is like we have a little piece of him in our new room. The chandelier my mother in law gave us a couple years ago for Christmas. It has crystals to hang on it, but I plan on leaving them ritzy for us! It holds glass cups and votive candles. It is hanging on a wooden peg that goes through the old beam across the ceiling.

Here is the set of doors and the window we put in above it. It will let a lot of sunlight in during the day.

Here you can see how the ledge is going to look. The cement goes up to about waist high, and we had to cover it up-so we decided to case it in. There was really no way around it-just how the building was constructed.

This is where the chimney used to be. Peter had to wait to finish the section of wall til the beam was put in, cause he has to butt the wall up to the beam, the walls come out two different distances. Ah, the joys of an old house!

Here is a view down into the room from the kitchen door.

Last but not least, here is what the lower walls will look like when they are done! We took the barnboard off the grainery and stripped the old cedar shakes off it, and are using it to cover the walls, and as a shelf.

So, there we have it...things are picking up a bit again now that the wood is up, and the chimney is in, so hopefully we will be done sooner than later...We have the carpet, so that was our last big expense. Directly above the barnboard shelf, I am going to stamp a small border of pine branches and cones. I can start that soon! Thanks for looking, and putting up with my excitement...It has been a long time coming!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Happy Birthday, Cody!!

Sunday was Cody's 12th Birthday! Where does the time go? I can't believe he is in 7th grade and is 12 years old now! We had a party for him on Saturday night-when all the men were done working and hunting! We had about 30 people here-family and friends of all ages. Cody requested a taco supper. I have never made tacos for that many people, but the five pounds of taco meat that I made was gone at the end of the night! Here are a few photos of our evening, the cake, and the presents. He HAD to have Zoids (cartoon) DVDs and the Godzilla Destroy all Monsters for his Gamecube. Thank you EBay, for saving me from yet ANOTHER elusive birthday gift request! I made the cake-just a couple of mixes, and homemade frosting. I ordered the edible image from a gal off ebay, and she even personalized it! It is a pic from the Barnyard cartoon, and they are all riding motorcycles...the images are so easy to use, cause you just frost the cake, and slap the photo on and trim around it with a star tip! Everyone raved about the cake, and thought I was brilliant!
The two little girls are my niece Beatrice and my friend's daughter Elyse-they had to help Cody blow out the candles. He looks so grown up! It was a wonderful night to share with family and friends..we had a blast!!
Have a great Thursday! Keri