Search This Blog

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hand Made Christmas

My daughters and daughter-in-law decided that 2010 should be a hand made Christmas.  I jumped on the bandwagon and made my granddaughter a photo album of and for just her.  Then I saw a great idea on the Internet that I wanted to make all the girls.  I saved it on my computer and then when I went to find it, it had disappeared into cyberspace.  I Googled every site I could find and there was no photo or mention of the idea anywhere.  I didn't get it done.  I will look all the coming year and do it next year if I can find it.  I am beginning to wonder if it was all in my dreams.
The girls did a fantastic job on their gifts though, and I am sure you will agree.

Colett made me this decoupaged wall box.  She ordered a special crackle medium from France that made it look aged.  I love, love  the tree and the sentiment. Her hubby Matt actually made the wooden box and helped with the graphics. It is very special to me. (She sells them now and if you want one let me know.)  She has lots of different graphics to choose from.  Enlarge to really see how it looks. She really has an artist's eye.

Amy made this necklace and put it in my stocking.  It is made of simple glass beads on a silver chain. It's so pretty.

Kee made me these beautiful earrings from chocolate pearls.  Oh I love them so.

Amy knew that I wanted a cute apron and sewed this one up for me.  She has such a talent with clothing design. A while back,  I told her I didn't like the feeling of a strap around my neck and she made this one that crosses in the back.  Isn't it just the most darling apron?  The apron actually has an apple green pocket and trim.  I don't know why it photographed yellow.  I have never had that happen before. Enlarge once again to see the detail.

I had seen an item like this at the Beehive Bazaar and commented how cute they were but didn't buy them at the time.  Well, Kee made me a bunch.  She took half rounds and glued them to little spools and then wrapped baker's twine around them in all the colors.  I use the twine in my scrapbooking and cards.  It makes me happy just to look at them.  Little mushrooms growing all over my window sill now.

My friends even did hand made this year.  Susan found a vintage looking Christmas
card and put it in a hand made frame, and Laura decoupaged a little print and made it into an ornament.  I also got hand made loaves of bread from Tricia and Becky and peppermint fudge from Robyne but I didn't have anything to photograph as they were devoured too quickly.

Amy made me another amazing gift.  She took music paper and cut leaves out of it and made a wreath to hang by my piano.  Not only can she sew, she is just plain crafty.

Isn't my gift pile just wonderful?  Thank you, thank you, thank you. I love you all.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Things I have loved this week

I am one who loves the sometimes rather hectic days during the weeks prior to Christmas.  These are the things I have loved this  past week.

1. Making goodies with the family.  We made peanut butter fudge, peppermint bark,   cake bites, sugar cookies, mint chocolate brownies and Mexican wedding cookies. 

2. My friend Susan had a luncheon for those neighbor ladies with December birthdays.  We had quiche made by her hubby Paul (to die for) fruit, green salad, monkey bread (to die for) and treats.  Best of all though, was just sitting and talking to friends for a couple of hours.  We discussed all the important things in to raise children, diseases and immunizations, Ro's childhood, shopping or lack there-of, parents going on missions, how much we love the young men who prepare and pass the sacrament at church, the evils of porn, etc. and how much we love each other.  Lovely, lovely lovely

3. Listening to all my old Christmas CD's and my new one by Michael Buble'.  I know he is singing just for me. Thank you Michael, you are wonderful.

4. Finishing wrapping the presents and knowing most of my work is done

5. Eating hot dogs at Costco with the Grand kids and just walking around looking and not touching

6. A call from my Mom

7. Wayne healing from his heart stents

8. Shon and family getting here safely even though he had to drive 40 mph much of the way from Wyoming and causing his trip to last 13 hours

9. Crafting with the daughters and daughter-in-law

10. My little grandson telling me I am his best friend and when his Mom says "WHAT?  I am your best friend."  Then he points at me and says Grandma is.

11. Snow that made the trees beautiful but the temps were warm enough to melt the snow on the streets and we have a snow blower that I learned to use

12. Neighbor kids who have befriended my grand kids and spend time with them

13. Brenden who calls me Grandma Ostler (16 year old neighbor boy)

14. Book Club dinner and Christmas party with my favorite ladies in the neighborhood

15. Getting a nice check in the mail for the last cow tags I will ever make

16. Fresh homemade bread from my friend and my visiting teacher

17. A homemade craft from my uncrafty friend Laura and another framed vintage Christmas card from Susan

18. Breakfast at church with the wise men (Bishopric) doing the cooking

19. Wayne's homemade 3 berry jam

20.  Cards and newsletters from faraway friends

21.  A wonderful Christmas program at church and singing in the choir, listening to a violin duet by my 2 neighbor boys, and a great talk by my other neighbor about the real Christmas story

22. Watching sappy Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Nativity

It's been three years since our family did a nativity program for our own family party.  I am amazed at how much they have all changed in that time.  I don't know why, because children will (of course) change greatly in three years, but when I see them every few days I don't always appreciate how much change there is in such a short period of time until I see the photos.  I have blogged this before, but just as you put up your own nativities each year, I have to do this one again as I love the memories and the photos so much.  It was one of those times when everything worked out perfectly.  The children were excited to do their parts, the baby never cried, and the true spirit of Christmas shone through.

Nick and Isabelle were Joseph and Mary

Little Emerson was baby Jesus and smiled almost the whole time he was in the manger.

Millie, an actress and a true angel, portrayed the angel who came to announce Christ's birth.

My grand nephews were the  wise men

My little McLeod cousins played the shepherds.
May the spiritual aspects of Christmas permeate your home this year.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

This TIme of Year

It's busy this time of year but I love it.  It took me a week to decorate again this year but my house feels like a Christmas village and it makes me happy.  It will be a sad day when I can't climb a step ladder and hang my decorations one day in the future.  I have added two new decorations this year but I will either have to get rid of some or never buy more because my horizontal spaces are depleted. I always put up garland, lights, etc. and save my nativity for last.  It's the favorite of all my decorations (and I have a lot of favorites).  It is quite large and covers the whole top of my piano.  It really helps me remember the love of our Savior and also helps me relive the joy the world must have felt at the time Christ was born as they had been waiting for their king. Angels actually came down and sang and there was renewed hope for mankind. If I had been there at that time, I am sure I would have found one of the choirs to sing with, just to be a part of it all.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I didn't find these tidbits in time for Halloween, but you can tell your kids these things now and they will think you are cool.

When threatened, the hairy frog, or 'horror frog,' intention-
ally breaks its own bones to produce claws that protrude from
its toe pads.


If cornered, some horned lizards species can shoot their
potently foul blood from their eye sockets up to six feet.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Who doesn't love popcorn?  OK, there is nothing that smells better in the kitchen than bread baking, but popcorn is a close second.  We used to always make popcorn in our air or handle turning poppers.  It was really good and was fun to watch as it popped. At other times I would just use a heavy pan with oil in the bottom and it turned out even better.  Along came the microwave and the poppers were relegated to the basement and the pan is now used for just veggies.   Microwave popcorn is also good but really not as good as the poppers or pan method because sometimes there is a residual chemical taste.  I was reading my Food Channel magazine this week and found a recipe for making my own microwave popcorn.  It is Ellie Kreiger's recipe and I am going to try it.  You don't always know what ingredients you are getting in microwave corn and she says this is her favorite. This way you can monitor the oil and chemical content.

Toss 1/4 cup popcorn kernels in a small bowl with 1/2 teaspoon peanut oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Pout it all in a paper lunch bag with the top folded over a few times.  Microwave about 2 minutes or until the popping almost stops.  She says it comes out perfectly and with 1/3 less calories than regular microwave popcorn and no additives.  Try it and let me know what you think.

If the truth be known, I love theatre popcorn with all the artificial stuff and real butter at home.  Good thing I don't have it very often.

Monday, November 08, 2010


I love Christmas and have about every decoration a person can get.  I have lots of Santa figurines, nativities, bells, ornaments, reindeer, etc. but as I was thumbing through the   paper this weekend, I found this ad from K-Mart.  What???  Really???

I can't in any way associate a pig in a Santa suit or a lighted hippo to Christmas. I have heard of Christmas geese.  I was in the play the "Christmas Goose" when I was little, and I have heard of Christmas mice and spiders coming out at night to see the Christ Child but please tell me what a pig and hippo have to do with Christmas ???  I won't be adding these to my decorations any time soon.

Maybe I am not enough of a redneck. I think I can see these sitting beside a Jeff Foxworthy mobile home.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Mmm Mmm Good

For some reason, the pictures of the food this month are turned sideways.  They are correct in my picture file, and when I upload them to the blog they are correct at first and then turn sideways.  I can't figure this out so they are going on as is.

Our dinner group in October was hosted by Jim and Jaymie Utley.  The theme was Mexican food, and who doesn't like Mexican food?  Jaymie outdid herself with the table decorations and food.  I would say Jim helped, but I am not sure of that.  I think he was just the host with the most.

Jim and Jaymie

The Children's  Smaller Table
  The flowers and runner were just the thing to introduce Autumn.

The colors, candles, beautiful glassware and place matts really dressed up the table.

The theme was carried through with leaf shaped dishes

The best flan you have ever tasted made by Scott and Lori.  I forgot to take a picture of the caramel sauce that went over the top, but trust me, we all wanted to lick the bowl when it was empty.

Cream cheese 3 berry ( strawberry, raspberry and blackbeery) chipoltle dip with blue corn chips made by Wayne

Melt in your mouth Chili rellenos made by the Turner's

Mmmm tender, stuffed pork with mole sauce made by the Welton's

Fresh salsa made with corn, beans, avocado, tomatoes, cilantro etc.
Can't get enough of the good things right Doug and Julie?

Ostler duo - Joan and Wayne

Scott, the official flan tester and sous chef

Laura, Lori (the flan chef) and Rick

The Welton Pair - Susan and Paul

The Ahlstrom couple - Doug and Julie

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkin Carving

My carved pumpkin from last year

One that I did not carve last year

I was watching a show on HGTV one day about people that have a real talent for carving pumpkins.  I mean "real" artists whose work will blow your mind with their imaginative creations.   I feel so inadequate. I may never carve again. There have to be some real hints out there in Google land that would show me how to make carving Jack-O-Lanterns easier, or maybe some fabulous tool that I'm not aware of that would make carving them as easy as buttering toast.  I will have to see what they are, but in the mean time check out these links.  You will be amazed too.  Click to enlarge to get the real detail of their work.

              Photos of Amazing, Unique Pumpkin Carving Designs

Horror Movies Pumpkin Carvings are Too Scary for the Weak Hearted | Walyou

                             Pumpkingutter Pumpkin Carvings

                   42 Carved Pumpkins that Will Blow Your Mind

Friday, October 15, 2010

Cannery Row

When I was a kid, my cousin Cindy and I would eat sardines right out of the can.  I liked them, believe it or not, until someone told me that they are so tiny that they don't bother  gutting them.  You get the whoooole fish when you eat them.  I didn't eat them for 50 years.  After this trip I found out they really did gut them. Well, did I waste 50 years of not having my sardines.  No, I had them by accident on a pizza in Idaho and thought they were TERRIBLE!

Remember the movie "Cannery Row" starring Nick Nolte and somebody else?  Me either, not really very much anyway.  I need to rent it to refresh my memory.  I do remember the frog scene and the Cannery Row feeling so that when we got here, I knew a little about what I was looking at. Cannery Row is the waterfront street in the New Monterey section of Monterey, California.   It is the site of a number of now-defunct sardine canning factories. The last cannery closed in 1973. The street name, formerly a nickname for Ocean View Avenue, became official in January 1958 to honor John Steinbeck and his famous novel "Cannery Row". I have to confess, I have never read the book.
According to Wikipedia, the canneries failed after the collapse of the fishing industry in Monterey Bay in the mid-1950s,  due to overfishing. Before the collapse, the fishery was one of the most productive in the world.  Today the area around Cannery Row is a marine sanctuary and is home to a large population of California sea lions, of which I never saw.  I only saw seals.

Cannery Row itself is now a tourist attraction with many restaurants and hotels, many of which are located in former cannery buildings, and a few historical attractions. A few privately owned and operated fishing companies still exist on Cannery Row, and it still smells fishy. 

The Monterey Bay Aquarium (opened 1984) is located at the north end of Cannery Row, at the former site of the major Hovden Cannery which closed its doors in 1973. It was the last sardine cannery on the row to close.

"Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream." — John Steinbeck, opening sentence, Cannery Row (1945).

          This is a sign/walkway that crosses the road on cannery row

 This is a photo I took of a picture that shows what it looked like during it's heyday. 

                  One of the poster signs hanging in the museum

                                             Factory Workers

Can you imagine what you must have smelled like after your shift?  I have a hard time even washing the tuna or salmon smell off my hands after I fix it for lunch.

Several of the original boiler cookers still sit in the Monterey Aquarium. Wayne is standing in front of one of them.

I worked at a vegetable canning factory when I was in high school, but we only had to pick grasshopper heads or other debris off the conveyor belts and you could go home and wash your hands and go on a date.  If I had worked here, I would spend so much time in the shower, I would have never made it on a date.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Monterey Bay and Monterey Fisherman's Wharf

We toured Monterey's Fisherman's Wharf.  It was such a foreign place to a Wyoming girl that I could hardly take it all in.   I know I snapped photos of trawlers, whalers, fishing boats, sail boats, yachts, dinghy boats and even tugs but after I put them on my computer, I forgot which ones were which..  Here are a few.

                                             I think this is a fishing boat.

                                           A small whale watching boat

      I have seen pictures like this before but it is so cliche that I had to snap it.

                                                     Docked sail boats

Here are a whale watching boat and a sail boat but I took the photo because I loved the seals perching on all the buoys.

These big guys were sunning themselves on the deck of a restaurant next to the seal watching area.

                                                A pod of playing seals

                                         Taking a break from playing

You usually see  weather vanes atop cupolas that sport roosters, horses or eagles where I come from, but this one was so appropriate for the area. I love weather vanes and need one at my house.

                                      The Fisherman statue at the wharf

Fishing is a very dangerous profession and the fisherman have to be strong mentally and physically to survive.    Job Description for a Professional Fisherman |

                         Standing in front of the kelp beds in Monterey Bay  

                                   A light house right off the golf course

Kelp Beds
The seals like to come here to eat the many species of fish that hide in the kelp

I took this in a pull off area by the bay.  It was the perfect time off evening to shoot, the waves were crashing and the sun was shining on the rocks.  It is a beautiful picture if I say so myself.