Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Expectation Vs Reality Christmas Tablesetting

This was supposed to be the best of the bunch. I took several photos early in the morning and late at night, which is when my grandchildren are not here. I was excited to get something that wasn't too dark and then realized we are featuring a roll of magnet to stick crafts on my refrigerator. Trust me, this is as good as it will get.
REALITY: One of my assistant table setters on patrol.           
This one has shadows and a piece of packaging on one of the plates.Since the day after Thanksgiving I have been trying to clear off the dining room table so that I could show off some of my Christmas dishes. We provide care for five of our grandchildren and accomplishing anything with two one-year-olds, two three-year-olds and a just turned 5 year old. I was so delusional that I thought that perhaps I could showcase my Pfaltzgraff Christmas dishes for a few weeks and then change to the fun dishes that Better Homes and Gardens created with the vehicles and Christmas trees.
These are the plates everyone is in love with (including me)! I bought a few last year and found a few more this year. They are part of a set of four different plates, but you can buy them individually in the stores.
That darn Pioneer Woman! The first time I spotted these little tart sized dishes, they were in her Flea Market patterns. Of course I picked up a selection. The next trip I spotted this Christmas Pattern and had to scoop up a few more.
Once I purchased my first BGH plates last year, I started looking for a centerpiece. I spent a day traveling out of town to find a vehicle carrying a tree only to locate this metal beauty at a local drug store. I pilfered the little pickup from the toy box and added a little garland.
This year trucks are everywhere! This beauty pulling out from behind a tea pot is a cookie jar; the tree lifts off as the lid. I found it at a local farm store on half price day. The little wooden station wagon is an ornament I picked up somewhere.

These little wooden vehicles were in the $1 bins at Target. I bought the three that were left this past weekend. 
I am late to the Nora Fleming party! For my monumental birthday in 2016 I received a very nice china dish with changeable ornaments from a friend. Fast forward to some Amazon surfing and they kindly recommended this Nora Fleming mini to add to my dish! Say what? I see some more minis in my future! The liner was a gift from a friend.
 Another view of my mini. I am pretty excited about finding it.
I was hoping to do an entire post about our tree this year, but the way things are going, I will just share these. Here is my decorating crew. I sorted out the unbreakables and let them go. The only ones interested were the two 3 year-olds and my 1 year old granddaughter. 
Some have asked if we plan to add anything else to  the tree. We are using it as a gauge as to how high we need to place things so that they are out of reach! Merry Christmas!              Joining the ladies at Tablescape Thursday!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Christmas Decorating with my Bicycle!

It is really hard to get in the spirit of Christmas decorating in Northern Ohio. The temperatures again today are in the high 60s (which is crazy warm for this time of year) and my Amish hanging baskets are still flowering! We generally have frost before Halloween and I have nylon pumpkin baskets I hang for the month of October. I am not really sure what to do. My Christmas porch decorations will not accommodate three large hanging baskets!                                                             
I took a little shopping trip to my favorite store, Dollar Tree, and picked up a few white poinsettia flower picks, as well as some silver picks for accent.  The vines leftover from the summer planting remain vibrant despite losing the flowers to frost.  When I painted my bicycle peach, I was not thinking about decorating for Christmas! 
I found the snowflake at Dollar Tree along with silver foil gift wrap. My tulle ribbon is leftover from previous wedding decorating. It does not look much like Christmas with green plants and autumn leaves on the bushes!         
I tried adding some fake snow to make it look more like winter! I did not succeed very well. These filters and drawing tools are very tricky. I really need my 9 year old grandson to help. Or maybe Mother Nature!   
   What else have I been up to? Well, since retiring my husband and I provide day care for our grandchildren that live in town. We have 4 of our grandsons, aged 1-5 and one of our granddaughters, aged 1. Luckily we do not normally have all of them on the same day.
This week we got lucky and have had all 5 two days in a row. And today we got even luckier and have zero! I like to plan activities for them. I have lots of ideas for Christmas (Thank you Facebook and Pinterest) 
 My new problem is that, despite steroid shots in the palms of both hands in July, I cannot move several of my fingers. I have bitten the bullet and called my doctor to work on scheduling surgery on both hands. This should be interesting! 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Bicycle Planter

All winter I was searching Pinterest for ideas for a bicycle planter. I was searching Facebook garage sales for used bikes. One afternoon I spotted a listing for a dusty bike pictured from the back in a storage unit. $10! I was on it. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to have a basket attached!  
I had pictured my bicycle planter in pale pink, but I had a can of coral spray paint left over from a previous project.  Well, it took FIVE cans of paint to completely cover the bicycle, including the tires. One can each side to prime the bike, one can each side to paint the bike and one can to cover the places I missed.  This added $25 to the cost of the project. 
The largest cost turned out to be the new tennis shoes I put back on when I changed to my painting clothes. Completely ruined. I even had paint on the soles from tracking on the tarp.
 Just as I pictured it! My husband added plastic zip ties to the tires and frame prior to the fifth and final coat of paint. The tires, which are flat and rotting anyway, can not turn. I have not yet attached it to the tree, but I may just do that in case of a strong wind.
 I bought a hanging basket with liner on sale (cheaper than the liners alone). I positioned the liner in the basket and will show you the basket at the end of the post.      
  Next I filled the liner with Miracle-Grow potting soil. I did adjust the basket later so that it leans more toward the street.
 I wanted a pretty full basket so I placed purple salvias in the back, yellow marigolds next, coral impatiences since they match the bike so well and then vinca vines to trail over the basket.
I love it already. I just can not wait until the flowers grow larger! Maybe next year I will add rear baskets, too.
I used the extra plants for some small planters. The stands were leftover from one of my kids weddings and I painted them to match.
 And here is what I did with the hanging basket that came with my liner. I turned it upside down and made it a canopy for my fairy garden!  I hope to train some vines to climb it.
Meanwhile, instead of bedding plants this year, I am adding color to my landscaping with painted signs. Every morning when I hear the latest catastrophe of our government, I try to relieve my anxiety with my paint brush instead of screaming. Here are some of my recent sign boards.  


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Planning my Summer

June is just around the corner and summer will be here!!  I am currently providing day care for my younger grandchildren (aged 4, 3, 2, 15 months and 12 months). I was having a little pity party for myself when I realized that two of the moms are teachers and starting in June, I will only have the 4 and 2 year old two days a week! 3 days off! It is a summer vacation.    And at the end of July I will add one more person to the day care - my husband is retiring!
Ever since my oldest grandson was born, I have tried to schedule a week in the summer for Gramma Mimi's Cousin Camp. Luckily the oldest three are the out of towners and are potty trained. They are the only overnight guests. Everyone else lives locally. 
Last summer was a huge challenge. I was stricken with a horrible case of shingles over Memorial Day Weekend and could not get into a doctor until it was too late to get any medication to help me. The whole experience was pretty devastating and I would urge anyone who has not had the shingles vaccine to contact their doctor immediately. As I shared last year, I was months away from my 60th birthday and had planned to get the vaccine, only to discover that my insurance actually covers the shot at age 50. It has taken me months to recover and I am still suffering from some nerve damage.
Nevertheless, camp must go on! The cousins all look forward to it and so do I! We had an abbreviated camp last year.  The activities were pretty simple and we really did not do field trips and outings.    
And luckily Aunt Sissa bought a house with a pool! It was a great place for everyone to burn off some energy since there was a lot of video watching in the schedule to give gramma time to rest.  
My four year old was invited to spend one night at our sleepover. I really have to limit the overnight to those no longer in diapers. Eventually it may be the whole crew!
I made it all winter without visiting a doctor and now, at the end of May, I am battling bronchitis.  I have chosen the theme for this year, I have mailed the registration forms (with important questions like What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? and How late would you like to stay up?).. Since today I am trying to rest in my recliner during nap time, instead of cleaning, cooking and trying to accomplish all I can before they wake up - I am planning the itinerary. I hope I am up to this!!!!

Friday, May 12, 2017


 Unfortunately I was not able to identify which of the six lovely daughters in the picture on the top right is my great grandmother. I did put the pictures together for a collage for this year. And it is perfectly fine. I do hope by next year I can make the picture I have in mind, though.    Happy Mothers Day!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Climbing the Family Tree

A few years ago I took advantage of a free genealogy class offered by a neighboring library.  The class is held for two evenings and explores how you can use the internet to learn something about your family. I was very excited and spent a few weeks exploring the true story behind some family myths and discovering a little information about branches I knew nothing about.
Then life happened.  As usual. Everything got packed in a box and that was that. I think I gained four more grandchildren in the lapse. And then I saw that they were offering the class again! I called and asked if you were allowed to repeat it and they welcomed me with open arms.
My Mom
I had this great idea for Mothers Day, I wanted to make a collage of all the ladies on my mothers side.
My Gramma
I was told this was my great grandmother who died when my gramma was only 9 years old. Spoiler Alert - this is the photo that will gum up the plan.
My great grandmother - but which one?
 I did find this wonderful portrait of my great grandmother and her family on Ancestry.
One of these six daughters is my great grandmother! But which one?
My next mission is to figure out which one is her.    And this is a photo of my great-great grandmother, Sarah Perry (Snyder). My grandmother was her spitting image!
Sarah Perry Snyder
 And this is a photo of my great-great-great grandmother Sarah (Ammerman) Perry.
Sarah Ammerman Perry
  Lots of Sarah Perrys to confuse me further when going through records.  The end of my story is that when I took the photo of who I thought was my maternal great grandmother out of the precious frame, it is labeled on the back with the name of my paternal great grandmother (in my mothers writing) on the back. Whether this is true or not I will need to verify.  In the mean time, this project will be postponed until I can identify a photo of my true maternal great grandmother.                                                                                    My finished collage could include my granddaughters, my daughters, myself, my mother, my grandmother, my great-grandmother, my great-great grandmother, my great-great-great grandmother. EIGHT generations!!  The library offers genealogy assistance the first Tuesday of each month and I cannot wait to go back! 
My oldest granddaughter, the fashion icon. She is posing on abandoned tracks at a railroad museum.

My youngest granddaughter, posing on her first birthday. 
Linking as a BEFORE with Metamorphis Monday at,  and Foodie Friday and Everything Else at

Miss Merry