Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Resolutions, 2016

I was going to write a lengthy, thought-provoking post about the New Year's Resolutions that I have made for 2016, but,'s been done before...SEVERAL TIMES.

A little sad that I have the same few, year after year, but, how about if I just say that I'm ALMOST perfect in every other way, so these are really the only things I have left to work on.  Yeah...that's it...

Anyway, with the exception of number FIVE, here are my resolutions for 2016 (...and 2013...and...apparently...2009...sigh...).

Here's hoping YOU are ALMOST perfect too, and that you are WELL on your way to being the you YOU want to be too!

Happy New Year!!!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Family Treasure

My mom has always liked working on craft projects, but seems to have gone through a particularly "crafty phase" in the mid-70's. She belonged to the Fairfield Jr. Women's Club, and I think craft projects were a regular part of what they did.

I remember several items that she made to decorate the house on Adams street in Fairfield.  She glued fabric to plastic eggs and placed them inside a wire chicken, which she placed in the kitchen.  She painted wooden ornaments for the Christmas tree.  Best of all, however, were the three wisemen she crafted out of fabric, and Styrofoam, and glue.  Of all the items she made, the wisemen are my favorite, and have become a treasured family "heirloom".

Apparently, the women in the club got a pattern for these wisemen, with various base items like heads, hands, and feet, and could then individualize theirs by choosing their own fabrics, and materials with which to embellish them.  Mom picked some AMAZING textures, and colors, and even spray painted the heads to make them look richer.  My sister and I used to love staring at them...the velvet...the jewels...the gifts chosen to present to Jesus...truly beautiful.

A few years ago, mom gave them to my sister and me.  I think it had something to do with the two OVERLY rambunctious cats they now have as pets.  I don't think the wisemen would last a day with the two of them around.  Whatever the case, they would have stayed in storage, but we now get to display them lovingly in our year at mine...the next at my sisters...then back to mine...and so on.

I've been trying to track the pattern down for YEARS, and have hit many dead ends.  About a year ago, however, we found this blog post.  It doesn't give much detail, but DID clue us in to "Dip and Drape", which was used to make the cloth stiff.  It also clued us in on the Styrofoam core, and also told about spray painting the heads, hands, and feet.  It's a start!

I will continue to search for the actual patterns, and SOMEDAY I might even be brave enough to try making my own set (mom hinted that they were a PAIN to make!).  For now, however, every other year, I will put the three that mom created on display, gaze at them with appreciation and wonder, and again thank mom for taking on the challenge of making them.

Here's hoping YOU have something lovingly created by a family member that you proudly display too!!!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Oh Christmas Tree...

From my previous post, you now know that I DON'T LIKE decorating for Christmas, but, as Paul Harvey used to say, here's "the rest of the story"...

Once the decorations are up, and I've had a few days to mellow out about how much work it is, and how overwhelming it is, and how much I dislike evening comes along where I turn off all of the lights (except for the Christmas tree), put on a favorite Christmas CD, and let out a deep, contented sigh.

The tree really IS amazing, and, as I gaze at the various ornaments, most having some sort of nostalgic, sentimental value, I smile, and think of Christmases past, and enjoy the beauty of the season.

Each ornament has it's own story to tell.  From the ones I made as a child... the ornaments I made as an adult...

From ornaments from my grandma and grandpa Reynolds' Christmas tree (which stayed decorated year-round, and was wrapped in a big plastic bag, and carried upstairs to a spare bedroom when not on display)... ornaments from our tree when I was growing up (like this red ball, which always had to be at the bottom of the tree so that my sister and I could stare into it and see our "Christmas reflection")...

From ornaments created by friends and family...


First Baptist Women's Group

Peggy W. fancy store bought ornaments that represent something meaningful...

glass lion, which, of course, is Aslan from the Narnia series

Hallmark refrigerator ornament, representing all of the AMAZING food we have at the holidays

Mary and Joseph ornament, representing...the birth of Jesus!

 a campfire to commemorate an amazing trip to the north shore to celebrate mom and dad's 50th wedding anniversary

From nostalgic items of my "not so recent" past...

I used to have such a THING for Marilyn Monroe

DITTO Miss Piggy!!

ornament covered in pheasant feathers, which reminds me of those MANY, wonderful "pheasant hunting weekends" at my grandparents farm with the hunters from Indiana (Ron, Babe, and Rick!) 

a sheep ornament given to me after performing with my friend Carmen at a church near Welman, Iowa in college nostalgic items from my "slightly more recent" past...

 Japanese maneki neko (lucky cat)

Geisha playing a koto

From things that aren't really ornaments at all...

tie dyed teddy bear keychain from grandma Reynolds

Deanna Troi Star Trek action figure

Japanese character (Kamen Norida) keychain

vintage postcard

Murano glass necklace

cookie cutter

origami man folded by my niece Emilie

a "Simpsonized" picture of Duane and me that I ModPodged into an ornament

one of the MANY golf balls Duane and I picked up while walking around the golf course next door, as it was being converted into a housing development theatrical production props and presents...

 glass ball filled with a shredded program and sparkles from "Children of Eden", made by my friend Carrie

comb from the Christmas tree from the set of "Steel Magnolias", which I assistant directed

a paddle, decorated by my friend Dee, who choreographed "Bye Bye Birdie", and kept trying to teach me the "paddle turn", which took FOREVER, and which I really didn't do correctly until the second weekend of performances!  

the Scarecrow, from "The Wizard of Oz" of my FAVORITE roles! favorite foods...



hot dogs

 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups ornaments from trips and journeys... 

 St. Simon's Island, Georgia

also from St. Simon's Island, Georgia


St. Petersburg, Russia

New York City

Dusseldorf, Germany

Kansas City, Missouri

Alaska ("Merry Christmas Nancy"!!)

Stockholm, Sweden

Amsterdam, The Netherlands hobbies and interests... ornaments given by friends!!

the gift tag from a present from my friend LaDawn

Getting philosophical for a moment, I guess my Christmas tree is a scrapbook of my life.  It represents many different times, many different family members and friends, and many different places that have made me the person I am today.  Although it's still COMPLETELY overwhelming to put up, and causes all sorts of grumbling (and an occasional swear word), it really DOES bring me joy.

I wish I could have posted pictures of ALL of the ornaments on my tree, because, looking at these pictures, and thinking of the wonderful people, places, and experiences has made for a very delightful afternoon!  

Here's hoping YOU have something that you display during the holiday season that helps you celebrate, and helps to tell the story of YOU too!!