December 30, 2014

Out With the Old, In With the New--Foyer Update

For the last 14 years I have been staring...

...and staring at these walls.

I recently heard a sermon featuring the verse, "Behold I 
make all things new" from Rev. 21:5 and I got thinking... 

What if I make a change?  I was a little (actually a LOT) fearful,
 because I removed our kitchen wallpaper a few years ago, 

which turned out to be...
A NIGHTMARE as it was applied to bare drywall!!!

 But, then I noticed that the walls were actually 
properly prepped and I just couldn't stop picking at it.

Oh no, now I'm committed!  What is my hubby
going to say when he comes home?!

Before I knew it, it looked like this.  
 Hubby was surprised.

But, before long, I was finished with the wallpaper
removal.  Yay!!!

After removing all the paste residue with water
and some vinegar and a little help from a
kitchen scrubby, it was on to the oil-base stain
blocker.  A must after wallpaper removal!  I put on 
two coats of this, allowing drying time between coats.

Finally, wall color time!  

You know what happens when you redo a room
--it's kind of like the children's book,
 "When You Give A Mouse A Cookie."

  Yes, you have to do something else.
My carpet was starting to clog my vacuum cleaner
 as it was falling apart.  So, it had to go!

Now for the reveal!!!  

Wall color:  BM Himalayan Trek

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December 20, 2014

Christmas Vignettes

Hopefully you are ready for Christmas.  We have a very busy schedule this time of year, so I tend to keep things simple as far as decorating.  Today I put together  a little photo tour of Christmas vignettes around our home for you to enjoy.

Kitchen vignette with a little wood box I painted to hold the essential 
beverage of the season with my frosted cupcake painting on display.
  Someday, I'm going to make those cupcakes!!!

Kitchen Vignette

My farmhouse dining room complete with roosters and a hungry horse.

The vintage lantern I found at a second-hand store makes
a great see-through centerpiece.

My horse painting with a Christmas wreath.  
I still have to think of a name for her.  Any ideas???

My grandmother's hutch that I painted with roosters (2013).

An old frame I refinished and made into a chalkboard.

Christmas vignette in a giant mason jar.

A view from my kitchen window.  I found the vintage 
wire Christmas tree at a reuzit store for just $8!!!

Our Living Room

A Giant Handmade Snowflake.  See the tutorial.

My handmade Central Market Glitter House-a gift for my hubby.

An old vintage wood box that I painted to hold my Christmas wrapping essentials.

Great for holding scissors, tape, brown wrapping paper, rubber stamps, ribbon
glue, glitter, paper punch and handmade tags so nothing gets lost.

A vintage Santa music box and Santa on the rooftop of the Star Barn.

Hope you enjoyed the photo tour.  Merry Christmas and God's richest blessings to you all!

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December 18, 2014

Snowman Sugar Cookies

Today, I would like to share my recipe for Snowman Sugar Cookies and a painting I created to illustrate the recipe.  You may download the image to enjoy on your desktop.   You can purchase this recipe in a greeting card format here:

Snowman Sugar Cookies

1 C butter, softened
1-1/2 C sugar
3/4 C brown sugar
3 eggs + 1 egg yolk
1 t vanilla extract
4 C all-purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1 t salt
additional white sugar, for rolling
craisins, chopped in half (for snowman's eyes and mouth)
candied orange peel, cut in triangles (for snowman's nose)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter and sugars together.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  Add flour baking powder and salt.  Chill at least 1 hour.  Form dough into small walnut-sized balls and roll in sugar.  Press down slightly on ungreased cookie sheet and decorate with craisins and candied orange peel.  Bake on top oven rack for 6-8 minutes or until tops crack and are just turning color.  Cool on pan for 2-3 minutes then remove to cooling racks.  Makes 5 dozen.

December 16, 2014

Handmade Ornaments Winner

Congratulations to Carole Jarvis, winner of my two handmade and hand-painted ornaments.  Please contact me at with your mailing info.  Thank you to all who entered.  I will be hosting many future giveaways, so sign up for emails to stay informed.

December 15, 2014

Perfect Pumpkin Roll and Last Chance For Giveaway

Every year around Christmas, my husband and I have a tradition of making pumpkin rolls for friends and co-workers.  We usually make between 20-40+ each year and have been doing this for at least 15 years.  It is one of our most requested desserts, so I would like to share the recipe with you and tips for making this yummy holiday treat.

Pumpkin Roll:

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
dash of pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


4 tablespoons margarine
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup 10x sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

(Extra 10x sugar will be needed for paper towels and to sprinkle on top)
(Crisco and flour to needed to prepare pan)

One pumpkin rolls makes approximately 10 servings.


Beat 3 eggs for 5 minutes on high speed of your mixer, reduce speed and slowly stir in 1 cup sugar, stir in 2/3 cup pumpkin, 3/4 c flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and dash of pumpkin pie spice.  Spread in well greased (I use crisco stick) and floured 11x17 jelly roll pan.  Sprinkle chopped walnuts on top if desired.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10-11 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool in pan for 2 minutes, then loosen edges and under the roll with a cake knife.  Flip onto 10x powdered paper towels, roll in paper towels and cool 1/2 hour on a baking rack.

Unroll and spread with filling.  Re-roll without the paper towels, sprinkle with additional 10x sugar.

Helpful Tips:

*Use an 11x17 jelly roll pan for best cake to filling ratio.
*When greasing the pan, remember to grease and flour both bottom and sides.

Tools you will need.  Use the cake knife (in center) to spread the pumpkin mixture in the pan and later for loosening it from the pan.

Mixture spread evenly in the pan and bake.

Loosening the pumpkin roll.

* For best results, use 2 sets of 2 connected paper towels to roll up the pumpkin roll.  Overlap the second set on top of the first and sprinkle well with 10x.

Flipping the pumpkin roll onto the 10x powdered towels.

Rolled it in paper towels to cool.

A few of the pumpkin rolls we make.  If making a large quantity, move them around the workspace during cooling so the heat does not make a wet spot on the bottom of the roll or use a baking rack.

*When making the filling, allow the margarine and cream cheese to soften before use.  Add margarine first and then cut cream cheese into small pieces and gradually add them to the beating margarine.  Mix the filling well.  I use a rubber spatula halfway through and thoroughly scrape the bowl and then re-beat with the mixer.

*After the pumpkin roll has cooled, unroll it and use a pizza cutter to trim off a tiny bit of the edges on the long sides of the roll--that way every serving has very soft edges.

Spread the filling on the pumpkin roll with the cake knife and roll up from the short end.

*After dusting the top of the finished pumpkin roll, I cut the roll in half with a serrated knife and wrap each half in plastic wrap and box them.

 *I always freeze the pumpkin roll at least overnight to make them nice and moist.  These will keep for several weeks in the freezer.  For my small family, I thaw one-half in the refrigerator on the day that we will eat it.  Slice with a serrated knife and serve cold.  Enjoy!

Remember only one day left to sign up for my ornament giveaway.  To enter, go to my last post titled "O Come Emmanuel" and leave a brief comment in the comment box below the post. Then follow by email (see the upper right side of my blog to sign up.)  Good luck!  Winner will be announced tomorrow at 5PM.

December 12, 2014

O Come Emmanuel and A Giveaway

It happened again today!  While I was in the post office mailing a package, the postal clerk was humming the tune, O Come O Come Emmanuel.  Tears started to well up in my eyes, but I guess I should back up to the beginning of the story.  It was  just a few weeks ago, on Sunday morning, November 30.  I was sitting up in the balcony (the nosebleed section) of our large church.  Before the service even started, the tears were rolling down my cheeks.  I don't know about you, but once I start crying, it can be  hard to stop the flow, even if I'm laughing so hard that it makes me cry.  However, this was not the case.  Let me explain.

Did you ever ride on a bus where there were no seats left and you had to stand.  When the road gets bumpy, you reach out to grasp the back of a seat or anything within reach.  Not the most pleasant thing to deal with.  For the last 20 years I have been on that bus, day in and day out.  I feel like I am in constant motion.  The doctors call it Vertigo--from inner ear problems.   So there I was sitting in church  and having an all too familiar bumpy moment.

The sermon was about loss and the hardships we face in life.  Our pastor shared a video of two women in our church who have both gone through the tragic loss of their husbands this last year.  (See the first of several very helpful video sermons here): .  Then he made some comment about our struggles and that we may not understand why God allows difficulties in our lives but, "God is With You."  I don't know about you, but sometimes when God is speaking to me, I don't always hear him right away.  He has to repeat it to me 2 to 3 times until it clicks.  So the next morning, I wake up to the radio playing, "O Come O Come Emmanuel"  and I know that Emmanuel means "God With Us".  Okay, it's starting to register.  Over the next 2 weeks I heard it OVER and OVER again umpteen times in so many different way that "God is With Me" and I not only heard God speak to me through all these reminders, but I'm to the point where I BELIEVE that He "IS" with me--it sunk in.

If you are a believer in Jesus and have "Emmanuel" as your savior and friend, then you can be assured that "He IS With You" no matter what struggles or losses you are going through.   Knowing Christ in a personal way is like "Emmanuel WITH us and IN us" and his incredible peace and grace is available to us no matter what difficulty we are facing.  So this year, remember that you don't have to be alone in your struggles or if you just feel lonely.  He is there waiting for you.  Just invite him into your life.  It's a free gift.

Speaking of gifts--I'm having a giveaway.  To enter, sign up to receive my emails and then leave a comment below.  Winner will receive a set of two of my handmade and hand-painted ornaments.  I'll announce the winner on Tuesday, Dec. 16. 

December 11, 2014

Winter Folk Art Painting - Peaceful Valley

I just finished a new 16x20" original painting titled "Peaceful Valley" that is now available at Dutchland Galleries (

It's a peaceful snowy evening and church just let out.  Skaters are enjoying the frozen pond and the hot chocolate and gingerbread cookies will soon be ready in the barn.   Some of the woodland animals are coming out to play.  See if you can spot the rabbits, a fox, a deer, and of course--the little black cat.

Make sure you sign up for emails, as tomorrow I will have a special giveaway that you won't want to miss!

December 9, 2014

Giant Music Snowflake Tutorial

Today, I am going to show you how to make this beautiful sparkly giant snowflake (no saw needed).

 First you will need 2 snowflake placemats.  I purchased mine at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Hot Glue 16 popsicle sticks to one of the snowflakes.  This will make the snowflake sturdy. (Six of them need to be cut with a heavy duty scissors as shown to fit the smaller areas).  When your popsicle sticks are set, hot glue the other snowflake on top to hide the popsicle sticks.  Tip:  I matched the design and hot glued the center together first, then hot glued the outer parts of the snowflake.

When the hot glue is set, you will need to paint the snowflake with regular acrylic craft paint.  I used a neutral color.  Don't skip this step, as you need to harden the placemats so that they will be non-porous and ready to accept glue in the next step.  Do not spray paint, it will just soak in.  I only painted one side and all the edges.  Allow to dry completely overnight.  I know, this is very tedious, but it will be worth it!

For the next step,  I used Elmer's Clear Glue to glue 3 music sheets together.  I measured the sheets to fit the snowflake and trimmed a little of the center of the 2 whole sheets before gluing them together to eliminate some of the extra border  and cut the third music sheet in half and glued one to the top and one to the bottom.  Allow the sheets to dry completely.  I dried mine overnight while the painted snowflake was drying.

Place the dried snowflake on the back side of the music sheet (painted side down) and trace the outlines with a mechanical pencil.  You can use a little scotch tape at the top and bottom to hold it in place. 

Then, using an Exacto knife, cut out the design on a protected surface.

Use Elmer's Clear Glue to attach the music sheet to the flake.  Tip:  Use a paint brush to spread the glue.  Attach from the center out applying glue as you go to the outer edges.  Allow to dry overnight.  When partially dry, I turned mine upside-down to allow the weight of the snowflake to iron out any bubbles in the paper.  It may look wrinkled in some areas, but it will be flat when completely dry.  When dry, place and attach 3/4" mirrors with hot glue (available at your local craft store). I used 10 mirrors. Tip:  I used an Exacto knife to cut out a spot beneath the mirrors for a sturdier hold.  I also did this for the center of the snowflake for the next step.

Cut a 2" Smoothfoam styrofoam ball in half.  Spread with glue and silver glitter.  When dry attach to center of snowflake with hot glue.

Hot glue silver tinsel cord around center and silver chenille wire around mirrors.  To finish, apply Elmer's Clear Glue just on music areas with a paint brush and sprinkle with your favorite clear glitter.  Allow to dry.  Attach a hanging cord and you are done.  These may take several hours to make plus some overnight drying time, but they are well worth your time!

Supply List:
2 Felt Snowflakes, Hot Glue, Elmer's Clear Glue, Neutral Color Craft Paint, 3 Sheet Music, Exacto Knife, Heavy Duty Scissors, 16 popsicle sticks,  1-  2" Smooth Styrofoam Ball cut in half, Tinsel Cord, Chenille Wire, 3/4" Round Mirrors, Glitter, Hanging Cord.

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