Pioneer Days



Last year I made my grandson Kevin a Redcoat costume to attend the Re-enactment of the War of 1812 and whilst the kids were helping me,  Morgan wondered if I would make her a pioneer outfit for a field trip her class was taking the following May. Naturally I said yes, especially with ten months notice!  We even bought her one of those funny caps at one of the craft vendors at the Re-enactment.

I’ve been gathering materials and accessories  since then , and last week finally decided to get on with it.

First off, round up all the supplies gathered in the last nine months, have a mini-fit when you can’t find the $10 cap bought last August, then calm down when Morgan finds it buried in her toy-box.springtime activities 018.JPG

I had done quite a bit of research on the internets looking at period costumes, so I had a pretty good idea what I wanted the final get-up to look like. I drew a very rough sketch to show Morgan, mainly to give her a bit of confidence in my ability to produce this costume (misplaced confidence by the way, because I really didn’t think I would be able to pull it off). Three year-olds would be happy running around the house wearing a cardboard box if you told them it was a pioneer costume, but a nine-year old knows better.springtime activities 019

Using Morgan as the model (obviously) I fiddled-faddled around, draping yards of material this way and that until I was ready to start cutting. This is always the scary part since I never use patterns. I must say that she was pretty patient, getting up on the chair for fittings, lifting her arms, turning around and around for me. Although at one point she did ask if I even knew how to operate the sewing machine thingy!springtime activities 015

Getting that cap to stay on proved a little bit difficult, I think I will have to hot glue a hair-comb inside of it to secure it in her hair. Did you think I was going to say I was going to hot glue it to her head??

I used an old dress for the bodice because it had the perfect collar, but it was four sizes too small, so I just cut the sleeves off and opened up the seams. We found a nice sheer blouse with three-quarter sleeves at the back of my closet that she can wear. I was going to cut the sleeves off the blouse and sew them onto the costume, but decided instead to take the easy way out and just let her wear the blouse under the dress.

Next I sewed the skirt to the bodice and attached Velcro to the back seams.springtime activities 016

Now it all it needed was a pinafore, so I cut out a one-piece out,  straps and ties included.

Now all we need is appropriate footwear.

19th Century pioneer girl meets 21st Century digital-savvy girl!springtime activities 022springtime activities 002




2015 Year review

100_3543I haven’t posted very much in the last two months, what with  the market, craft shows, and Christmas preparations.  I had every intention of blogging about all the Christmas shenanigans, took loads of pictures, and then, never actually seemed to have time to sit down and write. On top of everything else I got sick on Christmas day and that laid me up for six days.

Anyways, I’m on the mend now and thought I would review the amazing year I’ve just had. Things started happening around the beginning of June when I decided that I would finally retire after working at the same company for thirty years.  Six weeks later all the paper work was finalized and I spent my last day at work on July 18th.  My co-workers threw me a party and presented me with a gift basket full of gardening goodies, since they know that gardening is my passion.


On July 21st I set up my very first exhibit at the Fort Erie Racetrack Farmers Market. I decided to go with my strengths and sell plants. Mostly succulent planters and some perennials.


I was amassing quite the collection of succulents through propagation and needed a good sturdy work bench, so my husband Pat built me a great potting table.

Woebegone. Did I really just write that?

In early August we celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary.  I know its a cliché, but I seriously don’t know where the time went. Good times.


I spent a busy week with two of my grandchildren during the summer holidays. They always know I will have lots of crafts for them to do and they get stuck right in.


Morgan with some of her artwork, that she is about to apply to that painting on the wall behind her

Kevin with his lego creation

Kevin with his lego creation

Fort Erie celebrates the War of 1812 every year with a re-enactment taking place on the grounds of the Old Fort. We always take Kevin to it because he loves to see all the soldiers. This year I made him a Red Coat costume, and we spent the day wandering around all the displays.

He’s definitely on the side of the British!!

In late September we took some time and flew out to the west coast to spend some time with my daughter, Becky. Thoroughly enjoyed two sunny weeks in the  San Francisco area.

Becky and Betty

Shortly after our return, I had a mishap with a piece of glitter and spent 14 hours in three different hospitals, but these three girls took good care of me.

Florence Nightingales

Florence Nightingales

The Market, ran right  thru to Thanksgiving Sunday.Since it was so close to Halloween, a couple of us dressed up and had quite a good time.


I’m the one in the black and red cape

One of the girls invited me to be an exhibitor at an upcoming craft show, so I thought why not. Good opportunity to sell my left-over stock. I had also been selling wreaths and Christmas trees the last few weeks of the market, so I went in to over-drive  and produced enough stock for a two-day show.

I did so well, I exhibited at another two shows leading up to Christmas. Because I had pretty much sold out at the first show, I had to fire up the production line again. Luckily for me the weather was unseasonably warm and I was able to make quite a lot of bespoke products outside.

Halloween was just around the corner as well, so Morgan and Kevin came over to help me decorate.


they did a fine job

Before you know it, December 1st rolls around and its time to decorate and get ready for Christmas.  I always go all out and this year was no different. Well, except for the fact that I decided I needed one of the “flocked” Christmas trees. Two weeks before Christmas they came on sale, so I treated myself. Best tree I’ve ever had.


All in all, a great year. See you in 2016





Christmas Displays around the house


I love Christmas and I love decorating, so, the last week of November I haul out all the storage totes from under the stairs, pile them up in the family room and try to organize what goes where. At the end of the season I try to pack away according to displays in different areas of the house, thinking it will make things easier next year. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t.


Greens, tulle, glass jars, deer and ornaments all nestled in a tote

This year I started a bit earlier because I’ve been an exhibitor at a few Christmas Craft shows and I decided to re-purpose some of the stuff that I haven’t been using. Turns out, I’m guilty of being a Christmas decoration hoarder, even I couldn’t believe the amount of decorations that filled the family room. There was no room to move, it looks like someone has dropped a bomb in there.  I should have signed up for ten craft shows.

By the time I had thinned out the supplies I still had fifteen totes left. After much humming and hawing I decided to put out the display I usually put on the dining room table, that way I will stop using the dining room as a crafting area.

The base for this display is a restaurant-sized pizza tray (garage sale find).  We also use it to serve pizza!


Glass jar with tulle for snow

I actually bought these two blue trees from the dollar store this year, even though I really didn’t need them.  If you’re on a budget and don’t like to pay the prices at Michaels Craft Supply Store, the Dollarama has some good finds.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the crafting  supplies at Michaels. I just can’t justify their prices, unless of course, you have a 25% coupon off already reduced at 70% merchandise.  Anyways, I stuffed some tulle into the glass jar and nestled one of the newly acquired trees in there.

Next, I joined three branches of greens into a circle, fluffed them out and laid on the tray, adding the other tree and some battery operated lights (also from the Dollar store).

100_3551_Fotor_Fotor_Collage As usual, even though I pack the deer into boxes, the antlers always get broken.  Try and use porcelain glue to repair, not the glue gun, otherwise  you won’t get a good join .

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Add deer, ornaments and more trees

After you’ve repaired your broken ornaments (I cant bear to throw things away), start arranging them on a tray. Guess what other trees came from the dollar store?  I just keep adding things until the display looks ‘just right’, or, until I absolutely, positively can’t fit anything else on the dish

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And that’s it, a Christmas ‘tablescape’.  #tinyflashesofdelight indeed.




Decomesh Christmas Wreaths

I love this stuff

I love this stuff

I recently discovered Decomesh when I was decorating the upside-down tomato-cage trees, see earlier post. It is definitely a must-have in any crafters box of tools. There’s no end to what you can do with this medium.

I’ve been extremely busy creating things for some Christmas shows just recently, but I took the time to record “how-to” make a simple  mesh wreath.   Its a little bit fiddly to work with, but once  you’ve mastered the ins and outs,  and depending on how much you want to spend on embellishments  you can create some fantastic wreaths.  Just google  ” decomesh” for inspiration.

1 – Start by gathering all the tools you will need.

mesh, scissors, pine wreath, wire and glue gun

mesh, scissors, pine wreath, wire and glue gun

2 – I bought my wreath from the dollar store for $3.00, but I’ve since taken to making my own out of grapevine to keep costs down. At first I spread all the branches of the wreath out , but, this proved to be too100_3460cumbersome when I started adding the mesh, so I bent all the branches inwards and this worked better.100_3465 (2)

3   Fold over the first four or five inches of the decomesh roll, making a loop, secure with a length of wire,   about ten inches long. (don’t snip off the ends of the wire just yet, it might come in handy later on).  100_3462

Position starting loop on the wreath and secure with the wire.100_3461

For the next loop use a length of 8 to 10 inches of mesh, (no need to wire) pinch it in and secure to wreath using one of the wreath branches.  Make sure to cinch it really tight.  100_3473 Using the same roll work your way  all around the wreath.  I left a 2 foot length of mesh at the end because I wasn’t sure if I was going to use the mesh or ribbon, for a bow.  Using the same method, add the other colours to the wreath, weaving in and out as you go.100_3456_Fotor_Collage

Any lopsided spots can be fixed by adding a single section of looped mesh, securing with a branch

.4 – Embellishment is the last step.  I kept it pretty simple for my first few efforts. I used both wire and the glue gun to add the extras. Sometimes you have no choice but to use the glue gun,  although  wiring is definitely the best method. (remember those long pieces of wire used at the beginning?  now is the time to use them).

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I used pine cones, berry sprays, ornaments and bows on this one

5.  Last but not least,  make a ‘hanging’ loop out of pipe cleaner and attach to the top of the wreath at the back.8_Fotor_Fotor_Fotor_Collage




Christmas Containers in 5 easy steps

I usually don’t make my Christmas urns this early, but I thought I would make a few for the craft show next week. Might as well go with my strengths. Instead of using the typical round container “drop-in”, I decided to use the wooden skid planters we had left over from the Farmers Market.

1 – First things first – gather some fresh greens. 7 years ago I planted quite a few shrubs and evergreens especially for the purpose of making my own planters, including a weeping nootka and a redtwig dogwood.  I also cut some curly willow branches and spray painted them white.

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Foraged from my garden

2 – Find a good workspace. We are currently experiencing beautiful weather so I was able to work outside at the potting table.  Lots of room to spread out and get stuck in.  100_3408_Fotor_Collage3 – Whether you are planting a round container or an oblong one like this skid planter, the rules are basically the same.  Thriller, filler spiller.  I start at the front with the spiller and work my way to the back adding the filler greens. I used the red twigs and painted curly willow for some height.

4 – The only thing missing from this planter is large pinecones. We only have those long skinny ones in this area and I don’t much care for the look of them, so I added a bow and some sparkly ornaments instead.100_3426_Fotor

I also added in some ice-plant flower heads and some holly until  finally, there was absolutely no room left for anything else.


Not too shabby

5 -If you want it to last thru the winter just make sure the soil doesn’t dry out.  Mine usually last until mid-February, and we live in a Zone 6 with some extremely frigid temperatures.

Craft Show Preparations.

In September I decided to embrace the Fall Season at the Fort Erie Farmers Market since plant sales were starting to slow down.  Out came all my own Fall decorations  from the attic, a trip to some area greenhouses to buy some mums, straw bales and cornstalks,  and my stall was looking pretty spiffy.100_3119

Then I saw something on social media that I knew would be a big hit.  Decorated tomato cage trees.

Christmas, Fall, Halloween Zombie

Christmas, Fall, Halloween Zombie

I couldn’t make them fast enough to keep up with demand. I had to turn the garage into a workshop.  When I pointed out to Pat that all my craft supplies fit into one box, he said – stop calling the garage a box!IMG_20151024_191340

The last week of the market someone asked if I would be interested in having a booth at a Christmas Craft show in mid-November, so I thought why not?  I’ve got a few plants left and I can showcase my latest tree creations.

Pat got all the Christmas decorations out of storage, and I went through all the tubs to see what I could use. My family thinks I’m a bit of a nutter  when it  comes to decorating the house for Christmas because I usually go a bit overboard. I knew all those decorations would come in handy one day.

Its a good job my friend Ruth had a ton of old tomato cages that she had no use for because you can’t buy them at this time of year. Pat was in charge of keeping me supplied with grapevine, It literally grows on trees in this area, so no worries there. All I had to do was put them together.

For the whole month of October I have been churning out Christmas wreaths, sleighs, and trees like they were going out of style and as usual I may have gone a bit overboard.

lanterns, sleighs, wreaths and stands

lanterns, sleighs, wreaths and stands

Lets hope this is a well-attended event, because pretty soon we will need to actually park the car in the garage.

Pumpkin Painting

Pumpkin Painting.

Pumpkin Painting.

Sunday mornings at Becky’s means a visit to the downtown Mountain View Farmers Market, but her husband Bryan was in the driver’s seat today and we ended up in Los Gatos instead, where there is also a  Farmers Market.

After browsing all the stalls we headed to the downtown shopping area for some lunch. On the way to the pub we passed a couple of stores with Halloween displays and  granddaughter  Betty loves all things Halloween.

One of the stores was  a children’s craft store, Petraglyph, where there is a variety of ceramics ready to paint.   We tried to steer Betty towards a small pumpkin, but she was having none of it and chose the biggest one they had. I could see this was going to be a joint childs/adult activity.

Still painting

Still painting

We rounded up all the supplies necessary to paint this humungous pumpkin, found an empty table and got stuck in.  We spent a relaxing hour personalizing the pumpkin to Betty’s satisfaction.  I thought she might get a little upset when we had to leave it there to be “fired” and “glazed”, but she took it in stride.

What do you think of the finished product?