Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tacky Lights

It is Christmas tide, and we nestle close to one another in the light of glowing candles, crackling fires, discreetly twinkling Christmas lights...... and the power plant-draining blare of tacky light displays.

 Creative expression comes in all shapes, forms, and wattage levels.

 The people who created these home light displays have been adding to them for 30 or 40 years.

 Santa Claus and the Holy Family coexist peacefully in the jumble.

 More is more.

Thousands and thousands of people flock to marvel at these blockbuster displays.  Tiny neighborhood streets are jammed with cars, crowds of people, limousines, and buses.  Maybe you are thanking your lucky stars that this isn't going on next door to you.  I am.  But I am also marveling at the time investment, the effort, the ingenuity, and in the case of this fifty foot tall tree, the beauty, of tacky light displays.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas to You!!!!

Christ is Born Today!

I wish you all, my wonderful family, friends, and readers all over the world, a warm and joyful holiday with your loved ones.  much love from Beth

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Fresh Air Fund

I love the Fresh Air Fund!!!!  The great people at the Fresh Air Fund bring children from the inner city into the country for some summer barefoot fun: gardening, swimming, star-watching, bike-riding, old-fashioned summer fun!  But did you know they are busy in the winter too?  Here is what they have to say about their programs:

Summer may seem far away, but NYC children are currently participating in Fresh Air programs, from weekly tutoring sessions to job shadowings to weekend retreats at Fund camps in upstate New York! Our Career Awareness Program serves more than 300 youngsters in middle and high school. We also have new leadership programs for young women to develop their “can-do” attitudes!
No matter the season, Fresh Air children remain involved, excited and forward-thinking. We need loyal friends like you to continue serving thousands of New York City children throughout the year. Thank you!
To make a donation, please click here.
Every year, The Fresh Air Fund gives thousands of inner-city children the priceless gift of fun – and opens the door to a lifetime of opportunities.
Whether it's a two-week trip to the country to visit a volunteer family or a fun-filled and educational stay at one of our fund camps, our programs make for unforgettable memories – and open a world of new friendships and fresh possibilities.
  • Just $10 will send one child on a bus ride to his or her Friendly Town host family.
  • $24 provides a child with a week of swimming lessons.
  • $42 provides a day of Career Awareness classes.
  • A gift of $50 can fund a camp counselor for a day.
  • If you can give as much as $91, you provide a child at camp with meals for a week.
We are a not-for-profit agency and depend on tax-deductible donations from people like you to keep our vital programs flourishing.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Making Robot Ornaments

 My little boy likes to make robot ornaments out of woodies.  Woodies are flat little pieces of wood which have been cut into all kinds of shapes.  You can buy them at the craft shop.  But I also have wood beads and scraps of all sizes.

 We use tacky glue because it dries quickly.

Since he likes to take things apart, he also has a collection of wires and pieces of electronics.  He found just the right thing to add to his robot.

Here is one of his first robot ornaments.  He made this one when he was a tiny boy.

This one below was a gift for one of his grandmothers a few years ago.  I helped him add embroidery thread for attaching the arms.  He glued glass beads for buttons.

And here is the grass reindeer we made a few weeks ago.  Have you made one yet?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Apple Butter

I saw apple butter made the old-fashioned way a long time ago in Appalachia at a Fall celebration.  There was a wonderful smell of woodsmoke and spices in the air as people stirred deep brown apple butter in a huge copper cauldron, with a wooden spoon which was nearly as big as an oar.  Here's the new-fangled way we do it at our house.

Crock Pot Apple Butter

3 quarts applesauce (2 46 oz jars)
3 cups sugar
3/4 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3 tsp. cinnamon 

Mix.  Cook in crock pot on low for 24 hours uncovered.  Put into hot jars and use hot lids and hot rings to seal.

Mmmmm.  The house smells so good!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Little House Ornaments

Three tiny friends are getting ready for their monthly potluck. Mrs. Ladybug is making aphid casserole. Mrs. Swallowtail Caterpillar is making fennel cakes. Mrs. Jumping Spider is making fly soup. Each is busy in her own, little tiny home.

This is Mrs. Ladybug's house. Mrs. Ladybug just burnt her finger. Ouch! She needs to mend the hole in her oven mitt.

This is Mrs. Swallowtail Caterpillar's house. The ladies usually meet at her house because her door is largest. Mrs. Swallowtail Caterpillar has been eating as many carrot tops and fennel tops as she can to get as large as possible...doctor's orders.

This is Mrs. Jumping Spider's house. She loves to sit on her stoop watching the world with her beady little eyes. But she is not relaxing. When a little bug flies by, she pounces.

I learned how to make little house ornaments from Pimp Stitch. Click on the title of the posting for the link to the tutorial, which has a downloadable pattern.

This is a little rerun from last November!  I hope you find some time for some cozy crafting before Christmas!  love, Beth

Gingerbread Houses

 My brave friend invited us over to make gingerbread houses. 

It was so fun to watch each child working in his own way.  The youngest one spent some time decorating his house, and some time quietly watching the older boys.

My boy filled his chimney with candy.

This boy liked buttering each piece of candy with the frosting.

 This boy loves color.

It was a cozy, noisy, messy, sugary, colorful, wonderful evening.  Thank you, my lovely friend!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hot Chocolate in Morges

As the weak winter sun sank away into the gray mist over Lac Leman in Switzerland, we sought the warmth and glow of Balzac's.

As we waited for our warm drinks, my friend snuggled her daughter, stroking her hair. I smiled. I remember how wonderful it was to hold my daughter in my lap, stroking her smooth, shiny hair. She still asks me to braid it sometimes when she is home from college. I love it.

While my husband worked out our dinner plans on a blackberry, we got ready for hot chocolate.

It was delicious.

It's cold this morning here in New England. I wish I had some of that hot chocolate right now! I hope you are enjoying visiting Acorn Pies this Christmas. I might not post any Christmas crafts this year, beyond the pomander ball. Do you really need more to add to your list of to-do's? I just want to share my own feeling calm and peace with you here on Acorn Pies.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


"Sometimes people's light dies down a little bit, due to the hustle and bustle of modern life.
If I can send them light, then maybe I can ignite their flame inside and they will see clearer." (Words and Art by Marie of http://softearthart.blogspot.com/)

There is a special spirit which shines in the land of blogs, and her name is Marie. Her thoughtful words can be found glowing in the comments of many of the blogs I read. She sprinkles her encouraging words all over the world. Sometimes, at this time of year, it is hard to find a place in our spirits for quiet and peace, even though that is what we are craving the most. Marie wrote me a special posting about light last year which you can visit by clicking on the button at right. I wish you peace and joy and light. love, Beth

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Surprise in the Mail

I won a giveaway from Appleshoe, and one day an intriguing package came in the mail. Something handmade, oh, goody!!!!!

The little papier mache box made a dry scraping noise as I opened it. The pale green tissue paper crackled softly. What could it be?

Awwwwww! Look at these cute little gnomes! They are made of wood, handpainted, with little felt details. The girl gnome has long flaxen braids.

Does this seem like a December-May kind of relationship to you? The girl gnome has a sunny smile and a self-confident air with that jaunty little crook in her hat. She looks like she is the active, extroverted sort. I can see her bringing home the bacon and frying it, too, occasionally tripping a little bit on the braids, while the children clamor underfoot. The man gnome seems bashful, with his gray beard growing over his lips and his soft, shy, but kindly expression, his eyebrows barely keeping his tall red hood up. He reminds me to Matthew Cuthbert in Anne of Green Gables and I can see him rocking the little ones by the fire, to calm them down after a busy day, and chasing away their little worries with a few gentle words. Handmade things can tell you so many things about themselves and perhaps about their creator, too.

Appleshoe also sent me a wonderful toadstool pin cushion, which has been sucked into the vortex on my sewing table, and a wonderful little jar of clove scented hand felted pumpkins, which my son has enjoyed sniffing contentedly all Fall. Appleshoe's blog is http://appleshoe.blogspot.com
Go visit sometime!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Boy Eating Waffles

This is my newest linocut print. It is hand-cut, hand-printed, and hand-colored using watercolor. I am putting it in my etsy shop today. www.primroses.etsy.com If you click on the title of this post, you can go visit!

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Walk in Switzerland

We explored a Swiss arboretum with some friends.

The children struck off into the stream for adventure.

It was a damp, cold day. Have you ever noticed how beautifully colors glow when it is overcast?

The children found a puddle with clay in it. Of course, they had to pick some up and squeeze it.

The children saw something blue in the bottom of the trough.

It was a little ball.

My son asked to make a bow.

I had some yarn in my pocketbook from playing cat's cradle, so it was quickly made.