Showing posts from November, 2018

Words For Wednesday


My Christmas Cookie Quest For The Year

The title of an email I received last week caught my attention. It was from Betty Crocker, and it was inviting me to take on the 24 Days of Cookies challenge. Each day they would send a different cookie recipe to bake and share with those you love.

Cookies. Sharing. Loved Ones. Works for me!

So Sunday I began my cookie quest with their Sparkle-Studded Gumdrop Cookies. I changed the white sanding sugar to gold, and they turned out so pretty. They went with Danny to work yesterday, after I'd done a thorough tasting to make sure they were shareable. (Translation: I ate a couple of them because they looked so good.)

I encourage you to try something new this year. Go online and find a baking challenge. Pull out a vintage cookbook and revive some old recipes. Make someone's favorite goodies and make that their Christmas present. Have fun with it, and it might become your new holiday tradition.

We Love A Good Puppy Pajama Party!

While friends of ours were out of town over Thanksgiving, we added their dog to our pack for a few days. Any fan of the Marvel Universe will know exactly where Stark got his name.

Stark fits in so well with our dogs. Having another boy evens up the odds a little. He adores Molly, and he tolerates the puppies until they invade his personal bubble. A lot of us feel that way...

He also had a couple of firsts while staying on the property. He saw deer and turkeys and, judging by the amount of time he spent looking out the window, he was fascinated. It's the little things that make me smile.

We love it when Stark gets to play with us, and we hope he enjoyed his time here as much as we did. Next time, we'll share more treats and more belly rubs!

The Craft Show Before Christmas

Here's a HUGE thank you to everyone who came to visit Stuff From Trees at The Craft Show Before Christmas. You were all such a blessing, and we're so glad we will be part of your holiday celebration this year.

We also met many new friends, and we look forward to hearing from each one of you. Our business is about connecting the perfect gifts with special people, and it makes us smile when each piece finds a new home.
This was our last show of the year, and that means we're back in full on Etsy. You can visit Stuff From Trees 24/7/365 and be prepared for an amazing Christmas season.

We love custom orders, and every gift we offer can be personalized - as if being a handmade, one-of-a-kind business wasn't enough! Message us now to make sure your beautiful, unique gifts are shipped and delivered in time for Christmas.

Thank you again for a wonderful show season. See you in the shop again soon!

Leftover Thanksgiving Dinner Pizza

Did you get your fill of Thanksgiving dinner favorites yesterday? Is the refrigerator full of leftovers that you just couldn't eat one more bite of? Would you like to try something besides sandwiches and casseroles to use up that amazing food?

Then have fun and make it into a pizza!

We used mini pizza crusts for ours, one each for dark turkey, white turkey and ham. You can use each and every kind of meat you had for Thanksgiving as a pizza topping.

So now what do you use in addition to meat? Everything but the kitchen sink. For the pizzas pictured here, I started with a little bit of butter on the crust, then added a layer of warmed mashed potatoes. Heat them for a couple of minutes in the microwave and stir in a little milk if they're dry.

Then I layered on chunks of cheese, banana peppers and meat. You can also use stuffing, gravy and a little cranberry sauce - we just didn't have any left!

Bake the pizzas following the directions on the crust package. Cut them immediat…

Sending You Special Thanksgiving Love

As Christians, we are the most blessed people in the world. Our thanks and praise to God should overflow our hearts this day and every day. From our home to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Words For Wednesday


Have The Kids Make Their Thanksgiving Dinner Poster

Want to keep the kids busy for a little while while you're putting together Thanksgiving dinner? Pull out some magazines, newspapers and grocery store ads to spark some creativity.

Special bonus: They will be off their electronic devices for a bit. Yay!

Most children don't get to plan the holiday meal, but by making their own dream menu, they can think about what kind of food they would like to have. You're lucky mine wasn't covered completely in chocolate. I was tempted, though.

All you need are:
ads and magazines
large sheets of paper

Now the fun begins. They can go through and cut out any pictures of anything they'd like to have on their special menu. Then they arrange them on the page and glue them down. If there's any space left over, they can write notes, give cooking instructions or just sign and date it.

Who knows - you might be encouraging a future restauranteur.

Create A New Thanksgiving Outfit From Your Own Closet

My original intent for a Thanksgiving outfit post was to head to the thrift store and put together something amazing. Then my heart got convicted and I headed to my own closet instead.

What I found was a treasure trove of options I hadn't thought of before. Many of them, like this warm sweater, can be worn with skirts as pictured or with jeans and khakis.

Denim doesn't have to be blue. Try your tops with black, red or other colors.

Patterned skirts can be worn with a variety of tops - sweaters, houses or blazers, to name a few. Solid colors on top are dressed up with bold jewelry.

Or do the opposite and put the pattern on the top. Keep the same jewelry and you'll have a whole new outfit.

Khaki skirts or pants are the perfect match for a denim shirt or jacket. Dress it up with a fall-themed scarf tied in small knots.

In a different version of the same outfit, a velvet khaki skirt is paired with a blue textured jacket and white blouse. An eternity scarf covers plain collars…

Do You Have The Right Tools?

One of the electric company's power lines runs right across our property, right up the ridge and out the back. Recently we found out that one of the support poles had rotted and needed to be replaced. Before long they had all their trucks and equipment along the driveway, taking down the old pole and putting up new metal ones.

It was amazing to see everything they needed to make this one switch. There were trucks, a cherry picker, trucks with buckets, vehicles full of men in reflective clothing. And all of the tools! We heard chainsaws, watched them move live wires and kept the dogs from breaking through the window to get a better look.

We are so glad they brought all the vehicles and tools they needed in the beginning. They were able to work safely and efficiently because they had what they needed when they needed it. At least it seemed that way, at least from my view at the dining room window.

Do you have the right tools for the jobs you have this coming week? The tools to make…

Scrabble Board Turned Accordion Album

Tonight is a special Ladies Night at Sinclair Tractor in Ottumwa, and we'll have our Stuff From Trees booth there to join in the fun! One of the new pieces we'll have to share is our upcycled accordion album created from an old Scrabble game board.

Scrabble boards are usually hard to find because people are reluctant to give them up. I always prowl thrift shops to find some good used ones, but it's one of those classic games everyone still plays.

When I do find one, I cut the board into four pieces with the band saw and smooth the cut edges with the belt sander.

Now for the inside of the album. I cut 12x12-inch card stock in half.

Each of those gets folded in half to make 6-inch squares.

Then I put them in an alternating pattern to make the accordion. I use double stick tape, but you can use whatever your favorite adhesive is.

When I have a long chain of paper pages, I attach them to the front cover only.

On the inside of the back cover, I attached a wide piece of ribbon …

Plant Love, Harvest Blessings

Thanks in part to a string of rainstorms, many farmers here in southern Iowa have just finished their harvest for the year. It is the end of one part of the process, and soon the next will begin. It's a never-ending cycle that makes the farmers one with the land.

Earlier this week we talked about how Jesus spoke to His disciples in terminology they would understand. He could tell fishermen about being fishers of men because the phrase was straight from their own livelihood. Then He could continue speaking of spiritual things because they were on the same page.

There are many stories in the Bible that speak to the heart of a midwestern girl. Life began in a garden with humans tending to the plants and animals. Joseph taught the Egyptians about storing grain in times of plenty for the lean days that were coming. Solomon described the vineyards, gardens and orchards that he planted. Jesus Christ told parables of the vineyard, sowing, reaping, planting and harvesting. These are conce…

Words For Wednesday


He Has Made Us Fishers Of Men

Imagine the normal, everyday scene as Jesus was walking along the seashore. He came alongside two brothers, fishermen by trade, who were casting their nets into the water. Shortly He met two additional brothers who had stopped fishing for the day and were preparing their nets for tomorrow.

All was comfortably ordinary until Jesus passed by.

There was clearly something different about Jesus Christ if just 11 words - one compound sentence - caused them to immediately change their lives forever.

Jesus used parables and comparisons to explain heavenly concepts to simple people. He knew these professional fishermen would understand better if He used familiar terms, so He came down to their level to lift them up to His.

When a person gets saved, God could choose to take them straight to heaven, but that isn't the case. For most of us, we will be left here on earth for years and decades to come. This is part of God's perfect design because He has a special purpose for us in that tim…

Let It Snow, Let It Snow!

Yesterday I showed you how the puppies cuddle when it's snowing, but I neglected to show you what the snow does to the property! Shame on me, right? Here's what the Carrell Wildlife Preserve looks like now that the first snow has arrived.

I can't wait to see how long this snow turns everything quiet white. And knowing this is just the first of many snowfalls over the next few months makes me smile. Hope you do, too.

Puppies Cuddled Up In Where It's Warm

The snow is falling in southern Iowa! As much as I love taking the puppies out to play in the new snow, they're pretty happy being curled up inside where it's warm. While I'm camped out on the couch writing, you can usually find them just like this.

Diesel is a big ol' mama's boy, and he often makes me stop what I'm doing to hold his paw while he falls asleep. Yes, it's adorable. I'm just glad he falls asleep faster than any dog I've ever seen.

The spare bedroom is the warmest place in the house, and the puppies treat the bed like an amusement part ride. They also curl up together in the sunshine streaming through the window.

The big dog doesn't like to lose sight of me, so she follows me all over the house. If I sit down anywhere, she comes to cuddle. If it was up to me, we'd just sit there together all day. There's not anything I really have to get done, right? I didn't think so.

There is one thing that will get them off the couch…

DIY Presentation Folder

For Danny's birthday last week, I adopted a tiger at the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines in his name. The packet they sent included a certificate of adoption, a picture of one of the tigers, tickets to go feed some of the zoo animal and an adoptive parent decal. But you can't just give someone a pile of papers held together with a paper clip! Well, I can't anyway. That's why I made this presentation folder.

The size of the matted certificate gave me the dimensions for the folder. I cut two pieces of cardboard slightly larger than that frame.

Then I adhered three pieces of ribbon to act as the hinge and covered both sides of the cardboard with decorator paper.

Using the 8.5x11-inch letters, I made a pocket for the side opposite the certificate. I folded one edge of the decorator paper over...

...then the other two sides and adhered them down to form the pocket. I did the same thing with the small pocket to hold the tickets.

And then my favorite part - the cover! I raided …