Thursday, December 31

Beloved Prismacolor Pencils, of Thee I Blog

I love reading the blogs on my blog list. (I need to publish that list, actually!) Sometimes I comment on the posts, haltingly, and never with the elegant words I wish to find. But some posts move me or amuse me, and I want to let the blogger know that.

The other day, I was so happy to read a post saying that a blogger I follow and admire got some Prismacolor colored pencils to color with for the coming year. I put some bland comment that didn't really express how delighted I was.

I am frankly entranced with Prismacolor pencils and other high-quality pencils (sadly, I get no free pencils for blogging about them). In fact, I love certain colors of Prismacolor pencils so much that I even put some of them into my "bug-out bag."

Bug-out bags, y'know, are in case a very bad event with very little lead time occurs, such as a flash flood or earthquake. 

You always have a bag packed with some clothes, money, meds, first aid items, power packs, strike-anywhere matches, protein bars, glucose tablets, pet food, water purifier, etc., and you grab it on your way out. Everyone in the family has a bug-out bag. I have a backpack as my bug-out bag, and in with all the sensible items, I have extra Prismacolor pencils in certain hues. 

Specifically, I have two Chartreuse pencils, a Lilac, a Violet Blue, a Tuscan Red, a Crimson Red, a Sky Blue, an Ultramarine, and a Sunburst Yellow squirreled away in there. I really don't want to run out of the Chartreuse.

Decades ago, I was a graphic designer. If some calamity hits, I'm ready to design something or do some coloring-in. The picture below is of Sophie and some of my favorite colors. If Sophie sees the camera and is not in the shot, she becomes despondent, so I put my little diva in many pictures.

I think for Valentine's I'm going to use some rubber stamps and make some freestyle tags, embellished with bits of ribbon and lace and colored in and around the edges with my faithful Prismacolors. Here's my new storage box for the colored pencils and such:

As always, thank'ee for stopping by.

Wednesday, December 30

A Sheet of New Year's Tags, Featuring Penguins

My son's fiancee found a penguin in her yard last year, and she doesn't live in some snowy area. I'd love to live where one finds penguins in their yard, and yet has citrus fruit trees heavily laden in that same yard. That's the miracle of the coast of Uruguay. Penguins and satsumas!

Here is a little set of tags for New Year's, in case anyone is baking and bringing gifts for New Year's.

Do you have the tradition of serving black-eyed peas for luck, and cabbage so that you'll have plenty of folding money in the new year? I grew up near the coast of Louisiana with the black-eyed peas part, but got the cabbage-money part from a friend who grew up on the coast of Mississippi.

Thank'ee for stopping by!

Tuesday, December 29

Planning the Twelfth Night Party, & Don't Forget Candlemas

Most of my little celebrations are just me and the pets. Back when my first husband was in graduate school, we had many friends (I thought), and Twelfth Night was loads of fun, with loads of company.

But don't let the lack of comrades stop your enjoyment of holidays or events! Enjoy them yourselves. Draw memories of good times to yourself, and enjoy.

For Twelfth Night, lay in a goodly supply of nuts to crack, especially walnuts, and make a batch of spiced cider or wassail.  If you have the money, get some little pots of ivy to place around the den, or get any houseplants, really. 

If you can, have a smorgasbord: Cheese, meats, crackers, boiled eggs, carrot sticks, dip, jams. I have fake meats, but you don't have to go veggie if you don't want to.

If you can, have a fire built in your fireplace. Have it burning brightly once it's dark out. Twelfth Night is a LONG party - it goes to past midnight. If you have no fireplace, and you can SAFELY do so, have a bunch of candles lighted, preferably up high so no one is endangered. If you are having a bonfire, get it ready. If you have no access to actual fire, play one of the fireplace videos on your laptop!

During the evening, before the stroke of midnight, feed the old greenery, twigs, cinnamon sticks, etc. from Christmas into the fireplace or bonfire, while snacking and talking. If you have a bonfire, I'd suggest throwing it all on at one go, and getting back inside and get warm. If you are lucky enough to have some teens at your fest, they will probably be "firebugs" and love to keep going outside and throwing things onto the bonfire.

If you are inside and have access to the fireplace, it's fun to throw the things into the fire a bit at a time. My favorite thing to throw in is a pinecone. If I bought cinnamon cones before Christmas, I throw them, too, since the scent's gone.

Now, Twelfth Night is not for the faint of heart. It's a time for telling ghost tales and odd happenings. In olden days, so was Christmas Eve, don't you know. So let your tongue run freely as to strange sights and olde stories (I have a million such), and if the feeling moves you, tell some new tales that pop into your mind. The key is to tell tales of wondrous happenings without being gruesome or awful - kind of like the "Sleepy Hollow" story.

As midnight nears, continue to crack open the nuts and eat them, throwing the shells into the fire. Pop popcorn and salt it well for luck. Talk of the year ahead, and sing olde songs. Remember olde times and olde friends and don't let the fire go out before midnight.

Now, remember the broom you bought a few days back? Well, get it ready. Get your OLD broom ready, too. At midnight, you are going to THROW that old broom out your back door, bristles first. That broom is now your "yard broom" and its indoor days are over. It took last year's regrets and errors with it. Out they went. Take your NEW broom and draw it thrice across the front door threshold, drawing in luck. 

If you have guests, give each a bag of salt (luck) and a bag of walnuts (representing gold nuggets) to take with them as they leave.

I often stay up most of the night, just dozing on the couch.

If you can't manage Twelfth Night, don't worry: CANDLEMAS is another very olde celebration. It has you taking down all decorations by February 1st, and runs much the same way as Twelfth Night, but with even more plants to be placed around in anticipation of spring.

Tomorrow I will post some New Year's tags. Forward!

Monday, December 28

Time for A Little Winter Light

My dears, we must keep our spirits up. When the holidays are over, a melancholy can settle upon one, even if you valiantly tried to stave it off.  Some lucky souls aren't troubled by winter bleakness.Besides planning a "Twelfth Night" fest, I also make sure to have a "substitute" ready for when the tree comes down.

 I keep a string of lights out, and use it to decorate a little birdhouse I have. I usually have it decorated all the way through spring, first in a "frost" motif, then Valentine's Day, St. Pat's, and Spring. The corner where the wee tree stood doesn't look so lonely that way. 

This is the current birdhouse. I have a peach and pink berry garland twined around it, along with white lights. Fake succulents are stuck in the openings and at the bottom. It looks more springlike than it appears here. The berries look quite peachy in real life, without a hint of any autumn undertone.

It's prettier in person than it looks in the photograph.

Here it is lighted up (with each bulb painted over with a "parchment" hue of acrylic paint, so that it gives a softer glow), and in the corner where the tree stood:

Here, too, are some Valentine's tags. If I don't get a running start on a holiday, I end up in a terrible rush. Yes, dearies, always look forward.

Review the "How to Save Images" advice in the upper left corner of the sidebar if you don't recall how to save images that appear in my posts.

Thank'ee for stopping by. Tomorrow, MORE lore on Twelfth Night!

Sunday, December 27

Set Your Sights on Twelfth Night!

As I type this out, a blizzard is raging. Yes, that's the word, although "rage" seems to be a hot word and this is a very cold storm. Lightning, hail, and wind are just outside, and the sound of the storm is most peculiar. I have never been in a blizzard. I've barely even seen snow. This is most peculiar weather.

Five years ago, and even more, I had a very active blog here. One of my most popular posts was about Twelfth Night and some lore associated with that day.

Getting ready for Twelfth Night can help some folks with the post-holiday sadness that sets in. Twelfth Night itself is so brief and simple that it can't cause a second bout of that let-down feeling, so no worry about that.

First of all, it begins at sunset on January 5th. Many will recognize this as the night before the Feast of the Ephiphany, on January 6th.

Like many holidays, Twelfth Night is very old. Anything that starts at sunset tends to be old, very old. It predates Christianity. Its roots are very deep, and perhaps that's why it resonates with me and other Olde Souls.

If you want to celebrate Twelfth Night, don't take my version as the "true" version. This is just what I do, handed down to me and also from my reading of many olde books.

I tend to be wordy, dearies. If you don't care to read the blather below, I am making a cheat sheet for ye right here for the rest of today's post:

  • Get a new broom and keep it ready for the stroke of midnight when January 5th becomes January 6th
  • Keep back some greenery you used in decorating, or some pinecones, corrugated cardboard, or plain paper, like paper bags.
  • Get a candle.

Okay, the long-winded version:

Your assignment: Get a new broom. Don't use it yet. Try for a well-made straw broom, if such is available to you.

Don't use the broom yet. Just keep it there and safe (ALWAYS HANG A BROOM. DON'T EVER REST A BROOM'S BRISTLES ON THE FLOOR, DEARIES. Prop it up on the stick, bristles up, if you have no way to hang it).

By Twelfth Night, not a bit of Christmas must remain. It all must be packed up by then. So, pack it up now, or pack it up by January 5th. If the sight of half-done things upsets you, then do it all in a day. If not, you can take your time. 

The time to address things you want to change is not right in the middle of a funk. Fight that battle later. Don't beat yourself up if you are someone is upset by "flux" or if you are one who gets the Post Holiday Blues. WORK ON WHY it bothers you LATER, not right in the midst of this battle this year. Your assignment right now is to get through a blue feeling. Depression is dangerous. It's not the time to be hating on yourself or upbraiding yourself!

Okay, back to Twelfth Night: KEEP any real greens you may have used in decorating. If you used a real tree, snap off some small branches. Place all your greenery in a small heap in a basket, in a box, by your back steps, etc. Just out of the way. We're going to burn those greens on Twelfth Night! 

Now, if you don't have a place for a bonfire, and you don't have a usable wood stove or fireplace, don't fret. Just place the greenery in your compost area and that counts the same. If you don't have a compost area, then just put a Bird Bell or a suet block atop the greenery in an old flower pot. 

No greenery was used? Then if you have a place for a fire, you are going to burn a handful of something leftover from Christmas that is safe to burn, like cinnamon sticks, raffia, paper bags, plain corrugated cardboard. If you have none of that, either, then you are going to burn a candle!

Tomorrow: Finishing up your Twelfth Night preparations, and my little LIGHTED BIRDHOUSE idea.

Saturday, December 26

Making Cheer After Christmas Day

Quite a few people suffer from what is commonly termed "Post Holiday Sadness." After the excitement, lights, and preparations, afer the visits end and an entire year stretches out before one, along with possibly some regrets or fears associated with the passing year, some people's hearts become heavy.

What to do, what to do? I am a big believer in structure. I advise putting some structure in place immediately. Get up, get tidy, get ready for the day. 

Some ideas for structured actions: This is an excellent time to get a few of those large reusable grocery-type shopping bags, and set them up. Now pick a room or a dresser or a closet, and go through your belongings, removing any that you don't want or need. The "Ugly Christmas Sweater" that you bought for the office contest might not have won you the prize, but it might be just the thing someone else wants for next year. The "white elephant" gifts -- ditto. Books you read and enjoyed but not enough to keep - Out they go, to new homes and new adventures. 

This, too, is a time to look in your pantry. What did you buy that you didn't get around to making? A food bank would love to have your donation. After the holidays, the donations go down, but the need often rises. Many companies lay off workers right at Christmas (it just happened where I work, too). The boxes of jello and pudding -- they might be used by you in the coming year, but I think they might make a nice treat for someone in the near future, so share if you can! Did you buy too much? Don't browbeat yourself. Just share!

If you can't get yourself going, don't blame yourself about it! That's not being kind to yourself. Please be kind to yourself in 2016. Thank'ee.

Finally, get ready for Twelfth Night. More on that tomorrow, if the power stays on. We are going from weather in the 80's to a winter storm, with up to a foot of snow! Very strange!

Friday, December 25

Merry Christmas 2015, One and All

Merry Christmas! May your day be one of peace and contentment.

Stop in on the morrow, won't ye, if ye are prone to Post Holiday Sadness. I have a few ideas up my sleeve to combat it.

Thursday, December 24

Christmas Eve: Last Minute Tags for Handmade Gifts

These are for anyone who might be searching for a simple tag to add to a handmade gift. Sometimes when things are handmade, they take longer than expected. There can be considerable rushing around and often some eyestrain and panic involved.

I hope your Christmas Eve is a happy one. It's my most favorite time of the whole holiday season. We always eat Chinese takeout and just relax. My family is a tiny one, so it's just us three and our rescued pets, who are, to us, also family members. So it will be "catnip for everybody" and at least a solid hour of "throw the ball down the hall" for our dog.

Thank'ee for stopping by.

Wednesday, December 23

Printable Christmas Carol Tags Perfect for Holding Giftcards

Some of us are running late, don't ye know. And might need to print something out in a hurry. Christmas has certainly put on its best snowshoes and rushed towards us this year.

Here are some large-format tags featuring real sheetmusic decorated with holiday images.

You could print them out, cut out two, and glue or tape them together on three sides. Then slip the giftcard into the little pouch you've created. Punch a hole in the top and tie with ribbon or raffia so the card doesn't manage to get out.

Thank'ee for visiting and I hope ye enjoy.

Tuesday, December 22

Homemade Firestarters from Old Wax Tarts

I had to go back and change the title of this post, dearies. It read "Homemade Firestarters from Old Tarts," and that just did not sound polite.

My planned post was going to show how I would take used-up scented tarts that have lost their scent from being warmed so much, and turn them into fire-starters by pouring the melted wax into paperboard egg cartons. Alas, the egg cartons proved unworthy, and dripped hot wax all over, even though the cells looked sound. Holes appeared when I poured, and I guess it was a "holey mess."

I interrupt this sad tale to place a free page of Tabby Tags here. Rest of story is below the tags. Remember to click, click again, then right-click to save sheets of tags. Thank ye.

Anyhoo, I will say that my OTHER method of making firestarters does indeed work. I take either fast-food bags and put one inside the other, or use lunch bags (they are thicker), singly. Then fill with pinecones about 3/4 full. Try to get the cones that are still young and haven't opened much, because they pop and spit delightfully while burning. Lastly, pour in the wax on top of the cones. Close up the bag and it's ready to put under some logs and and light. 

Posted below are some "thank you" tags with a colonial motif. I guess I'm just tag crazy, because I use them for everything.

Thank'ee for stopping by!

Monday, December 21

Old-Timey Sodas Booklet to Print

I think this would be cute to print out and tie together as a little booklet, then tie to a bunch of straws or tuck into a tall glass. 

These are authentic recipes from the early 1960s. I think they date from 1962; I found them among my sister's things and she had carefully typed them out on index cards during her early high school years. I believe she used our old Underwood typewriter. I was surprised to see a recipe containing alcohol included. My favorite from childhood was the Brown Cow. I do love the old names; I wonder if anyone still calls Black Cherry "Whitehouse."

Thank'ee for stopping by, and I hope ye enjoy. 

Sunday, December 20

Rustic Country Snowmen Tags to Color

Years ago I had the idea to make coloring books for "adult colorists." The idea wasn't orginal: Dover Publications long had such inexpensive booklets. Theirs were mostly drawn from classical sources. I wanted to make something a little more homey, a little more "country." But, alas, although I made a good start on designing such books, I never finished.

Now it's all the rage. There was an entire table of such books at the bookstore tonight, by new designers. Quite a few young people were picking them up and buying them. Hipsters are undoubtedly sipping some exotic "artisan" brew and quietly coloring in bohemian coffeehouses even as I type this (using colored pencils or crayons with locally sourced pigments and sustainable bamboo casings, no doubt). Actually, it's a sweet thought: People engaged in creating, and maybe getting at least a shadow of the innocent joy that getting a coloring page in elementary school could bring.

To that end, here are some tags you can print out and color. They look nice, if a bit drab, in plain sepia, as well. But it might be relaxing to color a few. I use Prismacolor colored pencils and recommend them. The bargain pencils can bring much frustration to beginning or casual artists, because their pigment load is low and the binder is high, and it makes for a very hard and dull pencil. New artists mistake the failure of the implement to be their failure, when it's nothing of the sort. Good tools, good artists, I say.

As always, thank'ee for stopping by.

Saturday, December 19

Wish for A Peace-filled Saturday

I love candles so very much. I always have at least one burning in the hearth, year 'round. 

May your Saturday -- the last Saturday before Christmas -- be a fun one, but one that leaves a peaceful feeling in your heart.

Thank'ee for stopping by.


Friday, December 18

Santa's Magic Key to Print for Anxious Children

Sometimes wee ones become anxious when traveling out of town for Christmas. They think Santa will not be able to find them.

Stuff and nonsense, don't ye know! Santa can find them anywhere. But to settle them down, print this out and cut out the key (both sides). Glue the two sides of the key together and use a glue dot or a piece of tape to place it right there in the goode elf's hands. Trim up the card right and proper and there can be no doubt the key will work perfectly. 'Tis a wee key, m'dears.

While Santa has his real magic key right there with him at all times, this "spare" key can be used in a pinch. 

As always, thank'ee for stopping by. 


Thursday, December 17

A Sweet and Quick Gift - Print Out and Tie to Cake Box

No drama at work yesterday. Or rather, it wasn't my drama. I just work as the Sword of Damocles dangles above my poor olde donkey head. 

I'm living on a shoestring this holiday season! And it's a mighty thin string, too! But here is a gift for us thrifty folk: It's a little booklet to print out and cut out and punch a hole in the upper corner and tie together. I ran the instructions alltogether so that you could see how easy it is to make the wee booklet.

Then just wrap up a box of cake mix and tie the little booklet onto the wrapping. Now your friend has a teeny recipe booklet and a cake mix right there, and can start baking. You can add the other ingredients for one of the recipes, too, or even a wooden spoon, if you like. 

These "cake mix cookies" are not as wonderful as regular cookies, I don't think. Not quite. But they are much better than store-bought boxed cookies. And they are easy to make. That's half the battle, right there. My better half loves them, which is somewhat insulting, as he doesn't seem to care for my carefully created springerle cookies and the pains I take to keep them white.

I hope this little gift will come in handy for you. One of my favorite novels, The Vicar of Wakefield (a very olde book it is, too, dearies), has a remark in it about the vicar's wife: She is forever contriving all sorts of money-saving ideas and schemes, none of which save much money. I hope that isn't the case, here!

 As always, thank'ee for stopping by.

Wednesday, December 16

"A Happy Christmas" Graphic to Pretty Up a Blog or FB Post, and Drama

Dearies, it's been a doozy of a week, and it's just Wednesday.

I was written up at work. At my age! After a lifetime of working! I was written up because I was sad because so many had lost their jobs in "our" company. Corporate doubletalk required me to retract and restate that remark. I was reprimanded and told "No jobs were lost. Our company has never laid off a single employee. The jobs no longer exist."

I'm not signing anything stating that I erred in remarking that people lost their jobs and were hurt.

Ah, such drama. 

On a happier note, I think this would look sweet on a blog or FB post. I love the old-fashioned look, and wonder who the artist was who could do such fine engraving work.

Tuesday, December 15

Musing, and a Doodad for Blogs and FB

I was just reading various blogs this past weekend, and one post very much struck me. In it, the author mentioned that life can change "on a pin head." I often muse that life "changes in the blink of an eye," or "life can turn on a dime." And I use those expressions to both warn and comfort.

I needed to read those words again. My life just changed "on a pin head." After a nice company holiday party on Friday where our beloved executives jetted in to help us make merry, at 8 a.m. this morning we got the news that our branch of the company is getting restructured, and some of us won't be moved to the headquarters offices.

Since we are dealing with pins in one of these sayings, I'll add "you could hear a pin drop" -- for a moment. Then you could hear crying. It's not just the job loss. It's that most of us there feel we helped build the company from a small start-up to literally a billion-dollar enterprise, all within a few years. We were told again and again that we part of the "Company Family." Ha! We spent our own effort and money to build respect in the community, we loved and believed in the company, and now, many are no longer part of it. It was a lot to take in.

But -- "Life changes in the blink of an eye." As my neighbor remarked in old New Orleans many decades ago as we watched the flood waters rise and rise and finally start pouring into our homes, "No one is hurt, no one is dead. And we are still on our feet." Wise words. Things and jobs can be replaced. It's our loved ones, two-legged and four-legged and even multi-legged, that matter. Life changed, yes, but, knock on wood, my loved ones are okay.

Here is a little graphic that might look sweet on a blog or FB post.

Thank'ee for dropping by.

Monday, December 14

How Santa Gets Around - Printable Tag Set

Santa is a resourceful olde elf. He travels by land, sea, air and possibly by wormhole. He walks with his little donkey, continues with his horse-drawn sleigh, he straps on snowshoes, he jumps into boats and airships and he even zooms along in a double-decker bus and a train. When he feels especially energetic, he puts on his most comfortable boots and goes walking from house to house. Here is a little set of tags drawn from Victorian images of his many guises and travels. 

Please see the upper left column to refresh your memory on how to save images to your own computer or thumb drive.

Tuesday is payday, and I'm counting down the seconds. But remember the line from "Counting My Blessings" in White Christmas: "When my bankroll is gettin' small, I remember when I had none at all!"

Thank'ee for stopping by!

Sunday, December 13

Fun Retro Santa Tags to Print

And here we have some tags featuring little Santa drawings from the 1950s. 

There are even some that say "From Your Secret Santa," which may come in handy for office gift exchanges.

Simple small tags in red and green. I hope ye enjoy.

See the information in the upper left column if you are unsure how to save the tag sheet onto your own computer or thumb drive. This tag set is saved in jpg format. I usually save in png format, but some people with older computers might have trouble with the png files, so this set is in jpg.


Saturday, December 12

Fat Little Crow Tags for Christmas

Happy Saturday! We're so close to Christmas now, dearies! 

Here are some free printable tags I hope you can use in decorating or gift-giving. They feature little plump crows.

Regular click, click again to enlarge fully, then right-click to save!

Safe travels to you as you prepare for the holidays. And as always, thank'ee for stopping by.


Friday, December 11

Don't Touch That Dial: Santa on TV

This is an old greeting card of Santa on television. A big bow wraps up the TV and its stately cabinet, and there certainly would have been squeals of delight had a family really received such a present. I recall we were one of the last people on our block to have a color television. And I remember the wonderful feeling that as I watched "Rudolph" and "Frosty" and "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and "The House Without A Christmas Tree" on television, I knew millions more were watching, too. I felt so connected to a world beyond my sad one.

It boggles my mind that so much has changed. I have no idea who most of my neighbors are. Many have never spoken to us, nor I to them. Some of the newer neighbors are mean and threatening. I have no idea as to what they have in their homes or behind their tall privacy fences. And I gave up watching television decades ago. Too decadent, too many channels, just too much. Except now Netflix has brought some interesting series into my life! Certainly I've enjoyed Once, with Rumpelstiltskin also saying "dearie" as I do!

Yes, so much has changed, and not all of it for the better. Much of it; not all of it. Of course! I think I look backwards more in the weeks before Christmas than any other time of year. 

But despite the "bad" changes, we live in interesting times.

Thursday, December 10

Winter's Flowers: Colorful Cabbage and Kale

At work the landscapers have put in pretty "flowering cabbages," whose leaves are as pretty as any summer bloom. I love to see them when I arrive at our tower and when I leave for the day. Snails ate up quite a few, leaving only topknots and bare stems, but many remain. I hope the warm temps coming this weekend don't cause the plants to bolt!

Hope your Thursday is a good one. Christmas is certainly bearing down on us quickly. It will be here in a flash. Today would be my mother's birthday, had she lived. She died far too young a long time ago. She would be 93 this year. It's a bittersweet season.

Wednesday, December 9

My Bah Humbug Tree

Let's just say my husband doesn't enjoy most of the trappings of the holiday season, and this year was saying "Bah humbug" to just about everything I delighted in. He scowled at everything I picked up in the store, until I found a "Bah Humbug" banner. That got a grin and a thumbs up. So home it went, and I fixed him a little "Bah Humbug" tree. The black and white puffs and striped ribbon are meant to evoke Humbugs - the British hard candy. 

Remember Charlie Brown saying that he wasn't going to let commercialism ruin his Christmas? Well, I've had to fight for my bit of Christmas Spirit, too, my entire life, and I'm enjoying the little "Humbug" tree - despite any sourpusses! 

While I think each of us should feel what we feel, and not fake things or alter our true hearts, I also think it's a good idea to open one's heart to fun and wholesomeness, when we can. "Keep the wheat and blow away the chaff."

Keep on keepin' on, dearies.

And here's a little doo-dad for blogs or FB - right-click it and save!

Tuesday, December 8

Prim and Rustic "Winter Words" Tags to Print - Free Christmas Printable

Well dearies, here is another simple set of tags to print and cut out, and a single tag that would be cute posted on Facebook or a blog. These tags feature words like "Brrr" and "Winter Wishes" and I think they look cute tied onto jars, food gifts, and even on trees or swags. 

Remember, to save the entire sheet, just regular click, click again to enlarge, then right-click to save. 

To save the single tag, just regular click and then right-click.

Thank'ee for dropping by!

Monday, December 7

Do It Yourself Easy Stamped Rustic Tile Coasters in Minutes

Halloo dearies! This past weekend I set myself to making stamped tiles for my co-workers this holiday season. It's quick, pretty, and inexpensive if you already have some rubber stamps. The tumbled marble and quarry tiles I used, from Home Depot, were about 44 cents each (but they come in a pack of 9).

I don't like to join in the "Secret Santa" or "White Elephant" events at work. They go so over the top that it's unaffordable, and there's always anger and greed in play by the time it's over. So I just make some little things and give them out by placing on the kitchen counters with a "free for you" sign.

The key to these tiles is using "Stazon Ink." I have seen other tutorials that use latex paint, commonly called "housepaint" and also sold at places like Michael's as paint for terra cotta pots, but I didn't use that myself so I can't vouch for it. It seems it WOULD work, though.

If you have a little set of alphabet stampers, this is the time to bring them out!

I used beeswax to seal the tops of the tiles. I have a huge beeswax lump for polishing furniture and my cabinets, but you could probably get a natural candle or the small lump sold at many sewing shops for thread waxing, and use either of those. And I think the paraffin blocks sold at a lot of groceries for sealing jellies and jams would also work well.

NOTE: MANY without latex paint or Stazon Ink USE A SPRAY-ON gloss or matte sealer and have good results with regular inkpad ink images staying on but darkening quite a bit. I am just into beeswax lately.

Here are the supplies needed:

  • Rough Tiles (NOT SEALED OR GLAZED TILES). I used ~3.5 x 3.5 inch "tumbled marble" and "quarry" type tiles.
  • Ink or Paint
  • Rubber stamps
  • Beeswax or paraffin
  • Felt stick-on "feet"
  • Old white cotton rag or really good paper towel

Here are the steps:

  • Wipe the top of the tile
  • Choose a stamp or several stamps and stamp a design you like
  • Let the design dry (takes only moments with the ink - go on to the next tile while the first tile dries)
  • Stick on (or glue on) felt or cork feet on the bottom of the tile
  • Take beeswax lump and rub over the top of the tile. I push little bits of the wax into any nooks and crannies.
  • Take the rag and buff the wax into the tile; turn rag to clean area and buff excess off of the tile

  • Set aside for the wax to "dry" - I let them sit overnight before giving away or using.

I use my coasters as spoon rests, too. The beeswax keeps liquids from soaking into the tile. Special note: The wax darkens the tile somewhat. Not dramatically, but a bit. I wanted my tiles darker, to sort of "blend in" the brown ink into the background of the tile, so I was happy at the effect.

I tried pigment inks and archival inks, and neither stayed on the tile. Stazon was the only ink I had that really stuck to the tile, as sticking was important since I wasn't sealing it with a spray. I bought my inkpad off Ebay.

As always, thank'ee for stopping by.

Sunday, December 6

Fun Retro and Vintage Christmas Tags to Print

I've posted a sheet of smaller tags than my hang tags. These are more business-card sized. I've placed a "scale" photo of the 6-image sheets to give an idea of the bigger tags.

Scale of the bigger tags:

Todlay's tags are more smaller. Nine to a sheet, instead of 6. The little snowman is from a scrap of wrapping paper made in the 1940's, during World War II.

To save, regular click on the image, then click again to get it to full size, then right-click to save.

As always, thank'ee for stopping by!

Saturday, December 5

Some Prim Christmas Crow Tags for a Saturday

Some bloggers post Monday through Friday and omit weekend posts. I like to post each day, because I am someone who likes a stricter schedule. It just makes me feel more secure when I can "count" on someone posting, so I try to be that someone. When I was at home and not working, weekends made me very blue. It seemed that everything stopped cold.

So here are some tags to save and print. 

Blog years are like dog years: the blogging world moves so quickly. When I first blogged, Blogger couldn't handle huge files like my sheets of tags. I had to "host" them elsewhere. The same with animated GIFs - they had to be hosted elsewhere, and I used Photobucket at that time. Now, I can place my images within a post and visitors can click and save it, and it will print the correct size.

Remember, to save an image appearing within the posts, regular click, regular click again to enlarge it to full size, then right-click to save.

Thank'ee for dropping by.


Friday, December 4

Little Tags for Your Handmade and Home Baked Goods

Sometimes it's nice to have a little finishing touch for those labors of love we do at holiday time, whether it be baking, sewing, primming, beading, or other creative activity.

Download this simple tag set free of charge. Once in Dropbox, if you don't have a free account, just click the Download button up on the right of the screen you'll see. Don't worry, the pop-up window asking you to get a free account will then disappear and you can download in peace.

Or you can click the image below and SAVE or PRINT the sheet, depending on your computer and printer set-up. Finally, Blogger lets me upload huge files. 

If you click it and the image shows a little magnifying glass with a "+" on it, CLICK AGAIN to make it full-sized, then right-click to save!

Thank'ee for stopping by!

Thursday, December 3

Thrifty Thursday - VINTAGE Christmas Cats Tags to Print

I have rescued several hundred cats over my lifetime. I do love them. We have a new stray hanging around the area, but I think he is feral. I can get nowhere near him. We are feeding him and leaving the garage door open a bit at night, in case he wants to come in and get into one of the blanket piles we have out. I'm glad to say he's fattening up.

Here is a set of vintage images of cats for Christmas. You can use the Dropbox link, or download it via the image. If you don't have a Dropbox account, you don't have to get one to click the Download button at the upper right of the Dropbox screen.

You can click the image below and SAVE or PRINT the sheet, depending on your computer and printer set-up. Finally, Blogger lets me upload huge files. If you click it and the image shows a little magnifying glass with a "+" on it, CLICK AGAIN to make it full-sized, then right-click to save!

Use the Pinterest button that appears when you hover your mouse over the image, if you want to share the tags on a board. Then they can click over and get their own Dropbox copy by using the link.

Thank'ee for stopping by, and I hope ye enjoy. Here's the link:

Wednesday, December 2

Today: Prim and Rustic Snowfolk Tags!

And today we have a sheet of rustic snowfolk for your printing pleasure. 

Remember that when you go to Dropbox, it will often pop up a "Join Dropbox" window of some sort. Just click the upper-right Download button if you don't have an account or want an account. It's easy!

Or you can click the image below and SAVE or PRINT the sheet, depending on your computer and printer set-up. Finally, Blogger lets me upload huge files. If you click it and the image shows a little magnifying glass with a "+" on it, CLICK AGAIN to make it full-sized, then right-click to save!

Here is the link:

Thank'ee for dropping by. 

Tuesday, December 1

Printable Mixed Christmas Tags - Old Fashioned Images

Drop by Dropbox and download this file to print. 

Or you can click the image below and SAVE or PRINT the sheet, depending on your computer and printer set-up. Finally, Blogger lets me upload huge files. If you click it and the image shows a little magnifying glass with a "+" on it, CLICK AGAIN to make it full-sized, then right-click to save!

If you go to Dropbox, it might pop up a window about making a free account. Just click the Download button and the Download Directly choice that will drop down,  at the upper right and download without joining. You can also join for free. I use Dropbox and it's very handy.

Thank'ee and I hope ye enjoy.