Haunted Dollhouse

Get ready, it’s almost here!

Check out this haunted dollhouse.

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Trick or Treat!  We’re waiting for you…

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My friend (to your right) dieted a little too much this year.

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Candy anyone?

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Yes, I’m talking to you little girl.

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Please don’t step on the flowers!

 

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Pick a room and spend the night with us.

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How about a little treat?

 

Have you been “Booed?”  This is fun!  Our daughter and her family were “Booed” for the first time last year.  This involves making up gift bags, placing them at the doors of friends/neighbors with a note attached, ringing the doorbell and running! There are lots of fun things for Halloween already on sale, be creative and conjure up some fun.  You can use candy, but we preferred not to use edibles. My grandson and I packed little bags with Halloween projects for three families in his neighborhood.  When it started to get dark, he did the running and we strolled along behind him.

For details go to http://www.beenbooed.com/ for details.

Woohoo…….what fun.

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BOO!!!

This is a great time of year to tell stories and read.

Hot cider, donuts, a big fuzzy blanket, and a good book are the ingredients for the perfect Halloween potion.

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Tea for Two…or more

     IMG_1139At the top of my list of favorite things is having tea with friends either at home or at a tearoom.

No matter season, time or place, there’s nothing like a warm cup of tea and a good friend to feed your soul.

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I first fell in love with having tea in storybooks and then was bitten by the bug over 25 years ago when I was a volunteer tour guide at Baker Mansion in Altoona, PA, and fund raising chair for the Blair County Historical Society.  Although I planned and enjoyed many different events, a series of summer tea parties was my favorite.  With no kitchen facilities we had to transport everything we needed, including fine china and silverware, to the mansion and then lug all the dirty dishes home.   It was an ordeal but well worth it.

Our adult teas included full tea service and an entertaining program.  My favorite of the season was a children’s tea served on the front lawn of the mansion with covered chairs and pastel tablecloths.  The menu was especially fun including cookie cutter sandwiches, gummy fish swimming in Jello, and cupcakes baked in ice cream cones.  The tables were decorated with antique soda fountain glasses with floral arrangements provided by the Blair County Garden Club.  Guests were serenaded by 13-year-old, harpest Rachel Eardley.  At 13 she already played like an expert.  I remember looking down the long, half acre lawn to see a daddy holding his little girl’s hand as they approached.  I nearly broke my leg running down the hill to meet him because I was thrilled to see a daddy escorting his little girl to tea.  He was the only dad there that day.  We concluded the event with a magician and sent everyone home with full tummies and smiles on their sweet faces.Bell wedding dress

Built in 1844 by iron master Elias Baker the mansion is open for tours and special events.  Reputed to be haunted, the mansion boasts the wedding dress of Anna Bell, of Bellwood, PA, that supposedly moves while enclosed in an airtight case.  I spent many an hour sitting in that room, but the dress never honored me with even a slight tap of a wedding slipper.

I make it a habit to visit every tearoom I can find, among my favorites is Tilly Mint’s in Souderton, PA (northwest of Philadelphia, Buck’s County) which is as English as you can get.  Although modest in terms of decor, Tilly Mint’s stands out with exceptional service and the most varied and delectable treats I have personally experienced.

Owner, Trish, British expat is happy to share stories of her homeland and tea with her mother who gave her the nickname of Tilly Mint.  Patrons and owner alike correspond with family and friends in England.  Trish proudly displays pictures of the newest Royals, George and Charlotte, that were sent to her personally by Prince William and Catherine Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge.
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An especially unique experience was having tea at Meadowbrook Farm, the estate of the late J. Liddon Pennock, Jr, (1913-2003) a renowned Philadlphia florist and landscape designer.  Mr. Pennock is best known for providing the florals for the Trisha Nixon wedding at the White House.  The estate is now maintained by the Philadelphia Horticultural Society who welcome visitors for tours of the house and grounds.  The big surprise for us was a retail nursery on site.  The house is English Cotswold dMeadowbrook-image-garden-loweresign with the original furnishings still in place.

Our tea was served in a beautiful garden room by Chef Brenda Board, whOliver-and-Company-Tea-Room-3-640x426o at that time was catering teas in historical buildings in and around Philly.  We were not only impressed by our surroundings (after finally getting there because we got lost) but by the wealth of knowledge Chef Board had to share.  Did you know there is such a thing as a tea sommelier?  After completing culinary school, Chef Board returned to school to study tea.  She made me dizzy with what I didn’t know about tea.  Brenda presented an exceptional gourmet tea of a unique combination of sandwiches and desserts.  When in the Philly area, try to spend an afternoon enjoying this beautiful estate.

twinings3     If you are a Jersey Shore fan you must visit the Twinings Carriage House Cafe & Tearoom on the Emlen Physick Estate in Cape May.  You can dine outdoors on the tented patio or in the original horse stalls.  I know, that sounds unsanitary but there is no evidence horses ever lived there.  The carriage house is full of character and so unique it looks like an architect’s idea of the perfect carriage house with glossy wood and iron fittings rather than the over 100 year old building that it is.  A member of the Twining family personally visited from England and guided the opening of the tearoom nearly 20 years ago and it continues in popularity with wonderful teas and culinary treats.twinings 4

You’ll have trouble leaving the carriage house withtwiningsout making a purchase in the gift shop…but it’s Cape May and we all need a little token of our visit.

Cape May has boasted the top five restaurants in New Jersey for years and now they can claim the Carriage House Tearoom as one more jewel in their crown. This beautiful little town is the perfect destination to celebrate special occasions.  Stay in one of the many B&B’s, take a horse and carriage tour through the town, and be sure to stop for tea at the Carriage House.  Don’t forget to tour the Emlen Physick house while you’re there, I promise it’s worth your time.

 

 

I consider myseltea merchantf very lucky to have several fine tearooms within driving distance. Tea Merchant 101 located in Duncansville, PA, is a more contemporary tea room with literally over 100 teas to chose from.  Owner, Joe Doyle, offers a light tea on the premises or you can purchase any of his teas to savor at home.  Joe also offers tea accessories and gift baskets.

 

         If you are a lover of all things Victorian, then Bell Mansion Tearbellmansion3oom, in Bellwood, PA, is the tearoom for you.  Owned and operated by Pamela and George Wertman this is definitely the place for tea for two or special events such as showers and birthday parties.

     George’s chicken salad is the best!!!  Their tea selection is vast and worth trying a different tea each time you visit.IMG_20140329_143246

     The Wertmans were kind enough to host a launch party for my first book, Emerson’s Attic, The Blue Velvet.  We had a wonderful time with the mothers and daughters who attended.  Pamela encourages her guests to wear one of her fancy hats and chose their own teapots.  In addition to hostess extraordinaire, Pamela is a talented pianist and surprised me by playing the theme from Somewhere In Time at the event.  Her music was so incredible I had trouble holding back the tears.IMG_20140329_145507

     The Wertmans now offer Bed and Breakfast accommodations on the second floor of the mansion. Keep this in mind when you have too many guests and not enough bedrooms.bellmansion2

     If you don’t have a local tea room where you can buy interesting teas, then I suggest looking for Twinings and Stash brands.  If you cannot find them in your local store, go online.  I love all the different flavors, but am an Earl Gray lover at heart.  Time and time again I chose Lady Gray or Earl Blue.

     There are several things I am an obnoxious snob about, one of them is scones.  Many times I have been told that scones can only be made one way…of course that being the favorite of the speaker.  Well, I’m here to tell you after a month in England and several weeks in Ireland, there is absolutely NOT only one way to make scones.  Every town I visited had a different type of scone.  They run the gamut of rolled and cut, dropped, or in a round cut in wedges, sweet and savory in every flavor you can dream up.  The most surprising thing to me was the best scone I had was on the Virgin Atlantic plane on the way home…go figure, probably commercially made and frozen.  Who cares, it was delicious.

     Many Americans say they don’t like scones.  Yes, they can tend to be a bit dry sometimes and not very flavorful.  I personally think the problem is we Americans don’t do it right.  Scones are meant to be pared with clotted cream, butter, lemon curd and/or preserves.  The terms clotted and curd seem to scare Americans…okay, call it Devonshire cream and lemon pudding. Don’t let a term ruin a new experience.

    After literally years and dozens of recipes I finally found the scone recipe I like best and even my husband (one of those scone haters) likes.  I share it with you below, but I encourage you to test as many recipes as you can until you find your favorite.

My Favorite Scones

2-1/3 c all-purpose flour

3 T brown sugar

2 t baking powder

1 t baking soda

1/2 c butter

3/4 c dried fruit of your choice

2-3 T grated orange peel.

8 oz sour cream

1 egg yolk, beaten (save the white for brushing tops)

1 T water

1 T coarse sugar

     Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a large bowl stir together dry ingredients.  Using a pastry blender (I use a food processor because it’s much faster) cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add dried fruit and orange zest and toss until mixed. Make a well in the center of the ingredients.

     In a small bowl combine sour cream and egg yolk, add all at once to the well in the flour mixture.  Using a fork, stir just until moistened.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface.  Quickly knead by gently folding and pressing dough until smooth. Divide dough into two equal parts and shape into 8-inch rounds approximately 1/2 inch thick.  Cut each round into six wedges.  Place wedges one inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Brush tops with a mixture of egg white and 1 T water.  Sprinkle with coarse sugar.

     Bake 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove from baking sheet and cool or serve warm.

Mommies and grandmothers, take your favorite little girls to tea or have a tea party at home.

You’ll be starting a new tradition you will all enjoy.

Last but not least…here’s a special little craft project for tea lovers.

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Rainy Day Fun

umbrellaHere in Pennsylvania we’re caught in what feels like monsoon season, as is much of the country.  It’s hot, humid and raining buckets!  On these dreary days I get bored.  This is crazy because I have a ton of work, lots of hobbies, and of course there’s always cleaning, but rainy days zap my energy and fog my brain.  This morning I found myself wondering what I would do if we still had children at home.  I broke out in a sweat thinking about how I would entertain little people.  If I’m bored, think how they must feel not being able to play outdoors.  So, I put on my thinking cap to see what I could come up with.

We all have the tendency to plunk kids down in front of the TV or hand them an I-Pad.  Resist that urge and be creative. Hopefully, one of the following ideas will fit your family.

My first thought is always reading.  Snuggle up and read to your small children and hopefully you’ll all end up taking a long nap.  Encourage older children to read by offering a reward for the number of chapters they read in one day or a very special reward for the number of books they read over the summer.  If your child already enjoys reading, you have no challenge and many hours to yourself.

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Board games actually seem to be gaining in popularity and are fun for the entire family. Start a Monopoly marathon.  Set the game up in an area where it can be left for days without being in the way.  Call in the neighborhood kids, provide some snacks, and you have the afternoon to yourself.

Have contests of who can put a puzzle together the fastest.  Jigsaw puzzles come in all ability levels and are great for long hours of working together as a family.

Spend a few hours teaching and/or learning a new skill with your older children.  Sewing, knitting, crochet, origami, tying fishing flies, trying a new recipe…the sky’s the limit.

Bake cookies together and/or let them help with meal preparations.

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How about that treadmill or exercise bike that’s been gathering dust or pretending to be a clothes tree?  Clean if off and take turns exercising.

Make your own play dough!  This is an old favorite of ours.  Once the play dough is made, dig into kitchen drawers for a rolling pin, pasta cutter, cookie cutters, canape cutters.  A ricer makes great stringy hair for play dough animals and people. You can find all kinds of tools similar to the ones in play dough kits.

Homemade Play Dough

1 c flour

1/2 c salt

1 T oil

3 T cream of tartar

1 c water

Food coloring if desired

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Heat and stir all ingredients until it can’t be stirred any longer and forms a ball.  It will still feel very sticky.  Allow the dough to cool thoroughly and then knead.    Divide as desired and knead in food coloring.  For a little extra pizzazz knead in some glitter. Play dough is nontoxic and can be stored in an airtight container for quite a while.

Turn on some music and dance with your children like nobody is watching.dancing

Set-up a “salon” where girls can do manicures, pedicures, and give each other new hairdos.  Moms can join in as well.  Great time to corral the little girl who hates to have her hair washed.

Pull out that old suitcase with dress-up clothes and jewelry.  If you don’t have one, this is a good time to clean-out closets and make a dress-up box.  Old costume jewelry is a favorite and don’t forget old shoes…a must.

If it’s your only day off and you have to run errands, call your local craft stores to see if they are offering any summer craft days for kids.  These are usually very inexpensive and sometimes free.  Drop the kids for a few hours while you get your errands done.

Have an indoor scavenger hunt.

Have the kids write a play and then perform it after supper.

Be prepared to offer rewards to get the kids interested…unloading the dishwasher or cleaning a bathroom.  Just kidding, but surprisingly if you catch a child at the right age they actually think it’s fun.  It took very little to convince my Goddaughter to dust the intricate design on the legs of my antique sewing machine.  I don’t think I could get away with that today.

Seriously, rewards work, can be fun, and don’t need to be expensive.  Let them bank minutes for TV and video games for future use.  You will still need to monitor what they are watching or playing, and the time should be limited on the day they use their points.  A trip to the ice cream store, library or perhaps a visit to a local amusement or historical site that you have never gotten around to doing.  A picnic in a local park or even the backyard…they do need to eat.  Let them add-up points toward a new item of clothing, a special toy or school supplies.

I keep a very small, decorated suitcase (the kind you see in craft stores) with “prizes” sometimes just for being good or sitting still for a few minutes.  This suitcase is filled with all kinds of “nothing.”  Dollar store trinkets, stickers that came in the mail free, old jewelry, freebies given away at stores and restaurants, and coupon books to fast food restaurants.  Many of these items I would normally throw away but kids are happy with surprisingly simple things.

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Plan ahead for the next rainy day by picking up craft kits when you see them.  These go on sale frequently and can be had for pennies on the dollar.  Try different crafts, your kids are bound to find something they enjoy and then the next rainy day will be a lot easier.

If all else fails…send them to grandmas!

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Dollhouses, memories and more has been nominated for the Encouraging Thunder Blog Award.

Thank you Deanie Humphries-Dunne!

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Hopefully, you will have less real thunder and more creative thunder at your house.

Copy and paste the link below to your browser to see the book trailer for Emerson’s Attic, The Blue Velvet.

https://onedrive.live.com/?cid=313b437fb0a5648f&id=313b437fb0a5648f%2131325&ithint=video,wmv&authkey=!ADgGKEu8XzRN0xA

Happy Valentine’s Day

Many, many years ago when I was in elementary school we didn’t have teacher’s aides or traveling teachers who taught music, art, and physical education.  What we did have were teachers who did it all and still found time to give us parties, Christmas programs, and really fun projects.  It was those special things that we looked forward to.  One of my favorites was making a valentine box.  I distinctly remember looking at a plain shoe box and having no idea where to begin.

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I can’t throw away an oatmeal container without feeling guilty that some child needs it!

 

In those days, we had only the basics materials with which to work; colored paper, glue, and if you were lucky a paper doily and crepe paper.  Mommy Note: Crepe paper color runs when it gets wet and using glue makes for sticky, colored fingers.  I felt inferior because the other kids’ boxes were more beautiful than mine.  Happily, I have gotten over that with no psychological damage.  Surprisingly, the boys really got into this project and came up with very inventive designs.  There was one little girl who always out-did everyone else with everything she made.  To this day, I’m pretty sure her mother hired an artist for her projects because I’ve yet to see third grade work that equals hers. I didn’t know until I Googled valentine boxes that the tradition has continued.  If I was amazed at the boxes in my elementary school, I was speechless at the pictures of boxes made by children today.  They’re valentine boxes on steroids!  And, I must say, more creative than ever.

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The best part of the Valentine’s Day tradition was giving and receiving valentines.  Poor Dad had to make a special trip to the store so that we could pick our valentines to give friends.  They were inexpensive and not fancy, but I loved the little envelopes.  Again, that little girl who always had the best valentine box had the expensive valentines, urrrrr…okay maybe I’m not over it!  Before signing my name, every valentine was carefully chosen for a particular friend by the cute little animal or in the case of boys, the least romantic message on the card.  Separating the valentines in this manner made for a large pile of questionable valentines that eventually had to go to someone or I would not have enough!

 

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I swear I remember these exact valentines.

The teacher would give everyone a list of the names of all the children in the class to make sure no child was forgotten.  On one hand I wanted a valentine from someone special, and on the other hand I knew if a boy wrote anything other than his name on the valentine my brother would never let me forget it.  Thankfully, the boys had no interest in doing any such thing; well, maybe one or two.  There were two boys named “Jimmy” in our class which made for a bit of confusion at times like this.  Yes, you know the feeling…which one was it…the one you wanted it to be or the other?  Most exciting were the special items tucked inside the envelope; heart candies with messages like “Be Mine,” or if you were really lucky a stick of gum which you were not allowed to chew in school.  If you got one of those heart shaped candies that said anything close to being “mushy,” you had several options.  You could quickly shove the little heart into your mouth and destroy the evidence or you could reveal it only to your very best friend and hope she kept her mouth shut about it.  I usually chose the former.

When my children brought home valentines with minuscule heart confetti, that I picked up for weeks, I found that less than clever.  Whoever came up with that idea obviously didn’t have children or had a cleaning lady. Those little hearts rank right up there with Easter grass and Christmas tree needles!

Going back even further than my childhood, as hard as that is to believe, the Victorians had beautiful, romantic, over-the-top valentines.  These were very typical of the Victorian saying, “too much is not enough.”

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 Look closely, they too used paper doilies!

 A Little History On Victorian Valentines

In the language of St. Valentine’s Day, a red heart symbolizes a holiday of love and romance.

Lacy valentines of the Victorian era reached their peak in the years 1840-1860. On delicate lace paper hand-painted motifs such as; cupids, birds, flowers, hearts, and darts may be enhanced with chiffon, silk, satin, tulle, or lace. Novelty valentines might feature a tiny mirror, an envelope, a puzzle purse, or a slot to hold a lock of hair. There were valentine checks drawn against the Bank of Love, and valentines printed to look like paper money. One of these looked too much like a real five-pound note and was quickly recalled.  Some valentines were decorated in watercolor or in delicate pen and ink. Often the handwriting was a thing of beauty as fine penmanship was considered a form of art.

I found the puzzle purse valentine very unique.  Following are the instructions for you to make one at home.  Using your very best handwriting, write a message or a poem and/or draw pictures of your favorite things.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to make one for Mom and Grandma.

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Google Valentine’s Day projects for more ideas.

Happy Valentine’s Day

 Don’t forget International Book Giving Day also on February 14th.

Happy Groundhog Day

Happy What?

If you’re not from Pennsylvania or surrounding states you may never have heard of Groundhog Day.  However, that’s a little hard to believe since even the national news networks get excited every February 2nd, the day we here in Pennsylvania call Groundhog Day.  What exactly is Groundhog Day?  Every February 2nd, since 1886, a groundhog rubs his sleepy little eyes, stretches out his legs, and lumbers to the door of his hutch.  Or, more realistically is awoken from a sound sleep at dawn by a bunch of human beings making a lot of noise and shinning Kleig lights in his face.  Poor little guy, can you imagine how he feels about all this pomp and circumstance.

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This beloved little creature is known as Punxsutawney Phil, named after the town in western Pennsylvania where he lives. Not one to type big words of which I don’t know the meaning, I looked up Punxsutawney.  All of the translations were pretty much the same.  Punxsutawney, prounounced “ponksad-uteney” or my version Punk-so-tawn-e, was an Indian village originally settled by Delaware Indians in 1723 before Europeans came to America.  The name Punxsutawney means “sand-fly place” or  “town of the sandflies.”   The vermin were so small they couldn’t be seen and their bite as hot as sparks of fire.  Neither of those translations does the town of Punxsutawney justice.  I have never seen any sand in Punxsy (as we locals call it) or a sandfly for that matter.  What is there is a charming town that still has a busy main street, lots of community pride, and polite inhabitants who say hello to strangers.

Back to Phil…Phil is the big celebrity in Punxsy because he has a very important job.  He is the most famous of all weather forecasters, at least in Pennnsylvania, and it’s his job to let us know whether we are going to have an early spring or six more weeks of winter.  If you know western Pennsylvania, you know you don’t need to get up at dawn to watch a groundhog tell us we going to have six more weeks of winter.  And so, I have never bothered to get out of bed in the wee hours and drive to Punxsy in freezing weather to watch a rodent meander around his fenced yard.  Yes, I’m sorry, a groundhog is a rodent,of the family Sciuridae, belonging to the group of large ground squirrels known as marmots.”

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I love this statement taken from the Groundhog Day website.  “This is the main event where Punxsutawney Phil, the Seer of Seers, the Prognosticator of Prognosticators, the worlds most famous groundhog and the only real weather predicting groundhog will greet his true believers and will reveal to Bill Deeley the president of the Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club his prediction for the end of winter.”  Don’t know about Bill, but I wouldn’t hold that varmit too close to my face!

On February 2nd, with the members of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club dressed in tuxedos and top hats, and thousands of “true believers” standing around watching their breath freeze, it’s time for the little guy to make his appearance.  Some years this is fast but most of the time, like any smart Pennsylvanian, Phil does not want to leave his warm little hut.

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Cameras roll, speeches flow, breath continues to freeze, and eventually they coax Phil into doing his thing.  Legend has it, that if Phil sees his shadow (I never really noticed how much attention Phil paid to actually looking for his shadow), he will scurry back into his hole and we have six more weeks of a typical Pennsylvania winter.   If, on the other hand, Phil does not see his shadow he may stay out and frolic with his faithful followers and we might get lucky and have six weeks of milder weather, but it is still going to be winter.  Frolic?  Don’t count on that.  At any rate, Punxsutawney has certainly made the most of ancient folklore.

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There are variations of the legend but they are all basically the same, “if the sun comes out on Candlemas (also known as Imbolc) the hedgehog will see its shadow and as a result six more weeks of winter will follow.”  Early German settlers brought the practice over with them and used groundhogs rather than hedgehogs.  Here’s a tidbit about Pennsylvania, we are not short on groundhogs!

Punxsutawney has done a great job marketing Phil’s forecasting abilities and building an entire weekend of celebration around his early morning prophecy.  There are breakfasts, banquets, crafts, food vendors, chain saw carving, story telling, any multitude of things to do.  You can visit the Groundhog Museum, listen to music, and even taste a little wine (I’m pretty sure there’s actually a lot of wine tasting going on).  Not to be forgotten are the ever-present souvenirs including adorable stuffed Phils to take home to your friends and family who preferred the comfort of their homes to stamping their cold feet on a mountainside in Western Pennsylvania.

This extraordinary event became so well-known that a movie entitled, what else, “Groundhog Day,” was made in 1993 featuring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell.  You better like this movie because it airs non-stop the week before Phil’s party.  I love the movie but have to tell you, I’m very disappointed it was not actually filmed in Punxsutawney.  It was filmed in Woodstock, Illinois, which I’m sure is also a very nice town.  The big news, however, is that the film was selected by the National Film Preservation Board for preservation in the Library of Congress in 2006, and added to the United States National Film Registry  being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”  Now that’s cool!

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So, if you’re looking for something to do this weekend you need look no further thanks to the citizens of Punxsutawney.  Bring the family and come on down, up, or over, to visit “Punxsutawney Phil, the Seer of Seers, the Prognosticator of Prognosticators, the worlds most famous groundhog” and celebrate the 129th year of Groundhog Day at Gobblers Knob, Monday, February 2nd 2015, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania!

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Not really a groundhog!

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Deck The Halls

 Ho, Ho, Ho…Merry Christmas

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One of the best parts of the holiday season is making decorations and gifts.  This is especially fun when you can do it with your children.  Here’s a lovely ornament idea for dollhouse enthusiasts.   Hang them on your tree, in the windows of your home or tie on that special gift.  Copy the ideas to the windows on your existing dollhouse windows for an enchanted Christmas look.

 

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Materials & Supplies:

Mom or Dad is needed for cutting.

· Windows from your favorite dollhouse store on search on line.

· Emery boards

·1/2″ strip wood
· Craft knife, Easy Cutter or Dobson Miter-Rite
· Weldbond®
· Oil-based primer and mineral spirits
· Fine flat-bristle sable brush
· Assorted craft paint brushes
· White satin-finish interior latex paint
· Craft paints in red, green and gold
· Snow-Tex
· Plastic knife
· Iridescent glitter, lace scraps, wreaths, garlands, trim, etc.
· Mini-Drill with 1/32″ bit
· Optional: tiny brass screw eyes, narrow ribbon cord

Instructions:

1. Slide the acetate pane out of the window. Use an emery board to sand any rough edges, especially in the grooves on the window casting.

2. Cut a 2 1/2″ length of strip wood for the interior window sill. This may be cut with a craft knife, Easy Cutter or Dobson Miter-Rite. Glue to the back of the window and let dry.

3. Use a fine sable brush to apply a thin coat of an oil-based primer like Kilz® (use mineral spirits to thin it, if necessary) to all sides of the window and sill. Avoid getting primer in the acetate pane channels. Clean up with mineral spirits and let dry. Sand again.

4. Paint with a thin coat of white satin-finish interior latex. Let dry. If necessary, sand again before applying a second coat.

5. Using craft paints and brushes, accent and embellish the window. Tip: When painting stripes on grooved mouldings, use a flat brush and pat it on the surface. When the paint has dried, any overlaps in the grooves can be scratched away with the tip of a craft knife.

6. Use a plastic knife to apply a thick layer of Snow-Tex to the top of the window and exterior window sill. Use a stiff-bristled craft paint brush to push the snow into place. Before it dries, sprinkle on iridescent glitter. Let dry.

7. Glue lace scraps to the back window frame for curtains.

8. Glue on a wreath, garland and/or other trim. Glue accessories onto the interior window sill.

9. Slide acetate pane back into position.

If you do not want to hang the window, skip steps 10 & 11.

10. With a 1/32″ bit, drill a hole in the center top of the window. Dip the screw end of a tiny brass screw eye into glue and twist into the hole.

11. Thread narrow ribbon or cord through the screw eye and tie it.

 

And, don’t forget little brother or sister…

Panda Bear Tree Ornament

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My girls and I made these years ago for our church bazaar and I still love them.  This is a very simple little tree ornament made from items available at any craft store.  Blocks, pompoms, and eyes come in packages with numerous pieces so you will have plenty of materials to make an ornament for everyone on your Christmas list.  If your favorite craft store doesn’t have the building blocks, check a toy store or Dollar Store.  Be sure to use the smaller blocks as the big blocks are too heavy for most trees.

For each bear you will need:

Two white pompoms are approximately 1-1/2 inches in diameter for body.

Four black  pompoms are 1/2 inch for paws.

Two black  pompoms approximately 1/4 inch for ears.

One black pompom approximately 1/8 inch for nose.

Small black beads for eyes.

Approximately 8 inches of 1/4 inch wide holiday ribbon for bow.

Fishing line or gold cord for hanging loop.

Clear Tacky Glue

Heavy duty staple gun.

Instructions:  Make a small bow from the ribbon and have Dad or Mom staple the bow and approximately 8 inches of fishing line or gold cord to the top of a block and glue to make sure it’s secure.  Tie the top of the cord into a knot for hanging.  Glue white body pompoms together and let dry.  When dry, glue on paws, ears, eyes and nose.  Once all parts of the panda are dry, glue him to the block.  Voila…there you have it, a sweet little panda for your tree.  To personalize the ornament, on the bottom of the block use a fine felt-tip pen to write the name of the person to whom you will be giving the ornament and the year.

 

One last chance to enter to win a free copy of

Emerson’s Attic, The Blue Velvet.

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Enter to win a free copy of Emerson’s Attic, The Blue Velvet. Place your name and mailing address in the comment section at the bottom of the page and hit submit. Ten lucky people will receive a copy of the book mailed to their home. Last day to enter will be Tuesday, December 9, 2014, okay, make it the 10th. Winners’ names will be drawn on December 10th and announced in the following blog.  Don’t just enter because you like free things, upcoming contests will be based on questions from the book. If you don’t win you can still enter future contests by ordering your own copy from amazon.com and reading it.

 Busy Mom Tip:  Have your children help choose their clothing the night before and hang or lay in a specific place to save time in the morning.  You’ll be amazed at how much time this saves.

Please leave comments, I’d love to hear from you and see pictures of your dollhouse.