Finding Christmas

What have I forgotten? Did I get all the ingredients? Will they like my gift? Mommy, when will it be Christmas? Mommy, I’m hungry. Mommy, brother is being mean to me! Gracious, these few days before Christmas can be stressful!
Today, I encourage you to find the manger in your heart. I share with you some sources that help center me. It is difficult to find your center when you want so very much to please everyone. You want to make this Christmas special!
Our loving Father has already done that! He gave us his own Son and with this birth we celebrate comes salvation. Goodness for all our tomorrows. Christmas is all about love. “God is love.” With Him there is all that we need. Find something beautiful to read. If you could give any gift to those you love,what would it be? Write out your prayer and bring your gift of love to Mary and her Babe. Merry Christmas!


Gray sky
An earth without warmth,
In the silence
In the cold
When all seemed lost
The promise did unfold
Rejoce dear friend
Of my hand take hold
Together we will light the candle
And guide the children’s path
That we may carry our gifts of love to Mary and her Babe
Trudy Groff Costello

Candle light
Eyes bright
Snow tonight?

Peppermint, pine
Cinnamon and thyme
Sugar plum time

Angels, sheppard’s
Critters and kings
The star’s light brings

In the manger
Of our hearts
Christmas starts
Trudy Groff Costello

Christmas Crafts for Kids

Yarn Pom-Pom Snowman
Materials:
1 large and 1 small yarn pom-pom
Black felt for hat
Scrap of felt for scarf and face
Cotton balls for arms and legs
Directions. Make pom-poms and glue together. Glue on features and scarf. Make a hat and glue onto snowman’s head. Glue on cotton balls.

Folded Butterfly
Materials:
1 piece of white construction paper for butterfly wings
1 small piece of black construction for butterfly body
Poster Paints
Eye dropper (These are available at a pharmacy)
Directions: Fold the piece of white paper in half. Draw the butterfly wings with a pencil. Cut the paper into a rectangle leaving the wings to cut-out later Open the paper and let the children use the dropper to drip droplets of the paint on one side of the paper only. Now fold the paper and press with the flat of their hand from the center out to each end. Slowly open the paper and set aside to dry. When dry, refold and cut out the sketched butterfly. Cut out a body from black paper and glue to center of the insect.

Pressed Flowers
During the spring and summer pick the flowers buttercups, queen Anne’s Lace and little Johnny-Jump-ups. The leaves of the queen’s lace are feathery and press well. Add some to the flowers. These are not endangered, but never pick all the flowers from one spot. Leave some to reseed. Place the flowers and leaves face down between the pages of a book. Place a heavy book on top. 

These can be used to make beautiful cards, small pictures or to decorate a special Invitation like wedding or anniversary. Frame in a 5” by 7” frame. I drew the outline of a heart of on a folded piece of card stock then filled the center of the heart with the heads of pressed buttercups. It made a beautiful wedding card. For Christmas these could be glued to clear plastic ornaments then finish by painting the ornament with a white glue and water solution. Using card stock draw the shape of ornament then paint or color the ornament. When the ornament is dry, cut it out and glue some pressed flowers onto it. This will make pretty Christmas tree ornaments. I would protect the flowers by covering the flat ornament with clear contact paper.

Hand Prints
Materials:
A scrap of material cut out to 12 ½” by 14 ½ “. Hem three sides and then
Make a casing for hanging at the top. This can be sewn or use the product stitch witchery.
A sponge paint brush and poster paint.
A luncheon plate and a pencil to draw a circle.
Paint the children’s hands and let them press their hand onto the fabric circle. Vary the direction of each hand print around the circle and make a wreath. Their thumbs can be painted to make berries on the hanging. Even a single hand print, framed with name and date can make a special gift.

A Snow Scene
Materials:
White card stock.
Poster or water color paint and brushes
flowerets from Queen Anne’s Lace
glitter and scraps of colored and white paper to make a snow man.

Directions: Using an almost dry brush have the children paint the top half of the paper for sky. Use colored paper scraps or cut outs from old greeting cards and create the scene. Place droplets of white glue in the sky and put a floweret into the glue. If you don’t have flowers, use white glitter. Use white glue and the stiff brush to make the snow on the ground and sprinkle with glitter. Sign and date the art piece.

*With appreciation to all the teachers that have shared ideas with me over the last 30 years!
JOY!

Just a Thought

I was able to complete the items I had wanted to make for the front porch last night and I thought I would share some pictures. Both of the small pillows use the strip piecing technique that I demonstrated on Dec.14th. They both start by placing the first piece in the center of the block with the second piece directly on top and continue to flip and stitch. I found a piece of scrap book paper and I glued to the mat of my strip piece tree. I am happy with how it turned out. I will take a photo of the tree also.

While my next batch of bread rises, I checked out some resources for you. I have been saving canceled stamps for veterans for years and this would be a good time to save the stamps as the Christmas cards arrive. I will provide a website and the address to send the stamps.

I looked into sharing old greeting cards. St. Jude’s Ranch has stopped its program and is no longer accepting cards. Some suggestions I read suggested contacting nursing homes, senior centers, and church Sunday school programs. Be sure to ask first.

As I was doing this it came to me that sending a hand made card from a child would also be a really nice thing to do for veterans or seniors living in nursing homes. A phone call could answer the question of where to send them or if the center is nearby maybe you ask if you would be allowed to hand deliver them.

Time to put the bread in the pans. Tomorrow I hope to have ideas for gifts children can make. God Bless, Trudy

www.writealetter.org
Stamps for the Wounded
PO Box 297
Dunn Loring, VA 22027

strip piecing tree
duck!
strip picing pillows
Trudy's Front Porch

Miss Trudy on Patreon

Hello,

This is an invitation to join with me as I share with families the Importance of their role as the foundation for happy, healthy children. Children do not come with an instruction manual. Every child is a unique individual with temperamental characteristics that are theirs alone. It is my desire to spend the remainder of my years delivering an understanding of child development into homes with children. I bring compassion along with a depth of hands on experience and education. I want to offer encouragement to caregivers of young children. The tools I will use will be varied and fun. Your support means I can be there for others and you will be a part of my work.My heart and my home will be open via the internet. I will share my love of my husband of 50 years, my son and my home. A strong foundation of education and years of working with young children and their families will enable me to outreach with understanding. The format of all my offerings will be love. As I developed my lesson plans while teaching, I will plan in co-ordination with the seasons and holidays. The range of my interests is vast, but all will be offered with joy!

Personal Information:

  • Christian wife of 50 years
  • Retired from Healthy Families Lower Shore serving as home visitor to families living on the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland
  • Experience presenting “Growing Great Kids” curriculum
  • Experience presenting “Parents as Teachers” curriculum
  • Opened and directed a Christian Child Care center
  • Preschool Teacher of children aged 2 to 5 years.

Education:

  • Degree in Early Childhood Education
  • Recognition and Certification of Achievement Maryland Child Care Credential Level Five

Hobbies and Interests:

  • Fabric arts including quilting, hand-spinning, applique, crochet and sewing
  • Baking and cooking
  • Mountain dulcimer
  • Reading including my Bible, mysteries and love inspired suspense

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Machine Piecing With Fabric Strips

Friday, December 14, 2018

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Machine Piecing with Fabric Strips
I enjoy sewing very much and I am a happy scrap saver. I have a pretty box just for scraps.  In this box are often strips left over from other sewing projects.

Today I will show some ways these strips can be used to create a variety of items. The first item is a pillow cover. I used red and white strips, a piece of batting and left over
muslin to make a pillow top and an envelope back. To create the diagonal pieced top
I laid the first strip centered diagonally on top of the batting square. The batting was precut to the size I wanted the pillow top to be. Now lay the next fabric strip on top of the first with right sides together. Now, sew down the length of the strips allowing a ¼ inch seam allowance. Finger press the second strip to the right side. Continue adding strips to both sides of the center strip until the piece is the size you want. I added borders by sewing white strips to the two sides and then to the top and bottom.

To create a pillow back you need to cut two pieces of fabric that are the same width as the pillow top, but 2/3 the length. Press the length pieces to make a hem ¼ inch across the top of each piece and sew. Now to assemble. Lay the pillow top, face up. Lay the two backing pieces with the hem sides in the middle of the pillow top wrong side up. The hems will overlap each other near the center of the pillow back.  Now, sew 5/8” Inside all four sides of the pillow. You will be sewing through the top, bating, and the back two pieces. Trim each corner and turn right side out. Insert a pillow form to complete your pillow.

I made the table runner the same way as the pillow top. First cut your backing the length and width you want the runner to be.  Cut a piece of batting to fit. Lay the batting on the top of the backing with the backing wrong side up. I began adding strips from the middle out to each side. I trimmed the completed top and then using strips I bound the edges.

The heart was pieced onto a piece of muslin. I started in the center adding strips to each side.  When the muslin was covered, I used the heart templet I made out of cardboard to cut the pieced piece into the shape of a heart. This can now be backed and sewn to create a heart ornament or it could be appliqued onto something.

Lastly the little tree. This will be a framed in a 5×7 picture frame. Cut the muslin base this size. Now you can strip piece sewing as directed above or you can fold a small seam allowance to one side of the second piece and put glue on this. Glue the folded side to the center piece. Continue adding glued strips from the center out till the muslin base is covered.  I went to www.firstpalette.com and found a tree templet.  I printed this out onto cardstock. I centered the tree measuring the cardboard to make it fit the 5×7 frame.  I poked a hole in the center of the tree with my paper cutting scissors and cut away the tree shape. This I then placed on top of the pieced work.  It is now ready to frame.

Hope you enjoy piecing with strips of fabric.
God Bless, Trudy

Happy Poinsettia Day

Hello, Today is Poinsettia Day.  I thought I would try to make this flower from felt.  I free hand cut out the petals and then two leaves.  I used contrasting thread and stitched veins on the petals and the leaves.  I hand stitched them together, added some buttons and then stitched a pin on the back.  If you do not have small buttons you could make french knots.

Have fun and happy poinsettia day!
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poinsettia petals cut from feltpoinsettia pin

The gift of reading

Tuesday, December 11th

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Today I share with you my love of reading.  In elementary school we were loaned slim poetry books and inside I found that ordinary every day words could be manipulated in the most delightful ways.  Mud-luscious and puddle wonderful became part of a springrain.  I could see the young colt running his little hooves miniature thunder when the first snow fell. It was truly wonderful.

As a young mom we moved many times, I always took Patrick to the library to help us settle into a new spot.  The important thought here is that we both borrowed books.  My love of the written word was nurtured at the library.  I could not wait to share Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, e.e. cummings and Robert Louis Stevenson with Patrick.  I did not learn of the value of sharing this passion until after he was grown, and I went to college at 40 years of age.  As I studied early childhood development, I learned about a child’s brain development and how the brain focuses on specific areas of development at specific times.  As a child grows so does his brain and brain connections are made.  Repetition is how a connection is soldered.

Know a child who wants the same story read to him over and over?  That is a good example. The more connections that can be made the more a child learns.  Those connections that are not made are lost.  A good example is language ability.  Patrick had hearing problems so he was substituting word sounds.  A speech therapist was able to help him.  The window for language development was still open. If more time had passed and he had not received the needed help this would have been more difficult and possibly affected his speech.

Lynda was my best friend for 40 years.  We were new brides and new moms at the same time.  Lynda bought beautiful books for her son and took him to the library.  Lynda an her hubby both read to their son each night.  This did not have the results they had hoped for. Their son did not enjoy reading.

Patrick was taken to the library and he too was read to. Reading became a lifetime passion.  What was different?  We now know that reading to a child is important, but a child seeing the important adults in his life reading makes a tremendous difference!  My dear friend and her hubby never read.  At home Patrick saw Grand Pop reading the National Geographic and the newspaper, and both his parents read.

This is a gift only you can give.  It will last a lifetime and provide adventure, learning and the gift of understanding and beauty. Read with, read to, and grow in wisdom together.
Joy!  Trudy

Resources:

Tickles, Lovies, Bounces, Fingerplays, Movement Games and World Rhymes www.piercecountylibrary.org

“We Are in A Book” by Mo Will (Hyperion Books for Children)

“Hand Shadows to Be Thrown Upon the Wall” by Henry Bursill (Dover Publication)

“Rhymes About Us” by Marchette Chute (E.P. Dutton & Company, Inc.

“Mousekin Books” by Edna Miller (Prentice-Hall Inc)

“The Golden Treasury of Poetry” (Golden Press) (Western Publishing Company, Inc.)

“How to Find Flower Fairies” (Warner Publishing)

Books by Jan Brett  (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
www.janbrett.com

 

 

Really Good Fruitcake! (Honest)

Monday, December 10, 2018

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Oh, yesterday was delightful!  After church I came outside to a light snowfall.  I stood with my hands raised and enjoyed this pre-Christmas present.  I pray that everyone stays safe, but I will admit that I do relish the first flakes.

Today I am sharing with you some of our Christmas traditions.  I like to think of traditions as links, merry links to times past and connections to loved ones.  I hold a handmade ornament and remember the person who made it with love for me.  I bake a batch of cookies and remember making these with my mom when Patrick was little. Joy!
Today I will share a baked treat and an old wooden donkey that has been with me all my Christmases.  Traditions are strongly linked to values.  Growing up I was allowed to only hang one ornament on the tree and 
then I had to go bed.  I always chose the golden tear drop ornament.  I still have that ornament and it holds in its tarnish memories of long-ago Christmases.  I remember my dad taking me to the five and dime and picking out nativity figures.  Gracious that was special.  No other gift could have provided me with time alone with dad, to choose each piece and then 50 years later gift these same figures to my son.  Do you see how what the family values, not what was spent on the gift, make the gift memorable.

There Is one perfect gift.  We were given this gift by our loving Father.  Sacred Scripture explains that before we even knew Him, God loved us.  God’s love is the perfect gift to give away.   Give it in smiles, give it in warm hugs, or slightly burnt goodies.  It is the miracle of the season that the more we give away, the more we receive.  JOY!

Grandmother’s Christmas Fruitcake
Mrs. Jessie Dodge of Michigan won a prize in the year 1929
Found in “Women’s Household Magazine” 1973

In a 2 qt. saucepan put 1 box of seeded raisins
2 cups of boiling water
1 teaspoon of salt
2 cups of brown sugar
½ cup of shortening
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Boil for 3 minutes, then set aside to cool.  When cool, add 1 teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in a little lukewarm water.  Now add about 4 cups of flour.  Nuts and citron improve this cake or try ½ cup of whole red cranberries.  They pop as they bake. Bake at 325 degrees 60 minutes or more.  Test for doneness with a dry piece of spaghetti.  If the pasta comes out dry, then the cake is done.

  • I do not add citron. But I do add ½ teaspoon of baking powder to the flour.