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Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Toilet Paper Roll Creativity

Toilet paper is a hot commodity right now. I bet you never thought you hear that phrase. But, while toilet paper is a bit scarce, most of us have tried to stock up. That brings us to the question of what to do with all those toilet paper rolls when the tissue itself is gone from them. Sure, we can just toss them out or put them into some recycling bin. But, if you want to get a little creative, especially if you have children, there are lots of interesting things you can do with those rolls.

You can get out the hot glue gun and glue them together side by side. If you want to go with a safer and less messy route, you can use velcro or double-sided tape or even duct tape wrapped around both roles to attach them together easily. And just like that, you’ve got yourself cheap and easy pair of imaginary binoculars.

You can also take a string or a piece of rope that is three to four feet long, or whatever length you choose, tie a pen, pencil, small stick or really anything else you have around the center of one end. Place rollers through the other end allowing the first one to be stopped by the stick and adding more to go up the string as far as you like. Now, you have something that can be used as either a toy snake that slithers as you pull the string or you can paint or draw on the tubes to make them look like train cars and drag the string along the ground like an imaginary train.

You always have the option to make ornaments or decorations. For the summer time or holidays like the 4th of July, you can color them or cover them in a red with paint or craft paper put bright yellow and orange tissue paper coming out one end and attach a black pipe cleaner inside so that it sticks out an inch or two from the top of the tube and you have yourself firecracker decoration to enjoy.

A different spin on this candy Christmas ornaments made to look like wrapped candies. All you really need to do is get some cellophane paper and in various colors and cut it into pieces to wrap around the tube leaving a couple of inches on each side. Wrap those two sides and secure them with tape or string and you have yourself candy decorations.

Super Easy and Affordable Christmas Decor

This time of year is often associated with a busy schedule and frantic attempt to get things done before December 25 when we should be taking the time to enjoy the season. Decorating can play a big role in that self-generated chaos.

Whether it be the cost of store bought decorations, which can be very expensive, or the ability to find something that will fit your own unique style, it can sometimes be quite a task.

Well, let me give you a tip for a simple type of decoration that not only won’t break the bank but won’t even endanger that cute little piglet holding your spare change.

Two things that pretty much everybody has laying around their home is either toilet paper or paper towels. And, what do these two things have in common? If you guessed that the come on a cardboard roll, you’re on the right track.

Save your cardboard rolls, or even collect them from friends and family. Cut the large paper towel version in half as needed. Wrap the roll with any old wrapping paper, or even a colored cello wrap. Leave a couple of inches on the ends and either use tape or some string to tie the ends closed. In less than a minute, you’ve got yourself a Do It Yourself ornament that looks like a classic piece of candy.

Have fun and enjoy this special time of year.

Lindsey Stirling’s “Warmer In The Winter” is an Excellent Release for the Holiday Season

I have done quite a few music reviews over the years but I can honestly say I’m not sure if I’ve ever given an album a 5-star rating, until now. The fact is, even the artists nobody would ever expect to come out with a Christmas album are lining the retails shelves with holiday sounds. And in some ways, the impact has been lousy. You are probably going to end up with either a bunch of originals that are of poor quality or boring versions of the classics.

On this recording, what Lindsey does so well, with the help of a few friends (Sabrina Carpenter, Becky G, Trombone Shorty and Alec Gaskarth of All Time Low) is blend her own style that has made her a star with classic tunes while adding in just enough in terms of original songs to make for a very pleasant listening session.

The best among the originals is “Christmas C’mon” and the most interesting rendition of a cover is “Let It Snow.”

Overall, I’d be hard-pressed to find someone I didn’t think would love it.

Creating art with cake as your canvas

When we think of art…

our first thoughts probably go to the genres of painting, sculpting, drawing, artistic photography, films and music. But of course, there is a lot more to the arts than just these few areas. One creative skill and art that I have a close connection with (my mother does this sort of work) is cake decorating.

If you stop and think about it, this discipline takes a lot of skill, patience and a visual quality very much on par with any other category you can think of.

The cake decorator’s canvas and  medium are soft and delicate and require a special touch. And the very fact that the artist knows that his or her creation will not be preeminent, as that it is designed to be eaten, really takes a special level of dedication to what one is doing.

Just for your enjoyment, here are a few shots of cake creations by my mother. I hope you like them.

FYI – She once finished 4th place in a worldwide competition.

cake decorating

icing flowers

happy birthday

cake for fall

pretty cake

A classic but important poem – A soldier’s night before Christmas

soldier's Christmas

‘Twas The Night Before Christmas,

He Lived All Alone,
In A One Bedroom House
Made Of Plaster And Stone.

I Had Come Down The Chimney
With Presents To Give,
And To See Just Who
In This Home Did Live.

I Looked All About,
A Strange Sight I Did See,
No Tinsel, No Presents,
Not Even A Tree.

No Stocking By Mantle,
Just Boots Filled With Sand,
On The Wall Hung Pictures
Of Far Distant Lands.

With Medals And Badges,
Awards Of All Kinds,
A Sober Thought
Came Through My Mind.

For This House Was Different,
It Was Dark And Dreary,
I Found The Home Of A Soldier,
Once I Could See Clearly.

The Soldier Lay Sleeping,
Silent, Alone,
Curled Up On The Floor
In This One Bedroom Home.

The Face Was So Gentle,
The Room In Such Disorder,
Not How I Pictured
A United States Soldier.

Was This The Hero
Of Whom I’d Just Read?
Curled Up On A Poncho,
The Floor For A Bed?

I Realized The Families
That I Saw This Night,
Owed Their Lives To These Soldiers
Who Were Willing To Fight.

Soon Round The World,
The Children Would Play,
And Grownups Would Celebrate
A Bright Christmas Day.

They All Enjoyed Freedom
Each Month Of The Year,
Because Of The Soldiers,
Like The One Lying Here.

I Couldn’t Help Wonder
How Many Lay Alone,
On A Cold Christmas Eve
In A Land Far From Home.

The Very Thought
Brought A Tear To My Eye,
I Dropped To My Knees
And Started To Cry.

The Soldier Awakened
And I Heard A Rough Voice,
“Santa Don’t Cry,
This Life Is My Choice;

I Fight For Freedom,
I Don’t Ask For More,
My Life Is My God,
My Country, My Corps.”

The Soldier Rolled Over
And Drifted To Sleep,
I Couldn’t Control It,
I Continued To Weep.

I Kept Watch For Hours,
So Silent And Still
And We Both Shivered
From The Cold Night’s Chill.

I Didn’t Want To Leave
On That Cold, Dark, Night,
This Guardian Of Honor
So Willing To Fight.

Then The Soldier Rolled Over,
With A Voice Soft And Pure,
Whispered, “Carry On Santa,
It’s Christmas Day, All Is Secure.”

One Look At My Watch,
And I Knew He Was Right.
“Merry Christmas My Friend,
And To All A Good Night.”

Written by Lance Corporal James M. Schmidt in 1986. Printed in Leatherneck (The Magazines for the Marines) in December 1991.

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