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Tutorial:: Recycled Vintage Christmas Lights

We love making handmade ornaments for our tree.  Most years, we make things that are more ethereal – paper chains, salt dough shapes, popcorn strings.  This year, I wanted to add something up-cycled or recycled.  We haven’t had glass ornaments of any kind for about a dozen years because we have little ones.  I got tired of cleaning up shattered glass.

This summer, we cut down a HUGE evergreen tree in front of our farmhouse.  And twined into the branches was a string of Christmas lights – the great big sturdy glass kind.  I decided that I wanted to make some ornaments from them.  I’ve seen some lovely hand-painted ones on Etsy like these and these.  But I needed to make something a little bit simpler, something that everyone could do.

You need:

Vintage glass Christmas lightbulbs (or replacements that have been sanded)

Metallic enamel craft paint

Glitter

Glue

Paint brushes

Disposable cups or bowls

Disposable spoons (optional)

Metallic elastic cord to match your metallic paint

E6000 or similar glue

We salvaged about 60 bulbs from the string that was on the tree. The glass was naturally etched from wear. We cleaned the bulbs off with a paper towel to remove dirt and grass.

Next, paint the metal threads with the metallic paint and set on newspaper to dry. Ours dried right quick. Do a second coat if you feel it needs it.

Make sure you get the entire metal area, including the very tip.

 

These bottles of glitter will go a LONG way.

 

 

Place about 1 tablespoon of tacky glue, thinned with water, into a cup. Paint an even coat over the glass part of each bulb.

 

Beginning at the metal thread end, sprinkle the glitter over the bulb. Be generous, you can knock off any excess.

 

 

 

LOVE the green! Keep your glitter cups separate so that you can salvage the unused portion. It’s spendy.

 

Silver! Looked nice on both the clear and the opaque white bulbs.

 

All done. Waiting to be strung and hung.  We’ll tie the stringing cord onto the threads and glue in place with E6000.  That will need to set overnight before hanging.  You could also use Superglue or similar.  Make sure your workspace is well ventilated. P-U !

What we used::

Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue

Martha Stewart glitter (we chose Carnelian, Aquamarine Crystal, and White Gold)

DecoArt Gloss Enamel paint in Shimmering Silver

Jewelry Essentials Stringing elastic cord in silver

E6000 glue

To Warm a Winter’s Night

A Leaf From The Tree of Songs

By Adam Christianson

When harpers once in wooden hall
A shining chord would strike
Their songs like arrows pierced the soul
Of great and low alike

Aglow by hearth and candleflame
From burning branch or ember
The mist of all their music sang
As if to ask in wonder

Is there a moment quite as keen
Or memory as bright 
As light and fire and music sweet
To warm the winter’s night?

 

 Star Lantern Tutorial here.

Sweetness and Light

Every year on 13 December, before the morning sun lights the sky, Lucia comes wearing a candle-lit evergreen wreath, bearing saffron buns and coffee (cocoa for the children).  We sit in bed together, savouring this delicacy in the stillness of dawn.

 

A circlet of evergreen, lit with candles, symbolising the Light of the World and His eternal nature

Lucia {eldest daughter Cat}

Lussekatter

Josie's first taste of Lussekatt.

 

The night treads heavily
around yards and dwellings
In places unreached by sun,
the shadows brood
Into our dark house she comes,
bearing lighted candles,
Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia.

Snow’s Coming

After that early snowstorm in late October, we thought we were in for a very snowy autumn.  Just two days ago, the children were playing outdoors with only wooly jumpers, and asking for a picnic lunch.  In December.

But the snow is coming.  We’re forecast to get some snow tomorrow morning, then again perhaps over the weekend.  We’ve been grateful for the stay, but are looking forward to seasonal weather.  There are hills to sled on at the farm, and I need a little something to help get me into the anticipatory spirit of Advent.

The snowy winter helps also to turn my mind to seeds, and farm babies.  We’ve got two bred Shetland ewes coming to the farm on Saturday afternoon, and we’re working on having our six eligible Oberhasli (milkers and yearlings) bred by two handsome boys at a friend’s farm.  And I’ll be planning for older egg layers, chicks, poults, and goslings for the coming season.  The three barrows have an appointment with the knackerman next month, and the girls will be bred for spring piglets.

The house is nearing the end of restorations, and I am looking forward to sitting in the bay window of our living room, with a piece of handwork, watching the children play in the snow, while something comforting bubbles on the stove.

Geese paddling in the water alongside the barn after a mid-autumn snow.

 

Hens in the yard, as the snow had begun to melt away.

 

Scratching among the boughs of the 40-foot evergreen that was felled in late summer.

There are many who would wish away winter.  I say, “let it snow”.

Butternut Squash Bisque with a drizzle of homemade cranberry sauce.

 

Butternut Squash Bisque

2 butternut squash, halved and cleaned of seeds and fibres

1 medium onion, chopped

butter or oil

1 qt. chicken stock

1 c. heavy cream (raw if you can get it!)

cinnamon, coriander, and ginger (ground) to taste

salt and pepper to taste

 

Preheat oven to 400.  Place squash halves on a baking sheet, cut side down and roast for 1 hour, until quite soft and caramelized.  Set aside to cool.  In a stockpot, sauté onions in butter (or oil if you prefer) at medium heat for about 10 minutes, until soft and translucent.  Add spices and cook a further 2 minutes, taking care not to burn the spices.  Add chicken stock and heat through.  Scoop flesh from the squash and add to the pot.  Remove soup from heat and purée using an immersion blender, food processor, or standard blender.  Return soup to the pot and add cream.  Gently heat through and serve with a dark green salad and homemade bread.  We like to drizzle on freshly made cranberry sauce, but a dollop of sour cream would do nicely also.

Precious Time

Childhood is a short season.  ~Helen Hayes

Where does the time go?  Somewhere.  And too quickly.  When did our little boy grow into a man?  A man who will take the time to colour and imagine a beautiful world with his little brother.

 

Oh the joy of being able to drop everything because there is an imaginary world that demands to be brought to life from the mind of a small child, with the help of an older brother.

 

Working... hands and hearts together.

 

Mirror:: what his hands were, and what his hands will become.

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