Collecting: Vintage Christmas Ornaments

 My poor little blog got stuck in "Thanksgiving land" 
sorry about that ; 0 (

I would love to show you some really pretty
 vintage ornaments that I have collected over the years
 Almost all of these were purchased at small antique malls or on eBay
 and none of them were very expensive

I have heard that there are some really avid collectors who pay hundreds,
for antique and rare glass ornaments 
but mine usually cost about a dollar each
 I started collecting these in groups of two or three, but the more I collected, the more I began purchasing in larger lots of 12 to 24

I actually find that a good way to start a collection like this
 because you get a larger, nice variety right from the start...
the down side is that the condition of some may not be very good,
 but they are still usable.

Above is a box of 24 which originally sold for 99 cents!!!!  
These were made in Poland and are probably 1950-1960's
 Most have pretty hand painted details and come in wonderful colors
 The three above are newer from Germany
 but still very vintage looking and shiny
 I originally used these on a very small little table top tree, which children love by the way, I think because the ornaments are so tiny

 I have about a dozen of these little baskets...which are about 2 inches in diameter
 These long icicle shapes are interesting
 with the glitter and flocking

 Adding little odd items, like the miniature flocked trees and the wreath makes the collection 
more interesting I think

 This is an old tinsel tree topper...super cute

 I have quite a few of these little pine cones too...they are just 2 inches long

 Once I started collecting this type of ornament I stumbled across garland ...which is just as pretty and you can find it in all different colors and sizes

Its funny, but I am sort of attached to these little guys, even though I don't use them every year

Here is my favorite...this tiny little stocking
It is just 3 inches long and gets lost in the tree, but I know its there and so does Santa!
Happy collecting...and if know more about these vintage ornaments...please share!


Thanksgiving Place Cards


It's always fun to do a little project to make the Thanksgiving table a bit more special...
other than getting out the good tablecloth and napkins
and Granny's gravy boat...which I don't have
This year I thought...why not make some place cards?

Using old graphics is one of my favorite things and you really can't
 duplicate the charm of old illustrations

We have pine cones

and Puritans


and Hens

But I decided I really like this little Oak leaf

Here is how the place card laid out for printing....
I printed out mine on heavy card stock brown kraft paper

If you would like a set for your own table
just click here
 and print it out!

I used my table top paper cutter for a nice clean edges...

The cards seemed to be missing a little color so I added a little sprig from the olive tree
 but raffia or ribbon would be great too

Happy Turkey Day
; o ))

Composting update

 After the last rip roaring post...lets get back to normal 

I have had a few emails, with questions about composting...
 if it is hard, smelly, yucky, buggy, rat infested etc etc
 Well, the answer is yes and no,
to all of those things

We started composting about 3 years ago and it is pretty much second nature around here.  
Ours is a triple bin composter,
with each bin in a different state of decomposition

The fist bin is fresh stuff from the kitchen and garden
This is where we mix the nitrogen (green stuff)  with the carbon (brown dry stuff)

I have to add it really helps to have one of those little compost buckets in your kitchen because you really get in the habit of using it.

I have a small stainless pail
with a charcoal filter in the lid 
but there are tons of good ones now,
which run around 20 dollars

All three bins get a really good soak of water 
about once a week...
It has been our experience that you need to add a lot more water than you think you will need

At this point the first bin is pretty horrible looking and you will have fruit flies
but it really doesn't smell...honest!

Remember never to add meat or anything like will smell like a trash can, won't break down and can cause all sorts of health problems.  
You can read more info in this great book called 
Let It Rot
I bought it when we first got started!

Make sure to keep the lids down because rats, raccoons, cats and dogs love this stuff!

Once things start breaking down the compost from the first bin gets added to the second bin

Some people like to add some dirt from the yard at this point 
but it really isn't necessary
 That bin (#2) then gets turned and soaked etc until most of the big leaves, fruit and grass have disappeared
This stage is where you can really start to see things break down
 and the red worms are doing their job really well

You can buy red worms, which are not earth worms but another type of worm, on the internet 

 some nurseries have them too, but once your compost gets going 
you wont need to add any more worms

The other thing you may notice at this point is how warm the compost is
In the morning you can see steam when you dig around and start turning your compost

I have read that if you get the soil too hot it will kill the worms 
but we have never had that happen...knock on wood
 The we move it all again to the final bin
You can see at this point how the bin has broken down to the point where it looks about 1/3rd full which means it's about ready for the garden
 A couple of things I like about this bin is the galvanized top 
and the removable slatted front
 I think picking a good location is pretty important too...the bin is not all that great to look at and I like the fact that its close to the citrus orchard
 because we have so much rotten fruit on the ground...daily
 and so cleaning up is much easier
 Here is how the slats fit into the front...they just pull up and slide easily back into place when you are done digging around
 Chicken wire is pretty essential too, to contain all of the debris and allow air circulation which happen to be another component of making good dirt
 This compost bin sits directly on the ground which allows moisture to get in to the soil beneath and good bugs to make their way up into the leaves and clippings

This is pretty basic construction and if you have a handy friend 
or two 
you could easily build this in a day
The materials will run about $200 dollars
 if you use pressure treated lumber and redwood, which we did in this case
 The stuff at the very bottom is the best...super dark and rich
 Your compost should smell like dirt, be full of worms and there should be very little recognizable "stuff" that you threw in, in the very beginning

If you see anything too big just chuck it back into the second bin
 and let it break down some more
 oh and look who's here 
Mr Worm....a gardeners BFF
 I don't really worry too much if there are some sticks and leaves that are not completely broken down because once this gets added to the beds it continues  to decompose really quickly

 A full tub of compost will double the amount of soil in your beds 
and a little seems to go a long way
 After mowing the grass and adding to our  kitchen and garden debris, we will add a good amount of dried leaves on top, water well 
and call it a day
 This bed got a nice dose of compost today after the Basil 
froze to death and died last week
 I double dig the existing soil, add in the compost and dig some more

This bed will get planted next week and I will probably dig it again just to be sure every thing is well incorporated...sort of like making good cupcakes!
This is such a great way to spend a beautiful fall day...and my favorite time of the year to garden
I added this last photo...just for fun

Happy Gardening

; o )