Tag Archives: Autumn




October 14, 2013 · 4:11 pm

Texas, New Mexico, Colorado

Please excuse my absence. Last Monday, Joe and I left for a quick trip to Colorado to pick up our grandsons. I’ve been to New Mexico and Colorado, but never on this route. Even though most states have a unique look (and some more than one, ahem), it’s amazing how much the terrain changes around the states’ borders.

West Texas

Windmill at Texas Panhandle Sunset

Texas Panhandle Sunset

Approaching the New Mexico Mesas

New Mexico Mesa

New Mexico Lava Field

Colorado - just over the New Mexico Border

Raton Pass, Colorado


Typically, I’m not a mountain person. It seems that most people are drawn to either mountains, water (specifically the ocean) or deserts. I’m an ocean girl. Living on Galveston Island is one of my favorite daydreams.

However, I must say – Colorado was stunningly beautiful.



And then we got into the Aspens.

First Glimpse of the Aspens

Lots more on this tomorrow.


Filed under America, Autumn, Colorado, Family, New Mexico, Texas

Thanksgiving Notes

Mayflower and Speedwell in Dartmouth Harbor by Wilcox

This post linked to Food on Fridays @ annkroeker

A few years ago I started making holiday notes – the day after. Just taking a few minutes to sit down and think about the celebration (whether Thanksgiving or Christmas) while it’s still fresh on my mind, then jotting down ideas that worked, ones that didn’t and other ideas I’ve picked up but haven’t tried yet. These are helpful to me the next year – if I can find where I placed them. Now I’ll have a Thanksgiving book to put them in.

When I was young I thought I could remember things from year to year. I couldn’t, but I thought I could. Now I know I have to make lists because I can’t rely on my memory.

Leading up to and the week before Thanksgiving:

*Reread: The Light and the Glory by Peter Marshall & David Manuel.

*Reread: Mary of Plymouth by James Otis.

* Papercraft some interesting table decorations.

* Make Thanksgiving cards.

*Talk to sons and family about their plans.

* Keep the house tidy. It’s a killer to get up on Thanksgiving morning and do it before I start cooking.

* Get the laundry all caught up – not only washed but folded and put away or hung in the closet. For peace of mind.

* Eat up leftovers and clean out the refrigerator. We’ll need space for the leftovers and how nice it would be not to have to cram things in.

* Iron the tablecloth and hang it up to keep it wrinkle free.

* Clean kitchen thoroughly: Put extraneous things away. Dust the china cabinet. Clean kitchen window ledge. Mop. Make the sink sparkle. Clean windows by the table.

* Polish the silver.

Early Thanksgiving week:

*Mail Thanksgiving cards. This is not something that I do, but it’s something that I wish I did.

* Review menu requirements and make a shopping list. Because we have the same meal every year, I don’t have to plan the menu, but I do need to check our supplies and note what I’ll need to buy.

* Shop but resist the urge to buy a bunch of other stuff at the grocery store. It’s tiring to come home and have to put it all away, and the superfluous perishables take up too room in the refrigerator.

* Buy fresh, local pecans at the produce stand. They cost more but make a superior pie.

* Buy a small bouquet of flowers for the table or ask the grandchildren to pick up leaves and acorns for the centerpiece.

* Wash the china and serving pieces.

* Wash the roaster.

* Start reading a really good book – it will give me something enjoyable to do when I have to frequently sit down and rest.

*Have ready something comfortable to wear while cooking and something nice to change into for dinner.


* Make pies. I’m not a do-ahead cook because I really like things really fresh, but the truth is, the pumpkin pies are actually better the next day.

* Make cornbread for the dressing.

* Chop onion, celery and carrots and store in refrigerator.

* Clear off countertops to make plenty of space for cooking.

* Take a nap.

Thanksgiving Day

* Eat breakfast. It’s a mistake to ignore this one.

* Start cooking.

* Enjoy the family.

* Remind them of the traditional Trivial Pursuit game.

But above all, reflect on the goodness of God

and Thank Him.


Filed under Autumn, Faith, Family, Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Altered Books

Fran's book

(All the pictures in this post are of Fran’s book. Right now, we’re having computer problems, so I can’t download photos from our camera, but I can scan things in. Hopefully soon I can post the photos and will update this post when I do.)

My sister, our friend Abby (The Paper Engineer) and I made altered Thanksgiving books. The ones I made were for Fran and Abby; Fran’s were for Abby and me, and of course, Abby’s were for Fran and me.

(Click on the photos for a bigger view. I’ve found that posting them as thumbnails takes a fraction of the time to upload.)

The only rule was that they were to be books about giving thanks. Fran’s book for me is completely different from the ones I made and I really like it. (We weren’t able to get together to exchange with Abby yet so I can’t describe hers now – I haven’t seen it.) She made her cover out of cardboard and covered it with brown toile fabric. She used orange rings for binding it together and tied pieces of ribbon onto the rings.

Stella Edens Thanksgiving poem, circa 1956

The story behind the poem is that when my sister was waiting for the bus to come, she told my mother that she was supposed to take a Thanksgiving poem to school – that day.  So, my mother the poet wrote one just like that.

Two of the pages in this book were from orange file folders that she cut in half.  These will really come in handy for tucking in Thanksgiving recipes, clippings,  memories, etc.

Then she took fall leaves and laminated them, punched holes for the binding and attached topaz (my birthstone) rhinestones on the pages.  There are several pages of the laminated leaves and she placed the rhinestones so they could all be viewed at once when looking at the first page.

For Abby’s book,  I used an Altoids tin and sponged gold paint all over it, then lined the edges with dictionary pages, cut with a deckle-edged pair of scissors.  For the message, I accordion folded brown paper, glued it to the bottom inside and listed on each fold something for which I am thankful for. /p>  On the top side I glued a piece of autumn looking alcohol inked paper and stamped ears of corn and the words:  Give Thanks.  The bottom of the tin has another piece of the dictionary page glued on.  The embellishments were cutouts of leaves, pumpkins and rubber stampings.

For my sister’s book,  I wanted to do something different.  Fran and I both like Dick and Jane books – very pleasant memories there. My theme for her book was the child’s prayer “Thank You for the Food We Eat”.

I photocopied illustrations that I could use for each line of the prayer from a Dick and Jane reader (alas, not an original. They are $90.00 at the antique mall. This was a reproduction I bought at Wall-Mart). It’s too difficult to cut them out exactly, so I left a border of white as I cut them out and distressed them with a yellow chalk pad. Then I enlarged the wording from the reader on the copier, and printed off a couple of pages, distressed them with the yellow chalk and a blue ink pad. Using a glue stick, I attached them to cardboard squares cut from a Coke carton to duplicate chipboard, then punched 3 holes along the side of each one for to lace the ribbon for binding.  Then using the glue stick, I attached the illustrating pictures to the enlarged wording.

Remember the old tablets we used when learning to print – the ones with the solid and blue dashed lines? I had a piece of that from a scrapbook store that my sister had given me, but I’ve never seen any in a store and didn’t want to use it as an original. In my stash I had some regular copy paper that I had tea-dyed. So I photocopied the penmanship paper onto the tea-dyed. It may be hard to see the blue lines on the photos, but they are there. I cut squares of this paper and used the glue stick to attach it to the cardboard for pages to face the illustration.

It would’ve been better to have had my grandson write the prayer out for me, but I didn’t plan far enough ahead. Somewhere I had read that you can duplicate a young child’s printing by using your left hand, so that’s what I did using a pencil.

For binding I used blue gingham ribbon.  The colors of this book were not the autumn earth tones, but I think it’ll be more versatile this way, and the blue was one of the main colors in both the illustrations and the penmanship paper.

I really like making the chipboard pages, it gives the book a nice heft and feel.  Also, just a few pages are thick enough for it to stand alone.  A few weeks ago on a craft blog (I’ll insert link when I can remember where I first saw it), the author had made a Christmas book using scraps of paper and embellishments on one of those black and white speckled notebooks.

Building upon her idea, I decided to make myself one.  But since I really liked the chipboard feel, I’ve used that concept.  I’ll keep recipes,  card lists,  a gift list and all sorts of Christmasy things in it.  When we get our photos to load, I’ll post them.

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Filed under Altered Books, Autumn, Crafts - Paper, Thanksgiving

Ah, November


Red Oak - the Liam tree

I just love it.


Cooler days.  Evening fires in the wood stove.   Not too hot to have a bonfire and wiener roast with the grandsons.


And Thanksgiving –  one of the most wonderful of holidays – at the end of the month.

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Filed under Autumn, Family


Sidewalk, Dallas Arboretum

Sidewalk, Dallas Arboretum

These photos were taken by our daughter-in-law when we went to the Dallas Arboretum last October. The pumpkin photo in my banner was taken then, also.

Us at the Dallas Arboretum Oct 08

Pumpkin house, Dallas Arboretum

Pumpkin house, Dallas Arboretum

From the photos on their website it looks like they’ve changed the displays slightly from last year’s.

We’re hoping to take our grandsons. Maybe we’ll stop at the Root Beer Saloon (Saturdays and Sundays through November 1). Certainly we’ll go to the playhouse exhibit. There are 14 playhouses based on children’s books, such as One Fish, Red Fish, Two Fish, Blue Fish, Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island, etc. This exhibit will run through December 31.

A Harvest Tea is offered from September 19th to November 25th 2009. Reservations only. $35.00 per person. Ouch. But at least it’s a meal (high tea) and not just an afternoon tea. I don’t think we’ll be taking the boys to this one. This sounds like a grandma and drag-grandpa-along event.

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Filed under Autumn, Events & Museums, Gardening, Texas