Snow Globe to Preserve Memories


Forty-three years ago when we were dating, my husband gave me this glass terrarium.  It was planted with a miniature garden, a romantic and beautiful gift for our first Christmas together.  The garden is gone but the lidded glass globe has been sitting on top of our china cupboard throughout our marriage.

The popularity of snow globes inspired me to turn our terrarium into a winter wonderland for Christmas.

  • Cut a circle out of white poster board to fit the bottom of the globe.
  • Find elements that will fit the scale of your globe.  You can also use clear glass jars and vases for your snow globe.  I found a small white and gold cottage tree ornament with two small bottle brush trees in front to fit mine.  Glue the house to the circle.
  • Look for vintage-style deer or figures to add to your scene.  I chose a vintage celluloid stag that belonged to my husband’s family.  It is the perfect place to show him off and keep him safe.
  • Add more bottle brush trees, natural or flocked branches.  Glue to the circle.
  • Carefully insert the circle into the globe.
  • Sprinkle artificial mica snowflakes into the globe to cover the poster board and create a nostalgic snow scene.

My snow globe sits on a raised vintage cake stand among a display of other white ornaments.

Merry Christmas!


Posted in Cottage Projects | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Farm Grove Barn Christmas House Tour

We have the joy of living in a restored four-level dairy barn.  Originally the barn was the home of the Farm Grove Restaurant and Shops and Farm Grove Collectables which we owned and operated for 26 years.  Now that we are retired, we still enjoy decking the barn for Christmas as if our customers were still arriving for a Christmas Open House.


The front porch is draped with garland and red velvet bows hinting at what is inside.  Welcome!


A primitive basket is filled with greens, berries, and two Hammond peppermint lollypops in the foyer.

The Great Room Tree

The Great Room Tree

Our favorite toys come out to play under the great room tree.  Tanner the Christmas deer keeps a wary eye for mischievous antics.  Rabbit has been known to take the vintage wagon for a spin.  Tim the teddy is happy on the hobby horse, a hand-crafted toy passed down in Butch’s family.


Our country kitchen is perfect for traditional decorations.  A tall fir sits on the island counter. Garland drapes the hutch and open shelving.  The Hoosier cabinet is still my baking center as it was for cooks around the turn of the century.



The barn wood staircase is draped in grapevine, double garland, cherries, glass icicles and holly ribbon bows.


The two guest bedrooms are also decorated for the season.  The rose bedroom is aptly decorated in roses and sugarplums. This rosy red room is filled with vintage fashions and collectable toys that would gladden the heart of any young miss.


The silver tea tray serves Christmas morning breakfast.  Actual silk roses fill a corner vase.  My grandmother’s treadle sewing machine is a simple vanity with antique mirror.


A vintage dress form wears a circa 1900’s lace day dress.  My wedding gown is also displayed on a full dress form; two Jessica McClintock dresses hang on a weathered shutter screen.

A Tea Tray for Christmas Morning

A Tea Tray for Christmas Morning

The tea tray holds a vintage china cup and saucer and egg cup.  A cinnamon candy cane and tiny bear are treats that will help the little princess wait until it is time to open presents.


The next-door blue bedroom is decorated with natural elements and has a decided cabin and deer theme.  Hand-knit wool gloves trimmed with red gingham hang on the door.  A rustic cabin birdhouse sits on the dresser surrounded by greens and a candle-lit lantern. Nubby boot socks with vintage lace trim are hung for stockings.  Make these boot socks by sewing vintage lace trim to a pair of warm work socks or hunting socks from a sporting goods store.


Small Cedar Tree in the Window

Small Cedar Tree in the Window

A small cedar tree on our Farm Grove property is potted in a Hall pottery stump base with moss and tiny cones around the base.  A glittery deer looks right at home beneath the tree. The vintage 1950’s candle casts soft light at dusk.  The rough linen Deer Feed pillow looks right at home among the primitive outdoor landscapes and cabin prints.



The focal point in the blue bedroom is a sparkling blue and silver candelabra.  I removed the wiring from a white chandelier, replaced the light bulbs with glass tea cups and tea lights, and shrouded it in greens and silver berries.  A collection of new and vintage glass balls and strands of blue beads hang from the greens.


As we go back downstairs a vintage Santa and Christmas journal with cardinals sits next to a china kitten in a basket.


An oil by Pelbam I call “Abraham” sits on the staircase next to a large fruit and berry studded wreath.

Lighted Candles on the Piano

Lighted Candles on the Piano

The piano, decorated with a cranberry arrangement and garland studded with antique cards, is set against the wall at the bottom of the stairs next to a large antique oak armoire.  Playing Christmas carols like Silent Night and favorite standards like Sleigh Ride, Silver Bells, and White Christmas is sweetly nostalgic.  I remember singing carols on Christmas Day as my aunt played.  My tinkling is not as competent but the sweet melodies that tell of Christ’s birth more than makeup for my mistakes.



Looking for a Christmas gift filled with hope and excitement about the future?  SPIRITUAL PREPPING FOR THE RAPTURE outlines God’s future plan for believers in Jesus Christ.  If you have wondered about the doctrine of the Rapture/Resurrection of the Church, the day all believers  will be caught up to meet Christ in the air, this book by Sharon L. Clemens answers all the most-asked questions and shares her own approach to preparing spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically for the end of the end times.

Spiritual Prepping for the Rapture by Sharon L. Clemens is available on – $8 in soft cover; $2.99 in e-book format. 

ALSO ON AMAZON:  Preview Sharon’s Christian love stories set in Door County, Wisconsin.  Her five fictional novels are uplifting romantic stories guaranteed to have a wedding and a happy ending.  The picturesque setting is the quaint fishing villages of the Door known as the Cape Cod of the Midwest.  Sharon’s latest release is Door County Escape set in Egg Harbor on beautiful Green Bay.  Enjoy winter reading that transports the reader to the shores of Lake Michigan.



Posted in Cottage lifestyle, Uncategorized | Tagged | 2 Comments

Traditional Christmas

Miniature Paper Cottage Village

Miniature Paper Cottage Village

The decorating for Christmas 2014 is almost complete.  My tiny paper village is happy on a bed of faux’ batting snow sparkling with mica flakes on the sunroom mantle.  A trio of feather fir trees and vintage deer make the scene come alive.

Sunroom Table Top Tree

Sunroom Table Top Tree

The table top tree in the sunroom is filled with a collection of vintage ornaments.  Tiny German angels, embossed balls with “Silent Night” and “Jingle Bells” scenes are joined by paper scrap ornaments and small candles.  Vintage boxed Christmas card collections look like old-fashion presents under the tree.

1940's Paper Nativity

1940’s Paper Nativity

My grandmother’s paper nativity sits on the library table at the base of the staircase.  A strand of tiny LED lights adds touches of starlight to the scene. A trio of candles adds more seasonal glow.  This nativity has been re-released by B. Shakman and Co.  It may be available on-line for those wishing to celebrate childhood memories.



P.S.  The perfect spiritual gift for the Christmas season?  Spiritual Prepping for the Rapture by Sharon L. Clemens.  Christ took on human flesh over 2000 years ago and was born in the small village of Bethlehem.  What does the Bible say about His return?  Learn about the Rapture or the Day of Christ when He will catch out His remnant in the Church.  We are living in exciting times!  Available in soft cover at for $8.00 or in e-book format for Kindle or Kindle app on your PC and/or smart phone for $2.99.

Posted in Cottage lifestyle, Cottage Projects | Tagged | Leave a comment

Decorations that Usher in the Holidays and Stay for the Winter

Winter White Mantle in the Sitting Room

Winter White Mantle in the Sitting Room


Sheep are one of my favorite images; white sheep in winter snow–even better.  I found this popular print on canvas at Step Back In Time on the square in Washington, IL, and knew it had to go home with me. Although my Christmas decorations are still in their snug storage boxes, this mantle is perfect for a cozy room during the holidays and all winter long.  This is a faux’ mantle so I cannot kindle a warm fire but a strand of white lights on beige cords is wound through a stack of white birch logs on the hearth. The arrangement sparkles like the light of a low fire. I will add fresh pine branches behind the logs closer to Christmas. Tall white tapers on the mantle cast a glow over the picture and add to the softness of winter light in the room. This is my favorite room for breakfast or a cup of coffee gazing out over the pond through the French doors.

To mirror the flock of black-faced sheep in the print, a hand-crafted cluster of angora sheep seems to have just stepped out of the picture.  I was tickled to find three wild cedar trees growing in the rocks under my front porch this summer; I potted the medium-sized tree in a Hall cream-ware vase that looks like a stump. Real moss from the garden surrounds the tree; tiny cones from our Red Pine tree decorate the branches.  A miniature evergreen is in perfect scale to the winter scene.

Deer Feed Linen Pillow in the Guest Bedroom

Deer Feed Linen Pillow in the Guest Bedroom

I am still using the image of a prancing deer on my needle felting projects. Find the image on my Pinterest board “Totally Christmas.”  I crafted this home-spun linen pillow with blanket stitching and felted the deer image. To make it look like a primitive feed sack, which was probably the original use of the linen, I used a template and fine-line marker to outline the words. To give the wording a shadowed look like stenciling I lightly brushed in the letters with a medium black marker.  Although I could have stenciled “Reindeer Feed,” this pillow can accent the blue cabin-style bedroom all year long.

Happy Thanksgiving! May your table be filled with family and friends.

Posted in Cottage Projects | Tagged | Leave a comment

Reindeer Pillows

Reindeer Pillows

Reindeer Pillows

Christmas accent pillows can be hand-sewn from fabric scraps and stuffed with fiber fill.  I used a vintage raw linen bag for the larger pillow and finished the top seam with a blanket stitch to add a hand-crafted look.  The deer image comes from a pin on my Pinterest board “Totally Christmas.”

Copy the pin, cut it out, and glue it to poster board to make a pattern.  Trace around the pattern onto the pillow face with a fine-line marker.  The image can also be traced on felt, cut out and stitched to the pillow.  I chose to needle felt the image by filling in the outlines with black wool and then needle punching the wool into a soft matt finish.  To make the edges crisp, punch in the end of a strand of wool along the edge; then twist the strand into a tight string. While holding the tail to keep it from uncoiling, punch the narrow string of wool along the outline.  Then fill in with more wool until you have the desired thickness.  The image is soft and wooly.

Deer pillows can add a winter/north woods accent long after Christmas is gone.


Posted in Cottage Projects | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving Herbal Wreath


Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

A natural botanical wreath filled with autumn bounty decorates the china hutch in the dining room.  The base is silver king artemesia. It is studded with sweet annie, yellow yarrow, rose hips, sour dock heads, dried rust roses and carnations, sage and pine cones.

May your home be filled with family and praise for many blessings.

Posted in Cottage Projects | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Natural Botanical Sources of Vitamin C

Lemon Balm on Left; Lemon Thyme on Right

Lemon Balm on Left; Lemon Thyme on Right

Vitamin C is essential for good health and especially helpful during cold and flu season. Winter, when we need good vitamin intake the most, is often the season when we cut back on fresh fruits and vegetables that contain Vitamin C.  The two herbs above are a great way to keep this vitamin in your diet and they taste delicious.

Red Rose Hips and Pine Needles

Red Rose Hips and Pine Needles

Two other natural sources are rose hips and pine needles.  For full benefits, crush the rose hips and brew fresh tea.  The hips can also be dried and crushed.  Collect fresh pine needles for tea all year long. Who knew our decorative landscaping could be healthy?  The particular pine above, a conifer with very small cones, is also used to treat radiation poisoning.

All of these sources make delicious teas and deliver the benefits hot and fresh.  Add any lemon herb to your cooking for a boost of flavor, especially chicken and fish.  Try creating your own lemon seasoning mix for gift giving by grinding the herbs with sea salt and other condiments and herbs.

Lemon balm, roses that produce hips, and thyme can be grown in your own garden then harvested and dried and crushed into air tight canning jars for herb tea or condiments all season. Lemon balm is also a natural virus fighter.  Lemon thyme or English thyme are natural antibacterial herbs.  Lemon herbs are effective in treating headache and fever.

An herbal medicine garden takes up little space and is a wonderful organic addition to your healthy lifestyle. Lemon balm is one of the easiest herbs to grow because it is a hardy perennial herb in the mint family; give it some room to spread out.  Lemon thyme is a tender perennial that must be brought inside in a pot to winter-over in Zone 5 or grow it annually.  English thyme, however, is a hardy perennial that will come back next season but it does not have the lemony benefits of its more tender cousin.  English thyme is excellent for savory dishes like pasta, meat, chicken and fish.


Posted in Cottage Gardening, Cottage lifestyle | Tagged , | Leave a comment