December 31, 2010

Homemade Gifts Reveal Part 3: Polymer Clay Stuff

In our third and final segment of the reveal of my homemade Christmas gifts, Blog, I'm happy to present the polymer clay projects.  It's my favorite medium! So let's get right to it.


My daughter Manzi likes Hitchcock movies, sure, but she's a fan of a lot of films, including Disney's "Ratatouille." She's nuts about the little rat chef hero, Remy.

Now Manzi and Nate's place is a little crowded (they're moving to bigger digs soon, yay!) so I didn't want to give her a Remy that didn't justify his existence somehow. Meanwhile, I knew that culinary devotee Manzi didn't have a decent salt cellar. So I decided to incorporate salt storage into my Remy. And, synchronistically, a week or two after I made this decision, Manzi even mentioned to me her desire for a salt cellar. It was destiny!

I sought out a few images of the cartoon Remy from different angles to use as models. Then I made a core of aluminum foil and incorporated some sturdy wire to support Remy's tail and arm. I used a pair of leftover eyes I'd made previously (a time-consuming process I was glad to have pre-completed), a lot of gray and pink clay, and beading wire for whiskers. A scrap of white fabric became his kerchief, emblazoned in red pen with "Cucina alla Z," a reference to Manzi's imaginary restaurant/catering business (her other nickname is "Z"). A salt cellar purchased from Bed, Bath and Beyond and an old baby spoon completed Remy's accessories.

Here's the little guy ready to assist in the kitchen:

And a back view showing off his tail:

If I had any artistic skill, this project would have been easier (it took me about five hours), but I admit I struggled to get my rat to have a proper resemblance to Remy. I guess I succeeded, because when Manzi opened the package, she obviously recognized him right away:

Happy happy joy joy, hey Blog?


My dad taught me a love of science fiction from practically babyhood. He introduced me to one of sci-fi's most famous robots, Robby from "Forbidden Planet," way back in the early 60s. As I pondered what I might create for a guy like him, the idea of a robot came pretty quickly to mind.

My day job is at a company that sells machine parts, and it so happens we have a lot of parts that have been used as promotional and display items and end up sitting around in odd corners and drawers, going to waste (and making a lot of clutter). From these I scavenged a nice collection of bolts, brackets, washers, oil site glasses and other nifty steampunk-y elements. Supplemented with a few items from our own junk drawers, I had enough stuff to combine into a robot. In fact, I used nearly everything I had glommed: again, kismet.

Combining these elements with metallic polymer clay, assembled with super glue and support wires for strength and stability, after something like four hours I achieved this final result:

Note that inside his belly you can see behind the glass a little red heart! That's 'cause I love my dad.  :-)

Here's the back view:

He looks ready to take over the universe, hey? And here's Dad showing him off on Christmas Eve:


Polymer clay jewelry is where I started with this hobby, so for sure that came into play come gift-making time.

For my mother-in-law Sherrie, who likes pins, wears a lot of blue, and collects birdhouses, I made a bird pin. I used techniques from my idol, Christi Friesen. Here it is:

I'm a sucker for jewel tones. Alas, I was at the day job when Sherrie received this so no photo of her wearing it, but she told me on the phone she loved it. Yay!

Meanwhile, for Nate's daughter Ava, I had to utilize Christi Friesen's dragon techniques. Ava loves the movie "How to Train Your Dragon" (who wouldn't?) so I wanted to give her a dragon of her own. I also worked her name into it! Happily, it's not hard to carve "AVA."

The little guy is curled around a blue stone and has bead eyes and a nice string of iridescent beads along his spine. As of this writing we haven't had a chance to give it to Ava yet, but I have been assured she will adore it!

Both these pieces came out in less than three hours. You can make such cool things with polymer clay so quickly!


Not content to leave the claying at that, I also made a little tree ornament for each of the grown-ups. I had several ideas I had accumulated during the season and wanted to try them all.

For foodies Manzi and Nate, it seemed appropriate to make something that looked edible. I had seen faux chocolates at Stein's Garden & Gifts and knew you could make fake chocolate a lot better with polyclay. I made four different chocolates and strung them up in pairs with red cord on homemade wire hooks. See what I mean? It starts me drooling just to look at them. Trick of the trade for stuff like this: use mismatched scrap clay for the cores and then cover with the good stuff.

For the older generation among us--Dad and Sherrie--I went for elegant. Sometime during our holiday shopping I saw tiny packages made of polymer clay, so I wanted to try it myself. I made red and green striped wrapping paper of pearlized red and green clay, and YES, it was just as painstaking as you might suppose. Yikes. But all worth it when I saw the result, such evenly striped, thin stuff. I literally wrapped two "boxes" of scrap clay in this wrapping. They were finished with tiny ribbons and bows of white clay. After baking, I painted Future floor polish on the bows and ribbons to make them shiny. With a wire loop inserted and strung on red cord, the ornaments were good to go on the trusty tannenbaum.

Katie and Chris are the whimsical types, so for them I had to make a pair of anthropomorphized Christmas tree bulbs. I think you can work out from looking at them the simple approach I took; and I used leftover clay wrapping paper for their little scarves (that stuff was too cool to toss out). A coating of Future on the "glass" parts makes them shiny.

Well, Blog, that sums it up for this year's Creative Christmas presents on my part. I can report that I've never had a Christmas where I enjoyed giving gifts even half this much. And the getting was just as much of an upgrade! From the promissory note for a professional photoshoot of all my crafts by Chris (much better than these pix have been, Blog), to Nate's crazy "Give me the Davie Special" gift basket of rum and amaretto... Katie's spa kits and certificate for a full-fledged spa day at her house, to Manzi's fun homemade gift cards for activities with her stepdad, everyone came through. Even non-artistic Davie found some absolutely amazing gifts we never imagined existed.

That was our Christmas at Magic House. If it sounds fun to you out there, you have almost a year to plan for having a Creative Christmas in your own family's style in 2012! Needless to say, we're already percolating ideas...

December 29, 2010

Homemade Gifts Reveal Part 2: Graphics Stuff

Hey Blog, welcome to Part 2 of my big reveal of the gifts I made for my beloved family for our First Annual Creative Christmas. For three of the presents, I made use of the countless nifty ways in which we can use modern graphics technology to make neat stuff.


So, while on our fall shopping trip to Cedarburg, I saw those photography alphabet letters you can buy to make personalized signs. (Later, I learned they also offer this sort of thing at Michael's: their "Sticks and Stones" line.) Their use of black and white photos to suggest letters was really attractive to me, and reminded me of Katie's boyfriend Chris, who is a professional photographer. However, the ones I saw cost $7 a letter! Oy, who could afford to say more than "YOU ROCK" with our spending limit?

Later, I had the brainstorm to make my own sign in a crafty fashion, and the first step was to get photographs of letters.  It suddenly dawned on me that Chris himself has taken photographs of a bizillion signs over the years. I went to his Flickr pages and, over the course of a VERY long time, found all the letters for my sign message.  I then had to crop and resize them to precisely equal dimensions, convert them to black and white, and fix the brightness and contrast for consistency and visibility. Thank you, Photoshop!

I bought a balsa wood board at Michael's; one of the hardest parts of the project was sawing it evenly with our lame saw (could have used my new Dremel tool that day!). Then I sanded the cut edge and painted the board black.

Printing, very precise cutting, and very even mounting of the letters followed. And after that, I put approximately 37582075 layers of Mod Podge on the board. The whole project took about 12 hours. The final result:

The coolness of this sign is in direct proportion to the coolness of the original images (some of which, you'll note, are not letters but rather things that mimic letters). When Chris opened the present, I pretty quickly pointed out that all the photos were his, and that was awesome! He started identifying the locations of the various shots...super fun! (Some of you can recognize the second "R" was from an Iron Maiden poster he photographed.)

And best of all, no copyright infringement! Well, technically it was, but Chris didn't mind. Here he is with Katie happily studying his new sign:


The brilliant illustrator Dyna Moe has been creating awesome Mad Men art for some time now. She's offered tons of cool images for free download for fans of the show, with plenty of support from the AMC cable channel. She's not allowed to sell her stuff, nor are those of us who privately enjoy it and/or give it to their daughter Amanda's boyfriend for Christmas.

Dyna's illustrations were the source I used to create a set of cocktail recipe cards. Once again Photoshop came to the rescue as I had to do quite a lot of design of my own, rearranging Dyna's graphics for this format.

I printed out the cards on light card stock in my computer printer, then laminated them back to back with my Xyron® laminating machine. I punched a hole in the corner of each card and put them all together with a key ring-type ring. The results:

There you have it, 18 classic cocktail recipes to keep in the bar area, impervious to spills of gin, grenadine, olive juice and the like! This was a speedy project to complete, at only about four hours. Nevertheless, Nate was thrilled, and therefore I was UBERthrilled:


My daughter Amanda aka Manzi (or Manzy, as she spells it, or Mandsi, as her sister spells it) is a film buff, and her favorite director is Alfred Hitchcock. In fact, she is working on a huge book that will encyclopedically analyze every one of his films. So, when in my daily blog reading I ran into some mini-Hitch-posters, I thought of her. I wish I could remember who did them, but I since deleted the link, my bad. At any rate, once again I fall back on the "I'm not stealing if I didn't make any money" excuse here. I saved the four posters to my computer and began trying to think of how to use them in a mini-gift.

My best idea was some sort of four-sided Christmas ornament that could incorporate the images. The internet, for once, yielded nothing when I search on "photo cube ornament" and such like. So I went to Michael's in a last-ditch effort to find something appropriate.

Sure enough, I found the perfect thing! I sized the posters appropriately (they are about 3/4" x 3/4") and put them in the ornament ball, and voila:

Count the searching, and this project only took me an hour and a half or so. The actual project itself was done in like 20 minutes!

For such little effort I got a fab reaction from Manzi and Nate:

You may note here that graphic design is not exactly my forte, hence the liberal use of images created by others much more talented than me. Obviously most of the credit for these items goes to the actual artists, and I'm grateful to them for sharing their work on the internet.

Next time I will go more original, Blog, as I venture into an area that is more my expertise... Part 3: Polymer Clay Stuff!

December 27, 2010

Homemade Gifts Reveal Part 1: Needlecrafts

Hey Blog, it was the best Christmas ever for our family in every way! A lot of the reason was that it was our first "Creative Christmas." Daughter Katie, with the backing of her sis Amanda, suggested this year we eschew lists and give each other total surprise gifts, things involving less expense and more creative thinking. As a crafty sort of person, I took that ball and ran with it! And the family members all did a super job on their gifts. I love everything I received! And I humbly report that my gifts were all huge hits. Yay!

So, I've been keeping the interwebs in suspense as to most of what I was up to the past months, and now I'm here to share with you all those secrets at last! I'm going to post three parts to this Big Reveal, starting today with needlecrafts. Two of my presents were sewn items, and here they are.


You may recall some months ago when I made a new case for my little camera, ICU. When Katie saw it, she expressed the wish that she had a small camera (rather than her big SLR type) just so she could have such a case. Subsequently, she tracked down on Etsy some felt cameras that had been made by needlecraft artists that made her flip (and cost beaucoup bucks). How could I not take this as a hint?

So, I looked for a model of camera that had a simple boxy shape and a lot of doodads all over it, and found this Rolleiflex. It was perfect to reproduce (more or less accurately) in felt. The camera is about 3" tall and I reinterpreted all its lenses, dials, buttons and crank in felt and thread. All the little snippets were glued before sewing, which helped keep everything in place. The stitches used (for the embroiderers out there) were running, whip, and satin. I reinforced the strap with ribbon so it is sturdy and you can actually wear the camera. It's stuffed with polyester fiberfill with cardboard to support the shape.

And yes, embroidering the tiny letters on this thing was really a challenge.

So, here are views from all four sides. Just to be cute, I incorporated Katie's birthdate in the serial number on the back.

This little project took about 20 hours, including the original pattern making. I'll put it to you this way: I had a great time doing it, but I don't want to do another one real soon! LOL

And most certainly it was all worth it when I saw Katie's reaction on Christmas Eve:

(By the way, Blog, she had overheated from all the excitement even before this.)


Davie and I are huge fans of Simon's Cat, the feline cartoon/video star of the interwebs. During the fall, I discovered that the website had a neat little gift shop and in December they planned to offer stuffed Simon's cats for sale. I bookmarked the page with the intention of getting one for Davie. However, I went to the site in December only to find that the stuffed cats were sold out! Bummer!

One evening Davie went to bed especially early and I had nothing to do (yeah, can you believe that?). I had a sudden brainstorm that why not use the three hours of time out of Davie's sight to make him a homemade Simon's Cat? Could I be blamed for copyright infringement when I really tried to buy one from the shop but couldn't? :-)

I designed one that I felt interpreted the 2D nature of a cartoon cat into a suitable 3D version (the one sold on the site was just a 2D image made into a pillow). It really seemed to work, and after I cut it out, sewed it, stuffed it, and highlighted the "pen lines" with Magic Marker, I decided it truly did! Here's the little guy:

And next to Cody, for scale:

In the insane flurry that was the holiday, we almost forgot to open the box with the cat in it! But he was the last present opened, and is now ensconced on a nice perch on Davie's computer desk.

In our next episode, I'll share Part 2: Graphics Stuff!

December 21, 2010

My Impossible Christmas List

Blog, in these days of high tech toys and other luxuries, a person needs to pause and consider the more elusive things we all wish for come this holiday time. No, I'm not talking about world peace, an end to hunger and homelessness, or other such altruistic dreams...I'm far too self-centered for that. I'm talking about that list of dream gifts that each of us has, items that even Santa couldn't bring to us because they're more or less impossible to hope for.

So, because I'm self-centered enough to think our readers might care, here's my personal Impossible Christmas List for 2010:

1.  That blue creature in the AT&T Windows phone commercials. He has beady eyes, tiny limbs, a fun mouth, and says "Wow-wow-wow. Wow." Neither does the Blue Guy exist in real life, there are no plush versions available for purchase. The best I can do is hope that the commercial remains available on YouTube forever so I can watch it occasionally to see my little pal. [Let's give a shout out to YouTube for existing, shall we?]

2.  A class at Greendale Community College taught by Dr. Linus. Imagine the good version of that oh-so-conflicted character from "Lost," Ben Linus, standing at the white board of some classroom you could share with Jeff, Abed, and the crew from "Community." At some point Abed would observe in his adorable deadpan, "This is a cross-network mashup of comedy and drama, I wonder if we should be funny or inscrutable." I would say, "This is a cross-network fantasy incorporating two of my TV dream guys, I wonder if I should flirt with Abed or Dr. Linus." [I am grateful though to have lived in the time of "Lost" and that "Community" did not get cancelled after one season.]

3.  Having said class be a course in my books called "Diana Laurence 101." Imagine Dr. Linus doing literary analysis on the stories in Soulful Sex: The Darker Side. Because that's one of my favorites and I wish romance readers everywhere had a copy. Dr. Linus would say, "Your assignment for tomorrow, class, is to read 'Kiss Me and Other Commands' and be prepared to talk about what you would do if you had Bix's powers." Neato, Blog. [Grateful though that I was able to write that book, because it was big fun.]

4.  A giant treehouse. I love trees. I love houses. I love treehouses. You're up high and there are leaves right outside your windows. I know it's not impossible to live in a treehouse... someone lives in this one. But as we are not willing to move out of Magic House and have almost no yard, there will not be a treehouse in our future, Blog. [Fortunately, Magic House is the next best thing to a treehouse, I think.]

5.  The NFL making a decision in the Brett Favre sexting case. Now this, apparently, really IS impossible, Blog. Still, I wish it could happen. [Thank heavens this happened with my arch-nemesis player rather than a hero... love ya, Guy Carbonneau!]

6.  Lots and lots of cats. Sadly, there is a limit to the reasonable number of cats a person can own if she lives indoors and not outside on a 100 acre ranch or something. I would love it if we could alter the space/time continuum so that I could adopt every cat that I see that is cute in perpetuity. Eventually I would own thousands of cats. I would need to work 300-hour weeks to make enough to house and feed said cats, which is why this item is on the Impossible Christmas List.[Happily, I only have to work a little bit to feed Cody, Alice and Selke. And I'm not allergic to cats which would be the saddest thing ever, Blog.]

7.  A food that tastes like chocolate covered potato chips but is the healthiest thing you can possibly eat. Or maybe like crullers. [Can I get a hell's-yeah for the invention of the cruller?]

8.  Working pancreases for diabetics everywhere. See, I can get altruistic, Blog! As one myself, I know how awesome it would be to wake up tomorrow with my functioning pancreas back. [Nevertheless, Navie my continuous glucose monitor is the next best thing, so hooray for him...and I wish diabetics everywhere could have one too.]

9.  The Swarovski crystal tiger only costing $34.95. I saw this tiger in Las Vegas and coveted it. It costs about $450.  Now Blog, you may be thinking, "Why not just put the tiger on the list?" Well first of all, that's not impossible. It just costs $450. I don't want myself or anyone paying the amount that could get you a nice flat-screen TV for a crystal tiger. I want the beautiful tiger to only cost $34.95, and then I'd buy it myself. [Happily, it costs me less than $450 to sponsor our live tiger, Kahn, for a year, and that comes guilt-free.]

10. All my blog followers and Facebook friends from around the world at Magic House for a fantastic party with my fabulous family. Blog, it's incredible how many people I've met on the interwebs have become great friends of mine, and how much I depend upon their comradeship and support on a daily basis. It would be swell to crank the Neverending Ubiquitous Patio Party Playlist on my iPod, crack open the bounteous Magic House bar, and host the whole gang face-to-face.

However, I do have an iPod (new this year), a bounteous bar, all those fantastic friends, and that fabulous family. So even if I can't have the stuff on my Impossible Christmas List, I don't have a single complaint.

December 14, 2010

The most romantic date ever imagined

Blog, if Christmas isn’t a time for romantic fantasies, I don’t know when is. Having a doozy sort of imagination, I came up with a doozy, which in the interest of holiday cheer I thought I’d share with our readers. Everyone has his or her own concept of the most romantic date ever, and I hope today’s post will inspire others to do their own Christmas dreaming a little early this year.

Of course a girl has to start with her current crush in the role of protagonist. Mine this year is Jack Hodgins from “Bones,” played by the inimitable T.J. Thyne. (I know he just married Angela on the show, but I’m married in actual real life, so what’s your point, Blog?) In order to pull off this dreamy holiday date, a guy would have to be unrealistically aware of feminine hopes and dreams, as well as loaded with a ton of disposable income. Neither T.J. nor Jack really qualify I imagine, but look...if I were going for plausibility here I would simply go out with the awesome Davie (my husband, that Davie).

Okay, let’s roll it...

Jack announces to me that he has planned the ideal Christmastime date, and it starts at the mall. Yes, the mall, don’t roll your eyes, Blog. He’s found a fantasy mall that is just about the most festive shopping scene you could imagine. Every shop in the place is decked out in holiday splendor, and there’s a fairy tale castle in the food court inhabited by the perfect Santa and the coolest elves. We’re holding hands and window shopping, when suddenly around us people start singing “Welcome Christmas” from “The Grinch.” You know, like one of those viral videos where regular people in the place turn out to be this fantastic choir incognito. It’s glorious! Jack and I sing along and grin at each other and I weep a few tears of joy.

Well, Jack tells me he has a little “private shopping” to do, and he drops me off at a salon. The beauticians have been prepped in advance to do a fabulous makeover on me, hair and nails and makeup, the whole bit. It’s a complete Fairy Godmother scene. I can’t imagine where I could go looking so fancy. Well, as they finish up with me, a couple of big packages are delivered to the salon, all wrapped up in spectacular paper and bows. One is this gorgeous ivory cashmere wrap, and the other is a gown with matching shoes. It’s mocha colored and glittery and shimmery and I love it. I put it on and model it for the salon folks, and just then who should show up but Jack.

He’s staring at me like a man possessed, and murmurs, “You look perfect.” I blush and feel like a million and a half dollars. I say, “You got me these presents, didn’t you?” He nods and says, “Yeah, and this one,” and holds out another package. I unwrap it, and it’s a necklace, bracelet and earrings with those chocolate diamonds and pearls that I’ve seen advertised on TV and know are too expensive for a sane person to buy. They are also perfect with the gown. Jack helps me put the jewelry on, and the salon staff all claps, and I’m speechless.

“Now,” says Jack, extricating himself from my crazed embrace, “you look so great you have to go somewhere.” He tells me there’s a limo waiting for me outside the mall, which will take me to our next destination, where he’ll be waiting for me. Stunned, I agree to follow his directions. Jack takes off with a look of glee on his face, and I say farewell to my friends in the salon and go out the back door to where a beautiful black limo is parked, sure enough.

The limo driver is that cool cabbie from “How I Met Your Mother,” and he’s super nice. He settles me in the back like a real footman, and off we go. We drive through the city streets and I admire all the Christmas lights and try to guess where we could possibly be going. He takes a bit of a scenic route but I don’t mind; the limo is playing Christmas music and I keep looking at my necklace and bracelet and wonder how it’s possible those gorgeous things are on my body.

Finally we pull up to this fabulous art deco building that has a big stairway leading up to the front entrance. It looks like an opera house or something equally elegant. The driver lets me out, and then I see Jack coming down the stairs towards me. He’s in a tuxedo and looks beyond dreamy. Which I tell him. He just smiles secretively and takes my hand, and we go up the stairs and into the building.

Inside there is a fabulous ballroom, decked out in Christmas trees and holly boughs and candlelight. A big band is playing “Christmas Waltz,” and the room is full of dancers in their finery. Jack and I dance, flying across the floor as if we’re on “Dancing with the Stars” or something. And so it goes, we dance and drink champagne and eat lovely little canapés and cookies, and stroll around admiring the decorations and enjoying the music, and dancing some more.

Then the band pauses, and Jack excuses himself with a sly look, and heads towards the stage. Next thing I know, he’s at the microphone saying, “I have a holiday dedication for a very special lady, so I hope you all won’t mind if I sing this next one.” The crowd looks excited and happy, the band strikes up “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” and Jack starts to sing.

His voice is amazing, and all the time he’s looking at me with this tender expression and that smile of his that just makes me crazy. I feel like the most beautiful girl on the planet. When he’s done the crowd goes crazy, and he comes back to me and kisses me in front of everyone.

Well, at this point, Blog, I figure I must simply have died and gone to heaven. But the night isn’t over yet. After a few more dances, a little more champagne, Jack asks if I’m ready for our next stop. I can’t believe there is a next stop. But he gets my wrap and puts it around my shoulders, and we go back outside where there’s another limo waiting, a white one this time.

We cuddle up inside and drink some hot cocoa, and take a long drive past more beautifully decorated buildings and shops and parks. At last we pull up to this fancy hotel, and the car comes to a stop.

So yes, we have a room at this fantastic hotel, a special, immense Christmas room that has a real tree in it all decorated, and a fireplace with a roaring fire, and little white lights all over the ceiling like stars. There’s another present sitting on the bed, and I open it to find a beautiful ivory satin negligee. Jack and I get ready for bed, and snuggle together, and I go off about what an incredible time it all was that I will never, ever forget. Jack tells me, “I know you won’t, I made sure about that...but that’s a surprise for morning.” I can’t imagine what he means, and I’m too exhausted to ponder it for long, and fall asleep in his arms.

The next morning room service brings us a fabulous breakfast, and set it out on the table in our room, with red and white roses and more champagne and wonderful coffee. We linger a long time over the meal, talking about the night before and how nuts we are for each other and other cheerful subjects. Then there’s a knock at the door and Jack returns with another wrapped gift. “Here’s what I promised you last night,” he says, and gives it to me.

When I open the package I find inside a beautiful scrapbook. Inside it’s full of unbelievably perfect photographs of everything that happened the previous day: the singing at the mall, my makeover, me in the gown opening the jewelry, Jack at the top of the ballroom stairs, us dancing, him singing with the band, everything. “I hired two professional photographers to stalk us,” says Jack, “and a graphic designer to stay up all night putting that book together.”

Well, isn’t that just the capper, Blog? What kind of guy would think of such an amazing idea? Well, a guy I dreamed up, I guess, Blog. Sigh. You know, if I could just borrow T.J. Thyne to do a fake photoshoot to create that scrapbook, that in and of itself would be super fantastic.

I love Christmastime romantic fantasies, don’t you? Anyone out there have a holiday date idea I left out? Want to tell me who you’d pick for your fantasy date? Anyway, I hope my doozy imagination inspired a few people to do some Christmas dreaming.

December 6, 2010

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Blog, winter weather in Wisconsin is no great shakes, but we do have our days when it's pretty darn cool.  Wow, I could have done some punning there.  But actually, I'm here to share the photos I took December 5 when a perfectly sunny day followed after our first snowfall of the year.  Walk with me through the winter wonderland that is Tuckaway.

This is the back of our house, which is actually the front of our house.  You had to expect something curious to be the case at Magic House, didn't you?

This is the path that leads through Windemere Estates, our section of Tuckaway.  We do our best to seem like a cozy Tudor village.

This is a cozy Tudor squirrel.

More Tudor loveliness.

Gimme those good, old-fashioned mature trees.

The neighbor's birdhouse was so cute with snow on the roof.

That's our house in view behind the sign.  We love our huge evergreen trees.

This is the front of our house which is really the back of our house.

Alas, patio party days are suspended till May.  But it's still pretty.

Wanted to show you how nice the snowflake gel clings look on a sunny day.

So Wisconsin winter was worthwhile, for these couple days at least.  Hope you enjoyed sharing the Tudor-y, winter-y coziness, Blog!