October 20, Crossroads Doll and Teddybear Show

October 24, 2012 - One Response

The Salt Lake City doll and teddy bear show happens twice a year. It is the one show I attend on an ongoing basis because I feel it is important to support my local show even though it is always the smallest and often not extremely profitable. It is held at the Utah State Fair Grounds.

With a struggling economy and uncertainty over the  elections, doll interest is low all over. A show that does not draw much traffic, an economy in which many doll companies are closing down leaving prices below cost and still turning up with a shortage of buyers did not offer a very positive prospect for this show. As I mentioned in the last post, I try to fit the show to the venue and prospective customers. Under the circumstances, I couldn’t come up with any good answers as to what to offer at this time. Knowing that the show may be space not only in the way of customers, but also vendors, I decided to add to the show by making our booth fun. I ordered five 8′ tables. That is the biggest space I have ever used.

At one end I set up dolls, clothes, patterns, and books a bit like the last show, but not as fancy.

The girls on display

Our New Dream Doll display station

The rest of the booth was devoted to an “Orphan’s Fall Festival”. We set up booths or stations for each of the orphan sisters. Each reflected the girl’s personality in the activity. Each had the name of the game, a picture of the girl, a short description of what she was like and the game that represented her.

One person checking things out

That’s my awesome husband who nobly consented to help with the show.

Each one of the games had a prize no matter what. Most of the prizes for winning were worth much more than the price of the tickets, while the participation prizes were still something fun. There were people who were curious and came in to read the information and look at the activities, but we found that many of them were shy to try the games. They looked and read about the girls, which was a nice introduction to Ginger Brook Hollow. I was surprised that most of the people who came by this time had not been introduced to us before since we have been doing this show for about seven years.

The Welcome Table

The table in the center held our signs introducing The Ginger Brook Hollow

Orphan’s Fall Festival with a short description, our little brochures, and free candy sticks.

Miniature Cake Walk

Truly a paper doll game.

The first booth next to the doll shelves was Meg’s Paper Doll Cake Walk.

Participants chose a miniature of one of the paper dolls and put her on a stand. Then they placed her on one of the numbered cupcakes. We used a music box to be the music for each session. When the music stopped the characters could no longer be moved and a number was drawn. The winners received their choice of paper doll book. Our little stands looked something like pumpkins with their paper clips sticking out of the top to hold the tiny girls’ pictures.

Bean Bag Toss in miniature

It was fun to pick your prize.

The next booth was Louisa’s Teacup toss. Several teacups sat among the flowers.

Each had a prize by it. In order to get the prize the participant had to get the little stuffed bag into the teacup. It was harder than one would imaging because the bags were not balanced, but all contestants got the opportunity to try until they succeeded. I have to admit the flower garden looked a little beat up after being pummeled with bags filled with rice and stuffing.

A race to transfer candies with chopsticks

How fast are you with chopsticks?

The third booth was April’s Chopstick Race. The objective of this game was to transfer your choice of candies with chopsticks from one bowl to another before the timer rang. I was surprised to find out how few people knew how to use chopsticks or had any desire to learn. I am sure that April would have been all for mastering the skill. This game was worth trying. Just for participation a person could get a fan, a decorative pair of chopsticks, their candy, and a fortune cookie. Winners received special little Chinese minority dolls.

Not bobbing for apples, but grabbing

It’s nice to know your apple isn’t going to have a worm.

Apples and Emmaline simply go together.

Since bobbing for apples isn’t really very sanitary there were plastic apples floating in a big container of water. Once you chose one you received the prize that was written inside. Prizes included tote bags, booklets, calling cards, and stationary.
Johannah’s booth attracted the most attention. It was a horse shoe toss with real metal horse shoes. When these shoes hit the cement floor you could hear the whole show go quiet. One person said it sounded like something was breaking. That is a scary thought at a doll show. The prizes were resin horses and bendable cowboys. You could win both in one game if you were a good shot.

Ring Around the Scarecrow

Who else would have horseshoes, but Johannah?

This pictures is a little bit farther away so that you can see the scarecrows down on the floor. The scarecrows you see are in plastic bins of dirt. They were the objective of the toss. What I want to know is whether those horse shoes really did bring anyone who handled them good luck. I am sure Johannah would have believed thy would.

Not Face painting, apron painting

Pick your pattern and make it right there!

Suzannah’s booth was apron painting. We had all the supplies and patterns for

making the October aprons that came up last year in the orphanage and are now one of the patterns we sell.

Certainly, if you don’t want to make more than one or two aprons, this was a good deal. Everything was there for you and you didn’t have to buy a long strip of Pellon, buttons, ribbon, a pattern, and a set of markers. I still think this is a fun activity for a doll club or group. We had a whole table set up for working on these aprons.

Fishing for a puppet

Fish pond was always my favorite carnival game because I was sure to get a decent prize.

Last, but not least was Kathryn’s puppet fish pond. We had it right next to the puppet theater for good reason. Several times the little puppets made their appearance, and when you cast your pole over the top of the theater into the “fish pond” you were sure to catch a cute plush animal puppet. They were finger puppet size for people and hand puppet size for many dolls.

Tables for apron painting

One onlooker wore a festive shirt for the occasion.

The fall festival idea was fun, but this show proved to have the least attendance of any show I have ever been to. It was quiet, which affected many vendors with lovely displays.  Because of the low attendance, the games at our booth were hardly even used. I think the thing that made me smile the most was the little boy whose mother bought him the 7 ticket special, and he did every game. His first was Johannah’s horseshoe toss where he won both a cowboy and a horse. He immediately made sure that the cowboy could ride the horse. That was something I had not even thought of, and it worked beautifully. He won a lovely heart mirror for his mother on the teacup toss, a lion finger puppet, a fan, and a tote bag to keep everything in.  He even made an apron with bats for his cowboy. However, my favorite things was when we told him he didn’t have to be a girl in the cakewalk, that his cow could participate instead. That cowboy jumped all around the board on every cupcake number for quite a while until the music stopped, and he won a little cookbook.

There is something so refreshing about the enthusiasm of youth. Maybe that is why I have loved the spirit of Ginger Brook Hollow and the seven girls for so long. It takes me into the world of children.

R2N Santa Clara Show

September 30, 2012 - Comments Off on R2N Santa Clara Show

This September I was invited to participate as one of the artists for the R2N UFDC convention. This included being a speaker at a meal event in which 8” April was spotlighted. It also included being in the “Artist Showcase” and exhibiting Ginger Brook Hollow. The event was held in Santa Clara California which is about a 12 hour drive each way. Because Ginger Brook Hollow has a lot more to offer than just the dolls, it is difficult to ship a show display, and we usually participate in shows that are within reasonable traveling distance driving.

Getting ready for a show or event is often a special production at Ginger Brook Hollow. We try to consider who the audience will be. We take into account what themes for newsletters we have used over the past few month and make it all coordinate if needed. We also consider the space we will have and how far we will be transporting the show.

For this convention, we had the smallest amount of table space we have ever had. We were prepared to have only two 6’ tables where often we have had four 8’ tables. Had we not been showing both dolls and books we would have been asked to limit our display to only one table. With the anticipation of limited space I went out in search of a way to “display up” instead of out.

I found a second-hand set of shelves that needed some work and began patching and sanding them.

Just right for dolls, clothes, and patterns

Then they were painted black to match the black and white color scheme of Ginger Brook Hollow. Next, there was a hunt for black cloth to make new table covers to fit over the black and white striped skirting we usually use. Tucks were taken in the usual table covers to shorten them by two feet.

New clothes stands were made so that it was easy to display our clothes options. They followed the simple instructions for making a doll stand that we issued for Dream Circle and that are now included in a set of instructions for making a shelf and individual doll stands.

Simple and cute way to display doll clothes

The additions for a clothes stand were a small heart baked onto the wooden pick and a miniature craft stick attached just below it. So that we would have a fun variety of outfits to offer, I designed 4 new dresses. However, it is difficult to find seamstresses willing to do small quantities, at a price collectors are willing to pay, and still even cover the costs and risk. I left with the dresses still unfinished. Even though my sewing machine was busy in the hotel room these 4 didn’t show up on the display. It is possible that they will be a new addition to Harold’s General Store in time for the holidays.

Just right for holding patterns

New bins were covered in black and white fabric to hold patterns. Then I formatted new sets of patterns and had them printed and packaged to fill the bins. As is usually the case, my dreams were bigger than reality permitted. Refining a pattern, making samples, taking pictures, writing up the directions, printing and packaging them is no small task. There are still 3 out of 9 sets that are in process like the dresses. However, there are six sets out. Instead of having so many pieces in a pattern as we have had in the past, I have lowered the price and made some smaller sets. I am especially excited about the all new set that includes a peasant blouse, a layered skirt, a pair of pants, and a vest. I am also quite excited about the fact that two of the sets are for experienced sewers while two don’t require sewing experience. That means anyone with desire can make clothes for Ginger Brook Hollow dolls, and all of our collectors can look forward to the three new sets that haven’t come out yet.

My dear husband, Derek, accompanied me on this trip. He worked in the hotel room while I attended the conference, and he helped me set up the display and as my cashier at the show. It is true that a person can hardly do without good friends and family. I know that is true for me.

Once the car was loaded we started out, across the desert and the high Sierra Nevada Mountains. I can’t say I saw much of the scenery because I was busy doing the handwork on the special edition travel bags for the April luncheon. The special edition package included some printed materials and a hat and travel bag to complete April’s travel outfit. These were consistent with the theme of the conference which was, “Doll Journies”.

All ready for travel!

I was impressed with all the work that went into the conference. It was hosted by the Free Spirits doll club, and they did some amazing things. It was not permitted for me to take any pictures of the conference, so all I can include here are Ginger Brook Hollow pictures and information.

At April’s luncheon, my own 17” April went with me wearing the first dress that was on eBay for Ginger Brook Hollow dolls. April’s introductory speech was presented as a recording (She is a little shy about talking in public.) The theme of the speech and presentation highlighted not only April’s dream of traveling and her love of writing, but also the fact that the magic of Ginger Brook Hollow is sharing. April shared licorice, and I shared some Ginger Brook Hollow background and the special edition packages. Here is what Little April looks like with her accessories.

A very helpful bellman helped us transport all the things for display so that we could set up for the artist showcase the last day of the convention. We did end up with one 8’ table and one 6’ one. You can see how the display looked in the pictures. My awesome husband is the guy sitting on the end of the tables by the trunks containing books.

I like the guy who took the money.

What things looked like from the start

 

This particular show lasted only 4 hours which went by extremely fast. We were able to pack up and be on our way back to Utah in no time at all. This time I saw everything on the way home. We went from the smell of the ocean in Santa Clara to the pine covered mountains of the high Sierra Nevada mountains, to the dry desert landscape of Nevada, and then to the white salt flats and Great Salt Lake in Utah. No, that is not a picture of snow you see here. It is the Bonneville Salt Flats where some of the greatest speed records have been broken by race cars.  

Imagine all that salt.

Now everything is unpacked and the show is a memory, but Ginger Brook Hollow’s magic of sharing still remains.

Entries to the Trip Contest

June 1, 2012 - One Response

It was especially fun to read all of the entries for this contest. I actually planned a trip and made wrote it up myself to see what it would be like to enter. It took quite a bit of time, so I can appreciate all that each of those who entered did, and I appreciate their participation. It was hard for the judges to choose the winners, but there they are:

First Place – Carolyn from Alabama

We were not able to format this entry on this blog site at this time, so you will find it in “the town” at www.GingerBrookHollow.com It is in the newspaper office. Please click the link at the very bottom of the page.

Second Place – Sara from Florida

Trip To Florida

This is for 3 day visit with 10 year old niece from Missouri.

Day 1 Trip to Pensacola Beach and Ft. Pickens

8:00 am Rise and prepare for the day.

Breakfast – cold cereal and juice $2.00

9:00am Depart from my home, fill gas tank $40.00. Travel across 2 bridges to Pensacola Beach. Pay $1.00 at Toll booth at Pensacola Beach.

9:30 am – 1:00 pm Suntan, swim, collect seashells, and build sand castles on beach. snack on ice water and Lance crackers. cost $3.00

1:00 pm – 2:00pm Lunch special at Wendy’s  – $3.00

2:00pm – 5:00 pm Tour Fr. Pickens National Seashore. (It is on the west end of Pensacola Beach.) Cost: We have a free Pass. Park Rangers give guided tours of the old fort and show visitors where Geronimo was held prisoner.

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm Return home, grill Hamburgers, corn on cob, and serve watermelon for supper.

6:00 pm – 7:00 pm Eat Supper

7:00 pm – 10:00 pm Rest, relax, and read free information about the history of Ft. Pickens.

10:00 pm – 8:00 am Sleep

Day 2 Historical downtown Pensacola Tour

8:00 am Rise and prepare for the day. Breakfast – Cereal and juice $2.00

9:00 am – 12:00 noon Self guided tour of historical downtown Pensacola

12:00 – 1:00 Lunch at McGuires Restaurant

Special Bean soup 18 cents plus Iced tea  $1.43

1:00 pm – 4:00 pm Tour of Wall South and Veterans Memorial Park near Pensacola Bay

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm visit Joe Patti’s sea food Market and buy 1 pound of shrimp for Mandy’s supper $5.99

5:00 – 6:00 pm Return Home. Boil shrimp and prepare rest of supper.

6 pm – 7 pm Eat supper

7 pm – 10 pm Rest and read the free information about the history of Pensacola

10 pm – 8 am Sleep

Day 3 Blue Angels and Naval Air Museum

8:00 am Rise and prepare for the day. Eat breakfast bowl and juice $2.00

9 am Leave home for Pensacola Naval Air Station

9:30 am – 11 am Watch the Blue Angel Pilots practice (This is free to spectators.)

11 am – 12 Eat lunch at the Navy Buffet near the lighthouse. Children eat for $4.00

12 – 4 pm Tour the Naval Air Museum at N.A.S. Pensacola (free admission)

4 – 5 pm View the new Baseball park where the double A Baseball team “Pensacola Blue Wahoos” play ball.

5 – 6 pm supper out at Crab Shack –  Children eat for $9.00

6-10 pm Return to my home and rest and relax and help Mandy pack for her trip home

Total money spent on Mandy for a 3 day trip to Pensacola = $80.52

Mandy will be able to buy a toy or book at the airport gift shop with the remaining $19.48

Third Place – Paula from Florida

A three-day vacation in a North-East Pensacola Suburb that will prove to be active, interesting and relaxing.  This vacation is recommended for Junior Doll Collectors and Adults.  BECAUSE OF DAYS THAT ACTIVITIES ARE OFFERED, THIS VACATION IS PLANNED FOR A WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY AND FRIDAY

DAY 1:   9:00 a.m.:            You will start with Breakfast at Waffle House.

10:00 a.m.:          Next, enjoy a tour of the local suburb– housing areas and commercial areas.  Proceed with a tour of the campus of the University of West Florida (UWF) with its beautifully landscaped areas, fantastic library and common areas.  (UWF is 3 miles from Home  Base)

12:00 noon:        Enjoy a picnic lunch, games and relaxation on the UWF campus grounds.

5:00 p.m.:            Go to Deluna Lanes Bowling Alley on Nine-Mile Road for dinner in the bowling alley’s café’ and follow with three games of bowling.  (Deluna Lanes is 1.5 miles from Home Base)

Expenses:           Breakfast:           $7.00

Picnic Lunch        $6.00

Dinner                  $9.00

3 games of bowling plus shoe rental        $10.00                   TOTAL:                  $32.00

DAY 2:   9:00 a.m.:            Begin with breakfast at a local fast food; Burger King, McDonalds, Hardees, etc.

10:00 a.m.:          Travel to the Escambia River Boat Slip to view the river, sunbathe nearby and watch the boats and people come and go. (The Boat Slip is 6.5 miles from Home Base)

11:30 a.m.:          Have lunch at another fast food.  There is no sense in visiting the same place twice; there are plenty of them.

Between 4:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., catch a matinee at the CarMike Theatre on Nine-Mile Road.  The theatre is usually not too busy and shows all the latest movies. (CarMike is 2.5 miles from Home Base)

7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.:   Enjoy dinner and roller skating at Dreamland Skating on Olive Road. Thursdays are their “Old-time Skating Night) enjoyable by all.  (Dreamland is 7 miles from Home Base)

(as an alternative, if your vacation is taking place during the first week of the month, there is a meeting of The Pensacola Doll Study Club at 6:30 at the Tryon Library.  Attend as guests for a program and refreshments. WARNING:, If you should decide to do this alternative, this is 9.3. Miles away from “home base”)

Expenses:           Breakfast:           $6.00

Lunch:                   $7.00

Dinner:                 $9.00

Matinee               $8.00

Skating:                                $4.00 plus $2.00 skate rental = $6.00        TOTAL:                  $36.00

DAY 3:                   9:00 a.m.              Have breakfast at your favorite fast food.

10:00 a.m.:          A day of antiquing—there are two very good antique shops within the travel area- Dixie Antiques on Pensacola Blvd., and Franklin Antiques on Mobile Highway.  Follow them by a visit to the “Hello Dolly” shop owned by Glenda Martin, Doll Artist and doll repairer.  (Hello Dolly is 7.5 miles from Home Base)

5:30 p.m.             Have dinner at Five Flags Race Track in Pensacola and watch the races. Racing is very big in Pensacola, and the Track can boast the start of several famous NASCAR drivers.   This is always an exciting event.  The Trace offers something different every Friday night.   (5 Flags is 6.3 miles from Home Base)

A suggested dinner at the Track would be a Hamburger or Bar-be-que Sandwich, Chips and Soda Pop.

Expenses:           Breakfast:           $6.00

Lunch:                   $7.00

Dinner:                 $7.00

Races:                   Usually $10.00 or less                                     TOTAL:                  $30.00

Additional suggestions:  Because of small budget, bring snacks, drinks and earplugs with you

ALSO KNOW THAT HOME BASE OFFERS A NICE SCREENED-IN PORCH WITH PLANTS AND A SMALL FOUNTAIN FOR RELAXATION AND A NICE BACK LAWN FOR SUNBATHING..

Other Entries

Katie from Minnesota

Welcome aboard to an exciting and relaxing 3-day trip plan for the guest family, who I would recommend this for!  This plan includes many entertaining things to do, wonderful meals, and it only costs under $100 per person!  When they arrive at our home, where they will be staying, they will be welcomed with a scrumptious breakfast picnic in our backyard!  We will be serving red velvet pancakes, along with summer fruit salad, scrambled eggs, bacon, milk, and orange juice.  Before the picnic, they will have the opportunity to pick flowers and make a bouquet for the center of the blanket!  After the picnic, we will help them put their belongings in our basement, where we have ping-pong, air hockey, foosball, a couch, and a few air mattresses.  I am sure they will find our basement a lovely, fun, and comfortable place to stay for the whole family!  Once they are settled in, we will take them on a “cruise” on my grandpa’s boat on Spring Lake!  We will take them tubing, and they can go swimming. After that, they can drink pre-packed smoothies at the “smoothie bar”(the table on the boat) while they relax and enjoy the lake.  Later, when they arrive back at our house, we will have a delicious lunch ready for them.  We will be serving macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese, watermelon slices, and lemonade.  When they are done with lunch, they will have the option to take a relaxing walk at North Park.  It is a large park with a playground, soccer fields, a baseball field, and a long walking path.  It is the perfect place for the family to relax!  Later, they will go to Culver’s, a fun restaurant for dinner.  For each person, this cost about $12.  After that, they will be able to go to Cold Stone Creamery, an ice cream shop with the best ice cream ever!  To go there, it will cost about $5 per person.  Once they arrive back at my house , the Guest family will be able to watch a movie on our 3-D TV! We have a wide variety of movies to choose from.  After that, they can go to sleep and rest in our cozy basement for the night.  On the second day of the trip, when they wake up, they will be drawn to the scent of warm, delicious, fresh baked cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  When they are ready, the girls of the family will go to Euro Nails to get a manicure for about $13 per person.  While they are doing that, the guys in the family will go play paintball at MN Pro Paintball, for about $35 per person! When everyone gets back, we will serve sloppy joe’s, chips, cole slaw, grapes, and peach iced tea.  After that, the family will be able to play games or just relax in the basement.  Later, the girls will go into our sewing room and try to make a Ginger Brook Hollow dress out of many materials we have to choose from.  While they are busy with that, the guys will head down to North Park to play baseball.  When everyone is done, they will enjoy at my house an Italian meal of spaghetti, salad, bread sticks, and soda(is soda Italian?) Last, for a rich, decadent dessert, we will be serving triple chocolate fudge mint brownies.  This indulgence will melt your mouth to heaven.  When everyone is finished, they will have some time to take a walk and rest before they go to bed.  On the last day of the trip, the guests will wake up to the scent of coffee cake and sizzling sausage!  We will make frappes in our frappe  maker, and serve just plain old brewed coffee(yuck!).  After breakfast, we will take family photos for them with my dad’s professional camera stuff because he is a photographer!  For lunch, we will serve the Visitors garden salad with their choice of dressing, French fries, cantaloupe, and strawberry lemonade.  For an activity, the whole family can go to a movie at Lakeville Theater for about $5 per person.  When they arrive at the Our home for dinner, we will serve them pizza and fresh fruit and veggies.  When they go home, they will be filled with joy because their trip was totally awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Melissa from Michigan

VIRTUAL VACATION
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This trip is a sight-seeing trip to “visit” an out-of-state friend. It’s especially intended for those who are unable to travel. Though, anyone may enjoy it! Everything in this trip will take place right in your own home! It’s especially suited to two people who have never met; or who know little about where the other lives.

Think of someone who lives far away from you, such as a family member or (if you’re lucky enough to have one) a pen pal. This will take a lot of cooperation, commitment, and planning ahead of time, so choose someone who is dependable. To keep with the economy side of things, there are no phone calls or real travel involved, but it does require the ability to ship a packet of supplies and some follow-up materials to your friend.

PREPARE FOR YOUR TRIP

Here are the things you will need to send to her in preparation for your “trip.” Your friend will need to do the same things for you.

* Write a chitchat letter. It should just be lighthearted. Maybe you can share some favorite jokes or riddles. Think of what you would talk about if someone you hadn’t seen in “forever” just came for a visit. Usually, this initial type of conversation is very pleasant and light.

* Collect brochures of area attractions. (In keeping with the Ginger Brook Hollow challenge, try to keep the attractions within an eight mile radius of your home.) Brochures may be available at “tourist trap” businesses, city offices, and libraries. If you are unable to leave the home, look on the official website of your town. It’s possible they will have downloadable brochures or travel guides available to print. This is one of the most important steps. These types of visuals will most make your friend feel like she really traveled, so do the best you can! After gathering your supplies, write comments in present tense directly on the brochures. If there’s not enough room or they’re otherwise tough to write on, use sticky notes. Write these comments in a way that makes them alive–as if you’re really there right at that moment. Example: “Look at the pretty flowers! I like to come here every summer.” Instead of: “This place had nice flowers. I go there
every summer.”

* Come up with a game you both have access to and don’t need to be together to play. One idea for this is Yahtzee. For younger players, Cootie–just keep track of how many turns it takes to build your bug. Tell each other how many times you will play, like three (for a “best two out of three” match).

* Write out a story, leaving out some adjectives, nouns, and verbs. When you leave out a word, write a blank line and write underneath the line what your friend should write in the blank. Write two if you can.

* On a piece of computer paper, draw every other part of a person or creature, folding the piece of paper after each feature. (Your friend will later fill in the blanks.) Make sure just a tad of your drawing shows above and below each fold, so she knows where to continue drawing from.  The ones with a dash are ones you will draw now. Keep this list handy since you may need it to remember what to fill in later.
– Hair (and outline of head)
Forehead (and outline of head and continuation of hair if desired)
– Eyes (and outline of head and continuation of hair–and glasses if desired)
Nose (and outline of head and continuation of hair if desired)
– Mouth–and a moustache, if you’d like (and outline of head and continuation of hair if desired)
Chin–and a beard, if you’d like (and continuation of hair if desired)
*** Very little space is left for the following. The face is the most fun, and it will look like a caricature.
– Neck, upper torso, arms, and hands
Legs
– Feet
When finished refold so that the section showing is where the forehead will go. Write the word “forehead” along the edge so she knows this is where to start and which way is up. This sounds complicated on paper, but these drawings are a LOT of fun, and easy to do.

* Write a more personal letter to your friend. A heartfelt one, about how special she is to you, or something that’s on your mind.

Things you’ll need (not to send):
Popcorn
Yahtzee (or another game you have come up with)

SPECIAL EXTRAS

To make it even more special, you can also try these ideas:
* Share your favorite recipe(s) with your friend so you can each eat what someone would really serve you in her own home.
* Think of a theme to the party. For example, maybe you would like to have a Ginger Brook Hollow theme, or a camping theme. Maybe it will be in honor of one of your birthdays.
* Instead of writing your correspondences, record them to a CD-Rom.
* If you can both go out, come up with a fun idea to do. For example, in keeping with the vintage feel of Ginger Brook Hollow, you can each visit an antique store with a small budget and see what you can buy and exchange for that set price. Antique postcards have beautiful imagery and can be purchased for a small amount, and are inexpensive to send. They also often have interesting letters on them!
* Souvenir time! Another idea is to set a price limit for a souvenir, and find a souvenir to send to one another. You’ll end up with a souvenir to a place you’ve never been before–but feel like you have!
* Swap favorite DVD and/or book ideas ahead of time. Ideally, come up with a title you both already own.
* Come up with a craft to make and swap, like friendship bracelets.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

Set a date. Allow at least five days (not counting weekends) for each of your packets to get to one another. Send the packet to your friend. Of course, you don’t really have to do this on the same days, but it might be fun knowing that you and your friend or family member are thinking of one another and doing the same activities during the same three days in a row.

TIME TO GO!

Now it’s all set up! Once the date arrives, it’s time to get started.

Day One (Arrival): If you were really traveling to visit your friend, you would be exhausted from the trip there on the first day. So let’s take it easy. Open up your chitchat letter and read it. Date and write a reply to your friend, responding to the things she wrote, in a similar chatty manner. Save this letter–you can add on other things during the rest of your trip.

Overnight: Time to grab some popcorn and fill in the blanks on the two stories your friend sent you. (If you can, type or write up the finished stories to send her a copy.) If you swapped movie or book ideas, watch the movie or read.

Day Two (Sight-seeing): It’s time to have some fun and see the sights! Look at the brochures and other materials about where your friend lives. If you decided to both go to one place “for real” (like an antique store or souvenir hunting), this is the day to do so.

Overnight: Play Yahtzee three times and keep track of your scores in order. Write down the scores in order of play for your friend. Then, draw on the faces your friend folded up for you, being careful not to look until you’re all done. If you have a scanner or camera, take some photos to show her the finished products!

Day Three (Saying goodbye): You’ve been with your friend so much that you’ve really started to open up with one another. Read your more personal letter from her now, and write a heartfelt response. If you decided to do a craft together, this would be a nice day to wind down with the craft, before it’s time to go “home.” Commit to shipping everything to your friend tomorrow. It can be easy to forget if it’s not done right away. Don’t forget to include a thank you note to your host!

Time to go home! Oh, wait . . . you already are! 🙂

Marti from California

Hello, my name is Marti and I’ll be your hostess for a three day two night visit to the Agoura/Oak Park area of Southern California! We live on the edge of the Santa Monica Mountains that offer a variety of fun activities. This visit will appeal to a family of five with a son and two daughters. Bring your walking shoes and casual clothes to wear so you can enjoy all that nature and our area have to offer.

You’ll be arriving at lunch time so I recommend you try the buffet at the La Paz Sea Food and Mexican Restaurant on Malibu Canyon Road. It’s very reasonable and has a wide variety of the kind of Mexican food that we are well know for here.

Afterward you’ll be checking in to the Hilton Homewood Suites in Agoura. It’s centrally located and is ideal for a family as there is a complimentary hot breakfast each morning and often a snack and mini dinner in the evening. After you get settled you might want to take a relaxing swim in the pool.

To get acquainted with the history of the area you should visit the Chumash Indian Village and Museum on Westlake Village Blvd. There are several exhibits there and then in the back there is a re-creation of a village with round huts the children will enjoy going in to. A walk through the woods beyond might even bring you a glimpse of a deer, as we saw on our visit there. As you drive back you will pass hillside acres that once had cows grazing and were owned by Bob Hope.

For dinner you will enjoy Johnny Rockets, that has a nostalgic diner feel with a juke box to entertain you. Afterward I suggest movies in Chumash Park, where they show G rated shows outdoors that the whole family can appreciate.

After a good night’s sleep you will take a tour of our area, starting with a drive to Malibu Lake, This is a picturesque man-made lake in the local mountains, created in the early 1920’s as a retreat for movie executives.

Beyond the lake you will come to the Peter Strauss Ranch. The actor was the last private owner of the stone house and grounds before it was purchased as a national park. You will want to stroll on the trail past Triunfo Creek where you will see a variety of native plants and animals. I once saw a young mountain lion early in the morning in this area!

Your next stop will be Paramount Ranch on Cornell Road, near Mulholland Highway. This ranch was purchased by Paramount Pictures in 1927 as a location for making movies and TV shows and many have been made here over the years. Dr Quinn Medicine Woman was filmed here and there is still a western town that visitors can tour at no charge and feel like they have gone back in time. There is a pretty grassy park that is the ideal place to have a picnic lunch, purchased next door to the hotel at Trader Joe’s Market.

After your picnic the guys in the family will go to nearby Troutdale, where everyone is guaranteed at least one fish from the well stocked ponds!

The girls will go to Olivia’s Doll and Tea Room on Thousand Oaks Blvd, where little and big princesses can indulge their fantasies with fun dress up activities and tea and sandwiches are served. They will take a treat back to the guys from the cupcake shop nearby.

Dinner will be at Willy’s BBQ and Grill on Roadside Dr. This has a local unique atmosphere and you may even be entertained by a band and be able to take part in karaoke!

Back at the hotel you’ll be able to relax and share stories about your favorite experiences of the day.

On your final day you can’t miss visiting the Agoura Antique Mart and other vintage shops and antique stores located in a row of Western style stores. You may find a special souvenir of your trip or even a vintage doll to take home. The guys might want to check out the nearby Batting Cage or a sports card outlet.

Before heading home lunch will be at Lamppost Pizza, where they also have delicious salads and good root beer. Their special decor includes trains that run on a track around the perimeter of the restaurant.

For dessert you must try our newest place called Sweets XO. They have bins of every kind of candy and a frozen yogurt bar that must offer at least 100 toppings!

Thanks for letting me be your host in my hometown and all that is offered within an 8 mile radius.  I hope you’ll return again so you can also enjoy golf, tennis, horseback riding, good eating and nature at it’s best.

Jerrine from Florida 

Meg & Lilly’s Three Day Adventure

Location: New England Seacoast

Time: Early Summer

Adventure: Exploring-Treasure Hunting

Although I really love my new life, I am really missing Ginger Brook Hollow.  So, I have been doing a lot of thinking about exactly what I miss from my life in Gingerbrook Hollow and what I can do here to make me feel better.  I think that what I miss the most are the “little adventures” that I shared with my sisters.

So, I have decided on the first weekend after the end of school, I will begin my own adventure.  I have discussed this idea with my parents and they agree that it is a good idea. They have offered to help in any way that they can.  I have told my cousin about my plan and invited her to join me.  I told her how much I miss many things from Amber Fields and my sisters.  And since she and I are becoming better friends, I would like to share some of the things that we used to do with her.

My plan includes: camping, finding food/cooking outdoors, exploring nature, and having FUN…

I asked my father if he knew very much about camping.  He said that he used to go camping when he was a teenager, and he thought his old tent might still be in the attic.  I could hardly wait to climb the stairs to look for it.  THERE IT WAS! It was very dusty and some of the surface seemed to have little cracks…I wondered if it would protect us if it rained.  However, I pulled it down the steps and showed it to mother.  She suggested that we set it up in the back yard so that we could check out the exact problems.  I ran next door to see if my cousin could help me.  It took quite a bit of time and effort, but we finally had it up and stable.  It would be just big enough for the two of us to sleep in. There were no holes in the top or sides, but there was a tear in the floor that we showed to Mother.  She said not to worry that she had an old oil-cloth tablecloth that we could put over the floor to protect us.  She also suggested that we go to the pantry and get an old short candle stub to rub it over the little cracks to seal them from moisture. Now that we had sleeping quarters, we were getting very excited about our adventure together.

Lilly’s mother volunteered a cast iron cooking pot and an old porcelain covered coffee pot for us to use for cooking.  My oldest cousin taught us how to make a campfire from twigs and sticks, and gave us some matches in a waterproofed pouch.  We got permission to look in my cousin’s attic and found some metal plates and cups, and a two woolen blankets.  My aunt said she was glad that we found them.  She had been concerned that because our adventure was going to be so early in the summer that the nights could still be quite cold.

Neither Lilly nor I had ever been camping before, so this would be a real adventure for both of us.

Finally, it is Friday morning, just about 6:00 a.m. and the sun has just come up over the horizon.  Yesterday was the last day of school, and today is the first day of our adventure.  I could hardly sleep all night because I was thinking about all that had to be put in our wagon before we could start down the trail through the woods and follow the path toward the beach.  “Let’s see: the tent is already in the wagon, but we still need the blankets, the cooking pot and kettle, extra clothes…and don’t forget the crockery jug of water,” I told myself,  “Oh, and my Mother and my Aunt said they would each provide a picnic basket with bread or biscuits, honey and jam.  We must not forget those.”  I had already jumped out of bed and put on one of the old dresses that had been given to us when we were orphans, and ran next door to see if my cousin was up yet.  She was running out her back door before I got half way across the yard.

“I couldn’t sleep either,” she called before I even asked, “ I want us to get an early start.  My mother has our picnic basket all ready and waiting on the table.  She must have packed it last night because I don’t think she is awake yet. Here are my extra clothes, and some towels.  The cooking pot and the kettle are next to the picnic basket. Mother also put an extra crockery jug of water there, too.”

“I saw my mother’s picnic basket on the kitchen table as I was coming to get you,” I replied, “Yesterday, she baked a whole loaf of bread just for us and some oatmeal cookies, too.  I think that having two jugs of water is a good idea, I’m glad your mother thought of it.  I’ll get my extra clothes and the things from our kitchen, then meet you at the wagon.”

It didn’t take very long for us to get the wagon packed…we even checked that everything was balanced and secure, so that nothing would not fall off when we moved it.  Then both of us went to tell our mothers that we were starting on our adventure and would be back in three days.  My mother seemed a little concerned about what could happen in three days, but my cousin’s mother had given us a bag of bright colored scraps from some of her old dresses.  She had already told us to be sure that we left scraps of cloth tied along the trail and path to mark the route that we were taking and she was planning to have her sons check on us each day.  “Tie your scraps of cloth high on a tree branch so that you can see them easily and be sure to keep your campsite and/or marked trail/path within your sight at all times, so that you wouldn’t get lost,” cautioned my mother as we started toward the trail with our wagon.

The trail through the woods was a little longer than we thought it would be. And the wagon was so heavy that we took turns pulling and pushing it.  By the time we reached the place where the trail and the path met, we decided that we needed a break.  “I’m really glad that we have oatmeal cookies,” we both said at the same time.  We found our cups and poured some cool water into them to drink with our cookies.

From the position of the sun’s rays, it seemed like it was nearly 9:00 a.m., and we wanted to have our tent set-up by noon, so we hurried down the path through the sea oats until we found a small clearing. The sea oats sheltered the area from the wind, and although there was a good view of the sea, the area was far enough above the beach that we would not have to worry about getting wet during high tide.

Putting up the tent took us less than an hour, we were glad that we had set it up once before in my backyard before our adventure.  After the tent was up, we gathered some twigs and sticks so that we could make a fire later to cook our supper.  As we were gathering firewood, we found some patches of wild strawberries and blueberries, a hickory tree, a walnut tree, and a sassafras tree. We marked the area with some of our cloth strips and carried the wood back to our camp. Then we put all of our picnic food into one basket and went back for the berries, nuts, and sassafras bark with the other basket.  The berries would be a nice addition to our biscuits and jam breakfast, and we could use the sassafras bark to make sun-tea, and would save the nuts to have with our supper.

“What shall we do next?” I asked.  “Shh, listen…what kind of bird is that singing?  Is it a robin?” asked my cousin, Lilly.  “It’s too early for robins to be here yet,” I replied, “maybe if we sit very still, but look around, we might see which bird it is.”  Sitting still sounded like a great idea…getting our wagon to here and setting up the tent had left both of us feeling rather tired.  We watched the sky and peered into the spring leaves of the trees in the woods as we nibbled on our berries and biscuits.  “There it is!” I whispered, not wanting to scare it, “see that red patch in that sycamore tree?  I think it is a cardinal.”  “I think you are right.  I saw a picture of one in library book,” responded Lilly, “I have an idea: as part of our adventure, we can write down how many different birds that we see.  I brought along some paper and a pencil.”

After our rest, we put some of the sassafras bark and some water into a clear jar and set it in the sun, and then we were ready to do some exploring. We wandered into the woods to look for other birds. We soon realized that we needed to stand still for a few minutes and look up into the treetops if we wanted to be able to get a good look at the birds.  If we moved too quickly, the birds would fly away before we had a chance to identify them.  By the time we decided that we were getting hungry and it was time for lunch, we had seen several different kinds of sparrows, blue jays, and a downy woodpecker, as well as group of squirrels that kept throwing acorns at us.

After a lunch of bread with honey and some more berries, we decided that unless we wanted to keep eating the same thing for the next two days, we had better find another source of food.  When we were in the woods, we had each found a tall stick that we used for walking sticks.  We had brought them back to our camp with us.  “I think we can use our walking sticks for fishing poles,” I suggested, “I have some extra string that I used to tie-up my bundle of extra clothes.”  “ My brothers gave me a couple of their fishing hooks to take along, but they laughed at me and said that we would never catch any fish,” Lilly said.  “ Well, we will just have to show them!!!” I laughed.  Neither one of us had ever been fishing before, but we were not going to let that stop us.  “What will we use for bait?” she asked, “I don’t want to dig for squirmy worms.”   “We don’t have to dig for worms, there should be some under those old logs that were at the edge of the woods,” I told her.  “But they are still SQUIRMY WORMS!” she exclaimed.  “Do you want your brothers to laugh at us again?!!”   “Well, no, I don’t, but WORMS? Well, okay, if that’s the only way,” she conceded.  While Lilly did agree to pick the worms up, she insisted that I put them onto the fishhooks.

We walked down to the water’s edge.  The blue water was clear and somewhat shallow for 6 or 8 feet from the shore, and we could see some fish swimming in that area.  So, we put our fishhooks in the water and hoped for the best.  It was a good thing that I had put several extra worms in my pocket, because the fish kept eating our worms before we could catch them.  While I was watching our fishing poles, my cousin was watching some shorebirds scurrying along the tide-line, occasionally poking their beaks into the wet sand.  “Look,” she said, “they seem to be fishing, too. I am going to see what they are catching.”  As she walked down the beach, I swung my fishing pole into the water again.  But before the worm even hit the water, I heard a splash and felt a strong pull. There it was…a sea bass had jumped out of the water and was now caught on the end of my fishing line.  “We are going to have fish for supper!!!” I shouted.

While I prepared the fish for cooking, Lilly prepared our campfire.  Her brother had given her specific instructions on how to build it: dig a hole and place some stones in the bottom, put some moist sand on top of the stones, then put more stones around this in a wider circle, place some of twigs and sticks on top of the moist sand, and light the fire, then remember to add larger pieces of wood later to keep the fire going.  Next she went to the edge of the woods and picked young dandelion greens.  She also found a few wild morel mushrooms (her mother had taught her how to identify them for non-edible mushrooms).  I cooked the fish by laying it on a flat rock that had been heated over the fire.  Using a couple of rocks, Lilly had cracked open the hickory and walnuts that we had found earlier.  She made a very interesting salad of dandelion greens, mushrooms, berries, and nuts drizzled with a little bit of honey. We had oatmeal cookies for dessert with warm sassafras sun-tea that we sweetened with a little honey.

The moon appeared on the horizon of the twilight sky.  We stretched out our blankets near the warmth of our campfire and watched as the stars began to shine in the darkness.  We could only identify a few constellations like the Big and Little Dippers and Orion before the night’s sea breeze became too cool.  We picked up our blankets and crawled into our tent.  It had been a wonderful day…the first day of our adventure…

We were awakened early the next morning by the sound of seagulls calling to each other.  “My Goodness, those seagulls are awfully noisy this morning, I wonder why they are so excited, “ I said as I peaked out the tent doorway. The gulls were flying around in circles, diving into the water, and circling some more.  A few of them seemed to have something in their beaks after diving.  Other gulls had landed and were pecking at shells in the sand.  “They’ve found clams or oysters, or maybe a school of fish,” Lilly said as she ran down toward the beach.  Sure enough, the high tide had caused a bunch of clams to be washed up near the shore and the gulls were having a feast.  “Save some for us!!!” I yelled, running and waving my arms at the circling gulls.  They circled a few more times and then began flying off.  My cousin and I gathered up the front of our skirts and carried as many clam shells as we could back to our campsite.  We placed them in our cooking pot and carried them back down to the edge of the water.  One by one, we washed the sand off of them, and laid them on a towel.  When they were clean, we put them back into the cooking pot and carried it back to our camp.  We were glad that there were still some warm coals from last night’s fire.  We stirred the coals, added some more wood to build up the fire, covered the clams with fresh water, covered the cooking pot and placed it on the campfire.  Steamed clams may not have been our first choice for breakfast, but with some of Mother’s homemade bread, they really did taste very good.

My cousin had added two different kinds of seagulls, as well as a plover and a sandpiper to the list of birds that we had seen so far on our adventure.  “What will we do today?” she asked.  “Well, since we have already found clam shells, why don’t we search for different kinds of shells today?” I suggested. “Remember my pet hermit crab? Maybe we can find another one.”  We took off our shoes and socks and left them near the warmth of the campfire to dry (they had gotten rather wet when we were cleaning the clams).  We tied up our skirts on the sides to help keep them dry, and walked barefoot down to the beach.  We took the picnic basket that we had used yesterday (we had eaten all the berries and nuts), so that we would have something to put our “shell treasures” into.

The sun felt especially warm today, and the cool water felt good on our barefeet as we splashed through the receding tide.  The tide had left lots of shells for us to choose from.  One area had so many that we sat down on the sand and sorted through them, making small piles by shape or color.  Tiny little spirals, lumpy oyster shells, smooth mussels, fan-shaped scallops, and small conch shells that hermit crabs like to use for homes were among our morning finds.  As the sun rose in the sky, we realized that we had wandered quite a way from our campsite.  We were glad that we had brought our bag of bright colored scraps and had tied some to driftwood along our way.  We were getting hungry and had not thought to bring along something to snack on.

Once we got back to camp, we enjoyed the rest of our biscuits and jam, the last oatmeal cookies, and the rest of our sassafras sun-tea.  After lunch, we walked into the woods to search for more sassafras bark; if we made the tea right away, the sun would still be warm enough for it to brew.  We also wanted to gather more berries and nuts.  Lilly thought it would be better to wait until later to pick the dandelion greens and mushrooms so that they would be fresh for our supper salad.

By early afternoon, the sun was getting very hot, and although we wanted to search for more shells, we also just wanted to be cool.  We decided to wade a little farther beyond the very shallow water into the waves.  Neither of us knew how to swim, so we had to stay close to each other and be very careful.  It was so much fun to hold hands and try to jump over each wave as it made its way to shore.  The seagulls seemed to enjoy watching us from their resting positions on the sand.  A beautiful blue heron flew above us, and after landing on the beach, he strutted back and forth as he watched us for quite a while.  I think that the sight of two girls acting so silly was very confusing to him. We played in the waves for a while longer until one big wave came up behind us and knocked us both down.  The large wave had startled us and we decided it was time to go back to camp and put on dry clothes.  As we strolled back along the shore, we noticed that a pair of the seagulls was sitting on something unusual.  When we walked towards them and they flew away, we discovered they had been sitting on two beautiful large conch shells. We picked them up and to take back to our campsite.  What an exciting treasures of the sea for us to find!!!

As we approach our campsite, we heard the voices of her brothers calling for us.  We quickly untied the sides of our skirts so they would cover our knees.  We hid our new seashell treasures, our basket of other shells, and our bag of brightly colored scrap fabric among the sea oats.  We didn’t want them to know what we had been up to.  As soon as they saw us, they began to laugh.  “Where are your fishing poles?  Looks like the fish must have been catching you instead of you catching them,” they mocked.  “Our fishing poles are next to the tent,” their sister told them promptly, “and we caught a fish yesterday and ate it for supper.”

“Likely story,” they mocked again, “anyway, mother wanted us to check on you and she sent another loaf of fresh bread and an apple pie.  She was afraid that you might starve. We have to get back and tell her that when we saw you, both of you were both soaking wet. Ha! Ha! Ha!”  “Don’t scare her like that or I will tell her that I saw you smoking behind the neighbor’s barn!” Lilly threatened.  “All right, we’ll just tell her that you are both okay,” they conceded.

When they were gone, we changed into dry clothes and hung our wet dresses on low tree branches to dry.  Then we retrieved our shells and other things, gathered more berries, nuts, mushrooms, and dandelion greens, and brought more firewood back to camp.  Among the shells we had picked-up from the shallow water were mussels, oysters, and clams that we could steam for our supper.  We completed our meal with another salad, slices of fresh bread with jam, pieces of apple pie, and warm sassafras tea.

After supper, we laid our spread our blankets out near the fire, and lay down to watch the stars again.  Tonight, we were able to recognize the constellation of Cassiopeia, as well as the ones we saw last night.  It was so peaceful, lying under the stars that I fell asleep and Lilly had to wake me up before the night got too cold.

The next morning, we were awaken by “tap, tap, tap…”  We peeked out of the tent to see a red-headed woodpecker pecking at a tall evergreen tree at the edge of the woods.  “Guess he is looking for his breakfast,” I commented.  “Since this is our last breakfast on our adventure, can we have apple pie for breakfast?  You don’t think we should save it for our supper, do you?” Lilly inquired with a pleading look.  “ I think there is enough apple pie left that we can have it for breakfast and for supper.  That way we can enjoy it twice!” I replied.

“What new adventure will we do today?” Lilly inquired, as she savored a bite of her breakfast apple pie.  “Do you remember that our teacher said we could earn extra credit if we did a summer project?” I asked.  Lilly thought for a minute and then responded: “I think we have already started our summer project with our bird list that we have been keeping on this adventure.  We can continue to write down all the different birds and when we see them throughout the summer.” “The bird list was your idea,” I said, “and it is a good project for you that I can help you with, but I would like a different project for me that you could help me with,” I explained.  “Do you remember the reason that I wanted us to share these adventure days?” I continued, “I had been doing a lot of thinking about exactly what I miss from my life in Gingerbrook Hollow, and what I could do here to make me feel better.  I decided that what I missed the most are the “little adventures” that I shared with my sisters.”   “So, what does that have to do with your summer project,” my cousin asked.  “Well, one of my sisters, Louisa, loved flowers, and we all used to help her take care of a little flower garden.  I think I would like my summer project to be about wild flowers,” I answered, “and we could start today.  I saw some unusual wildflowers in the woods yesterday when we were picking berries.”   “Yes, I saw some tiny white ones and purple ones, too, when I was gathering dandelion greens,” acknowledged Lilly, “That sounds like a good project for you.”

We empty yesterday’s shells out of our basket and grabbed our bag of bright fabric scraps, then started towards the woods. It wasn’t very long before we had found wildflowers in a rainbow of colors: purple violets, pink phlox, yellow dandelions and buttercups, white mayflowers, even orange trumpet vine.  “Do dogwood blossoms and redbud flower branches count as wild flowers or are they blooms on trees?” asked Lilly.  “I’m not sure, but we can look-up that information in the library next week,” I replied.  With our basket of wildflowers in hand, we walked back to our camp.  “Oh, no, look at our wildflowers, they are beginning to wilt and their edges are curling,” I said, rather dismayed.  “Don’t worry, I think we can save most of them,” said Lilly, “ We can put the ones with stems in a container of water tonight and wrap them in wet scraps of cloth when we take them home.  The ones that are just blossoms, we can press under and between flat rocks until they dry.”  I searched for some flat rocks while Lilly put several bunches of wildflowers into our empty jam jar that she had filled with water.

While we were eating our bread and honey sandwiches for lunch and drinking our sassafras tea, Lilly said, “There is one special thing that I would like to do while we are on our adventure…I would like to build a sandcastle.”  “A sandcastle! Wow, that’s a great idea!  I’m surprised that I did not think of that,” I responded, excitedly.

We chose a few of our shells from yesterday and a few of our wildflowers from this morning to take down to the beach to use to decorate our sandcastle.  Lilly found a semi-hollow piece of driftwood to use as a vase for our wildflowers so they wouldn’t wilt before we needed them.  We used a couple of scooped shells to dig the mote for our castle.  We carried seawater in our kettle to wet the sand so that we could mold it into shapes for our castle.  We were having so much fun building the castle that we did not notice that we had an audience.  A group of seagulls, several sandpipers, a pair of plovers had all taken up seats in the sand to watch us.  Even the woodpecker flew overhead several times to see what we were doing.  We had just filled the mote with water and were adding the final decorations of shells and wildflowers, when the heron that had watched us yesterday came right up to the castle’s mote and got a drink.  He nodded his head and flew away.   A few minutes later, he came back and dropped a large starfish at our feet, and flew away again.  We placed the starfish over the mote to be the “bridge.”

Lilly and I realized that it was getting late and that we had not even thought about what we were going to have for supper.  Shadows were forming in the woods, so it was too late to go look for dandelion greens, mushrooms, etc.  The evening tide was beginning to come in, so we didn’t dare to look for shellfish to steam for our meal.  There was still two pieces of apple pie and a couple of slices of bread, but no jam or honey.  We wouldn’t starve, but it wouldn’t be a feast either.  The early evening was cooler tonight then it had been before, so we started our campfire as soon as we returned from the beach.  We were both a bit chilly and decided to use the towels that we had brought with us as shawls.  When I reached for my towel, I knocked over the picnic basket that my mother had packed.  A brown paper bag fell to the ground.  A note on it read: “Do not open until your last night.”   I showed the note to Lilly and we opened the bag.  Inside, there were two round potatoes, and another note telling us to bury them in the hot sand under the campfire coals for them to bake.

It would take quite a while for the potatoes to get soft enough to stab with a stick, but we didn’t mind.  We sat around the campfire watching the embers glow and the flames flicker as the last rays of sunlight drifted below the horizon.  “What’s that noise?” Lilly asked.  We listened carefully…it sounded like someone walking towards us.  “Maybe it’s your brothers?” I said hopefully.  “I don’t think so,” replied my cousin, “ they couldn’t walk that quietly no matter how hard they tried.”   “Maybe it’s a wild animal,” I commented.  Before either of us could say even one more word, the blue heron stepped out of the sea oats and looked straight at us.  He had a large fish in his mouth.  He took a few more steps and dropped the fish at our feet, nodded his head, and flew away.

Lilly carefully place the flat rock over the coals so it would get hot while I prepared the fish so it could be cooked.  We were going to have a feast after all: fried fish, baked potatoes, and apple pie…what more could any adventure camper hope for!!!

After our delicious meal, we laid our blankets on the sand, with our towel-shawls wrapped around us and watched the stars twinkle and blink.  Tomorrow we would be pulling and pushing our wagon up the path to the trail and back home again, but tonight we were just thinking about the three days of fun and adventure that we had shared as cousins, and more importantly as friends…

Cheri from Utah (Not eligible for contest)

Three Days for Adventure in Alpine, Utah

Alpine is located in the central part of Utah. It is placed up against the mountains in the very north east corner of Utah county. It was settled by pioneers in 1849 – 1850 and most of the original families made up the population until about 1960 at which time “commers” began to move in and many farmers sold their property to make way for development. People from all over the United States were attracted by the beauty of the mountains, and it became a home to many artists as it started to expand. Now it is a very nice residential community and the population has increased more than 10 times in the last 50 years. Although it is much different than the small town its early settler’s knew, the surrounding mountains still give it a charm of its own.

 

This trip or vacation is for a group of 5 girls ages 8-12. Ideally it would be for granddaughters. It is best for mid-summer.

Day 1 – Pioneer Day

9:00am Arrival time – We will gather in the “home kitchen” where we will have a greeting time. Pinwheel pastries and milk will be served while we discuss plans for the day.

9:30am Leave for Cedar Hills Wal-Mart (approx. 6.5 miles) where each girl will choose a calico print from the $2.00 – 2.50 prints. We will purchase approximately 1 ¼ yards of fabric for each girl. We will also purchase a package of men’s handkerchiefs. Then we will return back “home” where we will all work together to make pioneer sun bonnets, skirts, handkerchief dolls, and a picnic lunch. Then we will pack a handcart with supplies for a pioneer trek and change into skirts and sunbonnets.

12:00pm Handcarts and girls leave for a 2 mile walk to Moyle Pioneer Park. While at the park we will eat a picnic lunch, tour the old stone home, log cabins, and round Indian fort tower. We will also play some games of horseshoes, hoop catch, and hide and seek in the paths though the oak trees. If the creek is not too full we will take time to wade in the cold mountain water and look at the variety of rocks. We will also take pictures of all the girls in their costumes by the old root cellar, pioneer cabins, and antique farm equipment that lines the entrance road.

*Moyle Park was established to preserve the home, Indian tower, and surrounding land that was left by early settler John Roe Moyle. One of the first settlers to move out of the Alpine Fort, he built a home and a round tower of stone in case of an Indian attack on his homestead. John was a stone cutter from England and was well known for his dedication to his work on the LDS temple in Salt Lake City. Perhaps the most impressive part of his story is the fact that after he was kicked by his cow his leg became infected and was amputated. After he recovered from the infection and amputation, as soon as he was able, he fashioned himself a wooden leg and still walked over 20 miles in the early hours of the morning to continue his voluntary work on the temple. He would return home to help his family care for the farm. He made this journey countless times to finish what he had started. His family never had to use the tower.

4:00pm Trek back home with handcart. Upon arrival, there will be a snack of vegetables with dip and water

5:00pm Everyone will help prepare a Dutch oven dinner of stew, corn bread, and garden salad – While the dinner is cooking we’ll set a table outside on the back porch and the girls can play with their handkerchief dolls. (There will be enough scraps from the morning’s sewing project to make tiny blankets for them.)

6:30pm Dinner is served and dishes are done.

7:30pm Make beds and settle “gear” in the attic

8:00pm Taffy pull, short fiddle concert

9:00pm All girls get ready for bed. Skirts and bonnets are folded and ready to take home. We end the day with stories from pioneer journals. Each girl is given a pen and her own journal and some time to record her feelings and ideas about the day.

10:00pm Lights out

Day 2 – Camp Day

The Wasatch Mountains that surround Alpine are high, steep and rocky. Besides being a natural fortress and a source of beauty they provide water for the valley below as the winter snow melt takes much of the summer to find its way down in steams. Utah is a dessert region, but because of irrigation systems and water storage there has been enough water to sustain farms and now beautiful yards and thriving communities along the Wasatch Mountains. These mountains are not only important to the people who live along them, but they are also home to many wild animals and favorite vacation spots for skiers and those seeking outdoor recreation and hunting. Camping is a favorite summer past time in the mountains. Utah, because of its dry climate, does not have fleas, chiggers, or fire ants. However, it also does not have fireflies.

7:00am Wake up

7:30 Breakfast – Bacon, eggs, pancakes Then pack daypack for hike with: casting kit, snack, water bottle

8:15am Leave for 3 mile drive to trailhead where we will begin a 2 mile hike to Horsetail Falls. On the hike to the falls we will watch for clear animal tracks which we will cast in plaster casting kits. We will eat the snack at the falls and come back.

12.00pm Return to car for drive back to home

12:30pm Lunch that includes a rollup sandwich, vegies, and yogurt (Clean out daypack and fill it with towel, water bottle, and sunscreen)

1:00pm Leave to drive 1 mile to trailhead and start a mile hike to “Sliding Rock” a small waterfall that ends in a pool and is fun to slide down in a sitting position. It is approximately 1 easy mile to reach the sliding spot itself where we will engage in water play.

3:00pm Leave Sliding Rock to return to car and return home. Upon return home everyone will need to change into dry clothes and hang their wet clothes up to dry. Once that is done there will be a few minutes to collect small leaves and flowers and press them.

4:00pm Meet for a treasure hunt and craft activity

6:30pm Dinner of roasted hot dogs, chips, watermelon, and smores

7:30pm Set up a tent in the backyard. All campers will move bedrolls and personal items needed for the night into the tent. Then they will get ready for bed.

8:30pm There will be a pillow fight, followed by session of camp song singing and the presentation of camp teddy bears. There will be some time for quiet talking and journaling

10:00pm Lights out and quiet time

Day 3 – Art Day

Because of the beauty created by the close mountains and the privacy of an “out of the way” community, Alpine has become the home of many artists. It now boasts a well- known and highly reputable bronze foundry and art center just as you enter the town. There is a park next to the art gallery and center that features many bronze statues and works of art by talented and famous artists.

8:00am Wake up call – Time for personal hygiene, getting dressed, and taking down the tent

9:00am Breakfast with boiled eggs, muffins, and fruit bowl

10:00am Leave for a 2 ½ mile drive to Alpine Arts Center and tour of Adonis Bronze where we will tour the bronze foundry to see how artists sculpt and then how those sculpts are cast into bronze statues. Following the tour we will go through the gallery of paintings and sculpts. Last, we will explore the park outside with all of its bronze statuary.

12:00pm Return home for a lunch of chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, and tomato cucumber salad

1:00pm Time will be spent in sculpting with water-based clay, watercolor, and creating shadow puppets for an evening show.

5:00pm Campers will help set up displays of all art projects and other projects from day 1 and 2

6:00pm there will be a “tea” with little sandwiches, fruit, vegetables, and small pastries for family and friends to see the shadow puppet shows and all works of art.

8:00pm Guests will depart for home. They will have a skirt and bonnet, a pillow with cute case, a pen and journal, a teddy bear, a simple day pack, a plaster cast of an animal track, their camp craft, their art projects, and I will mail pictures and a laminated bookmark with the flowers and leaves they pressed.

*Shopping list for this trip may be seen upon request. (Due to the size of this post it has been left off) The total expenditure for each guest was well below $100 even with the things they were able to take home.

Making Sunshine Ideas

January 19, 2012 - 3 Responses

Suzannah’s Mice

* For all those looking for the article on Suzannah’s mice, we decided instead of a blog article, to offer you the section of the journal inwhich that part of the story unfolds. You will find this special download free this week under Journal entries by week in the orphanage.

Comments From Kathryn’s Spotlight

You can find this in the orphanage part of the town under The latest release at the newspaper office is Kathryn’s spotlight and message. You can find it by logging into the town at http://www.GingerBrookHollow.com  It is downloadable from the link at the very bottom of the newspaper office page.

In Kathryn’s message she says how much she would like to hear what others do to “make sunshine”. We invite all those who want to share their ideas to add their comments to this post. This is a wonderful way to share things that help all of our friends and neighbors.

Ginger Brook Hollow at NDF

August 18, 2011 - One Response

Near the end of July my daughter, KatyMarie and I took Ginger Brook Hollow to the National Doll Festival that is held every year in conjunction with the UFDC convention. We planned a display that I have wanted to do for several years, but it was too complicated to do for a smaller show and too difficult to ship.  Because we were able to drive as far as Anaheim, California in 10-11 hours, we were able to take a fancier display than we could if we had to travel farther. Still, by the time we took the display and all of the dolls, trunks, and things to sell, we still had to tie some things to the top of the car.

We stopped in the dessert to take a picture just before the sun set. Yes, your eyes do not deceive you. There is an antique rocking chair on top of the car.

Just getting everything inside (and outside) of the car took enough time that we didn’t make it in time to set up the night before, so we were up bright and early putting the display together as fast as we possibly could. When the show opened, our little booth took on the look of an old time general store as much as we could make that possible in just 13′ by 4′.  Here is just what that looked like.

The Rocking Chair Finds a Resting Place.

Even though the booth was small, the shelves and baskets allowed us to have a lot of little things for sale in this display. We didn’t have any pickles, as Harold might have, but we did have a genuine antique pickel barrel filled with our Ginger Brook Hollow tote bags.

As you can see, there are even dress stands. Oops, this must have been on the last day because the Dream Doll stands are empty on the top shelf. That is because we sold out of some of the dolls. Can you tell which ones?

Do you like Emmaline’s little apple boxes in the bottom left hand corner. We’d love to have them in Harold’s store, but shipping becomes complicated, so we are trying to think of a way to share them with all of our Friends and Neighbors.

Our favorite part of the booth was the right side where we had the sales counter and glass cases.

Where we kept the "penny" candy

This was KatyMarie’s territory. Under the cases we had things from Harold’s store like the beaded purses and the jewelry that has been offered in the past. On the shelf behind the counter we actually had some time period calico prints and some nice pieces of small lace for sale.  If you look closely, you’ll also see that there is a jar filled with each one of the girls’ favorite kind of candy. Do you know which one your favorite girl likes?

In this picture two of the “little girls” are wearing Dream Circle outfits and there is actually a dream pillow for sale all made up.

KatyMarie enjoyed giving out our miniature souvenir hat pins, and I have to admit that I enjoyed creating them. Both of us enjoyed dressing the part.

"Would you like to choose one of our hat pins?"

We didn’t think it was right to have an old fashioned general store and look modern.

"Welcome, Friends and Neighbors"

We especially like having our “Friends and Neighbors” come by and tell us “Hello”. During the show we did have more “Friends and Neighbors” join us as they learned about Ginger Brook Hollow.

"Good Morning, we're just opening the shop."

You can see Grandma and Johannah standing together on the corner of the cupboard. Kathryn started out there, but  she kept being adopted.

In the picture on the left, KatyMarie is just taking her place as we opened up shop. The shelves to the left are still covered as they have been for the night.

The show was five days long. There were a lot of nice dolls and vendors. We talked to many people and made new friends. We were tired when the last day ended and a little bit sad to take our “store” down and pack everything up.  At least we sold enough to go home with everything on the inside of the car. (I think we packed a little bit better too.)

Was it worth it? I think so. We created memories that have made it easier for us to say “good bye” to our beautiful 17″ girls, and I actually had a small dream come true as I recreated a little piece of Harold’s store (or something that felt like it).

We ended our trip as far west as we could go by watching the sunset at the beach. So long California, and so long to our 17″ Where Love’s Circle Begins line of dolls!  We are going to miss these girls, but we hope for a new and bright future.

-Cheri

Closing of This Adventure

Dream Circle Picnic Contest

August 18, 2011 - Comments Off on Dream Circle Picnic Contest

There was a misprint in the last newsletter for Dream Circle. Our apologies for this. The results of the contest will be on the Dream Circle membership site instead of here since that is where such things should show up.  We hope that this doesn’t cause any disappointment for anyone. Here is the link to that site: http://www.GingerBrookDreamCircle.com

You will find the results on the page for news and events.

Sincerely,

Cheri

Dandelion Jelly

May 31, 2011 - Comments Off on Dandelion Jelly

Recently the orphan girls made dandelion jelly. There are plenty of recipes using pectin and modern methods of such jelly, but I wanted to try and see whether or not it could be made using the core and peelings of apples as the girls in the journal did. My daughter and I picked the needed dandelions and trimmed off the yellow petals. We peeled some wilted apples that had be stored through the winter as Grandma’s had been and used the juice from both the apples and the dandelions along with lemon juice to start a nice jelly. What we learned is that the sweeter and riper the apples the less pectin you get from them, and when you have to add water to get the juice from both of these things it dilutes what pectin you might have gotten. Without that it is difficult to get jelly to be firm enough to spread. Since the orphan girls would not have been able to go to the grocery store and buy a cute little box of easy to use pectin they would have had to cook the juice and sugar until it reached the consistency of jelly. That is a long time. We did that, but we also ended up using a box of pectin for our batch as well. We were also unable to find cute jelly bottles this time of year, so we used glass punch cups and paraffin wax to seal them. This is also an older method of preserving jellies and jams.

A Cup of Jelly

The result was a very good, but sweet jelly. The apples added a pinkish golden color, and we do agree that the flavor is a little bit like honey. This is a jelly we would recommend if you have access to a lot of organic dandelions, extra time, and curiosity, but it is not the easiest jelly we have ever made. We think that if we do it again we will follow the modern pectin recipes. We like some advantages of our day over 1897,  and we loved the way our little cups of jelly came out looking. We will consider doing it this way again and using them as gifts. We are considering mint jelly next because there are so many fun little tea sandwiches that can be made with mint jelly.

Cheri

Cute as a Button Shoe Contest

May 19, 2011 - Comments Off on Cute as a Button Shoe Contest

I know that a lot of people have been anxiously awaiting the announcement of the winners for this fun shoe decorating contest. There were some wonderful entries, and I truly feel that anyone who took the time and effort to participate was a winner. There were 6 independent judges, and  it was fun for me to watch the reactions of the judges as they went through the entries. They honestly had a difficult time choosing between many of the entries. At one point I was afraid that we would just have to declare everyone a winner, but I couldn’t give up that many dolls. Finally, we came to a solution that we felt reflected the judges decisions well and fairly.

Not only have we awarded the three prizes we promised up front, but for an extra superior job of not one, but seven entries, we have chosen to give an extra sweepstakes award to Robin and Daughters of Florida.

The prize for the most creative decoration goes to Larysa  in the Ukraine for her uniquely beaded shoes.

This pair of shoes is a good example of thinking “outside the box”.

Larysa's Beaded Shoes

These shoes, once simple, have been made elaborate with wire beading.

The prize for the best outfit match goes to Jena of  So. Carolina.

The judges felt that her work mirrored the outfit she chose to copy best.  Here is a picture of her shoes. Look closely as they rest on the outfit she matched.

The prize for the cutest shoes goes to Patty of Minnesota. Although each of the judges had other favorites, several of them kept coming back to this pair of shoes with their attention to small detail.

The whole next section of pictures is devoted to the seven entries of Robin and Daughters. As you see these creations, we think that you will agree that they merit a special sweepstakes award.

* Robin has generously offered the cute dress pattern she created for her first two entries as a special gift for  other Ginger Brook Hollow collectors. You can watch for it in the orphanage under ideas where you can download it free.

Their first entry:

Louisa looks picture perfect in her new blue outfit.

We picked a blue dress and shoes for Louisa to match her eyes- she thinks this outfit is perfect for walking the neighbors dog, Pippin.  On her walk she has picked some cornflower blue posies to take home as a gift for Kathryn’s birthday.  She is dreaming of having a puppy dog of her own someday!!!  Robin and daughters

Cornflower Blue

The Perfect Birthday Gift from Louisa

These blue and yellow shoes add the perfect finishing touch to the outfit.

Their second entry:

Susannah wanted to make a special gift for Louisa.  She had helped the local seamstress one afternoon, and to her surprise and joy, the seamstress gave her a whole basket of fabric scraps!!  Using an old quilt pattern, Susannah cut the fabric scraps into circles and gathered each circle into a yo-yo.  She sewed the yo-yos with buttons (from the button jar of course) onto the bottom of a dress for Louisa- there were so many left that she had enough to decorate her own dress!!  There were still lots of fabric circles. She wondered what to do, and then she thought of an idea!  She strung the yo-yos together and added a fabric head, and had a clown toy for Louisa’s gift!

These shoes would match either dress. Maybe Suzannah will share.

My daughters thought we should use buttons to make a dress and matching shoes- like the theme from the newsletter- we have read it over and over again!  so I made the pink dress, made the yo-yos, and made the clown- then decorated the shoes with tiny fabric circles and button flowers.  When the dress was finished, my daughter Cory wanted one for her Louisa doll too (cory gets to keep the clown doll too in her trunk with Louisa)- so I made the second dress while we were waiting for the shoes to arrive.  So there are two dresses to match the shoes!

Suzannah and Yo Yo Clown

This clown is a perfect gift. She will love it!

Flowers with Button Centers

Shoes that are both fun and pretty are every girl's dream.

Their third entry:

“I chose this dress fabric because it says  “a cup of kindness”.  I loved the sentiment and thought it fit well with the Gingerbrook girls philosophy of life. and I love organdy Tea Aprons!

Would You Like Some Cake?

April offers to share her strawberry shortcake for tea.

I like red on April- it brings out her lovely colouring.  The dress has cherries and black and white polka dots all over it so the shoes have cherries and polka dots too!

Perfect Apron for Tea

"I feel pretty, oh so pretty!"

April wore it on Friday for our royal Tea Party when we watched the wedding of the new Princess- we made scones for the occasion and had mint tea- April and the other dolls had strawberry shortcake! ”

Shoes With Cherries, If You Please

April's shoes are pretty with cherries on top.

Their fourth entry:

We are very big on celebrating the USA- Independence Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Flag Day, Voting day- etc- so we thought the dolls should have a pair of USA shoes!

Freedom Shoes

Perfect for a Summer of Patriotic Celebration

Their fifth entry:

My Christmas Shoes

Thank you, puppy!

We thought the dolls would need a pair of Christmas shoes- so I painted one pair of shoes black and then painted holly and berries on the sides-
then I thought it would be fun to make them convertible shoes-
so I made some plaid straps for the shoes- Susanna’s puppy dog is helping her try them on- or maybe he is stealing one of them for a game of chase!
They can be removed and replaced with the green ribbons- I painted red dots on the ribbons and made some striped socks for her to wear with them

Stripes and Bows

These shoes say, "ready for fun."

If the weather gets cold, she can remove the ribbons and replace them with her gaiters- the red gaiters are trimmed in black with buttons for an early 1900’s look.  I read in a 1900’s children’s fashion book that gaiters were very fashionable and economical- instead of boots.

Plaid and Tassles

Or she can take the red gaiters off and replace them with the green gaiters- trimmed in plaid with tiny black tassels!

Fancy Red Gators

Cute Shoes and Warm Legs

I made a pair of red socks to go with the shoes.
Or- she can replace them with leather black gaiters, trimmed in red with fur on the tops to keep her toasty warm!

Smart Black Gators with a matching muff!

I had to add the fur and red muff so her hands will be toasty too!
Or she can wear the shoes by themselves with her red socks!

Holly, Gators, and Bows

One Pair of Versitile shoes!

So she has one pair of shoes to wear 6 different ways.
Merry Christmas in May!?

The sixth entry: Buzz-Bee Shoes

Sweet Bees with Honey

Shoes as Sweet as Honey

I think these shoes should belong to Meg- she could wear them when she collects honey to make all those wonderful cookies!

The seventh and last entry by Robin and her daughters is special to Ginger Brook Hollow. If you are familiar with our doll and dress boxes you will immediately know why. Here it is: The Bluebird Outfit and Shoes

Since it is Katherine’s birthday this month, I made it for her.

Songbirds for "The Songbird"

On a spring day, she was out for a walk to see the wildflowers and found a baby blue bird who could not fly yet.  She carefully cuddled it in her pinafore and carried it home.  For weeks she and Grandma Sunday fed it and cared for it- and finally the day arrived when she took it out of the cage and set it free.
She held her breath in suspense, but after a few hops, the bluebird flew!!!  She was sad to see it go but so happy to see it flying in the blue sky!
On her way back, she picked some wildflowers and tucked them into her pocket as a gift for Grandma Sunday.

Things to Sing About

She was a bit lonely as she went back to the house, singing a little song softly to herself- and there waiting on the porch was Creampuff.  Katherine scooped him up and he cuddled in and  started purring as if he was singing along with her.  She wasn’t lonely for the bluebird anymore and she was filled with joy!

I made this outfit as a tribute to you and the joy you have brought to our home this year.  The dress has cherries on it- the pinafore is striped just like the surprise boxes that come to our house, the pocket has a little bird and blue flowers, just like the tote bag, and I painted black stripes on the shoes and birds too.

Ginger Brook Hollow Shoes

Just right for Kathryn's Dress

The Rest of the Entries!

Jenna's Shoes

There are many other cute entries that we think everyone would love to see.  The rest of this post will devoted to the many other marvelous shoe entries for this contest.

Here they are:

Aileen's Shoes

Brooke's Shoes

Aileen's Shoes

Sandy's Shoes

Jen's Shoes

Heather's Shoes

Katie's Shoes

Holly's Shoes

Aynslia's Shoes

Brenda's Shoes

Ellen's Shoes

Jessica's Shoes

Quinlyn's Shoes

Meredith's Shoes

Melissa's Shoes

Makayla's Shoes

Carolyn's Shoes

Yam Buttons

February 12, 2011 - One Response

While I was adding the button cookie recipe to the Ginger Brook Hollow site, it occurred to me that  Grandma Sunday’s recipes are often sweets. (You can see this recipe by logging into the town here: http://www.gingerbrookhollow.com/town/page/pre_town )

Novel Whole Food Snack

Now days a lot of people are watching their “glycemic index” and turning to whole foods for a number of reasons. Out of a desire to honor those who are being health conscious and not wanting to leave them out, here is a new recipe created just for our collectors who fit in this category. It is in keeping with the theme of the current newsletter.

These little buttons are made with the natural sweetness of yams while incorporating some protein from nuts. Although they aren’t so fitting for a dainty tea sweet, and most people wouldn’t put them in the category of dessert, they are a fun treat or even appetizer. Here are the directions for making them.

You will need 2-3 small, thin yams. Wash them off and put them in a pan with about 1″ of water unpealed. Boil them until they are just barely tender all the way through when checked with a sharp knife (about 30 minutes). Peel them and then slice each one crosswise  into 1/4″ thick slices.

Dip in melted butter. (I start with 1/4 cup.) Then coat in the following mixture:

2/3 cup almonds (or pecans) ground or powdered in a food processor or blender

1/4 cup flour (You can use rice flour, whole wheat flour, or another favorite)

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp ground cloves, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger (or 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice)

2 Tbsp brown sugar (You can substitutes stevia,  agave, or honey. If you are using a liquid add it to the butter instead of the crumbs.)

Place the little rounds on a foil or parchment covered baking sheet. These won’t expand while cooking so they can be fairly close together. Using a large drinking straw push one end into the yams to cut out little button holes. Bake in a 325 degree oven for approximately 25-35 minutes or until the nuts start to brown. Cool slightly and serve.

Fun Felt Aprons

February 11, 2011 - One Response

Finally the winter newsletter is out, and it even contains a pattern for a felt apron for the 17″ dolls. I had a hard time figuring out how to make a pattern that could fit all on one page and still be easy to sew for the 17″ girls like the one for the little 8″ dolls. When I finally did it, I took one look and thought, “Why haven’t I done this before?”

Simple and Cute Apron

I had so much fun making these little aprons that I would like to have made one for all seven of the orphans. However, if I stopped to do that the Dream Circle members would be wondering if they would ever get their February package, so that will have to come later if I have the time.

As promised, I have added the pictures in the newsletter to this post in color.

I tried a lot of colors to go with the rose garden dress and was surprised to find out that I liked brown as you see it in the picture below. This apron has a variation on how it is tied. I sewed a 30″ piece of ribbon to the front only and tied it in the back rather than on the sides. That allowed me to sew a bow on the front for decoration.

Sweet Suzannah

Too Pretty for Baking!

Both of the dresses in these pictures, as well as the ivory one, are still available in Harold’s store.  I can think of many ways to make the apron for these two, but especially for the ivory one. Also, it can be made to go over the white under dress that the orphans come dressed in. Everyone who has one of the 17″ girls should have that option.

I thought how many other things this pattern could be used for. Just maybe I will add some of them to the ideas part of the orphanage this month. At any rate, enjoy!

Cheri