Monday, November 14, 2011


   Decorating Christmas trees became popular in America in the early 1800s as immigrants from Germany brought hand-made ornaments to America with them. In 1880, Woolworth stores began carrying ornaments although Mr. Woolworth was not too sure about the prospect of selling ornaments. Within 10 years, his stores were selling $25 million dollars worth of five and ten cent ornaments.
    It was around 1973 when Hallmark decided to try their hand at the ornament business. It all started with some yarn ornaments and six glass bulbs. Hallmark now has more than 100 ornament series in addition to approximately 3,000 other ornaments that they have introduced over the years.
    The Hallmark ornament designers are true artisans and design ornaments with subjects that have special meaning to them. Many Hallmark artists design ornaments that bring back heartwarming Christmas memories or design something current they love. Therefore, the consumer can relate to many of these charming Hallmark ornaments.

If you have ever seen a Hallmark ornament, you will agree that they have exquisite craftsmanship and the quality of the ornament is great. The small detail in Hallmark ornaments is amazing and contributes to their uniqueness and ability to capture unforgettable moments. There are ornaments for special occasions such as First Christmas Together, Baby's First Christmas, Mom-To-Be and New House. There are ornaments that are dated making them great keepsakes. In fact, Hallmark calls their ornaments Keepsake Ornaments.
   Hallmark ornaments quickly reached collector status and collectors rush to their favorite Hallmark store in July of every year when the new collection premiers. Then in October the rest of the line comes out to keep collectors coming back. Hallmark has an Ornament Collectors Club that you can join for a reasonable fee. Your membership entitles you to choose two free ornaments that are collector-club-only ornaments. There are usually four and Club members have the option of buying the other two. All ornaments are coded so that collectors know by the symbol on them what year they came out.

Vintage Hallmark Norman Rockwell ornaments

    Besides decorating the tree, Hallmark ornaments can be used as gifts. There is so much variety in the over-all collection that you ought to be able to find an ornament for anyone on your gift list.
    Another use of ornaments is as decorations. Ornaments are cute added to a ribbon that is tied around the napkins or just as part of your centerpiece. You can set a pretty round ornament on top of a glass candlestick holder and it makes a lovely table setting. You also can hang them on a wreath for decoration. In fact, several years ago, Hallmark came out with a wreath that had hooks already on it to make it easy for you to decorate your wreath with ornaments.
    Not all of the ornaments are Christmas related so you can use them as decorations or use them in shadow boxes all year round. Many of the ornaments are child-related so you can use them as decorations in your child's room. Themes such as Thomas the Train, Winnie the Pooh, Super Heroes, Athletes, Trains, Star Trek or Barbie are just a few of the selections you can make. They are not toys, though, and may have small parts. You may also find an ornament relating to different professions among the Hallmark collection.

    Of course, you could not have Christmas without Nativity ornaments, creches, angels and other religious ornaments to commemorate the Christmas season. They, too, are lovingly crafted and wonderful reminders of the true meaning of Christmas. If you have never seen a Hallmark ornament, you might want to check them out. They will surely bring a smile to your face.


   The Thanksgiving proclamations are the declarations made by the various authorities in regard of the Thanksgiving Day celebrations. It is believed that first Thanksgiving Day celebrations were held in 1621. But later it seemed to be a difficult task for the authorities to decide a perfect day for the Thanksgiving Day celebrations. So in different years the presidents of the United States issued Thanksgiving proclamations and came up with new dates for the Thanksgiving Day.

The First Thanksgiving Proclamation (1676)

   "The Holy God having by a long and Continual Series of his Afflictive dispensations in and by the present Warr with the Heathen Natives of this land, written and brought to pass bitter things against his own Covenant people in this wilderness, yet so that we evidently discern that in the midst of his judgements he hath remembered mercy, having remembered his Footstool in the day of his sore displeasure against us for our sins, with many singular Intimations of his Fatherly Compassion, and regard; reserving many of our Towns from Desolation Threatened, and attempted by the Enemy, and giving us especially of late with many of our Confederates many signal Advantages against them, without such Disadvantage to ourselves as formerly we have been sensible of, if it be the Lord's mercy that we are not consumed, It certainly bespeaks our positive Thankfulness, when our Enemies are in any measure disappointed or destroyed; and fearing the Lord should take notice under so many Intimations of his returning mercy, we should be found an Insensible people, as not standing before Him with Thanksgiving, as well as lading him with our Complaints in the time of pressing Afflictions:

   The Council has thought meet to appoint and set apart the 29th day of this instant June, as a day of Solemn Thanksgiving and praise to God for such his Goodness and Favour, many Particulars of which mercy might be Instanced, but we doubt not those who are sensible of God's Afflictions, have been as diligent to espy him returning to us; and that the Lord may behold us as a People offering Praise and thereby glorifying Him; the Council doth commend it to the Respective Ministers, Elders and people of this Jurisdiction; Solemnly and seriously to keep the same Beseeching that being perswaded by the mercies of God we may all, even this whole people offer up our bodies and soulds as a living and acceptable Service unto God by Jesus Christ."

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation (1863)

   The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.

   No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

   It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

By The President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward, Secretary of State

John Hanson

Continental Congress Thanksgiving Proclamation (1782)
   IT being the indispensable duty of all Nations, not only to offer up their supplications to ALMIGHTY GOD, the giver of all good, for his gracious assistance in a time of distress, but also in a solemn and public manner to give him praise for his goodness in general, and especially for great and signal interpositions of his providence in their behalf: Therefore the United States in Congress assembled, taking into their consideration the many instances of divine goodness to these States, in the course of the important conflict in which they have been so long engaged; the present happy and promising state of public affairs; and the events of the war, in the course of the year now drawing to a close; particularly the harmony of the public Councils, which is so necessary to the success of the public cause; the perfect union and good understanding which has hitherto subsisted between them and their Allies, notwithstanding the artful and unwearied attempts of the common enemy to divide them; the success of the arms of the United States, and those of their Allies, and the acknowledgment of their independence by another European power, whose friendship and commerce must be of great and lasting advantage to these States:----- Do hereby recommend to the inhabitants of these States in general, to observe, and request the several States to interpose their authority in appointing and commanding the observation of THURSDAY the twenty-eight day of NOVEMBER next, as a day of solemn THANKSGIVING to GOD for all his mercies: and they do further recommend to all ranks, to testify to their gratitude to GOD for his goodness, by a cheerful obedience of his laws, and by promoting, each in his station, and by his influence, the practice of true and undefiled religion, which is the great foundation of public prosperity and national happiness.

   Done in Congress, at Philadelphia, the eleventh day of October, AD 1782.
JOHN HANSON, President

Charles Thomson, Secretary

George Washington

George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation (1789)
   Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

   Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted' for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

   And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have show kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

   Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3rd day of October, A.D. 1789.
G. Washington


   Unlike other holidays, Thanksgiving is really all about the food. More than that, the food is steeped in tradition — hundreds of years of it, in fact — but whose? The thing about Thanksgiving is: Not everyone does it the same. So we asked some of the some of the best chefs around what they think of Thanksgiving: what they love about it, what they hate about it, the personal practices they've turned into annual traditions. Don't forget to tell us about favorite tradition in the comments.

1. Marshmallows on the sweet-potato casserole?

2. Homemade cranberry sauce: Worth it, or never as good as the canned stuff?

A few words:

"Hate to say it, but the balance of sweet and tart, as well as the texture that comes from cranberry sauce in the can, is something that can't be replicated. Also, there's something to be said for the way it comes out of the can with the lines on the side. I also love using it to make my leftover sandwich the following day. Homemade cranberry sauce on the leftover sandwich just isn't the same thing." —Scott Conant, Scarpetta
 3. Have you ever ruined a Thanksgiving turkey?

A few words:
"I ruined 16 of them when I worked for a hotel in Frederick [in Maryland] around age 16 or 17. I set the temperature too high the night before, and they were ruined the next day. Didn't get fired, but it was the biggest lesson in the kitchen. Ever."—Bryan Voltaggio, Volt
"At the time I didn't think I ruined them, but my grandmother was not too happy. I was still in culinary school, and we had thanksgiving at my parents' house (usually it was at my grandmother's, but this was the first year at ours). I was so excited to make a roulade of turkey that I'd learned in culinary school, and my mother let me try it (she was so encouraging). I carefully roasted the roulade, and just as I removed it from the oven, my nana came up and saw the 'turkey.' She proclaimed, 'I don't know much, but I sure know that's not a turkey.' That definitely scarred me a touch. I vowed never to muck around with a bird on Thanksgiving again." —Colin Lynch, Menton
"Yes, but not from cooking. My dog grabbed it off the table, and when I got back from the kitchen, it was already eaten." —David Myers, Comme Ça

4. Somebody forgot to make stuffing. What do you do?


A few words:
"Eat more turkey." —Sang Yook, Father's Office
"Toast any bread you have in the house, toss it with onion cooked in butter along with any herbs and nuts you have on hand (maybe some dried fruit), and pour some gravy over it. Done."—Stephen Wambach, Epic

5. Which is the most essential Thanksgiving pie?

A few words:
"Minced meat pie. This was a necessary part of my upbringing. But if you're not into minced meat pie, then I'd say pumpkin." —Scott Conant
"None of the above. Kabocha squash pie." —Sean Park, O-Ku

6. Have you ever bought a pre-made pie crust?

A few words:
"Hell yes." —Michael Schulson, Sampan
"No way. My grandma would chase me out of the kitchen." —David Myers, Comme Ça
"Yes. I'm a sushi chef, not a pastry chef!"—Sean Park, O-Ku
"I bought a pie crust because I didn't know how to cook yet. I was 15 years old and it was a surprise for my mom."—Victor Casanova, Culina

7. The best alcoholic drink for Thanksgiving is...

A few words:
"All of the above in equal parts stirred and strained over crushed ice. Twist or cherry — your choice." —Colin Lynch, Menton

8. Mashed potatoes are best...

A few words:
"Mashed potatoes are best just left alone! I love to add butter and cream, and I make sure to whip them really well so as to incorporate air and make them light and fluffy (and smooth). Then season them really well with salt, and nothing else. Less is definitely more, especially when it comes to potatoes."—Michael Schulson, Sampan

9. What iconic Thanksgiving food would you get rid of?

Notable: Twenty percent of chefs would prefer to get rid of the turkey altogether
"Turkey is overrated. I'm frying a chicken for Thanksgiving instead." —Brandon Boudet, Dominick's
"Substitute the turkey with prime rib!" —Eric and Bruce Bromberg, Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill
"Turkey's white meat is almost always dry — you have to go through so much trouble to keep it moist, and in the end, it just tastes like bland chicken." —Nicholas Anderer, Maialino
"Say goodbye to candied yams. Something about the term just scares me." —Sunny Jin, Jory

10. What's your secret to a great Thanksgiving meal?

"Cheese popovers, cornbread, and sausage stuffing. And brined turkey." —David Burke, David Burke Townhouse
"Get someone else to cook it." —Sang Yoon, Father's Office
"Lots of booze. And friends." —Brandon Boudet, Dominick's
"Cooking the turkey in sous-vide, then roasting it in a very hot oven for ten minutes. And making sure the table decor has lots of fall foliage, chestnuts, and miniature pumpkins and squash. It never hurts to burn a few cinnamon sticks in a hot skillet, either." —Stephan Pyles, Samar
"Pork fat! You can never go wrong!" —Nicholas Stefanelli, Bibiana
"I make a court bouillon stock out of veggies and scraps and keep them on my stove while cooking. I use this juice to flavor everything, like gravy, stuffing, and pretty much anything that needs a little something added to it." —Rick Moonen, RM Seafood
"American spirits such as bourbon or whiskey."—Amanda Cohen, Dirt Candy
"The Cowboys losing and seeing Jerry Jones's plastic face frown." —David Katz, Mémé
Note: Because of rounding, some percentages may not add up to 100.


   This great diy comes from www.greylustergirl.blogspot.com.  Put some of these on your Christmas tree or anywhere around the house that needs a little decoration.

3-D Cardboard Star

I have one thing from my Fourth of July mantel done, wahoo! I better get cracken cause the 4th is just around the corner! If you are in a Independence Day mode too, why not make one of these fun 3-D cardboard stars!

Here is what I did: Grab an empty box of cereal. Trace and cut out two stars. Score both stars from their tips to the indented parts (5 times each star). Push the stars out on the score lines by the tips and push in by the indented parts.

If that doesn't make sense to you, head over and follow this tutorial.

Glue the stars together. I used hot glue.

Once dry, spray paint them your color of choice. Distress with ink if desired.


   This one comes to us from www.craftaholicsanonymous.com .  Make a few to hang anywhere, or to give away as a simple gift.

  Hi, I’m Lori–an obsessed scrapper, photographer and lover of paper! You can often find me at my blog “A Scrapmom’s Musings” found here. I’ve been scrapping for almost 12 years and love the freedom of creativity and sense of accomplishment it gives me. I was thrilled to be invited by Linda to be a part of Reader’s Tutorial Week and show you how to make a wonderful Pinecone Ornament. This would make a great gift that can be cherished for years to come. Here are instructions on how to create a Pinecone Ornament.


* One (1) 12×12 sheet of patterned paper
* One 3″ styrofoam egg
* 18″ length of ribbon to match (not shown)
* Dressmakers Pins–also known as bridal or lace pins or even ‘common’ pins
* Glue Gun
* 12 inch cutter
* Assorted greenery, faux berries, faux pearls, or other embellishments (optional)
1. Start by cutting your pattern paper into 1″ strips (1″ x 12″).

2. Trim those strips into 1 inch pieces. Each piece should measure 1″x1″. You will use most, if not all, these pieces depending on how tight you layer your pieces.

3. Next, take your 1 inch squares and fold in the two edges of one side to create a triangle. There should be about a half inch, perhaps slightly less, on the opposite side. I fold all my squares so when I start layering, I’ll have plenty.

4. Now you’re ready to place these triangles onto the styrofoam egg. Tip the egg so the narrowest part is facing up. Place two triangles with the tips touching at the base and pin in place using the dressmaker pins. You want to place the pins near the very edge and at the corners so they’re hidden by the next layer. Next, add two more triangles at the tip to create your first ‘row’. See photo below.

5. Continue to layer the pieces, overlapping the triangles as you go around the egg. Make sure you’re covering up the pins from the previous row.

6. Keep layering the pieces, as in step 5, and continue in this circular movement until you reach the ‘bottom’ of the egg, which once decorated is actually the ‘top’ of the egg, but for layering purposes, I’m calling it the bottom….for now.

This is how it should look:

7. The top might be a bit confusing, but just pin the triangles on until there isn’t any white showing. Don’t worry about the pins being exposed on the top–these will be covered up by the ribbon and embellishments.

8. Cut your length of ribbon into one 8 inch piece and two 5 inch pieces.

9. Make a large loop using the 8 inch piece and pin the ends to the center of the egg as shown. This is the loop that will be used to hang the ornament.

10. Make 2 smaller loops with the 5 inch pieces, criss-crossing them in the center of the loop and pinning in place.

11. Using the glue gun, add your greenery, faux berries, and other embellishments if you choose. I do this because I think it adds more elegance to the ornament. Have fun with creating your ornament and make it as personal as you like. Put your personality into it.

Here is an example of the finished ornament:

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you have any questions, please contact me on my blog at http://scrapmomsmusings.blogspot.com.


   This comes form www.ourbestbites.com.  I thougth these looked really cool and delicious.

Scince it’s Friday (woo hoo!) I thought we’d do something fun. These little turkeys (speaking of turkeys, did you see what mine did yesterday??) are perfect for school parties, family nights, and Thanksgiving place holders. At the end there’s an easy pilgrim hat as well. I don’t really know where this idea originated from- I made the turkeys as a kid as I’m sure many of you have and I’ve seen the little hats all over the internet. Both Turkey Day classics, so go have some fun!


Double Stuff Oreo Cookies
Candy Corn
Peanutbutter Cups
Chocolate frosting
Yellow Frosting
Optional: Red frosting
Optional: black sprinkles for eyes
*For these kinds of things I love to use the little pre-filled tubes of colored frosting you can buy in the baking isle. The chocolate is easy to make, and homemade actually works a little better because you can make it stiff. However for the colored details like yellow and red, these little tubes are great. It doesn’t really matter what they taste like and they last forever (which is both cool and disturbing at the same time.) I’m using store-bought tubes for everything here purely for convenience- works great!
First step: Grab a cookie. You don’t have to put frosting in there, but I like to because it holds in the candy corn a little better. Just give it a little squeeze of chocolate.

Then stuff in your candycorn. If you’re in some sort of candy corn shortage, you can cut off the white tips to use later for your beaks. I think the candy corn sticks in better with the tip so I leave it on. Go ahead and do all of the cookies through this step.

Next put a dab of frosting on the opposite end of the cookie and secure it to the “base”
cookie. It helps to place them next to a wall as they dry so they stay put.

While those are drying, unwrap your PB cups. Take a sharp knife and cut a sliver off of one end. (I don’t need to tell you what to do with the sliver, do I?) It helps to gently cut in a sawing motion so you don’t break the PB cup. (Although I wouldn’t have to tell you what to do with a broken one either, would I?) Cut it from the bottom like I show here:

Once those are ready, flip your cookies over, but you may find it’s easy to keep them next to the wall. My frosting was a bit soft, so they needed the extra support.
Place a dab of frosting on the pb cup, and place it on the cookie like so:

Now those little guys will need heads, so glue a whopper on there with frosting as well. I put frosting on the side of the whopper that hits both the cookie and the PB cup. Wouldn’t want a turkey running around with its head cut off, would we??

While they’re still laying there, use a dab of frosting (I use yellow) and glue on the white tip of a candy corn for a beak. Put two yellow dots on for eyes, and for the black spots in the eyes you can use a dab of chocolate frosting, or a mini chocolate chip, or a little sprinkle like I’ve used. A sprinkle is really the perfect size if you have them.

Once the beak stays put you can flip them over and draw on some little yellow feet. If you have red frosting too (usually comes in a set with the tube of yellow) you can add a little gobble gobble. Or whatever that thing is called. What is it called? I’m too lazy to google. Extra giveaway entry for the first person who can tell me. Okay not really but I’ll think you’re awesome.

And there you go, cute as can be!

These make really cute place card holders too, for either a kid, or adult table! I just made little name tags with my Silhouette (what’s that you say? You’re bummed you didn’t win a Silhouette and you wish we’d give away another one? Okay how about this month? You didn’t hear that from me. Yes you did. Don’t tell. Do tell. Tell Everyone. Forget it) and then I popped them in there on toothpicks.
How cute is my little turkey family?

Stick one on each plate and everyone will say “Awwwwwwe….” If you have kids old enough to handle making them, it’s a fun project for them to be in charge of.

They’re also darling combined with pilgrim hats.

Those are just marshmallows dipped in chocolate and placed on a fudge strip cookie. Use yellow frosting to make the buckle. 

Hope you enjoy these fun little things- Happy Friday!