Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

You know, with the nightly news bringing a constant barrage of bad news and tragedy, it can be easy to forget about all the good things that go on in our lives.  Today being the end of the year, I felt like reflecting on some of the happier moments and memories from the 2009.

This year saw a lot of happy memories and times shared with my family.  The Wiflers' shared many happy times at our wonderful Lummi Island Cabin this year.  We spent time at the beach roasting dogs, and zuchinis (my veggie Mom.... Gotta love her!!!).  We lit off fireworks, shared stories and just had general good times with the cousins, uncles, aunts, children and friends.  So much joy and laughing shared with loved ones, it makes my heart full!  We had much to celebrate when Mom and Jim tied the knot this year, taking their long relationship to the next level!  Congrats to the happy couple!

Also this past year brought a closer relationship with the Spanglers too.  Through this tool, the internet, I've been able to share in the lives and times of family I'd long ago lost touch with.  Now the family is just a mouse click away.  Even better, I got to have a lovely in person visit with my Dad and Margy!  It's been a few years and it was heartwarming to reconnect on a personal level.

The Heredia family too made an impact on our happiness this year.  We had some wonderful visits with long lost family from Nevada.  I had great time meeting Ben's fateher, sisters, brothers, niece.  We enjoyed and appreciated their visits to little ole Lummi Island.  We're happy too to have the local family to share in some great life experiences.  We're all different, but love is the common bond!

This past year also brought a lot of new friends into my life. I've met a lot of really great people.  Some on our little island and others I've met through mutual friends and volunteer efforts. 

Speaking of volunteer efforts, another really happy memory from this past year is little Chitenango, the seal pup.  Little Chitty was a stranded pup on Lummi Island, who was rehabed and released into the wild this year.  He's the pup on the photo at the top of this blog!  What a great experience to see this little guy released to rejoin other seals in the wild after seeing him so skinny and sad when we found him.  So thankful to be a part of the Whatcom Marine Mammal Stranding Network

I'm also very proud of the progress at  This year we've grown by leaps and bounds.  My little kitchen recycle project has grown into a full fledged recycle program.  We're up to over 20 regularly contributing families and growing!

Ben and I have a lot of great memories from this last year too!  We converted our living room into a pool room and a lot of great conversations with friends and family have happened around a game of 8 or 9 ball!  We've taken many a drive around the island just to spend some quality time together.  We've added to our organic garden and enjoyed many times out in the company of eachother, our dog and our veggies.  Life is good when your partner is your buddy and best friend too!

Now with the close of the year, we're waiting for the newest addition to the family.  What a joy to celebrate a new generation along with the new year.

I hope you all are reflecting back on the GOOD times in your lives from the last year.  I wish you all a happy, healthy, peaceful and prosperous new year!


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, December 27, 2009

After the holidays.....

Well Christmas came and went and still no new baby yet.  We're waiting on the arrival of my son Daniel's first baby.  She was due on 12/23, but I guess no one told her that was the day she was to be born, because she's apparently not quite ready yet.  We had hoped for Christmas eve and had our fingers crossed for Christmas, but no luck on either day.  So it's all a waiting game for now.

This morning Ben and I made a trek up to Snoqualmie Falls to see how the water was running up there.  Since we were already here in Carnation at my Mom's house it was just a short drive up the hill.  A great morning for it.  The sun is shining and even on this chilly winter morning there were still quite a few folks up enjoying the beauty of the falls. This water fall is a 268 ft drop, so the view is spectacular.   If you're ever in the Seattle area, be sure to add this on your to do list!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Family Christmas!

Wifler Family Christmas!

Here's most of the gang as we gathered at my Auntie and Cousins house for Christmas dinner and fun.  

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Enjoying a wonderful holiday season with friends, family and extended family. And waiting for the new addition to our family, little miss Cee Cee, hopeful she'll be born today, but whenever she comes we will receive her blessing with open hearts and minds.

Hope you all are having a holiday filled with love.

Sending best wishes to you now and always.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good time!!!!!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Recycling magazines into Christmas gift bows

Easy recyled bows and they're festive and pretty too!

I've been wanting to try this project that I found on How About Orange to craft your own gift bows using magazine pages.  I made several using her method of staple and glue, but they came out a bit bulky due to the staple in each layer.  With a little experimentation I found a method that worked for me.

Here's what you'll need for this recycle craft project:
     * Paper cutter or sharp scissors
     * Hole punch
     * Brass plated fastners - You can find these at the office supply store, or even some grocery stores.  I found mine in the school supply section at Albertsons
     * Colorful magazine pages

This is a fastner.  The point is 2 pieces that open up to secure your paper

So the first thing you'll do is choose a colorful page from your magazine.  Garden magazines are good for full pages of color photos, or I found that the ads in other magazines were good sources for color I wanted to use.  For this bow I'll show you with a beer ad.  Don't worry, when the bow is done you'll be suprised it came from this:

Now, trim off the torn edge and set aside for recycling.  Then align your page with the edge of the cutter and cut off a strip.  Repeat until you have 4 strips cut.

Next, rotate your paper so that you are cutting from the short side.  Cut one strip.  This short strip will be the center of your bow.

Now, rotate your paper back to the long side and cut off 4 additional strips.

You should now have 4 long strips, 4 slightly shorter strips and 1 very short strip.  Starting with the shortest strip, form it into a tube where the 2 ends overlap by about 1/2".  Punch a hole in the center where the overlap is like so:

Push the fastner through from the inside of your tube and then pull the 2 ends of the fastner apart just enough to keep the tube from falling off.  Don't tighten it all the way yet because you'll  still be working with it.

Now grab your first shorter strip and fold it in 1/2 to mark the center.

Open your strip back up and you'll see the fold line marking the center.  Now take 1 end and fold it over twisting it to form this:

Make sure your ends overlap here by about 1/2" and punch a hole in the center like this:

Now place the fastner (still attached to your tube) through the hole.

Repeat with all 4 shorter strips rotating each section as you add it to the fastner.

Then do the same with the 4 longer strips and add them to your bow.  When you've added your last strip adjust the fastner to secure.

You can't really see the beer ad anymore, all you have is a beautiful
recycled bow to finish off your holiday packages!

That's all there is to it!  When you're ready to add this to your Christmas gifts, simply add 2 sided tape and attach.  I thought these came out so great I made a whole stack of them to use on my gifts

Pretty in Pink, Purple, Yellow and Green

They're festive in Blue and Turquoise.

But of course my favorite are the GREEN!

Have fun with this project and try experimenting with other papers too.  I think some of my junk mail could make pretty bows, but I already shredded it up and put it in my worm bin.  Next time, I'll be saving some out for this project.  Another good one for Christmas would be those Netflix red envelopes.  No limits, let your imagination run wild!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Recycled Christmas Cards to Gift Tags

I save everything.  Every little bow, ribbon or scrap of rafia that comes my way via gifts and packaging.  I have a bag in the laundry area where these things get accumulated throughout the year.  It's great because when it is time for me to wrap gifts I have a lot of recycled items to choose from to make the perfect presentation! 

I've also been saving Christmas cards that we've received.  Someone posted a great idea about making gift tags from recycled Christmas cards on the Facebook Fan page back when we were running our Green for the Holidays Giveaway.

I decided to combine my stash of bows and ribbons with that idea and create some gift tags for our canned food & goodie baskets we're giving out to our friends this year.

Gather your supplies. 

This is a pretty, easy, and earth friendly project you can do in a short time.  All you need are some scissors, a hole punch, a stack of last years cards, some ribbon and a pen.

Choose an overall pattern to cut out for your tag.
Be sure there's no writing on the backside of the picture.

Each card is different, so you'll just have to take a look and decide on a pleasing pattern for the shape of your gift tag.  This one I simply cut out following the over all shape of the main design on the card.  Once you decide on your pattern, cut it out using the scissors, then find a good spot in the design to punch your hole. 

Here's a few in process.  You can see I just cut them out
following the overall pattern of the picture.

Now add a cute bow made from your recycled ribbons

Add your message to the back

So spread your holiday cheer and feel good because you are recycling and giving a gift to the earth too!

Here's the tags I made!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Quick N Easy Holiday Swag

Holiday visitors are coming, but my front door is still sporting my end of summer flower wreath.  Oh shoot!  What should I do? 

Here's a quick and easy project to spruce up your front door with holiday greenery that you may have growing nearby or even in your own yard.

What you will need:

* Gardening gloves
* Pretty holiday Ribbon (about 2 feet)
* Wire
* Wire Cutters
* Pruners
* Scissors

Gather together your materials and find a flat workspace preferably outdoors to save time on cleanup.  Then don your gay apparel.  In this case that means your garden gloves.  Now grab your pruners and head to your nearest cedar tree with low branches.

If you don't have a Western Red Cedar growing near your home, no problem, just substitute your favorite local evergreen.  Avoid Hemlocks because they drop their needles really quickly once they've been cut.

Prune off some nice boughs about 2 1/2 -3 feet long.  You'll need a good size stack.  Don't worry if they're not all perfectly proportioned for your swag, we'll trim them to shape as we go.

Start with 3 of your larger cedar boughs.  Lay these on top of each other to form the base layer of your sway.  You should stack them so that the leaves of each layer fall in the gaps of the previous layer. 

Once you have them nicely stacked, cut about 2 feet of your wire and wrap around the crook on the branch where the first row of leaves start. Wrap the wire fairly tightly and wrap around the branches 3 times.  You'll have a long tail of wire left for the next layer.

Now using your pruners, cut the top of the swag so that all 3 of your branches are even.

Next you'll want to add some more layers of cedar branches for fullness.  Go through your boughs and choose the branches that look the most beautiful.  Layer them onto your swag,  trimming them to length.  Now wire those in as you did the first layer. Wrap wire tightly, tie off and snip off any excess wire. Reserve any parts that you removed for the next step.

Next we'll make the accent with our trimmings.  The great thing about this cedar is the 2 tone color of the leaves.  The backside of the leaves has a brighter tone than the front, so for the accent piece we'll use the back of the leaves. 

Snip off 3 boughs at about 8 inches.  Layer these together much like you did for the swag above.  Now trim individual leaves from the remaining branch and add these for fullness. 

Cut a 6 inch length of wire and wire this tightly together and then add it to the large swag for accent and to cover any of the wires showing through the first layer.

Next we'll add an accent bow.  Click here for instructions to make your florist bow.  Using your pretty ribbon, create your bow and wire it onto your swag to cover any wires that are showing.

Now you can add any other embellishments you like.  I added a silk poinsetta and a cluster of ball ornaments to match my ribbon.  Other ideas I've done in the past:  Rose hips, pine cones, more bows, and baby's breath.

Viola!  Your holiday visitors will be greeted by some beautiful greenery when they come to your door.  And since this project only takes about 15-20 minutes, you still have time to set out the hors de vors! 

*** I used my left overs to make a mini-swag for my bathroom door too!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

How to get your Christmas cactus to bloom for the holidays

This blog is a little late to use for Christmas this year, but I thought I'd share how I get my Christmas cacti to bloom for the holidays each year. Christmas cactus are actually a succulent plant called Zygocactus. They are native to Brazilian rainforests.

Beautiful blooms for the holidays!

There are a few requirements to get your Zygo to bloom for the holidays.  The first thing is to stop watering your Zygo at Halloween.  These little plants are quite drought tolerant, so this won't hurt the plant at all.  You'll notice that the leaves will start to shrink up and shrivel a bit, but this is just fine.

Some say to place your plant in a dark closet for the month of November to encourage blooming.  I never have done that.  These plants need 12 hours of darkness each day to set bloom, but where I live in the Pacific Northwest, the natural daylight hours during the winter season work out just perfect to get a December bloom!

One flower in full bloom and another bud getting ready to pop!

I keep mine in a cool room, away from direct heat source, so don't place yours over your heating vent.  The best thing to encourage your plant to flower is cool temperatures from October through December.  During bud setting your plant prefers a temperature between 45-65 degrees. 

Do not relocate or water your plant when it is setting buds, as this can cause bud drop.  Wait until the buds are fully formed and beginning to bloom, then you can move your beautiful cactus out for display.  Choose a cool spot out of direct sunlight and drafts, but bright, indirect light will help your plant to continue blooming.  Water sparingly and only if the branches begin to droop.  Do not fertilize during this time either.

More flowers!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Extended order date for Christmas

Ok!  I've gotten all of my orders filled!  Yay!  It's been real busy with Christmas coming.  That's great!  With the orders I've filled this week we're up to about 4750 plastic bags saved from the landfills! 

I had stated on my order site that all Christmas orders should be placed by December 10, to allow for Christmas delivery.  Now that all my orders are filled I can take up to 5 more bag orders by December 13th and will be able to get them shipped out with Priority Mail USPS to allow for Christmas delivery!

Merry Christmas and Happy Recycling!

For Dolly in FL

For Lee in CT


Monday, December 07, 2009

Early Presents!

I love the holidays!  So much goodwill and time to spend enjoying the company of good friends and family.  I'm not big on fancy gifts and the like, I'm more of a homemade kinda girl.  That said, I got the greatest early christmas present from my honey!

I've been whining about my lost camera for months now.  Yes I had a back up, but that old 4 mega pixel cannon just wasn't cutting it for my needs.  Well poor Ben's been hearing about this nearly every day.  Today will be the last day of that though.

My early Christmas present was a brand new wonderful 12 megapixel camera!  I've been playing with it all evening and I think I'm going to be very happy with this new tool.  Especially with my new granddaughter arriving in the world soon!  I just can't wait to be that photo snapping, flash bulb popping grandma!!!!

Happy, but tired me, in high definition.  LOL!

My Hero!

Echo is back in the limelight!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

19 years ago..............

My baby boy is all grown up!  19 years ago today he came into my life and changed it forever.  I love being a mom and seeing my little boy grow into a fine young man. 

Oh my weren't we young!

All grown up!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

How to recycle 6pack rings into snowflake

I got the original how to information from Craftbits who had a quick tutorial on how to make these, but then I was asked by a couple of followers if I could make a more comprehensive step by step for this project.  Here it is:

Here's what you will need to make 1 large snowflake ornament:

    *20 six-pack beverage holder rings

    *1 foot of fishing line




Take 2 of your 6 pack rings and lay them back to back on top of eachother.  You'll notice that they curve in one direction.  Stack them so they curve away from eachother like the next photo
Staple them together here and here

Now you'll fold them to match the Staple marks

 Repeat on the back side

It will look like this when both sides are done

Get 2 more 6pack rings and repeat, then you will connect them together:

Staple at the arrows, flip over and staple in the same place on the other side

Now continue until you've connected 10 of these together like the next photo

Now you'll run your fishing line through 1 side

Now pull the fishing line taut to form a ring.  Knot the fishing line. Now staple to connect the 2 ends. Flip and staple connecting 2 ends on other side


Cut off excess fishing line and use to make a ring to hang your snowflake:

Here's what your finished snowflake will look like.  So pretty!

Have fun and enjoy this great recycled Christmas project!


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