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Halloween Town Collection

Halloween Town pinterest board from katienormalgirl.com
October has begun and Halloween fast approaches! I’m raising the spirit of the holiday and putting together my party plans and decor ideas. How about you? Any Halloween plans in the works? If you find a good idea, send it to me on Pinterest, I’d love to see it!

katie-only signature

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Handcrafted Thanksgiving Pinecone Turkeys

Pinecone Turkey

From the archives: This project was originally posted last year but I thought that it was so fun, I should post again this year. Enjoy!

My kitchen sink is stacked with dishes, my dining room table is a mess, there’s food everywhere, and I had the best time!  I invited my family over for a crafting day and we revived a holiday tradition from my childhood…Thanksgiving Pinecone Turkeys.  Normally we would craft these before Thanksgiving Dinner, but this year I invited everyone over for an early crafting day so I could share this tradition with you in time for this year’s Thanksgiving celebration. You can see all of their wonderful creations in the Inspiration Gallery, at the end of this post.

These adorable little birds can be made by each guest before Thanksgiving dinner and used as “place cards” on the holiday table.  While guests are snacking on appetizers and waiting for dinner, have them gather around the table and create their own personalized Pinecone Turkey.

Set up a folding table, which you can cover with a plastic tablecloth if you prefer.  Then you’ll need:

  • Pinecones – 1 per person, medium sized.  If you’re lucky enough to have pinecones in the backyard, then save the gathering activity for the kids when they arrive for dinner.  I didn’t have pinecones, but before heading to the craft store to buy them, I asked my family to bring some.  I also put up a notice at work and a co-worker was more than happy to bring me a large bag full!
  • Craft Glue – several small bottles
  • Pipe Cleaners in a variety of colors – the kind with bumps
  • Wire cutters (to clip the pipe cleaners, scissors usually won’t do it)
  • Fancy Paper for name tags
  • 1 or 2 Paint Markers that coordinate with the name tag paper you choose
  • Googley Eyes
  • Any additional embellishments that you can’t live without!  (My family also likes to use small craft feathers in a variety of colors.)

Making Pinecone Turkeys

1. Start by shaking out the pinecones to make sure they are free of bugs and debris.  Set the pinecone on its side, in a position where it doesn’t wobble back and forth.

2. Use the wire cutters to cut the pipe cleaners between each bump.  I like to do this part before everyone arrives.
pipe cleaner bump
.

.

.

.

.

3. Select a pipe cleaner bump and bend it in half to form a drop, and then twist the ends slightly so they stay together.

fold in halftwist the ends together    turkey tail feather
.

.

.

.

.

4. Dab a little glue on the end and tuck it into the back (the larger end) of the pinecone.

insert tail featherinsert tail feather tail feather
.

.

.

.

.

5. Continue to do this, making several rows until you’ve formed the turkey’s tail.

back of turkeytail feathers
.

.

.

.

.

6. Next you’ll want to add the turkey’s head. Choose a pipe cleaner bump and bend it into a loose “S” shape and glue one googley eye on each side of the head. Then dab glue at the base of the head and tuck it into the front of the pinecone.

turkey head  turkey with google eyesside view of google eyes
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.

.

.

.

.

7. Add any additional embellishments that you like!

You can add wings to the turkey’s side using pipe cleaner bumps or small craft feathers, which you can also tuck into the tail.  There were some pine needles in with the pinecones, which a couple of people used as embellishment.  Some of us used very small feathers to create a “wobble” under the turkey’s chin and my mother even created a green feather fascinator* for her turkey!  For a final touch, use the paint marker to write your name on the fancy paper and have your guests display the name in front of their turkey, tucked into the turkey’s back or, like some of my family did, glue it to the turkey’s “butt”.

I hope you enjoy sharing this holiday tradition with your friends and family and feel free to send me pictures of the fun!

katie-only signature

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.

*If you’re not in the “know” about fascinators, those are the tiny embellished headpieces worn by the British at high society events…like the royal wedding.

Inspiration Gallery

Pine Cone Turkey, Mom Aunt Judy Turkey & predator katie: normal turkey Pine Cone Turkey, Steve DadKeithJustice...she's blindHappy Thanksgiving To All Of The Pine Cone TurkeysHappy Thanksgiving!

0

Homemade Holiday Gifts: Cinnamon Peanut Brittle

I have studied herbalism for many years and enjoy using the knowledge that I have gained to create both simple and complex herbal remedies, delicious teas, tisanes and brews, and to make natural skin and hair care products.  I get to share a lot of this knowledge in my weekly column on hellogiggles.com as The 21st Century Herbalist.  Once a week I like to repost the column here, just in case you missed it!

Original publish date: October 11, 2012

s we continue to celebrate the multi-generational traditions of women, I can’t help but think of all of the wonderful recipes that have been passed down through the women in my family.  This time of year always puts me in the mood for peanut brittle but not just any peanut brittle, I look forward to my great-grandmother’s cinnamon peanut brittle.  It’s that little bit of cinnamon that makes this treat feel unique to my family and always makes me nostalgic.

The cinnamon tree is native to India and can now be found in many parts of the world.  The bark has long been used as a delicious flavoring in many types of food but it also has many medicinal benefits too.  This spicy bark is warming and works as a mild, yet effective, digestive aid.  It also has antiviral properties that make it great for fighting infection.

There are so many peanut brittle recipes out there, so feel free to just add a bit of cinnamon to one of your favorites.  If you don’t have a favorite, then I’d love for you to share in my family’s tradition and make the version below.  It makes a yummy treat that can be wrapped up and given as treats to your co-workers, family and friends.

…read more (you’ll be redirected to my column on hellogiggles.com)

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Luck and Potatoes, A St. Patrick’s Day Family Tradition

I grew up in rural Pennsylvania and my childhood home was near a densely wooded forest.  Every year on St. Patrick’s Day, there was magic in those woods.  Late in the night, as March 16th rolled into March 17th, the leprechauns that lived in Serenity Woods, would emerge from hiding and make mischief. All along the pathways they would dance and celebrate the beautiful woods.  Lying in my bed, some distance away, I could swear that I heard their cackling laughter as they sprang about with joy.

The following morning, my mom and dad would send my brother and I into the woods with a basket.  Though my brother and I never saw the leprechauns, we knew they had been there.  They left evidence, and it was our job to collect it.  Our parents had trained us to spot it and at 7 years old, I was the older and wiser sibling, so I would lead the way. We vigilantly looked along the pathways and then, we’d spot one.  During their joyous celebration, the leprechauns had turned the rocks into potatoes!  With keen eyes, my brother and I would collect all of the potatoes and return home triumphant in our journey.

Then, the real fun began.  Dad would make his potato soup using an old Pennsylvania Dutch recipe that he learned from his father. This deceptively simply recipe makes the best St. Patrick’s Day Potato Soup.  It’s hearty and will fill your belly with warmth, but to Continue Reading →

1

Handcrafted Holidays: Thanksgiving Pine Cone Turkeys

Pinecone Turkey

My kitchen sink is stacked with dishes, my dining room table is a mess, there’s food everywhere, and I had the best time!  I invited my family over for a crafting day and we revived a holiday tradition from my childhood…Thanksgiving Pinecone Turkeys.  Normally we would craft these before Thanksgiving Dinner, but this year I invited everyone over for an early crafting day so I could share this tradition with you in time for this year’s Thanksgiving celebration. You can see all of their wonderful creations in the Inspiration Gallery, at the end of this post.

These adorable little birds can be made by each guest before Thanksgiving dinner and used as “place cards” on the holiday table.  While guests are snacking on appetizers and waiting for dinner, have them gather around the table and create their own personalized Pinecone Turkey.

Set up a folding table, which you can cover with a plastic tablecloth if you prefer.  Then you’ll need:

  • Pinecones – 1 per person, medium sized.  If you’re lucky enough to have pinecones in the backyard, then save the gathering activity for the kids when they arrive for dinner.  I didn’t have pinecones, but before heading to the craft store to buy them, I asked my family to bring some.  I also put up a notice at work and a co-worker was more than happy to bring me a large bag full!
  • Craft Glue – several small bottles
  • Pipe Cleaners in a variety of colors – the kind with bumps
  • Wire cutters (to clip the pipe cleaners, scissors usually won’t do it)
  • Fancy Paper for name tags
  • 1 or 2 Paint Markers that coordinate with the name tag paper you choose
  • Googley Eyes
  • Any additional embellishments that you can’t live without!  (My family also likes to use small craft feathers in a variety of colors.)

Making Pinecone Turkeys

1. Start by shaking out the pinecones to make sure they are free of bugs and debris.  Set the pinecone on its side, in a position where it doesn’t wobble back and forth.

2. Use the wire cutters to cut the pipe cleaners between each bump.  I like to do this part before everyone arrives.
pipe cleaner bump
.

.

.

.

.

3. Select a pipe cleaner bump and bend it in half to form a drop, and then twist the ends slightly so they stay together.

fold in halftwist the ends together    turkey tail feather
.

.

.

.

.

4. Dab a little glue on the end and tuck it into the back (the larger end) of the pinecone.

insert tail featherinsert tail feather tail feather
.

.

.

.

.

5. Continue to do this, making several rows until you’ve formed the turkey’s tail.

back of turkeytail feathers
.

.

.

.

.

6. Next you’ll want to add the turkey’s head. Choose a pipe cleaner bump and bend it into a loose “S” shape and glue one googley eye on each side of the head. Then dab glue at the base of the head and tuck it into the front of the pinecone.

turkey head  turkey with google eyesside view of google eyes
.

.

.

.

.

.

.

7. Add any additional embellishments that you like!

You can add wings to the turkey’s side using pipe cleaner bumps or small craft feathers, which you can also tuck into the tail.  There were some pine needles in with the pinecones, which a couple of people used as embellishment.  Some of us used very small feathers to create a “wobble” under the turkey’s chin and my mother even created a green feather fascinator* for her turkey!  For a final touch, use the paint marker to write your name on the fancy paper and have your guests display the name in front of their turkey, tucked into the turkey’s back or, like some of my family did, glue it to the turkey’s “butt”.

I hope you enjoy sharing this holiday tradition with your friends and family and feel free to send me pictures of the fun!

katie-only signature

.

.

*If you’re not in the “know” about fascinators, those are the tiny embellished headpieces worn by the British at high society events…like the royal wedding.

Inspiration Gallery

Pine Cone Turkey, Mom Aunt Judy Turkey & predator katie: normal turkey Pine Cone Turkey, Steve DadKeithJustice...she's blindHappy Thanksgiving To All Of The Pine Cone TurkeysHappy Thanksgiving!

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