Make a Santa Ornament from a Light Bulb

Gail Lee Martin wrote this article for the eHow site telling how to make old light bulbs into Santa decorations. If you have some dead light bulbs, don’t toss them out. 

How to Make a Santa Ornament from a Light Bulb

Here is a craft my daughter, Shannon, and I started making back in 1993. We took them to the Wesley employee’s craft fair. They were so cute and were very popular.
It’s a fun way to recycle burned out light bulbs. Here’s how to make them.

santa-ornament-light-bulb

Things You’ll Need:

  • light bulbs
  • white spray paint
  • various paint and a brush
  • or colored markers
  • glue gun
  • gold string
  • canned snow (the kind sprayed on windows)
  1. We took burned out light bulbs and turned them into Christmas tree ornaments. Start saving up bulbs now and ask your friends and family to save theirs for you too. You can also buy new ones if you can’t wait for them to burn out.
  2. I spray painted the bulb white like Santa’s beard. Even though the bulb is whitish already, the spray paint gives a more even surface and color. It also hides the dark spot that burned out bulbs sometimes have.
  3. Then I used a brush to hand-paint the screw top with red paint for his hat.
  4. I hot-glued a gold string to the top to hang it with. Heavy gold thread or gold wire is fine for this or you can use red yarn.
  5. Using canned snow, I put a rim around the red cap and some on the top for a ball.
  6. Shannon painted and sketched on the expressive faces and added a realistic mustache with a swipe of white paint. Leftover paint-by-number paint or a kid’s paint kit works for this. You can draw on the eyes and details with permanent markers also.

Tips & Warnings

  •  This makes recycling fun.
  •  Check the Santa clip art site listed below in resources for ideas for Santa’s face. You can make jolly Santas, roly-poly Santas, stylized Santas, classic Santas, etc.

Resources

light-bulbs-pixabay

Use those old light bulbs for crafts

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Birthday Wishes for Gail’s Middle Daughter

Our guest blogger today is Gail’s daughter, Karen Kolavalli. This is a post that she wrote a few years ago on the Bubblews site.

“Today is my sister, Virginia’s birthday! Yesterday was the death anniversary of our youngest sister, Shannon, so it’s hard to switch gears from grieving to celebrating. As hard as it is for me, I know its much harder for her.

She’s a very kind and generous person and has written many tributes to others. This is my tribute to her.

In trying to think back to special times together throughout our lives, it’s hard to separate out times with her from the overall family experience of being part of a large family. She and my oldest sister Susan were the “Big Girls” and shared a bedroom, while Cindy and I were the “Little Girls” and shared another bedroom. Brother Owen was the oldest and the only boy, so he got his own room. Baby sister Shannon didn’t come along until the rest of us were all in school, so she was always the baby to us.

I do remember when Ginger came back from 4-H camp one summer, with exciting tales of adventures away from home. She taught us all sorts of novelty camp songs. My favorite was the long and involved (and hilarious) Little Bunny Foo-Foo. It was just the first of many times that she brought a wider world back home to me.

She was also the first to move away from our hometown to attend college. I felt very grown up to be invited to spend Homecoming weekend with her when I was an awkward high school student. We attended the football game, saw a performance of the Harkness Ballet, and went to The Cowsills concert. I still remember the new pair of brown Levi cords (corduroy jeans) I got to buy for the weekend.

 

ginger opening gift college age

Virginia (Ginger) Martin – College Years

Later on, when I was a college student living out of state in Missouri, she stopped by on her way back from Kansas to where she lived in Ohio. She was driving a brand-new gold Camaro. Very cool! She was in her first job as a children’s librarian, which I thought was just a wonderful profession. Much later, I, too, worked as a children’s librarian.

 

ginger williamsburg

Ginger Martin in Williamsburg, VA

Years passed and I visited her on the east coast, where we went to Colonial Williamsburg, Ephrata Cloisters, and the Edgar Allen Poe Home. She visited me when I was training at the FBI Academy and we toured the Civil War battlefield at Manassas together. We also drove into Washington, D.C. for a concert of Irish music at the Smithsonian.

When we were still single, we traveled together internationally. Our first trip was to the British Isles and later we traveled to Canada. Dream trips, both of them.

There were many years of physical separation when she married and moved to Australia, while I moved to India with my new husband. Her frequent letters during those years were a lifeline to this homesick expatriate. I also have a collection of the very special hand-crafted Valentines she sent to me through those years.

There are many, many other things I could share, but these are what I’m remembering tonight on her birthday. She was the sister who boldly left home for college and then made her home in distant places. She’s the sister who shares a love of books, history and Irish music with me.

She’s always been an important person in my life and has been a wonderful mentor, advisor, and friend. Love you, Sis!”

A Christmas Song for Shannon

I found myself asking our Amazon Dot to play John McCutcheon songs yesterday. It made me realize that even though I hadn’t consciously thought about it, my mind was turning to memories of Shannon. Gail and Clyde were devastated by the death of their youngest daughter, Shannon, on the 8th of December 2006, at the too-young age of 48. Eleven years ago, and the even after that much time, we all feel the loss when early December comes around.

Shannon_Hyle 2000

Shannon (Martin) Hyle

John McCutcheon was a favorite artist of Shannon’s and she looked forward to his performance each year at the Winfield Music Festival. Since she volunteered at the festival, she had the chance to talk to the performers and felt a personal connection to them.

I selected one of McCutcheon’s Christmas songs to share with you here. It’s on YouTube. Take a soothing moment to listen to the hammered dulcimer music of Down in Yon Forest/New Year’s Eve. It’s from his Winter Solstice album.

Thrifty Gift Giving Ideas

This is a variation on an earlier post. Gail often reworked a topic for publishing in other places. This appeared on Squidoo’s website.  Some of these gifts are ones you can get ready the day before Christmas using what you have at home.

Giving Gifts without Spending Too Much

Seniors can find gift-giving occasions difficult when their budget won’t stretch to buy one more thing. Here are some gift ideas that won’t put a strain that Social Security income.

Most of these I’ve tried out myself and can assure you were well-received. A little imagination and a lot of love will make your gift the one they treasure. With six children, eight grandchildren, and many great-grandchildren, the Christmas and birthday gift giving was a challenge. Seniors living only on Social Security must apply creativity in their gift giving to keep it affordable.

Give a Family Treasure when you can’t afford to go shopping

Think about things you have stashed away unused. We no longer decorate a tree at Christmas, but we still have boxes and boxes of special ornaments. I can give one to each person on my gift list. I’ll gain some storage space and they’ll gain a family heirloom for their Christmas tree.

 

 Give the Gift of Memories

Grandparents’ memories make a precious gift

Write down a special memory of the day they were born or about something you did with them or their parent. Print it out or write it by hand on nice paper to give them. Slip it in a plastic sleeve to preserve it. If you write a new memory for their birthdays and Christmas, eventually they will have enough to fill a binder.

Here’s One of My Grandchildren’s Family History Books

That I compiled with my writing over the years

A family history notebook created by Gail Lee Martin for her son, Owen.

A family history notebook created by Gail Lee Martin for her son, Owen.

Vintage Books Make Great Gifts

from a senior citizen

Look on your bookshelf. Is there a book there that has special meaning to you? Write a note explaining what is meaningful to you about the book and give it to someone on your list.Old Vintage Books iPad Case speckcase They will enjoy reading it, knowing that you selected it especially for them.

Lincoln biographies on bookshelf

Books on Clyde and Gail’s bookshelf.

Everyone Loves Grandma and Grandpa’s Baking

Food gifts to give when you’re on a tight budget

Make up a batch of your popular candy or cookie recipe and package it up to give to the children and grandchildren. Just a small amount on a paper plate (dessert size) and covered with plastic wrap lets them know you were thinking of them.

Attach the recipe to the gift.

To make it extra special, put them on a plate or platter that has been in the family for many years. They get a family heirloom, some of your great cooking, and you gain some space in your overcrowded cupboard.

What Do You Collect?

 Look at your collections. Chances are you aren’t adding to the collection anymore. It may be just one more thing to dust.

We collected Norman Rockwell mugs for many years. If we give one to each family member, they will think of us each time they use it. We also collected Feather Bird Pictures. They used to cover the wall of my dining room but now sit in a box in the closet.

Another thing I collected was vintage aprons. I used these when giving a talk to homemaker groups or at nursing homes.  At some point, you may decide not to keep a certain collection anymore. Consider giving them as gifts to family members.

Even if you are not on a Social Security budget, you might want to try some of these ideas.

Give Me Some More Thrifty Ideas

for gift-giving on a Social Security budget

  •  1angelsbestkeptsecrets Mar 27, 2014 –  What wonderful ideas! I think the sentimentality and specialness of gifts like this would please most all family members.
  • karendd123 Nov 26, 2013  – These are really good ideas. They are thoughtful and economical. Growing flowers from seeds or cuttings can make good gifts too.
  • ewyorkdude Oct 14, 2013 – I can’t remember the last time I bought a greeting card. Homemade greeting cards make a much better impression than the store-bought kind. Most people tend to keep them longer. I will never be a professional artist (my work is more like Picasso on a bad day). But no matter how awkward my drawings are on my cards, people appreciate them.
  •  rinMellor Oct 11, 2013 – These are wonderful ideas. A few handwritten family recipes would be a real treat too.
    knowledgetoday Oct 08, 2013 – I think the greatest gift from grandma or grandpa to family members or friends is memories brought together in a creative way. And if creativity is not available giving a gift of what the other person has wanted for many years means much to the receiver.
  • MarcellaCarlton Oct 01, 2013 – I loved each idea! This is a great lens for those of us who are experiencing the pinch at any time.
  • Cercis Sep 30, 2013 – What a wonderful lens! I like the memory book idea the best. Another thought is to shop at a thrift store – either neighborhood or one of the more established ones – to pick up almost new items for pennies.
  • WhyCleanCounts Aug 05, 2012 – great ideas, good lens topic for anyone that needs to stick to a budget around the holidays.
    dpgibble Jul 06, 2012 – I was exploring Squidoo for ideas when your page caught my eye. Curious, I stopped and found a direct connection to vallain who was the first or one of the first visitors to my first lens. Since our family survives on disability income along with a dollar here and there that we hustle up, celebrating Christmas on a budget piques my interest. We picked wild grapes last year and made pint jars of jelly from them. This produced about two dozen gifts with cash out at less than $25. People really liked this gift!
  • Gail-Lee-Martin Jul 06, 2012 – Homemade gifts are the best, in my opinion.
  • LiteraryMind Mar 16, 2012 – Good idea. Meaningful gifts are more special than anything money can buy.
  • MiddleSister Feb 21, 2012 – I like the cookies idea.

Make a Star Ornament from a Paper Bag

Post by Virginia Allain – This was an idea that I wanted to show Mom. I was sure she would be making these by the dozens in no time. These can go on a tree, decorate a package, or hang on the door handle.

Brown Paper Star Ornaments

Using a printable star pattern, trace two same-sized stars on a brown paper bag. Cut these out using pinking shears or craft scissors. Don’t worry, the pencil lines will be inside the star.

star-ornament-paper-bag-200X200

Glue the two stars together except for one tip. Leave an opening to put in the filling.

star-ornament-paper-bag-1.5-120X120

Pull apart a cotton ball so it’s loose and stuff it into the opening of the star. Use a pencil to distribute the stuffing the way you want. I like most of mine in the center. You could also use a bit of quilt batting or some used dryer sheets bunched up.

Cut a piece of raffia to loop at the top for hanging. Put the cut ends inside the opening of the star and glue it shut, securing the hanging loop.

star-ornament-paper-bag-1.6-120X120.jpg

Add that homespun, country-look with faux stitches around the edge. Use a black marker for these. Space them evenly.

Tie another piece of raffia into a bow and glue it to the front of the star. Glue some buttons to finish the theme.

saved red buttons

Always save buttons for future use. (photo by Virginia Allain)

Anytime you discard a piece of clothing because of wear or stains, cut off the buttons and save them. A stash of buttons comes in handy to have for clothing repairs or for a craft like this.

Vintage Christmas Candy Figures

Many years ago, maybe as much as 50 years, I remember Christmas figures with candy in them. These plastic figures included a snowman, a Santa on skis, and a red horse with wheels.
vintage plastic snowman

Rosbro plastic snowman from the 1950s. A fun collectible.

They were fun to play with and pretty sturdy. Many are still around today. Often, the pipe breaks off the snowman and the reins of the horse are gone.

I happened to find some at yard sales and flea markets, some twenty years or so ago. They brought back childhood memories of 1950s Christmas times. Now, I use them in my Christmas decorating.

christmas vintage toys

Rosbro Santa on green skis, snowman with a pipe, and red horse on green wheels.

You can find them on eBay at prices of $10 to $40 depending on condition and demand. Having the box adds to the value. My Santa no longer has the lightbulb and cord.

These seasonal figures were made by the Rosbro Plastic Inc. of Providence, Rhode Island. The company also made hard plastic figures for Easter, Halloween, and other holidays.

vintage santa skis

Rosbro Santa with original box. 

(all photos by Virginia Allain)

Other Christmas figures Rosbro made were white reindeer, a Santa on a bicycle, and Santa with reindeer and a wagon. Follow the link if you’d like to read more about collecting Rosbro hard plastic Christmas figures.

Do you remember any of these from long ago?

The Good Old Days???

Our guest blogger today is Monte Manka. He grew up in the 1930s like Gail Lee Martin did in Central Kansas. They met later in life through their writing when both were in their eighties. Monte writes poems and lots of nostalgia pieces. He just had his 91st birthday this week!
 I went to the grocery store today and got a half-gallon of milk and it started me to thinking—

In the good old days, I would get up in the morning in the early A.M. and set under the Holstein or Jersey and pull on those warm teats and get my milk. With my head buried in her flank, I could tell if she was going to kick me or not and I could get out of the way. (was not always successful though.) I loved to be hit in the head with a tail full of cockle burrs or in the winter time a tail with frozen urine on it. The feeling was the same, a bump on the head. When it was 100 degrees in the shade or 27 degrees below zero those critters had to be taken care of, come rain or shine.

cream-separator-pixabay

An old style cream separator.

Then those calves would come along and you had to train them to drink out of the bucket–more problems–they seemed to get something wrong with them and you had to doctor them, more problems. When you finally got the milk into the house and separated, you had to wash the separator. This was another chore of mine. One part had 123 disks on it and they were numbered. The disks went in numerical order. The buckets had to be washed and by that time it was time to do it all over again. BAH TO THE GOOD OLD DAYS.

THE GOOD OLD DAYS ???????  – BREAD

While at the grocery store I also got a loaf of bread and it started me to thinking again.
In the good old days, we took our wheat to the mill at Cedar Point and had it ground for flour, cracked wheat for breakfast food, and then took it home. Mother made bread from the new flour. The old wood stove felt good in the wintertime but was hot in the summertime.

I spent time plowing, disking, harrowing and drilling the wheat. This was always in the hottest time of the summer when you would either thrash or combine. I always missed the Rodeo at the Countryman Ranch at Cassoday. After sitting on the tractor with the heat from the tractor motor blowing in my face, and the combine engine blowing hot air on my back, I was well done by the time the day was finished. Then to the milking again.

leslie and monte manka wheat fiels south of house 1934

Monte L. Manka and his brother Leslie in the wheat field – about 1934

That wheat, that seems easy to raise is a gamble-one year it was a disease called RUST, the next it was a hail storm, the next it was too dry, the next it was too wet, the next it was the grasshoppers, that year was a plague about 1931, the corn on Teters farm east of El Dorado a couple miles, had no leaves left on the stalk after the grasshoppers visited them. I think you have better odds on the crap table in Las Vegas. One year Dad got a check from Kansas, City Grain for $2,000.00 for a carload of wheat, we took turns feeling it. Out of six years, we had one good harvest. The good old days- Yeah sure

THE GOOD OLD DAYS?????? – MEAT

While at the grocery store I was told to pick up some pork chops and that started me to thinking —–
We had a mean old sow. She bit my uncle on the leg and put a couple gashes in it. He did not quite make it over the fence.
Now, this sow was the ugliest thing you ever saw and I could never see what the boar saw in her. She would have the most pigs and the healthiest pigs of any of the good-looking sows. These hogs would have to be watched closely to keep them free of screwworms. More work more worry.

Once we had a bout with cholera and we lost 50 head that was ready to go to market. Needless to say, we had a big barbecue, too bad that we could not eat the meat. My uncle would give my brother and me a pig to sell if we would help him take care of them. One year we got $3.00 for our effort a few years later we got $6.00 then the market started to rise and no more free pigs. The good old days Phooey.

pig in nb

 

A Few Good Things about the Good Old Days

There were some things that were good like the filling station on the corner. Nufer’s gas was 18 cents a gallon but you got your tires checked, windshield washed, oil checked, a smile and a thank you. The good old days, Yeah.

When you came to town on Saturday you could take ten wrappers from ten Golden Crust bread loaves and get a free pass to the Eris and see the latest Ken Maynard western. I do not remember what the popcorn or soda was then, probably ten cents. After the matinee, we would go home and milk those stupid cows, and start another week of fun. Yeah

Ken Maynard 1926 vintage portrait card
Ken Maynard 1926 vintage portrait card

Another good thing-a handshake was as good as a signed contract, Not now it seems like the honest people are getting fewer and farther between. Out here you had better have twenty signed contracts, even then someone will break them all, and you are stuck with a lawsuit.

I always hear someone saying “Oh for the good old days.” I think back and no TV, no VCR, no microwave, no late model car. My gosh, I wouldn’t trade today for anything.

Written by Monte L. Manka