Monday, March 5, 2012

Winter Centerpieces

Surprisingly, it has been 1 year since I began this blog.  It has been a bit more work then I originally anticipated, but it has pushed me to organize a few of our collections and I have learned a lot more about these collections, which has been great!  I have been distracted with cookie making of late, and probably shared a few more pictures of cookies than collections.  Oh, well...I always get excited about whatever craft  I am working on at the moment.  So, I have decided that for the next year, I will truly live up to this blog's name, "Bric-a-Brac" and share a myriad of topics.  I will still try to organize my collections, share my current crafts, and maybe even a few household renovations that we are starting.  Hopefully, it will be interesting.  So, here we go....

In January, I was asked by a friend at church and her committee, to make 10 centerpieces that could be used for our monthly after church "pot luck" dinners.  These dinners are a fun way to gather, have a yummy meal, and get to know our other church members even better.  She suggested a "winter" theme and just named a few things off the top of her head like skating and sledding.  She also mentioned winter flower arrangements and/or baskets of pine cones.  But, winter activities sure sounded like fun to me.  So, I decided to make little winter vignettes of fun outdoor activities to do in Michigan in the winter, which usually lasts for months.  As usual, the project was more time consuming than I planned.  But, I commandeered a Sunday school classroom and worked for a couple of days and had a ball!  My friend helped me to paint the "snow," and add the ribbon, then I got to do all the fun "stuff"!

 Ice fishing is a huge sport in Michigan, we certainly have enough lakes for it!  It is fun to look across the frozen lakes and see all of the ice "shanties,"  some are pretty fancy!  However, these two guys are pretty basic, two poles, a hole in the ice and two logs.  Looks pretty cold.

 I m so happy that he caught a fish!

 I had some trouble taking pictures because of the glare of the "ice".  Sorry for all the reflections.
 Ice skating, on a rink or pond, at favorite.  We had an ice skating rink in our back yard every winter when I was growing up.  My parents would use a hose to spray the back yard until we had a full ice skating rink. It took up the entire backyard.   We were so lucky, we got to skate every day after school and on the weekends.  My brother was and is a hockey player, so when all of his friends were over, I was the ref and got to drop the puck for all of the face offs.  When my friends were over, we definitely were figure skaters...Peggy Fleming, of course!
 Yes, I had a figure skating skirt and my skates were silver with fur around the top....and no, I couldn't do any jumps or spins!

 I just said that skating was my favorite winter activity, but sledding was a close second.  And when I was in high school, night sledding on the nearby hilly golf courses with my friends, was a blast.  We had the hills to ourselves and had sooo much fun!   I liked sleds and saucers, but a whole group on a toboggan was the best, unless you were in the front and got covered in snow!
 Any body ever "belly flopped?"  For those of you that don't know that term, it means holding your sled in your hands, and running to the edge of the hill and throwing yourself on your sled as you go down the hill.  The momentum gives you speed, or you might miss your sled and careen down the hill head over heels.  Either way, it's fun!
I think that this is one of my favorite centerpieces.  Bird watching is one of those "things" on my "Bucket List."  My husband's aunt was an avid bird watcher, and I really enjoyed hearing about her sightings and her adventures as she sought out specific species.  My brother, the forester, really knows his birds.  Even though he is color blind, he can identify birds by their shape, sounds, they way they fly, etc.  It is pretty amazing.  And yes, we have eagles in Michigan.  Once, when I was driving north to see a client, an eagle flew right in front of my car, just above my windshield.  When you see one so close and in flight, you can really appreciate their size and majesty!

I haven't been in a snowball fight in a really long time.  But, I do know that the building of the "fort," formulating the strategic plan for the battle and preparing a mountainous pile of ammunition (snowballs) is as much fun as the fight itself.  It isn't winter until you get your face washed with snow!


Cross Country skiing is quiet, and peaceful, and exhausting!  My brother gave me my first pair of cross county skis for Christmas when we were in college.  He picked up a pair for me and a pair for himself at an Army Surplus store.  The skis were old, wooden, very skinny, and we had soo much fun with them,.  At first I didn't have any cross country boots, so just clipped in the toes of my regular boots, and they worked pretty well.  Ahh, I was young and fit back then.  I haven't gone cross country skiing in a looong time, but I  do remember how much fun it was, especially the down hill runs! (No, I didn't make the deer!)

He was pretty pleased!

Snow shoeing can be a lot of fun; it is another quiet, peaceful sport.  I think that it is harder than it looks, because your feet are soo far apart.  But, maybe this is just because I am short!  My two nieces grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  When they were little, they were pulled on a toboggan by their Mom or Dad  to catch the school bus, but as they got older, they used their snow shoes.  There is a lot of snow in the U.P.! 

Once when I was snowshoeing in with woods with my brother,  I didn't believe that the snow was very deep.  He told me to step off of my snow shoes, and I quickly sunk in up to shoulders.   I was shocked and had a heck of a time getting out...good thing he was there to lend me a hand!  I never did that again!

Any one for a "Polar Dip?"  The sign announces an "Annual Polar Dip Festival" which is a very quick swim in water where the ice has been chopped away to make an area to "dip."  No, I have never done this, and I don't want to!  I've been told that it is invigorating...Brrrr

No, thank you!

It's always fun to make snowmen, especially if the snow is perfect packing.  I can't even tell you the amount of times that I made the second or third snow ball too big to lift onto the first snow ball.  I think these always turned into a snow fort!

Winter activities can be so much fun, especially if there is a warm fire and hot chocolate to look forward to when it's time to warm up!

Our church is pretty happy with the centerpieces.  They're not only using them for our monthly potlucks, but they're choosing one each week to put on the "Welcome Table" in our church lobby.  A good friend has even asked me to make one for her family to use at home starring her beloved Detroit Redwings!  But, best of all, I really enjoyed making them. 

I hope everyone is having a great winter, spring is just around the corner!


  1. What great centerpieces- the church is so lucky to have them!!

  2. Oh, these turned out so fantastic. The people and their activities were wonderful, Gayl! Love all the extra details you put into each scene, such as the camera on the snowshoer, the hair bow and apron on the snow'lady', the gators on the x-country skier,the splat of the snowball on the chest. I also loved how ever scene had similar features to tie in the theme. Impressive, once again! Love, tmv

  3. Those are fantastic! I love the expressions on each person's face. I especially liked the bird watcher and eagle. Such adorable vignettes!

  4. Oh my goodness....these HAVE to bring back many childhood memories to the Church folks! Another SUPENDIOUS project, Gayl! What great ideas!! I get MANY compliments on the orange R you made & brought to the football game...think I should make that pattern & make some more, mine is a little battered for the wear & tear!

  5. Gayl, I just LOVE these. They make me smile :) The details are just on the mittens and scarves, in the hair, on their feet...they are each so expressive of the FUN of wintertime :) I can just imagine you playing as you made these figures and dreaming up the vignettes...what wonderful fun and delightful treasures....AND conversation starters for those pot luck gatherings at church! Thank you so much for sharing these! Love, jvl