Ho Ho Hold That Mirtha!

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   Our Garden Gang   Presents...

Ho Ho Hold That Mirtha!

Well gardeners, it’s that time of year again – time to shop and decorate and shop and eat and shop and visit and shop and entertain and shop some more! (Can you tell I like shopping?)  How about some ideas to give everyone good vibrations this festive season? Let’s get started!  


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Invitations and Treats


Let’s recycle! If you kept your old cards just cut out a picture out of the front area and either write your invitation on the back or glue the cutout on some blank card stock and take it from there. Or cut simple Christmas shapes out of Christmas fabric and appliqué them onto the blank card stock with some fusible web. Embellish with gold and silver metallic ink pens. This is definitely a recycled idea – in Victorian time, people use to make their own cards from cutouts!

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Mouse-over card for stocking stuffers

Goody Bags

Instead of the same old boring Christmas stockings, send your guests home with a unique and useful container – a flowerpot! The contents? Let’s see…some novelty Christmas earrings, candy and/or chocolate, gift certificates for "Mirtha Stuwort" merchandise, and dare I say Debbie The Seed Queen’s favorite gift: SEEDS! Jazz the pots up with some Christmas ribbons and trims and your guests will be sooo grateful.

Oooo...I just had a "Mirtha Moment! Listen to this: Buy some miniature baby Christmas trees or rosemary plants. Or if you’re like me, and who is? Just grow them! Decorate with homemade cookies tied on with ribbon, or decorations of your choice.

Both these ideas could be used as place cards for your entertaining. Just put some plant labeling stakes in the flowerpot and label for a place card. For the little trees, try this: Photocopy your guest’s picture several times and glue onto some heavy paper stock. Cut out their heads and punch a hole in their heads (ew…that doesn’t sound nice, does it?) and tie onto the tree as little ornaments. All the guests will have to do is look for their own personalized tree at your table. Wow! I even surprise myself sometimes! How do I do it? Just born this way I guess!

Decorations and Yummies


Well that I find to be a personal preference. But one of the most important symbols at this time of year is the "Star". Lets make some of our own!

Paper Star or Sun

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Mouse-over paper star
for how-to-diagram

Handmade paper stars add a festive touch, whether you're adorning a holiday mantel or decorating for a party. To make one, start by folding a square or rectangle of paper into accordion pleats (you may want to experiment with plain paper before working with fancier stock). 

The number of pleats determines the number of points on the ornament: For example, four pleats will equal eight points. Fold the accordion of paper in half to find the center; unfold, and staple once at the center. If your ornament is too long to be stapled, you can fashion a staple out of wire.

Make two small holes in the center with an awl, insert the wire through the holes, and twist the back. Make a deep diagonal or slightly curved cut into each end of the folded paper (about halfway to the center); the sharp corners will form the points of the star. Fan the sides out so that they meet, and attach them on the back with small pieces of tape. Use Scotch Magic tape, which is easy to remove, so you can flatten and store the star until the next special occasion.


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Mouse over the cupcakes
to see the beans

How about a special Christmas soup to warm your bones?  Try OGG's famous Christmas Soup and Red Cabbage Slaw!

Let’s make some darling cupcakes! Use your own favorite recipe for the cupcakes. Frost them and place a small Christmas stencil on the top, and shake on some candy sprinkles. I find if you press the sprinkles in gently, they will hold and not fall off. This is a great project to keep the kidlets entertained and they can eat their creations afterward.

Secret Meaning of Beans 

Here’s a quick and easy gift idea! Make a mixture of the following beans, put in a jar, and tie a card with the following written on it. Yes, beans do have secret meanings I guess!

Pearl barley - Love
Split peas - Joy
Black Beans - Peace
Red Beans - Patience
Pinto Beans - Kindness
Navy Beans - Goodness
Lentils - Gentleness
Black-eyed Peas - Self-control

The recipient can then use these fiber filled goodies in their homemade soup - and you'll provide a copy of the Christmas Soup recipe too!

Mid-Winter Beach Party!

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Mouse-over for 
fun for all ages

Ok what about when all the Christmas fuss is over with? It’s time for New Years! Most of us have a long, cold winter ahead of us still so we need to warm ourselves up. So...let’s have a "Beach Party"! 

Get up off that sofa! And you do not even need to invite Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello! What is a beach party without sand? Your carpets probably have enough sand in them anyway! You could always drag in your child’s wading pool and fill it with a few inches of sand. Remember Mirtha’s rule #3 - atmosphere is important!

Serve fruity drinks and summery snacks and wear your favorite summer outfit. And if you’re daring enough, wear your bikini, hopefully you haven’t gained too much over the holidays.  

Put an oscillating fan up high on a bookcase or china cabinet and let it slowly blow the warm air near the ceiling down on your guests, and make the wind chimes you hang in the corners tinkle and your paper stars and suns twirl!

Shell Candles

To mimic the look of a beach bonfire make some summery Shell Candles.  Use your shells that you have collected as souvenirs during your summer vacation. I will show you how to make some lovely candles from them. Use a good size shell such as scallops, clams or quahogs. You will need to clean the shells in a solution of bleach and water and make sure they are thoroughly dry.

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Melt paraffin wax or some of your old candles in the top of a double boiler (use one with a lip, if possible; it will be easier to pour from). If a shell has a tendency to wobble, stabilize it by resting it on top of a cup. Cut the wick to 2 – 3 inches, and attach it to a metal wick holder; set aside. Pour the melted wax into the shell, then place the wick and holder in the bottom of the shell, being careful not to burn your fingers. If wick droops, trim slightly. Let cool until hardened, about 30 minutes.  And be careful: The top layer of the wax hardens first, but the melted wax underneath will spill out if the candle is moved before it has had a chance to cool completely. How’s that for a bright idea?

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Most of these suggestions can be adapted to fit any occasion. Just put your own twist on each one. So have I given you enough ideas to keep you busy this holiday season? Hope so! And to quote Charles Dickens: I will hold Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year!

Have a very merry Mirtha Christmas!

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