Archives for December 2013

Project Realization Decrapification – Diaper Cake

Are you ready for the New Year?  I am!  Goodbye 2013!  Hello 2014!!  My first month of 2014 is going to be involved in Project Realization Decraptification.   There’s no point in trying to organize crap.   Last year, I organized a lot of stuff, but that included crap items that I haven’t touched since.  I’ve arrived at the realization these things need to leave.  C ya!    Also, there are a lot of Zombie projects lying about.  The walking dead.   They either need to come to life or go away.    I’m planning on doing some organizing in January, and one thing that must happen is to finish or get rid of the Zombies.     Project Realization Decrapification is going to happen!

Here’s a Zombie project — it’s a diaper cake. It’s also a little underwhelming and not the look I was going for, but it still is useful.   It’s full of diapers, a baby bottle and a cute little doggy on top.

Diaper Cake

This started out being a cake for the Cake Walk for the Mendota Heritage Festival. That was September. It spent a lot of days with its body parts lying about.  I drug out a few yesterday and looked at them.  Yep.  They are there.  Rubber bands, diapers and stuff.

UFO Diaper Cake

I rolled up the diapers..and anchored them with a baby bottle.

Bottom Layer

Wrapped with a pretty ribbon..

Baby Girl Ribbon

And here it is…cute in spite of all the imperfections.

Diaper Cake

I love this little dog on top.  I hope the baby does, too.

Pink Doggy Topper

This is far from perfect, but I had to get these diapers out of the closet.  I know everything to do now to make one that looks so much better– and I will— but this one has to go!!   I’m giving it to Neth and EJ’s mother who will be having a little girl next month. Neth and EJ are our young friends who help Mike keep this place mowed and trimmed in the summer, chop wood in the winter and so on.    Neth also shows up to watch college football with Mike frequently.    Neth loves Nebraska…Mike loves Ohio State (excuse me…that is The Ohio State University), and they pretty much talk trash about every other team–except South Carolina (our grandson’s favorite team), Virginia Tech and the University of Tennessee.

Speaking of Neth, he is almost recovered from the leg fracture received when Gate City played Abingdon High School this past fall. He was making the greatest play…the best run..we were on our feet…cowbells were ringing…and he was tackled.   The ensuing moments moved him from the field to the Emergency Room with a fractured leg.   Coach Blevins of Emory & Henry was on the field that evening.   He had come to watch some of the boys– including Neth–play.  Neth met Coach Blevins at a fall kicking camp.   Doug Blevins served on the coaching staff of the Miami Dolphins for six seasons. He’s coached NFL kickers, including future Hall of Famer Adam Vinatieri of the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts.   He’s a wonderful person, and he has been gracious enough to take an interest in Neth who was at another kicking camp this past weekend.

Speaking of kicking camp, I could not keep Mike away.   Neth arrived at 11 am at Emory & Henry, and Mike showed up at noon.   He brought Neth’s younger brother with him.  That was his excuse so that he wouldn’t look like a lurker.  He took my camera for a few pictures.   My question from this picture is ..”why does Neth have on shorts when it was about 35 degrees?”    In fact, it looks like everyone on the field lost their mind and wore shorts.   Surely you can kick in sweat pants?

Kicking Camp 1

Here’s another….    

Kicking Camp 2

Watch out VHSL football…our boy will be back next fall…faster and better than ever!!


Cat Pee On Heating Vents – Never Again!

Sometimes it’s right under your nose. That’s how Nancy and Gerald felt when they realized their cat was peeing in the heating vents. Nancy is my sister, and Gerald is my brother in law.

Apparently, cats like to pee in vents–at least Sissy Booher does. Sissy is Nancy and Gerald’s tortoiseshell kitty cat. Sissy sees heating vents as a kind of “out house”…a hole in the floor meant for her business. Nevermind that the warm house she lives in gets its warmth from these vents.

This was stinky business. Gerald recalled that cats do not like plastic…the “scrunchy” sound drives them crazy. He took a Walmart bag and placed it over the vent. It’s got air holes to let the heat out but it also inflates…it moves a little when the heat is flowing.

Walmart Bag on Vent

And here’s another picture…this is a versatile invention. We’re calling it the Cat Pee PreVent Cover. It fits into any decor with a bow accessory which can be customized to fit your home.


Laugh all you want. She’s not peeing in the vents!! You saw it here first…the Cat Pee PreVent Cover!!


Christmas In Mendota, Virginia

Merry Christmas!

Actually, Merry Christmas Eve according to these Mod Podge Christmas count down blocks.

Mod Podge Christmas

It was a year of natural Christmas decorating here at RiverCliff Cottage, and this front door decoration  pictured below was so easy.    This could be called budget decorating, using what you have decorating,etc….I really enjoyed it.   I’ve had this basket hidden away for over ten years.  It was full of artificial stuff from a St. Anne’s Catholic Church Fall Bazaar  (Bristol, Virginia).  Shortly after I bought it, I had the “fake faux plant intervention” with myself and put all of that kind of stuff away. This year I almost sold the basket at my garage sale, and I’m glad I did not.   It has been on the door for four weeks, and the evergreen branches (I have no idea what kind of tree I clipped them from), the boxwood, and the magnolia have held up really well. We had a tremendous amount of wind on Sunday morning, and the ribbon blew around and looks a little worse for the wear, but overall things have held up well.

Natural Christmas Decor on Door

And look…if you are friends with me on Facebook, you’ve already seen the picture below.  This is what Mike and I got each other for Christmas. Most certainly this is our last Christmas with these Dear Girls. We purchased this from Mallory Fine Arts in Abingdon as part of the “Reigning Cats and Dogs” exhibit benefitting the Animal Defense League of Washington County.  Nadya Warthen-Gibson is the artist.    I provided her with five or six photographs of Gracie and Luckie which were taken about two years ago, and she captured them in this portrait.

Puppies Picture

Something else… I’m going out on a limb here, but I believe we’re going to have a snow in Mendota soon. Some time around New Year’s Day.   I’m hopeful anyway.   Our Pencil Post Snowman is ready. He says “Let it Snow” on the little sign he’s holding. Do you like this guy? I’ve thought about having Mike make me a dozen of these and  then selling them at the Farmer’s Market next Christmas.   (Talk about planning…I’m 365 days ahead of the game! ) Should I do it?   I haven’t had a large amount of luck with this type of thing…I could possibly end up with an army of Pencil Post Snowmen next Christmas!

Fence Post Snowman

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas Day and lots of Christmas right through the next year. Thank you for reading RiverCliff Cottage.


I Am A Landscaping Loser

Look carefully at the picture below. It is from a cute site called Homemade Gifts Made Easy.


Somehow I must have been channeling this site when doing the pruning on our shrubbery last year. Do you see the resemblance?

Green Shaggy plant

This Golden Horizon Deodar Cedar should just be giving us a little winter color right now.   I am a landscaping loser.


Mendota Virginia Honeybees in December

Everyone always asks about my honeybees.  “How are they?’    I’ve asked the bees the same question, and they never reply.  They are too busy stalking me.    Today, I went to my small apiary to check on them.  When the recent temperatures moved into the “teens”, I have worried  about them.  “Are they clustering properly?”  “Will they have enough honey if the winter is long?”   “Is the queen alive?”

Today’s temperature was 70 degrees, and one would think I’d feel relieved when I visit them, but I’m not.  This 70-degree weather could be confusing for them.  They might leave the hives and not get back.  They might cluster improperly and when it gets cold, and it’s suppose to be back in the teens near Christmas Day, will they keep the queen warm?   If  the queen dies, the bees will die.   I do not want my bees to die.   

The mean babies in what I call the “Left Hive”….

Honeybees December 2013

And the even meaner babies in the “Right Hive.” This hive seemed agitated today.

Honeybees December 2013 2

If you look closely at the picture above, you’ll see some wood in the photo. Here’s an even closer look below, and there’s Neth and EJ sawing wood.   These boys are all muscle–they are working hard!   They have their coats lying in the grass.  No coat is necessary when it’s 70 degrees and you’re sawing wood.

Woodpile December 2013

This is wood that will be used in the 2014-15 season. This means we’ll go into summer with all of the wood we’ll need in the winter.  However, this seems a little weird because all of this is taking place on Winter’s Solstice 2013.      Living the simple life takes planning!


English Muffins, Golden Retrievers and Me

Never, ever feed your pet “people food” unless your pet is Gracie Beaule and she’s 15 years and 3 months old. Gracie Beaule will do what she dog-gone darn well pleases. Age has its privileges. Gracie rules!

Gracie Eating

Yuck…someone needs a manicure in that picture above. Gracie and I decided to split an English Muffin with cheap cream cheese and even cheaper grape jelly. We both loved it. We’re on a sugar high. She’s barking. I’m singing.

English Muffins

On other fronts here at RiverCliff Cottage, we are completely focused on our church Christmas play. Procrastination has turned into a frantic rush to get things done. This is going to be a play for the ages. One of the shepherds insisted on bringing his pet rabbit and including it in the play. I let him. Possibly a big mistake in our path to winning a Tony Award. Strategically, it had another pitfall…one of our angels learned of the rabbit and wanted to bring her cat. “No, Sweet Little Angel, you cannot bring your cat. It will eat the shepherd’s rabbit!”


Our Natural Christmas in Mendota

It’s ten days before Christmas, and until now, I’ve been making my decorations vs just digging them out of the box. Mind you, I’m not against the box, it’s just something I haven’t done this year. Yet.

Here’s a picture collage that recaps many of the items made this year. Lots of greenery and red bows. The greenery that was used outside is still looking good, but inside, things are getting a “mite dry.”

Natural Christmas Pictures r

I’ll be soaking my indoor wreaths in water this week and replacing some of the greenery in the house with fresh greenery. It sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? However, I sold all of my faux wreaths at the garage sale this summer!! I don’t have a choice.

Maybe I’m not as smart as I thought!


Eleven Days Until Christmas!

Tonight I am staring at a box full of odd costumes that was in the attic at Mt. Vernon Church. Hopefully, tomorrow these will begin outfitting Joseph, Mary, three wise men, various shepherds and a few angels. Christmas is almost here. This picture looks a little fuzzy…but you get the picture!

Eleven Days

It’s also been a week of surprises. On Friday night, someone gave me a marvelous gift — too precious to mention at this time. A few days later, on Thursday, I opened the mail and found a beautiful, hand-knitted gift from a young friend in the Netherlands. I’ll post a picture tomorrow.

Later, I picked a card from the Mendota “gift tree” and went to make my purchases. As I walked into JCPenney’s, a lady met me and gave me a coupon. It wasn’t the normal spend this get that. It was “spend $50 get $25 off.” She was my angel! I was able to get all the items on my card.

Sometimes we throw the word “blessed” around too much, but this is what I feel.

Now..on another you remember the ugly light fixture we replaced in our little bathroom? Here it is lest you forgot..

Little Bathroom Project 1

If you’ll recall, Mike repurposed the light fixture, and we used it in the fall like this…okay…but a little bit of a yawn.

Candles Burning Inside 2

And today it looks like this…when Mike and I go by it, we give each other a “high five” for keeping something out of the landfill. Just feeling very smug about it!! 🙂

Repurposed Hollywood Mirror Bar

Thank you for reading RiverCliff Cottage. Hope I wasn’t too sappy tonight. Maybe it’s all the Lifetime movies I’m watching at Christmas.

As you drive by marquees on little churches in the coming days that announce their Christmas plays, don’t be shy. Stop in and attend that play! They are looking for an audience.




Here is what the real RiverCliff Cottage looked like this morning. Very cold.

RiverCliff Cottage

My brother-in-law, Gerald Booher, took this picture.


Natural Christmas Holiday Centerpiece

A few years ago, I was involved in planning a get together at a place call “The Banq” in Kingsport, Tennessee.   We had a very tight budget but wanted to do something nice, and the very talented folks at Rainbow Florist helped me make centerpieces for the tables.    I’m going to share some of what I learned.

It starts with a glass bowl, glass cylinder or even a Mason jar.   I have a small one that I purchased a few years ago.  This one was about $8 but I used a coupon and got it a little cheaper.

clear vase

Next up are a few shiny balls. I bought a dozen of these at the Dollar Tree for $1.

Shiny Balls

Fill your container with water and fill each of your shiny balls with water so they’ll sink to the bottom.

Shiny Balls Sinking

Now, it’s time to add a bit of color. I poured in about a cup of cranberries.

Cranberries in the Vase

Add a few floating candles. I would have preferred to use one larger floating candle but I only had the small ones, so I used three. For some reason, it’s more pleasing to the eye  to see an odd number. Maybe we’re all off balanced a little and we like that reflected in what we do. I dunno..that’s just my guess.

Floating Candles

It still looks a little plain, doesn’t it? It’s time to nestle it in with some greenery. I had a small crate that had been used to ship fruit which I spray painted black. I added some boxwood stems and three other candles that I already had.

Inexpensive Table Centerpiece

Here’s another picture…all very natural. I had a few of the shiny balls left so I tucked them in with a couple of gourds that left over from fall. The gourds been spray painted gold and are still workin’ hard here in Mendota, Virginia! You can see a little bit of them in the picture. I started to draw an arrow, but you get it!

Natural Christmas Table Centerpiece

I hope you liked my centerpiece which was obviously a low-budget, low-talent piece. Easy as Pie. Cheap as Dirt. .

Here’s the foyer which opens up to the dining room. I am not even looking at decorations in Blogland this year. They are way too fabulous and fancy, and I don’t know where anyone keeps all that stuff after Christmas is over. I’m too lazy.

Christmas Foyer Display

Thank you for reading RiverCliff Cottage.


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