09 December 2015

The End, the Beginning...

The End is also the Beginning....

In less than a week I will turn sixty. Wow!

Mentally it doesn't compute. I look in the mirror and still see my 18 year old self...I know,  I know. 100% delusional.   I pretty much feel 18.  Certainly no more than 30.

18.                     almost 60. 
(Carlos looks embarrassed to be in the middle....)

And my list will not be completed. Some might see that as a failure.  I see it as an opportunity to continue learning and doing.

Twelve items on the list weren't done at all. Two have been worked on. One is scheduled. I've done a couple of extras.  When I made the list I could not imagine the turns my life would take in the coming years. I made the list while living outside the fourth largest city in the United States. I'm finishing up the list living in a tiny rural area in Colorado two hours from anything.  Number 20: MOVE!! was put on there as a lark. Mostly I was thinking move houses. Not move cities. Or states.

So those 12 items will be moved to Project 90x90. Maybe. I may rethink a couple of them.

And  until I get that 90x90 website up and running, I thought I would share a few things I've learned in the last three years.
Or maybe the last 60 years.

1) Food is love.
Maybe I've seen too many chef/restaurant movies or maybe I have just finally figured out that food is not just food.  Good food feeds your body. Junk food junks up your body.   I still have my fast food cravings (Chick Fil A anyone? Jack in the Box tacos?) and I am looking forward to Tex Mex but I know that the healthy stuff makes me feel better.
Beyond the actual health benefits of eating real food and healthy food, though, I have learned the joy  in making a meal and sharing it with others. In being the guest at someone else's table. In sharing my banana bread with some grateful young men. In making cookies to give away as thanks.
Food is love.

Food. Feed your body. Feed your soul.
(image from the movie: Burnt)

(And if you want to see a good movie with gorgeous food and gorgeous Bradley Cooper, go see Burnt. )

2) Change is good.
It can be uncomfortable. Scary. Even unwanted.
But every time you have to face a fear, make a change, deal with the world changing around you, well, you grow. You learn something new. Brain cells connect . Maybe your heart expands a bit. Your eyes widen.   Learning new stuff is cool. And good for you. Even if you think you didn't want to learn anything new, you just wanted to stay in your little shell. Change. It's good.

Make your brain happy.
Embrace change.
(image: here)

3) Friends are the Bomb.Dot.Com.
Honest. My friends are awesome. They have come through for me so many times and in so many ways. I try to be a good friend back. Some days I'm awesome, some days I fall really short. I'm whiney. I complain way too much.  I think it is my way of working through stuff.  But O! My friends have been such great sounding boards. I have some super smart friends. I learn stuff new from them all the time.
Friends are family you get to choose.  Make some. Nourish your relationships.

From this...
to this. 
I'm happy to say I have friendships 
that have almost crossed this time span. 
(I say "almost" because I'm not that old yet.)

4) Money is Power and Freedom      and
5) Work is dignity.
Money. Love it. Hate it. Worship it. Never enough, is there?
But here is what I know. A little money in a secret stash is important.  If you have your own money, no one can tell you what to do with it. That is empowering and freeing. I've been trying to impart this bit of wisdom to my girls. And especially to the boy.
Number Five goes along with Number Four because the most common way to get money is to work for it. And working gives you purpose and structure. A feeling of accomplishment. O! And a paycheck. So Four brings us to Five and Five brings us to Four.
I love a full circle.

Like I said, 
change is good.

Sooo...I'm signing off this website at the end of December.  And what posting I do between now and then will be even more random than it has been, if that is possible. I have a birthday, a friend's son's wedding and a 1000 mile move all scheduled in the next ten days. And then comes Christmas which I am woefully unprepared for.  Belle will be arriving in Colorado from Florida with a friend boy in tow.  They will help get Bunny back to Texas. A quick check last night resulted in a resounding "No" when I asked if there was a Christmas tree awaiting me in Texas.
Basically my life for the rest of the month will be herding kittens through Jell-o. Can't wait.

Join me in the New Year here:   PROJECT 90x90

25 November 2015


Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

I have been attempting to lure the turkeys from outside to inside, inside the oven to be exact, but it hasn't happened.

Peaceable Kingdom.
Deers and Turkeys
Venison with a side of light and dark meat.

Since there are no turkeys in my house-or oven- Bunny and I are headed to Santa Fe for the holiday.  There is supposed to be snow when we head back on Friday but the forecast keeps changing so we are going to chance it. We are thankful for the revising forecasts!!

I've had company the last week which I was very thankful for. My friend Cathy came to see me all the way from Virginia. We lived together in San Miguel de Allende over 40 years ago and it has been 12 years since I have seen her. A wonderful visit in spite of.....

Bunny.  Love that girl but at this point I am encouraging her to start dating only guys that have auto/body repair mechanic experience  Let me just say I am thankful she was not hurt this time and that the deer is limping but not dead. Another buck, this time in my car. Damage doesn't look bad but according to the body shop it will be almost $4000 worth of repairs. 

Insurance companies will be blocking my phone number, I fear. I am  EXTREMELY thankful for car insurance. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and stay safe!! 

Watch for deer. 

19 November 2015


Visitors in the Night

Tuesday we woke up to the first little snowfall of the season. Only ½" but still a solid dusting.

As I went out to warm up Bunny's (my) car and clear the snow, I noticed some little dips on the railing.
A closer inspection revealed some teeny tiny footprints.

 Teeny little feet prints, maybe the size of a dime.

They travelled to my potted plant and then back.

I searched my Mammals of Colorado Field Guide and the closest I could come to these prints is some sort of weasel. It actually looks more like a tiny fox print but I don't think tiny foxes would be walking on my railings.    There were the same prints on the front porch, wandering up to another potted plant that had been left there. 

On the back railing, the birdies hopped around.

No idea what kind of birdy.
My Birds of Colorado Field Guide doesn't show
foot prints. 

Then Carlos and I took a walk.  And found more prints in the snow.

These are turkey prints. All over the place. Don't they know Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK? 
That's my footprint on the left which means these turkeys have enormous feet. 

These prints probably do belong to a little fox. Each paw print is about 1 ½" to  1 ¾" long. We see the fox at the end of the driveway a lot.

Surprisingly there were no bunny prints to be found, although usually they are alllll over the place. 

And somehow I missed the deer tracks. Thought I had a pic of them. O well. Missed Carlos's tracks also.

And fortunately there were no bear tracks. No mountain lion tracks. 

And no Chupacabras


17 November 2015

Deja Vu, Deja Vu, Deja Vu...

Déjà Vu, Déjà Vu, Déjà Vu....

Well, she almost made it a full year without hitting anything. 

Bunny has not had the best track record when it comes to her car. 

Not too long after getting her car (January 2014) she backed into a friend. Springtime had a school acquaintance sideswiping her.  September 2014 she was run off the road and spun the Hummer.  December 2014 she backed into another school mate. But mostly since then she has been good. Over the summer in Texas she did have someone back end her but she was stopped at a light. It wasn't her fault. 

Because we have the most awesome body shop in Salida, Bunny waited until she got back here to get her back bumper repaired. She had it fixed mid October. Had just gotten it back all shiny and new.

And then. And then. 

Last Thursday night Bunny stayed in town to visit with a friend.  No school on Fridays here so she texted me at midnight and said she was on her way home.  Ten minutes later the phone rang. 
"I hit a deer."  
Are you ok? 
Is the deer ok?
I don't think so.
Is the car ok?
I haven't looked. O! Here's the sheriff. Thank goodness. 

As she hung up on me I yelled to call if she needed me to come get her.   About five minutes later I got a text. 
"Come get me." 

22º out. Almost 1am by the time I got to her.

Car was not ok.

Just "superficial" damage. 

Deer was definitely not ok. The nice sheriff had to put him out of his misery.

Buck "sleeping" peacefully.

Bunny was shaken but unhurt.

$7000 worth of damage or, as the body shop says "not significant damage, mostly superficial". Huh? Seven thousand dollars is superficial?

Bunny is driving my car, I am in a rental.  Repair time is scheduled to be two to three weeks once the parts arrive. 

So now we are sweating repair time. Because three weeks puts us right at our scheduled departure time for Christmas. 



Apparently if you hit a deer here you can ask for a permit to keep it. Unless it is a trophy deer. Which is exactly what Bunny hit.  A 10 point buck. (In Texas. Or 5x5 buck here. 5x4½ after she hit it.)  Not allowed to keep it then. One of Bunny's friends tried to pick it up but the game warden showed and took it away. O well. 

Broken antler, 
definite gouge on the car from where it hit.

I was surprised how many people warned me to keep an eye on Bunny for PTSD since she hit and killed an animal.   I guess what with having hunter relatives and also being around soooo many people that have hit soooo many deer, it's pretty much been a non issue. She hasn't been nervous driving at night and is only angry that her car is going to take so long to be repaired. 
Wish some of those people had thought to mention that last year when she was run off the road. She is still anxious driving down our main road and practically freaks if I drive down faster than 10 mph. Definitely  PTSD from that accident although had I never really thought about it like that, until now.

The other surprise? How many people were more  concerned about the deer than the daughter. 

12 November 2015

Necessity is the Mother of Perfection


Necessity is the mother of invention and possibly also the mama of perfection. At least when it comes to this little clutch.

I started with a bag that I love but it is too small.

My prototype

I envisioned a few changes. Make it large enough to hold sunglasses AND a cell phone at the same time. Pockets on the inside. Maybe a little outside pocket rather than a zipped spot. A detachable strap.

Fun little buggy lining.
And a mess.

Well,  almost perfect. 

I didn't get the strap. 

Usually I am pretty good at visualizing in 3D and then translating that into a pattern. But I just didn't think through the strap addition. So when it came down to attaching the strap-it didn't work. 
Rather than screw up the whole thing I opted to just do without it. 

The pattern laid out on the leather skin

And it doesn't matter at all.

When it was done, it looked a little ....meh.   Couldn't figure out what was missing.

Done but ... boring...

Then I got the idea of tassels and Voilà!

Tassels in progress

I LOVE this thing!

True love

Perfect size. Perfect amount of pockets. One little zipped pocket on the inside to keep my car key safe. 

I am so happy. A wonderful little leather project completed.

The substitute for No. 27, done!

03 November 2015

Random Thoughts

Random Thoughts from a Random Mind...


So many thoughts running through my brain, none having to do with anything specific.

We are supposed to have snow tomorrow night. It will be the first snow of the season. I could wait a little longer for snow but I guess I don't have any say in this.  But judging from previous year's pics, it will be pretty.

Carlos in the snow- 2013


I live in a little town called Howard. Many locals call it "How-weird" because, well, because it fits.
I am realizing that I am also surrounded by some amazingly creative people. 

One neighbor hand makes leather shoes for a company in New York. I'm pretty sure they qualify as "bespoke", a word that I have recently grown excessively tired of.  And he does this in a little log cabin studio on the side of a mountain surrounded by deer and horses.

Another neighbor makes gorgeous photo quilts. She has a fabulous little studio with alpacas outside her door. Under her cat's supervision (and the alpacas' ) she takes paper photos and turns them into fabric photographs. I wish I had some examples. They are quite impressive.

No pic of the quilts but one of Bunny with the alpacas!

Down on the highway, a regular customer from the coffee shop showed me the ski cabinets he makes. Beautiful custom cabinets to hold skis and boots and  jackets. I admired a pen and ink sketch on his wall and he shared his copy of it...slightly different but equally as intricate and impressive as the original artist's. 

Another regular customer is preparing for her upcoming East Coast gallery showing. She does mixed media work including textile assemblages along with more traditional paintings.

All of this makes me feel like a total slacker.  

A few days ago I realized that in just 6 ½ weeks Bunny will be graduating from high school and I will be out of the "parenting a school kid" game. Although she just came in and told me she has her "Capstone meeting" in the morning.  Unsure of what that is, I asked. Apparently all of the Seniors meet individually with the Principal, Counselor and assorted other school officials and tell them about her experiences in school. She is collecting her test scores, academic achievement certificates, and college acceptance letters to share. The school wants to know how she has done and what her plans are. It is a requirement to graduate. What a fabulous idea. 

Also Bunny and I will be heading back to Texas in 6 ½ weeks and one day. Ugh. That means I have to pack up this little cabin and somehow cram two wardrobes, two people, one dog, a computer and Lord knows what else into two cars.  Maybe one car. Bunny really really wants to sell her car here where she knows she can get more money for it and then buy something smaller in Texas. 

Me and Bunny come December...

So between now and mid December I have to go through this cabin and dispose of all the accumulated ephemera. 
Pretty sure after this year no one will be attending school here so we will not need a gazillion notebooks and school supplies. Off to one of the schools they will go. 
Clothes that haven't been worn, that no longer delight or possibly no longer fit will be sent to my favorite consignment store or maybe just Caring and Sharing. (The local version of Goodwill...) 
The pantry and medicine chest need to be sorted. 
Pretty much every cabinet, every drawer and every closet needs to be looked at. There's a huge difference in closing the house for a few weeks or even for the winter and closing it down after having lived here for almost 3 years. 
I'm considering it practice. I cannot even imagine the shape of that Texas house. Having lived here for almost 3 years with only occasional trips to Texas means I have NOT lived in the Texas house for almost 3 years. Every time I have gone home I have thought "This place needs a dumpster."  So much stuff and no one has disposed of anything in my absence. 

And ...shhhh.... Christmas is around the corner. I've been thinking of presents to be bought. My goal is to buy them here from small businesses before I head back to Texas. Of course, that also means presents to be stuffed into that car. 

Before Christmas comes Thanksgiving. Bunny and I will be in Santa Fe for Thanksgiving. Belle is staying in Florida. The Big Guy and the Hubs will stay in Texas. Too much traveling to get us all together for a few days considering three weeks later it will be  Christmas, when we will all be home. (Yet. Where is "home"?)

I get the feeling this next 6 ½ weeks will fly. 
And my brain will not have the chance again any time soon to wander randomly.
So I guess I'm grateful it's getting a little exercise now.


29 October 2015


Necessity is the Mother of Invention...
a substitute for No. 27.

Earlier this week I mentioned that I was giving up on silver soldering lessons (for now) and instead reviving my leather working skills.

Forty something years ago I went to college in Mexico. The Instituto Allende in San Miguel de Allende. Smack dab in the middle of the country.   San Miguel is a mountain town, a national monument, the birthplace of Mexican Independence, all cobblestone streets and colonial architecture.
To me, it felt like home.  I get the same feeling when I drive up the road to this cabin, seeing the mountains looming ahead, as I did when I came into San Miguel. I feel like I am coming home.

Anyway, the Instituto was an art school. And a craft school. My classes included weaving (seriously) and drawing. Painting. Jewelry classes. And leather working classes.

There I learned that working with leather is really not that hard. You can sew on it just like fabric. There's just a few tricks.

A couple of years ago I bought this little purse.

Perfect. Almost.

I love the concept of it. It's perfect. EXCEPT.  
The size. It is only 8" by 6". That's a pretty standard size for a clutch. It may be a standard size but I can't fit my phone, credit card holder AND sunglasses inside of it. At least not all at the same time.

But my attempts at finding the same thing only LARGER have been unsuccessful. I can find the size but without pockets. Or I can find the size and maybe it does have pockets but it costs a gazillion dollars. I wanted 12" by 8", but it just didn't seem to be out there. (At least not in my budget.....)

So. I decided to make my own.  My first idea was to incorporate this little Mexican blanket fabric with the leather. That became my prototype.

More perfect. 
And why can't I find a single spot in this cabin that doesn't have 
dog fur on it?? Carlos???

And I love it. Everything fits. It's just the right size. Perfect.

Do you know how hard it is to find the perfect little bag?  Impossible almost.

So now I'm going to make it completely in black leather. With the strap. And extra pockets inside.
And then I will be insanely happy.

Black leather, gold leather, taupe leather. 
O! The possibilities. 
The inspiration.

Or something like that.

27 October 2015

Less than two months

Less than Two Months!

Yikes! I have less than two months until I turn sixty. And I'm supposed to have this list finished. 

Not gonna happen.

O well. 

When I made this list, I lived in a different world. Seriously. Right outside the fourth largest  city in the United States with every imaginable opportunity/product/event at my fingertips. An airport within an hour's drive. The beach an hour away in the opposite direction. Traffic, stores, MALLS!! and lots of people.

About one third of the way through the list I ended up in a tiny rural town of maybe 1200 people. When I go to "town", that means about 7000 people, a Wal Mart, a grocery store (Safeway) and  a Murdoch's Ranch Supply. The closest airport is two hours away but the one that we usually have to fly out of/into is a good 4 hours away. Mountains are everywhere but no beach.

Me on the beach in Florida.
Where I won't be at Thanksgiving.

Which is why No.13: Thanksgiving at the beach won't happen. I had hoped to spend Thanksgiving with Belle in Florida. But Bunny and I were in Florida back in September. Last week Belle was here. I just put Belle on the plane back to Florida from Colorado (twice- TSA lines at the airport took over an hour, she missed her first flight because of it) so it seems silly to go visit her again so soon. Besides, Bunny has a severe case of Senioritis and since she has already missed 5 days of school and she graduates in December, I cannot condone her missing any more school. The hubs and the Big Guy are staying in Texas for Thanksgiving, Belle will be in Florida and Bunny and I will stay here. Or somewhere near here. I'm open to suggestions.

No. 11: Get something published....well, I guess I can say I have self published my own blog. Some things I have no control over but it doesn't hurt to put them out there. For now I will consider it accomplished. Multiple times. 

No. 27: Refresh those silver soldering lessons doesn't seem feasible. I've asked around and no one teaches silver working classes. I'll have to wait for civilization to take a class. I could probably pick it up from YouTube but the supplies are expensive enough that I prefer not to make a lot of mistakes trying. And I want to be able to repair the jump rings on my bracelets, so I don't want to ruin my favorite jewelry with inexperience. 
As an alternate I've decided to refresh my leather working skills. More on that later this week.

A little leather pocket on an inspiration bag.
The next one will be all leather. 

No. 19: Go up in a hot air balloon could be done here. But hot air balloons require very early morning departures and the hot air balloon rides nearest me are still 2 hours away or more. So I thought maybe a helicopter ride over the Royal Gorge. That's only an hour away and doesn't require me to pop out of bed at 4am. Or earlier. Except. I just checked.  Helicopter season was over October 15. Oops. O well. I've got some ideas for that hot air balloon in the future. 

No. 55:See a polo match.  Wrong season. Wrong place. I was hoping when Bunny and I went to Florida to visit Belle in September we might have been able to catch a polo match, but no. Wrong season there, also. If I had stayed in Texas, it would have been done by now. Never occurred to me that possibly there was polo in Colorado, but I just checked. There is. I just missed the season. Again, it will happen. Just not in the next two months.

Nos. 57 and 58 should get done. Ice hockey game and fly fishing. Seriously. I live less than 3 miles from one of the best fly fishing spots in the U.S.  And ice hockey is in Denver, 4 hours away.  Colorado Springs has ice hockey but not professional. We shall see....

No. 28: Learn to shoot a gun. I could do that here. But it may take more effort than I am willing to expend in the next 7 weeks. The weather has changed and do I really want to spend a few hours outside in the cold? No.  It could be done easily in Houston. That can wait.

No.7: Learn calligraphy is another one that would benefit from a larger locale.  I tried teaching myself but I was not successful. Someone that reads handwriting would have a heyday with my script. It can be bold, cursive, block letters, leaning left or right. Depends on my mood. So to tame my propensity to be all over the page- literally- I need professional help. 

No. 24: Organize all those photos.  Well, I have made a dent in the digital photos that I have here with me on my computer. But a gazillion photo albums lurk in the cabinets back in Texas. 

No. 5: Go the opera or ballet.   I hope to accomplish this one once I am back in Texas. Not before my birthday but before the end of the year. I always love The Nutcracker. Time to go again. 

And No. 1:Big 60th Birthday Trip.  That one is planned. There will actually be two little trips. One in February to S. Padre Island (a place I have never been) and the second to Lake City, Colorado in June.  That's a place I have been to many times and will be thrilled to go back. 
But seriously? With this group of women I could go to the La Quinta in Podunk and have fun. 

Fifty out of Sixty. That doesn't sound so good. BUT. The whole point was to get me out of my routine, to reunite me with some aspects of myself that I had let fall by the wayside. I have certainly accomplished that. 

And the ones that don't get done? Ninety by Ninety!!!
(I've already got the blog name reserved...)

15 October 2015

Better Ghouls and Gardens

Better Ghouls and Gardens: Decorating for Fall

Yay! One of my favorite times of the year- Fall.

And with Fall comes Halloween and with Halloween comes decorations. And candy. But for me, mostly decorations.

I shared my pine cone balls last week.  They are hanging outside.

Inside I decorated the mantel since there really isn't much else to decorate around here. And this mantel is so crazy odd...weird proportions.  Any help it can get is always welcome.

There are bats left over from a previous Halloween.

Bats that I stitched up last year.
Love the plates from Safeway with Mr. and Mrs. Skull.

Lots of bones found around the neighborhood.

Deer vertebrae.
I love bones.

A wine bottle with a black crow plus gourds and little pumpkins.  A candle cork tops off the bottle.

 A plaster cast of Carlos's paw seems to fit right in.

 Beautiful votive candle holders from Target add a little shine.
Felt leaves from the pumpkin patch made by my chicas add a little whimsy.

In the mirror you can see the ghosts from last year 
flying over the doorway.  

Happy Haunting!

13 October 2015

It's Good to be Queen...

It's Good to be Queen. 
Or Not.

Last week was homecoming week for Bunny.  

I find these events are so much more special in a small town because, well, because, size matters.
Really. In this case, smaller is better. I'm becoming the biggest advocate ever of smaller schools.

Anyway, Bunny was nominated to the Homecoming Court meaning either she or one of her three friends was going to be crowned Homecoming Queen. And all of the girls were/are good friends.

And because this is a small town the girls got to be interviewed by the newspaper and be the stars in the parade.

Since this is my blog and Bunny is my baby, I get to share her week with you.

It started with an article in our newspaper, The Mountain Mail.

Homecoming week always has themed dress up days.  Seniors get to wear togas, so Bunny and one of the other queen-wanna-bees coordinated their costumes.

Natty and Bunny
Thank goodness for "YouTube" and toga tying instructions.

On Wednesday there was a school assembly on the football field where the "court" was presented to the student body.

Bunny and her escort, Jett, are second from the right. 
(Photo courtesy of M. Moltz)

Wednesday after school there was a parade down the main drag.  The queens-in-waiting led the pack, waving and throwing candy.


Adorable old Dodge convertible....

After the parade was a bonfire, which I did not attend, also documented in the newspaper

(photo by Ryan Summerlin)

Thursday was, blessedly, an off day. No homecoming court duties required. Thank goodness.  I think all of the girls were exhausted at this point.

The football game Friday night was the highlight of the week. Bunny specifically requested (demanded) that her dad fly 1000 miles from Texas to escort her onto the field. Being a good dad, he complied.

photo M. Moltz

What Bunny didn't know was that her sister, Belle, also flew in from Florida as a surprise. Belle hid out in town at a friend's house, only showing her face once the football game was underway and Bunny was safely tucked away in the school library.
I love this picture taken by one of the other moms.  She managed to catch Bunny's face just as she realized her sister was in the stands. 

In the end, Bunny was not Queen. Kaitlyn Moltz won that honor.

                                                                                         photo M. Moltz

Did it matter? Not one bit. 

08 October 2015

Fun with Pine Cones...Part Two

Fun with Pine Cones, Just Call me Martha...
Part Two.

Today I am going to show you how to make your very own gorgeous (!) pine cone balls.

The cast of characters:

Two 10" styrofoam balls, conveniently already packaged in plastic.
A couple of grocery bags of pine cones... it takes a LOT of pine cones to cover a 10" ball
Hot glue gun and LOTS of glue sticks
Jute string about 18" long- two pieces
Knitting needle or skewer to poke the jute string into the ball

Leave the plastic on the styrofoam ball!
(If your styrofoam ball does NOT have a plastic covering, cover it in a kitchen trash bag, securing with hot glue.)

First knot one end of the jute string a few times. Poke a hole into the ball about 6" to 8"deep.

Stick that baby with a knitting needle or skewer.

Squirt a bit of hot glue into the hole. Force the knotted end of the jute string into the styrofoam ball. Squirt more hot glue into the hole to hold the string in place.

Poke the string into the ball.


Start gluing the pine cones to the plastic covered styrofoam ball. Gloves help with this project as some of those pines cones are pointy!  Leaving the plastic on helps keep the styrofoam from getting soaked since this will be an outdoor ball.  I started near the string and interlocked the pine cones as best I could. There were still some gaps but I went back to those after covering the entire surface with the larger cones.

Keep the pine cones as close as possible.
Try to interlock them as you go.

Warning: This is not a quick project. It took me most of one morning to do one ball.

Once the entire surface is covered, go back and fill in the gaps with smaller pine cones or dried seed pods or whatever else you can find that suits your fancy.  There are at least three different kinds of pines on this property with different size cones, the smallest of which was perfect for the gaps.

Once done, tie a loop in the jute and hang.  A ribbon can be added if desired but I like the simplicity of no ribbon for this cabin.



Warning: After hanging these outside, I noticed the next morning that there were HUGE gaps of white styrofoam showing between the pine cones on one of the balls. Immediately  I assumed the squirrels had somehow managed to eat my pine cones or the birds had attacked or possibly the hot glue had failed and the cones had just fallen off.   But once outside I realized that the pine cones that had been open when I glued them had just closed up. Who knew they could even do that? I guess they were freshly off the tree. A couple of days now and the cones are open and seem to be staying that way. No more white showing through.