Christmas Tidings

blog holiday hanging

christmas gift tag

 christmas cards 2013

making gingerbread cookies

oranges orris root tasha cookbook

It’s upon us, the hustle and bustle! Do you feel it yet? All the craziness! The rushing of mailing out the Christmas cards! Every year I say the same thing, “I am going to start my cards in November!” but it just never happens. I bet that happens to a lot of people. Oh! And the packages, mailing packages, receiving packages, wrong address packages! Even with all the brouhaha everything always works out at the end of the day before Christmas…funny thing how that works!

This year I decided to make new gingerbread cookies for my tree. Yes, the old ones looked a little sad, one even looked like a critter must have gotten at it! Yuck! I am just going to push that thought out of my mind, hope you do to.  I have used this gingerbread recipe from “The Tasha Tudor Cookbook“, for years. These are not to be eaten cookies, they are to be hung on the tree cookies.

Every year I prepare my oranges for the tree, a sentimental tradition I just love. I slice them up and place them on parchment paper (Martha Stewart would be proud) at 225°, turning them every half hour. The BEST PART IS THE HOUSE SMELLS YUMMY!  When the peel looks like a warm golden color and they are not quite dried out, I cool them on a rack and then place them in a bowl of orrisroot. After a week or so I take them out, tie a ribbon through, and hang on the tree. Not sure if this is the proper way, but it works for me.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Warmly, Cheri

A Christmas Poem For My Fed Ex Man

newHoliday NEWCutOuts.stocking.©CheriCottrell.png

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that all my Christmas cards will get there,

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While mom made hanging oranges and gingerbread,

And I in my kerchief just settled down to wrap,

When outside I heard such a clatter and a little tap,tap,

I flew like a flash,

It was a fed ex man all dressed in red carrying my packages tied in a sash,

Oh, so happy am I,

I hugged him and gave him some pie!

 I shouted out  to him before he was out of sight,

Merry Christmas and to all a

 Good Night!

~ Cheri Cottrell ~

 Warmly, Cheri

Christmas Tree Farm


Visiting A Christmas Tree Farm


It’s hurry, hurry time to get the Christmas tree…before the snow comes! We have a beautiful Christmas Tree Farm right here in our own town! “The Old Farm Christmas Place” we have been going there the last few years. It’s so nice to see the familiar smiling faces filled with holiday cheer! Cutting down the tree roasting marshmallows, tying it to the top of the roof, listening to Christmas carols being played on the way home, I just adore that warm fuzzy feeling that the holidays bring!


Christmas tree house farmIMG_0142

new new christmas tree farm


After home and preparing the tree, have to wait till trees limbs fall a little then it will be lights, garland, gingerbread cookies, oranges and antique Christmas ball! We all have different ways of tree decorating, some people like birds, while others prefer memorabilia or just a little of everything.

Before I mix the gingerbread for the tree cookies, I slip in one of my favorite Christmas movies. For anyone who doesn’t know me it is..” it’s A Wonderful Life “. I could watch this movie over and over, it just makes my heart smile!

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The Snow Has Just Arrived


fronch snow porch

Wishing you a cozy day!

Warmly, Cheri

Tis The Season

blog HolidayCutOuts.candle.©CheriCottrell.png copy

The Season Begins


I love the hustle and bustle, making cookies, drying oranges for the tree, making rosemary wreathes…I could go on and on! I love it all!!! Did you ever notice when you unpack your christmas decorations the funny sounds you make as if is the first time you have ever opened the box…OOOH how pretty!  Aww this one is my favorite! And then there are the memory decorations the ones we all cherish the most, I have a ceramic Christmas Tree my mom made me, it always give it the best place of honor where I could see from almost any room, which is pretty easy since it is a small cottage house! 

I am very sentimental when I decorate, I listen to Bing Crosby, dry my oranges in the oven…it makes the whole house smell wonderful and cozy and always fire up the wood stove, “Brrr…we are having some cold days here in Maine!”. 

Sooo…make some hot chocolate yummm! And listen to White “Christmas” with Bing!

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Wishing you happy Christmas decorating!

Warmly, Cheri

Watercolor Painting Process Update

coco sitting on a pumpkin

Watercolor Paints

alizarin Crimson…Transparent Yellow…Quinacridone Gold…Olive green…

Smalt Blue 

 I love this color, it was put out by Windsor Newton as a special edition only for a short time! I purchased 4 tubes, that should last me a life time!

Burnt Sienna…Transparent Brown…Transparent Orange

4th stage on coco sitting halloween

stage 3HalloweenHammyIllustration.Stage2.©CheriCottrell

I have tried many painting mediums but I always come back to watercolor! I love the glow and the transparency and how the paints meld into one anouther…creating beautiful luminous shadows and shades I never expected! 

Well… It’s time for a cup of Trader Joe’s Harvest Blend Herbal Tea…this tea warms my tummy and makes me smile! Isn’t it funny how the most simplest things in life can make one happy!

Here is a link to the past sketching and Painting Stages of my Process!

Warmly, Cheri

Nostalgic DIY Halloween Gourds


DIY Material List

Mature dried Gourd

 Dust Mask & Safety Glasses

 A Basin To Wash Your Gourds In

Dish Detergent & Bleach

Scrubbing Pad

Wire brush

Metal spoon

Paring knife

Fine grade sand paper

Small hand-held dermal drill  (I purchased mine at AC Moores)

Primer  (optional)

Paint of your choosing

Block of Styrofoam


Matte or gloss acrylic spray  

Embroidery floss

©chericottrellsmall pumpkin and miceOct102013_4440

Jump Aboard And Let’s Start This DIY


Step 1

Always start with dried gourds. When dry the seeds will rattle, it will be lightweight and sound hollow inside.  HOW TO DRY GOURDS

Step 2

Cleaning the gours…Filling basin with hot water add a few drops of dish detergent and bleach. Using scrub pad begin scrubbing and washing the debris off the gourd. If there is difficult debris use a paring knife to scrape off.

washing a dried gourd

Step 3

Rinse well making sure there isn’t ny soap scum left on the gourds. TROW AWAY USED SCRUB Pad

Step 4

Dry gourds overnight in a dark area. Do not put in the sun to dry for there is a chance of gourds cracking.

cleaned and dryed courds

 Step 5

Using a pencil draw a line around the diameter of the gourd. This is a personal preference on how large or small you want your bowl to be.

Step 6

Using A Small Hand Dremel

hand dremel

Before using  the small hand-held dremel put on your dust mask and safety glasses. On SLOW SPEED slowly begin cutting along your drawn pencil line.

Opps owl © cheri cottrell

Proceed to drilling a hole on opposite sides of the min gourd bowl, making sure the holes are aligned.

Step 7

Once top and bottom is separated proceed to clean and scrape out the pulp and seeds of your mini gourd. Making sure all debris is cleaned out.

Cleaned and scraped  gourds

Step 8

Use a sanding bit and slowly smooth edges of bowl. With a damp cloth wipe any dust and debris.

Step 9

BEFORE PAINTING, place toothpicks in styrofoam making sure that for every one gourd there are two toothpicks closely placed together.

gourds on toopicks


Step 10

Paint What Ever Your Creative Heart Desires!

Choosing paint..I used watercolors and ink, only because I like the translucency of the gourd to show through! If you use opaque paints be sure to use white primer first on your gourds.

gourd bottoms  copy

Don’t Forget The Bottoms!

Step 11

Once finished painting the gourd carefully place on top of the toothpicks, making sure there is enough space between the gourds to allow spray to get around evenly.

Step 12

Wearing a dusk mask bring acrylic spray and styrofoam with gourds and spray  a light coat. Let dry thoroughly and spray again.

Step 13

Choosing your color of floss. Cut the floss to desired length for hanging, attach each end to holes on either side of the gourd. Fill the gourd with decorations and hang!


newpumkin gourd happy halloween

Warmly, Cheri


Update On Painting N Mini Hand Painted Gourd

new owl painted gourd

This Tiny Gourd Is


1″3/8 Wide x 1″ Long


Monday I Will Be Posting All Of My Handmade Halloween Gourd Ornaments

Alnog With The DIY


last sketch for halloween paintingLast and final Sketch

All Art Work Is Protected Under the  Hammy and Pammy

new mnewhalloween painting


Update on Happy Halloween Painting


*     I roughly sketch out the basic beginning of the design I want.

*     So sorry for the light pencil marks, I try to put very little graphite on my watercolor   

      paper. I pencil in just a basic design.

*     I did not sketched a pumpkin mouth on my watercolor paper as of yet! I am not

      sure what type of mouth I want.

*     One of my designs in the painting will be a likeness to one of my mini hand painted 

      gourds. I enjoy incorporating other things I have designed into my artwork!

*     The rest of the designs will be drawn in with watercolor. The less graphite I have on 

      my final painting the happier I am.

Next step will be preparing my color palette and laying in the background washes



Now that’s when the fun begins


Please come back on Monday to see all my Mini Hand Painted Gourds!

I can’t wait to share!

Warmly, Cheri