Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Merry Christmas Post

This week I really meant to  post

how much I heart office supplies as Christmas decorations,

Picnik collage

1.) Cut an index card in half. 2) Lightly stamp a red line down one side for a “notebook paper” effect 3) Round the corners and hole-punch; add a reinforcing sticker; 4) Ink the edges and stamp your message!

how two pots of soup and some flat bread make a Christmas gathering merry and bright—and easy (recipes coming next week),

and how all  you need to decorate your table is a big jar of peppermints and a couple of candles.

Yesterday it poured rain

and looked exactly the same out the windows at 3:37 pm as it did at 8:37 am,

so instead of blogging, I

1) read a book cover to cover and

2) ate.

So, today, this is a post to just wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas.


May this be a year when He is more than a story, a baby, a passing acknowledgement.

This year, may Christ be all.

Be blessed,



Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How to be an Awesome Aunt (and Cousins) in 12 Easy Steps!

With my niece a college freshman this fall, we have a whole new excuse for crafty cuteness:

care packages!

An idea started rolling in our heads back in October:

a 12 Days of Christmas

box with gifts to open every day as her semester wound down with studying and exams.

Even though we started planning at Halloween, we got this package in the mail in the nick of time, right after Thanksgiving.

Remember that there are three stubborn highly-opinionated drama queens females in this house, so the contents of this box of awesomeness were hotly debated.

Hence no photos.

Here’s what we finally sent:

1st day of Christmas:  a “pear” of feather earrings

2 Turtle-Doves--( Turtle candy and a Dove chocolate bar)

3 French Hens:  a Chick-Fil-A gift card

4 Calling Birds—The birds called and left messages—4 short notes of encouragement

5th day—a scarf made of rings!

6 geese-a-laying—The geese left six yellow lemon cookies (“yolks”)

7 swans-a-swimming—bath supplies

8 maids a milking—a box of Milk Duds

9 Ladies Dancing—must have tired feet, so they left socks!

10 lords-a-leaping—from all the caffeine they had from a Starbucks gift card

11 pipers piping—pirouette cookies (shaped like pipes)

and finally, 12 drummers drumming—took their drums but left sticks of gum

Corny, I know, but she loved it!   I hope this fuels your creativity.  Who needs a little extra  attention in your world?  A friend, neighbor, student?

Be blessed today!



Monday, December 12, 2011

Creating Christmas

I had the best intentions of linking up with Aimee for her Christmas ‘scapes party—and I still might eventually!—but life interfered.

After four days of the third (!!) chest cold I’ve had in two months, I went back to school today and dove into the ultra-busy week before Christmas break.

You know the drill: concerts, tests, teacher gifts, secret Santa stuff, crock-pot meals if things are going as planned, grabbing a rotisserie chicken from the deli if they aren’t.

So tonight’s quick post features no tablescapes because the only scape on my tables are piles of books and tissue paper (no wrapped gifts yet) and the debris of daily life.

So how does one actually find peace in this season of peace and good-will?

My favorite Christmas devotional is Jesus, Be in my Christmas, by Sarah Hornsby.  She writes,

“ Jesus explained the secret of entering: The gate is narrow; the gate is Jesus Himself, His body broken and His blood poured out for others….

In order to enter, I must rest form my own work.  As Jesus enters me, He says peace to my heart—to all my struggles to understand, to do what is right, to belong. 

As I come to others with this gift of aliveness, I say to them,

Peace.  Because I have received I can give….. Peace to my house this Christmas.  Peace to the houses I enter today and the lives I touch

Jesus, be in my entering.”

What  a precious gift that would be for those I love:

Peace to this house.

The peace of Christ lies in His authority over my life, my time, my words—even when all else conspires against it.

So for this evening,

I ignore the flotsam on the coffee table and the grumpy kids, and the undone tablescapes,

and I speak His peace.

Be blessed,


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Best Easy Christmas Gift Ever! (So far.)

Of all my projects this year, this one made me the most ridiculously happy.

It’s easy and cute and cheap.

What else could you want?

This awesome no-sew t-shirt scarf was the featured gift in the Best Care Package Ever (so far), recently sent to my niece, who is smack in the middle of exams right now.

You need:

3 old t-shirts—the more basic, the better.  No fancy-smancy rib-knit or fabric blends—use your worn-out sports t-shirts or the one from that vacation you took 10 years ago


Yep, that’s all.

I stole borrowed this idea from here; hurray for Blogland.

Grab your pile of old tees.


First, smooth out the first tee and cut off the bottom seam.  Discard it.

Then just cut the shirt into strips about 3/4” wide. (You’re not cutting apart the side seams; you’re cutting rings.)

I got about 10-12 per shirt.  You’ll need about 32-34 strips, depending on the length of your scarf.

Stretch each strip and watch it curl!


Here’s why rib knits and some blends won’t work: no curl!


Next, wrap each curled loop around your fingers,DSC_1364
forming a t-shirt coil.  I liked mine in tight bundles, but I’ve seen these done with looser wraps for a whole different look.


Line up your bundles in the pattern you want (I used another scarf to gauge the length),


and tie them together with pieces cut from leftover strips.




Ta-da! Finished scarf!


When I first saw this project, my thought was “cute but useless.”  Surprisingly, the scarf is actually quite heavy and might actually keep your neck warm!Smile


Total cost: $2 for one shirt from the thrift store; the rest were unearthed from the depths of our dresser drawers.

See what I mean?  Best ever! (Until next time.)

Be blessed,


Linking up at Stuff and Nonsense.  Since I can’t figure out the whole blog button thing, I’m not going to try this time!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Decking the Halls or All I Want for Christmas are My Thumbprints

It started with this photo on Pinterest.image

(image from Pinterest)

I have a feeling lots of stories are going to begin like that.

I loved the simplicity of the mantle and knew I had to find a easy, cheap way to copy it.

Of course, if the budget here at the ‘house allowed, red silk carnations would be perfect for creating these wreaths.

The budget did not allow, so I went with crumpled balls of red crepe paper.

Trial, error, and glue gun burns marked the first wreath.

I was not feeling the Christmas cheer.

By the next one, I’d gotten my mojo and a different, low-temp glue gun and even sang along to a few carols.

For each wreath you need:

a Styrofoam wreath form

a roll of red crepe paper

hot glue

Critical first step: wrap each wreath form in crepe paper.  Do not skip to the wadded-up paper stage.  Your fingerprints will thank you.


At this point, I was on a roll, so I totally forgot pictures.  Bad blogger.

Now, cut the crepe paper into 2-3 inch pieces and scrunch them up.  You need a blue-million of these, so just keep scrunching!

Start gluing, and gluing, and gluing—until you have a nice fluffy wreath.




(Excuse the weird lighting; it’s gloomy and rainy today.)

The green ornaments were Dollar-Tree discoveries from last year, and the white pottery pieces are thrifty finds.

Another Pinteresting project checked off!

Be blessed,


Linking this up at Biblical Homemaking!


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Midweek Mary Moment: Angels

This makes me tap my toes,

sing praises,

and laugh

all at the same time.

Happy Wednesday!




Monday, December 5, 2011

Arise and Shine

Outside the car window, the sky was inky black, the million stars like glitter that spilled across construction paper when we made crafts at school.

I admit to be a dreamy child,

and as I rested my head on the window and watched winter night go by, I longed for white Christmases and magic and something wonderful to happen.

Then something did.

People here would call it a bump in the road.

For flatlanders, it was a hill.

At any rate, it rose tall enough to block the fields beyond it from view, and that qualified it.

Cresting that hill, we could see grey fields stretched like long shadows in the headlights.

Then, in the blackness, there it was.

The tree.

An enormous cedar tree spanning nearly the width of a tiny yard, covered with those fat multicolored lights.

A Christmas tree,

surrounded by darkness

and shouting its message in the middle of nowhere.

It took my breath away.

All these years later, I remember that tree when I drive home from school each day.

On a mountainside (really a mountain, not a quasi-hill) near our home, someone lights a tall cross each Christmas.

A few houses near it have joined the party with lights strung from their rooftops,

but for the most part, it stands alone.

A startling beacon

surrounded by darkness

shouting its message in the middle of nowhere:

“The Light of the World has COME!”

Indeed He has.

And the darkness is not dark anymore.

Be blessed,