Thursday, December 25, 2008

Good News of Great Joy

The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned...

For to us a Child is born,
to us a Son is given,
and the government will be on His shoulders.
And He will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace...
Isaiah 9

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests."

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Luke 2

Our God is with us.... Merry Christmas to all...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

Some photos from the cookie decorating party the other night. We baked the cookies ahead of time, then the girls and a couple of friends spent the evening decorating. Thanks again to hubby and youngest daughter for photos (I really do have a few "elves" around!)

A peaceful Christmas Eve to you all...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Are You Ready?

Christmas is just one week away! Oh my goodness- I feel like I've barely gotten started!
Today, my daughter made up a huge batch of sugar cookie dough. Tomorrow we will roll out and bake the cookies, and then in the evening, some of the kids' friends will come over for a cookie decorating party. Saturday will also be devoted to baking. There will be a family trip on Tuesday, either to a local mansion/museum all done up for Christmas, or maybe we will go into the city of Philadelphia for some holiday sights and sounds. Shopping is mostly done, sometime in the next week the wrapping will get done, as well as sitting down to some of our favorite traditional Christmas movies (like A Christmas Story). Christmas eve will find us at church, and then a quiet evening at home with the family.

Phew!- are you ready!?!

Here is what the "elves" have been up to at our house:

Below is the lovely ornament that I got in the Great Ornament Exchange over at Kate's blog, The Accidental Traveler. It is right on the front of the tree. This was sent by Michelle.

Some winter greenery and red ball ornaments in assorted containers make an easy and elegant centerpiece for the table.

I also put greenery in assorted silver and pewter containers to dress up the fireplace mantle. I love the traditional look to it.
Candy in some of my favorite glassware makes a simple display on the hutch.

Hope everyone is enjoying the preparations and not stressing too much. When you start to feel overwhelmed, remember that Jesus is the reason for the season! Perfectly decorated homes and ornately wrapped gifts mean nothing next to the meaning of Christmas- God sent His Son because He loves us so. My favorite name for God is Emmanuel, which means, our God is with us.

Merry Christmas!!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Christmas Village

I spent this past week helping to set up our Chrismas Village at our church. This is the first time we have ever done it, and when you look at the photos, keep in mind that construction just began in September! It will stay up for a week, and since it takes up our entire sanctuary, this Sunday we will be having services outside in a large heated tent. Sounds kind of fun!

The village came out beautifully, and we hope that every year it will be better and better. So if you live in the South Jersey/Delaware Valley area, email me and I'll give you the information, admission is free.

Here is a photo from the set up at the beginning of the week. Pictured are me, a guy from our church who hosted the construction at his home shop, and our youth pastor.

(I am the one in the back wearing overalls, in case you were wondering.....)

Remember this sign? It was fun looking for the fake baked goods for the bakery window. I also made some gingerbread for the window and the wreath. I made them out of salt dough, painted them, sealed with waterbased matte varnish, and used white dimensional fabric paint for the "icing."

A view inside the toy store window that I set up. I know, I know- sock monkeys aren't exactly Victorian, but ya do what ya gotta do....

The schoolhouse-

A view down one of the streets. I made the fruit ornament over the door (I've seen them on historic homes and in Williamsburg, VA, and I'm sure there's a name for them, but I don't know what it is) by cutting a piece of cardboard in a semi-circle, painting it brown, then gluing on silk leaves and styrofoam fruit which I had cut in half.

View down another street-

The stage area has a church, 2 homes and a Nativity scene. It's just beautiful!

Hope you enjoyed your "tour" through the village. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Free Pattern and Christmas Decorating Part Deux

A little gift from me to you- a free pattern/tutorial to make this tote. I embroidered the bird, appliqued it to some adorable striped fabric, added some ribbon and buttons, and made it into this tote. CLICK HERE for the tutorial in PDF format.

We had a little "Christmas calamity" around here this afternoon. I was on the phone and heard a crash- ran into the family room- to find the tree on the floor, along with a pile of lights and broken ornaments. I'm not sure if it just came out of the stand, or if maybe the cat "helped" it onto the floor. In kitty's defense, I didn't see her around, but maybe she just ran really fast when she saw what she'd done! Thank goodness my daughter was home early from school, because there is no way I could have uprighted it myself. Right now it is in the stand (kind of), tied to the window frame till hubby comes home to break out the tool box and work his magic on a very crooked tree. We had to remove all of the lights and ornaments from the floor and what was left on the tree, sweep broken glass from the floor, wipe up the water that came out of the stand.... What a mess! Now we have to decorate the tree all over again. Oh, well. I guess tonight will be Christmas Decorating- Part Deux.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Sweet Treats for Christmas

After a busy, busy Thanksgiving weekend (putting up the decorations and the tree, doing a little shopping) I came down with a really bad cold. It was so bad at the beginning of the week, with fever and chills and achy muscles, that I thought I had the flu. But now I am starting to feel better, though my sinuses still feel sore and I'm still kind of tired.

I have mangaged to work on some quick Christmas decorations for a demo I am doing for a church group in a few days. I got some red and green starlight mints (only a dollar a bag at Walmart) and hot glued them to a styrofoam cone to make a festive little tree. I left the wrappers on, but I did cut the little ends of the wrappers off, so they wouldn't stick out. Then I glued a couple of candy canes on the front for a finishing touch. You could do a whole little forest of these, using different sizes of cones, and making some trees all red and others all green and some with both red and green like I did here.

I also found these fun little treats at the Christmas Tree Shop, they really kind of take me back.

Do you remember these old-fashioned candies? I remember my grandparents always had a bowl out when I went over to visit, Grandpa (who's been gone for about 2 years now) always had a sweet tooth. (Thankfully, Grandmom is still with us.)And do you remember these ribbon candies? So vintage looking- I plan on putting them out in a pretty dish as a decoration on Christmas eve ('cause they'll probably only last a few hours!)
I'm so glad that somebody is still making these- they really bring back memories.


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