Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!!!

This is Jolie and she is wishing you a very Blessed and Happy New Year! Jolie was a gift to my niece for Christmas and she looks forward to many days of snuggling and book reading with her new friend.
Grant me the strength from day to day
To bear what burdens come my way.
Grant me throughout this bright New Year
More to endure and less to fear.
Help me live that I may be
From spite and petty malice free.
Let me not bitterly complain
When cherished hopes of mine prove vain,
Or spoil with deeds of hate and rage
Some fair tomorrow's spotless page.
Lord, as the days shall come and go
In courage let me stronger grow....
Lord, as the New Year dawns today
Help me to put my faults away.
Let me be big in little things;
Grant me the joy which friendship brings.
Keep me from selfishness and spite;
Let me be wise in what is right.
A happy New Year! Grant that I
May bring no tear to any eye.
When this New Year in time shall end
Let it be said I've played the friend,
Have lived and loved and labored here,
And made of it a happy year.
~Edgar A. Guest

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Advent Quilt

Now that I have photo capabilities I wanted to share the Advent quilt wallhanging I made and our family used this season.

(Sorry for the lighting issues...I just didn't want to take it down quite yet to get a better picture).

And a few of the felt ornaments I made. Each of them went into one of these pockets. The envelope flap was down until the day arrived and then we lifted it and hooked it to the button I sewed immedicately above it.

I wasn't sure what to make. What symbols I would use. I went back and forth and finally landed on just doing a mish-mash of Christmas/Winter related images.

My kids have an ongoing debate about whether this DOVE looks more like a chicken or a monkey in the face!

I'm being lazy this morning and didn't want to take the time to edit this one further. Tilt your head, k?

This is SUPPOSE to be a wreath, but it mutated in size and ended up looking more like a teething ring.

Despite all the flaws and artistic anomolies, no one wants me to change ir improve any of these. They say they find "joy" in them. Weeeeeell!! I think their joy and ulimately their laughter is at MY expense! hrmph. *wink*

Friday, December 28, 2007

Cathedral Window and T-shirt Quilt

It's a good thing my sis doesn't read my blog. She'd KILL me for posting this picture of her, but I had to PROVE she was actually crying over her gift! LOL

Do you see that dark blue square toward the middle there? The one that says "World Champions"? Well, there's a little story behind that. I searched all over to get enough Royals tess for this quilt and one place I looked was my local Freecycle group (check it out if you're interested at I posted what I wanted and why and had only ONE reply, but what a reply it was. The gal has had this sweatshirt since she went to the "I-70 series" back in 1985. She's not a big Royals fan, but she just couldn't bring herself to just toss it out considering this was the year that the Royals actually WON the World Series. I was thrilled to get this from her and include it in the quilt. As a matter of fact it was the first block that J pointed out specifically and "wowed" over. :-) Aaaaah, Glory Days.

I couldn't decide which of these to post so I thought...I'd post them both.
I'll post up the sock monkey after I edit a certain little someone out of it. :-)
By the way...see those letters that say "Go Royals"? I learned how to make them here from Lazy Gal Tonya.

Merry Christmas? Yes it WAS!

At my friend Jody's reminding I've decided to put this journal entry on my blog. For posterities sake if you will.
There's so much that has gone on this week and if you were right here in front of me I'd tell you each and'd probably wish I wouldn't! LOL

I've spent the entire week sick. Dh and I have both had this icky cold/flu thing, but we've managed to muddle through. Now, of course that doesn't sound like a "lovely Christmas" at all, but the Lord blessed us with just enough pockets of energy to be able to participate in all of our planned activities and to complete the projects we were working on.

We went to dh's family's on Christmas Eve. Some who normally don't come, came and it was simply wonderful to have them there. A very full house with over 30 in attendance, not counting the smaller children. We played our usual white elephant exchange (dh wasn't able to put together the leg lamp he intended this year, but he's set on getting it done for next year! ) and with that many people you can imagine what a variety of little "pale packaderms" we had floating around the room and what a roaring good time it was! LOL

The best part though, and I have to remember to send my sil a note about this, was the reading of the Christmas story this year. Dh's family has a variety of levels of those committed and not-so-commited to Christ and even those who are anti-anything Christian, but my sil took this opportunity of CHRISTmas to insist that the Christmas story be read from Luke and to remind all there what this holiday is all about. Afterwards she asked another bil to pray and then another to start off some caroling. It was uncomfortable for many and a few sneaked out after the prayer, but mainly everyone stayed and enjoyed a heartwarming Christmas experience. I was very pleased (as these family events are infamously unpredictable.)

On Christmas day, I woke up first and started our morning breakfast casserole, coffee and hot chocolate and waited for everyone else to start moving around. This gave me just a bit of time to sit in the dark living room and pray by the glow of the Christmas tree lights. In that moment I was thinking mostly of how the Lord had blessed us so richly with gifts under our tree. I could look at nearly every present either purchased or handmade and marvel at either the way the Lord provided the funds or the time to accomplish there presence there. I was also thinking of how different our Christmas celebrations are now that we've been set free from the bondage of our cult-days and delivered into an understanding of what the oft used phrase "Grace and Mercy" means. You can imagine how that little time warmed my heart (despite my sniffles and coughs), amen?

Eventually everyone began to stir and we shared our last Advent devotion from Handel's Family Advent Reader. Dh and I enjoyed this so much, but the children want something different for next year. Ah well.

Then...present time! We all received some fabulous gifts relative to our interests and personalities...books, DVDs, CDs, hobby supplies, clothes, etc. I was most impressed with the thought that went into each. Ds got dd a nice stereo for her room. Hers' died early this year, but we didn't see a real need to replace it as she was still capable of listening to CDs in her DVD player, though the sound quality is greatly diminished via the television speakers. This was unacceptable to Mr. and Miss Music so....ds rectified that.

Ds was thrilled to find 2 new effects pedals under the tree (one from us and one from L's family). None-electric guitar folks won't know what this is, and I barely do myself, all I can say is that pedals are THE thing to have in order to manipulate "tone" and "distortion" among other things when playing guitar. Bottom line...he loved it.

**A fun little side note here: L. has been in Paris (btw, they did make it safely...thank you for the prayers), but she devised this cute little plan to gift ds every day that she is gone. She enlisted my help and so every morning since last Saturday I've had a new present to set out for ds before he wakes up. His favorite soft drink, a picture frame with their picture in it etc. In each is a cutsie little note, too. The very first day was funny. He got this little monkey and you can record your message into it by pressing the palm of one of its hands. Then you press the other hand to play-back. Well, my son...pressed the right hand the first time, heard the message and then, despite a note being wrapped around the recording hand that said, DO NOT TOUCH THIS HAND,...squeezed it and erased her message. He decided to make lemonade out of lemons, recorded his own message to her and went straight to the post office to ship it to her hotel in Paris! Silly kids. ***

Besides some really gorgeous fabric, I received an electric mattress cover. The temperature of our bedroom is a long standing battle between my Husband-The-Furnace and I. We resolved that a few years ago when we began using an electric matress cover with dual controls. But, alas...that went the way of all electronics and died. Now...we can restore peace and love to our sleeping quarters . Aaaaah, sweet harmony!

Dh's gifts under the tree were varied and nice...a new casual coat with sherpa lining, etc, but nothing to "wow" anyone. Here's the thing. WE (he and I) had agreed on the amount of money we would spend this Christmas and we stuck to it. In that, we also agreed that we wouldn't get each other anything over $25 and that it would only be ONE thing. You see? Well, I had been scrounging a dollar here and there for a while to be sure I could get something nice for him without him knowing it (that is the downside of not having your own income I suppose...they always KNOW what's in and out of that checking account! LOL) and so I really didn't feel like that rule applied to me. But...I didn't want him to know that until after he'd done his shopping (of course, that mattress cover tells me HE broke the rules too, so I don't feel too badly! LOL)

Sooooooooo.... After our family gift exchange we went to my sister's house to share with her family. ***(I know this is getting way too long,...I'm sorry. If you've made it this far, you're a faithful friend and deserve a reward! {{{HUGS}}} - I just can't decide what to leave out!)***

There I had dh's "big" gift hidden all this time so he thought his gift getting from me was done. We all opened our gifts from one another (which I'll tell you about in a second) and then when it was all said and done, my sister stood up and said something like this to my dh "Oh my! I almost forgot. Santa came by and knew you'd be here today and so he left this for you" and there, behind the sofa was a BIG package hidden under a quilt. He was perplexed as to what it could be and so he went over and knelt in front of it...the card said it was from the kids and I. When he tore it open it was something he'd been wanting for a Everlast heavy punching bag. (I know this sounds like a silly thing, but he just has always wanted this to workout on so.....) Can you believe my soft hearted hubby teared up?? He just is always so grateful and surprised when someone gives him a gift. I love that about him. He cries over little gifts the kids draw, dvds...whatever really. :D Anyway! I was pretty proud of myself for keeping that one a surprise!

Both of the quilts I made went over extremely well (pics in next post). My sister's so much so that she sobbed to receive her cathedral window wall hanging. Big, giant tears. She said she was just surprised and knew how much time that took to make. With a response like that, it makes you want to get started on another, kwim? Sis and I also went in on a video camera for dd. She's been wanting one for ever-so-long and we hope to encourage her creative film making with this little item. It also takes stills so even though I didn't get the camera I wanted per se, I will have digital picture taking capabilities again! YEAH!

We spent the day there, the boys playing Risk and the girls just chatting in the living room (I snoozed on the sofa under the Royals t-shirt quilt for a sleeps well. :D). And dd video taping it ALL! Then we came home and dh's brother surprised us by coming over with frozen pizzas and gifts and so we did our gift exchange with them.

The girls loved their little reversible headbands, we got the boys shirts with fun sayings on them (like "Most of the people who drive me nuts are in my family"), and my sil really loved her spa kit with the eye pillow and matching headband I made. We finally made it to bed around midnight. All in all it was a lovely, lovely Christmas with lots of familial love everywhere! I couldn't have asked for more!