Friday, December 24, 2010

Oh Holy Night

Oh Holy Night!
The stars are brightly shining.
It is the night of our Dear Savior's birth!
Long lay the world  in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!
(Adolphe Adam, 1847)

Upon lighting the center candle
of our Advent wreaths tonight, praising the birth of Jesus,
the Light, our Lord and Savior...

...Our sweet angel will be watching over our tree.

And with great anticipation, all kids, and kids at heart, 
'round the world will await Santa's arrival!

Don't forget to set out some hot cocoa
and cookies for Santa...

Hang up your stockings...

..and remember to say your prayers, of course, 
and to wish Jesus a Happy Birthday.

Oh, how hard will it be to sleep tonight?!

We don't want Santa to pass us by!

Actually, after this past week,  for most of us,
I bet it won't be hard to fall asleep at all!

I leave you with these few last wishes...

The light of the Christmas star to you
The warmth of home and hearth to you
The cheer and good will of friends to you
The hope of a childlike heart to you
The joy of a thousand angels to you
The love of the Son and God's peace to you.

Wishing you and yours a blessed
and very Merry Christmas!  

Thursday, December 23, 2010

My Christmas Gift To You!

Still baking cookies, and making the last final adjustments to decorations around the house, I can't believe tomorrow is Christmas Eve.  I tried a new recipe out yesterday, called Jam Kolaczki.  Don't ask me to pronounce them, but I can tell you they are delicious!!  Dear Son thought they looked so good, he even helped make them with me, so that made this batch of Christmas cookies all the more fun! 

Oh, would you just LOOK at the mountains of sugar I piled on them!!  My Grampy would be proud!!  He would have had to sneak one, but I'm sure he would have loved these!

You can find the recipe HERE, at Pam's Midwest Kitchen Korner.  I was a little intimidated at the looks of them, worrying how much I would have to play with the dough, to get these to come out right...  Actually, I was pleasantly surprised to find the recipe to be very easy!  The directions called for you to chill the dough, but I found after doing so, that the warmer the dough got, the easier it was to work with...  So I guess you'll just have to get a feel for that yourself, if you try them.  I suggest you DO!  I like them MUCH better than the jam thumbprints I used to make, so this recipe is a keeper!

Well speaking of thumbprints, one visitor who stopped by to read yesterday's post, asked about one of the batches of cookies she saw...   This one...

The ones you see on top are called Chocolate Cherry Thumbprints.  I looked and looked all over the internet for a similar recipe, but I could not find a single one that showed how to make them like I do.  So here is my Christmas gift to all my followers and visitors who may stop here today...   Just click on the picture, then click to save.

It does not make a big batch.  You could start by following it as written, and judge for yourself, but it would not be too late to double it, if you find it's not enough.  These cookies are a family favorite, and my kids ask for them EVERY year!...  By the way, if you like the cute little recipe card I've used, you can find more like it HERE, at  Rainbow Row Graphics.  I think you're gonna love the assortment they have!

Going all out, we'll move from thumbprints to handprints!  Here is one of my favorite Christmas tree ornaments...  It's one my son made when he was in preschool...

...and while you won't find any glitter, bling, or sparkle on this one, my tree would not be near as dear to me without it!

Recently, I showed the light bulb ornaments I've made.  So now I thought I'd share another kind of ornament, made by way of recycling old CDs!  This one is Dear Daughter's...

And this one is Dear Son's!  

I simply painted them with acrylic paints, added felt hats, scarves, noses, and whatever other little embellishments you see, and voila!

Today I'm linking with Carrie with Children, as she hosts her "Show Me Your Christmas Tree" blog hop.

I've taken several pics of my tree, trying to get just the right look...  After one batch I noticed my window sill needed a cleaning...  O.K., next batch!  Oh no, all my 50 thousand cable and internet wires are showing in the picture!  Better fix THAT...  Now let's try with flash, without flash, with the lights on, with the lights off...  I love my new camera, but I ask your patience and understanding as I learn!  Here are two shots that I liked the best for now...

My tree is an artificial one, IF you were wondering...   It just got too hard to go chopping, dragging, paying for, and discarding them when I was done.  Still I spray some pine scented room freshener around the room...  Believe it or not, I still have needles dropping to the floor (uh-oh)...  and it stands 7 feet tall!  I LOVE it, and with much reluctance, I'm always the last one around to take my tree down.  Apparently, I'm not the only one who loves it...  I am surprised this year at how much Tuffy seems to love it too!

He will either sleep underneath it, or sit just close enough to it, so that he can look at the lights (I assume), for lengths of time that I wasn't even aware his attention span would allow!  I think that this is so cute!  Some cats love watching birds and squirrels from the window, but my cat loves looking at the Christmas tree!

Thanks again for visiting...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Good Cheer, Good Cookies

...And of course, good crochet!..  At least I try!

Busy as ever, if not more so, I feel the pressure as I run down the to-do list in my head.  Time's flying!  There is still so much to be done!...   And yet, my Christmas spirit does not waver!  I absolutely LOVE this time of year!  

fairy with wand Pictures, Images and Photos

"Christmas waves a magic wand over the world, 
and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful."
(Norman Vincent Peale)

"Despite everything", as Anne Frank once said, "I believe that people are really good at heart"...  But doesn't this seem most true at Christmas time?!  "People passing, meeting smile after smile"...  I think I get the biggest kick seeing all the children everywhere, who are absolutely besides themselves with excitement!  It's contagious, bless their hearts, and just seeing and talking with them boosts my own Christmas spirit to ten times what it already was before!!  

 I try to depict that holiday spirit, as I set up my little Christmas village. At the center of "Santa's big scene", is all one piece, where you'll see and hear its lights, music, and moving parts!  I have buildings of all sizes surrounding it, and I try to add a new little something to it every year.  The little glitter houses you see, were my grandmother's.

Well, I have to admit, I almost wish I had a magic wand to get a few more things done faster around here!  Dear Son shook his head today, just watching me zipping around my kitchen, with 3 or 4 things going at the same time.  (Who's got time to count?!)...  

At one point, I spilled sugar all over the floor, and I'm sure I should have been disgusted with myself for being so sloppy... 

...but instead I felt like doing "the old soft shoe" as I listened to Perry Como and the Fontaine Sisters singing "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" on my radio!  I love hearing all the Christmas songs while I bake... 

...or cook dinner, or wash dishes...   The station has been playing them since Thanksgiving, but I never get tired of them!  "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow", I sing along with Dean Martin, as I make some Snowball Cookies!...  Then, there's this colorful batch to show you, just below!  My gosh, just a dab'll do ya, when you're mixing a Wilton brand food coloring to anything!!   Holy canoli, Batman!...  They did taste good though.  You can find the recipe HERE, at Purple Chocolate Home.

Next I did a batch of sugar cookies...  "Do you see what I see?"...  "A star, a star"...  And some more stars, and some trees too!!  They look good and were easy enough I guess... 

but I'd love to get a new cookie press sometime soon!  I've got my eye on Wolfgang Puck's at the moment!
I'm debating which, and/or how many different batches of cookies I'll want to make tomorrow.  I'd like to make a batch of gingerbread men, maybe;  but I'd also like to try this new recipe for Jam Kolaczki.  They both sound good to me, so I guess we'll see what time allows!

I've been getting some crocheting done at night, but I got even more done while watching the football games on Sunday, then on Monday night!  First I made a couple of Christmas tree ornaments...  "Baubles", to be precise!

You can find the pattern for these HERE, at Attic 24!  I was very happy with how quick and easy they were, and I thought they were fun to make!  You could easily get caught up in making a dozen of these I'm sure!

Next, I made this little mouse ornament, done in red and white, and little button eyes and nose...

...which you can find the pattern for HERE, at Clara's Crochet Room.  Again, quick and easy, but a really cute little project, don't you think?!  Here you see it on the tree that sits atop my entertainment center!  

This tree stands just a little over 3 feet tall, and it is decorated with only crochet ornaments, and a few satin balls, which I think I'll get rid of, as I gradually make more crochet ornaments for it.  So far, I really like keeping it to crocheted reds and whites, with the exception of the 3 brown reindeer! (but they DO have red noses!)...  If you like, you can find the pattern for these little guys right HERE!  

I need to make a small tree skirt for it sometime...  if not this year, then next.  I can spray all the pine scented room freshener I want, but there's no mistaking how terribly FAKE that skinny little tree trunk looks!  Still, you should see it with the lights on!  I love my little crochet tree!

Moving onto stockings, I made quite a few this year.  Mostly smaller ones, here are two I started with, just this past week... 

...based on a free pattern you can find HERE, by Maggie Weldon. I thought they looked cute, hung on my living room mirrors, like so!

I made several other stockings in the style you see below, by J.E. Davidson.  It's now my own tradition to hand out these little stockings to the younger kids at my church every year.   

While presenting an assortment for the kids to choose from, THIS particular stocking was a real hit!  (Oh, and if ever a "big kid" of any age might want one, yes, they can have one too, of course!)  You can find the pattern HERE.  The only change I made as I crocheted them, was by adding a third row on the popcorn trim!   

Well, that's about it, till next time!
..Still no snow around here! 
I'm wondering if we'll have a green Christmas! 

I hope everyone's having a great week, 
full of good cheer and wonderful memories in the making!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Goodness and Light Bulbs

Thought I'd share some of my painted lightbulb Christmas ornaments today!  I've gotten inspiration and how-to's from all over the internet in previous years.  No time to make new ones this year, but maybe next! 

Here is a Raggedy Ann ornament that I made for myself!

The next two are ones I made for Dear Daughter..

Betty Boop was fun to make!

...and so was this little penguin!

These last two are Dear Son's ornaments!

A gingerbread man...  

The hats you see on these last 4 ornaments are made simply by snipping the fingertips off of an old pair of red knit gloves!  Add a little fake fur trim, and there you go!  I used E6000 for all these ornaments... LOVE that stuff!

Last one...   The Grinch.  
(at least as best as I could get it to look like him!)

If you'd like to try making one like these yourself, I would suggest starting HERE, or just Google "light bulb ornaments", and you'll be well on your way to countless ideas, inspirations, and tutorials!  They're really very easy, and lots of fun!

Well, that's it for today.
My computer's undergoing some reconstruction right now...  

I am having lots of fun with my new camera though,
so I hope to share more pics, projects, 
and Christmas preparations soon, 
when things are back in order again!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ye Shall Find the Babe

And an angel of the Lord 
appeared to the shepherds out in the field...

...Fear not; for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people;  for unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign unto you.  Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."
(Luke 2:10-12)

Today, Lynn, at Happier Than a Pig In Mud, is hosting "The Reason for the Season" Party, so that participants can share their nativity scenes, and various holiday decorations that may also depict The Holy Family.  I had three nativity scenes/sets, but sadly lost one, which my daughter gave me when she was only very little still, in "the big bad move".  Chin up, however, here are the two I thankfully still have.

This first set was given to me by my BFF, Marilyn!  It measures about 14" high by 20" across.  Being of a different faith, not celebrating Christmas in the way that I do, she still knew how much I would love this beautiful nativity set.   

I LOVE it, but Dear Daughter laughs at me, for one minor adjustment I made to it.  She refers to such action as if it was a sickness, so allow me to explain...  I can not STAND "empty spots".  If something is empty, it simply is just not RIGHT, and I must fix it as soon as I possibly can!..  Well, you can see the height of the barn... I simply felt that maybe a heavenly light, or angel, or star of some kind should be above them;  and there certainly seemed to be enough room for it!  So I found a sparkling glittery star to hang above them.

I later showed Dear Daughter, who exclaimed, "Gee Mom!  You can't even tolerate an EMPTY SPOT in THE MANGER?!!!"...   (gasp!)  What?!...  Surprised to hear this reaction, I couldn't help wondering "My gosh, is she right?!"...   Well, whatever the case, I think the star looks nice!  Do you?

My next nativity set is one my parents gave me one year.  There is no name, that I can find, attached to this set.  I only know that I love their sweet little faces!

I think they just very much remind me of the beautiful set of hummels my grandmother used to collect and display in her home.  The size of this nativity measures approximately 7" wide by 14" wide...  You'll notice, I seem to have found no reason, though I'm not sure why,  to remodel this particular set!  Unlike my first set, this one did come with an angel, whom I placed in the center, close to the head of Baby Jesus. 

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men..."

Now, if you'd like to see a really cute crochet nativity set, you can check one out right HERE!  You can even get the free patterns to make your own set!  I know I'm thinking about it! 

Well, I went to that Christmas party that I mentioned, last night, and had a very nice time!.. good food, and live entertainment after our potluck dinner!...  It turned out that two other women ALSO made deviled eggs!  Oopsie!!...  So we had a good many of them left over!  I sent several people home with some. Dear Son was glad that I could still bring some back for him too!  By the end of the night, everyone at the party went home with a goody bag as well!

Inside was some candy, a pretty little notebook, and a calendar!  I've already hung the little glass ornament on my tree!

In a previous post, I mentioned that it was my birthday this past weekend, and I want to show you this cute little Christmas pin, that was given to me with one of my gifts!...

It's made with a pack of gum!!!  Isn't that a cute idea?!!  (Thank you Sue!)  Sorry the pic is a little blurry, as I'm still learning how to use my new camera, and took this on-the-fly; but I wanted to share this, in case anyone still needs some quick and easy, party-favor-type of ideas for Christmas!)

Just recently June, from over at Shespinswool, sent me a couple of beautiful ornaments for my tree, along with this sweet little lamb, since I did not have a sheep to hug for "Hug A Sheep Day"!  Here you see "Ewey" now sitting with my little bear "Breezy"!

I just KNEW they'd be good friends!  They are positively inseparable! Thank you June!!  I've since found a more proper spot for them to be comfortably, but proudly displayed; and I still hug them both, whenever I can!

Well...  Big hugs to all who could stop by today!!  
I hope you enjoyed your visit!

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
(Luke 2:20)
Spread some Christmas cheer, for all to hear, 
as you remember "the reason for the season"!