Posts filed under ‘Holidays’

CNC Easter Sunday Reminder: 1st service is 9 am. 2nd service is 11 am.

Easter is almost here. And like you, all the staff and I have been busy getting ready for The Celebration.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;  and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”  (John 11:25-26)

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

  • We are excited about serving breakfast before both of the services.
  • Pastor Mike is all set to deliver his 1st person drama. We will surely get a fresh perspective of The Resurrection. and see that it changes everything!
  • The children (nursery-5th grade) will receive a goody bag.
BREAKFAST INFORMATION
  • The first breakfast is from 8-9am. There is lots of seating at this time.
  • The 2nd breakfast is from 10-11am.
  • It’s okay if you haven’t bought a ticket yet. You can pay on Sunday.
  • Cost is a suggested donation of $3.50 p/p. First-time attenders pay nothing.
CLASS INFORMATION
  • There will be classes for the Nursery and Preschool-age children for both services.
  • All other children/teens are invited to attend service with their parents.
  • No adult classes will meet this day either.

ROOM CHANGE INFO

The Preschool will be open for both services. However, the kiddos will NOT meet in their usual room.
  • They will meet in the old office (in the church) by the little parking lot.
  • There is a Preschool sign on the window and door.

I am soooo ready to celebrate this miraculous and TRUE event with you all.  The Resurrection changes everything. Jesus Is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

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Lenten Reflection: Who Am I?

I am more than a shell. My being was made on purpose for a purpose by a good God.

Who am I? I am more than a shell. My being was made on purpose for a purpose by a good God.                                          My “shell” is predetermined. But I can change my interior world. And that is what I hope to do this Lent. I want to root out selfishness, moodiness, & blame. And I want to invite and pursue love, as defined in 1st Corinthians 13, to  mold me, change me, & perfect me.

My church background doesn’t include practicing Lent. But for the past 5 or 6 years I have been intrigued by this season. I adopt a practice or two as a way of preparing my heart, mind, and soul for Easter.

This year’s Lenten practices (2013) include giving something up and adding something into my life. Teri from Clever Title Here talks about this idea of adding in and taking away.  Reading her post confirmed the direction I was to go in this year.

Teri says, “If you do decide to go for a new discipline, I suggest letting something go as well. Sort of a two-sided coin–rather than filling up MORE, make a trade-off.” Go to this link to read the rest of the post, Lenten Discipline. She also lists some resources there, too.

I will do the following in 2013:

ONE. GIVE UP time on the internet like Facebook, blog hopping, and just-because research.

  • Do only what is needed for work or for Lent (like the photo challenge).
  • ADD IN . . . Read Jesus books, pray in colour, photo-a-day Lent challenge (maybe)

TWO. GIVE UP unnecessary spending.

  • This will mean preparing ahead by making meals at home, staying away from Amazon’s one click in order to buy books, and leaving my debit card at home. Those small impulse buys really add up.
  • ADD IN saving $ for a charity project. I haven’t decided which one yet. But I will donate a sack of groceries to the St John Vianney Food Bank.

And I will be doing some items from this resource: 40 Ideas for Keeping a Holy Lent

I’ve written very little about my journey. But I have written the following . . . Lent Quiz . . . .  Two Sentences About Lent . . . . Three Reasons to Celebrate Lent . . . . Ash Wednesday Quiz . . . . Ash Wednesday & Lent in Two Minutes a Youtube presentation by Busted Halo.com 

Your Turn . . . Tell us who you are.

NOTE: These shells are some of a handful that I brought back from my trip to New Zealand in March 2011.

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From Eyeglasses to Snowman Ornament (tutorial)

I found this idea on Pinterest. Unfortunately the link did not go back to the original designer. This is my version of the original.

For our family’s 2nd annual ornament-making fest, I scoured the internet for many months before coming across the cutie I will be showing you. We make other ornaments besides snowmen, but the star of the program is always a snowman. This is the link I have for our star snowman.

 

Supplies Needed

  • Eyeglasses
  • Ammonia based cleaner and rag
  • Paint brushes
  • Acrylic  paint: white, black, orange
  • Blush (makeup), brown, tan, or pinkish eye shadow
  • Acrylic spray
  • Strip of fabric for the scarf

Step One – Clean

Clean eyeglasses with cleaner. Rinse well with water. Dry with non-lint towel.

Step Two – Base coat

Paint lenses of eyeglasses in a thin coat of white paint in one direction. Try to keep paint off the rim of the glasses. Let it dry thoroughly. You can use a hair dryer to help it dry more quickly. If you put on more paint when it is still wet, some paint will come off. That is why you need to let it dry between coats.

Step Three – Base coat in opposite direction

Paint lenses in the opposite direction with a thin coat of white paint. Let it dry thoroughly. You can use a hair dryer to help it dry more quickly.

Step Three – Finish base coat

Do this 2 or 3 more times, or until you have a totally white surface. If you paint in thin layers and alternate directions, each time you will end up with a smooth surface. However, it will still look good, if the surface isn’t smooth; after all, real snowmen aren’t smooth.

Step Four – Eyes

Eyes: Practice making ovals on a scrap piece of paper. In the top lens about a finger width down paint two ovals in black. Paint two lines for eyebrows above the eyes in black paint.

Step Five – Nose

Nose: In the middle of the lenses, make an orange triangle. Start with the fat end of the carrot ending with the pointy end.

Step Six – Mouth

Mouth: Dip the end of your paint brush into black paint. Use this end to make dots for the mouth.

Step Seven – Let top dry & work on bottom

Let the top lens dry while you work on the bottom lens.

Step Eight – Buttons

Buttons: Using black paint make three circles on the bottom lens. Or you can use the end of a fat paint brush or pen dipped in black paint to make the circle buttons.

Step Nine  – Finish eyes & nose

Top Lens 

  • Eyes: Dip your paint brush end into white paint. Use this end to put dots onto your eyes to give them dimension.
  • Nose: Using a liner brush dipped in black paint, outline the carrot in black. Also paint a few vertical lines.

Step Ten – Finish buttons

Bottom Lens – Buttons: Paint a small white curved line on the buttons.

Step Eleven – Cheeks & outline

Blush: 

  • When both lenses are dry do the following: Put blush on a small, dry paint brush. Make circles on the cheeks.
  • Outline the snowman with same blush or desired colour of eye makeup.

Step Twelve – Date and initials

On the inside of the lenses, paint your initials and current year.

Step Thirteen – Clean & seal

Wipe off frames well. Clean off smudges and any white paint.

In a well-ventilated area, spray the acrylic spray the outside and inside of lenses. Use thin layers.

Step Fourteen – Scarf

Tie the strip of the fabric on the “neck” of the snowman.

Step Fifteen – Display

Put the snowman onto your tree and admire.

Step Sixteen – Picture & post

Take a picture and send it to me so I can make a post with everyone’s creation. Or write your own post and link it to this one.

_______________________________________________________

During November I am writing or posting a photo about something for which I am grateful. This explains why.  

My gratitude posting for November 28: I am finally making time for crafting. Besides being fun, crafting gives me something pleasant to think about, gives me more creative thoughts in all areas, and is a stress release. And when I craft with others, it is a bonding experience.

_____________________________________________________

Your Turn . . .

  1. Did you make this snowman?
  2. Did you make any ornaments, snowman or otherwise, this year?
  3. Do you give ornaments as presents?
  4. What are you grateful for today?

Related Posts . . . 

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Snowman Ornaments Made of Foam & Some Made with Eyeglasses

The designers for the snowman foam kit, couldn’t have envisioned their product looking this cute.

It was the beginning of the greatest Christmas ever. Little food. No presents. But there was a snowman in their basement,” (Markus Zusak, The Book Thief).

Like many people I am enamored with snowmen. You can read books, find merchandise, and peruse Pinterest on this topic

Snowmen can even be part of family traditions.

Top left ornament is from a wooden kit.

For many years, I have bought my nieces and daughter a snowman ornament.

And now on the day after Thanksgiving we congregate to make ornaments. This year I bought 2 kits. One was a foam snowman kit and the other kit had wooden ornaments: owl, penguin, sock monkey and snowman.

This year we decorated with puffy paint (of course), markers, and craft paint. I even had glow-in-the-dark paint in green and orange.

Aren’t these sock monkies darling?

Of course we put our names and the current year on the backs. You think you are always going to remember the year when you did something memorable. But you don’t.

I think it would be neat to glue a current photo onto the back of one of the yearly made ornaments. I hope to remember to do this next year. i also hope I remember to print the photo onto archival paper so that the photo will last throughout the years and become a true heirloom.

All from the same kitSurfing Snowman

There was one ornament that was the star. The foam and the wooden ornaments were the warm up acts. I looked all year long for THE ornament we would make.

I found the eyeglass snowman ornament on a Pinterest board. Unfortunately the link did

The fuzzy bit in the middle is a scarf.

not go back to the original designer of this project. It was easy enough to duplicate for all ages from 11 to 54. If/when I write a tutorial for this ornament I will include the link here.

Everyone was proud of their ornaments. We made another day of great memories. Maybe because we had snowmen in our basement too. (My daughter’s living space is a renovated apartment in the basement of a house.)

Go here for the eye glass tutorial.

_______________________________________________

During November I am writing or posting a photo about something for which I am grateful. This explains why.  

My gratitude posting for November 27: Making memories and then recalling them from year-to-year help connect me with family and friends. They remind me what’s good and precious in life.

____________________________________________________

Your Turn . . .

  1. Are you enamored with snowmen or any other decorator object?
  2. Do you buy yearly ornaments for anyone? If yes, who?
  3. What kinds of traditions do you have at Christmas time?
  4. What are you grateful for today?

Related Posts . . . 

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10 Things to do When Your Energy is Low

What do you do when your energy is low?

Here I am wearing a $0.75 clearance Christmas tee-shirt holding the newest addition to my collection of Christmas movies..  ..  ..  May be silly, but watching this is going to energize me.

The first thing I do is to figure out why my energy is low. Knowing the answer to this will help me decide what I can do to energize myself.

I “study” myself and see if my energylessness is one of the below ideas. Have a read-through and see which one(s) could account for your low energy. . .

  • Situational. Has something happened that has zapped your energy? My prayer partner says when I am feeling low to look back 72 hours. Lots of times something happened then that is now reflecting in my low energy now..  ..  ..  The following are some examples: Did poorly on something..  ..  ..  Had a fight with someone close..  ..  ..  Received shocking news..  ..  ..  Encountered a majour disappointment..  ..  ..
  • Body Need. Have you heard of H.A.L.T.? These are “ailments” that can influence moods. The letters stand for the following: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. Whenever we are under the influence of any of these, it is normal to feel low energy. For women the “H” can also stand for hormonal.
  • Spiritual. People are spiritual beings. So when the spiritual part of yourself is out-of-sorts, your general energy level is out-of-sorts. Are you communicating (I.e. through prayer & Bible reading) on a regular basis with God? Is a particular sin trapping you?
  • Too Busy. Being busy, especially too busy, seems to be a by-product of living in America today. We are encouraged (by media, inappropriate role models, and our own insecurities) to achieve all we can, all the time, in all areas of our life, without excuse. Whew! That made me tired to just write and read that.
  • No Clue. Sometimes we just don’t have a clue as to why we are feeling the way we are. Just because we are clueless doesn’t mean we can’t do something to up our energy.

Now that you have an idea (hopefully) as to the cause of your low energy, read on for some tips to fuel up. Many of the below suggestions can apply to more than one cause. Pick one that sounds do-able, comforting, or just intrigues you. If  that one doesn’t work, try something else.

  1. Nap. This is my favourite and most used comfort tool. If/when that doesn’t work, I go on to the other suggestions. For a bit of silliness read 5 Things I Learned Between Naps.
  2. Plan something. The most fun and energizing part of any activity is the planning – for me. “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you”(Oprah Winfrey).
  3. Destress. Sometimes I unconsciously let life get to me. Knowing how to destress can give me back much needed energy. Read 21 Ways to DeStress Your Life for ideas on how you can destress.
  4. Meet a need. Look at your body and see what need you are ignoring. Good food? Alone time? Glass of cold water? Exercise? Cancel an out-of-the-house activity? Treat yourself well by indulging your need.
  5. Combat worry. Worrying always drains my energy and NEVER helps with the situation. Some ways I combat worry are by..  ..  .. Prayer..  ..  .. Journaling..  ..  ..  Talking with a wise person..  ..  .. Balance my checkbook or some other left-brain activity..  ..  .. Refusing to think about it..  ..  .. Read 8 Ways to Stop Worrying by Lisa Burgess at Lisa Notes.
  6. Copy verses. God’s WORD is truth. Sometimes I need truth purposefully zipping through my brain. I underline meaningful verses in my Bible. When blue, I grab paper and pen and copy down those verses – especially verses from the Minor Prophets.
  7. Confess. Stop running and hiding from sin. Confess it. Get into a community of folks who will help you live a holy life. Get with folks who practice forgiveness for themselves and others. Read Why Confession is Still Good for You by Paul Ellis at Escape to Reality.
  8. Play spider solitaire.  Playing this allows my hands to be busy, but my brain has the freedom to think whatever it needs to think. When I am trying to plan a paper or solve a problem, I play several rounds of solitaire and I almost always feel energized afterwards. And I usually have a plan of action too.
  9. Do something Christmassy. Christmas and all activities related to it, make me smile. If I do one of the following when feeling low energy, I feel better! Watch a Christmas movie..  ..  .. Decorate cards..  ..  .. Plan a snowman ornament to create with nieces..  ..  .. Write yearly letter..  ..  .. Sing along with Holiday music. Read 3 Reasons to Watch Christmas Movies.
  10. Perform kind acts. Did you know when we do a kind act for someone, it boosts our immune system? And when we witness a kind act, it also boosts our immune system. This surely helps combat a sluggish system! (I learned this and much more from Sister Anne Smollin.)

Your Turn . . . What would you add to this list? 

NOTE: This is the 5th photo in the series, A Fall of Self Portraits, from my Fall Bucket List.

Related Posts

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Raised from the Grave of Exile

During Lent I am reading/writing my way through writing to God: 40 Days of Praying With My Pen by Rachel G. Hackenberg. Sometimes I will post my prayers.

This is my response to Ezekiel 37: 1-14 (Day 1)

Raised from the Grave of Exile

Our lives laid waste

  •      scattered bones in a valley
  •      disobedience defiled our birthright, Your plan

Disconnected from life, function, ourselves

Then . . .

Your Messenger Lived Scripture

  •      encased in the skin of love

Your truth powerfully erupts in our stony hearts

Raising us from the grave of exile

Spirit-power saturating the assembling frameworks of who we are to become

Baby-fresh skin erecting a boundary between what is inner and outer

Your Breath of Life connecting us to You

  • the source of All
  • the source of nourishment, unity, rest

Our lives becoming who You planned

  • functioning body of Christ

Holy now because of the Cross

Connected, eternally alive, knowing You are the sovereign God of All

Amen . . . so be it . . . gratitude dripping from my dry bones turning into purpose-filled flesh

Related Posts

NOTE: I have the good fortune to partner with Fawnda from Fireflies and Jellybeans for a giveaway of her tote pattern to a Fruitfulwords reader. (I was one of her pattern testers.)  Go to this link for the details. The deadline to enter is February 26, 2012.

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3 Reasons to Watch Christmas Movies

What are Christmas movies you must see each year? Why do you watch them?

I have many reasons to watch Christmas movies. Here are three of them.

  1. I watch some because they bring back lovely childhood memories: A Charlie Brown Christmas, White Christmas, and of course Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer).
  2. I watch some because they remind me of times with my children: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Prancer, and Miracle on 34th Street.
  3. I also watch them because they bring a message of hope while providing clean entertainment. Some make me laugh (The Santa Clause) and some make me think (A Christmas Memory).

Below are the Christmas movies I currently own. Most of them are on VHS.  What would you add to my list of “must own” movies? 

  1. 12 Days of Christmas Eve. Go here to read my review.
  2. A Christmas Memory 
  3. Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas
  4. Blizzard
  5. Elf
  6. Going My Way
  7. Holiday Inn
  8. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  9. It’s a Wonderful Life
  10. Miracle on 34th Street
  11. Muppet Family Christmas
  12. Must Be Santa
  13. Prancer
  14. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  15. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Island of Misfit Toys 
  16. Santa Claus is Coming to Town
  17. Snow Globe
  18. SpongeBob Squarepants Christmas
  19. The 12 Dogs of Christmas
  20. The Christmas Card
  21. The Polar Express
  22. The Santa Clause
  23. Touched By An Angel Inspiration Collection: Holiday
  24. White Christmas

Go here to see Christmas movies I watched in 2011 (but don’t own).

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Christmas Movies I Watched in 2011

What Christmas movies have you seen this year? Were there any new ones? Any surprisingly good?

I watch Christmas movies year round.

The list below contains movies I’ve seen in 2011 that I do not own. Except for Charlie Brown, I saw these for the first time. I would see any of these again.


  1. A Charlie Brown Christmas – Go here to see my Charlie Brown Christmas Quiz
  2. A Christmas Without Snow
  3. All I Want for Christmas
  4. Borrowed Hearts: A Holiday Romance
  5. Christmas Cupid
  6. Christmas Lodge (Thomas Kincaid)
  7. Christmas on Division Street 
  8. Christmas with a Capital C
  9. Christmas in Wonderland
  10. Eve’s Christmas
  11. The Angel Doll
  12. The Bells of Saint Mary’s
  13. The Christmas Cottage (Thomas Kincaid)
  14. Santa and Pete
  15. Santa Baby 2: Christmas Maybe
  16. Shadow Island Mysteries: The Last Christmas

I have about 10 more movies on my list. If I watch anymore of them, I will update this post.

NOTE: For that list of movies I own, go here. I have watched most of these this year as well. So the total number of Christmas movies I’ve seen in 2011 is really closer to 30.

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Pay It Forward – New Theme for the 12 Days of Christmas

Many people are striving to bring the message of Christmas back to its

Spending Thanksgiving WITH one another. No food comas or screaming at football players on the TV. Don’t know our Christmas plans yet. What are YOURS?

roots of giving, love, compassion, Christ. My church, along with many others, is encouraging folks to be part of the Advent Conspiracy. View one explanation video here. The idea is to . . .

  • Spend less money on stuff for those you love. Buy ONE less gift.
  • Instead spend more time doing activities with them. Build those relationships. Go here for activity ideas.
  • With the money you don’t spend on that ONE gift, give to those who can’t afford basic necessities. Give the gift of clean water  . . . .   check out a Samaritan’s Purse catalog of ways to help children and women worldwide  . . . .   give to your church benevolent fund to reach those in your church family and neighborhood  . . . .  or give to CAMA Services which also has worldwide projects to help the needy.

Or join in a unique way to celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas. Read on to understand this concept.

Yesterday I came across a post on Jan’s Yearning for God. Jan introduced us to a blog called Chain Links which encourages and documents random acts of kindness. Trista Wilson is a 27-year-old blogger who wants to change the emphasis on Christmas, too. She asks,

“Remember when Christmas was really about bringing family together, the birth of Christ, and encompassing the spirit of giving?”

I love her line of questioning here . . .

  •  Since when did we need to ‘buy’ love from the very people who already love us unconditionally?
  • And why can’t showing someone how much they mean to us consist of quality conversation and random acts of kindness …
  • rather than topping last years Christmas gift with an even more extravagant one this year?

In order to “help us focus on what truly matters and get in the spirit of giving that Christmas was meant to inspire,” Chain Links has come up with a new theme for the 12 Days of Christmas (Dec 13-24) – Pay it Forward with random acts of kindness.

You can pick your own good deeds. Or you can follow the below list that

Giving our time to others brings joy to the relationship. Giving $ wisely to the poor brings joy to their circumstances.

Chain Links has written as suggestions. It’s a great starting place for ideas.

THE 12 GIFTS OF CHRISTMAS:

DAY 12: (DECEMBER 13)— Buy food for a homeless person (or someone in need). This does not have to be expensive. $5 should cover lunch.

DAY 11: (DECEMBER 14)— Write a kind, hand-written letter to someone who changed your life for the better. And no, I’m not talking about an email or a text…I’m talking about snail mail people. 😉 (This can be to a childhood friend, a teacher from the past, or even an old baby-sitter that impacted your life for the better.)

DAY 10: (DECEMBER 15)— Pay for the person’s order in line behind you in either the coffee drive-thru, fast food, a tollbooth, train ticket, etc. (There are a LOT of options here…)

DAY 9: (DECEMBER 16)— Put grocery carts away in a random parking lot for other shoppers or find carts that others have left behind. It will help the employees out by bringing them indoors where they belong.

DAY 8: (DECEMBER 17)— Write a letter of thanks to the armed forces. (Yes, even if you don’t support the war. Remember that these people are risking their lives daily in order to ensure our safety and Freedom).

Here is the address:
A Million Thanks
17853 Santiago Blvd. #107-355
Villa Park, CA 92861

DAY 7: (DECEMBER 18)— Buy or bake something for a neighbor. You may know them well, or you may have never even introduced yourself. So here’s your chance;)

DAY 6: (DECEMBER 19)— Buy a $5 or $10 gift card for a grocery store, gas station, coffee place, etc. Leave the gift card on a random park bench or windshield of someone’s car.

DAY 5: (DECEMBER 20)— Do something kind for the elderly. This can be anything from helping them to their car with heavy groceries, holding the door open for them, volunteering at a retirement home, or even raking their leaves.

DAY 4: (DECEMBER 21)— Tape quarters to a vending machine. So simple, yet so convenient! I honestly cannot count how many times I have wanted a snack or a soda, but could not dig up that last quarter to satisfy my craving.

DAY 3: (DECEMBER 22)— Leave a generous tip for a server, barista, or bartender–along with a nice note. This will most likely make their night. Having been in all three of these positions, I know how easy it is to get discouraged when guests are difficult and do not tip. This could turn their entire day around!

DAY 2: (DECEMBER 23)— Purchase a gift card at a local grocery store (of any amount). Turn around in line, and hand it to the first person you see. Then walk away. No explanation is needed. I’m sure their expression will say it all.

Day 1: (DECEMBER 24)— YOUR turn to choose a random act of kindness. I thought it would be fun to see the different ideas everybody comes up with for this last day before Christmas. Be creative. The sky is the limit. =)

Go here to read the full blog post. Chain Links is hoping to document the

Through Samaritan’s Purse, it only costs $9 to feed a hungry baby for a week.

experiences of those who do these or other random acts of kindness.

By The Way – if you planned on giving me a present, I’d love it if you used the $ to buy Gift #2 – food for a week for a hungry baby ($9).

Your Turn  .  .  .  .   How are you going to ensure that this Christmas is more about spending TIME with loved ones? And that it includes helping ONE person in need?

Related Movie . . . Christmas on Division Street. This moving story shows a kid from a wealthy family coming to care for, befriend and really SEE some of the homeless in his new city, Philadelphia. This new attitude trickles into the lives of his family and friends after a tragic event. I saw this on Netflix instant streaming.

Related Posts . . . 

  • Ways to Decommercialize ChristmasDoes it bother you that stores start selling Christmas decorations and Christmas themed gifts as soon as Halloween is over? Are you offended that many stores are bowing to politically correct pressure and requiring their clerks and cashiers to say “Happy Holidays” instead of Merry Christmas? Read on for 6 ways to put Christ back into Christmas.
  • 7 More Ways to Decommercialize ChristmasDo you feel that the true meaning of Christmas has become lost in the wrappings, trappings, and political fights? Well read on for 7 more ways to put Christ back into Christmas.
  • 10 Acts of Kindness Ideas and 20 Acts of Kindness Ideas
  • Everyone Can help One Child. My poorest/deprived day is unimagined wealth to a majority of the world. Especially to the children. I can give up some “extras” in my life to help a child. A cup of designer coffee . . . a Thrifty’s ice cream cone . . . an item from McDonald’s Dollar menu . . . a pair of clearance shoes from Wal-Mart . . . a gas station car wash.
  • Perfect Gift Takes Reflection and Sacrifice. The Christmas movie, The Bishop’s Wife, helps me to think about what’s truly important at Christmas and what gift I’ll give to the birthday Boy/God named Jesus.
  • When Christmas Gets Radical: Whose Birthday is it Really? How a question from a child changed the Voskamp’s way of “doing” Christmas: “if we get wrapped presents for our birthdays, real sacrifices from people who love us — they gave up other things to give something to us — then why don’t we do that for Jesus’ birthday?” Read this post by Ann for their answer.

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From Sticks to Twig Christmas Tree

My apartment is small. My small dog is blind and doesn’t get around well because of his arthritis (and blindness). These combined facts make it difficult for me to have a traditional floor Christmas tree.

Add these two facts. (1) I am allergic to pine. (2) I don’t want to spend money on buying something since I already have plenty of nice looking artificial trees.

Then I came across this blog post about making a twig Christmas tree from At Home With K. This tree is displayed in a frame. It would be perfect for placing on my entertainment center in one of those frame holders.

Of course I did an Internet search to see how else a twig Christmas tree could be made. I found 2 other ideas.

  • I LIKE this 7 foot (or so?) wall mounted twig tree I found on The Art of Doing Stuff. I don’t have that much wall space. And to be so impressive it HAS to be this big! This project is definitely on my someday holiday to-do list. It uses free materials or things I have on hand. And it is off the floor so my dog would not run into it nor be tempted to pee on it.
  • And I am equally in-like with this hanging twig tree from Michele Made Me. The size is of this tree would be perfect to hang from the inside of my front door. The polka dots grabbed my attention. But I don’t have a drill so making this tree was postponed as I wanted to make a twig tree NOW.

So in the end I went with a style more like option 1.

Here’s how I made my tree.

Step 1. Grab a flashlight and scour the grounds around your home. I was able to find a nice pile of sticks due to a recent wind storm. Sorry no picture of the sticks.

Front of tree. Notice the different colours and textures.

Step 2. Choose a stick or two for the spine of the tree. Lay it on your work surface.

Step 3. Sort leftover sticks according to the thickness of the stick. I wanted the thicker ones to be on the bottom of the tree. Since I don’t have a saw or floral cutters either, if I couldn’t break the stick with my hands, it was discarded.

Step 4. Look for branches with unusual colorations like moss or unusual bumps. I think these details add texture and visual interest.

Step 5. Work from the bottom to the top, placing the sticks on top of the spine, breaking them to fit as needed.

Step 6. Once you like the look of it, hot glue it all together.

Back of tree. Notice the “planter box” that keeps the tree upright.

GLITCH in Progress. I made the tree too big to fit the frame I already had. I was going to cover the mat with burlap.

I held the completed twig tree up to my front door to see how it would look hanging there. Didn’t like that look.

Then it hit me: make my tree stand up! So I glued some sticks to the back of the bottom trunk to make a “planter.” I like how this is coming together.

Step 7. Glue on twine with the intent to make it into a garland.

Glitch TWO. After doing half the tree this way, I decided I did not like the look.

Step 8. Take off the twine garland.

Step 9. Go back outside with your flashlight and scour the ground for dingleberries and greenery with red berries. The dingleberries will be the ornaments  for the tree.

This twig tree is as perfectly at home decorating the planter box as on the entertainment centre.

Step 10. Paint the dingleberries with watered down acrylic paints. I really like how these turned out.

NOTE: Apparently my family is the only one who calls these (former) seed pods “dingleberries.” A friend, Lorna, confirmed my Google search:  not even one hit for this term. She said they are called gum tree balls. Her family calls them “spiny balls.”

Step 11. Hot glue the “sweet gum ornaments” onto the tree with springs of leaves with their red berries. (I have no idea what these are called.)

Step 12. Admire. Take a bunch of photos; post them to Facebook so others can admire your work. Make said photo your profile picture.

Step 13. Take off all the glue strings in preparation for spraying sealer all over your creation, front and back (Krylon or polyurethane). I am hoping this will preserve the fresh leaves and berries.

Step 14. Put finished Christmas Twig Tree in a place of honour!

Your Turn . . . Share photos and comments about trees and other Christmas decorations you have made.

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4 Types of Home-Made Ornaments Using Decoupage, Dough, Clay, & Fabric

This year our church is decorating the church tree with home-made ornaments. We want ornaments from the kiddos as well as from the adults. Coming up with ornament prototypes for the Sunday school PreK’s through 5th graders has been a blast.

Over Thanksgiving break I spent 3 days with my daughter, Elizabeth. 3 of my nieces also stayed with her. For a majority of that time we made ornaments. We covered Elizabeth’s tree with home-made ornaments and we each got to take some home.

Below are the types of ornaments the church kiddos, my nieces, my daughter, and I made. NOTE: The clay, decoupage, and dough ornaments were sealed with Krylon crystal clear spray finish.

 Tissue-Decoupage
  • This stain glass look-alike and single-colour ball were made using smallish pieces of tissue paper dipped in liquid starch. The tissue covered the gold balls quite nicely.
  • The Cinnamon Salt Dough Star (more info below) was made with tissue decoupage and puffy paint.
NOTE: (1) Start layering with the lightest colours first, ending with the darkest colour on top.
(2) If you don’t have liquid starch you can use modge podge or craft glue thinned with some water.

Cinnamon Salt Dough
The dough is made by mixing together the following:
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1 Cup Cinnamon
  • 1 Cup Salt
  • 1 1/2 Cups Warm Water
Roll out dough, cut with coolie cutters, poke a hole in the top, and bake in a 325 degree F oven for about 1 hour. The precise directions are at this link. 
NOTE: (1) Thinner is better for these ornaments. The thick ones had a tendency to puff out and form cracks.
(2) Be sure to watch that you don’t overbake as the bottoms will burn. Just saying – lol.
 
 
 
You can cover the cooked dough with glitter or puffy paint! See the tissue-decoupaged ornament peeking through just off-center?
 
 
 This star was painted with white paint to look like frosting. Then I covered the “frosting” with cake sprinkles.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Cinnamon Salt Dough does well with acrylic paint.
(1) Aren’t Patrick and Pooh cute?
(2) The bright blue shows up nicely on the tree. The red/white candy cane is explained down below.
(3) Ninjas look good on the tree too.

Sculpey Oven Baked Clay Projects
Snowman Plaque
(1) For the base we cut a 3″x4″ rectangle from white foam board. We covered it with a thin layer of the Sculpey clay.
(2) We cooked the plaque with the half circle heads, hats, scarves, and noses as one piece at 250 degrees F for 15 minutes. 
NOTE: (1) Put a bit of wire in the nose, under the clay. Otherwise it will break off.
(2) I made the one on the left. My daughter made the one on the right.
 
 (1) The foil-lined cookie sheet is full of our baked projects.
(2) My son made the snowman on the right. He wasn’t shy about being the only male. 
 
 
 
 (1) Kate’s snowman is small, about 4 inches tall and reminds me of The Snowman.
(2) Em’s snowman is BIG about 7 inches tall. Love those blue eyes.
(3) Sammi made a snowman too. I am not showing her art because some are presents and at this moment I cannot remember which ones are. So best not to post any.

Snowman on Star
This technique combined the cinnamon salt dough and Sculpey clay.
 
 
 
 
 

Fabric Wrapped Candy Cane 
We raided my daughter’s rag basket for this ornament. We cut pieces about one inch in width. As we wrapped it around the candy cane we’d periodically dabble some hot glue.
NOTE: (1) We used real candy canes because that’s what we had on hand.
(2) I was inspired to try this craft because of reading this post on Eyeballs by Day Crafts by Night. Maggie uses homespun fabric in one colour per cane. So cute!
 
Hope you enjoyed seeing our creations. All the “kiddos” from young to old enjoyed doing these projects.
 
Your Turn . . . What have you created lately? Any ornaments?
 
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How to Make a Christmas Card Wreath for $2.00

Christmas cards are too meaningful and too pretty to NOT enjoy all season long.

How do you normally display your Christmas cards? I’ve taped them to the wall, stood them up on top of my entertainment center, feathered them in a big bowl, and lined them on twine.

An internet search showed how people are displaying their cards . . .

I recently saw this cork photo wreath and thought THIS is what I’ll do with my cards this year!

But I wanted to do so with a smaller budget. I visited The Dollar Tree to see what would be good substitutes for a roll of cork liner and a cardboard circle (both can be found at any craft store).

My $2 idea is one foam board (20″x30″) and one 16″ wreath (any kind would do since it’ll be covered).

Additional Supplies You’ll Need

  • Adhesive to stick wreath to foam board (hot glue, tacky glue, wood glue)
  • “Adhesive” to attach cards to wreath (tacks, hot glue, tacky glue, double-sided tape, or scrapbook adhesive pop dots)
  • Pen and scissors
  • 15-20 Christmas cards

Directions

 Drawing the foam circle.
1.  Lay your wreath on top of foam board.
 2. Trace a circle on the inside and outside of wreath.
 3. I made the circle 1-2 inches bigger than the wreath. I wanted there to be plenty of room to attach the cards.
4. Cut out the foam circle by cutting along the lines you’ve drawn.
This is the wrong side of the wreath.
5. Attaching foam to the wreath. Glue the wreath to the foam circle using the adhesive of your choice. I used wood glue and put books on top until the glue was dry. I did this in the evening and it was dry the next morning.
NOTE: Be sure to have glue dry in this upside-down position. Otherwise the glue will run through the vines of the wreath. Yes, I learned the hard way.
6. Gather Christmas cards you want to display. Lay out your 15-20 Christmas cards and arrange them in a pleasing pattern on top of the foam board.  Attach the cards using tacks, sticky pop dots, double-sided tape, or hot glue.
I used the sticky pop dots. On average I used 3 dots per card.
NOTE: I used some of the pop dots to close the cards. I did not want them swinging open every time I opened/shut the door.

7. Hang up your wreath. My wreath is in my bedroom hanging from an over-the-door hanger.

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