Friday, December 26, 2014

Home alone..a different kind of Christmas

I didn't take one picture, open one present, or eat one piece of pie Christmas day. For the first time in my life I was home alone on the most magical day of the year. Michael was on a 24 hour shift at the hospital and the children were at their in-laws or very far away. Some first's are exciting, experiences to be repeated. This was not one of those. My heart did grow a couple of sizes with a new compassion for those who repeat this kind of Christmas over and over.
As I laid on my cozy couch in my warm home I thought of those who spend Christmas on the streets. As I perused Facebook looking longingly at pictures of friends surrounded by their families I thought of those who do not have family.
As I struggled to leave the couch (I was sick too) even for a drink of water I thought of those who do not have good health and robust bodies.
As I felt the loneliness of the day I realized that while it was temporary for me it was a hard reality for many.
As I looked ahead to next Christmas when my house will be ringing with the joyful sounds of children and grandchildren I felt overwhelmed with my blessings.

Life isn't fair. I hated every time my dad said that to me when something went wrong. I never realized how much my life sided on the good side of fair. Christmas day was a good day for me to understand.

There were some merry moments on this lonely day...
Late afternoon my sweet friends Jeline & Chris came to my door with an Icee & baclava:) Lesson learned-people are happy you knocked if you bring treats:) *note to self.... I used to be better at taking treats to people.
I really enjoyed pictures via text of family festivities going on in Dallas & Utah:)

  Santa baby Charlotte
At least Ethan likes crawling on the books I sent:)

Savannah has entered the Barbie zone...oh dear:)
Scarlett is a fun present:)
What girl doesn't love shoes?
Annabelle making cookies with Grandma Tolman
"The Boys" as we call them...Cy, Seth, & Josh in their festive pj's
Love these smiles of Christmas joy:)
A proper Welsh Christmas dinner by my daughter in law Rhiannon

After the merry Icee and pictures the evening dragged as I stared at the TV watching one episode after another of a newly found series. I wondered if this is what others who are alone do while the rest of us are immersed in our merry making. The real question is...will my newly found compassion find action or become buried in the hustle of the next Christmas season. I am glad I had this home alone Christmas day. This quote from the movie "Overboard" applies..."You madam, have had the rare privilege of escaping your bonds for just a spell. To see life from an entirely new perspective. How you choose to use that information is entirely up to you"

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Magical lights

Light & joy go together. 
This is never more evident than in the darkness surrounded by the twinkling lights of the season. We spent a few days in Dallas before Christmas with our mini Crossley's. My favorite activity was walking though a beautiful neighborhood lit up in colorful splendor. The air was cold and the mood merry and bright. Countless cars with children hanging out of windows and sun roofs filled the neighborhood. A horse drawn carriage clopped down the street carrying families on a merry Christmas ride. It was magical:)

When we finally let Savannah out of the stroller she flitted around
like the Tinkerbelle she is:)

This last picture of Savannah in front of the snowman is my favorite memory of the season. I love how the light illuminates her little body, how it captures the wings of her Tinkerbelle costume. She was the epitome of Tinkerbelle, flitting around the lights, running from display to display with bright laughter. Sprinkling her own brand of happy fairy dust over my Christmas season:) I thought it was the lights but it is really the light she brings to my life...and that is truly magical.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Party for 2!

Our twin grand-babies Ethan & Charlotte turned one this week! Ethan is calm, patient & stoic. He has the sweetest demeanor and leaves you wanting to protect him. He already has a  pretty good aim with a ball and claps after he says daddy:) Charlotte has a cute little smirky smile and sounds like a little fairy when she sighs. She is the busy one of the pair, constantly on the prowl for fun! 

As usual their very talented Mommy created a fabulous party with all the trimmings beginning with adorable outfits. 

Janene embellished the onsies with fabric vinyl letters.
She added trim to Charlotte's onsie & leg warmers. She also made the tutu & hairbow.
Charlotte hated the tutu...which made the cake smash photo shoot a bit unhappy:)
The party decorations were festive & sparkly with paper pinwheels, balloons, and a table full of treats in Christmas colors.

Every month the babies had a photo shoot. What a fun photo timeline!
This would be great for an anniversary party.

Party hats were made from card stock & pom-poms.
The #1 was a plain wooden number covered with glitter
and glued to a skewer. 
The birthday babies were absolutely adorable from an obviously unbiased opinion:) They probably wouldn't have chosen to wear birthday hats & definitely preferred chocolate cake over the lemon. 

Big sister Savannah couldn't wait to poke that cake!

What a happy celebration! Life is precious, babies are a gift, and families well....
they are tons of work but the rewards are truly great.
As a side note...This little family will always have a busy Christmas week because in a few days Savannah turns 3. I bet there will be some summer time half birthdays in the future!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Only stars...the most simple Christmas ever

I have mixed feelings about the whole children coming home, hubby working Christmas day, not buying presents for our children. On one hand it is so very nice to be out of the Christmas race & rush! On the other hand I feel a bit forlorn at the absence of Christmas trappings. This is the first time EVER since we became parents 30 years ago that Christmas day will be totally devoid of children.
I really shouldn't be whining, we do get to spend 3 glorious days in Dallas with our little Crossley grandchildren before Christmas!
I have enjoyed limited shopping time since we are only buying for the grandchildren (don't feel sorry for my kids, we took them on a cruise!) The long lines, the frustrated shoppers, and the pressure to find just the right gift have been happily lacking in my Christmas preparations. My decorating has been minimalistic, something I think I really like! No trips up the stairs, over the attic boardwalk and back down again with the 20 boxes of decorations...hubby is the most happy about that:)

I bought a $29 tree at Walmart, added 2 strands of white lights, and made burlap stars for tree number one.

The smell of a real tree no matter how small brings back the nostalgic feelings
of my childhood Christmas memories:)
I failed at cutting burlap on my cricut :(
 Hence the hand cut stars.
Every time I walk past my tree I think of the phrase "Follow the star"

I found a white wrought iron tree which I LOVE! at Tuesday Morning and made metallic card stock stars with twine for tree number 2.
Christmas decorating done.

The metallic stack by DCMV is one of my favorite card stock stacks ever!

I plan to keep this tree all year with new decorations for each holiday,
 only cricut cut for simplicity.

Twine serves as an embellishment and ornament hanger-simple!
As the original embellishing, decorating junkie this has been an exercise in moderation:) I am most excited about the the days of take down I will be missing...however don't be wholly impressed by my reformed year the whole attic of Christmas will be unloaded because the kids will all be home:) I have decided that every other year of department store type decor will be enough for my decorating little self.
On a more serious note, I have found that the minimalism has made it easier to turn my thoughts the real reason we have Christmas instead of being caught in the commercial trap of holiday stress and guilt. And that is a reason to celebrate!

Friday, December 5, 2014

A flourish of joy!

I have had my new Cricut Explorer for a few months. It sat in the entry way in the box for a month. I moved it to my room, unpacked it and it has been in "display only" mode. Today I FINALLY had the chance to set it up online....yep...been playing for a few hours now:) I love everything about the new system! 
I NEEDED a creative project. My daughter Brittany has the cutest apartment with grey & bright coral so I made a Christmas display layout for her kitchen window with my upgraded computer & cricut skills;) It is my personal opinion that Christmas decorating is more fun with non-traditional colors!

Here's the layout specifics...
Striped Paper - Glitz Design 
Joy - Kate's ABCs cartridge 
Ornament - Celebrate with a Flourish cartridge 
Recollections holiday shimmer cardstock in coral red became joy & the top layer of the ornament. The ornament base was Bazzill light grey. I mounted the layout on a piece of cardboard & then sprayed the finished layout with Mod Podge acrylic spray. 
The whole project was pure joy!


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Texas is Home

I embraced my braggy Texan side a long time ago:) and am spreading that mantra with Christmas cheer and these "Texas Home" boards!



I am now working on my second dozen! We have piles of scrap wood from our Nellie's expansion which I have saved several times from the burn pile..hubby isn't a crafty hoarder:).   These boards are cedar fence pickets about 19" long. The chipboard Texas came from Heart of Texas studio, a scrapbooking company. The cardstock is from Glitz Design. The letters are vinyl. I made these for our staff at Heart of Texas fitting:) We had our Christmas party at Nellie's Cottage of course! Can you believe I forgot to take pictures at the party! Me, of all people!

Tips for putting these together:
*Use loads of glue, putting it on chipboard instead of the paper.

*Spray the Texas with an acrylic sealer.
*Put photo hanger on back before hot gluing Texas.

*Recruit the family at crunch time!

*Leave the kitchen a mess till in the will still be there:)

*Give with joy:)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I am thankful for....a simple DIY table

Today Brittany & I created a simple table setting for creative & thankful people. She needed an activity for the young women at church and I had a few opinions:) The thought was simple, fast & inexpensive.
We began with 12x12 kraft paper, turning the edges up and inking for some dimension. A handwritten "I am thankful for" and a few lines invite the person to list a few of life's blessings. 

Mason jars make a fun alternative to a glass. brittany added wash tape, twine, and a sticker tag for initials.

We have always had a family tradition of Thanksgiving trees of one kind or another. Last year I created 3 printable versions. We chose to copy in black & white for this table setting. The link to these trees is below. Download the image to print. Make sure it is on the "fit to page" setting in preview. They will be 8x81/4".

Choose, print for each guest and enjoy counting your blessings!

A paper napkin was rolled inside the tree. Brittany wrote her name in lower case on a manilla tag and then inked the edges. Twine tied the 3 elements together.

I rounded up a placemat, charger and plate and viola...a blessings place setting was born:)

"I am thankful for" a profound question. 

Grateful turns what we have into enough...
and that makes us happy:)

A couple of years ago I wrote 30 thank you notes in changed me.

Thankful for me...a child's perspective

Printable Thanksgiving trees