Friday, December 24, 2010

merry christmas!

Merry Christmas from our house to yours!

My father is doing marvelously. Thank you so much for your prayers & support. I indeed made the trip to see him and I'm so glad I did. His spirits were high and his resolve even higher. The physical therapist said he's the strongest man she's ever worked with (his hand strength registered 20lbs more than men his age average) and he learned the way to safely move about by walker in an afternoon (she said it took a 55 year old woman she was coaching 2 weeks to do the same!). He's at a nursing home still but they're letting him come home for each day this weekend. When my sister told him the news about today he said that he'd come home this afternoon after his Christmas party at the nursing home. I don't know why but that is so adorable to me.

So this Christmas particularly for my family isn't so much about the wrapping of the gifts and all that stuff we busy ourselves with this time of year. Even more than ever as we prepare our hearts for the coming of our Lord we are filled with gratitude and awe in His Amazing Grace!

Monday, December 20, 2010

glitter houses

These beautiful glitter houses are the creations of the 7th grade girls I shared the project with. We've worked hard for more than two weeks building them from cereal boxes and aren't they fabulous? The girls had such a great time and are so proud...almost as great a time and as proud as I am. What a blessing it was to spend time with them.

I also want to give you an update on my father. He didn't have surgery (they didn't want to risk it at his age) and he's been moved to a nursing home just today. I just got word that he's running a fever and they fear he has pneumonia. I'm thinking I need to make the trip home tomorrow. It's so hard being just far enough away to make the trip a consideration. Will you continue to pray for his speedy recovery?

Friday, December 17, 2010

naughty or nice

Here's a gift that we're giving to everybody on our list. Alfredo is going to have a big sack of these and will hand them out to each person.

 At first I was going to make separate Naughty and Nice bags but when I went down the list and Alfredo didn't say even one was on the naughty list I had to go to plan b.

Each bag has "Have you been Nice?" on one side and "Have you been Naughty?" on the other. Have you ever had these Ice Cubes? Oh my goodness, they are so good! And the fruit candy is the same that I put in the snowman tins that we made.

Initially I was going to get lumps of coal in bulk from the Candy Warehouse but they weren't able to fill the order. Unfortunately by the time I found out, I'd already received the nice candy and 100 muslin bags. I couldn't find another bulk source for the lumps of coal. But I did come up with an even better idea...I made them!

I found a chocolate mold for the lumps, got melting chocolate from a local chocolatier, and poured my own lumps of coal.

The secret to making them really look like foil wrapping!

Chocolate for melting: $14 for 4 lbs making 62 lumps--price each lump:  22 cents
Chocolate mold: 2 @ $2 (I bought two so the making would go a bit quicker)
Black foil: $6.57 for 125-- price each: 5 cents
5" x 7" Muslin bags: $30 for $100 --price each 30 cents
Ice cubes: $48 for 120 pieces --price each 40 cents
Italian fruit candy:  1600 pieces for $60--price per dozen 45 cents
Iron on transfers: $7 for 12 sheets--price per bag 24 cents

Price per bag is roughly $1.66! Can you beat that? (just a side note, if I had bought the lumps of coal instead of making them the cost per bag would've been double!)

I have some really sad news to share. My poor father fell on the ice walking home from the post office yesterday and broke his leg in many places. He's in the hospital now and he'll probably have surgery (although they are a bit worried about his age) and then recuperate in a nursing home. In spite of it all, he seems in pretty good spirits (maybe it's that pain medication he's on!) I talked to him on the phone yesterday afternoon and he said "Well, I really did it this time!" Isn't it crazy how one false move can change everything? Will you keep my sweet daddy in your prayers?

Monday, December 13, 2010

a day of comfort & joy

I signed up for Teresa's 12 days of comfort & joy and have been so inspired. Sunday was rainy and cold so after church and breakfast out we settled in for a day at home. Rich watched football. Alfredo played quietly. And I made these cute collages featured in 12 days of comfort & joy...

Teresa's version had an adorable photograph of a baby but I thought I'd make an elf out of Alfredo...

 These photos aren't so great (it's a very grey morning here...)

When I showed my Peppermint Pete to Alfredo he said "Humpty Dumpty!"

When I was done making those two, I made a quick collage using a really wonderful Santa face from vintage gift wrap. Isn't it wonderful? The gift wrap was just one of the many wonderful papers I received in Cristina's A Very Vintage Christmas Ephemera Swap (what a great swap!)

Making these collages reminded me a lot of the collages I made in Lynn Whipple's class at Silver Bella...
My adorable boys!
The photo I used of Alfredo here was just after his first birthday, only a month after we met him. Look how joyful he is! So sweet.
So I lined up all these fun collages on my mantel for a little impromptu gallery...Doesn't it look fun?

Friday, December 10, 2010

busy days

Are you wondering what I've been up to? I didn't mean to disappear like that.

I've been teaching a class of 7th-grade girls how to make glitter houses. It's been so much fun! We'll finish them up next week and I'll be sure to take pictures of the houses (I won't be able to post a picture of the girls, of course, but you should see what a sweet group they are!)

And, like the rest of you I'm sure, I'm preparing for Christmas.

Alfredo and I made these little snowmen tins (an idea from my magazine designed by Swirly Designs)  A long time ago Catherine of Red Shoes used Stim-u-dents for snowmen noses (orange, pointy, perfect) and I thought I'd use them instead of toothpicks.

 These are just little gifties to pass out to friends who stop by. We've made 10 so far and this weekend I hope to make 10 more.
We filled them with this delicious candy.

I have another crafty gift I'm making...I'll show you next week. It's so fun!

I'm also working on a top secret project and it's taking everything I've got not to spill it. Truly. And it's such a happy surprise. I don't know when I'll be able to tell you but it's going to be a bit of a while. (I'm like a tea kettle about to whistle!)

Monday, December 6, 2010

artful adventures

My sweet friend Sandy has just put together a wonderful book called "Artful Adventures". With fabulous tutorials, delicious recipes, tons of inspiration and lots of instructions on how to throw your very own magical art gathering! It's chock-full of ideas and eye candy.

Sandy organized a retreat for some fellow Art Sisters last Spring and I was so fortunate to be included. She documents that retreat, plus a fun Valentine party, in this book, generously offering advice and tips for planning art parties.  

To get your own copy (it's a real book!), click the button below.