Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Inspiration Journal--COMFORT FOODS!!

The other night when I couldn't sleep I got out of bed and worked on finishing the next page in my Inspiration Journal. I got this idea from another blog, and I really enjoy making these pages.
Hope you have fun looking at my creation!

Here are some closer views

Working on these pages is relaxing and kind of mindless. I simply cut images and phrases from magazines that "speak" to me, decide on a theme for a page, and get started. It's like creating your own puzzle and working the pieces together as it pleases you.

The pages may stay in my journal or I might put them in frames for a grouping on the wall. The one I saw online had all kinds of odds and ends glued onto the pages. Anything works because it's all about what YOU like!!

If you would like to create a journal like this, all you really need is a journal ( I bought a hard cover one at Michael's with a 40% off coupon YAY! Love that!), a glue stick, a little coupon cutter to make the cutting go quickly, and of course, some magazines!! The cutter pictured here is from Pampered Chef, but you can get them almost anywhere. I think I need to embellish the cover of this journal!!

As I flip through the magazines I cut anything that strikes my fancy, and keep the clippings in a folder until I have enough to make a themed page.

I hope some of you will give this a go. It a creative medium that gives me great pleasure, and there are no rules!!

Be a Blessing!!


Blog Award!

My 1st blog award from Lois at Walking On Sunshine!!! This is what this blog award represents...The recipients of this award believe in PROXIMITY-nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These bloggers aim to find and be friends. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships will be propagated. Please give more attention to these writers!

I am to deliver this award to other bloggers, who are asked to include this text in the body of their award.

Here are the bloggers I think deserve this award as well: 'Nea, Boo Mama, Gracious Hospitality, and Raised in Cotton.




Sunday, December 28, 2008

Favorite Things: Gift Baskets and Bags

First, isn't this little angel precious??!! I just had to share her with you. She is the front of a Christmas card I received and she makes me smile!! She's wishing really hard for a nice Christmas!

Two of my very favorite things to do are making wreaths and gift baskets. I love the search for just the right things and the embellishments to make them pretty. I'll show wreaths in a future post.

This is a pic of the basket we gave to my sister-in-law when we visited in November. I normally don't put in something as tall as that tree, but she loved it, and I didn't want to give it separately.

Here is one that I made for a friend to give to a friend. I try to pay attention to the little details like the JOY ornament dangling from the ribbon. It just gives it a bit more polish and personalized look.

This one was a Christmas gift for a friend. Nothing elaborate, but I still focused on the detail by adding the ribbon around the votive holder, and the little coffee pouch, and coordinating the colors. The iridescent shreds add a nice sparkle to the icy blue, silver and white. The little basket I bought for 1/2 price at Michael's.

You can't see them very well, but there are also mini silver-wrapped Hershey bars and kisses for a little sweetness and shine.

A different view

The poinsettia has some sheer petals and glitter with a little green to add a pop of color. I took it off of a small bunch I purchased at Michael's, leaving about 6-7 inches of stem so I could securely tuck it down into the filler.

I attached this little silver dove ornament to the votive holder

My goal when I put together a gift is to show the person how special they are to me, so if possible I buy containers with extra detail like the pearls added to this one, and the velvet liner in the red one above.

This little snowman was included in a basket for a friend that I didn't remember to take a photo of. He makes me smile, too!

I also like to embellish inexpensive gift bags like these. All that was in these mini bags was a gift card and some candy. The bags were $1 and $1.50, but adding a little sparkle and some special tissue paper made it look like more thought had gone into them. (and it had! :) The one on the left was for a 14 yo girl, and the other one was for her grandmother.

I am by no means the final authority on the subject, but here are some things I've learned on how to prepare a nice gift basket:


Do choose contents thoughtfully if it's for someone you know well. Don't buy something that will look great in your house, but won't match theirs'. You have no idea how many people do this!! Shop specifically for their tastes, hobbies, etc...

Do have a theme whether it's content (coffee lover's, pampering, chocolate, food etc...)or color related. It makes sense and makes your basket more attractive.

Do "save" on the cost of the container if possible. You'll have more money to put into the contents and embellishments. I made 12 gift baskets for a church giveaway and used little bread baskets from Dollar Tree, but they turned out so nice no one would ever have noticed.

Do save on filler by crumpling up newspaper, using paper you've shredded or inexpensive tissue paper. Top it with a layer of coordinating tissue paper, a napkin, fabric or shreds. Then fill.

Do add a fabric ribbon for an elegant touch. You can get beautiful ribbon for 70 % off now at most craft stores. Many of the seasonal ribbons can be used year round, like the golds and whites. You can find bow-making tutorials online, or just make a simple bow and dovetail or angle trim the ends.

Do buy a little smaller container than you think you might need.. They look much better if slightly over-filled than a larger one that looks sparse.

Do wrap them in basket wrap, a lacy fabric, or tulle for a more professional look, and add a bow to complete it.


Don't buy a dozen inexpensive things just to fill up a larger basket. Scale it down and buy a few nicer things you know the receiver will enjoy.

Don't go broke on the container, but do consider re-purposing things like decorative metal planters, baskets you've received but seldom use, and pretty floral containers.

Don't forget: details, details, details. That's what will set your baskets apart, and make the recipient feel special.

Don't forget to include some sparkle and shine, even if it's just from candy wrappers!! You'll see their faces sparkle and shine!!

Don't reuse tissue paper in gift bags. Crumpled paper just doesn't say "You're important to me". Save it to use as basket filler, or to cushion your seaonal decorations for storage.

REMEMBER: You want to save money wherever you can, but you want the recipient to feel "splurged on" Give something you are EXCITED about giving!!

If you have never given a gift basket, DO IT!! Women especially love a basket full of hand picked goodies, and YOU can make beautiful baskets!! HAVE FUN WITH IT!! IT WILL SHOW!!

Have a joy-filled Sunday!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Warning: Photo Heavy Christmas Decor...Finally!!!

So...Hubby got us a new computer, RIGHT!!?? Well, 3 yo granddaughter got to it today and started clicking away, and oops... no more internet!!! So here I am back on my crippled computer with access to my Christmas pics!! Always a silver lining!!

This is a little down time for me, since all the festivities were at our home. I will sleep in tomorrow, and maybe go shopping with my hubby for some new things for our home.
Hope your Christmas has been a joyful one. Ours was a bit chaotic, a little emotional, yet wonderful all at the same time!!

Well, here is my dining room table (minus the gator, LOL!!!) with a new color theme. I usually go red and green, but wanted a more subtle palette this year. Threw a few things together to surround my hurricane lamp from Southern Living Home, and the deer I got from Michael's this year.

I intentionally made it one-sided because most of it is taken away for our dinners. Next year, hopefully I won't get sick and will have a bit more time to work on it.

I fell in love with the deer as soon as I saw them, and bought them separately so I could get 40% off each one.

I got the votive holders at Target this year, and love how the light peeks through the areas without the leafing.
The magnolia is from Michael's also. I used them last year to decorate our church's Christmas tree and it looked so elegant.

My good friend, Jess, gave me this cute wall-hanging. She had bought one for her and one for her Mom, who went to be with the Lord this year. She gave me her Mom's. It's a family treasure now. Thanks, Jess. Love you!!

The stockings were hung by the gas fireplace with care...I got this stocking hanger from Kirklands last year and love it. I pack stockings so full that regular hangers just don't hold them!!

I usually have a wreath on a stand with birds over the fireplace, but gave the wreath away, and threw up the Santa and Frosty stuff real quick. Also pictured is the gingerbread house my daughter made to put in the fair, with a purchased gumdrop tree next to it. Needs some snow and lights, don't you think?

This is a hand print Christmas tree made by our 22 yo daughter when she was in kindergarten.
Still one of my favorite Christmas things!

This is a preschool picture ornament of her. Where has the time gone??

An ornament of our 27 yo daughter when she was in first grade. Priceless!
All the following are vintage ornaments/decor from my Mom. I have several of these intricately decorated egg-shells. They are beaded and glittered and are all different. This one amazes me because of the cut-outs around it.

This is a styrofoam star I decorated as a child. So fun that I can still enjoy it!! Below the star you can see my Mom's glass bead garland that she used since I was a toddler. You can certainly understand why my tree is so special to me!
My Mom was a master knitter. You should have seen those needles FLY!! She never even had to look at her hands!! A friend of hers gave her this ornament years and years ago; a little old lady happily knitting.

This was my favorite ornament as a child, and the only one that has survived through the years. These would be hung over the old large bulb lights and the heat from the lights would make the little cut aluminum disc in the middle turn around.

Funny thing. I use cool burning mini lights, but the disc has been spinning since I put it on the tree this year!! (I think it's the air from the AC vent, but it's still fun to see it spin without any heat!!

These are tiny Christmas mice that bring me so much joy!! I just love the expressions on their little faces!!

And last, but certainly not least, a happy little Santa Claus perched on the plant shelf over my front door. My Mom and her friends made these for church fundraisers and always sold out of them. They are made out of nothing more than toilet paper rolls, felt, and cotton balls!!! Mom used to have several perched around the house in the most unexpected places!! More warmth and joy!!

A very dark shot of our tree. Hopefully I can post a better one before the New Year. It's a 9 1/2 ft. real frasier fur, and is a delight to us all!!

Rejoicing in the birth of our Savior. What today is really all about.

Glad tidings to you and yours!
Today, give thanks, share your love, make some memories, forgive someone, lend a hand, smile, in other words...be a blessing!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Surprise From My Hubby!!

I had just finished uploading my Christmas pics to share, and much to my surprise the next morning I awoke to find that my darling hubby had gotten us a new computer!! What a great surprise!! The other one was truly difficult to bear with!! Unfortunately though, all of my Christmas pics are on the old one. :( If I get a chance, I will upload them to the new one in the next day or so. If not, I will be back to my blog after Christmas and will look forward to hearing about your holidays and sharing mine with you.

I pray that you will have a Christmas filled with joy, and one that is focused on the source of joy, our Lord Jesus Christ. Remember, all good and perfect things come from Him.

As we look in retrospect at all this year has held, may our hearts be filled with thanksgiving.

As we look ahead to the fresh new year, may the desire of our hearts be to bring glory to God by honoring Him with our lives.

From my blog to yours, best wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Christ-filled New Year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Birdie turns 20!! And is PINK all over!!

In the midst of all of our illnesses was a birthday to be celebrated for our 3rd born!! (her 20th birthday) She only wanted money toward the purchase of a laptop, but we had to do something fun!! So... while she was at dinner with friends...sick as I was, I concocted the notion of a gift wrapped door and a balloon-filled room to welcome her and her friends when they came home to change!! Off to Dollar Tree we went!! Our oldest came over to pitch in with the inflation task, and 4 of us, in 1 1/2 hrs., blew up 220 balloons (PINK OF COURSE!) Now that's a lot of hot air, HUH??!!

"Mom, what did you do to my door?" "You wrapped my door?" (giggle, giggle, giggle...)
She opened the door to find the real surprise, and was "blown away"!!! Of course she loved it!! There are a lot more balloons than it looks like here!!!
Our 10 yo knew that her keyboard played songs and had it playing the Happy Birthday song in the background! Birdie (her nickname) and her friends loved it and commenced to do a photo shoot of their own. I hope to post a couple of those pics but may not be able to because the two middle girls are flying to Los Angeles today to attend a friend's funeral.
Please pray for them (and me!!) They are going with a group of friends, but ours have never been this far from home, and LA is a big place for these small town girls of ours!!
Thanks for stopping by, and have a blessed day!!
Give the gift of your smile to someone who needs it today!!

Colds, Coughs, and Congestion , Oh My!!

Well, I have been away from my blog because I have been a tad sick. It seems that everyone I know has at least one family member sick with something!! Thankfully I am on the mend and will probably be back to 100% tomorrow!! YAY!!!

Wow, this blogging thing really becomes a part of you!! I've missed you all!!

I will post some pics and hopefully participate in Boo Mama's Christmas Home Tour tomorrow!!

Sending Christmas cheer your way!!

Friday, December 12, 2008


Kelli graciously hosts this show and tell each week. I hope you will stop by and visit her and some of the others participating!! Click here for more: http://www.kellishouse.blogspot.com/

Today I just have to share these bows!! My 10 yo daughter made these and I think she did a great job!! Her 27 yo sister showed her and her cousin how to make them the other night, and she just keeps on making them.!!! They are made of out strips cut from magazines, and a small brad and that's it!! The possibibilties are endless!!

This is the larger one, and she created this "flower" design herself!

This is a Christmas countdown or Advent calendar I bought at Target for my granddaughter. She loves checking it on the days she's here for all the fun little surprises. Target has other styles on a pretty good sale.

I just threw this up on the hutch before the Keeper's of the Faith girls party we had here yesterday. It usually adorns my dining room plant shelf, but I don't know if I'm going to get anything up there this year!!

Have a fun-filled Friday!!
Blessings to you all,

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Family Traditions Frame the Holidays

It was that time again...time to gather as a family and make our annual trek to the tree farm to get our Christmas tree. We discovered this place years ago when no one else knew about it, and every year it just gets more and more crowded. But that's ok!! There is something wonderful about seeing families spending time together and investing in a tradition that will enrich the lives of everyone involved for years to come. Our whole gang looks forward to this one day where we venture out together in search of ...the perfect tree.

Of course, my morning started out with this...


And Momma didn't get up at 7:00 to make a big breakfast...today it would be CAR FOOD!! One of the special little things my parents used to do for my kids when they came for a visit, was to bring a box of these Entenmann's donuts for the girls. So we brought the memory of their love into the day by having some to enjoy! The rest is stuff I don't ever buy, so they loved it!! (the big girls, too)

We hit the road...and the morning was perfect! Clear blue skies and a chilly 49 degrees out. We have had a few years of getting our tree in 75-85 degree weather...this was a nice change!!

We're He-re!! You step out of your car, and take a deep breath...you just know the air is so clean!!

The owner is former military as well, so of course he participates in the Trees for Troops! I think that is so cool!!

This is what you see when you first arrive...

Everything is so charming and so family oriented. Just delightful!

This is the wood that is used for...

this bonfire!! You can melt smores and marshmallows, cook a hot dog, or just enjoy the warmth of this fire that doesn't go out. It is encircled by benches, and it is fun to interact with other family's fireside. You can see part of the back section of the awesome 45 acres of trees. Back there are cedar and other specialty trees. The bulk of the trees are Florida Sand Pines.

You can see there are trees of every size

Well, that's just the beginning of our time at the farm...I'll continue with more each day and finish with our decorated tree!!

Have a joy-filled day!