Christmas Eve

Old ornament, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

Greetings from Colorado! Last week, my sister surprised me with a plane ticket home to see my parents and kids for the holidays, so there was a flurry of activity preparing for the trip, travelling and then enjoying time with my family! Since then, the time has flown by and I’ve not found the time to sit and write a proper post. So, a little bit of catching up and bits of posts I started to write!
Red Bird
First, I want to let everyone know that Jacque from New Zealand was the winner of “Joy”! It will be going out in the mail to her after Christmas! And one of these days I’ll get a picture of the completed piece posted!

Secondly, please add Adrienne and her family to your prayers. Her son-in-law passed away unexpectedly yesterday, leaving behind his wife and three young children. My heart goes out to them and I know they will appreciate your prayers on their behalf in this difficult time.

In light of Adrienne’s news, it seems appropriate to post what I started to write yesterday, even though it’s now a bit late.
Silver Bell
December 23rd: Nine years today since our fire. What a different day this is though. That year, the sky was crystalline blue, the ground dry and brown and the temperature warm enough that I needed only a light sweater. This year, it is cold, the sky a soft gray blanket, pink around the edges in the morning light and the ground covered in white and cold enough to need to bundle up inside as well as out. When I see the date on the computer, it makes me stop and remember. I guess some things you never forget. But then I also think of all the wonderful changes that have taken place in my life since then, many of them that never would have happened but for the fire. It makes the remembering easier. A reminder that God is always at work in us for good and not evil, that he has a larger view of our lives than we do, that what seems disastrous and overwhelming at the time, can be overcome with faith, perseverance and determination, eventually turning into something more wonderful than we can imagine.

Blessings and Christmas Joy to everyone this Christmas Eve! May you have abudant peace and much joy!


Felt Crafting

Felt birds heart 02, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

The sewing machine has been whirring away as I finish up Christmas gifts! But yesterday, I took a break with a little project. Dawn at (4:53 am) posted some lovely little felt heart ornaments and asked if anyone wanted to play along, so I took up the challenge!
Felt birds heart 03
Not only did I make a couple of hearts, but I also made a couple of birds, inspired by one I saw in the December issue of British "Country Homes".
Felt birds heart 01
What fun it would be to have a tree decorated all in these simple and sweet ornaments!

Many thanks to those of you who have been inquiring about how my ankle is doing ~ it is healing well! Each day I notice improvement and less discomfort! Hoping to be back at work by January 1st!


Snow Day

Boxwood wreath, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

This past weekend, before the snow came, I clipped some branches from the boxwood and created a small wreath to hang in the living room window with a swag of little white lights.
Snow 16Dec08 01
It has been snowing lightly but not accumulating off and on for the past couple of days ~ and yes, it really does snow (a lot!) in the mountains of northern Arizona! After eagerly watching the forecast, which predicted lots of snow last night, I woke this morning to a quiet winter wonderland!
Snow 16Dec08 02
I love seeing each branch outlined in snow and the birds sitting in the tops of the trees. As soon as I returned inside, the birds returned to the feeders. The sound of birds chirping provides a pleasant background to the whirr of the sewing machine as I work to finish up some Christmas gifts! It's a lovely day to be tucked up inside! Outside, the snow still falls and tonight we expect many more inches! Time for a warm mug of hot chocolate!


Joy ~ the 3rd Sunday in Advent

Joy ~ in progress, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

"And the angel said to them, "Be not araid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."
Luke 2: 10, 11

Joy to the World!

Joy to the world! the Lord is come:
Let Earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven and nature sing.

Joy to the world! the Saviour reigns:
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of his love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders of His love.
from Psalm 98 and Isaac Watts

To have joy! To celebrate! Excitement! Delight! It's contagious! When something gives us joy, we want to share it with the world! For to us, on this day! A Savior is born! This is not something to keep silent about! Today, we light the third candle, the candle of Joy!

While the stitching is not complete yet on "Joy", it will be soon and I'll be certain to update the picture of it! In the meantime, join me in celebrating the Joy of Christ's coming by leaving a comment on this post through midnight Friday Dec 19, 2008 to be entered into a drawing for the (completed!) crazy quilted piece shown above. The recipient will be drawn and announced on Saturday!


Wintry Table

Wintry Table, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

I thought I was done with the Christmas decorating, but then realized there were a couple more things to do! Wooden snowflakes were hung from the overhang of the high kitchen counter that separates the kitchen from the living room. Now the light from a trio of candles on a green glass tray trimmed with a bit of green garland makes lovely snowflake shadows on the wall behind! The lacy runner is one of my favorites ~ you may have noticed that it is often used as a background in the photos I take~ and I love how it has a snowflakey appearance! Perfect for a wintry table setting!
It was also time to get some paperwhite bulbs going. I've grown these each year now over the past decade.
I love the hope of new growth they give in the midst of winter!

Congratulations to Vianne who is the winner of "Peace"! She has already sent me her address, so it will be in the mail as soon as I can get to the post office!

I'll have an Advent post later this evening I hope! In the meantime, I'm busy baking cookies and Christmas breads! Outside, the sky is covered in a soft gray blanket of cloud that promises more snow. It's nice to be tucked up inside where it's warm and the smell of delicious baking emanates from the oven!


Last of the Christmas Decorating

Entryway, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

The entryway was the last part of my apartment to get decorated for the holidays. I hung a lovely wreath with red velvet roses on it, put out my Scandinavian candle holders with some of my hand dipped beeswax candles and an old-world type St. Nick figure in forest colors, with woodland creatures and birds about him.
Christmas Kitties
While I was taking pictures, both kitties had to come see what was happening! Aren't they a lovely pair of bookends?! My sweet kitties!
The front door got a bit of Holiday Cheer as well with a lovely natural wreath!

Now the decorating is done and I can put away the boxes. That is, unless I change my mind and decide to get a real tree after all! Only time will tell!


Peace ~ The 2nd Sunday of Advent

Peace, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."
John 14:27

Today we light the second candle of Advent, the candle of Peace. May this tiny flame, be passed from each of us until the whole world is alight with peace

"Peace between nations
Peace between neighbours
Peace between lovers
In love of the God of life,
Peace between man and woman
Peace between parent and child
Peace between brother and sister
The peace of Christ above all peace,
Bless O Christ my face
Let my face bless everything.
Bless O Christ my eyes
Let my eyes bless all they see."
"Celtic Prayers from Iona" by J. Philip Newell

Join me in celebrating the Peace of Christ by leaving a comment on this post through midnight Friday Dec 12, 2008 to be entered into a drawing for the crazy quilted piece shown below. The recipient will be drawn and announced on Saturday!
Peace blossoms
An eldery friend used to say, "Keep a green bough in your heart and a singing bird will come." And so peace will come, bringing everything into blossom, providing us with inner calm and strength despite all that rages on around us.

"This day and this night,
may I know O God
The deep peace
of the running wave
The deep peace
of the flowing air
The deep peace
of the quiet earth
The deep peace
of the shining stars
The deep peace
of the Son of Peace"
"Celtic Prayers from Iona" by J. Philip Newell


Ornaments and a Winner!

Tiny Green, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

Tiny things have always intrigued me and that goes for tiny Christmas decorations too! Like this itsy bitsy green ball that is all of 3/8" diameter or the little glass raindrop hanging behind it. My little tree contains many such treasures, gathered over the past few years. This little green ball is special because not only is it tiny and green, it is one of a handful of ornaments that I still have that once belonged to my Grandmother.
On December 23, 1999, our home was destroyed by fire along with the vast majority of our possesions, so most of my Christmas ornaments are new to me since then. Except for a few things we hadn't put out that year, that were stored safely in boxes in the basement where the fire, smoke and water didn't do as much damage. But from a small tree that I used to put up yearly in my bedroom, I was able to save, though forever changed by fire, a few other special ornaments. Like the clear glass bell that used to be a lovely silvery pink patina, and the little bronzy bunny that used to be white. I was so glad to be able to find a few things to save and though not as pristine as they once were, they serve as a remembrance of the time "before the fire".
White Rabbit
Since then, a new bunny has been added to the collection along with many other "new" old ornaments that have been gathered from family and friends, flea markets and antique stores as well as a few modern ornaments such as the pinecones and acorns.
Star of India
There are other decorations too, such as the green fabric star with bronze metalic braid trimming. All things gathered to celebrate this season of joy!

And with thoughts of celebration in mind, it's time to announce the winner of the "Hope" drawing! I copied the list of comments into Random List Maker at Random.org. The winner it chose is: Cat!
This seems so appropriate to me as it was one of her pieces that you can see here, (the Aug 1, 2007 entry titled "Heart of a Dove") that inspired me to start my first CQ, the cream on cream crazy quilt square many months ago! Cat ~ send me your mailing info and "Hope" will wing it's way to you on Monday!


Decorating the Tree

China cabinet 05Dec08, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

I had hoped to have a real Christmas tree this year, but due to circumstances with my broken ankle, have decided to forgoe it this year and instead am using my little faux feather tree once again. I've hung it with little blown glass ornaments in the shapes of pinecones, acorns, bunnies, squirrels and a few birds and tiny balls, all in shades of white, cream, green and gold. I do love it, but I also miss having a lit tree and this one just isn't amenable to having lights strung on it. There's just a couple more things to do and then my holiday decorating will be complete!


Little Angels

Little White Angel, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

Several months ago, I picked up a small box filled with Christmas ephemera from circa 1950. In it were three of these cute little angel package decorations. For months I've been thinking about them and wondering what to do with them. One day, as I was playing with "inchies", I thought it might be fun to make some cards using them that I could then hang on the refrigerator door for the holidays! I ended up making three of them and was able to incorporate a few of the holiday stickers as well!
Little Red Angel

As you may have already noticed, I've also been playing around in Adobe Photoshop Elements to make a new banner for my blog! I'd love to know what you think!


Countdown to Christmas

little village, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

December 1st! The countdown to Christmas begins! Each day, I put out a few more Christmas decorations, keeping to my theme of simplicity, white and green. These little houses and church were made using instructions from a Martha Stewart Magazine, the Dec 1998 issue I believe. Of all the Christmas magazines I've read over the years, that issue is one of my all time favorites. I loved the simplicity and rusticity of the mostly natural decorations. Tonights crafting plans are to make some windows for the buildings using wax paper, shaved crayons and an iron.
The small rustic white shelf is a lovely spot to place some mecury glass tea light votive cups and my small collection of sheep. The ones on the top shelf as well as the figure are Willow Tree. When I saw this figure with it's reddish blond hair and green dress, holding a sheep, I had to bring it home with me. It reminded me not only of myself, wearing my favorite winter dress (long and of green wool) but also of one of my long held dreams to someday have a small acerage where I can raise a few sheep! And to make it even better, the title of the figurine is "Peace on Earth"!


Hope ~ The 1st Sunday of Advent

Hope, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

"Awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ"
Titus 2:13

The hope of the Messiah's coming as it was celebrated 2000 years ago. The hope of the Messiah's return still to come. Advent is a time of waiting, of preparation, of anticipation. It is a season of faith, of celebration, of joy, and of peace. This Sunday we light the first candle, bringing light in the darkness and the hope of Christ's glory!

Join me in celebrating this blessed hope by leaving a comment on this post through midnight Friday Dec 5, 2008 to be entered into a drawing for the crazy quilted piece shown above. The recipient will be drawn and announced on Saturday!

Hope CQ

For me, hope is living, growing thing, a tiny seedling that grows, blossoms and takes flight. It is my hope that this little piece will nurture hope in your heart!

HOPE is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
~ Emily Dickinson


Simple Christmas

simple Christmas, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

Once upon a time, I loved lots of knick knacks and clutter, the Victorian look of abundance in my surroundings. Lately, it is the look of simplicity that I love, serene whites, natural things, homespun linen, white crocheted lace, green plants and light . I was reminded of this as I was getting out the Christmas decorations today. I was going to add to it, but I love the simplicity of it that suggests the season but isn't gaudy about it. And best yet, Mollie Kitty has been sitting on the corner of the cabinet nearly all day, keeping watch through the nearby sliding door. Her serene pose completes the look nicely, don't you think?
Unpacking Christmas
I love opening the boxes of Christmas decorations each year and rediscovering old favorites. Like these replica mercury glass ornaments and the wooden snowflakes. I'll definitely find a spot for these again this year.

I've been working on my Christmas Book. If you'd like to follow along, I'm posting a Flickr link on the sidebar that you may click on to view the pages. I'll post new pages as they are completed.

In years past, I would have had all my Christmas decorating done the day after Thanksgiving. This year, possibly due to the fact that I'm not moving very fast with my broken ankle, and maybe because I have a chance for the first time in many years to savor the season slowly for at least the next couple weeks, I am enjoying taking my time. A little bit here, a little bit there. I do love this journey to Christmas!



Fixed, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

I kept looking at the cover of my Christmas album thinking something wasn't quite right but couldn't figure out what. This morning my Mom e-mailed me, asking if I'd transposed a couple of letters in Christmas, and sure enough! Luckily, it was easy to repair and I'm much happier with it now!

My sister helped get out the boxes of Christmas decorations this morning. I'm looking forward to getting out the Christmas things and seeing what I can do with them this year!


Happy Thanksgiving!

Leaf Jewels, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

"It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to thy name, O Most High;
to declare thy steadfast love in the morning,
and thy faithfulness by night,
to music of the lute and the harp,
to the melody of the lyre.
For thou, O Lord, has made me glad by thy work;
at the works of thy hands I sing for joy."

Psalm 92: 1-4

The last leaves of autumn hang on the limbs like precious amber jewels. The neighbors fireplace is burning pinon pine, it's fragrant scent drifting through the air. It's a cool, damp Thanksgiving Day here. A perfect day to stay snug and warm inside!

Thank you for the kind, empathetic and encouraging comments left on my last post! They helped me get through some discouraging days! I've now graduated to a walking cast, complete with a pneumatic inner stocking that keeps my bones nice and stable and allows me to take a few steps!
Book of Christmas 2008
Now that I'm feeling a bit better, there is more energy for crafting and so I've finished my "December Album". The goal is to take a picture for it and journal a bit each day from Thanksgiving through New Years. The idea came from Ali Edwards.
Tree Ornament
I've also done a little bit of crazy quilting. So far I've completed a Christmas Tree ornament!


What I did last night...

22Nov08, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

What a week this has been! From oral surgery to a broken ankle! On my way to work last night, I stepped on a branch in the shadows that I couldn't see, rolled my ankle, fell down a step and broke my ankle.

I'm grateful to the young men moving into an apartment near mine who dropped everything to help and to my sister who took me to the ER, got my prescriptions for me, took me home and got me settled. Also to some excellent care given by the Dr and nurses in the ER.

So now I am on strict orders to keep any weight off that ankle for the next week and a half or so and may be out of work for up to 6 weeks since my job is one that requires me to be on my feet through most of my shift. I've been given a walker and must say that it makes me feel old and rather incabable! It makes one appreciate some of the simplest tasks that we take for granted every day, such as getting a glass of water. I can see that one of my first tasks will be to make a pouch to hang on it that I can carry things in, such as my cell phone, a water bottle, the ibuprofin and other such neccessities!

On the bright side, I should have lots of time for working on stitching, knitting and paper crafting the next few weeks!


Warning... happy artist at work!

artist at work, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

For those who have the illusion that I and my surroundings are always neat and clean, this post will burst your bubble! While the majority of my apartment does remain moderately neat and clean, my study/studio usually looks rather like a tornado recently moved through.

I've been spending happy hours this past week cutting and pasting. At the start of the week, my desk was nice and neat, with lots of space to work. But the more I work, the more the creativity flows, the messier things get... which in turns spurs yet more creativity. It continues on until, I either have no space left to work or I simply cannot stand the mess any longer and then I take the time to clean up my workspace. It happens about once a week and as the above picture indicates, it's about time! I knew I had to post about this after reading this wonderful article by Deber Klein, whose thoughts about studios match mine so well!

So, rather than be dismayed at my work area, know that I have been happily creating and that my next project is nearly complete! You can catch a glimpse of the December Photo album I've been working on in the front of the photo. Next time, I hope to show you the completed result!


Christmas Planner

Planner cover, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

As you may have noticed, I've been thinking about Christmas lately. I have been trying to think of ways to make the season meaningful and joyous and came up with the list below of things I love about Christmas and things I love to do.

* Decorating my home
* Candlelight
* Enjoying the Christmas lights in the community
* Baking Christmas cookies and breads
* Christmas Carols
* Attending a Messiah sing-a-long
* Attending a local production of "The Nutcracker"
* Attending a midnight Christmas Eve Candlelight Service

In the past, I've found it all too easy to let the things pass by that I enjoy, simply because I didn't take time to plan, so this year, I've made a small Christmas planner to help me keep track.
inside pockets
The idea came from several I saw on Organized Christmas. It starts with a regular file folder (which I happened to have in red!), then folded to make pockets and a small accordian style booklet. I used scrapbooking papers to cover each section and pocket, adding titles to the pockets to fit my needs. In each pocket, I placed several sheets of cardstock/paper with the tops trimmed a border punch for a festive touch. A ribbon tie keeps it closed when not in use! Now my lists will be at hand and hopefully I won't misplace them!
Back n covers
On the back, I placed a December Calendar, created in MS Word. Here I'll keep my schedule for the month so I don't forget those important events I want to participate in! The nice thing about this planner is that it is small enough to fit in my purse or work bag so I can keep it with me throughout the season!


Christmas Cracker

Christmas Cracker, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

The crazy quilting online group hosted a Christmas Cracker swap recently, the insides filled with goodies for crazy quilting and the outsides covered with pieced blocks or fabric. Since we aren't supposed to open them until Christmas and they can be used as decorations until then, I pieced a Christmasy block for the cover!
Christmas Cracker cover
I've taken a shine to rich red, green and black fabrics with gold highlights. In my stash, I found the red and gold lace ~ the perfect thing to decorate the ends of the block with! I hope my swap partner enjoys her Christmas block and has fun embellishing it! I may have to make one for myself!


Thank you!

Thank you so very much for the prayers and good wishes for my oral surgery. It went very well and I am in less pain now than I was before the surgery so I can't ask for much better than that!

Viking hat01, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

My new hat is finished! This was such an enjoyable project! And I even like the way it looks on me, though you'll have to wait for a picture of me in it until I can get someone else to take a picture for me.
Viking hat 04
I did make a few minor modifications to the pattern. Because I have a big head, I added an inch and half to the length of the cabled band. Once the stitches were picked up on either side of the band, they were to be knit in reverse stockinette, but I'm not so fond of that look so knit it with the stockinette stitch facing out. I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out and the way it fits, though if I were to knit another one for myself, I'd probably knit the stockinette portion about 1/2" to 1" longer before decreasing for the top, just to help it cover my ears a bit better.
Viking hat 02
If you are like me and want to see the top of the hat as well, here it is!


Thursday morning...

No pictures of lovely projects to write about today, though my winter hat is coming along nicely, but rather a prayer request. Thursday morning I need to have some oral surgery done, which I am quite anxious about. I would deeply appreciate your prayers for a safe surgery and an uneventful recovery. Thank you!


First Snow

1st snow 10Nov08 01, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

This year I have been waiting for the first snowfall and last night it came! The morning dawned to a world softened by a gentle blanket of white.
1st snow 10Nov08 02
Snowy mornings make me feel snug inside. My inclinations towards domesticity are fulfilled by a hearty pot of Scottish Breakfast tea and a pumpkin pie baking in the oven. Between the morning's tasks, I am drawn to the window time and again to enjoy the intricate patterns of branches and snow against the clearing sky.


Knitting Projects

Viking hat brim, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

With the advent of cooler weather, I've been knitting again. I've been needing a winter hat so went looking through my knitting books for a hat pattern that would look good on me. Regular hats make my head look funny and berets ~ well, on me they just look strange! So I was looking for a pattern with a little bit of width at the top and hopefully something that I'd enjoy knitting.
Viking hat
This hat on the cover of "Viking Patterns for Knitting" by Elsebeth Lavold might just be the perfect hat for me! I bought this book several years ago when it was first published because I loved the celtic knotwork patterns in it but had never knitted anything from it. I'm so glad I kept this book! I'm knitting this hat out of Paton's Classic Wool in Woodrose Heather. I love the color and it should be a warm cozy hat this winter when the snow flies and the temperatures fall!
Fetching gloves
I've also knitted a pair of "Fetching" fingerless gloves. My hands get quite cold when I'm at the computer, so I'm hoping these will keep me warm and toasty! The yarn is a chunky wool yarn from Candide, leftover from a pair of very heavy wool socks I knit a few years ago. Next time, I'll knit them an inch or two longer and try using a regular worsted weight yarn. The heavy weight Candide yarn makes them a little bit bigger than I'd like, but they are still quite cozy!