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"!