Friday, December 30, 2011

Encouragement Card

A woman at our church was recently diagnosed with the same cancer my husband has.  She's been having a difficult time because the cancer is eating away at her bones, a problem Phil hasn't had, and had surgery to deal with some of the damage right after Thanksgiving.  I finally sat down and made her a card to encourage her, which I sent shortly before Christmas.

The patterned paper is by K & Company.  I love the pink and green combination!  The Scripture verse is by Verve Stamps, which I stamped with Memento Bamboo Leaves ink ; I cut the two layers out with Spellbinders Classic Squares Small.  Here's where I started having fun:  I purchased Spellbinders Fleur de Lis Accents which I used elements of under the squares, around the circle medallion, and under the ribbon.  The medallion in the circle is from my go-to Go Baroque set by Stampin' Up!, which I stamped with clear embossing ink and embossed with gold powder.  The ribbon came from Stampin' Up!, which I purchased as part of a clearance sale.  Finally, the bling is some I picked up at A. C. Moore.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Birthday Card

My son-in-law's dad's birthday is December 17, so I made him a card.  I've said it before, I have the hardest time making masculine cards.  Here's what I came up with. 

Starting with the first layer, I cut the dark brown cardstock with Spellbinders Labels Eight, one of my favorite of the labels series.  I layered that with a rectangle cut from Classic Rectangles Small; I rounded the corners with my trusty corner rounder.  The scene is from Stampin' Up!, and I colored it with BIC Mark It! markers.  These are alcohol based markers, like Copics, but much less expensive.  I love how the coloring came out!  The Happy Birthday in the upper right corner was cut with Spellbinders Standard Circles Small and Large.  I used Pop Dots to attach it to the card.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy Birthday, Sarah

Today is my firstborn's birthday.  Like most mothers, I wonder where the years have gone.

Sarah, you have grown into a lovely young woman.  You are kind and considerate.  You are a gifted crafter.  You are a good cook.  You have a heart for others, willing to help as you are able.  Most of all, you love the Lord Jesus with all your heart, soul, and mind, and seek to follow Him every day of your life.

Your dad and I are blessed to call you daughter.  I am blessed to also call you friend.

Happy birthday, dear daughter.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Real Meaning of Christmas

Christmas is not about the decorations, as much as we enjoy them and they brighten our homes.  It is not about the gifts, although we enjoy buying or making them, and giving them to show our love to family and friends.  It's not about the wonderful food that we eat too much of this time of the year.   Rather, it is about the birth of Jesus Christ, how His coming to earth as a baby was prophesied in the ancient Scriptures, and that as a grown man, He willingly gave His life upon a cross, so that those who believe by faith that His death is the only acceptable payment for our sins which have separated us from fellowship with God the Father.  By no other means can we be restored to a right relationship with God, and be granted eternal life with Him in heaven.

"Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.  But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel" (which means, God with us).  When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus." (Matthew 1: 18 - 25)

"In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.  This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria.  And all went to be registered, each to his own town.  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.  And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.  And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.  And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger."  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!"  When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us."  And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.  And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.  And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.   But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.  And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them."  
(Luke 2: 1 - 20)

To you and yours, I wish the most blessed of Christmas celebrations.

"In the beginning was the Word, 
and the Word was with God, 
and the Word was God. 
He was in the beginning with God. 
All things were made through him, 
and without him was not any thing made that was made. 
In him was life, and the life was the light of men."

~ John 1: 1 - 4

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Tree Farm Visit

Last Saturday we took our annual trek to the Christmas Tree Farm.  It was a cold day - under 30 degrees - and we finally had just a bit of snow on the ground.

The reindeer had already returned to the North Pole, or maybe they were resting back at the farm, which was too bad because Kelly was looking forward to seeing them.  Instead, we made the manger scene our first stop.

Oh, wait!  There's a reindeer!

Sorry, I guess I was mistaken.  That's just Kelly, the reindeer dog.

We took some time to walk, and were surprised at how empty the tree fields were.  I read in the newspaper that several tree farms had to close early because they ran out of trees to cut; the warm weather we've had this December took people into the fields more than in previous years.  I don't know if this was the case here at Stokoe Farms or not.

The last picture is the wonderful straw fort they always have.  When our girls were little, they crawled through the fort.

Inside the barn there were a few small critters.

Our next stop was for some free hot chocolate and sugar cookies.  This was set up in one area of the expanded concession area, where they had a long table made of old lumber and the coolest stools made of various tractor parts, milk cans, and wood chunks.

At one end of the barn, they had a scene set up in the loft area.

Our last stop was the gift shop.  I purchased a few items, but didn't photograph them.  I will try to remember to do that and share the pictures later.

I hope you enjoyed these pictures of our visit to the tree farm. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Three Little Critters

Here are some recent pictures of our three pets.

See Cassie hiding?  Or is she in jail?

Nope!  Just waiting to jump up on the chair.  (She wasn't too happy about my chasing her with a camera.)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Joy of the Snowflake

But wait!  There's more!  No, this isn't an infomercial.  <grin>  I just like saying it.

Because I finished my other ornaments early, I decided to stitch some more. 

It was the colors that attracted me to this design.  I love the blue and brown, maybe because these are the colors in my bedroom and bathroom.  I also think snowflakes are one of God's most special creations, since no two of them are ever alike. 

This design is Joy of the Snowflake by Little by Little Design Company, from the JCS 2011 Ornament Issue.  I stitched this on white 28 count Monaco evenweave using DMC thread.

This was the first ornament in which I used all cotton batting (Warm and Natural, I believe), and I'm a believer.  It is smooth and even in thickness, and has a firmness to it that polyester batting lacks. 

Oh, and the ornament to the left of the snowflake one in the picture above?  That was the one Phil and I bought the year we were married.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Adeste Fideles

This is the ornament I made for Phil and me this Christmas.  Once again, it's from the Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament issue, this time from 2008.  As with Sarah's ornament, it is by Fancy Work.  I stitched it on 28 count Monaco evenweave; I believe the color is mushroom, which is much darker than it is in the picture, and I used DMC thread.  I was able to finish this in the shape the designer called for.  The trim around the outside I found at Hobby Lobby in their clearance section.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Joy to the World

This is the ornament I stitched for Sarah this year.  It's from the 2010 Just Cross Stitch Ornament Issue, appropriately titled Joy to the World.  The designer is  Fancy Work, and I used DMC floss.

The design was supposed to be finished in this shape -


                                                        /         \
                                                      /             \
                                                     |               |
                                                     |               |
                                                     \               /
                                                       \           /

- but because I used 28 count evenweave (what else do I ever use?), instead of the 30 count that was called for, the template provided for finishing wasn't the right size, and no matter how I fiddled with it, I wasn't satisfied, so I gave up and went with the oval instead.

When I finish pieces, I always check my collection of Spellbinders die templates to see if I have one that will work.  Then I cut three or four pieces of lightweight cardboard - from empty cereal or cracker boxes - and glue them together to form a thicker piece.  This way I get accurately cut pieces, which is especially helpful when I am making a pinkeep or flatfold which require two identical pieces of matboard or thick cardboard.  Yes, it does take a lot of die cut pieces, but I find this method works well, especially because accuracy isn't always easy for me.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Snowy Morning

One morning last week, we awoke to an unfamiliar sight. 

We've only seen this ground cover one other time this season, so it was quite a sight to see!  I took these pictures through the windows, which included the screens, so you see a bit of that in the photos.  Oh, and the snow melted.  We haven't had any more.