Thursday, December 30, 2010

lazy dog

After I looked through my pictures from Christmas, I decided to do a whole post of pics form Christmas of our dog and how lazy she is...don't mind all the extra adornments...she secretly loves being terrorized!!










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day 20-25

so, these are a little late, but I thought you (and I!)  might need them for records sake:

20. M - Tweet memories of your favorite Christmas


Micah 5:2-5

21. T - Google holiday traditions of your favorite country

Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11

22. W - Visit www.incourage.me and see what kind of Christmas warm fuzzies you can read

Luke 1:1-38

23. Th - Put on Christmas music and dance

Luke 2:1-20

24. F – Put out cookies and a note for Santa – cross your fingers he gets you what you want!

John 1:1-9

25. S -Enjoy the day with your family and remember why this is the “Most Wonderful time of the year”

This really has become a new thing I will add as a tradition at Christmas.  It really helped me focus on the meaning of the season and made me intentional about the things I was doing...more to come on that later!


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Monday, December 20, 2010

announcement

yesterday at church, we talked about a miraculous announcement.

How God appeared and prepared the hearts of Elizabeth and Mary and how John came to prepare the way, how God prepared Mary's heart and how he provided to us His grace.

We also talked about how all of them were in the right place to be used by the King.  He was going to send his Son - and they were willing and available to be used...that's powerful.  To be the instrument through which God demonstrates his GRACE...

Saw this video this morning that really put it into perspective



I really love how these technology groups are making social media videos for the rest of us to understand!Photobucket

Friday, December 17, 2010

no words

I have no words to really explain what this video means to me this year...this truly is where my heart is and what it bleeds for this holiday season...

that this box of things I collected throughout the year at clearance sales and as coupon freebies...




could turn into this...


May my life reflect the wonder of God's restoration and JOY!

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advent 16-19

16. Th - Think of someone spending the holidays alone for the first time, send them a card to let them know you are thinking about them this time of year


Daniel 9:24-27

17. F - Send your co-workers Christmas emails!

Galatians 4:4-5, Ephesians 1:9-12

18. S - Make holiday cookies or bread

Numbers 24:17, 19, Revelation 22:16, 2 Peter 1:19

19. Su - Have a picnic under the Christmas

Malachi 3:1, Luke 1:67 -79


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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Advent 13-15

13.    M - Make cider and sit with a candle and read your favorite scripture
Psalm 62:5-6, Isaiah 26:3, Isaiah 40:31, Hebrews 10:23
14.       T - Pay for the person in the drive through behind you
Isaiah 11:1-2, Jeremiah 23:5-6
15.       W - Reflect on your favorite Christmas present received and given
Isaiah 42:1, 5-6, Isaiah 60:1-3, 19-22


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Advent 13-15

13.    M - Make cider and sit with a candle and read your favorite scripture
Psalm 62:5-6, Isaiah 26:3, Isaiah 40:31, Hebrews 10:23
14.       T - Pay for the person in the drive through behind you
Isaiah 11:1-2, Jeremiah 23:5-6
15.       W - Reflect on your favorite Christmas present received and given
Isaiah 42:1, 5-6, Isaiah 60:1-3, 19-22


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Friday, December 10, 2010

advent catch up

6. M - Write a list of 10 things you are thankful for this year


Numbers 24:17, 19, Revelation 22:16, 2 Peter 1:19

7. T - Google the traditions of other December holidays like Hanukah and Kwanza

Malachi 3:1, Luke 1:67-79

8. W - Stop by Starbucks for a holiday beverage

Micah 5:2-5

9. Th - Read your favorite childhood Christmas story – even if you have to go to the bookstore to find it

Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11

10. F - Watch your favorite Christmas movie

Like 1:11-25

11. S - Drive around your favorite neighborhood and look at lights

Luke 1:26-38

12. Su -Tweet your favorite Christmas tradition

John 1:1-9


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Friday, December 3, 2010

Advent 4 and 5 - Weekend

4. S - Go to the mall just to look at the Christmas decorations (you can shop too!)


Daniel 9:24-27

5. Su - Visit a church you don’t usually attend

Galatians 4:4-5, Ephesians 1:9-12


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Advent Day 3 - Friday

F - Make a bowl of Christmas oranges – stick cloves in the sides of oranges in

Isaiah 42:1, 5-6, Isaiah 60:1-3, 19-22

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Advent Day 2

2. Th-Check out what Day Spring is doing for Compassion Kids in Ecuador. Send a card through their website… http://www.studiodayspring.com/cardbasket_view/?basket_id=160  or http://www.dayspring.com/  

Isaiah 11:1-2, Jeremiah 23:5-6

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving night, my dad decided it would be fun for us to go to the ICE exhibit at the Gaylord Texan.  And, he was right...it was fun.  He just left out the part of reminding us to bring all our gloves and such since it was so cold.  But we had a great time.  My dad's cousin and his  family went with us and it was fun for all involved.  I'm just afraid the kids and adults roles have changed!













The Gaylord is decorated so amazing this time of year.  Everywhere you turn there is something else so cool to look at.  We enjoyed all of it!  I really wanted to just to the restaurant and watch football, but that wouldn't be very hospitable!






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Advent Day 1

Advent Day 1:

1. W-Light a candle and say a prayer for a loved one far away

Psalm 62:5-6, Isaiah 26:3, Isaiah 40:31, Heb 10:23




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Advent Calendars

Advent calendars have become my obsession this holiday season, thanks to my friends Suzanne.  A couple weeks ago, I was in Fayetteville spending the weekend with her and we started talking about how she loves Advent.  We never really did anything with Advent at my house growing up, so its one of those holiday traditions that I've kinda been intrigued by.  I always thought it was something that very liturgical churches did by lighting a candle and doing the 4 Sunday's leading up to Christmas....boy was I wrong!

Of course like so many holiday things, it can run in so many directions.  Some people fill there Advent holder with candy, some with service projects, some with fun holiday traditions, some with scriptures, some with devotionals.  I'm kinda the fan of the "combination" tactic.  You know a little of everything!

After we visited, I became curious and spent some time researching online about Advent.  There was all kinds of info about these felt, holiday shaped things that you can purchase at places like Pottery Barn.  But, I didn't find anything that was the combo that I was feeling or that had the "look" I really like.  So, I decided to branch out based on the ideas I'd seen and make a "wall hanging" advent calendar myself and then decided I would put my own set of "to-do" activities inside.

In the process of looking at these ideas, I couldn't find a great "how-to" on sewing an Advent calendar of your own..maybe that's a sales ploy and I apologize now to the Etsy's shops I'm killing business for, but I thought in my process of making an Advent calendar, that it would be fund to take pics and create a little "how-to" demo for you guys (or for me to come back to next year!)

How to make your very own Advent Calendar Wall Hanging

Keep in mind here the goal is to make it personal, so pick fabrics, threads, and accessories that match your home, your personal style, or the colors of your Christmas decorations.  This is also a great time to dig through that scrap bin and see what you have to use up - or to check out that sale section at Wal-mart.

For my wall hanging, I chose a grey herring bone designed fabric.  I'll be honest.  It took me a while to decide what kind, but I loved this..its really fabric to make dress pants out of and I thought really would complement the home of the person I made it for.  They have a very comfortable, yet modern home decorating style.  To me, something like this should complement your home - not stand out!  Since her home is decorated in Black, White and Grey, I chose those colors as my main focus and then accented with other colors I'd seen around her house - my thread was a dark brick red like the colors in her kitchen.
Gather your supplies:
I worked of the dimensions of 17" wide x 20" tall for the back ground fabric (x2)
5 strips that were 17" wide x 4" tall - for this it was the same fabric as the background, but I did another one where I used a solid on the background and stripes and polka dots on the strips.
17"x20" piece of iron on interfacing
accent thread - will show from the outside
25-2" squares of felt - again, you could use any fabric, I just wanted a solid for this one
accent pieces you can sew or glue on
3 - 4" strips of ribbon
fabric paint for numbers or on my second one, I hand embroidered the #'s on - you could monogram them as well if you have that type of machine.

using my lovely Fiskars cutter, I cut all my fabrics first to they were ready when I needed them:
2 - 17"x20" background pieces
1 - 17"x20" piece of adhesive interfacing
5 - 17"x4" strips - can match background fabrics or be an accent
25 - 2" felt squares or whatever fabric you want to put your #'s on

I folded down one long edge of the strips by 1/2 "  - iron down and sew to make a hem/finished edge

I'm horrible at ironing, but every time on this b/c of the type of fabric I used, I always went back and ironed after I did any sewing just to reinforce the crease.

***Let me add in here.  If you are planning on putting #'s on the squares by monogram or hand stitching, this would be the place you would want to do that, BEFORE you secure them to the strips.  Since I painted mine on, I did not include this step until the end.***

Next, find the middle of each strip and place a felt square - centered - over the space and pin down (it doesn't have to be completely exact)
Place two squares on each side of the center one, making sure everything is evenly spaced as you go
(use the picture above as a guide)

Repeat this on all the strips.


Then, sew a straight line down the top and bottoms of the strip to secure the felt squares in place. This is the way I chose to do it - I didn't want glue over time deteriorating or discoloring the fabric. I also didn't want the fabric squares flapping because the top was secured, but the bottom wasn't.



 Next, go in and sew on your embellishments.  again, these could be anything from ribbons, to buttons, to beads, to other holiday items you find - you name it and you like it - its free game!
Also, I chose to sew these on - I feel like an item like this can be in the family for a long time and I didn't want the glue to deteriorate over time.

Once all of your strips have everything you want done to them before they are sewn on to the back, you are ready to "assemble" your calendar.  Strategy and measurement really comes into play at this point. 
*Make sure you pay attention to which side of the strip is the finished edge and which side is raw. - You will want to sew the raw edge to the bigger fabric so when it is turned up, the edge is finished*

Place the background fabric flat on your surface with the "right" side up.  place your bottom strip on the fabric - rights sides together with the raw edge facing away from you.  Measure up an inch from the bottom of the background fabric and pin down your strip straight across.  Sew your strip to the background fabric, trimming your threads as you go.

bring your fabric with one strip sewn on back to your flat surface.  Roll the strip up to make a giant pocket where the embellishments are facing up.  Pin down, pulling the pocket taught as you go.

*hint, you will want to put your pins along the top seam going parallel with the seam, in a minute when you sew down the fabric to make the individual pockets it will be much easier if you can keep your pins in place.*

(close up to see what the pockets look like when you pull them taught and pin)

Repeat with each layer, remembering to keep a small distance between the top of the previous layer and your seam allowance. 


Once all 5 rows are sewn on the back fabric and pined, you are going to sew straight down (top of the first row to bottom of the last row) to make the individual pockets.  You may measure to be exact, but the felt squares should serve as a guide for you to see the individual rows.  I also sewed down each side just to reinforce the edges of the pockets even though they will be caught when you add the backing.

Iron your interfacing to the back of the other large piece of your background fabric.  Remember to iron it to the "wrong" side of your fabric.

decide where you want your 3 hangers to be on your calendar.  Above you will see that I used one giant loop.  I DO NOT recommend this method. The edges curl down when it is hanging.  I would instead suggest one loop in the middle and one towards each end that you could run a dowel rod or other stick through to hold the calendar once it is done.

With raw edges together, pin the loops to the fabric with the pockets on it.  Remember that when this is turned inside out, the loops will flip over, so when you pin it down make sure the "loop" is facing the bottom and the edges are pinned to the edge of the fabric.

Once you have your interfacing attached to the fabric.  Place the fabric on top of the background fabric with pockets.  The "right" sides should be together.  Pin the outside edge of the two fabrics together and sew all the way around the edge.  The seam will not only hold the fabrics together and make a finished edge, but it will also help hold the interfacing in place.  Remember to leave about a 3 inch space at the bottom to be able to turn the calendar right side out. 



Turn the calendar right side out, making sure to push out all the corners to a point (trim them before you turn them if you need to).  Iron down all the seams to make a nice crease.  Also, fold under the opening to the same seam as the rest of the calendar.  Pin in place.

Sew right along the edge of the Calendar all the way around.  This will make a clean edge and will help close your opening at the same time.


your almost done. 


Since I chose to paint my numbers on the pockets, I had to make sure everything else was done b/c once I painted, I need to let it air dry for a couple days to let the paint fully dry.

While you wait, you can pick the 25 things you are going to put in each pocket.  I made a  list of activities, service projects and prayer/Scripture projects.  It was so fun to come up with the ideas.  I might also suggest looking at the calendar and seeing what day Dec 1st falls on so you can plan accordingly as you fill your calendar - some activites are better over a weekend vs. a weekday, you may also already have something on your calendar that you can incorporate into your advent  (like a holiday party or parade).  I just typed my activities out on the computer and cut them in strips that I folded and put in each pocket.  You could also fill the pockets with a little holiday toy or candy.  The possibilities here really are endless.  However, make sure your numbers or any other embellishments are dry before you start messing with the projects.

You can see the finished product below. 


If you are like me and have never really done Advent, let me encourage you to research it and check it out.  There are so many ways you can incorporate this into your holiday tradition and I can already see how it really can help you get in the holiday spirit. 

Remember this should be something that's fun and helps get you in the holiday spirit.  But, its also an easy way to prepare your heart for the Christmas season.  Let me encourage you to include scripture and service ideas as part of your 25 days of activities.  It really does make you think about the endless possibilities we have when we just take the time.

Here are some ideas not included in my caledar this year that you can steal:
Take food to a local food pantry
Take doggie treats to the local humane society
Send a holiday card to a military person

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