Marian At The Waterfall
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves


~ Christmas & Crafts ~

February 19, 2010

I have been wanting to share some of “life” and projects through a blog post for some time, yet when I’m faced with the option of working on the blog or working on a project, I usually opt for the project. Then I get so overwhelmed thinking about exactly what I want to share, I end up not sharing anything at all. I have decided to work on that. I am going to take the prize for being the last person to post about Christmas DIY crafts & projects, but I am going to do it anyway (or maybe I’ll just be the 1st to inspire for Christmas 2010!).

Life has slowed down a bit since the holidays and having company in our home for almost a month. I love the change of pace. Don’t get me wrong…I enjoyed the parties and loved the company…but when life is still for a little while you can enjoy the “minute marvelousness of this world” as April Cornell so aptly put it in her recent blog post:

She asked people to share some of their own little rituals that make life slow down and make you feel good…kind of like rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens, so I enjoyed pausing to reflect and thought I’d share the few things I came up with.

Things that make me feel good:

1. My 8 month old baby, when he wakes up with those rosy cheeks and dazed sparkly eyes. Pausing to nuzzle his soft squishable body and gaze at his little face as the smile breaks through the sleepiness and he looks up at me with adoring eyes.

2. Catching sight of my bare feet poking out from under my soft white nightgown just before crawling into bed.

3a. My cozy tuscan quilt...the perfect backdrop for last night's family snuggle time.
3b. Getting a glimpse of this romantic scene in the mirror...the evening aglow with twinkling white lights wrapped around our canopy bed.

4. The feeling of soft hair right after its been brushed

5. Dancing to fun music when it starts to play

7. A deep breath of fresh air

8. That final glance around a freshly cleaned room

9. When my husband "steals" my pillow each night...then tickles me suddenly, and takes me in his arms when I try and retrieve it.

10. A sliver of butter melting on a steaming piece of freshly baked bread.

11. Pausing in front of a photo, reflecting on the memory

12. Sitting on my feet...writing in my journal with a cozy fire in the background and snow falling out the frost covered window in the foreground. Bliss!


Jordan posted some pictures of my Christmas cookie exchange, Christmas, and Danielle’s surprise 30th birthday party…the 3 first “parties” in our home which all happened in the month of December. He did a great job like always, but I wanted to add a couple things from my perspective. So, if you are sick of seeing more pictures…you can just leave…(Oh, no I’m starting to sound like my husband…he’s starting to rub off on me) ♥. T hose who are still interested my proceed.

Cookie Exchange:

I have learned that I can’t have a party without importing help. So, when my sister Melanie was coming out in December I took full advantage of the slave labor…I mean, help…she could provide me with and had a party that weekend. Being into health and all, I wanted to have a cookie exchange where we could actually eat the cookies at the end, so I provided a list of guidelines and hosted: “A Healthy Cookie Exchange”. It was a lot of fun, everyone did great, and we came away with a wonderful selection of healthier cookie recipes. I have been asked for those recipes, so I thought I’d post a link to them here:

Healthy Cookie Recipes (click here)

Carene’s Almond shortbread won 1st place. You can see them in the middle right in the lovely basket.

My cookies weren't’ voted on because I was hosting, but I did get rave reviews (I can boast a little seeing as Melanie ended up making most of them for me anyway :-) for the ...

Almond Thumbprints

• I didn’t get a clear picture of the Long’s Almond Roca, but it was a runner up, and they said it went together very easy (pictured above Carene’s shortbread in the 1st photo).

• I also wanted to highlight my dear Mother-in-love, Barbara’s, Peanut Butter cookies. They had nutmeg in them, which was a pleasant new twist and were moist and chewy. A must try!

Crafts and games

The little girls made Pomander balls ( as a craft…they should have been rolled in a preservative, per the instructions, as they didn’t last long without spoiling…though it was a fun project while it lasted ♥.

We played the “Right, left game” for door prizes

To win the prize, you pass the gift to the left or right, whenever it is mentioned in the story. I found a bunch of versions on-line, even people who had made up their own stories, but as I didn’t have time to be more creative and write one myself, I found this one to be the most meaningful on the story of the Nativity, so I went with it:

Decorations-Garland tutorial

I have to admit, I love having things in my home just to decorate for it. That’s my favorite part of having the party. I was so thankful for Melanie’s help doing the cooking, so I could spend the final moments constructing the garland I had in my mind. I had never done one before and was delighted at how it turned out. All you need is:

• Green floral wire (a couple $1-2 at Wal-Mart)

• A ton of green branches (all we have out here for “green” are cedar trees, so that’s what I used) cut about 2 feet long

Here we are out in the woods collecting greenery the day before. We filled a couple wheelbarrows full.

Once inside, I lined all the cut pieces on the ground, started at one end, and wrapped the garland. I worked with stems to my right, and feathery parts to my left. It’s kind of hard to explain exactly what I did, but I just made sure whenever I added a new piece, I added it about halfway down and wrapped the stems together with the green wire wrap as tight as I could…making sure to wrap it under the little branches that stemmed out, so the greenery would still “fluff” out. I used one continuous piece of wire. Jordan put little nails in our window frames that we draped it over. So, far it is still looking good, so we have kept it there for winter window décor.

Tip for those making a garland that long with Cedar: You may want to wear something on your hands. The cedar boughs have little “thorns” that poked me the whole way. My hands were pretty scratched up by the end. A couple nights later, my hands started to itch real bad in the middle of the night and I couldn’t figure out why…then it donned on me, I had all these microscopic thorns in my hand that my skin was purging, and as the skin rejuvenated it made me itch terribly! So, that’s my word for the wise.

Danielle's 30th Birthday

I wanted to mention the surprise birthday party we…my friend Tayla was visiting at the time (I’m telling you importing slave labor really helps :-)…had for Danielle at the end of January to share a story of mishap and the Lord’s protection. Danielle was due to arrive any moment, when I was lighting the candles, and somehow (I don’t even remember the flame being anywhere near the highly flammable cotton…:-[ ) the “snow” around the base of the candle caught on fire. It went up in an instant! All the ladies watched…stunned…then, like a scene from a movie, everyone ran around frantic trying to find water or baking soda to dump on the flame (or snow from the porch ;-). Jordan was there a second before, then disappeared in my moment of deep distress! He reappeared on the scene of action just in time to pull the croc off his foot and stamp the flame down. Talk about my knight in shining armor! All I could think about was that I wouldn’t be able to control the fire. “This is how houses are burned down” I thought! My heart was beating wildly. All the ladies scrambled to fix the decorations and place settings that got soggy, and we all were back to a composed state by the time the birthday girl arrived. The tablecloth got a good scorching, but it did spare our beautiful table. I made a patch from extra fabric I had, and covered the spot as best I could. I call it “The Patch of Remembrance”. Whenever I look at it, I remember the mercy of the Lord & His protection of His children!

Can you tell where the patch is?

Below you can see how it was easier to blend the long sides of the patch with a matching thread. The two pieces of fabric are joined down the brown line with a zig zag stitch.

It was harder to blend on the short side, while using a stitch to prevent fraying.


Growing up we never quite officially celebrated Christmas, and last year as we were just getting back from Hawaii we didn’t do anything big, so this year was kind of my first “real” (means totally different things to different people…) Christmas celebration. We have thought about it as a new family wondering how we should celebrate, if we should celebrate, and what traditions we might add to make it more Christ centered and meaningful, and came up with what you may have seen on Jordan’s blog post. I just loved the excuse to decorate…and loved getting together with the family on special occasions…and giving gifts. It makes me happy.

Just about this time I started reading some craft blogs my friend Brooke listed on her blog over at These gave me some inspirations as far as decorating went. I have a problem though…if I’m on those creative blogs to long, I start getting discouraged thinking how utterly un-creative I really am, and wondering how these thrifty women are able to come up with such beauty on the spot like they seem to always be able to do! They always are able to see treasure in trash and decorate with what’s on hand….sometimes I wonder how one manages to find so much “on hand” ♥. Then a creative moment strikes and I feel like I’m “in the groove” and I start seeing things in the world in a little different light, just like those crafty blog girls do! I need to remind myself that it is really all just a gift. People look at what I do and can get discouraged…wondering how I can be so creative…but the thing is, I can’t think of anything creative in and of myself. I’m really blessed to have a wee little creative gene, but I can’t take credit for it…nor want to. The Lord has blessed me. So, be inspired and not discouraged. We all have gifts…and mine are not snowboarding, computers, studying DNA, & math just for the record ♥.


Candle sticks:

A little spice never hurt a candle…

I stacked the cinnamon sticks up around the candle, holding on to as many as I could, then placing a rubber band around them, which was conveniently covered by the ribbon you can see.

Trim Drape:

Mother Barbara gave me some Christmas trim last year, that has been waiting for the right season to be put to use. I had it laying out wondering what to do with it and thought of draping it over the table to add another dimension. I love anything draping…if you couldn’t have already guessed with my love of canopies ♥. Jordan helped nail it to the ceiling. It was really a lovely romantic Christmas morning. Everything was still and we got a dusting of snow to make it white. Daddy was helping Mommy set up her decorations and baby was crawling around, and started pulling himself up onto the ladder for the first time that day. Christmas music played in the background adding to the romance. It was peaceful as I didn’t have to make the meal…Danielle blessed us with bringing the main dish, so all I had to do was desert…an apple strudel which came out wonderful! I had never worked with fillo before, as Mom was the master baker at our house, but I overcame my nervousness and we all benefited from it!


• I found the ribbon I tied around the napkins at Joann’s for 70% off, and it just happened to be in my favorite maroon color.

• I love setting the table a glow with candles. I finally made the investment for beeswax candles for the Christmas table. Even unscented regular candles can be pretty toxic, which really stinks, because I love candles and the alternative kinds are pretty expensive (though I was able to find them ½ off through our co-op). But, to me it was worth the investment, and beeswax candles actually purify your air as they burn releasing negative ions. So, we enjoyed the health benefit as well as the beauty ;-).

• When I started pulling apart cotton balls to resemble fake snow for the table…Jordan came in the room and laughed…”Now where’d you come up with…? How did you even think of…? What ever made you figure that out?” It made me laugh. ♥

• The table needed some color so I “used what was on hand” ;-) and added some clementines and pomegranates. It came out lovely.


The words from the 4th verse of “Hark the Herald Angels sing” really captured my attention, so I set it in a frame, wanting to add the meaning of Christmas to the décor.

"Mild He lay His glory by; Born that Man no more may die,
Born; to raise the sons of earth, Born; to give them second birth."

Kalea’s Christmas outfit

My favorite part of this past Christmas, besides decorating and wrapping all the gifts, was making a little dress for Kalea. The design was something I always wanted when I was a girl and never did end up getting. So, the next best thing was to create it for another little girl who loves feminine old fashioned beauty.

This was my inspiration, but the pattern was too small.

I used this simplicity pattern, because it was on sale.

I used view D for the underdress, adding a collar and a ruffle from my inspiration pattern, expanding it a little to fit the bigger size.

The under dress was made out of the softest white flannel, and the over dress from a flowery blue calico. I added the buttons down the front, because I felt like it needed something more.

Here is the matching headband I made following this tutorial. I found the headband at Wal-mart and sewed the flower onto it:

Here are some bloomers I made after Christmas to complete the outfit. I ran out of time to finish them before!

They were made following this pattern:

I added two rows of lace on the bottom and a little tuck in the front to know which side was which (also to cover up a boo boo of somehow cutting it too long ♥).

Christmas Dress

Kalea was so glad to oblige me for a little photo shoot when it snowed. I took the pictures real quick, so she wouldn't freeze. She is a natural...even pointing out where we should take the pictures because it,"looked pretty". Jordan designed my logo. Whether I ever become official or least I now look it ♥. Thanks love, you did a great job~

That's all for now. Thanks for stopping by and staying till the end! Hope you all had a good Christmas remembering the greatest gift to man, Jesus Christ, who humbled Himself and came to earth to bear our sins. This is the reason we celebrate!

Thankful for the past and looking to the future~