Thursday, December 31, 2009

What I've Been Up To

Haven't been idle, craft-wise.

Been sewing-coffee cozies, orders for a couple of coffee shops.

Purging and inventorying my yarn.

I spent all day yesterday winding partial skeins of yarn with my winder.

I tried to separate the partials by color and type and put them in Ziplocks. Originally all that yarn was stuffed into a couple of big trash cans, so at least now I can see what I have, and when I buy new yarn I can put it into the shelves right away.

And....started the first of next years' Christmas gifts. Now if I can resist giving it sooner!

The beauty of the cleaning session is that I found out I don't have a particular color for a pair of promised mittens, so I have to go yarn shopping!

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Okay, now the packages have been opened and I can reveal the pajamas I was working on.

From left to right-bottoms for Isaac and Chris, a Barbie print for Gracie, "88" Dale Earnhart Jr. for Sydney, and a car print to match Sam's hair color.

I had these cute car buttons in my stash and they worked nicely for Sam's pajamas.

"Mommy, this is just what I was wanting!"

Sam's mom said he had remarked this morning that he hoped Gramma had made him a new set of pajamas, so he was out of his mind when he opened them.

We had our gift exchange with our kids today, complete with pizza and beer for lunch. It was a fun way to do it. Jim and Millie wanted to try staying home for Christmas day, so we did the gift thing a day later. They loved being home, so I think this will be a permanent arrangement. We had one son and his family for dinner yesterday, plus my brother and his two daughters. We still had a lot of fun, even though it was a bit quieter and everybody had gone home by 6:00. It was OK, I don't know if I would have been able to stay coherent much after that.

Tomorrow we'll do the get-together with Stan's family. There will be about 30 people-a lot but not all of them-and we'll eat, play games, and open a few presents. Most of the presents will be homemade-I crocheted Swiffer covers for each couple and Stan made applesauce and crabapple jelly to go with it.

I told our kids today that we should revamp how we do gifts. My suggestion was something homemade, a voucher for chores, or food gifts. We're all pretty much set for "stuff" and making gifts seems more loving and sacrificial to me. So far my favorite gift is one Millie made-a calendar with pictures of all their kids. It looks like those slick calendars you see in the mall kiosks, but much more personal and something that won't ever get tossed.

Hubs gave me the Rosetta Stone, Spanish edition. Now maybe when I go to Mexico I won't look like an idiot.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Angels Among Us

Here is a link to inspire you on Christmas. We never know where His angels are and how they will help us.

Final Candle

This last candle represents the birth of Christ. Let's always remember why He came to Earth.

" 8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14'Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.'"Luke 2:8-14

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16


Monday, December 21, 2009

They've Really Grown!

The header picture I was using was from two years ago. Sam was 2, Grace 3, Isaac and Chris 12. Now Isaac has grown a mile, Chris is bigger than Santa and the wee ones have turned into school-aged kids. Boy, I feel old! Santa doesn't look like he's changed, has he?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Fourth Sunday in Advent

Today we light the candle of Joy.

"1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning.

3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

6There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:1-14

One World One Heart

Check out my sidebar addition. I will be participating in this again this year, so watch for my post with all the info about what I will be offering as a prize. Last year, only a couple of weeks into blogging, I gained a ton of friends and readers. I still communicate with a lot of them.

Sooo-check back soon and see what I've decided to put up for a prize. Anybody have a request from the pictures of some of my stuff?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

It Will Be All Right, Everything Will Work Out in the End

That was Jimmy's way of dealing with things that go wrong. Well, he's right-it all worked out in the end. He's up in heaven harassing my mom and his mom, teasing them about how much they talk. When Mom died, he told me, "Well now the two crows are sitting on the porch, knitting, drinking coffee, and talking a mile a minute!"

Now he's on the porch, too.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Please pray for our family today as we say goodbye to my cousin Jimmy. He will leave a big hole in the family. All week I've been hearing his voice in my head, and I keep thinking I'll hear him teasing me about bringing such a big cheesecake to the supper tonight. I keep expecting his big hug, hard enough to make your eyes pop.

In my mom's family we had 11 cousins, two are gone now-my brother in 1977, and now Jimmy, both in auto accidents. We lost Mom that way too-I think our family should stay out of cars-my youngest had a bad accident, too, but he miraculously recovered.

I'll always love ya, Jimmy!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Girl in Dress

Here's a couple of pictures of Gracie in the dress. Her program went fine-very cute. It was the same program that Sydney did on Monday-they have the same music teacher. I don't understand why they can't combine all the kindergarten kids and just do one big program. They have the facilities at the school and it would certainly be easier on the teacher. As well as we family members who end up hitting four programs in one week! Not to mention that if they had one big program in the evening, parents wouldn't have to take time off from work.

Red tights and black Mary Janes-perfect accessories.

I made long wide ties so she could have a BIG bow! She said she felt like a princess and Grandma was the best "sewer Grandma" in the whole world!

She's a broad-shouldered kid, Sam is too. She really fills out the shoulders of the dress. I couldn't have made the dress fit any better. Whew!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Dress

Finished Gracie's Christmas dress today. Her program is Wednesday, so I needed to have it done by tomorrow. This should finish my Christmas sewing.

Gracie picked out the fabrics herself-I think she did a great job.

The top is red crushed panne' velour, the skirt is plaid taffeta. It kind of came out pinkish, but it's really Christmas red.

The pattern didn't call for the ties or the band around the bodice, but I thought they added a nice finish to the dress. The picture kind of looks more adult sized but believe me it's only a 5. I did add a little length to the skirt, Gracie is growing like a bad weed and it would be nice if she could wear it more than a couple of times. The skirt is also a lot fuller than it looks in the picture. I had to gather a bunch of that ravelly taffeta! Because it was velour, I didn't want to put a zipper or keyhole in the neck, so I made the neck a bit lower and bound it. I also made the waist larger and zigzagged a bit of elastic, just in the back waist seam. I might get a picture of the dress with the girl in it-if I do I'll post it.

She has pretty fine hair, so last year I covered a plastic headband and hot glued a flower on it. That way Mommy wouldn't have to fuss with the hair too much. We decided this year could be the same, so this is what I came up with:

I found an already-covered headband in just the right color at Kmart. All I had to do was hot glue the fabric flower on.

Sydney's Kindergarten program was this morning. Oh how cute those little tykes are! I don't think it's Christmas without a kids' program. When our three youngest outgrow the program age, I don't know what I'll do!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Third Sunday in Advent

Today we light the candle of Love.

"The people that walked in darkness, have seen a great light: to them that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death, light is risen.

For a CHILD IS BORN to us, and a son is given to us, and the government is upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace. His empire shall be multiplied, and there shall be no end of peace: he shall sit upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom; to establish it and strengthen it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth and for ever: the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

The voice of one crying in the desert: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the wilderness the paths of our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough ways plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh together shall see, that the mouth of the Lord hath spoken.

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, and that preacheth peace: of him that sheweth forth good, that preacheth salvation, that saith to Sion: Thy God shall reign!

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel. He shall eat butter and honey, that he may know to refuse the evil, and to choose the good."
Isaiah 9:2, 6-7, 40:3-5, 52:7, 7:14-15

Friday, December 11, 2009


Last night was Manhattan's Christmas stroll. There were vendors, open houses at the businesses, a Christmas market, warming fires, and very important, Santa.

He started at the local school library right after school let out, and at 5:00 he was escorted downtown to the local bank by the fire department. There the kids lined up for pictures with the big guy and to give him their requests. Every year the bank takes the pictures, prints them right there, puts them in a nice framed card, and gives them to the families free. What a nice service to the community!

Waiting in the 4 degree cold for Santa to show up.

The firemen delivering their precious cargo.

Out of his mind with excitement that "Poppa" Santa rode the fire truck-his favorite vehicle.

Gingerbread contest-also sponsored by the bank.

The evening ended with fireworks.

The planners were happy with the turnout since the daily lows were -25 F up until last night when it warmed up to +4. I figure people were tired of being cooped up so they bundled up and came out. This is always a nice way to start the Christmas countdown.

Any guesses on who Santa was?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

We Lost One

Today we lost my cousin. He was driving late at night to his remote home in the woods, when his truck went off the road into a creek. Soaking wet, he climbed out of the truck and started walking. He almost made it, but he fell 200 yards from the house, hitting his head. He crawled for another 50 yards but died so close to home because it was 30 degrees below zero.

Jim was a teaser, a jokester, a lively guy full of fun. He was too young-not even 65 years old. I think the thing that bothers me the most is that the way he died must have been so cold and lonely-his last hours were not surrounded by his loved ones, but on the ground with his house in view. No one even knew he was out there.

Pray for Jim's wife Jan and his kids: Jenny, Robert, Eric, and John; as well as a bunch of grandkids.

Jimmy, you'll be missed.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Candle of Peace

Today we light the candle of peace.

"1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.

2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of power,
the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD -

3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;

4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.

5 Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

6 The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling [a] together;
and a little child will lead them.

7 The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.

8 The infant will play near the hole of the cobra,
and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest.

9 They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.

10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious. 11 In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, [b] from Cush, [c] from Elam, from Babylonia, [d] from Hamath and from the islands of the sea." Isaiah 11: 1-10

Early Sleighride

My hubby the Real Santa Claus, has started his yearly visits. From now until Christmas Eve, he will make numerous visits, some to day cares and schools, some to church groups, some just to individual houses. His favorite is the house visits. Nothing compares to walking into a house and seeing the astonished faces and hearing the cries of glee that, "Santa thinks I'm special enough to get an early visit!" He takes every child on his lap, listens to their list, and gives them a bag of candy, then disappears into the night.

Some of his visits are heart-breaking. He's visited child cancer victims, victims of house fires, children with nothing. Usually, if he comes across a needy family, he connects them with a group that can give them a leg up. We've been known to dig in our own pockets sometimes, just so some kids can have Christmas. A quick trip to the discount store can turn into happiness for a child that might not have a Christmas. It doesn't take much.

He doesn't discriminate-some families are poor, some are wealthy. Santa loves them all (just like Jesus). I'll never forget the year we got an anonymous $100 gift certificate to a swanky restaurant. We never did find out for sure who did that, but that was the year he went to the home of a couple who were both physicians, so we kind of think that's where it came from. The Manhattan Fire Department always gives us a check to help cover expenses, but most of it comes out of our own pockets. Usually, the people who can afford it give Santa a bit of money and the businesses pay him, of course, so we always come out even if not a bit ahead. He never asks for payment, but says that whatever they want to give to cover expenses is just fine, if they can afford it. Usually we reap the benefits of his visits in the form of a steakhouse gift certificate or two and that's enough-it adds just the right amount of specialness to an already special time.

His treat bag consists of peanuts, gummy bears, M & M's, a candy cane and an apple. The first thing the kids usually eat is the apple, believe it or not!

He's been asked several times to be a Santa at the local mall, but turns that down. He wants his visits to be special and tries to limit the number of "commercial" visits he does. He is such a perfect Santa that people urge him to go to New York to be a Santa at someplace like Macy's, but he just says, "No, I'd miss my 'kids' too much."

He's on his second suit-I've made both of them. I made the last one last year-what a messy job with all that fur!

He's been doing this since about 1986, when someone asked him to be Santa for the Belgrade Christmas stroll, since he had "the look." Back then he had to spray white coloring on his beard, but age took care of that, and he is totally natural now.

I'm so proud of what he does-isn't this what Christmas is really all about?