Monthly Archives: December 2012

Nativity ornaments

Last year, I was inspired to make these toothpick manger scene ornaments after seeing something similar at a local craft show. Since I keep all greeting cards that have been sent to us, [I usually separate the cards at the fold, and keep the main side for future crafts/gift tags and the other part people write on is put into our scrap paper pile…] I just needed to dig out the Christmas themed card fronts, some toothpicks, glue, old beans, & sunflower seeds from the boys’ baseball “stash”, lol.

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So I began, but quickly learned that this was going to take waaaaay more toothpicks than I had & it was also pretty tedious. While my 3 boys do not really like to come up with the ideas for crafts, they are usually pretty good with assisting when I have an assembly-line type setup. I really could not see much hope in their assistance with this version, so the manger scene ornament then “morphed” into this:

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This was much easier to make – just needed canning lids (which we had LOTS of), construction paper, a couple matchsticks, spaghetti noodles, and stars. I had a cheap plastic necklace in my craft box that was made up of a bunch of green stars, so I cut it apart, and it worked perfect. πŸ™‚

Light bulb snowmen ornaments

Every year, we try to make a new ornament to go with our homemade gifts. Made these light bulb snowmen in 2006. I had been saving all our old lightbulbs for several years prior, so I had quite a stash, lol! πŸ™‚

First we spray painted the bulbs white. Then we attached wire around the metal part of the bulb to act as the “hanger”. Next we cut hats out of scrap fleece from other projects and hot glued them to the metal part – trying to hide most of the wire part with the hat. Used permanent markers to add faces & buttons and noted the year on the back. Topped it off with a spray glitter & that’s it! πŸ™‚

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Garland out of braided, used baler twine

Nothing fancy here. Just braided 4 strands of baler twine that I had been saving from each bale of hay we fed the cows the winter before. Thought it would be perfect for our mini-ornament farm tree. [Anybody out there who’d like some used twine to make your own crafts, just let me know, lol!] πŸ™‚

This tree also features our very first pullet eggshells (2004) as ornaments. A friend of ours made these for us with her mother. Such a fun keepsake! πŸ™‚

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Garland out of ribbon & black walnut slices

A few years ago, one of the Christmas gifts we made were strands of ribbon garland with sliced black walnuts & bows. I believe I saw the idea in a craft book somewhere…

We collected the seeds from around the farm, and had the boys remove the shells by pounding them through the holes in red bricks. A pretty messy job, but they didn’t seem to mind it too much, lol. Mike cut them into 1/4″ slices once they were nice & dry. (If my memory serves me correctly, I don’t think he was too fond of this part as it was a tedious task & many of the seeds broke while cutting. THIS IS WHY WE DON’T MAKE THE SAME CRAFT TWICE, LOL!!!) Then he sprayed them with some kind of clear varnish. Lastly, I bought a spool of satin-like ribbon and twine-looking string. I wove a double strand of it through the holes in the slices – twisting as I went. At each twist between slices I tied a bow with twine-looking string. As I recall, the ribbon was kinda pricey, so we made smaller strands of garland that work nice for a simple, tabletop tree. πŸ™‚

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Baby food jars – Christmas Candles

Thought I’d try to get some posts up of past craft projects we’ve done over the years.

Did this one about 11/12 years ago. Yes, I saved all the baby food jars from when the boys were little guys…

I honestly can’t remember how I came up with the idea – perhaps I saw one in a craft show or in a magazine ?

I can’t remember the name of the paint I used, or if it’s even still around, but it was a small spray can of “stained glass window” paint found at a local craft store. Not much to it – just gave them a couple light coats & let ’em dry. πŸ™‚

I made a TON of them! Many were used as centerpiece decorations for class reunions & anniversaries. Then I did a bunch of red and green ones that I still bring out for Christmas. A tea candle fits just right and lasts about the perfect time before burning out. A couple jars are too small for the candles, so I remove the metal around the candle & it fits snugly inside. Added bows, and that’s it! πŸ™‚

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12 years of Christmas Cookie Parties

We are always excited for the first Saturday of December. Since 2000, we have hosted a Christmas Cookie Party each year.

It started as a fun and easy way to get a nice variety of cookies for gift giving (and consumption, lol)… Each family brings 8 dozen of the same cookie and leaves with 8 dozen assorted cookies. Mike chooses a few judges & prizes are awarded for best tasting and best display. Each family brings copies of their recipe to share, too. We even have some who like to come for the fellowship and don’t want to bake cookies. They usually bring an appetizer to share which goes well with our homemade egg nog or Christmas coffee… For the first ten years we “adopted” children through a local organization and furnished gifts for many children. The past 2 years we have collected school supplies & small gifts for children in a Christian Day School in Colombia, South America, via Colombian Christian Mission.

We’ve had anywhere from 6 to 18 families participate each year. Large crowds are fun because there’s so much energy packed in here – but small crowds are nice, too – time to really talk & visit with dear friends and family. πŸ™‚

This has been a WONDERFUL time of preparation for us to kick off the Christmas season. Definitely a routine we all look forward to. Our tree & decorations go up during Thanksgiving week. Then we all work together to tidy things up around here. Cookies are baked and freezers get full of beautiful (and yummy) cookies to share with others…which leaves the rest of the month for my favorite part: to work on homemade gifts and other fun projects in a clean and Christmassy home! A perfect time to s-l-o-w down and meditate on the REAL reason for this season…our Saviour, Jesus Christ. πŸ™‚

Funny – what started as an excuse for a party to get cookies, has blossomed into a wonderful tradition for our family!

So if you are reading this post, CONSIDER YOURSELF INVITED (OR REMINDED) to join us the first Saturday of December at 7pm – every year. Whether you want to participate in the exchange or just “hang” for fellowship, we’d love to have you! This tiny house is the happiest when it’s bursting at the seams… πŸ™‚

Thought I’d share some pics we’ve collected over the years:

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