Tuesday, December 29, 2015

My Favorite Posts From 2015 and An Epic Fail

As 2015 comes to a close I am looking back over the year and taking note of the some of the things that got done around our home this year. Sometimes I tend to forget all that we have been up to. As an amateur blogger I push to try to get a blog post up every week but life happens and things don't always go as I plan. I have used the blog to force myself to get things accomplished. I am a great procrastinator and often do my best work under pressure. The blog and the goal I have set to post weekly has been the catalyst for accomplishing projects around our home.

There are some things I got done this year that I am very happy with and proud of. It is nice to know that the work is appreciated by others and the blog provides some of that affirmation. My page views are at almost 30K! I don't know if that is good or sad for a blog that has been alive only a year and nine months but I am thrilled. I will share with you some of the things that got the most attention, my favorite projects and a not-so-favorite project.

Viewer Favorite #1

On An Island was a post where Mister and I took an old dry bar and made it into our movable kitchen island topped with granite perfect for rolling out pie crusts and making pizzas!

Viewer Favorite #2

Something Sew Small was my post of kitchen valances made by yours truly. I made a pattern from paper and went to work.

Viewer Favorite #3 

White Washed shared with you how I used some left over white paint, plaster of paris and some water to update some items in my home so that they fit better to my style...whatever that is.

Then there was my #1 Epic Fail!

It started here at my Autumn Home 2015-Part 1. I painted some cute little gourds and pumpkins with Rustoleum spray paint. They were beautiful!

I painted real pumpkins and plastic ones and loved the prettiness! Fast forward two weeks later and here are the real ones!

EWWW! Well, there is proof that not everything I attempt turns out great! The plastic ones held up fine and lasted through the fall season.

I have my own favorites, though. Good For Use is the one that I still go back to. It serves to remind me of my own condition if left to myself.

Of course, I loved all the shopping/treasure hunting expeditions and you know I love summer. At A Day By The Sea  Mister and I got to spend some time just enjoying one another's company.

My Media Storage post was the result of a $35 Craigslist purchase! It turned out great and I am so happy with the amount of storage we gained from it.

And there was the little red table I picked up for $10. It got a makeover in the Painted Table post after I watched a video courtesy of Pinterest on how to paint flowers.

As I was trying to pick out my favorites the recent bedroom makeovers were in the running as favorites and I have gotten such gracious compliments on the work there. I had a hard time picking my favorites and if I were to rewrite this post I may pick others as my favorites but the year is closing and so is the time for getting this post closed up.

I have plans for several projects in the year to come. Our home is an old one and is always needing something. Thanks for keeping me company this year. I look forward to visiting with you in 2016 and thank you for adding to my page views! I get so excited to see the traffic through my little corner of Bloggerville. Happy New Year and best wishes for you and your families!

Linking up here:
Cedar Hill Farmhouse, A Stroll Thru Life, Cozy Little House, Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home, Coastal Charm, I Should Be Mopping The Floor, Sand & Sisal, Ladybug Blessings, Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Perfect Tree

As a follow up to my last post....

Recently I followed a link to a blog post titled The Perfect Christmas Tree. It was a lovely post about some of the very things I struggled with this year as I decorated our tree. The blogger's tree turned out beautiful and lovingly displayed handmade ornaments and memories of years past. As I read the post my imagination and heart kept being tugged toward a different kind of tree, though.

I kept thinking about the post I had written and how it started out as a tour through my Christmas home but as I continued to write I really wanted to share with you why I celebrate Christmas. (See it here.)

As a child I loved helping my mother decorate. One of my favorite things to do was to lay down the "angel hair"- it was spun glass or something like that. Once it was positioned just so mom would snuggle the little manger scene down into the "snow" we had made from the angel hair. It never dawned on us that there was probably no snow in Bethlehem.... Nor did I consider that the baby in the manger was on a mission, one that would cost him his life.

Don Moen wrote O Mighty Cross in which he declares it, the cross, is "a tree of life to me". And that is what kept coming to my mind as truly the most perfect Christmas tree. Could there be a more perfect Christmas tree, can anything be more lovely? Nothing else will ever compare. And for that reason I wanted to write this brief (for me) post. My blogger friend edited her post a bit, to too. (You can read it here.)

Thanks for spending time with me. Wishing you a most blessed Christmas and joy in the new year! i I will see you in 2016, if God allows. Here is a gift for you;  A Christmas Song!

Sadly, the link to the Christmas Song has been removed. We are working to get it back up. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas Tour 2015

Every year starting in late September I pull out magazine photos I have clipped and start visiting my Christmas Pinterest folder. I peruse magazines and gawk over beautiful photos on different blogs I follow. I promise myself that this is the year I will get a good head start on Christmas. "I WILL make those darned salt dough ornaments this year", I declare. My presents will be wrapped as I buy them. I will make a beautifully decorated tree in the popular color theme of the year. I will follow advent Sundays and make this Christmas a peaceful, Christ-center and Currier and Ives print worthy celebration. Then....life happens .

My family and I bring the ornament boxes, the decorations and the tree down from the attic and my home is chaos for a few days. I started this year thinking I would try to keep the tree in white lights only and a silver and gold theme; classy and beautiful with a bit of bling and much more mature than the homemade ornaments and eclectic pieces gather over fifty years.

That did not last long! As I pulled out each ornament I couldn't stand to not have each one on the tree. There are memories tied to each one. They do not lend themselves to the eye-catching black and white theme that I loved over at AKA Design or the country feel of Stone Gable or the all white beauty at French Country Cottage. I aspire to someday do something that beautiful in our home but there is the traditional, sentimental side that cannot just leave my treasures in the boxes, forgotten.

So, out they came- one by one, and they all ended up on the tree.

Made by my mom a few years before she died.

Bits of my teen years in Germany

From a childhood tree when I was very little.

Yes, even the Christmas chickens made it in the tree, again.

I did skip the colored lights this year. I thought the white lights looked a bit more grown up and clean. At least I can hold on to a bit of the dream.

Everything in the living room got a bit of a Christmas makeover. I tried not to over do but hey, it's Christmas. Extravagance is acceptable at this time of the year!

I did manage to keep to my bling, silver and gold thing in the dining room, for the most part.

And the kitchen...

Hot cocoa and coffee station

Next year probably will find me thumbing through magazines, scouring blogs and making promises as I review my Pinterest saves. Maybe I should have two trees! One thing is for sure...at least of them will have colored lights!

Now that the house is ready I can set my thoughts on what Christmas really is all about.

Christmas is about Jesus, the Christ of God. He did not come wrapped in beautiful wrapping or decorated in the finest array. He was wrapped in rags; swaddling clothes. He did not lay his tiny, magnificent head on a soft bed in a king's nursery but rather in a trough that was meant to feed animals. There was no pomp initiated by the rulers of the day to welcome this prophesied Savior. There was only a young mother and her husband that knew he was not the father of this baby..... and all the heavenly host! It was they who preached to the shepherds in the fields. The shepherds rushed to see this thing the angels had declared to them. They saw the Promise of the Father! They saw, with eyes of faith, the One who would secure for them a righteousness that could never be earned-the perfection that God, the Father, requires for entrance into the gates of heaven.

Wouldn't it be so sweet if that were the whole of the story?

But, Scripture tells us more. We are told that not only can we not keep law of God perfectly but that we don't even desire to...in fact, we break the laws of God regularly and willfully and that is called sin. Scripture also tells us the wages of sin is death and that EVERYONE has sinned. Death is not merely a physical death, which is the evidence of our sin, but also a spiritual death that separates us from the Almighty-without exception. We are bankrupt and without hope.

But God....being great in mercy sent his Son, in the form of man, to live according to all the law of God-perfectly. And here is the hard thing to remember: that baby lying in a manger, represented so sweetly in my nativity...he came to die ... not because of sin he committed but because of mine and yours. The Father poured out his wrath for our sin on his own Son! The death of Jesus satisfied the penalty for the sin of all those who would believe in him. And we know that it was an acceptable sacrifice because God, the Father raised him from that dead. That is still not enough, though. Remember we have to be perfect to see heaven. A paid debt does not wipe away the fact that we had a debt or that I continue to break God's laws thus accumulating more debt. And here is the "ah-ha" that brought me a peace that knows no limits, remember the perfect life Jesus lived? He gave that to me. He wrapped me in his righteousness and presents me to the Father as his bride, clothed in white, without spot or wrinkle or blemish and I am accepted.

That is Christmas. Maybe that is why I am so enamored with the idea of white and shiny Christmas decor. Maybe that is why I would like it to look perfect and peaceful.... and maybe it is such an unattainable goal for me because that perfection has already been accomplished. It did not come wrapped in gold and silver, velvet or silk....just rags and immeasurable love.

May the Lord bless you abundantly this Christmas with eyes of faith to see the Christ who is the reason I celebrate.

Linking up to these parties!
Stone Gable, A Stroll Thru Life, Elizabeth & Co, The DIY Dreamer, A Bowl Full of Lemons, Ladybug Blessings, Cozy Little House, Just A Girl And Her Blog, Time Warp Wife, Kathe With An E, Savvy Southern Style, The Blissful Bee, The Newlywed Pilgrimage, Simply Designing, Gingersnap Crafts, Ivy and Elephants, DIY By Design, Handy Man Crafty Woman, Crafty Allie, Shabby Art Boutique, Too Much Time On My Hands, Lambert's Lately, The Charm of Home, Craftberry Bush, From My Front Porch To Yours, My Flagstaff Home, Joyful Homemaking, Jann Olson, Blesser House, Must Love Home, A Delightsome Life, Up To Date Interiors, A Vision To Remember, AKA Design, The Pin Junkie, Grace and Good Eats, French Country Cottage, Chic On A Shoestring, I Heart Naptime, Just Us Four, My Romantic Home, The Cottage Market, The DIY Village, DIY Vintage Chic, Blooming Homestead, A Tray Of Bliss, Little Miss Celebration, Pieced Pastimes, One More Time Events, Reasons To Skip The Housework, Finding Silver Pennies, Thoughts From Alice, Inside the Fox Den,  DIY Showoff, Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home, Coastal Charm, Flamingo Toes, I Should Be Mopping The Floor, Cupcakes and Crinoline, Home Stories A to Z, Huckleberry Love, Sand & Sisal, Creatively Living, Plucky's Second Thought, Karen's Up On The Hill, Create With Joy, LouLou Girls, Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth