Tuesday, 31 December 2013

What Millie Learned in December 2013

1. I'm so silly. (Ha! Don't I learn that every month?) When I'm busy, I'm stressed. When I'm not busy, I'm bored.

2. Radio stations around Christmas time are ridiculous. One moment they're playing "What Child is This," the next moment blaring an inappropriate rap song.

3. I like having a diplomatic nephew. Landon says while watching "Road to Avonlea": "Olivia is my favourite because Olivia is my favourite name. *pause* I like Miss Millie, too." Good move, kid.

4. It's very disturbing to find a dead cat on one's doorstep.

5. Art brings people together. ("Babette's Feast" anyone?)

6. You're never safe from surprises until you're dead. This year I saw my Dad hanging up Christmas lights. I know, right? Perhaps the "Christmas spirit" is contagious. Or maybe infectious.

7. Philippians 2:17 is a good verse to read around Christmas time. "But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you." It's like Paul could foresee the mad, grumpy hubbub that now personifies the Christmas season. "So you too should be glad and rejoice with me."

8. Casting a two year old as "Joseph" may get you a very interesting interpretation of said character - like pushing a pregnant Mary off the horse so he can have a turn riding. "The real Joseph unveiled: An Expose."

9. I hate snowed-in Sundays.

10. Apparently, I look enough like I'm from the Ukraine for a perfect stranger to ask me if I am. I know where I'm going to hide, if I ever need to flee the country.

11. Santa Claus is not as scary as I imagined as a small, cynical child. But, I am taken with the strongest curiosity to discover the man's true identity by administering a quick tug to the end of his beard.

12. "The Bells of St. Mary's" is considered a Christmas movie. But why? Maybe because Father O'Malley says Mr. Beaugardis has "holly in his heart." Gag me with a toothbrush!

13. Google has a Santa Tracker on Christmas Eve. I'm absolutely fascinated by this!

14. A baby that I used to dandle on my knee now has a beard. How do I feel about this? One word: Old.

15. A dismantled pump organ can turn into some pretty cool wall art.

16. I learned how to finger knit from a very annoying girl on YouTube. I would find you the link to her video, but I wouldn't wish her upon a dog that I liked. Find your own video.

17. That "I need to forgive, and I need to be forgiven." This, coupled with a verse I read recently: "But in humility, consider others more significant than yourselves." This is a good mindset to have during the holidays. Because "being home for Christmas" is no fun if you have a dysfunctional family - and don't we all have one of those? We are all broken people operating in a broken system. Let's turn to the mender of all things, feast on Christ and give, most of all, the gift of love.

Comment and tell us what you've learned this month or, even better yet, what you're going to learn in the fresh and clean year before us.

- Millie

Sunday, 29 December 2013

A Homemade Christmas Part 3

          I thought a homemade Christmas made alot of sense. "Why does no one give homemade things when there is so much talent in this family?"

           Perhaps I put my foot in my mouth when (something like) that came out, because the idea stuck and I really hadn't considered what I could make for someone... =S
         Reformation day came, the date for our annual Christmas draw. I'm always nervous as the basket of names approaches. Who's name will be on that slip of paper this year and will I be able to come up with a gift that seems right. 

          And the paper read:  Millie

          Followed by the feeling of "I can do this". Not sure why, I had no immediate ideas, but it came together so naturally somehow, one piece at a time...

   Item #1:   an old window frame from the granary 
                    a little fresh paint
                    a couple small pieces of 1/4" plywood
                    some cord sheets
                    some fabric that seemed to say Millie
                 + some chicken wire                                   
                           Displaying earring holder.JPG
       Earring keeper/pin board. I need to make me one of these! =)

   Item #2:    a little jersey knit in mustard chevron      
                    a little sew. a little try-to-turn-a-donut-rightside-out, a little seam ripping, a little try again...An endless scarf is really one of the easiest things there is to sew but apparently my brain wasn't working when I started into this project. Who cuts 2 strips of fabric when you could cut one and fold it in half?!?!

 It looks much better with the navy cardigan she got for her birthday. =)

          Item #3    some fats
                          some lye
                       + some lavender

    Lavender Soap...because Millie is a lavender kinda girl.

          I was very pleased with this gift. Self praise I know but it seemed just right. I'm thinking the homemade Christmas is a keeper...but we may have to bump our name drawing date to give a little more time for crafting...we'll see.

          Hope you had a Merry Christmas!


Saturday, 28 December 2013

Photo Challenge Week 45... to The End






beauty is in the eye of the beholder:



deck the halls:


someone you love:





This has been fun guys!


Friday, 27 December 2013

A Homemade Christmas Part 2

Even before I picked a name from the hat, I'd decided I wouldn't go for shock value this year.

Actually, while discussing the whole hand made Christmas concept, Owen and I had already mocked the inevitable turn out.

"I mean, if you pick a name," he said, a little sarcastic, "I can't imagine what you're going to give them..."

Yeah, yeah.

So my only challenge was to make the quilt a little cooler than average.

It was just the icing on the cake when I ended up picking his name.


I decided to go the 'Eye Spy' route; a novelty print quilt that tends toward the busy looking end of things. I decided to feature particular things that Owen is partial too, including his hobbies and food, and got to work finding fabric!

I tried to tame things down by using larger blocks of fabric and I selected fewer fabrics framing the prints, so a clearer colour theme could come through.

The internet is not as almighty as you might think when it comes to novelty fabric, but I did score some Grinch and bacon fabric! (And yes, yes, beer stuff too.)

For some blocks, I appliqued logos - and on a bear print, I embroidered a bulls eye. Poor thing - it didn't see it coming.

I also incorporated some selvage ends from the fabric, that had cute and relevant words.

As a finishing touch...my first ever quilt label.

 All fancy there with fabric marker.

Wrap it up, add some pecan pralines with a bow - and you have a home made Christmas.

And I have to say, I'm looking forward to next year!

xo ~Liv

Monday, 23 December 2013

A Homemade Christmas Part 1

In case you haven't noticed, I am not a very crafty person. And by "crafty" I mean I'm not knowledgeable about crafts, not that I am not very devious. I am very devious, let me assure you.
But, when it comes to things pertaining to sewing machines, rotary cutters, glue, and church ladies craft nights, I start to get anxiety issues. It may perhaps have something to do with the fact that I live with two crafters extraordinaire. It's like standing up to sing "22" when Taylor Swift's sitting on the couch right next to you. Talk about pressure!
So, when the announcement was made that this Christmas, our family gift exchange was to be made up entirely of homemade items, I began to feel the butterflies rising in my stomach. Maybe some other family members felt that way, too.

Turns out, we shouldn't have worried. Turns out everyone in our family is rocking awesome talented. Turns out, we can amaze each other, if we really try. Turns out a home made Christmas was a pretty good idea.

As I stuck my hand into the bowl containing all of our names written on slips of paper, I sent up a silent prayer I wouldn't get a guy's name, or worse... my mother's name. Can you imagine trying to make something for my Mom, the quilting expert, who never made a crooked seam in her life? It would be like drawing a picture for Vincent Van Gogh.

I opened the slip of paper...Phew!...the name was: Abigail.

Okay. *deep breath* I can do this thing.

This is what I came up with.

House themed notecards. These were done with watercolours on folded watercolour paper. They were actually a lot of fun! I sketched them out lightly with pencil before painting.
I thought this message was very appropriate for my absolutely gorgeous sister. She always looks beautiful. For this project, I used a piece of broadcloth and embroidered blue and pink lines on it to make it look like loose leaf. Then, I embroidered the message in black. I hot glued the cloth into the frame, as well.
How about some embroidered pillowcases? I knew Abi liked such things because I creeped her Pinterest boards. I also sneaked up to her bedroom when I was at her house, once, to check out the colour of her sheets. So, I really was crafty for this project. Hardy har har. I didn't want to push my luck by making the pillowcases myself. So, instead I bought two plain brown pillowcases and used a design I already had to sketch on the birds and hearts before embroidering. I used a chain stitch in red thread.
Lemon sugar body scrub was next on the list. Here's the recipe I used: http://www.thesweetestoccasion.com/2012/07/homemade-body-scrub/. Easy and good.
And finally...
(Forgive my strange, wrinkly hand. Apparently I have monkey paws.) I'd been wanting to make clove studded oranges for a couple years now, and I'm so glad I got around to making them, this year. I think they smell amazing and look kind of cool. The clove stems can be brittle, so poke holes in the oranges first with something pointy (like a kitchen skewer), before you push in the cloves. It's kind of fun to experiment with different patterns. I felt like Emma from the BBC adaptation of that Jane Austen book, except I didn't have a white linen napkin on a tray, or a cool frock.
And Emma didn't have a wonderful sister named Abigail who makes Christmas crafting a pleasure.
Happy furious-last-minute-crafting, people. Stay strong until the very end!
(And eat that extra slice of pie. You know you want to...)
- Millie


Sunday, 22 December 2013

Because Christmas is Really Thanksgiving With Bells On


Maybe you're ready. Maybe you're not. It doesn't make a difference really, because Christmas comes anyway, is here, and flies by in a haze of family gatherings and mincemeat pie.


In fact, this year, the only thing that appears to stick with me - the glue to hold the glitter on - is a sudden and surprising sense of gratitude.



Gratitude for this time...and the things we don't count on, but come anyway during December.


The funny things. Videoing the Christmas story in a million degree below zero weather. And all the angels and shepherds and 'toddler Jesus' banging around inside the van to get warm. Casting can't help but be ironic in these circumstances. And what lengths we go to, for grandparent's Christmas presents!


The relieved when the guys get back safe from a snowy four day trip with  a few truck troubles and less sleep.


The amazed; when you see that family sitting there in a row of chairs. Who you've prayed would come to pastor and serve with the church...and it seems like you can hear the "yes, so far" being spoken out loud.



The cherished, in the voices of kids singing, eyes wide and brave. Good words in small mouths.


The mundane things... when someone speaks kindness or that little boy laughing out loud while you read - because the Tawny Scrawny Lion is simply a funny book.


And most...All of it Holy, because the baby King is God with us.


Merry Christmas!




Tuesday, 10 December 2013

In this time...

Is it already snowing outside?

Somewhere between November 23 and the second week of December - things go from teetering on the edge to wildest, around here. It's from 'December's as free as a bird', to 'sorry, but this week is booked up'. It goes from pinning crafts to pulling puppy dog eyes at your father and handing him some gold spray paint. Somewhere from planning to paint nativity scenes on each fingernail, to not brushing your teeth at night.

Ok. Well maybe the last one isn't true.

But busy does happens.

Nor do I fight it. Truth be told, I like the hustle and kitchen full and coming to bed after present sewing too late. I like a little fuss. A little special thing or two as the Winter begins.

So I'm learning not to resent the pimple on my chin that will come whether I like it or not. (Holding off on the chocolate might help...) Letting the food and errands and ways to help fill up each day as I get to it. Dare I hope - starting to let things go and holding on to people a little better?

Because it will always be that. Those faces. Love them as hard as you can and remember while commercials try to sidetrack, and lists flutter as you reach for a hand...

Christ is with us.


P.S. I promise I will finish this year's photo challenge! Just not. right. now. Soon!


Tuesday, 3 December 2013

What Liv Learned this November (2013)

1. If I am not entirely enthusiastic about s'mores - I certainly am about this cake.


2. I realized that I care more about words then I thought. And reading unlocks more than we can imagine.

3. That 9 times out of 10, I'm so bound to getting things crossed off my list, that I can't just enjoy the process. This can be a problem...(read: always sloppy!)

4. I discovered I can actually get such an attack of cabin fever that even Walmart seems like an exciting Saturday night activity. And I don't even like Walmart.

5. The only side affect of doing NanoWriMo is a sore behind.

6. I should get more exercise than I do. But not stomach crunchy type of exercise, because then I just flail around on the floor trying to get up again.

7. There is nothing so nice as eating breakfast with overnight friends.

8. I also learned my pride is not without being checked from time to time. Just when I think I'm becoming semi-competent, I loose a dog while babysitting, and have broken glassware while staying at someone's house. Really?

P.S. The dog came back before the parents did.

9. Baptisms will always, forever make me cry.

10. Apparently, my sister's fright while driving with me is well founded. Yay for glasses in my purse - to put on before I go motoring. (Not!)

11. And most of all, a growing awareness that who I am and what I do, is wrapped up in Christ and His worth. So that my stage of life does not mean I pull less kingdom weight or translate as a flake. But so courage and strength and reliance on Him is what I bring to the battlegrounds of where I am - where ever I find myself in the future.

xo ~Liv