Monday, December 12, 2011

I Heart Homemade Gifts!

Last Friday I got an unexpected Christmas treat from my workout buddy Jennifer.  She made bonbons and delivered them wrapped in cellophane, looking too cute to eat, to the whole group.  Made me laugh a little as I indulged that afternoon thinking that A) this came from a workout friend and B) in 6 years as a stay at home mom I've joked several times about spending my afternoons eating bonbons and I was actually doing just that.  They were delish (of course, I gobbled them up before thinking about taking photo) and was reminded once again how much I like homemade Christmas gifts.  Something about the time spent and thought put into homemade gifts makes them extra special.  Here's just a few of my favorites over the past couple of years.

My sister Janelle made this quilt for Abby for her second Christmas.  Still just as beautiful as it was 8 years ago and is on her bed every winter.

When the scarf craze caught on several years ago I jumped on board.  I got the red & gray from my sis-in-law Crystal and purple scalloped one from good friend Amy.  Both are hand crocheted and gorgeous!


Last Christmas my sis-in-law Bobbi Jo gave us cookie mix in a jar X 2.  The cookies were terrific and now every time I drink from the glass drinking jar the mix was in I think of her.

The kids have made me some pretty cool stuff too.  Last year Abby carefully painted, glittered and wrapped her Jesus Shines masterpiece for me.  Honestly one of my favorite gifts last year.  Aidan had some help from dad on his popsicle frame but it came from his heart.

Finally, this year I'm doing the usual gift cards for the kids teachers and bus drivers but adding our own homemade touch.  The gift card holder is an upside down binder clip, covered in Christmas paper and metal clips wrapped in fuzzy yarn.  It holds the gift card and then can be used as a picture or recipe card holder.

Don't get me wrong I like store bought gifts too!  I'll be the first to admit I don't have the time or energy to hand make all the gifts we give this time of year.  So I choose to make what I can and appreciate all that I receive.  Merry Christmas!

For to us a child is born,
   to us a son is given,
   and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
   Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Learning Experience vs. Failure

Sometimes projects just don't go my way or at least the way I imagined it would go.  It's been a week of those kind of projects but I've decided instead of letting them be failures I'm going to think of them as learning experiences.  To me the difference between a learning experience and failure is whether I give up (failure) or look for a solution and move forward (learning experience)  Here's just a little of what I'm talking about.

Set up our borrowed humongous 10 foot, 800 lights pre-lit artificial tree the day after Thanksgiving and only about half the lights work.  Common problem, right?  Bob fiddled with it and got a few more working but not enough to make it look good.  Got permission from my sister (who owns the tree) to strip the lights and put on our own strands.  We both thought it would be a job but fairly simple and maybe an hour.....

(that's 800 lights about half of a garage trash can)

Both of us working on it for 3 1/2 hours got it done but not without major frustration, questioning why we were doing it and thoughts of cancelling Christmas dancing through our heads. HOWEVER we didn't give up! 

Second example this week, I'm working on a desk for the kids.  Yes, another DESK!  Got it primed twice because it's laminate and the paint needs something to stick to.  Then I picked out a soft gray for the actual paint color.  This week it got two coats of "gray" paint before Bob asked me if I was done priming it.

(example of the primer I put on kids desk because I didn't take a pic)
(two coats of actual paint and several hours later.)
Yep, the paint color is horrible and almost the exact color of the primer.  Funny thing is I knew this after the first coat but convinced myself if I just keep painting the "not gray-gray" would turn gray.  Chemistry was not on my side and it took Bob pointing that our for me to admit it.  Still not a failure though because instead of giving up I poured some black paint into my half used quart of "not gray - gray" and ended up with a decent color.

I'm a work in progress along with my projects and constantly learning or choosing to learn instead of giving up.  It's also a good reminder of how blessed I am when these are my concerns.  I have people all around me facing real difficulties in life.  Struggling spiritually, emotionally and physically.  My prayer is that when faced with real difficulties they can all be used for a learning experience.