Tag Archives: christmas

The Christmas Story

As a little girl, I remember sitting on the red cushioned pews in church for the Christmas Eve service. The sanctuary’s decorations were beautiful! Evergreen garlands, red candles, the smell of pine, sparkly white and silver ornaments on the taaaalllll Christmas tree, the excitement of tomorrow morning’s gifts…and the church service’s children’s message. There was rarely a children’s message at church, only sermons and I suppose that’s another reason why Christmas Eve services were extra special to me {and you got to hold a lit candle in the dark while singing “Silent Night”;-)}. The message for children was personable, in fact the young children left their seats and sat near the altar for the pastor’s special devotion and sat at his feet with open ears. Through these personal and special messages is one of the places in which I learned that the Lord knows each of us personally. He knows our weaknesses, emptiness, burdens, secrets, mistakes…our “unwholeness.” We are born with a void. Through faith in Jesus Christ we are made whole, given hope and assurance, forgiveness and fullness, blessed with justification and grace. Jesus fills that void. Just as He has made me whole, He can make you whole.

Luke 2: 1-20

The Birth of Jesus

1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

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

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Matthew 1:21, 23

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

John 3:16,17

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

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Glamorously Gorgeous {Christmas Party Style}

To me, Christmas is much more than sending cards to loved ones {although I LOVE making cards, as you can see by my Etsy shop: piecefuljoy.etsy.com}. Christmas is about the Reason for the season {stay tuned for upcoming blog post but for a preview, check out Luke 2:11} as well as spending face to face time with friends and family  {and no, I don’t mean face to face time as in facebook time. ;-)} Gathering together and celebrating Christmas during this special holiday season is where many fond memories begin.

Speaking of gathering together, many of us will be spending time with parents’ friends, significant other’s coworkers, meet the brother’s girlfriend for the first time, etc around this time of year. Will you be attending or hosting any Christmas parties in the near future?

“Whatever shall I wear?!”

No fear, dear friends! Take a peek at this Etsy treasury with me……I’m trying to decide what I shall wear for a Christmas party tomorrow night! Here’s how the thoughts run through my head (if you care to join my whirlwind of decision making): denim trousers (or classy black straight leg dress pants?) with black flats (or the black heels that have the silver accent? If I decide to wear the heels, then I’d need to wear the long denim trousers or the black dress pants) with a sleeveless silky ruffled collar blouse topped off with a drapy black cardigan (or maybe the silk light green one with mother of pearl buttons) accented with tear drop diamond necklace. I would wear the matching earrings, but I lost one of them somehow in between the trip of home and traveling to visit family (My wedding jewelry, no less. Great job, Sarah).
Anyway, please click and take a look at this fabulous collection of items gathered along the theme of a classy Christmas party. You may find some inspiration….I know I did!:

http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4cedb8aa4ad68eef5f062d2d/glamorously-gorgeous-christmas-party?index=9

{By the way…if you fall in love with any of these items – they’re for sale by Etsy sellers! But be fast, because some of these items are one of a kind! :-)}

Black Ruffly Maxi Dress

Black Ruffly Maxi Dress

Damask Clutch

Damask Clutch

Vintage Hair Clip

Vintage Hair Clip

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Eye-Popping Polka Dot Themed Christmas Gift Wrapping

Gift wrapping is one of my favorite things to do. Christmas wrapping is especially fun and I like to make all of my gifts’ wrapping coordinate.

This year’s recipe for themed gift wrapping is as follows:

  • brown paper (inside out grocery bags). Strips of this paper was used as ribbon, paper punched on the edges.
  • pages from a vintage dictionary (cut with an exacto knife)
  • inexpensive white wrapping paper
  • ribbon leftover from my Christmas wreath (see Pieceful Joy’s facebook page for pics)
  • homemade heart shaped gingerbread tags (painted with red and white acrylic paint).{ See Christmas recipe post for this easy recipe!}

For Dad

For Dad

Under the Tree

Under the Tree

For Mom

For Mom

For Mom

For Mom

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Christmas Recipes

Many gingerbread ornament recipes call for  molasses or a bunch or cinnamon. I found this inexpensive {and easy!!} gingerbread recipe! Using a heart cookie cutter, I painted and personalized the gingerbread into tags for some of this year’s Christmas gifts. {http://www.razzledazzlerecipes.com/christmasfun/kids.htm}

Salt Dough Ornaments

2 C. flour
1 C. salt
1 C. water

Mix salt and flour. Add in half the water, then gradually add the remaining water. Knead until the dough is smooth, this can take up to 10 minutes.

For flat dough ornaments roll out the dough on baking paper. You can also be creative and make odd shapes and wreaths (takes longer to bake.) Use cookie cutters, cut-out templates, or just use your hands.

Dust dough with flour and begin to add details to the ornaments with a toothpick, popsicle stick, and knife.

Don’t forget to use a straw to make a hole so you can hang the ornament.

Baking: Time varies based on thickness of ornament
Temperature: 325°F.
Time: 1 1/2 hours – or until dry

Let cool before you begin. Paint with acrylic paints. Glue on beads, buttons, or any fun accessory. Coat with acrylic varnish when everything is dry.

 


 

 

 

 

 

Recently I discovered a fabulous new way to do hot chocolate {and oh my goodness! It rivals Starbucks’ hot chocolate!}.  Place stainless steel mixing bowl and whisk in freezer for 10-15 minutes. In a saucepan, heat milk. Add hot cocoa mix {easy, huh?}.  Take mixing bowl from freezer and pour 1 cup heavy whipping cream and 2 tablespoons sugar into the mixing bowl. Whip until the mixture peaks. Pour hot chocolate into mug. Top with generous dollop of whipped cream. Sprinkle with a dash of cinnamon or crushed peppermint {like from a peppermint or candy cane}.

 

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Creative Gift Wrapping

Decoupage, as mentioned in the previous blog post, is an easy {and inexpensive} way to jazz up a gift box!

Take a look at the before photo…a flowery box. The after photo is the flowery box decoupaged with pages from a vintage dictionary.


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Need Some Gift Wrap Ideas?

Wrapping gifts is one of my favorite things about Christmas. I enjoy mixing different kinds of ribbons and paper to make each gift’s wrapping truly one of a kind. Last year I wrapped a gift with gold and cream vintage wall paper, then tied a vintage brown velvet ribbon and a string of small plastic pearls around the gift. Truly elegant!  Here are some gift wrapping ideas for you:

Vintage scarves (e.g.like what the ladies wore in the 1960s to cover their hair) come in many different patterns. This is not only a unique choice of gift wrapping, but also an eco-friendly way to wrap gifts. You can find personality-filled scarves at garage sales, flea markets, and I’m sure there are some floating around in the “Vintage” section at www.etsy.com.

I mentioned this before, but it’s worth stressing: wall paper. Many furniture stores practically give away their wall paper samples to make room for new styles and patterns. Check out your basement or that dark corner in the garage and see if there’s a roll of wall paper lurking there – a free or inexpensive way to wrap gifts is always a plus!

Paper bags. Yes, it may sound boring, but wrapping a gift with the blank side of paper bags can be the perfect addition to a vintage or country Christmas theme. If you’re embracing a vintage Christmas, creamy ribbon or a wide band of lace with a delicate bell would be a sweet accent. If country is more of your style, a red and green checked ribbon,  twine, or Christmas tree stamps on your wrapping would be the perfect relaxed touch for a country Christmas. The grandparents would truly enjoy some pictures drawn by their grandkids – give your kiddos some crayons to draw on the brown paper.  How much does this wrapping cost? Only two words during your next grocery shopping trip: “Paper, please.”

A colorfully eclectic Christmas is always fun and gift wrap can be just as much fun if not more! Stock up on the comic section from the Sunday paper {after unwrapping the gifts there will be fun comics to read while dunking Santa’s leftover cookies in milk!}. Because these gifts’ wrapping will be soooooo colorful, ribbon and fancy tags may not be needed. However, to add an extra dash of fun and texture to the gift, add a loud colored ribbon – that would be eye catching from under the tree!

Decoupage! I was given a set of florally cardboard gift boxes. Not really my style, but I’ve allowed them to keep me company until I decided what to do with them.  Just today I have decided to give them new life by decoupaging pages from a vintage book (from  a novel or dictionary…I haven’t decided…Oh! Or from that 60 year old TLH hymnal I have lying around that I used with a previous decoupage project….). To decoupage, all you need is some Mod Podge or {slightly} watered down Elmer’s Glue. With a paint brush, paint the surface you’re decoupaging {in my case, a box}. Smooth your paper onto the surface – get out all of the bubbles! Give corners and edges extra care and once the surface is completely covered with paper and fully dry give the box an extra coat of decoupage goop {my goop of choice is mod podge.

If you have any creative gift wrapping ideas, I’d love to hear from you!

I’m still trying to decide what theme all of my gift wrapping will have this year {yes, yes, I know….I may be a bit…OCD…but I LOVE gift wrapping!} . This year’s theme may be a tan neutral wrapping {e.g. brown paper, decoupaged vintage pages on a gift box} accented by a deep red ribbon or leftover red and white polka dot ribbon from my Christmas wreath. I am working on some Christmas tags for my gifts, fashioned from vintage flash cards and paper punched with one of Martha Stewart’s fabulous paper punches.

{Will you also be using Christmas gift tags this year? Perhaps a tag from piecefuljoy.etsy.com will fit into your gift wrapping theme (or inspire a theme} for this year! http://www.etsy.com/shop/PiecefulJoy?section_id=7537658}

Snowflake Tag

Snowflake Tag

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*Jingle Bells*Jingle Bells*

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Oh my, November is nearly over! That means Christmas is getting closer….{in fact, I plan to work on my Christmas wreath later this afternoon}.

There are many great Christmas items on Etsy. Here is  a Treasury I put together which showcases some fabulous Etsy sellers:

http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4cedd2d7f9676d915128165e/welcome-to-my-christmas-party?ref=pr_treasury

Here is a slide show of special items I’ve made {some of them are @ PiecefulJoy.Etsy.com}….

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