Thursday, December 4, 2008

Give Away Thursday, a Christmas Story, and a Survey.....

POST UPDATE: Lysa TerKeurst of P31 Ministries is having a "Cool Christmas Give Away Day" today on her blog.
All those who link up are having Give Aways on their blogs so run over and check out the holiday fun! Just click on this link. As an added bonus to my current Give Away, I will add a fourth prize! A one of a kind Handmade Nativity Tree Topper Star! Below is a picture of the one I made for our tree this year. Click on photo to enlarge for better viewing. Here is the one for the Give Away!
"It is more blessed to give than to receive."

~The Holy Bible Acts 20:35~
I have so enjoyed this first week of celebrating The Spirit of Giving here at Quill Cottage. Today is the first official give away. I have chosen three gifts to give away in honor of the three gifts brought to the Christ child upon His birth by the wise men. Scripture says it is more blessed to give than to receive and I feel so blessed to receive each of you as honored guests here at the Quill. These gifts are a little thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to visit. They come from this weeks crafting and I wish I could bestow something upon each and every one of you!

Before we get to the give away, I wanted to share a Christmas story with you. One year money in our home was tight and Christmas was drawing very near. I came across an idea in a magazine about celebrating Christmas with time, talent, and treasure. Intrigued by the idea I ran it by my family who agreed we should try it.

For the giving of our time, we each wrote our name on a slip of paper. They were place in a basket and mixed up. We drew names, keeping the name a secret.
During the month of December you were to take the time to do little surprises for each other, like, one morning I returned from brushing my teeth to find my bed had been made. Little grins were everywhere and I knew who the giver was. It became a game to sneak around and do things for one another without getting caught. One evening my husband and I retired for the night to find our bed had been turned back and a mint rested on the pillows and a favorite teddy bear was left for us to snuggle. I cannot tell you what a joy and blessing it was to give little gifts of time to one another.

For the gift of our talent, we were to make something for each member of the family. It could be as simple as a crayon drawing or as elaborate as a
woodworking project. This was purely based on age and skill level. My son drew a sketch of a sea shell we picked up on the beach for his dad. He made a custom music CD for me and for his sister. My daughter painted my husband a box with shells on it and glued a shell to the top. She did a colored pencil sketch of a rose for me and made a pencil holder for her brothers art pencils. My husband built our daughter a jewelry box and my son a bamboo lamp. I made memory pillows that year for each of the children and a special shadow box for my husband featuring he and his dad in their dress blues with some of his service memorabilia. My husband built me two shelves I had admired in a Southern Living magazine. We all still have those gifts and cherish them.

For the gift of treasure we wrote each other a letter telling that person why we treasured them. These letters were the best part of the gift giving and this way of
celebrating is the most memorable Christmas we have ever had. That Christmas we kept our focus on what really matters this side of heaven, it was not about presents but about people. To this day when "Remember when..." comes up in the conversation, this special Christmas is always brought up. We can't remember what few presents were under the tree that year but we remember the spirit of giving and the warmth of love that went into investing our time, talent, and treasure into one another.

Here are a few simple ideas for gifting yourself to others:

*Take an elderly friend or neighbor shopping. Stop for lunch on the way home.

*Offer to baby sit for a frazzled young mother. Give her an afternoon or evening free so she can rest, shop, or make her holiday plans.

*Make a list of people who serve in your church. As a family, once a week choose a name and write a note of encouragement to that person.

*At least once a day tell the people you are closest to something you appreciate about them.

*As you receive Christmas cards, place them in a basket. Each night at dinner, choose one or two and pray for those friends and loved ones.

*Designate a jar or box as your "praise catcher". Have everyone in your family tuck in notes of what they are thankful for. Gather around on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day and share all your blessings.

*Be a secret warrior. As you are out and about, make a practice of silently
praying for those who seem obviously stressed, depressed, or overwhelmed.

*Hold a "memory night". Light candles and serve a special snack. Gather favorite family treasures (grandma's quilt or an old box of photos, etc) and use them as a springboard for conversation. Let each person share their favorite
Christmas memory.

Ask God for wisdom this year. Ask Him to direct all your activities and conversations. And be prepared to be blessed as you do so. As you center your thoughts and heart on Jesus, watch as He transforms your Christmas from a time of stress into a celebration of joy like He did ours that Christmas many years ago.

For the Give Away this week, as mentioned above, I have three prizes to send out to three winners!

How about an adorable little snowman box? All dressed out in silver and aqua, this little guy is ready to be filled with a holiday treat or two! If you missed the tutorial by guest artist Lori for learning how to make your own, visit this post and follow the link.How about a snowman's favorite treat? A snow cone! Pretty in pink this little gal is sure to light up your face with a smile as you hang her on your tree!
How about a glittery Victorian snow baby snowflake ornament? This ornament was inspired by special guest artist Cindy. If you missed the tutorials on making these, visit this post and follow the link.To sign up just leave a comment on this post. You do not need to have a blog to be eligible. Some of you are having trouble leaving comments, if this is the case, click on my email link on my upper sidebar and email me. I will add you to the list. Not to worry if you don't get picked this week, come back next Thursday for three more chances at three more handmade creations!

Speaking of Give Aways, Catherine of Catherine Holman Folk Art is having a wonderful one over at her blog. She is giving away on of her original paintings and it is adorable! To sign up follow this link.
NOTE: Since I was late in getting my post up this morning, I will not pick winners until Saturday. The next tutorial will be posted then instead of on Friday as promised in an earlier post. I hope you will join me Sunday for week two of Advent.

This past week I have been blessed by two wonderful blog friends, Mildred of Nalley Valley and Kathy of Spot On Cedar Pond.

Mildred sent a thank you token for the story I wrote about her mother. Mildred sent me an email telling me this story and I asked her if I could share it with you and she agreed. It is a beautiful tale of a dedicated daughter who honored her
parents and the gift God gave Mildred upon her mothers passing. Mildred sent me the photo she took of the butterfly in the story and this wonderful ceramic plaque, which matches the colors in my kitchen perfectly! It's message is one I need reminding of often. Thank you so very much sweet Mildred.Kathy and I did a little swap of handmade items. I was so touched by her generosity in sending not one but two of her handmade sheep! Kathy sculpts the bodies out of clay and their wool is from the wool the Jacob sheep she raises. She said that they are made the way the Moravians made the little sheep for their creches. They are the perfect accent for my nativity scene and I will always cherish them. Thank you so much, Kathy.
Now for the survey. I saw these little doodles in my Darling Daughters sketch book and want to use one or maybe more on our Christmas cards for this year. I thought they were so very cute! I plan to take the image or images to the printers and have four printed per page on glossy white card stock. Yesterday I bought a blank card pack at Hobby Lobby and plan to mat each one on colored card stock to the front of the blank cards. A simple "Merry Christmas" stamp will be the inside message with a handwritten note.
Which one do you like best? Would you use one, all, or a few of them? I can't decide. Her vote is for the melting snowman. Which ever I choose she will redraw to scale and "neaten" them up as she puts it.

Lastly I just had to share one last snowflake idea with you. I know, enough already, but this one is so cute! Even the children can get in on making these. You will need a plastic glitter snowflake, a photo, (this one is of my little sidekick, Sophie ~ Mildred you asked to see her), some jewels, ribbon, and clear drying glue. Glue a photo to the center of your snowflake. Glue jewels to frame photo and add to snowflake tips. Click on the photo for detail placement of jewels. Add a ribbon loop hanger. Any grandmother would love to receive one of these with her grandchildren featured. You could also glue a magnet on the back and leave off the ribbon, a perfect holder for Christmas refrigerator art!

Miss Sandy


Anonymous said...

I love the time, talent, and treasure idea! And I LOVE that pillow!

I like the Christmas tree and melting snowman the best, but I would use all the pictures for cards.

Catherine Holman said...

Sandy, Thanks for the link! I will do the same for you when I blog my next post. Cute, cute, cute!!! I think you should use all of your daughters doodles. She has some talent!

Anonymous said...

Sandy, Thank you for sharing Sophie's photo in your snowflake frame. She is precious. Our friend has one of Harriet's puppies that looks a lot like Sophie! I know she brings you so much joy as you go through your day. Have a wonderful day! I love your daughter's sketches - I like the "what cookies" one best.

Vee said...

Every day is a feast in here! I see that acorn didn't fall too far from the tree with all your daughter's art work. I don't know how one could choose a favorite...I can't!

I was truly blessed to read about your simplified Christmas. We're having just such a one this year.

Blessings and hugs!

Susie said...

I enjoyed your family Christmas story much! What a wonderful memory for your family. I think it is wonderful and close your whole family is.

In regard to your cards I think it would be neat to use all of them.

Hope you are having a wonderful day!

Anonymous said...

Miss Sandy, I see talent runs in your family your daughters sketches are adorable I couldn't decide so I think you should use them all. Lovely story about your Christmas years ago. Vicki Page

Dragonlady said...

What a lovely story of sharing and giving, that is what its all about..Thank you for sharing that..


The Joy of Nesting said...

Congratulations Miss Sandy on a very successful first week!! :c)

Your idea for your family Christmas Card is wonderful. Although they are all fun I agree with your daughter. The melting snowman communicates so many possitive feelings and you just can't help but smile :c)

Have a great second week, I know I'm looking forward to it!!

Pattie :c)
Mazatlan Mexico

Teri said...

Your stories are always so inspirational, thank you for sharing them along with all of your wonderful crafting ideas with all of us. Have a wonderful Christmas.

Fete et Fleur said...

I love the gift exchange that you did with your family. We are doing something similiar to it this year. It certainly makes the season much more dear.


Joyce said...

Very nice post.....I really appreciated what your family did for each other. The world has gone "mad" it seems with gift giving and no one remembers the "Little House on the Prairie" days (some of our fav videos when my kids were little and we had no money for presents either just like them! HA!) when familes MADE things for each other and for others.
So this was refreshing to read.
I also loved your "tutural" you did.....I really like those cute glitter vintage paper ornaments.
Be blessed,

Melissa said...

I am in awe and somewhat speechless. I love your talent, spirit, everything. The Christmas story was adorable...I love leaving the teddy bear in the bed...and the sketches are too cute...I'd use all of them. Thank you so much for your generosity and uplifting have inspired me. Blessings to you and yours.

KathyB. said...

I thank you for the lovely story about one of your 'poorer' Christmases which in review appears to be one of your richest Christmases! I was enjoying your post and as I scrolled down, why there were 2 little sheep I recognized ! Thank-you for the kind words and I am glad to see they made it safely. ( you have to have at least 2 sheep, always, sheep are flocking animals)

bluemuf said...

Dear Miss Sandy, What a wonderful gifts exchange you and your family had. I also have copied the simple ideas for gifting and hope to use them not only at Christmas but through the year.

I like all the card designs your daughter is very her mom.

Hugs Karen

Lori said...

HOORAY!!! i can comment again!!! i have to vote for "what cookies" that one cracks me up...i have a lot of cookie sneakers around here at Christmas that one is close to my heart!!!

Pen to Paper; Spirit to Soul said...

I'm pressed for time right now but will def. be back to look some more at your blog! Awesome stuff!!!
Please enter me for your give-away and feel free to check out my blog.

Pamela in TX

Vee said...

Oh wow! This might inspire me to make up a Christmas apron for a giveaway! MIGHT being the operative word.

Miss Sandy, you've outdone yourself with that tree top's so beautiful and, most of all, meaningful!

Decor To Adore said...

You know I just LOVE the snowflake ornament!

Elizabeth said...

I love the tutorial you posted a few days ago. I'm going to try doing something like that.

I love your blog. I have missed it, while I've been so busy.

Great music. Hm.m.m. (I'm humming to it).

Okay, have a great day!
when you have time stop by and see my cute snowman painting I found at a thrift store - wow!

Anonymous said...

I love all the cards but the "cookie" one is what happens around here!!
Love your blog and your talent to create. Your daughter has a grand teacher.
Have a great weekend and oh please enter my name if you would be so kind.
Claudie from Canada

Sandy said...

Email Additions:

Kim V.
Lori F.
Pam H.
Beverly L.

Ladies you are entered!

Miss Sandy

Unknown said...

I would love to be entered in your giveaway!
This is my first time visiting your blog and I found it very interesting. I will be back.

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