Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008, A Year In Review...

"We meet today
To thank Thee for the era done,
and Thee for the opening one."

~John Greenleaf Whittier~
This morning I was over visiting Laura of Decor to Adore and saw a wonderful post on her year in review with pictures and links entitled, Memories. She was participating in an blog event hosted by Cindy of My Romantic Home. Cindy is hosting a link up of A Year In Review 2008 where she shared a collage of photos from her blog for this year. If you would like to join in, just go here for details.

Below is a small photo mosaic of some favorite photos scattered throughout some of my blog posts for this year.

2008 Year In Review

Cindy, thanks so much for hosting and for this great idea! It was a lot of fun to go through all my posts for 2008 and see which ones stood out to me. I have posted more photos in calendar order and given a brief description of the post as well as the link if you wish to visit that specific post. 2008 has been an amazing year and I am so glad I captured some of it in words and photos. I never knew that blogging would be such a wonderful way of memory keeping. I hope you enjoy this year in review!

To visit any of the posts, just click on the highlighted link next to the month.

JANUARY: The Bloggies!
This post was written during the writers strike in Hollywood. The titter was that there might not be any awards ceremonies because of the strike. I did a bit of a spoof on this topic after receiving some sweet awards from fellow bloggers. That is me in the photo decked out for my red carpet run!

FEBRUARY: Seaside Dreams and Mermaid Things!
This post started out to be on sharing an art swap I participated in and turned into a collection of beautiful seaside memories from my life.

MARCH: The Easter Parade!
This post was a blog event that I hosted and was a ton of fun to put together. Everybody loves a parade so I hope you enjoy this one!

APRIL: Dressed to a Tea!
This post was when I was participating in a blog-a-thon hosted by Gracious Hospitality. The posts related to this event were all tea themed. Here I share some recipes as well as my fantasy tea by the sea!

MAY: The Road Less Traveled!
This post was just one of those fun family outings and adventures where fun and delightful discoveries were made along the way.

JUNE: Heirlooms, Treasures, and Keepsakes!
This post shares a few family heirlooms, keepsakes, and treasures and the stories to go along with them.

JULY: Where I'm From!
This is a kooky post filled with random stuff but ends with a poem I was inspired to write that tells you who I am and where I'm from.

AUGUST: Bring Flowers!
This is my favorite pictorial post. It is just a few simple shots of flowers on the banks of Mammoth Springs on a day trip my husband and I took.

SEPTEMBER: Words and Birds Converge!
This post is my favorite art piece that I created this year. I love everything about this piece from the poem that inspired it to the rock that lead to its creation!

OCTOBER: The Father's View!
This post shares an entry from my personal journal and remains one of my favorite inspirational posts here at the Quill.

NOVEMBER: Show Me Your Glory!
This is another inspirational post that remains dear to me as God ministered to me through the glory of His creation.

DECEMBER: Warm Winter Wishes!
This is a favorite recent post with a bit of wit and humor thrown in with a work in progress piece of art.

One thing I came to realize after previewing all my posts for this year that they are not particularly picture rich so I think this is a challenge I will take on for 2009. Who knows where my blogging adventures will take me next? I look forward to the next leg of the journey. Thanks for traveling along with me!

Blessings,
Miss Sandy

Monday, December 29, 2008

Holiday Highlights.....

"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
~Author Unknown, attributed to a boy named Bobby, 7 years old~
We wrapped up the last of our holiday celebrations on Friday night after three full days of entertaining here at Quill Cottage, beginning on Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve is always reserved for spending time with my dad and this year marks one of the most special times.

My dad is kind of a quite man who never reflects on or speaks of the past. I have very little knowledge of family history on his side of the family and he is the last in the line for our family name. He is also one of the few surviving scattered relatives on that side of the family. It is my understanding that his childhood was not a happy one and past memories are painful. When asked anything he gets very vague. About four years ago I gave him a book entitled, "A Father's Legacy". It asks questions and has space for writing in answers. I had little hope that he would ever write in it or that it would ever be returned to me. I was wrong.
Sitting around the living room on Christmas Eve after a hearty holiday meal we could not wait to let Gorgeous Grandson begin opening his gifts. Being two is the most wonderful thing in the world and one of my holiday highlights is seeing Christmas through the wonder of a child's eyes. His newest expression is to drop open his mouth and draw in an audible gasp, look up, grin, then clap and declare, "Yeah! All Wight!" You have never seen so much delight and joy in the simplest of things like stickers and play dough. He was delighted to just see the pictures of what the box contained even more than the gifts themselves. Words cannot express the joy one tiny boy brought to our holiday this year.

In the middle of our celebration we noticed a U-Haul truck pulling up into our driveway. Behind the wheel was a guy in a Santa hat. We are all wondering if we have been so nice that we hit the mother load and Santa is now making deliveries too large for his sleigh or could we be the most naughty on the list and Santa had arrived to haul it all away! It was neither. Evidently the UPS people had so many deliveries that they had to rent a fleet of U-Haul trucks to run two shifts in order to get everything delivered. The delivery was for me and it was certainly another holiday highlight. I received a wonderful package from a sweet blog friend, Kathy of Country Chintz, that was packed full of holiday cheer!

Just look at all the wonderful goodies that were inside. A precious little elf stocking filled to the brim with Christmas crafting goodies!
Gingerbread Man goodies!And a sweet Christmas card that is also a magnet!Thank you so very much dear Kathy for not only visiting me here at Quill Cottage but for your amazing strength and faith which is such and encouragement to me. Many blessings in the New Year to you and your family!After the delivery we settled back down for the rest of our gift exchange. I came to the gift from my dad. I noticed he was pretty intent in training the video camera on me, which I thought was a bit odd considering Gorgeous Grandson was up to some pretty cute antics. I lifted the lid of the box to find a beautiful pale green silk scarf, a pair of earrings, and a favorite brand of body butter. Beneath all this lay a book, face down, in the bottom of the box. I was a little puzzled as the book had a masculine look to it. I picked it up and turned it over and I think my face must have registered shock and surprise. I looked up at my dad and he was in tears and I was in tears. The distance between us melted in that moment. Not just the physical distance as we embraced in a hug, but the emotional distance at his being willing to share our family history with me.

My parents divorced when I was very young and oddly enough, I have never been close to either one of my parents. They are both reserved and a bit distant. It is only in the last few years that my dad and I have been able to begin building a closer bond. I knew this gift cost him much and was a four year labor of love and he did this for me. This is a holiday highlight I will always remember. I have only allowed myself a few sneak peeks at the pages and found out a few fascinating facts that I never knew before. I will sit down with this treasured volume when all is quite here at the Quill and savor it. It was meant for me and me alone. He did not even allow my step-mother to read it because he wanted me to be the first. This action communicates to me more loudly than words ever could. He has entrusted me with his memories and they will never be forgotten.
Christmas morning dawned with darling daughter antsy to get up and open gifts. She is my child of wonder and anticipation. Even at 20 she has never lost that anticipation for surprises and still can't sleep on Christmas Eve for the excitement. Handy Hubby and I decided to put her out of her misery around 6:00 AM since we had heard her rattling around since 4:00 AM! We opened our hearts first with Christmas morning prayers and Scripture reading and then the gift exchange. She was delighted with her gifts and we were delighted with her.

Sitting by the fireside I felt a fast close to the days of waking up with her here on Christmas morning. She wanted to linger for our sakes but a new twinkle is in her eye and The Young Man Who Comes To Call On Her would be arriving soon so she rushed off to ready herself for his arrival. We spent a short pleasant time with them both until they needed to get on the road for a long drive to his parents house. His family wanted her to come visit for Christmas so they changed their plans so she could be home with us in the morning and they would have their family Christmas in the afternoon. YIKES, this sounds like it is getting serious!
Handy Hubby and I spent a quite afternoon resting, relaxing, watching hokey Christmas movies, and napping. We had a quite dinner for two and geared up for one last highlight, Friday evenings gathering. Darling Daughter arrived home from work just as Number One Son, Daughter-In-Love, and Gorgeous Grandson returned to have an evening of just our little family. We shared a meal and watched a movie. The special highlight being surrounded by love and encircled by family.

As I sat with a tiny boy cuddled in my lap and my son at my side, the girls across on the love seat and Handy Hubby in his favorite fireside chair I sensed the swift passing of time. I gathered in the sigths and sounds imprinting them onto my heart and into my memory. I knew for certain that this moment in time was a cherished gift. I had a strong sense that the memory I was making in the present would be one I would treasure in the future as I looked back upon my past of wonderful holiday highlights.

What were your special holiday highlights?

Blessings,
Miss Sandy

Thursday, December 25, 2008

MERRY CHRISTMAS!


REASON TO REJOICE
by Sandy Babb

Long ago, early one morn

A tiny babe, a Savior, was born

His mother, Mary, cradled Him close to her breast

Never dreaming how He would bless

His father, Joseph, stood gazing by her side

In wonder, awe, and fatherly pride

Shepherds who abode in a field far away

Saw a star, an angel, and they left before break of day

To follow the star shinning in the East

To gaze upon the Savior, born among beasts

Wise men traveled from afar

Bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh in a jar

There was a wicked man, Herod, a King

Who would not stop at any thing

To destroy the work that God had done

By sending to earth His only Son

God warned Joseph in a dream

Of the plans of that wicked King

A hasty escape to Egypt was made

Where they abode until Herod in his grave was laid

Divine direction came to them there

To take the child to Israel

But there reigned, Archelaus, in Herod’s stead

So they turned aside into parts of Galilee without fear or dread

They came to dwell in a city called Nazareth that prophecy might be fulfilled

Just as God said, just as He willed

Jesus was called a Nazarene

An unlikely title for a heavenly King

The child, Jesus, waxed and grew strong

Which was God’s plan all along

This was the humble beginning of His ministry

A divine plan to set men free

From the wages of sin

By a tiny babe, redemption entered in

God paved the way for you and me

To be ransomed and set free

The Christmas story is about more than a baby, manger, and stable

It’s about how God made us able

To dwell with Him in heaven for eternity

His wondrous love, no greater there be

So the next time you gaze upon the manger scene

As you deck your house in boughs of green

Let them remind you that long ago

God’s only Son came because He loves you so

His love is unconditional, everlasting, and true

And may this Christmas it be real to you

May you be deeply blessed

In the new and coming year

Rejoice! Our King and Savior is here!


MERRY CHRISTMAS!


Blessings,

Miss Sandy



Monday, December 22, 2008

Pretty Paper, Pretty Packages, Pretty Ribbon, A Progressive Post Completed.....

"Pleasure is spread through the earth in stray gifts to be claimed by whoever shall find."
~William Wordsworth 1806~
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas here at the Quill! Today I will be wrapping gifts. (How cute is this little box all covered in seed packets? )

I am not a buy and wrap as you go kind of gal. I like to have them all in a pile of my art studio floor and pick and choose from all the papers and goodies in there for wrapping. (And this one in brown packing paper with jute string embellished with real greens and pine cones is a simple nature inspired look.)

I came across a wonderful link to the talented Heather Bullard of Vintage Inspired Living where she has showcased some wonderful ideas for your gift packaging needs and I just had to pop in and share them with you in case any of you are
last minute gift wrappers like me! Heather has been featured in Romantic Homes, Romantic Country, and Somerset Life.(This photo is the property of Heather Bullard)

Here is the link for part one of her Vintage Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas. Here is the link for part two. As well as the links for part three and part four. Trust me, you will not want to miss out on these links!

You will also want to run right over to Hydrangea Home who has the most fantastic post on gift wrap, just look at this package!
And this one!(These photos are the property of Dawn of Hydrangea Home)

I do so love a pretty package! I am off to try some of these ideas out for myself. I'll post on what I come up with later in the day if you care to drop back by for a peek! Wrap up something pretty today!

Blessings,
Miss Sandy

PROGRESSIVE POST UPDATE:

I began my gift wrapping by gathering the common items like scissors, tape, wrapping paper, tissue paper, ribbon, bows, tags, etc. I also added some fun flea market finds to jazz up my gifts. I spent around $15.00 for unique flea market wrapping supplies.

Now lest you think ALL the gifts under my tree look like this or that I have the kind of time and energy to create them to all look like this, you would be wrong. I wrap one special package for every person on my list, I have a short list, and anything else is just in normal paper and ribbon or gift bag and tissue paper. The other thing is that I use a lot of what I have on hand and try to look for things like ribbons and embellishments throughout the year.

Here are the items I began with, a linen Christmas towel, two Italian silk scarves, a little Hallmark sled that still had it's original tag on it, a mini jeweled picture frame, and a free cookie tin!
I also found this cool tin with a peek-a-boo window, a lined basket with snowmen on it, a little wooden snowman ornament, and four tin hearts with Santa painted on them, a large snowman bucket, a vintage camera box, and a super cute glass reindeer ornament.

I laundered the linen and scarves and cleaned everything up really well and then the fun began! I started with the cute little sled. I wanted to make a Santa bag to put some small gifts in. I used two piece of red felt and a piece of white yarn. I trimmed the top of the felt with a pinking sheer and then blanket stitched three sides of the bag closed, leaving the pinked edge as the top opening. I ran a gathering yarn around the bag and add two green wooden beads to the yarn ends, adding a drop of clear drying glue to the knots to prevent raveling or from the beads coming off.I wrapped up a tube of play dough, a package of stickers, a story book, a candy thing~a
~ma~bob, (it has a clear ball on top with a ball in the center that spins and lights up with colored lights when you push the button and has candy in the handle), and filled mini zip bags with mini colored marshmallows (a current favorite snack of the recipient), and stuffed the Santa bag, lashing it to the sled.
A favorite stuffed character sits at the helm to guide the sled into the hands of one tiny boy who thinks stickers, play dough, story books, marshmallows, and cool light up thing~a~ma~bobs are the "it" gifts of the season!The next gift is a gift basket using the large snowman bucket. This is a movie themed gift. I gathered favorite soft drinks, popcorn, popcorn seasoning, movie candy, a couple of plastic popcorn holders, and a movie.
I placed all the items in the bucket as shown below:
I wrapped the movie in a snowflake paper and tied a piece of white yarn on for a bow, placing it on top of the goodies.
I thought a bucket full of snowballs would be a fun way to "wrap" this one. Using some fiber fill that I had on hand, I formed "snowballs", tucking them around the edges of the bucket rim. I continued to build them up, dotting hot glue and pinching the balls to secure them together until I had the whole present covered. I sprinkled on white glitter to give them a snowy effect.
For the tag I used supplies I had on hand. From textured paper I cut large circle and glued it to white card stock. I used silver pipe stems to form the lettering and glued it in place. I glued the circle to a bamboo skewer and wrapped the skewer with silver pipe stems. I added royal blue curly ribbons and stamped "TO: FROM:" in red ink on the back of the snowball tag. I stuck it in the "snowballs" and placed it under the tree. If this gift were traveling elsewhere to be given, I would have wrapped the whole thing in tulle and tied it off at the top to ensure that snowballs would not dislodge, but the recipient will come here and probably won't want to take the snowballs home anyway.

This pretty package gives a hint as to what it contains by the little frame secured to the top as a tag. This one is wrapped in ordinary wrapping paper. I used one of the silk scarves to tie around the center overlaying it with a piece of lace. I added a gold wired edged ribbon bow this a mini jeweled frame tied to the center for the tag. For a bit of extra embellishment, I added a paper flower and leaves. I didn't want to glue on the flower and ruin the scarf so I glued the leaves to the back of the flower and then glued on a pin back, fastening it to the lace just above the bow.
Remember that Snowman Soup? Well here is how I am wrapping it up for one couple on my list. I found a part of a vintage snack set at a flea market and decided that would be a fun alternative to just a regular mug. I placed a piece of padding between the plates and tied them together with a ribbon. I filled the snowman basket with fiber fill and nested the plates and cups in the "snow". I added two packages of cocoa mix, two candy canes, and a little organza bags of chocolates. I placed the snowman soup recipe on top. I gathered the whole basket up in white tulle, tying it off with a raffia bow. The little wooden snowman serves as a tag. I stamped "TO: FROM:" on the back with red ink. This little gift has a rustic elegance about it with the fine bone china snack set and tulle vs. the raffia, wicker, and wood. (One should not blog and wrap at the same time ~ I forgot the marshmallows and had to open this one back up!)

I'm off to tackle that cookie tin next so stay tuned....I'm back! Here is the free cookie tin in all its glory!
I packaged a vintage cake plate in this one. This one was an easy fix. I cut strips of scrapbook paper to fit the edge where the writing was and used spray glue to attach the paper. I tied it up with a green silk paper ribbon and used the left over tulle from the top of the Snowman Soup package to make a frill to glue to the back of a mini faux package in the same scrapbook paper. I wrapped a piece of foam core in the paper and embellished with gold pipe stems and a red button. I added ribbon and pipe stem loops to the back and tied it in place this the ribbon ends. I glued the package into the middle and added a tiny "TO: FROM:" tag to the tiny package to identify the giver and recipient.

I am back with a few more favorites at the end of the wrapping day. YEAH!!!

I originally got this peek~a~boo tin for myself to use in an art project but the recipient will appreciate it far more than I would because it so "them".
I combined it with an old camera box and chocolate coins for gift within a gift within a gift! This recipient collects vintage cameras and I thought this one would be cool for their collection. I used a decorative scissor to cut up a piece of sheet music and an old book page plus added a little plain shredded filler to line the bottom of the tin. I filled the camera box with gold foil wrapped chocolate coins and then nested it in the shredded pages. I topped the package off with wide grained ribbon and a handmade tag.Here is one with the little tin Santa ornament attached.You might remember the handwoven pins I made for gifts, here is how is used them as package toppers.I hope you have enjoyed a few of my favorite gift and wrapping ideas as well as those of the other ladies I linked to. I hope your Christmas is packaged in pretty memories!

Happy Wrapping,
Miss Sandy
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