Monday, November 29, 2010

Simple Advent

On Sunday we began our readings for Advent. I've never had a proper Advent wreath and this year I wanted something simple but elegant for the dining table, as we leave it there all December.

Four little galvanized buckets and four cream candles ...

Four pieces of string and four sprigs of rosemary.

I found some Advent readings here and simplified it for us into just 2-3 readings for each Sunday, and printed them out in a little booklet to keep on the table.

After dinner we lit the first candle and read from Isaiah 9 and 11, and Luke 1.

I love reading the prophecies of Isaiah, written some 700 years before Christ, that point to the Messiah, Jesus, and are so exact in their descriptions of what Christ has done:
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.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
Isaiah 9: 6-7

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD—
3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.
Isaiah 11: 1-3
The more I learn about the Bible, the more this blows me away.

And then to read in Luke the prophecies to Zechariah about the birth of his son, John the Baptist, the fulfilment of which were seen just a short time later ... an amazing time in history.

The girls enjoyed reading their bibles by candlelight and we are looking forward to next Sunday night.

If you would like to have a copy of our Advent readings please email me and I'll send it to you.

Welcoming Christmas

The first spot in our home to receive a little Christmas cheer is the verandah.

I bought this cage a couple of months ago and keep it filled with fresh foliage and flowers.

The other day I added a holly sprig and a ribbon.

Instant Christmas!

I've never really liked the fabric under the glass on this cane table of my Nanna's, but maybe I can add a Christmas tablecloth when we are expecting visitors.

We won't put our Christmas tree up till next weekend but in the meantime I'm slowly making the house a little Christmassy.

Spring Blossoms

Here's another spring craft that I made a while ago and never got to show you ...

In September the blossoms in the neighbourhood were all but gone, but on blogs I was seeing lots of tissue paper leaves and blossoms! So I found a branch in the garden and with some pink tissue paper and some PVA glue I had myself a long-life blossom branch about 10 minutes later!

At Big W in the Christmas section I found these cute little birdies and they were perfect for my blossom branch.

But did you ever see pink blossoms like this AND gum nuts on the same branch?

This was a super easy but satisfying craft,
... next spring I'll make it again with the girls helping.

The little birdies have sat on our dining table for a few months now

... and for Laura's party moved to the vintage pedestal nearby

... but now it's time for some Christmas decorations!

Butterfly Mobile - Beautiful Butterflies

I told you that I would share about the butterfly theme for Laura's birthday.
A few weeks back we bought a new dress for Laura which she decided to save till her birthday party.

You can just see the butterflies here on the dress.
So Laura decided she would like a butterfly theme for the party.
She actually had another butterfly party when she was turning 5, and her little friends all dressed as butterflies - very cute!
This time we just went for a butterfly mobile and butterfly cookies.
Unfortunately I never photographed the butterfly cookies, th0ugh!

The mobile I made with my Stampin' Up! Big Shot and die Beautiful Butterflies.
I cut out heaps of butterflies, we arranged them in graduating colours, then I ran them through the sewing machine leaving a space between each.

We hung them from the light/fan over the dining table.
They looked pretty spectacular!
(But hard to photograph, with the light behind them).

The other thing we decorated using the Beautiful Butterflies die were the lolly bags. I bought pink bags from the $2 shop and I cut and Laura embossed butterflies to decorate them.

Now that it's time to put up Christmas decorations I'm trying to figure out a way to hang the mobile in the girls' bedroom, not a quick job with our 10ft ceilings ...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Laura's Heffalump Cake

Well December is practically upon us, and I have barely blogged the spring!

It has been a mixed season for me ...
loving the cool spring weather ....
loving the spring flowers ...
loving not being so busy as last term ..
but having some minor health problems ...
nothing serious, just annoying, and I'm still learning how to cope with them.

Then in the midst of the chaos of that came Laura's birthday party
(as seems to happen each year!)

The week after Laura's birthday we had two parties for her, one for her friends, and the other for my extended family. For the friends party we had a bit of a butterfly/Heffalump theme.

Laura still loves Lumpy the best of all her cuddly toys, that trunk of Lumpy's is useful for all kinds of things. So I made her a Lumpy cake. That is, a heffalump cake, not a lumpy cake!

She loved it!
(more on the butterfly part of the theme in the next post!)

For the family party I needed a more generally-acceptable cake design, as Laura shared the birthday party with my adult cousin.

I tried a Chocolate Coconut Cake with Chocolate Glaze from a Donna Hay book, and it was delicious! I'll make that one again!

For decoration I piled on some scorched peanuts, easy and such a good combo to eat!


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Another year gone by ...

My baby turned 11 on Monday.
Can it really be a year since her last birthday?

Here she is with Rocco, her new zhu zhu pet, and her stickers from the teachers.

We made chocolate crackles for her class to share.
Actually she made them pretty much by herself, she can bake anything these days.
For her birthday we also gave Laura some cute baking things and a kids cookbook, because baking is one of her favourite things to do.

Rocco has settled in well and finds his way around our obstacle-filled living room with no trouble.
In the background you can see my latest project, a slipcover in progress, and a jigsaw puzzle half done on the coffee table - the girls have rediscovered jigsaw puzzles.

This weekend: birthday party with friends on Saturday,
then another birthday party with family on Sunday.

Lots of baking still to be done here!