Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Whimsical White Tree

I've wanted a white Christmas tree since I was a child. My aunt & uncle loved to do theme trees and often they were white flocked and accented with ornaments all the same color. This is the year! Flocked trees are rather expensive but WalterMart had a cheapie version that will do quite nicely. My theme? The crazy colorful ornaments I've been gathering the last couple of years! From top to bottom, here's a look at our 2010 Christmas tree: Touches of wild color. Not overpopulated. Love these happy reindeer. Crazy chicken! The newest member of the Whimsy Family is on the right.
The completed tree. This is a HUGE departure from my elegant trees of yesteryear, dripping in purple, gold, clear glass and drenched in pearl strands and white lights. But it's so light-hearted and fun! It makes me smile every time I see it. What better centerpiece for the table than this silly guy standing in the middle of a wreath?
December 1 is tomorrow. Here we go!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Diamond Dust & Golden Memories

The CarbFest is behind us and it's onward to Christmas. I've been wanting to make these trees ever since I saw Mrs. Bingles' beautiful creations. She takes vintage Christmas baubles & whatnots and breathes new bling into them. My daughter-in-law calls them "vintagements." I love it!I've saved 3 boxes of the first ornaments we ever bought - our first Christmas, 1974. I think that qualifys them as "vintage." I've always wanted to display them somehow and Mrs. B. gave me the inspiration! I didn't think there would be enough for what I had in mind so I put the word out that I was looking for old ornaments. A friend gave me some from her family's treasure. Her father recently passed away & they were needing to find new homes for various things. The ivory/white ones on the tree above are from her. The blue ones are ours. I think she'll be happy to know some of her family's ornaments still sparkle at Christmas-time, right alongside ours.I saw this tree-topper at an antique shop in Branson last month. It was another one of those "gasp" moments (see previous post). We had one just like it when I was a little girl. I always thought it was the most beautiful thing in the entire world. Mom told me she kept it til it just fell apart. I was absolutely thrilled to find one like it, in great shape and only $6!Mrs. Bingle actually uses bottle brush trees for her creations. The biggest I could find was 12". I wanted a bigger one, so I bought a bottle brush tree & a regular artificial tree to experiment on. That's how I ended up making two of these. You can bleach the color out of bb trees, then dye them another color. But I found out you can't do that with the other kind. After bleaching the bb tree, I drenched them both in "Diamond Dust" then glued the ornaments on. Diamond Dust is fabulous! All shiny & sparkly. I got a big jar at "M's" with a 1/2 price coupon and used half of it on these two trees. Take a sponge brush & with white glue, cover a few branches at a time, then spoon on the spangles.On the bb tree, I used the smaller ornaments my friend gave me and filled in with old bits of jewelry and pearly strands I've had since the early 90s (nearly 20 years ago - almost vintage, right?). The star on top was in the stash of old jewlery I had collected when we were making praise & worship banners back then. So glad it finally found the perfect home!Finally, notice the tree stand. It's the top of a cut glass butter dish. Thanksgiving Day, I was taking it off the top shelf & dropped the bottom part. It's only cut glass but my grandmother gave it to me sometime in the 70s. I was so sad and kinda stood there looking at the broken glass, thinking I would have to throw the top away too, because what in the world could I do with it?My daughter-in-law piped up & said, "don't throw it away - you'll think of something to use it for!" I'm so glad she did!! It completes my Vintagement Tree, with stories and memories of loved ones and happy times.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fun Finds

On very rare occasions I go to antique stores, garage sales, or flea markets. Last month I wanted something in particular, so on a very pretty fall vacation day, I ventured over to Jenks, America. I did not find what I was looking for, but I did get some wonderful surprises! Remember these pastel aluminum tumblers from, I think, the 60's? O! when I saw them, it was one of those moments. The kind where you sort of gasp & go "I remember those! I want them!!" Aren't they so pretty in their new role as artist's tools containers!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Jesus, Take the Wheel!

I have a friend who was laid off from a very stressful job with an overbearing supervisor. During her many months of job hunting she finished her degree, enjoyed her hobbies and relished the peaceful moments of not having to deal with the anxieties of the previous job. She made the most of her time and put her trust in God. While being out of work usually brings its own kind of stress, she seemed to sail through the months and as far as I know, the bills were paid & they never went hungry. In fact, I think it was during this time that she got her little red convertible!

Recently she started a new job and I sent her an email of congratulations & prayer for favor. Here is an excerpt of her reply:

I haven't had such great respect and kindness since I left [a previous company]. I am blown away by the attitudes of all around me, it is so refreshing. [goes on to list the things she loves about the new workplace]. This is even better than I dreamed. Why do I limit God, over and over and over, I know better from all the years track record with him, but I still do it. ...God is so good I am once again overwhelmed with His greatness and unending love - in big things as well as little things. He has a way of working things out in a wonderful way.

As I read this and reflected on her last year, I thought, Why DO we limit God? Look at all He did for [friend]. She did what she knew to do & let Him take care of the rest. And He did it quite well!

I was scheduled to give a devotion to the staff last week & since this was really on my mind - because I am so there - these are the answers I came up with to the question

Why DO we limit God?

Fear of the unknown.
But God says: "I know the plans I have for you..."
Fear of failure.
"...to give you a future and a hope." [Jeremiah 29:11]

OK, then how about:
Fear of success. We know He is a big God with big ideas. Maybe we're afraid of just how big His plans might be. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." [Isaiah 55:9]

Fear of giving up control. This can also be a lack of trust, lack of faith. Or maybe it's due to past experiences of disappointment or disillusionment. Our reaction is to take matters into our own hands. Pride also factors in to a fear of giving up control.
"Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time..." [1 Peter 5:6]
You have to trust God's timing and His way of bringing about His best plans.

Why should you deal with this fear? Verse 7 continues, "...casting all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." It alleviates a lot of stress!

I mentioned disappointment and disillusionment. But God says, "Do not remember the former things; neither consider the things of old. Behold I am doing a new thing!" [Isaiah 43:18-19]

A new thing? Uh oh. Fear of change strikes! Maybe we're limiting God because we don't want any changes. One word: trust. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." [Proverbs 3:5]
The last thing is, we don't feel deserving of God's great plans for us. We know all the scriptures about His love for us but still don't feel like we deserve it. If that's the case, then it's time to meditate again on GRACE. God wants to give us His grace. It's Satan who wants us to feel dis-grace.
Let go of the wheel and let God drive. Don't be afraid of the journey. Embrace it with wild abandon! The Message version of Ephesians 3:19 puts it beautifully:

And I ask Him that with both feet planted firmly on love,
you'll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus
the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love.
Reach out and experience the breadth.
Test its length! Plumb the depths!
Rise to the heights.
Live full lives, full in the fullness of God!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Parking Lot Etiquette

The start of the holiday season is mere days away. And that means Mall Madness. In fact, it's already begun. I ventured out today and this is what I realized: someone should write a book on parking lot etiquette. And it should go something like this:
First and foremost, one should never drive hurriedly through a parking lot.
(translation: slow the #*!! down!)
Pedestrians do have the right of way; however, they should not abuse this right by walking down the middle of the lane. Nor should they walk more than two abreast, thus creating an impassable human wall.
(translation: get. out. of. the. way. hoooooonnnnkkkk)
One must pay attention to the angle of the other parked cars and not attempt to drive against the flow.
(translation: don't expect me to back up or finangle my car to the side just so you can keep going up the down aisle. moron.)
It's quite thoughtless to make drivers behind you wait while you patiently wait for someone to unlock their car, load their packages, buckle up the children, open some snacks, check their messages, etc. just so you can have that spot when they finally decide to vacate it.
(translation: omg. get me a gun.)
In an ideal world, plus-size vehicles would have their own parking area. However, seperate parking areas would be cost prohibitive to proprietors trying to profit in today's economy. Thus the rest of us must cope with good grace and humor as we try to see around these extravagant monstrosities whilst backing out of our parking space.
(translation: if your biga$$ truck is taller and/or longer than my Mazda, park behind the store where the semis unload.)
A person of good manners must never take more than one parking slot per vechicle.
(translation: no one has the right to double park. I don't care who you are or what kind of car you drive.)
One must be mindful to park well within the slot lines and not too close to the line.
(translation: and you wonder why your door gets dinged. Hey, don't look at me.)
Just a few other points to ensure that our communities are places of decorum and civility. Be a good shopping citizen. Put your cart in the conveniently provided cart corrals. It just takes a few seconds and a couple of steps. Also, don't empty your ashtray on the ground. And, please, please, please, never leave a dirty diaper in the parking lot.
(translation: if you want to live in a third world country, by all means, go. You have my blessing. I can even give you a few suggestions.)
Let the Holiday Madness begin!
Without me.