Thursday, November 29, 2018

Grace at Home No. 322


Friends, November is nearly over! Can you believe it? I pray that each of you had a lovely Thanksgiving.

I'm grateful that you're here for the Grace at Home party, where we celebrate all the ways we make our homes places of grace. Here are some features from our last party.

Leanna from Faeries and Fauna created this darling sign for a child's bedroom for Christmastime.


Carol from Comfort Spring Station came up with a wonderful idea: acts of kindness for every day of Advent. She provides free printables and guides for this special way to count the days of Advent.


Janine from Keeping House provides a guide for organization at Christmastime, designed to help you go from Christmas Chaos to Christmas Calm.


Jamie from Anderson + Grant shared a recipe for raspberry-filled gingersnap cookies. Don't these look delicious?

Michele from Living Our Days shared her thoughts on the hard work of hanging on and the brave work of letting go.


As for me, I revisited some of my favorite easy-to-make crafts for Christmas decorating. I'd love to know what you think of these!


A big thank you to everyone who joined the last party!  I'm so grateful for each person who links up. If you've been featured, feel free to grab the "I was featured" button.  I'd be delighted if you'd like to  display it.

Now for this week's party! Grace at Home is a place for you to share anything related to making your home a place of grace. I invite you to link posts about
  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
  • soul care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.  Here's what I ask of you.  Please include the permalink to your post, not your blog's home page.  Please let people know that you've linked up.  No more than three posts per person, please.  Note that if you link a post here, you are giving me permission to share your post, including a photo.  And visit at least one of the other party participants--that's what really makes it a party!






Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Easy-to-make crafts for Christmas decorating


Years ago, I couldn't wait to get my Christmas decorations up. When I was a young mom, we lived in Michigan, where we sometimes had snow before Halloween! It was easy to rush right through Autumn. Now that we live in North Carolina, we don't get to the prettiest of Autumn days until early November. I now find myself clinging to Autumn longer and longer, never wanting to decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving has now come and gone, so I'm in the mood to start decking the halls. I find myself decorating a little more simply every year, but I still want things to look festive. One of my favorite parts of decorating is using crafts I've made over the years. Of course, not every Christmas craft is worth keeping, but I've made a few that store easily and still look good years later. If you like traditional Christmas decorations, you'll like some of my favorite Christmas crafts from years past. These are so simple to make that there's still plenty of time to make them for this year.

Easy to make crafts fro Christmas decorating

If you were to come to my door, you'd be greeted by this large DIY Joy sign:


I made it from a 2' x 4' piece of plywood and 9 1/2" craft letters. All it took was some spray paint, glue, and a ruler! You can see the complete directions here.

Once again my kitchen window will wear this easy NOEL sign. Pottery Barn offered a similar sign a few years ago, but it was pretty pricey--so I created my own. Obviously it's modeled after the 1960's "LOVE" design--remember that tilted "O"?


Making your own version of the sign is a simple craft.  You'll need some kind of lightweight letters (I used pressboard letters in a shape similar to the Pottery Barn sign), balsa wood strips, and spray paint, and hot glue. The back will look like this:



You can see step-by-step instructions for the sign here.

I love to burn candles at Christmastime, but it can be a challenge to find pretty ones that aren't heavily scented. So these easy-to-make Christmas candles are a favorite craft of mine:


Would you believe that's a just a pretty napkin Mod-Podged onto a plain pillar? These are fun to display and make nice gifts as well. The full directions are here.

This next craft is so easy that it hardly even qualifies as a craft! Did you know you can make your own Christmas pillows from placemats?


Look for two-ply placemats. Just last week I bought a package of four at Home Goods for $9.99! Then simply open up the two layers of fabric with a seam ripper:


Fill with the stuffing of your choice or pop in a pillow insert, stitch or glue the opening back up, and you've got a cute pillow! If you need more explanation, you can see the complete instructions here.

Last year I captured a special memory by making a super-easy Christmas ornament out of one of my mother's favorite Christmas recipes. My mom died in 1999, so I love seeing this bit of her handwriting.


How about you? Do you make your own Christmas decorations? Have you started your Christmas decorating yet? I'd love to see what you're up to!



Wednesday, November 21, 2018

A prayer for Thanksgiving


Here's the kind of Thanksgiving dinner many of us dream about:
And here's the kind of dinner we have nightmares about:



For most of us, the truth is somewhere in between.


Pro tip: Carve the turkey in the kitchen, and serve the meat on a platter—much simpler for everyone!

(By the way, if you need simple directions for how to roast a turkey, click here. Results guaranteed!)

For all of us, here's a Thanksgiving prayer written by a dear friend of mine. I hope it'll inspire you as much as it inspires me.
For friends who listen, for opponents who challenge, for companions who love, we thank You, O God. For the gift of laughter, for the warmth of embrace, for the release of tears, we thank You, O God. For dawning and dusk, for the cycle of seasons, for elephants and daisies, and for bodies so wonderfully made, we thank You, O God.

For seedtime and harvest, for nourishing food and pure water, for the luxury of taste and smell, we thank You, O God. For the inspiration for music, for the beauty of the arts, for the fulfillment of human creation, we thank You, O God.

For the miracle of conception and birth, for the ongoing miracles of daily life, for the promise of the life to come, we thank You, O God. For the love and grace we receive, for the gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ, for the constant direction and care You provide us through Your Holy Spirit, we thank You, O God.

In this Thanksgiving season, we take a moment to ponder, to remember, and to number our blessings, knowing that it is through Your divine providence, O God, that we live, and move, and have our being. Amen.
                                                                                                                  - G. Skramstad

A blessed Thanksgiving to you!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Grace at Home No. 321


Hello, everyone! Happy Thursday, and welcome to this edition of the Grace at Home party, where we celebrate all the ways we make our homes places of grace.

Autumn arrives very late in North Carolina, but look what beauty we've enjoyed lately:


This week I'm visiting extended family, and I've had very little access to internet service, but I know y'all have been busy, so I'm delighted to host this party.

Grace at Home is a place for you to share anything related to making your home a place of grace. I invite you to link posts about

  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
  • soul care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.  Here's what I ask of you.  Please include the permalink to your post, not your blog's home page.  Please let people know that you've linked up.  No more than three posts per person, please.  Note that if you link a post here, you are giving me permission to share your post, including a photo.  And visit at least one of the other party participants--that's what really makes it a party!





Monday, November 12, 2018

Veterans Day


Yesterday was a very special Armistice Day, the 100th anniversary of the day when the armistice was signed to bring the fighting of World War I to a halt. Did you pause for a moment of remembrance at 11:00 A.M. on 11/11? I'm afraid that most of us were far too busy with our 21st century lives to remember that somber day from the early 20th century, weren't we?


The armistice signed on November 11, 1918, brought an end to the "Great War," the bloody conflict that people thought would be "the war to end all wars."

That's not the way it turned out, is it?

Today—Veterans Day— is a day to remember and honor our troops--all who have served and all who serve now.


Memorial Day in the spring is a sacred day, a time set apart to honor those who died in service to their country. It is right, of course, that we should devote a special day to that remembrance.

But Veterans Day is a day for honoring all who served. Each man or woman who has ever spent time in service to this country deserves to be thanked and honored. Each one has made sacrifices. We owe them all a debt of gratitude.

I know this is true. Three years ago my oldest son was commissioned as an officer in the United States Navy. He is now a Lieutenant Junior Grade, still in training to be a naval aviator. For more than three years now, his life has not been his own; he answers to the Navy, and he serves as he is ordered to serve.

This country of ours is not perfect. In the past few years, we've seen just how imperfect it is in many ways. Yet people still risk their lives to try to arrive on these shores.

On this Veterans Day, let's pause and be grateful for those who have given so much for the freedoms that we too often take for granted. 

And may we also pause to give thanks to the Lord who loves every man and woman serving not just our country, but countries all around the world: we thank You and bless Your name, and we ask your protection on those now in harm's way.

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bids the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.

O Christ, whose voice the waters heard,
And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walkedst on the foaming deep,
And calm amid the storm didst sleep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea.

O Holy Spirit, who didst brood
Upon the waters dark and rude,
And bid their angry tumult cease,
And give for wild confusion peace;
O hear us, when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.

O Trinity of love and pow'r,
Thy children shield in danger's hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them, wheresoe'er they go:
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

William Whiting

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Grace at Home No. 320


Hi, everyone! I'm so glad you're here for the Grace at Home party, where we celebrate all the ways we make our homes places of grace.

Here are some links from our last party I thought you'd enjoy.

Wendi from H2O Bungalow showed us how to recreate damaged ladder-back chairs. Brilliant!


Leanna from Faeries and Fauna also remade an old piece of furniture. Check out her full tutorial for creating this lovely upholstered ottoman.


If you're looking for a simple kids' craft for Thanksgiving, check out this cute turkey from Nicole at Mama to Many Blessings.


If you're in the middle of planning your Thanksgiving dinner, you'll be glad to have these delicious recipes for sweet potatoes from Leslie at From Playdates to Parties.


And if you need step-by-step directions for cooking a turkey, check out my failsafe method.


If you're looking ahead to Christmas decorating and you're on a strict budget, you'll appreciate this post from Dagmar at Dagmar's Home, who shows how to make a tiny tree look taller and fuller for free.

The upcoming holidays can bring great joy, but they can be terribly difficult for some. Michelle Bengtson writes a hope-filled letter to anyone struggling with depression. 


A big thank you to everyone who joined the last party!  I'm so grateful for each person who links up. If you've been featured, feel free to grab the "I was featured" button.  I'd be delighted if you'd like to  display it.

Now for this week's party!  Grace at Home is a place for you to share anything related to making your home a place of grace. I invite you to link posts about

  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
  • soul care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.  Here's what I ask of you.  Please include the permalink to your post, not your blog's home page.  Please let people know that you've linked up.  No more than three posts per person, please.  Note that if you link a post here, you are giving me permission to share your post, including a photo.  And visit at least one of the other party participants--that's what really makes it a party!