She turned 10 and had fun putting the royal icing fantasy flowers on her little cake at her party.
I hosted a Christmas Lunch for two of my daughters-in-law. The tablescape was Christmas at Sea, which featured an old ship that belonged to my dear father-in-law. I love the Christmas song “I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing in on Christmas Day” and that was the original inspiration for the table. I would need smaller ships to fit three on the table though so one ship was big enough. One of my daughters-in-law used to work on a cruise ship so the theme was all the more fun.
The ship was placed on a piece of fluffy white batting in the center of the table. Small glass balls in white and wintery shades of gray were scattered like bubbles around the ship.
Small crocheted snowflakes were hung from the ship’s sails.
I also hung several glass balls and glass icicles and chandelier prisms from the ship to add to the wintery icy effect.
The napkins were made from Vintage Christmas Carol sheet music fabric from Spoonflower. I had the design printed on Linen Cotton Canvas and it made lovely napkins.
On each napkin I placed a sugar cookie snowflake. They turned out pretty but are so fragile that I broke the royal icing on several even before the lunch! But I adore snowflakes so I’ll probably make these again, even if they do break easily.
Several of the smaller snowflake cookies were placed around the ship.
To light the ship, I used three strands of tiny, battery operated lights. The battery boxes fit perfectly under the ship and were hidden under the white batting.
Lunch was Potato Bacon Chowder, Ham Barbecue Rolls, Spinach Salad, and Cranberry Cheesecake Pie for dessert. We were sad that one of the girls couldn’t make it due to a sore throat. But now I have a good excuse to host again. It was too fun to only do once. Instead of Christmas at Sea, it will be Winter at Sea!
I wish we had a fireplace mantel in the living room. I’d love to style ships like this on a mantel. If you do, please post in the comments and share. I’d love to see it!
The Hot Air Balloon mobile I made for my granddaughter needed a couple more touches.
I added small paper flowers around the basket.
I think another set of mini lights will be good but the softness with just one set of lights is so pretty!
There wasn’t much contrast in the colors of this mobile. But once I added the lights, my baby granddaughter won’t stop looking at it. :)
We have a precious new granddaughter. ♥
I wanted to make something special for her room so I made a Hot Air Balloon mobile to hang up.
The beautiful paper ball was purchased when two of my sons and I visited Tokyo a couple years ago, so the Japan connection is very special to my son. He also has been on a hot air balloon team so thus the connection to hot air balloons.
My daughter-in-law loves butterflies so I was really happy to find the metal filligree butterflies and brass keys in my craft supplies.
The hardest part of making this was tying all the knots equidistant from the top of the balloon so it hung straight.
I hope my granddaughter enjoys it for many years.
It’s for a restaurant in my imagination. Outside, surrounded by trees and mountains and seas. The rush of wind and fall of water.
Five Courses – Water, Field, Tree, Rain and Root.
What limits your dreams? What stops you? What if you never quit? In addition to a dozen other professions out of my reach, such as surgeon, lawyer, scientist, glass blower, architect and machine engineer.. I would love to be a chef. Here is a menu for my non-existent restaurant, Whole Earth, with some of the courses. Don’t ever let anyone stop your imagination. You never know how far it will reach.
On Instagram this month, I posted a heart a day, #amonthofhearts. AllSparkledUpDesign . Part way through the month, I wondered if I would have the stamina and commitment to finish. Some of these took hours to complete. The discipline of taking a creative photo every day for a whole month taught me so much.
~ You never know you can do something until you try.
~ Don’t give up. Just keep going.
~ God has millions of ideas. Scripture says God is the author of all inspiration. If you hang out with him, you’ll find that out.
~ Don’t over think it. Sometimes what you do doesn’t have to be big or loud or even shared. God enjoys the flowers blooming deep in a jungle, unseen by humans, the songs of birds unheard by ears. Some creativity is just for your and his enjoyment. It’s ok. Slow down, breathe deep.
~ I had more ideas for hearts than I had days in the month. So I’m hoping to do this next February too.
Today is Day 28, the end of the month of hearts. Here are the remaining heart photos I posted on Instagram. Enjoy!
On Instagram this month, I am posting a heart a day, #amonthofhearts. AllSparkledUpDesign . Today is Day 23 and I thought it would be fun to share the full size image here. I’ve had most of these charms since my childhood and some go back to my mother’s childhood. Some are old Cracker Jack prizes, some are homemade. My granddaughter and I spent a couple enjoyable hours placing these charms in heart shape for this photo. Click on the image to access the full size. At the end of the month, I’ll post the rest of the photos here as well. Enjoy!
Yesterday I took a poinsettia outside to shake out the dead leaves. One leaf from the poinsettia had fallen. And then it rained during the night.
The day was busy but from the dining room, the tiny sparkle caught my eye.
I looked closer and it was even sparklier.
What are you missing today? Is there something you need to look at? What is tiny and quiet that you forgot? Love it all. And if you’re what has fallen, collect light from where you are.
Never give up.
So happy she loved the gift I made for her! Specialty Sugars for her tea and coffee and sprinkling on toast, cereal or anything else that needs a little sweet sparkle.
I bought the decorative knobs and glass jars at Hobby Lobby. It was easy drilling a hole in the corks, using a hack saw to shorten the knob bolt and gluing them together with a few beads.
~ Lavender Sugar ~
I ground up culinary lavender with a mortar and pestle, then put the lavender and sugar in a food processor. The lavender sugar was then layered with crystal sugar in the jar.
~ Lemon Orange Sugar ~
Lemon and Orange zest were placed in a food processor with sugar and ground medium fine. I’ve been making this mixture for years for use in cheesecake because it makes a very fine textured cheesecake. To fill the jar, I spooned in a layer of Lemon Orange Sugar then used tongs to place white sugar cubes against the side of the jar. Then I spooned in more sugar and repeated the layers. Next time I’ll add more orange zest for a darker orange colored sugar.
~ Vanilla Bean Sugar ~
I scraped the seeds from two vanilla beans and ground the seeds with sugar in a food processor. I used one half of each vanilla bean, split lengthwise, to place in the jar. I spooned in about 1″ of Vanilla Sugar in the bottom of the jar. Then I used tongs and a wood skewer to position each vanilla bean against the side of the jar before adding the rest of the Vanilla Sugar.
~ Pumpkin Spice Sugar ~
This recipe is something one of my sons and I made up, based on the spice ratio I use in my Pumpkin Pies. We keep this sugar blend on hand to make Pumpkin Spice Lattes, which everyone knows don’t have any pumpkin in them anyway. haha. Still, the flavor is very close to my pumpkin pies, sans pumpkin. To fill this jar, I used a small spoon and a tiny funnel I made from two straws. I can’t explain how I did the design but if you look up “sand art in a bottle” on youtube, you’ll get the idea. The white layer is Vanilla Bean Sugar. The dark brown “spots” in the white layer are pieces of cinnamon stick. I wanted to position the cinnamon stick pieces to look like hearts but the white sugar kept filling in the spaces so it didn’t work out.
“Necessity is the mother of invention,” it is said. So true. I couldn’t access my precut wood pieces or run a saw so I ended up using the only wood on hand, a 30 year old piece of Sassafrass root from my parents property. It’s been in my tea collection for decades and still has a beautiful scent. I used a small craft saw to cut thin slices of the wood to make the tags. I wrote on them with permanent marker. Now I wonder if I had wood-burned the words in… could the slice of sassafrass be steeped in boiling water to flavor tea? What fun that would be! I’ll have to try it out.
Carpenter, as in not someone’s name, but rather the vocation. The wood worker that cuts down trees and uses sharp gouges to make houses and three-legged stools.
And not just any carpenter, but THE carpenter. Jesus could have been any profession in the world. But he was a worker of wood, a simple carpenter by trade. When I volunteered to do a tablescape for the Christmas brunch event at our church, the first thing I thought of was Christmas trees and wood, and how significant wood is in relation to Christmas and Jesus… and me.
Jesus worked in a wood shop. He used logs and blocks of wood. He used saws and gouges.
At the end of a day he would have had the glorious smell of aromatic sawdust and curly wood shavings clinging to his garments.
As an apprentice, one of the first pieces of furniture he would have made would be a three-legged stool.
Three legged stools can sit firmly on uneven surfaces.
My dad enjoyed wood working as a hobby but he didn’t build furniture. He built his own house, he loved cutting down trees and chopping wood, and he loved carving.
I learned to carve by watching him. “Never fight the grain of wood,” he quietly said. “Work with the grain, not against it. Take tiny cuts. You can’t put wood back but you can always cut away tiny bits. Take your time.”
My father had incredible patience and I watched in silence as he made tiny cuts in the wood.
I was 22 when I married and moved away from home. All I learned about woodworking was during my childhood but I never forgot my father’s skill. My father passed away just a couple days before Christmas, two years ago. But instead of having the memory of his passing be something hard, it is beautiful this time of year. Because my father worked with wood and so did Jesus. My dad never got to see my carving. But somehow, I think he knows and is glad.
Wood workers mark their tools and their woodwork. It’s called a “maker’s mark.” My dad carved his name into the gouges he made from nails.
He carved his name and date in his carvings.
He sometimes carved the location where he made his piece.
Jesus knew all the details of woodworking.
His first contact with wood was being laid in a wood manger, a feeding trough for animals. It was rustic and rough.
As he grew, He learned how to shape wood and smooth wood, remove tiny bits to make something functional and beautiful. He knew which trees were strong, which had the best grain, which smelled aromatic. And he would have known about maker’s marks.
As I put together my Carpenter tablescape, I included two wood cross beams leaning against the back of the creche.
After spending a life working with wood, Jesus’ last contact with wood was being nailed to it.
And there, in the cross, was Jesus’ “maker’s mark”, the nail prints.
This Christmas, what is precious to you? To me, it is the memory of my dad, the wood carver.
And being blessed with the ability to work with wood like my dad and Jesus, The Carpenter.