Wednesday, 28 November 2012 Make an Advent Calendar

Scrapbook Paper and Christmas Stickers for an Advent Calendar
Remember the joy when you were a child each morning in December when you opened that day on the Advent Calendar? I vividly recall one shaped as a house that had little numbered doors to open. Underneath each cardboard flap was a picture of a toy - a different one for each day.
  Nowadays commercial Advent Calendars seem to be Disney-themed and have chocolates enclosed. And all, homemade or store bought, seem to be for children.
  But, bah, humbug! Why should kids have all the fun and anticipation of a treat? So I decided to make one for Pete and me, to make each December day special. All I needed were some scrapbook papers, some Christmas stickers, a glue stick, scissors and a pen. Easy!
Advent Calendar Envelopes
Here are some of the envelopes I made. They're simply papers cut to a uniform size, folded in half then the sides are glued, leaving the top open. The fun part was choosing the stickers and numbers.

Advent Activities
Then I dreamed up special activities we could do together to get into the spirit of the season. Some are things we can do just for us; there are also things we can do for others. I wrote each on a little card and slipped them into the envelopes.
  Now we're all ready to hang the Advent Calendar from the mantelpiece before we go to bed on November 30th. Let the season of peace, joy and festive cheer commence!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

... for What's Important in Life

Reminders of the Important Things in Life
I've just spent some time browsing Pinterest (how I love that site!) and came across this beautiful idea that fits perfectly with the theme of my blog.
  It's a project by Issa Sarsa and you can find the details, the free printies and how to instructions on her website here
  By putting your hand in the jar and pulling out a pebble, you'll be reminded of the important things in life that are good for your soul. I'll definitely be making this!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

... to Practise Perseverance

Laings Beach, New Zealand

I love quotations! On the day my daughter was born I started writing in a beautiful, cloth-bound journal the quotes that resonated with me or made me laugh or were relevant at certain times over the years. It is a chart of my life, my most treasured possession; the one thing I own that I'd save if the house was on fire.
  But I don't put quotes only in the journal. I also stick them on the refrigerator door.
There is one there at the moment, a saying by the Dalai Lama:
                         Never Give Up

And there is a Japanese proverb on the fridge door too:

             Fall down seven times; get up eight

I thought of those wise words on the weekend, when I saw them being practised. You see, we went away with friends to a beach house and on the last day we witnessed an amazing sight. Hundreds of gannets flew over the bay.
  Usually gannets work in pairs, patrolling the skies up and down the beach, looking for fish. But hundreds arrived and the sky was white with them. While at a great height, they'd fold their wings tightly against their bodies, and plummet headlong into the sea. Sometimes they'd surface with a fish in their beaks; more often than not they wouldn't catch one. 
  But the thing that impressed me the most was that those birds persevered. Again and again they flew up high then plunged down, splashing into the water; not for ten minutes or half an hour, but for literally hours on end. We sat and watched them, spell-bound, as they put on a show of such persistent effort, the like of which I hadn't seen before. 
   The gannets didn't give up. They persevered. It was a lesson well-learnt for me, one I'll remember when the going gets tough.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

... for Someone Who Stands Out From the Crowd

Sculpture of Ceramic Sheep by Gregor Kregar at Brick Bay Sculpture Trail 

What makes someone stand out from the crowd for you? Is it their dress or their voice; their appearance or their attitude; their talents or their personality?
  And who did you immediately think of when you read my question?
  I visited an old lady today who now lives in a rest home. She used to be my neighbour and when we moved to the area, she welcomed us and became a good friend, even though there is over 30 years difference in our ages.
  When I looked around the lounge room of the old folks' home, at the elderly residents asleep in their chairs, or resting quietly, I thought that each one of them will have stood out from the crowd, in their own way, for someone. 
  And that made me think of them, not as 'old people', but as individuals, with their stories and hopes and dreams and challenges - all the things that make them, and each of us, stand out from the crowd.  

Wednesday, 7 November 2012 Clear Out Possessions

Do we really need all our 'things'?
In the pursuit of a simpler life we have long had a rule in our house - if one thing comes in, one thing goes out. This usually applies to pieces of furniture and clothes. The local charity shops have benefited each time I've bought a new dress or top because I take my older ones to them.
   I have been inspired lately by this website - 365: A Daily Creativity Journal. People do all sorts of projects, completing and recording one task each day for a year. It might be making a piece of art, or taking a photograph, or building something or even, as one couple are doing, de-cluttering their house, one cupboard or one box at a time.
   That got me thinking and I started looking in our cupboards. I like to think I've got possessions pared down pretty much. I'm finding the older I get, the less I need to 'possess' things.
   But I do have a lot of craft materials and books and my husband has zillions of CDs. So we've had a great sort-out of those. Each time I picked up a 'thing' I'd think - Do I really need it? How long since I've used/looked at it? Can I live without it in my life?
   And most times the answers were no, I don't need it and yes, I can live without it.
   So we're taking those 'things' to a car-boot sale on Saturday morning and hopefully some other people will get pleasure from the bits and pieces we no longer need.