Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Part of the Tree

This is my entry to the "'Tis the Season: A Photo Journal Challenge" by friends at Bookoto.com

Our normal holiday season routine is making a list of material things we want for Christmas, picking out a tag or two from the Angel tree at church or from a shopping mall, then shopping for gifts and groceries for the holiday meal we share with others. After all the hustle and bustle of shopping, wrapping, cooking, and cleaning is the spiritual wishes we make at church; after church is taking pictures by the Christmas tree.

Taking pictures by the tree has been a family tradition since we were kids and we carried on with our own kids. Year by year, we’ve taken photographs of us with the tree behind or beside us. Whether or not presents over-flowed under the tree, the Christmas tree is the focal point where we all gather with hugs, kisses, well wishes, thank yous, laughter and sharing. This family picture is the most important event for us. It signifies our closeness and the love we have for each other.

The tree has been a part of us every Christmas season. This year, instead of making the tree a part of us, we made us a part of the tree.

Happy holidays, everyone, may they be merry and bright!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Doll

Once upon a time, there was a craft fairy who had the time and energy to make crafts such as this doll:

How it's made:

I used a 4x4 piece of wood, about 7 inches tall as the doll's body. I glued this on a another piece of wood, about 3" in diameter and 1/4" thick. This was the base. I used a scrap of red material (a remnant of DD's Christmas dress which I sewed years ago when she was over a year old. Whew! Talk about a pack-rat!). I used running stitches (hand sewn, as I was too lazy to bring out the sewing machine) on one end of this material and pulled it together to make the neckline. I used a round wooden ball for the head. I couldn't find one that has a pre-painted face on it, luckily Michael's has these doll face rub-ons which I used for the face. I cut several strings of brown raggedy yarn, tied all strings in the middle and glued this on the top center of the head. I arranged the strands and glued some pieces to the wood to cover the head. A piece of gold and red bows (from a gift package) was glued on the head.

Then I glued the head on top of the body in an angle to make it look like the doll is lovingly looking at you.

I made the arms by sewing a piece of narrow scrap along its long edges, used some white stuffing, cut the edges of a popsicle stick and used these as hands, glued the hands on one end of the arm, glued the white lace around the wrists, glued the other end of the arm on the shoulders, glued a piece of white lace around the neck to cover the neck and edges of the upper arm, glued the back of the dress together, and glued another piece of white lace at the bottom of the dress. (whew!) There's a lot of glueing. I made the little gift box (out of a jewelry box) and glued this to the hands. The doll was supposed to be an angel. I put off making the wings...and never did get to do it. It looks cute as it is, though!

So here it is.. the first thing guests see as they enter the front door.

And oh... the tree is store-bought which I decorated with whatever small ornaments I could find. TFS

Supplies used: wood scraps, wooden ball, fluffy brown yard, red & gold ribbons, white lace, red remnants, popsicle stick, face rub-on, timy jewelry box and scrap of gift wrap, hot glue gun.

Monday, December 08, 2008

You Never Promised Me a Rose Garden

It was a simple marriage ceremony. We led a simple life. It would have remained simple and sweet had we not had our first child. That was when DH started thinking more of a good and stable future. We were not able to find it back home so we had to go farther out on the other side of the fence.

It was a big change, a big challenge, a completely new life and culture. It was very difficult the first few years. My DH... he never promised me a good life, but he gave me a great one!

Another one of Marj's challenge for November - distressing. It was night time when I took the picture. I used a fluorescent light which showed the depth of my layout.

Close-up of the journaling and one of the flowers I made by cutting a circle, wetting it on the edges and curling the edges inwards. I distressed the edges with Chestnut Roan fluid chalk and inserted a paper flower in the center.

Supplies used: background paper, mat and cut out flowers [the Paper Studio/Della Fantasia collection]; brown patterned cardstock [DCWV/Butterflies and Blooms]; pink & dark pink bling [Rhinestone Stickers]; inks [Color Box/pigment copper and chestnut roan fluid chalk]; silk flowers [Michael's]; foam squares [Miss Elizabeth]; journaling tag [Making Memories /{Note} Worthy

Friday, December 05, 2008

You Called It Home

Home is where the fun is.

Ever since we moved to the USA, we made several apartment buildings our home. A year after Christina was born, we rented my SIL's basement. It was an English style basement. It has a sliding door that led to a short stairway and into the backyard. Christina just loved the outdoors. The fenced-in backyard gave her the opportunity to play safely in the open space. During that time I worked at a company which manufactured leisure products such as slumber bags and playhouses [tent-like]. With employee discount, I was able to purchase one Barbie playhouse. Then there was another one that was used in a photo shoot for advertising which was given to me by one of my supervisors. I had those set up in the backyard. Christina and her cousins had fun playing house, pretending to be neighbors, or turning one of the playhouses into a shopping store. Their imagination was endless! And so was Christina's wish for DH to build her a tree house. DH promised her that when have our own house and yard he would. So here it is....

Several years later, one summer DS and DH built this house from scratch (no, this is not a kit). DH made drawings and measurements; he started cutting out the materials for the posts, the roof, the doors, the windows, etc. With the help of DS the house took shape.

Of course, the Christina and her cousins who visited often were very excited to see the house and their imaginations and plans took shape. Christina chose the colors - milky white, pink and her favorite color, purple! She even helped paint it.

The house is 6' high from the center of the room on the top floor. DH built the ground floor by putting up a lattice fence on 3 sides and putting in wooden floors. When we had summer backyard bbqs, the kids would dine underneath the house. Upstairs is a room that would fit 3 adults [my size (^.^)]! There was a bookshelf filled with books, little toys adorned the walls, I put up a wreath above the front door, and there is a "home tweet home" hanger by one of the windows. There are plexi glass walls on both sides of the front door to let in more light. The door was taken out after a little accident with someone's fingers. The spindles used to decorate the front porch were made in the Philippines! Oh yes, I brought those back with me when Christina was only less than a year old, with plans to use them in building book shelves. The roof is made of real roof material to protect everything against the weather.

The house is complete with a little green mailbox! I remember one time, Christina came up to me with a sad face. She expressed concern that the mailman does not see her mailbox that's why she doesn't get any letters. Doh! How could I forget that. There were times that I would sneak in the back and put all the junk mail in her mailbox. She was happy as a lark when she opened her mail!

The house was finished in time for Christina's birthday. We had pre-schoolers crawling all over it, although the plan was not to have the party outside because it was a cold October day. They saw it from the main house, opened the back door and out went the goblins and witches and fairies [it was a halloween b-day party!].
People who visited couldn't resist not having their picture taken by the playhouse. The following summer, DH added a regular stairway so the little kids could go up and down the steps safely. He also added a back porch so there'd be more room.
The last two pictures on the second page is of Christina when she was 13 years old. I took lots of pictures of her in and around this house. That was the year when we moved to another city. It was sad to leave this house she called home. But we know that it will make another kid as happy as Christina was!
Supplies used: Papers and cutouts [the Paper Studio]; birthstone gem stickers blue zircon [Martha Stewart]; flowers [Prima]; heart charm [Blue Moon Beads]; fluid chalk Chestnut Roan [ColorBox]; journaling tag [Making Memories]; foam squares [Miss Elizabeth]; chipboard alpha [ChipChatter/Pressed Petals]