I found a vase on the clearance aisle at Homegoods yesterday. I decided I would take some of the Cedar Tree Clippings that I still have in my bucket out back, and make a quick arrangement. As I was working on it, it turned into more of a solo Christmas Tree, and less of an arrangement. I used “oasis” to set the mini tree firmly in the vase… After figuring out what I wanted to do in that respect, I got out some silver spray paint and the fake snow… Oh, and some spray adhesive. I sprayed the tips of the tree with silver paint… and then I just kept spraying a bunch more. He he. I then used a little spray adhesive… powdered it with the snow, and put it back in the vase. I threw a little bit of gravel in there to cover the oasis. I sprayed that silver and covered it with snow. Check out the photos. You’ll also see the Vanilla we made, along with the Laser Photocopy Transfered to Wood Project, and the Paperwhites that we planted. Looks like the paperwhites may be bloomed by Christmas, regardless of the fact that I totally forgot about them and let them go without water for over a week and a half. I think they may be impossible to kill. Then we also did our DIY Christmas Paper Towel Ornaments, and our DIY Tomato Cage Christmas Trees… I think that will probably wrap it up for us this Christmas. Who knows, we might throw in one more, if my nieces finish it. =) Either way, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Oh, WAIT! I almost forgot… I will be posting a photo of Dominic and Judah’s special Christmas package wrapped with the Free Printable Christmas Labels and more. So, stay tuned…

Got my Cedar Tree Clippings, Oasis, and Clippers...

Got my Cedar Tree Clippings, Oasis, and Clippers…

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DIY Outdoor Christmas Trees – Made out of Tomato Cages, 100 ct Strand of White Christmas Lights, and a Bag of Zip Ties. We made FIVE. Cost was $5.56 a piece to make. Our nieces came over, and whipped out the 5 trees in less than an hour. So, for $27.80, we now have a beautiful display of lights in the yard! The nice thing is, not only do they look fabulous… We are going to use the tomato cages come gardening time! Sweet deal! This is another EASY DIY that is FAST and FUN to do with kids. They will be proud of their work and less inclined to beg for the next giant lit up thing they see at Costco. So, get your “A” game on, and let’s get this party started! Like I said, you will need 3 things: 1. Tomato Cages ($1.96 each @ Lowes) 2. 100 ct Christmas Lights ($2.69 each @ Lowes) 3. Tie Straps (Bag of 100 @ Lowes for $4.59). You will only need to increase your number of cages and lights as you go. You should have plenty of tie straps in the one bag. You’re realistically going to use about 15 tie straps on each tree. Okay… Let’s get started. I’d like you to meet my nieces, Elli, Emma and Baylee. They are the girls in charge. Uncle Tim is their assistant. Check out the photos and see the process, read the captions to get instructions. Feel free to click on the “Red Stamp” box in the upper corner and leave me a comment if you have any questions, concerns or comments. Okay, let’s go! =) On a side note: I apologize for the hazy and blurry pics. Most of you know I’m sick and in treatment. I didn’t have my “A” game on today, but I sure tried! =D

Elli is ready to head out to the yard to begin assembling the Christmas Trees!

Elli is ready to head out to the yard to begin assembling the Christmas Trees!

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I’ve been having some fun with the free printable downloads and some builder’s paper from the hardware store… all cheap. Here are a few ideas of what can be done. But really, it’s all just open to what you can imagine, so the sky is the limit! Now, for our “Christmas Crafting DIY’s” – Here’s an UPDATE – Keep an eye out… Either this evening, or early AM tomorrow, I will be posting the laser printed photo transfered to wood DIY tutorial… It’s a super EASY one. Really, it’s so simple and quick. It is still absolutely feasible for making them as Christmas Gifts! Okay, that’s it! Merry Christmas!!! Check back soon for the DIY!

Printable Download Chalkboard Letters, Builder's Paper, White Paint, Glue, Pieces of my Cedar Christmas Tree, Baker's Twine, and an Old Bead.

Printable Download Chalkboard Letters, Builder’s Paper, White Paint, Glue, Pieces of my Cedar Christmas Tree, Baker’s Twine, some Stamps (but no stamp pads, so I used the white tempera paint) and an Old Bead.

To some of these I added yarn that I had from a project from last year.  I braided the yarn to make the scarfs, and used a piece of something from one of Tim and my many feeble attempts at knitting on a loom (It worked until the pieces kept falling out... Neither of us knew how to fix it, so we have all these "half knit" misfit toys) to make the rug and scarf on one of the gifts you'll see in the next photo.  I also had a snowflake hole punch from a few years back.  That came in handy.  I used it with regular printer paper to make the snowflakes.

To some of these I added yarn that I had from a project from last year. I braided the yarn to make the scarfs, and used a piece of something from one of Tim and my many feeble attempts at knitting on a loom (It worked until the pieces kept falling out… Neither of us knew how to fix it, so we have all these “half knit” misfit toys) to make the rug and scarf on one of the gifts you’ll see in the next photo. I also had a snowflake hole punch from a few years back that came in handy. I used it with regular printer paper to make the snowflakes.

I had already wrapped this present, and just glued a piece of builder's paper to the top.  I then another layer and painted a winter ice scape.  I used some paper I dug out of my crafting boxes, along with the things I printed from the internet.  You'll also see the Old Yarn, Baker's Twine, White Tempera Paint, and the Basics I had around the house.  I love to gift warp, and I missed out on getting my ribbon at Costco this year.  So, I challenged myself to creating some cool packages for the kids without going out and buying all of the stuff I normally do.  It was a blast!  You've got to try it!

I had already wrapped this present, and just glued a piece of builder’s paper to the top. I then added another layer and painted a winter ice scape. I used some paper I dug out of my crafting boxes, along with the things I printed from the internet. You’ll also see the Old Yarn, Baker’s Twine, White Tempera Paint, and the Basics I had around the house. I love to gift warp, and I missed out on getting my ribbon at Costco this year. So, I challenged myself to creating some cool packages for the kids without going out and buying all of the stuff I normally do. It was a blast! You’ve got to try it!

So, I bought these brown craft labels for our Homemade Vanilla Bean Extract... which is AMAZING, by the way!  Anyway, I bought them online from a store that sells them in bulk, because they were actually cheaper than buying a couple of sheets off of etsy.com.  So, now I have extra labels... I know I'll make vanilla again, but seriously, these were very inexpensive... So, for Christmas Stocking Stuffers, I am going to be printing out Personalized "Property of "Said Child" - and various other sayings that they'll think are cool.  I'll roll them in a scroll, and tie them with a string and stick it in their stockings.

So, I bought these brown craft labels for our Homemade Vanilla Bean Extract… which is AMAZING, by the way! Anyway, I bought them online from a store that sells them in bulk, because they were actually cheaper than buying a couple of sheets off of etsy.com. So, now I have extra labels… I know I’ll make vanilla again, but seriously, these were very inexpensive… So, for Christmas Stocking Stuffers, I am going to be printing out Personalized “Property of “Said Child” – and various other sayings that they’ll think are cool. I’ll roll them in a scroll, and tie them with a string and stick it in their stockings.

Okay, so there are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing.  Hope you’re enjoying this Christmas Season.  

Sunday, 15th, 2013 – Is the 3rd Sunday of Advent.

Here’s a copy from Billy Graham‘s Christmas Advent… I just love it~

Read Luke 2:8-10

On that first Christmas night, the angels appeared to the shepherds on a hill near Bethlehem.  Alfred Edersheim, the great 19th-century Jewish-Christian scholar, wrote in his book The Life and Times of Jesus and the Messiah that shepherds and the sheep to whom the angels appeared near Bethlehem were no ordinary shepherds and sheep.  The sheep were those bound for the temple sacrifices.  The shepherds were outcasts because of their necessary isolation from religious ordinances.  And their manner of life rendered legal observances unlikely, if not absolutely impossible.  

How wonderful that in God’s wisdom and love the angels should appear to them – the doomed and the outcast – that night.

Today we can declare to the world that the Good Shepherd cares for all people and wants to give them peace.  Christ came on that first Christmas for one great purpose – to die on the cross for our sins.  Now God offers forgiveness, inner peace, and eternal life to all who will repent and believe in His Son.  This is the Christmas message!

Do you know people who need to hear about God’s love and forgiveness?  Will you share the true Christmas message with them this year?

(Taken from Billy Graham’s Christmas Advent 2013)

Merry Christmas!!

~Amie Joy (reyajoy)

Bottling Up Our Homemade Vanilla Bean Extract!!! YAY! The Day Has Arrived!

It’s finally THAT day!!!  We get to bottle up our YUMMY Vanilla Bean Extract and Package it up for Gourmet Christmas Gifts made with lots and lots of Love!!!

So, we started by printing our labels.

So, we started by printing our labels.

See.  Here's an up-close shot.

See?  Here’s a close-up shot for ya.

Behold, the VANILLA!!!  We also have our little jars all sanitized and ready to go.

Behold, the VANILLA!!! We also have our little jars and lids all sanitized and ready to go.

Behold, the HARD WORKIN' MAN!

Behold, the HARD WORKIN’ MAN – AKA – the grebe!  Note: He’s all sanitized and ready to go too.  😉

Label ON the Bottle.

Label ON the Bottle.

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the loon and the grebe leaf trees went to their new home!

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Leaf Trees ~ by ~ the loon and the grebe

I sure had a blast making these leaf trees. They’re made from leaves from my backyard that have been clipped one by one, washed, rinsed, and treated (depending on the outcome I wanted) and rinsed again. The leaves are then laid out to dry for a while. After the larger drops have dried, they are put in a large bowl and heated with a blow dryer. Then laid out on a blanket or sheet to dry as I roll them one by one. After they are rolled, they are placed in a bucket and left for weeks to complete the drying process. Then the trees can be assembled.

the loon and the grebe  Leaf Trees

the loon and the grebe
Leaf Trees

Christmas Leaf Tree 03

All made from the same leaves, but each so uniquely different.

Christmas Leaf Tree 04

Loving the contrast… Notice the color of the leaves on the smallest tree. I wanted you to see it before I flocked it, because it’s cool that you can actually achieve a red fall color leaf too.

Christmas Leaf Tree 05

Look at the different shapes you can create with a single type of leaf. The sky is the limit.

Christmas Leaf Tree 06

Closer view on the small antiqued silver colored tree and leaf style next to the larger green curled leaf, and the silver curled leaf trees.

Christmas Leaf Tree 07

View of the bark base.

There are other ways of doing the leaves too, this is just one of several methods I did. Tim made me cones out of cardboard from boxes that had come to our house (as I have many of my groceries delivered). This was cost effective, and earth friendly. Styrofoam can be used, but it’s expensive, and it defeats the purpose of doing something innovative and cheap, if you’re going to go out and spend the bucks on the styrofoam… but it is your choice. =) I find it’s easier to work with the cone, because it gives you somewhere to put your hand inside while working the piece from the outside.
One of the trees is also made out of a plastic water bottle. I’m not a fan of plastic water bottles, so, I figured I’d do the next best thing with them.
The bases of the trees are slices of wood from a log or branch relatively the same dimension as the tree. So, that’s the story on the trees. They are time consuming to make, but if you’re an avid crafter and you love authenticity, this is right up your ally. I crave unique and authentic. I like things that aren’t perfect, and things I don’t see everyday. I also like to create things that I visualize in my brain and have to wonder if it’s possible to actually make it work. Sometimes, it does… sometimes, it doesn’t. This time… It did. I love these trees. It’s so hard to capture their dimension and character in the photographs.

This one is kind of my favorite.  I hated it at first, but he grew on me, and then became my favorite.

This one is kind of my favorite. I hated it at first, but he grew on me, and then became my favorite.

Christmas Leaf Tree 09

I love this more gothic style tree. I thought a smooth bark base would befit a tree this style.

Christmas Leaf Tree 10

Notice the veins in the leaves that give the trees their character. This is created by using the leaves upside down when making them. I will put a leaf or a few in right side up for contrast throughout each tree.

Christmas Leaf Tree 11

Water bottle tree on the left is now flocked. Isn’t it so cute?

The flocked tree on the left is the water bottle.

Here’s a up close shot of our baby flocked water bottle tree.

My friend who purchased them is going to be making a rad centerpiece for her Women’s Christmas Tea. We did a mock set up with all kinds of other fun stuff. It was SUCH FUN! I can’t wait to see pictures! I hope she takes pictures. =D

Anyway, so long leaf trees!! =) Enjoy your new home!!

Merry Christmas Month to you all!
May Jesus bless your heart today~
Amie Joy (reyajoy)

© COPYRIGHT Amie Joy Chiarelli Wylie (reyajoy)

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

All posts and photographs published on https://sonshinegrove.wordpress.com/ is the original work of Amie Joy Chiarelli Wylie (reyajoy) (unless stated otherwise), and I retain full and sole ownership and rights to the usage and distribution of this content.

Super Typhoon Strikes the Philippines – Calvary Chapel Relief

TYPHOON HAIYAN VIDEO
Hi Friends… This is personal to me. For those of you I have not had the pleasure of meeting personally, I want to express that disaster relief is something my husband and I are very passionate about. My husband, Tim, is the man in the green shirt that is narrating part of this video. He has the privilege of overseeing Parakletos International, a Disaster Relief Org. of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa.  Please read below and please watch the video.  Our world is so much bigger than what’s going on in the little sphere around us… Yet it’s small enough that when one has a need, we should be there to help the other out.

So, please take a few minutes to view this video that was just released about Calvary Chapel’s response to the typhoon. Then please pass it on. We are once again in a very strategic position and have been embraced by the local government. We, by God’s grace, have a huge opportunity to step into the lives of these victims and share the hope that helps us through each day. I know this is a time when most of us are thinking about family and the holidays, but please pray about how we might be able to make this Christmas something special for those families, who were also getting ready for this same holiday, but now have nothing…

Blessings,
Amie Joy

Please keep those serving in your prayers.  Most importantly, keep those who are hurting and grieving and have lost not just all earthly possessions, but have also lost beloved family members, friends and pets.  It’s a tragic time indeed… And now they are faced with monumental trials ahead of trying to rebuild a life from the bottom up with nothing to start with.  The simplest things are no longer available.  Pray too how you can help.  Many blessings!

Paper Walls Christmas – O Come O Come Emmanuel ~ by John Meyer (FYI – Free Download of this song on Noisetrade… Details and direct link provided in blog post)

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