Positive change

Rather than New Year's resolutions, which are always all the rage at this time of year, I prefer to think about positive changes I can make for the coming year. This time last year I wrote about how God was helping me to see clearly and that my focus for the year was to "listen and obey". This has helped me immensely during the year to be calmer and more grateful.

I started wondering a couple of weeks ago whether God was going to give me another nudge to step things up or move in new directions. I waited, nothing. I prayed, still nothing. Then He hit me with it.
"Give more". Good, I can do that, I love to give and I can always give more!
Then He helped me to hatch a plan.

Some time ago my Mum in Law told me about an organisation called Mary's Meals. In a simple form, they distribute meals to disadvantaged and impoverished children at school. This works so well because the children come for the food and stay for the education, no child can learn effectively on a painfully empty stomach. It is a simple plan, but life changing.

If you follow the link there is a video to watch and lots more information about the organisation.

I'm hoping I can use my skills and talents to make regular donations.

My (loose) plan at the moment is to hold a monthly auction for some of my handmade goods. I'll try to make something special and probably hold the auctions on my Facebook page where people can bid in real time. I'm not always great at following through with ideas, but with God's help I hope it will be a huge success.

I'll let you all know when the first auction will be held :)

Now, onto another matter. I want to thank you all for your support this year. I have been so overjoyed with the interest shown towards my work and this Christmas period has been my busiest in the 5 years I've been a handmade artisan. It brings me so much joy to know the things I make are loved and valued.

Thank you! I wish you all so much grace for a truly blessed year!

Merry Christmas!

I wish you all a most blessed, happy and holy Christmas! I thank you all for your ongoing support this year and look forward to returning soon.
God bless you and your families!

No stress this Christmas.

As we have been going about our regular errands and appointments I've noticed a change in my relatively busy outer city suburb. This change happens about this time every year. It starts with rushing, pained expressions, the inability to obtain a car park and by this time next week will have worked itself into a frenzy. Yes, it's Christmas.

The junk mail piles up almost daily in my letterbox, the traffic is terrible and people are stressed. People are pre-occupied with who is coming, how many to feed, what gifts to buy on credit to increase their debt just that little bit more.

That is how "the world" celebrates Christmas. But we do not need to be part of that, and that is not part of us. We celebrate Christmas because we love Jesus, and this is his birthday. It is also a time for relaxing, enjoying family and a few treats. What is so stressful about that?!

This year my husband is working right through the Christmas period so we have decided to keep things as simple as possible. Latin Mass on Christmas Eve, a few presents for the children on Christmas morning before husband leaves for work, plenty of fresh fruit, a few special food treats, our traditional fruit punch and a pudding of some sort. When husband returns home we can have our usual Christmas concert (sharing of poems, songs, plays and talents) and just enjoy being together.

If you are feeling stressed or anxious about Christmas I ask you to dig deep and ask yourself why. Because the most important thing about this Christmas is that your words and actions bring glory to He who is the reason for the day itself - Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

"Adoration of the Shepherds" by Gerard van Honthorst, 1622

Healthy chocolate

There are a lot of recipes for healthy chocolate now and the ingredients vary, usually according to the "type of eating" you're subscribed to. I'm just trying to be healthier, so here is my version of healthy chocolate.

3 tablespoons virgin organic, cold pressed coconut oil 
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons of honey
2 teaspoons of desiccated coconut (optional)

Melt the coconut oil with the honey and stir to combine thoroughly. Stir in the cocoa powder, then the desiccated coconut. When combined, pour out into chocolate moulds. If you don't have moulds you can pour into a container with sides, then cut into chunks when it's set.
Place in the freezer, unmould when totally set. Store either in the fridge or freezer - I store in the freezer so I can grab one in the evening when my tastebuds are crying out for something sweet :)

Girl's dress recon

We have some kind neighbours who often give children's clothes they no longer need (they have 3 girls so it works out well!) I loved the fabric and full skirt of this Pumpkin Patch dress but the halter neck was a little too lacking in modesty for my taste.

A pair of sharp scissors, a sewing machine and 30 minutes later... it's a skirt! I have had such precious little time to sew lately and this was such an easy alteration to make, it's even lined. The cost of the elastic and thread come to about $1, what a bargain :)

And most importantly, it passes the twirl factor!

Screen printed art

I'm excited to share the news that art prints are now available in my husband's Etsy shop. 
So you can fully appreciate these prints, let me tell you how they are produced :)

Firstly, he draws the design by hand. No computers, just pencil, pen and paper (his protractor comes in handy too!) Next, the design is screen printed onto paper and dried. Lastly, he colours the design by hand with his beautiful set of Prisma pencils. 

Now, that's what I call authentic art! 

I hope you like them too. There are only a couple in his shop at the moment, but he will add more as he gets the time :)

Make do and make a start

I thought I'd share with you a little reality check today. It is easy for us to imagine that people we see on social media, on websites...