Sunday, January 10, 2016

What I Learned in December

I thought it would be fun to do one more "what I learned" blog post from 2015!

1. My daughter loved making chocolates almost as much as I loved eating them!

2. The joy of watching your child do something they love can make your heart a good way!
3. Weddings are so beautiful, especially when the couple happens to be some of your best friends!

4. Christmas carols sung by candelight are my favorite.

5. The Pop up Park in Lancaster is just as charming as it looks. I could have stayed for hours!
6. My children have some of the most talented grandparents ever! Grandma Shenk made Hadassah an
apron and matching hot mats to use in the kitchen, and Mumsie Showalter made Hadassah an outfit
that matched her doll's outfit! Grandpa Shenk built Nicholas a fence and hay bales to go with the barn he made him last year. Like I said, most talented ever!

7. Christmas Day in Virginia can actually reach temperatures in the 70's! And we celebrated with a picnic outside! (sorry no pictures #whatwasithinking)

8. I may be a little jealous of my sister's green thumb. 

9.  When I packed for our trip to PA, I discovered that I have a lot of burgundy in my closet. #obviously
10. Matching dresses for little girls is always a great idea. 

What did you learn in December?

Thursday, December 24, 2015

When Christmas is Messy

 I have always loved Christmas. 
I have wonderful memories of singing carols, baking cookies with my Mom and sister,
wrapping gifts, (though admittedly, mine end up looking more like lumps of coal when I'm done with them), night time drives to see the twinkling Christmas lights,
parties and reading the Advent story with my family.

There's excitement in the air as little children count down the days until Christmas,
when they finally get to open their presents.
The smell of cookies in the oven permeates the house while the carols
softly play in the background.
It's the most wonderful time of the year...

But in the middle of it all, life gets messy.
Children fight and spouses argue,
bills pile up and the cookies get burnt.
Disappointments threaten to steal the very joy we talk about so freely,
and soon the pain of living in a broken world
trumps the glory of the supernatural.

When I take a minute to actually reflect on the Advent of Christ,
I realize His coming was hardly the dreamy picture of Christmas I have conjured in my mind.
It was messy.

He was born to a young girl who was most likely rejected for what people thought was a horrible sin she'd committed.
She traveled with her soon-to-be husband to a town miles away while she was great with child,
and birthed the Son of God in a feeding trough.

I can only imagine the glory that came down from heaven that holy night,
and the wonder that Mary and Joseph must have felt
when they held Him for the first time.

But the circumstances of his birth, though full of heavenly glory,
were far from our idea of what the perfect Christmas should look like.
 And I am so grateful that it wasn't.

Because Christ - God in human form - became one of us.
He faced every temptation we face.
He was exhausted, He had bills to pay.
He struggled with relating to people who had hurt Him, even though He never sinned like we do.
He was lonely, He was rejected, "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief".

Friends, if anyone gets messy, it's our God.
He knows just how ugly sin is;
He died because of it.

The wonder of Christmas is Emmanuel: God with us.
Because Christ came to this earth,
we have hope.
And the hope we have because of Jesus is the greatest gift of all.

My prayer for myself - and for all of us - is that the wonder of Christmas
would be in the joy that comes from knowing Jesus,
God with us.

Merry Christmas, friends!

xoxo, Ruby

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

My Christmas Home

I love everything about Christmas:
the songs, twinkling lights on trees, the daily reminders of the birth of our Saviour,
the pile of gifts, the cookies and of course, the decorations!
Come on in for a tour of my Christmas home!

In the dining room:
Magnolia leaves are a favorite of mine, so I was excited to find some at a cousin's house!
I love the texture they add to traditional winter greens.

Copper, gold and brass give so much warmth to spaces in your home!
I had fun pulling a collection of antiques {platter, gold tipped vase + deer candle holder} and mixing them with the new: copper mug from Home Goods and mirrored frame from Hobby Lobby.

My sister-in-law hosted a wreath making party, and mine hangs on the wall above the desk.
And this year, I attempted a garland above the doorway.
Clearly, I'm not an expert! But I love the warmth that greens give a room.

We started a gingerbread-house-making tradition this year,
and it was fun,
even if it meant more candies got eaten than got glued on!
A friend and I dug up these mini trees.
They're such a great addition to my Christmas decor!

On the table, I used a striped Ikea hand towel for a runner and my small collection of bottle trees.

In my living room:
This pillow - a watercolor from Craftberry Bush - is a favorite of mine!
You can order them here.

I used all white and gold ornaments on the tree this year.
This one was handmade from a friend at church and I love its simplicity!

For the first time ever, I have all four stockings hung on the mantle!
The first and third were from Target last year, and the second and fourth ones came from Home Goods (I am obsessed with that store).
Don't tell the kiddos, but I already stuffed their stockings! Eeek.

I love the sweet whimsy of this garland I found at New Creation!
The skis were in the dollar bins at Target,
and the deer was a piece I had that got a fresh coat of gold paint. 
On Black Friday, I bought this print from Lindsay Letters. I adore her art!
I added some magnolia leaves and pine cones to the evergreen to finish off the mantle.

This is my $10 Walmart tree that I pulled out for the kids to decorate.
It was just their size, 
and they had a blast hanging ornaments on it!
{Confession: I'm OCD about the placement of ornaments,
so I may or may not have rearranged a few.}

For the first time ever, I actually decorated my front porch! 
{Unless hanging a wreath on the door qualifies}
It came together much more easily than I envisioned, and I now I don't know why I waited so many years to do it!

We filled this old milk can with greens and berries,
and I love the finishing touch it gives the porch,
along with the Noel sign I painted!

I need to give credit to my adorable assistant,
who was by side through so much of the fun, "helping" me decorate!

Thanks for stopping by for a tour of our home!
And don't forget to savor every minute of this special Christmas season.

xoxo, Ruby

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Christmas Giveaway

This past week has been full of preparations for Christmas!
We've been baking cookies, mailing cards and shopping for presents.
Since Christmas is less than 2 weeks away,
I thought it would be fun to do a giveaway!

I painted this NOEL sign on some reclaimed barn wood,
and loved the finished product!

So I decided to give it to one of you!
(I'm keeping the cutie with golden curls, just in case you were wondering)

The giveaway is for local people only. I apologize if you don't qualify, but I plan to do another 
sometime around the beginning of the year so stay tuned for that!

You can enter the giveaway by commenting on this post. A winner will be selected on Monday at noon. Best of luck!

Happy weekend friends!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Rustic Glam Thanksgiving Tablescape

Thanksgiving is such a special time of year, remembering God's goodness to us
and giving thanks back to Him.
It's also a chance to spend time with the people we love and eat some turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie!

Typically, we travel to PA to celebrate with my family,
but we are staying home this year and planning a quiet celebration with some close friends.

I got inspired to put together a Thanksgiving tablescape, since we are hosting a lunch here!
Other than a bouquet of carnations and a few pears that I picked up at the store, 
I used what I had on hand.
The end result was a rustic-glam styled table.

I layered a lace tablecloth on a solid white,
and repeated that pattern with the plates: white round on white square.
The cloth napkins were a gift from my sister-in-law years ago, and I thought they went well with the autumn colors.

For my centerpiece, I carved a hole in the top of a white pumpkin just large enough for a clear plastic container to fit into. I added greens from our bushes outside to fill out the arrangement.
The antique silver platter came from a yard sale, and I love how it dresses up the table!

The antique deer candleholder is another find from my Embellish friends. 
Isn't it cute?!

The personalized name tags were a fun finishing touch.

To me, a beautiful table is more than just the decorations. It symbolizes warmth and fellowship,
a place to gather and make memories.
For this, I give thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

My Fall Home Tour

I had so much fun decorating my house for fall,
so I decided to let you in for a tour!

First up, the mantle!
The corbel, urn and vintage camera are all from The Cottage, one of my favorite local antique shops.
The banner came from Target. I had bought it for Hadassah's birthday party, and decided to use it in her room, but it ended up being so long that I was able to make a second one from it!
I made the October art, and can hook you up if you want one! :)

The "choose joy" scrabble tiles are a creation from my sweet friends at Embellish.

A friend of a friend painted this artsy pumpkin for me; isn't it great?!

In November, I'm planning to swap the October print for this feather art I made last year.
I love that it ties in with the white, black and gold color scheme I chose!

Plaid gives such warmth to a space, so I was excited to find a good deal on this throw at Target!

It was fun to pull out my faux fur pillow as well.
Anything soft and cozy is high on my list as the weather turns colder!

I got the inspiration for the succulent-topped pumpkin from my friend, Edith. 
The vintage book is another find from Embellish. I love that it's about "home".
Add a feather and it's an instant fall table-topper.

She was hanging out when I was taking pictures, so naturally, she got in on the fun :)

I love this wire basket I purchased from New Creation! It's so rewarding being able to shop at a local Christian ministry, and know the profits are being used to make a positive difference!

In the dining room, I filled a pitcher with these cotton stems from Michael's.
Add a white pumpkin and some antlers, and you've got a festive centerpiece!

The cotton brings back fun memories of a girls' trip we took last year to Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA! 
{It may also explain my obsession with it as decor.}
In any case, it's lovely and doesn't take any care, so I'm all for it!

I created the canvas with a photo I took last fall,
and it's one of my favorite pieces of art.
The boxwood wreath was a gift from my sister last year, and I love how it adds color + texture to any wall!

The terrarium is another Michael's purchase, and I'm thinking it would contrast the walls even better with a coat of white. What do you think?

Hadassah found this beautiful butterfly outside, so I decided to keep it in the glass cloche.
{We had an interesting discussion about what made it die.
She thought maybe the wind blew too hard!}

And that is my fall home! It's not fancy, but it feels a little like fall around here :)
Thanks for stopping by!
Have a sweet Wednesday, friends!