Acts of Service Advent Tree

Good morning!

I have been getting a lot of questions and emails about our acts of service Advent tree that was seen in the housewalk.

I had intended to write this yesterday but you know how that goes.

Even though it is December 11 (how did that happen) you still have time to do some of the acts that I will share.

Obviously, you can create your own that work with your family too.

This idea originally came to me while I was watching Anne Marie’s Twig Tree video in Home for the Holidays.

She was creating a small twig tree to hang on the wall and I knew right away that I wanted to make it big and hang acts of service off of it.

I sat down with my mom and we started brainstorming things we could do as a family.

We even asked the children to help with a few ideas.

I typed all of the acts up in Word and printed them out.

We cut the acts of service into strips and folded them over to get them ready to stuff into the stars.

Our stars are made from craft paper using a star template I found online.

We (my mom) started to sew them all shut with the acts of service inside but my machine was driving her NUTS so I told her we could go with Plan B.

Always have a Plan B.

For half of the star we glued them shut with a glue stick (only getting glue around the edges to keep the glue off the acts of service) and we used a white gel pen to make thread marks on the outside.

It worked for me and possibly saved my mom’s sanity.

If you are going to hang the stars as shown …make sure that whether you sew or glue them shut that you include the end of the string in the star before you close it.

I then just randomly hung the stars on the twig tree.

Here are our acts of service for this year.

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I hope to do this each year as a family because

1) who needs more candy each day through December

2) who doesn’t need more times in their lives to think of others more than their selves

As much as I love, love, love the month of December if you are not careful it can turn into just shopping, eating too much and sugar comas.

I feel like each time we so something like this we take a huge exhale, slow down and focus.

I am thinking we will keep it up year around and have weekly acts of service.

I will let you know.

Thank you for asking about this and thank you Anne Marie for inspiring this project.

Home for the Holidays is still open for registration.

This course is full of projects videos for gift ideas, decor and recipes.

Come back on Friday to find out more about my brand new e-course Studying Under The Masters {becoming an apprentice} and I will also announce the winner of the $300 Dick Blick gift card.

Vintage Christmas Tree With Balsam Hill

If you have had a chance to see our home dressed up for Christmas you will see over and over that I love vintage.

I love beautiful things that tell a story.

No matter where we travel I am always drawn to the art and the history of the culture.

If I have the choice to buy something new or go searching for something that may be a bit tarnished…I usually choose the tarnished.

Even when decorating I search for ways to incorporate my love of vintage, art, textures and layers.

I think that sometimes the holidays can feel overwhelming if you think your home, your tree or your gifts need to look like others.

We all have a style and have beautiful things that we surround ourselves with.

You don’t need to look far to find the inspiration you need for your whole home this holiday.

This year when I was offered the opportunity to try a Balsam Hill tree I jumped at the chance.

I decided to put the tree in my art studio and to make the theme of the tree the vintage items that I have around my studio.

My son and I were dumping out vintage hardware, crystals and vintage treasures from my trips in Europe, Mexico and even local flea markets.

Before long I had vintage French pocket watches, French laundry labels, French convent chore name sticks and vintage buttons ready to decorate the tree.

I found some of my favorite ornaments, some red ticking ribbon, star garland and starting playing with the tree.

It seemed perfect to make the final touch to the tree some pine cones I had collected in our neighborhood, simple cream candles, “chalkboard” ornaments created from Pickmonkey and of course the star made of twigs.

Under the tree was my beautiful vintage grain sack tree skirt and packages wrapped with our hand stamped wrapping paper.

I want to fill our home with beautiful items that we can use.

Look around your home.

What are you drawn to and what do you collect?

Have you ever thought to decorate with your vintage china, your grandma’s lace or your favorite art supplies?

Did you notice that I snuck three vintage paintbrushes in my tree?

It is in my art studio…why not!

Do you crochet or knit? Your tree would look stunning with crocheted garland and ornaments.

Your tree would look amazing with white lights, berries and a pine cone garland.

How about decorating your tree with white lights and black and white photos of your family tree?

Your decor should reflect you, your passions and your family.

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When I was asked to go to the main page of Balsam Hill and pick out a tree I felt completely spoiled.

I sat with my children looking at all of the trees and to be honest…it was hard to choose.

We finally decided on the Nantucket Blue Spruce Christmas Tree because of the color, how real the branches looked and it was a smaller tree.

We chose the 6 1/2 foot and prelit with white lights.

I thought it looked beautiful in the photo without one ornament.

I am a live tree girl so I didn’t know what to expect.

When the box arrived I asked Kelly to open the box and help me put it together because…

1) I don’t like to read directions

2) I don’t like to read directions

Kelly called me to the garage 5 minutes later.

He started to laugh and told me to look at the tree.

I was worried.

Then I saw what he was talking about.

It was perfectly put together in minutes.

I think it took him longer to open the box than put the tree together.

He told me I could have done it without reading directions:-)

The tree was gorgeous. Serious!  So pretty and came in three sections that snap into each other and it is all prelit.

When we put it into my studio to decorate it my son touched it and still asked if it was real.

I think THAT is impressive.

I think we should also go back to the fact that you won’t have to read any instructions:-)

Thank you Balsam Hill for the beautiful tree!

Here is a sneak peek at the gorgeous (and I mean gorgeous) tree of Courtney of French Country Cottage.

I am honored to be sharing my Vintage Christmas Tree as part of

Balsam Hill’s 12 Bloggers of Christmas Series!

Here are the links to all of the Christmas tree posts.

Monday December 2nd:

Vanessa (At The Picket Fence)

Ashley (Cherished Bliss)

Tuesday December 3rd:

Beth (Unskinny Boppy)

Candace (Vintage News Junkie)

Wednesday December 4th:

KariAnne (Thistlewood Farms)

Kristin (My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia)

Thursday December 5th:

Kim (Sand and Sisal)

Laura (Finding Home)

Friday December 6th:

Courtney (French Country Cottage)

Jeanne (Jeanne Oliver)

Saturday December 7th:

Jen (Jen Rizzo)

Heather (At The Picket Fence)

You will love all of the inspiration!

Dream Maker {Everyone Should Have One}

I always had the mom that told me I was special and talented and could do anything.

You know…the mom that tells you amazing things about yourself and you roll your eyes.

You think your mom tells you nice things about yourself only because she is your mom.

That is part of it.

The other part is that she can see past what you see.

She can see the good and the bad and the potential.

She can see what your gifts could look like once you grow your character and see past yourself.

Moms don’t look at you through rose colored glasses…they look at you through the eyes of love and hope.

So, here I was a girl that had grown up with a mom that spoke life over me.

Life.

As a young adult she spoke hope over me.

As a woman she believed in me and continued to pray for my future.

When you have someone speak life over you…you think differently about yourself.

You look for different in others.

You believe and search out what is best for you.

That is how I found my Kelly.

I first noticed him because he was handsome.

I later loved him because he was good.

So, so good.

When we had first started dating I remember sitting in a restaurant with Kelly and it felt like he was planning out the rest of my life for me.

In reality it was only the weekend but I felt myself panicking:-)

I was 26 years old and had really tried to protect myself and heart very well by then.

Sometimes you have a huge list of all the things that won’t happen to you and it can take you awhile to realize that you won’t have good things if you are always protecting yourself from the potential harm.

I had rules in my head about how, what, when….it kept me safe.

At least I told myself that.

I had all these things I didn’t want to become.

I had watched what “becoming” can look like and it scared me.

Marriage scared me.

Even though I wanted it and hoped for it…I didn’t at the same time.

So, here I was with this new boy that I had only been dating less than a month and he was planning out what we were going to do one day after the next.

I panicked.

I felt myself instantly wanting to push him away and then a very strong voice spoke in my spirit.

Don’t.

Just tell him.

This is good. It can be good.

Just tell him.

So, I did.

I asked this boy to slow down. I told him how much I liked him and wanted to really see where this could go but I needed him to slow down.

And he did.

He listened.

We were engaged four months later and married eight months after we met.

So much for slowing down.

To read our story you can go HERE and HERE.

I don’t want to talk about that tonight though.

Today is our 15th year anniversary.

Tonight I want to tell you that Kelly has been my dream maker.

He has been my balance and calm.

He has been my exhale and safe place.

He has been my quiet and best friend.

He has been the man my mom prayed for me.

She knew I would need a man like him.

A man that wouldn’t make me scared to love or to be vulnerable.

A man that would see me as his equal and partner.

A man that would look at me through eyes that see the good and bad…and still see the best.

See the potential.

See the hope.

See the tomorrow.

Our children have a father that loves them, plays with them, encourages them, spends time with them and KNOWS them.

I don’t take it for granted that this creative life I get to lead is a gift.

I know it.

Kelly gave it to me years ago.

He didn’t realize it but he was the one to continue what my mom started so many years ago.

He spoke life over my dreams.

He listened and asked how could we make them happen.

He told me I was special and different and that my gifts needed to be used.

 He took time away from himself to give me more time to create.

He has packaged and made post office runs.

He has gone without so the business could grow.

He has edited and edited and edited video.

He has bragged over me and to others.

He has told me I “make magic” and that he will help with whatever dreams I have “because your ideas don’t fail.”

He prays with me over our marriage, children and business.

He has never…I mean NEVER…complained about this creative life.

Not once.

Mom, thank you for being my first dream maker and helping me realize my life had value and purpose…even if I rolled my eyes at the time.

Kelly, thank you for being my second dream maker and for this life you have given me.

This life of being a mom, homeschooling our children and getting to live creatively.

This life of creating dreams together.

This life of dreaming of what will be next.

Lord, thank you for being the giver of dreams in the first place.

Thank you for the gifts that I want to use to be a reflection of you.

Thank you for opening doors and creating the desire to keep dreaming more.

I hope you have dream makers in your life.

If you don’t…become one.

Search them out.

Surround yourself with them.

Choose people that will speak words of life over you.

Be a speaker of life.

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Creatively Made Home {home for the holidays} begins this Tuesday!

 

 

The Creatively Made Home courses bring your favorite magazine to life.

 

Join me and eight other creative bloggers for interviews, decorating, gift giving and cooking videos.

This course will change how you love on your friends and family this holiday season.

I also hope it will change how you love on your family day to day.

To read more click HERE.

To register click HERE.

You can also pay below.