I’m already obsessing about Advent

Ideas for creating a Jesse Tree Advent Calendar | erniebufflo.comI’m the first to gripe about “Christmas Creep” and how people keep trying to make Christmas happen before its time, which, in my opinion, should absolutely never be before the day after Thanksgiving. (Mostly because Thanksgiving is one of my favorites.) However, I spent the last week obsessively working on finishing the Advent calendar I started making for the girls in 2013. It was a bit more than I could achieve when the girls were one, but now that they’re three, not only do I have more time to craft, I really think they’ll enjoy incorporating this tradition and get something out of it. And I’m writing about it now because if you start soon, you’ve got time to make one before Advent starts, too. But not if you have two one-year-olds — take it from me and take it easy on yourself.

Celebrating Advent has always been part of my family and faith tradition, a way to focus on the “reason for the season” as my dad loves to say. Growing up we had an Advent wreath and candles, and I remember doing family devotionals sent home by our church. Through friends, I heard about the Jesse Tree tradition, which uses the whole “out of the stump of Jesse” prophecy from Isaiah to tell the story of Jesus’s family tree through ornaments and a tree. Each ornament corresponds to a Bible Story about one of the members of Jesus’ family tree, so each day leading up to Christmas, you take out an ornament and read the corresponding scripture. One friend even hosted a Jesse Tree ornament party a few years back, where everybody was assigned one ornament and made enough for everyone, so each guest left with a complete set but only had to make one type of ornament — fun and efficient!

Ideas for creating a Jesse Tree Advent Calendar | erniebufflo.com

Ideas for creating a Jesse Tree Advent Calendar | erniebufflo.com

Lots of people put the ornaments on their actual Christmas tree or on a smaller table-top tree that they use just for the Jesse Tree. I had seen many beautiful felt and fabric Advent calendars, so that’s what I had in mind. I love the idea of making a normal Advent calendar slightly more scriptural, so I started looking for Jesse Tree Advent calendars. I wanted to make something that my family could use for years to come and remember fondly, so I bought a kit from an Etsy seller that included patterns, instructions, and all the supplies. My kit was $60, but it looks like my seller is no longer selling the kits, just fully handmade calendars for $390. While I love my kit, I can’t imagine having paid nearly 400 bucks for a completed calendar, though I know that it’s worth that with all the painstaking work that goes into it. So painstaking, in fact, that I modified my calendar– I used puffy paint on the felt to make the ornaments instead of hand-sewing tiny layers and appliques, and I machine-sewed the body of the calendar. I have come to accept that I am just not a fan of embroidering. It’s beautiful, but tedious and frustrating.

Ideas for creating a Jesse Tree Advent Calendar | erniebufflo.com

 

Ideas for creating a Jesse Tree Advent Calendar | erniebufflo.com

Still, I didn’t want to write about finishing this beautiful thing for my family and then be like, sorry, folks, good luck to ya. I found a few felt Advent calendar patterns that I think you could fairly easily adapt into Jesse Trees by swapping out the ornaments, either by making these felt ornaments, by trying one of these other kits, or by buying a set of alreadymade Jesse Tree ornaments. There are also lots of free tutorials for making felt Jesse Tree ornaments online.

Is a Jesse tree part of your holiday tradition? Do you celebrate Advent in other ways?

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my valentine tradition

let's get it onValentine’s Day is coming up, and I wanted to share what has become one of my favorite traditions. In need of both art for my bedroom wall and occasional cards for my husband, a few years ago, I started buying him fun handmade cards that, after exchanged and read, can be framed and hung up on our wall. Sometimes I make the cards/art myself, other times I buy from Etsy, but over time, many of these cards have become part of a gallery wall in our bedroom. One in particular that says “Let’s Get it On (I’ll just brush my teeth)” (by Linocut Boy, no longer available) hangs in our bathroom– I thought it was a funny joke on long-married romance. I like that these little pieces of our love story get to hang around and add beauty and sweetness to our days long after the holiday that necessitated their purchase.

In case you, too, are interested in frame-worthy Valentines, I decided to round up a few here. If you click each image, you will be taken to the card’s listing on Etsy, and each shop name is also a handy link to the shop itself.

by larkpress.
by echoletterpress.
by larkpress.

Continue reading “my valentine tradition”

current obsessions

I’m not one of those adorable, beautifully photographed lifestyle bloggers with a perfectly curated life. But, I read plenty of those sites, and I secretly love it when people share the pretty things they’re obsessed with. And, in that spirit, thought I’d share some of my current favorite things.

When I was a teen, everyone I knew had a pair of Doc Martens. I *begged* my mother for a pair, but she said they were too expensive for someone whose feet might still be growing and said I could have a pair when my feet stopped growing. Well, my feet haven’t grown since 6th grade, it turns out, and I never got those Docs. Since I recently discovered the flower-printed variety, I think I might need to call in that old promise so I can have a pair of cute ass-kicking shoes. Hey, Mom! My feet stopped growing! Can I have a pair of these?

Don’t you think I need a pair?

Now, we all know that I love my vintage bike. BUT. That doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes window shop for the bike of my dreams, either online or in the fancy new bike shop that just opened near my house. It turns out the bike of my dreams is an Electra Amsterdam. Anyone wanna buy me an $800 bike? That fancy new bike shop sells them! They’re SO pretty, and they’ve got all the things I want in a bike: good looks, multiple gears (this is why I hate cruisers), fenders, chain guards, lights, and racks for baskets and panniers. See:

The other day when I went home for my Lil’est Sister’s 13th birthday, my mom showed me some amazing photos of foxes playing in their back yard. Two of the cutest little foxes you ever did see, just frolicking and playing. Then, this morning, she sent me this gorgeous picture of a fox playing in her newly snowy backyard:

Now I’m obsessed with foxes. And I recently saw a documentary on dogs which featured domesticated foxes. It spurred a new dream: a snuggly pet fox. They’re like the best of both worlds between dogs and cats. But I bet they’re hard to potty train. So, how about some cute fox stuff instead? (each picture links to the Etsy listing for the item)

I vote that we make buffalo the next cute trendy animal. Think it could happen?

What are you obsessed with lately?

You can find anything on Etsy, even Memaw’s Treasures

So, yesterday I shared with you some of the beautiful things my Memaw gave me as she downsizes and moves in with my parents.  Last night I hopped on Etsy, wondering in particular if they had more of a certain set of dishes that my mom received and I covet in particular, because there aren’t very many of them in her set, and it might be nice to fluff it up a bit.  Sure enough, I found a set of the “Dixie Dogwood” dishes for sale on Etsy:

So then I started poking around some more, to see if I could find any of the things I received for sale.  Remember the commemorative plate for FDR’s Warm Springs, GA “Little White House”?  I found one of those:

And what about the beautiful set of plates my grandfather sent home to his mother from Europe while he was serving in WWII? It turns out you can find those on Etsy as well:

There’s a set of the same milk glass bakers that I received:

Even the little lime green citrus juicer has a twin on Etsy:

And if you liked my super retro footed teacups, you can find a close match on Etsy too!

While it’s sort of crazy to realize that a bunch of things that are, to me, priceless treasures actually sell for $10 or less on the internet, what I am reminded of is that the value of a thing is not its objective value.  The things my Memaw gave me are treasures to me because they belonged to her, and because they have stories behind them.  I’d never sell them on Etsy! However, I think I might need to set up a shop for all the things we decided to “yard sale,” like some of the mismatched Depression glass that didn’t have mates, or the random pieces of Fire King peach lusterware, because I’m pretty sure Etsy prices are better than we’ll get at a yard sale!

celebrate independence

So, tomorrow is Independence Day, and I figured, what better way to support independence than to support an independent artist?  Especially in this economy, supporting small business owners is downright patriotic.  So…. I indulged my Etsy browsing hobby and came up with a few things that seem apt for the 4th of July holiday weekend.  Check ’em out!

I almost wish I had a kid so I could make him wear that onesie on Saturday. How cute is that?  Like a lil baby politician! $11 by rocknrags.

I live in dresses in the summertime.  I’m really wishing I had this one to wear on Saturday.  $60 by wingandwendy.

Even more than the sundress though, I wish I had this suit for hanging out on the beach (or on a lake!) on the Fourth of July.  SO cute. By FablesbyBarrie.

I have a thing for old barns, so I love this photo.  $35 by buckscountyframes.

I sorta want this letterpress print for my kitchen RIGHT NOW.  $12 by cindytomczykart.

Sailor Tote! By banyanhippo, whom I’ve bought from– quality bags, and quick shipping all the way from Turkey! $27.

If you’re more of a small purse gal, this one is adorable.  $28 by nonsuch.

Letterpress print, $10 from letterpress.

I’m not cool enough to know who Minus the Bear is, but this is a great poster. $30 by SleepOp.

Print by YeeHawIndustries, $25.

OMG OBAMA BIDEN FINGER PUPPETS.  Is it weird to like these SO MUCH?  The seller, mullishmuse, has lots of other awesome finger puppets as well. $16.

I’ll take this vintage pitcher full of lemonade, plz. $14 from CsRetroChicBoutique.

States United poster.  Wish I could afford it.  $75 by beauchamping.

Cute necklace, $18 by BRadleyBB.

i have baggage

So, I involved you, the Internets, in a quest for my new work tote.  And you voted.  And then I picked something else that wasn’t even in the original lineup.  And then I waited for it to get to me, all the way from Turkey.  And it arrived! And it was beautiful!

And alas….

It was too small.  My lunch bag wouldn’t fit in it, and it’s not like I have a giant lunch bag.  It pretty much just holds one small tupperwear or sandwich, a yogurt, and maybe an apple or orange.  So, my beautiful all-the-way-from-Turkey bag will have to be a purse used on non-work-days, leaving me again in need of a new work tote. Continue reading “i have baggage”

votes and totes

Thanks for all the help choosing my new bag!  Considering that Option 1 seemed a major favorite, and that I wear a lot of both blue AND green and should not get a bag that clashes (per Orlande and MundaneJane), and considering CuteCheapStuff‘s advice to get a bag with a cross-body strap, this is the one I ended up ordering:

Daphne in the Garden II, 19x14, $33
Daphne in the Garden II, 19x14, $33

Now I just have to wait for it to get here all the way from Turkey!