Friday, November 21, 2014

Liturgical Color Craft in Seven Quick Takes

I mentioned in my Little Oratory Post that I hoped to add a liturgical color vestments display, soon. Well, it finally happened, so here is how we did it in Seven Quick takes.

Jessica at Shower of Roses details the history of this craft here. It has definitely made the rounds of the Catholic Blogosphere.  I debated on felt versus fabric and traditional fiddleback vs novo or do chausible.   I just couldn't decide.  The cost was the main factor. I liked the fabric but was only making one set, so what would I do with all the leftovers?  Then, I stumbled upon a real find at our church tag sale--cloth napkins!  Not only were they beautiful fabric, but since we were shopping the $4 a bag sale time and already had two bags mostly full, they were basically free. Hence, my upcycle version was born.

Then came the quandary of the cross to use. I was certain that I had an extra standing cross somewhere, but couldn't find it and every time I visited Hobby Lobby either I forgot or ran out of time to look.  While the kids were cleaning out their drawers, Cowgirl found a wooden cross that had been a Little Flower craft many years ago. She no longer had interest in it and it had the bonus feature of hanging on the wall to stay out of Little Man's hands and create less clutter on the table.

We first removed the pink heart that had been glued on. Then we used brown acrylic paint to cover the Little Flower blue paint. It took quite a few coats, but was eventually brown.  Buddy enjoyed painting it over and over again.

Next We folded the napkins so that they formed a triangle and ironed them flat. In the center of each crease, I cut a "head hole" to mount it on the cross.The only colors that I couldn't find in napkins were violet and black. For the black, I used a heavy broadcasts that we found in the scrap pile. Violet is presently made of felt, but I hope to upgrade it soon.

We then used scraps of gold trim, white trim, and golden hem tape to make crosses for the front of each vestment.  We attached these with hot glue.

The final step of crafting was to glue a white ribbon strip inside each of the cut out collars. This helped to finish it off and stabilized the cut fabric.  We used half inch satin ribbon and glued the fabric to the center of the ribbon so that only a quarter inch was showing.  This resembles the white collar of the lab that priests wear.
We then hung the finished vestments on the cross and the cross on the wall.  Vestment colors change often, sometimes daily, but at the moment, we are only changing ours according to the Sunday color.  

We have our red one all ready to go for the Feast of Christ the King. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Pretty- Happy-Funny-Real: The It's Almost Thanksgiving Edition

There is much to be thankful for even when life doesn't go as planned. The LORD works all things for good, He truly does. Linking up with Like Mother, Like Daughter for more pictures of contentment.

I'm am so happy and very thankful that Cowgirl was able to join a Little Flower group at our "local" convent. (When I say local, I'm using local parameters. Local is anything within our county or the bordering counties that takes less than an hour and a half to reach.;)  I'm am thankful also, that I am not the leader after running a Little Flower club by myself for a number of years. It is hard work, but the sisters and other moms are doing a wonderful job! I will only be leading one craft and bringing one snack...that makes me very, very happy!!

Is there anything more beautiful that a joyful nun in a habit?  How about a whole convent of them?  There is something about seeing consecrated religious in habits that warms my heart immensely.  Sister Jhoan Marie took a special liking to Little Man and amazingly he let her carry him around even though they had never met. A very beautiful baby and a very beautiful sister--pretty doesn't even begin to cover it.

I had a lot of work to get done and asked if someone could occupy Little Man while I did it. Buddy offered to set up a "daycare center".  He rocked the little guy, sang songs to him, held him close and you know what?  That stubborn little boy who had fought every attempt at getting him down for a nap, fell fast asleep.  Sorry the photo is blurry, Buddy turned off the light for him then came to tell me his accomplishment.  I had to get a photo but didn't want to turn on the light.

Speaking of sleepless sleeping babies.  Sleep has been in short supply around here as Little Man continues to slowly get his molars and eye teeth. I'm am thankful that two have come through but he still has four teeth bulging under his red, tender gums.  With so little sleep and chewing on everything in sight, he developed a cold which led to even less sleep. Anyway, as we were finishing lunch and preparing to head out to the orthodontist on Tuesday, he passed out in his seat.  I was happy that he was sleeping but had a 35 minute drive to the orthodontist and they don't usually accept late patients. I would normally have transferred him to the car and then the stroller but around here, like the rest of the county, it was extremely cold. Before I could move him outside, he would need socks, shoes, and a coat. He may sleep week'll, but no one sleeps that well.

I made a frantic call to my mother in law who was surprisingly and thankfully free.  I then called the orthodontist to plead my case and let them know I was trying my hardest but would probably be late. Well, the ladies in the office are in love with Little Man so surprisingly and thankfully they said, "No problem."

Much, much to be thankful for. I'm thankful for each of my visitors, too. God bless you, all! For what are you most thankful?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Teaching Vocations: A Baptism Kit for under $5

Our Father's House has a baptism kit that is just as beautiful as its Mass Kit. However, it costs $75. I have been wanting to purchase it for sometime, but have never had the money to do so.  It was something that I wanted the children to have, though, especially with Buddy beginning preparation for First Holy Communion.  So, I created a small, simple set for the children. It is not fancy in the least, but cost less than $5, so if anything gets lost or broken, it can easily be replaced. In fact, for $5, I ended up with plenty of spare parts.

We went to Dollar Tree and purchased a set of two clear plastic bowls, a set of pill cases, a spool of wide white ribbon, and a two pack of battery operated candles. At home, we found a sheet of white felt, a large clam shell (leftover from stuffed clams), gold fabric paint, and permanent markers.

The first step was to separate the pill cases and paint two gold for the chrism. I was disappointed that in fact only one of the pill cases had a lid and the rest just screwed into each other, but it will still work.

Next, we cut about five feet of white ribbon and finished the ends with the a little help from the gas stove burner. Quickly pass the ribbon through the fire and it will seal and stop any fraying.

On the two ends of the ribbon, we painted gold crosses.

We then drew an outline on the white felt to cut it for the baptism garment and cut it with sharp scissors.

With permanent markers, we drew symbols of baptism as decoration.  It is really too big to use for a small doll like we will, in hindsight, I should have only used half a sheet of felt.

We then painted the shell gold with the same paint.

Finally, with the permanent markers, we decorated the two candles. The one on the left is the Pascal candle and on the right, the baptism candle for the newly baptized.

I found a pdf file of the Rite of Baptism, here. With that printed out, the baptisms are ready  to begin. Everything fits into the bowl and is sturdy enough for young hands.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Teaching Vocations: Holy Sisters Dolls

Remember Little Man's sweet Godsister? Cowgirl and I finally got to make her very belated birthday gift. Since she asks almost every Sunday  for us to pray for the nuns at our local convent, I though she would appreciate some little nun dolls. These dolls are based on Jennifer's peg doll statues on Catholic Inspired.  This is a project I have wanted to do for quite some time, Godsister's 4th birthday was the final push I needed to get it done.

We started with mini peg dolls from Hobby Lobby. They were only $3.50 for a large package of 36.  We also picked up a few pieces of felt in brown, black, white, and tan. I wish I had gotten blue and gray as well. We found some blue fabric and ribbon in the scrap bag but felt really works better.

I then looked up the habits for the orders we chose to make. I found a lot of ideas on the listing for these nun paper dolls. Unfortunately, they are out of print, but you can find them on this Picassa album. I just wish I could figure out how to print them out.  Some of orders we picked have a special meaning for Godsister and/or Little Man, others were habits we enjoyed. It was nice to be able to personalize them for her.

Using a glue gun and sharp scissors, we first cut rectangles of the main habit color and then cut out a head hole. We then glued the habit to the "chest" and "back" of each doll, and tied the waist with ribbon or thread.  We then cut out veils, wimples, capes, etc and added them to the doll. We found that it helped to define the arms if we put a little glue in the folds that the waist belt created and pinched them horizontally.

Pictured front the top left:
First row: Franciscan, Sisters of Charity, Missionaries of Charity, Dominican
Second row: Carmelite, Sisters of St Vincent De Paul, Daughters of St Paul, Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters (just because my favorite color is pink!)
Last row: Parish Visitors

I'm sorry, that I didn't take pictures of the step by step process, but Cowgirl and I have at least five more that we want to make, including a local order foundress who is up for sainthood, so we will do one soon.

After the dolls were complete, I wrote the order each represents on the legs.

We found this plastic container in our cabinet and it fit the nine dolls we made perfectly.  I then wrote Holy Sister Dolls on the lid with permanent marker and drew a little cross.

They were a big hit!  Imagine Sisters has a tutorial for making cute, nun paper dolls if you are looking for a fast and easy project.  What orders would you like to see made into peg dolls?

Update:  I found a new version of the Holy Habit paper dolls for sale  here.

Friday, November 14, 2014

In Search of Advent in 7 Quick Takes

In modern America, the push toward Christmas began before Halloween even ended. In an effort to drive up sales, we are constantly bombarded by advertisements for the next big thing, come September the focus of retailers turns to Christmas. However, what about Advent? It's a time of preparation but not in the sense of running store to store, piling high the latest gifts, and hosting party after party.  To prepare for a true Christmas, we must observe a true Advent. Here are our Advent plans in Seven Quick Takes.

Find a Daily Devotion
It is important to be in the day, each day and not just plow ahead to Christmas. Having a daily prayer devotion will ground you and turn your thoughts to God not merchandising. I have used various booklets through the years, but this year, I'm trying something new.  I have had the book 33 Days to Morning Glory for a few years, my problem is always starting on the right day and not getting off track 75% through. So, I have signed up for an email program so I will not lose track and finally make it to the consecration. ( For more ideas, check out Catholic Mom.)

Don't Forget the Children
A devotion for the family is also important. We really love completing our Jesse tree, but I have to admit there were years when we were trying to do five days in one night or only made fifteen ornaments. This beautiful devotion became a source of anxiety, friction, and stress.  Then, we discovered Holy Heroes Advent Adventure. There is so much to love about Holy Heroes (their CD 's are absolutely wonderful!!), but I have to say my favorite is Advent Adventure. No only did we complete the Jesse Tree, but also prayed the O Antiphons, a decade a day, and learned about a new saint and liturgical traditions.  Best of all it is free and comes delivered in one email. You do not even need to have Jesse Tree ornaments, printable ones are included in the email.  If you have not signed up, please do and also remember Holy Heroes for stocking stuffers and gifts.

Celebrate the Feasts
There are so many wonderful feasts during Advent, but honestly our Church has so many feasts, how could anyone ever say we don't like to have fun.  To keep the focus on Christ and the moment, consider celebrating one or more of the feasts with your family. Keep them as simple as you like and remember to add giving and prayer. Here are the feasts we always celebrate, I will post more detailed plans on the day of the feast--still planning

St Nicholas Day: A wonderful counter to the Santa hype, this holiday is a beloved tradition for my children. On December 5th, they leave out their shoes before bed. In the morning, they discover some small treats and something big to give away. We strive to spend $5 or less per a child, but last year they also received $40 to give away however they pleased. We drink lots of cocoa with candy canes, have a special breakfast, lunch, and dinner, make gingerbread houses, and spend the day making gifts for the family.

Immaculate Conception: Not only a holy day of obligation, but a chance to remember the importance of Mary. Celebrate with something white for dinner.

St Juan Diego Day: My children have a special love for Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe. Plan something Mexican for dinner! I have a plan for some crafts and books that I will post soon.

Our Lady of Guadalupe: Have something Mexican, again, and read the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  I have many plans for this day, but nothing over the top. We are planning to celebrate in more meaningful but less stressful ways.

St Lucy Day: Cowgirl dresses up and brings us coffee and breakfast in bed. Then, we have special crafts, read special stories, and have a Swedish dinner.

Build the Anticipation
We have several traditions to do this. First is our Advent wreath, the children get so excited every time we get to light another candle.  We also have a box with small doors, kind of like this one, that we use as an Advent calendar. Each day, a new door is opened to reveal a piece for our feltboard nativity. Half way through, I include a piece of our miniature vinyl nativity to add to the excitement.  We decorate gradually, always starting with our nativities and ending with the tree.

Sacrifice, Sacrifice, Sacrifice
Like Lent, Advent is a time of preparing the soul. The soul requires sacrifice and prayer, not indulgence. Remember, Christmas is the apex and the big feast, not the entire month of December. Give alms, pray often, and fast from something special. Make it a point to do corporal works of mercy. The more you give, the more you will receive and the less you will desire worldly gifts. Clean out your home as you clean out your heart, choose items to donate and bless someone else. Read Michelle's post on the capsule wardrobe if you need inspiration.

Don't shop!
Wait, what? Aren't these the biggest shopping days of the year? What about Nye list and checking it twice? What will the kids think?  Hear me out. I try very hard to complete Christmas shopping before Advent begins. The main aim of Christmas marketing is to get you to spend, spend, spend. You are made to feel that the holiday will only have joy if your wallet is empty and then some, but wealth and riches are the polar opposite of the first Christmas.  It may be too late to finish before Advent, but take these steps to minimize the damage of Christmas commercialism.  Simplify your list, are you buying just to have gifts to give or because you want to bless your loved ones with a gift. Cut back, less really is more! Second, give experiences not things. Plan a day of baking with your daughter, a fishing trip with your nephew, a camping trip with your spouse. Not only will you spend less, but your gift of time will be remembered for decades.  I recently read about the idea of picking a special recipe  and buying all the ingredients and any special tools ended to make it. What a great idea! Do that for ten years or more and not only will that child leave the nest with a wide repertoire of recipes, but a drawerfull of tools. Third, give the gift of giving. Wrap up a favorite candy bar or snack and make the real gift a gift card to a charity catalog. Our favorites include Samaritans Purse and Show Hope.

When you must shop patronize local businesses and Catholic vendors, such as the ones featured on Catholic Deals and Shower of Roses. You can also help support the religious communities by shopping monastery shops. Check out a list of some right here, and here is another favorite of mine.

Find Silence
It is in the silence that we find God. Try to adopt a discipline that affords you silence, a precious commodity in modern living. Make a holy hour each week, attend daily Mass, wake up twenty minutes early to pray. Whatever you do, take time each day to breathe and listen to the LORD. Melody at Blossoming Joy has a lovely post to help you get started.  We often lovingly tease my mother-in-law because her church puts the following on their marquee each Advent, "Shhh, It's Advent!" As I get older I appreciate the sentiment more and more, although it is still a funny sign.  Enjoy the season and come to Christmas day renewed and full of joy instead of depleted and grumpy. This truly is a joyful time of year, but Advent is only the beginning.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

For Those that Serve

Jesus said that there is no greater gift than to lay down ones life for a friend.  Imagine laying down your life for someone you have never met, for someone who has opposing views, for those who stand against all you stand for?  There is a saying that there are no atheists in foxhole. However, that isn't solely because when faced with the terror of impending death, so many seak God and pray for deliverance. To be in a foxhole voluntarily, a solider is living the greatest teachings of Christ. Love your neighbor as yourself and serve without seeking to be served.  Everyday thousands of Americans willingly and proudly don the uniform that not only brings them honor but makes them lay down their lives for neighbors, friends, family, strangers, countrymen.

It is not only in death that their lives are offered, but in the countless holidays spent in enemy territory, the evenings without bedtime stories, and weekends without rest, the endless hours of giving all they have for the sake of giving not receiving. These men and women offer their home life, vacations, hobby time, family gatherings, holidays, and worldly comforts so that we may live in peace and freedom.

We must also remember the families who serve, those on the home front, raising children, running homes, sacrificing time with those they love most so that we can have an active military. Their sacrifices are no less painful, no less important.

On this Veteran's Day, my family and I wish to extend a heartfelt and prayerful thank you in appreciation for all our military and their families contribute to make this country great. You are serving with all you have, May God richly bless your offerings.

Almighty God 

We stand before you in supplication, 
Asking Your Divine mercy and protection, 
To envelop with Your invincible armor, 
Our loved ones in all branches of the service. 

Give them courage and strength
Against all enemies, 
Both spiritual and physical, 
And hasten their safe journey, 
Back to their homes and families. 

If it be Your Holy Will
That they be gathered to Your bosom, 
With the eternal vanguard of the saints, 
Let their journey to Your everlasting arms
Be swift and painless, 
Where they may stand in honor and glory, 
Praising You for all eternity.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Teaching Vocations: Godly Dress Up Part 2

There are many "nun" costumes out there but, let's be honest, how many are quality ones.  As I looked around for dress up items to include in this post, I was reminded of when Cowgirl wanted a Native American dress up outfit. She has a genuine interest and love for all things Native American. Makes me wonder if somewhere down the line there is some Native American blood in our family tree. When she began asking for an outfit, I showed her some that were online and we discussed why they weren't very realistic or even appropriate. I told her that to do it correctly and learn alot in the process, we would design an outfit systematically.

First, I had Cowgirl decide which tribe she wanted to imitate. She chose the Nimipuu, or Nez Perce, since Kaya is one of her favorite American Girls.  We then looked at photographs and drawings of different outfits and discussed the purpose of each.  Since I couldn't afford real deerskin, she had to settle for felt and pony beads, but we made the outfit as close to the picture she selected as we could. We counted how many beads were in each design and what colors were used. In the end, it would not have won any costuming awards but she had a blast wearing it and had learned much about the real people who wore the similar outfits.

My point is, when getting costumes for dress up, make sure that they have some authenticity to them. You can even do as we did by selecting an order and creating your own outfit. It does not have to be fancy, nor expertly sewn, or even sewn at all. However, if you and your daughter learn about the order it represents and how they serve God it will foster a deeper appreciation of consecrated life and add richness to the pretend play.

Here are my suggestions for girls' dress up in the vocation realm:

Faithfulfindz has a number of saint costumes such as St Therese, Blessed Mother Teresa, and St Rose of Lima that could be used as habit costumes for the respective orders.

Catholic Costumes has a wide array of items and links for many habits and includes information about which saints were from each order.

Our Coat of Many Colors has gorgeous, well made costumes for many saints and orders. They also feature costumes for boys.

Coming next week, Cowgirl and I are going to put together a tutorial on making a dress up habit along with suggestions on how to adapt it for other orders. Please stay tuned. Thanks for visiting.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Teaching Vocations: Godly Dress Up

Do your children like to dress up? Mine do.  I know there are some who are against children "playing Mass", I know because my husband used to be one of them. However, children learn by playing, grow in understanding by imitation.  If imitation is the highest form of flattery, wouldn't you rather your child imitate their favorite priest as a hero instead of a comic strip character?  My children have a wide collection of dress up items where they dress up as everything from Laura Ingalls to St Therese.  I have never gotten them actual religious dress up items, but I hope to this Christmas. So, here is my post on ideas I have found around the web.


There are several shops selling vestments that range from ornate to simple, here's a sampling:
Faithfulfindz has a collection of vestments and saint costumes. They are beautifully made and so colorful. Also, these are the most reasonably priced one's on etsy.

If you have a little more money, you must check out Vestments for Juniors.  These are amazingly intricately designed vestments for children, including bishop 's mustard, and altar boy surplices.  Beautiful!

Now, I know for many of us, me included, it isn't possible to spend $55-$100 on dress up vestments. That is why I was thrilled to find a post on Catholic Sistas on how to make a no sew fiddleback vestments. The tutorial can be found here .  I am hoping to make one for Buddy, soon. A whole set would be even better, and since it is reversible, you would only need to make three. The only changes I would make, would be to use fusible web on the fabric to add body and durability. Fusible web also eliminates all the gluing around the edges. I would also attach embellishments with both fabric glue and hot glue for the same reason.

Well, I have a whole post about costumes for girls, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. The Kindle is stretching my patience and I am trying very hard not to lose it! :)  See you soon!