Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year's Eve!

Well, I must be off shortly. I will be working a half day today and then we will load up the car and head out of town. Each year since the boys were little we have spent New Year's away with our friends. After the hustle and bustle of Christmas (and hosting Christmas Day) it is so nice to spend a few days away relaxing.

This year we will be heading to Wisconsin. We will spend our time playing board games, watching movies, snow tubing and just enjoying each others company. Hopefully I'll squeeze in a little stitching time too ;-)

I've really enjoyed starting this blog just six months ago and joining the TDIPT family this year as well. If you have a chance on New Year's Eve, while waiting for midnight, stop by TDIPT around 9:00 p.m. or so. I'll have an update to my offerings as will the other very talented artists. Here's a little sneak peek of one of my offerings:
Thanks so very much to Betty of primitivebettys for the sweet and extremely *timely* design!

It has been a very blessed year for our family and I am so looking forward to 2009 - who knows what blessings it will bring??

Wishing you and your family A New Year filled with Blessings! Patti

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!

A favorite pillow stitched from a Notforgotten Farm pattern last year. Christmas Eve is here!

I'm not quite ready just yet, but will be set before Christmas Eve services at church this afternoon.

A few last presents to wrap. One more batch of cookies to decorate. Time to put all the extra leaves in the table and pull out all the extra chairs.

Christmas Eve is a quiet tradition - just the four of us. I think the final count coming to our house for Christmas Day is 22. It will be a busy day bustling with love and laughter.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas filled with loved ones and laughter.

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Luke 2: 16-20
Blessings to one and all, Patti

Sunday, December 21, 2008


I know that we are living in tough economic times. But I guess that I'm an optimist, always looking for that silver lining... We've become such a "consumer" culture in the past few decades and I'm hoping that as a society these tough times will help us all realign our priorities. Let's focus on family and friends. Giving gifts that come from our precious time and hands (and most importantly our hearts) rather than focusing on gifts solely from our wallets.Even with tough times, when we compare ourselves with many other parts of the world we are extremely fortunate. My youngest son's school focused on giving as part of the holiday festivities. Their focus was on Operation Smile, whose "Medical Missions teams travel around the globe to treat children with facial deformities such as cleft lip and cleft palate."
Our church focused on Heifer International - helping people to help themselves through agriculture.
An organization that has touched my heart is the focus of a friend of mine - Park Ridge Cares Kibosho Project. "Kibosho, a village in Northeast Tanzania located at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro is home to several thousand children orphaned due to HIV/AIDS. The village of Kibosho is struggling to find the resources to house, educate and care for these children."
"The Village of Kibosho expressed the need for a library/community center. This center will serve as a safe, structured environment for orphans and other children. It will also provide the entire community with a social, educational and recreational meeting space. The cost to build the center, stock and staff the library and provide ongoing training will require approximately $25,000. "

Our town is working with Global Alliance for Africa to try to fulfill Kibosho's need.
I hope that in this season of giving you find an organization that means a lot to you that you will consider giving to. If these tough times preclude you from giving monetarily, please consider giving your time, talents and love to someone in need.
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
Luke 2:13-15
Blessings to you this Christmas, Patti

Saturday, December 13, 2008


I just love nativity scenes - they show the true reason for the season. I collect miniature nativity scenes:

It started when I unearthed a few plastic ones that my sister and I received in Sunday School when we were little. One even has the original box. It's probably 35 years old now... I guess I should call it vintage...

The scenes come from all over the world: Germany, Austria, Israel, Peru, Vietnam... and are made of a variety of mediums.

I usually spread them throughout our home, but this year I decided to display them as a collection together.

I usually only buy one a year, but this year I bought three:

The tiny charm in the center is by Suzanne Davis of Pear Tree Primitives. I found it on her etsy shop. It's mounted on a Scrabble tile and came with a chain as well, so that I can wear it as a necklace too.
The phenomenal papercutting is by Beth Twist of Heartstring Primitives. I found it on ebay and am so glad that I won it!!! It is so tiny and detailed that it took my breath away when I unwrapped it. The entire framed piece measures 4 inches square. The papercutting itself is only 2 inches square square!
The last nativity is by artist, Hubert Kamptner of Christkindl Nativity. The molds that he uses to make the ceramic figures date back to 1803. His larger pieces are just incredible, especially those in the handpainted cabinets - I could only afford the smallest piece that he had, but it seems appropriate for my collection. This was my Christkindlmarket purchase this year.
If you have a moment, be sure to look at these artists lovely websites and blogs...
We have a larger nativity in our home as well:
This set began the year that we were married. My sister and her husband bought us the Holy Family and creche for our first christmas and it has been growing ever since. It's by Fontanini and I just love it. Each figure comes with a story card and the pieces are unbreakable so that the boys were able to play with it when they were little. They still set it up each year. I think we have hit the limit on pieces as we are running out of room... This nativity changes with the season. Right now Mary is on a donkey being led by Joseph and the Three Kings are on their mounts as well. Mary and Joseph will "arrive" first and the kings will "arrive" later - then the pieces are changed.

Next time I hope to share more of our decorations.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
Luke 2:8-12
Blessings, Patti

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Welcome to my *favorite* Chicago Christmas tradition - the Christkindlmarket! It runs from Thanksgiving to Christmas. You can always find me there on my lunch hour the Monday after Thanksgiving and at least once a week until it closes.

The Christkindlmarket is a German tradition. Each year dozens of German & Austrian craftsmen come to Chicago and set up their wares.
The Christkindlmarket is in Daley Plaza in the heart of the Loop. It's the sight of the official city Christmas Tree as well.

The booths are just incredible! Each year I buy one Christmas decoration (o.k. - maybe two!) I spend several trips deciding what my purchase will be for the year.

The booths start out so full, but will empty by Christmas.

These paper stars glow so beautifully! Should I buy one this year?

I received one of these beautifully handpainted globes as a gift last year.

I should mention that when I was visiting the market last Friday night it was 20 degrees and the windchill was zero. I would take off my mittens for a quick photo and put them right back on. I think my photos would have been better if it was a little warmer...
I could spend an hour looking at this booth alone!

Here's a close-up of some of the beautiful nutcrackers:
There are a few "inside" booths as well, but they were too crowded for taking photos. One is totally filled with beautiful glass ornaments, another with chocolates and candies where I must stock up on Kinder Schokolade for the boys for the year (It's definitely their favorite.)

When I come on my lunch hour I usually get my favorite treat - the potato pancakes - yum! Once a year I splurge for a souvenir mug off Gluwine to warm me up... Here are my mugs from over the years.
Each time I go to the Christkindlmarket, I feel like I have gone on a mini-vacation. All around me are the sights and smells of Germany. The vendors (and many customers) are speaking in German. Now in it's 12th year, I have wonderful memories of markets past - the year my husband and sons were sneaky and bought me a nutcracker. The year my German friend, Sabine and I had dinner at the market and then attended a Jim Brickman concert at the Chicago Theater...
Our city Christmas Tree is so beautiful - 9,000 LED lights, 58 3 foot snowflake ornaments, and 200 globe ornaments. (These ornaments are the size of lawn decorations...)
Next time I'll share some of Christmas decorations with you including my Christkindlmarket purchase...
"So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
-Luke 2:4-7

Blessings, Patti

Friday, December 5, 2008

Miracle on 34th Street (or in this case the Mag Mile)

I don't like crowds. I don't usually go anywhere that I know will draw huge crowds. But I make an exception once each year...
The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival and Parade
This tradition was restarted 16 years ago after a lapse since the 1960's and we've attended all but one. It's definitely gotten bigger over the years. The parade is now put on by Disney. Mickey Mouse is on the first float and with a wave of his wand *magically* lights each block's Christmas lights as he goes past. It's the official start of the holiday season on North Michigan Avenue aka The Magificent Mile. We definitely would watch this on t.v. instead, but my office in the Wrigley Building overlooks the parade.

We feel like we are straight out of "Miracle on 34th Street" and it is definitely the only reason that we attend.

This year our offices are being redone and we are in temporary space on the 14th floor. We couldn't really see Mickey's float until after he went over the Michigan Avenue bridge and turned the corner. But even over on Wacker Drive you can see the crowds.

This picture is looking south on Michigan Avenue towards Millenium Park. These folks can't see much, but still they gather.

Can you believe these crowds?
I would definitely have a panic attack in the middle of that crowd!
There goes Santa with all his reindeer! Next year, when we are back in our regular offices I should have better pictures to share.

One thing I did like about being on the 14th floor was the view of the fireworks after the parade!
The barge and tug boat are in the Chicago River. The blue lights on the river are the police boats keeping other boats away.

When the excitement is over, we head over to State Street to Macy's (the old Marshall Fields)
There we go to see The Great Tree.
Last year it was the 100th anniversary of The Great Tree and Martha Stewart designed and decorated the tree. This year is Tommy Hilfiger. The tree is situated in The Walnut Room. My grandparents took me there for lunch during the holidays and we continue the tradition with our sons.
I hope you've emjoyed this glimpse of Chicago at Christmas. I have so much more to share! Check back again soon, or even better come visit Chicago at Christmastime!

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. -Luke 2:1-3
Blessings, Patti

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A wonderfully busy time

I hope that each of you had a blessed thanksgiving filled with family and love.
All that's left of our thanksgiving is one baby boo pumpkin and an extremely large wishbone from a 24 pound turkey.

We had a wonderful visit to my parents' home and spent time creating wonderful new memories with my sister, her husband, and my niece and nephew, too. I don't usually share pictures of my family, but I think this one captures our joy ;-)
(For some reason, this one came out tiny and I can't make it big again...)
I was so thrilled to receive a special gift from my sister - she knitted me a gorgeous pair of mittens! (And a pair for our Mom, too!) She's definitely surpassed me in knitting ability. I am just tickled - they are wonderful to look at and sooo warm, too! I can't take them off! (The green one is mine.)

As we were getting ready to leave, she gave me the brown pair too! (I was watching her work on these while we were at our parents' home.) They look perfect with my suede jacket!Aren't they just a work of art?!
Wow! They really make me smile :-) I think one pair will be for wearing and one pair will be for displaying...

We came back from our visit in time for our town's Holiday Open House. And then the next day was another special event - our oldest son's high school (my alma matter) competed in the state championship football game. And WON! Our son is in the marching band and enjoyed playing at the game and performing in the half time show at the University of Illinois' Memorial Stadium.
I seem to have overcommitted myself to work, home and three different volunteer positions. In addition to creating crafts, which I love doing. (TDIPT updated yesterday. Be sure to go take a peek.) I just need to take a deep breath and continue on...
I have so much to blog about. Hopefully, I'll be back again soon.
We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known;
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing,
Sing praises to His name: He forgets not his own.
Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, wast at our side, All glory be thine!
We all do extol thee, thou leader triumphant,
And pray that thou still our defender wilt be.
Let thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!
Blessings, Patti