Friday, December 19, 2014

Busy Elves Tour

Advent starts out fairly slow and simple around here, then ramps up like crazy the last week or so. We do just a bit of decorating the first couple of weeks -- and do a good bit of preliminary behind-the-scenes planning (i.e., shopping).  Early hang a wreath with purple ribbon on our front door, trim our bulletin board in purple, and set up our Advent wreath and our little manger with the straw-incentive devotion for the children...

Our Advent calendar this year is a simple map of the Holy Land.
We've been moving a little image of the Holy Family, step
by step across the landscape to Bethlehem.  The first child up
and about gets to make the move.  (That's almost always William.)

Our manger with the straw is just out of the picture on a little
shelf just beneath the purple topper on the table beneath the
Blessed Mother and the Advent wreath... It's good and full
of soft hay, I'm happy to report!

But, now here we are -- less than a week to Christmas, and we have to scurry to get everything ready for Jesus' Birthday!  The children and I started the bare bones of the Nativity scene this past week, but Dominic is really the master of this art.  We were so relieved when he got the day off the work and could come help us finish it off in grand style!  

Dominic at the good ole' chop saw.
(The children decided today was "hat day."I don't know why; 
they just do that sort of thing sometimes.  Thus the chapeaus.
In case you wondered.)
 Come this way now, into the living room.  See what's going up on the venerable old green cabinet?
Starry sky installed, Dominic and company have begun working on the vertical "layers," here.
Since our house is so --
How shall I say?  Quaint?  Cute?  Compact?  Lacking horizontal space? 
-- we had to get creative and work up the wall for the Nativity scene...
Smile, William.  Thanks.
In the interest of full disclosure:  the house is a complete disaster today.  This small
sample of disarray doesn't do justice to the bedlam everywhere.

We think it's coming along amazingly -- but Dominic's not satisfied....  (We're
so not worried, though...  He always comes up with something spectacular.)

Meanwhile...  In the dining room, the girls are sharpening saw blades...

Because we have to be able to cut the Yule logs -- which mainly means the wood
that will keep us all from freezing this Christmas season...
...and because every girl should have "saw blade sharpening" in her repertoire of skills.
A little bit of holly and ivy on the book case -- and our old Franciscan monk
and nun that Gabriel found rummaging around out in storage bins today...
Everything, including the kitchen sink is starting to look Christmas-y.
(Check it out: more clean dishes on the drainboard than dirty dishes
in the sink. A miracle. Or beautifully efficient girls working behind the
scenes. Thanks, girls!)
The hand-carved Nativity Dan's parents brought us back from Bethlehem
a few years back.
Even a wreath on the bathroom door...
 And now, if you'd like, follow me outside, to the head elf's workshop...

Consider this an official pass to come in and have a look around.
Here we are, you see, at gift wrap central.
Got a nice snuggly fire going in Miss Hottentot.
(Need it, too; it's cold outside!)
Little wreath and candle over in the corner. (I love candles!)
My little Hummel, reading girl.  I've had her forever, but haven't
had a good place for her.  She seems very happy right here, though.
The daybed is hard to resist sometimes...  but too much work to do
to test it out just now...
Been drinking chai tea, using my early Christmas gift from Dan,
my electric kettle.  That drawer right there is full of tea.  :)
And my little cabinet.  My uncle's collection of little lead
Christmas skaters and a happy antique store find,
 our vintage sparkly Christmas town, seem made to
go in here.
The bulletin board above my desk we made from an old screen door
 with cork behind it. Isn't the original red paint awesome? 
And this is my favorite seat in my favorite place in the whole world.
How 'bout you snuggle in on the daybed and we'll have a cuppa
tea and a chat?
Oh, did you spy my little mouse house?  You have to get
a closer look.  This was so much fun to "build."  The children
built me my little summer kitchen hide-away -- and all I
constructed was this little hole in the wall.  But it makes me
smile.  Climb down there and have a look.
See?  That's Mr. and Mrs. Mouze.  (They're the mousie equivalent
of me and Dan.  See Mr. Mouze's glasses -- just like Dan's.)
Yes, see?  There's a light in there -- another couple mice, a rug,
 and an indoor Christmas tree.  

Got a little better view from here. Don't tell the Mouzes, but I'm
working on a welcome mat for them for Christmas --  and
maybe a covered porch.  Still working out the details...
 But now -- I guess I'd better get busy.  Have to go make some dinner. (Have no idea what!) and then have a slew more gifts to wrap!  So, yeah...  I'll spare you -- for now anyway.

"No more pictures!"
I'll update with some shots of the finished Nativity when Dominic gives me the thumbs up!

Thanks for coming by for a visit!  Blessings in the last week of preparation!

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