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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Ornaments at Isaiah House

Dear Readers,  I am a member of W.H.O.A. - Women Helping One Another and wanted to share with you a very special and dear to my heart W.H.O.A. art project that I volunteered to organize for Christmas ornaments at Isaiah House. 

  Isaiah House of the Orange County Catholic Worker is located in  Santa Ana, CA and offers shelter to the homeless, food and love to those in need and has been serving poor people with dignity since 1987. 

Our "Ornament Team"  - Erin Houghton, Libby Williamson and her lovely Mom, Mimi who is visiting from Connecticut.

W.H.O.A. volunteered to teach art related classes at Isaiah House and when we found out they needed Christmas ornaments we signed up to provide a class.  We purchased  sturdy wooden ornaments that would not break and decided to paint and glitter the  front and back of the ornaments to save time by not having to wait  for them to dry before the embellishments were applied 

                                     Embellishments for the ornaments set out and all ready to go!!!

                                  ** Note - all photos of the ladies were taken with their permission.   Everyone just getting started by picking out their ornaments. Libby and Mimi are at the decorations table  - each person was given a paper plate with glue, paint brush, tooth pick (for tiny ornaments) and the decorations they choose.  This worked very well and we were able to keep the process organized and moving quickly.

The ladies loved picking out their embellishments and personalizing their own ornaments and tags.

We gave out a flyer inviting the members of Isaiah House to the W.H.O.A. ornament and tag decorating class a week before the class, and asked everyone to be thinking about a word or words to write on their tag that represented the joy of spending  Christmas at Isaiah House.  The words written on their tags were heartwarming - Love, Peace, Joy, Blessings.  One lady pulled me aside to tell me that she thought about the word she wanted to write all week and she proudly showed me her tag with the words " Magic House". She was certainly right about that for we found our experience to be truly magical and filled with  so much love.

We had a separate table for the tags with stickers, stamps, colored markers, scissors, cuts outs, ribbons and bells.  Libby suggested glittered pipe cleaners for hanging the tags and they were huge hit with the ladies.

Isaiah House rescues animals and keeps them safe until the Shelter comes to pick them up.  Sometimes  the animals end up staying as permanent residents as this beautiful green bird did!  They also give out dog food to the Homeless with dogs .

                                                       Another happy resident Cat!   

We found Isaiah House to be a "magical place" with the love and care shown to the homeless living there  as well as homeless animals.

This little dog is blind in one eye and belongs to one of the ladies that lives at Isaiah House.

We took several ornaments shaped liked dog bones and tags with photos of  cats and dogs  for the ladies to decorate for the animals that live at Isaiah House and they were so excited that we remembered the animals. 

One of the rescued cats eyeing the decorated  Christmas tags.One of the tags has "Magic House" written on the back!!

One of the ladies consulting with Libby Williamson on her decoration.  Libby is a fabulous artist and teaches classes at The Dragon Fly in Old Towne Orange -you can see more of her work and learn about her classes at: www.dragonflyshopsandgardens.com

                             Some of the residents admiring the beautiful ornaments and tags they created.  

This dog is a permanent resident and part of the family of the four Catholic Workers who lovingly  operate Isaiah House.

                     The completed ornaments and tags drying and waiting to be hung on the tree.

Jenelle VandeMortel in black jacket hanging lights on the tree with one of the ladies.  Jenelle is the founder of W.H.O.A. and can be reached at www.whoadesigns.com for information and membership.

Libby hanging an Angel on top of the tree - and yes somehow she reached the top.  

In the Spirit of Christmas we left "The Magic House" with our hearts filled with love and admiration  for the homeless ladies who live there and the four Catholic Workers and countless volunteers who offer shelter, food, and love to those in need as well as  rescue animals in need. Our Christmas ornament and tag class represents what W.H.O.A. is all about - Women Helping One Another and then reaching out to Help Other Women in Need.  As Jenelle says so often - "we are so powerful working together."

                                                          Merry Christmas, Erin

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Cottage

Welcome to my Christmas Cottage.  In the midst of this busy time of year I am so happy that you stopped by to have a cup of tea and relax  with me for a few minutes. I love to bring the outdoors inside this time of year and decorate our home with simple greens, berries, Paper Whites and potted plants.

Let's join Bentley, My Studio Assistant, in the garden to see what winter flowers are blooming to bring in for Christmas as we are expecting wind, rain and a cold front today. 

The Paper Whites have gotten so tall and  I want to bring them in before the wind topples them over. The Poinsettias are beautiful and perfect for Christmas. 

Love adding pots of Poinsettias to baskets this  time of year.

Bringing the outdoors indoors for the Holidays. 

Bentley loves to play with ornaments on the Christmas tree and actually pulled down our large tree  two years in a row.  After that I purchased a small living tree and put it on a table out of harms way.  The tree now happily lives in the garden year round and is brought  in for Christmas.  This year I used tote bags to wrap large gifts in - kind of two gifts in one. My style is coastal cottage and I love using flags and sea shells on the tree and decorations


My collection of Snowmen and Snowladies add a touch of whimsy this time of year.

Thank you for visiting.  I sincerely appreciate your visits, e-mails, comments and those of you following my blog.  I will be back the fist week of January with new paintings to share with you, and would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a Blessed and very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.  

                                                           Christmas Blessings,  Erin

"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."  Luke 2:14

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Joy of Giving Gifts From The Garden

Welcome.  I am so happy that you stopped by.  My garden gate is always open for you to come in and sit and relax for a few minutes with a cup of hot tea.  Today I want to share with you some simple and easy Christmas gifts that I shared in my recent article in Southern Guide to Life magazine.  The entire article can be found at www.southernguidetolife.com.

We will be in the garden today as the weather in Southern California  is beautiful -sunny and in the high 60's.

                                     Bentley, my Studio Assistant, is waiting to greet you!!
My favorite containers are vintage finds that can be purchased at garage sales or flea markets.  Pine cones, berries and birds add a Christmas touch. Paper Whites can be grown from bulbs or purchased at your local market or nursery.

I plant  lots of Paper White bulbs and give 2 -3 pots to friends to put on their front porch.  The addition of a red bow or berries to the pots give them a  festive look.

Herbs can be planted in any container - line container with plastic - add a little gravel and then plant in a good potting soil.  The herbs can be planted in a container or the ground in your Spring garden.

Plant two small house plants in a container and add a little red bird and presto - a lovely gift from your garden for under $12.00

A small pot of Ivy purchased for $2.95 and planted in a tea pot with missing lid is a  charming gift and cost under $10.00.

Herbs are a welcome gift for someone who likes to cook and will grow all Winter in a sunny window.

A Rosemary topiary tree in a red pot with a plaid bow makes an adorable gift and can be planted in the garden in the Spring.

Thank you for stopping by.  I sincerely appreciate your visits, e-mails, comments and those following my blog.  New week I will share Christmas in my cottage with you.

Have a lovely week.   Blessings,   Erin

"In him we live and move and have our being"; as even some of your own poets  have said, "For we too are his offspring."  Acts 17:28