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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


Stacey said...

Erin, that's such a sweet thing to be involved with. Love that you are sharing your passion for art with these ladies. Merry Christmas.

Anonymous said...

What comfort for people who assisted to your Christmas ornements project. Giving time to people who have nothing is really "esprit de Noël". I am not surprised that you are part of W.H.O.A because your generosity is visible in your paintings.
I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.


Merlesworld said...

Looks like everyone is having a good time Merry Christmas to you all.

Amber ~ The French Pressed Home said...

You have depicted the true meaning of Christmas, Erin. Merry Christmas to you and all the WHOA girls!

Unknown said...

Erin, This is a perfect post about a very special day! We had such a magical time! Thank you for your awesome organizational skills, your dedication to this project and all the Love you share!
Merry Christmas!

Love, Libby

Anonymous said...

Kudos and accolades!
You did such a fantastic job leading the charge and creating this wonderful class to help the women at the Isaiah House celebrate Christmas.
You, Libby Williamson and her mom, Mimi truly knocked it out of the ballpark.
Thank you for your time, energy and dedication to helping others. You inspire all of us!!
"We are So Powerful Working Together"

zooperson said...

What an inspiration and the perfect time to help one another . Merry Christmas

ThriftyGirl51 said...

They look like they are really enjoying the class, it is so nice that they care for the pets of the residents too.