Thursday, December 31, 2020

The Seventh Way

 The Seventh Way of Christmas


Our days and hours are precious to us. Once they are gone, you can never get it back. How can you give your time and attention today? Maybe you can call someone who needs a listening ear or silence your phone to give someone your undivided attention.

Time: A daily treasure which attracts many robbers. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

The Sixth Way

 The Sixth Way of Christmas 


Sometimes we reserve our kindest actions for strangers, while letting ourselves deal irritably with those who live with us. Today, find a way to bless your spouse, child, parent, sibling, or co-worker. Tell them how much you love and appreciate them.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

The Fifth Way

 The Fifth Way of Christmas - 


Do you know a small business owner who is struggling to make ends meet? Especially since the pandemic has affected so many businesses? Make it a point to stop by their store or order a meal from their restaurant. Give an extra tip to someone in the service industry. Help those who may be struggling as a result of a difficult year. 

Monday, December 28, 2020

The Fourth Way

 The Fourth Way of Christmas

DONATE - During this time of  year, we tend to donate to charities. But what if we donated throughout the year? Making a quilt for someone who has lost everything. Or pillowcases for children in the hospital. Making masks for the mailman or delivery person. There are always needs for monetary donations. St. Jude's Children's Hospital, the Hospice Foundation or any other ministry you support.  It truly is more blessed to give than receive.

"But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing." Matthew 6:3

Sunday, December 27, 2020

The Third Way

 The Third Way of Christmas 

CARE - The needy are all around us, and we are often called to care for them. Consider a way you can help today. Ask about how you can volunteer to serve. Whether it's Meals on Wheels, or sharing a ride to a Doctors appointment. Give canned goods to a local food pantry or buy a gift card for someone who is struggling. There is always someone who can use a helping hand.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

The Second Way

 The Second Way of Christmas 

KINDNESS - How can you bless someone with kind actions today? Sometimes we get so busy and rush around we forget to be kind to others. Kindness is defined as being friendly, generous, and considerate. Look for a way you can surprise someone by offering the gift of kindness. Maybe it is allowing someone to get before you in a long checkout line - or even paying for their purchase (paying it forward). Kindness often requires courage and strength, 

Friday, December 25, 2020

12 Ways of Christmas

"The Twelve Days of Christmas" historically did not reference the days leading up to Christmas, but the twelve days following it. The period begins with birth of Christ on December 25th, Christmas Day, and ends with the coming of the Three Wise Men on January 6th, the Epiphany or Three Kings Day.

But today we will start to share the 12 Ways of Christmas, and how we can share love. 

1. GRATITUDE - Saying thank you is a gift in itself, but putting our appreciation into writing can be even more meaningful, especially during this year when so many have faced loneliness and confinement. Who can you bless today with a card or letter of thanks?

Christmas Prayer

Christmas Prayer

Loving Father, help us remember the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in the Song of the Angels,
            the Gladness of the Shepherds,
           and the Worship of the Wise Men.

Close the door of hate and open the door of Love all over the world.
Let Kindness come with every gift and Good Desires with every greeting.

Deliver us from evil by the Blessing which Christ brings, and Teach us to be merry with Clear Hearts.

May the Christmas morning make us happy to be Thy Children and 
the Christmas evening bring us to our beds with Grateful Thoughts, Forgiving and Forgiven.

For Jesus' Sake........ Amen

~ Robert Louis Stevenson ~

Wishing you and your families a very blessed and Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2020

What to Do This Christmas


Many years ago I received a newsletter that captured my attention. I have saved it all these years and I share it with you today.

                                What To Do This Christmas

This Christmas, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Share some treasure. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Find the time. Forego a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Listen. Apologize if you were wrong. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Appreciate others. Be kind; be gentle. Laugh a little. Laugh a little more. Deserve confidence. Take up arms against malice. Decry complacency. Express your gratitude. Go to church. Welcome a stranger. Gladden a heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love. Speak it again. Speak it once more. Christmas is a celebration, and there is no celebration that compares with the realization of its true meaning --- with the sudden stirring of the heart that has extended itself toward the core of life. Then, only then, is it possible to grasp the significance of that first Christmas --- to savor in the inward ear the sweet music of the angel choir; to envision the star-struck sky, and glimpse, behind the eyelids, the ray of light that fell athwart a darkened path and changed the world. 

                                        Author Unknown

Wishing you a joyous Christmas. May the true spirit of Christmas be with you throughout the year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Nativity Scenes


St.Francis of Assisi is credited with staging the first nativity scene on Christmas Eve in 1223. He was concerned that the meaning of Christmas was being lost. He obtained permission from Pope Honorious III to set up a manager with two live animals in a cave in the Italian village of Grecio. He then invited the villagers to come and gaze upon the scene while he preached about the babe of Bethlehem. 

Within a couple of centuries nativity scenes spread throughout Europe. Later scenes incorporated live dioramas and actors.

Many American Christians set up a small nativity scene in their homes. It is often under their Christmas trees. There might also be a larger one set up outside in their yard. The scene will depict the first Christmas where the Baby Jesus is in his first bed, called a manger. The scene also includes his mother, Mary and her husband Joseph. 

The scene may also include shepherds, wisemen as well as some livestock animals. Although they are familiar characters, we know it is not biblically accurate. Of the four gospels only Matthew and Luke describe Jesus' birth. Matthew mentions wise men and Luke comments on shepherds. But they are not mentioned together. The Gospel of Matthew suggests the Magi followed the Star to Jesus' home a year or more after his birth. 

While the Christmas season has become very commercialized, the nativity scene represents the birth of Christ and draws us back to the real focus on the holiday -- the humble and simple surroundings of Jesus.  His life and message of God's forgiveness. He made this possible through His death and becomes available to all through simple faith in Him. His coming to earth is among the most significant events in history. Even our calendar dating system is based on the fact of His being here. Christmas honors the birth and coming of the most remarkable Person.

ref - Smithsonian magazine

American Holidays - Bill Perry

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Holiday Food


Although the foods served for Christmas dinner may vary from family to family, typical items usually found at an American family's Christmas dinner would include turkey and dressing, potatoes and gravy sweet potatoes, green vegetables, cranberry sauce, nuts, fruit cake, pumpkin pies and sweets. 

Leaving milk and cookies for Santa is a custom popularized in the Great Depression as a way to show gratitude for blessings even in times of hardship.

Oranges in stockings 'tradition also started from the Great Depression when fresh oranges were a rare treat. The fruits segments represent the ability to share what you have during the season of giving.

Eggnog is usually the favorite drink for the whole family. The beverage itself dates back to the middle ages. The drink combines milk, eggs, alcohol, and spices. The first known use of the term "nog" was in 1693. One dictionary lists the word "eggnog" as an Americanism invented in 1765. In Britain the drink was originally popular with the aristocracy as the ingredients were expensive. When the recipe came to America, there were farms with access to eggs and cream and cheap rum and quickly became a favorite beverage for special occasions. 

ref - wikipedia 

American Holidays - Bill Perry

Monday, December 21, 2020

Christmas Carols


The first Christmas hymns were written in the 5th Century. Originally composed in Latin, they contained primarily theological topics. Carols (noels), songs with more human and personal subjects, appeared in the 1200's. During the Middles Ages (AD 900-1400) people incorporated drama and plays into the celebration of Christmas. Carols became an integral part of these re-enactments. After the plays, carolers strolled down the street singing - thus, the birth of street caroling. Many of the traditional favorite Christmas carols, such as "O Come, All Yet Faithful" and "Silent Night" were written in the 1800's.The publication of Christmas music books in the 19th century helped to widen the appeal of carols. 

Christmas songs such as "Jingle Bells" and "White Christmas" came later and reflect a more secular viewpoint of the holiday. Handel's' Messiah, an oratorio first performed in 1742, had a modest public reception but gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the best known choral works in Western music. 

Musicologists agree that Christmas music is among the finest written in the world. 

ref- Wikipedia

American Holidays - Bill Perry

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Cranberry Pineapple Salad


We love making this recipe during the holidays. It's a refreshing salad/dessert any time of the year.  But the festive 
Whole Berry Cranberries goes so well with the holidays.

Cranberry Pineapple Salad

1 can (20 oz) Crushed Pineapple
2 packages (3 oz ) OR 1 large package Raspberry Gelatin
1 can (16 oz) Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce
1 medium apple, chopped
2/3 cup Chopped Nuts

Drain pineapple, reserve all liquid.  Add enough cold water to measure 3 cups and pour into saucepan.
Bring to a boil, remove from heat.  

Add gelatin, stir for 2 minutes until completely dissolved.  Add Whole Berry Cranberry sauce, and stir until well blended.  

Pour into a large bowl and refrigerate at least 1 1/2 hours until slightly thickened.

Stir in remaining pineapple, apple and nuts, stirring gently until well blended.

Pour into mediums size cake pan (or festive bowl) and refrigerate 4 hours or until firm.

**I have also used Strawberry Jello as a substitute for the Raspberry, when in a pinch.  

Friday, December 18, 2020

Gift Giving


Presents. Who doesn't like receiving presents. For Birthdays or Christmas or any other occasion.

Critics of commercialization of Christmas tend to attribute the growth of holiday gift-giving to marketing efforts. However the historical custom of gift- giving appears to be established around 336 CE and is tied to the story of the traditional gifts of the Magi. Secondly, Saint Nicholas's tradition of gift-giving is also cited. For many centuries gift-giving took place on December 6 around Saint Nicolas Day or early January after New Years Eve. But the popularity of this custom grew after the reaction in 1823 of the poem Twas The Night Before Christmas and the novella The Christmas Carol. By the end of the 19th century, Christmas Eve became the most common date for gift-giving in Western Culture. 

Of course the economic impact started directing marketing efforts around the turn of the 20th century. In the early 2000's it is estimated that shoppers in the U.S. spent over $4 billion each day of the Christmas shopping season.

As the origin of Christmas reflects upon the first gifts of the Magi, gold, frankincense and myrrh, each one reflects the kindness that God showed in giving His Son as a gift to the world. Both Christians and non-Christians enjoy this opportunity to express love by gift-giving.

Ref - Wikipedia

American Holidays - Bill Perry

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Christmas Cards


Have you picked up your mail today?? Was there a letter from a friend, or a package, or just bills and junk mail?

I've thought about how easy we have it in our world today. Most of us receive mail right at our front door. Packages arrive either by mail, or a delivery service like UPS or Fedex.

How hard it must have been years ago. The pioneers in our country waited weeks, or maybe even months to hear about their loved ones. Some people found out a year after a loved one had passed away. When receiving a letter, it was like receiving a gift. Family would gather around to hear the latest news from the letter being read.

During this season of the year, we tend to hear from family and friends that live far away. Christmas cards are still sent by way of postal. I love hearing from old friends and what has been going on in their lives during the past year.

Christmas cards are a rather recent addition to the holidays. Handwritten notes of holiday greetings preceded card giving. Artist John Calcott Horsley was approached by Henry Cole to design the first Christmas card in 1843. By the late 1860's, Christmas cards had become as popular as handwritten messages. Around 1875 Louis Prang, a Russian immigrant, is credited for designing the first multicolored cards. In 1915, the Hall Brothers, now Hallmark, sold a folded greeting card with an envelope in the United States. Billions of holiday greetings are sent by Americans in the mail each holiday season. 

The U.S. Postal Office Department introduced the first Christmas stamp on November 1, 1962 in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania

Designed by Jim Crawford, one billion copies of the Wreath, Two Candles and the words "Christmas 1962" was produced that year.

Ref - Smithsonian magazine

American Holidays - Bill Perry


Monday, December 14, 2020

The legend of the Candy Cane


The red and white striped candy cane has become one of the most popular symbols of Christmas. Legend has it that in 1670 a German choirmaster, wishing to remedy the noise caused by children during church, asked a local candy maker to make sugar sticks for them. He asked to add a crock to the top of each stick, which would remind the children of the shepherds who visited the infant Jesus. The candy was originally white in color. The candy cane became associated with Christmas time.

The white canes made their appearance in the U.S. in 1847. Designed by a candy maker in Indiana, he thought about several aspects of Christmas and used these ideas in the candy canes design. The pure white represents both the virgin birth of Jesus and His sinless life on earth. The smaller red stripes symbolize the "stripes" Jesus received when He was whipped shortly before He died.  The larger red stripes stand for his blood that was shed as he died on the cross. The curled top makes it appear as a shepherd's staff. Upside down, the cane forms the letter "J" the first letter of the name of Jesus. Most of these symbols are not commonly known today. 

ref - American Holidays - Bill Perry'



Saturday, December 12, 2020

Delicious Snacks

 Today I want to share these goodies. They are delicious for a snack, but they make very nice little gifts as well.

My niece made these Sweet Roasted Nuts for us one year and of course we all loved them and wanted the recipe. Well, she basically said she did not have a recipe but told me how to make them.

The cast of characters

1 bag of pecan halves (or 1 1/2 cups)
1 bag of walnuts (or 1 1/2 cups)

Melt 1/2 stick of butter, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, a pinch of salt and a little vanilla in a sauce pan.

Coat the nuts in the mixture and then spread on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. You will know when they are done when you smell them!

Cool on wax paper before storing

I found these little canning jars at Target, and they are the perfect size for gift giving.

I hope you enjoy making these little morsels. They are so delicious to eat and you could make someone very happy :-)

Friday, December 11, 2020

The sparkle of Tinsel


Tinsel was originally made of extruded strands of silver. As early as the seventh century, families draped trees with long thin strands of silver. Although they had a tendency to tarnish, the stands were added to enhance the glow of flickering candlelight creating a twinkly effect.

In the early 1900's German immigrants imported traditions to America. They looked for ways to decorate trees inexpensively. So manufacturers started making tinsel out of aluminum and copper. Although affordable they were highly flammable. At the beginning of WW I copper went to the war effort and tinsel disappeared from Christmas displays. 

Lead was found to be a good substitute. Unlike silver, lead did not tarnish. So along with ornaments and electric lights, tinsel once again became popular. 

By the 1970's the government started limiting how much lead could be used in consumer products. By 1972 all lead was ceased to be used in tinsel.

Modern tinsel is made from polyvinyl chloride coated with a metal finish. 

Garland is a type if tinsel. It's like tinsel on a string that you wrap around the tree.

Do you use garland or tinsel on your Christmas tree? When we had a real tree, we would use tinsel. But it's been many years since we've had a real tree. So now we use garland.

Ref: Wikipedia 


Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Christmas Ornaments


Early Christmas trees were decorated with apples, beads, paper, nutshells and tinsel.  Some were even pastries in shapes of stars, hearts and flowers. Glass ornaments were first made in Germany by a glassblower named Hans Greiner in the 1840's.

Other glassblowers in Lauscha recognised the growing popularity and began producing them in a wide range of designs. In the early 20th century, Americans decorated their trees with mostly hand made ornaments. In America, the first glass ornaments were produced by William DeMuth in 1870. Stores began selling ornaments and by 1910 Woolworths had over 1000 stores selling Christmas ornaments across America.

In 1973 Hallmark started making Christmas ornaments. Each year a line of limited edition ornaments are created. 

Most ornaments are used year after year, and are passed down from one generation to the next.  

I've had these ornaments since I was a child, over 50 years,

These were given to us by an aunt who is no longer with us.

Special occasions.

A skiing trip with the family 

When we bought our trailer.

A trip to Russia.

Baby's first Christmas 

They teach us about many things. Family, traditions, history.... 

Do you have any special ornaments that are a family tradition or treasure? 

Monday, December 7, 2020

Christmas Lights


Edward Hibberd Johnson is credited for stringing lights around a Christmas tree in New York City in 1882. Johnson was a friend and partner of Thomas Edison. Edison's Illumination company hand wired 80 red white and blue light bulbs and wound them around his Christmas tree. Before electric Christmas lights, families would use candles, which proved to be dangerous and often led to fires.

In 1895 President Grover Cleveland requested that the White House Christmas tree be illuminated with hundreds of multi-colored electric light bulbs.

On Christmas Eve 1923, President Calvin Coolidge started the Christmas celebration by lighting the National Christmas Tree with 3,000 electric lights. 

The Star of Bethlehem is the source for the presence of lights as ornaments. They are usually placed at the top of Christmas trees to convey the idea of  Jesus' birth in Bethlehem. The Bible pictures the world in spiritual darkness until the birth of Christ, and compares His birth to light penetrating a dark place. 

Some 150 million sets of lights are sold in the U.S every year.

reference: History

Library of Congress 

American Holidays - Bill Perry

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Last minute gifts


Almost every year I post this. There are so many wonderful tutorials out there in blog land. If you have one that you enjoy, I'd love to hear about it. But for today, grab your coffee or hot tea and visit these interesting and informative blogs.

As always we love to read Karen's very creative Tool Time Tuesday.  Check out her repurposed gift tags. I just might have to get one of those big round punches.

This is one of my all time favorite Travel-sized Tissue Cozy patterns. Last year I made a ton of these. Kim shared her easy tutorial on "an oft traveled road".

I have all the fabric ready and waiting for this pattern by Tea Rose Home. It is a Modern Square Garden quilt.

The TipNut has 35 Fat Quarter project ideas.

How about NoodleHead's Gathered clutch.

And get a load of this!  Sew Sweetness Secretary Bag.

Have you got a little buddy to make a gift for? How about this TOO cute Softie doll from "60piggies".

Sigh...... zippers............. Noodlehead shares a tutorial on a sweet Lil Cutie PouchMake them by the dozens. For teachers and friends. And add a Notebook Cover from "My Patchwork".

And how about this adorable Rudolph Bag from Clover and Violet.

You can also check out my tutorial for making pillowcases listed on my sidebar.

Orange you glad you checked Cluck Cluck Sew for an Orange Quilt.

How about a pencil case.  Shared by A Spoonful of Sugar.

Whew, that should keep us busy! Go forth and SEW :-)

Friday, December 4, 2020

Cookie Exchange, Blog Hop and GIVEAWAY!

Welcome to Day 4 of the Virtual Cookie Exchange and Christmas Blog Hop. Today is my day!

First of all thank you to Carol of Just Let Me Quilt for hosting. I'm sure everyone has enjoyed visiting the blogs for cookie recipes and Christmas ideas. 

My recipe is one my daughter found a few years ago. It's a cookie bar and a Starbucks copy cat and let me tell you they are delicious.

The picture shows it on the right and is called Cranberry Bliss bars. 

Cranberry Bliss Bars

Makes 16 bars.

You can find the recipe here -


Let's get down to the Blog Hop. Today I'd like to share Scrappy Cards. You can see all the directions on my sidebar. But I made different Christmas trees for your to see how you can incorporate scraps for your cards.

These are from the original post.

You can be as creative as you want. 
You can find the directions HERE and HERE.


OK for the Christmas Blog Hop I am hosting a GIVEAWAY for three of my US readers. These will be surprise packages but I can guarantee it will be worth it. Just leave a comment on this post and be sure I have a way to contact you if you are a no reply blogger. 

For a second chance,  I would love for you to FOLLOW my blog! Leave a second comment and let me know HOW you follow. 

And if you want a third chance, you can FOLLOW my Instagram (happycottagequilter), then leave a third comment. That's right. You have three chances if you follow along.

This will be a quickie giveaway, so I will close the comments on Sunday Dec. 6. Because of the cost of mail, the giveaway is for US readers. 

Please note, if I can't contact you I will draw another name

One last thing. I have a Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen for sale. You can take a look HERE.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Be sure to stop by the others that are posting today.

December 4

Just Let Me Quilt

Quilt Fabrication

Seams To Be Sew

Happy Cottage Quilter

Pumpkin Patch Patterns & Quilting

The Darling Dogwood

Kathleen McMusing


DesertSky Quilting