farmhouse Christmas

Welcome! Dear Sugar Pie! Happy Christmas bells are ringing at Sugar Pie Farmhouse! You know what? Life has been a little cray-cray around here! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat down to finish this post and for some reason life-stuff has called me away! And one day my server was down so I couldn’t even log-in! Goodness gracious! Christmas is only a week away! Thankfully, I’ve finally got it up and running and I’m so thrilled that you’re here!!

As Andy Williams’ old song goes “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”.  If you were here in person I would greet you with a warm hug, hand you a mug of hot cocoa with fluffy marshmallows on top and sit you down near the fire for a fun chat all about the blessings of Christmas. But since I can’t do that the next best thing is to welcome you with open arms via this little-o blog of mine to celebrate this glorious season!

So darlin’ go grab yourself something yummy to drink, turn on your favorite Christmas music and even light a candle to create a festive, Christmas-y ambiance! Let me show you around…

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A blanket of “snow” and frosty “icicles” drip from the mantle! This simple snowy blanket is just made from quilt batting! I cut the “icicles” along the edge, painted it with white glue and sprinkled clear glitter on top to make it glisten like frost. If you’ve followed my blog for long you may recognize my matching buckets. I use them over and over for every season. I’ll never forget, a few years back, when my hubby and I were in St. Charles, Missouri and I went into a gift shop filled with all kinds of fancy and sparkly Christmas decorations. He waited outside while I shopped and was so surprised when I walked out with these two very old and crusty galvanized buckets. “Huh!” he said, “I can’t believe out of everything in that store you chose those junky buckets!” I chuckled, “HELLO!!! I LOVE JUNK!! Trust me honey, I have big plans for these!”  to which he shook his head from side to side with a grin, kinda like Ricky did with Lucy. I am so thankful he trusts me to decorate our home! ‘Cuz that’s my thang! So see, those buckets turned out to be the perfect container for my little lighted trees!

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Noel…born is the King of Israel.

Just a little trivia for fun: This old Christmas Carol was most likely from the 18th century. The word Noel comes from the French word Noël meaning Christmas, from the Latin word natalis which translates as birthday”.

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“Vintage” mittens and jingle bells hung over the fire. I bought children’s white mittens from Walmart and soaked them in a bucket of instant coffee and hot water for a day to “age” them. After they dried, I dipped the end of the mittens in glue and glitter. They look like they’ve been kept in an attic for decades.

I love to create vignettes as I decorate and after I finish sometimes a story pops in my head. Here’s my story about these mittens, it goes like this:

The setting;

The Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee. December 20, 1910

(Before you begin reading, if you want to add a little excitement to this story go open a new tab and go to Pandora.com then type in “Yo-Yo Ma” as your music category. Then come back here. Yo-Yo Ma is an amazing Cellist, I listen to this station while writing. LOVE!!” )

Since Pa took the wagon into Knoxville for a few days to get supplies, Mama thought it would be a good time to finish up the Christmas present she was making for him. With Christmas just a week away she had so much to do. So she sent her children, Henry, Andrew and Emma outside to get their wiggles out by frolicking in the snow. All buttoned and mittened-up, they giggled and squealed, throwing snowballs, playing tag, and catching snowflakes that lazily floated from the heavens onto their tongue.

After a while, the icy north wind began to blow hard with a fierce and rapid flow of thick snowfall. Inside, as mama placed the steaming skillet of browned biscuits onto the table, shutting the heavy oven door, her eyes caught a glimpse of the heavy rush of snow streaming sideways past the small kitchen window.  The yard was a white blur. How long has it been snowing like that? Panic struck her.  Flinging the front door open she dashed outside onto the porch. The raw wind was so biting it took her breath away. Her children were nowhere to be seen. She couldn’t even see ten feet in front of her. She shouted, “Henry! Andrew! Emma!”. Only the wind replied, with a forlorn, hollow whistle. Her heart dropped and her legs felt weak. They must have wandered beyond the barn and perhaps through the thicket into the woods. She shuttered at the thought. “Lord have mercy!” she wailed. In a frenzy, she grabbed the rope of the hefty dinner bell that stood tall next to the porch steps. Her long skirt whipped and snapped as the wind howled passed her. She rang the bell again and again and again, praying they would hear it and walk toward the sound. Clang. Clang. Clang. Echoing throughout the hills, it pealed the call to come home! Tears poured from her eyes, wetting strands of hair blown across her face. Her hand, frozen numb, tried to wipe them clear. She struggled to see through the blinding milky haze. “Lord please!” she pleaded, “Lead them home!” Clang. Clang. Clang. Time seemed frozen.

Suddenly a tiny flash of red began to pierce the blizzard veil. Squinting with all of her might, it appeared to be coming closer. It was Emma’s scarlet-red knitted bonnet! “Oh!! Thank you Jesus!” she trembled. Henry, Andrew and Emma holding hands, mitten to mitten, pushing through the bitter whirlwind as mama raced to gather up her chicks and whisk them into the comfort, safety and warmth of home.

Henry, the eldest, explained they decided to play in the barn and didn’t realize the storm outside until he heard the dinner bell. He instructed his siblings to “hold hands real tight and walk to the sound of the bell!”.

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That evening after supper, Mama gathered the damp mittens. Tenderly, she kissed each one with heartfelt thanks to the Lord as she hung them from the mantle to dry above the fire. Thank you Lord, that the dear little hands that filled these mittens are safe and sound!

Calling her children to come, they knelt in front of the glowing embers. Basking in the soothing heat, she wrapped her arms around them and cuddled them close to her heart. One by one, she cupped each little plump face in her hands and looked into bright, trusting eyes. She kissed their warm foreheads, inhaling deeply, savoring their sweetness. Mama prayed aloud thanking the Lord for His goodness and for bringing her babies home, safe. Her eyes glistened as tears of overwhelming gratefulness welled up. Softly, she began to sing.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

Mama spoke gently, “You know children, when I saw the itty-bitty speck of red from Emma’s bonnet poking through the blurry-white of the swirling snow, it flooded my heart with such hope! I was so relieved! I thought, my babies are going to be alright! And when you heard the dinner bell ring, even though you couldn’t see me, you knew I was there, waiting for you. That’s just like The Lord!  Out of His great love for us, He came to this stormy world, in the midst of all it’s turmoil and chaos, to bring us hope, to rescue us and bring us safely home! Jesus is like that dinner bell, we just need to follow the sound of His voice. Even though we can’t see Him, we know He is there. His love surrounds us. The Bible tells us so”. She swallowed hard.  “He’s promised to be with us, always and forever! Darlin’s, don’t ever forget that. No matter what.”

“Yes Ma’am” Henry nodded.

“Henry” Mama commended, “you did the right thing, taking care of your brother and sister. I’m proud of you son.”

Andrew spoke up bravely, “Mama, when I heard the dinner bell, I wasn’t a-scared! I was thinkin’ how good them biscuits was gonna taste in my mouth at supper.” Mama, smiled as she ruffled his curly head.

“Emma” Mama quizzed, “Do you have anything to say?”

Four and a half year old Emma, pondered for a second, then gushed brightly, “I think red is my favorite color!” Mama confided with a knowing heart, “mine too!”.

Mama saved these mittens even after Henry, Andrew and Emma outgrew them. She saved Emma’s scarlet-red bonnet too. You see, every year, at Christmastime, Mama brings them down from the attic and hangs them from the mantle fastened to twine, interspersed with bells. It serves as a reminder and testament of God’s blessings, His grace, daily mercies, His faithfulness and eternal love. She never wants to forget that. No matter what.

*****

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Ok…so my “story” turned out to be a movie in my head! Heehee!  I just felt the Lord drawing it out of my heart to share with you. Perhaps you are facing a storm in your life. Sorrow or fear has gripped your heart or maybe you can’t see past the past. Jesus is ringing the dinner bell…even though you can’t see Him, He’s there. Walk to the sound of His call.  Come out of the shivering cold and into the bright, warm, presence of Jesus. He knows you best and loves you most. You are the Apple of His eye. His beloved. His treasure. Read His Word. Listen to worship music. Pray constantly. He’s right there. Don’t ever forget that. No matter what.

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“Christmas offers its wonderful message. Emmanuel. God with us. He who resided in heaven, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Spirit, willingly descended into our world. He breathed our air, felt our pain, knew our sorrows, and died for or sins. He didn’t come to frighten us, but to show us the way to warmth and safety.”

-Max Lucado

“This will be a sign to you:

You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Luke 2:12

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The starry heavens sparkled brightly as God sent us the greatest Christmas gift ever!
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Splendor and majesty are before Him;

Strength and joy in His dwelling place.

1 Chronicles 16:27

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My sister-in-law recently blessed me with this darling vintage window. I could think of a story behind it…but maybe I should wait for another time! Hee hee!!

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My Christmas kitchen! Gearing up to do some baking here!

Who wants to lick the bowl?

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 A simple evergreen in a white mixing bowl, atop a cake stand. I love using what I already have.

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I found a couple of these Vermont Country Egg Nog bottles at a flea market and fell in love with that sweet cow’s face! I filled it with salt to make it stand out more and to support my broken tinsel tree.

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 Bucket O’ snowballs!

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My table is ready for my family to gather ’round. That’s my favorite!

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“I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars

and open a jar of it every month.”

~ Harlan Miller

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Y’all might remember a few posts back, I was needing some help naming my “Mr. Cow Head”. Well, I decided she ain’t a “Mr.”! Hee hee! So many of you mentioned that it looked more like a Heifer. The more I looked at her sweet face I realized, indeed, she was a lady Cow. I absolutely loved reading all of the names y’all suggested!! I kept saying “Awww!! That’s so cute!”. It was so hard to decide! I just felt like Bessie Mae was the perfect fit! It’s a sweet southern name…and I love everything southern!  So thanks to those of y’all for pitching in!

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“Moooooo-ry Christmas!” ~Bessie Mae

I just love her! Ain’t she the cutest thang!

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Sometimes it’s the simple things that inspire me. A red bowl, rolling pin, old timey flour sifter and a fresh cut tree in a farmhouse washpan. These make my heart go pitter-patter!

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A crackling fire makes me smile!

***

“I just like to smile, smiling’s my favorite!”

-Buddy the Elf

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Sing a song of snowflakes flying in the air,

sing a song of sleighbells tinkling everywhere

Earth in dazzling white, sparkling in the light.

~Louise Liddell

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Christmastime is sure to find me

on a high snow-covered hill,

Where an old farmhouse is standing weather-tight and sturdy still

There the plumes of smoke ascending from the Chimneys low and wide

And are a silent invitation to the glowing fires inside.

Where the warm sweet air is laden with fragrance that combines

The pleasant smells of cookery and the spicy scent of pines.

~ Ida M. Brookshire

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I love me some red trucks with Christmas trees in the back!

DSC08738DSC08730Well, Sugar Pie, thank you so much for stopping by!

As always I sure love hearing from you!

Y’all are such a blessing!

May you have a Very Merry Christmas!

You are precious and loved!

Sugar and hugs,

Aunt Ruthie

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