Friday, December 31, 2010

Bess’ New Year’s Day Traditions

New Road: 2011

There’s something so delicious about New Year’s Day! It feels so bright, clean, hopeful… I look forward to it each year, & tomorrow it’ll be here! I even have my own special traditions for January 1st:

1. Sweet Start – I always begin the New Year with something sugary/yummy – so the year will get off to a sweet start! Whether it be chocolate or a small chunk of fudge leftover from Christmas…the 1st thing I eat in 2011 is sure to be scrumptious! (Any excuse to eat candy is always welcome!=)

2. The Word – I begin my new daily Bible reading plan on New Year’s Day. This year I’m starting with the book of John. I’m gonna read through that book & then go back to Matthew (the 1st book in the New Testament) & read through it, Mark, Luke, & John again, & then on through the rest of the Bible. I’ll read at least a chapter a day. I used to try & start at Genesis, but I never made it through that way. This year I hope to discipline myself better & stick to my plan.

3. Love Letter – Penning a love note to my (possible – if it’s God’s plan for me to wed) future husband is a new tradition I’m adding to January 1st. Just think how amazing it will be to present your husband with love notes you wrote before his existence was even known to you! Who knows, maybe 2011 will be the year I (or you=) will meet your Prince!

4. Prayerful Chat – Setting aside a special time to pray to God about the New Year makes the fresh start feel even fresher. I ask God to guide & bless me & my family; to help me to do His will & serve Him happily; for wisdom; in thankfulness & praise; & for His will & glory in my life. I usually set aside the time when I 1st wake up on January 1st for this special time.

5. Resolution Time – I take time on the 1st to look over the resolutions I have made for the year (I typically make these resolutions on New Year’s Eve). I start working on these goals I’ve made for myself right away, & I allow myself to realize that I’ll most likely fail on more than I’d wish, but forgiveness is mine through Christ. I can strive through His hope & strength.
Love & Happy New Year’s Eve,

P.S.: Don’t worry, my blog won’t be Crafty Christmas-y tomorrow! =)

“…Forgetting what is behind & straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
-Philippians 3:13-14, NIV

P.P.S.: Sometimes I take time out on the 1st to watch this old cartoon version of Pilgrim's Progress...the animation may not be near Disney standards & the quality is well, vintage, but the content is good.  It's strange, but I really do like this version & have watched it many times over the years!  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Crafty Christmas Blog Design Winner...

An online random number generator presented me with a #2…the writer of comment #2, & winner of the custom blog design bundle from Annie Joy, is…
Congratulations Lily & thanks to all who entered!  Lily entered all 5 chances into the giveaway; here's some of her responses:

She penned 2 sweet haikus...
Shepherds and kings see,
All wrapped in swaddling clothes,
Our baby Savior.


The snow falls softly
From the heavens to the earth,
On this Christmas Eve
This was what she was excited to give this past Christmas...
My favorite gift I'm giving this Christmas is a friendship bracelet to my best friend. I have a matching one, so we'll be bracelet-buddies. ;)

& here's her New Year's resolution...
Here's my BIG resolution for 2011: Be more patient and kind to those around me. (:

Thanks again Annie Joy for offering one of Bess' Bag's readers with a fabulous blog design package handmade!  Love ya bunches!

P.S.: Lily, please leave me a comment (which I won't publish) with your e-mail address.  I will e-mail Annie Joy with your info (blog address & e-mail) & she will get in touch with you!  Enjoy your blog's new look!

New Year's Eve Quick Style Tips

New Year's Eve Glitz

New Year's Eve Quick Tips

If money grew on trees & I had somewhere fancy to go...
New Year's Eve Party

New Year Glitz Greeting

Love & Happy New Year's Eve Eve,

P.S.: Don't forget...the giveaway ends today!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bookish Fashion Delight: Lucy in Narnia

In honor of the new Chronicles of Narnia film, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, & because I got this adorable (& large) plush lion for my nephew for Christmas + snow…

“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.”
-C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe

“Every moment the patches of green grew bigger & the patches of snow grew smaller…more & more of the trees shook off their robes of snow.  Soon, wherever you looked, instead of white shapes you saw the dark green of firs…” –C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe

What I’ve Donned…
-long fur coat --- vintage (yard sale (This coat was only a couple dollars!  I couldn't pass it up!)
-white oxford shirt --- French Toast (Target (I think this came from the kids' section.=))
-plaid dress --- Converse One Star (Target)
-black knee highs
-brown mary janes --- Earth Spirit (yard sale)

Bookish Love From Out the Wardrobe,
P.S.: My nephew was scared of Aslan!

P.P.S.: Am I crazy to dress up like this?  Part of me wonders! =)  I don't wear the ensemble out - just for the photo, but still...  I am crazy!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Jesus!

P.S.: We miraculously {thank You God} had a white Christmas...which hadn't been seen in these parts for some 20 years!  I loved it!  Here's some pictures...

Ah!  It covered my car...

& everything!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dear Single Christmas Girl,

Dear Single Christmas Girl

I know you…forced to hold your own mittened hands to keep them warm. You walk wistfully under suspended mistletoe & let out a small inner sigh… I know you, because I’m you, too.

Christmas & other holidays can be especially trying on the single girl’s heart. So many secular seasonal songs that blast over the buzz of shoppers & invade our radios tell us that being with someone at Christmas is downright required for true happiness. Take a look

“When we finally kiss goodnight/ How I'll hate going out in the storm!/ But if you'll really hold me tight/ All the way home I'll be warm” (Let it Snow).

“My world is filled with cheer, and you/...And as I look around/ Your eyes outshine the town, they do/This Christmas” (This Christmas).

“I'm just gonna keep on waiting/ Underneath the mistletoe…/ Baby all I want for Christmas is you” (All I Want for Christmas is You).

I want to stick my tongue out at singlehood (& these songs, too=)!
Take a peek at what the Bible tells us…
Dear Single Christmas Girl II

The Lord appears to Joseph in a dream instructing him to take Mary as his wife as planned, because what is done in her is of God. Matthew 1:23 reads, “The virgin will be with child & will give birth to a son, & they will call Him Immanuel’ – which means ‘God with us.’” This Christmas you may feel un-chosen, lonely, not special, or unworthy of a guy’s second glance, but know this & consider it deeply in your heart this year: the Maker of the universe & all things, the King of Kings, Mighty God, Heavenly Father loved (insert name) so much that He gave you a piece of Him on earth – a piece that would be like (insert name)…tired, hungry, tempted, sad, excited, disappointed, happy, lonely… a piece that would be beaten, abused, mocked, & crucified, just so (insert name) could have the opportunity to know real peace & be with Him forever. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never heard of a truer love than that! It makes the lyrics above seem like mere meaningless mumbles.

Listen to what this song tells us…

Did you catch that lyric? “How many gods have poured out their hearts/ To romance a world that is torn all apart” (How Many Kings, Downhere). God is still with us today, loving us in spite of us, & seeking our love so that we can experience eternity safe from pain, hurt, & free from all the tears of this earth & the afterlife that scorches. Even if you are (like me) going through a boyfriend-less Christmas, remember “Immanueal…God is with us.” You may appear solo to the world, but if you are God’s you’re never alone.

Love & the Merriest of Christmases,
-Bess- + Her King, {Truest Love} Father God

P.S.: His love is perfect, immeasurably better than any mortal man's...just think How Many Kings...

"Then Sings My Soul: Special Edition" Book Review

I was looking for a good book to give my piano-playing/gifted-singing mother for Christmas when I stumbled upon Then Sings My Soul: Special Edition by Robert Morgan. I was provided a free copy of the book from the publishers, through the Book Sneeze program, in exchange for my honest review. This paperback volume with its torn page edges (to give it that antique, well-loved, well-worn look) is chock full of the stories behind the creations of some of the most beloved old hymns of the church. It’s divided into the following categories: Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Patriotic, & Other Favorites (it also has indices in the very back). A coinciding Bible verse, as well as the date of the hymn’s creation is displayed at the top of each song’s story. The details behind each hymn are approximately one page each with the actual music for the song accompanying on the other page. The stories are simple to read & transform you back into musical history. This book could be used as a devotional, light reading, hymnal (for singing or playing), or reference. It would be a lovely gift for a musician, music minister, or old songs of the church enthusiast. The only minor complaint is that because the book is paperback & quite thick, I think it will be hard for my mother to keep the book open in order to play the music. However, I still think my mom will be thrilled to open this on Christmas day!

Bookish Blessings,

Monday, December 20, 2010

My Christmas Card to You

 My Christmas Card to You

Please visit this PAGE & click on "clicking here" to listen to the Christmas story straight from God's holy Word, as recited by tiny children!  It is the sweetest story told from sweetest voices! 

Thank you for reading Bess' Bag!


Crafty Christmas Blog Design Giveaway

Christmas Greetings, girls!  I have a special announcement for ya...

The oh-so-talented Annie Joy has generously offered to give one of you a new blog design for the new year!  New year -  new blog design! =) I can't think of a better way to freshen up your blog for 2011, than a beautiful new design hand-crafted (afterall, this is Crafty Christmas) by Annie!

Thanks so much Annie for this fabulous offer!  You're such a thoughtful sister-in-Christ!  Thanks for making the lovely button below, too!

This giveaway begins today (Dec. 20th) & ends on Dec. 30th at 12 noon EST.  It's open to blogging girls {who use Blogger} everywhere! 

The Design Package Will Include:
header OR header menu (header with links)
blog button and code box
post divider
sidebar divider
custom navigation feet ('home', 'newer posts', 'older posts')
costumisation of template
custom font and text transformations
colouring of links and blockquote
custom footer design of choice
custom "about me" (if desired)
post icon (if desired)

Here's How to Enter....


Please leave each entry as a seperate comment on this post (one comment per entry)!  Each entry is worth one chance in the giveaway.

Mandatory Entry:
To enter, you must either create a poem about the real reason for the season (i.e.: the birth of Christ=) (this can be rhyming or free verse & any length).
Tell how your family keeps Christ at the center of your Christmas.
(I just might post some of these, if they come in before Christmas!=)
(1 comment)

Extra Entries:
Choose as many as you like!

Post the giveaway button on your blog!
(1 comment)

Become a Gal Pal (follow me=) or tell me if you're already one!
(1 comment)

Tell me one of your favorite gifts you're giving this Christmas & why.
(1 comment)

Do you make New Year's Resolutions?  Share one of 'em for 2011!
(1 comment)

You have a total of 5 chances to enter if you do them all!

Love {in Christ} From,
Annie Joy & -Bess-

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Style Guide, 2010

Christmas Style Guide

..Christmas Party Inspiration..

A Very Merry Christmas Party

Golden Christmas Time

Cranberry Christmas

"Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!"

"A Merry Little Christmas..."

"Walking in a Winter Wonderland..."

..Christmas Morning Cozy..

"O Christmas Tree"

Topped With A Bow

Hello Dear

..Bundled Up..
All Bundled Up

"Jack Frost, Get Lost"

"Skater's Waltz"

That Christmas Gal


A reader, Miriam, asked me recently about what to wear for Christmas & such.  Well, she must have read my mind, because I had already begun to prepare for this very post!  Miriam, thanks so much for asking me (I love answering questions (or trying =) to answer questions) for my sisters-in-Christ)!  I hope this helps you!  If it doesn't, let me know, & I'll post a second edition to this lookbook... for instance, I hope I provided enough Christmas day ideas; don't hesitate to ask again if you need further help (that goes for all)!

Love & Inspiration,

P.S.: I'm hoping to get a holiday love & purity themed post up in the near future (a couple-few days from now)! =)

Soft Taggy Toy {For Baby} Tutorial

Brrr! Baby, it's cold outside! =) I still have a few ideas up my sleeve in the coming days before the ‘blessed event!’ Speaking of ‘blessed events’ here’s a sweet idea I thought up the other day…

Possible Recipients: Small Ones =)

Have any tiny bundles of love on your Christmas list this year? Try your hand at making this soft toy perfect for small hands (inspired by all those Taggie baby items you see in the stores)... 

What You Need...

  • 1/4 yard of flannel fabric (this amount makes at least 2)
  • different kinds of ribbon
  • sewing machine &/or needle & thread
  • straight pins
  • stuffing
  • crinkly paper
  • small bell (for rattle) - optional

Cut pieces of ribbon & fold them in half to create the taggys.

Cutting small slits around the circle (not all the way to the seam line where you stitched) may make it easier to turn right side out.

Stitch up the opening when you're finished either by hand or carefully on a sewing machine.  Ta da!  A sweet gift for a wee one this Christmas.  I don’t think I’ve got any little little ones on my list this year (the youngest is my 2 year old nephew who loves trains), so I think I’ll put this up for later (in my hope chest (well, if I had one)=). 

Don't forget...the first gift of Christmas was a baby!


Sunday, December 12, 2010

An Etsy Shop Gift Guide has become the place to buy handmade online.  You can find amazing craftily-made creations from A-Z (+ from all over the place).  I know it's definitely getting down to the wire (especially in terms of online shopping), so I wanted to put together this quick gift guide for ya...  Never fear, you can find whatever you're looking for on Etsy.

My 1st pick is Nostalgia Organics (click the name to visit)!  I love their stuff!  Prices range from around $2.50 - $25.00... &, as you probably already unearthed it's all natural!  Take a gander at their irresistible products (they even throw in a free gift with each purchase)...

Angel Kiss Natural Artisan Soap $8

Sunday School Natural Bath Wash $12 (I love the name!)

Petite Lip Balm $2.50 (Perfect for the old stocking!)

Goose Bumps Clove Apricot Exfoliating Scrub $8


My next pick is Bramblewood Fashion Boutique (click the name to visit).  Most of you know Ashley Nicole from her blog, but did you know about her shop?  She's got a selection of cute handmade (& modest) skirts, bags, & accessories! 

Lucy of Narnia Inspired Earrings $11

Molly Felt Flower Hair Clip $8


My next pick is Sew Technicolor (click the name to visit)!  I had the blessing of winning one of Kristin's handmade wallets through her blog, & I was so impressed with its quality & cuteness!  Visit her sweet shop to see more!

Long Clutch Wallet $20 (This is the same style/color wallet I won!)

Embroidered Felt Hoop Art $8 each


My final pick is Emariecreations (click the name to visit)!  You might just know Samantha from her lovely blog, too!  At her shop you'll find lots of adorable Polymer clay creations + some covered button accessories.  She's currently holding a sale of 10% off everything!  Hurry on over!  

Creamy Rose Covered Button Earrings $10

Pie Slice Pushpins Set $5


Well, I hope you got some ideas & you'll visit these great Etsy shops for even more!  Merry Christmas!  No matter what comes wrapped up in paper & bows this Christmas, the greatest gift is Jesus... He was wrapped merely in cloths & placed in a manger, but He was & is the greatest gift ever given to us!