Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Recycled Christmas Cards

Christmas Card Baskets

I loved this idea for recycling old christmas cards, check out the link for directions for Card baskets great for holding sweets or christmas baubles or light weight gift ideas.

Christmas Boxes

For direction please see the link

Great for gift boxes with jewellery or my favourite wrap a rolo in a piece of tissue paper secure with a small sticker enclose in the box with a label on box saying "I love you enough to give you my last Rolo...."


print the following poem roll into a scroll and secure gently under a ribbon (so the box can't open yet you can read the scroll) The poem suggestions:-

I took an ordinary box
As empty as can be
I filled it with a special gift
And wrapped it carefully.
But please don't ever open it
Just leave the ribbon tied
And hold it tightly near your heart
Because my love for you's inside!
"This is a very special gift
That you can never see
The reason that it's special
It's just for you from me
Whenever you are lonely
Or when you're feeling blue
You only have to hold this gift
and know I think of you
You never can unwrap it
Please leave the ribbon tied
Just hold this box close to your heart
It's filled with love inside
I'm giving you a present,
It's my love inside a box.
It's not too much to look at,
But it's the best I've got.
So I hope it makes you happy,
If it doesn't, I never can.
But if love in a box is worth it,
then,I'll take you by the hand

Christmas Spherical Bauble

Check out this link

Hugs by Post

Hug Poem - Friendship Poem

A hug friendship poem is a great gift to send to anyone you know that needs a pick me up. There are so many times we have a loved one or friend in need of a hug however they live miles away and our arms just don't reach that far.

Now you can send them a hug! Each hug hanging has a poem attached say:

I wanted to send

you something


but how in the

world do you send a


These are small enough to fit right inside a greeting card yet big enough to let the recipient know you care and are thinking of them

Each Hug Poem hanging is approx 3 1/2" x 2 3/4"

1. Using 7 plastic canvas cut 25 holes x 20 holes.
2. Cut a window leaving 3 bars from the top and sides with the depth of 8 holes.

3. Using wool of your choice follow the pattern, use a slip stitch over the edges.
4. Print Poem to fit inside the window and stick onto a card backing which fits the entire canvas before securing in place a small loop of ribbon or wool to allow easy hanging.

5. Glue firmly in place.

Squeeze My Cheeks Santa

1. Cut three pieces of seven count plastic canvas about 1 5/8" or 10 holes square. 2. Using red wool sew in long stitch one square, and slip stitch two side edges.
3. Using red and white wool follow pattern for the back of the head.
4. Using red, pink and white wool follow pattern for the front of the head including slip stitching two sides beside the white beard.
5. Add a single stitch (in Pink) in center of front of head, use two short white stitches for the mostache detail and glue two googlie eyes above the stitch.
6. Use a pink/red pencil to colour in rosie cheeks.
7. Take two squares (front and back of head) and slip stitch two sides together using red wool.
8. Hold the two stitched pieces together and open the unstitched sides. Stitch the third square on one side of the unstitched plastic as pictured
9. Tie a loop of wool from the inside of the shape for a hook.
10. Place a sweet treat of your choice inside the "Mouth" of santa and add a little label if you wish to the hook.

for an alternative look squueze my cheeks santa check out

Sunday, 7 December 2008

A home away from Home

This weekend we had the opportunity to visit family in Mintlaw, Aberdeenshire a 5 hour drive from us. It gave me a great feeling to know that were ever we are in the world the gospel is the same, the lessons the same the doctrine the same , friendship and sisterhood is the same. We are so blessed.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

The Preston Family from Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar castle plan

Quuen Mary with husband Earl of Mar

I have spent a few days now researching the Preston family who I have recently found connected with my own. I love pulling the snippets of history together to build up a picture of the life of our ancestors, to have an inkling into thier day to day lives or where they lived or who they spent time with previously I have connected our family back to King Robert the Bruce King of Scotland and it is through the royal line we are related to every type of rascal with the odd saint thrown in.

The Prestons of Craigmillar Castle near Edinburgh

Craigmillar Castle
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Type-Courtyard castle
Built-14th century
Built by-Preston family
Construction materials-Stone
In use-Until early 17th century
Current condition-Ruined
Current owner-Historic Scotland

Craigmillar Castle is a ruined medieval castle in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is situated 3 miles (4.8 km) south-east of the city centre, on a low hill to the south of the modern suburb of Craigmillar. It was begun in the late 14th century by the Preston family, feudal barons of Craigmillar, and extended through the 15th and 16th centuries. In 1660 the castle was sold to Sir John Gilmour, Lord President of the Court of Session, who made further alterations. The Gilmours left Craigmillar in the 18th century, and the castle fell into ruin. It is now in the care of Historic Scotland.

Craigmillar Castle is best known for its association with Mary, Queen of Scots. Following an illness after the birth of her son, the future James I of England, Mary arrived at Craigmillar on 20 November 1566 to convalesce. Before she left on 7 December 1566, a pact known as the "Craigmillar Bond" was made, with or without her knowledge, to dispose of her husband Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley.

Craigmillar is one of the best-preserved medieval castles in Scotland. The central tower house, or keep, is surrounded by a 15th-century courtyard wall with "particularly fine" defensive features. Within this are additional ranges, and the whole is enclosed by an outer courtyard wall containing a chapel and a doocot.

History - Origins
The lands of Craigmillar were granted to the monks of Dunfermline Abbey by King David I in the 12th century. The Preston family were first granted land in the area by King David II in 1342. In a further grant of 1374, King Robert II gave the lands of Craigmillar to Sir Simon Preston, Sheriff of Midlothian. It was Simon's son, Simon Preston, or his grandson, Sir George Preston, who began work on the tower house which now forms the core of the castle. This was in place by 1425, when a charter was sealed at Craigmillar by Sir John Preston. The courtyard wall was probably added by Sir William Preston (d. 1453), who had travelled in France, and drew on continental inspiration for his new work. He also brought back the arm of Saint Giles, which he presented to the high kirk in Edinburgh, now St. Giles' Cathedral, where the Preston Aisle is named for him. In 1480, John Stewart, Earl of Mar, brother of King James III was held prisoner at Craigmillar, accused of practising witchcraft against the King.

16th century

In 1511 Craigmillar was erected into a barony, and the outer courtyard was built around this time, possibly by another Simon Preston (d.1520), Member of Parliament for Edinburgh in 1487, who had succeeded in 1478. The family chapel within the outer court was first recorded in 1523. In 1544, during the so-called Rough Wooing of Henry VIII of England, the English attempted to impose, by military force, a marriage alliance between Edward, Prince of Wales, and the young Mary, Queen of Scots. Craigmillar Castle was burned by English troops under the Earl of Hertford. The baron, Sir Simon Preston (d.1569) had the castle repaired, with domestic ranges in the courtyard being remodelled. Sir Simon served as Lord Provost of Edinburgh for several years, and was a loyal supporter of Queen Mary, who appointed him to her Privy Council.

Mary, Queen of Scots, and her husband Lord Darnley, whose murder was arranged at Craigmillar.

Queen Mary stayed at Craigmillar twice, in September 1563 and from 20 November to 7 December 1566. She is traditionally said to have slept in the small former kitchen within the tower house, although it is more likely that she occupied larger accommodation in the relatively new east range. On her second stay, Mary was still in poor health following a serious illness in October. Several of her noblemen were with her, and suggested to her that her unpopular husband, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, could be removed, either by divorce or by other means. An agreement, the "Craigmillar Bond", was signed by Mary's Secretary of State William Maitland of Lethington, and several nobles including the earls of Bothwell, Argyll and Huntly. The bond does not survive, but set out the conspirator's intent to remove Darnley. Although Mary made it clear that she was unhappy with Darnley, she was not part of the conspiracy, and was probably unaware of the plot to kill her husband. It was initially intended that Darnley would lodge at Craigmillar when he returned to Edinburgh, although he opted to stay at Kirk o' Field in the town, where he was murdered on 10 February 1567. In 1572, after Queen Mary's flight into England, the Regent Mar, used Craigmillar as a base during his siege of Edinburgh Castle, which was being held by supporters of the exiled Queen. King James VI later visited Craigmillar himself, in 1589, when he was the guest of Sir David Preston.

Ground floor plan of Craigmillar Castle.Key: A=Kitchen, B=Dining Room, C=Chamber, D=Tower entrance, E=Tower cellars, F=East range cellars
At the core of Craigmillar Castle is the 14th-century L-plan tower house, built on a rocky outcrop. Wrapped around this is the 15th-century courtyard wall, with ranges of buildings at the south-east, east, and west. Beyond the wall is a lower outer wall, enclosing a broad outer courtyard. This contained gardens and a chapel. Further gardens lay to the south, where the outline of a fish pond can be seen.

The tower house
The four-storey tower forms the keep of the castle, although it originally stood alone. It measures 15.8 metres (52 ft) by 11.6 metres (38 ft), with a projecting wing, or jamb, of 8.5 metres (28 ft) by 3.5 metres (11 ft), to the south. The walls are up to 3.3 metres (11 ft) thick, and the second and fourth storeys have vaulted ceilings.The tower is built on the edge of a rock outcrop, with the original entrance door protected by a natural cleft in the rock. This would have been spanned by a wooden bridge, until it was filled in when the curtain wall was built. Above the door are the arms of the Preston family. A stair leads up from the entrance to a guard room in the jamb, which would probably have had "murder holes" through which missiles could be dropped on any attackers who gained entry. At ground floor level are cellars, which formerly had a timber loft above. The dividing wall and doors at either end are later additions.

Upper part of the tower house
On the second floor is the hall, with a kitchen occupying the jamb, and later passages connecting to the east and west ranges. The hall has a large carved stone fireplace of around 1500, and once had a timber ceiling, probably painted. The kitchen was replaced by a larger one in the 16th-century east range, and converted into a bedroom. A smaller fireplace was inserted into the large kitchen hearth, and larger windows added. The next storey, accessed via a spiral stair, contained a windowless room in the vault above the hall ceiling. Above the kitchen is the lord's bedroom, the only original private chamber in the building. The stairs continue to give access to parapet walks around the stone-flagged roof. A further storey was added to the jamb in the sixteenth century, containing a single chamber. The exterior of the castle formerly had two timber balconies, or viewing platforms, one overlooking the gardens to the south, and one looking east across the Lothian countryside.

The inner courtyard

Looking up through the machicolations in the curtain wall
The mid-15th-century curtain wall encloses a courtyard around 10 metres (33 ft) across, and is up to 1.8 metres (5.9 ft) thick. Externally, the curtain wall measures 40 metres (130 ft) by 27 metres (89 ft). Round towers are located at each corner, with a postern, or side gate, located in the base of the south-east tower. The towers have keyhole-shaped gun holes, intended for decoration as well as defence. The round-arched gate is in the north wall. Over it are the arms of the Preston family, with the royal arms of Scotland above. The walls are defended by machicolations, spaces through which missiles could be dropped on attackers, and battlement walks give access to the entire length of the wall. On the inside of the wall, traces of windows suggest that there was once a south range of buildings in the courtyard. There is no well in the courtyard, but a stone trough runs through the curtain wall, allowing water to be brought into the castle.

The east range
The east range occupies the south-east and east sides of the inner courtyard. The original east range, contemporary with the courtyard wall, was rebuilt in the 16th century and linked to the tower house by a new, broad spiral stair. The building at the south-east adjoins the tower house, and comprises two chambers on the first floor. Cellars below were occupied by a bakehouse and a possible prison. A corridor connects the tower to large, vaulted kitchens in the east range, also accessible via a straight stair from the courtyard. Another depiction of the Preston family arms, supported by monkeys, appears above the door to the east range. Below the kitchens are vaulted cellars, containing a blocked-up postern gate through the courtyard wall. Above, a long gallery occupied the second floor, although only the lower walls of the gallery survive.

The west range
The west range was entirely rebuilt by the Gilmours, in the 1660s, to provide a spacious suite of modern accommodation, to suit Sir John's position as a senior judge. The ground floor contained a large central drawing room dining room, with large windows, and a carved stone fireplace. This room would also have had plaster ceilings and other decorative features. To the north was a kitchen, and to the south a chamber, with a wine cellar below. The first floor had four bedrooms. Another new stair was built, connecting the west range with the tower house. The door to this tower has a classical pediment, above which is a 20th century plaque, erected by a descendant of the Gilmours, and bearing the arms of Sir John Gilmour and his wife. The west range is now roofless, the internal floor is also gone, and the large windows have been blocked up.

The outer court and gardens
The outer walls, dating from the early-mid 16th century, are smaller and less formidable than the inner walls, but they enclose a much larger area. A round tower at the north-east corner has gun holes and a doocot, or pigeon house, upstairs. The family chapel was built around 1520, and dedicated to St Thomas Becket. It is now a roofless burial aisle, still used by the Gilmour family.Gardens occupied the east and west parts of the courtyard, with the western terrace overlooked by the large windows of the west range. The barn at the north-west of the courtyard was converted into a Presbyterian church, for the village of Liberton, in 1687. South of the castle were informal gardens and orchards, with the bases of 16th-century viewing towers remaining at the corners of this drystone-walled enclosure. The former fish pond, shaped like a letter P for Preston, is a nationally-significant archaeological garden feature, due to its rarity. In the 1820s, a plan was drawn up to lay out picturesque landscape gardens between Inch House and the castle, which would have incorporated "Queen Mary's Tree", a Sycamore supposedly planted by Mary, Queen of Scots. Much of the woodland within the castle estate dates from the early to mid 19th century

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Christmas Cards

I managed to get most of my Christmas cards posted and handed out phew!!!!I always like to make my cards a little more personal so although most of my cards are regular and even cheap they always seem special. This year I used two themes the first was"The White Stocking" and the other "A Love heart Christmas tree"

I printed the Poem "The White Stocking"

Twas the night before Christmas as I walked through the house

not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The presents had been wrapped and placed under the tree

I paused tired, excited and then giggling with glee.

The stockings were hanging and beautifully filled

no one had forgotten, though the credit card was billed.

As I looked at the scene with the stockings on the ledge,

I noticed one was empty, the one on the edge.

Where's the spirit of Christmas? What have I done!

It was the stocking intended for the child of Bethlehem

It was the stocking for Jesus that was hung up by them

Of all the people at Christmas that might be forgotten

How could I not remember the father's only begotten?

Only he had been left out of the festivities.

As we planned and prepared for our families.

As I pondered, I realized this just was not right

It was His birth that was being celebrated after this night

I resolved then and there to remember the Lord

and quickly made changes that were east to afford

I hing the white stocking in a special place in our home

and corrected the atmosphere to provide a more spiritual tone

On Christmas morning I gathered the family together

and each of us wrote an a special piece of paper

We gave Jesus a gift which we placed in the stocking

A sincere change of heart not there for the mocking.

The white stocking hung in our home as a symbol for us

of the true meaning of Christmas, the saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ

so take your white stocking and hang it with pride

remember the saviour, put his gift inside.

I also put 4 small coloured pictures of the saviours life and cut the paper to fit the card I cut a Christmas stocking shape out of white cloth and sewed into little stockings and stuck it to the inside cover. On the other side of the poem you could write a personal message or as I did I wrote

I wonder, what does Christmas mean,

with its smart and shiny balls?

Is Christmas more than Christmas trees

and toys and games and dolls?

Of this I'm sure: There's something more.

For I've heard many say

that in a strange and far off land

A child was born this day.And Christmas is to celebrate

His coming from above.He showed us how we all should live

and told us how to love.

Christmas is a wonderful time to remember our saviour

and also show our gratitude for our friends and family.

With all our heart we thank you, we love you, we appreciate you.

the other idea I used was the Love heart Christmas tree I printed the poem on a piece of paper then cut out a small, medium and large heart in different Christmas paper then layered them upside down to make a Christmas tree at the side of the poem.

I made my tree with 3 special hearts

The first one reminds me of God's love for Me

He created me just the way he wanted me to be

The second one reminds me of when he sent his son.

His wonderful plan for my salvation had begun

The third heart reminds me of that eventful day

when Jesus gave his life so my sins can be taken away.

Inside all my cards I placed a pass along card

Monday, 1 December 2008


This weeks lesson was taken from Title "Service"

What a disaster! the printer didn't work all my hard work on printing out the song words, giving everyone separate reading assignments, all went up the Swanee! However we did manage to pull together our "You are Special" dinner which is one of our Christmas traditions and with it now being officially December we could get away with it. It was our youngest son Adam's turn. He chose all his favourite things, tomato soup, fish and chips and neapolin ice cream with chocolate sauce. We pulled Christmas crackers had candle light meal with candles and Christmas tree lights we shared with each other what we loved about Adam and we had fun talking about funny experiences and planned our Christmas service/advent. They were challenged to find simple ways to serve others and report back next Monday. So maybe it wasn't such a disaster after all.

Sunday, 30 November 2008


I struggle with depression, anxiety depression to be exact I frequently find life unbearably hard to do even the simplest things. Thankfully there are times when life is better, its at these times I have to soak up all I need to build my spiritual, emotional, temporal reservoirs so that I can try to endure to the end. I would like to share with you some of the resources which I use to try to keep my head above water. Today, I read an article by Ezra Taft Benson in the Oct 1986 Ensign "Do not Despair"

Personal Notes and reflections:-
Those who are heavy-laden with despair should come unto the Lord, for his yoke is easy and his burden is light. Matt. 11:28–30
steps to take to help alleviate and avoid depression

First, repentance - Am I in Harmony with the Lord and the gospel?

Second, prayer. Prayer in the hour of need is a great boon. From simple trials to our Gethsemane's, prayer—persistent prayer—can put us in touch with God, our greatest source of comfort and counsel. “Pray always, that you may come off conqueror.” (D&C 10:5.)
“Exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me” is how the young Joseph Smith describes the method that he used in the Sacred Grove to keep the adversary from destroying him. (JS—H 1:16.) This is also a key to use in keeping depression from destroying us.

Third, service. To lose yourself in righteous service to others can lift your sights and get your mind off personal problems, or at least put them in proper focus

Fourth, work. The earth was cursed for Adam’s sake. Work is our blessing, not our doom. God has a work to do, and so should we

Fifth, health. The condition of the physical body can affect the spirit. That’s why the Lord gave us the Word of Wisdom. He also said that we should retire to our beds early and arise early (see D&C 88:124), that we should not run faster than we have strength (see D&C 10:4), and that we should use moderation in all good things. In general, the more food we eat in its natural state—without additives—and the less it is refined, the healthier it will be for us. Food can affect the mind, and deficiencies of certain elements in the body can promote mental depression. A good physical examination periodically is a safeguard and may spot problems that can be remedied. Rest and physical exercise are essential, and a walk in the fresh air can refresh the spirit. Wholesome recreation is part of our religion and is a necessary change of pace; even its anticipation can lift the spirit.

Sixth, reading. Many a man in his hour of trial has turned to the Book of Mormon and been enlightened, enlivened, and comforted.

Seventh, blessing. In a particularly stressful time, or in the anticipation of a critical event, one can seek for a blessing under the hands of the priesthood.

Eighth, fasting. A certain kind of devil goes not out except by fasting and prayer, the scriptures tell us. (See Matt. 17:14–21.) Periodic fasting can help clear up the mind and strengthen the body and the spirit

Ninth, friends. The fellowship of true friends who can hear you out, share your joys, help carry your burdens, and correctly counsel you is priceless. For one who has been in the prison of depression, the words of the Prophet Joseph Smith have special meaning: “How sweet the voice of a friend is; one token of friendship from any source whatever awakens and calls into action every sympathetic feeling.”

Tenth, music. Inspiring music may fill the soul with heavenly thoughts, move one to righteous action, or speak peace to the soul. When Saul was troubled with an evil spirit, David played for him with his harp; Saul was refreshed and the evil spirit departed. (See 1 Sam. 16:23.)

Eleventh, endurance. And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high.” (D&C 121:7–8.)

Irvine Ward, Paisley Stake, Scotland

"We encourage you wherever you may live in the world to prepare for adversity by looking to the condition of your finances. We urge you to be modest in your expenditures; discipline yourselves in your purchases to avoid debt. . . . If you have paid your debts and have a financial reserve, even though it be small, you and your family will feel more secure and enjoy greater peace in your hearts."—The First Presidency, All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Finances, Feb. 2007, 1

Today we, my 3 children, 1 husband, myself and 1 friend all attended the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Irvine Ward, Paisley Stake,Scotland. I'm afraid I got off to an early start with my Christmas preparations by giving our my Christmas everyone today, I also gave them a poem and a rock (fished from our local beach)which I used stamp and ink of a flower then hand painted it and carefully painted the word "pray" on to it. The poem says....

(Author Unknown)

I'm your little prayer rock
and this is what I'll do.
Just put me on your pillow
'til the day is through.

Then turn back the covers
and climb into your bed,
and, whack! your little prayer rock
will bump you on the head.

Then you will remember
as the day is through,
to kneel and say your prayers
as you intended to.

Then when you are finished
dump me on the floor.
I'll stay there through the nighttime
to give you help once more.

When you get up next morning,
clunk! I stub your toe,
so that you will remember
your prayers before you go.

Put me back upon your pillow
when your bed is made,
and your clever little prayer rock
will continue in your aid.

Because your Heavenly Father
cares and loves you so,
He wants you to remember
to talk to Him, you know.

Our High Councilman from the stake was the main speaker in sacrament and on the council from the stake president talked on the theme of "Debt and staying out of it, following the prophets council by paying tithing and gathering food storage" It was fascinating.... Sean and I have been working really hard on gathering our food stores thankfully most of us will survive for at least a few weeks however my daughter is likely to die within the first few days after our supply of super noodles has gone....what are we going to do with her!

A Day in the Temple

We were of to a rough start as our alarm failed to go off however I woke early on hearing the occupants of an other room of the temple accommodation centre so with great haste we endeavored to arrive in good time for our visit to the temple. We spent the whole morning working in various areas of the temple which left us feeling greatly blessed and wanting to go back as soon as possible. After a quick meal we were all ready for travelling back home leaving at 2.30pm and arriving back home in Scotland at 8.30pm It took us a little longer due to the frost and fog all the way home. It's great going away especially to the temple however the traveling aaaahhhh! I really should count my blessings that we can get to the temple so frequently there are many who are unable to get to the temple at all.

Trip to Preston Temple

We went to the Preston Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints this weekend. We left about 6pm and arrived nearly 5hours later at 11pm, road weary and tired however our spirits rose dramatically when on entering the ground we saw the temple shine through the darkness and fog like a christmas card. There was a beautiful nativity set up with large christmas trees draped tastefully with pure white lights. We went for a walk up to the temple gates to really appreciate the beauty of the temple at night.

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