Creative Bee Studios

Sweet Ideas for Creative Minds - #usebothsides

Category: Christmas

‘Tis the Season to be Giving

Quilters are notorious givers. In this season of giving, I’d like to share with you two of my favorite organizations which provide ways for you to give to others (aside from quilts) while you celebrate this Christmas.

First, the h.o.w? Helping Orphans and Widows ministry. There is a small group of 30 women in rural Kinangop, Kenya, who are the focus of the h.o.w? ministry. They help empower these widowed women to care and provide for their families’ needs.  While there are numerous ways you can support these women, my favorite is through purchasing the hand-made jewelry, stockings, ornaments, scarves and other items available through their website or at the beautiful boutique located in Cape Girardeau County. I have this bracelet in aqua colors and it was amazing how many quilters at the Paducah quilt show stopped me to find out how to get it! (A perfect gift for your quilter friend.)Image of Bracelet Read more in my post, Presents of Beauty and Purpose.  This stocking was made from the wool of their raised sheep. It hangs on our mantel as a remind to pray for these widows and their families. Image of Knitted StockingImage of Handmade JewelryYou can follow the ministry on their Facebook page. H.o.w? Ministry.


Second is Samaritan’s Purse. You can choose from many wonderful and specific ways to help your fellow mankind through this organization. From purchasing chickens, goats, sheep, or other livestock for a family to raise to support their family, to feeding a hungry baby for a week, to drilling a well for a village or funding clef lip surgery for a child, you can choose what you want to do and you can fund the whole project or just a portion of it.

Image of Man with Sheep

Samaritan’s Purse

I first learned of Samaritan’s Purse through Operation Christmas Child, a ministry our church supports, where we fill shoe boxes with little toys, socks, personal hygiene products, and art supplies to be delivered around the world to needy children. There are over 40 ways to give to others through this ministry and you can support them in honor of or in memory of loved ones. I’m happy to know that we purchased a goat for a family in honor of family as part of their Christmas gift this year. Click here to learn more about Samaritan’s Purse.

Image of Girl with Goat

Samaritan’s Purse

How do you give to others during the Christmas season? Please share you favorite organizations or ways to help others in need in the comments below.

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Pepita, the Legendary Quilt Pattern

Pepita is the name of a new #usebothsides quilt pattern AND the little girl in the legend of the poinsettia.

Image of PatternPepita was a poor Mexican girl who had no gift to present to the Christ Child on Christmas Eve. The story goes that as she and her cousin Pedro walked to church, he tried to console her by saying, “Pepita, I am certain even the most humble gift, given in love, will be acceptable in His eyes.” Pepita gathered up a bouquet of weeds from the roadside to give as her gift. Her spirits lifted as she entered the chapel and approached the alter. She laid the weeds at the feet of the Christ Child. Suddenly, Pepita’s common weeds burst into brilliant red blooms! This was considered a miraculous event and was named the Flores de Noche Buena (Flowers of the Holy Night).

Today we call these flowers poinsettias, after Dr. Joel Poinsett, the first ambassador to Mexico, who first brought the bright red star-shaped flower to the United States.

Pepita is made using both sides of one poinsettia focus fabric on a scrappy, fun background.

You can use your neutrals and accents strips from your stash to make this easy quilt. It’s great for gifting because the fast technique and stunning look!

I used to avoid poinsettias plants because I thought they were poisonous for pets. In my research about them, I’ve learned they are only mildly toxic, causing a stomach upset if ingested. But if you are concerned, make up this beauty and you can have poinsettias in your Christmas décor every year!

Image of Poinsettia Quilt

Pepita Quilted Wall Hanging

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Not Your Typical Christmas Goose

Twelve Days of Christmas

Learn the real meaning of the twelve days of Christmas, Kiefner style!

At Kiefner Christmas at the farm, any newcomer (boyfriend, girlfriend, lucky friend) is a “goose”. We search for these geese all year, prodding the nieces and nephews to find an unsuspecting goose to bring to the farm for Kiefner Christmas.

While we make out this tradition to be a little scarier than it actually is, so far no one has become a cooked goose!

Pop teaching the geese how to get down!

Each year, Pop (my husband’s father) describes the origin of the Christmas carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and the secret meanings behind each of the symbols for the 12 days. (This year, niece Elizabeth helped him with that.) The carol was a way for the Roman Catholics to secretly teach and reinforce their faith at a time when they were not permitted to openly confess. Click here to see the full description of the hidden meaning of this well-known carol.

In short, the meanings are as follows:

Partridge in a Pear Tree – The True Love of Jesus Christ

Two Turtle Doves – Old and New Testaments

Three French Hens – Faith, Hope, and Love

Four Calling Birds – The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John

Five Gold Rings – First five books of the Old Testament which tell of man’s fall into sin and God’s plan for redemption through His son.

Six Geese a Laying – Six days of creation.

Seven Swans a Swimming – Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Eight Maids a Milking – The Beatitudes

Nine Ladies Dancing – The Fruits of the Spirit

Ten Lords a Leaping – The Ten Commandments

Eleven Pipers Piping – Eleven faithful Apostles

Twelve Drummers Drumming – The twelve points of belief in The Apostles Creed.

So with each verse we add motions to the song, with our special new geese flapping their wings and squatting for”Geese a Laying”. The three sons are always the “Lords a Leaping” and everyone joins in on all the rest. Click here to see the last verse of this banner-year’s Kiefner version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” with a whopping FOUR geese-a-laying!

After we parade into the field to cut the tree (we actually watch Kent and Barry do the hard work), we file back to the house  for caroling led by Luanne at the piano and AFTER the performance and congrats to our new geese, we open gifts and eat Luanne’s delicious chili or soup. 

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See more quilts, wool and punch needle on my website, Creative Bee Studios!

Please share and pin! Thanks so much, Karla

Do ya wanna build a snowman?

Make a cute punch needle snowman today!

Come on, let’s go and play!

Put down your lists and have-tos.

Make a snowman yours today!

Even if you don’t like winter or snow, you can’t deny this guy is pretty cute and no shovel needed!

Grab one 3-inch canvas, your punching supplies and some yummy threads to make yourself a little winter punch-needle snowman.

Mr. Snowman Punch Needle

Mr. Snowman Punch Needle

This little guy works up super-fast and adds some needlework texture to your winter decor. My guy likes to sit in front of my “Winter Blessings” quilt (pattern by Shabby Fabrics) hanging in my dining room but he’d be darling on a window sill!

Go to my “How to Punch Needle” page to learn to do basic punching technique.

Draw your favorite snowman. What’s great about punch needle is the simpler, the better. So think back to how you would draw a snowman as a kid-then punch away!

Winter Blessings Quilt Pattern by Shabby Fabrics

Winter Blessings Quilt
Pattern by Shabby Fabrics

Do ya wanna build a snowman?

A few years ago, my girls dressed as Anna and Elsa and sang for the Salvation Army ringer outside our mall. It was cold, but they had a great time, surprised lots of little ones by being there, and brought in a few more dollars for the Salvation Army.

Do ya wanna build a snowman?It also made for a great Christmas card that year!

Do ya wanna build a snowman?

Remember to be prepared for the winter days ahead and check your emergency supplies, like water, batteries, thread, treadle machine oil (in case you lose electricity), and chocolate!

How about you share your snowman, punched or real, when winter hits? Tell me about your wintery projects!

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A Christmas Passed.

All of a sudden your family has grown up and the holidays are different!

It happens in a flash. They tell you it will. You know it will. You even know at the time that it is…and then, all of a sudden, you know it DID.

Your children have grown up. All of those years of anticipation and child-like joy about the holidays are over–actually have been for a number of years. You were just pretending they weren’t.

I’m sure you’ve figured out that “you” is me. With daughters at 24 and 20, you’d think I’d have dealt with this change sooner, but I think I was just trying to hang on as long as possible–to every “tradition” like new jammies for them to wear, eating the same dinner every Christmas Eve, eating Saint Lucia bread every Christmas morning, listening to the same Christmas music each year…

Now, for the first time in thirteen years, neither of my girls will be singing for our Christmas Eve service at church.

The Angel with Mary and Joseph

Popsicle stick Advent toys I made 23 years ago. I still put them out every year.

Neither of them will even be here. This Christmas Eve it will be just us and the baby in the manger. No cooking all day, keeping it warm while hurrying to and from the first service, home to have Christmas dinner with family and rush back to church for the candlelight performance. No prayers in the pews for healthy voices and calm nerves. It’s just us for Christmas Eve.

I’m sure many of my quilting friends now what I’m talking about, have been there, and maybe have the new round of grand-kiddos to share the excitement.

Change happens. There’s no denying it, not forever, anyway. When I think about our traditions now, I’m not so afraid to try something new. It’s still Christmas. What’s important has never changed and never will. Maybe I can focus on “new traditions” (oxymoron?) that place more meaning on the real reason we celebrate and let go of some of those time-intensive have-to’s. I mean, let’s face it, my Saint Lucia bread hasn’t risen right since we moved to our new house, ten years ago!

Jacquelyn in her Kirsten gown.

Jacquelyn in her Kirsten gown.

But it had become a tradition to laugh about the candle-lit flatbread with gooey orange icing and dried cranberries we were eating every Christmas morning!

So our girls would sleep in their white gowns and early in the morning they’d put crowns on their heads, tiptoe into the kitchen and make us something that looked like chocolate coffee and bring us a tray of goodies to “surprise” us Christmas morning, sorta like Kirsten (their American Girl) did.

The original cheetah, Paige, playing with the manger scene with Casey.

The original cheetah, Paige, playing with the manger scene with Casey.

Some years they’d have a song and dance made up–some years they’d just wing it. But it was always fun, if maybe not so tasty!

The flying cheetah--or the cheetah angel?

The flying cheetah–or the cheetah angel?

The little things!

The little things!

An ornament we made as gifts one year.

An ornament we made as gifts one year.

How did we not know she'd be an opera singer?

How did we not know she’d be an opera singer?

So it’ll be a quiet Christmas Eve, but a beautiful one, I know. There’s nothing like singing Silent Night by candlelight in our filled, beautiful church. Then on Christmas Day, our oldest will fly in from New York, the youngest and her boyfriend will pick her up at the airport, drive a few hours and our celebration with family will begin. We will have a new menu, new music, and some new people…and I think some new jammies will be in order!A Christmas Passed.Sign up to get an email when a new post goes live (about once a week).

Tell me about your Christmas traditions and ones you recommend starting!

Presents of Beauty and Purpose

Buying purposeful presents helps widows support their families.

It’s amazing how suddenly you can feel “behind the clock” when it comes to the Christmas season. Just when you think you’re making progress, three names and two parties are added to your list!

This past weekend I thought I’d knock out some names on my list of presents to buy when I happened into a beautiful ministry filled with lovely and meaningful gifts, which mean more than crossing a name off my list. Presents with Purpose

h.o.w? Ministry – Helping Orphans and Widows – has an incredibly beautiful studio for selling gorgeous, hand-crafted jewelry, knits, ornaments and more, made by women like Rose.

Meet Rose Waithera

Meet Rose Waithera

Meet Rose Waithera. Rose does beading work which allows her to provide food, books, uniforms and tuition fees for her children. She also works other peoples’ land and cooks and sells food to masons working in her village. She makes home detergents that she sells in her community and to churches and schools. When she was hospitalized for two weeks, h.o.w? jewelry was able to pay her bill so she could get treatment. Her prayer request is for health and strength.

empowering women – saving children- fighting poverty

Founder and president of h.o.w?Ministry  , Michelle Outman, is committed to empowering widows in Africa, one by one, to become independent with sustainable and predictable income. h.o.w? Ministry fights poverty among women and children, where poverty strikes hardest. h.o.w?  Ministry helps orphansPresents of Beauty and Purpose by partnering with Christ-centered homes in Kenya. You can learn more at their website .  

Presents with Purpose

Recycled glass, bone, and paper are some of the materials these women use in h.o.w? jewelry.

I suggest watching their short video which explains how by purchasing your gifts (which you need to buy anyway) through this ministry, you can help others.

I must add that this jewelry feels and looks absolutely beautiful. It is truly a beautiful gift with a beautiful meaning.

For me, learning about and praying for these women in Africa is giving me a new perspective on my preparations for Christmas this year and the gifts I buy.Presents of Beauty and Purpose I like knowing I can help someone, simply by choosing a beautiful piece she has made.

If you are fortunate enough to live near enough to visit with Michelle at h.o.w? Ministry, she can tell you about each piece, what it is made of, and often, the process the widow uses to make the item.

I purchased a knitted stocking to hang from our mantel to remind me to pray for these women and children throughout this Advent and Christmas season. The women shear and spin their own yarn to make their knitted crafts and Michelle told me about how an old bicycle wheel was fitted to a treadle to work as a spinning wheel. The stories are precious.

Now I always have some connection in my blogs to quilting and this is what I’ve got so far: I’m going to pray about how a quilted piece can help a widow or orphan or help raise funds for their benefit.  Stay tuned for the quilt to follow!

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