My camera arrived today, thank you very much brother Phil!  I was so excited to use it, I took it to a Christmas party tonight and left it in the car.

When I got home and downloaded non-Christmas party pictures, I came across images of some handmade items that warmed my heart.  If you live up north, you might need a little heart-warmin' too.

My daughter has been creating a visual journal, which involves painting over a used book.  She tries to spend time on it every day.   I've posted two pictures in former posts; here are two of the latest pages.

I love the colors.

She's loosely following an art book that suggests a theme for each page.   After you scrapbook/paint the background, you fill in with text, as much or as little as you want.   It's a creative way to express your thoughts/feelings/fears/dreams.

I never learned to paint, so it always amazes me when artists use pigmented goo from a tube, sponges, fine-haired utensils and toothpicks to create an image that is not a hand-drawn turkey.

When I was in Maryland recently, I noticed some other creative artistry.  My sister-in-law's beautiful white nativity set was on display.  Among the smooth, porcelain figurines stood a few characters with a different ambiance.

See if you can pick them out.

I believe these are the Toilet Paper Roll Kings.  (I just noticed one of the porcelain dudes is kneeling before an outlet cover.)

I love the happy faces, the rick-rack and pipe cleaner belts.  I think the king on the right is wearing a tie on his head.

The king on the left is my favorite.   His mustache is thick as a snake and grows up to his eyebrows.   He must not have had time to trim it.   He just flapped his napkin over his head and followed the star.  

The middle king is the only one with arms. 

These kinds of creations are so endearing.   Especially at Christmastime.  Mixed among the polished and the beautiful are the simple and the humble and the burlap-y.   We're all welcome to come into the stable and meet the baby. 

And that's good news.  Joyful news, really.

Here are my joyful people.  They're part of the advent wreath I made in a pottery class five years ago.   The bookend people were taller, but their legs disappeared in the kiln.   They're still happy.

Because Christmas is coming.

And art is forever. 

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