Author: Bley

A “Homely” Artist: Marianne Stokes

Marianne Stokes was an Austrian painter in the late 1800’s who married the well-known English artist, Adrian Stokes.  Together they travelled Europe, he painting landscapes and villages, and Marianne painting portraits of the local peoples and their customs.  I particularly love this portrait of a woman praying on Candlemas Day.  Her Madonna and Child (below) is one of the most beautiful I have seen, with the patterned gold silhouettes of flowering blooms and thorns, probably referring to the Christ child’s future death. There are also some beautiful “homely” pieces that she painted.  This young girl in the sunny meadow wearing traditional Eastern European clothing is charming, as is the mother teaching her daughter a lesson in their rustic home (lower right). This portrait of a Hungarian bride is rich with detail of their historical garments, and apparently her work was a valuable contribution to the documentation of this culture. I hope you enjoyed seeing the work of a historical artist, and how she depicted the liturgical lives of various peoples.  To see more of her …

A Valentine for You, Mom and Dad

One thing I love about the prayer book is that it gives direction that is simple, precise, and Christ-focused to my thoughts and inward groanings.  This is the prayer that I say the most, under my breath, in desperation, at the end of a long day as I fall asleep: Almighty God, heavenly Father, who hast blessed us with the joy and care of children; Give us light and strength so to train them, that they may love whatsoever things are true and pure and lovely and of good report, following the example of their Savior, Jesus Christ.  Amen. Click the image below to download a free printable of the  Parent’s Prayer  pdf from Esther Bley Designs.

Folk Artist Heather Sleightholm

We are grateful here at The Homely Hours, to have “met” and collaborated with folk artist Heather Sleightholm on this Candlemas coloring printable for you.  Heather’s art under the name Audrey Eclectic explores themes of faith and family, and you can view and purchase prints of her lovely work in her Etsy shop.  This is what Heather says about her work: “As I have grown as an artist, it has become my passion to explore themes of faith, family, love and tradition within my paintings. As I myself have deepened in my faith and come to cherish my Anglican roots, I have wanted to share the elements of my faith that are most dear to me through art. It is my hope that when people view my paintings, they feel a personal connection, peace and comfort. I am always so touched when I hear that one of my paintings reminds someone of a cherished childhood moment, time with family, or their intimate connection with God. I am very blessed to have been given this ability …

Candlemas Printables

We are excited today to bring you some Candlemas printables to aid your celebration of this Festival of Light.  Folk artist Heather Sleightholm of Audrey Eclectic kindly agreed to create a special piece of art just for us!  Her lovely drawing of the presentation of Christ in the temple, the ultimate Light coming into the world, is available to you as a coloring page, or a sticker to decorate your family’s vigil candle for the year. At our parish, Christ the King, we will be creating vigil candles for each family during Sunday School on January 31, and then our priest will do the Blessing of the Candles during our service.  My family is excited to have this special candle in our home this year to remind us that we can bring all our cares to Christ. There are two different artwork designs, a black and white design by Heather that can be colored and a full color piece by me.  They are formatted two to a page to fit onto a standard vigil candle, …

Epiphanytide: Three Kings Crowns

The Epiphany, or The Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles, is celebrated on January 6, with the season of Epiphanytide running through Shrove Tuesday.  There are several events in the life of Christ that we celebrate during this time, where He revealed Himself as the Saviour to both Jews and Gentiles.  The first is the visit of the Magi to see the newborn Christ. To mark this day in our family, we usually wear crowns, and dress up as kings and queens, to remember the visit of the Magi.  Some years, we have saved a special present for our children from Christmas, and given it to them on Epiphany.  I created these crowns in case you would like an easy way to remember and talk about the visit of the Magi with your own children. KingsCrown – There are three crowns in different color ways included in the file for you to print at will. We share these resources and ideas with the understanding that celebrations do not always have to be elaborate to be meaningful. …

Collects beyond Christmas

Have you found any usefulness from the printable collects we have offered?  I have enjoyed making them, and ruminating on the words as I re-type them into cards.  The prayers are so practical. Here you can find the next set of collects for the Circumcision of Christ through Epiphany.  I have formatted these so that if you print all three pages, you will have one of each collect for the Sundays from now until Lent begins. EpiphanyCollects  

The ‘Great O’ Antiphons

One of the things I love about the church year is that it offers a richness of historical tradition, and numerous ways of ruminating on Truth.  The “Great O” Antiphons, as they are called, are additional verses added to the singing of the Magnificat during Advent, and they each elaborate on one of the “mysterious” names of Christ from Isaiah.  Others have written about the history and significance of these verses much more eloquently than I, and I encourage you to read through these and enjoy praying them in the last few days before Christmas, as we reach a crescendo, imploring Him to “Come!”. The “Great O” Antiphons: December 16th: O Sapientia O Wisdom, who didst issue out of the mouth of the most High, and dost reach from one end of the world to the other, mightily and sweetly ordering all things: Come and teach us the way of prudence. December 17th: O Adonai O Lord and ruler of the house of Israel, who didst appear to Moses in a burning bush, and didst …

Saint Nicholas Day: December 6th

Saint Nicholas Day has come to be one of my favorite Advent traditions.  It is a bright and celebratory spot in the waiting weeks of Advent, and it reminds us of a man of faith who loved, and brought joy to, children.  There are many great resources about Saint Nicholas: Saint Nicholas Center – A site packed full of information on “the original Santa Claus,” with lots of information on Saint Nicholas, and ideas for activities, food, and other ways to celebrate. Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend – This story elaborates on the idea that Saint Nicholas’ good works and generosity all stemmed from his love for God. The Baker’s Dozen – My favorite St. Nicholas Day story, about a baker who learns to be generous and open-hearted the hard way.  The illustrations in this book are stunning. In past years, we have done homemade gifts for all of our kid friends, and delivered them on Saint Nicholas Day, with a little note.  Since we have a new baby in the house …