Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Christmas activities and life took me away for a few days, so I didn't post the blog party on Sunday, as you might have seen.  I hope you are well into celebrating Christmas, or maybe you're at work or are still preparing.  We will leave on Christmas Day to fly to the South to visit our families.  So for us, the excitement is yet to come.

As I looked through the last blog party posts, I so enjoyed the variety of styles we use to express the beauty of Christmas.

Sally at Salmagundi decorated with a rustic, folkart style:

Debbie at Debbie-Dabble decked out her kitchen in a retro-vintage 50s style:

Aimee at Refresh-Renew styled her decorations in French white and gray:

Sherry at Charm of Home incorporated Christmas decor in a traditional, cottage style:
Patti at Ivy and Elephants celebrated with the elegance of silver and crystal:

All unique, all beautiful, and all representing the joy of this season of grace.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tag Tuesday: Starry Night

This was a special challenge for me as it marks my first time using the "Christmas House" stamps as an official member of the Pink Persimmon Creative Team!  They have wonderful photopolymer clear stamps that cling to clear blocks and take ink amazingly well. I am so happy to be making projects with their fresh, vintage designs. (Two of my previous tags were made with these here.)

I envisioned this tag looking like a 1950s Christmas ad or ornament box design. The "gray" stars are really silver glitter that doesn't show well in the photo.  It was simple to put together, and here it is displayed with some Christmas boxes: 
And here is a higher-res version:

I also have a bonus tag to show you. My beloved job is to teach reading to dyslexic students.  Most truly dyslexic students are extremely intelligent and/or extremely creative.  The students I currently have are both, and they love my craft room.  My twelve-year-old student desperately wanted to make a shaker tag, and it had to be a French girl holding a bird, an Eiffel tower and stars--good thing my craft room is bursting at the seams!!!! :-)  So with only a slight bit of coaching, she made her idea into this tag, which I thought was perfect for the Starry Night theme:
She made it as my Christmas gift, which I didn't know until she had finished. I just love it!
Wishing you and yours peace, love, and joy in the simple delights this holiday season.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Inspired Sunday: Little Christmas Boxes and Blog Party

Happy Sunday! This has been a very exciting week for me, but it has also put me a little behind with today's blog party.  In addition to an unexpected invitation to a party with a dear old friend, I received an e-mail from the owner of Pink Persimmon asking me if I'd like to be on their creative team. It didn't take me long to answer that question! :-)  I own a couple of their 50's style vintage girl sets and used them in my Tag Tuesday samples:

In the coming months I will be showing projects with their stamps, including a few tutorials. It's very official, contract and all, and I am SO excited. My first deadline is December 30, but I will probably have my samples made before then. My mind is creating already!

But now, back to Christmas! I had planned to photograph an antique store's Christmas displays, but with eight goody boxes to finish for a Christmas cookie exchange tomorrow at work, I had to save that for another weekend.  For the goody boxes, I started with eight  plain kraft boxes from JoAnn:

After lots of glue and paper and glitter, I have transformed them into these:
Now I just have to finish  the baking and tying up box and goodies in a cellophane piece with a pretty bow. 

I hope everyone will like them!

In last week's blog party there were so many beautiful Christmas posts.  What really stood out to me were ones with decorations that keep fresh long-cherished memories of loved ones and times past.

Reading through Celestina Marie's post almost brought tears to my eyes as she shared the remembrances associated with her lovely things, including these beautiful red vintage glasses made by her family who worked in the Pennsylvania glass factories in the 30s and 40s. What a lovely tribute to the people in her life!

Another post full of Christmas memories is Sally's from Salmagundi. Her beautiful vintage decorations and her story about the Christmas elf and her child's tantrum made me smile. I think most of us can relate in some way!

And last but not least, is the little unexpected surprise that brought a magical Christmas moment to Judy. If you haven't already, check out her post for the delightful little discovery.

If you were featured, please put my badge on your blog.  Thank you, everyone, for linking up each week. I will try to leave comments from last week's link ups if I haven't already. And thank you for being patient as I get posts up on Sunday, some time.  I do love seeing what you are up to.  I hope you are well and are finding time to enjoy the season.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tag Tuesday: Twelve Days of Christmas

For this tag, I chose "Two turtle doves."  It's probably more of an ornament than a tag, but my definition of a tag has expanded to include pretty much anything with a string! :-)  I would put this on a gift or hang from a gift bag, though.  I cut chipboard with my die cut machine (dies from Tim Holtz) and made use of  vintage book pages. All the pieces are mounted on a gold glitter wreath from the Dollar Tree.  Composition and construction were the main tasks for this tag.
On a chalkboard

Wreaths from Dollar Tree
On a tree branch.

I hope your holiday season is going well!


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Inspired Sunday: Traditions Part 2 and Blog Party

Be sure to check out the features from last Sunday's party here.

Happy Sunday! Today I have the holiday themed trees from the Traditions store and the little tree I finished for my entry.  I am gradually bringing Christmas to this house!

Here's my little tree on a Victorian marble-top table in my entry.  It's decorated with folk art House of Hatten ornaments and others in a similar style. My mother was a great collector and could fill an entire tree with these.
This is a pre-lit tree in a pot that I got at a thrift shop for about 14.00.  It's a very nice one, the kind that probably costs 50.00 or more in a store. It was a happy find! I stuff it with strands of fake ivy and added clumps of berries purchased after Christmas one year at Michaels for about .25 each.  I like to add additional foliage to my artificial trees to bring interest. I also like to use a main color in flowers, bows, or berries to give a color anchor for the various ornanents. Here's a close-up:

Now on to more pictures from The Traditions store.  Walking into this store is breathtaking.  There is so much to see and absorb! It is for me--wonderfully intoxicating!  :-)
 This store is packed full of trees and decorations for all the major holidays.  There is a Valentine's tree with plenty of table top decorations:

 A St. Patrick's Day Tree:

An Easter Tree with plenty of table top decorations:

A Fourth of July tree with wonderful folk art decorations:
  And one tree to celebrate veterans:
 And a wonderful cabinet filled with beautiful decorations:
 And as if this weren't enough, there is a huge Halloween section with several Halloween themed trees. (I love the framed silhouettes. I am going to craft this for Halloween and maybe modify it for some other holidays!)

(I guess I'll have to return to photograph the Thanksgiving tree and displays--oops!)

And then we come back to Christmas.
My pictures really aren't sufficient to capture the awe of this wonderful store.  I do want to thank Barbara and Debi for so graciously allowing me to photograph their wonderful trees and vignettes.  If you want to see items individually, you can find the Traditions store at this link.  Do you keep up a tree all year round?

Now let's see what Christmas is looking like for you. Link up old or new posts of anything Christmas. Please link back to me. If you follow me, let me know in a comment, and I will follow you. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Inspired Sunday Blog Party Features

So the Sunday posts aren't so long, I am showing the featured posts tonight as planned.  Please come back on Sunday to link up to the blog party.

Rush, rush, stress, rush, rush, hurry, stress some more, rush stress rush stress rush rushrushrushrushrushrush.... CRASH!   whew... it's over!!!!!!!!

I got really tired of my holidays feeling like this, and one day several years ago it occurred to me, "Would the Prince of Peace want me to celebrate His birthday this way?" The answer in my head was a resounding "NO." So I made a conscientious effort to weed out my unnecessary "have-to's" that had become burdens to me, like baking eight types of cookies, or cajoling my husband to put lights on the house, or sending gifts to siblings when we all agreed not to and they kept sending, or sending out Christmas cards no matter what stressful situations were in my life during a particular December. I let go of the Martha in me and became more like Mary, although I don't always sit very well and not nearly close enough to Jesus' feet. 

So now I relax during the season, listen to Christmas music, play medieval carols on my wood recorder, craft a little, and put up decorations all through December as I find time and energy to enjoy it. I let my husband be free to do what he likes, which is not hanging lights on anything, and I don't get upset when everything isn't done or perfect. I sometimes don't have it all together, and I sometimes put up a tree on December 24, but I am peaceful. And that helps me take time to love those around me and have a ready smile or a listening ear to some who might need it.

With that in mind, Magali's tag advent calendar seemed the perfect idea. With a busy schedule, it was important to her to simplify and finish it so that she could enjoy it all through the season. It's lovely and could be made with stamps or a printer.  And I love that she put a dish of chocolates nearby and will eat one each day as she pulls off the tags! :-)
Another way to quickly make the holiday special and to enjoy impromptu gatherings is to prepare a hot chocolate bar like Julie's. It's pretty enough to be on display all through December and would provide a ready treat for neighbors or friends.  And what a great way to use keepsakes or vintage thrift shop finds!
hot chocolate tiered tray
And if you want to be crafty and also thrifty, but don't have much time, you can follow Trisha's lead and wrap dollar store candles with music paper and add some embellishments!  Her post is full of pretty gift ideas.

Thank you for visiting.  I hope that you are enjoying a holiday season of peace.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tag Tuesday: Angels

I'm finally on time again!  For this tag I used an angel image from The Graphics Fairy. I adhered it to light-weight chipboard and cut it out. I stamped a large snowflake and cut it with a matching die.  The stars were glittered, punched, and strung together. I added lots of glitter and "mica" snow to make it very sparkly.

I guess this is as much an ornament as a tag! :-) The picture doesn't really do it justice - so much prettier in person when you can see all the sparkle and the dimension.  Please be sure to link up with the Inspired Sunday blog party here!

I'm linking this post with these great blog parties:

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Inspired Sunday: 30 Days of Christmas and Blog Party

Happy first day of December! There's nothing like shopping in gorgeous stores to get me in the holiday spirit. So to kick off the holiday season, I decided to bring you thirty days of Christmas beauty. Each Sunday I will be showcasing Christmas decor from shops, antiques stores, and perhaps even my own home.  I will continue the Inspired Sunday blog party and showcase your links on Friday evening.  Please link up any Christmas-themed post that you think would inspire us (at the end of this post).

Today's feature is the Traditions Store in Canoga Park, about 20 minutes north of L.A. The store sits unimposingly in an industrial area among auto repair shops and the like, and provides an entree into a fantasy world upon passing through its doors.  Proprietors Debi and Barbara Thomas graciously let me photograph their gorgeous theme trees, folk art vignettes, and tabletop decor.  They ship all over the country, so if you love folk artists like Debbie Thibault and Bethany Lowe, you've found the source. They also  have sales and offer coupons throughout the year.  This store is nothing short of heavenly!
A row of greeters shoppers as they enter the store.
Little drawers covered with Victorian Santas make a wonderful advent calendar.

A simple feather tree with scrap ornaments.

A variety of folk art figures displayed on a chippy painted hutch.
Trees for the garden lover, one with flowers and insects and one with fruit

An elegant gold tree trimmed in cream and red

Red and creamy white set the color scheme for this beautiful setting.

A Putz house surrounded by Chritsmas trees
A "feather" tree made of paper fringe
Old-world Father Christmas figures in various sizes
Putz houses are scattered throughout the store.
A glittered deer grazes in the yard of this Putz house.

A Putz village offers a feast of endless sparkly pastel variety. 

A "rustic" version of a Putz house

A sideboard laden with folk art Santas, bears, and Christmas trees
Visions of sugarplums take center front in this sweets-themed vignette
 I hope you've enjoyed this stroll through the Traditions Store with me.  Now I'm ready to go decorate my house? Did it get you in the mood, or are you already done?

Now let's see what the Christmas spirit has brought your way. Link up any post related to Christmas.  Please link back to my blog.  I would love for you to become a follower. I will follow you back. Happy Sunday!