Tuesday, October 31, 2017

From the October archives here in the Christmas kitchen ..

In both of my blogs, I've been trying to do a couple posts from the archives each month.  In the process of trying to do so for October,  I've found that there were some Octobers when I didn't post here at all.  Shame on me!  The only excuse I can come up with is that October tends to be a busy month for us and a time when we often have traveled somewhere.  For whatever reason, there's a scarcity of posts in the October archives.

As a result, I only have a few links to share today.  Here goes:

From 2007, Easy Patchwork Coasters are a project I've made many times and referred to many times on both blogs.  They're not really patchwork, but look that way as a result of folding, stitching, and turning.  A project I highly recommend for using up smallish scraps of Christmas fabric!
This Advent Countdown project is one I did some years ago from a Gooseberry Patch Christmas book.  I actually made three of these.  It took some time but was a very rewarding project.
This post on Baking, Beverage, and Seasoning Mixes shares a link to a long list of such mixes.  I love giving these as part of a gift basket!
A fun little gift for a 1-year-old is fabric alphabet letters to play with and, as they get older, to spell out words.

And lastly, I blogged about a favorite kids' book from my own childhood: The Animals’ Merry Christmas!
Hope you've enjoyed this quick browse through the archives!

Monday, October 30, 2017

October Rudolph Day (lakeside edition!)

 Obviously, October 25 would have been Rudolph Day for this month.  I was pretty busy that day (Wednesday) and decided to postpone any Christmas-related activities until the weekend when things would be quieter.

And they were indeed much quieter!  Although Mr. T and I were off on a brief getaway to our favorite northern lake, I did manage a little Christmas crafting time on Saturday.

The day was glorious.  Simply glorious.  Sunny, bright, and warm.  Even though it was the end of October, Mr. T and I had prayed for good weather -- sun, and temperatures warm enough to allow sitting on the dock.  God certainly answered our prayers.  Friday had some temps warm enough for dock-sitting too, but it was extremely breezy and not a day to try and do any crafting out there.

But Saturday ... now, that was definitely a day for outdoor crafting.  First, I sat on the dock for awhile and worked on this cross-stitched cardinal Christmas ornament.
Then I decided to put some time into my cross-stitched "Snow Angels" which is a UFO of many years' standing.  This project is done on 18-count Aida, not a favorite of my aging eyes.  Although not technically a Christmas project, the brilliant sunlight there on the dock was perfect for working on this challenging scene.
This is one of those projects that I work on so seldom, I have to figure out where I am each time.  There is so much shading in here that I find it really difficult.  Even though I try and mark my place with washi tape -- and that seemed to work very well for awhile -- I still struggle to figure out how to pick up where I left off. 
Took the Snow Angels photos back at home.  Sorry this is so blurry.
This time, after a few frustrating minutes, I decided to work on the sky, which is done with fairly large amounts of the color I had threaded in the needle already.  That worked very well and I was able to accomplish quite a bit.  It's the very pale sky blue that you can barely see.

It actually got too warm sitting there in the sun after awhile.  I ended up moving to a nearby picnic table which was still sunny, but not too hot, and still in view of the glorious sights and sounds of the lake.  What a beautiful place to stitch!

Although I didn't accomplish a large amount of crafting on this Rudolph Day, I must say it was one of my favorite Rudolph Days this year.  So thankful to be stitching beside the lake on this gorgeous October Saturday!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A little vintage Christmas gift!

As many of my readers know, I've been cleaning out a house.  One thing I've been finding is lots of decorative tins full of odds and ends. 

A really fun find in one such tin was a net scrubby -- I think it was probably intended to be enclosed in a Christmas card.  Or, it may just have been a bazaar item.  It's a rectangle of red netting -- it looks like about four layers, cut 5-1/4 inches by  3-1/4 inches -- sewed together with green thread.  Up in one corner is a little embroidered evergreen sprig.
And attached to the scrubby was this little mimeographed poem:

This Christmas card of nylon net
Will help you most when it is wet.
It's extra good for pots and pans;
Eliminates most dishpan hands. 
So for my year-long Christmas wishes,
Use it when you do the dishes.

Cute, don't you think?  I may make up a few of these to tuck into special Christmas cards!

Friday, September 29, 2017

A Cracker Barrel Christmas with Arlene!

Image of Woodland Cardinal Mug from CrackerBarrel.com
My friend Arlene blogs over at Nanaland, and she recently visited a Cracker Barrel where the Christmas goodies were already on display.  Check out the post here:  A Cracker Barrel Christmas.

Our nearest Cracker Barrel (and the only one) here in New Hampshire is quite a distance away, certainly not a trip to take on the spur of the moment.  So I went to their website instead and enjoyed browsing the Christmas section there.  It's not arranged as beautifully as in the store, but the merchandise is all there.  (Arlene's photos, of course, do give the flavor of actually being in the store.)

I was smitten by the Woodland Cardinal Mug at the top of the post, even though I certainly don't need another mug of any sort.  Maybe for decorating?  It would work for fall right through Christmas!

Here are a couple of other neat finds from CrackerBarrel.com:

This sweet Woodland Chickadee Ornament would make a nice gift, 
Photo from CrackerBarrel.com
 and I also love the  Paper Barn Ornament, a cute variation on a putz house.
Photo from CrackerBarrel.com
 I would love to hang either on our own tree.  Both are very reasonably priced.

Thanks to Arlene for the Christmas inspiration from Cracker Barrel!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

A couple more from the September archives

Just a couple more posts from the September archives!

I couldn't resist linking to our Mini Christmas in September from 2012.  Just a fun memory!
And then this one: Thinking Out Loud -- from last year, and still timely, especially for people like me who have a history of overextending themselves.  Due to my estate responsibilities, this is going to be another year of very few handmade gifts. 
Maybe these thoughts will be helpful to someone else!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

A few posts from the September archives

Image from The Graphics Fairy
I guess I must not post very often in September on my Christmas blog, because there were not a lot of posts in the archives to choose from.  Still, here are a few, and I'll post a couple more of the links later in the week.  Today I want to focus on some handmade gifts that you could complete if you started in the next week or so.

Personalized Cookbooks make a wonderful gift and are great for any gift-giving occasion, not just Christmas.  Over time, these have become my standard wedding or shower gift.  It's an easy project, but is time-consuming.
Christmas Tea Towels are fun to make, and are nice gifts for your daughters or women friends, maybe even co-workers.  You know your friends' tastes.  I myself would always enjoy receiving a gift like this, as I would decorate with it even if I didn't use it to dry dishes!  A whole set of these would be a nice gift for a family member.

And then there are these Pillowcase Grocery Totes and a nifty way to present a set of them as a gift.  I made a set for each of my daughters one Christmas and have since made a set for myself.  They are handy for many uses, but always elicit favorable comments at the grocery store!
Have fun with these ideas!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Customizing Christmas cards with Paperless Post (a review)

Recently I was given the opportunity to try out Paperless Post, a company that offers the capability to create one's own unique online and paper stationery.  There are many attractive designs for cards, invitations, and much more that can be completely customized to reflect one's own personal style (or, in the case of birthday cards, the personality of the recipient).  According to their About page, since 2009 Paperless Post users have sent out over 85 million cards for all occasions.

I was interested to try this out because I often send e-cards for holidays and birthdays.  It's been getting more difficult to find e-cards that I like everything about.  So the opportunity to customize my own digital cards with photos, personal messages, and more, seemed like a very good one.

Although I have only begun with seeing what Paperless Post has to offer, I'm impressed with it so far.

There is an entire category for holiday cards: Paperless Post holiday cards, featuring designs for a number of different holidays.  There also are many, many Christmas cards to choose from, and you can see them here: Paperless Post Christmas cards.

I decided to customize a photo card, so I chose an attractive design and got started.  The cards are completely customizable -- one can change the wording, change typefaces, text colors and sizes and much more.  These aren't at all like e-cards I've sent in the past where the design, greeting, etc. are put together in advance by someone else and I've just added a simple personal message.

It's very, very easy to upload your own photo.  I chose a mountain scene from our trip to Nevada this summer.

First there's the card front -- as mentioned above, there are many great designs to choose from.  The message on the front can be changed if you wish, the font made larger or a different color, etc.  Next, you can choose an optional backdrop to complement your card.  This isn't necessary, but it's fun and there are many backdrops to select from.  I used a sort of white stucco with greenery for my backdrop.

For many of the photo cards, there is a back side where you can also add photos and a greeting.  You can use their greeting or write your own, choosing the font, the font color, size, spacing, etc.  The envelope back is the next step; you can choose your color of envelope to coordinate with your card and then add an optional envelope liner which is lots of fun.  Again, loads of choices for these.  For the envelope front, you again choose a font, etc. for the address.  You can choose a postmark and a stamp for your envelope.

The whole process was quite easy and fun.  It actually reminded me of the photo calendars and books I've made online, with the many options for personalization.  There is the option to send a card right away or to schedule it for a later date and time, a feature that I absolutely love.  I have three Christmas cards already scheduled to be sent to friends in December.

All in all, I've greatly enjoyed customizing Christmas photo cards with Paperless Post, and will be looking forward to personalizing and sending more of their cards to family and friends.  I would definitely recommend this site to my readers who might be interested in something like this.

This post was written in partnership with Paperless Post and Anagram Interactive, but obviously all opinions are my own and reflect only my experiences.   I've also begun customizing and scheduling a few birthday cards and have posted about that on my regular blog.