Monday, July 31, 2017
A little research revealed that Famous Artist Studio did do mailings of Christmas cards for nonprofits, and some for the VFW, so that's likely where our neighbors acquired this card.
My personal feeling is that the flag sort of overwhelms the pretty scene, but I thought I would scan the card and save it that way, for it is definitely an interesting vintage card. It reminds me, too, that not all people have freedom to worship as they choose. We are very blessed in America!
Thanks to all of you who've visited my Christmas kitchen for Christmas in July. It's been fun!
Sunday, July 30, 2017
Sometime During Christmas
Sometime during Christmas
As the days go rushing by,
Take time to see the Christmas lights
Mist-haloed 'gainst the sky.
Sometime during Christmas
Breathe deep the Christmas smell;
The bayberry and the piney scents;
What welcome they foretell!
Sometime during Christmas
When carolers are singing,
Retell the age-old story
For which the bells are ringing.
Sometime during Christmas
Midst the gaiety and noise,
Take time to hear the quietness
Of simple Christmas joys.
Sometime during Christmas
Remember friends are near,
And feel the warmth of knowing
That your friendship's very dear!
~ Ree Reaney
I thought this was such a beautiful poem. Sometime during Christmas, let us take time to do each and every one of these things!
(The illustration at top is the cover from one of my vintage Christmas carol books.)
Saturday, July 29, 2017
There's the church steeple, complete with pealing bells, in the foreground, and townsfolk circling the lighted tree. Maybe the tree has just been lighted for the first time this Christmas season, for everyone seems awed and delighted. I think the person in the center of the group, back toward the tree, looks as if he may be leading the others in a Christmas carol. Someone has even brought their sled along.
Snow is falling and the entire scene looks as if it could be right at home inside a snow globe. Sigh. I simply love the innocence of vintage cards, don't you?
Friday, July 28, 2017
|"A Happy Christmastide" -- from Abby at Little Birdie Blessings|
But here is a real plan that works for a real family, probably not so much different from yours or mine. This advice is from Vicki at Christmas 24/7/365. and she shared it last year for Christmas in July there on her blog.
This is Vicki’s plan for a stress-free Christmas, and you just might find it very helpful. Vicki shares her timelines for card writing, letter writing, card mailing, decorating, baking, and so on. I can really see how this could work quite well to free a family up to just enjoy December and the festivities it brings.
I'm posting this toward the end of July because we are that much closer to Christmas and surely need the inspiration. Why not do some work in your Christmas notebook and jot a few of Vicki's deadlines on your calendar? I'm planning to!
Thursday, July 27, 2017
Even prettier is this teacup tree
Rose Chintz Cottage. Sandi also has a beautiful Christmas blog called Christmas Pudding, which is well worth a visit for some lovely Christmas inspiration. To read more about Sandi's teacup tree and how she uses teacups in her holiday decorating, go here: Mini Tree in a Teacup.
Lovely as these ideas are, Tuula at Thrifty Rebel Vintage has taken them a step further with her mini teacup Christmas trees, using miniature teacups. Aren't they sweet?
|Photo by Thrifty Rebel Vintage|
This is a genius idea, in my view. Hope someone else has been inspired by it, as well!
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
From 2012, Fantastic Felt Food shares some of the fun food items that can be made of felt. The chocolates below and the foods at top are a couple of examples. Kids love felt food! The photo at top was taken at the county fair when my grandkids entered their collection of felt food.
How to Make a Christmas Memory Book, from 2013, is a clear tutorial on how to make a memory book for your family. I have never regretted taking the time to make these for family!
Nurturing kids’ creativity with Christmas in July shares how you can get your kids involved right now with preparing for Christmas gifts. I found it inspiring.
Linked, but not baked, in 2015, Chocolate Mint Sugar Cookie Bars is a recipe I want to try for the cookie trays this Christmas.
Peruse my Pinterest boards! I have a bunch of Pinterest boards specifically for Christmas and have even added another since this was posted: Bringing Home the Tree.
So there are a few archive posts. Enjoy!
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
|Detail from a table runner I made for my daughter|
I'll briefly detail a few of Rachel's tips and how I'll use them, but you must read the full article to get the real benefit.
* Handmade doesn't necessarily mean DIY. So true. I love to support Etsy shops and they are filled with great gift ideas.
* Buy, wrap, and ship gifts early. Yes, indeed, especially if, like me, you have family living three time zones away. I also like to schedule package pickups (very easy with Priority Mail flat rate boxes) -- and another thing I've done is to have gifts from places like Amazon and ThriftBooks sent directly to my daughter. She then wraps and tags them for me.
* Limit traveling. This is such a great idea, especially if you have small children or a lot of children. Do not be guilted into going "home for Christmas." You are home! Let your parents come to you, if they must, or just enjoy your own personal family traditions. Don't add stress to Christmas by traveling unnecessarily in iffy weather.
* Do "preventive life maintenance". Wonderful ideas. Stock up on tissues, toilet paper, cough drops. Plan and even cook ahead for easy meals. (I've written in the past about this concept.) Life is going to go on. It's not going to slow down just because it's Christmas time. In fact, quite the reverse. So be prepared, and there won't need to be emergency runs to the store or drive-thru.
Go check out Rachel's post! Rudolph Day for July is the perfect time to give this some thought and do some planning.
Monday, July 24, 2017
I'm not sure if Dollar Tree carries these year round or not. (They also sell the red plastic baskets!) This was the first time I had seen them, so I bought 2 packages (and I would encourage you to purchase them this summer, if you think you'd use some).
Since they are food safe, these would be great to use in packaging kitchen gifts. I think they would work well for wrapping small loaves of quick bread like cranberry, lemon, pumpkin, and so on. Wouldn't they also be cute lining a basket of gingerbread men or a tin full of cookies?
For a whimsical container in which to present cookies or take them to a potluck or cookie swap, you could buy one of the red plastic baskets, line it with one of these checked liners and fill with cookies, then pop the whole thing into a clear plastic bag for transport. This would make a nice neighbor gift, as well.
Another fun use I thought of was to place one of these liners in the red plastic basket and then fill it with felt food of the take-out variety, like hamburgers, sandwiches, chips, etc. Wouldn't that be a cute way to present a gift of felt food like those below?
Sunday, July 23, 2017
Christmas fills the senses
In a most delicious way.
The sight and sound and taste of it
For one full month hold sway.
Crisp and brittle holly wreaths,
Candles' velvet glow;
The smell of cookies baking,
The crunch of sparkling snow,
The eyes of little children
A-shine with hope and joy,
The shimmer of the Christmas tree,
Its base all banked with toys.
Christmas fills the senses, true,
But this is just a part;
For even more than all the rest,
Christmas fills the heart.
~ Elizabeth Collier
This is such a lovely poem! I thought the photo of my two granddaughters decorating cookies last Christmas was the perfect illustration.
Saturday, July 22, 2017
|Photo by Thrifty Rebel Vintage|
Take a look at how creative Tuula has gotten with these. Sheet music lines the ornaments -- in one case, even a page from a Christmas carol book. Don't want to cut up your vintage booklets? No worries -- scan the page, print it out and there you go! These would look lovely with images from vintage Christmas cards centered in them, too. My imagination could really have fun with these if I only had the time.
Hope you can use this idea! Have fun!
Friday, July 21, 2017
|Photo from Cupcakes and Crinoline|
I'm always enamored of bottle brush trees, and these teensy ones are the cutest ever. They are placed atop wooden spools gussied up with vintage newsprint and liberal amounts of glitter. This would be an easy craft to do at the picnic table this summer!
To make them into place card holders, add a strip of newsprint with the person's name on it by pinning it to the tree with a corsage pin. (Admittedly not a good idea for kids.)
A piece of pretty baker's twine may be tied around each spool to add color, but I sort of like them just as is.
Have fun with this idea!
Thursday, July 20, 2017
|Photo from Our Southern Home|
They begin with round papier mache ornaments and get gussied up with scrapbook paper (the perfect use for those small $1 packs of scrapbook paper that are so tempting in the craft stores!), a photo, and glitter. I love these and hope that I can find time to make some. I think they would be fun to make with sepia or black and white photos as well, and would be cute to make using copies of vintage photos. (I would never recommend using the originals of family heirloom photos or treasured vintage Christmas cards. Scan them and then print for your craft usage.)
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
|Graphic from The Old Design Shop|
Brainstorming Christmas gift ideas has some very nifty gift-giving ideas which I brainstormed with friends on a crafting forum. They combine hand-crafted gifts with purchased items for some very gift-worthy ideas.
Then there's a quote concerning Christmas crafting as stress relief any time of year. I knew there was a reason I'd been keeping a small tote of Christmas craft items close at hand!
Lastly for today, I'll share the Christmas Tea Wallet which I made as a gift for a friend.
Have fun browsing in the archives .. another archive post will be coming soon!
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
The inside greeting says,
Hope you've enjoyed this look at one of my little vintage paper treasures!
Monday, July 17, 2017
|Photo and design by Shannon at Eat Sleep Make|
You can see the Anthropologie design on the left and Shannon's on the right. I actually think that hers is much prettier. I love the rose fabric that she chose for her applique. Motifs cut from a vintage sheet might also be pretty. A blanket stitch (in red here, on both towels above, although you could choose any color that goes with your fabric) adds a fun and distinctive touch.
Have fun with this idea! I hope to!
Sunday, July 16, 2017
Signs of Christmas
Carols singing, church bells ringing,
It's Christmastime again.
Wind a-blowing, hearth fires glowing,
Candles shine in windowpanes.
Pine and holly, fir and hemlock,
A bunch of mistletoe or more;
Skaters skating, children laughing,
A jolly snowman by the door.
White-capped roofs and horses' hooves
Clattering o'er a crusted snow;
Sleigh bells jingling, store bells tinkling
As the shoppers come and go.
Candy canes and crowded lanes,
Goodwill and peace to men;
All around, this spirit abounds --
It's Christmastime again.
~ Lucille King
I love this for the way it conjures up so many different sounds and scenes of the Christmas season. Hope you have enjoyed it, too!
Saturday, July 15, 2017
nifty idea for Christmas giving -- I'd been inspired by seeing some spice mixes packaged in fabric bags along with recipes, and thought this would be an idea I'd like to try.
This 2012 post shares a link for many baking, beverage, and seasoning mixes as well as some of my own recipes.
And this post from my regular blog, written in 2010, describes the Kitchen Gift in a Pie Plate which is pictured at the top of the post. This was such a fun gift to put together!
You can see that I've made pumpkin pie spice and apple pie spice, and then I made some of my favorite pie recipes into a little cookbook to go along with them, packaging the entire gift in a unique spatterware pie plate.
[Edited to add: You can find these recipe cards at Graphic Garden. In the left sidebar you will see the category "Free Printables." Down near the bottom of the list, click on "Recipe Cards". There are so many beautiful designs to choose from! The ones I've used here are from the "Seasonal" category and are called "Winter cabin/blank". At the top of the "Recipe Cards" page, you will find detailed instructions for how to use them. You can either print them out blank and write on them, or save them to your computer and type on them as I have done here. ]
I'm starting to get inspired by the mix idea all over again, in fact. Hope others have as much fun with this idea as I did!
Friday, July 14, 2017
|Photo from Happy Together|
There's a free downloadable pattern, and the only other things you need -- other than a sewing machine and basic sewing supplies -- are fabric and elastic. Very small amounts of fabric will be needed, so this would be a great way to use up some of your scraps.
The tutorial looks clear and the process simple. I'm thinking I'll make a bunch of these for the girls on my list. Summer is a great time to make fun little projects like this!
Thursday, July 13, 2017
|Photo from Laura's Crafty Life|
Talk about creative ideas! I'm not sure I would ever have come up with anything like this. These tags combine elements from scrapbooking and card making, and have all the appeal of a Christmas snow globe, ready to be shaken.
They do require the use of a FUSE tool, which I do not own, as well as a few other items I don't keep on hand. But if you are a card maker or a scrapbooker, you likely have nearly everything you would need to make a bunch of these. More than a gift tag, they are like a little extra gift that the recipient may want to hang on their Christmas tree or display with their cards.
Have fun with this idea! I think I may be pricing a FUSE tool, because this is such a neat project.
[Edited to add: I looked on Amazon, and here is one example of a FUSE tool which sells for around $20 and looks like a neat little gadget to own: American Crafts Fuse Tool.]
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
|Photo by Skip to My Lou|
Cindy has designed two wonderful "coffee carriers" in which to package gifts of coffee. She shares a good tutorial for making these, as well as a downloadable template for each design. The carriers are quite easily put together from the card stock of your choice and can obviously be customized as you please. I usually tuck a bag of coffee into a couple of large Christmas gift baskets given to friends with large families, and I think these carriers will make a festive way to package that coffee this year. Have fun with this idea!
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
|Photo by Vicki at Christmas 24/7/365|
Vicki explains just how she uses this, and I think you will find it helpful -- it may even have the potential to completely revolutionize your gift-giving. You can certainly personalize and tweak this idea so that it better fits the gift-giving that you personally do. Hope this wonderful idea is an inspiration for someone today!
[Edited to add: Deanna asked if there was a link to print this chart. I don't think there is; I checked back on some of Vicki's older posts labeled "organize" and didn't see one. She did write: "I've been using this method for almost 20 years and it certainly works for me. I create a table with a column for each person I'm purchasing gifts for. The yellow highlighted rows are for stocking stuffers. Since I took this photo I've also added a bright green and a purple row. One is for calendars, one is for ornaments. The pale pink and blue rows are for the grandkids' gifts. Each grandchild gets four wrapped presents."]
I'm going to try and check in with Vicki tomorrow and see if she does have a printable page she could share.
Monday, July 10, 2017
my Kitchen Gifts board.
Here is an idea that I found some time ago and have never tried. It has been tucked in my Christmas notebook for probably 15 years. Since we had a poem titled "Bethlehem" for yesterday's post, I thought Bethlehem Snack Mix the perfect kitchen gift to share today.
Here's what you need:
Red and green M&Ms*
I am sorry that the recipe I have does not include quantities. Probably if you started with a cup of each ingredient, you could not go wrong.
* Red and green M&Ms and star-shaped pretzels can usually be found in stores as soon as the holiday items begin to appear.
** Potato sticks are the (fried, I assume) shoestring-shaped snack item -- like potato chips, only in sticks. They come in a can. It looks a bit like hay or straw if you use your imagination.
Edited to add: Several people mentioned not having seen the star-shaped pretzels. I'm pretty sure I have seen bags of only star shapes, but can't remember for sure. Snyder's of Hanover makes seasonally shaped pretzels which you can see here: pretzels in seasonal shapes. You may have to scroll all the way down to see them. They show the holiday shapes (which include stars) and football shapes. They have also recently come out with a patriotic shapes variety, which includes stars, flags, and liberty bells. You can see that in a snack mix recipe here: patriotic pretzel mix. Old Dutch is another brand that makes holiday pretzels, and you can see them here: Old Dutch Holiday Pretzels. Theirs come in the shape of stars, bells, and Christmas trees. I think that Utz also manufactures a holiday pretzel assortment.)
The recipe had a poem with it, which I have tweaked in a major way, but it was originally written by someone named Bonniek and posted to Craftsayings. So, with apologies to Bonnie, I tweaked this to better suit my theology and my grammatical perfectionism. The poem could be printed on a gift tag which you would attach with a ribbon to the top of a clear plastic treat bag. Or, fold the top of a plastic or paper treat bag over and staple a rectangular tag to the top of it. The mix could also be placed in a jar, which would make for a festive-looking gift as well.
Bethlehem Snack Mix
This yummy snack is an easy way
To remember that very first Christmas Day!
Potato sticks remind us of hay
Like that in the manger where Jesus lay.
These crackers remind us of the animals that night --
Sheep and donkey surprised at the sight.
Pretzels in the shape of stars
Remind us of all that the shepherds saw.
Red and green, the colors of the season,
Remind us that Jesus is the only reason!
Or you could certainly write your own poem, or simply list what the ingredients are intended to represent. Have fun with this idea! I can see individual bags of this mix being a wonderful gift for Sunday School students.
Sunday, July 09, 2017
A little child,
A shining star.
A stable rude,
The door ajar.
Yet in that place,
So crude, forlorn,
The Hope of all
The world was born.
How beautiful, don't you agree? He is our only Hope.
The illustration at the top of the post is a page from one of my vintage Christmas carol books.
Saturday, July 08, 2017
|Photo from Laura's Crafty Life|
These are made with plain tags (2 per gift card holder) and washi tape. Essentially, what you do is cut the top part off one tag and then neatly wrap them together with washi tape, then add a string with bakers twine. So cute! You will want to check out Laura's tutorial as it is so much clearer and better than my sketchy description.
I have everything I need on hand to make these, including 2 large boxes of tags. I had bought these from Amazon for a different project, and it was way cheaper to get two boxes, so I did. I'm thinking these would be a really fun and easy project to do sometime this month.
These tags would be nice for Christmas gifting, but would also be easy to make for any gift-giving occasion. Why not start now and make a bunch for all of your gift-card giving needs?
Friday, July 07, 2017
|Photo and design by Ashlee at My So-Called Crafty Life|
I've read before about decoupaging candles with paper napkins and have long been intrigued, though I have never gotten around to trying to make any. Paper napkins can be found in such glorious designs and patterns, and are a very inexpensive crafting medium indeed. For Christmas gifts, you could use either holiday napkins or something else that you know the recipient would enjoy. The glitter adds such an amazing touch to this simple craft.
Have fun with this idea! I hope to!
Thursday, July 06, 2017
|Photo from Flamingo Toes|
You can download the tags from Bev's tutorial. They are blank except that "TO" is already in place, looking as if one had stamped it there. Then you add the horizontal blue lines and the vertical red lines by stitching with your sewing machine. Fun! Punch a hole in each tag, add a loop of bakers' twine, and you will be finished. You'll have a stack of very unique tags for your most special gifts.
Anyone can slap a to/from sticker on a gift and be done with it. But you could make a bunch of these right now, in summer, and have them ready for your Christmas gifting (although they would work for any occasion). Happy stitching!
Wednesday, July 05, 2017
|Photo from Coton Colors|
Here's the link: Cookies and Milk Gift. Basically, it works like this. You find a mug for each gift you want to make. I would wash and dry the mug thoroughly because you are going to stack cookies in it. You need approximately six cookies for each gift. The ones in the link are ginger cookies -- and those seem especially Christmasy -- but chocolate chip would be wonderful too, or really any firm, crunchy, round cookie that you think the recipient would like.
Then you place the mug in a clear plastic treat bag and tie the top with a ribbon, but do not tie the ribbon into a bow yet. (I might tend to close the top of the bag first with either a small rubber band or a twist tie, then add the ribbon.)
Next comes the tag. On the site you will find free downloadable "just add milk" tags. Or design your own, if you prefer. You punch a hole in the tag and thread one end of your ribbon through it, then tie the ribbon into a bow. You are finished! And you have a unique, fun little gift for almost anyone.
Tuesday, July 04, 2017
|Photo from Positively Splendid|
These would be a fun decoration for the 4th of July, but they would be great at Christmas time too, or really for any festive occasion. They start with cute paper bags available at Amazon -- you will see the link in Amy's post. The bags come in 13 colors and several patterns, including stripes, dots, chevrons, and more. For less than $6, you get 100 bags! (You will need 9 paper bags for each star.)
Amy's tutorial looks very clear and includes a video as to how these stars come together.
The stars look festive on a burlap table runner, as here, but I think they would really shine when strung together as a garland or banner, maybe even alternating red and blue (or red and green for Christmas). I also did a little sleuthing on Amazon and found treat bags available in gold/white and silver/white chevron patterns. The metallic colors are more pricey -- $9.50 for 48 sacks -- but they might be really cute mixed in with red and blue or red and green.
Have fun with Amy's sweet idea and easy tutorial!
Monday, July 03, 2017
This mailbox card is a newer one, but I like everything about it: the weathered post the mailbox sits on, the falling snow, the greenery, pine cones, and red berries, and the sweet cardinals and chickadees. This summer, interestingly, we have both cardinals and chickadees in our yard. We have never had cardinals on our property before, to my knowledge. It is so much fun to realize we have them nesting here this summer.
Happy Christmas in July! Do you enjoy cards with a particular theme or from a particular era?
Sunday, July 02, 2017
The Christmas Star
May the light that shone
From the Christmas Star
On that night so long ago
Fall on you this Christmas night
And set your face aglow.
May it shine from your eyes.
May it rest in your mind.
May it burn in your spirit bright.
May the Peace it spoke to a weary world
Bring joy to your heart tonight.
~ Mary Garren
Truly, we have so much to be thankful for. The world is weary today just as it was at the time of Jesus' birth. And He offers the only way to lasting peace and joy. May we reflect on that today and be ready to share this blessed hope with others.
Saturday, July 01, 2017
I'll admit that I am pretty much addicted to Christmas books, especially Gooseberry Patch Christmas books, but others as well. It's not that I snatch up every Christmas book I see, for there are many that I can pass by. But I do love Gooseberry Christmas books and Holly Pond Hill books (like the one above) as well as a number of others. I am planning to downsize my Christmas book collection, as I have some that I just don't use.
But if you are still building your own collection, there's an affordable way to do so. The secret is ThriftBooks.
I just did a very quick search on ThriftBooks for Christmas books and I will not take time to do specific links, but you will get the idea as to what sort of books you'll find and the prices thereof.
Here are a few of the books I found:
* Christmas from the Heart of the Home, by Susan Branch, from $3.79
* Gooseberry Patch Christmas Book 6, from $3.79
* Leisure Arts Spirit of Christmas Book 7, from $3.80
Gooseberry Patch Welcome Home for the Holidays (one of my personal favorites) from $3.79
Christmas with Victoria, from $3.79
Christmas with Country Living, from $3.79
Martha Stewart's Christmas, from $3.79
There are 79 pages full of similar books! Nearly all of the Gooseberry Patch books start at $3.79.
Another huge plus is that when you spend $10 or more at ThriftBooks, the shipping is free! It takes me no time at all to spend $10 there. In addition, as you purchase books, you can earn Reading Rewards coupons -- for every $50 you spend, you earn a $5 coupon which can then be used on any $15 order. Pretty neat!
So if you have a Christmas book habit like mine, or if you know someone who does, you will want to check out this wonderful bookseller. Happy Christmas in July!