Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Merry Christmas in July!

After two years with a virus that left me unable to walk ( I'm all better now, thank God), and a move 1600 miles away to a new house in the country, I was looking forward to dusting off my Christmas blog for Christmas in July....only to discover that  Pinterest appears to be the more popular venue for Christmas things these days!

But Christmas in July is when I start seriously thinking about Christmas, and it seems like a great day to get back in to Christmas blogging, so I have updated my Bloglist with some new bloggers I discovered and I'll post the link to the Pinterest boards I share with some dear online friends I have at the end of this post.

As much as I love Christmas in July, I never really celebrate it. I observe it in some way, usually by going over my notes from the previous year, doing my first major brainstorming of the season, and if I remember to do so, I'll put QVC  on in the background for fun and atmosphere, but I have  never cooked or had a party.

My mother is now my neighbor to the east, and she surprised me last week by mentioning completely out of the blue that she loved the movie "Prancer". So I bought her the DVD and I'm going over this afternoon to watch it with her and finally play with the Tim Holtz Vagabond she bought me for my birthday last Fall that we haven't even opened yet. (It's taking me forever to get my house in order, because my husband hasn't moved yet and half our stuff is still in California) I bought some Christmas dies to go with it, so we should have fun trying it out.

I'll be making this soup, which looks good AND easy:

Ingredients: 1 bag of frozen tortellini 
1 small bag of fresh spinach
2 cans of italian style diced tomatoes 
1 box or 4 cups or vegetable broth 
1 block of cream cheese
put all ingredients in crockpot, chunking up the cream cheese. Cook on low for 5-6 hrs.

(Doesn't it look like there's sausage in the soup to you?)

We may make these for dessert, as a kind of trial run for Christmas Morning:

You'll find the recipe here

Do any of y'all celebrate Christmas in July in a major way? Whether you have a full-on celebration or just observe the festivities from afar, here are a few sites to help you along:

Our Pinterest boards

The Christmas in July section of Merry Holiday Homes

(Don't forget to check out the entire site)

One of my Birthday Triplets has a Christmas blog

And several more blogs I haven't added to my Bloglist yet!

That about wraps it  up for  now..... only 152 days to go; let's get this party started!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Crafty Holiday traditions to explore

I am a wanna-be paper crafter..... really, it's probably more accurate to say that I am a collector of scrapbooking supplies, since I very seldom actually complete any projects....and over the last several years I've had a blast online, at various blogs and websites where people create amazing projects and journal their Christmas each year.

The Mother of All Online Christmas Journaling Projects as far as I'm concerned is Shimelle:

Hers is the one that started it all, and I strongly encourage you to join her site this just once and participate as many years as you would like at no additional cost. I've been doing it for 3 years now, and it is a huge part of my Holiday fun, even though I have never completed a journal yet. Maybe this year. Hope springs eternal!

"Every year, Journal your Christmas includes daily prompts from the 1st of December to the 6th of January, the twelfth day of Christmas. The 37 illustrated PDF files are delivered straight to your inbox so you can read them over your first cup of coffee and mull over each topic for a full day. There’s also an archive of the class materials online in case you can’t get to your email or in case something dreadful happens to your computer. And like every year, you can go it alone or be as social as you like, with a private discussion forum where you’ll find other Christmas journallers who will cheer you on and share your excitement, but if you prefer to stick to the prompts only, that’s completely fine too."

Do join the fun!

More info:

Another fabulous tradition for me is Tim Holtz's 12 Tags of Christmas.

This is soooooo much fun;  his creativity is astounding, and he does a giveaway every day. NO need to join or anything, just check the website every day, and enjoy the magic. Don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win some great stuff!

Her's a video to wet your whistle, and the previous years' tags are also archived on the blog. (Left hand side, scroll about half way down, under Categories)

Ali Edwards does her take on Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas, and it's fun to follow along to see how she manages everything:

And I am HOPING my girl Kristen at Scrappin' My Bliss will show us her amazing creativity this year, too!

So, as if there weren't enough fun this time of year, I hope you find time to check some of these sites out...I think you'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

No mantel? No problem!

I have a very dear friend who is truly a Christmas Queen.

Over the years, she has blessed me with so many fabulous Christmas ideas and she is writing a book filled with the most magical, charming, adorable Christmas things! (It's actually a book of all kinds of seasonal things, not just Christmas) Believe me when I tell you that she has made amazing, wonderful memories for her three beautiful daughters!

Anyway, I asked her permission to share my all-time favorite idea of hers; I think it is just TOO charming for words!

I hope the pic is large enough for you to see...she made a stocking holder out of a twin bed frame.

Thank you, Little Bit, for allowing me to share your genius on the world wide intertubes! MWAH!!!!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Giveaway @ Michael Mead Holiday, and magazine alert!

I am ADDICTED to Holiday magazines, and have been shamefully remiss in not mentioning Matthew Mead's to you.

It will be out soon, and is only available on his website.

I am not posting this solely for a chance to win the Fawn giveaway, but aren't they adorable??? You go try and win ,too, and by all means, reserve your copy of the magazine!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Merry August Chickmas!

On a private message board I belong to, I usually do a White Christmas theme for our August Chickmas (What we call Rudy Day)

This is my post for today (Straight repeat GLU chickies, with language cleaned up a tad... so no need to read further!)

Let me start off by stating emphatically that I am not suggesting you have trumpets and clarinets   
decorating the mantle, nor tubas and saxophones all leaned up a-gin the tree.   

I don’t know about you, but I somehow doubt that I'd be able to pull this off.   

In my house, it'd just look like someone forgot to put the stuff away.   
(Come to think of it, there are a couple guitars in the middle of the living room floor at any given time, and I think there IS a clarinet under the couch)   
As I have mentioned before, Mr. Christmas Heart is very musical, you see, so I love to incorporate music in my Christmas, and I love the way sheet music looks,  and I think there are some cute ideas here, especially if you were having a Caroling Party.   
Which I have never known anyone to have, by the way, despite the fact that darn near every year   at least one Holiday magazine uses it as a feature article.   

I have been caroling, don't get me wrong, and we usually had a little cider to drink while we were doing it, although the  singing was almost always better when we had hot chocolate and peppermint Schnapps instead of cider....but I can't say as I have ever been to or heard of anyone else going to or having what you could call an actual Caroling Party.   
Or a tree-trimming party, for that matter, cuz I mean who the heck wants someone else to decorate their tree???    (Other than our Grammy Girlfriend, of course!!!  )
Hang the lights on the tree, you betcha, and I'd even spring for hot chocolate with peppermint Schnapps, but you'd want them to leave right after the lights were hung so you could decorate the tree your own dang self and it seems seems awfully rude to just run someone off like that, and it could also get you arrested if they had too much peppermint Schnapps in their hot chocolate.   

And let's face it, getting arrested would put quite the damper on your Christmas season, so you'd just as well drink the bottle of Schnaps yourself, and hang the dang lights on the tree while you're at it.   
Mind you, if you WERE to have a Caroling Party, wouldn't the stars make darling favors?    

I'd make ornaments instead of a tree topper, though...and it'd take a sweet forever, and probably drive me insane and cost a fortune.   

A bottle of peppermint Schnapps for everyone would be much easier, and cheaper, too.   
Not that I am having a Caroling Party, because there [i]is[/i] no such thing.   
But I LOVE the way these place cards look, and no, I don't know how much the lyres cost, nor how they get 'em on the rings.

And mercy sakes, the CUTENESS of that stocking!!  

Does it look like it's made out of a brown paper sack to you, too? A bottle of Schnapps would slip right down in there…

(I have been informed that the the rings come with the lyres, so clarinet players can read the music. Thus my  ignorance is enlightened. I was a Drama Queen, not a Band Hag.) ( Hag ain't what they called 'em, btw, but it's a different world now!)

Next up are a couple of very simple crafts...easy to do in the heat; I would think you could crank out several in an hour:

Bookmark/Book thongs

I think this is the DARLINGEST place card idea! Imagine how cute a table full would be!
Thanks, LuLu!

A place where it really IS coolish now!

As an FYI:

August is Month of the Elf: Time to plan Elf activities. Get out some planner sheets and jot down any “pranks” your elf might do and also check your elf gifts (did you pick up some items after Christmas for the elf to bring this year?)

 Don’t forget “experience gifts” are lots of fun with the elf. So be sure and include making cookies or going to the theater to take in the newest Christmas movie (the elf goes too, of course!) The elf can present the tickets as a surprise! If your elf is writing notes….get a jump start and craft a couple this month so they are all ready when the busy holiday season arrives!

A reminder to always be on the lookout for stocking stuffers...this is a GREAT month to pick up school supplies...pens, pencils, post-to notes, tape, etc make GREAT stuffers for grown-ups, too!

Beachy/Summery/ 4th of July things are probably starting to get really cheap, an should be picked up  now for stuffers, or maybe even Christmas in July next year. Or as a good base for gift baskets, or a Winter-Pick-Me-Up/Winter Blues Buster sort of gift for anyone you know who gets the blues  in the depths of winter.

And finally.....our Soul Food!  (A bit hokey, but sweet!)

The Parable of the Birds

There was once a man who didn't believe in God, and he didn't hesitate to let others know how he felt about religion and religious holidays, like Christmas.

His wife, however, did believe, and she raised their children to also have faith in God and Jesus, despite his disparaging comments.

One snowy Christmas Eve, his wife was taking their children to a Christmas Eve service in the farm community in which they lived. She asked him to come, but he refused. "That story is nonsense!" he said. "Why would God lower Himself to come to Earth as a man? That's ridiculous!"

So she and the children left, and he stayed home. A while later, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a blizzard. As the man looked out the window, all he saw was a blinding snowstorm. He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening. Then he heard a loud thump. Something had hit the window. Then another thump. He looked out, but couldn't see more than a few feet.

When the snow let up a little, he ventured outside to see what could have been beating on his window. In the field near his house he saw a flock of wild geese. Apparently they had been flying south for the winter when they got caught in the snowstorm and could not go on. They were lost and stranded on his farm, with no food or shelter.They just flapped their wings and flew around the field in low circles, blindly and aimlessly. A couple of them had flown into his window, it seemed.

The man felt sorry for the geese and wanted to help them. The barn would be a great place for them to stay, he thought. It is warm and safe; surely they could spend the night and wait out the storm. So he walked over to the barn and opened the doors wide, then watched and waited, hoping they would notice the open barn and go inside. But the geese just fluttered around aimlessly and did not seem to notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them.

The man tried to get their attention, but that just seemed to scare them and they moved further away. He went into the house and came back out with some bread, broke it up, and made a breadcrumbs trail leading to the barn. They still didn't catch on. Now he was getting frustrated. He got behind them and tried to shoo them toward the barn, but they only got more scared and scattered in every direction except toward the barn.

Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where they would be warm and safe. "Why don't they follow me?!" he exclaimed. "Can't they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm?" He thought for a moment and realized that they just wouldn't follow a human. "If only I were a goose, then I could save them," he said out loud. Then he had an idea. He went into the barn, got one of his own geese, and carried it in his arms as he circled around behind the flock of wild geese. He then released it. His goose flew through the flock and straight into the barn -- and one by one the other geese followed it to safety.

He stood silently for a moment as the words he had spoken a few minutes earlier replayed in his mind: "If only I were a goose, then I could save them!" Then he thought about what he had said to his wife earlier. "Why would God want to be like us? That's ridiculous!"

Suddenly it all made sense. That is what God had done. We were like the geese -- blind, lost, perishing. God had His Son become like us so He could show us the way and save us. That was the meaning of Christmas, he realized.

As the winds and blinding snow died down, his soul became quiet and pondered this wonderful thought. Suddenly he understood what Christmas was all about, why Christ had come. Years of doubt and disbelief vanished like the passing storm. He fell to his knees in the snow, and prayed his first prayer:

"Thank You, God, for coming in human form to get me out of the storm!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Giveaway at Madelief!

One of my favorite (non-Christmas, but utterly gorgeous!) blogs is hosting a giveaway!

Please check out her beautiful blog, and enter the contest.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Website with nice gift ideas and tips!

So, I got my Mama one of these for her main gift:

She lives out of state, and has reached the stage in life where she doesn't really need any more STUFF, ya know?

I plan on making a year's worth of activities for her...I'll fill it with a gift card per month... to her favorite local shops and restaurants.... Mr. Christmas Heart is going back in October, so he can pick them up for me then.

I will also add some cash for things like the yearly garden tour and holiday home tour, etc. She doesn't have a computer, so I'll research the dates and such for her. I hope to also be able to include a little letter each month, with memories of how we used to go antique shopping together, or on the local garden tour, and that I'll be thinking of her, etc.

I'm sure she'll enjoy it, and it'll save me a ton of money on shipping!

The site has great gift ideas, too, and some great Christmas tips- I just searched the site for Christmas, but you can check on the Holiday section for great ideas on all the other holidays, too. There's even a Christmas in July article!