Monday, November 26, 2012

Christmas Decorating

Christmas decorating at my house can be.... ummmm... a bit stressful. You see, my mother is the Queen of Christmas. She has a minimum of four Christmas trees, she has Christmas decor in every room, and her home is Christmas magic. Just ask my kids. They will tell you that no one's home is more magical than my mom's at Christmas. Even though my mom has never put the pressure on me to match her decorating, I think I have felt this incredible need to make the holidays as magical as my mom made them for us and continues to make them for her grandkids. But when I start decorating, it is anything but magical. With the exception of putting up the "fun" Christmas tree, my family does their best to stay out of my way.  Once I'm done, all is well, at least until it is time to take it all down.

This year, with Thanksgiving being earlier in the month, I have resolved not to become the Christmas Decorating Grinch. On Sunday afternoon, we took down the minimal Thanksgiving decor I had and we put up the "fun" tree. I did not lose my patience once in the whole evening. And I was proud of myself. When the tree was done, we cleaned up and I lived with the empty mantel and other surfaces that were awaiting Christmas decor.

Tonight, I did a bit more. The stockings are hung, some of my favorite decorations are up. And once again, I quit while I was ahead. I figure about another hour or so tomorrow and then an hour to put up my Nativity Tree on Saturday (I need my husband's help for that one) and I will be done. Could it be I'm turning over a new leaf? I think it's more likely the four day weekend and fun with family and friends has lowered my stress level and saved me from my usual overwhelmed self.

In the spirit of Christmas decorating, I pulled these little gifts out tonight.

These were made for me last year by Michelle Beck using pre-cut wood and Close to My Heart paper. I don't remember if I posted them last year or not but even if I did, they are worth another post. These would make such simple, fast Christmas gifts. Not overwhelming at all!

So Merry Christmas everyone! May your decorating be as stress free as mine this year! And may your holidays be magical!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

I just want to say Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! I hope you are all somewhere warm and safe with those you love and a lot of yummy food!

I've had some friends and work clients on the east coast who have been and are still being affected by Hurricane Sandy. If on this Thanksgiving day, you are one of those who is fortunate enough to be warm, safe and dry, give thanks and consider using your stamping and scrapping habit to help support them.  For every November Stamp of the Month, Capture the Date, purchased, Close to My Heart will donate $1.00 to the Red Cross. And to thank you for your qualifying purchase of $50 plus the $5.00 Stamp of the Month, you can choose any A-E or M size stamp set at 50% off!

Because it is Thanksgiving, I want to offer you a little something in thanks for your support too. For every qualifying $50.00 purchase, whether on my website or directly from me, I will throw in a free stamp pad or A size stamp set. If you purchase $75.00 to $100, choose a B size stamp set or a paper packet of your choice. For $101 to $149, choose a cardstock packet or a C size stamp set. And for $150.00, you'll pick up $25 in free stuff as you'll qualify as a hostess AND I'll throw in a D size stamp set. (If ordering online, contact me to get your freebie or I will follow up with you as the website won't recognize my special offering). So if you've been considering scrapbooking/stamping gifts for anyone this Christmas (including yourself) or just need to stock up on some supplies, now is a good time to do it. I will honor this offer from today, November 22nd through  Monday night, November 26th at midnight. Close to My Heart will honor the Red Cross donation for every stamp of the month purchased through midnight, November 30th.

So hug your loved ones, enjoy your turkey and take some time to shop from the comfort of your own home. No Black Friday mobs, you're shopping local and you're supporting a good cause.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fall Comes and goes...

Doesn't it seem like Fall kind of gets lost between Summer and Winter? It feels that way to me this year. Just a little too short. So before Thanksgiving and the Christmas festivity that follows, here are a couple of layouts that celebrate Fall. These use the Flirty paper packet and the Flirty Dimensional Elements. There were layouts available to my Cherish Your Memories Scrapbook Class attendees this month. If you really love it, it's easy. There was only one bit of stamping (two tiny banners on the first layout). You could easily substitute some ribbon or patterned paper for those and make these on you own.
Inspired by the wonderful Ginni Candelaria
This one I designed all by my lonesome

So here's to Fall. Maybe over Thanksgiving break, I'll take a few photos just for these. I need to savor Fall a little longer before I dive into Christmas.

Take care all!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Happy Fall!

It seems like we just celebrated Halloween and suddenly I realize it is the 13th of November?! Time flies. We've already had the first snow at my house and I'm getting excited for the holidays.

I don't have a lot of Thanksgiving decor. I put up some leaves, a pilgrim or two, a little village my mom gave me long ago and call it good. It's kind of a nice change after all the Halloween spookiness and before the massive Christmas decorating.  But this year, the wonderfully talented ladies at Scrapping Girlfriends in Twin Falls, ID had shared a fun fall craft with me made from old books. It turned out to be a great addition to my fall decor and I even shared it with my stamp club. So here goes:

Altered Book Pumpkins

Get an old book from your library book sale or the local thrift store. The Rebellious Ward is perfect! Harlequin Romances seem to be the perfect size for this project--you don't want more than about 250 pages per pumpkin. Not to say a bigger book can't be used, you just may want to divide the book into multiple sections instead of just two (a student dictionary ended up making three pumpkins). The more pages the more unwieldy it gets as you work. 
Remove the cover and carefully divide the book into two even parts by cutting down the binding with an Xacto knife. Draw a half circle on the halves. Remember to leave a flat piece on the bottom so your pumpkin will stand.
Using an xacto knife, carefully cut into the half circle shape. 
Now ink your edges. I used chocolate ink and inked the edges really well every few pages.
Taking two pages at a time, crumple the pages. Don't be shy about this but don't get carried away and rip the pages out of the book either.
You should end up with two halves that look similar to this.
Next, apply hot glue down the binding and glue the two halves back together. 

 You should end up with something like this. Now, it's time to accessorize!
Here we have The Rebellious Ward all dressed up for Fall!
And here she is with her friend, a student dictionary!
Happy Fall!