And It Was...

very merry and oh so very special. Truly a wonderful Christmas was had here, yesterday we got back from visiting Ethan's family after having spent Christmas here together just the three of us at home. We are slowly getting into the swing of things again and that includes discovering what photos were captured over the past few days. Here are some favorites so far.

A shot of our tree here at home on Christmas Eve Night:

Our Tree

Ethan's special Christmas morning pancakes (complete with chocolate chips for face-making):

Christmas Morning Pancakes

Getting started in on the fun stuff (according to Zoey):

Opening Gifts

And, thank you Grannie Annie for the dollhouse furniture:

Opening Gifts

The crown that I made for her was a perfect fit:

Crown from Mama

To say that she loves her new microphone would perhaps be an understatement:




And then off to the lake for some sledding:

Sledding on the Lake

Sledding on the Lake

Sledding on the Lake

And then back home again with Larry:

Home w/Larry

So very blessed we are, especially have been reminded of that this year. Thankful for these times spent together and that we choose to spend our days the way that we do.

The last several days have consisted of skiing, getting lost in some new, good books, listening to good music and eating good food. Visiting loved ones and sharing laughs, stories and then our farewells.

Back soon with more photos from our visit with family...

Merry. Merry.


Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Sneak Peek for Scrapbook Circle *January*

You & Leo

Here is a little peek at what you can expect to get in your January kit from Scrapbook Circle. I actually got mine a bit ago and have been itching to dig into it. I'm now finally getting a bit of time to play with it...on this layout I included some of the papers in the kit that are by October Afternoon and you'll notice the adorable scalloped calendar tag by Jenni Bowlin as well. Everything on this layout is in the kit with the exception of the alphabet stickers and the pearls (which are from this month's kit!). If you are scrambling for last minute holiday gifts for a certain special scrapbooker, a monthly subscription to a kit club would be just the ticket! Scrapbook Circle offers one month, 3 month and 6 month stop on over! While your there be sure to check out the Scrapbook Circle blog for a sneak of what else is in next month's kit as well as a peek at what's in store for February!

Almost There

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Some last minute additions to holiday crafting were the above mixes for Chocolate Chip Muffins in a jar (this is also what I did for our MOPS project this time around, just made sense to combine holiday crafting with the need to give this time of year) favorite part of this project though I think was getting to download and print these adorable tags to adorn the front.

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Baking the sugar cookies with my favorite helper was next. Next we will get to do the fun part and decorate...(and yes, I know that there are some brown edges on these...why is it that the pan that was passed down from my grandmother to my mother and now to me is the ONLY one that will not burn cookies? Thus, alternating pans from my new (shiny) pan to my trusty old (warped, worn, and loved) one between baking means one good and one not so good batch of cookies. Good thing that Ethan likes his cookies "crispy," or at least cares about me enough to tell me that he does...

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Christmas Program

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I had forgotten all the funny little happenings that occur at these things.

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Between Zoey and the little guy next to her (rolling his tie was a constant throughout the program), we were entertained to say the least. Face making, winking, little kids on the verge of tipping over...and yes, at one point my (prim and proper) daughter pulled up her dress and hiked up her sparkly, silver tights. I am just thankful that at the time that she did this she was sitting safely in the church pew.

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Can't wait until next year! =)

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Creative Imaginations Holiday Project and a Guest Post

Lionel Christmas Collection

First off, I thought I'd share this fun holiday project that I did for Creative Imaginations using the Jamie 8 x 8 Ribbon Frame and the Lionel Christmas Collection of patterned papers and embellishments. I found it to be absolutely perfect for housing a special photo of Zoey playing with her trains last Christmas.

# 21630 Lionel Trees Paper
# 21632 Lionel Christmas Jumbo Cardstock Stickers
# 17084 Jamie Ribbon 8 x 8 Frame
Misc: ribbon, Modge Podge

scissors, craft knife, foam brush (for Modge Podge), hole punch, sandpaper

Apply Modge Podge to the front of the Jamie Ribbon Frame and adhere your patterned paper to the frame. Cut off excess paper from the outside of the frame using your craft knife. Do the same very carefully to the center of your frame (where your photo will go). Sand all edges to make smooth using your sandpaper or other sanding tool. Using your fingers to tell where the holes are along the top of the frame, punch through the paper with your hole punch and then tie lengths of ribbon through all the holes along the top of your frame. Adhere your sticker(s) to frame and choose a favorite photo and you are done!

On another note, a while back I received an email from Kelly Kilpatrick (writer and contributor to the site Art Career, the complete online resource for careers in the visual arts) asking if I accepted articles for my blog and while I haven't thus far, I shared that she was more than welcome to write something for me to read over and possibly publish...she did and I am happy to share her article with you today as the timing couldn't be more perfect with the holidays quickly approaching and with my current theme of loving all things handmade and gifts that are given from one's heart.

Giving the Gift of Art

As we rapidly approach the holidays, gift giving and the pressure of finding the right thing to give to friends and family grows exponentially. Each year, the expectations seem to rise, and we sometimes feel that we must make up for our deficiencies by giving expensive gifts and frivolous items we would usually scoff at.

The holiday season seems to do this to many people, but you don’t have to fall prey to this vicious cycle. Sure, there are many affordable and useful gifts out there that you can purchase and give to those you care about.

Wouldn’t it be better, though, to give a gift that truly comes from you heart? Giving the gift of art can be one of the greatest ways to show just how much you care. And, there are several benefits of giving art as a gift as well.

Tap Into Your Creativity

Creating art requires that you look inside yourself and your experiences in order to make something new, fresh, and unique. If you haven’t been in touch with this part of yourself for a while, it may feel foreign, but it’s like riding a bike. Create something for your loved ones that will resonate with their personality as well as yours. It makes for a strong connection and is far more valuable than anything you can pick up at a store.

Art is a Great Outlet

Art and its creation are great stress reducers and help you to channel your unbridled energy into something creative. Especially if you feel like the world is passing you by and you just can’t keep up, take some time to get lost in your work. Retreating into your creativity just feels right sometimes.

Productive Use of Time and Energy

Spending time creating things is a great use of your time and energy in which you have a finished product at the end of your endeavors. This brings feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment that few other activities can even compare to.

Personal Touch

Especially when giving art as a gift, there is a personal connection between you and the receiver. Art is something in which all parties bring something to the piece, whether you are working on it or appreciating it. You truly are giving people a little bit of yourself when you give them art as a gift.

This post was contributed by Kelly Kilpatrick, who writes on the subject of online art schools. She invites your feedback at kellykilpatrick24 at gmail dot com.

Meet "Rainbow the Cat"

Rainbow the Cat

School was cancelled yesterday, (temperatures were way below freezing), so we had a play date with one of Zoey's best friends (somewhat alleviated the disappointment of not getting to go to school for Zoey). It's kind of neat how it turns out that this little buddy of Zoey's has a mom that has ended up being one of my best girlfriend's here as well. She's another crafty mama and upon moving here and getting to know one another we hit it off right away. The girls did a little holiday gift exchange like they did last year (they usually exchange ornaments) and this year, Zoey got this little cat (handmade by my friend) as well. My friend said that it's the first one that she made and while making it, she didn't have the intent of it going anywhere specific, and when finished and upon showing it to her daughter, her daughter looked at it and said, "Zoey will love it!" So, Rainbow the cat was destined to be at home here with Zoey it seems. It is the sweetest little thing ever and I just had to take a picture of it to share. Throughout the whole morning of playing, I think that Zoey only let go of it when the girls took a break from play to have a snack. She slept with it last night and proclaimed that it's name is Rainbow this morning. Oh the joy of handmade gifts! Makes me so happy to see Zoey loving something so little and precious, so very much!

Music *Love* and an Art Journal Page...


Art Journal Page

Past Few Days...

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pretty much amount to some mad holiday crafting, baking and playing around here. The little Angelina Ballerina ornaments will be gifts for Zoey's classmates. The Spiced Ornaments will be for teachers and friends. I've been baking non-stop lately it seems. I made 2 dozen Snickerdoodle cookies to be raffled off for the Food Pantry, 5 dozen Peanut Butter Blossom cookies are for my MOPS cookie exchange that takes place tomorrow and now am only just starting in on our family baking...

Holiday Spice Ornaments

This weekend the snow was perfect packing snow, so that of course meant that we had to get out as soon as possible to build a snowman.


And since we were already out, sledding just made sense...


Pac Man...

And then inside for some old fashioned gaming, ie: Pac-Man. What have you all been up to as of late?

She Was An Angel...

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in the Nutcracker last night.

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All my photos are pretty bad, and were taken backstage at rehearsal (I was one of the volunteers so I didn't get to take too many photos of the actual performance as I was helping 15 four and five year old little angels to and from the stage and back to their seats again) but I still had to share. She was just beautiful and so were all the other little angels. All the dancers were amazing...there were probably at least 10 groups or so that performed throughout the whole performance. The littlest performers were the angels and then it went all the way up through high school aged kids.

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The one below is after the girls just had gotten dressed (these are three of her buddies), minus the wings. The wings were a pretty big deal.

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Actually, the whole get-up was a pretty big deal...

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and at the end of the performance when it was just chaos and everyone was leaving to go home, someone got a little tired...

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but was very happy to be in her Papa's arms and to have had the the opportunity to dance on a "real" stage.

Fairy Princess Crown

Crown for Zoey

I am pretty sure that my mom would be proud to know that I finally have used my sewing machine for something other than paper! I finished this little crown up late last night and it will end up being a Christmas gift for Zoey this year. I have been seeing so many neat crowns made of felt on the internet lately and remembered that I had some scraps of felt left over from a project a couple of years back so thought I'd give it a try. Without having had a pattern to go by and thus creating my own, I am really happy with how it turned out and now want to make more! They are addicting and really pretty quick to whip together, so now I'm thinking of things such as wizard hats, woodland fairy crowns, hats with funky buttons scattered all over...I'll have to see if I can find a good supplier for felt now though as I think that the store that used to carry it here no longer has a fabric department.

Crown for Zoey

Looking forward to seeing this resting on the top of Zoey's head Christmas morning!

Art Journal + a Book + and Some Music

Art Journal

It's funny how when looking back and recalling certain times in one's life we can look back and only see them as moments of near perfection...time can let us believe that things were perhaps a bit different than they were in actuality. Sometimes it is those memories that we choose to hold on to the hardest and those memories that we want to keep just as they are in our mind....perfect, almost magical. This is the idea or the line of thought that brought me to creating the page above.

A book that I want, Exhibition 36: Mixed-Media Demonstrations + Explorations. And something pretty neat is a giveway that's being hosted by the artist of the book, Susan Tuttle which can be found here.

I just stumbled upon this artist recently, Joe Pug and am in love. This is one of my favorites of his:

And another favorite song that I've been listening to over and over here lately is, Wintersong which is a collaboration between Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson.


Zoey -Winter 2008

what is going on with Blogger today? I just spent way too much time writing a fun post on my and Ethan's "wish list" for Christmas this year only to have it eaten up and lost somewhere. Arghhhh! I'm taking it to mean that I am to be outside playing in the snow with Zoey and not be thinking about such material goods!

Zoey - Winter 2008

Hope you make time for playing in the snow too!

Looking for Fairies...


Fairy Family from Willow Tree Toys

Snowdrop Fairy from Imagine Childhood

I am under good authority (thanks to having an "in" with Santa) in thinking that Zoey will be receiving a fairy home for Christmas this year. One that she will put together herself and one that she will actually get to plant seedlings around and tend to in hopes of fairies one day arriving (or at the very least finding a place to rest during the evening hours). Now I am just in search of finding the perfect fairy that is in need of a home...

Flower Fairies from Hearthsong

Holiday Cards & Tags

'Tis The Season To Be Jolly Card Set

I had some fun over the weekend making some cards and tags using my Peppermint Dreams kit from Scrapbook Circle. Lisa was so generous in what she sent over this month for those that are on the design team so that we could get to play around a bit and have enough (more than enough!) to craft for our own holiday needs as well. Thank you Lisa!

Best Wishes Holiday Cards

The card and tag set above were fun to make, I used the Stickles glitter that was included in this month's kit for the trees...

Merry and Bright Card

All the stamps that I used on these projects are by Hero Arts and for all the white stamping that you see, I used an embossing technique after stamping.

Supplies are as follows:

'Tis The Season To Be Jolly Card Set - Stampin' Up, cardstock; Heidi Swapp, patterned paper; Kaiser Crafts, pearls; Doodlebug Designs Inc, sequins; Creative Imaginations, twine; Versamark, ink; Fiskars, circle punch; Marvey, scallop punch, Hero Arts, stamp, Making Memories, phrase stickers

Best Wishes Card & Tag Set - Stampin' Up, cardstock; Prima, patterned paper and ribbon; Heidi Swapp, patterned paper; Hero Arts, stamps; Kaiser Crafts, pearls; Stickles, glitter glue

Merry and Bright Card - Stampin' Up, cardstock; Heidi Swapp, patterned paper; Prima, patterned paper; Fiskars, circle punch, Hero Arts, stamp, Creative Imaginations, twine; misc: button
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