Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!! & What's New for 2010!

Glitter Graphics

Happy New Year Glitter Pictures

I can't believe how much my Blog has changed since I started it. Can you believe it's been over a year? I can't. Time has really flown by, and blogging has been so much fun!! :) There are so many wonderful people I "met" in 2009 through blogging, I hope to meet many more in 2010!

Last year I had decided to feature as many shops as possible on the blog. It was amazing how many shops were looking for some free advertising. This year (after Jan.) I'm going to focus on new shops or shops with under 5 sales. If you have a shop that falls into this category (or know of one) and would like a feature - leave a comment on this post or convo me through my Etsy Shop. Maybe I'll have to do the features on Fridays. I'll call it "Feature Friday" - that would work! If there are enough shops I'll do 2 features/wk. What other day would work? Maybe Tuesday
- but what would I call it? Tuesday Toots? Maybe not :)

There are times when I have some small things to post, you know what I mean - it just doesn't fit in any where, and isn't enough to do a whole post. So I'm going to start "Mish Mash Monday". There will be a MckLinky at the end of each post for anyone who would like to join me! It would be great if by the end of 2010 there where a bunch of blogs that were doing their version of "MMM".

There are many great Give Aways planned for my Give Away Blog! Everything from a Sundial Ring, to candles, scented bears, soaps, coffee, tea, craft supplies, jewelry etc. I'm always looking for shops that would like to have a Give Away - so if you are interested please email me! If you would like some help with hosting your own Give Away on your blog - I'll gladly do that too! I've posted some tips, ideas etc on How to Have a Successful Give Away on the blog. If you have suggestions or questions just post them there!

I found this wonderful site that supports "Mom Made" items!! You can add your shop quickly and easily, see where everyone is from and check out some of the wonderful shops/items that are made by mom's just like you!

Do you have any big plans for 2010? What will you be doing that's new and exciting on your blog?

I hope that we all have an Awesome 2010!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Handmade Knits!!

It's winter in Manitoba! Well - I guess it's winter all over the northern hemisphere. While searching Etsy for scarves for our cold climate, I found this wonderful shop that just had to be featured :) Nevita has beautiful hand knit items!! Take a look . . .

Where are you from?
I live in Bulgaria, it's a small country in south-eastern Europe where only a small number of people know that there is such amazing place like In my BLOG I have a post about Bulgaria- short videos, showing her beauty, nature, and adorable music.

What made you decide to sell on Etsy?
I always wanted to open a store and sell my hand knitted scarves and baby
clothing. However, my full-time job, and pregnancy didn't bring enough confidence in this picture.
When my beautiful baby daughter came to the world, she brought new hope and faith in myself. I found knitting section and crochet section and I was happily surprised that someone is selling so many handmade creations. At that time the idea that is an easy way to create
and maintain shop came into play. With etsy, I figured, I wouldn't have to care about renting and maintaining a physical shop, and at the same time I'd have flexible working hours. Now I stay at home as mother, enjoy spending time with my baby daughter, my knitting, and promoting my shop via interesting online tools. My online store is Boutique-a-holic.

How did you originally get into Hand knit and Goblin making business?
I learned to knit and make goblin tapestry, when I was a child. I went to my grandparent's home, during school offs. My grandmother thought me different handmade techniques, such as knit, crochet, sewing and others. During the years, I was paying more attention to knitting and goblin tapestry, and found I enjoyed it a lot. It became my hobby, and after my daughter's birth I decided I was determined to share the products of my passion with people around the world.

What motivates and inspires you to create?
Winter scarves ( When I was young girl, my mother kept telling me to wear scarves so I wouldn't get cold. I hated scarves! That is, until the day I knitted myself a very colorful, soft, and pleasant to touch and look at piece of happiness (yes, a scarf!). My classmates loved it. That motivated me to make more scarves, because I found scarves could be joy, emotions, and good looking fun - yes staying warm became not so bad experience after all :)

Inspiration sources have been changing during my path in life. At some point in time, I enjoyed to come back home, and to get calm and be all by myself while making my needlepoint tapestries (
At other times, inspiration was there, but I couldn't tell where it came from, so I'd
like to think of it as coming from deep within the human soul.
Now I am motivated from the smile of my baby daughter and the look of her eyes. In addition, when I look and reflect on the results of my hand made creations I've made during the years, I get a good feeling of accomplishment, and I want to do
more. I'm proud of my winter scarves, my gobelins, and last but not least my baby clothing.

What do you like most about being a seller?
Being a seller is something new for me. I like to learn new things, find information too. I learn how to sell by reading a lot of articles from experienced Etsy sellers. It is not easy work, I love to create, but honestly, I don't know how to sell my creations. It is something I want to learn to do. Being a seller is a new opportunity to bring joy to people.

What are your interests outside Etsy?
I like the Human Resourses area and I am finishing my masters degree in Human Resources management. I enjoy interacting with people.
I love to travel and regularly organize small trips through my country.

Wanna be friends? :)
Here's where else to find me:

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Valentine's Day Swap

For the last few weeks of December, I've had a poll on my blog asking when the next swap should happen. The choices were Valentine's Day (78%) or Easter (22%). Well it's quite obvious that Valentine's Day is the winner :)

So - here are the rules for the Swap!!

1) The gift should equal $10 or more, with a Valentine Theme.

2) Please include something handmade!

3) Mail on/before February 1!!


Also - please help promote the swap if you can. Tell all your friends, post on your blog, facebook, twitter, Etsy, Artfire etc. Grab the button below!


I will partner everyone on the 18th and send out emails with the partners info. This will be a "secret" swap. Please feel free to add your business cards to the package and a note, so the person receiving your gift knows where it came from!

Let the fun begin!! :)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Church Bulletin Bloopers

Just for fun :)

Ushers will eat latecomers.

For anyone who has children and doesn't know it, there is a day care on the first floor.

The third verse of Blessed Assurance will be sung without musical accomplishment.

During the absence of our pastor, we enjoyed the rare privilege of hearing a good sermon when J.F. Stubbs supplied our pulpit.

Pastor is on vacation. Massages can be given to church secretary.

Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.

Today the pastor will preach his farewell message after which the choir will sing, "Break Forth into Joy!"

The choir will meet at the Larsen house for fun and sinning.

Miss Charlene Mason sang, "I Will Not Pass This Way Again," giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.

Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It is a good chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.

Don't let worry kill you -- let the church help.

Next Sunday is the family hay ride and bonfire at the Fowlers. Bring your own hot dogs and guns. Friends are welcome! Everyone come for a fun time.

"Wise Up, O Men of God"

Easter Sunday, we will have a 9:30 worship service. The 11:00 will be hell as usual.

Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say "hell" to someone who doesn't care much about you.

Weight Watchers will meet at 7 p.m. Please use the large double door at the side entrance.

The 8th graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the church basement on Friday at 7:00 p.m. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.

The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been canceled due to a conflict.

Tonight's sermon -- "What is hell?" Come early and listen to our choir practice.

This afternoon there will be a meeting in the North and South ends of the church. Babies will be baptized at both ends.

Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. there will be an ice cream social. All ladies giving milk, please come early.

This being Easter, Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Smith to come forward and lay an egg on the altar.

Next Sunday, a special collection will be taken to defray the cost of a new carpet. All of those wishing to do something on the carpet will come forward and do so.

Thursday night - Potluck supper -- prayer and medication to follow.

Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.

The Ladies of the church have cast off clothing of every kind. They can be seen in the basement on Saturday.

For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

The sermon this morning: Jesus Walks on the Water. The sermon tonight: Searching for Jesus

Next Thursday, there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.

The agenda was adopted... the minutes were approved... the financial secretary gave a grief report.

Barbara C. remains in the hospital and needs blood donors for more transfusions. She is also having trouble sleeping and requests tapes of Pastor Jack's sermons.

The 'Over 60s Choir' will be disbanded for the summer with the thanks of the entire church.

Missionary from Africa speaking at Calvary Memorial Church in Racine. Name: Bertha Belch. Announcement: "Come tonight and hear Bertha Belch all the way from Africa."

Small typographical error seen in the church's bulletin: "The May meeting of the church finance committee will be hell as usual."

Our youth basketball team is back in action Wednesday at 8 p.m. in the rec. hall. Come out and watch us kill Christ the King.

Announcement in a church bulletin for a National Prayer and Fasting Conference: "The cost for attending the Fasting and Prayer conference includes meals."

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas! & The Reason For the Season

I will be taking a break from blogging for the next few days. Will be checking everyone's blogs, just not posting. I hope everyone has a Very Merry & Relaxing Christmas!

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him
in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:

The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"--which means, "God with us."

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born.

"In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: "'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'"

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him."

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him." So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod.

And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son." When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more."

After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child's life are dead."
So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: "He will be called a Nazarene."

--Matthew 1:18 - 2:23 New International Version

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Someone with the Christmas Spirit all Year Long!!

While searching Etsy for places to advertise my new blog, I came across this amazing site - Donation's for Causes. After reading through it a bit, the site was starting to sound familiar. I contacted the owner about making a donation, and realized that I knew Kristina from her previous blog and had made donations before!! Isn't that just too cool?

Kristina is an amazing person, who gives to those in need, and to amazing causes all year long! This is really the true meaning of "Giving Back"! Here is her amazing story, I hope you will feel moved to help out too.

My name is Kristina and one of my passions is giving back to the community. I love fundraising and putting together charity events. Ever since I can remember, I have always been the type of person thinking about others rather than myself. After high school, I remember volunteering my time with various organizations w/in the community that touched my heart and then I decided to put together my own charity projects many of which have been put together within the last few years.

In August 2008, I began the creation of the Kochanie “My Love” Baskets. These baskets were created to help console the families who had lost a beloved family member and to bring hope to those patients who were very ill. These baskets contained generous donations from around the world and were donated to both hospices and cancer centers. In less than 5 months, I donated 172 baskets to 9 hospices within Northern California.

In the spirit of Christmas this year, I decided to put together holiday purses and stockings for the women and children of a Domestic Violence Shelter. I hoped that the items in these purses allowed each “survivor” a day to doll themselves up, feel worthy and to help boost up their self esteem even if it was just for one day. I also hoped that the stockings and presents gathered would help these children not think about what is going on in their lives. I wanted them to be able to retrieve a present, open it up and have that twinkle in their eyes once again, even if it was just for a brief moment it would touch my heart.

My latest project is gathering donations for the Brookfield Bunny Breakfast which will be held in March 2010. I am seeking raffle items which will be placed into theme gift baskets to raise money for the local community. The money raised will be used for high school senior scholarships; the library; food pantry; senior center and various community organizations.

This is definitely a blog to keep track of and see what Kristina needs items for next!
Adding it to my "Must Read" list!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Last Christmas Wish List

Well - it's only 4 more sleeps till Christmas!! So I thought I would do one more Wish List before I take a bit of a break for the holidays. These are amazing items and shops I found last week. Please stop to visit them and show them some love for the holidays :)

I hope you have a wonderfully relaxing week before the fun begins!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Do You believe in Santa?

I received this story in an email from a friend :)


I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the way my big sister dropped the bomb:

"There is no Santa Claus," she jeered. "Even dummies now that!"

My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I new Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her "world-famous" cinnamon buns. I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so. It had to be true. Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me.

"No Santa Claus?" she snorted...."Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad!! Now, put on your coat, and let's go."

"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't even finished my second world-famous cinnamon bun.

"Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days.

"Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's.

I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping. For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for. I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church. I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's grade-two class. Bobby Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never went out to recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn't have a cough; he didn't have a good coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat! I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that.

"Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down.
"Yes, ma'am," I replied shyly.
"It's for Bobby."
The nice lady smiled at me, as I told her about how Bobby really needed a good winter coat. I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat (a little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible) in Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, "To Bobby, From Santa Claus" on it. Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially, one of Santa's helpers. Grandma parked down the street from Bobby's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge.

"All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going."
I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his door and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma. Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobby.

Fifty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker's bushes. That night,
I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were: ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team. I still have the Bible, with the coat tag tucked inside: $19.95.

May you always have

LOVE to share,
HEALTH to spare and
FRIENDS that care...

And may you always believe in the magic of Santa Claus!
Merry Christmas to all...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Awesome Christmas Song

While Blog hoping the other day, someone mentioned that this was their all time favorite Christmas Song. I've been singing it to myself on the bus every day since. So I went to YouTube, and found a beautiful version. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sowabisabi - Amazing Wood Products!!

I found this amazing shop while entering Give Aways probably in Spring and happened to win one of their wonderful cutting boards!! (you can see it in this POST) The shop is Sowabisabi, run by John & Elizabeth, who live in Central Pennsylvania. This is an amazing shop!! Please check them out!

How did you decide on your shop name? Why did you start your business?
wabi sabi is a feeling you get when you connect with something deeply. Usually these are handmade, earthy, and not perfect. we celebrate the nature beauty of wood and the connectedness to nature that is created when we surround ourselves with it.

My husband is a furniture maker and we couldn't see wasting all the off cuts from that work. We use these to create one of a kind cutting boards, jewelry boxes, and treasure boxes and we thought that Etsy would be a perfect place to market these for a little extra income.

When did you start woodworking? Who taught you?
John was inspired by his middle school shop class, and continued to create things for family and friends for most of his life. In 2002, he made the leap of faith to become a furniture maker full-time.

Where do you create your pieces?
John makes all the furniture in our shop. we live along a large creek that is famous for its trout fishing. We live in a summer cottage that we have sort of winterized. The shop is across the street in an old orchard and it is actually bigger than our home! Both our home and the shop are covered with cedar siding.

What would you love to add to your woodworking space?
A magic cleaning machine

Do you have a day job?
Besides our furniture business we also run a non-profit called the blue butterfly fund that benefits families who have a child with cancer by providing emotional and financial support and raise a 3 1/2 year old...that's more than enough!

Which item in your shop did you enjoy making the most and why?
We have been doing shows and our inventory in the etsy shop is pathetic right now. I'm going to be adding inventory over the next couple of weeks as we do not have any shows until February when we do the American Craft Council show in Baltimore.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Polls - I Need Help!

Well I finally finished all the ornaments for my bus students, and packed the little bags with the ornament, microwave popcorn, card, individually wrapped life savers and some Hershey Kisses!
Made 48 bags of goodies!! That was a lot of work :)

So now it's time to move on to other things, like swapping and give aways! I have two polls on the right sidebar. If you could vote - I would really appreciate it. The first one is for another swap and the second one is for a give away I'll be doing.

I would love to give away one of these blankets starting possibly next week. But I just can't decide which one to do! It would be really helpful if you would vote on the sidebar and help me decide. Click on the picture to go to my listing and you will be able to see more pictures of the blankets.

#1: Raspberries

#2: Birdhouses

Thanks so much for all your help!!

I've been featured here:

Simply Stacie

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sweet Magnolia Designs

While searching Etsy for shops that might be willing to have their Mini's on my sidebar for the Month of December - I came across Sweet Magnolia Designs. Cathy has the most amazing wreaths! Guess what! All her Christmas Wreaths have FREE shipping now! I know you will find one you love :) Please check out her shop, and show a little Christmas Love!

My name is Cathy Dingman and I live in Fort Madison, Iowa. I am 49 years young and have been crafting, decorating, painting, and drawing ever since I was a little girl. I guess you can say it's in my bones.

For a number of years I owned a home interiors/gift shop by the name of Sweet Magnolia. For medical reasons I had to close the business. So as so many things in life, I was handed lemons, so I choose to make lemonade. While running my business, the amount of time I had to creating had become limited, so now I get to dedicated most of my time to doing what I love most, CREATING.

I dabble in many types of crafts. However floral arrangements and wreaths are my favorite. I also spend a good amount of time doing oil and watercolor painting, along with pastel and charcoal drawing.

Decorating is another passion of mine. I use to do this as part of my business but now I have limited it to working for family and friends.

I have a studio in my home. I converted a spare bedroom into an arts and crafts space. I don't let many people into it because it is too cramped and usually a MESS. Every now and then I will take the time to straighten and clean. I would love to invest in more storage units for the studio so that it would be easier to keep things organized. I also would love to have another studio room so that I can have one room for my crafts and one room for my art.

The item in my shop I enjoyed making the most is the hand painted wood Christmas sled, mostly because It required so many of my creative juices to make. I had to make the sled from wood, stain it, paint it, and add a floral piece.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Christmas Story

I found this on the internet.

A Christmas Story

It's just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so.
It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas---oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it-overspending...the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma---the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.

Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended; and shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church, mostly black.

These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.

As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears.

It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford. Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn't acknowledge defeat.

Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish just one of them could have won," he said. "They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them."

Mike loved kids-all kids-and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That's when the idea for his present came.

That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church.

On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me.

His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years.

For each Christmas, I followed the tradition---one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.

The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal it's contents.

As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn't end there.

You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three more. Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad.

The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope. Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us.

May we all remember each other, and the Real reason for the season, and His true spirit this year and always. God bless---pass this along to your friends and loved ones.

--- Copyright © 1982 Nancy W. Gavin
--- Submitted by Edwin G. Whiting

The story first appeared in Woman's Day magazine in 1982. My mom had sent the story in as a contest entry in which she subsequently won first place. Unfortunately, she passed away from cancer two years after the story was published. Our family still keeps the tradition started by her and my father and we have passed it on to our children. Feel free to use the story. It gives me and my sisters great joy to know that it lives on and has hopefully inspired others to reach out in a way that truly honors the spirit of Christmas. --- Kevin Gavin


Friday, December 11, 2009


Christmas makes me think of Angels. If I could decorate my whole house with them, I'd be a happy woman :) I found some really great Angels on Etsy, and decided to do a Wish List featuring a few that are my favorites.

My friend Toni has this amazing give away that has just started! She is giving away this amazing Teddy Bear Picnic Quilt!

You can find the give away on her blog: One Minute's Worth. Please go enter!! She also has an amazing shop! You have to check out her Woolen Snowman Ornament - I have one and it's just toooooo cute!!

Has anyone started their Christmas Baking yet? Do you bake special things for the holidays? Care to share a recipe? I should make some of these cookies - maybe tomorrow.

2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar

6 tbsps. syrup
2 cup shortening
2 tsps. soda
1 tsp lemon or vanilla
Flour to roll thin

Mix all ingredients. Add enough flour to roll thin. Then cut and bake at 350F for 12 - 15 minutes. While warm, put together with favorite jam.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Layne Designs

I found this amazing shop while searching for people to supply their Etsy mini's for on my blog. Layne Design has the cutest snowmen, wonderful Christmas items to decorate your home, cute signs, and bean bag frogs!! Let's learn a bit more about the shop and please take time to check out the wonderful items!

*Where are you from?

I am from Jamestown, NY Which is the home town of Lucille Ball. I now live about 10 miles outside of it in a dinky little town.

*Tell us a bit about yourself.

I have always been artistic. My parents would always get me art supplies for Christmas. (Im hinting for a new easel this year lol) I finally graduated in 2007 at the age of 44 from The State University of New York College at Fredonia (SUNY Fredonia). I received my Bachelors of Fine Art Graphic Design. I have 3 children, and 2 grandsons. (yes I know Im too young and gorgeous to be a grandma!)

I am a graphic designer by trade. I love design and typography. Letter form can be
very interesting. Some of my favorite designers are George Lois, David Carson, Emery Vincent Design, and some of my favorite painters are Monet, Edward Hopper and Artemisia Gentileschi.

*How did you decide on your shop name?
Layne is my middle name. It sounded a little more trendy than Stefanie.

Why did you start your business?
I got laid off and have been doing craft shows for around 15 years. I thought this would be a good way to keep myself busy and maybe make a few extra bucks. Being on Etsy helps keep me from stock piling the things I make.

*When did you start crafting?

Ive been crafting in some form or another as long as I can remember.

Tell us a bit about your shop and what you carry?
I have an eclectic shop. A bit of everything. I love to oil paint so decided to sell some paintings there. I have been sewing since I was 10 years old. From there about 15 years ago I started making dolls, and it sorta just took off from there branching out into centerpieces, and decorative painting. Ok I admit, I have a list a mile long of oh gee I want to make one of those.

*Where do you craft?

Right now at my kitchen table. I do have a studio, but the floor had to get pulled up to fix septic pipes. YAY

*What would you love to add to your crafting space?
If the studio floor was back down I would add more space (its about 14x14 now) and more storage. Also I could use a butler, someone has to clean up after me!

*What’s your supply addiction; is there a specific color or type of supply you just can’t pass up?
Oil paint. I just love working with it, the texture, the smell all of it. I would paint 24/7 if I could. I am also hooked on books. I have 100s of them mostly design and art related. Fabric would have to be my next vice. If I stop sewing, Joanns will go under! Im also a sucker for a good paintbrush. I think I have 300 paintbrushes between oil painting and decorative painting. Wait make that 299 I finally threw one out the other day.

*Which item in your shop did you enjoy making the most and why?
The painting. Its what I love to do the most. The sleds were fun to make, but those are done in acrylic and is so different to use. I would like to learn to make quilts. Darn another thing on my list of I'm going to make that some day!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Christmas Tag!

I was tagged by A Hen's Nest. You need to stop by this blog if you haven't. Henrietta has a wonderful blog - and she is one of my favorite people on the net! She has helped me so much with getting my sidebars to look the way I would like! Just really a wonderful person! :)
Since it's Christmas and this is a Christmas themed tag - I just had to do it!!

1.) Have you started your Christmas shopping?

Oh I've been done for 3 weeks now. I was quite late this year - I like to be done by the end of Oct. but it was just to busy, the weather was too nice, the boys didn't have their lists finished etc. :)

2.) Tell me about one of your special traditions.

On Christmas Eve everyone get to open the presents in their stockings. The rest of the presents

3.) When do you put up your Tree?

Usually the tree would go up the last Sat of November. Since the boys became teenagers they joined their Dad in thinking the tree didn't need to be up till the 24th of December and could be taken down on the 26th! So - this year I decided to see how long it took till someone mentioned something about no tree up yet. This Sunday morning hubby asked about it, so I put it up. I guess the tree means more to them then they thought LOL

4.) Are you a Black Friday shopper?

Not happening! Don't like shopping to start with - not going when everyone else does.

5.) Do you Travel at Christmas or Stay home?

We have spent 3 of the last 21 Christmas's on a beach in Mexico - it's a nice change from the cold and snow. This Christmas we are staying home.

6.) What is your funniest Christmas memory?

Well - I really don't have one. Well not a funny one but it had a great ending! On Christmas day in 1991 - I was in labor with son 2. He was born the next day at 3:15pm. One Christmas I will never forget :)

7.) What is your favorite Christmas Movie of All time?

Every year we watch the original "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" as a family. We really like the new version with Jim Carrey too.

8.)Do you do your own Christmas Baking, what’s your favorite treat?

Yes, I do some baking but it's not easy. Hubby has a slight allergy to nuts, and chocolate gives him headaches. What do you bake at Christmas that does not involve nuts or chocolate?

9.) Fake or Real Tree?

We used too have a real tree every year, but I was never very good at remembering to water it. One year when we were gone over Christmas we decided to get a fake one, at least the needles wouldn't all be on the floor when we got back.

10.) What day (as a Mom) does the actual panic set in to get it all done?

November 15!! Especially this year since I hadn't finished the shopping yet. The rest will all work out. I'm not the panic or worry type.

11.) Are you still wrapping presents on Christmas Eve?

No - they are all wrapped and under the tree as soon as the tree is up.

12.) What is your favorite family fun time at Christmas?

Staying home, visiting with the kids, relaxing.

13.) What Christmas craft do you like the best?

Anything that involves snowmen :) I love to paint/make ornaments for the students on my school bus. Started the tradition 4 years ago. Every student gets an ornament, a candy cane and some small candies.

14.) Christmas music. Yes or No, and if yes What is your favorite song?

I absolutely LOVE Christmas music. Don't care what kind - though the old Hymns that we sang in Church when I was young are my favorite.

15.) When do you plan to finish all your shopping?

Done! WOOHOO!!

Any blogger is welcome to participate in this meme, even if you haven’t been tagged yet. Heather over at the Top Ten Christmas Blog will go back and add your blog link to the list if you wanna play along.

Just simply copy and paste the questions into your blog, and then answer them.

Then tag 5 or more of your favorite blogs, and leave them a comment telling them they’ve been tagged.

That’s it! We’re looking forward to seeing everyone’s answers!
My turn to tag!

Christie Cottage
Chris' Comments
Hip Chic Designs
Candles by Marla

When you post your blog, please spread some Christmas cheer, and leave a link back to Heather at Top Ten Christmas Blog, and the blog that you were tagged by- which happens to be A Hen's Nest.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Rainbow Metals

Dvora has an amazing metal shop on Etsy. Rainbow Metals has the most wonderful magnets, jewelry, items for children and more. This is a very unique shop!

My name is Dvora Schleffer. I live in a small village in the north of Israel. I have been crafting ever since I can remember myself. I started making jewelry when I was a teenager and never stopped. My "RainbowMetal" store in a new adventure for me that I just started about 2 months ago. I have been making sterling silver and gemstones jewelry for many years under the name "DvoraSchleffer". I wanted to try something different, with more colorful and fun items. I also ventured into non-jewelry items for the first time with small home decor items like magnets, pictures etc. Since my name "DvoraSchleffer" was already taken by my existing store, I came up with "RainbowMetal" which I think reflects the essence of the store - colorful metal.

I have a small studio at home where I do my crafting. I have several working areas in the studio for all my different crafting needs. My work process is made of several stages. First I plan my designs. I make several sketches until I decide on thoise I like. Then I decide on the techniques I am going to use. I actually have several different techniques that I use to make my rainbowmetal items. After that I make the design and see if it works as planned or if it need any changes on the way. I am not addicted to any supplies, I love experimenting and trying new things all the time. I am however addicted to tools! I have a wide selection and I have a list of many more tools I would love to get. So in answer to what would I add to my crafting space I would say - many cool tools and more space so I'll have room to put it all!

My favorite piece is the cute giraffe painting. I had fun venturing into non-jewelry items for the first time. I got to decorate rooms and not just people; I got to work in different sizes and different techniques than those I am used to. The paintings for children's room were especially fun to do, and this giraffe painting is my favorite. It turned out so much nicer and cuter than I had expected.

The Christmas Orange

Sometimes it is easy to forget the true meaning of Christmas. The busy traditions of the season and the appealing advertisements for material goods can leave the pure and simple truths far, far behind.

Jake was nine years old with tousled brown hair with blue eyes as bright as a heavenly angel. For as long as Jake could remember he had lived within the walls of a poor orphanage. He was just one of ten children supported by what meager contributions the orphan home could obtain in a continuous struggle seeking donations from townsfolk.

There was very little to eat, but at Christmas time there always seemed to be a little more than usual to eat, the orphanage seemed a little warmer, and it was time for a little holiday enjoyment. But more than this, there was the Christmas orange!

Christmas was the only time of year that such a rare treat was provided and it was treasured by each child like no other food admiring it, feeling it, prizing it and slowly enjoying each juicy section. Truly, it was the light of each orphan’s Christmas and their best gift of the season. How joyful would be the moment when Jake received his orange!

Unknown to him, Jake had somehow managed to track a small amount of mud on his shoes through the front door of the orphanage, muddying the new carpet. He hadn’t even noticed. Now it was too late and there was nothing he could do to avoid punishment. The punishment was swift and unrelenting. Jake would not be allowed his Christmas orange! It was the only gift he would receive from the harsh world he lived in, yet after a year of waiting for his Christmas orange, is was to be denied him.

Tearfully, Jake pleaded that he be forgiven and promised never to track mud into the orphanage again, but to no avail. He felt hopeless and totally rejected. Jake cried into his pillow all that night and spent Christmas Day feeling empty and alone. He felt that the other children didn’t want to be with a boy who had been punished with such a cruel punishment. Perhaps they feared he would ruin their only day of happiness. Maybe, he reasoned, the gulf between him and his friends existed because they feared he would ask for a little of their oranges. Jake spent the day upstairs, alone, in the unheated dormitory. Huddled under his only blanket, he read about a family marooned on an island. Jake wouldn’t mind spending the rest of his life on an isolated island, if he could only have a real family that cared about him.

Bedtime came, and worst of all, Jake couldn’t sleep. How could he say his prayers? How could there be a God in Heaven that would allow a little soul such as his, to suffer so much all by himself? Silently, he sobbed for the future of mankind that God might end the suffering in the world, both for himself and all others like him.

As he climbed back into bed from the cold, hard floor, a soft hand touched Jake’s shoulder, startling him momentarily and an object was silently placed in his hands. The giver disappeared into the darkness, leaving Jake with what, he did not immediately know!

Looking closely at it in the dim light, he saw that it looked like an orange! Not a regular orange, smooth and shiny, but a special orange, very special. Inside a patched together peal were the segments of nine other oranges, making one whole orange for Jake! The nine other children in the orphanage had each donated one segment of their own precious oranges to make a whole orange as a gift for Jake.

Sharing what we truly value is the true spirit of Christmas. Our Heavenly Father gave us His beloved Son. May we, like the children in the orphanage, find ways to share His love with others less blessed.

–Rewritten from an anonymous source by Laura Martin-Buhler


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Yummy Sweet Treats!

Do you love sweet treats? Have I found the perfect shop for you!! Grandma Althea's Kitchen has the most amazing snacks I've seen! I get the munchies every time I go to her shop :)

*Where are you from? Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am originally from a tiny town near Pittsburgh, PA. I am going to be visiting family all over PA, FL, and NC until sometime in January, but plan to continue my shop. Most of my family are good cooks. Making holiday cookies and chocolates together is actually a family tradition we do every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

*How did you decide on your shop name? Why did you start your business?
I'm a Grandma, and my name is Althea. I just recently started it after hearing about Etsy. I think its great that there is a place for handmade items!

*When did you start candy and treats?
I've made them as long as I can remember!

*Is there one treat YOU can't resist?
Blackberry pie made by my Grandmother, before she passed away. She was actually an awful cook, blackberry pie was the only thing she really made well!

*What would you love to add to your creating space?
I'm not really sure what you mean by creating space, if you mean my Etsy, I'd love to add pies, but I'm afraid that the post office would not pay attention to "This way up" labels. I may send a few test ones and find out.

*What’s your supply addiction; is there a specific color or type of supply you just can’t pass up?
As in ingredients? Hmmm, generally it's more like a recipie that looks great that I just have to try! I really like as it has a rating system, as well as Taste Of Home magazine.

*Which item in your shop did you enjoy making the most and why?
The Tom Turkeys are about to be retired as it's passing Thanksgiving, so my new favorite are the brownie trees! Although the fortune cookie cards are pretty fun, too!


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