Monday, November 28, 2011

4 Weeks and Counting!

Just got back from a wonderful week in PA.  The weather was gorgeous and it was nice to just get away and be "uncrafty" for a while.  Most of the time anyway.  We helped my son and his wife decorate for Christmas; the guys did the outside and the girls took care of the inside.  We trimmed the staircase with garland then added these decorations between the swags.  Nothing new, I know - but they're easy to make and are a great accent for all kinds of things.

We used plastic balls - just in case one dropped, plus they're not as expensive as the glass ones.   To make the "balls", just thread each ball onto thin wire, (8-12 depending how big you want the cluster to be), then pull the ends of the wire together.  Twist together to secure then thread narrow ribbon through the center of the balls.  Attach the ends to a bow at the top and you're done! 

The cluster hanging from the light fixture was made a little differently.  We threaded narrow ribbon thru the top of each ball then gathered the ends of the ribbon together, varying the lengths.  Adjust as necessary.  When it looks okay, wrap the ends of the ribbon with wire to secure then attach to the base of the light fixture.  Add a large bow to the top if you like.  We had a ball making these; hope you do too!  Enjoy!  Y'all come back now............

Yours truly,
Julie :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Visiting my son and his wife for Thanksgiving this year, so I've been tying up some loose ends this week, prepping a big job for when I come back and reminding myself that Christmas day is now only 5 weeks away!  Oh my.... it's a scary thought.  Not sure why it is, but I never feel "ready" for Christmas.  But it comes whether I'm ready or not and each year I try to slow down, so I can really enjoy the fun and joy of this special time of year.

I love everything about Christmas - the decorations, the music, but having the family together is the best gift of all.  I also indulge in lots of memories of all the Christmases past and enjoy every last second.  So take time to smell the turkey cooking next Thursday, eat waaay too much, savor the moment and get in the holiday spirit.  Cheers!  Y'all come back now..........

BTW:  See post below and don't forget to post your ideas about the Flip-Pal™; it's flippin' awesome!

Yours truly,
Julie :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Christmas List

I started on my Christmas list early this year and right at the top is a Flip-Pal™ Mobile Scanner.  It's a small hand held, battery operated scanner that you take to your project!  I first saw this at the CHA Trade show over a year ago, then Flip-Pal sponsored a segment on "Scrapbook Soup", so I got to see it in use, up close and personal.  Check out this video:

There are so many ways to use this handy dandy scanner.  I have an old, really old photograph album my dad put together in the '40s and I can use the scanner to copy photos without having to try and remove them.  The other thing I like is that I have some antique books with beautiful color plates.  I can now scan these without damaging the book itself.  Please note:  When scanning images, patterns, etc unless they are your own artwork, or designs, you may not use them for any kind of commercial purposes, or personal gain.  Images are protected by copyright laws and are the intellectual property of the person who created them.  Just so you know, I have also signed up to become a Flip-Pal™ Affiliate, which means that if you click on the Flip-Pal™ logo in my sidebar and purchase a unit, I will receive a small commission from the sale.  This amount goes into the account I use to pay to ship the giveaways I sponsor throughout the year. 

Talking of giveaways, if you hop round the Designer Crafts Connection, you'll notice there are a number of projects that were created using a Flip-Pal and ideas for even more projects.  Here's a challenge for you - How would you use a Flip-Pal™?  Share your creative ideas and you could win a Flip-Pal™!!!!!

To submit your Scan & Share ideas, click here.  The blog hop follower who comes up with the most creative and productive ideas using a Flip-Pal™ mobile scanner will win their very own Flip-Pal™.  The winner will be announced on December 15th.  Good luck!  Y'all come back now.......

Yours truly,
Julie :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Giveaway Winner!

There are 40 designers linked in the Designer Crafts Blog Connection.  27 of us also participated in the Sizzix Fresh Vintage Blog Hop.  So, drum roll please

Jengd   AND
Pamela Jane  AND

are all winners!

Jengd guessed correctly, but one of our designers removed the Fresh Vintage hop logo from her blog, so Pamela Jane and ScrappySuZQ were also correct with 26.  I would like to send each of you something too - there's no way I can pick only one winner when 3 of you were correct.

I have email addresses for jengd and Pamela Jane from the comments.  Scrappy, please email your address to me no later than November 11th. 

Don't forget you can still win a Sizzix Sidekick and 2 sets of Sizzlets Alphabet dies.  Details are posted below.

Y'all come back now!

Yours truly,
Julie :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

First Monday!

It's "First Monday" and this month our theme is "Holidays".  Before I share my project, there's a couple of things you'll want to know:

    1.  Check out my Scoreboard Die Caddy project.  There's a Giveaway and if you haven't already entered you can do so until midnight tonight, Nov 7th.  The winner will be announced tomorrow,  Nov 8th.

    2.  Designer Crafts Connection now has a Facebook Page @   LIKE our NEW  Designer Crafts Connection Page  on Facebook so you'll learn about our challenges, giveaways, and announcements.  Don't forget to share with your Facebook friends so they can join in the fun.

Now here are my Holiday projects: 
You'll find specific instructions for these projects in Spellbinders® Nestabilities® Basic & Beyond book, but I think you can see how they're made by looking at these photos.  There may be a couple of things about the tree that aren't quite obvious.  I used a spool of green thread for the base and glued a dowel into the hole.  The cones were made using three sizes (sm, med & large) of Nestabilities® Scalloped Circles.  To make the cone, cut from the outer edge to the center then overlap the edges to form the cone shape.  Before placing the large cone over the dowel, place a 2" piece of a clear drinking straw over the dowel first.  This will stop the cone from falling to the bottom of the dowel.  Separate the medium and small circles in the same manner with cut pieces of the drinking straw.  I used glitter card stock for the die cut circles.  Nothing says "Holidays" like lots of "bling".

Since it is the beginning of the holiday season, I also have another giveaway for you: 

A Sizzix Sidekick and two sets of Alphabet Sizzlets, "Girls are Weird" and "Script".  To enter to win, check each project in the DCC webring as you hop around and note how many designers used a die cut shape on their project.  It can be any die cut shape.  Write your answer here, in the comments section, then check back November 16th to see if you're a winner!  And, guess what, there'll be another giveaway!!!  Like I said, it's the holiday season, so there are 3 giveaways this month and, of course, there'll be one in December.  So, don't forget to "like" our FB page so you'll hear all the latest news and tell your friends!  BTW:  Some designer blogs have the DCC Logo near the top of their sidebar, but some of them place it waaaay down, so keep looking....  if you get stuck hopping forward, go back to the blog where you started, then simply hop backwards.  BTW - I can only ship to a US address.  Good Luck!  Enjoy!

Yours truly,
Julie :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Please to Remember the Fifth of November

Wow, November is a really busy month!  The first thing that comes to mind, of course, is Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving is one of the holidays that is only celebrated in the US and Canada.  However, there are celebrations in different parts of the world to give thanks for a bountiful harvest, since this is the time of year when crops are harvested to provide food for the following months.
November 1st was All Saints Day, or All Hallows Day when the Saints and Martyrs of the Christian faith are remembered.  This is also All Souls Eve, when families remember the souls of the departed. It is still tradition in many parts of the world to light candles on the graves of family members, in cemeteries and churchyards. Maybe this is where the tradition of lighted pumpkins originated for Halloween.

November 11th is Veterans' Day and Poppy Day in the UK.  The poppy is significant because the armistice for the Great War (World War 1) was signed in Flanders field in Belgium.  Legend says that red poppies grow in this field as a reminder of the blood that was lost.   (I may not have this quite right - the memory is not what it used to be, but this is the story my mum used to tell.)

I wouldn’t be British if I didn’t mention that November 5th, is Guy Fawkes Day.  This charming feller tried to blow up London’s Houses of Parliament in 1605.  The dastardly plot failed miserably and the plotters were captured leading to this annual celebration, which continues to this day.  Bonfires are lit and an effigy of Guy Fawkes is placed on top.  Not exactly a pleasant thought, but it is one of the most eagerly awaited celebrations throughout the year.  The night before,  November 4th, is, as you can probably guess, "Mischief Night". 

Please to remember, the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot.
 I see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.

There are many other Saints’ days and traditions during the month of November and all of them have their own special feasts.  Celebrations go hand in hand with food and drink throughout the year, with recipes being passed down from generation to generation.  I feel there is a great sense of security to be derived from traditions, whatever they may be, since these are the things that are certain in the uncertainty of life.   

We eat turkey at Thanksgiving and in England on November 5th it's all about Parkin Pigs (these are kinda like gingerbread men, only pigs instead), potatoes baked in the embers of a bonfire, meat pies and mushy peas, but the best was always "Plot Toffee". Here's my mum's recipe, and I quote directly from her, handwritten recipe book:

Put 3 oz Butter, 6 oz Granulated Sugar, one small tin of Nestle’s Condensed Milk, 1 tsp Vanilla Essence and 1 ½  really big Tablespoonsful of Golden Syrup* into a pan, which has been well greased with lard.  Cook very slowly to the boil stirring continually until it turns a nut brown colour (about 30 mins).  Test a little in a basin of cold water for hardness. Pour into a well buttered 7” x 9” pan.  When set turn out onto wax paper then break into pieces by hitting sharply on the under side (with a hammer).   *Golden syrup, or treacle can be found in many food stores in the international aisle.  You may be able to substitute with corn syrup, but I’ve never tried it……..  Enjoy!  Y'all come back now!

Yours truly,
Julie :)