Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

It's hard to believe that it's almost 2012.  2011 passed by so quickly, I'm still looking for the brake pedal.  The years are picking up way too much speed as they continue to fly by on a far too regular basis.  I've said for years, that we don't start to age until we have children then when grandchildren enter the picture, it's a definite wake up call.  I tend to take things day by day, but have discovered that if I don't start to plan now what I want to do "when I grow up", it's not going to get done because eventually I will run out of time.  Not really, but I still want to be young enough to enjoy what I want to do with the rest of my life.  I'm not trying to say that I think I'm old, but once the OAP stage is reached, it's a slippery slope indeed.

So what's in my plans for 2012 - I don't make New Year's resolutions any more, because I don't like the guilt trip when I break them, but I do pull out the calendar on the 31st.  CHA comes first at the end of January..... oh no!  It's only 3 weeks away, how did that happen!  I have SO much prep work - I'm teaching a seminar and also have to pull my showcase together.  Gotta get going, I s'pose.........  but maybe I can wait till next year.  Enjoy the final hour(s) of 2011 and y'all come back now - next year!  Have a good one!

Yours truly,
Julie :) 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Traditions

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  It's my favorite day of the year.  There's nothing better than getting together with friends and family to share good food and cheer. 

We do the same things every year, so I suppose these would be our family Christmas traditions.  We always have turkey, brussels sprouts, dressing, mashed potatoes etc and Christmas crackers just like we did in England.  Another of our traditions involves a manger scene.  It's only a small one - Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus in his manger.   The manger remains empty however, until Christmas day which is when we put the baby in the manger.  I never realized what an impression this made on my 2 year old granddaughter until last Spring when she suddenly asked "where's Jesus?"  "He's in heaven watching over us", was my reply.  "No he's not!" she said, "he was right there!" and she pointed at the small side table where we always put our manger scene.  Of course, I had to rescue baby Jesus from the cupboard and now he is with us all the time.  I love the way children think........  The story reminds of the words of song by Larnelle Harris.  As the dad is packing up and putting away all the Christmas decorations, his son asks "do we put away Jesus too?"  With all the hustle and bustle, it's easy to forget the reason for the season.

Enjoy the rest of your holiday - y'all come back in the New Year!

Yours truly,
Julie :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

It's Christmas! Fun Facts & Last Minute Crafts

Christmas is traditionally a very "crafty" month, but it's also one of the busiest and I have to admit that I have actually bought Christmas ornaments, ready made decorations and cookies......  For some reason it makes me feel really guilty, but I'd rather be stress free to enjoy the fun than overwhelmed with SO much to do, because when all said and done, it's still my favourite time of year.

Did you know that Oliver Cromwell banned Christmas in Great Britain back in the 17th century? The ban didn't last long and neither did he.  People love a reason to celebrate, whatever the occasion.  The Christmas season officially stretches from December 25th thru January 6th, which is known in England as Twelfth Night.  This is the day we take down all our Christmas decorations.  Celebrations however, can start as early as the first Sunday in Advent and are as varied as the countries that celebrate them.  Father Christmas has been the traditional Christmas figure in England since the 15th century whereas the American Santa Claus is based on the Dutch St. Nicholas from the 4th century.  In some European countries, St. Nicholas still fills the children's shoes with gifts on December 6th instead of the 25th.  Here in the US we start to decorate Christmas soon after Thanksgiving, but in Germany the Krist Kind (Christ Child) decorates the tree on Christmas Eve - that's one very organized guy.  After he's finished he rings a bell and the children rush into the room.  Traditions also vary not just from country to country, but also from area to area within a country!  In England, Father Christmas is treated to a glass of sherry and a mince pie in appreciation for bringing presents - that's probably why he's so jolly and has a red nose...LOL, whereas the American Santa only gets milk and cookies - bah humbug....

Since we've always been a "crafty" family, we still make a lot of our own ornaments for the tree.  The very first Christmas tree after our daughter was born was covered in Raggedy Ann and Andys made from bread & salt dough and painted with bright colors.  We also added garlands of popcorn, which lasted quite a few years.  My favorite ornaments (I still make them) are the ones we make from wax.

I melt leftover candles in a double boiler.  While the wax is melting, I place an assortment of plastic cookie cutters onto a baking sheet covered with wax paper.  Using a metal ladle, I gently fill each cookie cutter with wax - about 3/8" deep.  Once the wax has hardened, the cookies will easily pop away from the sides.  Don't worry if some of them crack, or break, just pop the pieces back in the double boiler and melt again!  To add a hanger, thread silver or gold thread onto a tapestry needle.  Heat the tip of the needle in a candle flame, then push gently through the top of the ornament.   Cut the thread then knot the ends together.  Candy molds are also great for making ornaments (see the angel).  Allow the wax to set (you can place in the freezer for a few minutes) then tap the mold sharply to release the shape.  Ta dah - they're finished!  Doesn't it feel great to recyle AND be crafty at the same time.....

Please note, this is an adult craft and not recommended for young children.

Here's another one for you.  

These little gift boxes were made from old cards.  The front of the card is the top of the box and the back of the card is the bottom, with the verse inside.  Score a line all the way around the card about 1" from the edge.  (Both pieces.)  Make sure the lines go from edge to edge so they cross at each corner.  Cut along one scored line from the outside edge to the point where the lines cross at each corner to create a tab.  Fold the sides inwards.  Glue the tabs in place to create the box shape.  

Embellish with ribbon, jewels, charms - anything at all!  Now you can make a set of wax ornaments then place them in a gift box for a great gift!  Enjoy!  Y'all come back now......

Yours truly,
Julie :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Basic Christmas Crafts

I love working with small wood shapes.  I love to draw and maybe that's why.....  everything is made up of basic shapes - circles, squares, hearts, ovals, etc and these can be combined into all sorts of things.  Check out these simple projects.  All you need are some basic wood shapes, acrylic paint, a paintbrush and some glue. You can find instructions for these projects and more at

Enjoy!  Y'all come back now.........

Yours truly,
Julie :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Adventures of Sock Monkey continue......

"In the meadow we can build a snowman....."   if we only had some snow.

"I can fly, I can fly", if I only knew where the accelerator was.......

Hmmm... not the kind of deer I was dreaming about.....

I hope you noticed I now have a tulle skirt under my silver tutu.  I also do all my own stunts.

Y'all come back now,

Yours truly,
Julie :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Sock (Monkey) Hop

Can you believe it's already December and today is First Monday - time for another blog hop and giveaway!  This month's giveaway is sponsored by When Creativity Knocks an online craft TV show.

As you hop thru the Designer Craft Connection blogs, you'll see we've been "monkeying" around this month.  Take a look at what my little monkey has been up to - obviously inspired by Christmas decorating:


This little monkey thinks she's a fairy....  she must be from England, where fairies help Father Christmas and often sit on top of the Christmas tree.   She has white feather wings and a "tutu" skirt from gathered wired ribbon - EZ PZ.

Sock Monkeys have been around for a long time and you only have to visit your local Cracker Barrel country store and restaurant to see that they are inundating our Christmas festivities this year.  Making your own is a simple task.  

You can find the original socks at Fox River Red Heel Sox


An adorable Sock Monkey rubber stamp at Judikins

Custom color your sox with a variety of colors of RIT Dye and

You can also enter to win

        •  WKC Video book, Sock Monkey Goes BanAnas
        •  A Sock Monkey body, pre-sewn, ready to stuff
        •  One pair of the original Rockford Red Heel Sox 
        •  Button eyes, needle, floss and stuffing

a prize package worth over $40!
Here's what you do:

        •  Go to website

        •  In the Member Log in box click: Create An Account

        •  Entry Code: Sock Monkey 

There is also a discount coupon to purchase the WCK VideoBook: Sock Monkey Goes BanAnas.
We had a blast monkeying around this month - I wonder what else these monkeys will be up to..... y'all come back now.
Yours truly,
Julie :)