Monday, December 27, 2010

GUESS WHAT I GOT FOR CHRISTMAS...

Guess what I got for Christmas? A computer virus! My poor laptop in hopefully on the mend, its operating systems are being restored as I type. While waiting on its recovery I am relegated to a dinosaur desktop with a quirky keyboard. I will return to the land of blog in the very near future when my cmoputer is fixed.
I hope you all got something much nicer than that!
Until then, I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

MERRY CHRISTMAS...

(Image from Karen's Whimsy)

May Peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through!

-Author Unknown-

Thursday, December 23, 2010

AN OFF THE CUFF CHRISTMAS...

Off the cuff: Impromptu, with little or no preparation or forethought(Creepy hand is a gift for darling daughter.)

Wow, does that describe Christmas in our house this year! The Christmas countdown has begun in earnest here at the Quill. There is a flurry of scurry in my step as I hit the homeward stretch of being " done". I am never " done" getting ready for Christmas but it arrives and declares me " done". I am more than ready for the declaration this year.

I did finish those scarves...And one cuff...(which I am giving myself as a gift, it matches my new sweater, read on to see why I needed a new sweater...)Lest you think only Handy Hubby's closet is susceptible to my occasional crafting needs, not so, the base of this cuff...one of my sweaters! Me thinks Santa might need to bring us some new clothes if this keeps up, that, or, I really need to get creative with dried oak leaves and a sewing machine!I found out we are having extra guests yesterday so I scrambled out and grabbed some gift cards and hopefully will pull off a little handmade gift to accompany them. I have two unfinished items on the worktable and will get those done this evening,a collage for my step-mother of her great grand children, all precious little girls...I am doing a separate one for my dad (which is barely started!) of his two great grands to match his home office, just a quick scrapbook style collage, I don't have much time left for fancyfying something because I plan to spend this whole afternoon with my best friend in an off the cuff moment of impromptu crafting. We are going to make some jewelry for her sweet daughters for Christmas. I am so looking forward to that!

Well, I'm off to dash out to the post office to get the give away goodies in the mail and to make a Hobby Lobby run for a last minute gift and then Hi Ho! Hi Ho! It is off to craft I go....

Have the very merriest!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

GIVE AWAY WINNERS...

Thank you all so much for entering my Warm Winter Wishes Give Away. I so appreciate each and every one of you who stop by for a visit, a chat, or even a quick peek at what is happening my my little corner of the world. I cannot tell you how much I truly and deeply appreciate your friendship and encouragement. You all spur me on to be creative and share what I learn along the way. I wish I could send each and every one of you something, I truly do! Thank you so much for the love, support, and community kindness you share each and every day.

I did not take the matter of your left behind wishes lightly, I want you to know that each and every one was covered in prayer and my fondest wish is that yours will come true in the new and coming year!

The Winter Queen waved her magic wand over the Custom Random Number Generator and the winners are as follows:

The Winter Queen goes to...Danielle of My Blessed Serendipity LifeThe Studio Stash goes to...Diane of Diane Knott's MusingsThe Victorian Snowflake goes to...Dorthe of Den Lille LadeThe Hope Snowflake goes to... Bonita of Encouraging Words for Writers and Streams of Living WaterThe Gold and Pearl Tinsel Snowflake goes to...GerryART
The Pearl and Mirror Snowflake goes to...Robin of A Robin's Nest
The Crystal Snowflake goes to...Laura of Decor to Adore and Le Magasin de MetisCongratulations ladies, please email me your mailing address and I will get your pretties in the mail to you.

I hope each and every one of you have a blessed and beautiful day today!

Blessings,
Sandy

Monday, December 20, 2010

CRAZED CHRISTMAS CRAFTING CONTINUES...

Are you ready for Christmas? Have you done all your shopping, wrapping, baking, decorating, gift making, and begun your merry making? Or, are you like me, still in the crazed getting ready for Christmas mode? Thankfully I can cross shopping, wrapping, and decorating off my " to do" list. Baking and candy making are scheduled for Wednesday and merry making will begin on Christmas Eve and continue through the New Year Holiday. That just leaves crafting...which I am still doing! You did read panic into that last sentence did you not?(Darling Daughters fabric necklace. Won't Handy Hubby be surprised that three of his t-shirts are missing? Hee, hee, hee, nothing and I mean nothing is off limits for crafting supplies in my house. I could not get the right fabric for these as t-shirt fabric is out of season and jersey is too heavy.)This happens to me every year and swear it won't. This year I was even prepared, knowing well in advance what I was going to make and what I was going to buy. I even prepared all my projects in advance so I could work on them in stages. I forgot to build in a contingency plan of getting sick which has thrown me for a loop. So, I have slipped into crazed Christmas crafting. With two days tops to get it all done I am starting to panic and slash projects right and left. Thankfully I have several art pieces on hand that I can substitute if I need too.Handy Hubby knows the signs well of when I am in work mode. Poor guy, I was so hard at it last evening I did not realize it was dinner time until I heard him pushing buttons on the microwave, that is about the extent of his cooking skills. He looked kind of forlorn standing there waiting on a frozen entree to heat up, my backup plan for when I can't cook. I took mercy on him, pushed the stop button and offered to go and get his favorite take out instead. He lit up like a Christmas tree, hmmmm, I am going to have to check that expression to see if it is the same when I cook.(Sweet Daughter-in-law's necklace. I just learned how to make these Singed Fabric Flowers. You have got to try them but I warn you, they are addictive!!!)

After dinner I returned to the studio and must have been mumbling under my breath because he stuck his head in the door and asked me what I said. I asked, " Where are the elves?" " What?" " Where ARE the elves?" " What are you talking about?" This is where I got a little crazed, " You know elves, short little people who wear funny clothes and striped stockings, pointy hats and shoes with jingle bells on the toes. They love to make stuff and give it away. They are Santa's helpers. Where are they? You might be Santa's wallet but I AM SANTA and I WANT MY ELVES! In all the stories there are elves, in all the cartoons there are elves, I should know that they exist because I was once employed as one!"Poor guy, he can spot a meltdown a mile away and he does what he always does, he made me laugh. He took me by the shoulders and steered me down the hall, turning me in front of a full length mirror. He asked me what I saw. Looking at his grin I knew exactly what he saw...a short person wearing funny clothes, (vertical striped flannel pj bottoms with a mix matched top and clashing horizontal striped socks minus the jingle bells), someone who loves to make stuff and give it away, Santa's helper. After standing there for a minute he said, " You look like an elf to me." I laughed.We stood there and recalled the first time we met and I was indeed dressed in an elf outfit working for a PCA Photographer taking photos of children with Santa in a local Wal-Mart store. I teased him about how many times he pushed the broom up and down the aisle next to my booth, giving me a shy smile with each turn. I never imagined that a few years later we would date and few more after that marry.I returned to the studio with a renewed spirit humming to myself, " I am Santa's elf, filling Santa's shelf...Oh, I am Santa's elf..." I was stressing and robbing myself of the joy of creating and giving. So what if my fashion forward daughter and daughter-in-law only get two handmade fashion accessories instead of four like I had planned. Hey, they don't know they are getting any!(This one is just about done, a little embellishing of the flowers, applying them, and the evening out the fringe, whew!)

This ambitious elf is scaling back, reigning herself in, and setting some realistic expectations. So I surprise them with the purse and cuff bracelet for no reason at all after the holiday if I can't get them done. The thing is, I lost my focus, its not about the gifts we are giving but The Gift that has already been given, the Christ Child. It's all about keeping things in perspective isn't it?(This one is making me nervous!)

I hope there is no craziness in your Christmas preparations and that your hearts are full of the Christmas spirit bringing you peace, warmth, and happiness this holiday season.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A LITTLE SOMETHING I MADE...

Today I am joining Rebecca's Birthday Blog Party ,wishing her the happiest of birthdays ever, and sharing a little something I made for Christmas gifts. My Christmas gift crafting this year is enmeshed in the theme of winter. I figured I would embrace it if I could not erase it, winter not being my favorite season. It all began with a couple of " Thank You Hostess Gifts" I was tardy in sending out and an obsession with this little guy's photo...(Feel free to snag him if he inspires you too!)

I think it is OK to show these now that I know they have been received and they are a representation of some other winter themed bees wax canvas collage pieces that I am giving as gifts this year...I can't show the ones I am giving because I am afraid the recipients will see them so I used photos of the hostess gifts so you get the idea. They are similar in theme and tone and I tried to change each one up just a little so they would remain individual.

The one gift I am sure the recipient won't see is one I gave you a little sneak peek of in a previous post and here is the finished product, a winter themed snow banner, you can click any photo to enlarge for better viewing...Of all the people on my gift giving list, the recipient of this banner, my step-mother, is the one person who appreciates handmade items more than anyone else I know. In fact, she requests them and prefers them to store bought items. Last year I gave her a small simple winter themed collage that was tied on top of her actual gift. She opened the gift, thanked me, and put it aside. The little collage was cradled in the palm of her hand most of the evening or kept nearby where she picked it up, studying every detail. She must have told me a hundred times how much she loved it. She just kept saying over and over how much she loved stuff like this and how special it was to her.She dearly loves seasonal decorating of all sorts. This year I wanted to add to her winter themed collection and began designing this banner with a two fold purpose, as part of a class I was supposed to teach and to give as a gift. I won't be giving her a store bought gift this year, but fulfilling the wish of her heart, to receive a handmade item that enhances her home and brings her joy. After all, the Christmas season is about sharing joy, giving from the heart, and for me creating from the hand.
I ended up loving the result of this project so I gifted myself with one too!

A few up close details...Thank you, Rebecca, for hosting and may all your birthday wishes come true!
Wishing all you sweet friends the happiest and merriest of weekends!

Blessings,
Sandy

Friday, December 17, 2010

A ROMANTIC NATURALIST MELANGE HILLBILLY CHIC KIND OF CHRISTMAS....

Naturalist: One who studies nature, especially by observation

Melange: odds and ends; a motley assortment of things; a collection containing a variety of miscellaneous thingsNaturalist Melange, that is the closest description I could think of for my holiday decor this year. The phrase " a motley assortment of things" perfectly fits my Romantic Hillbilly Chic mix of rustic tattered natural elegance. I hope you enjoy the photo tour below, you can click on any photo to enlarge for detail viewing.
Being sick put a HUGE damper on my ability to get my holiday decorating done this year. I decided I had to pull together things that were already in the house and holiday them up a bit. The only things I removed from storage were the mantle garland, a mini nativity set, and two shoe box sized ornament containers...period. I did get a new tree, because as most of you know, a mouse ate mine, and five new taper candles. Kind of sparse beginnings for an eye candy kind of Christmas.Handy Hubby gave me a beautiful flea market table I had been admiring for an early Christmas present and I decided that would be the perfect place to showcase my Christmas display. I borrowed items from all over my house, especially the studio, even little pieces of art make an appearance.

I brought and old gate in from the garden, took the mirror off the wall near my closet, and potted the tree in an urn style planter then just went crazy layering all my favorite things. It is not at all what I expected but better than I dreamed. Hang on to your hats the photo tour is about to begin. NOTE: There are a lot of photos on this post, to load faster scroll down to
bottom of my blog page and turn off the media player. The shelves above the sofa just got a little bit of live greenery to make them festive... Oh, and if you see anything that looks like dust in the photos, its not, really, in my house that is called patina!

The side table got a quick treatment too. I removed the usual piece of art that hangs in the basket and replaced it with this fantastic angel collage by KC Wills...I have it on very good authority that there will be a little something under the tree for me from her too. No, I did not peek, exactly, but that is a story of another day.

In front of the sofa I have an antique chest topped off with a velvet runner. I keep this very simple and easily removable because when large crowds are here I roll it over the wall, top it with a cushion and add some pillows for overflow bench style seating. I place a stack of old books coupled with candles and a little Christmas star I made on one side. In the middle is a little iron holder that usually is in the studio holding tattered books that I collage with to serve as a Christmas card holder. An old birdcage rounds out the display with a touchable Nativity scene complete with cookie cutter star that the grands can enjoy. They LOVE playing with anything in this bird cage.In the hall I hung a hand carved angel that was gift from my husband many years ago. I topped the table with a stack of old books, layers of vintage linens and laces, a crazed platter, paper roses, buttons, a jar of string, all from my studio stash. I added in a broken iron clock and bell that the grands also love to play with to bring the dark tones of the iron down into the display. A little greenery and battery operated twinkling lights under the lace round out this tattered table top.Since I only have a sum total of three inches of mantle space to decorate, stuffing a bit garland in there is about as good as it gets. I kept it super simple this year, a few small pine-cones gathered from the woods with a mixture of vintage glass and handmade nature or romance inspired ornaments.I add a tiny twine tied sprig of greenery to this " table top" display and that was it. I have been looking for the right table so this picture frame plopped on a plant stand base is a stand in until I find what I want but it is kind of growing on me so we will see. Now, for the big finish, a Romantic Naturalist Melange Hillbilly Chic kind of Christmas decor! The " wreath" , an old oval frame embellished with my grandmothers jewelry, dried naturals from the woods, vintage lace, and flea market finds...The tree...The tree is potted in an urn style planter from the garden...A gathering from nature; twigs, dried leaves and grasses...
Hand made coffee filter and tulle garland and somewhere in there gold chain garland from the hardware store...Last years handmade ornaments...Tiny handwoven birds nest complete with little blue birds...Vintage amber bottle tied on with twine sport an emu feather and a sprig of old millinery flowers ...All topped off with a rusty tin bird, twigs, and emu feathers...
The whole crazy melange...All kinds of artful things from studio supplies,Old books to burlap,
To nature and flea market finds, all stuff I already had on hand...Christmas greens and handmade things...
Do you think Santa will take put me on the naughty list for robbing Rudolph of his antlers?And candle light round out the scene...Times run out...I love this upside down clock as a tongue in cheek touch!Can you tell I kind of miss having a booth and merchandising just a little? If I had one thing to do over, and I still might, I would have left the tree undecorated, just a green tree with white lights to tone down the over the top feel of it all.Now I need to wrap the presents to fill up that empty shelf underneath!

I said I was only decorating one room this year but it seems I broke that rule, the dining nook got a wee bit of a transform and I will share that with you next week. Don't forget that tomorrow is Rebecca's (A Re-Purposed Life) Birthday Blog Party is tomorrow! See details HERE. And if you missed it, you can sign up for my Warm Winter Wish Give Away HERE.

Today I am linking up with the following:

Debra of Common Ground for Vintage Inspiration FridayFeathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
And Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special
I hope you all have enjoyed my Romantic Naturalist Melange Hillbilly Chic kind of Christmas!

Have a very wonderful weekend!








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