Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Thoughts

This is certainly going to be a very different Christmas this year for the family and myself.  How do you celebrate a holiday like this without someone so very special to you?  Do you say "Bah Humbug!" or become a "grinch"?  I still think it's best to take each day at a time. Do what I feel I need to do. Never forget how that special person would react or enjoy the moment.

The house is decorated, outside and in.  Cookies were baked, but this year without someone coming in and sneaking samples.  It's amazing how something that would make me crazy is missed so much.  Many cards have arrived again but this year they were not  sent.  I find it difficult to find the right sentiment to send this year.  After much back and forth, we will gather here at home today.  It will not be a full house this year - Kevin, Ali and girls, Amy, Joe and kids, Matthew, Andrea and I will spend the day with each other.  It will be day when we must all come together and maybe cry and probably laugh and mostly remember a very special man and the meaning of this season - LOVE.

Let it be Christmas everywhere!  Peace to all this Christmas and Love!
(Take the time to listen to this song by Alan Jackson - simple, sweet and meaningful.)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Season in Chicago

The holiday season has been a busy one for me this year.  My family has made sure that I am not alone much and having fun. It began with a day with the two little ones having Santa and Mrs. Claus visit them at home.  It was a wonderful moment to share with them.

A couple of weeks ago we took a trip into the city to make a visit to the annual Chriskindalmarket that is held every year in Daley Plaza in Chicago.  After a frigid couple of days the crowds came out in droves to enjoy the city.  Next year hopefully we will go again at a time a little less crowded.  There's nothing like the German potato pancakes or a cup of hot mulled wine!  After tackling the crowds we wandered over to State Street to stop by to see the big tree in the Walnut Room.  It sure was big and glitzy, but it's not the same since Marshall Field's was sold to Macy's.

Another outing took me to the Mercury Theater to see a performance of the musical "The Christmas Schooner".  What a wonderful story, both bittersweet and heartwarming, to inspire the Christmas spirit.  The performance was even more meaningful with having someone you happen to personally know as a cast member.

Wednesday night I was part of a group that again traveled into the city once more.  This trip took us to the Music Box Theater to see "It's a Wonderful Life" on the "big screen".  You would really have to be a "Scrooge" not to enjoy this experience.  Seeing the movie in this setting was truly amazing.  The audience got into it in a big way.  Every time Mr. Potter appeared on the screen everyone would "hiss".  When Mary and George get married, rice is thrown. When little Tommy is dressing his dad's head with tinsel, you could find someone placing tinsel on heads.  The story is just so sweet and never gets old and is so meaningful.

The holidays will surely be different and difficult this year, but I feel there is someone special watching and seeing that we are continuing with celebrating the season like we usually do.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Good Things Come In Small Packages

Been busy with many different things lately.  My family has been keeping me on the go and occupied.  I'm having a difficult time keeping my schedule in order.
This past Saturday I shared a very enjoyable experience with our two youngest grandchildren.  Santa & Mrs. Claus made a special visit to their house to see them and a few other friends.  Mrs. Claus read two stories for us with the help of Tess.  We sang some Christmas songs before each child got to talk with Santa.  The looks on their faces was truly priceless.  The innocence of children is just so sweet to see.

Last week I spent two days baking some Christmas cookies.  Because of recent situations and schedules, we had to forgo the "baking marathon" we had been doing the past few years.  Hopefully we will return to enjoy the craziness of that next year.
The baking brought me to the reason for this post today.  As I have said in the past - I love Sizzix stuff. To give a sample of my baking to friends, I wanted something handmade to pack them in. Using a recent purchased die, Bigz™ Box #3, I will be making my own gift boxes.  This box holds one and a half dozen cookies.  
I lined the box with a decorative tissue paper that had the edges cut with pinking scissors.  After filling with the cookies, mittens (Original Mittens-38-0240) hold close the tissue.

A wide, gold mesh ribbon was cut to fit around the box and secured with double-faced tape.  A small scraps of light green burlap was brushed with Tim Holtz Forest Moss Distress Stain before die cutting with Holly & Berries #2.  The holly leaves were then glued on a medium size oval die-cut (Ovals #3).  Berries were die cut from a scrap of red painted metal, then glued to the center of the leaves.  A small scrap of glossy cardstock was embossed, using the verse from the Winter Set by Rachael Bright.  The raised lettering was carefully wiped over with Ranger Ice Stickles, using my finger, then put in place using a glue dot.
What a sweet way to give a very "sweet" and completely handmade gift this season.

Back to the Big Shot!

PS - Happy Birthday to my brother Jim today!  Also all the other December birthdays in the family - Bill, Rachel, Amy M., Mary Kate, Rosalia, Alexandra, Colleen, Mary & myself. 

NOTE:  Please check out the "Sock Monkey" challenge on the Designer Craft Connection Blog Hop.  Start with this link and hop on through the others to seeing some creative "monkeying around".  There is another give away this month.  So many clever ideas again from the group that participated this month.