Wednesday, December 14, 2011

THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS!

I received this story through an email several years ago and always re-read it each and every Christmas. I do not know the original author; wish I did. It touches my heart. I hope you feel the same. Enjoy.


"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 day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered. "Even dummies know 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 knew 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!"

ONLY 10 DAYS AWAY!

Do you feel like you are heading into sensory overload? With all the breathtaking decorations and images during this time of year, my mind has difficulty staying focused. I don’t want to miss anything. I don’t want to forget anything. I want to make every cookie recipe I see. And I get lost for hours perusing through the mouthwatering holiday recipes and adorable crafts/decorations on Pinterest. I’m a giddy, tingly, emotional holiday mess.

I recently came across these sweet free printables by Miriam Bos on Pinterest the other night and I had to share with you.


Click HERE for the PDF's and more adorable freebies! These designs are oozing too-cute-for-words charm. Check them out and happy crafting.

I have made a serious effort to remove any pressure from myself on any new projects for my Etsy shop this month. If I finish a few new pieces….great. If I don’t….that is OK too. This year, it is important to spend time with my family and create when the mood strikes me and the time allows. This will be my first Christmas without my Dad, and making sure my daughter feels the true meaning of Christmas is all that is important right now. I have made some fun pieces for friends, and have a couple of WIP’s waiting for completion that are turning out nicely. As they finish, I will post some pictures and add to my Etsy shop. Maybe a give-away before the end of the month?!

Ornament in memory of my Dad, who was a retired Firefighter and forever the family Santa!

We finally got our tree completed over the weekend. My daughter picked out a cute Fraser Fir…….on the short side, but full of love width-wise. It fits in well with the family! I used to be so particular about my tree, but ever since my daughter and husband did the tree decorating last year while I was sick, I have been OK with giving up the reigns. My job now is making sure the lights are on. After that, Julia and I share the decorating duties.
Don’t get me wrong. There are moments when I feel my skin start to crawl when she hangs one of my family heirlooms in a not-so-perfect spot, but I start the silent chant in my head, “It is just a tree. It is just a tree. It is just a tree.”; secretly hoping that she falls asleep early so I can move it later in the night. Truth be told, I haven’t moved a thing. She notices everything! She will call me out on it right away.

Her friends did come over the other day and broke one of my antique ornaments. As Alex’s hand reached out to touch the teardrop indent ornament, I said, “Be careful with the tree. All the ornaments are glass.” To which she stuck her thumb right through it. I jumped over to see if she was cut, and as I held the broken pieces, I could hear my own heart cry. I guess I will be hitting Ebay for a replacement.

Thank goodness for Ebay!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS

My vintage Santa Mugs

There are so many fun events this time of the year. So much so that if you blink, you may miss half of it. As a mom, I am forever feeling the pressure to "make - the - memories - happen". Women put so much pressure on themselves to do it all, and I too struggle at times with trying to be too much.....
be the perfect mom, perfect wife, perfect business woman, perfect mentor, perfect friend, perfect...perfect...perfect. Good golly, we are so unfair to ourselves. And the holidays just seem to bring it all to a head.
I have learned of the years to "let it go". How? Not sure, really. Maybe it comes with age. No words of wisdom, no "aha" moment for me. More a steady conscious decision to do what I can, as best I can, and if it goes wrong.....so what!
As an artist, I found early on that sometimes my biggest "mistakes" came with breathtakingly beautiful outcomes. My best work, in both art and life, humbly began as one big f-up. LOL
So let it go, and enjoy the season everyone. Memories are made from the feelings you create in others. Let that be your only goal.
Gift Shop display at the Methuen Festival of Trees

Last week, the family spent time hitting some of the local Christmas attraction. It is outings like these that help those warm feelings grow and give you a sense of connection with your neighbors and friends. The annual tree lighting in town, although very cold, was a fun night of lights, hot chocolate, cookies and Santa. Side note: don't you love it when Santa shows up and he has a REAL beard! Yeah!
We also spent a few hours at the Methuen Festival of Trees. If you live in Massachusetts and have never attending a Festival of Trees, please find out if your local town has one in your area. They can't be beat. Methuen, if I am not mistaken, was the only town to have a Festival, but I have noticed that a few more have branched out (no pun intended) to others areas.
The trees are all donated and decorated by local merchants or residents. And each tree is raffled off at the end of the event.
My camera was not kind to me that day .... but as I said before .... just let it go! There were so many gorgeous trees, but these were all I could find that were in focus - LOL
Below are some of the not so blurry pictures of a few trees and the lovely Gift Shop they set up during the event.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

HOW LUCKY AM I ! My new ornament from Tamara Dozier

It is that wonderful...exciting...heart-warming...nostalgic...totally hectic & draining time of the year! I love every minute.
Driving by all the decorated homes in the neighborhood, you can't help but feel the splendor of the season. Not to mention the beautiful holiday pins on Pinterest. So much inspiration. If only I had the time (and money) to make my home dream decor come to life.
I have embellished ever nook and cranny of the house with glistening Christmas charm. My vintage Santas wink and smile. Everything seems better at Christmas time.
Next weekend, we will drive to our favorite tree stand and pick out one special fern that "speaks" to us. Then, an afternoon of unwrapping the many ornaments, lights, icicles, garland, and what-nots. I can't wait.
This year, I have a new and special ornament to add to my collection.

The incredibly talented Tamara Dozier at Tilted Asylum had a blog give-away a few weeks ago and, whoo hoo, I won! I nearly jump a foot when I got her email. I am so thrilled to have this snowman and will find the perfect branch for him to hang in honor. Thank you so much for letting me play, Tamara! Check out her blog everyone. She even has a tutorial on how to make these festive ornaments!