Monday, December 29, 2008

Our Christmas Holiday Highlights...

Don and I had an absolutely wonderful holiday this year!
Of course, we were busy, wrapped up in all the joys that the season brings, like shopping, decorating, baking, keeping secrets, sharing laughter, discovering small, stolen moments of contentment, and sharing both our hearts and our homes with our families and friends.
We originally believed that our personal finances and the current economy might put a damper on our Christmas this year, but in the end, everything seemed to work itself out. We tried to choose a lot of gifts that were either on sale or within the $20 per person range so that everyone received something nice. The gifts that we that we purchased for our families and friends were well-received, as well as some wonderful compliments on the gifts we choose to give this year. Of course there's always that "I wish I could gotten {insert name here} something..." so there was a little sacrificing, although you probably wouldn't have known it watching this babe open her presents!
And here she is sporting hard on a brand, spanking new Radio Flyer tricycle that Santa somehow mistakenly dropped off at grandma's house.
Don't you just love that smile? and could Alexxis possibly be any cuter? Her personality is just a vibrant and bubbly as you see in these pictures and I believe it is one of my favorite Christmas photographs!
Speaking of photographs, here's another few favorites of the "loves of my life " Alexxis collecting her stocking....

to sit down with Papa to open...


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Small touches of Christmas...

Scattered about our home, we've added a few little touches of Christmas this year. Nothing nearly as elaborate as last year's wedding/Christmas decorating, but beautiful none-the-less. In our living room's mirrored glass-shelved curio cabinet, I put up my small Christmas village. This was a gift to me last year from Don that I received after we had a enjoyable December evening out shopping for gifts and dined at the Cracker Barrel. Have I mentioned that I love their gift shop? We've been able to find some wonderful gifts there over the years.

Here's a few close-ups of my small village. It's perfect for us --- not to big and sprawling all over so that we wonder where in the world are we ever going to put it? LOL! And I love that ambient glow....
I used handfuls of poly fiber fill to create the illusion of snow, even gently attaching it to the bottle brush trees!

Doesn't it create a beautiful, wintery scene? Perhaps as the years go by, we'll add a little to it, perhaps some more bottle brush trees and figurines. Oh No! It's starting, isn't it? LOL!

Decking the Halls with bough of holly... Fa La La La La

Although we've kept our Christmas decorations to a minimum this year, its been joyful walking down Memory Lane as we focused our attention to decorating the tree this year. It was fun to pull the ornaments out of their storage box, gently unwrapping the tissue paper anticipating the beauty that lies inside. This beautiful gold glittered skeleton key is one my favorite ornaments and I clearly remember the beautiful summer day that Don and I spent in Amish country at 'Tis the Season where I purchased it a few years ago. Isn't that fun of collecting Christmas ornaments, adding new memories each and every year?
This year we've added icicles in both acrylic and glass to our tree and I love the way the white lights and the other colors of the ornaments shine through them. Aren't they beautiful? The silver glittered and wired word, "Snow" is another 'Tis the Season purchase from that same visit a few years ago. As well as the inspiration for my "Winter Wishes" tag garland banner that I created for the tree.

This year we mainly purchased items to help fill in the tree and really focused our attention to creating the illusion of a tree topper. We've added in a lot of metallic red sprays, red, green, and gold berry stems, gold glittered branches, and faux palm fronds glittered in both red and gold. The silk poinsettias were used last year to decorate our home for our weddding, so this year I purchased another bunch to add to them. My thoughts are to keep adding red silk poinsettias to the tree every year, wouldn't a faux garland of them be beautiful gently cascading softly around the tree? And I love how the red and gold color scheme sort of evolved gradually coming into being over the years. It's so cheerful, lovely, and festive! Yet, elegant and refined all at the same time...

Our tree is 7 1/2 feet tall so there isn't room to capture the true beauty of the tree in its entirety but these photographs will be perfect for adding to a new scrapbook.

As you go about celebrating your holidays with your family, friends, and love ones, Don and I wish you and yours "A Very Merry Christmas" from our hearts to yours.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ahhh, it feels so good to be back HOME! Although, you might not of even have known that we were gone... so here's the most recent scoop!
Every year, due to Don's medical history, he has a yearly physical complete with an echocardiogram and stress test. Although, I don't why it seems to roll around in December! Unfortunately, near the end of last week we got the result back that something was abnormal so arrangements were made for Don to have yet another heart cath on Tuesday morning. Since Monday was our first anniversary, the hospital offered to put us for the night in a hotel, which allowed us to not have to get out of bed at 3 in the morning so we could be in Columbus at 6 a.m.

In an attempt to celebrate our first anniversary, in light of the recent news, Don and I drove down to Columbus Monday afternoon, checked in to the hotel, then had a wonderful evening! We dined at the Spaghetti Warehouse {my suggestion..} then, walked around the Art District in the Short North. The warmer December weather made for a perfect night for this. My hope was to vist this store: On Paper
I love this place! Creaking, beautifully aged wood floors greet you as you step inside to become surrounded by many beautiful things from greeting cards to craft supplies and gifts. You may remember that I ordered my PSA Partly Paper rubber stamp from here. Well, visiting again, this time I found this gorgeous Cavallanni & Co. Botanica 2009 Calendar that I purchased to gift to my mom for Christmas. Isn't it gorgeous?
It features a unique collection from The Compleat Florist {London, 1747}f chronicles January through Decemver with hand-colored botanical prints. It is truly an exquisite group of rarely-seen antiques plates --- perfect for framing! I believe she's gonna love this! Here's the reverse side and views of other months:

Next, we discovered a really cool shop called "Loot" You can find some online photographs of the style of items that they carry on their website @ We purchased a Red Cardinal tree ornament to add to our Christmas tree there. {After we were home, I'd wished I'd grabbed two of them so I could gift one to sis as the cardinal is Ohio's state bird! So sorry, sis!}

Driving back from downtown, heading to the hotel, we spotted a shopping strip mall and got off the highway to vist Old Navy and Barnes & Nobles. I got Alexxis some slippers as our wood floors get a little cooler in the winter, a Christmas gift for me { dont' you love when you get to pick out what you want? LOL!} and I grabbed the latest issue of Somerset Memories to occupy my mind while Don's heart cath was being performed the following morning.

Afterwards, we return to the hotel, settled ourselves in, and were off at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday. Don's heart cath went wonderfull well, better than either of us expected, and he was given a clean bill of health!!!! We've definately been blessed this year and what more of a wonderful way to celebrate our first anniversary with the prospect of enjoying a long and happy LIFE together! We've definately been BLESSED!!!!

{Love You, Babe. Here's to Many, Many More!!!}

Monday, December 08, 2008

One Year Ago Today...

I woke up with butterflies in my stomach, my heart pounding in anticipation of "the" big day. As I went about making preparations for the evening festivities, I discovered I couldn't stop smiling, couldn't stop looking @ him, couldn't help but to feel blessed beyond anything I'd ever known. As our families and friends began to arrive, the jitters became worst, the nerves felt a little more taunt, the room suddenly became 20 degrees warmer, and finally, we both said, "I Do."

Today, I want to tell you... I STILL DO!

I love you, babe! Happy 1st Anniversary...

Your loving wife,


Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sorry, it took me a minute to find my USB cord for my camera... I swear things get too crazy around here sometimes and I forget what direction I'm supposed to be going in.... Anyways, I've found a few moments, here and there, to create a few little craft projects for Christmas.
The Santa images below were taken from a Christmas Postcard Book put out by Christmas Traditions. They are actual nice photocopies from vintage Christmas postcards collected by the Merck Family. You can see I've began working on them by glittering some of the postcards elements, in hopes of creating a set of six vintage style ornament hangers to add to our tree. I'm remaining hopeful of making it into the studio {{{BEFORE CHRISTMAS}}} to finish these up.
While playing with my new Cricut Expressions, learning the ropes to cutting, ect. I cut out the lettering for this "Winter Wishes" banner for our tree. The font cartridge is Stone Script, I believe, cut at 2" and I used the medium sized shipping tags to build my foundation collage upon and then used sheer ribbon to tie each tag to the lametta tinsel garland. Not the best picture, but here it is hung on our tree!

And speaking of the Cricut Expressions, I have to say that I'm so loving mine! I haven't played with it as much as I'd like too, but what I've done with it to date has been amazing! I also made a few decisions regarding the software and the cartridges as there's so many options out there available. I downloaded a trial version of CDS {Design Studio} and explored it yesterday. In my opinion, this software should have come pre-programmed into the machine! I don't really care about the e-catalog right now but I suppose if one had a lot of the cartridges and the jukebox connectors, it could come in as a handy reference. But the program with the ability to actually see where your cuts are on the paper on your screen is amazing! not to mention the ability to weld letters and words and phrases!!! So, I'm intending to purchase it, learn to really use the machine and the diecuts in my artwork, exploring with techniques, and playing. I'm thinking I'll use CDS until my warranty expires, then purchase the SCAL that will enable me to cut my own fonts from my computer.
I've decided this will work best for me as I continue to work on organizing the studio and establishing an area that works best for both me and the machine. I've some ideas in mind but nothing concrete... but I'm excited about the possibilities this brings into my life and my art!
So, back to the art... I cut several of these 5" stars out of chipboard, decoupaged them with sheet music, matted and framed one of my favorite Christmas postcard images to it, then hot glued tinsel to the edges. Here it is tucked in our tree as the tree topper which works perfectly surrounded by golden twigs, shiny sparkly sprigs and berries, and gold glittered red silk poinsettas. TFL!!!!