December 28, 2012

My Christmas

I'd love to share all the wonderful and thoughtful gifts I received on Christmas with you. But instead, I wanted to share something a little more special and dear to my heart. Every year, during the winter months, I'm a lucky little elf that gets to work on a very big project for Santa. For the past few years, I've invested every bit of my holiday spirit in a huge Christmas celebration at my school.

I'm always a little torn when I think about it. Sometimes I feel like my family gets a bit neglected around the holidays because I'm so busy with this project. I hope they don't think I'm a Scrooge or a Grinch :) But words cannot describe the incredible experience. And if you did, you would completely understand why I put aside my "family Christmas" for this. Telling you that it is "huge" is an understatement. It is so huge that it's very difficult for me to compartmentalize "school Christmas" from "family Christmas," which explains why I often leave all the planning and shopping and other holiday happenings for my family to be left after the school events are over and done with... usually not until after the 20th of December... Thankfully, I think my family understands where I put my efforts and holiday spirit towards. Today, I'd like to share that with you...

Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of photos. Well, really, I don't have ANY photos. So you'll have to use your imagination :) There are MANY MANY organizations that help to put this project into action and many of them do it for the pure joy of bringing Christmas to the hearts of these little people. They care not to have their names mentioned and definitely don't want to be memorialized by big glossy photos plastered all over the internet or newspapers for that matter. And of course, for respect of the families we chose to invite, anonymity is extremely important. So, no, there are no photos... But I'll throw in some internet photos to help your imagination realize the spectacularness of this event. (Yes, I just made up that word - I'm telling you, words cannot describe this!).

We usually invite about 20 families from our school who could use a little help celebrating Christmas. It comes out to be about 100 people, but we try our best to keep it pretty intimate.When the families arrive, they have the opportunity to enter some fun raffles (including things like pogo sticks, Barbie sets, Legos, Jingle and Bell, the interactive book and dolls, a family movie night kit, board games, and more!) All of these items are brand new and donated to us by various individuals, families, and organizations.

After a welcome and introduction from our principal, the children are encouraged to step outside for a minute. Santa rides in on his sleigh pulled by the local rescue squad. It is such a sight to see! And it is so neat watching the children. Their jaws drop and they get giddy with excitement!

Our gym is decorated beautifully with an electric fireplace, a beautiful Santa chair, and a Christmas tree. Santa's elves help to distribute presents to every child, and each gets to climb up on his lap. A professional photographer takes a photo keepsake. 
We also have a huge train set up in the Santa room for children to view while they wait for Santa. It is massive and mesmerizing!

The children get to go to the craft room and make a special frame for their photo with Santa. They also can make thank you cards and watch holiday movies. It's like free babysitting for a half hour while the parents get to do some Christmas "shopping" in our library, which is transformed into a toy room with tons of new and used toys, books, stuffed animals and games. Each family also receives wrapping paper, tags, bows, and tape so they can wrap up their goodies once they go home. We also have a clothing room, brought in from a local church, where the parents can select gently used outfits and coats.
The best part of the night may be dinner... A local chef and some culinary students from a nearby high school cook an incredible Christmas feast. It is so adorable to watch these little kiddos pile their plates with food!

And don't forget dessert! That's when we announce the winners of all those awesome raffles from the beginning of the night! We also give away some prizes for the parents too, like pre-paid cell phones and grocery store gift cards.

Then Santa has another little chat with all the kiddos. A local women's organization gets together every year to purchase gifts for all of our special mothers (and single fathers) and Santa talks to the children about the spirit of giving and explains to the children that these gifts were purchased on their behalf. The kids deliver the presents and of course that's when we see our mothers tear up a bit! :)

At the end of the night, each family receives a bag filled with household supplies and toiletries. All of the children receive new gloves and the school gives them a special board game that we picked out for each family. In past years we have also given each child a new pillow and blanket. Imagine a room filled with nearly a hundred pillows... Now imagine the car that transported all those pillows to us... Haha! Um, that's why we don't do it anymore :)

It really is quite a spectacular evening, which is why I had to at least attempt to share it with you! Hope your Christmas was just as wonderful! :)

December 21, 2012

Five Friday Favorites: Christmas Music

Ah, hello again... :) I'm sometimes in the mood to share some randomness with you, but it just seems a little too random to share. Haha. So I've decided to create a series of posts, Five Friday Favorites, which will attempt to corral my randomness into some sort of organized process. You know, because that's what I like to do... Attempt to organize the chaos in my life. :) So here we go!

Today I'm sharing my 5 favorite Christmas songs. I adore Christmas music. I could probably listen to it all year round! But I don't... For my husband's sanity! He has an early December birthday, so for his sake, I try to contain Christmas until after his special day is over. I TRY... :) He is a very patient and understanding man. After all, he puts up with me. :) But enough chit chat... On to the music!

1. Carol of the Bells by Pentatonix. First of all, let me tell you that I love, Love, LOVE Pentatonix! I fell in love with them when I heard them on my favorite show, the Sing-Off. (I am so bummed that they canceled the show! It was a sad day at our house when we heard the news...) The entire PTXmas CD is fabulous! My hubby surprised me by downloading it and it showed up on my iCloud oen day! I could do with a few more songs - there are only 6 - but 3 of my top 5 all time favorite Christmas songs are featured, so I'm cool with that. 

2. O Come, O Come Emmanuel by Casting Crowns. I just adore this instrumental loveliness. I do.

3. Christmas Canon by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Pachelbel's Canon in D may very well be my favorite piece of classical music, so it is no wonder that this song would make my list. Plus the little children's voices just melt my heart.

4. O Holy Night by N Sync. Haha. Remember this one? :) What can I say? I like Acapella music.

5. Winter Song by Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson. Maybe this one isn't really a Christmas song, but I love it anyway. These two ladies are possibly my two favorite songstresses. And they've come together to sing this lovely little tune. Plus, the video is just adorable.

Okay, one more since I'm not sure that #5 counted... :)

6. Cold December Night by Michael Buble. You can't NOT have a little Buble, right? :)

So what's on your top 5 (or 6)? :) I'd love to know what you are hitting REPLAY to this holiday season!

December 20, 2012

Pals Paper Arts Sketch Challenge

Wow! What a wonderful Pals Paper Arts year it has been! Today marks our last challenge of the year... And it's a great one! As always, Margaret Moody has a fun sketch for us...

Here are the DEEtails for my card:

I was excited to play with my new Stampin' Up! goodies and started with the beautiful Swallowtail stamped in Whisper White ink on Crumb Cake card stock. Oooh... The I trimmed it down and cut it into thirds. Then I went stamp happy with the Oh, Hello set. Love. I used the Framelits Ovals collection die to cut the lovely chevron piece and hand cut the flower, which I added with dimensionals. Yes, tiny little slivers of dimensionals for the stem! Hehe!

I hope you'll find time in all the hustle and bustle this week to get out your crafty goodies and play along! I can't wait to see your creations!

December 15, 2012

Naki and Nina's Double Dare Challenge 17

Hi there! Naki and I are ready to play another fun challenge and hope you are too! We'll be taking the next couple of weeks off to spend time with our families during the holidays, so you'll have plenty of time to play with this challenge.

Naki's pick this week was to only use two colors

My pick was to use Baker's Twine

Here's what I came up with...

Here are the DEEtails:

I decided to make a simple card with Pool Party and Whisper White for this card. I started with a strip of Pool Party DSP and the Dotted Scallop Ribbon punch along the bottom. I added a strip of Whisper White card stock stamped with the sentiment from Christmas Greetings. Then I added a snowflake with a pretty button (from the new Sale-A-Bration Sycamore Street ribbon and button set!) tied up with some twine. Such a simple little card!

Be sure to visit Naki's blog and check out what she created. Don't forget to play along! We'll be back with more fun challenges after the new year!

December 12, 2012

Crafts from the Past: A Vegas Wedding

Over the Thanksgiving Holiday, my family traveled to Las Vegas to celebrate the 25th anniversary of my Auntie and Uncle.

They decided to renew their vows at A Little White Chapel. 

So I made this pretty silvery card for them...

Here are the DEEtails:

The cake stand was made with a circle punch, a strip of card stock, and the Dotted Scallop Ribbon Border punch. I stamped the pretty cake from Love & Laughter in VersaMark and embossed it in silver. I love the look of silver on silver. Then I added some little flowers and some rhinestones.

Hope you like it!

December 8, 2012

Naki and Nina's Double Dare Challenge 16

Hello friends! It's time for another fun challenge with Naki!

Naki's pick this week was to CASE each other's cards - how fun!

My pick was to add snow!

Here's my creation!

Here are the DEEtails:

I decided to CASE this beauty from Naki:

I started with a Baja Breeze card and stamped some snowflakes in white  and embossed them with some glitter. I added some Organza ribbon layered with some pleated satin and a final glittery snowflake. Such a quick and easy card, but I love all the wintery goodness!

Don't forget to check out Naki's blog and see her take on this challenge. Then check out our cards to CASE and make your own wintery version to play along! Can't wait to see your creations! :)

December 6, 2012

Pals Paper Arts Color Challenge

Hello! It appears that I am quite in love with this sentiment from Sassy Salutations! I hope I'm not overusing it! I'm here today with another Pals Paper Arts Color Challenge - a lovely, traditional holiday combination...


I was really in the mood for a simple card with bold stripes when I created this card, which is exactly what I created! I started with strips of Cherry Cobbler card stock, that I adhered to some Very Vanilla. I trimmed the edges and matted it with some more Cherry Cobbler. I added the sentiment, and some Cherry Cobbler Seam Binding ribbon folded in half. I created a little wreath with some leaves punched from the Bird punch and tied up with some Seam Binding ribbon. Hope you like it!

Now hop on over to the Pals Paper Arts blog to see what the rest of the Design Team created. Then make your own card using this beautiful color combination and link up! Hope to see your creation soon!

December 5, 2012

Crafts from the Past: Butterfly Mobile

I hate to say it, but sometimes I'm really just not motivated to post stuff on my blog anymore... Not that I don't want to share with you, but I spend so much time typing now-a-days that I'm sick of it by the time it comes to blog posting time! Writing papers every day surely takes the fun out of typing! Haha!

Anyway, I figured it was high time that I started sharing some of the cards and projects that I've been working on and keeping hidden from you! Which is what today's project is all about... 

The butterfly mobile is a gift that I made for my dear friend, Rebecca's baby shower. Baby Bethany was born in October, which gives you a sense of how long I've been hiding this from you! :) Sorry that the photo stink a bit. Haha! Hubby was quite frustrated with me as I tried to snap a photo before wrapping this up the night before the shower. I actually made a similar one earlier this year for my friend, Laura's shower, but it was much more symmetrical than this version and didn't have the texture of the various butterflies. I love the organic look of this one much better!

Here are the DEEtails:

I simply die cut a bunch of butterflies in a variety of whites - crepe paper, vellum paper, card stock, and waffle paper. The texture is lovely in person. I glued two butterflies, back to back, with a piece of nylon thread in between, stringing several butterflies to a single thread. I wanted an organic look for this mobile, so I didn't pay attention to the spacing between the butterflies. Then I took a embroidery hoop and took off the adjustable, outer hoop. I added wires across the hoop and a piece of ribbon to the center. Then I tied on my strands of butterflies, again placing them randomly for that organic look. I added some ribbon around the edge of the hoop to cover the wires, then glued on some additional butterflies. The mobile is rather breathtaking in person, if I do say so myself!

Hope you're having a wonderful day! See you tomorrow for a new Pals Paper Arts creation! :)

December 2, 2012

A Christmas Tree

Good morning dear friends! I know it has been ages since you've heard from me on a Sunday, but I had a few extra moments this week to create a card for this week's Cupcake Inspirations Challenge. I'm not sure that my card really goes with the inspiration image, but I definitely had fun making it. :)


We have an awesome sponsor this week, The Twinery, who shared this lovely twine with the Design Team. I wasn't really sure what to make for this challenge, but the Peapod and Maraschino (cute names, right?!) colors were dying for my attention, so I decided to create this cute tree. I started with a strip of Crumb Cake card stock, which I folded in half and then tied strips of twine on it. I trimmed the twine to the desired length, then set it aside as I assembled the rest of the card. I embossed a piece of Crumb Cake card stock with the woodgrain embossing plate and then layered on some Cherry Cobbler and Whisper White card stock. I stamped the sentiment from Sassy Salutations and tied on some Maraschino twine. Then I added my little tree with some glue dots. Love it!

Don't forget to play along at Cupcake Inspirations this week. I can't wait to see what you create! :)

December 1, 2012

Naki & Nina's Double Dare Challenge 15

Happy December! Wow! I cannot believe I am actually saying that right now! This year has flown by so quickly, I can't even keep track of the days! I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving holiday and took some time to spend with family and friends! I also hope you're ready for another fun challenge!

Naki's pick this week was to make a vintage card

My pick was to use no stamps

Can I tell you that vintage cards are not my forte? I cringed a little when I saw Naki's pick for this week... I guess that's why it's called a challenge!

Here are the DEEtails:

I started with a Crumb Cake Card and added some DSP from Comfort Cafe. Then I tied on some Stitched Satin ribbon in Midnight Muse. A couple of Delicate Doilies and a cute little PTI dress form tied up with some Taffeta ribbon and a rose finish things off.

Before I go, I need to ask you a quick question! Is anyone else having as much trouble as I am with these Delicate Doilies? I love them to pieces, but I cannot, for the life of me, get a nice clean cut in the center of the die! Any advice you have would be great!

Don't forget to check out Naki's blog and see what she did with this challenge. Then make your own card and play along with us!