Tuesday, February 19, 2019

A couple of after-Christmas buys

Just a little late posting about them!  I didn't find a lot of good after-Christmas deals this year, nor was I really looking for them.  I found one at Walmart and a few other things at the supermarket.

The gift card holder at top, as you can see, is from Walmart.  I got it when the clearance was 50% off, so it was 74¢!  Can't beat that for how cute this is.  I would have gotten a few more, but we really don't give all that many gift cards, and I have a few other very nice holders bought last year.

Since I love both Mason jars and cars or trucks with Christmas trees, I was instantly drawn to this.  The "zinc lid" looks just like metal and if one pulls on it, out comes a place to tuck the gift card and a line to write the amount the card is worth.  What a cute design, don't you think?

Below is the back view of the gift card holder:

And then I found a couple of Christmas plates at 75% off, I believe, at the supermarket.  These are always handy for presenting gifts of cookies.  The clear dish with the poinsettias, bells and holly has such a vintage look!  It is plastic, not glass and will be wonderful for a couple of special cookie gifts next year (I bought two of these -- they were less than $2 and are made in USA!).
 I also bought two of these red plaid plates with a buffalo checked Christmas tree at the center.  They are a salad plate size and will also be lovely for gifts of cookies or candies.
There are my few after-Christmas buys!  I was actually rather proud of myself for not buying a lot of things (no matter how inexpensive) that I would have to store until I found a specific use for them.

How about you?  Did you find some good deals after Christmas?  Do you have specific plans for using what you purchased?

Friday, February 15, 2019

A sweet handmade ornament

Yesterday I was thrilled when my order arrived from Marjorie at Treasures with a Twist!  Even though this is a Christmas ornament, it felt like a little Valentine gift to me!

Isn't it beautiful?  This ornament is made from a simple wood circle embellished with a beautiful print, tinsel trim and plenty of glitter.

I love not only the beautiful old red truck and the farm, but the tractor and horse in the field and even the large white farmhouse in the distance.  It reminds me of the farm that's in all my Christmas memories:
 It had a pretty red barn and a big white farmhouse, too!
Marjorie has several other designs available and her prices are very reasonable.  This is a lovely, beautifully made ornament,  and I will be ordering from Treasures with a Twist again.  Go on over and visit ... I think you will enjoy browsing through these pretty Christmas crafts.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Making a Christmas cookie cookbook

I've been thinking for awhile that I would like to utilize a free photo book offer from Shutterfly and make a Christmas cookie cookbook with a number of our family favorite recipes.  As you see above, that thought has become a reality.  For the cover photo, I utilized a photo of some of my felt Christmas cookies.  They were so colorful and fun that I thought it would brighten up the cover ... and it did.

Below is the back cover.  I used some colorful photos of various Christmas kitchen gifts, including cookies of course.

In between are 20 pages.  I used 18 of them as recipe pages with a different cookie recipe on each page.  Some of the recipes are from my childhood; others are as new as Christmas 2018.  Below I will share screenshots of a few of them.

On the first page I wrote out some of my Christmas baking memories from childhood.  I actually had written these out years ago for a Christmas memory book, so I just copied and pasted it into a text box on a page in the Shutterfly book.

Then I made a number of recipe pages (of which these are just a few):

On the last page I shared several photos of grandkids baking.  It seemed like an appropriate way to end a book that began with my childhood memories.  Sort of full circle.

And there's a look at my cookie book!  If anyone is interested in the actual nuts and bolts of how I did this, just mention it in the comments and I'll share the details, okay?

Thursday, February 07, 2019

January's Christmas Club meeting

First, I must apologize to our long-distance club members.  This meeting was scheduled, and then rescheduled for a week later due to my hesitancy about driving in what could potentially have been freezing rain.   The weather was iffy again the second week, and our vehicle was in the shop so I wasn't sure I would even make the meeting.  With all of that, I forgot to notify Vicki or any of the other ladies who had expressed interest in the Christmas Club, and I do apologize.

I think that we are not meeting again until April, and when I learn the actual date I will try and inform you ladies.

So ... as to how this club meeting went.  There were four of us present: Susan, Carrie, Rachel, and myself.  Interestingly, every one of us is in a somewhat different stage of life.  Susan and I are both empty-nesters, but her children and grandchild are not close by, while I have six local grands (plus their parents, of course).  Rachel's daughter is approaching her senior year of high school and thus the empty nest is looming scarily for her.  She wants to make Christmas 2019 just as wonderful as it can be.  And Carrie has four children at home between the ages of 4 and 14.  So Christmas looks different for all of us, and we have varying expectations for the season.

Basically, we talked a lot about how Christmas 2018 had gone for each of us and how we might plan changes or improvements for the 2019 holiday.  I was thankful that I had found time a day or two previously to do my Christmas debriefing (see previous post) and so I was able to share exactly how things had gone, along with my thoughts on what could work better next year.

We also brainstormed with Rachel a bit as to how she might make Christmas 2019 all that she hopes to.  There are great forms available at Organized Christmas that will help with every aspect of planning.  One thing Rachel mentioned was that she did very little baking this holiday, and it is something she loves to do.  The Baking Planner will be a huge help with that, as it has a place to list recipes, where they are found,  what ingredients might be needed, and so on.  I suggested also my own idea of making a list of needed holiday ingredients.  I also had Rachel make a copy of the Post-Christmas Debriefing questions I use so that she could sit down with them and sort out just why she was a bit disappointed this year and how to make some positive changes for 2019.
I also alluded to a form I'd forgotten the name of, but just now as I was browsing around on Organized Christmas I found it -- a Values Worksheet which looks at the previous Christmas to help get plans in place for the next.  I'm thinking I may go through that soon, while last Christmas is fresh in my mind.
Susan showed us her Christmas notebook and, in particular, some of the photo collages she makes from the photo cards she and her hubby receive each year.  This is really a lovely idea.  Susan says if she is feeling a bit down, all she has to do is turn to her Christmas notebook and enjoy all of those smiling faces of friends and loved ones in the photo collages.

And then I also shared with the group a Shutterfly photo book which I have just put together featuring some of our best-loved Christmas cookies.  I will write a separate post about that, as others might like to learn how I did this.  It's a project I've had in mind for awhile and I am so thankful to have finally been able to put it together.  Now I can just tweak it a bit and make copies for family and friends.  It will be nice to have most of our favorite Christmas cookie recipes all in one place.

We all felt as if our Christmas Club meeting had been time well-spent.  Maybe some of our thoughts will encourage you, as well!