Saturday, July 31, 2021

A golden jingle bell ornament to make


Wouldn't a jingle bell project be appropriate as Christmas in July draws to a close?   We can hang it on the doorknob of the Christmas kitchen and enjoy the festive jingle as we gently close the door behind us.

I do hope to get back here in the Christmas kitchen often in the coming months, and certainly every day throughout December.

This gold jingle bell ornament is by Kimberly at Serendipity Refined.  

Photo from Serendipity Refined
As you will see, all it takes is some gold jingle bells, gold wire, and gold ribbon.  I think it would also be pretty using silver bells, wire, and ribbon, or even a colored jingle bell like red or green.

Jingle bells of this size were apparently very popular back in the day, for I found many packages of them in clearing out my childhood home.  The button card at top was something I found there, also.  It has sold in my Etsy shop some time ago.  I wish I had been able to see the buttons that originally came on it.

Thanks again to all who visited here in my Christmas kitchen for Christmas in July.  It's been fun, as always!

Friday, July 30, 2021

One more cookie recipe to try -- this one's a bar cookie!


Bar cookies are great because they are so easy to put together, and you can cut the squares or bars in whatever size you see fit.  I'm always happy to have a new bar cookie recipe to try for our Christmas cookie trays.  This one seems like it would be especially nice since it combines chocolate peppermint bark with a frosted sugar cookie.  

This recipe is from Jocelyn at Inside BruCrew Life.  As I've mentioned before, Jocelyn is one of my trusted sources when it comes to baking.  All of her recipes that I've tried have been simply scrumptious, and quite easy to make as well.  

Chocolate Peppermint Bark Sugar Cookie Bars look and sound delicious! A chocolate sugar cookie bar is topped with a frosting rich in butter and whipping cream.  Then the frosting is sprinkled with chopped peppermint bark candy bars.

Can't you just see a few of these on your cookie trays this Christmas?

Thursday, July 29, 2021

And a bunch more personalized photo gift ideas


Sparked by my previous two posts, I thought I'd mention a few more Shutterfly gifts I've created over the years ... these for teens or adults.  

I have already blogged about the Christmas cookie book above, but I've made quite a number of other books as well.  You can check out Shutterfly's photo books here.  Below are a couple more I made for gifts.

 Mugs are somewhat of a ubiquitous gift, but not for pre-teens or teens who may not have a lot of mugs of their own.  A couple years ago I made matching mugs and journals for my young teen granddaughters.

And actually, on the subject of mugs, one young mom I know has made photo mugs with pictures of her growing kids for her parents for a number of years.  They have a whole display by now and want her to keep the photo mugs coming!   You can look at Shutterfly's mugs here and the journals are here.

I've previously blogged about the metal ornaments I made with Shutterfly.  I'm still making them every time I get a good offer, because people love to receive them.  You can take a look at the ornaments here.  Ornaments like those below, which commemorate our New Hampshire grandchildren's cookie tradition and our Nevada grands trimming their traditionally harvested tree, have been great hits with the children's parents. 

 Coasters also make great gifts, and now that I think about it, they would be fun to pair with the mugs.  Look at the coasters here.  I did some with the cookie baking for these kids' parents.  The fall ones were a gift for our friend Terry.  The three of us had gone out for ice cream on an autumn afternoon and were stunned by the beauty of the maple trees at the farm where we were.  I decided to commemorate that wonderful afternoon with a useful gift.  The floral coasters were made from photos we snapped in Nevada one summer.

Magnets are another fun small gift, especially if you use them to commemorate a family memory or a special trip.   Here are the magnets.
Lastly, I've made a lot of gift calendars.  I've taken to making them for my oldest granddaughters each year, using photos from all through their growing-up years.  They look forward each year to what the new calendars will look like.  Here are some calendar styles for you to browse.
In fact, I like to make calendars for birthdays as well.  When making a calendar with Shutterfly, you can set it up to start in any month that you like.  It doesn't have to start in January.  So it's fun to begin that person's calendar with their birthday month.  Below are just a couple pages from calendars I've made.  You don't need to get fancy with arranging photos, though it really is a lot of fun.  You can simply use one photo for each month: easy peasy.


Hope these ideas get your creative juices flowing!  Summer is the perfect time to work on photo projects like these!

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Personalized photo gift ideas for kids


Since sharing yesterday's post about the Shutterfly tote bags, I've been thinking about other personalized photo gifts I've made.  I mentioned in a 2019 post that I've made some memory games, like the one above, for gifts.  These are so much fun to make!  You can find more inspiration at Shutterfly, here: memory games.  I'll tell you, too, that some memory games can be more complicated than you think.  I made one for a Nevada grandson featuring logging machines.  I played it with him and found it quite challenging as some trucks and machines look quite a bit alike.  Below is one of my more recent ones.

Jigsaw puzzles are another really good gift and so much the more when they are made from a photo your kids love or that will jog a wonderful memory for them.  Shutterfly's puzzle options are here.  Below are a couple that I have made.  I had to take the easy way out and snag screenshots from the Shutterfly web site, since I don't have photos of all of these.

Photo books can also be fantastic gifts for kids.  One of these started out with an ABC book theme; the other was just a regular photo book that I turned into an ABC book along the way.

Hope this post sparks a few ideas for gifts you can go ahead and make now for the kids in your life!

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

A pretty and practical personalized gift


 Here's a fun and easy project that you can make now for gifts.  I love Shutterfly and very frequently choose their personalized photo items as gifts.  I think I've made 80-plus projects using Shutterfly over the years, and have always been quite pleased with the results.

However, the projects I'm sharing here today are some that I made for me!  They are a great way to preserve some special memories.  The bag at top is considered a reusable grocery bag.  You can see many of the various designs available here: Shutterfly reusable grocery bags.  Below are a couple more I have made:

These bags are great.  They hold up well; they're made of polyester and will hold up to 50 pounds, plus they are machine washable.  They are so handy.  I don't think I have ever used mine for groceries, but they are great for carrying needlework, beach gear, books, or anything else that one might wish to tote.   

All three of my bags feature photos from summer 2015, the last time our western daughter and her hubby got out here with their whole family.  Those are such beautiful memories and I love having them at my fingertips.  

I've also made some of Shutterfly's cotton tote bags, which seem to no longer be available.  So I include the following photo of one of my bags, just to give you another idea (the photo on this bag is of Nevada's Lamoille Canyon):

They do have canvas tote bags, which are not at all the same.  These cotton drawstring bags are closer.
I think that these bags would make really great gifts.  Once you order from Shutterfly you will find that you frequently receive some great offers for free products.  I seldom pay full price for anything I get from them.  The quality of these bags is great and the possibilities for personalization nearly endless.
As an aside to this post, I'll mention again that since this is my 10th year of doing Christmas in July,  I thought it would be fun to do a bit of a give*away each week.  

As many readers know, I have loads of vintage Christmas ephemera. 

I've been putting together some small assortments of paper treasures and am giving away one of them to a blog reader each week of July.  So for this week, if you are interested leave the word "gold" somewhere in your comment on this post.  Drawing for the prize will be on Friday July 30 and I'll announce the winner on Saturday the 31st.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Christmas in July sale at my Etsy shop!


 Yes, from now right through July 31, there's a Christmas in July sale happening at my Etsy shop, A New Hampshire Attic!  Everything in the Vintage Christmas category is on sale for 25% off.

Here are just a few of the listings you may find there:

 Be sure and click on the screenshots to enlarge them, or just go to the shop and check them out.

As of this writing, there are 85 vintage Christmas listings.  Most are cards, but I have a few other items like candy boxes and gift tags.  Shipping is always free.

Hope you'll stop in at A New Hampshire Attic and see what's in store!

Sunday, July 25, 2021

One last poem: "The Little Lights of Christmas"


Here's one last poem for Christmas in July: The Little Lights of Christmas, by Polly Prindle.  All of my readers know that I love Christmas lights, but I may have overdone it in choosing poems for this July -- 3 out of 4 of them had to do with lights!  Still, I think you will enjoy this poem.

The Little Lights of Christmas

I love the lights of Christmas,
The candleflame that gleams
From clear unshaded windows
In golden-threaded streams.

I love each bulb that glistens
On every spicy tree,
And every star seems brighter
At Christmastime to me.

But the little lamps that thrill me
From earth up to the skies
Are the little lights of Christmas
That shine in children's eyes.

-- Polly Prindle

When I read about the light gleaming "from clear unshaded windows in golden-threaded streams", it brought back a picture to my mind.  Numerous times last Christmas season we drove to spend an evening with our dear young friends Sam and Jenn.  One of the homes we passed had a front door with small narrow windows along its sides.  From these windows light streamed out onto the snow.  It was so pretty!

Even more, like the poet, I love seeing the "little lights of Christmas" gleaming from children's eyes this wonderful time of year.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Why not make a plan now for Christmas-themed Bible reading?


It's all too easy to have good intentions to do a Christmas or Advent Bible study during the Christmas season,  and then just not get around to it.  Last December 2, I wrote a post about it not being too late to start a Christmas or Advent study, but I want to remind everyone now to make a plan for doing so this year.  You can make it a simple plan, which will surely fit more easily into those busy December days, but by all means do it.  We must cling more tightly to our faith than ever, and this daily reminder is a wonderful way to help us do so.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to participate in Abby's 25 Days of God-Given Gifts at Little Birdie Blessings.  Abby has beautiful free graphics -- like the one at the top of this post -- for each day, as well as verses and illustrations for each God-given gift.  These readings are not lengthy but they are most meaningful, so you might wish to go over and look at this series each day, maybe writing out the verses and even journaling them using the SOAP method of meditating on Scripture.  Abby also provides links to follow the series on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram.

Another relatively easy way to do a December Bible study  is by doing a Scripture writing challenge.  You can find  a number of Scripture writing and journaling plans at Rachel Wojo, among other places.  One from Rachel Wojo that I have done in the past is the plan titled The Light.  I found it a blessing!


Another great source for Bible journaling plans is Sweet Blessings.   Shannon has many, many wonderful plans to choose from.  Here is one of her December plans: Peace.

And  here is another: Gifts & Blessings.

I hope you'll take a few moments today to ponder some of these options for a simple Christmas-themed Bible study.  I promise it will enrich your December!

(Edited to add: The winner of this week's give*away is Vicki!  Vicki, is the address I have for you the correct one?  I will email you to make sure before sending out your little gift.)

Friday, July 23, 2021

A fudge recipe to try now


How about a fudge recipe today?  Fudge was always a big part of my childhood Christmases, as my mother was famous for her Maple Fudge and my grandmother usually made multiple batches of Five Minute Fudge to give away.  

Double Decker Fudge (aka Heavenly Delight, in our family), at the top of the post, is a favorite of mine, as is a Special Holiday Fudge with nuts and raisins.  Arlene's Easy Fudge is another favorite of ours. 

That said, I'm always up for trying a new fudge recipe for the holidays.  White Christmas Fudge, by Mique at Thirty Handmade Days, is one I want to try for this Christmas.

Photo by Thirty Handmade Days

With dried cherries in the white chocolate fudge, this candy looks so very festive!  I have never made a cooked type of fudge that includes confectioners sugar, so I will be interested to see how this turns out.  

Do you make fudge or other candy at Christmas time?

Thursday, July 22, 2021

A sweet ornament to make using a pine cone


I have always loved crafting Christmas ornaments.  From my very first attempts as a child, to helping my own kids make ornaments, and now as a grandmother, I have just so enjoyed this process.  I like using natural materials too, like the tiny hemlock cones in the ornament above.

Well, here is an adorable ornament to make from a pine cone!  This cute idea is from Debbie Chapman at One Little Project.  Debbie says that other than the pine cone, she found nearly all the materials she needed at the dollar store.

Here is the link to the tutorial: Pinecone Snowman Ornaments

Photo by Debbie at One Little Project

The materials include paint, styrofoam balls, chenille stems, ribbon, and a few other odds and ends that most crafters will have on hand.  

This could be a really fun project to do with kids or grandkids this summer!  All that "snow" on the pine cone just might make us feel cooler ...

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Large and lovely stars to decorate your home


 Stars are such a lovely symbol of Christmas!  I enjoy decorating with stars among other shapes and symbols at Christmas.  Strings of stars are pretty, and of course star-shaped Christmas cookies are absolutely classic.

This past winter at my friend Amanda's home,  I couldn't help but notice some gorgeous brown paper stars she had hanging from the ceiling.  They were so pretty and at first I almost thought they were snowflakes.  When I asked about them, Amanda told me they were made from paper bags!  Paper lunch bags, to be specific.

Photo from Delineate Your Dwelling
 Amanda kindly sent me the link to the tutorial for these Paper Bag Stars.  The designer is Amy at Delineate Your Dwelling.  What a lovely idea this is!  Amy notes that these could be intermingled with white paper snowflakes and white paper chains for a really magical effect.

I definitely hope to make some of these for Christmas and winter.  I love the look of the brown paper, but they could be made with white lunch bags or any other color, I would think.  Have fun with this idea!

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

A fun idea for making your own customized ribbons


Do you remember when some Christmas ribbon came with little phrases stamped on it?  I had some in the past that came from my grandmother's stash of Christmas wrappings.  It was a narrow (maybe half-inch) satin ribbon in a dark red and had "Season's Greetings", if I remember right, stamped on it in white.

In recent years I have seen twill tape with small designs or phrases stamped on it.  I've been intrigued by it but never wanted to pay full price, and it's the sort of thing that doesn't usually make it to the after-Christmas sales.  I never dreamed, until seeing this post from Bev at Flamingo Toes, that I could make my own quite easily: Easy and Fun Customized Christmas Ribbons.

This project uses twill ribbons (Bev shares her source) along with a computer, printer,  iron, and iron-on transfer paper and produces amazingly professional results.  Aren't these ribbons so cute?

Photo by Bev at Flamingo Toes

I would love to make some of these customized ribbons now (well, as soon as I can gather the materials)  and have them all ready for gift wrapping in December!

As an aside to this post, I'd like to remind you that since this is my 10th year of doing Christmas in July,  I've been doing a bit of a give*away each week.  

As many readers know, I have loads of vintage Christmas ephemera. 

I've been putting together some small assortments of vintage goodies, and my intent is to give away one of them to a blog reader each week of July.  So for this week, if you are interested leave the word "silver" somewhere in your comment on this post.  Drawing for the prize will be on Friday July 23 and I'll announce the winner on Saturday the 24th.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Neat gift idea for friends


 I received the sweet water bottle above from a friend early this summer and only recently began putting it to use during the exceeding hot, humid weather we've been having lately.  My friend and Bible study leader Amanda Reed, who gifted one of these to each study participant at our last meeting, also painted a delightful coaster to match, and to fit with the theme of our study.

I've been thinking for awhile that I might adapt her idea and use it for Christmas gifts for teen granddaughters or for other friends.  I wasn't thinking of painting a coaster, but maybe sewing a mug rug or something similar.

Once I started using the bottle, I had another thought.  Stored with my tea bags, I had a jar of Twinings Cold Infuse water enhancers.  I plopped one of those into the water bottle and voila!  A refreshing, healthy summer drink!  So pretty, too.

As you can see, these come in all sorts of yummy flavors.  The one I have is the Watermelon & Mint.  They contain no sugar or artificial sweeteners.  There are 12 infusers per jar and I get several uses out of each one.  
Water bottles similar to mine can be found on, Etsy, eBay, and probably a number of other places.

I think a pretty water bottle and a jar of infusers might be a wonderful gift for a number of people on my list!