Monday, December 31, 2007

Tick Tock... Tick Tock...

Yesterday I needed a little "me" time. A little "leave the kids and husband at home" time. See the best thing about Christmas Vacation is that we are all together, all the time... And the worst thing about Christmas Vacation is that we are all together, all the time....

So in a moment of self-preservation I ran over to B&N looking for some Magazine Therapy before I skipped over to a friends cozy house for some girl talk...

What I picked up at B&N was the January issue of Romantic Homes. I had put off buying it because I knew I would want something non-Christmasy to read once Christmas had passed, and I didn't want to buy it too soon... So there it was on the shelf, waiting for me to take it home.
After sitting on the couch and flipping through the pages I was inspired to transform my mantle for New Years. Turns out we are having 2 fairly impromptu gatherings of old college and new church friends with their kids in tow, over during the next few days - we didn't mean to have New Year's gatherings, it has just sort of happened that way...

So after the kids went to bed I gathered various odds and ends and created this little assembly on the mantle using all the old and new clocks I had from around the house, along with a few party hats I found stuffed away and some glass glitter snowflake ornaments... I have to give Elizabeth Maxson credit for the inspiration for this arrangement because I have never decorated for New Years before and may have not thought of the clock idea if had not been for her article in RH. (You can see a bit for yourself her on Elizabeth's blog if you haven't had the chance to read RH yet.)
This morning before tackling anything practical like laundry or bed making, I whipped out this "Bonne Annee" banner to hang. I used shipping tags and a new little experiment for making the letters. I am toying with the idea of selling DIY Kits for banner making online and this would be one style option- what do you think?

Thank you all for being such lovely friends and readers - your visits mean so much to me and are always so much fun to see!


However you welcome in the New Year may it be lovely, full of hope and faith for the coming days!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Resolved

Here are some of my Christmas goodies. As you can see there are lots of movies in the stack and that tickled me pink - lots of good things to watch while making banners or cleaning house...

Also in the pile is the Documentary series The War by Ken Burns. Nathan and I only caught the end of this documentary on our trip this fall when we stayed with the lovely Katie and Mark but we both found it so interesting and wished we could have seen the whole thing.

My Paw is completely taken with Wylie's love and interest in history - especially anything to do with WW II - and so for Christmas Wylie received this boxed set of DVDs from my sweet grandparents. I of course promptly stole them for myself.... While watching them I realized how much I love this era in history and how much I love this sort of documentary, the kind with lots of interviews, pictures and information about how people really lived during that time, instead of just a long list of dates and places. And then I remembered "well, duh, you were a History Major in college!" and I had to giggle at myself.

Watching The War sparked a part of my brain I haven't used in awhile - or that I don't use enough, and I am resolved that in the new year I will visit the library more, discovering new books and documentaries that will stretch my brain and inspire me, taking the time to go slow and browse the many many rows of untapped information and inspiration and make room in my week for that perfect combination of silence and discovery... That is going to be my New Years Resolution!

What is yours?

Friday, December 28, 2007

1 Year Giveaway!

I recently realized that Dec. 26th was my 1 year Anniversary at Etsy! I cannot believe it has been a whole year since I took the leap and created Storia HOME online.
I am still in shock at this little "experiments" success! To celebrate I added some things to both shoppes and to say a BIG "Thank You" to everyone who has shopped with me or encouraged me along the way I am hosting an Anniversary GiveAway! To enter, simply leave a comment on this post and I will draw a name out on Jan 7 for one free item of your choice from either shoppe!

So go do a little Internet browsing and check out the new goodies at Storia HOME










More Valentines Day Banners coming soon...
Thanks again for all the support and shoppe love!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Handmade Gifts

Despite all the craziness I managed to create a few homemade treasures for gifts this year. Here are a 2 of the goodies I made and gave this Christmas:


The first is for a friend who adores Index Cards - she is a little obsessed with them by her own confession;

The gift included 2 sets of Index Cards and an old File Box that I painted red and embellished with Magnets I made from Punch-Out Tags that came in a Scrapbook Paper Kit, labels that I printed on Craft Paper and Magnet Tape.



One set of index cards that I bought had a little paper "holder," which I used as a template to create my own "holders" out of coordinating scrapbook papers. I thought they all came out lovely and best of all, she thought so too! I love to give gifts that are so very personal, only the person you are giving them too would truly "get it."


The second gift was a small shadow box I made for a friend who loves the stage and who also had a slight obsession herself this holiday - yarn and pom poms.

This is my little tribute to her talents, her passion and to her dedication to her work, her art.

It was my first attempt at creating a Shadow Box and I was pretty pleased with the result!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The 12 Days of Christmas


Well the gifts are all unwrapped, the bellies stuffed and the carols sung. Now begins Christmas. A while ago someone left a comment wanting to know what Epiphany was, because I had mentioned that I leave my tree up until then, - gradually taking all my decorations down, but leaving the tree for last - for Epiphany.

Anyone who grew up in a liturgical religious tradition probably knows all about Advent, the Feast of St. Stephens, the feast of the Holy Innocents and Epiphany. I however grew up protestant and therefore only knew a little about Advent and nothing of the other 3. Over the last few years - through a variety of circumstances and books (mostly by Phyllis Tickle) - I gained exposure to what is called "the Liturgical Calender" and the additional feast, holidays and touchstones of our faith that are celebrated all over the world and all during the year.

2 years ago we began to integrate some of these new -to-us traditions into our Christmas celebrations, adding a little more to them each year since. To me, these 12 days after Christmas is when I really have the chance to soak in all that Christmas really is and what it really means - "the night that the world began again." To me Christmas Eve is the beginning of the New Year, more than Dec. 31st or Jan 1 has ever been. The gift making/buying is over, the cookies have been baked, the decorations put out, the parties held. Now is when I can sit back, turn off all the lights late at night, look at my glowing tree and reflect on the year that has just past and the year that is to come.I slowly put all the gifts away over the course of these 12 days, restoring order and rhythm to our home. We finish off the leftovers, catch up with friends back from family visits and celebrate New Years, usually quietly; maybe with friends, maybe with family, maybe just us.

By the time Epiphany has arrived the kids are usually back in school, so I have the house all to myself as I pack up the last of the ornaments and strip the tree of her finery, putting it all away until next year when Advent comes again.
It is truly my favorite time of the year.

The following excerpts are from this article which gives more even more information on the actual 12 Days of Christmas. If you are the least bit curious I would encourage you to read it...

The season of Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, and for nearly a month Christians await the coming of Christ in a spirit of expectation, singing hymns of longing. Then, on December 25, Christmas Day itself ushers in twelve days of celebration, ending only on January 6 with the feast of the Epiphany....
on Epiphany (January 6), the celebration of Christmas comes to an end. "Twelfth Night" (as all lovers of Shakespeare know) is the ultimate celebration of Christmas madness (Shakespeare's play features one of his many "wise fools" who understand the real meaning of life better than those who think they are sane). Epiphany commemorates the beginning of the proclamation of the gospel—Christ's manifestation to the nations, as shown in three different events: the visit of the Magi, the baptism of Jesus, and the turning of water into wine. In the Western tradition, the Magi predominate..."

Monday, December 24, 2007

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

Their old familiar carols play,

And wild and sweet the words repeat

Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,The belfries of all Christendom

Had rolled along the unbroken song

Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:

"There is no peace on earth," I said,"For hate is strong and mocks the songOf peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,

With peace on earth, good will to men.

"Till, ringing singing, on its way,

The world revolved from night to day,

A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,

Of peace on earth, good will to men!



(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), 1867)



Merry Christmas dear friends.

May peace and joy find you this Christmas and all through the year.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Gifts

On Thursday Jeanetta and I had our little Christmas get-together and exchanged gifts. It was the first time we have had the chance to just be together, enjoy each others company sans kids and husbands AND work (well ok, I strung up 3 banners while I was there, but that was all!) and we had a great time just drinking coffee, chattin about nothing important
She is more of a maker and I am more of a thrifter, but what is great is that while our taste are not the same, we are extremely good at buying & making for one another. I guess that is one of the wonderful benefits of being friends for 14 years.
So here are the goodies she gave me - too see what I gave in exchange you'll have to pop in over at her blog!

A handmade skinny scarf and fabric brooch made from a vintage holiday image.


A vintage red-work table cloth (have I mentioned how much I adore red-work?)




A mini-capelet/collar that she crocheted for me...Already trying to decide what to wear it with first...
and a vintage tin that goes extremely well with one I have already, and a super soft vintage pillowcase with faded pink roses! How lovely...
I feel truly spoiled and loved all my treasures! Thanks friend!

Friday, December 21, 2007

3 Days Left to Go...


My kids are counting the days down. Even though I never got around to putting our Advent Garland up, my kids have kept count, and every morning, through bleary eyes Wylie announces to me how many days we have left. So here we are with 3 to go. (Here they are with their cousin Matthew after Matthew and Wylie's Christmas program at school.)

Today the boys and I had our little Christmas outing. We went and saw Alvin and the Chipmunks (very cute,) ate at the restaurant of the boy's choice- the very exciting "eat in Sonic" where you can order by telephone from your table - woo hoo!- and went shopping for their gifts to Nathan. All and all it was a fun time - even though Miles is going through one of those stages where he is a little bit like a windup toy in stores. First he is go-go-go, spin-spin-spin, jump-jump-jump, and then he is soooo slooooow and draaagggs hiiiss heeeels abooouuut evvverrryyythiiiing and till he stops altogether and plops down onto the ground in a heap. Mostly I managed to keep him contained in wire cages we like to call "carts," but a few times I made the mistake of letting him walk and quickly learned my lesson. But now we are back home, warm and toasty, enjoying playing with friends and munching on cookies.

One of the great things about the theatre that we went to, is that it is right next door to Savers, a huge thrift store. Which was perfect because I am still on the hunt for a few vintage items for some folks. I love to give a mixture of vintage, handmade and store bought goodies at Christmas... Kinda keeps things interesting. Anyway, while I was looking for everyone else, I couldn't help but come across a little something for me: A pair of white ice skates that will be perfect for covering with glitter and mica and re-lacing with some cool ribbon or distressed burlap strips... of the joy of it! For now they are hanging on the fireplace grate, as if they were drying after a lovely afternoon of skating!

Also, I managed to clean my studio last night and created this nifty little wrapping center in a great metal basket I brought back from our road trip last fall. This was one of those things that was supposed to get a little make-over and go to the shoppe, but that hasn't happened yet... Maybe it will eventually, but I really do love wire baskets too much! They are just so darn handy!

I am married to a reindeer...

My sweet man is bloggin again. Course I had no idea and my friends have all been over there, vistin with him and muckin' it up big time. Guess that serves me right for not subscribing to his feed over on Bloglines... But I have taken care of that now, and pledge to stay better informed!

Oh, and look who he was when he took the Holiday Character Quiz:


Pretty on the nose if you ask me!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wreaths and other thoughts

While my love of tree's is well documented, I have begun to notice that I seem to love wreaths as well. I am not a Santa person or a Snowman person or even an Elf person. But I do seem to be a wreath & tree person. Hmmm. I will have to think on that a bit. Here are some of my favorite wreaths all around the house ...





















Another thing I have been thinking on lately is whether or not I like the original Miracle on 34th Street or the newer (1994) version better. The purest in me wants to vote for the original. But to be honest, I think I am going to have to go with the newer version. And here is why; The colors. I am simply in love with the colors. The second version seems more Christmas like, more alive even, because of all those vibrant, glorious colors. And I love it.

Recently I was asked to post on our church's blog regarding some particular sections out the books Joshua and Psalms. Having grown up a preachers kid, I was very familiar with the 2 stories in Joshua that I was going to be commenting on, but this time I read them out of The Message - a more modern and easy to read translation of the Bible. Suddenly these stories that I know by heart seemed more alive, more vibrant, more full of color than they had since I was a child. Some people are purest about their church and their worship - and I understand this, I do. Tradition can be a wonderful thing, even vital for some. But for me, anything that can bring a story out of the cobwebs of my memory and into the light again is lovely and very welcome thing...



Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Crash...

The last banner has been mailed. The past week - one in which we had something holiday related every day and/or night - is over. Now it is all about gift making/buying/wrapping.

Of course first I want to clean up my studio. It looks like a train wreck in here. Crafting mania is everywhere! And I would love to reclaim it, with everything in it's place, all nicely tucked away... But today my body has decided it has had enough and has sent me to bed with an earache, a baseball in my throat and a stuffed head. Yuk. Luckily there is nothing to stop me from going to bed, other than this mess, and it can wait. For now Miles and I are going to snuggle and watch Fireman Sam and Martha Stewart and see if I can vitamin and drug and rest my way back to health.
Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

My Tree

This is the tree that sits in the little nook in our master bedroom. It is white and airy and full of pink and white ornaments. Nathan usually waits until I am asleep to unplug it, so that I can fall asleep to it's snowy white glow....









Happy Weekend friends!

Friday, December 14, 2007

I know who I am but who are you???

The other day while watching Merry Christmas Charlie Brown, Jeanetta had the epiphany that she is (drum roll please) Charlie Brown! My response? Well, duh!

What is really funny is that she found this quiz and took it and found at that she is actually (drum roll please) Charlie Brown! Isn't that too funny?

So of course I had to take it. I wondered who I would be? Rodolph? Frosty? Cindy Lu Who?
Nope, instead I am Buddy from Elf. The goofiest Christmas character ever created.

But I guess I am kinda goofy for Christmas....

Sooo...Who are you???

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

All Is Calm...All is White...


The last batch of banners are drying. Big sigh. I have loved (and am very flattered by) how successful my banners were this Christmas. But the whole thing has not been without stress. Orders getting misplaced, Holiday Mail Clog-Ups, confusing information, and bulk orders are just a few of the issues that cropped up this season. Not to mention the general mayhem of kids and daily life and my other jobs, that tended to get in the way of Banner Making. Of course this was my first Christmas to offer items online, and to say that I have learned some lessons is an understatement. A huge understatement. Thankfully the majority of customers have been extremely understanding and patient with me as I figured all this out.

The last orders will ship on Thursday (several of them late as well, my sincerest apologies) and I have closed the shoppe till after the New Year. I need the break to re-tool some things, and I desperately need - as my sweet man says- "to have my Christmas," complete with gift making and cookie baking and card writing, and all the things I love to do around the house, by myself or with the kids, during the Christmas break.
Luckily we celebrate through Ephinany, so I feel like I have some bonus days even after the peak of Christmas itself, which is really the way to go in my opinion. The calm after the storm is always so sweet to me. Like the calm after a first snow. Everything is quiet, and soft and comes to a stand-still. That seems to be the rhythm of our home at Christmas, and I look forward to the days between Christmas and New Years almost more than the days leading up to Christmas...


I think this craving for peace, for that gentle 'silent night' feeling, is why I am so drawn to white trees and other snow-inspired goodies at Christmas. Even in the midst of all my color, I love to just have some spots of white. Little areas of for my eyes to fall upon and rest, and to remember that even in the midst of all these banner orders, and parties and programs, and To-Do list, the true meaning of Christmas; The gifts of Peace, Love, Hope and Joy.
And when I remember those things, then all is calm, all is bright...

Monday, December 10, 2007

It's Comin' On Christmas

Here a few glimpses of the Christmas cheer I spread this weekend around our little home.
Hopefully the light will improve over the next few days and I can take a few more... Although, secretly I adore the gray weather because it reminds me of Juneau and my childhood there....



The Living Room...

The Mantle...

The China Hutch...






The Nativity.



Friday, December 07, 2007

There Once was a Girl who Loved a Good Book

I am a girl who loves to read. Unfortunately I am a girl who doesn't have as much time to read as I would like. But that is another story all together.
I remember that my love of reading began in the second grade when I discovered Amelia Bedelia and then Nancy Drew. How I jumped from one to the other I will never know. Looking back, they are definitely not on the same reading level. But I remember reading them both that year. Maybe I was a fast learner...

I am also a girl (as you all are very aware) who loved old things and has loved old things almost as far back as I can remember. I loved that Nancy Drew drove that great vintage car and could pull off tweed and a headband so stylishly. I also loved Anne (of Green Gables fame) wore hats and puffed sleeves, and that Cherry Ames wore bright red lipstick and white stockings with her nurses uniform.

And so when I discovered Betsy, Tacy and Tib, in all their old fashioned flare, stuffed in the shelves of our public library I was in heaven. As a home-schooled kid, I visited the library quite a lot (something I am ashamed to say that my kids do too little of) and because I was the oldest of 4, and because my mother had plenty to do, keeping track of the littler kids and finding books herself, I was allowed to roam the stacks and stacks of books alone, reading everything from the biography of Martha Washington (you should read her eggnog recipe!) to finding hidden treasures like these gems by Maud Hart Lovelace.

I loved these books - and there is a whole series full - from the moment Betsy and Tacy meet, up until the time Besty gets married, they are wholesome and sweet and perfectly charming.

For years I have searched for them in stacks and stacks of books at thrift stores and in flea markets, but I have never found a single one there. I don't know if it is because these books were primarily regional or because they are so loved that no one can part with them, but whatever the reason I have never had much luck finding them. 2 Christmas's ago, my mom (also an avid thrifter) found a copy of Heaven to Besty for me. And lately a few copies have started showing up on Ebay, but I have resisted buying myself any because, well I don't have any little girls to read them too, and I wondered if it was crazy to buy myself these children's books just for me... But recently I threw logic out the window and bought myself 3 copies on Ebay . And I am very glad I did. I hope that maybe after the Christmas craziness is over I will have time to read these treasures. Maybe to my boys, maybe just to myself. But either way, I am glad to have them on hand, because (as Kathleen Kelly says in You've Got Mail,) "When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does" and I for one would like to always hold on to a little bit of that childhood magic.

If you know a little girl between the ages of 5-10 that you are stumbling to find a gift for, who loves to read or be read too, I would highly recommend these books... They are just lovely.

(PS- for more info on the very cool history behind these books you can visit The Betsy-Tacy Society Web Site)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Tree, 2007


As some of you will remember from last year's post , I have an affinity for pitiful tree's. I think it is the Charlie Brown in me. For some reason I love an airy tree, a wispy tree... A "fairy tree" as my Maw calls them. They call to me, enchant. However, it took me a few years -and several kinds of trees - real and fake - to figure this all out.
I have always loved having real trees, but I do not like how full they are. How busy and bushy and thick they are. I never feel like I can see my ornaments, and that much hunter green is just a little too much for me...
But I love having a real tree so much and I love the hunt of the tree itself; plus I really wanted my kids to have the experience and tradition of searching out a tree each Christmas. So last year, after the fairy tree idea came to me, we went on the great Redneck Tree Hunt. This year we kept all our clothes on and did things a little more civilized... well, as civilized as we can be...

We went to my Maw and Paw's house, and went out around their property and found us a great, airy, cedar tree. Plus a couple little scrawny pines for my Maw (see where I get it from?)
Wylie impressed us all with his use of the loppers and cut down a tree all on his own.


Miles had big fun walking with Paw and Wag the Dog, and crying "timber!" When the trees came down.
It took a couple of nights, but we finally got the poor thing decorated. Last year I did tinsel, but this year Wylie voted no tinsel, so I left it off, which is fine. The cedar we have this year doesn't need as much extra glitz as the pine we had last year did... I still want to make a paper star for up top, and add some garland of some kind - paper chain maybe? We shall see... but for now this lovely tree is making me smile in the midst of all the other craziness going on, and that little thing we like to call "the banner-thon."
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