Friday, July 19, 2013

Christmas in July 2013 - Day Nineteen

A final Sweet Christmas post - love this cookie idea:

I picked up another ornament yesterday - I received a $5.00 off coupon when I bought the Our Grad 2013 ornament online so I used it for a special ornament for Vic this year:

 As a former electrician, I thought he would like it!

See you on Monday with one of my favorite themes - Christmas Traditions.   Where do I start?

Thursday, July 18, 2013


I don't remember how I stumbled across this ornament on but I was thrilled to find it.  It must have come out around graduation time and it didn't dawn on me to check my local Hallmark store.

I think I must have been looking for pictures of the current Keepsake Ornament line and this came up in the Sale section.  Not sure how many are left, but if you are interested, here is the link.  Several years ago, I was really frustrated by Hallmark's failure to have a nice School Memories ornament.  After buying a school ornament for every year from Sophia's first year of preschool (1996) up until 2005, there was nothing remotely connected to school in either 2006 or 2007.  I had to improvise with a plain round photo holder from Michael's that had a little year tag on it.  I am so happy to have found this for Sophia's graduation photo!

Christmas in July 2013 - Day Eighteen

Time for an international twist on the It's a Sweet Christmas theme - does anyone celebrate with Les Treize Desserts de Noël?

How about with an old-fashioned Christmas Pudding, this one above courtesy of one of my favorite chefs, Nigella Lawson?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Christmas in July 2013 - Day Seventeen

There are some amazing Christmas treats in this post - Sweet Christmas Goodies - along with directions.  One of our favorites is the Holiday Pretzel Treats (we call them Reindeer Noses) made with waffle pretzels, Hershey's Kisses and M&Ms.  Super easy, and very yummy!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

2013 Christmas Music Inventory

Continuing on with the Christmas organizing...

  • 'Tis the Season - Celtic Christmas
  • Noel - Josh Groban
  • The Music of Christmas - Steven Curtis Chapman
  • Santa Claus Lane - Hilary Duff
  • Hallmark 'Tis the Season with Vince Gill and Olivia Newton-John
  • Worship the King - A Christmas Collection
  • Listen! It's Christmas - Johnny Mathis
  • Songs 4 Worship Christmas
  • Handel's Messiah - The London Philharmonic Orchestra & Choir

Christmas in July 2013 - Day Sixteen

Courtesy of

I always thought that this would make a nice and easy decoration - ribbon candy in a glass jar.  Michael's has all sorts of these glass containers - all shapes and sizes - and they are a great deal when you have one of their 40% off coupons.

Monday, July 15, 2013

2013 Christmas Movie Inventory

Thanks, Lucie, for the great Christmas Movie Inventory idea!  Here's my collection:

  • 12 Dogs of Christmas
  • 12 Men of Christmas
  • Are You Being Served? Christmas
  • BBC Holiday Comedy & Drama Gift Set
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas
  • The Christmas Card
  • Christmas Vacation
  • Christmas with the Kranks
  • Deck the Halls
  • Elf
  • Four Christmases
  • Agatha Christie's Poirot - Hercule Poirot's Christmas
  • The Holiday
  • Last of the Summer Wine Christmas Specials 1978-1982
  • Love Actually
  • The Nativity Story
  • The Santa Clause
  • The Santa Clause 2
  • The Santa Clause 3
  • Snowball Express
  • White Christmas
I don't really have any Christmas movies on my Wish List for this year although I'm sure I'll change my mind when the Christmas displays start showing up in the stores.  I have to admit that this set caught my eye at the Hallmark store this weekend:

Christmas in July 2013 - Day Fifteen

It's Week Three already!  It's a Sweet Christmas is the theme and you can't get much sweeter than this candy assortment:

Courtesy of

This assortment is displayed on what looks like three footed square servers.  I recently purchased this three-tier server which I think would work just as well.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Christmas in July 2013 - Day Twelve

More Silver and Gold to wrap up the week.  I would love to make cards but I have such a Type A personality about them, it takes HOURS to finish just one.  I wish I could make cards like these. - I love that this one has all the supplies listed!

See you all next week for It's a Sweet Christmas - have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Christmas in July 2013 - Day Eleven

Continuing on with the Silver and Gold them, I absolutely love this tablescape:

Courtesy of

That appears to be a silver and gold tree topper ornament on a candlestick-type pedestal and the gold pillar candle is also on a pedestal.  I've seen gold chargers like the ones pictured at Michael's and at Bed, Bath and Beyond, and I seem to remember seeing catering packs of dishes trimmed in gold at Bed, Bath and Beyond as well.   The gold mesh as a type of runner along with the silver leaves arrangements really finishes of the scene.  Gorgeous.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Merry Christmas Mum

Christmas 1986

Ten years ago today, I received the phone call that would make a hole in my heart that could never be repaired.  After an intense but blessedly short battle with cancer, Mum was gone.  She was my rock, the one who kept us all together, the one who was always there.  Now she was gone and we had to face the prospect of going on without her.  She never saw her grandson Marc, born three months before she died, she would never see Sophia graduate from high school, or get married, and she would never know Alex, her second grandson born a year later.  How would we ever go on?

Ten years later, we have managed to celebrate birthdays, holidays and special occasions, knowing that she is always with us, watching down on us, cheering us on.  The pain of her loss will never go away, and she lives on in our memories forever.

I love you, Mum, and I miss you terribly.

I get my love of Christmas from my Mum - she made the holiday so festive.  The house always looked lovely, the food was delicious, the holiday spirit was everywhere, and it lives on in our memories of her every year.

Christmas in July 2013 - Day Ten - Quick and Easy Christmas Questions

Question mark courtesy of

Lucie's come up with another great list - I know I've done one of these before but they are always so much we go...

• Shopped early for presents or are still procrastinating?
I have a deadline for my family usually around Thanksgiving so that I can match the requests to the budget and see what bargains, if any, I can still find.

• Buy presents because you enjoy giving or because you feel obligated?
Absolute enjoyment only - I don't feel any obligation.  Over the years, gift giving has been reduced to pretty much my immediate family (Vic and Sophia) and my two nephews.  The adults (my sister and brother-in-law and Vic and I don't exchange gifts unless we are together and then we have one of our Target shopping expeditions - see below).

• Enjoy all the holiday cheer or “Enough already. Give me my present.”?
I love all the holiday cheer - the build-up to Christmas morning is my favorite part.

• Open presents on Christmas Eve or wait until Christmas morning?
Christmas morning - tried the Christmas Eve thing once and hated it.

• Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Mostly wrapping paper but there are usually a few gift bags and reusable gift boxes in the mix.

• Real tree or Artificial?
Artificial - love the smell of a real one, but hate the mess.

• When do you put up the tree?
Thanksgiving Day afternoon.

• When do you take the tree down?
Boxing Day or shortly thereafter.

• Do you like egg nog?
Love it!

• Favorite gift received as a child?
A set of red American Tourister luggage - I felt so grown-up!

• Do you have a nativity scene?
Yes, I bought one about twenty years ago from Current.  It was very inexpensive but I am amazed at the beautiful craftsmanship.  The faces are really lovely - some of those inexpensive sets have faces that look like Mary and Joseph have really been on a bender the night before!

• Hardest person to buy for?
Vic.  I usually end up taking him to Home Depot and asking, "What tool do you want for Christmas?".  Occasionally, he'll make a random comment about something he's seen and liked, and I file that away for future reference right away!

• Easiest person to buy for?
Sophia.  That girl has an Wish List going from December 26 on - all I have to do is pick items that fit the budget and press Place Order.

• Mail or email Christmas cards?
Mail and I'm sorry to say that less and less people participate any more.  So sad, I love to get cards, photos and family newsletters in the  mail.

• Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
A rotary telephone (ugh, I'm really dating myself here) from what was shortly thereafter an ex-boyfriend.

• Favorite Christmas Movie?
White Christmas.

• Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
I don't think so.

• Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Fruitcake, a genuine English fruitcake.

• Clear lights or colored on the tree?

• Favorite Christmas song?
Once in Royal David's City.

• Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Stay home although traveling is beginning to appeal to me now that it will just  be the two of us.  Of course, it would have to be Paris, or a Christmas Market in Germany, or a week of West End shows in London!

• Can you name all of Santa's reindeers?
Dasher, Dancer, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, Prancer, Vixen and Rudolph!  Is that all of them?

• Most annoying thing about this time of year?
Can't really think of one - inconsiderate shoppers maybe?

• Favorite ornament theme or color?
No favorite theme or color for ornaments - they are all multi-colored.

• Favorite for Christmas dinner?
Our Christmas Eve buffet that usually lasts for a few days - Baked Ham with Pineapple,  Caesar Salad, Chilled Shrimp, Smoked Salmon, Pâté, French Bread, Green Olives, Cheese Board.

• What do you want for Christmas this year?
Haven't decided yet - I'd like a Kindle but I want to get Vic a Samsung Galaxy Tablet so that will pretty much eat up the major gifts budget.  The DVD set of Monarch of the Glen would be nice - it's one of my favorites that I haven't added to my collection yet.

I thought there was a Family Traditions question - that's where I was going to cover the Target shopping expedition.  It must have been on another list but I'll cover it here anyway.  When our extended family gets together (the three of us and my sister and her three), we go to Target a couple of days before Christmas.  Each person takes off around the store and makes up a list of things they would like (any one item not to exceed $25 and ideally, a selection of items so that two or three of them total $25).  We meet up again and swap lists.  Each person takes the new list and buys $25 worth of items, takes them home and wraps them up.  So, under the tree are things each person wants, but they don't know which of the things on their Target list were actually purchased.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Monday, July 8, 2013

Christmas Journaling Topic #1

My friend Lucie over at What makes me happy has a great list of Christmas Journaling Topics if you want to join the Christmas blogging but are having a bit of a blogging writer's block.

Courtesy of

Topic #1 - What does it mean to have the "holiday spirit"?

I'm always in the holiday spirit.  The holiday spirit is in the senses.  I'm naturally attracted to things red and green and to things that glitter and sparkle, to things that smell of cinnamon, bayberry, spice, and holiday baking, to the taste of all the delicious holiday goodies that are there for sampling, to the strains of everything from Deck the Halls to Silent Night, and to things that feel Christmasy - cold snow, warm mulled wine, sticky toffee, and lush velvets and cashmere.  I'm on sensory overload!

The holiday spirit is in the times spent with loved ones, family and friends.  I often wish I had a big family at Christmas - having everyone around the dinner table and around the tree on Christmas morning but I also love to have a quiet celebration with just my immediate family.  I tend to have both - a gathering for friends, usually a Holiday Open House, and a cozy Christmas Eve and Day, just the three of us.  I think that is all going to change next year, though, as we move close enough to my sister and her family to spend Christmas together.  I loved Christmas 2008, the last Christmas my Dad was with us.  We traveled to Oregon and had a wonderful family Christmas.  We trekked into the wilderness for a tree, enjoyed festive lunches out in between shopping sessions, decorated the tree together, ate traditional holiday meals, sat quietly as Uncle Paul read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas to my nephews who were 4 and 5 at the time, and opened gifts together on Christmas morning.

The holiday spirit is expanded exponentially in giving.  I love to shop for special things for my family and friends, and I love it when someone says, "How did you know that is just what I wanted?".  I love to give to charitable institutions - it's a time for generosity, for being thankful for your blessings by blessing others.  It's a time to give not just of your money, but of your time as well.  Soup kitchens and organizations that provide and deliver gifts to children in difficult circumstances are just two places that always need extra hands during the holidays.  It's extra heartwarming to give of yourself at Christmas - in the midst of all the hustle and bustle, don't forget that a smile or a hug or just holding open a door for someone laden down with packages may mean so much.

The holiday spirit is all about memories.  I try to make a special memory every year - it could be a new tradition, reviving an old one, or enjoying a festive celebration or event with family and friends.  It's something that will evoke a "Remember when..." memory in years to come.

What does it mean to have the holiday spirit?  It means to be surrounded by the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of Christmas, to be surrounded by family and friends or keeping in touch with them from afar, to give of yourself and your resources unconditionally, and to make memories to be enjoyed for many, many years to come.

Christmas in July 2013 - Day Seven

Week Two's theme is Silver and Gold - ornaments, decorations, gift wrapping ideas, tablescapes, whatever takes your fancy.

I thought I'd start out with some party clothes.
Courtesy of

Sophia uses a lot more than I do but I occasionally find an outfit that I add to my Pinterest.  I love to see the combinations that people design although the prices often make me cringe.  Never mind, once you have an outfit laid out, you can shop for less expensive but comparable pieces to make up a very similar look.  I have to say that I prefer the gold option above; I just can't see how that neckline on the silver dress would work, even with the large necklace as a filler!

Is there silver or gold in your favorite holiday outfit?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Christmas in July 2013 - Days Six and Seven

Taking a break for the weekend - tune in Monday for the start of Week Two - Silver and Gold.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Christmas in July 2013 - Days Four and Five

It was a quiet, lazy Fourth of July yesterday with a little CIJ activity.  We all watched Christmas Vacation which never fails to make everyone chuckle.

I noticed that there is a Christmas Vacation ornament available at Hallmark this year so I went to a trusty source for past Hallmark releases to see if I could find Eddie's RV.  I thought it would make a great stocking stuffer for Vic, as he's always talking about wanting to rent an RV.

Imagine my surprise (well, ok, my shock!) when I found out that this 2009 ornament is either so rare or so incredibly popular that it currently retails for over $400!  I'm rethinking that stocking stuffer idea!

The only other CIJ task I completed yesterday was to cut out the felt pieces for my Christmas Pudding ornament.  It's a bit difficult to try to get any CIJ work done with Vic at home so I doubt I'll get much of anything done today.  Sophia and I have hair appointments and I have a few things to pick up here and there - a card for a baby shower tomorrow and a gift for a baby dedication on Sunday.

See you all next week!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Christmas in July 2013 - Day Three

Just popping in say a quick hello this morning as I'm off to work and I've got a VIP visiting today so I'm very nervous!  I'll be thinking of Christmas to take my mind off my nerves.

We substituted Snowball Express for White Christmas for our movie yesterday.  Snowball = white, so it fit right in with the weekly theme.  It's a hilarious, family-fun movie, Dean Jones of Herbie fame was great, and Sophia and I enjoyed it very much.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Christmas in July - Day Two - Glitter Ornaments...or not

I have a confession.  I sat down and read the entire Christmas in July Book Club selection, Bah, Humbug! last night in one sitting.  It was a quick read for me and very cute...won't say anymore because my fellow CIJ celebrants are no doubt still reading.

The Orange Pom Bubbly was delicious - I had to substitute Cointreau for the Grand Marnier but they are both orange so it worked.  I mixed 1/2 ounce Cointreau with 1 ounce of pomegranate juice and topped up a big wine glass with champagne.  Cheers!

Today's craft was going to be a trial run of this Glitter Ornament.
Courtesy of

I had to substitute a Mop and Glo product for the Pledge Floor Wax because I couldn't find that exact wax so I'm hoping it works.  I say hoping because a return trip to Michael's still did not yield the glass ornaments that I need.  In fact, the cashier I spoke to said that they would be putting out their Christmas in July displays next month (uh, doesn't that make it Christmas in August?).  AC Moore also had nothing so I am on hold with the ornaments.

I have another craft up my sleeve, this Christmas Pudding ornament:
Courtesy of

I have all the supplies for this one.

I'm off to enjoy White Christmas as our first movie of Christmas in July 2013; it's one of our absolute favorites.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Christmas in July 2013 - Day One - Welcome!

Good morning and welcome to Christmas in July, the annual celebration of all things Christmas when the temperatures are steaming outside and you'd love to see some cooling snowflakes!  It's a time to try new crafts, new recipes, and new decorating ideas, a time when things are a little less hustle and bustle than they are in December.  Slip that Christmas CD into the player, pick out a Christmas movie or two, and find a good Christmas book to enjoy with your elevenses or afternoon tea.  It's time to get lost in a Winter Wonderland.

This week's theme is I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas and today's activity is to surf Pinterest in search of White Christmas ideas.  I love beautiful table settings and I can't think of one that is more in line with the White Christmas theme than this one.

Courtesy of

Isn't this beautiful?  I'll have to keep my eye out for some white china with the delicate silver accents that you see here.  Combined with the little silver accents in the napkin rings and on the candles, with silver ornaments scattered along with table runner, it really is lovely.  Be sure to scroll down on Color Outside the Lines Love...White Christmas Decor for more ideas.