Monday, December 27, 2010

Santa's Little Brown Elves - aka UPS Drivers

I really do not like fighting crowds at the malls, or stores this time of year. Truth be told, I really don't like shopping in stores all that much, no matter what time of year it is. I choose instead to start browsing catalogs about mid summer, making notes of possible gifts for those I want to buy for. Then in October I start ordering gifts online. So much nicer to shop in my PJs!

  • Sidenote: My husband has been a driver for UPS for more than 27 years. He has been on the same residential route for the past 25 years. Needless to say, though we LOVE Christmas in our household, it is a tough time of year for him. The same number of houses in his route year round can jump from an average of 170 deliveries a day during the rest of the year, to 400+ during December.

So, I have a special empathy for our UPS guy who has to deliver all of my Christmas Shopping this time of year. We always try to give him something for his efforts. Thanks to UPS Tracking, I knew I was expecting the last box early last week. I knew this would be my last chance to catch him with our thank you (a tip, and some homemade cookies). We refer to my husband Dennis, as "Santa's Little Brown Elf" and that gave me the inspiration for this card.

The Card is a 5.5" Kraft Paper Card
Santa and Sleigh are from Jolly Holidays cut at 4.5"
I used my Gypsy to weld UPS letters (Street Sign) 1" into the front of the sleigh
I used a small piece of dark yellow paper behind the letter cut outs and then gold glitter glue over the top.
Sleigh runners are enhanced with dark brown glitter glue.

I then made another Jolly Holidays card in the UPS brown theme for my hubby's PreLoader - the poor guy who comes in early to cram all the boxes into the trucks in an organized manner. Every year Dennis give his preloader a tip to say thank you for all the extra he does this time of year.

Wagon - Boys will be Boys 3"
Elf - Jolly Holidays at 4.7"
Packages - Jolly Holidays at 2.2, 2.7, 3.2, 3.7"
I used  Stickles and Glitter Glue to enhance buttons, eyes, wheels, packages...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Brunch Invitation

Last weekend I had the pleasure of hosting the annual Christmas Brunch for my quilting friendship circle, aka Bits and Pieces Quilters. (You can see some of our work at Bits & Pieces Quilters) I created this card as the official invitation for the event.

Card - Kraft Paper - cut 11x5.5, folded to 5.5 x 5.5
Back ground paper - DCWV  Holiday Collection Card -I used the fronts cut to 4.5 x 4.5
Elf and Wagon - Jolly Holidays Cartridge  cut at 3.0"
     buttons and wheels were enhanced with Glitter Glue.
     Elf and Wagon - pop dots
     Packages - cut from 1.75" at
                    - double stacked pop dot

Friday, December 24, 2010

Wrapping Up the Holiday Cheer

The past few years I have really enjoyed a simpler wrapping style. I used to buy coordinated, printed papers, matching ribbons and bows to make each year's gifts "match." The problem with that is that every year there is a half roll of this and a partial roll of that...not ever enough to make it through a new year. Nor will the left overs go with anything I can find the next year. So, I have decided to go with the line from " A Few of My Favorite Things..." from The Sound of Music, "...Brown paper packages tied up with string..." I have purchased several rolls of brown kraft paper and twine. This year I found some green and red to go with the brown. I love the way the packages look under our tree. I can make the tags and embelishments any color and design I want and it always looks put together. There really is something to be said for simple pleasures.

Of course I use my Cricut to cut tags and various shapes for each package. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things - Seasonal Treats

Elly's Candy, Snickerdoodles, and Tea Time Tidbits.

I love to bake! Christmas is a great excuse to dig out many of my grandmother's recipes and whip up several batches of our favorites. It has become a tradition to box up all of my brother's favorites and give them as part of his Christmas gift each year. So this past weekend had me cooking up several batches of Snickerdoodles, Tea Time Tidbits (aka Mexican Wedding Cakes, or Russian Tea Cakes), and something we call Elly's Candy, named after my great aunt Elly. I have included the recipes in my grandmother's handwriting.

In the picture above, I used sliced, toasted almonds for Elly's Candy. I also use chopped pecans for this recipe.

Our family also has a traditional drink mix to make this time of year, Moondust Tea, also known as Orange Spice Tea.

Moondust Tea Recipe:
2 c. Tang
1/2 c. Sugar
1/2 - 2/3 c. Country Time Lemonaid Mix
3/4 c. Instant Tea (no sweetner or lemon flavoring)
1 1/2 - 2 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Ground Cloves

Mix and store in sealed container. 1-2 tsp mix in 8 oz. hot water and ENJOY!

Finally, one of my favorite seasonal drinks is the Gingerbread Latte at Starbucks. I can usually keep my willpower intact most of the year when it comes to spending $4+ for Starbucks. But as soon as Gingerbread season hits, you will find me looking for any excuse to get to a Starbucks for a Gingerbread Latte. The Cricut Circle has started a photography challenge thread. The second challenge was focal point and favorite snack. I chose to photograph a Gingerbread Latte. Here is my entry.

Holiday Greetings

The days from the start of the school year each fall until Chirstmas seems to just fly by too fast. Between getting my classroom started for the year, settling into classroom routines, Halloween, report cards, Thanksgiving, and then Christmas...there really is not a much down time for an elementary school teacher. This year has been no exception. I cannot believe it is the first Monday of Christmas break already! I really am not sure where 3 1/2 months have gone.

Because of several nerve wracking events in my family's life this fall, our Christmas Card was turned into a Thanksgiving themed letter and card to family and friends. I used a variety of pictures of my husband, Dennis, and myself, a few boxes of DCWV Autumn Splendor Cards, and some coordinating papers to make the cards.

Wallet sized photos, some trimmed
Corner Rounder
George and Basic Shapes Cart - ovals at 3.3"
Celebrate with a Flourish Cart - Leaves at 1.75"
George Cart - Squares and Rectangles
Celebrate with a Flourish Cart - Words at 1.5"

I hope as you reflect on this year, you will find many things to be thankful for.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What a Day!!!

It has been raining nonstop since Thursday of last week here in So Cal. As of yesterday we have had more than 4 1/2 inches of rain in the past 5 days. For a "semi-aerid" region, we sure are wet right now. Most people would choose to stay home in a nice dry, warm house in this type of weather. But I chose instead to get up early and break in my new Disneyland Annual Pass. This is my present each year from my hubby, and my new card arrived just days ago. So, I had to make sure it works!

Actually, my real reason for heading to the Happiest Place was to try to get one of the illusive tickets for a handmade candy cane. You might be laughing at this thinking, "It is "just a candy cane." Yes this is true. But it is a HANDMADE Disney Tradition that very few people get to experience each year. The canes are the length of your hand and forearm; and They only make 3 batches a day, on 4 specific days during the holiday season. You have to get into line as soon as the park opens. For me this meant at the entrance at 7:30 am, in the rain. Into the park at 8 am straight up. The line for tickets was, by the time I walked through the entrance and headed down Main Street, in front of the Clock Shop and starting down the front of the Emporium. Unfortunately, this meant I did not get one of the tickets. Darn! One Cast Member was handing out a write up about the candy making process.

Here are some of the statistics they gave:
  • Takes 1/2 hour to cook a batch and about an hour to pull each batch
  • Each batch makes about 40 Candy Canes
  • Only 3 batches are made during the day
  • A team of three Candy Makers are needed to make a batch of Candy Canes (1 rolls the candy, 1 pulls the 15 pound block of candy, and 1 shapes the canes.
Here are few shots I took while watching the process this morning.

After watching them make the candy for a few minutes. I decided that I needed a blueberry muffin and a coffee to console myself. And SOME WARM CLOTHES! So, I headed to the Bakery on Main Street. I found my usual breakfast, and these cute treats too.

Since I have a pass and don't have to feel guilty for not staying ALL day (I can come back anytime I want.) I decided home was a better place to be.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Thanksgiving Cards for Friends

This year we spent Thanksgiving Day with friends. This group truly has become a second family to us over the years, and we appreciate the fact that they have included us in yet another famiy tradition. To say thank you, I made the following Thank You card to send to all the various households involved in the day's events. This design was originally created by Kristy at Craftin-on-My-Door and shared on the Cricut Circle Message Boards. Thank you, Kristy, for sharing with us.


Square Card - kraft paper cut 11 x 5.5, folded to 5.5 x 5.5
Background element - DCWV Amber Autumn Paper Pack,
                                - Lacy Labels Cart, cut Flower2 at 5"x 5"
Turkey - Cardstock scraps
            - DoodleCharms Cart, Turkey cut @ 2 1/2 "
Inked edges - Creative Memories, Brown Chalk Ink
Pop dots under Turkey shadow and the "paper" cap on the turkey legs

At our Thanksgiving festivities I also gave everyone a jar of Moondust Tea Mix (Orange Spice Tea), a holiday favorite in my family. I used 1/2 pint jars (cheaper by the dozen at the grocery store), and cut a circle and a ring out of coordinating papers to attach to the lid. These were cut at 2 1/2" from George and Basic Shapes Cart.)

I added leaves cut at 1.7" from the Thanksgiving cartridge, and a 4" tag, Rolly Poly font, Plantain Schoolbook cart.