Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Anniversary Blog Candy!

'Tis the season to celebrate, and Katarina is celebrating her 10th anniversary with her fiance this month (Dec. 4th, to be exact)! Congratulations, Katarina! In honor of this milestone, she is giving away some Valentine blog candy. The beauty of this giveaway is that it grows with every new comment! Yes, that's right, the more comments Katarina gets on her blog candy post, the more fun stuff she's giving away (within reason, of course)! So hop on over to Katarina's blog to check out her contest and to wish her a hearty CONGRATULATIONS!

~ Pia

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Blog Candy!!

Yummy blog candy can be found on Claudia's blog! And there will be THREE winners!

Fun candy on Mary's blog, too!

And on Andrea's blog as well -- this one with FIVE lucky winners!

Wow, what an awesome way to end the year!!

~ Pia

Thursday, December 25, 2008

What a Week

What a week it's been... Monday night, I took Kat to the emergency room. Turned out she had acute appendicitis. She was transferred to a hospital about 30 minutes from where we live (the original hospital was only 5 minutes away from home) in order to get in to surgery as soon as possible. Well, after a very long-feeling 2-1/2 days in the hospital (leaving her appendix behind) she came home last night.

We went to Mass this morning and then spent a very quiet Christmas day at home. Which is way better than spending it in the hospital, as far as Kat's concerned! She was determined to get home on Christmas Eve! Praise be to God she made it and her surgery was a success. I'm utterly exhausted... 60 hours with very little sleep and almost no eating wears a person out.

Kat's sleeping now, so I've finally got a free (well, okay, stolen!) moment to update my blog so here are a few of the projects that we've been working on. These are gifts and cello bag toppers that we made for our friends and family. They were a lot of fun!

The hot cocoa gift boxes are tall 2-4-6-8 acetate boxes filled with 3 packets of hot cocoa mix (in 3 little zip lock bags), 3 mini candy canes, and a whole bunch of Hershey's kisses.

The snowman on each topper was assembled piece by piece using the Cold Play stamp set from Stampin' Up! -- I love that set! The sentiment and snowflakes are from Stampin' Up!'s Polar Pals stamp set.

The penguins on the last cello topper are also from the Polar Pals set. I think that penguin stamp is just too cute!

I hope you all had a very blessed and merry Christmas day with your loved ones. Today begins the Christmas season which, for us Roman Catholics, ends with the feast of the Baptism of the Lord on January 11th -- I learned at Mass this morning that Epiphany as the end of the Christmas season is rooted in the Eastern Orthodox church. Well, in either case, the celebration has only just begun! Woohoo!! Merry Christmas to everyone and a very blessed New Year!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Our Tree

Here's our tree! We traditionally decorate it with ornaments that we've made/collected as the kids have been growing up. I've posted pictures of four ornaments here, made in 1996. That was the only year that I did these painted-ball ornaments, and I put on them the milestones of that year for each child. I'm not the greatest artist (which is why I love rubber stamps!), but I think they turned out okay. :) The tree topper is one that we've had for 20 years. It's Mother Mary holding Baby Jesus. And lastly, a photo of our full tree. Yay!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

That Long...???

Wow, I can't believe it's been a whole WEEK since I posted anything!! Time has really flown by... Last weekend's parties were great fun (particularly a rousing game of Fa-la-la Feud!). And Bo spent a couple of days at his doggy daycare so we could get some housecleaning done and set up our Christmas tree.

Yes, we got our tree! And it's a REAL one this year! We walked onto the tree lot, and Kat picked the first one she saw. I asked her if she was sure (she said absolutely), we checked to see if it was a healthy tree (it was) and had no holes in the branches (it didn't), and grabbed it right up! I'll share a few pictures next post.

We had pouring rain and freezing cold a few days this past week... nothing like the weather back east, but a definite change for us SoCal residents that's for sure! Kat had to walk the shelter dogs in the downpour (well, they gotta go to the bathroom even in the rain!), and I did some Christmas shopping while she was working. I do have to say, it was a really nice relief from the blistering heat that we'd had in the last few weeks. Now it's sunny and brisk. Nice December weather!

I am officially on vacation as of today! Woohoo!! We're taking Bo to the park and then coming back to make some more little gifts for the people in our Folk Song Circle 'cause we've got a music meetup tonight. We haven't been since June (wow, that's a LONG time) due to illness (mine) and we've missed it so much. Tomorrow, we head over to the pub (where Kat sings occasionally) for Family Night. Haven't been to that in a while either, due to my work schedule. It will be good to see our friends again!

Still working on Christmas cards. We had some photos all picked out, but then Ricky said he's coming down so we decided to include him in the most current shot (by the Christmas tree, of course). Which means our cards will not get sent out until just before New Year, but that's okay! Christmas season doesn't end until Epiphany (January 6th)... you know, the 12 days of Christmas... so we've got time. :)

Well, gotta head off now. I'll post some pictures of our latest projects either today or tomorrow. Have a great weekend!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Crafting

So I rewarded my nose-to-the-grindstone last several weeks at work (putting together two retreats, parent meetings, teacher meetings, you name it it got done) with some focused stamping and crafting time. Here in this post are the fruits of those crafting labors.

But first, the good news... my son called to tell me that he and his girlfriend are coming down to visit for Christmas! Woohoo!!! They'll be here the day after Christmas, and they'll stay in the area until New Year so he says they'll spend a couple of those days with us! What an AWESOME Christmas gift!

Kat and I spent several hours working and here's what we came up with for my teacher/volunteer/co-worker gifts. As you can see, we are totally loving that curly label punch and its coordinating (sold separately) stamp set! The tall skinny items contain individual packets of Cafe Mocha (I've posted a photo of the included packet for you).

We made some more 2-4-6-8 pouch boxes, this time containing an assortment of mini holiday chocolates (3 per pouch). We used a bunch of scrapbooking paper and ribbon that we had stashed away, which is why these are not traditional Christmas colors. I kind of like the variety!

The little square boxes are those way cool peppermint patty boxes (directions found on Rochelle's blog). I don't have my square punch anymore (a story for another time!), so I used the curly label punch for the window instead. No scallop circle punch either, so I used a big snowflake from one of Stampin' Up!'s retired sets and cut it out. Worked okay, I think. But I much preferred putting four little Hershey kisses (candy cane, cherry cordial, mint truffle, pretty much every kind of kiss you could get) in there instead. They fit quite nicely, and I stuck them to the bottom of the box so they wouldn't float around inside.

Next, though we actually started our crafting session with these, are the Ghirardelli chocolate holders. Directions can be found here. So quick and easy! And yes, we had to sample the chocolates since we'd never actually bought these before... Yummy!!

Here's that little box from a previous post, decorated at last.

The next series of shots shows everything put together into little gift sets. Just one sample of each color set so you get the idea. We have LOTS of these!

Lastly, we have a modified gift card holder. The gift certificates that had to go into it are a little longer than gift cards, so I changed the pattern a little to accommodate them. The directions for the original gift card holder can be found here. I packaged the gift certificate holder with two of the Ghirardelli packets behind it (it's a husband and wife team) into a cello bag and added a topper.

Okay, that's it for now! Getting back to the crafting so as to be ready to give these gifts at this weekend's parties!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The BIG Question

So someone asked the big question that's traditional at this time of year... What do you want most for Christmas? That's an easy one to answer, though I know I won't get it. I want to celebrate the holiday with all four of my beautiful children (who, honestly, aren't really children anymore). We haven't been all together for Christmas since 2002. Sigh... I can wish, though, and celebrate with them in spirit... Maybe one day we'll all be together again, if even just for a few hours. Now THAT would be the ultimate Christmas gift.

Anyway, today begins the Christmas crafting in earnest. I've got a couple of Christmas parties at work (it's part of my job to do holy-day celebrations, yay!) and teacher gifts to make, as well as gifts for my fellow staff members. The parties are this weekend. Have I begun prepping...? Of course not! They'd revoke my Procrastinators Club membership card if I started more than two or three days ahead, ha ha! I do have all the supplies, so "all" I have to do is put everything together. Thank God for my creative crafting daughter, Kat. She and I will be busy little bees over the next couple of days!

Hope you're all enjoying your Advent season and Christmas preparations. Peace be with you.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Got a Little Stamping Done!

Here, at last, are the 6" x 6" pages that I promised oh so long ago. I still haven't figured out what's up with the scanner, so I photographed the pages instead. :) Very simple layouts 'cause I didn't want visual overload with all the photos I crammed in there... Ha ha, I couldn't decide which ones to leave out, so I just kept them all in!

The white 2-4-6-8 boxes are a couple from a batch we whipped up for the ladies in our rosary-making group. Kat had the genius idea of leaving the green ribbon loose so that the gift tag can be used by the recipient on another gift! We filled the boxes with mini Three Musketeers bars.

The treat boxes were just a fun experiment with my brand spankin' new curly label punch! Woohoo!! Just HAD to play with it the day it arrived! I didn't have any acetate lying around for the birthday box, so I used a lollipop bag instead (to make the window). It worked like a charm! I got a few sheets of transparency paper a couple of days ago, so I used a sheet of that for the plain-jane box on the right. Not done decorating it yet.

That's all we've got for now. Still working on the house and my stamp area so we can be more free to get some crafting done. We get to pick up our tree next week, so we're soooo excited!

Have a great day,