Friday, November 30, 2012

Let's Be Neighborly!

Neighbor Gifts...
One of my favorite Christmas traditions is to make something for each of the families on my block...which is in a cozy culdesac.  There are eight homes with eight wonderful families...the best of neighbors.  My rule of thumb is that I try to keep the price to around $5 per gift.  I can use my vintage stockpile of doodads which makes it extra fun!  The challenge of creating something cute on a budget is like Jazzercise for my creativity.   I'm posting some pictures of  neighbor gifts from days gone by.  They are in no particular order.

Paper Clay Snowmen Candy Jars.

I used a vintage Santa mug...the ribbons, bells, and little figures are from my stash.
I cannot pass up even one of these mugs...I have dozens of them!
One year I hung them all around my front door.

Rustic Cone Ornaments...greenery and vintage doodads.

Mod Podge Postcard Candy Boxes...I still love to make these!

"Gingerbread" framed Santa pictures.

Some Hostess Gifts...rag ball snowmen heads on the jars.

Homemade Vanilla...alcohol is hard to buy in I got my vodka at a Walmart in Nevada.
(Note:  has to be made several months in advance)
Christmas 2011...Wisemen Jars.
It's hard to see, but there is a postcard of wisemen following the silver star.
The tag reads "Wise Men Still Seek Him."
The jars were from Deseret Book...nice cannisters for later.
Just a Hint...
Just a wee peak...Christmas 2012.
I don't want to show too much...a couple of my neighbors visit my blog.
Thanks to Kim K ...I bought all the darling little snowmen at my Target.
OMGoodness...they are cute!
Are you in the Holiday Spirit yet?
Merry Christmas, Sweet Friends!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

My Putz House from Deb!

Back Home...
George and I are back home after our little anniversary trip to Disneyland.   One of these days we may go someplace else...but why?  There is no place I like more than this Happiest of Places at Christmas time.  I took a few pics of the wonderful decorations in California was a thirties-style holiday in that park.  I will post about that later.  I feel bad that I haven't posted the houses that Deb from Garage Sale Gal  and made for each other in Erica's of Golden Egg Vintage Putz House Swap.  I have seen so many wonderful houses!  This swap was one of the most enjoyable I have participated in.

Deb's House!
When I saw this frosty house it was love at first sight!
The wreath is a vintage brooch...sigh!

It goes perfectly in my frosty winter vignette.
There was even a little potted tree to go along with it.
Deb knows my love of mushrooms...or toadstools if you prefer.
Perfect on my German office tree.

Isn't this gnome the jolliest ever?
He goes along with my polkadot hearts.

I nearly died when I found this wrapped in a tiny box.
The mushroom pin is only 1" by .75" in size!
Which means the tiny lady bug...incredibly probably life-size!
Deb included many many vintage doo-dads and tasty salted caramels!
She even sent my beloved Circus Peanuts!
My House for Deb...
I stole this photo from Deb's blog...I forgot to take pictures of my gingerbread houses!
Thank you, Deb, for being such a wonderful swap partner!
And thanks to Erica for hosting this fun swap.
Swaps are a wonderful way to make new friends and get to know each other better.
I am so thankful for all the wonderful people I have met here this past year.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Cirque d' Noel!

Circus Dreams...
I never thought I would find myself back in a circus frame of mind...especially at this time of year.  What is it about the imagery and fantasy that is so appealing?  A visit to Ringling Bros. in the early fall inspired a Halloween version here...Cirque du So Spooky.  Pinterest was the place to find hundreds of circus-related images and sites.  This time around, Pinterest was not the inspiration for another ride on the circus merry-go-round...but an ornament found at one of my favorite little stores.

Owned by the same family for over 130 years.
Visiting Broadbent's is like going back to your childhood.  The store is a tad more modern than the picture shows, but not by much.  When I was a little girl my Grandma Patta...who only lived a couple of blocks away...would take me shopping there.  The store is filled with gifts and toys.  There is a fabric department and a "general store."  At Christmas time it is the closest you can come to taking a trip back in time for a "Department Store Christmas."  It's truly a magical place this time of year.   While browsing in the "look but don't touch" china and glassware room I found some wonderful ornaments.
A Christmas Circus Animal!
As soon as I laid eyes on this imagination was soaring on the flying tapeze!  I knew I would have to do a Christmas this wonderul wheeled bear came home with me for inspiration!  Later today I am going back to Broadbent's and get the other two animals.
Cirque d' Noel...
My Christmas Dream Circus!
The tree and box are about 2' tall.
Parade of Animals...
There is an elephant, zebra, camel and giraff.
I used tinkertoys as bases for the characters.

Send in the Clowns!
I am so grateful to The Graphics Fairy for her wonderful
circus images.

Smaller boxes become sparkling "Drums."
I was so lucky to find so many images in the same style.

This circus will be performing nightly in my office until New Years.
Happy Circus Dreams!


Monday, November 5, 2012

German My Office!

German Christmas...
If Christmas 2012 could be said to have a theme for me this year...that theme would be a German Christmas.  I have been nostalgic for those days...more than thirty years in the past.  My husband was an Army captain who commanded a small installation in northern Germany during those Cold War days before the fall of the Berlin Wall which split the nation into East and West.  We lived in town with German neighbors and not on one of the big bases.  It gave us more of a cultural experience than we would have gained living among other Americans.  No other European country does Christmas as well as Germany...and we were lucky to spend three Christmases in that fairytale land.

Christmas Markt...
Christmas Markt!
Lights, toy vendors, carnival rides and all the gingerbread your heart desires.
It's just not Christmas unless you go to Christmas Markt.  Most of the major cities have them...we lived near Bremen so that was the one we visited.  I'm not sure which Markt is in the picture...but Nuremberg has one of the biggest.

A lovely Nativity scene.

So many wonderful things!

The many little shops reminded me of Geppetto's Toy Shop.

One of my favorites...Gingerbread hearts with sayings written in icing.

Where Der Weihnachtsmann shops.

How I wish I had bought more of these little wooden ornaments.

At the time I lived in Germany...the most sought after
nutcrackers were made in communist East Germany!
I still collect a few and buy the real German ones for my sons each Christmas

An entire city made of gingerbread!
My Office...
Fake gingerbread "Herzen" for my office tree.
I spelled "ewig dein" wrong...but I fixed it later.
It means "forever yours."  Schatzi is an endearment... "treasure" and Frohes Fest is "Happy Holidays"...more or less!

The top of my desk is still a work in progress.

Little Clock Merchant.
Repainted thriftstore chair.

Lucky Mushrooms!

A visitor from Elizabeth's craft cute!

Small tree decorated in German style.
Clip on candles would often replace the string of lights.

Gingerbread heart and small nutcracker...Hobby Lobby set of four.

Real German nutcracker ornament...chimney sweep!
They are another symbol of good luck.
I saw chimney sweeps nearly everyday...on bicycles with their top hats and scarves.
One even knocked on my door one day to check my!
I hope you enjoyed this chapter of "My German Christmas!"
Froehliche Weihnachten!