Thursday, December 29, 2011

It's been a while ...

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!! I made a true effort to actually get things done in time to sit back and actually relax on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and on the 26th. It felt good!

I've been such a bad blogger!!! I only posted once this month before this evening. December is such a busy month for all of us, hopefully, you had lots better things to do then bemoan my MIA status. (I know I certainly did! - Have better things to do, that is.)

There were all the usual holiday demands like putting up the tree, making gifts and dipping lots and lots of chocolates. If you've followed through any past Christmases or Easters, you may recall I'm the official family candy maker. This year, I made only about 35 lbs. of dipped candies, less than half my normal volume. I just didn't have the stamina for it this time around. I keep telling the next generation I need an apprentice or two but they really do prefer eating the candy as opposed to making candy!

I did get almost all the gifts I intended to make done. The only exception was a needlepoint Barbie boutique made on plastic canvas. I actually started that one back in September but quickly got behind on the production. If you were here last year, you heard about the fiasco of Barbie's music room and I did not want a repeat this time around. By Thanksgiving, it was clear I was not going to get it done without working around the clock or dropping everything else in my life so I scratched the idea of finishing it for Christmas. I went with another much easier project for K. I hope to finish the room in the Spring. I'll keep you posted.

The Big Guy keeps joking that K will outgrow playing with Barbies before it's done. BUT - I have a fallback position on that. We have 4 more little girls in the family that have not yet reached Barbie age! The youngest is only 6 months old. I'm bound to get it done before we run out of little girls!

So, what did I get made for gifts? Painted clothing and wine glasses for some of the adults, some entire outfits with accessories for some of the children, several shopping bags of hair accessories for some of the school-age girls on my list, three black board tables, some painted kitchen decor pieces for some of the young adults and a few more odds and ends.

On top of having all those gifts to make, household holiday preps and candy making, we had houseguests, family commitments and more to take up my time - and then, there were sales. I had a steady, solid flow of sales for my business this season !

That kept me quite busy. I had not expected to be so busy producing merchandise as I didn't do any regular craft shows or boutique sales this year. I was quite surprised at how many past clients sought me out to place orders. It felt very very good but it was exhausting keeping up!!

I hope to get back to posting on a regular basis now. I was going to wait until New Year's Day but really got the urge to jump in here tonight. I've truly missed blogging. I haven't even had time to read many blogs this month!

It seems every time I get things flowing on an even keel, I get a curve ball thrown at me or hit a speed bump or something. I kept drafting posts all month but then either needed to do some editing or add the illustrations or something and then just didn't get it done so I never hit the "publish" button. I was really proud of some of those pieces and put some real thought and effort into them. I've actually considered going ahead and "back-posting" those drafted posts with their original dates on them and leaving it up to my readers as to whether they wanted to go back and read them. For now though, I just wanted to pop in and touch base with all of you.

It felt good to sit down and have this little chat tonight. Hopefully, I'll see y'all again tomorrow, too.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

25 Days Till Christmas!!!!!!

December 1st !!!!!

Christmas is roaring toward us like a freight train! I don't know about you, but I haven't even begun to decorate. I think I'm looking at a few all-nighters coming my way!

Then, of course, I made this silly pledge to myself to post EVERY day till Christmas. Easier said than done! I'm taking the easy way out tonight and re-running a post from the past.

I'm not just really proud of my aunt who made this jewelry tree
(and many others like it), it also makes for a fantastic project and a really eye-catching, conversation starting decoration for the season. (I believe if I report this enough, for enough years, I'll get around to making one myself. I already have a bunch of pieces put away to get started with.)

A number of years ago, my aunt made what I thought was a really unique and spectacular holiday decoration for her home. She used to get it out and hang it in early November and leave it up through about mid-January (sometimes later). She now lives in a retirement apartment complex and it hangs on her living room wall year round.

She made this absolutely stunning Christmas tree from various pieces of bright, sparkly costume jewelry! This first of her trees (She's made quite a few since then.), was made using various pieces of jewelry with a family history.

Some people are "clothes horses", well, my grandmother (her M-I-L) was a "jewelry horse." She particularly loved huge, heavy earrings. (She had very large ear lobes. We all believe the weight of the earrings stretched them out!) When my grandmother passed and her belongings were distributed among the family, no one really wanted to wear those humongous earrings. Aunt M. put quite a few of them into this tree. There were other jewelry "remnants" floating about and they, too, found their way into this tree. The bigger and brighter the better!

The tree is fairly heavy and is mounted on a piece of plywood covered in velvet. I believe she used a jeweler's glue to secure the stones. Many friends and acquaintances have come to her and asked for help in making a tree to display some of their family jewels, too.

Along the way, she has made quite a few as gifts or to sell at various bazaars and such. The best places to find such jewels are yard sales, church bazaars with white elephant tables and flea markets.(Those old-fashioned brooches are true finds with this project in mind!)

Of course, you should start with the jewelry box you've been stashing those orphaned earrings in!