Saturday, December 29, 2012

Joyeux Noel...Secret Santa Was So Good To Me!

There's nothing quite as nice as a Secret Santa Swap to celebrate the holidays.
In our Marie Antoinette Mail Art Group we were assigned our SS recipients by our lovely swap hostess, Debi.  Alter a muslin bag holiday style and fill it with little gifts. One gift had to be a handmade ornament and one a sweet treat. The rest was up to us.

My talented Santa was Terri
and this is the gorgeous bag she made for me.

Even the back of the bag was beautifully done,
all in a French theme of course.

Terri's handmade Marie ornament is amazing!
Her body is a sugared cage that holds a dove perched in her nest, covered by a most gorgeous lace skirt. And look at how elegant Marie is, all jeweled and feathered. This is one ornament that's not getting packed away with Christmas!
The rest of my gifts were just as lovely......a perfect little bag of laces, trims and that sweet, frozen Charlotte.
Terri's packaging is a gift in itself. A stunning necklace of lace enclosed in glass was tucked into a fabric, flower adorned envelope.
(I must admit, the chocolates are history.)
Thank you Terri for being the best Secret Santa ever!
This is the bag I made for Kris.
I used some new "vintage" materials but the gorgeous underlay is antique lace.
My handmade ornament, also lace trimmed
included a rhinestone snowflake.

Isn't that vintage hankie pretty?
I also included a bag of bits and baubles.

This Santa adores frozen charlottes
and couldn't give a Santa bag without including a very special altered Charlotte.

Most of you won't be familiar with my sweet treat..
It's sponge candy, and a western New York favorite. The inside is a spun carmelized sugar covered with delicious milk chocolate.
I wish I had a better picture because this turned out really cute. 
I bleached a little botle brush tree and put it in glitter snow inside this vintage salt shaker.
No French Christmas is complete without a lavender filled sachet,
or an altered fleur de lis ornament.
You knew there had to be an altered matchbox in here somewhere, right?
This is a mini that I altered in a French theme and it was the perfect size for my thrift store find brooch.
I hope each of you had a Santa that treated you well!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Let us keep Christmas,

holding it close to our hearts,

for it's meaning never ends

and it's spirit is the warmth and joy

of remembering friends.

Wishing you a Christmas filled with love, laughter, family and friends.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Snowy Village Tradition

Every year I fuss a little about not having the time to do it all....
I tell myself the house is decorated enough without it....
Then I go down in the basement and begin rifling through boxes...
And each little building, from the antique shop, to the train station, to the toy store....
And every little figurine, from the sledders, to the kids on the playground, to the choir....
Bring a smile to my face and add a bit of joy to my heart...
Because this is part of our Christmas tradition.
Happy Holidays from my village to yours!

This post is linked to Blissful Whites Wednesday-the last of 2012.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

My Holiday Home

Welcome to my holiday home!
These two garage sale finds always grace my foyer and I dress them for the season.......
My harp gets a little makeover as well with the addition of the We Believe banner and my victorian St. Nick....
My sweet little white tree was a new addition last year and is decorated with lace, strands of pearls, white frosted flowers and only handmade ornaments from my blog and swap friends....
Do you see one of your ornaments here....
or here?
I use a hatbox draped in a vintage shawl that once belonged to my mother as a tree stand.

As a lover of whimsy...
 nothing says whimsy better...
than my Christmas elves.

This is the big tree in the front room laden with memories of ornaments collected over the years...
the manger my grandfather made for me as a little girl always has a place under the tree.

This silver tray is an ever present vignette....
that also gets a makeover for the holidays.....

The feather tree in the dining room is decorated in silver tinsel....
and matchbox ornaments made by members in my swap group.

The antique ornaments in this vignette...
have been handed down in my family over generations.

I love this Santa....
and he dresses up a corner so nicely.

I have yet another tree, this one is in the dining room...
and decorated victorian style.

The fireplace gets a winter garland and wreath....
and you get a peek at what the mantle has to offer for the holidays. But I'll save that for another post.

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my holiday decor. As joyful as decorating and sharing is this time of year, I couldn't post today without expressing my deepest sympathy to the families affected by the tragic events in Connecticut. It's impossible to even imagine the heartbreak and sorrow so many are dealing with today and in the days to come.
Please join me in taking a moment to send healing thoughts and prayers. This senseless tragedy is another somber reminder of how fragile life is. Every day is a gift.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Treasured Gifts From Afar

I've made some wonderful fiends via blogging and swapping and I realize it sounds so cliche to say handmade gifts are the best but as we all know here in our artsy blogisphere, handmade gifts really are the best! I recently won a giveaway from Marie of Lost Bird Studio. Her blog is a huge source of inspiration to me and I've long admired her beautiful creations.
I can't stop looking at all the gorgeous handmade ornaments and bits and baubles that Marie tucked into this beautifully altered matchbox. And yes, that is a feathered angel wing ornament.
I will cherish these heartfelt Christmas creations always Marie!

Kim of Tabitha Lenox has become a very good friend of mine. We've swapped in many groups over the years then became even closer through our blogs. I admire her artistic talent and appreciate her kind and thoughtful ways (not to mention her wicked sense of humor!) I LOVE this stunning altered vintage cabinet card ornament she made's so my style.
And the other accompanying gifts are too're the best Kim!

This is a long overdue online acknowledgement for this creepily wonderful altered doll that I won from Kim's Halloween giveaway.
I must confess I couldn't pack her away with the rest of the Halloween stuff. She's still displayed in my sunroom.

I met Linda through my flickr swap group and am so happy I did. She's a lovely person who I enjoy swapping with very much.
Thank you Linda for this beautiful Christmas matchbox. I love the style, the colors, the elements....every single thing about it!

Laurie of Indulge Your Shelf also swaps in my flickr group and her creations always bring a smile to my face.
She made me this adorable matchbox filled with Christmas goodies. Thank you Laurie!

Michele of Nook And Cranny gifted me with this festive altered Christmas stocking.
Michele is another swap group friend who I am so happy to have met. Thanks Michele!

My holidays are much happier because of treasured gifts from treasured friends.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Tis the Season!

I am so far behind this year I can hardly believe it!!!! My new job is kicking my butt and keeping me out of the house 50+ hours a week. I've been doing catch-up decorating and wrapping in the evening (before I collapse!) so I apologize for the lack of posts and Christmas blog cheer. Here are some sweet vintage image freebies for you and hopefully this weekend I'll be able to snap some pictures of recent creations, swaps and gifts to share.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Winter Whites

I'm sharing a few of the banner pieces I finished for our
Shabby Chic Christmas Garland Swap.
We each made 6 pieces that I will swap and assemble into garlands and return to each participant. We all used whites, neutrals, muted tones and victorian imagery.
I did a heavy gesso and glitter background and used images from one of my favorite Altered Artifacts collage sheets, applying a thinned gesso over the images. To finish, I added lace, shimmery tulle, white paper flowers, a touch of silver and faux vintage dangling baubles.
I'll show you a finished garland after I have them all assembled.
These pieces certainly got me in the mood for more winter whites so I'm pleased to announce the
Winter Whites Inspiration Matchbox Swap.
This will be a 1:1 partner swap in which you'll alter a large matchbox in a winter whites theme. Think snowflakes, soft wintry images, winter white flowers. Pack the inside with lots of winter white inspiration, using quality vintage and new items for your partner to make some winter white magic.....laces, millinery, pearls, beads, glitter. Use white, off white, cream, ecru, beige as the main color scheme inside and out. Touches of soft, warm, muted colors and bits of silver may also be used.
Sign-ups are open now in my flickr group. If you're not a member, membership directions are on the group page HERE.
And the good news is no holiday stress. The due date is January 30th, 2013!
I'm linking with Becky at Timewashed for Blissful Whites Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Wishes

To all my friends celebrating Thanksgiving this week, I wish you a day filled with family & & laughter.