Category Archives: Christmas

Handmade Heaven: A Mini Holiday Shopping Guide

Yesterday I got to spend a couple hours at the Autumn Festival held at Canterbury Park in Shakopee this weekend. It’s basically a GIGANTIC arts & crafts fair…we’re talking hundreds of booths and thousands of attendees (which I find kind of funny since I’d never heard of the fair before!). Anyway, I just love going and walking around, by myself, for a couple hours, perusing the goods and taking a look at what others have created (not to mention doing some Christmas shopping!). I think I have found a new little tradition. πŸ™‚ Last year I didn’t find a ton of booths that I loved, but yesterday I was happy to find a couple of really cute booths that I was pretty excited about!

My favorite was JennaLou Designs. Seriously, check out her website. Isn’t it cute?! Lots of cute handbags and accessories. I fell in love with this:

And this:

But there was lots of other cute stuff, too. I think I spent like a half hour at her booth! Be sure to check out her etsy shop.

Another booth I liked was Everything Unique Boutique, which had lots of fun kids clothing and accessories. The booth actually had WAY more than the website shows (and their best merchandise was at the booth, in my opinion :)), but the site gives you an idea. I scored these cute little monogrammed purses for Christmas presents for my girls πŸ™‚ :

(um, yeah. The photo is backwards. Just picture it flipped the right way :)).

My third favorite booth was called Harmony Hill Signs. They had the most beautiful wooden picture frames/shelves/signs β€” but unfortunately their website is not currently working! Still, if you happen to visit an art fair in the near future, keep an eye out for them. They had some beautiful stuff!

…and thus concludes my 2010 Mini Holiday Shopping Guide from my travels at the craft fair. πŸ™‚ Hope you find it helpful!

What are some good places you’ve found to shop for handmade stuff? Share your finds in the comments!



A Very Special Christmas Gift

It has been a wonderful, memorable Christmas for so many reasons. We’ve been blessed with time together and with family. God has been so gracious.

This year has held some difficult moments.

This past May, my sweet Grandma learned that, after 7 years in remission, her lymphoma had returned. She fought valiantly, but on July 16, Jesus called her home.

We are a tight knit family (my siblings and I the only grandchildren on that side of the family), and my grandma has always been a cornerstone of each holiday.

We knew this Christmas would be hard.

Last night, we held to our Christmas Eve tradition of going to the house my grandparents lived in. My aunt lived with my grandma for several years, and continues to live in that house. She did a wonderful job of making the same food and creating the same wonderful, warm atmosphere that we always enjoyed with my grandma. We had a wonderful time together, sharing in food, laughs, and gifts. Still, of course, Grandma’s absence was felt deeply.

Now my grandma was a very generous lady, and one of her favorite discoveries in her later years was a channel called QVC. πŸ™‚ She’d often buy us items from QVC β€” particularly jewelry for my sisters, mom and I. In the past several months after her passing, I’ve often looked at the jewelry she’d given me and thought to myself “I need to treasure this all the more…I won’t be getting any more jewelry from Grandma”.

You can imagine the tears that sprung to my eyes last night when, at the end of the evening, my aunt presented my sisters, mom and I each with small boxes wrapped in gold paper. The tag on mine read: “To: Nikki , From: Grandma”.

My grandma had done some of her Christmas shopping early this year.

Early β€” like, before she even got sick. She found beautiful necklaces for both of my sisters, my mom and I. She ordered them, received them, looked at them, and tucked them away as Christmas gifts for us.

My aunt found them and carefully wrapped, labeled and presented them to us.

Each one of us got a different necklace. I LOVE mine…it’s what *I* would have picked out for myself. A lovely stone heart made of Irish Connemara Marble. Green β€” my favorite color.

Thank you God, for small graces, even as we celebrate the biggest one of all.

You are so kind.

In Loving Memory of Grandma E (pictured here with W, last Christmas)…

Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire…

It’s the end of a long but wonderful day of Christmas cheer…I’m just nestled here on the couch, relaxing in front of the “fire”

(is it weird that the room is starting to feel a bit warm and
I swear I am smelling a hint of smoke?)

Merry Christmas!


Here’s a little thing I picked up at Marshall’s today.

It was so weird. And ugly. And bizarre. And cheap. How could I not?

Because every tree needs something that says:

“Merry Christmas from a Creepy Baby Dressed as a Lamb
while Wearing Mickey Mouse Ears”.

(*please also note the inexplicable “A Star is Born” phrase at the bottom of the ornament β€” backwards cuz I used my computer camera).

Deck the Halls…and walls…and floors…and such…

There’s nothing that warms a home quite like Christmas decorations do, is there? Here’s what we’ve got in our house this year:

1. A Tree

I’m a big believer in real Christmas trees, but for the 3rd year in a row we opted to go with our artificial little friend. His fragrance isn’t nearly as lovely as a real tree’s would be, but he’s a lot simpler to assemble and decorate, and β€” with 2 tiny ones around β€” I’m not as worried about someone pulling it over on him/herself or eating some needles or me being so scatterbrained that I forget to turn the Christmas lights off and our house burns down. So, fake tree it was this year. It was sort of an impulsive decision that we are already feeling a bit bad about. We do love them balsams (*name that movie). Oh well…”maybe yater” (as W would say :)).

Fake tree or real, the ornaments that adorn it are my favorite part. Our ornaments are a collection comprised of ornaments from our childhoods…and more recently too, I suppose. My family was *big* on ornaments as I grew up. My 4 siblings and I each had a box of our own ornaments, along with an itemized list of our ornaments reminding us of what year we got each one and who/where they were from. It sounds SO “type A”, but I am really thankful for it, and it’s a tradition I’d love to pass down to our kids. I love how so many of my ornaments bring back glimmers of memories from different times in my life. On our tree we’ve got pasta wreaths spray-painted gold and beaded pipe cleaner candy canes and loosely stitched stockings…and I love it.Β  Those “department store” type trees are beautiful β€” with the matching glass ornaments and ribbon and all that β€” but in my home I’ll take a personalized tree any year.

W had a great time helping us decorate the tree. As you can see, he decided that all the ornaments would look good on one branch πŸ™‚ :

2. Nativity Scene

This was my “dream” nativity scene β€” I first eyed it while I was working at a Christian bookstore…and finally it became mine! It’s original home during the holiday season was in our bay window, with a lovely lighted garland behind it giving it just the right solemn glow.

However now that we’ve got a 2-year-old it’s new home is way up high on top of my china cabinet. πŸ™‚

3. Advent Calendar(s)

Last year I set out on a quest for the perfect advent calendar β€” something that would tell the Christmas story in a simple yet fun (yet not overly cutesy) way. I didn’t come up with much. So far the best I’ve been able to do is find the cheap little cardboard kind with the perforated “doors” to open each day, along with this little number I scored after Christmas at Marshall’s last year:

It’s basically just a hanging tapestry with 25 square pockets on it and a little wooden thing-a-ma-jig that you move to a new pocket each day. It doesn’t do anything to tell the Christmas/advent story at all, and M has nicknamed it “house of the rising sun”…but W likes it, it’s a fun little way to count down the days til Christmas, and β€” I have to admit β€” it’s growing on me.

Those are the big decorations we’ve got going on in our house this year β€” what about you?

30 Minutes with the Seavers

Whenever I’m feeling like the house is a mess and I’m in a crunch to get things done, I think of my favorite episode of “Growing Pains” (yes, “Growing Pains”. Hear me out.) It’s the one where they are throwing a fancy party (which Donald Trump is going to be at), and realize that the date on the invitations was misprinted and they have a half an hour to get the party pulled together. Amazingly — they do it!

So this holiday season, if you find yourself stressed out with all that needs to be done around the house with not much time to do it in, do what I do: remember that if the Seavers can do it, so can you (and ignore that voice in the back of your head that keeps saying “It’s just a TV show”…)