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Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday Sales

Happy Black Friday!  While I am not big on massive crowds and frenzied shopping (I am more of a online girl) I have to admire the stamina of the die hard Black Friday Shopper.  Last night I witnessed the hardiest of the hardy setting up tents and chairs leaning against the Best Buy in Schaumberg.  It was a chilly (to me freezing) 36 degrees and they had 8 hours longer to wait for that magical moment.  I always wonder what it would take to get me out in the frigged darkness waiting...waiting...waiting...
I have decided that there is nothing, no sale, that could get me to wait that long.  I have never  been very good at waiting for anything and now with the new age of instant gratification via the Internet I opt to do my power shopping online from the comfort of my home sitting in my favorite chair with my favorite PJs and a good cup of Joe.  It is all relevant to the memories and past experience people have had because to me that is a good time.  But I am sure for many it is exciting and festive to brave the masses of people and the elements.  So how ever you celebrate your Black Friday I hope you have a wonderful festive time and are able to find some great deals. 

To start you out use coupon code Holiday25off for both PostcardsInTheAttic and ButterflyInTheAttic.
This festive very old antique postcard can be found in PostcardsInTheAttic at
http://www.etsy.com/listing/86196754/antique-christmas-postcard-santa-clause

These fun handmade gift tags are found in PostcardsInTheAttic at
http://www.etsy.com/listing/86354409/calvin-and-hobbes-cartoon-gift-tags-set

Imagine these beautiful goblets decorating your holiday table.  They can be found in ButterflyInTheAttic
at http://www.etsy.com/listing/70206727/kings-crown-pattern-amber-glass-goblets

What a fun unique gift!  A upcycled handmade costume ring found in ButterflyInTheAttic at
http://www.etsy.com/listing/83846594/handmade-unique-costume-ring-vintage

Here are some more wonderful finds at ETSY...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Great ETSY Treasuries for the Holidays

I have been featured in some very lovely ETSY Treasuries. What a wonderful gift guide for the holiday season.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival in Chicago - The Parade of Lights

Every large city has a wonderful personality of its own and Chicago has one of the biggest. I love Chicago and would be living there now it was so darn cold.  It has beautiful old architecture, Navy Pier, Wrigley Field, and always has so much going on that rather then having to wait for an event you have to choose which one you are going to. 

One of the events that I wish I could attend today is the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival (click here for more information.)  This grand parade of lights kicks off the start of the Christmas Season in this wonderful city and if Mickey Mouse is there you know it is an event not to miss. 

Christmas in Chicago is amazing; I miss it and have found that although the Midwest is cold they know how to celebrate like no other group of people.  I took it for granted that everyone decorated for holidays and everyone would eat, drink and be merry until the break of dawn because not all cities do.

So if you are living in the Chicago enjoy the Magnificent Mile and I will have to catch up when I am visiting next week.

Friday, November 18, 2011

National Game & Puzzle Week ~ November 18 - 24

Today kicks off the first day of National Game & Puzzle Week.  For me growing up in an area that had extreme weather games were a typical pass time.  Many of the members of my family were athletic and very competitive so when you couldn't play a sport or be running around outside you were playing Yatzee, Chess or Euker (just to name of a few.) 
I am surprised to find how many families do not play games with their kids.  Game night can be very inexpensive (as little as the cost for a deck of cards,) it is relatively easy to keep the kids attention, and it develops some wonderful memories.  To this day I cherish the memories of my Uncle and my Grandfather teasing me while we were playing cards; they would joke and kid around trying to beat a 6 year old at a game of War.  The next chapter of my life is filled with the giggles and laughter of my children as we played everything from boardgames to Back Alley ( a more complicated card game.)

Amazingly my daughter who had special needs was a very sophisticated card player.  She can hold her own in a game of Three Thirteen, which is also a more complicated card game that use many math and organizational skills.  Games are an excellent way to help your children grow and learn.  It builds confidence (when done right,) makes learning academic skills fun, teaches patients and how to take turns, along with so much more.  So drag out the Shoots and Ladders and have a great Friday Game Night and create some wonderful memories.

Here are some of my family's favorites (of course found in ETSY shops.)  Happy Gaming!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Why Does Snow Have To Be So Cold?


Since moving to California I have discovered just how much our life experiences mold the perspectives we have.  Everything is truly relative, even something so black and white as the outside temperature.  Living in California now and having grown up in the Wisconsin gives me a entirely different perspective than many.  First a little disclaimer: I know that there are people out there that truly love winter and the cold, so Koodos to those people but I happen to not be one.   I can't even tolerate a temperature below freezing and struggle with it when the temperatures dip below 70 degrees.

Although I dislike feeling cold, I had to laugh when I saw my fellow Californians running around in scarves, knit hats, puffer coats and Ug boots as soon as our "cold" weather started this month, a chilly (get this) 65 degrees.  I once thought that their choice in winter apparel was merely for fashion but as I have become more acclimated to this climate I realized that, yes, they are that cold.  

These cute little dolly sized boots and hat was found on ETSY shop PennyStitches at
 http://www.etsy.com/shop/pennysstitches?ref=seller_info
But more amusing to me is that these same people will tell me that they would love to live in the snow.  They go on to tell me how it is so beautiful and they like the cold weather and hate the heat, Really!?  At this point I wish for a teleporter so that for a brief 5 minutes I could zap them into downtown La Crosse Wisconsin to do some window shopping while it snows at 15 degrees F (an above average temperature for some months there.) 

I do think that the snow is beautiful to look at.  But as soon as I had to scrape off my car and shovel the driveway for a half hour just so I could get to work, the beauty wore a bit thin.  The funny thing is that when people, who never experienced the true cold, see a lovely winter wonderland on TV they think that it would be a Christmas miracle to have it snow here in Fresno.  Warm and toasty in their California homes they do not have any means to gauge just how chilly it has to get before the heavens can make those beautiful little crystals.
This beautiful photograph can be purchased from ETSY Shop TierraSky at http://www.etsy.com/shop/TierraSky?ref=seller_info
Alas, I will let them keep that dream and they can think that I am just over exaggerating about how cold it feels back home.  Because, I know that maybe someday they will be standing in a place like Chicago mid December and it will be picture perfect... snow gently cascades down upon their knit cap, a breeze stirs the freshly fallen blanket at their Ug covered feet... a winter as seen on TV ...

Then suddenly, they realize that their hands are freezing mercilessly through their gloves, the winds are picking up to bite at their red chapped nose, and it is at that point they will remember what I told them and think "what the #%@*!!! am I doing here?" Then they will run back to good ole Cali like we do every year after our Holiday visit.
This wonderful vintage newspaper insert was found on ETSY Shop FineOldThings at http://www.etsy.com/shop/fineoldthings?ref=seller_info
Happy snow to all and to all a frost bite, LOL ;)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Made In America - Christmas 2011

I found this on Christie Cottage a wonderful blog that I follow. I think that it is great that she reposted this and would love it if my followers would do the same. I feel a little silly to say that I never thought of some of the ways to "buy American" that is in this article. Best of all, some of these gift ideas would be greatly appreciated by my friends and family. I hope you have a beautiful day and get a chance to check out Christie's blog http://christiecottage.blogspot.com/

Christmas 2011 -- Birth of a New Tradition

As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods -- merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. This year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yes there is!
It's time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?

Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local American hair salon or barber?
Gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.
Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates.
Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plunking down the Benjamins on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.
There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants -- all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this isn't about big National chains -- this is about supporting your home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.
How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?
Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.
My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.
OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes.
Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip.
And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre. Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.
Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.
You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine.
THIS is the new American Christmas tradition.
Forward this to everyone on your mailing list -- post it to discussion groups -- throw up a post on Craigslist in the Rants and Raves section in your city -- send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations, and TV news departments. This is a revolution of caring about each other, and isn't that what Christmas is about?

Monday, November 7, 2011

My Family Tradition - Saint Nicholas Day

This beautiful German Postcard was found in ETSY shop FineArts8 at
http://www.etsy.com/shop/finearts8?ref=seller_info
Many family traditions are past down for so many years that the members often do not remember how they evolved.  My grandfather, born in Baden Baden, Germany arrived on Elise Island at age 8.  My great grandparent brought many Christmas traditions from Germany that our family practiced with great enthusiasm throughout my childhood. One of those traditions included celebrating Saint Nicholas and fortunately there is a wonderful story behind this tradition.  

The tradition of Saint Nicholas has many different origins and stories of how the Patron Saint became a celebrated figure by Christians world wide.  Nicholas was a fourth century saint that also had great wealth.  He is known for his many miracles and his great generosity and compassion. 
My first memories of this celebration was when I hung my father's large wool sock by the mantel and was told that a mysterious Saint would fill it with a surprise during the night.  My family story of St. Nicholas was that he was a Saint that would take care of the poor children of his time by leaving them things that they needed.  During his time many children were orphaned and had nothing, not even shoes to wear in the cold.  Each year, as the cold of winter drew nearer, he would go house to house selecting those of poor children and leaving them shoes wear.  But not only did he leave this wonderful gift of protection from the cold, he filled each shoe with nuts, fruit, coins and little toys.  If it wasn't for the Saint's generosity the children may not have survived the winter let alone received such novelty items as a toy.  He did this anonymously giving the gift an air of mystery and demonstrating true selflessness.
These amazing Antique German Shoes were found in ETSY shop Lookinglasshouse at
http://www.etsy.com/shop/lookinglasshouse?ref=seller_info
As years passed children would leave their shoes and stockings out by the hearth for the great Saint to fill.  Over time stories grew and families honored the Saint by carrying on the tradition in their own homes.  For hundreds of years, up to the current day, surprising family, friends and those in need with gifts during the winter months has been carried on springing from the generosity of one man.

This may not be the most popular or accurate story of Saint Nicholas but it is my favorite and one my family retold.  Many combine Saint Nicholas and Santa Clause together celebrating them on Christmas day but I enjoy celebrating these two figures separately.  I love the tradition of leaving our stockings out for the kindly Saint to fill with traditional treats building the excitement for Christmas Day.  My image of Nicholas is similar to the traditional Father Christmas, thinner, and less decorated.  The tradition in my family was to leave gifts of meaning rather than grandeur on Saint Nicholas Day.  
These wonderful digital images can be found in ETSY shop Nukes Artisans of LA at
http://www.etsy.com/shop/nukes?ref=seller_info
So as the days grow shorter and colder, we chose the weekend after Thanksgiving, tack up the biggest sock you can find with your children.  While they are fast asleep fill the stockings with inexpensive little treats such as chocolate coins, nuts to crack, candy canes, fruits, and little gifts.  We always placed the best treat in the toe.  Most of the little gifts we gave or received had sentimental value or meaning such as a bracelet made of charms holding family photos or even an item that you already have in your possession.  The best gift I received was a beloved hand painted necklace from Germany that had been in the family through generations.  I still can remember how I felt when I opened the little box and seen the pink rose on the delicate bell.  A family tradition will carry on strong if you give it meaning it doesn't have to be expensive.
This wonderful vintage postcard was found in ETSY shop Karodens at
http://www.etsy.com/shop/Karodens?ref=seller_info
Here are some great items that would be a wonderful addition to your celebrations.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Early Aromatherapy - Ornamental Pomander

One of the earliest uses of aromatherapy was as pomanders.  Pomanders were small apple shaped ornaments made up of resins, herbs and perfumes that were carried or worn in midevil times to repell illness or mask foul odors.  It was also used in religious ceramonies throughout history and many pendants and ornaments were used to carry the ball of fragrance. 

Over time many cultures created there own versions of a pomander some very expensive and scientific and others very basic and cheap.  One cheaper trational version was a hollowed out apple or orange filled with herbs and spices.  Slits or decorative holes pierced this ornament allowing the fragrance to excape the fruit.  Another method is one that I enjoyed creating as a kid.  We took oranges and other citrus fruits piercing the flesh with whole cloves making designs or covering it enirely.  At the top we added a ribbon loop fastened with a pin.  We would then dry the fruit in an area away from sunlight and then either hang it from our Christmas tree or would adorn the staircase or mantel with our handmade decorations.

While this method is a great decorative tradition I have really enjoyed using the more recent vintage ornaments available to encase the wonderful sachet mixes I have been creating.  Many room fresheners have chemicals and containers that you throw away, these little treasures are made with natural products and the reusable ornaments are enviromentally friendly. 


Found at http://www.etsy.com/listing/67615179/handmade-sachet-with-vintage-ceramic