Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas cactus and cherubs....

The Christmas cactus...

...started blooming weeks and weeks before Christmas

Long before the Christmas decorations were put up.

And it's still going strong.

The cherub planter and Christmas cactus are sharing the windowsill...

...with the Christmas decorations right now...

...but in a couple of days, when Christmas is packed away in bins, the planter will once again be the focal point in this little window, as it is eleven months out of the year.

I wonder if it will miss the Christmas decorations? Or if it prefers having the window all to itself...


Monday, December 28, 2009

bluebirds of happiness...

This year we made most of our presents in an effort to simplify and maybe save some money. I managed to size and crop some photos of one of my projects (being without a computer for a few days slowed me down a bit!)

A while back I saw a post on Brenda's beautiful blog, Cozy Little House, where she was making the prettiest birds in such beautiful, colorful fabrics! That project of hers immediately came to mind when I spotted this blue & white snowflake fabric at a junktique shop (and at only $1.00 for a couple of yards!). I decided to make each girl a "bluebird of happiness" as one of their homemade gifts and the snowflake fabric definitely fit the bill.

Now I am not a sewer or seamstress, so right off the bat I was off to a rocky start. The first bird, a prototype that I'm keeping, looked much more like a seal than a bird. And the next two, pictured above, came out much smaller than I expected (I forgot about that pesky seam allowance!)

After stuffing the birds, I attached a wing ornament to each. I purchased them several years ago but never got around to using them, so they came in handy for this project. I wrote the date and a little message to each girl on the underside of the wings.

I pressed sticky rhinestone eyes onto each bird (from my stash of craft supplies)...

...and finished them off with a vintage earring (again, from my stash) clipped onto the ornament ribbon around the throat.

To say these birds are a bit tipsy is an understatement. I hot glued a big flat button to their undersides, hoping it would keep them upright. And if you place them just so, they do stay upright...
So thanks for the inspiration, Brenda!! If I hadn't seen your fabric birds, I doubt that I would have thought to make these!
I'll share a few other homemade projects once I get pictures onto the computer!


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Panic button

Christmas Eve... After everyone was in bed, I went to my office to make a couple of last minute photo ornaments as gifts... Pressed the button to turn on my computer and.....................nothing. Dead. Kaput. Disconnected it. Reconnected it. Turned the power strip off... then on. Nothing. My little computer button, which no longer glowed blue when pressed, had become my panic button.

Who would have thought this little machine, that didn't even exist in my life until just over ten years ago, would have such control over me!

Then the Sex and the City episode where Carrie's computer died popped into my head... Everyone kept asking her if she had backed up her work... Of course, she hadn't..... Ditto for me.

All I could imagine was that everything on my hard drive was gone. All my photos (of the girls, family, our pets).. All my business related work... All my tax records... Oh my gosh, did panic set in. So today, the day after Christmas, the second busiest store day of the year, we lugged the computer tower into Best Buy and hoped for the best...

The bad news: the power supply was definitely shot.

The good news: it could be replaced and, most importantly, nothing was lost.

Lesson Learned: I coughed up $89 above and beyond the repair bill for an external hard drive and I will start backing up my files!

Hoping you all had wonderful Christmases!!!

And I'm glad some of you enjoyed my Night Before Christmas collection/obsession. I'm going to be on the lookout for the Grandma Moses version! And I agree, there are lots of cats -and dogs - in the illustrated editions I have!


Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Night Before Christmas... my collection (obsession)

Bobbi, send me your email address so I can forward you the information you requested!

I have a serious problem. I can't resist a beautifully illustrated copy of The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore. I open the cover and then get lost in the illustrations, all as varied as the individual artists who created them.

(click any photos to enlarge)
I've gotten some of my books on-line, some at used & new bookstores, and some at thrift & junktique stores. In this post I'll share some of my books, along with the illustrator's name and original copyright date (just in case you fall in love with a particular version and want to hunt down your own copy!) I'll just show you the covers first - then if you're interested in reading further, I'll include sample pages from each book so you get a feel for the beautiful pictures waiting to be discovered inside!

Beginning with the oldest:

"An Exact Reprint of an Early Edition," no copyright or illustrator listed.

Arthur Rackham version, copyright 1931

Eleanora Madsen, copyright 1940

Corinne Malvern, copyright 1949

Elizabeth Webbe, copyright 1950

Gyo Fujikawa, copyright 1961

Nino Carbe, copyright 1964

Tomie dePaola, copyright 1980
(one of my all time favorite children's book authors/illustrators who we got to meet at a booksigning last year... great memories of reading his books to my girls when they were little)

Greg & Tim Hilderbrandt, copyright 1981

Cyndy Szekeres, copyright 1982
(as you can see, I own a mini book, a softcover and a hardback of this version - it's too cute for words!!)

James Marshall, copyright 1985
(a favorite - I read lots of James Marshall books to my girls when they were little!)

Cheryl Harness, copyright 1989

James Rice, copyright 1989

John Steven Gurney, copyright 1989

Jane Chambless, copyright 1991

Christian Birmingham, copyright 1995

Bruce Whatley, copyright 1999

Matt Tavares, copyright 2002

Susann Ferris Jones, copyright 2005 (written by Henry Beard, created by John Boswell)
Normally I only purchase the Clement C. Moore version of The Night Before Christmas, but I couldn't resist the illustrations in this one!

Tom Newsom, copyright 2008

Okay, now that I've shared the covers of these beautiful books, I'll let you take a peek inside to see the magic that these artists have created while bringing this poem to life! Again, starting with the earliest and working our way forward:

From "An Exact Reprint of An Early Edition":

From the 1931 Arthur Rackham version:

From the Eleanora Madsen 1940 version:

From the 1949 Corinne Malvern version:

From the 1950 Elizabeth Webbe version:

From the 1960 Gyo Fujikawa version:

From the 1964 Nino Carbe version:

From the 1980 Tomie dePaola version:

From the 1981 Greg & Tim Hilderbrandt version:

From the 1982 Cyndy Szekeres version:

From the 1985 James Marshall version:

From the 1989 Cheryl Harness version:
The amount of detail in this version is incredible!

From the 1989 James Rice version:

From the 1989 John Steven Gurney version:

From the 1991 Jane Chambless version:

From the 1995 Christian Birmingham version:

From the 1999 Bruce Whatley version:

From the 2002 Matt Tavares version:

From the 2005 Cat's Night Before Christmas version:

From the 2008 Tom Newsom version:

So that concludes this year's installment of my collection!!
If you're not all "Twas the night before Christmas'd" out, I shared even more of my collection last December in this post (now you can see why I called it my obsession!!)

Reading this poem has been a part of our Christmas Eve's since the girls were babies. First with me reading it to them, and then as they got older, all of us taking turns reading it. And as the girls have grown, so has my collection! So if you're in the market for a copy of this book, I hope you spotted a version that really spoke to you!!

"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"