Monday, December 20, 2010

"Recycle" Christmas Cards: How To Make Boxes!

Obviously, I love to keep hand-crafted cards to remember and inspire me, but what do I do with all the "other" cards I get at Christmas time? I re-purpose them into gift boxes!
Here is how to do it in 8 easy steps:
  1. Cut card in half along fold.
  2. Using back half of card first, fold so long edges meet in middle (important to do this step first)
  3. Open and fold short edges to meet in the middle.
  4. Open and cut edges from short edges to the first fold.
  5. Fold short "arms" into the inside of box.
  6. Fold top edges of larger tab over the short arms and tape down to inside of box. This creates the BOTTOM of the box.
  7. Repeat steps 1-6 for the TOP of the box using the front half of card, leaving a small space between edges when folding (this makes the top a bit bigger to fit over the bottom). Remember to keep the pretty side facing OUT when folding the box, so you can see the design!
  8. Fit box together, place gift inside and add ribbon!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Joy in the Mailbox

Truth be told, my favorite part of Christmas is getting the mail out of the mailbox! For the other eleven months of the year, there's not much to look forward to amongst the bills, credit card offers and mass-mailed advertisements. But during the holidays, people actually send real-live-honest-to-goodness-hand-signed-cards/letters, and what a treat it is! The whole family knows that it's Mom's prerogative to collect the mail, and to cross mom is risky business.

It's much better to hold a card in your hand than to get a message in your e-mail inbox that reads "So & So Sent You a Card". Really? That ranks right up there with a "Gift" on Facebook: completely, totally and utterly useless. What am I going to do with a virtual Ice Cream Cone? Sure there aren't any calories, but the sender didn't give any thought about what flavor I liked best or come with me to enjoy eating it together, which is what friendship is all about. Remember this, dear reader: The tangible will always trump the digitally simulated!

While I love hand-stamped cards the most, I do have a few criteria by which I judge exceptional holiday greetings:
  1. First and foremost...don't just send a picture of your kids! While I'm sure that your children are the most talented, adorable, brilliant creatures to walk this planet, what I want to see is YOU. The parents. My friends. If I'm being totally candid, I want to see if the effects of gravity are working on you as much as they are on me, but most of all, it's YOUR face I want to see and smile back at. 
  2. Give me the dirt, but not the dump truck. I revel in reading the report of your past year, but one page is plenty. More than a page is like being forced to eat a whole chocolate started out sweet and delicious, but by the end you want to throw up.
  3. To get the "Holy Grail" Merit of Christmas Greeting Cards (and get a place in the Christmas Album I keep from year to year), jot a personal note in your handwriting!
Before I continue, let me give a disclaimer: My own family has had an almost-20-year tradition of sending Thanksgiving cards. We would mass produce close to 180 hand-stamped cards early in the autumn, and getting them out FIRST seemed to remind people to return the greeting sometime during the ensuing holiday season. It also provided the perfect opportunity to express our gratitude for our friends and family, and it is certainly heart-felt appreciation. And occasionally, we don't have time to write a personal greeting in each, but sometimes we try.

Last year we decided that since our surname is "Spendlove", it would make sense to send VALENTINES! So we have switched to sending holiday greetings in February, and now our mailing list is MUCH smaller, as I don't feel the need to send someone a card who hasn't at least contacted me in the last year >:D 

Now we get to the good part: Let me share some of the first hand-crafted cards I've received from my awesome friends so far this season!! (I'm sharing those who have used at least one Stampin' Up! product and will post more on my Stampin' Up! Facebook page as they arrive). Hope you'll send me one of yours, too!
Clockwise from top left: From Suzie, Bobbie, Lacy, Leara and Shelli.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Cottage

Despite a busy schedule at the bookstore, I did find time to build a house! This cute little Christmas Cottage was made using the Stampin' Up! Decor Accents Design-a-House and the Candy Cane Christmas Designer Series Paper and some leftover batting for the snow covered roof:
It was really quite easy to make, and at $5.95 each, you could make a whole village! You could also make it into a cute Valentine decoration: "A House Filled with Love". After I finished this one, it was claimed by my daughter for her room. If you make one, send me a picture and I'll share it here on my blog!

P.S. You CAN still order Stampin' Up! online to be delivered by Christmas...all orders placed by December 15th will be picked and packaged in time for Christmas Eve Delivery! CLICK HERE to order.

Something To Read...

It's been crazy busy at the bookstore recently...which is why I've been absent for a few weeks.  It's like everyone looked at the calendar and said, "Holy Cow! Christmas is just around the corner! I better go shopping!"  So click below for a little Christmas shopping help from me (Deseret Book Friends & Family coupons are good through December 16th!)
Remember the Victorian Christmas Mantra..."Something they WANT, Something they NEED, Something to WEAR and Something to READ"
Here are my suggestions for the "Something to Read" part...(you can also check to see what I'm reading by becoming my friends on Goodreads or see my bookshelf in the left column).
Divine Signatures (and how fortunate that this is one of the coupons for you, too!). The true stories in this new book will touch your heart as you read about the evidence of God's hand in the lives of people just like you and me. If  you don't buy another book this year, this is the one you want! "In this unique book, Gerald N. Lund shows how having a correct idea of God's character, perfections, and attributes is essential to our ability to strengthen our faith and develop our testimony. He also reminds us of how much God loves His children and that He "delights" to bless us, especially when we are striving to do His will. As and example, Elder Lund introduces the idea of a "divine signature": "Sometimes blessings come in such an unusual manner and with such precise timing that they accomplish something in addition to blessing us. They so clearly confirm the reality of God's existence that they buoy us up in times of trials."

The Great & Terrible Series 
"This thrilling series by national bestselling author Chris Stewart takes us from the beginning of time to the final hours of the last days. Filled with rumors of wars and political intrigues, deadly epidemics and economic disasters, uplifting twists and inspiring miracles, the volumes in The Great and Terrible series reveal the greatest secret of all: The children of God can defeat the adversary, for we have fought him before." 
Of Pigs, Pearls & Prodigals: A Fresh Look at the Parables of Jesus This new book by John Bytheway is on my "To-Read" list. The thing that intrigues me the most about this book (besides the fact that John makes scripture study fun!) is that he includes a part for each parable that makes it relevant to my life today, which will enrich my study of the New Testament in 2011.

The Great Plan of Happiness: With fun illustrations, this book simply explains to children where they came from, why they're here on earth, and where they go after death.

HOW? Essential Skills for Living the Gospel If you were swimming in the ocean and discovered you were being pulled farther and farther away from land by a rip current, would you know how to get back to shore? There is a method - one that could save your life. Likewise, the authors of How? ask teenagers, "If you were caught up with friends in some activities you knew were wrong and you felt yourself being pulled away from the safety of the gospel shoe, caught up in a current of sin, would you know how to get beck?" Elder Russell M. Nelson said, "Once we ... understand the importance and meaning of a commandment, we need to learn how to do it." In this sequel to their bestselling book WHY?, John Hilton and Anthony Sweat answer more than 100 gospel questions, such as:

  • How Can I Increase My Faith in Jesus Christ

  • How Can I Know When I've Been Forgiven?

  • How Can I Know When the Holy Ghost Is Speaking to Me?

  • How Can I Stay Faithful When Life Is Hard?

  • How Can I Set Meaningful Personal Goals?

  • How Can I Find Answers In My Scriptures?

  • How Can I Resist and Overcome Pornography?

  • Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    Holiday Grab-n-Go Open House!

    Down "Santa Claus  Lane" (860 E 1050 S, Spanish Fork)
    Saturday, December 4th from 4-6 p.m.
    Monday, December 6th from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

    Drop in for some Cocoa and Christmas Creativity! Create a card to "dress up" your gift cards, stamp inserts for a "Simply Adorned" charm, see some incredibly fast and unique gift ideas, greeting cards, home decor projects and much more! Bring a friend or send your spouse (...I'll be Santa's Helper if you e-mail me your wishlist and his e-mail or cell phone number :)) No Charge!