December 5, St. Nicholas Eve and a Bedtime Story

Advent Calendar - December 5th,  St. Nicholas Eve.

Today is a perfect time to share one of my favorite childhood books, Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates by Mary Mapes Dodge. The story takes place in Holland, a country that begins celebrating the Feast of St. Nicholas in mid November!

St Nicholas Cookies and Gingerbread Houses

The Feast of St. Nicholas is almost upon us!  And again, I am trying out new cookies from this collection of St. Nicholas Cookies!

You will want to visit The St. Nicholas Center and you may want to check out what cookies I made from the cookie collection last year!

But before revealing which cookies I baked this year, I wanted to share a couple tips.

December 1! Winter Holidays begin!

December begins!

Because some of you are curious about the images behind the windows and doors on my new Advent calendar, I have decided to share a few of them as they are opened!

And of course I have the first ornament  - the beaded star  -  on my Christmas tree count down calendar.

Cyber Holiday Shopping at Home Based Small Businesses.

Are you making gifts for the holidays this year?  I know many people are - including me!  

However, if you aren't feeling all that crafty this year, or you still have gapping holes on your gift list and you are allergic to busy malls, or you want to support small, home based businesses with your gift purchases this year  -


We will begin with unique, small home based businesses with on line shops:

A chocolate house?!  Yes!  Can you imagine the look on any child's face when you give them a totally edible CHOCOLATE house!

If you read no further - be SURE to follow this link to see the chocolate house kit by Chocolate Craft Kits!  Peggy just shipped one to my grandson as a gift from Diane and me!!!

Peggy, a trained pastry chef, is currently remodeling an old doll house in Portland to serve as a workshop!  You will be hearing more later.  I am so excited about her plans I can't stand it!

Know anyone on that list who is a confirmed hot sauce addict?  Or would swoon over a jar of Margarita Marmalade? Or who would love a beautiful 10" Pequin Ristra wreath? Or collects out of the ordinary cookbooks?

Visit New Mexico the easy way by dropping by Chimayo To Go.  Terry and Mary Cordes will see to it that "Alexander the shipping cat" gets your order out the door and on it's way!  Terry and Mary have been supporting small New Mexico businesses with their in home mail order shop for over 10 years!

Take a short break and pop over to Mark J Music to sample keyboard magic produced in his very own studio!  Christmas Joy is my absolute favorite Christmas CD.  I don't care how bad is was at the mall - this one CD will lift even the most dampened spirit!

If you live in Portland, check out the schedule page on Mark's site.  What better gift to yourself than taking your BFF out for lunch or happy hour snacks and listening to Mark weave his magic?

If you know a child who will no doubt be loosing teeth this coming year, why not let Christina custom design their very own Tooth Fairy Doll!  

Christina has been making these dolls for her own children and her friends children for years!  This is the first year she has made them available to the rest of us!  What I love the most is that you can customize your doll to match favorite colors or special interests.

Mineral of the Month Club!
  I kid you not! It's true!  Richard and Cheryl Sittinger have been mailing out hundred of specimens every month for over 10 years!  With over 600 members, they still manage the whole thing from home!

If you have an enthusiastic rock collector on your list - young or not so young - a gift membership would give them something fun to look forward to every month of the year!  We have been members for years and never cease to get excited when that little box arrives in the mail!

Now for some Crafty Goodness to be found in On-line Shops!

Long Legged Fly  :  See where Hope's new found passion has taken her! And all proceeds go to her favorite charities!  I own two trilobites!!

The Bellwether  :  Amelia's handspuns are the perfect choice for your favorite knitter.

Kitty Grrlz  :  More handspun goodness!  Oh the colorful bounty here!

  :  Even more handspun!  Or perhaps a gift certificate for one of her kits!

Lucie Wicker Photography 
:  Share Lucie's fabulous photography as cards, coasters, notebooks.  Or a 2010 desk calendar!

Cathy of California  :  Flower Loom Kits perfect for children  - from ages 10 to 99!

Spoonflower  :  Kim and Stephen work tirelessly to support home based fabric designers - why not put together a packet of unique fat quarters for your favorite quilter!  Go to Shop and click on the fabric image!

Sew Mama Sew :  More great fabrics in already made up packets of fat quarters and charms.

Eyesaflame  Etsy Shop  :  Island Breeze earrings or Red Planet earrings.  One of a kind! Don't wait!

Happy Owl Glassworks  :  Oh my!  Just look at those Owl Christmas ornaments. Not an owl fan - check out this page!

Felting by sqrl*Bee Studio  :  Make haste to score one of Melissa's clever felties!

And just in case you are feeling just a LITTLE crafty

Louise Elliott Dolls and Animal Kits :  Kits include the pattern already printed on gorgeous fabric!  I am going to gift MYSELF with one of these!

Funky Friends Factory
  ;  Purchase instantly downloadable e-patterns - and make one of these charming creatures using a Spoonflower fabric!

Books, Books, and more Crafty Books!

Bugs in a Blanket by Beatrice Alemaga :  Charming story and fabulous, witty illustrations!  Perfect book for a family! Perfect book for me! Perfect book for you!

Kanzashi in Bloom  by Diane Gilleland 
:  Signed copy includes a kit to make up to four flowers!  (While supply lasts!)

Pioneer Woman Cooks by our much loved Pioneer Woman!  :  It is finally here!  Perfect for every cook on your list!

Bead Simple by Susan Beal:  Beautifully illustrated, simple projects for every avid bead enthusiast on your list!

The Embroiderer's Handbook by Margie Bauer  :  Perfect stitch guide for every embroidery buff!

The New Crewel: Exquisite Designs in Contemporary Embroidery by  Katherine Shaughnessy
  :  Everyone on your list who embroiders will swoon over this one!

 Ratio by Michael Ruhlman
:  Give your DIY cook the foundation for creating their own recipes!

Knitting the Threads of Time: Casting Back to the Heart of Our Craft by Nora Murphy : a lovely tale of women connected over centuries through making.

The Complete Guide to Wire and Bead Jewelry by Linda Jones
  :  Read Diane's review here!

Happy Cyber Monday everyone!



Make Candles for Advent

Next Sunday, November 29th is the first Sunday of Advent .  And this is the wreath I will be using to celebrate the season.

For those of you unfamiliar with the meaning of the Advent season, or who may want to know a little more about the history of Advent wreaths and calendars, check out Advent and the Wreath.

The symbols on each candle are designed to remind us :

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