Saturday, July 31, 2010

Christmas In July - Day 31 : A fun finale...

Well the end of the month is finally here...but this month has been wonderful to explore and learn and share all things Christmas.

So to wrap up I am going to share a couple pix from my last trip home for Christmas 2008 - yes I live in hot and sweltering South Florida, but I am originally from Chicago and when I am there, you wouldn't know I've lived most of my life in Florida, except for a little southern twang "ya'all".

Last trip - Chicago was blanketed with 2 feet of fresh snow and my husband and I built this wonky snowman. In all of our holiday trips {10 so far}, this was the first time he'd ever built one - he's a Florida baby. Only one other trip there was more than an inch on the ground, but I was coming down with a cold and my Grandmother banished me to watch the 3 generation snowball through the picture window.

This snowy scene has to be one of my favorite pictures taken from my iPhone.

Here frosty was the next morning - the weather had warmed up & a funny thing: the birds and squirrels didn't eat the sugar ball cookies we used for eyes - there made with nuts!

I hope everyone enjoyed my Christmas extravanganza and I thank you all for visiting and sharing. I leave you with one thing I learned strolling the decorated streets of downtown Chicago..."You better watch out, you never know when Christmas Good and Evil will sneak up on you..."

Have a great summer crafting up handmade holiday goodies! I have lots of new things to make and I want to learn to crochet those cute ornaments I featured a couple weeks back...Sb

Friday, July 30, 2010

Celebrating Christmas Every Day!

Welcome to Christmas, Florida...

Photo from website

Christmas, Florida

Christmas is a small, rural community in East Orange County, east of Orlando and west of Titusville. The town's name was established from the community that was originally called Fort Christmas, named accordingly for the day the fort was built on December 27, 1837. The "Fort" was dropped when the post office opened in 1892.

Population: 1,162 (US Census 2000)


"Welcome to Christmas, Florida! Did you know there‘s a town in Florida named Christmas? Yep, it’s down there about halfway between Orlando and the Atlantic Ocean. How did Christmas, Florida get its name? Soldiers fighting with the Seminole Indians built a fort there in 1837. They named it Christmas because they started building it on Christmas Day. The fort was built in three days and abandoned three months later.

Photo from website

Christmas, Florida has a tiny, but very busy post office. People all over the country send in stacks of mail at Christmastime. They want to get the “Chirstmas, Florida” postmark on their Christmas mail! Plus, lots of kids send their letters to Santa to Christmas, Florida. Did they forget about the North Pole????

Photo from website

Photo from website

Christmas also has a permanent Christmas Tree. This 35 foot tree is decorated year-round. Christmas, Florida has the Christmas spirit every day of the year!"
Christmas, Florida information quoted above is from book
entitled "The Most Amazing Book of Florida Christmas Trivia"
by Carole Marsh.

On December 25, 1837, a force of 2,000 U.S. Army Soldiers and Alabama Volunteers arrived near this spot to construct a fort which was aptly named, Fort Christmas. This fort was only one of over 200 forts built during the Second Seminole Indian War, 1835 - 1842. The fort houses exhibits and a video presentation on the Seminole Indian Wars. Photo from Fort Christmas Historical Park website.

and...Upon further research there is one other claim to fame
for this Jolly ole' town ...

Christmas, FL is Home to the World's Largest Alligator!

Photo from

"SWAMPY" is big -- big enough to contain the gift shop, ticket counter and offices of Jungle Adventures, in the holiday season-themed town of Christmas, Florida. How long exactly is Swampy? "Pretty damn long!" an absentee manager's voice blares from the phone at the cashier's station, as employees scurry to protect their supremacy claim from a rival gator in Kissimmee. So COOL!

There's just one more day of Christmas in July...see you tomorrow : ) Sb


Today's post I am posting a projects that I have made for gifts. These are pretty gift boxes decorated up with pretty scrapbook paper and sheets of coordinating die-cut floral embellishments that are layered with 3-D pop dots. Makes a great home for earrings or gift card holder...and the best part, the box is part of the gift.

Inside I put a message in this one...

These just started out as blank white boxes with a magnetic closure...with a little creative love, ribbon and bling...something beautiful to enclose a gift.

Thanks for visiting...hope you have a crafty day!Sb


Shrink Plastic Stamped Ornament...

I've been making ornaments for my Grandmother to give as gifts to her painting students for several years now. I've made quilled snowflakes, paper origami ornaments, decorated cookie cutters, the magnet reindeers, the clear glass balls and a few more I can't recall right now. I'll have to get photos of them all when I go home and visit my Grandmother this Christmas. She puts all my handmade creations on her tree - even one's we made when I was growing up. My mom always had us making stuff for the holidays. I know she has some super cute felt gingerbread ornaments, and pretty beaded snowflakes and wreath ornaments.

For today I am sharing one of my favorite {and most challenging} creations working with shrink plastic. Who doesn't recall when they were kids and between the batches of home-baked cookies painting Snoopy and other fun "Shrinky-Dink" ornaments. I know I have a couple I snagged off my Mom out of her Christmas Stash.

This was made with a Stampington Santa Collage image stamped onto the shrink plastic, and I colored with markers and Prismacolor colored pencils on the back before baking. They are only about 2" square, but so beautiful. Especially with the twinkle lights on the tree reflecting through them. I finished them of with a border and hanger made from icicle blue fun fur.

These took a long time to make with all the hand-coloring, but the Santa's have a hand-painted look and the depth of the layers and pencil marks are retained - this was a surprise.

Have a great day! Sb

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Be the Belle of the Ball with BellaBeadJewelry

EtsyTwitter Team - Shop of the Week

Fine Silver and Lampwork Glass Bracelet

Our Etsy Shop of the Week is bellabeadjewelry, where you can find handcrafted beads, findings, and even completed jewelry made from them! They are created by proprietor, Linda Lawrence. Her art and the the Etsy shop in which she sells it, are only one of the creative sides to her life. During the day, Linda is an art teacher in a local elementary school and, as she puts it, she "plays with fire by night!"

Linda has been making glass beads and jewelry for several years. She finds it interesting and challenging because there is always something to learn and improve upon when working with glass beadmaking. Many things inspire Linda in her creations; in fact, anything that catches her eye could possibly spark an idea for a bead or jewelry design. Linda adds, "the students I teach are a huge influence on me. I adore children. They are not complicated and are so free and open generally". Linda has a very personal feel about her work and says "the love that I have for making my glass baubles comes through each piece. I want my customers to enjoy it as much as I did creating it!"

Linda's main goals for her Etsy shop are to work smarter, try new things, and keep bellabeadjewelry stocked. Her take on it? "Its hard juggling it all but I believe good planning is key!" Tweeting must be hard for Linda to work into her busy schedule, but she uses Twitter to entice her followers into "popping over to my shop, blog or visit our shop of the week". Linda feels her greatest tools are her blog (to direct people to my etsy shop) and her newsletter.

Textured Lampwork Glass Disk Beads
bellabeadjewelry is offering a
15% discount
for the week of July 26, 2010
Please visit bellabeadjewelry!

Written by Judy of Wellspring Creations

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Christmas in July - Day 27: Did You Know???

These Fun Facts about Holiday Ornaments...

Photo from

The earliest ornaments for sale in stores were flat lead stars, crosses, butterflies and diamonds. They were popular in the U. S. between 1870 and 1890. The first blown-glass ornaments were sold in America. They were not the thin bubbles we see today, but very thick.

Photo from

Other early ornaments included flying angels and animals made of wax. Angels had cardboard wings and their clothes were made from tinsel and ribbon.

Photo from

In 1875, Celluloid ornaments were popular, even though they were a fire hazard. These included soldier, doll and birdhouse ornaments.

Celluloid Santa Clause. 10” high. Stamped on carton base “Japan”.
Celluloid face, papier mache limbs. Stuffed torso, cotton clothing, wool beard. Credit: Garth’s Auctions.

In 1880, Frank Woolworth reluctantly decided to sell ornaments in his 14 Woolworth’s stores. Little did he know that before long he would be ordering 200,000 ornaments each year!

Photo from

Other ornaments to appear next included: gold and silver camels, pianos and sailboats; big, fluffy, cotton-stuffed Santas and angels; glass bead stars; Japanese lanterns and parasols; hand-blown glass fruit, vegetables, fish and storybook characters.

In 1892, Christmas-tree hooks were invented! WOW!

In 1910, Sears added ornaments to its mail-order catalog.

It was 1918 before American companies began to make ornaments. They did so because of World War l; the U.S. would not accept German goods.

Photo from

The first silver foil icicles were very popular in 1878. Americans would be the first to make some that would not tarnish. In 1960, they were no longer made from lead; manufacturers switched to mylar because of the danger of lead poisoning. The first “angel hair” appeared in 1880; tinsel garlands in the 1890s.

Facts are from book entitled "The Most Amazing Book of Florida Christmas Trivia" by Carole Marsh.

We're still celebrating Christmas until the end of the month. Hope you are hanging in there...the best is yet to come : ) Sb

Monday, July 26, 2010


In the home stretch...this is the last week of July. Today's post features one of my favorite cards I have made, this lovable snowman!

This hand-stamped, hand-colored original features a layered snowman with an embossed red heart & corn-cob nose on top of a hand-painted blue paper that is overstamped with a snow-flurry flourish. Just shows how fancy you can turn something ordinary into when you dump out all the toys in your toybox and PLAY.

I hope my dear friend who received this card in my S.U.S.S. card swap group loves him. It was very hard to mail him away.

This card can be reproduced for custom orders and in multiples - please e-mail me at **mail at sbartist dot com** for more info.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Merry Christmas in July!

Today is July 25th - Christmas in July. I have found so many new favorite shops and blogs in the webosphere to make these holiday posts, to mix things up with posting a few of my own crafty projects.

Today I am reminiscing and looking through old photos of Christmas' past...the one I am sharing is last Christmas I shared with my Dad, who passed on just over two summers back. His wife has a lovely ceramic holiday village, almost fills the whole living room floor. But the centerpiece was definitely the meal.

My Dad, Ralph Vincent Novak, was a fellow artisan, a glass blower, a painter and craftsman who worked for over 20 years travelling on the art show circuit. But he had a second love...he was KING in the kitchen. He loved to cook and even loved to eat more.

And his specialty was homemade meatballs, sausage and sauce {he would make his own pasta, too, but this day he did not have the patience for it}. I am lucky that not only was I passed down the artistic gene, but also the knack for cooking.

His loving wife Betty also had a downhome Alabama specialty "Sausage Cheese Loaf". One of these days I will see if she'll give me this recipe.

It looks like a mess, but I promise you it is so YUMMY and can't stop with just one slice.

The one thing I will pass on today is this: take time doing those special things with your family during the holidays - those handmade traditions that you will pass on to your children. These are the things that you will cherish and remember always. Sb

Unwind with Crochetgal...

EtsyTwitter Team's Shop of the Week!

Crocheted Lace Butterfly Shawl, alpaca and silk
The EtsyTwitter Team's shop of the week is crochetgal which not only offers crocheted wearable art and specialty yarns, but also display mannequins. Valerie, the crochet talent and proprietor, also sells handcrafted soap dishes made in her family's woodshop!

Pineapple Lace Crocheted Shawl, Perplexed, bamboo and silk
"Perplexed" is a beautiful crocheted lace shawl that was inspired by the old fashioned pineapple.... a pattern that never ages. The detail in this design is amazing!

Valerie is the sole designer and creator of crochetgal's crocheted offerings. She crochets each item with meticulous detail and is equally committed to customer service. She is inspired by "almost anything" she says, "from an interesting piece of material to a shape to a color". Valerie loves the flexibility and change possible with her craft as she explores various methods in detail. She says, "Right now I'm in my 'exploded lace' period with the crochet and have been there for about 3 years, but I see that direction changing within the next 2 years."

Valerie takes her business very seriously by setting both short and long-term goals. Initially, she defined a 5-year plan to make the business 'work' and provide an income. Her next 2-year plan was to double the size of the business. Her current 2-year plan is to double the volume of each year's business over the previous year. "It's ambitious, but without a goal in mind, a business cannot flourish."

A great deal of energy is spent during the Winter shows. She spends her summer planning her strategy...and relaxing while she can! In her spare moments she likes to tweet. Her emphasis is to interact with other people using Twitter, rather than posting continuous links.

Life sized mannequin head with pierced ears
Wooden Soap Dish / Soap Deck -  3 pack
Check these out!! Available in a pack of three...One for your kitchen, one for your bathroom sink and one for your tub or shower. These soap decks are a great gift idea & I need some of these...

crochetgal is celebrating
Christmas in July with
20% off all shawls
20% off a wide range of yarns,
(some yarns are net 65% off reg retail price!)
Etsy shop -
Confessions of a Yarnaholic Blog -
Twitter -

Christmas in July - Day 24

The final "Piece de resistance" in the series of Stacking Boxes is Mrs. Claus. Complete with wire-rim glasses and fresh out of the kitchen baking holiday cookies. It is so amazing what can be made with the array of craft supplies and patterned papers we have at our disposal - the possibilities are endless!

One of my favorite crafty stores is the Dollar Tree. It is an endless supplies begging for transformation. I scored a dozen santa hats made from a felted plaid fabric, which made Mrs. Claus' bonnet so perfectly...and the leftover fur rims were saved for another project I will share in a day or so.

Mrs. Claus is adorned with apron,
too and a red bow tying it off in the back.

Hope you enjoyed this post! Have a great weekend : ) Sb

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Christmas in July - Day 23

Vintage Christmas - Cards

Today I'm sharing with you an blog except from a friend of mine on the EtsyTwitter Team JusSharDesigns that she shared last holiday season. Some real down-home vintage crafty projects. Please visit her blog with more of these vintage posts here.

"I have a lovely old book (McCall's Giant Golden Make-It Book) from 1953 that is full of fun, vintage crafts. I thought with the holidays coming on, I'd share my favorite Christmas one's with you. Click on each photo to enlarge it, and print it."

Have a crafty day!
: ) Sb

Friday, July 23, 2010

Christmas in July - Day 22

I was searching for Santa's, but I found him AND a couple of his friends...old and NEW!

From July 15th, through July 25th Etsy is promoting Etsy shops offering Christmas in July promotions. Please check out these and many other fantastic handmade items at Etsy by using search keywords ChristmasInJuly or CIJ.

Please click on the photo to go to the item link in Etsy.

Elf Jingle Bell Buddy Polymer Clay Christmas Ornament - Free Personalization
Collect them all!! These Jingle Bell Buddies by LyonsDenCreations are created using a jingle bell as their bellies...featuring Santa Claus, Elves, Gingerbread, Snowmen, and Penguins. Want another special character custom made? Feel free to convo LyonsDenCreations with your request!

Vintage Cute Ugly Huggin Reindeer Wood Figurine
These little guys from FunkyJunkyVintage at Etsy were too much to not feature here. I love their wide-eyed gaze, like, yipes, there's a Grizzly! I think they're reindeer? Without the red nose & their antlers haven't grown in yet...

Needle Felted Santa Ornament
A very unique gift any time of the year by JaniceCordeiro. This needle felted soft sculpture Santa is a great additions to your holiday decoration collection. All wool - beautiful!

Purple Spider Tree Ornament/Pendant
I LOVE PURPLE so naturally, I picked this! Spiders in your Christmas tree? Of course! Many believe a spider in your tree is good luck! And this purple and black spider is one of the nicest spiders you could wish for! This spider by sandijagt at Etsy would also make an interesting pendant or decoration for Hallowe'en!

Snow Lady Folk Art Ornament
RhondasOriginals has taken a glass jar and upcycled it with antique-look buttons, fluffy white feathers, pearls, dried rosebuds, a coffee stained crochet "hat", a porcelain rose necklace, and antique paper book page scraps from the 19th century. She has Metallic chenille arms and tiny bells will jingle when the doll is moved. A Ms. Frosty is born.

What are you doing this Christmas in July weekend? Anything Crafty???
See you tomorrow : ) Sb

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Christmas In July - Day 21

Wow! Only 10 days left in the month...where did it go?

Here's today's crafty project...A hanging Holiday Trio made from blank approx. 4" x 6" premade white chipboard blanks, some pretty papers, ribbons and binder rings to join the pieces together.

All of this is very basic paper piecing and is a great project to make with kids and make a real nice gift to be enjoyed for years to come. A great variation would be to recycle the images from christmas cards...

Santa's head on top...

His belt and holly berries in the middle...

and a folky-fun star on a festive green background.

This is the backside panels decorated simply & spelling out "JOY". This can be hung and viewed from both sides. Feel free to comment and share what crafty Christmas decorations you are making this summer. See you tomorrow : ) Sb
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