Category Archives: Christmas

Waiting for Christmas

Waiting for Christmas: A Childhood Memory and Christmas Gift for My Friends

Hello, Friends!  Christmas week is here…and the whole world is waiting for Christmas!  It’s been such a busy year here in the studio.  We’ve had lots of crafty adventures together, told stories, and shared our thoughts with one another.  What a blessing this blog has been to me…and I hope to you as well.

We are all probably in the middle of last minute holiday preparations…wrapping presents, baking cookies, putting the finishing touches on all the things that make Christmas such a special time. We are busy, and perhaps even frazzled.  So I thought I would invite you to slow down for a moment and breathe.  So go grab a cuppa and a snack as I share one of my very favorite Christmas memories of waiting for Christmas with you.

Winter on the Hill

You’ve heard me talk many times about growing up “on the hill” in rural Vermont during the 50’s and 60’s.  The picture attached to this post is the house I grew up in. I can  remember trudging up that hill, the snow squeaking beneath my boots.  Although wrapped up in layers of warm clothes, the icy cold still managed to sneak in and chill the bones.  Eyes watered in the frigid air, and clouds of vapor appeared with every breath I took as I carried school books and lunch box up the hill.

About half way up, the yeasty aroma of Mom’s homemade bread or hamburger soup would tickle my nostrils.  This always made me walk a little bit faster, knowing that warmth and good food were waiting for me at the top. Stamp the snow off your feet before you open the door, please. Take off your boots and put them on the  mat so they don’t make salty puddles on Mom’s freshly mopped floor.  Hang up your coat, hat, mittens and scarf so they’ll be dry the next time you have to go out.  And now you can grab a thick slice of that heavenly bread, slather it with margarine (no butter in our house) brew a cup of tea and take the chill off.

Giddy Anticipation

Most of the families who lived in and around our tiny town worked in the granite industry. The quarries operated year-round, regardless of the weather. I can still picture the men walking down the hill with their hard hats and lunch boxes in tow.  Some worked in “the hole”, some ran the huge derricks that lifted the massive blocks of granite out of the quarry. The “sheds” used diamond tipped blades to cut the stone into huge slabs. There were other sheds where the slabs were fashioned into beautiful headstones and monuments.  A few men….like my dad…worked in the office.

Christmas Day was a paid holiday, and the men got a half day off for Christmas Eve.  This is when the company handed out a cash Christmas bonus along with a turkey for the family to enjoy.  When the noon whistle blew, we knew my dad would leave work, get in the car and drive to town to do his Christmas shopping.

We were fairly giddy with excitement and anticipation at this point, We must have driven my mom to distraction with all our attempts to snitch a bit of her cookie dough or shake the presents under the tree.

It was a small house, and we were a big family.  There was no heat in the upstairs rooms except for the warmth that managed to drift up there through the grates that were installed in the ceiling. So we basically lived in the kitchen and the living room during those cold winter months.  Inevitably, our antics drove mom to pronounce, “That’s it!  Bundle up and go play outside!”

Waiting for Christmas…a Green Christmas

This was usually a punishment that we could live with.  But the Christmas of 1969 was a rare “green” Christmas.  We had no snow.  Which meant no sledding, no snow forts, no snowball fights, no making a snowman.  Although the trees were bare and the air was cold, there was no blanket of snow to cover the green grass.  It just didn’t seem like Christmas.

It begins to get dark around 3:30 in the afternoon in December, and that’s when the street lights would come on.  We had one half way up the hill, and another at the top near our house. When they flickered on, we trudged into the house, somewhat more subdued after romping around in the yard.

Inside the warm house, we watched out the window for the flicker of the headlights on Dad’s car.  If he didn’t get home from his shopping soon, we would burst with the agony of anticipation!  Finally, we saw him come round the curve and we squealed with excitement!  Dad was bringing Christmas home in the trunk of that car.

“Go upstairs and get dressed for church while I help your father carry things in, ” was Mom’s next directive.  And we scurried up the stairs, our ears attentive to the rustling sound of packages being carried in.

Candlelight Service

Every Christmas Eve we attended services at the Presbyterian church “down in Lower Graniteville.” The simple white structure was about a mile from our house.  Every Christmas Eve they held a candlelight service.  The ladies of the church decked it out in Christmas greenery, and it smelled like the piney woods.

As we walked from the parking lot to the front door of the church, it didn’t seem like Christmas Eve.  No snow.  Green grass. Bare sidewalks. We were handed  a small white candle poked through a paper circle to catch the drip of candle wax along with the bulletin as we entered the nave.

We sang the beautiful Christmas hymns, endured the pastor’s mercifully short re-telling of the Christmas story from the book of Luke,  And then the magical moment arrived at the end of the service.  The ushers turned out the lights and lit one candle at the end of each front pew.  Then we passed the light from candle to candle until the whole sanctuary glowed with the golden light while we sang “Silent Night, Holy Night…all is calm, all is bright.”  Jesus, the Light of the World, filled my heart with joy and my eyes with tears.  It was a holy, hushed moment I will treasure all my life.

Then down into the church basement to watch “The Night Before Christmas” movie, eat a sugar cookie and take home a popcorn ball that the church ladies lovingly made for each child in the congregation.

Let it Snow…and snow and snow and snow!

The ushers opened the front doors of the church, and to our amazement…the grass was covered in white!  Snow was swirling everywhere, coming down hard and fast.  We drove back up the hill, and my father said, “I think we are in for an old fashioned blizzard.”

And he was right.  It snowed while we opened our presents and continued to snow all that night. When we woke up to open our stockings on Christmas Day, it was still snowing. And it snowed all day long and into the night. By the next morning, there was so much snow that no one could get up the hill.  Even the snowplows were silent.  It snowed and snowed and snowed and snowed, and by the time the storm passed over, we had more than 3 feet of snow on the ground!

Even the quarry was shut down!  So Dad did not have to go back into work the day after Christmas!  We played games and munched on the treats from our stockings and enjoyed being snowed in.  This was a magical Christmas that I will never forget.

It was also the very last Christmas that Dad was with us.  In the spring of 1970, he suffered a fatal heart attack.  So that snowy extended holiday with him was a gift from Heaven.  We didn’t know it at the time, of course, but looking back, I think maybe God sent that big storm to snow us in and give us extra time together as a family so we would have the warmth and joy of that last Christmas to carry in our hearts forever.

As you are waiting for Christmas, you might enjoy seeing some of my past winter projects to get you in the proper frame of mind.

Your cuppa is probably needing a refill by now, so I will close.  I wish every one of you a memorable, joyful, light-filled, love-filled, hope-filled Christmas.

Thanks for stopping by!

Cheerio,

kathy

 

 

 

Spellbinders Winter Garden Dies 3 Ways

Spellbinders Winter Garden Dies 3 Ways for Day 1 of Christmas in July

Hello, Friends!  Bundle up, put on your mittens and come for a stroll through Spellbinders Winter Garden Dies with me.  Yes, it’s the first day of Christmas in July here at Kathy by Design.  I know, I know…we’re all still wearing our flip flops, drinking iced tea and wearing Bermuda shorts.  But as fast as this year is going by, I thought we’d better get a head start on our Christmas crafting.

With shipping delay issues, handmade gifts are the way to go this year!  The remainder of this month (and into August and even September as my ordered supplies come in) I’ll be sharing some fun ideas for cards, folios, banners, gifts and tags.

Today’s post features 3 lovely Susan’s Winter Garden dies used in 3 different ways.  I’ve put together a little video tour with tips for you as well as a tutorial for creating a 5×7 double gatefold card base.  Are you ready to get your Christmas craft on?  Then let’s get started!

Spellbinders Winter Garden Dies Project #1: Carta Bella Christmas Rustic Ice Skate Card

Carta Bella Christmas Spellbinders Susan's Garden Skate, Christmas Rose, Evergreen Foliage by Kathy Clement Kathy by Design

Here’s a true confession: Although I grew up in Vermont, I never learned to ice skate.  Did you?  The closest I ever got to skating was falling down.  A lot.  But my dad was a marvelous skater.  He could go forwards and backwards and spin, too.  Ice skates and Christmas cards go together like Santa and reindeer.

This 6×6 top fold card features the Winter Garden skate, Evergreen Foliage and Christmas Rose dies.  You can find out more about this rustic Christmas card, learn some fun crafting tips,  and see the inside in the video below.

Spellbinders Winter Garden Dies Project #2: Stamperia Pink Christmas Slimline Card Folio

Stamperia Pink Christmas Slimline Card Folio Spellbinders Susan's Winter Garden Skate, Evergreen Foliage, Christmas Rose Dies by Kathy Clement Kathy by Design Photo 01

Care to join me for a Victorian skating party?  This 4 1/2″ x 8 1/2″  slimline card folio features pink ice skates, of course!  This time I layered 2 skates together and topped them with pearls and a bow.  This girly girl project was probably my favorite of the three.  Here’s how to make the trifold base from 1 sheet of 8 1/2″ x 11″ cardstock.

  • First, place the long side of  your cardstock on the your scoring tool.
  • From the left, score at 4 1/2″, 5″ and 9 1/2″.  (This measurement is wrong in the video; that’s why I’m adding it here.)
  • Fold the 2″ flap on the end to the inside of the card base.

It’s that easy!  Wait ’til you see the inside of this pretty card!  I hope you’ll enjoy the video tour with tips!

Spellbinders Winter Garden Dies Project #3: 5×7 Double Gatefold with Belly Band Tutorial

Photoplay Paper It's a Wonderful Christmas 5x7 Double Gatefold Card Tutorial Spellbinders Susan's Winter Garden Evergreen Foliage Christmas Rose by Kathy Clement Kathy by Design Photo 01

Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays!  This 5×7 Double Gatefold card sports a decorative belly band that I like more every time I look at it!  It’s made with Photoplay’s new Christmas collection called “It’s a Wonderful Christmas.”  And truly, this is a wonderful collection!

The Evergreen Foliage die is so versatile, friends.  Instead of keeping the boughs whole, I snipped them into individual pieces and built this lovely wreath.  Can you guess what I used to make the “berries” adorning the wreath?  You’ll have to watch the video tour to find out if you’re right.  I’ll also share a quick tutorial showing you how to assemble the card base.

Winter Garden Dies 3 Ways Video on YouTube

If you’d like to take a tour of the projects, the dies and the paper collections I’ve used in today’s post, I hope you’ll enjoy this video.

I’ll be back tomorrow with another tutorial featuring more new Christmas goodies!  I love Christmas in July!  It’s like getting to open your presents the night before Christmas!

You can find a linked supply list below this post.

Thanks for stopping by!

Cheerio,

kathy

SUPPLY LIST

 

Old World Father Christmas Card

Old World Father Christmas Card Little Birdie Crafts by Kathy Clement Photo 01

Old World Father Christmas Card with Little Birdie Crafts

Hello, Friends!  Today’s Old World Father Christmas Card is loaded up with brand new paper pretties from Little Birdie Crafts.  Their much-anticipated line of Christmas goodies has been loaded up in Santa’s sleigh and delivered to their online store!  What fun I had playing with these lovely Christmas flowers, stickers, wreaths and ribbons!

Old World Father Christmas Card with Little Birdie Crafts by Kathy Clement Photo 01

The base for this 5″ x 7″ top fold card is made up of bits and bobs from Prima’s retired Vintage Christmas papers.   After machine stitching them together, I began to build this pretty Christmas vignette.

TIP:  Christmas Tartan Ribbon does double duty in this card.  First, it adds texture, color and pattern as a belly band.  But it also hides a gap between 2 scraps of designer paper.

TIP: Dry brush Christmas wreaths with ivory paint to give them a snowy appearance.  I also carefully removed the poinsettia branches and turned the foliage to face out. This allowed me to add my sisal tree and vintage Father Christmas image.

TIP: Spatter white paint liberally to add snowy effects to your creation.  This is probably the quickest and easiest way I know to add an artsy feel to a card.

A Peek Inside

This vintage Santa comes bearing gifts!  The image pops off a scrap of green suede paper that I found in my Christmas stash.

Here’s a little Christmas party in a pocket.  Tea with a candy cane stirrer, honey to sweeten the tea, a bit of chocolate to savor while enjoying a quiet moment…what could be more perfect?

I’ll link to all the  new Christmas goodies below.  I think I’ll also go back and list to the Little Birdie items I used in the Very Victorian Christmas Card and the Woodland Christmas card now that they are in the shop.  I know it’s late for Christmas shopping, but you’ll have all these supplies on hand for next year!

Thanks for stopping by!

Cheerio,

kathy

SUPPLY LIST

Woodland Christmas Tag Card

Polly's Paper Studio Woodland Shabby Tag Christmas Card with Little Birdie Crafts Poinsettias by Kathy Clement Photo 01

Woodland Christmas Tag Card

Hello, Friends! Let’s get this wonderful Wednesday started with a cheery Woodland Christmas Tag Card.  Grab a cuppa and let’s get started!

What do you do when you have bits and pieces from favorite paper collections?  If you are like me, you put them together to create a lovely hodgepodge style card.  This 6×6 creation uses leftover bits from my Button Farm Club Cosy Christmas Card Kit.  Pair them up with a Shabby Woodland Christmas Tag from Polly’s Paper Etsy and some gorgeous Poinsettias.  Next, tie a bow with Little Birdie Tartan Ribbon.  Then tuck in some  Gold Glitter Stars and this hodgepodge comes together as a visual treat!

TIP: Create a dimensional background with an old Christmas Snowflake Ornament!

TIP: Stack itty bitty fussy cut images together to create a big visual impact.  First, back the images with foam tape to create dimension.  Then top them with a petite poinsettia.

A Peek Inside

Now dress up the inside of the card with a box pocket, more bits and pieces of paper and some lovely treats.

TIP: Product packaging is often pretty enough to use on a card!  The Cosy Christmas Tags packet had this lovely botanical print that was just too nice to toss in the trash bin.

Dress up a gift packet of hot chocolate with the product packaging! Then tie a couple of tags on with rustic twine. Now top with a Little Birdie gold glitter star and you’ve got a very pretty presentation.  Then tuck in a mini candy cane stirrer and a Ghiradelli Chocolate Snowman to complete the gift.

I love the challenge of using up all the bits and pieces of a card kit, don’t you?

You will find a linked supply list below.

Thanks for stopping by!

Cheerio,

kathy

SUPPLY LIST

Yuletide Old Fashioned Christmas Card

Blue Fern Yuletide Old Fashioned Christmas Card by Kathy Clement Reneabouquets Beautiful Board Photo 01

Blue Fern Yuletide Old Fashioned Christmas Card with Reneabouquets Beautiful Board

Hello, Friends!  I am loving the nostalgic vibe from this Blue Fern Yuletide Old Fashioned Christmas Card. Warm woolen plaids and old barn boards take me back in time, how about you?  Now that Thanksgiving has passed, we are in full on Christmas mode here at Kathy by Design.  The little love birds  on this card make me feel very merry , indeed!

Blue Fern Yuletide Christmas Card by Kathy Clement Photo 01

If you are looking for a way to add visual interest to your Christmas cards, why not try adding some circular elements?  After I removed the white centers from this wreath die cut, I replaced them with small images from the 8×8 paper pad.  Then I heat embossed Reneabouquets Small Santa Clock and added it to the mix.  Now the card just needs to be embellished.

Evergreen Trees, Snowflakes and Christmas Roses

First I altered a small sisal tree with ivory paint and glitter.  Then I clustered up some beautiful Reneabouquets Christmas flowers, mini pine cones and greenery around the base of the tree to ground it.

This wonderful Beautiful Board Clock adds some brightness to these darker, vintage paper patterns.  Shell buttons add a bit of shine, and more flowers is always a good idea.  Spatter the card with white paint to simulate falling snow for the perfect wintry feel.

These snowflake corners shimmer with glittery embossing powder in real life.   I’ve dressed it up even more with some flat back pearls.

A Peek Inside

Nothing drives away winter’s chill like a cup of hot cocoa!  So I created a box pocket inside the card to hold a packet.  The pocket is actually embossed grey cardstock that I brushed with white paint and metallic glaze.  For some reason, it photographed blue.  The camera does strange things sometimes.

The pocket also holds a little postcard, peppermint stick, gift wrapped Biscoff cookies and a Ghiradelli Chocolate.  Now it’s the perfect little Secret Santa or office exchange gift.

You can find a linked supply list below this post.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Cheerio,

kathy

SUPPLY LIST

 

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