I hope everyone had wonderful Christmas celebrations with their family and friends.
We had a fantastic time starting the day opening our presents ... now this is quite unnatural for us to open presents on Christmas Day because our ancestry is Dutch and we've always had a Christmas dinner and present opening ceremony on Christmas Eve, but as my parents stayed in Sydney this year, we decided it would be nicer for my niece and nephew to open their presents when they wake up on Christmas Day. We went and visited friends for a little while around lunch time and finished the day with a turkey, ham, potato and salmon salad feast that finished off with a divine trifle ... oh, and a few too many wines.
"Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time."
~Laura Ingalls Wilder~
I finished work yesterday with a half day and have finally been able to log back into blogger to finish off the twelve days of Christmas ... on Christmas Day no less. I better get a hurry on because as soon as my three year old niece - Alexis - wakes up we're opening presents, and still got to get out of my pyjamas.
On the 10th day of Christmas Karin provided this beautifully wrapped gift and inside was this hand sewn fabric cone that can hold things. One of the other girls was going to fill it up with candy canes - I think that's a good idea. Look at the detail, tiny beads hand sewn on in swirls and Karin made 11 of these!
On the 11th day, Lucy (http://artitudebylucy.blogspot.com/) sent this package and inside was a framed wall hanging with the centre cut out and a transparency image in the middle, so you can see straight through it ... beautifully done.
On the 12th and final day of the Art Sisters Yahoo Group 12 Days of Christmas Exchange we received a gift from Margaret and it's just so cute. It's a hand sewn pocket for cards like loyalty cards and when you pull on the string it pops the cards out. I think it's a brilliant idea and might even take all those store loyalty cards out of my wallet and hold them all in this cute little pocket.
I also received the gift I won on Tim Holtz blog this week and I was thrilled. I got a set of his Visual Artistry clear stamps, which are gorgeous and two Pink Paisley Borderlines with a Christmas Theme.
"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful."
~Norman Vincent Peale~
... it's my turn so I don't get to open a pressie, but here's what everyone participating in the Art Sisters Yahoo Group will receive.
... a star ornament.
Here's how it's made ... I started with one of those wooden shapes from Kaiser Kraft and I covered both sides with torn pieces of tissue paper glued with PVA. I then stamped swirls over the top and inked around the edges.
Then each of the 12 stars were covered with Gold Webbing Spray.
I used a Heidi Swapp mask with a butterfly and covered the whole star with impasto.
I was quite devastated to find that the impasto did not dry properly overnight ... it's supposed to be clear. I'm sure it's due to the heat as the top coat dried so quickly, underneath didn't catch up. I wasn't going to give up so I kept forging ahead. I coloured the butterfly in with red and gold alcohol inks.
The final stage was to cover the whole thing with crackle medium, allow it to dry and crack thoroughly and then another coating of espresso alcohol ink to show up the cracks. You can barely see the white impasto now and if you look at the first picture taken 3 weeks after it was made, it seems to have dried clear afterall.
Next year's tree is going to have all these wonderful hand-made ornaments all over it.
"It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air."
"So remember while December brings the Christmas Day, in the year, let there be Christmas in the things you do and say. Wouldn't life be worth the living and wouldn't dreams be coming true, if we kept the Christmas spirit all the whole year through?"
I opened a gorgeous gift made by Celeste as part of the Art Sisters Yahoo Group 12 Days of Christmas Exchange ... here's the packaging:
and here's the gorgeous gift. You'll never guess that it's an altered light switch cover ... clever huh! There's a bit of flash shine (taking photos at night instead of the morning) and also because the image has a luscious coating of varnish.
Oh and here's our christmas card for this year. My husband, Ferg didn't want to grace the cover this year, so our family will get a picture of our pooch ... alas it has now become a new year's card because the cards won't reach any of the recipients before Christmas ...
"And now let us believe in the new year that is given us-- new, untouched, full of things that have never been."
~Rainer Maria Rilke~
I didn't receive 4 calling birds thank goodness ... who knows what calling birds are anyway? I figured in Australia we have the loudest birds calling out to each other (or is it screeching?) and they're called Cockatoos, hence my "4 calling birds" picture for today.
The present opened today as part of the 12 days of Christmas Exchange through the Art Sisters Yahoo Group comes from Samm Menzies (http://sammiam.wordpress.com/). The packaging was so wonderfully put together and inside is an ornament ... have no idea what it's made out of, but next year when I have my own tree, all these lovely handmade ornaments will definitely be on it.
On Sunday I was working away in my office and I heard a rustling noise outside the open window, which is nowhere near my desk. Normally it's my dog, Beau, begging to be let in, so I went and had a look and this huge ancient lizard (probably a goanna) was skulking around in the undergrowth. I decided to to outside and take a picture, but that thing was up a tree faster than I could click the button. I love living on acreage with all the animals around, although, I was a bit disturbed when I entered my office tonight and a huge cane toad jumped out in front of me ... eeeeeek ... how did that thing get into the house!!! Forever a mystery ... enjoy the christmas spirit.
"Christmas is the gentlest, loveliest festival of the revolving year - and yet, for all that, when it speaks, its voice has strong authority."
This year I joined the Australian Art Sisters Yahoo Group 12 Days of Christmas Swap and today is Day 1, so I got to open a gorgeous gift handcrafted by Gaye Todd (http://from-the-rooftops.blogspot.com/). I got a bit excited and forgot to photograph the package before I ripped it open, but here's the packaging anyway (LOL). Gaye created this gorgeous 2010 Calendar and I think it's a fabulous idea ... I've already hung it on my wall in front of my computer.
Here's more details of the beautiful collage Gaye created.
On another note, I've been following Tim Holtz' 12 Days of Christmas Tags and they are definitely worth seeing (visit Tim's blog here http://timholtz.typepad.com/my_weblog/). Step-by-step instructions were provided on how to make each tag and I learned so much from the techniques he used. As well as the gorgeous tags, Tim ran a competition each day for all those that followed the blog and left comments and on Day 9 I found out I'd won ... how exciting. We had 24 hours to get in touch with Tim and then he would mail out a gift, so watch this space for a picture of whatever I get.
"Somehow, not only for Christmas But all the long year through, the joy you give to others is the joy that comes back to you."
~John Greenleaf Whittier~
I love the paper arts / crafts and trying out new techniques. I live with my beautiful husband and gorgeous dog in a surburb of Sydney, Australia. I work full-time so don't spend as much time creating as I'd like ... but life's pretty good all the same.