Category Archives: holidays

Recap of the Workshop at Forest Park Public Library

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I taught a winter card making workshop at Forest Park Public library last month. It was a drop-in class so people could come at any time and make a card or two. I have taught in-person card making classes, and I’ve taught a card making class on zoom, but I had never taught a card making class where everyone wasn’t working on the same card at the same time. I was a little bit nervous, but while making my samples, I figured there were several places in each card where independent work would give me a chance to help someone else. And it all worked out just fine. I even got the highest compliment from a women who makes cards all the time. She said that she learned some new things at the workshop. Goal achieved.

I had six card options–two origami, two with other paper folding, a layered card, and a shaker postcard. The glittered vintage paper trees were by far the most popular, and the most challenging. It’s really hard to get the hang of the folds, even though it looks so simple.

It was especially fun to see everyone making the cards their own. This is an example of a snowcat card based on my snowman card. I love how Michelle used the little gems to make a holly accent on the hat and just the whole concept of a snowcat!

Has anyone started thinking about their Valentines? Too soon?

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A Very Presley Christmas 2021

May I present our 2021 holiday cards? I loved them so much and I couldn’t wait to show you, even though I think some may still be arriving or on their way.

Last summer, I asked Donovan if she would draw something for our holiday card and she agreed. I still love and use the stationery she drew for my birthday a few years ago. I asked her to draw a tree with ramen, cocktails, mail, and a tuna underneath–a few of our favorite things.

Then, I shared this picture of Presley on Instagram. She was looking very grumpy in a Santa hat and Donovan decided to add Presley too. We couldn’t have been more delighted.

I had the cards printed as flat cards (like a postcard, not folded like a greeting card) because I don’t write long messages in my holiday cards. It was the perfect little greeting. (And thanks to my friend Mark at Printing Plus for printing and delivering them to me!)

In addition to our cards, Donovan surprised us with these wonderful faux postage stamps. She was inspired by Presley to draw holiday stamps of a bunch of cats she knows for her Patreon supporters. (If you scroll back on her Instagram (@dovbee) you can see them all. Or you can join her Patreon and download them all!) I used our stamps to decorate the envelopes of our cards that went out to cat lovers and Presley fans.

I hope it was a good holiday season in your mailbox and I’m looking forward to writing some mail this week and I ease into the new year!

P.S. This is not a sponsored post–just genuinely love Donovan and her work and Mark’s print shop!

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Book Club Christmas Tea 2021

Book club has been a wild ride through the pandemic. We met on zoom for all of 2020, and finally reunited in person in May for a rainy meeting in my back yard. Through the summer, we were lucky to have good weather for outdoor meetings. Even in November, we met around our fire pit with blankets and winter coats. We’ve really made the most of being together.

Last month, before Omicron and the latest surge, we decided we would do our annual Christmas tea in person. We are all vaccinated and boosted, so we all geared up for a back-to-normal kind of party again. But…things changed so rapidly, and we decided to modify our plans at the last minute.

We still met in person, but we decided to do our toast out on Susan’s porch in the open air. We all masked when we weren’t actively drinking and we wore our winter coats to stay cozy. There were only six of us–two members were traveling, one member wasn’t feeling well, and one member had a close call with Covid so decided to opt out–so we spread out in Susan’s spacious living and dining room to eat and then put our masks back on for the book discussion. We ate chicken salad sandwiches, radish and sandwiches, sausage rolls, scones, grape salad, and lots of Christmas cookies. Susan made a spiced ginger Prosecco cocktail that was warm and festive.

It was super cozy eating and chatting by the fire. We read Miss Read’s Village Christmas which is a short, sweet book from the 1960s about two spinster sisters and a Christmas adventure with their new neighbors. If you’ve never read Miss Read, her books are just delightful.

In 2022, we will celebrate our 20th anniversary as a group. Who knows what that celebration will look like, but I’m so grateful for this group of ladies who share my love of old books!

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Oh Christmas Tree 2021

We got our tree over Thanksgiving weekend and it’s the tallest tree we’ve ever had! Our new house has taller ceilings than the condo did and I figured, why not go all the way to the top!

Well, things look a lot smaller on the tree lot! Our tree is one inch from the ceiling–thank goodness we didn’t go for the tallest option and thank goodness I never put the star on the very tippy top! It was also slightly more uncomfortable driving with the tree hanging out of the backseat window. But we made it home!

It only took another purchase of lights to finish everything off, but I think it’s well worth it. I just love this time of year when it’s dark outside but there’s a comforting glow of Christmas lights inside.

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Winter Card Making with Forest Park Public Library

I’m teaching a card making class at the Forest Park Public Library on Thursday! If you are local, you can sign up here. It’s a drop in class, so people can come and make a card or two and leave, or they can stay and make all five. I have a couple of Christmas ones, but also some general winter ideas so if Christmas isn’t your thing, there will be something for everyone.

I am bringing a typewriter, rubber stamps, vintage papers, some origami, and glitter…plenty of glitter. (‘Tis the season after all!)

This is my third library event. (I don’t think I told you about the week I presented about letter writing with Schaumburg Library, did an online Valentine making workshop with Forest Park Public Library, and closed on a house, have I?) Library events are a lot of fun–a very relaxed way to learn, and free!

I’ll be back with more Christmas posts–holiday parties, workshops, and wholesale orders are keeping me busy these days!

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Hauntsegawa 2021

I’m a little bit late for a Halloween recap, and yet, here we are. My laptop died in October and it really threw me for a loop. I do so much on my phone, I didn’t think it would really matter. But writing blog posts and taking care of community garden stuff is much easier on a computer. So I finally gave in and bought one.

I’m still getting settled. Speaking of getting settled…

Decorating in the new house was fun! We still haven’t finished hanging all of our everyday art but I am committed to holiday decorations. I finally hung my tenugui (the “towel” on the left above.) I have a new one for most seasons, so I will change it out as needed. This is the Halloween one, but now the fall one is up. The skeleton is on the door to my office.

My usual TagTeamTompkins art went on the entry table this year, along with the glitter skull and some other tiny Halloween things. The picture is an old snapshot of a girl dressed as a witch.

The stair railings were a challenge. I didn’t love the group of garlands on them. The black cats and bats didn’t show up enough. But I also didn’t hate it enough to move anything. I figure I’ll try something else next year. (By the way, Presley doesn’t love these bat wings…but she tolerates them enough for a photo.)

These are old Martha Stewart crow cut-outs my parents found at a thrift shop. I love them!

The candy station which we filled with Take 5s, green tea Kit Kats, and Twix just for us. This was our first year of actual trick-or-treaters! We had 141 kids!

I was most excited to break out these mice. I cut them out soooo many years ago–an idea from an old Martha Stewart Living Magazine. (Martha went on to sell pre-cut ones like my crows.) I used to place them throughout our past apartments, but they really are so much cuter on stairs.

Now Halloween is all put away and there are a few fall/Thanksgiving things out, but in my mind, I’m already thinking about Christmas. It’s nice to have a little reprieve before that all has to begin.

Are you in Christmas mode, or enjoying the last of fall? This is a judgment-free zone!

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Valentine’s Mail

Valentine MailI’m very behind on my mail this year…these went out the day before Valentine’s Day and it’s just the tip of the iceberg of what I have to return. But hey, who doesn’t want some good red and pink mail all month long? I think the next time I go to a stamp show, I need to look into some more pink and red and love stamps…

I’m hoping to work on some mail today. I feel weird mail guilt about not participating in Letter Month like I usually do. But more than that, I miss sending mail and I have all this Japanese stationery to use up!

Are you participating in a letter writing challenge this month?

P.S. I’m back-dating some posts from December that I wanted to include for my own memories, but I don’t want to have Christmas content on the blog in February. I’ll try to link them on a current post as I finish them. If you follow the blog, sorry for the out of order content in your inbox!

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Book Club Christmas Tea 2019

Last weekend was our annual book club Christmas tea and it was delightful, as usual. We had four kinds of sandwiches (egg salad, shrimp salad, roast beef with provolone, and cilantro chicken salad,) two kinds of scones (cranberry-orange and bacon cheddar,) Christmas cake, grape salad, and Christmas punch. I love a good tea sandwich so I ate way too many and also floated away from all the tea. Stasia brought corsages for everyone so it felt especially fancy. I think corsages are under-utilized and I’m going to demand one for every birthday from now on. We read PG Wodehouse which was enjoyable, but I read it all in a couple days so I was sort of Wodehoused out by the end. The writing is really charming though so hopefully I’ll be ready to tackle a short story here and there in the future. We always have party poppers with crowns, mustaches, and jokes. Reading the jokes and guessing the riddles is always my favorite part of the day. Three cheers for good book discussions in 2019!

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The Christmas Rush is Here

This was the scene on Monday morning when I got up early to take Naoto to work and had a couple of hours to sit in the dark and gaze at the Christmas tree while listening to NPR. We had our last craft show of the season last weekend and Mondayc just felt good to have nothing to do for a moment before work. Not that I really have nothing to do–there’s plenty of shopping, shopping, wrapping, card writing, and more shopping to do. But it was nice to take a few moments and appreciate the tree and the lights and Presley’s purrs. Hopefully by the time this posts, my Christmas cards will be done and my book club book will be read and at least a few of the gifts have been wrapped or at least purchased…one can hope.

How are your holiday preparations coming?

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Christmas Post Office

christmas village post office, holiday village, ceramic post officeI’ve been wanting a Christmas village post office for awhile now. I have my Putz house village, and I’ve never seen a vintage paper post office before, so I told my mom and dad to keep an eye out for some vintage or new ceramic ones. Well, they found this perfect little jewel at a thrift shop for $2.50! They found the postman Santa last year. He might not be to scale but he fits right in!

I don’t know how vintage it is, but I think it’s charming and now I want a little collection of just random post offices (serendipitously found at thrift stores because I don’t need to stalk something else on eBay!) My mini post office collection of one is living on my desk so it stays safe from Presley. (She has taken to knocking things down at 4AM to get our attention.)

Tomorrow, I need to go to the actual, non-ceramic post office to buy some stamps for the church and to mail something…wish me luck!

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