A Christmas Update...

Hello, Everyone!

I'm just stopping by for a few minutes to wish you all a very Merry Christmas.  I hope your holidays are going well.  

Thanks to all of you who stopped by with comments during the "Not-So-25-Days-of-Nesty."  I may not have hit my target this year, but I had fun sharing some of my plans, favorite ideas and quotes, and I have LOTS of material for next December's posts.  In truth, I got to the point where I realized I could write about having the perfect Christmas, or I could put the computer away and actually have a perfect Christmas.  And so, dear readers, I'm taking a break until the New Year.  I'm going to knit, go for walks, make long phone calls home, and read sappy Christmas romances while drinking tea (and other, more "festive" beverages) by the tree and enjoy every moment that's left of the holiday season without a speck of guilt. I hope you do the same.

And so, my friends, Happy Holidays!  I'll see you next year!!!


Have YOURSELF A Very Nesty Christmas - Your Way!!!

Ah, traditions.  They bring families together, tug at the heartstrings, and give us a sense of where we're from.  Traditions are good.  

However, in our fast times, it can be a challenge just to get everyone in the same room for Christmas dinner.  You may find yourself feeling cheated of traditions.  Images of caroling, cookies swaps, sledding parties and craft nights are all well and good, but for many folks these events never get past the imagining stage.  Why?  Well, because some of our more traditional Christmas activities require an outlay of time, organization, and/or money, three things which often seem to be in short supply as the year marches to a close.  

The good news is, you can have traditions of your own, customs that will come to mean as much to you as carrying a flaming brandied pudding to the holiday table meant to your great-grandmother.  And great news - you can do it without losing your mind, too!   Using the KISS approach (Keep It Simple, Silly...I know, it's usually stupid, but I don't like to call people stupid),  here are some ideas to get you started:
  • My cousin Valerie used to buy her children new Christmas colouring books and crayons for Christmas Eve, when they would all sit down and colour together before heading to bed to wait for Santa.  She said it was a great way to get everyone calmed down.
  • Family board game night.  I know, it's kind of cliche, but it's FUN!!  
  • My mother's Christmas Eve tradition was to buy my sisters and I new Christmas pajamas and a new Christmas book.  Much like the colouring, it calmed us down and got us off to bed to read.  She continued this right until we left home, and I have a nice collection of Christmas novels that I pack away with my decorations and am excited to rediscover each year.
  • Another thing Mom did with us was to take us with her to get the Christmas grocery order.  On her first vacation day, we would get up early to beat the crowds and have a blast running around the store picking out our family's holiday favorites.  Afterward, we went out for lunch, usually to The Swiss Chalet for, what else?  The Festive Special.  What was so great about this (besides the fact we were spending time together) was that Mom turned something that could be considered a chore into a fun outing.  
  • As part of her "Journal Your Christmas" series, my cousin Ainsley at Pattycake Manners shared a list of her traditions old and new.  I absolutely loved the ones about Pillsbury and the picnic!  See, KISS!!!!
 Do you have any sweet, special, simple traditions that mean the world to you?  If so, please share in the comments.

A Very Nesty Christmas

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

A Very Nesty Christmas - Me, Panic?

Hello, Everyone!  It's 1:41 AM here in Kitimat, British Columbia, and I'm up!  Why, you may ask?  Well, it's the most wonderful time of the year, and I've reached the point where there seems to be more items going on my "To-Do" list than coming off.  


Hm, sorry, what's that?  Sorry, I was nodding off dreaming of sitting by the Christmas tree with everything finished to perfection, sipping a glass of Baileys and basking in the glow of a job well planned, well executed, well done.  This fantasy, if it ever comes to fruition, will have to wait until next year, as I feel I may have slid past the point of being able to honestly claim I planned well.  The biggest enemies to my Big Ideas are 1. Delusions of Grandeur and 2. Mailing Deadlines.

The celebratory Delusions of Grandeur, well, any aspiring Martha will understand.  I have yet to perfect the timing of my visions.  For example, I decided to decorate my kitchen in a "Cookies & Gnomes" theme.  When it was pointed out to me that perhaps summertime would have been a good time to purchase gnomes (some foolishness about garden centers and end of season sales...) I explained that I didn't think of the theme until November.  Does nobody appreciate my genius???

And Mailing Deadlines...sigh.  For many, many years I was lucky enough to have all my gift recipients within driving distance, so we never had to mail a thing.  Last year was the first year we had to mail gifts, and - it did not end well.  After paying an exorbitant amount to an organization that will remain unnamed, and receiving their guarantee that, in exchange for said exorbitant amount my parcels would arrive well in advance of the holidays, they in fact did not.  They arrived well after, and having the exorbitant amount refunded to me in the New Year did not quite make up for the disappointment of not getting our gifts home on time.

But, I'm getting better.  My current state of panic is being calmed by contingency plans.  One of my Big Ideas of Delusional Grandeur this year was to make a lot of homemade gifts, and I did great.  However, the last few are dragging their feet coming across the finish line, which brings up my old friend MAILING DEADLINES!!  And that, my friends, is why courier services were invented.  For a fee (exorbitant perhaps, but I'll pay for reliability) I can actually BUY TIME!!!  It's like a miracle!!!

The great news is that once the gifts go off with the miraculous courier service this week, I'm back on track and only have to do "my" projects.  Baking, crafting, and more decorating are all on deck, as well as planning for our Christmas Party and Christmas dinner.  However, there is nothing on that list that will send me into a panic if it doesn't get achieved to the extent of my glorious visions.  Baking, crafting, decorating?  What gets done, gets done.  The party will go ahead whether I manage to carve an ice sculpture of my dogs (tee hee!) and roast a swan,  or if I just remove the dog hair from the furniture and open a few bags of chips (I was never a big fan of swan, anyway...)  And Christmas Dinner is safe in the freezer, so even if the clouds open up and it snows until New Year's, we'll have plenty of good stuff to share on Christmas Day!  

Me, panic?  No way!!!  

How about you?  Share in the comments...if you can spare the time!!!!!

A Very Nesty Christmas - Thought for the Day

"And in our world of plenty
We can spread a smile of joy
Throw your arms around the world
At Christmastime."
Bob Geldof and Midge Ure
Do They Know It's Christmas?

A Very Nesty Christmas - Pattycake Manners Guest Post Mini Album Tutorial

"I will honor Christmas in my heart, 
and try to keep it all the year."
~Charles Dickens

Hi Everyone!  Sorry I've been missing for a day or so...I've been busy getting my Nest ready for the holidays and so I decided to give myself a day off!  However, to make up to you for missing yesterday's post, today I have a special treat!  My cousin Ainsley from Pattycake Manners is guest posting today and she has prepared a wonderful tutorial for a mini album that you could prepare to give as a gift, or keep for yourself.  Either way, it is a perfect way to "honour Christmas and keep it in your heart" all the year long!  I know I can't wait to make a few and I think it will be the perfect project to fill the quieter days after the holidays! Take it away, Ains!
"Hi folks! Ainsley here, from Patty Cake Manners
Kim and I have been playing with the idea of me popping over 
and guest posting on Nesty for a while now. We knew we wanted 
it to be something a little crafty, and since scrapbooking is kind of 
my thing, we thought I might go that route. Enter the arrival of the 
Christmas season, and there was no question as to what I 
wanted to share with all of you. I designed this little 
accordion album last year, while trying to figure out a unique
way to send some "cute kid" photos to my Mom.  Since then, 
this album has taken on a life of its own. I've made oddles 
of them for gifts, and have done them in a number of 
themes. I've used it in my paper crafting classes, and have 
passed on the "recipe" to family and friends. 

And now I'm happy to be passing it on to you during my visit
to the Nest!
1.  Gather your supplies. You'll need the following.
1 sheet of 12 X 12 cardstock
2 or 3 sheets of 8 1/2 X 11 cardstock in co-ordinating colors
scraps of patterned paper
embellishments ( buttons, fancy brads, rub-ons, stickers etc)
inks and stamps
paper trimmer
scoring blade
paper piercer
2.  Cut two 4" X 12" strips of cardstock for the base of your 
album.  Score each strip at 4" and 8" and fold at creases. 
Overlap two ends and adhere, to create a 5 page accordion 
3.  From co-ordinating cardstock, cut four 3 3/4" squares, 
and four 3 1/2" squares. For best results, alternate colors 
as shown.
4.  From patterned paper, cut four 3 1/4" squares.
5.  Layer your patterned paper squares, your 3 1/2" squares, 
and your 3 3/4" squares on top of each other with a bit of 
adhesive. I like to offset them just a bit.
6.  Adhere your finished "layers" to pages 2,3,4, and 5 of your
 album, leaving page 1 for your title. (Make sure your title 
page is folding towards you, NOT opening like a book)
7.  Embellish one corner of each page with buttons, fancy 
brads, etc.
8.  Pierce holes in the remaining 3 corners of each page, and
use small brads to secure your "layers" to the album base.
9.  Your title page can be made in the same fashion as your 
other pages, using coordinating cardstock in 1/4" increments,
 scraps of patterned paper, and brads.  Embellish your cover 
with more buttons, brads, rub-ons, stickers etc, and stamp
 a sentiment if you wish.
10.  Cut a 16" length of ribbon and adhere to the back of 
your album, centering the ribbon top to bottom and left to
 right. This can be used to tie your album closed with a little
 bow in the front.
11.  Add four 2 3/4 photos to pages 2 to 5.
You now have a lovely little scrapbook, perfect for sharing
 photos with a loved one, or for keeping just for you!
* For information about any of the supplies used in this 
project, please visit my Stampin' Up! website!
What an awesome project, Ains!  Once again, thank you!
This should go without saying, but if you are going to share
Ainsley's design on another blog, PLEASE do the right thing and
give credit, and a link, where it is due!  Thank you one and
all for keeping Blogland a friendly and ethical place to 
share our great ideas!  

A Very Nesty Christmas - December 7, 2010

""  When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things - not the great occasions - give off the greatest glow of happiness."
~ Bob Hope, American film actor and comedian.

A Very Nesty Christmas - A Marshmallow World!

"It's a marshmallow world in the winter,
When the snow comes to cover the ground.
It's the time for play, it's a whipped cream day,
I wait for it the whole year round!"
- Carl Sigman

It's hard to deny the Christmas spirit when this is what you see when you look out the window!

Regular followers of Nesty will recall my mentioning that in Kitimat, we guage when the snow will finally land  in the valley our town is nestled in by watching the squirrel on Squirrel Mountain.  Well, our favorite rodent is well covered now, and so are our yards!  Can you pick him out in the picture?

 Did you find him?  If not, here's some help...

There he is!  I'm so happy that I'm finally able to show you a good picture of our squirrel! 

It's been brought to my attention that people were having difficulty commenting on Nesty last week.  If this happened to you, I'm so sorry!  I just love your comments and I truly appreciate that you take time to type up your thoughts on my little blog.  I believe the issue has been resolved, but if it happens to you and you feel so inclined, please drop me a line at nestyblog@gmail.com.  Thanks!

A Very Nesty Christmas - Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect."
~ Oren Arnold

A Very Nesty Christmas - Friday, December 3, 2010 "Gifts of Time & Love"

"Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas."  
~ Peg Bracken.
Earlier this week I posted about ways to have a heartfelt Christmas.  I invited you to share in the comments how you have made, or plan to make, your holiday meaningful in a way that transcends shopping and fuss.  One story in particular was submitted by a friend of mine about her and her family's tradition of bringing a touch of Christmas light to one of the darker places in our province; Vancouver's Downtown Lower East Side.  Here is her recollection in her own words:

After my father passed away, my mother didn't feel much like doing the same big family dinners, because she felt they would be too painful. She came up with an idea one year and it became a tradition until I moved up north. On Christmas Eve we would spend hours assembling hundreds of sandwiches (peanut butter, cheese, tuna, ham, and turkey). On Christmas morning we would drive into the downtown east side of Vancouver to an area called Pigeon Square, and unload the flats of sandwiches. This is an area of Vancouver that many won't even drive through. These were the people that society had completely forgotten, and most feared. In the end, they are humans, and they are hungry, and for the most part, completely alone. One minute there on Christmas morning, and you will never take your family for granted again.

The tradition grew, and in the last two years before I moved away, I began collecting from co-workers who wanted to contribute. People gave flats of juice boxes, flats of crackers and cheese snack packs. In the final year, people started giving us clothes (socks, shoes, mittens, wool hats). It grew to a car load, and my fiance, mother, and my self were a little overwhelmed. The last year I was there, we had noticed something amazing. Our little idea had caught on, perhaps, or maybe it had occurred to someone else too. As we were unloading the last of the food, a tent was being set up, and one of the locally owned restaurants was setting up a huge day long free food venue. People didn't need to leave their possession un-guarded, they could eat with their dog beside them, and they didn't have to worry about the stigma some felt from the Mission soup kitchen down the street (as explained to us by a few every year). As far as I know, they have kept that tradition going on Christmas day.

As I walked past our food bank here (Kitimat) last week. My heart stung a bit. I want to do something here too.

Vanessa, thank you to you and your family for such a kind, selfless act, and for inspiring others to do the same.  And of course, thank you for sharing your memory with us!

Have a wonderful weekend! Are you decorating, baking, or shopping for gifts?  I'm going to be doing a little of everything, I think!  See you on Monday!

A Very Nesty Christmas - Thursday, December 2, 2010

"They err who thinks Santa Claus comes down through the chimney; he really enters through the heart."
~ Mrs. Paul M. Ell.
Nesty Christmas Happy # 1...
The Yuletide Fireplace is back!

Every year, a channel magically appears in our television program guide called "Yuletide Fireplace."  Click on it and your television screen fills with a crackling fireplace and the air is alive with the sounds of Christmas music.  A little cheesy?  Maybe, but it's pure nostalgic gold.  
We received a DVD of a Yule Log a few years ago and I think we surprised ourselves with how often we actually popped it in the player during the holidays.  We've also discovered that it's the perfect background music and scenery during holiday parties.   
The Yuletide Fireplace is actually quite an old tradition.  According to Wikipedia, the original film was created in 1966 by WPIX and was recorded in Gracie Mansion.  It aired during Christmas for 23 years, although the original 17 second recording was replaced with a longer version.  You can read the entire Wikipedia article here. 
The Yule Log program we know and love is no doubt a knock off of the original WPIX program.  No matter, it is still cheery and warm and so much fun!  It can actually be an absolute hoot during holiday get-togethers; we often find ourselves making a game out of trying to guess where the film loops, or of predicting when the hand will appear to adjust the log.  (If this doesn't sound that funny, you have to imagine it after a few egg nogs!)

We keep our television in the basement rec room, which I'm planning to clean and decorate this weekend.  You can bet that I will have the festive sight and sound of the Yuletide Fireplace keeping me company!