Christmas at the Castle

Everyone at the Castle is recovering from Christmas. There is lots to share about the royal goings-on, so I will try to keep everything short. (As if that's possible for this rather large mouthed Queen!)

Christmas Eve was spent at the home of the Grand Poobahs. This year it was decided by the hostess Grand Poobah, my mother, we would all participate in a "white elephant" exchange. Everyone brings something they already own and do a re-gifting of sorts. The participants draw numbers and choose a wrapped gift from under the tree. After choosing, the person with a higher number can either choose a different wrapped gift - and take their chances - or "steal" a gift from someone who already went. Although the Queen had participated in white elephant exchanges at cookie exchanges and work parties, this was the first time I've ever heard of it being played as the way to do a family Christmas. It was a fun event nevertheless, and I ended up "stealing" two delightful tea cups and saucers from my motorcycle-riding step-dad. Somehow I don't think he minded. ;) In the end everyone left with something they never would have purchased for themselves. (For the record, my contribution was a dinner mystery game, similar to this.)
This is one of the two sets I "stole" - perfect for tea cup fairies, don't you agree?
Since the Princess is at her dad's for Christmas break - - the boys and I just "chillaxed" (the new word I learned from my oldest) on Christmas Day. They played with their new X-Box 360 while I did some work - then we spent the rest of the day on art. A fantastic way to spend Christmas Day!
I also wanted to show you the angel made for the top of our tree this year, by the Princess. Isn't she beautiful?
But the very best part of Christmas - besides the time spent creating?
The pink delight. YUM! Thanks, Mom!
And if you're looking for some really beautiful eye candy, check out these amazing dolls by Susan Snodgrass. The series done on sea shells is just mind blowing!

Happy Holidays Giveaway

Did she say giveaway?? She did! WOOT!

And this is going to be an easy one! I had originally come up with this clever post involving all the giveaways other awesome blogs are doing - and how I was wanting to do something to liven up someone's holiday as well. Then time ran short.

Curiously, I came across this little box I had made last year - on the front is a little stamped Santa suit on a hanger. Below that it says "HO HO HO" - and to the right I wrote "Happy Holidays!" It has a pretty burgandy ribbon wrapped around it.

The problem? I can't remember what's in the box! Seriously - I have no clue. I *think* it was wrapped up for an eBay sale - but the buyer flaked and never paid. Whenever I sold something last year, I wrapped it up - so the buyer got a little surprise. I did several different boxes - Santa suits, ornaments, reindeer...all rubber stamped and colored in. They turned out really cute...but then I had this one left. Apparently I stuck it on a shelf and forgot about it...until this year!

My inability to remember is now your gain! I honestly don't know what's in the box...could be a variety of things. Jewelry I made? Probably. But what? A watch? Bracelet? I have no idea!

I know it won't make it to you in time for Christmas - especially since it's Christmas Eve day right now. However, you have the chance to receive a little gift after the ornaments are taken down, the pine needles vacuumed, and the wreaths put away for another year. And since the stamps are done on a kraft box, all you do is untie the ribbon to open the box - no paper to get rid of!

The contents of this box could be $5...or $50 (retail value). I could probably save everyone some time and just open the box myself - but why? It's more fun gifting it to one of my fabulous readers - just to let you all know you are special and appreciated. I have several other giveaways planned for the next couple of weeks - but I want to get this out first.

So who is it going to be? Do I have any takers?? Bueller? Bueller?

It's easy. Here's how to enter:
Leave a comment telling me what you hope is in the box...OR...just how simply fabulous you think my blog is...OR...what makes you feel royal (besides reading my blog haha). Please be sure to leave your email address so I can get in touch with you if you're the winner!!

Now...since it's Christmas, I have additional ways you can enter:
~ For ONE additional entry: Tell me (or link to) your favorite quick gift idea. When you realize you need a gift - and have less than 5 hours to create one. Including drying time. Please leave your email address so I can contact you if you win!
~ For ONE additional entry: Blog about this giveaway/my blog. Remember to come back and let me know you did by leaving me a comment - and a link to your blog. Please leave your email address so I can contact you if you win

So there ya have it. You can enter up to THREE times for this giveaway. Pretty good odds, eh? Just be sure, if you choose to blog about this giveaway to come back and leave a comment so I know. And one more time, but please leave your email address so I can contact you if you win!!

The giveaway will end DECEMBER 31, 2008 - and the winner will be announced on JANUARY 01, 2009. The winner will have 2 days to claim the prize...and if it isn't claimed, I'll move on to choose another number. And we'll just keep doing that until someone wants the prize!

The winner will be chosen by one of those automatic number chooser thingys. (Scientific, I know!) GOOD LUCK!! I wish I could give all of you something...but be sure to check back. I DO have several other giveaways planned!
And BTW...If you were the person who won the Hero Arts stamps, would you please leave me a comment?? I've been trying to find you so I can send them to you! :)

Orna-Art...or Beautiful Baubles

I actually made a little art! Ok, so it isn't new and different, but I had been wanting to try to make these since I saw Barb's cool little tutorial over at Joggles a little while back. (And btw - have you seen the new Joggles website? Fantastic job on the update! You can be magically transported to the tutorial page by clicking here. Nope, doesn't cost a cent - it's just because I like ya. Promise.)

For the most part I followed Barb's tutorial, Making Beautiful Bauble Ornaments. It should be noted there is another (similar) tutorial here. (These things were hot this year!) I purchased my Polished Pigments in a kit at - not only was everything for the Brilliant Baubles included (*except the all important baubles*), but it was also cheaper than purchasing the individual components. (I was very pleased with - huge variety, great prices, pretty fast shipping.)

Here's a hint for you if you're going to try making these delish Baubles: I originally chose the heart shape. If I were going to recommend this project to someone, I would suggest starting with the round plain clear ornaments available at any big box craft store. You get more ornies for less cost - especially if you use one of those studly 40% off coupons that strut around so freely this time of year. Also, the regular round ornaments have a much bigger opening in the neck - which is enormously helpful when trying to fill the bulb with powder! I also thought the heart shape was a little more challenging - trying to get the powder inside the round tops of the heart was tough - without getting the Polished Pigments all over your work surface.

It also should be noted that these directions recommend Simple Solutions #3.; while these directions recommend Simple Solutions #2. It's a tough choice when you have to rely solely on the online description...and I bought Simple Solution #2 because I felt like I would use that formulation more. Based on my experience, both #2 and #3 work equally for these oraments
- so there is no need to spaz out if you have #2 or #3 - it's all good!

Something else worthy to note: This really is a family-friendly project. I made 2 of the ornaments pictured - the one with the ribbons (top pic) and the blue/purple one (pictured on the left of the bottom pic). My boys completed the other two Baubles - not only am I surprised they turned out so well, I was shocked when the boys asked if they could make one! Both wanted to make unusual reaction to say the least. My oldest did the rust/purple Bauble (on the bottom pic) - and my youngest son did the other blue/violet heart at the top of the second pic. l'll finish those off with a bit of ribbon later today.

Clicking on the pictures will enlarge them
Leave me a link in the comments if you'e made Brilliant Baubles - I would love to see how they turned out!

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