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Christmas 2023...gratitude and contentment

Updated: Feb 16



It's almost here! All the planning and overwhelm will come to an end soon. Out of town family and friends will soon arrive or you yourself will be arriving at your destination. The weatherman is not promising a white Christmas for most of you. So you all should be arriving safely to your destination without delays. We never have a white Christmas here in South Central Texas. Do I miss the soft white snow falling that I had growing up? Yes but not enough to move to where it snows or vacation where it is falling. Yes we all celebrate in our own way and we all have our own traditions.


The holidays are different for all of us depending on our families and circumstances. It seems many of the people I know have lost someone recently in their lives. A loved family member or a close friend. For a few of my friends, their loses are recent. It changes how we feel about the holidays. Makes it us more melancholy or continually saddens us. Grief is not easily overcome for many of us. It sticks with us leaving bittersweet memories of the past. Of course there is the other side of the coin and it's a joyful time of welcoming a new baby into the family or a newly wed couple, families joined together for many Christmases to come. As I write this I have another friend eagerly awaiting a great grandchild. Much joy and grief can be. part of Christmas. It's part of who we are. I have been through my share of joys and griefs. They have threaded through my life and I have learned to deal with them in my own way. We all do. I hope you have found your own way too. Yes Christmas and the Holidays are different for all of us.


For me it is nice to choose how much or how little I want to decorate for the holidays now. Not going all out makes life easier for me. No overwhelm or stress. I know not everyone is able to do this. Again it goes back to how differently we all celebrate the holidays and how the holidays can evolve. I spend more time with friends and family. I shop locally more and online for special gifts. No hustle or bustle of crowds and traffic for me. There is luxury in spending time having a glass of wine with a friend and a quiet conversation. It feels like I can embrace the season and enjoy more time with family and friends without all the fuss. Maybe it is my age. I guess I have the luxury of time for holidays now. These are the things that I'm grateful for and am content with. I hope this season you have the luxury of time with family and friends so you too can experience gratitude and contentment in your own life. Time to visit and laugh together. Time to make memories for the future when you look back at the Christmas of 2023. I wish you all a Merry Christmas my friends. With hugs and kisses.



Entertaining Recipe

I'm sure by this time you have all your family's favorite recipes and goodies well underway, so let's move onto an adult beverage. Mulled wine. I like this one but I love many of Jamie Oliver's recipes, but you be the judge. After preparing the syrup I just added it and the wine to a crockpot on warm to keep it at the right temperature so guest can serve themselves. I hope you give it a try and like it









Craft Ideas for the kiddies

Keep the little ones entertained by setting out colored pencils and your choice of papers to keep their little hands busy. You can download coloring sheets and purchase inexpensive



color pencils from Walmart and craft stores. Crayola has several apps for downloading coloring pages. Take a look at Crayola's Camera and take a picture of the kids to color.








Video/Demo


You could use this idea for Christmas if you have the time but I'm thinking ahead to throwing a New Year's Eve dinner party. Glittering bottles of Champagne or Presecco will put the sparkle into your party.

I'm using individual serving bottles that you can turn into table place card settings at the dinner table and then everyone gets to open their own bottle to toast in the New Year. Have a look at the video but the directions and supplies are easy to follow. Use the colors you want that works with your décor or party colors.

Supplies:

Single serving bottles of champagne or Prosecco (one for each guest)

Paint your choice of color.

Glitter your choice of color.

Name tags with string or ribbon

Pen for writing guest name. Your choice of color again. You can get color pens at Hobby Lobby or Michaels.

Directions:


The first step is up to you. If you're a perfectionist remove the name label and back content label or just paint over them. Let the first coat dry. Give a second coat and before the paint dries sprinkle your glitter and let dry.

Note: the bottle with the Karen name tag is the bottle I just painted over the labels, so you decide if you want to remove them.

Write guests name on each name tag and place on the neck of bottle and you're done. Set the bottle beside each table setting and a champagne glass and you're ready to toast in the New Year.


Tips/Books

One of my goals for 2024 is studying composition to improve my paintings. One of the book I have been studying is Creative Illustration by Andrew Loomis. Andrew Loomis was


America's most sought after illustrators, (1889-1959). His books are still sought after by art students and collected by artist. In his book on Creative Illustration he has different ways of creating good composition based on Letter and Symbols. This is one of the pages using letter and symbols that give your painting a composition guide line to follow.







This book can be downloaded as a free PDF from Wordpress if you're interested. He has pages on formal line design that can be used as a guideline for those of you that do abstracts and also for producing landscapes with good composition, even when working form a photo.



He also covers perspective lines and informal lines. His other books are on figure drawing and head and hands. Most of these can be found on Amazon and online thrift book stores.









What I'm working on

First I want to thank each and everyone of you that has purchased from me this year. I also want to thank all of you that follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and of course all of you that follow my blog on my website. I feel so blessed to have repeat customers and people that constantly follow my social media. I have learned so much from all of you. I hope in some small way you find my blog helpful to you and hope you will share it with others.

I will have a sale after Christmas so if you're still in shopping mode please have a look at my website. There are big changes being made as my website is being revamped. I'm excited to see what my tech guy does with it. That's coming sometime after the New Year. I'll also be adding some new products in the way of tools and brushes. I will also have new decoupage papers and Woodubend moldings for the furniture painters and crafters out there.



I'm also working on next year's business plan. Can't believe I'm ahead of my game for once. You may also want to keep this thought in mind as the year winds down if you run a small business or are starting to think about one. It's time to start thinking about your goals for next year. This means you need a business plan. If you don't know where to start and it sounds scary, it can be as simple as creating a few list of goals for yourself. I will go into more detail in my January Blog. For now, think about how much time you can dedicate to your business, especially if this is a side business to your regular job. Next, how much


artwork, furniture painting, or craft projects you can realistically complete in the time frame you have established. Last think about a revenue list. How many streams of income do you want that fit the time allotted. An example would be if you're an artist like me, you can have your original artwork as one revenue stream. You can have your original artwork made into different size prints and cards so that you have a price point that fits everyone's pocket. The more revenue streams you can add realistically every year or quarter the more successful you will become and the more income you can generate. So after the Holidays and hopefully a little rest you'll be ready to tackle the new year with a plan in mind.


Inspirational Quote


If I were a flower... I would be a sunflower. To always follow the sun, turn my back to darkness, stand proud, tall and straight even with my head full of seeds.

Pam Stewart






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