5 Favorite Christmas Movies

Merry Christmas!

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Here are a few Christmas movies that really make the holiday for me:

  • “Arthur Christmas.” This is a new favorite; a kids’ movie though I have only watched it from an adult perspective, appreciating the quick humor, imperfect family, and sci-fi explanations of that whole Santa-delivering-presents-to-everyone thing. As a Santa-story, I wonder why I like this one so much; the reason is the magic it somehow embraces, and the twist examining what makes someone important.
  • “A Muppets Christmas Carol.” All cheery goofiness – and then Jacob and Robert Marley pause their creepy ghostly song to shudder at the horrors they’ve done. This isn’t just a kids film! Curiously human, someone has said that this adaptation is the one Dickens himself might’ve liked best.
  • “A Christmas Carol” with George C. Scott. This beautiful adaptation has it all – a haunting snowy Victorian location, wonderful actors, lovely music, faithfulness to its source material. Its Ghost of Christmas Present is no kindly Father Christmas, and the threat of Scrooge’s lonely death and the slow wasting away of Tiny Tim seem real.
  • “It’s a Wonderful Life.” No list of Christmas films would complete without it! But – what a movie. It’s a story of an ordinary life, which might have been extraordinary and therefore seems a failure. Yet George Bailey has lived his life well – and his darkest moment is nothing to the darkness his absence would leave.
  • “The Chimes of Midnight.” Ok – this technically not a movie, but a “Doctor Who” audio adventure. But Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without it! There’s even plum pudding. It starts as a ghost story mystery with a lot of a dark humor. But as it goes on, it grows darker until an ending that is devastating. And splendid. If you get time travel stories, then definitely check this out!

Thinking about each of these stories, one theme emerges from them all: The importance of the small things – those which are despised by the world – and especially the little people who don’t seem to matter: Arthur the failure who goes on a quest to ensure that one child gets her present, Scrooge who pursued worldly success and lost everything else, the important little friends of Bedford Falls, and Edith Thompson the scullery maid whom no one could ever love. After all, that is what Christmas is all about: How, perhaps, in the eyes of Heaven the Tiny Tims may be worth more than the great things of the world.

-Abigail-

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Cogs & Gears: Update, and What’s Next

It’s time for a another look behind-the-scenes at our Etsy shops. And – I haven’t been able to think of anything new and amazing to write about! This last couple of weeks has been working on projects, finishing items, listing stuff, experimenting with promotion, and business as usual. Not terribly scintillating!

So, here’s a simple update about what we’ve been doing – and a glimpse at what’s (hopefully) to come.

Sarah, having a FrappuccinoSarah has just had a Ladybug Week! She ignored all Etsy stuff, wrote madly (it’s CampNaNo this month), and made herself some adorable house slippers. This week, she’ll be putting a custom listing on Etsy, and will be working on something for a new line!

Hannah has been working away at her goal of having 30 items in her shop by the end of July. This has been slightly hampered by selling a couple of hats in person – which is exactly the kind of problem you want to have! Also, she (almost) finished a new painting, which she will be debuting soon: It’s awesome!

Abigail… Well, to be honest, my focus hasn’t been on Etsy in the last couple of weeks: I’ve been typing my book, it’s really, really hot outside, and I’ve been revamping my health-routine. However, I’ve made some really cute butterfly Ephemeral Earrings (coming to my Etsy shop IMG_1527.JPGsoon!), and I’m thinking of getting back to some neglected ideas and lines.

What’s Next: In general, we’ll be posting some Popcorn recipes this week, and I (literally!) just thought of a really cool idea for a blog series. On Etsy, we all have some new items and lines that will be popping up on our shops soon, and we’re getting serious about promotion (that seems to call for a wild war cry or something…). In cooking, we’ve been playing with overnight oats, chia, quinoa, and other healthful stuff. It’s surprisingly yummy. Maybe we’ll share some recipes!

Anyway – that’s a few random things from our life! What have you been up to this July?

-Abigail-

 

Cogs & Gears: Whatnot

Ever have one of those times when you get busy doing this and that, manage to accomplish a lot, get distracted a bit by new tech or a holiday – and then look up to discover that you’ve totally neglected something that was kind of important? That’s what my last couple of weeks has been like! (Has it really been two weeks since I posted anything?!)

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Anyway, here’s a little glimpse of what we’ve been up to the last 10 days:

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One of our favorite place in the mountains. It’s called Capulin, and what it lacks in trails it makes up for in beauty

 

 

  • We went hiking Memorial Day! Hence all my beautiful pictures. Yes, recreation is relevant to crafting and running a business; it helps to get a little perspective and a bit of a challenge.
  • Sarah shipped one of her adorable mug cozies, to a happy customer!!! Hannah ran into a couple of problems with her shipment, but tackled them with strength and determination (and perplexity and outrage). Success all around!
  • Our wonderful smartphones got new operating systems, thereby generally causing trouble and upheaval to carefully arranged apps and stuff. Ah! technology!

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    A black dog learns quickly that shade is her friend!
  • I finished off some cards and earrings for my Etsy shop, and photographed them all! It took a while. I may have gotten carried away in the “Fairy Tale”-earring making…
  • And, the “Shopping Boutique (and Summer Fun)” that we were planning on participating in fell through. It’s a pity, because it seemed like just the opportunity that we needed to show off our shops and products and hopefully gain some more clients. But we’re praying that something else will open up instead.

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    Hannah! (I always forget to take pictures of people…)
  • Making an opportunity out of that disappointment, the next few weeks we will be focusing on polishing up our shops, making new items, and probably giving this blog a bit of an overhaul! It should be exciting. Sarah is making some patriotic cup-holders, Hannah is whipping out summery hats (like this one), and I am conjuring up some summery and playful earring designs (probably patriotic, too!).

And in the meantime, I’ve decided that I’ve

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New growth

reached frustration-point with Etsy shops and listings and products and promoting and…! One ought to forestall this by well-timed breaks: So, this week will be my Ladybug Week (so dubbed by Sarah – it’s a brilliant idea), and I will deliberately plan another down time seven weeks from now and start up a regular system of it.

I have two extremes in using down time: Either I meander and do nothing (unsatisfactory), or I fill the time with all the other things I could be

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Angle experimentation!

 

doing and end up busier than ever (exhausting). So for this Ladybug Week, I’ve decided to focus my time into one or two things only: Writing – I’m typing up my finished novel, and it needs some hardcore work! And, when I need a break from sitting around and fixing grammar, there’s some personal sewing to do. Let’s see… I need new walking shorts, a maxi-dress, that purse that I cut out, maybe a jeans skirt – No! Stop, Abigail! Limitations are good!

So – off to ignore crafting and business, and instead introduce the Shardovans and how they got into their recent dire straits!

-Abigail-

3 Christmas Traditions

Merry Christmas to all!

In honor of the day, I thought I’d share a few of our favorite traditions for celebrating the holiday:

Luminarias

So simple, so beautiful! You take paper bags and tea candles (cheap) and sand (ubiquitous), and put them together to make lights. Then, line Mary and Joseph’s path to the inn – and the path to Christmas Eve mass. This is a lovely New Mexican tradition!

Plum Pudding

Being Anglophiles, it was only a matter of time before we tried this Christmas treat mentioned in so many seasonal British stories. And it’s worth it! Full of spice and plums (raisins) and love, it is quintessential Christmas. (I use butter rather than suet, and it turns out fine!)

We don’t end Christmas on the 25th

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Seriously, try it! Some of the best fun is to be had after the stress and expectations of the day are over. Plus, if you’ve maybe forgotten a gift or two, there are the post-Christmas sales to hit. After all, traditionally, the season isn’t over until Epiphany (or 3 Kings Day), which is January 6th! I love Christmas so much that I would rather extend it than call it over after all the presents are opened!

I hope that you all have a blessed and wonderful holiday weekend!

-Abigail-

Christmas in the City

Today I’m finally going to introduce a couple new items on my Etsy shop, SallySewing. These are Christmas items, which I am very excited about- not only because it’s Christmastime, but because my shop has been looking empty without anything Christmas-related.

il_570xn-887790410_1dwwThis bag is what I call the Christmas in the City bags. I saw some black and gold Christmas tree fabric, and decided I wanted to make some bags out of it (not from our stash). I thought the leather would be interesting too, and I wanted jingle bells.

These bags were originally going to be backpacks. I can’t explain when they changed to what they are, possibly when I realized I didn’t have much time before the craft fair.

I have been using one of these bags to ‘advertise’ them, as well as test drive them. My resulting opinion is that they’re seasonal- it’s fun using it, simply for an unexpected show, but I’m happy using it for this month (and some of the next). It’s surprisingly roomy, easy to carry around and fun with the jingle bells.

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I like how these bags turned out. They were interesting to make, especially with the leather. It was the first time I’ve used leather so extensively, and it was very cooperative. The drawstring turned out different than I originally intended, but the look is unusual and fun. What I really liked was the bias tape! It gave me a chance to sew down the lining in a thoroughly satisfactory way.

I actually sold one of these bags, making a few alterations- which I am happy to do with most my items on my shop. I shortened the strap, adding buttons, and put on some big jingle bells, first taking out the jingles so they weren’t so noisy. I really liked the look, so I might have to add them to the others! (unfortunately I forgot to take a picture)

Here is a link to the Christmas in the City Jingle Bells Bags if you want to check it out.

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And the second of my new items on my shop, are the Christmas Gift Bags. I made these last year, and then forgot to take pictures of them and put them up on Etsy.

I love these bags. I always think they look Victoriana, with beautiful, classic Christmas colors.

I kept them simple because I want people to be able to do their own things with them, but I would be happy to add some little decoration to the front.

Try as I might, I can’t elaborate much on these bags. I’d love to, because it feels like I’m less interested in them, or something, but there’s not much more for me to say. They are gift bags, just like regular gift bags except made out of fabric. I made some gift tags to go along with them, which are very pretty in my opinion.

I really like these bags, and I am satisfied with how they turned out, though I haven’t yet decided if I want to make any more. They look wonderful under a Christmas tree too!

Here’s a link to these Christmas Gift Bags, if you want to take a look.

Of course, now it’s a bit late for Christmas shopping. If you want either of these items as a late gift or Epiphany present, I could work with you to figure out how to get it to you on time (unless, of course, you live in the NM area, in which case I may be able to get these to you in time for Christmas)

I’ve done it! Lord willing, there will be more appearing on my shop, SallySewing very soon, including my Shabby Chick bags!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Sarah

 

 

Old Town

I don’t know if there’s any other Old Town. Probably. But our Old Town- the New Mexican Old Town is the real Old Town! We have ghosts.

A Touch of the Past

Today I am going on a tour of Old Town. We go there at Christmastime, and we’ve probably missed it only once or twice. It’s probably a good thing I haven’t had a camera for all my life or I would have a ton of Old Town pictures!

On the left is a replica of some Civil War cannons (not Christmas-y, but they belong in Old Town). They had the actual ones there for a while, but they’re now in one of our museums.

Building in Old Town

I almost always take a picture of this building. It’s actually kind of a tradition I love, though I decided to change things up this year.

We usually start from this building and then go to the main area, and wander to the Christmas shop or various other shops.

This time I was noticing how many restaurants there are around the place, which I haven’t visited. I’m thinking we should go, especially since I was just reading about a local chocolatier in Old Town. It’s amazing what you don’t know about, when you’ve lived somewhere all your life!

Three Seperate Shops

Pictured on the left is a wonderful area we discovered more recently. There’s a fun Irish shop on the upper level, and further to the right, and lower down, is a soap shop that has some fun variety.

We took our dog, Annie, along this year. We’ve seen dogs there before (including an adorable Scotty last year) and I think this was the first time we took her along. She was actually a bit confused (and alarmed when we separated) but had a lot of fun.

Different Part of Old Town

 

This is the same area. There are lots of stairs everywhere, which I always find interesting because we don’t have stairs in our house. I was with Annie on the upper level when we saw the rest of the family coming. Annie- also completely unfamiliar with stairs- tried leaping down to them.

You can see a bit of the beautiful art on the wall next to the visible staircase in this photo. There are beautiful flowers, somehow incongruous in the Christmas décor, yet seem to have the same life.

Music in Old Town

This is the plaza in Old Town, with the beautiful gazebo. This is from last year, when there was a band playing. This year we saw Civil War re-enactors, which was a lot of fun. There were hoops, Christmas carols and a cello.

Side Doors

 

This is a picture of the area around the giant Christmas tree. It’s one of the only photos I have of the Christmas tree, because it’s surprisingly difficult to take pictures of. This year I managed pretty well, and I may actually have to do an Old Town Part 2 because of the interesting photos I took this year.

Christmas in Old TownThis is one of my favorite photos. It’s Christmas-y! It’s old fashioned! It’s New Mexican! It kind of embodies Old Town! Of course it’s a bit small too, but the color combinations are pleasing.

Old Town is a lot of fun, and I can’t say specifically what I like best about it. Probably, simply going there with my family and having hot chocolate and cookies. That’s a newer tradition, oddly enough, but it’s wonderful, especially when listening to Christmas carols as the daylight fades away.

Three Crosses

I had to finish with this. San Felipe de Neri Parish. I simply cannot describe what this place is like. It’s beautiful. While all the world is a little crazy, and Old Town is decked in Christmas beauty, nothing can match this place’s stillness.

I’ve taken plenty of pictures of San Felipe de Neri Parish, none inside unfortunately.

Well, that completes one tour of Old Town. Like I said, I might have to do another post because I completely forgot about the Old Town cat we met this year, plus I tried doing some different things. We’ll see…

I hope you enjoyed my own version of an Old Town tour, and our Christmas traditions! You will probably find out more about Old Town by looking up ghost tours and weddings.

Merry Christmas!

Sarah

 

Christmas Chaos

So – it’s 10 days till Christmas! Are you panickingdone shoppingstressed outfreaking out about how much you have to do still – I mean, are you filled with the joy and peace of this beautiful season? It’s so easy to get lost in endless to-do lists! As you can tell from our lack of new posts, we are getting sidetracked by the chaos of December as much as anyone. I wanted to share a cookie recipe with you on Saturday, but watched a movie instead. We meant to start a new series early in the month, and that somehow got lost. Ugh! Ok, enough complaining! Fun stuff:

It snowed! (Yay!)

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A look at some of what I’m up to this week:

  • I will be putting a lot of new things up on my Etsy shop
    (hopefully today)! It’s a little late, so there’s no time to waste!

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    A card that is already listed at my shop!
  • Shopping for wonderful gifts for my family and friends.

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    I think Rudolf will let it go if you ask him nicely…
  • Sewing some new garments:

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    Yes, there could be gifts included among my sewing projects (but don’t tell!)
  • Straightening up the house so we can host a Christmas Tea Party!

 

It’s been a weird month so far, partly because our Tech Guy (aka dad)

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The sad last of the Great-Grandma Tallman’s Blackstrap Molasses Cookies (they’re worth the long name)

has been experiencing stressful and distracting tech problems, and partly because we somehow just started on the wrong holiday foot. Things have been a little off. I mean – we’ve only made one batch of Christmas cookies! Though that might not be such a bad thing… And there has been fudge and Turkish Delight…

 

But we’re refocusing, and in the next 3 weeks we will bring you lots of wonderful new posts!:

  • Christmas Traditions
  • Lots of delicious recipes! (though the cookies above might be a family secret recipe)
  • Christmas Favorites – movies, books, music, stories, memories…
  • More backwards reviews of Christmas classics (great idea,
    Sarah!)
  • A highlight of Christmas items in our shops, and how they came about

And, you know what? I discovered last month that writing consistently about Thanksgiving and gratitude made me appreciate all we do in celebration of that holiday. Christmas could very well be the same: Perhaps in sharing with you all of our Christmas wonder, we will experience it anew!

 

-Abigail-