One Great Giveaway!

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone! Let's be honest now... all the greeting cards, decorating, baking, caroling and general yuletide make this time of year truly special. But you'd be lying if you said you didn't love the gifts too. So it only seems fitting to end this 12 Days of Christmas with a present from me to you. It's the least I can do for all the support, encouragement, likes, tweets, hearts, high fives and howdeedos you've thrown my way this year. Shucks, guys, you're the best! So here's the deal, I'm giving each of you a chance to win a special Dear Edna holiday gift pack consisting of one reversible apron, one tea cosy and one wine tote! One winner, three gifts. Oh, I love you. Yes, I do!

To enter the contest, simply leave a comment below. Plus, if you mention Dear Edna and this giveaway on twitter or facebook, you will get another entry for each. The contest is open to everyone, in all locations. The contest ends on December 31st at midnight. If I do not hear back from the winner within 48 hours of the announcement, I will redraw.

Good luck! 

And the randomly chosen winner is....

Congratulations, Jill! Your package of Dear Edna holiday goodies is on its way!

Thank you so much to everyone that entered!

2 Christmas Crafts

The Christmas cards are in the mail, the baking is in the oven, the gifts are under the tree... sounds like you have some time to get crafty with me! How adorable is this embroidered ornament and those Christmas tree tea bags? They are both perfect either as small gift or party favour or as an extra special gift topper, but the best part is, they are super easy and quick to whip up. Gather your materials, pour a glass of wine, and let's do this!

After seeing this beautiful blog post, this tea lover couldn't resist giving these a try. And now that my sewing room is covered in tea leaves, I figured a few more detailed, and English, instructions were in order.

1. Supplies: looseleaf tea (I used Tealish's Christmas blend), tea filter bags, needle and thread, scissors, and old Christmas cards or wrapping paper for the tag.
2 & 3. Draw a Christmas tree shape on the bag. Sew around the tree, leaving the bottom open. If using a sewing machine, be gentle -- paper is lot more delicate than fabric. Cut as close as you can to the seam.
3. Fill with about a teaspoon of tea.
4. Gently shake the leaves through to the tip of the tree. Sew up the end.
6. Thread your needle and draw it through both the top of the tree and the paper tag. Tie in a knot. You're done!

My embroidery practice continues. This one turned out so cute that I had grand plans of making a bunch of them in time for the craft show. But, as usual, I overestimated my time and ended up completing just this one. Haha!  I'm now planning to put one of these on every gift. I never learn.

Supplies: 4" embroidery hoop, two 5x5 pieces of fabric for front and back, embroidery thread, needle, fabric glue, foam core board or thick cardboard.
1. Click here to download the Joy image. Trace it onto fabric. There are lots of ways to do this, but I like to use a combination of carbon paper and a vanishing fabric marker. Add the snowflake and border freehand with your fabric marker and embroider away using your preferred stitch! I used a split stitch here.
2. To finish off the back, sew around the edges in a circle and pull tight, like a drawstring.
3. On a piece of foam core or thick cardboard, trace around the inside of another 4" hoop and cut out. Place this onto the other piece of fabric and cut approximately 1" beyond the edge of the board.
4. Line the edge of the board with fabric glue and press the edges of the fabric into place.
5. Add more glue on the back of the disc and press into the back of the hoop. String some ribbon or string through the top and you're done!

3 Sweet Treats

I've been thinking about this year's Christmas baking ever since we started planning our kitchen renovations and the experience was everything I dreamed it would be. Counter space, a convection oven and a dishwasher really do change the whole game. So with my new kitchen backing me up, I decided to try a few new recipes, and they all turned about great! No crumbly caramel disasters this year. I suspect it's going to be hard to keep these around for another week!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
via Poppytalk

I can't technically call these cups, since I decided to save myself the trouble and just cut them into squares. But they are just as delicious as the cups we all know and love, just upside down. If I had to choose a favourite of the three new recipes, this would be my pick!

1 cup melted, unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 cup smooth natural peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups semisweet chocolate (or your choice of chocolate)

1. In a saucepan on the stovetop, melt 1 cup of unsalted butter.
2. In a stand mixer on low setting, or mixing by hand with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl, mix together melted butter, graham cracker crumbs, icing sugar, peanut butter and vanilla extract until combined.
3. Pour into the baking pan and spread evenly along bottom of pan.
4. In a double boiler (or using a ceramic or metal bowl over top of a saucepan of low boiling water), melt the chocolate. 
5. Pour melted chocolate on top of graham cracker layer and spread evenly. 
6. Place in refrigerator to set, about 30 minutes. 
7. Using a circular cookie cutter, punch out circle shaped peanut butter cups! Or just cut out into squares (or some sort of shape) with a knife.

Mexican Chocolate Bars
via Food and Drink Magazine 2012 Holiday Issue

Imagine that nanaimo bars joined a biker gang... this is what they would look like. These bad boys are seriously rich, triple rich to be exact: a chocolate crust; a soft, spicy chocolate centre; and a hard chocolate top. But don't let their decadence intimidate you, just make sure you cut your squares small and pour a glass of milk before you dig in!

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp grated orange grind
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
1/2 tsp allspice berries
1/2 tsp whole cloves
1/4 tsp chili flakes
8 oz (1 cup) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 large egg, beaten

2 oz (1/4 cup) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp unsalted butter

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Combine graham cracker crumbs, walnuts, cocoa powder, sugar, salt and orange rind in a bowl. Add egg and melted butter and stir until well combined. Scrape mixture into prepared pan and use your fingertips to press it down into an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes or until crust looks matte and is dry to the touch. Set aside.
3. Pour whipping cream into a small heavy pot. Use a mortar and pestle to crush cinnamon stick, allspice and cloves into coarse pieces (this will be strained out later, so you don't have to go crazy). Add crushed spices and chili flakes to cream. Bring cream just to a boil over medium heat. Remove and let stand 20 minutes to steep.
4. Heat oven to 325°F.
5. Place chocolate in bowl. Return cream to medium heat and bring just to a boil again. Immediately pour through a strainer onto chocolate. Let chocolate stand 30 seconds, then stir until melted and smooth. Stir in egg until just combined. Pour chocolate mixture onto prepared crust and bake in the oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until just set with a slight wiggle in the centre. Cool and chill for 30 minutes or until firm.
6. Melt butter and remaining chocolate in double boiler or heavy-bottomed sauce pan and spread evenly over top layer. Chill for another 30 minutes or until firm. Cut into squares.

Super Soft Snickerdoodle Cookies

A nice break from all the chocolate, these are kind of like a cinnamon roll in cookie form. If they weren't so sweet already, I'd be tempted to ice them. They didn't turn out as flat as shown in the original recipe, but they are still light and fluffy, as promised, and difficult to eat just one.  I burned a batch (still getting used to that new oven), and the commentators seem to insist that cream of tartar is necessary, so maybe I'll give it another go with a more traditional recipe.
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 teaspon vanilla extract
For the cinnamon sugar:
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Heat the oven to 425°F. Gently melt the butter in a saucepan or in the microwave and let it cool while you mix the dry ingredients. Stir together the sugars, flour, spices, baking soda, and salt. Whisk the eggs into the cooled butter and add the vanilla. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring just until it comes together.
In a soup plate or shallow bowl, mix together the white sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Form small 1 1/2-inch balls of dough and roll them in the cinnamon sugar. Place them on an unlined, ungreased baking sheet and flatten slightly. Bake for 7 minutes then remove and let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Remove to a wire rack.
The dough can be refrigerated for up to 5 days, well-wrapped. It can also be frozen in logs.

4 Favourite Ornaments

O tannenbaum! Decorating the Christmas tree is such a lovely tradition, isn't it? Each ornament seems to have a story all its own and I really loved reading about some of Carla's favourites last year. I believe she got the idea from her friend Joanne the year before. So this year, I think I'll take up the tradition and share some of the trinkets on my tree!

Next to my Baby's First Christmas ball, this is the second oldest ornament on my tree and one of my very first sewing projects. Not bad needlework for a four-year-old! I wonder if I should track down my kindergarten teacher and thank her for that?

Mike bought me this ornament for our first Christmas together in Hamilton. If you love Christmas as much as I do, you will understand how much this means to me. I can't help but wonder if our grandchildren will be hanging it on their tree one day and sharing this story. Sorry for the sap, but if there's a place for sap, it's on the Christmas tree! Har har!

I bought this at the Maker's Market last year from a local stained-glass artist (I feel horrible that I can't remember the gentleman's name). This ornament is beautiful on its own, but what makes it extra special is that the glass was actually taken from an old home right here in Hamilton. I obviously fell in love with this idea and bought four or five more to give as gifts.

My mom dropped off a bunch of my ornaments this year that were gifted to me as a child and I was quite surprised to find this one included.  It was a gift from my godparents and it's always been a favourite of my entire family.  It was a bit of a tradition to find the perfect spot on the tree for this beauty and everyone knew the rules —  in front of a light and with lots of space to hang. Haha!

I could go on and on, there are so many that I love, but alas it's Day 4, so I'm cut off. Maybe I'll share some more next year. What are some of your favourite ornaments and family decorating traditions?

{Guest Post} 5 Vintage Vignettes

Season’s Greetings, Dear Edna readers! It’s Carla from DeFacto Redhead here, giving a helping hand to Erin for Day 5 of her 12 Days of Christmas posts. Last year I wrote on her blog for Day 6, and I discussed my obsession with Pyrex and the resulting fascination with all things vintage kitchen. This whole dishes thing is an interest I share with my mom (Jill, from A Little Bit of Everything), and this year we are still on the vintage track, but have veered way over into vintage Christmas. We are also pushing our “door shelves” on anybody who will listen. My mom discovered this hot-ticket item on…Pinterest (surprise!), and my dad, being the handyman that he is (and also being completely worn down by our repeated requests to “build us that shelf”), finally acquiesced to our pleas (i.e. demands). The result is pictured below, and I have decorated it for the first time with vintage Christmas finds I have picked up throughout the years, with special items that used to belong members of my family, and with knick-knacks that mean something to me and my “beau,” Darcy. It’s no secret that I am a sentimental person, and as Edna herself would likely say, this five-shelf display is a perfect reflection of my personality. “Dear” reader, consider us acquainted.

Here is the door shelf, in all its glory! I do believe I hear In Excelsis Gloria every time I look at it.

Technically, nothing on this shelf is vintage (the Charlie Brown book is from 2008), but my dad did make the wooden snowman for my great-grandmother in 1994 (there is an inscription on the back), and come on, let’s get real — it’s A Charlie Brown Christmas, people!

The Christmas Dictionary on the left is from Christmas 1963, and was given to Mark Minor from Mrs. Wellwood. I have always imagined this was a gift from a teacher to a student. Perhaps Mark was curious about Christmas terminology? (Also, don’t miss the red Pyrex fridgie filled with vintage bulbs!)

The Christmas Favorites book on the right has a 1951 copyright date, and I find the Christmas with the Chippers record interesting because it was made in Canada, specifically “Scarboro,” Ontario. How long ago was the Scarborough we know today spelled without the “u-g-h” on the end?

Everyone must remember their Little Golden Books from when they were kids – I know I certainly do! I don’t recall having the book on the left, but this copy of The Animals’ Christmas Eve must have made somebody happy around the copyright date of 1977.

This Little Golden Book — Frosty the Snowman —is inscribed “Best Wishes for Jay J. in 1973, Grandma H.” I remember having this book, too, and I’m sure I loved it. After all, if it’s Christmas related, I’m pretty much sold.

Happy holidays, everyone!

6 Holiday Hamilton Happenings

Image via  Hamilton Postcards

Art Crawl / Dec. 14 / James St. North / A great opportunity to pick up some unique gifts and support some amazing small businesses. Make sure to stop in to Needlework for the special Handmade Holiday Market presented by Mint Textile Studio.

Kitestring Christmas Spectacular / Dec. 14 / Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts / This fourth annual bash will feature live music, dancing, "mountains of snacks", and sweet alcoholic treats. All profits benefit Culture for Kids in the Arts.

Toronto All-Star Big Band / Dec. 15 / 2 pm / Hamilton Place / I had the opportunity to see this big band play last year and was blown away. These kids can really belt out the oldies. I've been wanting to see their holiday show ever since, unfortunately, something always seems to come up. This year is no exception, so I'm counting on you to attend and report back, OK?

Sonic Unyon Christmas Party / Dec. 15 / Now in it's 21st year, I think it's safe to call this event a Hamilton tradition. I remember attending as a teenager, so, yeah, it's like, pretty old. Ha! This year's lineup includes Terra Lightfoot, New Hands, Kestrels vs Electroluminescent, and Cardboard Nationals.

Vinyl Cafe Christmas Tour / Dec. 19 / 7 pm /  Hamilton Place / Stuart McLean is bringing a special holiday edition of his popular radio series, The Vinyl Cafe, to the stage and is making a stop in Hamilton. I don't follow the show, but if you do, you may like to know that the concert will include two brand new Dave and Morley stories and Christmas music performed by “The Vinylettes” and Vancouver singer-songwriter Reid Jamieson. 

Dundurn Castle / until Dec. 23 / There are some wonderful events planned for Dundurn Castle this entire holiday season, from baking and craft workshops, to caroling and, of course, seeing the castle all decked out for Christmas. If you want a sneak peak, the Beaux Mondes ladies wrote about their recent visit here.

{Guest Post} 7 Gifts for Hamilton Book Lovers

A special treat for you today... we have a new guest blogger joining us, Jessica Rose. Jessica is a writer and editor who lives (but unfortunately doesn’t work) in downtown Hamilton. When she’s not editing children’s books, she's blogging at or tweeting at @NMTblog. Please give her a warm welcome!

What's the perfect gift for a book lover? The easy answer is, of course, a book, but unless you know exactly what someone has read or likes to read, buying for a book lover isn't always as easy as heading to the best-seller section. Here are a few unique and local gifts that any reader or writer on your list will love.

1. Quills Magnetic Bookmarks: Anyone in my family will tell you that Quills magnetic bookmarks are a personal favourite because each has received at least one from me over the past few years. These perfect stocking stuffers are available by appointment at the Quills studio on Arkledun Avenue, or at the Royal Botanical Garden's gift shop, the Paper Place in Toronto, Chapters in Ancaster or Erin Mills, or at Rustic Routes in Beeton, Ontario.
2. A Child's Christmas in Hamilton: Written by Ryan Moran, and illustrated by Chelsea Robinson, A Child’s Christmas in Hamilton is inspired by Moran’s own experiences growing up in Hamilton in the 1980s. This pocket-sized book is available at a number of independent retailers, including Mixed Media and Citizen Kid (188 Locke Street South). Proceeds from the sale of the book go to City Kidz, a charity that helps support children in the inner city.

3. Pull-Down Educational Chart: Sheri at Gritty City Goods offers one of the most unique gifts for language lovers — this etymological chart of the English Language. Sheri printed this chart, and her many others, fashioning it in the style of a vintage pull-down map. It’s not too late to contact Sheri to arrange a pick-up of one of these unique gifts.

4. Hamilton Illustrated: 
A unique book like David Collier's graphic novel Hamilton Illustrated is better than something plucked off the shelf at a big-box store. Hamilton Illustrated, which was released in November, is available at Mixed Media (154 James Street North) and independent booksellers across the city.

5. Book Jewellery: If the reader or writer on your list is a jewellery lover, Laura at The Unwritten Word uses recycled pages of novels to create her necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Laura’s shipping deadline has passed, but if you live in Hamilton, Ancaster, Burlington, or Brantford, she’ll hand deliver your gift for free, as long as your order is placed before December 21st. Just enter the promo code HAMMER.

6. You Can Do Anything in Hamilton Tote: If the book lover on your list is anything like me, he or she needs a good tote bag to lug books home from the Hamilton Public Library. Russell Gibbs' You Can Do Anything in Hamilton totes are large and durable enough for a haul of hardcovers, also sporting a message that captures the spirit of the city. It's available at White Elephant (133 James Street North) and Tourism Hamilton (28 James Street North).

7. Vintage Books: Used booksellers across the city pride themselves on their carefully curated collection of vintage books. Whether you’re looking for a vintage children’s picture book, a hard-to-find classic, or just hoping to shave a few dollars off a cover price, the folks at shops like J.H. Gordon Books (314 King Street East) and James Street Bookseller (134 James Street South) are happy to help. (Image via J.H. Gordon Books)

8 Picks from Hamilton Makers

Hamilton is one talented city, I'll tell you. Here's proof: eight beautiful gifts from eight very different Hamilton makers. I'd be thrilled to receive any one of these, wouldn't you? You really have no excuse... buy local!

1. Black-Capped Chickadee for New Brunswick by Crownland / 2. Splatter Tee by Replicca Clothing
3. Arrow Print Pouch  by Natalie Eldershaw / 4. Crosstitched Snowflake Mittens  by Things By SLO
5. Bees Wax Candle by Wicked Candles Canada / 6. Pull Down Educational Chart by Gritty City Goods
7. Headbands by Goodnight, Day (photo via White Elephant) / 8. Polar Whiskey Stones by Polar Stones

9 Gifts for Sewers

It's safe to say I know a thing or two about sewing, and aside from the usual staples like fabric, thread, and a decent sewing machine, there are a few extra tools and gadgets that I've discovered throughout the years that I'm not sure I could live without now. So, if you have a person on your list this year that likes to sew, you're in luck, there's surely a few things here that they will love in their stocking!

1. Sewing Basics Book:  There are lots of sewing books out there, but I highly recommend this one. Mike bought it for me last Christmas and I turn to it often to research everything from fabric types, to sewing machine problems, to embroidery stitches.

2. Ergonomic Seam Ripper: A seam ripper is probably the most used sewing tool next to a needle and thread for beginners and advanced sewers alike. The tiny go-to dollar store variety works just fine, but step it up to the ergonomic version and your fingers, back and eyes will all thank you.

3. Magnetic Pin Cushion: At first I thought this was a silly novelty, but oh how I was wrong! The real value isn't in being able to pick up all your pins at once (how often do you need to do that?), but how you can basically toss your pin in the general direction of the thing without even looking and it snaps in place, allowing you to keep your eyes on your work and your machine running at full speed. You know you want to try it!

4. Fabric Scissors: Nothing compares to a pair of good fabric scissors, so this is a tool you shouldn't skimp out on. I love my handcrafted Gingher Shears, and they have a lifetime no-questions-asked guarantee. It's true, I've used it. A pair of little embroidery scissors or snips is also a must-have for light trimming.

5. Iron: Non-sewers would be surprised at how much ironing is involved in sewing. In fact, for some projects, I think I spend more time behind the ironing board than the sewing machine. An investment in a good quality iron, like my darling Rowenta here, goes a long way.

6. Pins: Quality pins save quite a few headaches as well. I recently started using long, flat quilting pins and now I reach for them first. Because they're larger, you catch more fabric with one pin, you can place a ruler flat on top of them, and these particular ones can be safely ironed over!

7. Rotary Cutting Set: This actually consists of three things, a rotary cutter, ruler and cutting mat. Together they make the cutting process ten times faster and more accurate. But please be careful... I've nipped off fingertips. Oops.

8. Patterns: This can be a tricky one unless you know your friend pretty well, but you know it's the thought that counts. My advice: don't overestimate skills, keep it pretty simple and beginner-friendly, like this Wiksten tank. Some other pattern companies I like are Burda, Collette and Megan Nielsen.

9. Gift Certificate: A lot about sewing is personal and subjective, so don't underestimate the value of a gift certificate to a local fabric shop. This way your sewer can choose their own fabric, thread, tools, or even sign up for a class!

{Guest Post} 10 Things for Himself

1. Rain Jacket: I've been on the hunt for a 3/4-bike-friendly-hooded-rain-jacket for a while, this mostly entails me miming bicycle-riding-like squatting movements to the salesperson's confusion. But I think I've narrowed it down...

My top pick so far is this Fjällräven, Greenland jacket with an attached tight fitting hood and two-way zipper (allows adjustment for better movement while biking), plus it’s available locally.

Runner up is this one. It has two-way zip, and the fabric weight is a bit lighter for spring. The downfalls are the hood is removable, which means a looser fit than I like for biking, and the logo is a little too prominent. Also, the name  K-Way reminds me of BiWay and how bad my peers would mock me if I wore it in grade 6.

2. Undies: I’ve read good things about this underwear brand and realized O’s Clothes carries them through the magic of twitter (guess I was in the rain-jacket zone).  

3. Pre-Order True Patriot (released in July): I’ve been reading a couple graphic novels a week from the library the past few years because I got too-cool-for-comics from 16 until about three years ago, when I started scrambling to catch up. Throw in some Canadiana and I'm sold.

4. Socks: New item from my go-to bikecommuterwear brand, Outlier. Looks to be a well thought out technical merino sock,without the giant brand name that tends to get plastered over most (why icebreaker? why smartwool? why wigwam? why???)

The time-honoured parental staples of socks & undies have now been covered. 

5. Hamilton Coffee Roasters:  I’m known to dole out Red Hill coffee samples in my Christmas gifts, usually grabbing their 8-Sample Box and forgetting to gift a couple. This year, the yet-to-find-a-home Cafe Oranje has put out a coffee offering that I want all to myself...

It includes three samples from a who’s who of Hamilton roasters (Detour, Hero, Red Hill, Speakeasy & Homegrown). Topped off with your choice of Cake & Loaf cookies.  Gotta order quick though, offer ends Dec 12th. *If anyone is wondering: 1,2,4 & Shortbread for me.

6. Late Bottled Port: A winter standby in our house, when we run out of this stuff it means we’re wineless and cranky. So bring one over just to be safe.

7. Red Tie: I bought a ratty old red plaid tie for like two bucks for a costume; it was full of holes in the lower half, but I liked it so much I started wearing it with sweaters to hide the holes. All that sweater friction has now caught up with it, but I've confirmed there's something behind this red tie thing.

8. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay:  Always in contention for the top spot of my favourite books list, I’ve been waiting for an edition with some added content to justify adding it to my packed shelves, and that edition is finally here

9. Mag-Blok magnetic knife rack: With our kitchen update this year we decided to ditch our crusty old knife block.  Instead of wasting space on the counter again, this sturdy 12” wood rack with a continuous magnetic field will keep our knives secured and out of the way.

10. It's been a bi-polar year musically for me — I feel like I'm suffering through all the conflicting emotions of puberty every time I turn on my 2012 playlist. Here's my top-rated albums:

Frank Ocean - Channel Orange, Grimes - Visions, Twin Shadow - Confess, Divine Fits - A Thing Called Divine Fits (already nabbed at their show), Islands - A Sleep & A Forgetting, Bat for Lashes - The Haunted Man, Perfume Genius - Put Your Back N 2 It

11 Things on My Wish List

Wow! I guess I'm into monochrome this year, huh? I found it pretty difficult to narrow my list down to eleven. You may call that greedy; I prefer to call it admiring beautiful things. You may find a few extras hiding in this list. Don't tell.

1. This beautiful hammered brass cuff by Leigh Luna is engraved with with Live, Love, Create in braille. How perfect is that? Now, while we're on the topic of brass, I also love this Laura Lombardi necklace, but it will put a slightly bigger dent in your wallet.

2. I'm a recent loose-leaf tea convert after finally tasting some decent, strong black-tea blends. From what I hear, Bellocq is like the Cristal of the tea world.

3. Jane Labatt, one-half of the duo that owns White Elephant, launched a stunning jewellery line this year called Rare Specimens. These shiny galena studs are one of my favourites. I like the herikimer diamonds too, if anyone is interested.

4. If you're going to drink loose leaf tea, you need an infuser, and I've had a hard time finding one that I like. This sleek gadget seems to solve all my issues. It's called the Blomus Utilo Tea Stick, and I want it!

5. It's going to be hard to replace the gorgeous Rifle Paper Co. calendar I've been admiring all year, but I think this beauty by Leah Duncan will do nicely. I also think this one by Cranny Found Favorites is sweet.

6. How cool is this handmade Celtic knot by Karen's Rope Work? Our kitchen renovation has us suddenly having to adjust to laminate countertops as opposed to tile. Trivets are in order STAT.

7. This lacey crochet hook case by Namolio has been bookmarked for a loooong time. I think it's because I keep telling myself that I can sew something similar myself. But, let's get serious here, is that ever going to happen? And will it look half as pretty as this?

8. Another thing I can't seem to buy for myself is a covered cake dish, also known as a cake dome set, apparently. This is most likely because it wouldn't fit in my old kitchen. But now I have a new kitchen. Mmhmm.

9. The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle Laporte. To be frank, this is a self help book with balls. All I needed to do was read the table of contents to know that I wanted to own this book. It will be an inspiring new year with this on my shelf, I'll say that much.

10. Although I like to think of myself as Carrie Bradshaw when I wrap my laptop in a pashmena, it's undoubtedly not ideal protection for bouncing along in the metal basket of a vintage bike. This Acme laptop case would work much better, except that it's an inch too small. Maybe Santa's elves can make me one just like it that is 14x10.5?

11. In our house, we opt for fabric napkins and tea towels over paper whenever we can and they're all starting to look a bit... um... used. I've had my eye on this ship print by Jenna Rose for awhile. Local artists Bookhou and Bespoke Uprising have some lovely screen-printed designs as well.

12 Christmas Cards

1. Rifle Paper Co | 2. Humunuku Shoppe | 3. Shanna Murray | 4. Paper Source

I'm kicking off the 12 Days of Christmas series with one of my favourite holiday traditions... Christmas cards! I hear your arguments that it's the digital age and that I receive only a fraction compared to what I send, but that's all part of the reason I do it. This is the one time of year where I overindulge my love of stationary, take the time to show all my loved ones that I care, and get excited to open my mail box every day! That being said, I still haven't purchased my cards for this year! That doesn't mean I haven't seen some that I like. It's just that I send about thirty cards and the ones I love most are of course hand crafted and thus out of my budget. Nevertheless, here are some of my favourites from around the web. If I don't find what I'm looking for this week, I just may have to bite the bullet and express ship some of these beauties. Wouldn't you want to be on my mailing list then?

Call for Contributors

Image by Erin Jang for Paperless Post

I've been on the fence about whether or not to continue my 12 Days of Christmas series again this year. On the one hand, it's a lot of work at an already crazy busy time. On the other hand, I really love doing it! These are some of the posts that I look back on throughout the year and smile, so happy that I took the time to research and write them. So, with that in mind and the festive spirit in my heart, I've decided to give it another shot this year, despite there only being 3 weeks until Christmas. That's 4 posts a week. Ahhh! I'm going to need some help. I've had fantastic guest bloggers contribute to this series in the past, such as Jentine from My EditBess from English Muffin and Carla from Defacto Redhead, but this year I'd like to hear from a few new voices. If you'd like to contribute a post, please pitch your ideas to as soon as possible. I look forward to hearing from you!

Hello December!

What a fantastically crafty weekend! The Maker's Market went really well. I was impressed with the overall setup and organization, the atmosphere was cozy, the customers were friendly, and business was good. All in all it was a very successful day. Thanks to everyone that came out!

With the craft show behind me, and some extra cash in my pocket, on Sunday I headed out to Toronto for the last day of the One of a Kind Show. I won the tickets from Katie Walker, a local silkscreen artist who was a first time vendor in the Rising Stars section. A big thank you to her for that. I had a great time and saw a lot that I liked this year. I even came away with a couple gifts for Mikey J. My Christmas shopping has begun. Yay!

My online shop has been bumping all weekend too! There must be something that clicks for people on December 1st telling them to get shopping. It's a good thing too, because those shipping deadlines are closing in. U.S. customers have only until December 5th for made-to-order items and until December 9th for ready-to-ship. Canadians have a bit longer, but not much. It's wise not to gamble with Canada Post, so please get those orders in this week! All the information you need is posted on the home page of my shop, but feel free to email me if you are at all concerned about your item making it under the tree.

December is off to a great start for me so far! What have you all been up to? Decking the halls and trimming the trees? I plan on getting to that sometime this week.