Tag Archives: Christmas

Book Review: Cut and Assemble Santa’s Workshop – Christmas is Just Around the Corner

Cut and Assemble Santa’s Workshop

By: Matt Bergstrom

Fresh from the creative mind of Matt Bergstrom’s is an adorable, easy to make Santa’s Workshop. You may have seen his three-story Haunted House for Halloween. Coupled with his new Santa’s Workshop, you will have a pair of decorations that will be enjoyed for years to come.

Adults and teens can easily follow the step-by-step illustrated instructions. As always, read through them before starting the project. With simple tools; such as a hobby knife, scissors, ruler, dowel and craft glue. Tweezers might be handy for the smaller pieces. But don’t think it is only for adults, school age children will love to rearrange the reindeer, elves, gifts and Christmas tree.

With the high cost of Christmas decorations, Cut and Assemble Santa’s Workshop is an affordable breath of fresh air. You will enjoy the time spent with your older children and teens creating the colorful workshop, as well as the compliments from your holiday guests. Reminiscent of paper dolls, this craft book will bring a bit of nostalgia to your holidays.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Dover Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: Magical Unicorn Christmas Activity Book – Great Gift Idea

Magical Unicorn Christmas Activity Book

Illustrated By: Sam Loman

If you have a youngster in your life obsessed with unicorns, this is the perfect, inexpensive gift. It is not the amount of money spent, it is about the hours of enjoyment he or she will have completing the fun activities on each page.

From word searches to make your own Christmas Cards everyone’s favorite activities are included. There are over 80 pages ranging from coloring a scene in a Christmas ballet to word search puzzles, there is fun on every page.

One of my absolute favorites are Christmas Creations on page 44. This activity has a picture of Candy and Snowy, two unicorns with a brief bio. On the corresponding page, your child can create his or her own unicorn, complete with name and which super power it has. Unleashed creativity is always something to encourage. Other pages also encourage creativity such as making up a song and a secret list of things you want to make for friends and family.

This book is appropriate for children from kindergarten and up. It includes activities that require reading and writing simple words. The Magical Unicorn Christmas Activity Book will entertain and delight the youngster in your life and spark their imagination. You may want to give it to them in early December to enjoy it throughout the season.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Dover Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: Christmas Inspirations Coloring Book – Dash Right Out and Get Your Copy

Christmas Inspirations Coloring Book

By: Jessica Mazurkiewicz

Christmas will be here before we can blink an eye. I always like to shop early for stocking stuffers and Christmas Inspirations Coloring Book is perfect for adults and teens alike. Each of the thirty-one pages is just waiting for colored pencils, markers or crayons to make them come alive.

Unlike most adult coloring books, Christmas Inspirations is interesting without being overly intricate. The pages are festive and fun, some have more detail than others, but all will put you in the mood for the holiday season.

Perhaps you would like to dress up your home with the artwork created from this coloring book. If so, you may want to get one of the frames that hold children’s artwork and switch out the different pages depending upon your mood that day. Each page is perforated, so it will be a snap to take each one out of the book either before or after you complete it if you so choose.

From “Feliz Navidad” and “Dashing Through the Snow” to “Keep Calm and Jingle On” each page has an inspirational or humorous quote surrounded by holiday icons such as Santa, gifts and traditional decorations. My favorite page is full of Christmas sweaters – ready for you to make ugly or beautiful depending upon your mood. The quote on that page is “May Your Sweaters be Ugly and Bright”.

Amuse yourself and/or someone you love by picking up Christmas Inspirations Coloring Book before the holiday rush.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Dover Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: Christmas Color by Number – Brings Out the Artist in You

Christmas Color by Number

By: George Toufexis

Say Merry Christmas with this beautiful color by number adult coloring book. Each of the forty-six designs are best done with color pencils of your choosing due to the small spaces that might be difficult to color with markers or crayons. But if you want to use a different media than pencils, each page is blank on the back as well as perforated so no other images will be rendered useless due to bleeding of such things as markers.

Be sure to read the intro page that also included tips and techniques. Of course you know how to color, but the hints on shading, letting colors “bleed” together and directional pencil strokes will come on handy.

Twenty-four colors are used in each of the color by number pages. There are thumbnails of the completed pictures on the inside of the front and back covers. Additionally, there is a list of the colors used and their corresponding numbers. But don’t feel you have to use the numbers. This is your picture and if you want to make a purple dog or an orange Christmas tree – go for it. Personally, I like color by number. My method is coloring all of the small areas first. I also do all one color, then the next color, etc. until the finished picture emerges. Maybe you think I’m crazy and you prefer to do a section at a time. However you enjoy these pages is totally up to you.

My favorite page is the puppy sleeping under the Christmas tree. More than one of our dogs and certainly our cat declared the tree skirt “theirs” for the holiday season. Be sure to pick up Christmas Color By Number before the snow flies so that you can create your holiday masterpiece before Christmas. And pick up a few for friends and relatives – it is an affordable, fun and creative way to welcome in the holiday season.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Dover Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: Harry and Meghan – The Wedding Paper Dolls – The Perfect Gift for Young and Old

Harry & Meghan – The Wedding Paper Dolls

By: Eileen Rudisill Miller

Are you tired of electronic beeps and bells coming from the hands of your children and grandchildren? I have a wonderful solution that will entertain them and you, as well as bring back fond memories. Paper dolls. Not just any paper dolls, but real prince and princess paper dolls just waiting for you and your child to enjoy.

Harry and Meghan are the stars of this fun and informative book. The first page features the Meghan doll as well as interesting facts about who she is. The following pages have two to three outfits each, some include her fabulous hats, each one ready to cut out and try on the Meghan doll. The descriptions will jog memories for moms and grandmas as well as older children. It is fun to read which designer made each dress as well as the event Meghan wore it to. The younger set might just be exited to get down to serious playtime, skipping the designer details.

Harry, the young prince that most of us of a certain age remember being born back in 1984, appears towards the back of the book. He will look dashing in his tuxedo or his Savile Row ceremonial frock coat uniform of the British Army’s Blues and Royals. Who doesn’t love a man in uniform?

Harry & Meghan The Wedding Paper Dolls are also perfect for anyone that collects British Royal items. The book includes the beautiful ensembles as well as sniplets of information and is sure to become a collector’s item.

With the holidays coming up soon, think about the quiet time your child will enjoy with Harry & Meghan. You can settle down with a cup of tea, help them use scissors if they are smaller and just enjoy a few quiet moments together. Soon enough they will grow up and it will be real wedding dresses and tuxedos for them instead of paper dolls.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Dover Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Copyright © 2018 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: A Christmas Revelation – A New Holiday Novella

A Christmas Revelation

By Anne Perry

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

London 1868. Nine-year-old Worm knows what hunger and cold feels like. His life has gotten a bit better, he no longer lives on the streets but in a free clinic for women of dubious occupations. Squeaky, the bookkeeper, has a past that will forever haunt him, but for some reason has a soft spot for Worm that he tries hard not to let show. But when Worm comes home and tells him a beautiful girl has been taken by a couple of ruffians, he gets drawn into the mystery and danger that he worked so hard to get away from.

Squeaky tried to dissuade Worm from searching for the taken girl by telling him that Christmas was in a few days. The boy has heard the church bells on Christmas day, but did not know anything else about the celebration. Squeaky pulled out old memories, and successfully convinced Worm that they could pull off a celebration for the staff and current residents of the clinic. The good news was Worm was very excited to help with decorations and the tantalizing descriptions of the Christmas feast made his mouth water. But the bad news for Squeaky is that Worm is still determined to help the girl and cannot let it go.

So begins a journey for the both of them, winding through the worst parts of London in the darkest of winter nights. First they have to find her, which was not an easy thing to do. Against all odds they locate her and even manage to speak with her. She claims she is not being forced to remain with the two men, but Worm does not believe her. In order to free her, the unlikely duo has to pull in favors from unsavory characters, go places no child should ever see and risk their lives.

Perry’s characters come alive on the pages. Victorian Christmas traditions are masterfully woven throughout the mystery of the beautiful woman to lighten up the intensity of the story. Squeaky and Worm, along with the rest of the staff of the clinic decorate, plan the menu and even have time to search out a special gift for the special day.

The story is one of hope and redemption, even in the toughest of times. The characters are scruffy and often thought of as lower class. They may not have money but they do have the important qualities that matter most. They care about each other and strangers, share what they have even if it isn’t much and find happiness within the world they live in.

This is an unusual Christmas story, but one that will become a favorite.  I am a fan of all things Christmas and it was refreshing to read a novel with a new twist on the age old story of love and redemption.

Internationally renowned, award winning author Anne Perry is best known for her Historical novels; most noted are the Monk Series and Pitt Series. She began writing annual Christmas novellas in 2003, and has written one every year since, including The Christmas Revelation available November 9, 2018. This is the first Christmas novella I have read by Perry, but have enjoyed many of her other books. I encourage you to read A Christmas Revelation; it is a quick and thoughtful Christmas tale that will leave you thinking about the story and characters this holiday season.

Copyright © 2018 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: A Very Vintage Christmas – Nostalgic Look at Christmas Past & Present

Very Vintage ChristmasA Very Vintage Christmas

Holiday Collecting, Decorating and Celebrating

by Bob Richter – Foreword by Christopher Radko

Rowman & Littlefield
Globe Pequot

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from the publisher in connection with NetGalley in return for my review. Copyright © 2016 Laura Hartman

Bob Richter has always been enchanted with all things Christmas. As a very young boy his father gave him a box of vintage Christmas ornaments with the comment, “It’s time you started collecting something…and I know you like Christmas.” Little did his father know this would be the beginning of a lifelong love and devotion to all things Christmas.

Richter begins with the history of Christmas decorations. From candles to lights was an expensive leap for most Americans. The earliest lights needed their own generator. Only the wealthy could afford them. He includes fun facts like the first year the White House had an electrically lit tree and the cost of the colored lights that the president and his visitors enjoyed.

He continues with decorations both inside and outside of homes. Ornaments, trees and decorating inside and outside the home are highlighted.

Most of the early Christmas ornaments were from Germany until the mid-1920s. Ornaments back then were of two categories; either imported mercury glass ornaments, glittery die cut paper ornaments or homemade. Strings of popcorn and cranberries and hand-cut paper ornaments were popular.

Advertising for Christmas became popular in the early 1930s. Books, movies and magazines were and still are popular ways to celebrate the holiday season. Richter gives many examples, along with delightful pictures that will bring back many happy memories for readers of his book.

Christmas doesn’t have to be expensive, but can be. Richter gives decorating and gift options for all price ranges. He suggests flea markets and even lists the top US Flea Markets for Christmas items. I love the fact that he encourages purchasing vintage gifts for friends and family. If it is the perfect gift for someone, it doesn’t have to cost a lot or be brand new.

Full disclosure, I am and always have been crazy about everything Christmas. I love the lights, the decorations, the shopping (especially finding someone the perfect gift), the food, the fun and the love. This book fed my addiction with luscious photography and words that took me back to my childhood.

Many of the decorations, wrappings and pictures are of items I have in my basement. The storage tips Richter gave will be used this year when we put everything to bed after the holidays. The nostalgia and vintage feel of A Very Vintage Christmas was like a warm Christmas hug the whole time I read it. While I don’t do posh decorations, I do have one tree with only glass ornaments, many of which are my grandmother’s and mother’s. One of the ideas to showcase the ornaments that don’t fit on the tree was to put a few of them under a glass dome. This would solve my worry over a few of the more fragile ornaments I worry about falling off of the tree onto the hardwood floors.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves Christmas. It would make a perfect holiday gift and if your copy is left on a side table during holiday gatherings, I am sure your guests would love the pictures and bits of Christmas trivia and traditions that are waiting to be discovered within the pages.

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