Tag Archives: Christmas

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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WIP Wednesday Christmas 2015 Projects

This was a busy and fun Christmas season. My favorite handmade gift was a joint effort. My husband made this beautiful doll bunk bed for my cousin’s little girl. I might have posted a pic earlier before I completed the bedding in her favorite color (purple) and of course Anna and Elsa comforters and pillows finished the gift.

Ella's doll bed

She really liked it 🙂 I highly recommend going over to Ana White’s website (http://www.ana-white.com/) . That is where I found this pattern and many others I am going to try and talk the hubby into making. 🙂

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I made 5 cabled ear warmers for my best friend to give for Christmas as well as 2 more for one of my work friends. They turned out nicely and I decided to make an additional one for myself. I used this pattern: Braided Cabled Ear Warmer by Jessika Cates, and you can see more pics on my Ravelry site, I’m “writeknit”.

2 earwamers done

This one is mine, made from the alpaca/wool blend that I bought when we visited the local Alpaca Farm last fall.

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As a joke, I made these fun shark slippers from this pattern Crocheted Shark Slipper Socks by Stacie L. Ratcliff. My girlfriend’s daughter jokingly asked for them for Christmas, so the least I could do is crochet them for her! They are fun and from what I heard warm. LOL

Shark slippers

Here is a side view:

Shark detail

 

I made my father-in-law’s annual flannel shirt. It is the 36th Christmas therefore, the 36th shirt. Honestly, it is the only thing he wants, so that is what he gets 🙂 The 2016 shirt will be made on the new sewing machine my hubby got me this year (read this in a VERY excited voice). I use the same pattern since 1980, but this will be the fourth sewing machine in as many years.

damn shirt 2015

My cousin’s scarf has been on my blog before because she isn’t on FB to see it. She really liked it so that made me happy also.

Becky's scarf complete

This year’s NICU hats numbered 31. I also made a Santa hat for the nurse that works in the unit as well as a Santa hat for my son’s godson. Here are all the hats before we delivered them.

NICU hats on tree

Last by not least, I wanted to make little snowflake ornaments for my family. I saw one at work, so I had a general idea as to what I was going to do, but it took a few tries with patterns that didn’t work out for me to finally write a simple pattern myself.

I began with a 2 inch tin with a removable top that that is clear. Next I worked up the pattern with sport wt yarn just a bit smaller so it was snug to pull over the tin. I blocked it dry then sprayed the heck out of it with spray starch, sprinkled with glitter, then let dry over night. Full disclosure, the first one I couldn’t wait for it to dry, so I used my blow dryer, which worked like a charm.

Ornament 2015

The hardest part was finding the perfect picture for each of my aunts and cousins that would fit in the 2 inch “window” nicely. The hubby helped scan them then I got each one cut and inserted into the tin, added the snowflake and a bow on the top. Here is one of the finished ornaments. This was for my Great-Aunt Kathie, the picture is of her mom and dad, my Great-Grandma and Grandpa.

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Here are more of them. By the time I got done making them, I was really loving the pattern. Lucky for me I made notes, because I’ll never remember how I did it next year if I decide to make more. I think I am going to write it up and offer it as a free pattern if anyone is interested.

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I was going to list my works in progress, but honestly, you all have to be tired of reading this by now. So, next Wednesday I’ll share my anticipated project list for 2016. I know for sure it will include at least 2 pr of socks, NICU hats, teaching a Lunch & Learn cowl at work and other adventures with yarn.

What are you hoping to get done this year?

 

 

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WIP Wednesday

After participating in NabloPoMo (a post every day in November) most of you have heard that I am working on NICU hats.

The hospital I give them to usually has around 25 babies in the unit. I want to get them done early so I can get them to the nurses in plenty of time before the holidays.

I decided on snowmen hats. They are working up really fast cute, but I am not happy with the faces. The pattern calls for them to be set at a jaunty angle, but I am just not loving the way they look.

snowmen

I think they look a little deconstructed.

I am going to sew the faces on straight to see if I like them better. Meanwhile, I used the pattern from day #1 of the NICU challenge it is the Waffle Stitch Strip Beanie pattern by Bonnie Potter at Sunset Crochet.

Here is the pic:

NICU hat day 1

These are the hats that I have finished so far this December, a few have the carrot noses sewn on waiting for eyes and mouths to be added.

NICU hats Christmas 2015

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NICU Charity Challenge 2015

An email popped into my mail this morning announcing this year’s Christmas Charity Challenge. This is the sixth year for the challenge, and will be my second year participating.

The challenge is to knit or crochet 12 hats for your local NICU unit in 12 days. The yarn police do not knock on your door if you only finish one or two. I know you are busy. Tomorrow is December 1st and you have at least 3 months of things to do in the next 3 weeks. But think about this. I completed 2 NICU hats today on my break & the last 1/2 of my lunch at work. While watching a bit of TV yesterday, I finished 5 of them. They are tiny and work up quick.

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Last year when I decided to do this challenge, I contacted 3 local hospital in my area, and neither one even answered me. Then I remembered my best friend’s sister is a nurse in a NICU unit! Duh – I attribute my airheadedness to the Christmas season of craziness, but it was probably just an every day airhead moment. She quickly responded that they would LOVE to take them, and I’ve been making  hats for them all year.

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I always use acrylic yarn because it is easily washed and dried. There are no strings or buttons that might fall off or get in the way of treatments or cause a choking hazard. This is a great way to use bits of yarn you have left from other projects.

If you are interested and want to know more, please go to Sunset Family Living’s blog. http://www.sunsetfamilyliving.com/christmas-charity-challenge-2015/ . As an extra bonus, when you sign up for the challenge, you will receive a free pattern for an adorable baby hat in you email each day. If you really want to warm your heart, once you go to the website, you can follow the link to her Facebook page to see all of the hats current and former participants have donated. Nicu hat #11

 

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Oh Christmas Tree

Friday before our youngest son and wife left for home we went to Kuiper’s Farm to get our Christmas tree. Since it had been raining all day. we decided a pre-cut tree was our best bet. That way no one had to get soaking wet laying in the ground cutting our own.

They were not as happy to pose for a picture, but indulged me anyway.

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Due to the rain, it stayed in the back of our truck until today. The good news was it was nice and dry. The bad news was all of the boys were home so the hubby had to haul it to the patio and cut off the end by himself. Lucky for him Mea was there to make sure nothing was hiding inside the branches.

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It is in the house, but decorations won’t be added until this week.

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