Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Cards = Finished!

As promised, here's a sneaky-peek at my final decision ... which ended up not even being on the original list of choices! What can I say... I'm picky, but this is perfect! One of my favorite features is that this is a folded card, so there's plenty of room for me to write our Christmasy greetings inside :)

Holiday Love Sketch Christmas 5x7 folded card
Make a statement with custom Christmas cards at Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Friday, December 3, 2010


I’m sure this might surprise you, (after I’ve spent the past few months waxing poetic about the glories of fall…), but this is the time of year when my heart feels most at home. I think it's because at this time of year my thoughts are consumed by memories of Christmases past.

When I was a little girl, my family would pack up our little white dodge caravan every December and trek up to Carlisle to spend the holidays with my grandparents. As often happens, my memories of those days are now just a joyful melding of feelings, scents and sounds: the sound of laughter as I decorated the tree with my cousins; the sounds of muffled clinking in the kitchen, when my Uncle would wake early every Christmas morning to bake fragrant coconut muffins in the shape of Christmas trees; the smell of Christmas morning: coffee, coconut, orange peel and pine; and warm feeling of comfort I felt as I stood with my family singing a candlelit 'Silent Night' on Christmas Eve.


Truthfully, the celebration began far before the yearly pilgrimage to PA. Early on I learned that there were two unmistakable beacons of holiday cheer which (for the most part) appeared in early December: the first snowfall and the arrival of the first Christmas card. And since I’ve all ready expressed my joy at the first snowfall of the season, today I focus on the latter :)

I love real mail. I always have, and I always will. While I am enamored and excited by the seemingly endless advances in technology, there are two things that I hope will never change—at least (I say completely selfishly and unapologetically) not in my life time. Those two things are libraries—filled to the brim with real paper books; and snail mail.

What fun it is to rush to the mailbox in the afternoon to see what treasures it might hold! I think sending Christmas cards is just one symbol of the way people reach out to each other in love during the holidays, and for that reason alone, sending and receiving cards at Christmas time is just one of the traditions I love.

And so it is with a wee bit of shame that I admit to you : I haven’t sent my cards yet. Actually: I haven't bought my cards yet. But I have been drooling over perusing my options:) Lately I’ve been loving the picture holiday cards – and this is where Shutterfly comes in. I want photo cards that I can put multiple pictures on-- and I want them to be true to my personality. And these babies deliver - my, oh my do they!

Check them out for yourself here and here. Bloggers: Shutterfly is running a holiday card promotion where you can submit a blog post and receive 50 free cards! Read more here!

(These are a couple of my favorites ... I'll let you know what I pick!)

I love the simplicity of the first-- and the second is "classic Amy" :)

And if you're all ready set for cards this year -- they also sell calendars. Hmm... would it be in terrible form to make & give a calendar as a Christmas present to myself?! I’d love to have one of these for my office at work …

And now, just for fun, here are some of the outtakes from our mini-photo shoot on Saturday. (Good heavens it's hard to get good pictures of cats!)

How about you: Do you send Christmas cards? Christmas letters? How do you display the cards you receive?

Thursday, December 2, 2010


"The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?" - J. B. Priestley

Well, hello December!

Yesterday Ohioans ushered in the new month with a day of continuous (if not sticking) flakes. ...And it was good :) I know that in a couple weeks months I will be sick & tired of winter weather (although, to be fair, by mid-January we're pretty much done with snow, and well into the season of slush. Yuk.)-- and, frankly, I hate shoveling snow as much as the next person-- but to me, the first snow is magical. I love the way it softens the whole world, the way it brightens up the night, and the comfort it brings me, as I remember holiday seasons past.

We decorated the house this weekend (we meaning, of course, my sister and I, as J happily hands over the decorating tasks and resigns himself to playing video games in the 'man cave' for the duration of such projects ;), and it really puts me in the Christmas spirit to come home and light the tree -- I think it takes away a little of the heartache I feel each day when the sun sets at 5 pm.

And, in addition to decorating the house (pictures to come!), other things are happening over here, too. BIG things, as a matter of fact :) Assuming that you aren't google-reading, you've probably noticed that Amy Around the Corner has experienced a little face lift! (Do you approve?!) As anyone who has ever watched a small child knows, long periods of quiet rarely mean that nothing is happening :) There's been a lot of dreaming and scheming going on over here (in addition to ... you know.. attempting to have a life), and the dreams began to come to fruition last evening, with the help of a few fabulous seasonal beers, a little chocolate, much consultation of "the googles" for html help (note to self: add "learn html" to next year's goals.) and of course, my fuzzy sidekicks:

(Clearly, "help" is a relative term. Heh. Actually, Laurie took this picture on Saturday!)

Granted, I still have quite a bit of work to do, but I'm pretty bounce-off-the-wall excited about the whole thing. (uhm. And in the spirit of complete honesty, I just took a 30 minute break from writing this post because I have another blog window open, and I was reading past posts, courtesy of the new links. ... I may or may not have cried when I stumbled upon this post. I was clinging to every word. This is why I write this blog.)

And now, I'd love to catch you up on November in typical Amy-style:

Good List

1. J. I think I fell in love with my husband all over again on Tuesday night. No kidding. I had been having a bad day, so when I came home, I headed straight to the kitchen for a glass of wine to cook dinner. By the time I had finished up with the homemade cranberry sauce (YUM), J had arrived, and we stood in the kitchen and talked to each other for over an hour. The deep soul-searching, soul-growing kind of talk. It was incredible, and it reminded me once again how absolutely perfect he is for me.

2. Crafty, Home made (home baked) goodness. As we focus our energies inside for the winter months, I am finding so much joy in creating, whether it be baking, writing or, in the most organic sense of the word: crafting. Here's a picture of the diaper cake I made for my SIL's baby shower in mid-November. ... I know it's not perfect (I like to think the slight lopsidedness adds charm :), but I was very proud of it.

3. Christmas comes early for our (extended family) this year, as my SIL and her husband are expecting their first child (a BOY!) in mid-December. I'm so excited to meet and hold the little man... he is so loved all ready. I'm going to be an aunt!

4. Anticipation. Both my biggest source of frustration, and my biggest blessing. Right now I'm riding high on the blessings, and working hard to squash the lingering doubts.

5. Adrenaline. I've decided that 2011 might be a year of risk for me-- or rather, a year of taking risks. It's said that sometimes with the greatest risk comes the greatest reward, and I'm ready to take a couple (big for me) leaps of faith. I'm scared, yes... but more excited to see where these things might lead.

6. New (super cute) boots. Delightful.

7. Family. J and I were blessed with a very family centered Thanksgiving weekend: Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma's, Friday night dinner with Jon's sisters and their families (including bambinos to be!), and Saturday was decorating & dinner with Laurie. Good, good stuff.

8. Fabric softener. This stuff almost makes me want to do laundry. Almost. (Although, while we're on the subject, I had quite the mountain of laundry to tackle this weekend. It's a miracle blessing that that's done!)

9. Letting friends (including blog friends!) motivate me. I'm taking a cue from Bobbi and doing a 31 day yoga challenge during the month of December (so far, so good!)

This . It just makes me happy :)

All right, your turn! What have you been up to? Is there snow where you live? What has been the best part of your holiday season so far?