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Documenting December

The Holiday Season is our favorite time of the year for Memory Making (and Memory Keeping!).  Today, we’re excited to release our first Iaconagraphy Gathering: Ghosts of Christmas. So we thought it would be fun to share some of our favorite 2016 Holiday Memories with all of you, via layouts we’ve created with this collection.  Thank you all for making our Holiday Season merry and bright!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Magickal Season….

The New England School of Witchcraft and Wizardry Yule Wizard’s Market, December 10, 2016

Documented with Ghost of Christmas Past

All of you know that I love Harry Potter–Asphodel and Wormwood is a definite testament to that!  That Collection is also a testament to the loneliness one feels on their first holiday without their family. I thought the holidays were going to be very tough for me, but then my new family here arranged for us to go to The New England School of Witchcraft and Wizardry Yule Wizard’s Market, and with a swish and a flick, my holiday woes disappeared more quickly than you can say Evanesco! Hosted in a 1930s era armoury in Worcester, Massachusetts, the Yule Wizard’s Market is four full floors of magickal (and magical) purveyors of goods, both Potter-specific, and not.  I was finally able to procure a proper set of ritual robes at a very affordable price, as well as a proper wand, but best of all, there were butterbeer, a photo op with a costumed Dumbledore, and my dear, sweet sister-at-heart/daughter-I-never-had, Suzanne!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food, Glorious Food!

A Gingerbread Choo-Choo With My New Family

Documented with Ghost of Christmas Present

I wish I could say I actually photographed this and made this layout, but I didn’t–a dear member of my new adoptive family did. I did design Ghost of Christmas Present, though, and he really made it shine with this layout!   Main reason I’m not responsible for the photo, much less the layout? I was too busy gnoshing on candy and frosting!  If I’ve learned one thing from my new sister-in-arms Suzanne this Holiday Season, it’s that food really is love.  And she puts that love in every single mouth-watering morsel she bakes, makes, or even just decorates (as with the choo-choo above). If I were to cite one single inspiration for Ghost of Christmas Present, it would totally be her! If she were paper and elements, she’d be these papers and elements, and this little page kit is my Holiday love note to her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Favorite Elf

Documented with Ghost of Christmas Future

None of us would be having this Happy Holiday without two very important people: Mishy and Suzanne. Mishy “gets us here”, and Suzanne makes sure here feels like home once we get here!  I made this layout with my Ghost of Christmas Future set because I wanted Suzanne to see, once and for all, that she’s just as beautiful on the outside as we all know her to be on the inside.  She makes our lives merry and bright all through the year, simply be being Her’elf!

 

 

 

 

All Things Merry and Bright

Documented with Ghost of Christmas Present

I’ve spent more than twenty Christmases here, thanks to Mishy.  I may have passed away two decades ago, leaving my family and friends behind, but thanks to one very special lady, I’ve spent those two decades gaining a new family, and making new friends, who I will treasure forever.  The past few Christmases have been spent here in New England with a woman who loves me regardless of what present incarnation I might be in at the moment (or “my between-ness”, as it were), and her family, and a host of new friends (and old) that I wouldn’t trade for all the tea in China (and I’m half Chinese, so that’s saying something!).  Every year, we plan to go and do fun things, like the local Festival of Trees here in Billerica, or Stone Zoo’s Zoo Lights, or, this year, the Yule Wizard’s Market.  But my absolute favorite part of the Holidays, hands down, every single year is getting to lug all of the decorations up out of the basement, and trim the tree (and the whole house!).  Lovingly placing the kids’ decorations, and the “legacy decorations” that belonged to Suzanne’s parents, reminds me every year that I am a part of something bigger–a part of something deeper and more loving; a part of something that cannot even begin to touch my present state of existence. It is in those moments that I feel my most alive; more alive even than I felt when I wasn’t borrowing a pulse, but instead had my own.  And that is true Christmas magic!

 

 

 

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Project Tour: Wintry Wood Happy Holidays Card

It’s that time of year again: Christmas and Halloween crafting supplies are flooding into A.C. Moore, Jo-Ann’s, Michael’s, and Hobby Lobby, and all of our non-crafting friends and family members are regarding them with discontented looks, wondering why in the happy heck there should be Christmas stuff out now, and it’s only September!  As crafters, we get it, don’t we?  If we want to accomplish all of our stuff by December, we can’t exactly start in October or November, now, can we?

Just like those craft stores, magazines (and small businesses like me) need to start working on getting those holiday submissions and editions out like right now.  So, when I spotted Scrapbook & Cards Today’s Winter Submission Call, I took that as a sign that it was officially time to design my first Holiday set of papers.

Wintry Wood is an “outside the box” set of papers and ephemera with a focus on the enchanted elements of the Holiday Season. I designed it to be both Christian and Pagan friendly–something you don’t see very often, lemme tell ya!  One of the biggest inspirations for this set is my Guru, Linda Brown’s, love of all things reindeer at Christmastime: her house at that time of year always looks as though the Elves themselves rode in and did the decorating (and left more than a few of their antlered friends behind!). Some other big influences on the aesthetics of this set include the 80’s fantasy film, Willow, the more recent Snow White and the Huntsman, and a really fantastic music video by an artist named Kerli. I brought all of that together with some thematic elements from a Christmas tradition here in our household in New England: every year, we read the children’s book, Stranger in the Woods, and every year, I’m just as enchanted by it as any child could ever be.

I hope you’ll be enchanted by Wintry Wood. I certainly had a magickal time making the first card with it for the Scrapbook and Card’s Today Winter Submission Call:

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What will YOU do with Wintry Wood?

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Freedom Friday: Elf Your Self!

You’re probably all familiar with the holiday ecard service that lets you turn yourself (and your family and friends) into Elves that dance around crazily, spreading giggles and chortles wherever they’re put on blast, right?  But what if we actually did that for the holiday season? No, I don’t mean get dressed up as an Elf and gyrate maniacally (although if that floats your boat and you can do it without getting arrested, go for it!). I mean, what would happen if we all developed an Elf Attitude for the holiday season?

Let’s start by figuring out what Elf Attitude actually is. In the dictionary, Elf  is defined as a small, mischievous creature that is lively, and usually has pointed ears and magical powers.  Okay, then: so what’s mischief, and what’s magicMischief is behavior or activity that is annoying, but is not meant to cause any harm or damage, or a playful desire to cause trouble (upset the status quo).  Magic is the exchange of energy:  you put your energy out there, and the Universe reciprocates! So, an Elf Attitude would be one of playful desire to upset the status quo by putting happy energy out there, even when people might find that profoundly annoying!  Sound like fun?

Ring in the holidays!  Have you ever noticed how many holiday songs talk about the jingle of bells?  There’s a reason for that: in many Pagan traditions, the ringing of a bell signals the arrival of The All (Deity) into the sacred circle. That’s also why churches ring bells as a call to worship.  There is something profoundly and undeniably happy about the sound of a ringing bell, no matter how big or small that bell might be.  So grab yourself a bell (or bells) this holiday season, and let no one jangle your jingle!  Dollar stores (like Dollar Tree) have entire bags of bells for a buck a pop! Get out there, and grab some; string them up, and wear them on your wrist or around your neck.  Every time you’re confronted with someone bent on pooping all over your holiday, jingle at them and jangle their vibe!

Commit random acts of gifting.  Make a second (or third, or fourth) “jingly-bob” (be that a bracelet or a necklace) from your Dollar Tree stash of bells, and randomly give it to somebody who could really use their jangle jingled! Or look for other small trinkets that you can randomly hand out to people you maybe don’t even know (Dollar Tree has a host of packs of party favors and things of that sort, like holiday-themed erasers, pencils, and piñata-fillings).  Make little paper crafts (maybe now would be a good time to take up origami, unless you’re afraid of coming across like that one creepy dude from Blade Runner), or get involved in the adult coloring craze, and shower the world (and total strangers) with your art!  Or you can go the simple route, and go back to Elf Yourself and create something to share on Facebook and brighten the day of your whole friends list all at once.

Take advice from Will Farrel in Elf, and sing loudly for all to hear!  Who cares if you don’t have the best singing voice in the world? In the immortal words of my beloved’s mother: “Raise your squeak to the Lord!” (Or in this case, The All!)  Buddy the Elf is right: one of the best ways to spread Christmas cheer really is singing loudly for all to hear! Sure, some folks may find that annoying, but generally, they’re the ones who need their jangle jingled anyhow!

Take further advice from Buddy the Elf, and enjoy the four holiday food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup. Don’t let guilt get to you or anybody else this holiday season, especially when it comes to watching your waistline!  Food isn’t the only area where you need to give guilt the boot, though.  Don’t let yourself (or anyone else you love) get caught up in all the mundane crap of debt, grief, or oh-my-god/dess-I-gotta-get-shit-done, either!  Put all of that stuff in the chuck-it-bucket, and walk on with your holiday!

Be the artist you never knew you were.  You practically can’t spit in a store right now without hitting a holiday coloring book.  There’s a reason why that’s one of the cheapest gifts you can possibly get for a kid, and still make them happy: coloring relaxes us, because it sets free the artist within, without needing to make excuses for our supposed inability to make things pretty.  We all have an innate ability to beautify the world, just most of us have had that crushed by criticism over the years, promoting a healthy heaping of really yucky self-doubt.  Start with the coloring page below (just right click, save, and print this puppy out); it even has a nifty blank space for you to doodle something that would make your holiday particularly merry and bright!

Be thankful for everything and everyone all the time.  Gush gratitude constantly!  When somebody does the teeniest tiniest thing for you, say thank you with the same level of excitement as if they’d just given you a million dollars or signed you up as an extra for the next Star Wars movie.  (We live in a world where we often talk about “shock and awe” as the world’s greatest secret weapon; it isn’t a secret anymore! Shock them and awe them with your exuberant gratitude, and see if that doesn’t put smiles on the faces of even the most jangled people you know!)

Put your Elf Attitude out there and see what happens to your holiday spirit, as well as to the spirits of everyone you meet.  Spread some light through laughter this holiday season!

Seventh Day Yule Coloring Page