Holiday PostCards

christmas

This year I wanted to make more personalized cards for everyone and save a bit of cash in postage.  The logical conclusion was designing my own postcards! At 33 cents each to mail out postcards are great for penny pinchers.

The first step was to design the postcard.

I wanted to incorporate a quote by American writer Adela Rogers St. Johns because it is Christmas-y and uses my last name – Joy.

Using Paint.NET  I layered snowflakes with an antique paper texture.  Used glitter text for the quote and tada finito!
It is important when designing to use the correct size in making the postcards.  Regular sized postcards cannot exceed 6 by 4.25 inches or else you will have to pay greater postage.

The reverse side included my return address and space to write out the recipient’s address.  The Post Office asks that you include the words POST CARD just in case no one at the office can figure that out. Continue reading

Quiche Recipe

quiche recipe
Quiches are the absolute best dish to make for the holidays.  

They travel well, reheat perfectly, and can be customized to feed the masses.  It is the potluck casserole of breakfast foods.  It is the best friend of a fridge full of odds and ends.  It is also a sneaky way to add a few servings of vegetables in pie form.  In short – quiche is great.

I recently was enlisted to feed breakfast to the five families coming together for Thanksgiving this year.  Whatever I made had to be prepared a day in advance and needed to travel well enough to make it from New York to Massachusetts.  The answer was pretty obvious…  Muffins!

But apparently that did not meet the standards set for this feast day.  I needed something more – something delicious but also hot.  And I needed enough of it to feed a crowd.  A quiche?  Three quiches! So the battleplan was set: three quiches, two types of muffins, and a dozen bagels. Continue reading

Mickey Mouse Ornaments

Handmade Christmas ornaments are one of my favorite traditions.  Sure the store made ones can be really pretty and you can color coordinate your tree every year. But there’s something special about unpacking years worth of ornaments and remembering all the stories.

This macaroni stocking was made by you when you were just 5 years old!
This weird glass guitar was your fathers from before we were married. 
This crocheted Santa that looks like Joseph Stalin is from your aunt.

So inspired by the many Disney DIY crafts like these Minnie and Mickey ornaments I wanted to give it my own spin.  These ornaments are going to my mom (we lost years worth of ornaments during Hurricane  Sandy) and to my SigOther’s family to celebrate our upcoming Disney World trip.

All you need is:

  • Red matte finish ornament bulbs (mine were 9 for $5)mickey ornament
  • Black permanent markers or paint
  • White paint
  • Black and white glitter
  • Glue or mod podge

First use a rubber band around the ornament to draw a horizontal straight line. Then fill in the top half with the black marker or paint (marker works best when you have a really thick sharpie or a matte finish bulb).

After that dries cover in black glitter. Cover the black top in glue / mod podge and then sprinkle on the black glitter. Don’t worry about getting a full coverage because you have the black background to fall back on.

Once that is totally dry, paint two white ovals for Mickey’s buttons.  You can then either cover those in white glitter before the paint dries or glue the glitter on later.

Expect to be covered in glitter for the rest of the day

And you’re done! We love a project that takes five minutes but looks fantastic.  It is easy to finish 9 of these ornaments in a half hour – keep a few and hand out the rest to friends and family. They’ll think of you and your impressive crafting abilities every year!mickey ornament

mickey mouse ornament 4

Christmas for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

For twenty years The Little North Pole in Rockaway, NYC celebrated with Santa, presents, music, and the most spectacular Christmas lights display this side of the East River.  There’s a carousel, rotating figurines, and greater than life-size dancing animatronics all in one backyard.

Every year this party and the lasting December display raises money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and local hospitals.  Past years have been known to raise as much as $175,000.  In addition to the good work The Little North Pole does supporting research to cure and treat juvenile diabetes, it also unites the community in a time when Rockaway is still rebuilding after hurricane Sandy.

If you live in the Rockaways you know the extent to which this celebration has become essential to the community’s holiday traditions.  Please spare some time and check out the  Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Christmas Trees of DC

Washington DC is beautiful during the winter. There are wonderful decorations, diverse celebrations, and snow covered marble everywhere you look. New York can get dreary in the winter with grey snow and too many tourists but DC gains a magical quality.

Here is my celebration of our nation’s capitol with my favorite holiday trees of the city.

My favorite DC Christmas Tree is the Norway Friendship Tree

My favorite DC Christmas Tree is the Norway Friendship Tree.
A gigantic Tree is given to the United States every year from our northern pals in Norway as a thank you for our help in WWII and after. The tree comes decked out in Norwegian and American flags and is set up in Union Station.

The Norway Christmas Tree came complete this year with The Scream ornaments

The Norway Christmas Tree came complete this year with The Scream ornaments

Next up is the classic Capitol Christmas Tree.
Also known as The People’s Tree, it is decorated with handmade ornaments from the residents of a particular state. Mostly children take part in creating the 5,000 individual ornaments which adorn the tree but here and there you can see the touches of local artists and adults. In these pictures you can see the purple and pink ribbons covered with loved one’s names.

The National and State Christmas trees are celebrated with the National Christmas Tree Lighting.
I arrived a day too early but just in time to be blocked by the event set-up from enjoying the trees.  Each tree is uniquely decorated with  state specific ornaments. This year, the New York tree was decorated with our state bird, the Eastern Bluebird. I got to hear the bands preparing for the Tree Lighting Concert but was confused when they started up with Crazy Train – Ozzy wasn’t invited!

Obligatory photo of The White House. These kids were part of a school group admiring the president’s decorations from afar.

Kids gawking at the White House Christmas decorations

Kids gawking at the White House.

And finally, not a Christmas Tree but a very pretty and very old one that I’m going to call the Love Tree.

I love this tree. Right outside the Capitol Building

I love this tree. Right outside the Capitol Building.

It was one of those occasions when juvenile graffiti comes off as romantic.  And the thick trunk covered in carvings of infatuation and forever commitments was in various stages of healing.  I’m sure most of these relationships did not last as long as their public declarations did.  But maybe there’s still a couple out there who hacked their initials into the tree decades ago.

I dubbed it the Love Tree

I dubbed it the Love Tree.

Thus ends this short collection of Washington DC Christmas (and not too Christmas) Trees.  If you ever get a chance go and visit the capital when they’re calling for snow.