Archive for November, 2009

*** Note: Please scroll down and take a moment (several moments, actually, LOL) to read Parts 1 and 2 of this blog series entry, if you haven’t done so yet 😉 ***

This is the last part of the series, and so, we come to the “Creating Christmas” part of the title. So far, I have shared two printable gift bags for the Creating Christmas project of Paulette and Rhonda Sue. I want this third one to be even more special than the first two, so I made a set. For those who read the first two parts of this series, you’ll understand why (and probably chuckle, too) I chose to do a patchwork design again. This set contains two designed patchwork gift bags (different sizes), two designed patchwork cards (one landscape and one portrait), an envelope to match the cards, and a designed packet. This is not all, I have also included the blank patchwork template for those who want to put in their own images. You can download all of these for free when you go check out Gem’s Cottage tomorrow, Nov. 28 (click on Store Front, then Printastics). If this is your first time downloading from my site, please check out Download Instructions  for a step by step guide with corresponding screen shots. If you go to the Projects section of my site, you will also find that the Christmas Boxy Treat Bag (it’s under Holidays – Christmas)  coordinates nicely with this set.

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As an artist, you expect me to do my work well, and I try hard to fulfill that expectation each time, whether it’s a freebie or a product for sale on my site. For those who choose to use this set, I hope you use it for something good, and make it the best – I expect no less.

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***Note: Please scroll down to read Part 1 of 3, my Nov 25, 2009 entry, if you haven’t done so yet – my ramblings below will make better sense 😉 ***

I admit that reading about my work being claimed by someone else affected me. This is not the first time, but the refusal of others to acknowledge wrongdoing, and the fact that some even suspected me of the same mistake, disillusioned me more.  I struggled with it for quite a while
 and this is where the movie, “The Last Castle” (2001), starring Robert Redford (as Gen. Irwin) and James Gandolfini (Col. Winters) comes in.

Here’s a little background to those who haven’t seen the movie: Gen. Irwin was a three-star general who was stripped of his rank and sent to a military prison because he disobeyed orders resulting in the death of 8 men; Colonel Winters is the warden in the military prison where Gen. Irwin was sent to. Both were among criminals (who were formerly soldiers), but how they treated these men were as different as night and day. Winters saw these men as violent animals, capable of doing only the worst, and treated them as such. On the other hand, Irwin, who was under no illusion what these men were, thought that they should “be reminded about some of the good things they’ve done, rather than only the worst.”

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I’m chuckling as I read the title of this blog entry – three seemingly unrelated topics, but believe me, there is a connection. I’m starting with gratitude, and many of you will not be surprised with this since it is Thanksgiving this week in the United States. Each year, I look back and am amazed by the unwavering support of friends and customers of Gem’s Cottage, and because of this, Gem’s Cottage has grown steadily from its humble beginnings in 2003. This blog started slowly last 2008 (I have always been a slow starter, LOL), but this year, I’ve put in more content and correspondingly, a lot of you have come, checked out what-on-earth-has-Gem-been-up-to and some of you even left encouraging comments. I’d like you to know that every comment you left on my blog put a smile on my face and made my day. Some of you were even more active in your support, by posting the Gem’s Cottage site and blog on message boards and also in your very own blogs, participating in the contests, and getting involved in the Cards for Cause: The Inmates Project.  To all of you, please know that I am grateful.

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It’s now the second week of Creating Christmas, and those of us here in the United States are gearing up for Thanksgiving (and of course, the sales on Black Friday). I love this time of year, it is usually this time of year when I do most of my crafting. Years ago, I remember making a commitment to make all handmade gifts for family and friends. By Christmas Eve, I was still stitching pillows, all stressed out and  not enjoying the holidays at all. I resolved to start earlier the next year – but even then, I still got sidetracked and I ended up doing a last minute dash to the stores. Last year, however, was different.  I had been subscribing to FlyLady and in one of the Holiday Cruising Mission e-mails, she says (paraphrased), “If you haven’t finished that handmade project by this time, do not attempt to start. ” That was when I finally got it – or in Marla’s words “the lightbulb moment”.  What I should be looking at is, if the project is finished by a certain date, and not if I have started  the project by a certain date (I know it sounds like plain common sense, and now that I’ve written it, I feel dumb for not realizing it sooner, LOL).  Anyway, so last year, instead of  dashing through the stores, with a grim look on my face, o’er the aisles I go, stressing all the way  ( to the tune of “Jingle Bells”, LOL), I was enjoying the holidays and making  those special moments that loved ones remembered: (to the tune of “Silver Bells”) –  making cards, wrapping gifts, going to church Christmas morning,  baking cakes, singing songs, trimming the tall Christmas tree;  see me smiling, see me laughing,  travel routes all planned out, no more panic, no disasters for me!   Okay, okay, I think I got carried away, LOL!  But really, if your holiday memories are “desserts” spelled backwards, check out FlyLady, specially the Cruising Through the Holidays section.

Now, back to Creating Christmas, and as promised, here’s my Christmas-themed, two-candle gift bag (if you’re wondering why I call it so, scroll down to week 1 of Creating Christmas for the explanation). This is one of  my handmade projects –  and yes, my handmade projects this year are mostly gift bags, I’m buying the presents. Gift bags are fast and easy to make, and I prefer them to wrapping boxes. Gift bags are also green – well, this one is the color green, but you know that’s not what I mean, LOL – it is kind to the environment. I reuse gift bags that I get, and I know that people who get the gift bags I give reuse them, too. So, without further ado, here it is, ta-da!

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Below is the designed template:

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The Cards for a Cause: Inmates Project was just wrapping up and I was starting to think what to do next… and what do you know, I got an email from Paulette asking me to be a part of a blog adventure called “Creating Christmas“! Well, of course, I said, “Yes!”

Creating Christmas will run from November 15 to December 15. In Paulette’s words, “This adventure was created for artists to share complete hybrid-type printable projects as freebies for the Christmas gift giving needs of everyone out there! We are focusing on the downloadable freebies to be hybrid projects and completely printable. Everyone has a list of people to give little gifties to, as well as that ‘special someone’ that you want to give an extra special hand made treasure!”

So, to start with, here’s a look on the first printable I’m offering:  sixweek1

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