Santa’s Beard of Merry Ribbon

Well, because when a box filled with ribbon from Offray appears on my doorstep…all else stops.

I used the Santa’s Hat die that is one of my Laura Kelly designs for Sizzix/Ellison (part of the calendar collection that launches in January 2015) to create the hat.  I cut his face out of flesh colored felt from Kunin Group of course.  And the beard/mustache….ALL RIBBON and merry white put together with ease thanks to Aleene’s Quick Dry Fabric Fusion!

The buttons are all from my Laura Kelly collection with Buttons Galore and when they were added as final touches…ta da!

I am pretty crazy about ribbon.  Here is a little proof from my supply shelves.  Needless to say, I feel like Santa was here when I get a box of ribbon.

Happy Christmastime,

Laura

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Santa’s Last Stop – The Story Of Why I Believe

I woke up this morning and doodled this picture.  It has been inside of me for eleven years and I have been afraid that if I tried to draw it, I would mess up and my heart would break again from the memories.  I did.  I love it.  I am on the other side.

Have you ever wondered what Santa’s last stop is after he delivers all of the gifts in his sleigh?  This story takes us back in time, to a day that changed my life forever.

Date: Christmastime 2003 – 8 months after the death of my mother
Place: Apex Volunteer Firehouse, Downtown Apex, NC
Setting: Kids taking turns sitting on Santa’s Lap during the Pancake Breakfast

We waited in line on a sunny winter morning after eating at the pancake breakfast. Dylan was in first grade. When it was his turn to sit on Santa’s lap, he climbed up to him and stood beside his chair.  Mrs. Clause was there too with her jolly smile.  Dylan was very quiet. Santa shared a heartfelt Ho Ho Ho and asked Dylan what he wanted to find under his tree on Christmas morning. Dylan said he really only wanted one thing but it was something that the elves could not make. With curious ears and camera in hand, I listened for his response.  Santa told him that the elves were magic and asked Dylan to share his wish. Dylan looked Santa straight in the eye and said, “My Gram died this year and my mom and me are really sad.  My mom cries everyday and even though she tries for me to not know, I can hear her.  My wish is for you to go to Heaven and ask God to pick her up in Heaven on your sleigh and bring her back for just one day on Christmas.  I think God will understand.” Dawson was watching me and clinging to my legs.  Santa paused for a long while and then finally spoke.  I fought back tears of sadness and overwhelm.  What could this man possible say that would make this moment okay for us, would make Dylan’s little heart be able to still believe in the magic (and mine).

And then Santa spoke. This is what he said. “Once people die and go to Heaven, they can not ever come back. Heaven is full of love and the people we miss who are there will be waiting for us when it our turn. If you want to write a letter to your Gram and leave it under your tree, I will pick it up and deliver it. The mailbox to Heaven is my last stop on my way back to the North Pole after I deliver all of the toys.”

I cried (again). Dylan was satisfied. We talked about it for days and discussed Heaven and Jesus and what that mailbox must look like.  And the custom began.

We all wrote letters to my mom that year and Santa picked them up. Dylan told her about first grade and his soccer team.  Dawson drew a picture.  I wrote what could be considered a novel.  We still write and leave letters under the tree. Some years just me. Some years others in the family.

Last year I shared this on my FB in a reaction to the Sandy Hook shootings  ”I think of this today because of the many brothers and sisters, moms and dads of the children killed in Connecticut and the sadness that will be so alive in their hearts every day, especially the magical time of Christmas. Writing the letters helps heal the wounds of the loss of my dear mother. I always think about making this into a child’s book to offer the wise words of the firehouse Santa to others. I think the time has come. I declare that by the end of 2013, I will write and illustrate, Santa’s Last Stop!”

I did not follow through.  2013 and 2014 were filled with life changes for me and my family.  We have been in reaction to other’s decisions  but I can finally say that I am at peace.  I am grounded and ready.  2015 is the year.  I will write, illustrate and find an editor to publish my story.  I am hoping that Priscilla Burris will help me.  I should probably reach out to her.  I have just been too, well too timid I guess.

The mailbox for the letters is under the tree in our new Colorado home and ready.  It is time for me to write to her and tell her that I am happy, that her grandsons are happy and that life is good.  It is time for me to let go of the wish for her return and believe in Santa’s message.

I will never know who the man volunteering his time at the firehouse that day was but will forever be thankful that he was the one there that day.  He was an angel.  His words transformed the quality of my life forever,  a gift I want to share.  God is all around me and it is times like this that even in my deepest grief, His light shines through.  While Christmas is the story of the birth of Jesus, it is also the story of how Santa spread His peace for me.

Happy Holidays and Love to All,

Lauraescort in aberdeen

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Joy to the Pizzelles – Our Family Tradition

I started dating Ryp in 2009 and that was our first Christmas together with the kids.  That year and every year since, he makes pizzelles with the girls using an old family recipe from his mom.

Here is the recipe!

 

They make BUNCHES as it TONS of them to package up and give to friends, family, teachers and neighbors.  Last night was the beginning of the pizzelles for 2014 and they started with a humongous batch of chocolate.  They came out so super pretty.

Zoe loves to get the ingredients all out and set up, sometimes even for photography purposes.  She even said under her breath as she did so, “Oh the life of a blogger’s kid…” which makes me smile and then we laughed.  She asked, is this for Clabber Girl.  We do love it but no, this is not sponsored.  We just love what we love.

Check out the memory pictures from that first year in 2009.  They were so little!

Being a part of the Walters-Kelly family is a never ending adventure of blending traditions, loving each other and learning.  For those of you who have been part of our support system, we love you!  We might even bring you some pizzelles.

Cheers,

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Celebrating the Season and the Written Word with ‘Me and My Peeps’

Being the artist behind the brand ‘Me and My Peeps’ bring me so much joy and happiness.  I love the way that it creates connections and enthusiasm for relationships.  People tell me that they can really identify with their “Peep” once they choose it, almost like it becomes their little character.  If you are curious about the story behind ‘Me and My Peeps’ – it is right HERE on my blog!

The holiday season has arrived and to celebrate, I asked expressionery.com to send personalized stationery to some of my favorite blogger friends (okay…like a lot of them maybe).  As they have been receiving their gifts and sharing, I can feel the joy of the connections spreading.  Here are a few of my favorite pictures that they have shared socially this week!

You can design your whole family and order lots of great products with your creation on expressionery.com.  I am excited that in 2014 I finally changed my last name to my husband’s and this year I can write thank you notes on these fabulous note cards.

The stationery that I design for Expressionery is great to give as gifts.  My favorite gifts to give are to the kids’ teachers.  They LOVE getting note cards and memo pads (and chocolate and candy canes)!  I am pretty sure Mrs. Nolte is going to be thrilled.  Hopefully she is not reading this.

And my kids all have their very own this year.  We will more than likely be sending out mailers filled with thank you notes to family after the holidays.

Of course, Z has two less than everyone else because she cut two up and made earrings.

Enter to win the opportunity to create your own note cards and a VISA gift card for $250.

You can enter here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you are worried about running out of time, stop now!  You can order on expressionery until December 19th and still get your stuff for Christmas.  (See site for specific shipping details.)

You can save money too!  Use the promo code PEEPS and save 30% sitewide (excluding embossed stationery and paperweights.

Happy Shopping and Personalized Gift Giving,

Legal: *Limited time offer valid through December 30, 2014 at 11:55 PM CST. Receive 30% off sitewide plus free standard non-trackable shipping and handling on orders over $50 with offer code “PEEPS” at checkout. Offer excludes embossed stationery and paperweights. This offer may not be combined with any other offer or discount, and shipping fees and sales tax are separate. To prevent abuse, prices, specifications, and availability subject to change without notice from Expressionery.com.магазин одежды Fashionstore.biz

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My Custom Doodled #FashionByMayhem Designer Jeans

To me this blog post is about what it means to be a stellar parent, not just a good one but one who goes all out to create a child who is free, loving, connected and passionate.

It all started because Mayhem (better known as #fashionbymayhem  - the little wonder girl who twirls and sings and took the fashion world to a whole new level) asked me to draw on her pants while I was visiting with her at BloggyCon in Ohio.  I told her we would have to talk to her parents about that idea.  She did not forget.  It happened and here it the story along with why today it is awesome sauce fantastic.

Let me simply state, “Oh my gosh, I have a one-of-a-kind pair of jeans from a newly announced JCrew designer, four-year-old Mayhem”.  I feel so super special.  I am usually the one in the doodle spotlight, sporting my custom Sharpie marker and creating little masterpieces.  It was such an honor to share my marker with Mayhem.  Little did I know then that today she would become a designer with her own label for J.Crew.

In the fall, I got to spent a little time with Mayhem and her parents exploring Cedar Point in search of pony unicorns and rides that are fun for four-year-olds.  During that time, we took a bench break and doodled on each others’ jeans.  Nothing beats a little fashion designing during a rest break at an amusement park.  In case you ever wondered, Mayhem is a thinker and takes this stuff seriously.  Her method and execution amazes me.

When we weren’t resting, doodling and designing; we had a really fun time hanging out and riding rides.  I was the lucky backseat rider to Mayhem the driver on this awesome ride that went around a track in a circle.  It was SOOOO fun, we did it twice.

And spending time modeling and being silly…

And taking selfies…

And skipping around and sharing on social media…

I wear these jeans.  People ask me, “Did you draw on your jeans?”  I proudly let them know that are professionally dooodled by a four-year-old friend as I smile.  I wore them home from the trip and doodled my memories in the airport.  I ended up with a circle of kids around me and spent my time in the terminal doing a little art class.   I really am the luckiest when it comes to careers.

With today’s big announcement that Mayhem will now have her own label with J.Crew, I am thinking maybe I should never wash them again.  Hmmmmmm?  For now, I will simply display them in my home for a day to celebrate Mayhem and all her awesomeness.

Children are amazing.  What I love most about Mayhem is her connection to her designing, her dreaming and her parents.  They are a team and role models for all.  When we love our children and nurture THEIR passions without judgment or critique, we give them the gift of freedom and success.  It is an honor to call them friends!

Cheers to All,

Laurahttp://966.com.ua/product/sushi-s-krasnoi-ikroi.html

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Toll House Chocolate Chip Snowmen

This post is not sponsored.  Just letting you know that up front.  We are just cookie dough fanatics around here.

We have a ton of cookbooks and I mean shelves full.  At Christmastime we get them out and bookmark the recipes for the cookies we want to bake and make.  Some recipes we choose are the same from year to year…our traditions.  Some are new and they are either starred as goodies or X’d as no-go’s.  This year we picked a recipe for chocolate chip snowmen and let me be the first to tell you, they are starred!

We found the idea in this book but then modified it.

We used Toll House chocolate chip cookie dough, you know…the kind in the tub that makes it easy peasy.  We figured these were all about the decorating anyway.

They are not only completely adorable but incredibly yummy!  We baked the cookies in balls that went from small to big touching each other then when they were cool, smothered them in melted white chocolate and decorated with candies.

Ta da!

Cheers,

Laura

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Stationery Lovers Unite – A Holiday (Like Every Day) Gift Guide

I love stationery.  I love writing notes and receiving them too.  One of my favorite parts of what I do is designing for Expressionery.Com and creating personalized stationery and related products for the market.  My work space for writing notes, doodling and designing products is filled with a lot of my favorite things.  I love World Market and am an ambassador so head up…a lot of my faves are from there.  Being a member of the inaugural Sharpie Squad and using them daily for my doodles of course puts them at the top of the list as well as all over my desk and studio.

Here are my top twelve gift ideas for other stationery lovers like me!

 

  1. St. Laurent Pencil Holder from World Market
  2. Personalized ‘Me and My Peeps’ Note Cards from Expressionery
  3. Marker Organizer (Actually a Beverage Caddy) from World Market
  4. Inspirational Journals (and chocolate) from World Market
  5. Little Glass Jars from World Market for organizing supplies
  6. Sizzix Big Shot to make your own stationery
  7. Personalized Square Gift Labels from Expressionery
  8. Custom Sharpie Markers – Well Just Because
  9. Personalized Fold Over Notes Cards from Expressionery for Correspondence
  10. Metal Mailbox from World Market for Storage
  11. Pink Holly Flat Notes from Expressionery for Thank You Notes
  12. Decorative Colored Pencils from World Market

Gift guides can be super helpful when shopping for the holidays, birthdays and every day gifts.

Here are some other ones that blogger friends put together to support stress-free shopping and happy gift recipients.

And of course there is a contest that we all went in a put together with a fantastic prize.  You can enter here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cheers,

 

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