Monday, December 28, 2009

Another Peek...

From another image! Have you heard? A new collection is about to be released and it is oh-so-Sweet! 6 new images by the wonderfully talented Elisabeth Bell will begin shipping the end of next week. Above is another peek at another image from this Sweet Things Collection.

I'll give little peeks each day between now and December 31 though you'll want to check in on the first day of the New Year when the entire Collection will be showcased! ;D I will also be holding a sale come January 1st...more details to come in the next few days!

Sorry for these peeks...they seem a bit evil, LOL! Just a little something to hold us over until January 1st, when the good stuff begins! =)

Happy holidays to you!
Summer =)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Little Peek...

Okay, so this'll be another short post as I am still recovering from the Christmas rush. And nooooo, I did not do any after-Christmas-sales shopping! Ah-ah, no way! Let me tell you though, real quick, about an exciting new collection filled with Sweet Things! In fact, that's what I'm calling them...the new "Sweet Things" Collection! They will become available the first week of the new year! And as usual, Elisabeth has designed some truly Sweet images that make up this very versatile set! ;D Perfect for Valentines as well as year-round use, I cannot wait to share these with you!

For now though, a little sneak peek above...

I'll be back with more, perhaps tomorrow!

Summer =)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Whew!

'Twas the Night Before Christmas, by Iris.
Thanks Iris for the beeeautiful Christmas card! ;D

I hope your Christmas was a wonderful one! Are you pooped?!? I am pooped! So much so, that I regret that today's posting is not only late, it is at least 5 paragraphs shorter than I had originally planned! I had planned to announce, of course, the winners of the three $35 Christmas Day Gift Certificates, ending the wonderful Advent Calendar fun! I had also planned to include in today's post some news regarding sneak peaks from the upcoming collection...it is a Sweet one! I had even planned to let you in on a little info regarding a $ale on the Belles 'n Whistles site, coming very soon! But I am just too pooped as I am sure you all are too! So today's Day-After-Christmas post will be short and sweet--I'll keep to just announcing the winners of the Gift Certificates. They are:


Congratulations you three! Please contact me with your mailing information so that I may get your gift certificates out in the mail to you! =)

Thank you, one and all, for joining us for our Advent Calendar this Christmas season! And may the joy of the season remain with us all through the new year as well! I hope you'll check in with me again tomorrow. I'll try to do what I had planned on doing today...get you a sneak peak of the next collection, coming soon, as well as fill you in on the details of a wonderful sale!

Don't forget to visit again tomorrow!

Summer =)

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Very Merry!

Merry Christmas

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe and joyous New Year! Thank you for joining the Belles 'n Whistles team for our Advent Calendar count-down to Christmas! It's been fun but it's not over yet! Leave your name below for one of three chances to win a Belles 'n Whistles Gift Certificate, each worth $35! Three names will be randomly drawn and announced tomorrow, December 26th...and first, a re-cap of our Advent Goody Bag winners:

Advent Calendar Random Winners

Day 1: Cassie Larson
Day 2: Rachel H
Day 3: Heike
Day 4: Rosie
Day 5: Mina
Day 6: Stacie
Day 7: Anne
Day 8: Stargroves (Anne)
Day 9: Anuta
Day 10: Charlene
Day 11: Mary Lou
Day 12: Katarina
Day 13: Janelle (#58)
Day 14: Lauretta See (Lady Pou)
Day 15: Ikrinka
Day 16: Lena Katrine
Day 17: Cheryl
Day 18: Jessica G
Day 19: FarHai
Day 20: Mimiko
Day 21: Anne H.
Day 22: Tammy M
Day 23: Melissa E
Day 24: Elise

Congratulations!

Merry Christmas and good luck to you all!
Summer ;D

Thursday, December 24, 2009

God Jul! Merry X-mas

Today all the kids (and their parents) in Sweden are waiting for someone to knock on their door. And it's not this cute little girl (Christmas Door)we are waiting for but Santa himself. I can only remember how nervous I got when I heard that knock on the door and saw that it was Santa - waiting to enter our home. I can really feel it again - my heart beating faster and faster...hihi....
So when you are reading this - we are celebrating X-mas with our family. Isac is waiting for Santa to arrive so that he finally can open his gifts. We are also going to be very tired after all that food that we normally have for X-mas and then of course - too much candy..hihi.....

Talking about candy - you know that there are still some chance for you to win some. The only thing you need to do is to add your name below using Mr Linky.

Summer will post the lucky winner on the side-bar and then she will come back with the final Advent post for this year tomorrow!


So from me and my family - a Very Merry X-mas and all the best to you all for 2010! I'm so happy to have get to know you and to be a part of the wonderful BnW DT team!
Would love to read your comments below - but most of all - to read your X-mas greetings to Summer and Elisabeth for making these cuties available for all of us to play with!


God Jul & Gott Nytt År!

Anki

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

One more day and ...

Christmas Eve is tomorrow!! I can hardly wait for the festivities in our home to begin!

I have made a little booklet of sorts (don't know what to call it) and I hope you enjoy it.

Belle is going home for Christmas Eve. This image is called Christmas Door. I wanted to make a full scene so I added a few details. That's supposed to be a wooden door but I think it's more gray then white... I think I made a mistake on the floor too.... Icicle is a MS punch, glitter-ified and mounted on 3d foam. All papers are BG Fruitcake. There are glitters on the wreath, tree and poinsettia centers.

Christmas Hearth. This image is just so cute and I love how EB has captured the innocence of childhood. I wanted to make another full scene to match the front cover and have tried to make a wallpaper design. I hope you can see it. I used gold pen for the stripes and stamped long scroll images (cream ink) in between the stripes. The wreath on top of the mantle was cut out from the Christmas door image. I had an accident with the carpet. It was initially green but it looked terrible (grass?) so I cut of the whole lower portion (below the children's outlines) and covered with new paper and colored the carpet pink. Not so sure about the color combo.
Tired from all the waiting and wondering, they both fell asleep.
The wing chair looks shiny IRL because my marker acted up and started coloring shiny... don't know why it happens but I decided to color the whole chair again and liked the shiny effect.
This cute image is called Twas the Night Before Christmas.
The 2 side flaps are actually inserts and you can write on the notecards or put money (spelling corrected - Thanks Marianne!) in the flaps too. Merry Christmas sentiment was printed out from the computer. Always and Believe are stickers from the BG Fruitcake collection.
Kindly leave your name with Mr. Linky below to have a great chance of winning $25 worth of goodies. Winners are all posted on the sidebar.

I don't have a question for you, any comment would be wonderful though...
I would love to wish you all a
MERRY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

Please stop by again tomorrow for a super Surprise!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Welcome to Day 22 of our Advent Calendar


WOW!!! 
Christmas is fast approaching,
Just 3 more sleeps until Santa comes!

Window 22 opens today with my Candy Cane Bucket



Won't Santa be surprised to see this sitting next to my tree?
I'll have to be sure to leave a note next to the milk & cookies
and tell him to pick whatever candy cane he wishes!  LOL

Here is a closer view of the image



To decorate this candy cane bucket, I used
"Twas the Night Before Christmas"
from our first Christmas Collection. 
It was the PERFECT image for this type of project!
This, of course brings me to todays question.

What, if any, is your favorite Christmas sweet treat?
Personally, I love my candy canes (obviously) and anything minty.
Andes Candies are another favorite of mine!  What's yours?
Leave us a comment, we would love to hear from you!

Wishing you all a very
MERRY CHRISTMAS!



Monday, December 21, 2009

Day 21 - And counting....




Hello it's me again today. Hope you all had a great weekend. Today I am opening door 21 of our Advent Calender for you. And this is whatis behind it:



Baking with Nana is the image I used for my card. It's from Belles 'n Whistles Christmas Collection II. Remember the Christmas images are limited in quantities for this year. Better hurry and get them while they last.

Do you like to bake? I LOVE to bake. Especially during Christmas season I like to bake and make all different kind of goodies from cookies to chocolate truffle and also gingerbread is one of my favorites to make. But not any kind of gingerbread. I like to bake the famous Nuernberger Lebkuchen or Nuremberg Gingerbread. I already told you that I am originally from Germany. And where I grew up and lived was in the area around Nuremberg and with it also with famous Nuremberg Gingerbread :-) There are lots of different recipes for Nuremberg Gingerbread. The one I like most is the Elisen-Lebkuchen / Elisen Gingerbread. This kind of gingerbread is made without any flour. Only nuts, (Almonds, Hazelnuts and Walnuts), candied lemon and orange peel, sugar and spices are allowed for the Elisen Lebkuchen.

And today I like to share one of my recipes with you. It is a Elsien Lebkuchen recipe that is fast and easy to make without any waiting times. (often gingerbread has to rest and dry for several hours or over night before baking)




Fast Nuremberg Gingerbread
(yield about 12)





Ingredients:

2 Eggs
125g / 2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 Pinch ground nutmeg
1 Pinch ground mace
2 drops bitter almond oil
200g /7 oz ground almonds
50g / 1 3/4 oz chopped almonds
100 g / 3 1/3 oz finely diced candied lemon peel
Oblaten/baking wafers/rice paper wafers

In a bowl combine eggs and sugar and beat with an electric mixer until frothy and light in color. Add spices and almond oil. Finally add candied lemon peel and almonds. Spread the dough on Oblaten (about 70 mm diameter). Put the gingerbread in the cold (this is important) oven and than turn on the heat. Bake at 170 C / 300F for about 15-20 minutes. Baking times may vary depending on your oven.

Make a viscous chocolate or sugar glaze and spread over the still warm gingerbread. If desired garnish with candied cherries, candied lemon/orange peel or nuts. - Enjoy!

Hope you like it and maybe you like to try it sometime!




To have a chance of winning today's goodie bag giveaway make sure you enter your name in Mr. Linky below! You'll find yesterdays winner in the sidebar!

And as a little clue ... make sure you stay tuned here with us to the very end of the Belles 'n Whistles Advent Calender on Christmas day :-) Believe me you won't regret it ;-)

Thanks for visiting us here today!



Sunday, December 20, 2009

Day 20 - Happy 4th Advent!


It's getting closer!!! Happy 4th Advent all!
It's time to light the fourth candle on the Advent wreath. Are you familiar with that custom? No? Well than let me explain it a little as this is another tradition in my home country, Germany.




The Advent wreath was invented 1839 by Johann Hinrich Wichern a protestant theologian. He was taking care of several very poor children as their custodian and they lived in an old farmhouse. During the Advent season the kids always asked him "How long is it until Christmas?" So he had an idea. In the barn he found an old cartwheel and made a wooden wreath out of it. He put 18 small red and 4 large white candles on the wood wreath so the children could count the days til Christmas. They lit up a candle each day and a large one each Advent Sunday. From this wooden Advent wreath the present Advent wreath with 4 candles originated. And it is tradition to light another candle on each Advent Sunday until on the 4th all four candles are burning.

Usually the traditional Advent wreath is an evergreen wreath with 4 candles, ribbon bows and some decorations. Nowadays you'll also find Advent wreathes made from straw, wood, metall glass etc. And there are not always 4 candles on the wreath. It's also common to have just one large candle in the middle (see my photos) or 3 candles of different sizes. Even the shape can vary and then it is reffered to as an Advent arrangement, like a flower arrangement.




I hope you liked my little story of the Advent wreath. Did you already know about it?

Enough story telling now ;-) I have a card I like to show to you today as well. I made a snow globe card using the adorable image "Two Turtle Doves" from the second Belles 'n Whistles Christmas release. Still available at the Belles 'n Whistles store in limited quantities! The image is colored using Copics.





In the background I added 2 turtle doves which I cut out with my Cricut and added some glitter to it. I thought they are perfect to go with that cute image.




Are you ready for the chance of some more yummy goodies? Leave a comment here and you will be in the daily prize drawing for a goodie bag worth more than $25. Winners will be drawn daily and you can find the list of names in the sidebar.

Thanks for visiting our Advent Calender today and hope to see you tomorrow again at the opening of door 21!



Saturday, December 19, 2009

Day *19* ..Gingerbread Goodness...

Good Morning! Today is my turn to open another window for the calendar! WOW only 6 more sleeps til Christmas! This went by so fast!
This is actually a gift I gave to my girls on the 12th as a halfway to Christmas gift! Being that this year they are 5, 6 and 7 I figured they were old enough to make a gingerbread house ~ what I mean is get through getting it together without eating all the candy and getting frosting everywhere but on the house! LOL I have created a tag card to go along with the cookie cutters for the walls of the house! This image ~ Gingerbread Corner ~ is so cute and perfect for the gift! I made a tag with her and I also put the recipes for the gingerbread, the "glue" for the walls and one for the frosting. (I got it all from a Martha Stewart magazine.) I went with Kraft paper and distressed it with Vintage ink so it would resemble gingerbread to go along with my theme.
This is the first year we are doing this and I think if all goes well it will be a tradition at our house! I would love to hear if any of you have special traditions that you carry on from when you were little or if you started any new ones with your little ones!

Well thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you all have a wonderful week-end!



Friday, December 18, 2009

One Week to Go! Advent Day 18...

My, my...time sure is flying by! I hope that in all of the busy-ness, you are all enjoying the season! Such a wonderful time of year! A quick post this morning to share with you a beautiful gift tag and a nice little gift idea, perhaps for next year (file this one away somewhere!).

I used to looove making scented gifts before my little one came along--somehow, I had more time then, LOL! Amoung my favorite to make were scented candles, cold-processed soaps and gifts incorporating potpourri. I shared one of these gift ideas with you earlier, on the first day of Advent--a lighted potpourri jar(block). This one's another, easy-schmeezy one.

Lavender Dryer Bags

All you need are a couple of things: some dried lavender buds and a few sealable Tea Bags! I've a muslin bag with drawstring in the photo as well...for use with the completed dryer bags.

All you do is open the side of your heat-sealable teabag and fill with a scoop of lavender buds--about a quarter cup per bag. My teabags are large, about 4" x 5" in size.

Pinch the sides of the bag together and seal shut with a hot iron.

Stack a bundle of three dryer bags and band them together with some nice paper, rafia or ribbon. I decorated mine with a sparkley lavender ribbon and Ice stickles to match the lovely gift tag that was made for me. The muslin bag is included with these directions: Place one Lavender Dryer Bag in the muslin bag, draw strings together and toss into the dryer with your clothing. Leaves linens and laundry with the fresh scent of lavender! Other uses for a Lavender Dryer Bag would be in clothing drawers or closets or in the car to freshen the air.

While I hurriedly put together and photographed my lavender bags for this post, my mother was gracious enough to help me make a Belles 'n Whistles gift tag to go along with my gift idea. I told her what I was making, gave her the stamped image, and away to work she went...thanks Mom! =)

Using the image The Christmas Door, she created a beautiful tag to go along nicely with my lavender theme. I can actually pictureit now, a lavender Christmas, LOL! The tag was colored by Mom with Copics and Ice Stickles were used as embellishment.


I thought it looked perfect on this little gift basket of Chocolates and Coffee, accompanied by my Lavender Dryer bags too! It'll make a nice gift for a friend, a neighbor or perhaps my child's teacher!

Do sign-up for your chance at winning one of the Advent Goody Bags worth over $25.00! For this post only, I will also include some tea bags, muslin bags and some lavender buds so you can make your own Lavender Dryer Bags! ;D

Have a wonderful Friday!

Summer =)


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Day 17 of the Advent - Gingerbread Love



I'm so excited to be bringing you another day to celebrate the Advent with us here at Belles N' Whistles! When I saw these sweet babies called Gingerbread Love, it so reminded me of the time I tried to make a gingerbread house with my nephew, Stevie. They didn't have the kits like they do now and I tried to make one from scratch and, well, let's just say that the trash can was a lot heavier because the icing ended up like cement! I much prefer these sweeties!

I thought I'd make a candy gift for a friend of mine and this is what I came up with. And I didn't bake this time! I used an old SU container and I love those Hershey's Nuggets and I wrapped them in coordinating paper around the nuggets and colored these cuties up and made a wide bank for the package. What do you think?



Can you resist their sweet faces? I sure can't! You could just eat them alive, just like the gingerbread!



Now my girls bake cookies and make peanut butter balls and have a love for baking and cooking like I never had. I so hope my granddaughters will love to bake and cook. Perhaps some of that will rub off on Nana! So tell me what's your favorite candy or snack to make for others for the holidays?

And don't forget to stop by again tomorrow for the 18th day of the Advent. I love seeing what my ever so talented design team sisters come up with! Happy Holidays from me and mine to you and yours!

Card Ingredients:

Gingerbread Love by Belles N' Whistles, Eskimo Kisses paper from BasicGrey, K&Company Christmas stack paper, Stickles, copics, Soufflet gel pen, SU empty packaging

Susan

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Day 16 ~ Almost there!!!!


Hi Everyone!! Today is my day to host the Belles and whistles advent giveaway! I am very excited! I LOVE advent calendars of all kinds and actually collect them as well. My daughters love the chocolate calendars and look forward to opening the door each night for a little treat before bed. My favorite is a felt tree my mother made for me when I moved to my own place. We had the same one growing up and I love it, so she made me my own. I hang a Hallmark miniature ornament on it each day.

Here is my first attempt at two things! First is a matchbox advent calendar. My friend Denise and I got together and each made one. I used retired SU wintergreen papers for mine along with the Christmas Hearth image. I also made some snowflakes out of vellum and embossed with iridescent ice EP. This is also my first easel card. How fun and easy! I did a close up of the card. It measures 4 1/2 square. I included a gift card as well as this is a present for my soon to be sister in law. The little matchboxes are the perfect size for Hershey's miniatures.
Be sure to enter Mr. Linky for your chance at some goodies!!!

Erin

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

December 15th - Happy Zamenhof Day!!

Good Morning!

Or 'Bonan Matenon!' as today we celebrate the invention of the Esperanto language created by L L Zamenhof in 1887. This well documented but rarely used language was intended to be an international method of communication throughout the world. Zamenhof's goal was to create an easy and flexible language that would serve as a universal second language to foster peace and international understanding.. Unfortunately it never really took off and no country has ever adopted it as its official language. However there are over 25,000 Esperanto books (originals and translations) and every year, upto 3000 Esperanto speakers meet for the World Congress of Esperanto.

I must confess readers, I did question the appropriateness of this occaision for what is essentially a Christmas themed series of posts...

However if we consider Zamenhof's original goal of peace and understanding throughout the world I don't think I could think of anything more appropriate, could you?

So I would like to take this opportunity say, 'Gojan Kristnaskon' - Merry Christmas to you all!


Oh oh oh!! she's sooo cute don't you think standing up on tippy-toe to reach the christmas door? I would love to have a wreath like that hanging on my door but it's never been a tradition of ours to put out a wreath, I think I will have to look into it for next year, I feel a crafty project coming on, lol!!

But thinking of family traditions at christmas, it got me pondering about the goodies families leave for Santa on Christmas eve... Now I grew up firmly believing that Santa enjoyed a sherry & a mince pie after his trip down the chimney at each house so each year we set out a glass of Mom's favourite & a homemade pie... it only occurred to me in much later years that this might not be true of every home, afterall, some Moms don't even like sherry & may not have it in stock...!!

So my question for you today readers is, what did/do you leave for Santa on Christmas eve?

Wishing you lots of luck for today's draw

{{{Hugs}}}

Nikki xxx

Monday, December 14, 2009

Food Glorious Food!






Okay so today it's my turn to open another calendar window... yay!! Isn't time running fast? And I was thinking and thinking of what can I do? My super talented fellow DT members got you so many ideas. And then I saw Baking with Nana in front of me, and I thought that I'd like to use her. Some moments after, one of the kids asked me for some ingredients to bake Mince Pies.. and voila... I decided to focus on that! Baking with kids at Christmas! It is one of the special things I like to do at this time. In fact me and one of the kids in my care went shopping last Saturday, so that we have all we need to make bread pudding (this is a traditional pudding (resembles Christmas pudding made with bread, cocoa, raisins, jam orange and lemon rind,and some other yummy stuff), coconut balls and some other lovely food they like to help in, during the Christmas holiday's.







Here are some of the girl's mince pies.. we almost ate them all immediately! :) lol
Now there are none left! Also today is the start of another ROP/BNW challenge, so why don't you join us there, and have another chance of winning some lovely candy, huh??









So I am leaving you with this today, do you bake with your kids or maybe at work (if you work with kids) during this lovely time?
And if yes, what do they like to do most??


Happy Monday everyone, and enjoy this loving Christmas Season!! and most of all... SMILE!!



Edited to read: Oooops SORRY!! I forgot to add Mr. Linky last night! But those who left the comments will be added to our list. Sorry again!!



Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sankta Lucia

Today we celebrate Lucia all over Sweden. It's a very old tradition and if you want to read all the details - check it out here. Also - each city elects there very own Lucia every year - so for some girls - it's a dream that comes true..

We are going to my parents this morning with some Lucia buns and Ginger bread cookies. Isac and his cousins Rebecka, Victoria and Julia are going to sing some songs for them and bring them the cakes. Isac was dressed as Santa when they had the Lucia event at the kindergarten (Friday). Here you have some pics of him from his very first Lucia event - 2007, then he was a Gingerbread boy in 2008 and this year he wanted to be Santa.
Well - that's why I thought of Lucia when I saw this cute image - Star of Bethlehem.


I coloured them with my copics and used my Basic Grey DPs of course. Went for a clean layout and added Country Elegance Flowers and some extra bling! The white birds in the left corner is a rub-on that I've received.

Well - I guess you want the chance to win some more Advent candy - so please leave your name and link with Mr Linky below. Summer will pick the lucky winner and it might be your name posted on the sidebar tomorrow. Good luck!


Kram - Anki