When I was a little girl, my Grandmother Fisk had one of those cool Aluminum Christmas Trees and this picture reminded me of that. It was in her formal living room and we children were for the most part not allowed in there, especially the boys. Now, I know this one is white, but it's still what it reminded me of. The vintage style ornaments and the gift boxes with foiled polka dots are just like some of the lovely things my grandmother would have had on or under her tree. We were so lucky to have her for so many years. She passed away in July of 2012 at the age of 99. I wish I knew what ever happened to that tree! I think it was long gone years ago, but I sure wish I had it. It would be fun to have in my studio!
I had several ideas for this blog hop card but this is the one that came together for me in the way I envisioned it. I was dying to try the new Noted: Scalloped A2 Vertical Card Die. I had asked for a die that could be used vertically way back when the Don't Forget to Write Kit had come out. Before I ever got my kit I realized that the side fold card used with that set is the one I use the least. So during the most recent release earlier this month, several of the ladies on the Papertrey Forum went out there to make sure I had seen Betsy Veldman's Release Week Post with this new card die. It's really genius as you cut in two passes to get the full card but because of the size, it wasn't as expensive as some of the other Noted Dies. It's going to be a fantastic basic for years to come.
I started with the color of those gift boxes in the inspiration image, Hawaiian Shores Cardstock. I cut a vertical card base for my project. Next I cut the new Leaf & Sprig Frame Die from Stamper's Select White Cardstock. This cuts 5 frames all at once in various sizes so I wanted two of the 2nd largest to glue together for a little bit sturdier element. I adhered them with Ranger Multi Medium Matte. I saved the rest of the frames for other projects. The largest Leaf & Sprig Frame is full A2 size.
Next I did some ink blending on a piece of watercolor paper using Hawaiian Shores Ink and spritzed it with Tsukineko Sparkling Sheer Shimmer Mist. While that was drying I got out the stamp set from Don't Forget to Write so that I could use it to stamp the card sentiment.
Another product that was released in November is called the Wrap It Up Collection, seen here. While I couldn't get that yet, I loved the concept so I set about to create a small scale version of that with dies I already had. Using two different Stitched Rectangles, I cut two from the gold foiled paper. This paper was originally Mint and Gold, but I carefully did more ink blending over the top so that it would match the Hawaiian Shores Cardstock better. This paper is much thinner than my Papertrey Cardstock, so I didn't want to accidentally muck it up by going at it too hard with my ink blending tool. This worked out well as it doesn't effect the foiled part but it did deepen the color of the mint stripes. I frequently realign my die cut back into the die to make it whatever I need (shorter or narrower) and that is what I did this time. The original rectangle I cut was twice as tall as this present is, so I just cut in in half by using a bigger die and laying it across the cut line. Next I used another bow die that I already had to cut the bow. It cuts in three pieces and you just have to assemble it. I used some gold shimmer vellum that I have on hand for the bow. Once I had that put together, I went back to my misted background panel, stamped my sentiment on it using Versamark with Antique Gold Embossing Powder and heat set it.
After that, I cut it to go behind my frame. If you cut it to 3.5 x 4.75 inches, it is a perfect size to go behind. The frame is about 1/16th inch larger than that on both sides. Finally I was able to assemble all of the pieces to make a card to go with a gift. In my husband's family, all the siblings with their spouses take turns hosting the Finger Family Christmas. It's customary to present your hosts with a small gift of thanks or a bottle of wine. This will be a great card to put with that gift and write a little note of thanks inside.
Today's post will be extra long as I have something I like to share this time of year. This is the day that many families start decorating for Christmas. So with that in mind, be sure to read this story.
Teach the Children
Just last Monday night I had a strange Visitor. This is how it happened. I had just finished the household chores for the night and was preparing to go to bed when I heard a noise in the front of the house. I opened the door of the front room, and to my surprise, it was Santa Claus himself stepping out from behind the Christmas Tree. He placed his fingers over his lips so I wouldn't cry out.
"What are you doing here..." I started to ask, but the words choked up in my throat as I saw that he had tears in his eyes. His usual jolly manner was gone - gone was the eager, boisterous soul we all know. As I stood there in my night shirt bewildered, Santa said, "Teach the Children." My perplexed expression still shown in the near darkness.
"Teach the Children the old meaning of Christmas - the meanings that Christmas nowadays has forgotten. Teach the Children, the star was a heavenly sign of promise long ages ago. God promised a Savior for the world and a sight of the fulfillment of that promise was the great star of the East. The star now reminds us of God's love for mankind and of God fulfilling His promise. The countless shining stars at night - one for each man - now show the burning hope of all mankind." Santa gently laid a star upon the fireplace mantle and drew forth from his bag a glittering red Christmas ornament.
"Teach the Children, red is the first color of Christmas. It was first used by the faithful people to remind them of the blood which was shed for all people by the savior. Christ gave his life and shed his blood that every man might have God's gift to all, eternal life. Red is deep, intense, vivid. It is the greatest color of all. It is the symbol of the gift of God." As Santa was twisting and pulling another object out of his bag, I heard the kitchen clock strike twelve. I wanted to say something, but he went right on.
"Teach the Children," he said as the twisting and pulling suddenly dislodged a small Christmas tree from the depths of the toy bag. He placed it before the mantle and gently hung the red ornament on the big Christmas tree. The deep green of the fir tree was a perfect background for the ornament. Here was the second color of Christmas.
"The pure color of the stately fir tree remains green all year round," he said. "This depicts the everlasting hope of mankind. Green is the youthful, hopeful, abundant color of nature. All the needles point heavenward - symbolic of man's returning thoughts toward heaven. The great, green tree has been man's best friend. It has sheltered him, warmed him, made beauty for him, formed his furniture." Santa's eyes were beginning to twinkle now as he stood there. Suddenly I heard a soft tinkling sound. As it grew louder, it seemed like the sound of long ago.
"Teach the Children, that as the lost sheep are found by the sounds of the bell, so should it ring for men to return to the fold; it means guidance and return; it signifies that all are precious in the eyes of the Lord." As the soft sound of the bell faced into the night, Santa drew forth a candle. He placed it on the mantle and the soft glow from its tiny flame cast an eerie glow about the darkened room. Odd shapes in the shadow slowly danced and weaved upon the walls.
"Teach the Children," whispered Santa, "that the candle shows man's thanks for the star of long ago. It's small light is the mirror of starlight. At first, candles were placed on the Christmas tree - they were like many glowing stars shining against the dark green. Safety now has removed the candles from the tree and the colored lights have taken over in the remembrance."
Santa turned the small Christmas tree lights on and picked up a gift from under the tree. He pointed to the large bow ribbon and said, "A bow is placed on a present to remind us of the spirit of the brotherhood of man. We should remember that the bow is tied as men should be tied - all of us together, with the bonds of good will toward each other. Goodwill forever is the message of the bow."
Now I wondered what else Santa had in his bag. Instead of reaching into his bag, he slung it over his shoulder and began to reach up on the Christmas tree. I thought he was hungry as he reached for a candy cane, purposely placed high on the tree. He unfastened it and reached out toward me with it.
"Teach the Children that the candy can represents the shepherds crook. The crook on the staff helps bring back the strayed sheep into the fold. The cane represents the helping hand we should show at Christmas time. The candy is the symbol that we are our brother's keeper."
Santa then paused. He seemed to realize he should be on his way. Later would be his big day. As he looked about the room, a feeling of satisfaction showed in his face. He read wonderment in my eyes as I am sure he sensed my admiration on this night. He was his old self as he approached the front door. The twinkle in his eye gave Santa away; I knew he wasn't through yet. He reached into his bag and brought forth a large holly wreath. He placed it on the fireplace and said, "Please Teach the Children the wreath symbolizes the eternal nature of love; it never ceases, stops, or ends. It is one continuous round of affection. The wreath does double duty. It is made of many things and in many colors. It reminds us of all of the things of Christmas. Please, Teach the Children."
I pondered and wondered and thrilled with delight, as I saw and viewed all those symbols that night. I dozed as I sat in the soft candle light, and my thoughts were of Santa and all he made right. To give and to help and to love and to serve, are the best things in life, all men can deserve. Old Santa Claus himself, that jolly fat elf, is the very best symbol of Christmas itself. He's the sign of the gift of love and of life, the ending of evil, the ceasing of strife. His message to me on the pre-Christmas night, has opened a treasure of deepest insight.
The one thing on earth we all ought to do, is the Teaching of Children, the right and the true.
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