Thanksgiving And Holiday Feasts

Contributor Post by Sheila and Shannon of BeadyEyedBird 

We asked our teamies what they like to do around the November holidays such as Thanksgiving or Remembrance Day, All Souls Day, Native American Heritage days, or their own special traditions, especially FEASTS. Here’s what they told us —

Susan-Sharon Passmore from MsPDesignsUSA said:

 Thanksgiving just might be my favorite holiday! Our extended family gathers at my house, and we feast on roasted turkey with all sorts of delicious side dishes. I love to make pumpkin and pecan pies for dessert, and my sister usually brings fresh-baked rolls. After dinner, we might play games at the kitchen table or take a walk to the park to stretch our legs, let the kids play at the playground, and throw the ball for our dog.

This cute turkey applique would be perfect for a kitchen towel or a set of hot pads. I probably have time to make some for myself before the big day!


Turkey gobbler PDF applique pattern; Thanksgiving bird applique quilt pattern; farm animal quilt; baby or child’s quilt pattern

pam colangelo from PearlsVintagebyPam said:

Thanksgiving Time Holds Lots of Memories both Good and Not so Good. In the Past we had the Thanksgiving Meal at our House, Even when we were newly Married-1970’s. My Husband had the job of Carving the Turkey Which by the Way was Cooked Perfectly in a Paper Bag per a Nurse I worked with. Unfortunately We Used to Have a Fight Over how the Turkey was Carved in those Early Married Days. Sorry to my Husband!!

I no Longer Cook the Turkey and my Husband No Longer Carves it. Here’s our Turkey.


Turkey Figure-Pottery-Detailed Decoration-10 In. Wide-Thanksgiving-Centerpiece-Made in Phillippines-Unique-Clay-Art-Holiday-Décor

Melissa R from missy69 said:

Thanksgiving is my husband’s favorite holiday, and of course it includes turkey. This beautiful turkey painting, is an original painting, affixed to a large reclaimed glass pickle jar, then upcycled into a hurricane lamp, vase, candle holder, cookie jar etc. It makes a great table decoration, and being green is in this year. This handsome Tom Turkey is hoping you will change your mind and eat lasagna.


Reclaimed Large Glass Pickle Jar Upcycled into A Hurricane Lamp with Painted Tom Turkey Thanksgiving Home Decor Table Lighting Vase Cookie

Kelly from ColourscapeStudios said:

Thanksgiving isn’t something celebrated here in Australia, however I had a lovely lady from Kentucky contact me to purchase my longer thank you tags so that she could wrap them around her napkins which I thought was a lovely touch for her friends and family.



10% Off Christmas Sale Thank You Gift Tag, Rectangle Gift Tag, Small Gift Tag, Wedding Tag, Party Gift Tag, Kraft Gift Tag, Slim Gift Tag, M

Dawn Whitehand from DeeDeeDeesigns said:

Being in Australia we actually don’t have any of these holidays, however, here, as the weather warms, family and friend get togethers become more frequent as people venture outdoors!

So there is a celebration of the change of season – just as you guys celebrate your holidays – and to celebrate there is lots of sharing of food and drink!

And for me celebrating the sharing of food is made all the more special with handmade table wares – so this bowl is perfect!


Ceramic Bowl for Salad and Fruit Textured Green Stoneware Unique Handmade Pottery Home Décor

willowvalleyvintage from WillowValleyVintage said:

I’m fortunate that my husband has taken over all the cooking on Thanksgiving day!

He has the preparation down to a science–and follows a timeline to ensure that everything is ready to serve at the appropriate hour!

My daughter and I found this fun trivet on a buying trip to Shipshewana, Indiana. We like the retro illustrations and instructions for “Meat Cookery.”

I can imagine a new bride receiving this from her mother-in-law in the 50s or 60s!


Metal Trivet Wife and Husband Kitschy Art Pro-Tex Retro “Table of Meat Cookery” 50s Kitchen Midwestern Life Insurance Advertising Decor Gift

Carola Bartz from CarolaBartz said:

I grew up in Germany and only came to the States when I was over 40 years old. So Thanksgiving is not really a tradition for me. However, we embraced it because I like the gratitude part of it. Around the end of November when the days are shorter, it’s getting considerably colder and the days are often grey, I like to curl up on the couch with a journal and take a look back over the year, writing down everything that I am thankful for. It is such a treat to read later what I was thankful for in the previous years and I see how rich my life is.


Autumn Leaves Journal with Matching Bookmark, Handmade Notebook in Fall Colors, Altered Composition Book with Lined Pages

Heather from ArabellaBlossoms said:

Although we don’t officially celebrate Thanksgiving Day here in Australia, like many around the world, cooking for family and friends is often a way to show we are thankful for their love, friendship and support.


Handmade Pink White Green Apron, Medium Size Vintage Cotton Gingham, Vintage Doily and Lace , Full Apron with Pocket, Women’s Gift Idea

Many thanks to everyone who shared their wonderful memories and items with us. Happy holidays and celebrations and FEASTS to All!

Until Next Time,




The Tradition Of The Halloween Costume

Contributor post by Catherine of DesignsByCnC

Every year kids and some adults dress up in costume for a night of trick-or-treating and revelry.  We accept this as a normal behavior, but how did this tradition come to be?

Halloween dates back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. Two thousand years ago, the Celts, who lived in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1.   On October 31, they celebrated Samhain, the summer’s end, a day of celebration before the long cold days of winter, which brought the death of nature, life and the harvest.

During the 16th century, this festival included mumming and guising, in which people would go door-to-door dressed in costume and perform a song or recite a poem in exchange for food.  It is often thought that this tradition originally began with people impersonating the souls of the dead and received the offerings on their behalf.  It was believed that wearing a costume would offer protection from these dead souls.  It was thought that the mummers and guisers were the old spirits of winter and would give good fortune in exchange for a reward.

The first recorded incident of children trick-or-treating in North America occurred in 1911.  In order to conform to Victorian era morality, Halloween became more of a private holiday and only children celebrated the festival.  Halloween was considered to be a rather dark and gothic holiday with costumes made at home.  As trick-or-treating gained in popularity during the 1930’s the first mass-produced costumes became available.

Most often, Halloween costumes depict a scary monsters such as vampires, ghosts or witches.  Extremely popular are superhero characters and pop culture figures.  Another costume trend are characters from our favorite movie or television show.

My most memorable Halloween costume is Pammy Panda.  My oldest daughter absolutely loved the animated series “Shirt Tales”, which aired during the early 1980’s.  She simply just had to be Pammy Panda.  I was unable to find this costume in any store, and was only able to come up with a sewing pattern.  My skills as a seamstress have always been rather limited, but I gave it the old college try.  It was the most complicated sewing project and Halloween costume that I have ever encountered.  Lots of fake fur-lined with lined with silk for a head, shirt, pants, spats and mittens.  It turned out adorable and my daughter loved it.  She wore it every Halloween until she out grew it and still has it packed away.  Every Halloween we smile and reminisce about our sweet little Pammy Panda.

I asked the members of the Etsy Christmas In July Team to share stories about their most memorable Halloween costume and feature a costume or accessory from their shop.

Lelia Valois from ValoisFelts shared:

Halloween is my favourite holiday!

My favourite costume was a simple one – the Wicked Witch, but it meant my last little dog, Taz, got to be my Toto and went trick or treating with me.

I love making Halloween creations too. It’s hard to pick a favourite but I had great fun making these shrunken heads. They can be worn around your neck – great for any cannibals, warlocks or evil spirits.


Cyclops Shrunken Halloween Decoration


willowvalleyvintage from WillowValleyVintage said:

When I was eight years old, I dressed as Raggedy Ann in a red checked dress and white pinafore. We purchased the outfit at a Hudson’s department store, near Detroit. It came with a matching doll that we recently sold in our Shop!

I’ve always loved the novelty candles made by Gurley. We found this fun Witch Candle at a recent antique show:


1960’s Gurley Halloween Witch Candle


From Nancy Duncan Fellowship at EponasCrystals:

My favorite costume was last year when I dressed up as Janis Joplin. Well, it was an aging Janis Joplin! LOL Bell bottoms, beads. fur vest, huge round sun glasses, and a long streaming head band. Got lots of comments!

These are perfect for a gothic look on Halloween. Earrings with gold tone webs with a black widow spider in the center.

Golden Black Widow Spider Earrings


GypsyGeneralStore from GypsyGeneralStore answered:

I love dressing up every year… but my favorite costume of all time had to be one that my beloved mother made for me when I was in the 3rd grade! My mom made a Raggedy Ann and Andy costume for me and my best friend to wear and we won first prize at school. Our “hair” was made out of red crepe paper that my mom had stitched into a wig. Later that night when we went out to do our trick or treating, it began to rain and the dye from the red crepe paper went streaming down our cheeks… the end result was a rather scary sight – we looked like we had blood running down our faces!

Halloween Witch Charm Necklace


spoiledfelines1 from SpoiledFelinesArt commented:

As long as I can remember, I’ve always loved Halloween. I grew up along the bayou of Southeast Louisiana. When I was young, my family would celebrate Halloween with a bonfire. We would congregate by the bayou, dressed in our costumes, and light the bonfire. Then, we would spend the night eating, drinking and telling creepy tales. Looking back, I believe my favorite costume was my black cat outfit that my Mom had made for me. As you can see by my shop name and avatar, I love cats.

I chose to include this poetry art print because the cat is actually my cat/avatar and part of my family. And also she reminds me of my black cat costume.

Cat Art Poetry Print


Stock Lane Studio from StockLaneStudio says:

My most memorable Halloween by far was when I was about 10. I had made my own green alien costume out of my older sister’s old Jazz dance costume. We had a Halloween party with lots of friends and had a blast complete with apple bobbing and pumpkin carving and costume contests and spooky decorations like a skeleton candle. Since there are 7 kids in our family and we all invited lots of friends, the place was pretty noisy and festive. At one point we forgot about that darn skeleton candle and the wooden dining room table caught on fire. The fire department came and quickly put it out while we were all standing outside. Which made it the most exciting Halloween party ever for all us kids and our friends, much to my mother’s dismay. It was interesting though how the skirt on my oldest teenage sister’s costume managed to get a little shorter when the fire department arrived.

Trick or Treat Halloween Printable Decor

Trick or Treat Halloween Printable Decor


Corkycrafts from Corkycrafts added:

My parents bought a new refrigerator when I was 9, well guess what my costume that year ? I was a computer, I painted the box and gave out printed thank yous when candy was dropped into the slot. It was hard to see thru the holes I got tangled into tree limbs because the box was so tall. My parents love telling me that story of not losing sight of me because of a giant box walking down the street.

Every year our acreage becomes the haunted forest, and we don our headless horseman costume & ride the horses to greet our trick or treaters and the kids love it. It’s annual haunted festival. Each year I create mummy heads for my ghosts and goblin (nieces & nephews) when they come to visit – and now offer them in my shop. How can anybody refuse 1 night a year to be a kid again in costume?

Mummy Heads Bowl Filler - Set of 3

Mummy Heads Bowl Filler – Set of 3

The History of Crafting

Contributor post by Catherine from DesignsbyCnC

Crafting has always been a human activity.  We are driven to create for many different reasons sometimes by need, challenge, spiritual or the drive for artistic expression.

Early in the 19th century, decorative home crafts, as we recognize them today, came into being as a byproduct of the Industrial Revolution.  Craft ideas and instructions first appeared in women’s magazines during this time. Fabric crafts and needlework were principal, with home crafting being the main occupation of women.

By 1830, scrapbooking became a popular family pastime to record family histories.  Once photography became available in the last half of the century, its popularity reached new heights.

Thanks to an increased interest in natural materials and handcrafted quality, the arts and crafts movement experienced a 20th century revival.  Many craft guilds were reestablished, crafter organizations formed and craft industry associations  founded during the 1920’s – 50’s.  Today we live in a worldwide community of crafters and scrapbookers, aided in part by craft magazines and publications, instructional television programs and the internet.

According to the 1998 study by the Craft and Hobby Association:

  • More than 8 out of 10 American households have one family member engaged in crafting.
  • A staggering 97% of adult women (ages 55-64) surveyed had participated in a crafting activity in their lifetime.
  • The most popular crafts were cross-stitch/embroidery (45%), crocheting (29%), apparel/fashion sewing (26%), home decor painting/accessories (25%), craft sewing (24%), cake decorating/cake making (22%), needlepoint/plastic canvas (22%), art/drawing (21%), floral arranging (21%), home decor sewing (21%) and scrapbooking/memory crafts (20%).
  • The breakdown of how people used their craft projects was: gifts (71%), home decorating (69%), personal use (62%), holiday decorating (59%) and items to sell (16%).
  • The major sources from which craft/hobby participants get their ideas are magazines, books and catalogs. Family and friends are also an important source of ideas.

I have been an avid crafter all of my life.  The very first crafting technique that I learned was knitting. This skill was acquired participating in 4H.  I still have the first knitting projects that I created and the ribbons earned, lovingly packed away in my cedar chest.

I asked the members of the Christmas In July team the following questions:  What was the first craft technique that you ever learned? Do you still do this craft today and sell items made with this technique in your shop?


Alexandra Richards from EyeLoveKnots shared her story:

I can remember always being a crafty person – inspired by my mom and grandma – but the first craft I can remember wanting to pick up and learn was plastic canvas. My Aunt Arlys used to work plastic canvas projects all of the time, and I just had to work them too. She took me down to AC Moore and bought me some yarn, canvas and a book and gave me some pointers like carrying my yarn under stitches. That was almost 10 years ago – I have been hooked since, and have recently been inspired to think outside the box with it to work up quicker projects, and my own designs using the plastic canvas.

I wear my earrings all over the place, and get a lot of compliments on them. I have them listed in my shop, and have downloadable versions of my designs and tutorials available for purchase.

I have many favorite designs, but I suppose the one I love above all (for now) are my Two Tiny Hearts Dangle Earrings – inspired by Valentine’s Day. I love how lightweight they are, and that both hearts are visible when worn. I have created five pairs since working my first up – have to match each outfit I wear. Hehe.

I am really glad my aunt shared her passion with me, and that I can share it with others now.

Red dangle plastic canvas heart earrings


Dawn Whitehand from DeeDeeDeesigns had this to say:

The first craft I learned was embroidery from my grandmother. I don’t do much of that anymore, however I still have her old embroidery box and some old threads and buttons. I also have some old metal winders she used to organize her cottons.

These days I use embroidery cotton and blanket stitch to make the jewelry gift pouches which all of my jewelry comes packaged in… not exactly embroidery, but inspired by this early experience, as opposed to machine sewing the pouches, for example.


Upcycled Marble Choker


Jessica and Bryan King from FeathandKee replied:

So the earliest thing that I remember is my grandmother doing the hook and loop kits – I guess that is what they are called. She taught me how to do those. Very close to that time, my great-grandmother taught me how to sew by hand – vital skill! Yes, this is something that I am still doing.

Fluttery Black Flower Headband

Mardi Gras Madness

Contributor post by Sheila from BeadyEyedBird

Mardi Gras is Tuesday, Feb 9 this year. For those of you who love this fine celebration (as I do!!) or who love New Orleans, jazz, good Cajun food or even just a reason to party, we thought we’d share a bit of what our CIJ members like to do, make, or sell, to celebrate! We especially enjoyed hearing about what folks say they do to make the day special. Here are some Mardi Gras joys and delights…

Sara Bertola from ChimericalDragonfly  said:

I’m Italian and New Orleans’s carnival is too far for me… but I hope to go to Venice, another kind of carnival, but stunning and colorful too!  My boyfriend lived in Venice… but he hates carnival confusion and he did not accompany me…   Despite this, I will go to Venice to see beautiful costumes and masks… and I’m going to see them to take inspiration for my future items!

Sometimes I make masks, and last year, for carnival, I made a leather mask for myself with white feathers left over from another project.  I am listing this mask on Etsy. A client had asked me for a few changes, to customize the mask for last year’s Gala Nocturna (it’s a masked ball very well known in Europe). The theme of last year, for the ball, was Swan Lake, and I added to my leather mask different decorations in latex; I had to make an original in clay and then a tailored mold.

At the end of my work, I made this mask, and I’m very proud!

Made to Order Baroque Swan Mask

For this year’s Mardi Gras, I am creating a mask that is like the muzzle of a hyena … but unfortunately, I haven’t finished it yet, and if I want to wear it for Carnival, I guess I’ll finish by working at night … maybe you’ll see it in a few months in my shop!

Sue and Misty from shabbyshopgirls said:

We love decorating for different holidays & parties! Set your table for a real Mardi Gras Party with this fun souvenir New Orleans Tablecloth! Don’t forget your masks and delicious Creole & Cajun food and let the party begin!

Mardi Gras Tablecloth

globalvintageshop from globalvintageshop said:
We love Mardi Gras season for the good eating! Fell in love with the cuisine during a visit to the 1984 World’s Fair in New Orleans. From gumbo to jambalaya to all desserts, Mardi Gras means happiness!
This platter is for serving your pastries at Mardi Gras or any time during the year.

Vaseline Yellow Glass Platter

Corkycrafts from Corkycrafts states:

Green and Yellow plus Purple remind me of Mardi Gras Carnival Colors! A nice accent piece to your party table.

Crochet doily candy bowl

 Many thanks to all who contributed to inspire us! Until next time,

Cupid Has Us ‘Struck in Love’

Contributor post by Alexandra from EyeLoveKnots


For as long as I can remember, Cupid has been an iconic part of my Valentine’s celebrations as Santa Claus has been an iconic part of my Christmas celebration. There are many other love-gods such as Juno Februata, and Eros as well as Saint Valentine. I reached out to my fellow Christmas in July team members to see how they celebrate and what kinds of traditions were out there.

Wendy from CardNotions shared this Pop Up Valentine Card with Cupids.

She says, “I loved growing up with the tradition of sharing those little die-cut Valentines Day cards with classmates. A few days before, the art project in every classroom would be to decorate a shoe box with everything Valentines – hearts, lace, etc – with a slot in the top to receive cards. We then would exchange silly cards that we spent hours picking out and even longer deciding the appropriate message to send each recipient. It was a pretty subtle way to let someone know that you had a crush on them… or not… since all of the cards we basically cute and silly with a similar message. I loved that it allowed everyone to connect, laugh and share.
With that in mind, I decided to create a pop-up card that was cute and silly with a couple of cupids and subtle message of love.
“Please by my Valentine!” request is on the front of the card, which becomes much more persuasive when the card opens to two cupids shooting arrows into a large pop-up heart. Hidden inside the heart you will see one arrow has found its mark and the words, “…a little cupid persuasion…” Maybe a little darker humor than you might expect to find in the Valentine’s shoe boxes.”

Richard and Tatiana from DesignsTheLimit shared this Personalized ‘Struck by Love’ Picture Frame.

They say, “We love to study the history of ancient Greece and Rome with a great fascination for the polytheistic religions of the ancient world. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we introduced this ‘Struck by Love’ Picture Frame which also makes a great wedding, anniversary or birthday gift for your significant other. 
Although not as popular as the other custom picture frames in our portfolio, the story of Cupid is one of our favorites and we were happy to see it persevere into the modern age. We are happy to post this listing all year long for anyone who is struck by Cupid’s arrow. We also have several other Valentine’s Day picture frame designs and will be accepting orders right up until the last minute!”

Have you been struck by one of those arrows? Do you have any projects you’ve designed inspired by Cupid, Valentine’s Day or Love in general? We would love to see them and hear YOUR story!

Sharing Santa Traditions

Contributor post by Alexandra from EyeLoveKnots
Santa Claus… Saint Nicholas… Sinter Klaas… Pere Noel… Father Christmas… Because Santa is viewed so differently in different countries and cultures, I turned to my Christmas in July Team Members to learn more about their Santa and Holiday Traditions.

Personally, I make a point every year to visit with Santa and get my picture taken. When I think of Christmas, that is definitely one of the things I get really excited about! And though I have a grown up Christmas list, I always ask for the same thing – Peace and Happiness. I chose to feature the Santa suit in my Santa Bauble Ornaments (shown above) because it was the first thing that came to mind when I thought of my visit with him. How soft the red velvety suit is, with the fun, fluffy white trim. I had a lot of fun working up these bauble ornaments for gifting and have since made a few for my own tree.

Let’s see what other Christmas in July Members are sharing with us about their Santa and Holiday Traditions!

Megha of byTheArtBug shared this Felt Santa Figurine and Tree Sculpture. She says, “I remember how we used to wait for Santa during Christmas. In our home town Santa used to come with the Carolers and bring gifts and chocolates for kids! Everyone loves Santa and so I made this cute felt Santa to add a special touch to anyone’s Holiday Decor!”

Ina of InaSudjana shared these Set of 5 White Christmas Wool Finger Puppets. She says, “Here’s my Santa in finger puppet form. I came up with this idea last year, and am loving the snowy chill feeling as it is a very hot Christmas here in Australia.”

Patricia of TheOldBarnDoor shared this Jolly Victorian Santa Claus Christmas Pillow. She says, “This image never fails to make me smile – it is taken from one of my antique postcards. It conjures up all those feelings of anticipation I had as a young child.”

NauticoCreations shared these Hand Painted Santa Ornaments. They say, “One of our traditions is to give homemade gifts. These Santa cinnamon sticks are something that can be made and treasured for years to come. If you don’t like making things or don’t have time, these can be purchased to give you the handmade feel in YOUR home.”

Nan of ShabbyShopGirls shared this Vintage Corn Husk Santa Claus. She says, “This unusual Christmas Santa is made from actual corn husks by Nan Anderson. One of many collectible Santa’s from her Christmas santa series of corn husk dolls. We like this one in particular, as he resembles different Santa’s from Germany and Europe with his Christmas tree and bag full of toys. A lovely addition to any collection of primitive Santa’s!”

Do you have a special holiday item that represents your Santa or Holiday Tradition? Maybe you make a special type of Christmas Cookie for Santa, or leave out a treat for the Reindeer. I would love to hear about it! Share your story below.

American Business Women’s Day – September 22nd

Contributor post by Alicia of AliciasFindings

September 22nd marks the 1949 founding date of the American Business Women’s Association, the mission of which is “to bring together businesswomen of diverse occupations and to provide opportunities for them to help themselves and others grow personally and professionally through leadership; education, networking support and national recognition”.

This holiday was recognized in 1983 and 1986 by Congressional resolution and a proclamation issued by President Ronald Reagan. It commemorates the important legacy and contributions of the more than 68 million American working women and 7.7 million women business owners.

Moreover, it provides an opportunity for ABWA chapters and individual businesswomen to celebrate their accomplishments within the American and global marketplace.ABWA

I wanted to know what advice any women in business have for new women business owners. It could be online advice or brick and mortar advice.

Kristy Jo of KrystalKlarityBeads said:

I think that we need to look at how women have been successful in unique ways often a bit differently than men. We are able to work together in a more supportive way I believe; teaming up just like here on the net. Women from all different walks of life and places reaching out to offer advice, or ask for it seems to be a way we often do better. Most of us have experienced things like working for a lesser wage than a man even when doing the same job (at least where I come from) and being promoted less often or dealing with bad situations in jobs just because we are raising children and need specific hours and to keep things steady. (I am aware that only one parent household whether it be the father or the mother has certain difficulties with hours, childcare, etc.)

I believe that women are becoming more successful in their own business because we have to be in order to provide for ourselves and our families as the family structure has changed a great deal and we are often the only breadwinner. There are so many factors out there like waiting to get married later, choosing not to marry at all, single parenting and so much more. I believe we need to reach out to other women in business and that we need to support each other and work towards our end goals together.

My advice is simple because if I have seen or heard one common thing the most it is the need to learn how to use what is at our fingertips online or even how to use the internet in general. Do what you have to – take a class, follow your dreams, put your hobbies to use online whether on the side or full time. Know that you can persevere. Women, I believe, are so much smarter and stronger than often given credit for. Maybe it is my age that gives me this view, or the way I was raised, but I know I see women with so much potential that need to let go of the fear and reach for what they want!

Lia Russo of Ghirlandiamo stated:

Kristy, you made a bright analysis of the situation. I agree with you.

I suggest any woman to read “In the beginning” by Catherine Dunne: a woman who, suddenly, increases her self awareness!

Sherry of treasuresRtimeless explained:

I so agree with Kristy! So I just wanted to add my opinion here too!

It has always been my belief, that a woman can do anything if they set their minds to it. I grew up during woman’s liberation. Even though there were some things about this movement I disagreed with, I think it helped get things rolling in the right direction . Today, you see woman in all kinds of leadership rolls and also, owning their own companies. I am sure they had a bumpy road to go over to get where they are today.

I have never, thought that I was the “weaker sex” except maybe physically. But mentally, I was just as strong as a man. So with that “thinking” I have been able to accomplish more in my lifetime.

If you are starting out in a business, whether on line or in a brick and mortar shop, get all your ducks in a row, know where you want to be, set realistic goals for yourself, go to school to brush up on those areas you are weak in, never, never quit trying! This is just not good advice for a woman in business, it is good advice for anybody who wishes to succeed in life!

I love challenges, and if I have more challenges because I am a woman, so be it! I love my shop here on Etsy. It may not be where I want it yet, but I will never give up trying to make it my best! So, just do your best and do not settle for less!

Alicia of AliciasFindings mentioned:

The advice I would give is to network with other sellers. Networking can help in so many ways,including generating new ways of advertising.

Make sure that on September 22nd you shop from a woman business owner or give some advice to a new woman business owner – or do both.

Celebrate America, CIJ Style!

Contributor post by Amy of BeadsAndThreadsbyAmy


O, beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties,
Above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed his grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.

I love the Fourth of July!  Americans put aside our political, social, and societal differences to celebrate our freedom.  We pay homage to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep our country “Land of the Free and The Home of the Brave”.  In that spirit, our Christmas in July team offers these stories and our heartfelt wishes for a Happy, Safe, and Glorious Independence Day!  Let freedom ring!

I can picture this hanky in the hand of a woman welcoming her soldier home or a little girl waving to a Fourth of July Parade..  From

I can picture this hanky in the hand of a woman welcoming her soldier home or waving to the participants in a parade down main street.

Jeanne from TheSandlapperShop says “My grandmother and great grandmother loved to crochet and these vintage hankies with the lover’s knot crocheted edging are from them. I love the hankies and the memories of the special ladies who made them. The red, white, and blue handkerchief is so patriotic.  “American the Beautiful” – what a wonderful song and description of the country’s beauty: my favorite 4th of July memories are watching fireworks. I especially love how the timing is set to music. One year I was so lucky as to watch them in Boston while listening to the Boston Pops and earlier that day I walked the Freedom Trail. A wonderful double dose of patriotism! “
This would be adorable shading a new American during those lovely parades, or wrapped up for an evening of fireworks!

This would be adorable shading a new American during those lovely parades, or wrapped up for an evening of fireworks! From

Faith McCathern from QuinnsBin says, “We truly do live in the greatest country on earth! We favorite memory from July 4th spending the day with family enjoying our freedom. We are so thankful to all the young men and women who protect our rights and keep us free”.

Adorable, cool, patriotic dress for those Fourth of July BBQs. from

Adorable, cool, patriotic dress for those Fourth of July BBQs.

Elizabeth Scheffler from LuckyLizzys says “My favorite memories of Independence Day are running around with all of my friends in my neighborhood with sparklers after a fun day of parades and BBQ’s.”
The only thing more stunning than this will be the fireworks! from

The only thing more stunning than this will be the fireworks!

Lisa Prus from InsomniacTreasures says  “Every couple of years, I pack my kids in the car, say goodbye to the hubby and take a road trip to explore some part of this wonderful country. We have seen some unusual sights, enjoyed a variety of local foods, and made it a point to simply enjoy being with each other…enjoying our independence.”
Nothing says America quite like our Lady Liberty: quite the gift from France. from

Nothing says America quite like our Lady Liberty: quite the gift from France.

Boriana Marinova from GermanistikArt says  “I come from Sofia, Bulgaria in Europa and the quilling Statue of Liberty card is my greeting to all Americans. Freedom is a state of mind. Enjoy it! “
This would look beautiful welcoming someone home-perhaps on a covered porch sipping sweet tea as the sky lights up with red, white, and blue fire works? from

This would look beautiful welcoming someone home-perhaps on a covered porch sipping sweet tea as the sky lights up with red, white, and blue fire works?

carriageoncherry from CarriageOnCherry says  “When you live aboard for so many years you gain such an appreciation for this beautiful country. The freedoms in American that we enjoy should be treasured. My husband became a citizen of the United States several years ago. To see so many countries represented in one court room, individuals raising their right hand and taking a pledge to call this country their home gave me goose bumps and brought tears to my eyes. In fact, it still does. I have learned more about this country through his eyes and excitement. So on the 4th of July in our home we celebrate “our” country, we celebrate the right to become a citizen and we appreciate and treasure our freedoms! God bless America!”
Pair this with a red, white, and blue T-shirt and you are ready for a Celebration of our Independence, for sure! from

Pair this with a red, white, and blue T-shirt and you are ready for a Celebration of our Independence, for sure!

ChimericSoul from ChimericSoul saysMy favorite song is “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood and “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue” by Toby Keith.”
Perfect for the Fourth in Maine or other charming sea-side community and their celebrations! from

Perfect for the Fourth in Maine or other charming sea-side community and their celebrations!

reetmomma from reetmomma says “I am a military wife (retired, USN) with several other family members who served or are now serving, including my wonderful son. Life is not always perfect in the USA, but I cannot imagine another place I would want to live. We take our freedoms and liberties for granted and often forget those who paid the price. GOD bless our home country!  Loving RED WHITE n BLUE!
What a perfect place to store your memories of the people that make this Country so GREAT! from

What a perfect place to store your memories of the people that make this Country so GREAT!

Sarah Johnson from BellaBoutique23 says  “My husband has spent two tours in Iraq serving our country and I am so proud of him and thankful for all the sacrifices that he and many men and women make for our country so that we can be free. When my husband came home from his first deployment I was a music teacher in an elementary school, For the end of the year program we sang patriotic songs and had a slide show as they sang to honor my husband and other soldiers who had just returned from a deployment. We invited several of the soldiers in Aaron’s unit to come to the assembly. That is such a special memory for me. One of the songs was “God Bless the USA”. We also sang a song by Mark Scultz “Letters From War”, a very moving song that always brings tears to my eyes. So thank you to all of the soldiers who have sacrificed, given their lives, and spent time away from family so we can keep our freedom. I am so proud to be an American! God Bless America!”
Adorable attire for the tiniest American in your family.   from

Adorable attire for the tiniest American in your family.

Jean Harbort from LittleMeBling says “My hometown has a July 4th parade and festival! When I was a child, I remember reserving seats with my parents so that we could sit on the curb and catch as much candy as possible during the parade. Now our tradition includes my entire family going to the parade and our children sitting on the curb and getting as much candy as possible!”
Perfect for your Fourth of July tablescape- patriotic napkins (and eco-friendly, too)! from

Perfect for your Fourth of July tablescape- patriotic napkins (and eco-friendly, too)!

Rita Hagenhoff from SticksNStonesGifts says  “I am a military wife, my husband retired from the US Navy. My dear father was a decorated Army soldier, recipient of the Purple Heart, and proud to serve our beloved country. I grew up in a small Missouri town, were patriotism was a part of everyday life for everyone there. I am proud to be an American!”
Lovely patriotic scarf. from /

Lovely patriotic scarf.
from /

Rachel Palmer from 910woolgathering adds “Memories of being a kid and those stinky snake fireworks and watching my kids later with theirs.”
Stunning platter of one of our most well-loved Presidents who taught us about perseverance, honesty, and integrity. from

Stunning platter of one of our most well-loved Presidents who taught us about perseverance, honesty, and integrity.

Rose Baker from RosebudsOriginals says  “Who doesn’t love old Abe, one of our fore fathers that helped pave the way for future generations.My dear old dad is retired from the Coast Guard, he would take off for duty at months at the time, when I was growing up. I never understood why he would come and go, but it wasn’t until years later I understood and was grateful that he helped protect our borders, so we could have our freedom and liberty. The things we take for granted always comes at a price, as freedom isn’t really free. Many thanks goes to our men and women that give up their lives, so we can have ours. Thank God for our America the Beautiful!”

I would like to thank all of our service members in every branch of our armed forces for their service and dedication to all Americans.
Please enjoy a safe, happy Fourth of July.  We live in the greatest country on Earth, and we celebrate that blessing every year as a country united!
Amy Spock

A Christmas Story About A Miracle Baby

Let’s share a warm story today about a Christmas miracle and most precious gift for a couple. This story is told by one of our CIJ teammates, Veronica and Andy Fritsch.


A Parent’s Miracle

5“To us, Christmas means a miracle.

When we got married we were told chances are we would not have children. We were ok with it and planned to possibly adopt one day.

We went on our honeymoon and came back pregnant (shows you what doctors know lol). Throughout my pregnancy I was bed rest most of the time. I had grand mal- seizures from my blood sugar dropping (Type 1 diabetic).

We were prepared to lose the baby and/or me. Not happy about it, but realized it was possible. Needless to say December 22 after inducing me didn’t work I delivered a beauty mostly healthy baby boy through C-section.

He was in NICU for a little while (2-3 hours) and failed his hearing test several times. We went home Christmas Eve and had our first night as a family. Fast forward through many medical tests- he was allergic to breast milk, milk based formula, and soy milk formula; had his tonsils removed, and has Asperger’s…

7       6

He came down Christmas morning and looked at the presents, then at us and held up his hands like- “what, that’s it?!” All we could do was laugh!!

He will be 8 years this Christmas season. I could not love him any more today than I did the day he was born. He is our Christmas miracle.”


Christmas eve with his second cousins (Erin, Shelby, and Natalie)


His first birthday with his Aunt Krissy!


2012 Christmas Holiday – Photo With Mom


2012 Christmas Holiday – Photo With Dad

How the Fritsch Family Celebrates Christmas!

At first our Christmas were spent with lots of family on both of our sides. Christmas Eve was at Great Yaiyai (Grandma in Greek)’s house with tons of Andy’s family. Christmas mornings were at my parents house with Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Krissy and Dominic (soon to be Uncle Dominic!). Now that we left Florida, it is just the three of us. We spend the day playing, making a big feast, check out the presents, and if we are lucky building snowmen!”

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Veronica and Andy!

Please send some love to our fellow teammate and visit

Veronica and Andy Fritsch’s shop at :

Thank you for joining us today. Fill your holidays with memories to last forever!

See you next time! – by A Gift Of Nature
Air Plant Terrarium Christmas Ornament A Gift Of Nature

Traveling To The Christmas Tree Farm And Picking A Tree

Here’s a very popular family tradition of traveling to the Christmas Tree farm and picking up our very own Christmas trees for the holiday season! Let’s read all about it with Jenn!

JENNIFER Me A Really Long Time Ago“Christmas traditions are something I look forward to every year, that and getting to find (or make) the perfect gifts for everyone. In fact, I am so obsessed with traditions that one of my brothers makes fun of me saying, “If we do it once, it’s a tradition.”

But the rituals of this time of the year bring back so many good memories for me and help me connect with the present and look forward to the future. I often find myself focusing on these types of things to cope with the different stresses and events of my life. The people I’ve lost, the distance between my family back home and where my husband, kids, and I live, and the realities of being a military wife.

One of my absolute favorite traditions is one started by my parents as newlyweds that has continued to the point that now their children are following the tradition with their families! We are from Minnesota, and so we all get bundled up and pick several Christmas cookies from a super-secret stash that has been in the freezer since Thanksgiving.

We then pile in cars and drive up to the same tree farm that they have always gone to and we pick out a tree for each family. This involves lots of running around in the snow (if there is any) playing catch, and discussing the merits of long and short needle trees. Once we find our trees we then use Dad’s saw to cut them down and throw them in the truck, and while the employees of the farm prep our trees for the ride home, we set to completing some other traditions.

JENNIFEROur First Tree In Our New House

Some of us take a look around the little shop they have for our yearly ornaments, while everyone else heads to a picnic table by a little pond with fish to feed. Then, we all sit around eating the first cookies of the season and drinking hot cocoa. Then we head home to put up and decorate our trees.

JENNIFER My Husband & Our First Tree

This was always the official start to the holidays for me growing up, and when I moved away from home to be with my husband, I vowed I would find a way for us to follow the same tradition, even if we couldn’t go to the farm with everyone else.

So we still pick one special day and save our cookies until then, and instead of going to a tree farm we set up and decorate several artificial trees around our home. I usually try to call some of my family. It’s hard to keep it together and not be too sad, but I am always grateful that my husband, kids, and I can be together and still have this tradition, albeit a little different than everyone else.

There is something comforting about knowing that even with miles separating me from my family (and sometimes my husband) that traditions like these still exist and keep us connected. And I suppose, that’s really what I like about traditions at the holidays, the connections we make to each other because of them.”

JENNIFER Baby Bry's First Christmas   JENNIFER Me, Very Excited About My Stocking

Happy Holidays!
From Jenn Fisher And Family


Thank you so much for sharing your Christmas story with us, Jenn.

Go early for your Christmas Trees this year to get the best selection !

Please send some love to our fellow teammie and visit Jenn’s shop at :


Thank you for joining us today. Stay tuned for more Christmas stories to come!

See you next time! – by A Gift Of Nature
Air Plant Terrarium Christmas Ornament A Gift Of Nature