What Makes A House A Home – #CIJParty 2016

Contributor post by Alicia from AliciasFindings

There is so much that makes a house a home…the people, the ambiance and most especially the decor. One piece can change the whole flavor of a room.

Here at Christmas in July we want to see your home decor items and a little bit about them.

Annie from DesignedbyAnneliese says when i think of house decor, I think or pictures or ornaments. These birds are a little different. I made these felt birds which originally I had as house decor at Christmas. But they could be used to decorate the house any time just by hanging them on a door handle or a hook!


Felt bird decorations

Angara Seeds from AngsanaSeedsPhoto said when I think of home decor, I think of the decorative throw pillows that complement the rooms.


Floral throw pillow

Richard and Tatiana from DesignstheLimit states that personalization turn a house into Your Home! We love to personalize everything and believe every home has to have a monogrammed cutting board. We offer different design options for newlyweds and families and custom orders are accepted! Make every gift you give a personal experience and Just Say No Giftcards! @Designsthelimit we offer glassware, coasters, cutting boards, picture frames, and a number of other items perfect for any recipient or gift giving occasion.


Personalized Famly Monogram Bamboo Cutting Board

Stock Lane Studio from StockLaneStudio says for students heading off to college or young adults starting out in their first apartments, making a dorm, studio or apartment into a home can be challenging. Along with our higher priced fine art photography, we offer prints and printables that are fun and interesting, but won’t break the bank.

Our ‘Enter at your own Bliss” printable sets a welcoming tone for any home.

The photograph for this typographical art was taken while visiting the gorgeously medieval Eltz Castle (Burg Eltz), nestled in the hills above the Moselle River in Germany.


Printable Welcome sign

Ingrida from LivePastVintage states that neutral minimalist kitchen set will make cozy each home… Linen is highly valued fabric all over the world! Vintage set in great condition – the best choice for price and value!


Vintage Swedish Fruit print potholder and doily set

Lia Russo from Ghirlandiamo says I think each home has a particular accent, which expresses the woman’s personality living there: furniture, colors, accessories and decor, all that talks about her.

For this reason almost all my crafts are one of a kind, they are unique as each woman is.
For example, this decor, that can be used either as wreath and as centerpiece, talks about a simple woman, loving open air, nature and tiny meadow flowers. Doesn’t it?


Daisy flowering spring wreath

Julie Siomacco from SouthernCharmWreaths states lanterns have become very popular in home decor over the past couple of years. You can use lanterns in your staging on places like fireplace mantles, kitchen counters, tables, pianos, etc. Not only can you put candles inside the lantern but try filling them with other things such as pine cones, bird’s nest, small plants, Easter eggs, etc. There are so many styles of lanterns to choose from these days and finding one to fit your decor shouldn’t be a problem. To add seasonal flair to your lantern, try attaching a lantern swag (flower arrangement made for lanterns). This adds a special touch to your home decor throughout the season or holiday.


Spring Lantern Swag

Silvia Webel from Givemeyourphoto discussed when I think of home, I think of photos! What is a home without your memories? In “givemeyourphoto” I design personalized photo books from your travels and adventures, that will make your home really cozy!

Check them out here! And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @givemeyourphoto_ for the latest previews and sneak peeks!


Travel Photo Book 8×8 Hard Cover

Dawn Whitehand from DeeDeeDeesigns states that I believe a large part of making a house a home is the sharing and caring of the family members, and one of the best ways to encourage this is through food. And unique, handmade vessels can make the family meal even more special.


Ceramic Salad or Fruit Bowl

Jessica and Bryan King from FeathandKee says you really do not want to lose your keys! This key rack was made from re-purposed oak that came from a chair past it’s prime.


Wooden cloud key rack

Dana Hamant from LilybeanzBowtique says I think the most important part of a home is a first impression. I switch out the wreath on my front door with each season. I want my home to be welcoming to others. I love having people over and entertaining. What better way to impress them when they first walk in the door!

Made to Order Wreath- Rag Wreath

Made to Order Wreath – Rag Wreath

Michelle Emma Kay from EmmaKayInks discusses that there are many historic Art Deco buildings in my home town of Katoomba, Australia. When I get off at the train station and walk up the ramp to step out onto the street, I always feel strongly “ahhh it’s so good to be home”. I’ve only been living here for 2 years, but we used to visit a lot when I was a child.

This drawing is very much influenced by both the feeling and aesthetic of Art Deco. I think buildings with these features feel more homely because they speak of endurance and have built up an energy as people have used them over time.

In this colder climate, one can just be grateful for having a roof over your head and a fire in the corner. The light shining through the stained glass windows is a bonus!

Hand drawn Original Ink Drawing

Hand drawn Original Ink Drawing

Carola Bartz from CarolaBartz said there are many things that make a house a home, and the most important ones you can’t buy – it’s the people who live here. However, we can set up a certain atmosphere. That for me is often expressed in the wall decoration – which color is your wall, is there wall paper, wood? What hangs on the wall? I personally love to hang photographs that speak to me. That can be an old barn, a beautiful sunset, a dramatic landscape, an animal.

This 8 x 10 photo print of a sunset on the Oregon Coast is a favorite of mine. It holds a special moment and atmosphere. It can set the mood of a room. I see this in a masters bedroom or a quiet corner in a family room. A meditation room if you are lucky to have one. I even see it in a cozy breakfast nook.

Sunset Photograph, Cow Parsnip Before Setting Sun, Sunset at the Coast, Nature Fine Art Photography, 8 x 10

Sunset Photograph, Cow Parsnip Before Setting Sun, Sunset at the Coast, Nature Fine Art Photography, 8 x 10

Catherine Caramanica from BlkBttrflyDsgns said I have had these candles in my home for years. Literally. Yes, they still light. There are all colors here, sizes and beeswax too. I used to love eat dinner by candlelight with or without company. Maybe others can enjoy them the way I once did and still do!

Lot of 60 unused candles

Lot of 60 unused candles

Sue from MissIvyVintage says I think a house becomes a home when family and friends gather around the dining table, relaxed and having lots of fun! I have so many memories of these times! I imagine these gracing such a festive occasion and making memories.

Vintage 70s Set of 8 Handmade Felt Napkin Rings

Vintage 70s Set of 8 Handmade Felt Napkin Rings

willowvalleyvintage from WillowValleyVintage discusses that having vintage “treasures” around my home makes me happy!

Even if they are chipped or worn, they tell a story and remind me of days past or beloved relatives who once owned them.

This sweet teapot looks cute, even when not in use!

Cottage Teapot Vintage Pottery 40s 50s English Tudor Decor Gift Serveware

Cottage Teapot Vintage Pottery 40s 50s English Tudor Decor Gift Serveware

Time Management Tips

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

Time management is a skill. This month we asked members of the Christmas In July team to share their time management tips with us!



Nancy Duncan from EponasCrystals says:

Multitasking is one of best time savers. While I’m waiting for one thing to dry, I start another task. ( or clean!) I do this with everything I do. I can’t even sit down and watch TV without reading, beading, or checking my email!

Susan Fowler from SSFDesigns says:

Time, if only we could slow it down or stop it now and then.. My best time managment advice is to stay on target , don’t get distracted or overwhelmed keep moving forward with each step by step little by little and before you know it you have completed your project . Slow and steady always wins the race!

Richard and Tatiana from DesignstheLimit says:

Time is the most precious of resources. The best way to accomplish your goals is to write them down. When we write down this is what I hope to accomplish Today, This Week, This Month, or This Year they are much more likely to get prompt attention. It is easy to say, “We need to do this,” or “We should try doing that,” but without writing it down it will always just be an idea instead of a goal.

In honor of the subject of Time Management, we would like to present our Personalized Desktop Clock and Nameplate from our Etsy Shop!




Book Lovers Day is August 9th 2015

Contributor post by Dawn from DeeDeeDeesigns

Book Lovers Day is August 9th, and is  “A day for those who love to read, Book Lovers Day encourages you to kick back and relax with a great book. From shaded spots under arching trees to being tucked up warm in bed, there’s no better way to celebrate Book Lovers Day than to while the hours away lost in a book.”

I LOVE reading and always have a pile of books on my bedside table – I wish I had more time to read!

I asked Christmas in July team members if they had any items in their store that captured the spirit of Book Lovers Day – here’s what they had to say:

I have several book marks or book thongs in my shop. I love to read and have made several different types of book marks over the years. Today so many people read on their portable computer devices, but there is nothing like having a good book to read and this bookmark will hold your place and is decorative too!

I just started making bookmarks and they’re becoming one of my favorite things to do.
I love reading, and have a personal goal to have a bookmark to go with every book I own. Book, reading and writing are a massive part of my life, so it’s great for me that I’ve found a way to bring my crafting into it as well.

These days reading physical books seem to be somewhat phased out for some, with the norm of e-books, kindle and the likes.
But truth be told, reading physical books has no comparison with technology. I created these heart-shaped bookmarks to prove this point exactly. Reading a book is a form of relaxation. You have a book in one hand, a cuppa in the other, away from any form of technology, be in the present. This is much more indulging than reading from a screen.
Sometimes going back to basic is just what we need.
I love my books!

My Brother used to love having the different stories about Lowly Worm, by Richard Scarry, read to him at bedtime. A classic author for Children’s Story books, Richard Scarry, is well-loved to this day with his charming and colorful graphics and fun tales of animals doing human things!

I have a friend who is an absolute lover of Alice in Wonderland! I saw the rabbit charms and thought man these are so her! I made her a pair and also have these in my shop thinking she cannot be the only one who is gaga over this story.

I love to read – real books. I’m certainly not the Kindle person – I like the feel and smell of a book, the excitement of opening a new book, getting lost in a good story. Reading is an important part of my day, I always take time for it, at least before I go to sleep, but preferably more often. I always have a book (or something to knit) with me. And of course you can never have too many bookmarks!

I love reading and the way it transports me to another world. And what do I also love while curled up on the couch reading? A nice hot cup of tea, and it always tastes better in a handmade cup or mug!

I absolutely love to read! I have enjoyed creating various bookmarks for those book lovers out there! I love to collect bookmarks whenever I go on holidays (and ask my family to bring back bookmarks for me when they go away) and I have a growing collection.

Angsanaseeds from Angsanaseedsphoto says

I love to read and I love photography. Reading brings me to a quiet place that is just me, and the book, of course. This photograph of the two books remind me of the treasures and pleasures that I find while reading.

What a great list – I hope this inspires you curl up on the couch on book day – and also to visit all these great team shops!




Social Media And Its Impact On Your Small Business

Contributor post by Alicia of AliciasFindings

Social media are  tools that allow people to create, share or exchange information, ideas, and pictures/videos in virtual communities and networks.

These tools are a great way for Small Business to network, publish and market their works.

Christmas in July team asked how Social media impact their business and also what they use it for.

Social Media Icons

Social Media Icons

Nancy Duncan of EponasCrystals states:

I use pinterest, facebook, twitter and amazine. Just started on tumblr.

I seem to have the best response on pinterest, but that is also my favorite.

Facebook doesn’t bring in much traffic at all, but I don’t devote much time to it.

I post my items from my shop. Basically use it as advertising, although I do reciprocate with LIKES, follows, etc. I just don’t get much interaction.

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/eponascrystals/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/crystalsbyepona
Tumblr: eponascrystals.tumblr.com/
Twitter: twitter.com/eponascrystals
Amazine: www.amazine.com/user/eponascrystals


AliciasFindings says:

I use my social media accounts to network with other sellers,so I can learn things to help my shop grow.
I also use it to publish my items-usually on facebook and pinterest.

I use pinterest as a marketing helper by finding all kinds of business tutorials and info so I can use it in my shop or for my shop.

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/AliciasFindings

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alicias-Findings/113535328774145

Wanelo: http://wanelo.com/aliciasfindings

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/111140267387525827813/posts


Lin Collette of rhodyart lets me know:

I have a love-hate relationship with social media because I really am not sure it’s worth the time and effort.

My Facebook page (facebook.com/rhodyart) is where I really do like to post things, but it’s not just my work I’ve wanted to post. Rather, I like to share information on art and such. Problem is that people don’t seem to be interested – or FB doesn’t like the posts (more likely). But I really would like to see FB as an interactive tool – it’s just not working out that way.

I’m trying to become more enthusiastic about Pinterest (pinterest.com/rhodyart) and need to radically overhaul my boards, clean out the old stuff, add the new.

I also use Twitter but admit to its limited effectiveness because tweets number in the millions – one is lucky to get one view for a tweet I think. I don’t often tweet directly but, rather, have my FB page set up so that FB posts are automatically tweeted. (twitter.com/rhodyart).

I’m still trying to determine what other social media I want to use. I’d like to use Instagram but again, I think the volume of posts outweighs its usefulness. I also hate that I’d have to use my smartphone to post since I haven’t mastered the fine art of copying links anywhere.

I haven’t used Tumblr enough to judge its usefulness either.


Heather of CallunaMuse talks about:

I am a Pinterest addict, so it is a mix for me, between posting my shop items, and pinning my interests like a mad woman. It’s hard to tell how much traffic I get from it, but it is relatively low maintenance, so I plan to continue with it.

I don’t use my facebook business page as much because it hasn’t been the best social media medium for me. I have tried the paid posts in the past and they don’t generate the interest I think paid ads should. And when only five people are ‘allowed’ to see your post, it seems rather silly to put too much effort into it.

I do use twitter quite a bit. I post my items, and I retweet things that interest me. I like using it, but it moves so fast sometimes!

I just started up an instagram, and I am excited to use it more. I have gotten as far as a profile pic so far haha but right now I am just getting used to the navigation, and checking out everyone else’s! I think I am most excited to use this one, as everyone keeps saying that it has made a huge difference in sales and traffic for them.

I am also using other avenues like wanleo, and bestie. Again, I’m not sure of the usefulness yet, but for me, I like to get myself out there wherever I can.


AngsanaSeedsPhoto posts:

Of all my social media accounts, I use my Facebook business page the most. I use it primarily to post my shop items, promotion and share daily photos. I will also pay for Facebook ad depending on the post and response. I also use it to network with sellers. www.facebook.com/AngsanaSeeds

I do use twitter, but mostly to retweet photography-related post. twitter.com/angsanaseeds

I also use Pinterest, but not as much because I find it very addictive and am not sure how much sales it generated for me. www.pinterest.com/angsanaseeds/

Instagram is one social media that I plan to get more enthusiastic with. instagram.com/angsanaseeds/


Dawn Whitehand of DeeDeeDeesigns said:

I use social media to post my new products. I then also share these to groups and communities (facebook & google).

I used to use Facebook the most, but with the changes to Facebook with the visibility of posts to fans I have began exploring the use of other sites more.

I use twitter to promote my products and also to share fellow team mates posts and team posts.

So it is also a networking thing.

This does drive traffic to my shop, though maybe not so much sales – but my understanding is that the Etsy logarithms (which are always changing) take into account traffic. So even if sales aren’t necessarily generated, the increased traffic makes my shop more ‘visible’ on Etsy.

My understanding also is that this increased traffic increases your visibility on Google.

I also maintain a blog where I post general posts about my artwork and also posts specific to my Etsy shop. I also have direct links to my shop from my blog, which I also have on my Facebook page.

I use Pinterest to post my products and cross reference them on boards – for example I have a ‘My Jewellery’ board, but also have a ‘Jewellery’ board where I post other jewellery, but also post my jewellery randomly amongst the other posts. i am also on several group boards, and do get quite a few repins from these boards, and a reasonable number of shop clicks.

My most recent venture has been instagram and have only been on it for about six months…. I do get a reasonable amount of ‘likes’ and am unsure of the traffic drive at this point – but its a fun medium.

Blog dawnwhitehand.wordpress.com
Facebook www.facebook.com/deedeedeesignsaustralia
Twitter www.twitter.com/deedeedeesigns
Google+ plus.google.com/u/0/+DawnWhitehand
Pinterest www.pinterest.com/dawnwhitehand
Instagram www.instagram.com/dawnwhitehand

Memories Of Our Artists – #CIJArtGallery

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

We spent the months of January, February and March strolling the first Christmas In July Art Gallery! Since the CIJ team is worldwide we held a virtual #CIJArtGallery right here on our blog!

The CIJ Art Gallery opened on Wednesday – January 28th, 2015 and closed on Tuesday – March 31st. As I mentioned the team is international and we featured artists from many countries!

We wanted to include as many of our talented team members as possible! The participation was fantastic! Our team members are creative artists!

Each artist shared with us their art, as well as a little bit about themselves. Please join me as we close our CIJ Art Gallery! Watch for new opportunities in the future!

Here are the featured artists:

1. January 28th – ColourScapeStudios/Kel
2. February 6th – hjmArtGallery/Helen
3. February 10th – modernimpressionist/Christine
4. February 12th – GraciousArt/Pamela
5. February 17th – SSFDesigns/Susan
6. February 24th – GinaWaltersdorfArt/Gina
7. February 26th – AngsanaSeedsPhoto/Ivy
8. March 3rd – Angelshaug/Anne Irene
9. March 10th – StockLaneStudio/Mary
10. March 13th – LeeArt/Catherine
11. March 19th – CarmensArt/Carmen
12. March 31st – DeeDeeDeesigns/Dawn

A special thank you to the blog contributors who were the hosts of the CIJ Art Gallery!

Megha from byTheArtBug
Alicia from AliciasFindings
Amy from BeadsandThreadsbyAmy
Michelle from EviesToolEmporium

Please use #CIJArtGallery on social media as you visit our virtual art gallery!

Thank you so much for joining us on our #CIJArtGallery!


#CIJArtGallery – AngsanaSeedsPhoto

#CIJRoadTrip – Singapore

Contributor post by Megha of byTheArtBug

Let’s travel to  – Singapore city with me – Megha from byTheArtBug and Ivy from AngsanaSeedsPhoto

1. What city do you live in? What makes it special?

We live in Singapore. It is one of the 3 sovereign city states in the world. It has great choices of food, modern yet traditional in some areas.

The most wonderful thing about Singapore is the mixed culture, with about 45% Expats a lot of communities live together here. A lot of festivals are commonly celebrated and it is really amazing to witness different cultures at one place.

And also it is one of the safest, cleanest & greenest countries!

2. What are several places everyone visiting your country should see?
Singapore has tons of places to see both natural and man-made.
The most unique spot would be the Downtown area where you can see both the old and the new Singapore.

The Marina Bay Sands Hotel – It is the most Expensive building in the World at US$ 4.7 billion!…


Iconic Merlion – Lion’s head and Fish’s body, this statue 8.6 metres high and is a popular landmark…

Gardens by the Bay– 101 Hectare Park on Reclaimed land, Singapore really is a ‘City in a Garden’…

???????????????????????????????       IMG_0463

Sentosa Island…
Sentosa IslandAquarium…
Jewel Cable Car Ride…

Jewel Cable Car Ride

Singapore Flyer…

Singapore Flyer
Singapore Zoo – The world’s Best Rainforest Zoo, spacious home to some amazing and exotic animals.

Giant Panda – Kai Kai

Singapore Zoo - Giant Panda (Kau Kai)

Polar Bear – Inuka

Singapore Zoo - Polar Bear (Inuka)
Chinatown Market – The iconic, colorful and historical shop-houses here are a must see.


Chinese New Year Celebrations…

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year Celebrations

3. How have the customs, traditions, geography, nature etc. inspired the items you create?

Ivy says, “I am especially drawn towards its culture and traditions, and my images reflected this”:

Blue ceramic tile, Art print, Asian motifs, decorative, chinatown, Photo Singapore, Oriental ceramics,  8x12, home decor,  holiday gift

Spiral staircase pictures, conservation, architecture, winding stairs, heritage, white, peach, Singapore, 8x12, wall decor, Gift guide

Gazebo photograph, White Architecture, Garden, Nature, Bandstand, botanical wall art,  Singapore, Travel, Ornate, gifts, under 50

Well I am also inspired by the lovely mixed culture here, I have made a few items inspired by the Chinese culture like this Chinese Miniature Couple:

Miniature Chinese Boy Girl Couple Miniature Dolls Cute Kawaii

Also the Greenery, Sea Beaches and Natural beauty is either already a part or will soon be added to the Photography in my Shop:

Blue & Yellow Macaw Bird Photography Fine Art Nature Photo Print Nature Photography Home Decor Landscape 5 x 7 and 8 x 10
And who wouldn’t be inspired by the amazing view from the window while crafting…
View from My Window

4. What are you doing this fall to drive your business in your community? Are you doing a festival or show? How do you reach out to your community?
I would be participating in local Craft Party organized by the Etsy community here. As of now I am not doing a festival or craft show but would be certainly keeping an eye on the upcoming local craft markets to visit. I usually get to know about the local events through local Etsy team “Crafty Singapore”.

Ivy says, “This fall (or rather 3rd quarter of the year since we don’t have four seasons) I plan to explore my community through my street photography of the local culture.”

5. What are your social media sites?

Ivy – AngsanaSeedsPhoto

website: angsanaseedsphoto.com
FB: www.facebook.com/AngsanaSeeds
Twitter: twitter.com/AngsanaSeeds
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/angsanaseeds/

Megha – byTheArtBug

Blog- bytheartbug.blogspot.com
Pinterest- www.pinterest.com/theartbug/
Polyvore- theartbug-home.polyvore.com/
Twitter- twitter.com/theartbug
Google+ – plus.google.com/u/0/+TheArtBug/posts