Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A handmade Christmas Greeting ...

I was recently browsing one of my favourite sites - the auction site
(It's a breath of fresh air compared to ebay!) As I was looking for something in the CRAFTS CATEGORY for my Mum. There are quite a few different things in the handmade items category but on that day, I ended up in the handmade greetings cards category.

I have bought from Cobweb-cards before and I can't recommend their cards enough.. something really different available there, a great line of fairies, spiritual, pre-raphaelite, gothic and fantasy 'out there' cards for sure... but then I espied a new seller called paintinglemonjane who was offering made to order cards from £2.99 and I couldn't resist giving them their first sale and trying out what they had on offer. I picked up the listing that was advertised as an A5 card with a wedding image, but it was possible to have whatever image I wanted.

I have been so delighted that it prompted a blog! :D

As the advert said:

Personalised Greeting Cards

made by Helen Jane©
This auction is for a personalised commissioned hand made card, lovingly created for you to your specific requirements. 

Card shown is a decoupaged bride. Embellished with gold borders and a specially created tag
. Card shown is just a sample. Your card can be embellished with whatever you wish and to whom you wish. 

A matching tag and insert is designed to suit your card. No two cards are ever identical. 
Birthday, Engagement, Wedding, Anniversary, New Home, Graduation, Christmas
. The list is endless. You just let me know who your card is for,what sort of things they like and leave the rest to me. I will come up with ideas for your card and let you see a prototype for approval before sending it off to you. Your card can include a verse in your insert or left blank. 

Your card will be sent in a card backed envelope for safe arrival to you.

However, once we started communicating it became clear to me that the service being provided was something extra special. For starters, the service includes a novel 'virtual card' service.. so that the buyer can see the card, have changes made and really get the card that they want, without the card even having been made in reality first. I have to say it was a stand out service and I will buy from this seller again. They say that a picture paints a million words so here is the card and the process of it being built.

I sent three images that I rather liked for the card and the cardmaker let me know what she thought would work best. In this case, we went for the Reindeer and aurora image, which was on an old postcard I own.

I am however - (unfortunately for paintinglemonjane) - a fussy old moo! So, we tried a few variants and had several emails between us discussing elements etc. She dealt with all my requests with patience and dignity - a true professional. The end result can be seen in the slideshow and above. I was delighted with the card and my Mum was totally delighted with it too! Paintinglemonjane even posted it to my Mum for me.

I highly recommend paintinglemonjane, with her shop entitled 'Sweet Smell of Success'. She is also a talented portrait artist and offers graphite pencil and pastel portraits from £20-£40. Click here to view her listings!

Click both items on Auction and in her shop to see ALL the items available.

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All content, unless otherwise noted, is © ArcticRainbow and may not be reproduced in any form without express permission from the author, except for credited links directly to articles or to the main site. (I don't bite...just ask!) :D

Monday, December 21, 2009

Light out of the darkness....

Hi all,

As you can see it has been a whole month since I blogged last. It's been a horrid month one way or another, which I shalln't go in to too much. I've been healthy and fine, but work has been the real bugbear!

Anyway, long story short... whilst I shall miss the income, my temporary contract comes to an end at the end of this year (although I have actually finished now before Christmas) - I shall not miss the job, the place or the mentality of it. Nine months been and gone.. amazing really where the time has gone! The upside is though...that for you, *hopefully*, I shall have more time on my hands to share blogs with you all.... Although as I join the ranks of the unemployed, I shall have to try and find work or a course to go on!

OK.. so December is a fairly active month of course.. many things going on with the run up to Christmas. It all started with the opening of christmas down in town... which I attended, took photographs and video.. and then lost the whole lot on my camera during processing... I could have screamed! So, that was that blog that never was! If I am honest though, last years event was much better and this years, was horrid because the weather suddenly warmed up, the snow melted, it rained and was slushy, wet and slippery everywhere.. not ideal conditions for an open air event set in the main road. There were dances from lots of children dressed as elves, more dances from elves, then more and some more. To be honest it was tad boring this year for me. It's been the same every year.. and needs a new dance routine. The kids enjoy themselves and that is what matters though - its really nice to see their faces, all so new to life enjoying what is new to them.

One element that was new this year was some kids doing a bit of circus like acrobatics...all standing on top of each other in a pyramid. Given the weather conditions, it was immensely brave of them! The one thing I did miss were the Saami girls.. as there were none this year.. and so no dancing from them. Santa was there though.. the REAL Santa too.. in his sleigh pull by a Reindeer. Darn it, I just remembered that I had taken some lovely close ups of that Reindeers face too.. oh fiddlesticks! Oh well, can't be helped! I snapped an image from the local you can see what the elves dressed like. Elves dress in grey or red, those dressed in grey were the ones doing the acrobatics.

Moving on, December 6th was the Finnish Independance Day, naturally a flag day and if it is a weekday, then it is a day off. Sadly this year it was a Sunday.. so no such luck! People light blue and white candles on that day and many watch a Presidential ball on the television. (Here is a link to my blog for Independance Day 2008, which explains more.. CLICK HERE

This was the view outside on that day. You can just see the Finnish flag on the flag pole.

December the 13th was St Lucia's Day. Again, I planned a blog for that.. and it never happened, time was against me. Here is the link to last years blog for that too....CLICK HERE

However, I read an article in the local newspaper and it was so sweet and evocative that I thought I would share some images and info from it.

Its tells of 'Children at a nursery waiting restlessly on the stairs for the parade of Lucia to come..their cheeks red with excitement whilst older high school students lean, relaxed, on the balustrades.....The hubbub and buzz stops when the lights go out. Two tonttu (Elves) descend the stairs with lanterns in hand... 'Shhh! - Lucia kommer!' they say in Swedish... 'Lucia tulee' they say in Finnish... (Lucia comes)

Heads turn as if pulled by a connected yarn ...towards some white dressed characters. Lucia is in front of the procession. Her face sinks within the darkness, but in their hands are a candle. There on the steps the group sings Lucia's songs. A belt of stars shine brightly in the sky, its message silently twinkling of 'Santa Lucia' (as they sing her name). They sing many songs in both Finnish and Swedish and between the lit candles of songs of joy, peace, love, courage and honour. Small groups continue with the candle sticks into the foyer. The lights are extinguished, the main lights come on and the atmospheric moment is over'.

Doesn't it sound SO lovely?

Now.. I have to tell you that my husband always jokes with his dry wit...that they must look really lovely whilst being chaperoned by at least two burly men carrying heavy duty fire extinguishers!! :D

Pretty girl, Ellen Husberg was crowned Finland's National Lucia this December 13th. This image from the yle website.

Lucia's role includes visiting old peoples homes, childrens schools and other establishments. In the early morning of St. Lucias day, girls will dress up and bring cakes and drinks to their parents.

Here is a clip of Ellen Husberg at a Radio station, whereupon another Lucia comes (Looks to be a member of the station crew actually), sings to her and offers cakes. I always love the song they sing! (Swedish language but still of interest even if you cant understand it!)

Here are some links to read up more about St. Lucia.;273;14384;14387;32;6850;2231;6854;7392

It is now Winter Solstice time, Kaamos beauty surrounds us. Now, just like the snow that surrounds me...there will be a 'flurry' of winter blogs to present... so watch this space!

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All content, unless otherwise noted, is © ArcticRainbow and may not be reproduced in any form without express permission from the author, except for credited links directly to articles or to the main site. (I don't bite...just ask!) :D