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Friday, November 30, 2012

Romancing the Holidays - Vanessa Kelly - Hour Three

Vanessa Kelly












The Hour Nine winner of

a Book
a Mug
Loose-leaf tea plus tea strainer
is

Moriah Reed

Congratulations!




Romancing the Holidays
Hour Three — Getting Crafty




I bet some of you folks make your own gifts for the holidays – wonderful knitted scarves or sweaters, or perhaps Christmas ornaments or other crafts.  Well, I have a confession to make.  I absolutely suck at crafts or that kind of imaginative handiwork.  But I was craftily inspired several weeks ago by one of my co-conspirators today, Theresa Romain.  When Theresa gets her author copies from the publisher she constructs some kind of book edifice, usually a replica of a famous building.  Here’s the one she did of the Eiffel Tower from her copies of Season For Surrender.



Not to outdone, I decided to build a Tower of London model from my author copies of His Mistletoe Bride.



Building on our artistic successes, Theresa and I decided to see if we could make a Christmas tree out of our books, for today’s gala.  Alas, I failed miserably.  Theresa, as you can see from her previous post, did not although a little bird told me that she had an engineering consultant assist her in the build, although you didn’t hear that from me.

Not to be outdone, I decided to go for something a bit different.  I made a Christmas wreath out of the cover flats of my books.  Sadly, I only had one flat for Sex And The Single Earl, but it is there if you look for it.



And here’s a close up of my wreath.



I think you’ll agree that my wreath looks FABULOUS.  I mean, who needs a Christmas tree when you have something like that?!  Not that I’m competitive, or anything.  Really, I’m not.

What about you, readers?  Do you make some of your own holiday gifts or crafts?  Tell us all how talented you truly are!



74 comments:

  1. I used to be pretty crafty and made things. I have made a Christmas wreath or two btw way back then. lol Then i had kids and yeah this big locker i had my supplies in is sitting in the closet right now and been there for years.

    I love your wreath Vanessa. Clever and cute and personal!

    Lisa B

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    1. Thanks, Lisa! It's a bit cheesy, but I like it. When I have time I'm going to jazz it up with better ribbons and bows.

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  2. No I am not crafty. But I can bake some goodies. I like to bake cookies and make candies for the holidays. This year, I am going to try making a homemade snicker bar.

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    1. Flip, I'll take baking and candy over crafts any day, to tell you the truth!

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  3. I am not a crafty person (unless I need to be for one of my kids' school projects), but I love your wreath, Vanessa!! That looks awesome!

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    1. Thanks, Andrea! It took me two days to cut out all the leaves - surprisingly time-intensive, which is the thing with crafts, I guess.

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    2. You are so right. My mom quilts and while she enjoys it, I just don't have the time for it!

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  4. I have crocheted afghans for my nieces & nephews before. I like to make little craft/decorations with them for holiday decorations too.

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    1. Now afghans I can totally get into, and quilts too. Your nieces and nephews are very lucky, June!

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  5. I wish I were crafty enough to make my own gifts. I do remember making arts and crafts gifts in elementary school. We probably made Christmas cards with macaroni and glitter.

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    1. God, Jane! I remember doing them - mine always looked awful!

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  6. I'm mostly crafty in the kitchen however I have managed to make some cute gifts in years past. I was into crewel and cross-stitch back in the day and made some really cute ornaments for family members.

    Vanessa, I'm impressed with both the towers and your wreath. Very clever!

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    1. PJ, I did do needlepoint back in the day, and enjoyed it. But I didn't really have the patience or skill to do anything complicated.

      Yes, I think Theresa and I have mastered the art of the cheesy craft!

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  7. I love to decorate my home for Christmas. I use a lot of pinecones, they look lovely as a table centerpiece.

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    1. That's a great idea, Ingeborg! I always put a big woven basket full of pinecones out on the front porch during the Christmas Season.

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  8. You obviously do NOT suck at crafts! The wreath is very pretty!
    I love crafts, although I admit that I'm leaning more towards the "easy" ones for gifts. I used to cross-stitch hand towels and ornaments. Now I make things like wine charms and book thongs. They're so simple, my 10 yr old can help me out! I'm lucky because my daughter LOVES "craft time". With her help, we've made some beautiful Christmas wreaths and other decorations for our home. We've actually got a trip to our local craft store planned for tomorrow. We need to figure out what this year's home project will be.

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    1. You gals are too kind! And I have to admit that I had to get help from my crafty/engineering stepmother to get started. It was her idea to do leaves - she made me a template, too. Yes, I am THAT bad at crafts that I needed help cutting out a darn leaf!

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  9. A friend got me into making our own cards, and soaps. That is one of the things i give for presents through the year.

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    1. Home made soaps are a very cool gift, Holly!

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  10. That is one gorgeous wreath! Sadly, I'm not all that crafty. My talents are writing and baking. I always envy those have the patience to do these crafts.

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    1. Thanks, Mary! But I'm with you - I'll stick to baking and writing.

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  11. Vanessa, ha! You're too funny. :) I admit, my first effort at building a book Christmas tree looked more like the Great Pyramid than anything festive. My husband saw the problem at once: "you need to have books sticking out, like needles." Oh. Yeah, ok. I demolished (carefully!) and reconstructed the tree. Mischief managed.

    I love the design of your wreath, how it picks out different colors from the coverflats. (I see some INVITATION TO SIN covers in there too, don't I?) I am not crafty at all and could never do that! My book-building is more like playing with blocks. If I tried to make a wreath, I'd wind up in the ER with all my fingers superglued together.

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    1. If I tried to make a wreath, I'd wind up in the ER with all my fingers superglued together.

      LOL! I'd probably be in the next bed over!

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    2. Okay, I confess: I had to get my engineer stepmother to help me figure it out and make up a template. Took her about 3 minutes of thinking. I'd already been tearing my hair out for two days. And there was more than one tragic glue mishap, but I persevered. But that is the last damn wreath I ever make!

      I have all five cover flats in there, although it's hard to pick out My Favorite Countess because it has a red cover. But I do really like how the colors turned out.

      And your book builds are awesome, girl!

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  12. What a great wreath! I have been known to knit scarves and socks for presents as well as cross-stitch some stockings, but lately there doesn't seem to be 24 hours in the day anymore. Who shortened the days (especially during the holidays) and didn't tell me?!

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    1. Who shortened the days (especially during the holidays) and didn't tell me?!

      I don't know but I'd sure like to have a few words with them!

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    2. It sure wasn't me, Kima - darn those people who shortened the days!!

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  13. Oh my goodness! You ladies are so clever. Unfortunately, I possess no talents that way. But, as I'm a Bookaholic, I an really pleased with how you did that. I'll have to tell my friends at the library. What a fabulous way for them to decorate the library!

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    1. Connie, that would be a fantastic decoration for a library!

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    2. Connie, you're right! What a fun idea for a library!

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  14. I used to sew and crochet things for Christmas, but I pretty much quit doing both things when I started working outside the home. I do sometimes give baked items, but that's usually only for people away from home (college or military).

    I'd like flip's homemade snicker bar recipe!

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    1. jmcgaugh, I think so many of us are super busy these days that we can no longer do the little things. It's sad, really, and it makes it all the more meaningful when someone does that for us.

      Flip, share your recipe!!

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  15. I love to knit a lot, I make lots of scarves and baby blankets. I give them away, some to friends and some to charity. My mother has started to make hats for preemies and cancer patients. She is going to share the preferred patterns and yarn types with me. I love to knit while I watch tv, I am still trying to figure out how to knit and read. It doesn't seem to work for me.

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    1. Ann, good for you and your mom - what a lovely thing to do!

      Oh, if I tried to knit and do anything else, I'd end up next to Theresa and PJ in the hospital bed!

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  16. I managed to decorate a wreath last year, all white with silver & mirror decorations. Swear it is easier to do a wedding cake for 500 people than that one craft. My creativeness doesn't translate easily from food stuffs to durable items. But I'm determined to try. Have all the supplies to make not-martha's christmas tree mobile and simply need to gather my courage to start. Usually I go read a book instead. Love your book cover wreath!

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    1. Kitchen Witch, I applaud your courage and initiative! I agree that making crafts are way harder than the instructions always suggest.

      Good luck!!

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  17. Great-looking wreath! I could never do that because I am all thumbs when it comes to crafty things. I can cook, though, so sometimes I give baked treats to friends and neighbors.

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    1. Thanks, Cheryl! I really took my time making this because I didn't want to screw it up. And I only had one leaf left over when it was finished.

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  18. I now remember that in fourth grade our teacher taught us to make a wreath with a hanger and a box of sandwich baggies. It was like a clear plastic wreath.

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    1. Jane, I wish you had a picture of that!!

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    2. I wish I had a pic, too. I don't even remember how it was made. Maybe I can google it and there might be some similar ideas.

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  19. I think the wreath is spectacular, Vanessa! I used to make quite a few of my Christmas gifts as I cross-stitched, sewed, tatted, net darned and knitted. These days I only manage to hand-make one Christmas gift each year. I make a quilt for a family member each year. This year it is my niece's turn. She picked the Grandmother's Fan pattern and picked the fabric in January. I am almost finished with it. I used to do all of the sewing by hand. Thank goodness, the older of my two brothers gave me a sewing machine a number of years ago. Now I piece the quilt by machine, but I still quilt it by hand. I wish I had more time to do needlework, but between the DDJ (Dreaded Day Job) my writing and taking care of the house and pets I just don't have the time.

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    1. Louisa, I'm amazed you manage to make even one wreath a year! Your family is very lucky. And what the heck is tatting, anyway? I read about it in historical romances, but have never quite been able to figure it out.

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    2. Tatting is making lace. I learned it from my great aunt. Actually I learned most of my needlework skills from her. She was a seamstress and was well-known throughout the South for her drapes. People sent her window measurements, photographs and a color scheme and she came up with these one of a kind window drapes and valances. I have a tatted bedspread she made and it is exquisite.

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  20. Once my kids got older my holiday crafting seemed to take a holiday but your wreath is great.

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    1. Maureen, I think kids spur us on to do a lot of things we wouldn't normally do. Hopefully they'll pick up the challenge when they have their own children!

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  21. ANNOUNCEMENT

    Vanessa will be joining Victoria Alexander for a live chat during our 8-9pm hour of Romancing the Holidays. Check the blog here at theromancedish.com for the link to the chat. You do not need to be registered to participate in the chat. Just log in to the chat as a Guest using your email address and first name then start typing! You'll be able to see and hear Vanessa and Victoria.

    If you'd like to pre-submit questions before the chat just post them here or tweet them using the hashtag #romancingtheholidays.

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    1. Ladies, you are NOT going to want to miss the Live Chat. Victoria is so funny and interesting!

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    2. Vanessa didn't mention that she has a very festive Santa hat that she'll be wearing during tonight's live video chat!

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  22. Those look so awesome! Great job everyone! I wish I did more crafts! I always have ideas and never do them!! I am planning a DIY tree skirt though!

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    1. A good looking tree skirt is a great idea, Jessica. The ones you buy at the store usually look pretty dreadful.

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    2. Now that's an idea I haven't thought of doing. You have a whole year to get the project done! I like that!

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  23. Ooh, Paul Marron crafts.... what a great thought! ;)

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    1. With Sex And The Single Earl cover flats!!!!

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    2. I only have ONE of S&tSE cover flats so I doubt I will do anything to it.

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  24. They look so awesome!!
    My oldest makes a new ornament for the tree each year and its fun to see them all from years past. My youngest is only 2 so he is still getting the personalized bought one with his photo in them or his name :)
    As for myself being crafty sewing is about it! I made a few quilts over the years and gifted them. Not recently, though it is something I would love to get back into.

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    1. Savannah, homemade ornaments from the kids are great. I still have a few that I made as a little nipper.

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  25. I used to make gifts when I was younger. I've made zigzag patterned afghans, macrame owl hangings, cross-stitched pictures. I've baked cookies. I made pickled garlic. But sadly, I haven't done anything like this in awhile. I tried to learn to knit, but I failed. I didn't have the patience, and I kept dropping stitches. I'm thinking about getting back into cross-stitching and doing them while watching tv.

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    1. Bonnie, you are clearly a person with a lot of craft talent - you definitely should get back into it!

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  26. LOL, that's got to be the funniest post so far! =P
    I create all sorts of things during the holidays (hey, baking is a craft too, right?), but my favorite thing is writing Christmas cards.

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    1. Thanks, Nat! Theresa inspired me. *evil grin* I like writing out Christmas cards, too.

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    2. Baking is definitely a craft, Nat! And a well-written Christmas card is an art. :)

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    3. I love that, PJ - a well-written Christmas card is most definitely an art!

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  27. I haven't made anything recently, but some years ago I went to a ceramics class & made a Christmas Village (really just cleaned the molded forms & then painted them). My Mom made the three wise men. I hope to put some things together this year - I'm inspired with all the talent today.

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  28. Vanessa, thank you for a fun-filled three hours! We wish you a beautiful and blessing filled holiday season.

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  29. I have never built anything with books but I have knitted gifts for people..sweaters, scraves, shawls

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  30. The Eiffel Tower books is so cool!

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  31. May I ask what happened to the picture of Theresa's Christmas tree??

    I missed the craft gene - I think my sister got my genes as well as hers!! She has many artistic talents but her scrapbooks are unbelievable!!

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    1. QuenKne, glad you enjoyed our structures! My Christmas tree is posted under "hour 2" of my section: http://www.theromancedish.com/2012/11/romancing-holidays-theresa-romain.html

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  32. I've been away for awhile today, but I wanted to thank all those that participated in this nice event. It's great to meet new authors and some old favorites of mine. Merry Christmas to you all--wishing the world peace.

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