Monday, November 23, 2015

Holiday Traditions: Fruitcake

There are some traditions I am sure we would like to forget about. The ones that we keep doing even though if we stopped, no one would miss. This is for me, the dreaded fruitcake. I have never made a fruitcake, and while it is not my favorite, it became a family tradition that my mother in law had continued through the years.

Before we open presents on Christmas morning, my mother in law and I would get the coffee going and set out some sweets. These sweets typically consisted of some breads, banana, pumpkin and of course fruitcake.

During the 16th century, it was discovered that fruit could be preserved by soaking it in great concentrations of sugar. Because fruit now was able to be preserved, unavailable fruits were soon being imported in candied form from other parts of the world. This increased the supply of these fruit and the need to dispose of them, thus came the invention of fruitcake.

We don't see the younger generation baking up these fruitcakes. These usually come from Grandmother's as gifts to their children or Grandchildren.  I have personally never baked a fruitcake or bought one. But this year may be my first.

Last Christmas was my mother in laws last Christmas, as she passed away this year. She had been fighting cancer for the last four years and lost the battle this year. We celebrated Christmas last year at her house and while we all had no idea this would be the last one with her, I am so glad that we spent her last one there. Her son Marc made it in form England, and the entire family was together.

This year I will be hosting Christmas at my house. Christmas was a special time for her and I as we would get together in December and work on Christmas Cards as well as bake holiday goods.  This year, I will be making the holiday cookies by myself and I will be preparing the holiday meal on my own.  There will be many traditions that I will not be able to continue until I have a daughter in law of my own, (but I am in no rush for that.) But one thing I can continue, is to set out the fruitcake. It won't be homemade, but it will remind us of Grandma.

So this year when your your Grandmother brings over her famous fruitcake, remember, this may be the last one. Take time to sit and chat with her over a cup of coffee and some fruitcake, and embrace these family traditions remembering it is not about the fruitcake, it is about the memories you are creating.

Robert Sietsema. (2002). A short history of fruitcake. Available: Last accessed 11/23/2015.
Reprinted with permission from

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Challenge #11 Midway: Optional Theme...Sparkle, Sparkle, Everywhere

Hello everyone!  We have reached the midway point of Challenge #11.  It is time to see what the Merry Maidens have been up to with their images from Sparkle N Sprinkle, our guest sponsor this month!

SNS Blinkie

Check out the beautiful images that the Merry Maidens got to work with this month for the mid point of the challenge.  Clicking on any of the image watermarks will take you to their page in the Sparkle N Sprinkle store where each of these images can be found.

 Let it Snow
Let It Snow - Digital Stamp Set 707L

 Southern Santa
Southern Santa - Digital Stamp Set

 Christmas Doves
Christmas Doves - Digital Stamp Set 649

 Toyland Bear
Toyland Bear - Digital Stamp Set 674

Brighten the Holidays
Brighten the Holidays - Digital Stamp Set 663

Darien - Digital Stamp Set 567

 A Winter Wonderland
A Winter Wonderland - Digital Stamp

Southern Santa
Southern Santa - Digital Stamp Set

Season's Greetings
Season Greetings - Digital Stamp Set 752

While team members had the option of working with any of my Décosse's Dynamite Doodles papers, I did create a special set called Glitteratti Set 1, based on the theme for this challenge. Check out the preview...

Everyone who links up a minimum of two cards during the month of November will earn ONE of the digital papers from this set. The specific paper up for grabs will be shown during the winner announcement post. Additionally, one random winner will earn the full set of papers.

Have your say in determining which paper will be offered to those who link up a minimum of two cards this month by completing the poll in the sidebar on the top right hand side.

Now check out what the Merry Maidens came up with to inspire you.   Edwina managed to create two cards again as well!  Clicking on the names will take you to the individual blogs where you can check out the details for all these wonderful cards.

So if you haven't entered already, what are you waiting for?   It is time to link up your Christmas and other holiday cards for November.  Whether you choose to link up two Anything Goes themed cards simply to earn your free paper this month, or you choose to also follow the optional theme to have a chance at the sponsor's prize, it is completely up to you! 

Here is a refresher of the details for this challenge...

Please remember that this is a CARDS ONLY link up.  While we've had some lovely tag entries in the past, we've sadly had to disqualify them.

Optional Theme:  Sparkle, Sparkle, Everywhere
Twinkling lights, garland, and tinsel oh my! Christmas is quickly approaching and as we start to get ready for the festivities we'll be noticing that our surroundings will soon be rather bright and sparkly. Whether it is part of the decorations that we put up or the special sparkle in the eyes of the people around us, there is a certain glimmer about. Just like our surroundings, it is time to give our cards that same kind of glitzy look. This challenge is going to be so bright, you're gonna need shades just to check out everyone's work!

In order to have a chance to win the prize from our wonderful guest sponsor this month, we want to see a Christmas or other holiday card that has lots of sparkle and shine on it. Here is your chance to grab your glitter, sparkles and other forms of bling and get to it! If you do follow the optional theme, be sure to add FT after your name so that we include you in the draw for the prize.
Remember, you don't need to follow the theme to link up your cards and earn a free paper each month, and have your name thrown into the year end draw for some extra digital goodies. You only need to follow the theme if you want a chance to win this month's sponsored prize of a $15 gift certificate to the Sparkle N Sprinkle store.

If you are new to this unique challenge, you can find out the impetus behind why I started it under the 'Introductions' tab.  As this is a unique kind of link up where we have both an anything goes Christmas option and an optional theme to follow, be sure to read all the details and rules you need to know in order to participate, by checking out the 'Challenge Details' tab (both tabs located at the top of the blog).

You can find the Challenge Details Summary along with the link up for Challenge #11 by clicking HERE.

 Don't Forget...

  • Be sure to join us on November 23rd, when Monica will be back to share another holiday tradition with you all.
  • Next up it will be time for our new challenge to start on December 1st.
  • Then, the winners from Challenge #11 will be posted on December 8th.
  • Other special posts may be published throughout the month.  Be sure to sign up to have our posts delivered by email or follow us through Bloglovin' so you don't miss a thing!

We look forward to seeing you participate!

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Challenge #10 Winners Announcement

Hello everyone.  I hope you are enjoying your weekend.  I'm popping in today to announce the winner and our top three Stocking Stuffers from Challenge #10 along with the list of individuals eligible to receive a free digital paper for October.  Too bad more of you didn't add FT after your name as several of the cards listed this month easily looked like they were meant for a child.  Don't forget, when you follow the optional theme you get a chance to win an awesome prize from one of our monthly sponsors.  Let's continue and see if you are one of those lucky peeps this time around!

Please note that there are still prizes and digital papers that have not been claimed from past months.  Were you a lucky past winner and may have missed it?  It might behoove you to check our Challenge Win Information page listed at the top of the blog (or you can click HERE to go there now but be sure to come back and check this post as well).

Donna, you are the winner of a $10 gift certificate to the Imagine That! Digis by Kris store, our guest sponsor for October (chosen by Mini Web Tool), based on all eligible participants (i.e., those entrants who followed the optional theme).

Donna,  please send an email to the_12_moc_linkup {at} outlook {dot} com (or click HERE to bring the address up in your email program), with the subject, "12MoC Challenge #10 WINNER" to make arrangements to receive your prize.  Please note that it may take me several days to get back to you (or weeks as we get closer to Christmas!).  Thank you for your patience.  In the interim, please grab a copy of the winner badge below for your blog.

Next, it is time to get on with showcasing the top three.  With so many wonderful entries to choose from, this was once again a difficult task for the design team.  We did however settle on three awesome creations.  So, without further ado, here are our Stocking Stuffers for Challenge #10:

Congrats to our top three Stocking Stuffers!  Sheena, Rosinaand Lisa Lynn, please grab a copy of the badge below for your blog.

Next up, it is time to share all the names of those people who linked up two cards in October which makes each of them eligible to receive the tenth free digital paper of 2015.  Just two more to go this year!

29 people linked a total of 60 cards.  Only 15 of those individuals linked up a minimum of two cards each qualifying them to receive the digital paper from October. With 35% of the votes the choice was the paper with the gingerbread cookies on it.   I have included the watermark of it, below.

So, the following people need to send an email to the_12_moc_linkup {at} outlook {dot} com (or click  HERE to bring the address up in your email program), with the subject, "12MoC October Paper" to make arrangements to receive your free paper.  PLEASE NOTE:  If your name is asterisked it means that you have already been sent your paper for October.  Sadly I was so far behind this past month in sending out papers that by the time I was ready, October's challenge had finished; so, it was simply easier to send both month's papers to anyone who'd written in requesting September's paper, who had also earned one for October.
  • Sheena*
  • Margaret A.*
  • KT Fit Kitty
  • Terrie (Paper Addict)*
  • CraftyGirl
  • Marie Bingaman*
  • Rosina
  • Ginny B.*
  • Desire Fourie
  • Lisa Lynn
  • Donna Rinckel
  • Cathy (KraftyKoolKat)*
  • Wies*
  • Carrie*
  • Steffi H
  • Megan*
  • Ursula Uphof
  • Mijn creatie(fje)s 

Welcome to Lisa Lynn, Donna R., and Mijn creatie(fje)s, all linking up two cards for the first time this month.  We also once again saw several new faces linking up just one card.  Hopefully these ladies, along with our other regulars who only linked up one card during October, will get the chance to link up two this month so they can earn the next free paper.  To all of you who linked up this past month, thanks ever so much!  We are so happy to have all of you with us and hope that you'll continue to link up your holiday cards throughout the year!!!

Now, as always, if you thought you had linked up two cards but don't find your name in the list above, just let me know and we'll sort things out. We will also add these names to the 'Challenge Win Information' page as soon as we get the chance, for anyone who doesn't see this post.  I ask that you be patient with waiting for me to send out your paper. I promise that I'll get to it as quick as I can.  As I mentioned last month, in the new year I will be implementing a new system and will be sending out the papers to everyone who earned them without you having to request it.  I am hoping that it will actually save both those of you who have earned the paper and myself some time.  For the remaining months of this year though, we'll stick out the old system.

Once again, we are going to have a random draw from all the entries and give out the set of six papers to one lucky individual.  The papers are all made so why not have an extra prize!  Here is the watermark for the full set..

The winner of the You'd Better Not Pout Mini Set of Papers is (chosen by

So Lisa Lynn, instead of simply requesting your paper for October, instead please send me an email (address and link above), using the subject, "12MoC: You'd Better Not Pout Set" and I'll make arrangements for you to receive the full set of six papers.

Well folks, that is it for today.  While you are here, please be sure to check out the details for our current challenge going on now (if you haven't already), with the Optional Theme this month of being a "Sparkle, Sparkle, Everywhere".  You can find out all the details along with the link up, by clicking HERE.

Also, be sure to join us on November 15th, for our midway post where you'll get to see cards created by the Merry Maidens!  Then on November 23rd, Monica will be back to share another holiday tradition with you all.  Other special posts may be published throughout the month.  Be sure to sign up to have our posts delivered by email or follow us through Bloglovin' so you don't miss a thing!

Until next time,