Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Big Changes for the New Year...

Hello everyone. I hope that you are all doing well. Thank you so much for all the well wishes and prayers that have been left in regards to my parents. I am pleased to say that both are home and starting their journey back to health. They have been told it will be months before they are back to themselves (if they ever get back there) and it has definitely left them in a weakened state. Dad's legs have buckled a few times but he hasn't fallen. Mom on the other hand has fallen twice and apparently has matching bruises on each side of her face from where she hit her head on her desk. Now they just need the time to get their strength back and of course deal with their other ongoing health issues. I truly appreciate your patience waiting for the link up to return.

And with that, there will be some changes this year. These last few years, my mom and dad have had more health issues crop up or current ones exasperated. I too have a number of health issues. Most I am able to keep in check and others flare from time to time which affects the time I have available. These last two years I've been noticing that I've had less and less time to work on the computer. I can't imagine that this next year is going to be any different. Trying to maintain the challenge blogs that I do with the same degree of  proficiency that I have in the past has become more and more difficult, and as a result, a lot more stressful. When I started out, creating these challenge blogs was supposed to be about connecting with others, keeping my mind active, and of course, having fun along the way. Unfortunately, the more stressed I become, the less joy I experience and it all is becoming a chore. 
I spent a lot of time during the second half of last year debating what to do. At times, I debated whether I should simply close the Christmas blog but it hurt my heart to have to do so. Instead, for this year at least, I have made the decision to go back to the roots of how it all started. There are a handful of people still here from when the concept for The 12 Months of Christmas began on my personal blog back in January of 2014. For those of you who are new or have only ever known the link up here at this location, here is a brief refresher.

I started the link up on my own personal blog. I never had enough holiday cards ready and every year scrambled at the last minute to make the number I needed. I figured there was others like me so I decided to create a link up. Back then, I didn't have the time to set up another challenge blog, take care of it, find and take care of a team, and of course, find sponsors for it, nor did I have time to leave comments on each entry. However, I did have the time to create a Christmas themed digital paper each month and create an ongoing linky list. I was really surprised by the number of participants, and so, towards the end of 2014, I decided to give the link up its own home, gather a team, and arrange sponsors. For seven years I have been able to maintain it with the help of an incredible team.

However, for the sake of my sanity, it is time to go back to those simpler times and make changes in an effort to reduce some of the time needed to take care of this blog. So, here are the changes that will be taking place this year:
  • We will no longer have any sponsors. It takes a LOT of time to find and make arrangements to line up sponsors for this link up. Then, it takes even more time to get the team organized with images to use each challenge. Given the time factor, and the fact that less than a third of people ever write in to request their prize, I have decided to simply cut out sponsors. 
  • As far as digital papers go, I'll make at least one paper each month (down from six) which will be the prize for people linking up two cards each month. 
  • For the time being, team members will continue to leave a comment on your blog. I've been blessed with the fact that even with the new changes, all team members have decided to stick with me. If I do start to lose team members though, it won't be fair to them to pick up the slack. If this happens, I hope that you will all understand.
So, in summary, the new challenge will be as such:
  • Each month we will have a link up with an Anything Goes Christmas theme (listing an optional theme for fun if participants want to challenge themselves). It will continue to be a link up for Christmas cards only.
  • Participants who link up two cards each month will earn the free digi paper offered up for that particular month.
  • One of my existing Mini Kits (winner's choice) will be offered up as a prize to one random winner.
  • We will continue to choose Stocking Stuffers each month (the number will depend on how many entries are linked up).
I hope that you can understand my need for the changes. Hopefully, with these adjustments in place, it will free up a bit of time so that I don't have to give up The 12MoC completely. It is my fond hope that you will continue to join us each month linking up any Christmas Cards you may make. It is always a joy to see the wonderful design ideas you come up with!
We will be back on February 1st with our new link up! We hope to see you there!

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Challenge #83 Winner Announcement

Hello there to all our Christmas crafting friends!  I'm finally able to share the winners and our top three Stocking Stuffers from Challenge #83 (RED & WHITE). I hope that you and your families continue to stay safe and healthy out there in your various locations in our world. 
November saw us with an incredible 154 entries added to our link up. It was wonderful to see so many entries last month. Right now, it is time to get on with the finding out who our winners are. Are you one of those lucky peeps?! Let's find out!

Lia, you are the winner of  THREE digi sets of your choice (worth up to $14) from Imagine That Digistamp, our guest sponsor for November (chosen by random.org based on all eligible entries).

Lia, 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 #83 WINNER" to make arrangements to receive your prize. Please note that it may take me a while to get back to you. 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, it is always such a difficult task for the design team. For Challenge #83, Mandy, Margaret and Lisa (myself) are presenting our favourite cards. So, without further ado, here are the Stocking Stuffers for November:


Congrats to our top three Stocking Stuffers! Katrina, Elle-Jeanne and Suzanne, please grab a copy of the badge below for your blog.

Everyone who links up two cards each month is eligible to receive a free digital paper. Paper for October has now been sent out. If you were expecting one but haven't received it yet, please leave me a comment and I'll look into it for you.

The individuals who linked up a minimum of two cards each during the month of NOVEMBER qualifying them to receive the digital paper from that month, will receive the Vintage Damask #1 Patterned Paper which received the most votes. I have included the preview of this paper below...
To all of you who linked up during November, 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 as you begin or continue to work on your stockpile for 2022!!! Papers will be sent to the email address that qualifying participants used when they added their cards to the Link Up, as soon as I can manage!

As always, we are going to have a random draw from all the entries that followed the twist and give out a set of digital papers to one lucky individual. The papers are all made so why not have an extra prize!  Here is the preview for the full set...    
(please note that the red doesn't exactly look the same. Reds are always altered when viewed digitally.)
The winner of the  
Vintage Damask 2: Red & White Collection
Patterned Paper Mini Kit
from Challenge #83
#5. LIZ C.
(chosen by MiniWebtool based on all eligible entries) 
Liz, 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 #83 PAPER KIT WINNER" to make arrangements to receive your prize.
Well folks, that is it for this one! Please join us on January 25th for a special announcement and then again on February 1st when we'll return with a new challenge.

Until next time,

Saturday, January 01, 2022

The 12 Months of Christmas will be taking a short break...

HAPPY NEW YEAR folks! I hope that you and your families all had a wonderful holiday season.
I know our regulars were expecting to see a new challenge posted today. Unfortunately, I have been dealing with some tough issues in real life. I briefly touched on this during the last midway post. I have also posted an update on my personal blog as well.
Both my parents were hospitalized after being diagnosed with Covid during the first week of December. My father was released too soon and ended back in the hospital three days later; only this time, in a much worse state. He was diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia and was considered critical when he returned to the hospital. He was pumped full of antibiotics and was on 80% oxygen at the start, slowly weaned down over a two week period. My mom was released after a week in the hospital and thankfully had people coming into the apartment to check on her during her first two weeks. Dad remained on oxygen until they released him on Dec. 19th. Both are extremely weak, exhausted and dealing with the lingering effects of covid (and for my dad, the after effects of having a bad pneumonia as well). Thankfully, for now they continue to have a personal support worker or someone from the Covid Team, checking on them daily throughout the weekdays but it is definitely a challenge for the two of them to look after themselves properly when they are so weak. It has become difficult for them to take care of themselves during normal times, never mind right now. They have been told that it will take MONTHS before they are back to their normal selves.
Worrying about my parents and having to check in on them with daily calls to both the apartment and the hospital depending on where each of them was at the time, left me with time for little else during the first few weeks of December. My stress levels and inability to concentrate greatly affected the quality of my work. Given that at the same time, I was supposed to be getting the team ready for our January challenge, it became necessary to take a little break from taking care of the challenge blogs that I am responsible for in order to maintain my own sanity.

I'm hoping that things will calm down soon and I can come back renewed for our February challenge. If it turns out I need some extra time, I'll be sure to provide an update at that time. I will do my best to publish the winner announcement for our November challenge, sometime over the next couple of weeks. I also have a special announcement to make as we'll be making some changes to the way we do things this year here at The 12 Months of Christmas--more on that soon.

I hope that we can count on your support and that you'll all come back and join us when we start up again soon! Until that time, wishing you a happy and healthy start to 2022!