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Artist Advent Calendar : Heather Smith Jones from Lawrence, Kansas

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Heather Smith Jones is a very talented artist and a kind, magical person who I'm happy to have met online. Today she shares a very beautiful post with us that makes me appreciate the holidays even more. You can also see the gorgeous handmade ornaments Heather posted for our Artist Advent Calendar in 2009 here.

Thank you for inviting me to share a little bit of our Christmas with you. There is so much to love about this time of year. Frosty mornings, twinkle lights, wearing knitted mittens, the anticipation of the Advent season, sharing with friends and family, homemade cookies, candlelit evenings, and so much more.

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My husband and I often travel at some point over the holidays and don’t usually put up a tree. But this year I got in a festive mood over Thanksgiving weekend and did a little simple decorating. With a few pine cuttings from the garden center, I filled containers and hung sprays from doors. Then I put up a few twinkle lights and draped garlands that friends made over bedroom windows. For the front porch, a twig wreath from a local farm and a strand of lights make a warm greeting.

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One way I enjoy preparing for Christmas is by making ornaments. Though, I admit in recent years my crafty enthusiasm has waned. But as I said, a festive mood overtook me, and I acted on this tree idea before I could tell myself it was silly. Rather than decorating a traditional tree, which I also love to do, I imagined a structure suspended from the ceiling. I looked for a sturdy branch and painted it with a tinted white gesso.

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As the paint dried, I made ornaments from my letterpress proofs. A circle punch, double sided adhesive squares, hole punch, bone folder, and linen thread were all that was needed and tools I already had. I used five folded circles to make one globe, sticking them together with the sticky tabs. These are simple to make and you can use any kind of plain or patterned paper. I made more than were hung on the tree and might use the remaining ones as gift tags. And as a bonus, this hanging tree is well beyond the reach of playful kitty paws, of which we have many! I’m glad I took a little time to carry out this idea and who knows, maybe this hanging branch will stay up long past Christmas.

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Baking cookies is also something I like to do, not just at Christmas. In the past few weeks I’ve made batches of chocolate almond bars, ginger spice cookies, and a few different almond bark recipes. One had dark chocolate, roasted cashews, dried apricots, and dried cranberries.

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The other was a blend of bittersweet and milk chocolate with crushed pretzels and Heath toffee pieces, that I also brushed with gold lustre dust for fun. The sweet and salty combo makes it hard to eat just one piece!

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 All year round my husband and I also enjoy walking downtown. 

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At Christmas, Lawrence dresses the trees in lights all along Massachusetts Street and hosts an Old Fashioned Parade, with horse drawn buggies. It’s a local favorite!

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Thank you Stephanie for inviting me to be part of your artist advent calendar again. I hope you all enjoy many blessings this Christmas season!

Warmly, Heather

You are invited to visit me at my websiteblogshopfacebook, or instagram.

Thank you Heather! What a wonderful tour with decorating ideas, handmade ornaments, delicious chocolates, and a holiday visit to your cute town. I love it all, and you did a wonderful job of capturing the holiday spirit, thank you :) Big hugs to you and thanks again for sharing with us today! xoxo