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Author Archives: Mary

Free Wallpaper: Spring is Crawling Your Way

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While it’s still quite chilly for some of us, the first signs of spring are starting to show in the Northern Hemisphere. Whether it’s daffodils beginning to bloom, fuzzy caterpillars inching along, or bluer skies with slightly longer days, the colors of springtime are slowly making an appearance. On a recent adventure, Raymond the reindeer befriended a not-so-creepy crawler who assured Raymond that spring is indeed on its way!

To download the free wallpaper, click on one of the sizes above and then right-click (Windows) or Control+click (Mac) the image and choose “Save Image As…”

Enjoy this cute wallpaper from Northpole.com!

Free Wallpaper: Something Sweet for You

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With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we—along with Raymond the reindeer—wanted to send you our love. So we made this hearty wallpaper for you to download on your desktop, laptop, or tablet. Something this sweet shouldn’t be kept to yourself—share the love and send this wallpaper to a friend!

To download the free wallpaper, click on one of the sizes above and then right-click (Windows) or Control+click (Mac) the image and choose “Save Image As…”

Enjoy this sweet wallpaper from Northpole.com!

Free Wallpaper: A New Year, A New Beginning

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The weeks leading up to Christmas are always so busy that after the big day, we elves like to wind down and rest. Now that we’re catching up on post-holiday to-dos, we’re happy to give you this wallpaper featuring Raymond the reindeer. We hope that 2017 is off to a good start for you and brings you much happiness!

To download the free wallpaper, click on one of the sizes above and then right-click (Windows) or Control+click (Mac) the image and choose “Save Image As…”

Enjoy this glimmering wallpaper from Northpole.com!

Etsy Item of the Day: Printable Deer Gift Tags

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Can you believe that the big day is almost here? If you still have a few things to wrap, then these printable gift tags will come in handy. After you complete your purchase, you’ll be able to download the file and print these To/From tags in a flash from the comfort of your own home. They’d look rather professional printed on sticker paper or cardstock, but if you’re in a pinch, regular paper will do just fine.
Etsy Item of the Day: Printable Deer Christmas Tags • Inglish Digi Design

Etsy Seller: Inglish Digi Design

Glowing Lights in Beautiful Botanical Gardens

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If you recall my posts about Christmas tree lightings and holiday boat parades, you may have gathered that I’m quite fond of Christmas light displays. Simply looking at some glowing, twinkling lights gets me feeling the warm fuzzies of Christmas. I also love all things nature: trees, plants, flowers, you name it. So, what do you get when you mash these two interests together? A gorgeous, glowing garden extravaganza! If you’re like me, you’ll enjoy immersing yourself in a spectacular holiday light experience at a botanical garden this winter.

Garden Lights, Holiday Nights – Atlanta, GA

Garden Lights, Holiday Nights at The Atlanta Botanical Garden
Photo Credit: Atlanta Botanical Garden

Garden Lights have returned to the Atlanta Botanical Garden for the sixth year. Among the various light displays, you’ll enjoy walking through the Tunnel of Light and watching the Orchestral Orbs. If you plan on visiting the garden with your kids, nieces, or nephews, make sure you check out the model train. The holiday light exhibit will be on display until January 7, 2017.

Click here for tickets and here for transportation info for the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

Holidays at the Garden – Charlotte, NC

Holidays at the Garden | Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden | Belmont, NC
Photo Credit: Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

Located just outside of Charlotte in Belmont, the plethora of holiday happenings at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden will give everyone in your family a boost of Christmas cheer. More than 600,000 lights illuminate the gorgeous grounds, transforming trees and fountains into a twinkling wonderland. Some other festive activities include horse-drawn carriage rides, marshmallow roasting, live holiday music, and a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Click here for tickets and here to see the live music and food truck schedule at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden.

A Longwood Christmas – Kennett Square, PA


If you’re in Wilmington, DE or Philadelphia, celebrate the holidays at Longwood Gardens with enjoyable activities both indoors and outside. As you walk the grounds, your senses will be engulfed with sights and sounds of the season, such as twinkling lights illuminating the night sky, songs of strolling carolers filling the air, and tunes from daily organ performances. If you start feel chilly, simply stop by a fire pit to warm up!

Click here for tickets to Longwood Gardens.

Garden Glow – St. Louis, MO


Garden Glow has decked out the Missouri Botanical Garden with millions of Christmas lights that will be on display until January 1, 2017. As you stroll through the garden, there are several spots for you to stop and strike a pose with your loved ones for a festive photo. To get a glimpse of the dazzling lights, watch the video above.

Click here for tickets to Garden Glow.

Garden d’Lights – Seattle, WA

Garden d’Lights | Bellevue Botanical Garden | Bellevue, WA
Photo Credit: Bellevue Botanical Garden

As the holidays approach every year, Bellevue Botanical Garden transforms into a colorful and magical wonderland. Critters are hidden throughout the grounds of this garden, so children will have fun spotting them among the lights. (For example, see Charlotte’s Web in the image above.) Garden d’Lights is on display until December 31, so make plans to visit before it closes for the season.

Click here for tickets and here for transportation info for Garden d’Lights.

Making Christmas Memories with Holiday Train Displays

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Making Christmas Memories with Holiday Train Displays
Photo Credit: PentaxSLR. Edited. License: CC BY 2.0

A holiday activity that will leave the young and young at heart filled with awe is a trip to see a model train display. At first sight, it’s quite impressive to see the trains, buildings, and various miniatures. Then when you consider how many hours it takes to construct each set and the skill required to wire the circuits, it’s really amazing. I’ve rounded up a handful of train displays for you to visit, and since words cannot adequately convey how grand these various exhibits are, there are videos for you to enjoy!

EnterTRAINment Junction – West Chester, OH


EnterTRAINment Junction is home to a humongous model train display and other interactive activities for children. After oohing and aahing over the life-like trains, structures, and landscapes, kids can head over to Imagination Junction and play. You might even get to say “Hi” to Santa and Mrs. Claus while you’re there. EnterTRAINment Junction is open year-round, but the holiday fun will end on January 1st.

Click here to purchase tickets and here for EnterTRAINment Junction’s hours of operation.

Choo Choo Barn – Strasburg, PA


What began as one man’s hobby turned into a local tradition, and in 1961 the Choo Choo Barn opened its doors to the public. Fast forward to the present, the crew at Choo Choo Barn transforms their giant model train display, Traintown USA, into a wintery wonderland each November. Miniature houses and buildings are donned with holiday decorations, and the surrounding landscape gets a dusting of snow. While you’re there, try and see how many hidden Santas you can find in the display. (Hint: There’s a Santa for each year the Choo Choo Barn has been open.)

Click here the Choo Choo Barn’s rates and hours of operation.

Homestead Gardens – Davidsonville, MD


The holiday trains at Homestead Gardens are a Christmas tradition that locals eagerly anticipate every year. Whether you want to share the experience with your out-of-town guests or pass the tradition on to your children, your trip to Homestead Gardens will be a memory you’ll cherish for years to come. The trains are set up in the Davidsonville store and will continue to be on display through the end of December.

Click here for Homestead Gardens’ hours of operation.

Bevell’s Hardware Train Display – Blackstone, VA


If you live near Blackstone, Virginia, then you’ll want to head over to Bevell’s Hardware to marvel at their holiday train display. Admission is free, so this Christmas outing is budget friendly! The trains will be rolling away for the season soon, so make sure you visit before January 8, 2017.

Click here for the hours of operation of Bevell’s Hardware.

Miniatur Wunderland – Hamburg, Germany


With over 1,000 trains, 9 miles of track, and 250,000 figurines, it’s no wonder why this fascinating exhibit attracts more than one million people each year. Miniatur Wunderland is the largest model railway in the world and is still growing. The exhibit currently has 9 completed sections that include: Italy, Scandinavia, USA, Middle Germany, and more! In the video above, you’ll get a glimpse of the marvelous model displays, but it doesn’t do justice to how amazing Miniature Wunderland is. Something this spectacular necessitates a visit! If you’re unable to go to Miniatur Wunderland this year, click here to enjoy another video.

Click here for tickets and here for Miniatur Wunderland’s hours of operation.

Etsy Item of the Day: Whimsical Christmas Apron

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After seeing the gorgeous handmade aprons in this Etsy shop, I want to get them all! The apron shown below is covered with various Christmas objects including holly, birds, ornaments, and gift boxes. The ties and pockets are made using a super fun polka dot fabric that is so colorful, it reminds me of Christmas lights. Another apron that I can’t take my eyes off of is this whimsical Christmas tree one. Whether you’re looking to buy a gift for a newlywed, your best friend, or your mother, any of the aprons in this shop will please the baker in your life.
Etsy Item of the Day: Whimsical Christmas Apron • MooKieBmakes

Etsy Seller: MooKieBmakes

Etsy Item of the Day: Green Creature Stocking

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I love unusual stockings, so when I saw the fun, quirky stockings in this Etsy shop, I knew I had to share one of them. With his hand-stitched horns and toothy underbite, this monster stocking make me smile. This cute critter would be a perfect stocking for a little boy or anyone else who loves whimsical creatures.
Etsy Item of the Day: Green Creature Stocking • Red Marionette

Etsy Seller: Red Marionette

Wrap Your Holidays with Washi Tape!

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One of my absolute favorite things in the world is washi tape! It comes in so many lovely patterns, colors, and widths that I can’t get enough washi tape in my life. Each time I pop into an office supply store, I must walk down the tape aisle to see if there are new patterns available. I’ve got it bad, right? ;)

I rationalize my obsession because washi tape is so functional and versatile. I frequently use it to wrap gifts, embellish gift bags, make cards, and decorate candles. One really fun thing I made recently was some washi tape twist ties; they’re perfect for tying off little treat bags! Since I can’t get enough decorative tape in my life, I thought it would be fun to share some of my current festive favorites with you.

Wrap Your Holidays with Washi Tape
  1. Oh my goodness, the sparkles! This metallic tape technically isn’t washi tape, but it’s so pretty that I had to include it. I have a several rolls of this metallic tape in my stash. Not only is it perfect for the holidays, but it’s one that I use all year for various occasions.

  2. This trio of tape is so dainty and shimmery—I love it! You can use it to embellish gift boxes, bags, or even on the envelopes of your holiday cards.

  3. You get 8 rolls in this holiday tape bundle for only $15—that’s a steal! I get stoked whenever I can find tape for less than $2 per roll. ;)

  4. I’m in love with this Scandinavian moose tape! This design is discontinued by MT, so the best way to get it is on Etsy. Depending where you live, you may prefer to buy it from this shop (UK) or this shop (US).

  5. You can’t go wrong with classic red and green tape in your collection. Solid colors always pair well with most wrapping papers and other patterned tapes like the moose tape above.

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Etsy Item of the Day: Christmas Cardinal Glasses

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When I saw these Christmas glasses, I began reminiscing about years past when I spent many a winter day gazing through the window looking out for cardinals. There is just something so breathtaking about a bright red cardinal in a snow-covered landscape. The little bird on each glass is perched on a snow-dusted branch. This lovely set of glasses is one you’ll want to keep using long after the snow has disappeared.
Etsy Item of the Day: Christmas Cardinal Glasses, Set of 4

Etsy Seller: Mary Elizabeth Arts
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