Posted by Donna MacMeans Nov 23 2012, 12:15 am in Advent calendars, bubble wrap, Jacquiei Lawson, Martha Stewart, Master of the Malt, St. Marys, Star Wars
Welcome to Black Friday – the official start of the Christmas buying season!
Now that you have plenty of turkey leftovers for dinner tonight, you can spend more hours at the mall shopping – or not. I hate the Black Friday crowds, so I’ll do my shopping later -and probably a good portion on the internet at that.
No matter how you shop, you might want to consider adding an advent calendar to your purchases to make the season a little more festive.
I remember as a kid my mother used to bring home an advent calendar. Each day as you counted down to Christmas, you’d get to open a little cardboard window to see a Christmas related picture inside. The really cool advent calendars had chocolates or little prizes behind those cardboard windows, but not ours – just a little picture. Still, it was fun and helped us to visually see the days left until Christmas.
Now that I’m older, I’ve discovered advent calendars can be for adults as well as kids. I thought I’d share a few here as you prepare for your big countdown.
I love this. If you look closely, you’ll see red numbers from 1 to 25 scattered about the box. Each number represents a cardboard window. Punch the window open and you’ll find a “wee dram” of whisky – a different one for every day leading up to Christmas. One of those days will reveal a one ounce bottle of 50 year old scotch. My husband sent me the link to this gem as he knows I’ve been researching Scotch and distilleries for my next book. Have a question about any of those terms? I’m your girl.
Now the calendar is a little pricey as calendars go, but if you’re interested – here’s the link: http://www.masterofmalt.com/whiskies/drinks-by-the-dram/the-whisky-advent-calendar/
Last year Christine Brooke sent out an advent calendar from Jacquie Lawson. I absolutely loved it with the joy of a child on Christmas morning. The calendar itself was a wintry London scene. Each new day when you to digitally decorate a tree, or decorate cookies, or watch cuddly musical bears play Christmas carols, or design snowflakes – all on the computer, of course. The scene was even lit according to the time of day. If we opened the card at night, the London sky was dark and the windows in the houses had a soft glow. Open the card in the daytime and people would be strolling in front of busy London shops. Very cool – and very reasonably priced! I’m not certain the demo will run on the blog (sorry – I’m techno deficient) but to learn more about Jacquie Lawson advent calendars, and see the actual demo – click on the link. http://www.jacquielawson.com/advent/london
Martha Stewart has some ideas for homemade advent calendars. This is only one of several. I like that it can go on the fridge – the classic repository for all holiday decorations. If you’re crafty or just need an activity to keep the kids occupied, check out this link. http://www.marthastewart.com/857740/handmade-advent-calendars/@center/307034/christmas-workshop#266538
For the overly stressed, I thought you might like the bubble-wrap advent calendar. You get to pop a bubble every day till Christmas (though I’d probably toss the thing on the floor and pop all the bubbles at once. Can’t stop at just one). Not for pet owners. http://creativeboom.co.uk/inspiration/the-bubble-wrap-advent-calendar/
In my search for unique advent calendars, I found this – a lego Star Wars advent calendar with one scary looking Santa Claus figure. Sorry, couldn’t actually upload an image. If you’re interested, check the link: http://shop.lego.com/en-US/LEGO-Star-Wars-Advent-Calendar-9509
And finally – here’s a free online advent calendar for you. The website won’t allow peeking so you’ll have to save the site till December 2nd (I wonder why it doesn’t start on the first? hmmm). Still – there’s always the fun of anticipation. http://www.smmp.com/Advent/Advent.php
No matter how you count it down, wishing you all the best this holiday season! As a bit of a thank you, I’m planning to choose a name off the “likes” on my facebook fan page on November 25 to win a rare copy of THE EDUCATION OF MRS. BRIMLEY. But that’s only a couple of days away so, if you haven’t done so already, hop over and like the page. Here’s a link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Donna-MacMeans/152106361521316
How about you? Did you used to have an advent calendar when you were little? What kind? Do you have a special way to count down the holidays? I’ll give someone who leaves a comment the gift of a Jacquie Lawson advent calendar. Let the countdown begin!
Posted by Suzanne Ferrell Jan 28 2009, 6:00 am in Beatrix Potter, Clive Owen, Harrison Ford, Julie Garwood, Peter Rabbit, Romeo and Juliet, Star Wars, Suzanne Welsh, Tom Berringer
by Suzanne Welsh
I have fallen in love, again.
This is really not a novel thing for me, as I tend to fall in love quite frequently.
When I was 12 I saw Romeo & Juliet for the first time. You know, the one that actually showed Leonard Whiting’s naked butt? Seems my English teacher was unaware of that feature in the movie. Oh, I was in complete, adolescent , heart throbbing love.
My Senior year I discovered The Flame & The Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Brandon….be-still-my-heart…Birmingham. And I adored this book and character so much that I went through 3 copies that year. I was in love.
During nursing school a new sci-fi movie came out about an orphan, a princess, a rogue space pirate and an evil empire called Star Wars. Oh and that rogue space pirate….yeah, Harrison Ford….I was soooooooo in love!
Not long after, I met my dear husband, and I was in love in real life. Still am. Then quickly three little bright-eyed happy cherubs filled my heart with their pug irish noses, laughter, and their lives. Still love them, too.
But then I discovered another author, Julie Garwood and her books. My all time favorite is Saving Grace. Gabriel McBain was the hero of my heart. A Scot, loyal to those without a clan, loyal to a clan who didn’t want him until they had no leader. He hates the English, but marries an Englishwoman to protect her from the English King. Oh yeah, and he has a son who may or may not be his………………..I was SOO in LURVE! (And while I’m on the subject, don’t you think Gerard Butler…another love of mine….could play Gabriel?)
The next time I fell in love it was with Nathan Cantrell. Who you ask is Nathan Cantrell? Well, he’s the hero in my first novel REFUGE. Here’s his description through the heroine, Laura Melborne’s eyes:
Laura stared into the shadows. At first all she could see was the red glow from a cigar. As he took shape stepping into the light reflected off the snow, her heart picked up its pace. Something in the depth of his deep blue eyes, the steeliness of his jaw and the stern set to his lips beneath his dark moustache held her mesmerized. Black hair curled just beneath his hat. His sheepskin coat, turned up at the collar, stretched across his broad shoulders. His long legs were covered in the blue dungarees she’d seen so many men in Denver wearing. He wore heavy boots and in his left hand he held the glowing cigar.
In her need to escape Nigel and the whirlwind of activity in Maryland, she hadn’t given much thought to what her husband might look like. But after meeting his brother, she’d imagined him to be a younger version of the polite, kind-hearted lawyer and family man. Nothing had prepared her for this very handsome, very large man whose entire being hummed with intensity and anger.
Dear Lord, what had she gotten herself into?
Sigh…maybe someday REFUGE will get published. That’s Tom Berringer in the movie “Last of the Dog Men” (another great movie!) and he’s my image of Nathan. Mmmm yummo! Nathan and Laura started my love affair with writing my own stories. With each new book I fall in love with the hero and want to be the heroine. It’s an on going affair.
So, who is my new love? That’s him over there——————–>
Actually, Beatrix Potter, her life, her art and her stories. I loved The Tale Of Peter Rabbit as a child, but I never knew anything about the author until I was an adult. When my kids were small I loved to read them Beatrix Potter’s stories, but still knew little of her life.
Now here’s a little known fact about me…I have a fascination with biographies. So when the movie “Miss Potter” appeared on my TV, I of course had to watch it. Turns out, Beatrix had a love interest. The movie fascinated me so much I had to google her and find out more.
[That's Renee Zellweger portraying Beatrix in the movie]
Before Beatrix became a published children’s author she had a fascinating life as one of the foremost mycologist and illustrator of fungi in England. She also wrote papers presented by her uncle to the Linnean Society and the Royal Society (Big scientific group of men back in her day.) THEN she became a published author, after 6 publishers rejected her children’s books about a naughty rabbit.
Yep, you guessed it, all those years ago Peter Rabbit was my first “bad boy”!
So, do you have any secret loves you want to share? Do you fall in love with characters, authors, actors as often as me? If so, who is your latest love?
Don’t forget to check out four more Banditas invading Romance Novel TV today. It’s been one zany day after another so far! www.romancenovel.tv