Art Elements Design Challenge and Blog Hop - White

White. Claire's topic for December's design challenge at Art Elements was white. I'm not very good with white. I don't wear white, I don't have white walls (only ceilings), I don't own white furniture. If there's a choice, I'll never pick white.
Thinking back I also haven't made much jewelry in white. There was a choker, a silver tree on a white rock, and there's the white Petcat, but that's different because I love white cats.

Our first cat, Dude (actually White Dude, there's a story behind that name, but that would lead too far now) was white with a blue and a yellow eye.

White. My first thought was winter and snow. That reminded me of a link a friend of mine had shared just recently, a snowglobe ornament design by Cheri Carlson on Artbeads, done in brick stitch. My friend knows I love looming shaped pieces from beads and indeed it was the perfect inspiration.
Of course I wouldn't copy the snowman, but choose something more typical for me. What's typical for me? Well, cats of course. Cat. Snow. SnowCat!

This was one of the very first HeatherCats, the picture shows my friend Heather's original painting and my take on it.

So how about combining the idea of SnowCat and a snowglobe and making it a small tribute to the cat that was practically responsible for my life never again being without cat hair since 1991?
And how about trying to use just white and grey tones for it? Yeah, that was being too ambitious, it didn't work out, not with the beads that I had in my stash. There may have been some light cursing when I ripped it out again.

What a shame. That meant it had to be a night sky after all. I can't help it, I love night scenes, and "you don’t need to work monochromatic, just take white as inspiration either literally or figuratively." There.

After a very short digression to a different project that will need more planning, though, I wove in the last threads, and here we go. Snow Dude in his snowglobe.
He could be worn as a pendant or used as an ornament.

Please also visit all the other blog hoppers!

Alysen - Anita - Beth - Cat (that's me!) - Divya - Elaine - Hope - Jill - Karin - Kathy - Rozantia - Sarajo - Susan - Tammy

AE Team

Caroline - Cathy - Claire - Laney - Lesley - Marsha - Susan


Oldies but Goodies - Favorites of the year

Welcome "between the years".
This is a time when many people look back in review, maybe start making plans for the new year. On TV there are all the programmes taking us back to what happened, sometimes people tell their own stories, sometimes comedians try to find the funny side in it all.
I thought it would be a good time for us artisans to have a little review of our own and make it today's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge. I asked my fellow JAC members to share their personal favorites of the year. Unfortunately I can't show you everything in my collage, but with a click of the link above you can find it all.

I am looking forward to seeing more fabulous work from my friends next year, and I hope so are you.

1 and 8 Cat's Wire
2 and 6 Jewelry Art by Dawn
3 and 4 RioRita
5 and 7 The Crafty Chimp


Christmas Eve - The twenty-fourth door

You can imagine how excited we always were as children when we got to open the last door on our advent calendar. Next was the trimming of the tree, then we were sent off to my grandmother who was supposed to keep us entertained until we finally got the liberating phone call telling us to come home.

This morning I went outside into the hallway to open the last little parcel of my special advent calendar by Phoenix Glass. You might remember the picture from the first day with just one small bauble on the tree.
It looks a lot different now!

Happy Christmas Eve, my friends.


Quote of the week - The twenty-third door

Have you ever seen "Miracle on 34th Street"? You probably have, but I haven't. Neither has Manny. So Jay sits down with him to watch it.

From the screen: No, no, it's not that kind of a trial. It's just because he says it's Santa Claus. - But I've got a feeling he IS Santa Claus, mother. - Some people don't believe that, that's why ...
Manny: Are you crying?
Jay: What are you, a robot? It's a deeply emotional movie.
Gloria: Manny, mi amor, I need you to help me in the kitchen.
Jay: We gotta finish this first, Gloria. The kid's never seen Miracle on 34th Street.
Gloria: That's because he always spends Christmas in Colombia with my family. And all we see there is "Salazar and El Oso save Christmas".
Jay: Sounds like a classic.
Gloria: It is.
Manny: Mom, can we finish the movie?
Gloria: Okay.
From the screen: Mommy, he's not like anyone else. He must be Santa. - I think perhaps you're right, Susie.
A monster appears on the screen.
Jay (screaming): Oh! What the hell is that? What the hell is that?
Manny: Inocente!
Jay: What the hell.
Gloria and Manny are laughing.

Manny: When you told me we were going to watch this movie, I got a joke copy from the internet. You are the inocente.
Jay: Well, maybe I'm a little confused right now. What is this inocente stuff?
Gloria (still laughing): In Colombia, practical jokes are a Christmas tradition. The one that is fooled is the inocente.
Jay: We tell practical jokes on April Fool's Day, so do not do that again!

Modern Family, USA, 2009 -

Of course I had to look up if there is really a tradition like that.
1. There is no show "Salazar and El Oso".
2. There actually is a tradition of pranks and jokes, but not on Christmas itself. December 28th is the Catholic Dia de los Santos Inocentes, Day of the Holy Innocents which reminds of the innocent children Herod ordered to be killed. It is not just celebrated in Colombia, but also other countries like Spain, Mexico, Puerto Rico and more.
If you want to know more about Colombian Christmas traditions, have a look here at Culture Trip.


Praising the tree - The twenty-second door

Today I'll present a tradition I have been hearing of for many years, but never experienced myself. Somehow I keep thinking it's more alive in rural areas, probably because the people who told me about it were from villages.
This tradition is praising the tree. It developed in Swabia and is mostly known in parts of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria today.

So what does praising the tree mean?
Exactly what it says. In the time between Christmas and Epiphany people, often in a group, go visit others and praise their Christmas tree which is then rewarded by the host, with a shot for example like "Obstler" which is kind of a fruit schnapps, and maybe some Christmas cookies to soak up the schnapps. The more the group gets around, the more trees they praise and the more they are, erm, well, you get the idea ...
In one post about this tradition I read it's not a real tradition, it's just people who want to get drunk, but I don't think that's completely fair although in these days it may be a reason for some to do it.
One theory is the social aspect. Praising the tree gave people a way to meet others, even those they hadn't known that well before. Another is that Swabians who have the reputation of working very hard simply didn't have the time to maintain social contacts all year and so left it for what we call "between the years" (there are other names for it, too, like "The Twelve Days" in English).

The visitors were taken to the "good room" which was decorated and warm, and where the tree was standing. Swabians also have the reputation of being somewhat grumpy and stingy, but once you are inside, hospitality is a big thing for them, so when visitors said something nice about the tree - honestly, if you come somewhere, wouldn't you say "what a lovely tree"? - it was a matter of pride to offer them something.

"What a lovely tree" wasn't enough, though. From one article I gathered that there can be rules how to praise the tree.
It has to be a real tree, no artificial one (which means I'm not going to need a bottle of Obstler ;-)).
There has to be a nativity.
The tree has to have some kind of topper.
There have to be some handmade decorations, for example stars made of straw.
Electric lights are not allowed, only real wax candles.
There has to be water in the stand.
I doubt those rules are really still important or there wouldn't be that many trees left you could praise!

What happens if the tree doesn't have anything praiseworthy? No problem. It's so much easier to like a tree after a few Obstler, but you can always find something. A tree that doesn't have many branches? "How wonderful you have that much space to hang the baubles!" A tree that's crooked? "That's real nature!" A tree as prickly as a cactus? "Such a smart idea, no one will steal it from you!" A really small tree? "How clever not to spend all the money on the tree, that way you could spend more on the beautiful decoration!" All you need is a little creativity! :-D

I can't do a post without a picture. I would have loved to show our tree of 1979 (picture with a terrible red tint) or really old pictures (I had to respect my siblings' privacy and there's no picture of me with a Christmas tree), so here's one of my sister's first trees in her own place, in 1987. It was fun to see how decoration changed over the years because she kept adding to it.
You are welcome to praise it, but sorry, I have no idea how to get the shots to you ;-)



Tackle that stash - The twenty-first door

Like every year I have been hanging out on SnowDays where you can make your own virtual snowflakes, so after I had decided that today's wintery stash tackler should be bead loomed, it wasn't unusual to opt for a snowflake as a pattern. Of course it's not as elaborate as the ones you can make on SnowDays, after all there's a limit to what you can fit on a pendant, but it's definitely recognizable.

In fact I made two pendants with the same pattern, but with completely different beads.
The one on the right was the original, a nice round shape perfect for the snow crystal, in gorgeous dark blue (the picture can't really do it justice) and shimmering pearl white size 11 Delicas to which I finally added a few ice crystals aka Swarovski bicones.
The one on the left came as a spontaneous afterthought. I used size 15 seed beads for it of which I only have three colors in my stash, a pity because the clear AB flake looks beautiful against the light on the gunmetal background, but has a very subtle contrast in direct light (didn't I put that nicely). Isn't it amazing how size and shape of the seed beads changed the shape of the pendant completely, not even that much in height, but in width? While I was aware beforehand that it would be different, I was still amazed it was that much of a difference.

Nice about it was that I haven't been bead looming much at all this year and choosing the dark blue from my stash that I had always saved up felt really good. I have to go through my beads and see what else will be speaking to me!


Oldies but Goodies, Winter - The twentieth door

Are you ready for a new Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge? Our topic was winter and we have a lot of ice and snow for you - from pearls and moonstones to sweet penguins and Jack Frost himself!

It has become colder here, but so far we've only had two short visits by snow (which is more than enough for me ;-)). What does the word winter make you think of? Maybe you live in a place where it's not cold at all during winter, why don't you tell us about it?

Now, however, I'll present to you - the JAC winter!

1 and 3 Jewelry Art by Dawn
2 and 7 RioRita
4 and 6 The Crafty Chimp
5 and 8 Cat's Wire


How Gundel tried to steal Christmas - The nineteenth door

I sat at my desk wasting my time away on randomly clicking my way through the internet when I heard that sound behind me. At first I didn't even look. There's still an open parcel on my table and Gundel likes to check it out every, now and then. The little lady likes to bite heavy paper and plastic, but she doesn't nibble on it like Greebo used to on cardboard. Sometimes she'll carry it away.
Then I started to hear something rustling and a sound as if something was falling a small distance, more like sliding back into place. And again. When I finally turned around to see what was going on there, Gundel was sitting next to the gift bag my co-workers had given me. I had seen her look inside before, but what was it that was so interesting to her?

Unfortunately you can't see it in this picture and when she managed to lift the mysterious item, she dropped it so fast again that I couldn't get a picture at all.
It was the plastic baggie with the Christmas cookies! Ponder, the old master thief, has taught her well, it seems. First the baubles off the tree (we are at Gundel: 4  Ponder: 2  Tree:0, and I'm not counting the little LED candle that I had put in front of the tree and that she keeps knocking off the stairs), the constant attempt to pull the ball chain off, now the cookies, what will be next?

Not that Gundel is feeling guilty at all ....


Christmas shopping - The eighteenth door

Are you done with your Christmas shopping yet? Do you have your tree, your baubles, your candles? Are you ready for the holidays or are you slowly starting to panic?
Time to relax for a few moments and have a good laugh.
Not everyone enjoys their shopping as much as Mr Bean does, he always finds a way to have a bit of fun. If you want to try something like that yourself, let us know how it went! ;-)


Memories - The seventeenth door

In 2000 the ex, my sister and I visited our friend in California. I didn't know it then, but it was the last time we'd go there. For my sister it was the first time in the USA. For many years she had said she would like to see how places were decorated for Christmas there. New York and the Rockefeller Center tree would had been her first choice, but now it had to be San Francisco instead.
The problem was that it was only September and therefore no Christmas in sight (unbelievable, isn't it?). We wore shorts and t-shirts instead of big jackets and boots, went to the beach and to the park and enjoyed the sun.

Then, the last evening before our flight home, Macy's heard our plea and announced their Christmas shop open. Why our friend even asked if we wanted to go, I'll never know. Only my ex declared he couldn't be bothered driving into San Francisco and face the masses, but we had expected that. He settled on the couch with football on TV and a huge bag of popcorn while we three ladies got into the car.

This is the first picture my sister took from the car. Can you see the little trees in the windows?

Then we went inside and we were not disappointed. We had expected to be overwhelmed, but hadn't been ready for quite so many trees - of which the pictures only show a few - each of one full of ornaments.
My sister asked me if I thought it was okay to take a picture. We are not talking cell phone or even digital camera at the time, and I felt it was only polite to ask first (!), so I went to the lady on the counter and explained to her that we were from Germany and could my sister take a photo? She looked at me a little surprised and said of course she could!
This is what you see in this picture. I gave my sister a sign, but hadn't thought she would take one right away, with me in it! (I can't believe how short my hair was then, and to those who know me, do you notice something about my tote bag?)

On Christmas that year my sister put a little photo album together that she gave to me. The following was the last picture in the album with the caption "Bye". I wonder if she had ran out of film. Can you see my friend and me hiding at the right hand edge of the pic?

So where did this memory suddenly come from? I bought three ornaments of one kind that evening and although they are really a little too big for my tree and are usually hanging from some keys of my book cabinets all year, Gundel decided they had to go on the tree this time (she kept tapping on them and what the cat wants, the cat gets).

P.S. These are almost twenty year old prints that I photographed, hence the quality, but you'll get the idea :-)


Quote of the week - The sixteenth door

I wonder what kind of holidays they have on other planets and how we would adapt there.
Our favorite alien family on Earth, the Solomons, is celebrating Christmas for the very first time. Knowing the Solomons this can't go smoothly.
Dick for example participates in a Secret Santa. Although twenty dollars are the limit, his gift has cost just a tad more, a hundred and twenty dollars more, and of course Dick is as modest as ever about it. Not.

Mary: My Dad would go out and get the biggest Christmas tree he could find. We'd go carolling, open our house to the neighborhood. All that sharing and generosity.
Dick (overwhelmed by sentiment): So beautiful. Look how generous I am! I AM Christmas!!

Well, a happy alien Christmas to you, Dick! He's not that happy anymore, though, when the police comes for him because he tries to get his Christmas tree out of a neighbor's garden ;-)
He's not the only one losing his illusions about Christmas. Tommy is desperate to find the perfect gift for his girlfriend. Harry finds out that the Santa Claus in the mall is not the real Santa Claus, and Sally who's wrapping gifts at the mall can't believe how unimaginative people are.
Will it become a good Christmas after all? Yes, it will!

3rd Rock from the sun, USA, 1996 - 2001


Christmas cats - The fifteenth door

I wonder if cat mothers when asked by their kittens to tell them a story ever tell that of Christmas - the time when humans put up trees and decorate their houses with the most fabulous cat toys only to yell at innocent kitties who want to do what they were born for. Why can't they tap those dangly ornaments or bite into a ball chain to pull on it a little? Why shouldn't they climb the tree and say hello to the angel on top? Or fairy or star or whatever, those are just details.
Even worse, there are those humans who think it's okay for them to stop at nothing and dress up their feline overlords. Santa hats, fake fur stoles, coats, scarves, antlers and more!
You don't believe me? Just wait, I got proof. Heartbreaking, isn't it?
And those who escaped the dressing up madness have obviously been tortured by those delicious and fun looking ornaments.
It's all here, the surprised and the hateful looks, the incredulous ones and the ones that say "sleep with one eye open tonight, human".

Well, and then of course there is Oliver. Oliver is not taking no for an answer. Oliver owns Christmas, Oliver owns that tree. And the next one and the one after that. He's the master and I bow to him.

A huge thank you to my friends from My Cat Hates You and my sister for the great pictures!!


Tackle that stash? - The fourteenth door

Today I let out a scream that may have been heard in the neighborhood. Ever since my thyroid surgery I haven't been able to hit high notes anymore, so I must say I did surprise myself.

What was the reason you want to know?
Glue. What else. It's always glue. This week I have dealt with it three times, why don't I learn from it?

This was supposed to be a winter related stash tackler and the idea sounded easy enough. Take a small white Christmas bauble, glue eyes and a mouth to it and a big pointy nose. It would be easier than last year when I made two little snowmen with beaded scarves from two baubles each.
Icicle nose from a clear spike as I don't have any orange colored ones. Why did I try the big nose? Just because I have a big bag of large spikes? Just because I liked the icicle idea? And why was I so keen on using the last few big seed beads I had? The answer is I don't know! I don't know why I kept trying over and over to hold those beads on the baubles when all they wanted was to slide off in an ocean of glue which then got on my hands, on my shirt and on my pliers that I used like as a tweezers substitute.

In the end I gave up. Off with their big noses! On with small ones! Not only did they look ridiculous against those big eyes, they also didn't want to stick, either.
There will come a day when I'll master this. That day wasn't today. Three little snowman heads went into the trash which felt a tad creepy. I didn't even take pictures of their small faces which were glue smeared by now.

Things don't always work out the way we want them to. Not even screaming can change anything about that ;-)
Time to try something else.


Oldies but Goodies, More stars - The thirteenth door

There can never be enough stars for my taste, not just for the Christmas time.
I'm going to take it a little easy today. No story, only stars (from the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge)!

1 and 5 and 7 Cat's Wire
2 RioRita
3 and 4 and 6 MC Stoneworks


Moravian stars or The glue battle - The twelfth door

Moravian stars or "Herrnhuter Sterne" as they called in Germany were invented more than 160 years ago. The Moravian Church is a Protestant congregation. In 1722 Protestants fled religious persecution from different countries, most of them from Moravia and Bohemia, though, and went to Saxony where some of the refugees established the village Herrnhut which grew quickly (that's only a very short version).
They soon sent missionaries to far away countries. Those often sent their children back home when they had reached school age.
A teacher used stars to teach his pupils geometry, the children then used them for decoration during advent time and passed the tradition on to their families. The first stars were white and red, white standing for purity and red for the blood of Christ.
Nowadays you can get the stars in all kinds of colors, sizes and materials. You can buy them already put together or as a kit, in paper or plastic. Of course you can also make them completely from scratch.

I'm a fool. I thought it would be fun - for you - to see what a kit looks like. I'm not that much of an idiot that I would go for a big one right away because of my glue trauma. I know I suck at glueing. It shows time and again, but I was willing. I bought two mini stars of 13 cm, that's a little over five inch, one blue, one yellow.

Here are the sets in the box and the blue one out of the box. As you can see in the upper left hand corner, Ponder wanted to help me. He changed his mind soon. Probably he was afraid I'd glue him to the star.

Then I did something that doesn't happen often, I read the instructions. Of course there was not much to read, it's pretty self-explanatory. It did tell me to apply the glue sparingly. I knew then I was doomed. Sparingly is not in my vocabulary, simply because I can't do it.
It also said to take seven square points and "stick them along the seam of the body" after sticking the two halves of the body base together (and please imagine me saying "body" like the teacher does in this Mr Bean video ;-)).
I opened the glue and guess what. A big blob of glue with air bubbles attacked me. I was obviously doomed, but still willing.

I'll never read the instructions again. I did my round of seven, but the more points I glued on, the more threads of glue I generously applied over the table (it's a good thing it's so old and worn), on my hands and like a web between the points, and I didn't even know how to hold the star anymore. In between I took little breaks to give the glue time to do its thing, sometimes more inside the point instead of on its edges.

Did there have to be gaps?
Wait. The instructions said "The star assembly kit might be assembled under adult supervision and by children 7 years and older". I'm not really sure I am that old regarding anything glue related ;-)
Finally it was finished, though, and like this it didn't even look that bad (although I am still thinking I'd like to rip everything off and do it over).

I had learned something for the second star, however. Who cares about instructions?
This time I didn't start by going along the seam, instead I worked in rounds from top to bottom. Crazy! ;-) That way I could still hold the star at the bottom. It went like a breeze if you don't count the glue problems (I don't learn that quickly).
While I was working, I remembered that the bigger stars aren't glued at all, by the way, they use pins. Oh well, I wouldn't know where to put it, anyway.

And here's the yellow star now. I did it, yay!


Snow globes - The eleventh door

I once had a friend who collected snow globes. I never got to see her collection, but when I happened to see a TV program about Vienna in the Christmas time, it made me wonder if she knew about the history of the snow globe. I didn't.
As usual I found slightly different stories on different pages.

You may want to know what snow globes have to do with Vienna. While "one of the earliest known descriptions of the snow globe comes from the U.S. government’s official report on the Paris Universal Exposition of 1878" as The Strategist is telling me (a paper weight with a man in the snow who's holding an umbrella), there is also the story of Erwin Perzy, a maker of surgical instruments in Vienna, who tried to improve the carbon thread lamp and experimented with a shoemaker's ball, a glass ball filled with water that craftsmen used to bundle the rays of light in order to have better light during their work. He tried out several things to add to the water to enhance light reflection. Semolina which sank to the ground slowly reminded him of snow and gave him the idea for a snow globe with the first one containing a model of the Basilica of Maria Zell. He patented the idea and the manufacture exists to this day.

Then I got to the website of the Paris Musée de la Poupée where I was told that the predecessors of snow globes were Cartesian divers, a science experiment named after Descartes.
They didn't mention Perzy at all, but instead a legal dispute between two German brands. From there on to a German website for collectors, from there to an American newspaper article that I couldn't read because of the EU's data policies and finally I ended up with the thesis of Anne Hilker: A biography of the American snow globe: from memory to mass production, from souvenir to sign ... that's when I gave up, but you are very welcome to read it here and check up on the many citations yourself.

There's nothing you can't find in a snow globe, no matter if it makes sense or not. There is even a snow globe that has only snow! Check out CoolSnowGlobes if you don't believe me. My favorite, however, is the Eclipse which "conjures the infinite depth of the night sky". It does look quite fascinating, but my desk definitely does not need any more things.

You can get snow globes in small, big, glass, plastic, as balls or domes, as jewelry, as ornament or as DIY kits.
What would you put into a snow globe if you had the choice? Do you have any yourself, if you do, what kinds?
Here's the only one I have.



Holiday scents - The tenth door

The other day my sister and I talked about scented candles. I never have any candles burning in the house because of the cats, much less scented ones. I have hardly ever worn perfume. I don't use air fresheners.
Of course that doesn't mean, however, that I don't notice scents or smells.
"Fragrance is deeply personal, you don't have a choice between which scents you like and which you don't. Throughout our lives we store information on smells, creating a complex stockpile of memories and associations, all of which have a big impact on whether we like a fragrance or not." (from Belfast Telegraph)

I love the smell of fried onions.
I loved the smell of, I don't know, the tracks in the underground station after a heavy rain, but only on the way home. Probably it came from some kind of chemicals, so it may be a good thing that it has gone since, but those few seconds when I came down the stairs always triggered something in me.
I love the sweet scent of the roses in front of our house and crushed mint.
I don't like the smell of peach flavored things.
I hate the smell of wild garlic. When I still drove to work with the ex, there was an area where there must have been so much wild garlic that the smell clawed its way through the car windows after rain. I had to hold my breath because it made me sick.
Well, and sometimes I wish Ponder would flush after being in the litter box.

Then I started out on a trip into the internet to find out more about holiday scents. I should have taken something to eat on that trip because it looked like it would take a while and I quickly knew I would end up in total confusion, so I had to limit myself. If you want to enlighten me with your own personal experiences, please do, I'd love to hear it!

Let's begin with Diwali because this festival already took place in early November. On his site Hindu Inside Hariram says that Diwali smells like the gunpowder of the fireworks and the eatablesMads Creations tells me Diwali fragrances for your home should be soothing and welcoming for visitors, floral and religious, and not sweet, spicy or fruity "as Diwali already includes lots of delicacies and delights to be shared that are already filled with sweeteners, spices and fruits". I'll be honest, that doesn't help me that much without any personal experience.

Hanukkah is ending tonight. Given the fact that I don't know much about Hanukkah except what I googled and the snippets I have been told by friends all I could think of were latkes and candles.
Obviously I was so wrong. Hanukkah smells like fear of relatives. Wait! I'm not making fun of it. This is a quote from the first article that I found on the matter, on Tablet, it's about perfumes for Hanukkah. It also quotes another article on Jewcy that I had found about scented candles for the festival, and that leads me to the last one from Alma which actually mentioned a candle that is supposed to smell like latkes and jelly donuts. I can't even imagine that one even if I try. Potato and fruit? Frying oil?
I turned to a dear friend to ask her what Hanukkah smells like for her. She said her first thought was olive oil as it's not only significant for the holiday, but also stands for latkes (I got something right!) and spinach with pine nuts in their house. She also added that sounds had been a big part of it when her kids were little, like screaming "Happy Hanukkah" three times while holding hands and jumping up and down as a circle and then falling on the floor after the candles were lit. Another memory she shared was that she hid the presents when she was growing up and put rhyming clues around the house, so there were happy screams when the kids found something. Thank you, Sharon!

Christmas. Now I can finally speak from own experience. What are Christmas scents to me?
Pine needles, spices like cinnamon or cloves, vanilla, turkey (even if don't eat it myself), oranges, snow (even if I don't like it ;-)) ... huh, now I almost want a scented candle. Maybe I'll just stick my nose into the little tin with Christmas cookies I got from the neighbors for St. Nicholas Day!