Sunday, December 19, 2010

Original Art from the ArtMix Guild on

Blue Dryad original watercolor drawing Framed and ready to hang

On, artisans can join a guild, a group of like-minded artisans. ArtMix Guild is a group of mixed media artists.

The above original watercolor art showcases the talent of Stacey Merrill, one of the members of ArtMix.  This beautiful art is available in Stacey's studio, ArtSnark, on

Stacey offers mixed media art, as well as watercolor art and other mediums.

Follow this link to visit her shop, and tell her "Linda said to say Hi!"

Today may be the last day to shop for Christmas....           Go for it!

Linda Harbin

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Santa's Sleigh Bells

This painting hangs in my bedroom and always brings back memories when I see it. My mom painted it when she was in her 70s and gave it to me. This painting is her memory of  the farm house and land that belonged to my grandparents in rural Iowa.  My parents and I lived in a small mobile home on the same farm.  I loved the farm animals, fishing in the small creek down the dirt road, picking wild strawberries, and all the other adventures that growing up on a farm can bring.

My favorite Christmas memory happened on this farm.  Our family always gathered at my grandparent's house for Christmas Eve when I was growing up in the early 1950s. Christmas was exciting, with my grandma cooking special food and lots of pies and decorating her house. It was one of the times when my aunts and uncles all came, bringing all my cousins. Everyone would stay over and we'd have fun on Christmas day going sledding.

One year an older cousin put on Grandpa's big boots and secretly went outside to make "Santa tracks" in the snow.  He walked in those big boots around my grandparent's house and out to the driveway. After he came back in, we gathered all the little cousins and took them outside to show them the Santa foot prints - to prove that Santa knew where Grandpa and Grandma's house was and he would surely come back that night to leave presents.

They were amazed. They stood there in their bulky snowsuits and snow boots staring at the big footprints. Then we told them to  look up in the sky to see if we could see Santa with his sleigh and reindeer.

I remember it was one of those very cold, still winter nights in Iowa.  As we all stood in the deep snow  looking up at the stars in the sky, suddenly we heard sleigh bells from far away!  The little cousins started screaming "I hear Santa! I hear him!!" while the rest of us looked at each other and wondered who had planned that little trick. The little ones were so thrilled and delighted!  We quickly agreed "Yes, those are Santa's sleigh bells!!"

None of us had planned anything. Later we talked about it and all we could ever figure out was that somewhere down the road or across the fields, another farm family decided to celebrate their Christmas eve by going outside and ringing their strap of sleigh bells. Their timing was perfect for our family! The only other explanation? Maybe it really was Santa...

What's your favorite Christmas memory?  I hope it makes you smile...

Linda Harbin

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My Vintage Christmas Ornaments

I love vintage Christmas ornaments! I began collecting them over 30 years ago, when I ws browsing through a thrift store right after Thanksgiving and found a tiny thin box of twisted metal icicles. I immediately remembered that my grandparents hung these same little icicles on their Christmas tree years before. As I purchased them, I felt like I had found a true treasure!

That year I also purchased a new set of bubble lights for my tree. They were not exactly the same as the ones my grandparents had used on their tree, but they were pretty and bubbled and I loved them.

Since that time, I've collected many different styles of vintage Christmas ornaments. Many I've found in thrift stores in late November. I think people start sorting through their ornaments about this time and donate the older ones, not realizing that they may be valuable vintage ornaments. Often in a thrift store, I'll find a beautiful paper-thin vintage glass ornament in a plastic bag filled with modern day ornaments.

When I discovered eBay and other online venues, I purchased a few special ornaments, like one from Russiea and a few clip-on birds. I have a tall narrow tree that looks victorian that I decorate each year with my vintage ornaments, plus ones that I've handmade or painted.

Earlier this year, I responded to a reporter's query looking for a Florida resident who collected vintage ornaments. I unpacked my ornaments and took several photos to send him, and also wrote about my collecting tips and how to store vintage ornaments. One of my photos and most of my writing made the final edit for his article. You can find it online at:
At the top of the page click on "inside Scene" then choose "past issues" from the drop down menu. When the photos of the past covers come up, choose the November issue. Use the arrow on the right side of thecover to turn the pages through the issue until you see the vintage ornaments on the left and the article on the right. Click in the middle of these two pages to zoom in and see the photos close up and read the article. Most of the writing on the right side of the article is mine. The little brass tree and ornaments in my photo is on display all year long in my art studio. I love the photos from the other collectors too, especially the santas.

Below are more photos of some of my favorite vintage ornaments:

It's so easy to start your own collection of vintage Christmas goodies.  Out there somewhere, right where you live, a special vintage ornament or decoration is just waiting to be found!

Merry Christmas!
Linda Harbin

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

For those night time feathered friends!

I have the perfect solution for those birds who want to come to my back yard at night and have a late night snack - a lighted bird feeder!

I'm just teasing!  I looked out my window and my bird feeders were glowing like they were lighted inside. The evening sunset was shining directly on them and they were beautiful.  So I snapped this photo and wanted to share it with you!

I wonder what the birds were thinking when they saw this!  I have cardinals who come right at dusk and I'll bet they wondered about all the light.

And that's sand in the photo, not snow. This is Florida and yes, it's cold this week, but no snow. :o)

Click on the word "comments" below to read the comments left by those who have read and enjoyed this little story. Please feel free to leave your own comment too.