Thursday, December 29, 2011

It's Just Not Christmas Until Something Catches Fire

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even my spouse.
The stockings were hidden in the closet with care,
Because I was sure that no one would look there.

The children were upstairs, sleeping away,
Too old to be looking for Santa and his sleigh.
Mr. W had fallen asleep watching TV,
So the only one conscious in the whole house was me.

Out of the corner of my eye I spied quite a sight,
From the star shaped decoration that held a tea light.
The soft mellow flame had grown quite a bit higher,
As the small cup of wax began to catch fire.

I blew and I blew, but it did me no good.
The air did not extinguish the flames as it should.
Mr. W woke from his short Christmas nap,
And rushed to my aid as quick as a snap.

He blew, just like me, which made matters worse,
Unsure what to do, we started to curse.
Mr. W grabbed the star, fast as a wink,
And rushed the whole mess right to the sink.

When he doused it with water, flames only jumped higher,
As the wax in the cup continued on fire.
It finally died out, with a sputter and hiss,
And we were able to return to our holiday bliss.

No damage was done, which was lucky, no doubt,
The fire could have spread had we not put it out.
When the ordeal was over a lesson was learned,
If you decorate with candles, you just might get burned.


*I should clarify, while I referred to this as a "decoration", it was a table top candle holder and not a tree decoration.  It was sitting on a side table when the fire started.  I would never have a lit candle hanging anywhere near the Christmas tree!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Announcing The Winner Of The Novica Giveaway

Sorry, this announcement is a little later that I intended it to be. 

The names of all participants were put in a hat and shuffled around thoroughly.  Mr. Willoughby then randomly drew one name.  The winner is Joanna of The Fifty Factor!  Congrats, Joanna!  Have fun shopping!

Thank you to everyone who entered my Novica giveaway.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's Time For A Giveaway!

I am excited to announce that Novica has, once again given me a $50 gift card to award to one lucky winner.  If you're not familiar with Novica, they work in association with National Geographic to bring the work of talented artists and artisans around the globe to the rest of the world via the internet. Shopping their website is a unique experience as you can view information about each artist along with the works they create.  It gives each item a very personal feeling.  In the Keepers Of The Arts section, you can watch videos of the artists at work.

I love Novica so much that I could go on and on telling you how wonderful their website is, what great customer service they have and, especially, how talented the artisans are, but it would be much more fun for you to see for yourself.  Before you head over there, though, let me give you a sneak peak of some of the wonderful things you'll discover (and maybe help you find some unique Christmas gifts).

Wool Belt "Black Night Bouquet"
in Accessories

Leather Laptop Case "Executive Finesse In Black"
in Men's Accessories

Obsidian Cufflinks "Night Magic"
in Cufflinks
Wood Walking Stick "Mermaid"
in Walking Sticks

Cotton Scarf "Timeless Purple"
in Women's Scarves

Peridot Cufflinks "Jigsaw Riddle"
in Silver Cufflinks

Now that you've seen some of the beautiful items available at Novica, are you ready to enter my giveaway for a $50 gift card?  Here's what you need to do:

Entry Rules

1. You must be a follower of This Stop Willoughby, or become one. 
2. You must click on the one of the category links listed in the captions of the photos above, browse the items in that category, and then come back and leave a comment on this post telling me about one of your favorites.
3. You may leave an additional comment on this post (one per day) telling me about a favorite item from any category.
4. If you would like to earn a bonus entry, mention my giveaway on your blog along with a link to this post. Please be sure to leave a comment (with link) letting me know that you've done so.
5. This giveaway is not limited to the United States.  If you have followed the above rules, you're eligible as long as Novica can ship to you.

The deadline for entries is Sunday, December 11, 2011 at noon Eastern Time.  The winner will be drawn randomly and announced by 3:00 Eastern Time.  One entry per day as well as one bonus entry allowed.   Please be sure to include a way for me to contact you should you be the winner of this giveaway.  If your email is not linked to your blog, please include it in the comment you leave here.  If I am unable to contact the winner, a different winner will be drawn at random.

Good Luck!!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Trying To Get The Feeling And Some News About A Giveaway

I'm just not feeling it this year.  Christmas, I mean.  Any enthusiasm I'm able to muster is pretty much forced.  I'm not entirely sure why it doesn't seem to hold the same excitement for me that it used to, but it just doesn't. I feel badly about it.  Christmas should be a magical time.

Maybe it's the weather.  I dread winter.  I have no interest in dealing with months of snow and cold, and driving on icy roads get old really quick.  We've only had a light dusting or two so far, but December marks the beginning of four or five months of bad weather.  It's likely colored my outlook on Christmas.

More than that, I think it's that the Christmas push starts earlier and earlier every year.  My local supermarket started putting up their holiday displays in September.  By now, I've had my fill of Christmas and it hasn't even gotten here, yet.

I find the advertising more obnoxious than usual this year, too.  One store is telling you that you shouldn't give any gift that isn't a name brand (so much for that scarf you spent the last month knitting), and another is encouraging you to make a chump out of Santa Claus by out-gifting him.  Worst of all, in my opinion, are the advertisements for a certain car company.  How many people do you know who can afford to give a $30,000 gift for Christmas?  In an incredible stroke of irony, I happened to see that ad just after the commercial for Save Our Strength where they tell you that one in four kids in America goes hungry every day.  Puts it in perspective, doesn't it?

We haven't done much of our Christmas shopping yet, and I'm not too psyched to start.  Every time we've been in a store lately, it's been a bad experience.  In one store, the cashier threw away our gift card (even though it still had money left on it) and then gave us an attitude when she had to go through the trash to retrieve it.  In a home improvement store, we left our cart full of wood at the end of the aisle because it was too difficult to maneuver (we're renovating our home office, but that's for another post) and a cashier took it without telling us.  When we finally found it, she was pre-ringing our items because she said it would save us time.  It's a long story, but in the end, she rang everything up wrong and charged us twice for the whole order.  It took an extra 45 minutes to check out and we ended up having to go back to the store to get the second charge removed.

My plan is to do as much of our Christmas shopping online as possible.  I'm trying to stay away from the big store's websites and purchase gifts from places like Etsy and Novica, where I can be much more connected to the artisans who create the items they sell.  I've also been eyeing the adorable sweet and savory petite bites at Alchemy by Carla Hall (remember her from Top Chef?).

How about you?  Are you feeling all warm and fuzzy about the holidays?  Where are you doing your Christmas shopping this year?


One thing that always makes me happy and puts me in a festive mood is having a giveaway.  Come back tomorrow and I'll announce the fantastic giveaway that I'm having!