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Punch with Judy - Christmas Newsletter 2009










 Season's Greeting to you all,

 Must be the age!  This time of year creeps up on us all too soon each year.

This greeting comes with all the spirit of Christmas, Peace, Love, Harmony, Tranquility, Joy, Happiness, Sharing, Compassion & Understanding but also with all the thanks for your friendship during 2009.

John & I would like to wish you a Very MERRY CHRISTMAS & hope sincerely that you enjoy it with your loved ones.  If that's not possible, be content that they will be with you in spirit.

We have so much to be thankful for, each and everyone of us.

Christmas this year will be a special one as we celebrate the fact that we are indeed a complete family.  The whole family thanks you immensely for the myriads of emails sent re my last Personal News of the bushfires coming so close to disaster for our daughter Sharelle and her family.  Certainly appreciate the encouraging words from those of you who have experienced similar situations and gave advice for recovering.  Nick and Jas are fine and seem to be handling their traumatic experience quite maturely.  I do also want to give a bouquet to the NRMA as their Insurer.  They have been astoundingly fabulous.  Have phoned everyday checking and seeing what else they can do?  Offered alternate accommodation for the family, had assessors at the property within 24 hours, have already commissioned so many tradespeople for repair work, even had a team of 8 come yesterday to completely clean the house which now sparkles again, though the family weren't allowed to stay in the house last night because of the "ozone machine" going to completely clear it of all bushfire smell.  Hats off to NRMA Canberra Office I believe.  Sharelle and Andrew thank you all and I've put together ALL the emails so as Nick and Jas may read today when they arrive.  Must also give credit to Reece who helped with the spot checking after the bushfire had gone through when the rest of the family were in safe-keeping and for all the chainsaw work and clearing he did with our son Rowan and John on the weekend afterwards.  We're so proud of all of them.

To all of you, may this summer keep you safe in your homes, on the roads and whilst you're on holidays.  Do take care.

The following is for each and everyone of you, it is an old one, but was sent to me last week by a good friend and I thought very appropriate.   It relays exactly how I feel about all my Newsletter individuals.  Yes, this photo is far too similar to how I really AM when I write to you!


Every single evening as I'm lying here in bed,
This tiny little Prayer keeps running through my head:
God bless all my family wherever they may be,
Keep them warm and safe from harm for they're so close to me.

And God, there is one more thing I wish that you could do;
Hope you don't mind me asking, please bless my computer too.
Now I know that it's unusual to bless a motherboard,
But listen just a second while I explain it to you, Lord..

You see, that little metal box holds more than odds and ends;
Inside those small compartments rest so many of my friends.
I know so much about them by the kindness that they give,
And this little scrap of metal  takes me in to where they live.

By faith is how I know them much the same as you.
We share in what life brings us and from that our friendships grew.
Please take an extra minute from your duties up above,
To bless those in my address book that's filled with so much love.

Wherever else this prayer may reach to each and every friend,

Bless each e-mail inbox and each person who hits 'send'.
When you update your heavenly list on your own great CD-ROM,
Bless everyone who says this prayer sent up to GOD.Com


Thank you to each entrant in our November/December Apron Competition.  Wish you could all win a prize.  You needed to send me a photo of an apron you'd made with a Christmas Theme.  Highly recommended was a beautifully machine embroidered apron from Heather Corbett in NZ and a delightful one from Dianne Meigel.  I knew so many of you that I may have been biased, so I asked independent people to be the judges and the winner was unanimous.  Carol Le Maitre, Qld, deserved First Prize with her very Australian flavoured Aussie Christmas Apron inspired by my Three Wise "Men" from my early December Newsletter.  Congratulations Carol, very, very ingenious and John was tickled pink. The emus are appliqued, the gumnut blossoms machine embroidered as were the words Aussie Christmas.  Also, my cousin who made the original card that I scanned for that image, stayed overnight on Saturday on track to Sydney for Christmas with her rellies and she was amazed I'd even kept the card since it was several years ago she made it and gave it to me for Christmas.

Carol, $100.00 Open Gift Voucher awaits your desire!


Now, I couldn't let this one go past though.  I've decided to also award an Encouragement Award of a $50.00 Open Gift Voucher to Cassandra Corkill (aged 13) from W.A.  Congratulations Cassandra and may this be the beginning of a very enjoyable hobby - quilting! 

This is the email I received accompanying the entry.


I subscribe to your online newsletter (which I love) and have met you several times at the craft shows in Perth.  I had intended to enter your apron making competiton but unfortunately will not make the deadline, however, I thought you may like to see one that my student Cassandra Corkill (age 13) made.  She has patchworked the front...her first attempt at patchworking, sewed bias binding around the edges and then bleached natural coloured piping cord to make it white and later dyed one red and one green and braided these to make the halterband and waist tie (one piece).  I thought it was a great attempt and just thought you may like to see what your competition has inspired
Anna  Dyer
Fashion & Design Cordinator
Belridge Senior High School

I hope you agree that this extra award is deserved!

Just a reminder that our usual JANUARY WEBSITE'S 9TH BIRTHDAY will again be commencing on January 1st.  ALL the details are on my website and please remember you MUST visit each and every day and order ON that day, not pop items into your wishlist.  No rainchecks. Some have limited numbers available.  Changes over each day of the month at 8.00am Daylight Eastern Standard Time for Australia. 

I worked hard over November to procure some excellent specials for you so I hope you get some Chrissy Dollars for your January excitement.

We had a wonderful Machine Embroidery Retreat this year which will be repeated next September, thoroughly enjoyed by all.  One of those students sent me a beautiful Christmas Card this week, made on her machine with special techniques which I thought I'd like to share with you so as you may realize how spoilt I get.  Thank you Caroline, 'twas our pleasure having you here.  Shame the photo here doesn't do the card quite justice; each flower is layered and each leaf separate, all done in metallic fabric and organdy type with lovely embroidery through each piece.  I will treasure this.


It wouldn't be my Christmas Newsletter without a little story, so here's one for you so kindly sent to me by another very good friend.


It's just a small white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas Tree.  No name, no identification, no inscription.  It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas - oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it - the overspending, the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting power for Grandma - the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth.  I reached for something special just for Mike.  The inspiration came in an unusual way.  Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended.  Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church.  These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.  As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears.  It was a luxury the ragteam obviously could not afford.

Well, we ended up walloping them.  We took every weight class.  As each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn't acknowledge defeat.  Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish just one of them could have won," he said.  "They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them."  Mike loved kids - all kids - and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse.  That's when the idea for his present came.  That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me.  His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years.

For each Christmas, I followed the tradition - one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a cheque to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas and so on and on.  The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas.  It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.

As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure.  The story doesn't end there.

You see, we lost Mike last year due to cancer.  When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up.  But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree and in the morning it was joined by three more.  Each of our children, unbeknown to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad.  The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope.

Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us.  May we all remember Christ, who is the reason for the season and the true Christmas spirit this year and always.


from Judy, John & Staff - Brenda, Gloria & Kim

Happy Sewing,
Your friend,


Judy Hall
Punch with Judy
P.O. Box 62
THE ROCK (near Wagga)

Phone: 02 6920 2238
International Phone: 61 26920 2238
Fax: 02 6920 2021
International Fax: 61 26920 2021