Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Where did the year go?

My husband photo in our local paper many years ago
 My Mother was right, time does move faster as you age.Maybe it's just aging that makes time become more precious. Either way I am once again shocked that another year is gone, and another Christmas has flown by.

Our tree is still up, and most likely will be until after the new year arrives. With all of the work and stress of the season over I've actually found a few moments to sit, and enjoy the sparkle of the tree. I should tell you when it comes to sparkles and glitter, I have a slight addiction. I'm always on the look-out for ways to add glitter to most any project,but especially at the holidays. My husband once told me that my Native American totem must be a crow,since they also love "sparkles".

 We are attending a small family and friends New Years Eve party this year ,and I wanted to bring a little something for the hostess. The plan to have the party was hatched kind of at the last minute. Even though everyone is pitching in, I still know that with little time to prepare it can frazzle the nerves of any good hostess.
I decided that entering a store at this present moment to do any form of shopping was totally out of the question. After the whirl wind of this Christmas season I don't plan to shop unless it's for necessities of survival, like food and magazines.
So I began to pull out my stash of left over craft supplies for some inspiration.

Whenever the family opens their gifts, I tend to dive on all reusable bows, tissue paper, and ribbon. This year I seemed to end up with an abundance of goodies.I also have an abundance of empty tissue boxes. This time of year is of course the annual cold and flu season ,and someone around here is usually sneezing.

When this idea came to mind, I had intended to add some tiny family photos from 2010. I had envisioned using some darling scrapbook frames I've held on to. Of course once again on my trip home from work, I forgot to stop and pick up my selected photos I ordered.

Out of shear aggravation with myself, I decided to just start the process,and see where it takes me.
First, I covered the empty tissue box with a piece of white, glittery, scrapbook paper. Then I filled the box with pieces of Styrofoam so my skewers would have a way to stand up. Being an avid crafter I usually always have tons of pipe cleaners, especially sparkly ones. So I wrapped several wooden skewers and placed them into the Styrofoam base. I still had some fabulous glittery card stock letters from the creation of our new Christmas sacks,to spell out HAPPY NEW YEAR.

It was at this point I knew it needed a lot of help to give it the party flare. As I was cleaning up my glittery mess,a small tree in my guest bedroom caught my eye. Actually the small glittery ornaments drew my attention. So I thought why not pop the metal hanger off and attach the glass bulb to the wooded skewers. For the final over the glittery edge I added a wire star tinsel around the box.

I hope it has a fun sparkly New Years look. A look that hopefully says, 2010 you are gone, but not forgotten. 2011 we welcome you with open arms praying you will bring us a peace filled, and prosperous New Year for everyone!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A White Christmas

My new ornament that helps feed my Alice addiction

Working and preparing for the holiday is always a lot of work. Thankfully I can now say I am catching up on my to do list ,and that feels heavenly. The latest weather report says we should get about 2-4" of snow by Christmas day,and it has been years since we've had a white Christmas.
 With the cleaning,shopping and decorating behind me I can now concentrate on wrapping the final gifts. As I was cleaning up after a marathon of decorating I realized I had created a small shrine on a shelf in my family room. Looking at it makes me smile and just feels right. This way my Mother and my husbands Father will be here with us as we celebrate the season with our family.

There are only a few minor details left to complete. Like our new "sacks" as my Mother called them. As our family grew, stockings became to difficult to use. So many years ago my Mother took small paper sacks and decorated them with stickers and old greeting cards. Over the years, these much used cherished paper sacks have become very fragile. So we decided a few years ago that each family would make their own new ones,decorated in the style they want, being as creative as possible. Some years we have had as many as 19 to 23 decorated paper sacks. They are always such fun to see.Each as diverse as each family member.

This has created some competition. One year my brother Brent put his on an elaborate stand and added Christmas tree twinkle lights,that continually flashed his name. He substituted my paper sack for one about the size of a sandwich bag. I wish I had a photo because it was the most obnoxiously, comical moments we've enjoyed together.

So now you just never know what kind of sack each person will show up with. The main problem has been where they end up each year. In the beginning we would hand them over to the family who we believed would host the following year. But that has become a problem because everyone seems to remember a different person or family having taken them.

Two sacks from last year that are being retired
 So this year we start fresh. Everyone must bring a new decorated sack, and I am now keeping a Christmas journal with all of the details. As the oldest sibling I feel this is my duty, or maybe I'm just bossy.

Isn't it funny how family traditions develop over the years and become very important,almost sacred in a way. They may seem silly to others but to that family it can be the threads that hold the celebrations together. To our family our decorated Christmas sacks are the most fun of our day.Everyone gets excited, young or old when it is time to dive in and open all of the tiny little gifts from each other.

With so many family get-together's on the horizon, I will be taking a short break from my much loved blogging world. My plan is to be back on the 27th with some interesting stories to tell, and a few photos to share.

Please if you have a moment when stopping by,share a few of your much loved family traditions. It is such a treat for me when someone takes a moment from there busy day to leave me a message.

 I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday.I hope that everyone has the opportunity to be surrounded by their family and friends.Let us all keep the birth of Jesus in our hearts and minds as we move through these last few busy days.
Merry Christmas!

A precious moment sharing the magic of Christmas

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

So much to do and so little time

And now perhaps a snow and ice storm! Now ordinarily I love a good winter blizzard as much as the next guy, but not when I still have shopping to do. I keep thinking I'm almost done and then I check the list and it turns out,Yikes I'm not!!
So tonight as I pulled in the garage with several more gifts purchased, feeling pretty good about myself, I suddenly realized not only am I not done shopping, I haven't wrapped a single present yet.

I always have a vision of how I want the packages to look all arranged under the tree. A different color theme each year of paper and bows. I had thought this year solid red and green paper with burlap bows. A kind of simple look. With perhaps a touch of sparkly glitter here and there. I haven't purchased the paper or made all of the bows yet. And there's only eight days to our immediate families get together. I now begin to feel sweaty and a bit panicky.

So now as sit here writing, I  think to myself a snow and ice storm could be a blessing. Oh to be snowed in,with electricity of course, could just be the ice cold medicine I need to make it to the finish line.

Our creek last winter

 The day after Christmas I always end up saying the same thing to myself. I say it with a deep sigh, By golly next year will be different,I intend to do less and make time to actually enjoy the season. Like the very act of saying it will some how carve into a piece of coal and make it happen. Instead I seem to test that statement and discover more crafts to try, more tasks to embrace,and more excuses in the end as to why I couldn't complete any of it.

A beautiful drive once we were able to dig out last winter

 I think it's all about wanting to create the perfect holiday. That amazingly perfect holiday that I have in my mind. Which I must admit is next to impossible to live up to. I know this, I really do. Somewhere deep down underneath the visions of sugared plums set on a buffet table that would amaze Martha Stewart.

Swedish gingerbread house from

 So while I sat in my car watching the garage door close I made a decision. A kind of promise to the ghost of Christmas present. That this Christmas is already perfect. It's not about finding the perfect gift. Or finding the perfect wrapping paper with the perfect matching bow. Or even the perfect menu, on the perfect buffet table set around the perfect centerpiece......well I must admit that is kind of important.

Every Christmas that God gives us is a blessing.

 The only ingredient I need to make this, or any other years celebration perfect, is just for everyone to be healthy and able to come together as a family, gathered of course around my perfectly set buffet table.
Now where on earth is my good table cloth and cake stand?
I guess I'll never learn.
Please Lord don't give up on me yet!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Creative Friday

Use what you have,that's a thought that today's economy brings to mind. When I need something I try to make sure I don't already have enough materials around the house first, before I head out to the craft store.
So I went to my ever growing stash of goodies. You know what that is,most crafter's have them, fabric scraps,salvaged trims, buttons, a little of this or that left over from previous projects. You keep them because you just know you will need them someday,for something.
So I decided to make a tree with some left over scraps of burlap from an old coffee sack. Then I discovered these snowflake buttons I had bought on a sale a while back. I just knew that they would be handy to have someday. The Styrofoam cone was in the craft closet from last year. I honestly can't remember what I had planned to make. An idea came to mind of a rustic little tree to help dress up my master bathroom.
First I wrapped a 3" strip of burlap around the base of the cone,pinning it in place.
Next I cut the coffee sack scrap into small squares and rectangles. Some of the pieces I folded in half and used a rather long straight pin to attach it to the cone. Some I folded twice into a point and pinned them to the cone. I found it handy to add a drop of white glue to the pin to help it stay in place. I love how the burlap begins to fray and leaves so many uneven edges. Then I added the white snowflake buttons here and there for a great contrast effect.
I was hoping I might have a perfect red or gold bead for the star. However all I could find was a large green glass bead from an old beaded tassel.I put it on top of a couple natural colored, flat wooded beads to help raise it up high.They are attached to the top of the tree with a sparkly glitter pipe cleaner.

When you combine contrasts like burlap with the grace of a stark white snowflakes,well now that is eye catching. I now wish I had added some sparkly beach glass, ice like glitter,and a paper garland cut from some old book pages. Well that just means one thing,I must make another one.
So I think it adds a tad bit of charm to a small corner of my bath.Especially surrounded with a vintage  glittered house and a few of God's gifts from the sea.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Whew....Almost finished Decorating

I can now say I am nearly done with all of my Christmas decorating. It has never taken me this long before. Just a few minor touches and it will be totally complete.

Oops I forgot the wreath on the door
This tree is finally done

I guess you could say I love Elves

 Oh no I forgot I saw something on Martha Stewart today I want to try for my table.
So I guess I'm not done yet. If they turn out presentable I will share it with you all.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Enjoying Books At Christmas

I love to read and during the holiday's I like to find a book centered around a Christmas theme. Last year I read a fun light hearted novel called On Strike for Christmas by author Sheila Roberts. A group of women in a knitting circle, who begin to feel unappreciated by their husbands for all the hard work that goes into Christmas. So when their husbands begin their annual Bah Humbug ways these wives decide to go on strike. They inform their husbands that if there is going to be a holiday at all, then they will have to do it themselves. That's when the fun begins!

 It got me to thinking. What would our holidays look like if our husbands had to do it all? The decorating, the shopping,the wrapping,not to mention the cooking. Do you think Christmas cards would ever be mailed out?  I must admit that my husband is very helpful,but the bulk of the holiday preparation does fall on most wives.
Not many of us would be brave enough to simply turn it all over to the men in our lives.
But it is a rather funny thought.

Giving and receiving books at Christmas time is something I treasure. Two favorites I love to give as gifts are Snowflakes by Kenneth Libbrecht and A Cup Of Christmas Tea by Tom Hegg. The Snowflakes book has the most beautiful photos of actual snowflakes from all over the world. Believe it or not they are different in different regions. It certainly is enough alone, but I especially like to present  it with a snowflake ornament .

A Cup Of Christmas Tea always brings me to tears when I read it.I is such a sweet story of a man who feels forced to visit his elderly Aunt at Christmas. During that dreaded visit wonderful memories come fooding back. It is written so beautifully and is such an easy read that it should become a traditional book to read to children like Twas the night before Christmas.Pair that with tea cups and favored tea and it makes a great present for anyone.I have even given this to a pastor at our church before, in a basket filled with goodies.

This leads me to another Christmas tradition we try to enjoy every year. A bit different from the others ,and that is  Davis Sedaris Live at Carnegie Hall. I haven't ever read the book assuming it is available as a book,we have it in a CD. The best part is, David Sedaris the author is the reader.Trust me it is hysterical from beginning to end. The relationship between himself and his siblings is a hoot!

Our favorite part ,is the story he tells about when he travels abroad.There two questions he always likes asks the locals. They're questions he feels helps him get to know the people and their culture.
The first question is :What does your rooster say? Ours of course is cockadoodledo, but other countries have a totally different sound.
The second question is:When do you open your Christmas presents? That question then leads into the funniest story of all. It's a story you will remember and laugh every time you think of it.This CD has fast become our family's favorite.We especially enjoy it when we have to travel very far by car. 

Several years ago we had the great opportunity to meet Mr. Sedaris in Louisville Ky, at Carmichaels Bookstore on Frankfort Ave. We even had my grandson Patrick with us who loves his CD as much as we do. He had prepared to read several stories to this large crowd when he was told a younger fella was in the audience. Some of his books can be more adult than others,however Patrick has only listen to this one paticular CD. I think my grandson was just excited to get to meet a successful comedic author.

So Mr. Sadaris changed what he was going to read, which was very kind, and that made it possible for us to stay. I must say that evening was a lot of fun, and a great story for another time.We all joked on the way home that David Sedaris might remember this visit to Louisville, as well as his few minutes meeting us .

Just writing about this has made me laugh out loud in my office. So now if you will excuse me I must go and enjoy a little David Sadaris family tradition.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Spending My Christmas Dollars On Handmade This Year

I have spent an enormous amount of time shopping on Etsy lately. There is so much talent out there it amazes me. I so envy all of the artists who make a living doing what they love.

The piece I ordered today. Can't wait for him to arrive!

Today I found an artist who fulfills two of my passions. The first is pages from old books,I am always drawn to objects with words, handwritten or typed. The second, is woodland animals,especially a red fox. My interest really started when I actually saw one while driving down a road in the city limits, where you would never expect to see one. Since I haven't ever seen one in the wild before, this one seemed quite tall. He ( not sure male or female) had a beautiful red coat and four black legs which looked like he was wearing boots. He wasn't skiddish, in fact he seemed totally unaffected by my presense as I slowed down to get a better look..

I haven't seen him since in that area,so I often wonder where he went ,and how he came to be there in the first place.

I have become an accidental collector of  another character,Alice in Wonderland, especially the Mad Hatter. My office ( at my day job) is slowly becoming a museum of sorts. Among my small collection of paper toys I now have gained several Alice's,Mad Hatter's, and White Rabbits.

I must say I did mention to my daughter in law that she has an awesome Queen of Hearts.I do enjoy it all .The childhood innocence of it all brightens my day and makes me smile. That's important when your day job is in the field of construction. Now that's a story all on it's own trust me!

You can find her incredible shop on etsy here called Fauxkiss..Please visit her shop, and while there do some shopping for Christmas. I have to say cyber shopping can save a ton of time, the one thing I am always running short on.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

An Amazing Clay Lady

I wanted to share with you all the art of a very talented lady. She sculpts some amazing polymer clay pieces. Her attention to detail is quite incredible.I can not imagine doing such tiny work. She has a shop on Etsy where all of her items can be seen and are available. I just purchased one of her Russian Doll ornaments and can't wait for it to arrive. It will look perfect on my family room Christmas tree.

Look at the detail on his coat,Amazing!
Do yourself a favor and check her shop out. She is featuring her dog ornaments  in a treasury on Etsy December 2  under the Pets catagory. Besides the darling pet ornaments she also has pins to wear that are such fun. I also don't want to forget her cake toppers that she makes and I believe may offer custom design on those as well.Here you can find her Paris Santa ornament and all of her other wonderful items.
A sweet little pug ornament part of her Treasury on Etsy
You can find her as well on her blog as well as on facebook.
I love to shop on Etsy and giving a hand made gift truly is the best part of gift giving!