Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Christmas Story

Well, I've lived to tell. A week ago I didn't think that would be the case! So much to do and it always seems like so little time to get it all done. But in the end, it's always so worth it. This is proof of that. See those happy faces? Lots of memories made. So grateful for all of my many blessings. Especially, my family and being able to spend time together. It truly is one of our favorite places to be.

Short post tonight as I'm still recovering from all the hoopla. Looking forward to getting back to a "normal" schedule in a week or so, but trying to enjoy this time to snuggle in and relax a little. Hope this finds everyone basking in the warm glow of sweet Christmas memories.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Waitin' For the Man with the Bag

Yes, still blogging. Still wrapping, crafting and other such nonsense. And trying to avoid more cleaning. I've made alot of progress over the last few weeks, but there seems to be a never ending list of things to do. That's how it is when your a procrastinator. Even the best of intentions come back to smack you upside the head for not acting upon them earlier. Oh, well. It will get done and tomorrow I'm focusing on my family and spending time with them. The rest, won't matter at that point. I'll just pick up the ball the next day.

And if you think I'm crazy for the litany of things I'm doing at the final moment, well check this out. Yes, mom couldn't bear that my tree was going topless! She made this star from paper and we glittered it together this afternoon while we made peanut clusters. TA-DA! instant heirloom!See? It runs in the family. :)

I'm off to wait for the man with the big red bag. We've been tracking him on Norad and other sites. Lots of fun with a nine year old who still believes. We've all been ordered to be in bed by 8:50 pm tonight! He just.can't.wait!

Saturday, December 22, 2007


It's crunch time, folks. If you're the one in your family primarily responsible for holiday happiness you know what I mean. I've been wrapping like a fiend and I'm nearly finished. Just two or three small gifts left and the wrapapalooza at my house will be over. Well, except for a few Santa gifts (ssshh, don't tell!).

I actually enjoy wrapping, but at some point you begin wishing you were through. Here are few of my favorites this year. I hope the recipients enjoy opening them as much as I did getting them ready. You can see I'm clearly a fan of the velvet ribbon!

Well, I'm off to clean up my wrapping mess. Now that I can check that off, I'm on to the many other items on my list. Just in case I don't get back here before the big day, have a wonderful holiday. May the blessings of the season be yours.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

O, Tannenbaum

Our tree is finally up. Thanks in no small part to Mom. I was so touched this afternoon when she shared why it was so important to her that we get our tree up every year (it's always such a struggle for me). Mom said one year their family had nothing at all for Christmas and my grandmother was frustrated and angry and didn't want to even put up a tree. Mom said she and her sisters and brother were really disappointed and upset. So that's why every year Mom stays on me until I get with the program and get a tree up. Several years, my sister, Marisa has picked up the baton even so far as to accompany me to the Christmas tree lot. Mom, thanks for reminding me what a privilege it is to have a tree with twinkling lights, beautiful decorations and a warm home in which to display it. Now it seems more official that Christmas is coming.

Let the merriment begin!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My Favorite Things

Updated: photos added. Thanks for your patience!

I was driving to work this morning listening to my newest Christmas cd-Michael W Smith's, It's A Wonderful Christmas and as I noticed the geese flying against the grey sky, I was reminded of the song, My Favorite Things. You know the line, "...wild geese that fly with the moon on their wing"? In keeping with the favorite things theme, I thought I'd share of few of my favorite things this holiday season. I hope some of you will leave a comment and share some of your favorites of the season as well. ;)

  • Clementine oranges

  • Peppermint everything-have you had the Trader Joe's peppermint cookies? YUM!

  • Handmade gifts (the photo is my fav one to make so far this year)

Love all the sources for inspiration this year. Have you been watching Martha? She had darling make it yourself tassel earrings and handmade cufflinks and leather cardholders on her show today. CUTE! You can find info on the Blueprint or Martha's website. Love what she said about blogging today and how she interacted with her young editors.

  • The music of Christmas-loving my newest one by Smitty-all of his Christmas cd's are among my favorites, but this one is just beautiful. Also love old favorites from Jewel, Shawn Colvin, The Isaacs, Harry Connick. Music definitely sets the mood-makes grey skies soothing and comforting, especially after seeing them daily for a couple weeks! The Pottery Barn Christmas collections are wonderful, BTW.

  • Memories of childhood Christmases, but also memories of travelling with the (college) choir at Christmas-those were magical times. Our professor loved Christmas and it was a highlight to visit their home after our "home" concert to see their magnificent tree and vast collection of heirloom ornaments. This is the photo of Jeff I mentioned in a previous post.

  • Packaging-check your junk mail this time of year for lots of eye candy and inspiration. Are you collecting the stamps from your Christmas cards? HINT: anything in a cellophane bag looks great!

  • Cherry red, bright blue and green with silver AND gold-very vintage, but also loving soft blue and pink and white, always lots and lots of white.

  • Comfort & Joy E-zine-best thing I could've done to stay inspired and get my handmade gifts completed this year.

  • The Figgy Pudding line of doublesided papers from Basic Grey. Here are the pocket cards I made with some of those papers. I love this idea!

  • Martha's Christmas line at Macy's-have you seen the butterfly boxes/ornaments? Beautiful!

  • Velvet ribbon

  • The Holiday (my new must watch dvd this time of year), but also love Holiday Inn, Christmas In Connecticut and White Christmas.

  • Starbucks gift cards-pass the cheer!

And, if you're keeping track there are only 12 more shopping/getting ready for Christmas days left! It's crazy how we all dash about at this time of year, isn't it? And dash away I must--don't forget to share your favorites!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Holiday Vignettes

Thought I'd share of few of the vignettes that are coming together as I pull out our Christmas decorations. I've been particularly inspired this year by Rebecca Sower and Heather Bullard. I know I've mentioned them before, but you can check them out on their blogs HERE and HERE. BTW, Heather has a fantastic online store and you can purchase handmade art by Rebecca from her Etsy shop.

So fun to get all the decorations out each year. Like visiting old friends. Some of these are old favorites-special finds. This is one of my very favorites.
This is Sad Tom-seriously, that's the name the designer gave him. They are very hard to find as are the Billy Buttons snowmen that Dept 56 put out years ago. I always place Sad Tom near the photo of Jeff as a toddler crying on Santa's lap. Jeff's mom shared this photo with me which was in their hometown paper one Christmas. I'll have to share that later on, but you might be able to see a little peek of it in the background.

Just like everyone at this time of year, I have lots to do. The lists are long and distinguished. Much more than what I actually have time or energy to do! But I'm making progress-I about have the snowman project wrapped up-literally and now I'm on to make a few more things. Loving the homemade holiday idea, but it is time consuming, that's for sure. Super energized by my Comfort & Joy e-zine and so that's really helping to keep the momentum going. Still hope to get the tree up Sunday evening and some baking done this week as well as getting a family photo made and the accompanying cards out.

For now, I'm off to make brownies for my sweetie. Have a wonderful weekend!
P.S. Did anyone see the very cool idea Martha had on her show yesterday using newspaper or other paper scraps, a knitting needle, clay and diamond dust? Very cool. I'm sure the directions are on her website. I hope I get a chance to try it!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

DIY Stress Relief

It is only December 5th and already many are feeling the effects of the holiday rush. I was in the post office today and there was nearly a brawl because a worker had changed the number roll and the numbers were all of out order! Finally, someone had the bright idea to line up in the order we came in. Geesh! But, if you are already stressed and can't get from underneath your to-do list then pour yourself a glass of wine, make a cup of tea or grab the chocolate and check out a couple do-it-yourself stress relievers.

The first was sent to me via email tonight. Click on this link to Elf Yourself. You can load up to four different photos and you can even record a message with your own voice. This is hysterical! The only trick is choosing a photo that can be sized correctly. I gave up after awhile, but it is really funny.
The second stress reliever is the project from Day 3 of my Comfort & Joy e-zine. Take several glass Christmas ornaments (I chose gold 'cause that's what I had laying around) and remove the
Place the ornaments in a heavy ziploc bag and seal closed.
Then proceed to break the ornaments into teeny tiny pieces using a rolling pin, icecream scoop
or other heavy object.
This not only relieves stress, but will leave you with beautiful glass glitter shards you can use on
all kinds of holiday projects. It's a two-fer! And if you have broken ornaments this is a great green idea for recycling them into something else. I'll share what I did with my glitter soon. And since this is truly glass glitter, be sure to keep it out of the way of children and pets.

Okay, I'm off to work on my own to do list. If you're feeling stressed I hope you'll try one or both of these. Otherwise, just stop, breathe and remember the reason for the season. :)

Monday, December 03, 2007

A Work In Progress

That is me-a work in progress. Always starting something and struggling to complete it or get it right and never quite getting there. In fact, I feel like that sums up my life in general. However, I think it's good to constantly be working on things and especially to be striving to evolve as a person. The apostle Paul said, "I press on...straining for the goal". I want to be a better mom, friend, sister, wife. I want to be the person that God would have me to be. Most days I fail miserably. Today's one of those days. House in shambles, take-out food for dinner, shooing Brady off to bed, knee deep in making Christmas gifts and shopping online, words chosen poorly throughout the day. And rushing, always rushing.

Photo is one of many works in progress on my kitchen island tonight. This is the project for Day 2 of Comfort & Joy. Not quite finished, of course! Oh, well. Tommorrow's another day and another chance to get right.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Comfort & Joy

The clock is ticking-only 24 shopping days until Christmas! Where does the time go? Well, I'm trying to make the most of it and as usual have probably bitten off more than I can chew. As if I didn't already have plenty to do, I signed up for the 12 Days of Comfort & Joy E-Zine that Teresa McFayden is hosting. Today's project -a gift diary was perfect since I was trying to make lists and get organized this morning. Just loved Teresa's sample, but for once broke away and kinda did my own thing. I know, can you believe it?!

Basically, we just embellished a litte notebook to carry lists and notes about the gifts we're shopping for. Of course, Teresa used a vintage date book and replaced the inside pages with cardstock. Like I said, I did mine a smidge different and a little less complicated. It's not super Christmasy on the outside either. Lately, I am really loving these Amy Butler papers and these out-of-the-ordinary Christmas colors that I carried over from the banner I made recently.
Loved that the ledger paper had a "25" on it. Put tabs along the edges to jazz it up and also to have a spot for favorites of this year-songs, colors, stores, etc-things I want to remember next year and beyond.
I even dated my diary hoping to maybe follow Teresa's lead and do this annually. I also followed her lead and set aside pages for those nearest and dearest to me. I used vintag-y Daisy D's cardstock tags-I have a thing for Christmas tags so I thought this was fun to label my pages this way.
And I made a little ribbon bookmark with this beautiful crushed velvet ribbon and a couple buttons-my ode to Rebecca Sower.

This is a really quick, satisfying little project and now I'm organized and ready to get my shopping done. I'll add more details and embellishments to my diary as I go along, but wanted to make sure to at least get the basics done today. I didn't want to get behind on the comfort and joy the very first day!. I definitely want to add a pocket for receipts and maybe even one for ticket stubs. And I'm naturally on the hunt for a Creative Imaginations Christmas swatch book of rubons to use on my cover page which Teresa used in her sample. Yep, still a copycat at heart.
Can't wait for day 2 of Comfort & Joy. Happy shopping!
Oh, yeah-the seal punch-that is from Martha. It was a total splurge, but I am SO loving it!