Wednesday, December 30, 2009

One, Single, Lone, Little Word

Step 1 (so I hear) is to admit I have a problem.

Well, I have a problem.  I am a blog addict.  I probably follow about 100 blogs...thank Heavens for Google Reader!  Several blogs (including Clover Lane and Ali Edwards) I read have transitioned from Christmas to the New Year.  Quite a few of these blogs describe a fabulous idea, which encouraged some thought on my part.

First of all, a little background...I'm not a New Year Resolution type person.  I don't think I've ever made one.  In fact, I doubt I ever will.  However, the two blogs linked above suggest focusing on one word that will guide your decisions throughout the year.

For example, you may choose the word SIMPLIFY.  So, throughout the year you will consistently make decisions with this one word in mind.  You will focus on simplifying your life in every area.

I'll soon as I read these posts, I knew this was something I wanted to do.  I love the idea of choosing one area (potentially a weakness) and really focusing all year on improving it.  So, here you go.  My word is...

This might be a little strange, but let me explain.  In high school, I had a basketball coach who often found the time to tell me that I wasn't a risk taker.  I thought he was crazy.  I found numerous examples proving him wrong.  Well, now that I look back on my life...I'll admit that he might have been right (another area I'm not so good at either).  I like to do things where I can immediately excel.  I don't want to have to practice endlessly to be just decent.  I want to practice for hours to be exceptional.  I don't truly try anything where I might fail.  So, I've decided this is the year.  This is the time I'm going to step out of my comfort zone and potentially fail.  I'm going to try different things whether or not I know I'll be successful.  I'm sure I'll fall flat on my face occasionally, and you might answer your phone to a few tearful calls...but I'm going to take a few risks.  I hope you'll feel free to ask me about the risks I've taken throughout the next year and encourage me to step out and take a risk!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Holiday Madness

Well, let me begin by wishing you a Merry Christmas.  I must fill you in quickly because I find humor in my holiday.

First, fruit basket delivery was fantastic...even though I had a car accident.  Let me explain, Dad is an atrocious driver.  Therefore, I always drive.  We finished our morning Mableton route and were headed to the Square Bagel for lunch.  The plan was to switch kids (we began with the middles and were switching to the oldest after lunch).  While on the way, I got a little carried away talking to Dad.  We all know how this story ends...and it isn't good.  Ella's quote, "Issie, you go bonk on the cars."

Second, the Christmas Eve party was fabulous.  I loved catching up with friends and family, but it is amazing how quickly the night goes by.  There were people at the party that I never even had the opportunity to see or speak to throughout the night.

We celebrate Christmas on the 26th.  Everyone wakes up on Christmas morning and celebrates with their family and then their in-laws.  This allows us to have everyone at Mom and Dad's for pajama Christmas on the 26th.  Well, Lilly (my sister's oldest) began throwing up on the way home from the in-laws on Christmas evening.  So, we knew they wouldn't make it to our celebration on the 26th.  Then, Mom called last night at midnight.  She was vomiting.  So, we've yet to celebrate Christmas, and I've had two fabulous days to do nothing.  Everyone seems to be recovering, and we'll probably celebrate in a day or two.  The men are all going hunting tomorrow, so it will not be with everyone.

The moral of this story is...things don't always go as planned.  In the meantime, I experienced a phenomenal candlelight Christmas Eve service (thanks to a dear friend who coerced me into going even when it was pouring down rain).  There is nothing better than seeing your church fully dark except for candles and listening to Silent Night with a guitar and hundreds of your church family singing along.

Blessings, my friends!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Time for Giving

Several posts ago, I featured some of my favorite aspects of Christmas and traditions carried out by our family.  One of my favorite traditions takes place on Christmas Eve morning.  

As a child, Dad carried us out on Christmas Eve to deliver fruit baskets.  Most of the people we visited as children, were old, smelly, and boring.  I hated the tradition.  In fact, it was my most dreaded part of Christmas.  We couldn't stand to go along and often begged to be left behind.  As an adult, I am appalled that I acted that way.  What I realize now is that these people were the ones that made my father into the person he is today.

Over the years, we visited Dad's mentor...the person he claims is responsible for him becoming a lawyer.  I remember Dad talking for hours about history, politics, and the law.  Dad always left with a handful of old and dusty books and a promise to report back after he'd read them.

We also visited a Mableton family who traded at Barnes Hardware (the family hardware store).  They had a daughter with Down syndrome, and I remember the way Dad spoke with her, listened to her accomplishments, and showed us the important role she held in society.

We visited Aunt Lucy (now deceased) who always had a homemade pecan pie made for Dad.  Mom never saw these pies because Dad would eat the entire thing before we made it home.

We visited Dad's elementary school teacher who thought he hung the moon and a Mableton preacher who always had time to pray for us and our upcoming year.

I see so much of who I am today because of what I learned on these visits.  I appreciate aspects of life that were never interesting to me...all because of these experiences.  These were inspirational people to Dad, but what I often forget is how much they've meant to me.

Tomorrow, we're taking the kids (my nieces and nephew) for the third year in a row.  I hope they'll eventually reflect on this experience as I do and understand they are better people because of it.

Merry Christmas, friends!

Christmas Wish List

Do you have a Christmas wish list?  Did you write a little note to your sweet Santa?

About a month ago, I decided to start the true search for my Christmas wish list item.  I coaxed a sewing friend into visiting a local sewing shop with me, all so I could look at sergers.  Although I only started sewing about 6 months ago, I see tutorials all the time that involve the use of a serger.  I love to sew.  I don't think I've ever found a craft/activity that I enjoyed as much...yes, I know it is dorky!

Anyway, after trying out the various machines and checking into features, prices, etc., I delivered the pamphlet and sale schedule to my parents.  Mom quickly informed me that she already had my Christmas presents purchased, but she would "take it into consideration."

I couldn't get a vibe on whether this was a ploy or the truth.  I peeked under the tree last week while I was visiting their house.  I'll be honest, there is a box that is the perfect size for a sewing machine.  I asked her to show me which gifts were mine (she doesn't use gift tags), so I could figure out if the box was mine.  She didn't bite!  I'm trying really hard not to get my hopes up, but I can dream, right!?!

Even nerdier than being in LOVE with sewing, I bought a book on sergers...what they do, features, information, etc.  Love it!  I'm almost finished.  I want to be "uber-prepared" just in case!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Peacock Christmas

Conversation 1 month ago at Hobby Lobby...

Me: Mom, look at this amazing peacock ribbon.  Wouldn't it be amazing on a Christmas tree?

Mom:  It is beautiful.  You know, I have a box of peacock ornaments in my basement.  You're welcome to borrow them.

When I described Christmas at my parents as "Santa throwing up," I certainly wasn't kidding.  Who do you know that randomly has a box of peacock ornaments (not even opened) in their basement?  I've decided not to question it, considering I'm reaping the benefits!

Several weeks later, I awoke to the annoying ring of my telephone...

Mom: I have a white Christmas tree you can borrow for your peacock tree.

Me:  You're not going to use it.

Mom:  No, I don't have a place for it this year...and it is pre-lit.

I'll be honest, she had me at pre-lit.  I despise to put Christmas lights on a tree.  I'm not sure why it took me until 2009 to join the pre-lit revolution.

Anyhow, here is the tree...

As you can imagine, Mom came and decorated it (yes, I'm 30...No, I have no shame).

Just a little FYI...I created this fantastic collage using tips and tutorials from...

BCD Show and tell


The DIY Show Off

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Personalized Wreath

This year I've enjoyed checking out all of the wreaths people have created and displayed on their blogs.  Every year, I (wait, let me mom's handyman) hang plain green wreaths with red velvet ribbons on each one of my windows.  I love the look, but I wanted something new for my front door.  I've seen numerous wreaths created from picture frames, and it sparked an idea for me.

I decided to personalize mine, as I always enjoy a great monogram.  I purchased the frame (without glass) in the clearance/as is section for only $8.  The garland (attached with florist wire) was left over from my outdoor decorations.  The monogram was $18 at Hobby Lobby, but luckily I got it on a 50% off sale week.  Lastly, Mom created a bow to adorn the top.  Overall, a $17 wreath that I think turned out pretty well.  I'll certainly be reusing the frame throughout the year to see what I can create with it next.

Friday, December 18, 2009

And Stray Makes Three

Notice anything strange...

I'm sure most of you remember several months ago that I rescued a dog from being hit on Whitlock (a super busy road near my house).  Mom and Dad fell in love with the sweet little pumpkin.  In fact, we found her family.  They were considering sending her to a new family because they didn't have time for her, so Mom talked the owners into letting them keep her.  She moved into their home and was finally getting completely acclimated.  They have another dog, Lucy.  Mom and Dad set no boundaries for Lucy and were nervous that the new puppy with "cramp Lucy's style."  However, the two (being similar in size) quickly became friends and enjoyed playing and roughhousing together.

Several weeks ago, my mom called complaining Lucy was hurt.  After two visits to the vet (where they couldn't determine what was wrong), they put her on pain medication and decided she probably sprained her tail.  See, Lucy is a wagger.  She almost falls over getting so excited when Mom or Dad come home.  It is really funny to see Dad mimic this behavior (he'd die if he knew I was saying that).  With the new tail injury, she could hardly move.

Immediately after the injury, Mom and Dad left for an overnight visit to DC.  At 10:30pm on the night they left, Lucy began wining and yelping so bad that I called and woke up my parents at 2:00am.  I didn't know what to do with her.  After a trip to the emergency vet and an injection for pain, Lucy was resting comfortably...and so was I.

However, in the meantime Mom and Dad decided the stray puppy should come to live with me.  She is adorable, albeit not my kind of dog.  Addie is less than amused, and she continues to show no compassion for the little bit.  I tried to take their picture together, and this is what I ended with...could have been worse.

They have finally begun to play (after almost 2 weeks), but Addie does the majority of the playing/intimidating.  The puppy flops over to the submissive position and pats at Addie's face.  I don't know if the puppy will stay with us permanently (Mom thinks she is going to bring her home again after the holidays), so we'll just have to wait it out.

Here are some pictures of the pumpkin.  Mom and Dad named her Munchkin (which I despise), so notice I've gone the entire post without calling her by this name.  The only problem is she definitely knows her name.  I've tried to replace it with another 2 syllable no avail!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Tree #1

I think I need to spend some time learning how to photograph a Christmas tree.  Whenever I try, it never comes out as pretty as it is in person.

This year I put up only two trees (I usually put up three).  The one in my downstairs den is a traditional tree that features all my sentimental ornaments.  My mom puts up only themed trees, and I used to think I only liked those.  I now enjoy the look of the different ornaments, especially because the ornaments all symbolize a specific memory.

Another change for me this year is the star.  Typically, Mom comes over and makes bows for the top.  However, after Christmas last year I came across this star.  I decided it would add a little pizazz to the tree, and when on can you turn it down?  So, I incorporated them both - even if I had to cram it on because the ceiling is too low (can you tell it is a basement?).

The other aspect of Mom that I carried over is the wrapping of gifts.  All the presents are wrapped in the same paper and have matching "tied" bows.  I've finally mastered the tying only took 30 years.  The ribbon I use for the gift wrapping is carried over throughout the room (post from yesterday, tree, etc.).  This year I found the ribbon in multiple widths, which definitely provided a uniqueness.  Also, the gifts under this tree are all for the kids.  I love the wrapping paper and ribbon for my other tree, but it wasn't very kid-friendly.  This paper is exciting, in primary colors, and looks more juvenile.  I have some handmade tags too, but I can't seem to get them on the packages...maybe later tonight.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Decorations

So, if you know anything about my know Santa throws up in her house annually (beginning in October).  Her decorating is insane, and I often wonder why and how she does it.  I just don't feel like I have the energy and desire to decorate as much as she does.

I usually put up the same snowmen, same trees, same decorations yearly and don't even think twice about them.  This year, I decided to go out on a limb and change a few of the decorations.  So, I'm going to show a few off this week.  I'm also going to provide a tutorial or two for the ones I made.  Hopefully, I'll pick up my house enough to photograph my very unusual tree (definitely Mom's idea).

Today, I want to show you my newest decorations that I made several nights ago.

When you walk in the back door of my house, you are typically greeted with a display of photos in matching frames.  My goal was to use supplies and items I already had and only add something if absolutely necessary.  So, here is how these cuties came about.

I purchased a lot of five paper star ornaments at Michael's (the only newly purchased part of this).

I spray painted the five ornaments with some leftover paint I had from a previous project.

While waiting on the stars to dry, I took some Christmas scrapbooking paper and cut triangles to fit the stars.

With my favorite crafting tool, I used Mod Podge to apply the triangles to the spray painted stars.

After applying the scrapbook paper, I covered the entire ornament with Mod Podge.  Once the ornament was dry, I applied another layer.

Taking the picture frames that are typically on top of the bookshelves, I cut white paper to cover the pictures.  Then, I looped ribbon through the back hanger and attached the ornaments.

The final step (I didn't photograph) was to hot glue a button to the center of the ornament.  Don't you think they look super cute on my bookshelf?

I also added ribbon to my candles.  These are so fun because they are items I always have out, but they have a new twist for the holidays.

BCD Show and tell


Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Tree Earrings

I love handmade fact, I received a few the other night (more on that in a future post).  Anyway, I wanted to make something festive for a few friends, and I came up with these.

Christmas Tree Earrings

In case you need a few last minute gifts, here is a quick tutorial.




Small yellow round crystal bead

Small black round crystal bead

Large green flat crystal bead (this won't be completely flat, but it should not be round at all)

Medium green flat crystal bead

Flat nose pliers

Round nose pliers

**All of these materials can be found at Michael's, Joann, Hobby Lobby, etc.


STEP 1: Add a small black bead to the bottom of a headpin.

STEP 2: Add 2 large green beads to the headpin.

STEP 3: Add a medium sized green beads to the headpin.

STEP 4: Add a small yellow bead to the headpin.

STEP 5: Using the flat nose pliers, grasp the headpin slightly above the yellow bead.  Bend the top of the headpin around the top of the pliers.


STEP 6: Switch to the round nose pliers.  Place the end of the pliers through the hole created in the headpin.  Twist the headpin horizontally around the headpin.  There should now be a complete circle or loop in the headpin.

STEP 7: Continue to wrap the end of headpin around and around until there is no more wire remaining.  You may need to use the flat nose pliers to squeeze the wrapped portion.  This will keep the end of the wire from poking your ear.

STEP 8: Place the finished Christmas tree to the side.  Pick up the earwire, and place the flat nose pliers in the circle/loop at the bottom.

STEP 9: Rotate your wrist toward yourself (don't pull with your hand or it will lose shape) in order to open up the circle.

STEP 10: Place the circle/loop of the Christmas tree into the circle/loop of the earwire.

STEP 11: Rotate your wrist away from yourself (don't pull with your hand or it will lose shape) in order to close up the circle.

STEP 12: Continue the steps again to complete the second earring.

BCD Show and tell

I Heart Faces Photo Challenge

Have you heard of the blog I Heart Faces?  I'm new to the site, but I've learned they host weekly photo challenge competitions.  This week is my favorite...pets!  As soon as I read the post, I knew I had the perfect picture!

Go over and check out the competition.  I'm pretty sure that Addie is the most beautiful whether or not my photos is the best or not!

Holiday Cards

Just in case you missed yesterday's post...I love holiday cards.  I have an adorable Christmas tree that hangs on the wall and holds my cards during the month of December.

However, when January comes around, I am forced to find a new place for them.  Several years ago, I came up with the idea of saving them and then putting them out annually for visitors to view.

The project is super easy and takes no time at all.  You need a shower curtain ring, notecard decorated with the year, a hole puncher, and ribbons.  Create your cover with the year, hole punch all the cards, attach them to the shower curtain ring, and decorate the ring with holiday ribbon.

In order to remember who the people are in each picture, I create labels for the back of the card.  Some of the babies are hard to decipher several years later.

Here are a few more pictures of the ones I've made over the past several years.