December 23, 2009

A Card Display and a Christmas Decor Wrap-Up

So, I was just telling myself that I was done with Christmas projects and holiday decor for this year...but there was a but...but I would really like to do something different with the way I display our Christmas cards other than just sticking them up on the refrigerator. I knew that there just had to be some creative ideas out there and I had intended to do some internet research. I hadn't even gotten around to it when I read this post by Centsational Girl on that very subject. There are several great ideas for displaying cards in her post. 

I really like the way she used a chain for her display. I had some gold chain left over from another project and since my Christmas decor is gold and red, I wanted to do something similar but using those colors.

It took me awhile to find a good place for the display. I finally decided to hang it on the door to the office which is in our front entryway.


Similar to what CG did, I added some ornaments here and there.

100_0452 Here is a little tour of some of the rest of our Christmas decor:





Thanks for visiting!

December 22, 2009

Wall Art

I was in one of my nesting phases in the Fall and would find myself looking at the big empty wall space surrounding the baker's rack. We've lived in this house for a few years now and I really have not done much with the walls. We have a lot of wall's intimidating. So, I decided to do something. What's the big deal...I can always change it, right? How much trouble can I get into...perhaps some misplaced holes in the wall...those can be fixed, right? Of course. What followed was several days of shopping, painting, hammering, etc. I started with tackling the baker's rack wall.
I had seen a big metal wall hanging that I thought would fit nicely on one side of the rack. I considered it and came back to look at it a couple of times. I finally decided that I could make something similar. I purchased three metal tiles for 50% off at Hobby Lobby. I believe they were originally red and green. I wish I would have taken before pictures of my past projects. I used Rub n' Buff and some antiqued bronze spray paint. I applied some of both until I was satisfied. The wall hanging I was tempted to buy, was made up of three connected pieces. I did something similar with some old chain and cup hooks. I resized and painted curtain rods and hung the whole piece on iron hooks from Hobby Lobby. It took some time to put it all together and I remember at one point thinking that I should have just purchased the original piece - it probably would have cost the same if not less than what I had spent on the one I made. In the end, I didn't regret it because I really enjoyed the whole creative process and it makes me happy knowing that I made it myself. Here it is:
I needed to do do something with the other side of the rack for balance. Rather than one piece, I decided on an arrangement of things. Even though we have several clocks in our house and the stove and microwave both display the time, I wanted to include a clock. When I was growing up, we always had a clock in the kitchen so I feel that a kitchen should have a clock. I like the antique keys I've been seeing everywhere so the arrangement I had in mind included keys. Here's what I ended up doing on the other side:
More hooks and a knob were used for hanging everything. I used Rub n' Buff and antiqued bronze spray paint on the keys and hooks. The framed letter D was originally a mirror. I liked the the frame, so I left that alone. I had some black spray paint on hand that I used to paint the back of the mirror. I painted the D  which was originally black, gold. When everything was dry, I glued the D to the back of the mirror and put it back in the frame. I used leather cord to hang the keys and attached chain to the frame to hang the D.
I was a little hesitant when the time came to hang everything but once I got started, everything fell into place nicely.
100_0247 That was so much fun...but wait I wasn't quite done. On one of my many trips to Hobby Lobby I saw a fork and spoon that I knew I wanted to incorporate somewhere. I spray painted them gold and hung them by the patio door.

December 20, 2009

A Christmas Gift For My Little Crafter

I want to share a Christmas gift for my 6 year old that I am very excited about. Pookie likes crafting as much as I do and it's one of several ways we spend quality time together. While shopping for her Christmas gifts, I came across a toy sewing machine. I thought about how much she would love it and I almost bought it right then but I thought I had better look at some reviews first.

I couldn't find any toy machines that rated well. How disappointing would it be to get one that would end up being frustrating to operate? My grandmother was a dressmaker and a love for sewing had been passed down from her to my mom to me and I want pass it down to my little girl. I wasn't ready to give up on the idea, so I searched for recommendations for a first machine for kids. There were several suggestions for starting with a real machine. Well, that makes sense, after all my expectation is that sewing is something she will enjoy for a lifetime.

So, what to do? I was sure I could find a simple reliable machine but I am also in need of a new machine. Should we just share one? I planned to hold off on replacing my machine, at least until after the holidays. What a let down...I was so excited about this gift idea. Then I read a recommendation for a 3/4 machine and found this one:

Isn't it cute? I have seen the smaller craft machines but I wasn't familiar with 3/4 machines. I found one for just a bit more than I would have paid for a toy machine. From the reviews, it should be well worth the difference. I can't wait to see my girl's face when she opens this present and I'm really looking forward to teaching her how to sew.

December 18, 2009

A Missed Opportunity

Living in the suburban midwest, occasionally we see articles about coyotes and missing pets. With two dogs of our own, it has crossed our minds that we need to be careful. Having a fenced yard has perhaps given us a false sense of security.

Pookie and I were on our way back from breakfast with hubby recently and had just entered our subdivision when she pointed out a dog. This is in no way an unusual site, however; this was not a dog - it was a coyote!

It was still early and foggy and the neighborhood was  quiet. He had just crossed the street, barely spared us a glance and headed across the middle of a frozen pond. He paused to take a drink off of the ice and then continued on his way. I've heard we have them in our area and even have seen them from a good distance, but this was so close. Later that day Pookie and I were doing some Christmas shopping for her daddy at Bass Pro Shops and were able to confirm, that yes indeed, that had been a coyote.

My full-time profession has given me some experience with internal web applications however, I have only recently ventured out onto the internet. Being a new blogger, I'm trying to learn as much as I can in order to be a good and responsible blogger. One tip I've come across is to keep my camera handy. This was a perfect example of why...darn it, I wish I had my camera.

December 12, 2009

Christmas Trees

When decorating for Christmas, I used to replace the potted plants on top of my kitchen cabinets with artificial poinsettias. Last year I decided to do something different. I found these iron Christmas trees at Hobby Lobby:

Originally they were a plain brownish color. I had recently discovered one of my favorite things - Rub 'n Buff - so I knew I could make them prettier. I thought they were still a bit plain so this year, I added some garland and picks. Here they are after:

Christina (daughter #2) put the outdoor lights up on schedule just before Thanksgiving. The front porch still needed something and I had some vague ideas for what I might add. I needed some inspiration so Pookie(daughter #3) and I stopped by a nearby garden center. We both really like to browse around in that store. As I suspected, we found plenty of holiday decor but the prices were pretty steep. That's ok though because I left with an idea for my porch pots that I could create fairly inexpensively. I picked up a couple of wire forms that are used for making topiaries at Hobby Lobby for $11.99 each. I spray painted them gold and wrapped them with berry and pine garland that I picked up at Jo-Ann's for 50% off. For convenience reasons, I had wanted to top them with ready made bows. I was surprised to find that much of the holiday merchandise was already gone from the stores and could no longer find any bows that I liked so I was left with having to make them myself. A few years ago, I made the bows that I use to decorate the garland on my banisters. I did a search for bow making instructions to refresh my memory. They were much easier to make than I had remembered and I ended up needing several so I'm glad I didn't spend extra money on ready made. Here are the new front porch trees:

I hung some more of the garland around the door with Command hooks. I also decorated a grapevine wreath to go with the garland but when I went to hang it, it wasn't quite working so I hung a welcome sign with one of my bows attached instead. I put another bow on the bell (another 50% off find from Jo-Ann's) that is hanging from the light fixture.

Here's the wreath which is hanging in the front hall instead of outside:

December 2, 2009

Christmas Chandelier

I've never been crazy about the chandelier above my kitchen table. I have some vague ideas of changing it. Perhaps I'll paint it and/or replace the shades or maybe I'll replace it completely. So far, no clear plan has formulated and other home projects have been higher on the list of priorities.

While decorating for a previous Christmas, I asked Teresa (daughter #1) to wrap the chandelier in some berry garland that I picked up at Jo-Ann's. She did a great job and since I have red accents in my decor year round, I left it. I recently took it down to decorate for her baby shower - it didn't go with the blue tissue paper pom poms.

Recently this craft caught my eye and since the berry garland was way beyond it's expiration date, I thought I'd give it a try. I used various red glass ornaments, Christmas candle rings and beaded garland which were all 50% off at Hobby Lobby.

Here's what my version looks like:

November 28, 2009

Holiday Hearth

I was at our local home deco store recently and as often happens, quickly became overwhelmed by all of the shoppers and all of the stuff...especially the sparkly holiday things. My mind was blank and I couldn't remember any of the ideas I've had for new projects or what I already have and what changes I'd like to make to my Christmas decor. Many things were added to and then removed from my cart. I finally left with just a few items and a little inspiration. My husband came home to find my 'spray-painting box' in his parking spot and was very confused about why I was painting the wood from our wood pile.

Here's what I needed for this project:

Spray paint and glitter


and a floral swag.  Here is the final result: