Please Be Seated

I’m dreaming of a beautiful tablescape for Christmas brunch. I lust spend hours looking at and pinning gorgeous settings on my Pinterest boards. When I try to create them, I fall short. When I try to capture even that shortness on camera, I completely fail. That never stops me from trying.

Remember those wooden discs I left from last post? No? Well, let me refresh your memory.

DSC00040I couldn’t let them go to waste after Saint so carefully cut them, and I sanded and clear-coated them. But when I went back to look at my inspiration picture at this blog:http://redheadcandecorate.com/4/post/2014/11/mini-tree-stump-christmas-place-card-holders.html

I realized my wooden circles were much larger than the ones I wanted to recreate. I also knew I wanted to use what I had on hand rather than adding to my chaos stash of Christmas decor. I loved the small jewel toned ornaments that The Red Head used, but I had only clear, burgundy, and gold. And, what I did have was crinoline. I love that stuff! There’s just something so romantic and feminine about it, agree?

DSC00062I also had a whole woods full of nature. So, I went gathering the naturals: boxwood, cedar, bark, twigs and sticks. Then I got my supplies and trusty hot glue gun. Just when I thought I had all that iridescent snow cleaned up, I grabbed it and started sticking it onto those wooden discs.

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I started with the clear ornaments which I wrapped in crinoline and tied with shiny pink or white ribbon. I used a bit of the naturals plus odds and ends I had in my craft bag. When I had hot glued the ornament to the disc and added greenery, etc, I cut some black tag board rectangles for the names. My intent was to use a chalk pen so it would be erasable. Silly me. The chalk pen didn’t show up well enough, besides, who wants to store and reuse black paper rectangles? A metallic pen worked much better.

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I had six clear ornaments, which I wrapped in crinoline. One table will only seat six people. The other six mixed ornaments needed to be cohesive in some way. I’m not into the matchy-matchy, but I did want them to look like they belonged together…like family, you know. The naturals I had gathered worked in doing just that. Here are a few of them.

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And here’s what they look like all set up and ready for breakfast.

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I know what you’re thinking…this girl really needs a new camera, and it’s probably true. But then I would need a tutor. You know, If You Give a Girl a Camera, she’s gonna want to take some pictures. And when she turns on the camera, she’s gonna need someone to show her how to use it. I’m thinking a photography class might be a good first step.

So what I lack in photography skills, I make up for in cre I still lack in photography skills. Never let it be said that I am not persistent, though. Or conservative. Just look at the Christmas tags I made from the leftover sticks and twigs.

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I’m not giving up on making the cute ones I linked you to…just not this year.

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A Project and a Plan

It started as a quiet walk in the woods as Saint and I went looking for a log suitable for cutting wooden discs to turn into place cards for Christmas Breakfast.

DSC00040And it ended in this.

DSC00041As we passed the junk scrap wood pile, I noticed the legs I’d kept from a piece of furniture that we dismantled for another project. It’s hard to throw away good bones. I dragged it to the house where it sat under the deck for a few days, just long enough for it to call out to the weathered pallet propped against the wood pile. Saint and his saw soon merged the two into the “canvas.”

DSC00034This is the back side where he cut and attached the pallet wood to the frame.

I downloaded a deer silhouette from Pinterest.

DSC00033I positioned it on the “canvas” and set about using a stipple brush and some old jar of off white paint and water to whitewash the boards around the stencil.

DSC00038 DSC00037So then it was just a matter of deciding how to adorn it. I had already decided what to do with it. It looked like something our daughter-in-law would like. But then I wasn’t sure. She was coming over soon, so I told Saint we would put it on our porch; if she noticed it and liked it, it would be hers. If not, it looked pretty good right on our front porch.

DSC00042It went home with her! And she left something much better…but just for the weekend. And that’s the PLAN part of this post.

The Polar Express has long been one of my favorite Christmas read-alouds, probably beginning with the year that actress Tess Harper came to our classroom and read it to the kids. She cried. I cried. We were neither one sure the kids enjoyed it half as much as we did. Anyway, the plan was to create our little Polar Express tour of area Christmas lights with our granddaughter and her adorable friend.

I made tickets and bells. They wore their pajamas and hats…

DSC00044And we boarded the train Avalanche with blankets, snack mix, and hot chocolate.

DSC00045Saint “engineered” us to the lights.

DSC00047 DSC00048After seeing the lights in rural Rogersville and a trip by the turn of the century home where we lived for several years, the girls voted to skip Springfield in favor of the horse drawn carriage ride through the Ozark City Park light display.

20141213_183944-1And even though it was a mild 50 degree evening, we thought we needed snow. We tried to create our own using a combination of corn starch, shaving cream, and iridescent snow flakes.

DSC00051 DSC00052You can’t fool Mother Nature! It was too warm for snow. The iridescent flakes hurt the girls’ hands. The mixture wouldn’t stick together enough to make a snowman, but did manage to stick in every crack and crevice in the kitchen floor. That project was filed in…you guessed it…13.

We did successfully complete a couple of others.

DSC00055And have a fun breakfast with these DEER young ladies before our adventure ended.

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The wooden discs are still waiting in the work room. We’ll see what happens. I believe! Maybe the next post.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Thanksgivmas!

I tried. I really did. But it snowed, people! And it got chilly record-breakingly cold! And so what’s a body to do other than turn up the heat and put up the Christmas tree, right?  And besides, I lost might have misplaced my wedding rings, and I needed to move all the furniture, remove all the sofa cushions, and vacuum up all that popcorn chips dust that gathers in everyone’s house, of course. And so, when I rearranged everything, the only thing I found was a big empty space on one side of the room! No rings. Not even pocket change. Just a big empty corner that kept screaming, “CHRISTMAS TREE.”

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 I know I said last year was the last year for this tree, but here it is, more than a week before Thanksgiving and that tree is here. And I stayed with the same earthy tones. Rust just seems to fit in with our life style. The one thing I did differently this year was the garland. I left it off completely and went with ribbon. It was a much simpler process that I learned about here:

http://apopofpretty.com/tree-decorating-tips-ribbon/

 

how to add ribbon to a Christmas tree

If you are tired of winding twisting wadding messing with garland, give this a try. I mostly used ribbon I already had. I had planned to replace all my old lights with LED fancy ones and do the rag treatment that I used last year to make the swag for my dining room:

https://thymelesssageandrandomrants.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/let-the-fa-la-la-ing-begin/

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but I was just too lazy exhausted from all that wedding ring hunting.

Now, I have all the boxes strung all over pulled out of their highly organized space, but I am trying…really trying not to do any more Christmas decorating until AFTER Thanksgiving. And, no, I will not be shopping on Black Friday. I’ll be heading to Columbia for the big Rivalry Line game. Let the MIZ-sooie-ing begin!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pinspiration

Winter weather advisory + sleet = a pot of chili simmering. And projects.

My morning jaunt through Pinterest led me to a virtual holiday home tour here:

Jennifer Rizzo’s Holiday Housewalk 2013!

I tried. I really did, but after 30 minutes, I determined it would take me hours to find the exact spot for the inspirations for today’s projects, so just go touring like I did. Each and every house has its own flavor, and if you can’t be inspired…well, Bah Humbug!

The first attempt came from this comfy old sweater.

DSC00171Saint has loved this sweater for years, but the cuffs on the sleeves have frayed. Plus, I cut a big hunk out of it to make the sweater pumpkin last month. 🙂

I cut one of the sleeves off to wrap around this candle holder. I intended to use the frayed cuff at the top, but it wouldn’t fit. The tutorial suggested using the ragged edge, anyway, so this worked.

DSC00173A strip of burlap secured with a piece of jute twine tied in a bow with greenery and berries tucked in complete the coziness.

DSC00178This will feel right at home in a guest bathroom.

At another site on the tour, I saw a cute old toy truck carrying home a bottle brush Christmas tree. I don’t have any bottle brush trees, but I plan on adding some at end of the season sales, this year. In the mean time, I traipsed through the sleet and cold to one of the many little cedar trees we have here on Redbud Ridge and clipped a few sprigs.

DSC00179Finally, while touring, I found just what I had been looking for to complete one of my new family members’ stocking. The hostess referred back to the source of the vintage Paris print, and I found just what I wanted here:

thegraphicsfairy.com

I have used some of The Graphics Fairy’s free printables before. This is a great site for teachers who may be looking for art to enhance a project or center activity. I printed out the Eiffel Tower, mounted it on some brown bag paper, glittered it up a bit, and added some black ribbon so that I can pin the tag to the stocking. I think it gave it just the look I wanted for this lovely lady’s stocking.

DSC00176All that before noon! And I didn’t hit all the houses on the tour, so I may have to re visit this afternoon. The chili was good, the fire even better. What did you do on your wintry day?

Step by Step DIY for your Christmas Mantel

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I love a lush, gaudy full Christmas mantel, but it isn’t always an easy thing to achieve. A few years ago, I came across a tip in a magazine that completely removed all the stress of holiday decorating streamlined the mantel project. It started with a board, measured and cut to fit the mantel.

DSC00139Saint measured and cut out the space for the electrical outlet that allows us to plug in lamps and Christmas lights without a cord hanging down. Then he hammered small tacks in a triangular pattern all across the board. There is no need to measure or fret about where to put these as they are completely covered and only serve to anchor the wire that he threaded around and between tacks.

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Now it is time to add all the greenery. I like to use several small pieces rather than one long one because you can add texture by using different greenery, and you can alter the thickness as needed.

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Sometimes I wire the greenery on; other times I simply wind a strand of the greenery around the wire. This is nice and secure with nothing taped or tacked to the wood on our mantel.

I had not planned to use this antique frame this year, but it just jumped up there and would not let me take it down.

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Next, I add bits and pieces along with lights.

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I could stop here and hang stockings, but this year I have ten stockings to hang, and they will not fit here or on the basement fireplace. We do love stockings in our family! Maybe I’ll show you that update later. I’m still working on it, now. Anyway, I like the rusty jingle bells hanging down, and on the way to the Mizzou game yesterday, I scored these perfect over sized ornaments (at Home Goods) to accompany them.

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These ornaments are rather heavy, but they came with ribbon hangers which loop perfectly over the heads of the tacks in the anchor board and attach with no extra nails, tape, or danger of becoming detached from the greenery.

There you have it. It’s really all about the anchor board that you never ever see on the finished project.

DSC00167Cozy, isn’t it?

Let the Fa La La-ing begin!

I think I may be responsible for the killing of an elf, today. Our son told his wife that Santa has to kill an elf for every day that we start putting up our Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving. Sounds to me like a slacker trying to get out of putting up lights, but I’m not sure.

I usually do wait until after Christmas because I like to give Thanksgiving its due, but I’m not cooking or hosting this year, and Thanksgiving and Christmas are so close together, I decided it was the right thing to do. I’ll stop short of Christmas shopping on Thanksgiving Day, but I saw this cute idea that begged me to try it, and then that led to something else and another something, and, well, you know!

It started with an ordinary strand of twinkle lights. And ended like this:

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There is no way to capture the ambiance this little garland has created. I tried different lightings and flash settings, tried my phone camera, and my BFF even tried with hers. You just have to take my word for it.

It was a very simple, but somewhat time consuming project. It’s one you can start, put down for a bit and come back to…unless you are impatient like I am. Here’s the step-by-step DIY.

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1. Decide the tone or colors you want to use, gather fabric odds and ends and/or ribbon.

2. Cut fabric into strips. Mine were 5 to 6 inches. You do not need to measure, especially if you are going for the shabby look. The number of strips depends upon the length of your light strand and your personal preference about how you want it to look. This fabric is the only thing I purchased. I liked the color combo to go with the green tones in my dining room. To that I added some green ribbon I had already purchased for another project, some white I had cut off an old sheer curtain, some off white rayon scraps, and a few odds and ends.

3. Stretch the string of lights out on the floor and begin tying the strands of fabric between the lights. I tied all the fabric pictured first, spacing out the color

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Next, I added the ribbon ties, and finally, I added the other tones of white and off white in between those.

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4. Drape your garland any way you wish. I tied mine to the curtain rod using some of the fabric strands.

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These shabby lighted garlands would look great on a mantel, over a door, mixed with greenery, or even on your Christmas tree.

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I’m sorry about the elf, but I sure am enjoying these lights. And, no, I did not put up the tree, but I got a good start on the mantel. When I finish, I’ll share a few tricks you may or may not know about putting together your mantel decor…but I’ll wait until AFTER Thanksgiving Day. Be thankful!

 

What to Keep and What to Pitch

The older I get, the harder it is to make even the simplest choices. My Christmas decoration closet runneth over, and that’s a problem because it is also the safest place to go when a tornado comes through. Looking at it, you would think one already did. Every year, I drag out plastic storage tub after tub, decide what I want to use, and organize carefully place cram the rest back in the closet. Since I have started the flea market booth, it is easier to downsize because I have a place to go and a purpose.

Of course, I would have kept all the kid’s first ornaments, precious handmade ornaments from them and students I had in the past, heirloom decorations, but we lost those one rainy year when our basement flooded. All the ornaments in the storage room were in cardboard boxes at the time; we had never experienced flooding before. Sad, but we move on. Thank goodness our pictures were stored in the attic! Since then, I have managed to hoard collect a lot of other stuff. So, these are some of the things I kept and used in decorating for Christmas this year.

Our basement is a bit more rustic than our traditional rooms upstairs, so this rusty candle jar, purchased from a little shop in West Virginia, fits in perfectly. It came from our daughter, and reminds me of the tears and joy when she landed her first job as a TV reporter at WBOY. It is surrounded by some collectible Boyd’s bear figures I acquired from teacher friends and some old baskets and wooden cheese boxes.
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This antique table belonged to my parents, the scarf was crocheted by a family member, and the very old basket containing pinecones was given to me by my dad…it belonged to a great aunt.
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This creche wreath was given to us by my SIL. Her mother made one for each of the sibblings, and I have treasured it and display it every year since. It is sitting on the ledge of the stairwell along with two kings that our son had special-made at a local shop. Keepers.
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This vintage Santa has been around for many years and is very versatile. He sometimes sits on the porch to welcome guests. At other times he appears in various rooms of our house.
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My mother and I made this arrangement when we moved into our new home some 18 years ago. I change out the ribbon, candle, and globe occasionally, but the basket and greenery remain.
DSC00041 I have it on the dining table this year, and the antique secretary that belonged to Saint’s great grandmother holds a newer mirrored nativity scene I picked out for my birthday on a visit to Uncle Franklin and Aunt Jane’s. I like the juxtaposition of the metal trees I picked up just this year from a flea market in Dexter during our girl’s weekend.
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I’m keeping this Pinterest project that I did last year. I made the garland from twine and old book pages, the balls from rag strips, and the bow from burlap, of course.
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I used to decorate every room in the house. I still couldn’t resist adding this handmade snowman box from a vacation with friends in Wisconsin to the guest bathroom.
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This is the mantel, this year. It contains two angels, a gift my BFF gave me a few years ago, and, if you look carefully, you will see the antique oval frame I upcycled in the fall. I love it so much, I incorporated into the Christmas. It’s a keeper, I think.
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The glass collection of snowmen and trees get a place on the coffee table this year. I love the little ones inside the cloche.
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And finally, I have very few sentimental ornaments left, so…I like gaudy trees and I cannot lie!
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I know. You’re wondering what I possibly could have pitched<del sold, but trust me, I have receipts to prove it. Sales have been pretty good at the flea market this month!