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!

 

DIY Summer into Fall Wreath Update

I picked up this grapevine wreath for a couple of bucks at a garage sale this weekend. I thought it would be perfect for a summer to fall makeover that would add some curb appeal to our son’s house. He and his new bride have three houses right now…his, hers, and theirs. So, we have been busily getting two of them ready for market by Labor Day weekend.

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I planned to remove the greenery, but since I wanted a summer into fall wreath, I decided to leave the summer element and just add some autumn touches.

 

 

 

 

 

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This is the junk collection of materials I already had…burlap, of course, leaves, sunflowers, fabric strips, twine, and wired basket weave ribbon.

I made three twine flowers (the tutorial for that is in an earlier post from Christmas) and started tucking leaves here and there. I didn’t glue anything until I played with the placement of the leaves and sunflowers on one side of the wreath.

Next, I made a bow with the wired ribbon and a touch of burlap. I like the bow at the bottom. But that leaves one side practically naked bare. I love the look of the wreaths that have knotted fabric strips all around, so I decided to try adding a few strips of neutral fabrics to the blank spaces.

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Nice…but I wanted it to be a bit more welcoming.

How about a WELCOME bunting? Out of burlap?

Of course!

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I took it right over and hung it on the door. I think it will work with the other things I have in mind for the porch. For now.

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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!

Beginning to look a lot like Christmas…on Redbud Ridge

Really??

Well, maybe not. We had our neighborhood bonfire just as the last of the leaves were being blown off the trees. I got this picture of Saint bringing the first guests down and then realized the memory stick was full, so you’ll just have to take my word for it…twenty some people, a table full of food, fires, and fun was had by all. And after the clean up, I decided it was time to do something with some of the junk pieces I collected on the 100 mile yard sale last month.

I dug out found these four little wooden shutters and bought all of them for a dollar! They really benefited from a good cleaning and a new coat of paint. Old wooden shutters sell well at the flea market right now, and I thought about bundling them up and selling as is, but what fun is that? I found some Christmas greenery that I had bought on a red tag sale, dug through my stash of ribbon and such, and brought out the go-to burlap. This is so much more festive, don’t you think?

And at the same remote residence where I got the shutters, I picked up a mailbox. I thought I’d spray paint over the numbers, but I liked the rural address and decided to leave it. Just by adding some thrift store decor and greenery, I dressed it up for the holidays.

So, yes. Yes, it is beginning to look a lot little like Christmas on Redbud Ridge, don’t you think?