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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Let's Ring in the New...

The holidays are winding down now, and I must say that this year seemed to be the best in several years.  I spent time with my kids and grandkids, finally decorated like I used to, and did not overspend.  But as the tree continues to drop needles, and I am feeling a bit crowded, I know it is time for the Christmas holiday to end.  But that's not a bad thing.  There is a whole new year ahead of us and I have a very strong feeling that it is going to be the best ever!

I got a great new camera for Christmas.  I was a bit intimidated at first, but I think the camera and I are getting used to each other.  I took these pictures of my dogs yesterday....Doesn't it look like they are driving?

All I can say is: Look out world!  I could be dangerous with this camera.  I'm sure you will be seeing my videos on YouTube.  I have some great ideas for new products and I am just itching to get at them.  But first things, first.  Gotta clean up the holiday mess first.  We are babysitting for our 2 month old granddaughter Saturday night.  I am looking forward to that!

Samantha, from Samantha's Accessories is having a giveaway.  She will be giving away some good smelling items and one of her aprons.  Click on the link for more info. 
Samantha's Accessories: 3 New Years Giveaways#c6832505031763975182

Have a great day and the happiest of new years.  I will be back in 2012!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What 'cha workin' on Wednesday????

Details, details.  That's what I'm working on.  The big day is almost here and I am like a little kid, loving the festivity, the sparkle, the excitement.  Today I am running to the bank, dropping off a donation to Goodwill, picking up the last gifts on the list, and taking a deep breath.   Yesterday I took Quest and Skylar shopping for their Christmas clothes, a tradition started when Quest was born.  I buy new outfits for each of the kids.  Skylar chose a beautiful black dress (she looks so grown up!) after trying on 8 dresses.  Quest, on the other hand, went to the rack, picked out a sweater and pants and he was done.  We are expecting a snow storm again tonight so I want to go home and get cozy by the fire.  Friday, I doing all the cooking and cleaning so I can enjoy the family this weekend.
I took a picture of the item that I bought at the Country Christmas gift show.  I added some ribbon and lights, but I just love this truly rustic item.  It is an old chair, whitewashed, with the seat either removed or replaced with an enameled wash tub filled with pine cones.  Don't you just love it?

It's unlikely that I will post before Christmas, so we want to wish you all the best of holidays with your loved ones.  Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Another terrific Thursday!!!

As promised, I am adding some pictures of my Christmas village.  My camera has been giving me fits, so I had to use hubby's.  I don't have one of those panoramic cameras so I had to take several. 

It is a lot of work to set all of this up, but I had forgotten just how fun it is.  I can't wait for the grandkids to see it!  I like to look at each piece and remember just how I came to own it.  There is the Home Depot that Brandi bought for me and even painted orange aprons on the little people.  There is the Harley shop that we bought at Sturgis one year.  There is the Disney castle that Scott's family brought me back from Disney world and the Chinese restaurant that Heidi bought me.  So many of the pieces were gifts from family, friends, co-workers.  It makes me happy to remember it all and embarrassed that I have not put it up for so long. 

Tomorrow is finally Friday and I am looking forward to a weekend of baking and getting ready for the big week ahead.  Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What cha workin on? Wednesday....

Well, I have been a crazy woman this week.  Lots of errands to run, shopping to do, decorating to complete.  I do have a couple of pics of the girls' special days to show you.  Friday night was Skylar's concert, in which she performed in the choir and also a harp solo.

She is just as sweet and as talented as she is beautiful.

Then Saturday was Brooklynne's special day (she turned 6 on Monday)

 She loved the dress that Grandma got her....
 Aunt Sue's package was almost too pretty to unwrap....and what a beautiful necklace.
Oh, my!  Uncle Scott and Aunt Kim got her lots of things to do.  She was jumping for joy!

And even the littlest granddaughter had a special day.....cause Grandma got to feed her:

As for me, well every day with the grandkids is special for me....

I have also been finishing up the decorating and the village....drum roll complete.  I just put new batteries in the camera so I will get pictures tonight for sure. 

Life is good.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Busy weekend, missing Brandi

It has been a very busy weekend, and I am very thankful to be busy.  On Friday night, we attended Skylar's school concert where she performed with the choir and had a solo performance on her harp.  I am so proud of her.  She is such a beautiful girl with such amazing talent.

Saturday, I awoke from a dream about my daughter, Brandi.  Saturday marked the second anniversary of her death.  I miss her every day.  My dream was not bad, but rather comforting.  She was coaxing me to move forward and let me know she is okay.  But it was still a very emotional day.  Some people think that a broken heart is just a figure of speech.  I know that it is a physical ailment with actual pain.  But I managed to stay busy at home until early afternoon and then we met my daughter and her family for my granddaugher's birthday.  Brooklynne turns six tomorrow.  We went to Zoo Lights at the Denver Zoo.  If you have never been, its worth the price of admission and a cup of hot chocolate.  I would show pictures but my camera batteries went dead.

Today I set up my Christmas Village.  I still have a couple of things to do, so I will try to get it finished tomorrow and get some pictures.  I have over 55 houses, so it takes alot of space and time.  I do love it, but haven't set it up for the last couple of years. 

I sold the remainder of my spindle angels so I removed them from the sidebar and from my Etsy and Ebay listings.  I do not have the materials to make more but I am looking for some so that I can make some similar ones.

I hope you all had a great weekend.  More tomorrow....

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Terrific and thrifty Thursday

One of the things that I love about this time of year, in addition to all the good food, is the giving and receiving of Christmas cards.  I know that this is a lost or dying art to many but now, as postage has gone up and up, I think of Christmas cards as little gifts sent to all the people I care about.  And there's nothing better than getting a card in the mail, expecially when it contains a handwritten letter or photo.  But what to do with the cards after the season is over?  I hate to waste the glittery card stock, or the shiny Christmas scene.  So here is what I do.  I pack all the cards away with my wrapping paper for the following year.  When I start my holiday wrapping, I take out the cards and enjoy them once more.  Then I cut them into tag sized pieces and use them again for hang tags on my gifts.  You will find the most beautiful scenes, pictures, and even some verse.  Cut them with fancy paper scissors that pink or cut in a wavy pattern or if you have edge punches, that's perfect!  If you have large craft punches, you can use them to cut out tags too.

And don't stop with recycling cards!  I keep boxes from year to year and bows and ribbon as well.  And we have recycled gift bags forever!  Sometimes when the handles break, I will weave ribbon or twine for new handles to prolong the life of the bag.  I even recycle wrap if it is in large enough pieces to be used.  Did you know that you can iron some wraps?  You want to use a warm iron on the back of the paper.  If the paper is metallic or glittery, you don't want to do this.  If the wrinkles won't come out by finger pressing, you may not be able to reuse.  I like the way the gifts look under the tree when all the paper is different. 

And don't be afraid to ask recipients of your baked treats to return the container when finished.  If they expect to get additional refills, they will be delighted to do so.  I love to share my cookies, breads and canned goods and I always let the giftee know that I would like the containers returned.  It, in no way, diminishes the giving.

Hope these ideas help to make your Thursdays and everyday a bit thriftier.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What 'cha workin' on Wednesday?

How can it be Wednesday already?  It has really been a busy week and here's what I've been working on.....

The tree, newly cut, smelling fresh, had to be dressed.....

And I always put up my Santa tree downstairs:

All Santas, All the Time

And I have been working on doll clothes for a Christmas gift.....ssshhh...don't tell Brooklynne.....
Plus I have been listing some of my things on Ebay while they have their free special going on.  I think I have about 85 items listed.  I still have tomorrow to list as well. 

So now its time to have dinner, embroider on pillows (I nearly sold out this year) and relax! 

Check back tomorrow for Terrific Thursday!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday

This is a really short tutorial today on how to make this beautiful rustic garland.

Very simply, you need to purchase the lights (strand of 20 at Dollar Tree is $1) and weave in to a strand of garland.  They have garland at the dollar store, but this is some that I had on hand after purchasing after Christmas last year.  I think I paid around a dollar for it, but it was too large, so I cut it in half.  Next, I added these cute little bells that I purchased at Dollar Tree, 12/$1.  So it took two packs.  They come in silver and gold tone, but I wanted to make it rustic so I painted with a brown primer.  When dry, I used a needle nosed pliers and punched a hole in the back big enough to fit over the mini lights.
Just be careful not to make the hole too large, or it will fall off the lightbulb.  (If that happens, just add a little glue to hold it on)

Just slide over the bulb and there you have it.  This could also be done on a wreath, or you could rag tie a garland on a strand of lights (more on this later) or you could leave in the original finish.  Maybe add glitter to the bells before putting on the lights.  The possibilities are endless!  This would look great on a mantle, sideboard or down the center of your table.  Have fun with this!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday Musings

Have you ever wanted to wrap that special package in a, well, special way, but just don't know what to do except to miter the corners of a sparkly gift wrap on a roll and slap on a purchased gift tag and a bow chosen from the bow bag?  Well, sister, start thinking outside the gift box.  I have a few ideas to make your gifts sparkle and be the item at the party that brings all the oohs and aahs.
  1.  Make your own gift wrap.  Its really not all that hard.  This is some simple brown kraft paper that I stamped with a kid's snowflake stamp and just dotted with some glitter paint.  I will add some raffia and maybe some curly blue ribbon and there you have it!
  2.  Think outside the box.  You can purchase brown kraft lunch bags and stamp, draw, or write on the bags for special little gift holders.  These would be perfect for secret santas or gift swaps.  Everyone knows that when you put that much time and effort into the wrap, the gift is sure to be perfect!
  3.  Wrap with part of the present.  For instance, a cookbook tucked into an oven mitt, just needs an added bow.  A piece of jewelry wrapped in a silk scarf does double duty.  Hand baked goods in cellophane bags, are perfect in a kitchen basket or pan topped with a dish towel.  Tie a cooky cutter, small whisk, or measuring spoons to stay with the theme.
  4.  Save the planet!  Jars, cans, bottles, and boxes can be painted or covered and can be reused for storage or decor after the gift is removed.  I like to find reuseable tote bags that you can buy for about $1 for a gift bag.  The recipient can use them over and over for grocery shopping.  I found some pink ones for Breast Cancer Awareness so I gave support while gift giving.
  5.  Be creative with embellishments!  Get out the tape and glue gun and get creative.  I love to gather items from outdoors, like pinecones or dried flowers and tie with greenery instead of a bow.  What about a fishing lure for the fisherman on your list?  A rattle for a baby, candy canes for anyone, or an ornament personalized with a name or date are all so much better than a bow!

I hope these are ideas that you can incorporate into your holiday gift giving.  Always recycle bags, gift wrap, and ribbon when possible.  I even reuse greeting cards for tags for the next year.  If you have creative ideas for gift wrapping, let me know.  This old dog can stand to learn a few new tricks!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Frigid weekend

Wow!  It has been so cold here and has snowed nearly every day since Thursday.  Yesterday we went out to the woods and cut a tree.  This is something that we have done nearly every year since we moved to Colorado.  It was fun when the grandkids were small, but is still fun now that they are older.  The tree, as always, is too large and too sparse but there is nothing like the smell of fresh cut evergreen. I still haven't gotten it decorated, but it is standing in our dining/living room ready to be adorned:
Along with the kids, of course the dogs were along to tromp through the snow and sniff every tree and rock.  I'm glad I decided to wait to get them groomed.
I am showing some of my items at a local salon this week.  My shows are over but if you are wanting to purchase any of the items that I have shown, email me if they are not on the sidebar. 

This week I will have a tutorial on how to make the rusty bell lighted garland that I showed on my television segment.  Stay tuned to learn how to make this beautiful centerpiece, mantel decor, or  decor for any area of your home.  The cost is only a couple of dollars and you will be able to use it year after year.  More on Tutorial Tuesday....

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Matthews Family Christmas

Here it is Saturday morning and time to go out and cut the Matthews family Christmas tree.  Quest and Skylar are here and along with the dogs, we are going up to the Jefferson area to cut a tree.  It is very cold out today and is still snowing.....beginning to look alot like Christmas!  Next in store:  baking cookies...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thrifty Thursday

One thing that I have learned over the years is to use what you have, and own what you love.  I love Santas because they bring smiles to everyone.  You can't think about Santa without feeling happy.  I found these little guys originally used to hang on the sides of your flower pots.  But I love my old sifter so I use what I have and add what I love:

The little guys on the fake pie are actually made to wrap around taper candles.  I really like them on the pie, don't you? 

The other great thing about collectibles is you can recycle them each year, and move them around from one location to another and it seems like you have new items each year!  Maybe add some lights behind them or hang them in unexpected places like from a chandelier or a doorknob.

Another one of my favorite pieces in my house is Grandma Barnes' treadle sewing machine.  Though I never learned to use it, I always use it as a side table and love making little seasonal vignettes.  This year, I added some Santa decor, a faux book called Santa's workshop, and even (unexpected!) a pillow. 

Have a great Thursday, be thrifty when recycling and reusing your cherished possessions.