Sunday, December 28, 2008

Good-bye Santa, Hello Frosty

I hope you all had a blessed Christmas and are ready to ring in the New Year!

I usually leave the Christmas decorations up through New Year's weekend, but this year I was antsy to move on. So the Christmas garb has been packed up and hauled back up to the attic.

Here's a peek at the mantle now with a winter wonderland theme...


The "snow" is a lace tablecloth with a strand of clear icicle lights underneath...plugged into a timer of course so I don't have to mess with turning them on and off (because I'm lazy like that LOL)

Our wonderful neighbor gave this frosted glass snowman to us last Christmas.

I think this Santa and Mrs. Clause dancing by the tree are too cute. It's vintage, passed down through my family. There is a music box underneath that is supposed to make the happy couple twirl, but it no longer works.

This little trio in the horsedrawn sleigh were also passed down through the family but I have no idea how old they are.

I did have more figurines on the mantle and intertwined some snowflake ribbon. But then I took them off. I decided I liked the simpler look better. Seemed a bit more calm and serene, the look I was going for.

I'm not normally fond of angel children (makes me think of children dying, always seemed a bit morbid to me). I only have a few such figurines in my home -- the ones handed down to me by my grandparents. I do think these two kissing are very cute. I just wish they weren't winged. I know, I've got to get over that hangup.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas On A Budget - Part 3

I took a break from the mounds of rice I've been immersed in to move on to some other gifts. These are for JD's work Christmas party this week so I had to get them done. (and I'm pleased to announced they are done ahead of time, no last minute rushing. Woo Hoo for me!)

There's not really a Christmas gift exchange at JD's work. In fact, last year the only people who gave gifts besides us was the Chief and Assistant Chief. With there being 24 people to give to, we have to keep costs pretty low. Last year we spent an average of $2.50 per person. This year I was able to top that at...drumroll please... 20.8 cents a person. Can I get another Woo Hoo for me?!

With that in mind, I have to give you this disclaimer: These are meant to be very small tokens, gag gifts. Not real gifts. Not anything fancy by any means. K?

I purchased one box of ornaments at Wal-Mart. It is the box of 24 for $5.00. They were the gold "shatterproof" (aka plastic) ones. That $5.00 was my only expense for these gifts.

I removed the hanger hooks from them and painted them with Kilz primer. Here they are with one coat of primer. You can see that I used clothespins to hold them by the knobs at the top while I painted them. Didn't work so well.

Then I had the brilliant idea of putting them on skewers (putting the skewer through that hole in the top). I held each one up and spray painted it white. Then I stood them up in styrofoam to dry.

(JD retrieved 5 of these styrofoam strips for me from a garbage bin at a construction site the week before last. "Why do you want them", he'd asked me. "I don't know, just get them for me. Never turn away perfectly good styrofoam. It'll come in handy some day", had been my answer. And here we are.)

Next I put a unique saying on each ornament. Some I painted; most I just used black Sharpie marker. The sayings are all suited to each person's interest or personality and they're all tongue-in-cheek. I'm not going to post them all, but here's the Chief's:

See the black ribbon the ornament is hanging from? Well, last year after Christmas I had purchased some crystal ornaments on clearance. The problem was the ornaments hung from black ribbon, which would never go with my decor. So I removed the ribbons and replaced them with more appropriate colored ones. Here is one next to Chief's ornament on the Teacup Tree:

When I took those black ribbons off the crystal ornaments, well, you know where we're going with this. I saved them. Never turn away perfectly good ribbon. Of any color. It'll come in handy some day. And here we are....again.

I pulled out some craft/lunch bags I had left over from my daycare art supplies and -viola!- instant wrapping. Here they are, all dressed up and ready to go to the party.

Moral of the story? I found a way to make 24 gifts for just $5.00. (One last Woo Hoo for me, please? LOL) If I'd used pretty pastels, glitter, lace, rosettes or pearls, they could have been oh-so-sweet. As it is, they suit their purpose perfectly. And they suit my budget even better.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's Called Christmas With a Capital "C"

Let's jazz it up a bit for our weekend music...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Marriage....It's All About Compromise

I wanted to make a new pillow for Chrissy. It needed to be pink and lacey and froo-frooey, just as any 8 month old baby girl would want.

Unfortunately, JD happened to be with me the day I went to the fabric store.

So Chrissy ended up with pink camo instead.

Just look at my poor baby girl.

She's devastated by such a turn of events, can't you tell?

Please check out all the other Pink Saturday participants over at Beverly's.

And have a Perfectly Pink Saturday!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Silent Night

by Straight No Chaser

a spellbinding a capalla...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas On A Budget - Part 1

We are having a "homemade" Christmas this year. We are not buying any gifts for our families, friends, or coworkers; all their gifts are being made by JD and me. This is unusual for us.

No, let's face it. This is a first.

While I've been known to make a few gifts for a few people -usually only the children or women- this is the first completely handcrafted Christmas. JD and I have challenged ourselves to look around our own home for creative uses for items we already have. We've been quite thrifty. We have purchased only very small amounts of necessary components for our otherwise-completely homemade gifts.

This is the gift we are making for each of the men...6 in all. Our fathers, brothers,and wonderful neighbor.

It is a Washer Game. It is a variant of horseshoes.

We used materials we already had on hand. The wood which JD used to assemble it. The paint which I used on the board and the washers. The carpet is a remnant left over from our daycare. And I sewed the bags for the washers with fabric I already had. Even the "cord" for the drawstring bags are shoelaces taken from JD's old tennis shoes.

The only item we had to go out and buy for these gifts were the washers. $13.49 (including tax) for 40 of them at Lowe's.

$13.49 for six gifts. Can't beat that.

Washers is a fun game, perfectly suited for family gatherings and parties. (When our neighbor saw one we'd made, he marveled over it and commented on how perfect it would be for his annual family reunion. So guess what he's getting for Christmas? :-) It can be played indoors or out, by young children all the way up to the young at heart.

In the days to follow (or weeks, depending on how far behind schedule I get), I will be finishing up more and more homemade gifts. I can't wait to share them all with you!

In the meantime, wishing you a very merry (and non-bank-breaking) Christmas season!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Carpenters Christmas Medley

I'm in the mood for a little Christmas music, how 'bout you?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Teacup Tree

Being the good hubby that he is, the other day JD pulled some of our Christmas trees down from the attic. At one point he came down with a brand new one, still sealed in the box. I'd completely forgotten I bought it on clearance after Christmas last year. It is white (my first white one) and pre-lit with lights (a first there too).

I was delighted when he handed me the box. I set to work right away, putting it up in the dining room.

The problem is that I don't have ornaments, garland or even a star for it. At least, not the kind I want to put on it. And I'm short on time this holiday season, so I cannot dive into making the decorations I'd like to make for it.

I've been gathering little odds and ends from around the house to put on it. But then I had an idea. Since it sits in the dining room, why not hang some teacups on it? I gathered up a few of my favorite ones and -VOILA!-

My Teacup Tree

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Garage Sale Jackpot

In some parts of the country, they're called Yard Sales. At least, that's what they were called when we lived in California. I hear they're called Tag Sales in other places. Around here, they're usually called Garage Sales, though they seldom occur in people's garages.

Our neighbor had one and I think I got the deal of the century.

I bought all these white dishes from her. I have no clue what I'll do with them or where I'll store them. For now, they're on the baker's rack in the kitchen until they can find a more permanent home. (Excuse the clutter on the wall. That's the Inspiration Wall for Kim's Someday Dream Kitchen)

There are five different types of dishes in the whole set.

These are my favorite. I wish there were more. They're from Mikasa's French Countryside collection. According to their website, one dinner plate alone costs $16.99.

Most of the dishes are Regency by Johnson Brothers. When I searched online, I found that nowadays they are made in China. But my set says it was made in Staffordshire, England. Perhaps they're vintage? (Well, I guess they can't be too vintage, since they also say on the bottom that they are "dishwasher and microwave safe.") At, the dinner plate made in England is $18.00. Isn't this square cereal bowl interesting?

There are also several pieces of International Tableworks' Lattice Collection. According to, the dinner plate costs $15.99.

There are two little stoneware bowls that I cannot read the stamps on the bottoms, so I have no idea what kind they are. And there are several Corelle bowls, which are now Sportster and WildMan's cereal bowls.

In all, there are a total of 89 pieces. And you'll never guess how much I paid for them all.


Yep, that's right. Three dollars for the whole kit-n-kaboodle.

It doesn't matter that I have no real "need" for them. Or that I have no proper place to store them. Or display them. Or that it's just 89 more things to have to dust and keep clean.

No, it doesn't matter.

Because I hit The Garage Sale Jackpot.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veterans Day!

To all those who have dedicated their lives to serving this great nation, I give you my sincerest, most heart-felt APPRECIATION.

Happy Veterans Day!

photo courtesy of Old Sgt's Backgrounds
click on image to enlarge to see all the details

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pink Saturday - Think Pink

We all know that.

But it lasts much longer than just October. Public awareness, education, research, early detection, treatment and a CURE are year-round projects.

Here we are on the last Pink Saturday of the month. I'd like to share a couple of ways I found to continue to support this cause as we head into the Holidays.

Have you heard the news? Linens-N-Things is going out of business. Closing all of its stores nationwide by the end of this year. They have already begun the close-out pricing in their stores.

Linens-N-Things has been a consistent supporter of breast cancer awareness. Each year they set up Pink Departments, selling everything pink you can imagine for your kitchen and bath. LNT and their venders donate part of the proceeds to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

This might be a good time to head on in to your local Linens-N-Things, get some good deals, pick up some Pink items they may still have left...and support a company who proved itself to be a supporter of women.

The other day I was in Wal-Mart and spied some special wrapping paper. It was in the Christmas section with their Christmas wrapping paper. The soft pink colors first caught my eye (I'm always on the hunt for shabby pink or Victorian Christmas paper). Then I saw the Pink Ribbon.

Notice their Ribbon is upside down? You can read why here.

The Gift wrap is for Friends For An Early Breast Cancer Test.

There are a couple of different patterns available. This is the one I bought.

I do not believe these are available online, at least I haven't been able to find them there. Only in the Wal-Mart store. They were $4 a roll.

As we bring October to a close, let's all continue to


And now head on over to Beverly's to see all the other ladies participating in today's Pink Saturday.