Monday, December 14, 2009

Merry Christmas

We went and took Christmas pictures yesterday. My old dance coach is amazing at everything she tries to do...and she's taken up photography! I can't believe what a great job she does. I was just lookin' to get one...ONE picture of all of us looking in the camera with me looking at least half-way decent. I got so much more...and a fun time catching up with her and her husband (who was also my dance coach and my old boss).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Our Christmas Bedroom

When I saw this picture in the Pottery Barn Catalogue, I knew I had to do something similar for our bedroom.

And here it is with our lights off.

I love our bedroom. Black, white and red...but I'm lovin' the mocha color on the walls in the Pottery Barn picture...

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Bit of a Beauty Lesson

Hannah is already checking herself out in the mirror. Oh, how the small things women do send a big message to little girls! I have made a conscious effort not to weigh myself in front of her and am desperately trying to curb my negative tongue about my body. And after four have some complaints!

I've been wanting to do something like this in Hannah's room for a while, but just recently remembered this flower frame I had in my craft stash. I thought it was a fitting Christmas present for her adornment gift and since she's young enough to not care that it came 2.5 weeks before Christmas...I went for it while she watched.

So, I drug out the mirror, had Hannah stand next to the wall so I could see what level to put it at and then drew on her wall. And then painted on the wall. It took all of fifteen minutes and the only thing I could think of was how there went all the lessons about not drawing on the walls for my kids. Oh well. It's for a good cause, right?

After drawing the stems, leaves, other flowers...I put a scripture all the way around the mirror:

It says:
"Your beauty should come from within, the lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God." It's a paraphrase of 1 Peter 3:3-4. I conveniently put it below her pegs of hair bows and head bands. Maybe someday she'll understand that the outer adornments are not nearly as important to God as what she chooses to adorn her heart with.

Maybe someday I'll fully understand that the older I get in Christ, the more beautiful I become.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas Tree Meaning for Pennies

One of my friends gave me some oval frames and I've toyed around in my head what to do with them for a while. Leave it to Christmas and some blog stalking for me to find an idea.

I found the meaning of the Christmas Tree for Christians at a blog (sorry! I can't remember which one!) and copy and pasted it into a word document. I shaped the meaning to be a tree and then cut out the paper, glued it to some burlap (I still have tons left).

Then, I lined it with some ribbon and glued the burlap to the back of the frame with a few dots because I didn't necessarily want this to last forever in these frames (they are gorgeous frames), but if you had frames you knew worked perfectly for this, you could make it more permanent.

Then, I took two smaller frames and made scrapbook paper trees out of three triangles and a rectangle. Slapped them on some burlap and there you go.
I added ribbon (with just a dab of hot glue) to the back of the frames, tied them in a knot at the top...
and hung them by my Christmas tree.
I also framed (with red foil ribbon that you have to uncurl and scrap paper) a Santa Claus quote from Miracle on 34th St. (1994) and hung a Santa hat next to it.

The quote says:
"I'm not just a whimsical figure who wears a charming suit and affects a jolly demeanor. I'm a symbol. I'm a symbol of the human ability to be able to suppress the selfish and hateful tendencies that rule a major part of our lives. If you can't believe, if you can't accept anything on faith, then you are doomed for a life dominated by doubt."

Both things, I think, would make cute ideas for hostess gifts for parties this holiday season. Lowe's has gift certificate holders that are Santa's coat and it has a hanger, too, which would be a cute ornament if you put the Santa quote on card stock that would fit where the g/c is supposed to go. It costs all of $3. You could put candy in a Santa hat and have the quote in a small frame. The possibilities are endless, really. You know you've got old frames just hanging out waiting to get a coat of black or red spray paint! Get 'em out! Send 'em out! Make someone happy!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving is OVER (TWOC: O Christmas Tree)

(Rice crispy turkeys...they were a hit with the kiddos. Much better than pie, Mom!)

I am so glad I start listening to Christmas carols in September. It's almost over, people! Christmas is a mere 25 days away and then the let-down from an amazing holiday season begins. It's all over. OVER. O.V.E.R. For 11 months for some of you!

Again, let me insist on the goodness that is listening to Christmas carols early. At the end of Christmas, it's only 9 months away for me! Ha!

So what, I ask, did you do this Thanksgiving Day weekend?

Oh, I'm so glad you asked. We spent time loving family and friends. And eating. (The scale is not my friend this morning, I'm sure. I've been too scared to hop on her and say hi. I'm afraid she'll yell out obscenities to me in the form of numbers. Agh! Thank goodness my jeans still fit. Sort of. )

We put up our tree. Yay!

We had our official-train-ride-around-the-tree-for-the-first-time-this-year moment. (can you see us?)

And then our little man got sick...poor little Lukie.
Did everyone else have fun? And eat too much?

Twelve Weeks of Christmas

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

TWOC: Another Christmas Craft

Twelve Weeks of Christmas

Yeah. I had to do it. My mantel wouldn't have been complete without it. At least that's what I kept telling myself.

And then, when it was done, I was justified. Even hubs likes it. My sister-in-law embarrassed me with her fawning over it. I still stand in front of it and sigh over a craft that actually turned out exactly how I saw it in my head. I also patted myself on the back for not trying to add more to it. Less is more, Carrie, I kept telling myself. Less is MORE.

Oh, how I love you, Mr. Less. You now live on my mantel. In the form of this:


So, here's my thought process towards this...'cause I know it's been your heart's desire to get into my head. *Ahem.*

I have loved all the "Believe" signs, blocks, Christmas frames, etc. But I always wondered...believe in what? Santa? The spirit of the season? And what is the spirit of the season for you? Giving? Getting?

And then, I saw somewhere that the "Believe" signs actually originated as an effort for people to "Believe" in God, His Son, the Savior of the world. Now that was a wagon I could hop on, peeps!

So, I have to be different and I made it say "Believe in Bethlehem." And then drove the point home with putting my favorite nativity set on my mantel. My mom pain-stakenly painted that nativity set when I was about 6 or 7 and I remember watching her, fascinated by the meticulous care she was giving it. Joseph has black hair-like my dad. Mary has blond hair-like my mom (except when she dyes it) and the baby Jesus has brunette hair, just like all us kids. It was always at a place of honor in our home during Christmastide (I did that just for you, B). When my sister was old enough, she set the figures out and I always secretly would move them where I thought they should go. When my sister moved out, I received the honor of setting it up and would still move the figures when I was bored of where they were, or played out the story in my mind that the wise men maybe were sharing the position closest to Jesus. They were taking turns giving their gifts, see???

Yeah...I told you that you'd be inside my head. Do you like it here? Kind of scary, huh? I know.

So, here's how I did it. Took a $3 picture from Goodwill. Painted the frame black, took the picture out and spray painted it red. Yup. I did. Right over that picture. Sorry artist...whoever you are. Then, I printed out the saying on the computer in my favorite font and made sure I liked how it fit on the, now red, picture. By the way, it took three coats.

I used a number 4B pencil (did you know pencil numbers mean something? The higher the number, the softer the lead...the better and darker the shading when you're drawing). Anyway, I rubbed the pencil over the backside of the writing and then flipped it over to where I wanted it on the red and used a #2 pencil (harder lead, lighter color) to trace over the letters. When I was done, I had "Believe in Bethlehem" in dark gray pencil on the red. Then, I took white paint and a decrepit paint brush (I really need to invest in new ones) and very carefully, painted over the writing. Once. It did not come out very white.

But that's okay because I knew I had a secret weapon (glitter) and that the first time tracing something is the hardest. Once that paint was dry, I took to doing a second, thicker, coat. After each letter, I sprinkled my secret weapon on it and then tapped it onto a paper. Then, I moved on to the next letter. I had to do one letter at a time because I didn't want the acrylic paint to dry before I had the chance to glitter it. The big "B's" I had to do in three steps because of all the swirls.

Then, I put that red picture with "Believe in Bethlehem" back in the now dry frame...and WAH-LAH!

I love it. LUUUUUUUUUUUUUVE it. It's the perfect symbol of our faith during Christmas and a good witness to all that walk into our house that we believe in Bethlehem and that Christ is truly the reason for the season.

I only wish I had about five of those beautiful mercury glass candle holders so I could put some on each side that are taller than what I have there now. I think they'd reflect the lights on the mantel so perfectly and add some height to the sides. But, I'll probably wait until the day after Thanksgiving or after Christmas to get some. They'll be cheaper then, you know.

Oh, yes...remember these balls?
Well, now three of them are snow balls. They look good enough to eat!

And just so you don't think I've completely forgotten about Thanksgiving, I made these cookies for Noah's teacher:
Brooke and I actually made more than these, obviously, but we were doing it for four teachers. See??? I haven't forgotten about Thanksgiving! Completely.


Monday, November 9, 2009

TWOC: Christmas Shopping

Twelve Weeks of Christmas

Oh, the Christmas Shopping.

FRIDAY! (Know what that is?)

Black Friday. OH, yes.

Grab me a babysitter for the kids. Preferably overnight. (Hint, hint, Mom)

Wake up at 5am. Yes, 5AM.

Grab a shopping buddy. Get Starbucks. Venti. Triple Shot. Don't even try to pretend you could get away with a tall, skinny, sugar-free vanilla latte. You can't. Go big or go home.

Drive to the nearest store that has stuff with your name on it. (What? They don't write your name on your stuff you want? I'm sorry, I thought they did that for everyone.)

Be thankful, once again, as you are unloading yourself from the car that you did NOT, repeat: NOT! go shopping with the hubster or the kiddos. Hubs is a horrible shopping partner and I want to ENJOY spending fifteen minutes deciding on something WITHOUT an irritated-ants-in-his-pants-kicking-me-out-the-door-man standing next to me. Just sayin'.

Or, or....and you mom's know that this has happened....a kid who decides he needs to use the restroom at the BACK of the store while you just entered the check out line at the FRONT of the store and when you get back there to that horrible rear-of-store bathroom, the sign says:


Obviously, the creators of this sign have never gone shopping with four kids. Not even one kid. Ever. They would seriously know better.

So, after putting all your merchandise on a shelf and shoving a rug in front of it to block it from potential thieves who would see the great items you found, take them off the shelf and hide them from you in their basket and then make a fast getaway before your kid even has a chance to unzip his pants, you realize that the baby has poo. The real stinkin' kind. And he's crying. And you can't find his pacifier. You moms know what I mean. You throw your hands up in the air, yell at the heavens and ask rhetorically, "Can anything else go wrong?"

Yes, silly Mommy who took all four kids shopping. Yes, something else can go wrong. You spill your Starbucks trying to put your purse on top the stroller. It then trickles down onto the infant with the poo sending him into an even bigger fit (where is that paci???), all while your daughter decides she going to try to climb out of the stroller in protest and ends up bonking her head on the cement floor at Joann's. (Oh, did I mention I was at Joann's?)

At this point, you are done and without thinking, end up telling your kid to risk embarrassment and a lifetime of therapy and scream out in frustration, "JUST PEE YOUR PANTS!"

What? You've never did that?, either. *blush*

Go shopping with someone else who really likes shopping, too. Trust me.

Moving on...

Get all your Christmas shopping done. Yup, all of it. It's a wonderful day...

Get another Starbucks on your way home, smooch the cheeks of the person who shopped with you all day, like you're Zsa Zsa Gabor and then step into your home laden with toys and crumbs. Threaten the kids within an inch of their life if they even step a foot near the bags and banish them all to Daddy...wherever he may be.
Sigh, turn off the lights and watch the crumbs disappear into shadow, light a candle, sip your coffee and cozy up on the floor with all your loot and wrapping paper. And then get to work wrapping them so that your Christmas tree no longer looks naked.

What? Your tree isn't up yet???

Friday, November 6, 2009

Red Bead Balls

Aaahh. Christmas.

Is it just me, or should we totally by-pass Halloween? Thanksgiving is getting the raw end of the deal. As much as I love Thanksgiving, marketing ploys work on me. The stores say it's Christmas time and I breathe in the smells and agree. They twist my arm. Really, they do.

So, while I was loving those silver bead trees, I was also lovin' these balls.
So, I hit them with a coat of red paint...and red beads...

And put them by the trees...

*sigh* Mercy Me's Christmas Cd is playing....where's my coffee?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

TWOC: Homemade Christmas Gifts (2 for 1)

Twelve Weeks of Christmas

I love these. L.O.V.E. these.

They make great gifts and aren't just limited to hanging on trees. Doors, mirrors, windows, mantels....garland....I have plans for these, my darlings....yes...I do...

First, cut out two pieces of fabric in the letter you want. (Obviously, the longer the word, the more letters you cut out).

Sew it together (right sides out) and leave holes for stuffing.
Fray check the edges when you're done. Trust me.
Use a laaarge needle and ribbon of your choice to string your letters. Be careful to make sure you are spelling your word or words right. It's a pain to take them out. Trust me.
Fray check those holes, too. Don't ask why, just do it.
And then loop the two ends and make a knot. This way, you have a loop on each side to hang it easier. I add jingle balls so it's a little more festive.

The other craft is more for yourself and less of a gift. Eh. It's a gift to yourself, so it totally counts!

Take three different sized cone shapes that you only buy with a coupon at Joann's.
Make some of these do-dads.
Take these mardi gras necklaces (and cut them) that you found for $2 at Joann's. For twelve. (Insert happy dance here.)
Use your glue gun and start wrapping. And wrapping. And gluing. And wrapping. And sticking with a 'u' pin. And wrapping. Wait. This is starting to remind me of something. Oh yes. This craft.
Until you get this. And run out of beads. Yup. Apparently, I needed a third pack to finish the last cone. Who knew?
The picture just doesn't do them justice. I wasn't sure the silver paint was going to matter, but in person, it definitely does. I'm so glad I have glitter to shine behind those silver beads.

On to my next project....