Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What 2012 Will Bring

I'll be taking a blog break until next year (ha, ha, hee, hee...that's in a few days)! Seriously, taking some time off to relax with family and friends.
See you back in 2012 with:
+decorating ideas
+estate sale finds
+and some serious organization tips -- this is the year I really go out with the old and in with the new (on a limited basis)!

A heartfelt thanks to all my followers and anyone who reads this blog. And only best wishes for the new year!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Eve Traditions

In a Polish household, Christmas Eve is the big night ... as is in our household. The Christmas Eve dinner or Wigilia, pronounced "Veleeya" is a meatless meal so it usually consists of seafood, soups, and pierogies and it is usually an odd number of courses -- five, seven or eleven. I go for five or seven. Before sitting down at the table, everyone breaks the traditional wafer, (Oplatek) and exchanges good wishes for health, wealth, and happiness in the New Year. The Oplatek is a thin, unleavened wafer similar to the host in the Catholic Church. My mom usually brings it with her if my parents come for Christmas Eve (they alternate between my sister's and my family). This year they will be with us for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning.

After dinner, my family exchanges some gifts. The boys exchange their presents for each other and we give each  of our boys a Christmas book. As the boys have grown, I've continued this tradition -- sometimes giving them "grown-up" Christmas books such as "A Christmas Story" and sometimes giving them picture books (Last year my 19-year old received "Merry Christmas Curious George"). The idea is that they will receive books on Christmas Eve until they have families of their own and then they will have their own collection to read to their children.

Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a blessed new year! See you all in January!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Last Minute Teacher's Gifts and Big News in Our Household!!!

Sorry about the lack of posting...we have had holiday party after party, a band concert and my son's National Geography Bee -- which he just won!!!! We are very proud of this great little guy who beat out all of his classmates. Studying does pay off (tell your kids). Anyway, he won the school Bee and now has to take a test to compete at the state level...kind of hard since only one person from our school in 12 years has moved onto the states. I guess he has more studying to do! He won a globe, an atlas, a medal and a tee shirt (XL...hmmm).
Here he receiving his award (sorry lighting in the gym was bad and mom was shaking with excitement). Now, on to those last minute gifts:

Well, I thought I had my act together, but  forgot that I forgot (get that) the secretaries at my school and the phys-ed teacher. Ugh! So, last night, I went through my stash of goodies from Michaels and found these mini loaf pans...didn't have time to bake anything so I grabbed and wrapped some previously baked Christmas cookies (made a ton) and placed them in the pans. I added a snowflake ornament and then, wrapped everything with cellophane and tied pretty Christmas ribbons around them. Still, I thought I was missing something so I added some of these candy-shaped soaps (also purchased at Michaels). I love how they turned out! 

Oh, and since my son didn't like the idea of giving cookies to the gym teacher, we filled his with protein and energy bars!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tag...You're It!

I made some pretty (if I say so myself) Christmas tags this year. I tried to sell them in my shop, but I think the market's a little saturated and they haven't sold. It doesn't matter, I used them, gave them as extra surprises to some of my customers and even gave them as hostess gifts! They were simple, but I really think simplicity is best sometimes. I bought the little glassine bags on etsy and I think they make it a perfect little package.

I also made some tags from Christmas cards (after we read them, of course)! These are from last year. I used my tag cutter from Creative Memories and also just cut some squares.

Speaking of tags, Lynn from  Trash to Treasure Art sent me this adorable tag. We did a little secret Santa gift exchange and I sent her some "Joy" wine charms that I made.
Have a great week! See you a little later on in the week..
Linking to:
Homemaker On A Dime

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Home Tour...Finally

 You saw the living room last week (it's still my favorite) and that's where the girl tree (above) resides.

 But here's the rest of the house...
This is the hallway banister, complete with crystal (I love my crystals).

I love these little snow angels and can't find them anywhere. They aren't "Snowbabies" from Dept 56 as I thought. No tags, so I don't even know who makes them. Anyone?

Hallway...very simple.
Kitchen with our handmade snowflakes. My teenage son even made one!
Kitchen chandelier all decked out!
 My collection of cobalt blue bottles filled with holly from my finally mature holly tree!
The family room...our tree and my snowman collection.

 A few other family room vignettes...

 Linking to:
Common Ground
French Country Cottage
Cottage and Vine Room by Room Christmas Tour
The DIY Show Off

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hand Made Ornaments

I love the ornaments the kids make almost every year...we could fill a small tree with them by now. I used to (and still do) make handmade ornaments for relatives and myself. One of the biggest hits was this little strawberry. Believe it or not, I made them for all my office co-workers the first year I was out of college. And get this, I couldn't afford red spray paint, so I used cheap red nail polish and "White-Out"  to create them.

I don't have pictures for a step-by-step, but you really don't need them. All you need is:
  • walnuts in the shell
  • red spray paint (glossy)
  • white acrylic paint
  • a small paint brush
  • green felt
  • red string or yarn
  • glue
1. Spray paint all of the walnuts. Let dry.

2. Paint white dots on each walnut.
3. Cut out a leaf pattern from green felt and clip a small hole or slit in the center.
4. Cut string to desired length and thread through small hole in felt.
5. Glue string and felt to walnut top.
You have a Christmas strawberry!!

My son made me this adorable hat ornament for me last year (when he was only 10)! The class did it as a project. Now, that's one patient teacher.

I've also made quite a few other ornaments, but I've given away all but one of these sweet little baskets:
They are filled with potpourri. This one is on my girl tree in the living room. (Yes, a gal has to have her own tree in a family filled with men!)
Linking to:

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Christmas Spirit and an Invitation

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at my house ...finally! Here are some vignettes (house is still a big mess, but we still haven't got the family Christmas tree). Above is my entrance table...that gnome kind of looks a little mischievous, doesn't he? Below, a fun little Dr. Seuss-type tree in my office:

More trees in my office:

This is my hallway bench; it looks better in person.

My kitchen is halfway there...

I love to dress up lamps...
The invitation...I stumbled across a great idea that Angie from Seriously a Homemaker shared on her blog. It's called the 12 Days of Service. The idea is to to make this Christmas a special one for everyone-- it's about caring-- and isn't that what Christmas is about anyway? As a family, we always take tags off the tree at church and get presents for underprivileged children, but it seems that I end up doing it and the family doesn't really get involved. So, this year we are doing the 12 Days of Service and I am going to now make it an annual tradition. It's a list of very easy things to do each day, starting on December 13. Such as:
"Do something unexpected for a family member today. Complete their chores without fanfare or offer to do the one thing you know they dread..."
Click here for more information: 12 Days of Service.
Consider it and come back and share your family's experience with me on my next post.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas in the Living Room

Last year I decorated for Christmas very slowly...one vignette at a time. Despite all good intentions, it's the same this year. So far, I've managed to decorate my living room...that's it! The rest of my home is in complete disarray. So, here's the one room that's done... I promise I'll get to the rest of the house soon!

Here's the vintage silver jello mold I bought at the estate sale a couple weeks ago. I think it makes a sweet little tablescape with the white wood tray, pearls and silver garland...

 It was really fun to work on my "new" antique mantel. I must have changed it three times. 

Inside the faux fireplace...Santa dropped some presents...they must be for me since they are wrapped all in white:
My piano top...I think it needs a little more.

One more vignette...

Come back again soon...I'll be posting the rest of the house as I progress.
Linking to:
Between Naps on The Porch
Common Ground
French Country Cottage
Mod Vintage Life
Cottage and Vine