Saturday, December 14, 2013

Let Me Count the Ways...

It is finally the weekend, although I am a little thrown off.  Thursday was my Eighth wedding anniversary to The Hubs.  We went out that night, something we very rarely ever do.  Then, he took the next day off from work.  Having him home so much before the weekend started has thrown me off a bit, but I am extremely grateful for time with him.  He works so hard for our family, oftentimes without complaint.

I figured I would make a small post about something my husband has done for me since our first wedding anniversary.  It's really sweet :-)

Each year, my husband gets me a rose that symbolizes the year that we have been married.  I am loving that we have been together and committed to one another long enough for us to have a decent sized bouquet forming now.
The first year is PAPER
The second year is COTTON
The third anniversary is LEATHER
The fourth anniversary is FRUIT
The fifth is WOOD

The sixth is CANDY, which you can see very well, but the rose is a little blurred.
The seventh anniversary is WOOL
This last anniversary on 12/12 was our BRONZE anniversary
I am excited to make it to the Crystal rose at 15 years, the Silver rose at 25 and the GOLD rose at 50 years!

I am not bragging about my relationship or marriage whatsoever.  I hate it when people do that.  The truth is, there were many, many, many times when I did not think I would see another rose in December.  We have had our ups and downs, ins and outs, but we pulled through.  In the end, that is the essence of marriage.  It's a commitment to grow with someone and to persevere together.  Now, if you have someone who is abusive, disrespectful, or just plain not the one for you, then this post is not for you.

My husband and I are completely different people, but we have made a choice to dedicate our lives to one another and our Little Darling.  We have chosen to work continually on keeping the furnace of unconditional positive regard alit.  I am so grateful that we never threw in the towel and walked away from all we've built and our bright future ahead.

So, to everyone out there, dating and married, Happy Anniversary from me to you! 

I wish you a wonderful garden of love, happiness, and beauty!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

My Little Tree Expirement

So!  How about that Christmas Tree?  Ha!  That is what I have been asking myself for about two months.  On Halloween, I start to ponder what I want to do about the dilemma of decorating my tree.  Last year, I discovered festive magazines and began to truly obsess over the idea of handmade ornaments.  Let me tell ya, there is nothing that is a sign you are getting old like transitioning from reading fashion, hair and style magazines to being all up in some home and garden, country living type of magazines!    That transition cracks me up.

I decided last year that I wanted to make ornaments.  I didn't because I took on several handmade projects in terms of gifts, and I made a heap handmade Christmas cards.  By the time I was done with that, the anniversary, the handmade birthday shenanigans, and whatnot, I decided that perhaps I shouldn't handle a hot glue gun or glass.  So I let the dream rest until this year.

I think the best way to do this is to show some of my inspiration for what I would liked to have achieved and then I will reveal what happened with my personal tree :-)

Handmade ornament I found here on Flickr

HGTV Website

Better Homes and Garden, this one and below

Clearly, I found much more than this, but these ideas were my main inspirations.  Each of these ideas has one of my favorites in it:
1--  MUSIC.  I love music paper!  I wish I were more musically inclined, but I've got no talent in that arena at all.
2-- WORDS.  Clearly, I get on here and ramble away about the irrelevant happenings of my life. I love to read and write.  I love different fonts and scripts.  Words have so much meaning in history and day to day life.  I really wanted to find away to WRITE out the holiday spirit onto my tree
3-- PAPERRRR!!!  Yes, we have been through this before.  I am obsessed with paper.  I love the idea of a paper crafted tree.  I was concerned it might look cheap, rather than classy and well put together.

.....  So without further ado, I will show my personal Christmas tree for the first time.  Believe or not, I'm not one to show off my tree for some reason.  It goes up, it comes down and no one ever knows what happens in between.

These are the first ornaments that I made.  I have been wanting an ivory color schemed tree for about 3 years.  My problem is that no matter what, I just have to incorporate red and gold colors!  I think my mind can't comprehend Christmas without a deep whine or ruby red and some gold.  Although I wanted an ivory colored tree, I caved and added hints of red and gold.

These ornaments were all made with paper being shoved inside the hole when you take the top part off.  The smaller ornaments have shredded paper inside.  Yes, I literally put colored cardstock into my shredder and used that to stuff the ornaments and then I hot glued ribbon around them.

The larger ornaments are strips of coordinating colored scrapbooking paper.  The paper is cut into thin strips and slid into the ornaments.  I did not have double-sided paper, so I actually had to use a pencil to slide the paper around so the white backside didn't show.  Then I made a bow and ribbon for the top.

I made some doves out of glittery cardstock.  I was concerned that these might look tacky, but they looked all right ... in my eyes!  These last few glass ornaments were filled with tulle.  I love the iridescent ivory color and they way it looks angelic when the light hits the glass.

I made these because I wanted words on my tree, without big, tacky posters.  Please excuse my elementary level stitching.  Ha :-)  These are small embroidery hoops, with sparkly cardstock around the finished product.  I tied a piece of tulle ribbon to the metal closure to hide it.  Although my inspiration came from the above stitched pieces, I really can't sew!  So any ideas of applique weren't going to happen on my behalf.  Plus, I prefer words to pictures anyway.

And lastly, what would my tree be without a bunting!  You know I am all about making buntings these days.  This one was quick and simple.  Paper triangles made from musical note scrapbooking paper.  These little flowers that I adore. I punched some holes on the sides of the triangles and strung them up using hemp string.  Considering that I made over 50 triangles, there was no freaking way that I was going to mess around with embellishing this bunting the way I did with others I've made.  Also, the bunting wasn't the focal piece of the tree.  It was mainly there to fill in spaces.  I hate empty spots on my trees!  I usually buy hoards and hoards of ornaments to try and fill them in, but this year, I had more control over that.

Since I made many rather large ornaments for my narrow tree, it worked out well.  Perhaps in the future, we will move into an place where we have space for a wider tree.  And then I will have to really be creative in filling the spaces!

I like the way the doves and all the paper crafts look in the tree. 

Believe it or not, after making about 50 ornaments, I actually have about 3-4 more different ideas for ornaments that I still want to include.  I want to place family photos on the tree.  I saw that in a magazine and loved it.  I need to find photos and print them on ivory papers.  I also want to make some ornaments that look like these:

I found these here.
 I actually tried to make these and the ornaments I got were too small for the hole punch I used.  I am going to revisit this idea with the very large ornaments.  I think they look so creative and so unique!

Here is another example found at Craftionary:

Enough of this, involving you in my Christmas d├ęcor obsession!  In the end, just know that we are pumped about our handmade Christmas tree this year.  I look forward to adding design elements to it in the years to come.  And it was all so easily done!  I am a Christmas junkie.  I love looking at trees and using "decorating" as an excuse to express myself in a festive manner.
Did you make ornaments this year?  Do you have any special Christmas decoration traditions in your home?  No matter how you answer these questions, I hope that you bring holiday cheer to your home in your own specialized way!
Enjoy the evening on this Hump Day!


Monday, December 9, 2013

Just One Moment

Today, I have been super busy.  Things have slowed down for the day, and I am finally having a small, late lunch and getting lessons for homeschool started with my Little Darling.  While she is studying, I figured I would write as I snack on this delicious apple cake I baked the other day.  It's so yummy and so easy to bake that sometimes I will make one every week!

Today, I had to rush from place to place, getting things for later in the week.  My husband and I have our eighth anniversary Thursday and we are going out.  I have no clothes for "fun nights out", so I needed to buy top.  I am hand making something for him, but I ran out of yarn and had to run to get more.  Don't you hate it when you get so close to being done, and you run out of what you need to finish?  With my superior planning skills, it happens to me aaaallll the time!

After this, I went to check out a gym.  I am signing up, taking the plunge.  I am ready to whip my body back into shape.... a shape it hasn't been in seven years!  I am so guilty of making excuses about not having money for a gym, not having time to get to the gym.

My last stop landed me at the Post Office, which is where I really began to ponder TIME in general.  It's that time of year again, and I need postage for packages, cards, and letters.  Standing in line, while an older woman talked about every bit of irrelevant Christmas-related topic of her life she could conjure up into conversation as the clerk patiently and attentively played into this old lady's ploy for attention seeking, watching my precious time dwindle really got me to thinking about time and the way it's spent.

Every  year, I write Christmas cards.  Yes, I go to the Post Office, wait in the longest line in the world for stamps and then I go to a store, pick out a set of cards or two, ask everyone for their updated contact information, and hand write a personal message into each card before returning to the post office to mail them.  Every. Single. Year.

Each year, someone makes the comment about how they forget about giving cards or how they don't have time.  Well, I see it this way:  Christmas is the same day at the same time each year.  Each year, you have your hand out, expecting cards & gifts from someone.  Around that same time, each year, you have about 350 days to find a card, write something inside or sign it, and drop it off.  No one ever complains about the time they don't have when it comes to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Vine, or Instagram.  Everyone has plenty of time to check ALL of those social media networks several times per day.  I do it myself, but I don't confuse that interaction with meaningful ones.

I guess what I am saying is that, for Christmas, I wish more people would re-evaluate their time.  Think about what really counts.  If you have time to scroll through 750 friends' status updates, then surely you can write your loved one a hand written message.  It's not about the card.  It's about the fact that time is worth more than anything in the world.  We have more of it than we realize, but we have convinced ourselves that we do not.  We have lied to ourselves and said that we are too busy to take care of ourselves, too busy to chase our aspirations, and too busy to take a moment to genuinely interact and think of someone else.  Each year is filled with 74,880 minutes, chances, to offer up your time to put a smile one someone else's face.  Think about that!  That's a lot of time.  Life is Long!  Life is Sweet. 

Don't fall for the trick that it is so short that you have no time to make meaningful memories or take time for others.  When your life comes to an end, you will only think about each moment missed because you told yourself you were too busy to notice how much it mattered!

My challenge to you is to write a Christmas card to someone who isn't expecting it.  Brighten their day.  Take a moment to be IN the moment and be compassionate towards another human.  I know that, as life bustles on, you will forget this moment, but this moment, this time that you are gifting...  it's for the heart of another.

Season Greetings on this fine, chilly Monday afternoon!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Walking In My Winter Wonderland

I cannot believe that it has already been about a week since I have last posted.  That is what happens when I decide that I will post more often...  I somehow end up not posting anything at all.  I have issues with follow-through, commitment, and authority. Even when, in all of those situations, I am answering only to myself.  Something to work on:  Hold Self More Accountable.  No avoiding eye contact.

I do have a good excuse, however.  I have been BIZZAY!  Being sick for 5-6 days right after Thanksgiving was so much more than I bargained for.  I was completely out of it, and my apartment went to hell.  Growing up, I remember seeing how hard the women in my life worked.  They always warned me that a Woman's Work Is NEVER Done.  Back then, I thought, "Yea right!  I will design my own life, and I won't get sucked into the terrible, unpredictable, upsetting bowels of domestic life like you all!"  How clever I thought I was back then.  And then, just like that, I was right where they knew I would be.  I was stuck in the throws of domesticity, running around like a mad woman, doing everything in my power to make sure that my little world I worked so hard to create stayed functioning smoothly.

I started to feel better very late Wednesday, so I pulled a practical all-nighter to finish all my laundry.  I then spent all day and most of each night on Thursday & Friday completely consumed with errands and housework.  No sleep for the wicked, I guess.

But even with all this, I still managed to spend time with The Family.  Friday, we got our first snow of the season!  I don't know why, but I have always been excited about the season's first snow each year.  I can't drive worth a damn in bad weather, and I seriously hate being cold, but there's something magical about it.

I love looking at nature, as it is literally frozen in time.  We walked around the neighborhood, playing in the snow and taking pictures.  It was a great time. 
Ok, call me crazy, but I really love to eat ice cream in the winter.  I prefer fresh fruits and salads and warm tea all summer long, but, Baby, when it's cold outside, I only scream for ice cream!  So when we came back in from our little winter excursion, we all had some ice creams.  I am pretty plain.  Just vanilla with a little caramel and some pecans.  The Hubs and our Little Darling had much more extravagant sundaes.
Luckily, I finished some additional projects before I became sick.  I definitely didn't have the energy to work on things while I was under the weather, and no time for it when I was feeling better in these past few days.  I meant to post this little ta-dah moment earlier in the week.
I made these precious items for my friend, Mama M in Finland.  She has recently had her second baby.  I am really happy for her.  And, you know how much I love-love little, baby girls.  It's so much fun to make things for little girls.  I hope that sweet Baby M and Mama M love her little hat and headband bow. 
I am still getting used to making hats.  I somehow have only managed to make just a few, less than 10, in all my years of crocheting.  I made these hats quickly and I am happy with both of them!

I made this for her sweet son *G*.  I remember, when I was little, being jealous whenever one of my siblings got a gift.  My parents didn't have a lot of money, so we were always encouraged to share with one another, but my parents didn't always have the money to buy additional gifts for everyone each time one of us had a birthday.  I hope *G* likes his little hat.

This is the first time that I have made a hat with ears.  I think it's absolutely Adorable!  It's so precious that I have already made some plans to recreate this same style of hat in other colors just to experiment with what I can create.

I hope that both Mommy and the kiddos are happy with these gifts.  Mama M actually knits herself.  I am always nervous about giving someone who is crafty things that are handmade.  I don't doubt my skills, but I am worried someone will think, "I could do this myself and much better than this!"  But then again, it's the thought that counts.  I had Mama M and the kiddos on my heart this holiday season, especially since we have reconnected as pen pals in the past few months.

For me, I am going to call it a night, as far as the Cyberverse is concerned.  I have so many things I have to take care of ... preparing for the week and such.

Have a great week!

Monday, December 2, 2013

It's December!!!

I just can't believe that it is already December.  It's gotten here so quickly again.  Remember being younger, during summer breaks from school, wishing time would go faster?  Remember not being able to wait until you were older?  I do.  And now, I keep begging for time to slow down and give me just moments longer in each phase of my life.  Funny how things like this change as we get older.

Well, today, you can find me on the floor of my living room, sipping gingerale out of a tea cup and snacking on saltines.  I think I might be the only person alive who gets terribly sick during the feasting time of the year.  Yes, Friday afternoon, The Hubs and I went out to eat.  Nothing fancy.  But hours later, I was violently sick.  Food poisoning.  So!  Here I am, 10 pounds lighter (yea, true food poisoning is no joke!) with a continually upset stomach, and no energy.  But, seriously, it's DECEMBER!!!  Who has time to be sick?  Not this (Super)Woman right here!

My house is a wreck because I have been out of commission all weekend.  I only began to recover yesterday morning. I have a HUGE pile of paper and notions on my dining room table for Christmas projects that were supposed to be completed over the weekend.  I gotta get our tree up.  It's a home school day.  There's laundry... meals... errands... tasks...  Uhm yea.  It's going to be interesting here in the next coming days.

Fortunately for me, I have already finished a few projects in the past week, so this week will basically be one Reveal after another.  Of that, I am proud!  I rarely finish anything, and I definitely rarely do it in a timely manner. So, allow me a moment to do a small Happy Dance *WOOT WOOT*

Remember this little cutie that I showed a little while back?  Well, I have a pattern on half African hexies that I used to make some of the edges a little less odd-shaped.

The finished blanket looks like this:


My apologies for the poor lighting.  I'm still hoping to find a good deal on some photography lights.  Of course, not just for blogging, but the lights would definitely come in handy for this too :-)

I had to go around the blanket with a few rounds of a boarder because the half hexies stick out a bit.  I also had to modify the pattern just a tad, so I will need to practice with this modified pattern a little more and then I will happy share!  If anyone is interested in the pattern without it being perfected, let me know!  Trust me, I am not a crochet guru at all. Ha!  So if you think you can whip this half hexie into submission, the pattern is all yours!

I had some extra African Flowers left over, so I decided to turn one into a hat.  I had done this before, just to try it out.  So I tried it out again.  And again, in typical ME fashion, I didn't write down how I did it at all!  Everything is trial & error with me.  Ha!  Sometimes it works, and sometimes, I just have to chuck it up to a learning experience.  But I think this hat it really cute.  I hope Mama S & Baby R like it as well!

I also made a little bow.  I love bows on baby girls.  They are always so adorable in photos.  This is attached to a headband, but the bow is removable and can be attached to the hat as well.

It's a little sad to end this project.  Can you believe that I started it back in April?  Seems crazy!  But these items are ready to be boxed up and shipped overseas to their new, warm and loving home.
This project was a lot of fun.  It was also very easy to finish, as soon as I had the time.  I just hope that both Mama & Baby are satisfied with my work :-)  It makes me truly happy to see others happy because of the work that I have done for them.
Throughout this month, I suspect you might be hearing from me quite a bit as I knock out gifts, decorations, and other things. I don't typically feel as motivated as I do during the holidays!  Something about the month of December that brings out my creative side in every way imaginable!
Have a great Monday!