Christmas and New Year’s

We celebrate Christmas with my family on the Sunday after Christmas, so this year it was the day before New Year’s Eve, which meant celebrating just continued from one holiday right into the next holiday.  Bob and I made it a nice extra long weekend to allow time for us to really enjoy our time with family and friends.  My family started the Christmas celebration with a wonderful meal.  Bob was able to capture a picture of all of us at the table.

Christmas - Family Table

Mom added a bit of Christmas decoration to her kitchen by hanging a small wreath, which I think is actually a candle ring, above the stove. 

Christmas - Wreath on tiled backsplash

I think she really wanted her wreath featured on the blog, because she made sure to point it out.  I guess after I posted her leaves in the crock, she realized she is at risk for me taking pictures and posting, so this time she chose what she wanted me to share. 🙂  I am gladly sharing, because I like how it looked.  And, it shows off the backsplash tile that Kristel and I installed for Mom last year. 

After our delicious meal, we all shared in some gift giving.  We added some fun to it, and made whoever was the first to find a present with their name on it, then got to find a present for the next person.  We did that until we all had a present in hand.

Christmas - Family with first present

Then, it was the big decision of who got to open first!!  The kids were very anxious, but everyone was patient and shared in the fun and spirit of the season of giving.

Christmas - Cake Pops

There were also some treats to enjoy throughout the day.  Aniyah had gotten a cake pop maker for Christmas, so we got to sample her delicious and adorable creations.  The kids then had some fun playing one of the new games, Hedbandz.

Christmas - nieces and nephews playing hedbandz

They all look so cute with their hedbandz on…and they are no dummies, they tried to cheat and ask to see the picture I took of them so that they would know what they were.  Each kid didn’t know what was on their head and had to ask questions to narrow down what they might be until they could guess what they were.  It was quite entertaining. 

Christmas with my family was a wonderful day!

The next day was New Year’s Eve.  I ventured out to Target to do some shopping…I had a gift card burning a hole in my pocket!  I lucked out and all the Christmas decor was 70% off.  I was looking at the Christmas decor for two reasons – one to see if there would be anything I could use in my house for next year, and two for anything I could use for New Year’s decorations.  I’ve never actually decorated for New Year’s before, but we were having neighbors/friends to our house that evening.  I didn’t want to take all my Christmas decorations down, but I did want to add some New Year’s decor.  The evening was to be a progressive evening, so everyone was coming to our house for cocktails and appetizers before moving on to the next house for dinner.  So, I added a few touches of New Year’s to the basement bar and dining area.

New Years - Basement Bar buffet

I set up the bar with part of the appetizer buffet, more food was brought by our guests.  I took the pictures early, so I didn’t forget once everyone arrived.

New Years - Basement Bar Vignette

For the bar decorations, I used glass containers that I had.  I bought some silver and gold bead garland and the tinsel at Target.  I used gold ornaments that I had and put them in the one glass with the beads.  The other glass just has the tinsel layered in it.  And, the apothecary jar in the back has silver and gold painted pine cones that I had, and was using in my Christmas decor.  I found the New Year’s printable on Pinterest (although I can’t seem to find my original pin of it now).  I just printed it on plain paper and slipped it in a frame I had – it’s actually a frame that normally has our wedding picture in it, but it matched the colors so I borrowed it for the evening.

New Years - Tablescape - mercury glass candles tinsel ornaments

This was the table in the basement. We didn’t actually ever sit at it, but it provided nice ambiance.  I had the mercury glass candle holders – they are from Target too, I just bought them before Christmas. 

New Years - Centerpiece - candles tinsel ornaments mercury glass

For the centerpiece, I used a rectangular white serving dish.  It was in the Christmas clearance at Target, so I got it cheap, and I know I will use it over and over.  The center candle holder was another one of my Target purchases that day.  I had the two little candleholders; they are normally on the shelves in the basement.  I just added the tinsel and some silver and gold ornaments and called it done.  I’m glad I decorated, because both of the other houses we went to that evening had very festive New Year’s decorations.  Here is all of us enjoying our cocktails and appetizers – Bob was the photographer again, so he’s the only one missing from the picture.

New Years - Friends celebrating at basement bar

A good time was had by all!  Happy New Year!!

DIY Baby Shower Favors

Since Christmas is over, I am trying to get back to some of the posts I promised before the craziness of the holidays!  I thought I should start with the DIY baby shower favors, before we are too far removed from Christmas since I made ornaments as the favors for the December baby shower. 

Baby Shower - Diaper Cake Snow Woman

I used simple supplies to make the ornament favors that were part of our table decoration, shown above.  I know Snow Woman is the star of the picture, but you can see about 5 different favors laying on the table in the picture too.

Baby Shower - DIY Favors - Ornaments-Scrapbook Paper-Mod Podge

I purchased the clear Martha Stewart ornaments at Michael’s.  I’m not sure how much they cost, but they were relatively inexpensive considering 6 ornaments were in each package.  The scrapbook  paper was a little 4×4 stack of double-sided Christmas paper, that feature plenty of pink to make it fit in with the rest of the baby shower decor. This was the first time I used Mod Podge!!  I bought the sparkle kind for this project, and I’m glad I did.  It just gave each ornament an extra little shine. 

Baby Shower - DIY Ornament Favors - Pink-Sparkle-Circle

For each ornament I just cut out the scrapbook paper while holding it against the plastic ornament.  I did find out that it was much easier to be precise with cutting than to try to trim after the mod podge was applied.  I applied the mod podge directly to the plastic ornament and then attached the scrapbook paper.  I did this for all the ornaments and laid them to dry.  After they were all dry, then I just applied a coat of the mod podge to the back of the paper.  Once all the ornaments were dry. I used an exacto knife to cut out the hole to hang the ornaments.  I have various Christmas ribbons on hand, so I just used what I had and attached a loop of ribbon and knotted it to hang.

Baby Shower Favors - DIY Ornaments-Green-diamond

The ornament favors were a simple fun craft that I enjoyed making.  Because of the double-sided paper, you can hang the ornament either way and it looks nice.  The first one is with the plastic in the front, and the one above is the side with the exposed paper.    I have learned my lesson and made plenty of extra so that I have several to keep and enjoy hanging on our tree, and I have them hanging both ways.

Baby Shower - DIY Ornament Favors- Teardrop with sparkle

What are your favorite favors that you made or received at a baby shower?  Any ideas for other ways to use the sparkle Mod Podge?  I have plenty left over, and I’m not quite sure what I make with it.

Our Christmas House

Christmas - Puddy on porch with greenery in urns

Welcome to our Christmas House!  I’ve shared some pieces of projects around our house recently, but this is the complete tour of  our home at Christmastime with many pictures and few words. 

Christmas - Greens-magnolia-berries-urn-on-porch

I just stuff several types of greenery in the urns and added a few faux berries, but I think the real highlight are the magnolia branches in each pot.  This was the first year I’ve used them and I think it really adds to the overall composition.

Christmas - DIY Wreath on Door

The poinsettias are more burgundy than the picture shows, but you can get a pretty good idea of the overall look.

Christmas-Foyer table with tree and santa

Right inside the door, the foyer table is decorated with tree #1.  This tree is home to the more sentimental ornaments.

Christmas- Puddy with Tree with Red and Green Lights

I had a lot of difficulty getting a picture of our real tree lit, so I snapped this one of Puddy is his normal spot with the tree in the background.

Christmas-Real Tree in daylight

Same tree, just in daylight.

Christmas - Greens in Spraypainted vase-ornaments- wreath on mirror-foyer-tree-in-background

The living room coffee table, looking back to the foyer.

Christmas - Neutral Vignette with Santa trees and Nativity

A little vignette on the table in the odd corner of the living room.

Christmas-Ornaments in vase reflecting in mirror

Christmas - Fresh Greens lights and stockings on mantle

Christmas-Touches of Christmas in Powder Room

The powder room even has a little touch of Christmas.

Christmas - Craft Room Shelves

These are the shelves above my desk in my craft room.  They were the first part of the house to be decorated, since its one spot that is mainly just for me to enjoy.

Christmas - DIY Centerpieces-Sprayed Branches with snowflakes-poinsettias-and-candlesticks

I’m still using my spraypainted branches!  I just changed the vase filler and added some snowflakes.

Christmas - Ornaments in Glass on Buffet

I have quite a variety of ornaments, so they end up in any vessel I can find around the house.  These are on the buffet in our breakfast room.

Christmas -DIY Cork Board into Card Holder

This is my card display in our kitchen.  I used an old cork board and just wrapped fabric around it using staples to secure it on the back, and added Christmas roping secured with nail head trim on the front and staples on the back.  Above was with our first card that arrived.  Below, it is now overflowing with greetings from friends and family.

Christmas-DIY Card Holder full of cards

Christmas - Basement - Table and Side Table Decorated

Now, you are getting the tour of the basement decorations, starting with table and side table above.

Christmas - Basement Entertainment Center Shelves

The shelves get a whole new look for Christmas. 

Christmas-Basement Tree with Christmas Shelves and Angel

And, finally this is tree #3!  This tree has had two different looks this year.  It was decorated in pink for Keri’s baby shower, but I changed it to the blue decorations since then.  We’ve only had this tree for two Christmases, and I just love it.  It is so nice to be able to put it up early and leave it up for as long as we like.  I think it was up until February last year!

I hope you enjoyed the tour of our Christmas House.  Anyone else have three trees?  Do you decorate the whole house, or just certain rooms?

Christmas Music

I’ve shared some of my Christmas creations recently, and now I’d like to share some of Bob’s creations.  Bob loves music, and he happens to be a great guitar player, singer, and songwriter…I’m probably a bit biased though ;).

Bob Wireback with guitar

It seems Christmas inspires his creativity as well, because he has written and recorded three Christmas songs over the years.  All three of his songs are available on itunes, found here.  The Last Believer is available in two formats, one is just an instrumental version.  His other songs are Close Your Eyes and Long Time Ago.

I hope you enjoy Bob’s music as much as I do!  I’m spoiled because I can hear him sing and play guitar all the time at home, but is nice to be able to share his music with everyone else at this special time of year.

DIY Christmas Ornaments

My creative side seems to thrive at Christmastime.  I see inspiration everywhere I go, and then I get the crazy ideas to either make my own creations, or use what I see in the stores and decide that I can recreate it cheaper.  But, usually time gets the best of me and only the quick and easy projects get completed in time for Christmas.  Fortunately, this year I get to share Christmas creations from year’s past. 

At one of my previous jobs, I worked in a small department and it became my tradition to make my co-workers an ornament or small craft for their gifts.  Unfortunately, I didn’t always make a spare one to keep for myself.   One year, I made jingle bell ornaments.  And, these were one of the ornaments that I failed to make extra.  But, I found I still had the supplies in my craft closet, so I made a few this year.  You only need 3 (or 4) supplies.  Jingle Bells, Wire, Wire Cutters, and Ribbon is optional.

        DIY Christmas Ornaments - Tools - Wire and Wire Cutters

I made two different ornament shapes: wreaths and candy canes.  All you do is cut your desired length of wire.  Bend the end to create a loop so that the first bell does not fall off, and then just thread the bells on your wire as you bend the wire into the shape you choose.  If you are making a wreath, just loop the one end into your original loop to close the circle.  You can then attach wire as your hanger or ribbon.  For the candy cane, your two ends are just two loops to hold the first and last bell in place.  I used ribbon for my hangers, and tied it two different ways to show you some examples.  These are a simple craft, and a perfect one to make on the couch watching a Christmas movie!

DIY Christmas Ornaments - Jingle Bell Wreaths and Candy Cane

Another simple ornament craft, and this is one I kept plenty for myself when I made them years ago, uses clear ornament balls and craft paint. 

DIY Christmas Ornaments - Swirled paint in glass balls

Pull the hanger off the ball, and then squeeze craft paint into the ball.  Swirl the paint around for your desired look, and then turn the ball upside down to let the extra paint drip out into a container.  Once the paint dries, reattach the hanger and place on your tree.

DIY Christmas Ornaments - Green and White Swirled paint in glass ornament

The next ornament uses fabric, felt, buttons, stuffing, thread, hot glue and twine (or ribbon). 

DIY Christmas Ornaments - Heart with felt and buttons - 2

I made a heart pattern and cut the fabric.  Then I sewed the two pieces, right side together and left a small opening.  I turned the fabric right side out and stuffed it to the desired fullness, inserted the twine for a hanger, and then handstitched the opening closed.  I cut little star shapes out of the felt, and stitched Noel into the felt.  Then, I used the same thread and handstitched the felt to the fabric.  I completed the ornament by hot gluing buttons to the edges of the heart.

DIY Christmas Ornaments - Heart with felt and buttons

A few years, I read on Centsational Girl about using glitter on cookie cutters to make ornaments, so I had to try it myself.  It was an easy craft that I shared with my family, and again kept several for my own tree.

DIY Christmas Ornaments - Glitter Cookie Cutters

I have a few more handmade ornaments to share, but I can’t take any credit for them.  They just provide me good memories of who and where they came from.  First is a lightbulb snowman that my friend Cindy made for me.  From what I can tell, you need a lightbulb, buttons, paint, felt, fabric and a screw for the nose.  Those few supplies and you can have a cute little guy like this hanging in your tree too.

DIY Christmas Ornaments - Lightbulb Snowman

These last two were made by my Granny.  The first I think resembles a pine cone.  It is fabric folded and pinned over a styrofoam ball.

DIY Christmas Ornaments - Fabric pinecone

The final ornament has the most sentimental value of all.  This is Granny’s tradition for all the grandchildren, and now great-grandchildren.  She traces each child’s hand and then sews the ornament with your name and year on it.   This is my hand from when I was two years old.

DIY Christmas Ornaments - Childs Hand

Do any of you make ornaments for your tree, or to share with friends and family?  Any other sentimental ornament creations?

DIY Christmas Decorations

Over the years, I have created several Christmas decorations either as gifts or to use in my own home.  This weekend as I was beginning to decorate our house, I was remembering the different years when I created the decorations.  Since these are decorations I made in previous years, there are no step-by-step tutorials to go with them.  But, all three of them are easy enough that you can put them together easily.

I use two of these centerpieces in my Christmas decorations on our dining room table.  The year I made them, I made one for each of the females in my family. All of the supplies are from Michael’s or AC Moore.  You just need a glass vase, some floral foam, vase filler (the stones in my vase), and then floral bushes or picks.  I cut the floral foam and put it in the vase, and then filled around it with the stones.  Then, I cut the floral bushes apart with wire cutters and just stuffed into the foam until I had the complete look I wanted. 

The lights in canning jars is probably the easiest of all.  I just used the small strings of lights.  Mine are old strings before the days of LED lights, so they did get a bit warm, which is the reason I keep them sitting on coasters.  All you do is stuff the lights into the jar with no order, so it looks random.  Then, I cut circles of Christmas fabric, several inches wider than the jar.  I put the fabric on top of the jar and just wrapped a wire ribbon around and tied it with a bow to hold it in place. 

The last decoration is a gingerbread cookie cutter wrapped in jute twine.  The beginning and end is secured with hot glue.  Then, I attached a bit of fake greenery and berry with the hot glue as well.  If you wanted to use it as a tree ornament, you could just attach a loop of twine with hot glue to the top.  I just sit the gingerbread man on one of my shelves add a little extra texture to my decorating.

I always enjoy displaying the items that I have made, and these are simple enough that you can make a few extra for gifts.  I’ve also made several different ornaments over the years, so I will share those next.  Anyone else like creating your own Christmas decorations?