My most valued possession is my family. Even if you are living in a box
somewhere, and you have the love and support of your family, you will always be
wealthy. Love really is all you need. From love, great things will emerge. From
your thoughts, you can create greatness.This is what I need to remind
myself of everyday to be the best person that I can be. Live your life with
gratitude. Be thankful for all that you have everyday, even if it is your eyes
to see or your ears to hear or your feet to walk or your hands to create.
Understand your place in this Universe; how infinitesimally small you are, but
how huge a contribution your Spirit is. Don't wear blinders to the world around
you, you're not the only one here. Be kind, considerate, don't be judgmental,
love others, and yourself. Know that you are perfect inside; that you are

Monday, December 17, 2012

Advent Calendar project

 I have one more project to share with you. I know, I know...this should have been one of the first projects at the beginning of the month, but I have had this done since last year, so I've only got my 'after' pictures to show you. But you can work on it for next year, right? Or get one done this week or weekend for a gift for someone for next year, even.
This Advent calendar did not replace the one I made with my son when he was 7 years old in Cub Scouts, it just added to it. In fact, we still hang the first one, and use it still to this day. But what I did to make this one was quite easy. First, I found this frame at Archivers. It was about $14, but I used my 30% off coupon. Any frame will do, but I wanted a 12x12 frame because I just wanted to use a piece of scrapbook paper in it as my back ground. I found this piece as a single sheet, and I also bought the Christmas themed brads on clearance the year before. So, I really only purchased the frame and one piece of paper.

I had a sheet of Christmas countdown number and letter stickers, a sheet of Christmas punch outs, and scrapbook paper from several years ago. I also had some bottle caps, a bunch of tags I got on clearance, and I used some small rusty wire from my stash. I just placed everything around on the paper until I felt I liked what I had, then I attached it down with tacky glue, 3D glue squares, and brads. I punched a snowflake out of paper, glued it into the cap, and placed a clear bubble sticker over it.

For my tag hanger, I had to think a while on how to master this. I punched a scallop circle and glued it to the paper. placed my Merry Christmas stickers on, and then had to come up with the hanger part. I wrapped some rusty wire around the back of the Santa brad and twisted it. Pushed the brad through the paper (with glue dots on the back of the brad). I then fashioned a hook out of more wire around the loop, made a hook, and curled the raw end with a jewelry pliers. Done! Now on to the fun part...the tags!

I inked up 25 tags, distressing the corners and edges. I used glitter, brads and stickers to decorate each one for each day in December...

For the rest of the background, I added red tinsel and white opaque embossing powder to enhance the image. I added glitter to Santa's beard and hair and that's it! It was quick and pretty easy. It's also one of my favorite things...

What do you use as your countdown to Christmas? I've seen some pretty amazing ideas on Pinterest, but I bet you already know that...

I hope you have a great Holiday with your families. Hold them close. Cherish one another. Know that the greatest gift of all is having each other.

In Peace,


Sunday, December 16, 2012

How to soften LED candles and some Cristmas centerpiece ideas

Hey, everyone. Hope you are all well. Just a few more ideas I'd like to share in time for the Big Day. I know it's getting super close, but it's never too late to sneak in a few more quick ideas to make your home a bit more merry...even if we're just a week away.
Noah and I wanted some candles in our windows this year. I have some from my mom, the colonial kind with the silicone bulbs. They are perfect, but they all plug in. I don't know about you, but our house was built in 1896. Outlets were not well thought out when remodeling was done, so the lamps I wanted to use...well, four extension cords strung across the house was not an option for me. SO...we looked at a few of the usual places, but found just what we were looking for (almost, we got battery operated ones, but would have preferred solar) at Walgreen's. We got a 4 pack (the perfect count) for just $10. We did have to buy batteries, but the lights are on a timer setting. They come on and off on their own. The only thing we don't really care for is the light that LED gives off. These 'candles' were particularly odd colored, and there was one that didn't match the other three. So, if your like me, and like the environmental factor of LED, but think that they just aren't warm enough, I'm going to show you what I did to soften them up a bit.

Here is the candle as is. They are nice and heavy, seem to be decently made, for being so inexpensive, and the 'flame' is cute.

I took two colors of craft paint: Antique Gold and Burnt Umber. I did four candle flames, and barely used any paint at all. Just mix together what ratio you like for your 'fire'. I used mostly gold, with a hint of umber. Mix well, and use a sponge brush to apply.

I just pounced it on. That left no brush marks, and left a nice uniform finish. Whatever paint got on the white candle part, I simply wiped off with my fingernail. These also dried pretty immediately, but wait until they are completely dry before you twist the bulbs (that's how mine turn on, not at the base). You can paint them with the light on, but, as with mine, as soon as you turn it on, that's when the timer starts...

See the difference? The one on the left is so cool and white. Not quite like a flame at all, but with the paint, it's all warm and cozy looking. It really does give off a nice warm glow...

Next, I used the sewing machine drawer box project as my centerpiece on my dining table. I added a couple jar lights, as well.

I used two of my Hobnail jars I bought from Save-On-Crafts, poured a little Epsom salt in the bottom of each, took some clippings from our tree and placed them around the inside of the jar on top of the 'snow', and topped it off with a grungy flameless tea light. Then I took some of my twine and wrapped it around the mouth of the jar several times, tied it off in a knot, took a rusty safety pin and attached a rusty jingle bell. Simple, festive, and warm.

Here, I wanted to do something like I did on my Thanksgiving table and while unpacking the Holly dishes, I found my set of vintage Santa cookie cutters. I picked these up at the same craft booth that I bought my sewing machine drawer and Ammunition box. Their booth is my favorite...always filled with so many vintage finds, I could spend my whole trip just in that one booth! Anyway, I decided to use a lighter napkin, some red ribbon I had on hand, and thread it through the cutters. Simple! It's sort of reminiscent of Santa's belt buckle, too, don't you think? Isn't it funny how things work out, sometimes?

Here's a back view of our table...
(see the brown chair with the button back just to the right of the table in the picture? That's our next project...we are re-doing those two fabulous chairs! I. Can't. Wait!)

Here's the table with the glittery centerpiece display...

But I think I like it better on the kitchen table with this little bouquet of fresh flowers my dad bought me. He gets me flowers from the grocery store every time we go. He did for my mom, and now he does for me. It warms my heart, and my home. I think there should always be a vase of fresh flowers in your home, no matter the season. Get yourself a bouquet from the grocery store. It's inexpensive and makes you feel good every time you pass by them.

Do you have all of your wrapping done? Have you mailed out your cards? Baking anything good this week? I better get on it, I don't think I'm done with any of the above...

Well, thanks for reading today, I know we're all so busy, but remember to take the time to breathe and enjoy all that the season has to offer.

Stay warm,


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Some festive glittered Holiday projects

In this post I'm going to show you some of the projects I've finished up for the house, but first, I promised a link to the post I wrote about my thoughts on Connecticut from my other blog
 You can click the link above and be taken directly to that post, if you are interested. I sincerely appreciate you reading.

Now, in this post I am going to show you an easy way to glitter Styrofoam into 'snowballs'.
First, I gathered my materials. I used Elmer's gel glue, Styrofoam balls from any craft store, a sponge brush, and I tested out three different kinds of "glitter" medium.

                         First, I watered down my glue until it was the consistency of warm syrup.

Here are some examples of the glitters that I tried. I've labeled them, and below are close-ups of what they look like.

This is the Buffalo Snow Flakes I picked up for just a couple of bucks at Wal-mart last year. They are just little 'flakes' of iridescent plastic.

This is a mixture I made up of a clear crystal 'snow' glitter and replica gold German Glass Glitter. I got the clear glitter called Twinklets Diamond Dust by FloraCraft in a 14oz jar from a craft store, it is also available at Michael's. It was about $8, but will last a really, really long time. The Gold Glass glitter was from Archiver's. It's made by Stampendous and is called gold (or silver) crushed glass glitter and it was about $6.50 for a 1.59oz jar, but a little goes a long way, and it's the only place I found it, unless you count ordering it online.

The third type is a specialty Christmas snow. I picked it up at a craft show. I had been looking for it for  along time, and there it was. It's the kind crafter's use on their projects such as dolls and prims to give it that glittery snowy effect, without it being 'crunchy'. It was about $6, but it filled the whole jar in the picture above (the large one with the locking lid.)

So, here's what I did:
I sponge painted the ball with my glue mixture...

I decided to go with the Buffalo Flakes, they were the cheapest, and I needed the most for this project. I poured a bit into a zip closure bag, dropped the glued ball in, zipped it closed, and shook it up, pressing the flakes around on the glue. I reached in, took it out, and set it on an egg carton to dry.

The next project I did was to glitter some white pillar candles. The candles I got 50% at Hobby Lobby. There are always great sales there, and tons of items for your home and projects. (I'm not endorsing, I'm just saying...give it a try, and you can save a ton of money:)

So, I gathered what I wanted to use. I thought I'd use some Epsom salt, like I saw on Pinterest. I did try it, and it can be done, but it didn't give me the look I was wanting. So, what I did was to mix my three glitter mediums right onto the newspaper. I applied the glue in sections, and just rolled it in the glitter. I worked quick and in sections, because the glue will 'separate' on the wax. It seems like it would be messy, especially re-applying the glue right next to the glitter, but I gotta say, it wasn't. I just held the candle at a 45* angle by the wick and turned it as needed, glued, rolled in glitter, and repeat. That's it! I tapped the bottom and sides after each roll in the glitter to knock off the excess.

Pretty, right? And you know what else? I really hardly had any mess on the paper, and none on my table. Maybe that's years of experience, or maybe this really is a super easy project to quickly add some Holiday glitz to your home!

                                    I tried it as a centerpiece on my dining room table...

                                                         And on my kitchen table...

You'll see what I decided to do in my next post. It'll be up real soon. I hope these projects are helping you to find some inspiration in your own home. It's approaching so quickly, we are almost out of time...Almost...
Ooh!! I've got to go get my cards done!!
See ya later...and thanks for reading!


Indoor Christmas Decor

Well, it's taken me a little while, but I'm actually starting to pull it all together. I'm enjoying my weekend and slowing down a little. I wanted to share some more of the traditional decorations we use each year, as well as some new projects I've completed.

First up is this mini tree I purchased years ago to decorate with this mini Noah's Ark ornament set we collected over the years, as gifts from Noah's parents.

I also bought this little tree at the same place that I bought my Barnwood hutch also in this picture. It reminds me of the little feather trees. I found these little bottle cap ornaments that have vintage pictures of Santa and Snowmen and the words 'Believe' and 'Merry Christmas". These are very easy to make on your own, though. I did it last year for my Halloween tree with bottle caps I bought at Archivers, craft/floral wire, Crystal Effects (a scrapbooking item. It's a clear glue medium that dries hard), and Halloween scrapbooking paper. I just used the punch that matched the diameter of the bottle cap (they are pretty standard to match) and put a little Crystal Effects on the inside of the Cap, placed the paper in, covered it with a generous amount of the CE and let it dry over night. Noah used his Drimmel rotary tool to drill the holes (before I got them decorated) and when they were dry, I threaded the wire in, twisted it and made a hook. I made a ton of them! This year, though, I'm short on time, and at only $1 a piece, it was worth the shortcut.

I also got this little star topper for just a couple bucks there, too. It was too cute to pass up. It's perfect for what I needed, don't you think?

Here is the Santa Claus tea service I bought from a gift shop years ago. It's a good thing there are only three of us...there were only three cups left when I went back to buy it. It comes with a nice big cookie jar, too.

Here's the Barnwood hutch decked out. I may or may not be re-arranging things a bit...again...always experimenting!

Here are my Mom's Nutcrackers.

A subtle bit of greenery on my stack of white plates. Always a bargain hunter, I picked these up at Wal-mart for just $1 a piece. They are heavy ceramic made by Better Homes and Gardens. I just love the simplicity of that Ironstone white look. I used them on my Thanksgiving table this year and was so very pleased with how they looked.  I was recently in a Deals store and picked up perfectly matching white ceramic mugs for just a buck a piece, too! You don't have to spend a fortune to dress your home. Besides, if one gets broken in the wash, it won't break the bank. Plus, I bought plenty, so we won't run out too soon...

Here's another project I did. Last year at the large craft show my mother and I always went to for all the seasons, I bought this old sewing machine drawer. I love old wooden boxes, so this was a must. I was at Old Time Pottery (a favorite of mine. Have you ever been to one? You can find a lot at a steal of a deal!) and I bought these little glass apothecary jars for $.50 a piece. I did splurge on the flameless mini pillars, though. They were $2 a piece, but made with real wax and are scented vanilla. I put some Epsom salt in each of the little jars (a 32 oz or 2lb box of Epsom salts at Wal-mart was only $.88) and placed the 'candle' right on top. Just sort of twist it down in there, and it looks like it's sitting in snow. I took some of my twine and tied it around the top of the jar.

Next, I took some of the flower foam (the kind you soak with water for real arrangements) that I had leftover (keep everything!) and cut it to size. I placed it in the drawer, covered it with some sheet moss (I bough a ton of it on clearance last year at Michael's), and stuck in some of the branch clippings from our tree, some berry picks I already had, some pine cones, eucalypytus sprigs, and that's it. A woodsy-winter centerpiece!

The next thing I did was to fill this old ammunition box with winter greenery to place under my console table to hide the cords. I purchased this box at the same booth at the same craft show I bought the sewing machine drawer from. We didn't notice until we got home that it was made in Alton, Illinois. Pretty neat since we are from that area and traveled over an hour to go to this show!

You see how the power cords for the tree, lamp and snowman light are all unattractively hanging down exposed to the rest of the room? We usually don't have this many cords here, but because of the decorations, we do. We also usually keep the dogs basket of toys and babies under there, but I moved that under the chair, and used the vintage ammunition box filled with greenery instead.

                               Problem solved!

I used this red metal mailbox that I bought several years ago in the same gift shop that I got my tea service to hold some flocked greenery and one of my mercury glass ornaments I mentioned in my O' Tannenbaum post. Last year I had them all out, but just a few will do this year. I loved mixing the new ornaments with the vintage on our tree this year. I know mercury glass is, in essence, vintage, but I have some more modern ornaments in silver and that are mirrored and these tied it all in so nicely, so, on the tree they went!

This is a snowman lamp I made inspired by a pattern I bought from Tennessee Ridge Primitives. I found this little snowman hat at a craft was perfect! I bought up a lot of these lamps at a shop in St. Charles, every time we visited. At only $3 they are an absolute steal! Everything else I had on hand, and handmade the whole thing. One of these days I swear to myself I will start selling on Etsy...all a matter of time...
I have such an eclectic array of what I like to do, it can get overwhelming if you don't organize well.

A friend of mine posted her great find of a large $10 owl like these on Facebook. She settled for the two smaller ones at $5 each. I had to have them, too. They were cuter than the one large one, and at $10 for two...I thought it was worth it ;)   The Advent 'calendar' in the background will be looked at in detail in the next post, along with quite a few more projects, so stay tuned!

This is an antique sleigh and Santa with his elves that belonged to my Grandmother. I remember sitting and looking at this all the time as a child. How special it is that I have it now. (The little pine cone in front of it is one of a matching pair Tyler and I made in Scouts. I put them out every year. It's been about 9 years and counting!)

Another little display, and my Christmas tree clock I bought years ago. It works and, if I would put the batteries in that part of it, plays a Christmas song every hour...
On top are the little Russion Nesting Doll inspired nesting Santa's I got from my Mom.

Here is a mason jar decked out with a vintage Santa image I bought at that same craft show. I paid a whopping $5 bucks!! I bought them for family members to go with their gifts. This is something that I would make, but at only $5...I love supporting a local artisan! It is one of my favorite things. With a little flameless tea light, it's just perfect.

 The Nesting Santa's

Here are two projects I made in 2008 when I had a booth at a large craft and antique mall in Alton. I sold them, but made them for myself, as well. The snowman is made from chenille, and the Santa, or Mr. Kringle, is from a pattern I bought and followed from Primitive Blessings by Twigs N Sprigs.  This Mr. Kringle is one of my all time favorite dolls I've made. I hand stitched his face and used real Alpaca wool for his hair and beard. That's a baby sock I primmed up to hold his winter fare!

Here's a little vintage snowman I was inspired to draw up from something I saw online. He's been around for quite awhile. I used one of my mini pumpkin stems painted orange for his nose. Like I said...keep everything! Pretty darn cute, huh?

I hope some of these projects inspired you to do some of your own. My next post is going to have quite a bit more, so check back! There are some really quick, cheap and easy ways to spruce your home up for the holidays, or make a gift or two for friends and family.

At the time I am working on this post, I've heard about the terrible tragedy in Newtown, Conn., as I'm sure many of you have. I am writing a post for my sister blog, Confessions of a Thinkaholic about my feelings about this. I'll put the link to that in my next post, if you are interested. I just ask that you keep all of those affected by this, including each other, in your thoughts and prayers. Now is the time to band together and pray for a better life for humanity. Hold your loved ones close, make fond memories, remember those less fortunate, and have an air of love about you...that is the cause and effect we need.

Thank you so much for reading, and the brightest of blessing to all of you.