Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
How was your Christmas?
Our Christmas Eve was quiet but nice. We did have one that was sick but luckily it was a good day for her to relax. I'm happy that she's feeling better now.
We enjoyed making tamales all evening and watching movies. A friend came over for dinner which made us so happy. The kids had a sleep-over in the family room. It's a warm, cozy space which makes it easy to sink into the couch and not want to leave. We tucked them all in - even the 13 and 15 year-old still like to be tucked in for the night. They all had trouble falling asleep because the anticipation of the morning is just too much.
It was heartwarming to see all of my children sleeping soundly together with pillows piled everywhere and blankets stacked high. I knew that everything I ever wanted was right in that room- just a bunch of happy kids.
Friday, December 24, 2010
The extras, she said, just shouldn't matter.
I agreed and wondered how I got such a mature young woman. But then I thought back to all of the Christmases past and remembered that she and Charley seemed to have always been like that. I don't remember a long list of requests for Santa. I couldn't even remember what we got them until a few years ago when the requests did become more item specific, like an American girl doll or a scientific calculator.
Sometimes we measure whether or not it will be a "good" Christmas by the amount of presents we can afford or if we buy that exact item on the list. Call me naive, but I think it can always be a "good" Christmas when you surround yourself with those you love and keep family traditions alive. It seems that is what we, including our kids, remember most.
Admiring our family tradition of meaningful Christmas ornaments. They all tell a story.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Most of the ornaments dating to the 50's and 60's were brightly colored, hence their name Shiny Brights. They are more thin and delicate but the shapes and colors were always and still are rather appealing.
This is one of my favorite finds. He was in a huge box of vintage Christmas ornaments that I bought for $10.00 at a Thrift shop. I usually kept him separate from the tree and in a glass cloche, but this year I clipped him on and you'll never guess what?! His tail feathers pop out. I didn't know that before. This whole time I thought he had a broken tail. I was very excited - those little surprises really make my day.
The price tag fell off but it was originally .59 cents back in the day.
Shapes and colors of shiny brights denote the Sputnik era. I keep most of them in glass jars and up on the shelf because I know that Trae will test them to see if they bounce. There have been only 2 ornament casualties this year. Neither of them bounced...
Some vintage ornaments have interesting clues to their history. I'm not sure if this is homemade but these bells have Plaster of Paris on the underside, molded with Chinese newspaper and covered in aluminum foil which is half painted red. I think the beads are mercury glass. I found it in a little shop in Maryland and thought it was just right.
The quirky nature of the German and Japanese ornaments always catch my eye. They just remind me of a fun, colorful Christmas. I still need to repair Mrs. Snowman - she seems to have melted...
Look no further than your local thrift shop for these types of ornaments. I have seen bunches of them this year. If you can't find them there, go to your local antique mall. Dealers always have them individually priced in dishes and bowls. It depends on the area in which you live I guess but I have never paid over $2.00 for any of them individually. So hopefully you can find some in that range.
See you tomorrow and have a great day!
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
which is constantly evolving around here. I think there should be more lights on the tree and I still have boxes to get back down to the garage but so far, so good. Everything I have done is simple and easy. No highly involved tips and tutorials here. This week should be joyful not stressful.
This year on the staircase railing, I mixed synthetic garland with cut boughs from the tree. It adds a little thickness and smells good. Ribbon, beaded garland and pine cone lights finish it out. I've had all of those things for years. I keep base colors simple so when I want to change things and use trend colors or lean towards a theme, I only have to buy a few extras in any given year.
This year I am displaying the Christmas cards received. I just used small clothespins to hold them to the garland. That cool card is from my friend Alysa, my 1st mission companion in Japan. Love that girl!
A few trimmings of metallics and beads. More on that during the week.
Just get a clothespin and any kind of paper you'd like to use. Cut the paper into a rectangle, round the edges, accordion fold the center, pinch it if you'd like, and clip with the pin. Could it be any easier?
Monday, December 20, 2010
So to begin the week filled with Christmas crafts, tips and vintage ornament goodness, here's the weekend recap:
There was the tree farm trip where they let you roast hot dogs, marshmallows and make hot chocolate. My favorite thing they do is measure your child's height so when you come back next year, you can see the difference a year makes. Now is that hometown service or what?
On to a fun office party where the kids won gumball machines and a 5 lb Hershey chocolate bar.
Jon and Frank made a true Pennsylvania Dutch main course of Chicken and waffles. I had never heard of that before moving here. It was actually tasty. Everyone else brought sides or desserts and the kids decorated cupcakes.
Next was a seriously sweet party complete with a chocolate fountain where we indulged in dipping fruit, cheesecake and other delicious goodies. There was also a raucous round of white elephant gifts where the Superman snuggie was a hit. But first we had to compete in getting a cracker from your forehead to your mouth to determine the order of the present pick. We were number 10 and took home that sweet lamp.
And finally untying the tree and bringing out the trimmings. I'll reveal the finished product later. I think it's our best yet. It's filled with new and vintage ornaments and stays within the color scheme of the house; blues, silver, grey, greens, metallics and a pop of color here and there.
Charley said it made her cry when we turned off the lights and stepped back to admire it. She's a sweet one, Charley that is.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
We've had a flurry of activity in these parts this past week. How about you?
Today is another busy one. Breakfast with Santa this morning, a birthday party early afternoon, a family Christmas photo session late afternoon, finish making simple ornaments for a church Christmas dinner, clean the bedrooms, finish up all of the laundry and a basketball game tonight. I'll be back mid-week (next week) for updates on projects and funny things that happened along the way.
I hope you have a great day!
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Belen wasn't there this year because of basketball commitments so we missed her being with us. The other kids enjoyed seeing all of the lights, their friends and some new additions to the parade.
Candy was tossed from the floats which the kids really liked. People also worked the crowd handing out candy so no one was missed. Blair held up her "Darrenkamp's" bag, our favorite locally owned grocery store, to Mr. Darrenkamp when he walked by us. When he saw her, he exclaimed that she gets extra treats because she was carrying the right bag. That made for a happy 5 year old! It made for a happy me too when I needed a midnight snack and ate some pretzels.
Rounding out the parade of course was the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus in a horse drawn sleigh.
(Unfortunately the video I shot of that wasn't downloading properly but here are a few pics.)
I hope you get to enjoy Christmas and holiday parades wherever you are!
Friday, December 3, 2010
It's a long story but we have a storage unit full of personal belongings and antiques of my mom's and maybe some overflow of ours...
A few weekend's ago we moved those items into a smaller unit. It was an all day event. I did bring back a few bins of things that I wanted to go through a little more closely. And I wanted to bring out my Christmas china that we enjoy using the day after Thanksgiving and all the way to New Year's day.
It's something that my kids look forward to, believe it or not. Funny what traditions that the kids will enjoy and remember.
So, here are a few items that I thrifted out of my garage.
The vintage french pots and carrier. A woman that we met who traveled to Paris on shopping trips hand carried this back from one of her travels about 10 years ago. At the time I thought it was expensive but after seeing them now reproduced in magazines and costing more than I paid, I realize it was a bargain.
The pots I bought separately from a lady in Maine. She bought an old house and barn and found a bunch of french pots stored away in there.
The only thing I found in my house were old paint cans they didn't feel like disposing of before moving...
And this I did get from the 2nd hand furniture place. My husband is wonderfully patient with me on the furniture buying. Mainly I buy props for photos. Our garage looks like a prop house. But these are for me and I bought 2 of them for $6.50 each. The fabric will be recovered but I am still contemplating to paint or not. My first thought was a new color but the more I look at them, I feel their natural state is best - minus the fabric. Any thoughts?
linking to Coastal Charm
Thursday, December 2, 2010
I use them year after year and add a few new ones as well. These are just a few that I have but others include a wire tag which spells out "Noel," vintage millinery flowers, twigs that are spelled out to say "winter," little match boxes and snowmen made out of felt. They were just not as easy to scan as these.
So if you're in need of a little creative activity, break out the glue, scissors, paper, glitter, twigs, flowers, felt, copies of old photos, small toy parts, mini match boxes, dominoes or whatever you have in that junk drawer and let the kids go to town.
Metallics and glitter add bling.
My dad is the little guy.
You can make tags more masculine by using traditional colors.
Vintage postcards are always in my supply closet. Here I used small, silk holly leaves to add dimension to the existing leaves. I also use vintage cards for my holiday cards.