Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas

and a Happy New Year!  I hope everyone has a lovely holiday season, and so does Jack:

Monday, December 10, 2012

Dare to Deck the Halls

It's already the 4th week of Dare to DIY and this week is the Dare to Deck the Halls challenge hosted by Decor and the Dog, Maybe Matilda, Newly Woodwards, and Two Twenty One!

Although by Deck the Halls will look a bit like entertaining...I still think it works!

We have a lot of decorations and homemade ornaments here.  I have a tree full of all kinds of unique and craft ornaments.  Nothing matches and I love it that way.  What I did not have was some cute holiday dishware.

For the first time, my husband and I will be hosting Christmas dinner with my in laws.  I'm super excited to be cooking a big meal and sharing the day with my family....while in slippers.  Now, I love my fiestaware dishes - they are pretty much my favorite. But they are blue, yellow, and turquoise and I really wanted to do a traditional Christmas color table this year.  Plus I found some cute napkins and tablecloth at Kohl's for a suuuuuper discount, so I wanted to work around them.

So what to do?  I turned to pinterest for some inspiration.  I found these Halloween plates a while ago and loved them.  While searchng for Christmas ideas, I thought maybe I could come up with something that would be a similar approach to drawing on dishes.

With an idea in mind, I set off to Christmas Tree Shops to find some cheap white plates.  I found the ones I ended up using for like a buck a piece.  Then I found some paints that would work on the plates.  I know people have used Sharpie and had success, but I got nervous and ended up going with something that said it was non-toxic and would 'hopefully' go through the dishwasher.  I found these Martha Stewart Glass Paints at Michaels:

I ended up doing the writing freehand, but I did search through some fonts online and tried to copy one I liked as best I could.  I decided on using Christmas word 'pairs' to decorate the dinner plate and the salad plate.  I was going to add a border, but I decided against it.  I think the simple words spoke for themselves.  The pairs I chose were: Merry & Bright, Silver & Gold, Holly & Jolly, and Comfort & Joy.  I made enough for 8 settings, so each pair was used twice.

After you write on the plates, they need to sit about an hour.  Then you put them in a COLD oven and turn it on to 350.  They 'bake' for 30 minutes and then you turn the heat off and let the plates cool in the oven.

The plates then need to sit for a few days before washing, which was perfect since I got busy and kind of forgot about them for a few days.  From there they got a quick wash and they were ready to be set on the table.

 I really like how the plates came out.  In the future I could use other decorations around them in different colors, but for now I am loving them with the classic red and green.

Do you see the candle holders as the centerpiece?  My step dad made them forever ago and they are my favorite.  I think they added the prefect finishing touch to the table.

Jack really wanted to be a part of the photoshoot :)

I have had so much fun being a part of these DIY challenges.  They kept me crafting and gave me a lot of inspiration for projects!  Thank you Decor and the Dog, Maybe Matilda, Newly Woodwards, and Two Twenty One!


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dare to Give Handmade

It's the 3rd week of Dare to DIY and this week is the Dare to Give Homemade challenge hosted by Decor and the Dog, Maybe Matilda, Newly Woodwards, and Two Twenty One!

I really tried to get my handmade gift done in time for this, but I'm still a bit behind.  I'm going to show what I've done at this point so you can see where I am going with it.

I decided when my husband and I got married almost three years ago that I wanted to make Christmas stockings for us.  As a child, my mom made homemade stockings for all of us, so I never had 'store bought' Christmas stockings.  Now don't get me wrong, there are some suuuuuper cute ones out there, but I wanted to carry on the tradition my mom started with making homemade stockings. The plan is to make the two stockings for us now, and should little ones appear over the next few years I will make stockings for them too!

So this gift is kind of for me, but kind of also for my husband, and a someday gift for our possible future kiddos.

Here is what I have so far... almost completed pile of stockings.

The red stocking is nearly finished.  I just need to tack in the liner and stitch on the buttons.  I used this pattern from Berroco which I found on Ravelry.

Speaking of buttons -how cute are these?  My Nana saved buttons off of everything and had jars and jars of them.  My mom now has most of them and whenever I need buttons for something, I go digging.  Some of them are really old, some a bit newer, but I love the idea of reusing buttons and giving them a new purpose.  It also helps that older buttons are really cute and fun!

The original stocking didn't call for a lining.  I ended up using an acrylic/wool blend yarn and the stocking is REALLY stretching.  Awesome for over-stuffing, but not so awesome overtime.  I want the stockings to last, so I picked up this cute fabric at Joann's to line both stockings.

 Here is the grey stocking in progress.  I am nearly there!  I should have them both done by this weekend and will post some pictures of them in their rightful place hanging in our living room.

Again, how cute are these red buttons!

Stockings are pretty much my favorite part of Christmas morning.  Finding all the little trinkets and candy (and toothbrushes) was something we all looked forward to.  It is a tradition that I love continuing with my husband.  Now I just need to finish them up in time to be filled by Santa :)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Birthday Surprise!

So the plan this weekend was to enjoy a night out with two of our dear friends that recently had a baby.  My husband got the day off from work and I was really excited about a chance to catch up with our friends.

As I started getting ready, my husband gently suggested we dress up for dinner.  We were going to a restaurant we hadn't been to before with friends that hadn't had a night out in a while, so I went with it.  We don't dress up much on the weekends so it was a nice treat.

We left early and made a stop at a shop on the way for some Christmas shopping and then headed to our friends' in the early afternoon.  We hung out with them and their daughter for a few hours...their baby sitter arrived and the 4 of us carpooled to dinner.

When we arrived to the restaurant, it was freezing out.  I was so focused on the cold, I never even looked into the huge windows at the front of the restaurant...well if I had....

I would have seen a wonderful group of friends and family waiting for me to celebrate my 30th birthday!  I turned the corner in the restaurant and there they all were, smiling and laughing.

It was such a wonderful surprise and I tried so hard not to cry, but a few tears fell...

I'm a Christmas baby.  It's one of those birthdays that when anyone finds out they always think it must be terrible!  But it never was!  I always had a wonderful birthday as a kid.  My parents never 'forgot' my birthday....they always made it a very special day for me.

It did however make it hard to have birthday parties on or even near my birthday!  December is a busy month for everyone, so as a kid I often had half birthday parties in the summer!  Having this party now was perfect.  It was early enough that most people could make it, but it was still my birthday month. 

Christmas is probably my favorite holiday and I love that I get to celebrate and share my birthday with family and friends every year!  Not many people can say that as they get older, they still get to celebrate their birthday with family and friends every year.

I am so blessed - not just with a great birthday, but with a wonderful life full of amazing people.  I have friends that I consider family and family that are my bestest of friends.  When I saw all those smiling faces at the restaurant, I was overwhelmed by the love I have in my life!

My husband did good!  I had mentioned to him that I might want to do something for my birthday this year since 30 seems like kind of a big deal (heehee)  But money has been tight and I know the holidays get crazy, so I stopped thinking about it.

But he didn't!  He got in contact with friends and family and got them on board to help him make this happen for me.  One of my friends even found a groupon that helped them decide on a restaurant!  Thank you groupon!

And thank you my husband, family and friends.  I know I have said it over and over again in this blog, but I am SOOOOOOO lucky to have the people in my life that I do!  They do so much for me, and I hope I am able to give them as much!

Back to the real world tomorrow, but with wonderful memories of an amazing birthday surprise...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Dare to Entertain

It's the 2nd week of Dare to DIY and this week is the Dare to Entertain challenge hosted by Decor and the Dog, Maybe Matilda, Newly Woodwards, and Two Twenty One!

I have a tiny kitchen, which also acts as a dining room for us.  We don't really have a good space for a dining table at this point.  But we have a cute little red enamel table that I think goes great in our old home.

I decided to set up an intimate table setting for just the two of us.  I wanted to make a cute centerpiece, but didn't want to spend a lot of money.  I had a bunch of leftover flowers from my first DIY and a few other "fall things" lying around, so I created a fall-ish table setting with centerpiece.

The centerpiece is glued to a foam placemat I bought forever ago that ended up being too big for our table.  I cut it down and then hot glued all the parts and pieces together.

I also didn't have a great tablecloth or I used a throw blanket that was the perfect color.  The dishes are our everyday fiestaware and a quick ribbon around napkins and I was done.

We don't often 'dress up' the table so after I photographed everything, we had dinner with the set up and it really was quite nice.  I should do this more often.

I may have another table set up during this DIY...I have plans for a Christmas table, but have not finished all the pieces, so stay tuned.

Definitely check out all the other AMAZING table settings that are part of Dare to DIY - they are incredible!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dare Thankful!

So it's the first piece of the Dare to DIY link party I decided to try this year.

I’m sharing this at the Dare to DIY party hosted by Newly Woodwards, Decor and the Dog, Maybe Matilda, and Two Twenty One!

For my be thankful project, I decided to create a decoration to hang on my front door. We moved into the house last year during the October snowstorm and it took us a bit to get settled. This year is really the first year that we get to decorate for the holidays!

I received a lovely hanging basket as a house warming gift and had yet to use it. I figured it would work perfectly for my front door hanger. Every time I look it I think of who gave it to me, my dear sister, and what it stands for, our family and our new house!

I am so thankful for my family and my home this year, and every time I look at my front door Ian reminded of these things!

Here are a few pictures of the finished product. My camera is currently mia so bare with the iPad pics!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dare to DIY

So I'm attempting to join my first link party.  I'm hoping this will help me connect with more blogs AND to get me CREATING.  I've been in a bit of a rut, and what better time than the holidays to get inspired.

I'm joining Dare to DIY hosted by Newly Woodwards.  It is a lovely blog.  Although we have never met...and I'm not a super active blogger (yet), I feel like if we met, we would be great friends.

Wish me luck!  It's starts soon!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Musings

As I sit here, getting ready to watch "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," I realize it has been quite an October.  Lots of planning for Halloween only to have to take most of it down before Hurricane Sandy came through.  We were lucky and I was able to re-decorate a bit...but really so lucky - many people got it much much worse.

We also moved into our new home on Halloween last year.  It's crazy to me that we have already lived here a whole year in our own home.  We've been busy making it our own:

  This is the set up after the storm.  I created MANY more gravestones, but wanted to set up less the second time around.  Here are a few more pics of the finished cemetary:


I was also busy with some indoor decorations.  We bought one of those glowing eyes that make noise that you hide in the bushes.  Well, we did something a little different with it:

And here it is in action:

As for costumes.  I found this "lovely" rose colored bridesmaid dress at the Salvation Army that totally fit like it was made for I destroyed it and destroyed one of my husbands old suits to create "Ghoul Prom King and Queen"

Here are the pieces:

And a few sad pics of us in costume.  I totally got so wrapped up in the party that I didn't take many pictures:

And the cheesy "Prom" pic:

We had a great party and another successful Halloween despite the weather.  I hope everyone had a good holiday and are healthy and safe...and those of you that felt the wrath of Hurricane Sandy, you are in our thoughts and prayers!