Posts Tagged With: Christmas

One more Christmas post

I’m feeling a little ahead of the game so far. I’m determined to work on one Christmas project each month this year so I’m ready to decorate as soon as Thanksgiving is over. This year, I will not be struggling in mid December to come up with decorations. My New Year’s resolution is to simplify my life. I have about 15 bullet points under that one resolution and that includes being more prepared and organized. I hit up some after Christmas sales and feel like I’ve gotten a good head start and done it on the cheap!  I hope you’re ready for pictures because, as promised, here they are. One thing you can be sure of is that this coming Christmas will have a good amount of glitter and shimmer because after a Christmas without any, I’m going a little crazy

Here’s the beginning of the shimmer.

Love a good breakdown…just in case you can still find some clearance?

  • Green shimmertastic wreath that I almost bought before Christmas – $4 at Target (50% off)
  • Ribbon colored and glittered in blue, green and black – Menards maybe? I can’t remember, I got if from my stash
  • Purple glittered snowflakes – $.30 for 3 at Target (70% off)
  • Olive green glittered snowflakes – $1.48 for 20 at WalMart (50% off)
  • New silver stocking holders (that might get ORBed) – $3 for two at WalMart (50% off)
  • Blue & Purple shimmery and glittery shatterproof ornaments – $2.48 for 12 of each color at WalMart (50% off)

I’ve created a Pinterest board for my shimmery glittery Christmas. Who’s excited? For now…bring on spring!

Categories: Decorating, Living Frugal | Tags: | Leave a comment

A little More Christmas

I’m not sure if it’s the procrastinator or the decorator in me that saved gift wrapping to the bitter end. Remember the pom poms that I made instead of bows for our gifts this year? While sitting and watching Revenge one night, I just made poms so when I started to wrap gifts, I would have them. Between Michael and I, we have 6 parents, 7 brothers and sisters, 4 of them have spouses/significant others and between all of them there are 10 nieces and nephews and 6 pets. That’s a lot of poms! Since I needed a place to store them, they found a pretty little home in my trifle bowl. Most of the time I fill it with something edible, but I pulled it out of storage and filled it with poms.

Image from Pampered Chef

This fall when I wasn’t ready to admit that winter was coming, I found some felt snowflakes. While I wasn’t sure what our Christmas colors were going to be, I firmly believe that a can of paint can cover a multitude of sins uncoordination so I picked up three of them. Design rule: Decorate in odd numbers – one, three, five. It adds interest to a space. Then while I was outside one day ORBing (oil rubbed bronzing) my fall soap dispenser, I decided that one of these snowflakes needed the ORB treatment too. Being the resourceful gal I am, I took down our suet birdfeeder (temporarily) and hung up my snowflake

You know I will always share with you my “what I would have done different” stories and this is one of them. There are a couple ways I could have done this differently. The first being that this is felt meaning very porous…very porous. This baby soaked up a lot of paint and turned this into a $5 project instead of the $1 I paid for the snowflake. I should have sprayed it with a sealer first then my precious ORB paint. C’est la vie. You win some, you lose some. Option number two would have been to buy a piece of hardboard at good ol’ Menards for $7 for a giant sheet and used the snowflake as a pattern. Then I would have taken it to my McDad and begged him to cut out some snowflakes for me with his scroll saw. It probably would have cost me a few bags of M&Ms or some ice cream, but would have been worth it. Hmmm, next year! Regardless of the resources, I still liked how it looked with an ORB treatment

Felty but metallicy. This snowflake found it’s way to our dining room table too. It sat underneath my trifle bowl filled with poms

So, what do you think? Procrastinator or Decorator? I choose decorator, but I know it’s probably more like procrastinator.

And you’re not going to believe this, but I have picked out our 2012 colors for Christmas. Thanks to some after Christmas deals, I’ve gotten a good headstart on our Christmas decor for next year. Pictures to come soon!


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…And we’re back

Did you even know we were gone? We went out of town for Christmas this year to see Michael’s fam and had a grand ol’ time with them, but we had to get home sometime and yesterday was the day. The day before we left, both kids got baths so they would be fresh and clean for Christmas. Bristol hates bathtime, but he loves cuddle time with his mommy while he dries off…and so do I

Bella was helping pack our suitcases

We had to take down our Christmas tree before we left too. It was getting dry (I think because we use wood to heat our house) and we decided that we would rather take our tree down before Christmas than to come home to no house. So down it came. I was so sad. But, again, I’m glad we still have a house. After what seemed like forever to get packed, we were off. We packed up the the kids and headed south. Bella and Bristol sure did enjoy having a van to explore while we were traveling

Bella is completely fascinated by tractor trailers/semi trucks/18 wheelers. She would walk from the front to the back as we passed them, just watching. She loved it!

Nine hours later, we arrived. Our nephew Ranger was pretty jazzed to see us. I think he’s figured out that when Auntie Amy comes to visit, he gets treats. Even our canine nephew and feline niece get spoiled!

I know that’s a blurry picture, but most of the pictures I get of Ranger look more like this one so I called the above picture a win.

Bristol got to meet his cousin Cleo and they became the bestest of friends. Bristol would whine when we would take him away from Cleo at night to go to bed or if it was time for her to eat. I think Bella got a little jealous too. Cleo tends to stay in one room at Michael’s parents house aka her safe zone. Bristol was able to coax her out one day to do a little exploring. He stayed right by her side the whole time. What a good cousin!

We didn’t have a “Bella crawling in the vent on Christmas Eve” adventure this year!

Christmas Eve 2009

But my SIL did blow a tire on Christmas Eve and our nephew Ranger ended up sick on Christmas day. Sad face. But he’s better now and Meagan’s truck is fixed and no one had to crawl under the house. I call that a win. Christmas Day, Bella and Bristol decided to dress up and wish everyone a special Merry Christmas.

That was not an easy picture to get because my use of “Bella and Bristol decided” was maybe not the most accurate statement ever. You’re thinking I’ve totally lost it aren’t you? Let me plead my case…

Nope, you’re right. I have totally lost it. You win.

We actually got snow while we were down south and Bella and Bristol just sat on their Grandaddy’s desk and watched it fall outside

It was a good time visiting with family and we’re so glad we were able to go! The trip home was pretty uneventful. Bristol sacked out on Michael’s lap

We hit rush hour traffic in St. Louis which gave me plenty of time to snap a skyline picture that goes with my Starbucks mug from our trip in October.

We arrived home to a Baby Bickley in our yard…almost hit it pulling into the driveway. Some elves had brought us a load of wood and stacked it in our back yard (elves aka Mom and McDad). We also had Christmas cookies waiting by our back door from one of our neighbors. Cookies that proved to be a great breakfast food today! Ahhh, road trips. Anyone else travel over the holidays? How about snow? Any snow? Cause we have nothing but rain today.

I have a couple more Christmas posts for you. My goal – get them posted by the end of the year. Yeah, that’s tomorrow. Back to writing and picture taking I go!

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Merry Christmas to You

Michael, Bella Bristol and I would like to wish you and your family a very merry Christmas.

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins

-Matthew 1:21


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O Christmas Tree…

Real tree? Artificial tree? Unconventional tree? What’s your preference? I want to know so I’m taking a poll. Yay for me rhyming! Anyway, leave your answer here:

This Christmas Eve, I thought I would bring you into our house (again) and show you my second favorite part of Christmas decor. Michael and I both have fond memories of going out and hunting down a with our families. I think we’ve gone out hunting for a tree twice since we’ve been married. Most years we head to Menards and pick one out. In 2008 we were so busy with me working a ton of overtime, helping our friends move back into their house after the great flood of 2008 before Christmas and driving to Michigan to get a car that we didn’t get a tree until December 23rd. But hey, we still had a tree and this cheapskate frugal girl was happy to only pay $5 for it. This year, we were only a little behind the game. I would love to get our tree on the weekend after Thanksgiving, but it just didn’t happen this year but we did get it the next weekend.It came inside and we had to find a place to put it. Last year it was in the dining room, but since the dining room is now the living room and a 7 foot Christmas tree would have significantly blocked the view of the tv we decided it needed a new home. I love having the tree in the entry room so no matter where you enter the house (front door or back door) you see the tree. This being Bristol’s first Christmas, we weren’t sure how he would react to the tree. We decided to leave lights and ornaments off it for a couple days so he could get used to it.

When we knew it was safe, we got out the lights

and put them on the tree. I love it when the tree glows so I put the lights inside the tree instead of just on the outside limbs. It also helps support the weight of the lights by putting them where the branches are stronger.

Bella seemed to enjoy sitting by the tree and “helping” put ornaments on

I love getting out the ornaments and remembering where we got each one and what the mean to us. I have a hard time getting pictures of the ornaments, but I wanted to show you some of them anyway. This one always finds a spot at the top of the tree. Dad and Cora gave it to us on our first Christmas together and having the color changing really draws attention to it reminding us of the true meaning of Christmas

This is our “Our First Christmas” ornament. The ladies at church had a bridal shower for me after we got married and used Christmas ornaments as decorations. They gave us this Hallmark ornament that I adore! (Evidently, my friend Kristen aka NC Amy has this one too)

My Grandpa Dale and Grandma Sally gave us this one to go on our first Christmas tree. The angels skirt is a seashell and it’s totally a handmade ornament. I cherished it before and Grandma Sally passed away two years ago and I smile every time I look at it. I smile because she would want us to rejoice that she gets to spend Christmas with the person whose birth we celebrate.

A reminder to pray for military families who are not able to be together because they are defending our freedom to celebrate as we want to

In December 2009, we bought our house. Michael’s parents got us this ornament to celebrate our new house

We moved into our house in January 2010, so we got this ornament for our first Christmas in our new home

Last year Jeff and Jenna gave me this Willow Tree ornament for Christmas. It was so sweet last year and this year when I put it on the tree, I cried. The name of the ornament is “Comfort” and this past year, I’ve needed a lot of comfort. Bella is our independent child, but whenever I’m sad about saying goodbye to Beau and Brady she seems to know and she comes and cuddles me…so comforting.

Then there are the ornaments that aren’t as meaningful, but just plain fun. Eventually, I want to have separate themed Christmas trees (the extras will probably be artificial ones) so I’ve been gathering different ornaments as I find them on sale after Christmas. I plan for Michael to have a Star Trek tree in the Man Cave so he has these ornaments

I would love to do a tabletop tree in the dining room that is coffee related so I have these

Eventually when we have a game room, I want to have an old movie style in that room. Marilyn and James will adorn the walls. Only fitting that the tree that will be in that room would have them adorning the tree in there too.

I completely love our tree this year with all the decorations. Next year, I think we’ll put more lights on it. I love twinkling lights! So, tell me. What is your favorite Christmas decoration? And of course, don’t forget to tell me what kind of tree you have too.

Categories: It's Our Life, Let's shop!, Tour | Tags: , , | Leave a comment


Alright, it’s time to fess up. You know that you love em. Know what I’m talking about? Screaming kids with Santa pictures. I love when my friends post them on facebook or when I see them on Pinterest. I mean how can these not melt your heart?

Every year we take our “kids” to go see Santa at PetSmart. Yesterday was the last day for this year (I’m a procrastinator) so Michael and I packed the kids into the truck and headed into town. Wow, that makes us sound a little redneck doesn’t it?  It was the most interesting photo shoot we’ve ever done with them. Just about every year we hear “Oh my goodness! You brought your cats!” Evidently they see a lot of dogs but not many cats. I saw on PetSmart’s facebook page that someone brought a snake to one of their stores for a picture. Ewww. I shudder at the thought of it. Anyway, yesterday Bella and Bristol went to get their picture taken. Michael handed go-with-the-flow-Bristol to Santa and he went crazy! Growling and hissing and clawing. It was so not like him! After driving the 45 minutes to PetSmart, he was getting his picture with Santa whether he liked it or not. Thus the dance begun. The dance of trying to trick him into sitting with Santa and Bella to get a picture. This is not Bella’s first rodeo so Santa didn’t bother her at all. She just sat in his lap

Then, operating under the philosophy that slow and steady wins the race, I started moving Bristol in closer

They really didn’t get anything good so I ended up having to sit next to Santa and hold Bristol and try to calm him down. Fail.

Evidently 20 minutes of griping at Santa wears a kitty out

On the bright side thanks to a picture that was taken at just the right moment by the PetSmart employee who I probably owe a Christmas present to, I have a screaming kid with Santa picture!!! Sure, I had to take a picture of the picture they printed, so the quality isn’t great, but I’m working on that part. Anyone going to admit they love those pictures too?

Update: It took some begging and pleading and another donation to PetSmart charities (which I don’t mind because they helped us get Bristol), but I got the digital copy of my screaming “kid” picture! So much better! LOVE it!!!

Categories: It's Our Life | Tags: | 3 Comments

Ruffled Feathers


A few months ago I told you about my very creative grandmas and how one day I decided I was going to start sewing. Well, I did it! This week I busted out my ruffler foot and went to work making a couple Christmas presents. One for my mom and one for my niece Evalee. My ruffler foot almost found a new home one day, but I finally got all my settings right and became a sewing machine! Wanna see?



Those are aprons, not just a drafty skirt like Evalee thought it was. My mom’s is Christmas-y and Evalee’s is Strawberry Shortcake.



The tutorial will be coming soon. I’ll have to make another one now that I know measurements and can take pictures. How many Christmas gifts that you are giving this year are handmade?

BTW – I finally got a new phone! I’m still getting used to it, but I did this post from it and those pictures were taken with it. No more 1.3 megapixel Blackberry pictures!

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Traditionally Non-Traditional Christmas

I love a good style quiz and when you combine that with Nate Berkus, it’s bound to be just about perfect right? So when I found Nate’s Holiday Design Personality Quiz I couldn’t click “Start Quiz” fast enough! It’s only five questions, so it doesn’t take long and the questions are super easy. I did have a little trouble with the first question…5AM seems really late to get to the stores

I love me some chocolate chip cookies

Apparently, I’m Nostalgic/Traditional

Nailed it! I do love my Grandma’s ornaments and the ceramic house she started painting for me before she got sick. I can’t decide if I want to finish it or if I want to leave it the way it is. It’s been the way it is for almost 15 years…maybe someday I’ll decide for sure. Holiday traditions? Gotta have a real Christmas tree and it has to be tall because that’s how it’s supposed to be.

You might remember a few weeks ago I was having trouble deciding on my colors for Christmas this year. I was out shopping one day and decided I wasn’t going to buy bows for Christmas gifts this year…I was going to make them and they weren’t going to be regular bows that get smashed either. Little yarn pom poms! Hallmark had the most perfect wrapping paper to go with my idea too. Then it just spiraled after that. It’s all s’mores and hot chocolate at our house for Christmas this year! I started wrapping the gifts and knew it was time to start in on the pom poms. The way I made these is definitely not the only way to make them, but it works for me. I wasn’t going to buy a set of pom pom makers when I had a perfectly good scrap of poster board sitting around (cardboard or cardstock or a leftover old box in the recycling bin would work well too). I cut two pieces that were about an inch wide and 2 1/2 inches long. This means my poms will be about 2 inches wide. If you want poms that are 1 inch wide, cut your poster board at 1/2 inch wide. I bent the ends about 3/8″ to help keep the yarn from sliding off the end.

Next I cut a longer piece of yarn (about 6-8 inches) and sandwiched it between the two pieces of poster board that I put back to back. I put the piece of yarn mostly to one side. This will make wrapping the yarn around easier. I wrapped the yarn around the two pieces until it is almost even with the bent up ends of the poster board.

After it’s all wrapped, I pull the yarn in the middle so it’s even on both sides and tie it in a bow around the yarn on one side- trust me, the bow part is important

Then, I put scissors between the poster board pieces

and cut it on the opposite side of where I tied my bow. Hold onto it so it doesn’t all come apart.

and lay it down

Then I untied the bow and tied a knot around my little stack of yarn.

As you pull it tight the yarn will poof out and start to look like a pom. You might have to trim them a little bit to make them even, but in one episode of Revenge, you’ll have a bunch of little poms. I picked the colors to match my wrapping paper – cream, brown, green, red and aqua.

I just couldn’t wait to get these on a couple of the gifts I’ve wrapped. I also used yarn for the ribbon and just wrapped it around the box a few times.

I can’t wait to get them under the Christmas tree that’s getting decorated today. There’s just something about them that screams traditional, but they aren’t your traditional Christmas bows. If you take Nate’s holiday design personality quiz, let me know what your style is. I’m just curious!





Categories: It's Our Life, Projects | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Warming by the Fire

I grew up with a wood burning stove. I remember the fire blazing on those cold winter nights and it was nice and warm inside. Since I moved out of my childhood home, I haven’t lived in another house with a fireplace. Boo. I’ve always wanted a fireplace, a place to hang stockings and a mantle to decorate for the holidays. Well when Ana White posted her building plans for a fireplace anywhere, I knew it was just a matter of time before we had one in our house.

Image from

Last week Michael got out the sander and the Kreg Jig and went to work. If you’re a regular reader, you’ve already seen it. My coffee filter wreath and ruffly tulle lights are sitting on it right now.I used Ana’s plans but did some things a little different and still have more plans to make it go a little better in our Victorian house but I wanted to share with you what we have so far. I’ll give you some advance warning that the lighting in our garage is beyond awful and therefore some of these pictures are not that great depending on where I was standing. Michael has been wanting new lights in the garage for when he is working on cars and if I’m going to be doing projects out there too, I might cave and get him new lights for Christmas.

Anyway, back to the fireplace. When I bought all the wood I was headed to my Dad’s house so while I was there I asked him to cute it down for me. When I got it home and in the garage, here’s what I was starting with

I used an electric handheld sander and 220 grit sandpaper to make it nice and smooth.

For me, sanding before assembling is much easier than trying to get into all the corners. I didn’t know where the sawhorses were (although I did find them after I was done) so I grabbed these two chairs. Those are another project for another day, but for this they worked great so I could sand the wood to build with.

After everything was sanded I busted out the Kreg and the user’s manual and made my first pocket holes.

Then I attached the legs to the top piece. I laid both pieces on the garage floor and put them together

Once I was done, I stood it up and saw this

The unevenness of our garage floor also made my fireplace uneven too. So sad. Before I messed it up anymore I decided to wait for Michael to help me. We took it apart, flipped the top piece over and put it back together…even. Then we followed Ana’s step by step directions putting the rest of it together with a series of clamps. We added the sides on. Ana’s plans were for 4×4 posts or use 2-2x4s instead. Since the 2x4s where on sale and I’m a cheapskate frugal girl we went the 2×4 route

Then we added on the first top piece

Notice how we have it standing up so we could work with it? Those are ramps that Michael uses when working on cars.

When we put the top top piece on we noticed that I should not be sent to Menards by myself to get wood it was twisted…bad

No joke, that was 3/4″ twist there.  We got the top screwed down as much as we could but I’m still going to be looking for a new 2×6 for that top piece but for now it works. Bella seems to like it

You make have noticed a gap between the 2×12 and the 2×4 mantle part. This one here

Well, we’ve established before that sometimes I’m not good at following directions. Here’s a snippet from Ana’s plans. I’ve circled the important part

Yeah, mine were not 11 1/2″ wide. Mine were more like 11 1/8″. Had I followed directions, I would have caught this. We thought about cutting down the 2×4 sides  but decided to leave it because we have plans to add some crown moulding around the top which will hide that so we decided not to worry about it. It’s also currently in primer because Michael and I can’t agree on a color to paint it. We’ll need to decide soon so we can get the stockings up on it. Not that we use them much, but I’m making pretty ones this year.

I want to see pictures of your mantle decorations! Whatcha got for me? Has anyone else made a faux fireplace for your dining room?

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A Pretty (Ruffly) Christmas

In our house we do a lot of repurposing. I’m currently trying to talk Michael into letting me move his dresser into the entry room/kitchen. Don’t worry, I wouldn’t make him go downstairs to get his clothes, we would be repurposing it for something completely different. I love a good upcycle don’t you? Last week I was about to throw away some tulle when I stopped myself about 2 feet from the trash can. A few weeks ago I made a tulle tutu for my niece Reygan for her 1st birthday (post here). If you read that post you might remember that I went searching for a blog with a tutuorial (see what I did there). I was looking for the size of the tulle and I only followed one of the measurements. The tutu was way too big. Poor Miss R couldn’t even walk without falling. Totally should have listened to Angie. For fear of being stripped of my “Fun Auntie Amy” title and having it be replaced with “Mean Auntie Amy”, I didn’t make her wear it for our Birthday day of fun. Instead I took it home and trimmed it so she could wear it for her birthday party

That left me with some pretty little pieces of tulle that were approximately 6 inches by 3-4 inches. Have you seen these strings of lights on Pinterest?

I had a string of 35 mini lights laying around. Seriously, where did we get all these lights from? Regardless, I had my lights and I had some tulle. So one day while I was spending some quality time with Nate Berkus (the show, not him…but how ahhhmazing would that be), I started tying. Gotta tell you that I didn’t get very far. Turns out that the number of pieces of tulle needed to make a tutu is a lot less than it takes to cover a string of 35 mini white Christmas lights. I only had enough to get to light number 7. Turns out I needed 5 times the tulle that I had. When I figure out how much it will actually take, I promise to let you know. My best guess is 2-3 yards right now. How terrible am I, not giving it to you now. Truth be told, I’m so in love with my 20% finished ruffly lights that I just couldn’t wait to show it to you. Here’s the eye candy

It’s so pretty. I think it’s going to get put away until spring though because it’s really spring-y colors but it’s just gorgeous…especially right next to my coffee filter wreath.

The Christmas tree will be going up later this week. I went shopping yesterday and got some great fabric for our stockings. Today I started wrapping presents. A few finishing touches and I’ll share with you my Christmas colors and theme. Anyone else done some great Christmas decorating? I’m thinking that all of you are waaaay ahead of me.

Update (July 2012):For my brother & SIL’s wedding we did a string of lights for the head table. I thought I would show you the amazingess that ensued. The lights aren’t on, but they still look way cool

Here they are on my dining room table all lit up and fabulous

So lovely!

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