Sunday, November 29, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
In our house we have a family tradition on the day after Thanksgiving. A tradition that is anticipated with great excitement second only (perhaps) to Christmas morning itself. A tradition that, in fact, caused my oldest son to get out of bed at exactly 6:03 because he was so keyed up about it. (You may be wondering why I didn't just get up at that point and head out to the mall since it was so early. Well......DS and I had a little deal where he wasn't allowed to wake me up until 7:00. AND he knew that I was going to run on the treadmill, shower and eat breakfast before we started. It's good to plan ahead.) Here's our tradition: we put up our Christmas decorations. It's something I enjoy doing every year on the day after Thanksgiving. I am very adamant that no Christmas decorations are allowed to go up before Thanksgiving. I believe in letting every holiday have its share of the spotlight. As my boys have gotten older they have become pretty good helpers at getting our fake Charlie Brown Christmas tree assembled and the ornaments hung on it. They pretty much poop out on me after that. In this post I am sharing a few glimpses of our Christmas decorating.
This metal sign was a gift to me from someone...........I don't remember who! If that someone is reading this I'm sorry I forgot you gave it to me. I love it, however. I am going to try to remember this sentiment during the Christmas season. I hate the thought of getting bogged down in all the preparations and thus forgetting to savor the joy.
OK.........I did do a little shopping on Black Friday. I just kept it local and took my mother-in-law who was visiting from Florida to my fave local thrift store to look for some new decorations. I purchased the two types of garland shown below at that store. I love how they look twisted together although the red star garland is so twisty that my MIL and I were both about to curse it! Seriously. There were little red stars all over the floor.
I am not totally thrilled with my corner rack. I loved how I had it decorated for fall. Even though I have a lot of Christmas decorations I haven't been able to find the right groupings for this area. I will go ahead and show what I have so far anyway. It looked better after I put a strand of white Christmas lights on it.
On the top shelf I have a very special Christmas plate that my mother-in-law, Donna, painted me for Christmas last year. She is so artistic. She painted it completely by hand and without a pattern. I love it. It is so elegant looking.
For fall I had filled this Goodwill glass goblet with fall filler. It looks great for Christmas filled with gold-glittered pinecones and shiny gold ornaments.
On the next shelf down I placed a red and white snowflake plate that I bought on BF (Black Friday) for 99 cents at my local department store.
The little trio of trees below were all purchased on BF at my favorite local thrift store. If you are local and coveting these, they have more of all three types of trees. They were each $2 or less. I love them grouped together but would like to find a perfect little tray to place them on.
I had picked up one of these Santa mugs at Goodwill over the summer. I was thrilled to find a bunch more of them at my local thrift store on BF. Now I have one for each boy. I probably won't let them actually drink from them as they are vintage and I'm not sure of the lead content in the paint. Someday, however, if they promise to be very careful with them I may let them take them from my house. ;-)
It is fun to have the house looking Christmasy. I am now sufficiently inspired to tackle my long to-do list. I love to handmake many of the gifts I give and unfortunately did not achieve my New Year's resolution to have all handmade gifts done by the end of October. Doesn't look good for finishing by the end of November either. Oh well, what would December be without the annual flurry of gift-making? More on that later............
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
In case you are unfamiliar with freezer paper stencilling I decided to make this a detailed step-by-step post. If you aren't interested or already know how scroll down to see the finished pillow.
First I found a font I liked and printed out the words "give thanks" in a Word document using landscape orientation. The font I used is called Kristen ITC. I just kept enlarging the font until it pretty much filled up the entire 8 1/2 by 11 inch space. My font size was probably about 200 although I can't remember exactly. I also used bold typeface. Once I had it how I wanted it (I also had to adjust the margins to make them as narrow as possible) I printed it out. I then placed the copy underneath a piece of freezer paper (shiny side down) and traced it onto the printer paper with a pen. See photo below.
The next step was the most tedious and probably took me about 30 minutes. I did it while watching TV. Using nail scissors I carefully cut out the insides of all the letters from the freezer paper. Make sure when you do this to cut out the middles of your letters and don't discard them as you will need to iron them on during the next step.
Once all the letters were cut out I ironed the freezer paper (shiny side down) onto a big piece of burlap. Use a dry iron for this or the freezer paper will get wrinkly. Be sure to carefully iron on the center of your letters with open middles. Check to be sure all edges are adhered securely to the fabric.
Next, using a paintbrush (sponge ones are great for this) tap fabric paint inside all the letters until they are covered as shown below. You may need to add another coat. I usually do this one right after another instead of waiting for the paint to dry between coats. I'm impatient like that.
You will need to let the paint dry for several hours (I usually do this after the boys' bedtime and let it dry overnight). Once it's dry, carefully peel off the freezer paper to reveal your image. This is my favorite part of freezer paper stencilling. It always looks so good when you peel off the paper. I was a little leery of how this would turn out on burlap as I've only ever freezer paper stencilled on knit jersey fabric. It worked like a dream!!
Since I wanted to add the hand turkeys I painted the boys' hands and fingers with the fabric paint and stamped them on either side of the words. This didn't work so well and I had to go back with a paintbrush and fill in the paint quite a bit. I then used more fabric paint to add a bead, wattle, eye and legs to the turkeys. I am bummed about how the black paint for the eyes spread out. I think I was using old paint and it was pretty runny. :0(
And my big boy's hand.
I finished the painting about a week ago and last night I finally headed down to the craft room to sew the pillow. I just cut an even rectangle around the painted part and then used that as a template to cut a second piece of burlap for the back. I sewed the two sides together (paint side out) leaving a very wide margin all around so I could trim it afterwards. I left a hole a few inches wide and stuffed the pillow full of polyester fiberfill. Then I sewed up the hole. It was pretty easy to do this even though the pillow was full of stuffing. The final step was to trim all the edges evenly (eyeballed it) and then fray the edges to give it a fringed trim. The stitching line stops the fraying so I just pulled out strands until I was really close to the stitching. I LOVE the fringed trim. It's just about my favorite part aside from the hand turkeys. Oh.......and I also love how the saying turned out. OK............I just love the whole thing. It's fun when an idea goes from your head to reality and looks as good as or better than you imagined it. This will be a fun keepsake to pull out and display each November.
Here's a close-up of the fringed corner.
If you like this idea but are intimidated by the sewing part think of how cute this would be just done up on burlap, fringed, and hung on a dowel instead of being made into a pillow. You could also frame it. Many possibilities. When I bought the tan burlap at Hobby Lobby I also bought about a yard of red burlap. (Burlap is really inexpensive by the way.) I thought it would be very cute to make some little red pillows with "ho ho ho" stencilled on them for Christmas. So........that's on the to-do list too. A burlap pillow (or burlap in a frame) with a monogram would make a great, easy and inexpensive Christmas gift. Your children could help out with the painting and stuffing part. I have a lot of burlap left and am already thinking of more project ideas. Fun, fun, fun!!
Monday, November 23, 2009
Hopefully I'll get my act together and finish up a few more Thanksgiving projects I've been (sort of) working on so I can post them.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Edited to add: After publishing this post I decided to take the plunge and order myself this kit. I have loved Becky Higgins and all things Becky ever since I began scrapbooking. I have many of her books and they are so awesome. If DH is reading this, consider it my Christmas present. But if you WANT to get me something else, let's talk IRL. :0)
Here is one of our packed boxes.
Here are the unpacked contents of one box. Both boxes contained a similar variety of items, all purchased at our local dollar store. The boxes included: toothbrush, toothpaste, washcloth, coloring book, crayons, slinky, nerf football, matchbox car, 3 pairs of socks, t-shirt, playdough, pencils, pencil sharpener, Slinky, hand puppet, small stuffed animal, and a ziploc bag filled with lollipops and peppermints.
If you are looking for a great hands-on mission project to do with your children, click over to the links listed above. You can put in your zip code and find the closest drop-off site in your area.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
He was also really excited to receive his official Cub Scout handbook at the meeting tonight.
The lid of the teapot has a cute little acorn-shaped handle. So adorable!!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
On Friday evening the boys and I cleaned out and carved our jack-o-lanterns. Here you can see the boys pulling out the pumpkin guts. I forgot to take an after picture to show the finished jacks. This year I used those little battery-operated LED candles instead of real candles. I love those......so much safer. For Halloween my oldest son who is 8 dressed up like a Patriot (the Revolutionary War kind, not the football kind) and my youngest son who is 4 dressed up like a racecar driver. We had great Halloween trick-or-treating weather. A little chilly but not too cold.......a full moon and a clear sky. I'll have to do another post about a great treat that I got on Halloween night.