Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Our Christmas Card

I love to get Christmas cards in the mail.

But, I love, love love it when they are photo cards! Which mean I in turn always try to send a photo card.

Last year since it was the first year we had our daughter we did family portraits and used that for our card. It was a hit.

This year since I would be nine months pregnant come Christmastime I was not about to put my picture on a card and send it to everyone we know. Call me crazy.

I like to use the paper cards that have the frame slot on the front that you slide an actual photograph into. That way the grandma's and anyone else can just remove the picture after the holidays and still display it without having to display our whole Christmas card. In fact I am pretty sure that last year's picture ended up being framed by most of our family after the holdiay's had passed.

I try and buy my cards the year before at the after Christmas sales and I scored big at Target last year. I bought several boxes of really nice, shabby chic-like Christmas cards for less than $3 a box.  And, because I already had then I was able to work on them well before Thanksgiving so they were ready to mail right after Turkey day and before I got too worn out and caught up from the end of my pregnancy.

Our picture this year...well let's just say I am obsessed with how great it turned out. Right after our tree was decorated and lit we dressed our little girl in a velvet dress with Christmas adornments and sat her down. We just sat her on the floor, handed her each letter and she did whatever she wanted. It was fun! I bought the letters at Jo-Ann's with one of my % off your total purchase coupons so they were relatively cheap. Plus, I am now planning on turning them into a decoration for next year now.

So far our pictures have received rave  reviews and so many people have told me how cute and creative they thought they were.

Just in case I am not on anymore before the 25th (my last doctor's appointment is tomorrow and we start discussing eviction of the little one!)from my family to yours I wish you a Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2011

O Christmas Tree

Our Christmas tree was up early this year.

Like, before Thanksgiving. Being due the week before Christmas really lights a fire under your butt! There won't be any presents under this tree this year since we are doing all our celebrating with family instead of driving back and forth with a newborn but I think my daughter still loves it.

I am not one to do a themed tree or a color specific tree. I am so NOT into those. We had a similar decor growing up and my mom still does it.

Our tree is covered in ornaments from my childhood, my husbands childhood and now some that our daughter had accummulated in her short life. They are all shapes, colors and sizes. I will only ever display a tree with multicolor lights as well. I love the look of Christmas colors :)  My mom always hung some kind of tinsel on our tree but for me I have never wanted to do anything but ribbon. Right now it is a gold ribbon covered in multi-colored wrapped Christmas packages. I am hoping to change it up this year but I have to find a new ribbon I like in enough spools to fill my tree. I always had an angel on the top but my husband already had a special star so we stuck with that. Yes, that is a train under our tree and we display our nativity set under the tree too. So far we have had minimal touching from small fingers but we will see how the future goes. My husbands late grandfather made the wooden manger to our set and it is very sentimental to my him and I look forward to telling our children all about how special it is someday ;)
I am surprised at how well this huge tree is covered. I guess my husband and I collected more ornaments than anyone else in our lifetimes. It has our baby's first Christmas ornmanents on it, ones from vacations we took, lots that symbolize my husband's hobbies and favorite sports teams, about a thousand ones I made in Brownies or grade school classes and since we were married right before Christmas I think we have four or five 'Our First Christmas Ornaments' and I can even tell you who gifted them to us as wedding gifts!

I want to display some of the craftier ornaments to our tree as well.

These two are proof that at some point in her life, my mom was crafty. She claims she isn't able to do much but when they were first married my parents tree had mostly ornaments that my mom made herself. This little train and fancy oval are the only ones like this she made. There are several designs she did but only these are each one of a kind and I have them. She said they took so long she wasn't about to make more! I treasure them and always will.

 This next one has to go on my tree every year no matter what. I made it in first grade and even if I didn't remember doing that it is dated on the back by my teacher. It's one of those juice can tops to which we attached a picture cut from a Christmas Card. I chose this one because my favorite Christmas carol is (and always will be) 'Away in a Manger'. I can't believe how well the glitter has held up over the last 20 some years. I wonder what kind of glue we used??
 These two are by far my favorite. The blue one is from last year; my daughter's first Christmas. I only managed to get two out of her tiny, always moving hands so I have one and my mom has one. This year (the green one) she was much more into it and I got LOTS of handprints. Only three usable one and that is exactly what I wanted. I have one, my mom will get one and my mother in law will get one. I painted her hand and then had to smack it down on the cardstock (she was very willing to do this part!) and then cut it out. They are each mounted on a thin piece of wood and I glued a ribbon hanger to them before attaching a piece of plain cardstock to the back. I added the faces and hats with markers and the scarves and noses with paint. I drew some trees on with a Sharpie for a little extra effect. And, of course they are dated. If you look closely you can see how the one from this year has about eight digits since my daughter moved her hand so much but I only made five of the fingers in to snowmen to get the full effect. Hopefully next year I'll be able to add one for the baby.

My Christmas mantle

Growing up we didn't have a fireplace in our house. But, we never wondered how Santa got in either so my parents never had to worry about answering that question!

For most of my life we just each hung our Christmas stocking in our bedroom. When I was in college my mom found a stocking hanger that had five hooks on it-exactly the number in our family at the time-that you hung on the wall and we finally had a 'place' for our stockings.

When I married my husband I was very excited that his house had a fireplace. It was a beautiful brick fireplace, albeit gas and in the basement but I was happy nonetheless.

We had the standard red/white store bought stockings for the loooooongest time growing up. As we got older we were all gifted with special stockings at one point or another and they still hang in my parents house every year along with new ones for our spouses and children. Yes, Santa fills our stockings there too :)

I was very excited to start a new tradition in my own little family for our daughter's first Christmas. I made a stocking for each of us and next year the new baby will have their own too!

I simply used a store bought stocking and made my pattern out of newspaper by tracing the stocking. These are two layers and we each chose the fabric for our stockings. Well, my husband and I picked out the little princesses but I am sure she'll love it! The inside of the stocking is lined with one fabric and it matches the letter (attached via heat n' bond) on the outside of the stocking and the hanger. Easy peasy and hopefully they will be treasured for years to come.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Dollar Store Magic!

Ok, enough time for one more post today. I hate posting twice in one day (I'm just weird that way) but I couldn't resist.

I found this little guy at the Dollar Tree last year:
It's a clear plastic Santa if you couldn't tell from my awesome picture taking skills :)

It's amazing what a little spray paint can do....

I like him much better this way! And, he looks like I spent a bit more than a dollar on him now!

These are my sconces on the wall in my living room. They usually have tall ivory candles on them. Again, two red Dollar Tree candles and one package of stars (they were 2 to a pack-score!) from the same store and they are all festive now. For only $3!!

Christmas Topiary

It seems all fall long I couldn't wait to show off my Christmas projectsI made last year. I go ALL OUT to decorate my house and last year I took pictures of what I did in every room. Yes, that's right...I decorate every room. Even my bathroom :)

Sadly this year I haven't put out nearly half of my things! The basment has NOTHING in it this year.

But, with our biggest project in the making planning on arriving very soon I made the decision to cut back this year. I figure everything I take out I will have to put away too. And, I don't want that big of a job with a newborn and 2 year old to handle too!

This project is one of my biggest ones and I am so proud of it. I saw a picture online somewhere last year and couldn't wait to try it myself.

If you buy your ornaments out of the dollar bins at Target like I did you shouldn't have to spend much either. I think I ended up using altogether 6 tubes of ornaments in a mix of large and teeny tiny sizes. And, I have a few little ones left over.

I spray painted the styrofoam ball red before I started sticking the ornaments in since I knew I would have the smallest little spots left uncovered. I did and you can see some of them in the picture. I also covered the top of the ornament with hot glue before smashing it into the ball. I also painted and glued the dowel too. I didn't want it shifting too much or too far into the foam on either end so I put hot glue on each end before inserting it into both the ball and the foam in the flower pot.

I painted the flower pot (one I had on hand) myself and didn't even try to make it straight or even...which you can also tell! I like the way it looks that way much better :) I filled the bottome with some stones before stuffing floral foam in it. This is SO top heavy so I needed to balance it out.

I put a few dollar store gift packages underneath it and it makes a cute little picture!