Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Adios 2014, Hello Motivation?

Here's that picture of the finished wreath I promised too long ago. It did take much too long to actually get around to making and dying the trees, but I got it put together once the dye dried. I'm satisfied with the results.

I had a surprisingly decent holiday, with only one melt down to speak of. I didn't mention it, but I've been doing a fancy meditation that I learned at a sort of retreat in April through the Isha Foundation. I truly believe that my daily practice is what got me through the challenges of this past year. I've sort of abandoned it the last couple of weeks when holiday prep got down to the wire and I'm feeling it in my sleep.

Backing up to Christmas, the picture above is my vintage bounty! I really can't wait to change my hutch around to display my new pieces. Wait, there's more!

BJ took me to an estate sale the day after Christmas. I saw the Holt Howard cat in a picture and it was still there when we arrived. I also found a Fire King jadeite swirl, a McKee jadeite fridgie sans lid, and a Pyrex 502 lid, which I can always use. Then we went to Arc's and I found a cool vintage bracelet and a neat-o metal table (not shown) which perfectly houses my dead plants. I'm still keeping hope alive that they'll come out of their brown states.

We had planned on attending another Christmas on Saturday, but per usual, there was a snow storm which made the roads icy. It would have turned a 3 hour drive into a 4-5 hour drive and of course the rear breaks just started going out. Thanks, Car. So instead of risking life and limb, we decided to stay home and had a nice brunch almost alone at Pizza Luce. No body wanted to go outside, which meant fast service for us! (Shocking at the Richfield location.) Then we went to Hopkins to check out a few antique stores later in the day. Despite living in the Twin Cities for nearly a decade, I've never actually been inside the city of Hopkins, and what a shame that is! We had a really fun afternoon looking through all the shops and found a bunch of great treasures. We picked up a huge snowflake Pyrex, the Holt Howard candle holders, and the Christmas kitty at Auntie M's which was packed to the gills with amazing stuff. Then we tried our luck at the Minnetonka Goodwill where I found the space saver! It has a pretty big chip on the other side of the dish which I didn't notice until I left the store, but it was cheap and displays nicely from one side, so whatevs. I was just super stoked on seeing a space saver live and in person.

My mom and sister bought some crafts from me and this is what I bought with it, so thanks, Family. I understand that this is an addiction. BJ said that this will be the everlasting fruit salad bowl for next year.

As we wrap up 2014, I have met my goal of reading 52 books this year, and am about to exceed it by one book. This next year, I'm hoping to be more motivated in meeting and exceeding other goals that I set for myself, but I think I'll set them as needed because sometimes setting a lot of big goals at the beginning of the year makes it too hard to fit it all in without feeling overwhelmed. In 2015, I'd just like to be happy and confident wherever life takes me (hopefully to Portland. >_<) Have a happy and safe New Year, everyone!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Around the House

I was planning on making this post sooner, but I have had a pretty craptastic past few weeks, literally and figuratively. We got food poisoning here this past Monday night and my dear little protector, Annabelle, was very worried about us. She pooped on the floor. Just what anyone with nausea needs, right? >_<

Anyway, I had to play a lot of catch-up since I was out of commission for a couple of days. I've been meaning to make a Christmas bag since November and finally got around to finishing it. I always end up doing the inside zippered pocket different. This time I used a tutorial that I would modify to sandwich the zipper between the fabrics instead of having it exposed on the inside of the pocket. I used the same fabric as the outside of the bag to make the pocket and it ended up being upside down and it was too late before I figured it out- oops.

I started getting that Christmasy feeling right after Halloween this year, and tried my hardest to wait until Black Friday. Now everything is up and ish has happened and I've kind of lost the spirit. :( We haven't been sticking to the planned advent activities due to illness or laziness or lack of time. Bleh. In any event, here's a peek into this year's decor. (I realized that I have a lot more Halloween than Christmas. Halloween couldn't even all be packed away this time around... :\ )

This is my Christmas display inside the hutch, all lit up!

I made little snow scenes with some of my deer and cheese domes/cloches for the center of the table.

Here's the other side of the tree with Annabelle underneath eyeing something. I found two of the red and silver curly spinner things at an estate sale this fall. They look so cool when the light hits them!

This is the piggies' old table. The tablecloth is just fantastic!

I got my Santa addiction from my mom, but I don't think I have quite as many as she has yet. I'm still trying to figure out when this deer thing started though...

This is Annabelle's favorite spot, under the coffee table. I bought a tablecloth just for her. It has to be put up every night, though, or else everything on top of the table will be on the floor by morning.

I brought in my cart for the winter and this is where my Christmas softies hang out with some oversized lights.

And finally, my small Disney tree that I wish desperately was an aluminum pom pom tree instead. Hopefully next year! That's all for now!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Putzing Around

This week is the beginning of advent! BJ and I wrote down an activity to do every day until Christmas using a Very Merry Advent by Heidi Kenney and Amanda Krueger. I'm really excited about all the fun things coming up this month- there are a bunch of vegan meet up activities and old Christmas movies at AMC!

To start out the month we decided to finally make some bottle brush trees- I've been dying to try making my own for a couple of months and we kept putting it off for some reason or another. Then I saw the new December issue of Martha Stewart living and knew that this had to be on my crafting list! The author of the how-to article says that vintage putz houses are easy to find and inexpensive. I don't know what world that person lives in, but it certainly is not in Minnesota. I have seen one vintage putz house in person my entire life and it happens to be one of my most cherished ornaments from childhood. These ornaments are probably what sparked my passion for vintage Christmas.

Needless to say, my childhood putz house is not being sacrificed for craft and I don't have any others to make up the wreath. That means I have to make some! I looked online for a while to find some that tickled my fancy, but I couldn't find any that were ornament sized so I went into my printer settings and was happy to find that I could shrink them! (I have a printer that is nearing 10 years old and usually hates me, so this may not be a revelation to most of you, haha!)

I decided on a couple of designs- a Mid Century Modern design from Retro Renovation and the Little Charmer design from Little Glitter Houses. I just printed out the designs to cut out and put them together however I wanted without reading the directions because I don't like following directions, so they look a little different. I used old food boxes that I've been saving for the project and tried to use the folds in the boxes for the folds in the houses when possible. I also used old plastic packaging for the windows instead of using tissue paper or red cellophane, which was my original plan. If you already have it, it's free and saving things from the landfill is always the best option!

I just happened to use mostly Martha Stewart products because I love them- it actually was not planned. So I started by cutting out all the pattern pieces, tracing them onto the cardboard, then cutting them out. Then I painted the pieces, trying to get full coverage over the boxes' designs, which I put on the inside of the houses. Once dry, I cut out little pieces of plastic for the windows and glued into place. If some of the hot glue squishes out, it kind of looks like ice, which only adds to the look, but I cut or pulled off the dried pieces if I didn't like the look of it.

Then I glued the houses into shape and onto the bases. When that's all taken care of, it's time to decorate and make a snowy scene!

I used Sparkle Texture by Martha Stewart as the snow. I found this in the clearance section of my Michaels about a month ago. I've been thinking about making putz houses even before this wreath project and knew that it would be oh so perfect- and it is! I recommend using a palette knife to put it onto the houses. It is really thick and will take a while to dry. Projects that require patience- ugh! At least it is one of the last steps before assembling the wreath. I've got bottle brush making and dying to do before assembly anyway, so I've got something to keep me occupied. If you can seen it in the picture, I also made little icicles out of hot glue. I'm excited to show you the end result in a couple of days!