Wednesday, October 30, 2013

56 Days and 1 Day until Halloween

As promised, here are a few of the decorating pieces around our house for fall and Halloween.

As you can tell, I love painting on any surface.  Fortunately, so does my daughter and we really enjoy being creative and working together.  Several items are available for sale (if I don't decide to keep them :) ) on my website

We will enjoy celebrating Halloween tomorrow and then double our efforts towards Christmas.

56 days to go....

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

It's almost the end of October... how did that happen?!?  We are gearing up for the Halloween festivities and excitement, but I secretly look forward to November 1st every year.  I enjoy Halloween, but it's not my favorite holiday and I get tired of hearing about it by the time it gets here.

Schedules are getting crazier by the day, so I am hoping to pick up the last of my supplies, and start ordering Christmas presents this weekend.  It will make me feel much better to have a few things done. 

My goal tomorrow is to post lots of pictures of our decorating activities for fall around the house and pass along lots of last minute decorating ideas.  Then, I will add more Christmas ideas too.

57 days to go.....

Sunday, October 27, 2013

59 Days

This weekend has been incredibly crazy, but awesome.  Ran my first trail run/5K, we went to costume and other parties, and trunk or treat at our church.  Halloween is almost here, and we're ready to celebrate. 

But with only 59 days until Christmas we realize that we have to get to work to make the fun activities happen for the holidays too.  So, we are working on our schedules and trying to schedule in fun.  Fun activities like riding to look at Christmas lights, hosting a Christmas party with lots of family and friends, etc.  It sounds strange to schedule Christmas parties before Halloween arrives, but everyone's weekends fill up so quickly that it's now or never.

So, while planning all the things you have to do, don't forget to schedule the fun!

59 days to go.....

Thursday, October 24, 2013

62 Days

I don't sit still very well, so I have to have some sort of quick, crafty project nearby at all times to help me be still for a while.  Crocheting snowflake ornaments to give as Christmas presents is a perfect solution because they're quick, small and portable projects that I can work on just about anywhere (even the car line at school).

I look through a variety of crochet books for ideas, but I mainly use motif patterns and resize them for snowflake patterns.  I use a smaller hook and crochet thread to give that delicate, lacy look.

When I finish crocheting ornaments, I try to make sure I stiffen them so they will hang properly on the tree.  There are a variety of suggestions and methods, but here's what works for me.

First, I take a large piece of cardboard and cover it with wax paper.  Then I take my ornaments and spread them out and shape and pin them in place.  I take a small paper cup and mix 3 parts glue to one part water.  ** Note:  make sure you use glue, NOT school glue.  You need something that doesn't break down as soon as it's mixed with water.** I use old, cheap paint brushes, usually the plastic brushes in the kits from Wal-Mart work very well, dip them in the paint and brush them on.  I try to allow them to dry for a full day before turning them over and doing the other side.  Then I loop my crochet thread through to make an ornament hanger.

Here's what they look like when on the cardboard.  I haven't added the glue yet, but I will tomorrow.  I will take another picture once the tree is up to show how well they work on the tree.  These make great Christmas presents! Very excited to have a few projects done!

62 days to go..... 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The air is definitely getting colder and the weather is blustery today.  I think that I could easily hibernate during the coldest months of the years and paint, craft and cook the time away.  We used our indoor time today to test out a new sugar cookie recipe.  We made Halloween cookies this time, but were hoping this would be our new recipe for our cut-out Christmas cookies.  Here are our results:

Now we are not professionals at icing cookies, but they turned out pretty well. The recipe made cookies that weren't as sweet as the usual sugar cookies, and were much softer, almost like a shortbread.  So, we're enjoying these cookies, but I don't think it will be our favorite Christmas cookie cut out recipe.  Better to know this now than in December when I'm scrambling to make cookies as presents.

I've been crocheting a few presents today while waiting in the car line to pick up my daughter from school.  Tomorrow I will share pictures and how I stiffen the ornaments I made so they will hang properly on the Christmas tree.

63 days to go... time is flying by....

Monday, October 21, 2013

We all have those special dishes, snacks, etc. that make us think of the holidays.  One of those in our house is party mix.  So a couple of years ago we decided that we didn't want to wait for a once a year feasting of this delicious snack.  Now as soon as the weather turns cool, we make and dive into those batches.  I think while it's important to have certain holiday elements that only occur during that time to keep them special, it's also important to celebrate a little as much as possible.

So here's today's deliciousness.....

Tomorrow, my daughter and I are trying out a new sugar cookie recipe to see if it will be a holiday keeper.  I'll share the recipe and a picture of our cookies if all goes well.

65 days to go.....

Sunday, October 20, 2013

66 Days

Can you believe it's the 20th of October already?  We are putting together costumes and doing last minute preparations for Halloween.  I haven't forgotten about the other upcoming holidays though.  My daughter and I are making plans to get items for our shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child (they ship out mid-November for those you who participate).  We love getting those small, but important items to send to a child in a far away location.  It reminds us that we are all connected and can all help each other.

We are figuring out which Christmas cookies we are going to bake this year too.  I'm hoping we can have a prep day of putting the dough together and freezing it so that we can bake our goodies whenever we like.

We are getting ready for yet another busy week.  New updates on projects and pictures are coming this week too!

Thanks to all of you who are checking in with me.  I appreciate it!

66 days to go....

Thursday, October 17, 2013

69 Days

I've been busy painting lots of candles for the holidays and getting my first orders finished.  Here's a sampling of what I've been working on.

69 days to go.....

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

71 Days

I personally think that Thanksgiving is the most underrated holiday.  Because of its' proximity to Halloween and Christmas, it's the skipped over holiday.  But what better time to be mindful of your many blessings, spend time with family and friends and stop to breathe.  Also, there's lots of food to consume and no presents to open or candy to give out.

I painted this tray to go in my kitchen as a Thanksgiving decoration, but I truly believe I can keep this out year round.  I painted the inside of the tray with a mixture of greens, browns and blacks, and the trim in a brown/black mixture.  I wanted to keep the tray simple and rustic to symbolize the simplicity of being Thankful.

I am working on new Christmas candles; I will show those to you tomorrow.  I am also planning out my errand running to start picking up the basic wrapping supplies and stamps. 

71 days to go......

Monday, October 14, 2013

72 Days

Goodness time is flying.  We are almost halfway through October and I still want to write September on my checks.  I've started a few more projects which I will share soon, but have been busy getting online orders ready and finishing up our fall decorating.  I have also started looking through my wrapping paper, tape, bows, bags and other items so I can make a list of what I need.  Do I enjoy doing this?  No.  Is it necessary to keep my sanity when I am wrapping a ton of presents at one time and at the last minute?  Most definitely.

A couple years ago, I bought a gift bag set with tags and tissue paper from QVC.  I love this set.  I am still using items from it and they turned out to be pretty good quality.  Buying sets (if you find a good deal) can be so much easier and cheaper.  So, for now, I think I only need a few basics which I can pick up at the dollar store.

I think being more prepared this year will make a world of difference.  We'll see....

72 days to go....

Friday, October 11, 2013

75 Days

The weather is a little cooler, the leaves are starting to turn and definitely fall, so it was time to decorate for fall and Halloween.  We spent most of the day getting pumpkins and other items and decorating the house inside and out.  I will try to share a few pictures soon.

Meanwhile, I've started looking on amazon and other places for upcoming holiday music.  I have to admit I love Christmas music.  I start listening to it much earlier than the sane people around me, but it helps me get into the holiday spirit and get my painting/crafting done for my business.  So, I like to check out the new Christmas music releases (they generally come out in October) and scout out the top choices to add to my collection.

I'm also starting to purchase more Forever stamps for my Christmas cards.  No, they won't all be beautiful Christmas stamps, but I will feel so much better knowing that when I finally get all the cards addressed and ready to mail, I can actually mail them right then.  It's the little things that make me happy and reduce my stress.

I will try to share more pictures/decorating ideas for fall and winter very soon.  I may even be ready to start buying presents!  Feeling ahead of the game so far....

75 days to go.....

Monday, October 7, 2013

79 Days

The weather is finally starting to turn cooler, which always helps me do more work around the house, cook more and craft more.  I'm sketching out project ideas now, which I hope to share with you soon.  I've been down and out with allergies/cold, but I will catch up on ideas to pass along.

I'm also going back through the Christmas card list and updating addresses.  Folks move around a lot more, and I get frustrated every year when I'm ready to work on my card list, only to realize I don't have all the updated information.  So, I'm hoping to avoid that frustration this year by getting a head start on that piece of the puzzle.

I'm working on two new holiday/winter theme paintings.  I'm hoping to have new paintings to show you soon.

79 days to go.... Time goes by so quickly doesn't it?

Saturday, October 5, 2013

81 Days

It's been a strange weather kind of week.  It's October and it's been almost 90 degrees the last few days, with a breeze causing the leaves to cascade down in a leaf storm.  It felt more like fall in June than it does now.  It certainly doesn't feel like the time to keep working towards Christmas.  Which is exactly why I still need to do it.  If I wait until it "feels" like it should, I will already feel behind and overwhelmed.

So today I am treating myself and coaxing myself back into the spirit of things by downloading decorating/crafting/cooking books on my Kindle and looking back through the books I already have.  I collect cookbooks and reread them like other people reread their favorite novels.  So, this is a fun relaxing way to get back on track.

Some of my favorites are any of Mary Engelbreit's crafty/cook books, Gooseberry Patch (love them all!), A Homemade Year by Jerusalem Greer, and I like a free e-book on my Kindle, Homemade Christmas Gifts and More.  I'm getting lots of homemade gift ideas, which I love.

Now to get motivated enough to start making them...

81 days to go......

Thursday, October 3, 2013

83 Days

This has been another hectic week, which makes me so glad that I've started doing a few things to get ready for the holidays.  If our schedules are this crazy now, it makes me cringe to think what they will be like closer to Christmas.

I'm taking another look at the gift list and jotting down possible gift ideas.  By no means do I have ideas for everyone; just a few ideas to list before I forget about them in the every day jumble.

I'm also gathering together my craft supplies and putting them in containers or bags so that hopefully I will be inspired soon to make a few presents.

83 days to go.....