Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Christmas is the best and it's almost here.  Life has been busy busy busy and I'm loving it.  Of course, I procrastinated in making my Christmas cards.  They arrived Thursday and I spent my night addressing envelopes so I could send them out before Christmas!

I love this picture of my pup and me.  It feels weird to send a card with my face on it, but I try to think about it in reverse.  If I got a card from a friend, I would want it to have their face on it.  And even though that makes sense to me, I still feel weird.  Whatevs.

Charlie's face in this photo makes me laugh.  She was so done with picture taking before we even started.

During our snowstorm a few weeks ago, I worked from home because the roads were awful.  During lunch, I set up our little shoot.  I put the camera on my tripod, put a plastic bag over the camera, grabbed the remote and let Charlie wander around the yard while I got the settings right.

I knew I wanted to put text over the photo, so I left plenty of room at the top of the photo.  I started with the camera farther away from me, but I didn't like the results.  My coat looks weird and the snow on the ledge is not super pretty.

So I moved the camera closer and tried again.  I liked this set up much better.   I was worried you wouldn't be able to tell it was snowing when we took the photo, but the snow in Charlie's paws and my hair took care of that.

Her coat is seriously adorable and I love it.  So I made her wear it for photo taking.  Also, it was snowing and when she wears a coat I have less work to do when I bring her inside.   I wish you could see more of it in this photo, but oh well.

 As you can see, it's not easy to get this dog to make eye contact with the camera.  

Hey, if she gets to cause problems then so do I.

In the 39 pictures I took, I was able to find one that I liked.

Merry Christmas, folks!  I hope you have a wonderful and happy holiday.  See you back here after New Years!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

My December

This December is quickly filling up with great moments. Here is my December, in iPhone photos.

Disclaimer - I'm writing this on my iPhone while watching The Voice finale. I apologize in advance for all the typos you are about to encounter. 

December started with some yard work. My entire backyard was one big pile of leaves. I borrowed a leaf mulcher form Esther and got to work. 

After an hour and a half of mulching, all that remained was one pile of wet leaves...

And three very heavy bags of chopped up leaves. Charlie was upset when she discovered all the leaves were gone for reasons that shall remained unnamed. 

Christmas decorations went up and all of a sudden, it was Christmas. This season is my fave. 

Charlie and I spend our quality time on the couch and she always looks adorable. Me, on the other hand, well I wouldn't use the word "adorable" to describe my lounging, post-work self.  

Charlie got groomed, but not trimmed.  Though I think it's important that she keep all of her hair for winter, that did not stop us from making fun of this big fluff ball.  While the bulk of her hair was left untouched, her head was all trimmed up - resulting in a tiny head and a huge body. 

I got a visit from this big guy. I keep crayons in my desk for just such an occasion and he knows exactly where they are. 

I made a sweet triangle garland for my Christmas tree. As I was putting it on the tree, it tangled, I tried to untangle it, I couldn't, I got mad, then madder, and somehow my garland ended up in pieces in the trash. I don't remember what happened - I think I blacked out. 

We got our first snow and I realized I didn't own a shovel. Thankfully I found one in my garage. #crisisaverted

Charlie and I cuddled. I sort of thought the world had stopped because she cuddled for so long. It's something we are doing more lately and I love it. Though, I must admit, I'm always ready for it to be over. I can't sit still that long. 

We got our second snow and I realized shoveling wasn't so bad. 

Charlie loved watching the snow fall on that beautiful day. 

I enjoyed watching her be so cute. 

We got our third snow/ice and I realized shoveling was exhausting.  I was oh so thankful for my garage - though I did not enjoy having to shovel myself out three times because I kept getting plowed in. 

I always hang my car keys on the center hook. I searched my entire house when I saw they weren't there. All I would have had to do was check the hook to the left. Routines are important.

This guy and I spent some quality time watching a movie. I don't remember what it was because I was watching with my eyes closed. 

Cuddling with this girl is one of my favorite things. Ever. In the whole world.

Even if she does drool on me. 

Esther and I had our annual wrap party. Esther has been saving up gifts for months - she had a lot of wrapping to do. 

And finally, tonight we are curled up on the couch watching The Voice finale (and I did not love the results). 
December has been awesome and we're only a couple of weeks in. Thursday we are taking Cam to a Christmas Village. We've also got a family party coming up, our Philly day trip and let's not forget Christmas! 

I hope your holiday has been merry and bright! 

Friday, December 13, 2013

O Holy Night Banner

This holiday season has been full of fun projects.  A few weeks ago, I spotted this pin on Pinterest and I immediately fell in love.  It bumped right to the top of my to-do list.

I knew I wanted to make a banner, but it look me awhile to decide on what my banner should say.  I ended up going with "O Holy Night".  It turned out to be a good choice because I absolutely love that song.  It's a song that I really don't mind having stuck in my head, which is good because that happens every time I see the banner.

To make this banner, I used paper bag paper from Paper Source (that's a lot of paper for one sentence).  I got the bulk pack on sale a few weeks ago and have found so many uses for it.  The original plan was to use a brightly colored floss (aka - embroidery thread), but I knew white would be a safe choice that could last for the next few Christmases.

To incorporate the bright pink I've been using this season, I used leftover mason line from my Christmas card holder to hang the banner.

Not gonna lie, this was not a fast project.  Because I can be a little bit of a perfectionist, I didn't want to punch the holes with the needle by hand. I wanted them to be exact and perfect.  So I used illustrator to create the layout for every letter.

Once that was done, I used my silhouette to cut each hole.  It's incredible what that machine can do.  Each hole is about this size of this o.  Believe it or not, they all were cut out perfectly.  

Once each piece was cut out, I got comfy on the couch with my pup and the latest and greatest on tv.  Then came the easy part - "sewing" the letters.

Speaking of tv, did you watch the latest episode of Chicago Fire?  Oh. my. goodness.  The suspense is killing me and it's not back on until January!  #icantwait

There are only a few more days until Christmas.  I think I finally have gotten everything on my list.  Now it's time to button up the lose ends and get it all ready.  I can't wait to start wrapping it and put it all under my tree!

I'm especially excited to give Cam his present.  Charlotte asks us to only get him one thing, so this year I tried to be really thoughtful with my gift.  I hope he likes it.  Sorry, I can't tell you what it is, because it's sort of a surprise for Charlotte, too.  Don't worry, I'll tell you after Christmas.

Have a wonderful and (if you're in eastern pa) snowy weekend!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

My Favorite Holiday

Merry Christmas and happy holidays, folks!  Tis the season for decorating!  As this is the only holiday that I decorate for, I get very excited about it.  I have been looking forward to this for months!

Buying this white tree was the best money I have ever spent.  I am in love.  If you would have told me 3 years ago that I would have a white tree, let alone a fake tree, I would have laughed in your face.  But I am all about it.  I pondered getting a real tree, but I really didn't want to shell out the money and/or have to take care of it and/or vacuum up needles and/or trash it once the season is over.

Too much maintenance for this newly-city girl.  If it was a matter of carrying it out to the backyard and putting it in the burn pile - yes, I would have a real tree.  That's not the case this year, so I'll be sticking with a fake tree that I adore.

This white is so warm and cozy and bright.  It's mah fave.

This star pendant from ikea is perfect for my window.  I love that my living room is lit by this star, the tree and garland.  It's makes the room feel warm and cozy and perfect.  Seriously, I love Christmas.

We got hit by a mini snowstorm on Tuesday and it. was. fabulous.  Everything looks better under a blanket of snow.

I don't have any decorations on the outside of my house this year.  The main motivation for leaving it blank is a) I didn't want to pay a higher electric bill and b) I didn't want to put them up.  Too much work for this single gal.  I think when I have a husband I'll make him do it, until then, I'm fine with skipping it.

This is how Charlie spent our snow day.  She loves to stare out the window, but always has to stand.  She stood there until her legs got too tired to stand anymore (it was pretty pathetic looking), so I made this set up for her.  Then she preceded to be incredibly cute all day.  I have a million pictures to prove it.

We are supposed to get more snow this weekend.  I couldn't be more thrilled.

Ok, back to Christmas decorations.
I'm proud to say that I did not buy a single new ornament for my big tree this year.  All of the ornaments were gifts, DIYed (like these diamond ornaments) or reused.  I had brightly colors ornaments from last year's tree, so I grabbed all the pink and put them on my tree.

There are a few bow ornaments on my tree this year.  I originally made them to be used on gifts, but I liked them so much that I put them on the tree.  I used kraft paper and decorated them with washi tape and dots cut from gold silhouette vinyl.

These clay ornaments were really fun to make.  I used a recipe that I found via Pinterest and it worked wonderfully.

A little advice if you use that recipe - don't bake them so that they dry faster.  It totally did not work for me - they were brittle and cracked.  I let mine air dry for about a day (they could have used a tad more time) before painting and they really turned out nicely.

Once the DIY ornaments were on the tree, I picked my favorite ornaments from my stash to fill in the blanks.  I had too many for one tree, so I used the rest on the tree in my craft room.

Each time I look at this ornament I smile.  Aw, my baby.  She was only two when I made that ornament.

Now there are two paw ornaments on my tree.  No, I didn't get a second dog.  I had leftover clay and Charlie was in the room, so, why not?  Oddly enough, she was totally fine with me pushing her paw into the clay.   Once it dried, I painted the edge gold.

These geometric ornaments really stand out on the tree.  I was worried they would get lost in the sea of white, but (much to your relief, I know) they didn't!

Esther got me that ornament with Charlie on it in 2009 and I love it.  It was the perfect Christmas present.

The side table in the dining room also got some attention.  I bought that tree this year from the Flower and Home Marketplace.  Esther thought it was real when she first saw it, so I would say it looks pretty good.  I also suspect that there's potpourri in the bottom.  I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Many years ago, my dad and brother started a tradition of getting my mom a Dept. 56 house every Christmas.  Mom has quite the collection.  She had to whittle things down a few years ago, so she gave me one of them.  The Lodge was always Zack's favorite house.  I love having a decoration that reminds me of him.

This smaller tree normally finds a home in my bedroom.  Since I spend most of my time in the craft room, I decided to put it in there this year.  

It's lighting the room as I write this post.  It's so cozy.

Man, I love Christmas.   Speaking of Christmas, it's only two weeks away!  I have so much to do.  I hope you holiday season has been wonderful and not too busy.  It's so easy to get caught up in the to-do list.  It's hard to stop and remember the reason for the season.

"Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion. 
Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father."
Phillipians 2:8-10, (The Message)