This year, Sugarwings was in charge of our Easter decor. All I did was get the stuff out and let her arrange it all. She even chose the layered table cloths that went underneath, and I liked her choice of pastel roses to compliment the sugary colors of the bunnies and baskets.
We were having a small dinner party, with perfect timing to show off her display.
I continued her laying by using vintage, embroidered doilies as placemats. I seriously don't know why I hadn't done this before. But I know that those will be used as placemats from now on!
One of my favorite things is to have a studio full of friends, whether it is at Birdsong, a craft day, or a kid's holiday party.
I don't always get to host a bash for every holiday, but love it when the timing works out to have everyone over.
Sugarwings and Dewdrop went to Michaels with me to fill a cart with pink and red heart supplies, I nabbed a few Dollar Store tablecloths and balloons, and we were set to go.
We made faux cupcakes by gluing a styrofoam ball into a cupcake paper, smearing it with modelling compound icing, and glitter.
Lots of glitter.
Besides that, the projects weren't organized, it was every artist on their own.
Valentine cards for loved ones were a popular choice.
Dewdrop completed this one for her mommy.
Lizele made lots of colorful hearts. She is a prolific crafter.
Besides the cart full of stickers from Michaels, I had vintagey goods out too. And had saved empty valentine candy boxes to be redone.
Sugarwings and her mommy made a mail box for her upcoming class party.
The littlest workers got a bit burned out and turned to coloring books full of ponies, then decided to work with playdough. That is always a hit with Dewdrop.
The older kids had already headed out to the creek and woods behind the house when I got my camera out. They usually make a few nice things, then head outside, not caring that it was horridly cold out there. Of course, someone always slips into the creek and needs dry clothes, but it never stops them.
I really should plan more summer time craft days, where they can get out there and enjoy the woods when the weather is better.
Before the party, Sugarwings and I made chocolate dipped strawberries to serve, and I saved the plastic containers that the berries came in. Those were ideal for sending wet modelling compound cupcakes home in. Cars might have been muddy from the creek on the way home, but at least they didn't have any pink, fake icing all over them.
I can't say there wasn't any glitter drizzled into the seats, though...
My new water jug from Victorian Trading was ideal! I filled it with ice, poured cold water over it, and it was still chilly the next day.
The pottery really keeps the water cold.
For punch in the cut glass dispenser, I mixed white cranberry/strawberry juice with a couple cans of Sierra Mist. The night before, I froze cranberries in juice to make a giant, floating ice cube to slip into the punch. Very pretty, and tasty, but so easy to make.
I'm already looking forward to the next party.
While getting ready for a Valentine Craft Day with friends and family, I scanned a few old cards to print for the group.
If you'd like to use them too, just click on the picture to open in a larger window, save it to your computer from there to print.
Here is a page of labels that I'd made for a Valentine journal class a while back. I don't know if I shared them before, but thought I'd do it again if I already have.
The treat cabinet got a sprucing up while getting the room set for our party. I taped up some vintage rose wallpaper, right over the old, green toile roses already glued to the inside of the cabinet. I'm sick to death of, ready for a change from the green, but didn't want to go to too much work. This is far from perfect, but I like the idea of being able to switch it out. And the toile roses make a nice background to the pink roses.
Like the new beverage dispensers? I splurged at Victorian Trading Co. because I couldn't resist this floral pottery one. Pink roses???? Well, of course, I NEEDED IT!!
Then, I saw the cut glass one. Elegant and timeless.
What to do???
Well, Birdsong 5 is coming up, so I bought them both. I think they will be delightfully useful. And it felt good to not be so cheap, like I tend to be. Well, they were on clearance....
And guess what? While shopping at the one and only, Victoria Trading outlet store, based in KC, I talked to the manager about being a Birdsong sponsor. She offered to have a gift for each attendee who stopped at the store that week before Birdsong. How nice of her! And my Peeps usually drop by to visit the shop while in KC on their way to Lawrence , so I think they will like it, don't you?
If you'd like to join us, we still have seats. Info can be found here.
Was Santa good to you this year? I think I was pretty good to Santa, myself.
I found this guy at a charity thrift shop for 75 cents. He wasn't brand new, but not quite into the category of vintage yet.
I gave Santa a makeover with some lux velvet, a rhinestone buckle, wool roving and goat hair.
I was trying to keep it a no sew project, and I like the effect of the two toned coat, with the dark, rich velvet bottom that I added and the velvet belt. The material that made up his jacket seems to be just fine with just the top showing.
I couldn't get his sack of toys to work as a no sew piece, though, I had to get out the dreaded needle and thread to stitch up a sack made of felted wool.
Then, I stuffed it and added some presents wrapped in vintage papers, a tiny gold horn torn from a 50s Christmas corsage, and candy canes made from twisted chenille stems from mini Shiny Brites.
The velvet I used for Mr. Claus was a unique piece. It was lined with felted wool. I used it to make these stockings too. (please avert your eyes from the awful sewing job I did on these stockings! I should NOT have used fancy gold thread that really stands out and shows my lack of skill, I should have gone with the color of the material instead)
One, complete, for Guncle Kevin. And one in a kit for Guncle Randy who loves to craft.
Along with the stockings, I sent them a clear ball with them inside all decked out as elves. It is a picture I took of them at their wedding and I added a tag at the top with the date. On the back, it says, "Finally!" (They waited almost 20 years to be legal)
These guys always appreciate a hand made gift. Randy is a crafter too, and understands the love that goes into something created just for someone special. I hope he will enjoy making his own present....
This year's Christmas cards featured the angel I made for the Nature's Blessings journal swap. I had a few extras left over and thought they would be appropriate. I didn't have quite enough to do many cards, but was able to whip up a few. I'm not all that good about mailing cards anyway.
A couple of other angels got makeovers this year too. When I saw seashell angles at Kohls, I knew that I needed to get them for my sisters, in remembrance of our Florida trip in October.
But of course, they needed a foofing.
Crowns, lots of ribbons, sea shells from the trip, sparkling doodads... and more. This is the back view. That poor little angel has so much stuff goobered onto her wings, she'll be lucky to ever lift off again.
The one for Bobbie got a necklace and a scattering of hearts on her skirt (Bobbie's last name is Valentine).
Sugarwings and her mommy spent the night with us on Christmas Eve, so we had her here when she woke up to find what Santa had brought to her.
And to check and see if he'd found the cookies she'd made for him the day before. (Yes, and speaking for the jolly, old guy, I have to say, they were YUMMY!)
We do our family party on Christmas Eve. It's a day of hanging out, baking, dinner, and then opening gifts together.
Mid-afternoon, we realized that we had no cookies to leave out that night! Oh my! So, we all chipped in to mix, roll, cut, bake and decorate a giant batch of sugar cookies and a small batch of gluten/dairy free ones too.
I discovered that almond meal is perfect for dusting the table to roll out the gluten free ones. I'm not a fan of most of the flours used in that kind of baking, and if you dust with them, the cookies aren't very good. Almond flour was ideal, plus it gave a nutty flavor to the goodies.
Making cookies at the last minute set us behind a little on our dinner. So, the prime rib got into the oven a bit late, then just would NOT cook. It was taking forever, we started in on gifts and decided to open a few before we ate.
So we had some back and forth, checking on dinner and opening pressies. Till we realized that the hunk of meat was going to be in the oven way, way too late, and we might still be waiting to eat, with Santa sitting up on the roof waiting for us to get tucked in so he could come on down.
We went into high gear, slicing up the giant slab of prime rib, and turned it into rib eye steaks, while my husband fired up the grill (in the dark, on a 30 degree night).
I was glad he did because, man, were those good, and grilled to perfection!
My son sauteed a few pounds of mushrooms with eggplant and golden beets, and I'd baked a layered red beet, asparagus, and rainbow carrot casserole. Along with that, we had smashed potatoes with garlic aoli sauce and panko crumbs. Plus fresh, homemade rolls, and canned green beans from Aunt Jenny's garden.
No one minded waiting, it was delicious, and a big group effort.
And soon, we were right back into the fray. Leftovers were popped in the fridge, the table was cleared, and dishes were piled up to do later, getting those packages open was much more important.
We like to open one gift at a time, with everyone getting to watch and enjoy seeing what the other person got. That way, there is time for modelling and admiring the presents too.
And plenty of time for hugs and thank yous.
We are all about the hugs around here.
See what I mean?
I hope there was lots of love in your day too.
For the rest of the week, my husband and I are loading up these two fairies and driving south till we find some sunshine. It's an impromptu trip and who knows what we will find on our "maventure" as Dewdrop calls it.
Our adventures have been nonstop for the holiday, and it is very exciting that they are still ongoing.
Last week, we saw "Mary Poppins" at the local theater the same day that we attended a "Santa Splash" at the indoor aquatic center. Along with all of the other parties and plans, it has been one fun event after another for about a month of Christmassing. A little vacation is just what I need to rest up from all of the celebrating that I've been whooping it up with since Thanksgiving.
Between being on the go all of the time with holiday happenings, buying and wrapping gifts, shipping packages like crazy (by the way, thank you for all the shopping at my Boutique and Etsy store!!), being sick for months, (I'm finally done coughing, it was a Christmas miracle), redoing the bedroom (pictures to come of the new look) and everyday life, the beach is sounding pretty good right now. I hear it will be too chilly to swim in the Gulf, but I'm happy with playing in the sand.
There are new pre-posted blogs upcoming, so please do check back. And have a great new year!
I've been going full speed into Christmas this year. I always love the season, and this year even more. I've arranged one activity, party, or gathering one after another.
It has been glorious! (that word should always be spoken the way Will Farrell says it in "Old School")
Last weekend was Breakfast with Santa at Lion's Gate country club. They have the BEST Santy Claus.
Sadly, Dewdrop was ill and couldn't make it. So, we will be taking her to see the jolly old elf at the community pool for a Santa Swim party.
I've bought tickets to plays, gone to craft parties, thrown craft days, arranged luncheons, attended gatherings, hosted gatherings, and have had so much going on that there has been something exciting almost every single day.
If there wasn't a special activity going on, Sugarwings and I would make one up. We'd turn an ordinary day into an event. We'd dye trees (our Christmas version of doing eggs at Easter), set up a fancy table with good dishes in front of the Christmas tree and have a cocoa party, draw up a list of holiday lit homes in town and go on an adventure hunt to follow a map and find all the brightly lit up neighborhoods, or just snuggle up and watch some holiday specials on TV.
I've thrown a few parties this season. I like to have my friends over for an annual ornament making party with their kids, and this year, with my husband's travel schedule for work, it didn't look like we were going to be able to have our big bash.
So, instead of my usual weekend dinner party with a bonfire and beers for guys and crafting for anyone who wanted to hang out in the studio, I switched it to a luncheon for some of my friends and ornament making afterwards.
I wanted to try making these tarts, they are thinly sliced veggies, rolled into spirals and baked in a pie crust lined with ricotta cheese. And I also wanted my friends to know that they are special to me and I wanted to create a treat for them, so I set the table pretty and had them over.
But we didn't stop there. After school, their kids joined us for more crafting and a few other friends were able to come by to make ornaments too.
We turned it into a whole evening, ordered some pizzas, drank some wine, and had a cocoa party for the kiddos.
I set out thermoses of hot milk, a big bowl of marshmallows, organic candy canes, chocolate syrup, and some cocoa powder and let them serve themselves from the treat cabinet.
We also broke up candy canes and put those in the cotton candy maker and that was a hit too. Although, at times, the cotton candy maker was left on unattended, and big fluffs of spun sugar would float across the room.
I was ready to chase those puffs down and try to catch them with my tongue like snowflakes.
(and was glad that I'd covered up my vintage wallpaper with a curtain before setting the cotton candy maker next to it)
It is always fun to see what everyone comes up with, when presented with a table full of supplies and left on their own.
Lots of different styles of crafts get churned out.
But the best part is the laughing. It was a fun evening.
I've not finished my shopping or wrapped any gifts yet. I'll make that work out somehow. Gift cards for the big kids and a few toys under the tree for kids, probably. This year, I've tried to make the season about the people, not the presents.
And to have the holiday spirit of sharing and togetherness for the whole month.
And of course, soak up the joy every single day!
As promised, here is the mini lesson on making mini book ornies.
I used paper cut from vintage Christmas cards glued over chipboard for my covers, and card stock for the pages. If your old holiday cards are sturdy enough, you could probably cut the covers directly from them and skip the whole gluing process.
First step- cut out the cover material, fold in half. Cut out three pieces of card stock slightly smaller than the cover, fold in half. (Any size you want to use works fine, most of mine are under 2", this one made from a card is larger)
Glue decorative paper to the cover. The backside of mine was white, but if yours isn't, cover both sides. This is a good time of year to save up chipboard,some pieces that I used were folded up inside a new shirt. Stores often use it chipboard to hold the shape of folded garments. So, as you are opening gifts, don't forget to salvage the packaging materials! (you could also cut up a cereal box)
Add glitter, ink, etc, to your taste. Don't add any 3D elements yet, though, embellish to your heart's content after the book is assembled.
To make the folded and decorated chipboard look like a real book, a piece of decorative tape, as faux binding can be pretty.
Put your three card stock pieces inside your cover, line them up, and punch two holes along the fold.
Tie the pages into the cover with whatever you think looks nice. Here, I've used vintage ribbon.
For a festive look, I like to use metallic pipe cleaners too. But first, I vintage them up a bit.
Give them a haircut and rub the newly styled piece onto a brown ink pad for a tarnished finish.
Next, add a hook (to whatever you tied the book together with) and hang it up.
I used these as favors and to decorate with for my book club holiday party. I think it would be fun to start a tradition of passing around a tiny book at Christmas dinner to have each person write a small message, or just sign their names. Date it, and hang it on the tree each year.
If you'd like to make some bigger books in different styles, I have a tutorial available here.
I'll leave you with some photos of what is new in the Etsy shop, it has been a busy Christmas tree season for me. I just now got around to adding some decorated ones.
Normally, I do get them out earlier.... But it has been quite a holiday season for me. Very fun, very busy!
I have some extra bright trees this year, thanks to Sugarwings. She and I had a dying party the other day.
And we got creative with our colors.
Before I decked the halls, we did a mini makeover. This wardrobe had been in the bedroom, but my husband never liked it there because when the doors were open to see the TV, they were in his way.
So, we moved the tvs and their cabinets from room to room. Once we did this, I felt that the space next to the cabinet was too empty, so I brought in a column from the studio, and another from the bedroom. both fit nicely behind the door when it is open and one even peeks over the top.
I also made a trip to KC's new IKea and got white, netting curtain panels, $2.99 for a package of two. I bought four sets to replace my lace curtains that were so old they finally shredded (but are now considered craft supplies!!). I love the fullness of having panels of netting on each window (and the price).
I was happy to have the perfect spot for a winter wonderland forest of trees on giant cabinet.
And I like the way the columms look from the dining room.
I wasn't as happy with the tv cabinet that got moved to the bedroom, because it held the television too low to see from my side of the bed. But my son is going to build up a box to set it on. I'll have some pictures of that when it is complete.
(by the way, if you ever have to do a switch-a-roo with tvs, I suggest taking a photo of all the wiring on the back so that it is easier to hook them back up again. With satellite boxes, DVD players and who knows what, all those wires are confusing. My son did a great job with it all, including drilling bigger holes into the back of the vintage cabinet to fit cords through, when the new box didn't fit where the old one was)
Here is a photo of the kitchen from our luncheon during my craft party/workshop. I've been thinking about painting my kitchen white, but I am liking the warm creams when I see this picture. I might have to rethink my plan.... But then, I do love the idea of bright white with some pale blue. Everything I own will still match.
That is what is nice about having so much neutral stuff, it goes with anything, I can mix and match pieces from one room into another, and a quick coat of paint can freshen up a look without changing anything else in the room.
The centerpieces were mismatched, matt white pottery vases from garage sales, filled with branches I cut from the yard, a $2 bundle of mark down roses from the grocery store, and poinsettias I cut from a plant I bought. I love to use the poinsettia blooms as cut flowers in water, instead of leaving them on the plants. They hold up well, and stay fresh for over a week.
And for one $6 plant, I got enough flowers to add to these four vases, plus plenty were still on the plant, so it will look nice as is. Until I'm ready to pluck them off and replace these blooms as they wilt. The branches should last the whole season.
In the middle of the table is just a large bowl of glittered pine cones. I figure I have so much going on with holiday decor around the house, I need to keep things simple here and there.