Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Farewell December, Letting Go of Christmas and Decorating Wintery

I'm a little tormented. I was so busy moving and catching up on orders, I didn't post many Christmas ideas this year. Even though Christmas is over, I use this blog as a springboard for myself to reference for later, and I need to file these great ideas somewhere! So, this week will be catch up for me, then I'll get down to new stuff, mmkay? For now though, many of these can still be implemented as "winter" decor.

This little montage of Lindsey Brackeen's holiday mantle, my jaw dropped a little. I love the bright white, a bit of style and sparkle, without being too dark and heavy feeling for the holidays. I love how she hand tied the wreath with torn fabric scraps with her little boy. So sweet. The natural elements are wonderful as well.

Lindsey also made these adorable little gift tags you can use next year. I love here idea to use them as a garland as well. Visit here to download them.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Angels

At 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning, a young mother, Amanda Buckland, lost her home, her belongings, her husband Charles, her 9-month-old daughter, Emma, and 4-year-old son, Joshua to a fire. She was saved by a neighbor who put a ladder up to her bedroom window. Her 12 year old step daughter also made it out on her own. The neighbors tried to put a ladder up to the children's window, where their father was trying to save them, but were unable to due to the smoke and flames. (The home did not have working fire detectors). The fire department was able to remove her husband and children from the home within 10 minutes of arriving, but they were already gone. (Officials said the fire was caused by an overloaded power strip in the back of the home.)


Please take a moment to consider her loss as she copes with this terrible tragedy. You can go to her friend's blog to donate to her, for she has lost everything. Perhaps, sacrificing the funds on extra stocking stuffers, or an extra gift this year would mean little to your family, but any help at all would help her tremendously. You can read the news story here and donate here.

You can also send cash or other physical donations or gifts to her employer:

Ullenbruch's Flower Shop
C/O Amanda Buckland
1839 Lapeer Ave
Port Huron, MI 48060

Then, please go and check your fire detectors, power strips and outlets, and run an evacuation fire plan with your families. Lots of great fire safety information here, on building emergency kits, making an exit plan, teaching your kids about fire safety, and activities like puzzles and coloring pages and games that teach children how to stay safe from fire.

This reminds me of the great poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. His wife's dress caught fire as she was sealing locks of her children's hair in envelops with a wax melt, and he tried to snuff out the fire using a rug and his own body, but she died the next day. He suffered burns as well which led to his famous beard later in his life due to difficulty in shaving from the scars.  For the next two years, he listened to the Christmas chimes at his church and they held no meaning to him anymore.

Longfellow wrote "Christmas Bells" on Christmas Day 1863 in the midst of the American Civil War and the news of his son Charles Appleton Longfellow having suffered wounds as a soldier. Following his years of sadness from his wife's death, the Christmas bells had no joy or meaning to him, but his perspective changed as he felt the spirit during the chimes and he went and wrote the poem "Christmas Bells" which was later turned into the famous carol, "I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day". After hearing his story, and singing the song at church on Sunday, it took everything I had not to silently cry.

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."

Till, ringing singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

My heart goes out the the Buckland family, and may these little angels, get their wings with the ringing of the Christmas bells.

'It's a Wonderful Life' - "everytime a bell rings, an angels gets his wings"- zuzu bailey

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Wreath Surgery

I found a hideous, wreath that had a cancer of gold shredded tinsel, broken pine cones, yucky brown berry picks and broken ornament tops... for .25 cents at a garage sale.

Being the charitable soul that I am, I handed over a quarter and took this eyesore from the table. I am sure they thought they got the better end of the deal, wondering why I would be attracted to such a thing.

"I'll save you, little one"

Well, I am a wreath surgeon. I acquired a little collection of clearance red jingle bell ornaments, some sequined balls and sequin pics (that are suppose to be a hurricane candle wreath thing, but I cut that apart).

First, I removed the tinsel tumors and pics that someone had painstakingly put in there... on purpose. I let the pine cones stay and spun them on their good sides.

"what's the prognosis, doc?"

I took my silver tree star topper and wound the electrical cord around the bottom tip and tucked that baby in. Just a small piece of wire at the top around the wreath and that thing is in tight. Then, I  hot glued in the sequin and jingle ball ornaments.

"it's to early to tell, o little wreath... hang in there"

After balancing the wreath out with the sequin pics, I thought our letter A and a wire snowflake ornament would be cute in there as well. (Letter idea from Nester, of course).  I'm sure it could be fuller, and prettier, and more colorful, with more pine cones and berries and white snowflakes, but, I'm on a budget and these things take time to collect when one is on a budget... so  maybe next year.

"ready for her close-up"

I tried nailing it to the door with a ribbon Nester style... but our door was metal, so it is on the wall above our couch until I can get another wreath holder (b/c the last cheapo one went in the goodwill box when we moved, blast!)

Well, the wreath patient is well and doing fine, in remission and has arrived to a full, cheery recovery. And when Christmas is over, I'll take another cue from Nester and maybe reuse this wreath in another way.

So, I entered this little post of mine into Kimba's diy day! Check it out for more fun projects. Oh here's a crazy cute wreath tutorial Vintage Indie!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I Heart Faces

This is the original, unedited photo.

I Heart Faces is a site dedicated to photography of people and editing styles. While I am not a photographer, nor a trained editor by any means, I do love playing around with my simple little program, Picnik on photos. (click on photos to enlarge)

edit 1

First, I cropped the photo just a bit taking out the negative space on the left side. I minimized a few little baby blemish spots and softened those areas. Then, I whitened the eyes just a bit and added a hint of peach blush to the apples of the cheeks. I used a 'gritty' filter, then boosted the color a bit and used the lomo filter.

edit 2

For the second edit, I cropped the photo a bit, added blue tint to lightened eyes, brightened the whites and emphasized the lash and lid lines and added peach blush to the cheeks. Then, I filtered the photo with a little boost of orton-ish and a bit of  a cross process.

edit 3

For the third edit, I added more exposure and color contrast. I very lightly airbrushed the chapped skin and added just a hint of peach blush.I whitened the eyes a touch and went over the lashes, lid lines, smile marks and other facial features with "mascara" to bring out any features faded in the exposure. I used a tiny amount of lomo-ish filter and a soft gray matte vignette. Very soft and bright.

edit 4

I used edit 3 for the base. I added a black and white filter, but took it just to the point where the slightest color is left. A hint is seen in his lips, cheeks and blue shirt. I then added a softened black frame and a focal blur, keeping the face in tact and softening out the rest of the photo.

I wanted to keep the baby real and sweet looking, with a vintage, dreamy feel, and I think I captured that. Which of the 4 edits is your favorite? Feel free to check out the links of what everyone else has done to this adorable photo!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Homefront: Christmas Decorating

My mantle this year is on an actual fireplace! Amazing!! The width is only about 3 inches wide, so no crazy heavy things this time that will make it fall, but what I can fit on there is perfect for us.

Since we usually do the silver, aqua/blue and white, I thought a little more red and green would be nice for the boys this year, so I stocked up after Christmas last year when everything was 90% off. Isaac's little retro glitter race car ornament needed to go up here, for it's own safety! The deer I got on Etsy from minzer, I love it and maybe I will add a pretty sprig of holly or mistletoe to it's antlers. I wish it were a little bigger, but it's still so cute, and vegan.

My mirror used to be the brushed nickle finish, but that is just something else I painted white. One day, I'll get all crazy with the color, but for now, it's perfect. The red wooden beads are just 2 strands hung up with 5 little nails.

I found these adorable vintage reindeer pair at a garage sale this summer for .75 cents and had to have them. (I found them online for almost $40 last month, wow).

I couldn't find (all) my candles for the candleabra I painted, so one hitched a ride on this little sled I painted and hey, this Santa hat works just fine too! That's what decorating is all about, using what you have in new and unexpected ways, right?


 This little house is my favorite. I got it in 1987 for a class Christmas party. Each student had to bring in a cardboard (empty) milk carton and the teacher and room mothers made us these adorable little houses. I can't wait to be a room mother when my oldest starts school. The house is just felt, glue, ric rac, sequins (well, missing sequins) and glitter and I absolutely adore it.
The Christmas tree is teeny in our new home, since in our lqast place, we put it on our table... but for now, it works and the boys loved decorating it, so that is what is important!

I loves these gumdrop snowflake ornaments! I used lots of cookie cutters tied with red ribbon as filler on the tree. They really catch the light and are inexpensive and so festive!

The boys made this cute little Frosty the Snowman mobile with their Grandma and Grandpa. It's little foam snowflakes, batting (I think), yarn, hangers and pipe cleaners. It's so cute and is tied in their room.You can make your own little mobile and customize it for your decor too. A tree star in the middle with ornaments hanging around on coordinating ribbon and tulle would be so pretty.


Merry Christmas and thanks for visiting! Now join in on The Nester's Christmas Tour of Homes!

Homefront: The New Digs

Our move went well, 6 helpers per side and only 2 hours of loading/unloaded each side. Had I not been sick, I probably would have everything unpacked by now, but given it's only been 6 days, we've accomplished a lot, only about 2 boxes left! I have 4 boxes and 2 chairs given to Goodwill already and a few more to go. Of course, that probably should be done before the move, but sometimes, it's easier to have an objective eye when you are unpacking.

I had planned on showing the home before we started Christmas decorating, but a lost camera prevented that. I added 2 red pillows to tie in the Christmas colors, otherwise they will all be the black/white/charcoal combo. I painted that wrought iron circlet above the couch a shabby textured aqua and white, but am thinking of doing a lot more white since my aqua decorations are put away for the season.

We are really trying for the crisp, white, uncluttered look in this new (temporary) home. It's nice refreshing and airy with the large windows and archways. So, of course, Holly's all white and ebony wood floor home is in large part an inspiration. Eventually, we are going to paint our furniture white and the table black, but that won't be until well after Christmas, when I get my orders all made and shipped. Right now, I'm loving our Pottery Barn slipcovers, I haven't had to bleach them yet, but they have been cleaned and toddler spots come out quite nicely.

It's funny, our little 4 foot Christmas tree was *too big* in our last place as the only room for it was on our table, but now it is dwarfed by the windows. I'll put some garland up there on those windows soon. We still love the trees and the boys had fun decorating it too. Maybe daddy will surprise us with a real tree, hmm?

 I'm contemplating hanging something from our archway. A couch sits right below it, so the void is kind of interesting as you can see in the photo, and a little room divider coupled with the couch would be nice. I thought that this contemporary white  wooden chandelier from uncommon would be beautiful there, maybe I can add some vintage chandelier crystals to the bottom, or just leave it plain, what do you think?

(less wordy posts soon, I promise)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Movin on Up

So, our internet is being turned off now while we move, and won't be up again for about a week. I will have lots of fun getting caught up on all of your lovely posts, and hopefully have some fun things to post about in our new place myself. Though unpacking instead of Christmas decorating isn't so exciting, I will have to live vicariously for a short time.

My shop is on standby until then, but I plan on having lots of new restyled vintage jewelry and Twilight jewelry up just in time for Christmas shopping.

In the meantime, have a lovely December! Try not to get too busy and remember the true meaning of Christmas! This Joy to the World video features a lovely Nativity story along with music from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. You can order it free from here. The Christmas message here is lovely as well, it has a wonderful video, family activites and music.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Paper Christmas Trees

Isn't this scrapbook paper Christmas tree darling? You can make it any color or size you want! Tutorial and patterns here by Red Velvet Girls.

Another cute and easy tree by Melissa Goodsell. She used Lily's tutorial which can be found here.

Taylor Design has this super adorable curled paper Christmas tree tutorial. Oh, I can imagine lots of glitter on the edges of those little curls, can you?

Bella Dia has some cute paper stacking Christmas trees. Love her color choices.

She used the same pattern for these fabric versions made by Sarah at the small object. awe!

It would be cute to make a whole shelf of these trees in different styles and display them all over for your own little village. Isn't paper the greatest invention, like... ever?

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