Monday, November 30, 2009

Handmade Holidays

Time for another post of Handmade Holidays and I have to admit, I didn't do a lot of hand made anything this week! Between Thanksgiving and having my youngest daughter home from college for the first time in three months I decided to kick back and just enjoy the week without any real agenda at all except to enjoy my family.  Of course that family came through for me in the form of my sister (in-law but she's really just my sis) finding some adorable little skates at Goodwill for me for the paltry sum of $2.99 and bringing them over this weekend.  I added some ribbon and some holiday greens and hung them in the back entry.  It doesn't get any easier than that! Remember, along with showing some of the things we make by hand to give and to decorate with, you can show thrifted decorations or gifts for HH too! So show us your deals and your projects:>) and a big thank you for everyone who has participated so far. I appreciate your linking up to the party! I am also linking up to Get Your Craft on at Creative Blogs and Kimbas DIY party. Great ideas to be had at both places:>)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

First Sunday of Advent - Hope

“May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace, as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

Today is the first Sunday of Advent.  A time to anticipate and celebrate the coming of Christ. A time of reflection and a time to prepare our hearts for the joy of Christmas.  In these times of uncertainty and hard times, my prayer for you is that you find hope through the birth of Jesus, and that you find his joy and peace filling your hearts in the days ahead:>)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

The dishes are done, the turkey bones are simmering to make broth, and the leftovers are in the fridge.  The last two slices of punpkin chocolate swirl cheesecake have been sent home with my sister so I don't eat them myself. It was a day filled with laughter and fun and hugs and catching up with the neices and nephew. Love that.  I hope all of your Thanksgiving's were as warm and happy and blessed as ours:>)
Black friday? nah.  I don't need anything badly enough to stand in line with 4000 other people for two hours. Not fun. I'll just be home tomorrow, listening to Christmas carols, hanging with the kiddo and maybe decorating a little for Christmas.  Sounds perfect to me.  I know I won't have to cook for a few days. Oh what joy:>) Whether you decide to brave the crowds or just stay home yourself, Have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. 

Monday, November 23, 2009

Handmade Holidays

More fun with Handmade Holidays! Remember, we would love to see anything handmade or thrifted that could be used as decor or gifts for the upcoming holidays! The creativity is unlimited and I am so inspired by the beautiful gifts and decorations I have seen:>)
 I made this quilted throw for a dear friend who has helped us in so many ways.  The fabric was given to me by a co-worker, and although it is a little too country for me, it is just the thing for my friend!  I made simple 6" squares and put them together in a pleasing way and machine quilted along either side of the seams. Easy, but pleasing. I may add some home made cocoa mix and a pretty mug so she can curl up with her quilt and a warm drink:>)

Next, my new favorite earrings. Made from vintage glass pearlized buttons of all things!  I found a sweater with these little beauties at the thrift store and I just knew they would be perfect for something pretty. I added sterling wires and now they dangle delicately below my ears.  I'll add some to my etsy in case you need them!

And last, I know I showed you this swag made from evergreen cuttings from the yard and some old floral picks and toile ribbon. Nothing new but I think it looks festive on my door, and I didn't spend a dime.

I'm also linking up with Today's Creative Blog for

and  A Soft Place To Land for DIY day and Reinvented for Trash to Treasure day
 So go ahead, show us your awesome handmade gifts and decorations and those thrifted goodies that make great holidays affordable.  Mr. Linky is below.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Entering the Gate














So here we are, Entering the gate of the happiest time of the year.  A season set apart by the happiness and joy of the birth of Jesus. A season of Thanksgiving, and it all starts this week.  I see us all scurrying to decorate our homes and make everything beautiful, and that is one of the joys of this season.  But I would like to take a moment and make sure that not just my house, but my heart and attitude are in order.  In the past I have found myself being so caught up in everything being “perfect” and “beautiful” that I have sometimes snapped at my family.  Why did they leave that mess there?  Why don’t you help me with this?  Don’t you know we have guests coming and everything doesn’t look as it should?  Feeling, can I say it? a little overwhelmed and overbooked 

Yup. I have been that woman.

I am sitting myself down with a nice cup of tea right now and getting my priorities in order. 

Don’t sweat the small stuff. 

It isn’t about the gift or, heaven forbid, the cost of the gift. It’s about time, and love and kindness. 

The decorations and crafts are wonderful, but not if they leave me feeling rushed. 

It’s about the memories.  What memories will my kids have some day?  Cranky mom wanting to make everything perfect at the expense of everyone's sanity and peace?  Or a mom and wife who always had time for fun and cuddles and long walks in falling snow?

It’s about worship. Remembering the greatest gift any of us could have gotten. The birth of a Savior of our souls. 

Right now, before the rush and whirlwind and parties begin, decide what is really important about this season and remember it when things get frantic. 

Enjoy a cup of Christmas tea and add a bit of thankfulness and good cheer to sweeten it.

And have a wonderful holiday season :>)

(And don’t forget Handmade Holidays Mr. Linky on Tuesday!)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Skylight Project

Let us begin with the pretty pictures shall we? I was noodling around last night with this cool tool box sweet husband made as a kid for his mom. It weighs eleventy-hundred pounds empty so it never got used, but I thought it made a great place to play around with a holiday display. So I pulled out the bag 'o trees I bought after Christmas last year on clearance, and along with some glittery snow, candles and tiny pinecones I picked up on a walk, I put together this cute little forest.

Sweet hubby was noodling around too and I lovingly said, "honey, when you get a chance will you bring some of the Christmas decorations down from the attic?"  Being the great guy he is, he agreed to do that toot sweet and headed up the stairs.  Now ladies, we have an unfinished attic and there is a reason I don't like to go up there.  No floor. Just some boards nailed in a path to the shelves that hold the decorations.  Just one little mis-step and I am sure I would come right through the dining room ceiling. I think you know where I am going with this......
Check out our new skylight.

He is fine. He managed not to fall through completely and truth be told I was far more worried about him than I was the ceiling.  He just banged up his ankle and ribs but nothing that even bruised, I am so thankful!  But we are hosting Thanksgiving next week and golly this is going to mess up my decorating scheme! You can't believe how much dust and blown in insulation came down. It was everywhere!  It filled a huge trash can (don't act like you never keep chicken wire in your dining room, I know you do!.... Right?)

You might think I would be upset. I'm not. This was an old plaster ceiling and it had cracks that were driving me crazy. I get a new ceiling ladies and crown moulding to boot:>) Always look at the silver lining. The family won't care a bit that there is a hole in the ceiling, we just like to be together and I know we will all have a good laugh about it.  I think I'll call the insurance and see what they can do, but we have a big deductible so we may end up fixing this ourselves. Now I need to take everything out of the dining room that is glass, breakable or decorative because whether we do it ourselves or have it fixed by someone else, everything will have to be moved.  It might be a good thing to start fresh anyway. Never a dull moment...*sigh*

Monday, November 16, 2009

Handmade Holidays

Time for another Handmade Holidays linky!  I have a few projects to show you but I didn't get all my photos taken before I ran out of light  (darn short days!)  Here is one idea, remember all that silverplate I got on ebay?  It came with several of these adorable spreaders. A $5 set of metal stamps at Harbor Freight and a little practice on scrap metal and this is what you get. I ♥ love it ♥ !  It wasn't that hard and can you imagine how cute this would be in a basket with home made jam and bread?  And if you are afraid you couldn't do this, this spreader will be in my etsy shop, 'cause I've got more and I'm willing to share:>)

This cute wreath is another easy project.  I had the foam form in the basement in my craft stash and I wanted to wrap it in ribbon but I didn't have enough of the color I wanted to use.  I didn't want to spend any money so I grabbed some white fabric in a  tiny white leaf print and ripped some strips to wrap around the wreath form.  Next came yo-yo's rosettes and vintage button centers. I couldn't find my glue gun (!) so I used straight pins to attach the yo-yo's and buttons. A shiny red satin ribbon makes a pretty hanger.  I think I'll make two of these for the living room windows.

And that's it! Easy and cheap and festive. I'll be trying some more butter spreaders for the etsy shop later this week, so if you were hankering for one keep your eyes peeled. Now it's your turn! I would love it if you left your ideas on the McLinkly below:>) 
I am also participating in DIY day at A Soft Place to Land and Get Your Craft on at Todays Creative Blog. More great ideas, have fun!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Sunrise, Some Pillows and Porch Love ♥

Excuse the blurriness of this photo and focus (haha) on the colors of this mornings sunrise.  I always thought the old saying was "Red sky at morning, sailors take warning" meaning bad weather right? But it has been a glorious sunny warm day. I happened to see this out my kitchen window this morning while pouring that first cup of coffee and I had to run out and try to capture it. I didn't do a very good job but goodness it was beautiful!

So today, I decided to get some outdoor work done while it is still indian summer.  I cleaned off the front porch, mopped the muddy steps, and ran out in the woods to clip some evergreen branches for a swag for the front door.  I checked my extensive stash of Christmas ribbon and found the last piece of this Christmas toile to tie around the branches then added some of last years pics.  Not bad for free if I do say so myself. I think I'll look for some sparkly branch pics that I know I have, it needs a little something glittery:>)

I took the chair out of the front garden where it had been holding a potted flower all summer. It was white but I wanted to use some bright red tartan on the porch this year so I grabbed my spray paint and gave it a quick once over in black.  I found the flannel tartan remnant for a song at JoAnnes, stapled it to the removable seat and I love it! Festive and cute!

Want to know what else is festive & cute? These pillows that went on etsy this morning. More in the works so I hope to list them this week as they are finished, then I will have to call it quits for the season so I can concentrate on gifts for the family.  I hope weather where you are is as fine as it is here. I'm heading back outside while I can to enjoy the day:>)  Enjoy yours too!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Earring Tutorial

A big thanks to everyone who contributed to my Handmade Holidays post! There were lots of different ideas shared and a little something for everyone. I will be putting up Mr. Linky again next Tuesday, so if you missed sharing this week, just come back next Tuesday:>) 
I promised you a tutorial on making vintage clip on earrings into pierced. It is soooo easy you will be kicking yourself for passing up all those sparklers you saw this summer at the yard sales!
The items below are all you need for this project. As I said before, you can get nice sterling french hooks at any craft store. In addition, you will need some small silver o rings, a pair of needle nose wire cutters and some beautiful sparkly vintage screw back earrings.

I removed the clip part from the earrings with the pliers. It's really easy, just pry them off gently, they are only hinged with holes over little prongs, so just open them up and pry them off.

Next, I clipped the bottom part of the backing off. Leave enough to make a loop with your pliers later. I really just removed the hinged prong that made it hard to get the o ring on.

Slip the little o ring on now. Mine is so small that it is a solid ring, it won't open so you need to put it on now.

Now take your pliers and grasp the part of the backing that curves.

And gently close the loop against the back.

You can see that the o ring is at the top of the wire and the wire itself is closed all the way so it is touching the back of the earring. You need to make sure it is closed so the ring doesn't fall off. I use a ring because when you put the earring on the ear wire, the ring holds the earring in the correct position facing forward, not to the side.

A close up of the  back

Now open the loop on the bottom of the ear wires to the side, not by pulling it open and down. If you pull it open rather than open it to the side it weakens the wire and it may break.

Put the hook through the o ring on the earring, making sure the earring is facing forward, and then close the loop on the earrings with the pliers.

And that's it! Super easy, fast, cheap, pretty, and a great way to get more use out of some really beautiful earrings.

I think these make a beautiful gift for any age. My daughters love theirs and so do the adults I have sold them to. They are one of a kind and the older rhinestones have a much nicer look and sparkle than the newer ones.  Enjoy!  I would love to see if you do this project:>)  Will you send me a photo if you do?

I have been finishing up some pillows and I will be listing them by the weekend.  Just a heads up, I have quite a few in the works but after this batch I have other gifts to make so I probably won't be making more pillows until after Christmas:>)  It's sunny and warm here today so I may take a walk and pick up some pinecones and fun things to decorate with. Have a great day!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Handmade Holidays

Our first Handmade Holidays post is up and running.  Share your thrifted or crafted gift or decorating  ideas on Mr. Linky below:>)

I have a couple quick and easy (and best of all cheap!) ideas for some really great gifts this Christmas.  With so many feeling the bite of the tanking economy, it is only smart to give our friends and relatives a little bit of our time and ingenuity and some really memorable gifts from our hearts and hands!  My first idea is a thrifted find straight from the greatest source of treasure there is, that's right, good old ebay.  I found a mixed lot of silverplate (38 pieces!) for the paltry sum of $10.  That's a lot of gift potential for very little money!  How about some wonderful home made jam wrapped up with a silverplated spreader?   A pretty gift that can be used lots of different ways.  Gae at Cherished Hearts at Home asked if I had any ideas for gifts that boys could make, well what about a rustic tray like the one shown here?  You can find the wood plank at Michael's and with a coupon it is very affordable.  The handles are beautiful twisty lilac wood that has been cut and screwed on from the bottom. I am sure that you could find some great twisted wood of other kinds too, just make sure it isn't poison ivy! The screw holes are covered with self adhesive cork dots. Imagine this presented with a loaf of home made bread or an assortment of cheeses.  Cute!

These sweet dangles are made from vintage screw back earrings. I will be posting a tutorial for these later this week. Find the vintage earrings at garage sales and flea markets, or maybe grandmother's jewelry box! The sterling hooks can be found at any good craft store and they cost a little over $1 each.  You can do this without any special jewelry making equipment, just a pair of needle nose pliers. My daughters are 19 and 21 and they love the repurposed vintage earrings I have made for them. They wear them all the time and have received lots of compliments so this is something that would be a great gift for any age and they are one of a kind!

Now it's your turn!  Share your handmade gift and holiday decorating ideas with Mr. Linky below.  Please link only to the post that shows your thrifted or handmade gift or decorating idea , and please don't link up until you have finished the post :>) Lets all have fun with Handmade Holidays!

Friday, November 6, 2009

just keepin' it real...

This is what my dining room table has looked like all week, because in "Kathy World" you have to make a really big mess in order to get anything done.  As you can see, I am working on more pillows, but I am also working on 2 quilts and a throw for a sweet friend who has been there for Earl and I in some pretty special ways.  I had today off for the end of the marking period (yay!) so I plan to get lots done. I hope to have this mess cleaned up by tomorrow at the latest. I've made good progress on the pillows and they will be up on etsy soon.

I have also been clearing out clutter and displays in most other areas of my home in preparation for a little holiday decorating. I plan to begin with greens throughout the house and natural elements and save most of the glitz for after Thanksgiving, but that way my decorating will be 90% done for the season! With the economy the way it is, and hubby still looking for work, it's going to be a handmade, thrifted, Christmas. I bet a lot of people will be doing that, don't you think? Is thrifting a gift terrible? I don't think so! How many of us LOVE that thrifted piece of silverplate, transferware or special vintage find?  As for the handmade part, I was thinking just last night, the only gifts I really remember from my childhood (aside from the Barbie doll I got at age 16, please, I was so over Barbie!) the only gifts I really remember are the handmade ones! Grandma made my sister and I a treasure trove of Barbie dresses when we were 6 and 7 years old, my uncle made us a kitchen with wonderful wooden stove and refridgerator. I loved those gift because I loved the people who gave them to me.  I still have the Barbie clothes. The gifts circled in the Sears wish book? It was more fun wishing for them than getting them most of the time and I couldn't name a single one today.  So I am working on some special handmade and thrifted gifts for loved ones this year. I can't show them all but I will show some and I would love to see what kind of handmade gifts you have planned too! Ideas? I'm thinking every Tuesday of posting a Handmade Holidays idea and I would love for you to join me. I'll hopefully figure out Mr. Linky and you can share your gift ideas here with us.  It isn't too early to begin thinking about these things! If you aren't crafty, feel free to link to a post on a thrifted treasure or a handmade item you have available on etsy. Lets not forget handmade decorations too!  I would love to see them!

Feel free to use this button on your blog to share the fun.  I can't wait to see what we all come up with. Now I need to get busy on that table!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sweet November

Well I have to say it, I'm glad to see the backside of October.  October in Michigan is rainy and cold, where I used to drive through a tunnel of brilliant flaming trees, now I drive through mostly bare grey branches.  Not my favorite thing.  Add to that the fact that I am not a huge fan of Halloween and it's buh bye October!  Today was fairly nice and mostly sunny so Earl and I went to a beautiful outdoor mall just to get out and get some sun and air.  Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn was our destination.  Love those stores and I knew they would have some new holiday things to look at.

Like these cute nutcracker mugs filled with hot chocolate and home made marshmallows.  Cute!  Oh I know what you are saying, "Kathy, lets not forget Thanksgiving!"   I never could. I love that holiday, but right now I need to start thinking of Christmas, I NEED to.  It's been a somewhat crummy year and I need a little festiveness and Christmas frou frou.

Like this table setting at Pottery Barn. Oh, do I see my favorite color? Why yes, yes I do!  I love the polka dot napkins, white dishes and mercury glass with the brilliant red touches:>)

And some very Christmasy displays. Tree candles, sparkles, natural birch bark thingys to go around a vase. Kind of a cool idea♥

And some simple white candles in a tray filled with fake snow, wood slices and pinecone potpourri that smells just like Christmas trees.  I could do this, minus the $900 ottoman it's sitting on of course.

Yeah, I'm ready to start what I like to collectively call "The Holidays" which encompasses Thanksgiving and Christmas. I plan to start decorating early this year so I have plenty of time to enjoy the decorations and I don't have to feel rushed at the end of the month.  Time to shake things up.  Are you ready?