Thursday, December 19, 2013

Craft Room To The Rescue!

My craft room looks like a winter storm has blown through it. Rolls of wrapping paper, piles of presents waiting to be wrapped, rolls of ribbon everywhere. You would think that a room this messy must be producing some great cards this month, right?

Er, ah, well, as to that...nope!

But the craft room is getting a lot of use in other ways.

When I began decorating the family room with a "modern rustic" design in mind (don't you just love those made-up designer terms?), I turned to my craft room for a little assistance.

That mantle needed a little something extra. I know! More glitter pinecones!

Scotch brand quick dry adhesive and SU Dazzling Diamonds to the rescue!

And when my little man, a.k.a. "The Great Procrastinator", needed help with the diorama for his book report, he knew right where to go to find the best card stock and adhesives for his project!

Mom's craft room to the rescue!

The craft room will help me once again as I put the finishing touches on the pipe cleaner penguin project for the classroom party tomorrow. I'm thinking diecut snowflakes, baker's twine, and glitter may be just the thing the project needs. Good thing I have a fully stocked craft room to help me!

Tell your craft room getting a lot of action this month?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Something Old, Something New For The Holidays

Holiday decorating in a new home takes a little finesse.

What worked in one house might not necessarily work in the next house.

I found that to be the case when I began decorating the weekend after Thanksgiving. It went something like this:

1. Pull out plastic toters filled with holiday decorations.

2. Remove decorations and try to find a place where they will look like they belong in the house.

3. Quickly realize that half of it does not belong here.

4. Pack it back in toters and think of a new plan.

Here is the new plan:

I convinced my husband that his grandmother's antique mirror really did belong over the fireplace mantle. So he got out his tools and special drills and hangers and voila! We now have a beautiful vintage mirror hanging in its rightful place. I really love how the age of the mirror reflects the age of the home.

But the shiny pretty mirror looked sad on its own. It needed shiny pretty things on the mantle to go with it.

A trip to Target was definitely on the agenda. I found some lovely "vintage-looking" mercury glass candle holders for cheap. I've priced these in other stores and boutiques, and couldn't believe the great price! In the dark of winter, I need candles and white and sparkly things to brighten up the long dark nights.

I pulled out some greenery, but it needed something extra.

That's when I got my craft on.

I had been collecting pretty pinecones from our yard that week, letting them dry on top of the dryer in the laundry room. But what to do with them?

And then my mind wandered to those tried and true girl scout crafts from girlhood days.

Yes! Simple glue and glitter!

I spent a good hour carefully brushing glue on the tips, coating with glitter, shaking off glitter, and pretty much getting glue and glitter all over myself and the kitchen. But the results are definitely worth it!

I told my mom about my craft project, and do you know what she said?

"You know, another thing to try is putting the pinecones in a big cardboard box, spraying them with adhesive, shaking glitter into the box, and lightly coating them. That way, you don't get glue and glitter everywhere."


Well, I guess you could do that....if you wanted the job to be easy and mess free. :)

Moms really do know best.

After the mantle was finished, I knew that I wanted a skinny tree to go next to the fireplace...something that would bring light to the dark corner, but not take up too much space. I found a cheap tree at Walmart, added the burlap and hydrangeas from my stash, and kept it simple.

Something old and something new for the new old house.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Crafts for Kids

December has been a crazy, hectic month with my little man. Choir concerts, piano lessons, Sunday School pageants, oral book reports. And oh, I forgot that I volunteered to be the travelling art gallery presenter for all fourth grade classrooms. And oh, I forgot that I volunteered for the field trip to the art museum this week. And oh, I forgot that I volunteered to help with the holiday classroom party on Friday.

When I volunteered for all of these activities back in September, it felt like December was, gosh, months away! Well, ding dong! December is here!

Holiday parties are not too difficult. The school handles the snack, and the room moms provide the games, prizes, and crafts. I am on craft duty.

After spending too long on Pinterest (guilty!), I think I found a fun craft that will appeal to the girls and boys of a pre-adolescent fourth grade classroom.

First of all, it's a penguin. What girls do not like cute cuddly penguins?

Second, the Pittsburgh hockey team is the Penguins, and this is a big hockey town. What boy will not like a sporty mascot?

I found this amazing tutorial on how to make a pipe cleaner penguin on youtube. Thank you, MinivanMom, whoever you are! Aren't crafters just the most wonderful people? They are so generous with their cleverness. Bless you, crafty people!

Here's a link:

And here's the finished product:

Awww! He's so cute! Unlike some crafts that are just stressful and un-fun, this one was fairly easy and fun to do. Considering that he's less than two inches tall, I think I'll give the kids the choice to either leave him alone or turn him into an ornament.

I've seen a few cute ideas that turn clear plastic cups into "snowglobes". This may work. Or I may just diecut some snowflakes onto cardstock, string with a ribbon, attach penguin and turn into an ornament. Any other ideas out there?

I've been working on a few more crafty projects this month, so stop back to the cafe for another crafty cup soon!

Blessings on your Christmas season, cafe friends!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Warm Thoughts

Snow on the ground. A chill in the air. Yep! Winter is here!

Our first winter in our new/old house taught us one thing...we will need new windows one day! One day when we are not paying college tuition, that is. In the meantime, we're finding ways to stay warm and cozy on those cold nights when the winter winds whip through the air.

Warm socks to keep our toes-zen from getting frozen! Target is selling a brand called Alaska Knits made of Merino wool blends, and they are great! I reach for them every morning, and sometimes before bed, too!

Warm beds! I've never been a big fan of flannel sheets. Over time they will pill, and they restrict movement when you are rolling over in bed. My husband found the perfect solution. Microfleece sheets from Martha Stewart at Macy's! It's like a warm fleece blanket and sheet in one. They are soft and stretchy and oh so warm and cozy. Warning: these sheets will make it difficult to get out of bed in the morning!

When I have to leave my warm cozy bed and venture out into the stores for the dreaded shopping, I always reward myself with a peppermint mocha latte. When I am indoors and trying to stay warm, I drink Spiced Chai tea from Bigelow.

A cup of tea, a fire in the fireplace, and a great smelling candle like this new holiday scent from NEST.

Thinking warm thoughts of all of you, my cafe friends! Blessings!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Bah Humbug

So, it appears that November 24th gave way to December 6th, with a lot of uneventful days in between.

Days when I was not crafting.

Days without a computer to blog or post or share.

Days yelling at the television screen during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.

Days making tasteless, dry turkey.

Days bickering with my husband.

Days disappointing friends and family left and right.

Days doing all kinds of stuff I do not want to do because I cannot do the things I do want to do.

Bah humbug.

I walked around the other day with a song stuck in my head. Does that ever happen to you? It was "Come Thy Fount of Every Blessing." Not even a Christmas carol! Nope. Just a hymn with this line of conviction that brings me to tears every time I sing it:

"Oh to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be
Lord, let your goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to thee."

Strange song to be singing during the start of the advent season.

And then I went to bible study that night, and guess what song we sang at our opening?

Yeah, God wanted me to hear that one.

During this "blessed" season of high stress in our family (did I mention my husband works in the corporate offices of a major retailer?), when my husband is working twelve and  fourteen and sometimes even twenty-four hour days six days a week, I find myself becoming "prone to wander".

"Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it.
Prone to leave the God I love."

My mind starts making lists of all the things that need to be done. Purchase birthday presents. Purchase Christmas presents. Pull out the Christmas decorations. Put away the autumn decorations. Find a tree. Decorate a tree. School field trip. School party. Book a flight. Piano lessons. School practice. School concert. Sunday School practice. Sunday School pageant.

Prone to wander.

Can I just go to sleep, Lord, and wake up on January 6th?

"Here's my heart, Lord, take and seal it.
Seal it for your courts above."

And still, I feel it in my heart. The whisper that says "Your King is coming!"

Come, Lord Jesus!

And Jesus does come, breaking through my daily clutter, giving me the grace I need.