Monday, December 24, 2012

Our Christmas Tree

One thing that's been fun about marriage is combining traditions from each of our families.  Tommy's family reads "The Night Before Christmas" on Christmas Eve.  Mine has a very special Christmas Tree.

For every important occasion, like a birth or marriage, graduation, trip, or even the hobby of the year, we get an ornament for the tree.  When we decorate the tree, we talk about the stories behind every ornament, and get to share and relive our fondest memories.

Here are a few special ones this year:

My first Christmas
My fifth Christmas
The beach where we got engaged (this one was a gift last Christmas)
Commemorating our Southern trips and wedding last year (also a gift)
A silly one, but this one is from the time I got hired for a night to work on a shrimp boat
No, they don't really match each other or have a theme, but they all come together to create a fond group of memories.  I'm looking forward to adding plenty more with my husband!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Card Holder

You've heard the saying, "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade"?  This is a lemonade kind of project!

While cleaning for a party a few months ago, a bathroom mirror fell off the wall and shattered.  I rescued the frame from the trash and stashed it away for a future project.  When we needed a place to put Christmas cards, it came out from hiding!

The antique bronze finish didn't mesh well with our decor, but a few coats of spray paint can fix that!  I sprayed one coat of primer and two coats of chrome silver.

one coat of primer
I let it dry for a full day, then used a staple gun to attach ribbons across the back.  I had three different small pieces of ribbon that were the perfect size!

I finished it up by adding all the wonderful cards we've been getting!

Rescued from the trash, this frame now showcases notes from our loved ones.  Don't you love lemonade?

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Thoughts and Prayers for Newtown


Monday, December 17, 2012

DIY no-sew glitter tutu

My husband and I have been deeply saddened by the events of last week at Sandy Hook Elementary.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and community of Newtown.

This tragedy has made me think a lot about the children in my life, especially my young cousins.  They're really cool girls, and I wanted to do something special for them.  I had some awesome glitter tulle in my craft room, so I made them a glittery tutu to play dress-up!

The tutorial has most of the instructions, but I'll add a few along the way.

  • 1.5 yards ribbon
  • 3 yards tulle (or more to make it even puffier)

After this, cut each long piece in half, so they measure half the width of the tulle x 6"
 I'll be sure to add a photo once they get it in the mail!!!  I wore it around the house to make sure it fluttered properly, but a photo of me in a glittery tutu just isn't the kind of thing that needs to be online!

{Did you notice the pile of glitter on the floor once I was done?  How about my tacky Christmas glitter nail polish?

I'm observing a blogger day of silence tomorrow, but I'll be back later this week.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Cocktails

I'm not sure what makes Santa jolly, but taste-testing these yummy holiday shots and martinis sure got me in good spirits.

Grasshoppers taste like thin mints (Girl Scout cookies in alcohol form?  Yes, please!), and Washington Apples taste like, well, apples (duh).  Both are delicious, and you'll be the hit of your next holiday party.

Obviously I didn't make up these recipes (like I did the Holiday Sangria), but I tested them out for our upcoming parties, and I hope you're as inspired as I've been!  And of course, they're Christmas colors.

Grasshopper Shot:
  • 1/2 ounce of green Creme de Menthe
  • 1/2 ounce Creme de Cacao (colorless if possible)
  • 1/2 ounce fat free half and half
  • Shake over ice, strain into a shot glass
  • Garnish with chocolate shavings (optional)

Washington Apple Shot:
  • 1/2 ounce Crown Royal
  • 1/2 ounce Sour Apple Pucker
  • 1/2 ounce cranberry juice
  • Shake over ice, strain into a shot glass
  • Garnish with cinnamon sugar or and apple slice (optional)

Grasshopper Martini:
  • 3/4 ounce green Creme de Menthe
  • 3/4 ounce Creme de Cacao
  • 3 ounces milk
  • To make it fancy, swirl the martini glass with chocolate syrup (optional)
  • Shake over ice, strain into a martini glass
  • Garnish with chopped Andes mints or chocolate shavings (optional)

Washington Apple Martini:
  • 3/4 ounce Crown Royal
  • 3/4 ounce Sour Apple Pucker
  • 3 ounces cranberry juice
  • To be extra fancy, rim the martini glass with cinnamon sugar (optional)
  • Shake over ice, strain into a martini glass 
  • Garnish with an apple slice(optional)

Please remember to always use a designated driver, and stay within your limits!  You might ruin all the fun otherwise.

Tell me these don't look delicious!!!

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Foyer Update: Color and light

With all the guests we're expecting soon (28 for Christmas dinner and another 30 two weeks later for a party), we wanted to make sure our home was welcoming.  What's the first room a guest sees?  The foyer!

Is gold striped wallpaper and gold painted doors your style?  Sadly, it was not ours.

Foyer, move-in day

When we first moved in, some of our beloved friends helped us out and tore down the gold striped wallpaper adorning our foyer.  Surprise!  It was pink underneath!

We spent the next few months scrubbing glue off the walls, and more or less got distracted doing other stuff around the house.

Then we realized it was already December!  The current state of the foyer was decidedly unwelcoming.  Pink walls covered in glue, caramel doors, and a light fixture anyone over 6 feet tall banged their head on.  Yuck.

We started with the light fixture.  Nothing like a bruised head to welcome you to a home!  I browsed a lot online, and we visiting the lighting department of Home Depot at least five times.  In the end, we just went with an inexpensive boob light.  At two for $22, the price was phenomenal.  It still held two bulbs, cast a white light, and sat close to the ceiling.  Some of the fancier ones did the same stuff, but none of them really spoke to us.  So boob light it was!

Nice improvement, huh?  Tall folks and those appreciating soft white light will both appreciate this upgrade.

Now for those walls.  In the glue removal process we damaged the walls a bit.  We ended up calling in a pro to float the walls.  (I tried doing it myself, but the hubs thought maybe I should practice my mudding in a less public area of the house).  The guy said they were the worst walls he had ever seen, but he did a great job.

We decided to use a light grey for the walls, and white for the trim.  We chose a grey that didn't seem to have strong undertones of any particular color, and decided on March Wind by Sherwin Williams.

I love love love the Emerald paint by Sherwin Williams.  In one coat, it covered up all that pink and gold mess.  It's washable, which is great for a narrow foyer like this.  It's also zero-VOC, so it won't offgas carcinogens for the next ten years.  Clean, healthy, happy.  This paint is honestly my favorite home product of the year.

Let's see what the foyer is looking like now!

Fresh clean neutral paint, and a light fixture that puts out pretty white light and won't knock anyone in the head.  Much more welcoming!  Let's see a few more angles.

Holiday monogram wreath

One more before and after?

We love the new look!  We're almost done with the foyer now.  We did all the hard stuff, now I just need to shop!
  • Organize coat closet (done!)
  • Replace light fixture
  • Paint trim
  • Paint walls
  • Replace rug
  • Add art/photos 

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