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on the first day of christmas

it's finally december! i know i know ... i've been pushing for christmas since about a week before thanksgiving - but for real TODAY marks the beginning of the season! :) yay!!!

unfortunately years past prove december to be a blur! every year i'm caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. feeling a bit inspired, i've decided to create a christmas list. here's a short list of my must-do's during the "most wonderful time of the year". enjoy:

1) most important ... do something every day to remember the true reason for the season. last year my church crosspoint passed out an advent devotional to follow for the month of december.

{photo courtesy: dayspring.com}

i especially love how the christmas story is told through the nativity scene. last night, we placed the empty stable near the christmas tree in the living room. and placed joseph and marry in another room to represent their journey ahead to bethlehem. it is a sweet reminder throughout our home that the real reason for this season is the celebration of our savior's birth!

2) finish up the christmas shopping AND continue to avoid the mall! i am a little over halfway finished ... but the gifts that are left require a bit more thought and a bit more time. which leads to ...

3) handmake gifts. inspiration:

* pretty fingerless gloves (okay okay ... i'm new to knitting so mine won't be quite so cute.):

{photo courtesy: i love lowie}

* polar finger puppets:

{photo courtesy: babyanimals on etsy}

* doily canvas bags:

{photo courtesy: under the sycamore}

* stars headbands:

{photo courtesy: giant dwarf on etsy}

4) do something special for someone else. i work with about 15 high school freshman/sophomore girls with a ministry called calvin house in north nashville. and this weekend jenny and i will be hosting a christmas sleepover to celebrate a great first half of the school year with our girls. :) christmas movies, games and makeovers complete with mud masks & cucumbers - i promised! should be fun!

5) snuggle up & watch all of my favorite christmas movies (while i multitask of course!). the growing list: miracle on 34th street, it's a wonderful life, a christmas story, rudolph, polar express, elf, the holiday, and love actually. and a new one from this past weekend - the family stone.

{miracle on 34th street}

{love actually}

6) send out the perfect christmas card. this requires lots of thought and wit - as my family takes the annual christmas letter very serious! it has become quite ridiculous in fact. :) but i'm pretty excited about the idea wade and i came up with this morning. (i'll of course post an ecard version after i've sent them out to family!)

7) make wade and i christmas stockings for years and years of memories to come! hopefully we'll have a fireplace in the next year or two. but santa claus comes to houses without fireplaces too! :) he's magical like that.

i particularly love these burlap inspired stockings:

8) host a holiday party - or two! so far we have 2 events in the works:

* we're having 2 couples over for a christmas edition of byov (bring your own vinyl). i'm pretty excited about this little treat i ordered last week on ebay.:

now to figure out the menu and finish decorating the apt!

* hopefully emily and i can find time for our annual christmas tea again this year too. every year we try to get girls together to not only celebrate the season but to also give back. this year we're hoping to have each girl bring $10 worth of goodies to add to grab bags for battered women at one of the shelters in town. more details to come!

9) wrap up presents in pretty packaging like these by cakies.

10) make several different DIY christmas ornaments for the tree (and to share on the blog).

* of course i love all of our paper ornaments - from previous {craft}ernoons.
* i'm also loving mercury glass this year. but it's a bit pricey for us newlyweds. so we'll see how the DIYs i'm finding online turn out!

{photo courtesy: pottery barn}

* and these felt hearts.

{photo courtesy: sewn natural on etsy}

* last but not least, i've fallen in love with doily ornaments ... so pretty. now to find some little doilies!

{photo courtesy: anner street 4 home on etsy}

11) bake and decorate christmas cookies w/ wade. another vickroy family tradition i would like to incorporate into our new family. ever since i was little my mom would bake christmas cookies and we would all decorate (whether we wanted to or not) with powder sugar icing. they are beautiful ... and delicious.

12) enjoy the season without stressing out over the details (including the things on this list i just can't get to!)

what's on your list?

i'm still here ...

i haven't posted since last weds!!! get out!?!

as many of you know, wade and i do not have internet at the apt (internet or cable to be exact). and wanna know a secret!?! we aren't missing it. in fact ... it's fantastic! the only exception - when i want to blog. i have to find a free lunch hour or come into the office early/stay late. {and if i can't make that work ... i can always convince wade into a fido run - our favorite coffee shop.}

so that's my excuse for my absence!

wade and i spent thanksgiving day with his family and 8 LITTLE ONES UNDER 8 (emphasis necessary!). wow! then we spent the day after thanksgiving lying around the whole day with some sort of stomach bug. our first couple sick day ... trading off bathroom fun. wah wah. not our most attractive moment(s) yet.

saturday feeling much better, we went and picked out our first ever munday christmas tree. and it's fantastic (too). wade and i have big eyes (remember our bookshelves - we guessed the ceiling to be 13' when it was only 9') ... well we did it again. our tree stand is for a tree less than7' and a trunk less than 4" in diameter. woops! it stands barely under 9'. a bit nervous that i'll arrive home and we'll have a tree down in the apt. so far so good. tonight/tomorrow we decorate! :)

i've missed you guys! any turkey day memories to share?

i always find cute ideas too late. but i'm blogging this one - for next year!!! :)

click here for the diy

{photo courtesy: kimi coopet}

wednes-DIY: old book garland 2

hi folks! getting ready to wrap up things at the office ... and head home for holiday! woot woot.

and while big files are saving - i have the perfect amount of time for my final {craft}ernoon from last thursday. another craft using the paper from (the same) old book.

* old paper/newspaper
* scissors or a paper cutter
* staples (yes i cheated! ... but they are temporary - so it's a quick fix!)
* twine
* hole punch

lantern directions:

step 1) for each lantern, you will need 7 strips of paper - one 6 inch and two 6.5 inch, 7 inch and 8 inch strips.

step 2) stack on end of each of your strips in the following order:

8" (outside)
6" (center)
8" (other outside)

step 3) staple about 1" from the end.

step 4) starting at the other non-stapled end of the strips, align the ends. this will create the lantern shape because the longer strips will have to buckle in order to meet the end of the 6" strip.

step 5) again staple about 1" from the end. and hole punch and twine to hang. and you're finished!


heart directions:

step 1) for each heart, you will need 7 strips of paper again - one 4 inch and two 6.5 inch, 7 inch and 8 inch strips. the only one that changes from the lantern is the center strip.

step 2) stack on end of each of your strips in the following order:

8" (outside)
4" (center)
8" (other outside)

step 3) staple about 1" from the end.

step 4) here's where things change from the lantern. starting at the other non-stapled end of the strips, gather the outside 3 strips aligning them with the end of the 8" strip. (a little tougher.) then take the outside 3 strips and fold them under to attach to the 4" strip. staple about 1"-2" down on the inside.

step 5) add a hole punch and twine again - and you're finished! :)

LOVE these. think i'll use them both as garland and on the tree. (which we might go pick out this weekend. hooray!)

happy thanksgiving everyone. :)

mon-DIY: old book garland 1 + a confession

wade and i spent the majority of the weekend babysitting for his niece and nephew. fun fun fun - but SUPER DUPER exhausting. (needless to say - we have plenty of time before we'll have kids of our own). then yesterday was it's usual whirlwind of sunday activities: church, lunch, errands, bible study with my calvin house girls, and then a run. by the end of the day, we were both pretty pooped.

after church wade and i decided to take a drive to look at a farm that's for sale north of nashville. it wasn't the farm for us. but on the way back into town we passed a pile of brush - not just any brush - MAGNOLIA branches! somehow i convinced wade to turn around - and together we grabbed three big branches full. what do they say? someone's trash is another person's treasure.

so while wade watched football, i sat at the table convinced that i was going to turn our find into something spectacular. 2 hours, several bad words (yes i'll admit it) and an allergy attack or two later ... and we have a 5' garland for over the french doors that lead from the living room to the kitchen and a wreath for the front door.

... needless to say, there will be no DIY.

wade teased that i should blog about failed craft attempts. ha! so here it is ... sometimes the ideas in my head don't turn out exactly as i want them too. and sometimes it takes stopping and restarting several times before they do. :) what can i say - i'm human.

but i do have my second part of last weeks manic {craft}ern-evening ... with the leftover pages from the "old book mistletoe" i posted last week, here's a simple garland DIY.

inspiration: david stark's circle stitch garland @ west elm.

* old paper from a book or newspaper
* sewing machine
* thread
* either a die cut or scissors


step 1) cut out lots and lots and lots of circles. i used a 2" die cut which made the job quite a bit easier.

step 2) sew them together leaving a little space between each circle. this is super easy because your machine should feed the circle through. i did it while watching tv and barely paid attention to the machine. (no need for perfect lines!)

step 3) clip the garland to the length you need and ... well that's it!

voila ...

a very easy little craft that will definitely be added to our tree this year! :) enjoy.

fri-DIY: old book mistletoe

last night i was a craft MANIAC. i mean ... with wade coming home tonight - i dived head first into the long list of ideas i've been gathering for decorating the apt. and i'm pretty excited about all 4 of the projects that i conquered. that's right 4!!!

are you ready for this!?! i don't want to overwhelm you ... so i'm going to post each separately over the next few days.

starting with my favorite ... these beauties:

i'm calling this {craft}ernoon "old book mistletoe". and must give credit where credit is due. i found inspiration while wandering pinterest.com - but they were originally posted by cathyofcalifornia.com. one of her store displays featured in the new york times. pretty pretty.

with a husband that is a major book-y ... these will go straight to his heart. (2 of my other projects were book related too! decorating theme!) {my mom said "they're cute. but they won't work." hee hee - she's probably right since they aren't traditional mistletoe. (don't worry ... i have some of that too!)}

* an old book or newspaper - again with a husband that LOVES book (see
bookshelf DIY) i couldn't tear apart just any book. i found an old book of
book reviews at goodwill. this way i didn't tear up one person's masterpiece.
* Styrofoam balls - found at michaels or any other craft store.
* glue gun
* scissors, pencil + cup for making a template
* screw and string for hanging. (i used twine ... i have loads of it left over
from our wedding.

and here we go:

step 1) trace onto your old paper several circles. or if you're lucky you'll have a hold punch big enough! :) you're going to need approx 20 full circles. keep 2 full circles and cut the rest into half moons.

step 2) with your glue gun, glue 1 of your full circles at the very top of your Styrofoam ball. i glued it in all 4 "corners". (to keep it from rolling around like mad - i balanced the ball in a bowl.)

step 3) then work your way from the top to the bottom gluing down your half moons. apply the glue to the straight side. after your first row - stagger your other rows as best possible. when i was halfway down, i flipped the ball in the bowl so that i could see where i was gluing.

step 4) apply your last full circle once you get to the bottom (now the top!).

step 5) now to hang it. i didn't have any hooks at the apartment. so i simply added a screw at the very top (the former bottom). and i added some twine.

voila ...

i made 3 for the entry hallway to the apt. but i really really really want to make several more! addicted to them!

and one more - a favorite view!

it's beginning to look a lot (okay a little more) like christmas! :) more christmas DIYs coming soon!

give blood ...

get camo?


{i also have a massive headache. think the boss will think i've gone crazy if i lie on the floor with my feet above my head? can you say "more vacation time"?}
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