Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Past and Present

Truth be told, Christmas kind of snuck up on me this year.  I didn't do a fraction of the decorating that I normally do. Even the little bit of decorating I did was sort of in a "just get it done" frame of mind.

I thought I would show you our tree because even though it was done quickly, I think it reflects our family and rediscovering ornaments collected over the years is my favorite part of Christmas.

This year we got a train to go around the bottom of the tree (estate sale find this summer). It's a little loud, so we haven't been running it as much as I hoped we would.

 Every year I use this faux pearl garland. I've had it since I was single and long before I ever started designing jewelry. I think it's funny, what else would a jewelry designer use as garland?....

This blue pig is our newest memory. We got it when we were on vacation this summer at Congress Hall in Cape May. The Blue Pig is their mascot and the name of one of their restaurants.

Every year I get a mini frame and put a photo of Drew that year in it. One day I expect to have a little tree of just his pictures.  This one is his first Christmas. Those chubby cheeks still make me melt.

I also like to pick up an ornament that summarizes what Drew was into that year.  Early on he was quite an authority on animals. The zebra is one of the unbreakable animals we added to our collecting that year. I used to collect Santas, and Matt is a popcorn fanatic.

I pick up these sparkly snowflakes on clearance every year after Christmas at Target. I think they cost 50 cents for about 4 of them. With the lights reflecting on them they look very pretty.

The teddy bear is from my childhood - it's a classic.

 This one was a gift a friend brought back to me from Germany when I was in collage.

 Grandma also likes to give the grandchildren ornaments on Thanksgiving. When Drew started pre-school she gave him a set of mini school-themed ornaments. These books might be the only one that survived our annual tree falling and Drew's "help" in decorating.

The hippo is another gift from grandma.  He reminds us of our friend "Happy the Hippo" that moved from the national zoo to the Cincinnati zoo last year.

The elf is another classic from my childhood.

 This picture has nothing to do with our tree, but it has everything to do with memories. Drew took it of his beloved teddy while I was decorating and I just thought it was worth including. Notice the wear marks on his little nose.

I hope you enjoyed taking a walk down memory lane with me.
Have a Merry Christmas! 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

So Nice

It's so nice when you get the right gift for someone and they let you know how much they like it.

We took a potted amaryllis to our friends holiday party on the 10th.  I put it in a pretty pot with moss on top and then wrapped it in a tissue and ribbon. I felt a little funny walking in with it because it wasn't in bloom yet.

Today I got this e-mail with picture attached, and it just made my day.

This plant is seriously beautiful. Thank you so much! I love it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

You Better Watch Out!

The call came in late Saturday afternoon as it usually does. I knew I would be getting that call soon, and I knew it would leave little time to prepare for the event it would be alerting me to.
That's how my family rolls, we like to do things on short notice and deal with the details as we go.

We all spent most of the next morning baking our selected cookies. Promptly at 1:00, with cookies still warm from the oven my siblings, nieces and nephews, Drew and I showed up prepared to swap and decorate cookies.

A chocolate-chip cookie.Image via Wikipedia

Everyone dressed for comfort except the fashionista of the family. She opted to go with a "princess/ballerina festive" look. I must say she can really pull it off.

We didn't waste much time and got right to the decorating.

But as the little ones started to drift from the decorating table to enjoy the fruits of their labor and then move on to sports more fitting for growing boys hopped up on sugar.

The older kids (my sisters, brother and teenage niece) got more and more competitive with their cookies.

We all became competitive little kids trying to one-up each other with our cookie designs. It was really very funny. And, while I think everyone will agree that none of these cookies could cut it on a food network challenge, we did feel that someone had to be declared a winner.

Congratulations Catharine, your late entry really did deserve to win :)

This silly cookie decorating party with my family was my favorite part of this holiday so far. For me I think the simplest things where there are no expectations are the most fun and bring the most joy. 

Merry Christmas!
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Friday, December 10, 2010

How To Deck the Hall in 60 minutes for $0

There is nothing like the pressure of inviting the entire neighborhood over for a little open house just days after returning from out of town. 

On Tuesday, I decided to have a jewelry party/open house. So I sent out invitations to all my friends and neighbors inviting them to "stop by on Thursday".  

All I would need to do is make a bunch of jewelry priced right for gift-giving, buy a bunch of snacks and drinks, decorate the house for christmas, and take care of Drew who suddenly came down with a fever. No problem :)

Yesterday (Thursday) not knowing if anyone was actually going to show up I ran out to the grocery store. As I'm apt to do, I over-stocked on sweets and treats and snacks. Then, I ran around the back yard snipping and clipping anything that wasn't dead from the recent freeze. 

I lugged the boxes of holiday decorations from the attic (via pull-down stairs).  Here is what I was able to pull together before getting Drew off to school. 

I started with the cheapest ugliest garland you can buy. I got this at a thrift store years ago. 

I draped it over the old mirror in our entry way with some battery operated lights.

 Took a bunch of different greens from the yard.

Boxwood, nandina, holly, pine.

Then I took the wire garland and wrapped it around clumps of the greens.  When I was done, there was no sign of the ugly fake garland.

In the kitchen I draped the magnolia garland I got at Pottery Barn on clearance years ago. The little fruit topiary came from my mom. She had a pair of them, but someone broke the base on one of them and she asked me if I could do anything with it. Being a collector of urns, of course I could do something with it --- whoop there it is! 

I pulled out the antlers I got at an estate years ago for $2, the little candle lights were free from an estate sale. I tucked in some holly, and two little peacock ornaments from target.

My photos are very good. This actually looks much better in person. 

I moved the fern that usually sits in the urn in the corner by the front door and let Drew decorate the fake little tree. We had a few ornament casualties, next time I'll stick with the shatterproof ones!

In the living room I did the same thing with the mirror and greens.

The jewelry was displayed in my bookshelves.

Everything on this shelf sold - YEAH!

 On the food table, I used a mix of my pewter pieces. 

 I was happy with what I got done in such a short time. 

It never looks the same, and that's half the fun. 

People showed up and I had a great day! 

This weekend we'll get the tree and I'll finish the holiday decorating. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Quick Trip

Last weekend we headed up to CT to celebrate my mother-in-law's 80th birthday. It was great to see everyone.

Little Henry couldn't resist that fluffy frosting. While we sang Happy Birthday he snuck a little taste.

Our adult nephew (with children Drew's age) does magic.  He made grandma a big balloon "80" and a bouquet of balloon flowers. The kids had fun playing with them once the photo op was over :)

On sunday we headed into NY city to see the "Spectacular" show and walk around. We stayed at Hudson Hotel. A funky modern place.  It's hard to see in the photo but the huge chandelier has little lit up cards that look like light bulbs. It hangs from a live ivy covered ceiling.

Throughout the hotel is every kind of chair you can imagine. It's a chair lovers dream!  I wish I had time to take pictures and do a post on just the chairs.  Below in the bar/restaurant area they used classic style chair backs, but  attached them to a log. CRAZY!

It was cold up there! But I stayed warm in my flea market coat. It's so unusual for us to get a picture of all three of us together. I'm using this one on our Christmas card.

Drew chased the pigeons in Central Park

 He did some of his fanciest moves on the FAO piano made famous in the movie Big.

Then we stopped off in Hoboken on the way home to grab a treat at Carlo's Bakery, made famous by the  
show Cake Boss - one of the only shows all three of us enjoy watching together. 

We saw a movie being filmed, or at least the actors and crew waiting to be shot. 
We missed the statue of liberty, but other than that I think we did ALL the things tourists are supposed to do in NY. 

Ahhh, Christmas in NY