Saturday, December 29, 2012

New Year's Metallic Dot Wreath

Josie was curious as to why there really weren't any decorations for New Year's for sale in any of the stores. I told her that it is so close to Christmas (and everyone is broke!) that there really isn't much decorating going on. I take down my Christmas decorations usually on the 26th or 27th of December, though, and our front door was begging for something festive. So I came up with this quick and simple wreath to help ring in the New Year!

You will need:
-a foam wreath form (I picked up my 8 inch green foam wreath at the Dollar Store and covered it with white grosgrain)
- two different sizes of circle punches, mine are 2" and 11/2")
-scrapbook paper ( I bought 6 different metallic pieces of 8 1/2 x 11, but you could definitely only use 3 pieces if you didn't want as many colors. It makes this project super cheap because it is about $0.30 a piece.)
-straight pins

I accessorized with a variety of things: watches (scrapbook embellishments left over from this shower), three different kinds of metallic ribbons and some alphabet stickers (Hobby Lobby for $1!)

Not including the straight pins, watches or the ribbon (because I already owned all that, and I only used a minimal amount of ribbon) this project came in around $4! Definitely can swing that-even after Christmas.

I started by punching 6 large dots of each color, and 7 each of the small ones. I didn't need that many of the little ones. I randomly placed the dots and and used a straight pin attach them to the wreath. Since my pins were small and silver, I wasn't concerned with some of them showing.

I covered most of the wreath with the large dots and then filled in with the smaller ones, and a few more large ones. I wanted a random effect, so I didn't have any kind of pattern. I just put them on where I thought they looked good.

I cut a rectangle of paper, and used the smaller punch to round the ends. I used the stickers to spell out "Happy 2013". I was a little disappointed that there was no exclamation point.:) I simply looped ribbon through three of the watches, and overlapped them, fastening them with the watches. I attached the banner with glue dots.
I was very happy with how it turned out. Festive without being overwhelming. It would be so easy to use this for a variety of occasions. I think if I had tons of money I would have used a larger wreath form, but I already had the smaller one on hand. I also contemplated using printed papers, but I love the simplicity of the plain ones. It is hard to believe 2012 is almost over, but I am excited about all the possibilities of 2013! 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Changing Up Christmas

So, if you thought my ribbon tree was "patriotic"-check out the rest of my decor. To me, it doesn't seem "4th of July" simply because I would never use turquoise for that holiday, but it doesn't really matter, because I loved changing all my stuff!

Our tree, as seems to be the norm now, was ridiculous. Long, painful story, but we cut it ourselves, and after three hours of looking this was the best we could do. I promised Joel that next year we will just buy a tree from a lot!;) I actually liked its personality-I don't love cookie-cutter trees, or decorations, so it was fun.

I know lots of people think tinsel garland is tacky, but I thought for our gap-holed little tree that it gave it some kitsch. I used all the red ornaments that I already owned and bought about 8-10 new turquoise ones from Walmart for $1 each. I bought a 6 pack of glitter turquoise balls from Hobby Lobby to round it out. Our tree was unable to hold a tree-topper, so I skipped that part!

This was supposed to be a candy cane wreath, but time ran out. Instead, I piled all my candy canes in a dish from the Dollar Store, and I thought the little "Merry" sign from Michael's (also a buck) was cute in front of it. It turned out to be one of Joel's favorite things.

I had a ball wrapping my gifts this year. I love to wrap gifts, and I prefer paper over bags. I only used coordinating papers, and that made it so much more fun! I didn't buy anything this year-all of it was clearance from last year. It was absolutely providential that I bought it all in the colors I decided on-the turquoise paper was from two years ago!

I used all kinds of embellishments and mostly only fabric ribbon. I put on ornaments, candy canes, and lots of bows! I was really pleased with how cohesive it looked. 

My new stockings were the most expensive, but I absolutely loved them! I didn't want matchy-matchy, and I am somewhat opposed to ones with embroidered names (I don't know why) and these were perfect! I also loved the little red glitter tree that you can see at the top-Hobby Lobby!

My ribbon tree found a home on one of the lower shelves and I thought it tied it all together nicely.

I hung my snowflakes from last year in my kitchen pass-through, interspersed with ornaments on fishing wire. I liked being able to use something I already had, but in a completely different way. I couldn't get them to stop turning long enough to get a decent photo.

I thought the fireplace needed a little color, so I threw together a simple pennant banner from scrapbook paper. You can't see it, but there are snowflakes on one of the red papers, and another says "Merry Christmas"- it made it feel more holiday.

Another thing that I didn't get a great photo of was my ornament bowl. I filled it will matte, shiny, and glitter ornaments in different sizes. Would you believe there are over 60 balls in that bowl?! I used leftover banner paper to mat this adorable printable, that is framed above the bowl, and I loved the way it turned out.

And that's it! I was thrilled with how fresh it felt-we hadn't replaced our decorations since we got married, and they weren't really "me" anymore. I love the unexpected! Using a color I already had in my living room (turquoise) helped to pull it together. I got a lot of impact without spending a ton of money and best of all-it was really simple to store. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

If Christmas Makes You Cry

"There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.”
       At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises:
"Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please Him."

As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.

    Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!"  
                                                Luke 2:8-20 (The Message)

     Read that. Read it again. And again. Read it until you really comprehend what it says: Jesus came to earth for us. It gets me every time. Right now, typing, tears are streaming down my face. My kids have kind of gotten used to the fact that I can't ever read the Christmas story without crying. Or hear " I Celebrate the Day" without sobbing.

And I really don't care because I've decided that its okay if Christmas makes me cry. I know emotions hit people differently: Mary held those things dear while the shepherds belted them out. And I think that if the fact that my Savior came without any fanfare other than a couple of smelly ranchers makes my eyes well up, then maybe that's a good thing.

JESUS CAME. The Lord gave the people precious little advance notice-almost no one was prepared. Mary knew He was coming, but still all she had with her were a couple of blankets-no ideal nursery. Joseph knew, but he couldn't even find a real room!

I think that God didn't want us to be ready-because there is no way we ever could have been. You can't make things perfect for the One who is Perfect. And so God showed us grace even in this: Jesus came when we weren't ready, and through His coming when we weren't  prepared, He prepared us Himself to receive Him. And that fact that He did everything-from start to finish-just makes me so overwrought with emotion...

Let Christmas make you cry. It's a good thing to recognize that no matter what would have been waiting for Him, it would have never been good enough. We could have had the most gorgeous palace, the finest linens, the most prestigious guests, and we still would have fallen so short of the Glory that it would have been ludicrous. So, instead of demanding we kill ourselves trying to achieve the unachievable, God surprised us instead. He sent His one and only Son, the Heart of His heart, to save us instead of condemning us to death.

So the real shock isn't that the Holiest One was brought into a lowly, filthy manager, but that He can come into our disgusting, selfish, sin-sick hearts and turn them into exactly what that stable became: a place of great rejoicing, filled with His presence, and making nothing else matter. And the fact that He did that for me, well, I really hope that never stops making me cry.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Red and Turquoise Ribbon Tree

I have decided that when it comes to "crafty" things, often Pinterest is a better springboard for my own ideas than a "how-to" manual. I saw a pin for  a tree made with paper strips here. I loved the concept, but I decided that I was changing my Christmas decor colors this year, and I knew it wouldn't be easy to find double sided scrapbook paper this time of year in turquoise and red. Also, I would have needed to trim my paper with a paper cutter. I would *love* one of those, but I don't currently have one. So, I decided to make mine with ribbon!

I picked up all my supplies at Hobby Lobby (trying to make sure I support them!)
- a 3 7/8x6 7/8 inch foam tree (with my color scheme a white tree would have been preferable, but they only had green)
-5 rolls of 3/8 inch ribbon, 15 feet each. Yes, you WILL need that much ribbon! I also used about 18 inches for the bow at the top of a different ribbon.
-some type of small ornament or decoration for the top of your tree if it is like mine, which was flat at the top.
-straight pins. A bunch, I didn't count how many!
The whole thing cost me about $8 dollars (I used my 40% off coupon on the tree).
Start by cutting your ribbon into six inch segments. I used a ruler to wrap my ribbon around, cut the ends and then cut all those sections in half. It doesn't have to be perfect.
I realized that I would need to cover up just the bottom part of my tree because the green showed through the bottom layer. Once I added the second layer it covered better. So I used some wider plain red ribbon wrapped around the bottom and pinned on to keep the green from showing.
This is just about the easiest project ever! You match the ends of each strip together and poke a pin through the end into the tree. Try to keep the rows relatively even and I just started each row about two inches above the one below it. I alternated red and turquoise ribbons, and I overlapped each strip just the tiniest bit so there wouldn't be any empty spots.
I finished off the top of my tree by wrapping it with a little strip of ribbon to cover up all the pin heads. I tied a bow on top of the ornament (the circle on top was for a hook, but I thought the ribbon was just perfect!) and hot glued the ornament on the flat place at the top of the tree.
The whole thing only took me a little over an hour! A friend commented that they thought it looked a little more "4th of July" than Christmas, but I'm not offended. It makes me happy every time I look at it! And I love it with this amazing printable I got from "The Crafted Sparrow". I really think it is just so sweet when people give away adorable stuff like that for free. Now go, make your own adorable tree!




Thursday, December 6, 2012

Mixed Up Snowman Snack

Today was "Pajama Party" for the kids at Bible study. They were asked to bring a snack to share, and I really liked this recipe on Pinterest from "Gourmet Mom on the Go". It was for a trail mix that was supposed to mimic the pieces of a snowman. However, her recipe called for orange sprinkles for the noses- maybe she bought hers after Halloween, but I couldn't find those. Then it also called for mini marshmallows. I wanted the kids to actually be able to assemble a snowman, which wasn't really possible with tiny marshmallows. And, finally, I didn't really love her poem. So I "Clare-ified" it. (You like that?!)
Here's what I came up with:
For each snack you will need:
1/2 tbsp. of mini chocolate chips

3 regular marshmallows
3 Junior mints
5 "Mike and Ike" candies
1/3 of a Fruit Roll-up (approximately) cut into 3 pieces-this makes the "scarf"
a scant handful of pretzel sticks

Throw all that into a bag, and then add the poem. I printed mine onto Avery shipping labels, the 2x4 inch size (48863) is perfect for this kind of thing.I know you are entertained to read my attempt at poetry so here you go:

Mixed Up Snowman Snack

 Start with marshmallow snow balls, add a funky mint hat,
some chocolate chip eyes, are you ready for that?  
Put on a cozy scarf-made of rolled fruit!
Add a jelly bean nose, won’t that be cute?
Finish up with arms of pretzel stick,
 and he’ll be ready to fill your tummy right quick!
Basically, I don't think I am a better poet, but by the time I made my changes, her poem didn't fit. I realized she did a pretty good job with her's, because it is hard to make some of that stuff rhyme!
Honestly, I wanted to use donut holes instead of the marshmallows, but I realized after I put it together, that probably wouldn't have worked as well. However, if you don't plan on putting them together, those would be yummier, in my own opinion! It is really easy to put these together, you don't need any extra components!
It is really easy to put these together, you don't need any extra components! Start by pushing the three marshmallows onto a pretzel stick. Then tie the "scarf"  between the top two marshmallows (you may have to separate them a little). Shove a pretzel in each side of the middle marshmallows. Stick two mini chips pointy side in, and use your finger or a toothpick to dig a little hole for the nose.
He should stand up on his own, and then simply set the Junior mint "beret" on top!
Ta-da! Your snowman is no longer mixed up! Then if the kids don't want to eat him up, there are plenty of extra pieces to munch on. It was a big hit at class today. And I loved that it isn't messy at all-no frosting or anything is needed to hold it together and it is 100% edible. So enjoy a tasty snowman, mixed up or not!


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