Sunday, December 31, 2006

To 2006

(Decoupage gourd, inspired by Jane, of Jane and the Ducks. It needs a few more birds, but they are still on the tinsel branch.)

Now that my nest is all clean, organized and feathered, I have a moment to reflect on the passing of 2006. This has been an excellent year for me in many ways. I had a very tumultous childhood, which resulted me in saying "I am fine" in response to "How are you?" for so many years of my life that it is scary. I never really was fine, actually, but it seemed like the thing to say.
This year, however, I am so much better than fine. I am great. I am terrific. I am happy. I am settled. I have all that need in the world and more.

Jack and I have really grown to know each other this year, and finally, motherhood is joyful instead of pure survival.

I have had time and space to grow personally, creatively, to stretch my wings a little as my sewing machine has chugged along, as my fingers have sewn one more stitch.

Those things have resulted in a new found confidence, both as a mother, and as a person.

I want to take a moment to thank each and everyone of you who stops in here daily, or weekly, or even occassionally to see what we are up to. You inspire me with your own blogs, you amaze me with your kindness, you encourage and support me with your comments and emails. What a terrific group of women you all are!

I hope that 2007 holds much joy and happiness for each and everyone of you. Cheers!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

It all started with...

At some point in early November I made this promise to myself that I was going to get every single one of my Christmas decorations out of storage this year. I started early enough, and Jack is big enough to entertain himself for small periods of time.
Except that after nearly one year on bedrest with a hard pregnancy, one year with a demanding infant, and one busy year with a toddler (full of LOTS of junking fun!), every single nook and cranny in my house was literally overflowing with stuff. Three years is a long time to go without cleaning out the drawers and things.

So, anyway, I kept asking my husband, "Didn't I buy a vintage glow in the dark nativity this summer? I could swear I did." Rinse and repeat for two months. Of course, follow all of that up with, "Sarah, where is my (insert x,y,z here)?" and "Sarah, do we have any (insert x,y,z here)?"

All of this is a very long winded way of saying that I have spent 12 hours a day for nearly 3 days getting the house cleaned out. I have given away at least 12 trash bags FULL of stuff via Freecycle . I have thrown another 6 or so in the trash. But, we are cleaned out. There is only 1/4 of the laundry room, and 3 desk drawers left in the entire upstairs/downstairs that hasn't been sorted through and organized.

It was totally worth it! Look at that silverware drawer. Do you think the neighbors will think I am strange if I invite them in to view the silverware drawer?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

News of the day

When Jack was a pretty small baby, I watched a history channel special on the mothers of the Presidents. I have long since admired Gerald Ford and his mother. What an interesting and aspiring story they shared as mother and child. When I think of him, I am reminded that somewhere out there, some mama much like myself (or maybe even myself!) is raising her toddler, who will one day be the President of the United States of America. Amazing stuff that is.

Some of the Henry Alexander Merry Modernica fabric has become my current "lay on the sofa and take a nap" pillow. It has thrifted blue velvet on the back, and I am quite proud of the little ruffle.

A little chickadee I have been working on. I finally put the vintage animal pattern I bought off Ebay to use. The 1930's reproduction fabric makes her pretty special.
She is a little wonky, but it was my first go round with the pattern, maybe the next one will be a little closer to perfect!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Boxing Day Thrift

It's boxing day, and we did what any good junkers will do, we went thrifting instead of boxing up some of the stuff we already have! We bought so much stuff it was hard to decide what to take pictures of.

Of course, Christmas stuff is 50% off at the thrift store too. Who could resist a mushroom shaped cloche! The Santa inside is way cool, but he leans forward a bit. Must remedy that.

I also got loads of this cute fabric. (And loads of other fabrics too, including pink polka dots and sort of Christmasy print.)

A felt Jack-in-the box, that is pink and aqua!

A cool Thomas magnet set for Jack. (And sand box toys, and a big recycling truck, and some Clifford books.)

And, the world's scariest Christmas book. Dated 1970. My husband says, "Now why would you put that up there?" LOL

I hope everyone is recovering nicely from too much Christmas dinner.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Santa Claus is coming to town.

Whew! We had our family get together today, everyone has been fed and here and gone already. All of the presents from Santa are wrapped. The trees are all decorated. We have our traditional Christmas eve dinner stuff in the pantry. (Chips and salsa con queso for the curious. It all started when we were hungry and there was nothing but a gas station open after church on Christmas Eve.)

We are ready for lift-off!

A few of my many, many Santas. Dave calls the Rushton Santa "the chuckie Santa." Welll, he is a *little* scary. The teeny tiny one is marked Denmark on the inside. He was a rummage sale find late this fall.

These guys are paper mache with cotton beards, marked Japan, and bought at the flea market this fall. There are a few more, but, hey, I was in a hurry! My family was on the way here.

Tree number 8, the wire tree, the hardest to photograph! It always stays on top of my china cabinet, and I change the ornaments with the seasons. This year I put my tiny special ornaments on it, the indents, the lanterns, the candles, and a tiny pickle. Do you see it? I have a pickle on every tree.

And with that, Merry Christmas to everyone!!!!!! I hope Santa brings you everything you are wishing for.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

On the tenth day of Christmas

The universe gave to me:
One sick husband,
One teething toddler,
And one very broken mini-van.

Tree number 7, the live tree in the basement playroom. The most "traditional" of all my trees. (I had hoped to get the last tree photographed for you today too, but, well, see above. LOL)

Turning last minute gifts of cash into art. Thanks to the Martha Stewart Holiday Magazine. The last one is wearing a bow tie, but the flash made it look like only tape.

Coming tomorrow, the Santa collection, because, well Santa Claus is coming to town!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas is coming

And I am still decorating trees! We are up to 8 now, in various shapes and sizes. Dave found this lovely pink number at Home Depot for 50% off, and everyone knows I have been dying for a pink tree! So, up it went yesterday. It is smallish, probably 2.5 feet, but, man, did it take forever to find the right ornaments for it. (And I dropped the closet door on my foot in the meantime. Double ouch.)

Want to see some of my favorite ornaments?

These sugary Shiny Brites are my all time favorites. I have them in several colors and shapes.

The pink glittery oblong one is awesome.

This is a Martha Stewart faux feather tree that always sits on our bedroom fireplace mantel. I change the ornaments with the seasons/holidays. I got a bag full of these vintage Japan package tie ons at a sale this summer, and they are SO cute! Snowmen, Santas, Angels, wreaths. I love them all.

A bottle brush fruit wreath in one of my frames. My hallway is covered in EMPTY vintage frames. Some folks think it is wierd to have empty frames. Me? I think the frames are art.

Ok, back to the grind. I still have one present to sew and one diaper to change, stat!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The stockings are hung

Yesterday I decided it was time to decorate the family room/playroom in the basement. Only nothing went as planned. Usually I have a regular green tree down there, with all of the "sentimental" ornaments, the ones we made as kids, and now the ones Jack is making. Nothing matchy, no glass garlands, whatever lights are handy. Except there is no longer a stand for our green tree. And 3 of the branches are broken off the Martha Stewart white tree. And I could NOT find the Christmas stockings anywhere.

My husband says, hey, let's go get a real tree for downstairs. Ok, I am game for that. Off to the tree lot we go. Except the tree lot is closed. So, off to another tree lot we go. Great, I see the tree I want without even leaving the car, and we have waited so long it is 50% off! On the way home I decide I REALLY need multi colored C7 lights for this tree. (So much for not giving a hoot about the tree, eh?) Something like 5 stores later, and still no multi C7's in hand, I give up and start throwing a mish mash of lights on the tree. In the end, it looks pretty good. And it only took about 2 hours to decorate from start to finish, unlike the 15 hours or so I put into the vintage sparkly beauties.

Back to the stockings. My husband eventually remembered where they were, and up they went, hung by the chimney with care. I am ridiculously attached to these stockings, and I was really crying in my cheerios about not being able to find them. They are the softest old printed flannel, and each stocking reverses to a cheerful holiday message. (And, yes, I do know that we are not "brother" or "sister", but, I still love them!) If you haven't clicked to enlarge them, do so! Look at the toys, and the cute little elves.

After seeing the bird garland on Kiddley, I knew I had to make some. This is definitely the year of the bird for me. Cute and easy, you should totally make some for yourselves.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

My biggest thrift score

I feel so bad for taking so long to get a photo of Jack using the awesome cookie cutters that Rebecca sent us so long ago! There were other lovelies in the box also, including yummy chocolate that I devoured quickly and the cutest reindeer puppet, which is seeing plenty of use in the playroom. Thank you Rebecca!

On to the thrifting! We have had a hard time getting Jack to sleep anywhere, ever, other than his own crib. He just is not the kind of kid you see sleeping in the grocery cart or on his father's shoulder in the Home Depot. In fact, we tried another toddler bed, many moons ago, and it was a huge failure. Jack kept running to his door and crying his heart out when we tried that one.

Yesterday, I just had the "itch" and off to the thrift we went. Of course, when I saw the firetruck bed I was trying to get my husband's attention without alerting the entire free world that I was standing next to the hottest deal in town. You know how it goes, right? "dave, oh dave. Dave! DAVE! DAVID COME OVER HERE RIGHT NOW!" $30 and one full minivan later, we had the firetruck bed.

Jack spent the enture 2 hours before bed asking if it was "nigh nigh time yet?" so he and Dandy could go night night in the fire truck. (Of course, after he asked us to give him a push in it! LOL)

Wouldn't you know it? He went right to bed in it last night. My kid slept in a toddler bed! A bed without walls! We can actually go on vacation again soon! The thrifting angels have totally smiled upon us this week. Now *that* is a Merry Christmas.

(And, because you can't thrift for beds alone, I picked up a sackful of these cute felt Santas.)

Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas Crafting, 2 year old style

Ok, how freaking cute are these? I found the template at Kiddley yesterday, and the three of us spent the morning putting them together. Bits and pieces of ribbons, buttons, pom poms, patterned scrapbook paper, glitter glue and crayons fancy them up. I really love the ones where Jack gave them a "Dandy." (That is the name of his security blanket.)

Quick, go print your own and set your kids loose!

My version of the ever popular Little Birds Soft Trees . These are going to my mom for Christmas. I especially love the one with the red garland on it. I knew when I picked that ribbon up at IKEA a few years ago it would be useful for something!

Unbelievably, I still have at least 2 more projects in progress, and I need to buy my husband a present.

I think the blue tree is made out of some sort of paper. It has a tin star base that is marked Germany, and the branches make a star shape. I have another one that is similar, but the branches are more like tin foil instead of that pretty blue papery stuff. The silver foil ones come up on Ebay from time to time, but, I am not nearly as enamored with them as I am with the blue one.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas Crafting Craziness

I have spent the last 2 days crafting like crazy, and I still have 2 projects to finish! I can hardly believe that Christmas is already a week from tomorrow. And, in usual Sarah fashion, I had to go to the flea market this morning, because it is warm, and who knows when it will be warm enough to go again! I found a real treasure too, and I will share it as soon as I get it cleaned up a bit.

A wool felt lion cube ribbon toy for my newest niece, Maggie. I have 250 yards of that vintage trim, and this is a great use for it. This turned out way better than I expected.

I made more magnetic paper dolls, this time Strawberry Shortcake for my niece. They are stuck on a cookie sheet, so she can play with them in the car, and I made a Strawberry Shortcake drawstring bag to store them in. In case you aren't completely convinced that you need to make magnetic paper dolls yet, look at these! I am SO making those for the Jack, I mean, the space suit, the Santa outfit, I cannot resist.

EDIT: Because a lot of folks are asking, I printed the paper dolls on this magnetic paper. You can buy it any type of "mart store" like Target or Walmart. I use the photo setting on my printer to get the best picture, but, if you use that site I linked to, be sure to print a TEST page first! Her high res scans will print huge and waste expensive paper if you aren't careful. The paper is easy to cut with your paper scissors. (Does everyone have paper and fabric and hair and tape scissors? LOL)

And one of my favorite Christmas decorations. I picked this up in an antique mall when we were moving from Florida back to Missouri, paid quite a bit of money for it, and have been searching for more of them ever since. Sadly, I haven't seen any, not even any that I say "way too much money!" too. It is on my 'always look for' list, and maybe some day I am going to get lucky!

P.S. I am going to go back a few entries and answer some of your questions in the comments sections, in case you don't look back there to see the answers.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The family jewels

| View Show | Create Your Own

Hey, it works, how cool!

I remember when my love affair with vintage ornaments began. We had just moved to Florida in January of 2000, and I saw a show on HGTV where these 2 men had a HUGE christmas tree that was dripping with 14,000 vintage ornaments. I am not quite to 14,000 yet, but, I have a lot of them.

The trees are both vintage, covered with 100 multicolored lights per foot of tree, and they just glow and sparkle at night. I have a pretty good system for securing them (we screw them down to a table or a heavy wooden box, then each ornament is individually wired onto the branches), and with 3 cats and one two year old, I have never lost an ornament to anyone but myself yet.

Anyway, I will let the trees themselves do the rest of the talking. Please let me know if you have problems with the slideshows. Happy Holidays!

| View Show | Create Your Own

P.S. After reading Heidi's comment, I realized I should have mentioned where they all came from. The majority of them are from flea markets. I used to be able to buy them on ebay, but the price in the last 4 years has been way too high. I also occasionally find them thrifting, garage saling, and for some of the more special ones, I will pay antique mall prices. (The naked santa is new though.) I am pretty lucky though, because my husband is willing to travel to flea market, so, we have been to flea markets all over the place.

P.P.S. Does anyone actually know what the name of that show was? I would love to know so I could try and find a copy of it.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas Goodness

I picked up a freebie magazine in Hancock Fabrics, which had 100 sewing ideas for Christmas, and the word garlands were in there. I think they turned out cute! Except, I noticed after the fact that I had sewn the letters onto my special glow in the dark ric-rac. Ah well. That fabric that Rebecca sent me in the swap is really coming in handy for Christmas. (She also recently sent me a lovely unexpected gift, which I am hoping to get photographed this weekend.)

Some thrifted Christmas stuff from over the years. From top left, clockwise: an old Japanese santa display (I love the little trees and things in the chimney), plastic Santa cookie jar, some of my tiny wreath collection (the bright pink ones are from K-Mart, Martha Stewart a few years back, the others are old), and my kitchen curtains, such cute vintage fabric. I actually bought them thinking I would use the fabric for other projects, but they are a perfect fit in the kitchen. Serendipity.

And, last but not least!, a terrific package arrived from Heidi today. As you can see I already put the tablecloth on the table, it is the perfect size for our table, and I love it. And look there, cookie cutters like my mom and I always used when I was a kid, and mugs just like the ones I was oogling at Pixiegenne this morning, and polka dot bells and so much more. Thank you Heidi!!

Tomorrow, the Christmas tree photos. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Much Ado...

...about Jack.

After seeing this reindeer plate at Cha! Cha! Gigi, I knew Jack and I had to make reindeer. We made an army for Mama, Oma and "Grampers". Jack loved making them, the painting, the gluing on of button eyes, and the glittering of noses.

Jack is changing a lot right now, and changing every day. After having to cook seperate meals for him every day for nearly 2 years, he is suddenly trying, and in most cases, eating the same things we are eating. Chow Mein, Pizza, even soy nut butter sandwiches. Yesterday he actually ate everything on his plate at lunch time, no food on the floor either. What a relief.

He has developed some rather interesting vocabularly, including "What the hell?" "What the shit?" and "Are you crazy?" He has also developed some sweet vocabularly, including "bless you, sneeze", "Kiss the woman", "be patient please" and "love you."

He is drawing, and even making very good circles! He is running and climbing (he has finally mastered the ladder at the playground). He takes great pride in "fixing things". He is starting to count (up to 3 so far!). He is obssessed with the advent calendar, which he calls "number 2." He is doing a lot more imaginary play, like changing diapers on the babies in his doll house, and fixing them "hot, make dinner." Today at the playground, he was piling up the mulch, sweeping it away and declaring "magic!"

In the photo above (I like how it is blurry, Jack moves a million miles a minute right now), I was taking pictures of the reindeer and he starts squealing "cheese mama! cheese mama!" with his eyes covered. Silly boy.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A cloche renovation

I bought this cloche at Goodwill on Sunday. It is from last year's Christmas stuff at Target. It still had the tags on it, so I paid $2.99 for it. My husband and I had been admiring the cloches this year at Target, but, the prices make me cringe.

So, I did a little cloche renovation. I added beads and more of that Target tinsel to the trees. My husband made me the sweet little house, which I painted pink and put glass glitter, glass seed beads, and yes, more of the Target tinsel on. The little wooden angel is stamped Japan, she is part of a huge lot of them I bought this summer, in a ziploc bag covered with nasty old melted candle wax. They were candle holders for cupcakes in a former life. (It took some guts on my part to break off the pick part, I have a hard time "repurposing" vintage things.) And of course, the angel needed a tinsel halo, right?

The new bottom is wool felt, cut with my pinking shears. The tinsel on the glass part is the wider tinsel I showed you in the branch tinsel photo. The stuff on a roll, also from Target.

And this is what the craft store birds looked like before I glittered them for the branch.

It has been so nice to see comments from many new visitors! Because my own time to comment on all of your lovely blogs is so limited, I have removed the comment verification thing for now. I find that it really slows me down/prevents me from commenting on other blogs.

Also, I always notice how filthy the outside of our house is when I am cropping photos. We live in a rental that I swear has not seen a fresh lick of paint since 1969. I am going to get a magic eraser and try and clean that spot. Ignore the dirt smudges for now please!

Monday, December 11, 2006

A million things to say, one blog post

The branch is finally finished! I think the photo would be loads better with some sunshine, but apparently the sun is never going to shine here again, so I will take what I can get. I love it! It turned out perfectly, even if it did take forever. (And 320 feet of tinsel.) I am pretty sure you can all click on the photo to see it larger.

Close up of the birds. You can see the details of the birds more on the pink ones, because the glitter is more transparent. In an ideal world they would all be either opaque or transparent, but come on, the world just isn't perfect, is it?

Because most of my trees are dripping with delicate vintage stuff, I let Jack decorate his little tinsel tree from Target. I actually shed a tear when he was doing it. My baby is decorating a Christmas tree! Of course, he wanted to hang shiny jingle bells on it. My husband remarked that the love of all things shiny is clearly genetic.

We took Jack to Main Street St. Charles yesterday. This is Frontier Santa (as you can see Jack is enthralled by the costume.) We also saw Civil War Santa, the Ice Queen, Jack frost and others. Jack's favorite part was the Kettle Corn, of course.

AND, we have been thrifting. My husband is a lucky charm, I found 3 tablecloths today for $1.50 each.

The Christmas tree is finished, we have taken the photos with the mall Santa, and finally I am off to turn that fabric into curtains!