Monday, December 23, 2013

My DIY Stockings

Once upon a year I wanted to sew my family's Christmas stockings.
So I bought four matching green ones from the dollar spot in Target.
Because temporary stockings didn't need to be fancy.
Temporary ended up being three Christmases.
My five children had mismatched stockings last year.

Sometime in the beginning of this December I was browsing Joann's Christmas aisle and saw the cutest stockings!  I loved both the sweater stockings and the burlap ones.  But at $30 a piece...yeah, I decided it was high time I finally sew my family's stockings.

Burlap seemed too messy and too rough...linen seemed to be the best route.  And because I'm thrifty and savvy and resourceful and all that, I dug in my fabric stash and found a pair of cream curtains I was saving for just because.  While they're not exactly linen, they're close enough for me.

And while I'm not crafty and creative when left to my own resources, I am very good at copying other people's ideas...or in this case, using their patterns.

I used an old sheet for the linings (told you!) and needed only to buy 1/4 yard of fabric for each stocking cuff and whatever buttons and lace I wanted.  I paid a total of $15 for six stockings (oops, I only photographed five)!
I will claim full creativity credits for the cuffs!  I guess I can come up with something on my own!

While Aubrey's stocking, the cream floral one, is still awaiting a fabric flower for decoration (per her request), the rest are complete.  And I do love them!

The only thing I don't like about them is how limp they are.  I fully intended to add batting when I was making them, but completely forgot it on the first stocking in my excitement to see the completed product.  I wanted them all to be the same, so left it out of the rest.  But I do believe that would have helped.

Ideally, they'd hang on my deep blue wall, but that didn't work out, so they line the portrait hallway.
And ideally, I'd have added the wood name tags before I photographed and shared them with you, but that didn't work out either.

Hey, if Santa knows their face and can see their photo in the dim light, he'll get it figured out!
The stockings are made with care and hung.  We're doing good!

Friday, December 20, 2013

51:52 Cold

I had an was to try take an interesting picture of a glass of ice cold water.
Sadly, I forgot about it amidst all this Christmas bustle and my good light was gone before I could attempt it.  So, I am posting a picture of the obvious.  Obvious for late December in Northern Arizona.

51:52 Cold

It's been cold.  One morning the other week, I woke up to a temperature of 7 below zero.  Thankfully, it doesn't stay that cold and our glorious sun usually always makes an appearance.

Now talking about cold...our sauna "dressing room".  It's not heated.  So it has been anywhere from 20 to 40 degrees when we head out there to take a sauna.  That is when you master the art of undressing in split seconds so you can hop into the deliciously warm sauna.

And even colder...the snow piles outside the sauna...that my boys ROLL IN several times throughout the course of their sauna!  Brrrrrrrr!

Linking up to Leann.  See what's chilly in her corner.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

50:52 Tradition

One of the funnest things about being a parent is the opportunity to continue your childhood traditions with your own family.

Growing up, one of my favorite holiday activities was decorating sugar cookies.  And we actually decorated them every Easter.  They were egg shaped cookies, and the decorating possibilities seemed endless to me...stripes, polka dots, zigzags, initials.  It was a great way to foster our artistic creativity.

While I whip up a batch of these cookies only occasionally for Easter, I always do them at Christmas.

 50:52 Tradition

It's one of the kids' favorite activities and it keeps them entertained for a whole hour or more.  Some of these cookies get wrapped up and make their way to the kids' school and music teachers.  The rest we share with family at our Christmas gatherings.

Elaina (2 years old) took her job very seriously.  Every now and then she would holler out "I need red!" or "here mom, you need green!" (she has no idea what her colors are yet).  She was especially serious when it came to sprinkles.  She went to town.  I wish I would have gotten a picture of her six cookies.  They each had a small mound of frosting in the middle, then a mountain of green sprinkles. :)

I've been thinking about traditions a lot lately.  I think they are important.  They foster a closeness among family members and create a sense of belonging.  I've thought about what traditions we have as a family, and most of them are carried over from either mine or Dean's childhood.  While that is good, I want to start creating some that are our very own.

One tradition that I'm excited to continue this year and every Christmas from here on out, is caroling.  Our little family bundles up and makes the round of our culdesac and other neighbors we know, singing our favorite carols.  I love that my kids are old enough for this!  Everyone sings!  Afterward, we come home and drink hot chocolate and decorate gingerbread houses.

And yes, while these traditions are supposed to be fun, I sometimes get lazy as a mom and am tempted to skip the things my kids anticipate.  Excuses of we're too busy, it's a hassle, and there's just no time shouldn't get in the way of my family's traditions. These are the things I know they'll remember of their childhood, just as I have such fond memories of my own childhood cookie decorating days, biscuit bunny making, and waking up to a valentine's day surprise.

What traditions do you and your family keep?

Friday, December 6, 2013

49:52 Intangible

Intangible: that which cannot be touched

Determination: a quality that makes you continue trying to do or achieve something that is difficult; resoluteness

Yet I can almost feel the boys' determination in these photos.  It's palpable in the air, or for you, in the photos.  

49:52 Intangible

We can sometimes see those things which are intangible - emotions.  
And the world is a richer place because of it.

Linking up to Leann this last month.  We're in the home stretch of Project 52! 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Oak to Rustic White hutch makeover

It was the week before Thanksgiving that I was finally able to unpack all my Mom's china.  It really was great timing as I did not have 13 matching dinner plates in my kitchen cupboards.

As I was unpacking my totes, Dean commented that "well, she's really settling in now, she's unpacking her china!"

Yes, I'm settling in.  And I do love the feeling.  Especially when setting a holiday table is as simple as taking a couple steps to the hutch and grabbing what you need.

So for a couple years I had been looking for a hutch.  But it had to be a corner hutch to fit my dining room.  I wasn't coming across too many used ones within 50 miles of home.
Until this oak one popped up on craigslist for $350. Three hundred and fifty dollars!  Way more than I was willing to pay.  And way more than anyone else would pay for that matter, because she replied to my "I'll offer you less" email after a couple weeks.

My memory is going at a terribly young age, because I suddenly can't remember what the dickens I actually paid for it!  Oh, I think it was $150.  Yes, that's what it was.

Either way, I was kicking up my heels to finally have my hutch, and I immediately started removing all the hardware, doors, and stained glass, because oak and brass are not me.  It was particularly fun the Saturday I took a hammer to the mirror backing!

And then it sat in the garage while I waited for the sky to pour out sunshine and warmth so I could tackle the 'transformation of the hutch'.

I decided to transform my hutch with a homemade chalk paint (the plaster of paris recipe), a can of flat black spray paint, some tongue and groove siding, and a can of red oak stain (because that's what I had on hand, but it is a bit too dark for my liking).

So I took to mixing the paint (a quart sample paint pot in satin did the trick), applying the two coats, and staining the wood paneling.  Dean actually nailed these boards to the back of the hutch for me, because I wasn't having much luck getting the nails in at the right angle.

And now I will share with you my high-tech secret method of spray painting brass hardware...
are you ready for this???

Incredible huh!?  Who knew those countless boxes of Huggies would actually come in useful in more ways than one!

I couldn't wait to put all the pieces back together once the paint was dry, and haul it in the house!

Nevermind that there are no glass doors on the top yet.  The glass shop was closed the day I did make it to that side of town. So those will hopefully be in place soon.

I do love the look of the delicate china in front of the wood boards.  And the crisp clean white.  And the black hardware.  Actually, it would be fun to replace the hardware with something more ornate someday...

You know, regarding the homemade chalk paint, I really wasn't too sure about it as the paint was going on.  My hutch took two coats of paint, a light sanding, and a coat of furniture wax.  It wasn't until after I applied the wax that I loved the look of chalk paint on my hutch.
And quite honestly, I don't know if the process is that different (or easier) from sanding, applying one coat of primer, one coat of paint, and one coat of poly.
The wax was easier to apply than the poly anyway, so that's one perk of the chalk paint route.

Now if I were to paint the base and legs of my dining room table...I would definitely go the chalk paint route.  It makes complete sense for rounded, grooved surfaces such as these.

I'm not sure what I'm waiting for, but I will let you know once I do get those legs painted.  Won't it look fantastic and so much brighter?!  And the two pieces will tie together so much more!

Okay, so maybe I need verification that I won't totally ruin my (8 year old) table by painting the legs white to match the hutch.  Opinions?  Paint the legs or leave them as is?  Or should I just paint the bench legs?
I'd love to hear your ideas.