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My Christmas Ornament Obsession

4 Dec

I LOVE Christmas. It really is the most glorious time of the year (except for that perfect Fall day with a bonfire and changing leaves… or any day where I’m splayed out on a beach with a frosty drink in my hand).

Like many of you, our little family went Christmas tree shopping over the weekend.

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I love this picture, it’s like Jack is mid-strut…

Then – like most of you – we brought our tree in the house, shoved it in a tree stand and unwrapped the plastic wrap so that the limbs could breathe again. My husband and Jack were then shooed towards the living room while I brought up the Christmas ornaments and lights.

This is where it gets a bit…dorky.

I’ve been collecting Wizard of Oz ornaments from Hallmark for over 20 years.

That’s right, this tree looks like any other tree from far away…

Full Christmas tree

But when you get a little closer, you see it.

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Almost 25 ornaments of different scenes and characters from the Wizard of Oz.

It started quite innocently many years ago. As part of our Christmas gift, my paternal grandparents would allow each of the grandchildren to pick out an ornament from the Hallmark catalog. This usually would happen during the summer, way before sugarplums were twerking anywhere near our heads. Then, on Christmas Day we would receive our ornament along with our bounty of gifts.

For a few years, I just picked out random stuff. I was a kid, so it was mostly dancing ballerinas and cute little Christmas mice. Then in 1996, I chose a little Emerald City music box-like hanging ornament. It was awesome and when you plugged it in to a light socket, the little characters would spin on the yellow brick road and “We’re Off to See the Wizard” would play.

I was hooked.

IMG_2760From then on, I’d choose a Wizard of Oz ornament every year. When I received the Miss Gulch ornament in 1997, I remember my grandmother playing with the wheels on the bike… and saying how nice it was. Every year brought a shiny new ornament for our family tree and when I moved out into my own house, I took my collection with me.

The year that I moved into my first townhouse was also the year that my grandmother passed away. However, she left my grandfather pages and pages of written instructions which included directions on collecting the Christmas ornament orders from the grandchildren.

For the next few years, I continued to pick out my Wizard of Oz ornaments and eventually decorated my own tree with JUST the collection and some simple balls to fill out the extra space. I remember the first Christmas that Travis and I were together. He wandered over to the Christmas tree, looked around a bit and then turned slowly and said, “wow…this tree is very…girlie.”

We would laugh hysterically every time I turned on the tree and all the music box voices would yell out at and sing at the same time. The noise would startle Potter from his perpetually relaxed position on the couch. Every single time.

Last year my grandpa had some health issues and decided to skip the ornaments. I found out on Christmas Day when I looked around for that familiar Hallmark box. It felt like a piece of my Christmas was gone. Like my grandmother had finally moved on and left us.

I couldn’t let my collection end though and was lucky to score the 2012 ornament off ebay after the holidays. This year, I checked in and found out that my grandfather is finished with giving the grandchildren their ornaments. It’s really the end…after more than twenty years. And it makes me incredibly sad that Jack will never be a part of this tradition. Perhaps we will start a new tradition.

But for now, I made my own trip to the Hallmark store to purchase the latest ornament for my collection. Because it makes me happy and I can imagine my grandmother smiling from above at the pretty green in the lion’s cape.

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Maybe someday Jack will be the one buying me my yearly ornament. Maybe he will roll his eyes at his silly mom with the Wizard of Oz tree. Or maybe he too will smile every time the tree lights go on and “The GREAT and POWERFUL OZ” screams out of an ornament while another sings about the wonders that must exist on the other side of the rainbow.

Do you have a collection that you treasure? How did it start and do you feel guilty of you miss a chance to add to it?

The DIY Challenge: Big Reveal

26 Nov

The last two weeks have flown by since I announced the DIY Challenge!

For those of you who missed the original DIY Challenge post, I challenged myself and three of my blogger friends to do a DIY project that we’ve wanted to do for a while. It could be inspired by something we saw on Pinterest, someone else’s blog, a HGTV show, a magazine, or wherever else.

Now the two weeks are up and it’s time to see how we all did!

I went into the challenge with the best intentions to complete THREE mini projects in a trifecta of holiday goodness:

Mini project #1: Paint Dipped Pinecones
Mini project #2: Paper Punch Snowflake Garland
Mini project #3: Glittered Candlesticks

Project #2: Fail
I started with searching for the supplies for project number two, the paper punch snowflake garland. I searched high and low through Joann Fabrics and Michaels and could not find a large snowflake punch. The closest thing I found was a star-like thingie, but the hole-punch was over $20 and so small that it wasn’t giving me as much bang as I wanted for my buck. I made the executive decision to pass on this project and focus on the other two.

Project #3: Success
While I was wandering the aisles at Joann’s, I was sucked forward into the Martha Stewart section. I remember in the past that I was entranced by Martha’s glitter because it was brighter and smaller chunks than ‘normal’ glitter –  I swear that woman probably has unicorns farting out the magical glitter in her factories – which MIGHT explain why each bottle was $12.99.

You know that I’m not paying $13 for a bottle of glitter, even if it came from a unicorn’s butt… so I quickly googled on my phone and pulled up a 50% off coupon. I also grabbed a jar of Martha’s glitter glue for $4.99 which is basically a thin, super sticky glue with an application brush in the top.

At home, I pulled out two Home Interiors candlesticks that I’ve had for years (they came in the interior consultant beginner kit I purchased when I sold the stuff). After dusting them off on the front of my shirt, I brushed on a layer of glue and then carefully shook the glitter onto the sticky candlestick. For the shorter candlestick I left the very top clear to give me something to hold on to and did the opposite for the taller candlestick. After each candlestick was covered in glitter, I tapped it on the table so that all the excess would fall off onto the plate. I was able to fold the plate in half and dump the glitter back into the container pretty easily.

I let them both dry for a few hours and then painted some more glue on the bare areas and repeated the glitter-shaking process. I’m really glad I went with the expensive glitter, because it definitely makes the project look much more professional and expensive than normal chunks of glitter.

Here it is in pictures:

glitter candlesticks - supplies

glitter candlesticks - cover in glue

glitter candlesticks - add glitter

glitter candlesticks - second part glue

glitter candlesticks - let dry

Project #1: Total Change
This project started out easy-peasy and I finally saw the benefit of having over a dozen pine trees dropping their darn needles all over my land. I gathered a few pretty pinecones just steps from my door and figured that checked off the first step, so YAY for that.

Unfortunately, when I went back in the house and clicked through to the originally pinned project I read the comments and found that most people had issues. Apparently, when you dipped the pinecone in the paint it looked beautiful…until it dried and closed back up. Um… what?! That sounds like a lot of work and mess for something that will look like crap. So then I went to the obvious next step of, “oh, I’ll just spray paint them!” but read further in the comments to see that doesn’t turn out as well. Hmm… well, I have a bunch of glitter sitting around from the candlestick project…

So I decided to change my paint dipped pinecone project into a glitter one instead! I brushed glue on random spots of the piney part of the cone and then shook some glitter on top. I think they look much snazzier than if I had just fully covered them in glitter like a kiddie project.*

pinecones - add glue

pinecones - add glitter

I found a pretty brass bowl at the thrift store for $2.90, so I figured I’d put it to use as a kind of holiday display:

glitter candlesticks and pinecones

Of course, now I’m kind of dying to throw glitter on more stuff…

Ollie

Hmm…that could POSSIBLY be going a bit too far. He’d look awfully pretty though with a glittery mane…

I LOVED doing the DIY Challenge and especially liked checking out what the rest of my Glue Crew did (named by Katie, of course).

DIY bloggers headshots

Stop by and check them out:
Words for Worms: Pinterest & Peer Pressure
A Grace Full Life: DIY Challenge for the DIY Challenged: The Aftermath
Quirky Chrissy: What do a Glue Gun, Exacto Knife and Pain Have in Common?

Did you play along at home? If so, email me your pictures by Friday, November 29th and I’ll dedicate a blog post to showcase your awesome projects!

*Oh my GOSH I cannot WAIT until Jack starts bringing me home art projects from school!

Super Quick Change: Guest Room to Home Office

13 Nov

I found out some AWESOME news on Friday, which pretty much rocked my world. After almost two years of a super crazy commute schedule, I will be able to work from home two days a week.

TWO days a WEEK!

To put that into perspective, I will save 6 hours of driving each week… which totals to 13 straight days of driving a year! So yes, this is pretty life changing for me.

One problem though… our designated office is a crap-hole. The room has become a catch-all for pretty much EVERYTHING and right now contains: an old Ikea desk and desktop computer, an elliptical machine,  three bins of baby clothes that I’m trying to decide whether to sell or donate, probably a couple dozen random kids toys, empty boxes, my overflowing tool box, and so so so much more. It’s not a very pleasant place to be and I pretty much keep the door closed at all times.

before deskI was thinking about getting rid of our old desktop computer, but my husband likes to have it there for internet searching since his tablet can be challenging sometimes. When working from my laptop at home, I typically just set it up at the kitchen table, but moving my work office to my ‘home office’ means I’ll have stuff that needs to be easily accessible.

Which brings me to this room… our guest room.

before bedIt looks kind of okay in pictures, but the bed is actually just a blow up mattress. We hardly ever have guests stay over and we intend to switch our queen mattress to the guest room when we (someday) upgrade to a king-sized bed. Until then, this room is pretty much unused except when I throw old craft stuff on my sewing table… or shove it all aside so I can actually stitch something up.

before sewing tableThe room is great though and has some wonderful afternoon sunlight, so I decided to take it over for my brand new home office. Also, since it will be MY home office… I don’t have to worry about any stinky boys invading my space. Or moving my work paperwork around.

My first step was to clean out the sewing table area – I got rid of all the unused crafty stuff (ok, I just threw it in the old office to go through when I’m home on Christmas break…) and stored the bin of random fabrics under the table. Boom. Cleaner already.

after - sewing tableThen, I snapped up my old desk and ripped the hutch off the top. It was pretty unnecessary and honestly just attracted crap, so I tore it off (and yes, threw it in the old office. Don’t judge me!). Next, I grabbed a can of leftover paint from our downstairs bathroom and started painting everything except the top of the desk.

during - painting desk

during - desk dryingI also scrounged around the house for any unused pictures and wall ornament-type stuff that wasn’t being used. I actually pulled the sun mirror, brown framed picture and white sunflower frame out of my Goodwill pile, so that worked out pretty great! I had recently picked up a couple giraffe heads from World Market, so I thought one would be a snazzy addition to my cornucopia of randomness.

after - found picturesI let the desk dry overnight and then put it back together and shoved it up against the wall.

after - close up deskI still need to add my desk file organizer once I pick it up from work, as well as few random things like my wall calendar and a pen jar… but here is what we have so far:

IMG_2603I reused the side-table as a printer stand and also added a dog bed for Ollie since he will probably be spending a lot of time staring at me. The only things that I purchased for the project are the floor lamp (from Target for $60) and the giraffe (from World Market for $10).

What do you think? Check out the before and after!

Before and afterHave you been doing any room change projects lately? What is your favorite part of my switch up? I’m tied between the two-tone desk and the cheery yellow giraffe head!

The DIY Challenge

12 Nov

Do you all remember when I used to do those fun gift swaps for other bloggers? Like the Fun Fall Swap I did last year. It was lots of fun, but then a couple people pissed me off and I went with a whole scorch-the-earth philosophy and decided that EVERYONE would lose their toys.

Well, I handpicked a few of my very favorite bloggers to do another {harebrained} fun project. I’m basing it on the fabulous Young House Love’s idea of their Pinterest Challenge… but calling it a DIY Challenge because it won’t be just restricted to Pinterest.

The premise is that I challenged myself and three blogger friends to do a DIY project that we’ve wanted to do for a while. It could be inspired by something we saw on Pinterest, someone else’s blog, a HGTV show, a magazine, or wherever else.

We will each post the project that we plan to attack today. Then, we have two weeks to make our DIY dreams a reality (and yes, I know that sounds corny). We will each post again on November 26th and reveal how the project went and show you our Before/After pictures.

Sounds fun, right?

For my project, I’m picking a trifecta of holiday goodness!

Mini project #1: Paint Dipped Pinecones
Mini project #2: Paper Punch Snowflake Garland
Mini project #3: Glittered Candlesticks

So be sure to check back in two weeks to see if I end up with three adorable holiday crafts… or if I have another melted bowl in the microwave incident

Want to know who else is playing?

DIY bloggers headshotsKatie from Words for Worms
Kari from A Grace Full Life
Chrissy from Quirky Chrissy

They’ll each be posting which projects they’re going to attempt sometime today on their blogs, so stop by and say hi!

Do you want to play along at home? If so, do your very own DIY project and email me pictures by Friday November 29th and I’ll dedicate a blog post to showcase your awesome projects!

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