from our house to yours

A Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night... see you after the holidays.

one more tree and a brush with fame

Just a quick one tonight. Everybody is rushed, almost too rushed these last few days of the countown and I shouldn't make a long post that takes too much time to read!

Here is my mercury-glass tree. I've collected the ornaments for a few years as I've admired them so much. My collection pales in comparison to our friends' tree... they have collected over 1500 ornaments over the years and this year they were featured in a Better Homes and Gardens special interest publication. Can you imagine? I love that. Very celebrity. Someday I plan to get a real tree for this collection of ornaments, when I have enough to warrant. This poor old tree is an orphan from my days of mall decorating, his stand was long gone and the maintenance manager was about to trash him but I did the rescue and my Dad fashioned a new, much-sturdier-than-ever-before stand.

I've swagged garland down the staircase, put a few decorations in the powder room, picked up Ben's gift, and tomorrow the baking: can I tell you a secret? I'm picking it up at the bakery. Plus some undecorated gingerbread men and two pounds of frosting... tomorrow night is Sidney's Christmas celebration sleepover with her best friend Macy, so they can decorate cookies to their heart's content...

unusually amazing day

So much went well today. Our new home passed its inspection, it was touch and go there for a while, there appeared to be quite some moisture in the walls. No worries though and now I can get busy taking eight minutes picking out the colours and changing my mind 37 times before February 1st, the posession date and also the date that the carpets are being ripped out and the painters are booked, also the day I go with my original colours picked in the first eight minutes. That's how I roll.

Speaking of, does anyone have any cute ideas for exterior paint colours? I have no idea. As you can see, the house is now a drab gray. The roof will remain black and the windows will remain white, and I am supposing from the fine inspection of the eavestroughs, they will remain gray aluminum. Any ideas? I think the shutters as they are now just have to go. I would like to see black shutters but then what of the main colour? And what of those steps? I will tile them with rough slate, we have that on our current house and I do enjoy it. Must add rock... but where? I have six or seven months to decide, that's how long before it will be warm enough up here to paint the exterior. I will take all suggestions given

Other good news for today: we booked a family trip to Walt Disney World (and of course I will be going here), both Grandmas are joining us - it is our Christmas gift to them. If they can stand the lot of us for a week. January looks like the perfect time to go there, not too hot and not too busy. Today, I feel like Goldilocks - juuuust right

let's be honest...

How many bloggers out there know that their husbands visit their blogs regularly? I was wondering about that the other day. Say for instance, if you wanted your husband to get you something specific for Christmas, so you made a blog-suggestion knowing that he was in fact a lurker who never left comments, he would know exactly what to get you! How tricky that would be. I suppose for that reason alone, a woman should practically keep a blog.

I'm so confident that Ben doesn't frequent my blog that I'm going to tell you all what I got him for his Christmas
gift. I'd like to take complete credit for it but it was my brother's idea. I'm taking it to a custom decal shop tomorrow to get the Green Bay Packers logo put on it. Men love tools, can you imagine how excited they would get if tools were plastered with NFL logos or baseball statistics?

These photos are for
Mo. She was wondering aloud on her blog about her blogging insecurities regarding what a mess she makes when she crafts. I imagine she's not alone. All beautiful outcomes derive from some sort of creative mess - you should see my Dad's studio! Out of the deepest darkest depths of the cluttered ugly basement emerges some of the most beautiful printmaking, painting and jewelry!

There are funny reasons to not blog I think. Sometimes I don't have the right photo of what I want to post or I haven't posted the right thank-you for something or maybe acknowledged someone in person just yet for something, so I worry that it would be rude for them to see it on the blog first rather than hear it from me in person. I suppose that's silly - blogs are a wonderful way to keep in touch with everyone, they can pop in at their leisure to see what you've been up to. That's what the world has come to. Some days are just too busy to even pick up the phone and call someone to check in, I can barely find time to go to the bathroom. But the blog waits for everyone. If I am sleepless at 3 am, I can hit the blog to see what I've missed during the day and make a post myself. I love to visit my blogging friends just when I have a second, and I try to comment if I can, even if it's just a sentence to let them know someone is out there reading. It's a little depressing to not have comments, isn't it? I especially try to leave comments for new bloggers because I know how excited I was when I first started to get a comment, even from my Mom.
About the photos (before I rambled, forgive me) - I fancied up 16 plain glass balls with some glitter in a peacock-inspired pattern. Mo please note: newspaper, spilled glitter, chipped drinking glass used to wash brush, old measuring spoon recycled as a glitter sprinkling tool, blue plastic bin that holds ziploc bags full of glitter...
And here is a minor photo of the finished tree, literally pieced together from junk over the past few years. It started with acquiring a mess of glass balls in strange, hideous colours that nobody wanted. In March, so far after Christmas that the Easter stuff is out and the Valentine's stuff is being cleared out, too. We are talking 90% off or some ridiculous thing like that so The Fan and I scooped out the dark velvet green, teal, brown, rust and turquoise ones for a grand total of ten dollars. I think they were about a nickel each so that tells you how many I ended up with. At first the plan was to glitter them completely over to be better, more traditional colours, but a long while after that I found myself in the clearance section of the florist supply where they had a massive bag of peacock feathers for six dollars.
The running total being still under twenty dollars, I was now keeping my eyes out and so it began. Last year I saw the peacock ornaments at the grocery store before the holidays and made a mental note to check after Boxing Day, and sure enough, I snagged two full boxes for just a few dollars again, so I checked around and found a few more.

Tell me: is the tree topper ridiculous or just plain hideous? I need some feedback. The curly peacock feathers were a splurge at three dollars each (I bought two) but the masquerade-style mask is from the Dollar Store. I'm torn between thinking it is genius or just plain freaky, like giant empty eyes on the top of the tree - and in the bedroom, at that. What kind of horrible dreams will I have about that tree coming to life in the night??

Plus, all kidding aside, I was horrified when I stepped back from the tree when I was done. I ran out of green lights halfway up so I got another two strings from the drugstore. When I plugged them in I noticed that they were a little lighter green than the first two sets, but figured nobody but me would notice and I sure was in a rush to get that tree done. When you see it from about three feet back, it's painfully obvious and it looks really dark and green on the bottom but light and almost aqua at the top. If any of you know me at all, it was all I could do not to rip everything off and start over, intertwining the lights carefully. Meh. Not this year.
I went thrifting today as we had five minutes before Buddy's dermatologist appointment... lucky for me the best antique store in town (the one Clara came from) is right next door. I found scads of these little cardboard houses... I'm wondering if they are the ones that Amy refurbishes? Are these a good find? They were still a little pricey at ten dollars each. I think I'll put them out of my mind, but if anyone else is interested, drop me a line and I'll tell you where they are at.

all crafting, all the time

As promised, here is the main tree this year: the cowboy tree! Decorated with so many little things I've made over the years. For details, visit my flickr account - the badge is in my sidebar. My Dad made the barb wire star for the tree topper - on his birthday this past week!
Also, I finished wrapping up the gifts to be shipped off to the family in Windsor, Ontario. Sidney and I did the last of the bow-tying and tagging last night while we watched Saturday Night Live.
Still more to do! The master bedroom tree... I decided to glitter some of the glass balls with a peacock pattern to match the feathers and other ornaments. Hopefully finished off tonight. Hopefully some baking today also. If men were in charge of Christmas, there wouldn't be Christmas! It's a football day around this house.

what a difference a day made

This time yesterday, we were homeless. The sale of our house was final, and the deal on the nice Tudor house we were looking at fell through while we were on holiday. Firmly believing that these things happen for a reason, I went house hunting and lookie what I found!

This home was built in 1912 a block away from the river. Don't mind the drab exterior, it is a "diamond in the rough" and seems to be in excellent condition. The kitchen is brand new. The only work to be done is cosmetic, and I plan to dig out my specially saved issues of Victoria magazine. Ben fell in love with it before I did. The hardwood floors squeak oh so gently. The windows are original but not too drafty. In my future craft room, which is shabby-chic by nature, not by design, the windows have original inside shutters that open like arms and have sweet floral curtains sewn inside.... ooooh pinch me I must be dreaming. There is no garage, but there is a pool in the backyard. There is a newer furnace but no air conditioning. There is a closed front porch but no central vac... we must be crazy. We are in love with a house.

I mixed up the reindeer food for my kiddie friends. If you sprinkle it liberally on your front lawn on Christmas Eve, Santa's chauffeurs will spot it miles off and swing by for a treat:

I also managed to decorate the tree by the back door. It's covered with ornaments that remind me of our wedding. We had a bubble machine, goldfish in bowls for centrepieces, pink flamingos marking the way to the reception...

... and how about those doughnuts and diamond rings? Champagne, martinis, little shoes, purses, dragonflies, and more. Before next Christmas, I want to make little wedding cakes.

And some more holiday decorating: forgive me if this is just too too Pottery Barn, how I love the Pottery Barn even though every fibre of my being tells me it's too mass produced and lacking character, I drool when I visit. I go home and do the same thing that I see on display. With the things I bought there. Such a sucker.

That's quite a day! Tomorrow promises to be more of the same. I'll unveil my cowboy Christmas tree here on the blog. I will decorate the tree in the master bedroom and hopefully blog that, too. See you then.

shopped out and rested up

Oh my friends, as nice and wonderful as it is to go away for two weeks in December, it really isn't a good idea if you like being ready for Christmas on time. I have so much to do. I can justify the time away because we really did enjoy seeing family (Kelly and Rick) and so many of our friends. The shopping in Chicago, as usual, was amazing. The spa in Arizona was one of the most beautiful I've ever seen. The ladies were treated to soothing hot stone massages, the likes of which I've never experienced before but it was wonderful. Just have a look at the Christmas tree where we stayed... cactus in pots. Those cagey Arizonans.
Our entire group went to the Phoenix Cardinals v. Seattle Seahawks game on Sunday. It was an exciting game to be at and we had great seats about five rows back on the forty yard line. The new stadium in Phoenix is state-of-the art. The architecture is supposed to resemble a barrel cactus... do you think?

And then - when we got home! There was a parcel waiting for me from my What's Cookin' apron swap partner, Amy. Clara just had to try it on right away. She also included two laminated recipe cards, and treats including hot chocolate packets and Ghiradelli chocolates... she is my kind of gal! I love the apron. If you look closely you will see the sweet detail she added of an applique holly and button berries. Too cute for words! Thank you Amy! What a nice treat to come home to!

Back to reality after all the sightseeing, shopping and spa-ing. I still have to:
finish the Christmas tree(s)
decorate the house
send parcels to our family in Ontario,Alberta and Prince Edward Island
wrap the gifts I got in Chicago
take my Dad his birthday gift - Happy Birthday Daddy!
watch The Office
find a new house before February
blog, blog, blog all of the things I want to show you!
That's quite a list. Do you think I could post twice a day for the next while, just to make it up to you for going away for so long?

where am I?

My friends, I am in heaven. We arrived in Phoenix on Friday and booked in at the Sheraton Wild Horse Resort and Spa. The property is amazing. The pool is heated and so warm. After being in Chicago for a week, it truly is heaven. Hot tubs, good restaurants in Phoenix, shopping (oh Target, why do you tease me so?) and today, an Arizona Cardinals NFL Football game. Quite an experience, I must say! Tomorrow, I am going to the spa first thing in the morning for a hot rock massage and a little pampering. Then a little more shopping and this trip will draw to a close. I miss the children, my mother and must get the rest of the Christmas preparations done! But I won't think about any of it until I'm on the plane ride home and I can make my to-do lists. How are you all doing with your lists and preparations?

it's vacation time

I neglected to mention that we are traveling until December 12th. Lucky me, my husband has to go to Chicago several times a year and I get to tag along - this is especially nice before Christmas! Our cousins Kelly and Rick joined us for the first leg of the trip... there was much visiting, laughter and shopping. We have been enjoying great visits with friends and business associates, lucky for us again, they are one and the same.

We are soon moving on to the warm climate of Arizona for a few days. I promise to check in if I get a minute. On with the shopping!