Who who loves Christmas?

I always buy the Martha Stewart Holiday special edition. Always. This year, I also purchased the Woman's Day Best Ideas for Christmas special edition. Mostly because several people I read were featured in the Make it Simple section. Yea them!

Flipping through I found lots of other inspiration for the holidays. Once I saw the owl on page 56, I knew I had to make some. Originally, I planned to make a garland for the mantle to decorate for Thanksgiving. But I blew that deadline. Now, they'll be ornaments and gift tags for special folks. Chris dubbed them Christmas owls anyway.

I took this ...

And turned it into ...

I'd link to the instructions but Woman's Day has not posted them. It's pretty cut and dry. I didn't use the template in the magazine but free-handed all the cuts. I used a hot glue gun to attach the felt pieces to burlap. Finished product seemed a little flimsy so I glued another oval of burlap to the back, putting ribbon between the layers to make a hanger. 

Would you like one? Make a comment by Friday and I'll send out three randomly. 

handmade projects


Christmastime is here

Do you do an Advent calendar? I find that it's one way to stem the tide of "Is it Christmas yet?" and "When is Santa coming?" Time is a hard concept to learn so having something to touch is helpful for the kids.

This year I wanted to make a Advent calendar beyond the paper chain/paper windows (though we have three paper window versions that will also be enjoyed.) There are so many good ideas out there. Here's what I've seen:

Kelly of Design Crush featured this one from Etsy in her Advent calendar roundup. It sold but you can certainly find all kinds of box templates online for free. Just print, fold and fill. 

The Crafty Crow did an amazing Advent calendar roundup. I especially liked above from Fuse Interiors and below from Craftastica.

Kodak has the template and instructions for making an advent calendar with your own pictures. Would be nice to do if you are traveling to see distant relatives that your kids may not know/remember from last year. Each day when you open a window you could talk about that person. 

Jill at Homemade by Jill is making this amazing tree. Each day her children will be able to hang a felt ornament on the buttons. I find her so super impressive!

I saw these fun trees in the Woman's Day Best Ideas for Christmas special issue. (Got it and Martha's Holiday special issue. Good stuff.) I think they would look great on my mantle and treats would be easy to hide underneath. Woman's Day asked several well-known internet crafters to contribute ...  ChezBeeperBebe may be my new favorite Web site. 

At some point I considered making any one of the calendars featured here. 
Do you wonder which one I decided to make?

A string of lights! Found on Elsie Marley. I only have two sockets made so I best get to work!

One scoop or two?

Here's a picture of last night's sunset. 
Doesn't it look like Neapolitan ice cream? See the three layers?
(Finding the beauty in the everyday things keeps me sane.) 

Happy weekend!


Look what I have

Ordinary wine bottle or the devil's work? Work of art that sells for big bucks or a young lady up to no good? We live in the Bible Belt. You can't do much here that someone doesn't find immoral. And that label right there was deemed immoral and outright banned in the state of Alabama last year.

I immediately wanted one. Had folks scouting for it in Georgia and Tennessee. Wanted a case to hand out as Christmas gifts. My search did not yield results and I forgot about it.

Last weekend we took an end-of-year trip to Atlanta to visit a good friend and see the fishes. We always hit our favorite liquor store during trips over. This wine is not the only thing they don't sell in Alabama. In fact, there is a good bit of good quality beer we can't get due to state laws. But as we were on the road on the way home, I off-handedly mentioned that Chris should have looked for the wine. His sweet reply, "There's one in the back." 


All dogs are good dogs

Enzo Tutor 


Yes, that's a word

Will, playing with the letters on the fridge: Is this a word? O-L-E-H-S-L

Me: If you move them around, it spells H-O-L-E.

Will: What if I add this? A H-O-L-E

Me: No that's not a word (that you are allowed to use yet *smirk giggle*)

Today's post brought to you by the letter M for maturity (hehe)


Falling leaves

I have a ton of burlap. No really, more burlap than is normal. Being that our wedding was a very DIY affair six years ago, we bought burlap to make tablecloths instead of renting them. Thanks again Mom for making them! And for making the curtains that now grace the living room and dining room windows. I was having a tough time convincing Chris that burlap curtains were very chic until I showed him several high-end store displays.

I keep seeing craft after craft on the Web featuring burlap so I got Mom to bring me what was left of the burlap the last time she visited. First time I reached in, I pulled out a length of burlap that was just the right length for a table runner. While that was not the project I planned to do that day, it quickly became the next project on the list.

After the storm of the century, we had a ton of leaves everywhere. So I gathered some, slapped a lot of paint on them and voila ...

(Note burlap curtains in back)

I had asked if Will wanted to help and he said no. So I spent a very enjoyable Thursday night watching TV and crafting by myself. Very enjoyable. I realized that not every craft has to involve the boys — mommy can have her own fun too. 

What I learned from this project: 1. Yellow paint doesn't show up well on burlap. I mixed up orange instead. 2. You have to really, really layer the paint on the leaves. They seem to suck it up quick. 3. You really have to press the leaves hard for a good imprint. 4. Cutting burlap is no fun. Here's the secret.

Here's another project from the wedding ... I was going to share it in a different post but it fits today's fall theme. 

For wedding favors, we (we being several friends, we made an afternoon of it) wrapped three different candies — orange M&Ms, orange jelly beans and orange mellowcreme pumpkins — in plastic wrap and orange tulle, wrapped the stem in floral tap and added a leaf.  I think they turned out very cute. These particular pumpkins still reside in the fridge. Didn't really mean to keep them so long ...

I also linked up to


Fabulous Friday — Benjamin Franklin

I adore makeup. I love to buy it. Which is funny because I don't wear it that much. And what I adore more than makeup is makeup samples. I'm a makeup sample hoarder. Those free gifts with purchase ... basically makeup samples. We have two Sephora stores in town (I heart Sephora) but I would rather order online because each order comes with three samples. Just something about the little packages makes me happy.

So when I read about Birchbox (via Cool Mom Picks) it was as if it was made just for me. It's a makeup sample monthly subscription service. They send you new samples every month. Now, that is fabulous. The plan is that you'll love the product and want to buy more. It's not cheap so I'm going pass. I like my samples free. My words to Chris were, I can think of other ways to spend $100. For example ...

Red Rosette Tote, $28
Night Owl Paper Goods

You Are Where You Need to Be, 11x14, $28
LoveSugar (via Paper Crave)

Dreams and Love, 11x14, $28

Nest Necklace, $125
My Retro Baby

So if you had Ben Franklin drop out of sky like magic, what would you buy? 


Goodnight Moon!

Today's post is inspired by the moon. Joseph is just at that age where any time he sees the moon he reaches up and points. So super cute!

The moon is magical the way it can light up a night or be barely a sliver. We're a family of star gazers. I loved visits to the planetarium as a child and I hope Will and Joseph will enjoy it too one day. Upcoming is the annual Leonids meteor shower (more information here and here). Chris and I used to grab coffee and donuts after work in Jackson and head just a little bit out of town at the Rez to watch the show. Our spot got to be rather well known; the last year we could go, the sheriff's department was out directing traffic. Unfortunately, we haven't found a spot outside of Birmingham to watch.

(via Paper Crave)

I adore this moon calendar for 2011 by Lizardpress. The names of the full moons are based on Celtic lore. I've never seen a calendar like this one; I love its uniqueness. On the Christmas wish list. 

(via Design Crush)
Now where can I find a grassy knoll and a beautiful moon ... Laurent Laveder's series of pictures are just delightful. For a smile, check out all the poses. I find myself drawn to this image again and again.


Getting my craft on

I should be writing. I have tons of post ideas cluttering up my brain. Mostly, I want to write about all the crafty goodness I've been doing. Maybe you'll think they are great, maybe it should end up on Regretsy. Either way, I've really enjoyed the creative process lately. Even worked on a freelance project. Signed up for a handmade gift swap. Stepping outside the comfort zone.

Currant craft project list

burlap owls
burlap pumpkins ... didn't get made for Halloween so aiming for Thanksgiving
apple bread, yeast rolls and more apple bread (recipe)
Advent calendar for boys ... great ideas on Maya*made
felt Christmas ornaments
felt Christmas tree
plastic canvas ornaments to hold candy
Leaf embroidery entrance sign
Handprint embroidery and/or silhouette
several baby presents ... more of these
more momma bird pendants

As always, I have way more ideas than time or money or time ... or time! So it won't all get done. And that's okay. Sometimes it's just the process. Of course, the house gets a little dirtier when crafting so I need to go clean the kitchen before it's declared a Superfund site.

What are you working on? Ideas for Christmas crafting with little ones?


The official word

This is what neighbor and fellow play group mom Sina saw the next day in her backyard.
The houses that you can see are on my street.  

Let me just say that the folks at the local National Weather Service are a bunch of nice guys. Nice even when they are fielding calls from ladies like me intent on finding out what the heck happened last weekend

It took three phone calls but I now have an answer. Kevin, the lead meteorologist, says after looking at the radar data with co-workers and my pictures that our hail/wind event was a downburst or, in his words, the storm collapsed over our neighborhood. It certainly did come fast and hard.

It was not a tornado but we DID have tornado force winds. He estimates 60-75 mph winds. Could have been higher considering the number of trees not just pushed over, but snapped in half. One of the clear indicators that it was not a tornado is that the hail and wind came together. A tornado would have come after hail. Kevin did not downplay our event and said it was not a common thing to witness.

This is a baby crane. A baby crane cannot lift a tree that size. 

This is a monster crane! The first crane you could drive around. This one takes up the whole street. Huge! Joseph loved watching out the window.

House is tarped and ready for construction. Luckily, there is an empty house on our street that the family can rent during the process. Since Mavis couldn't have her annual Halloween party at the house, we just moved the festivities to the cul-de-sac. Will completely soaked himself bobbing for apples while the big hit of the night for the kids was roasting candy over the fire pit. We also enjoyed fried apples and fried candy. When you have that much hot oil, might as well throw anything and everything in!


Love the library

Will wanted to have a yard sale. I'm not sure exactly where he got the idea ... I'm betting it was from our favorite show de jour Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman, a cute show from PBS Kids. After agreeing that yes one day not specified in the somewhat future we could have a yard sale, a neighbor called telling me they were having one. I quickly asked if we could come join them — they get great traffic at the end of the street. I didn't have much to put in a sale but I figure that anything would satisfy Will's whim. 

To encourage a charitable spirit, I suggested to Will that a part of the proceeds could go to our local library. The library system recently faced a 48 percent cut in budget for buying books and DVDs. Where else would we be able to get a constant fix for our Thomas obsession?! Though Will is past that stage, I'm looking ahead to when Joseph moves to the island of Sodor. We need the library to keep us from going bankrupt. Will liked the idea of raising money for the library. He also like the idea that he could spend the rest of the money on toys. Win-win in his book. 

Will really got into selling his toys. We cleaned out under the bed and went through baskets. And while Will wanted to sell everything, I had to remind him that even though he may not play with that truck or that puzzle, his brother does. Mommy and daddy gathered up some things too. 

We had the yard sale Oct. 23. It was a beautiful day. I sent an e-mail out to friends hoping they would come support Will. In case they didn't want to buy our junk, I made cookies and lemonade to sell. With something for everyone, we headed out early to set up.

I'm proud to report that Will raised $35 dollars for the library. When the librarians found out, they wanted to make a big fuss over him. We considered their request for Will to make his donation at the next City Council meeting. But we preferred a smaller fuss. Don't want him to think that every time he does something nice he gets to meet the mayor! 

Today we went to our branch and Will gave his library fund jar to Renee Blalock, the top bigwig for the entire library system. I thought it was very nice of her to come from the downtown branch to see Will. They took pictures with plans to publicize his donation hoping to spur more folks to donate. We hope it does encourage people to support one of the few things in our county that works. 

A big THANK YOU to the friends that came to the sale to support Will!

Miss the yard sale? Donate here.

Trick or treat 2010

A fearless Space Policeman and his little brother, a silly alien. 

What a haul! Geez, we never got this much when we were kids.

Joseph was very cute saying "Trick Treat" at each house. I wonder if he picked up on the fact that being so cute got him lots of candy.


You killed it!

Actually, the entire quote from Linus in "The Great Pumpkin" is "I didn't know you were going to kill it!" Spoken to his sister Lucy as she plunged the knife into a perfectly drawn pumpkin. It's tradition!

First, you have to find the perfect pumpkin. Every year we visit our local Farmer's Market because that's where all the stores go to get their pumpkins. Cut out the middleman and his price hike. And even though it was 80 degrees this year, I made the boys wear fall outfits. Picture time!

Now, time to carve it!

Will wanted a scary pumpkin this year. But he says this one isn't scary. 
Better luck next year.