What is it About the Holidays?

Texas Tree and Mantle

Texas tree and mantle (Sorry for the quality. I used an iPhone photo)

It’s finally Friday, y’all.  (We won’t talk about it being Friday the 13th).

I am a failure.  It is December 13 and I have yet to turn my house into the holiday wonderland that I envision every year.  You think one of these days I’d either:

A.  Learn that it is impossible.  Or….

B.  Just breathe and relax.

What is it about the holidays that I find completely overwhelming?  I have the skills to do what I want.  I have the vision.  I try to plan ahead.  I have an attic full of holiday decorations and a craft room bursting at the seams with a plethora of every craft supply you can think of.  Yet, it never seems to happen.

Are my dreams of a Martha Stewart meets Norman Rockwellesque holidays too much?  I don’t know.  I always get part of the way there, but never reach the top.  As the queen of all things you’d think I would know the thrill of having sugar plums floating through every room of my home, of being the envy of elves everywhere, and of feeling the awe and admiration of all my friends as they enter my magic kingdom of all things Christmas.

Well….

Let’s mark this post down in the “chaos” and “life happens” category of Cooking, Crafting and Chaos.  I had a huge holiday “to-do” list for this past week.  There aren’t as many lines marking tasks done as I’d like on that list.  On the bright side, I am making some progress.   Let’s see if I can pick myself up out of the “Ho Ho Humdom” I am feeling at the moment,  review some positives and remember that I have lots to be thankful for:

  • My daughter is home for the holidays!  Both kids are under one roof for the next month.  Yay!
  • Three of the four planned Christmas trees are put together.
  • One of the above three trees is completely decorated.  (And looks quite nice if I do say so myself.)
  • It’s Friday and I have time tonight and tomorrow to finish the trees and maybe even get some wrapping done.
  • Sunday is set aside for a little shopping and some holiday baking.
  • It will be a great weekend.
  • I am very proud of my mantle decor.
  • My kitchen is decorated.  (And clean… an even bigger accomplishment)
  • I’ve stayed true to my promise to utilize what I have and buy very little in the way of holiday decorations this year.  (I spent less than $20 — $12 for new stocking hangers and $4 in supplies to make a small wreath.  Gotta love The Dollar Tree.)
  • Some of my Christmas shopping is done.
  • This past weekend I got to enjoy a Christmas party for work and another one with great friends.
  • I’ve done everything so far without taking a day off from work.

A partial shot a clean and decorated kitchen

A partial shot a clean and decorated kitchen

My $4 wreath made with supplies from The Dollar Tree.

My $4 wreath made with supplies from The Dollar Tree.

Wow.  I guess it’s not as bad as I thought. I may not be Super Woman or Mrs. Claus, but I have managed to put a little holidays in to my home.  I still have a way to go, but it will get done.  This week, I pledge to finish my projects, but I also plan to just breathe.  I want to sit on the couch with my children, enjoy our Texas tree and maybe even one of our favorite holiday movies (Most likely Elf).

Until next time ….

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Not much crafting going on … but a lot of making memories

Christmas with Taylor

It’s finally Friday, y’all!  I missed last Friday, but for good reason.

We had such a wonderful time over the Thanksgiving holiday visiting my husband’s family.  They just happen to live in the same city my daughter goes to college in, making it that much more enjoyable.

This is the first time we’ve gone away from home for Thanksgiving in several years,  so I didn’t plan well.  I came home already behind on holiday decorating, which I normally do the weekend after Thanksgiving.  One of the items on my Cooking, Crafting and Chaos “bucket list” is to have a holiday planner or binder for next year.  I’ve already made note to include checklist items such as preparing ahead of time for Christmas decorating should we travel for Thanksgiving again.    We also came home to an empty kitchen, so I think I should plan ahead for some meals on our  return as well.

It’s all good though, because it was well worth it.   I don’t have much in the way of new craft projects to share here, but  I was able to help my daughter decorate her first apartment for Christmas and do a little “crafting” for her bedroom.  She and I had so much fun with my mother-in-law working on these projects.  Isn’t that what it’s all about anyway?  Crafting memories?

All is not lost!  I actually have a small craft to share with you after all.  I just got word from my daughter (after she reminded me she will be 20 in exactly one month!  Ugh!!  Where has the time gone?) that she received her finals week goody box, so I can share a card I included.  I thought it turned out pretty cute if I do say so myself, and was a fun way to tell her to just “hang in there.”

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You’ll probably see me share a lot of handmade cards. I love sending cards and I love making them.  I can usually make them from my stash of paper scraps, and they give immediate gratification when I need to get in a little quick crafting.

My “girl cave” is currently full of projects I’m working on.  I hope to finish them all soon and have photos to share.   My projects include a mini-album of our Thanksgiving weekend, a new holiday banner for our mantle and a “December Daily” album that contains a scrapbook page for every day in December.  You are my witnesses.  It’s written here, so I am committed!!

Projects are moving along slower than I’d like, but I am doing them.

Until next time…

Tool Talk:   I stayed true to my promise to myself on all the items I made to include in my daughter’s box of goodies.  I bought no new supplies.  I made the card using my Silhouette Cameo and a cut file purchased for a previous project.  I just used a basic kraft card base and envelope I already had in my stash, and paper from an older stack by K&Company.  The smaller accents were made from scraps.

Crafting Memories ….

photo6

Hi y’all. It’s finally Friday!

I don’t have a new “crafty” something I’d like to share this week. I have been very busy getting ready for a get together at my house. But, I do have a “craft memory” to share. I guess for me, crafting is quite often about creating memories through various projects and scrapbooking.

But, I have been organizing myself and getting ready for the transition between Fall decorations and Christmas decor. I remembered a project from last year that I absolutely love and plan to expand on this year. Well, I guess this project started about 14 years ago. Now, you say, “she is the queen of unfinished craft projects.” Not quite, but close.

When my daughter was about 5, I decided we needed a Western themed Christmas tree. (I have several themed trees now). Western-themed Christmas stuff, at least in Texas can be expensive! It’s not too bad when you are only adding a piece or two, but we were starting from scratch. So, it was DIY for us. We started by recreating some rope garland I had seen in a department store. I don’t remember the exact cost, but it was something like $40 for a 6- or 8-foot piece. Pfftttt! We made it with an old red bandana and $5 worth of rope from the hardware store. It turned out quite nicely, if I do say so myself. We are still using that “garland” today.

However, you can’t fill an entire Christmas tree with rope, so we also made ornaments out of dough. Using cookie cutters, we made boots, stars and Texas shapes. My daughter helped me make them. Those are some of my most favorite ornaments I have ever had because of the memories we made. Unfortunately, over the years, the dough ornaments have fallen apart. I think I only have one or two of those left. I have been able to amass quite a collection of holiday stars, cowboy Santa’s and more since then. Even though that tree is full to the brim now, I still enjoy shopping the after Christmas sales every now and then for new finds or picking up new items while on adventures with my family.

Whew! That was a lot of jabber to get to the point of this. Sorry. Last year, I wanted to add something larger to the tree, and do it within a budget. I’ve already talked about my Silhouette Cameo and this is just another example of a project I was able to do.

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I made these stars from red, green and Kraft scrapbooking cardstock. I made them in several sizes, using one 99-cent cut file purchased from the online Silhouette store. I don’t remember quite how many I made, but there are quite a few. In all, I spent less than $10 including paper I’m sure I bought on sale. Cutting them out was a cinch, however gluing all the green and red insets onto the star was a little time consuming. Some of them I ran through the sticker machine and sped the process up a little. You could also totally do them without the insets and the project would take literally minutes.

This year, I am making a few smaller stars to add to the garland on my mantle. It should cost me nothing, as I already have the cut file and some of the paper left from last year. Yay for no-cost projects that make a big impact!!

TOOLBOX TALK: I’ve talked more than once about my Silhouette Cameo and how much I love it. This is not a new machine, but it is a good one. The biggest plus, you don’t have the added cost of buying cartridges of files to cut.

There are so many files out there you can cut and you can pick just what you need, rather than buying a whole collection only to use one or two items from it. There are a multitude of websites that offer low-cost and even free files. I get most of mine from the Silhouette subscription program. Subscriptions start at $9.95 a month, but for that $9.95, you get $25 worth of files. Most files are 99 cents. They also offer a clearance section each week with files for 50 cents, and every Tuesday they offer one FREE file. LOVE it! I’m addicted. I’m amazed at all the scrapbook embellishments I’ve used and crafts I’ve done using their files. I just use the search function to find something specific to match what I’m working on. There are thousands of files and fonts you can choose from. Check it out if you have a chance:

Silhouette Online Store

Keep in mind, you can also cut the fonts you already have on your computer and convert any clip art or shape you have to an SVG (cut) file. I use an online converter, but if you are computer savvy there are other ways to do it as well, I just like the ease of the online converter I found.

With Silhouette software, you are also able to create your own art, alter or resize files you already own. It is so easy.

The only drawback I see (and it is small) to this electronic cutter is that is not super portable. You do have to hook it to a computer with the Silhouette Software on it. This computer “houses” all your cut files.

Until next time ….