Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Traditions

Marni from Sassy Sites posted a blog with several questions about holiday decorating and traditions and instead of answering her in a comment I am going to do it here!

-How do you transition yourself from one holiday to the next?
I have never really though about it! When I was younger there was a box or set of boxes for each holiday and when the holiday was over that box was packed back up and the next set was brought out. Now I do more of a gradual change and I tend to move things around the house to keep it fresh.

-When do you put up your Christmas decorations?
Our Christmas decorations start going up the day after Thanksgiving, and continue all through the month of December.

-Do you wrap all the presents throughout the month and put them under the tree, or do you wait until Christmas Eve?
If I wrap the presents too early, then I forget what I have bought and end up overbuying. Instead I like to group each family members gifts in my closet where I can see at a glance what I have and what I still need to get for people. I also keep a list on my Blackberry of what I have bought so that when I am out shopping I don't duplicate anything.

-Do you warn your kids that Santa might NOT be bringing them what they want for Christmas this year?
Yes! Sometimes what they want is just too expensive, is the "gift of the year" and is nowhere to be found, or is something that I know they will play with/use for all of 17 minutes before they are on to the next thing.

I am not a fan of all the walking/talking/pooping dolls and the like. In my experience, kids will play much longer with a plain simple doll than they will with a flashy doll. They have to use their imagination more and are not told "how" to play with the toy.

-Do you decorate your Christmas tree with colored lights or just white?
We are a white light family; On the tree and on the house. I think it makes the ornaments stand out a little more. I do like seeing colored lights during the holidays, but I just like the white ones in my home.

-Have your children watched all the old Christmas movies that you watched when you were little?
Oh yeah! Miracle on 34th Street(both versions), and It's a Wonderful Life are holiday staples around here. I have tried to find the original Babes in Toyland with no luck. Boo!

-Do you let your children open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Yes. We go to my parents house for Christmas Eve and they always get the kids new pj's that they open and wear that night. It's the only time that my kids wear something new without it getting washed first;)

-Does everyone have the same stocking each year, or do you purchase new ones every Christmas?
Do people seriously buy new ones each year? That's crazy! We have had our current ones for 6 or 7 years now and I would love to replace them but feel like these are still too new! ;)  Ours are silver and we bought them at Pottery Barn, but now I think that they are too boring and would love to make some with bright colors. I think we were trying to be all sophisticated when we purchased them, but have now come to accept ourselves for the colorful people we are. Maybe this will be the year I replace them.

-Does your Christmas tree have a different theme each year?
Nope. Not really a theme at all. We just hang up ornaments that we love and have collected over the years. This year I would love to try to stick to our more colorful ornaments, but who knows!

-Artificial tree or real?
Real and super fresh! We drive into the mountains with hot chocolate and a box of cuties and cut down our own tree. They last so much longer and then we have a great memory of the hunt.

Okay, now it's your turn! Here are the questions so you can copy and paste them easier:)

-How do you transition yourself from one holiday to the next?
-When do you put up your Christmas decorations?
-Do you wrap all the presents throughout the month
and put them under the tree, or do you wait until Christmas Eve?
-Do you warn your kids that Santa might NOT be bringing them what they want for Christmas this year?
-Do you decorate your Christmas tree with colored lights or just white?
-Have your children watched all the old Christmas movies that you watched when you were little?
-Do you let your children open a gift on Christmas Eve?
-Does everyone have the same stocking each year, or do you purchase new ones every Christmas?
-Does your Christmas tree have a different theme each year?
-Artificial tree or real?

If you do these, then post a link to your blog in my comments section so I can come over and read your answers!

Amy Signature

Dining Room Buffet

My sister in law has been asking me to see pictures of the refinished dresser, hereafter known as the "buffet" in it's new home and I realized that I had not posted about it yet. 

Before it came into the house I decided that the kitchen walls needed a fresh coat of paint. It had been about 2 years since the room was painted and it just needed it. I knew that if the buffet came in, the painting would never get done. This way there was a reward for completing the paint job! Yay!

I stayed up way too late painting and then as soon as the walls were dry had the husband help me carry the very heavy buffet into the dining area and then nagged enthusiastically encouraged him for days until he rehung all the wall stuff I had him remove when I painted.

It's a good thing he loves me...I make him do lots of random stuff:)

Here is the buffet in it's new home. That tree candle holder is only temporary. I am thinking that I want a large mirror there. What do you think? I am still not certain about it. Any suggestions for what I should do with the wall space?

For "just because" here's the other side of the dining area.

Amy Signature

P.S Anyone know how to get that box around my new signature to go away?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gathered Clutch

I finally made Noodleheads Gathered Clutch!

This one was made for my sister Angie's 26th birthday.  
I love these fabrics! They are so soft and the print is just gorgeous.
I may have to make myself one like this one:)

 This one was given to my 18 year old sister Sarah for her birthday.

 This one I kept for myself...mostly because it was my first one and it didn't come out very well. I didn't read the directions all the way on the zipper step and my zipper was too long which messed up the final sewing stage. Oh well, live and learn! It works and I love the fabrics, so it is in my diaper bag right now.

 Along with the bags I also made each sister a matching crayon roll, and made some for my niece, nephews and my two youngest siblings. The middle kids all want one now, so I will be sewing up some more before our next visit at Christmas.

I am linking up with some of these Rad-tastic blogs:)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I've been featured!

My refinished dresser has been featured by:
I always love seeing what she features and was beyond THRILLED to be among them today:)
Thanks Stephanie!!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Refinished Dresser

Here it is BEFORE:

Not a bad piece, but I wanted to use it as a buffet 
and it just wouldn't go with my table as it was.

Here is the color: Caribe by Behr.

I painted it and then asked if I should glaze it or not.
The consensus from the comments here and on Facebook was to glaze!
Here is the glaze: Ralph Lauren Glaze in Tobacco.

 After trying it out on one drawer I decided that it was too light so I added some black paint to it. I went to Home Depot and got a paint sampler which was just the right amount of paint and it was less than 3 dollars! Oh yeah!

 To update the hardware I used Rust-Oleum Hammered spray paint in Bronze. Normally I am a doofus when it comes to using spray paint, but this was so easy and smooth! It took everything in me not to remove all the doorknobs in the house and paint them. I told that to the husband and he just looked at me as if he was discovering a whole new side of my freak-ness. What can I say? I was excited!

Here is the AFTER:

Isn't she gorgeous? I am so glad that I glazed her! 
Thank you to all the wonderful blog peeps who weighed in on the decision:)
Y'all rock!!!

 Here are more pictures of it:

If you look closely at the dresser you can see which drawer was my first one. It's much lighter(I hadn't added the black paint to the stain yet), and it's all "perfect" but not in a good way. Blah! I am going to have to redo it, but for now I will live with it.

After my first drawer I let go of my perfectionistic freak-ness and just had fun painting on the glaze and then wiping it off. It was so freeing!

I am very pleased with the outcome and am already wanting another piece to redo! This was my first and as such will always hold a very special place in my heart:)

I will be linking up with some of these amazing blog parties!!!


This project has been featured by:

My Craftie Life


Friday, November 12, 2010

Dresser Progress and a Question

Here is what I have done so far on the Flower Dresser:

I took all the drawers out and gave the whole thing a really good cleaning. Then I had to figure out how I was going to tape off all those drawers so that I could keep the primer overspray out of them. I HATE taping, but I hate overspray more.

I looked around the garage and had a light bulb moment when I saw this:
It is meant for wrapping furniture for moving.
It keeps whatever you wrap it in safe from scratches:)

As you can see it worked great. Yay for not having to TAPE!

Here are all the drawers wrapped and ready to prime.

 All primed! I used 2 cans of spray paint primer and I have to say that I am not a fan.
I just didn't get the coverage that I wanted.

I prefer a bucket of primer and a paintbrush.

Here is my paint...isn't is delicious?
You see now why I wanted to slather it on my person, right?

Here is the dresser after 2 coats of paint.

I love this color so much that I want to paint EVERYTHING!
You'd better run!!!

I still have to paint the hardware and I want to do one more coat of paint before I can put it together and bring it into the kitchen.

I have a question for you:
Should I leave it a solid color or should I put a glaze on it?
The glaze that I have is Ralph Lauren Glaze in Tobacco.

What do you think?

If you don't know what "glazing" is, 
here is a Glazing 101 by All Things Thrifty that explains it really well.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Flower Dresser

My sister in law Cindy gave me this amazing dresser for FREE! After hubby brought this home for me I was dying to go to Home Depot to pick out my paint.
I love hardware stores!

 Isn't she gorgeous? I love the different sized drawers and that the top two are curvy while the rest are more square. I am planning to use this piece in my dining area as a buffet and to store some craft supplies.

This is my favorite little detail...there are three carved flowers on the front! 
One on each side and one in between the top drawers.

I am in love!

I took the girl to Awana and then went to Home Depot. I was literally giddy while I walked up and down the aisles waiting for my paint to get mixed.

When the guy opened the can to put the little dab of color on the top of the lid
I thought, "Is it weird that I want to rub that color all over me?"

Seriously? Yep:) 
I wanted to dip my hand into the paint and smear it all over me. 

I am revealing all sorts of freak-ness right now,
so feel free to click "next" on your reader.

I'm sorry.

Rhythm Sticks

I introduced Travis to rhythm sticks, and he loved it!

Have you ever played with rhythm sticks with your kids?

You's fun!

They are simple wooden sticks painted in fun colors that are used to drum out rhythms and to tap together.

They are great for teaching/developing:
Hand/Eye coordination
Gross and Fine motor skills
Crossing the midline of the body
Spacial awareness
Following directions(when older)
Movement exploration
And really alot more that I can't think of right now:)

 Here he is trying to figure out what the heck to do with these things.

How does a 13 month old discover the world around him?
He puts things in his mouth! :)

Then he discovered the sound that it makes when the two sticks make contact. Yay! He loves playing with the rhythm sticks:)

At this point I am not trying to direct his play...I watch him play and then I talk about what he is doing: "Travis is hitting the floor with a red stick!", "You are tasting a yellow stick!"

Telling your baby/toddler what they are doing gives them the words to go with their actions and helps to build up their vocabulary.

As I say the color of the stick I also make the sign for the color to teach him a little sign language.

Right now he can tap the sticks together and loves to take them out of the bin and then put them back in. He also hands one to me and then takes it back from me. 

As he gets older we will be doing more structured playtime with the sticks.

I bought my sticks, but you could easily make some of your own with some dowels and some food grade paint.

Here are some blog parties I link up to:)

Monday, November 08, 2010

Amazing Banana Muffins and A Tip

My family LOVES banana bread!

I make muffins because they are perfect serving sizes and are so easy to grab
for a fast and healthy breakfast.

I usually make a couple batches at a time and freeze some for later.
They freeze really well.

The recipe I use is the Classic Banana Bread from Cooking Light.

I changed a few things:
1) I use whole wheat flour instead of white flour.
2) I add walnuts, but only to some(more on that in a sec)
3) Muffins bake faster, so I only bake for 30 minutes

Everything else is the same.

My husband and I both like walnuts in our banana bread,
but our 7 year old daughter does not.

 Here is my tip:
Make batter without nuts and scoop into the Pink muffin liners.

Then stir in the chopped walnuts(or whatever kind you like) 
and pour into the Blue and Yellow muffin liners

And here they are all done!
Pink wrappers without nuts and Blue and Yellow ones with nuts.
Now my daughter can grab a muffin and know that it is one that she likes:)

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Haul Out the Holly!

Gwen of Gwenny Penny is hosting a holiday event from November 29th to December 10th and she invited me to participate!

Haul out the Holly,Gwenny Penny,Christmas craft tutorials

Oh my gosh! I am so touched and honored to be a part of this...
it's going to be a blast!

Go over to Gwen's blog to see who the other bloggers are.
The most important thing she’d learned over the years was that there was no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one."
~Jill Churchill