I've definitely had fun sharing with you all some of the projects and highlights of the past year. You all are a lot of fun to write for and I appreciate every single comment & question. Today, I thought I'd share some of my favorites from this year. Each little project is making this home more "us", and I hope you've found some inspiration for your home along the way as well...
Thanks for stopping by for this little re-cap. Looking forward to a wonderful 2011 with lots of new projects to share with you all. For more great projects from 2010, hop on over to Southern Hospitality's Top Projects Party.
I don't have a great or exciting post for you today. Just a handy little tip that I was planning to post for you before Christmas when (if you were like me) you were decorating like there was no tomorrow while eating a candy cane, humming Christmas carols, and sporting a Santa apron. And now (if you're like me) you're completely sick of the Christmas stuff & wondering why on earth you can never remember that Christmas Decor Law of Physics. You know, the one about "what goes up, must come down"?
Well, I'm finally almost Christmas-free for another year, and I'm so exhausted, I thought I'd take a break & write this post.
This little tip might help you out if you got some new tchotchkes for Christmas...
Have you ever bought a great new accessory for your house or transferred something from one place to another & discovered that the bottom of your item was too rough to place on your furniture without scratching it up? It's a bummer.
This happened to me when I was rearranging some things before Christmas, so I used my hot glue dot trick to solve the problem. Here's what to do: heat up your trusty old hot glue gun & then simply create some "feet" for your tchotchke with some globs of the glue.
Make the dots approximately the same size so everything will be in balance. Be sure you wait a few minutes for the glue to dry completely before you try it out on your surface. If something's out of whack, just peel off the dot(s) that are out of balance & try it again.
Just one more reason to love your glue gun. Now save your surfaces!
Every Christmas I spend a lot of time reflecting on other Christmases. I have a Christmas journal which holds memories of people & events surrounding every Christmas for the past 15 years. Anyone else do this? I also write in it the gifts people gave me & some of the ones I gave them. And I ask my kids questions like, "What was your favorite Christmas gift you ever got?", because I love re-living the excitement of giving someone that perfect gift.
In fact, my favorite Christmases are the ones when I had found just the right gift & couldn't wait to give it to someone and see their reaction. To me, that's really the gift. The reaction. The type that brings on screams of excitement, looks of shock, and (if you really did a good job) tears of joy.
When I think back to my favorite Christmases, I always think of one in particular. I don't even know what year it was. I think I was a teen-ager. My dad got the idea to surprise my Mamaw (his mom) with a drawing of her childhood home in Kentucky. She had told us story after story of growing up there, and she had one little black and white photo of the house. My dad took the photo from her house without her knowing and from that, made a drawing of the house. We were all in on the big surprise. I remember how excited we were, night after night, watching it come together, imagining how exciting it was going to be on Christmas Day when she would finally open it & see it for herself.
I will never forget when the time came and we all gathered around her in our basement den, my Papaw beside her with his arms folded, smiling with the knowledge of the secret. And when she opened it, she gave us the gift we had all been waiting for. Her silence said it all. Then she cried and said, "Oh, Honey, " about 29 times, which caused us all to cry and feel more proud than we even thought possible because the mission was accomplished. She loved it.
To this day she still over-reacts to everything we do for her. It's a gift she doesn't even know she gives us. And she means it with all her heart. Every time. I love that about her.
I want to be more like that. I want to be genuinely thankful for the little things. I want to give my kids the gift of a good reaction when I open up that tchotchke from the Dollar Store again this year.
And I'll give my husband the gift of a good reaction when I see that fabulous bird cage he's giving me (yes, I accidentally found out about it- and no, it's not for a bird). And I'll do my best not to return whatever item of clothing he may have waiting for me under the tree as well.
Because I know what the gift of a good reaction feels like. And it's better than a bird cage. No matter how fabulous.
I had a different post planned for today. More about gifts, and giving, and drumming up some last-minute Christmas cheer. And I had another post planned about the true meaning of Christmas because, after all, this wouldn't be the Christian blog I claim it is without that.
But, as much as I say I'm focused on Him, rather than all the sparkle around me, somehow I've spent the majority of yet another Christmas season wrapped up in things I can hold in my hands. I've still been focused on Christmas decor. Christmas gifts. Christmas food. Christmas things.
But, the Lord has ways of changing our focus. Yesterday, tragedy struck a friend of mine. Many of you know her as well. Her name is Edie. She has a blog called Life in Grace where she writes about her family, her faith, and her beautiful home. (You may recall when I posted about her here.) Well, yesterday, she lost one of those three things she writes to us about. Due to a fire in the night, they lost their home and all their earthly possessions. Praise the Lord, they all escaped safely. But, a loss like that, at a time like this, can only be understood by those who have been through it themselves.
It's amazing how news like this can bring everything into focus.
I can't get them off of my mind since yesterday and I've been praying continuously for them as I urge you all to do as well. I look forward to reading in the future how God takes care of them through this. And the things they learn. And about Edie's true Life in Grace.
As you think of their family, I hope this brings your Christmas into focus as well. Christmas things do not make it Christmas. Jesus really is the reason. For this season and for every other one as well. He's the reason there is no need to despair. Even when tragedy strikes. He's the reason we have hope. For this life and the next. If you're missing that, you're missing it all. If all Jesus is to you is a figure in a nativity scene or a story you've heard about, please let me share with you how to change that.
I pray it's Christmas in your heart even more so than in your home.
Still looking for a something great to make for that next Christmas party? I've made this little Snowman Cheeseball for several years now & he's always a hit. And he's super-easy to make!
Just mix together (2) 8-oz. packages of cream cheese, a clove of garlic (minced) & a 1/4 cup of finely shredded mozzarella. Form the mixture into 2 balls , one larger & one smaller, then roll the balls in more mozzarella. To assemble the snowman, stack the small ball on top of the larger (use toothpicks to stack if needed), then add peppercorns for the eyes & buttons & a shred of carrot for the nose. To make the hat, cut circles from a piece of toasted wheat bread, then place it on his head with a toothpick!
If you're still scrambling for a last-minute teacher or hostess gift, here are a few crafty ideas that don't take long to make. And you might even have the supplies you need in your craft closet!
Number One: Chalkboard Vases
I stole this idea from the PB Teen catalog. Did you see these adorable "Say What? Vases"?
They're really not a bad deal from PB (on sale for $29 for 3 plus free shipping!), but if you don't have time to wait for Fed-Ex, or if you're like me & you can't stand to buy what you know you can make yourself, try this.
Choose a plain glass vase in a shape you like...
Give it several light coats of Krylon Chalkboard Spray Paint. (I use the method I described here to spray paint vases.) Tie a piece of chalk on with a ribbon, & you've got a cute gift for a hostess or a teacher!
Number Two: Fabric Flower Necklace
This is a cute & easy idea for girls of all ages. When I saw this tutorial by Little Miss Momma, it looked so easy, I had to try one for myself. In about an hour, I had a new necklace! I had everything I needed for the project in my craft room (but then again, I'd be on Craft Hoarders if there were such a show). I added some pearl beads & a ribbon to mine. And you can change it up anyway you want to make a great gift for someone (or yourself).
Number Three: Super Easy Sugar Scrub
All the directions for this great gift idea are listed here. I posted about this back around Mother's Day, but it's really great for anytime of year. Just this week, my daughter's teacher from last year told me she loved hers so much, she's making some for gifts this Christmas. This is a great & practical gift that people will love you for!
Hope this inspires you with some gift ideas! I'm linking up with a few of these people. You may find more inspiration when you check them out!
Here are some thoughts about my blissfully ordinary life as a wife to the man of my dreams and mom to 4 great little imperfect people...and any other random thing that may come to mind. I thank the Lord Jesus Christ for the countless ways He's blessed me throughout my life. He's the most important Person you'll ever meet & if you don't know Him, please let me be the one to introduce you to Him!