Sunday, January 15, 2017

January 15: Confession

I have a confession to make.





I know, I KNOW!  And it's ~so~ unlike me, honestly.

The "big" Christmas tree was taken down and all of the upstairs decor was packed away before New Year's, but my silver tinsel tree with its vintage-y ornaments and the felt ornament kitsch tree in the downstairs den... well... I just haven't felt... done with them.

We've had bipolar weather here in Oz since Christmas, ranging from wind chills of -11 degrees to highs of 50+ with more thermal mood swings yet to come.  I'm also forty-seven years old now and am not feeling terribly inclined to continue to impose rules upon myself.  Maybe I'm entering a new sparkle phase.

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, perhaps I'll feel the urge to catch up with the calendar.


Just another example of that's-just-so-NOT-like-me being...

... me.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Oh Christmas Trees, Oh Christmas Trees...

... how sparkly are thy branches.

One of my longest delayed decorating whirlwinds ever (thanks to an overwhelmingly busy school year that has had me beyond exhausted) finally occurred on Monday and Tuesday, just days before Christmas.

Houston, we have TREES!

 There's one on the front porch:

 ... and one upstairs between the living and dining rooms, being kept company by two Norfolk pines (not pictured) that hopefully won't go into shock after I replanted them into larger ceramic pots.

 The Fifth Grader helped me decorate our kitschy tree for the downstairs den, full of felt ornaments and glittery bulbs, with Abominable greeting us each time we congregate for a holiday movie:

... and I couldn't resist putting my ever-growing collection of vintage ornaments on display in my crafty nook:

Better late than never, and there's an ever-so-significant-SLIGHT chance that the trees will stay up past the New Year.

Can you blame me?

Monday, June 13, 2016

Summer Blooms

After a few weeks away from school, blooms are beginning to appear:

Tomato blooms...

Petunia blooms...

... and the blooms that promise pumpkins:

I do love summer blooms.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Simple Summer Porch Decor

Summer has started, which means it's time to summer-clean, summer-sort, and summer-decorate.

I don't go hog wild because hey, it's this teacher's ~vacation~ after a surprisingly difficult school year.

Simple is good.  I have books to catch up on, recorded mini-series to binge-watch, crafting to do.

I found a beautiful hanging basket (flat, pouch-style) on sale a few weeks ago at Nell Hill's, a glorious home decor shop, just waiting for some faux flowers... white cherry blossoms and blue hydrangeas, maybe?

The cherry blossom branches are on long wired stems and were easy to bend:

The hydrangeas were in a bush, and needed to be cut apart.  I spread each stem away from the base:

... and then snippity-snipped.  My continued use of highly technical terms likely indicates to you that my summer break really has just begun.  Give me a week or two.  I'll relax.  I promise.

Then it was time to tuck and arrange the branches and stems.  I thought I'd need the green floral wire to attach the stems to some of the woven basket sections, but I ended up liking the floppy arrangement well enough to not use it. 


Not quite...

Ding ding ding!  We have a winner!

Go ahead, blame the inner-Alaskan in me for using spring flowers for summer porch decor.  I won't mind.

I'll be busy reading, watching, and crafting, after all. 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Keeping a Spring Break Promise

I get to put a checkmark next to a promise I added to my Spring Break want-to-do list:

I followed up on a tutorial that I saved to Pinterest from a wonderful lady, Debbie Saenz, over at her blog, A Creative Life.  I haven't seen her post for a few years now (she does have an Etsy shop), but am terribly appreciative that her mixed media tutorial is still available online.

Following her instructions and photos for guidance and inspiration, I managed to make a fabulous mess in my crafty nook today, and used half a jar of Mod Podge in the process.



You know you're in crafting heaven when you realize that you ~enjoy~ peeling the dried Mod Podge from your fingers, all elementary-school-days-wet-glue style. 

Scrabble tiles on the floor (I decided to print my text instead of using them), along with pieces of vintage sheet music and old book pages... acrylic paint, water, foam and bristle brushes, ribbon, lace, scissors, stamp pads, E-6000 and Mod Podge... oh, buttons too... you name it, I probably grabbed it to have within easy reach while I tried to determine how to alter my canvases.

The first canvas was stretched over a frame, resulting in a LOT of air bubbles and wrinkles across the surface, while my second canvas covering heavy cardboard or chipboard, made it easier (and faster) to layer papers with Mod Podge, and other elements with glue.

Here's the second canvas:

I came ~this close~ to NOT painting the book and music pages... But I had paint left over from the first canvas that I didn't want to waste, so I used it.

Ohhhhhhhhh, let's not forget the bubble wrap!  See the texture I added to the pink wash by pressing white paint onto bubble wrap and then touching it to the canvas?

Bubble wrap is just as fun to paint with as it is to pop.


My friend Karen suggested a quote from Winnie the Pooh for my collages:

... inspiring me to use a single word to fill this heart:

Thank you, dear friend.

I completed two collages one day before I head back to the classroom for the beginning of the last quarter for this school year.  I was cutting it close, but I kept a spring break promise to myself: learn something new and create something from it.


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

December: It's Time

Once winter vacation starts, December is usually a happy, restful, and rejuvenating month for me.

This year, unexpectedly, my time has been spent performing traditional tasks mostly due to obligation, not joyful intentions.  Work was draining, right to the very end of the semester, and I worked through my first weekend at home cleaning, sorting, and decorating when I really would have preferred to have slept for hours on end.  Though I've heard of blue Christmases happening to others, it's still difficult trying to hide my disappointment as I wonder just what has happened to the long term peace and contentment that the holiday break from teaching usually provides.  I might need to practice mindful breathing, as my usual physical and emotional exhale hasn't naturally occurred yet.

There were lovely moments this month, to be sure.  Unwrapping ornaments and decorating our tree is always a favorite job of mine, and I enjoyed reminiscing over Christmases past as I hung each decoration:

I was pleasantly surprised to see how many friends and family had returned to sending actual Christmas cards via post:

I baked and mailed cookies:

... and celebrated my 46th birthday crying and squealing with glee when I opened up my new iMac.  The monitor is incredible, and I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to all of the blog posts, Twitter chats, pinning, and creating that will occur at my fingertips in the upcoming year.  The computer has already found its new home in my Crafty Nook:

Over the past few days I've binge-watched prior seasons of Game of Thrones and Fixer Upper, crocheted, and hidden downstairs in the crafty nook:

I've had ~much~ too much coffee and fruitcake, and have sat quietly looking out the window at the piddly amount (yes, PIDDLY) of snow that has fallen, causing me to conclude that I'll have to depend upon my silver tinsel tree for any real winter sparkle:

No one remembered to find the pickle ornament this year on our green tree, which has caused me actual sadness.  "Remind the kids" is the simplest and most expedient solution (and one I used several years ago without blinking an eye) but this month my brain seems to want to wallow in grief, which is really starting to piss me off. 

What is this?

Teacher burn out?  Peri-menopause?  Global warming?  Too much time on social media, with all of the gaslighting, spin, and overuse of "OMG, you won't BELIEVE" or "wars" and "outrage" on and over anything and everything?  Anxiety, anger, and intolerance do nothing but drain me.  For someone already exhausted from work, I need beauty, breathing and rest to counteract this funk.

I have four days before I return to work.  Time to giggle over the cat playing in the blanket that covers my lap:

... and joyful discoveries like The Fourth Grader having set the breakfast table:

... and time to tell him (and Godzilla) to find the pickle.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Halloween Swap Ornaments

Look what came in the mail!  This year's ornaments from Sarah's Halloween Ornament Swap in all their spooky-sweet glory!  They're all fabulous additions to my silver tinsel tree and the mini-mantel behind it:

 Delores made a two sided felt house, with a ghost on one side and a spider in its web on the other...

 Robin made this paper cone full to the brim with orange, black and sparkles...

Michelle and Ashley made this sparkly witch's broom...

 I love the vintage-y feel of Kim's scarecrow ornament- you should check out the rest of her family's Halloween decor!

Beth made this skeleton gal, all dolled up and ready to party in her twirly candy cane skirt and spider/boa fascinator (her toenails are even polished!).

Marci made this dandy- love his top hat!

Keri made a little fireplace vignette- look at the teeny-tiny mouse in the lower left corner!

Sarah managed to get this little mouse to wear a witch's hat and perch atop a glittery pumpkin, INSIDE a very small glass bulb!  Oh yes, this one is hung ~well~ out of reach of Buck-the-Cat.

Something delicious (or carnivorous?) must have been brewing in this witch's cauldron from Beth the Second!

Meghan made this super glossy acorn jack-o-lantern, another ornament that would be v-e-r-y tempting for my cat!

What ornaments did I create for these wonderful swappers?  Last year I came across a bag of vintage cupcake picks- I actually REMEMBER seeing these jacks, skellies, cats, and witches on bakery shop cupcakes when I was a little girl:

Dumping them out onto the middle of my craft table, they were quickly joined by autumn colored yo-yos, floss, beads, ribbon, tatty lace, star spangles, mini-tins, batting, and denim.  I decided to make little Halloween dancers.

 Then I finished them off with star hanging hooks:

Bagged and tagged, the ornaments were mailed off to Sarah, who divvied them up, repacked boxes, and mailed the exchanged ornies back to us in time for Halloween!

Thank you for the lovely ornaments, ladies, and Happy Halloween!