Making Scrap Wood into Gift Ideas

I have a love affair with architectural accents. I always see more than it's original purpose. A piece of trim that was once used as an accent piece is now made into a picture frame to hold a picture of someone special or made into a Christmas Tree or Flag. I use each piece and nothing goes to waste. When I cut something, I will save the leftover piece. It goes into a box. It may be a triangle, a square or a rectangle…..sometimes it's a really awkward shape. I started making ornaments out of left over wood 4 years ago. I pulled out my stamps and added a "Merry Christmas" or "To: From:". They adorn a tree in my house and I still love to make them. This year, I was asked to come up with a craft for our local daytime show, Daytime Alabama. Wendy Garner is a friend and the host of the show. She and I have talked a little about my craftiness and she asks me to come up with something every once in awhile to do a segment. I did a couple of segments in the spring with The Smoking Glue Guns!

We set up in Papa's Barn since he has a great workspace and it's one of my favorite spots to work! Laura came over to be my "assistant". She did a great job stamping away while we talked about all the ways you can use these small pieces. By the way, Anthropologie is selling a little bundle of wood pieces for $14.00 right now. You can get those…..or just run outside and see what you can find! (wink)

Throw one on a wine bottle for the perfect hostess gift!

Thread the ornaments with jute to hang on the tree. 

These can be place holders, coasters, or just name plates for everyone that's coming to the party!

 I picked these up at the hunting camp the weekend before. They were left overs from the wood chopping and we made them into personalized coasters!

I love this one! Personalizing each person's stocking would be a fun project for the family to make one night! Have each person make their own or decorate it for someone else! 

You can see the segment here. We had a blast, as usual! Thanks for coming by, Wendy!

WVTM-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Birmingham, AL

An Ornament Party or Something Like That

I have been hosting a Dirty Santa Party for the last 15 years. It is definitely the highlight of my holiday season, and if I'm honest, one of my favorite nights of the entire year!! I invite over friends and everyone brings a gift for a Dirty Santa Swap. If you've never played this game, the rules vary and I get to decide the rules at my party!

First of all, there is food! We had Friday Pasta catered from Taziki's and so many of my friends brought appetizers, desserts and wine! We had a full table and it was all DELISH!

 I'm so blessed with so many friends that enjoy coming to this party. Some we see all year and others not as much, but we get to celebrate each other and the holiday season on this night.

 A party isn't complete without photos, right? Well, I have a professional photographer that is one of my dear friends and she offered to take photos as a gift to me! Isn't that the best gift ever? Her Dirty Santa gift was a photography session with Santa for next year. Believe me when I tell you, this was the BEST gift of the night! Here's the pic from my session with Santa this year!

She set up a spot for everyone to have pictures made with friends in front of the tree. We took lots and Lori gave us tips on how to take a better picture. Chin up and out and lean over!!

 Can you tell these two are my sisters? 

Emma got to come this year! We may have to start a new tradition and make it a Mother/Daughter event!

 Oh look! Lori came out from behind the camera! 

The night isn't complete without a group photo! It's hard to find a spot for everyone at Hansel and Gretel. This place is brimming with furniture and holiday decor! You can click over here to see the Holiday Tour!

 I love seeing all of the candids of people laughing and hanging out. 

 We started the Dirty Santa Swap. This is wear everyone's true colors come out. If you want to play, you bring a wrapped gift. Back in the beginning, this party was considered an ornament swap. Up until this year, that's what I called it. I got a hard time after last year when some people brought ornaments and some brought GIANT letters that spelled J O Y. The gifts didn't feel equal to some and some left pouting, some with gifts and some without? The way we play is you count the gifts and if you brought one, you pull a number out of the hat to determine when you get to choose a gift. Number 1 opens the first gift, number 2 can steal it or open a new gift and so on. To keep the game from going on and on and a gift being stolen over and over, it can only be stolen twice. That means 3 people can touch it and it's dead. No one else can steal it. Unless, you are number 1, then you can take ANY gift whether it's dead or not! This makes the end of the night very entertaining!

 Sometimes, there are gag gifts. Sometimes, people play tricks on each other. A few years ago, Suzanne got a hold of Daphney's senior portrait…..She blew it up to an 8x10 and framed it. It was the best gift that year! Several got to take a magnet of Daphney from 1989 home with them! It was hilarious!!

This year, Daphney paid her back. She found a picture that Suzanne sent us while on a field trip with one of her boys. She was on the bus, the windows were down and she was having a blast. (not) Little did she know, Molly would play around with it and add a sombrero and mustache, make sure Daphney had it and a mug was ordered on Suzanne, the intuitive person that she is, picked the small package wrapped in red polkadot. She had no idea what was going on. EVERYONE else had been filled in throughout the night. When she grabbed that package, cameras came out and the surprise commenced!

She was COMPLETELY blown away! She was speechless. Do you know her? That does NOT happen! I wouldn't give anything for the way Lori captured this moment.

 It was the perfect ending to an amazing party! Thank you to all of my friends who came to the party. I wouldn't trade any of you and your friendships! xoxo

The good sport and her mug that is on every counter every morning this holiday season. Here's to you Suzi! muah!

Recap of Gift Market at the Atlanta Mart 2013

I just spent 5 days in Atlanta shopping. Wow, who wouldn't love to say that? I love going to market with my sisters. They have the cutest shop in Trussville,  Alabama, called The Spotted Zebra. Isn't that the cutest name? It's gifts and a little home decor. They have such a great client base in Trussville and their customers love them! I love hanging out with them at the Mart because I get to see their dynamic and how they work together. They both have different strengths and the shop would not be able to run without both of them. I always add in my 2 cents just to ruffle some feathers!

There are 3 buildings at the Mart. Building 1 is full of showrooms that are open almost year round. You will find furniture, rugs and seasonal in that building. During a big market, they have 2 floors dedicated to temporaries. Temps are the booths that only come for market and are gone as soon as it's over. This is where you find all the new, cool stuff! Building 2 is full of gift companies. I mean everything you can imagine is in this building. You will find furniture, flags, pottery, frames, jewelry, lamps, every thing under the sun! Building 3 is known as the apparel building. When they have apparel mart, I envision all the showrooms open with clothing pouring out of each! During Gift Market, they have several floors dedicated to temporaries. I have a few favorites! I got to see a couple of great friends that had booths on floor 2. Vallie and Leah were both there. Their booths were packed when we went by. That always makes me happy to see someone be successful at what they love to do. I also always hit up Art by Amy. She is one of the people that inspired me to start making Lucy Lockets. She has a booth full of chain and charms and all kinds of crazy things to add to a necklace. One of the coolest things is you can pick out the charms you like and she will make you a necklace on the spot! Thinking that might be a good idea for me. Anyone want to host a party???

We had a great time. We saw lots of friends and lots of really cool things that will be in the store this year. If you get a chance, go by the store and tell them hello. You can also follow their Facebook page to keep up with all the new stuff that comes in!

I took a few pictures of my favorites. I may try and do a "trends of 2013" post, if I can muster up the list! There were definitely somethings that stood out.

 I shared this on Instagram {trend alert}

I love a yarn stocking. We "stocked up" on these!

Guess who will have a Giant light-up E in her room?

You might see a chalkboard wall at the store the next time you stop in!

 This girl had great jewelry at great prices. It was Fabu!

I shared this on Instagram, too. I need this at the beach!!

This showroom knocks my socks off every time! This fish is gorgeous!!

This patent white couch. O, yeah, just O! {trend alert}

Demdaco blew us away with their vintage signing. Some really cute pieces for Christmas!

 How could I not share this one! Who wants one of these for their tree. Or just to hang on their desk! 

Christmas with the Smoking Glue Gun Girls

My new craft group, The Smoking Glue Guns, was planning their holiday party. Um, they wanted hubbies to come? NO! All that's going to happen is the girls in one room and the boys in the other. The husbands will complain about having to go and then we won't even talk to them. NO BOYS ALLOWED! Well, that was my opinion and then it was decided {ahem, by Ashlee} that the party would be at Hansel and Gretel! Christmas at Hansel and Gretel, what would be better? Well, I'm used to having parties at my house. Um, the other house. The one that could hold lots of people and no one would trip over cords....sorry, Christy! I was ready, though. Hosting a party at Hansel and Gretel was one of the reasons I love this house. It has so much character and needs to have people see it and swoon over me!

It had been raining ALL DAY LONG! I was getting messages asking if we could just wear pj's. I'm so glad Ashlee is the "leader" of this group. She put her foot pj's! Glitter, sequins, sparkle, it's a Christmas party!! I'm glad she did. I love to get dressed up and I didn't have to go outside! yay!

Everyone brought food and a wrapped gift of their Favorite Thing and we would play Dirty Santa! This has become my favorite kind of party. We always just do Christmas gift for Dirty Santa. But, My Favorite Thing? Yes, that's a good one!! We drank some Jingle Jangle Juice. Too bad there isn't a photo of was so pretty and delicious!

Krista getting an earful! {laughing at myself, now. I'm so serious!}

Doesn't the food look amazing? {it was}

Champagne as a hostess gift? {yes, thank you, Ashlee!}

I have had so much fun getting to know these girls! Dirty Santa was pretty dirty! I was excited to get a BirchBox. I have been wanting to try it and I won a 3month subscription! Thanks, Lori!

As usual, Lori Gordon took the photos! She even teaches others how to take photos like these! Wanna learn? Check out Click Workshops!

Pecan Pie is so Photogenic

I love to look at a pecan pie. I don't even eat it. It's delicious, don't get me wrong. I just usually choose the chocolate item on the table! Uncle Buff gave us this one for Christmas. I love that. Uncle Buff brings pecan pies on Christmas Eve for gifts. We aren't home very much on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. We ate it this morning after we rung in the New Year 2013! 
Pecan Pie + Champagne =  great way to ring in the new year!

It truly is photogenic, don't you think? Pecan Pie always looks good in photographs. I took this picture on Sunday afternoon. Sat it down on the floor in the kitchen by the door and snapped this with my phone. I'm trying FatMumSlim's Photo A Day Challenge {again} this month. Today's prompt was Today. This Pecan Pie is how I started today and the new year. I felt it should be honored. 

One Little Word 2013 - ENJOY

I know it's so sad when Christmas is over. We prepare for it in our homes, with our kids, in the classroom, and thinking about what to buy each person is pretty stressful! Not to mention all that money that is spent! It's over. 

Today is the day after. I have a fire going with all the wrapping paper and am trying to put away all of our treasures! We are a very blessed family. My husband and I both come from "broken homes". It's amazing how when you embrace your life, it is wonderful! It has been a very long time since I've thought of my life being from a "broken home". We celebrate holidays for weeks. Seriously, it's awesome! We have created new traditions and I love being with everyone! We don't hang out at home. We aren't the hosts for Christmas dinner. That is a good thing, right? We left our house yesterday at 9:30am and got home at 9:30pm last night. We got to see two sides of the family. Connor's Dad's family and my Dad's family. A lot of people, a lot of presents, a LOT of food! I didn't take many pictures and I was sad at the time. Now, I know that without the camera in front of my face, I got to ENJOY every moment. 

We are blessed that we have so many moments. I want that to be a part of my 2013. I want to ENJOY this wonderful life I have been given every single day. I want to be with the ones I love and ENJOY our moments together. I have lots of plans for 2013. Not really resolutions, just plans. I have had so much fun with my blog and lucy lockets. I hope to grow both of them this year. But, I will try to slow down enough to ENJOY all of it. That does NOT mean I will not take photos. I will have my camera with me always and document our lives. Do you have one little word for 2013? Read a little more about it on Ali's blog and let me know if you are going to participate! 

I hope you had a very Merry Christmas and will plan a beautiful 2013. 

The Lettered Cottage

DIY Food Labels for a Party

I love to be crafty! I made these several years ago for my Annual Ornament Party. I had the buffet set up in the middle of the kitchen. My friends are very informal, but I thought this would be a cute addition to the table.

I went to the office supply store and picked up some extra large clips. I got home and went through my stash of paper. It's a large stash, but I knew exactly what I would use. October Afternoon. They have some of the best papers! This christmas line, Very Merry,  had so much personality! I loved the peppermints all over this one paper...I have a thing for circles!

I picked one sheet. It's two sided, so I used both patterns. Sorry the picture is pixelated, I pulled it from their site. You can check out the other papers that go with this line and the newest releases at October Afternoon.

I cut the paper to fit the width of the clips. Next, I just held the paper up to measure the length. It just wraps around the bottom of the clip. On my last Talk of Alabama appearance, I showed these little cuties! You may remember seeing them!

Voila! You have a place card or food label! 

You can add tags to write the name of your dish on....or the person, if you are using for a place card. I used these tags and embellished them with some flowers and twine I had in my studio.

Christmas Mantel at Hansel and Gretel

I always have so much fun decorating my house for Christmas. Since we have moved, I have been chomping at the bit wanting to get all of my decorations from the storage units. It really stinks to not have my Christmas closet anymore! Shelves to the ceiling held all of my rubber maids! I also kept 3 trees in there! Only one was out of the box and standing. Now, I have to drive a few miles down the road and load up the car and a trailer and then make another trip to get it all to Hansel and Gretel! I really didn't mind this year since it was a new house and I could re-do everything! I had lots of fun over Thanksgiving weekend when my fellas were off in the woods hunting. I had the house all to myself and got so much done!

I have this HUGE fireplace. It's like chateau-in-the-mountains-huge! I can literally stand inside! I didn't really have an idea of what would make it onto this monstrosity. The area from the mantel to the top is not very big. It's just really wide. As I was opening all the boxes on the porch, I found my Penny McAllister collection. This stuff is gorgeous, y'all! I absolutely love it. It's all handmade and since she passed away a few years ago, my pieces have become even more special to me.

The window painted like a santa belt and believe spelled out is courtesy of my talented sister, Natalie! She made this for me several years ago and it's one of my favorite pieces!

A close up of a few Penny McAllister pieces and my favorite wood Christmas Tree!

There is a smaller den off the kitchen at Hansel and Gretel. We use this room a lot. It's where homework gets done and dinner gets eaten! I wanted some real garland for this mantel, but haven't found any. Maybe someone has extra and they want to share? Or maybe, I could actually go and buy some. hahahahaha, I'm still in my pj's and it's 2:15!

This mantel has a few things on it from my first decorating attempt. That's one of my favorite pieces, the clock, the 4 and the small foundry pattern were all there before. I added John Connor's first kill. It was hanging over the mantel last year with a Santa hat! Oh, that shed was there before, too. I just moved it over to allow for those fun trees to have a spot! 

The two frames are from one of my favorite frame makers, Leah. That santa is part of my collection that is in another room. I needed a space filler and he fit the bill! I picked up those two small reindeer in Tennessee at Marshall's. I am loving reindeer this season!

I'm linking this Christmas mantel to:

The Lettered Cottage

A Wood Project for Christmas

Ashlee called the other day and said she had a project for us to do on Tuesday. We had our day planned to hang out at the Barn at Hansel and Gretel. Well, Emma hurt her neck at gymnastics...that threw a kink in our plans.......literally! 
She is ok, but she couldn't move her neck at all! I took her to the doc and they helped her work it out! 

Ashlee and I changed our plans to Wednesday. She came over around 10am and brought some old wood from her neighbor's fence! It was old and grey and worn out! Perfect!!

We were making mangers for Baby Jesus! Ashlee saw one her friend's husband made and knew it was the perfect project for us. 

We didn't have a pattern, just a picture. We totally just figured it all out. First we cut the long side pieces. The first cuts were a little too long. The proportions had to be right. We just cut 5 or 6 inches off and then cut the other 3 the same. 

Next we cut the pieces for the ends. Those pretty much needed to be a square. It would square up on the ends. We did no official measuring. 

Here are several of the cuts. The top one is probably too long. We cut it to match the two smaller matching pieces. That little piece was going to be an end. We love the rustic-ness of it! 

We didn't have any extra hands to take pictures of us screwing all the pieces together. We just lined up the smallest piece to on of the longer pieces and put in two screws. Next we took the other "side" piece and screwed it to the small pieces matching up the corners. 
The next step was to cut the legs. All of our pieces were the perfect widths from the fence. These smaller pieces made the best legs! We just held them up to the bed area and cut them to fit. The last step was to screw in the legs under the base. We made it and X shape for ease. 

Our finished project! Do you think it is as cute as I do? I was thrilled with the outcome! We literally were finished in an hour. That included Ashlee going through the house looking at all my Christmas decor and finding screws as we went along! 

This project was so simple and fits perfect with my wood Christmas tree and tiny tree with burlap! I added a bit of straw. I do not have a baby to put in my manger, but I may take the top of a post or just a wood ball and wrap it up in a blanket to make it look like a baby!

Ashlee posted a pic of hers on Instagram with this precious star and her "baby Jesus". I'm smitten!

Sharing on Funky Junk Interiors SNS for the first time!

Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly!

Sing it with me.....fa la la la la la la la la! 

I was decking the halls this weekend! I really just finished. And by that I mean, I have 90% of it up! Seriously, like late last night, I decorated the last tree. I'm not completely satisfied, but it will have to do! I have a few odds and ends laying around and I need garland for one more mantel...but, other than that. Gah, I have a lot of stuff!

Tomorrow I am making a manger for Baby Jesus! Ashlee is coming over with some old wood from her neighbors fence. No, she didn't steal it. At least I don't think she did! He put up a new fence and this was laying-there-not-being-used! I can't wait to get it finished. It's going to be so adorable!

I thought I would share a few in-the-process pics of the house as I was up to my eyeballs over the weekend!

This is a portion of my front porch on Friday as my boys were leaving to go to the hunting camp.

This is THE tree. It will be full of red and white goodness when I'm finished with it! The lights. The lights are going to be the death of me. Every year, I say I am going to take all the lights off and start over. I never do. I add more lights on top of the lights that do not work. If I could fix those measly little bulbs that cause all the trouble, I would probably have thousands of lights on this tree! Notice how it is a couple of feet taller than the ceiling there. Thankfully, the ceilings are high in the middle of this room. The only spot for this tree is right where you see it. In the middle behind the couch and right next to the dining room table!

I love my upside down tree! It's so fun and non-traditional! This is how it came home to me from the storage unit. Mesh was all out of order and those paper flowers are a little catty-wompus! Notice how it is flush with the ceiling. It had to be tilted and shoved into place. We have low ceilings at Hansel and Gretel, like less than 8ft. ceilings! The lights. ugh

Just a pic of some of the sticks that go into THE tree! You will see those again, but that's another post!

I can't tell you how much I love this wood tree. It is by far, my favorite! I have several of these wood trees, but this is the one I love! Of course, Southern Accents Architectural Antiques is where this one was born. I went to Cullman one day with Daphney to get a tree for her. She had seen the one Shane delivered to me earlier in the week and she HAD to have one, too! So, off we go on a road trip. We were in the wood shop with Kolby, Garlan and Shane. We were picking through the pieces of wood and I saw this green trim on the floor. I picked it up and immediately saw a tree! The guys all thought I was crazy. This was before I started working for them and bringing them all of my out-of-the-box ideas. They were used to living inside their little world and not being too creative with it. I'm sure if they saw this one now, they would all gawk at it. It's like a Charlie Brown tree. It needed to be made and loved. Now it sits by the giant fireplace at Hansel and Gretel. I may not ever take it down!

So far, 2 Christmas Casualties

Thursday morning, aka Thanksgiving Day, Connor went over to the storage unit to get our Christmas tree and decorations. A full car and full trailer later, he brought back 85% of the decorations. We went back on Friday and got trees and several more boxes. I will be back again on Monday to see what's left!

We were heading out the door for our family gatherings. 2 stops for the day. We unloaded the trailer and filled up the front porch. Hansel and Gretel now looks like the Grizwalds/Clampetts.

As we were loading up the car for the day, I opened the back of his Yukon. I know better than to do this with my car. It is always full and something WILL fall out on you or it will break. Well, guess what? My most favorite Christmas decoration of my childhood was the first thing to fall out. I heard the crash and saw the bubble wrap and knew in that instant it was THE Santa. The one that as a child, I would go into the attic each year looking for. I would avoid everything else until I found that Santa.  I couldn't wait to put him on the mantel. He just looked like the sweetest Santa in the world and I knew that is what the real Santa Clause looked like.  Once he was on the mantel all the Christmas magic filled the house and the countdown could begin.

I cried. Real tears were streaming down my face. I was so upset that he was broken. I was also upset with myself that I had opened the back without looking. I wanted to blame in on the hubs, but how could I when I was the one that should have gotten it all myself. Then I would have known there was more back there. So, after assessing the damage and picking up every single shard of pottery, I can't give him up. My sister, Natalie, said I could cover it up with a hat. It was the whole hat that was broken. I don't know if it will look right. Maybe you have an idea?

After putting up 2 trees and covering one with lights, garland, sticks, and ornaments, I was fluffing the tree and off came a Radko angel. Ahhhhh, she already had a broken wing. I bought her when Emma was a baby. She shattered into many pieces. She got swept up and out the door. May she rest in peace.

It's too devastating to leave on a bad note. I will share this adorable snowman with his bokeh background to bring you happiness! He is a cutie!

I will get more pics up of Hansel and Gretel all aglow this week. I have several more runs to get more lights and I'm thinking I need real garland instead of the fake stuff this year. Which do you use? Real tree and garland or fake? 

Talk of Alabama TV/Christmas Crafts and Lucy Lockets

Hanging out with Nicole on Talk of Alabama! It's always fun and very last minute! Yesterday I dug around and called my friends to find a Santa Can from a past ornament party. Molly came through! Nicole came to a party several years ago and loved this can!

I took old vegetable cans and spray painted them red, added red ribbon and a square for the buckle, a little glitter and voila.....SANTA to hold the take home cookies! He is so cute and easy-peasy! A great hostess gift filled with your favorite treat!

We pimped out some of my Lucy Lockets, too. Always fun to show off some of the latest. Notice the display? It is an old corbel I picked up at The Depot and the antler shed that John Connor and his buddy, Parker found in the woods at Hansel and Gretel. Lori took a couple of photos last night to highlight how cute it is! She's an amazing photographer!

We made some of these crafty ornaments at the Smoking Glue Guns party last about that later's baby! 

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Linking up to these fun girls linky party!! Setting for Four, Cupcakes and Crinolines, Its so very Cheri, Three Mango Seeds

Stuff The Stockings Giveaway

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The Spotted Zebra

The Spotted Zebra belongs to my sisters. Natalie and Nicole. They are both equally important to this cute little place. Nicole pretty much runs the show being there all day every day. Natalie will come in and paint a room or re-style a section in her sleep! Bless her heart, she gets no sleep!  She paints furniture and does treatments to cabinets. She also has 2 boys, Bailey, a senior in high school and Grayson is in the 8th grade.

I got the pleasure of hanging out with Nicole on Thursday. They had their Holiday Open House. It was all day  Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We had a blast. The store looks gorgeous and there are so many beautiful things, I couldn't decide what to take home with me! I wanted to completely start over with my Christmas decor! I took home one bag of goodness. I can't wait to get it up at Hansel and Gretel! 

These are a few of my favorites and a few of my purchases!

This angel comes in small, medium and large. I got one of each! So cute, light and a great price!

Those reindeer? They are at my house!! I love them and think they will fit right in at Hansel and Gretel!

Just a close up of that gorgeous mantel. Daphne Donaldson does a great job decorating the store!

See that red mesh ribbon? Oh yeah, I have a roll of that! It's the

I love these burlap stockings. That ruffle at the top is precious. It's just not quite big enough for what Santa brings! ;)

These angels? I adore them! They are made from recycled products. Right up my alley!

I was so glad to see they had an upside down tree. Mine has to be my FAVE tree in my house! Where will I put it at Hansel and Gretel??

 This cute reindeer caught my eye! I think it is a great door hanger, but how cute just to hang behind or to the side of the tree? Create a vignette on the wall? adorbs

It just wouldn't be the south if we didn't have a tree with our favorite SEC teams!
 Roll Tide and War Eagle!

This has to be the most gorgeous Nativity Scene in all the land!

 If only I could buy all new holiday dishes....these would be in my house! I love that bright red and green and just a touch of black. 

Adorable towels. These are the BEST hostess gift! They are so cute and everyone needs a towel for the powder room or to hang by the sink in the kitchen! 

This store is packed with so many cute things. I left late on Thursday night and I'm sure a lot sold over the weekend. If you are looking for a gift or need something to freshen up your decorating....You should make a stop by The Spotted Zebra!

 I love these Santas.

Cute way to display your list. Hello? My list is a lot longer than this!

This is the new counter at the store. We brought the tins in from Southern Accents
They guys that built  it did an incredible job! 

Just a little silly Merry Christmas from me! Happy Holidays!

Oh Angel Tree, Oh Angel Tree

That's Papaw...he came to John Connor's choir performance....which has nothing to do with the following story! 
John Connor had a project at school. It was voluntary. I think about 60% of his class participated. They divided the kids into groups of 4 or 5 and gave them each an Angel from the Angel Tree. They all had to do chores at home for the money to buy for the Angel.

He asked every day what he could do. He helped his Dad in the yard one day, did the dishes, swept (kinda), cleaned the fishbowl (he usually does this without having to be paid), he helped me decorate the Christmas tree (you would think that wouldn't be a chore....believe me, it is!)

The parents were all invited to the class today for a Holiday Tea. Each group did a power point on what chores they did at home, what they bought their angel and why they enjoyed the project. They even came up with the words to a song they sang....usually to a Christmas tune.

John Connor's group was hilarious! At first, no one really wanted to talk and by the end, they were all talking over each other!! Then came the song......John Connor said that he wasn't going to sing.....then ended up being the only one to sing......the whole time! He was so off key and grinning the whole time! I was such a proud mama and he was loving every minute of it!! Such an entertainer!

It's the holidays! Time to celebrate!

How does it get so busy? Every year I say I'm going to be ahead of the game, right? It's just too hard. With all these things to distract me......Pinterest, Facebook, blogs, oh and that job I picked up! Geez. The first month I was a decorator, which was fabulous! I was in and out and working from home. Now, I'm officially full-time and I'm.worn.out!! If you aren't a fan of the Telegraph Facebook page, you should be. We are the coolest boutique ad agency in town! yeah! It's a super fun job...making commercials, designing logos, websites, getting creative with facebook's all the

I really need a week off BEFORE Christmas, though! Shopping done - nope. Decorating finished - nope. Kids parties at school planned - nope. Cookies and sweets baked - nope. Special touches (my favorite part) - nope. Going to Holiday parties like Alabama Chanin's Holiday Market tonight -  nope. I'm so sad. I wanted to go and I can't fit it in....I just have all that other stuff to do.....I could kinda get all that done in the four hours it takes to get to Florence and back! oh well....I get to go in May for a workshop. I just want to sit around and stitch, ya know?

I did get to go to a fun Cookie Swap last Sunday at the adorable Beth of Unskinny Boppys house. It was so much fun. Do you know she invited me and we have never met in real life! How cool is that? I think she has the magic touch on decorating skills and wanted to be her, we have been cyber friends for a while now! I also got to meet Lori from Click Workshops. Oh, there goes my Christmas's all things photography now. I want a new D700, a Nikon 1, a new lense (any one will do) and a year's full of photography workshops with Click. Santa? Do you hear me? To make matters worse, I come in to work on Monday and Kevin and Isaiah decide they are going out to buy a camera! Green, I tell ya, I was green. They got the D5100 to shoot video and stills. For the love......I want to steal it and play with it all day! Oh, make that one more thing on the Christmas-I-haven't-gotten-to-it-yet-list. Pictures of the kids for Christmas cards - nope!

I guess that's why I decided to sit down and write out a blogpost. Make myself a list...maybe I will be held accountable....or the time will get here and it will have to get done, or else!

I do have some decorations's my mantel - done!

Hope your Holidays are all in order and you are sitting at home baking cookies with your kids, listening to Christmas music by the fire...which, is not going to happen's 70 degrees out! You've sent out your cards and are finished with all the crafts....probably working on next year's gift list! Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!