Wednesday, December 24, 2014


I found this little Santa Clause at my neighbor's estate sale last summer.  Among a sea of knick knacks, I had to take this little guy home with me.  It made me feel better knowing that in some small way their Christmas memories are living on.
I made this paper chain last year (see here).  My brother and I used to make a paper chain every year for Christmas and string it all over my parent's house.  I want to continue the tradition.
Wade bought me this carousel for my birthday a few years ago.  It reminds me of the one in NYC when I visited my sister and always makes me smile.

There is always such a rush to put up the Christmas decorations.  Bringing out the tree, the lights, and special ornaments are what tell us that this magical season is upon us again. 

It always goes by too fast.  That's why we end up leaving the decorations up wayyyyy past the socially acceptable date.  In my mind, there's no rush to take things down and box up the magic for another year.

So I wanted to share these pictures before it's too late and everyone has moved on to the next thing.  Once again, the pictures don't seem to represent how lovely it is in person, but at least it's a way to jog my memory for years to come.

Tonight we'll have my parents over for Christmas Eve dinner, like grown-ups (even though we're making my mom bring over the main course--it's better to not even try to compete).  Then we'll head over to my parent's house after church to spend the night and wake up in the morning like a couple of kids.  I love the tradition of spending the night at my parent's house on Christmas Eve.  Some things are too good to outgrow. 

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you, and I hope your days are filled with love and magic:)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


Welp, our sweet little lady bun is actually a dude.  That's right, Maisy Mae will henceforth be known as Mr. Maisy. 

We tried changing his name to Geronimo, but it just didn't seem to fit. 

Here's a timeline of events:

Brought little Maisy Mae home when she was only 7 weeks old and the pet store guy swore that she was a girl and that would be the best way to go---> Rushed her to the vet when she was only 9 weeks old for the Snuffles (a very serious bunny cold) to get antibiotics and the vet talked about how complicated it can be to get female buns spayed--> Didn't think anything of it until she hit puberty and started peeing everywhere to mark her territory (she was litter trained before)--> Dug into the internet and found a chat room that said female bunnies sometimes pee a lot to mark their territory-->  Assumed the large flesh colored things next to her bottom were some type of female organs--> Went to the movies with my parents where my mom asked, "Are you sure she's not a he?"--> LIGHTBULB!

It's quite embarrassing looking back on it now to say it never crossed our minds that he wasn't a she.  Basic anatomy and common sense should have shed some light on it before, but it's pretty hairy down there! 

Perhaps it's also because I was having too much fun dressing her him up in matching floral crowns.

To be honest, I was a bit sad when I found out.  I know it's the same rabbit, but Maisy Mae is gone now.  At least Mr. Maisy is just as adorable and still as sweet.

Neutering a male rabbit is not as invasive or risky as spaying a female rabbit, so he's at the vet today to have his little surgery.  Poor little guy.  Hopefully, it will help curb his desire to mark his territory all the time and improve the smell in the sun room. 

Just wanted to share the news so you didn't think we got a new bunny.  Ah, look at that sweet face.  Mr. Maisy is still the best little sidekick!

Monday, December 22, 2014


The poinsettia plant has become synonymous with Christmas.  Every year my parents purchase a poinsettia plant that is used to decorate the alter at my church for the Christmas Eve service.  After the service, we get to take the plant home with us where its colorful blooms fill the house. 

Nowadays, the plant comes in a variety of colors other than the traditional red.  I've been incorporating more peach into my holiday palette (see here), so when I found poinsettia plants in peach and hot pink, I knew I had to take a few home with me.

I wanted the color to permeate throughout the entire house, though, and not just be transfixed in one potted plant. 

So I did a bit of research and found that you can use poinsettia plants as fresh cut flowers by following a super simple rule. 

So simple, in fact, that like my recent painted trees tutorial, no truly "how-to" pictures are needed.   These are the kinds of projects I like: so easy even I can do them. 

The key is that after you cut the bloom stem (just like you would if you were arranging any other store bought bouquet), you have to burn the bottom of the stem

You'll notice when you cut the stem that a milky substance starts coming out.  This liquid contains vital nutrients for the flower, and it will quickly die if all the liquid comes out. 

So just hold the stem over an open flame and burn it until there is no more milky white substance coming out.  I was worried to do this, too.  I didn't want to kill the flower.  But after my first few attempts where I just barely burned the edge and the flower quickly drooped over, I decided to just go for it and burn the whole thing until the bottom of the stem was black.

You'll know if you didn't burn the stem enough if you put the flower into a vase of water and the water turns cloudy.  If it does, just do a fresh cut and burn the edge of the stem again.  Somehow, magically, the flowers are still able to soak up the water to stay alive.

And my arrangements have been alive for 2 weeks!

I love the pop of color they add around the house. 

These would make a fun hostess gift for any holiday festivities or give your home that extra bit of color for the holidays.  Happy arranging!

I'm linking up today with Meg's Mingle Monday link up!

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Dip dyed bottle trees are all over the place, and I fell head over heels for the colored sisal trees at Anthropologie.  I love the look of them and wanted to mix in some fun nontraditional colors to my Christmas decor, but wanted to see if I could make something similar at a fraction of the cost.

However, having to bleach green bottle brush trees and then dip them in Rit dye seems like a recipe for disaster for me, evidenced by the way Wade noticeably cringed when I told him how easy it would be.

So I decided to take a different approach.  There may be a few gaps in the coloring, but it kind of looks like white snow on the branches.

Also, I didn't give my husband a heart attack or permanently ruin anything (paint can be fairly easy to wipe up).

Want to make your own super easy colored trees to add a bit of pop to your home?  The steps are so easy that I'm not even going to show "how-to" photos.  The most difficult thing is finding the white bottle brush trees.

Here's what you'll need:

--Package of white bottle brush trees (I found mine at Joanns and the Dollar Store, but I'm sure they're around this time of year.  If you can't find white ones, you can get green trees and bleach them, but again, I would have probably spilled the bleach over everything and caused a huge mess.)

--Acrylic paint in whatever colors you want the trees

--Craft paint brush (any size, but I found the bigger/thicker ones were easier to glob on the paint)


Mash the paint onto the trees.

Seriously, it's that easy.  A few things to keep in mind:

--Don't try to squeeze the paint from the bottle directly onto the tree.  It will be too difficult to spread around.  Instead, put some paint onto a paper plate and take a glob onto your paintbrush and start dabbing it over the tree.

--Let them dry overnight.  I got too excited and started trying to decorate with them only after a few hours, which was a little messy.

The hardest part is deciding how you're going to decorate with them!  Have fun and let me know if you try this super easy project!

Thursday, December 11, 2014


It's not usually January 1st that causes me to stop a moment and reflect on the past year, it's December 11th, my birthday.

Last night I was looking for some Christmas decorations and stumbled upon a notebook that I had written in for a little while before sticking it "somewhere safe".  I opened it and found an entry from my birthday four years ago.

It didn't make me cringe like a lot of my writing from my younger days does.  It was insightful and made me remember that version of myself.

I was so concerned with figuring everything out and knowing definitive answers to things.  I still remember sitting in my sun room on my couch writing that day and thinking to myself that four years, or even two years, down the road I would really have everything figured out.

Well, that's not quite the case.

On the plus side, though, I feel like I've used these past four years to explore sides of myself that I didn't know existed and push myself to try out those little ideas constantly running through my head.

Underneath the journal was my old video recorder.  I got it before I had a phone that could take pictures and record video. I had pretty much forgotten about it.  Scrolling through all the pictures, though, it started coming back to me how much I carried this thing everywhere.  The videos weren't that interesting and are low quality, but they captured moments that had floated away in my mind.

I'm still having a hard time remembering when I got the video recorder.  I think it was 2010 or 2011.  At any rate, it was a year or two before I got up the courage to start my blog.  I was taking these steps at following my whims and passions, but didn't even know yet where I was going.

Starting the blog was a huge jumping off the cliff moment for me.  I had already been selling things through my handmade shop for a year, but putting yourself out there for others to read my innermost thoughts was jarring.  I was embarrassed, but finally just hit the publish button.

It's difficult to see how far you've come until you finally stop for a moment and let the changes wash over you.

I feel older.  I feel more confident and comfortable with myself (most of the time).  I don't feel like I have it all figured out, but now I realize no one else does either.  Getting to be on the other side of the blog instead of just in front of the beautiful after pictures has taught me that.  I needed to learn that to be able to let go of jealousies and insecurities.  Not that I don't feel like that now, though.  It's just a bit lessened, at least in my rational moments.

I couldn't have told you four years ago where I thought I would be.  I just had a vague notion that I would have it "figured out".  I thought there would be a finite point when it was like, "Oh, that makes sense.  Now that I have it all figured out, I'll be happy."

The best lesson I've come to realize is that this point will never happen.  The best I can do is learn to be comfortable in my own skin, come to terms with the fact that not everyone is going to like me or what I make, and feel immense gratitude for the people in my life.

It's not earth shattering, and maybe that's what makes these lessons so hard to learn.  You feel that it can't be as simple as that, but you always have the sense that it is.  

I don't want to get older, but I also don't want to go back to those angsty younger years.  I only romanticize them now since I've survived them and came out stronger on the other side.  

What's strange about getting older is that I now want time to slow down.  Before I couldn't wait to get older.  To turn 16 and drive, turn 21 and see what I've been missing at the bars, etc.  I was in such a hurry to get to the other side of a number.  Now I wish that time would stop.  No one would age.  We would all be together and blissfully happy.

Now, though, I'm able to enjoy the scenery and want to stop and smell the roses.  It's not that I'm not excited about things in the future, it's just that I'm wiser and know that I will miss this moment when it's gone.

I can't tell you where I'll be in another four years.  I'm too old to pretend life can be planned that easily.

All I know is that I'm going to keep chasing happiness.  To keep finding the courage to do what makes me smile, as well as the strength to stop fighting for the things that are too exhausting.  This will constantly be a moving target.  No finite point, just a walk along a winding path and feeling thankful for family and friends.

Monday, December 8, 2014


This year, we celebrated Thanksgiving two times.  That means two times the delicious food, so that was a-ok with me. 

Wade and I had a quiet day on actual Thanksgiving.  We slept in, spent the day in our pjs, and ate a leisurely meal. 

We got to use my mom's gold flatware that she had kept in its original packaging, unused for the past 30 years.  Has anyone else noticed the switch from silver colored utensils to gold colored all over blog land?  I was telling my mom how shiny, bright gold was back in as we sat in my parent's living room surround by shiny brass, and she disappeared for a moment and returned with a four place setting of gold flatware.  Who needs to scour the depths of antique stores?  I just head to my parents' basement.  It just goes to show that all things are cyclical and seemingly "new" ideas are just "new" for that generation.

It was nice.  We had never spent a holiday by ourselves in our home.  But then we looked at each other and realized that we really missed celebrating with family.  Luckily, we would be seeing my family the next day and celebrating Thanksgiving with everyone.

We did end our night with a trip to get doughnuts and a viewing of "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles".  Top notch, indeed.

Our second round of Thanksgiving was wonderful and filled with the shrieks of kids and lots of laughing and hugs. 

Since we won't all be together for Christmas, we decided to celebrate multiple holidays at once.  Sure makes for a fun weekend!  We put up the Christmas tree, sang Christmas carols, and my brother made his directorial debut in the first annual kids' Christmas pageant.  He took it pretty seriously.  There were storyboards, costume changes, and a visit from a purple haired David Bowie in a particularly lively rendition of "Dance Magic Dance" from the acclaimed movie "Labyrinth". 

And now the Christmas pageant...

My mom made all the grandkids superhero capes.  Maisy Mae even got one:)

At the end of the night, my mom had all the adults go around and share what they were thankful for.  It couldn't be family or friends, though, since we knew we were all thankful for each other. 

It made us all go a bit deeper. 

I liked my mom's answer the best.  She said she was thankful for the desire we all had to get together. 

My sister and her family had to pack the kids up in the car and drive a full day to see us, and my brother was working on Thanksgiving, so we all agreed to delay the celebration to a few days later. 

It proved how deep our desire is to all be together and share these experiences. 

There's a lot of effort that goes into getting everyone under one roof, and it would be easier not to try, but it's what adds meaning to the day. 

Instead of letting these moments slip through our fingers, we are choosing to fight for these special memories that will last forever.  And I'm thankful for that, too.

I'm linking up with Meg's Mingle Monday link-up.  Stop by to find some great new blogs!