Sunday, December 22, 2013

My kind of Christmas decor

I don't know what your Christmas looks like, but mine looks like twigs and leaves. Coincidentally that's how my 'the rest of the year' also looks. I decided against a tree and so my Christmas decor looks as bare as nature does outside the windows, but I kind of like the simplicity.

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 If you tilt your head to the side this photo looks completely straight. 

Above my "fireplace" I used a thrifted metal tray, a couple of large tea strainers with battery operated tea lights inside, a chunk of bark I salvaged from a tree that had to be removed and a sprig of faux greenery we were going to throw away from the decorations box at work.

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And lit up...

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I amuse myself by continuing to refer to these as "tea lights" since they are lights...and a tea strainer...and have tea lights inside. Ha. ha. Knee slapper?

 The artwork was painted by a mom's friend who has since passed away. She always sent cards with images of something she had painted in the year. Most of her work was copies of other work but I don't know about this one. Anyone know?

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Above all this I hung a banner I made a few years back and forgot about. You wouldn't believe how many things I've found in old boxes (and how many things I can't find in new boxes). I hung it here using tiny, clear Command Strip hooks. They are my new favorite discovery, for sure. I linked it there if you want to check them out, I found mine at Rite Aid I think.

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I made this using a pair of circle punches of two sizes and then using those weird edged scissors to give the inner one some interest. I aged the paper with ink and placed a glittery sticker in the middle, hanging it on some jute by punching two small holes in the top. I'm not usually a paper craft person but this turned out pretty well.

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Along the top of my giant bookshelf it took me forever to assemble I've finally hung a few things on the wall.

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My chalkboard art can be seen originally here and my leaf garland can be seen here.

 To the left is my collection of thrifted bowls and cande holders topped by thrifted glass domes. They are holding an assortment of nature items and keeping them dust free for me.

 On this one I've hung a tatted snowflake I bought from an older woman at a craft bazaar several years back.

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The work is so beautiful!

 This giant cone I also bought at a craft bazaar. The woman said it came from a tree in her yard. Can you imagine having a yard full of these giant cones? What if one hit you? Yikes!

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It is sitting pretty on a little gold candle holder. The cute chubby snowman came from JoAnn stores several years ago. The leaves I took from my neighbor's yard one year and spray painted - they've stayed perfectly preserved for over a year.

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More gold leaves and some twigs with mini cones.

Thanks for taking the tour with me!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Shutter organizer and a kitchen corner

Sometimes things happen and are a happy accident. I put this little shutter in my bathroom window for some added privacy. The window is a blurred, foggy glass but...well...I've seen what that looks like across the way and I don't think it's as private as it could be. Plus I love the rustic look.

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Then, when I needed somewhere to stash my headbands (two came from Gussy Sews, the rosette one I made myself) and hair clips (dark one from Payless Shoes and the light one I made) and to hang a necklace (made by me) for a moment, they all went on here and I realized how great it worked for it.

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I haven't actually managed to decorate much as I'm still trying to get all my books put away. I purged my books 4 times - FOUR TIMES - before I moved and I still have so many books that I have no room. I bought a huge bookshelf that I'm taking a month to put together. Yes, really.

I did manage to put a few things up in the kitchen though.

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A utensil holder filled with dried elephant garlic blossoms and this beautiful little gourd I found at a farm stand.

If you can't tell by now, I love natural elements in the home.

As I get things put in their proper places, I'll have more to show. For now I have to get back to that bookshelf...

Saturday, November 2, 2013

A hello and a "metal" necklace how-to

Happy Saturday to you!

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Try not to faint as you see there's a new post. A lot has been going on and this poor blog has been so, so neglected. I had some people recently tell me they missed my posts and then I got a message via Etsy (Hi, Mary!) saying she'd read my whole blog and I thought...holy cow I haven't written anything in a long time! So you all can thank Mary for making me post something.
I admit a lot of my lackadaisical approach to blogging has to do with all the changes to blogger. I worked so hard to learn all the tricks and now everything is different and it gets exhausting; I am no computer genius.

Halloween has come and gone and I thought I would share his year's "costume." I don't care how old I get, I will absolutely grasp at any opportunity to "dress up," however, I work in an office and my costumes have to be fairly subtle.

Last year I was the Doctor from Doctor Who and this year I decided to be Sherlock. So two years in a row I've dressed as a British man. I'm not sure what to say about that.

For Christmas last year a friend bought me a "detective hat" and I bought myself a blue Pashmina style scarf which I believed was essential to the BBC Sherlock look but I knew the two elements together wouldn't necessarily scream Sherlock (I did look a bit Dickensian to be honest) so I decided to make a necklace to try and pull the look together.

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Here was the final outcome. My coworkers exclaimed over the fact that I'd made it and that it looked like "real metal" which I'm taking as a good thing?

What you'll need:

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Black paper (a sizeable scrap will do)
Metallic letter stickers
Small, sharp scissors
Two pair pliers
Metal jewelry frame (not shown)

The metal frame comes as the metal edging with two slides of glass. It has a hinge of sorts and you open it to removed the glass slides and can place whatever you like inside. I first cut my paper to fit the slides and then made sure I had enough room for my stickers. I would almost suggest waiting to cut the paper after you've placed the stickers on it, and then you can use the slides as a guide and make sure your design is centered. I ended up having to cut mine and placing a secondary piece of paper behind to frame it.

Cut your letter stickers out with the scissors and make sure you have enough room for them all. The frames come in a variety of shapes and metallic finishes so pick what will work best for your project.

I then peeled the stickers from their paper using the tweezers and was able to line them up and lay them down easily using the fine point.

Trim your paper as necessary, and place between the two glass slides and put back into the frame and close the hinge.

If you don't have unsoldered chain you will need wire cutters and some jump rings to connect the chain, but my chain was unsoldered so I was able to simply open the links and attach directly to the frame loop. My biggest pet peeve about "gold" jewelry supplies is that none of it matches which is why it is so rare to see anything of gold tones in my Etsy shop. I don't think it was too noticeable but I knew it didn't match perfectly.

And you're done! Talk about a simple project!

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I did have a person ask me if there was significance to the numbers on my necklace. It was almost as depressing as the time I asked a library assistant for help and she didn't know who or what Jane Eyre was. Argh.

If you haven't seen BBC's Sherlock I highly recommend it. I believe they are on Netflix...
The Basil Rathbone films of Sherlock Holmes are also good.
I liked the Robert Downey Jr. version, but the sequel I did not enjoy as much.
And of course there's The Great Mouse Detective, an animated feature that is one of my favorites as well.

I've been reading the stories but am only 3 or 4 in so far. Have you read/watched any? What are your favorites?


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Yesterday's walk

On my way home yesterday I stopped to get the mail and saw baby birds peeking out of the honeysuckle so I changed as soon as I got home, slung my camera around my neck and went walking back up the driveway. I dangerously left my umbrella at home thinking, hey it doesn't look too bad out!
My cats promptly ran after me, me walking quickly as I could because me yelling "stay!" just wasn't working.

Pied Piper
They eventually stopped thank goodness.

I was still quite a ways away from the nest when lady blackbird hopped around me, fencepost to fencepost squawking at me.

Angry bird

When I got to the end of the driveway where there is a fence covered in honeysuckle, I found little  strawberries along with everything else.


Surprisingly I was able to get really close to the nest and not one bird attacked my head. Blackbirds are always so protective it surprised me I came away with all my hair. But I did notice an unusual number of blackbirds squawking at me and I finally realized there were actually three nests in the honeysuckle. I didn't know they grouped like that.

Baby blackbirds

Baby bird eyes are watching you. They didn't make a sound or a movement while I was standing there so their parents taught them well.
Fuzz head
I didn't want to agitate the parents too much so I didn't stick around long.
Although one of the dads gave me the stink eye.
Angry bird II

I spent some time chatting with my neighbor and then decided to hustle back down the driveway as the wind picked up and the clouds started looking ominous.

Despite the portents of inclement weather I still took enough time to look around and enjoy the scenes.

Like birds on gates and cottonwood fluff floating in the air.

By the pond

Or tall grass by the pond.


Or eggshells I find and carry the rest of the way home.

And I did make it home just as it opened up and rained.

And the cats were bounding along behind me and darting in the door with me, happy to be able to follow me again.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Lovely days

I haven't participated in a Mosaic Monday in ages! I feel like I don't even know how much time has passed. But this weekend as I was snapping photos of all the Spring-ness around me I felt like a collage would be just the thing.

The top middle photo is an homage to Jennifer's here - after I saw her photo I noticed some of my plants had done the same! (She's a great one to follow if you like horse and nature photos.)

The circle of smooth stones is in my neighbor's field. I don't remember there being a tree there, but there's a circle of stone around a sunken area of ground; it always looks pretty in Spring. Of course Spring isn't even officially here yet, but plants and animals (field of calves and lambs) don't lie. :)

Be sure to visit Little Red House to see all the lovely mosaics!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

New craft space

A few redesigns of organization and I finally have something I can show. Organizing is messy business.

Welcome to my new craft space!

(I'm a wee bit too short-legged for my chair so a folded up blanket gives me a boost - also this may be the ugliest floor in the entire world, nay, universe)

Thanks to Gussy Sews (and some scrapbook paper and some paint on a thrifted frame) I have art that matches the pretty art my friend Megan got me for Christmas.

I've had my eye on this "tea & happy things" print for quite a while. (It's from the hairbrained schemes.)

I have a complete mishmash in here, but it works. I pulled the drawers out of this little cabinet thing to get twice the storage capacity (see the drawers in the crate holding yet more).

Even candle holders work great at holding supplies.

A collection of random boxes hold all my jars of beads.

Thrift store jars hold some other supplies and my jewelry making tools are in easy reach.

I have some seriously great art in here. What I've already mentioned, as well as an ornament from Sarah Lambert-Cook and two mini prints from Kate Gabriel / Flapperdoodle

I have a good view of the field and treeline through these two corner windows.
Hello corner of a shirt. Did I mention this is in the corner of the laundry room? :)

I feel very organized and like I have all kinds of space to spread out and create because:


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Bookish list

In 2011 I read over 50 books. Mostly because I spent a month here and a month there house-sitting, etc. and had a lot of porches to sit on to soak up the sunshine and plenty of reading leisure.

In 2012 I got a "real" job and read just 34 1/2 of my Goodreads goal of 35 books.

A lot of the cut in books read had to do with the cut in my time to read and a lot of it had to do with the malaise I became enveloped in. Maybe even some of it had to do with the fact that not a lot of the books were really enjoyable. Many of the books I read were ones I owned and I wanted to read at least once before deciding to get rid of them. And, I assure you, after I'd read them I had no problem tossing them in the "get them out of here before someone thinks it's my favorite book" pile.

In any case I'll make a few recommendations and the rest of my books you can politely ignore. Or not politely because some of them deserve a round of raspberries.


Beauty: A Re-telling of the story of Beauty & the Beast - I wanted this book to go on and on, and while it really isn't at all like the Disney movie, I definitely noticed where Disney got some of their ideas (right down to the Beast's blue jacket).

Cinder - An amazing futuristic/spacey Cinderella adaptation. Thankfully this was just part one with part two expected next month - yay!

The Hunger Games - is this considered a bandwagon thing? I really liked this book. Is it still considered a bandwagon if I'd preferred it was a single book and not a series? The second was...okay but the third one was so incredibly depressing.

Honorable mentions:

Submerged - I wrote a review of this (as I'd received it for just that purpose) and while it was flawed, there was a lot I liked about it and I'm looking forward to reading the second book in the series.

Scarlet - this book doesn't have the best reviews but I enjoyed it. Possibly because I've always loved anything Robin Hood (and because I kept picturing Gisbourne as Richard Armitage's version).

Avoid at all costs:

Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind

What I imagined: a supressed woman frees herself from social confines and gives everyone a piece of her mind.

In actuality: nothing. I don't remember her speaking her mind and I don't remember a single interesting thing that happened. Biggest disappointment of my reading year? Possibly!

The Map of Time (SPOILERS)

Promised: H.G. Wells, time travel, Jack the Ripper.

In actuality: All of that and then at the end "just kidding!" I wanted to punch this book in the face.

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation

I ignored warnings that this book was terrible and I shouldn't have.

Promised: Scarlet Pimpernel type stuff but with women.

In actuality: a yawn-inducing series of meet-cutes between the same two couples ad nauseum.

For the upcoming year? I hesitate to make a list of "to-reads" like I have in the past since I don't seem to have as much time. However, I am thinking of buying a Kindle so I have easier access to some hard-to-get-out-here-in-the-sticks books and so I don't develop back problems lucking giant paperbacks around in my purse everywhere.

So I have two questions for you:

If you have an e-reader what kind of recommendations can you make for me? With differing versions I am having trouble knowing where to start.

And two: what books should I be reading in 2013?