Easing Into an Easy Christmas

Thanksgiving Day has come and gone,
Black Friday past and Small Biz Saturday nearly done …
it’s time to think about Christmas.

We usually ease into Christmas gradually, but this year since our family is combining the two holidays, and celebrating in Mid-December, I began early, pre-Thanksgiving, even.

The most difficult and time consuming part (and a great relief when completed) is the tree, so it goes up first. Then after a few nights of pretty lights, I’m in the spirit to do the rest. Often, I work with a definite color scheme and theme, continuing it through the house. Not so much this time.

Easing into Christmas Feature

I brought out all of our “special” family ornaments and memory pieces, added a bit of sparkle with some beads and garland, and finally, added multi-colored ornaments through-out. The result is a very old-fashioned, homey look, especially since we placed the tree right by the fireplace.

I have a collection of Dayton Hudson Corporation “SANTA BEARS”; small in quantity (only 3) because the guys themselves are big and a bit difficult to hibernate for the rest of the year. In 2014, it was just Hubs and I around, so no giganto tree. I put all three bears atop the piano, around a small table tree.

Christmas Decorating at Artzzle

Did ya notice the reindeer antlers on the tree top :P

This year, the bears are taking up individual little spots in the living room.

Ease Into Christmas "Feature"

At a younger age or earlier stage, your holiday decor collection will just be starting. Don’t feel you have to rush right out and grab everything on your first official holiday. One of my favorite tips applies at Christmas too.

TIP #1: Start with what you already have, and build from there.

Ease into Christmas "Feature"EXAMPLE:  A plate and figurine, a metallic (musical tree) and bright colored books with metallic print. You may already have a piece or two that you treasure. Pull some ideas and color from that.  Cost on pieces:  Plate = $2.00; Santa Bell = $0.75; Tree = $1.50 (silver plated, musical) .  All are thrift buys, but keep in mind, all purchased at different times.

Ease into Christmas "Feature"

If you’re a complete beginner, shop for two or three items you really like, then try a boost with a little greenery, faux or real. Also in this season, take advantage of the beautiful wrapping papers and fabrics. No sew … just fluff up a remnant fabric, tuck under the rough edges and top it off with some pretties.  Above, I just wrapped three sizes of boxes, held together with ribbon and topped with a bow.  I put one of my houseplants in a bright red basket (thrift store $0.25) for a holiday look.


TIP #2: This is a great time of year to shop all of your local thrift stores. There are beautiful pieces for just pennies. Good for the budget (and not as crowded as the big box stores).

The stars below were $3.00 and $0.75.  I get most of my books at a local Goodwill in their end-of-day sales.  Last time I purchased 10 beautiful HARDBACK books for $2.00.  That’s $0.20 each, guys).  I never pay more than a dollar for any book unless it’s stupendous!

Ease into Christmas "Feature"

TIP #3: Remember the Magic # 3. Those arrangements and little vignettes are as easy as 1-2-3. Start with three items varied in height and interest. Work with the 3 essentials; color, pattern and textures.

Be sure to “ground” your grouping; use a pretty fabric, or perhaps a seasonal placemat; maybe a book or two. If your objects are just sitting in the middle of a table, they give a disconnected look; just floating around. That’s why it’s important to ground.

Ease into Christmas "Feature"

Our place isn’t finished for the coming celebrations, but here are some 14 vs. 15 looks at the kitchen cab tops.

2014 …
Ease into Christmas "Feature" Ease into Christmas "Feature"

vs. 2015

Ease into Christmas "Feature"

Ease into Christmas "Feature"

2014, single cabinet …

Ease into Christmas "Feature"

vs. 2015 look.

Ease into Christmas "Feature"

Finally, a 2014 shot of one of the hutch shelves.

Ease into Christmas "Feature"

I’m using this one again.

Okay … I’m “holiday’ed” out for this time.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend and remember … staying positive is a good way to stay productive.
We’ll talk soon.

Later – Cheryl

Quick Non-Food “Stuff” for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving preparations are at hand.
Menus being made, days being planned.
Arranging rooms for extra seating.
Cleaning, cooking, talking, eating.
The youngest crowd might be ignored.
They get restless, they get bored.
Keep all kids busy with fun projects they’ll like.
Have the older kids help the little tikes.

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Finger puppets and velcro turkeys can be found in my 2013 Thanksgiving post.  Everything you need is over there, including the full color printables and easy supply list.Artzzle.com

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Below, the adorable turkeys are only one of the cute ideas you’ll find from Jamielyn Nye’s post over at Baby Center.

10 Thanksgiving crafts for kids Jamielyn Nye


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You’ll have lots of paper projects to pick from over at Enchanted Learning.

I especially liked their construction paper turkey decoration
which lists what a child is thankful for.


If you’re in need of last minute decorating fixes,
click the pic’s below
for some easy ideas!




The project above is both pretty and pretty easy to do.  The version below is prettied up even more by just adding some sparkly wrapping paper.


And that’s all for today.
You’ll remember from last time
that at our house. we’re celebrating the
Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays together this year in mid-December.
Different dates but sentiments are the same.

Stay safe until next time.
Later – Cheryl


It’s reality time around here today.  Well … yesterday, today and a few more days following.  If I am brave enough to post the pictures, this article will prove once and for all, that indeed, I don’t always have a spotless house!

Yes, this post involves one ugly mess AND toilet paper . . . but don’t worry, one has no relation to the other (at least not today).

Toilet Paper & One Big Mess

True, we’re barely at the brink of the Thanksgiving holidays, and still far away from Christmas or Hanukkah, but I have a great reason for considering them all, at this very moment.

Toilet Paper and One Ugly Mess feature

Our tribe is located far and wide, with many blended family members and obligated gatherings they must attend.  It makes holiday plans difficult for everyone to schedule.  And of course, our Midwest weather often compounds the problems.

The photo above is from a previous year.  Right now, our weather is great … but I put emphasis on the RIGHT NOW part!

We always tell the kids that our celebrations don’t have to be on the exact day or holiday weekend.   It has become a successful plan, as everyone is less harried and more relaxed when they don’t have to “eat and run”.

Toilet Paper & One Ugly Mess

For a change, this year instead of two distinct celebrations, our house is having one big shindig … on December 13th.  A date between the two major events, and as thus, there’ll be no specific turkey or menu item, just a giant potluck.  My attitude is sort of  “eat what’s here or fill up when you get home”.  I figure if everyone brings things they enjoy eating, it should be just fine.  Right?!  I say “bring on the baked goods”!

Toilet Paper & One Ugly Mess

But back to point.  My big mess is the holiday ornaments, trappings and wrappings strewn everywhere.  Hub’s dragged up the Christmas tubs from the crawl space, and got the tree down from the garage attic.  And here it all sits, not beautifully arranged as yet, but simply opened and stacked throughout the rooms.

My master plan began with an early evaluation of ALL of the pieces.  It’s part of my “get rid of it, clutter-free” campaign.  Facing facts, we don’t need even half of this conglomeration.  I won’t say exactly half will leave, but I’m really trying for that result.

Toilet Paper & One Ugly Mess "Feature"

First, I sorted and threw out any broken or damaged pieces.  Next, I chose several items or groups of ornaments and listed them on Craigslist.  The idea being whatever doesn’t sell, will be donated to the little thrift store where I volunteer.  As this will happen before December 13th, they’ll still have plenty of time for Christmas sales.  And, actually, we make quite a bit on our “After Holidays” sales too.

Toilet Paper & One Ugly Mess

There were literally hundreds of unbreakable ornaments, all shapes, colors and sizes.I DID keep a few of each type, but the majority was divided evenly. Two sets of 150 ornaments each, with mixed colors and designs, will go to Craigslist or the store.

Toilet Paper & One Ugly Mess

Amongst the Christmas things, I found a few Fall and Thanksgiving items as well.

Toilet Paper & One Ugly Mess "Feature"

Those also went on Craigslist.

Toilet Paper & One Ugly Mess "Feature"

The tree is up and skirted, but stands naked by the fireplace at the moment.

Toilet Paper & One Ugly Mess "Feature"

And yes, in the shot above, that is Gracie’s rear end in the upper right area.

My SANTA BEARS came out of hibernation.  They will all be STAYING.  Right now one of them is atop the piano.

Toilet Paper & One Ugly Mess "Feature"

The new shelf unit Hubs made me this summer, previously held my vase collection.

Toilet Paper & One Ugly Mess "Feature"

Now, it’s showing off my mini Christmas tree collection.

Toilet Paper & One Ugly Mess "Feature"

You can see I’ve done a good editing job with this group.  Below are the items for Craigslist.

Toilet Paper & One Ugly Mess

That’s where we’re at today.  And this mess should prove to you doubters that my house isn’t always picture perfect.  But don’t count on many more examples of it, because I was REALLY HESITANT to feature these!

So, that’s the UGLY MESS … but you’re still wondering about the Toilet Paper, right?

Well, another Cher, my friend over at Craft Alternatives, sent this out last week, and I just had to share it.  C’mon, pretty, right?

The Craft Alternative Link

And YES, it is too “Toilet Paper” in there :) Be sure not to miss the optional container ideas!  Thanks, Cher.

The Craft Alternative "Link"

We’ll talk again soon.  And remember, positive equals productive, and staying so, helps you feel happier, for all those special days coming up.

Later – Cheryl

Finial Moment

Cheryl @ Artzzle:

Wonderful memories arise from this story. Short, sweet and very touching. My thanks to Stuart over at Storyshucker, for allowing me to share this with you!

Originally posted on Storyshucker:

Friends and I enjoyed brunch the other day. Afterwards, I suggested we stop by the local antique store to see what was new…

No one got the joke.

Still laughing at myself, because it never takes much, I held the door for the others as we entered and went our separate ways down cluttered and dusty aisles.

We hadn’t been there long when I saw, tucked between Mason jars and wicker baskets, an old Thanksgiving decoration like one Mama used when I was a kid. It was a turkey with a cardboard head but the rest of it was the honeycomb style that opened and latched onto itself, giving the turkey a big round body. Its cardboard head was bent and its big round body didn’t latch anymore, but I held it up to look at it and wondered whose it used to be, where they might have placed it…

View original 1,113 more words

Fall’s Finale

Sharing Nature’s splendor today

Fall Finale

Some last bits of color as Fall slips away

Fall Finale

No matter the weather, there yet seems to be

Fall Finale

Each day, still a bit of beauty to see

Fall Finale

Forward, as early darkness descends

Fall's Finale

We’ll be staying inside with our floral friends

Wishes to all for a wonderful weekend,
and a safe one for all of you deer hunters!

Later – Cheryl

Have to Admit It … Fall is Here

Okay, okay … I’m finally willing to say … it’s Fall.

The days are shorter and even the nights are changing, with temperatures dropping down after dark.  Weather has been wonderful though, allowing time to finish up outdoor “summer chores” that still sat undone.

After playing on polyvore this week, Fall finally kicked into gear for me.  It was prob’ly all that gorgeous orange!  Ya know how I love my oranges and browns.

So … today, we “Autumn-ed up” the place a little.

The orange vase was already in the table look, but with Summer’s tail end florals.

An easy switch here, simply using some of my spectacular seedums, a few colorful shrub branches and some rose hips from the garden.

Another quick change, was replacing the middle plate on this wall rack, from summer green to autumn burnt orange.

The hand painted plates, top and bottom, will work right up to Christmas, so they stay.

A bright lamp and one of my glass birds keeps company with more of the artisan pottery set, featured in the table arrangement … and on the coffee table.

Hubs’ favorite wildlife print has moved from over the fireplace, and now resides in the living room, along with an Edna Wolfe water color.

The blues, sands and browns in the painting, play nicely with the room’s orange, brown and aqua accents.

A large strand of silk Autumn leaves, was divided and included in several vignettes throughout the open living spaces, uniting the entire area with a continued look and theme.

Some of the leaves, a different scarf beneath and some earthy pieces now sit atop the piano.  The fun, scalloped table cloth is a mainstay, featured with most every arrangement there.

Remember when we switched rooms around a while back?

Artzzle DECISIONS Feature

Below is the newest look for the fireplace grouping, now in what was once the dining area.

The painting is one of mine … an acrylic, with subject and colors that keep the current look going.

TIP:  Remember Mixing = Maximum Interest.

My group here, has a few larger pieces at varied heights; woods and metallic are combined with glass and pottery items in finishes that – to me – complement each other.

More silk leaves were brought in, and a bit more of turquoise and orange are smuggled in, with the mini vases and fresh flowers (the only blooms left in the garden).

Mom’s copper cannisters were moved from countertop to cabinet top, for some sparkle up there.

Of course, I couldn’t exclude the hutch.  Ooh look at the “O” here!

Featured on a bottom half shelf is part of a cute pottery set I found at DISCOVERY THRIFT.  It was love at first site, but I only wanted the creamer and sugar bowl.  Wendy made me a terrific deal on the entire group; eight covered soup bowls, teapot, creamer and sugar … NEW in the box … $12.00.  Had to take it!

TIP:  Using only glass and china items in a hutch isn’t necessary, and may not be the best way to display.

When all is shiny and bright (especially with the mirror backing), everything just melds together and you don’t see the individual, unique pieces.  Mixing and separating a few groupings, keeps the eye interested and moving to see what’s next.

Some favorite books, a metal, pinecone paperweight and the beautiful walnut mallet Hubs made, occupy the other half of that bottom hutch shelf.  Oh and those cute, vintage bookends.

The front door WREATH was changed out a bit.  Some of the silk maple leaves were added … but the sparkly butterfly stayed.  I couldn’t part with it yet.

Recently, I purchased two indoor/outdoor rugs from BALLARD DESIGNS during one of their great sales.  One is for the entry area right by our front door and the other, a runner for our bathroom (I refuse to use those shaggy toilet rugs!)

As we have no actual foyer, I cover the builder’s vinyl with a nice rug (here, my Ballard Sale rug) and have a small scale chair nearby (ready for taking off those boots).  For Fall, I’ve used a mid-century side chair and used orange & white chalk on my message board

Before closing, a final update.  The two end-tables in the family room got identical little arrangements.  I always keep these small, to allow for frequent use in the seating group.

That was my day.  So, what awesome autumn decorating have you been up to?

Remember, stress less and start more.  And lately, I’m trying hard to stay positive, as it helps me be productive.  Maybe it’ll work for you too :)   Have a great weekend.

Later – Cheryl

Looking Cool in Cooler Weather

Looking Cool in Cooler Weather

You Would Never Have Known

The acronym “OMG” is not one I care for.  It’s overused, offensive to some, and just plain annoying to me.  At the very least, it does try signify an attitude; happiness, anger, surprise.  I want something that says “awe struck”.  Yes, WOW works, but like OMG, it’s redundant to the point of nausea.  ( I promise to try & stop with all the “wow”s ).

What can you say when a special descriptive is needed, like for me today.  Today  a home took my breath away.  I’ve highlighted there because, well, how do you abbreviate something like that?  Such a marvelous moment?  OMG?  WOW?  No, they just don’t describe that feeling, they don’t cut it.  Now –

you would never have known . . .

that this house . . .

is also this house . . .

without reading this entire article.  Take a look and see what I mean!

Navigation arrows at bottom right

Acknowledgements: Article: HOUZZ,  Author: Carol Crotta

Paraphrasing a reader’s comments, this couple had great style and $$$ to incorporate it.  A pleasant condition to be in.  You might agree with me in the thought that no matter our style, most of us rarely have the $$ to apply it.

Yes,  I know, I know,  their particular style wouldn’t work for everyone.  But surely, just the sheer beauty and workmanship here can be appreciated by all.  And, without having seen the title or captions . . .

you would never have known . . . this couple is IN THEIR 70’s! Newlyweds, too yet! I mean, WOW, OMG!

We’ll talk again soon.  Meantime, stress less – accomplish more.

Later – Cheryl

Dreamy Schemes

Dreamy Schemes

Dreamy Schemes by artzzle-com

Playing with Polyvore today.  These are three schemes I thought would work for our master bedroom project . . . still very much in limbo!

What are your thoughts?  The spread isn’t my exact one but color is close.

We’ll talk again soon!

Later – Cheryl

P.S.  I chose these items strictly as examples, because of their colors, textures and designs.  Prices are of extreme range on Polyvore so expensive pieces would naturally be replaced by similar items within your budget.  Think of this as an illustrated lesson, not a catalog :D