Criss-Cross Christmas

For anyone, there are so many things to do and places to be, during the holidays.  People have lots of contenders vying for their time.

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Those of us with “blended families” have extra scheduling difficulties in this season, as people have to multiply the visits and celebrations.  It can be stressful, especially to kids, even after they’ve become adults.

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In the past two years, I’ve tried a different approach.  We combine Thanksgiving and Christmas into one get-together, and we celebrate in mid-December or early January.

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The thought was to aim for less stress directly on the holidays, when so many other duties call.  It has worked quite well … except … this year.

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So, for the first time – in a long time, even the single celebration has to be split, as schedules just can’t come together.

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This year, grandchildren are older, and teenagers have jobs and sports activities and everything included.  So even if we’re not trying to use the exact holiday for our gathering, there are still conflicts.

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Solution:  One family is coming here to our home, and we’re having a brunch instead of a turkey dinner w/fixings.  I’m really looking forward to it, as the kids AND grandkids are doing all the cooking.  Sounds like fun, don’t you think?  Can’t wait!

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The other kids who are local, have been remodeling their home and wanted us to visit their place for a get-together.  We headed over there last weekend, and had a blast.  My daughter-in-law is a marvelous cook and this time, she even made a big vegan dish for my husband.  And it was fun to see the new looks in their house.

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So, Readers … how will you be spending your time over the holidays?  I love when you share in the comments.

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And if you’re looking for last minute decorating ideas, you can do a search in the menu bar up-top.  Just type Christmas and you’ll find all of the projects and ideas I’ve posted previously, lots of stuff there.

OR, visit Artzzle’s Facebook page.   Lots more fun projects there and many are “kid” friendly too.

In closing, I’ll just say that

Whatever your Beliefs or Reasons for the Season,

be Happy, stay Safe and Best Wishes to all!

Later – Cheryl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HELP WANTED: Needed NOW- Holiday Inspiration

Tomorrow is the 1st of December … already.

Thanksgiving was quiet this year with no visitors.  The days following are usually when we begin the Christmas decorating.  This year’s gloomy weather isn’t promoting much holiday spirit.Christmas

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Rain and record warm temperatures have dissolved the two light accumulations of snow we have had.  Soggy, brown ground and cloudy days are on the schedule for the week.

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Over the weekend, we did dig out some of the holiday bins.  Well, giving credit when it’s due … Hubs did the digging, braving our crawl space to find some of the holiday bins.  Containers were brought up, unpacked and items placed all over our space. And the mess began …

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Many of you know but for those who don’t, I’ll tell you big messes really aren’t my thing! Can’t stand em’.  They literally make me uncomfortable.  But I do try to find something positive, even in a negative situation.  The positive at this stage, was that seeing some of my Christmas treasures again, sparked an inkling of enthusiasm.

By late Sunday evening, items were up here, but not arranged yet, and the kitchen and dining room were a complete disaster. Pieces, paper, boxes and bins everywhere.

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At that point, we were pooped out.  And as awful as it is to wake up to a dirty house, it had to be …  I was tired … so it was off to bed.

Monday, creating some heavy duty enthusiasm was an ABSOLUTE MUST.  I began browsing digital photo albums and finally … holiday posts from previous years.

Christmas at Artzzle

It opened a Pandora’s box of ideas.  Click HERE for your inspiration.

Meanwhile, Hubs and I will keep plugging away at our 2016 Holiday Home!

This is only the beginning, but our goal is to finish by this coming Saturday.  Next, current displays have to be taken down, wrapped and packed away.  Lots of crawling, climbing, reaching and handing going on.  Not a speedy process for a couple of old(ish) fogies decorators like us!

TIP:  No matter your age, always make climbing and ladder work a “two-person” project.  In-home falls can be dangerous, but especially when working alone as you have no one to come to your aid.

Besides … it’s always more fun and more work done … with two instead of one!

It’s good to be back and I’ll be glad to read your comments again 😀

Later – Cheryl

 

 

 

 

Stress Less . . . Smile More

 

via Baby Animal — Animal Pics Archive

No … no, it ISN’T decor … but it IS humor!  You’ll be seeing more of both on Artzzle in the near future.

Meanwhile. find more to smile about, because smiles often lead to laughter, and laughter makes for happy memories.  You’ll discover that a single moment’s memory can last a lifetime.

Stress less . . . Smile more.

Later – Cheryl

 

 

 

From Gloomy to Good

For a host of reasons, I’m always glad to see
the third month of the year disappear.
Though someone in my life seems to be
on a mission to start a new tradition
to brighten my March with cheer.

It began last year with this little lovely.

And late afternoon today … another knock at my door … brought this beauty.

Artzzle March 2016 post

Though March will be my least favorite month … forever,
my daughter Bri is determined to make it better.

Thanks, Breezer. Luv Ya lots! … Love, Ma

Artzzle March 2016 post

Later, Readers.

 

Little Things Mean a Lot

Valentine’s Day isn’t the elaborate celebration it once was, around our place.  It’s more of a “stay home and snuggle” than a “reservations and retail” type of holiday, after being married for 31 years .  We kind of like it that way … especially in a freezing February!  So, it was unexpected (and sort of cute) when, while shopping this week, Hubs wanted me to pick out something for a Valentine gift.

An obvious starting point was the display of mixed bouquets.  There were three different prices and assortments presented.  Now, don’t get me wrong, many of the choices were fresh enough, that one may have worked.   But remember I’m a former florist, so I looked them all over closely.  Still, those prices for something that would be gone in a few days gave me pause.

I wanted to keep looking.

We went back to the normal garden department and while the variety and choices were very limited, there was a good sized foliage plant I liked, for a bit more than the flowers.  Similar price points. Live plant (non-blooming) vs. soon-to-be dead flowers. Hhmm.

I wanted to keep looking.

Jewelry?  Too spendy.  Towels … or how about a colorful little throw-rug.   Nah.  We went past a Valentine’s Day display with candy, cards and bunches of fresh (sort of) tulips. I’m diabetic, so any big time candy purchase, well prob’ly not a great idea, as it’s hard for me to stop on that, when I get going 😛  Just sayin’.  The tulips were okay, but Hubs wanted to spend more.  Well I was up for that, so . . .

We wanted to keep looking.

We were almost to check-out and I saw a young gal with a little mini rose plant.  She pointed to yet another display area.  Okay, enough already, people.

Here is what I chose for my Valentine’s gift.  A live and blooming plant.  A cute little pink and purple cyclamen.

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It will bloom for quite a while yet, a week or even longer.  And, the foliage will give continued interest until next bloom season (if I don’t kill it first).

Next, a bundle of orange tulips (one of my favorite colors and blooms).

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Some low, broken stems were discovered when we got them home . . . so

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they got a special “short” vase.

Finally … chocolate.  Not just any old candy, but … crunchy M&M’s.  These happen to be a triple play of pleasure for me!

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First, one of my favorite things.  Second, affordable and third, small so I can have just a few at a time without messing up my sugar #’s (with a little supervision from Hubs)!

These all make me smile, and at that $$ amount, I don’t have to feel guilty.   It really is true … Little Things can Mean a Lot.

Thanks Dugger.  Love you still!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.  If you still need some decor ideas, search valentine(s) here on the blog, or check out my pinterest and facebook place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Right Time to Think about Gardens

It’s Super Bowl Sunday … end of 2nd half … my team’s leading (Go BRONCOS) … and we’re in the midst of a nasty snow storm.

Hey, I think it’s the perfect time to be thinking about gardens.  Don’t you?

Hubs is way ahead of us, having already built seven above-ground planters for our backyard.  Four are designed to work together, and three will be positioned individually. Sorry, no pictures of these tonight, though.  It’s cold and too dark in the garage.

Instead, I’m sharing some gardening pretties … in particular SMALL SPACE gardens. Tonight, my muse is Benjamin Vogt, a favorite HOUZZ contributor that I follow; owner of a prairie garden design firm a.k.a. Monarch Glen.

So much to see, savor and learn here.

COMING SOON . . . pictures of the Hubs Projects.  Meantime . . .

It’s.Back.To.The.SUPER BOWL !!

 

 

A January Jumpstart

The house looks a little empty today,
with the Christmas color packed away.
Even though the day was sunny and bright,
I’m tired out and lazy tonight,
with slim initiative to set the place right.

So, from my favorite chair, I took to the net,
to see what inspiration I could get.
Color and clean lines are two boosters for me,
add some great displays to make it three.

Enjoy the pics and explore the links for their sources. They’re sure to jumpstart your January!

Upon discovering this photo quite some time ago, I literally gasped and knew it had to be saved for a future post. A wonderful example of how display can be so very simple but achieve such breathtaking reactions.

This is from one of my HOUZZ Ideabooks “Color”. It’s really In Your Face but in a nice way.

Ah, can I ever stress “Simple” enough? Substitute “easy” if that’s the word you prefer. Either way, this look could be done by anyone, It just made me smile.

Speaking of smiling.

Simple, simple, simple but so effective! Okay, you get the idea.

Everything just fantastic here and it all works together perfectly. Wonderful display with my three “C’s” Clean, Comfortable, Colorful. Wow.

I’m not even much of a “yellows” gal but how could anyone not enjoy this (at least just to look at)!


And MORE color here! Ahh. And once again, simple. Start with a neutral wall color (will work with lots of themes), choose an inspiration piece (the beautiful toss pillow), bring in colors from that item and finally add an accent color for some extra pizzazz. Here it’s the coral flowers on the nightstand. This is also a great example of some of the “rules” I use. The nightstand has 3 simple items at 3 different heights. There are 3 smaller toss pillows and yes, only two bigger pillows BUT together, you’re still working with an odd number in your display. Unlike what we’ve always been told, ODD is good, DIFFERENT is delightful.

Remember decorating is personal so make it “YOU”. And don’t forget that decor rules are the stairway to your design, but it’s OK to skip a few steps. My Magic #3 is a suggested place to start, but once you get your motor revved up, take off down your own road.

Think my guests would appreciate this guest room. I sure would.

And finally, sometimes we just need things to be black and white.

This is such fun, I could go on forever, but have to get going on my house. Well, I’m cheered and this has kicked me into, if not HIGH Gear, at least to a bit more driven speed. So I best get goin’ while the gettin’s good!

January can sometimes be gloomy, but find ways to stay positive and you’ll stay productive too!  We’ll talk again soon.  Leave a comment and it’ll be even sooner 😀

Before I sign off, I want to thank the author of Leaf and Twig for allowing me to use her beautiful photo in my newest header.  Hope you enjoy it and the background change.
Have a most Happy New Year.

Later – Cheryl

You’ve just read “A January Jumpstart” featured first on Artzzle.com. You’re invited to ask a question or leave a comment. I look forward to your input.

 

Last Minute Christmas Fast Fixes

There are ALWAYS A FEW OF US who need some décor perks FAST, especially during the extended holiday seasons.  So, keeping with my 1-2-3, EZ PZ philosophies about such things . . . here ya go!  Be sure to catch all the TIPS and the LIST of supplies.

1.  BANNER of Christmas Cards

EZ PZ Christmas Banner

Use the actual cards you’ve received, or like these, that I purchased for crafts, at “After Christmas Sales” last year.  FIRST, cut cards in half down the folds and trim rough edges.  NEXT, cut out the front sections from your colored envelopes, like my example, for hand lettered messages EZ PZ Christmas Banner

OR you can simply use the inside message section of your card (the back half).

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

NOW punch holes in the top corners of each piece. USE twine, yarn, ribbon or whatever you want, to string the cards and form your banner.  It is light weight and can be hung with thumb tacks or push pins, without damaging walls.

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

TIPS:  Re: After Christmas sales:  1.  Look for designs that instantly catch your eye.  For banners and many other projects, you’ll want variety so choose cards that have several designs in the box.  These screamed my name right away.  The design is big, colorful and generic themed AND the images are glittered = sparkle and interest.  2.  Look for cards with COLORED ENVELOPES.  That’s just more colored paper for any crafts!
3. Faux Flowers:  Bushes of flowers rather than single stems, give you more bang for your buck.  Just snip off individual blooms to scatter through the house.
4. Wrapping paper:  I always buy the widest, longest rolls … not the short, skimpy ones.  I look for paper in colors that can be used ALL YEAR ROUND not just seasonally.  I buy as many coordinated patterns and colors as I can afford.  Paper doesn’t spoil, right!  5.  DON’T MISS your local thrift store sales, both before and after Christmas.  TON’S of deals there and you’re supporting your community, too!   6. Always start with my golden rule . . . house shop first, use what you already have before buying more! 

2. ORNAMENTS in Anything

Simply put a few colorful ornaments in any container you have;

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

a basket, a bowl, any glass jar or vase available.Christmas Fast Fix Decor

EZ PZ with things you already have.

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

Below, the ornaments are in a beautiful, giant copper leaf piece, a gift from one of my daughters.  The little “Russian Doll” snowmen another daughter and I saw years ago while shopping at Sears.  They were on the check-out counter and I said how cute they were.  So the clerk said “Here, you can have these!”  A memory moment for sure.

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

YES … you know it.  Even my bathroom gets decorated.

Christmas Fast Fix Decir

BLING belongs everywhere. . . you knew that, right!

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

3. PLANTS, PINES & BRANCHES

Pointsettias are everywhere.  Buy one or two for important spots in your room.

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

Pine branches are easy to come by and so are fake pine garlands.

Ease into Christmas "Feature"

A small grouping of pine, a faux flower and a Holiday item are an instant little vignette.

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

See, you don’t need a lot.  Sometimes simplicity is elegant, effective … and FAST.  And putting that blue plant container in a Christmas colored basket would be great too!  The table runner is paper and ribbon.  See below

3. BASKETS, BOXES and PAPER

Ease into Christmas "Feature"

Put one of your houseplants in a bright basket.  Wrap some empty boxes in varied sizes and papers.  Only takes a few minutes.  OR you could wrap small items you’re giving as guest favors and throw them in a big basket.  NO TREE . . . take a bamboo basket or tub, and put all your gift-wrapped presents in them.  Lots of bang with what you have already.

RIBBON

This is one of the most easy and fun ideas.  No pictures but just use your imagination.  Make one  big bow for a centerpiece.  Make several small bows to scatter here, there and everywhere.  Make a quick tree garland or wall banner with thick ribbon and a few unbreakable ornaments.  Wrap jars with pretty ribbon and use as serving pieces … hold candy, silverware, extra napkins, etc.  HAVE FUN.

CANDY

?? Candy ??  YES, that’s what it says.  Hey talk about multiple duties: decor, gifts, food AND inexpensive.  C’mon people, candy is perfect!Christmas Fast Fix Decor

Stores have tons of beautiful foil wrapped chocolates and candies for the holidays.  USE em!  OR Candy canes are cheap, pretty and edible.  Hang them on the tree, put em’ in a jar (with a ribbon tied round it).

The next shot includes Paper, Fabric, Pine Branches and Ornaments, used in pieces I already owned.  AND this arrangement carried me during Fall through New Years that year!

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

SUPPLIES used in these projects

Christmas cards & colored envelopes
Wrapping paper
Fabric remnants
Unbreakable Christmas Ornaments
Houseplants
Candy
Christmas decor pieces (you already have)
Already owned vases, jars, holders, etc.

FINALLY . . . I know, this has been a long one, yikes.  But here’s the EASIEST.

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take down some of your wall art pictures; wrap them with pretty paper and ribbon, then hang em’ back up. There you go … instant Christmas decor.

CLICK THIS TO FIND MORE EASY IDEAS.

Hope these have been positive inspirations to help you eliminate those last minute stresses.  We’ll talk again soon.

Later – Cheryl

Best Ways to Use the Time … During Football Games

YES I KNOW it’s Christmas time, but it’s also the weekend.

Ahh … and a winter weekend … YES.

Sleep in, laze around with coffee and chocolate. (that was gonna say “sweets” but truthfully, I always have something chocolate with my coffee!) Quiet mornings, just good coffee and good conversation. No noise, no television. Well, none until … game time, and even then, it has to be the right game, or the screen stays black and quiet.

Quick, fast, exciting and then BAM … DONE!

That’s why hockey and soccer are my favored sports. The stupid, ever-changing clock and all that instant replay baloney in football, make me crazy! Ggrrr!
Having no extensive knowledge of or patience with any sport,
I need diversions to survive.
Well, lets just say “I have my ways”.
Hubs is usually patient about providing me any necessary updates.
Thank You, Dugger 😛

MY BEST WAYS TO USE TIME DURING FOOTBALL GAMES

1. The TV is visible from the kitchen, so I can do dishes, mind the meal, clean or whatever.
2. I can throw in a load or two of wash, fold and put away. The laundry room’s next door.
3. Gracie gets lots of close-contact lap time in. With her on my lap, I don’t go anywhere!
Today I’m typing, so Dad’s gettin’ all the lovin’.

Artzzle Christmas Feature4. A big stack of magazines helps the monotonous sports time.
5. Finally, those who know me will be nodding yes,
when I say “my best use of football time is, of course, on the laptop”.
I have no problem answering emails, working on a post or cruising the net.

Today, it’s football, Chicago, here against our Vikings ..
UPDATE: end of 3rd qtr, Vikes lead 24-10,
but with that stupid football clock, there’s still plenty of time for them to screw up.  Meanwhile, there’s laundry done and more in progress.
No dishes yet, but the bed is made, and I received some great email like this.

Gift Bag Wall Hanging

A SUPER quick, EZ-PZ project for some last minute Christmas color,
from Kim over at Exquisitely Unremarkable.
You all know how I love to share. This year, Hometalk asked me to be a contributor to their Christmas Pinterest Board, so I shared Kim’s article there today, along with some others.

HOMETALK CHRISTMAS PINTEREST BOARD

Go over and see …
halftime works great for a visit.
And, that’s my Q. The game’s over
the Vikings won … OMG … final 38-17,
not a slaughter but pretty good guys!

So now everyone, stop stressing over the holidays … just relax and start something fun.

WOW, it’s 4 o’clock and I haven’t eaten yet … and OH NO, now my guy Peyton is playing.  Geez!  We’ll talk again soon 🙂

Later – Cheryl

TOILET PAPER & ONE UGLY MESS

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