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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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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.

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Those also went on Craigslist.

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

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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.

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

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

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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

Small Changes ….

… can make a Big Difference.

Anyone feeling anxious or rushed yet? You know … those holiday hurries and worries that usually start about now? Before the big boys come out; those crates and boxes of lights and lovelies, try to keep calm. There are still “easy little” things you can do to spruce up a bit for Thanksgiving.

1. Add FLOWERS or a COLORFUL PLANT

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Our piano is always the “elephant in the room”, but I love it, and it’s actually very easy to decorate with.
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Here this nice, big plant adds brightness and draws the eye to the colors and themes in the photography wall grouping. This was a quick buy at the local Big Box store, for under $10.

TIP: BE SURE to have something under your plants to protect your fine furniture from any moisture or spillage. Mine is both in a plastic lined basket AND I have a clear plastic plate beneath the basket.

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WIth the piano, a dramatic change comes with simply opening the lid (and I get a lot more “oohs and ahs” with the lid up)!

2. Swap out Wall Art

Refresh your main rooms quickly by swapping your wall art with something from a different room.

In the above photo, note that the wall display photographs have been changed. Below, both the wall art and plant are new. A larger watercolor (mine) is now paired with one of my silk floral arrangements.
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3. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Don’t sweat it but don’t forget it either! Switch out your accessories from room to room.

Yes, Thanksgiving is still Fall, but if you’re tired of pumpkins and Halloween colors, try trading the orange lamp in the living room for the lighter one in the den. Put the pumpkins out on the front steps and bring different Autumn colors into your rooms, with glass, metals and books.

Earlier Autumn version of living room.
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Quick change shot.
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Credenza before …
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… and after
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Coffee Table before …
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… Two different vignettes for Coffee Table. These are nice examples of how colorful scarves make easy accessories for decor and fashion. Nice double-duty items there, and very affordable at your favorite thrift stores. I never pay more than $2 per scarf.

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A few new, colorful kitchen towels and pot holders are always an inexpensive and quick refresher. Likewise, a new bath towel set or two.
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Items above were all purchased new at Wal-Mart and my area Discovery Thrift store for between $1 and $1.50 each. I began buying one or two a trip, a few weeks before the holiday season, so no big financial bite all at once.

Replace throw or accent rugs if they’re showing wear. Especially around holiday seasons, many of the major department and big box stores have fantastic sales on household items.

The end of year holiday seasons are also the “colds” season. It’s a good idea to have tissue available for guests. Buy a few pretty boxes while you’re at it. Just another simple way to add color, so why not?
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Final TIP: Books are always wonderful decorating accessories. Yes, use them for their colors, but I like to display several picture books as well. People seem to enjoy having something fun to do during those “slow periods” before and after the holiday meal.
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That’s it for this time. Remember my articles aren’t absolute must-dos … just suggestions and ideas to get your imagination going. I hope you’re sharing your favorite posts with friends. I’d love to have them join us too!

As always, don’t stress, just start.

Later – Cheryl
This original article “Small Changes can Make a Big Difference” appeared first on Artzzle.com.

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Pretty Gift Box, E-Z Make-do Project

A bit of ambition and inspiration struck yesterday, so I decided to take on a quick, make-do project. Remember, my make-do ideas are strictly no spending, no store trips. The only shopping done is shopping my house to see what I can come up with.

After making some note cards as a gift for a friend, I needed something to put them in, so the search was on. There were two decent white board boxes, but one was too small and while the perfect size, the lid on the second box was yellowed and had some small dents; not good gift material! All the available decorative bags were winter themed and that was definately out. Any gift paper found was too heavy to wrap the small box lid smoothly. I have lots of wrapping tissue, so chose three bright colors for a collage effect for the box lid.

Adults and kids alike find this a fun, easy application with beautiful results, that can be used in many ways.

The supply list is simple.

Colored tissue wrapping paper, water based glue and plain water. That’s all you need. I use either Elmer’s white glue or as in this case, Tacky glue. Both work well, but Elmer’s is a bit thinner consistency and will dry a little quicker, which is nice for this project, but not a must. Tacky was in my cabinet so that’s what I used here. If you have a flat, synthetic craft brush, it comes in handy, but plain old fingers work fine too (they’re just a little messier 🙂 ).

1. Tear your tissue into pieces sized for easy work with your object. Here we’re covering the lid of a small box so don’t want very big pieces.

2. Squeeze some glue over a section of your object, then smooth the glue over that portion, adding just a drop or two of water to make a damp glaze.

3. Lay on a piece of paper, then gently pinch at the paper to create wrinkled texture.

4. Continue until the top is well covered, then wet a side of the lid and adhere smaller sized pieces. Work them into the wet top. Leave a dry edge hanging down at the bottom of the box’s sides. DON’T wrap glue and paper into the inside of the lid.

5. Repeat until you get desired look and texture. Let dry, then carefully trim off dry edges.

TIP 1: Tear your tissue rather than cut. Jagged, natural edges are more interesting in this application.
TIP 2: Don’t use a natural bristle brush as glue is difficult to remove completely. Even with synthetic, keep your brush wet when not in use, so that glue isn’t able to dry and damage brush. Wash up with warm water and ordinary dish liquid.
TIP 3: After completed project dries, add one final coating of glue over entire surface, to give a nice sheen to your finished piece.

Finally, I lined the box with tissue, then put the envelopes, more tissue and lastly the cards. This was a set of eight note cards and I always include two extra envelopes.
An inexpensive, quick and easy project that any age will enjoy making OR receiving.

My friend Linda loved her gift!

As always, don’t stress, just start.
Later – Cheryl