Monday, December 17, 2012

not business as usual

Pickles and I have a morning ritual. She comes down from her bed and sits in my lap for a couple of minutes while I rock her and talk about what's in store for the day. It was not lost on me that this morning, there are parents who do not have the luxury, the priveledge, of holding their little ones. They can't hug their babies, they can't kiss them. I cannot begin to imagine the intense depth of their grief. Crying, I sat and prayed. All I can do is pray and ask anyone out there to do the same. Pray for comfort, for peace, for healing.

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

hard candy Christmas...but not really

There's something about a jar full of found objects. I love jars of buttons, they're the best. I also love jars of bottle caps. When I was a kid (insert dinosaur joke), bottle caps were the currency of choice for our imaginary trips to the imaginary grocery store.

The collection above has been sitting on my shelf for about a year and the collection itself is about 2 years in the making. I wanted to make something Christmasy with them for my Junque Tree. Pickles was vehemently against this since she feels it means "ruining" the caps somehow.

Take heart, my dear Pickles! A a fun, non-altering solution is here. I've decided to make a candy wrapped garland with them. The idea is simple. I'm using cellophane to wrap the bottle caps like hard candy. All I need is:

*bottle caps
*roll of clear cellophane - cut into 4 inch wide strips along the length of the roll.
*pipe cleaners (mine are gold!) - cut into 1 to 1.5 inch pieces


It's kinda tricky to capture, but here's the strip of cellophane. I placed two bottle caps together with the open sides facing each other and wrap them just like you would a hard candy disc. You know...
Dang cellophane!! The camera won't focus on it!  Ok, so twist the cellophane and tie it closed with your pipecleaner piece.  Same for the other side and there you have you first "candy".
Now, just add another and another tieing after each one. When you're coming to the end of a cellophane strip (about 4 or 5 inches left at the end) just start a new one and add it to your existing strand. Simply place the end of the new strand inside the end of the old strand. Then just continue on your merry way.

What you wind up with is a garland of bottle caps and they do look like candy!

They are too perfect for the Junque Tree!

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

hooked on colors

Holy Pinata, Batman! I love the colors on my tree, it's like Fiestas Patrias! But I couldn't hang my cute little decorations with those plain old aluminum hooks. How booooring. I needed something festive, bright, cheery. Oh if only I could find that special something...
But wait! What's that I spy? Over in the stationary supplies in the kitchen. Could it be? Yes! Paper clips.

Okay, that's not how it happened. I was cleaning the stationary cabinet and I ran across the paper clips. I remembered using them as hooks in the past but now...they'recolored!
Just open them up and voila! A cute, color coordinated hook for my scrap medallions.

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Monday, December 10, 2012

that's just ducky!


Sometimes all you need is a little ribbon to totally change something. Look at these too-cute keychains I found at the "dollar store" (and .79 and 1.49 etc). These sparkly little quackers were .80 each and I had to have some! But I can't hang them like that. The keychain is convenient but ... no. Let's touch it up!

That'll do, Duck. That'll do.

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Saturday, December 8, 2012

it's not junk, it's Junque

And then there's a little something for mom. I call it my Junque Tree. It sat in the attic
unused last year but I wanted to bring it down and let it show off. Plus, the family's tolerance for my quirky taste only goes so far so....

Since I didn't have ornaments ready for this little tree, I decided to raid the craft supplies and store items for cheery decorations.

These scrap medallions were a given.
And when I saw these ducks at the dollars store, I just couldn't resist!
The prize ribbons were a must, they're so colorful...and for sale :-)
Of course, a Christmas tree needs a garland. I added my ruffled two-tone streamers which just brings in a whole, mexican pinata feeling.
And these stars are a long-ago craft project for gift giving on a budget.
I found a few left in the attic and threw them on!
One of my favorite things on this tree is my hard candy bottle cap garland. Bottle caps strung in cellophane to form a fun addition to my tree.
My MOST favorite decoration is my heart from Pickles. It was a Valentine's gift but now...

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Friday, December 7, 2012

holiday lights... and lights

My tree trimming is all done and I don't mind saying I love it!!  As I'm sure you do, I have my steps and methods for getting a tree that is full, bright and just right! I mentioned before, I stuff a couple of garlands into the center of my artificial tree to make it look fuller. When my tree is nice and fluffy, I start adding lights, extra lights, since our tree is pre-lit. LIGHTS LIGHTS LIGHTS!
Years ago Mother Darling taught me to brighten my tree with a most basic trick: put reflective, refractive ornaments on the inner branches. Doing this first bounces light around really making your tree sparkle! Use ornaments that are:
these are actually plastic ornaments but they're made to look like cut crystal. Think clear plastic stars or snowflakes too!

A classic, of course! So shiny, and that mirror finish means every
ornament adds several extra points of light!

 Hello...if they're good enough for the skating rink slow jam, they're good enough for me. A ball covered with mirrors is perfect...amariteorwut?

trick I just got from Aunt Peaches.

She uses little puffs made from tinsel to 'thicken' her tree. When I saw them, I knew I MUST use them for extra sparkle. Boy does it work! Placed in the inner branches, each puff becomes a little cloud of light!

Once my 'base' is down, I can add all the other layers of decorations on a shiny, sparkly canvas!


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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

not the mama!

Do you know what you're looking at? You probably think you're looking at a pink blanket from the dollar store, right? Well, you'd be wrong. What you're looking at is my grandchild. Says who?...

Because according to Pepper, it's her "baby". The world's ugliest, stinkiest most disgusting baby. EVER.



If it's not in her mouth, it's at her head and if it's not at her head, it's at my feet. For some ungodly reason, Pepper thinks I want her baby as much as she does. No really, Pepper, knock yerself out.
Seems like every time I turn around, this ugly thing is sitting at the floor next to me. If it wasn't for Pepper, I'd think I was being a blanket.

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Monday, December 3, 2012

filler up!

I don't know...should a tree be this bald?

This is our christmas tree. Daddy McD prefers an artificial, pre-lit tree to a natural one. I could go either way as arguments for each are valid. However, THIS tree in particular has a certain something missing.

We'll call them branches...or sprigs, or tree. Yes, it's quite decidedly missing a certain amount of TREE. Look at it! you can see clean through every part!

There's still hope, though. A simple solution really. I stuff it with garland. Not the thin tinsel-y kind. the thick, wire-y kind that you hang on mantels or banisters. I stuff it into the empty spaces. It fills up the bald spaces and garland is super easy to score cheap at after Christmas sales or, my favorite store, the thrift store. Thrift store ones are best if you're using them for filler or some sort of background.

Here you can see the center pole right through the tree. a big empty space wating for some filler.

I just take a swag and wrap it around a level or two. Of course, once all the ornaments are on, it will look much fuller but the garland gives this tired old tree just a little more life.  Now, isn't that better?


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