Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Inspired Handmade Gifts and Packages

Hostess Gift Set (you choose patterns) by CityChicCountryMouse
I don't know if you realize this, but Christmas is coming. In fact, it's right around the corner and will be upon us before we know it. A friend posted on Facebook today that her kids all want Christmas to hurry up and get here, but she needs it to slow down because she feels the impending "deadline" of making it all happen. I can relate! That's why, instead of actually making it happen right now, I'm feeling a bit worn out and rebellious and am blogging instead. There's still plenty of time to choose unique, handmade gifts and wrap them beautifully.

Here's the thing that always gets me. Our family does a gift exchange and there are mostly men in the family. Which means that every year, instead of getting to purchase some of these lovely handmade things, I instead have to go buy tools, dress shirts, or Home Depot gift cards. A girl can only buy so many boy things before she goes crazy. So this is my reprieve!

Need help getting those gifts to look even half as good as the ones you see on Pinterest? I found this sweet Etsy shop called Kawaii Goodies that has everything from baker's twine (an extra-chunky version I've not seen before) to rhinestone ribbon (YES PLEASE!!!) to washi tape to cute "handmade with love" stickers. For my own "DIY" version, I have some of those little doilies which I will be using in combination with baker's twine and various ribbons for wrapping some of my gifts. I also have some tulle ribbon in pale pink that I purchased years ago for one of my daughter's birthday party decor, but it has come in so handy as ribbon on wrapped packages. It's different and makes the gift seem extra special.

Gypsya is a shop that is new to me, although judging from all their positive press from other high-profile blogs and shops (anthropolgie sound familiar, anyone?) it's been around a while. I stumbled onto this shop while searching for organic bedding on Etsy. I've absolutely fallen in love with her textiles. If I could, I would re-do my girls' bedroom in white and use her blankets (#2 and #8) for a big pop of color. Then, I would get her animals duvet cover (#4 or #6) for my sons bedroom. At the risk of seeming creepy, I'd go even further and would wear her scarves (#3 and #5) while carrying her purse (#7) while creating a masterpiece using her homemade watercolor paints, made from flowers! (#1).

This is the part where I have to sheepishly admit I just purchased two of her lovely pillow covers (#9)  when she had a Facebook sale. They have arrived and are lovely and happy and are just waiting for pillow inserts. Where have you been all my life, Gypsya?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Season of Hope: Happy Christmas Decor

This is a special Christmas for our family. This year our son Caleb has shown tremendous progress. We are seeing him develop in some exciting new ways, including taking his first steps with the help of a walker, working on feeding himself, and trying to talk. My outlook is more hopeful this December than it's been in a long time, and you can see my optimistic outlook in how I've decorated for Christmas this year. In years past, I've used mostly silver and white elements, with maybe one additional accent color thrown in. This time, ALL the bright and happy colors were invited to the party!

I always like to put my own spin on things, however. I like to be different. So, I suppose not ALL the colors were invited to the party. Red and gold were not welcome. But if pink leopard print ribbon showed up - well, the doors were thrown wide open!

Even my new candle sconce received peacock blue more boring white ones for you, buddy. (I recently purchased it at Back Porch Vintage, where we have our antique booth.)

$20 for this yummy candle sconce! Made in Italy! Can you even believe it?

I've been trying to collect colorful vintage glass ornaments this year at garage sales. It's been slow going because apparently everybody else has decided to collect vintage ornaments this year too, but I still managed to score a few good deals.

The glitter on this ornament hardly even sparkles anymore because it's so old...but that's part of the charm.

Oh boy...the tree topper with a Story. Basically, my husband's parents have had the same groovy tree-topper for as long as my husband can remember. It looks kind of like ours, only ours is a reproduction. Theirs is an original vintage star topper that rotates inside and sends lighted patterns across the ceiling. That vintage tree topper of theirs is like the only material possession that Chad and his sister care about, and they routinely fight over who's going to get it in The Will. So finally, a couple of years ago, my wonderful brother-in-law surprised us by buying both families reproduction star toppers to replicate the family heirloom one. So, we have come to a truce. For now.

I spotted these spiky frosted branches at Real Deals a few weeks ago, and I just couldn't resist them. This year I really wanted a flocked tree, but we've been making a real effort to eliminate chemicals from our home and we were concerned about what impact the flocking spray might have on our little home environment. So, this is my nod to a flocked tree. I also stuck white poinsettias in here and there to give the illusion of snow drifts.

Here's the floating shelf above our TV. The lighted twig garland also happens to be from Real Deals, although that was a few years ago now. I found the giant snowflake ornament at the Dollar Tree of all places and bought several to hang on the outside of our house as well.

I needed to bring some of those happy Christmas colors over to the other side of the room, so I put some ornaments in this footed bowl. I bought a whole bunch of vintage hot pink ornaments at Goodwill last Christmas that all still had their original pink tulle bows attached and were in their original boxes. I was going to sell them in our antique booth this year, but in the end, I couldn't let them go. There are some pitfalls to being in the buying and selling business, let me tell you...namely, the buying is sometimes easier than the selling and that can get dangerous.

Last month I did something a little unorthodox. I eliminated my dining room altogether and converted it back into a more formal living room space. It's small - especially with a huge Christmas tree added - but it provides a cozy gathering space around the fireplace, which I've missed having over the last several years. This pic is taken from what has now become the "family room" half of the room. It's a small front room that is long and narrow, and we've only ever really utilized one half of it at a time. This year I plan on changing that. We've already bought a cord of firewood for the first time ever because I am determined to make that fireplace earn its keep! I had times last winter where I would be so chilled that I would light a fire and then sit next to it in a hard dining chair. This year I plan on cuddling up on the love seat with a cup of tea and a cozy throw.

This sign fit perfectly above a doorway. It's ironic that Christmas is really about the peace that Jesus brought and offers to the entire world, and yet for many of us it can be the least peaceful time of year. I find that if I can just keep my focus on him, I have plenty of it. I'm praying for peace for my family and yours this season.

My white narcissus got dressed up in a bright blue zebra-print ribbon. Why not zebra print for Christmas, I say? Behind it you can see my mirrored garland. I love that it adds a bit of sparkle in a mod way. I almost always purchase fresh cedar garland for my mantel and love it...but this year I just felt like having a lighter look. Saved some money on not buying garland...are you reading this honey? Brownie points!

Here's my little collection of mercury glass candle holders and random silver Christmas trees...with a little vintage carnival glass thrown in for fun.

I painted and glittered this a month or so ago. I was inspired by a glitter artist I saw on an episode of  "Home by Novogratz" on HGTV. "Hope" is really my buzz word right now. There is hope that Caleb will soon walk, feed himself, and talk. Hope that we may have a diagnosis soon. Hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

And most importantly, for those of us who know Jesus, hope of an eternal future with him where there  is no more pain, no more struggling, no more disability.

HOPE. It's a powerful word.

Here's to a happy, HOPE-filled Christmas for all of us!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Rockin' Around the Christmas Wreath (my Etsy favorites)

Diamond Grove Christmas Wreath

I can picture any one of these wreaths in my antique booth space that I share with my mom. This one is both crazy twiggy and elegant at the same time. I like the mix of rustic branches with metallic and jeweled accents.

20" Preserved Boxwood Wreath

Preserved boxwood wreaths will always be a classic, as far as I'm concerned. They will also always be out of my budget, too, but a girl can dream.

Paper Cone Sheet Music Wreath

We actually have a wreath similar to this in our Cottage Queens space at the antique shop. Secretly, though, I like this one better.

Winter Wreath

 This cute wreath is more my mom's style than mine, thanks to the primitive sign and the red berry accents. I still appreciate its twiggy-ness though.

Modern Holiday Wreath

At first I thought this was a felt wreath, but then I read the description and realized it's painted newspaper. Cool! The things people come up with.

Burlap & Antique White Scented Wreath

This wreath is another style that's so classic it could be part of your year-round decor. You know, sort of like the snowman door mat that's been part of my year-round decor (oops!), only much classier. And get this - it's scented with vanilla sugar spray. Yum!

As I looked at wreaths on Etsy, I was actually quite impressed with the quality of wreaths that were available. They are often quite pricey as well, but when you look at the amount of materials used and the time and patience it must take to craft them, THEN add the fact that the wreaths can be used year after year...they are worth it.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

My Favorite Letterpress Christmas Cards

So I've been thinking about this little ol' blog for a while now. About how I miss it. About how I'd love to have a little corner of the world to call my own. A place (besides Pinterest) where I can post the things that are inspiring me in the moment. A place where I can talk about all the stuff I'd buy if I were independently wealthy. I've been re-reading some of my old posts with a bit of nostalgia. The fact is, I'm in no position to be in business again these days, what with my busy family life and all. But I'm feeling the need for a creative outlet, so I thought, why not? I've blogged a bit this year about food and our special needs journey and now I'm ready to dig back into some fun stuff.

Handel's Messiah assorted letterpress cards, set of 30, by Wild Ink Press
In homage to the time of the year, here's a round-up of my favorite Christmas cards. I'm digging letterpress (as always) and while I absolutely love receiving current photos of my friends and their adorable families, I've got a hankering for something different this year. Letterpress costs a bit more than typically printed cards, but the end result is so frame-worthy I think it's worth it!

Let Earth Receive Her King set of 12 letterpress cards by DingbatPress
 This graphic seems simple at first. Look closer. Love it.

Set of 10 Letterpress Cards by DancingPenandPress
 I like the elegance of these designs by Dancing Pen & Press! (See above and below.)

Letterpress Christmas cards, set of 20, by DancingPenandPress

Silver and Gold Chevron cards, Set of 8 by Wild Ink Press
Wild Ink Press does work that is simple, beautiful, and even humorous. You should check out her line of "three things" cards or her "literal" cards...perfect for belated birthdays, anniversaries, "I'm sorry", and more.

Arise, Shine set of 8 letterpress cards by WildInkPress

I love how letterpress is such an old-fashioned art that has really been made new again with modern graphics, fresh lettering, and even inspiration from chalkboard art.

Silver and Gold Christmas letterpress cards, splatter, set of 8 by WildInkPress
Sigh. This line of silver and gold letterpress cards that all feature the second line of famous Christmas carols is sweet and simple. Love.

Note to my family: don't be surprised if one of these cards ends up in your mailbox from me. :-)