Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas Décor–Is yours all put away?

While it seems that everyone else has already moved Christmas aside to wipe the proverbial slate clean and get ready to ring in the new year, I’m still enjoying the warm glow of twinkle lights from my Christmas trees,  my stockings are still hung on the mantle, and I’m in no rush to pack it all away.

I tend to leave my trees up until after Epiphany each year, but truth be told, I’m never in a hurry to take it all down.  Some of it is due to sheer exhaustion from the holiday season (this year’s battle with flu didn’t help) but mostly it’s just because I love it.  I love sitting in a dark house with only the light of the trees as I drink my morning coffee.  I love the shimmer of glitter that seems to be everywhere… it’s a magical time of year and I want to enjoy the magic as long as possible.

I’m sharing a final glimpse into my Christmas Décor today… in case you missed it, here’s my Christmas Dining Room and my Neutral Christmas Tree.

Office Christmas Tree

This is our largest tree, the one that is in our office/multi-purpose room.  It’s decorated with mostly blue and white ornaments that I purchased years ago and I’ve added different handmade ornaments over the years, trying to fill in all of the gaps.  You can see my book page tree topper found a home as an ornament as well.  I love adding in natural burlap where I can so there is a tree topper made of burlap mesh ribbon and some burlap bows as well.

Christmas Packaging

What would a tree be without pretty packaging, right?  When I ran out of boxes this year, I decided to use tea towels as gift wrap.  It’s almost like two gifts in one, and I love that.  And although I certainly did not need any more holiday gift wrap, I couldn’t resist this printed kraft paper wrap from Target.  I used burlap and sisal rope as my holiday ribbon this year and loved the look.

living room xmas

Here’s a glimpse of the living room from the office.  The christmas décor in here is limited pretty much to the tree and the mantle.  I’d really like some more christmas pillow covers for next year but I’m waiting for some great sales – those babies are expensive considering you can only use them for a month or so! I*sigh* I could always make some more, like my Ballard Knockoff Advent Pillow… I’ve got a eleven sewing months to work on that.

Living Room Tree

Here’s the neutral christmas tree again… I had a strand of lights go out on this tree on Christmas morning and it made all the lights go out! Grrr.  I had flashbacks to when I was a kid and we had to check every. single. bulb. to see which one was burnt out when this happened.  That was not gonna happen here, let me tell ya.  Good riddance, no good strand of lights!


Lastly, here’s our mantle, mismatched stockings and all.  I used a faux garland (because Home Depot sold out of their real ones – boo!) with some burlap ribbon and our “U” stocking holders.  My sister gave these to my husband and I long before we ever had kids and I think it’s crazy that she gave us just the right amount for our family… Hubby’s stocking is the good/naughty one, Lil Sis’ is the high heel sparkle boot cause that’s just so her, mine is the handmade linen stocking, and Big Sis’ is the mermaid cause she loves to swim.  Mismatched in appearances only as they match our personalities to a tee.  And in case you’re wondering about the little sock in the middle, our elf on the shelf decided she needed a stocking as well… hee.

So that’s it, the last of my Christmas posts for this year.  I hope your Christmas was as wonderful as could be and that you have many blessings in the upcoming year!!

If you still have your Christmas decorations up, say it proud and let me know!!  Leave a link so I can stop by to see!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Tour–My Dining Room

Happy Wednesday friends!  I hope this week is being good to you.  We are holding down the infirmary over here with two kiddos who have succumbed to the flu… no fun, especially right before Christmas break.

All that fun aside… how about a little peek into my dining room?  I’ve been seeing all these great Christmas home tours in the blogosphere so I thought I’d share a glimpse into my humble abode, all dressed up for the holiday season.  Come on in!

Christmas Tour Dining Room

My home does not have a formal dining room, so this dining area gets a ton of traffic and I had to keep the décor kid-friendly.  Here, my Christmas apron is tied onto one of my dining chairs – makes a fun little chair skirt, right?

Family Ornament Christmas Tree

One of my favorite things in this room is this Christmas tree.  Every year since my husband and I have been married, my mother-in-law has given us a Christmas ornament.  Once the girls were born, she began giving us photo ornaments of them each year.  This tree is covered with not only those special keepsakes, but also ornaments that my children have made over the years (I’m a sucker for anything with a photo or hand/footprint) so it’s a fun walk down memory lane every year when we decorate.

Christmas Tour Dining

Here it is next to my White and Aqua Hutch.  Normally I’m not a big red for Christmas kinda gal, but with the white and blue, it works.

Dining Room Christmas Hutch

On top is a great find from my trip to Round Top this year.  It’s a vintage window with a Saint Nick needlepoint trimmed with vintage lace and placed on a beadboard background.  Here’s a better look:

St Nick Needlepoint

Isn’t it great?  This was the only item I purchased at the Antiques Fair other than an old caster wheel; there were so many things I saw that I could loved but could live without.  This was not one of them.  It had me at hello.

The table decorations are simply some antlers in my dough bowl and my girls’ gingerbread houses.  We eat most meals at this table, so there can’t be a lot of fuss going on.

Christmas Card Holder Sign

Lastly, here is our Christmas Card holder, inspired by this idea from Shanty 2 Chic.  I made this sign for the Christmas craft show I did a few weeks ago and forgot it at home that weekend (way to go Rhonda).  When I saw the Shanty girls christmas card holder, I knew I could do the same with this sign by wrapping twine around it and hanging the cards.  It works great (and has been enjoyed by our little elf too – see previous pic!).

One last pic – my youngest wanted to pose for mama by the card holder, pre flu invasion.  My girls are the whole reason I decorate my home – to give them wonderful memories of the holiday season.

Christmas Card Helper

So that’s it – hope you enjoyed it!  I have a few more peeks in store for you provided we can evict the flu bug around here.  Have a great rest of the week!

Sharing here:

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Real J-O-B... Be a Nurse

Do you remember being a kid and talking about what you would be when you grew up?  Looking back now, I have to laugh at some of the ideas I had… an astronaut, a professional singer, a journalist, Miss America.  I had some lofty dreams, didn’t I?

Before I knew it, it was time for me to go to college and choose a career path.  Man, that is a scary time in our lives, isn’t it?  Ok… let’s see.  What is it that I really want to be now that I’m almost grown up?  While I was heavily leaning towards journalism, some personal experiences led me down another path… nursing.
My mother had been a diabetic for years, but her disease became much more brittle when I was in high school.  I spent time in the hospital with her when she was ill, I watched as she received home health care, I buttoned her shirts for her in the morning when her neuropathy took away the sensation in her fingertips.  I knew then that I wanted to be able to take care of her and others.  I also knew that there was a rural health scholarship opportunity that would take care of my entire college expenses if I received it, which would be a huge blessing to the financial burden that illness and another sibling in college can bring to a family.
I ended up receiving that scholarship and getting my undergraduate degree in nursing nearly fifteen years ago.  Since then, my career has allowed me some incredible experiences.

After graduation, I returned to a rural Texas hospital to work (as part of my agreement for the scholarship).  My mother worked at this same hospital, so it really was working with family.  I made some lifelong friends and gained valuable experience as I got my feet wet as a new Registered Nurse working in outpatient services and the Emergency Room.  You wouldn’t think that a little four-bed ER would be that exciting, but when you work in a community of hard-working, salt of the earth folks, you just never knew what would come rolling through your doors!

Another blessing of choosing this career path was meeting my husband in nursing school… after we were married, we worked as travel ER nurses for a year and a half.  That was such a wonderful time.  We lived and worked in California for three months before heading back home to Texas for the holiday season.  Then we took an assignment in North Carolina where we lived in a beach house for six months (wish we would’ve stayed longer).  Our final assignment was in Baltimore, but we lived in beautiful Annapolis, home of the Naval Academy and sailboats.  During our assignments, we made sure to take in the local attractions to make the most of our time in each location.  It was fabulous *sigh*.

After Baltimore, we decided to put down roots back home in Texas.  My hubby left the ER behind for a supervisor position (where he remains today) and I worked in the local hospital ER until we were expecting our first baby.  Knowing that two nurses working day shifts would have trouble juggling childcare, I transitioned out of the ER into an outpatient surgical center.  I worked in Pre and Post-Anesthesia Recovery for four years and eventually delved into nurse management… when being a manager began to interfere with me being a wife and mom, it was time for another transition.

Currently, I work as an Infection Preventionist – I’m still a nurse, but I’ve transitioned out of bedside care and into program oversight.  I’m able to indirectly affect patient outcomes every day, and still be able to have a career without my family suffering the effects of it.

Can you see one of the greatest advantages of the nursing profession?

Choosing to be a nurse opens so many more doors for career experiences: Pediatrics, Obstetrics, Clinic Setting, Surgery, Intensive Care, Flight Nurse, Administration, Quality, Public Health/Epidemiology, Neonatal, School Nursing, Teaching… you get the idea?

Fifteen years, one husband, four states, and two daughters later… I’m still a nurse and so glad that I am.  I decided what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I’ve been able to wear several different hats within my profession since then.   Who knows where the next fifteen or more years of my career may lead?

Whether you’re seeking further success in your current role or a new opportunity, Kaplan University can help you prepare for the exciting possibilities ahead.*
 As an accredited university built on more than 75 years of experience,† Kaplan University offers a wide range of career-focused programs designed to develop the skills and knowledge leading employers seek. Our focus: to offer you the most direct educational path to achieve your goals.
 Are you ready for a change?  Learn more at kaplanuniversity.edu
 * Kaplan University cannot guarantee employment or career advancement.
 † Kaplan University is regionally accredited. Please visit http://www.kaplanuniversity.edu/about/accreditation-licensing.aspx# for additional information about institutional and programmatic accreditation.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

{Tutorial} Book Page Star Tree Topper

Hey hey friends!  I’m back today to show you how to make the Book Page Star Tree Topper that I showed you earlier this week on my Neutral Christmas Tree:

Book Page Star Tree Topper

This is a simple project that is easy to make with items you have on hand, and yet it makes such an impact.  I continue to be enamored with projects made from time-yellowed pages, no matter how many of them I see.  Book page wreaths, book page walls, book page garlands… love.

To make this tree topper, you’ll need:


  • Book pages (preferable vintage)
  • Hot glue
  • Lace ribbon trim
  • Burlap scrap
  • Cardboard circle (I used the end of a ribbon spool)


1.  Start out by tearing your book pages.  You’ll need five full-size pages and ten half pages (tear in half).  My book is a vintage nursing book so I had fun reading about care of the patient in the 1930s while I made this.


2.  With the full size pages, form your paper cones by folding corner from the shorter edge towards the center of the page, wrap opposite corner over and hot glue in place.

089  090 

3.  Next, you’ll make your smaller cones with your half-pages in the same mani manner (Lordy I need my nails done.).


Here’s a comparison of the two sizes of paper cones, just for reference.


4.  Now it’s time to make your star.  Using hot glue, secure your large book page cones to your cardboard circle in a star formation.  Crimp the ends of your cone prior to gluing to make a flatter center.



5.  Using your smaller cones, you’ll fill in the gaps between the star points to create a starburst effect.  I used two cones between the top/bottom points and three between the sides.



When you’re finished, your star will look like this:


6.  Now we’ll just do some finishing.  Cut a circle from your burlap scrap and hot glue to cover the back of your cardboard.


7.  Using your lace ribbon trim, hot glue around the circle in the center to cover the ends of your book page cones.  I pleated mine as I went and secured with hot glue.



8.  You’re almost done… the final step is to make a loop from the ribbon trim.  this is to slide over the branch on your treetop to keep your topper in place.  I glued mine higher towards the top of the star to help it sit straighter.


9.  You’re finished!  Place your topper on your tree and enjoy!


Neutral Christmas Tree

Have a great weekend everyone… make it home.made.!


Linking here:

Tatertots and Jello

Savvy Southern Style

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Neutral Christmas Tree

I really love Christmas, and I really enjoy decorating our home each year, especially the trees.  The tree in our living room was gifted to me from my sister a few years ago, along with two boxes of lights and ornaments… pretty awesome, right?  I however, couldn’t help myself at the Hobby Lobby Black Friday sale and some new ornaments somehow found their way into my basket and the idea for this Neutral Christmas Tree was born.

Neutral Christmas Tree

I had the burlap ribbon in my stash (leftover from Halloween I believe) and decided to use it for a garland.  Burlap makes such a great garland because its open weave allows the light from the Christmas tree to filter through it; it’s so beautiful at night.  You can see that I just randomly twisted the burlap as I wrapped it around the tree.

neutral tree christmas

See how the light shines through the burlap?!  And while we’re on the subject of lights… I confess that I am spoiled with pre-lit trees and putting the lights on this thing was a miserable task, especially when half of a string of lights goes out just as you’re plugging in the next strand.


I digress.

I know you’re all dying to know about this tree skirt, right?  You’re going to laugh because it’s one of my painting drop cloths arranged just so to look like a tree skirt.  I actually placed it under the tree as I was “fluffing” because the needles were falling everywhere but in the end I sorta liked it and decided to leave it there.  And let me tell you – this is a used dropcloth complete with paint and stain splatters… I contemplated going out and buying a new drop cloth to make a ruffled tree skirt a la Miss Mustard Seed, but to be honest I just don’t have the time for that right now.  I’m making do with this makeshift tree skirt instead!  The little splash of grey chevron is some leftover fabric from a bulletin board project; I just wrapped it around to cover the tree stand.

As for ornaments, I used what I had on hand other than the new white and pewter glass ornaments that inspired this tree in the first place.

neutral christmas ornament

I added some of my handmade clay tags and gingerbread men, as well as some chalkboard and glass glitter ornaments.

neutral christmas

I added some of my Embroidery Hoop Nativity Ornaments and a twinkling of crocheted stars.

Neutral Christmas ornaments

And next comes my favorite part… the Book Page Star tree topper.

Book Page Star Tree Topper

This is one of those ideas that was in my head and luckily worked out just as I had envisioned.  It’s perfect for this tree and perfect for me.  I may have had to catch my breath when I placed it on top – a beautiful ending to a day of decorating.

Book Page Tree topper

Not one to disappoint, I will be sharing all the deets soon on how to make one of these for yourself so stick around.  I should have the tutorial up within the week.

neutral burlap christmas tree

And one last shot… the leaning mirror by the tree is sort of a happy accident.  I didn’t feel like relocating it so it stayed and it just so happens to hide the cord and reflect the tree and lights into my living room.  Magic.

Are you decorating with color this year or are you sticking to neutrals like me?

Linking Here:

The Blissful Bee

Savvy Southern Style

Honey We’re Home

Inspire Me Please

Inspiration Gallery

Sunday, December 8, 2013

{Tutorial} Embroidery Hoop Nativity Ornament

Happy Monday to ya!  Is it starting to look a lot like Christmas in your home lately?  It is in mine, and it’s starting to feel like Christmas too with the frigid weather we had over the weekend… I’m excited today to share a tutorial with you for a quick, easy homemade ornament that is a great reminder of the true meaning of Christmas: the Embroidery Hoop Nativity Ornament.

Embroidery Hoop Nativity Ornament

What You’ll Need:

White Muslin fabric

Embroidery hoop (mine is 4 inches)

Archival Ink

Nativity Stamp (I found mine at Hobby Lobby)



1.  Load your stamp with ink, being sure to coat thoroughly.

2.  Stamp onto section of fabric, holding in place for good ink transfer.  Make sure you leave enough of a border to fit the hoop.  (Don’t worry if your fabric is wrinkled – the hoop will take care of that.)


3.  Measure fabric around stamped image and cut out, leaving a couple of inches of fabric to pull through hoop.


4.  Place fabric into hoop and pull for a taut fit, then tighten bracket. (See?  No more wrinkles!)


5.  Trim excess fabric, add ornament hanger and that’s it!  (Someone send the manucure police over, please.)


You can hang these on your tree or place on your mantel, wherever you need a reminder that the Christ child is what we are celebrating.  I used a six inch hoop and stamped a favorite piece of scripture at the bottom.

Embroidery Hoop Nativity

Such a great message that helps me focus on the real reason for the season.

This ornament is hanging on my living room tree, which I’ll share in full later this week.  I’ve made some changes to it since last year and I’m really enjoying it – can’t wait to show you.

Embroidery Hoop Ornament Nativity

Here’s to the beginning of a great week!

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6-7

Linking here:

The Sunday Showcase

Three Mango Seeds

Inspiration  Monday

Tutorials and Tips Party

The Scoop

Friday, December 6, 2013

Christmas Décor Ideas

Happy Friday friends!  Things are beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here… I can’t wait to share it with you once I’m able to get some good pictures.  I love this time of year but by the time I get home from work, there’s no natural light left to take any pictures!  So, today I’m sharing some of my favorite Christmas projects with you in case you’re in need of some holiday décor inspiration.

christmas decor collage

My Sheet Music Bells Wreath is one of my favorite wreaths – it’s graced my door for the past three Christmas seasons.

My Ballard Designs Knockoff Advent Pillow is a fun alternative to the traditional advent calendar.

Your kids will love making Cinnamon Applesauce ornaments with you!

Last year, I turned to nature to create Magnolia Leaf Poinsettia decorations.

This BHG-inspired yarn wreath was fun and easy to make.

In need of a fun printable?  Download a free “Twas the Night Before Christmas” printable!

Lastly, create a special christmas gifts for your child’s teacher with this Child’s Artwork Tea Towel.


We’ve got some crazy cold weather heading our way in Texas, so I’m looking forward to a weekend of snuggling by the fire and finishing up final Christmas touches.  What do you have planned?


Related Posts with Thumbnails