Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Day Tablescapes

We had quite a busy Christmas this year hosting both my family on Christmas Eve and then my husbands family on Christmas Day.  It is a lot of work but, Oh, so wonderful getting together with family to celebrate!  

I only remembered to snap a few quick photos of the tables just seconds before the guests arrived on Christmas Day so there aren't many here to see but thought I'd share them with you anyway.

At the kitchen table I only needed to set the table for five this year.  My kitchen table has two large leaves that we insert during the holidays.  Usually we have to extend this table when my husbands family comes and even then still need a folding table in addition to the dining room table.  Not this year though, as a portion of the family did not make the trip up for the holidays.  So I only needed the kitchen table without sleeves and the dining room to accommodate everyone.  It was a wonderful afternoon but they were truly missed!

 I used my old Christmas china called Holiday Ribbon from Belks in the kitchen combined with my darker green glasses.  I think the green goblets are Libby.  The Christopher Radko cookie jar served as my centerpiece paired with candles and Santa salt and pepper shakers.

In the dining room I used the new plaid tablecloth that I purchased from last years after clearance sales at Walmart.

I kept the centerpieces simple in both of these rooms.  Since I had to move them in order to clean the linens after the first nights use and because I like to keep the table less cluttered when family is sitting around the table, I decided less is best.  

In my dining room I used the Butler's Pantry china combined with the Holiday Gatherings salad plates, both are from Lenox.  My lighter green goblets are from the Better Homes and Garden collection sold at Walmart.  My cloche filled with sparkly white, gold and silver balls served as our centerpiece.  Very simple and casual just the way we like it!  

I realized while setting these tablescapes this year how limited I was on holiday linens, specifically napkins.  Having to work first thing on Monday morning for our after Christmas sales at SteinMart has it's advantages!  I was able to snag a few bargains for myself to help resolve my limited amount of Christmas linens.  I'll be sharing a sneak peek of those with you soon.  But already, I am dreaming of next year's tablescapes!

I am joining BNOTP for Tablescape Thursday.  Please be sure and visit this link to check out many more beautiful settings. I bet there will be plenty to enjoy from the holidays!

Here's wishing you all many blessings for a Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Owl or Hawk?

Hi All!  I suspect by this time, many of you are all snuggled in for the evening relaxing after a long day of Christmas celebrations.  Some of you may still be enjoying celebrating with family or friends or maybe just resting in between more family visits. 

We have had quite a whirlwind of activity around here that has come and gone quicker then a blink of an eye.  Not the way I really like to celebrate Christmas but I guess that's the way it goes sometimes and I am very thankful for all the blessings of the last two days!

I really want to share a photo of one interesting visitor we had this Christmas morning. It's not the first morning we have seen him, but this was the first morning we were able to get a photo of him before he flew off and before we realized the camera battery needed recharging yet again. 

Just what is this interesting bird?

It has been visiting us quite a bit for a few weeks now.  It likes to sit perched on our fence by the pool though we do not ever see it going towards the water in the pool.  It is usually just looking out at the woods.  We had been thinking it was an owl.  You cannot tell in this photo but if you saw a full frontal view it has a very round head on a roundish body with large round eyes like an owl.  But after looking in a book we have on birds we are thinking it might be a type of hawk, maybe?  

I was thinking how lucky we were to have seen an owl on Christmas day!  That is, until I read how so many of the owl legends out there do not associate owls with goodness.  In fact many of them seem to associate the owl with much darkness.  Yikes!  

I would really love to hear what this bird is if you recognize it! Also I would also love to hear any kinder, gentler or more positive stories associated with owls.  Seriously!  I've always thought they were fascinating.  I can't seem to find too much info on the legend of the Christmas Owl either other then it being the eyes for Santa.  What is the story behind that?  Surely, there must be more!

Hope you are enjoying a Very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Recycled Gift Tags

Thank You!  I really appreciate the support you ladies gave me by responding to my last post!  

  I feel like it's crunch time and I'm really struggling to get everything done by Christmas.  I typically don't get overly anxious about the house being a mess at times, but with the holidays coming up and no time to clean I just had to admit I am feeling quite stressed out this year.   Today,  on my only day off until Christmas eve, I focused on getting presents wrapped then tried to finish up my Christmas shopping.  

Luckily, the Mr. found some tape and I was all set until I realized I didn't have any gift tags.  I was about to go over the edge when I remembered I actually did have some gift tags.  In fact I had some of the most wonderful gift tags eva!  Do you see this wonderful box here?

It is a box that some of my previous Christmas cards came in one year.  I saved it after sending out my cards and it is now holding an assortment of gift tags that I made last year from Christmas cards I received.

It was such fun deciding which images to use and cutting them using my decorative scissors.  To see the original post I did last year on my old blog, "Sailing Simply" when I made these, click HERE.

I am so happy I remembered I made these, as I almost forgot.  I just love them!

As you can see, I got quite a bit of my presents wrapped today.  I know my store bought bows leave a lot to be desired but these handmade tags more then make up for the bows in my opinion. 

I thought you'd like to see a few close ups of how my tags look.

 Oops!  Looks like my son used one of my tags and attached it with the names showing front side up.  Men!

So what do you think?  Pretty cute idea and quite decorative too, huh?

It was so much fun to make these and even more fun to pull them out this year to use them.  I can't recommend recycling your old Christmas cards this way enough.  You really should consider it if you get lot's of cards in the mail.
It's such a great feeling!

Thanks so much for visiting me again!
Have a great day!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Do you see what I see?

Said the night wind to the little,la,laaaa,la,laaahh.laahh!!!

This song has been playing over and over in my head like a scratched record, remember those? 

 I've got this song stuck in my head not because I am hearing it about a bazillion times a day or because I am filled with the joy's of Christmas.  Noooo, I am looking around my home and you see what I see?
Here is my Dining Room piled high with presents yet to be wrapped.

The proof of my outlet shopping trip on one of my precious days off still sitting piled up in a corner of the dining room.  I didn't even attempt to hide the contents of a few bags either!  Why not???

Piles of bags that make it obvious where most of my time has been spent this season are cluttering up my dining room table.

The den is a wreck and has looked like this for at least a week now. I kid you not!  It's so much easier to cuddle up in your favorite blanket when it is still sitting right where you left it!

More bags and junk laying everywhere.

Speaking of junk, you think I'd at
least put up my jewelry that I wear to work at the end of the day.

More jewelry piling up high by my favorite chair.  I'm surprised there are not stacks of coffee cups here too.

I've only wrapped four boxes so far.

But I did pick up a new roll of wrapping paper, no tape of course.  It's sitting here in the kitchen foyer along with everything else that is piling up on this cabinet.

Just like all the mail.  Even some of those precious Christmas cards are still sitting unopened piled up on my kitchen desk/bar.  Speaking of the bar!

Thank goodness for allowing me to wine a little yall! Seriously! Going back to work full time in the midst of the holidays is just plain rough!  We are doing okay but I am exhausted and tired and really want MORE time off.   Don't get me wrong, I have such great support at home but I miss doing things the way I used to be able to do.  I am adjusting to the changes but it's just plain difficult at times.

My wonderful helper has taken to leaving me sticky notes all over the place where I will see them.

I mean who want's to see sticky notes all over their house?  LOL!

I cannot complain though because he has held up his end of the season quite well!  I have to admit our home has looked so wonderfully inviting when I pull in after 10pm on some evenings ever since the day after Thanksgiving.  He is amazing!  Life is rough at times and I thank the Lord for keeping me up and going and for a good man too!

Just felt like keeping it real here friends!

  It's 6:00am and I'm late getting in the shower.
Wishing you and me a good day!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sharing Seasonal Joys!

I am feeling so blessed and fortunate this year to be filled with the Christmas spirit and able to enjoy some time celebrating with others.

  Luckily for me, I've also been getting most Sundays off.  Today my husband and I are looking forward to going to a Christmas party with our cruising fleet members from the Sailing Club.  We are going to a members house this year.  I am excited about it because even though we all love going to our club house for events, this makes it even a little more personal. 

 Tomorrow, I am off as well and have finally been able to coordinate a shopping date with my BFF.  We are driving an hour and half to an outlet mall that has a Pottery Barn outlet store.  Woohoo! 

Last weekend I was invited to my very first cookie swap and was so excited that I was able to attend.  I have always wanted to go to one of these but had never been invited to one.  I would really love to host one of these myself one year too.  It was so much fun!  I didn't take the camera to the party, but wanted to share the rewards I came home with.

Yummmm...eee!  Pretty nice stash huh?

 I had such a good time.  I was such a joy to visit with my friend and getting to meet a few new friends as well. Each person attending was to bring five dozen cookies.  One dozen to be eaten at the party and four dozen to share.  I was quite impressed that some ladies actually took the time to individually bag all their share cookies as well.

It was all I could do to find the time to bake my cookies.  My cookies were the candy cane looking sugar cookies shown on the top left corner of this photo, except that one is broken.  LOL!   I took the easy way out and just divided a batch of sugar cookies in half and added red food coloring to one half.  I rolled our a bit of dough from both the red and white batch's into snakes like you used to do as a kid with play dough.  Then I twisted them around each other and made the shape of a candy cane.  Next, I decided to flatten them out a bit on the cookie sheet with my hand so they would bake together without falling apart.  I may not flatten them out so much next time but was pretty pleased with how they turned out anyway.

I was going to put my loot in my Christmas tree cookie jar but changed my mind because I was afraid we would forget about them.  Out of sight, out of mind you know!

So I put out a few decorative paper plates and napkins instead and...

...put them on the counter for all to enjoy anytime.

Now if you think that sounded fun, just hold on because you haven't heard it all yet!
This was no ordinary cookie swap yall!  It was a Cookie AND Funky Sock Swap!
Isn't that the funniest thing you've ever heard of?  I thought so too!  Basically it's a party where in addition to the cookie swap you bring a pair of "Funky Socks"  all wrapped up to share in a Chinese gift exchange.  First, we all drew numbers and each got to pick a gift off the table and unwrap it.  Then we all drew numbers again and got to choose whether we wanted to keep our socks or change them out with another s.  It was so fun!

There were so many cute and interesting looking socks from Holiday socks to ornamental to even thigh high socks.  Those were a hoot!  The gift I brought was a two pack of fuzzy zebra socks I bought from work and they were traded off a few times.  I guess I'm not the only one wild about Zebra.    I got really lucky and ended up with the next to the highest number for the trade off and was able to be the last to choose at the end.  I choose a pair from another lady that I had my eye on because they are fuzzy silk.  I've got a few pair of silk socks already and can tell you they feel devine!

Here's the socks I came home with from the party!
Cute, cute,cute!!!  

I am linking up to Seasonal Sunday today to share a few pleasures of the season.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit.  I hope you are enjoying the holidays so far as well!
Take the time to enjoy the season when you can. 
 It is a blessing!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Preparing For The Big Guy

We have been very busy this week at work preparing for one of our biggest 14 hour sales of the year and preparing for the Big Guy. When the head CEO of the company, Mr. Stein himself decides to drop in for a visit there is always a flurry of activity.  Kinda like Christmas huh?  Which leads me to my next question, are you ready for the big guy?

Wait!  This Big Guy is definitely fun to get ready for and one of my favorites but this isn't whom I am referring too.

Here's the one I'm talking about!  The biggest "Big Guy" of them all.  Lord of Lords!  Emmanuel!

I can't believe in my efforts to keep my decorating simple this year I almost considered not pulling out my manger scene this year.  Can you believe that?  Tell me about it!  

There is a bright star that shines directly into my bedroom window this time of year at night.  Every so often I will awaken from being unable to sleep and see that star.  It is a very comforting light that reminds me of what it is that I believe in.

I purchased this star globe from a Christmas around the World party many years ago.  It is sitting on my Fitz and Floyd candle holder.  I just love how the light reflects stars on the wall.  Pretty cool, huh?

Last year was the first year I decided to add the gauze cloth and small green trees wrapped in burlap.  I realize it's not even close to a manger, but for some reason just feels very right to me.

I really enjoy looking at the expressions of "awe" on my figures.  Can you imagine what deep thoughts of wonder these earliest followers of Christ must have experienced? 

Thank you Jesus!

Thank you Jesus for being the true "Reason for the Season"! 

Thank you Lord for all those people and all those gentle reminders in our lives that there is so much more to prepare for then what we see here on earth. 

Sharing God's blessing of hope for each of you this season!