The Arkansas Razorback Christmas Tree

When I went home for Thanksgiving, my mom showed me some ornaments that she had made from my bachelor cousins.  Yesterday, she sent me pictures of the decorated Christmas tree and I had to show them to everyone.  This is another example that I come by my crafting naturally.  Woo Pig Sooie!!

Little Piggie Ornament

Tusk Ornament

This is an amazing Christmas tree for the bachelor pad!

Gratitude for Memories

“No memory is ever alone; it’s at the end of a trail of memories, a dozen trails that each have their own associations.” — Louis L’Amour

This time of year is hard for me – Thanksgiving season when everyone should be feeling gratitude and togetherness.  All I can think about is how much I miss my grandfather.

When I was growing up, my grandfather was a large part of my life.  He was my biggest fan and my biggest critic.  It is because of him that I went to law school and because of him that I excelled in high school and college.  He always encouraged me and supported me … even when my parents were convinced that I was being an idiot.

My Grandpa

My grandfather was a regular guitar player for the Louisiana Hayride.  He served in the U.S. Army as a mechanic at the Berlin Wall in East Germany.   He saw most of the continental United States. He was a church music director, a farmer, an artist, and a family man.  He survived skin cancer.

He wasn’t a fan of the holiday season, but it also seemed to me that he was the king of Thanksgiving.  He would make sure that we had a goose, turkey, or ham for the family dinner/lunch.  He would hold court at the patio table with the children and men until the final food preparations were finished (or sneak into the kitchen for a quick taste of a dish).  He may not have carved the meat every year, but he was the patriarchal figure that held our family together.

In the Spring of 2002, my grandfather passed away in the home that he built, in the home where so many of my best memories started.  I haven’t stopped missing him since  … but I am grateful that he was a part of my life and that he taught me life lessons that will stay with me forever.

Sweetgum Holiday Wreath

My mom used to change the Christmas holiday decorations every year.  Every year, there was a new theme with new homemade decorations.  It appears that I have the same condition.

Last year, I made an amazing Paper Cone Christmas Wreath.  However, I saw this wreath from Martha Stewart and had to make something similar. I gathered as many sweetgum balls as I could from those that fell on our balcony [I refused to pick any off the ground due to the neighbors with dogs].  I ended up with 2 gallon-sized freeze bags full of sweetgum balls and this beautiful wreath.

My sweetgum ball holiday wreath

What I used:

  • 10 inch straw wreath
  • 2 gallon-sized freeze bags full of sweetgum balls
  • Floral wire cut in 1.5 to 2 inch pieces
  • 2 cans of metallic gold spray paint
  • 1 container of coarse glitter
  • 2 inch wide ribbon
  • Hot Glue gun
  • Optional: latex gloves for spray painting

What I did:

  1. Cut off the sweetgum ball stems. Hot glue one piece of floral wire into one of the sweetgum ball holes.  Let dry.

    Sweetgum balls with floral wire

  2. In a ventilated and prepared area, spray paint the sweetgum balls.  Sprinkle glitter on a portion of the balls immediately after they are spray painted.

    Spray paint & glitter

  3. Spray paint the wreath.  This ensures that any holes from the placement of the sweetgum balls will not look awkward.
  4. Insert the floral wire into the wreath.  Be careful when you do this or the wire will bend.  Bent floral wire is harder to insert into the straw wreath than straight wire.  I only inserted sweetgum balls into the front of my wreath to ensure that it hung flat against the door.

    Almost complete

  5. Hot glue ribbon to the back of the wreath.  Let dry.

    Ribbon mission complete!

  6. Hang and enjoy!

    Glitter, gold, and red make for a beautiful holiday season!

    Hipstamatic Print of the Sweetgum Ball Wreath

Wordless Wednesday: 2012 Christmas Cards

Nothing is better than having Christmas Cards ready before November 30th.

As many of you know, I have a special relationship with Christmas cards.  Instead of crafting or self-designing our Christmas cards for 2012, I took a chance and ordered cards from based on @evolvedmommy’s blog post.  She is completely correct about these cards – amazing paper quality and beauitful designs.  As to the actual design of our Christmas cards, the world will have to wait until December 1 per the Christmas Card Rules. 

This is a picture of the thickness of my 50 cards and envelopes.

Christmas Card Rules

I’ve been having a hard time this year picking out a Christmas card.  Last year, I handmade cards with a gold glitter embossed greeting, but I wasn’t sending out cards on behalf of myself and Zach. 

Shiya did not like the activity of making Christmas cards last year.

Living together means that I must take into account his preference and his option.  This means that I’m rushing to find the right card.  Right now, it’s a toss-up between a photo card of us (I like) or a photo card of the beach (Z likes).  All opinions/suggestions will be appreciated.

Why am I rushing to be pick out Christmas cards with 2 months until Christmas? 

Contrary to popular belief, there are rules to sending out Christmas cards (see KerriJack’s post) and these rules must be followed.  My set of Christmas card rules are very similar to hers:

1. Cards must not be sent out before 12:00 am on December 1.  Any card sent before that date is a “I’m-Better-Than-You” card and the sender forfeits all rights to a timely holiday card (and bragging rights).

2.  Cards must be finalized before Halloween or at latest  a week before Thanksgiving.  Bonus bragging points are awarded for those who finalize the cards in the summer.

3.   Bragging rights are the all-powerful currency in a Southern holiday gathering.  Like Pokemon, you must catch them all. The quicker people receive your card, the higher the bragging rights.  The more personalized (handwritten or handmade), the higher the bragging rights. The funnier the card, the higher the bragging rights.  Etc.

4.  It does not matter what greeting is on the card.  However, as a personal preference, I like to put Happy Holidays on my cards to not offend anyone.

5.  Names must be on the cards!  It is preferred to have both first and last names if there has been a marriage, divorce, birth, or any change in living arrangements (this includes pets).

6.  Return addresses must accompany the card.  You would think that this would be an unspoken understanding … but no, I’ve received cards without return addresses and had to make long phone calls to my mother in order to determine the correct return address.

7.  No handwritten or handmade component means that the sender forfeits all bragging rights.  No personal holiday card was sent out and therefore, no personal bragging rights have been awarded. Bragging points are subtracted if the address is printed on the envelope AND there is no handwritten component.

8.  Pictures of pets are allowed on and in Christmas cards.  Pets are furry children and just as important as actual children.  However, please see Rule #5.

9.  Anyone who sends cards on or after December 25 has already lost their card bragging rights.  Display the card as if it was the first card received and do not mention the violation to the sender.

10. Finally, (borrowing from Kerri Jack) there is no mocking the maker and enforcer of the rules as they exist in her mind.