Monday, December 30, 2013

Wrapping Up Christmas!

I wanted to share a few, OK maybe there are more than a few, pictures from this year's Christmas at the Xavier Ct. House. 

my Putz house collection

looking out the kitchen window 

Love these little angels....I found them at a garage sale around the block....and a favorite tag of mine made by Tammy who blogs at Tammy's in Love...she's on a little blog break...sure miss her blog!

For several years in a row, my girlfriends and I went to a Christmas tea held in a historical home in my hometown of Campbell.....and they always decorated the bathtub.....

Every year I looked forward to seeing how the tub was decorated.....the first year I came home and immediately decorated the Xavier Ct. House bathtub. Over the years I have displayed a Christmas village, a Christmas tree with presents and a snowman.......

This year I decided to something simple.....I think the swan swimming in a lake, surrounded by snow is my favorite!
I can decorate my bathtub, because no one in my house uses the tub, so we don't miss having it available for a few weeks.

Christmas Eve, I heard one of my young guests, a four year old, ask his mom where the bathroom was....she said you remember it's the room with the swan in it!

I found this idea on use three different sized wreaths to make a snowman....I made his hat out of black felt, added two twigs from my backyard for arms and a red scarf finished him off! I was pretty happy with how he turned out!
Not sure I could tell you the last time this California girl made a snowman!!

We had a wonderful Christmas! We were missing my oldest daughter and her husband and of course their daughter Miss Margaret! All the other girls were home.

All I can say is thank goodness for Facetime! We were able to Facetime with them Christmas morning and enjoyed watching Margaret with her presents from us!

Hoping you all had a Merry Christmas!!


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Favorite Things!

Like many of you, I have my favorite Christmas decorations....ones I look forward to unpacking every year.

I've shared this manger scene is so very special to me because my Dad made it! 

I know, I've told you that before too but...... I tell the story every year to anyone who will listen.....

When I was 6 or 7 my Dad decided to make a manger scene for us.....

He used two very special Barbie and Ken dolls!  He cut the shapes out of Styrofoam and then wrapped them in gold wrapping paper.  I had so much fun watching him create this! They have been given new clothes over the fifty years, and one of the wise men has lost his gift.

After my Dad passed away and my Mom moved in with us she said it was time to pass this set on to our family.

We do treasure it!

Another family favorite is a set of Mickey Mouse Christmas lights!

My Dad bought these for his family in 1937.

I'm not sure they've ever been used...the decals are in perfect chips, and no fading

a little gift for Minnie!

I don't use these for anything other than display.

Our first Christmas together Mr. Math's Mom gave him two special decorations that had been gifts to him from his babysitter....

They both held candy....the boot had flavored candy canes and the Santa held taffy.

Both the boot and the Santa were sent from Knott's Berry Farm in Southern California.

The Santa is missing an arm...every Christmas I think about trying fix his broken arm......I've never done it, nothing has come to mind on how to give this big guy a new arm.......

I'm sure you have favorite ornaments or decorations that you put out year after year.....

These are just a few of my favorite things!


Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Tea!

If you've read my blog for awhile, you know that a few times a year I get together with two girlfriends and host tea parties for our little group of friends.

Our annual Christmas Tea was last Sunday. For this event there were a total of four of us who put this tea together. The Christmas Tea is the biggest tea party of the year!  We open up the guest list to include our daughters!

My self and the flea market friend alternate years hosting and this year it was my turn.

The invitations were sent and we had twenty four ladies attending!
I set three tables of eight......I used our dining room/kitchen table, and put two more tables in the living room.....I move out my couch, end tables, and side chairs in order to make room for the tables. The furniture all gets moved into the master peeking in there during the tea party!

When it comes time for the gift exchange we head upstairs to the family room.

We started off with a salad, and served five different types of tea sandwiches. Of course, no tea is complete without scones, lemon curd and devonshire cream!

I use my Christmas dishes to set the tables...and my red glassware on two of the three of my best garage sale finds.....eight each of white and red wine glasses, champagne, and water goblets for $20.00!  

My Spode Christmas dishes and glasses were used for this table... I also found an unopened pack of 8 Spode Christmas napkins at a garage sale this summer for $1.00!

We tried to keep the centerpieces simple since we put cake stands in the middle of the table to serve the tea sandwiches.

 And of course we have dessert too!

I move a bench seat from my hallway and set up a table for desserts.......

There is so much happening during the holiday season that during the Thanksgiving weekend I make a list of things I have to do during the holidays.....I realized many years ago that I can't do it all....making a list helps me focus on what's really and friends.

One thing that is always at the top of my list is Christmas Tea with my girlfriends!


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Tag Tree!

A month or so ago I read a post about the Country Living Fair in Atlanta this past fall on a blog called Confessions of a Plate Addict.

She had a picture of a Christmas Tree made out of recycled bead board.

I knew the crating company we use at work had tons of recycled wood just laying around waiting for a project.

So I gave them a picture of the Christmas Tree from the Country Living Fair and asked them if they thought they could make something similar......

And this is what they made me!

At first I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it....I really didn't want to put it outside...I thought maybe it could be a Christmas card holder, but I don't have anywhere downstairs to put it......

Our family room is upstairs so I thought it might work if I put it at the top of the stairs.

I still wasn't sure what I would do with it though....

You know how it works.....all of a sudden a light bulb goes off and BAM!! You've got an idea!

I decided to use it to display all my Christmas tags and shadow boxes from previous Christmas swaps!

I wrapped a red and white quilt around the bottom, added a few vintage Christmas books, a rocker and teddy bear to finish it off.

If you look upstairs from the entry way you can see it at the top of the stairs.  I still need to add this year's White Christmas Swap Tags to the tree.

I'm really happy with how it turned out!

This year I was determined not to spend any money on new.....well I guess I should say new for me...Like most of you my favorites are vintage.....Christmas decorations.

The tree didn't cost me anything but a batch of cookies, and it was using up the extra wood....a pretty good deal if I do say so myself!

I had to keep it by my desk until I could have my daughter pick it up for me, it would not fit in my car......I had more comments about the wood tree as it sat by my desk waiting to be picked far the packers have made 6 for co-workers!!

Have you added any new Christmas decorations to your supply this year or are you changing up the decorations you already have?


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Gingerbread Houses!!

It's funny how Christmas traditions start....for years a close friend hosted a Gingerbread House party.  

You brought the candy and she provided the houses.

The last year she hosted she built over 300 Gingerbread Houses!  Can you believe it? It was an open house that started at 10am and went until 5pm.  

A few years ago Maria asked me if I would mind hosting.....I said of course not, but on a much smaller scale.

Every year Maria drops off the molds, she has 3 of you get a house and a half out of each oven session. As you can see the molds have a lot love on them!

This past Friday I made 17 gingerbread houses in anticipation of children coming over to decorate on Sunday.

We had 14 attend this year.....and we made 3 kits to take to kids who almost gave up a trip to Disneyland just to decorate Gingerbread Houses! How crazy is that!!

Hunter and Jax, the two youngest decorators this year, hard at work making the perfect house!

Rebecca and Dan just starting...these two put in some long hours decorating their houses,
Erin, daughter number 3 on the left, and Natalie won the most hours put in contest! These two worked through two Bing Crosby movies....White Christmas and Holiday Inn, and The Santa Clause Movie with Tim Allen before they were done!

Hosting the Gingerbread House party is one thing that will always be on my list of have to do's!

I love building them and I especially love how excited the kids, young and old get, when decorating!


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Little Late Night Crafting!

My daughter Meredith is leaving today for East Lansing of her closest college friends lives there with her family.

She has two little girls, Sophia and Ruby, and Meredith wanted to take a little something for them.

We tossed around several ideas......

And decided we'd make each girl an felt angel.

Meredith had lived in Seattle for 4 years and it just so happened that her job there was ending at the same time my daughter Meghann needed someone to help her in Phoenix for two months while she got settled after moving from Atlanta.

So off she went....

From the Pacific Northwest to the desert!

She played nanny to Miss Margaret until Meghann's husband was able to join them. While Meghann was busy with her new job Meredith and Margaret did a lot of exploring in the Phoenix area.

It did not surprise me when Meredith said she had collected some feathers while hiking....she has always loved feathers.....She said they were Turkey feathers....we decided that they would make perfect wings for the angels! 

Meredith learned how to blanket stitch late last night and I think she had fun sorting through my collections looking for embellishments.

She also decided to make Miss Margaret an angel when she gets back next week......Meredith said Margaret loved helping collect the Turkey feathers and thought this would be a nice remembrance of their time together.

Meredith is staying with us until after the first of the year when she's moving to Portland.

This girl sure gets around!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Christmas Construction!

What I really should have been doing is pulling out my tablecloths and napkins for Thanksgiving... Oh, and I had cleaning the bathrooms on my to do list as well.....


instead I spent Sunday afternoon building a house out of a few old, not in very good condition Little Golden Books!

A few weeks ago at the local flea market, I saw one....I didn't take a picture because the seller was right there and I felt a little awkward taking a picture.

I had a pretty good idea of what the house looked like and I was sure I could create my own.

This is a picture of the front of the house.....

side views of The Night Before Christmas House

a view of the back

It reminded me of decorating a Gingerbread House.....

I had a wonderful Sunday afternoon, Building The Night Before Christmas house, while watching Miracle on 34th Street...
Cleaning the bathrooms and sorting through linens can wait right?


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

It's A Wrap!

This past Monday I took a day off work to attend a class at our local quilt shop.

We learned how to make fabric bowls.

You needed to bring your sewing machine, fabric cut into 1/2 inch strips, clothesline, and a fabric glue stick.

You put a little glue on the end of the rope, and a little on the end of a piece of fabric......

and then you start wrapping!
And around and around you go.

A few of the ladies, decided to wrap a lot of the rope before they started sewing, and a few of us decided to wrap for awhile and then sew.....and then wrap some more!

I think the gals who wrapped a lot of the rope first had the right idea.

This is a picture of the start of make a tight circle with the rope to start the bottom of your bowl and continue going around in a use a zig zag stitch to sew the rope together.

I think the best way to describe how to sew the rope together is you just have to push the "tail" into the main part of the wrap.

Once you decide that your bottom is big enough, you use your left hand to lift it up. And the angle that you hold your bowl determines how high the sides of your bowl will be.

And my finished  bowl!  I used Christmas fabric scraps for mine.  
All and all I am pretty happy with the way it turned out.

A wonderful way to spend an afternoon!!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thanksgiving Mantel....Yummm Sideboard

I finally got Halloween put away and my small Thanksgiving box out.

I started with a Thanksgiving platter that my folks used every time we had a turkey dinner!

I love this platter!

A few mini pumpkins left from Halloween and my Pilgrim Gurley candles
I also used my Autumn Leaf Ball Pitcher....the Autumn Leaf pattern is just perfect for this time of year!

And it was something on hand too!

My cornucopia basket was a $1.00 Goodwill find last year...but it had a bow on the top that I did not like.

So I tied a strip of burlap around the basket to cover up the glue marks left behind after I took the bow off.

A few faux pumpkins and gourds from the dollar store......done!

It's hard to tell from this picture but I found an Indian Gurley candle in a box of my mom's.....Love this special guy too!  I don't remember my mom using this for her Thanksgiving table growing up, but she loved garage sales too so I'm guessing she picked it up somewhere along the way.

Can you believe Thanksgiving is just around the corner???