The Ever Growing Project List

I really though that completing the last 3 holiday projects would give me time to breathe and relax before I started tackling other things. I thought wrong.

While I was working on the snowmen stocking holders, I had an idea that splintered off from those designs to something else. I figured that since I already had the tools out and was doing the same thing, I’d get the basics started for that side project even though I knew I wasn’t going to get it done by decorating day. So I now have several oversize wood ornaments that are sitting and waiting to be painted and decorated. The plan was to finish those up after I got my decorating done.

Well, we all know how my plans usually end up.

While I was trying to get those stocking holders finished, I had my neighbor ask me to make up a batch of masks for his kid that can’t seem to keep track of the ones he has. I promised I’d get to those as soon as I got my current pieces done.

I hadn’t even made it through the chaos of the Thanksgiving holiday before I had a request from my cousin to work on a family tradition piece for another cousin. So, now I have at least 2 additional projects I need to get done. Both the masks and the family tradition piece are somewhat time sensitive, so I’ve got to get started on those next.

The last week has been absolute chaos with the holiday and with getting all my decorations up. For the first time ever, I had a nightmare in my kitchen trying to prep for Thanksgiving as every single thing I attempted to make failed on the first round. If there is a Mercury Retrograde for things like baking, we were absolutely in it on Wednesday. I was ready to just cry and cancel the whole thing at one point, but managed to push through and get a decent meal out of it all anyway.

In the past, I’ve been able to get my decorating done in a day if I really push it or a day and a half if I take my time a bit. This year, it stretched to 3 because I just couldn’t pull it all together as quickly. My stupid annual cough has kicked in, but it is doing weird things this year, so I’m just worn down more than I’m used to. That said, it is all finally done and looks amazing.

I’m hoping I have all the things I need for these next two projects so I can get then knocked out and finally have some time to just sit and be for a while. I’d also really like that off switch for the creative portion of my brain. I need some quite for a while. And hell, maybe take some time to finally drag my camera out again.

Holiday Project #3: Snowman Stocking Holders

And done!! I kind of can’t believe I got these done it time, but I did. With a couple of days to spare, which I desperately needed because I have way too many other things to do over the next few days. I only managed that because I’ve spent the last several days doing nothing but work on these. During the day, I was in the garage building or downstairs painting and I spent the evening working on crocheting all the hats and scarves. I think I quite possibly put in over 40 hours of work just on this project.

Every single one is personalized in several ways. From design to colors, every one shows an aspect of the personality of the person it goes to. This is one of the times I was able to really pull off my entire idea and it came out better than I imagined.

They are seriously cute and are going to be something I look forward to pulling out and setting up every year. I am now officially ready to start decorating!!

Snowman Stocking Holders
Snowman Stocking Holders
Snowman Stocking Holder: Red & Green - Polar Bears
Snowman Stocking Holder: Red & Green – Polar Bears
Snowman Stocking Holder: Blue - Fox
Snowman Stocking Holder: Blue – Fox
Snowman Stocking Holder: Purple - Penguins
Snowman Stocking Holder: Purple – Penguins
Snowman Stocking Holder: Turquoise - Dog
Snowman Stocking Holder: Turquoise – Dog
Snowman Stocking Holder: Gray - Deer & Cat
Snowman Stocking Holder: Gray – Deer & Cat

Newest Project List

I can’t decide if I need my brain to shut up for a while or not.

On the one side, I’ve had so many ideas of things to work on it’s not even funny. I’m exhausted just looking at the potential project list. On the other, this latest burst of inspiration is pretty exciting.

Normally, the holidays and decorating tends to sneak up on me. This year, I can’t manage to get what I need to do out of my head. Things will grow this year because of MCG and I need to make arrangements so she can be included when we are ready to decorate. I’ve been working through all the things I need to adjust or add to for her and how I want to go about doing that. It has given me a new list of things I need and want to work on.

First, we started a new tradition several years ago where we all have to wear our goofy, but traditional, santa hats while we decorate. I only have enough for the 4 of us and I want them to essentially be the same. My choices are to try and find another one like ours for MCG or get all new. Considering what I have are kind of cheap, crappy things, I really considered just getting nicer, new ones.

Of course that isn’t enough for me, so I’ll be making us all new hats with fun, comfortable materials. Knowing that we will most likely continue to add to our numbers over the years and I really don’t want to have to do this every time we grow, I’ll be getting plenty of fabric to make more in the future. My entire project list is going to take that growth into account as well.

The next new item on my list is stocking holders. We moved our stockings from the stair railing last year because of the construction workers being here and I didn’t want them to constantly be getting bumped or potentially damaged. I figured a way to hang them on my mantle with sticky hooks, but that sticky did some minor damage to my wood. I don’t want permanent hooks or anything and the contour of my mantle makes it impossible to use traditional hangers that would just sit on the mantle (at least ones with any kind of hook that hangs over the edge).

I could go back to hanging them on the stairs, but there is just too much traffic up and down now that it isn’t all that practical. We really loved the look of them on the mantle, so that is where I want them, but I needed to figure out at way to make it work.

After some looking around, I came up with a great idea to build my own hangers that would sit on my mantle. Instead of a hook that would hang over the edge, I’ll be making them with a smaller hook I can hang a ribbon from. I’d hung these on ribbon on the railing before, so it works really well this way.

I came up with the final decorative design ideas today. Something that I could easily make now and reproduce again years down the line as needed without having to buy a bunch of stuff on a guess as to how big (or not) we will grow over the years. I’ve learned that you don’t always grow. Sometimes you stay stagnant or even shrink, so I don’t want so much stuff that I may never use and this idea works perfectly and should be relatively simple to pull off.

When working out my plans for my mantle, I decided that I really, REALLY need to find a better home for our wifi router. We’d moved it there right before MCG came because it provided better signal throughout the house, but it is ugly and takes up too much space. I’m going to test out putting it nearby behind our TV in the corner of the room and see if it works. If so, I have a small table I want to build for it. I was thinking about building a similar one to put on my lower landing of my stairs heading to the basement, so I’d already had a plan for how I wanted to pull it off and should be easy enough to add to my to do list. If it works there.

The last item on my list is the stockings themselves. I haven’t decided what I want to do there. We currently have a sort of mishmash of different ones that I’ve gotten as the kids were born. They are fun and cute and I can do that again with MCG, but I’m not certain I want to. I love the idea of them being either coordinated or all the same. Again, that brings up the problem of growth and how I handle that. If I buy them, I have to buy a lot that we won’t use any time soon, if at all. That isn’t something I like. If I make them, I can do like the hats and just buy a lot of extra material. At least with the material, I can decide at a later date to use it for something else if it looks like I won’t ever need it for the stockings.

I really don’t know for sure what I want to do on that last one. BG has reminded me of how wasteful it is to get all new just because we may want them instead of actually needing them. She is my walking, talking conscious when it comes to environmental stuff and being wasteful. Sadly, even with that, she is also torn because she also loves the idea of having them coordinated/the same. I do have to make a decision soon, though. I need to have time to make whatever it is I decide on happen in time to get the decorating done.

Bare minimum, I have 5 hats to make and 5 stocking holders to build. If I do all the others, that will add at least one table to build and 5 stockings to make. That’s quite the list of projects to work on and get done over the next month. It’s quite a bit, but I’m really excited about working on them. My idea for those holders especially is going to be awesome.

The added bonus is that I’m going to have some fun things to share soon!

Reusing A Little Fun

Since we decided to no longer do the garage for Halloween and last year was a huge no go because of Covid, all of my decorations sat unused last year. What I had been using in the garage doesn’t translate all that well to general decorating and all the other pieces I used to put out are mostly old, faded, and not in all that great of shape.

I also wasn’t much in the mood to spend hours putting up a bunch of stuff I wasn’t all that jazzed about. I told the kids to go though stuff and do what they wanted with it. Considering MCG is huge on that kind of thing, I thought they’d have a blast with it. Apparently not as I still really don’t have anything up.

In an effort to kick start something, I started pulling everything out to see what I did still like and try and do something with it. We are still on the fence of even trying to open the door to trick-or-treaters this year. We got so few the last year I did the garage, it really doesn’t seem worth it, so I’m not putting a whole lot of effort into it all.

As I started pulling stuff out, a few things sparked an idea. I had SO much stuff I’d never really use as it was, but would be perfect if I put them together into a wreath for my front door.

I love the idea of wreaths, but have hesitated just because they would take up so much space to store and I really didn’t want to have to find more space for more stuff. Making one with all the stuff I already had on hand, seemed like a perfect idea. It didn’t bring in a bunch of new stuff I had to find room for later and it kept me from having to either toss it or donate it.

Halloween Wreath
Halloween Wreath

For a quick and dirty toss together project, it works. Mostly. Since we have a glass storm door, it gets a little squashed, but maybe that will keep it from falling off as I just have it on a sticky hook for now. There are tons of things I would have done differently if I’d made this with all new things, so the final look isn’t quite what I’d typically go with, but I still like it.

I think I might have to do something similar come Christmas as I have WAY too many things that never see the light of day that would make a really fun wreath, though I might need a better base frame that what this one has. I either have to figure out a way to build one, or cave and get one, which I’d rather not do. Still, it will be fun to try.

And yes, I got to play in my new room while I worked on this. It is officially christened with a crap ton of glitter thanks to that white ribbon. Glitter that I may now never see the end of.

Bring On The Nutcrackers!

My guys are coming up out of storage today along with all of my other outside decorations. It is a little early for me as we usually wait until the weekend after Thanksgiving, but I’m opting to take advantage of the nice weather today to work outside.

I’m standing firm that there are no indoor decorations yet, because I have my santa curtain tradition that is important to me and I really need that this year.

Doing this part now also gives us the chance to organize that under stair storage space for the contractors to be able to close it off when they come to work on my craft room.  Since they are supposed to start any day now, this really needs to get done.

Getting these out is making me want to work on another project, which I can’t yet. My cabinets are going to be my next project. But these were SO much fun to do! I’ve tossed around the idea of trying to do some much smaller than life sized versions, but what I want to do requires even more tools that I don’t currently have. And I’m SO not going to buy anything for like 10 years after my craft room is finished!

But… if anyone else out there is feeling extremely ambitious and wants instructions, feel free to steal or use as a guide for your own version… https://tjfox.net/2018/11/26/repost-giant-nutcrackers-how-to/.

 

Going Nuts

I’m feeling a bit run ragged (kinda like this poor, frazzled looking nutcracker) at the moment. Trying to get all my baking done in between a week of appointments, unexpected errands, runs to dance and the normal activity of trying to feed my family has left me almost no time to be calm for more than maybe 5 seconds at a time.

Today is my last really crazy day for a while (fingers and toes crossed), so hopefully that means I won’t feel quite so rushed after today. I had fully intended on getting a few more things made today, but I have to work on homemade pizza for dinner and one of my FIL gifts, so I’m giving myself a baking break today. I have at least one more recipe I plan to post as it is a new one for me, but I think that is the last of them. I’m really not sure.

If someone finds my brain lying around somewhere, would you mind returning it? I might need it again.

Peace Dove

I’m starting my annual marathon of holiday baking today. I have a massive list this year, though I doubt I’ll actually make everything on that list. I have a few items that have been prioritized and will be made first because I plan on including those in a gift. The others will get made if I still have the motivation and we aren’t all sick to death of sweets by the time I get to them.

The first on my list is a new one for me. I tripped across it when a friend shared it on FB. I had completely forgotten about it as I hadn’t had it since I was a kid. I didn’t even know it had a name, just that “white candy with bright colored dots”. FYI, the recipe I found named it “Nougat Candy” and those spots are supposed to be gum drops (which are apparently impossible to find around here. Really?!)

Because I couldn’t find the actual gum drops, I’ve improvised. I haven’t a clue if I’m even going to like it, but I really wanted to try as I remember liking it when I was a kid. Anyway, that is my project for today. Fingers and toes crossed I don’t botch it.

Nutcrackers On Duty

My guys finally made it out to the porch last night! I’m thrilled to say that they are still in amazing shape and are holding up well. Part of that, I’m sure, is because I don’t leave them out if we are getting a lot of wind or it is going to be wet out (rain or snow). That’s why they stood guarding my entry for the last several days. It was rainy for a couple of days before turning crazy windy.

I’m a little more surprised that they are still as solid as they are with as much as they get moved around. Having to bring them in and out throughout the season and then to the basement to store in the off season, I thought for sure I’d start to see them getting a little loose in the joints, but they are still amazingly solid.

For anyone new to the blog or if you are looking for the supply list and instructions, you can find them in the original Giant Life Size Nutcracker post. Three years later and I’m still absolutely stunned I was able to pull this project off.

Tree Pretties

I feel like I’m falling behind on where I should be as far as the holiday season goes. I think this is probably because it was a late Thanksgiving this year. Whatever the reason, it is starting to stress me out a bit.

Normally the kids would have given us their wish lists and we’d at least have started talking about what we want to do for them by now. The only thing that has been discussed is MC’s gift, which is actually also part graduation gift and something we all talked about and agreed on last year, a laptop that he will be able to take to college but is still powerful enough for him to play the games he likes. I haven’t a single clue what I’m going to do for any other gift. At all. Not BG. Not Hubby. Not my in-laws. Nada. Hell, I don’t even have any ideas to give to Hubby as something to get me. Not sure you can wrap up world peace and a cure for ignorance in a box and put it under the tree.

We are at the point where the gifts are very different because the kids are teens and the things they want aren’t the same as the latest cool toy (not that any of my kids were ever into that, unless it was a video game). It doesn’t help that my kids really don’t ask for much and never really have. Every once in a great while there will be something big, like the computer, but it is so rare.

BG mentioned wanting to go shopping for clothes, but that sort of changes the whole gift under the tree thing, so I’m not sure what I want to do about that either. I could be evil and take her, but tell her she can’t have any of it because it is still getting wrapped and put under the tree.

In years past, because of the madness that was holidays in this family, I practically had to beg them to add more things to their list just so I could pass along a gift idea to a family member. It got so bad I started to hate the whole gift concept even though I’ve always loved putting the time and thought into finding something meaningful and fun. I’m exceptionally grateful that I don’t really have to do this anymore.

It doesn’t help one bit that my normal level of creativity is currently flatlined. I’m going to need some inspiration soon, though.

 

Holiday Perspective

Is it just me or do other people’s view and attitude about the holidays change depending on those they are around? Specifically family.

Sorry if the following does not match the cheeriness of the photo.

When it is just Hubby, the kids, and me, I’m generally excited about the holidays and the traditions we have established over the years. I look forward to all those moments I know we all love.

Throw in pretty much any other person and all of that gets tainted and I start to lose some of that joy. People that cannot manage to do anything but bring negativity with them. I do my damnedest to choose beauty and joy every day because there is so much that isn’t, but it is hard to do that when all that negativity jumps in your face.

It is worse when those people bring hope of change and a promise of healing, all out of the blue, only to have all that hope get smacked back down under the weight of the reality that things are still exactly as they were before you chose to walk away.

I’ve seen others talk about how much they dread doing some family event because of how negative it can be. How do you maintain the joy around the holidays when you are forced to deal with people that feel the need to drag everyone down?

Can I Sit Down Now?

I spent the entire day getting all of my indoor decorations up. I love it when it is all done, but my poor body really doesn’t. Doing this every year the day after I spent the previous two days on my feet in the kitchen really doesn’t help. At least we had all the outdoor stuff up and done before Thanksgiving, so I didn’t have that to do this weekend as well, giving me a full two days with nothing to do before we jump back into our normal routines. I will be spending those two days being as lazy as I can possibly get and still be considered human.

Today’s Project: Outdoor Decorations

I’m breaking a bit with my normal tradition, which is to put up decorations the day after the US Thanksgiving. I decided I didn’t want to risk trying to do this in sub-zero temps when I have a nice, mid 50s day to work on them now. Nothing will get turned on until the normal day and the inside is going to happen as usual, but it will at least be up and ready before it gets too miserable. This also breaks it up a little so that I don’t have as much to do all at once, which is nice.

We aren’t the only ones with this idea as most of the people along my street are outside working, taking advantage of the small warm break we are getting. Now, I’m off to work my butt of.

Oh! I’m also going to get to see BG’s pointe costume for this year, which I’m insanely excited about because they are doing a piece from Swan Lake. I’ve seen glimpses of a stunning black and white piece, but I get to see it in person today, so I’m over the moon excited, even if it means I have to stop in the middle of my work to go watch them unveil it.

It’s going to be a good day.

Today’s Procrastination Project

Yes. I am STILL procrastinating on my edits. The BS with Amazon did not help with that, though I did get my account back last night (finally). So, instead of working on what I SHOULD be working on, I played.

Continue reading “Today’s Procrastination Project”

This Year’s Nutcracker

I have been getting at least one nutcracker a year since I was 16. When Hubby and I got together, he took over the tradition. A few years back, he started giving them to me on the day we decorate instead of on Christmas so that I’d be able to have it out for the whole season. He always tries to theme them, using something we have done over the year to create that theme. The year we fixed our chimney (finally), I got a chimney sweep. The year we took a vacation to the mountains, I got a hiker. This year, he used the massive home improvements with the windows and the new HVAC and went with a Cozy Santa, bringing my count up to 41 if you count the two giant ones I made last year. I have such a huge variety, in both size and style. They range from uber traditional to kinda insanely wacky. I absolutely adore my nutcrackers and my kids love seeing them get unpacked every year. BG is even talking about wanting to start her own tradition and collection. It is a tradition I’m seriously considering starting for her.