Friday, December 20, 2013

Making Scrap Wood into Gift Ideas

I have a love affair with architectural accents. I always see more than it's original purpose. A piece of trim that was once used as an accent piece is now made into a picture frame to hold a picture of someone special or made into a Christmas Tree or Flag. I use each piece and nothing goes to waste. When I cut something, I will save the leftover piece. It goes into a box. It may be a triangle, a square or a rectangle…..sometimes it's a really awkward shape. I started making ornaments out of left over wood 4 years ago. I pulled out my stamps and added a "Merry Christmas" or "To: From:". They adorn a tree in my house and I still love to make them. This year, I was asked to come up with a craft for our local daytime show, Daytime Alabama. Wendy Garner is a friend and the host of the show. She and I have talked a little about my craftiness and she asks me to come up with something every once in awhile to do a segment. I did a couple of segments in the spring with The Smoking Glue Guns!

We set up in Papa's Barn since he has a great workspace and it's one of my favorite spots to work! Laura came over to be my "assistant". She did a great job stamping away while we talked about all the ways you can use these small pieces. By the way, Anthropologie is selling a little bundle of wood pieces for $14.00 right now. You can get those…..or just run outside and see what you can find! (wink)

Throw one on a wine bottle for the perfect hostess gift!

Thread the ornaments with jute to hang on the tree. 

These can be place holders, coasters, or just name plates for everyone that's coming to the party!

 I picked these up at the hunting camp the weekend before. They were left overs from the wood chopping and we made them into personalized coasters!

I love this one! Personalizing each person's stocking would be a fun project for the family to make one night! Have each person make their own or decorate it for someone else! 

You can see the segment here. We had a blast, as usual! Thanks for coming by, Wendy!

WVTM-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Birmingham, AL

Thursday, December 19, 2013

An Ornament Party or Something Like That

I have been hosting a Dirty Santa Party for the last 15 years. It is definitely the highlight of my holiday season, and if I'm honest, one of my favorite nights of the entire year!! I invite over friends and everyone brings a gift for a Dirty Santa Swap. If you've never played this game, the rules vary and I get to decide the rules at my party!

First of all, there is food! We had Friday Pasta catered from Taziki's and so many of my friends brought appetizers, desserts and wine! We had a full table and it was all DELISH!

 I'm so blessed with so many friends that enjoy coming to this party. Some we see all year and others not as much, but we get to celebrate each other and the holiday season on this night.

 A party isn't complete without photos, right? Well, I have a professional photographer that is one of my dear friends and she offered to take photos as a gift to me! Isn't that the best gift ever? Her Dirty Santa gift was a photography session with Santa for next year. Believe me when I tell you, this was the BEST gift of the night! Here's the pic from my session with Santa this year!

She set up a spot for everyone to have pictures made with friends in front of the tree. We took lots and Lori gave us tips on how to take a better picture. Chin up and out and lean over!!

 Can you tell these two are my sisters? 

Emma got to come this year! We may have to start a new tradition and make it a Mother/Daughter event!

 Oh look! Lori came out from behind the camera! 

The night isn't complete without a group photo! It's hard to find a spot for everyone at Hansel and Gretel. This place is brimming with furniture and holiday decor! You can click over here to see the Holiday Tour!

 I love seeing all of the candids of people laughing and hanging out. 

 We started the Dirty Santa Swap. This is wear everyone's true colors come out. If you want to play, you bring a wrapped gift. Back in the beginning, this party was considered an ornament swap. Up until this year, that's what I called it. I got a hard time after last year when some people brought ornaments and some brought GIANT letters that spelled J O Y. The gifts didn't feel equal to some and some left pouting, some with gifts and some without? The way we play is you count the gifts and if you brought one, you pull a number out of the hat to determine when you get to choose a gift. Number 1 opens the first gift, number 2 can steal it or open a new gift and so on. To keep the game from going on and on and a gift being stolen over and over, it can only be stolen twice. That means 3 people can touch it and it's dead. No one else can steal it. Unless, you are number 1, then you can take ANY gift whether it's dead or not! This makes the end of the night very entertaining!

 Sometimes, there are gag gifts. Sometimes, people play tricks on each other. A few years ago, Suzanne got a hold of Daphney's senior portrait…..She blew it up to an 8x10 and framed it. It was the best gift that year! Several got to take a magnet of Daphney from 1989 home with them! It was hilarious!!

This year, Daphney paid her back. She found a picture that Suzanne sent us while on a field trip with one of her boys. She was on the bus, the windows were down and she was having a blast. (not) Little did she know, Molly would play around with it and add a sombrero and mustache, make sure Daphney had it and a mug was ordered on Suzanne, the intuitive person that she is, picked the small package wrapped in red polkadot. She had no idea what was going on. EVERYONE else had been filled in throughout the night. When she grabbed that package, cameras came out and the surprise commenced!

She was COMPLETELY blown away! She was speechless. Do you know her? That does NOT happen! I wouldn't give anything for the way Lori captured this moment.

 It was the perfect ending to an amazing party! Thank you to all of my friends who came to the party. I wouldn't trade any of you and your friendships! xoxo

The good sport and her mug that is on every counter every morning this holiday season. Here's to you Suzi! muah!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holiday Home Tour 2013

Welcome to my home, aka Hansel and Gretel!  This isn't my front door, but it's Mr. Snowman and he wants to welcome you to our home that is filled with character all year long! 

I picked up this baby pinecone garland from a new friend the other day and knew exactly where to put it. These windows open our world to our back yard that is forrest as far as the eye can see. I wanted to pull a bit of the woodland in and these do just that! Aren't they sweet? 

As we move through into what we call the "big den", our Dear Santa letter is empty? What in the world? I think what has happened is that is in mid-change-our-mind-mode. Do your kids do that? Mine are changing their minds everyday! I love to use natural ever green throughout the house. I didn't let them take too much off the bottom when I bought my first-ever REAL tree, because I knew I could use it all around!

This is one of my favorite spots in the house. It could be because I built that table. Yep, I built it will my two hands and a couple of saws! ;) We have a family friend that is a wood worker. He builds amazing furniture and he helped me at his workshop last Fall learn how to use a chop saw. I'm hooked!

Have I said this is one of my favorite spots, yet? You might hear that over and over in this tour. I'm pretty smitten with this house and love every inch. This is our smaller fireplace and I change this guy around weekly! A few staples are the deer that my husband shot and that big brown corbel? I like to pet that thing every once in awhile! It moves from one end to the middle, but is always on this mantel!

We believe in surprises at our house and our stockings need to be filled to the rim! That one with the pom-poms is mine. Santa knows how to fill that sucker up, too!!

This trim on this tree. Amazing, right? I love that chippy-lead-filled paint. It is all over my house! I made this tree from trim that was saved from a home that was built in 1890 in Montgomery. It had several owners and they all tried to refurbish the home until it was in a fire and would cost too much to make it livable. I work with a company that saves old things and got my hands on some of this trim. I've been saving it for something special and love how my trees turned out!

John Connor goes out into the woods behind our house and finds deer sheds. I have offered to pay him for more, but he's yet to find more. This mantel for the Fresh Style spread had so many sheds, you would have thought we'd been hunting all our lives! Thankfully, I have a friend that has and he let me borrow 20 or 30 sets!!

The centerpiece on the dining room table is my lazy susan from Create-ologie and those shiny brights have multiplied over the years! I have intentions to make a wreath out of them, but for now I will enjoy them on the table.

This cozy corner is new at Hansel and Gretel. I bought these tiny, yellow couches from one of my besties, Ashlee. They gave me more seating and makes this corner come to life where it was just a place to fill before. Now, we will use it for parities and my son loves to play Xbox from here! 

I have an extensive collection of Penny McAlister. I cherish every piece and love to have all the bright colors filling my holiday spaces! If you are new to my home, you should read the story about me inviting the family that built this house over last Christmas. It was as if they built it for me! 

Oh Christmas Tree! 
I have to admit, I love this tree! It's the first real tree we've ever had and it couldn't be more perfect. It's so fat and full! I ended up not getting about 2 bins full of ornaments from the storage unit. I'm sure I could fill every gap, but I love it just as it is!

Channel letters are really popular right now and we have a pretty good collection at our house. I love this red F, it's probably my favorite! 

This is the infamous walk-in fire place. It's huge and I love to fill it with my holiday decor. It looks totally different from the Fresh Style spread this month. I did that back in August and changed it up for December! You can find the magazine in the app store or in most Books a Million stores!

John Connor painted this snowman when he was 4. I'm pretty sure I drew it and let him go with the paint. It's my most favorite of his art. That name? Kills me every time!

Emma's art on the chalkboard. She free-hand wrote it. I'm so jealous of her handwriting! 

I had Southern Accents build me this tree about 4 years ago. They thought I was crazy. I think it's amazing! It's my all-time favorite! 

Well, that concludes the tour for now. This house has been so much fun to decorate and work on this year. I call it my project house. I've gotten to do a lot of fun things with it. Stay tuned for continued updates. I'm always taking pics and posting them on Instagram. You can also find what inspires me on my Pinterest page and like my Lucysinspired page on Facebook. You might see my vintage inspired jewelry, Lucy Lockets, as well!

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!