Friday, November 28, 2014

The Themed Christmas Tree

Traditions abound when it comes to Christmas, and how the tree is decorated is often locked into family tradition too.  There are those who want their tree to look like the tree of their childhood.  Married couples often come from very different backgrounds, so unless there are two trees in the house, someone has to give. ( that makes Christmas decorating like any other day of married life)

A Christmas tree made from bed springs might be grounds for divorce, but since I was already divorced, I did it a few years ago.

I'm not handing out advice today, folks.  Just commenting.

Some married couples start new traditions with their young children.  Handmade ornaments often become the "new us" tradition.  Little ones love to see their artwork on display.  They also like to remove and rehang the ornaments, so it makes sense not to invest in an expensive display until they get a little older.  My grandsons move their ornaments around as part of their daily routine.

This was a "nod to nostalgia" little tree I did one year.

I have been around awhile, but not so long that I remember having lighted candles on the tree.

Some families have ornaments that have been handed down from generation to generation.  Other's start collections of their own.

My daughter started collecting Santa's and I was happy to jump on that bandwagon with her.  She had some fabulous "Santa themed" trees before she married and became a mom.  This one was taken when she still lived with me.  (Aunt Sheila with Amber Michelle)

Sometimes all this tradition works really well for families.  They blend and compromise and all is
jolly.  Others just get creative and throw tradition out the window.

 Most of you probably don't remember the days of the soft shiny tinsel that took hours to hang on the tree. 

 It did look outstanding if it was applied abundantly and with patience. (My dad with Barb, me, Margaret and Jim.

This might be a better example of how it was supposed to look.  But who's comparing, right?

There was a period when green trees flocked in white "snow" was the big thing.  My parents were hip enough to adopt that idea for a few years.  We all thought it was pretty snazzy. (Sheila the youngest of seven kids)

Another year the tree moved to the other side of the room but was, again, flocked.

A little bigger tree this year and back to the other side of the room.

That flocking stayed popular at our house for awhile.  This is Sheila with her older brother, Danny.  Looks like they are lamenting the lack of gifts under the tree.

I have never been a big fan of multicolored lights or a mixed bag of ornaments, although it looks like I succumbed to that idea somewhere on the timeline.  But generally, I chose a color palette and that become the plan for each year's tree. (Marg rearranging the gifts)

This was 2003.  I have several pictures but none of a tree.  Maybe I just decided to make the chandelier the tree that year.  It sorta looks like that was the idea.
My trees tend to change a little from year to year.  It was a green tree with pink and cream decorations more than once, but something on it always changed, be it the ribbon or the garland.

Then the ornaments changed to crimson and gold.

  It's a combo I still like and have plenty of decorations to prove it.  But, my decor is so different now that those colors don't work as well.

A few years ago I switched to a silver tree. (Great close out deal that I couldn't pass up)
 Here it is in chartreuse and teal.

Another year it was shades of teal and sapphire.

I branched out with a little more color on the silver, but only for one year.  This was not one of my favorites.

Years ago these were referred to as aluminum trees.

This year I decided to put the tree in the living room.  I chose sapphire and black because that seemed to work best with the colors of the room.  Probably the same reason for the color choices in the above picture.

It's a little hard to see the ornaments in a photo.  I do have a black mesh ribbon woven through the tree and crystals dangling from the branches.

Even the closeup does not do it justice, although if you look closely you can see the crystals.

The reflection in the window makes it look like there is a twin tree in the front yard which I find pretty cool.

I rarely decorate with lights outside, but I bought pink lights thinking they would be great on the silver tree.  OMG, big mistake.  It was way too overpoweringly PINK.  So I put them on a tree by the front porch.  Mother nature assisted by turning it into a thing of beauty.  I don't think I'll test mother nature's willingness to cooperate by putting them on the tree this year.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Beautiful Blue Bowls

 There is no big story here.  Just eight bowls from the clearance aisle at Home Goods that distracted me from a dreary, rainy Sunday afternoon, and added color and brightness to a dismal day.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Coming Down the Track

I know we all complain about how early the retailers stock their shelves for Christmas and then, if you are like me, we start buying that early Christmas merchandise.

I could not resist this little train on the tracks from Hobby Lobby.  I tucked some batting into the cars to resemble snow and to fill up the voids.

The engine looked a little neglected and not very festive for the guy who was doing all the work.

So I gave him a few puffs of smoke coming out of the stack.

A little batting glued to a piece of wire made it look more like he was chuggin' on down the line.

Even though this is a decorative item for my daughter and not a toy for her boys,  I knew they would have fun with it.  (My dining room chairs are monogrammed for them as you can clearly see.  The chairs on the other side of the table have my granddaughters initials.)  I decided Nathan Alexander and Gabriel Michael should be in integral part of this gift.

So I got them to pose for a few pictures.

I printed them out in black and white and made them the engineers on the train.

Then I gave it to them early so they could enjoy it before Santa arrives with the real toys.

Gabriel suggested that I might want to find another one just this size that is one they can play with.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Big 04

The countdown to turning four has been a really big deal for my grandson.  The excitement has been building all week, and today is the day!

Somehow he managed to sleep an extra half an hour this morning, which is quite remarkable.  But, as he said, he wants to be shining like a star today, and a little extra sleep might be just what he needed.
His Dad's parents arrived yesterday and his cousins, along with their parents, are coming tomorrow, so, this is going to be an extended celebration. Because he wants to share his birthday cake with his cousins, the birthday cake will be saved for when they arrive.

As a substitute for today, I decided to make cupcakes because I wanted a reason to use this holder I found at one of my local resale shops.

I wasn't real fond of the black, so I painted it a platinum color.  (left over paint from another project, of course)

Sprinkles are high on the "favorites list" of little children, so they were a must.  I found a recipe on pinterest for a Funfetti cake that called for sprinkles in the batter.

 It is definitely colorful!  It called for 3/4 of a cup of sprinkles.  A few less might have worked just as well.

The recipe was enough for 24 regular size muffin holders.  I filled them a little past half full.

 And, as you can see, they didn't spill over the top.

I used the butter cream frosting recipe that was attached to the cake recipe. However,  I cut the recipe in half since I was not frosting a two layer cake.  The amount was perfect for 24 cupcakes unless you like mounds of frosting on your cupcake.  If this was to be the end of the decorating, I might have opted for a bit more frosting.

However, there was a plan to add more color and... 

more sprinkles,

There were a few with chocolate sprinkles for those require chocolate in their diet.

And just to make sure everyone knows he's now four, I added a candle to the top cupcake in the shape of the numeral 4.   That was a big hit with him.  He said he was going to keep it forever.  

I think Nathan had had a good time too, black eye and all.

It's pretty difficult to get a four year old to sit still for two seconds any day of the week, but trying to get pictures today was nearly impossible.


I did not post as planned yesterday so now I have this picture to add to this post.

I see he moved his candle from the cupcakes to the cake, and got to make another wish.