Thursday, November 27, 2008

Are you in?

Phew...my annual Christmas card photo is officially over, hurried along by the early snowfall that I desperately wanted to take advantage of for its photographic possibilities. It is not an event I particularly look forward to, however, I so enjoy the end result. I have tortured myself this way for as many years as I can remember, and love looking back on the photos of Christmases past. Many have been taken as the children sat under our Christmas tree, and others in front of the mantel, whenever we had one. For some reason, I have upped the pressure on myself to be creative and photograph them in a different way each year. Perhaps it is the ever-honest voice of my husband's brother that I hear as he proclaims that "...last year's was better" or "...you can never beat the one of the boys on the front step" (when they were five and three years old),

but regardless I plan that photo with the same intensity that the "old man" in A Christmas Story bargained for a deal on a Christmas tree. Who doesn't need a little more holiday pressure??!!

The common theme (besides well wishes to friends and family) has been to show off my children...and I make no apologies for that. They represent our family best; and their father and I have yet to join them in a Christmas card photo - partly because of the logistics behind it, and partly because I want to look at the photo with sheer contentment, instead of picking apart my flaws and second guessing what to wear. I think I am like many women, who shy away from the camera, wrong or right. I also think we are misguided, and may regret our opting out of these pictorial keepsakes.

I have, on one occasion, posed for professional photos with my boys, albeit completely unintentionally. The following photos were taken when my boys were two and one yrs old. Despite our best efforts, my baby would not let me put him down, nor would he relinquish the train the photographer had given him, to coax him from my arms. Try as we did, there was no way he would pose for her, thus she suggested that I be in the photos. Despite my protests (I was not dressed for a photo session), and my shyness in front of the camera, I knew it was a losing battle: either pose, or go home empty-handed (photo-wise, of course...).


Apprehension aside, I laughed my way through the shoot as both boys "kept it real" and alternately toddled away, pulled hair (see below), acted silly or squirmed in my arms. Either way, I ended up with photos that are priceless to me, and instead of scrutinizing myself, I simply saw an adoring mother of two hopelessly cute boys. On this occasion, I was in...!!

Are you?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Checklist

Turkey?Check!
Stuffing?Check!
(Don't Laugh! My family prefers this over homemade)
Plenty of Dishes for the Feast?Check!
Canned Cheese for the Celery?
(Considered a delicacy in our home)Check!
Homemade Pies Ready to Bake?Check!
Cute Festive Dessert Plates?Check!

I'm almost ready for the big day.
But there's one important thing left to do. . .
I want to wish you all
a wonderful Thanksgiving!

THANK YOU
for being
a very important part of my life.

I'll see you again next week.

Thanksgiving Checklist

Turkey?Check!
Stuffing?Check!
(Don't Laugh! My family prefers this over homemade)
Plenty of Dishes for the Feast?Check!
Canned Cheese for the Celery?
(Considered a delicacy in our home)Check!
Homemade Pies Ready to Bake?Check!
Cute Festive Dessert Plates?Check!

I'm almost ready for the big day.
But there's one important thing left to do. . .
I want to wish you all
a wonderful Thanksgiving!

THANK YOU
for being
a very important part of my life.

I'll see you again next week.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Please Santa...and a winner!

photo source: Country Home magazine, styled by Matthew Mead

How many of you fine adults still pounce on the Sears Wish book and flip to the toy section? Well, I do, even though I show enough restraint to allow my kids first dibs. I remember being a young girl and finally getting my hands on it and stealing away to a quiet corner to look at all the loveliness. I'd greedily put a star beside each gift I coveted, especially if it involved Barbie or Sindy. I certainly didn't get everything I asked for, but that was hardly the point. By laying claim to a particular toy, it opened up the possibility that it might find its way under our tree. Between Mum and Santa, such magic could surely unfold?

photo source: BHG.com

After my daughter had a good look through this year's edition, I curiously looked at what she had "starred". Instead of writing her name next to the toys or drawing a check mark or star, she had simply written the words: Please Santa?

~Sigh~

How can I resist such a sweet request? I jotted down the numbers of a couple of the toys that I knew she was really hoping for and from Santa they will be! My boys have moved on from such wish lists, and instead I have to pull teeth to get them to reveal a few things I can pick up for them. Santa is over for them now, at least in the truest sense. Me? I'm a believer. Like one little friend of my son's said a few years ago: "How could there be no Santa? My parents certainly couldn't afford all that stuff!!" Indeed...

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Now on to the winner of the Fairy Door: courtesy of the random number generator, PippaJo of Cottage at Wit's End is the lucky winner! Thanks to all who entered!!

Words of Advice

My son needs a chair for the desk I'll be painting.
I found this one.
I like it because it's very sturdy and
will hold up to the things that boys do to chairs.
(My boys like to do a balancing act
on only the back legs.)

I spray painted it black, of course,
but I couldn't stop there.
One of the great things about blogging
is that it challenges me to add
one more step to my projects.
I pulled out my silver paint pen
and outlined the chairs details.
I sanded it to give it a head start on the distressing
that it will naturally occur in my son's room.
It still didn't look finished.
That little flat bracing challenged me to do a little more.
Keeping in mind that my son is now twelve
and whatever I do, it will have to last from "tween" years
through, possibly, young adulthood.
I chose to write some words of advice.
Then I softened the writing by sanding it
with a fine grit paper.
I'm pretty pleased with the final look.
I hope my son will like it too!

Words of Advice

My son needs a chair for the desk I'll be painting.
I found this one.
I like it because it's very sturdy and
will hold up to the things that boys do to chairs.
(My boys like to do a balancing act
on only the back legs.)

I spray painted it black, of course,
but I couldn't stop there.
One of the great things about blogging
is that it challenges me to add
one more step to my projects.
I pulled out my silver paint pen
and outlined the chairs details.
I sanded it to give it a head start on the distressing
that it will naturally occur in my son's room.
It still didn't look finished.
That little flat bracing challenged me to do a little more.
Keeping in mind that my son is now twelve
and whatever I do, it will have to last from "tween" years
through, possibly, young adulthood.
I chose to write some words of advice.
Then I softened the writing by sanding it
with a fine grit paper.
I'm pretty pleased with the final look.
I hope my son will like it too!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Weathered Wood

Here are some pictures of some items with that beautiful weathered-wood finish we're seeing so much of. Check out the chandelier & the armoire next to the fireplace.



Interiors designed by Nancy Price & featured in House Beautiful. The aged finishes on the room's furnishings layer so well with one another.
The look is light & airy but still warm because of the time-worn feeling of the finishes.


I love this buffet from Wisteria. I wish I had a reason to buy it. It's got that perfect grayed driftwood look.

Here's the 'weathered oak" finish on a table & chairs by Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic:



I love this amazing compote from Potluck Studios. Whatver you did with this, it would be beautiful. It just looks so handmade & has this great rustic-elegance.





Here's the more refined acorn lamp from Aidan Gray Home.

Aidan Gray carries a lot of their pieces in this weathered wood/ limwash finish. How perfect is this chair?

The weathered finish mixes really well with other finishes- painted, ebonized, metal- just have fun with it! Got any pretty pics to share? I'd love to see them!

It Took My Breath Away

There's damage here.And a little here.It's missing one of these.But even with it's flaws,
how could I resist it's charming character?When I saw it, it took my breath away.

It Took My Breath Away

There's damage here.And a little here.It's missing one of these.But even with it's flaws,
how could I resist it's charming character?When I saw it, it took my breath away.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Snowball Effect...


You know how one thing leads to another? Well, so it was today. We awoke to a glorious pile of snow, and the holiday feel just snowballed from there (I know, I know...). Like I've said before, there are certain things that just have to happen to jump-start the holidays. Like when our great Canadian coffee franchise comes out with their holiday cup (a large black, one sugar please):

Speaking of hot drinks, Sophie ordered up her favourite: hot chocolate with a candy cane. Note, my snowflake mug that I brought up from one of the many bins I rifled through on Friday as I prepare myself to decorate next week. This week was all about cleaning...


Speaking of cleaning, today was good for a little more pre-holiday-decorating cleaning...in this case, it was Sophie's Barbie house that was in question. Apparently, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree: she suggested that we give Barbie a Christmas Tree! You know I was all over that!!

Speaking of Sophie, we decorated her bedroom and tree last evening. She had a great time, but still loads the tree three ornaments to a branch! She keeps me real...

And speaking of tree ornaments, I re-sized my silhouettes to fit in these ornament frames from Walmart. I made them as gifts for my mother-in-law for Christmas. I am making a set for myself, but I will glitter the frames to snazz them up!

And speaking of gifts, I gave the gift of my time and energy today: while dropping off my eldest son so he could watch a basketball game, I was blocked in by a man whose car wheels were spinning in the messy snow of the parking lot. I stopped, and he got out of his car and asked me if I "wanted a push?" Of course, I heard "Do you wanna push?" Admittedly a teensy bit taken aback, I shrugged sure... He walked closer to my car (to push) as I got out and leaned into the job of pushing his car! Puzzled, he asked, "Are you sure...?" and I told him I'd give it a try. He graciously offered to have me steer the car as he pushed, but when I realized it was a standard, I deferred. My last effort at driving a manual transmission involved repeatedly stalling and my eldest brother yelling at me...so, no thanks! Back in my position of power, I suggested (to this rather good-looking man), "Maybe we should try getting the car rockin'" Oyyy...and we just met!! To make a long story less long, I succeeded in getting the car unstuck! Who knew I had it in me? As the car wheels spun to freedom, the man unceremoniously yelled out the door, "Thanks!" and he was off. I may have been a hero, but I don't mind saying I didn't feel all that feminine doing it. I know, I know, girl power...let's just say I got back in touch with my femininity with a little therapeutic shopping!!

So that's it, in a nutshell. It started with some snow, and ended with it, too. I arrived home from my rescue mission to this:

There's nothing like a big, fat snowman to make things Christmasy!

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Don't forget to enter my Fairy Door give-away (see post below)!!