Peek at My Week (Dec 20-26)

How was your Christmas? I stepped away a bit last week to take my time, enjoy the holiday, and feel a bit like I was having a vacation. It was weird to not be stressing about blogging or getting videos up, but it was what I needed. I may do that a little more in the coming year. For now, let's take a peek at how I spent my mini-break.  

On Sunday, I worked on and off on a variety of tasks in the craft room. For one, I worked in my art journal on Kasia's Advent Calendar (from Everything Art)

Pat continued to work on tearing down the old pole barn. As I left on an errand, I noticed that it almost looked like a manger and would have worked great for a live nativity. 

All week, I've been obsessed with these.

They're just little watercolored shapes that I cut out and have been doodling on. But, they've kept my hands busy and let me feel creative. 

On Monday, I skipped thinking about the blog and whatnot and focused on my household chores and whatever it was I felt like doing. And, that's how the day got away from me. 

I did take the time to notice how cute Rosalina was in her bunny pose.

The dew on these clover leaves sparkled like crystals and totally stopped me in my tracks.

And, I made sure to check the night sky for the "Christmas Star"

This was about the best picture I could get but you can still see two stars close to one another - and that was what the fuss was all about.

Tuesday was more art journaling.

 I worked again on Kasia's Advent Calendar but that didn't really calm my craving to create.

I decided to just do some random play and made the above page that included several of my watercolor circles - doodled and un-doodled. 

Almost all week, I was checking on my sister-in-law's cats in the mornings while she was out of town. And, I snapped this picture of Captain just before I left there on Wednesday.

I can't even tell you where the rest of the day went, because I have little idea. In the afternoon, Pat and I sat on the swing for a while with beverages. We enjoyed the 70-degree temperature before the cold set in the next day. 

I spent most of Thursday (Christmas Eve) at my mom's to help her make the seafood gumbo that we have for Christmas. It's an all-day process!

(And, it's well worth it too!)
I also got to spend a little time with both of my nieces at the same time. Now that one lives at my house and the other at my mom's, they're hardly together anymore. And, that's kinda weird. So, it was good to see them bonding some.

Though I'm still a big kid, I wasn't up as early as I usually am on Christmas Morning - I stayed up too late reading. But, got breakfast started before Pat and I opened presents. He seriously surprised me!

Yes, he gave me an acoustic guitar from my favorite guitar company. No, I don't play guitar - that's why it was a surprise. LOL. I was kinda speechless as I hadn't ever really planned on learning the guitar (that's always been his thing), but now that's exactly what I'm doing. And, I kinda like it!

The other surprise for the day was coming home with this baby.

One of the nieces and I had been going back and forth for a few weeks about whether I would take one of the kittens from her boyfriend's cat's litter. She brought the kitten over for Christmas morning, and as soon as I saw her, I knew I wasn't going home without her. We've named her Artemis, and you can expect plenty more pictures of her to come. 

On Saturday, we picked up supplies for the new addition and for Zoe (our dog) along with lunch. Then, we spent the day at home with our gifts.

It was a really low-key week, and just what I needed. 

As for inspiration throughout the week, here's what I discovered:
I'm trying to recenter and begin to think about the new year, what I want to accomplish in the new year, and what I want to get done before it. Tell me, how are you preparing for 2021? Got any new creative endeavors in the works?

Peek at My Week (Dec 13-19)

This year is quickly winding down, isn't it? The days seem to just slip by. I've been off my morning routine for several weeks now, and it has made me feel a bit off-kilter. I'm not sure if I'll be able to regain that balance before Christmas, but hopefully, I will in time to psyche myself up for the new year. Maybe. I can't quite seem to put my finger on what's made me so unbalanced as of late. But, I'll push forward as there isn't any other option, is there? Anyway, here's a peek at what I was able to stop and capture this week.

My Japanese Maple has been gloriously red all week (as of today, it's almost bald) so there's at least one more picture of it in this post. The above was taken on Sunday when it seemed to almost be glowing. I kept myself busy much of the day and spent much of the afternoon wrapping presents and watching Christmas movies. 

I know I kept myself busy on Monday - maybe too busy as there's not a picture to share. Most of my work was business-related as I packaged a few orders and worked on videos. 

Since Monday was so full of work, I went grocery shopping on Tuesday. On my return from the store, the lack of a barn was in full view.

I promise there had been more to it when I left for the store! Pat's been busting butt trying to get it down so we can put the new metal building there when it gets built (it will be a few months before that happens though.) This demo job has been his obsession for a few weeks now, and he's SO CLOSE to being done!

At some point on Tuesday, I also snapped this shot of some of my pile of wrapping paper. I believe the picture was supposed to go in one of my videos this week to prove that the majority of my paper is red and green. With the exception of the Star Wars paper on the bottom left, it's true, I have a type. 

It rained before we got up on Wednesday, so I found the maple leaves dripping and had to capture that beauty for all to see.

I busted out chores and sending out one package of gifts. In the evening, I realized that I was aching for a Christmas glow in the house and decided to hang some lights across our TV stand. I'll have to get a picture of that for you this week. We've only enjoyed the lights one night this week as we've stayed busy every other night.

On Thursday, I headed to Mobile to deliver a couple of orders and help my mom with a few things. Before I left though, I made sure that I uploaded a video on making gift tags.

I'm really smitten with those tags!

I had a rough time focusing on Friday, but did knock out quite a few tasks. When I went to pay the bills, I got a kick out of our final bill from AT&T

Yes, they sent us a bill for ONE PENNY! I'm sure no human eyes ever saw this bill before it landed in our mailbox, but it felt a little ridiculous. We paid it.

I also worked on getting Beaded Bookmarks made for my Etsy gifts. 

As I worked on wrapping the LAST of the gifts and baking some cookies on Saturday, Pat was tearing down more of the barn. When I stepped out to check on his progress, I found some real treasures. 

The rusty crackle on this old, holey, metal cabinet caught my eye. I had to take a few shots before Pat hauled it up the street to the trash pile.

And, we found another bottle of random poison.

First, yes ANOTHER!

Second, what the heck are we supposed to do with this?

In the evening, we watched the SEC Championship football game. It was a tough one, but we (Alabama) won in the end. The last quarter about killed me. Apparently, that's considered a good game. lol.

Throughout the week, I made sure to do my stamp carving for #CarveDecember

Day 13 was "square" so I tried to make a tile stamp. It turned out okay. I'm not so great with being exact, as you'll see in several of these stamps.

Blue was the theme for Day 14. I was stumped and went for tears or raindrops or whatever you want them to be.

The "hexagon" prompt for Day 15 absolutely baffled me. So, I went off-prompt for the first time and instead tried carving the chunky rainbow that was in my head when I woke up. It didn't come out as I envisioned, but it's still a solid stamp.

I was a little more on-theme for Day 16's "calm" prompt as I decided to use one of my calming doodles as inspiration. This stamp may be one of my favorites so far this month. I really dig it.

Like the jungle-prompt last week, Day 17's "Verdant" prompt made me think of all things lush and green. As I was finishing up this stamp, I nicked one of the leaves and decided to "fix" it by taking notches out of the rest of the leaves. It worked out okay.

I'm not really sure what this doodle flower has to do with the "big" prompt on Day 18, except that it's a fairly big-ish flower stamp. I dunno. I like it.

For the "fit" prompt on Day 19, I tried to make a stamp that would fit together. It didn't work out as I had hoped. But, that's okay. I just didn't have the patience and creativity to deal with it that day. It's a solid stamp though - good for texture. 

I was all over the place this week and didn't have much time to search for inspiration. I apologize for the short list.

And, that's it. Now that the presents are wrapped and the shopping season is coming to an end, I'm not sure how I'll fill the week ahead, but I think I may be taking some time off to enjoy myself (and maybe clean and organize the craft room). So, if I don't post much, don't worry about me. I do hope you take some time for yourself and do your best to enjoy the season. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!!

DIY Christmas Gift Tags

Since we've only got a week until Christmas (HOW in the world is it almost Christmas!?), I want to go ahead and share another fun craft with you. With all the time at home and a plethora of craft supplies, I decided it would be fun to add a little handmade pizazz to my gifts and make gift tags with my mixed media paper supplies.

I simply used some gelli-printed papers and other scraps that were in the red and green color scheme of most of my wrapping paper and collaged them onto thicker plain white paper. I added a few hand-carved stamps and some sprays for texture before using a paper trimmer to cut them down. From there, I rounded the corners and inked the edges. Gesso (or white paint pen or even correction fluid) was used to create a white space on which to write. Then, came the best part - decorating the tags with doodles using a variety of markers and pens. 

I used adhesive glue dots to stick them onto my wrapped gifts. Some double-sided tape would work well too. For bagged gifts, I punched a hole in the tags and hung them with ribbon.

Here's my video on the whole process of making these DIY Gift Tags

This project kept me busy and added a personal touch to the presents I'm giving this year. I think my next project will be baking up a batch of my favorite chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. How are you staying busy this holiday season?

10 Crafty Christmas Garland Ideas

You have to admit that decorating for each holiday really helps get in the spirit for it. This time of the year, there's nothing quite like a decked-out Christmas tree to make spirits bright. Unfortunately, I had to make the decision to go without a tree this year. We've had to bring in and move around so many things from outside and elsewhere that there's just no place to put a tree right now. I still scattered a few ornaments and merry embellishments around the house but knew I needed a little more to make the season feel festive. A garland that could hang ANYWHERE seemed like the perfect idea. And, one that had me using a variety of my mixed media art supplies was a bonus.

 I have a thing for those little 3D paper balls and have several other crafts that I've used them in, but never a garland. So, I created this Mixed Media Christmas Garland with cardstock, paints, sprays, inks, and stamps. 

Before this idea hit me, I did a little internet search for inspiration and found plenty of other crafty Christmas garlands that helped spark my creativity. Here are a few of them, along with a couple other ideas I have brewing.

I've been on a tassel kick since sometime last year so this beautiful Tassel Garland from Francois et Moi definitely caught my attention. 

I can't seem to share a picture of the sweet Pom Pom Garland at Postcards from the Ridge. But, it had me buying some red yarn the other day. I actually thought I had a pom-pom-maker but can't seem to lay my hands on it. And, that has me wondering if I actually bought the thing or just thought real hard about it. 

How glorious is this Paper Leaf Garland from The House that Lars Built? I can actually see having it up all through the year!

Using paper made me think about the old construction paper chains that we used to make in elementary school. That sent me down a whole rabbit hole of ideas that included possibly using Gelli prints and/or fabric to make a chain.

The amount of color packed into this Felt Garland at Tell Love and Party gives me little heart eyes. And, how easy it looks to make too!

A similar idea was employed to make this Lighted Burlap Garland from Create Craft Love. She really gave me a lightbulb moment in her use of the string of lights incorporated into her garland. I'm still trying to work out if I want to try something similar just to have some lights up in the house. I do love that glow.

Speaking of Christmas lights, how cute is this Paper Christmas Light Garland from Stubbornly Crafty? And, my goodness, it looks fairly easy too!

That one had me thinking about just adding something interesting to twine and stringing it up. In particular, I thought about painting some small wood spools, covering their centers with book or music paper, and then hanging them on yarn or twine.

Finally, this Merry Christmas Banner Garland from Vicky Barone really says it all. I love the simple statement of it and minimal supplies. It could be made pretty quickly and up in no time. 

In the end, I've only made my mixed media one, but am toying with the idea of another. Here's my video of the one I've made so far. 

I know, I'm running out of time to make more, but I HAVE finished my Christmas shopping and that leaves more time to craft! So, tell me, have you made or seen some inspiring garlands too?

Peek at My Week (Dec 6-12)

 It was quite a full week around here. Take a peek. 

To use up a couple of packs of bakery bread in the house, I made French Toast to fuel us up for Sunday's day ahead. 

Pat wanted to get the shed cleaned up so he could move more of the items from the damaged barn over before he began tearing it down. This is what we were working with inside the shed.
With a little teamwork and focus, we had the place picked up and swept before lunchtime! From there, we delivered our donation of gifts for the Giving Tree and picked up lunch. The afternoon was spent on our own endeavors as Pat tackled more in the yard, and I worked in the house. 

Monday was all about the errands: groceries and picking up gifts.

I didn't leave the house at all on Tuesday as I worked on chores and began a Christmas craft that I hope to share soon. I did make a pretty yummy Mexican lunch of bean burritoes.
And, I admitted that my love of Mexican food is really all about the toppings!

I spent the bulk of Wednesday at my mom's house. We ran a couple of errands before my niece came home from school. In the evening, she and I dove into a cookie-decorating kit.
I learned that decorating cookies isn't really one of my strengths. Ha.

I woke to a foggy Thursday morning that gave a beautiful haze to everything as the sun rose.

Pat and his sister's partner worked much of the day on dismantling the roof of the barn at the bottom of that picture. Me? I began another Christmas craft.
Again, I'll share it soon.

The evening was just as hazy as the morning. When I went out to close the chicken coops, the flashlight's beam highlighted the water vapor in the air.
Crazy, right?

I finished the rest of my Christmas shopping on Friday, which is a new record for me! We also met a friend at the Fairhope Brewing Co. for a couple of beers outside.  
This was only the second time in nine months that we've consumed something out in public. It felt so weird and like we were breaking some rules.

On Saturday, the Japanese Maple was glorious!
Pat continued to work on tearing down the pole barn while I did some cleaning in the house. The Bama game was on early, but we decided to wait and watch it recorded later in the afternoon so we could tackle those chores first. 

While Pat removed the plywood walls in the barn, he found this gem and called me out to there to admire it. 
It's a snakeskin from one of the Oak Snakes we've seen near the barn. I think the texture is so cool.

I kept on track for #CarveDecember this week.
Day 6 was swirls

I just kept envisioning big leaves for Day 7's "Jungle" prompt. 

"Stripes" was the prompt for Day 8. This might have been my favorite carve of the week, and so easy!!

The prompt of "together" made me think of this shape that I've been doodling for a few months now. It's similar to the shape I did for the "float" prompt last week. 

At first, I was pretty stumped by "five" for day 10. Then, I decided to carve a five-pointed star.

Shortly thereafter, I had an epiphany.
I carved five gold rings as a bonus stamp!

"Fan" on the 11th just didn't excite me, but I carved this one that could also be a flower.

The "busy" prompt on the 12th just had me making a stamp that was...well, busy.

Like last week, I only found a few snippets of inspiration to share with you. What can I say...I've been busy!
And, that was my week. Now that my shopping is done, I feel like I have a world of options in front of me. So, I need to focus on what it is I want to accomplish before this year is out. How are occupying these last few weeks?

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