Sunday, December 20, 2009

Last Sunday

Dawn. About 8:15 am. December 13, 2009. Minus Forty C (or colder).

Sorry about the fuzziness at the bottom of the picture.

That's because of this:

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Wreath Do-Over.

I have Benita of chez Larsson to thank for this. She was our "guest decorator" over at the workshop at Simplify 101.

I asked her for advice on how to work with this wreath:

Good grief, it's embarrassing.

I really was at my wit's end about it though. I got it years ago at one of those $10.00 gift exchanges run by the women's group at a Church we once attended. I have great memories of the women there and the wreath reminds me of them. So, I didn't want to chuck it and start over.

Benita pointed me to the treasure trove of all things wreath related at Martha Stewart. Specifically, she advised me to follow the instructions for this one, but use "shiny baubles" (as I'd mentioned I'd wanted shiny things on it) instead of the berries.

It was inspirational, really. You know what the best part of her advice was? "Fluff it up," she said. Fluff it? You mean it can fluff? It was an eye opener, indeed.

And then, for about $10 in "shiny baubles" and a pre-made ribbon from Canadian Tire and many wraps around with the floral wire, I came up with this:

There. Much better, don't you think?
Many thanks, Benita.


That was my "secret code word" for the holidays. I just wanted peace.

And you know what? I've got it.

It's all due to taking Aby Garvey's "Organize Your Holiday's" course at Simplify 101. I heartily recommend it. And now that I have the "peaceful, easy feeling," I don't want to lose it!

I live in fear of losing it, because I had it all together once before. I followed Flylady for a few months one year--I had everything so well "together" it all fell apart from boredom.

I was bored because I was afraid to take on any new (and interesting) projects not only because it would mess up the house, but with my compulsive tendencies, I tend to get so wrapped up, so involved and distracted, that all my new found organization and so on just flies out the window.

And then the adrenaline comes rushing back as we frantically search for something we need or I make dinner amongst the piles. I believe I 'm addicted to the adrenaline rush. And then it just takes so much mental energy to put things to rights again....

It's like the weather. The storms and then the calm. Storms, calm. Over and over and over again.

This has been a most productive fall. I was worried about taking on the Cure because I didn't want to disrupt our homeschooling schedule. I can't remember if that was because we'd hit our groove or because we were struggling. But, it worked out, more or less. We managed to stay on track --except for our history and science courses-- but our "core"--Writing, Math and Latin just kept chugging along. Some days were better than others, but we still moved forward.

I needed the Cure to help me get back in touch with the house and our place in it. It turned out to be exactly what I needed to do to put my head back in the game. It gave me a concentrated focus for my energy. And it was the right place to focus that energy. It let me take care of things around here and the chaos was always the productive kind.

(Remember this? Wjen I took this I was in the midst of decluttering and cleaning the Expedit.)

The same can be said for the organizing course. It too was the right focus at exactly the right time. It is unbelievable how nice it is to have 90% of everything done. The kids and I made Chocolate Crinkle cookies before breakfast, today!

However, I am a bit worried. I'm taking two courses this coming year: both start on December 31st. The first, from Simplify 101 is about developing my dreams and creating goals
The second, by scrap book guru Cathy Zielske will teach me all about scrapbook page design.

Both courses last until March.


I do hope I haven't taken on too much.
We'll just have to see.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Stupid Question

Why should I get "everything" done this weekend?

I read Aby's blog today and she inspired me to think about what it would take to get "everything" done. And then I wondered, why would I want too?

Assuming it is possible: everything purchased, everything wrapped, everything baked, everything prepared, laundry done, and even the house cleaned, what would we do with ourselves?

A few things we could do come to mind as I'm typing this out: we could reserve the baking and do that, we could put together the Gingerbread houses I bought back in November, we could decorate the glass ball ornaments I purchased.

But, honestly, I'm not sure how to "think" about my time when a million things aren't pressing upon it.

What's your perspective? What would you do if you had nothing you absolutely HAD to do?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Free Tree

Five days ago I put our old artificial Christmas tree out at the foot of the driveway. And then we hit the deep freeze.

My husband and I had bought it at a garage sale--on our honeymoon! We paid all of $5 for it. We were very proud of ourselves. The tree meant what our marriage meant to us: tradition, family, togetherness.

And it did not fail us. Short, squat, and straggly, it was furniture for our memories.

We've been thinking about getting a new tree for a couple of years, now. We finally found one a few weeks ago and in our price range, too, though it WAS more than $5!

So, I put it out on the curb with a sign --and apparently, right before bed last night, my husband noticed someone had taken it. I hope it brings someone as much happiness as it brought us.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Finish It Friday Follow-Up..

This was turned into


This represents half the ribbon shown above. I'm afraid Aurelia put a staple through two fingers doing this project! She was fine--but it took a few discussions of past Christmas injuries and scars and so on to proceed to do the second chain. (Not to worry. I'll spare you.)

But it is all now on the tree and looks wonderful.

Checking in on Friday's list:

    1) Clean the upstairs hallway. Aurelia still has buckets of things she cleaned out from her room waiting to go into the donation box in the basement.

Done! Just need to do the usual sweeping and dusting.
    2) Finish painting a side table. It needs a third and final coat of white.

Also done! It is now back in her room and she is grateful. I am glad to have the space in my bedroom, too.

    3) Wrap Scrap albums for my Mom.

Wow. Also done.

    4) Collect Stocking stuffers and assess whether more is needed (and for whom.)

Almost done. I've lost track of a few even though I have a "where did I hide it sheet?" in my Holiday Planner.

    5) Put away the summer curtains from the living room.


    6) I'd also like to catch up with all of you this weekend, too.

sigh. Sorry. Almost caught up. Not quite. Those of you whom I have visited will know by the comments I have left. (At least, I hope I left comments everywhere I went!)

In other news, we had to get up early Sunday morning for the Children's Concert at Service on Sunday. Even though it was minus forty (or so). We all went very early to bed as a result both Sunday and Monday night. I'm hoping that having got up at 6am this morning doesn't de-rail us too much. Both kids have gone back to bed and that could mean serious trouble at bed time tonight.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Paper Ornaments

I can't resist a quick post on these paper ornaments Aurelia and I made a couple of days ago.* The instructions are here.

We used double sided scrap paper so they would look nice from every angle. Here are all the supplies needed to make them artfully arranged for the photo.

I figured out how to cut the paper from the scraps to make smaller ones, too.

Here they are, laid out on the table.

And here they are in the window. Each sheet of paper yields one large and one small ornament.

Total cost: $6.50

Hint: Don't use white yarn to hang them. At night, it stands out sharply against the black windows.

*Yep, I got a batch of photos developed! I'd forgotten how exciting it is to go pick up your photos to see what you've taken!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Finish it Fridays.*

*Yes, I realise it is no longer Friday anywhere in the world.

A couple of things have stopped me from posting:

    1) I have no camera, still. Had I known it would be this long, I would have done my research on a digital SLR and probably have had it in hand by now. I am extremely frustrated.

    2) We're completely time-shifted. Yes, again. My husband was on holidays the last week of November and we all got off track. Then, the kids and I just kept drifting. I wasn't in bed last night until 5:00 am. We're not awake until noon. It's a shame because it leaves me so little of the day--the sun sets at 4:30pm, now. I miss my sunshine!

I apologise profusely for not keeping up with you--if only for the fact that it makes for lengthy, rambling posts when I do decide to show up!

The Cure is over.

I think it was a huge mistake for Maxwell et al., to start so late. Having US Thanksgiving occur within the Cure --and especially so near the end-- just drained people, I think. It really doesn't matter whether people went anywhere or did anything: it's an emotional space and it marks beginnings and endings. Having the Cure extend past it was just too demanding--especially considering that folks tend to peter out near the end and need an infusion of energy to finish: not a leak! But that's just my theory. I know I got distracted by prepping for Christmas. In fact, I still have a few Cure projects incomplete which are nagging at me.

I am also quite involved with my Organizing for the Holidays course at Simplify 101. Part of it involves a private message board and gallery--and it has been immeasurably helpful to be part of the class this way. It does, however, consume quite a bit of my computer time. One component is called "Finish it Fridays." The idea is to make a small, doable list of niggling things and pledge to have them done by Monday. Our "weekend" consists of Sunday and Monday, but "Finish it Saturdays" just doesn't have the same ring. So, without further ado:

Projects I pledge to have completed by Tuesday:
    1) Clean the upstairs hallway. Aurelia still has buckets of things she cleaned out from her room waiting to go into the donation box in the basement.

    2) Finish painting a side table. It needs a third and final coat of white. (I took a photo of it unpainted while I was still adjusting to the fact that I was now using a film camera.)

My daughter puts her playhouse on top of it and uses the levels underneath to hold vehicles and extra furniture, etc. She misses it.

    3) Wrap Scrap albums for my Mom.

    4) Collect Stocking stuffers and assess whether more is needed (and for whom.) Nine year old girls are so easy to buy for! Twelve year old boys? Not so much.

    5) Put away the summer curtains from the living room. No, I didn't finish ironing them. sigh.

I have a longer list in my head which would be great to get to, as well, but these are my priorities. There's just one more:

    6) I'd also like to catch up with all of you this weekend, too.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Calendar Pages, done. Finally.

(This year's "Christmas" photo, scrapped in 8x8 format for the 2010 calendar.)

Right now, I am so glad my mother doesn't read my blog!

I have been slogging away at the dining room table, scrapping my heart out. I've got all the pages done for the 2010 calendar. Yay! Now, I take them to Staples and have them photocopy it onto "proper" calendars. I give one to my Grandmother and one to my Mother-in-law. My Mom gets the originals mounted into a calendar I buy at the scrapbook store that is 8x8."

Like an idiot, last year I decided I would put together an album of the calendar pages I've made in years past. I started making these dratted things with pictures from 2003. The idea, though, wasn't to include just the pages I'd made into calendars--oh no, I was going to go back and scrap the years I'd missed, as well. (My true talent in life, I think, is making things difficult for myself!) So, last year, I started putting it together. The pages' format was all over the place, of course. 2003 was 5x7, 2005 was 6x6 and 2004 and 2008 weren't scrapped at all. I must have done 2004 last year, because when I re-discovered the project (as I was cleaning up the dining room during "office week" it was done.

Here's an example--in the Spirit of the Season-- from each year:




2006: (as the original 6x6)


I didn't get the pages done for a calendar last year (pictures from 2008): in fact I didn't even have pictures for each month. This year, I just bought a cute pad of paper (from K&Co.) and just scrapped what I could. I did all of 2008 today. I really enjoyed doing them.


I've one more, just one more page from 2008 to scrap and a few title pages for the album and then I am done, done, done!

Good thing. Tomorrow we put up the tree and I'll need the dining room table to make ornaments with the kids.
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