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No, I am not jumping the gun on Valentine’s day…

I am celebrating our anniversary.  Our 20th anniversary.  It is not a “silver” or “gold” one; yet, to me it matters.  It is a big thing.  Some days have been great and some not-so-great.  We had great years and not-so-great years.  We have even seen some “you-have-to-be-kidding-me!” years.  However, I always try to celebrate it, even when I may not feel like it to begin with.  Why?  Because we both put in a lot of work here, alive and kicking, and working out life, marriage, and parenthood still.  I believe that deserves celebrating, acknowledging.  I believe it focuses me on what I do have, and increases my gratitude for the imperfect-yet-good guy I married who deals with imperfect me and my antics. 

I was not impressed with V-Day, even early on.  However, our anniversary arrives 2 weeks before, so I use the timing as an excuse to decorate in January (as soon as possible), and keep up “that loving feeling” clear through February.  Now, it may just be one more thing to do, and a lot of extra “clutter” to some people, but I like the reason to celebrate and the excuse for some additional deep-winter brightness.  I usually involve my children in the crafting and preparation because our Anniversary is important to them, too.  We do not exchange gifts or go on trips, although those are lovely options for celebration; so, my decorating and trying to find little ways to spoil my husband and make the time special is important to me.

If you caught my post last year, some of this contains some repeat, but I think I’ve mixed things up in a fun way this time around.  I should, after all this is 20 years we’re talking about.  This year, I did the same thing I did for Christmas:  I made an inspiration board on Pinterest (feel free to check it out here: http://pinterest.com/dragonflywingz/20th-anniversary/) and I compared what I found with what I have on-hand and what I may create.

Here is what I have going on so far:  I saw some adorable burlap wreaths on Pinterest and wanted to make one for the center of my hearth.  I used burlap left-over from my Christmas decor and some heavy gauge wire.  The process was easy:  I doubled a huge section of the wire and twisted it around itself.  Then I grabbed one end of the burlap and “stitched” through it with the folded end of the wire, gathering it tightly so I could maximize the length of the burlap.  This project could use burlap fabric, cut into strips, or burlap ribbon.  If you opt for the ribbon, I suggest watching Hobby Lobby’s sales on wedding supplies and ribbon.  If purchased at 50% off, a 15-yard costs $2.50 to $5.00 depending on the width and style.  I spent somewhere between 30-60 minutes gathering the wreath while listening to a documentary with my children.  Once I completed the length of the wire, I bent it into the heart shape with the wire connecting at the top and twisted the ends together.  I did not think of it at the time, but you could dot the end with a glob of hot glue to make it less pokey.  The last step was adding another loop of burlap as a hanger, which I finished off with another giant bow.  [Free]

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I liked it so well I decided to try another burlap wreath, this one wrapped instead of gathered:

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I made this one with a heart-shaped metal wreath form (less than $2 at Hobby Lobby using their 40% off coupon).  I began at the top and just wrapped the burlap.  It took about five minutes.  This one hangs by an assortment of silky ribbons and tulle.  I topped of the wreath hanger with one of my glitter hearts.  I like the combination of rustic burlap and soft, feminine ribbons.  Totally girly!  [About $2, using a coupon]

 

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Most of my Mantel decor is the same as was on display at Christmas.  I added some sheer “champagne” ribbon as a garland and mercury glass hearts, which are strung on a crushed, white ribbon.  [Free]  One of my favorite cast iron pieces is a small vase.  I put it to work in the center to hold a glass glitter “20.”

Here are some close-ups:

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I found the chalk I could not find at Christmas and scrolled “#20” on my chalkboard tray. [Free]

 

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I found this “LOVE BUG” printable via Pinterest last year.  The word, “Love,” was in red; however, my printer only does black, so I took a little time to bling it up a bit with some fine, crimson red glass glitter.  The trick was working it into my frame without knocking off all the glitter once the glue dried.  I made the print just below the “LOVE Bug” using WORDLE.COM.  It features the lyrics to the song, Happy Together by the Turtles.  When I finished with the Wordle, I printed it on photo paper, and both prints went into the same frames I used for the faux chalkboard art prints I had out during Christmas.  I love versatile frames.  [By the way, if you do not know the song, take it as a sign that you are young.  Yea for you!  However, it is so cute.  Although it is WAY OLDER THAN I AM, I love it.]  Watch the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2qmiyzo9Ws&feature=player_detailpage [Both projects free]

 

 

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I love candles.  I treated my favorite candlesticks to some white ribbon (matching the one stringing my hearts along the mantel) and one of my glitter hearts.  [Free]

 

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I moved this ADORABLE “happily ever after” sign under our family portrait.  Our tale is not over, but we’ve had a wild and crazy start, which always makes for the most awesome, dramatic fairy tale climaxes, don’t they?   [I found this at Hobby Lobby on 1/2 off, so I was happy with its $5 price tag.]

 

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I had so much fun with my gathering of mercury glass I did not want to put it away after Christmas.  So, I switched out the sheet of moss for a scrap of left-over gold tulle, scattered in some broken bling (some earring jewels and pieces I will use for some upcycled jewelry eventually), and added a mini-garland “XO’.  [A while back I purchased a set of letter disks by designer Wendy Addison-one of my favorites- and the disks are reusable, so I change them up to create garlands for any occasion.  About $9.00, but you’ll see I used them in several places in other snapshots.

 

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The left-side bookcase has a familiar setup.  I replaced my JOY with a giant 20- again, I have not decided on a desired finish, so I left them plain.  These were ordered through http://www.etsy.com/people/buildacrossjacob , who did a beautiful job.  I just did not have the energy to cut them out of plywood this time; however, these are 2′ tall, smooth, and perfect. ($8.95 each, total under $30 with S&H- they are heavy.)

In this arangement: a picture of us, a family picture, and a print of the place we were married, the Jordan River Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; a print of a Dr. Suess quote, which says, “We are all a little weird, and Life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love;”   a small, pewter bud vase; a cast iron “frog prince” statue; a wood sign, saying, “AS YOU WISH” (from the movie The Princess Bride); and, some glittery hearts.

 

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I figured out a fix for the “my hearth dwarfs my arched mirror above it” dilemma.  I found two, rectangular mirrors on clearance.  The white color on the frames did not work with the arch’s taupe one and I wanted them to look built-in.  So, I did some tricky measuring.  Then I pulled out my white paint, applied a fresh coat to the area above the mantle, which was sort of a bold tan.  I painted all three frams so they would be the same shade of white, and I hung them with anchors so they slightly overlapped.  I am having so much fun with this upgrade.  The white brightens up the wall, as does the additional reflective light from the mirrors.

 

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The right-side bookcase is a work-in-progress still.  The “MARRY ME” banner is from the same Wendy Addison disk set I used for the XO on the other side.  I have yet to make my Prince Charming statue to go with the queen of hearts, but I will SOMEDAY.  The “FOR LIKE EVER” is a humorous nod to my Southern California upbringing in the 80’s. [I know the grammar is off, but I laugh anyway.]

 

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Another Pinterest find I am enjoying is this “We go together” printable.  I framed it, and we have a dry erase marker next to it.  I made a game out of it in an attempt to involve my husband in the celebrating.  We alternate days.  So far, we have used, “peanut butter and jelly,”  “bread and butter,” biscuits and gravy,” and “peas and carrots.”  We are not limited by food options.  I want to use “Jodhaa & Akbar,” ‘Romeo& Juliet,” “Veer& Zaara,” “rubber&road,” needle&thread,” “paper&pen,” and many more.  I wonder how long we can make it go.  What should the prize for the last to contribute be, I wonder….hmmm.

 

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I have other play going on elsewhere in the house, yet this new mantel arrangement is my favorite because I’m keeping it:

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I will post again, as soon as I have more to share.  Until then, if you would like more decorating inspiration, crafting and gifting ideas,  or links to printables, check out my  Pin Boards, especially http://pinterest.com/dragonflywingz/20th-anniversary/ and http://pinterest.com/dragonflywingz/Romance.

Until then,

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I love Hobby Lobby and Dear Lizzie is a Paradise; but, my favorite place to shop is my own home

Crazy holidays!  Christmas was wonderful, yet just as everyone else in the family wrapped up their respective terms for a glorious winter break, I began a new term.  Balancing that with Christmas sewing and projecting, gifting, and mothering, etc. I never had a change to post this:

I love Hobby Lobby and Dear Lizzie is a Paradise; but, my favorite place to shop is my own home.

I am a crafter, quilter, embroiderer, artist, and romantic.  I love celebrating and I love using celebrations as an excuse to change-up my space and make everything brighter.  I love candles and twinkle lights; and, I adore real glitter made of glass.  If I were a millionaire, I would boost the economy by furthering the immortal philosophy of Dolly Levi’s dearly departed husband, and (freely, with both hands) spread sparkles and coziness everywhere by supporting booming  chic boutique/ crafting markets [Hello, Dolly!, 1969).  Well, almost.  I have other, more sustainable goals for serving humanity, which rank higher on my list of life goals; however, I believe “bling” holds a very important role in the betterment of society.  It makes {most} women happy!  My kind of bling is simple, meaningful, and makes me glad when I look at it.

I have learned from good  and not-so-good times that I need, crave, and respond well to a little whimsy and brightness; especially when my body temperature is plummeting and the sky outside is a constant, drab gray.  I tackle do-it-yourself projects fearlessly; so, I love the splurge I experience when I sneak away occasionally for a few minutes of creative “what if”…. and I may take advantage of a 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby, even if my savings is a whopping 85 cents.  I love walking into a twinkly, cheerful boutique full of softness and glitz, and strolling to the strains of Pachelbel’s Canon or a quirky french bistro accordian-accompanied tune. So where do I shop when my pennies are otherwise engaged?  I shop my own home.

This Christmas, my picture window sports a panoramic view of brown, grey, and concrete. Ugh.  I decided I needed some green!  Wishing for a few minutes, I thought of going crazy on home decor and live plants.  (Boy, would I pay for that?  Nope!)  Well, I dug through my basement storage bins for my artificial greenery.  My children helped put up our Christmas tree.  I took a long, virtual ecursion via Pinterest, and found some scenescapes I loved.  Taking elements from several and modifying them to use what I already had in various rooms of my home, and to fit my quirky 70’s era space, I got to work with some glitter, glue, ribbons, and latex paint- all stuff I had on-hand. My front room came together with inspiration, which I gathered in my 2012 Christas Theme Pin board.  (My personal theme for this season is “Joy.”)  I welcome everyone; so, stop by Pinterest and check it out if the “crafty decorating bug” has struck you, too.

Here are a couple of my favorite elements and how I pulled them together from my favorite inspirations:

The Butler Family:

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@http://radiobutlers.blogspot.com/2011

/12/christmas-decorations-living-room.html,

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(from theshabbycreekcottage.com).

Both of these blogs feature mini Christmas trees over the fireplace creating gasp-worthy cuteness.  I have two little artificial trees; unfortunately, my ceiling is low and I have a raised fireplace; so, my space  is not tall enough to acommodate that.  I found my own spin.

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First, my fireplace and mantel are freshly-painted with paint leftover from another project; so, the inside, though vacuumed, bothered me.  It was like a black hole in the middle of all that white.  Instead of spending money on a new fire screen, which I would have loved, I grabbed  our skill saw and one of the pallets I reclaimed when we had our new roof put on in August.  I sanded the front and top and painted it over with the same paint used on the rest.  It reminds me of a little picket fence.  The best part is that although I may cover up that black hole and hang a wreath over it, the fence allows me access to the fireplace when we want or need it. (Project cost: $0; Time: about 2 hours)

Second, my evergreen garlands took their traditional places over the arch, on the mantel, windows, and doorways.  I purchased all my garlands 50-75% off during post-Christmas clearance sales. (Although it involves planning ahead, I think it pays to shop off-season!)  My two mini-trees sit down on the hearth, one on each side.  The pots were Christmas red originally; however, I repainted them with some pearly cream paint so they would blend with everything else.  Some mini-mercury glass bulbs and my tiniest paper and German glass glitter stars go with them.

*I DID buy three tiny, live Norfolk Island Pines at the hardware store, which rest right in the middle of the hearth among more finials and vintage cast iron pots.  Although I love them, the trees were about $18 total.  The good news is that I get to keep them and watch them grow year-round.  I borrowed the pots from a display I had over my kitchen cupboards.

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My pictures do not do justice for the twinkly lights.  I adore turning off all the main lights to bask in the glow of all the twinkly lights.  (Insert happy sigh here.)  During the day, while I have the lights off, the small glitter stars scattered through the evergreens and hanging from my chandelier sparkle enough to keep up the ambience.

Third, more sparkle: candles in mercury glass vases alternate with creamy, cast iron finials along the mantel, and vintage silver beads and my DIY glitter and paper stars hang along my built-in stocking hangers (we put stockings up for Christmas Eve only, a left-over protection mechanism for handmade stockings I used when my children were all tiny ones).

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*When I first built my book cases and mantel, I saved up for those gorgeous stocking holders; yet even lightweight stockings pulled them over, which worried me with dentable wood floors and little ones below.  After a year or two, I decided they weren’t practical.  I bought a 1/2″ diameter dowel at Walmart (for less than $1) chopped it into little stubs, and drilled holes into my mantel.  Painted white, they mostly blend into the mantel, yet I love the excuse to have something up most of the year anyway.  They create an easy way to drape garlands for every holiday.

Fourth, I wanted to focus on “JOY” this season, so I have “JOY” written everywhere to remind me where I need my priorities focused.

1)I had some cheapy chipboard “JOYS”  (poorly glittered, the dear things), so I gave them a coat of spray adhesive and dipped them in the good stuff (silver glass glitter)!  I hung one over a burlap ribbon, another in the middle of one of my evergreen wreaths, and the last over my newly chalkboard-surfaced silver tray. I could not find any chalk in the house, although I know it is here somewhere, so what else to use in its place?  Glitter. [Note: the silver tray is one I rarely used, and the Rustoleum chalkboard paint was a leftover from another project, so this one did not cost a thing either.]

2)Another giant JOY adds a backdrop to one of my main shelves on the left side bookcase (pictured a couple of rows above).  It is made of plywood.  I planned on glamming it up; however, I decided to cover it in plain, brown craft paper.  Now it matches the color of the burlap ribbons and our brown paper packages under the tree. (Yay!)

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3) I needed to do a little repair on my paper star wreath from last year, so I added a new “Joy” label while I was at it.

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4)I had another idea to mimic the foil-edged pendants I love so much.  I found this whimsical font in MicroSoft Word and printed JOY faintly on a piece of scrapbooking paper.  I used a toothpick and a Q-tip to spread a light coat of school glue over the printed letters before sprinkling them with German glass glitter.   Once it dried well, I framed it with a $1 picture frame.  I taped the edges with masking tape instead of foil, then painted well with one coat of black and one coat of silver acrillic craft paint to simulate leading.  (Minus the flash from the camera in the middle of the O, it looks darn cute hanging on my wall, if I do say so myself.)

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Fifth, I had more faux mercury glass balls than I needed on the tree, thanks to my mega project last year. I decided to use them on my shelves.  I scattered a few on other silver trays, lined with a sheet of moss intended for the woodland Christmas village I planned, and paired the ornaments with small, mercury glass votive holders containing battery-operated tealight candles.  Did you know Dollar tree sells them 6/$1.00?  I did not, until mid-December.  (Another, “yay!)  More mercury glass balls hung from ribbons.  I think placing the ornaments and candles in various locations tied the room together nicely, especially with the rest of my decor mixing styles and mediums.

IMG_1329[1]IMG_1346[1]IMG_1360[1]  IMG_1342IMG_1357[1]My tree this year is a combination of a couple of theme trees (e.g. stars, woodland elements, etc.) I have created in the past; so, while new, it boasts a comforting traditional appeal for my young ones.  I made most of my ornaments.  (My Pinterest page contains links to tutorials for my glitter glass stars and the faux mercury glass balls. ) Twelve wooden birdhouses have weathered through twelve years of little children’s Christmas seasons fairly well.  I bought them unfinished for less than a dollar each right after Christmas one year. (What a fun find that was.  Painting them is a happy memory.)  I found several bird nest ornaments the same day.  (“Yay” number three is for post-holiday clearance sales. )

I spent a bit of time on sewing Christmas dresses and gifts for my children this season. Although most of our gifts were simple, I wanted a nice presentation and I did not want to spend any money on wrapping.  I almost succeeded.   I became a little desperate one afternoon when I realized I did not have any wrapping paper on hand.  Because I have quite a few bits of burlap in my Christmas decor, wreaths, wide burlap ribbon on the tree, etc., I wanted to stick with cream, brown, and green.  All I could find was my stash of packing boxes. (I have only one “pack rat” tendency: I collect a moderate stash of tiny-to-mid-sized boxes in my garage for gifting and mailing because I hate buying empty boxes.)  Of course, the boxes sported packing labels and printed bleck; so, I took them apart at the seams and used hot glue to put them back together inside out.  I wrapped the boxes in burlap ribbon, which I can reuse on something else later on, followed by repurposed ribbons and tulle from past IMG_1352IMG_1353[1]IMG_1355[1]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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tree decor or packaging.  One fun side benefit was that my children began singing the chorus, “brown paper packages tied up with string….these are a  few  of my favorite things…” (We heard that a few times over the two weeks prior to Christmas and it was more than ok with me.)  I wrapped a few packages up in burlap or cotton broadcloth from my sewing fabric boxes.  I eventually found some oddly shaped packages like dollar store coloring books, which would not easily work in a box, so I spent $4 on brown wrapping paper; however,  I used only one roll, so I am all set for next year.

My requirements were 1)What would increase a sense of warmth, love, and joy in my atmosphere? and 2)What would make others glad without taking my joy from me?  The result: We had a warm, lovely Christmas.  What I chose to work on was purposeful and I avoided driving myself nuts on the typical holiday list of “shoulds” and “supposed to.” It was fun.

What I liked: I had stars and twinkle lights everywhere, which cheered up my shadowy, North-facing rooms.

What I would like to improve:  I still need more light and the larger arch of the fireplace dwarfs arched mirror above it.

The moral of this past-due tale: a little thought and rearranging can create some fun, relaxed, and familiar surroundings without spending a lot of money (or, dare I say, any); so when in creative mode, shop your own home first.

My next post highlights what I am doing this month to transition from Christmas to Anniversary/Valentine’s Day decor.  Until then,

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