Friday, December 20, 2013

Favorite Ornaments -- Christmas 2013

Pulling the ornaments out and reminiscing is one of my favorite holiday traditions.  I've slowly built my ornament collection since I was a baby girl and it's fun to see how my ornaments have grown with me.  My tree is a reflection of my passion for dancing growing up, love of cats, worldwide travels and now my life with Adam.  

This little beauty is a Kate Spade ornament.  This was the "year of Kate" for me it seems!  My wedding shoes were Kate Spade, our new silverware is Kate and I've gotten 2 purses and some jewelry from there this year as well.  I love the brand's classy style.   

I'm a sucker for Hallmark ornaments and pick up a few each year.  The 2013 dog ornament was too cute not to get.  I love the antlers on the frame!

I picked up the Jim Shore Pineapple ornament last year when we were at the Bronner's Christmas store in Michigan.  Adam and I love pineapple and the detail that Jim Shore adds to all of his pieces is amazing. 

I got a few of these Vera Bradley ball ornaments when they were on sale after the holidays.  This is one of my favorite prints and love the way the light plays off the ornaments.  Beautiful!

I grabbed this little pilot at the Christmas Shop in Pigeon Forge last month.  A great way to remember this is the year Adam got back into flying. 

And of course... 2013 was the YEAR of our wedding.  I LOVE the various wedding related ornaments we have and have received as gifts.  These are 5 that I bought for our collection.  The picture frame is a Hallmark ornament and has the year on it but with the camera flash you can't see it in the picture.  The engagement ring is also from Hallmark and has the year engraved on the side.  I just picked up the dress and tux jacket a few days ago at Kohls.  They also have little charms with the year.  The cube is from Shutterfly and probably one of my favorites.  I also made one last year with our engagement pics and it's hanging nearby.  

What are some of your favorites?  Do you decorate in colors/themes or what's your tree decorating style?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Mission Project Generation -- Step 1: Sort/Organize Photos

After many months of discussions/begging my grandmother, she finally agreed to a little family history project!  She has so many stories of growing up and about her 50+ years of marriage to my grandpa that I really want to get these stories captured for future generations to enjoy and cherish.  I put her to task of collecting pictures from all over her house and bringing those down when they came for Thanksgiving!

She arrived with 4 small and 1 large box of pictures.  The pictures include my grandma's family (parents, 2 siblings and herself, their children/grandchildren; my grandpa's family (parents, 8 siblings and himself, their children/grandchildren; my grandparent's married years and my mom, my mom's family (my dad, brother and I) and now my brother's and my families.  So, the sorting began!!!   

First, we sorted out by "family" -- my grandpas, grandmas, their life together and then my mom's.

 Many, many stacks were created! 

 Once we got the pictures into their right stacks, we sorted those by family member.  So for my grandma's pictures we started with:
1) Her parents or their families
2) My grandmas years from birth-marriage
3) Grandma/Pa married  (mom's birth-marriage became another stack/section)
4) Section for her sister and her family (husband, kids, grandkids)
5) Section for her brother and his family (wife, kids, grandkids)

Each of these stacks were put into chronological order and then re-stacked. 

We had stacks EVERYWHERE!!!  It started getting overwhelming so we made a list of what order made sense to us and where things should fall and then we had a reference point whenever we started veering off course.  

All of the stacks/boxes have relocated to one of the spare bedrooms until they're able to come back down and work some more on our family history project.  My goal is to create a mini- family Tree at the beginning of each section and then include whatever stories my grandma remembers as we go.  I've explained that we are going with simple pages/minimal embellishments for several reasons... a) volume of pictures b) I believe the stories/history/memories are more important at this point c) a lot of the pictures are too aged/small to do much with d) a lot of the pics from when Chip and I were born (1980s) are already scrapbooked!

What's your tips and tricks for recording the past??  Do you have boxes of pictures around the house like we started with??

Friday, December 13, 2013

Married Christmas -- Deckin' the Halls 2013 Style

Is Christmas really just 12 short days away?!  I hate that such a beautiful time of the year always feels so rushed and just comes and goes in the blink of an eye.  Not only was Thanksgiving super late this year but I had a business trip the last couple days that took away some much needed prep time as well!  This past weekend I finished up decorating and got ALL of the presents wrapped and under the tree!  As always, one of my favorite things is seeing the "finished" product -- decorated tree and wrapped presents!  This is also an extra fun year because it's our first "Married" Christmas! 

I added a few little things to this year's decorations:

(1) The reindeer name sign by the fireplace.  I have eyed the sign that Kirkland's has for months now but it's white with red glitter letters and 3x the price of the one I bought at HomeGoods!  Plus, I think the red background is the perfect pop of color.  Love it!

(2)  Poinsettia picks in the garland on the fireplace.  This was a super easy and cheap way to give a nice pop of color to the mantle!  We've had to arrange it a little so the signal to our cable box doesn't get messed up.

(3) Stockings!  I've had stocking hangers for years and never used them!  I go back and forth on stockings looking too cluttery.  I love a good monogram but with Adam and I both being "A" names I didn't want two stockings with A on them... THEN... on Cyber Monday I got an email from Crate and Barrel and couldn't resist peeking... it was love at first site with these adorable stockings.  Free shipping sealed the deal!  The little confetti pieces go perfect with our area rug.     

(4) Christmas Card Garland.  I wanted a better way to display our Christmas cards and this idea came to me while shopping at Michael's on Black Friday (actually it was Thursday so not sure what they call that??).  I found adorable Christmas mini clothespins and knew I wanted to hang our cards from garland on the mantle.  Again, it's bordering on cluttery but I love seeing the cards when I walk by.  I'll do another post on the finished product and close up shots of the adorable clothespins next week.  

I am linking up with Honey We're Home who is sharing her Christmas spirit as well! 

By the way, does anyone else HATE putting away decorations as much as I do?!  How come nothing ever fits back in it's box like it's supposed to?!!?  At least I get a good work out in carrying everything up and down the basement stairs!!   

Thanks for stopping by!  Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Deckin' the Halls

WOW -- December already!  With Thanksgiving being so late this year it definitely cut into "deckin' the halls!"  I will admit.. I put our big Christmas tree up pre-Thanksgiving as well as the WVU themed dining room tree.  I did this for several reasons.. mostly because my family was at our house for Thanksgiving and I wanted them to get to see our trees.  This past week, I spent time decorating the other areas of the house.  My absolute favorite decorations this year has to be in the dining room!  We finally got the rest of the furniture for the dining room (sideboard and china cabinet) in October and having the additional area on top of the sideboard to decorate has made for the perfect spot!  Plus, I used some of our wedding decor and it's an instant rush of happy memories when I see it in there.   

Let's rewind.. 

When I was schemin' what the wedding ceremony would look like, I spent a lot of time thinking about the aisle.  I liked the idea of rose petals, candles and lanterns.  I looked at hundreds of lanterns in various price points/styles.  I didn't want anything too ornate or too small and alas, I finally found the perfect lanterns at Hobby Lobby!  Two stores and two special orders later, I had enough lanterns to line the aisle for the ceremony.  I reused the lanterns as additional decor for the reception as well.  Plus, I knew the lanterns would be beautiful to decorate with in coming years.  

Here's the lanterns in action at the wedding:
(The candles are also from Hobby Lobby and are beautiful! They matched the pattern on our cake.)  I alternated tall and shorter lanterns down both sides of the aisle and put pink rose petals in between. 

After the ceremony, we had some of the lanterns moved up to the MASSIVE mantle

Other lanterns found a reception spot behind the main wedding cake

So now, fast forward to my Christmas decorating.... 
The lanterns and candles are from the wedding as well as the crystal candle holder near the feather tree.  The white reindeer are a find from my mom from a few years ago but I've seen a lot of similar ones in the stores this year.  The feather wreath around the smaller lantern is from Michaels and was purchased with the anticipation of being used at the wedding but at the last minute didn't get used.  The white feather tree is actually from my college days at WVU!  I bought this at Macy's in Pittsburgh and still absolutely love it.  I worry everyday that Mason is going to get hold of it.  I decided to forgo the normal hot pink ornaments I put on it and "adult-ed" it up with some silver and slightly gold smaller balls instead.  

Did anyone else recycle items from their wedding into their home decorating?! 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Gettin' a Handle on the Memorabilia/Paper Clutter!

As I scrapbook, I'm one of those people that likes to incorporate all of the tickets, programs, history of the event/place, greeting cards, Holiday cards, birth announcements, ETC ETC ETC that go with the pictures.  This causes several problems:  (1) Keeping up with everything (2) Making sure everything that's been "kept up with" makes it to the scrapbook room (3) Said items remain in some sort of data order (especially since I'm about 4 years behind on my scrapbooks) (4) Containing all of these random items in a neat, organized fashion.

After the wedding, I took a step back and looked at my various piles (they always end up in the floor under my scrapbook table!!!) and thought I need a better solution.  Who am I kidding?  I just need a solution!  
The coloring book and crayons make me smile... a reminder that Abbie was in there playing :-)

So, I did what any other person would do in this situation... turned to my friend Amazon.  I was after hanging file folders.. and not just ANY hanging file folders.. Pink ones!  Voila.  Thank you Amazon... that was easy.  Check!

Then, it was off to Staples where I found the perfect clear containers for my new pink hanging file folders.  Check!

Then.... these beautiful items set in the hallway... OUTSIDE the scrapbook room... for a few .... weeks.  That's the joy of being a working woman! 

Then.. a magical thing happened.  I had time to put the stacks and stacks and stacks of paper clutter into an organized manner INTO their new homes!  I ended up using one for leftover "special" paper I ordered for the wedding paper items and am now collecting items in that bin to make my wedding scrapbook; one is being used to organize the "year before the wedding" (i.e. parties, wedding dress/decor shopping, cards, engagement pics, misc things all related to planning the wedding and being engaged); the other I'm using to sort all the memorabilia I want to incorporate into the corresponding scrapbooks.  Perfect solution for me.  Only problem is that my bin is already full.  Sigh.  Need. More.Time. 

I was going to do one folder/month but I quickly learned that wasn't the most efficient way to utilize the folders/space.  Some months I don't have anything and others (April for example) is always busting at the seams (my birthday, Easter, trip or two).  I tried to keep the months on the tabs consistent from year to year but always adjusted where it made sense to accommodate the amount of items needing to go in the folder.  I also have some separate large folders I didn't put in here simply because there wasn't room and they are "complete" trips.  Similar to the large brown folder in the back of this picture.  Maybe as I empty out some folders I'll have enough room to add those trip folders into this bin so everything is one place (the original goal).  For now, this system is working and that was my goal!  Second goal.. get it in a scrapbook!!!!

What are your paper/memorabilia storing tips?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fantabulous Cricut Challenge #187: Animal Crackers

Today I am linking up with the FCCB challenge with my own animal creation!  This fun little giraffe was the perfect addition to my pictures from a zoo trip when we lived in Baton Rouge.  I adore these pics of this little giraffe laying down to take a nap!  The giraffe is a cut from the Animal Kingdom cartridge.  I don't typically put a cut on such busy paper but this paper was too perfect not to use.  Love how bright and fun it is! 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wedding Flowers

Yep.. I'm still alive! September is always a crazy month for me work wise. It's college recruiting season which is a big travel time. In a 3-week period I hit Tuscaloosa, Mobile, Charleston, WV, Morgantown, Pittsburgh, Chattanooga and Phoenix. That's a lot of airports. I got to have some fun along the way -- stayed a weekend in Mobile with Jen and finally got to see her new apartment, went to the WVU/Oklahoma Tech football game, got to see Lauren, Baby Logan and Jaime and had dinner with Adam's family in Phoenix. SO glad to be back home though! I missed my sweet husband tremendously! 

On the weekends, I've been working on our Honeymoon scrapbook! I'll share pictures once I complete it -- I'm up to day 5.5 and we are just arriving in Bora Bora. Blows my mind that it was 4 months ago. Seems like a distant, wonderful memory. Once I finish it up, my plan is to jump into our wedding album and then I'm going to do an engagement album that will have all our parties, engagement pics, planning process and bridal shopping trips in it. Lots and lots of pictures to scrapbook! 

Turning now back to the wedding.. let's talk about flowers! It was a nobrainer that I wanted lots of pink -- but I wanted romance and not Sweet 16. LOVE how everything turned out. 

Jr. Bridesmaid Bouquet
Bouquets for our mother's
Bridesmaid's Bouquet
These peonies were actually brought from WV from my mom and are from her house - the florist made them into a wreath
Loved how the flower swag/garland turned out -- I wasn't expecting it to be so full
My mom took almost all the flowers home with her and left them at the cemetery with my grandpa's grave

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Memory Charms for Wedding

One of the most bittersweet things about everything to do with my wedding was the fact that my grandpa's wouldn't be there with us to celebrate.  I am so happy that Adam got to meet both of my grandfather's before they passed and I know they both really liked him.  There's so many things about Adam that remind me of my mom's dad.  I wanted to honor my grandpas on our special day so I checked out several options.  I know a lot of people do the roses on chairs in memory of but I didn't want to see the empty chairs or have my grandmas sitting beside these empty chairs so that wasn't a good option for me.  Then, I came across memory charms that you can attach to your dress, bouquet, etc.  Perfect!  These were actually one of the first things I ordered last summer.  I found them on etsy and the vendor is Designs by Tami.  Love the final result.