Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Decor

Still not feeling terrific means I didn't do much decorating but what I did looks really pretty.  I stuck with only the mantel and the tree but they are gorgeous and look so warm and inviting this holiday. 
I made the "Joyeux Noel" several years ago using purchased chipboard letters and glitter strung on a silver tinsel twine.  I added the icicle lights and some pretty globe mercury glass light balls and candleholders.  The candles are glittered candles from Pottery Barn and they are a NIGHTMARE.  They are real candles with a plastic sleeve that was supposed to be covered in a thick chunky glitter.  They were gorgeous when they were in the box.  But as soon as I got them out I realized that more than half of them had cracks that lead to all the glitter falling off.  Ugh...too expensive for that to happen!  

 My mantel is a mix of gold, silver and glitter.  Glitter isn't a color? Hmmm. Okay so maybe gold, silver and some high quality frosted greens that I bought several years ago and keep repurposing for holiday decor. 
 I love the vintage christmas balls and this simple Apothacary Jar full of silver and teal balls is gorgeous among the white lights and glitter.
 The pinecones are part of the greenery that I bought from a decorating store several years ago.  The glittered-stars and wreathes are cheap Target ornaments that have a ton of sparkle and look yummy.
The velvet and glittered flowers are poinsettias that I simple placed among the greenery.  
The huge chalkboard art is from The Caravan Shoppe.  It comes as a digital file and for $6 I had it printed-per the included instructions- at FedEx Office.  It is hung using a dowel and a tinsel garland.  
The pictures were edited on Rhonna Farrer's App available in the App shop. Her App was named one of the best Apps of the year.  You can read more about it here.
Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Goodbye to a Beautiful Friend

This has been a tough month to say the least.  Let me start by saying that the 5-day power outage was just the beginning.  From there we moved on to a busted waterline (the line to the ice maker) that flooded the basement.  Thankfully, most of the stuff that was in the flood zone was in plastic containers so I didn't lose a lot...but the walls, carpet and ceiling in the furnace room, my studio and a guest bedroom (that now sports a relaxing waterbed) got WET.  Modernistic came to dry out everything which made my job pretty easy; they even moved stuff and boxed up some things for me.  They ran fans, heaters, and dehumidifiers for a week which almost doubled our electric bill- ironic after the power I right?
The worst thing to happen however, was much, MUCH worse.  My 15yo, Ryann, is part of a very close freshman class at her high school.  Two weeks ago one of the most popular boys, and a very good friend of Ryann's, committed suicide after a long history of severe headaches.  It left Ryann a devastated wreck.  I felt a lot of guilt;  I KNOW all about chronic headaches and I know I could have given him hope that "it get's better". It is so hard to keep that in focus when chronic pain takes away fun, steals your life and sucks out your soul.  I may have even been able to offer some help with a finding a diagnosis as my path to an accurate diagnosis was long and hard.  It left me with both PTSD and a lot of knowledge about atypical headaches.  I learned that 1. It is hard to hang on to hope when nobody is willing to help and 2. That doctors really don't know a lot about headache pain that doesn't fit their specific model for migraine and/or tension headache.  Instead of looking for other causes, they stuff you into their model... come hell or high water.  There is a lot of misunderstanding even among doctors who call themselves headache experts.  One of my worst experiences was with the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago.  
But back to Jake.  I know, I KNOW, I could have helped him...but we just didn't know.  He never told his friends exactly how BAD it was.  So, I feel regret and remorse over something I had no control over ...but that is so damn horrifically sad, that it brings me to tears.  Then there was the funeral.  An experience I will never forget.  From the woman who switched seats with me (it was a full house and I had to sit one seat in front of Ryann).  Ryann started crying before the service started and as I turned to say "are you ok?" the woman said "I will switch with you".  I was so grateful.  

Being a former pediatric oncology nurse means I have been to my fair share of kids' funerals.  But this funeral was...a lot.  It was  both devastating and heartwarming.  I watched a tremendous number of freshman boys openly grieving together;  hugging and holding each other...crying so much.  The support they gave each other took my breath away.  So many tears were shed that day.  Many friends and classmates-14-and-15year olds- got up and spoke to a standing-room crowd.  They spoke about their friend Jake.  It was beautiful and so so sad.  His family spoke- his mom and 3older siblings- poured their hearts out giving Jake beautiful, devastating eulogies.  So much regret and guilt. 

Today would have been his 15th birthday and it hard not to wish there was something I could do to help his mom...his sister who is having an especially hard time.  But I can't do anything but remember the bright boy with so much potential who was a great friend to so many. 

We will remember those we love and cherish this holiday.  Tomorrow is Ryann's birthday...where have the years gone?  She is becoming a beautiful young woman and while I want to stop time and keep her my baby, I am also excited to see where her life takes her.  Tomorrow is the big 15.

I intended to post my pics of my holiday decor but after writing about Jake, it wasn't appropriate.  So, I will make that post tomorrow.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Paper Spindle Christmas Ornaments

Perviously I showed you the snowflake ornament I made suing a file from  Today I have two new ornaments I made using the same Christmas Ornament file.
I love being able to choose colors and patterns for each ornament.  Embellishing can be nothing more than patterned paper all the way to something over-the-top elaborate.
Coredinations 12x12 Tim Holtz Distressed Cardstock Sheets
This ornament looks a lot more difficult than it really is.  The base is cut in two pieces so they fit on a 12x12 sheet of paper.  The two pieces are glued together by connecting the tab of the second piece to the first piece.  Then the entire piece is folded and the various tabs are glued into place.  The base was cut from Tim Holtz & Ranger Core'dination Distress Collection in Fired Brick.  The panels are cut from an old Basic Grey patterned paper.  The design calls for triangle shaped panels along the bottom of the ornament  but I decided to glitter the entire bottom portion with Fired Brick Distress Glitter.

I added silver tinsel yarn- this actually serves a structural function rather than a purely decorative one as it pulls the ornament into shape.  I finished it off with silver threat for hanging and red rhinestones.

I made another version with similar papers and glitter but added creme pearls and gold yard.