Sunday, November 28, 2010

Creating a Christmas Tree Topper

Continuing on with the Christmas decorations, we finally finished the tree and this is the final tutorial.  I've always wanted a dramatic tree topper and we definitely accomplished that.  Trick was, finding items that worked - in our color scheme of silver and purple.  Those of you with red and green have SO many options!

Click HERE for my other Christmas Tutorials.

As I've said, do NOT pay full price.  Too many sales going on, between Michael's, Jo Ann Fabrics, Hobby Lobby - 40-50% and don't forget to look for online coupons to print and take with you.  Most of these stems were in the Christmas stem section, but a few were in the general floral section.  We basically just looked all over the store and found things in various locations.  Buy something you see today - you can always return it.  It won't be there when you go back.  (I've learned that the hard way!)  The only stem that cost more than $1 to $1.50 were the long crystal stems, and they were $5.00 each on sale.   

So, here are some photos of some items we purchased.  We had no idea what we wanted, so we got a bunch of stuff and returned what we did not use.

Didn't end up using the purple stems in this photo.




These are very long and I love the crystals - really catch the light.
We started with the longest, dark purple sticks.  We had tried some silver, swirly sticks, but they didn't stand out.  I wanted to clearly see the sticks.  These were perfect!

We added a ring of floral wire to hold them tall, as they started leaning after a while.

Next, we added in the long, crystal adorned stems



We skipped a photo, but this shows the silver swirls in the center and the purple ball stems around the perimeter.


Added in the silver ball stems and we are done!  Perfect height and shape we wanted.  Some folks really mix and match the stems - I wanted a more segregated look.  Can always change it up if I get bored!

Quite a few stems were NOT used and we promptly returned them because frankly, if we waited, we would have forgotten!

Here is another view:


Some ornaments we used on the tree:



Missed getting a photo of the snowflakes and some tall, thin ornaments.  More photos:









We have really switched up our decor this year - here is our tree from last year (I'm trying to talk hubs into putting it in the dining room, but I don't think I'm gonna win this one. lol   -

Different house, different tree, different colors, horizontal ribbon garland........pretty much changed everything!  lol

Hope this tutorial helps you create a beautiful tree topper for YOUR tree!

I will be linking to THESE parties!

Tree Party


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When Your Gallbladder is Mad at You......

Yes, that is the title.  lol  2 years ago, I had become bloated, a little swollen but it was the holidays after all,  and I suspected I had eaten too much.  Well, the DAY AFTER this photo was taken, I was in the ER and later to have a 12 day hospitalization dealing with acute pancreatitis and having my gallbladder removed. 

I had been feeling OK, not great but not bad either.  However, when I ate potatoes, I would feel HORRIBLE.  That is about the only "odd" thing that preceded that attack. 
The swelling went down fairly quickly - all over my body, really, but mostly obvious in my face/neck/shoulders.  

What a difference 2 years makes.  I cannot believe these photos!  I swear my weight is not more than 12 lbs different in these photos, but see what:

1.  Having a happy or removed gallbladder does for you
2.  Longer hairdo elongating a wide face
3.  Different, brighter hair color

Can you see the difference in bloating/swelling in my face, neck and upper shoulders?

December, 2008

December, 2010
December, 2008
 

December, 2010
(Men, they don't change.  Lucky dudes.)

Edit:  Men DO change!  Duh - forgot to show what hubs looked like when HIS gallbladder was acting up.  SAME thing - he bloated up, his tummy felt like a rock hard bouncing balloon.  I swear, if I bumped in to it, I bounced a few feet away.  We joked for a while, but I was getting concerned.  He also had lots of burping.  2 months after this photo, he was doubled over, again at the holidays (eating rich foods is definitely a trigger) and he had his removed also.  He lucked out and did NOT get acute pancreatitis, though.

October, 2007 - 2 months before gallbladder attack and removal.

3 days AFTER surgery - where did the bloat go??

We had our gallbladders our almost 12 months apart.  Aww, how cute.  Not.

 Just my Public Service Announcement that SOMETIMES, you aren't fat.  Your gallbladder is out to get you!

Oh, and if you find yourself with horrid stomach pains that double you over but you are trying to be tough?  Please don't.  I delayed about 18 hours getting to the ER and in that time, I developed acute pancreatitis from the blockage.  I was very lucky I ended up being OK from what my liver numbers were upon admittance.  12 days later, I was SO glad to go home! 
  

Have a glorious day!

P.S.  I'm having trouble with the text size, so I apologize if this looks odd on your screen.


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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Shine The Light

Life has been tough lately.  I've shared very little but friends and family know much, but not all.   Heartbreak, panic, mortification, sorrow.........to be expected in these circumstances.  But when the search for "why" and "what to do about it" brought diagnoses for not 2 but 3 guys.........well......a few more adjectives were thrown in for me.   It's been tough.  No quick fix, no miracle medication.  Just a lot of hard work, time and lots and lots of money required to do what is most recommended by the specialists.   

Overwhelmed.   

Listening to the new Sugarland album - The Incredible Machine - and the following song, tears just started flowing.  The "hold your breath and try to stop it" type of crying.  Poor hubs had that "Oh dear, she's crying, what now" reaction.   But the words.........just slices straight to my heart.

Click here to the song WITH lyrics......maybe you know someone who needs to hear it. 







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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Since we can't be with extended family this holiday season, here are some rare family photos.  Since none of us could find or figure out the timer option on the newer camera, we were thankful for Holt's freakishly long wingspan to manage the camera.   lol

Click each photo to make it larger if you like.






From left to right:  Ryan - 21, Cheri - 29, Andy - 31, Holt - 18.  lol 


Hope you have a glorious day!



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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rich Floral Elements in Christmas Tree Decor

As promised, another Christmas Decor Tutorial.  Do you use large flowers as a foundation to your Christmas Tree decor? 



 
I will admit it was very difficult to get the accurate purple color expressed in the photos.  They do vary, but I did my best to tweak to the true effect.  lol

I have done this for years and it is beautiful.  This year, as we are switching to a lavender/eggplant color scheme, hubs found a mantel garland that he loved and thought it would be cheaper to buy than if I made one.  (Silly guy, but it made him happy!).  So as you can see in this picture, there was a deep eggplant ribbon in the mantel decor that we have not used in our ribbon on the Christmas tree:

Mantel Decor
Ribbon Choices for Tree
Now, remember when I told you NEVER PAY FULL PRICE?  Well, every single week Michael or Hobby Lobby will have their floral stems and/or Christmas floral stems 40 to 50% off, guaranteed.  So you check the flyers that come in the paper or you go online and check their ads.  At Hobby Lobby, you can check their online coupons as well, and you might get additional savings.  Last week, the coupon was 40% off any one regular priced item!

So, we were at Micheal's with our coupons and sales going on and I saw these gorgeous eggplant poinsettias (?) and knew they'd be perfect.  Regularly $5.99, we got them for $3.00 each.   You always want to work in 3's - and I decided to get 6 for the entire tree.  (Our new tree is very slim - another hubby request - been putting that purchase off for at least 3 years.  lol)

New Floral for Tree
First, we placed the ribbon.  Tutorial HERE.  Next, we placed the floral pieces - all as the foundation to the tree decor prior to the many ornaments.  I leave the long stems on the florals as well as the price tags until I am sure I will use all of them and decide how many I need.  Sometimes I return extras. 

Current placement of 3 flowers - may change!  lol




As soon as I get the florals set in place, we go back and cut the stems (with wire cutters) to about 8 inches.  Since we don't attach the florals with wire, the length of the stem gives just enough to settle in the tree limbs and sit firmly.  Remains easy to remove and move around until they are just right once the ornaments go on.

Here is what it looks like at this stage at night.

Taken with iPhone4 - sorry about the quality.




Are you ready to change up your regular routine and try some gorgeous florals on your tree this year?  If you normally do a red/green decor, can't you just picture large red poinsettias?  Some of the choices go from little to no glitter to being super sparkly- so many choices at the various stores.


Have a glorious day!

I'm linking to THESE wonderful parties!



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Friday, November 19, 2010

Brad Paisley H20 Concert & Carrie Underwood

Hubs surprised me with tickets to the Brad Paisley H20 concert last night.  I thought it would be fun, but I had no idea it would be my very favorite concert of all!!  I guess I now know why he keeps winning Entertainer of the Year!  It was simply....fabulous!!  His guitar skills are stunning....and lucky us - there were 2 opening acts - Justin Moore AND Darius Rucker!!!!!!!!!

I wore his FAVORITE color - Red!


Darius Rucker
Brad Paisley





He changed guitars at least 10 times - it was very cool!


A photo of us at the concert:

Taken with iPhone 4


I was trying to take photos with a different kind of camera app I downloaded on my iPhone 4 and this is the photo - who knows what setting I have it set on. lol  Ah well....

What is really great is we always get the handicap section and it is SO close to the stage every time!  I get to sit in a chair and ride a special elevator......yeah......I put up with the embarrassment with the result of NOT falling down the stairs being a super great thing.  lol   The chairs in this section actually move (because many people are in the scooters or wheelchairs, so we aren't on top of each other or squished.  And no one walks on top of us to go get sodas and food.  Super Bonus!  Luckily, Andy is able to use the stairs and come and go.  No special elevator for him.  lol

I love living near a major city where all kinds of musicians regularly have concerts.  Woo Hoo!

Speaking of this, reminds me I never posted photos of the October Carrie Underwood concert we attended.  Andy LOVES Carrie Underwood!!




This truck literally flew through the air in a huge loop around the auditorium.  Very cool!
See the loop around her arm keeping her from falling off the airborne truck?





Not hard to see why Andy has a crush on her!  Too bad she's married now.  lol




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