12.23.2009

::christmas advent::december 23:: family time and a christmas photo

We're in ABQ now, after an eleven plus hour drive through some risky weather.
We're enjoying Christmas music, smells of Christmas baking, and catching up with family. Mom did exceptionally well at the Christmas character match-ups...!
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Match-ups:
Clara - The Nutcracker
Viriginia - Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus
Buddy - Elf
Clark Griswald - National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Dudley - The Bishop's Wife
Kevin - Home Alone
the Herdmans - The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Ralphie - The Christmas Story
Susan Walker - Miracle on 34th Street
the Grinch - How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Bob Wallace - White Christmas
Ebeneezer Scrooge - Christmas Carol
Scott Calvin - The Santa Claus
George Bailey - It's a Wonderful Life
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and as a side note, here's our first annual Christmas Card Photo!

12.21.2009

::christmas advent::december 21:: christmas music

Tonight is another night with Chad in the field,
so for our Christmas moment,
I snuck away to meet up with him.
We sat and listened to one Christmas song...
It's getting so close! I can't wait!!!
photo by cig harvey

::christmas trivia::

This was on our Christmas card this year... sort of some Christmas trivia???
Can you match all of the characters up with the show they belong to?
There's some pretty obvious ones, and a few tricky ones...
Answers tomorrow!

12.20.2009

::christmas advent::december 20:: christmas gifts

Since tonight is the last night that we'll be home together,
we opened a couple of presents from Bud and Barb - and they were perfect!
_______
We opened a pillow that's embroidered with
"There's no place like home", the theme of the 40th
year's Christmas book. {{I won't say the name in
case you haven't opened yours, yet!}} It's beautiful,
as usual - and we've already watched the DVD that
came with it... Thank you so much!
________
In other news,
tonight is a flurry of packing! We leave on Tuesday
night for ABQ and we'll both be working tomorrow
night, so this is it! We're making our lists and
checking them twice, and this time we're just
talking about socks and underwear...
__________
But don't worry - we're determined to see this
advent thing through till the end...

12.19.2009

::christmas advent::december 19:: christmas flowers


We had some friends over for dinner tonight.
Of course, while I was cooking, I realized I had forgotten a key ingredient,
so Chad offered to run out and get the rosemary.
When we came back, he had these beautiful Christmas flowers for our table...
Love, love, love, winter and/or Christmas flower arrangements AND friends for dinner.

12.18.2009

::christmas advent::december 18:: christmas stories

Tonight, before we fall asleep,
we'll be reading on one of our Christmas books
together in bed.
I love Christmas movies, but the books are where it's really at.

12.17.2009

::christmas advent::december 17:: live nativity

This evening we went to the live nativity at Tuacahn, as attendees.
This has become one of my very favorite parts of Christmas.
I found out this year that all of the parts are played by different people each night,
usually from different congregations around the area.
They come in and practice for an hour, and then have two performances.
My best is always the littlest shepherds...they look like two and three old boys that get
to hold the baby Jesus and show him around to the other shepherds. And I think I tear up everytime.
It puts me in the right mood each time I go.

12.16.2009

::christmas advent::december 16:: nativity

We brought down one of my favorite pieces of Christmas tonight.
My mom gave me this little nativity set when I was younger...maybe fifth grade?
It's been stored in the same shoebox every year since then and still has my
grade school handwriting labeling the box as my "Christmas Manger Scene"
It's a set that she had... each piece has the original stickers
on the bottom marking the individual price as 29 cents.
The angel has had the roughest go.
Her head fell off at the neck, and I believe she was cut in half as well.
Her nose isn't looking too great either.
But everyone else seems to be weathering the years pretty easily.
::edit:: mom said that the nativity was actually her FAMILY's set when she was growing up
and that GRAMMA is the one who gave it to me. she said that if it was hers, she never
would have given it away!

12.15.2009

::christmas advent::december 15:: christmas cards

Finished!
(okay, not totally, but THIS close!)

12.14.2009

::christmas advent::december 14:: sing-a-long

Chad's in the field, spending the night in the snow tonight,
so our Christmas moment was via telephone call.
Together we sang a round of Jingle Bells...!

(Photo source unknown)

::living room makeover:: lamps

Not sure why, but if you'd like to see our new lamps, click HERE.
Why won't this show up as a new post???

12.13.2009

::christmas advent::december 13:: christmas pictures

Time for a Christmas picture...
reminiscing over this
Death Valley Christmas tree last year...
Loved decorating that tree outside,
so we went with it for this years picture!
(there's a hint over there on the right)

::christmas advent::december 12:: snow!

that's right, folks.
we got some, right here in our little town.
big flakes, too.
i should have known...
it was a sign that today would be a full christmas day.
today...
we dropped off our cards to be printed,
picked out envelopes for our cards,
christmas shopped ALL DAY LONG,
came home, ate some yummy lasagna and christmas bread from our neighbors
and then baked and decorated cookies
ALL NIGHT LONG.


note to self:
next time i divide up christmas cookies into two nights,
making the dough and BAKING should be one night,
decorating deserves a night of its own. oy.
i'm going to bed.

12.11.2009

::christmas advent::december 11:: christmas cards

Tackling the Christmas cards ...
Will this be the year they actually get sent?
image found here

12.10.2009

::christmas advent::december 10:: making cookies

Our friend Kim came over tonight.
We donned Christmas aprons,
turned the Christmas music up loud,
lit the Christmas candles,
and started mixing.
We whipped up batches of sugar cookie dough and gingerbread dough.
When we were finished, Chad whipped up a batch of chocolat chaud for our enjoyment.
Tonight it really felt like Christmas!

12.09.2009

::christmas advent::december 9:: volunteer at the nativity

The live nativity at Tuacahn is probably the only real Christmas tradition that we have.
We've been married for (very almost) four years, and the last three we've attended the nativity.
The last two years we've volunteered, and I love it.
People come in happy, and they leave happier.
They're reminded of the reason that we celebrate this time of year.
For a few minutes, they're willing to sit outside and freeze, and reflect.
Next week, we'll go enjoy it as patrons.

12.08.2009

::christmas advent::december 8:: shopping


Tonight we spent some time working on
Christmas presents!
______
We got part of Jill's done...
And part of the Moms done...
______
(this picture was chosen in honor
of chad's new nickname for me,
Candy Cane, on accounta these
new comfies that i'm totally loving)...
______
We're definitely a ways from done,
but we're getting closer!
______
What about you? A beat-the-crowds-done-by-
Thanksgiving-kind-of-shopper? Or a last-
minute-uh-oh-is-it-too-late-to-find-what-I-
really-wanted-to-get-them-kind-of-shopper?
I definitely fall in the latter category.

12.07.2009

::christmas advent::december 7:: hot chocolate floats

...made by Chad!

He made me stay out of the kitchen while he made them, so I don't know what the secret is to making it taste so good,
but I know there was vanilla bean ice cream, whipped cream, and sprinkles, and tasted better than the Bearpaw!
We might just have to have these often, especially after cold, snowy days in the field!

12.06.2009

::christmas advent::december 6:: handel's messiah

Tonight we went over to the college to see the Southwest Symphony perform Handel's Messiah.
Beautiful. I loved it, but Chad - not so much. A little too slow, I think, after the heart-pounding performance last night!

::at home:: lamp makeover

I mentioned our eight dollar floor lamps. They're gone!
I picked up two table lamps from TJ Maxx - I just loved the shape of the body. We had to make a few alterations to get them to usable, possibly more work than they were worth, but I am loving how they turned out. They originally came with bellshape shades. I wanted to find some smoother lines (easier to cover) that were a very specific size because of the dimensions of our shelf (too big and they wouldn't fit as close to the wall as they needed to be). The shades I found were beautiful, but not the right color, and a little short. I bought them anyway, and my lampshade project commenced!


The shades were meant for a smaller lamp than what I'd purchased, so they sat a little high on the lamp. That's where I enlisted Chad's help! He cut down the wires, did some heating, some twisting, and reattached to make it so that the shades would sit just right on the lamp. (Sorry no pics and no instructions - that's just a perk of being married to a guy like Chad!)
Since the shades already had color and a pattern on them, I covered them first with a muslin fabric just so it wouldn't show through the light colored material I'd chosen. Here's the step by step:
1. Since my shades are cone shaped, I rolled the fabric onto the shade to get an idea of the shape of the fabric and then cut out a very rough pattern. Once the piece was cut, I trimmed it down to about an inch and a half larger than the shade.
2. I used a hot glue gun to tack down one side of the fabric onto the lamp shade. I glued down about two inches, pressed it tight, then continued until I'd worked my way down the shade.
3. Next, I glued the other side of the fabric to itself to create a seam. This way, in case the lamp shade ever gets turned around, there's still a clean-looking line.

4. Then I rolled the fabric on! Smooth the fabric continually as you're rolling, and keep it pulled taut so that you won't end up with weird wrinkles... once you've gotten it all on, double check for any places that need to be smoothed, and then glue down the seam. Use the same two-inch-method so that your glue doesn't dry before you can get the fabric pressed down. (so sorry for an extremely crappy picture!)

5. Now for the edges. This is the easiest part. Pull the fabric taut, put a line of glue on the raw edge (again about two inches long) and press into the interior of the shade. Continue working your way around the shade until you've gotten all of the way around. Now flip your shade and do the other side. Tip: it's helpful to snip your fabric at the points where the wire meets the edge of the shade. That way you can glue on either side of the wire.
And voila! A new fabric shade! Has anyone else tackled a lampshade project? This was my first one, but now I'm thinking the possibilities are endless with all of the fabric out there! It would have been a difficult decision if I hadn't already had my eye on this print. Chad has already predicted multiple future re-coverings! (I don't think so, but the body may get a paint job in the near future?!?)

12.05.2009

::christmas advent::december 5:: trans siberian orchestra


Today we took a drive to Vegas to see the Trans Siberian Orchestra... it was in the Orleans Arena and crazy huge and, well, just plain crazy. See that third picture up there? Click on it - because it's a picture of the violinist and guitarist headbanging to Christmas music about 30 feet in the air. This is Christmas music like you've never seen - with multiple electric guitars, lights, lasers, pyrotechnics, and a whole lotta energy. It definitely got our blood pumping and adrenaline rushing, which is an unusual reaction to Christmas music?!? It was a great date, though, and now Chad can cross them off his list!

12.04.2009

::christmas advent::december 4:: trimming the tree


My Mom taught me every year at Christmas that, "The most important part of a beautiful tree is the lights. Some people just skirt them around the outside of the branches. But the trick is to weave them in deep by the trunk and then work your way out along each branch." I've listened and now every year, I work on the lights, just like Mom, trimming in and out and in and out. This years was a little tougher, though. That was one thick tree... our biggest one, yet!

12.03.2009

::christmas advent::december 3:: christmas movie

Tonight we curled up on the loveseat to watch one of last seasons Christmas movies, Four Christmases.
Very important to the movie watching experience: twinkle lights, hot chocolate, cupcakes, and christmas blankets.

::at home:: ikea inspired shelf

Obviously, this is looking pretty stark.

The first thing I wanted to do was to pull the couch out and away from the wall. This room is fairly long, so anything I can do to visually shorten the distance between that wall and the stairs is a GOOD thing.
________
background:: I don't really believe in end tables. Weird? Totally. I'm not really sure why, but they just seem pointless to me. There are two things I don't go for in decorating and the first one is: furniture that is just going to be a place to set stuff and get cluttered and look unsightly (like end tables and night stands). I'll talk about the other one later. Obviously, though, there are benefits to an end table. They give people a place to put their drink, or set their book. And I'll admit, a lot of times they look nice.
_________
solution:: I got this idea in an ikea sample room and instantly loved it. They displayed a very narrow shelf (maybe 3 inches) hung behind the sofa at exactly the same height as the back of the sofa. Their display had frames leaned on the little shelf and it looked fantastic.
___________
We went with the same type of idea, but did it ourself. Our friend had extra half-inch plywood leftover from a project, so we used his leftovers to work with our space. Chad cut it to ten inches deep by five feet long and sanded down the corners so there were no sharp edges. Then I went to work with the sponge brush*. I put on about 3 coats of Minwax stain with polyurethane (in satin) and then another coat of Minwax polyurethane (in gloss). I let each coat dry for about 4 hours, then used a fine grit steel wool to sand down the high spots, and continued with the next coat. {{This is exactly the same method we used on our stairs}}.
____________
We picked up three cheapy brackets from Lowe's (since they wouldn't show behind the couch anyway), and Chad attached them to the wall at the correct height. Since our cushions are a good 3-4 inches higher than the shelf, things on the shelf aren't super visible unless they're tall. This means it's finally time for me to get rid of those eight dollar lamps from Home Depot and get some grown up lamps...that will look so pretty popping up from behind our cushions!
____
*I use those cheap sponge brushes so that I don't have to wory about cleaning them. I don't want to mess with cleaning unless it's water soluble. Instead, I just wrap them in a grocery bag to keep them from drying out, and use them for the entirety of a project. Then I pitch them.

12.02.2009

::christmas advent::december 2:: bing? dean? frank?

tonight, just a little christmas music. into bed early, after a late night last night
and before we fall asleep, one christmas song, picked at random, by pandora
Merry Christmas and Good Night!
edit:: it was "I'll Have a Blue Christmas" by Johnny Mathis

::home:: living room makeover

i mentioned here that you'd be seeing more projectos around our house.
i 've tackled several and am just now getting around to some pictures.
let's take a stroll down memory lane... this is how our living room looked
when we first finished our renovations:

see complete post about our downstairs living/dining areas here
{{sorry for the horrible lighting...and for those who haven't been here, our front
door is just across from the bottom of those stairs}}
we liked everything - how could we not? we were happy there wasn't dust everywhere.
but we were never completely satisfied with that front room. it felt like there was only one
place where the couch made sense. and that didn't make sense with the TV. but there
was only one place for the TV. see our dilemna?
______________
fast forward two years to about two months ago.
we finally bit the bullet and decided to pull the TV down and move it.
so we did. just to the right of where it is in the pictures above, into another space.
{{that's in italics because it's very designer-ish of me to call it a space and not an area}}
________
and we LOVED it. i can't believe what a difference it made.
our TV watching space is much cozier and comfortable,
and not the major focus when you walk in the room.
nor do we have to design our room around the black box. errr, flat box.
__________
so once our TV viewing area was the way we liked it,
this is what we were left with in the front room.
uh-oh. pretty boring, not put together, and aren't those chairs crooked?
{{but at least the lighting is better}}
just wait. this is where the projects come in... tomorrow.

12.01.2009

::christmas advent::december 1:: making a list, checking it twice

we were home on sunday for about an hour and a half before the christmas decorations
miraculously made their way into the living room. i just can't help it - christmas really is the best time of year!
_________
this year, we've each made lists of christmas activities that we can do each day
to make the most of the christmas season. some are big, some are small,
but hopefully it'll be fun. {{chad's feeling anxious about christmas overload}}
tonight, we started, with our gift guides.
we went through our list and checked it twice!
________
picture above is of the boys writing to santa at this is the place. after they finished,
they went outside and burned them in a fire pit. the idea is that the smoke
carries the letters up to santa at the north pole. cute.

::thanksgiving:: giving thanks

we had a fun and busy thanksgiving holiday weekend with the b's...every time we hang out with
chad's family, i realize again how lucky i am to have such great in-laws. sorry, folks. no horror stories here.


highlights from our trip included:

football game in the cold. b representatives triumphed. tasty thanksgiving lunch comprised of appetizers that i STILL need to get the recipes for. followed by an even tastier thanksgiving dinner. post-dinner game of mad gab. {{i am beyond horrible at that game- i'm pretty sure i was a handicap}} 5:45 am black friday runs including joann's {{cricut for chad}}, walmart, and old navy. service project by the boys. logan craft festival. wrigley attacking and killing and bringing home a neighbors chicken. christmas aprons. this is the place candlelight christmas. crafting jewelry. utah state basketball game. christmas decorations coming out!
on sunday, a stop at my grandma and grandad's for a quick visit. and safe home in the honda. couldna been better.
 
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