Tuesday, December 21, 2010

this is what happens when you just. can't. stop.

Sometime before Thanksgiving I became mildly obsessed with yarn. This was quite baffling because a) I can't wear wool, b) I don't knit, or do any kind of crafting with yarn and c) I have NO idea what constitutes a good yarn, what would make for a bad yarn, or even where to GET yarn besides a box store. After doing some self analyzing, I now realize my yarn obsession started when I became slightly obsessed with wool dryer balls, which I didn't even own at the time. Until my awesome friend J made me some and now I am justifiably obsessed and in love with dryer balls. Holy crap, I need a life.

Anyway, the dryer balls inspired me, I believe. I had wanted to do something a bit different for Christmas decorations this year and wanted something fun, something easy and something that I hadn't really seen before. So I bought some yarn and some Styrofoam balls, and started wrapping. And wrapping. And wrapping. I couldn't stop. I went through more yarn than I should have. If you were a cat, and living in my house, you would have been in heaven because there were yarn balls EVERYWHERE. So many yarn balls that my kids started chasing them around the house, while acting like cats. Just what I needed, 4 over grown kittens.

I was so excited to find yarn that matched the colors of both my upstairs and downstairs rooms. I wanted the whole "crazy cat lady house" theme to carry through both floors for continuity, but varied the colors on each floor to provide for some visual interest (I really have no idea what the heck I am talking about right now... just hopin I sound like I do).

So, after 2 weeks of nightly yarn wrapping parties (yes, I am that lame) I finally ran out and here is how it all came together:

yarn ball wreath and the rest of the living room

The mantle

please forgive the super ugly, really noisy and badly colored picture above, and below/

the garland swags with yarn ball embellishments that hang over each large window downstairs

the swag thingamajigs with yarn ball embellishments that hang over the small windows and doorways downstairs

one of the gorgeous nativity scenes up this year and a few yarn ball ornaments on the tree

leading up the stairs

the most used room in the house

new art pieces of fabric cut into shapes and glued onto another piece of fabric

more yarn balls. lots and lotsa yarn balls

In addition to all of this, each of the kids' rooms have a little tree with ornaments to match their decor too. The only rooms that aren't overly done up and grandiose are my bedroom and the upstairs bathroom... and the garage. Even the downstairs bathroom got a helping of Christmas Joy. I'm just not 100% done with it yet (don't tell M!!) so pictures will have to wait. 

And that,  my friends, is what happens when you can't stop wrapping yarn and hanging garland. I think it is time I put my obsessions to good use and start knitting, or something. I really and truly cannot wait to figure out what I am going to do in the house we are in next year. Although, I'm pretty sure the theme will be "moving boxes and packing tape". Not exactly as pretty as this year's house, but very functional.

Monday, December 20, 2010

deckin my halls with glitter bombs and other fun things

Back when I was in college I had a dream that we won the war in Iraq by dropping a glitter bomb on the place. A glitter bomb. The war didn't end because everyone was suddenly happy and sparkly after it exploded. Instead,  everyone was completely pissed off and irritated that there was glitter in EVERYTHING and they couldn't do anything because the glitter made everything break. And that is what I feel like has happened in my house; a large glitter bomb has exploded and wreaked havoc on our playroom and slowly seeped through all of the crevasses and openings, completely infesting our home. I hate glitter for this very reason-- it is my WMD. But once a year I put aside my disdain and allow the glitter to shine and sparkle and make my kids happy.

I still have some more to do, or want to do, but M has put a moratorium on my decorating. I'm trying to convince him that there is a difference between my next project and "decorating" but he isn't buying it. Bah humbug.  Technically, it won't be me doing it... it would be the kids, under my guidance... so it would really be their decorating... we will see if we get around to it...

Yes, that is W's little head sticking out from under the train table. Apparently "GET OUT OF THE PICTURE" means, "run and hide and then stick your head out". 

Beaded garland + curling ribbon + Dollar Spot ornaments=  wannabe Mardi Gras

 Custom stocking holders, painted by me... yes, the "M" is an upside down "W".

The uber cheesy white tree. Love this thing. And the bald spots have been fixed... detailed pictures to come, maybe, if I get a chance.

Pictures colored by the kids and me. 

The wreath adorning the banister on the way up to the playroom.

The outside of our house is much less "in your face". I didn't even put up lights. Instead, I used a bunch of fresh garland and grapevines and sprigs of greens and pine cones collected by my wonderful husband and sent by our produce company. I didn't really have a plan for the outside... so I just bought some twine and some ribbon spent a very cold and very windy afternoon stringing garland and making bows. I like how it turned out. I love the organic feel of it and I love the way it smells as you are walking up to the front door. If only the inside smelled that delicious...

Still to come, the upstairs hallway/ laundry room and the living room/ kitchen. I have had SO much fun decorating this house this year. This is the first year we have been "settled" enough to do it and when I haven't been pregnant. Decorating for Christmas can be pretty awesome when you have energy and aren't throwing up ever 3.7 minutes. Who knew?? I'm just dreading taking it all down. It is ok to leave your Christmas decor up until February, right?

Monday, December 13, 2010

the last laugh

This month has been a whackadoo of a month. Thanksgiving came and went with vengeance. Our turkey may have marked my butt up six ways to Sunday before Thanksgiving, but I got my say and the last laugh on Thanksgiving when I kicked that turkey's butt and made it into something delicious. I've never prepared an entire Thanksgiving meal-- I've never made a Turkey for anything but meat to put in the freezer so a) it never mattered if it was pretty and b) it didn't have to be good because it was most likely going to be soup anyway. I was nervous. You can't just screw up the biggest part of the biggest meal of the year, know what I mean?

Despite all of my planning I didn't really have a menu nailed down until the night before. I did know that I wanted to make everything from scratch. There were not going to be any cans or boxes opened or premade mixes used in my Thanksgiving dinner. I wanted to do it right. Which meant that the chances of it being a horrid epic fail, the kind of fail where in 20 years the people who were there say, "Oh my goodness, remember that one year that Joanna totally screwed up Thanksgiving??" and then everyone proceeds to tell the story AGAIN and laughs hysterically on your behalf. Ugh... so much pressure...

But I did it. I cooked an amazing meal and didn't use any boxes or cans or mixes and I didn't even make anyone sick. We started the morning with pumpkin pancakes, made completely from scratch with warm cinnamon apples and fresh maple whipped cream. Since we were going to be eating, Lord willing, around 4, I didn't want to serve a huge lunch so we had cheese and crackers (ok, so I guess I did open a box!) and salami with cut veggies and dip.

Then it was time to dig in and really eat. We had turkey, herbed mashed potatoes, lemon-nut rice stuffing, pumpkin cornbread, fresh green beans cooked in bacon, shallots, garlic and a little lemon zest, green salad with smokey ranch dressing, cranberry- pear sauce and of course, pumpkin pie made from the pumpkin I roasted and pureed earlier this fall. It was soooooooo good I ate it for breakfast for the next 2 days and put everyone else on pumpkin pie rations so I could have more. I'm mean that way.

Pumpkin Cornbread

Cranberry- Pear Sauce

The whole meal. 

Don't laugh at my serving spoons... I'm in desperate need. We are moving up in the world though. For the first time ever, I have a set of 12 plates and a complete set of silverware with 12 pieces for each type of utensil. For the past 6 years we've only had 4 plates, and 4 forks, spoons and knives. Let me tell you how awesome it is not to have to wash the forks between dinner and dessert when we have people over to eat.

While we were all suffering from the meat sweats and turkey coma, we introduced the kids to the awesomeness that is "Elf" and had homemade hot chocolate. It couldn't have been a better day. The day after I started decorating for Christmas and I have finally finished that. This house now looks like Christmas threw up in it. Pictures coming soon, I promise. But here's a sneak peek in the meantime:)

EDITED: Shout out to my sister for making the deliciously scrumptious cornbread and taking the pictures of the food. And for not knowing what her travel plans were and leaving 2 days later than she thought she was, one day due to her thinking she left the day before and the other day due to weather.