12.18.2010

Christmas Tour of Homes 2010

After browsing the links over at the Christmas Homes Tour 2010 at the Nesting Place, I decided to participate on my own (because that collection is closed) because what's more fun than decorating for Christmas? Nosing through other people's homes looking at THEIR decorations for Christmas! Of course!

I've limited most of my decorating to the main living areas of our house which are the living room and dining room. I've got 2 trees up this year and I adore them. Ones color theme started a few years ago when I had an AH-HA moment on what to do with a handful of leftover wedding favors from our December 2005 wedding. We used fuchsia ball ornaments with custom ribbon stamped with our names and wedding date. We had enough to start a theme tree with pinks and greens and golds and this year makes the third year of this tree and it's my favorite. We'll start there...

Here she is in all her glory. (Sorry for the dark pic, I was snapping fast!)
The inspiration ornament. I put these on first each year and fill in with the rest.
This guy is one of my favorites. I got him at Old Salem a couple of summers ago when Seth was up for a legislative conference. I tagged along simply for the shopping and visiting of my Alma Mater. I picked this up at one of the gift shops and it reminds me of my time at Salem.
Then there's this fun little extra that I shove in the tree. My mom got this for me and I find fun places to put it all throughout the year. But it makes a special statement in the Christmas tree.
This tree is full of color and life. It's different but it's come to be my favorite tree! I love using alternative colors at Christmas. There's no rule saying you can't!

The other tree resides in the dining room and has all the keepsake ornaments we've collected from Hallmark as well as some general favorites. Again, seriously dark pic...my apologies.
However, this baby holds some treasures.

First up, one of the 4 vintage Snoopy ornaments from my childhood. Many of my readers know about my precious faux-Snoopy, Diggle, who I've been cuddling with since 1980. He's still alive and kickin' and I love hanging these vintage ornaments on the tree each year. They were my favorite part of decorating the tree as a child.
They are yellowing and old, but I love them and love that they can be part of my adult Christmases. Actually, the now "pink and green" tree used to be a "Diggle" tree. I have so many Snoopy ornaments they covered an entire tree. I will have to get ANOTHER little tree so I can revive the Diggle tree another year.

Next up, an egg ornament from Old Salem. I got this one on the same trip mentioned above. It's a hollowed-out egg with a painted shell. Isn't it divine?

I have an owl...... and Hallmark Keepsake Snoopys (this is one of my favorites)...
... and ornaments to celebrate hobbies...
... and of course, a Westie (this is just one of many).

Since I've grown fond of using mini-trees, I have a surplus of ornaments that are too pretty not to display. I've used various glass containers to show off most of them.

This glass container is another item used at our wedding. They were used as centerpieces at the reception and I love filling it each year with my colorful ornaments. This one resides on the buffet in the dining room. I padded the awkward bottom part with pecans I gathered from our driveway (we didn't know we had a pecan tree!).

The coffee table is so large that it just screams for a large centerpiece. You might remember the centerpiece I made for Thanksgiving/Fall. I had just as much fun figuring out this (simple) centerpiece for Christmas.
And yes, I stood on my solid wood Restoration Hardware coffee table to get those shots. So what?

The wreath is a plastic fake, but it's sort of nice with its pine cones and all. I filled a big 'ole brandy snifter with a mix of Martha Stewart ornaments from Macy's (big ones with fuzzy coral-like pattern) and little baby ones from I-forget-where store. Isn't it cute?

I went with a gold and green color scheme for the coffee table because we have so much green in our living room. It works beautifully.
Aside from the trees and ornaments, I've got a slow-growing collection of Jim Shore Santas and this year, they made the most impact yet. My mom has a ton as well, and I can't wait until her collection gets added to mine. She's got more than just Santas, somehow that's all I've ended up with save for one beautiful angel.
Aren't they cozy?

My most recent Santa is the one down front holding the wreath. I'm smitten with him. I love his colors and the welcome wreath with pineapple. It reminds me of my mom's love for all things Williamsburg.

This is my second favorite. He's the smallest of the bunch, but his colors had me at hello. I picked him up after Christmas last year.
And lastly, here's our house in all its grandeur on a rainy, cold, Saturday. Isn't it charming? We don't have quite enough icicle lights and next year I want to decorate the railing as well, but we were on a budget this year and all the outside decor was strictly done with "what we already had."
Front door...
A close-up of our weath...
And can't leave out the Westie. She wasn't sure why I was outside taking pictures and not inside on the couch snuggling with her.
Hope you've enjoyed the Holiday Tour of 415!

12.06.2010

FOLLOW-UP! Shutterfly Christmas Card Promotion!

Remember this post? Well, I submitted my blog entry to Shutterfly, and to my great surprise, I had my code for 50 free Christmas cards the SAME DAY I posted that entry. I was VERY impressed. I got my cards on Friday. They are SO cute. Almost as cute as the ones I got from Tiny Prints (which some of you readers will get in the mail very soon)!

My Shutterfly cards came in the orange box they promised me in the confirmation email...You can also see in that email screen capture that the cards would normally be $2.09 a piece. That's $104.50 worth of free cards, my friends. I only had to pay $8.61 in shipping charges for all that Christmas-y goodness.

Here's the real-life version. How cute is this box?And I love a well-packaged, organized boxing system and it looks like Shutterfly has one!
And for the best part, here's our free card! I chose the Glitter layout. My only surprise it that I thought the card would have REAL glitter on it, but it's just printed. Still very cute, though!

Snow + No Heat + Flat Tire = Interesting Weekend

Well, now. It's been quite an action-packed few days around these parts. I'll start with the good.

Friday night, Seth and I made plans to dine at the fabulous Peak City Grill in downtown Apex to celebrate our 5th Wedding Anniversary. It was SO good. It was my third trip there and Seth's second. I had the Chilean Sea Bass because it was so good the first time I had it. It did not disappoint. Seth had a delicious steak with bacon mashed potatoes.

What we didn't know about this particular night (that almost derailed our dinner plans) was that it was also "Christmas on Salem" in downtown Apex. Roads were closed, parking was a nightmare and we ALMOST nixed our PCG reservations for something else, but instead we parked and walked a little ways and had our wonderful meal anyway.

Saturday was to be a day of Christmas and personal errand running. For some odd reason, we both were awake at 7:30am. Once stores were open we made runs to Kohls, Hallmark, Petsmart, and Harris Teeter. When we got back home, I squeezed in a nap before it was time to get ready to go to the Apex Christmas Parade - an annual tradition for us. When I woke up, though, it was SNOWING! A gorgeous, light snow on parade day! I thought it would be festive and fun, but it proved to be rather uncomfortable and we whimped out and left before it started. Just like last year when it was raining, we tried, but it just wasn't quite worth the discomfort and shivering puppy dog.

Instead, we all loaded into a warm car and went to Perkin's for our also-traditional post-parade breakfast for dinner. It was cold and the service was sub-par, but we got our breakfasts and we cleaned our plates while the dogs were at home warming back up.

Sunday, we went to church and lunch as usual. This particular Sunday afternoon was the Ladies' Christmas Tea which I'd never attended but want to this year. I went with my MIL. I was hoping it wouldn't be as awkward as I feared and it wasn't! Thankfully, there were some familiar faces from Bible Study there. It also helped that I included my last name on my name tag - that got me in the door with lots of folks who know my in-laws (and that was sort of my plan!). I had really nice time and the food and goodies were excellent! So much to chose from!

HOWEVER, when I arrived home, Seth was standing in the kitchen looking confused. It seemed that our downstairs heating unit had pooped out on us. It was blank and it didn't seem to be an issue with the control unit itself. Hmm. So, we turned on our gas logs just in case the heat was actually broken downstairs.

I proceeded to drag (with the help of my hubby) all of my Christmas decorations out of the attic. I got one tree up - my pink and green tree - which came to be because we had an excess of ornament favors left over from our wedding. They were so pretty I hated to waste them so I started a pink and green tree and it's one of my favorite trees to put up. I will add pictures to the blog once I get my second tree up!

We have a second tree that I bought last year on sale. It had never been assembled so I got that one out and put that bad boy together. Both our trees are small, skinny, mini-trees and I've come to love them more than a "big" tree for their ease of decorating and their lack of a "waist." I'm cover slam up with artificial tree cuts and scratches and my arms are burning like crazy today, but I got my trees up and only have half of one to finish lighting before I can decorate it. And to tie this story to the heat issue, I'll say that all my hard work getting the tree up made me hot and I didn't notice the chill that had started to settle on our downstairs...

I won't bore you with all the gory details, but after some good detective work, Seth figured out that our control panel wasn't the culprit, but that our heat seemed to be broken for the downstairs zone. Oh well, we were warm upstairs so we went to bed. But this morning, OH THIS MORNING, it was SO cold downstairs. I'd worry about Three, but she spends the whole day balled up on our bed upstairs, I knew she'd be fine.

THEN. We took our PT Cruiser to work this morning. We heard a suspicious rumble as we were DRIVING ON I-40 and I knew we had a tire issue. We slow drove to a nearby gas station and my Superman of a husband put on the donut tire. Here, I actually have picture of this. Yes, I forget to take pictures of my beautiful Christmas tree, but when there's a flat tire I'm all over it.

Here's Seth preparing the jack for use.I saw three separate holes in the tire, this one looked like it might have been the main blow-out.

Or maybe it was this one. It's pretty bad, too.

This one looks like a subsequent blow-out, but who's counting?

And here we are with our sexy donut tire! We'll be getting cat calls left and right with this on the car!
It's definitely been a Monday around here. With a cold house and a flat tire, and then having to buy at least one new tire RIGHT HERE AT CHRISTMAS (we're taking donations - it's for a good cause), things just have a way of turning upside down on you when you're not looking. I'd say we're handling it well, though.

But I have to say, I HATE our PT Cruiser. Seth will tsk tsk me for saying that, but it's true. When I lost my job, we sold our Honda CR-V to save some money. I loved that car, and to add insult to injury (me losing my job), we sold it on MY BIRTHDAY. When we saw that me not having a car while home all day just wasn't going to work, we bought the PT Cruiser. So I really hate what it reminds me of. I hate it because it reminds me of having lost my job and I hate it because it makes me think of the person who I strongly feel had a hand in me losing my job and perhaps had a hand in making it difficult for me to get a new job. A jealous, classless person. But I also hate it because we've had to sink a lot of SURPRISE! money into it and I just cringe when that happens. To get rid of the car would mean getting rid of the last bit of that stain on my professional life.

OH WELL!

12.03.2010

December Third

Here we are 5 years later, still married, still having fun, still loving each other. 5 years flew by, but then again, it seems like forever ago on this day that I was getting ready to walk down the aisle. Primping and relaxing, waiting until the bells chimed 5:30 pm. It's been a great, fun, adventurous 5 years!

We planned a long weekend trip to Boston to celebrate, but our smarts got the better of us and we decided to cancel it (or perhaps POSTPONE) in the interest of saving money and putting it towards a more sensible use.

Here's a look back at what was going on 5 years ago today. Some photos are from a friend since we've not yet bought the digital images from our brilliant photographer. For the pro ones I've managed to scan in, I've given her due credit. (Love you, Dara!)

First there were pre-wedding preparations:

Bride? Check.Photo courtesy of Dara Blakeley Photography

Photo courtesy of Dara Blakeley Photography

Dress? Check.Photo courtesy of Dara Blakeley Photography

Church? Check.
Rings? Check.
And yeah, yeah, yeah, that groom guy was there somewhere, but who cares, right?

Then there was the wedding. It was December. It was cold. Did I mention there was sleet? So standing outside for pictures for what seemed like EVER was none-to-thrilling, but I lived.
And then we were married!
And then we had to go outside again.
But going outside meant going to our reception at the NC Art Museum so we managed.

And there were guests...
And food...
And drinks...
And CAKE...
And for a few minutes, we were famous...
And then there were traditions.

Like tossing...
And flinging (can you spot the garter?)...

And there was dancing, and bell ringing, and limos picking brides and grooms up to take them to their hotel, but I'll show you those pictures on another anniversary.

All that mattered on December 3, 2005 was this...I Love My Sethie!