Thursday, December 30, 2010

I’m in Hibernation

I have a confession to make.

I went out the other night after work and bought myself a Christmas present. 


Something I really wanted and didn’t get from Santa.

I had some Kohl’s cash (they love to give $10 for every $50 spent just so you have a reason to go back and spend even more money the following week) so I decided to be selfish and use it on myself.

I went shopping armed with my funny money and came home with this…..

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A pair of flannel PJ’s!

It’s funny, but I always buy flannel pj’s for my husband and kids for Christmas, and I have yet to get a pair for myself.  It’s been years since I got new jammies, and even then they weren’t flannel.

So I spent the last 2 nights slipping into my nice soft and warm pj’s as soon as I got home from work and curling up on the couch with this…


My favorite Christmas gift.

A Kindle reader.

First book I downloaded into it?


Stephen King’s  “Under the Dome”

No contest, as Mike and I are both avid Stephen King fans.  And we’re a bit behind on our reading. 

Under the Dome is last year’s book. Somehow we never added it to our collection. (we have an entire bookcase filled with our Stephen King books, some in duplicate because we both had our own copies when we met)


I’m in heaven. 

Can’t remember the last time I read a book.

And when I’m done? (if you look at the bottom bar on the screen, it shows I’m 35% of the way through the book already.


Why, it takes only seconds to download another book and keep reading.  There’s a new Stephen King book out, just published this fall,  “Full Dark, No Stars”, a collection of 4 very scary short stories. 

You may not hear from me again before winter is over.  I do believe I’m officially in hibernation mode.

Yes, this must be heaven!



Monday, December 27, 2010

Curbshopped Christmas Trees

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends.  We really enjoyed our holiday this year, it was amazingly calm and I was totally ahead of the game!

Skipping the all nighter and actually getting some sleep certainly made all the difference in the world.

Did I ever tell you about my curbshopped Christmas trees?

A couple of years ago I was at my curbshopping peak.  There was nothing I wouldn’t pick up if I thought it might be useful.

Including Christmas trees.

I’ve cut back a lot on curbshopping this year, mostly because I HAVE NO MORE ROOM!  Purging has become my theme of late, as most of you have noticed. 

And I’m also sticking to my use it or lose it rule.

Well, I had 3 curbshopped Christmas trees in my stash.

I’ve always had a live Christmas tree,  this year I decided to use my found trees instead.

The biggest of the lot was a fold down tree, in 3 sections. 

It must have been a pre-lit tree, as there were multi colored lights wound tightly around every branch.  They didn’t work.

But this was really full and thick. 

So I cut the lights off.




It was actually very nice!

Back up to earlier this month.  I was cleaning out the basement and found my old wedding gown, circa 1980.


It had never been cleaned and the lace along the edges was dirty.   It needed to go, after all, that marriage was long over.  Then I stopped,  and wondered if I could use it for a tree skirt.  I’ve seen that done (can’t remember where) and thought it was pretty.

So I threw it in the washer after spraying the dirty parts with Shout (what the heck, can’t get any worse than it is already, right?)

And then the dryer…..

And it came out great! Edges were clean and white.

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I simply unzipped the bodice and inserted the tree in the opening, zipped it back up and tucked the bodice and arms under the skirt.

I now had a pretty tree skirt!

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My pal Deb at Proper Prim reminded me I still had these blown glass crystals off a chandelier I had found.  The chandelier was ugly, but I kept the glass.

I gave Deb a few when she was visiting.  She used them on her tree. 

Aha!  I decided to copy and pulled out the bucket and washed them all off.





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There were so many and they looked so sparkly on the tree, I decided to go with a glass, silver and white theme right then and there.

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Somehow a little bit of red snuck in.

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My gold star tree topper didn’t fit the theme.  It needed a bit of spray-paint to make it work.

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Of course, I could not have a Christmas tree without my beloved Grinch on it.  It doesn’t matter what color he is, Grinch is a must be.

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Another of my curb found trees was a little 6 foot tree, still in the original box. 


This tree got set up on the sun porch, where it would be visible from the street and everyone coming in the house would pass by it too.

I call this the kid’s tree, as the handmade ornaments made by the kids all found a home here amongst all my other favorites that didn’t fit in with the white theme in the house.

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This tree was surrounded with my vintage toy collection.  Many of them curb finds, garage sale finds, and thrift store purchases.

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Some curb found ice skates,

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This baby’s wooden sled was a curb find too.  One of my dogs chewed on it this year.  See the fresh wood edge in the front?

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Gotta have a Grinch to go with the tree!

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The third curbed tree was a primitive style skinny down-swept tree with a bark trunk.  The built in stand was loose and the tree wouldn’t stay up, so I nailed a square of plywood to the bottom.

This one got a simple garland of berries wrapped around it.

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Please ignore the extension cords showing.  They are powering my lighted village collection on the mantel.

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I’m going to keep my trees and decorations up until the 2nd.  After all, I had such a late start getting decorated I want to have a little bit of time to enjoy them before embarking on the dreaded task of putting everything away.

How about you?  Do you take yours down immediately, or wait a while?


I’m linking up to 2 of my favorite parties today,

Gail’s Catch as Catch  Can @ My Repurposed Life


And Linda’s Junkin Finds Friday @ A la Carte


Check them out!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Curse of a Diehard Procrastinator

I got a phone call the other day.

“Where have you been?” asks my good friend Gail of ‘My Repurposed Life’.

“Huh, been?   Nowhere”, says I, guiltily thinking about my lack of blogging lately.

After we hung up I got to thinking.  I HAVE sort of disappeared from blogland, haven’t I? 

Really I’m just trying to hold it all together and get ready for the rapidly approaching holiday.

I want to enjoy it this time.


And why would I say that? 

I mean, everyone enjoys the holidays, don’t they?

I say this because I’ve had way too many Christmas eve’s spent out shopping at the very last minute for stocking stuffers and treats, frantically grabbing something, anything, (even a roll of toilet paper will suffice at this point), to stuff into those stockings as the last call is announced over the PA system to “please bring your purchases to the check out as the store is now closed and will reopen on the 26th, have a safe and Happy Holiday”. 

And there have been more times than I want to think about that my tree decorations are being tossed on the tree Christmas Eve, just before settling in for a long night of wrapping presents, only to finish at the crack of dawn right around the time I was supposed to be waking up.

Oh, and let’s not forget how grumpy I can get for lack of sleep.  Or the Christmas I fell asleep DURING a conversation with my Mother-in -law and Sister-in-law. 

At my house. 

Talk about being a party killer…..

Or how difficult it is to get anywhere on time, because before I can leave the house I have to wrap the presents that need to go with us.

Yep, the curse of being a die hard procrastinator really becomes a problem during the holidays.

I come by it honestly, this trait.  My mom has never been one to plan ahead either.   For that matter, of my 5 sisters, I would say 3 of them rival me in that department.  Our family parties always start at least an hour later than the stated time, mostly because we are all stopping at the store on the way over.

It’s tradition in our family for the hostess to have a designated room for last minute gift wrapping.  Whoever hosts a family get together like a birthday party must supply multiple pairs of scissors, tape, sometimes even the wrapping paper.  The comic section of the Sunday paper will do in a pinch.

We usually pick up more than one card when we stop on the way, just in case someone else needs it.

And they always do.

All my life I thought this was normal.

Doesn’t everyone put the last piece of tape on a gift seconds before it’s time to open it? 


Apparently I’ve been misguided all these years.  Ever since discovering blogland I’ve been shocked and amazed that people actually plan ahead for the Christmas holidays.  From as early as November there have been blog posts of gifts to make, wreaths to decorate, even Christmas trees put up and decorated before Thanksgiving Day. 

Silly people, I think to myself.  Don’t they know it’s too early to even think of the holidays?

Then comes December 1st, and Christmas decor is the theme of every blog and linky party I visit.

“Really?”  It seems way too soon.

I then happily go about my everyday business, with my procrastinators’ blinders securely in place. 

Confident that time is on my side.

Foolishly confident.

I actually got the tree out and started setting it up on the 10th feeling very smug  because I was so so far ahead of schedule.  It sat for days unadorned.  Plenty of time for that.002-5

Oh, the hand-made gifts I had planned to make for everyone!  I’ve gotten a million ideas from my fellow bloggers, and intend to make use of a bunch of them this Christmas.

Then it’s the 18th, and I suddenly realize that this is the last Saturday before Christmas, the very last weekend to get this stuff done. 

Oh boy, why didn’t I take some vacation time this week?  Silly me, I plan to work my normal schedule right through Christmas eve.  I don’t want to burn my vacation time up.

So I pull all the decorations out, and vow to have the house decorated and gifts made by the end of the day Saturday. 


Come Sunday morning, there’re still boxes of decorations in the middle of the room waiting to be either used or put away.  I still think I will use them all at that point.


But I’ve given up on the idea of making gifts.

Because this is the day my shopping must be finished.

6 days left until Christmas, and I’m not even close to being done with my shopping.

I have my list in hand and off I go.  By this time it’s late afternoon.

I’m home by 10, feeling much better.  Then I realize I forgot a few things.  So Monday after work I stop at the mall to get them.  10 pm again.  Past my bedtime.

I still need to start wrapping.

Sleep?  or Wrap?  That’s the big question.

Panic starts to set in. 

Time is playing a joke on me.

It’s speeding up the clock.

The days have started to go by in a blink of an eye.

“Plenty of time left”, whispers the procrastinator in me.

“There’s days and days left before you need to have this done.  And don’t forget, you still have your secret weapon to fall back on.“

Ahh, yesss, the secret weapon  every procrastinator relies on in a pinch.  Also known as the all-nighter.

It’s like gaining a whole extra day.

We learn it early. we procrastinators. 

Got a project due at school?  No problem, I’ve still got all night to finish it.

The hours normal people spend sleeping are bonus hours for us.  Found time, as it were.

There’s a small price to pay afterwards, called exhaustion, but sleep can be caught up on another day.  It’s all about getting it done at the last possible minute.

I use this extra time often, way too often, especially at Christmas.

And now that I’ve reached the ripe age of 50, I’m not so good at recovering from it anymore.

But not this year I simply refuse to fall into that trap.  I stubbornly decide to get my wrapping done now.  I’m not going to wait until Christmas eve this time. 

No way.

So I stay up a little later and wrap, and then the next night I finish the tags and bows.


Wow, I’m doing good!

It’s only Wednesday and I’m wrapped! 

What a great feeling.  I’ve beat the curse this year.


So here we are, Thursday morning and the cleaning fairy (aka Jackie, the cleaning lady) will be here soon to magically make my house look good just in time for Christmas. 

And I’m blogging instead of picking up all the wrapping paper and stuff strewn all over the dining room table.


Procrastinating again.

Because that, my friends, is what I do. ;)

It’s a curse.

Be very thankful you’re not like me! 


Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Attention Span of a Flea

Seriously, a flea probably has a longer attention span than I do these days.  I’ve been all over the place with my projects lately.  Seems I just don’t know what I want to accomplish first!  I mean, I really want to keep moving on my laundry room makeover, but yet all the Christmassy stuff is getting in my way.

So I do a little Christmas decorating, then I work on some of the laundry room stuff, then I start cleaning out the rest of the basement, then off to Christmas shop.

My tree sat in the middle of the living room for 4 days.


I finally got it all fluffed and situated.

Then it sat for a few more days, waiting for lights.  I finally got them on last night. 


Wonder how long it will sit waiting for ornaments?  Will this be another of those years I throw the ornaments up on Christmas Eve? ( oh yes, I have done that before)

I just don’t seem to know where to start or stop.

So I have nothing actually done, just a lot of stuff in progress.

I sit down to write a blog post, and I can’t finish!  Why?  Because I have nothing finished to write about!  You should see my drafts folder, it’s full of incomplete posts.  Kind of like my house.

How about you?  Are you focused?

What’s your secret?

I’m just going to show you some of the stuff I worked on this week.  Not finished, of course.

Repainted the laundry room wall white behind the washer/dryer


Turned  this shelf unit around so the back is now facing the laundry room (After everything on it was transferred to the new storage room.)


Then I primed and painted the back of the shelf units (there are 2 now side by side facing the workbench area).


Made some shelves from old boards, trim, and side rails from beds I had in my stash.


Then added some shelf brackets to hold some accessories such as my collection of antique and toy irons.  (not done yet, still trying to figure out what I want on them, and the bottom platform isn’t done either)


This is a before shot of this same area back in October before I started this project;


Cut some boughs from the huge evergreens in the yard.


Dug out some metal rings salvaged from an old wine barrel.


And a spool of fishing line.


Wrapped the boughs around the ring with the fishing line.


Made 3 of these wreaths that way.  They still need bows.

I have 2 more big rings, but they were outside when the snowstorm hit last week.  Now I can’t find them!


Threw one up on the skis leaning against the tree by the driveway.


Added a garage sale metal bow to the white sled…


Got some light colored burlap and started the curtains for the laundry room.


Hung the new curtains….


Decided to paint these huge popcorn tins from many Christmas’ ago.


With this hammered silver paint from my paint stash.


So far so good.


Then I decided to paint a chalkboard square on each for labeling.  Only I couldn’t find my painter’s tape.

I improvised with duct tape.

Word to the wise----DON’T!


That was a really dumb move!


See?  Like a flea, hopping every which way.

Only 9 more days ‘til Christmas,  must focus! 

But on what?????




I’m linking up to Gail’s Catch as Catch Can party @ My Repurposed Life

Catch As Catch Can