Category Archives: Christmas decorating

Repurposed Vintage Christmas Tablecloth

As a new bride, I craved vintage.

Not the Avocado Green and Harvest Gold that was in every rental, that wasn’t old enough to be cool yet.

I started buying red-handled kitchen utensils, vintage tins and doilies when I could find them cheap and I had a few extra dollars in my pocket.

There was nothing in my life to feed my desire for tacky décor, except an occasional well-used Country Living magazine at the laundry mat that I would devour page by page with my poverty stricken eyes. There was no internet, blogging or Facebook.  There certainly wasn’t any Pinterest.  I rarely ran into anyone who had my same taste for the chippy and faded items from the past.

I just loved, loved, loved me some vintage. 

I saved my husband’s pocket change until I had enough to justify pushing the stroller a few blocks to the thrift store.  This was back in the day when $1 or $2 could buy several items.  Remembering those prices makes my heart pound. When my husband had a dollar for a can of pop, he would use two quarters and leave the two quarters in his pocket for me.  It was the only time in our marriage where I supported him drinking something that wasn’t good for him.

Christmas Party 064

I was thrilled to find this beautiful tablecloth in about 1989 and used it for years on my kitchen dinette table.  My centerpiece was usually a vintage glass pedestal bowl with fresh pine branches and red glass Christmas balls.  I loved  creating Christmas magic in my home without spending a lot of money.

The linen was only retired to the closet when we bought a real oak dining room table that was too big.  It hung around for years, because I couldn’t part with it.  It gathered more yellow stains.  After a few years of dreaming about it, I got brave.

I pulled out my trusty Ginghers, not the pair my husband used to cut carpeting,  the pair he bought to replace the pair he used to cut carpeting, and began dissecting before I lost my courage.

Christmas Cookies 044

Two panels were cut from the length of the tablecloth, using the printed pattern in the center  as a guide.  When I want to “get ‘er dun” I’m not all picky about perfect measurements. For the bottom, I simply folded the seam up to the bottom of the red border, ironed, and sewed. The valance 12 inches from top to bottom. I left 1/2 inch along the top to make a little ruffle and about 1 inch casing for the tension rod to fit through. 

If you don’t sew, you need to know about Stitch Witchery. It’s iron-on fusible webbing you can use to hem things. It may make the fabric a bit stiff, so you want to use it with heavier items. I didn’t use it here, but I’ve used it even when hemming clothes.

A memory of Christmas Past became a memory of Christmas Present.  I look forward to hanging my valance for all the Christmases Yet to Come.

Wise Men Still Seek Him

Setting up the nativity sets at Christmas always bothers me, just a little. Most come with three Wise Men, two little sheep and one shepherd leaning on a staff. (didja’ sing that to yourself?)

I want lotsa’ shepherds and lotsa’ sheep because they were part of that special party in the barn.

Luke 2
15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely[d] known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

The Wise Men weren’t there yet. They don’t arrive until the Lord Jesus is a toddler.  We really don’t know if there were three of them, if they were traveling by camel or donkey or walking. 

We  know they were following The Star.

We know they were willing to leave their homes and seek after the One sent from Heaven.

We don’t  know if they truly believed in the Savior and Messiah as they set out on their journey, or if they came to faith along the way as they read Old Testament prophecies and marveled over the words of the Lord. 

We know when they saw Him, the Christ child, they worshipped.

Matthew 2
11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.

This year, instead of staging all the Wise Men far away from the manger as if they were still traveling, I  staged my own encouragement.

foyer 006

This is in my refinished foyer from the beginning of December.

Notice the Wise Men on the bottom shelf are are crouching towards am empty spot?

Wise Men Still Seek Him

I just needed to frame the message these men preach with their diligence in seeking after the Savior.

Lamentations 3:25
The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him.

Luke 11:10
For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds.

Psalm 22:26
Those who seek Him will praise the LORD. Let your heart live forever!

May we all be like the Wise Men in 2013 ~

Seek Him…

Find Him…

Praise and Worship Him

What Do YOU Hang On Your Christmas Tree?

A Christmas tree has many cherished functions during the holiday season.

The lights add a shimmering glow to the room,
matching the expectation of the celebration ahead.
Presents chosen with love
are nestled beneath the pine scented boughs.
Ornaments rich with memories hang from the branches,
marking Christmases past, but leaving room for future memories.

The scent, the sights, the feel of a Christmas tree are deeply
etched into our hearts and minds.

My kids added one more cherished function for our Christmas tree.

They simply continue to amaze me.

Remind me not to ask the kids to
"quickly pick up the living room"
ever
during the season of the tree.

Remind me not to ask when I’m not in the room and don’t specify
how
to pick up the living room.

Christmas Decorating 047

My Amazing Grace decided each branch worked like a shelf.

They picked up the living room very quickly.

I walked in, rolled my eyes,
grunted in a motherly fashion,
and demanded someone take a picture
while I went down to do yet another load of laundry.

Not sure what happened when I was in the basement,

Christmas Decorating 050

but the pictures on the camera
told a story their lips didn’t.

Christmas Decorating 051

But, it musta’ been funny.

See what a Mom misses when she’s always working?

Many years ago, some dear friends of ours shared their
convictions on why they don’t have a Christmas tree.

It was a pleasant conversation,
but all I remember is something about
German soldiers hanging guts on a tree.

Maybe I wasn’t listening very well.

We made our decision to have a tree
based on American  tradition,
not our faith.

We understand the tree really doesn’t have anything to do
with the Lord Jesus.

But we found a way to let our
love for the American traditions
and our love for the Lord Jesus
live together in our home.

Our dear friends don’t know what they’re missing.

Not only are they missing that wonderful pine scent,
their kids can’t clean up the living room in less than 5 minutes.

**********

(Reblogged from Christmas 2011.  The kids haven’t done anything exciting this year.)

Sledding Without Snow

My hubby is wary when I bring something unusual home from the thrift store or a garage sale.

Rightfully so.  Either he has to look at the thing for the rest of his life, fix it or make it into something. Remember all the gray fence boards he  helped me bring home last summer?  “Really?  You WANT all his old fence?"

Yep, really, I wanted it and used it.  Now he loves the area I created and named The Redneck Grill.  He just had his initial moments of doubt.

sled 010

He had those same doubts when I walked through the door with this.

In our neighborhood, it snows very little.  We can drive up the mountain and be around tons of snow, if we wanted to.  We rarely want to.  Scott and I were stormed in and shoveling out most of our lives while living in the upper Midwest.

sled 008

But this was a beauty I couldn’t pass up at Value Village. Don’t those wings just convince you this sled could make you fly?

sled 001

That’s why they named it the Flexible Flyer.  This model is the Airline Patrol for kids who dream of being a Pilot when they grow up.

“So, what are you going to do with it?” he asked with the caution of a man whose Honey-Do list that is always longer than the list of what a kid wants for Christmas.

I assured him I was going to use it to display food on the buffet line for the Christmas party we were hosting.  He was relieved.

An hour later I had a burst of genius. “Scott, there was a longer sled there, too, but I passed it up because I didn’t know what to do with it.  Now, I know what I want to do with it.  It would make a perfect coffee table!” 

A few hours later, we drove back to Value Village.

It.

was.

gone.

I was so disappointed.  Why can’t I be genius when I’m standing in front of an item, not after it’s sold to somebody whose light bulb went off in the store?

The gorgeous Flexible Flyer had to become a coffee table, and my old sled that usually decorates the front porch would go on the buffet table.

Various crates were tried underneath, they were too big. I wandered around the house, in the garage and the sheds looking for inspiration.  I crawled up in the attic, but only succeeded in hitting my head.

I had to break the news to hubby. I needed help.  He was The Help. After all, it was Saturday and he had the whole day off to be at my disposal.  At least that’s the way I looked at the situation.

We debated back and forth on how to make the vision come true. The frame couldn’t take away from the beauty of the sled.  It had to be easy to build.  It had to be cheap. It had to be sturdy enough to put coffee cups on without spilling. I hate wasting good coffee.

Christmas Activities 021

This is what we came up with.  Together.  Because neither of us is right all the time, but mostly I am.

Just kidding!

He’s just learned that when I have a project vision, I’m not asking him to change the vision, but help it come true. I’ve learned that my ideas aren’t always practical or possible, so we have to talk until we can breathe life into the vision.

I loved his little details of covering the screws with those little brown half-circle thingies and the stabilizing bar across the middle. I would have been satisfied with less, but he went the extra mile.

Christmas Activities 024Christmas Activities 026

The moment of celebration!

As we sat and admired the coffee table,  I realized it was good for me to make  ask him to do this.  He  loves working with wood and it’s a great stress reliever.  He has a lot of stress in his life.  I always worry about his heart health, but you know men and doctors.  The only men that go to check-ups willingly are the docs themselves.

Anyhoo –

He relaxed.

He laughed.

He enjoyed.

He’s pleased with the work of his hands and the ability to make my vision come true.

sled 006

The sled coffee table is a success in so many ways.

I think the more Honey-Do Projects I come up with, the longer my Honey will be around to do them.

During an IM exchange a few days later, he said,

“i really love building and creating:  sort of my art work
and…my dad was a great carpenter

can’t wait for the next project… bring it on”

Guess I’ll be taking more trips to the thrift store looking for unusual items.

 

Christmas is Coming!

But, you already know that.

Kinda’ hard to live in America and not realize the biggest holiday of the year is

right.

around.

the.

corner.

It’s not panic time, it’s the time where we’re still convinced we can pull together a Martha Stewart holiday.  We have big plans for gifts, meals, decorations and homemade stuff. 

Lotsa’ homemade stuff.

Closer to the deadline, we’ll get real about what actually is going to happen, and plans will be adjusted and downsized.

For now, we’re just bringing the sights, sounds and smells of the holiday season into our home.

science 064

Since we didn’t host Thanksgiving for the first time in a score, that’s 20 years in case you haven’t figured that out from Abraham Lincoln’s famous speech, we put our tree up early.

Christmas 112

Then, our house looked like this for days.

Christmas threw up in my house.

I’m not original, I steal that from Nan at Mom’s the Word every year, ‘cuz she’s way funnier than I am.  It’s my new holiday tradition, to steal this phrase from her.

 

stuff 001

Last night, I started stuffing the stocking sacks.  Try saying that ten times really, really fast.  During back to school sales and after Halloween candy sales, I shop for the stockings.  Last year I started very early, since I had 14 stockings to stuff.  This year, six will be a piece of cake. 

The bags are labeled  and put in a box in the closet or attic, and as I buy, I begin tossing goodies in. It gives a good visual of my stocking-filling progress. My goal is to have them almost done when I start the big Christmas shopping.  It saves money and frustration by getting the stockings out of the way in the fall. 

Boxes are being stockpiled in the garage for perfect wrapping.  Big boxes, small boxes, gotta’ disguise all presents boxes.

Years ago, I crowned myself  The Queen of Peekless Packages. If you have overly curious children, ya’ might wanna’ go check out my tricks.

We’re enjoying the CHRISTmas tree lights, our vintage CHRISTmas nativity sets and the family collection of CHRISTMAS books.

There’s a lot of decorating,  shopping, baking, and hosting to do in the next few weeks, but as the pace increases, we want to keep the CHRISTmas mood.

Because, Someone knows when we’re naughty and when we’re nice, and it’s not Santa.

Unique Use for a Christmas Tree

A Christmas tree has many cherished functions during the holiday season.
The lights add a shimmering glow to the room,
matching the expectation of the celebration ahead.
Underneath the tree, presents chosen with love are nestled beneath
the pine scented boughs.
Ornaments rich with memories hang from the branches,
marking Christmases past,
but leaving room for future memories.
The scent, the sights, the feel of a Christmas tree
are deeply etched into our hearts and minds.
My kids added one more cherished function for our Christmas
tree this week.
They simply continue to amaze me.
Remind me to not ask the kids to
“quickly pick up the living room”
ever
during the season of the tree.
Remind me not to ask
when I’m not in the room and
don’t specify
how
to pick up the living room.
My Amazing Grace decided each branch worked like a shelf.
The living room was very quickly picked up.
I walked in,  rolled my eyes,
grunted in a motherly fashion,
and demanded someone get a picture
while I went down to do yet another load of laundry.
Not sure what happened when I was in the basement,
but the pictures on the camera
told a story their lips didn’t.
But, it musta’ been funny.
See what a Mom misses when she’s always working?
Many years ago, some dear friends of mine shared their
convictions on why they don’t have a Christmas tree.
It was a pleasant conversation,
but all I remember is something about
 German soldiers hanging guts on a tree.
Maybe I wasn’t listening very well.
Anyway, we made our decision to have a tree
based on American tradition,
not our faith. 
We understand the tree really doesn’t have anything to do
with the Lord Jesus.
But we found a way to let our
love for the American traditions
and our love for the Lord Jesus
live together in our home.
And our dear friends don’t know what they’re missing.
Not only are they missing that wonderful pine scent,
their kids can’t clean up the living room in less than 5 minutes.

Lights, Camera, Decorating Action

I won’t be putting on the magazine Christmas this year.
It just ain’t gunna’ happen.
But, I plan on enjoying the family,
eating a few sweets that will for sure give me a tummy ache,
sipping a LOT of coffee,
and enjoying my
very, very, very full house.
We’ll be blessed with a lot of family celebrating with us.
One of my main objectives when decorating
is to create atmosphere.
What better way than to use lights?
These vintage bells were an after-Christmas find this year
and look great along the  top of my buffet.
I was thrilled to discover they blink,
right, left, together, right, left, together, right, left, together.
Do you sit and stare like a cat at lights sometimes?
Yea, me, too.
They’re mesmerizing.

In a corner vintage candleabra and plastic greenery.
Ya’ know the plastic is so tacky, it’s cute.
Kinda’ like my elves.
It’s washable, not fragile, and can be squished in a box.
I know you’re all gunna’ be looking for ugly plastic garland
at the thrift stores tomorrow.

At night, it lights up the corner of the dining room.
Remember my decorating has to be fast and furious this year?
Lights set the atmosphere quickly and beauifully.
A bubble-light night light makes even the hallway festive.
Another vintage find last year, a star for the top of the tree.
Y’all think you know where I’m going with the lights.
Yea, yer’ right.
John 8:12
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying,
“I am the
light of the world.
He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness,
but have the light of life.”
But, instead of just saying to yerself,
“ya’, real original anaology, Momma Mindy,”
I want you to meditate on this for a moment.
Meditate comes from the same root as ruminate.
Ruminate is to chew the cud, like a cow.
If you think about a cow
chewing and
chewing and
chewing and
chewing and
chewing,
you’d agree that we really don’t
meditate on the Scriptures.
We’re too busy.
We’re too preoccupied.
Two or three chews, gulp it down, and we’re done.
We wouldn’t make very good cows, would we?
So as you chew on this thought,
of Jesus being the light of the world,
think more personally.
How can He be the light of your world?
When/why do you need light?
~when you’re afraid
~ to see where you’re going
~ to work
~ to read
~to guide someone through the dark
~to look for something that’s lost
These are a few of the many instances during the day when you need to
turn on a lamp, use a flashlight, or turn the lights on your car.
These are almost the same instances when you need the
light of Jesus.
Make turning to Him,
through His Word and prayer,
as natural as it is to flip a light switch.
Remember that atmosphere we were talkin’ about earlier?
That’s what we want all year ’round.
A home filled with
light.