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Taking Family Photos to Send Out

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I am the absolute worst in the world at sending out Christmas cards. My daughter, The Southern Belle, and my mom make me ashamed every year that they can get this done and I cannot. I made the decision that this year I am sending out family cards in January. They go out this week. I need to let those that I love know that I am thinking of them, even if December is too nutty for me to even think of sitting down to write out cards. I have written a letter to send and while we were at the beach I forced convinced my family to go out on the jetty so that we could take pictures that I made a collage out of. I got the idea from this blog. I took one of my chalkboards and had each group write one word on the chalkboard to represent them. I love the results. My photography skills are improving a little.
Here is the one going out:
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This was created using Pic Stitch
I hope you enjoy the out takes too. It really took about ten shots per group to get the shot I wanted. Full disclosure: The Southern Belle deleted most of her out takes.


I used a variety of photography apps to create the collage I plan to send out. Here are some of the attempts along with the iPad app I used.
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this is a program called Collage
I loved this one, but could not get Miss Maeby in the shot.
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This one was from Frame Artist.
Remember that I am cheap so the apps are all the free or 99 cent variety. There were things I liked and did not like about each of them, but my guess is that most of my problems was due to operator error.
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Happy 2013 from my family. More

Turning an Old Door and Table Into a Buffet

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Sweet Amanda loves old, weathered, pieces with story as much as I do! When I bought The Southern Belle’s dresser I negotiated two other pieces of furniture for the asking price of the dresser. I got the owner to throw in a night stand that will be going to a Habitat for Humanity home this spring and an old white piece that I wasn’t sure what the original purpose had been but I guessed that it had been in a church at some point. I know that Sweet Amanda will appreciate me getting the piece free, because she is a junker like me! A little research led me to believe the white table was a Bible table. It was white, had peeling paint, crackle on the drawer, and was a little taller than an end table. I knew the table would be the perfect gift for Sweet Amanda with some creativity. I stared at the Bible table for at least three weeks then it hit me… This would make a great buffet for a small apartment. I started looking for parts. I knew I wanted the back to be an old door and I wanted a shelf on it. I cannot tell you why, that is just how I saw it in my head.
It took several weeks but the absolute perfect door was located in Coldspring for $10.00. It had the right amount of chipped paint, but was solid enough to hold up over time. Hubby cut off a small bit of the door for a shelf and to make the horizontal part of the door hit at the right spot on the table so that they could be screwed together. After adding the shelf it still looked incomplete. I knew I wasn’t finished with the piece but after several options that I did not like I almost gave up and started looking for something else to give Sweet Amanda.   A trip to the Coldspring Senior Center Resale fixed my problem. A round, old plaster mirror was the perfect solution. a link to the senior center website here.
I got this amazing mirror for $10.00. It was the deal of the day.

Here it is all put together. I am crazy about this piece. It still needs a coat of polyacrylic to seal the potentially lead paint in place, but other than that, it is finished.

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Here it is in The Lovebird’s Apartment

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and… here are the Lovebirds

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Christmas at the Beach

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This year we did something that we had never done for the holidays. We rented a beach house and spent our time with the kids in the Galveston area. The house was beautiful. We rented a house on the Bolivar Penisula across from Galveston, Texas. A short ferry ride from Galveston. The dolphins were out and we got to see them every time we took the ferry.
The Bolivar Ferry
We could not have asked for better weather. We wore short sleeves during the day and light jackets at night. We had a fire on the beach at night and went for long walks. We played at Pleasure Pier and ate some great food.
The Lighthouse

Sunset from the porch.

Sunrise on the Jetty

The Strand in Galveston

The Kids on the Pleasure Pier Roller Coaster

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My buddy the social planner came down to the beach house to see us and the kids. She took the picture of the family for me. Thanks Tanis!
Happy New Year
The best thing about the trip was having our family there with us. Life is good.

Decorating the Mantle for Christmas Without Breaking the Bank

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I decided that this year I would use what I have on hand to decorate the mantle. Over the year I had purchased a dictionary at a resale shop for 50 cents, I picked up a rough bulletin board when my neighbor moved out, I purchased a torn up hymnal at a garage sale for 25 cents, and I had a couple of ginger jar vases left from my son’s wedding.
I picked up two yards of drapery fabric at Hancock’s Fabric on super clearance for $2.35.
The first step was to draw off a large S on cardboard. The S was covered with pages from the hymnal. I used regular old school glue thinned down to a watery mixture. I did the same with dictionary pages wrapped on the ginger jars.

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Buy old dictionaries when you find them. They are one of my favorite decorating items.

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The paper flowers were made by layering some concentric circles of dictionary pages in top of each other then stitching through the stack with jute twine. I made slits in the layers then wrinkled each layer.

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I covered the old bulletin board with fabric. Super easy. I used a staple gun.

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The large S was attached to the fabric with hot glue.
The flowers were attached to some salvaged glass jars I painted teal.
I took pages of the hymnal to create a JOY banner.
The jars were filled with spray painted branches from the yard and two packages of Dollar Tree ornaments. Everything else came from the house,
All in all I am proud of my mantle. Less than $10.00 spent and totally unique.

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Making Mocha Coffee Mix for Christmas

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For Christmas this year I decided to make mocha coffee mix and chocolate covered spoons for my staff.
It was easy, and hand made. To me, hand made Christmas presents are the best way to show someone that they are worth your most valuable commodity, time.
I found the coffee cups at Dollar Tree. I bought all that they had. Yes, I am that greedy.

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I searched online for a recipe that sounded like it had the ingredients I like in mocha coffee.

INGREDIENTS:
1 1/4 cups instant coffee granules
7 cups dry milk powder
5 3/4 cups powdered chocolate drink mix
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 3/4 cups powdered non-dairy creamer
DIRECTIONS:
1. In a large bowl, mix together instant coffee, milk powder, chocolate drink mix, confectioners’ sugar and powdered creamer. Store in an airtight container.
2. To serve, place 4 tablespoons of mixture into a coffee mug. Stir in 1 cup boiling water.

I doubled this recipe for my staff.

I also dipped spoons in melted chocolate and sprinkled peppermint and colored dots on the chocolate while they were drying.

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The finished product.

Christmas in a Small Town

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I love small town events. I especially love our weekend home’s local small town events. Coldspring is the county seat of San Jacinto county, but has less than 1000 residents. This year they all showed up for the yearly Christmas Parade. We had a really good time. It is great to go to a parade in short sleeves.

San Jacinto County Courthouse at Christmas

All lit up for Christmas and full of people.

All lit up for Christmas and full of people.

What parade would be complete without ladies in formal dresses riding mules?
Building in Parade

 

Decorating Star Hill

 

I found these stockings at a 99 cent store then added the names with a glitter pen.  It is fun to see the kiddos' stockings up on the curtains.

I found these stockings at a 99 cent store then added the names with a glitter pen. It is fun to see the kiddos’ stockings up on the curtains.

Dollar Store Christmas Stockings

I bought an old Scrabble game at a garage sale for 50 cents!  I am going to use the trays for messages.

I bought an old Scrabble game at a garage sale for 50 cents! I am going to use the trays for messages.

Joy

Decorating for Christmas

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This year the Carolina kids are coming to Texas for Christmas.  That definitely puts me in a Christmas spirit.
I have been house bound and slow moving with an eye infection but I have managed to get the inside mostly decorated. This year I decided that I would use turquoise, teal, aqua colors and silver.  The colors make the house seem more calm.  I really need that right now.
Even though the kids are coming for Christmas, we are not spending the holiday at home, so I wanted everything I got out to be easy to put away.
I made a lot of the decorations this fall which was fun. I reused ginger jar vases from the lovebirds’ wedding,  I used pages from a garage sale find- an old torn up hymnal for several items.

It was my goal to reuse as much as possible from around the house. Tarnished silver candlesticks from the yellow and grey bedroom, burlap from the wedding, bulletin board from the garage, chalkboards will be used in The Charlotte Wedding.

Enjoy.
The Den

 The tree from upstairs.

 I am 5’9″.  Here is the tree with me taking the picture looking up at it from a standing position.

Every year since 1983 my husband has purchased a Precious Moments ornament for me.  He even found a 1982 our first Christmas together ornament so that I have one from every year we have been married.  I love getting them out and putting them on the tree.

 I bought $20.00 worth of silver and teal ornaments this year.  I have spread them through all the rooms.

 The mantle is mostly completed.  The S is cardboard, with sheets of music glued on with watered down glue.  The canvas is a salvaged bulletin board wrapped with fabric. 

The ginger jar vase is covered with dictionary pages adhered with watered down glue.

 

 Not through with the mantle because I want to add garland to the letters.  When I attached them to the twine the first time I got them backwards.

Each letter is stenciled on a page from the hymnal that has a joyful song.

The Farmhouse Table

 I already had everything on the table except the clear glass plates.  They were $1.00 each at Target.

 I have collected crystal globes for years.  They are so pretty on the rustic table.

I found these chargers in my buffet.  I don’t even remember having them, but they were perfect.

The Dining Room

 I loved using the chalkboards that will be used at the June wedding.

Wreaths

 I repurposed this wreath.  It used to have mauve poinsettias.  Remember mauve?

I even added a wreath to the mudroom bench.  I found this one at a resale shop for at dollar then ripped all the ugly off.  The silver ribbon looks great on it.

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