The good news is that life is so full, and so busy, and...well, so good these days, that I can't get everything fit everything I want to do into my day.
Today I am mailing my homemade Christmas cards. I realize that I am dreadfully late slightly behind the mailing curve on them, and the ridiculous thing is that, for the past two Christmas seasons, I have used the adorable Santa hat photos of my grands as the inspiration of our Christmas cards.
The photo shoot (when my son and his family were visiting!) was in November.
As I said, life is busy and good, and full of happy. Next year I plan to get on these sooner!
Just watch me.
Let them be little.
Oh, they are little for such a very, very...very short time. So precious. So innocent. So honest, and pure, and good.
Let's let them be little.
I do believe that I love looking at the pictures of my little grands tussling and rough housing and giggling even more than the everyone-is-smiling-at-Gramma-Cupcake's-camera-and-no-one-is-poking-someone-else shots.
Truly, my heart swells up and overflows.
After our marathon baking day, I packaged up some of my yummy baked goods and shared them with friends, and I thought I'd share a few of my little not-so-secret tips for adding a little bit of "wow" factor to my gifts of food.
I collect containers all year long (yard sales, thrift stores...) so that I always have something on hand to hold treats to give away. You know, small crates, tins, vintage plates or bowls, and baskets that are just the right size for creating a cute hostess or holiday gift, and that I don't need to have returned to me.
I dolled up this little crate for my hairstylist a couple of weeks ago. By adding a substantial layer of white shred (I keep white, and cream shred in my arsenol at all times, as well as using my handy paper shredder to shred old book pages when I need a more vintage look.) it takes less cookies or whatever baked good you are giving, and it makes it look so much more appealing. I then added a vintage ornament tied with a homemade tag, and I was already halfway there.
I added a few of Trader Joe's dark chocolate star cookies in with my sugar cookies and snowballs to add a little dimension. (Candy canes are a fun added item too!) The unexpected item for her lil' cookie gift was a pair of turquiose and white striped mittens. ($1.00 at WalMart, and about the cutest mittens I've ever seen!)
Another tip about the mittens: Since I love adding mittens to winter-time baked goods gifts, so I keep my eye out for end of the season clearance mark-downs and keep them in a small wire crate in my workroom.
Other fun items to add in with your baked goods are Christmas ornaments, candled (votives in glass holders, or tapers tied with a pretty coordinating ribbon) or even a little framed quote that goes witht he season. (The Dollar Store has some great little frames...)
So there you have it. MY way of taking the expected and (yawn) ordinary baked goods as a gift, to the next level. I'd love to hear what kinds of little extras you do when giving gifts of food.
Coming from California,(earthquake country) shelves with lots of little trinkets kind of freak me out, and artwork sometimes looks too busy for my taste, so what's left?
At the risk of having one too many signs, or framed quotes in the house, I decided to recycle an old folk art piece.
(Please don't hate me for losing the pig couple.)
The frame was exactly the size I was after.
I printed my quote on my cheesey little Printshop program, using old dictionary pages, then I taped them together to make the size I needed. I used the glass from the frame as my guide to cut the quote out, and put it all together.
In less than 10 minutes I had it printed, assembled, and hung above the bed.
What do you have hanging above your bed?
It was our usual chaotic, loud, lots-of-belly-laughs-mixed-in-with-eye-rolls-rip-roaring time. I did manage to remember to snap a few pictures and...well, some of us seem to have entered the let's-make-silly-faces-and-ham-it-up-for-Gramma-Cupcake's-camera stage of life.
Can you tell which ones?
(I'll give you a hint; it's not the cute little 80 year old red-head in the apron.)
Mmmm hmmm...the boys.
These particular boys (The one that will be five on Christmas eve, and his almost four year old brother as well...) were almost too busy hamming it up for the camera to actually help make the cookies.
Remember this post I did last year?
My son and his family came for a visit right before Thanksgiving, and we attempted a repeat performance this year, with all six little ones in the bed.
It was very much like herding kittens.
For some reason, I pictured it being easier with numbers five and six being a year old now.
I was mistaken.
They were on the move.
Some left the bed entirely.
Some of them were not happy to wear a hat.
We had three Mama's and one Daddy wrangling and wrestling them.
Lots of hollering, and giggling, and squirming and belly-laughing.
I can hardly wait for next year, when we will have eight little smiling faces in the annual Christmas photo shoot!
But this year, for some reason, I just can't seem to contain my enthusiasm for the most wonderful time of the year.
While many of you were out hitting Black Friday sales, I started opening the tall pile of rubbermade tubs loaded with holiday decorating items first thing Friday morning, at oh-dark-thirty. (As I told you...I am very enthusiastic about Christmas this year.)
The dining room is peppered with touches of my current favorite Christmas color scheme (Which I used last year, and still am loving...) Grey, red, black and white, (with hints of green in boughs and branches) along with silvery mercury glass baubles and glittered gold stars...(Remember, a few years back, when I was all about the silver, gold, and robin's egg blue? That was a pretty look too.)
The living room foofifying is underway as well, with my linen shams replaced by soft woolly plaid ones, and the twinkling lights are on the Christmas tree. It waits patiently for bows, and ornaments to be added to it later this week.
How about you? Are you feeling the Christmas spirit yet? Do you change up your colors every so many years, or are you a purist who loves, and never tires of the traditional red and greens?
Do you decorate your entire home, inside and out like me, or do you like a more minimalist approach?
I'd love to hear what you do!