Sleeping Snowman Dinner Napkins

This year I’m decking the halls with a Snowman theme. My colors – Red, Black, White and Gold. First up – the dining room table. My craft – sleeping snowman napkins.

Aren’t these adorable?

I decided to think of something outside of the box to go with the theme – so that meant I had to create something, or figure out a use for what I already owned. So I took a trip to Hobby Lobby and the idea was born.

Snowman Hat

Here is what you need:

– Miniature snowman top hats

– Flatbacks (I used Ponsietta themed ones)

– Glitter

– Ribbon

– Glue dots

– Glue gun/glue sticks

– Spray Adhesive

Step 1:

Cut the ribbon to the correct diameter and attach to your snowman hat with hot glue. I found that this step required the most patience as I tried to line up both edges of the ribbon.

Step 2:

Press your Flatbacks on top of the glue dots and peel off carefully. Then conform the glue dots to the shape of the flatback.

Step 3:

Attach the flatback to the ribbon where it meets in the front.

Step 4:

Finish the hat by spraying adhesive to the top and sides of the hat, apply glitter generously, and after the adhesive dries, shake off any excess glitter.

Snowman Body

For the snowman body, I folded the napkin and attached the buttons using glue dots.

Here is what you need:

– White Dinner Napkins

– Buttons (I purchased 2 variety packs from Walmart)

– Glue dots

Step 1:

Fold the napkin in half lengthwise, then fold it into thirds.

Step 2:

Press the buttons firmly onto the glue dots – as shown on the back of the glue dot packaging.

Step 3:

Remove the button and glue dot from roll and then attach the buttons to the napkins. (I used the bottom of my knife to space out the buttons evenly.

Use the hashtag #sleepingsnowmannapkins and tag me on Instagram @ljlove3 if you give it a try.

Holiday Hoarder or Well Prepared – How to Organize Your Christmas Decorations

I can’t help but get excited for the holidays every time I enter this room.

When I moved into my home 4 and a half years ago I was determined to organize my Christmas decorations. At the time, I only had a few boxes of ornaments, but I knew that I wanted to be able to see what I had at a glance. I also had a few items that I collect, or needed to store that has also found a place in this room. This is what the room looks like now.

I purchased the shelving – three separate units and clear containers from Costco. Some of the earlier clear bins I purchased fits three to the row. The newer ones can only fit two. If you decide to go this route – measure your shelf space and bins so you can get the most storage bang for your buck. Over the years I have amassed quite a collection. Mostly red ornaments.

Last year I bought a label maker, to identify containers that held multiple items.

I have black containers  in the garage, also from Costco but since they are not clear, I had to use the Label maker again. I store ribbon, tree picks and lights in these containers.

There is a wall of shelving – but it doesn’t have all Christmas stuff.

Getting organized helps me during setup and take down. Do you have tips or tricks to keeping your Christmas decorations organized?

Getting Christmas Ready for a Progressive Dinner Party

I live in a small neighborhood, so I have gotten to know quite a few of my neighbors really well. They in turn have gotten to know me, and some of my unique skill sets. My neighbor Nancy called me wanting to know if I could come over and help her get her decorations ready for the progressive dinner party that we were having in the neighborhood that Friday. I really love that my neighborhood tries to do this every year, and three to four homes volunteer to host a specific part of a four course meal. She along with my neighbors Chris and Andre had agreed to host the Appetizers. Because of this, even though she was going to be away for Christmas, she had decided to decorate.

When I arrived she asked my opinion about some poinsettias that she was going to add to her stairway garland, and she also wanted to get my opinion on the fireplace mantle decorations. Well, let me just say after we finished the balcony and mantle, she starting thinking bigger – about 7.5 feet bigger to be exact. She had a very nice Balsam Hill tree – see one similar here, that she was going to leave bare. Well, I couldn’t in good conscious let her do that, so after she showed me what she had, I sent her out to purchase some additional gold stems from Michaels and then I went to work creating some bows for her tree.

These are bunny ear bows, and they can be made quickly by using two cut pieces of ribbon and creating a loop in each one, and then tying them together with some floral wire. I made about 20 of them for her tree. After Nancy returned with her stems, I asked her to gather all of her red, green and gold ornaments and items. Then I went to work on her tree. Stems and bows first, the tree topper, and then the ornaments.

It took me about two hours from start to finish to decorate her tree. Here is what it looks like with the lights on:

She had a very pretty raffia angel that we added to the top of her tree.

She was very pleased with the results and I surprised myself at how quickly I was able to pull together a finished product for her.

Leave a comment and let me know how you think it turned out.

Christmas 2017 Home Tour – The Office Tree, Part 3 of 3

After purchasing a new dining table, I felt like there wasn’t enough space in the Dining room to accommodate a large tree, so I made the decision to move the tree into the Office.

The front Christmas tree is always red and gold and I typically use the same ornaments year after year. So last year I had a trio of trees, the year before I had a wide tree, and the first year in this home I had a live tree. Well, not to be outdone, this year I had to have yet another new tree. I thought a slim tree would fit the bill for its new home space.

I found just the tree I wanted from Sam’s Club. It’s a Sherman Spruce, and it’s magnificent. Even though I have room for a 9′ tree, I decided that a 7.5′ tree would be best as I would have more options to display it. This tree has 1000 led lights – Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah…. because just speaking of it makes me want to sing.

100 lights per foot of tree is ideal, and it is what you should look for when purchasing an artificial tree – but 1000 lights for a 7.5′ tree is not typical, so I literally jumped at the chance to own it. For once, there is no need for me to add any additional lights, (insert more singing here).

In the past I have used a big bow at the top of my trees, but I decided I wanted a different look, so I bundled some sprays and picks together and created this as my tree topper.

After my topper, I added the rest of the picks and sprays and ribbon garland to the tree.

Next I got inspired to create three tiered loops out of my existing string garland to place around my tree. I had seen these at Frontgate and at Raz Imports, but instead of purchasing them – I decided that I could fashion some on my own. This process actually took quite a bit of time, but was well worth the effort.

Once I finally finished with my beaded garland I started to add all of the ornaments. After adding some of my existing ornaments and some new glass ornaments that I purchased at Costco, I still thought the tree was missing something…Whimsy.

That sent me on a hunt for some objects that I could stuff into the tree. After a trip to Hobby Lobby and two hours later, I returned victorious. Notice the newly added gift boxes stuffed into the tree. That added that touch of whimsy that I was missing, now all I had to do was add the tree skirt and the gifts – Voila.

A more close-up view.

I hope you enjoyed my Winter Whimsy Christmas Home tour, and hopefully I inspired you to create your own Merry. Click on the links to check out Part 1 and Part 2 of the tour. I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year. Enjoy Decorating!!!

Christmas 2017 Home Tour – The Dining Room Part 2 of 3

I came from a family of nine – seven girls and two boys. There are seven of us still living. The girls like to take the opportunity to get together as often as we can, but it’s not always possible, since one of us still lives in Chicago. This Thanksgiving, we had another opportunity to get together and I wanted it to be a special occasion. Even though it was decided that we were having a sister’s brunch, I thought it would be extra special to have the dining room decorated and ready for the holidays.

First off, I really wanted a tablecloth that would fit my table with one leaf inserted. From experience I knew that picking up one from the store wasn’t going to cut it if I wanted to be sure that the sides were even all the way around. The only way I could make sure that I had the right fit was to order a custom tablecloth. I located a great vendor online – Bright Settings that was able to whip me one up within a week’s timeframe. I was very pleased with the way it looked and fit.

The next step was to get some black chargers to match the black accents in the room. I found some that fit the bill from Crate and Barrel, unfortunately when I went to purchase them at the store downtown, they only had four and of those four, only two looked black. That prompted me to visit the store in Alpharetta; of the three they said they had in stock only one of those was the color I desired. Now most people would go to plan B at this point, but not I. I was determined to complete my set of eight. So after calling customer service and pleading my case, the representative assured me that she would add a note to my order to include the darkest charger plates they could find. I ordered 11, just so that I could be sure I’d have enough to choose from. I finally assembled my set of eight, and here is what my finished table looks like.

The china and silverware are old patterns from Mikasa, and the stemware is a newly acquired purchase from Waterford.

I added the Christmas crackers and reindeer for a touch of whimsy and for the centerpiece, I used garland, some ornaments, and ribbon threaded throughout. The black candlesticks and red candles finished off the centerpiece in style.

The two trees in the room were decorated and dressed as twins – the fraternal kind, but I tried my best to make them as identical as possible. I wanted to add height to the trees, so I asked one of my best friends to build me some risers to elevate them. I really liked how they turned out. Thank God for good friends.



The brunch spread was set up with care…

I added a poinsettia, swags and a mini lighted Christmas cabin on top of the buffet to finish off the room.

Please leave me a comment to let me know how you like the room. I look forward to your feedback. Also, if you missed it, check out part 1 of this post. Merry Christmas and happy decorating!

Christmas 2017 Home Tour – The Main Tree and Surrounds Part 1 of 3

Every year at my Christmas party I start thinking of the theme and colors for my Christmas decorations for the following year. Last year I decided that the colors that I would use would be Red, Black and White. I also was pretty stuck on the idea that I would use Snowmen as my theme. To my amazement, these colors are pretty much on trend with the seasonal offerings, so this year it was easy finding my colors. For the first time, I am actually presenting my tree and decorations before Christmas and I am excited to share with you the joy and excitement that I get from decorating for the Holiday season.

This is my fourth Christmas in my not so new home, and every year I’ve hosted a Christmas Party. Last year, I hosted a combination Christmas/Graduation party in celebration for my son, who graduated from college last December. The combination party was to avoid hosting two parties in December. Anyway, I digress – as I stated before my color scheme is Red, Black and White for my main tree, but my theme is not snowmen, – I settled for Winter Whimsy. From outside of my home coming in, you will always be able to determine the colors of the main tree as I coordinate the decorations from the front door all the way to the main tree in the family room. One more thing about the main tree, it always has the color red in it, and the other colors I pick – well, must go with red.

The main tree is one of four decorated trees this year. I also typically have a few other trees scattered throughout my home that are not decorated. You will see the other trees in my upcoming blog post, so stay tuned.

This year, I started early with my shopping and most of my decorations came from Raz Imports. (I also purchased a red sleigh – seen later).

Picks and Sprays all laid out and ready to enhance my tree:

Here is the Finished tree.

I decided that I would incorporate that color black through the ribbon, lanterns, and gift wrapping. The lanterns – five in all, add a touch of whimsy to the tree. I anchored them securely and then used picture mounting putty on the bottom of the candles to keep them from shifting.

The black and white ribbon really brings the tree to life – I used armed width lengths and stuffed the ends deep inside the tree, to give the illusion of the ribbon going in and out of the tree. I really like how the red poinsettias, snow covered pinecones and red snow berries bring the tree to life. I also think the addition of the glass finials really made the tree pop.

The red sleigh is the perfect perch for all of the gifts.

I always choose one or two homemade projects to add to my decorations, this year; I decided I would make poinsettia bows to compliment my black gift wrapping. I think they came out pretty good. Let me know what you think.

So typically, I always coordinate the fireplace mantel and other elements nearby to the Christmas tree. This year was no exception.

As I mentioned before, you can tell from my front porch the color scheme of my main tree. Here is what my front porch looks like. The sled was a used purchase, and I sourced the greens from my neighborhood.


I hope you enjoyed my decorations of my main tree. Stay tuned for Part 2.

Memphis – How a King lived and died

I recently visited Memphis, TN, my son had a cross country meet there, and I figured as long as I was going I might as well see some sights. Before I left, I got some local information from my high school friend Cindy who had lived there recently before returning back to the ATL. She was very helpful and insightful, and I actually made it to a couple of the places she suggested – thanks Cindy.

I arrived on Saturday afternoon, and my first stop was at Memphis Barbecue Co – well let me tell you, I got dry rubbed ribs, and they were not only seasoned well, but they were fall off the bone good. I was very excited about the prospect of eating my way through Memphis.

Next stop – Graceland…I have to admit, when I told my friends I was going there, I got a lot of flack, mostly people telling me that “Elvis was racist, didn’t I know that”. Well I’ve heard the stories, but I’ve grown to realize that you can’t always believe everything you hear…wasn’t there a rumor about Tommy Hilfiger – I’m just saying, do your research and don’t always believe everything you hear. This repeated rumor made me want to find out more so I did…check out these articles –

http://www.elvisinfonet.com/spotlight_racist.html

http://www.elvis.com.au/presley/elvis_not_racist.shtml

http://snopes.com/music/artists/presley1.asp

Well, all I can say is believe what you want, but always get to the truth before spreading, or continuing rumors.

Now that I’ve said my peace, I thought Graceland was very interesting. You get there by driving down Elvis Presley Blvd, and it seems to be located smack dab in the middle of the hood. Apparently when Elvis purchased the property it was nothing but farmland – my, how times change. Parking was across the street, and since Graceland was open for business, the famous gates were swung open, so I didn’t get that picture, but I sure did take a lot more.

I bought the VIP pass, no standing in line for me, and that got me into the Lisa Marie quarters. Did you know that Elvis had a twin brother? Let me just say, I felt the trip was well worth my time, and I got to get a close-up view of how the King lived…

Back to the hotel, I snapped some shots of the team before the competition, and after a quick change of clothes, I was on my way to the Mike Rose Soccer Complex. There were four different races, and since I am the team photographer I got a good workout. The race finished in a 6000 seat stadium – Olympic style. It was good night, and Justin finished 10th in his race, not bad for a hilly course.

So the plan was to leave there and head to B.B. Kings’ Blues Café – that didn’t happen. Not only did the bottom fall out of the sky – I was so tired from a full day that I all I wanted to do was go to sleep.

——————

I woke up refreshed and ready to check out some more of Memphis – 1st up, lunch at Gus’s Fried Chicken. I got there early, so I headed to the river. It reminded me of Hyde Park in Chicago, very serene. I snapped lots of pictures, and I talked to this nice couple who were in town for their granddaughters wedding.

10:45, in line at Gus’s, talked to a nice family while I waited. The baby had a pretty pink feather bow in here hair…

Once Gus opened at 11:00, ten minutes later the seating was full and more people were waiting in line. I ordered the fried green tomatoes and a two piece dark plate with a side of beans and slaw. The chicken was spicy, and moist – delicious, not the best I’ve ever tasted, but good; the fried green tomatoes were acceptable – beans and slaw were average. I’m hoping the chicken at the Watershed in Atlanta can top it, G. Garvin says it’s good, so I’ll be making my way down there soon, I’ll let you know. After lunch, I caught a trolley around the city, and got off near the National Civil Rights Museum.

At the Civil Rights Museum I saw where the Dr. King died. I took lots of photos and learned more about Dr. King. Tears welled up in my eyes as I watched the video made about his last days. He has definitely had a profound impact on me, and I was reminded yet again how one lunatic, can change the course of history.

Headed back to Atlanta, I enjoyed the visit.

Las Vegas and Beyond – Mother and Son Trip

So typically when planning our trip I want it to be to someplace where we can see a natural wonder, our last trip was to Toronto, and we got close-up and personal to Niagara Falls. This time it was to the Grand Canyon. This was my first trip to “sin city”, we stayed at Planet Hollywood…but I am jumping ahead.

The trip to Vegas started out bumpy – literally there was a lot of turbulence that seemed to go on forever, but I guess 20 minutes out of the four hours wasn’t that bad. During the flight the pilot flew us over the Grand Canyon, luckily we had a window seat, and a couple of the passengers who were seated in the middle without a window, thought it was a good idea to hang out over our seats. I was gracious for the first ten minutes, but they overstayed their welcome, and I finally had to ask them to please leave, I wanted my personal space back…

Arrival at Planet Hollywood went very smoothly – we were allowed to check in early without the fees – Yeah. Our adventure began.

We hit the strip and our first stop – McDonalds, oh well not so glamorous but I am traveling with a teenage boy. Now our tour can begin. We headed to New York, New York so we could see the rollercoaster coming out of the building…

The statue of liberty replica looked great. I found all the walkways that went over the streets so that you could avoid traffic interesting. These were good and bad. Good because you can continue your walk without having to pause for traffic, and bad since oftentimes they take you on a less direct route to your planned destination. We then looked at Excalibur and MGM Grand, and of course I snapped pictures.

A lot of walking and gawking ensued. Okay, so I have to admit that I am very curious about how much one gets paid to hand out semi-nude cards of young ladies, is it minimum wage??? Why do people litter? I really didn’t want to see what I refused to accept. Hmm…that didn’t work out so well, since the cards were plastered up and down the streets. Finally it was time to eat, so back to the hotel for some R&R, and then we headed to PF Changs. After dinner we decided to check out the wax museum, We headed in the opposite direction we had taken earlier…The Eiffel Tower at Paris, Fountains at Bellagio, Volcano’s at the Mirage, and Jokers – the hotels are just amazing. At Madame Tussauds we were greeted by the Rock and Ms. Goldberg…it was bound to be an adventure. Inside were some pretty lifelike figures…

These are interesting:

And of course we had to be in the pictures…

And we did the Michael Jackson lean…

After the museum, we checked out the gondolas at the Venetian, and the Volcano at the Mirage…and after many photo stops in between we made it back to our hotel for the night – my feet hurt….

 

DAY 2

We rented a car so that we could head over to Hoover Dam, and then Lake Havasu. I watch the Food Network a lot and I’m a big fan of the show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, so I couldn’t resist heading to the Coffee Cup in Boulder City for breakfast. Boulder City is a small unassuming town, and it’s where the workers lived that built the Hoover Dam. So we arrived fresh faced and ready for a food adventure. I asked for what Guy had – the “Pork Chili Verde Omelette” it was delish…I took a picture of it, sorry about the ketchup, I have to have it with my hash browns J.

The terrain going toward the Dam was quite mountainous (is that a word) and I was afraid our rented Nissan Versa was not up to the task, but it made the trip just fine. The Hoover Dam is a modern miracle; I found it to be impressive to say the least. We passed on the “Dam Tour” I was not in the mood to go 500 feet down, just so I could view some generators. Going down is an issue for me, going up on the other hand, not a problem. So we checked out the museum, and the observation deck and then we walked across the Dam. We could also see Lake Meade…

The Dam Museum

The Dam Observation Deck

On the Dam

So my son wasn’t as amused as I was, and he felt we had already been here quite a while, and was ready to go…

I ignored him and took lots more pictures.

Lake Havasu Here We Come!!!

The day was not quite over; we continued our journey to Lake Havasu, since I was determined to see the London Bridge. I was not quite ready for the road signs – “Look out for Animals, next 20 miles” – what kind of animals, I kept my eyes peeled, didn’t see anything. The Nissan Versa also wasn’t ready, we got passed by every type of vehicle, including tractor trailers, but we travailed and ended up at Lake Havasu a couple of hours later. Lake Havasu was a small town, and the lake and the bridge were the main attractions. We took our photos, had some Italian ice, and headed back to Vegas.

The trip back to Vegas took us through the Mohave Desert and San Bernardino Valley California. This was great, a bonus state. It took us another 2 hours to get back to Vegas, and I must say I was tired of driving, but that didn’t stop us for heading to the famous Las Vegas sign…

Tired, hot and hungry, we headed back to the hotel for a much needed break. I’m pretty sure the picture taking and the site seeing was over for the day. We called it an early night; we had a big day planned for tomorrow – the Grand Canyon.

 

Day 3

This day started at 5:00 a.m. Our tour was scheduled to take off at 6:15 a.m. I was certain that we’d be walking in the dark to our pick-up point, the Monte Carlo, but it was already light outside when I got up. And to my surprise, it was hot when we stepped out onto the strip at 5:50. Hmm, I’m thinking it’s gonna be a hot day. The tour company was called Comedy on Deck. I was expecting a lot of comedy along the way, and although our tour guide Robert didn’t tell a lot of jokes, he was entertaining, and kept our attention during the drive. First stop Boulder City, Southwest Diner. The food was good, but we weren’t wasting any time, back on the bus and to our final destination all within 30 minutes. The trip to the Canyon was uneventful; we did see the famous Joshua trees, and a few cows along the side of the road, but no buffalos. There was an 8 mile dirt road that led to the West Rim of the Canyon, and during that time, the air conditioning on the bus had to be turned off – but my son didn’t mind too much, since he was asleep. I on the other hand, had my handy-dandy fan to keep me cool – thank goodness. After viewing a film on how they replaced the glass on the Skywalk, we were ready to walk (sit, lay) over the canyon.

I took a lot of pictures at Eagle Point, and at Guano Point. I won’t include all of them…

In that last photo, my son was at the very top of that view point; here he is on his way down:

We were impressed with the Grand Canyon to say the least, and then we headed back to Vegas, one more stop (a bonus) at the Hoover Dam Bridge. Several of us got off the bus for our 20 minute detour, my son stayed on the bus; he was asleep.

The strip later that night…

 

Day 4

So we didn’t have any tours planned for the day, so we thought we’d take in a couple of shows. I was tired of walking, so we got 24 hour bus passes so that we could ride up and down the strip. Did I mention it was hot? The heat emanated from the concrete sidewalk and worked its way up – I didn’t adjust, I just survived. We went to see the Mac King Magic Show, which was really entertaining and funny; went to see Men in Black III; road to the top of the Eiffel Tower and went to see Wayne Brady that night. I was tired of taking pictures (I took a total of 800 during our trip) and lugging the camera around, so I don’t have many from this day. These were taken from the top of the Eiffel Tower.

 

Day 5

Headed back to the ATL, goodbye Vegas. It was a fun and memorable trip, probably our last one since next year he’ll be a senior, and won’t think it’s cool to hang out with his mom.

Older and Wiser

My birthday has come and gone, and I consider myself blessed to have lived to see it. I will continue my journey on becoming better and wiser for as long as the Lord allows. I have learned in my years here on earth: to give thanks to my creator, it’s better to give than receive, to not sweat the small stuff, to forgive and forget, to count your blessings every day, and to tell those close to you that you love them, frequently. Wow, if only I had such clarity at 21…C’est la vie!

Your Word is Your Bond

Do people still live by this credo, I don’t think so. No one is perfect, but if you tell someone you are going to do something, you should do it, or at least let them know why you won’t be able to do it. I know sometimes, life can get hectic and it feels like it’s all you can do just to keep afloat, but I still value consideration for others and their time, and I try hard to keep my word. Recently I’ve been faced with a dilemma – I asked someone that I trust to work on a project for me. Going in I was fairly confident about the person’s ability and skills. Now, I’m just trying to decide if I should cut my losses before I get in over my head. My reputation and how I am perceived is very important to me, which is why I try very hard to do what I say I’m going to do. So, is your word your bond?