Sunday, December 21, 2014

how not to pull your hair out & lose your will to live during the holidays

Christmas might just kill me y'all. So, in the small chance that I actually survive, I am writing a letter to my future self. Think of it as a how-to guide for a stress-free holiday season. So without further ado...

How to Not Pull Your Hair Out & Lose Your Will to Live During the Holidays

1.   Do not agonize over coordinating wrapping paper, tags and bows. I do. Every year. I was so over wrapping by third hour this year, that I was ready to throw everything in a sack (or in the trash for that matter). I have never wanted to throw my hands in the air like I just didn't care in all of my life. 

Note to self: Next year, one paper. One ribbon. No tags. Do something like this (except on the actual package and with their actual name, or it will get really confusing, and Uncle Bob might end up with some lovely lavender hand cream and a subscription to Ladies Home Journal):

via: bloglovin 
2.   Do not agonize over Christmas cards. I haven't nothing against Christmas cards. In fact, I have sent them out every single year since forever. I even mailed out cards before I had a pet or child to plaster on the front. Can you even? What kind of cards even exist if there aren't pictures involved? Oh, and don't forget the annual newsletter. Seriously, how are you supposed to keep up with our family? Oh yeah, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. I'm pretty sure my family and friends, and almost strangers (also known as Facebook friends) know what my kids look like and what events have transpired pretty much every day of our ever-so-glamorous lives. Oh, and cards are many levels of freaking expensive. Okay, so take cute pictures of kids (check), upload adorable (and printable) card from Etsy (or print from any various source - check), have them printed at local office supply store (or online print shop - check), address all 100 cards (which takes approximately 3 lifetimes to do - check), stick a stamp (aren't they about $5.60 a piece now? - check) on all 100 cards (this is what children are for, so YAY for that - check), and lastly, haul them to the post office (check). Wipe your brow and go sell organs on the black market to pay for them (check). 

Note to self: Next year,  whip up a cute little "card" on PicMonkey (or any other photo program) and post on various social media. E-mail to everyone else. Then, sit with hot cocoa in hand and pat yourself on the back because you have just saved approximately $4,590 and 86 hours. You are a genius.

3.   Your home is not going to be on the cover of a magazine, so don't make yourself insane trying to deck your halls.  Honestly, this is the biggest stress for me each year. I love these "Holiday Home Tours" on my favorite "home" blogs. Their homes are perfect. Every hall is decked beyond all recognition and every stocking his hung by the chimney with ALL OF THE CARE. To their defense, many of them ARE on magazine covers, and most of them blog for a living. The rest of them probably just wait all year for it. I love decorating my home for the holidays as much as the next person (or even more), but the time and effort it takes is exhausting. I simply didn't have time to finish this year. I had other things that needed my attention such as feeding my children, buying groceries, and bathing. I stressed about decorations. What is wrong with me?

Note to self: Next year, simplify. That can mean lots of things, but most importantly, don't stress. Pick a few places to focus on...a few things that are really meaningful and ROCK IT OUT. I love the idea of just adding some simple greenery, having a beautiful tree with decorations made from salt dough and macaroni, and a few preserved boxwood wreaths. We'll see how that goes. Good luck with that Christmas of 2015 self. 

Also, do yourself a favor, and before you turn yourself into a tinsel tossing lunatic, read The Nester's post on undecorating for Christmas

"If decorating my house for Christmas is a burden, then I stop. I have to." ~The Nester (Myquillyn Smith)
{Genius. Sheer genius I tell ya.}

So, to clarify: No crazy Christmas shenanigans next year, k? Easy peasy. No matchy matchy gift wrap, Christmas cards are not essential to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus, and decorating (or lack thereof) doesn't need to send you on the next bus to Crazytown. 

Have a wonderful and stress-free holiday, and please, by all means, do not don your gay apparel and troll the ancient yuletide carol without posting it. Put a filter on it. Hashtag the heck out of it. Then, don't forget to put it on that annual newsletter next year...or not. 

Merry Christmas y'all. Here's to an awesome 2015.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

the struggle is real

Y'all, I love Christmas. I mean, I love it like a blue-haired grandma loves her BINGO. I love the sights, the smells, the tastes, the sounds, the tastes. Mmmmm, the tastes. Soooo, I have love love loved all of the blogs and their "Holiday Home Tours", but I simply don't see how they do it. They have their entire home decorated like a window display at the North Pole Mall, and I can't even get my tree finished.
I have accomplished something though. I made snowball-like pom poms out of yarn. Yes, I did make them at 1:00 AM, and yes, I did bypass a shower to do so, but as Taylor Swift says, "Makers gonna make", or something like that. I am making them to DIY something like this...
source: Anthropologie
It is $38 for a 6 ft. long garland. Not a horrific price, but I definitely wanted more like 60 ft. of garland instead. Yes, haven't you heard "more is more"?  Well, I don't want to spend $400 on garland, because that is insane, not in my budget, so DIY it is. I might even make one of these if I'm feeling up to a pom pom making frenzy.  
Source: Anthropologie
It is $138. I think I can make it for less than $15. Sure, it will only take approximately 14 gazillion hours, but I haven't nothing else to do. *Ahem*

Also, I am thinking of making this as well, but using pre-made pom poms instead of felted balls because I am not working in a sweatshop and this many felted balls would take an eternity plus 18 days. (If you want to make them, here is a tutorial. Knock yourself out. Be sure to grab a stiff drink and put on some holiday music 'cause your gonna need it when you are elbow deep in wool and soap.)
felted ball garland via Pickles
I love the vibrant colors of this, but it really isn't my color palette. I'm going white. You know, once you go white, you never...oh never mind. Sorry. I can't help what pops into my head, and it's late, and my kids have been cranky all day, and it took them 2 hours to go to bed tonight. The struggle is real.

So, my tree isn't completely decorated, I need to clean the chicken coop, my dishes are piled up in the sink, I have Christmas presents to wrap, I have no decorations outside, have about 8 canvases to paint, approximately 10 loads of laundry to do, and all I can think of is making pom poms and wreaths. You know, priorities. 

I'll be back to show you the Great Pom Pom Event of 2014 this week. 




Saturday, November 29, 2014

stretchy pants and Celine Dion

Okay, so how are y'all? I am flat out pooped. The holidays are going to turn me into a lunatic. But seriously, I love it. I love the decorating, and the people, and the food, and the friends, and the food.
Did I mention the food? My mom made my favorite for Thanksgiving, and it isn't one bit Thanksgivingy. Coffee angel food cake with coffee icing and toasted almonds. I do believe the angels made it themselves...thus the name. I mean, it tastes like sugar, and coffee, and toasted almonds, so there is no better dessert. End of story. Thanks mom. You are my favorite person in the history of all the world for making it. Instead of hiding in the closet and inhaling it in one sitting, I ate one piece and told her to take the rest home. I am still hating myself over it, but I know my weakness and I don't want diabetes.
So, the fall decor is gone, the Christmas decor is halfway up, and I'm doing my best to not think about how much I have to do. I have lots of work to do to get my shop stocked for Christmas, I still haven't finished decorating, and I have needy children. Something has to give. Sorry kids, it's been nice knowing you.
I am going to go to church in the morning, then come home, eat the last bit of ham on a sammich (then Thanksgiving leftovers, you are dead to me...I can only handle so much), put on my stretchy pants, and nap like I have never napped before. Before I nap, I will threaten my children's inheritance if they come in my room asking for the freaking password for their electronic device. (Happens every freaking time.) After I awaken (that is if I actually sleep, because $*#!! rooster, and password needing  little people), I shall have a snack, a cup of coffee (because I am 85 years old and drink coffee all the live long day), then take my kids back up to church. They have a Christmas musical to practice for. I can hardly handle the cuteness of kids in Christmas musicals. The nose picking (usually my child), the crooked halos, the VERY passionate singing of what may or may not be the correct lyrics (again, usually mine), the crying child, the shy child (not usually mine...bless), the child who thinks they are Celine Dion in her final Las Vegas performance (ahem...). They are all so darn cute.
So, I will have something more along the lines of Christmas decorations and such later in the week. I am barely forming words at this point because I might have mentioned that I am pooped. I have had no less than 30 people in my house this week. Peace out y'all. Have a restful Sunday.
P. S. Can I just say that my favorite thing about college football are the losing coaches in the post-game interviews. I heard these things come out of various coaches' mouths. "It just sucks." "Yeah we lost, whatever." So honest. So over it. So tired of annoying questions. Bless their hearts. Love it.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

thrifty thursday...turkey day edition

Don't let the title fool you lovely readers. This post has zero to do with Thanksgiving other than it is 9:30 PM on Thanksgiving evening, my stomach is embarrassingly distended, and I am in a food semi-coma.
I only have one thrifty Thursday tip. Olive oil. For your face. For real. Don't knock it 'til you try it.
I learned about this little miracle from a friend of mine, although it is splattered all over the interwebs and Pinterest and such. Apparently, I am not Pinteresting enough, and apparently I just made up a new verb.
I have 100% replaced my face washing routine with olive oil. EVOO because just regular olive oil would be weird. I just keep a little travel bottle in the shower. Just pour a little in to the palm of your hand, rub your hands together, then rub all over your mug. It takes eye makeup off like a boss, but makes you smell like a salad (until you wipe it off). After I rub it in like I'm massaging butter on a Thanksgiving turkey (cue the Thanksgiving reference), I get the water as hot as possible, soak my washcloth in it, and wipe the oil off. I continue until it is all off and the make up is all gone. When you get out of the shower and dry your face off, you will be amazed at the difference. You will look like a supermodel, guaranteed or your money back.
There is a whole science behind why it works, but I can barely form thoughts and words, so higher level thinking is just not happening a this juncture. You can Google it, or just click the link in the last sentence. Also, there are all sorts of combinations of different oils to use for different skin types, but I like to keep it simple. You can do whatever you like because I am not the boss of you. If I were, I would tell you to get off this computer/phone and go wash your face so I don't sound like a loon.
Have a lovely post-Thanksgiving, football watching, Tums devouring evening y'all.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

thrifty thursday: better late then never addition

It is cold. Like freezing. I will not complain though because I prefer freezing over hotter than surface of the sun any day. I will say one thing though...Texas weather, you are drunk.

So, because I am totally on top of everything and have my life in perfect order, I forgot the Thrifty Thursday post for last week. Additionally, because my schedule is so precise and impeccably executed, I didn't even realize I had forgotten it until 2 days ago. I would like to say that it was because I was deep in a philosophical book about world peace or nuclear fusion, or that I was in my lab finding a cure for scurvy or something, but my life is nowhere near that exciting, or cultured. 

I was going to do a double post to make it up to you, but you are lucky that I'm sliding this one in today. You're welcome. I will try to make it worth your while. 

So, I have been perusing Pinterest (not as much as I would like, but honestly, I don't think I really have a limit), and have come across some wonderful homemade & homemade-ish Christmas ideas. Yes, Christmas because I don't want to beat a dead horse, and by dead horse, I am referring to fall. Sorrynotsorry fall, I really love you, but I am ready for Christmas already. It doesn't even feel like fall anymore. We got about 1.5 days of fall this year in Texas. Honestly, I was in flip-flops a few days ago, and now I'm all, "Where is your coat? You are going to freeze, and honestly, I don't have time to attend your funeral. I have a blog post to make up. Geeeeez", and "Oh my WORD, am I in Antarctica? I can't feel my face", and "For the love, get your tongue off that pole!"

Anyway....here is a rundown of some of my favorite el cheapo Christmas ideas. Also, please note that these are an average of about a 2-4 on the "Craftiness Scale". They also can be made with things that you should have easy access to, and I am being serious. You won't need leaves from the sacred Japanese Christmas Maple of Northern Timbuktu, or yarn made from the fur of a chiru you can only find in the Himalayan mountains on the second Friday in December, or some such nonsense. I know, I was just as shocked as you will be that every American household doesn't have both of those.
Well, here goes nothin' (click on the picture to visit the how-to link):


This one looks super fun, but a little messy. I could see making this outside then putting it up somewhere where it won't be touched until it is taken down, unless you want it to look like it is snowing inside your home. If so, then this is perfect for you, and you should make dozens of them & have lots of little children over to your home. I PROMISE, you will definitely have fake snow in places you didn't even know fake snow could hide. You won't even have to ask them to touch it. Kids are thoughtful like that.


Now this one is near and dear to my heart. I have a magnolia tree in my backyard. It has only grown approximately 2 millimeters in the 9 years that we have lived here, but whatever. I love the green and brown of magnolia leaves, so I wouldn't paint them, but it is your decision and I won't judge you or call you a magnolia hater if you do.


I have actually made something similar. I used an embroidery hoop and natural wood clothespins. I just hot glued them on and added a wide plaid bow at the top. I found that facing the clothespins in opposite directions worked better. If you have them all going to the outside, you can't fit as many photos/cards/photocards on it. I also liked that it made my wreath wider and more substantial.


I have made this one as well. You could use yardsticks (as shown), or rulers, for a smaller version. You could also use old fence pickets, branches from fall tree trimming, paint stirring sticks, or any other stick-like things (just got to Lowes and ask for these...I promise, they won't make fun of you). 


The tool girl in me LOVES this project. (Tool Girl...a new superhero? Yes, yes please. "I volunteer as tribute!" Name that quote for 30 points to District 12.) Anyway, I will definitely try this one this year. So many fun options here. Did I mention how much I love this? Well, I do. Love. Old wood & ribbon...hands to the heavens.


I saved the best for last. If you hung around until now, congratulations! If not, well your loss...and you won't be reading this anyway, so never mind.
This is my fave. I know it isn't necessarily for everybody, but you could always do just one color (I prefer white) if the techicolor thing isn't your, um thing. This post (if you read it) would have seemed daunting, and you would be calling me a big fat liar considering it ranks at approximately an 8+ on the Craftiness Scale (um, it is also rude to call people names). However, if you use pom pom balls (they come in bulk packages at any craft store), and hot glued them to a wreath form (I would use a straw one covered in fabric) then it takes the Craftiness Rating down to about a 3, 3+ at the most. You could also use small yarn balls which would be {*cough}amazeballs...

So, there you go. If you take on any of these fun little crafts, please send me a picture. I would love to see how they turned out!

Jenn

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

new items in the shop...including a little LOL action

So, I was just going to post some pictures of my new items in the shop, but I have been challenged by my oldest/eldest (anyone know what word to use here?) to make him "LOL". Literally...those words came out of his mouth. #forthelove #englishplease


Ooooooohhhh LaLa
This little SPF (single pink female) is looking for a lovely home to call her own. She had a full face lift and is ready to party. She was looking kind of haggard and plain when I found her, but with a new coat of blush & bashful (name that movie for 10 points to Ravenclaw), and a full body wax, she is ready for action. Dressed in layers of white (lemme tell ya', she's ready to settle down and walk down the aisle), or however you please, she is a lovely full sized gal (literally, the bed is full-sized) with a great personality.

The only wrinkles on this lovely lady, are on her sheets. (P.S. wrinkled sheets not included)
Mmmm....look at that leg! Grrrrr....

Next up, in the heavyweight category...
This fella is a rotund 53" in diameter, but don't call him "BIG", he's just husky. In two shades of grey, he looks very distinguished. He has a charcoal top and very pale grey pedestal base. Just like his lady friend above, he's been waxed multiple times. What can I say, he's in touch with his feminine side. He's also extremely buff(ed).

He's husky and he know it.
Ready for his close up...
#selfieangle
If you would like a more ACCURATE (but not as gut-busting) description, pop on in to my online shop and stay a while (and buy stuff).

Have a great evening y'all,
Jenn

Monday, November 3, 2014

ummm, now what?

I honestly don't know how to beat a post that CHIP & JOANNA GAINES ACTUALLY READ!!!
Seriously...



video


Joanna read it too!
{Like, whoa!}
 ...and this really happened...
#OHMYGOSH
So, you could say it's been a good week. #understatementoftheyear
Also, I discovered dry shampoo today, so #winning!

Since I have several new folks hop aboard the crazy train  new to my blog/Instagram feed/Facebook/Twitter, I thought I would let you know a little about myself and my business. I like order and lists, so...

About Me

...I will try to play down my glamorous life as to not offend anyone.

  • I spend most days in yoga pants and a paint spattered shirt.
  • I homeschool my kids (hence the yoga pants).
  • I love Jesus but I drink a little (kidding about the drinking, but not about the Lord...but name that quote for 10 points to Gryffindor).
  • I work out of a barn. A literal barn. Surrounded by goats and chickens. It's quite entertaining and every bit as glamorous as it sounds.
  • I have no design experience unless you count infinite hours watching HGTV and reading every design article ever composed in the history of the the written word. It is a passion (some say obsession, but whatever, man) So, basically, I have a PhD.
  • I had my first experience in interior design when I redid my room as a young teenager (when one's taste is at its peak). I painted my walls dark turquoise with a "faux" white sponge paint treatment, then layered on Southwestern bedding and art. There may have even been a bleached animal skull involved. Now, try to bleach that image from your brain. 
  • I dabbled in crafts, floral design, and painting furniture for my own entertainment, and even sold a handful of things as a young, poor college student. I never realized that there was actually a profession where you could do those types of things and actually make money (I lived WAY in the country). Instead of getting a degree in interior design, I chose teaching, where the money and the hours are WAY better. *Ahem.
  • I taught junior high and survived. 
  • I have been at home with my chirrens for the past 11 years. I really love the hours, the pay, and particularly, the satisfaction that I receive each day my family looks at me and says, "We know the amount of work you do for us each day and we truly value and appreciate it and you". (Oh my goodness, I can't stop laughing.) On a serious note, I do love it and feel immensely fortunate that I able to be with my kids 24/7. Well...maybe 12/5, but beggars can't be choosers.
My Posse

  • I am a wife to one & mom to three kids. My oldest son is half Einstein and half Jimmy Fallon. He is both freakishly smart, and has epic comedic chops. Not sure where he gets that from... My daughter is a budding homemaker/designer/farmgirl, and has more passion flowing through her veins than every episode of Days of Our Lives combined. My youngest kiddo is a mini-Jim Carrey. He can make you laugh just by watching him eat a sandwich.
  • I have a 100+ pound lab mix (half black lab/half horse) that is BY FAR the laziest dog on the planet.  Now that I think about it, he might actually be half black lab/half sloth.
  • We have 10 hens, and 1 rooster who feels the need to crow every 14 seconds of every single minute, of every single day. We also have 2 dwarf Nigerian goats, 4 calling birds, 3 French hens, 2 turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree. 
  • My husband and I have been married for 15 blissful years. (I totally wrote that with a straight face.) No, seriously, marriage is HARD, but we are both incredibly stubborn and neither of us like to lose. Seriously though, he's a catch. I think I'll keep him. Oh, and he's cute. Yep, #winning.
So there you go. Be sure to follow me on Twitter to keep up with my daily, glamorous life, and maybe get a chuckle or two. Also, I am on Instagram, and Facebook. I have a deep need to be accepted, so if you don't, I will curl up in the fetal position and cry like a man with a cold.

Be blessed! 
Jenn (a.k.a Chip & Joanna Gaines' new best friend)