excuses, excuses

I have been missing in action in a big way. I can't even promise that I am back fully yet but I'm working on making a comeback. We have had illness upon illness that I believe I have mentioned before...mono x 3 kids, flus, nasty colds that linger forever that make your head split and light your lungs on fire when you cough (can I please just get rid of this?), etc., etc. My home feels like the sick ward of a hospital.

Throw into the mix a 15 1/2 year old daughter with permit in hand that begs to be taken out driving. Every spare minute she wants to be out on the road and my nerves are only capable of handling so much. If I survive her learning to drive I plan to throw the biggest "I survived" shindig known to man. Teenage driving is not for the faint of heart.

Plus Christmas festivities abound. We have hit a few parties, holiday concerts and dinners as time and health have allowed while trying to decorate our own house with all it's Christmas trimmings.

For those interested in checking out the fireplace decor read on...

I have weird theme issues when it comes to holiday and party decorating. I have to have a story in my head or a reason why the decor looks the way it does. My thoughts for this years decor was our family gathering around the fire on a cold winters night, cuddled up to read our favorite books. I can hear all the "aaah, how sweet" comments now. It makes you gag I know but I have to have a story.

Here is the fireplace mantle decorating breakdown...

Garland. I tend to take my abundance of cheap crapola and layer it with some nicer stuff just like I did for Halloween. Here I used the super cheap, doesn't really look like living greenery, green garland. I found mine at Michaels. I layered it with a more expensive garland that was priced at $30. Yikes, too big for my budget. But, yes Virginia there is a Santa and he made the good people at Michaels mark down the garland of my dreams by 50%. I can handle $15.

I also added snow because nothing says "stay in and read by the fire" like a bunch of the cold white stuff. We've got no real stuff here in sunny Southern California so my snow was imported in from Michaels (I'd like to add that I am in no way affiliated with Michaels I just spend all of my husbands paycheck there) Need snow too? It comes in a bag ready to be thrown around your home making a big gigantic mess that doesn't just stay on the mantle. It's fun really. Your kids will love you. Go get some.

It's Christmas - we need stockings. I pulled our snowflake ones out of the box and hung those puppies up grinning that they matched my cold theme and were green (I decided to stick with an all green, white, silver color palette) To add the reading part of my theme to the stockings I painted cheap brown kraft cardstock stencils white to add each of my children's initials to their stocking.

I wanted the letters to be a glossy white but spray painting them wasn't working for me - too much curling of the stencil. To solve the problem I ran a quick coat of white craft paint over each stencil and then once dried I spray painted my high gloss white paint over them.

To add more of a reading vibe I ripped out pages of an old dictionary (hit your thrift stores people) and cut out a square to back each stencil. I'm a sucker for details so I searched for words that fit with my theme. Check me out...

"arctic"...brrr, cold. I think I want to read by the fire

"family circle"...it would be so much nicer to read by the fire with my family

"chimney sweep"...hopefully the chimney sweep cleaned out our fireplace so we can read by it. Ok, so that one is a stretch but the words chimney sweep made me happy and they seemed to fit the theme in a Mary Poppins celebrating Christmas type of way.

"jingle"...it's Christmas, we people jingle all the way this time of year.

You were impressed with my attention to detail weren't you. In your mind you have crowned me the queen of detail haven't you?!?! I'm guessing my crown is going to be yanked from my head rather quickly when you take a look at my dictionary page "flowers" My idea was to add some more reading theme goodness to my mantle by throwing in some paper "flowers" but take a look at this little beauty. Something about that word doesn't scream the holiday to me. (Click on the picture to supersize if you can't read the word)

Add some more stencils to spell out joy
and add a 6 because there are 6 of us in family and we all like to read by the fire on a cold winters night - see how I stick to my theme?

There you have it. Hopefully I can get my sick, teen age driving stressed self back to blogging more regularly to bring you more of our Christmas decor and other party related jive.


jociegal said...

It's okay. Life is crazy. We all understand. The mantel looks great.

Chris @ Celebrations At Home said...

Great Mantle!! What you did with the frames is Fantastic!

Hope you are all well now, for good!

Susan Crabtree said...

looks amazing-so happy to hear that you are feeling a little better!

Hollis said...

Really Pretty! I love it! I love the idea of sticking to a theme throughout. I love your stockings. I just love your frames too. It looks great. I want to come and read by the fireplace too!
Thanks for posting. I know how the sickness thing goes.

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog said...

I love the stencil look! Good luck getting over those bugs!!

Aimee said...

homicide...that's awesome.

paisley penguin said...

Love it!

I too try to stick to a theme that is usually color related and then I find quirky things to add in.

amy * stem * said...

Insane is all I have to say. This is so good it's making me go crazy.


tammy said...

love the flower ;) I'm totally a "theme" decorator too...it's a sickness :) VERY cute!

Gentry Fam said...

Your mantel looks gorgeous!

kinder/caring said...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! What an inspiration!