Saturday, December 29, 2007

In Celebration of 1500th post, I'm hosting a Giveaway!

Little did I know when I started my blog three years ago in December that I would find so much to share with everyone! At first my blog began as a way to stay in touch with my out-of-state family and friends, then as a way to share my art, and now as way to share all the contents of my heart! I'm so thankful for each and everyone of you who visits, posts a comment, shoots me an email --- in fact, I love reading your comments, visiting your blogs, and sharing in your lives. I have truly been blessed! In my little corner of the world, so many of you have became the world to me!
In honor of that {and my 5000th blog post - I'm still amazed at that!}, I want to host my first ever blog giveaway. So here's the details:
Leave a comment here on this post, then on Tuesday, January 1st, I will use a general number generator to choose the recipient of the above gifts. This gift contains: a favorite Christmas tin, a wine glass holding a glittered tea rose candle with a red bow created by me from our recent wedding, a handmade house accordian book, a handmade Christmas Projects and Idea journal, and a few hand hand-stamped envelopes using my newest stamp for your letters to Santa. Please be sure that a link back to your blog and access to your email address is visible to me for notification. Good luck and here's to a very Happy New Year!

Ahhhh, The Joy of Christmas...

is silently over, even though in my heart I'm not quite ready to let go of the spirit of Christmas. Sigh. I hesitate to begin taking down the decorations and the tree, still desiring to bask in the glow from the tree, the warmth of the candles, if only for "just one more night!" {So what, if I've been telling myself that for the past several days, LOL! } The same "last several days" that we've done as little as possible and only what was necessary, falling out quietly in the aftermath, reminiscing over the events it all.

Don and I actually had a really great Christmas this year, even though $$$ was tight and we were only able to purchased presents for a select few of those who mattered the most to us. This was another year that we didn't go overboard purchasing presents for one another since we purchase what we each need throughout the year and add in the "wants and desires of our hearts" when its possible to do so. We gave what we could afford to give and we weren't alone in that endeavor. Many of our family members faced the same dilemnas, not just the financial factor, but the stress that starts with searching for the "perfect gift" for someone special and surprisingly, we discovered that many of our family members and friends actually desired to keep Christmas "simple" this year, too. It was a really nice and pleasant change!

So, we shared our company, our companionship, our time, and smiles from our hearts with one another. We retold stories of the past, spoke kindly of family members who are no longer with us, remembering them fondly for the contriubutions they've made in assisting us become the people we are today. We spoke and remembered the "simplier" time in our families lives, not that those times were actually any "simplier" but they were treasured, cherished, and appreciated more. We spoke words of kindness and praise for the members of our families who couldn't be with us this year and kept them close in our hearts and in spirit. It was really a good reminder for us of what is truly important as we journey through our lives and it reminded me to make the days as simple and special as possible for Alexxis --- for one day these will be the memories that she'll treasure and cherish the most.

Last night, while I was curled up on the couch in my jammies, wrapped in a fleece covered throw that was a handmade Christmas gift from my sister, Mary, a few years ago, these were the thoughts running through my mind. To be grateful for those who fill us up, who warm our hearts and fill our souls with the truly good things in life. the things that truly matter the most, like honesty, integrity, showing kindness, sharing love, who reach out with not only their hands but their hearts. And I prayed that I, myself, may be that person to someone else. That I offer my gifts, talents, and inspire someone just as so many others have inspired me. After sitting silently, reflecting, reminscing, thinking, considering, and pondering these things in my heart, I offered up another prayer of gratitude and praise to God for showing me and sharing these things with me. A while later, I began thinking about what my gifts and talents actually are and wondered how can I share them? Somewhere along the way, doubts and uncertainties began to creep in the dark, deep, creavices of my mind, all the "what if's" and then a surprising thing happened. I suddenly realized that if I allowed all those "what if's" into my life, that they'd rob me, my heart, and my life of all the joy that God has to offer to me, to us, to our family and friends. I felt as if I'd just opened the most expensive gift that money could buy! And as I sat there in the stillness of the night, I heard a still, small voice inside of me whisper,

so I created myself a reminder to share with all of you. This will become yet another link in my gratitude chain, an ongoing project in the years that lie ahead.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Wishing Everyone a very Merry and Blessed Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2007

A Rubber Stamper's Christmas....

These were emailed me to me by one of the ladies in one of my rubberstamper's Yahoo groups; just thought I'd share them here for others to enjoy!

Winter Wonderland

Brayers roll ... are you listening.
On the card ... ink is glistening.
A beautiful sight ... we're happy tonight,
Stamping in a winter wonderland.

In the kitchen we can build a snowman.
Then add color to his carrot nose.
You'll say: Are you finished?
I'll say: No ma'am,
I need to add some glitter to the snow.

When we stamp ... ain't it thrilling.
Even when ... the powders spilling.
We'll create and we'll play...the art stamper way,
Stamping in a winter wonderland

Deck the Halls
Deck the halls with foils and glitters, Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Tis the season for us stampers, Fa la la...
Don we now our inks and powders, Fa la la...
Troll the heatguns and embossers, Fa la la...

See the card stock blank before us, Fa la la...
Strike the ink and join the chorus, Fa la la...
Follow me in merry masking, Fa la la...
Join us in some Yuletide stamping, Fa la la...

Faint away with chalks and markers, Fa la la...
Hail the new, ye rubber stampers, Fa la la...
Stamp with joyous all together, Fa la la...
Heedless of the times that's passed us, Fa la la...

Twelve Days of Christmas

On the twelfth day of Christmas
my true love gave to me...
12 rubber stamps, 11 handmade papers,
10 embossing powders, 9 duel tip markers,
8 paper edger's, 7 assorted ink pads,
6 funky stickers, 5 exotic glitters,
4 brass stencils, 3 craft punches,
2 paper crimpers, and a brand new
embossing heat tool.

Jingle Bells

Dashing through the snow
To the stamp store here we go.
O'er the streets we pass
Anxious to spend cash.

Stamps on store shelves call
Making spirits bright.
Oh what fun it is to sing,
The stamping song tonight!

Stamping art, stamping art,
Stamping all the way!
Oh, what fun it is to stamp
In the good old fashion way!

Stamping art, stamping art,
Stamping's here to stay!
Oh, what fun it is to stamp
All the gifts you give today!

Let it Snow

Oh the weather outside is frightful
But the inks look so delightful
So while the winter is cold and damp
Let us stamp! Let us stamp! Let us stamp!

It doesn't take much convincing
And I've brought a tool for crimping
Choose some paper, turn up the lamp
Let us stamp! Let us stamp! Let us stamp!

When we carefully press just right
How we smile as the image unfolds
Add some color, so bold, so bright
The result is a sight to behold!

Our projects are quickly drying
And there's new techniques for trying
So until we get finger cramps
Let us stamp! Let us stamp! Let us stamp!

Merry Christmas to all my fellow stampers!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Gift for Me...

Isn't this rubber stamp just the coolest? It was a gift from Don to Me. I so love the little wooden handle and the sentiment is just too adorable. Of course, I had to stamp a couple of the images onto envelopes; one for Little Miss Adorable's Letter to Santa and a few more with a "Wish" card for my blog giveaway! Even the little tag that accompanied it with its jute string was too precious to simply throw away so I'm leaving it on the handle. Perhaps, next year, Alexxis and I can use it to stamp more envelopes to decorate and hang on our tree!

A Christmas Sketch

A close up of the sparkly goodness...

A Touch of Christmas

I'm still enchanted by this potted poinsetta that we purchased on our weddding day. Never before have I purchased one that has continued to grow and bloom so elegantly and the color never ceases to amaze and delight my senses. It's hard to tell in this photograph but there is actually little sparkly glitter sprinkled upon its leaves.
The mornings, the days, and the nights of this past week have simply flown right on by us. We've been ever so busy! We're happy to say that Shawn is doing good now, is home from the hospital, and back to work as of yesterday. He did suffer a mild heart attack which thankfully, did minimal damage to his heart. A heart cath was performed and he now has two stents to repair the 100% blockage. He is in for some major lifestyle changes as his family history warrants it and his sudden decline in health this year alone. When we're not working, visiting Shawn in the hospital, assisting in Alexxis' care, finishing up our Christmas shopping, we've managed to find some time to spend with our families.

The other day, Amber and I went shopping for Christmas and groceries for our dinner here last night. Just when I thought I was through purchasing presents for Alexxis, I saw a beautiful molded plastic sled with a safety belt perfect for her. Wouldn't you know our snow would begin to melt right after I purchased it, LOL! I'm certain, however, we'll have plenty of snow before the end of winter and get to play with it yet.

After dropping off our groceries here, we continued on over to Amber's and I finished decorating their Christmas tree. I wish I'd taken my camera along as it is so beautiful! Last year, they purchased a beautiful white tree and added strands of colored lights to it and decorated with all of their glass ornaments. This year and since Alexxis is older and more mobile, I loaned them a set of silver and blue shatterproof ornaments. After purchasing a few more ornaments while we were out shopping, I set out to putting those on the tree. We lucked into finding a 100 ft. roll of a soft, sheer white with glittered blue swirls of ribbon which I then hung around the tree, drapping it softly over the entire tree. Since there was so much ribbon leftover, I set out to creating more bows! I really got the knack for them now after creating so many for our wedding decor! Anyways, I created and added two big beautiful bows for the tree top and many smaller ones to place onto the branches. A smaller spool of blue with white velvet embossed snowflakes ribbon was used to create even more bows and provided a beautiful contrast to those already on the tree and with the silver and blue ornaments, this tree really packs a punch! While working to created some creased-looking pleats in the ends of the bows, I accidently began creasing the ribbon we used as garland and instantly fell so much in love with the effect it created that I decided to do the entire ribboned garland in the same way. I couldn't get over how such a small touch could have such a big impact on the appearance of the tree! Amber and Chris began joking and teasing about how they intend to start up Cathy's Tree and Holiday Decorating business complete with me gift-wrapping presents. We laughed and had a great time decorating their home before Alexxis finally whisked me off to provide her with a bedtime bath. Afterwards, her and I cuddled on the couch and while snuggling her soft little body, smelling heavenly sent of baby lotion, soaking in the lights of the tree, I realized just how much my family has blessed my life! It is truly the little moments like this that make celebrating Christmas so magical!

In the early evening yesterday, we had a nice dinner here with Amber, Chris, and Alexxis. Our menu consisted of a cheeseball and crackers for an appetizer, stuffed pasta shells, a childhood favorite of Amber's, a fresh garden salad, wine, and apple pie for dessert. After dinner, we proceeded to exchanging and opening our Christmas gifts for one another. Alexxis' health is continuing to improve and she is once again her bright, shiny, bubbly self! At first she was a little uncertain of this "opening presents thing", after just days before being told "No.No." when attempting to touch or pull the bows off the packages. However, it wasn't long after discovering that there were toys, clothes, and other goodies inside them, she couldn't quite open them fast enough. Her favorite gift was a baby doll that Santa brought complete with a few outfits, booties, a bib, a bear, a pacifier and a bottle. And heaven forbid that Grandma attempt to throw the box she came in away! Oh no! We can't have that, LOL! After visiting, playing, laughing, making preparations to pack up and go home, I had a fight on my hands attempting to put a coat and hat on a near two year old, squiggly and squirming body that all the while screamed, "Baby! Baby!" as Mommy picked up the box and the doll to take it home. I don't believe we've ever laughed so much or so hard as we did at that moment. What a character she is becoming!

Tonight, little Miss will sleepover at Grandma's and Papa's; let's hope Mommy and Daddy don't forget to bring that baby along! Grandma and Papa have one last surpise up their sleeves and are planning to take her and her doll out to look at Christmas lights! She loves to look out our window and see the lights at the fairgrounds all lighted up; just wait until we actually get to drive through them. I can hear the squeals and screams of delight already!

As I sat, late last night, enjoying a cup of Starbucks Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha, soaking in the glowing lights from our Christmas tree, I suddenly realized that I am not quite ready to let go of the Christmas spirit quite just yet. Thankfully, I don't have to. We've still Christmas to celebrate with my parents on Christmas Eve and will enjoy a wonderful Christmas dinner with Don's side of the family on Christmas day. It truly is a magical, mystical time of year!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I need to postpone my blog giveaway for a few short days but rest assured that I'll continue working on putting it all together as time allows. The last several days have been busy for us for several reasons. One, we've been assisting in taking care of Alexxis. Our poor grand-daughter has been sick with a cold, cough, upper respiratory congestion, and a middle ear infection. All these things have been and have occurred over the course of the past few weeks, and while discussing Alexxis's health we fear that she may have received one of the tainted and recalled HIB vaccines. We're still awaiting the report from her pediatrician with the results of tracking the lot number on the vaccine she received. For preventative measures, she has now received a double dose of a potent antibiotic and a breathing treatment - which immediately seemed to be making things easier for her. So much in fact that one {breathing machine} and the medication was prescribed for her and will be administered at home. Within hours her condition seemed to be improving. The message I'd like to send to all parents is to follow your heart where your children's health is concerned. If your not satisfied with the answers you're given, seek that second opinion. Unfortunately, Alexxis has suffered needlessly for a few days as we told "it's a virus; and needs to run it's course." Thankfully, we followed our heart and got that second opinion and the treatment that she needs.

Yesterday, we received even more bad news. Don's son, was admitted to our local hospital. It is possible that he has had a mild heart attack. He is receiving a heart cath this morning to assess his heart's condition, check for any possible blockages, and repair them if present. If you could say a prayer or send up any positive thoughts for our family, I can assure you that they would be greatly appreciated. Here's to receiving some "good news" soon; hopefully, no repairable damage has been done. I'll try to keep everyone updated.

During the holiday season, these events have served as a reminder to us to be even more thankful for the important things in our lives, our family and friends. Although, it's nice to think and do the Christmas decorating, gift shopping, spending time with our family and friends, the real gift lies in having them close to us in presence, thought, and prayer. Now, I'm off to figure out how to wrap up all our love.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The finishing touches...

I completed my house booklet today and I believe it came out more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. Tomorrow, I'll pulling and putting together a few more little goodies to go along with it. Stay tuned....

Working on my "blog-giveaway!"

Oh my goodness! I'd almost forgotten how much I love creating with paper! I had this idea in my head for a month or so now, but lacked any time to act upon the inspiration, but today, I made the time to do just that! Using a template of a house shape, I recreated it on a 12x12 piece of cardstock that I could accordian fold to create a double-sided little book! Well, since it is "thee season" using a Christmas theme seemed like the noble thing to do! I cannot show all of the things this little book will one day possess as so many parts and pieces of it are still drying, but I hope this sneak peak provides everyone a clue!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

For some strange reason, my hyperlinks aren't working. You can visit Lianne's blog at and Jan's at

I apologize for the need to copy and paste!

From someone who never ceases to amaze me!

I honestly do not know how she does it! But no one does any better than Lianne does! She always warms my heart with her amazing listening ears, her warm, caring words, and ever not-far-from-my-thoughts presence. Everything she does and touches is more beautiful, more perfect, more re-assuring than any one woman that I have ever known and I'm certain there are many others who can attest to that. Lianne, from mailed us this beautiful card; the wishes inside were truly heartfelt. Thank you so much, my dear friend! I'll cherish it always!

And while we're on the subject of celebrating! I've another celebration to share. In honor of my 1500th!!! post on my blog, I desired to host a giveaway! In light of all the recent life events going on, I hope you'll return soon as I put something special together to share. I'll post it soon, I promise!

A wonderful gift from the Far North

I don't know how Jan could have known, but one of Don's favorites meals is yes, indeed, Salmon! Jan, from sent us this wonderful hand-created recipe card for Salmon Spread! Also, enclosed was a can of Alaskian Salmon and this wonderful carved porcelian spreader. We are both excited to pick up the ingredients to try this and will always remember Jan's kindness each and every time we use it. Thank you so much! We love it!

Thank You!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! to all my internet friends. The past several days have been a whirlwind of activity and filled with so many new blessings. Our wedding ceremony and reception couldn't have any more beautiful, especially since we've
been blessed by the precense of so many of our family members and friends.

I also want to say, "Thank you!" to everyone who has emailed, posted on my blog, mailed us a "Congratulations!" card or sent a gift. Don told me yesterday he knew he married the right woman when he opened our mailbox. He said, "See! Everybody loves you!" Thank you, each and everyone of you. Cards will be mailed, just as soon as I catch my

With love,
Mr. and Mrs. Don Reams

{Just a few of the goodies that have recently arrived:}

In Sweet Rembrance of Mary Myrtie Reams

A treasured Reams Family Heirloom

The handcrafted frame created by Mary's father, with the picture of Uncle Carroll added by Aunt Alice. Presented to us on our Wedding Day, December 8th, in the year of our lord, Two thousand and Seven.

Introducing "Mr. & Mrs. Don Reams"

Did my heart love till now? Forswear it sight, For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night." — Romeo

Saturday morning began just like any other day in our lives, almost! The exception was that although I'd managed to remain calm, cool, and collected while preparing for the biggest event that would influence the rest of our lives, on Saturday, the "Wedding Day" jitters hit! Big time! Our list of "things to do" was the shortest its been in a while and thankfully provided me with something to focus my attention on.

Early in the morning, we ran a few errands, picking up my beautiful bouquet, the meat and cheese trays, my dear daughter, Amber, before I arrived at Rita's at noon for her to work her magic on my hair. Returning home, Don and I laughed and joked around while putting the finishing touches on our home in preparation of our wedding ceremony and reception. We found some time to sit and relax in the afternoon and began talking about some of the special moments we both remembered from spending the previous eight years together. Feeling comfortable and content with just being us, just the way we were, I decided last minute not to change my clothes that I had originally intented to wear.

Shortly after 5 p.m., our guests began to arrive. Chuck, our minister, Jim and Rosella, Don's best man and my matron of honor. We did a brief walk through of where we'd stand and discussed some last minute details of the ceremony and event. Shortly afterwards, Aunt Alice arrived. I have to tell you some of the history of this event, it's part of what assisted in making our day so special amd memorable!

Don and Jim have been best friends ever since they were young. I'm going to guess they were approximately seven or eight years of age at the time. Anyways, as all good friends do, they used to laugh and joke with one another that they would one day be related by family. Little did either of them know, that their wish would one day come true. Years later, Don's father passed away and shortly thereafter, Jim's father would pass on, too. This left Aunt Alice a widow, but not for too long a period. A few years later, Aunt Alice met, fell in love, and married Don's Uncle Carroll. After living many years together and sharing a happy life, Aunt Alice was once again widowed after Uncle Carroll passed away. There's an uncanny sense of resemblance between Don's father, Vernal and Carroll. For being brothers, you'd swear that they were twins although a few years separated them in age. But anyways, Aunt Alice searched for the "just right" gift to give to us on our wedding day and arrived with a treasured family heirloom that neither of us nor our guests knew anything about.

As Don and I opened the gift, Aunt Alice told us the story behind the photograph and the frame, and that is the story I'm repeating today. The gift was a picture and picture frame. The picture was of Don's uncle Carroll, in his work clothes. Carroll was a construction worker who built houses and did remodeling projects for many, many years along beside Don's dad. The frame is a beautiful handcrafted frame from the 1800's, filled with family history. Behind the framed picture of Carrol, lies an "In Memorandum" card of Mary Myrtie Reames. Mary died on January 25th, in 1891 at the age of 14 yrs., 6 mos., 23 days. Her father handcrafted the frame to hold the "In Loving Remembrance" card of his dear daughter's death. This family heirloom was discovered in the remains of Uncle Carroll's possession by Aunt Alice after Carroll's death. Desiring for the card and the photograph of Carroll to remain in the Reams family {who had long ago dropped the additiona "e" from the Reames family name} Alice gifted this us on our wedding day!

As our additional guests arrived, the photograph and frame was passed around and the story behind it retold several times. It will remain in our family, perhaps one day re-gifted to yet another Reams family member on their wedding day, truly bringing both the treasured heirloom and the meaning of family, to another beautiful bride.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Tomorrow promises...

to be yet another busy day. There's some last minute clearing and decluttering to be done; most of it from my baking and decorating preparation fiasco of today's activities. The good news is that Chaos will be taken to our Vet for boarding, so he won't be under foot nor tracking anything back into our home until after the weekend is over. A lot of the finishing touches will be made tomorrow morning and by the end of the evening, leaving most of the day Saturday for having my hair done, picking up the meat and cheese trays, and setting the buffet things up. I'm hoping to be dressed and ready to go by 4:00 p.m. in order for Don and I to have a few minutes of time to ourselves, if only to sit and relax, before our guests begin to arrive. One more day.... then, I'll be an "honest" to goodness married woman! LOL!

A shot from the front door looking in towards the kitchen...

After we finished hanging the outdoor tulle, greenery and lights, we turned our attention to decorating the large opening in our kitchen using the same technique. It's beautiful to walk into the room and see this hanging. Again, it provides a "magical" feeling to the space.

Outside decor

Don and I worked late this afternoon/early evening to get the light pole and the Christmas greenery, lights, and tulle hung on the front porch. I love the way the white lights shine through the white tulle adding to the "frosty" appearance of the outdoor winter snow. It provides an almost magical quality, perfect for our wedding. There are still touches that we'll be adding to the front porch... a rug in front of the door, the wooden chair with the small Christmas tree, and a few faux presents at the base of them. I'm hoping it remains cold enough through the next several days that the ice luminaries make it for using! Wish us luck with that one. In the event that we cannot use them, we've set aside our large bronze candlestand with two hanging candlabras style laterns that we can dress up with more greenery and tulle.
I've added so many new photographs that unfortunately, they cannot all be viewed on just one page. If you'd love to see some of our Christmas and wedding decor, be sure to click on the older post link at the bottom of the page. I still have a long way to go, and a short amount of time to get there before Saturday arrives so I really need to cut this short and consider my break of the day over. But anyways, I hope that my visitors have enjoyed this tour and please, leave me a comment so that I can visit and view yours. I love looking at everyone's decor, Christmas or otherwise, you just never know by what or who you'll be inspired by!

With that, I'll leave you with a quote that I feel appropriate sums up my recent posts and some of what I'm feeling inside... Enjoy!

Christmas waves its magic wand over this world and behold, everything is sofer and more beautiful! ~ Norman Vincet Peale

One more...

We purchased this dragonfly in a set of three from the Christmas Castle. Don and I discovered them while on a visit to Portsmith, Ohio a few years ago. Unfortunately, while re-visiting the area earlier this summer, we learned that they had closed. What I shame, I so would have liked to have visited with them once again. Finding these small shops in little out of the way places on some of our road trips is what makes the ride all that more worthwhile!

A letter from Santa {for Alexxis}

A few of my favorite ornaments....

This little bird is one of six that clips onto the branches of our tree. They were another find at "Tis the Season Christmas shop that we ventured into over in Amish country.

And last, but certainly, not the least....

Our Christmas tree....

We purchased this 7 1/2 foot tree a few years ago. We both love it but it has posed its share of problems each year on where to place it within our home. Since the tree is a lot bigger than any we'd previously owned, I purchased new ornaments the same year to decorate it with. Since that time we've added to them, purchasing ornaments that we like and love on many of our travels here and there. We both look forward to adding to our collection every year. One day, it may become to look like those you see in the pages of Home and Garden magazine, but for now, we love it just the way it is!

A floral arrangement created by "yours truly"

This rustic wooden tool style box was a yard sale find discovered over the summer. It previously held our remote controls before I converted it into a Christmas poinsettia floral arrangement. The ice skates ornaments, I was thrilled over finding at 'Tis the Season shop, late this summer when Don and I visited Amish country. Those skates were pricey, but I instantly fell in love with them. They add just the right touch, placed here in front of this floral arrangement. On our Christmas tree are more of the finds I discovered and purchased while there. I enjoyed remembering our visit there and adding them to some we'd found years earlier at the Christmas Castle on a road trip to Portsmith, Ohio a few years before. Do you reminisce about when and where your Christmas ornaments were purchased or perhaps gifted to you? I've noticed that I do, not only with ornaments, but the things that we display within our home. It's wonderful and a great way to share with family and friends more about who we are and our the hopes of what we desire to become.

Christmas Santa's...

lined up on top of the corner curio cabinet and a red candle graces yet another garden clotch. I'll be adding a red bow and a small piece of greenery to this one in just a little bit.

Tapletop vignette...

This vignette is placed on one of the endstands in our new living room area. I added a favorite Christmas tree shaped candle inside one of my garden clotches and graced the knob with a tartan ribbon. A vase filled with velvet poinsettas assists to add a touch of more red color to the room.

A vignette in our living room...

This is the vignette I've added to the niche in the living room wall. I found the bird style feeder and the "Blessed" sign many months ago at Home Goods, while the candle is one of my most cherished possessions. It was created by my dear daughter Amber when she was in the sixth or seventh grade. I added another Christmas candle ring to assist with the not over the top Christmas decor.

Small touches of Christmas scattered about...

I wrapped the candles on a set of wall sconces using Basic Grey scrapbook paper, tied a piece of jute around the candle and added a Christmas candle ring. This is one of the two sconces created this way that graces both sides of the living room niche.

Our Dessert Buffet station...

We decided to utilize the back countertop for our dessert buffet. Small plates will be added for our guests to help themselves. Once the tree is removed from the table top of the back table, our wedding cake will be placed there along with any additional items we'll need room for. To the left of this area is a small breakfast bar {not shown in the above pictures} where we'll place a large bucket of ice cold Martini and Rossi Asti Spumante and our champagne flutes --- all ready for our champagne wedding toast! Cutting the cake and having Jim, our best man, host the toast will be made into one smooth transition after our wedding ceremony and as we begin the reception. Utilizing this area of our kitchen accomplishes a lot! It allows room for our guests to see us from the front portion of the kitchen and allows us room to set up for the meat and cheese, side dishes, and beverages in that front section of the our kitchen. This will also asssist with clean up after the big event!

Today's accomplishments....

I baked 72 sugar cookies! Now, before everyone begins thinking I'm super-woman; I have to admit I cheated just a bit this year. With everything that I knew would be requiring my attention, I opted to pay a visit to GFS {Gordon's Food Service} and purchase a box of frozen, pre-cut sugar cookies. All I had to do was bake and decorate them. Here they are placed on a dessert plate stand, along with some thawing petit fours, and more on a platter. I've still approximately 24 of them to finish icing.

One of our two Christmas Trees

This is one of the two Christmas trees that I've decorated this Christmas season. For a few years now, we've used this tree within our home; the first time being a year and half ago when my first grandchild, Alexxis was born and shared her first Christmas with us. Last year, this tree was adorned with silver and blue shatterproof ornaments. This year, I once again choose shatterproof ornaments, only in a red and gold color scheme. When Don and I decided we'd decorated our home for our upcoming wedding, I changed the theme to red and gold to co-ordinate with our home's kitchen decor. Just a few days ago, I decided I'd love to use this tree on our front porch so later today, we will hanging all the greenery, surrounded in white lights, and white wedding tulle. We've decided to place this tree on a wooden chair beside our front door, and wrap a few faux boxes up as presents to create another small welcoming vignette there for our guests. I'll try to remember to capture a photograph of it on Saturday after we make the move to utilize it there.
My first waking thought this morning was that in just 3 short days, Don and I will celebrating OUR WEDDING DAY! As I laid in bed, lingering in that moment, I felt the continued sense of peace and tranquility that I'd began experiencing yesterday. It wasn't long before that I realized there is still plenty to do and being the lazy bones that I was being, I knew I needed to get up and start my day! Stetching lazily, I got up, and as I entered into our kitchen, I was greeted by the smell of a fresh brewed pot of coffee. I discovered that I couldn't keep from smiling as I realized it was made with love from the hands of the man I'm going to marry! Don isn't a coffee drinker, so the fact that he often surpises me like this, is always a reminder of his love, caring, and thoughfulness. What a wonderful way to greet the day!

As I set about to filling my coffee cup, thoughts of all that is yet to be completed began to rush in, attempting to fill my head. As I gently pushed them away,I knew instantly how I intended to start my day! I wanted to savor the events and accomplishments of yesterday. As I booted up the computer to begin updating my blog, I sat in silence, listening to quiet hum of the computer and absorbing the heat generating from our home's furnace. My heart began burning with thankfulness, and I took a few moments to offered up yet another sweet, little prayer.

There is still yet a long list of things to hanging and putting out our outdoor decorations, baking and decorating some Christmas cookies, preparing the apettiters for baking on Saturday, and some last minute cleaning after we board Chaos tomorrow. But what yesterday allowed me to do was relax, put things into a renewed sense of perspective, to slow down, lingering, and enjoying the remaining process of it all!

Making up for my recent "down" time...

Yesterday morning, we woke to a beautiful Winter Wonderland here in Ohio. A fast-moving Alberta clipper brought the first measurable amount of snowfall of the season and I was able to simply sit and savor some of its wintry beauty as Don and I made the round trip to Columbus and back. He needed to make a warehouse trip once again and I rode along desiring to keep him company and keep my mind free from worrying while he travelled along the snow-covered roads. Doing so provided me with some much needed clarity of what we needed to get back to working on upon our return.

Along the first leg of the trip, I became lost in my own thoughts regarding the wedding ceremony and reception, while sparkly snow-covered vignettes whizzed by as we travelled. As I soaked in the beauty that was set before me due to the decreased visibilitiy, I settled into the slower pace that we were traveling. I was once again reminded of God's nurturing spirit and that his time has it own seasons. My mind calmed down and I felt a renewed sense of assurance that we'd accomplish all that was yet to do and be done as I offered up a prayer of praise and thanksgiving.

Needing to put some time between us and our arrival at the warehouse allowed us time to slow down and enjoy being in the here and now. Away from all the distractions, the to do lists, the thoughts of all that had yet to be done, we both relaxed and enjoyed one another's company. We made a stop at Home Goods, near Powell, Ohio, were we shopped for some Christmas themed dish and bath towels to display and use during our reception. I was also stunned to discover some gifts that I felt were suitable for gift-giving to Alexxis. The recent scare of lead-based paint on children's toys imported in from China had left me seeking a few new solutions, so I was thrilled beyond belief to discover a doll and outfit set, a complete set of wooden alphabet blocks with a storage container, and a wooden colors and shapes puzzle, all created here in the good old USA, free of lead based paints! A shiny new metal and beaded kaledioscope for less than $4 will also make for a wonderful stocking stuffer for her and I believe she'll enjoy these gifts immensely. These finds, along with my renewed sense of tranquility, eased my hurried mind as we continued on towards our destination.

Getting closer, we realized we had yet another hour and a half to delay, so we made yet another stop into Macy's at Tuttle Crossing Mall. There we picked up a gift for Amber for Christmas and the accompanied discounted make-up container and case saved us even money on the make-up I desired to purchase for our wedding day. I loved that I was able to slay two birds with only the one stone! Next, we made our way next door to Panera Bread, where we enjoyed a warm cup of coffee and an enjoyable lunch before arriving at the warehouse a short time later.

Some pre-planning by me the evening before of using our last invoice and checking off the items we needed to pick up and the a notation of any differences in quanities, made filling and completing a new invoice easy for Mark. A quick highlight of any items not in stock while filling the order and a quick edit of those on the computer allowed us to be in and out all within an hour! That in and of itself was yet another God-send! It meant we wouldn't be dealing with Columbus's rush hour traffic and we'd arrive back in town an hour and a half earlier that we'd originally intended!

We used that "saved" amount of time to stop at the jeweller's to pick up Don's wedding band and ventured to the our County's Courthouse to receive our Marriage License! After dropping off our newest store purchases, we stopped by my parents for a brief, yet enjoyable visit, before making our way home.

Arriving at home, I was instantly in "go" mode, ready to tackle some of the tasks at hand. Don assisted me by folding favor boxes as I worked to fill them with candies. Next, we moved on to filling the small Christmas gift bags we'll use to hand them out within. Red and greeen Christmas shred was added to each, along with a beautiful crystal candle holder and candle, a note pad, and favor box was placed within each. I used a large empty bronze hammered planter to place them in and moved it and a planter stand closer to our front door.

Next, we hung our Christmas wreath upon the front door, and began working in the kitchen establishing stations for our wedding day buffet. Figuring out what was going where, we began setting up what items we could. While I cleared the living room of some of the recent clutter that had accumulated in preparation of re-arranging a few pieces of our furniture, Don washed up what little dished we'd dirtied from the evening before and our morning breakfast. Afterwards, we rearranged a few pieces of furniture, set out to cleaning up a little, and redecorated those areas. While Don wound down in front of the TV, I used the time to gift-wrap our days purchases and placed those gifts under our Christmas tree. As I finally sat down on the couch last night, comfy in my pj's, a cup of hot decaffinated tea in hand, I couldn't help but to smile while soaking up all the white lights sparkling on our Christmas tree. That light reminded me of God's light, casting its soft glow of love on everything it comes in contact with. With that thought in mind, I made my way onto bed, breathing a huge sigh of relief from all that we'd managed to accomplish.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Less Than One Week Away!

Don and I are so far behind in what we'd hoped to have accomplished before our wedding on Saturday. Unfortunately, I've spent the last 3 of 4 days attempting to fight off an upper respiratory virus that has been plaguing nearly everyone we know. I know that its said one should not "self-medicate" themselves, but with our wedding less than a week away, I felt as if I had no other alternative.  After suffering the first day under a pile of blankets and fleece throws,  shivering so bad my teeth chattered, and experiencing the most awful body aches I've ever experienced in my entire life, I remembered a prescription of antibiotics  that were originally prescribed to me over the summer for a rash {I didn't take them then as I couldn't help but to wonder what the hell that was all about!} As it turns out it is a good thing that I did dose myself  as walking pneumonia is now going around. Anyways, after spending the last four days flat on my back,  today I'm all set and ready to play catch up! Even if it means that we may need to lower our standards of what we'd previously envisioned for  our big day and I have to take a few extra breaks in between all the doings and decorating. Thankfully, the things we have managed to accomplish are done completely, and the things we need to do are small in comparison.