December 30, 2011

Beading Lesson

I hope everyone enjoyed a nice holiday over the past weekend.  We enjoyed a lot of overdue family time with Oz's mom, siblings, nephews and nieces and our friend Jesse.  Most of Christmas day we spent in Silverton hanging out with the family.  Christmas night Oz's niece, Imani, came down to Corvallis and spent the night with us.  The following morning we spent our time in the local bead shops and craft stores getting supplies to make bracelets and other jewelry.  Imani did a great job at beading.  She knew exactly what she wanted and she finished two projects faster than I usually do with just one.  Unfortunately I didn't get any photos of her finished necklace and bracelet (she's a little shy and doesn't like her photo taken).

Even Uncle Osvaldo helped Imani with her beading!

December 21, 2011

Melted Snowman Cookies

 I found a cute tutorial for making melted snowman cookie recipe online and HAD to make it.  I didn't have a lot of time so mine were a little sloppy but they were still cute and tasty!

This is the original snowman cookies and recipe found at  Theirs is much more professional than mine but mine took a lot less effort.

 I also made a snowman cheese ball...another great idea off line.  

Here is the table spread from the party.  I made fondue, many different cupcakes, cheese and meats, snowmen cookies, deviled eggs and pigs in a blanket.

December 15, 2011

Letter to Santa (An Explanation of Charlotte's Christmas Distruction)

Dear Sandy Paws:

My name is Charlotte and I like your name.  You must go to the beach like I do because I bet your paws are covered in sand by the sound of your name. I like the beach, I also like the sand volleyball courts my mom takes me to in the neighborhood.  

 Here is a photo of me so you will recognize me on Christmas eve.

I've been a good Boston Terrier all year.  Mom said you bring presents to good puppies that don't get into trouble. I just wanted to explain a few things about some of the photos mom took of me. She thinks I've been a "Christmas terror" whatever that is.  Actually, I've been helping her around the house however I can.  I don't know why she gets mad sometimes.

Here, I have helpfully unwrapped this box someone left inside our door.  I have also taste tested some of the cookies to make sure they are good enough to eat.  (They were in case you were wondering).
This is a photo of mom on the phone with her mom, letting her know the Christmas cookies arrived on time and that I made sure they were edible.  (That's me in the background saying hi and looking for more food to taste test).
I've also been saving mom the trouble of gift wrapping my presents.  I took this beaver toy out of the bag and was showing her and dad that I am happy without the wrapping.  Too bad Kenny the beaver wasn't made very sturdy, he fell apart after 10 minutes of play.  (I think mom got me another one to replace it.  I saw him peeking out from another bag mom put high on a shelf this time).

I am also handy in the kitchen.  I always let mom know when its time for her to take out the trash.  

As you can see Sandy Paws, I've been a very good help this year.  Please bring me fun toys to play with and maybe you could tell my friends to come visit me at my house I would love to play with them.


December 08, 2011

Giving the Tree the Trim

Last night I put the finishing touches on our Christmas tree at home.  We brought it home 2 weeks ago but because I was sick forever it seemed like I didn't get a chance to start decorating it until this weekend.  I also kept running out of craft supplies so I had to keep going back to the craft store in order to finish the tree.  Truth be told we finished decorating it the night we walked it down the street from the boy scout lot but after we had all the ornaments up I decided it was not very impressive.  After all the trees I decorated at the store and saw at the Festival of Trees I decided ours could be much better with some cheap and easy add-ons.  So I started over!

Above is the first attempt at decorating our tree.  It was fine but there was no central theme connecting our ornaments to each other.  It looked like they were thrown on at random.  Also, there just wasn't as many ornaments as we needed to fill in a 6 1/2 foot tree.  So with some clever thinking, I put together more ornaments that didn't cost much and that would tie the whole tree together.

This was the first tree topper we put up there.  Its just a plain star looking lonely on the top branch.

This photo shows 3 of the new additions to the tree that didn't cost more than $20 altogether to make.  I bought pink tissue paper and made a set of 10 carnation like flowers that were about 6 inches in diameter that I stuck around the tree.  I also bought a stack of scrapbook paper for $10 and made a set of 15 paper fans that I clothes pinned to the tree as well as 15 silhouettes of Charlotte, the bunnies, Oz and myself.  I traced our images onto printed paper then layered it onto a second sheet of paper and then hot glued fancy ribbon around the edges.  On Charlotte's I added a cut out heart and scarf detail.

Bunny girl's photo.  Also in this photo is another addition to the tree.  The purple glitter garland in the top of the photo.  I probably spent the most on the garland.  I bought 4 strands of this to wrap around the tree.  I paid about $36 for the garland.

Oz.  His beard makes him look not as close to himself as I thought.  He kinda turned out like Santa.

Me. Altogether I made 3 sets of each family member.  I made an extra 4th set that I am saving to clip onto our stockings when I finish them so I can tell everyone's apart.

My buddy boy.  He's so dapper!

I made a bunch of these tree ornaments a few years ago and was selling them at a craft market.  I had a bunch of misc. buttons my grandma gave me so I used them for these trees.  I found them in my Christmas collection and thought they would look really nice with our tree.

My beach gnome I bought in Lincoln city when my mom and nana came to visit.  Poor little gnome had a fall the other night and I had to hot glue his leg back on.  He is resting while it recovers.

The improved tree topper.  I left the silver star at the top and added two magnolia sprays I bought 2 for 1.  I thought they were very beautiful and elegant.  And then I added my favorite owl tree topper I bought a few years ago.  He is so classic he matches many different tree designs.

From the before photo to the after photos it looks like I removed a lot of the ornaments that were first on there and replaced them with all new ones.  Actually the only one that I did not keep on the tree were these paper origami ones I made a few years ago.  I left all the other ornaments on the tree.   Just adding a few new ornaments and decorations that shared a theme really made the whole tree one completely work of art.  And the best part is I only spent about $60 for new decorations that will last for quite a few years.  I had lots of fun making my own ornaments and putting the tree together.  I am still working on the decorations for the rest of the house.  When I finish I will be sure to add them to the blog.

The final touch to the Christmas tree is a pen around it to keep Charlotte away from the presents and the ornaments.  I caught her twice running round with packages and ornaments from the tree.  Naughty girl!

December 07, 2011

Holiday Decorations and Family Photos

 I'm sure a lot of people have dropped into the store recently and seen our Christmas decorations already.  I wanted to post some photos of my display anyways for those of you who have not seen the store yet.  (Also I wanted to show my mom what I've been working on since she won't get to see it this year from Nevada).  I put a lot of work into the display this year.  I worked 5 weeks straight getting the Christmas decorations up and organized.  Thank goodness I had help for the other ladies at the store or else I don't think it would have been done on time.  It turned out lovely and I am very pleased with the results.

Here are some of the many great details from the Schmidt's Holiday gift display:

 This is a close up of the "Garden Tree".  There are lots of ornaments for gardeners including snowmen with shovels and overall on, beautiful poinsettias that you can stick in the tree or use in a container, pastel colored watering cans that are just as pretty as functional, angel garden girls, plus lots more...

 A close up of the watering can on the garden tree.

 Other fun items in the "Garden" corner include pastel bird feeders in cute castle and barn designs, garden frogs to decorate the yard, porch or table top, 12x12 prints of garden art that are printed on weather safe canvas and lots more not shown in the photos.

 A close up of the froggy just hanging out on the garden bench.  The windows in the back ground of the photo were sprayed with this really cool spray on snowflake design to make the windows look naturally frosted over for winter.

 This is really pretty.  It is a close up of a holiday banner of a chickadee that you can hang inside or outdoors.  It also is printed on weather safe canvas to hang in the snow and rain of the winter months.

This tree was fun to decorate.  I loved putting giant glittered poinsettias in this Christmas tree along with golden glittered butterflies and glittered pinecones.

 Our counter area display.  We have our holiday jewelry out as well as new items this year including garden hats and shoes for your garden, adorable hats for babies to wear during the Holiday season, lady bug decor, shoe ornaments and CHOCOLATE!  We have sold the dickens out of the chocolate.  Its all made local and it is delicious.  We've been giving out free samples and if you haven't tried it yet, I advise you come in and try some.  We can't stop "taste testing" it!

 A close up of the shoe ornament tree.

The gnome corner.  The black bookcases we got in earlier this year really make the gnomes stand out in them. 

Gnomes swinging in the trees

Snowy owl in tree

Woodland section of the Christmas display

Full sized Elf workshop in the greenhouse.  It took me two weeks to build this.  It has been a delight to see all the children of the neighborhood come in and ooh and ahh over this house.  One little boy asked very politely if the elves inside would let him in because he appreciated all their work they do.

Close up of the window boxes.  We had two perfect plant containers sitting in the store that worked as window boxes.  I painted them red and added poinsettias inside.
I also added a real door knob to the house.  People keep trying to open it and peek inside!
Close up of glittery roof shingles

Santa's workshop at night in the greenhouse

Light up Christmas presents really added sparkle to the poinsettias
Monday night Oz, Charlotte and I came to the store to take our annual holiday photos.  Even though the store doesn't have an official photo shoot day this year, I still encourage people to come in and take some family photos.  The greenhouse makes a lovely backdrop for photos, especially around 5pm when the Christmas lights really twinkle.

What a good Christmas puppy!

In front of the Santa house

Even the trees inside the store make pretty backgrounds for photos

 I hope everyone out there is enjoying December as much as I am.  Happy Holidays everyone!

December 05, 2011

Winter's Eve

Friday night was the big 'Winter's Eve' event in downtown Corvallis.  For the event Madison Street is blocked off to traffic and a big heated tent is erected to host the annual fundraiser for the Assistance League of Corvallis.  When you purchase a ticket you buy your entry into the tent and it also covers free wine and beer samples, free food from local vendors that have tables set up inside the tent, and tons of coupons to use during the month of December at local stores and restaurants throughout Corvallis.

This year, Rachel, Whitney and I attended the event after work at Schmidt's.  We strolled downtown, drank chocolate stout beer samples at the Brewery Supply Co., did some light Christmas shopping, and ate until we were about to explode from all the free food samples!  It was very fun and we all had a good time.  The weather was clear and there was no rain, so it was perfect to walk around downtown Corvallis and window shop.

Outside the tent.  I love the decorated trees and presents out front.  It always looks so inviting.

 Rachel and Whitney entering a drawing from Great Harvest Bread Co.

 The inside is always packed with people eating, sitting and entering the silent auction.  It was amazing that the girls and I found a table to eat our snacks at.  Usually we just stand and eat because there are so many people.

Not only is the event inside the tent but throughout downtown there are various Christmas carols being sung and bands playing to greet residents of Corvallis that are out and about on the Winter's Eve night.

I love this event.  I am so glad I got to go again this year.  Just being downtown and being a part of something festive is a great way to start of December and the rest of the Christmas season.
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