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Sunday, December 24, 2017

Our Holiday Home (things change and things stay the same)

2017 has been a year of transition for us, so I thought I would share a popular old post, below, that I wrote when were going through another transition. Merry Christmas, and best wishes for the coming year!

Well, I wasn't going to join in on any of the holiday home tours this year.  You see, we are a family "in transition".  We sold our home of nearly seventeen years last winter -- after nearly a year of commuting back and forth between Colorado's Front Range and the Pacific Northwest.  Until late last spring, we did not know if we would be staying in the PNW, or if we would be transferred to South Africa.  We found out we are staying.  Late this summer, we bought a house.

The  house we bought is a fixer upper that has been partly gutted.  For now, we still live in tiny temporary digs -- so small, we can either keep the dog or have a Christmas tree.   So, I won't be sharing a tour of our Holiday apartment.  Instead, I will share some holiday decor from our "new" home and surroundings -- and did I mention the "new" home is on the beach?

Our Christmas Mantel.

The brass deer reindeer head over the wall shelf to the right of the mantel might have made this vignette feel un-balanced, but the strip of baseboard accented with Romex and outlets grounds the arrangement.  Soot stained natural brick adds warmth to the scene.

Here is another view of the mantel vignette.  (Sometimes it's best to step way back when you view artistic creations like this.)

Here is a close-up of the deer reindeer  head.

If you look carefully, there is a bit of Christmas garland hanging in the far corner of the dining room.  The former owners thoughtfully left that for us. 

In the kitchen, we're going for that "spare" look, with pops of mold.  For a touch of whimsy, we've leaned doors against the wall, and strewn some lumber about.  Exposed plumbing adds shimmer.

My loft studio is decorated in mostly neutral colors.  The red plastic bucket was placed along the west wall as a nod to traditional Christmas decor.  We call it, "neutral traditional modern".  Like the kitchen, we've kept the decor intentionally spare.

We've continued the spare, but neutral theme on the entry deck.  Here, the buckets are white for some added drama.

Again, sometimes you need to step way back to appreciate a creation.  You can see that we have added some more unexpected touches with pop bottles and assorted wrappers.  We think it adds a festive feel to the scene.

No room goes untouched this Christmas at our house! Here we have begun to stack this flagstone in the shape of a sleigh and reindeer.  Hopefully, we will have the entire vignette finished in time for the jolly old elf's visit!

We believe it's important to be able to see into adjacent spaces, so we've kept the guest bath and laundry room as open as possible.  Here, the bucket is black, to remind us that Christmas is not just about red and white buckets, and brass reindeer heads, and flagstone sculptures, and shimmery plumbing. 

We've kept the porch that faces the ocean very simple.  We feel the "chippy" white paint and broken rail give this holiday scene a rustic "Pottery Barn" feel.  It's a very trendy look right now.

Not wanting to do a half-way job with our Christmas decor, we've even decorated under the house. 

Sometimes the beauty of our Christmas decor gets me so choked up that I have to take a walk.   Two hundred feet, down this path.

And then I see this reminder from Heaven.  Christmas is not about the decor at all.  The plastic Santas, the buckets, the garland -- that's just noise.

Christmas is about a beautiful Gift of Love -- not wrapped in pretty paper and ribbons, but wrapped in swaddling clothes, and placed, not under a perfectly decorated Christmas tree in a beautifully appointed house, but in a lowly stable manger one starry night in Bethlehem.

Have a blessed Christmas!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Anatomical Heart Valentine {Tutorial}

Here's a fun Valentine to make for the person who holds your heart.

I made this one for my husband last year.

To make your own, you will need an old book page, some painting or coloring supplies, and optional stickers, washi tapes or embellishments.

Start with a sketch of a human heart, but take a little creative license to make part of it look like a Valentine heart. You can sketch in pen or pencil -- whichever you prefer. If freehand sketching is a little scary for you, print out a heart drawing and trace it. Or tape your book page to a sheet of office paper, and run it through your printer.

Now, begin coloring the different parts of the heart, adding layers of color until you get the desired result.

You can leave it like this, adding only a sentiment.

Or you can add flowers and lettering and stickers and washi tape -- or add any kind of embellishment you want. I don't recommend running out and buying supplies. Just use what you have.

It's a little corny, but my husband liked it.

If you are tired of winter, and ready for spring, here is an easy crepe paper garland that anyone can make. String a few across your mantel to remind you that spring is near!

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to House Revivals in the sidebar, so you won't miss the fun projects we have planned. Find us on Facebook, too, so you can catch all the "in between" stuff, and see what I'm working on throughout week on Instagram. Feel free to link today's project to all your favorite social media sites.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Valentine Pocket Hangers and Garlands {Upcycled Mixed-Media}

A couple of years ago, I found a great deal on old LP's in a local Goodwill. They were ten cents a piece, so I grabbed a stack of albums that met one of two criteria: good album, or good cover graphics.

We keep an old stereo at the beach house, so LP's get plenty of use, but since not all the vinyl was in good shape, I was looking for album covers that could easily be re-purposed. I found a melted LP, with beach themed graphics and decided to make some Valentine pockets with it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Inking Wooden Bingo Balls {or: When You've Lost All Your Marbles}

I recently realized I'd lost all my marbles -- actually, that's not entirely correct. You see my husband's mother passed away a couple of years ago and we inherited her lost marbles. So, really, my mother-in-law lost her marbles, and I never had them to begin with.

My husband grew up with a marble solitaire game that his parents picked up on a trip to Thailand in the late sixties or early seventies. When his mother passed away, he got the wooden game board, but the marbles were long gone. 

After much unsuccessful searching for "special" marbles that were small enough to fit the game board, I had almost resigned myself to buying a bag of cat's eyes, when I remembered we had a stash of wooden bingo balls. I decided to try my hand at dyeing the wooden balls, using stamp pads.

I grabbed an assortment of colors and ink types, and rolled the balls around on the pads -- use gloves for this, or hold a paper towel, and use that to roll the balls around. Once you have them covered, let them sit for a few minutes, then wipe off any excess ink, using a paper towel.

The process is highly addictive! I used both dye inks and pigment inks. I thought they both performed well, and I'm curious to see how well the dye inked pieces hold their color. I also experimented with some metallic inks, and they worked very well.

I intentionally wiped enough of the ink off the pieces to show the bingo numbers, because I like that the pieces had another life before this, and leaving the markings tells a story and adds a layer of interest.

We have played quite a few games with the new game pieces, and I have not had any issues with ink coming off on my hands. I also haven't had one winning game. Does anyone know the winning secret to marble solitaire?

This technique will also work with wooden beads, for jewelry and crafts!  You might also try using your stamps on wood pieces. Experiment with inks and whatever wood pieces you have on hand -- you might even try some of the popular ink sprays available now.

To see how to make your own DIY ink spray, click here.

To read about another Vietnam era family treasure, click here.

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to House Revivals in the sidebar, so you won't miss the fun projects we have planned. Find us on Facebook, too, so you can catch all the "in between" stuff, and see what I'm working on throughout week on Instagram. Feel free to link today's project to all your favorite social media sites.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Easy Birthday Easel Card

I recently wanted to make a special birthday card that had a little bit of extra dimension. Easel cards are perfect for this, as they fold flat to fit an envelope, but then stand up nicely on a mantel or desk.

To save time, I used a pre-made card base. You can usually find these on sale for around five dollars for a pack of fifty at craft stores.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

El Nacimiento {the Creche} at Tucson Museum of Art

Around this time last year, my husband and I were on vacation in Arizona. We both love Arizona -- for it's incredible beauty and history, as well as for the lovely people who live there. We met and fell in love while attending college in Arizona, and it was really special to revisit some of the places that were important to us.

I love handmade, human scaled architecture, so we visited La Casa Cordova, part of the Tucson Museum of Art complex. What a delightful surprise to find El Nacimiento (the creche) on display in La Casa Cordova. La Casa Cordova is a very old adobe house in what had once been the walled presidio area of the city.

The interior of the house was simply and humbly decorated for the holiday with tinsel and understated tissue paper flowers.

Then we stepped into the room that housed El Nacimiento, and wow! This was one of the largest nativity scenes I have ever seen. How I lived all those years in Arizona, and never once visited El Nacimiento is beyond me.

This nativity is the creation of Mexican American folk artist Maria Luisa Tena. Over many years, Maria created the display in memory of her mother, who taught her the Mexican tradition of creating nativity scenes.

The diorama depicts typical Mexican village scenes, Old Testament scenes, and, of course, the Nativity.

The detail of El Nacimiento are simply delightful, ranging from street market scenes to kitchen scenes to swan swimming in a waterfall fed pool.

There are pretty lights, foliage, wise men, and adobe houses.

There are farm animals, children, Bible characters, and villagers.

In the starry night sky, there are herald angels and puffy clouds.

Everywhere, there is whimsy. El Nacimiento tells the story of the hope of the Christ child throughout the ages in a way that delights the eye.

If you travel to Tucson, at any time of year, I recommend the Tucson Art Museum and La Casa Cordova. If you travel to Tucson during the holidays, El Nacimiento is not to be missed.

If you enjoyed learning about this Mexicn folk art custom, you might also enjoy this post about a Swedish woven star folk art tradition.

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to House Revivals in the sidebar, so you won't miss the fun projects we have planned. Find us on Facebook, too, so you can catch all the "in between" stuff, and see what I'm working on throughout the week on Instagram. Feel free to link today's project to all your favorite social media sites.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Easy Washi Tape Cards or Tags

Here is an easy last minute card or gift tag idea that helps bust your stash of decorative tapes and paper scraps, and diverts old book pages from the landfill.

The use of classic holiday ornament shapes, allows you to successfully use non-holiday papers and tapes to create lovely Christmas cards.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Paper Mache Father Christmas Tutorial

Don't you just love old fashioned Father Christmas decor?  Father Christmas ornaments always seemed a bit intimidating to me, so I never tried making them myself, until I discovered how easy this papier mache method is.

I was watching some of my favorite YouTube bloggers last year, and found that Emi, at Hectanooga1, has several papier mache tutorials.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Make These {Easy} Snowman Hat Ornaments!

These adorable little snowman hat ornaments are easy and fun to make, using recycled cardboard tubes and boxes.

Last year, on a trip to Arizona to visit family, I wanted to bring my sister-in-law a set of handmade ornaments with her kids' names on them. Of course, they weren't finished when it was time to travel, so I brought supplies and finished them when I got there.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Upcycled Altoids Tin Travel Spicy Farkel

A good friend was recently visiting from Colorado, and she gifted me with a Spicy Farkel game. This was the same friend who gifted me with a regular Farkel game a few months ago. I loved that game, and decided to alter a little round mint tin to make a travel Farkel game.

When my friend gifted me with the Spicy version of the game, I knew it needed it's own travel tin, as well.