Thursday, December 13, 2012

iPhonography: Weekends Lately

Dinner at Monza (we recommend the Volpini pizza, with arugula, prosciutto, and pecorino) || Birthday Date to Pan E Vino and yummy calamari (with cinnamon!) and Tiramisu || Ritzy Charleston || Apparently Joey's name is actually Jody? || Marley joins us for breakfast....and every other meal || Marscapone gelato from Paolo's || Christmas lights at Park Circle || Date at Sesame. we tried the burger with banana and peanut butter on it--strangely awesome! and another with fig and bacon jam with fontina--also good! || I'm in the market for some new glasses...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

DIY Activity Advent Calendar

I decided early on that I wanted to do an advent calendar that included little activities to do throughout December---which, I realize now, miiiiight have been asking too much along with the Power School schedule. Its amazing how quickly your hour-and-a-half-with-your-husband-on-weeknights goes by! But anyway...

Still determined, I came up with 25 activities to do--some quick and easy, some more detailed and involved. I settled on a sort of "advent tree" idea, hanging the numbered activities on the branches. I picked up some decorative floral branches from Michaels (50% off, what what!) and tossed them in a vase I already had. I printed the activities on card stock, then attached to kraft paper gift tags--two bucks for exactly 25. Next, a little twine to hang the tags from the branches.

Some of the things we planned:
- Read the Christmas Carol (spread over a few days)
- Make gingerbread houses
- Take cookies to neighbors
- Go shopping for presents to donate to children in need
- Go ice skating
- Have a dinner Buddy the Elf would love--french toast and hot chocolate
- Check out the Christmas lights in Charleston
- Make peppermint hot chocolate
- Have a PJ swap
- Watch a favorite Christmas movie

Then each day we take off the tag for that day's activity and replace it with a snowflake ornament. As the "tree" fills up with snowflakes, we get closer to Christmas!

The finishing touches were some cinnamon pine cones in the bottom of the vase and a little extra ribbon from the wreath I made to hang on our front door. Way cheap and super easy.

There you have it!

What kinds of things do you include in your advent calendar?

Monday, December 10, 2012

DIY Canvas Tree Skirt

I have to say, this baby is my pride and joy! As I've mentioned before, I've been kind of picky about Christmas decor and what I wanted everything to look like---I mean, this is the stuff that will be a part of our family Christmas for years! And that's a lot of pressure for a perfectionist like me. And yes, I'm aware that I many or may not (but definitely do) create it for myself. But anyways....I was trying to come up with what I wanted our tree skirt to look like. I wanted something clean and neutral, so it would always go with our decor as tastes change. I also didn't want to shell out tons of dough on fabric to make this thing. So two weeks ago, I finally settled on a material and headed to Lowes. Yup, that's right.

I went straight to the painting section and picked up a canvas drop cloth---9x6 feet for only $8 (plus military discount, oh yeah)! I did the math, and to make the tree skirt out of a cute cotton print it would've been almost $20. Even buying canvas at the fabric store would've been about $16. So I'd say that I found a deal. ;) 
So all I did was lay the canvas out on the floor, cut it into a 6ft square, and then trim it into a circle. Then I just used a dinner plate to cut the circle for the tree base, and one cut along the back to place it around the tree.

I knew I wanted some kind of embellishment from the extra canvas but wasn't really loving the ruffle idea. Wanting to keep with clean, crisp lines and a little modernity, I decided on a pleat. Hey, did you know that pleating takes an infinitely longer time to make than a ruffle?
Totally worth it. 
For the pleat, I just cut equal lengths from the leftover canvas, sewed them together, pressed the pleats and pinned them, then tacked them together so they held their shape as I sewed the pleat to the main skirt. Then just finished all the edges and bam! Done.
For a little extra oomph, and to go with our gold tree ornaments, I added a little gold trim that I picked up at Hancock Fabric for 95 cents---bringing my total to less than $10. Now that's my kind of craft project!

Happy Monday!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Marley Lately

Every day is definitely an adventure with this feline! She is always more spunky and energetic today than the day before. And while sometimes she makes me want to rip my hair out (like yesterday, when all she did was sprint all over the house, knocking stuff over and attacking the Christmas tree. Literally, all. day.), she always does the silliest things that I can't help but love her for.
So, here are some of the things she's gotten herself into lately---Matt-Man, this one's for you!

Her new lounge spot. Makes brushing your teeth a liiiittle tricky.

Yeah, don't know how she swung that one...

 Her new stalking spot. And of course she messes up the presents every time she jumps out to attack her prey. And by prey, I mean our toes or the draw string on my sweatshirt.

 I know I know, don't feed your pets human food (which I may or may no scold my dad for doing with our dogs all the time...), but we had finished our dessert and set the empty container beside us while we decompressed with an episode of Community, and I guess that leftover marscapone was just too tempting for that kitty! And then when she got it in her whiskers? Too good. We're still just so surprised at how much human food she actually likes--my family's cat, Mittens, is so picky, and usually she won't take it even if you offer it (or at least thats how it used to be)! But Marley? She loves it all. We're pretty sure yogurt is her favorite---she goes absolutely nuts for the stuff! We can barely take a bite from our bowls of yogurt before she's trying to stick her head in it.

And then there's this gem. I don't even know how I caught this, but it makes me laugh every single time I look at it. Really. Every time.

Here's to another day with this crazy fur ball!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas at the Fleshman House

I know our moms wanted to see how we've decorated for Christmas, So I thought I'd share some photos and the projects I've been working on for the past few weeks!

Our merry living room--presents already under the tree! Seems a little eager? Well honestly, it just makes life easier because you don't have to work as hard to hide unwrapped gifts from your spouse! And I just love our tree skirt that I made a couple weeks ago--more on that in the next couple days!

Since we don't have a fireplace (or much furniture or storage, really), we got a shelf at Target to put up as a mantle that I can decorate for each season. I painted the stag print last month (and can I brag and say I started it before it became a big thing on Pinterest? thanks ;), and I think it transitions quite well over to Christmas and wintertime. And I love my little pine trees--found them with the miniature village sets at Walmart for less than a dollar!

Finding a nativity was a big challenge. I love the one at my parents' house, and just couldn't find one comparable and for a reasonable price. So I figured that for now, I could find an image on google (check for copyright!) and paint a simple print, and that would work just fine. Though its hard to tell, the nativity is painted in a paynes grey, and the stag in prussian blue.

And what's Christmas decor without a nutcracker? It was another favorite from my parents' house, and luckily I found this handsome guy at Hobby Lobby when they were having a huge sale on everything Christmas! 

Love the idea of tying presents with twine and tags instead of gift bows!

Our bar, with cinnamon pine cones, poinsettias (don't worry, they're fake so we don't kill Marley!), Christmas M&Ms (yum!), and our advent calendar (more details on that to come!).

 And my last project that I just finished yesterday--our stockings! Don't you just love the itty bitty kitten size stocking? I don't know why, but I'm really picky about stocking shape. Luckily, my mom made me a pretty dang good one, so I just traced the stocking she made for me several years ago. Also, to be cost effective, I made the three stockings using mainly leftover fabric from our wedding decorations! I love getting extra use from everything we bought for our nuptials. After putting them together, the last step was stenciling on our names (Font used: EcuyerDAX). I just printed our names on some freezer paper (my new best friend!), used an exacto knife to create a stencil, ironed them on to the stockings, and added the same paynes grey I used for the nativity print.

This may be silly, but I've really looked forward to having our own home and being able to decorate it as much as we want for Christmas. So basically, I am one happy camper right now. And even though its been 75-78 degrees here the last few days, it sure feels like Christmas in our little apartment!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Christmas Tradition

For the past several years (since my family moved to Ohio in '99 I think...) we've been taking Rudolf pictures with our red ornaments at Christmas time. It was just something silly we did that kind of carried on each year I guess! And even though Joey and I are on our own, we are still continuing with the tradition!

Here are some of the ones I was able to dig up on my computer....

2004...or 2005, maybe? (and look at that pouty face!)
The Fleshmans, 2012

Monday, December 3, 2012

Hey, Its Christmas Time!

Last weekend we got our first family christmas tree!

Originally, we planned to go to a tree farm and cut one down ourselves because I loved doing that when I was younger. But instead of driving half an hour to pay almost 100 bucks for a tree, we just decided to go across the street, get a tree from Food Lion, and use the money we saved for a date instead! And we were really surprised--for a tree that came from Food Lion, it actually looks pretty darn good!

Another plus: because we literally just had to drive across the street to get it, we could just stick it in the trunk instead of tying it to the top of the car and potentially scratching it--which Joey wouldn't have been too happy about!

Naturally, Marley started investigating as soon as we brought the tree in, walking around it and rubbing her nose on any branch she could reach.

And eventually she climbed in it, of course.

The next night, Joey and I put on my favorite Nat King Cole Christmas album and set to decorating the tree! Lucky Joey got to put the star on top. 
We wanted to start a tradition and get ornaments characteristic of where we live at the time (the life of a military family!), so we got a palm tree wood ornament from the Historic Market in Charleston.

And there she is!

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