Thursday, August 23, 2018

August Rudolph Day is coming!

A day late and a dollar short, that seems to be me right now!  Here's the three two-day Rudolph Day warning.

What's Rudolph Day? Here is the definition according to Organized Christmas:
A few years ago, members of our Christmas community began to observe "Rudolph Day" on the 25th of each month.
On that day, we take a few moments to plan some simple tasks for the month ahead, in order to get ready for Christmas Day with plenty of time to spare. By starting early--and working a bit at a time on each month's Rudolph Day--it's easy to prepare for Christmas, save money on gifts, and cut holiday stress.
Here's the annual line-up with the sub-theme in parentheses:

January - Tie Up Loose Ends (gather ideas and organize your Christmas notebook)
February - Begin a Holiday Letter
March - Birthday Gift-Buying Strategy (party planning for the holiday season)
April - Plan Holiday Crafts 
May - Catalog Shopping Tips
June - Recipe Round Up
July - Choose a Holiday Plan (Christmas in July celebration)
August - Craft Control (thinking ahead to Elf on the Shelf)
September - Prepare for Holiday Gifts and Giving
October - Plan Holiday Meals
November - Write Holiday Letter

The bottom line is...prepare for Christmas by doing something every month and make the 25th of each month a Rudolph Day by doing something Christmas-y!  This month, it's time for some craft control - get those supplies organized and ready for any craft projects you plan to complete before Christmas.  For those of you who have fun with the little guy or gal in the red suit, it's time to think about what mischief he or she will get up to in December.

Here's another reminder about the holiday plans and links to each one:

Holiday Grand Plan (starts August 26)

House & Holidays Plan (starts September 2)

Christmas Countdown (starts October 21)

This month's movie is Christmas Story (not to be confused with A Christmas Story) so grab a copy, make some hot chocolate, and think all things Christmas for the day.  Check back on the evening of August 25th to see how I celebrated Rudolph Day.  UPDATE:  Super busy weekend so postponed Rudolph Day until Wednesday.  Check back on the evening of August 29th.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

December Daily 2018

The December Daily 2018 schedule has been released - two separate links there as one talks about December Daily in general and the other has the schedule.  I found out about this project last year and absolutely loved preserving our December 2017 memories in a 6x8 album.

I thought I would share a few photos and some of the details from last year's album so you can get an idea of what to include in a December Daily album if you're interested in joining in this year.  Bottom line, do what works for you.  Buy products, use things from your stash, unleash your inner artist or scraplift ideas from others.  Just get the stories down on paper with photos so that you will have them to enjoy for years to come.  There is no right or wrong way to do December Daily.  Some use 1-25 (or 1-31) for the days, some use 1-25 for the stories, some don't number at all, just try to get one story a day, Christmas-related or not, it's up to you!

There is a lot of inspiration on blogs, You Tube, and Instagram.  Be realistic, many of the artists are members of design teams and have been doing this for some time.  There is some incredible talent out there.

For 2017, I used a 6x8 album from Ali Edwards with page protectors in various sizes - some 6x8, some a divided page of 2 3x4 slots and 1 4x6 slot, some a divided page with 2 4x6 slots.  I also added some 3x8 protectors and some large tags.  

I made the spine label with a photo I took of a vintage silver tree in an antique store and I added December 2017 in Photoshop Elements and I'm still navigating my way through all of the things you can do with it.  The font is called Crushed.

I loved the idea of having things sticking out from and above my album.  Texture was something I explored my first year, using ribbon, chipboard, wood veneer, cloth, and stitching to add dimension to my layouts.

My cover page is two-part - the first is a transparent sheet with a very faint green diagonal stripe of print running across it.  The wording is a variety of Christmas sayings and greetings.  Underneath that is a 6x8 design of a Christmas tree made up of various sayings.  When I placed the transparency on top of the tree sayings, I adhered a wood veneer star embossed in gold over the star on the tree below and then placed the green strip on the bottom.  Almost all of the products I used were from Ali Edwards' December Daily 2017 release, the main kit and some additional items.  I also picked up extra items - tags and ribbon mostly - from Michaels.

I haven't included photos of all of the pages so I'll give you a quick rundown of what story I told each day.

Day 1 - Christmas Cards - our current card, photos of the albums of cards from years past.

Day 2 included a trip to Starbucks for a holiday drink.  I asked the barista for an extra cup which I cut to size and adhered a large photo of Vic and me with our drinks.

The second part of Day 2 was this spread which included a photo from our local Hallmark and journaling cards from Ali Edwards.  I bought the digital version of the cards so I could journal on them in the Crushed font in Photoshop Elements.

Day 3 was a busy day of afternoon tea and then a holiday party that night.
Day 4 was another trip to Starbucks while Vic was gone overnight so I got the cup with the fingers making a heart design and journaled that I missed him and that he has my heart.
Day 5 was five tags telling stories from five Christmases past.
This design below, totally scraplifted, was the lead-in to Day 6 (6 circles in the design) which was a photo from the gift shop where I volunteer.

Day 7 was Vic posing with a two-foot long box of cookies that said the length of the box complies with Elf and Safety.  It was so perfect because he is a safety inspector.  You can find these long boxes of cookies and candy at World Market during the holidays.
Day 8 was the theme of So Totally Loving These Things Right Now.

Day 9 was a story about ornaments I bought for the reunion I attended in June with my former MOPS pals from Florida (1997).  We called ourselves the Sisterchicks after Robin Jones Gunn's Sisterchicks book series.  I couldn't believe how perfectly these Hallmark ornaments fit our theme - "My sister is my favorite chick" - they may not be my biological sisters, but they are my Sisters in Christ.

Day 10 was three tags - one for each of us - with 10 things we were loving about the season.  The giant buffalo check C is from the Dollar Spot at Target.

Day 11 is a few of our favorite things - I cut labels from various Christmas treats and inserted them into the 12 2x2 slots of this page protector.

Day 12 was a photo of MudLynn in her winter doggy coat.  This will be so precious in the years to come as we lost her in June 2018.
Day 13 is more things I'm loving right now.

Day 14 was a holiday afternoon tea with my Lunch Bunch.
Day 15 is all about theater and concert outings with the covers of the programs reduced to fit in the 3x4 slots.

Day 16 was all about Together is our Favorite Place to be - it was a Saturday and I've included all the things Vic and I did together that day.
Day 17 was a puzzled Vic looking at his Starbucks cup with the text "Why is ordering a Starbucks drink so complicated?" and a list of all the options that are available when you order!
Day 18 is a View Finder reel with all of our favorite holiday movies.  I had to order the reel from Etsy because I don't have a Silhouette (yet!) that will cut a reel file.

Day 19 was a tree design made out of triangles.
Day 20 was a story about all of our ornaments and our annual trip to the mall to look at the decorations.
Day 21 was a story about winning a gift from an Etsy planner shop.
Day 22 was a Hallmark card for Vic with a P. F. Chang gift card and tickets to the Star Wars movie inside.  The little green striped circle on the edge is where you hold to open the card.  

I saved a photo of the movie poster and added the tickets and a 'tis the season square with some ribbon and twine.

Day 23 is a photo of Vic looking through our basket of Christmas cards.
Day 24 is our visit to a friend's open house during the day and the Christmas Eve service at church that night.
Day 25 is our tree - I cut a 6x8 photo of the tree down the middle, adhered it to a 6x8 sheet of patterned paper with thin gold washi tape on each edge, and added the Hello Story chipboard piece on the front for you to lift to see the journaling inside.

This is the back of the 6x8 patterned sheet with a wooden tag from Michaels.

I only included Days 1-25 in my album.  My final pages included this giant tag - it says Merry & Bright & FaLaLa on the front in gold and I took a photo of our new CD cover and that's a heart-shaped Starbucks holiday gift card at the top.

This pocket page is the end of the album - it has a 4x6 card from Ali Edwards adhered to the bottom with my ...and that's a wrap! added to it in Photoshop.

If you made it all the way to the end, thank you!  I hope you enjoyed the photos and the narrative gave you some idea of things to include in a December Daily.  There were just the two of us at home last year as Sophia was on the West Coast - if you have family nearby, work, have children in school, or are involved in your church or community, you will have LOTS of stories to tell in your December Daily album.  Don't make it over-complicated - it's a busy time of year.  Some people only snap photos and journal in a notebook what they did each day and then go back and work on the album through the following year.   Whatever works for you.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Life Last Week 2018-26

After being absent for the month of July, I got back into Life Last Week and then, well, life just got in the way of posting all about it.

The weather:::
 Hot, hot, hot, humid, humid, humid, rain, rain, rain, and then more hot, hot, get the picture.

On my reading pile:::
Finished Death of an English Muffin, on to Maisie Dobbs which I'm enjoying immensely so far.

On my TV:::
House of Cards in preparation for the new, final season and more Great British Baking Show, I just can't get enough of Mary and Paul.

Checked off the list:::
  • Vic spent a week in California and then was home for a week - he's working his way through his moving to-do list.
  • Spouses' group board meeting - our Welcome Social is coming up in September, always a fun time.
  • Volunteered at the gift shop and didn't bring too much stuff home with me!
  • Sophia is all moved in to her new apartment and cleaning the old one today.
  • Applied for mortgage pre-approval for the Washington house - should hear this week.
  • Booked our house hunting trip to Washington in September.
  • Booked all the hotels for our cross country trip.
  • Ordered a BarkBox for Spectra - does anyone else subscribe?
  • Inventoried all the kitchen/pantry items in the Christmas room (that's the third bedroom if I haven't mentioned it on here before - the overflow room for Christmas decorations and kitchen/pantry items that won't fit in the kitchen cupboards), all the DVDs, and books.  Working on the china cabinet today and then going upstairs to brave the craft room (the second bedroom) which currently closely resembles the aftermath of a tornado.  My home inventory app is certainly getting a workout.
Crafts roundup:::
Vic's the only crafter in the house right now - he is simultaneously finishing up the loveseat and my vanity.

And in other news:::
I have 11 sets of dishes!  Ok, some of them are only sets for two but still 11????  I need a serious china intervention.  Once we get the house hunting out of the way, I'll have a better idea of kitchen/pantry size and if I have to make some radical changes.

The kitchen/pantry section of the Christmas room

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Prime Purchases August 2018

It's time for another Prime Purchases link-up with Tanya at The Other Side of the Road.

Spectra joined the Washington branch of the family last month and she's a bit of a chewer.  Sophia ran a number of leaving her alone tests - 15 minutes to start, then longer, then longer - and although she has done well so far (she has an ample supply of chewy toys to keep her busy), Sophia knew that she would have even longer periods ahead when she goes back to work.  So I invested in a camera that she can connect to an app on her phone to keep an eye on things.  She can even talk to Spectra from the app.

It's the TENVIS HD IP Camera - Wireless IP Camera with Two-way Audio, Night Vision Camera, 2.4GHz & 720P Camera for Pet Baby Monitor, Home Security Camera Motion Detection Indoor Camera with Micro SD Card Slot.

There wasn't really anything on Prime Day that caught my eye until I got an alert that Season 3 of Outlander was a Lightning Deal at $14.99.  I texted Sophia to ask her if she had Season 3 - she did not - so I sent it off to her.  When I checked our collection, we didn't have Season 3 either so I'll have to borrow hers as I couldn't order more than one DVD on the deal.

I bought this Professional Weekender bag for Vic to use when he comes home to Washington from Okinawa.  It's like a backpack but bigger, more like a carry-on piece of luggage, but it has so many pockets for his laptop, headphones, sunglasses, chargers and cords, plus a change of clothes, it's the perfect bag.  Even more perfect was the deal - $199.99 --> $159.99 --> $119.99 + free shipping.
I mentioned this thirty-one Littles Carry-All Caddy I picked up in the thirty-one sale in a Life Last Week post.  This is the Hello Holiday pattern - I thought it would be great for a thank you for coming gift after a holiday party with some cookies or other goodies inside.  It was a steal at $3.99, normally $14.00.  No longer available but watch for the next sale.

Vic loves this car so I picked up this Swedish dishcloth.  There are lots of designs available here at the Scandinavian Shoppe.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Life Last Week 2018-25

Life Last Week was on hiatus during Christmas in July but I'm back and here's what's been happening Chez Nous.

The weather:::
 More of the ghastly weather we've been having while I've been dreaming of snow at Christmas - it's been in the high 80s and even 90s every day with bursts of torrential rain in the afternoons and evenings that do nothing but make it more humid and leave pools of water that quickly become mosquito breeding grounds.  Have I told you lately how much I loathe the weather here?  What do they say in Game of Thrones, Winter is Coming?  It can't come soon enough for me!

On my reading pile:::
Working my way through this stack minus the Debbie Macomber book which I found out as I started reading it that it is number twelve in the Cedar Cove series.  Need to read 1-11 first.  I'm enjoying Death of an English Muffin.

On my TV:::
Worked my way through Madam Secretary and I'm watching Escape to the Continent on Netflix.  I think I'm going to start When Calls the Heart from the beginning.  Coming out of Christmas in July, I've been watching December Daily You Tube videos to get some inspiration as the products will be available soon.

Checked off the list:::
  • Christmas in July was a lot of fun - the Magical Holiday Home Forums members are awesome and we shared some great ideas during the month.
  • Vic's been super busy with work and it's not going to slow down anytime soon.  He's been to Florida and New Hampshire since my last update as well as a local inspection and now he's off again.
  • I finally turned over the Charities Chair and in keeping with the "I Can't Say No" problem I've had for many years, I agreed to take over as Parliamentarian for my remaining time here to help with the Bylaws Revision process.
  • The septic system proposal came in (ka-ching, ka-ching), the house needed to be pressure washed, and the lead inspection was completed with two minor things that need to be corrected.  Spending money on rental house 3, Pamela and Vic 0.
  • England made it to the semi-finals of the World Cup and then lost to Croatia.  #itsnotcominghomethistime.
  • Managed to get out of Hallmark on Keepsake Ornament Premiere Day without having to take out a second mortgage - 😜
  • Vic had a bed bug encounter at the hotel in Florida on the last day he was there (thankfully on the second bed in the room and not the one he was sleeping in) - he reported it to the front desk as he was checking out and the clerk said they would notify the manager (it was too early for him/her to be on site yet).  When the management followed up on the complaint, they said they didn't find anything even though we had photographs.  Since a member of staff was not there to witness the photographs being taken, they declined our complaint.  I wasn't taking any chances.  Everything that couldn't be washed in the hottest water possible was bagged and tossed in the freezer for several days.  Vic needed a new backpack anyway so we tossed that and his suitcase stayed in the garage for a week to be subjected to the heat of a Virginia summer to kill anything that might have made its way in there.  I made several recommendations for future hotel stays - leave your luggage at the door while you strip the bed when you get there, and if you find anything, call the manager and insist that they come up immediately to inspect the findings.  I hope it's not ever an issue again but you have to be prepared.
  • This little cutie joined the Washington branch of our family - her name is Spectra and she's so lovable.  Just what Sophia needed to help heal her heart after the loss of MudLynn.  She's two years old, a rescue, and a lab-chihuahua mix although I'm sure she's got some Australian cattle dog in her (those ears!).

Crafts roundup:::
Vic's projects have come to a standstill during his busy travel period.  I haven't done anything to Project Life either.  We are doing a lot of packing, though, does that qualify as a craft?

And in other news:::
We have less than 100 days to go before we are in Washington.  In that time, we have to make a house-hunting trip to Washington, pack out of this house, and start the trek across the country.  A busy couple of months are ahead of us.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Currently - August 2018

 It's time for the monthly wrap-up, Currently, with host Anne from In Residence.  This month's prompts are following, ordering, pinning, watching, and counting.

Following // My two favorite You Tubers, Caroline (Mrs M) and Jen at Pretty Neat Living.  I love their chatty styles.

Ordering //  It's time to place my monthly Melaleuca order.  If you're looking for products that are good for you and the environment, and a host of health and nutrition products, check out Melaleuca.
Pinning // I've just come off a month-long Christmas in July celebration which involved pinning a lot of holiday ideas so I'm switching over to Washington pins, fun places to explore. including a return visit to Leavenworth, the beautiful Bavarian village.

Watching // We have a large feral cat population on the waterfront where I live and sometimes a cat will wander into the adjacent neighborhood.  I have a mommy cat who has taken up residence under my porch.  This weekend, she also had a kitten with her.  There is a local cat rescue who will trap and rehome them so they asked me to put some food out so they stay close (the mommy cat has been cruising the neighborhood for months) so I put out small bowls of food and water each morning and then pick up the food bowl when it is empty so it doesn't attract anything else with four legs.  This is day three; I haven't seen the kitten since this weekend but the cat has polished off the food on both days so far.

Counting // So many countdowns - the days until Sophia moves to her new apartment, the days until we meet with the bank about our new mortgage, the days until we travel to Washington on our house-buying trip, and finally, the days until we bid Virginia goodbye and hit the road.