Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Big Family Visit, a Laid-back Christmas and a Miserable Cold

So this year, Justin and I hosted Christmas! 11 (originally 12) people in our itty-bitty apartment. 1-week sleeping arrangements for 8 is always interesting, but obviously worth it!

Justin's family finally made it to Greenville the Thursday before Christmas, after a few positive switches and rearranging. At the last minute, Yuna (their foreign-exchange student) decided to stay back in Wisconsin for the holidays and poor Lukus (Justin's youngest bro) couldn't join us this year, because he had to work. It definitely wasn't the same without him. Aside from getting ready for company to arrive, I was suffering from a exhaustingly-miserable cold/sore throat/sinus infection. I had actually been feeling pretty nasty a couple weeks before Christmas and began to feel better, until the night before they arrived. Typical! 

[Still] desperate for a haircut

This Christmas was a little less crazy than last year - Remember The Gauntlet and 8 of us in Levi's 1-bedroom apartment? Despite being sick this year, we had a pretty good time.. Cooking and baking, hanging out, playing games, watching movies..the usual. I took on the task of making another giant turkey for a big dinner. I'm beginning to feel like a pro with all the turkey's I've baked in the last 4 years!

Every year the fam visits, we seem to be hooked on something for the whole trip. Most years it's hardcore Dutch Blitz competitions.. I think last year it was our pictionary/telephone game, "What the Flip". This year, we rocked Need For Speed and we seriously couldn't get enough. I'd say Justin's little sister dominated the most, with her shortcuts and little mind-tricks..

Justin's mom made me the cutest apron ever.. I've been wanting one for the longest time, and I'm so glad I got one! As much as I have grown to dread getting snow in Greenville, it was pretty sweet that it actually snowed on Christmas day. Christmas-snow is really the only kind I miss, after all my years of living in a snowball..

Rockin' our new aprons!
Justin's Family + Melissa

Happy 19th Birthday, Levi! :)
Probably watching Mythbusters..

I'm Listening To:
Sufjan Stevens


Monday, December 27, 2010

Picasa & Bummer on Photo Storage

It's really not a big deal, not even necessarily blog-worthy, but I just wanted to share..

Apparently I have reached my maximum in posting photos on my blog before having to purchase additional space! I guess since Blogger hooked up with the wonderful world of Picasa, the limit photo storage has changed. I am a little shocked to say that I have reached the max by posting 1,000 photos since starting my blog just over a year ago in October 2009. Are you kidding me right now?! I know I love photos, but wowza!

It's a good thing, since each of the photos I post are stored in Picasa Web Albums.. but I don't really utilize Picasa for anything other than editing. It sure works out for them, when high-roller-photo-posters (like me) senselessly post photos left and right and need to purchase more space, if they wanna keep blogging with photos. It is literally impossible for me to blog without photos.. it's boring without photos! So, for $5.00/year, I now have 20x the space than the standard free 1,000 uploads.

Just wanted to share, especially to my fellow blogger friends who are just as photo-happy as I am!


[Photo - weheartit]

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas, Lovies!

It's Christmas Eve and my home is filled with family, music and laughter!

I found this fabulous ShabbyBlogs Collage Freebie on Tuesday.. It's super cute for Christmas, or really any time of year. Just wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

DIY: Fabulous Hollow Yarn Balls

Last weekend I hosted a Girl's Night In - Italian Soiree. As usual, I researched a bunch of my favorite blogs for inspiration and decor ideas. My goal for the night was to keep it as low-cost as possible while pumping up the color and detail. For color, I decided to use a lot of jewel tones, especially red. Since I was expecting 12-15 girls, I had a lot of table-space and not many pieces for a centerpiece, so I decided to take advantage of hanging flower poms, hollow yarn balls, garland and lots of twinkle lights.

I had never made the 'Hollow Yarn Balls' before. I came across the DIY on Wednesday - a site/blog dedicated to custom designs, events and paperworks. The balls were absolute perfection for the party. Making them was definitely not easy.. In fact, I would have been miserable without the help of my friend, Erin. We had some good laughs, learned something new and the time and effort was well worth the outcome. They are the perfect addition for any party or event.

Photo by Jennie Raff

Photo by Jennie Raff

Photo by Jennie Raff

  • Round balloons (desired amount)
  • Cotton yarn (desired color)
  • 4 oz. White school glue
  • 1/2 cup of Corn starch
  • 1/4 cup of Warm water
  • Scissors
  • Petroleum jelly (Vaseline)
  • Clear fast drying spray paint (optional)
  • Fishing line or string
  • (You will also need a large bowl/container and spatula for glue mixture)
  1. Find a large, appropriate space for the project. It's a great idea to lay down a tarp/drop cloth to catch any drips during the drying process. Plan for the space to be occupied for up to 24 hours. You will need to hang the balls while drying (from a curtain rod, etc.). Give yourself plenty of working room, and expect to get messy!
  2. Blow up desired amount of balloons. Suggestion: If you would prefer more round-looking hollow balls, don't blow the balloons up completely full
  3. Create glue mixture. In a large bowl, mix corn starch, glue and warm water together until it's no longer lumpy
  4. Smear the petroleum jelly all over your balloon until it is completely coated
  5. Cut long pieces of yarn - length depending on the size of each balloon. Coat the yarn in the glue mixture and begin wrapping around each balloon. Add more/less yarn depending on the look you're going for. Be sure to secure the beginning and end pieces of your yarn to keep it from unwinding during the drying process. *If using as a light fixture(s), be sure to leave necessary room for fixture and cord to fit inside.
  6. Hang the balloons up to dry; Wait 24 hours for best results.
Photo by Erin Tilson
Photo by Erin Tilson
After they have dried, pop and remove each balloon. Use a chopstick or skewer stick to knock out any any glue crystals that are left between the yarn. In a well-ventilated area, spray your hollow balls with clear, fast-drying spray paint for a finished look (not necessary).

Photo by Erin Tilson
Photo by Erin Tilson
Cleaning them up! (Please excuse the cheesy look on my face..)

Garland sewn (with Erin's help) - Inspired by post found @ The TomKat Studio

I'm totally thrilled with how they turned out! The balls could also be used as a garland or filled in a vase.

Thanks to Wednesday for instructions on this DIY! Post can be found here.
Flower poms DIY post can be found here: Martha Stewart
Photos: As specified. Thanks to my sweet friends, Erin & Jenny Raff


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Soundtracks: Merry Little Christmas

I didn't even have to think twice about what my favorite Christmastime soundtracks would be. I'm sure you could ask anyone else who spent more than 6 years working in retail (or even 1 year!) how much they LOVE Christmas music. I honestly began to despise just about every classic song since they were all so beaten and overplayed. Now that I'm a "free woman" (ha!), I am finally able to enjoy Christmas music once again. Of course I enjoy the classics, but this year, we've been rocking to Jack Johnson & friends' This Warm December - A Brushfire Holiday Vol. 1, Sufjan Stevens' Songs for Christmas album and The Hotel Cafe presents: Winter Songs.

As for my favorite Christmas soundtrack, I don't even have to hesitate.. Elf!

Check it Out
Featuring: Louis Prima, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, Ferrate & Teicher & Les Baxter, Leon Redbone & Zooey Deschanel, Jim Reeves, Brian Setzer, Eartha Kitt, Eddy Arnold and Billy Preston

Merry little Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Girl's Night In - Mon Parti Francais

I didn't have a chance to blog about this at the time, but I wanted to share..

Since posting about the Italian Soiree I recently hosted, I keep thinking about the first big "Girl's Night" I hosted back in August 2009. After seeing (and LOVING) Julie & Julia, I felt inspired to throw a French-themed Girl's Night In. All of the girls were told to wear pearls and heels, as well as bring something French (and unique!) to share. We had the most fabulous evening!

Little 'Mon Ami' name cards (13 total) I made for the table [Eiffel Tower image origin, unknown]

Pearls, of course
Aside from wine, I served Pastis (an anise-flavored French liqueur) related to Absinthe. Pastis is a huge hit, especially in the south of France. Favored by Picasso, Van Gogh and Hemingway, best mixed with champagne, lemonade or water. 
As a small little favor, I individually-wrapped some yummy cappuccino truffles
I arranged a platter of French-style crudités 
I also made 4-cheese and broccoli quiche
French Salad Nicoise - very interesting! 
Spinach & Mushroom Pinwheels
French Crêpes 
Chocolate Mousse
Brie with Raspberry Chutney
Mixed fruit and cheese

Looking back, I wish I had done more as a centerpiece/fixture. I hung a paper lantern with suspended letters in "Paris"

After dinner, we watched Chocolat
Related Posts with Thumbnails