Home Depot Holiday Style Challenge!

Updated by request:
snit top (cream color, super relaxed fit so size down) / jean legging / boots (Michael Kors 2011) / beanie & mittens (old, Target)
black giftwrap (Hobby Lobby) / wide black striped cotton ribbon / skinny navy grosgrain ribbon

I kicked up my heels & decked the halls a bit early this year.  The Home Depot invited me to participate in their glorious Holiday Style Challenge & I was beyond thrilled for the chance to get creative & festive!  Today I'm sharing the details over on the Home Depot Apron Blog.

Back in October, as we were setting up the amazing tree they sent us (amongst other cool holiday items), the weather outside was in the 70s.  I'm sure some neighbors did double takes as they walked past our atrium window where we placed the tree (or am I the only one who peers into people's windows).  I wouldn't have noticed as I was in my element.....nestled in sparkly ornaments & the lemony-minty scent of evergreens......wading thru glitter & empty boxes wrapped as gifts.  
Quinn was confused.  Was Santa coming for Halloween?!  As she was helping (or not helping) me hang ornaments, I was awed to see that she was getting caught up in the magic of it all.  Even if it wasn't quite the real thing yet.  That holiday spirit.....it's exhilarating.
It was such a fun, inspiring, exciting experience.  I still can't believe I had the honor of being a part of it.  Thanks a million to The Home Depot for having me!  Many thanks to you for taking the time to check it out (I'm in great company; the other bloggers participating are incredible)!

Hot cocoas all around :-)

Fall Family Photos 2014

For the third year in a row, our dear friend Ben photographed our family of three.  For the third year in a row, I sweated all the details, but Quinn had her own agenda.  We were just along for the ride.  Shouldn't I know better by now?!  Oh this threenager girl. #mamaneedsadrank  ;-)

And for the third year in a row, instead of running away screaming, Ben captured such great glimpses into our family's personalities.  His wife/photog assistant, Sara, has the magic when it comes to getting Quinn to smile for the camera.  Ben and Sara, we love you. Like lots.

Here are a few (a lot) from that early evening shoot.  I understand if photos of people you've never met bore you to tears.  Be comforted by the thought that I'll totally, maybe have another blog post up in.....a month? Probably ;-)  

{all images courtesy of Ben Klaus Photography}

My sarcasm tends to take over when I write but I mean this with all my heart.  This little girl shines with the brightest light from above and within.  We are so grateful for her.

Do family photos make you sweat as much as they make me?
I'm always stoked we did them but seriously, bring the antiperspirant.
As always, thank you for taking the time to stop by!

Tissue paper anemones

Hey, where did the weekend go?  How do we negotiate 3-day weekends for all time?  We got together with our friends to watch some University of Iowa Hawkeye football (they lost boo).  Most of us are alums who moved out here to Colorado over a decade ago so it gets a bit wild.  We also squeezed in our family photos on Sunday.  Despite a certain little "threenager" having a complete meltdown because she wanted to wear a leotard for the photos, we were able to pull it off.  I think ;-)

I love crafting with paper (these feathers for example). I also love the drama of white anemone blooms & was itching to craft my own interpretation out of paper.  Using this beautiful tutorial as inspiration, I set about crunching some paper.

white tissue paper / black crepe paper / petal template of your choice
scissors / cotton / 18 gauge floral wire stems / floral tape
*not pictured: hot glue gun
1. Trace petals on to layers of tissue paper. 
2. Cut out petals (the more 'freestyle' the better to mimic real petals).  Fold petals in half & cut a small slit in the center (this opening is for threading them onto the stem).  Layer a few petals at a time to speed up the process.  You can decide how big to make your petals; mine are ~4 inches across.
3. From the black crepe paper, cut a square for the anemone's center (~2 inches)

4. From the black crepe paper, cut off a strip (~7 inches).  Then make evenly spaced vertical cuts, about halfway down the paper (not all the way through!).  This will be the stamen.
5. Tear off a chunk of cotton from the cotton ball.  Apply a dot of hot glue to the floral wire stem & carefully secure the piece of cotton to the stem.

6. Wrap the square of crepe paper around the cotton. Twist at base. Flatten top with your thumb.

7. Then wrap the crepe paper 'fringe' around the flower's center. Twist at base.
8. Thread petals onto stem.  I wanted a fuller anemone, so my magic number was 12-14 petals per stem.
9. Secure everything with floral tape.  I had brown already in my craft closet so I just used that.  At this point you could also add leaves.  I did not. #lazy #clawhand
10. Trim the stamen/fringe as desired (or skip).  Gently crumple/rotate/curl the petals with your fingers to mimic real petals.
Once I had the process down, I was able to churn out the blooms pretty quickly.  Whilst watching Scandal (the only TV show I actually follow).  I get Olivia Pope.  We have so much in common.  I love red wine & so does she.  We also love when Jake Ballard's shirt falls off.  so.much.in.common.

The Home Depot invited me to participate in their Holiday Style Challenge & I can't wait to share with you how I used these tissue paper anemones!

Meanwhile, more flower power inspiration from a couple of my favorite gals.
Their skills are mind-boggling:

Monday, Monday

Hi friends, hope you had a great weekend!  It was feeling like fall here & I even busted out boots.  Then temps hit the high 70s again for the weekend so I busted out flip flops.  My toes are confused.  Meanwhile......

* My crazy wonderful gal pal Shelley invited me to be a part of her fun series Inside My Bag.  Girlfriend's DIY, decorating, & creative talents have no limits; check them out!  Today, I'm sharing the innards of my purse with the blog world.  I did do a preliminary cleaning so you won't see any empty wine bottles (those are in the recycle bin; my recycle guy hates me).  Would love to see you over there.  Also, follow her on Instagram if you 're into laughing & being inspired.  Thanks a million for having me, Shelley!

* Speaking of DIY, I've been crafting these little blooms for an upcoming project.  I'm so excited for it.  My house is not so pretty right now so I'm hoping everything falls into place soon.  Magical thinking? ;-)

* For the love of blogging.  I wholeheartedly agree.  You said it, sister!

* Have you heard about The Company Store's partnership with the Avon Foundation for Women?  They've launched the Comfort Crusade: for every one of their LaCrosse comforters sold throughout the month of October, $5 will be donated to The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. These funds will advance access to quality breast health care, research towards prevention and understanding metastatic breast cancer, and ultimately find a cure.  When there's a chance like this to get involved (in any capacity) to help women out there, no effort's too small in my humble opinion.  Thank you to all, for helping to improve the lives of women & their families. *

Hope your day is a good one!

*I did not receive compensation for this post.  I just believe in spreading the word about an amazing program that helps a cause near & dear to my heart.