Merry Christmas!

I am sorry the posts have been so few and far between this month. Blame it on the holidays! (And the home improvement project that we foolishly decided to take on three weeks before Christmas...) But I promise I will be back in January with some good stuff!

In the meantime, have a wonderful holiday. I will see you back here after the New Year!


My New Favorite Christmas CD

The day after Thanksgiving we love to drive up to the little town of Estes Park, Colorado, where they hold an annual Christmas parade just after sunset. The lights of the parade, the pretty floats and Christmas characters, and the music is just magical!

We all bundle up, as you can see!

This year we wandered into a little shop and discovered Peregrin Road, a local acoustic band. They were just sitting there, live, playing music from their Christmas CD, which I bought on the spot! It's a beautiful mix of guitar, Irish whistle (my favorite) and other things this non-musical person cannot identify.

All I can tell you is that I've been listening to this CD non-stop. Although Frank, Bing, Tony and the rest of the crew will always have top billing at my house, sometimes you just need a little variety in your Christmas music! I love to play this during my (few) moments of peace, or at night when the kids are in bed.

I promise I don't know these guys, and they are not paying me to say this! I just found something that brings me a little calmness and peace during the Christmas season, and wanted to share. Their CD sells on Amazon, or you can go to their website directly to listen and download. If you have a few minutes, I highly recommend it!

Have a great weekend!


My Henry-Proof Christmas Tree Table

You all are very nice. I am still digging my way out of the drywall dust in my house, but luckily I don't feel stressed because of my lack of posts, because you understand! Plus, you are all probably too busy getting ready for Christmas to care what is going on in my house!

Here's a little project I managed to sneak in out of necessity. You may know that I have an almost-11-month-old son named Henry. He's crawling everywhere, and eating everything! When we thought about putting up a Christmas tree this year, all we could envision was digging glass ornament shards out of his little mouth. So, we improvised!

This table has been sitting in our basement, gathering junk. It originally had the same ugly legs as this table, which I renovated back in the summer.

As you can see, my accommodating husband changed out the legs for me. (The above photo is after the legs had already been replaced. And just in case you are curious, we bought the legs at Home Depot!)
I started by painting the table an antique white (Behr's "Country Dairy" in an eggshell finish). It took about four coats because I was impatient and neglected a primer coat. (Nothing new there!) Then I sanded the edges a bit and added a little knob. I love how it turned out!

I also love that I don't have to worry about Henry eating pine needles all month. Happy Holidays to all! :)


In a Bad Place

I have not been around much lately. Besides the usual Christmas busy-ness, my house has been in an uproar. What used to be this:

...now looks like this:

We decided to convert our upstairs loft into a bedroom. It's been a fairly straightforward project-just adding a half-wall, door and closet-but really? Is there anything good about having a garbage can in your hallway?

So that's why I've been absent lately. We're in a bad place around here. Construction dust. My son finding pieces of stray drywall to put in his mouth. My daughter's footed PJs looking like she's been trudging through the gutters in them. The dog? Oh, the dog! His fuzzy hair is like a magnet for debris.

And in the midst of it all, trying to put up the Christmas tree and enjoy the yuletide. So you can see why I have not been showing you my Christmas decorations, our cozy nights by the fire sipping hot chocolate, and visits to Santa!

I hope to be back sometime soon with more traditional Christmas posts. In the meantime, I hope you are enjoying the season!


Christmas Advent Calendar

Merry Christmas! I can officially say that now, even though I've been guilty of playing Christmas music in my house for a few weeks now. :)

Over the weekend, like many of you I am sure, we unpacked our Christmas decorations. If you've been around here for awhile, you will remember my Christmas advent calendar from last year:

I made it when I was 8 months pregnant last year, and I still love it! Each box opens up and allows me to hide a little treat for my kids for each day leading up to Christmas. Nina can hardly wait to dive in tomorrow. Henry doesn't care so much, but he will next year, I am sure!

I have a detailed tutorial from last year on how I made this, so if you feel like getting all messy and taking on another project this Christmas season, click here for instructions! Happy Mod Podging!


Thanksgiving Tree

'Twas three days before Thanksgiving, and all through the house
Carrie was using scrapbook paper and a glue stick...
So what else is new?

We are staying In Denver this year for Thanksgiving, and hosting a small gathering at our house. My friend Aimee does a Thanksgiving Tree every year, and I decided to copy her!

Here's the cast of characters:

Just get a glue stick, scrapbook paper, little tags with holes in them, and a cute paper punch-out leaf or other Thanksgiving-y shape.

Glue the cute little Thanksgiving shape to the tag. Be sure to leave some room for people to write.

Put all the tags somewhere your guests can get to them, and lay out a nice pen and some twine.

On Thanksgiving, throughout the day, people can come along and write down something they are thankful for, then tie it to the tree! We plan to read ours during dinner. I imagine some of them will be sentimental, some silly, and some just bizarre (if I know my family). Just the way I like it!

As you can see, I've already added one thing I am thankful for. Like it?

Have a Happy Thanksgiving! I will be back next week to kick off the Christmas season!

P.S. To answer a few questions: the wire tree, I must admit, came from Goodwill. I'd been looking for one for awhile and one day I just stumbled upon it. As for the other materials, they all came from Hobby Lobby. My condolences for those of you who don't have one near you! :)


Lucky Winner!

I'm sorry, but even as I write this post I can't help but stop and think about how cute this little pageboy hat is. Seriously? I want one. For my head. Do you think she makes them in Size 33? As in, my age in years, not months?

Anyway, let's get right to the winner of this giveaway! It's Sarah, of Nesting in Pleasant View! Sarah, and sweet baby Anna Claire, you can thank my husband, who chose comment #3, which was you! Please email me at buzzingsofaqueenbee@hotmail.com and I will give you the details of how to collect your $20 credit to the fantastic Marili Jean!

And for the rest of us, there is more good news! Marili Jean has graciously allowed a 20% discount on all our purchases. How fantastic is that? Just enter "Holiday" when you check out on her website (click on the name Marili Jean to get to it!) and wait for the bargains to start rolling in!

I will be back next week with a few last minute Thanksgiving ideas. In the meantime, I will be crossing my fingers that Marili Jean starts an adult line of hats, just in time for Christmas. Mama needs some cuteness too!


Pageboy Hat Giveaway!

**Updated to add: Comments are now closed! Thank you to everyone for entering this fabulous giveaway. I will be back in the morning to announce the winner!

A few weeks ago my family and I went to a cute pumpkin festival here in Denver. We had a ball! Part of the festival was made up of some artists selling their truly adorable handmade things. I ended up falling in love with, and purchasing, one of these newsboy hats for Nina:

I fell so in love, in fact, that I did something I've never done before. I asked the owner of Marili Jean, the shop that sells these little numbers for girls and boys, if she would give one away on my blog!

I felt like a bit of a salesperson, and was afraid she would think I was some crazy lady just asking for free stuff, but luckily she gave me a chance!

all photos thanks to Kelly Anderson Photo Design

And so, today I am giving away a $20 merchandise credit to the adorable Marili Jean! Just leave a comment telling me what little person in your life would receive this gift. I will close the comments on Friday night at 10 p.m. and announce the winner on Saturday!

Here's hoping that my little Nina will be cute pageboy hat twins with someone in your life! Happy Ho Ho Ho!


My Little Plaid Turkey

We got more snow this weekend in Colorado! It was the perfect weather to sit and work on this little pillow that's been in my head for a while. (Actually, to be honest, I have had the little turkey cut out since last Thanksgiving. But never the motivation to finish the job!)

I thought it was a cute addition to the Thanksgiving decor around here. I am debating if this guy can hang around all year, or does he have to go into hiding after the fall? I just love the colors in the plaid.

What do you think?


Pillow Imperfection

Girls, this is not the place to find a sewing tutorial. Let's just say that right now!

However, I recently wanted to make some pillows for my new family room. And I wanted them to have zippers, because, you know. Kids. Husband. Barf. Me=Klutz. Hello, washing machine!

I felt relatively confident to try and make zippered pillowcases because this blue material was probably $4 at a garage sale. Love it! (And I washed it on a steaming hot cycle first, don't worry!) So if I completely messed it up, no harm done.

I think you'll agree that these zippers are not pretty. No one will be asking me to make their wedding dress anytime soon.

The houndstooth fabric was a little pricier. We bought extra when we got our new chairs covered in the same fabric. It was a little scary to sew it, but at the end of the day, what good does it do me if the fabric just sits in my closet? The zippers are far from perfect, but...

...who cares? They get the job done, and now I have pretty pillows in my pretty new family room! So if you're thinking about tackling a project, but are afraid to "mess it up," I say go for it. You know what The Nester says (and it is so true): It Doesn't Have To Be Perfect To Be Beautiful. Amen girl!


I Love Me Some Vinyl Letters!

Baby Henry was born 91/2 months ago. I can barely believe it. But back when he was a newborn, my blogging friends The Twins (like how that is their official title?) Fran and Fern asked to send me a gift for him. How sweet are they? Of course it took me about 6 months to get a post office box, and then another 2 months to get my act together once I received the gift.

Finally, girls, I did something with this wonderful gift! They sent me some truly adorable vinyl letters and other fancies. They usually go on the wall, but because my walls are textured, I was worried about that. So I decided to do something else!

See my new "Little Cowboy" sign? That's a cheap-o pine board from Lowe's. I painted it cream, and then just stuck the letters on. Worked like a charm!

Afterwards, I used some wood stain (Dark Walnut from Minwax) and also gave it a bit of sanding along the edges. My husband drilled a few holes and added the rope.

They also sent me this sweet little pony. I didn't have another pine board, but I did have an old piece of scrap wood from another project. Gave it the same treatment as above, and I just love it!

Can you believe how nice people are in this little blog world? A HUGE thank you to The Twins for their sweet gift. And I can highly recommend their vinyl letters if you are in the market for something unique for your home. Check out their blog, Twice as Nice, if you're interested!


Easy Holiday Potpourri

I meant to share this with you all last week, but the giveaway kind of took over! However, as I sit down to write, my house smells wonderful, so it's the perfect inspiration.

Next time you're at the grocery store, pick up these easy three ingredients: oranges (or little clementines work well too), cinnamon sticks, and whole cloves. Peel an orange or two and allow the peels to dry (you'll use the peels only, not the fruit itself). Put all three ingredients in a pot and cover them with water, then simmer on the stove. Sit back and wait for your house to smell amazing.

Bring on the holidays!


Hubby Picked Fifteen

Congratulations to Commenter #15, Janet of JBoo Adventures! She has won my giveaway for the Minted cards. Janet has an adorable daughter Maddy, and I've been reading her blog since my early days of blogging. Yippee for Janet!

Thank you all for participating! I will be back next week with some more fun stuff to share. See you soon!


Time's Up!

Ooops! I went out to dinner last night with my husband and forgot to close the comments at 10 p.m. Oh well...a few of you may have gotten lucky and snuck a comment under the wire. Good for you!

I will announce the winner later today and be sure to let the lucky girl know! :)


Stationery Giveaway!

Are you all ready for a giveaway?

Now that Halloween is over, I am all about Christmas ideas. I've been working with an amazing stationery company called Minted. Have you heard of it? They were recently featured in Real Simple, and with good reason. Their stuff is adorable! Check out a few of these kids' personal stationery lines that they carry.

Hello, adorable little girl flowers:

Or this dinosaur? Love it!

If Nina didn't already have some stationery, I would be all over this preppy little giraffe:

Do you want to see which one I chose? I picked something for Henry, because, you know, he sends lots of mail. How cute is their packaging?

I could not resist this pale blue and chocolate brown combination. And the little train at the bottom? Precious!

OK, now that I've convinced you of the cuteness of Minted, how about a giveaway?

Just head on over to their website (click here) and check out all the different options for kids' personal stationery. Then tell me in the comments section which design you like the best, and the winner will receive 25 free kids' stationery cards. What better Christmas gift for someone small in your life? (Or, let's be honest, for the mama of someone small...we are all suckers for cute stuff like this for our kids!)

So, go check out the cuteness of Minted and let me know which stationery line tickles your fancy! Wa-hoo! I love free stuff!

I will close the comments on Friday night at 10 p.m. and draw the winner at random. Good luck!


Still Recovering

It's Monday morning and I am still working out the kinks from Halloween weekend. How many of you spent most of trick-or-treat night trying to get just one photo where the kids are actually looking at the camera and smiling?

As you can see, my efforts were only partially successful. And yes, those were spots on Henry's little face. However, by the end of the night he looked more like a dirty hobo than a cute dalmatian puppy. And it was all we could do to convince Nina that elephants don't have whiskers. (Do they?)

This makes me very afraid for the Christmas card photo. Very afraid.


Polka Dot Alphabet

For the longest time, I've been meaning to show you all a little gift idea that I use all the time. I am sure you've seen these wooden letters. I bought mine at Michael's, but I've seen similar ones at Joann's, Hobby Lobby, etc.

I love to get these letters for people as baby gifts. I just spray paint them, and then use a little round sponge brush to make the dots. I staple a grosgrain ribbon to the back.

Nina and Henry both have them hanging on their bedroom doors.

You know, in case they forget where their rooms are. Or for whenever they learn to read.

Next time you are looking for a unique little gift, give one of these a try! Or who says you can't make one for your own kids? :)

Have a great Halloween! I'll be back next week with a fun idea for the holiday season, a giveaway (yippee!) and maybe a few photos from our weekend. We're going to a Halloween party where the whole family gets to dress up. Yep, should be interesting!


I've Got Wreaths in Weird Places

My husband recently pointed out that I have a bit of a wreath obsession. As I looked around my house, I realized he was right. I buy (or make, in most cases) these things, and then I am bound and determined to find a place to put them.

For example, we all know about putting wreaths on our front doors.

And sometimes we put wreaths on the back of the front door, like this apple version I just made.

But then we get tired of it on the back of the door, so we move it to the dining room hutch. I strung a pretty green ribbon and then just attached it to one of those removable plastic hooks on the top of the hutch.

Then I decided that the mirror in the master bathroom was quite large and boring. Just a little grapevine wreath in the center makes me feel better.

I made another wreath a few months ago and would not rest until I found a place for it in my house. (To see how I made this Pottery Barn knockoff, click here!) Windows that are not being constantly opened and closed, or covered by curtains, are great places for a wreath!

This chalkboard in my family room looked a little lonely all by itself, so adding a wreath on top gave it a bit more dimension, and brought some green into the room too. If I ever feel the need to move it and actually write on the chalkboard, the wreath is just tacked to the top of the frame with an upholstery tack.

See? Lots of room for wreaths around the house...not just the front door! They can be cheap to make, can bring lots of color into a room, and just make a space feel more finished. Now you can be all wreath-obsessed like me!


Fall Decorating for the Black Thumbs Among Us

You may or may not remember my problem with plants...keeping them alive, that is. But I will assure you, I have a problem. Whatever creative ability I have is strictly limited to crafts and decorating. The gardening gene has totally eluded me.

So every fall I have this debate in my head: Should I buy some mums for the front porch? I know I will kill them. But they look so pretty! But they'll be dead in a week. But I like them! Seriously with this? Dead. In a week. Bummer!

This year I decided to skip the mums, save the money, and just put pumpkins in the places where plants usually go. So my urns? They are now holding fake grass ($2 at W*lMart) and a cute pumpkin.

My tabletop has a dried gourd that requires no green thumb from me.

And my window boxes have an array of mini-pumpkins and gourds.

This makes me happy because 1) I still get that pop of fall color on my front porch, 2) this stuff can stay on the porch through Thanksgiving, look all cute and autumn-y, but 3) no watering!

Give it a try if you are as "challenged" as I am!


Anniversary Bracelet Cuteness

A few weeks ago, I won something! Did any of you participate in The Nester's Giveaway Day? So fun! I just recently broke down and got a Post Office Box, which excites me to no end, because now I can enter fun giveaways like this. Before, my husband and I had an agreement that I needed to keep this blog anonymous, as much as possible, because I do post photos of my kiddos and real life. So my home address, no matter how many lovely ladies I met (and there have been a lot!), needed to stay private.

But now I have a PO Box and so it's time for some fun! OK, enough about my postal woes. Want to see what I've won?

This beautiful bracelet from Joey and Chase Designs!

She let me choose the date to display on the bracelet, as well as the colors. The date is my wedding anniversary. (I know what you are thinking. I should get one for my husband so that he never forgets. He's just not the bangle bracelet type...what's a girl to do?)

I love wearing it! If you're looking for a unique Christmas gift for a girlfriend, mom or sister, this would be so fun. Or maybe for that forgetful husband, who knows...