C.C.C.C.C. (Christmas Crate Copy Cat Challenge)

This post marks the maiden voyage of my new Silhouette Cameo and what better way to christen it than by using it to make my copy cat Christmas craft for the Christmas copy cat challenge at Debbie Doos.

You got that straight?

It could also be known as the CCCCCCC... Candy Cane Christmas Crate Copy Cat Challenge.  So I sailed the 7 C's.

But before I get to my project let me snow show you what arrived at our house this weekend.......

 The above photo is looking out my front door.  Christmas turned white.
See the log reindeer on the right all covered in downy white fur?

So this morning I was up at the crack of dawn with coffee in hand, to finish work on my copy cat, and this was the view from the kitchen table.  I was surrounded by cold white flakes.

Now I'd like to tell 'ya I was up so early because I am very devoted to having something to link for the copy cat challenge but the truth is I needed to get this painted and off my kitchen table.  We ate dinner with it smack dab in the middle last night.

And I am that devoted to the copy cat challenge.

What is it?  It's a three sided bottomless box, what does it look like, duh. 

I wanted to use a big galvanized bin to put our Christmas tree stand in.  But the stand didn't fit.  I wanted to use a basket.  But it didn't fit in that either.  So I asked my wonderful husband who had more than enough other things to do (like shovel or plow the driveway) to make me a three sided faux crate that I could cleverly slide in to hide the tree stand.....

 We put our stand on a red rubber mat so when we over fill the well it doesn't leak through to the carpet.  Not that we would ever do that.

On my shopping list is some fabric for a new tree skirt that of course I found on Pinterest, maybe tomorrow, but till then we are using one we have had forever.  It's a two sided comforter.  One side has green plaid, the other has pine cones.  Nothing special but it has a big wing span to hold fallen pine needles.

Letters all cut out as stencils
Not only is this post the maiden voyage for my Silhouette Cameo, but also for the Miss Mustard Seed milk paint I have had for a while.  I bought mine from Miss Flibbertigibbet.  I like to try all the new paints.  I have quite the collection going of chalk paint colors, and so far I've liked everything I have tried.

This is my inspiration crate.  I pinned it from the talented and inspiring Becky at Beyond The Picket Fence.   So since this is a copy cat challenge, I'm copying it!

Beyond The Picket Fence

I started with a coat of ASCP in old white, then mixed up my tricycle red milk paint and painted over my stencils.  Peeled 'em off, put some dark wax on and just like North Pole magic my crate was done.

Perfect to hide the tree stand.  And I love it.  Thank you Becky for the inspiration.
This was the first project I didn't have to hand paint letters.  I didn't save any time because I had to figure out that machine, figure out what I wanted to write, figure out the font I wanted to use, read more directions on the milk paint, and basically I think this took me 3 days to complete, but I couldn't leave the house due to the snow anyway!

If I get the new tree skirt done then I can move on to wrapping gifts.  Even if I don't get a new tree skirt made I'm gonna have to wrap presents huh?

Of course I'm linking this to... The One, The Only, Copy Cat Challenge at Debbie Doos
As well as some of my other favorites:
Pinworthy Projects @JustUsFour
Happy Hour @CraftyScrappyHappy
Wildly Original @IGottaCreate
Cowgirl Up @CedarHillRanch 
Whats in the Gunny Sack @TheGunnySack 
Tuesday's Treasures @MyUncommonSliceofSuburbia 

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Santa Mantel Party

I've got three mantels.  Yup, it's true.  I have one mantel I usually decorate in the family room and two that I might put some garland on or leftover lights.... if I feel inspired.

I also have a Santa collection that has never had a home.  I scope out a random spot to sprawl them out on and many years I don't even feel like letting them out of their bin.

But this year I have a party to attend.

The first stop is Christmas mantels over at Embracing Change.  I'm embracing change myself just by decorating more than one mantel!  10 bloggers to link up with, ending back at the ranch with me in January.  Got a mantel?  Head over and link 'er up.

At my house this year the Santas are loose.  
Bedroom mantel, meet Santa.

Instead of spreading the jolly old elf all over the place, I put the crew with some unused tree thingy's inside a Howitzer box.  (I do believe Shotgun Shell Santa needs to be here too.)

That's it, nothing earth shattering or amazing.  It's the first time the Santa gang has been corralled and the first time the bedroom mantel looks like I put some decorations on there on purpose. 

My favorite is the bowl full of jelly Santa on the right.  I think I got him when my belly looked the same.

So I stayed in the groove, the Santa Claus is Coming to Town groove.....  because not all the Santas fit in the Howitzer box.  I spied the metal tool box tote, added mostly St. Nick's my kids made, and presto - my normally undecorated bedroom (unless you count wrapping paper and misc. required holiday items all over the floor for a month, as decorating) is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.  It's a Christmas miracle of the North Pole kind.

The front Santa is made on a soda can out of some cement like stuff.
He's about 20 years old and I love his crusty self and the kid who made him.

Next up will be the family room mantel and the story of the hand made Silver Bells sign.

Don't forget to head over to Embracing Change and link up your Christmas mantel.  As you can see it doesn't have to be anything elaborate to be a box full of Christmas cheer.

Santa's on his way to:
Embracing Change Christmas Mantel Party
It's Party Time @ThreeMangoSeeds

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Rustic Homemade Ornaments & Link Party Pals

Making ornaments back in the olden days before Google or Pinterest, people either had to come up with an idea themselves, rely on magazines and the ideas of others, or reinvent something they saw and make it better.

I'm going to share 11 of the 25 years worth of ornaments I've made.  These might not be the cream of the crop, but they were the ones I could easily find.

2005 - Santa made from a shotgun shell

Santa's back side
Over the years I didn't just make two or three ornaments every December, I made anywhere from 20 in the early years to 50 or more the last time I had the ambition or an idea.

Most of the ornaments were not elaborate, didn't involve sewing since I can't, and most could be done with kids because with 6 of those I either didn't have time for elaborate or the craft needed to be kid friendly so they could help.  Or both.

These sleds are all over the internet these days because they are simple.  Made from Popsicle sticks.  Notice the date on mine........ 1980.  That would be 32 years ago.  My very first ornament and I copied it from my at the time 10 year old sister in law. 

Our tree used to be all rustic, everything fit in.  I may or may not have gotten better at making stuff over the years.
1995 butcher paper snowman with batting between layers, where is his hat?
Of those 20 - 50 ornaments I would make each year, I gave them to my friends, my in-laws, nieces and nephews.

That also meant whatever I made should be cost effective and routinely I turned to the front yard for raw product because raw product was abundant there...and free.

Glittered white Snowman bulb - 2003
Snow men are popular with me because there is no artistic ability needed to make their face or the round shape for their bodies.  Due to my sewing inability can, the glue gun is my friend.
1997 - Birch branch & twig Snowman
Long before Martha had her line of awesome glitters, I picked up fine glitter powder, sprayed the ornaments with sealer and sprinkled the glitter on.  It reflects like crystals in the snow would.
2002 Trash - smashed soda cans.  I also made smaller ones from V-8 cans
Orange paint or tooth picks cut and painted was my choice for carrot noses.

In those days the craft bin consisted mostly of bells, twigs, black puff paint, old buttons, bits of flannel and that glittery white fake snow stuff for beards on Santas' or snow on snowmen.
2006 - Rusty tin star snowman
When ever I needed wood or tree cut, I would say something like, "Brawn could you cut me some slat roofs for my birdhouse ornaments?"  "Yes... how many would you like, beautiful young crafty wife?" (Surely he said something like that). 

My reply as I ran away before he could change his mind..."Two slats each roof, so 100?  Thank you".

Rustic tree-branch birdhouse with nail perch
Sometimes ornaments that look easy turn out to be a pain in the butt.

Too putsy - and when you have 40 or more to make you will quickly regret the putsy part.

 Like this elf.  Too many small pieces of felt to cut out.
1999 block elf
One of my favorites are the tree branch snowmen with baby sock hats.  Probably because all I had to do was raid the mismatched sock bin and wander the woods for supplies.
2004 Baby sock hat snowman
We have all sizes of Rudolph around here.

Brawn's uncle made some 25 years ago and since then we have copied them time and time again.  We have large ones that line our outside walk and short stubby ones our boys helped make. 

We'll be making some more big reindeer as gifts this year, when Brawn gets to be a lumberjack chainsawing log deer bodies.
1998 Mini version of our outdoor deer
This Rudy is still in the ornament bin waiting to have his legs reattached.  Monday night he and some friends had an accident. 

I don't know which elf was being mischievous, but they undid the tree top anchor ties and toppled the 12 footer to the ground.

So somewhere between watching Brawn in his underwear stand a 12 foot tree back up in the middle of the night, soaking up water from the tipped stand, and re-decorating said tree for a second time the next night ...... a wonderful group of bloggers invited me to join them for a party.
And I'm inviting all of you to join us.

10 bloggers are joining forces for a Holiday Link Party Series.  
We're covering it all: from Christmas mantels to New Year Resolutions.
It begins this weekend on December 8th with the talented and lovely, Stacey,
from Embracing Change, who will show off her Christmas Mantel
and then you'll have the opportunity to link up yours . . .
The Fantastic Participants Extraordinaire are:
~ and moi ~
Bliss Ranch will be holding up the rear hosting a 2012 year in review party on January 9th,
 and you just never know what I might decide to review.

Linked Shotgun Shell Santa up at:
Crafted Christmas Ornament Party @TheCraftedNiche
Make the Scene Monday @AlderberryHill

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Jingle Bell Junk Swap ~ Junk Tree

Jingle Bell time is a swell time. 

How come every post I do about Christmas I feel like singing?  Well this time it's because the super groovy blogs on that Jingle Bell Junk Swap button rock.

Tomato Cage Silver Junk Christmas Tree

To ring in the Christmas season we did it our way and swapped junk.  We drew names and sent a small vintage treasure on for the recipient to re-purpose into something Christmasy.  I don't know what anyone else gave or got other than myself, so I'm looking forward to seeing what the rest of the groovy gang crafted.

Here's the internet version of the 'lil horse that started the junk repurpose for me.....

It's not THE  exact little horse because I did a blogger no-no....... if  I took a before picture I can't find it.   I *think* I remember snapping a pic when it arrived but where did it go after that?  Mine looked pretty much like these two pirated photos if you mixed them together.  My horse isn't scratching his chin.

The all around groovy chick and super talented Cassie from Primitive & Proper drew my name and she wasn't horsing around when she packed that bugger in enough bubble wrap to mail a priceless irreplaceable fragile tea cup to say.. someone in England (hi Fiona).

Cassie.... FYI, Trigger arrived safe and I have reused all the bubble wrap.  The box too.

Then I did what any good crafter would do.  I spray painted the little filly.  The pony, not Cassie.

I had several ideas how to use the horse, but when the time came it was re-purposed in Krylon silver for the good of the whole.

Whole tree.   

Whole junk tree.

Whole bunch of junking jingling bling.

Mission:  Turn one tomato cage into a blinged out Christmas tree using my little pony as the main attraction.
Tomato Cage Silver Junk Christmas Tree
Couldn't grow tomatoes may as well repurpose it
Tomato Cage Silver Junk Christmas Tree
Christmas Tree Molds
I picked up two of these Christmas tree mold things at a summer garage sale.  They didn't fit together so I'm not really sure what you would mold in them.  I passed one half (6 trees each when cut apart) on to Sarah at The Thriftress and I used the other half on my project along with my pretty little silver filly and any junk I could find......

Tomato Cage Silver Junk Christmas Tree
No, I didn't come up with this on my own.  I pinned the idea a while ago.  If you look you can find that and more inspiration on my Pinterest board.

Here is the inspiration junk tree:
Tree From Curious Sofa Blog

And here is mine. I. Love. It.!!! 
Thank you Debbie at Curious Sofa for thinking of it.

Tomato Cage Silver Junk Christmas Tree
See the horse front center?

The tomato cage tree has all sorts of good junk.  And plenty of Jingling Bling.
Like this vintage ice cream scoop.....
Tomato Cage Silver Junk Christmas Tree

An egg separator....
Tomato Cage Silver Junk Christmas Tree

Some antique tart tins....

Tomato Cage Silver Junk Christmas Tree

My Christmas tree mold thingy's...

Tomato Cage Silver Junk Christmas Tree

An old egg beater......
Tomato Cage Silver Junk Christmas Tree

A cross of nails that one of my kids made....

Tomato Cage Silver Junk Christmas Tree

Lots and lots of old cookie cutters.......

Tomato Cage Silver Junk Christmas Tree

And of course the pretty little filly that started it all........

Tomato Cage Silver Junk Christmas Tree

Thank you Cassie, it was fun and without this horse I don't know if I would of raced to get my inspiration tree completed.  I think I will put this in my kitchen just in case I need to separate an egg, then I can think of you when I wash dishes.

Make sure and stop over at these other great blogs and see what they received and how they repurposed it.  I'm looking forward to seeing how Sarah used her half of the tree molds.

**UPDATE - this post is getting a lot of anonymous spam comments arriving in my email, so I have turned off comments.  If you would like to ask me a question or comment on this post 'ya just gotta do it the old fashioned way and drop me a note at

Jingle Jangling Along at:

ThrowBackThursday @GlitterGlueandPaint

Happy Hour @CraftyScrappyHappy
Transformation Thursday @TheShabbyCreekCottage
Live Laugh Linky @LiveLaughRowe
Show & Share @SouthernLovely
Wildly Original Link Party @IGottaCreate
What's in the Gunny Sack @TheGunnySack
Knick of Time Tuesday @KnickOfTime
Sunday Showcase Party @ UnderTheTableandDreaming 
 Pinworthy Projects @JustUsFour 
  Make the Scene Monday @ AlderberryHill 
  Newbie Graduate Party @ DebbieDoos  
 Show and Tell Saturday @BeDifferentActNormal
 Inspiration Friday @ AtThePicketFence 
Vintage Inspiration @CommonGround 

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