Shelf Elf

It seems everyone has an elf on the shelf.  Ours came to live with us over 20 years ago and I thought it was a novel idea then.  Not one of my friends had one. He doesn't look the same as yours.  His tag said that he was a shelf elf, so that's his name Shelf Elf, but we say it as if it is all one word... Shelfelf, we never thought of giving him a real name.  But like everyone else's elf, he came to observe our behavior and report back to Santa on Christmas Eve.

Never ever did the chief mom elf ever think to pose him doing hilarious things like the elf's these days. Did I just not get that memo all those years ago? I feel like we missed out, or maybe our elf is a slacker?

While in college daughter #2 was a nanny for a little girl and wanted to give her an elf like ours - to her a shelf elf looks like our elf.  She couldn't find one.  So she made one.

She has some mad skills in all areas of art.  But she wasn't painting this elf.  She wasn't sculpting it out of clay.  She wasn't designing it on the computer.  No she said "I'm gonna sew one".  I thought... 'sure you are honey'.  Doesn't she know she is my daughter and my daughters don't know how to sew because their mother doesn't know how to sew?

She said she was going to make a girl elf, only asking me if we had some green thread.  Yeah right.  Helloooo, we have the basic colors for emergencies, no thread in creative colors.  So she took beige.  'Alllllrightttt dear'  I mumbled in a disbelieving tone thinking there was no way she could sew an elf.

Her elf was made from an old sock and some fabric scraps. The arms are made from valances from my oldest daughters room.  Really not sure where she got the green.  She stitched this little elf for a special little girl.  She packaged it up, mailed it off with instructions from Santa.

She got word that they love it..... and that behavior has been top notch this December.

I'm sure glad she didn't listen to me when I all but told her she wouldn't be able to sew one.

Linked the little elf up to the All Star Party @FullCircleCreations

Follow on Bloglovin


Radio Flyer Wagon Centerpiece

Sometimes when I get ideas they don't work.  Surprise!

I wanted to take the wheels off this old wagon and use them on a willow coffee table so I could roll it out of the way to vacuum.  And because I thought it would look cool.

The wheels are rubber.  And if you push hard on black rubber it makes black marks.  And the carpet is some shade of white wool.  So no wagon wheels because I have enough marks on whatever that white shade of wool carpet is.

Tell me... what is that silhouette riding in that wagon?  
A bear?  Frumpy middle aged woman?  Someone wearing a gas mask?
Sure doesn't look like a little kid to me.  
And is it just me, or does the handle part look like someone watering the lawn?

The wheels might not have worked, but I had a perfectly good (in a junk sort of way) wagon top to use. Brawn attached the brackets from the bottom of the wagon to the inside and put a silver pipe carrying handle on it, to turn it into a wagon tote.  It showed up on the table just in time to decorate for Christmas.

Ball canning jars with twine, and the left over junk from my Christmas bins fill the wagon because I couldn't find my big bag of pine cones.  It will turn up for Easter I'm sure.  For safety, dollar store battery candles top the batting stuffed jars that mimic snow, and for only the $1.00 cost of those candles I have a unique centerpiece that glows softly.  In a big sort of way.... it's size is 36"x17".

 Seriously what is that logo *thing* riding in the wagon?  It has booobs!
(Typo on purpose so people that google that word won't find my blog)

Also pulled my wagon over to the party at:
Salvaged Junk Candles@FunkyJunk

My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

Follow on Bloglovin


Silver Bells Sign

One day a couple weeks ago daughter #2 sat down and started painting some signs.  As she sat with some La Craie paint sample pots in front of her I asked what she was doing and she told me making signs.  (Duh huh?)

When I pointed the camera at her she gave me that evil death glare.  I said "it's only your hand!".
In the corner of the room sat the unopened box containing my new Silhouette Cameo.  I suggested she try it out.  Neither of us wanted to read the directions so she just went about her business and lettered by hand.  She is much more tidy than I - I needed to use the Silhouette for the copy cat challenge candy cane crate.

 Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Red dogwood branches became the frame,
and it received a dusting of fine multi colored glitter.
She gifted one to her big sister and one to her sister-in-law for their homes. 

Then she started on a third one.

When I walked by I asked who that one was for; "it's for the mantel, you can't look at it".

So of course as she painted I stood over her and read it anyway.

Then tears started to run down my face.

With just a touch of disbelieving OMG in her voice, she looked up and said "are you crying?" then she hugged me and with a more sympathetic tone said "ohhh mamma".

I asked if she knew why I was crying; "well yeah, it was gramma's favorite Christmas song" she said confidently.

My sweet thoughtful daughter.  Yes I will forever hear my own mom singing it.

But my reply.....
"No that's not why I'm crying".... "I'm crying because you remembered".

The words that she painted are special no doubt, but more special to me is the fact that she knew they would be special.  Usually a person says 'it's the thought that counts' when they want the effort to be recognized and not necessarily the gift.  Not in this case.

In this case I received a gift I love and it really was the thought that counted.

Don't forget to link up to this weeks Party hostess - The Ironstone Nest - with your outdoor decor.  My decor got snowed on!

Follow on Bloglovin


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 

Follow on Bloglovin


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

Follow on Bloglovin


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

Follow on Bloglovin
Disclosure Policy for Bliss Ranch:
From time to time there might be a written review of services or products on this blog for which Bliss Ranch may or may not have received that service or product for free. Receiving a product or service for free or at a discount will never dictate what is written on this blog or guarantee a favorable review. All opinions here belong to Bliss Ranch and Bliss Ranch alone. Bliss Ranch is not monetarily compensated to write anything on this blog... period! For the complete privacy policy please see the tab at the top of the blog.