Friday, December 31, 2010

Ring Them Bells...

To all friends new and old, everyone near and far, to all corners of the earth and everyplace in between......

To mark the changing of the guard, here are some of my favorite New Years quotes:

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
~Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850

For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
~T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding"

We will open the book.  Its pages are blank.  We are going to put words on them ourselves.  The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.  ~Edith Lovejoy Pierce
Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.
~Benjamin Franklin   

What can be said in New Year rhymes,
That's not been said a thousand times?
The new years come, the old years go,
We know we dream, we dream we know.
We rise up laughing with the light,
We lie down weeping with the night.
We hug the world until it stings,
We curse it then and sigh for wings.
We live, we love, we woo, we wed,
We wreathe our prides, we sheet our dead.
We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,
And that's the burden of a year.
~Ella Wheeler Wilcox 

Ring them bells, ye heathen
From the city that dreams
Ring them bells from the sanctuaries
’Cross the valleys and streams
For they’re deep and they’re wide
And the world’s on its side
And time is running backwards
And so is the bride
Ring them bells St. Peter
Where the four winds blow
Ring them bells with an iron hand
So the people will know
Oh it’s rush hour now
On the wheel and the plow
And the sun is going down
Upon the sacred cow
Ring them bells Sweet Martha
For the poor man’s son
Ring them bells so the world will know
That God is one
Oh the shepherd is asleep
Where the willows weep
And the mountains are filled
With lost sheep
Ring them bells for the blind and the deaf
Ring them bells for all of us who are left
Ring them bells for the chosen few
Who will judge the many when the game is through
Ring them bells, for the time that flies
For the child that cries
When innocence dies
Ring them bells St. Catherine
From the top of the room
Ring them from the fortress
For the lilies that bloom
Oh the lines are long
And the fighting is strong
And they’re breaking down the distance
Between right and wrong
~Bob Dylan

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

You knew it would happen....

Most people, by now, have seen the "KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON" phrase emblazoned across everything from t-shirts to coasters, hand towels to coffee mugs.

While I like the slogan and the products it's printed on, you knew it was just a matter of time before somebody somewhere had fun with the phrase and turned it on it's heel!  Following are a few examples of some of the clever twists on this pop culture icon!

Yes, it does!

For the Harry Potter Fans!

LOVE the crown on this one!!

And while recently cruising the aisles of one of MY favorite stores, HomeGoods, I spotted this in the pillows:

It may soon become my motto!!  I have so much going on in my personal life, sometimes I feel exactly like this! But I think I need to follow the message of the original, keep focused on what's important and keep an even keel.  Meanwhile, here is my contribution to the play on words. Can you think of any clever turns of this popular phrase?  Drop me a comment and let me know!  Enjoy, and as always I appreciate your visit!  Please consider following me on the right sidebar.  Just click 'follow!'  Thanks!

Carry on,

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Just in the St. Nick of time......A post to wish all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Joyous and Prosperous New Year!!!!

I love to see traditions from around the country and around the world, so  I thought I'd show you all a tradition of mine that stems from living in Tucson.  Every year around late September, the Agave plants in the desert send up large spikes that signal the end of the plants life.  An agave can live 20 years or longer before sending up it's final bloom, sometimes up to 25' high.  It is a true swan song, as the agave dies after such a beautiful output, and will only bloom just the once.

A beautiful example of an agave newly in bloom.
 The agave stalk will eventually dry out in our arid climate, turning from a beautiful bright green to a woody, brown and extremely durable 'branch.' By late October they are usually ready to harvest. 

Here is a great example of a fresh bloom
and a dried one side by side.
A completely dry stalk.
Once dry, the agave stalks lend themselves to many ornamental uses.  One such use is as a Christmas tree!  So without further ado, here is MY Agave Stalk Christmas Tree!


Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tripping the Light Fantastic

I Love Christmas lights!!!  There is nothing more beautiful than driving around at night and seeing dark space punctuated by beautiful, glowing masses of colorful lights!  I firmly believe they *should* be left up all year long.  To that end, here is my contribution to the nightime winter skies.....

I will probably add more as the season marches on.  These pictures don't do it justice....the color is so much more vibrant in person, and I have since added a disco ball!!  Yes, that's right, a disco ball.  Complete with a spinning motor which turns the mirrored orb and catches all the light and bounces it back in to the evening.  It's gorgeous!

Enjoy the twinkle of this season and as always, I appreciate your visit!

Friday, December 10, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

Well, ok, I know I'm late to the game as it started to look like Christmas in October!!  But for me, this is the perfect time to start decorating and getting in to the holiday spirit.  I made my own wreaths this year, which I think look great, and couldn't be easier to do.  This idea has been around for a while:
Using plastic bags cut into strips, simply tie them around a wire wreath frame until it's nice and full.  I like to spray paint the wire frame silver so it blends with the plastic bags.  Using this same idea, I cut felt into strips and tied them around another wire frame and the results, to me, are stunning!  Again, soooo easy and they cost about $7 for the felt one and $5 for the plastic bag version. Click here for a tutorial.

                           Hot Pink and Turquoise ARE traditional Christmas colors, right?!
                                                  I might just leave them up year round!
                                           Here are some of my other holiday decorations.

In the southwest, we use Agave stalks as Christmas trees!  Here is one of mine festooned with my homemade glitter ornaments!  This one, I DO keep up year long, minus the ornaments.

Hope you enjoyed a peek at my holiday decorating!
As always, please consider following me on the right sidebar and I do appreciate your visit!


Have I mentioned how attracted I am to shiny, glittery, sparkly things?  Well, with that in mind I set out to make some beautiful, glittery baubles for my Christmas tree and the real tree in my front yard.  I went to my "go to" craft store, Michaels, and found some really cute, pre-cut, heavy cardboard shapes for .99 cents for a bag of 12!!  They come in so many shapes, it was hard to choose!  Everything from pirate ships to guitars to hand and footprints to flowers to....well, you get the idea.  A can of spray adhesive and some 'fine' glitter later, I had beautiful, glittery ornaments to adorn my tree!!
The supplies.

 I am absolutely LOVING the Martha Stewart glitters that are available.  They come in amazing colors and surprisingly, go a looong way.  The "Anthracite" is the most beautiful, deep, gun-metal grey  color I have ever seen!  Would it be weird if I covered myself in adhesive and rolled in it?  Wait....don't answer that!

Give a good coat of adhesive.
You want to be generous with the glitter so you get a nice, even, opaque cover.  You can always re-use what doesn't stick to the surface.  The trick to getting a good coat is to use your fingertips to really 'mash' the glitter in to the adhesive.

A cool macro shot of the 'Tourmaline' glitter!
And one of the 'Anthracite.'
 A hole punch and some ribbon later, and voila!  There you have it!  Beautiful glittery ornaments that are easy to make and cost just pennies a piece.  I love the way they glisten in our warm southwest sun!

Hope you enjoyed the sparkle!  As always, I appreciate your visit.  Won't you consider 'following' me on the right side bar?  Thanks and Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Big Blue

As is my usual habit, I was one day last week browsing through the craigslist ads when I noticed an unusual post.  It said " very large chandelier."  Chandeliers are not hard to come by on craigslist, but they are usually standard, run of the mill, normal sized fixtures.  The measurements listed in the post were " 36" high and 42" wide."  I got out my measuring tape and tried to get an idea of how big this thing really was, because in the picture posted with the add, it did not seem that big.  My thought was to get it and re-sell it since it was ridiculously low priced, which was another thing that caught my eye in the ad.  Very large and low priced?  I was all over it!!  I called within 10 minutes of the owner posting and he said I was the 4th caller already.  But, as luck would have it, none of the other callers were able to come see the "very large chandelier" right away.  I was.  Within 30 minutes, I was standing before it with mixed thoughts on whether or not to purchase it.  It was kind of ugly brown and beige eighties looking and indeed VERY large ( the picture did not do it justice as it was bigger in person than I had imagined.) Would anybody buy it from me? Would I get stuck with this huge monstrosity?  How would it fit in my car?  Am I crazy to buy a huge chandelier?!  What am I doing here?  I finally decided to just bite the bullet and purchase the beast!  With some help from the seller, we got it strapped in to my trunk and I made it home.  I brought it inside and put it on my dining room table.  It was then that I decided I would be keeping it.  It made such a statement in it's size, I thought it would be the perfect over-the-top light fixture in my dining room.
In it's original color.
But the color was completely wrong for my space and very dated looking, so it was off to the hardware store for my go-to problem solver: spray paint.  Before I went though, I had a few tubes of craft paint on hand and decided to test out some color possibilities.

Some of the color tests.

I eventually decided on royal blue to match the chairs at my dining table.  Silver was a very close second and for a while it looked like it might be shocking pink and hung in my daughters room.  The thought of her jumping from her bed to the chandelier and swinging from it quickly determined the fixtures place in the dining room!

In progress

Four cans of spray paint later, I had blue hair, blue skin, blue boogers and a BIG BLUE chandelier!

Now to hang it........I needed help since it is pretty heavy, so I recruited some friends.  After measuring from the ceiling to determine the best height, we adjusted the chain length and set about devising a plan on the best way to get it up there!  I should mention, at this point I still wasn't completely sold on having a light that big over my dining table.  I have 10' cielings, but even at that, this thing seemed HUGE!  My friends convinced me that it would be such a "wow" factor, I had to do it.  So back to hanging.  It took three of us to hoist it up, get it on the chain which was already attached to the ceiling plate and keep it balanced while I snaked the wires up through the collar to the ceiling box.  Finally, everything was wired, hung and ready to go.  I set about putting all the bulbs in (there are 24 bulbs in this sucker!)

You can get some idea of scale when I stand next to it!
 I went out to the breaker box, turned the circuit back on and...............

Taaaa- Daaaaa!!

I put it on a dimmer.  This is the lowest setting....

......and this is the highest at 600 watts!

Oh. My. Goodness. It. Is. So. Cool!  This was one of the riskier design choices I've made, but I think it really paid off in the end.  And if I do ever decide to move it, there is always spray paint!

Any guesses as to how much I paid for it?

I am really happy with the way it looks, the drama it gives the room and the pop of color it brings.  And I will always have plenty of light for dinner parties!  These pictures don't quite show just how big this thing really is, but trust me, it is BIG BLUE!!  The only thing I lament?  Not getting a picture of it strapped into the trunk of my VW Jetta!

I hope you enjoyed your visit, I appreciate you stopping by!  Won't you please consider following me on the right side bar?

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