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Category Archives: Christmas decorations

Greatest Clicks for November!



Juan is not too sure about this guy, with his sister



I know I am getting this started a little late as we are now into the first week of December and would be remiss in not providing you our “Greatest Clicks” for the month of November!
In case you missed any postings in between shopping, baking and decorating…here are the top five for the month!

1. Happy 1 Year Anniversary
2. Organization For The Holidays
3. Juan says…”Our house is too big!”
4. Myth #1….My place is too small to entertain!
5. The Tree Is Trimmed…All Minus 1 ½ feet


Me!



As always…Juan and I appreciate your continued interest and support. If there is anything you would like to share or if you have questions…I am a quick email away!

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The Tree Is Trimmed…All Minus 1 ½ feet

WOW! It seems like Labor Day was just here and we were THINKING about Halloween. How’d we get to Christmas so fast? I tell Juan every year, Christmas comes faster and faster.

I la la LOVE Christmas. Everything about it. As a kid I loved the holiday decorations, the holiday spirit in everyone’s hearts and the joy of family and friends getting together. It is my time of year. As a child, my father loved Christmas too. I spent many days just hanging out in the living room with my Dad as he blasted Bing Crosby or Nat King Cole Christmas music on his “Reel to Reel” stereo. (For the much younger generations it was like a HUGE cassette!)

I collect Santa ornaments. When I travel, I love picking up one in remembrance of my trip. For years, I’ve been trimming an artificial tree. I put mine up so early, I want to be able to have it up after Thanksgiving and enjoy through Christmas. This is a challenge if you buy a real tree…besides some of my ornaments are heavy and the fake branches can hold the weight.

Since we moved to our 900 square foot home, I did have to get rid of the 9 ½ foot pre-lit tree I used in my old house. It would be folded over due to the low ceilings and the circumference would take up the whole living room. So we purchased a 7 ½ foot unlit slim tree. It is perfect for a smaller space especially with the narrow diameter….you do not feel that each time you walk by you will take an ornament out!

Since I had to manually light the tree I got started. How spoiled I’ve become with a pre-lit tree. It sure made it easy to put together. I was able to concentrate on getting the branches bent correctly and fluff the tips up to look like a real tree. Now I will have to wrap the lights AND get the branches ready for decorations. Juan hates this part as I become very picky on how the lights go on and how the branches are set. He would run around the tree in circles with the lights and throw a clump of tinsel at once if he could. (wink wink smiley face) I however like to weave the lights in and up to the trunk and back out trying to give the tree a perfect glow. (Wow that is so Martha Stewart, right?) Okay….I am a little particular when it comes to festive illumination!

Well, back to lighting. I thought I would be smart by setting up the first tree section and wrapping the branches before I add the middle and top section of the tree. That way I could easily lean over the top of the section and really weave the lights perfectly. Heck I am so smart…I’ll have this tree glowing and ready for ornaments in no time.

I spent a lot of time getting that first section lit. It was perfect….a perfect glow and the branches looked great. Now on to the middle section….I carefully lined up the pole to add to the bottom section and it doesn’t want to go in???!!!! Why? I thought well I must be way off and got under the branches to see what was going on. I am sure most of you know by now what happened. I did a beautiful job of lighting the MIDDLE section of the tree first! Crapola!!!!!Needless to say, Juan was laughing hysterically a good 10 minutes before he calmed down. It was pretty funny but now I am thinking “How can I add the bottom piece without disturbing the middle section?” or “Am I going to have to undo ALL the lights and start over?”

 
 So….I decided to continue on and instead of trying to pull out the section I did…I went ahead and added the top section and began my weaving wonderment of lights. It was beautifully lit….heck I should have another 1 ½ feet of tree to light but alas I was not paying attention when starting this project. Instead of a 7 ½ foot tree….I have a 6 foot tree and you know what???? It looks great. Juan agreed, he said you don’t even miss it and it fits so nicely in the room.


 

This year I decorated with my glass and German glass Santa and Snowman themes ornaments…went with heavy red accents and a dash of green on top!

Note to self:
 
* Be sure you check the labels of the tree to be sure you are starting with the correct section
 * Maybe you should hold off lighting the tree before you put the whole thing together

 
* Don’t get upset of you make a mistake….it’s the holidays and not worth it

* If you do mess up….take a break, have some eggnog and get creative!

              HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
 

Organization for the Holidays

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….. Maybe not quite as much here in Phoenix AZ…but I am sure in other parts of the country.
I know you are also saying…”Why the heck is Shawn talking about Christmas when we haven’t even eaten the turkey and “camped out on the couch enjoying the football games.”
Well…the reason I am starting now is since October you have been getting into your attic/garage/basement/shed/storage unit pulling out the holiday decorations. This is the time as you go through each holiday event (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years etc) look and see if you can better organize your decorations.
Sometimes the hardest part is taking the time to go through everything and see what you wish to keep, throw away or pass down to others…getting it organized. THEN…the next thing to think about is storage solutions.
As I have preached on several occasions, the key to small space living is great organization. Heck! The key to sanity with holiday décor regardless of size of home IS organization.
Let’s start off with ornaments. I remember growing up; my parents had the ornaments in their original packs. (Okay 1960’s) Although it kept the glass ornaments secure, you had a bunch of these small cartons you had to stack up in storage or in a box; however they were never quite the right shape to put in the bins etc. Or…you had all the ornaments in one giant box where they clanged on one another or wrapped in tissue and you never seemed to have enough room to put all your ornaments in one box.
So look for storage solutions at Target, Wal-Mart, IKEA or specialty container stores where you might find more specific needs at a slightly higher price. I’ve included a couple of ornament storage solutions that make it easy to organize and protect your precious ornaments year after year.
Strings of lights are always a challenge. One thing I decided to do was pre-lit Christmas tree. That way I do not have to spend the time weaving in strings of lights before I get to the fun part of decorating. So many trees are easily assembled with the pre-lit lights…no headaches in connecting etc. If you are investing in an artificial tree, be sure you get one that you are going to enjoy for years to come. Artificial trees are great as they can hold your heavier ornaments and be displayed a lot longer than a real tree. If you like the smell of a Christmas tree, try purchasing greenery at a nursery. You can decorate your mantels or other areas with the greenery and adding ornaments as well as having that great Christmas tree smell.
For outdoor lighting, be sure you have them neat and bundled. You do not wish to be spending your next year of decorating trying to eliminate the big “KNOT” in your string of lights like Clark Griswold had in “Christmas Vacation”. There are plastic boards you can wrap your lights around, a reel style that you can wind your lights on and easily spin off when needed, OR….a cheaper way is to get heavy duty cardboard, cut in a large rectangle shape and wrap a string of lights around. Only string one per cardboard, that way you can determine how many you will be using each year etc.
Bottom line you want to make decorating for the holidays easy.  There is nothing worse than dreading the thought of decorating. If you do not have your items easily accessible…try to find a spot in the garage or in a shed where you can get to your boxes easily.
For me….decorating for the holidays is such a joy. I LOVE the Christmas season. And if you take the time to organize your decorations, clear out what you do not want or use and have it easily accessible, you’ll be more apt to put them up each year! 
 HAPPY ORGANIZING HOLIDAY SEASON!
 

Shameless Plug! Hosted A Little Holiday Show

Several “blog posts” ago (It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas) I shared with you a passion I have for making things. You see…when it’s 122 degrees in the summer here in Phoenix AZ, I try to think about cool crisp air mornings and wearing a jacket to keep warm…basically day dreaming about cooler weather! ALSO, I am in my 900 square foot home creating cool “objects de art”!

Well I had a small holiday event showcasing my ornaments and crosses. Needless to say I sold 80% of my inventory AND have orders for several crosses. Whooo Hoooo! I’m excited…can you tell? (wink wink smiley face and high five!)

Many have been asking about a website etc and I am in the works, however, I think I will put up a facebook page and provide you pictures of my ornaments and other STUFF I am creating for the holidays if you are interested. For more info, email me at shawn@jmsogroup.com.

 

A Quick Update

In October, I posted a blog called “Cleaning up the Details”…about organization and how great it can be to purchase dividers or some type of organizational tools to utilize in helping small spaces be more manageable. ALSO…I talked about utilizing things in your house that can be used for storage that may be a part of your family history that you hate to give up and are just sitting in storage or somewhere collecting dust.

I decided to use a very old cash register drawer from Juan’s Grandparents who used to own a furniture store as an organizer for some of the art projects I am working (Shameless plug It’s Beginning To Look A lot Like Christmas).
Turned out pretty good! The teak oil soaked in and brought out the beautiful dark wood and now looks like a cool piece of “Organizational Art” for my workspace.
Are you utilizing heirlooms or found some cool way to organize your things with yard sale or antique store finds??? Please email me (info@the9hundred.com) your pictures and tell me about it! I would love to post your pictures and ideas and what you created!
 
 

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas



Okay…okay…I know…you are barely carving the pumpkins and have all the scary decorations and bags of candy in time for the “trick or treaters”. So why in the world am I talking about ho-ho-ho and jingle all the way?



Black & White Checked Cross

 Well I wanted to show you what I’ve been doing in my tiny little house during the hot days of summer.

I’ve been fascinated with making jewelry with wire. I love seeing how one can bend and weave the silver or gold wire into beautiful wearable art.

“I could do that!” I thought to myself and started practicing on stainless steel wire. I didn’t want to start with the real silver or gold wire…..it really sucks if you mess up and then you’ve wasted the wire and the money.

So, I began making charms and adding Czech glass beads. I really got into making these charms and decided to create tin ornaments and attach them onto the ornaments. They are my Christmas charm ornaments! ( I know… not a super clever name)
They are hand made using tin as the cut outs (tree, dove, cross, star and ornament) I like the ones in silver with the hammer texture, however my Mom suggested I paint some…so I did.
I’ll show you the ones I’ve come up with already and show you some in detail. I am not a professional photographer so forgive me for just laying them out on my patio table. (Smiley face)

So enjoy a brief video montage and a little christmas music to get you in the ho-ho-ho mood!



I would like to know your thoughts on these and to help me… Let me know if you like the painted ones or prefer the ones that are not painted.
Yes, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in my 900 square foot home due to ornaments laying about amongst the jack-o-lanterns and fall leaves.
I’ll clean up….
 
 
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