Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Holiday Projects

January 6, 2014

I’ve been keeping pretty busy over the past few months with various reclaimed wood projects. Usually I see an idea online or one comes to me then I get to work immediately and finish it within a couple days; nothing like immediate gratification :)

To add to my fall/autumn decor I built these two wooden pumpkins. First, I cut out the outline from a scrap piece of particle board then I screwed the boards into the back and trimmed the excess with my handy jigsaw.


After a good sanding I attached part of a stick to each of the pumpkin tops to act as stems. They sat outside by our front door for a few months and held up great!


My largest project to date was our Christmas tree. We originally wanted to buy a live tree like we did last year but due to the hassle of getting it into and out of our third story apartment, the $50-$60 price tag and the fact that it would only be up for a couple of weeks before we left for Texas, we opted for something a little more simple.


I had a pile of leftover fencepost scraps from my brother that I hadn’t found a use for yet so I lined them all up from largest to smallest, creating a tree shape. Using the jigsaw I cut the ends of each board at an angle to form the limbs of the tree then I attached a long, vertical board down the middle to tie it all together. After drilling some holes I poked each individual bulb from a 100 light multi-color strand through a hole from the back. Right now the lights are just held in by friction but I’ll be making it more permanent with some glue or silicon caulk soon.


And here she is in all of her reclaimed, multi-color glory! I think this was my favorite Christmas tree ever, probably because it was 100% free and I didn’t have to unpack, hang and repack my ornaments, haha.


A few Christmas-y signs were also in order; I made a couple of each of these to sell and raise money for Team World Vision {the charity that Mark and I ran our half marathon for}. They all ended up going home with some of our small group friends…I’m probably going to have to make one of the NOEL ones for myself because I love it so much!



The dream/hope/goal for 2014 is to open an Etsy shop and sell these reclaimed goodies online. We’re working on the initial logistics now…hopefully more news on that soon!


Home for Christmas

January 16, 2013

For the first time ever Mark and I flew during the holiday season as we made our way to Texas to spend Christmas with our families. We had a great time, spending 9 full days back home, but before we left we had a mini Christmas, just the two of us.


Our stockings were hung with care…


…and we opened our presents from each other while listening to Christmas music and keeping warm by our crackling Netflix fire.


A few days later we made our way to Houston and on the 23rd we visited the Houston Zoo to see some animals and Christmas lights. Since it was dark, we couldn’t see many of the larger animals outdoors but we did spot a few giraffes.


We spent Christmas Eve with Tammy and Logan in Shenandoah; we decorated the tree, baked cookies for Santa and attended the midnight church service.


Logan must have been an extra good boy this year because Santa brought him a pretty awesome workbench and tool belt. Mark and I both agreed that one of our favorite parts of this past Christmas was playing Santa’s helpers the night before to ensure everything was perfect for Logan the next morning…that and sipping eggnog, of course.


Here’s our big, happy family photo with everyone in Houston. We’ve grown by one more since last year with the addition of little Lilian. It’s so adorable to see how protective big brother Logan is of her :)


There was plenty of baby holding in Houston but once we made it to Rogers to see my family it was all about Jack.


Just like last year, Jack absolutely loved hiding in and laying on any box, bag, tissue or wrapping paper within reach.


It was so wonderful to be home again…we heard stories and saw pictures from Ben’s trip to Africa, played fetch with Sadie, walked the property with pellet guns and of course watched the Garfield Christmas Special together {it’s tradition, after all}.


Christmas Cookies

January 3, 2013

If I’m ever feeling homesick during the holiday season there’s one activity that is sure to cheer me up, baking cookies. I have my mom to thank for that; we always baked TONS of cookies every December for sharing {and eating}. Even though I usually consider the process of refrigerating, rolling, cutting and decorating sugar cookies to be a bit excessive, I find it somewhat therapeutic when I have time to enjoy it.


This year, for the first time, I tried my hand at working with royal icing and flooding. Mark and I had fun experimenting with the different decorating methods and various sprinkles. These simple little trees were my favorite; definitely worth the effort :)


DIY: Ruffled Tree Skirt

December 3, 2012

Ever since seeing this post via Pinterest about how to make a ruffled tree skirt with nothing but some fabric and a hot glue gun, I knew that I had to make it. My friend, Christine, and I wanted to craft them together so we bought our fabric with some 50% off coupons at Joann’s and got to work while watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.


For the base of our skirts we cut circles from a 5’x5′ canvas painter’s drop cloth, it’s wider, cheaper and more durable than anything we could have bought at a fabric store. We ripped our fabric into 3.5 inch strips, heated up our hot glue guns and started gluing the ruffles from the outside in.


It was quite time consuming and since we were sitting on the floor we took plenty of stretching/cookie breaks to keep us going. Here are our skirts after just two rows of gluing. Christine went with red and white and mine is white and a gold glittery cream.


And here is the final product beneath our beautiful tree. I absolutely love it and I look forward to using it for many Christmases to come!


Rand Family Christmas Tree

December 2, 2012

For the first time ever Mark and I have a large, real tree for Christmas! The first two years we were married we had a tiny artificial tree and last year we had a 3 foot Douglas fir but we went for the real deal this year.

I’ve been searching for and collecting red, silver, gold and mercury glass ornaments since this time last year, it was so much fun to hang everything on the tree and see it all come together.

We splurged a little and went with LED lights which will not only last longer but also cost less to operate because let’s face it, I’m going to have the tree plugged in all. the. time. It took a few minutes to get used to the bright, white light but we love it!

Christmas 2010

January 4, 2011

This year Mark and I spent Christmas in Houston with his parents, grandparents, siblings and nephew. Somehow we were both able to take off an entire week {thank you Lord} and we spent most of our evenings catching up with old high school friends and just enjoying being disconnected from our normal lives. I didn’t take a single picture the entire trip and to be honest I feel quite liberated by that fact. Every time I get upset with myself for not having photographic evidence of my memories I think of the song 3×5 by John Mayer and I’m reminded that pictures aren’t everything, memories of time with loved ones are what matter.

These are some of those lovely memories that will live in my heart forever:

– Driving around the neighborhood on Christmas Eve night to see all the lights.

– Even though I’m 24 I still had trouble sleeping due to excitement.

– Logan getting his first train set from Santa and lying on the ground watching the wheels spin.

– Tammy tearing up after opening a gift certificate from us for a complimentary bathroom renovation.

– Mark claiming his favorite gift was his new tennis bag.

– Sleeping on our new Tempur-Pedic pillows for the first time {heaven}.

– Catching up with old friends.

– Thinking we could finish the bathroom in one day.

– Vowing to never buy a house with existing wallpaper.

– Driving back to Austin at 9pm on New Years Eve and watching the fireworks along the way.

Another great Christmas in the books. I am so incredibly grateful that we were able to spend that much time with family, especially Mark’s dad who came from London and his grandparents who traveled from Boston. Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!

Christmas Eve Prayer

December 24, 2010

Thank you Lord for the anticipation that Christmas Eve brings; the anticipation of Jesus’ birth and Christmas day soon to come.

Thank you for family drawing near to be together and share on this joyous day.

Thank you for the wonderful feeling that I get deep in my heart watching others open gifts, it’s even more meaningful than opening my own.

Thank you that I have family to cherish and gifts to share and please be with those who are not as fortunate this season.

Thank you for sending your Son to be born unto this world already knowing his purpose to die for our sins.

Merry Christmas!

Dear Santa,

December 17, 2010

It’s probably a little too late to be giving out gift ideas considering Christmas is in 8 days {seriously, where does the time go?} but I still wanted to share a few of the things on my Christmas wish list this year:

I am in love. Please Santa, bring me two of these bone china pinecones so I can indulge my obsession further; I promise to be good for years to come.

Doesn’t everyone want a giant spool of baker’s twine? No? Don’t ask me what I’ll use it for specifically because I have no answer; all I know is that it’s pretty and much cheaper than diamonds, so there ya go.

I would love this Keep Calm print for my future creative space.

I accidentally left my beloved white hoodie at the gym and someone decided to take it home with them so I would enjoy a similar replacement such as this one.

The upcoming soccer season is just around the corner and I think a few pairs of these socks would be just the ticket.

I’m in need of a heavier brown coat and this one from Old Navy has managed to stay on my “like” list for a couple of months now {still not 100% on the orange interior though, wishing it was red or brown plaid instead}.

And last but not least, something that caught my eye years ago in architecture school: Place for Trace. This one will probably stay on my wish list for a few more years since I don’t use trace as much lately; but some day I will make it mine, or I’ll make my own…

It’s Beginning to Look Like Christmas

December 17, 2010

It never feels like the Christmas season is truly here until decorations are put up. I just love getting our Christmas things out of storage year after year and figuring out what will go where. This season was especially fun since we’re in a new apartment.

We decided to go another year without a live tree so I wrapped a few empty boxes to look like presents, then stacked them on top of one another to form a pile-of-presents-tree-stand for our little, 2 foot tree.

This pinecone and burlap garland from Room to Inspire caught my eye so I made one for myself. I just love how it turned out, very rustic and country while not being overly Christmasy.

Another little holiday DIY project I did was dressing up this $1.99 wreath from Michaels with some leftover ribbon and burlap from the garland. I wired a few pinecones on as well; the pinecones were sent to me as a birthday gift from Mark’s grandpa in Massachusetts.

Instead of searching for the perfect wrapping paper this year {I’m way too picky} I bought a HUGE roll of construction paper from the paint section in Lowe’s, added some yarn and then made gift tags out of scrapbooking paper that I already had. Voila! Instant cute presents. :)

Merry Christmas

December 28, 2009

Christmas; it’s not the giving, it’s not the getting, it’s the loving.

– A Garfield Christmas

Well, another successful Christmas has come and gone and I feel completely rejuvenated thanks to some great quality time spent with family. It’s amazing how time flies, this year seems to have slipped by faster than ever. So many wonderful events have taken place in 2009: college graduation, getting married, moving to Austin, starting a new job and one other exciting piece of news {which I’ll get to later}.

I’ve felt pretty detached from the blogging world lately, I wish I had the time to post every day but with all the craziness that the season brings I’ve lost track. So while Mark is in Houston this week {while I stay here and work, ugh} I’ve got plenty of time to catch up…

Disclaimer: this post is going to be all over the place

It’s finally gotten “cold” enough around here to merit drinking hot chocolate; and by cold I mean below 45 degrees. I was so happy that I was able to wear pajama pants on Christmas morning!

Mark and I decorated a little around our apartment, my favorite of which was our little tree. We were originally going to have a real tree but opted to fill a little artificial one with all of our ornaments. I think it turned out quite nicely. Let’s see…we’ve got a couple of A&M ornaments, a few crosses, the heart on the bottom right that I made at U Paint it in 2006, a kitty and my favorite, the Bambi ornament with Thumper and his girl bunny smooching, haha.

Every year around Christmas time I like to make sugar cookies, rarely do I put forth the effort of rolling and cutting and rolling again at any other time of the year but the holiday season always makes it worth my trouble. Problem is, I don’t yet have any cookie cutters…so the creative mind begins to think and out popped this idea: sugar cookies without the rolling!

I just rolled the dough into logs before refrigerating it, covered the logs with sprinkles, stuck ’em in the freezer for a few minutes, cut the logs into slices and baked away…simple!

I think these are the best sugar cookies I have ever made because 1: I always roll the dough too thin, these I cut nice and thick, 2: I actually took the time to sift my flour, and 3: they are so Christmasy and pretty and EASY!

Anyways, enough with the sweets, {speaking of sugar, have you had candy cane Kisses? soooo good} though we only got to spend one full day in Rogers for Christmas it was really great. Mark, my mom and I went to our church’s Christmas Eve barn service; we huddled together on hay bales singing carols and sharing communion as Pastor Terry gave a great message about how Jesus came into the world under completely ordinary circumstances to one completely ordinary couple…God works through us in our every day lives, all we have to do is let Him shine through. Which reminds me of something that I heard at church last Sunday:

If God really is the center of one’s being, JOY is inevitable.

Isn’t that so simply beautiful? If God is truly present in your life and you accept Him fully, you will radiate His love…definitely something to strive for right? {mental note}


Christmas Eve night we all watched A Garfield Christmas together…so many memories there, I’ve got the whole thing memorized {apple, peach, pumpkin, blueberry, cherry or banana cream?}

The next morning we had Green’s kolaches for breakfast and then Ben and I sorted out all the presents, something that we do every year, except we let Mark help us this time. Everyone received great gifts…my favorites were a tennis skirt from Mark and a subscription to Martha Stewart from my parents. I think the funniest gifts were either my dad and Papa’s tennis racket/bug zappers or the giant foam airplane I got for Mark…we all had fun throwing it around in the yard afterwards. Then we had a wonderful Christmas Day lunch complete with turkey, dressing and deviled eggs {YUM}. Afterwards ensued a lovely, full-bellied nap with my favorite kitty sleeping by my side.

We definitely have A LOT to be thankful for, that’s for sure! Speaking of being thankful, the greatest gift of all this year came to Mark looking something like this:

Yes, that is the beautifully crafted cover page of none other than an offer letter for an amazing opportunity to work for APPLE! Mark has been chasing this job for two years now and it has finally paid off; he’ll be selling Apple products to schools in Arizona and Las Vegas all while wearing shorts, a t-shirt and flip-flops in the Austin office {yes, that’s how they dress…he wore a polo to an interview and they considered him dressed up!}. We’re both completely ecstatic about this opportunity and to top it off, on his first day he will be flying out to Cupertino, CA for four days for a conference with other Apple nerds employees. I’m so proud of my hubby :)

{the rest of the offer packet was so graphically pleasing we’ll probably keep it forever, I want to frame it or something}

One last thing…

Please pray for my brother, he just left yesterday for a 10 day mission trip in Nicaragua. He’ll be backpacking through a foreign country with a spanish/english dictionary spreading the word of God…I wish him the best and a safe journey home; I know that this experience will give him a great opportunity to share his love of God with others who need hope.

OK, I’ve been working on this post for over two hours now, time to end it.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas filled with love and peaceful time with family!