Monday, January 25, 2016

Better Late Than Never

Why is there a picture of a Christmas wreath on a January blog post?  Let me explain….
Last week, I was in a meeting and the attendees were each asked to share with the group what we felt was our focus for the upcoming year.  Of course, I mentioned my Word of the Year and my desire to declutter and simplify.  Another participant sitting near me shared that she wanted to finish some projects that had been hanging around for a while, and even shared that she had recently finished one she had been working on for a really long time.  This prompted me to share that I had finally finished a project I started over four years ago – a Christmas wreath made out of newspapers.  Another friend in the meeting insisted that I share it, and so here it is, completely out of season, four years in the making, but finished at last!
I started this project in November of 2011 on my way to a college football game.  For some reason, I thought I would have enough time riding in the car to complete the wreath, which I would paint and decorate when I got home.  My mother and I used to make paper wreaths all the time when I was a kid.  She would cut out all the pieces and I would tie them to the ring.  It was such an easy project and it never took very long to complete one.  

First, you take a coat hanger and you bend it until it is nice and round.  Leave the hook on the top – that’s how you’ll hang it.  I like to use newspapers to make my wreaths.  They come in stacks so they’re easy to cut the pieces and I have an abundance of them since I have a subscription.  You could probably use whatever kind of paper you want, but it takes a lot of paper to make a really full wreath, and using scrapbook paper or something like that could get very expensive.  
I made a pattern from an old manila folder, and I use it to trace the shape onto the stack of newspaper.  You can download a copy here.  Cut them out until you think you have enough, and then cut some more.  Like I said, it takes a lot of paper to fill one up!

Unfortunately, I didn't finish the wreath during my trip, but I did finish putting all the paper on it some time in December.
The next step was to paint it.  I have wanted a white paper wreath for as long as I can remember.  My mother always painted them green.  She could paint several wreaths with one can of spray paint.  Who knew it would take TWO cans of Krylon to paint one white.  And it still wasn’t fully covered.  I could see newspaper peaking through here and there, and it just wasn’t the winter white look that I thought I was going to achieve.
This is where my project fell by the way side.  I had purchased some lovely floral picks to stick into the wreath in two of my favorite colors:  turquoise and green.  But I was hesitant to glue them down.  Friends who really know me know that I am incredibly indecisive – I’m afraid I won’t like what I choose.  Sometimes when I’m working on a scrapbook page, I will move the pieces around for hours before I finally glue them down.  So while I hemmed and hawed over how to go about “decorating” my lovely new wreath, or even whether to go buy yet another can of Krylon to give it another coat of paint, life started to happen, I got busy, and the wreath just never got done.
Fast-forward four years….  I had the wreath hanging in my craft room the entire time – completely visible.  So it’s not like it was “out of sight, out of mind.”  This was something I looked at on a daily basis for more than four years.  And I just couldn’t bring myself to finish it.  Every year, as Christmas approached, my daughter would ask me if I was going to finish it, and I would look at it longingly and say, “I think so.”  And I really meant it, but I just couldn’t do it.  Until this year.
If you look closely, you can still see the newsprint bleeding through the paint.
Christen finally convinced me that it was "part of the charm" and that I shouldn't try to cover it up. 
I guess it was all the talk about my word for 2016 and my resolution to finish all these unfinished projects…I’m not sure…but something inspired me to at least consider finishing the wreath.  So Christen and I were crafting during the holidays and she challenged me to “Just do it!”, so I did!  I broke some of the picks apart, and I added some homemade hatpins to the blue, glittered Styrofoam balls and I just hot-glued them to the wreath.  One of the cool things I discovered was that if I glued something down and I didn’t like where it landed, all I had to do was turn the paper a bit to move it to a different place.  So here is the final result again:

I hope you enjoyed my very late Christmas Wreath.  I can assure you that I have packed it away very carefully in an airtight wreath box so I can hang it up next year.  And let this serve as a reminder…it is never too late to finish a project if you are still interested in it.  It doesn’t do any good just sitting there in a pile, and it won’t ever finish itself.  So go finish something!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Belated Happy New Year!

I’m a bit late, but I just wanted to send out a “Happy New Year” and a thank all you crafty folk for your continued support of the crafting industry, and especially for your support of Crafty Neighbor by attending our events, following us on Facebook, reading my blog, and by sharing your love of crafting with your friends and family.  I hope you had a fabulous 2015!  It was a good year for Crafty Neighbor, and I'm looking forward to many more fun events in 2016!
A sneak peak at my new "SmashPlanner", which I'll share in an upcoming post.
Every year, around this time, I choose a Word of the Year to live by.  It helps me stay focused on my intentions.  More than a resolution, it is a philosophy that I try to apply to every aspect of my life.  You can read more about my Word of the Year here on my blog, but I wanted to share a bit about this year's word, and how it applies to you, too.  This year, the word I chose was DECLUTTER.
My intention in choosing this word was to spend my year getting rid of all the stuff I don’t need, cleaning up, sorting, and organizing what I do need, and maybe, finally getting to all those unfinished projects.  After further thought, I decided that the word I really needed was SIMPLIFY, because that really encompasses both decluttering, organization, time management, and so much more. So my challenge to myself is to finish the craft room, complete all of the unfinished projects, and get rid of all the things that are cluttering up my life.  That means if I don’t love it, I need to get rid of it!  I’m going to try not to start any new projects until I’ve finished some of these old ones, and I am not going to buy anything new except to resupply stock of basics as they run out.  This year is going to be a year of getting organized and of eliminating some of the excess stuff that is cluttering up my workspace, my computer, and my life.
One of the most obvious ways I'll be getting rid of clutter is by hosting the Crafty Neighbor semi-annual scrapbook garage sale.  I'll also be holding more classes this year, more crops, and I'll even be offering up some kits and supplies for sale online.  As I declutter the craft room, I will be adding more tables and space for more croppers so we can expand our classes and have a little more room at our Thursday Mother's Day Out and weekend crops.  And best of all, I’ll be offering a simpler, less expensive version of our annual scrapbooking cruise – our brand new Crafty Neighbor Scrap Cruise LITE!
So thanks again for reading my blog, and I hope you’ll stick around for another year!  Finishing all these unfinished projects means I’ll have lots of stuff to share with you here on the blog, and even if you’re not local to the Dallas/Fort Worth area, I hope you’ll be able to make it to some of our events, which I’ve listed below.
Happy New Year and Happy Crafting!
Crafty Neighbor

Semi-Annual Scrapbook Garage Sale
Sellers have a wide variety of scrapbooking supplies to sell at our semi-annual Scrapbook Garage Sale.  There are always good bargains to be found!
Saturday, February 13
9:00 AM – 2:00 PM
6001 Summerside Drive
Dallas, Texas 75252
3rd Wednesday Stamp Club
Join us on the 3rd Wednesday of each month for a fun evening of stamping and exploring new techniques here at Crafty Neighbor Studios in Carrollton.  Each month, Stampin’ Up! demonstrator Barbara King will share 1-4 fun cards and projects highlighting new techniques and Stampin’ Up! products.  A minimum purchase is required to participate.
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Crafty Neighbor Studios
Carrollton 75007

Crafty Neighbor Scrapbooking Cruises
Register for one of our exciting scrapbooking and crafting cruises!  Our cruises feature fabulous food, friends, family, and tons of fun! Don't scrapbook? No problem. We still offer fabulous all-inclusive cruise pricing for your personal or family vacation getaway.
Crafty Neighbor Scrap Cruise LITE
October 5 – 8, 2016
Carnival Liberty - Galveston, TX
Progreso, Cozumel
Starting at $478* per person
10th Annual Scrapbooking Cruise
January 8 – 15, 2017
Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas - Galveston, TX
Honduras, Belize, Cozumel
Starting at $758* per person
For more information on these and other events

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