Friday, December 9, 2011

My 12 Days of Christmas

Day 3 - The Gifts

Wrapping the presents may be my favorite part of the season.  I love the paper.  I adore the ribbon.  I thrive on getting up early in the morning, spreading it all on the dining room table and just wrapping away. [You do have a fabric cutting board, don't you?  Works even better for paper!]
All wrapped on Saturday morning.
I was a sucker for the wrapping paper that children [or their parents who work in your office] sell for school fund raising, so I currently have enough paper stockpiled to last at least five years.  Sadly, when one works at home, one doesn't get the opportunity to purchase school wrapping paper any more, so the day will come when I have to go accost some child on the street and demand s/he bring me paper ... or else!

With so much else going on this month, I do the shopping and wrapping early - well, at least for the out-of-town gifts.  Wouldn't want to totally miss the panic on Christmas Eve when I discover that I have missed something.
Sande (a Gift Wrapped Life) encouraged me to go with fancier ribbon last year, and I have enjoyed that.  For my brother's family I did a theme of poinsettia paper with green ribbon, but each person got a different ribbon.  They won't notice, but it was fun for me - and that's what it's all about ... right? 
This one is headed for New Mexico.
Everyone else is getting the best of the paper I have left, and I'm making another trip to buy more ribbon!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

How to Make Glass Block "Lights"

For those who wanted to know how to make the glass blocks, it's way easy.


1) Glass blocks - available at Lowe's or Home Depot and surely every other big box retail hardware store.  Also available at craft stores, altho I found them less expensive at the hardware stores.  The "new" ones (sometimes marketed as "craft blocks") come with a 1.25 hole already cut in one of the sides, and usually a plastic "cap" to cover the hole and hold the light string in place.  They are usually 9 x 9, but I did find some 6 x 6.

If the block does not have a hole already drilled in it, you will have to do that yourself.  I would Google "glass block lights" and find a video or better instructions.  You will need a glass drill, and water or oil, and there is a fairly high incidence of breaking the block.  Get the pre-drilled kind if at all possible!

2) Lights - I used strings of 50; one string per block.

3) Ribbon.  I like the wired ribbon that is somewhat sheer, because I thought it made better bows.


Stuff the lights inside.  Tie the ribbon around the block.  That's it.

You can use your imagination all day long, tho.  White lights, multi-colored lights, all red, all green, all purple, or a mix of two colors - whatever turns you on, or matches your decor!  Then mix or match the ribbon.

I used white lights for everyone and a different ribbon for each couple for whom I made the blocks.  I gave them in sets of two.  I also think they could be a really nice thing for someone celebrating Chanukah.

I made five sets in one afternoon - it's really easy!  And, the total cost is $6 - $10 per block, depending on what kind of deals you get on the pieces parts.

For us, I made the third small block because I wanted to stack them.  In the first year, I kept them out all year and changed the ribbon for holidays: red for Valentine's day, green for St. Patrick's Day, and red, white and blue for the patriotic holidays - you get the idea.  Got tired of all that ribbon-tying, so have settled for Christmas ever since. 

Enjoy! and thanks for asking.

My 12 Days of Christmas

Day 2

By now everyone has a set of glass blocks, but several years ago they were an "ah ha" moment for us.  We saw they in South Carolina over Thanksgiving and came home and made many blocks for friends and family as gifts that year. 

We used all white lights, but I may make some more with multi-colored lights next year.  I love the soft glow they give to the floor.

Monday, December 5, 2011

My 12 Days of Christmas

There are so many things that I love about this crazy last month of the year.  Instead of babbling mindlessly for the next couple of weeks, I'll share the things that are special to me instead.

Day 1 - The Wreath
Growing up we always had a live wreath.  Mother and I would go to the market downtown to pick just the right one.  They all looked alike to me, but she always had a preference.  Years ago I switched to an artificial wreath [partly so that I can leave it up and enjoy it longer], it has changed over the years.

The latest version is a bit over-sized since it's on a large wall.  The ornaments were a gift from my sister-in-law a few years ago.  Somehow, it feels just right to me, and the perfect way to kick off the season.
Would you like to share your special things of the season?