Craft Room Challenge

What is the Craft Room Challenge?

A bunch of 14 talented craft bloggers have gotten together at the Craft Room Challenge for the month of January, 2018. They’re taking their craft rooms from cluttered to crazy-beautiful! As a busy wife, mom, and writer, it’s hard to get motivated to add something else on my to-do list, but I’m always up for a challenge! It’s like a triple-dog-dare-ya to me!

One of the biggest motivators for meeting goals is to have accountability. I don’t know about you, but I need to have someone to answer to when conquering a project that is less than fun. Be sure to see my video on my @Sweetgumlife Instagram account.

I’m not an organizer by nature, unlike my good friend C, an art major from Auburn University. Back in our single girl days, I’d go over to her house, and she was always finding creative, artistic ways to organize her art and crafts space. She is my organization role model! The Craft Room Challenge is right up her alley!

Stack of tubs–who knows what’s in those!

How to Participate in the Craft Room Challenge

So what you do, is organize and makeover your craft room to post on Facebook. My friend Shirley at Intelligent Domestications lists 4 goals in her post: function, organization, a pretty place to work, and a wall dedicated to organization and aesthetics.

I would suggest that you start out with your goals…keep them simple, because you only have until January 31st for the challenge.

When to Post in the Craft Room Challenge

Post every Wednesday, beginning in the first week of January. Okay, so I’m a little late joining the party. (Sigh!) But that’s okay. I’m starting t-o-d-a-y!

Sweetgum Life Craft Room Challenge goals:

1. Functional2. Aesthetically pleasing3. Organized (move everything but art, diy, home décor, and crafting supplies to the guinea pig room*)

That’s all I can muster for now with my time constraints. When we moved to Sweetgum House in summer 2016, I planned to have a craft room for me, a playroom for Princess Buttercup, and Lefty could have the garage.

Then we got the guinea pigs for Princess Buttercup. Those things stink! So, the “playroom” has henceforth been known as the guinea pig room. (Anybody know how long those things live???)

A mountain of craft detritus.

I challenge you to the Craft Room Challenge!

How ’bout you? You wanna join me as an accountability partner? Just send me a little message in the space below. I’d love to hear from you, and best of luck!

Craft Room Challenge Bloggers

I will list more as I meet the 14 crafters.

You guys! I seriously need organization, yes?

#confessmymess
#momwifelife
#sweetgumlife
#homedecor
#craft
#creativelife

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Reuse your Christmas Tree

‘Bout time you took down that Christmas tree, don’t ya think?

I know, I know…it’s sad to see the tree come down, but here are some fun ideas to reuse your Christmas tree so you can extend your enjoyment into 2018!

Christmas Tree with birdseed

Becky’s creative Christmas tree upcycle idea.

Bring in the Birds!

I got the idea for this Sweetgum Life blog post from my friend Becky, who posted her upcycled Christmas tree on Facebook.  Simply take your Christmas tree outside and decorate it with edibles for your little feathered friends to enjoy!  I could not love this idea more!  You know how I’m all about recycling, upcycling, and reusing, right?

Okay, I confess…my Christmas trees are artificial, so I drug one in off the street to recreate Becky’s idea of using the tree as a bird feeder.  Ha!  I’m trying to imagine my neighbors’ faces if they saw me dragging the tree from the road to my forest outside Sweetgum House.  They probably thought, “There she goes again!”

Becky’s idea is easy-peasy to do:  Simply coat pine cones with peanut butter and cover it with birdseed.

Becky used pine cones…I used sweetgum balls (because that’s how we roll at Sweetgum Life!!!)

Find the Fish!

When I was growing up in rural south Alabama, we had a big pond in the pasture behind our house.  If you have a similar arrangement, dump your tree into the pond…it will make a great fish habitat.  You may also be able to donate it to the US Fish and Wildlife Departments as suggested by Eric at Wide Open Spaces.

Salute the Squirrels!

Lindsay at Social Moms recommends leaving your tree out as a squirrel or rabbit home.

Here’s where You Come in!

I know there are plenty of you creative-thinkers out there with ideas of your own! What are your creative ideas for reusing your Christmas tree? I’d love to hear from you!

#tricks #upcycle #tips #creativeideas #recycling #picoftheday #imadethis #diply #makersgonnamake #feelingcrafty #birdlovers

My Christmas Nervous Breakdowns

This is a true story about My Christmas Nervous Breakdowns. And yes, I’ve had more than one over the past three days.

Christmas Nervous Breakdown lady

Starting early this past week. If you know me, you know how I love to make homemade and creative gifts. Furthermore, I’m a conservative. We recycle, re-use, upcycle whenever possible.

So, I was busy making teacher Christmas gifts for Princess Buttercup’s teachers. I was in the midst of lining the inside of a used whole kernal corn can with a ripped paper bag. Somehow, I got burned by the hot glue gun. I yanked my right hand out of the can, and the bag strip wrapped around two of my fingers. My closest family and friends know that when I’m in real pain, I don’t say anything. I jumped from my chair and dashed to my kitchen sink. The only thing that helped for the next hour was cold water.

I’d say that was my first Christmas nervous breakdown.

I gave up on lining the cans with paper. Bad idea. The next night, I only glued the exterior of the cans. That worked a lot better, but I ended up burning my left thumb. Ouch!

I gave up on the glue gun and started using decoupage glue and Modge Podge, instead. They worked fine.

upcycled can

My third Christmas Nervous Breakdown occurred yesterday around 2:45 p.m. I was on the frontage road, preparing to get to Parkway Place Mall in Huntsville. The story of my life–I was stuck in traffic. I mean, really s-t-u-c-k. The light would turn green, only to allow two or three cars to go. Sweet.

Let’s put it this way, I’d already spent an hour or two traversing Whitesburg (nightmare) Drive, only to find two of the presents I was searching for.

So I sat there in traffic. Suddenly, I say, “I’m going to have a nervous breakdown. Right. Here. In. The. Middle. Of. Huntsville!”

Just to clarify. I didn’t start screaming or anything crazy like that. My nervous breakdowns tend to be mild and internal. Probably not the healthiest of nervous breakdowns. But at that moment, I couldn’t have hopped out alongside the Parkway and jogged in place. Wouldn’t have been prudent.

So at first chance, I turned around. I did realize it was going to take an hour or so to get home. But at least I was heading out of town.

But at that time, everyone from Redstone Arsenal was getting off work early. Everyone from Research Park was leaving early. Not to mention the thousands of city/county school employees who were already on the road, searching for those last-minute gifts.

There was a wreck on I-565. There was a wreck on Highway 72. Every artery in and around town was clogged. I took a few deep breaths and did some praying for patience. I told myself that I’d eventually get home.

I tried a shortcut around one of the wrecks and think it took me longer than if I’d sat in place.

Finally, I did get home. The rest of the shopping would have to wait. I’ll admit I binged on Stacy chips and humus. Alright, I did have a couple of cookies, too.

I also realized my problem: perfectionism.

Instead of settling for “good enough,” I was seeking Eden on Earth. And that went away a long time ago.

Lefty and Princess Buttercup volunteered to help me wrap some presents.

“Christmas,” said Lefty, “Is about survival…not perfection.”

Wise words.

Top Ten Christmas Activities

What are your top ten Christmas activities?  I’m listing mine below  (in no particular order) and would love to hear from you!  Merry Christmas, and God bless us, everyone!

window_wreath_Christmas

Decorating the Christmas Tree and our whole house for Christmas.

I so enjoy home décor, period, but I get so much joy in pulling out meaningful ornaments and making my Christmas trees pretty.  I had planned to buy another tree for my dining room, but they were so expensive that I decided to wait for the after-Christmas sales.

Fortunately, my next-door-neighbors were tossing their tree because the lights weren’t working anymore.  They said I could have it, so I drug it across the street and put new lights on it.  I used only silver ornaments, while we used the other ornaments on our living room tree.  My “silver tree” is so beautiful–one of the prettiest I’ve ever had.  It lights up the whole dining room with it’s white lights and silver elegance.  (At least I think so!)

dish_foliage

Hearing my husband read the story of Jesus’s birth in Luke 2:1-20.

The story of Jesus’s birth is so beautiful.  The verses are like a balm in their rhythm and the hope they give us in our world.  I think people are more generous and kind at this time of year because so much is focused on our Lord, the Light of our complex world.

church_ornament

Baking Christmas goodies

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Grandmother Lindsey (who lived just across the pasture from us, when I was growing up in rural south Alabama) used to always make the best in sweet Christmas goodies.  My favorite were her date balls, fudge, and divinity.  When I was supposed to be practicing the piano, I’d go swipe a piece between songs.  But I think she knew about it! 😉

Shopping for Christmas gifts for everyone.

Carefully selecting Christmas gifts for everyone is a favorite hobby of mine.  I like to get the best gifts at the best prices and be a good steward of my cash.

Santas1_edited-1

Crafting hand-made presents for family and friends.  Being crafty in wrapping gifts.

I am in my element, my happy place, my zone when I’m making presents for family, friends, and Princess Buttercup’s teachers.  Furthermore, I like adding just a little bit of creativity when wrapping my gifts.  I’d better get on it, actually.  I’ve got only 2 weeks till show time!

Singing Christmas carols.

We went caroling last year.  I did that for the first time when I was in college and loved it!  I want to get a brave group to sing in our new (as of June 2016) neighborhood.  Any volunteers?

Spending time with family and friends.

Spending time with those I love makes Christmas a special time for bonding and building memories.  It’s the time of the year that Lefty takes time off of work, and Princess Buttercup and I love that!

Opening presents.

I’ve gotta be honest…opening presents is just plain fun!

silver_ornament

Silver snowflake, a gift from my friend Kibbers.

Attending all the parties and eating all the good food!

We southerners are known for our food.  It just wouldn’t be Christmas without the feasting.

SouthernLivingChristmas2017

Smiling and saying, “Merry Christmas” to people I meet.
</h1>Like I said for my second activity on the list, people are so much friendlier around Christmas time.  True, traffic can be a nuisance.  And true, we’re southerners, and people from other places say that we’re friendly, anyway.  But I think people are kinder around Christmas because so many more are thinking of the Light of the world, Jesus Christ.