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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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.

Getting Sweetgum House Gussied up for Christmas!

Hi everyone, I’m getting Sweetgum House gussied up for Christmas!  I went to photograph some local shops for a real estate blog I write for and ended up buying some stuff, myself.  The places that I shop sell unique items, which is definitely what I’m looking for.

Check out this sign!

shop local sign

I love to shop local because my parents also had a non-chain store back in south Alabama when I was growing up.  We used to sell all sorts of toys around Christmas, along with the usual stuff you find in one of those old general merchandise stores.  Our store was like the Olson’s store on “Little House on the Prairie.”  We sold groceries, bags of nails, cattle feed, salt blocks, clothes, tools…you name it.  It was a fun place to hang out in with all the customers coming in, the cash register dinging, and KL and Aunt Maybelle snapping opening the paper bags to load them up with goods.

I digress!

Like I said, I couldn’t resist this tin bucket from Jacklyn’s Keepsakes in Madison.  I heard or read that Joanna Gaines recommends 3-dimensional wall art. Well, this little bucket fit the bill. I’m going to get Lefty to hang it for me in the house, and I can swap out the berries for seasonal flowers as the year progresses.

tin bucket with decoration

My little tin bucket for flowers.

I’m determined to make my cookie-cutter, subdivision Sweetgum home into something charmingly farmhouse-ish.

Christmas decoration

Cotton Christmas from Jacklyn’s Keepsakes

 

Christmas balls decoration

I thought these little glass balls from Madison Station Antiques were so pretty.

Noble Passage Interiors has a ton of elegant Christmas decor like this beautiful Nativity scene. I’m definitely going back for some of their ornaments!

Sweet, Silent Night

Wait! Just one more thing…This, I found at Target (obviously not local) and posted on Instagram. My parents used to take us camping all the time, and I just love this vintage decoration that represents our camping life.

CrimsonCamper

So what about you? What’s your favorite decoration that makes your life around Christmas time a little bit jolly? I’d love to hear from you from all over the country! Do you have a Christmas theme to gussy up your home around Christmas?

Note:  I didn’t receive any compensation for posting about these retailers.

Simple and Sweet: How to Decorate Your Mantle for Christmas

Merry Mantle

Your fireplace mantle is likely the focal point in your room.  Here are some easy ways to keep your design simple and sweet as you decorate it for Christmas 2017!  And BTW, I cheated a little bit by adding candles instead of a real fire.  Lefty is the only one who knows how to turn the thing on!

Farmhouse Chic

Some say that Farmhouse Chic is on its way out. I say, “No way, Dudette!”  Even if you’re not into the farmhouse style, try to add different textural elements to your display such as wood, stone, metal, and fabric.  My favorite part of my display is how the straight lines on the picture frames come together with the organic texture of the swag that I bought from Hobby Lobby.  I’ll let you in on a little secret:  home decor trends may come and go, but this farm-raised girl from rural Alabama is always going to be about distressed, flea market-esque, farmhouse chic!


Simple farmhouse design Christmas mantle.

 Have Yourself an Earthy Little Christmas

What would Sweetgum Life be without the sweetgum balls? For my natural elements, I went out back and filled a cylinder with sweetgum balls and twigs from the sweetgum trees. To keep the twigs upright, I cut open a Gatorade bottle and stuck the twigs inside.

Mad for Christmas Plaid

Princess Buttercup thought that my display looked too earthy. She suggested that I add a pop of red. Plaid is trending like crazy in north Alabama! From Pottery Barn to my beloved Hobby Lobby, I’m seeing plaid everywhere. Like I said, I’m not really a trend-follower, but this red plaid ribbon speaks to my Scottish roots. BTW again, I bought the ribbon and the swag at Hobby Lobby. I probably got some of my Santas there, too.

 

Simple farmhouse design Christmas mantle with Great-Grandmother's rocking chair.

Add a Little Traditional Christmas Decor

I’m not much of a collector, in general, but I do love my Santa and Snowman collections. I’ve had these little guys for years. Here’s something critical to keep in mind–only display the ornaments that bring you joy. If your late Aunt Dossie gave you an ornament back in the 80’s but it’s not your favorite, let it go. Or at least pack it up to give your kids one day.

My Santa Matryoshka Family

Lefty and I bought these little Santa matryoshka dolls in Germany one year, so they’re pretty special. When she was little, Princess Buttercup used to play with them so much that they rarely stayed put as a display.

Baby Santa Matryoshka

So what do you think?  Is this a perfect-for-Pinterest Christmas Mantle?  Pin or Pitch?  I love hearing from you guys, so please post in the comments.  I promise I’m not selling your email address to a 3rd party.  I don’t even know a 3rd party! 😉