Advent Calendar Renovation

I’m taking a break from the recipe count today to link up with a whole new set of friends.

I recently discovered a blogging community that sets their tables for fun. Oh, my. Where have these ladies been all my life? Today I’m linking up with Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch; I just can’t resist.

One of the things that I wanted to do in retirement was to get out all my Christmas stuff and reorganize it. I also wanted to move it from its storage spot in the basement crawlspace to the garage where I could access it on my timetable rather than waiting for Music Man to drag it out for me. I used to think that I had more stuff than most people, but recently several different friends posted photos on Facebook of their stacks of Christmas storage boxes. One friend said she brought 22 boxes from her storage unit, which took several trips in her car. I don’t feel so bad now. Apparently I’m not a Christmas hoarder, even if my basement says otherwise.

When I got out our Advent calendar this year, I took a quick photo with my phone of it hanging in my bathroom on the first day of December. In recent years, this seems to be the most convenient and obvious place for it, as I am reminded every morning to change the ornament on it. At my advanced age, I need every reminder I can get.

My sister-in-law made Advent calendars for   family members many years ago — maybe as many as 30 years and I treasure her generous spirit and the family tradition honored by the calendar. I’ve been getting out that Advent calendar every year and doing the countdown with my kids, but I always wanted to change one little thing about it. It was designed to use very thin gold cording to hold the ornaments on the nails, but over the years they got tangled and it wasn’t easy to pop those little puppies off and on the nails.

So—- I decided to do a little project that I’ve been contemplating for “several” years, and by “several” I probably mean ten years.

I  felt that the calendar would work better with rings to replace the cords so that the ornaments dangle cleanly and are easy to take on and off. I’ve purchased those rings at least three times over the past few years, but never did the repairs. THIS YEAR, my first year of retirement, it was time to actually do this instead of talking about it.

Yet, things can never be easy, can they?

When I went to find my duffel bag full of jewelry findings and tools, it was nowhere to be seen. I had decided to use a split ring and needed my special split-ring pliers, so I ended up buying another tool. I think that’s probably my third set of those particular pliers, but who’s counting? Then while I was standing in line, I saw these beautiful red rings that would set off the red trim on the calendar. Just had to have them, so into the bag they went.

When I got home, I found that the little holes in the ornaments were too small for the red rings. I begged Music Man to pull out the drill for me and he also found a small piece of wood that I could drill against. I made each hole a little bigger, threaded the red ring through it, and then realized I didn’t need the split-ring pliers at all since I was putting the whole thing together with simple needle-nose pliers.

Am I boring you yet?

If you’re not a crafter, these stupid little details can’t be very interesting, but for those of us who are crafters, it’s important to know in advance what one needs to do the job. Obviously, I didn’t think this through very well.

The project turned out well, and although it can’t quite be termed a metamorphosis — the theme of today’s linky party — I did finish a planned project. Now I think I need to decorate it some more — maybe a thin inner border of beads or something. I’ll have to see what’s on sale at the store. 🙂

Yet the story remains a continuing saga of stupid actions.

Somehow, I lost the chuck for the drill. The one that is designed to fit perfectly into the handle. We’ve looked everywhere and cannot find it. I can sense Music Man’s annoyance under his helpful searching for the tool, but it’s just nowhere to be found.

Perhaps it’s in my missing jewelry duffel bag and I’m being punished by my Elf on the Shelf. 

Obsession and its best friend, Pinterest

The person who introduced me to Pinterest needs to be slapped. And you know who you are. A new and improved way to support my obsession with collecting random facts and items. It’s just about the very last thing I need to be doing with my life.

Image via

Yet, a part of me can’t help but wonder. Would my house and garage be the way it is if I had used Pinterest all along? Perhaps I would not have multiple years of Traditional Home and various other magazines in my office closet. Perhaps I wouldn’t have three file cabinets full of papers that I never access. Perhaps I would not have binders full of photos of table settings, flower arrangements, recipes, and decorating ideas to which I rarely refer (and I just realized that the Grammar Police Lady needs to comment on the lack of a comma in this otherwise cute graphic).

For the uninitiated among you, Pinterest is an online bulletin board. Once I installed the “Pin It” bookmark, I could “pin” a web site to my personal bulletin board. I’ve only been doing this for about two weeks, but have already had to change my titles in order to better organize the boards. I’ve been “repinned” by people who have thousands of pins on their boards. Surely this is the digital version of hoarding.

And that brings us to Christmas obsessions. My brother posted a photo on Facebook of my sister-in-law putting lighted garland on their mantel, which is alongside an already erected and lit-up Christmas tree. I was so jealous of this that I immediately decided to figure out something my husband could tolerate so that I could get started on my Christmas decorating. We didn’t decorate last year because we were out-of-town for Christmas and barely were finished with our construction, so there is quite a lot of pent-up Christmas obsession in my veins right now.

Image via Pinterest; original source unknown

I decided to use Pinterest to catalog my collection of Department 56 Christmas village houses and accessories. That was fun! Then I started looking for sites that gave ideas for displaying the houses. That was even funner! Then someone else repinned one of my pins, and I was off on a journey through her thousands of pins. It was there I found this gorgeous centerpiece.

Image via

Ever since I saw The Break-Up with Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn I have always wanted a lemon centerpiece. It just sounded easy and lovely, even though Vince Vaughn’s character didn’t quite get it. Last year I bought the container from Willow House, a large vase I lovingly refer to as The Big Gulp, which is a wine-drinking reference from Courtney Cox’s television show, Cougar Town.

But I digress. Last week, while shopping at the dollar store, I saw that they had full size plastic lemons and limes for, of course, a dollar. I’ve been looking for them online, but the ones I found at obvious places like Crate and Barrel and Pottery Barn were ridiculously expensive. Today after church, armed with my Pinterest photo, I went back to the dollar store and bought eight lemons and eight limes. I know I already have fake evergreen sprays in the Christmas boxes and all I need is fake cranberries and I have my centerpiece that will last through many Christmases, even those spent in San Francisco and Seattle!

Sadly, the search for artificial cranberries has resulted in fiscal disappointment. The best ones range from seventeen to nineteen dollars for 72 little cranberries. There has to be another source. They do look pretty real, though. I’m tempted.

Image via

But when I look carefully at the centerpiece photo, it seems as though the red berries might be currants. Or holly. Or something that I can buy in a big sprig at Joann’s for a lot less. Lest you concern yourselves unduly, gentle readers, let it be known that I will investigate and report back. Just in case you still are with me on this story and have not given up reading the ramblings of the obsessed-with-Christmas-and-Pinterest crazy lady.

P.S. I should really categorize this as the first of my 25 Days of Christmas posts; that will save me some time later. 🙂

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