Saturday, December 31, 2011

my AWESOME christmas tree

I have one more Christmas story to share: the super AWESOME story of my Christmas tree this year. 

Disclaimer: don't get jealous!!

Last year, I used my mom's pre-lit Christmas tree. It was wonderful! But, with guests coming in town this year, she needed it back so she could have a tree in both of our family rooms. I was convincing myself that I would be okay using my Christmas tree from college. It has colored lights and only stands about 5 feet tall- but it would be fine. 

Then, on one fateful morning at the end of November, I came across a few trees at Goodwill. I took my mom back later that night to get a closer look and to get her opinion. This is were my story gets awesome!

The tree I wanted was pre-lit with white lights and priced at only $24.99. I was so nervous when we asked the guy to plug it in to test the lights. And then I was bummed when they didn't work (not awesome). But, I was okay with the idea of just taking off the lights (as hard as that would be) and restringing the tree. 

This is why I brought my mom along. When we found out that it didn't work and that none of the other trees were and option, she asks if we can get a percent off. So the lady says, "Sure. I'll give it to you for $19.99." AWESOME.

Then my mom gives me a coupon for 25% more off. Taking the total cost of my Christmas tree down to $15! AWESOME.

So, they guy loads the tree in the trunk and we head home. As we set the tree up in my garage my mom says, "You know, I bet that tree is from Steins. They service all their pre-lit trees.

So, the next day my mom takes the tree to Steins for me and just tells them she thinks it was purchased there and the lights aren't working. They say they'll call her when it's fixed. 

And so within a couple days, my mom goes in to pick up the tree. They've fixed it...for FREE!! AWESOME. 

My $15 tree!!

and some of my ornaments. I LOVE them all. Almost every one tells a story and holds a special place in my heart. 

...well, I don't know about this one. The story is that I bought a bag of them at a rummage sale this summer for $2. But I love the elegance they bring to the tree. This one got a spot front and center!

I remember getting this one with my mom at a Craft fair when I was really young maybe 7 or 8. I even remember that the fair was at Market Square, the old movie theater in town.

This one is dated '91 and was made by yours truly in kindergarten. I LOVED art at school.

And this one was made in 5th grade. My best friend and I still talk about how Mrs. Roders encouraged us to add more glitter to ours and we refused. I knew at a young age that sometimes less is more.

Oh, and this one! Love him. My aunt got us an ornament every year. I love this movie and I equally love this ornament on my tree. 

I was pretty big into Lion King. I even had posters on my wall and a blanket to match. I believe this ornament is the only piece of that phase that remains.

And my candy canes- I've had them since at least 2003! I find them way less tempting!

I'm taking my tree down tomorrow. But I'll sure be glad to put it back up in all it's $15 glory and sentimental value next year!

Handcrafted Christmas

We celebrated Christmas on Monday.  I finished making my Christmas gifts for my family Monday morning at 4am. Actually, that's not entirely true. I stared at my mom's gift from 3-4am and was just creatively stumped...probably as a direct result of my sleep deprivation. I owe her one. The concept is great- but the execution just wasn't happening. 

I'm not proud that my mom's gift wasn't finished. But I had spent some long hours turning out other homemade gifts for my family. I'm really proud of how they turned out. It made giving far greater than receiving this year. 

I posted a picture last week of this pig in it's previous state. It was my sister's bank as a kid and I wanted to repurpose it for her family. I punched out millions of tiny squares from an old Abe Lincoln book and used a whole bottle of decoupage. (It took forever!)  I even embellished it with a little chalkboard tag that says "we are currently saving for_______" I filled in the blank with Disney. Because that's going to to happen. So is college. They have to decide what's more important!

I made this activity tote for my niece. It's perfect for books, and puppets, and any other things she needs to take with her when she leaves the house. I actually made her an adorable puppet to. I just didn't get a picture.

My dad is super proud to be a grandpa. It's very cute. I took this picture a couple weeks ago and just told him it didn't turn out. I bought a bunch of frames this summer at rummage sales. (this one was .25!!) I used scrapbook paper, a piece of burlap, and black paint. 

With another rummage sale frame, a cardboard W from Hobby Lobby and Ikea material that was leftover from their new window treatments, I made this for my sister and her husband- the Windels. 

My brother-in-law had an article printed in Group Magazine this past year. Along with some gold leaves from a tree he had from his Grandma's things and a little creative insight, this happened. 


I posted pictures of these rockers in their original state too. I spray painted the bronze and hand painted the colors based on my fabric choice. I bought and remade both chairs for under $20...and I'm in love with them. The pillows were from fabric scraps and some filling I had from an older pillow. 

I love how everything turned out. I'm pretty confident the recipients were equally pleased. But, I was exhausted when it was all said and done. I even took a nap after we opened gifts, and I haven't crafted a single thing all week! I'm making a resolution to have all my gifts for next year made before December 1st!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

infinity scarf

If you're still in need of a quick gift for someone, infinity scarves are really easy to make and can be really inexpensive. (I made one of my favorites for just $2 using clearance fabric!) I made three last night in under an hour.  They're prefect. 

I bought 2 yards of fabric for each one. And each cut makes 2 or three scarves depending on how thin or bulky you want them to be.

I kept thinking I knew how to make them without help. But every time I sat at my sewing machine, I got stumped! I finally had to turn to YouTube and found this extremely helpful tutorial.

and check back next week- I can't wait to show you how I updated these gems!

My parents started a piggy bank for my sister when she was born. A couple weeks ago, for whatever reason, my mom remember that it was tucked in the furthest corner of our attic- probably had been for 25 years!

We had fun with it. We all took guesses on how much money was in there. My dad drilled it open and we shook out a wopping $106.05! Cha Ching.
We got a good laugh at the other random things that we shoved in there: bowling coupons and Captain Crunch tokens....Kids!

I found both of these rocking chairs this past summer at rummage sales for $2 each! I'm totally falling in love with them....well, with the one that I've finished. The other one is sitting with a coat of primer on it...but I still have 3 days- right. 

One of many resolutions: learn how to use my camera. Because these cell phone pics are awful!!

more and better

There are only a few short days left until Christmas. Is anyone else trying to force the Christmas Spirit upon themselves? No? Just me? OK. 

While I'm so excited to have family coming to town and extra excited to give homemade gifts this year, I just can't get a grasp on the Spirit of Christmas. Maybe it's the unseasonable weather- but I don't dare complain about that! All I know is I'm chasing it down with just a few days left. I'm listening to my favorite Christmas music and watching Christmas movies while I work on gifts. 

Even as I write this, I'm remembering the real meaning of Christmas. "I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of." John 10:10

There's some perspective.

Part of living my life to the fullest involves this blog. Writing and creating and using the talents that God has given me. While I have some goals for what this will become for me, I'm reminded this season to DREAM AGAIN.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


**The following post was actually the first one I published. But I was trying to clean a few things up tonight and accidently DELETED it. but whatever- you probably wouldn't have noticed, but I feel the need to come clean.** 

Starting a new blog has been in the making for quite some time now. I’ve debated between Wordpress and Blogger, designed a few banners, and debated names. I’ve started and stopped, talked myself in and then out of it a few dozen hundred times. But the truth is, I need to do it. There are creative ideas and anecdotes trapped in my head begging on a daily basis to be acknowledged. More than wanting to share with you, I need to be able capture my life in words. When I write, and then look back on it days or even years later, I’m never in lack of awe of a God that has provided me with so much on a daily basis. On the days when I feel like He’s not so close, my writing brings Him back;  because I’m living out who He created me to be. I still look back at my old blog that I wrote at the end of my college career. I don't care if no one ever reads it, but it reminds me of God's great love for me! (You are, of course, welcome to read it here if you'd like)

So, here I am- I’ve talked myself back into this idea for the last time. No more excuses. I’m doing it. I’m ready to live a little, to take hold of the adventure that God is offering me.  You can come with if you’d like. I hope you are encouraged or inspired by what I share.   

I've been really into the whole DIY/Pinterest/home decor/upcycle/go to Hobby Lobby 4xs a week trend. Okay, maybe that last one is just me! I'm reading blogs (my bookmark tabs are a hot, hot mess right now because I just keep adding all the awesome ones I'm discovering) and I'm spending late nights in my basement turning out some pretty cool projects that I'll share here.

So, I have plans for this adventure, I really do. But you're going to have to just believe me. I'm choosing to just START. I wish I had a impressive logo, blog template, and all the extras to impress you with but that will come in due time; once I figure out what I'm doing!

Thanks for stopping by. Don't pretend to be impressed---but just you wait and see. I think you'll find something sweet if you stop by again.

Stephanie Herbert{SHerbert}

Thursday, December 15, 2011 still my friend

I don't have many deadlines in my life anymore. It's been a few years since I've had to crank out a 10 page paper in one night. These days, my deadlines are mostly related to bills, birthdays, and holidays; & I'm not complaining. But, part of starting this blog was to challenge myself and create more deadlines in my life and to feel a sense of accomplishment. So far, so good...but time will tell if I continue to rise to the challenge. 

But, back to proving that I am still a perpetual procrastinator. Christmas is 10 days away. I've managed to do everything but work on my Christmas gifts. My list of 'to-makes' is hovering somewhere around 15; and some of the projects are going to be SUPER time consuming. In my defense, there are 2 things on my 'made' list! So, yesterday, I headed downstairs to work, but I got sidetracked by an idea (for myself!). I simply couldn't wait 12 days to create! ugh. But, it's super cute and was inspired by this Pinterest quote.

I promise I will eventually bust out my 'fancy' camera to take the pictures I post. Consider it something to look forward to.
I do think it is very fitting for this time of year. I'm a grown adult and Christmas still makes me feel a little greedy! I definitely find more joy in giving than getting. But I'd be a total liar if I didn't acknowledge that I still count the gifts with my name under the tree!

And, aside from Christmas, I can use this reminder on a daily basis. Seriously, I'm a grateful person...but I need to realize that what I have is enough. I'm so blessed.

Are you approaching this season with an attitude of gratitude? or greed?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A New Day

In a move that is contrary to my true character, I am up and out of bed before the sun this morning. (I want to leave out the part that, instead of resting for a few minutes last night, I fell asleep at 6pm!) Regardless, I am up. My coffee has been consumed and I’m ready. Today just feels special. 

I chose to start my extra time this morning with a devotional and some reading. Again, sadly, not my true character. But I wanted to share them with you here because I’d forgotten about these gems, and maybe you’ve not heard of them, but I think they’re both worth mentioning.
I’ve had both of these books on my shelf for a long time. In fact, I read most of Mark Batterson’s third book Primal over a year (or two!) ago. It’s marked up and it looks like I really enjoyed it. But, I never finished it. And what I did read of it, I can’t hardly remember. So, it’s getting a twice over and a completion this time! 
Mark say at the end of the first section "By the time you read the last page....I hope you have gone back to the primal faith you once had. Or more accurately, the primal faith that once had you." 
Yeah, I want that.

follow Mark's blog here

I also did a devotional. Again, I wrote two entries months ago and never committed to making it a staple in my days. Maybe this time around will be different. I felt the “Wow God, you’re awesome for putting this verse and these words in my life today.” I don’t know why I would choose to keep Him from awing me again! And, I love this devotional because it asks questions and leaves space for answers. 

You can also learn more about Sheila here. And, the book is also available as an app for $9.99 

 Read them along with me or put them on your list of ‘must reads.’ While you’re at it, add Mark Batterson’s first two books to the list too. Wild Goose Chase and In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day; books I (actually have) finished and thoroughly enjoyed. 
Well, I can tell the sun has peaked over the horizon of Lake Michigan. In just a moment's time it will be flooding my yard with it’s light. Another moment to stop and say “Wow, God!”
I hope you have moments in your day today that make you stop and say the same!
Perfect morning....& meet Petey!