Christmas

Christmas Home Tour

Welcome to our home!

Christmas 2017 Entry The Prudent Homemaker

In the urns by the front door, I added some free Christmas tree trimmings and free pinecones. Many places that sell Christmas trees will give free Christmas tree trimmings if you ask.

I hung some wreaths I bought several years ago.

This year, I added the two lanterns by the door. The black one I bought used for $5 earlier this year (it turned out to have a broken hinge, but it still works fine). The red lantern has faux candles inside that don’t light up and a crack in the bottom; my mom found it for free at someone’s trash last year after Christmas and picked it up for me.

 

Christmas Entry Table and Living Room The Prudent Homemaker

We were gifted this poinsettia a couple of nights ago by some friends who came caroling at our door. I took out the roses and basil from this arrangement (which were done) and put the poinsettia in the middle instead with the dusty miller from our garden and the free Christmas tree trimmings.

Christmas Entry Table and Mirror The Prudent Homemaker

The wreath was a $2 garage sale find in October. I used a ribbon that used to be the drawstring to a pair of flannel pajama pants. The pajamas wore out years ago but I kept the ribbon. The urn was an $8 garage sale find in October.

Christmas 2017 Piano The Prudent Homemaker

 I bought our Nativity set 16 years ago with my husband at Walmart for our second Christmas together.

I hung the star music garland that I made for another Christmas. I used a vintage fur collar from my grandmother on the bust, and I added pinecones to the urns.

The Christmas book is one from which my daughters are currently playing. We sing Christmas carols every night as a family starting the first of December, and sometimes one of my daughters will play for us when we sing. I have been enjoying hearing them practice their Christmas music all month.

Christmas 2017 Living Room The Prudent Homemaker

A woman who works with my husband gifted him the beautiful live wreath that is hanging in the large window. I have two small wreaths in the end windows,  but I wanted another in the middle window. One day I hope to purchase a large faux wreath for this space.

Our tree is a beautiful faux one that we bought 11 years ago from Lowe’s. It was the display model and they couldn’t find the box. They charged us only $80! (This style of tree retails for $300 to $400).  We have it in a tree stand that is bolted to a little table (the table was free and my husband cut the legs down to make it a bit shorter). Having the tree on the table gives the illusion of a taller tree, and it keeps our toddler from reaching too much of the tree. He can reach the bottom two branches, so we don’t have any ornaments on those branches this year. We have eight children, so this arrangement has worked well for us for years to keep the tree and ornaments save from toddlers.

The ribbon and ornaments on the tree are ones we have had for many years.

I made the tree skirt this year from some drop cloth that I had on hand. 

Christmas Gifts Under the Tree The Prudent Homemaker

 I have been wanting reusable boxes for years. I had a few velvet covered ones that were gifted to us years ago. I added the brown ones and the two white and gold ones that are on the table last year (I found them at Target in the gift wrapping section). This year I was very excited to see that Target was offering more reusable boxes in the Christmas section, and they were very similar to the boxes I bought last year. I bought several. I can use these every year for Christmas, as well as for birthdays, without needing to use wrapping paper. Since I hand make gifts and purchase many gifts at garage sales, I don’t usually have boxes for my gifts. This will make wrapping so much easier for me every year. 

Christmas Gifts The Prudent Homemaker

I purchased a few spools of ribbon to tie the boxes closed. I also have lots of ribbon that I’ve saved from gifts we’ve received in years past that I use to close boxes.

I bought the gold and burgundy faux berries this year from a local Facebook garage sale page for $3 for 12 of them.

I bought some large and regular sized jingle bells this year as well to add to the top of the boxes. They still don’t disguise the sound of Legos in the boxes, but they are a fun addition that I can reuse every year.

Christmas 2017 Table Runner 2 The Prudent Homemaker

The small wreaths I have in the windows at the end of the room are faux ones I bought for $2.99 each (on sale at Michael’s) several years ago.

The pinecones were gathered from the side of the road.

The faux greens on the table are ones I bought years ago. This is my first year using them on the table; I usually place them on the piano.

The lanterns are ones I bought early in our marriage. The candles I’ve had for years, as I like the look of them during the day, but we don’t use them at night.

The silver-plated bowls and urns are ones I’ve picked up for $5 and under each at garage sales over the last couple of years.

Christmas 2017 Table Runner The Prudent Homemakerjpg

 I purchased the clementines on sale for $1 a pound, which is a good price here.

Christmas 2017 Table Runner 3 The Prudent Homemakerjpg

The Meyer lemons are from my garden. The beautiful silver reindeer were a surprise gift from a reader who inherited them and didn’t have a place for them. She didn’t know it, but I had been looking at faux mercury glass deer very similar to these last Christmas. I was so excited to find these in a box from her as they are even better than what I had looked at!

I hope you have a wonderful holiday.

 

Merry Christmas!

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81 Comments

  1. What beautiful decorations: I love the mix of natural decorations with those picked up for pennies 🙂 I love the idea of gift boxes – I’m desperate to cut down on single use wrapping paper and think reusable gift boxes are the way to go; thank you for the tip. Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas from the other side of the pond!

  2. Brandy. After seeing your garden urn with foliage in it I went out to our yard and cut branches from out pine and spruce trees. They are arranged in a long planter above our roll top desk. I accented them with silk poinsettias left from making wreathes last year. I also ones off our sugar pine and baked them so I could use them in a crystal bowl on the dining room table. I will tuck in some fresh cedar branches for Christmas day. Later I will add some glitter paint to the pine cone tips, adding bows at the top, and they will be ready to decorate next year’s packages.
    This year all of our packages were wrapped with paper and ribbon from my stash. I already have some ideas for things I want to make for next year’s gifts. The weeks after Christmas, while it is cold and snowy is when I like to see for my gift cabinet. While the pressure is off, and the ideas are fresh. You are a wonderful inspiration. Thank you for all you do. Blessings to your family for a wonderful christmas

  3. Merry Christmas Brandy ! Thank you for showing us your lovely home and thank you also for this lovely blog and the support you give to all who ask. I read this blog every week but rarely comment, however your posts are inspirational and I look forward to reading them. I hope you have a happy holiday season with your family and friends.

  4. Brandy, thank you for the lovely photos! I kept thinking of Architectural Digest when I was looking at the photos, you have a lovely home and a great eye to see how to decorate. Merry Christmas! You have made the holiday decorations stand out without adding so much that it looks cluttered, which is very hard to do.

  5. Happy Christmas to you Brandy and the family and a happy and healthy 2018. Thank you for the tour of your beautiful decorations. Kind regards to you and all your readers.

  6. Merry Christmas Brandy and blessings to your family from mine. Thank you for another year of sharing encouraging posts on living life fully.

  7. Beautiful, just beautiful. Your home is so beautiful. Merry Christmas.
    (where do you store all your Christmas items the rest of the year?)

  8. Simply lovely! Thank you Brandy for sharing your home decor with us. And thank you for hosting this site. For years now I have been inspired and comforted by those sharing their frugal ways. Merry Christmas to you and yours. And Merry Christmas to this family of online friends. May you all continue to be blessed as you have blessed others.

  9. What a beautiful home you have Brandy! Thank you for the tour. I am pinning your post as I have gotten some good ideas I want to remember for future holidays.

  10. Thank you for sharing your home with us Brandy! Your decor is timeless and elegant. As usual you inspire us all to use creativity and ingenuity in creating our own elegant looks for our homes. This year I have been really in to decorating and found that many simple items could make a wonderful display. I was laid off from my job in September and my last day at work was the week before thanksgiving. I have found that with the extra time I slowed down and really enjoyed decorating for the holidays. My house has never looked so festive!! It has been a reAl blessing. I have made more gifts which helped me stay within my budget for the first time in years. Seemed that in years past I would run out of time to finish all the gifts I had planned to make then at the last minute I would find myself running out to buy gifts to finish out my list. This year I had all of the gifts completed , wrapped and ready for more than a week! Merry Christmas to you and your family

  11. Merry Christmas Brandy to you and yours!!!! Your blog is a constant GIFT to me and inspiration to be a better wife, grandmother and homemaker!! God’s Blessings on you all! In Him!

  12. Your home is always decorated so elegantly and beautifully. I know you were pleasantly surprised and touched for the beautiful reindeer gift.

  13. Thank you for the tour of your home. It was so fun and inspiring to see how you have decorated for very little money, but to lovely effect. I hope you and your family have a lovely Christmas — as I’m sure you will.

  14. I have never commented on your blog but wanted to let you know sincerely how much I appreciate your frugal creativity and family-oriented mindset. Nice to see someone else who is always looking at items not as a whole (what they are “supposed to be”) but as component parts with potential (pj pants tie as wreath holder)! I have a smaller, 1700sf house now, so must be frugal with space even while storing these “parts”, or my saving turns into too-many-bins, and hoarding!
    Anyway, I do love your generosity in sharing and hope you have a blessed Christmas season.

  15. Merry Christmas, Brandy! Thank you for sharing so much of your life with us. Your home is gorgeous!

    Quick question – what’s the piano book your daughters are playing from? I’ve been looking for an easy piano Christmas book for my daughter (we have one that is titled “easy” but it’s still beyond her abilities at this point). Thank you!

  16. Roxie,

    Our house has neither and attic nor a basement, so keeping decorations to a minimum is imporatant to me.

    I have 2 12-gallon boxes in the garage on a shelf that have ornaments, the faux greens that are on the table, the tree ribbons, and our stockings. The nativity set and two more ornament boxes fit on top of those in the garage. I also have another box for Christmas lights, but our lights are so old that they are no longer working properly. I hope to replace them in the future.
    The tree and table with the tree stand fit in the rafters in the garage (we bought a tree storage bag for the tree). The wreaths are in large garbage bags stacked in my closet.
    We pick up the pinecones every year from the side of the road under a pine tree in the neighborhood.
    The gift boxes are stacked in my closet. Some will fit inside each other. I’ll need to do some rearranging this year now that I have more boxes, but I will also use them for birthdays and I want to be able to get to them throughout the year. The ribbons and jingle bells can easily fit inside a box, and the faux berries inside another.

  17. Brandy,

    I feel so blessed to have a tour of your beautiful home! You are so generous in including us in your thoughts and your home.
    A friend is stopping by after her church service today and dropping off some homemade chilli from her open house yesterday. Another friend has made non-allergenic cookies for me (quite the trick with my allergies). And she is dropping off the cookies this morning. I feel so fortunate! There is something about having faith that creates a heart-waring feeling. I’d like to say my thoughts also turn towards Tammy from this blog who has come through an anxious time recently. I’d like to wish her special Christmas thoughts. Tonight, when I enjoy a peaceful Christmas Eve alone, In my mind’s eye, I will be picturing your children, Brandy, and yourselves standing around the piano. Perhaps the best frugality, that costs nothing, is a generosity of spirit. Thanks very much. Merry Christmas to everyone.

  18. What a wonderful post, thank you for all of your ideas, Brandy! Your home is beautifully decorated for Christmas, so lovely! Thanks so much for inviting us in. Hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year. Much love, from Tennessee ❤️

  19. I love your home and all your inspiration! Thanks so much for sharing! One time you mentioned that your husband put polyurethane on your dining table to protect it. Do you happen to have a how-to link for that, or perhaps a future tutorial? I would like to do the same to my table, but my husband is afraid it will ruin the table. More details would put us both at ease! Merry Christmas!

  20. Your home is so beautifully decorated, Brandy. Thank you for sharing how a home can be nicely decorated, even on a limited budget. I hope your children enjoy all their gifts under the Christmas tree!

  21. Thanks so much for the tour! I especially liked the boxes that you use over and over. It was an “aha” moment for me! I will be looking for some after the holidays.
    I wish you and your lovely family a peaceful and joyful holiday!

  22. Beautiful! I love seeing how you’ve decorated your house. Seems like I never have the time to do things like this in our house, but the reality is that I don’t make the time; I’m very busy, but there is no way I can be busier than you are!! LOL Enjoy the holidays with your wonderful family, and thank you for all your inspirational posts throughout the year.

  23. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    Your home is so beautiful and festive using the most frugal of finds in both garage and nature 🙂 . I think that over the years with so much consumerism around us it is nice to see people going back to basics to decorate with an equally wonderful result.

    At a time of year when most are getting into so much debt with credit cards etc it is refreshing to see you and your family Brandy working within your budget with such wonderful results.

    I also had an aha moment with the use of your gift boxes and how much waste and expense that will save each year because they are reusable. Another thing I had thought of is to spray or hand paint shoe boxes or cover them in fabric scraps for reusable gift boxes each year which would cost minimal money. When I was a child my parents had fabric pillowcases with Christmas themes printed on them that had all our gifts in them each year and none of them were wrapped.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family Brandy and all who frequent this wonderful community 🙂 .

  24. Thank you for showing us your home. It is truly lovely and elegant. Christmas and the Holiday season is a poignant time for me. I have no family left and often feel depressed. I try to do volunteer work and to remember what the Season is really about but sometimes it gets the best of me. I have a small circle of friends but they all have families and their own festivities. Like Ellie in Canada I spend every Christmas Eve alone. I do look forward each year to watching the Mass from Rome with the Pope at Midnight. I am not Catholic but I find it beautiful and touching. Let us rejoice in His birthday and give thanks to all that we have. I can say I am very thankful for your blog and the wisdom I have gleaned from the other ladies on here. Merry Christmas!!

  25. It dries clear, so it doesn’t ruin the table. There should be directions on the can. It’s with the wood finishing products (like stain) in the store. The companies usually have tutorials on their website. It would be impossible to do a tutorial now as the table is done.

  26. Since the original boxes that we were gifted were covered with a thin velvet-like fabric and lined with satin, I was hoping to cover boxes with fabric before. But once I looked into the cost (the spray glue, the fabric, the boxes) it was just too expensive. I hink if you aregoing to cover boxes yourself, it would be best to do them with scrapbook paper and I think you would still want the spray glue).

    In the end, I just waited for many, many years, until last year when I bought a few boxes and then this year when I found a bunch I loved and decided that this was the year. It worked out to be less expensive to buy these boxes than the other options I looked at before, and I didn’t have to worry about covering them myself. If I decide in years future that I want a different color theme I can buy new ribbons in that color (or use different color ribbons for a birthday).

  27. Wishing you a beautiful Christmas, Angela, and everyone else. Remembering and celebrating the real meaning of Christmas brings my heart joy, even when the rest of life may be difficult at times.

  28. Good point Brandy and yes scrapbook paper is another good cost effective covering option too and less expensive again which I would probably attach with stick craft and fabric glue. Also I will keep an eye on getting some Christmas boxes after Christmas too and see if I can get them for a reasonable price as you have which would save me the bother of covering them myself.

    I love the nice neutral colours you have picked too for the gift boxes and you are right you can change the look of the gift boxes each year by simply changing the colour of the ribbon.

  29. Dear Angela,

    I am so sorry you have no family left. I have a bit of family but they are far away, both geographically and in spirit. Today, I was so surprised as my friends kept bringing gifts over. I had homemade chilli, allergen free chocolate bars, body cream, honey apple “jam”, a curry sauce, pink himalayan sea salt, mixed peppercorns, a box of mandarin oranges. I could not believe it! I have some new friends this year and all of a sudden, they realize they need to become my family. Most of my old friends are preoccupied with their families. I received incredible Christmas cards. I have to tell you it is nice to be alone on Christmas Eve as long as we are not overcome by melancholy for those no longer with us. And watching the Christmas mass is a good thing to do. I am going to watch it but I am also going to watch Sound of Music.⛄️

    Perhaps it will give you some comfort to hear about the most miserable Christmas Eve I ever spent.

    The most miserable (and only miserable) Christmas Eve was one when I went for a short visit ––at their invitation –– to a sibling and his kids and second wife. I felt awful about leaving my mother. Our neighbours used to have my mother and me and another sibling over for an incredible Christmas Eve with a wealth of goodies. Since then, that neighbour passed away; her husband moved to a seniors’ complex. When I arrived by bus at my destination at about 7, my sibling picked me up with his family. My sister-in law slathered cheap perfume on her daughters in the van. I immediately started sneezing and wheezing. My brother said to her “I told you she was allergic to perfume and not to do it.”. Not long after that, he said “Oh by the way, we are going to our friends’ house as they are having a party. You were invited too but we knew you couldn’t go because they have a dog and you are allergic. So we’ll only go for an hour or so and then we’ll be back.” Everyone went. That was at 7 p.m. At 1 a.m., when they still were not home, I phoned my mother to chat with her. I have to admit I was rather teary. She could not believe they had abandoned me. Had there been a plane or bus back home that night believe me I would have taken it. But it was too late, and I couldn’t get back home. It was about a 300 mile walk so I was trapped. And I couldn’t disappoint my little nephews, either. The next day, while my sister-in law opened her gifts of pearl necklace and Gucci watch, my little nephew said “Auntie we don’t have much for you” and gave me a free Kmart calendar of kitten photos

  30. Somehow the words of my note to Angela got scrambled. It should have read, “There is ‘alone’ like that miserable Christmas eve so long ago and then there is “alone” when one can indulge in memories of beautiful Christmases past and the relatives that made such Christmases special. I hope, Angela, that you are embraced by good memories of loved ones.
    may you be surrounded in your heart by the true spirit of Christmas.

  31. and I said to my nephew “It is the thought that counts and the little kittens are beautiful and I love the calendar”. I know his heart was pure; I ‘m not so sure about the others. So Angela, it is sometimes better to be alone and to take comfort in the warm memories of those who are no longer with us and memories of happy Christmases past than to be alone waiting for others and feeling abandoned… Tomorrow I go to the church to help with the turkey dinner for those of us who don’t have family to go to or who don’t want to cook or are not up to it.
    Angela, I wish you the best Christmas. May you find new friends who will embrace you in their lives. may you treasure the memories of lovely times past. (sorry this message got scrambled and then cut off).

  32. Merry Christmas to you Angela and know that you are thought about and loved by our family 🙂 .

    For reasons I won’t go into my husband and I are also alienated from our families through necessity and not through nothing we have done. I know how you feel and I too felt this for a few years as well along with Mother’s Day which I also found difficult.

    I found by making our own special traditions and ways of celebrating made the time easier for us and a far happier time. The major focus for us is the birth of Christ and we also find it beautiful to listen to Christmas carol nights on television too. We also focus on being thankful for all we have and the blessings we receive all year round.

  33. Thank you so much for your kind and heart felt words. You really have no idea how much they meant to me and how uplifting. It is amazing how a community of people can be such friends and yet never meet in person. I don’t post much but read every comment and can’t wait for each post from Brandy. She is such a true Christian woman in every sense of the word it is obvious. Thank you again and hope that your Christmas Day is a blessed and joyous one.

  34. Merry Christmas to you and your family Lorna. Thank you for including me in your family. Your words ring true. I do try to focus on the meaning of the Season. I delivered a package of food, toiletries and cleaning supplies to a single young mother on Christmas Eve. She is struggling with a toddler and her only family has limited means to help her. I try to do what He commanded of us in His name.

  35. Hi Angela,

    What a lovely thing to do on Christmas Eve! It is surely a wonderful thing for the young single mother!
    I came home early from our Christmas lunch as someone had brought shrimp and I am deathly allergic to that.
    I felt like collapsing so left quickly. We talked with our friends about how bleak the economy is. It is good for them to have someone to commiserate with. Notwithstanding the shrimp, and the fact many of them were cross-contaminating the food, it was really a lovely meal. As soon as I got away from the shrimp, I started to feel better. It was really nice that my friend who has MS could go for the lunch. I felt badly leaving her there but she had pretty much finished.

  36. You have a great eye for good pieces, and when put together it’s lovely 🙂 Thank you for the tip on reusable boxes! I had no idea Target sold these. They look so much better than the boxes I save every year to reuse!

  37. Brandy–I use a twin quilted bedspread as a tablecloth for my nice wood dining room table. I have received many compliments on it. Just be sure its not too puffy. Blessed Christmas to you and your family

  38. Hi Angela. Just a thought on being alone at Christmas. ..maybe if you volunteer at a community supper serving others may be rewarding for you. Another possibility is visiting the elderly …check with churches and assisted living homes for this. Many elderly folks have no family left as well . Making new friends and sharing your time with others is a blessing on both sides! Blessings to you ….Gaila in WA state

  39. Brandy, your house is very beautiful, classic looking. I enjoyed the view.

    I have not seen re-usable boxes like those. We have boxes from years past when department stores used to give them out. Did you do the gilded taping on the edges or was that part of the package? I could not see velvet boxes in the picture on my computer.

    I have been wanting to mention that I have the set of star cutters that your site displays, have had them for a number of years. They store nicely in the tin. Some of the things I use them for…at Memorial Day and 4th July I use them for cookies and to make cutouts of piecrust either to decorate the edges of the crust or vents to let steam out. One time I just cut all size stars out and scattered them over the top of a berry pie randomly, right on the filling…it was very pretty. It is nice, too, to have cookies in various sizes so some folks that just want a small sweet bite can pick the size cookie they want. A few years ago my daughter used them with the children she nannys for and made the cutout cinnamon ornaments. They strung some together into garlands and some bigger ones attached red ribbon for hanging. The ornaments still smell good.

  40. The boxes are heavy and thick. They are not boxes that fold flat. The gold edges are printed on. The inside of the new boxes I just bought from Target have gold printed polka dots inside the lids and bottoms! They are on Target’s website for 50% off today. They are really nice, sturdy boxes that I can use for many years.

    I only have a few of velvet covered boxes and they were on the other side of the tree. They are each a different jewel color.

  41. Brandy, I gathered that life got in the way of all of the Gift a Day presents you planned to make. I am also guessing that you made some gifts that you’ve done in previous years. Even without tutorials, I’d love to see a list of what you ended up making this year. Then we can cross-check with Gift a Day posts if we want to see how it is done. I just love knowing what everyone has done!

  42. Brandy,
    In reference to your Christmas lights going out. If it is the tree lights that need replacing, I suggest using icicle lights with green wires and white lights. I decorated 50+ trees this year and if it is a faux tree that is not prelit, those are my choice for ease of decorating and more control over the lights. Just string them like normal and tuck the “icicles” in and around branches. I use less strands that way and get more lights from it. Thanks for all you do, not just sharing your life with us, but providing a platform where folks all over the globe can exchange ideas and encouragement. I view what you do as a ministry.

  43. Hi Brandy! I have very similar darkish wood floors. I am curious as to what you use to clean yours? Everything looks beautiful. Happy New Year to you and your family. 🙂

  44. Wow, wow, wow!!! Your husband did the windows and wall after you designed them!!! Wow yet again!!! Any chance of you doing a post and pics of the process and how you went about this amazing job between you. I know that such a post is not quite the style of your blog as usually it’s so darned eye candyish, but I do love practicalities too and would love to know how you two achieved this stunning result.

  45. First post . . . Random thought. 🙂 If you want to disguise the Lego noises, would wrapping them tightly in inexpensice cloth work? Maybe something thin enough so that the corners can be tied without much bulk? Anyway, I am continually blessed by your posts and the comments of your readers.

  46. Thank you for sharing your beautiful Christmas decorations Brandy. I’m impressed with what you did with the fir tree trimmings. I might try that next year. I also loved your beaded bobby pins. I hope you and everyone who reads this blog had a lovely Christmas.

  47. We changed the wall 11 years ago, before I had a website. I didn’t take any before and after photos. I wish I had! We made a lot of changes to the house when we bought it. Unfortunately, it would be impossible to show what we did without photos of the process.

  48. I was able to purchase 8 large red with gold embossing Christmas balls and large snowflakes for $8.00 from the camera store that I loved so much that is going out of business. I may wait until next year to put them up since it is –30º C outside. The lens I bought for $50 turns out to be worth $299 and is treasured by me. I have avoided the Boxing Day sales.
    There is not much that I need or would desire. My camera has provided much joy to me and apart from the initial investment is a low cost hobby. I am looking forward to the coming year; to see the beauty of this earth on daily basis through the lens. As I now have macular degeneration in both eyes (in addition to other eye problems) I will be making the most of my vision while it lasts.

  49. Thank you for the info on the boxes. I did not get a chance to check the sale. I suppose they would be gone by now. My oldest girl started using fabric and real ribbons that she collects and reuses. We have always just used plain brown paper and string, yarn or curling ribbon. I like the idea of the boxes.

  50. Thank you for sharing your lovely home, decorated beautifully for Christmas. Though I have a couple of gift boxes, I hadn’t given it much thought. I very much like your idea of moving towards using them as much as possible. I purchased gift wrap at 1/2 price on the 26th, but will keep an eye out for boxes in the future. Many wishes for a happy New Year to you and your family!

  51. You can never have enough Lego Brandy! My youngest son (I have two boys) has loved Lego for years and when he was around 8 and the mountain of Lego wa almost as tall as he was we spent around 6 hours sorting it into piles of red, blue, wheels, people etc and then put theses piles into see through plastic boxes. These boxes have grown exponentially in size over the years – Noah is almost 14 now- but he swears that it’s so much easier to make anything from Lego if all the colours are in separate boxes. We even downloaded the instructions to make the ‘free if you spend over £60’ (we are in the UK) Lego Nutcracker and he was able to rustle this up with no problem! It’s always worth looking on the Lego site for the instructions as they are free, just look up the set number and quote that.

  52. To clarify, the lens I bought for $50 is not the same as the lens I accidentally broke. The lens I broke was covered by insurance but the replacement lens will not work with my present camera. This leads to an interesting dilemma. Get the replacement lens but don’t have a camera to use it with….It may work manually but different sites say different things in that regard. Today I am changing from stressful poverty to genteel poverty. Things are looking up!

  53. When remnants are on sale we stock up on the Christmas themed fabric and sew simple bags with a length of ribbon attached near the top to tie it closed. Since gift tags don’t stick well to the fabric we designate a shelf or basket for one person’s gifts and have a spot of color and Christmas throughout the house. Other fabrics work equally well for birthdays and gift giving occasions. A pair of bed pillows for a wedding gift we wrapped in a large square of fabric, gathered the sides to make a rose and tied it shut with a wide ribbon. After unwrapping the wrapping became a tablecloth for the bride.

  54. Brandy, the pictures of the Christmas tour are lovely! Maybe sometime you’ll give us a peek at your sewing/workroom where all this magic happens.

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