Friday, December 30, 2011

Stuff: 2011 in Review

Here we are at the end of 2011.  Can you believe it?!?

It has been a pretty big year for the both of us, so we thought it would be fun to take some time to look back at all the awesome things we did this year.

  • Amy made the offer on her house, and it was accepted!  Then, the waiting game began.
  • Matt and Ashley moved into their very first house!

  • We went to a pretty awesome food tasting for Ashley and Matt's wedding reception.
  • Crafting for our friend Amanda's wedding began.  LOTS of flower balls were made!
  • Amy did a lot of fun things with Amanda, including a Blackhawks game, bridal shower #1, and the first 5K of the year!

  • Amy and Matt (the BIL) went to our first rooftop Cubs game!
  • Our good friends Amanda and Brian got married!  Amy was lucky enough to be a member of the bridal party for this awesome day.

  • Amy's 4th year teaching came to an end.
  • We celebrated Ashley's birthday.
  • We had a great time at Ashley's bridal shower.
Thanks to the lovely bridesmaid Monika for this picture of the tough-girl bride.
  • Amy ran another 5K.
  • ...Unless you count the fact that we started this blog!  :)


  • Amy ran another 5K and set a major PR.  (Think this girl likes to run?)

Looking back on 2011, we are in awe of how fortunate we were to have all these amazing experiences!  What was your most amazing experience of 2011?

Here's to an equally excellent (if not BETTER) 2012!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sisters: Blue, well, Black, Ribbon

Since I had several days off before Christmas this year, I felt the need to get crafty on some of my gifts.  So, I decided to make some jewelry (something I really like to do, but don't often enough, for whatever reason).  I love the look of those ribbon necklaces, so I made three complementary necklaces, one for Ashley, Mom, and myself.

I got a great deal on some beads, chain, and ribbon at Michaels, and I had some jewelry wire in my craft box, which really came in handy.
Heaven forbid I walk downstairs where I could actually have some room on the table

To start, I basically just looked around at some pictures of ribbon necklaces online, and got started.  It was not easy taking pictures during the process.

For Ashley's, I attached some wire to the chain and beaded silver beads onto it to give it a doubled-up look.  The back was a ribbon with a bow at the end.

Ashley's finished product
For my necklace, I beaded alternating "pearls" and silver beads onto the wire, then used a ribbon for the back.  Instead of a bow, I attached the flower I wore in my hair for Ashley's wedding.  I've been wanting to find a way to use it, as I rarely wear barrettes, and I ended up loving this!

My finished product
Finally, I wanted to make mom's a little different, so I took parts of mine and Ashley's, and then added a little something new.  So, the beading part was the same as mine.  Then, I used chain for the back but weaved (wove? hm...) ribbon through it.

Mom's finished product
Honestly, I feel like my mom's necklace needs something more; I just can't figure out what it is.  She says she's happy with it this way...but you know moms have to say that.  :)  I'm waiting for the genius solution to come to me.

Have you ever made jewelry before?  How did it go?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Spaces: Merry Christmas 2011!

We hope you all had a festive and fun holiday!  Amy and I sure did.  On Christmas Eve, we get together at our parents' house for a celebration with my mom's family.  It's always a very special time because the family keeps growing, and the space doesn't get much bigger to accommodate us.  It's a tight-fitting gathering, but that just makes it more memorable for us. 

On Christmas day, Matt and I hosted a gathering mixing some of his family and mine as well.  Amy and I put together the day, and her help was greatly appreciated.  It went mostly glitch-free, and the guests seemed to enjoy themselves. 

I (Ashley) received a new camera for Christmas, therefore Christmas day was full of picture taking.

Amy got a new Kindle reader for Christmas and tried it out before our guests arrived.

Annual "sister" Christmas picture

Matt and I on Christmas morning

Our table setup

Table 2 set up

Amy and our mom looking through store ads to discover any good after-Christmas sales

Mom and I with the load of food we served

Until next time.............

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sisters: Groupies

This past weekend, Ashley, the BIL, and I went to see our cousin's band, Ambrose King and the River Rats, perform.

The show was put on to benefit the Ronald McDonald House.  We had a great time chatting with our family and listening to some great music.  We were in awe at our cousin's mad musical skills!  :)

Of course, as the night wore on, some mischevious people took my camera...

And eventually it was time to head home for the night.

Do we have to?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Stuff: Master-ed

2011 has been a HUGE year for me.  I feel like I have had a significant event every month of the, to top it all off, I ended 2011 by getting my masters degree!

I have been working toward it for two years, and our final project involved all of our classes put together.  So, I, of course, decided to get crafty.

Most people in my class did a creative project, so mine was a Christmas tree.  Each ornament on the tree represented something I learned in the program (they are printed on the back...I just didn't take a picture because that part wasn't as pretty).  I simply printed some coloring pages, laminated them, and decorated them with glitter glue.  (As you can tell, particularly from the Christmas tree and snowman, I am quite the artist...haha).

Pay no attention to the giant powdered sugar was not part of the project.  :)
I made a LOT of ornaments!  Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the finished product on my cute mini-tree from high school!

After our final class, my classmates and I went out to Chili's and had our ugly ornament exchange.  Mine was definitely a doosy!

I decided not to walk at graduation (spending multiple hours listening to a list of names was not something I wanted to do, again).  So, my family and I went out for a nice dinner to celebrate.

Thanks to my family...and yay for having my Wednesday nights back!

Anyone out there taking classes?  I'd love to hear about them...I'm a bit of a school-o-holic!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sisters/Spaces: The Christmas Countdown is ON!

I have always loved surveys (remember how they were SO popular to send to your friends through e-mail?), so I was pumped when I saw this survey today from Clean Eating Chelsey.  Needless to say, we are about to survey it up!

Does Santa wrap presents, or just set them under the tree?

Amy: Clearly, it is the elves job to wrap.  Santa is much to old and much to busy for that business!

Ashley:  Of course not!  The gifts were made by him, someone else can do the wrapping!

Colored lights on the tree/house or white?

Amy: Well, I have both going on right now, but I prefer white.

Ashley:  I'd prefer white lights as well.  That's what I have on my tree and outside this year.

Do you hang mistletoe?

Amy: Nope.

Ashley:  Not usually.

What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?

Amy: I love this jello/applesauce/red hots stuff my aunt makes, but she doesn't make it every year.  I am definitely a turkey I'll go with that otherwise.

Ashley:  I'd have to say I'm a fan of the potatoes.  Not exclusive to Christmas however...
Favorite holiday memory as a child?

Amy: Riding my new bike through the neighborhood on Christmas morning, even though it was freezing.  Or, making noise so my dad would get up so we could open presents.

Ashley:  As a response to Amy's bike comment- I got the same bike on the same Christmas morning, however too terrified to ride it, I sat on it in the living room for months!  My favorite Christmas memory is playing dolls with my cousins on Christmas eve because I would usually get a new doll and was ecstatic to have someone that wanted to play dolls with me. 

Snow- love it or dread it?

Amy: Generally, I would say dread it.  I love looking at it on Christmas, but would rather go without because it makes it hard for people to travel to be together.

Ashley:  Dread it!  I like to look at it when its all clean white and smooth on the grass but after a few pictures I'm ready for Summer!

Real tree or fake tree?

Amy: Fake...our mom is allergic.

Ashley:  Agree with Amy!

What is the most important thing about Christmas for you?

Amy: Spending time with family.

Yay for Elf Yourself!  This picture cracks me up every time!

Ashley: Being together with family and making the memories to talk about for years.
What is your favorite holiday dessert?

Amy: Um...all of them.  Haha...if I HAD to choose I would go with just about anything pumpkin.

Ashley: Peanut Butter cookies with a Hershey kiss on top!

What is your favorite tradition?

Amy: I LOVE our Christmas Eve gathering with my mom's side of the family.  There are tons of people in a house that isn't quite big enough for everyone, but I love that we are ALL together and the house is full of laughter.

Ashley:  I love Christmas Eve as well, but my absolute favorite is setting up my ceramic Christmas village my grandma painted for me.  She had one when I was a kid, gifted one to my mom and then to Amy and I when we moved to our own places!
What tops your tree?

Amy: A silver, glittery star.  Follows my decorating theme!

Ashley:  We don't have anything this year!  I would like an angel in the years to come. 

What is your favorite Christmas song?

Amy: Do You Hear What I Hear...the Glee version makes me cry and get goosebumps on my

Ashley:  Oh my this is a hard question... I think I enjoy all of them but Little Drummer Boy probably tops the list followed by Silent Night.

What do you leave for Santa?

Amy: Nothing anymore.  Used to be cookies.

Ashley:  Cookies!

Do you have a Christmas morning tradition?

Amy: My family always eats cinnamon rolls for breakfast on Christmas morning...yum!

Ashley:  We eat Cinnamon rolls while Amy and I watch the Macy's parade.
Do you prefer to shop online or at the mall?

Amy: I like to take at least one good mall trip of the season to get the holiday shopping experience.  I've been doing more and more shopping online in the past couple of years, which I find to be much less stress.

Ashley:  I have done a lot of shopping online.  I love Black Friday shopping however after that I do most shopping online with a few trips out here and there.

And that concludes our Holiday Survey!  We'd love to hear some of your fun holiday traditions!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Midweek Photos!

Sorry for the delay folks! 
  Here are my December photo challenge days 5-14.  This group of photos was a challenge and I really had to think outside of the box to be "different"  but here goes.....

Day 5:  Something warm and tasty-  Thanks Amy for modeling your Starbucks!

Day 6:  A Candy Cane (or many)
So they arent candy canes but they are very yummy sweet treats!! 
We all know what a candy cane looks like....

Day 7 :  A wreath with a red bow-  Since this is a very generic holiday decoration I decided to just snap a picture of an animated wreath with a red bow on a gift bag I had in my house.   Using a custom color setting on my camera I made the wreath look 3D when in actuality it is not a 3-dimensional image.

Day 8: Stamped and Addressed Christmas cards-  Matt and I mailed out our cards before I snapped a picture of them, therefore next best option,  a card we recieved!  Address covered for privacy of course.

Day 9:  Santa Claus

Day 10:  Away in a manger----- I slacked and don't have a photo to go for day 10!   Sorry

Day 11:  Ribbons and Bows

                                    Displayed in an adorable christmas penguin dish from Amy!

Day 12:  Something Sticky:

    Matt and I built a gingerbread town... have you ever built a gingerbread house?  Can't think of many more things that are more sticky than frosting and candy!
Day 13:  Reindeer:  Hand (and footprint) made from some kiddos very "deer" to my heart.  (True work from a 2 1/2 year old and a 5 month old)

Day 14: A Decked hall.... (or how about a staircase)

And thats all for now....

Among the other things she is successful at I'd like to throw out a quick shout out to the other half of this blog;  As AMY she has just completed her final class to earn a Masters degree!! 
Thumbs up!  Great Job!

Stay tuned for photo challenge days 15 and on!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sisters: Crafts!

A friend of Amy's and mine suggested the idea of a "craft club"--at least that is what we call it.  You take the idea of a book club and tweak it to make it into a craft club.  Tonight, we got a small group got together to make the same craft.  Since it was our friends idea she picked the craft, she picked jute wreaths.  They were time-consuming, but the final product looks fantastic!!  We used cardboard letters that matched the first letter of our last names, and hot glue guns and felt squares to make the rosettes.  You can use ribbon to create a bow as seen in the tutorial or you can opt to not add a bow.   I used ribbon to create a hanging loop.  Some of the other ladies made a bow that is shown in the final product of the tutorial.  All in all, we agreed it was fun!
Here is my letter prior to adding the rosettes.

And it's complete!  I plan to hang it in my newly-painted powder room and will post a picture of it hung up as soon as it's on the wall.

Amy's work-in-progress

Drumroll please...

The finished product!

The colors went perfectly with Amy's bedrom color scheme, and she's been wanting something above the this is it!  Now, she just needs a headboard!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Spaces: Christmas Work-In-Progress

When I moved into this house, I didn't (and still don't) have much Christmas decor (I feel so swanky typing that, haha) of my own.  So, this year is definitely a work-in-progress sort of year when it comes to decorating.

I love that this year I get to kind of create my own "style" when it comes to Christmas decorating.  I have a white and silver "vision," but I believe it's sort of impossible to truly stick to a vision when it comes to Christmas decorating, because there is just so much cute stuff!  So, here is what I've got going on so far in my casa this year.

Ashley and Matt got a new tree, so they were so kind as to pass their old one along to me.  I think it's adorable.  It's pre-lit, which I've never had before and think it AWESOME.  I have a few of my own ornaments, but most are some plain or glittery silver balls.

The night I put it up, I sat in the dark for like 45 minutes because I thought it was so pretty lit up, haha.

I have this weird ledge in my living room, so I thought it would be a good place for the Christmas village my grandma made for me a couple of years ago.  Doesn't fit the white and silver theme, but looks cute!  I'm using the other part of the ledge to display my Christmas least until they start falling down and driving me crazy!

You may notice that most of my decorations are in the same room.  :)  I think my TV stand is cute.  I have a santa statue I got from a student a few years ago, the terra cotta pot Christmas tree I made at the Craft-stravaganza, and a couple of snowmen my mom and I made a couple of years ago.

On to the kitchen...and this one is probably my favorite.  I have been seeing this ornaments-in-vases thing all over blogs and Pinterest, so I had to try it.  I definitely love it!

I've got some other trinkets here and there around the house, but these are my favorites.  I'm looking forward to building a collection of things I love!  Now, on to sprucing up the outside of my house!