Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Good Idea: Paper Station

"What is a paper station?"  Well, I'm glad you asked.  Tada!  I got this piece of furniture for $65 through the classifieds.

Here is what's hidden inside.  All paper arrives in the box on top of the credenza.  Then it's sorted.  Garbage goes in the red bin.  Shredding is shredded immediately.  Receipts are scanned (upper right corner scanner) then shredded if unimportant.  Bills, things for Doug and my "To Dos" are filed in the file folder on the right.  There is space for used magazines and things to be filed as well as "keeps" like cards and such.

The top drawer has mailing supplies, the label maker, stapler, etc.

I love it when things come together this well.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Festival of Trees 2012... Decorating Day

First thing you need to understand is that the tree is supposed to be constructed in such a way that it will never come apart.  Never.  Every ornament is wired or zip tied to the tree.  The top of each bulb is glued on.  Nothing is supposed to move.  After the festival is over they transport the trees, whole, to their new home.  You have to use the tree stands that they sell.  You put pvc pipe through the center of the trunk.  You run rebar along the outside of the trunk then you strategically use bolts, screws and hose clamps to make the tree completely stable and permanently joined.

Every 9'x7' space is asked to provide flooring.  Yes, the flooring goes with the tree and everything else.  See previous post for more on that.  My original plan for the flooring consisted of joining game boards together.  We liked this configuration pretty well.  In the end we scrapped the idea because we worried it would look messy. 

We thought we would make it easier on ourselves by making a giant Twister board out of particleboard.  It was NOT easier.  My poor husband spent hours making this floor.  The floor was absolutely perfect.  Thanks Honey!

The convention center was to be open from 7:00am until 7:00pm to allow people to decorate.  I expected we'd need most of that time. We loaded everything into the Acadia and Trailblazer the night before. 

We arrived at the convention center around 8:00am and the place was already buzzing with activity.  The loading dock doors were open and freezing cold air was blasting through the building.  Doug went and got us some hot chocolate to help keep us warm. 

We had piles everywhere.

First up was the domino garland.  Every domino was drilled with two holes then connected with zip ties. 

Every domino was set in a specific order so each length of garland was labeled with a number.  We finished the garland on the tree and zip tied it to the tree so that it would not move or break.

People kept coming up and asking if we had bought the garland somewhere.  Nope.  I drilled 400 dominos three different times thanks to my fantastic birthday present.  Yes, that baby is mine.  I have my very own drill press.

I digress.

My sister, Rebecca, came to help and support.  It was wonderful to share this experience with her.  Rebecca spent every moment she could with my Elizabeth during her short week on this earth.  Rebecca took more that 1000 photos that week.  As we decorated, we reminisced about Elizabeth.  We discussed the hours we spent as children playing many of the games represented on the tree.  Rebecca encouraged me to keep moving when I thought I was going to collapse. 

These ladies were instrumental in completing the project.  I met LaRae (far left) at church, the day before decorating day.  She was there the entire day.  She even called in her husband as reinforcements when I thought I was sinking and wouldn't finish.  Ashley (second from the left) has been my friend and neighbor for about 3 years.  She helped with ornaments and crafts during the months leading up the main event.  She put in almost as many hours as I did on decorating day and brought her husband in to help.  The lady in red is a good friend from my single days.  Kerry's arrival felt like the cavalry had arrived.  She brought us a picnic lunch to keep us going.

I spent almost every minute of "free" time I had over the space of 5 months to make this tree. All of the tree decorations were made from game pieces.   Every ornament was hand crafted.  It was a labor of love and dedication to my artistic vision.  I am extremely grateful to my husband, family, friends, neighbors and even some strangers, who gave up their time, talents and finances to bring this to life.

Just look at that veritable sea of trees.  It was awe inspiring to think that all of the time, the trees and crafts were donated to help the Primary Children's Hospital.  I don't know how much was raised in 2012.  In 2011 the festival raised more than 1.5 million dollars.

Check out our finished space.

Stay tuned for information on the individual ornaments and crafts.

Good Idea: Office Mats

I love my kiddos to the moon.  But... I don't always love the messes they make.  I've got carpet under my kitchen table and it's hard to keep clean.  I tried using a clear plastic tablecloth under the table.  It was always bunching up and getting in the way.

So this is my solution.  I put office chair mats under each child's seat.  It doesn't move.  I can vacuum it.  It wipes up easily.  I love it!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Letters to Heaven (June 2012)

I've had a really hard time missing our angel Elizabeth this year.  So, as part of my efforts to make peace with her absence on earth, we wrote letters to send to heaven.
Each of us wrote a letter or drew a picture to send to Elizabeth in heaven.  Then we tied them to balloons.

We went to the cemetery as a family.  We talked about the plan of salvation and resurrection.  

The activity was harder for Doug and I than we thought it would be. We have two amazing kids here on earth.  But, we still deeply miss Elizabeth.

Here we are.  Sending Elizabeth's letters in 3....2....1....

Two of them soared high into the heavens and out of sight.

Two didn't make it past the tree.

I had spent a lot of time writing my letter.  And even though I knew that my letter would fly into the sky and land in a stranger's yard, I was heartbroken when it was eaten by the tree.  These 2 little angels cheered me up.  The next day I printed my letter again, bought balloons and sent my letter from our yard.  I'm sure she visits our house more than the cemetery anyway.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Festival of Trees 2012...Some of My Favorites

I thought you might want to see some of my favorite Christmas trees (excluding ours) exhibited at the Festival of Trees.  This is the first of many posts about the Festival.

The Festival of Trees is a non-profit fundraiser for The Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City, UT.  People donate and decorate everything from wreaths and quilts to homemade arts and crafts to large Christmas trees.  Everything is sold to the highest bidder.  The large trees each have a 7'x9' space to showcase their tree.  Everything from the flooring to the top of the tree, including the power cord is sold as part of the tree.  There are hundreds of trees.  It is A-MA-Zing.

I love this kitchen themed tree.

I especially love the lamp made out of a colander.

Check out this "Chemis-TREE."  So creative.


I'd like to know how many hours went into this wood turned tree.

Most of the trees are donated in honor of someone.  Sometimes it is to celebrate the life of someone that was saved through treatment.  Sometimes it is to honor someone that died.  There were four trees side by side representing a family that died in an airplane crash.  The propeller actually spun the airplanes around the top of this tree.

This tree was to show respect for a couple of young LDS missionaries that were killed in Texas.  Again, it is so beautiful and creative!

There is a minimum price set to start the bidding.  It is generally the value of everything donated.  The price tag on this beauty was over $7,000.   Of course it included airfare, Marriott accommodations and 2 tickets to the ballet in New York City.  They even had ballet slippers signed by some of the prima ballerinas.

Check out this Mickey Mouse kitchen.  Everything was lovingly designed and built.

There are some entries that are just because someone wants to share with the community in an artistic way.  This tree, one of our neighbors, was just that.  They helped make the decorating day really fun.  I like the ribbon that looks like a road.  So cute.

I can't wait to show you our tree