Jest 'Fore Christmas - by Eugene Field
Father calls me William, sister calls me Will,
Mother calls me Willie, but the fellers call me Bill!
Mighty glad I ain't a girl - ruther be a boy,
Without them sashes, curls, an' things that's worn by Fauntleroy!
Love to chawnk green apples an' go swimmin' in the lake -
Hate to take the castor-ile they give for bellyache!
'Most all the time, the whole year round, there ain't no flies on me,
But jest 'fore Christmas I'm as good as I kin be!
Got a yeller dog named Sport, sick him on the cat;
First thing she knows she doesn't know where she is at!
Got a clipper sled, an' when us kids goes out to slide,
'Long comes the grocery cart, an' we all hook a ride!
But sometimes when the grocery man is worrited an' cross,
He reaches at us with his whip, an' larrups up his hoss,
An' then I laff an' holler, "Oh, ye never teched me!"
But jest 'fore Christmas I'm as good as I kin be!
Gran'ma says she hopes that when I git to be a man,
I'll be a missionarer like her oldest brother, Dan,
As was et up by the cannibuls that lives in Ceylon's Isle,
Where every prospeck pleases, an' only man is vile!
But gran'ma she has never been to see a Wild West show,
Nor read the Life of Daniel Boone, or else I guess she'd know
That Buff'lo Bill an' cow-boys is good enough for me!
Excep' jest 'fore Christmas, when I'm good as I kin be!
And then old Sport he hangs around, so solemn-like an' still,
His eyes they seem a-sayin': "What's the matter, little Bill?"
The old cat sneaks down off her perch an' wonders what's become
Of them two enemies of hern that used to make things hum!
But I am so perlite an' 'tend so earnestly to biz,
That mother says to father: "How improved our Willie is!"
But father, havin' been a boy hisself, suspicions me
When, jest 'fore Christmas, I'm as good as I kin be!
For Christmas, with its lots an' lots of candies, cakes, an' toys,
Was made, they say, for proper kids an' not for naughty boys;
So wash yer face an' bresh yer hair, an' mind yer p's and q's,
An' don't bust out yer pantaloons, and don't wear out yer shoes;
Say "Yessum" to the ladies, an' "Yessur" to the men,
An' when they's company, don't pass yer plate for pie again;
But, thinkin' of the things yer'd like to see upon that tree,
Jest 'fore Christmas be as good as yer kin be!
We are all starting to put up the Christmas tree. How can you take your tree from so-so to spectacular? It’s certainly not how much $ you spend on the decorations. It’s not necessarily the height of your tree… There are simple steps to take your tree from so-so to spectacular. This week’s Be Your Own Designer tip… 7 steps to the perfect Christmas Tree. Whether your tree is a table-top 18" hi tree, or 18' like the one above, these steps work every time.
1. SET UP & FLUFF UP. Of course we all set up the tree. We make sure it’s well situated and make any structural adjustments to ensure stability. That part is obvious. But the fluff up part is something we tend to rush, and it’s an important step. If you have an artificial tree take your time to really fluff out the branches. Move some of the bendable branches up, AND push some branches downward as well. By fluffing out each and every branch, you make the tree look fuller and more natural.
2. LET THERE BE LIGHT. In fact, lots of light. I love light (and not just because my name is Alana Light.) If you have a pre-lit tree… great! But feel free to add more lights.
My general rule of thumb is 100 lights per vertical foot. In other words, a 9’ tree can have 900 lights. I’ve been known to add as many as 1200+ lights to a 9’ tree. If in doubt, add more light. As a friend said, "It's not done until the tree can be seen by the Hubble Space Station!"
3. RIBBONS & SPARKLE. Wired ribbon, ropes of beads, pearls, popcorn, pompoms whatever you like to use, this is step 3. Many people put the ribbon on later in the process, but after 30 years of decorating trees, I’ve found that adding the ribbon now is easier in the long run. Don’t just wrap it around the outside like you’re wrapping a burrito with saran wrap.
Whether you prefer a horizontal look or vertical ribbon pattern, weave the ribbon in and out of the branches, tucking the ribbon about ½ way back into the tree. How much do you use? A typical 9’ tree would take 3 rolls of ribbon (that’s 30 yards). Buy more than you think you need, and you can use the extra to coordinate the packages with the ribbon that matches the tree. Ooh – you’re starting to get the designer look already.
Next up... the real fun begins.
4. LARGE ELEMENTS FIRST. Have you ever gone to the Dallas market with acres of Christmas trees? Have you ever seen the tree at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego? You’ll notice that designer trees have larger scale décor elements. We’re talking bigger ornaments here. The taller your tree, the bigger the ornaments you can use. It doesn’t have to cost you very much.
BONUS: BUDGET ORNAMENT. You can easily make twine ornaments around a 9” balloon. Dip the twine in mod podge mixed with glitter. Just like papier-mâché, wrap the twine around the balloon. Once dry, pop the balloon & viola… a beautiful, perfectly scaled large ornament that costs next to nothing to make.
Large scale ornaments really make the tree look like you hired a designer to do it. Now we're on a roll. What's next?
5. MEDIUM & SMALL ORNAMENTS NEXT.
These go on the outer edges of the branches. Now it’s really coming together but we’re not through yet.
Ready for the surprise factor many people overlook?
6. ADD FILLER for FUN. What do I mean by filler? Sprays of berries. Sprays of curly cue’s. Giant bows you can make easily or buy pre-made. Any of those pics you can find at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby will do. They don’t cost a lot but wow –do they really fill in those holes. Anywhere you can still see wires or the tree trunk, fill in with filler. When you’re adding the filler, keep stepping back from the tree, to make sure you’ve got a balance and you’ve filled in all the holes with filler.
Last but not least.... drum roll please....
7. ADD UNEXPECTED JOY to the tree. For the first national bank tree on the plaza, we added Santa Clause & his elves to the tree. For a family with young kiddo’s, maybe a giant Santa hat as the tree topper. For a music lover, it might be your first trumpet you played in Jr. high… I want you to always smile when you see your Christmas tree… and that’s the key – add something that brings *you* joy.
7 steps to the perfect Christmas Tree! Happy decorating.
We love to hear from you. Email us and leave comments below. Have a blessed Christmas season.
When we're talking about your home's decor. Watch this brief video for 3 examples you can use right now in your own home.
Meditation instead of detention. It's working.
Baltimore Maryland's Andres (Andy) Gonzales and his friends Ali & Atman started Holistic Life Foundation. They bring meditation into schools and it’s replaced detention! Over 7K students per week learn to center in, and forgo violence. “Mindful Moment Room”, the oasis in a school. Results speak for themselves... three years with zero suspensions. The kids are growing up through the program and returning to help the younger generation. Kudos to Andy, Ali & Atman – you are indeed the A team.
The publisher of Mindful Magazine wrote, “Andy, Atman and Ali’s work should be a model for communities across the country.” Amen.
And there's more.....
Andy discussed this program with Alana Light as the #GoodNews of the week segment. You'll want to listen to this interview.
How can you implement this in your city? Would you like to begin a program in your area? Contact Andy, Ali & Atman by CLICKING HERE. Be the change you wish to see in your community. It's up to each one of us, and this "A Team" is showing the way.
Give this positive news a thumbs up and share with your friends. Have a beautiful week,
Recently I was in TX teaching a live Destress Dejunk Declutter workshop, and we talked about a principle that I’d like to share with you. After you’ve decluttered your home, and everything that you have is really a reflection of who and what you are today, how do you know what to display and how to do it in a way that makes your home look its best? In other words, how can you make sure the things you need every day, don’t look, well, junky?
I have a simple principle that’s the guiding light when it comes to what to keep out:
WHATEVER IS VISIBLE IS USEFUL *and* LOVELY.
Repeat after me, "Whatever is visible is useful AND lovely."
Kitchen: heart of the home & clutter magnet
How can you apply this in your home? Let’s start in the kitchen, probably the most clutter-catching area in the home. After you have decluttered your kitchen counters, you only have out the things you use every day. Let's say you like to cook, but those jars, cannisters and items just junk up the counters - what do you do with them? Corral your clutter by placing baking / cooking items on an oversized tray. Just like that, you have a still life - instead of a mess.
Staying in the kitchen - I see a lot of homes where people have lots of snacks out on the countertops. If this is you, here’s a suggestion. Grab an over-sized basket or mixing bowl – like a mixing bowl or an interesting serving bowl you use when you host dinner parties. Place your snacks in the basket or bowl – potato chip bags, granola bars, small tin of nuts… whatever your family likes to nibble on, just put them all in the over-sized bowl on your kitchen counter. Now, instead of a disorderly pile of bags and such, you have one single container with all the snacking goodies. Visible, useful and attractive. See how this works? And the benefit of this particular application of this principle, is that when you have a movie night, you can just grab the bowl and head for the couch.
The next most cluttered room in the home usually is the master bathroom. If you have an assortment of lotion bottles, perfume, hair spray and what-nots, and you want to keep them out, let’s take it from cluttered jumble to an attractive display. How? Grab a tray and put all those misc. necessities on the tray. There’s a book about how to do the "adulting" thing, and they talk about this principle. Anything and everything looks better when put on a tray!
Or if you're like me and you have a seeming jumble of hair appliances (how many curling irons do I really need?!?), here's another idea. Put all the daily hair necessities into an attractive basket– and you have instant charm. Now instead of jumbled mess, you have an orderly composition – a still life – a study in loveliness on your bathroom counter. Every morning your organized bathroom says, "Well done, you!"
Visible. And. Beautiful.
Whatever you have out visible, make it look much nicer by putting things together in a basket, bowl or on a tray. This tip takes minimum effort but has a big impact. Reach over and pat yourself on the back.
Happy organizing, Give this a thumbs up.
Monday Morning Motivation stories
So many people saw this story online, I wanted to share it with you as well. May this uplift & inspire you, and give single moms #hope.
Pop quiz! What does the number 2,467 have to do with your home? Is it:
a) the dollar amount of the average mortgage payment
b) the average number of times a homeowner visits a home improvement store in a single month
c) the median square footage of new-construction homes built last year.
If you guessed 'c' - you're right. Nationwide our homes have plenty of space, much bigger than other countries. In fact, 11.2 Chinese houses would fit into the average American House. On the opposite side of the spectrum we have a growing trend towards tiny houses. If you’ve watched any home related shows you’ve noticed these tiny houses. Tiny House Nation. Tiny House Hunters. The tiny house trend has been growing every year. Architect Sarah Susanka is credited with starting this change of heart with the publication of her Not So Big House in 1997.
No matter what size home YOU live in, there are a few lessons learned from these tiny spaces that we all can incorporate into our homes.
REUSE EXISTING PIECES: Take an existing wine cabinet – you know the type – the one that used to house your collection of fine wines before you went to Celebrate Recovery. What do you do with it? For your nifty knitters, it’s an ideal place to store your yarn, one skein per wine slot. I’ve also seen old CD cabinets used in the same way. Before the iPod changed how we listened to music we purchased those CD cabinets. Look at those CD cabinets as storage! I can see them used as a place for storing your fabric fat quarters, organized by color. Crafty corners, nifty nooks, cozy cubbies.... make them work for you now.
BE AN EDITOR: We talk a lot about letting go the excess stuff that clutters our homes. When space is limited, this is even more important. Keep the most important items and donate or sell the rest. Think of it this way – you’re blessing someone else with your extra items. Everything you have in your home, supports how you live today. No extra storage needed
No matter what size home you live in, incorporate these small space solutions to make your home work for you.
I propose a new attitude towards our interiors. Here’s a test for you: When you walk into a room, what is your instinctual response to the color on the wall? Be honest, now. Does the colors in the room make your soul sing, or are the colors “safe”. If you have boring beige, my favorite mantra in teaching my workshops is “Ban Builders’ Beige”. A gallon of blah beige costs the same as a gallon of the color of a soft peach sunset. A gallon of Arizona white costs exactly the same as a gallon of tranquil ocean blue that remind you of that great vacation on the Cinque Terre in Italy!
Color has a tremendous impact on your mood and your spirit. For example:
RED: The color of fire and passion, red is also a sacred color. Many of the great masters' sacred artwork contains red. Hopefully you visited the NM Museum of Folk Art exhibit at last summer: The Red that Colored the World. Being a color of action and movement, you’ll notice many hotel lobbies will have red décor to subtly help you to move along. Interesting! If you have a young one at home, resist the urge for bright red in the nursery – unless you like being up all night with a baby that cannot sleep! If you’ll notice many fast food restaurants have red décor – why? Red is an appetite stimulant.
PINK: Think of the rich, luscious color of watermelon pink. Inside, if watermelon is too strong of a paint color, then cut it in half with white and you have the most beautiful, skin-flattering shade for a bedroom or home office. The Pantone institute named Rose Quartz one of the colors of the year. No, you don’t have to deck out an entire room in pink – but you can acknowledge the gentle pink color by choosing some beautiful roses for the coffee table I recently decorated a birthday party entirely in pinky peach roses.
PEACH: There’s something so soothing about the color of a ripe peach, juicy and ready to enjoy on a hot summer day. The color of peach is most associated with the feeling of Joy. There is evidence that painting a room rosy peach will help with depression. Peachy gold is linked with happiness, and it’s said that it is the color of an angel’s smile. Peach is one of the most flattering colors in the kitchen – it makes your food look more appetizing and you look marvelous by candlelight in a peach room. If your kitchen walls are a little tired, consider painting Behr’s Kansas Grain, available at Home Depot.
YELLOW: Soft buttery yellow is also very good in a kitchen. Another way to bring yellow into the room is to gather several blue glass bottles and put one sunflower stem in each – wouldn’t that be delightful on your kitchen counter? Or a row of vases with yellow Peruvian lilies down the middle of your kitchen table. The color yellow is known to quicken the mind, and heighten your reasoning ability. So it’s a good choice for your office. (To get you in the mood for yellow, scroll down to "Mellow Yellow.") You're welcome.
GREEN: We love Kelly green, the color of freshly mowed grass. No surprise – green is associated with prosperity! Green is also an appetite suppressant, so it’s probably not the best color for the kitchen. Unless you’re trying to lose weight. But green is known as a very soothing healing color. That’s one reason why so many hospitals, health clinics, and doctors’ offices have soothing green walls. Bring in this healing green to a room wherever someone is recuperating. You’ll notice paintings of the angel associated with healing, Archangel Raphael, those paintings are often are done in green. Recently I hung some water colors above the guest bed, and put a green watercolor pillow on the bed. It’s beautiful!
Moving along the color spectrum, now we come to blue/green.
BLUE / GREEN: A tranquil turquoise can do wonders for a room. A recent post on Trulia.com specifically named Sherwin Williams Hazel paint color, and how it helps a small space feel larger. The article said, “It’s like being in the middle of an expansive ocean sparkling in a lovely mix of blues and greens.” If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, or want to foster resourcefulness in your kids, bring in the color turquoise.
BLUE: Think of the gentle blue of the world just waking up. Moody blue of mountains before a storm. Then of course there’s royal blue. Whichever blue speaks to you, bring in blue to your décor to promote relaxation and a sense of peacefulness. Sounds like the perfect color in your bedroom. Whether it’s a blue wall, a cozy blue throw for chilly evenings, or some blue in your artwork, you can’t go wrong with blue. (One of my favorite colors deserves a great song. Scroll down to hear "Blue Moon". Yeah, I'm singing it too now.)
PURPLE: The color of royalty, nobility and luxury, there is something about purple. The gentle color of a lilac makes you smile, doesn’t it? Then there’s the deep rich plum we see so often in the wintertime. Whichever purple speaks to you, see if you can place a touch of purple at home.
WHAT ARE YOU WEARING? Here’s another tidbit just for fun. If you’re feeling listless, wear these colors: Red, coral, rose, aqua, turquoise, or bright green. It’ll perk you up in no time.
BE BRAVE: Whatever colors you choose, I encourage you to be brave. Be brave in choosing a new paint color. Go to the paint store – get yourself a small sample of a new color. Move beyond boring beige. Be brave and get joyously colorful bath towels or a new throw pillow in a vibrant color that makes you smile. It’s spring! Let’s get some color in your home!
Just like the song, I want to see you be BRAVE. (Cue Sara Bareilles music.)
Be brave with color. It will lift your spirits and transform your décor.
The most beautiful home blessing by Celtic priest / poet John O'Donohue. Enjoy.....
May this house shelter your life.
When you come in home here,
May all the weight of the world
Fall from your shoulders.
May your heart be tranquil here,
Blessed by peace the world cannot give.
May this home be a lucky place,
Where the graces your life desires
Always find the pathway to your door.
May nothing destructive
Ever cross your threshold.
May this be a safe place
Full of understanding and acceptance,
Where you can be as you are,
Without the need of a mask
Of pretense of image.
May this home be a place of discovery.
Where the possibilities that sleep
In the clay of your soul can emerge
To deepen and refine your vision
For all that is yet to come to birth.
May it be a house of courage,
Where healing and growth are loved,
Where dignity and forgiveness prevail;
A home where patience of spirit is prized,
And the sight of the destination is never lost
Though the journey be difficult and slow.
May there be great delight around this hearth.
May it be a house of welcome
For the broken and diminished.
May you have the eyes to see
That no visitor arrives without a gift
And no guest leaves without a blessing.
From To Bless The Space Between Us, by John O'Donohue.
Why live with blah, boring beige walls? Grab a paint deck and head outdoors to see what glorious colors you can choose for your walls. Watch this brief video for inspiration.