Tag Archives: Decorating

It’s a Wonderful Life!

The 50th anniversary commemorative book on Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life.

I’m in the midst of decorating my house for Christmas and I have worked hard to get everything organized by room.  Several years ago, I took a week in January and sorted and labeled all my decorations to make it easier each year.

The largest box in my collection is the one that holds my “It’s a Wonderful Life” village.  This Frank Capra movie is one of my all time favorites and when I found the  village at Walgreens many years ago, I was so excited.  In fact, I was a little late to the village collection party it would seem.  There had been several buildings already out in previous years from what I gathered.  They were made by Enesco.  I started my search and eventually accumulated 7 of the buildings from Bedford Falls including, Gowers Drug Store, The Bijoux theatre, Ma Bailey’s home, Bedford Falls Trust and Savings Bank, the high school, the church and of course, the Sycamore House.

I also managed to find Ernie Bishop’s yellow cab.  Other IAWF items are in ornament form including Martini’s bar.  I also found the Mark Twain book that Clarence was reading, the Bedford Falls sign, and the movie poster in porcelain.  Two unique ornaments are the televisions I discovered displaying a scene from the movie – one with George Bailey and Mary Hatch singing Buffalo Gals and the other when George is running through town in the snow after he wishes to be alive again.  Centering all of these ornaments on greenery I put over my bakers rack display is a Hallmark ornament with Mary, George and Zuzu representing the iconic scene when the famous words are spoken by Zuzu – “every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings!”  The ornament also has a little bell on the bottom.

I’ve looked for additional pieces over the years and some are pretty sky-high online!  I also discovered that Target had an IAWF village too but I never saw that one in the stores.  I would love to add a few more items I’ve seen to my village but right now I love the way the display looks every year on my kitchen bakers rack.

Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he? – Clarence Oddbody

Last scene in It’s a Wonderful Life movie…

Deck the Halls!

Zuniga-Odom Christmas Tree 2016

Zuniga-Odom Christmas Tree 2016

It’s officially Christmas at our house!  While everyone else was shopping on Black Friday, I was at home getting all our Christmas decorations out and up around the house.  It doesn’t take as long as it used to since I organized my decorations by room and labeled everything.  It took a little time one year after Christmas but it was so worth it!

On Friday, my husband did his part and put our pre-lit tree together. Later that day I added some large white star lights to it and got it ready for the family to decorate it together today.  We’ve had a full house this weekend and it has been so nice.

Our 2016 Hallmark ornaments to add to our growing collection.

Our 2016 Hallmark ornaments to add to our growing collection.

So after a late lunch of left-over taco soup, I put on some Christmas music and we got started.  As I mentioned in my Hallmark Obsession post a few days ago, I add to my Hallmark ornament collection every year.  I always put the new ornaments out on the dining room table for the kids to see and then they race to add their favorite to the tree.  Then the singing and the storytelling begins as everyone sifts through the two large storage containers full of Hallmark ornaments dating back to 1973.  At some point someone – usually my husband – remarks that the tree is getting full and there is no more room.  I am always determined to prove him wrong and keep adding in little nooks and crannies.  I’ll also rearrange a section to add a larger ornament to a limb where a smaller one is taking up too much space.  My kids swear I rearrange most of the tree when they are gone but that’s not true.  Instead, I walk around the tree to see which ornaments they have selected to adorn the tree that particular year.  We have so many that I love to see what strikes them as special.  My son-in-law, Ryan, is a real trooper and hangs in there with me to keep adding ornaments when the others have given up!  This year he broke one of the ornaments – which is really not a big deal – and I said “that’s why we have super glue!”  He said “now I really feel like part of the family!”  Usually, my husband, Eddie is the one who breaks something!  Everyone had a good laugh about that…

Our ginormous collection of Hallmark ornaments in these two huge storage containers.  I used to put them back into their individual boxes for many years but it got too tedious so I just keep the boxes in the attic now.

Our ginormous collection of Hallmark ornaments in these two huge storage containers. I used to put them back into their individual boxes for many years but it got too tedious so I just keep the boxes in the attic now.

After the tree is complete, I unveil the family ornament.  Each year since 1989, when my son was born, I have bought a handmade ornament with our names and the year on it.  I never really thought about what a tradition this was until I had collected about 10 years worth.  When we got Lucy, our pup, I added her to the ornament.  Now we have added my son-in-law, Ryan and their pup, Lucia.  So my challenge has been to find an ornament with space for 8 people on it.  I like to select it myself and make it a surprise for everyone each year.  I’m so glad I accidentally fell into this family tradition and love looking at the different designs from over the years.

The 2016 Odom family ornament!

The 2016 Odom family ornament!

Finally, we take family photos in front of the completed tree.  I can always count on this being one time of the year when we are all together and can get these photos so I really do cherish them.  Kind of like first day of school photos…I always knew I would get those too!

Admiring our tree this year...

Admiring our tree this year…

Soon after the photos were taken, all the kids scattered and went to their respective homes.  The house is quiet again.  I stopped briefly to enjoy a glass of wine and watch the tree against a background of Christmas music.

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My Hallmark Obsession

My collection of Hallmark Mary's Angels ornaments.

My collection of Hallmark Mary’s Angels ornaments.

I blame my mother…  She worked at a Hallmark shop when I was in high school in the 70s and got our family started on Hallmark ornaments.  I still have the original yarn ornaments that used to hang on our tree!  Years later, mom managed Hallmark stores and so access to these cute and sometimes whimsical ornaments grew.  The ornaments started to change too.  Aside from Snoopy and others, they became more elaborate and even expanded to current movie characters.  The number of ornaments offered each year also grew.  In fact, July became the month when Hallmark would unveil their Ornament Book and put up displays in their stores!

I’ve been collecting Hallmark ornaments for over 40 years now.  Our family tree is nothing but Hallmark and each year when we gather together to decorate the fun begins.  My kids will recall an ornament and a story behind that particular one.  They laugh and tease each other remembering something about when we bought that one or how special it was or silly.  The stories are endless and I love hearing them!  We joke about my husband and how he always manages to drop one or break one – thank goodness for super glue!  We have so many ornaments in our collection now that I would need two more trees to accommodate them all!  When my kids and my husband think we are finished, I’m keep adding more to the tree.  They give up, but I’m determined to pack it as full as I can!

The Mary's Angel tree that I have in my dining room every Christmas.  I think I'm going to need a bigger tree next year!

The Mary’s Angel tree that I have in my dining room every Christmas. I think I’m going to need a bigger tree next year!

I have several favorites on the tree each year, but probably my all time favorite series is Mary Hamilton’s – Mary’s Angels.  A few years back I decided to put these angel ornaments on a separate tree in my dining room.  They are small and delicate looking angel children and they are adorable.  This year is the 29th year for the Mary’s Angel series.  The angels are all named for flowers and their outfits are based on the floral color.  This year’s angel is called Zinnia and her design pays homage to vintage china dolls.  Robert Chad is the Hallmark artist responsible for bringing all of Mary’s Angels to life.  They are incredible works of art in my opinion and I love that they have a special place in my dining room each year.

Zinnia - 29th in the Mary's Angels series...

Zinnia – 29th in the Mary’s Angels series…

I think I have almost all 29 of the angels in the series.  Last year they issued a special “Magic” ornament.  These are the ones that have sound and/or light.  In this case, there are two angels holding lanterns that light up and the song that plays is “This Little Light of Mine.”

My home is all decorated for Christmas as I write this.  The only thing left to do is to gather the family on Sunday and add the Hallmark ornaments to the tree and share stories.  I am looking forward to that…

 

Day of the Dead Décor – It’s Everywhere!

img_1320-1Every fall I look forward to discovering new Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos items to add to my growing collection.  This year it seems stores had their items out even earlier than usual.

The first place I always hit is World Market.  Usually, they have quite a huge spread of items but this year the collection wasn’t as large.  Mind you, this is always my “go-to” place for DOD items so in fairness, it could be that I’ve collected most of their items already!  At any rate, over the course of 3 visits, I picked up some cute things including a Mariachi skeleton pillow, sugar skull measuring cups, sugar skull measuring spoons, 2 sugar skull nutcrackers and two ornaments – one sugar skull and one hot sauce bottle!  I haven’t checked other stores in my area to see if they have a more robust collection in their stores…there is still time and I may do that, but I really do love the things I’ve picked up so far.

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Sugar skull measuring spoons and measuring “skulls” from World Market.

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Mariachi pillow from World Market! So cute!

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img_1317 img_1316 img_1315Target is another place to pick up cute DOD items.  This year, their selection was also a little limited.  Again, I think I bought everything they had last year, including a door wreath which will go up on my front door the last weekend in October.  I bought a sugar skull vinyl tablecloth along with a DOD banner and a sugar skull dog statue.  The tablecloth reminds me of the beautiful colorful Mexican vinyl tablecloths that my cousins always use in their decorating.  On another trip, I found a sugar skull cup and a kit to make sugar skull pumpkins.  I bought two pumpkins over the weekend for Halloween decorating so I’ll convert those using the kits this weekend.

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img_1313 img_1312Finally, last week I was in Michaels and saw an adorable DOD door wreath.  I considered buying it as I walked through the store and then I turned down an aisle and found an entire display of DOD items!  It would have been easy to go nuts and add everything to my cart but I took a deep breath and selected just a few things – a DOD “coffin”, 6 small sugar skull plates and a Catrina statue – an iconic DOD item that is seen every year at the local DOD Festival in downtown Birmingham!

Honestly…it seems as though you can find DOD and Sugar Skull items all over the place these days.  I always look forward to pulling out all my stored items as I prepare to make my annual altars and decorate my house.  I think this year I’ll need to add another storage container for all my new items!

Do you have any favorite DOD items?  If so, please share them with me.  I would love to see them and know what you do to celebrate Day of the Dead!

Christmas Decorating and Hallmark Movies

My Mexican Christmas tree...before I started adding ornaments this year!

My Mexican Christmas tree…before I started adding ornaments this year!

The day after Thanksgiving is my day to get the Odom home into the Christmas spirit!  With Eddie’s help, we brought down all the boxes in the attic that I planned to use this year.

A few years ago, I took a bit of time after the new year and organized my Christmas boxes and labeled everything by room.  This makes it easy to get the decorating done and also pack everything back up after new yeas.  I also have quite a few boxes of things I’ve used over the years but I’m not ready to part with yet.  Who knows?  Maybe my kids will want to use some of these things at some point.  We shall see…

I always start in the family room with the mantle.  Luckily, Eddie was still hanging around and was able to help me with lights on the mantle greenery.  The pre-lit garland decided it was done but I’m liking the strand of lights I replaced it with because the light seem brighter and there are more of them.  After that, Eddie went off to work on his “to-do” list and I was left with Hallmark Christmas movies and the rest of the decorating.

The mantle is decorated and Hallmark Christmas movies are on the TV...

The mantle is decorated and Hallmark Christmas movies are on the TV…

It’s become another tradition for me to watch all those sappy Hallmark Christmas movies as I’m decorating.  Honestly…you can predict the outcome to every single one and yet I cry at the end of them all!  It’s just like the those Hallmark commercials…they get me every time!

The only thing I changed up a bit this year was my Mexican Christmas tree.  I’ve bought quite a few new items this year and so I decided to retire a few older items.  I added the grab bag ornaments I found thrifting recently.  I also added all the tin ornaments I bought in Austin, Texas recently.  I bought a few sugar skull items at Sojourns in Birmingham a few weeks ago…they went on the tree too.  A few older items are a must every year, especially the crosses and my Virgen de Guadalupe ornament.  Mexican Santa ornament and my Christopher Radko -Feliz Navidad ornament (a gift from a friend) are always on the tree.  It’s the one tree I generally decorate myself so I take my time and enjoy the process.

Sunday night we decorate the family tree with the entire family – and we only decorate with Hallmark ornaments.  I guess you could say Hallmark is in our blood!  Another tradition…

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Getting Organized…

My to-do list this weekend was rather long.  My main goal was to get my daughter’s room organized.  Since she got married in April, I’ve been slowly moving things it her room so I can use it for a photography room.  Unfortunately, I didn’t even step into the room this weekend!

Our Thanksgiving table is set!

Our Thanksgiving table is set!

Instead, I worked downstairs in the family room, kitchen and dining room.  It’s been awhile since I’ve pulled everything out of the cabinets and closets and reorganized!  In the process, I packed 5 boxes of “stuff” to drop off at The Salvation Army.  It just felt so good to reorganize so I kept going this afternoon.  I got all my Day of the Dead items returned to their storage spot in the basement and decided to pull all the Thanksgiving décor out.  I always love going through my decorations every year.  For Thanksgiving, I have a few special items I like to use every year.  In particular, there is a candle that my son Charlie made in Kindergarten that we put on the buffet every year.  There is also a prayer “cut-out” that my daughter Anna Marie put together one year.  There is a pilgrim couple and an Indian couple that my mother used to use every year when we lived in Chicago.  I’ve added those to my décor each year.  I still need to add the Thanksgiving tree.  It’s something we started several years ago where family members write what they are thankful for and put it on the tree.  I’ll explain more about this in a separate post.

Anna Marie's made this cut out craft prayer one year in grade school.

Anna Marie’s made this cut out craft prayer one year in grade school.

So, now the dining room table is set and decorated for Thanksgiving, although I’m not sure if we will be enjoying the table this year.  We are heading to my brother-in-law’s house in Jasper this coming weekend for the Odom family Thanksgiving celebration.  It’s a big transition year for our family with my daughter Anna Marie getting married in April and my niece Kate getting married in May.  My niece TJ also moved to Florida for a job opportunity.  So much transition in one year.  It’s exciting for these young people but also means we need to adjust our traditions to accommodate the newlyweds and everyone who has moved away.  Bittersweet is the word that keeps coming to mind…

Charlie made this Thanksgiving candle in kindergarten.

Charlie made this Thanksgiving candle in kindergarten.

On the bright side of reorganizing, I took our former computer cabinet and turned it into a bourbon bar for my husband!  I remember when we bought this piece of furniture…it’s a large and heavy piece and I loved the dark wood and storage it provided.  When we got rid of our desktop computer, it became a dumping ground for odds and ends.  It was driving me crazy so cleaning it out this weekend was liberating.  My husband sent a photo of it to a consignment store to see if we could sell it but meanwhile, I thought – wouldn’t this be a cool bar for his bourbon collection?!  I mentioned it and he loved the idea…so voila!  It’s now a bourbon bar!

Eddie's new bourbon bar created from our old compute cabinet!

Eddie’s new bourbon bar created from our old compute cabinet!

I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving week when I’ll be off work and can really get some organizing done.  And Christmas decorating for me begins the weekend following turkey day!  Just in time for my annual Cookie Exchange party…more on that later!

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