Planting Sequoias

In which I blog about a life (hopefully) well lived.


Our Christmas Card 2012 (in which I stretch the chalkboard theme to a new area of our lives)

Going along with the unofficial “theme” of the past few months of our lives, Kenny and I thought it would only be appropriate to send out a chalkboard-looking Christmas card. Actually, Ken didn’t have much say in this and was just fine with that.

Presenting our 2012 and very first Christmas card as married people:

Christmas Card 2012

Well, mostly. Imagine a “the baumans” under the “love” right there. I just wanted to show the nice mock-up before I dazzled you with my photography skills of the real thing.


Inside, we put one of our favorite pictures from our wedding. It’s hard to believe that it was already more than 4 months ago!

Kenny and Annie

I ordered these cards from Cardstore. There are a ton of online card companies, but I’ve been consistently impressed by the quality of Cardstore’s prints, and their selection of designs are phenomenal. It doesn’t hurt that they frequently offer fantastic deals on Christmas cards and will ship the cards for me.

On the inside, we (I) wrote:

We wish you a Christmas filled with the wonder of the birth of Christ,

the warmth of the Holiday spirit,

and the love of family and friends.

We appreciate your presence in our lives!

With much love,
Annie and Kenny

Even though we couldn’t send this Christmas card to everybody, if you’re reading the blog, consider yourself one of our Christmas card recipients. #warninggettingsappy… I’ve had a lot of fun blogging over the past few months and have even made a few blog friends along the way!

We’re excited to see what the new year will bring, but it will be hard to top 2012. We are so blessed.



Christmas Decorating (in which I test my paper-folding skills and find them wanting)

In our 670 square foot apartment, you’d think I’d eventually run out of places to decorate for Christmas.

This has not yet occurred, and I’m still not sick of decorating for Christmas. (Ask me in January, however, how the take-down process is going–I predict I will not handle that as well.)

In our gallery wall, I replaced some of the artwork with Christmas cards and put glittery snowflakes in one of the larger frames.

christmasified gallery wall!

We inherited this Carol Roeda nativity set from Kenny’s parents. It’s missing a few pieces, but luckily we still have the basic cast. As long as we have Jesus, we’re good, right? Theologically speaking, of course.


Any good nativity obviously needs a star, so I dug out my construction paper and origami skills and set about making this little one.

It was way harder than it should have been, but I finally figured out how to make it. Just…don’t look too closely. For some reason, it was WAYYY harder folding paper like this the other day than it was in elementary school. I used to be a master cootie catcher maker.

5-point origami star

Our living room end tables got Christmas-ized, too. I’d like to take credit for the mirror tree, but it was an awesome $1 thrift store find, as was the white bowl. The “artwork” is an old advertisement that I saved a long time ago for an unknown reason, but it looks fun with the green lamp.

I can take credit for the small silver cone tree–I made a cone out of cardboard and wrapped it with the string from an Apple store bag. A few pins snuck from my brooch bouquet make up a tree topper of sorts.

The Lindor truffles are obviously not homemade and are not long for this world.

modern christmas vignette

Oh, and yes, our Christmas decor can’t really decide if it wants to look “traditional” or be “contemporary” (Christmas tree=red and gold), so at this point , it is trying to bridge that gap and is being somewhat unsuccessful. When our ship comes in (which may be a *few* years), I’ll invest in a whole bunch of coordinating Christmas decorations, but at this point we’re wholeheartedly embracing the “one-step-up-from-college” decorating philosophy and using what we have.

I also made two trees for this end table, one with ribbon (from our “just married” banner–nothing wedding related is sacred anymore), and one with some thin tinsel.

modern neutral christmas vignette

The presents are beginning to pile up under the tree and I’ve listened to every Christmas song that’s ever been recorded at least once. Almost.

I love this time of year.

I’m sharing this at the Dare to DIY party hosted by Decor and the DogMaybe MatildaNewly Woodwards, and Two Twenty One!



Our First Christmas Tree (in which I wax poetic about a twenty-five-year-old fake plant)

This is the story of a little artificial Christmas tree that has witnessed many a joy-filled Christmas.

When my parents were married on December 4, 1987, they embarked on their honeymoon and came back to find this cheerfully decorated Christmas tree in their new home.

Now Kenny and I are using it for our first Christmas as Mr. and Mrs.

However, the tree is feeling its age. Being stuffed into a box and shoved into an attic every January for the past 25 years has been hard on this little guy.

Here’s how it emerged this year in our little apartment.

At least it still stood straight and tall. That is, after I tightened the tree stand. Kenny was not so successful with his attempt. I have had much practice wedging myself under artificial trees and screwing in that trifecta of screws just so.

Here’s how it looked after I’d fluffed it up, good and proper. A nice ruffled tree skirt did not hurt appearances either.

However, the poking and prodding and general shaping I did to the tree was not so kind as I’d hoped. Still, I am rather impressed at how little this aged tree shed. 25 years is a long time for tiny plastic needles to stick to a prickly bunch of wires.

After I cleaned up after the tree, we began to dress it up a bit.

We strung some fresh lights on the tree, draped a ribbon garland, appointed an angel atop, and opened our boxes of treasured ornaments to carefully arrange on the little tree’s plastic branches. After its makeover, the tree was glowing.

I can say with near certainty that someday this little tree will be upgraded for a bigger, newer model, or perhaps even the real deal.

But for this year, this tree is perfect.

By the way, happy 25th anniversary, Mom and Dad!



Bedroom Christmassy-ness (in which a tiny box of ornament hooks evokes way more emotion that it should)

It was an innocent looking package that nearly drove me insane.

Granted, the whole ordeal was basically my fault (though it pains me to admit it) because I was stubborn.

You see, this little box of hooks had a nifty perforated window on the back, from which you could withdraw each ornament hook. Attach said hook to ornament, arrange on tree, and voila! a perfect little Norman Rockwell moment.

HA! Not so at my house.

The little window on the back looked like this.

As you can imagine, it was terribly difficult to get the hooks out, for two reasons. First, that hole is really small. Second, the hooks were, well, hook-shaped. Which meant that they hooked onto each other like a parasite onto its host. And me, being the …focused… individual that I am, insisted (to myself, no less) that I carry on like this until I was thoroughly enraged with these tiny inanimate objects.

Next year, someone please remind me to just open the whole thing and dump the hooks into a bowl and thankyouverymuch for not questioning my absurd actions (or lack thereofthis year.

Anyway, I Christmas-ized our bedroom despite the hooks.

Since our unofficial “color scheme” (I say that like I had a plan) for our tree was red and gold, I was left with a lot of green and silver ornaments, which I hung around the room.

It’ll be your job to spot them all, kind of like an “I Spy” book, okay?

Actually, the voice of reason (aka, my husband) convinced me that the ornaments on the lamps were weird. The Voice of Reason likes to think he is normally right, which in this case, he totally was, so the ornaments no longer remain on the lamps.

If you squint real hard at this picture, you can see the festive decor I put in the frame for the season.

I hung up this realistic-looking garland (amIrightorwhat) (pleasesensethesarcasm) up on the window and decorated the curtain with little tin icicles.

Oh, and I made the bed. 🙂

At this point in our lives, we’re not about to invest in a new color scheme for Christmas each year, but by working with what we had, I think things turned out just fine. Tomorrow I’ll show ya’ll our living room.

Oh, and my advice to you? Be patient with ornament hooks (they can’t help who they are) and do yourself a favor and enlist your husband to hand you each one.

Linking up to the Nester’s 2012 Christmas Home Tour!


Upcycled Sweater Stockings (in which I spend more than 1 hour on a project and do not use spray paint)

This may be unprecedented here on the old blog, but I recently completed a project that did not involve paint in an aerosol can (like here and here). However, dearest spray paint lovers, do not fear! There is undoubtedly more to come. I know this with certainty, since I have at least 2 more projects of that nature coming your way soon. When I like something, I tend to go overboard. It’s always been that way. My apologies to my husband.

This project is also unique in that it took me more than one hour to do. Along those same lines, it may have taken me almost a year to finish…I began this project last December//hangsheadinshame//

This is how far I got before the motivation train left the station back in ’11. Picture another coordinating stocking completed to the same stage, but red.

I started this one Christmassy afternoon last year by drawing up a template on some newspaper. I then used scraps of old wool sweaters to create a large blob of sweater pieces sewn together, upon which I placed said template and trimmed it up. I cut out a larger piece of sweater for the backside of the stocking and created an inner lining with some other weird scratchy fabric.

I should pause to mention that I got the idea for the stockings from a pair that our dear friends Dan and Grace have. Their stockings were lovingly made by Grace’s mom, who makes gorgeous things out of wool sweaters. I can only aspire to some day have half her talent.

At the time that I began the stockings, I was blogging about 0% of my projects on average, which meant two things: 1) no pictures, and 2) no accountability to finish. Bad stuff, I know. But since I have only the best blog readers who are very imaginative and forgiving folk, these two things are of no consequence.

Fast forward to November 2012, when I finally gathered up the energy to drag this project out of the closet again.

All I had left to do was to attach a cuff of sorts and the little loopy thing from which the stocking could hang. Taking deep breaths, I began chanting The Little Engine That Could  under my breath (all the while getting weird looks from the husband)… “I think I can! I think I can!”

So I cut myself a cuff and stuffed it in the stocking and began to sew.

Or rather, I tried. My 1950’s sewing machine has issues, as we all know, and could not even muster up the energy to execute a single successful stitch. The above picture is fake. Instead, I took my stockings over to my Grandma’s house, which is a treasure trove of sewing machines. After breaking 7 needles (wish I were joking…sorry, Grandma!), I had 2 completed stockings.

Sort of. See the difference between these stockings and the one mentioned above?

If you answered “these stocking toes are pointing left! The picture above shows the stocking pointing to the right!,” you are correct.

Long story short: last winter I began 2 pairs of stockings and in fact did double the amount of work listed above. Including cuffage. I would like to point out that this seemingly insignificant statistic actually works in my favor: instead of breaking 7 needles on 2 stockings (an average of 3.5 needles apiece), I broke 7 needles on 4 stockings, a mere 1.75 needles apiece.

One pair of cuffs turned out awesome and one pair of cuffs turned out so-so, so we’re keeping the awesome pair. I do not know what possessed me to create stockings with opposing toe-pointage. (Wow, the number of words I am creating for this post has got to be some sort of record!) //patsselfonback//

We hung these on our TV stand, since we are a no-fireplace family at this time. And of course I took the picture late at night–it’s what my blog readers have come to expect from me. I have a reputation to uphold.

If you squint really hard into the darkness, you can see that the stockings are there. I promise. But come on over in person to see them! We’d love to have you. And between our visitors and being the star of this blog post, that’s probably all the action these stockings will see. We have bigger things to save up for, after all!

On an unrelated note: I was WAYYY too thrilled on Monday to have an idea “featured” on Hip2Save AND win $25 to Amazon for doing so! See the post here. 🙂

On another unrelated note: if you’re at all like me and like free things and reading, check out this post from awhile back on the Tyndale Rewards program. I’ve gotten several free books this way and it is SO EASY to get your first book!

On another more related note: I’m linking up here!



Sheesh, will the post ever end? NOPE! I’m also linking up to Censational Girl!