27 November 2008

blessings to you today

image from country home

so many things to be thankful for.
may you count your blessings with family and friends today.
happy thanksgiving!

26 November 2008

thanks :: GIVING :: 3

we are blessed that the pantry in our kitchen is full. but i know that this is not the case for everyone. i thought it would be good for my children to also realize that they are blessed in this way.

another way for us to recognize GIVING at thanksGIVING was to donate to a local food pantry. i took the boys to the market and we bought peanut butter, crackers, soup, cereal, baby food, oatmeal and other main stays. then we took it over to a food pantry. M and C both handled a canvas bag of their own. C walked dragging his bag (i wish i would have brought my camera with me!) and i lugged in the 4 extra bags. then we all helped unload our bags onto a cart. then a volunteer took our cart away to stock the shelves. M & i will go back soon and help with stocking the shelves. i am not really sure how much the boys got out of this but we talked about our own blessings all the way home. i hope today, and always, you are able to recognize and count your own blessings.

25 November 2008

THANKS :: giving :: 2

i am THANKful for a house that i can decorate for the holidays. i am THANKful that my house is a home and that it is filled with a loving family. because i am a freak for constant change, just about every year i put a different ribbon on my holiday wreath. this year, in my quest to continue to stay simple, i opted for a burlap ribbon. purchased by the yard and cut into strips. budget conscious, quick, easy, and mimics my simple lifestyle. with most wreaths being hung by a red ribbon, this is also a little bit unexpected, a little bit different, and most of all....me.

24 November 2008

thanks :: GIVING :: 1

when i think of thanksgiving i actually think of it in two words. THANKS and GIVING...obviously. so this week, in honor of the big day on thursday, i thought i would blog about a few of the things i am THANKful for as well as how we are GIVING.

no, i am not THANKful for mcdonalds. i really try to not frequent there, but there are some days that we just end up eating there. i will often cruise through the drive-thru for my large diet dr. pepper with extra ice. on a recent trip through the drive-thru it hit me to pay for the lady behind me. i do this a couple of times a year, but specifically during november. it is a way to do something nice for someone else. it is so unexpected to them and it is fun to see the smile on their face when they find out that their order has already been paid for. i will have to admit that the few times i have done this, the bill for the order behind me has not exceeded $3. when i ask to pay, i never say "how much is the order behind me?" i just tell the cashier that i will also pay for the order behind me. i laugh to myself when i found out how minimal it is. murphy's law tells me that one of this times i decide to pay i am sure i am going to hit the secretary out buying lunch for the entire office! ha! but it really is not about how much you spend, it is about doing something nice, it is about GIVNG. i encourage you to try this, you will not believe how happy it makes your heart by doing something this small.

21 November 2008

fairy door

Linda over at restyled home is giving away a cute fairy door. just leave her a comment on her blog: http://www.restyledhome.blogspot.com/ for your chance to win! because i mentioned it here on my blog, i get two chances to win. i hope i'm a lucky winner!

20 November 2008

just use what you have fall decorating

the calm before the storm. meaning - some simplicity before all the christmas decorations come out. when i decorate my home for fall, i just use what i have. pumpkins, left over from halloween, find a new place to rest among autumn garlands. simple white candles add a visual of warmth to a room and get their height by being placed in urns.

i love the fall colors against our black mantel.

a branch, naturally fallen from a tree, finds a spot on my entry table. we will hang tags on the branch saying what we are thankful for this holiday season.

a basket i had laying around now holds pumpkins and indian corn. again, i love the fall colors against the black basket.

a pedestal bowl, that housed a small haunted house at halloween, now holds a pumpkin. scatter some pine cones on the tray and it easily becomes an image of autumn.

for my dining room table i started with a burlap runner (so cheap at your local fabric store!) then using a tray as a base i just started adding to it. a black cake pedestal gives the pumpkin some height. pewter candle sticks with pillar candles on them nestle into some green garland. orange pumpkins and a stack of cloth napkins complete the display. and off to the side, a stack of charger plates on an easel. so don't spend a bunch of money on seasonal decor. use what you have and go out and collect from your yard.

16 November 2008

what i'm thankful for & a giveaway!

i love this time of year. the time between halloween and christmas. the time, that for some reason, gets a little bit forgotten. it makes me crazy that christmas music is already playing on the radio and the stores are all decked out for the holidays. even santa clocked in early this year, we saw him at the mall last night! i have fond memories of my childhood and this time of year. a big thanksgiving meal and then we'd hit the country club plaza to watch the lights come on. and the day after thanksgiving, we would put up our christmas tree. i carry this tradition on with my own family now. i will post photos of some of my autumn decor in another post this week but let's get to the fun part of this post............ a giveaway!

what am i thankful for? let me count the ways! one thing i am REALLY thankful for this year are my blog readers. i have been blogging for 14 months now and still can't get over the fact that people actually read what i write. some even leave comments! i am thankful for all of you blog stalkers out there too! ;) so i decided to give this tray away. here are the rules:

** leave a comment and tell me what YOU are thankful for this year,

**be sure that you also leave me your email address in the comment.

i will close the giveaway at midnight CST on wednesday, november 19th.

random drawing will decide the winner and i will announce it by noon on thursday. the tray you see above is the tray you will win. no asking to swap afterwards please.

GOOD LUCK! and thank you again for checking out my blog!

The winner is: KIM! Thanks to those that played along. You all are lucky 'winners' in that you have so much to be thankful for!

14 November 2008

some time in the kitchen

i love to bake on cloudy overcast days. today is one of them. i decided on a yummy pumpkin spice bread, with added chocolate chips. because everything is better with chocolate added to it. WOW does our house smell good now....come on over for a slice! if you ask me there is nothing better than kids helping in the kitchen. especially boys....i just know their wives are going to thank me some day. C helped me by pouring in the ingredients and watching it bake in the oven. here are some photos of our slow, take it easy morning. cheers to a good weekend.

12 November 2008

another good sale

whew! i am finally coming up for air. what a weekend! although my sales were down from last year saturday was a fun day. i still sold quite a few trays but the best part was all the people that i met. so many people that follow my blog stopped by. also people that had seen me in the KC Star article stopped by. so many nice things were said about my trays, my set up, my blog, i could hardly take it all in. thank you to all of you that stopped by to just say hello and thank you to those that bought trays, for themselves and for gifts. AND a huge thanks to my parents and husband for helping with the boys, use of my moms truck and helping me load and set up. i could not have done it without you.

my set up was pretty much the same set up i used last year. mainly because i ran out of time to recreate something totally new. this set up also works. it allows me to get a bunch of trays out so that buyers have many choices to pick from.

i use a bunch of vintage suitcases because i love them and because they hold several trays. it also allows me to gain some height in my space. 10x10 just isn't very big.

the paper cones were a big hit and they looked pretty and festive in the wire rack that i used. this rack was a garage sale find over the summer. i was thrilled when i saw it and when i asked the price i gasped......$1 dollar please she said. yippee! ;)

another angle of all the trays i had out on display. my large gift tags usually sell like crazy. but this year....didn't sell one! all of the 'believe' garland sold and quickly. you just never know what is going to sell.

at the last minute on friday, prior to hauling everything up for set up, i decided to stencil the back of this box. this side of my booth was on an aisle and i thought what better way to advertise my booth than 'tray bella' in big letters. i used my computer and a font called 'steamer' to make my own stencil. i simply printed them out on copy paper, quickly cut them out with a craft knife and then using black paint stenciled them on the box. when dry i lightly sanded over it. love how it turned out.
a long, busy, fun, day. mike came up with the kids early in the day to see me. i was glad that he did so that he can see what i do is 'real'. he said he was impressed and proud....*swak* thanks honey! then when i came home, this was sitting at my curb! M had brought his wood chair out, and was selling some of his toys. a budding entrepreneur! i am so proud of him when he comes up with these ideas. but most proud that he had collect his items to sell and was selling them on ....... a tray! even a 6 year old can figure out a use for a tray. and if you've got a use for a tray you're in luck....i have one more sale coming up on dec. 2 & 3. hope to see you there!

06 November 2008

let there be trays and some fun paper crafts

i am finishing up the last batch of trays today. i just need to get the handles on a few of them, tag and price and they'll be done. whew, 87 trays! this will get me through the show this weekend and i'll be back in my studio on monday slaving away on more trays for the december show. yes, i am exhausted. but at my show on saturday i will, once again, be on a huge high as people buy my product. it still happily amazes me that i am able to create something that others find great joy in. i love when someone selects a tray for a friend, sister, ect. and knows that it will make the most perfect gift for them. i love to hear the story and love that my trays are going to good homes. because, yes, i get attached to each and every one. they are all my favorites! after all, i would never sell something that i didn't like myself. in addition to trays i have been busy also making some fun paper crafts. i love, love, love paper and like to have some smalls available at the shows for those that maybe don't want to buy a tray. so i created these beautiful paper cones. they are sold empty which allows you to fill them with sweets or even a small gift. they would also be so beautiful as place cards for a holiday table. just love them and will probably have to make more for myself!

these large gift tags have always been big sellers at my shows. they are simple but really look beautiful when tied onto a package. and who doesn't love getting a beautiful package?! i really like this easy display too. and as it has been sitting on my dining room table i have decided to use this as a centerpiece after the show. i thought we could write what we are thankful for on the tags and then read them at thanksgiving. easy, fun, meaningful and thrifty!

simple paper garlands that spell out b-e-l-i-e-v-e. each letter has been stitched on...i love sewing on paper! try it! these are fun to hang on your mantle or shelf, across a window or in your children's room to add a little holiday flare.

and because i think it is all about the packaging, i have packaged them up like this.

i have started setting up my booth in my garage as set up for the show is friday night. i've got to make sure that i have everything that i need. i even take photos of my set up in the garage, print them out and that becomes my planogram the night of set up. it really helps and it makes setting up so much quicker. this will be my last post until after the show on saturday. (unless i can squeeze in one with photos of my booth friday night). thanks to those that have sent good luck wishes my way for a successful show!

05 November 2008

a flattering week

i am on such a high.....from all the compliments! last wednesday i was featured in my local newspaper by, the ever so sweet, mary pepitone. she wrote such a beautiful article about my love of baking cupcakes, decorating and about tray bella. i received so many nice comments and even heard from friends i had lost touch with. you can read the complete story here : http://www.kansascity.com/819/story/861459.html

also this week i was recognized by joanne over at my little cottage in the making. she recognized me with the lovely lady award for "giving many great decorating and crafting ideas" here on my blog. people in blogland are so nice. i have enjoyed 'meeting' so many wonderful, talented, creative women in the past year.

thank you joanne for creating a beautiful award and for picking me as one of your lovely ladies! i am truly humbled.

AND sandi over at the whistlestop cafe does a centerpiece of the month category and picked my halloween decorations as a winner. this is the second time she's hunted me down and picked me. thank you sandi for choosing me again for this award...i am flattered!

these compliments have come at a great time...they have kept me going during this crazy busy week. thanks to everyone that has left me comments, emails and compliments you have made my week!

04 November 2008

election day

i voted today, for the first time.....ever! i did it for my children and for my country.
did you vote today?

03 November 2008


what a week last week was. i'm still making trays for the upcoming gift gallery so i've had some really late nights. i'm burning the candle at both ends, but that's how things operate around here. i did manage to get M his cowboy costume. in a previous post i mentioned that he became unraveled as a mummy and didn't want to be that anymore. so i found a cowboy costume that came complete with a vest, chaps, and a hat that was too small. luckily hats are plentiful at our house and we had another cowboy hat that fit him. i embellished his vest with fringe and we tied a rope onto his belt loop. cowboy boots at a bargain price at walmart completed the costume. here he is, at school, waiting for the parade to start. he looks like he's gushing at the girl that sits across from him. this photo cracks me up!

my motley crew trick or treating at daddy's office. yay! daddy finally made it out on my blog. ;) tons of candy and always a fun day at the office.

pizza for dinner and then they were off for more trick or treating. i can't believe how much candy they brought home. i've got to find a place, quickly! to donate this or else i'll be packing on those 15 pounds i've lost since june! the halloween decorations are still up and i need to get them down and enjoy the serenity that thankgiving brings. but before i can do that i have to get my trays done for the show. saturday will be here before i know it. i've also been working on some other fun smalls to have at the show. i'll photograph and post them soon.

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