Last Minute Craft Time!!!

So, Christmas is just two days away!!! I know 99% of you have your trees up and decked out, but if you're apart of that last 1% that's still squeezing in last minute decorating into these final hours, then you may find these quick and easy ideas pretty useful.

If any of you are friends with me on Facebook, then you may have already seen this pic of our family's first Christmas tree...

I'm not your traditional Christmas kind of girl. The red and green do nothing for me, since it's not really my style. I just think your tree should have the personality that your house and family have. I admit that our tree probably has a little bit more of my personality than Mr. Marcus's or Davin's, but they love it just as much as I do.

Y'all know I'm always looking for a bargain. I found this actual tree at Goodwill for just $25 dollars! It wasn't pre-lit (boo), but I did find three sets of white lights with green cords at the same Goodwill for just $5 for all three. That's $30 for a lush 6.5 ft lit tree! I'm sorry, but you just can't beat that. Most of the ornaments on the tree came from Walmart and Hobby Lobby at dirt cheap prices (usually $5 for a set of 12). This year, I wanted the tree to coordinate with the rest of the living space, so I went with a navy blue, lime green, brass, gold, silver & natural theme. I really love how it all came together.

Now, I get to tell you how those funky pieces came to be. Funky pieces, as in the the rope-wrapped ornaments, the string balls & the yarn balls, of course. They were soooo easy to do that it's almost ridiculous to tell you how to make them.

For the rope-wrapped ornaments, I just took one the store bought ornaments and hot-glued some 1/4 in rope I had on hand around and around and around and around the ornament until there was nothing else to cover up. It looked a little something like this:

For the string balls, all you need is some yarn (in any color you choose), some Elmer's or clear drying glue, a tiny bit of water to dilute the glue, and a couple balloons. This one is just as simple as the first. You only pull about 8-10 yards of yarn, dip in your slightly diluted glue, then wrap it randomly around the balloon. Tie a loop around the knot of the balloon and hang them to dry out over night. Once their completely dry, use a chopstick or even a pencil to gently separate the string from the balloon. Then all there's left to do is just pop the balloon and pull out the pieces. Here are a few pics of how this all looks.

The last and easiest tree ornament is the yarn ball. Seriously, all you need is yarn and a balloon. That's it! First you blow up the balloon. Then you wrap it in yarn until you can't see the balloon any more. There's nothing more to it. See below.

These ornaments are fast, cheap, and easy to do. If you guys don't try these out this Christmas season (the next couple days), keep them in mind for next year!

Mr. Marcus, Davin & myself would like to wish all you amazing people a wonderful, blessed & merry Christmas weekend. We pray blessings upon you and yours!


Hey guys. So Uncommon Ground was supposed to make a come-back today with a new video feature, but go ahead virtually roll your eyes at already know...

So what had happened was:

1. Mr. Marcus and I made a video, "Honesty: How much is too much?" We even broke out his video camera and set up our own version of a Good Morning America sound stage to record the 10 minute long masterpiece. But when it was time to upload the vid to my laptop, an all-important cord went missing. And who knows how long it's been missing...maybe even a couple years. So, needless to

2. I was a little bored with the honesty video, so Mr. Marcus and I made another video... about acceptance. This time, with my iPhone, for easy uploading. Everything went well; we squeezed out another 10 minute long session; and while watching the playback, I HATED it. It was 10 minutes long because I was talking all slow and rambling about things that weren't even relevant to the topic. It was so bad.

3. I talk to Mr. Marcus about a re-do, he obliges, we start the redo, I stop the redo, I make a few "suggestions", and Mr. Marcus decided he didn't want to do it anymore. We went to bed.

4. I start to write a post about acceptance...had a little inspiration from a real life situation. And out of respect for a few people, that post got tossed.

Call it the domino effect. Or just call it what I call atomic FAIL.

But since I couldn't leave you with another empty post, I decided to at least leave you with the partial redo that I mentioned in #3. What little bit there is to this video is way better than the 10 minute original. Only thing about it is...I don't talk at all. But whatever, that's why it's called a FAIL. And here it is in all it's failing glory...

So anyway, now that that's over, I know Christmas is only three days away. But if you're a procrastinator like me, you're still working on you're Christmas tree and other holiday decor. Well, come back tomorrow to see a craft-tastic post that includes handmade ornament and what not. And if you're not a procrastinator like me, just come back and see how we procrastinators roll. Boom.

Wah wah, Charlie Brown

Hey guys. Hope everyone's having a great hump-day. Sorry about the lack of post today, but between running errands and being trapped in Walmart for almost THREE HOURS, I didn't have much time at the computer. Buuuut, be sure to tune in tomorrow for a new Uncommon Ground post! See ya later!


Recipes from a NON chef: Meat & Taters

I don't claim to be a chef. Nor do I claim that I can "throw down" in the kitchen. However, I will tell you that I can, indeed, cook. And very well, might I add. My husband loves my cooking...even before he was my husband and had to tell me that everything I served was the best thing he ever tasted. ; ) So, with that lengthy list of credentials, I thought I'd share with you a recipe or two of what I cook here at the Hamilton House. You might even see recipes pop up on CR every now and then.

Now, I'm not your conventional "soul food" cook, and I don't really follow the "like-my-grandma-made-it" handbook. I'm one of those that can dress up a can of green beans or sweet potatoes and make them taste like they're homemade. I'm, also, one of those people that hate to go to the grocery store, so I improvise a lot with what I have on hand. Now that I think about it, I don't think I've ever followed a recipe to the letter. It's just not my style...or that serious.

So, on the menu this week: meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, mac & cheese and cornbread.

Make-em-come-back-for-more Meatloaf:

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  • 2 lbs of ground beef/chuck
  • 1 small finely chopped or grated onion (or a lot of the dried chopped onion you find on the seasoning aisle)
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 saltine crackers (or 6 or 10 or breadcrumbs...whatever)
  • 2 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp of regular salt
  • 1/2 tbsp of seasoned salt
  • 1 tbsp of black pepper
  • a little onion powder
  • some garlic powder
  • some dried (or fresh) chopped parsley
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Mix up all your ingredients in a bowl with your hands (be sure to crumble your crackers before mixing). Transfer the meat mix in a loaf pan. Put it in the oven for about 30-45 minutes or until the center isn't pink anymore. Boom.

Red Meatloaf Sauce (it ain't just ketchup):
  • 1/2 can of tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup of ketchup
  • 2-3 tbsp of brown sugar
  • 1 dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cap full of apple cider vinegar
  • a little bit of onion powder
  • a little bit of garlic salt
About 5 minutes before you call your meatloaf done, take it out of the oven, spread your sauce on top and put it back in the oven just until you see the edges start the caramelize from the sugar (or turn golden brown).

*I PROMISE you...this is the best meatloaf I've ever had. No lie...even better than my mom's or grandma's.

Buttery Mashed Potatoes:

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  • Just follow the directions on the box and at the end, add more butter, a little sour cream and salt & pepper. Done.
Greatest Green Beans: (recipe from Sweetie Pies...but, blessed by me!)

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  • 6 cups frozen green beans (or 2-3 cans of green beans...drain the liquid)
  • 1 small russet potatoes peeled and cubed (or any white potato)
  • 1 1/2 cup of water
  • 5 tbsp chicken stock
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/3 tsp granulated garlic
  • 2 tbsp chopped onions
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (or not)
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium pot bring water, butter, and chicken stock to a boil. Add garlic and potatoes. boil until potatoes begin to soften, approx. 10 min. Reduce heat and add green beans, onions, red pepper, and sugar. Simmer for 10 minutes or until green beans are tender.

Cheesy Mac & Cheese:

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  • Follow the directions on the box and add salt, pepper, a little paprika & a palm full of Parmesan cheese.
Just Jiffy Cornbread:

Corn muffin Box Photo
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  • Use 2 boxes of Jiffy cornbread mix. ALWAYS!
  • Follow the directions on the box.
That's all there is to it folks. And it's soooooooo goooooooooooood! Mr. Marcus will request this meal, eat it for dinner, eat it for lunch the next day, and then eat it for dinner again. It's that good. Not to mention, you're done in 30-45 minutes start to finish. And what's even better, you can't mess it up. That is, unless, you're that person. Poe thang. smh.

Anyway, try this meal. Make it for someone special, whether its your significant other, roommates, parents, whoever. They'll love it, I promise. You just gotta come back and let me know how it went.

Hamilton House

We've been in Poplar Bluff for three whole months now, so I figured I'd show you what our "new" digs are looking like. Now, I don't have a lot of before pictures...primarily due to the fact that upon our first meeting, the house and I didn't become fast friends. Long story short, my wonderful hubby picked out the place all by himself, without me knowing/seeing anything about it before he signed the lease. In his defense (from me), I must add, we were on a super duper short timeline. He literally found out he was being relocated on a Friday, had to report to work that Monday, I visited him and the new town that following Sunday, we got married the next weekend, and the entire family made the move about three days later. Throw in two emergency room visits for Davin and you've got yourself a PAR-TAY!!! Just kidding...but, it was crazytown.

So anyway, when I first got to see the house, it wasn't my favorite. You couldn't get into the house from the garage. The floors were uneven (I'm talkin about roller-coaster-ride-uneven). There were a couple chipped/broken windows. And the bathrooms not only looked like they hadn't been updated in 30 years, but they didn't even have electrical outlets or anywhere to store towels, toiletries, etc. But it does have its ups. Its nice and open with ample living space. The kitchen has been updated and has great storage space. The laundry room is huge (actually bigger than both bathrooms put together). The master does have an on-suite. And we sit on a huge lot!

Once we got our furniture in (which was about a week and a half after moving...ughh...hotel living...uuuggggghhhhh), I started to feel a lot better about my honey's pick for our first place. Of course, I instantly went to work placing what we had and then making a wish list of all the things I felt like I wanted we needed. Haha.

I would like to warn you that I did NOT stage, prop or clean any of these spaces before I decided to take all of the pics, so...sorry in advance. I promise to update these with better, cleaner, properly staged photos as I dig further into decorating this place. So, without further delay..............

This is our first nest! I took this picture standing at our mailbox near the street. No, its not the Taj Mahal, or even our dream house by any means, but it does beat out my old apartment and my hubby's bachelor ROOM by a long shot!

This is what you see as soon as you open the front door. I'm so proud to say that that console table was my first DIY project in the new house! I built, sanded, stained and finished it all by myself! It took a bit longer than I would've liked, but polyurethane takes a while to dry. Anyhoo, I'll show better pictures of it later.

This is our living room (I'm standing at the front door). I love our TV stand and will definitely show some detail shots of it later (we got it after not being able to live the one I had in my old place...about a month after move-in day).

Here's our bomb-digidy Christmas tree!!! I'm kinda obsessed with it, so imagine my reaction when my little Davin knocked it over...yeah...I'll let you paint that picture...............sorry, I was woo-sah-ing. I've been afraid to touch it up since we picked it up off the floor. The base broke when it fell, so it starts to fall again when you blow on it too heavily. (Don't ask me how I know that.) I'll talk more about it, the ornaments and the non-existing topper later on this week. *Update: I'm already making new ornaments so the tree doesn't even look like this anymore. New pics coming soon.

That little reindeer is Davin's first "hand-made" ornament that he brought home from daycare. I'm contemplating making a whole bunch of them for a reason I have yet to determine.

Now, we're in the dining space and its pretty straight forward. Please, don't mind the mirror on the floor or the too-small wreath hanging above the credenza. Yeah, they really bother me, but not enough to do anything about it yet.

Here's the kitchen. It's pretty junky. Don't want to talk about it, really.

Yeah, more kitchen. And another mirror that you should ignore.

Here's one side of our ENORMOUS laundry room...

...and here's the other. Fun, right?

Ok, so this is our third bedroom. Most people would be embarrased by this space, but I'm actually proud of it. I have a space inside the house that we can just throw stuff in and then have a pretty good idea of where it is when we need to look for it again. This rooms holds all of my clothes, shoes, jewelry, hats, scarves, purses, belts, etc. that don't fit in our bedroom, all my arts, crafts, tools & stuff, Mr. Marcus's stuff that doesn't have a place in the house yet, stuff we haven't unpacked at all, and stuff that needs to be trashed or donated.

I love this space, cuz it's kinda a dressing room for me, so it's my own little space, kinda. But, if I never go in there, all I have to do is close the door and everything disappears! It's magic!!!

Here's the hall bath (or Davin's bathroom). I had to go and buy that shelf thing the day we moved in since there was absolutely NO WHERE ELSE to put absolutely anything! It's not the most stylish form for bathroom storage, but it works! And since this place is only temporary, I probably wont do anything to make it any better. Just no point.

Here's the other side of the hall bath. I had to call our landlord to make them have someone come out and put the outlet in here. I promise you, there was no where in this bathroom to plug up your air freshener, clippers or flat iron! Who does that??? Anyway, we got one. And it works. So no more complaining. 

This is Davin's room! Not cool for a three year old. : ( Momma is slacking in this room.

Luckily, Davin is like his daddy and doesn't really notice. There's a bed, a TV and a Wii gaming console. He's a happy camper.

And sadly, ladies and gents, this is the master bedroom. It kinda makes me cry a little bit to walk in here and see it like this every day. Of course it looks a lot better when the bed is made, but its still lacking A LOT! Like color, a headborard, and lamps that actually work.

Luckily, the marrital romance has not been affected by the room's lack of personality. But, like I said before, the hubby doesn't really notice that it's not finished. I think he's just happy to be able to put his clothes in a real dresser and not a tupperware container. (typing that just kinda made me giggle a little...why is tupperware so funny? oh, it's just me? got it.).

I tried loading pics of our master bath, but my laptop decided to go on strike. Luckily, the bathroom isn't special enough to even be shown to the world. I mean, it may make an appearance on the blog one day, but like it's almost identical brother, the hall bath, it won't be seeing any upgrades. Totally not worth it.
So that's the place. Again, I want to apologize for these pics and their quality. Trust me when I say, "IT WILL GET BETTER!" And, also, like I said before, I got started making a list of needs (wants) right away, and I thought it would be "fun" to share it all with you guys. Here they go!

Entry Area
  • Runner or bigger rug

Living Area

Dining Area
  • Bigger table (to hopefully seat 6)
  • 2 cool chairs to use as captains chairs at the new table
  • A bar cart (or something like it) to house our stemware & adult beverages
  • 2 or 3 counter stools

Davin's Room
  • Headboard (DIY, duh)
  • TV stand/dresser (I really like this one)
  • New rug
  • Art
  • Wall shelves for books (another DIY???)
  • Some kind of window treatment (roman shade, maybe)

  • Headboard (a DIY must)
  • Rug
  • New lamps
  • Art
  • A bench for the foot of the bed
  • Curtains
  • More pretty stuff!
Yes, this list is crazy long, but you have to remember the following: #1. We're not loaded, so we won't be buying all this stuff at once. #2. I live on finding a bargain, so everything possible will be on clearance, thrifted, traded, or whatever to save as many pennies as possible. #3. The stuff we do splurge on will be things that will last us a good long while (5-8 years minimum). #4. I love nothing more than to make something out of nothing, so a lot of things I plan to do myself. And last, but not least, #5. If any of you are in the mood of giving, we welcome all gifts, presents, and other acts of kindness ($$$). Hope y'all can take a hint. ; )

So, since I didn't get the chance to "make over" my last place, I hope you guys join me as I work to make this place our home. Are you guys working on livening up your spaces? Need some help from a designer? I might know one that's available.