High-Five Friday

Five things that made me happy this week:

1. Snow, glorious snow. There’s nothing that will snap you into the holiday spirit faster than decorating the Christmas tree with a blanket of snow outside. The recent snowfall also means it’s quite possible I’ll be snowboarding this weekend!

2. Online shopping. Almost done with my gift list. Should I be worried that I have my credit card info memorized now?

3. Tim Holtz 12 tags of Christmas. I am totally hooked on this. His explanations combined with the photos make the projects really easy to follow. And I’m brimming with ideas I want to try now. The only downside is squeezing in the time. And it’s a nice blog to look at too, which does make a difference for me. How does he do that rough black frame around the photos, I wonder? I really like how that looks. The photo below is from his blog. It’s my favorite of the tags so far.

4. Rediscovering our holiday decorations. I love unpacking the ornaments and other holiday decorations we’ve accumulated over the years. Last night I was unwrapping ornaments and chattering to my husband and showing him what I’d uncovered: “Look at this one! This one’s so cute. Do you remember this? This is one of my favorites. . .” And he remarked, “This is almost as much fun as opening presents for you, isn’t it?” And you know, it really is. Perhaps because I have a lousy memory and so I’ve truly forgotten a lot of what’s in those plastic storage bins. Two of my favorite holiday tchotchkes that I had forgotten about are pictured above–the wind-up snowman and Santa.

5. Google Reader. I recently discovered this and RSS feeds–I know, I know, I’m late to the party here. I’d heard mention of this stuff before, but it all sounded intimidatingly technical to me. But it’s super easy to figure out, and it is so cool to have all the blogs I like to follow in one place. And as a result of how cool and easy it is, I now have like, twice as many blogs that I’m following than before. But I think I’m spending less time blog reading because with everything in one place, it’s easy to scan what’s new and read only the updates that are pertinent or interesting to me. If anyone else has been intimidated by the RSS/newsfeed/axom mumbo jumbo, don’t be. (And you don’t have to use Google. There are other readers available that probably work the same way, but Google is the only one I’m familiar with.) Before, I had a variety of blogs and websites bookmarked and sorted into various folders. I also had direct links to the blogs I visit most frequently on my Google homepage. It was a decent organizational system, but Google Reader vastly improves on it. Now it’s essentially like an email inbox but limited to the RSS feeds of my choice. I only need to visit one place and now I can see all the blogs I’m following and which ones have been recently updated. I can read the blogs from there or click on a link to take me to the original site. And you can subscribe to blogs even if they don’t have a little “Subscribe” link on their page. Or at least many blogs–I have come across a few that I’d like to add to my reader but can’t. If you look in the url window of the blog you want to subscribe to and you see a little orange square with three white swoops in it, that’s the RSS icon and you can click on that and follow the steps and whallah! Added to your Reader in mere seconds. And once in your Reader you can sort your blogs into different folders to keep them categorized or rename the blog feed. Can you tell that I’m a total nerd over organizational tools?

Happy Friday!