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A Very Traditional Merry Christmas!

Christmas day quotes

This December, I asked the question, “What is your favorite holiday tradition?” and you guys answered!  I enjoyed reading your feedback and thinking about all of the families and traditions that are going on as we speak.  Some are unique, some are the same across the country, but whatever your tradition is this holiday season, revel in the joy it brings you and your family.

To all of my wonderful, dear readers – Merry Christmas!

 

PHOTO CREDIT: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

 

p.s. Interested in January’s question? Follow on Facebook to read and respond to my question of the month!

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Simple Seasonal: Cocktail Party Prep

party prep 1

It’s the eve of Christmas! Like in previous years, Matt and I host a cocktail party on Christmas eve for both sides of our family to be able to get together and come over for a little bit of food, wine, and festive socializing.

We’ve had lots of stuff going on this weekend, and I am in the office working today, so my preparations yesterday were important.  I made a quick list (I live by lists) and got to preparing for the party.  One of the biggest time savers is to set up all of the serving areas prior to cooking anything.  This will naturally help to establish a plan for what goes where, what needs cooked, what doesn’t, and so on.

Like so many of my projects this season, I focus on simple elements with a cohesive theme to make a big impact.  This year, since my theme was a neutral palette grounded mostly in white, I’ve used the same scheme for my table. Mixing colors and textures all within the color scheme gives interest, but keeps the look tight as well.

party prep vessels

party prep - list2

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On the menu is simple, easy to prepare foods that have a lot of flavor and texture.

  • Beef tenderloin mini sliders with assorted mustards and horseradish sauce
  • Spinach & Artichoke dip with veggies and chips
  • Sliced pear wrapped in bleu cheese and prosciutto
  • Roasted butternut squash topped with goat cheese and cranberry sauce
  • Drunken fruit tart
  • Assorted Cheeses, Olives, and nuts
  • Coffee and Cookies
  • Beer, Wine, and a signature bubbly cocktail

party prep diptych

party prep 3

Now, when I get home from work (let’s hope it’s an early day), I can just get started cooking and lay everything out in it’s designated spot as it is ready.

The whole party is a bit more manageable when broken down and labeled, so use this method during your next soiree and I know you’ll see what a difference it makes!

Have a FABULOUS Christmas Eve out there, guys!

 

p.s.  The Ferm Living and Son of a Sailor giveaways close tonight at midnight!  Hop on over to enter if you haven’t already!

p.p.s.  the last day in the 24 Merry Days (24 days of giveaways) is today over at Oh,Hello Friend!  Check it out!

 

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Friday Faves 12.21

Friday Faves 12.21

ONE beexwax candles are natural, burn without drips or smoke… just perfect for a long night of candlelit caroling.  $32 for a large pillar from Terrain. TWO a little decal with room to write is perfect for labeling foods at your holiday spread. $24 from Terrain; THREE alphabet mugs are sure to be the perfect gift for the hardest person on your list.  Whimsical for the artsy type, or old english for the man in your life. $10 from Pottery Barn FOUR simple but sweet, this silent night poster would even be cute for a nursery during the rest of the year. $20 from Winterland California. FIVE felted nesting bowls for all of your cozy storage needs! $79 from blackbird design house. SIX does all of this gift wrapping make you thinking about stocking up for the rest of the year?  Minimal cute gift tags will carry you though all 364 days of the rest of the year. $9 from Inkyco.

 

It’s the Friday before Christmas!  There is so much going on and so much to do, but I am going to do my utmost this weekend to spend some slow, quiet time relaxing and snuggling with Matty and Perry.  We have a few parties, some prep for our own annual Christmas Eve cocktail party, and a few more gifts to procure, but mostly it’s going to be a festive, enjoyable weekend.

What are you planning for the few days leading up to the main event?

Have a FESTIVE Friday and weekend all!

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Brown Paper Packages

packages 1

If you haven’t yet noticed, my whole decor scheme this Christmas is all about very simple, easy execution, focusing on layers of color and texture.  There aren’t too many complex projects, but that doesn’t mean that details aren’t important.  Sticking with my color scheme has lent my entire house to a very cohesive holiday feeling, without causing too much work.

My Christmas wrapping follows the exact same strategy.  Solid papers in white, brown, and kraft are tied up with black, white, and gold bows to reflect a clean, simple, but luxe look.  Since my tree has a ton of shine, going really basic with the gifts is a nice complement.

packages diptych

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I splurged a little more on the satin ribbon and saved money on the paper, but what I also love about using the satin ribbon (aside from the luxury it conveys) is that it won’t smush in the car!

Do you have a specific gift wrap strategy?

Have a PRETTY Thursday!

 

p.s.  if you want to take a look at my handmade giftwrap from last year, it was so so fun and you still have time!

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Holiday 2012: Our Exterior

holiday 2012 Exterior - 1

I promised I’d show the outside of my house and how my holiday decor theme stretched its way to the exterior.  The winter whites, gold, and brown continue outside through the use of pinecones, ribbon, burlap and a couple of trusty bronze planters.

It is easy to switch out color schemes from the previous year by purchasing plain greenery and updating the ribbons and sprig wreath accents.  Those little picks from the craft store are just about a dollar a piece and will be a lot more versatile than a buying specifically colored wreaths and greens.

holiday 2012 Exterior - 3

holiday 2012 Exterior - 6

Adding burlap to the mix is a bit more rustic than I went indoors, but the burlap isn’t going to disintegrate as much in the winter weather.  I kept the pretty metallic bows in just two small hits atop my mini Christmas trees which flank the door.

For more photos,

Continue Reading…

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Simple, Seasonal: Snow Garland

cotton ball garland 1

I think I’m especially liking the idea of this right now for two reasons.  Firstly, because my scheme this year is all about fresh, natural winter whites, and secondly, because we haven’t had any snow here in Ohio and I’m really missing it.

This project is really pretty simple, just some thread and some cotton balls stringed up in a row, but it’s the execution here that counts.  Draping multiple strand together, or incorporating into greenery makes all the difference and turns a simple strand of household items into a snowy accent.

cotton ball garland 2

Grab a darning needle (those blunt plastic ones in the yarn section of the craft store) and do this activity with kids on Christmas day!  They’ll be proud of what they’ve made and your house will be a winter wonderland.

 

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Caramel Gingersnap Icecream

caramel gingersnap icecream 1

Get ready to blow the minds of everyone at your Christmas gathering.  Not only does ice cream (in December) sound extremely impressive, but the tastes going on in this caramel gingersnap creation are seriously going to win you lots of respect from the family who is devouring it.

It really couldn’t be more simple, so this delish dessert keeps things easy for your holiday cooking because it’s more about assembly than actual cooking.  My secret is to use store-bought vanilla bean (it’s gotta be the kind with the flecks of vanilla) ice cream to give a great foundational flavor, then I add a really wonderful combination of textures and tastes with crumbled gingersnap cookies and caramel.

caramel gingersnap icecream 2

carmel gingersnap icecream workflow
 ONE empty out your quart of vanilla bean ice cream into your mixer with the paddle attachment. TWO with the mixer on low speed, add in the crumbled gingersnap cookies. THREE spread one third of the ice cream into the bottom of a freezer-safe dish. FOUR drizzle caramel ice cream topping onto the first layer and repeat with two more layers of ice cream, separated by drizzled caramel sauce.

Wrap or cover the ice cream and place in the freezer until you plan on serving, but at least for two hours to reharden.

caramel gingersnap icecream 3

You and yours will literally fall of your chairs, it’s so good.  I cannot say enough good things about this ice cream, so you’re going to have to make it to believe it.  The great part is that it takes few ingredients and can be prepared ahead of time.  I’m making a few batches this week for next week’s festivities!

I hope you’ll give this a try – and let me know if you do!

Have a DELICIOUS Tuesday!

 

p.s.  I lied to you yesterday.  Although I did do two posts for today, I had a slight technological issue and was only able to get one up!  I hope you can forgive me!

p.p.s. If you entered the 24 Merry Days giveaway on House of Earnest yesterday, Thank you!  Today’s giveaway is over at Lolalina and is for a set of really cute Rifle Paper Co. notebooks!  Check it out!

 

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Day 17: Ferm Living + Son of a Sailor – GIVEAWAY CLOSED

24 merry days

It’s day 17 of the 24 Merry Days and it’s my turn to host a couple of awesome shops which have some goodies to giveaway to TWO lucky readers.

First up, the iconic string candle holder from Ferm Living has gotten so much press and it’s easy to see why.  It’s quirky, colorful, and can be arranged in a myriad of different ways.  Talk about flexible! Ferm Living is a go-to shop for Scandinavian style decor and furnishing and always one of my first stops when I’m looking for something unique.

Second, funky jewelry always catches eyes and dresses up your basics, and this necklace from Son of a Sailor is no exception.  I think it would look amazing layered up with some of your regular gold pieces.  There are so many different awesome things in the shop, though, so you’ve got to check it out!

You have a chance to enter two, but you’ve got to leave a separate comment for each entry (because that’s how we count the random winning number!)

 

HERE’S HOW TO ENTER – GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED and the winners have been contacted.

 

p.s. I tweeted about it this weekend, but I seriously don’t have enough days to post about all of my holiday tips, tricks, and projects, so I’m going to bump up to two posts a day this week on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday!  Get ready!  Tomorrow I’ve got both a project and my front door decor to share!

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Friday Faves 12.14

ONE Sycamore Platter on sale for just $15 from Crate and Barrel, TWO Wooden lanterns in two sizes, small is $59 and large is $129 from West Elm, THREE Instant collection of winter white $24 from Elizabeth Rosen Art, FOUR Mercury glass hurricane $13 from Target, FIVE Letterpress coasters $10 for a set of 8 from Type A Press, SIX heart mug $8 from West Elm, SEVEN White Fur Pillow $20 from Target.

Whew… it’s been a week! I hope you’ve enjoyed some of the Christmas spirit that has been going on around these parts because it’s not going away anytime soon.  The holidays are my favorite time of year and I’m going to pack as much in as possible.

This weekend we’re headed to a few holiday parties and I’m going to do a little decor work for a friend.  I am hoping to get enough time on Sunday to make a few batches of Christmas cookies as well.  What is on your agenda?

Have a FESTIVE Friday and weekend guys!

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Hand Made: Lacquered Pattern Trays

It’s been a while since I posted about these DIY lacquered trays while I was in India this past July.  I got so many emails requesting a tutorial, I decided now is the best time because these make really cute handmade Christmas gifts.

The reason I stalled on posting this tutorial for so long was because the plain trays are pretty unique. Usually, I prefer to only post with materials that anyone can get a hold of, so I felt it was unfair to post a tutorial using trays from a more obscure source.  Mine are from Muji, but you can use any plain wooden tray that you find which doesn’t have any other type of adornment on it already.

Anyway, on to the trays!

A few coats of decoupage followed by a few coats of clear spray glaze are what give these trays their shiny surface.  I love the contrast of high shine with the texture provided by the linens used for pattern. Wrap them up to show them off because they deserve to been seen.

If you’d like the step by step, continue reading for the full tutorial! If you just like to gaze at pretty pictures, stay right here!

Continue Reading…

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