Valentine’s Day Gifts

Love is in the air. Speaking of love…I j’adore online window shopping. I especially j’adore putting together compilations of some of my favorite things. While the husband and I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day or give one another gifts (well, we exchange cards, go out for dinner, and give each other a little extra squeeze) I still think there are some great festive gift ideas and I love constructing little visual wish lists. Here are a few of my favorite things that looked especially presh in all shades, pink, red, and lovey.

For the Love of Fashion

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Pintucked Ponte Dress(Anthropologie), Cashmere Cardigan in Windowpane Check(J.Crew), Darby Leather Loafers(J.Crew), Fanned Seashell Bralet(Anthropologie), Heart Intarsia Sweater(Anthropologie)

For the Love of Home

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Aviary Coverlet(Anthropologie), Live Love Pillow(Anthropologie), Ceramic Melon Knobs(Anthropologie), You Are My Sunshine Pillow(Anthropologie)

For the Love of Travel

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Leather Colorblock Passport Case(J.Crew), BAGGU for J.Crew Printed Bag(J.Crew), Printed Case for iPhone 5(J.Crew), Spiral Notebook(J.Crew), Printed Backup Battery for iPhone(J.Crew)

For the Love of Beauty

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Happy Heart Fragrance(Clinique), FACE Stockholm Nail Polish(J.Crew), Fresh Bloom All Over Colour(Clinique)

For the Love of Baubles

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Beaded Rose Necklace(J.Crew), Blooming Fondant Bib Necklace(Anthropologie), Dipped Rope Necklace(Anthropologie), Pink Stone Teardrop Earrings(LOFT), Beaded Rose Bracelet(J.Crew), Polished Planes Earrings(Anthropologie), Lily Mineral Necklace(Anthropologie), True Love Ring(Anthropologie), Daisy Chain Necklace(Anthropologie)

I have not partnered with, nor was I compensated by, any of the brands featured in this post. You should understand my general obsession with all things Anthropologie and J.Crew by now (wink).

What are you getting your special someone for Valentine’s Day? Do you have any super special gifts planned? Any special traditions?

Much love, xoxo

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Russian Tea Cookies

Good Morning everyone! It’s been fun recapping the holidays but I’m not going to lie, I’m sort of happy to move on. I always enjoy the season and I try to make it a reflective time and savor each moment with our loved ones but it can be just down right exhausting. While I don’t necessarily believe in new years resolutions in the traditional sense, I often look forward to the fresh start the new year promises and try to take at least some time to consider goals I have for the coming year, ways I’d like to be more mindful, and relationships I’d like to focus on (all of them). On that note, I promised a sweet finish to the holiday review so get your recipe cards out and file this one away for next year.

Russian tea cookies have been a Christmas staple since my childhood. They are delicious morsels of goodness covered in confectioners sugar. They go by other names such as Mexican wedding cakes, but “Russian teas” have always been the moniker we’ve given them. The following recipe has been passed down through several generations and is definitely one of our family favorites. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Russian Tea Cookies

1 cup butter at room temperature

1/2 cup confectioners sugar plus more for coating

t teaspoon vanilla

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix together butter, confectioners sugar and vanilla using either a stand mixer or hand mixer.

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Sift together flour and salt. Stir in walnuts.

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Incorporate the flour mixture with the butter mixture.

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Form into 1 inch balls and place on baking sheet 2 inches apart (I love using silicone baking mats).

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Bake for 14-17 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Roll in confectioners sugar and serve or store in airtight cookie tins.

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Do you make a similar recipe? I’d love to hear about any techniques or variations you may use!

Christmas In Review: 2012

I mentioned the other day that I was going to continue to spread the Christmas cheer a little longer, especially since I intended to share a few details from our holiday but never got around to it. Rather than let some of the photos and efforts go to waste, I thought it might be nice to share regardless. I also shared some details here, here, and here. Be forewarned, some of the decor ideas I’m featuring below aren’t really groundbreaking, or especially creative…at all. I’m mostly sharing because I know my Mom would want to see. Given that they live a thousand miles away, she never gets to see our house done up for the holidays. And Mom, given that your obsession with Christmas and decorating is no secret, I knew you’d want to check it out. So this one’s for you.

Our Christmas Tree

So this is probably considered terrible photography but we are trying to learn our camera better and have been playing around with the manual settings on the DSLR. I sort of like how these turned out so in the spirit of creativity and experimentation I present to you blurry Christmas tree…

christmas-tree-2012-2-resized…and twinkly Christmas tree…
christmas-tree-2012-1-resized …and regular Christmas tree…

Sorry she forgot to put her pants on…but I never got around to making that DIY Ruffle Tree Skirt. Best laid plans. It’s definitely on the agenda for next year given that I already purchased the materials. Heck, I may even whip it up in July. For the record, yes, this is a fake Christmas tree. It belonged to Andrew’s Grandmother and in the words of my father-in-law, “it’s 1965 vintage”. A few years ago, I HATED this tree. I grew up with a fresh tree and it’s just what I’m used to. Who moved my tree, ‘er cheese, sort of thing. But this tree has grown on me (no pun intended) and now I adore it. In fact, next year, the tentative plan is to do a fresh tree in our den space, and keep this one here in the living room and deck it out with more of a theme and keep the family ornaments on the den tree. But I have approximately 345 days to figure that out so moving on.christmas-tree-2012-3-resized One of my favorite glass ornaments.glass-ornament-christmas-2012

I was all about the “shop your house” concept this Christmas. For starters, I was being cheap and didn’t want to spend money unnecessarily. Second, there is only so much space to store decorations and if you ask Andrew, I have nearly met my quota…he’s going to start charging me for space in the attic soon, I’m sure of it. It’s actually quite fun poking through your items, or even other decor you use throughout the year and try to come up with ways to repurpose and restyle.

Pottery Barn jars with pinecones and small glass ornaments. I found a bag of decorative pinecones at Target earlier in the season for $5 and the ornaments were a clearance buy from Pier 1 a few seasons ago.

christmas-apothecary-jars-2012-3 Below are some apothecary jars from Michael’s that were used during my wedding. The ornaments were from an inexpensive ornaments set from Michael’s a few season ago that I no longer use on the tree.christmas-apothecary-jars-2012-2 christmas-apothecary-jars-2012-1

Also, I know some family and friends check in here so I’m sharing a few great family shots we took on Christmas Eve. This year, we got dolled up, had a delicious dinner at a local Portuguese restaurant with an even more amazing wine selection, and attended a lovely midnight Mass.

Andrew and me

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Look who finally completed one of the Pinterest projects I’d intended to make! I love my monogram berry wreath. See this post for more details. berry-monogram-wreath

And finally…one of my favorites. This picture was taken at my parents house (where I grew up). A few years ago they began putting lights on this little tree out back, set away from the house. It always looks so friendly and magical, especially when it has snowed, and the neighbors love it as it’s visible from other backyards. outdoor-christmas-tree-2012

We are beyond blessed and had a wonderful holiday season celebrating with family and friends. For those family and friends who we were not able to visit with, you were missed and we thought of you every second. As this season draws to a close, we hope you and yours found equal blessings and are entering this new year refreshed. Check back tomorrow as I’ll be posting our favorite holiday cookie recipe as a sweet finish to the holiday recaps. Have a wonderful Monday!

Champagne Cupcakes

Yesterday, I featured some of the details from our black and white party on New Years Eve. In addition to fashioning some festive decor to go along with the theme, I whipped up some super festive Champagne Cupcakes. During my quick trip to Michael’s the day of for party supplies, I found some black and white cupcake wrappers and a collection of cake sugars/sprinkles in silver, black, and white. Perfect!

I found the following recipe for Champagne Cake on All Recipes. Rather than make one whole cake, I simply divided the batter for cupcakes filling each cup about 2/3 of the way. I also knocked down the cook time from 25 minutes to approximately 20 minutes. Additionally, I did not have time to make my own butter cream frosting but luckily, I had a container of pre-made butter cream frosting hanging out in the pantry. I mixed approximately 4 tablespoons of champagne into the frosting before topping the cupcakes. It added just another hint of champagne flavor. Delish.

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Champagne Cupcakes

(yields approximately 24 cupcakes)

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups white sugar

3/4 cup sweet champagne (I used Barefoot Bubbly Pink Moscato Champagne) plus approximately 4 tablespoons to mix with the frosting

6 egg whites

1 container pre-made butter cream frosting

Sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pan with liners. In a large bowl (I used my Kitchen Aid stand mixer for this) cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. Blend flour mixture and champagne, alternating the two ingredients, into the creamed butter and sugar until incorporated.

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In another large bowl (I used my handheld mixer with whisk attachment for this step) beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into the batter. Fill cupcake liners until they are approximately 2/3 full and bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool.

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When you are ready to frost and decorate, mix approximately 4 tablespoons of champagne into frosting before finishing the cupcakes. Garnish with sprinkles if desired.

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champagne-cupcakes-5I’d love to hear from you if you’ve tried this recipe or something similar! While the cupcakes turned out great, I did feel they were a bit on the dense side so I’m open to other recipes or suggestions for the future. Finally, I was not compensated for featuring or using products such as my Kitchen Aid stand mixer (just a proud owner of one) or Barefoot Bubbly (just a wino who likes to swig a little champagne while baking).

New Years Eve Black and White Party

In the spirit of a holiday recap week…let’s saunter down (recent) memory lane in reverse chronological order, shall we?

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To begin, I’d like to share some details from our New Years Eve bash we hosted earlier this week with some close friends and neighbors. Andrew and I have really embraced the idea of hosting New Years Eve as a tradition and in that spirit, I wanted to host a fun night with our closest pals that was a bit special. We wanted to host a party that had a fun, cohesive element and allowed the gang to get dressed up with some purpose. Ultimately, I decided to keep it simple and went with a festive black and white theme. With a few tweaks to my holiday decor, and some fabulous internet finds, I was able to easily transform our entertaining space. Actually, I’m going to take a moment and brag…more for the fact that I still can’t believe I pulled off this party in literally 10 hours (oh, a big shout out to Andrew who did ALL the cleaning…go team.) The day before new years we returned from our trip to NJ but we were exhausted and I was battling a little cold so I didn’t even lift a finger to prep or decorate prior to 9am on the 31st. From 9am to 7pm I managed to take down 90% of my Christmas decor, procure supplies from Michael’s, craft and assemble the party decorations, and bake champagne cupcakes from scratch in addition to assembling a few other appetizers for our potluck appetizer bar. I felt like it was a design show elimination challenge! You be the judge…

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The mantel update was easy to accomplish. I began by removing most of my Christmas mantel decor, seen here. I left the mercury glass pillars and hurricane and one garland with silver berries in place as the look was appropriate to the theme of this mantel. The Michael’s floral department was 50% off so for about $15 I was able to add some white and black blooms. I found the banner from The TomKat Studio. I used my home printer to print it on cardstock and then punched two holes at the top of each flag with a small circular punch to thread the ribbon through. The silver ribbon was leftover from my wedding in 2011…apparently I purchased a lifetime supply.
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I have a stash of unused frames lying around and luckily, this black frame was the perfect size for this festive sentiment, also from the printable collection from The TomKat Studio. Again, I just printed on cardstock and placed in the frame. The glass hurricane above was a clearance find at Lowe’s a few days ago for about $5. I placed 4 strands of battery operated star lights I’ve had lying around for several seasons inside. They were from IKEA about 3 years ago.
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I purchased some silver tissue paper from Michael’s but otherwise I had the black and white tissue paper stashed in my wrapping supplies to make these tissue paper poufs. I hung them from the ceiling over the bar in our kitchen where the food was arranged.
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Some more blooms, a vase I transformed with some metallic spray paint, and some party horns for merry-making.

Some of our goodies…the food flags were also part of the printable collection linked above. new-years-eve-2013-food-1

new-years-eve-2013-food

champagne-cupcakesFinally, we enjoyed some champagne cupcakes for dessert. Stay tuned for the recipe…they were delicious!

Overall, it was a really fun evening complete with sparklers and some real deal fireworks. Yes, that happened, in my backyard. And it was AWESOME. We have a basketball court in the backyard that has now been officially dubbed “the launch pad”…everyone walked away with their fingers so we’ll call it a success.

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(photo credit for these four snaps goes to our good friend John M. Thanks again for capturing some fun moments from the evening!)

How were your new years celebrations!? Did you spend a quiet night in or paint the town? If you hosted, did you opt for a theme or special decor or just some jammies, popcorn, and party horns? I’d love to hear about it!

Make Your Own Holiday Cards with PicMonkey and Shutterfly

It’s that time of year. Holiday cards have begun to arrive in the mail and I especially enjoy the cards that are photo cards. I love collecting all of the wonderful pictures of all of our loved ones. I love admiring the creativity of friends who decided to take special pictures just for their cards, or new babies who have joined the world this year, or even that really great shot of a couple who was married in the past year. Typically, and this may seem harsh, but I don’t keep cards, unless they are from my husband. For example, at Christmas, I’ll display the cards we receive for a few weeks and then into the recycling they go. Here’s where I get a little OCD but I don’t like collecting things. Stacks of paper and cards are one of those things that just eats at me. WITH THE EXCEPTION OF PHOTO CARDS! Those I most certainly keep. In fact, I’ve been collecting those for several years now and finally decided I should get my booty in gear and arrange them in some sort of album as I’ve intended.

On that note, I have never sent a photo card myself. Mostly because I just never felt we had any pictures that were worthwhile enough to share. Last year, I’d hoped to have my wedding photos back in time but that didn’t happen so I went the traditional route instead. No biggie…but it would have seemed silly to use those this season given that the wedding was over a year ago. Either way, as you know, Andrew and I have been on quite a few excursions this past year and have gotten some pretty great shots of the both of us if I do say so myself. Recently, I was culling through some photos and it dawned on me that one or two of these wouldn’t be too shabby to share as a holiday card. Maybe it’s self-centered but I thought family and friends might like a nice photo of us. As I mentioned, I know how much I appreciate receiving this type of card from others so why not join the fun?!

I could have gone the quick and pricey route and used a website such as Tiny Prints, or even CVS or Walgreens. They have some fantastic pre-designed cards but given that I needed 50 of them, it would have set me back about $70 (a quick glance reveals that the average pre-designed card is approximately $1.30 each.) If I had taken professional photos for the purpose of the card then I have to admit I might have gone this route however, I had a personal photo I was using and with a few little tricks up my sleeve, I was sure I could fashion my own card without breaking the bank.

Cue PicMonkey. In case you aren’t familiar, PicMonkey is a free online photo editing program and if you were curious about how I add text and graphics to some of my pictures around the blog, this is it. I have a pretty great photo editing tool call Pixelmator on my Mac but PicMonkey is user-friendly and fast. Don’t even ask if I have Photoshop. I don’t, but I hope to dabble in that someday once I get more comfortable manipulating images in these two programs.

With the tools available in PicMonkey, and the ability to print through a website such as Shutterfly, I was sure I could construct my own cards in a breeze.

Below, I’ve provided a tutorial on how I constructed our holiday card this year using Picmonkey.

My inspiration was chevron, monograms, and soft holiday colors.

Here’s how I made my own :

Go to the PicMonkey website. Click on Create a Collage. 

Screen shot 2012-12-08 at 6.00.03 PMOn the left hand side of the screen, click layouts (the “boxes” icon), then click cards in the tool bar. From the drop down menu, choose 4×8, and the 2 boxes layout.

Screen shot 2012-12-08 at 5.58.11 PMClick open from the toolbar on the top to choose the photo you would like to use from your computer and upload. Then, simply drag and drop the picture into the left or right box. I chose to add my photo to the right hand side.

Screen shot 2012-12-08 at 6.00.35 PM

Looking back to the tool bar on the left, choose textures (looks like a grid). PicMonkey has several great holiday textures or backgrounds. When I saw the chevron pattern I was sold. Drag and drop your desired texture into the remaining box. At this point you will want to save this image to your computer in order to proceed to the next step.

Return to the PicMonkey homepage and click Edit a Photo. This will begin the step where you can add text and some more graphics, etc.

(By the way, you can use the Edit a Photo feature in PicMonkey to make any changes you may desire to your actual photo…such as adjusting exposure, tones, special color effects, etc.

Screen shot 2012-12-08 at 3.50.03 PM

Those will be the first two icons on the left hand side (they look like chemistry symbols) for Basic Edits and Effects).

I then clicked on the snowflake icon to open themes. From there, I clicked winterize to open the holiday photo editing tools.

Screen shot 2012-12-08 at 6.00.35 PM

There are so many fun graphics and themes to play with and they change seasonally. After some experimentation, I chose graphics from the wreathery and holly option to make a template for my monogram.

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After opening these icons, simply drag around the screen to position. Then, click on “P” in the tool bar on the left to open the add text feature. You can choose from a wide variety of fonts. Again, you can drag the text box on the screen to position your message and also edit the text using the editing box. It allows you to change the color, size, contrast, etc.

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First, I chose the font I wanted for my monogram and typed a capital letter C. I adjusted the size of the font to fit within the wreath and positioned. Using the color editing tools, I clicked on the bar to the right of the color box to open the eye dropper. I then used this tool to pick up the color of the green in the wreath so my text would match. I then set the color. I used another font and a new text box to type my greeting and completed the same procedure with the eye dropper to match my text to the color of the wreath.

Finally, I checked my spelling, made sure everything was the way I wanted, and saved the image to my desktop.

The final product:

christmas card 3

I then proceeded to visit Shutterfly to locate a blank 4×8 card. I simply used the search bar at the top of the home page and typed in blank 4×8. It popped right up. Following the onscreen prompts, I was able to upload my photo, preview my card, and order the amount that I needed complete with envelopes for mailing.

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The best part, I used a coupon and received free shipping! While I haven’t done a formal calculation, I estimate that I saved at least 25% by making my own cards as opposed to ordering a pre-designed card.

Overall, I’m really pleased with how these turned out and I look forward to getting them in the mail!

By the way, I was in no was compensated or otherwise incentivized for using, featuring, or singing the praises of PicMonkey or Shutterfly. These are resources that I’ve used in the past and they have worked well for me so naturally, I returned to these to construct my cards. My opinions and experiences are entirely my own. You should also know that when I completed my Shutterfly order, there was an automated opportunity (they did not seek me out specifically) to feature my project in this post. I will be emailing a link to my post regarding this project to Shutterfly for the opportunity to receive a $10 gift card. Anyway, I like to keep things on the up and up with ya’ll so there ya go.

Photo Card
View the entire collection of cards.

 

If you’ve made a great card or other photo gift using PicMonkey I’d love to hear about it or see your results!

A Very Merry Christmas Mantel

So this post is actually sort of exciting because it reveals a portion of the family room, den…whatever you want to call it…that I haven’t shown you yet.

This…

…sits directly across from this…

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And until recently, we didn’t even have that mirror hanging. Instead, there was this random gaping hole with cables sticking out for mounting a television. We considered mounting the flat screen for a hot second but the width of our TV doesn’t exactly jive with the wonky studs behind the wall possibly resulting in a shattered plasma. No bueno. Besides, the room is actually a tad on the narrow side and the angle of the TV would have been too high for proper viewing. Instead, we’ve decided to keep the television where it is for now and I’m currently scheming, designing, and planning a project to complete the built-ins that you see in the photo above.

Anyway, the mirror is nothing fancy. In fact, it was something my husband had bought for above the mantel (he thinks it was from HomeGoods) in our first house (his bachelor pad) way before I’d even met him. It made the move with us and I’d been intending to take it to the local consignment shop but never got around to it. So there you have it, I guess it was meant to be. It’s amazing how that one simple addition made the area look more “finished”…wish I’d done it sooner.

On that note, here’s how I gussied up the mantel for Christmas. My general inspiration was Pottery Barn Holiday. Many of their decor ideas evoke this modern yet traditional cottage sensibility and I can’t get enough of mercury glass, red berries, and my glass pine trees.

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Overall, my mantel isn’t the most creative and the extent of my crafting was purchasing some holly berries from the Michael’s floral department and sticking them in a mercury glass hurricane…but sometimes it’s not what you make, but how you use what you have and find bargains to fill in the gaps that make the difference.

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Here’s the breakdown:

The mercury glass pillars with candles and hurricane are from Target this season. (PS, look for my post tomorrow on Break It or Take It: Mercury Glass…as promised). Pottery Barn styling on a dime for sure. The twig and berry garland and red berry spray in the hurricane are from Michael’s. As for my little forest of pines; the glittery gold tree is a $7 find from HomeGoods and my glass trees were a find at Ross a few seasons ago. My reindeer and sleigh stocking holders were from Target several seasons ago and the Christmas stockings  were an IKEA find, also several seasons ago. (PS: IKEA has awesome holiday decor for pennies.)

If you want to check out some more mantel inspiration, head over to Ten June where I’ve joined the link party to get down with some more merry mantels.

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And check out some other festive holiday mantels and ideas at these blogs below! I’ve linked up this mantel with the Finding Silver Pennies link party…lot’s of inspiration over there…

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… Holiday Vignettes party over at Southern Hospitality

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…and, Christmas Mantel Decorating Ideas Link Party over at The Lettered Cottage…

The Lettered Cottage

And, in case you’re feeling left out…no fireplace is necessary to mount a mantel…find yo’self some space for a wall shelf and bling it out with festive finds. You’re welcome.

Modern Gilded Glitter Trees

I’m all about the holiday crafts this year. Between items I have around the house, Christmas decor that I already own, and some deals I found on goodies to make a few projects, the house is looking quite festive if I do say so myself. I’ll have some updates to share all week regarding decor ideas and projects for the holiday season but for now I’d like to share this quick little project that I completed last night.

I was inspired by these adorable “trees” from Target.

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I love the modern appeal of this little “tree”. Rather than a more traditional interpretation of a mini tree, this type of decor lends a bold, graphic appeal. For my own decorating, I like a mix of more traditional and rustic elements contrasted with bold, modern styling. Rather than purchase a few of these trees, I thought it would be fun to make a few…plus the color scheme that I had in mind wasn’t something that was available. Off to Michael’s I went to gather my supplies.

I purchased three floral foam cones (small, medium, and large), 5 packages of glitter balls, and a can of spray paint. You’ll also need a glue gun. In case you judge the merit of a project based on whether or not it’s a bargain (let’s be honest, I do) the total cost to make 3 of the tree’s you’ll see below was approximately $12.00. Between sale items and coupons I saved a few dollars that made this a very wallet friendly venture.

The day before, I spray painted the cones brown. Inevitably, some of the green floral foam would have shown through the gaps between the balls so I chose a complementary spray paint color for a nice solid background. Obviously, choose a spray paint that complements your color scheme. I used Krylon Short Cuts spray paint. I then allowed these to dry overnight.

modern gilded glitter trees

modern gilded glitter trees

Construction was simple. The glitter balls were of varying sizes so I just sort of picked and chose and hot glued them to each cone. I wanted there to be a slightly uneven appearance for texture and interest.

modern gilded glitter treesmodern gilded glitter treesmodern gilded glitter treesmodern gilded glitter trees

They then found their new home on my console table in the living room. My only complaint is that I wish they were a little taller. The proportion of these trees on the console seems a bit off but they look festive regardless. I may relocate them but for now they’ll stay put.

modern gilded glitter treesmodern gilded glitter trees

Overall, I do love how these turned out. I’m particularly fond of the color scheme and I was happy to have found these glitter balls in that gilded bronze color. I’m all about jewel tones and non-traditional colors for the holidays. Red, green, and silver can be so overrated….don’t get me wrong, I definitely use those colors too…but pops of some unexpected colors go a long way.

modern gilded glitter trees

PS: I say balls a lot in this post. And it makes me chuckle. Grow up Caitlyn.

PPS: I linked up this project to share with the blogosphere…see below. Don’t forget to click through the image to check out the link party hosted by Hi Sugarplum! and take a peek at all the other Christmas crafts. Great stuff over there!

Holiday

 

Check out some more great projects here:
Weekend Bloggy Reading
 

Pinterest Party Success

As I mentioned the other day, the girls (Holly, Sam, Sara, Allison, Christine and I) descended upon my lovely friend Alexa’s lovely townhouse on Friday night to stop pinning and start doing. We had all agreed that this would be a fun way to get in some girl time, relax, and accomplish a festive Christmas project. We had also agreed to more or less complete the same craft so we could share materials and assistance as needed. Cue the burlap bubble wreath I mentioned in this post.christmas pinterest party

These wreaths were so easy to make and came out fantastic. We spent the evening cutting our burlap squares (go Alexa for doing this ahead of time!) and folding and pinning away (<- pinning with actual pins this time). We learned that burlap is REALLY itchy and kinda smells funny. I also learned that one should use pins with larger pin heads so they don’t pull through the open weave of the burlap fabric. It was taking me twice as long to complete my wreath and that’s because for every one pin the girls were using I had to use five to make my squares stay on. Grrr. Thanks girls for donating some pins to my cause!

burlap bubble wreaths

burlap bubble wreaths

As you can see in the photos, we added some trimmings to the wreaths to make them more festive for the holidays. These items are easily removed and can be replaced with other trim for other seasons…think flowers, etc.

burlap bubble wreath trim

My wreath.

burlap bubble wreath

I loved the color scheme of these bunches of faux berries. The white, green, and turquoise give a wintery/holiday appeal…a less literal approach to Christmas.

burlap bubble wreath

It’s new home on my front door.

burlap bubble wreath

Also, in case you were wondering about the cute berry monogram wreath, Samantha dared to be different and braved the hot glue gun to complete this project. How are the fingertips doing Sam? Also learned on this particular evening…hot glue is HOT. Anyway, the monogram was adorable and I’m looking forward to completing mine soon.

Finally, just in case you were worried about any of these crafters going hungry…definitely a non-issue. We love food. We love making food. We love eating food. We love looking at food. We love wine too. So, we had a festive spread of Pinterest inspired treats including jalapeno popper dip, baked brie with apples, s’mores crescents, and winter sangria.

holiday treats

I highly recommend organizing an evening like this. It was a great change of pace instead of going out to dinner, a movie, or a bar. We wore comfy clothes, it was low key, and we had a chance to catch up and kick back. Overall, it was a great night with great friends and what I think are the beginnings of a wonderful new tradition.

Have you organized any marathon crafting sessions inspired by Pinterest? I mandate everyone do this as it was loads of fun. Also, we’d love to see your finished projects so feel free to share any of your favorite Pinterest success stories!

PS: Recall I mentioned in my initial post about the Pinterest party that these projects were inspired by Pinterest. I did not come up with these projects myself nor devise the tutorials. We gladly followed along with the great tutorials provided on other blogs for each project so please visit this post, and link back to the original articles for instructions on how to complete these crafts.

A Very Pinterest-ing Christmas…

It’s official…the holiday season is here. In fact, I’m REALLY EXCITED that Christmas is right around the corner. I have to admit that the past year or two I haven’t been particularly energetic about Christmas. I think it’s because we were deep in wedding planning and then last year we had just come down from the high of our wedding several weeks prior to the holiday and I was BEAT. No to mention that the past few seasons have been generally hectic for a whole slew of reasons…it took all the energy I could muster just to get jazzed about getting the tree up.

But this year it’s different. I’ve made about 800 trips to Michael’s and have visions of tree skirts, handmade wreaths, and mantle decor dancing in my head. I’ve braved vicious crafters at Jo-Ann fabrics (seriously, those ladies are cray…to be clear, I mean the shoppers were crazy, not the employees…ya’ll were very helpful thank you) and I’m armed with a glue gun, glitter balls, burlap, and wreath forms…it’s go time.

Tonight is the holiday crafting kickoff at my friend Alexa’s. Of course, we are all obsessed with a capital ‘O’ with Pinterest and have been pinning inspiration and ideas for holiday crafting madness for weeks. Alexa came up with the brilliant idea of hosting a Pinterest party for a fun girls night activity. We will be convening at Alexa’s this evening with our materials to construct our Pinterest inspired projects.

This year, I’ve pinned a few projects I’d like to complete.

1. Burlap Bubble Wreath (pin, source)

Burlap Wreath 2

2. DIY No Sew Ruffle Tree Skirt (pin, source)

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and

3. Holly Berry Monogram Wreath (pin, source)

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For my project this evening, I’ve decided to make the burlap bubble wreath. I plan to add a few little baubles to mine to make it a bit more festive for the holiday season. Additionally, the beauty of this wreath is that extra decoration can be swapped out throughout the year and I can see this wreath looking adorable in the spring and fall as well simply by changing up the way to decorate the wreath.  More to come when I recap our crafting extravaganza tonight.

Also, if you would like tutorials on how to complete these projects, please click through links/images above to visit the source of my inspiration and their complete instructions. Given that I did not come up with these projects myself and I’m simply completing them for fun because they inspired me, I will not be offering step-by-step instructions on how to accomplish each craft.

Stay tuned for the complete recap of our first official Pinterest party and some eye candy of the completed projects!