Sunday, December 4, 2016

cozy and warm christmas inspiration

Traditional Home
As I mentioned in my last post, I went with a bit of a muted and natural color scheme with our Christmas decor this year as a way to mix things up and make decorating for the season fun.  I think it all started with the addition of magnolia, which naturally encouraged more brown tones since the back of their leaves are brown.  I'm sure red return in our Christmas home in future years, but it's nice to take a little break now and then too.  I thought it would be fun to share some of the images that inspired me this season.  This feels a whole lot like a blog post I would have done about 6 years ago, before pinterest and instagram changed the way we all share inspiration.  These images (at least most of them) and links to their sources can be found on my Christmas Pinterest Board too.  

Now I'm off to trim our tree. Literally, trim the tree, because it is taking over our family room.  And smells quite heavenly too! Happy Sunday, friends! 

Southern Living
Southern Accents 
Pinterest - Christmas Board

Cottage Living
Pinterest - Christmas Board
Martha Stewart
Instagram: Wisteria 
Pinterest - Christmas Board
Instagram: Remy_Renzullo
Instagram: Sinclairandmoore (Steve Moore)
Instagram: Tomsamet (Tom Samet)

Friday, December 2, 2016

Pinecone Garland Tutorial

Welcome December! I started decorating our home for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving and will continue to add little touches here and there throughout the month.  Each year I find myself opening a few less storage bins and looking for ways to make our house feel festive without feeling fussy.  If you have been a long time reader you might recall me mentioning last year that I didn't quite get into the holiday preparations with the same enthusiasm as I typically do, I felt myself going through the motions rather than enjoying the process.  I think some years are just like that and it's ok to give yourself a little grace and take it easy if you aren't feeling it.  This year, however, my Christmas mojo is back! :)

I felt myself being pulled in a more classical, less whimsical direction and it's been fun to change things up ever so slightly.  I do think, as an instagram friend mentioned, that as your children get older you feel a shift in how you create a cozy holiday home.  At least that was the case for me this year.  I also took a little break from the traditional red (which I  LOVE) and went with a more coppery, gold, green and brown scheme.  I will post more photos later in the month, but I thought this pinecone garland was such a fun and easy project, I didn't want to wait too long to share how we made it.

Another change I've made as I grow older and wiser, is less fresh greenery (unless it's in water or outside) and adding other natural elements that have staying power - pinecones. cranberries, acorns, etc.  I like to start decorating early and keep it up till New Year's day (or later), so using fresh greenery that needs daily spritzing (a mess that doesn't really work and soaks my woodwork and frames and art...) and requires eventual replacing, isn't practical.  I have little bunches in pitchers and planters that I can water, but when it comes to garlands and indoor wreaths, I find good quality faux to be a game changer even if it isn't the bloggerly thing to say.  For our dining room I will add fresh greens to the chandelier a couple days before Christmas but till then it will be bare.

Speaking of garlands with staying power, I have always loved the idea of incorporating a pinecone garland.  Like here with magnolia and pine:

I shared this Carolina cottage a few years ago back from Southern Accents. It still remains one of my all time favorite Christmas homes.  When I made the first garland for my mantle, my plan had been to copy this and use it to frame my ship painting, but the garland started to get pretty heavy and I was afraid it might come tumbling down.  I'm guessing they used nails here to secure it.  I'd be worried Command Hooks might not hold up.

I also love it here just simple along the banister. From an old Martha Stewart Living magazine.

It is so easy and fun to make your own. I wish I had done this years ago!  It gives you a good excuse for a long hike to gather pinecones too, which makes it fun to have a memory attached to the garland.  For the garland on the mantle I did supplement with some store bought pinecones to add some variety in shape (I bought the rounder, very open, pinecones from Save on Crafts (dot) com. I think there is a new google policy about not using direct links to products in posts unless it is a sponsored or incentivized link.  I need to look into it, but in the meantime, I will just list sources.  Sorry, a bit annoying for all of us, but I've had to go back and remove old links from one company already and it wasn't fun).  I used about 100 pinecones, give or take, to make a 5 foot garland.  

Here's the 3 step process:

You'll need:
Pinecones in different shapes and sizes.  About 100 for a 5 ft garland.
Jute twine (any craft store or Walmart sells this)
Wire cutters
Thin craft wire or brown pipe cleaners (I used a thin wire on the mantle garland and grabbed the pipe cleaners so you could see how they attach, but they worked just as well and might be gentler if you  have little hands helping you!)
Optional: greenery (fresh or faux to weave in after the garland is in place)

Step 1: Cut string to the desired garland length.  Tie off the ends in loops, this helps if you want to hang it, but it also makes it much easier to carry around.

Step 2: Wrap a small section of wire or pipe cleaner around the base of the pinecone, tucking it so you can't see it.

Step 3: Twist the ends of the wire or pipe cleaner around the twine and keep going, layering more pinecones as you go.  It's best to weave in the smaller (filler) pinecones in at the end.

In process... you can make it as full as you like.  I did clip the pipe cleaners after twisting them on the twine to hide them a bit better.  The pinecones are very flexible and easy to position and move around even after they are attached.

Here is the garland I made above, over a frame with greenery tucked in.  I just draped it over and it stays fine.  Longer garland will be heavier and require hooks or nails it you want to hang over mirrors or artwork.

Please let me know if you give it a try!  I'd love to see pictures if you post on instagram too.  This is my kind of holiday craft, simple with quick gratification and the whole family can help out in the process.  

Monday, November 28, 2016

thanksgiving table in pictures

I know we've all moved on to Christmas decor (myself included!)  however since I enjoy the process of creating a pretty table to entertain and celebrate with family, I wanted to share a few pictures I took of ours on Thanksgiving morning long before our guests arrived.  I also promised to share my Mum's stuffing recipe  (our favorite!) that I made for the first time this year.  In typical fashion though,  now that I've prepared it, I would like to make just a few adjustments to the recipe before I blog it, so you might have to wait until next November (sorry!) before I share it.  Why can't I just leave well enough alone?!  Ha.  Usually it is steps to simplify the recipe and that's the case this time too.

We had a nice Thanksgiving with my parents and my brother and his family.    There was a lot of cousin time over their stay too.  I made waaaaay too much food and we didn't even eat all our left overs. My favorite new recipe was one for pumpkin pie that was actually made by a friend.  It's another recipe I need to try make myself before I share - it was the best pumpkin pie I've ever eaten.  I believe the secret is in using homemade pumpkin puree!  And molasses!  :)  Here are a few pics of the adult (plus Andrew) table.  The flowers still look perfect today - 6 days after making the arrangement!  Hope each of you had much to be thankful for this year and were able to enjoy the holiday with people you love.