Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Red and White Nordic Style Christmas Tree....{again}

Well, here I am.....finally sharing my Christmas tree....on New Year's Eve.  A little late I know, but technically I still had 5 more days to get it in since the 12 days of Christmas don't actually end until January 5th.  :)

Ok, so if you've been around this blog for awhile you might remember that last year I did a red and white Nordic style tree as well.  See that one {HERE}.  We had just moved into our new home and the tree was basically the only decor we had time to put up.  Well, this year was my husband's year for the tree, (if you're new-ish to the blog and don't know our tradition, one year I get to pick the tree decor and the next year Hubby picks and we alternate back and forth each year.)  so that meant the tree would have colored lights, lots of non-themed ornaments, and tons of tinsel.  And I'm ok with that, I really am.  His family teased me a lot this year that I got upset about it being his turn and demanded to have my own tree.  Not true.  I simply decided that we finally have a nice home that has the space for two full sized trees, so why not?  I certainly have enough ornaments for it.  Truth be told, I could outfit a 3rd full size tree with my vintage ornament collection, but I didn't think he'd be willing to go that far. :)  

 I LOVED the red and white tree last year and it made me a little sad to think of it all staying packed away and not on display.  So, I used some of my hard earned Etsy money and bought my own tree for the dining room.  His tree was displayed in front of the big front window in what we call the school room.

I added 4 new ornaments and a new strand of white garland to it this year, but otherwise it was all stuff I already had.

During the editing process I realized that maybe part of a strand of lights quit working there at the bottom of the tree.  It's not lit up as bright as it should have been.

After looking at last year's pictures I realized the tree needed better garland on it.  You couldn't really see the wooden cranberry garland in the pictures, and I think a tree doesn't look complete without garland.  Plus, it just needed more white on it.  I considered going old-fashioned and stringing real popcorn, I can remember doing that as a kid a time or two and I always enjoyed how it looked.  But I decided against it since we have a kitten in the house this year and I just didn't know if she would try to eat it and in so doing knock the whole tree down.

So instead, I bought these felted strands I found at Hobby Lobby.  The guy cashier looked at it funny when he scanned it and in a bewildered voice he asked, "What are you going to do with this?"  I don't think he even knew what it was, lol!  He looked like he thought I was nuts when I told him it was tree garland.  Hubby had the same "wow, you're really strange" reaction when I showed it to him, too.  He said, "What is it?  It looks like dreadlocks from Santa's beard."  That made me laugh out loud!  :D  Well, whatever it was it was perfect for this style of tree. 

The tree topper is a fuzzy snowflake that fits perfectly with this theme.  I can't remember where I bought it though.  I'm thinking it was Walmart last year, but I didn't see them there this year so I'm not 100% sure.

The trees skirt is actually a round vintage tablecloth I bought on Etsy.  I cut a slit in it and it works perfectly!

The tree doesn't consist of just "decorator" type of ornaments either.  There are plenty of meaningful ones on there too.  The top left "Let it Snow" is a favorite of mine and just this year I discovered it was a favorite of Hubby's too when he looked up there and said, "Hey, you stole that off of my tree!  I really like that one."  Huh, I never knew that.  :)  There's also a new felt star in the that one.  Top right has an "H" for my daughter, as well as an ice skate since I used to love my ice skating lessons as a child.  I also have a nice collection of Santas/Father Christmases that I've received over the years and you can see one there.  Bottom left has an "R" for Hubby.  Bottom right has a set of mittens found at Sears last year.  I love them!  There's also another word ornament.  I love word ornaments on a tree.  I think it adds a lot of interest to it.  I have had the wooden primitive style icicles for years and I still love them.

In the above collage you can see another one of my Santas, a set of the mittens in white, a Christmas tree made out of shells that my mom bought for my daughter to remember a fun shopping trip they had, a swirly lollipop ornament that my mom gave me 21 years ago, the red felt tree is a new one I added this year (found at Home Goods), and a cute set of red and white snowflakes found at Cracker Barrel last year.  There are plenty more ornaments on here, I just didn't capture them all.  You can probably see a few more of them in last year's post if you're interested.

I wanted to point out these white and red snowflakes to you though.  These were actually two sets of felt coasters that I bought on after Christmas clearance 2 years ago.  They make for perfect ornaments on a Nordic style tree! 

Another new one I added was "Mini-Lucy."  I named my beloved red KitchenAid Mixer "Lucy," so when I found this miniature sized one at Michael's I just had to have it.

I wanted to show you one other new one on the tree this year.  This is one I made.  My husband's grandmother passed away in August and we miss her so much.  She was truly a dear woman and absolutely one of a kind.  At her funeral they let us each pick a flower from the arrangement on her casket to keep.  I brought ours home and hung them upside down in a dark closet to dry.  Once completely dried out I simply clipped the stems off and put them inside of a large clear plastic ornament that you can pop open and then put back together.  So simple!  It's a beautiful reminder of her and we have loved having this one on the tree.  I know it will be on every tree from now on!

I have loved having two trees this year, and have really enjoyed my red and white Nordic inspired theme again.  I'm not sure if we'll have two trees again next year or not, I guess it will depend on what furniture has been added to the dining room by then.  : )

I hope you all had a wonderfully blessed Christmas and I wish you and yours a very Happy New Year!

P.S.  If you haven't stopped by the Facebook page lately be sure to do so and check out me and Hubby's version of gingerbread "men."  Funny stuff!  :D


Monday, December 15, 2014

A Rustic Themed Christmas Banquet

Has it really been almost a full month since I last posted anything?!?  I'm so sorry you guys.  Life just got crazy busy all of a sudden and I just couldn't juggle everything I had going on.  Last week alone I had 3 big events at church that I was involved in back to back and it kept me hoppin' the entire week.  Add in soccer games twice a week and my class I teach on Wednesday nights and we felt like we were barely ever home.  But things will start to slow down a bit this week thankfully.  All the big events that I was in charge of are over now, and Lil' Man's last soccer game is tonight so that should help slow things down a lot!  

One of the things I was in charge of last week was our church's annual Christmas banquet.  A couple of months ago our pastor asked me if I'd be willing to be in charge of the decorations and the food.  An excuse to decorate for a party?  Of course I said yes!!  I had it all planned out the next day, lol!  

Fast forward about two months and it was finally banquet day.  When I got to the fellowship hall this is what it looked like.  Pretty much a disaster because we had been working on stuff for our Christmas parade float in here the day before.

All the float signs and paint and other paraphernalia were still around the room, as well as the stacks of wrapped boxes for the float.

The ping-pong table was in the corner and extra tables, etc, etc.  In short, it was a mess.  And I didn't bring anyone to help me because when it comes to decorating I work better by myself.  I just hadn't planned on having to do SO much cleaning up first.  But thankfully the pastor and his wife came and helped me move all the float stuff out, and extra tables, and such and get all the chairs up so I could clean the floors.  That was a blessing.  But after that was done I was on my own to transform the place into some semblance of order suitable for a banquet.

After 8 hours of cleaning and decorating it looked like this.

I wish I had more time to set up a tripod and get better pictures, but people started showing up early and I had to just snap what I could and be done with it.  I kept some of the wrapped boxes from the float and stacked them to fill one corner over by the back door.  Notice in the back of the above picture, on the right, the drink table.  I never did get a closer picture of it, but it looked cute with a wool plaid blanket spread over it and the drink dispensers sitting on top.

I used the lattice that was leaning against the wall to cover up the unused piano and organ over against the far wall.  

Against another wall I set up a photo-op area.  It's kind of a "thing" with our church that every party or banquet has a photo area, so of course I had to uphold the tradition.

I strung white lights up and down the wall and then hung a white sheet over them.

It gave off the most beautiful soft glow and made a wonderful background for pictures.  The lanterns were glowing too, but you can't really tell in these pictures.

I brought in stumps of wood from our wood pile at home and set the cute battery operated lanterns on top.  My mom was sweet enough to let me borrow these for the banquet.  At the time she told me I could use them I had no idea what I would do with them, but I knew I could figure out something cute.  They looked great on the wooden stumps.  The empty red frame was a photo prop that people could hold up and put their faces behind for their picture.  I got it for $2 at a thrift store and just gave it a few coats of red spray paint that I already had.   I picked up the cute little chalkboard signs from Walmart for $2 each and they were photo props as well.

I already had the little tree and actually threw it up there at the last minute as part of this vignette.  It's propped up on an old wooden drawer that I brought along.

Now, let's take a closer look at the centerpieces.  
This picture from Sweet Something Designs was my point of inspiration.


Now here is my version.

Over the couple of months that I was planning I began collecting Christmas colored plaid scarves.
Some I already had, some I found at yard sales, and the rest I scoured eBay for and bought the cheapest ones I could find to keep it as low budget as possible.

I laid the scarves down the center of each table as my table runners, then I layered in the wood slabs.  Each table had 3 of them.  Hubby was kind enough to cut these for me from his wood pile in his work shop.  Did you know that just ONE of these wooden pieces like this costs $15 at the craft store?!?  I got 21 of them for FREE from our own stash.  :D

I poured Epsom salt into canning jars (brought from home) to resemble snow, and tucked a little unscented votive candle into each one. I layered in fresh greenery all around, and then tucked in faux berries for some color.  I finished them off with cute little jingle bells from the dollar store (a pack of 9 for only $1!).  In keeping with the low budget, I already had all of the faux berries in my own personal stash, and as for the fresh greenery, when we went to buy our Christmas tree I told the owner of the tree farm about the upcoming banquet and asked if they had any extra greenery they wouldn't be using for their fresh wreaths.  She said she couldn't let me have any of the Fraser fir branches, they needed all they had, but she said they couldn't use any cuttings from the Scotch pines because they were too pokey.  So she gave me a pair of clippers and told me to go around the lot and that I could clip and have any branches that were touching the ground.  They were indeed very pokey, and I had sore hands afterwards, but hey, I had a huge pile of FREE greenery!

These plates I found at Hobby Lobby were absolutely perfect.  I had been to a few different stores looking for the perfect ones to go with this theme.  I had some criteria.  They had to be big (our church likes us some food!), they had to be sturdy, and they had to match the theme without having Santa or anything else too cutesy on them.  I didn't really know exactly what I wanted, I just knew that I'd know when I saw them.  And I did.  As soon as I saw these on the shelf I knew they were the ones.  I couldn't even remember at the time what colors were in all of the scarves I had bought because I had collected them over time and actually hadn't looked at them in awhile.  So I was really excited when I got the plates home and pulled out the stash of scarves to compare and I realized they matched perfectly with all the reds and blacks!  I also loved how they had sort of a chalkboard look to them.  It matched my "naughty'' and "nice" chalkboards really well.  But probably nobody but me noticed that detail.  :D

The forks were actually plastic (no extra dishes to wash, yay!), but I loved how shiny they were and that they had a "real" look to them (also found at Hobby Lobby).  And I found nice plastic cups that were just a bit more fancy than plain old clear plastic ones or even styrofoam ones that dressed up the table a bit.

I ended up with 7 different scarves that had 7 different patterns, but all coordinated very nicely on the tables.

There were 35 people signed up to come, so I bought 40 of everything and made 40 place settings, but what I forgot to take into account was the generosity of our people.  Some invited extra family members, some invited neighbors at the last minute to come and join the fun and we ended up with closer to 50.  We just pulled extra chairs up to the ends of the tables and got out the white styrofoam plates that we always have on hand and it all worked out just fine.  The more the merrier.  : )

Over on the dessert table I set up this little display using my long wooden ammo box turned upside down and a bit of decor from my own home.  The tables were slightly different heights and I had to prop up one end of the box, so the greenery helped disguise the height difference.

The rustic decor was a hit and many people were so kind to tell me how beautiful it all looked.  All the hard work of cleaning and setting it all up was worth it.  

One lady even told me at church on Sunday that it was the most beautiful she had ever seen it look in the fellowship hall.  And that's why I enjoy what I do.  I love transforming a space from something plain and boring into something beautiful and festive.  And since I used so much that I already had on hand or that I was able to get for free, and since we did the food potluck style, I was able to keep this banquet budget right around $115.

I hope to be back again with another post before Christmas, but if for some reason I don't then I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!  And if I don't get my Christmas decor pictures shared before, don't worry, they may be late and Christmas may be done and over with by then, but I'll get them shared.  :)


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Monday, November 17, 2014

A Christmas Feed Sack Shower Curtain

Ok, so this is the post I have been so excited to share with you guys!!  
Once the idea for this project hit me I couldn't wait to get it finished, and then once I had it finished I couldn't wait to get it photographed and up on the blog to share with my readers.   

You probably remember several months ago I shared my DIY "feed sack" shower curtain I made out of painter's drop cloth.

Well, since then I've started selling them in my Etsy shop and they are selling surprisingly well!  I have a waiting list that takes me well into next year!  Well, in the midst of making one of these curtains for a customer I messed up and made it too short for the order.  I folded it up and just tossed it in my basket of scraps until I could figure out what to do with it.

A couple of weeks later this idea hit me and I decided that instead of using it for scraps I'd turn it into another curtain for myself.  It was too short for the ones I sell in the shop, but it wasn't too short for me.  So I came up with a whole new design, this time for Christmas.

A reindeer feed sack!  
I'm loving how it turned out and it's such a fun change for the holiday season. 

I changed up the font from the original curtain, found a reindeer clip art that was free, made the stripes on the sides red instead of the usual grey, and added "North Pole Granary" to it.  My husband asked me, "Shouldn't that be 'grainary?'"  But I Googled it before I painted it to make sure, and it is indeed "granary."  I'm not exactly sure why the "i" gets dropped, just another annoying quirk of the English language I guess.

I kept it pretty simple.  I didn't want anything about Santa Claus or magic on it like I've seen on some of the other reindeer themed pillows and such that are out there.  There really are reindeer (caribou if you want to be technical), and there really is a North Pole so I can feel comfortable that I'm not spreading any lies to my little ones.  : )  We've never told them that Santa is real, but we've never told them that he's not real either.  We've always just let him be a fun part of Christmas, and we've known they would figure it out on their own eventually.  In fact, when I was working on this curtain my 7 year old asked me why I put a reindeer on it since Santa isn't real.  I asked her how she knew he wasn't real, and she said, "I just know."  So we had a conversation about how he's just a fun tradition, but there really are reindeer, they don't fly of course, but they're a real animal and there really is a place called the North Pole even if Santa isn't actually real.  I was thankful that I had never told her that he was, because when I was unexpectedly asked about it point blank I didn't have any feelings of guilt for having lied to her, she didn't have any blame for me or my husband, and she can still keep enjoying him as a fun part of Christmas while still knowing the true meaning of it all.  I understand that not everyone believes the way we do or handles the situation the same as us, to each their own, but this is how we've handled it in our home.

Anyways, back off of that rabbit trail.  : )  

I had so much fun coming up with this reindeer feed sack design and turning a messed up pile of scrap into something beautiful.  I'm loving it, my kiddos are loving it, and even Hubby was a little bit impressed.  : )

I'd love to hear what you think of my salvaged mistake! 


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Friday, November 14, 2014

Farmhouse Fall Decor {Part 2}

 So...I finished up a project this week that I am SO excited to share with you!  I can hardly wait, but wait I must because it was a Christmas project and I never did finish showing you my fall decor in the dining room and kitchen so I feel I need to do that first.  

On the table I have a set of place mats that I thrifted years ago.  We alternate between these and a pretty fall tablecloth that I also thrifted.  When the 4 year old spills something (and he always does) then we switch them out.  I also have a cute little leaf S&P shaker set given to me by a friend a few years ago, along with a fall themed silverware caddy.  Though we're using it to hold napkins and seasonings that Hubs likes left on the table.

Behind the table in the buffet area I hung my fall picture I love so much.  Of course,  I love old red trucks for sure, but it's also really special because it belonged to my grandparents before they passed away and the truck has the name of the town where they lived on it.

The plaid runner was thrifted a couple of years ago.  It was actually just a strip of fabric that I turned into a valance to use in our 2nd bathroom at our last house.  In this house I don't have any place to use it as a valance so I simply folded it in half and used it as a runner.  I added the Rub-N-Buff made over candleholders set and some pillar candles with a bit of moss around them.  I really wanted to find pretty fall candles to put in these, but I couldn't find just the right ones like I had in mind.  I already had these ivory colored ones so I ended up using those instead and just added a bit of twine and an old key to make them a little more interesting and a little less "vanilla."  : )

Here's a reminder of what these candleholders looked like before.

A bit of silver Rub-N-Buff and then some Spanish Copper over top of that gave them a perfectly aged looking patina.  A 5 minute project with wonderful results.

My $1 rusty rooster makes his appearance again.  I love this little guy!  
Some faux bittersweet tucked in around it finishes it off.

I tucked in a berry vine around my Mason jars that are lined up in the big dining room window.

Above the kitchen cupboards I added a few touches of fall as well.

This end has a Pilgrim couple that my mom gave me and one little faux gourd.

In the middles hangs a vintage looking sign that I got several years ago, probably from Home Goods.

On this end, I took away the little stack of towels on the scale and added a small faux pumpkin, and I replaced the bright red geraniums with a fall colored bouquet.

The cookie bucket belonged to my granny back in the day and my mom just gave it to me recently.

Beside the sink I have this little touch of autumn.

It's a vintage potato masher.  
I added a small berry vine around it and tucked in a tiny little jar candle. 

Above the sink in the window I have this little arrangement.  I took the picture in the dark because it looked so cozy with the candle lit.

I keep this little feeder jar that my sister found at a thrift store on the counter within easy reach.  We added some candy corn to it for fall, and then for Christmas we'll change it out to some green and red M&M's.  Ain't it so cute?!?

And then I just had to show you our painted pumpkins from this year.  In my last post I shared a picture of our pumpkins from last year, but I never did show you this year's.  My daughter decided she wanted to make hers a minion this time around.  Well, when my son heard that he decided he wanted his to be Gru.  So, then we decided well if we have two Despicable Me pumpkins then we might as well go ahead and do all of them as characters from those movies.  So here's what we came up with.

This yellow minion pumpkin is my daughter's.  I drew in the parts for her and she did all the painting.  We glued on canning jar lids as his goggles.

Here's Gru, done by my 4 year old.  He painted the whole thing pinkish, I drew in his main parts and he painted them, and then I finished off a few of the details of the eyes for him.  I molded his nose out of Play-Dough and we attached it with a skewer.  A thrifted scarf finished him off.

The kids decided that mine should be a purple minion.  I found this fuzzy purple hat at a thrift store for $1.  I tucked the brim under and it made for the perfect crazy purple hair for it.

We all decided that Hub's had to be an El Macho pumpkin since Hubs has a big mustache, too.  :D  It ended up that he was too busy to paint his pumpkin this time around so I did it for him.  I thought it turned out pretty cute.  :)

 This last picture has nothing to do with decor, but I wanted to share one more thing with you.  We hosted a fall festival on Halloween night at our house for our church's youth group and one of the things I did was to make this Pumpkin Puke chip dip.

It was just spinach dip, and I wasn't sure how the kids would react to it but they loved it and thought it was the coolest thing ever and gobbled it right up to the last scrapings.  Brave bunch.  :)

That's it for my fall posts for this year.  Later today I'm off for my weekend trip to Mt. Dora, FL for the Renninger's Antique and Flea Market Extravaganza.  I am SO very excited to be going again!  I went about 5 years ago with Hubby for my birthday, and it was 8 solid hours of walking to booth after booth after booth and we didn't even get to them all!  This year I'm going with my mother-in-law, just us girls, no men, no kids, for 2.5 days.  It's in celebration of both of our birthdays this month and it's gonna be some serious junkin' fun!!!  

And when I get back from that.....the Christmas decor is coming out!  I am so excited for Christmas this year for some reason.  I just love love love it and it never lasts long enough for me.  So this year I'm breaking my rule of waiting until after Thanksgiving to decorate and we're gonna get our jingle on a couple of weeks early.  I can't wait!!

How about you?  Are you already decorating for Christmas?   Or are you a die hard for waiting until Thanksgiving is over?  Has anybody else ever been to the Mt. Dora Extravaganza?
I'd love to hear from you!

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