Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Mantle 2010

(Photo taken this evening)

Sometimes it's a little sad transitioning from one season to another, I have really enjoyed having the fireplace all decked out for Fall, it was a little bittersweet taking it all down. But on the other hand, I couldn't wait to get geared up for Christmas, and yes I am a Gemini. :)

To get a fresh start and look, I stripped the fireplace down to nothing, save the mirror. I did some dusting and got down to business.

The white has been so great to work with, it's been a decorating guessing game each season since the fireplace facelift, but it has really been pleasing so far. For fall, I kept the mantle pretty symmetrical, so for Christmas I decided to do an offset look.
Green and brown are the colors, with silver and snow mixed in. While most everything is artificial, using some real things like pine cones and branches help the artificial things look a little more realistic. A super tall vase with pine, pine cones and branches reaching all the way to the ceiling anchor the left side. The snowflake garland was inspired by Sarah @ Cozy.Cottage.Cute, she made a similar one using jingle bells, great idea Sarah, thank you. It took Justin and I 30 minutes to make, I braided the jute twine and he untangled! :) I have had those silver snowflakes for years and love a new way to incorporate them. Check out Sarah's tute, I did!

Cedar garland with lights and pine sprigs across the mantle, a cedar wreath on the mirror that I put silver ornamnets in
The right side of the mantle is anchored with two chunky wooden candleholders. I love these, I got them the last time I went home, they resemble bamboo, and I think they look a little unexpected for Christmas.
I filled in with cylinder vases filled with ornaments and bellani pods, and aluminum letters that spell Noel
In the non-working firebox, I put more cylinder vases with candles softened with more cedar and pine. I want to get some logs to put in there too, I didn't get the chance yet.
I love the oversized snowflakes, they add a little bit of whimsy and suggest the cold winter months ahead. {ugh} I just used a suction cup on the mirror and leaned some. I don't know if you can tell, but there are two hung super high, I used push pins for those, they aren't very heavy at all.
I can't believe I didn't use any ribbon, I'm usually such a ribbon hound! I might tie some ribbon around the candle holders. :)
I'm still working on the Christmas tree, I'm really loving the planter for it! So I hope you come back to see that as soon as I get it done. I can't wait to get some tablescapes rolling too!
Thank you for stopping by, I hope you are inspired! If you'd like to see even more photos of this and more, please visit my Flickr Photostream.
Joining Layla for the Christmas Mantle Party.
The Lettered Cottage


DIY Christmas Tree Planter

I have always wanted to create a Christmas tree planter. I love how neat and tidy it makes a tree look, a little unexpected, and of course, options are limitless. I've never done it, but this year, I decided to do it. Not to mention that the stand that comes with the tree that I've used every other year, had a missing leg. What happened to it? I have no idea. Yeah, yeah, I heard the " What are you going to do with that?" and "Why don't you just go get another stand?", but I had a vision that was going to come to fruition, so I ignored all of the non-believers in my household and got to work. This was one of the easiest projects I've done, but it was a little bit of an investment, but how it turned out made me feel all better.

What I used:
Large Terracotta pot
Manila roping (3 bags/rolls)
plastic utility bucket
50 lb. bag of concrete
Hot glue gun
jig saw
strong back

I put the pot up on the kitchen counter to make it easy to work with.
Starting from the bottom, I began gluing on the rope, keeping it nice and tight. I just glued randomly, every few rows or so.
Eventually, I made it to the top, beware of aching wrist though!
Initially, I though that I would put the concrete in the pot itself, but I like how it turned out so well that I certainly thought that I could use it elsewhere, not just for Christmas. So I bought one of those utility buckets and it fit perfectly in the bottom of the pot, I was so happy, but it was too tall. So I used the jig saw to cut off the top, which worked like a charm, and got the bucket down to the right height. I did it right in the house too, it took like three minutes and just a little plastic clean up.
This project took and entire 50 pound bag of concrete, I mixed it up right in the bucket, and stuck the legless tree stand, with pole, right into the mixture.
I let it cure over night, and I was really happy with how it turned out. I put the tree together (it's one of those hook on styles) and had a better looking tree than what I started with!
It makes my artificial tree look a little more real!
Now it's time to trim the tree!
I hope you are inspired to try your own Christmas tree planter!
Thanks for reading! I've gotten my mantle decorated, and will be showing you that tomorrow, see you then!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Walther & Co.

Here is some Saturday morning inspiration! I was reading Me and Alice {Susanne has beautiful photos too} and stumbled upon this wonderfully styled photo from Walther & Co. This company is based in Denmark, I can't quite tell what they sell, but I think the photo styling is fantastic {not to mention inspirational!}!
How sweet is this?
I am going to be decorating for Christmas this weekend. This will be the first Christmas with the new fireplace...Ahhhh! {insert nervous screaming} Have a fantastic weekend and happy decorating!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Why I'm Not A Foodie Blog

On this lovely, chilly Thanksgiving Day, I would like to announce that I am a nightmare in the kitchen, I can't cook. I have to come to terms with myself that I am not a foodie. Cooking and sewing. Those are my two white elephants. When I say I don't cook I mean I don't do it like my mother and grandmother did, huge meals, from scratch, planned weeks in advance, grocery shopping monthly, meals that taste so unbelievably good that you dream about their signature dishes for years. I can still remember how my grandma's Lemon Cake tasted to this day. Me? I get lost in the grocery store, and I swear they move stuff around weekly just to add to my frustration. But with the holidays here, I often get inspired by some recipe that I read about and I bookmark it so I can try to make it. Suzie at Avoiding Laundry had just that kind of recipe. It sounded easy and simple, had easy to follow along steps and most of the ingredients were pre made. Simple right?

Here is Suzie's recipe:

1 (18 ounce) package of pre-made cookie dough
1 (28 ounce) can pumpkin pie filling
3 tablespoons powdered sugar or whipped cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice cookie dough into 12-18 slices. Spray muffin tins with non-stick spray and place dough in tins, making sure some of the dough goes up the sides. Fill each cup with pumpkin pie filling. Bake 20-25 minutes. Remove and let cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or whipped cream.

Here is how mine turned out. Ridiculous. I see what I did wrong, now. Why did I feel like I had a blindfold on during the process?

I think I used the wrong size pan, too much dough and filling. As you can see I didn't even have enough dough to fill the 12th cup. Pathetic.
The good thing is, they taste good, which is a bonus, but you always want the presentation to be good too right? I mean, I wanted to start photographing food, like Mari does, she is awesome at cooking and photography....

Oh well, maybe when Christmas rolls around I will try again.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fun With Bottlecaps

I really just cannot believe that Thanksgiving is tomorrow. The time just seems to fly by! I think that time hyper speeds from Halloween to New Year's! I won't be getting another Thanksgiving tablescape posted, there's just not enough time {but I can't wait to start the Christmas series}, but I did want to show you some projects that I've been working on and some additions to the Shop.

You might remember this past summer, when I created my bottle cap serving tray. Well the collecting of bottle caps has been an on going thing and I have been creating some fun {and smaller} projects using bottle caps. If you are interested in learning how to make any of these, let me know in the comments, I can certainly do a tutorial. These bottle cap gift tags are listed in my Etsy Shop. They are the large version and come in a set of six. I envision them on a package, or even at a place setting.

I love using the bright vivid colors of Christmas with things like craft paper and and jute twine. The bottle caps are painted, bright red and green and white
Some of them are embellished with snowflakes and buttons, and a little circle of paper. These are the smaller version, and they are the Shop too, click here.
My burlap gingerbread men are listed in the shop again this year and I've added a wooden version too (pictured below).
I have always love wrapping gifts. Is that weird? I just love all the details that can be added to the packaging, really just completing the gift from inside.

This bottle cap garland is hanging in the kitchen , hopefully, I'll get some pictures of what decorating I've done so far, so the Christmas inspiration can begin!

This ornament was an experiment. I wasn't sure if it was going to work out or not, but I gave it a try. I've deemed it The Bottle Cap Wreath. Really? Yes, I'm clever like that. It's about 6 inches round, it might appear to be bigger, but it's really not. Getting jiggy with the Martha Stewart tinsel glitter, love this stuff! I think I will have to try the flocking sometime too!

I am also working on a couple of bottle cap Christmas trees, little ones, I'm still working on it though.

Thanks so much for stopping by, and an apology of the incessant use of bottle caps in this post! :) After rereading it, I said bottle cap a lot!! :) I hope you are inspired!

I wish each one of you a wonderful Thanksgiving, I hope you are spending it with family and friends!
P.S. Eat plenty of turkey and pumpkin pie!!