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Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas wrapping ideas - rustic elements.

Can you believe it's only 3 days till Christmas?
We go walking at night and the neighborhoods are so beautifully decorated this year. The house is a joyous mess of lights, reindeer, the scent of pine and cedar, and ornaments, so many ornaments.  I just adore this time of year.

This year, I'm all about the rustic look and that includes presents wrapped in brown craft paper.  Have you ever done this?

I think it looks wonderful with simple ribbon, this year I chose a pretty gunmetal grey.

Maybe tie on a bleached pine cone or two. And how about some twine wrapped around and around?

I meant to cut some fresh cedar from the garden and tuck that in too.

Ah well, there's always next year!

Merry Christmas, my friends!

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[ probably noticed I keep using my galvanized pipe garment rack for everything except garments, huh? I just can't help myself, it's such a great base to put stuff on]

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas tour of my parents house.

[Christmas vignette].
Hi lovelies!

I just returned to Portland from two weeks at my parents' house.

Their taste is flawless! And I was so charmed by the Christmas touches in their home, I wanted to share them with you. 

[of course I asked permission first! don't want to get put on restriction don't you know]

So last Spring my parents moved to this charming little town near Ft. Worth TX, called Granbury. 
It has a wonderful courthouse square in the old downtown, surrounded by shops and an opera house.
This is the courthouse on the Square:
[granbury courthouse at the Square].
Can you believe how wonderful? Those are Christmas lights at the top that stretch down to each corner of the Square.  I loved that shot so much I've already blown it up to 16x20 and framed it!

But I digress.  I'm meant to be showing you Christmas decorations at the house, I think.

This is the family room.  I love the elegance of the red berries in the vase, and the little vignette on the coffee table.

[lantern with lights near the fireplace]
The dining room has pops of red with more berries and a snowflake runner, as well as twinkle lights and chandelier greenery:

[I've already got dibs on this sideboard if they ever tire of it]

Love those battery operated twinkle lights! They're on flexible wire so they're super easy to tuck into tight spaces without seeing the bulky cord you typically have on Christmas light strands.

Their master bedroom even got in on the act!  With red and cream as the primary colors in their room, a red lumbar pillow and a wicker tray of berries add the perfect Christmas touch.

A snowy wreath with berries and plaid ribbon bring Christmas color to the dresser wall.  Oops I forgot to move the Christmas card box!

You might've noticed I didn't have a shot of a Christmas tree...unfortunately it got lost in their move so they'll be buying a new one.  Next year!

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

free Christmas printables.

Hi friends!
One of my favorite-ist seasonal decorating tricks is to swap out the art in my frames.

Simple. Easy. Right up my alley.

So here are a couple of free Christmas printables for you. I made them 3300x4800 so they should print up pretty well at larger sizes. I usually print mine at Costco; when I uploaded them to Costco's online service I didn't get a resolution warning till I went above 16x20 in size.

To download the files:
right-click [or control-click] on the image and save/download the file. It should download the full size; please let me know if it doesn't and I'll fix it.

Merry Christmas!

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Christmas under glass - decorating with mason jars.

Happy December 1st, friends!

Did you stop to take a breath after Thanksgiving?

Or did you dive head-first into Christmas decorating?

It seems like the few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas fly by so quickly, there's barely time to put up the Christmas decorations.  I tell you, a little eggnog latte really helps it along  :-)

I love decorating with mason jars and glass vessels. They really work well for snowy little Christmas scenes and they're so simple to do.

This year I did the very easy tree and epsom salt combo...

Then I decided to use one of my footed glass vessels and put a wee village inside.  The Dollar Store has some great miniature village pieces...churches, little houses, frozen ponds, and adorable bridges.

I picked up a beautiful church...and gave it a misting of my favorite color, Rust-O-Leum Champagne Mist. I tucked the church into my footed vessel with a little bottlebrush tree and some fresh cedar clippings from my garden:
[dollar store church sprayed with champagne mist].
Because I gave it only a light misting, you can still see some of the original colors under the Champagne. I like how it gives it a little more depth and texture than if I'd hard-sprayed it all over.

PS. Oh! That print! It's from the wonderful Noel Chalk Set at the Caravan Shoppe.

Wishing you all a peaceful and blessed Christmas,

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

the Rebel's Thanksgiving - 2014 version.

[Portland, Park Blocks].

I know I might've turned a bunch of you guys off with the post title.

It's really not that serious.

More of a joke between my cousin and myself to deflect the blowback we get by spending Thanksgiving 1,000 miles from the chaos that is dinner with my in-laws.

Let me explain...

My cousin is actually my husband's cousin, she just happens to be a good friend of mine.  A few years ago we decided we'd had it with the chaos and inevitable fights and tears that go down during the family's Thanksgiving get together.  So every year, she flies to Portland for what we've dubbed Rebel Thanksgiving. So named because we get a lot of flak for our choice, while we just smile and nod and secretly plan our super-fun agenda.

Mostly it involves eating our way through the entire city of Portland.
[breakfast at Mother's Bistro, downtown Portland].

Breakfast at Mother's Bistro in downtown Portland is a must. Seriously. You must go if you're ever in town. I recommend the Wild Salmon Hash, it's simply incredible.

If the Winterhawks hockey team is playing at home [yes! they were at home this year]: we take the train to the game, yell ourselves hoarse, and yes, they always win when we go! It's like we're some kind of crazy good luck charm. Or it may have to do with their skill...they've been Western Conference Champions for the last 4 years.
[puck drop at 7pm].

A trip to Powell's is always a good idea. Love this mug I saw there!
[you know that's right].

To work off all the food we eat, a good hike is in order. This year we got soaked at Multnomah Falls, then hiked to the top of Beacon Rock. We barely got off the rock before dark. Whew!
[beacon rock].

Thanksgiving morning we took a beautiful walk through the Park Blocks in downtown Portland. There were still lots of gorgeous yellow leaves on the trees and barely a soul around. It was so peaceful.
[Portland, Park Blocks].

Das boots!

The shining cap is our annual Thanksgiving dinner at Jake's Grill.  My cousin and I probably have 2 drinks a year and this is it  :-)

Wild, I know.
[yay Disaronno!]

This year we added a new member to our Jake's club, my niece who recently moved to Portland.
We were pretty raucous...gee I hope we didn't scare her off!  She doesn't look too appalled in this picture so we might convince her to join us old ladies again next year.
[at Jake's].

I hope you guys had an amazing Thanksgiving too!
Do you have any activities you like to do every year? Like a Turkey Trot?

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

DIY - beautiful bleached pinecones.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, pinecone gathering can be done with your eyes closed.

I mean, they're everywhere.

Since I love decorating with natural elements, I've got a pretty big stash of these guys.

I love them natural, painted...and now bleached!

I first read about bleaching pinecones on Country Living Magazine's website.  Their instructions are wonderful and really basically boils down to this:

Step 1: place pinecones in a glass container; I chose a glass cylinder vase:
[step 1].

Step 2: fill the container 2/3 full with bleach, fill the rest with plain water
Step 3: pinecones float! place something inside your container that will keep those rascals submerged. I used a juice glass:
[step 2 and 3].

Step 4: leave pinecones submerged in the bleach mixture for 24 to 36 hours.  You'll notice I've got mine down in the garage.  No sense smelling that stuff inside the house for 2 days, am I right? Plus yikes you wouldn't want to spill it inside.

Step 5: remove the pinecones and rinse with clean water. the pinecones will be closed up.
Interesting sidenote: even after 36 hours, most of my pinecones still looked pretty dark brown and I'll admit I was disappointed because I thought it hadn't worked. so I left a couple in the bleach mixture for an extra 24 hours and the rest I put in the dryer to dry.

Step 6: dry the pinecones. I have a rack for my clothes dryer so I put them on the rack and ran the dryer on medium, checking on them regularly. After about an hour, they had turned a lovely shade of light tan and had started to open up again:
[step 6].

Step 7: display your beautiful bleached pinecones!

Aren't they the most gorgeous creamy tan color?
Here's a closeup, I love how the tips still have a bit of darker brown on them:

Remember the couple of pinecones that I said I left in the bleach for an additional 24 hours? They did indeed get whiter, but you can see this one came pretty close to disintegrating:
[creamy white pinecone left in bleach an extra day].
So I think I'll stick to the 24-36 hour rule in the future!

Have you tried this project yet? I'd love to hear about it in the Comments below and as always I'm happy to answer any questions you might have.

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Friday, November 14, 2014

a farmhouse Christmas - creating a vignette.

Ok don't hate me.

I know it's still November.

I couldn't help it. I was putting away the Halloween decorations and mine eyes fell upon the Christmas decorations...and I just grabbed one bucket. Just one.

The magic was that bucket held the blue milk glass globes that I scored on clearance from Wisteria last year. But today is your lucky day, because they brought them back again this year!

I thought I'd do something a little different and show you the evolution of my farmhouse Christmas vignette.

For me, farmhouse is natural elements, lots of texture, rubbed and worn wood tones, with just the merest hint of sparkle thrown in for balance...

Ready? Here we go...

First, I placed a tree and a mason jar snow scene on the console table: 

Next came my rustic Target lantern [another clearance score!], filled with simple white glass ornaments:

Added another mason jar snow scene. Can never have enough of those!:

Oh hello Mr. White & Gold Reindeer, aren't you pretty?

Now how about a blue milk glass globe and a twig snowflake:

Every Christmas vignette could use a lovely soft green wreath, and more milk glass globes, right?  You'll see I also flipped Mr. Reindeer to face the other way and moved the twig snowflake down to lean against the lantern:

As of this second, this Christmas vignette is done.

Famous last words.

Who am I kidding? I'm sure I'll be fussing with it for a few more days!

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