Archive for 2013

Cookie Snow Scene Jars (How To Display Christmas Cookies)

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Have you seen all the cute snowy jars everyone is doing around Blogland?  I adore the sweet scenes of little cottages nestled in sugar or salt in jars of all sizes, clustered together on a mantel or shelf. I have seen some that are perfect in their simplicity with just an ornament or a pine bough as the star attraction in the jar, too.  

After icing some cut out cookies the other night, I was looking around my kitchen and thought "How cute would it be to create a little scene in sugar snow in jars with cookies??"  I grabbed my sugar, scouted down some jars of different sizes and literally plopped some cookies in to create miniature forests or fields of snowmen!




Personalized Children's Book Review:Blessings for Molly

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A few months back, I wrote a review for a book called "Owl Will Always Love You" provided by Flatten Me. It was a personalized book specifically made for my little Ellie and she loved it!  It became an instant hit here. So when Flatten Me contacted me about a new book, I jumped at the chance and I'm so glad I did!  "Blessings for Molly" is every bit as sweet and colorful as "Owl Will Always Love You." 


Christmas Home Tour 2013

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All throughout the fall I had visions of my Christmas decorating. It was going to top all other years!  The theme would be sparkle and glitter!  I would ditch all my regular decorations and splurge on some new!  It was going to be all natural!  Hundreds of feet of evergreen roping, natural wreaths hung from every window, applesauce Cinnamon ornaments strung into garlands!  BHG was going to be at.my.door.  And well, let's just say I changed my theme to "Just put stuff up before Valentine's Day."

So in the spirit of easy going decor to fit with my easy going personality (HA HA HA HA HA!!!) here is our home decorated for Christmas. 



Make The Easiest Pillow Ever!

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You all know about my intense love of pillows. I make them constantly and Molly is always complaining about the plethora of pillows around the house. But I can't stop myself!  When I see a pretty fabric, towel, napkin, whatever, I immediately think about how I can turn it into a pillow cover. So when I found some winter napkins at Target last year after the season for $2  a piece I knew they'd be mine and I knew they'd become a pillow cover!  


I'm in the process of sewing two very sparkly pop star dresses for the girls for Christmas and frankly, I'm a bit burned out on sewing. So these had to come together fast.  This is how I made the easiest pillow cover ever.

Iron 2 napkins.



Cut 6-4 inch long lengths of ribbon and pinned them along one edge of each napkin facing in, right sides together. Make sure your ribbons are the same on both napkins. I didn't measure but I did put them on top of each other to make sure the ribbons lined up.



Stitch along each ribbon edge so they were secure. You will do this on each napkin.


Right sides together and ribbons lining up, stitch along the three sides that do not have ribbons.


Clip the corners to get a nicer corner when you turn them right side out. 


Turn the pillow cover right side out and insert your pillow form.  Tie each ribbon into a double knot.


Done!  It took me 15 minutes.  And now I have a little winter glam in my living room!  Happy!


You can check out some of my other pillows too, if you are interested!


In other news, I tweaked my gallery wall. I didn't do major changes but I added some things and moved some other things around. I am growing it over time as I accumulate things that appeal to me. I like how it's evolving.  Ack, the pictures are terrible! Click here for the before image.



I am still trying to get some Christmas pics up on the ole blog. I am in the process of editing the pictures so we'll see if I get them up this week. Hopefully!




Cheers!
Jenny

Tulle and Yarn Christmas Trees Tutorial

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As promised, here is a tutorial to make the pretty yarn and tulle ballerina inspired trees I made to decorate the girls' rooms. I think they came out so sweet, especially the tulle one!  I created Nutcracker inspired vignettes for their rooms and these trees are my favorite part!



There are a million yarn tree tutorials out there and I'm sure mine is the same as many. Still, here is what I did to create the yarn version.

Supplies:  Soft, fluffy yarn, sewing pins, beads, foam tree form


First, I secured the yarn in the form using a pin. I started from the bottom but I guess it doesn't matter.


Wind the yarn around the form, trying to keep the layers as close as possible which isn't easy with a fuzzy yarn.


Keep winding...

When you get to the top, secure the end of the yarn to the form with a pin. Now it's time to decorate!  Thread a pin through a bead like this:


Stick it into the tree!  Repeat oh about a million times. 



Supplies:  Tulle, sewing pins with the colored balls on the end, tree form.

The tulle tree was even easier.  I had tulle from a bolt so I gathered it together and cut it into fourths so it wouldn't be so wide. If you use the spools of tulle you can skip this step.



This time I did start from the top. I gathered the tulle together and pinned it to the form.


I wanted a tutu effect so I bunched it randomly as I wrapped the tulle around the cone. Every time I bunched I secured the tulle with a pin.  I let the tool pop out a bit so it looked frothy and free. You can make it as bunchy or as flat as you like.


Continue bunching and pinning as you wrap until the whole thing is covered. 


You can decorate the top with a star or something if your tree form cone is flat like mine. I decided to leave mine alone since I was happy with how they look. You can't see the top from their dressers so it was no big deal to leave it empty. You do as you want.

Ta Da!  Ballerina inspired trees! 

Cheers!
Jenny

The Nutcracker Inspired Christmas Vignette

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Growing up, one of my favorite holiday traditions was watching The Nutcracker on PBS. It was always the version with Mikhail Baryshnikov and I recall  being enchanted by the ballerinas and confused by guys in tights. "Hee, you can see his butt!" I'm proud to say Molly is also enchanted by the ballet (and confused by the guys in tights). We have a tradition of attending a children's adaptation by a NJ ballet company and this year we are bringing Ellie for the first time. I hope she loves it!
In the spirit of our beloved ballet, I decided to put together a little Christmas vignette in Molly's room with a Nutcracker theme.  I love the soft pinks I used to create two different types of ballet inspired Christmas trees, and the glittery ribbon!
I'll post a tutorial for the trees in the next day or two but they were an easy, one hour project.  I was inspired by the iconic frothy tulle tutus but also those soft, downy sweaters and legwarmers ballerinas wear when warming up.
The Nutcracker is Molly's souvenir from the first year we attended the ballet. The portrait is a black and white of Molly from a recital dress rehearsal. I added a tag that says "while visions of sugar plums danced in our heads." Not an exact quote but I'm not an exact person, right?  I messed up!  LOL!  But she doesn't know or care and neither do I!
I hope you enjoyed a glimpse of our holiday d├ęcor. I'm hoping to post more as I do things. I wish I could be one of those bloggers who has all her Christmas stuff up and ready to go by Thanksgiving but alas, I'm not! 
I am adoring all of your house tours and gift ideas too. This is such a fun time to cruise blogs, isn't it?  Everyone is wearing their blogging finery! 
Cheers!
Jenny

How to Make a Pottery Barn Inspired PEACE Sign

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I am so excited about this project!  I love me some Pottery Barn, especially at Christmas. I love how they don't overdo things. I find their holiday decor subtle as compared to some others. I especially love their holiday PEACE sign!  It is bold and graphic, which isn't usually my Christmas decorating style, and I appreciate that it can stay up all season or forever. Don't we always want peace?  What I didn't want was to pay $129 plus shipping, especially when making my own, using theirs as inspiration, would be easy.


Here's theirs for reference, by the way.

Photo source: Pottery Barn

Not exactly the same but I'm ok with that. It has the same general vibe as PB's and that's cool with me.  Here's how I did it.

1. I purchased a piece of flat pine shelving at Lowes. It was 8 feet long. Try to choose one that isn't riddled with knots or else you'll have to prime, blah blah blah. I chose not to cut it right away and I'll tell you why in a few.

2. I then spray painted it white with just a regular, flat, latex spray paint. I will say that I would have used Heirloom White if I had been able to find it. Instead I just bought white.

3. I printed each letter from my regular old printer. I used Arial font and increased the size to 700.  I think I needed to go bigger.

4. To transfer the letters to the wood, I covered the back with sidewalk chalk in a color I would be able to see clearly against the white. Then I positioned the paper on the board and traced each letter with a pen.  This creates a chalk outline on the board!




 5. Using a bright red paint pen (Painters brand from Walmart) I traced each letter. Once the outline was dry, I used the same marker to fill in each letter. One pen was enough to do the whole sign with touch ups too. 
I wanted to make sure all the letters fit on the board so I cut it after all the letters were painted. We just used a hand saw but you can use a table saw or whatever.




6. After the whole thing is dry, I used my orbital sander to distress the edges and a sanding block to do the middle in different areas. I distressed mine far less than PB's but I am not a huge fan of distressing. You can make your sign in as much distress as you wish.

7. In order to make it look aged like Pottery Barn's, I diluted a very dark stain with water and brushed it over the entire thing, wiping it off immediately.

8. I didn't apply any wax or varnish. It is not going outside but if yours is then you'd want to do something like what I did here to make it more water resistant.  Jim brought up a good point and thought I shouldn't put a top coat on in the event next year there is something else I want to paint onto the board. Good thinkin, Lincoln!

Like I said, I know it isn't exact. But I can fix that by beefing up the letters a little and maybe going over them with a darker red. or not. It looks pretty next to our fireplace so we'll see if I ever do perfect it!

What is inspiring you this Christmas season? 

Cheers!
Jenny

Homemade Cranberry Sauce, It's Not Too Late!

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I know this post may come to you just under the wire for the big meal but seriously, this recipe is so easy that you don't even need to plan. And it is delicious, so much yummier than the canned stuff which I love, by the way.

 I can't take credit for the recipe. I got it from Ocean Spray.  

1. Heat 1 cup of water with 1 cup of sugar in a medium sauce pan until boiling. 

2. Add one bag of cranberries (I think it's approximately 2 cups).

3. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Pour hot mixture into a small holed sieve or food mill if you have one. If you have a food mill, mill the mixture until smooth and most of the cranberries have been pressed.  If you don't have one, use a sieve over a bowl.


Use a spoon to press the pulp against the sieve. Every so often use the spoon to scrape the underside of the sieve.



5. Give it a stir. Isn't the color gorgeous?  It literally glistens like rubies. So pretty and festive.
 

6/ Discard the solids left in the sieve and pour the warm sauce into jars or molds. Chill until firm.

It is so yummy!  I have one in the fridge chillin' in a mold so if it comes out nicely, I'll post that pic!  


Enjoy your meal!
Jenny