Posts Tagged ‘Holidays’

If you’re still shopping, consider stopping by a consignment shop to find unique gifts for just about anyone. Use platters and soup tureens to hold delicious homemade cookies, store-bought scones from  your favorite bakery, or wrap up a collection of your favorite jams.
A couple of weeks ago, I did some holiday shopping at one of my favorite stores here in town. Twin Elm Farm is a group shop that is filled with all kinds of goodies including antiques, vintage-inspired items, handmade items, and gifts of every size, color, and price tag. I had my eye on a beautiful black chest of drawers, a cloth purse, several glass blown ornaments, and a few other last minute stocking stuffers I can’t post about (Shhh). I walked out with the ornaments and stocking stuffers. We’ll see what Santa leaves me under the tree.

What I love most about this store is the ever changing displays.The mix of old and new is always a pleasing way to embellish various items. Throw in a few organic (whether real or faux) materials, and it all comes to life. Some consigners come and go, while my favorites keep stocking their shelves with interesting and unique finds. Not all rooms are alike, and just like in conventional retail stores, it really does make a difference in how you display merchandise. I was itching to get my hands on some of the displays just to spruce them up a bit.

Here are some of my favorites to inspire your holiday décor.

Containers of every kind make great holiday gifts. They can be used as vases for flowers, to hold candy canes, or even candles. And ornaments always make a great gift. Pillows and throws in mad about you plaid will look lovely in anyone’s winter home. Holiday decorations themselves make a great gift. A beautiful wreath, a small tree, even berry branches (real or faux) can be used all winter long. And don’t forget the container (like the boxes below and the silver pieces above, as mentioned) are gifts all on their own. Fill them with small goodies and tie them all up in ribbon-tied jingle bells.

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Simple things you can do to make your home merry and bright this holiday season. Like this hot chocolate station. I have a jar of candy canes in a glass hurricane on my kitchen counter for anyone to grab for a quick treat or to use as a stirrer for just about any drink you can think of. Check out this easy recipe for hot chocolate here. (Great gift idea: Set of mugs, homemade hot chocolate mix, cellophane bags each filled with candy canes, mini marshmallows, chocolate kisses, and/or sprinkles.)

Snow globe tutorial can be found over at Pink Pistachio. You don’t even need electric lights. Place a grouping on a table with candles and watch the magic happen. I use kosher salt sprinkled or mixed with white glitter for my snow.

Homemade edible glitter. Use it to top cupcakes or sprinkle it around a cheese platter.

What’s Christmas without cookies? These adorable gingerbread men are even gluten-free. Find the recipe on All Day I Dream About Food.

Don’t forget to deck out your car when you’re decking the halls. I have a wreath with a pretty red bow on my bumper.

Homemade ornaments. These lovely trees are easily made from copies of sheet music (tea-dyed if you’d like) cut into tree shapes and painted with glittery edges. Top with a pretty bow and you’re done. Makes a great gift tag too!

Movie night…and make mine a classic. I know it’s long, but how can you not watch It’s a Wonderful Life at Christmastime? Throw in a bowl of popcorn, turn on the Christmas lights and I’m there.

Images not credited via houzz.comjohnlewis.com, its a stamp thing


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Thanksgiving falls on the last Thursday of the month this year, so we now have extra time to plan our table settings and our menu. As a book lover, I fell in love with this photo. I use books all the time to decorate and a dining room table or sideboard is no exception. Select books with autumnal-colored spines or choose a theme and set out books with relevant topics. Use them as pedestals for all kinds of decorations.

A wooden bowl or trug (basket) can hold a variety of things, but I think these persimmons are especially pleasing as a centerpiece. Their vibrant orange color works well when you mix in other goodies. Using everyday objects to decorate your holiday table is as easy as filling a teapot with a small bouquet of mums. Fruits and nuts not only make lovely decorations, they can also become part of the meal. Pass around the cheese platter after dinner and enjoy. Pumpkins are always welcomed on Thanksgiving, but who says they have to be orange? Paint or gilt (gold or silver) a collection of sugar pumpkins and then wrap them in bittersweet.

Nature once again makes the best decorations. I’m just nuts about nuts. My preferred variety? Hazelnuts. I love to fill bowls or glass cylinders with or without candles. My mother-in-law just gave me a bag of cranberries picked straight from the bog. Although I know I’ll need to buy more from the store, these cranberries are extra special to me and I’ll put them to good use. Grab those remaining leaves and preserve them to use as place cards.

More Thanksgiving inspiration: Thanksgiving Table Settings, Vintage: Bringing Back the Relish Tray, and Cranberries. Enjoy!

Kim Merritt – http://beautifullivingstyle.blogspot.com/
Images via marthastewart.com, Confessions of a Plate Addict, potterybarn.com, interiorsbystudiom.com

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We’ve just had our third frost of the year. The leaves are scattered on the lawn and there is a definite nip in the air. Soon the house will be un-haunted and my harvest decorations will make an appearance. I was inspired by some of the photos I posted to my Pinterest board and I wanted to share some thoughts and ideas on how you too can cozy up your home for fall.

We are fortunate to have an abundance of birch trees here in New Hampshire. I like to use the fallen trees on my property as props. I have a large branch that I use on my porch which I sometimes cover in white lights. I also cut up a tree or two and use the logs as hearth decorations in the warmer months when the fireplaces are no longer in use. But I think my favorite way to use these trees is to cut small logs and then hollow them out to use as containers just like you see in the top left photo above. Simply cut a hole into the center as wide as you’d like and then insert a waterproof container inside. (You can use them as a vases or candleholders.)

Also I’m not a huge wreath fan, but I do like to use them in creative ways. I’m drawn to this berry wreath because of the addition of the letter (cut from sturdy cardstock or thin plywood depending on how protected the door is and then painted), and simple decoration. You could even choose red berries instead and hang it on your door straight through Christmas.

My sister-in-law brought me some Ponderosa pine cones from her tip out west years ago. My collection sits in a half-round basket that hangs on my kitchen wall and I use the rest for decoration. I sit one on top of a candlestick, I use them to hide the Christmas tree base, and I tuck them into my living room bookcase. They are works of art all own their own.

I really want to mix up my Thanksgiving table this year and the photo on the bottom right above is my inspiration. I already have the rattan chargers, the garden statuary, and my Spode turkey plates, now I just have to pull together some other key elements that will combine red, orange, and gold together. These vintage leaf plates from Etsy will do the trick. (Take a look at a few other Thanksgiving table decorations here.)

Nature will always inspire my decorating regardless of the season. I like lots of texture so anytime I can bring something outdoors in, I do. When creating any type of table setting, it’s best to layer a variety of different materials (shapes, sizes, colors) together. If you don’t have rattan chargers, why not use some grapevine to wrap around your dishes. You could even use a grapevine wreath if you find the right size and if it doesn’t happen to be growing wild in your backyard. Dried leaves, branches, berries, pumpkins, gourds…these are just a few of the things that you can use to add style to your fall home and for very little money. And I’m wild about hazelnuts. I use them as filler in decorative dishes, and in glass hurricanes surrounding a candle or two.

Kimberly Merritt – http://beautifullivingstyle.blogspot.com/

images via stylemepretty.com, etsy.com, frenchcountrycottage.blogspot.com, homeiswheretheboatis.wordpress.com, stonegable.blogspot.com, pin4fun8634.blogspot.com, ruthdent.blogspot.com, thefullerview.tumblr.com

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Ok, so this isn’t really about decorating with Fruitcake…I just thought it was a funny title.

But, in some countries, a Fruitcake is both a decoration and a gift; given with pride – a dense, rich, time-consuming cake, made lovingly, months in advance, and enjoyed as a special treat on Christmas day. However, where I live, it is a metaphor for something vile; given to people you really don’t like, and then passed on again – a gift that is perceived as old, inexpensive and filled with unidentified fruity objects.
My point being, that we are all different. If you spend a bit of time thinking before you buy, you will be less stressed, your gifts will be appropriate and the money you spend becomes more manageable.
Some people don’t celebrate the Holidays, and some just don’t like to give gifts, but sometimes you just need to do it…Call it whatever you like (obligation?) but at this time of year you will probably be invited somewhere where you need to take a gift.
If you are not going to drive to the mall, or bake a batch of your famous, best-ever cookies, then my solution is to hit the supermarket. The only caveat with this type of shopping is to wrap it with care; don’t take it in the plastic supermarket bag, with the receipt and price tag still attached. And, buy imported things if you can – the packaging is different, and it can make an ordinary item feel a bit more special.
With that out of the way, here are some good gifts that can be picked up on your way home for about $20.

Hostess Gift:
(tasteful, edible, re-giftable)
Sparkling, non-alcoholic, wine or cider and a box of truffles.
A Christmas plant (poinsettia etc).
If you know someone likes wine, find a bottle with an unusual, seasonal or funny label.
Specialty Christmas blend of Organic Coffee, or gift box of Teas (Twinings, Bigelow etc).

(personal, useful, indulgent)
Warm, fuzzy socks, cocoa and shortbread cookies (Walkers).
Moisturizer, lip balm, cuticle cream etc in a decorative tin/package that is more of a splurge than a regular buy (Burts Bees etc).
Nice gloves and a scarf.
Good quality scented candles in a jar (gingerbread, vanilla, apple etc) Soy candles are gentler, if you can find them.
Several large bars of Chocolate tied up with a big ribbon.

(fun/funny, colorful, creative)
Drawing pad, stickers and pencils/markers/crayons.
Brownie mix, bowl, toppings and mixing spoons.
Deck of cards/UNO and mini games from the stationery aisle.
A funny calendar or book.
Old fashioned Silly (or fart) putty.
Their favorite food, or candy.

No matter what you buy for people, it needn’t be expensive or stressful. Write some ideas before you go, allow yourself time to look around, and buy something that you really think they would like (fruitcake optional…)

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/

Photograph and recipe from the ever beautiful and practical, BBC Good Food Magazine.

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