Monthly Archives: December 2012

Winterizing my Home with Seasonal Decor

The Holidays have now come & gone; and even though it’s just a couple days after Christmas, some people don’t waste any time taking down their tree and packing their stockings & snowmen back in storage. It’s understandable if your once plush pine is now shedding needles, but since my tiny twig tree doesn’t have that issue, I think I’ll keep it up for a little while longer. In fact, I really like the redecorating I’ve done this season. I put up a Christmas tree every year, but this year, I must have had a bit more Christmas cheer because I put a little more effort into decorating my home for the Holidays.

Between the tiny trinkets stuffed in my stocking, the treasures I’ve found during the day after Christmas sale (I’ll touch on that next), or ornaments on top of gifts, every year I accumulate more & more Holiday décor. Since the seasonal stuff I have doesn’t quite coordinate, I’ve decorated my home similar to how you would merchandise a store – every shelf is something different and each little cluster has a concept that carries it through. Here’s a look at how I Winterized my home this year to “keep the Spirit on Scott Street”…

Urban Outfitters Silver Tinsel Christmas Tree

I retired the silver tinsel tree that’s been my Christmas tree in the past in exchange this…my Charlie Brown Christmas tree! A few weeks ago I shared with you how I made my own Christmas tree out of branches I picked up in the park (to read that post click here). I love it so much I might not take it down. I’ll just swap out the Christmas ornaments with the next holiday’s trim and keep it up all year long!

Seasonal Decor: My Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

My true love didn’t give me 7 swans-a-swimming, 6 geese-a-laying, 4 calling birds, 3 French hens, 2 turtle doves or a partridge in a pear tree during the 12 days of Christmas; but the old sheet music “song birds” I received last year make the perfect pair. Along with my vintage paisley silk scarf and collection of silver mercury glass, one must always “Believe” in the miracle of Christmas.

Seasonal Decor: Silver Mercury Glass and Vintage Song Birds

Seasonal Decor: Silver Mercury Glass and Vintage Song Birds

Seasonal Decor: Believe in the Miracle of Christmas

“Santa’s Little Helpers” – Next to my CB2 silver candle holders, my little nephew makes the cutest Christmas elf. Crate & Barrel knit ceramic vases are an added textural touch.

Seasonal Decor: CB2 Elf Candle Holders & Cable Knit Ceramic Vases

“Frosty & Friends” – I received my family of crochet snowmen from my grandmother last Christmas. Handmade gifts from the heart make the best gifts of all!

Seasonal Decor: Handmade Crochet Snowmen

Among my Anthropologie rolled paper garland and glittery gold pine cones, my gold mercury glass candles (especially when lit) add a glimmer of hope during the Holiday season.

Seasonal Decor: Newspaper Garland, Glittery Pine Cones, & Gold Mercury Glass

Seasonal Decor: Newspaper Garland, Glittery Pine Cones, & Gold Mercury Glass

“Walking in a Winter Wonderland” – Some may say my felted wool tree from Anthropologie looks like an upside-down mop head, but I love it. It’s a subtle wintertime touch; and together with my pussy willows & peacock feathers, it makes the perfect place to cozy up on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa and read my book of love poems by Pablo Neruda.

Seasonal Decor: Anthropologie Felted Wool Christmas Tree

“Deck the Walls with Balls of Jolly” – I strung my colorful fabric garland from Crate & Barrel and tied multi-colored ornaments from my lace curtains. I’ll admit – at first it was fun to stringing my little Christmas balls randomly among the lace, but when I was still doing it an hour later I lost a little of my cheer. Still, I love walking in the door and seeing the vibrate decoration in my floor-to-ceiling windows with the city lights of Chicago peeking through from behind.

Seasonal Decor: Colorful Garland & Christmas Bulbs Window Decor  Seasonal Decor: Colorful Garland & Christmas Bulbs Window Decor

Seasonal Decor: Colorful Garland & Christmas Bulbs Window Decor

How do you get in the spirit of the season? Are you the type of person who turns on Christmas carols the day after Thanksgiving while you decorate your home for the Holidays? Or are you an Ebenezer Scrooge and avoid Christmas altogether?

DIY: My Colorful Candy Mansion

A fond memory of Christmas growing up as a child was making gingerbread houses in Sunday school. Pounds of powdered sugar frosting were mixed up to use as cement while cups of candy served as our supplies. In an hour, we would transform our graham cracker spec houses into colorful candy mansions – an M&M cobblestone pathway that lead up a grand Hershey’s chocolate double door, Fruit Stripe bubble gum shutters that border bright Starburst windows, and strands of Skittles that were deemed Christmas lights for decoration. While snowmen Peeps and frosted Waffle cone trees light up with colorful sprinkles fill the snow covered yard, a salted-pretzel fence bordered the back yard. The options were endless and the construction was left entirely up to our creativity.

Gingerbread House Candy

Gingerbread House Candy

Gingerbread House Candy

Fond memories indeed! Of sneaking a finger full of frosting and a couple pieces of candy here and there (well, more than a couple I’ll admit). I went by the rule – one for the house…one for my mouth :) I looked back in my photo album as a kid and here are a couple of the houses I constructed growing up…

My Gingerbread House as a Kid

My Gingerbread House as a Kid

It was so much fun for us as kids that we’ve decided to continue on with the tradition as a family. When we all come home for Christmas, we fill the kitchen table with all kinds of candy and together spend the afternoon as architects – creating our very own candy land.

Making Gingerbread Houses - 2011

Making Gingerbread Houses - 2011Christmas 2011

Even though I’m 26, I still go by my rule – one for the house…one for my mouth. Only now, instead of running around like an energetic seven year-old with a sugar-high, you can find me lying on the couch suffering from a stomach ache. I really shouldn’t complain; I’ll continue making candy houses every year until they stop making the sugary treats…or I develop diabetes – but let’s hope for neither!

If you’d like to make your own candy covered gingerbread house, here’s how I make mine…

          1.   Mix up the cement a.k.a. frosting.

          The Recipe:

  • 1 lb. powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 4 tbsp. milk
  • Combine and beat with an electric mixer. You may have to add a little more milk to achieve a thick, pasty consistency.

       2.   Construct the house. Using the frosting to secure it, cover a cardboard milk carton (or a small carton of whipping cream) with graham crackers and allow the structure to dry for several hours.

Gingerbread House Foundation

           3.   Make your house your home. Whether you want to fill the foundation with your favorite candies or make a realistic rendition using chocolate shingles and Candy Cane shutters – you are the designer, so decorate as your heart desires!

Candy Gingerbread House Decorating

Gingerbread House 2012

Gingerbread House 2012

Gingerbread House 2012

          4.   Enjoy! Candy-covered gingerbread houses make a great centerpiece…and if you get a little hungry, just sneak a piece of sugar from the house :)

Gingerbread House 2012 (4)Christmas 2012

Have fun! And maybe you can make this a tradition of your own…just try not to let the tummy ache you get afterwards become a tradition too :)

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you were all able to enjoy the holidays with the loved ones in your life!

Engraved Name Tags: Personalize a Present…Then Wear it as a Pendant

If you look close at yesterday’s post, you’ll notice that on top of my unique way of wrapping, I also made my own name tags to personalize my presents. Last year I created my own To: and From: tags with my rubber stamp set; and this year I followed suit with my new metal engraving set.

Rubber Stamped Name Tags

I bought this alphabet & number set off Amazon.com a few weeks ago and have been engraving things ever since. The 36-piece set was a very reasonable price (only about $15.00) and the small pendants I used came in a packet of 4 or 5 (for around $3.00).

Metal Engraving Set

Creative Christmas Wrapping - Engraved Name Tags   Creative Christmas Wrapping - Engraved Name Tags

Creative Christmas Wrapping - Engraved Name Tags

Creative Christmas Wrapping - Engraved Name Tags

In the case of my Christmas tags, I figured, not only will they identify whose present is whose; but after all the gifts are unwrapped, the ID tag can be used for something else. It could hang decoratively from a picture frame, be used as a key-chain, or worn as a pendant on a chain necklace.

Engraved Name Pendant as Decor   Engraved Name Tag on Keychain

Engraved Name Pendant on Necklace

As you can see – it’s a fun & easy way to add a personal touch to almost anything! I advise you invest in one of these and I promise you…you’ll be labeling everything (including the engraving set itself) before you know it. Enjoy!

Creative Gift Wrapping Ideas for Underneath the Christmas Tree

‘Tis the season of giving!

Not only do I love searching for the perfect presents to give the special people in my life, but I also I love taking the time to wrap my gifts so they look pretty under the Christmas tree. I’m not really into the traditional Santa Clause or shiny snowman wrapping paper; so instead, this year, I went to town with a roll of white paper and a ball of yarn. Check out the creative creations I put underneath the Christmas tree…

Creative Christmas Wrapping with Yarn   Creative Christmas Wrapping with Yarn

Creative Christmas Wrapping with Yarn

First I wrapped all of my gifts with blank white paper and then I topped them off with different designs using bright red yarn.  One box I topped with an intricate basket weave, while another a plaid pattern. The smallest gift was simply tied with a big braided cord. (Making the braided cord however – was not so simple; my multiple strands of yarn kept getting tangled, so I called it quits early and thankfully had a strand long enough to make it around the box) I somehow created a cute little yarn button for one and made fun pom-pom poofs for a couple others.

Creative Christmas Wrapping with Yarn (3)

Creative Christmas Wrapping - Plaid Yarn

Creative Christmas Wrapping with Yarn

Creative Christmas Wrapping - Braided Yarn Cord

Creative Christmas Wrapping - Yarn Button

Creative Christmas Wrapping - Yarn Pom-Pom Poof

This unique method allows for an endless amount of possibilities when wrapping your presents. If you haven’t already wrapped the gifts you bought I suggest you try one of these; not only is it fun for you, but I bet your loved ones will be captivated by your creativity and Christmas cheer!

Creative Christmas Gift Wrapping

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Roses Are Red and I’m Feeling Blue…Maybe This Will Do?

While mourning the loss of my mustard yellow sweatshirt dress I thought a little retail therapy might help cheer me up.

Missing Diesel Kasumi Dress(Thanks, someone, for the kind note…I hope I get it back too!)

It worked…a little. I took a trip to the Free People boutique on Southport Ave. and came across a couple good finds in the sale section.

Free People Boutique - Southport Ave., Chicago

One of the things I found was this Wildfox Couture blue vintage floral print graphic sweatshirt…

Wildfox Couture Vintage Rose Graphic Print Sweatshirt

The one and only bright blue cotton basic stood out on the sale rack that was filled with the typical dull, dark winter hues. Since it’s a size large and has a naturally oversized silhouette, the sweatshirt is more of a dress on me; but, it was the last one and I figure – I tend to wear things a bit baggy anyways, so oh well. Plus, this replacement piece was only $29.95, originally $148.00! Score!!!

The comfy casual top doesn’t quite fill the void I feel for my first sweatshirt dress that’s still MIA…but for now, I suppose it will do. The “retail gods” must have known how much work went into getting the Diesel dress (and how much I miss it),  so they went easy on me this time around. :)

Wildfox Couture One of a Kind Vintage Rose Sweatshirt(Oh, Wildfox Couture sweatshirt, I want our love to last forever too…or at least longer than my Diesel dress did!)

Channeling the same styling notions I did when I put together outfits with my original, here are a couple copycat looks I styled for a causal day out-and-about in my new sweatshirt dress…

Old

Diesel Kasumi Sweatshirt Dress styled with Leggings & Bloomers

(Left) A layered look – with my Anthropologie ‘Eye Dazzler’ Navajo print scarf and a pair of black leggings. (Right) A playful look – with my Free People ivory lace-trim silk bloomers peaking out from underneath the Diesel dress and a couple long, layered necklaces.

New

Wildfox Couture Vintage Rose Sweatshirt styled with Leggings, Fur Collar & Olive Beanie

I winterized the Wildfox Couture sweatshirt by accessorizing it with an Anthropologie olive, studded knit beanie (the shade pulls from the rose stem on the shirt), an H&M faux fur collar, and ivory sweater socks inside Steve Madden grey leather boots.

Wildfox Couture Vintage Rose Sweatshirt styled with Bloomers

Again with the Free People ivory lace-trim silk bloomers peaking out from underneath the sweatshirt, worn with my cognac Minnetonka Moccasin fringe lace-up suede boots.

Wildfox Couture Vintage Rose Sweatshirt styled with Textured Leggings

I texturized the look by pairing the naturally slubbed soft cotton sweatshirt with Free People charcoal & taupe textured leggings and Steve Madden suede & leather riding boots.

Have you ever tried to find a replacement for something you once loved to wear? It’s just not the same, is it?