A Rustic-Glam Christmas

This year, the theme of our Christmas decorations is "rustic-glam." Think of it like shabby chic, but not quite as frilly. I wanted to combine rustic, outdoorsy elements with pretty, sparkly details. (A little for both of us, right??)  It sounds like a bit of a stretch to mesh these two ideas, but I do think the end result is fairly elegant, and not too over-the-top.
This is my first year decorating with a theme in mind, and I truly enjoyed it. It allowed me to thoughtfully consider each item of decor, rather than throwing up anything and everything that was Christmasy. I hope you like it too! Since there are still parts of our home that I want to tweak, I'm going to show you each space over time. Today I want to share our new entry hall table (aka, our stand-in mantle place).
Sadly, our apartment does not have a fireplace, and by extension no mantle (on which to decorate or to hang our stockings with care...). This is the first time that I have a surface large enough to create a "mantle-esque" display. Since mantles are usually the focal point of the room, I feel that our table will suffice; it is certainly the first thing you see when you walk into our apartment, and it sets the tone for the rest of our home's decor.
I used many elements from around our home to create this vignette. I started with a large mercury glass vase. (You may remember this one from my recent Home Goods excursion.) I arranged some glittery branches that I purchased at Michael's (50% off!) and then added some sparkly baubles to the branches. I used lots of silver and gold Christmas balls of various sizes (you can get these anywhere for cheap-cheap). I also added some (free) mini pine cones and some Dollar Store snowflakes.

My favorite part of this arrangement would have to be the "crystals" (which are actually acrylic). I found these on the floor of The Room of Requirement, left over from an old broken chandelier. I used a little windex to shine them up and added them to my tree.

While my tree may be the centerpiece of this "mantle-scape," the supporting characters are just as important. Off-white candles on various-sized glass candlesticks and mercury glass votive holders complete the look. I've had my glass candleholders for a while. I came across them at various stores, including Pier One and Home Goods.

 The mercury glass votive holders are also easy to find. I've purchased different sizes at places like Anthropologie, Target, and Michael's. All of them are pretty cheap (around $1 - $5) and oh-so-sparkly!

Lastly, as you can see in the background, I added some faux garland and twinkling lights (battery-operated, since our closest outlet is the kitchen!). The garland is a stand-in until we get our Christmas tree, and I can add some real clippings. 

So that's the beginning of our rustic-glam holiday decor. There's much more to share (including a very special project made by my hubs!) What do you think?? Any themed holiday decor happening at your house?



Blingy White Christmas Tree

In the spirit of decorating for the holidays, and having a little more time on my hands this past week (Thank you, Thanksgiving Break!), I decided to make a little faux tree for our home. Since our real tree's ETA is still a week away (sigh...), this little one should suffice for now...  As you may know, feather trees and scalloped trees are quite popular right now. Here are a couple that I really like:
This one is from Anthropologie priced at $18.
These are from West Elm, priced from $31 - $63.

Not wanting to spend much for my own little tree, I was excited when I found this project, posted on Nuestra Vida Dulce. Instead of using feathers, Joi used ribbon to create her trees. I picked up 2 spools of ribbon for $3 and a cardboard cone for $2.50 from Michaels.

I cut up my ribbon into 2 inch pieces.  I snipped the bottom of each piece with an asymmetrical zig-zag pattern.
Then I fired up the old glue gun and set to work assembling my tree. I started at the bottom and worked my way around the base before moving up the tree.
I overlapped my pieces, just a tad, so that the cardboard tree didn't show through. Working my way up the tree, I added some pieces of gold ribbon, here and there, to give it a little more bling bling than a monochromatic tree.
When I reached the top, I went back and filled any patchy-looking spots with more ribbon.
Ta-da! It was a pretty simple project and for $5.50 (and an hour of time), I'm the proud owner of a nice little feather-esque tree.

(If you are going to try this project at home, I recommend buying at least 7 yards of ribbon to adequately cover your tree.)

So, anyone else being crafty crafty for Christmas?? Do tell!

To-Do List, Revisited

Unfortunately, Thanksgiving Break is Over (with a capital O). Actually, it's not that sad because..... Christmas is coming! Anyway, I feel like I had a very productive break.
Let's revisit my pre-break to-do list and see how I did, shall we?

  1. Finish hall cabinet-turned-console table
  2. Finish our headboard *
  3. Try this DIY project
  4. Make mashed potatoes for 20 people (It's my first time making a Thanksgiving dish, I'm growing up!)
  5. Clean and put away all Fall decor
  6. Decorate for Christmas
  7. Find a cute (simple!) song for my students to preform in our winter assembly. 
  8. Paint the step stool my father-in-law made for me. 
We finished our console table last weekend and have been loving the new look (and tons of storage) it has been providing for us!
I did successfully make mashed potatoes for the large crowd at my family's Thanksgiving. 
We took down all our fall decor on Black Friday, packed it up into boxes, and whisked it away to our storage closet. (Goodbye blue pumpkin....)
I did start (and finish) my Christmas decorating on Black Friday. This was not without some frustration. To give you an idea, this is how my lovely husband decided to pack up our snowflakes from last year. Can you guess who won't be doing that job this January??
Although not originally on the list, I found time to make these fun coasters for some holiday gifts we are working on. 
As for the song for my students, I decided we'll be singing Rudolph this year. It was a pretty easy choice: the words are fairly simple, I happen to own a Raffi CD of the song, and I'm sure my kids will look absolutely adorable in little reindeer hats we'll make next week! 
* Now onto the headboard... I actually did do this project, but I'm afraid to say, it was an epic fail. Seriously... it looks like my 5-year-old students made it... So, until I think up an appropriate solution to my headboard situation, no pictures!
So, the only thing I didn't get to was painting my step stool. (Sorry Bob!)

Besides completing numerous projects, Nick and I got to spend lots of time with each other, we visited with our families, had a fun night with good friends, put up Christmas lights at our building, saw Harry Potter, did some Christmas shopping, and had numerous turkey sitings...

All in all, it was a productive break. I'll be back later this afternoon to post pictures and a quick DIY of the art project I completed this break. 

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving Break as well!


A (Holi)day in the Life of Nick and Jessica

Good morning!  I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving. We certainly did, although it was definitely a busy one! I thought I'd share  with you the excitement that is our third married Thanksgiving together.
8:30am. We are up and out the door for a freezing cold run around our neighborhood (Okay, I know I'm a wimpy Californian, but there was most definitely frost on the ground!). We had another sighting of our three feathered friends, out for an early morning walk around the neighborhood.
9:10am. We finish our run at Starbucks, down the road from us, on the quest for some much needed caffeine to fuel our busy day. After this pit stop, we walk home with Louie.
10:15am. After showering and getting ready, we make the 20 minute drive over to my parents' home for a family breakfast of pumpkin coffee cake. Wouldn't you know, when we drive up, we spot 20 more turkeys in my parents' driveway! There's no mistaking- this is definitely Turkey Day! 
While we're at my parents', we also admire my mom's beautiful Thanksgiving decor and snap a few family pictures. 
{Kent ladies}
{The men in plaid}

Nick also spends time fixing my brother's phone. (He's the technology fix-it guy in our family). 
12:00pm. It's time for the Turkey Bowl; an annual football game and potluck with Nick's childhood family friends. Since, Nick and I went to Kindergarten together, I vaguely remember some of the people in this group from 20 years ago... More good food and conversation ensue. Also, the hosts of this event live in a house that backs up to the beautiful Open Space hills, so the scene from their backyard is always breathtaking. 
1:15pm. Nick and I make the drive back through the tunnel to Oakland. Nick plays some Wii Mario and hangs out with our babies.

I make mashed potatoes for 25 people.

(Note: Mashed potatoes for 25  fill two huge crock pots and must be made in 3 batches because nothing in my kitchen is big enough to hold that many potatoes at one time!)
3:00pm. We get ready again and head back through the tunnel to Nick's parents' house, for the start of their Thanksgiving meal. Susie, my mother-in-law, did a beautiful job with her Thanksgiving table setting. I love the fall leaves and the gorgeous fall-inspired bouquets. 

4:00pm. Nick's extended family arrives. We enjoy drinks and appetizers and catching up with all the relatives.  Nick also spends time downloading baby pictures from his mom's phone to her computer (like I said- technology man).
5:00pm. We say our goodbyes and carry our 2 huge crock pots back to the car. We drive the one mile over to my parents house for my family's Thanksgiving. As always, it a loud, cheerful, and delicious event.  There are two turkeys, two kinds of stuffing, three vegetables, homemade rolls, two kinds of cranberry sauce, probably 8 bottles of wine, and 6 unique desserts. (My mom's beautiful table scape leaves little room for all this food, so everything served from a side table.)

8:15pm. By this time we are suitably tired and stuffed. (Can you tell?? These are our tired-I'm-ready-to-go-home smiles...)
8:30pm. We finally get out the door, having said goodbye and hugged everyone. We begin our drive home. As it is a holiday, our drive back through the tunnel is traffic-y, turning the usual 20 minute drive into a 35 minute one. 
9:15pm. We throw our leftovers in the fridge and bundle up for a quick walk down to the Lake with Lucy. We walk past the newly erected Christmas tree lot, which gets me excited thinking about all the decorating in store for Christmas!
10:30pm. As we fall asleep on the couch, watching a documentary about White House photographers (I know, we're so cool), we decide to head to bed, putting an end to our third Thanksgiving together. 

No Black Friday sales for us today- It's D-day (Decorating Day) at the Reisfelts'!.

So, how did you spend your Turkey Day? Leave us a comment and let us know! 

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