christmas home tour 2011

I had big plans of showing each room of our home, decorated in its Christmas finest over the season... but somehow that didn't happen! So in light of the fast approaching holiday (can't believe Christmas is only 2 days away!) I decided to inundate the blog with any and all left over photos of our Christmasy home. I had fun decorating the not-so-new apartment for the first time and tried not to go over the top! (PS: my favorite is having stairs to decorate this year!) Without further ado, here it is:
merry, merry christmas and lots of love this holiday weekend!
xo jess, nick, lucy, and henry  


brown paper packages tied up with string

These are a few of my favorite things...
Following the tradition I began last year, I decided to wrap all my Christmas presents with brown kraft paper. Why? Well, it's cheaper to buy two rolls of brown paper than multiple rolls of Christmas paper. I also like the monochromatic look and brown paper is the perfect palette to dress up your presents just a little. I bought several sheets of patterned scrapbook paper, some gold glitter gift tags, and a ball of brown and white striped yarn. 
First, I wrapped up all my boxes in brown paper and tied each with a string. I found a reindeer silhouette via google search and used it to trace tons of tiny reindeer onto the scrapbook paper. Then I cut them out and glued a reindeer to each package. It was an easy and fun wrapping project- finished during one Christmas movie session! 


reindeer games

Back before Thanksgiving, I had the plan to update our couch with a holiday pillow or two. After searching Pinterest, I spied this idea and knew it was perfect for me! I wanted to make a pillow that was Christmasy, without being too over-the-top. I also decided this would be a perfect Christmas gift for several of my good friends. So I gathered my supplies and got to work during Thanksgiving break. Here's what I used: 2 5X5 canvas drop clothes, several colorful scraps of fabric, iron on transfer paper, and 16 inch pillow forms. 
First, I cut the drop clothes into 18X18 inch squares. Then I free-handed a reindeer onto a extra piece of card stock (aka the back of an Anthropologie catalogue), to use as a stencil. 
Next I ironed on the transfer paper to the back of each of the fabrics, which makes it stiff and easy to work with, like so:
Then I traced my reindeer stencil onto the back of the transfer paper, and cut out each deer. 
Next, I peel back the paper on the back and ironed my deer on to the center of each drop cloth square. 
From here on out, I had a bit lot of help from my mom. She sewed around the outside of each deer, to make sure they stayed put on the pillow.  Then I just sewed up each side to finish up the pillow. This project has a lot of steps, but none of it is hard work, as long as you have an experienced sewer on hand (thanks Mom!). 


christmas cookie

Last Sunday I hosted our annual cookie party. This four year tradition was started by my mom when we moved back to California. It's a great way to amass tons of delicious holiday cookies, perfect for  gifting or eating. This year we had a smaller-than-usual turnout, but that didn't stop the ladies from bringing their finest! I made two types of cookies, from my go-to holiday cookie recipe site. I made Cranberry Noels and Iced Thumbprint Cookies.
My mom and I assembled some simple appetizers and fun champagne drinks for the mid afternoon party.
Everyone brought beautiful cookies to share. We had a great variety; peppermint cookies, cherry and macadamia nut, mini pecan pies, carmel apple, and snicker-doodles to name a few! 
As a fun parting gift, I wrapped up these cute little cookie turners.


pinecone tree

I showed you our entry table, complete with snow globes, trees, and plenty of faux snow! After putting out my ribbon tree from last year, I felt it looked a little lonely - like it could use a buddy... so I decided to make another tree this year. Instead of going the same blingy route as last year, I decided that a rustic tree would complete Mr. White and Gold perfectly. I envisioned something with sticks or wood of some sort. Then my clever hubby suggest pinecones. We bought a cheap bag of pinecones and the cardboard cone at Michaels. Then I set to work pulling apart the pinecones (not so easy...). After a few scrapes and pokes from the prickly pinecones, I had a bowl full of pieces to use for the tree. I started at the bottom and worked my way up to the top of the cone, going around the circle. Then I went back and filled in wherever I saw cardboard peeking through. This little craft only took about an hour, and would have been even quicker, had those pinecones been more agreeable. I love the rustic new addition to the tree family.


a tale of anthro, martha, and lots of glitter

Let me tell you the story of how we made our Christmas snow globes. My inspiration first came from Anthropologie.com where I spied these snow globes in their holiday section. I had every intention of making similar globes for our home. After a visit to the store, I was a little disappointed to find that their snow globes did not contain water- just faux snow at the bottom of the jar. I decided to modify their version to include water. And that's where Martha came in. I read her tutorial for homemade snow globes and assembled the necessary supplies. 
I purchased little bottle brush trees from Michaels, cheap jars in a variety of sizes from World Market and Michaels.  I also got a few small ornaments to throw into the globes. Luckily (being a Kindergarten teacher) I happened to have gigantic jars of glitter, just laying around.  The other items we needed were: glycerin, distilled water,  and clear drying epoxy.
You can read Martha Stewart's directions in more detail here, but this is how we did it. 
First, we used a clear drying epoxy to glue down the tree and various odds and ends to the lid of the jars. The size of each jar's opening dictated how much we could fit on each lid. 
Next, I filled each jar with an inch or so white and silver glitter. 
Then, we poured in distilled water and several drops of glycerin (purchased at Walgreens). 
Finally, Nick used the epoxy to secure the lid to the jar- making sure these guys wouldn't leak when turned over. 
Some things we learned through trial and error:
1. The small ornaments and pinecones made the globes super cloudy over time.
2. The more glycerin, the more "floaty" your snow. 
3. The trees that weren't flocked turned the water blueish green.
Overall, we're really happy with the results and even though some of our snow globes didn't turn out- we have 4 pretty ones displayed in our house this season. 

I shared at Censational Girl
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