Christmas Eve Tablescape

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This year I’m having some family over for Christmas Eve and decided to get the table set on Thursday night. I like to get it done beforehand so I can have time to be creative and spend the days before, grocery shopping and working on the meal prep. My mom has always set the table in advance as well, so I’ve learned from her it makes the day of, that much easier!

I used a lot of white with touches of red and gold. I only have 4 beaded chargers so at the other end of the table I mixed in some gold plastic chargers which worked out just fine. I got the Christmas crackers last year on boxing day and was happy they worked well into the color scheme. I used my grandma’s ‘art deco,’ flatware. I am pretty much in love with this set, the pattern is ‘Deauville,’ by ‘Community Plate.’ Pieces can still be purchased online at Replacements Inc, an amazing online china shop that specializes in discontinued patterns. Click here to check it out, you can find so many interesting patterns here for a great price!

I picked up some mini roses at my local grocery store and couldn’t find any Christmas greens this late in the holiday season. I remembered we had a few boughs from our Christmas tree in our backyard waiting to go into a yard waste bag so I used those which worked out great! Check it out below!

 

 

 

For the napkin rings I headed over to the dollar store and grabbed some decorations with bells on them and some nice gold trimming that I used as ribbon. I took the bells off and glue-gunned their attached ribbons into loops. I was able to make an affordable, festive and unique accent for the plain white napkins!

 

Now that the table is ready I need to get to work on the rest! I’ve prepped by washing & cutting my veggies and trimming any herbs I am using. I also baked the dessert and covered it up to finish tomorrow. I did up a trivia game which included questions about each guests’ interests. I know they will find it pretty funny when the others try to figure them out! This provides people with something fun to do while I’m in the kitchen! Now I’m just thinking through the timing of my recipes for tomorrow. I’m trying new recipes so I need to be more organized than normal to execute them and am crossing my fingers there are no major disasters!

Excited for tomorrow, hope you all have a fantastic Christmas Eve!

Lv, Julie ♥

 

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Holiday Mantel Before & After

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This year as I got out my Christmas decorations I couldn’t help but feel as though some of them were getting a bit tired and dated. It just seemed like the year to do a refresh and get rid of a few things. I got out an empty bin and started a ‘donate box,’ and went through things. I decided it made the most sense to focus on one area of my Christmas decorating. I chose to re-do my mantle as it was always so sparse in years past. I figured that next year I would work away at re-thinking other areas.

I’ve collected a lot over the years and I really like tons of color at Christmas. Loving color so much has made it hard to achieve the uniform look seen in stores and magazines. I have so many decorations with meaning that I’ve collected over the years that I wouldn’t want to get rid of. I also wouldn’t want to not display them, because they didn’t fit into some new theme I was trying. It will be a challenge to incorporate the old with the new but that’s what makes it fun! Most of what I got rid of wasn’t sentimental things that had been around for years, rather the trendy stuff that just wasn’t appealing anymore. Lesson learned!

 

 

After perusing a few magazines I thought about what I had and decided to do a grey, white, gold and silver color theme. I have wanted to paint my own Christmas print for a few years now, just something simple on canvas with a stencil of ‘Merry Christmas.’ I ended up coming across this beautiful print that fit perfectly into the theme and is better than I could have created! Here are some photos below of my mantel in detail!

 

I used the same candle holders I had before but since one of the smaller ones broke I replaced that set with a silver mercury glass set. I got a fresh box of candles at Walmart for a great price and used existing ball ornaments that I had bought at a dollar store last year. I had intended to use this garland I found in the Fall for my tree but once I got going on the mantel, I knew it was meant to be!

 

I had never used a greenery garland so I wanted to integrate this in as well. Was I surprised by that garland! It also took on the job of holding so many things in place as I used the wire boughs to secure so many items! I really love how it turned out and love my Scandinavian Santa in the center that gives it all a whimsical look!

 

Here is a shot with one of the two larger gold tree’s lit up, they take batteries and look beautiful at night, especially with the fireplace going!

I had fun and can’t wait to re-imagine some of the other areas in the house next year!

Happy Holidays,

Lv, Julie ♥

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Fresh Christmas Trees

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For many years we have bought a fresh tree at Christmas. From choosing the perfect tree to decorating it, it is always a classic Christmas tradition. The smell makes it feel like Christmas and every year each one looks slightly different! Having a fresh tree does come with challenges, most of which we’ve experienced!

Buying and maintaining fresh trees can be an adventure. We used to cut our own at a tree farm, and one year we actually got lost in the back woods on our hunt for the best one! We’ve gone through many tree stands and learned the one and only lesson-you get what you pay for, make the investment! Our first stand was affordable, it wasn’t secure and we ended up having to tie the tree to curtain rods and picture frame hooks using three lines of twine. One year we must have had a stretch of a few days where we forgot to water the tree. By Boxing Day, an inordinate amount of needles were on the floor and it ended up looking like Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree!

Last year made for a pretty memorable experience. The night we decorated we were just about to fall asleep when we heard a huge crash. It was a distinct sound, a 7 1/2 ft tree crashing to the ground with the chiming, shattering sound of breaking glass. We both ran downstairs. Since my husband was ahead of me, as soon as he saw the tree he stopped me, and said, “Julie, it’s best you don’t see this.” There were dozens of broken ornaments everywhere, all bathing in sticky, sappy water. He did a quick preliminary sweep to spare me, just enough so I couldn’t make out all that was missing. Not long after I started to ask…’Rudolf?’…‘Clarice?’… ‘The first ornament we bought together?’ He broke the news on each one and it was pretty upsetting. I am one of those people who keeps old & sentimental ornaments, even if they have seen better days, they serve a good purpose on the back of the tree! After we cleaned up, we vowed that was our last year with a fresh tree!

So here we are. Nine trees, 4 stands, many cleanups later and guess what? I have not learned my lesson, I still bought a fresh tree this year! They are so beautiful! I’ve gotten over last years fiasco, having an excuse to buy a few new ornaments helped! We did however invest in a really good quality stand. When it was advertised as ‘commercial grade,’ I knew this had to be the one that would avoid all catastrophe. Click here to check it out!

Santa’s Solution Tree Stand

My advice for buying a fresh tree is to check daily for water and buy it in advance so you can go through a process I call ‘letting the tree settle in.’ It needs a few days in its stand without lights or decorations, just so its limbs can fully drink water through to the top. I do this now because in the past when I decorated too soon so many ornaments fell off limbs and strands of lights ended up being too loose. When the limbs ‘fall,’ the tree can completely change shape. This also gives you a chance to make any adjustments to the stand if needed.

Here is a guide I put together with some basics for managing a fresh Christmas tree!

Having a fresh tree does create a few challenges but if it works for you or you want to give it a try one year it really smells and looks beautiful. It is a traditional Christmas experience, even the hiccups make for great Christmas stories and memories!

Merry Christmas!

Lv, Julie ♥

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Holiday Gift Ideas

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I thought it would be fun to make up a few gift lists this year! A link to the first product collage I made for my blog with Photoshop Elements can be found here. I get great ideas from the lists that bloggers and TV personalities put out each year online and knew it would be so much fun to put a few together myself! I really enjoy the process! These two gift lists comprise of a few things my husband and I already have as well as items I have seen online or out and about! They are all items that I think would make great gifts this holiday season! Not all of the gifts are necessarily new items that are popular for 2016 some are just classic items that I think are great and are tested and true!

Gift Ideas for Her

  1. Teavana Matcha Tea –I really want to try this tea. In researching matcha tea, I have come to discover researchers have found lead in some varieties. You can read the article I found here. This particular brand has been tested!
  2. Sorel Out & About Leather Duckboot –I like this version of the classic Sorel boot. I have the proper winter boots but these look to be light weight and would be great for running around doing errands on days where there isn’t too much snow on the ground.
  3. Tarte Maracuja Oil –I have used this for years and find it especially good for my dry skin in the winter!
  4. Le Creuset Rustic Mug –This has always been my favourite mug, to me the size and shape makes it my ‘all-time classic,’ coffee mug. They come in so many colors, its fun to mix and match!
  5. The Magnolia Stories– I love Chip & Joanna Gaines! Their renovation and design show ‘Fixer Upper,’ is amazing. I was instantly hooked but when my husband witnessed Chip Gaines’ ridiculous antics on ‘demo day,’ he got into it too. It’s a show everyone can enjoy. I can’t wait to read their book!
  6. Rebecca Minkoff Initial Fur Bag Charm –I spotted these one day at Nordstrom and couldn’t get over the cuteness. If I had one, I might use it on a grey handbag for the winter or just use it for a summer bag, they do have other colors though!
  7. Popski Fur Pom Pom Hat –It’s easy to find a black or white fur pom-pom hat anywhere but Popski offers them in so many unique colors and styles!
  8. Lush Sakura Bath Bomb –These are great gifts for those people who love their baths! I would love to learn how to make these at home!
  9. Ugg Fluff Flip Flop –I have had 2 pairs of these slippers in the past 3 years and really love them! Your feet don’t get too hot because of the style, yet the fur keeps you warm!
  10. S’well Stainless Steel Water Bottle –These bottles come in so many colors and really do keep the temperature of a liquid warm or cold throughout the day.

Gift Ideas for Him

  1. Tiffany Collar Stays –My husband is always losing the plastic ones and finds they get bent, these really make a shirt collar look polished.
  2. HappySocks –They do what they say and make the people who wear them and those who notice, happy!
  3. 99: Stories of the Game –This is a great book for any hockey lover, with 99 short stories Wayne loves about players and their lives.
  4. RCAF Cap –For guys interested in aviation, this hat is part of the RCAF heritage collection and a portion of the sale supports veterans. The site ‘Red Canoe,’ has so many great gift ideas for those who enjoy historic Canadian logos.
  5. Ray-Ban Wayfarers –Sunglasses that always look good on everyone!
  6. iTunes Gift Card –Access to any number of songs, TV shows & movies available on iTunes.
  7. Lauren Green Tie –My husband wears ties every day and I have an obsession with finding new ones. I always find a few holes in his collection so I have an excuse to go on a hunt for new ones. Wool fabrics in solid colors are a good winter staple. He doesn’t have a deep forest green, so it’s on the list!
  8. Sonos Wireless Speaker –Every guy loves something electronic!
  9. Quebec Nordiques T-shirt –A cool t-shirt with a vintage logo that represents a beloved Canadian hockey team.
  10. French-Cuff Shirt –A staple shirt in any guy’s wardrobe and an excuse to collect unique cufflinks!

I do quite a bit of my shopping online these days but always enjoy grabbing a Starbucks and heading out to smaller shops and stores to find unique gifts. There is something about the music and beautiful store displays that makes holiday shopping an experience! I have always daydreamed that the song “Downtown,” by Petula Clark will start playing and some snow will start falling, creating a magical holiday shopping experience (LOL) but that’s yet to happen! I hope you have fun holiday shopping!

Lv, Julie ♥

 

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Ornament Wish List 2016

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I’m so excited to do my first product collage! As a brand new, 2-month-old blogger I am new to the technical side of the blogging world. I am really proud of myself for diving in and have a new respect for all of the work bloggers put in to launching and evolving their websites. In learning the ropes I have leaned on all of the valuable online blogging advice available.

Designing this collage was out of my wheelhouse, but I really enjoy looking at them on blogs so I had a ‘bee in my bonnet,’ to figure it out. I have the idea that if I’m going to blog I really want to try everything technical right away just to find out what I enjoy and what I am able to do on my own.

I first tried several free software programs to guide me in this process but none could create the effect I wanted. In the end I downloaded Photoshop Elements to give it a whirl. I am sooooo in love with it!

I found an amazing post online with step-by-step instructions by Southern Curls and Pearls. This guide not only helped me create my very first collage but it did so while making it straightforward and providing helpful tips and tricks along the way.

My first collage takes after my blog’s namesake, it’s my favorite ornaments of 2016. If you were to step into my basement and see my ornament collection you would know, I have no business buying anymore! I just fall in love with their cuteness and sparkle every time. This year I have a really, really good excuse to buy one or two more. Last year, sadly our tree came crashing down, it fell one night just as we were going to bed and we had finished decorating it! I will never forget the sound, my husband and I heard a huge crash downstairs. I looked at him and knew…it must be the tree! We always buy fresh trees, I love the smell and the look of a real tree. I always knew it was never fun to get it up, stabilizing it always took some engineering, no matter how expensive or sturdy the stand. I remember my husband went running downstairs first and quickly advised me not to follow. He knew if I saw what he had I would be even more devastated. Water, glass shattered and lights were everywhere. Funnily enough the tree still had lots of ornaments because of my collection…but I still feel like I can buy one or two ornaments this year! We still have yet to buy that artificial tree though!

Here is the wish list of ornaments I have my eye on this season!

pink-ornaments

  1.  Indigo – Glitterville Teepee Ornament
  2.  Indigo – Glitterville Paddle Ornament
  3.  Target Layered Gold Leaf Ball
  4.  Anthropologie Twinkling Toadstool Ornament
  5.  Indigo – Glitterville Tent Ornament –This would be perfect for someone who likes to go “glamping!”
  6.  Bronner’s Personalized Star Swirl Ornament –My mom buys these personalized ornaments for everyone online, they are such an amazing gift!
  7.  Target Glitter Pinecone Ornaments

I just love how whimsical and happy these ornaments are. There is a nod to a woodland theme but with the fun of lots and lots of sparkle and in pastel, gold & copper tones. I can’t part ways with my remaining collection of multi-colored ornaments any time soon, so many of them are sentimental. If I was starting out fresh I would do a tree in this theme and color for sure! I would do mostly white lights and put in a few strands of pink lights as I have always loved lights with color. The picture in my mind is so beautiful!

Happy decorating, I loved sharing my obsession for holiday ornaments with you!

Lv, Julie ♥

 

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