Tag Archives: christmas

decor

Vintage + Technology @ Anthropologie

I am totally in love with these items from Anthropologie’s latest catalog.  If I could be sure the technology wouldn’t change in a few years and deem these pieces nothing but eye-catching, I would have had an early Christmas for myself.  Still, they are pretty cool.

USB Typewriter

Victrola Docking System [which seems to be sold out already!]

creativity decor

Christmas Table Inspiration

Ah, Christmastime.  My favorite holiday.  Even more awesome now that I’m a mom.  Christmas is a time for people to go ‘all out’ … and not just in regards to buying presents.  Christmas dinner [or breakfast for some] is a big deal too and the table has to be just perfect.  Here is a collection of beautiful Christmas tables to help inspire your own amazing feast.

via Ben Newton

[These cute table decorations were made using foam balls and then inserting lollipops and curly ribbon with wire.]

via penguincakes

[Festive Red & Gold]

via Pierre Andrews

[Candlelight Dinner]

via Hannah Webster

[Neat & Pretty Presents]

via Theresa N.

[Natural Beauty w/ Wood and Apples]

via wondoroo

[Gingerbread – Green, Brown, & Gold.  Fancy & Playful]

via Robert

[Classic Christmas Feast]

via Ed Seymour

[You don’t always have to go Red & Green to make things festive – Loving the Blue!]

via Maggie

[Simple Stars & Votives for some Holiday Cheer]

via Postscript Love

[This is my favorite.  Simple, Pretty, Inviting.  Merry Christmas]

Uncategorized

I Tried To Bake It: Cut-Out X-Mas Cookies

I always helped my gramma or mom frost cut-out sugar cookies every Christmas.  We would spread the creamy frosting onto wreaths, santas, angels, trees, and candy canes before stacking them into tins and eventually eating them.  These are the cookies my brother and I would leave out for Santa on Christmas Eve.  This year I decided I would carry on the tradition and whip up a batch for Ava to enjoy.  I found a simple recipe to follow and started mixing up some dough …

IMG_8638My bowl wasn’t really deep enough and using the mixer turned into a giant mess so I had to reach in and finish it off with my hands.  So much for keeping things neat and simple.

IMG_8643

It tasted pretty good so I must have done something right.  I put the dough in the fridge to chill, cleaned up the counters, and had a glass of wine.  Ahhhhhhhh.

Two hours later it was time to get the cookies rolled and cut and into the oven.  I enlisted Mike’s help for this.  We realized we do not own a rolling pin so we had to use cans of diced tomatoes to roll out the dough.  We got the first batch in and out of the oven, but then we were either working too fast or impatiently because our gingerbread men starting losing heads.  Let’s just say the majority of our cookies looked more like blobs than snowflakes, candy canes, and gingermen.

Finally it was time to frost!  I must have used too much milk because it was pretty thin, but I was out of powdered sugar so we had to work with it.

IMG_8669

“OOOOO.  Cookies are hard.”

IMG_8671

A few of them came out looking okay I guess …

IMG_8683

But in the end we just gave up, piled all the cookie pieces onto a plate and drizzled icing over them.

IMG_8691

I know for a fact that Santa won’t mind.  Will I be making these again anytime soon?  No.  Will they all get eaten?  Yes.  Maybe things will turn out better next year.  Happy Holidays! XO

creativity

Alternative Wrapping Paper Ideas

I’ve been buying gifts like crazy online today, trying to get my orders shipped so they arrive before the big day.  Pretty soon, the boxes will start piling up and I’m going to need to bust out the tape and ribbons and rolls of – WAIT!  NO!  There’s got to be a better way.  I can’t see all that paper getting shoved into trash bags and tossed in the garbage this year without feeling guilty.  [Thanks to an article I read on Earth 911 informing me that most wrapping paper cannot be recycled due to dyes, additives, the tape, etc. and that around 4 million TONS of wrapping paper and shopping bag waste is produced during the holiday season.  This is definitely going to lead to a post on ways to reuse wrapping paper.]

Know someone that loves to sew?  Wrap their gift in old sewing patterns!  Even if they don’t sew, the idea is still really cool – I’m stealing this one for sure!  Read the full tutorial by Rikkianne at Creature Comforts.

rikkianne

This idea is similar to the one above, but with a masculine touch.  Recycled architecture plans [via re-nest]!  Now, where can I get my hands on some of those?  [Andy Taylor, are you reading this?  lol]

archtctpresents

These wrapping alternatives are even better than the traditional wrap if you ask me … so much more personal and creative.  I love the idea of wrapping up wine bottles with tea towels – two gifts in one!  These lovely designs are from Studiopatro in San Fransisco.

teatowelstudiopatro

A burlap sack?  Yes, a burlap sack.  It never looked so good thanks to Faded Plains [there are some other great wrapping ideas to check out there as well!].

burlap

So what have we learned?  Traditional wrapping paper usage is wasteful.  Tea towels, burlap sacks, old sewing patterns or blueprints, newspaper, wallpaper scraps, old book pages, magazines pages, shopping bags … geez – almost anything is a better alternative.  Take a look around your house and wrap up something unique.  Then send me a picture. XO!

ELholidays300x150

creativity

Christmas Tree Inspiration

I am so excited about Christmas I can hardly stand it!  Last year we just had a mini [fake] pine tree, daintily decorated and placed on a side table … our place was tiny and we couldn’t accommodate a full sized tree.

2008 tree

Ava was only a little over a month old and spent most of the day sleeping, completely oblivious to the mound of presents waiting to be opened.IMG_1927

This year she is running all over the place and into everything, so I am chomping at the bit to get our tree and finish putting up all of our holiday decorations.  Despite the fact that I am trying to be more eco-conscious this year, we are going to pick out our [real] evergreen today.  I want the house to be filled with the scent of pine and a big full tree and memories of Christmas’ of my youth.  My dad was a big pine tree fanatic – he planted them all over our property and I’m all for planting trees too – at sites like goevergreen.org you can ‘plant’ a pine for $35.00 – good stuff!

Now we have tons more space and I am going to take advantage of it!  I’m still deciding how I want to trim our tree and spent some time looking at other people’s decorations on Flikr for some inspiration.  Here’s what I found …

via boopsie.daisy – so bright and colorful!  and love the sweet stuffs on that sofa, turning formal into fun!

christmasboopsie

via craftybeaver – the tinsel tree looks great w/ those walls – so retro!

holidaze

via floodinpdx – great alternative tree … such a natural look … and i’ve gotta have those lights!

branchtree

via ATLITW – i would keep this up all year round … genius!

atlitwtree

via dottie angel – very crafty, very inventive, very awesome

whatnottree

via Super*Junk – so adorable for a kids’ room … and i just love that rug.

pipecleanertree

via Simple Tess – so simple and some would say bare, but i really like it.  sometimes less is more.

simpletess

via matt-pearson – another simple, yet very elegant look.

whitelights

fashion spotlights

Spotlight: Tammy Wilson of Earth Lover

Back in June I featured the Batik diaper bag from Earth Lover.  A few weeks later I received a lovely email from the owner, Tammy Wilson, thanking me for including this item.  We wrote back and forth a few times and it became apparent to me that this shop was something special and I wanted to know more.  We set up a ‘phone date’ and talked our heads off about everything under the sun.  In her sweet southern drawl, Tammy told me all about her wonderful family and the journey through life that eventually gave rise to Earth Lover.  “Sometimes you just work your way to a place. It is not a lightening bolt. Not really a sudden brilliant idea- just a place that you find yourself on your personal journey, and then it evolves from there.”

Fourteen years ago, Tammy retired from a long career as a Respiratory Therapist.  Since then she owned and sold several small business – all of them born out of passion for the things she loves.  She took a few years off when her son started high school, but fears of an ’empty nest’ and a need to give back to the world won Tammy over in 2008 when Earth Lover was founded.  Her daughter, Micah Elaine, is working on her Masters in Teaching in Atlanta and her son, Spencer Ryan, has been working on restoring a ’67 VW Microbus [his recycling project] and plans to attend MIT after high school.  These amazing children were part of Tammy’s inspiration, as she wanted to set an example for them as they go out into the world and choose their roles in society.  Since she had experience importing goods and a love for handmade, starting a green business and working with Fair Trade products seemed like the perfect fit.  With the support of her architect husband, Tammy got busy searching for goods from all over the world, “that not only bring joy into the lives of the recipient, but give back so much to the world and the beautiful people struggling to live in many parts of it”.

Tammy calls Earth Lover an alternative shopping experience.  It’s a place to shop, to learn, and to give.  “If my site can make my customers think about how simple it can be to help others through a small purchase of a beautiful product, then maybe they will begin to think about ALL of their purchases and one tiny step at a time we can make a difference.”

You can find earth-friendly products at Earth Lover for your home, your pets, your children, yourself, and your friends.  Like these handmade Fair Trade Christmas Stockings – perfect for the upcoming holidays!  Handmade in Guatemala and Armenia, the stocking on the left is made from recycled burlap coffee bags and the stocking on the right is 100% cotton with a fluffy wool top!

Click on images for more info.

coffeestockingarmenianstocking

Wrap yourself up on those cold winter nights in the comfort of a Swazi Blanket.  Handmade from 100% cotton by the lovely women of Swaziland and made available in the USA through Creative Women [a Fair Trade organization based in Vermont].

Click image for more info.swaziblanket

Q & A

Tammy Wilson of Earth Lover [You wouldn’t believe how shy she was about sending me a pic!  For a while I thought she might have one eye, a warted nose, and horns! – LOL.  Soooo not the case – great picture, Tammy – thank you!]

tammyearthlover

What is your best selling item right now and why do you think it’s so popular?

jutebag“Right this VERY MINUTE my best selling product is the Recycled Jute Backpack– it is CUTE , colorful, unique, and a great price. It is starting to slow down, now that back to school has settled in, but still quite popular. Right behind that would be my Cruelty Free leather backpacks, messengers, and the Hemp Messengers. They are just great products, unisex, and really hard to find in cruelty free leather. I have a hard time keeping them in stock, as the Fair Trade makers in Nepal have limited production, and I ALWAYS sell out!”

Where do you find the products you sell?

“EVERYWHERE! I have products from Fair Trade members, local artists, small US companies, Non- profits. And I have NEVER been to a wholesale market!! (I KNOW!!)  SO much of what I have is found by web searching for hours on end, late into the night- and from networking. People involved in Eco products, and Fair Trade tend to be very open and helpful, so it is not uncommon at all to be working with one group or person, and they share with me about another – I love that!

What is your favorite way to relax?

“Can you define that word, I am not familiar….. I am only 5’2” – and I frequently remind my friends and family that I am actually about 6’ Tall- I am just wound very tightly!! Haha! I do quilt- by hand- I know, who DOES this any more- but it is very relaxing. And I cook. Too Much. (Not too often, just too much- can you say LEFTOVER?) In the spring I grow vegetables.  Organic, of course.  I can totally chill in the garden for hours picking weeds.”

Why do you think people should buy eco-friendly and fair trade goods?

“Why WOULDN”T you??? Maybe I am naive, but I really believe that if people are educated about their choices, it is just not a choice any more!  If I ask anyone if they would rather have this handbag, or flower vase, from a sweatshop somewhere in the world, or a filthy polluting factory- or this other product from a Fair Trade Co-op that is supporting the welfare of people and making products in a way that considers the impact on our environment…Really, WHO is going to say, “Oh. I really Prefer the Sweat shop, thank you!” I really do believe it is just a matter of OFFERING an option, and educating the shopper. Maybe I am just a True Believer- but I really do believe that people are inherently Good, and would much prefer to choose Good when it is effectively offered!”

What’s something silly that most people don’t know about you?

“I talk too much to have any secrets. Really!  Ha! I don’t know…I am a vegetarian (no surprise really).   I am terrified to fly.  So I may never see many of the places that I work so hard to support – how sad is that?  Maybe someday…but I am REALLY terrified.  I have flown- lots of times- but it is hardly worth the trauma and I am getting more terrified every year.
I also like to sing stupid made up spontaneous songs during any time of great stress for my loved ones.  Yea, they REALLY appreciate this.  I recently had a Greatest Hits  involving the SAT!  It is REALLY silly, but it does relieve stress when someone is making a complete fool of themselves on your behalf.  Shannon, that may be way too silly for ANYONE to know!!” –
Tammy, you are not alone.  I sing about diapers, going to the grocery store, taking a bath, and a few other things I won’t mention.

BIG THANKS to Tammy Wilson of Earth Lover!!! This shop is definitely one to watch!

XO!



creativity

Really Awesome Advent Calendars!

I can remember opening the little paper windows on an advent calendar every December when I was younger.  Sometimes I would sneak a peek a few days ahead and steal the chocolate goody that was waiting for me.  I want to start the same tradition with my little Ava and I found some great ideas to inspire me.  Pretty soon I will be counting down to everything!

This calendar is so cute and colorful!  Felt circles and little numbered coins to pull off as the days pass by.  For more info on how to make your own, visit She Knits Shiznits.

colorfuladvent

This Christmas Countdown Kit, put together by a mother and two daughter team called Sweetwater contains everything you’ll need [fabric, thread, rope, iron-ons, pattern] to create these delightful pouches you can fill with treats of any sort.  $23.95.

countdownkit

There is a great tutorial for this pretty advent tree on The Red Thread [by Lisa in Sydney, Australia].  It’s such a simple idea and blends beautifully into the decor of any home.  This one is my favorite.

adventtree

These little beauties were made by Ashley of Nouveau Designs in my former home city of Brooklyn.  Inspired by the cityscapes of Brooklyn and Amsterdam … get one of your very own for $20.00.

brooklynadventamsterdam

And just for fun I thought I would include this photo I found on Flikr of a Beer Bottle Advent Calendar … just be sure you don’t drink yourself to Christmas all in one night!

beeradvent

fashion

Holiday Inspired [Handmade] Jewelry with Year Round Appeal

With the big holiday season approaching, I thought it would be fun to take a look at some selections inspired by major holidays that can be worn all year.  There is nothing like a great piece of jewelry to add a little flair to your outfit.  Jewelry can be very personal or just for fun. Like a necklace I have had since I was small with a tiny ruby hanging on a tarnished gold chain or a big chunky colorful bracelet that makes me smile.  Since baby Ava loves to tug on my necklaces and earrings [ouch!] I have been wearing more bold rings and bracelets … but still find it hard to resist a killer necklace.

Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I’ll start with this Wishbone Necklace by Lanyapi Designs.  Make a wish and this gold charm could be yours for only $23.00.

wishbone

I debated whether this Candy Corn Lariat should be part of the Halloween inspired jewelry, but the autumnal colors made me lean more towards Thanksgiving.  Hanging on an antiqued copper chain, these agate stones are lovingly strung through a hand hammered brass and copper ring by Sally Stearns of SASessories$39.50.

candycornucopia

I cannot believe Christmas is next month. There are some people in our neighborhood that already have their decorations and lights up – ridiculous!  If you can’t wait for that yuletide cheer, adorn yourself with this awesome “made from vintage” piece by That Jewelry Girl.  A rhinestone button attached to a brass locket and strung with a medley of brass chains make for an eye-catching piece.  “Hanging of the Greens” can be purchased for $32.50 [free shipping for November!!].

greens

I looked at hundreds of snowflake jewelry trying to find something that didn’t look so ‘tacky Christmas’ and it was no easy task.  Finally, I found this charming little necklace by CrArt.  I love the copper patina snowflake pendant falling down the side towards the bluest of blue teardrop briolette.  It looks so delicate … just like a snowflake.  $29.00.

snowflakepatina

Next on our journey through the holidays is Valentine’s Day.  A day easily associated with jewelry.  I am hoping that this “Yes No Maybe Love Me Love Me Not” charm bracelet by A Likely Story will BE MINE soon!  Charm bracelets are so fun … I would wear it all the time [hint hint, Michael].  $39.95.lovemecharm

I had to include these beautiful earrings by Royal Princess Designs – they are made from REAL ROSES preserved in thin layers of resin.  How cool is that?!  $42.00.

realroseear

All Those Threes is to thank for this gorgeous Love Mandala necklace.  Handcrafted from 99.9% pure silver and hanging on a fine sterling 17″ chain.  $58.00.

mandala

There are so many icons associated with Easter – crosses, colorful eggs, lilies, and of course bunnies. This adorable little bunny charm created by Mariska goes by the name of “Tumsy”$28.00.

tumsy

This wonderful Easter Lily Bracelet was made from antique spoons [circa 1907]!!  Village Boutique, in my home state of Ohio, turns vintage silverware into amazing pieces of jewelry!  $44.99.

easterlily

The Fourth of July doesn’t have to be all Red, White, and Blue.  Rebecca Dubay of Vernon Bea Studio created this Patriot Necklace – a hand cut star and stamped tag hanging from a 16″ sterling ball chain.  Love it!  $53.00.

patriot

Halloween is such a fun holiday.  Pretty much anything goes.  Maybe that’s why I was so taken by this steampunk “Gothic Owl” Necklace by Cosmic Firefly$45.00.

gothicowl

And the final piece of jewelry inspired by a holiday is this “Death by Citrus” piece, which conjures up images of Dia de Los Muertos [Day of the Dead].  I love the color in this necklace – that vintage enamel flower is awesome!  It can be your very own one of a kind Bionic Unicorn creation for $76.00.

deathbycitrus

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Page 1 of 11