November 28, 2011
… to look a lot like Christmas in our home.
Who would have guessed that I have been secretly crafting Christmas decorations like a maniac in the past few weeks? Well, everybody who knows me, I guess. Since we have never had a Christmas in our own home before and were constantly on the move in the past years, we are starting pretty much from zero regarding holiday items. Getting the whole house into Christmas spirit could have easily gotten an expensive maneuver.
So I broke out my hot glue gun, some Michaels coupons, collected natural (free) goods outside, used some existing non-holiday items, and went on a thrift shopping spree. Considering the materials that I was able to gather for cheap and my love for mother nature I came up with a snow-white-silver-glistening-walking-through-the-forest theme for my very first Christmas collection. Think snowflakes, white, wool, twine, twigs, trees, silver, pine cones, … I’m gonna call it Winterwanderland. See here what I whipped up for under $40.
Paper snowflakes at the kitchen bay window. I was planning on cutting these out myself using this method, but then I found a bag of wooden tree ornaments at my new favorite thrift store (2nd Ave) that I wanted anyway for $1.90 and these paper snowflakes were randomly packed in the same bag. So they were basically free and saved me an evening of paper cutting. Milo loves looking at them when he eats his breakfast, but they look even better from the outside where the light hits them.
Mirror Advent calendar. This silver advent calendar with mirror doors was a thrift store find some time in spring for $3. Good thing I am looking forward to Christmas all year, so I bought it back then and now it fits perfectly in with the other decor. Oh, I added those trees on top, in case you were wondering. $1 from the Dollar Store. I am having a little bit of a hard time finding small enough items to put in there for Milo that are not chocolate treats (any suggestions?), so we might have to upgrade to a bigger, home made calendar next year. And then use this one for chocolates for Linc and me.
For the cone trees I got some papermache cones for $4 total, wrapped them with twine that I had from a previous project, added a silver ball (leftovers from my Advent wreath), and some silver glitter paint.
In the dining room this Advent wreath is making a statement as a modern version of the traditional Advent wreath.
This was probably the most expensive item of my collection. Even with using coupons and sales, I probably spent around $15 dollars for all assorted natural ornaments, filler balls, and candles. Unfortunately I forgot to snap photos of the process, but here is approximately how it goes: Get a flat wreath base. I found a wooden ring at Michaels, but you could probably even cut a ring out of thick cardboard. Place your candles in the middle to make sure they have enough space. Start with hot-glueing down the bigger ornaments. Then start filling in gaps with medium size pieces, then really small ones. You want to cover all of the base and achieve an even ring.
For our current table setting I just flipped over the colorful place mats that were previously seen here. How convenient that their back side perfectly matches the natural color scheme.
On the other side of the dining room we have this whole paying bills in the woods scene going on:
On the desk I arranged some pine cones (found for $0 in my backyard) in a silver vase ($5) to hold current letters (aka bills). The star was on sale for $4.50 at Joanns and temporarily replaces my dry-erase board. I swapped out the desk cover with a piece of burlap (this piece is just a fraction of the 3 yards I got for $5 and will use for other projects).
On the ledge I arranged the old candle sticks that were spray-painted white together with the dining room chandelier a few weeks ago. I made the sweater vase from a leftover sleeve of my wreath project and a vase from our wedding (cylindric glass vase, hot-glue sweater around it. Done). The pine is from a downed branch behind our house.
Similar woodsy stuff is arranged on the other ledge in the living room. Some more pine, some more pre-existing candle sticks, and other assorted items.
The big candle and the twig vase (currently housing a tea light) were made with my – you guessed it – hot glue gun. Milo had great fun helping me find sticks. Although he was done after finding one – actually two – one for each hand. But he learned a new word and we spent a good hour outside, so it was officially the first time Milo was crafting with me.
Then I just had to snip them to size and glue them around the straight glass. To use up the very rest of my twine, I wrapped them up with a small bow.
Moving over to the center of the living room, we have this entertainment arrangement providing snacks and candle light to our guests. The thrifted multi-purpose tray makes it removable for play action. The silver chalice is holding little chocolate treats.
Speaking of silver. These two shiny items were one of the first purchases that Linc and I made together for our first rental home. We found them at a thrift store for about $6 with just a little bit of patina. Over the years the black smoke monster got the best of our two silver possessions and they were not really presentable any more, therefore kept in the dark basement cave together with some random spoons and forks that I don’t even know where they came from. Until I saw this tutorial about how to clean silver. So I gave it a shot. See here the before and after:
Last but not least, a sneak preview of our undecorated Christmas tree. Let’s leave it at that to end this post on a positive note. More about my adventures with artificial Christmas trees to be posted soon.
October 30, 2009
Da bin ich wieder. Hab die dritte und letzte Hochzeit lebendig
ueberstanden und kann nun endlich das ruhige Eheleben geniessen. Die
letzen zwei Monate waren offensichtlich extrem stressig – ich hatte
nicht mal Zeit eine einzige Email zu schreiben. Nach der Durststrecke
im Sommer ging es dann ab September ratz fatz und mit Vollgas durch
den Herbst. Es gibt mal wieder in allen Bereichen Neuigkeiten und das
Leben scheint einfach nicht zur Ruhe kommen zu wollen. (more…)
July 1, 2009
It’s finally beginning to feel like summer. After what felt like endless cold weather over the last few months, I had really gotten to a breaking point. I just felt cold to the bone. We moved into our house that we are renting in the middle of December only to find out that the building envelope of the house was so leaky that it was so difficult to keep the house at a steady, warm temperature. I literally had to carry a space heater with me all winter. And when spring came around, I rejoiced at the prospect that finally I could shed my layers and feel comfortable again. (more…)
March 22, 2009
So yesterday was the first day of spring and I simply cannot wait for it to get warmer. Since we’ve moved into this big house in the middle of winter, we have not had the opportunity to take advantage of our nice deck and patio. I can’t tell you how excited I am to be able to eat a few meals outside.
In other news, with the spring time comes a lot of planning and opportunities for creative outlet. I just picked up a midi controller and got my hands on a copy of Logic Studio and am trying my hand at producing some sounds. That’s something I’ve been interested in but never got a chance to delve deep enough into. The learning curve is steep but the results sound pretty good. Too bad though because I need another few hundred bucks worth of equipment like some studio monitors and a firewire interface to input microphones and guitars and other stuff. I’m not going to be moby jus quite yet but I’ll be sure to crank out a few covers or remixes soon.
Well that’s the quick update for now. I’m going to try to be more active on this blog and update it more often. Here’s a picture I took at the Korean store that I think you’ll get a kick out of.
October 19, 2008
Today Jason and I went for a 2 hour tour across Maryland´s rural countryside. Jason, by the way, is my Vespa´s name. And yes, she is also a she. If I am already standing out everywhere I go, I can just as well be weird, right? Anyway, Jason is being a very reliable companion and showed me the most beautiful spots that are out there west. Just today I realized how much sense it makes for me to born in October, since I have always been so attracted by beauty. I love colors! And did I mention that I think October is the most beautiful month? (more…)
August 29, 2008
From Spring to Summer to Fall – and I don´t wanna think about the cold season that comes after that. For now, I am excited that my second favourite season is starting. The sun stays still warm, the air gets refreshing. Monotonous green turns into warmer shades of yellow and red and brighten up lazy grey days.
This year more than ever before I can feel the seasonal changes in my body, in every pore. (more…)