Home for the Holidays 2012

Christmas is sneaking up on us this year. The kids just finished school yesterday, on the 21st, and I had a packed day at work. Now, we are in full holiday mode, wearing pajamas and lounging by the fire. Just in time, I thought I’d share a peek at how Christmas decorating came together this year with a little house tour. I introduced a lot more silver and turquoise than in years past, and if I get time, I’ll post details on how to recreate the smaller details.

Come on in… starting with the front door, dressed up with a silver wreath and ornament door mat.

Silver wreath welcomes you home.  Christmas house tour from Jewels at Home.

Silver wreath and a holiday doormat welcome you home.

Silve wreath gives an elegant look to the front door.  Christmas house tour from Jewels at Home.

Silve wreath gives an elegant look to the front door.

The mantel, repainted this summer, is also a centerpiece. I made many of the trees on the fireplace in this post and this one.

Christmas mantel filled with homemade trees.  Christmas house tour from Jewels at Home.

Christmas mantel filled with homemade trees.

Christmas mantel filled with homemade trees.  Christmas house tour from Jewels at Home.

On the other side of the living-dining room, I added a tray with some candles and sprayed silver pine cones.

Simple winter coffee table decor. Christmas house tour from Jewels at Home.

Simple winter coffee table decor.

Simple winter coffee table decor. Christmas house tour from Jewels at Home.

Another little Christmas vignette with trees and a wooden Santa puzzle my mom gave me years ago.

Christmas vignette with trees and a vintage wooden Santa puzzle.  Christmas house tour from Jewels at Home.

Christmas vignette with trees and a vintage wooden Santa puzzle.

Christmas color is also in our foyer, with a wreath on our closet door and some accessories on top of the bookcase.

Simple magnolia and pomegranate wreath dressed up with silver ribbon. Christmas house tour from Jewels at Home.

Simple magnolia and pomegranate wreath dressed up with silver ribbon.

Silver, turquoise, and red Christmas accessories.  Christmas house tour from Jewels at Home.

Silver, turquoise, and red accessories set the color scheme for this year’s Christmas.

Silver, turquoise, and red Christmas accessories.  Christmas house tour from Jewels at Home.

The wreaths over the big french doors  in our family room connect the space to the outdoors, but the new fireplace keeps us cozy and warm.

SImple Christmas mantel in silver, turquoise, and red.  Christmas house tour from Jewels at Home.

SImple Christmas mantel in silver, turquoise, and red.

This wreath over a big french door can be enjoyed from the inside and out.  Christmas house tour from Jewels at Home.

This wreath over a big french door can be enjoyed from the inside and out.

This wreath over a big french door can be enjoyed from the inside and out.  Christmas house tour from Jewels at Home.

Finally, here’s our tree, with the DIY mercury glass look-alike and animal silhouette ornaments.  I think it’s a bit small for the space but it really looked bigger at the lot, I promise!  Steve and I have a gift-wrapping session/ movie night planned, so there will be lots more under the tree soon!

Christmas tree with red, silver, and turquoise.  Christmas house tour from Jewels at Home.

Christmas tree with red, silver, and turquoise.

Christmas tree with red, silver, and turquoise.  Christmas house tour from Jewels at Home.

I hope you are also starting to unwind and enjoy being home for the holidays!

“Jewels”

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Hot Chocolate Mixes in a Jar

For our teacher gifts this year, I made a variety of gifts in a jar.  I’ll share the rest soon, but the hot chocolate mixes were the most popular, so let’s start there.

Beautiful and delicious recipes for hot chocolate mixes in a jar.  {Jewels at Home}

I made three different mixes:

  • double chocolate hot cocoa
  • peppermint hot cocoa
  • mocha hot cocoa

Here are the recipes. I made them a little less sweet than other recipes out there – they’re still plenty decadent, don’t worry, and I did not put in powdered milk, since many people have a preference for alternative milks like soy milk, rice milk, or almond milk. I made some in almond butter jars , which hold 1.5 cups each, and some in pasta sauce jars, which hold about 2.5 cups.  I used the same recipe but added marshmallows in the larger jars.  For each recipe, layer the ingredients for a festive look.  To finish off the jars, I printed some labels with ingredients and instructions and them stuck them on decorative papers and finished off the gift with a ribbon.

Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa Recipe

  • 3/4cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips (the mini chocolate chips will melt more easily)
  • optional: 1/2 cup of mini marshmallows

Beautiful and delicious recipes for hot chocolate mixes in a jar.  They make great gifts! {Jewels at Home}

Peppermint Hot Cocoa Recipe

I enjoy a hint of peppermint in my hot chocolate, but I didn’t want this recipe to be too strong. These Ghiaradelli peppermint bark chocolates made the perfect addition.

  • 3/4cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips (the mini chocolate chips will melt more easily)
  • 3 Ghiaradelli peppermint bark chocolates, chopped
  • optional: 1/2 cup of mini marshmallows

Beautiful and delicious recipes for hot chocolate mixes in a jar.  They make great gifts! {Jewels at Home}

Beautiful and delicious recipes for hot chocolate mixes in a jar.  They make great gifts! {Jewels at Home}

Mocha Hot Cocoa Recipe

  • 3/4cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips (the mini chocolate chips will melt more easily)
  • 2 servings instant coffee powder (I used decaffeinated)
  • optional: 1/2 cup of mini marshmallows

Beautiful and delicious recipes for hot chocolate mixes in a jar.  They make great gifts! {Jewels at Home}

Instructions:

These are the same for all the recipes.

For the mixes without marshmallows: “Mix ingredients thoroughly.  Add 1/4 cup mix to 1 cup of hot milk.  Stir and enjoy.”

For the mixes with marshmallows: “Mix ingredients thoroughly.  Add 1/3 cup mix to 1 cup of hot milk.  Stir and enjoy.”

Beautiful and delicious recipes for hot cocoa mixes in a jar.  Perfect gifts!  {Jewels at Home}

I will warn you that these gifts are very heavy!  I walked around school this afternoon with baby J in the Ergo carrier on my back and a tray of 15 glass jars.  Truly ’tis better to give than to receive!

It was worth it, though.  I hope our teachers enjoy their gifts.  Hot chocolate by the fire is just the best!  Trust me, I’m speaking from experience.

“Jewels”

 

Mercury Glass Look-alike Ornaments

This post should be subtitled “The Accidental Artist.” When I set out on this project, I just meant to repaint some old ornaments I had. Along the way, some of them turned out with a lovely mercury glass look that was an unexpected and pleasant surprise, since I have been coveting those baubles but holding off on buying them, since glass and toddlers do not mix. I wouldn’t normally have bothered painting these inexpensive plastic ornaments at all, but since I had the supplies already, I thought I might as well, and it turned out to be a good thing!

This mercury glass look-alike finish is easy to create with spray paints and makes charming Christmas ornaments.  {Jewels at Home}

I had a lot of simple red and gold ornaments left over from the Chinese “Red Egg and Ginger” party I organized for J a couple of years ago. I’ll have to blog about that later! This year, I’m trying for a red, turquoise, silver, and white -themed Christmas, so I decided to repaint some of the gold and red balls to turquoise and silver. I had plenty of other red ones.

I taped the balls upside down on some scrap cardboard with painter’s tape, sprayed a coat of primer and then a few coats of paint. The turquoise paint was initially intended for an old wooden chest. This color was actually too bright for the chest, but it came in useful here. The silver (soon to be “mercury glass”) ornaments were painted with Rustoleum metallic paint in “chrome.” I’ve been in the lookout for Krylon’s “Looking Glass” paint, and I have yet to find it in a local store, but the Rustoleum metallic chrome seems similar and has a very reflective silver finish. I would have been happy to leave the ornaments silver, but I thought I would do a clear topcoat to help protect them from chipping. The clear spray I happened to have in the garage is a lacquer, which might have more solvent in it than a regular spray paint. In any case, it left tiny dull spots on the chrome, and for a split second, I was disappointed, but I’m now as pleased as (Christmas) punch, because they have a great faux mercury glass look!

Here’s how I painted the ornaments:

Tutorial on repainting your Christmas ornaments for a fresh look, including a faux mercury glass technique!  {Jewels at Home}

An easy combination of these two spray paints will give you a beautiful faux mercury glass look for your Christmas ornaments or other projects!  {Jewels at Home}

An easy combination of these two spray paints will give you a beautiful faux mercury glass look for your Christmas ornaments or other projects!

Here are some more pictures of the “mercury glass” ornaments. They are not perfect, and I’m eager to try more of the faux mercury glass techniques out there, but as accidents go, this one was very happy (much happier than some of the mishaps that have not ended up on the blog!).

Create this mercury glass look-alike finish using spray paints. {Jewels at Home}

Create this mercury glass look-alike finish using spray paints. {Jewels at Home}

Create this mercury glass look-alike finish using spray paints. {Jewels at Home}

I’m definitely getting that festive holiday feeling! How about you?

“Jewels”

Animal Silhouette Christmas Ornaments

Well, I could happily have gone on making trees, after these Christmas trees made with trims and the felt Christmas trees, but I’m exercising some restraint, such as it is, and switching over to making ornaments.

I’ve seen some whimsical animal silhouettes with pretty prints at One Kings Lane and Raredevice.net, and I thought I’d try a DIY version.

Deer silhouette Christmas ornament from Raredevice.net

Deer silhouette Christmas ornament from Raredevice.net

Reindeer and bird silhouette Christmas ornaments seen at One Kings Lane.

Reindeer and bird silhouette Christmas ornaments seen at One Kings Lane.

If you’d like to buy something similar for a reasonable price, check out these pretty wood ornaments by Arks and Animals on Etsy.

Wooden animal silhouette ornaments from Arks and Animals on Etsy.

Wooden animal silhouette ornaments from Arks and Animals on Etsy.

I’m quite tempted by the wood ones, but, I like the prints, so back to the DIY project… The ornament from Raredevice is wood with a printed design (no can do), but the One Kings Lane ornaments are cardboard and paper (can do!!). I tried this with both cardboard and craft foam as the centers. The cardboard cut more neatly than the foam, but in the end, I preferred the foam, because it gave the cut-outs a little dimension and substance. The cardboard ones ended up looking a bit more like gift tags than ornaments.

Materials:

  • assorted scrapbook, wrapping, and origami papers
  • craft foam (no longer just for kids!) in colors to match your papers or thin cardboard (like cereal boxes)
  • Images or templates to trace, such a cookie cutters, stencils, or printed images
  • craft knife and scissors – I used both large and small scissors as well as some pattern-edged scissors
  • small hole punch
  • string or ribbon for hanging

Instructions:

  • I used a glue stick to cover both sides of a piece of craft foam with decorative paper.
  • I found silhouettes I liked on the Internet and printed them out. A good size for these ornaments is about 3-4″.
  • I laid a silhouette over a section of foam and used the scissors and craft knife to cut through the foam and paper. I started with the large scissors to get the general shape and then used the small scissors and craft knife to neaten up the edges and the pattern-edged scissors for adding details, like the feathers on the birds’ wings. Because the foam is flexible, the paper did wrinkle a bit, but I tried to bend it as little as possible. The cardboard bent less, but as I said, I didn’t find the result as substantial.
  • I punched a hole in the top and threaded a ribbon… voila!
Make these sweet animal silhouette ornaments decorated with origami paper! {Jewels at Home}

Sweet animal silhouette ornaments decorated with origami paper! In case you are wondering, the reindeer in the top row was made with a cardboard center, and the rest have the foam center.

And here are the new ornaments on our Christmas tree.  By the way, if you are in San Francisco, Lowe’s had trees for literally a third the price of the Christmas tree lots.  The ambience was somewhat lacking, but it was worth it!

Moose silhouette ornament.  O Canada! {Jewels at Home}

Moose silhouette ornament. O Canada!

Bunny silhouette ornament with instructions. {Jewels at Home}

Bunny silhouette ornament. For my sister and little nieces, who were all born in the year of the rabbit!

Make a little blue bird silhouette ornament for the tree. {Jewels at Home}

A little blue bird silhouette ornament for our tree.

These ornaments turned out very sweet and were fairly fast to make. They might show up as gifts this season!  I also found some homemade ornaments from years past that I’ll post soon.

“Jewels”

I shared this project at:

Centsational Girl’s holiday Link Party