Yup, I have become one of those people who does a themed Christmas each year. I am still not sure if this is a sign of greatness of madness! While I admit to having accumulated many boxes of decorations, I … Continue reading
So, I made a list of projects I wanted to do before Christmas, and they ranged from more practical (updating our mailing list for Christmas cards, sewing the living room curtains in time for our Christmas party) to the more … Continue reading
So, if you have been following along, you will know that I have a colorful Mid-Century Christmas planned for this year. So far, my preparations have included a new Christmas tree skirt, and next up was this pretty ornament wreath!
I found a lot of beautiful inspirations for this type of wreath, including some beautiful and whimsical examples from Georgia Peachez.
There are a lot of different methods out there for making ornament wreaths, and I read through several examples before starting my own.
I used a piece of foam leftover from another project as my wreath base. It was flexible, but once the ornaments were glued in place, it held its shape. I used a piece of heavy beading wire to create a hanger on the back, before I started attaching the ornaments.
To attach the ornaments, I hot-glued a ring of the large balls in this year’s colors of pink, turquoise, and red around the entire outside and inside of the wreath base. I then added a few large ornaments to the top and filled in with medium and smaller ornaments. I included a few pine cone ornaments to change up the look. Also, I kept the hangers visible on a handful of the ornaments for more visual interest.
Some methods include tinsel on the base or painting the base. Since I didn’t do either, I needed to make sure I filled all the gaps, so I finished off the wreath with some vase filler and large beads. This is definitely one of those projects, like L’s birthday quilt, where it takes a long time and a lot of planning to make it look “random.” By the time I went to bed, I was seeing ornaments float before my eyes…
But it was all worth it! I am not decorating quite yet, so for now, the wreath is adding some cheer to my craft room window, and as Nicola said when she came over for our recent Creativity Circle, it looks pretty good there!
With the new tree skirt and this wreath, I think I am well on my way to creating this year’s theme, but I do still have a few projects I’d like to add, if time allows! Looking forward to seeing it all come together!
A few years ago, I arranged a tea party baby shower for my dear friend, Nicola. Each year after that, I have hosted a tea party, combined with a Stella and Dot Jewelry Show (this is a fundraiser for our Avon Walk team and until June 21, 10-15% of the sales will go to our team!). I’ve been slowly adding details to the tea party, and this year, it was this tablecloth quilt. The floral fabrics create a romantic vintage feel that is a bit kitschy and a lot fun.
Here are some pictures of the quilt. It’s a mix of fabrics from my mom’s and my stash, including scraps from the curtains that hung in the first townhouse Steve and I lived in.
Thanks to my friends for another lovely and relaxing afternoon!
This year, L is turning 9, and since his birthday falls at the start of his youth baseball season, I thought it would be fun to celebrate with a retro baseball theme.
He wanted to hold the party at a trampoline place, which took care of the activities for the kids. This allowed me to have some fun putting together decorations, favors, and a ballpark menu.
Since we had a table in the middle of the trampoline space, I couldn’t make use of the walls for decorations.
I did find a little spot to hang our reusable birthday banner, customized for the baseball theme.
I also bought a set of these 12″ table number holders to display posters and signs. I found various retro-looking baseball posters and printed them with birthday messages and signs for the food and displayed them around the table.
We had a ballpark-inspired menu including:
- hot dogs and sausages with fixings, served in these red-and-white checked food trays (link to: Retro hot dog sign)
- Popcorn served in these red-and-white striped boxes (link to: Retro popcorn sign)
- sparkling water (link to: Retro soda sign)
Each boy also got Cracker Jack in old-fashioned packaging.
I created these charming gift tags to go with the party favors.
What a fun time we had celebrating!
I’m a little crazy for these chairs. As in, I told Steve that if I go before him, he should feel free to get rid of most of my stuff, but could he please consider keeping these chairs?
I have a faux bamboo fetish that includes these Chippendale chairs. They are a good match for the chinoiserie theme in our living room. I had been scanning craigslist for a while when I scored these great chairs. They weren’t exactly cheap, definitely not free like the Queen Anne chairs I found, but they were still a good deal for well-made pieces in this classic style.
I still have four side chairs waiting for their Cinderella moment, but the three armchairs in this set are ready for the ball:
Are you looking for your own chairs to transform? I’m excited to share that my friend Ari launched a slick new furniture re-sale site over at www.revolvingdecor.com. Check it out to participate in a curated online marketplace for great furniture finds!
I may need to have a new series called “Felting Fanatic.” Since raiding my mom’s stash of yarn over the Christmas holidays, I’ve been so excited to try making some felted projects. The first was a felted basket to my knitting. Steve calls it “Knitting Inception,” because of the yarn within the yarn thing… he’s a bit quirky that way. The next project was this felted shoulder bag.
I was having a lot of fun with the big needles and chunky yarn, because everything came together so quickly. I had learned a little bit about the proportions from making the basket, and so I adapted my plans for this bag a little bit. It’s a simple shoulder bag. The main color is dark blue, and I used a mix of many colors for the stripes in between. Like the basket, I was able to mix different types of yarn by doubling or tripling the ones that were thinner.
Like with the basket, I knit on my chunky needles with a gauge of 3 stitches per inch. I cast on 90 stitches and knit in the round with stocking stitch until the bag was 22″ high, finishing with 4 rows of garter stitch at the top of the bag, so it wouldn’t roll over. The shoulder strap is 8 stitches wide in garter stitch, and I sewed this onto the top outside edge of the bag and started as 47″ long.
To assemble the bag, I sewed the handle onto the sides of the bag, overlapping the pieces by about an inch. I used a whip stitch to close the bottom of the bag from the inside.
Before felting, the bag was 21″ wide by 22″ long, and the handle was 47″ long. It was comically enormous, as the boys modeled. K said, I should go into business making bags for giants. If I ever meet a giant, I’ll think about it.
Thankfully, the finished bag is a much more comfortable 13.5″ wide by 11″ high, and the strap turned out about 30″ long.
As a finishing touch, I made a lining for the bag out of some vintage fabric, also from my mom’s stash. I sewed a simple rectangular lining, with some pockets on one side. I then folded down a hem along the top and hand-sewed it into the felted bag.
I’m excited to use my new one-of-a-kind bag with all its fun colors!
I had so much fun last weekend hosting a Stella and Dot Trunk Show with afternoon tea for my girlfriends!
I’m especially proud that our stylist Stacey and I are each donating 10%, so 20% of the total sales, to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. If you feel so inclined, you can check out their beautiful jewelry, bags and accessories and participate in the fundraiser through May 25, 2013.
Here’s a glimpse at our fun girls’ afternoon, which I hope to turn into an annual event!
- I was excited to use my eclectic mix of vintage tea cups, plates, and serving dishes that I collected for a baby shower last year.
- Fresh flowers are a beautiful touch. I clipped some Cala lilies from our garden, and on of my friends brought a colorful bouquet that looks beautiful on the coffee table. I’m brainstorming about something similar I can put there long-term.
- Paper lanterns are so popular right now, and I’ve been looking for a way to use them. I love the garden feel these lanterns created for our tea party. I hung them using fishing line and clear Command Mini Hooks.
- Tea cup garland – this was a fun and easy project. I was cutting out paper tea cup silhouettes to make signs for the food, and I was inspired to string some together with lace to make this little garland that I hung over the buffet. I love the romantic feel of the colors and patterns.
- New table runner and trivets – I’ve been meaning to make these for a while out of the same fabric I used for cushions on our hallway bench. They worked perfectly for our party and will get lots more use in days to come.
- Luggage tag party favors were a last-minute project using some of the same prints as the tea cup garland. I printed the names on cardstock backed with decorative paper and slipped the paper into these clear vertical badge holders and added luggage tag loops.
- Cheese plate for a savory snack
- Fruit salad in a watermelon basket – everyone said, “My mom used to do that!” My mom did, too!
- Coffee cake – a great sour cream cake that my mom also made.
- Cookies – classic Walker’s shortbread and some cute flower-shaped sugar cookies
- baklava – hubby made this. SO good.
- Tea – LOVE this vintage candy tin I found in an antiques shop on my birthday. It fits a collection of tea bags perfectly.
- Citrus water
Are you feeling inspired by our charming afternoon tea party? Here are a few of my favorite pieces from the Stella and Dot collection, if you’d like to participate in our fundraiser:
Thank you so much to all my friends who came out to socialize and shop for a cause. I’m looking forward to seeing you next year!
Here is the first room tour of Jewels at Home. The tours are my motivation to “finish” (and clean up!) our house, room by room. In reality, our spaces are a constant work in progress, reflecting the dynamic nature of our lives, but it’s a great feeling when a room gets to the point where it’s ready to share. Let me know if you have a room in your house to share on Jewels at Home!
Our house was a fixer-upper when we bought it last year. Besides maintenance problems (clogged sewer pipe!) and cosmetic issues (pink, pink, pink!), the house was built as a sort of grand space that meant a small number of large and formal rooms, when what we wanted as a modern family of five was more separation of spaces for sleeping, working from home, and playing. I’m glad I spent so many hours staring at the real estate brochure with floor plan, because I figured out that we could convert the “dressing room” off the master bedroom into our ensuite bath and create an entrance through a hall closet to turn the old master bath into another bedroom. Adding the bedroom, that we are using as a nursery, has been a huge value for us.
I figure the reason that the nursery was the first room in the house to be “finished” is probably because it’s a small room, and, of course, because it’s SO fun to decorate a nursery! A child’s room is a place where your imagination is the limit!
Whether it’s because we are indecisive or enjoy change, we’ve moved a lot, and each of our kids has had a different nursery. I’ve loved putting them together, and while there are elements that have naturally been shared by all of them, each is also unique. Our current nursery has established itself with a whimsical retro feel. I preferred to make our kids’ first rooms pretty neutral – no car or princess themes here. I know from experience that they will develop their specific interests soon, but I chose not to make them a focus in the nursery.
This “Connor” rug from Pottery Barn Kids circa 2003 was the jumping off point for the colors in the room. I love its palette of dark and light blue, sage, and red. Cheerful for a child’s room, but not too juvenile and cutesy.
The roman shades from Country Curtains are a find that I cannot recommend highly enough! They are attractive, safe and easy to use (cordless and raise and lower with a spring, like a roller shade), and inexpensive. They’re not custom, and they didn’t have a size that was right for our other rooms, or I would have bought more! Even though they have a “thermal” rather than blackout lining, I find they cut a lot of light for nap time, maybe because of the dark color.
I didn’t buy any new furniture for this room when we moved in, because I figured that a nursery arrangement is always temporary anyway. I took a tip from one of my favorite designers, Sarah Richardson, and even though I mixed wood tones, I made sure that each wood tone was found at least twice in the space, so it doesn’t look out-of-place: the crib and dresser have an espresso color, the bookshelf and picture frame on the opposite wall are a light wood, and the floor and chair have a medium tone. I added the wrapping paper to this bookcase in this post on dressing up bookcases: “Decorating Inside the Box.”
A lot of the accessories in this room have special meaning. On the shelf and off to the right are a lot of accessories from my childhood, including the lamp, a bronzed shoe, and a “ducky bank”. In our reading corner, I made the quilt, and my close friend knit the baby blanket on the arm of the chair. The display wall between the windows has a paper quilt block from an old friend, a name plaque with motifs from MY baby blanket, vintage switch plates from my baby room, and an oversize letter “J.” You can see how I made the letter here. The jungle animal clothes pegs next to the book shelf is special, because my mom, who did not survive to meet her grandchildren, bought this for them in anticipation many years ago. Last but not least, the squeaky “Jumping Jack” below was a gift she bought for me as a newborn baby with her first paycheck after returning to work. My parents told me, he made me laugh for the first time, and all my kids gave enjoyed him too.
The end result of this transformation is a cozy, comfortable room that brings a smile wherever you look!