Holidays

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I thought you guys might be interested to see how we decorated this house for the holidays? It was really fun for us figuring out how we wanted to decorate in our new space!

We love modern design, of course, but we especially like when it has a warmth to it. Scandinavian design does this particularly well, and we definitely take inspiration from our friends to the north (east) when decorating for winter holidays. This means we’re into coziness, natural materials, and simplicity. This winter, Christmas also coincided with some hardcore nesting instincts (including but not limited to a panic that “I won’t have time to do any of this next Christmas!”) so there was a fair bit of DIY involved. Just warning you.

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These first couple of pictures are actually from our Thanksgiving table. We picked some olive and eucalyptus branches from trees in our neighborhood (under the cover of darkness and with one very nervous Kyle – don’t worry though, nothing is from neighbors’ yards!) and used those to fill around some faux bois pillar candles. We then sprinkled some pine cones, pomegranates, and white mini pumpkins over top and added some sparkle with some gold tealight holders. The place settings were really simple, with some place cards made from craft paper (using a label punch) and a white gel pen. The secret if you don’t have great calligraphy handwriting under your belt? Print a calligraphy font onto the kraft paper first (in a very light gray) and trace over it!

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This year was my first Christmas in Arizona (we always travel to my parents’ in California, but a 14-hour drive + a 7-month pregnant lady wasn’t in the cards this year) and our first Christmas in the new house, so for the first time we got a real Christmas tree! We ordered ours from a company called Five Star Christmas Trees out of Utah via a friend’s coupon code, and it was delivered right to our house. There was a little bit of confusion about the delivery itself (I think they offered way too many coupon codes, frankly), but the tree was lovely, full, and most importantly in a desert climate, very fresh.

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Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we used this simplified version of the table centerpiece. Love those cute embroidered Target placemats!

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One thing I decided to make early on was a tree skirt for the Christmas tree. I was inspired by a beautiful one on Etsy that was something like $90, and by looking at a couple of DIY tree skirt tutorials, I figured I could wing it. Of course, I instantly made it extra complicated for myself by deciding it needed to be double-sided and quilted, with trim! I really love the result, but I won’t say it wasn’t more work than I was expecting!

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The skirt is burlap on one side and candy cane striped cotton fabric on the other, with red rickrack trim. I actually bought the burlap at Home Depot because they sell it for frost cloth and it’s like $5 for a huge square of it (something like 80″x80″). I used leftover batting from another project and then just picked up the rickrack and a couple of wooden buttons, so I’d say the whole thing cost me less than $15. Don’t make me count my time. We’ll be able to use it for years and years though!

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I also made the pom pom garland on the fireplace, directly from this post from Design Mom. That was super easy (and just a $3 skein of red yarn) and I made all the poms one night in front of the tv. The hanging stars are from IKEA – we actually bought three and when we got them home realized just how big they are! Two it is.

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I also made felt garland for the tree from this tutorial from the Purl Bee. This is a shockingly easy thing to do that looks really classy when it’s done. We had such a large/wide tree though that I had to make way more than expected – I think we wound up with about 30′ of it when all was said and done. Good thing it’s so fast! When I realized we needed more I literally made an extra 18′ while on a half hour conference call.

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Lastly, I did make us our own custom stockings, based on this Martha Stewart pattern. I added embroidery to the top and embroidered the eyes and noses on the animals instead of felting them as Martha suggested (that would have required buying extra tools I don’t have). The hardest part of these was sewing all the layers together when not being able to double check the other side. They were a bit time-consuming, but like everything else here, they can be used for years. They’re not that large or accommodating for filling though, so we might have to try something else for baby Larkin next year!

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And I wonder why I was in a coma the week after Christmas. Whew!
Happy New Year!

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