Dec 11, 2014

DIY: update a Christmas village to a snow village

When we were first married, one of the first Christmas decorations I bought was a ceramic light up house that I bought at a discount retailer.

Over the years I picked up a few more, and it became one of Jon's favorite Christmas traditions- seeing the village all set up and lit.

But, in the last couple years, as much as I enjoy our wintry little neighborhood, I was ready for a bit of a change.  
I love the old Putz glitter houses, (and even some of the new renditions) but I couldn't justify getting rid of something Jon loved for something different, while still being the same idea.

I made sure he was ok with my plan, and now we both love the update!



On a rare dry day a couple weeks ago, I took the village outside and spray painted it with Rustoleum's  Flat White.



In the past I've just used Rustoleum's primer, but it has a blue cast to it, and this is a nice white tone.
Once it was completely covered, I used a mix of Martha Stewart's White Gold fine glitter, and a white glitter.


With a foam brush, I applied Mod Podge (you can use white glue too) and painted it on the areas where you would see snow collect on a house.
I only did small sections at a time so the glue was wet enough for the glitter to stick to.
Also, if the house had a spot where it had a raised area from where the snow was originally painted on, I used the glue there as well.

There's something about using glitter that is just fun no matter what age you are!

I let these dry for a couple hours, and then set up the village where we've had it the last few years.


With the update, I used white bottle brush trees, and it created the glittery snow village I wanted!
Super easy, and a quick project on something we've had for a long time.


On a final note: I see a lot of these showing up in thrift stores these days, so if you like the look of this and have never had a Christmas village, you can start your own snow village pretty quickly with a weekend shopping trip.

If you do find these at thrift stores, please be aware that most will not have the electrical cord and bulb anymore, but you can always add a battery operated tea light if the bottom is big enough to allow it, or just use a small string of white twinkle lights to poke in the bottom where the bulb would go.
Also, I was not asked by any company to endorse their products here, these are all items I love to use on a regular basis.

Have fun crafting!

xo Denise

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Dec 5, 2014

christmas house tour

Welcome to our home this Christmas!
I want to thank you for coming by!
I love Christmas in our house.  
I love opening boxes full of memories and treasures each year.  
I love our traditions that we each have, and that it's one of our favorite times of the year.


I love traditional colors for Christmas, and since we've got softer colors in our home, I've moved away from a red and green Christmas palette to red, white, and silver.
I'm not really sure what you would call our style...it's sort of a mix of vintage, sparkle, and rustic woodland.




 The little sleigh you see here was my grandma's.  
When I was little, I remember it sitting on top of her TV console with a set of deer candles.  
Even the packages are part of the original pieces.


Our staircase has silver garland, red bows, and these vintage linen stockings that I made last year.


 With such a tall ceiling in our living room, it's hard for me to not want to get a giant tree.
It took us 2 hours to put up and get half the lights on.
Even though we all love how it looks when it's decorated, I think Jon would be super happy if next year we had a 6 foot tree.  
;)
 This year I swapped out our red bead garland for some white pom pom trim.  Believe it or not, it's about 14 yards! But for a 13 foot tree, that's what it takes!


I add a few new ornaments every year, and this dove on a sparkly pine cone nest is one of my new favorites.  It was made by my friend Sarah of Roost Reimagined.  
She is super creative and constantly inspires me!




The reindeer, mini wreath and sleigh are all new for me this year.


I added in some rusty jingle bells and vintage air mail envelopes to the sleigh.


I bought our vintage Simmons steel dresser after Christmas last year, so it was fun to work with it this year.



I also bought a few more vintage ornaments from Sarah.  
Aren't the crowns adorable?  
When I was buying them from her, Sarah said she thought of me. 
She knows my style!


In our dining room, I added in several rustic pieces. 
I have lots of old barn wood that I've picked up over the last few months to make signs with, but lately I've been using them as centerpieces in here!


 I also make these table runners for my Etsy shop.
It's funny that even though I've been selling them for a few years now, I rarely make any to keep for myself!
I've always loved this particular one, so I finally made one for our dining room.
I layered a rustic piece of barn wood and a chicken feeder on top.  

It's filled with chartreuse green moss and lots of votives for a farmhouse-feel centerpiece. 
A few silver ornaments for a little sparkle, and some pinecones and walnuts.


In another week, we will be having our annual progressive dinner.
This is a little bit of what our table will look like.  I'm still working on what I will be serving at our stop, so it will get tweaked as I figure out our menu.


In the corner of our dining room, I was able to finally put to use a ladder that I bought this summer  that I just couldn't let go of.  I'd planned to sell it, but it's so darn cute, I just couldn't.
I had our Fiddle Leaf Fig here, and it bit the dust recently after I repotted it.  I went too big, too soon, and it didn't last long after that.  
I might try again after the holidays.....but for now, I love this.

Some corrugated metal wings I bought from Janet of Whatevers...
(seriously!  Go check out her awesome creations on Etsy!! She is amazing.) and the vintage linen is from my friend Alex of Attic Antics.  
I had to have it since it is Jon's initials.


I love having little wreaths in our windows.  
Last year I had fresh, this year I went with faux.
I like the wispy, frosty needles.


One element we've recently added to our house were these vintage wood corbels between our dining room and living room.  I've been looking for the right ones for months now, and one of my favorite vendors at Aunt Bee's House had them!
It's the same vendor that I bought our 'Union Jack' window frame from in our living room.  
She finds amazing stuff.



I updated our snow village this year!
Look for a tutorial next week!
:)


Our family room mantel didn't change a lot from last year- just a couple new pieces.


I added the rolls of vintage sheet music into our linen stockings because it keeps them straight during the holidays.  


The vintage mason jars on the white shutters have a few fresh greens and some red and white French stripe ribbon.  
I used the 2 and 5 from my Ikea tags on the jars too.



Our nook and kitchen have a few vintage pieces that spruce up our space.



The paperwhites are growing... hopefully they will be in bloom Christmas week!





Finally, I always want to add in a bit of Christmas to our bedroom, but I'm usually pooped from doing the main living area.  
Hannah has her own tree in her bedroom that she decorates with all of the ornaments she's gotten over the years.

This year, I kept it very simple but still added just a tiny bit of Christmas.
A few fresh greens that I clipped from our wax leaf privets to make little green swags on our window frames, and a small bunch of mistletoe hanging from the bed crown.





Romantic and cute.
Jon's comment was, "lets put that to good use!"
ha ha!
Sorry.  TMI.
:)

Thank you so much for coming to our home today!

It's the best time of the year.  
Especially because of the celebration of Jesus' birth.  
The miracle of God reaching out to us in a relatable way.
I hope you have a wonderful, peaceful season.

xo Denise
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Nov 21, 2014

Smoked salmon pate

A few years ago we went on a family trip to the mountains, and a relative brought out this wonderful smoked salmon "pate".

There's not actually any liver in it, so I guess you could just think of it as a fancier version of smoked salmon spread.
We can cheat a bit on the name.
Just for the sake of a really easy appetizer that sounds fancier than it is, right?

Living in the Pacific Northwest, we are known for our salmon.  
I always love to incorporate a bit of Northwest flavor in some form for Thanksgiving.
This spread is packed with flavor, is easy to put together, and even better when it's made the day before. 
No need to take up extra stove top or oven space for a yummy not-too-rich dish that family and friends can enjoy before the big feast.

My favorite way to eat this is with carrot sticks or Wheat Thins.

Ready?  
Here you go:

Smoked Salmon Pate

*1 package of smoked salmon
{make sure you take out any bones and remove the skin}
* 1/4 cup chopped dill pickle
* 1/2 tsp. celery salt
* 1/4 cup celery, chopped
* 1/4 cup mayonnaise
*2 T. fresh parsley- extra for garnish if you wish

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor.
Chill for one hour or more.
Serve with cut veggies or crackers.

Devour.


xo Denise

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Nov 18, 2014

vintage rustic Thanksgiving table setting, and a story

Welcome!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and I wanted to invite you into our home.
Thanksgiving in my family was always a big event.

Usually my grandma hosted it, but I remember a few times when we had it at our house.
Lots of aunts and uncles and cousins would arrive from out of town and extra tables were set up so we were all together at one big table.


Thanksgiving at my grandma's house has tons of great memories.
My grandma and grandpa lived in a 55+ mobile park.
 Everything was pristine, and they had little tiny sidewalks that were a kid size dream.
They must have been 16" wide.


There was always a lady riding through the neighborhood on a grandma-size three wheeler bike.
We creeped along at the appropriate 10 mph in our car, until we reached their carport.

For some reason, we always came through the back door.
And when we did, the smell of roasting turkey was almost as wonderful as grandma's joyful laugh and hug.


We would come in with all our food contributions to the dinner, and grandma would bustle back into the kitchen to make sure everything was running smoothly and direct us where all the casseroles and food should go.
Her kitchen was tiny.  
I really don't know how she /we pulled off a feast to feed 20 people.

The house was warm and cozy, and everyone but the moms stayed out of the kitchen. 
The relish tray, cheese ball, and Chex mix were our pre-dinner appetizers.
By the time we sat down for dinner, the black olives from the relish tray were usually depleted.
And there was always that last minute rush and flurry of finishing pan gravy and pulling dishes out of the oven.
It was a magical and concentrated dance between those ladies in the kitchen.

My grandma always set a beautiful table.
She was such an amazing hostess.  
She always had pretty white lace tablecloths, monogrammed candlewick glasses, and pretty china set out.
I now collect Candlewick stemware because of those wonderful memories.


Most of the food was set out on the table, with a few extra dishes on the counter when there wasn't room.

Our dinner was pretty traditional.
Turkey. Mashed potatoes and gravy.  Stuffing.  Sweet potatoes with the marshmallows on top.  
The cranberry "sauce" which was really just the can shaped jiggly stuff plopped into a crystal dish.
I was deeply disturbed by this, and it also prompted me to make the real deal when we were first married.  I have not, and cannot bring myself to serve can shaped cranberry "sauce".

And there was always one very, very special holiday treat.  
Actually, it wasn't just reserved for holidays, but it was always a staple at holidays.
Butter dips.
No one I knew in all my growing up years had ever heard of them, and so a few years ago I shared them on the blog.  
They were little doughy bits of heaven.  
Not hard to make, but messy!

It was rare if any were ever left after Thanksgiving dinner.
The key is to use salted butter.
I'll try and do a repost on the recipe later this week.


After dinner was done, and the dishes cleaned up, the leftovers put into take away dishes, the dads would all find a spot on the couch or a comfy chair and attempt to stay awake during the football game.
The ladies would all sit at the now cleared dining table and play Scrabble, Yahtzee, Rack-O, or Dutch Blitz.
Catching up on life and chatting about Christmas.
As the kids would run by, the moms would try and get Christmas gift ideas from them.

Depending on my age, I would either sit and listen to the adult conversation or wander back to my grandma's bedroom and try on her jewelry or sift through her buttons in her sewing room.
Sometimes she would let me try on her high heels.


My brother and cousin would be wrestling, laughing, and running through the house getting sweaty.
When it got to be too much, they would head outside to the cul-de-sac and run off more energy or play football in the 30 degree weather.

Soon it would be time to go, and we would gather up everything to take home, slip on our jackets, and give hugs.  
And then stand in the mudroom saying goodbye and telling one last story for another 30 minutes.

What I take away now, looking back on all those memories, is that my grandma made everything beautiful with what she had.  And it wasn't always a lot.
She did her best to make people feel welcome in her home, and to make food with a lot of love and invite others in to share in that love as often as she could.  

So many wonderful memories.
I'll never quite have the same touch at hospitality that she did, but I try!
:)

Thanks for visiting with me today!
I wish for you good memories and happy times with your family this Thanksgiving.

xo Denise

Sources:
tablecloth- Target
wicker placemats- Ikea
flatware- World Market, Danieli
white dinner plates- World Market
turkey plates- Home Goods
napkin / towel- World Market
stemware- bee glasses, World Market; Candlewick, vintage
table runner- Pink Postcard Etsy
footed wood slice- Home Goods
blue metal pitcher- gift from relative
banner- handmade by me

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