Confession: I don’t love to decorate for Christmas. I get super excited and go crazy for Halloween. Thanksgiving is easy because I only need to switch a few things out. By the time Christmas gets here I’m tired and busy. I do what I can but it always seems kinda lame. With that in mind I thought I’d share a few of my holiday decorations. This isn’t everything – I’m not that lame – just my front porch and entry. Enjoy.
Santa stands just inside the front door on my little entry table.
Next to Santa is the last letter my daughter wrote to Santa before she learned “the truth”.
Of course, I had to include some pics of my girls with the big man himself. Seems so long ago.
Here it is all together. (Apologies for the bad flash photography.)
Hanging on the wall above the Santa table is this chalkboard.
My front porch.
This is a bench that sits in my front yard. See the front porch in the background? If you look closely you can even see my little chalkboard and Santa just inside the front door.
My sister-in-law is an amazing artist, one of those people who can do everything. She paints. She draws. She throws clay. She crafts. She crochets. She takes inspiring photographs. Even her name screams creative genius – Piper LaRue. Nice, right? So today I’m sharing a few of Piper’s masterpieces with you, specifically her hand-drawn gift bags. Yep, these all started as plain brown paper bags. I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away after last Christmas so I trimmed, laminated, and framed them. Voila – handmade holiday decorations.
If you don’t have access to an amazing young artist, you can find fabric and scrapbooking paper these days that’s frame-worthy. I’ve even seen some wrapping papers here that I would gladly hang on my wall. Do you have any “repurposed” holiday decorations? Send me a link, I’d love to see it.
A couple weeks ago I shared a recipe for a DIY pumpkin spice sugar scrub. Since then I’ve come up with another scrub that is UH. MAZE. ING. It’s perfect for holiday gift giving and you probably have everything you need in the cupboard right now.
Cafe Mocha Sugar Scrub
1 cup of brown sugar 1/2 cup of regular white granulated sugar 1 tablespoon ground coffee 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons oil (see #3 below) 1/2-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Mix together brown sugar and white sugar.
2. Add the coffee and cocoa to the sugar mixture and stir together, being sure to break up any lumps. I used a french vanilla coffee because it’s what I had. I’m sure any kind will do.
3. Add the oil and mix well. What kind of oil you choose is really up to you. Sunflower, safflower, or plain vegetable oil will all work. My only suggestion is to NOT use olive oil because it has such a strong scent. I used this from my local grocery store.
4. Lastly, stir in the vanilla. (The smell might seem overpowering at first but it will mellow.)
That’s it, you’re done. All that’s left is to scoop it into some pretty containers and deliver it to your friends. I usually go with mason jars – simple & classic.
Of course I had to make a pretty label for it too. It’s not professional or anything but I’ll put a link at the bottom of this post. You’re more than welcome to use it for your own sugar scrub adventures.
You could give it with a Panera or Starbuck’s gift card.
Or with a coffee mug that’s perfect for you-know-who.
A few other ideas bouncing around my noggin:
tuck it inside stockings
give as gifts at a ladies holiday brunch
package with a bag of specialty beans from Harry & David
surprise your favorite barista
put a basket full in the teacher’s lounge at school
give as a hostess gift at Christmas dinner
As promised, here are the labels I made. Let me know if you decide to mix up a batch of this yummy stuff. I can’t wait to hear how you like it.
You are not going to believe how easy it is to make your own yummy-smelling, skin-softening sugar scrub. And cheap. I mean really, really cheap, using things you probably already have in your cupboards. This recipe is perfect to give as a Christmas gift or next week as a hostess gift at Thanksgiving. Here we go.
1 cup of brown sugar 1/2 cup of regular white granulated sugar 2 teaspoons cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons oil (see #3 below)
1. Mix together brown sugar and white sugar.
2. Add the spices to the sugar mixture and stir together, being sure to break up any lumps.
3. Add the oil and mix well. What kind of oil you choose is really up to you. Sunflower, safflower, or plain vegetable oil will all work. My only suggestion is to NOT use olive oil because it has such a strong scent. I used this.
Did I mention that you’re done? Yep, that’s it.
All that’s left is to put it in a pretty jar and ask me, “hey, where’s the cute packaging and free printable?” I’m working on it, I swear. I’m looking for a non-breakable container so it can be used in the shower. When I find it, I promise to share. Until then, scoop a batch into a mason jar, tie a ribbon around it, and deliver it to your Thanksgiving host. They will love you for it.
I don’t know if you’re aware but Thanksgiving is only EIGHT DAYS AWAY. This time next week people will be arriving at your house. Putting their feet on your furniture. Their heads on your pillows. Their bums on your toilets. It’s crunch time and while I’m no meal-planning or entertaining expert, I can offer some simple, last minute decorating ideas.
1. Dry erase markers on dishes: I can’t take credit for this idea but I also can’t remember where I saw it. It was an easy update to my Halloween plate wall but if you don’t want to hang plates on your wall you could have all your guests sign or write what they’re thankful for on a large serving platter. Snap a picture of the finished platter at the end of the night for a lasting holiday memory. (NOTE: I tested my dry erase marker on the back of the plate first just to be sure it would erase.)
2. Seasonal fabric stretched in a large quilters hoop: I bought this hoop and fabric at JoAnn’s. There are no rules. Just find something you like, stretch it in the hoop, and pop it on the wall for a splash of seasonal color and pattern.
3. Photographs: Scroll through your family photos and pick four or five faves that scream “FALL”. I’ve used several shots of my kids in the leaf pile, and this one of my baby girl holding an acorn sits on the mantle. Even photos that have an orange or yellow color theme would work. If you have digital images upload them to a one-hour processing center (I use Walgreens.com) and all you have to do is go pick them up.
4. Candles: Candles are one of the quickest ways to set a mood. Mine are actually the fake, battery operated kind. I added a strip of golden scrapbooking paper along with some alphabet stickers to make them Thanksgivingy. You could use the same idea with different sized candles and place them down the center of the dining table. Just remember if you’re planning to light them, wrap the paper around a clear glass holder instead of directly around the candle so you don’t burn the house down – not a fun holiday idea.
Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the smells, the cool air, and of course, the decorations. I like to keep it simple and incorporate little bits of family. This bookshelf features a photo of my girls in this year’s leaf pile and one of the leaves, too.
I thought I was done. After this post I really thought there was nothing else I could “Halloweenify” in my yard. I was wrong. While the hubs and I were outside last weekend he casually moved a bench from the patio to the yard to rake some leaves. I looked up, saw the old, leaning thing (the bench, not the hubs) surrounded by fall color and knew what I had to do.
We have a big circle of trees in our front yard that’s been screaming for a sculpture or some sort of center focal point for years. What’s more perfect than an old, wooden bench sitting under the trees on a blanket of fallen leaves? Here’s how it came out. Totally my favorite decoration of the entire season.