Sunday
Dec092012

Set Your Holiday Table: Soft, Silver and Cream

This entire month, we've been sharing ideas to spruce up your homes for the holidays.  And guess what??  There are many more to come!

This weekend, I'll finally be decorating my Christmas tree ... and I'm hoping to get my Christmas cards out of the way too (remember that goal on my 30x30 list?).  So, while my current holiday projects are still under wraps, I thought I would share a few table setting ideas with you over the next few days.

Starting with this table setting in silver and cream:

This was the first table setting idea that I put together for my SheKnows article, Setting an unforgettable holiday table, and here is a behind-the-scenes look at how it all came together.

First, let's talk about the centerpiece.  To create the centerpiece I borrowed one of the large glass canisters from my succulent garden, rinsed out the potting soil and replaced with river rock, and added three Strala angels from Ikea.  To finish it off, I wrapped a silver leaf garland (that I found at Michaels around the base of the canister.

For the table runner, you'd probably never guess that I used the Lappljung rug from Ikea.  Even though this was a staged look, I thought the idea of using a rug (new & clean, of course) added a lot of unexpected texture and contrast to the setting.

For the place settings themselves, instead of a place mat I used the Skurar candle dish beneath the plate.  The plates (Fargrick set from Ikea, white) silverware, and napkins, were the same that I used last year for my tulip-themed Thanksgiving setting.  The little cream apples were from a set of vase fillers that I found at Home Goods, and the glittered silver flowers were from Michaels.

As you can see, I used several items that you wouldn't necessarily think of for a table setting.  But, to me, the best part of decorating is using unexpected items in creative ways.

I think it turned out pretty nice, but what do you think?  Would you consider using a rug as a table runner for your next table setting?  Cast your vote in the comments below!

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Saturday
Dec082012

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

 

My husband and I carpool once a week, which turns our 8 hour day into a 12 hour!  Eek!  And while I absolutely love spending extra time with him and the kiddos, it can be quite a challenge for dinner since we get home so much later.  Last week, we went through the McDonald's drive-thru, which just rocked me to the core.  I hate spending money on going out to eat because for one, it's expensive and for two, it's unhealthy, and for three, it just doesn't taste as good as a home cooked meal.  Call me old fashioned if you will.

To save the time, I decided to go with a crockpot dish.  Afraid of my house burning down and the dinner becoming a complete waste due to the longer cooking period, I chose a soup.  Inspired by a few recipes, and my children's picky taste buds, I came up with this version of the Loaded Baked Potato Soup.

Ingredients:

1 Bag of Frozen Hashbowns

2 Cans or Small box of Chicken Broth

1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup

1 Box Cream Cheese (8 oz)

Shredded Cheese

Bacon Bits

Combine hashbrowns, cream of mushroom, and chicken broth into crockpot.  Stir.  Cook on low for a minimum of 6 hours.  I went with 12 (mostly because I had to), but I would definitely advise you to do the same as the time allotment browned the edges and made the soup extra creamy.

When the time is up, add cream cheese and switch temperature to high.  Leave sit for 10 minutes.  Turn heat setting to "keep warm" and stir. 

Serve soup into bowls.  Top with shredded cheese and bacon bits.

Enjoy :)

**Makes enough for a family of 4 and one lunch**

What else have we been cookin'?  Find out here!

 

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Thursday
Dec062012

$3 Snowflake Bunting

Today, I am excited to report that my recent entertaining articles at SheKnows.com are finally live on the site! Here are the links:

I've been anxiously waiting to share them with you, especially since I've mentioned some behind-the-scenes projects that went into creating the finished look.  In case you missed them, check out my artsy Santa figurines, and the 15-minute ornament backdrop.  Today, I've got another holiday decorating idea for you that only costs $3 -- DIY paper snowflake bunting to hang around your home!

To get started with this easy project, first you'll need to pick up one of these paper shapes packets from Michaels.  I bought the 24-pack of snowflakes, but they also had snowmen (which could be super cute too).  Each pack costs about $3.

Once you have your snowflakes, use a hole-punch to make a hole on at the top of each snowflake ...

Once you have your holes punched, just run some ribbon through -- and that's it!  I already had this ribbon on hand from a few Christmas seasons back, but if you did need to buy some I would recommend the $1 section at Michaels (always near the register at my store).  That way, your bunting would still cost less than $5, and your home will be decked out for the holidays!

To hang the bunting, I just used tape ... but you could also drape each end from your curtain rods.  I like the way bunting looks when draped in front of a window, and hanging the strands from the curtain rods will make your bunting look like a part of your window treatment.

With the extra snowflakes in the pack, I used tape to stick them to my wall in a cascading pattern.  Such a simple way to give your home a seasonal uplift, don't you think?

Wednesday
Dec052012

15 Minute DIY Ornament Backdrop

Happy Holidays, Everyone!

Have I mentioned yet that I can't believe it's already the holiday season already??  Maybe once or twice?  Hmmm...well, I still can't!

A few weekends ago I had the opportunity to work on a really fun project for some SheKnows articles I was writing, and while I can't share the articles with you yet (still waiting for them to go live on the site), I can share a few of the projects I put together to make the whole thing come alive.

These articles were focused around entertaining for the holidays ... and in my opinion, if you're going to entertain during the holidays, you'd better GO BIG!  

Seriously, holidays are the only time that over-the-top decor just feels right.  I don't know about you, but I tend to tone-down my decor for everyday living.  But, when it's holiday time -- and I mean ANY holiday -- I like things to be full-on seasonal, and over the top!

But, hold on ...

Just because decor is seasonal, festive and larger than life, doesn't mean it has to be difficult to put together, or even expensive.  Take this simple ornament backdrop as an example.  It started out with these $.97 clear, plastic ornaments that I found at Wal-Mart ...

I bought them for three reasons ... first, I've been on the hunt for some inexpensive orb ornaments ever since last Christmas when I had an idea for a West Elm knock-off ... second, because I knew I could use them to make a really inexpensive backdrop for my entertaining-themed articles ... and third, I loved that they were plastic, because that meant they were unbreakable (take that Mr. Zach!). Win-win-and win!

After stocking up on about 20 of these ornaments, I found this floral stem at Michaels for around $2 and simply cut off individual stem pieces.

Then, I just tucked a single stem in each ornament ... like so ...

Simple right?

Next, for the backdrop portion, I found the large poster frame that I used to display photos for my friend's bridal shower, and made a few tiny adjustments.

All I did was cut out the ribbon I had used for the bridal shower, hung the ornaments with different lengths of string, and taped the string to the top edge.  

Figuring out the length and spacing for the ornaments was something that I basically eyeballed.  Once I found the length and spacing that I wanted for one row, I based all of the other rows off of it.  I worked with each length separately, and did not move on to the next length until I was happy with the results. Lastly, I worked from left to right.  You can visualize it if you know that the very first row that I placed was row #3 (second closest to the floor).  Next, I spaced right a few inches for row#2, then spaced right a few inches for row #4, and wrapped things up with a final space right for row #1.

Once everything was taped to the back of the frame, my backdrop was ready to go.  Here's the finished product:

Oh yeah ... did I mention this entire project only took me around 15 minutes?  That's my kind of holiday decorating!

Here's the cost breakdown:

  • 17 clear plastic ornaments @ $.97 each ... $17, Wal-Mart
  • 1 holly floral stem ... $2, Michaels
  • 1 poster frame ... $0, already had
  • String ... $0, already had

Grand total:  $18

See ... holiday decorating is nothing to be scared of! 

Keep your eyes peeled over the next week, because sometime this week I plan to give those plastic ornaments another exciting holiday makeover.  This time, I'll be knocking-off one of my absolute favorite ornaments from West Elm.  

What can I say?  I'm just pretty sure I can make it for less!  Anyone else making ornaments for their holiday decor?  If you're still looking for ideas, you can also try out the doodle ornaments I made last year.  These ones are fun for the kids!

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I'm linking up at:

IhookedupwithHoHlamespice 

Tuesday
Dec042012

Easy Pinecone Centerpeice

Last year, I fell in love.  Fell in love with this beautiful bowl from Ikea.  Knowing that it was only $20 and it would match my home perfectly, I ran to Ikea with Kelli on a lunch break and bought it.  Unfortunately, I had no idea what to put in it.  I already have a fruit bowl, I am not a fan of the yarn balls (plus, I'm pretty sure my kids would ruin them if given the chance), so my bowl stayed empty. 

Ikea Stockhold Bowl $19.99

Then, I came across the most lovely smelling pinecones at Michaels.  For $2.49, I was able to have my dining room smelling like cinnamon.  And guess what, I knew exactly where to put them!  In my flower bowl!

What do you think?

 

 

I am always looking to upcycle my home decor peices, meaning, utilize them season after season.  I am not sure what I'll be using this bowl for in January, but I am glad I was able to put it into use for Christmas!