Category: Holiday

Free Printable Chalkboard Christmas Art

I had to share another set of awesome Christmas printables that helped make our living room photo collage extra festive. I found these free printable chalkboard Christmas prints on The Cottage Market and I loved that they each featured lyrics from traditional Christmas songs. We have a lot of red and green going on in our holiday decor, so I thought these chalkboard prints would break up all the color nicely while still being very Christmas-y in their subject matter. How cute are they?!

Free Christmas Chalkboard Printables

If you love these as much as I do, you can download them for free over at The Cottage Market and print them to use in your home. I purchased three white frames to hold similar birthday-themed chalkboard printables for Laura’s birthday dinner knowing that I wanted to keep switching out the prints for each holiday throughout the year. The frames were roughly $10 each purchased a T.J. Maxx and I love the way they can easily be changed to match the season. I printed the art on plain 8×11 printer paper and cut it to fit the 8×10 frames. Here’s what they look like up on my photo collage wall and propped on the side table next to the couch.

Photo CollageIMG_0849 Photo Collage Left Angle

Trimming the Tree

The tree is trimmed! Here it is cheering up our living room in all its glow-y heart warming beauty!

Finished Tree

I mixed all of our old ornaments with a few boxes of new designs and I love the way it turned out. Here’s a closer look at the ornaments I used.

All Ornaments

Old Ornaments
Old Ornaments
New White Ornaments
New White Ornaments
New Bird Ornaments
New Bird Ornaments Leftover from Wreath Making
New Silver Ornaments
New Silver Ornaments

I started with the above silver ornaments that I picked up at Target this year to fill in such a big tree. This is the biggest Christmas tree we’ve ever had so I knew I needed some extra ornaments, but I didn’t want to break the bank. I got 12 large ornaments in this pack for $15 and they nicely filled in a few holes in the tree. I layered on the white ornaments next followed by the green and finally the red. Putting the entirety of each color on at time helps me evenly distribute them throughout the tree for a more balanced look. Last and most importantly I added our more ornate and meaningful ornaments like the angel that Mike’s grandmother gave him during their last Christmas together, and the lovey dovey snowman couple that we got for our first married Christmas – complete with our wedding date. Here’s the final product!

Tree Close Up

Red Reindeer

Bow Tree Topper

Christmas Tree

Tree & Stockings

Finished Tree

There it is! I love how it glows like this at night. I’ve become quite the Christmas sap since marrying Mike. He’s helped me see Christmas in a whole new way and appreciate little things like a cheerful tree much more than I used to. If you celebrate Christmas, do you have your tree up yet? What’s your favorite ornament?

 

 

Easy DIY Holiday Art

After crafting the outdoor Christmas wreaths to adorn the front and side windows of our home this season, I knew I wanted to add a personal touch to our indoor decorations with a fun Christmas craft as well. This is what I came up with.

Easy DIY Holiday Art

My inspiration came from this glitter reindeer art that I pinned a while ago. I liked the simply get sparkly look of the art and it looked like something simple enough to recreate. When Mike and I were in Michael’s a few weeks ago looking for Christmas decorations I picked up a pack two canvases on sale for $7 and two bottles of Martha Stewart’s craft paint for $2.99 each, so these two custom pieces of holiday art cost me just $11. I also used a foam brush, a small painting brush and some glue dots that I already had. If you had to buy these I think the total project would cost around $20. Still a great steal for some awesome art – especially because you can make the colors and style match your decor perfectly! Here’s a look at everything I used for this project.

Art Utensils

The stencils you see above were a great Pinterest find, too. Another blogger had them hosted on her site available for free download. Score! Free printables are one of my favorite things. You can access these files here.

Christmas Printables

As I mentioned above, I bought two new craft paints for this project. One is a silvery glitter called Antique Silver and one is a gorgeous red color called Habanero. I also had a pretty forest green and bright white left over from another project that I had on hand but didn’t end up using.

Craft Paint

Before I started painting, I took a second to look through the four pages of stencils I printed out to come up with a rough composition for my art. I decided that I liked the Christmas tree and reindeer shapes best. Initially I wanted to make a print with all three words, but I thought ‘love’ was a little more hippie than what I was going for, so I decided to split up ‘joy’ and ‘peace’ and pair each one with a shape.

Three Words

Peace Reindeer

Joy Christmas Tree

With the competition set it was time to affix the stencils to the back of the canvas so I could trace the design right onto the front. I used the easily removable glue dots to secure the stencils because they wouldn’t do any damage to the back of the canvas.

Glue Dots

I don’t have one of those handy dandy artist light boxes, so I used the next best thing. My iPhone! I clicked on the flashlight tool and held the light up to my canvas so I could see the lines clear enough to easily trace them. The light wasn’t bright enough to lay on the table, so I had to hold it right behind the canvas and move it along the lines as I traced to get a clear view. I was worried this may be a pain but this step when pretty quickly and wasn’t very difficult.

iPhone LightBack Lit StencilHere’s what the tracing looked like when it was finished. I used pencil so I could easily erase or paint over mistakes and readjust the design if necessary.

TracingWith the stencils traced it was finally time to break out the paint. I decided to use the light silvery glitter color first because the red would cover it later so I didn’t have to be careful painting outside the lines. I quickly applied the silver coat with a foam craft paint brush.

Silver Coat

With the silver glitter coat finished it was time to break out the small paint brush for the smaller sections that I was painting red. The brush has an angled tip which made it a little easier to stay within the lines, but my lines certainly are not perfect. Notice the uneven ‘Y’ in joy? My lines aren’t straight at all, but I think these small imperfections lend a hand crafted feel to the art – so I love it.

Red Paint

I reversed the colors for the second print and made the background red and the letters/shape glittery silver. Nothing says Christmas like a glittery reindeer. Holla! Note, you can’t pick up on the glitter in the below photo as well as the above, but it’s just as glittery in person as the background of the joy print.

Peace Print

With both of the prints painted I was done! The project took me about 2 hours in all between gathering all the materials, cutting the stencils, tracing, painting and putting everything away. It wasn’t bad at all, and I find painting to be very relaxing.

Final Prints

And here’s what they look like up on the wall. I think they make our photo collage look super fun and festive. They really add a Christmas-y feel to our living room and play well with the rest of our decorations.

Photo Collage

Prints From Right

Prints From Left

Notice the new living room furniture layout with the couch against the wall? We did some rearranging the same night we put the tree up. I’ll go over the new layout in more detail in my post outlining our indoor Christmas decorations. Stay tuned!

Are you guys planning to tackle any Christmas crafts in the next two weeks? What hand crafted decorations make your holiday extra special?

Brightest House on the Block

Remember when I told you to just call us the Griswolds? I said that for good reason. We may have gone a bit overboard with the Christmas lights this year, and we’re just a little scared to get our electric bill come January. But hey, we’re festive!

I love the way we were able to mix in Mike’s beloved colored lights in the red and green Edison bulbs that we ran across the front roof line and the strands of colored lights we used to outline the fence and bushes in our back yard with warm white lights, wreaths and garland for a really warm look. I wish we could have lined the peak of the second story roof in red and green lights too, but there’s no way either of us were climbing up there to make that happen.

Overall I think our decorations do our expansive corner lot justice and hopefully make our neighbors feel like we take pride in our neighborhood. We decorated over a few days and there was definitely some editing and tweaking involved to land on this final look. This is our first year decorating for Christmas and we knew we’d have some kinks to work out, but our thorough planning this year should make next year a breeze!

In my conversations with friends and family so far this season it seems like men have a fondness for colored lights while women like the simpler look of warm white lights. I’m a white light fan myself, but I’m a sucker for how excited my sappy hubby gets over festive colored lights, so I’m glad we were able to compromise and incorporate them both. Are you on team colored lights or team white lights? How are you decorating the outside of your home for the holidays?

Stuffed, and I’m Not Talkin’ Turkey

Thanksgiving was late this year so we decided we would dedicate a lot of time during the holiday weekend to decorate our house for Christmas both inside and out. After spending a few days focused on our outdoor decorations, Sunday was finally my day to go crazy shopping for indoor decor to round out what we already had. I’m a pretty lucky girl with a husband who actually enjoys shopping (for at least a little while) so after a leisurely morning and a light breakfast we ventured out hoping for great deals and not-too-crazy crowds.

Scion Stuffed with the Christmas Tree

After a few hours of shopping it was time to drop off our spoils at the house and head out to get the Christmas tree. Mike knew of a local fire company that was selling trees about five minutes away from our house, so we decided to head over there in the hopes of supporting a community organization. Five minutes after we stepped foot on the lot I set foot on the beauty pictured above, and I knew that lush Douglas Fir had to come home with me. I don’t even think Mike got a second to check it out before the firemen were wrapping it with netting and carrying it to our car. He just said, “happy wife, happy life,” and off we went.

Well, it wasn’t quite that easy. You see, Mike and I have gotten a real Christmas tree each year since we moved into our first apartment nearly four years ago – and each tree has perfectly fit into the back of his trusty Scion xD. My knees were jammed in the dash and his torso was twisted every time to accomodate the tree’s trunk in the tiny car, but it fit nonetheless. Maybe it was my romantic ideals of the perfect first Christmas in our new home, the poorly lit fire company lot where all the trees were leaning or the haphazardly way trees of all sizes were packed in together that distorted my ability to tell what size our chosen tree actually was – but it wasn’t fitting. The Scion was stuffed to the gills and there was absolutely no way the hatch in the back was closing.

With the tree packed in as tightly as it could be and our hazard lights on we gingerly pulled out of the parking lot to start the quick five minute drive home. I had one arm holding onto a sturdy branch at the tree’s base (as if I could hulk out and keep it from sliding out of the car – yeah right) and the other was wrangling our vlog camera trying to capture some of the craziness. Mike’s No. 1 goal for me?

Christmas Tree in Trunk

“Just keep your eye on the rear view mirror to see if anything flies out of the back,” he said as the hatch completely flung open. “Sure, no problem,” I thought, praying that we wouldn’t hit a red light or a strange patch of Sunday night traffic. I’m a wonder woman multitasker. No sweat.

Luckily we made it home with no problems and Mikey manhandled the tree into the house. We attached the tree stand, cut off the netting and BAM! There it was. The most beautiful and enormous tree I’ve ever owned. Right in our living room. More than 1,000 lights later and this gorgeous tree made our hectic day worth every minute. I spent the rest of the night decorating our downstairs (post to come) and I was bursting with Christmas spirit by the time we rolled into bed in the wee hours of Monday morning. I’m a night owl and nothing makes me feel more accomplished than a late night spent getting things done. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Christmas Tree with Lights

I can’t wait to decorate it! I’m just waiting for a not-so-busy night when I can get really creative and inspired. There’s nothing worse than rushing to get something done when you’re not feeling creative, but I hope to get the tree decorated one night this week. Stay tuned.

How are you guys celebrating the holidays? Did you spend the weekend after Thanksgiving on shopping, decorating, or both?

Thankful

I had one of the nicest Thanksgiving holidays this year that I’ve had in a while. Mike and I have been together for five years now and we’ve been splitting holidays between our families ever since. I’m an only child (and an only grandchild on my dad’s side) so it’s tough to juggle holiday time among all the special people in our lives, so this year we decided we’d spend Thanksgiving in Pennsylvania with my family and Christmas at home in Jersey. Our agenda for Thanksgiving this year involved lunch at my Mommom and Poppop’s house with my Dad and dinner at my Nana’s house with my Mom. It was such a nice day!

Thanksgiving Table
Nana’s Thanksgiving Table

We started the day with lunch at my Mommom and Poppop’s house. Mommom knew Mike and I would be having a big turkey dinner later in the day, so she decided to make an untraditional PA dutch favorite – chicken pot pie. It was topped with my Great Grandmother Mary’s (her mother) pie crust and packed full of chicken, veggies and gravy. After lunch I helped her decorate the house for Christmas so she wouldn’t have to do it on her own. We’re a great team and we got the whole house (inside and outside) decorated in about two hours. We had a ball!

At around 5 PM we called my Uncle Brian who lives in South Korea to wish him a Happy Thanksgiving from America. It was already Friday morning there and he was getting ready to go to work since Korea doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving. He’s coming home for Christmas, so we’re all really excited to see him and his wife Mee for a few days. They’re even staying with Mike and I for a night!

After we said goodbye to him we headed down the road to my Nana’s house. She and my mom are lucky to live right next door to each other, so Nana has been hosting holidays at her house for a while and they both pitch in to prepare the meal. You know dinner is almost ready when we start carrying things over from Mom’s oven to Nana’s table! How amazing does their turkey look? Mom brined it for a little more than a day and it turned out juicy and flavorful. Uncle Brad did an awesome job carving this baby up so we could dig in.

Turkey

Dinner included mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, roasted brussel sprouts, green bean casserole, cornbread, cole slaw, applesauce, and more. It was amazing! After we indulged in dinner it was time for dessert. That’s where my baking skills came into play. I was in charge of dessert this year, and I didn’t mess around.

French silk pie and pumpkin dream cake. Yes, that happened. And it was delicious. I used a recipe from The Pioneer Woman to make the pie and another from Lemon Sugar to make the cake (same recipe I used to make my pumpkin cake pops last month). Yum!

French Silk Pie

Pumpkin Dream Cake

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving if you celebrate it, and if not – thanks for sharing mine with me. I’m so thankful that you stopped by. Get an even closer look at our Thanksgiving celebration in our vlog below. Happy Thanksgiving!