Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

This is our little guy, Piper, in front of one of our Christmas trees (we  have two trees).  I was very tempted to add a third tree this year to our foyer, but just didn't get to purchasing the actual tree.

Throughout the year I purchased Christopher Radko Shiny and Bright ornaments (Cool Yule, which are retired) in all different shapes and sizes.  I was even able to find the matching tree topper.  I purchased all of the ornaments from Kathies Christmas and Collectibles at a huge discount.  Highly recommend this store, their shipping is super quick.  In the past our 9 foot 'main tree' in the family room was dedicated to a Disney theme, but Cool Yule took over this year.

Our second tree is 7 feet tall, located in our living room, and is all Santa ornament themed.  In fact, the living room is decorated with nothing but Santas.  I love that both trees are on timers and when we come home they are already lit up for us.  Sigh.  I love the white lights!  Now that I have all decorations for the third tree, I need to work on getting that purchased.  I'll need to find a new home for our mascot "Nutty" who has guarded our foyer for the past few Christmases!  We found this huge nutcracker at Costco a couple years ago.  Couldn't resist him.  Our Costco trips are hysterical:  case of tissues, case of paper towels, case of water, one 6 foot nutcracker.
I found a home for some of the extra mini candy canes I did not use while making my Christmas place card holders.  I filled the apothecary jar on the left with store-bought mini balls in red, white and silver.  The jar on the right is filled with clear balls which I purchased and coated them inside with glitter.  I've made a few dozen of them in all different colors and change them depending on the season.
I wish you a happy holiday season and all the best for 2012!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Hostess Gifts and Christmas Prep

Those who celebrate Christmas are well into their holiday preparations.  Trees are up by now, gifts are bought (I'm almost done) and cookies are being baked.  What a great time of year.  We have been busy since Thanksgiving.  Every weekend we've been invited to a cocktail party.

I try very hard not to bring a typical hostess gift such as a bottle of wine.  First off, I know nothing about wine - so unless I know the hosts favorite bottle, I just give up.  Second, it seems everyone brings wine as a gift.  Some times I just buy multiples of the same gift, but this year they were all different.  Last year, I purchased a few square shaped baskets from Longaberger and filled them with personalized cocktail napkins from The Stationery Studio.   I found people really like personalized things.  I think it shows you put a lot of thought into the gift.

Two examples I gave this year were: Rachael Ray's Olive Oil Bottle (the hostess' kitchen is orange, I was sure to get her a matching bottle) and a good bottle of olive oil from Williams-Somona wrapped nicely in cello.  She just LOVED the gift.  Last night I gave another hostess a "Box of Wine" soap set from Rinse Bath and Body Co.  Cute little take on the standard bottle of wine, I thought.  I purchased the soaps on our last trip to Disney World in October; they have had a booth in EPCOT the last few years at the Food and Wine Festival.  Their soaps smell yummy good!  I look forward to visiting their booth again in May (again at Disney World in EPCOT).
I've started to plan our dinner and think about the menu, place settings, table cloths and place cards.  I attempted something different today with the place cards.  I used 3 mini candy canes to form an easel of sorts to hold the cards.  I made the cards using Papertrey Ink's Places, Please stamp set and their matching die.  I tied mini bows and attached them to the top of the place card holders.  Something different and it was quick and easy.  I have a ton of mini candy canes left over, so I think I'll fill some apothecary jars as decoration.