Holiday Shelf Decor

Hello friends!

I’ve been sick as a dog, spending as much time as I can in bed resting, but I’m stopping in briefly today to post a few pictures of the holiday decor I’ve added to the shelves in our dining room / office.

Everything we added to this space was either re-purposed from past years, or it was free…
One of my favorite parts about the holiday updates on these shelves were the “chalkboard” printouts from online.  I just took the prints that were previously in these frames and swapped them out.  So easy, and it cost me nothing – my favorite kind of update!
I also took the faux holly berry sprigs that had been in our living room last year, and cut the stems short, putting the berry branches in a few small pots we had on hand.  Another super easy, free addition, and it added instant holiday cheer to the shelves.
The faux potted amaryllis was a score from Target last year, and is livening up our pretty little bar cart.
This is not a “Christmas” update, but you might also notice a pretty addition here… my mom gifted me one of her crystal decanters!  I am dying to get some port decanted in there, but for now, it’s just looking very pretty.
Also, not holiday specific, but the striped red straws were another Target find recently!
On the other side is a pretty close mirror image… in a small space, keeping things symmetrical helps keep things from feeling super busy…

Notice the fake snow tucked behind the pot of berries?  It’s actually fake cobwebs leftover from Halloween.  Woot woot!!

On each of these shelves is a little project I worked on – the stacked paper Christmas trees. I got the idea from this post on Style Me Pretty from last year, where they made all these adorable paper Christmas trees. Mine didn’t quite come out the same, but they aren’t terrible either…
I ended up cutting up one of my Sookie Stackhouse books for this project (don’t worry, it was not some piece of classic literature) – different sized square pieces, and stacked away.  I used the leftover branch from cutting down the holly berries for the tree trunk, and called it a day.
Next time around I’d use thicker / stiffer paper, and more of it, so each tree was bushier, but for a first attempt, it wasn’t a total fail.

I especially love this space at night… there are lots of candles in here, and it creates the most cozy atmosphere…

I kind of hated the full mirror wall for the longest time, but while it’s totally 80’s, it also does make the small space feel more open.  I also love that it reflects back the twinkling lights of our Christmas tree…

So that’s all for our dining room holiday updates…

It’s festive, without being over the top, and they were all easy, inexpensive (or free) updates!  Ok, back to bed for me…

O Christmas Tree

December is almost half way through (CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!), and after getting our tree decorated last weekend, let’s give it a moment in the spotlight…
Pretty, right??

I feel like there are two types of Christmas tree decorators… the traditionalists, and the theme decorators.

Myself, I’m a traditionalist – my favorite part about decorating the tree is to hang all the sentimental ornaments I’ve gotten year after year and reminisce (much to Kris’ chagrin) all about when I got them, and the stories behind each…

Mixed in with all the sentimental ones, I’ve got colorful globes, and glittery ribbon woven throughout.  I had big hopes this year to swap out the gold ribbon for a fun black and white stripe, but it was impossible to find.  So gold ribbon it was.  At least I upgraded from my sheer ribbon last year to a big, chunky glitter ribbon.  It really stands out and sparkles so much at night when the lights are on.
This year, the tree is a bit different from years past – I could not find our tree topper to save my life, but instead of going out to  buy a new one, I just rounded up some ribbon we had stashed in one of the boxes to make a pouf for the top.  
It’s not my favorite, but it’s not half bad and adds almost an extra foot to the top, so I’m ok with it…
I’ve been collecting one ornament a year since I was a baby (some years more than one), so that’s quite a few unique ornaments. I got these ballet slippers when I was maybe 8 years old.  I remember so distinctly – there was a small antique shop near our house, and even though these were one of the more expensive ornaments I wanted them so badly… at the time, there was a book about a ballerina I was obsessed with… it was called The Silver Slippers and the book came with a ballet slipper necklace (one of my most prized possessions) – thus I NEEDED this ballet slipper ornament.
I have no idea what happened to that book (or the necklace) but this ornament is still one of my most cherished.  Isn’t it funny how some things stay with you?


In addition to the personalized ornaments – the angels, the bears, the little birds, and the Santa with his surfboard (that’s Kris’ ornament) my mom has been giving us a box of vintage glass ornaments every year as well – they totally remind me of the ornaments in the movie A Child’s Christmas in Whales.  It’s a family favorite, and I love being able to hang those up as well.
I love that the tree is colorful and fun – maybe one day I’ll have a second tree to decorate as a “themed” tree – all bird ornaments and feathers, or all jingle bells and silver sparkles – but I love the character this has, and I love how packed in all the ornaments are.  It’s the one time of year that “more” is better (I think).

Growing up, we’d go with our parents to cut our tree down in the Santa Cruz mountains, and while we’ve skipped it a few years, I love our new tradition of going to the school around the corner from our house to buy the tree, and walking it home in the chilly evening.

Even though we haven’t cut ours down this year, I honestly cannot imagine not having a fresh tree.  To me, there would be no magic in taking a tree out of a box, and the smell… oh the smell… it’s SO GOOD.

It’s like a fresh fir forest in here I tell ya!

It’s pretty in the daytime, but at night is when it’s really magical…
Now, not to brag, but I’ve got to take a moment to give myself some credit for thinking creatively. Storing stuff is always in issue in this little apartment… after the ornaments were on the tree, we were left with boxes upon boxes, and without anywhere to put them, I decided to wrap them.
Yep, those presents under the tree are just empty boxes my friends.  What better place to store them than in plain sight – the tree looks so much better with presents under it, and I don’t have to worry about what to do with these boxes… win-win.

The guy at the tree lot also cut quite a lot off the bottom of the tree, so we ended up putting a box under the Christmas tree stand to bump it up a bit.

I actually think we will do this every year from now on.  I like how it creates space under the bottom branches for the presents to tuck under!  Another happy coincidence…

So what about you??  Are you a Christmas tree traditionalist or do you prefer the themed trees?

I Cheated…

I cheated… but just a little!!

I’m linking up today with Michaela at Michaela Noelle Designs for a fun craft link up party!

There have been some AMAZING ideas posted already, and while I had grand plans to post up a fun paper Christmas Tree project, there have not been enough hours in my day.  Eh, you can’t win them all… so I’ve contributed to the link up with my ornament garland from last year that has held up SO WELL.

Last year it stood alone in the hallway, but this year, it’s a part of the winter wonderland I posted about last week!

Go take a look at some of the amazing ideas and projects!!  Some of them totally doable, and some I know are outside of my talent level…

A few favorites already??

This super charming Swedish Felt Christmas Tree from Southern Distinctions….

I’m obsessed with Sarah’s blog, so it’s no surprise that I loved her feather garland… I just love how it catches the light and sort of glows…

And this felt wreath from Life on Virginia Street is so festive, and relatively simple to make!

If I had a mantle, you can bet your buttons that I’d be whipping up a few of these trees from Little Bits of Home!  I love the tinsel one along with the one with the pompoms.  So clever!!

Have you gone and checked out all the brilliant projects??  Prepare yourself… you’ll get totally sucked in!

It’s a Winter Wonderland… in our Hallway

Woot woot!!  The hallway is ready for the holidays!!
I tackled this area of our house last night, and I’m REALLY happy with how it turned out!!  I’d bought this deer head a while back when Target’s “Stag Head” collection came out, and while he’s been living on our bookshelves for the last month or so, he’s made himself right at home in this little winter wonderland scene!
We (sadly) don’t have a mantle in our apartment, so I like to decorate this area the same way I’d decorate a holiday mantle.  This year, it’s a snowy woodland scene…

This table has actually been in our living room for the last year or so, acting as the drop spot for keys, mail, etc, but since we had to make space in the living room for our Christmas tree, this table had to move back into the hallway.
Initially, I wasn’t a huge fan of having the table in the hallway – our apartment is pretty small, so to me it felt more cramped when you walked down the hallway.  The table is narrow so it doesn’t actually take up much space – it was more “visually” cramped than anything else, but now that it’s decked out for Christmas, I absolutely love it!
Well hello there Mr. Deer…
I can’t tell if he’s totally creepy or totally cute.
That blank stare looks totally “zombie killer deer” up close, but it’s much less creepy in person.  I kind of love him – although I think he’d be even more dapper with a bow around his neck…

And the trees!!  I picked these up at Target for like $8 each, and I had a coupon for 30% off, so I think my mini forest only cost around $18 in the end.  I didn’t love that they were all the same height though, so I got creative.

I still had some fake cobwebs from Halloween, so I just fluffed those up and stuffed them in the bottom of a clear vase to re-purpose them as “snow”.

I then propped the other two trees up on whatever planters I had laying around – you can kind of see in the above picture that the “tallest” tree is actually on a candle votive stacked on top of a planter than I quickly painted gold (for continuity). You can hardly see them, so it looks just fine to me!

I also love how the “mercury glass” frames look all frosty here.  Originally when I had hung all the frames on this wall, they were empty, but I saw some mirror spray paint, and in a moment of curiosity decided to try it out.

I’d read that it doesn’t come out as shiny as a normal mirror, so I decided to make it more like mercury glass – you just fill a spray bottle with water and vinegar, spray down the glass, and spray the paint, then wipe it off.  The water / vinegar mixture creates these cool splotches making it look A LOT like mercury glass…

The ornament garland was a DIY project that I worked on last year – click here to read the tutorial on that… super simple and inexpensive, and it has really held up!!

I was playing with the different settings on the camera and really like how crisp and clear the forefront of this shot came out.  
Despite taking these photos in the early morning light, its nice and bright…
And this next photo was a really proud moment for me… 
I was able to play with the aperture on my camera settings to get the background really blurred out, and the foreground really focused.  I’m still a total photography novice, but I’m always so proud when I manage to get a really great picture…

So that’s our little hallway turned winter wonderland.  The rest of our place is STILL a hot mess, but we’re getting there slowly but surely.  My goal is to have everything decorated and cleaned up by the weekend.

How is your holiday decorating coming along??  As slowly as mine??

Christmas Spirit = Christmas Mess

Whelp it’s been a rude awakening being back at work so far… I was just getting used to the life of leisure, and then 7:30 came around this morning VERY early.  Despite my ongoing depression of being back at work this week, we’ve started decorating for the holidays which is very fun… and by fun… I mean hard work.  For the most part our house is a HUGE mess – boxes everywhere, tissue paper galore, and a very fragrant, very busy bare tree in the middle of it.

I’m still in the process of tracking down all the boxes of ornaments, lights, and garlands, so for now, the only thing that isn’t a complete mess is this little shelf in our dining room…

Just one – the rest of them have been cleared off, and the dining room table is a mis-mash of it’s former contents as I contemplate what I want to put up for the holidays.
I don’t dare show you what the rest of our living room and dining room look like right now… it’s bad.
Better photos and more information on how to make those cute little paper trees is on it’s way once the shelves are Christmas-ified.
For now… 
Happy Monday!

We’re calling it "Pre-Christmas" Decor

Let me preface this post by saying, yes, I am fully aware that we haven’t celebrated Thanksgiving yet… 
But let me also just say, Thanksgiving is the latest it’s ever been… EVER… so since Thanksgiving is so excruciatingly late, I figured it couldn’t hurt anyone to hang a few harmless wreaths in our living room over the weekend….

I LOVE boxwood wreaths. Possibly more than any other wreath.  They are fresh and simple, and need no adornment, which around the holiday season – when the motto is “the more lights, tinsel, and general bedazzlement, the better” – a simple wreath is subtly festive.

In my case, I went with four subtly festive boxwood wreaths… for $10 each, how could I say no?!

I decided to hang them in each of the windows of our living room…


The best part about boxwoods is that they dry so well.  These windows get direct sunlight all day long – pretty much from about 9am until 4pm, but boxwoods keep the bright green color even after they’ve dried!  Last year, I kept our wreath from the holidays, and hung it on our front door through the summer.

Now, I never normally take photographs at night in low light like this, but, with the wreaths in the window, I found it nearly impossible to photograph them during the day.  They were completely blacked out with the sun behind them in every shot , but I guess it’s nice to document our house with the cozy lamp light too… this is actually how I like our house the best, even though it doesn’t turn out in photographs so well.

God… we really need to do something about the coffee table – the bane of my existence.  Its SO scratched up on top, and the storage below is just not attractive.  Functional… yes, but I’m sure we could get rid of half that crap and not miss a thing.

Perhaps that’s something tackle next weekend… the decrapification of our coffee table… and then the selling of the coffee table and buying of a new one……….

Anyway… enough talk of my hoarding ways… let’s get back to my pretty wreaths.  Don’t you just love how they get a little up-lighting from the side lamps?
And notice my new lampshades… $5 on clearance!  Woot woot!!

Gotta love a good deal – ok last glamour shot of the wreath….

Hope you all had a lovely, productive weekend too!!


Glitter Guide: Holiday Decor

Gold is in, in a big way – gold jewelery, watches, brass hardware, and gilded picture frames – it’s everywhere!  Gold is the perfect transitional color for the holidays, and can take you from Thanksgiving seamlessly into Christmas (and beyond if you ask me).

I’m a big fan of transitional decor – things that feel like the season… not specifically the holiday, so I’ve pulled together some of my favorite gold accessories to incorporate into your seasonal decor, for a little glitz and glam that doesn’t scream “Santa Claus”


Stag Head: Ok… so he’s not gold… but I couldn’t resist!!  How cute would he be with a boxwood wreath around his neck… OR… a gold ornament wreath (in keeping with the gold theme here)… post holidays he could transition into a jaunty scarf…  Right?!

Jewelry Box: I need this.  My jewelry has taken over an entire dresser drawer and it’s just mayhem.  I can never find anything, so this jewelry box (or a set of several) would be amazing… and simply gorgeous to keep out on a dresser or nightstand to hold the pieces I wear the most.

Honeycomb Ice Bucket: A super stylish way to keep drinks chilled at a holiday party…

Confetti Martini Shaker:  Um… I love this.  It’s a party even before the drinks get poured!!

Gold Ikat Coasters: Another favorite of mine on here – to jazz up a coffee table and protect your furniture!  So cute, people will actually WANT to use them!

Gold Swirl Art: This is seasonally agnostic if you ask me!  I mean… this would look equally great in the summer as it would next to the glinting lights of the Christmas tree.

Cheers Bitches Banner: And…. perhaps my favorite item on the list.  How funny and awesome is this little banner??  Hanging over the drink table??  Love.

Christmas House

I cleaned our house today, finally putting away all the Christmas gifts, recycling all the boxes we don’t have storage for, and dusting off all the crumbs that have accumulated over the last few days.  We’ve got cookies, candies, and sweets up the wazoo, and it seems we’ve made it a personal mission to finish every last treat… thus the crumbs!
Anyway, the light was so pretty, I decided to get out the good camera, and snap some shots of our Christmas house this year…

This photo was taken from the archway between the living room and the dining room.  As much as these two love seats have bugged me since we moved in, they don’t grate on my nerves nearly so much with a few pretty throw pillows.  For winter, we’ve got some white faux fur in the mix, along with the navy and gold floral pattern, and some neutral linen.
Taking these pictures, I realized that I haven’t documented our house much since we got this rug.  One of my new years resolutions will to be better about that, and this is the start.

Notice how the faux fur throw I got from Cost Plus has made a home for itself on the wicker chair?  This chair bugs me to no end, so I guess I figured covering it up with cozy blankets would solve that?  No idea, but we now refer to this chair as the abominable snowman, since it looms in that corner fairly ominously…

For all it’s modern lines, Kris’ black love seat somehow blends in more to me with that snazzy striped throw blanket – $30 from Ikea – heck yeah!!

And here is our pretty tree.  Kris keeps saying it’s the prettiest tree in the world.  He’s a keeper.

It really does look nice with a mix of new and old.  I have my favorite old ornamants I’ve collected over the years, with some bright colorful  balls from Target (I am loving those hot pink and lime green ones), along with our new tree topper (which is crooked in this picture… dang it!)

So, it’s clear to me that I need to figure how to work our camera in manual, since this shot above is way overexposed.  I could not figure out how to capture the tree, and the room, at the same time since the sunlight was streaming through the windows.

Ohh well – possibly another resolution for 2013… figure out how to take better pictures.

Now don’t make fun of me, those presents are not actually presents…  I wrapped the boxes our ornaments get stored in.  Yup – we have ZERO storage for these, so since they were in plain sight, I wrapped them to camouflage their function.  I don’t know about you, but I thought I was pretty clever!

And I couldn’t resist a close shot of my pretty white roses.  We had some deep red roses here a few weeks back, but I am loving the white just as much.  Also, I am loving how I was able to get a little bokeh effect going on with the lights on the tree.  Holla!

Target is seriously my favorite place on earth.  The faux amaryllis bulb AND that feather tray were both huge scores from Target – the feather tray was on sale for $9.99 last week, and a quick note on the fake flowers… they look so real in person, I’ve had several people ask how I was able to grow them.  Kind of amazing…

Finally, our desk got a few small additions – these birch wrapped bark candles are pretty and wintery, and I plan on keeping them around through February.

Pottery barn sells them for an arm and a leg, but Cost Plus has them for cheap!  Run and get them before they are gone!



Also, this candle got a little greenery from a tree that blew down during a storm earlier this month.  Luckily, the branches and leaves dried out perfectly, and retained their green color.

This tray had lived on the coffee table for a long time, but moved over to the side table next to the TV – it got a little snowflake wrapping paper on the bottom to Christmasify it (new word?), and the vase on it was stuffed with faux berry branches.

I was never fully happy with this little area, but it does the trick.  I still want a taller table to go here – perhaps that’s why I think it looks odd…

I took this photo standing in front of the tree looking back at the gallery wall that never happened (remember this ambitious post??).  I was gung ho about the gallery wall for about a week, and then I chickened out! We still have all the art and frames I’d assembled sitting in a little stack, but I just can’t pull the trigger.

I’ve been toying with the idea of hanging two larger frames here, so it’s less manic and crowded.  First I’ll need to find some frames, and then some art that I love…

For now, these three black and white (and crooked) frames will have to stay.  It’s not THAT bad… right?

This little guy is one of my favorite holiday additions to our space – he is jaunty, and so cute, just chilling below some mistletoe that hangs from the inside of a lamp.

God that crackle finish kills me on the lamp… the faux finish is just gross, but it stays for now.  Perhaps some rubbed bronze spray paint is in that lamp base’s future?  Or should we get crazy and throw some navy in the mix there??

And finally the Christmas card display… I really debated not adding this picture since it’s not the best execution of an idea.  I was trying to make a tree shape out of the cards we received… a glorious idea I saw on Pinterest.  Whelp… I’d pretty much call this a Pinterest fail.

I’ll still give myself an A for effort, but we’ll have to find a different way to display the cards next year…

So that’s it – a quick recap of all the simple Christmas Decorations we had this year in the living room – and don’t forget the pretty boxwood wreath we have hanging in the dining room, or the Christmas ornament garland I made for our hallway.
Cheers to the last few days of Christmas decorations!!

Wall Trees

Living in San Francisco, these old apartments don’t leave much space for Christmas decor, much less a beautiful, big Christmas tree.
Luckily, Kris and I have a large living room, and there is a perfect spot for the tree in the window, but a lot of my friends simply don’t have a tree – which I find SO sad!  I couldn’t imagine December without that lovely piney smell, and the soft glow of the fairy lights.  Especially since these are the shortest days of the year, I feel like I’m never even home when it’s light outside anymore!
That said, I have seen so many ideas for wall trees that would be perfect for apartment living!  All of these temporary solutions to having a tree without ACTUALLY having a tree!
I love the rustic feel of this tree that uses old branches stacked vertically in a tree shape.  Small ornaments and fairy lights are pretty, and you’ll hardly miss the real thing!
Or grab a can of paint, and free hand a Christmas tree right on the wall!  As long as you have the original room’s paint color, it will take literally 10 minutes to paint back over it once the holidays are over – less time than packing up all those ornaments, right??


Gallery walls are a huge trend right now, so why not twist that idea, and make a gallery tree.  Use ornaments, magnets, small frames, and whatever else you have.  Keep it lightweight and you’ll likely be able to use double sided tape for most of it, and small tacks for the rest!


Washi Tape – hard to find in normal stores, but easy to order online in plenty of patterns and colors.  It doesn’t get more temporary (or easy) than this!  And how cute!


A few thin twigs, a few tacks, and some small Christmas ornaments are all you need to make this next wall tree! I love how this one leans over as though the ornaments are weighing it’s wispy frame down.  How clever!


Hello there Chalkboard paint!  If you already have a chalkboard wall in your home, then you’re pretty much set, but if not, it’s kind of the perfect opportunity to jump on this bandwagon!  How sweet is this chalkboard tree?? (now if only I had that kind of artistic talent!)


Citrus Garlands – Inspiration and Tutorial

Is this holiday mantle just to die for, or what??  I just love the lush garland draped over the hearth, heavy with citrus fruit, and evergreen branches.  I can almost smell it!

You might think oranges and lemons are better left for the summer months, but I beg to differ!  Look how fabulous this tree is!

And another peek of the tree up close…

By mixing the citrus with gold and bronze bulb ornaments, it feels fresh, but still traditional, and you can imagine how pretty it is at night.

A few of the oranges have been embellished with thumbnails – clever!  It reminds of me being little – my sister and I would be enlisted to puncture a few oranges with cloves.  The smell is intoxicating.  I can’t even explain it!

And just look at that staircase!!  It has another massive garland adorned with more citrus – it’s as lovely as the first.

While it’s a simple idea, it has a huge impact – especially against that black and white wall.

I knew I’d seen a DIY online for a pretty citrus garland (since these are EXTREMELY expensive if ordered from a florist), and sure enough… I had bookmarked one about a year ago!

Oh Happy Day is my go-to for anything crafty, and party related.  A few years back, they posted this FABULOUS tutorial on putting together a pretty citrus garland.

Their tutorial is wonderful, but to add the holiday look and feel of the garlands above, be sure to incorporate pine or evergreen branches, some gold ribbon, and a few pine cones!