Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Memories

One of my mantras has always been "go make memories" and with the
 holidays filled with special get-togethers and events, its the perfect time to do just that.
For the past few years I have taken the twins and my daughters to our local production of The Nutcracker.  It's always a hit.

But this is the second year we've opted to attend Believe, another local dance production based on The Polar Express.  The girls and their friend loved it (as did we)!

A highlight a couple of years ago was to attend the CIA's open house in the Napa Valley.  It's open to locals, but I was lucky enough to be invited by my cousin who lives in the area.  My apologies  for the poor photography - these were all taken with my old phone.

This yearly event is an opportunity for the CIA students to show off their talents as well as giving the local schools a chance to participate in a gingerbread house contest.  

It's so fun to see what the classrooms come up with, and...I loved to see the creative prizes that were given.

There was plenty of special appetizers made by and served by the culinary students to go along with our wine or cider...  and oh the deserts!

Here we are getting our photo snapped by a generous employee.

And...who could've believed that I would run into a former student of mine when I taught in Calistoga over 20 years ago.  I'm so glad she recognized me!
I hope I will have the opportunity to take my grandkids to this event in the future, since two of them are interested in culinary careers, I think it would be a special treat.  

And while we're on the topic of food... What would the Holiday's be without all of the special baking?  
The girls have been helping me make goodies since they could stand on a stool. 

And now they are growing up and still baking 'memories.'
Here's my grandson making Thanksgiving pies.

And then there's the twin's birthday cake creation for their mother's birthday.

This was quite an endeavor and took most of the day before her birthday.  They were so proud.

It took me days to get all of the frosting and sugar cleaned up from this little project - but oh the memories...I wouldn't trade them for anything.  

I hope you you will get the opportunity to make some special memories of your own this season.  It's never too late to get started... 
and stop back by for part two of Christmas Memories on Wednesday

Happy Holidays


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Minimalist Holiday Mantel

If you read Monday's post you know that I'm paring down this year and using only decorations that I already have. I'm going for the minimalist woodland vibe. Last year there was a lot more on the mantel - I used a metallic garland intertwined among the stocking holders. This year that wreath graces our front porch.   

We aren't having Christmas morning here this year so I didn't use the stocking holders, but instead I used cone trees made of natural materials & burlap.  A galvanized vase holds branches, and a spray of that same metallic garland from last year.

The woodland theme is carried through using a cute little owl and pinecones.

I'm really enjoying the pared down decor this year.  Simple, easy to execute and I'm especially proud of the fact that I repurposed everything from years past.  Isn't amazing how things look refreshed and new when used in a slightly different way and in a new space?

How do you repurpose past holiday decor? I'd love to know.



Monday, December 8, 2014

A New Sleek Look For Christmas

I've been taking in so many gorgeous Holiday Home Tours on the web.  
Such great ideas and many would take lots time and effort to shop for and execute.  We only have a few short weeks until the big day, so I thought I'd add my two cents worth here. 
Sleek, streamlined and easy to achieve, I used lots of natural elements and I purchased nothing new this year.  If you are just getting started on your Holiday decorating maybe you can take a few of these ideas and make them your own.

I used an old wooden sled that I got at a yard sale years ago as the basis this years front porch vignette.  I paired it with a galvanized pot filled with various winter branches and a lantern that I purchased from Pier 1 last spring.  I love using pinecones, they are cheap, easily accessible, and help create the woodland theme for this year.

I love the sound of the sleigh bells on the front door as we pass through.

I use grapevines as a base for most of my wreaths and make my bows from wire ribbon.  I embellished this wreath with miscellaneous decorations from my stash.

A simple statement that creates the woodland theme on gold tray and piece of slate. Remember odd numbers work best in groupings.  
Recognize that Pottery Barn print from last year's winter/holiday collection? 

Pinecones add a natural touch to the glitz of metal.

Have you heard of Woof & Poof? These guys are made right here in Chico.  I did a post last year about this successful business. Take a look here

 Our dining table centerpiece features potpourri from past years (refreshed with scented oil) and wire ribbon that last year I used to cascade down the tree.

Stop by on Wednesday to see what I did with the mantel.

Happy Monday.


Friday, December 5, 2014

Vignettes - Lessons in Design

I promised you a lesson in design this week. And here it is...
Did you see Monday's post about that cute Parisian shop?  It has such great examples of tried and true design principles.

Let's look at some shall we?

Gather like objects - they always grab more attention than a single object here or there.

Mix it up with textures - different textures add interest.

 Group in odd numbers

Tell a color story

Utilize lifts and levels to achieve varied heights.

Play with patterns

Contrast colors to give an object more importance.

Choose a theme

Grouping objects on table tops or on shelves create vignettes -those little stories that you can tell - it makes your home unique; and styling objects in vignettes will make you home seem polished and put together.  By studying well designed rooms and following some of the guidelines above your home will look like you hired a designer.

So go ahead...
Gather your favorite objects from around the house, start playing and have fun.

Have a great weekend.

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