Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Apartment In Red & White

I love the simple look of red and white at Christmas. I love using colors that aren't typical around the holidays (turquoise and purple anyone?), but red and white are so traditionally lovely.

I put a white votive candle in a glass holder, surrounded it with white rose petals and scattered them with loose cranberries. So pretty! BUT. Let me be clear here: if you do this, do NOT light the candle! It is PURELY decorative! Can we say 'fire hazard' anyone?

Another example of the cranberries and petals. I bought these faux (faux always sounds better than fake doesn't it?) cranberries a couple years ago at a dollar store. They have a little wire attached (for wrapping around tree branches I assumed; that's what I did with most of them), so with some of them I just wrapped them around eachother and scattered them on the dining table. Just make sure the wires are mostly covered!

Or you could twist them into a circle and wrap around a candle holder like I did here.

 Feel free to leave a comment and tell me what you think!

Love, Jamie

Wrapping Up the Unexpected ...

The other day I was taking pictures of the tree for you guys (I have since decided it still isn't exactly how I want it), but something about the pictures wasn't quite right. I couldn't quite pinpoint what was bothering me, but then Tristan pointed out the problem. Our ugly old air conditioner. Within moments the solution came to us: let's wrap it up like a present! And that is just what we did.

How clever is that? Do you have anything like this bothering you around your house? My mom used to wrap our front door like this when I was little, so you can really do it with anything.

Let me know if you use this trick!

Love, Jamie

Monday, November 28, 2011

Holiday Decor Spreads to the Kitchen

One thing that makes holiday decorating a little more special is putting things in the most commonly forgotten places. Put a bowl of ornaments on the bathroom counter. Hang an ornament on the lamp by your bed. Basically, use things in unexpected ways! The kitchen is the heart of the home, and if you're like me, you spend a lot of time there. Here are some ways I added some festive cheer to my kitchen:

These were my grandmother's. I love the simplicity of the one on the right. I hung them over some cupboard doors instead of the stove or fridge handle. I like that they dress the plain cupboards up a bit!

I replaced the purple jeweled candler holder that usually hangs on my kitchen shelf with a cute little jingle bell; something I found in Vancouver last year.

A couple of posts ago I wrote about attaching ribbon to candles. I absolutely loooove these ones! I wasn't going to put them in the kitchen but they matched the tea towels above perfectly.

I made this little bowl when I was in the sixth grade, and I always have the hardest time deciding what to do with it! These leftover tree ornaments did the trick. The plate under it was from Homesense. I had been eyeing them for awhile, waiting for them to go on sale ($5.99 each just wasn't worth it to me) . When they dropped to $3 each I went in and there were only four left! That was a lucky day.

Happy decorating!

Love, Jamie

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Crafting With Jamie: Holiday Banner

A few days ago I was browsing a decor store, and saw a really sweet holiday banner. I almost bought it, but thought to myself, 'Waaaait, I could make this!'

Here is what you will need:

scrapbooking paper
double sided tape
scotch tape
household cardboard
+ anything else you want!

First, decide where you want it, how big you want it, etc. Then you can start by drawing your letters on the cardboard. This is where having a ruler comes in handy! If you have any double letters in your phrase, it's easier to just draw one of the letters, cut it out and use it to trace a second identical one.

Here are my cardboard letters and the paper I chose:

Next, trace your letters onto your paper. Remember: trace some of the letters on backwards or the paper will be backwards! Silliest yet easiest mistake to make. The S taught me that. When you're done, use the double sided tape to secure the paper to the cardboard. Use the scotch tape to attach the twine to the backs of the letters. Again, easy mistakes can be made here so be sure you're not taping anything in the wrong order! My 'HAPPY' was 'YPPAH' before I realised my mistake.

Here we are:

I really like how it turned out. While I was doing that, Tristan was also getting into the spirit of things by making the paper snowflakes and paper chains (in the shapes of angels, snowmen and stars) I'm sure we all remember from childhood. After seeing some of the gorgeous designs he was churning out, I was excited to try my hand at it too. Then I created the most pathetic of all snowflakes (I'm not even posting a picture) and decided to leave it to the master.

This is one of my favorites.

Happy crafting!

Love, Jamie

Friday, November 25, 2011

Getting into the Holiday Spirit

It's only November 25th and our tree is already up! Tristan usually has a rule of 'not until December 1st', but with all the other decor I had already set out, and the snowfall, I was able to sway him this year. There aren't any pictures of our tree yet (I haven't gotten it exactly how I want it), but there are lots of pictures of the rest of the decor! Here we go:

A very festive table setting! The cranberry branches were $1.50 each at the dollar store. While I was there I also picked up a couple rolls of holiday ribbon, and as you can see here I wrapped some around the pillar candles. I secured them with double sided tape, which promptly un-stuck, so I added a well placed thumbtack.

The golden pears got an update with some touches of blue, pink and purple. And to match the blue:

My crystal candlestick holders got a bit glittery, with some beautiful blue candlesticks from Homesense (on sale, $5.99). All of the holders are from Homesense as well, prices ranging from $12.99 - 16.99.

 I bought a new mirror recently, and I liked the idea of hanging a little something above it. When I saw this Noel plaque at Home Outfitters, I knew it would be just right. It was $12.99. I added the ribbon for hanging purposes.

Here it is, all put together. And yes, I know there is a little teaser of the tree :) The lampshades were $14.98 each at Walmart, on bases I already had. The wall shelf is a piece of Tristan's handywork, I was complaining one day about how I couldn't find any white wall shelves and he suprised me by making me two out of spare pieces of crown molding. I absolutely looooove them.

Have you started your Christmas decorating yet?

Love, Jamie

Monday, November 14, 2011

Here We Go!

Christmas is quickly approaching, and oh I am so excited! We had our first snow last week, something we were suprised by. It usually didn't snow in Vancouver until late December/early January. Often it would snow a tiny bit, we would go away to Kelowna for a week, and come home to no snow. I'm one of those rare people that actually ENJOY the seasons while they are here, instead of wishing for the next one, so this always bummed me out.

How lovely. Unfortunately it didn't stick, but it was pretty while it lasted! I can't wait for Christmas trees, food, family, friends... and definitely blogs on home decorations!

Love, Jamie

Thursday, November 10, 2011

In the Kitchen

As the title says, I'm giving a little tour of the various kitchen-y items I have collected over the years. I'm a big fan of using food as decoration (and I HATE packaging). Dried pasta, tea and oil are all very pretty (and edible!) decorations in my opinion. Let's take a look:

This is Tristan's (new) tea station. Let's just say I was starting to feel a little like Charlotte in Sex and the City, with Harry's tea bags everywhere, so I decided to remedy the situation. Also, see what I mean about the jars? Plus this is a good solution if you don't have much cupboard space (I literally had about 7 cupboards to work with at our old place, and 2 of them were unusable). That tray was at Homesense by the way, in a variety of patterns and shapes. I also bought a pink/purple floral one for my mom for mother's day last year. I wish I'd bought another for myself in another pattern, I just love this one! I believe they were somewhere between $9.99 - $12.99? Don't quote me on that though!

I bought this oil bottle at the Salvation Army for about $2. It was filled with this really awful potpourri at the time, and was definitely something you wouldn't look twice at unless you were on a mission like I was. Tristan had broken my old oil bottle (that I LOVED and he HATED! He still insists it was an accident.. I'm not so sure) so I had to go find a new one. It had a matching lid but I'm pretty sure I accidentally threw it out when we moved in, so I threw a glass knob in there for the time being. To keep the plain glass bottle vibe going I peeled the label off the balsamic vinegar bottle here. The tealight holder was a dollar store find years ago.

The bottle of wine was a gift from our old landlord's dad, and the cookbook was a gift from my aunt (in case you were wondering, some of the recipes are really, really good!) The orange dishes were made by my mom for my birthday a couple years ago, and the big white plate with orange flowers was $2.99 at Ikea.

Even the sink needs some love! The flowers and the soap dispenser were both from Homesense (yes, I know, the soap pump chipped during the move - very sad). In the corner you can see the popcorn kernels in the jar, I have 4 of those square jars in varying heights. I love these as the lids just pop off, instead of having that metal clasp most kitchen jars have. They were a good deal at Superstore a few years ago. You can also always find cheap kitchen jars at dollar stores.

Also adorning the sink area, these canvas photos were a dollar each at - you guessed it - the dollar store! What DOESN'T that place have? My sister actually has these as well, when I was visiting last summer I loved hers so much we popped into the store to get some for me.

Well, that concludes my kitchen tour for today. Hope I gave you some ideas!

Love, Jamie

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Fall Touches

Now that we're transitioning from fall to winter, I FINALLY got some inspiration to write a post. A few days ago, Tristan and I picked up some pine cones and maple leaves on our walk home, and as the leaves dried I thought they looked even prettier than when they were fresh. They made for very cheap, seasonal decor. Keyword being 'cheap' :) Here are some photos:

The candlestick holders were from Homesense (you can almost always find beautiful ones there for $12.99-$19.99), as were the golden pears ($12.99). The little white bird was a dollar store find for $2.99. Who says getting in the holiday spirit has to empty your wallet?

The silk hydrangeas here were a birthday gift from my sister, I believe they were from Sears. I've said before that I usually prefer fresh flowers, but these passed my 'real enough looking' test :) The pumpkin and squash are from the dollar store ($5.00 for a mixed bag of 6), as was the piece of mirror ($4.00). The diamond paperweight was a Homesense find, 3 for $9.99 I believe. I absolutely love anything mirrored and crystal. The leaves: free! ;)

I finally decided where I wanted this mirror and my lovely boyfriend hung it (and the shelf beneath) for me! It was from Homesense for $16.00. Absolutely no flaws; I suppose it just wasn't selling. The shelf was also Homesense, on sale (don't remember the price) as it was chipped, but a little paint fixed that :) The candlestick holder was a gift from my mom when we were scavenging at The Salvation Army. Small decorative diamonds, $12.99 for 24, also Homesense. Small bird candle was from a store called the Loonie Bin in Vancouver, and it was a whopping 25¢! Pinecone: free!

And here's a look at the start of our lovely new HUGE (comparing to our old shoebox) living room:

JUST FOR LAUGHS: I found this old picture of the very first month Tristan and I lived in our very first apartment. DON'T JUDGE ME!! We had nothing and no money to do anything yet! This is simply to show how far we've come.

Oh... my... god.

The funniest part of this to me is... we have not replaced that couch, chair or coffee table. Just goes to show that hand-me-down furniture from family and friends doesn't have to look like hand-me-down furniture if you know what to do with it!

Here it was in later years:

(we found a slipcover for the couch for $40 at Walmart and covered the chair with an Ikea blanket for $25)

As I mentioned before, the living room was a shoebox. I was actually standing in the middle of the kitchen when I took this. Where that white dining chair and armchair meet was the beginning of the living room.

So that concludes my little walk down nostalgia alley. The sad part is, I thought I would be embarrassed posting that AWFUL picture, but instead it's made me sentimental and homesick for that little place!

Anyhow, I hope you enjoyed/got ideas from the first few photos!

Love, Jamie