Adding Simple & Subtle Touches of Christmas to Your Decor

a candle and evergreen bouquet on a windowsill with a lace curtain

I just love Christmas decorating! Do you? I change my decorations each year- I can never do exactly the same thing or I get bored with it. This year, while I do have lots of vintage and retro decorations such as glass ball ornaments, mercury glass pieces etc., I didn’t use most of them and instead went for much more laid back, natural and simplified look. In past years I have done a lot more decorating, but this year it just felt right to have a more subtle look for my new space.

If you want to add some festive wintery touches, without going crazy with the faux snow and garlands, here are some ways to incorporate Christmas touches into your space without it looking like Santa’s workshop.

amber bottles of berry branches on top of a shelf with a vintage painting in the background

Faux berry branches look more realistic when you pair them with real branches. You also need very few stems to create an impact. (To see how make a little Christmas tree like this one, see this post here.)

sparkly silver mini wreath on the back of a chair and a candle and bouquet sitting on a windowsill

Sometimes a tiny wreath hanging on the back of a chair, or a vase with evergreens in it is enough to add a festive touch. And of course, candles always add a warm and cozy feeling to any space, at this time of year!

wooden christmas garland

Switch out your summery artwork for wintery artwork. On my dresser mirror, I added a vintage Christmas postcard. (And a little wooden snowflake garland).

I also have two beautiful encaustic pieces by this artist; one is a summery field and blue sky scene, and this one is a beautiful snowy scene. I switch between them, depending on the season.

wintery artwork

Pinecones make great natural seasonal decor. I like to place them around in vignettes. If you have access to pine trees then they are free, and if you don’t feel like storing the pinecones, you can always go and toss them back in the bush after Christmas.

Sometimes you can add a festive touch just by making a few tiny presents to adorn your existing decor; in this case a glass hot air balloon! Or, like with this little cloche, change what you have displayed under the glass.

Also, if you don’t have a tree, you can also hang pretty ornaments in your windows from thread or fishing line, or loop some (unbreakable) ornaments over your doorknobs.

For my mom’s living room mantle, this year we kept it simple with bouquets of evergreen branches and candles of varying heights flanking both sides of the nativity.

nativity scene on a mantle with evergreen bouquets

And, again, pinecones made a great natural garland to ground the candlesticks. I made this one by wiring bunches of pinecones together onto a piece of sisal rope, which we then arranged along the mantle. Lovely golden beeswax tapers finish off the look.

garland of pinecones

Finally, my favourite piece of holiday decor, which is new this year for me, is an advent calendar. I made this one last year out of origami “masu” boxes. (not very well, I might add- I’m definitely not an origami professional. Don’t look too closely, or you’ll see how crooked it is!)

handmade advent calendar

Each box contains a scripture passage and a chocolate to countdown to Christmas; and the best thing about making your own calendar is that you can put better quality chocolates in them, instead of those waxy tasting ones!

How about you? Do you like to change up your decor each year, or stick with a tried and true formula? Do you like to DIY your seasonal decor? 

Christmas Crafting a Little Tree out of Book Pages

diy christmas tree out of book pages on a shelf

December means that it’s time for Christmas crafting as well as decorating! I put up some of my Christmas decor yesterday and today, and I think we might even decorate the tree this weekend.

The majority of my Christmas decorations are ones I’ve found in thrift stores, collected from nature or have made myself- excluding things like faux berry stems. While I love to browse in the boutiques for seasonal decor (I even used to work in a decorating store!) it can get a bit pricey, can’t it? That is why I love to make my own Christmas decor, like this little paper tree. Bottle brush trees have been a huge trend for the past few years, but I’ve never found any that were quite right for my colour scheme. Then, a couple of years ago I saw, in a shop, a tree made out of paper snowflakes and thought, “I bet I could make something like that!” This didn’t turn out quite like the one I saw in the shop, but it was inspired by it, and I do like how I was able to put this together for just a few dollars and a bit of time.

Ps. Yes, I do craft with old books- but I only use previously damaged ones! I have a stack of Reader’s Digest Condensed books that are missing pages or have damaged spines. Though, to be honest, you can find tons of those in thrift shops and I don’t feel bad about repurposing even good copies of them, because they aren’t very valuable on their own. 

all the supplies needed

For this project you will need:

-old book pages

-wooden dowel or bamboo skewer

-decorative edged scissors. The patterned ones I used were called “Victorian”.

-wooden cookies, or something else to use as a base for the tree

-templates of circles. I traced a bunch of lids, jars etc. onto cardboard.

-wooden beads with a hole the same size as the skewer, to use as spacers

-liquid glue

-a drill if you are using a wooden base

– a hole punch

step one, trace and cut out circles

Step One: Trace your circles onto the pages and cut out with your scalloped scissors. I cut three sheets at a time. You might need more or less circles for different sizes depending on the fullness. I’d start with 4-5 circles of each size.

circles cut and holes punched

Step Two: If you’ve cut your circles from a stack of pages, you might want to trim each piece a bit more so that none of the circles are exactly the same shape. Then punch a hole in the middle of each circle. I used a punch for setting grommets, so I could reach the centre of each piece. If you have a regular hole punch, you could fold the pieces in half to reach the centre.

crumpled pieces ready to go

Step Three: Once all the pieces are punched, it’s time to crumple them! This will give them fullness and dimension.

Step Four: Take your first bead and place it 1.5″ -2″ from the bottom. You might need to glue it in place if the bead isn’t tight enough to not slip out of place.

placing the first pieces on the dowel

Step Five: Now it is time to start stacking the circles on the skewer. Every 4-5 circles or so, place another bead as a spacer, giving room for the pieces to fluff out. The beads will stop the circles from all falling to the bottom, so add them as needed to keep the circles evenly spread out.

stacking circles to make the tree

As you go, you might need to add more circles of some of the sizes so you don’t get empty spots. It’s definitely an art, not a science! As you near the top, you’ll probably need more tiny circles, and you won’t be able to place as many bead spacers since they’ll show too much.

Step Six: Once you finish all the circles, add a final bead and cut the skewer off level with a saw or blade. You could also use a decorative star bead instead of a plain one. I am thinking that I might cover my wooden bead it a bit of glitter, just to give it a bit of sparkle.

adding the base

Step Seven: The final step is adding the base of the tree! I used a birch branch cut into little wooden rounds, drilled a hole for the skewer and then glued it all in place. If you don’t have a branch to cut yourself, I know you can pick these up, pre-cut, at the dollar store.

final tree

Or another idea, that I originally planned to do but couldn’t find the pieces for, is to get a miniature terra cotta pot, paint it white, fill it with clay and then plant the tree into it, covering the clay with fake snow or moss.

After you’ve finished the base, then you’re done- a very quick and easy Christmas craft for a snowy winter afternoon! This tree measures approximately 9″ tall, and I’m thinking it would be cute to make some more of different heights to create a grouping.

Do you enjoy Christmas crafting? Have you ever tried your hand at replicating a piece of decor you’ve seen in a shop? 

finished book page tree

‘Tis the Season For Christmas Cards

christmas card of a starry night

‘Tis the season…to start thinking about Christmas cards! I can’t believe we are only one month away from Christmas, and that it’s time to start thinking about cards already. Do you mail out Christmas cards each year to family and friends, or do you think that it’s an antiquated holiday tradition? Personally I love to send out cards for all occasions, not just Christmas! And it’s always lovely to receive some holiday cheer in the mailbox in return, isn’t it?

This year, at the specific request of my mom, I have finally created a Christmas card design. I have added this “O Holy Night” card to my Society6 shop, and it is available in packs of 3, 5 and 10 (with the price/piece decreasing as the volume goes up). And, the best thing is that Society6 is running a sale right now, site wide, so all of my cards are currently 30% off! I believe the sale is running through this weekend, so if you have been thinking of sending out cards this year…now is definitely the time to grab them.

I’ve also added this design available as an art print, in case if you are a person who likes to change out your wall art for the season too.

Merry (early!) Christmas everyone!

Social Saturday | November 20

first snow of 2021

It’s Winter! Well, not officially on the calendar, but we did get our first snow this week. It was strange to have made it all the way to the middle of November without even a small bit of snow, but when it finally did come on Monday- it came in full force.

Since my last social Saturday post, I did finish my bedroom, and have moved in. I’m only sharing a sneak peek of that, because I want to do a full room tour eventually, once I’ve got pictures up etc.

new crafting room and bedroom

This past week I also created my studio space in what was my previous bedroom. The room is going to house my work computer, art desk, and sewing supplies. I hung some shelves up on the wall above my desk to hold (most) of my personal supplies. I thought this would be enough shelf space, but honestly I could have used another one! Maybe that’s an indication that I am involved in too many kinds of projects and artwork?

Well, I think I’m going to spend today in that room, trying to move in more of the sewing supplies while also doing a bit of a reorganization. Maybe I’ll even get some time later to do a bit of creative work!

I hope you have a great weekend, whatever you have planned. ❤︎

Social Saturday | November 6

paint cans and paint brush on a chair ready to paint

Here we are already in November, it doesn’t feel like it should be almost at the end of the year yet…does it? I’ve been looking lately at my list of goals to complete by the end of this year; when I wrote that list it seemed like I had all the time in the world… but now I’m thinking I might not complete them all! Oh well, at least I did fulfill my biggest goal on that list: opening an online shop and getting my artwork into a gallery!

a can of paint with a brush and a roll of wallpaper ready to be hung

Lately I’ve been busy with some other kinds of projects; the biggest one being painting my new bedroom! Currently my bedroom is right over top the boiler room, which gets loud in the winter when the heat is running all the time, so I am moving one bedroom over. This meant painting and replacing trim…and then I decided to do a feature wall in bead board wallpaper. (Did you know that they make dimensional bead board wallpaper? It actually looks quite like real wood once it’s installed!) The project has taken a lot longer than I initially thought it would; I thought I could finish the room in a week…and it’s actually taken me three weeks. Oh well, I learned how to hang wallpaper in the process and am finally finishing up the last coat of paint today, which means I can start moving in next week!

embroidered zipper pouch with a bicycle on the front

Another quick project I zipped up (haha) is this little embroidered pouch. I needed a slightly larger one than the one I had, for my purse. I keep all of my “essentials” in a little pouch, so I can easily switch between purses without forgetting to transfer all of the things I need. It also makes it easier to find my lotion or lip balm without having to dig. I haven’t embroidered anything for a while, so this was the perfect little project. The only sad thing is that the orange floss I used on the bicycle seat bled dye when I pressed it. Suffice to say, I do not have that colour anymore.

Well, that’s what I have been up to lately, and what I have planned for this weekend. Do you have any special plans this weekend?