christmas

Handmade and Vintage Christmas Home Tour

berry branches and fairy lights strung over a window with paper stars hanging underneath

I can’t believe it’s less than a week to Christmas! This year I didn’t have much of a theme for my decor, but it ended up that most of what I decorated with was handmade, so I guess that was kind of the theme. My mom and sister and I had fun crafting new pieces, as I mentioned in my last post, and then there were things from years past as well. I like to change up how I decorate each year, and don’t usually put everything out each year. Anyway, this is a rather photo heavy post, so let’s stop talking and get to the pictures.

branches and berries with fairy lights draped over a window, paper stars hang in the window and an orange vintage sofa sits underneath.

First up is the spare room, which doubles as my cozy reading nook. I hung berry branches and fairy lights over the window, kind of like I did last year, minus the juniper branches. Three paper stars hang in front, and I love how they are constantly moving and twirling.

sparkly vintage book paper stars hanging in the window

Next up, my bedroom. I made a simple pinecone and string garland for across my window, and entwined it with fairy lights. I love turning on the lights in the evening when I’m reading in bed. This year was much more pared back than what I did last year, and almost has a Scandinavian minimalist look, which I’ve been really enjoying.

A bedroom window with a cream coloured lace curtain. There is a gallery wall of photos along the side and a pinecone garland is draped over the curtain rod. Fairy lights are entwined with the garland

A pinecone and twine garland hanging across the window with fairy lights

Quilling style paper stars painted gold hanging in the window

My favourite craft this year are these paper quilled style stars that I painted gold and hung in my window. They also turn and twirl and catch the light.

handmade paper stars/ snowflakes hanging in a window with fairy lights glowing in the background

pinecone garland and fairy lights hang across the window in the evening casting a glow across the room

a woodburned snowflake garland drapes across a vanity mirror and a vintage christmas card is tucked into the edge of the mirror frame

a lit beeswax candle sits on a bookshelf in front of a gallery wall of pictures casting a warm glow

A new addition, and a great thrift store find, is this vintage ceramic Christmas tree. I saw one exactly like this on Miss Mustard Seed’s blog last year and thought it was cute. Then I walked into the thrift store a few weeks ago and found this one. It was missing the lamp base and the bulbs, but I was able to find the bulbs online, and am planning to make a lamp base for it for next year. In the meantime I put an LED candle underneath. I also didn’t put a star on the top, as I’m not a big fan of the ones that go with these types of trees, but a bulb in the top actually worked perfectly fine.

a vintage green ceramic christmas tree lamp with clear light bulbs sitting in front of a mirror which is reflecting the lights

The final festive touch in my room is this little picture of Christmas trees. It’s actually a card from my friend which was exactly the same size as this frame. Adding a velvet ribbon bow on the top finished it off nicely.

a framed picture of scandinavian style christmas trees hangs on the wall with a green velvet ribbon

In the living room, we went for a much more sparkly and vintage look. This year the nativity is on the mantle again. We did pinecones, fairy lights and handmade sparkly paper stars along the sides. The stars look so pretty in person, but not so much in the pictures, so just imagine that they look prettier.

A ceramic nativity scene flanked by a pinecone garland, fairy lights and book page stars

sparkly book page stars hanging over the mantle. Underneath are pinecones and fairy lights

This year we hung the advent calendar from a piece of driftwood (last year it was on the mantle). This is the advent calendar; I love it! 

An advent calendar made of watercolour illustrations hangs on the wall and a tiny paper house is displayed under a glass cloche

Finally, my favourite Christmas decor this year is the china cabinet. My mom got it a few months ago, and it’s been so nice to have a place to display her collection.

antique pink and white floral dishes styled in a dark wood antique china cabinet. Christmas decorations are scattered throughout

We added some vintage pink and reproduction mercury glass ornaments in the bowls and platters, a pile of vintage Christmas crackers on a cake stand, and a beaded tassel on the key. The pink ornaments are the perfect festive touch and coordinate so nicely with the dishes. (Doesn’t she have some lovely pieces? The oval plate pattern is called “Indian Tree” and the other shaped platter and teacup is “Blossom Time”)

A beaded tassel hangs from a skeleton key in the china cabinet door and vintage pink oraments are piled in a crystal bowl

vintage pink and mercury glass ornaments arranged in a pink glass bowl

three vintage christmas crackers sit on a white cake plate inside the china cabinet

And that’s it for the Christmas decor this year- I love adding these festive touches throughout the house. While I use many of the same pieces each year, it’s also fun to change up how I style them and where I put them.

Do you like to put out the same decor each year, or do you like to change it up? Do you have any favourite holiday pieces? What’s your best Christmas thrift store find? 

gold quilled paper stars hanging in the window with fairy lights glowing behind them

Social Saturday | December 16 (Christmas Crafting)

mini handmade book ornament with a plaid cover and red ribbon hanging in the christmas tree

Is everyone in the Christmas spirit yet? I wasn’t really feeling like it this year, because we’ve had unusually warm weather and no snow, but when the calendar turned over to December, I decided to start making some Christmas crafts to put me in the mood and it worked! I’m hoping to share my Christmas decorating next week, but today I wanted to share some of the crafts I’ve been making over the past few weeks.

First up, I decided to make my own Christmas crackers for a party my mom and I hosted. All of the crackers at the store had stupid prizes that no one would want (and would honestly just end up getting tossed in the trash) so I decided to craft my own with things that people would actually want! I settled on making ornaments. Originally I was going to do several kinds of ornaments: mini trees, and toques and stockings and some of these books, above. However, after I made a couple of these book ornaments, (each with different fabrics for the covers) I decided I had to make one for each cracker, because they were just so cute. That may have been an error of judgement, because they took soooo long to make (11 books in total!) but I loved how they turned out and they were a big hit at the party.

homemade christmas crackers with stamped kraft paper and red ribbons, and a mini stocking made of green toile with lace at the top

Here are what the aforementioned crackers looked like! I bought the “snaps” from this shop on Etsy. I also was inspired to sew a tiny stocking after seeing the stocking advent calendar Lisa from Farmhouse on Boone put up. I just made one for now, but I might make more later on.

folded paper stars and an embroidered felt gingerbread ornament

We also made some more paper stars! I made a few different kinds this year, and I really like how these turned out. We followed this tutorial, but added another piece to make it a six pointed star. I also made this sweet little felt gingerbread ornament for a friend. I would definitely like to make some more in the future as well.

cardboard quilled paper stars/snowflakes painted gold and hanging in a window at night

Finally, my favourite crafts of the year, are some quilled style cardboard snowflakes or stars. To make them, you simply fold a cardboard tube lengthwise and cut it into strips about 3/8″ wide, like this. With these small pieces you can fold them and arrange them into many different star shapes. I made some of these a few years ago with toilet paper tubes, but painted them each individually white, which took forever to do. I didn’t love the look of the plain cardboard colour, because the colour of the tubes I had wasn’t kraft coloured. However, this year I had the idea to spray paint them gold and I love how they turned out. The look like brass, not cardboard, and using spray paint was so much easier than painting them each with a brush.

So those are the things I have been enjoying over the past few weeks. Next week our plan is to do some Christmas baking, which will really bring on the holiday cheer!

Have you made any Christmas crafts yourself this year? Have you tried any of these ones? 

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Ceramic nativity set lit by candlelight

O come, O come, Immanuel,

and ransom captive Israel

that mourns in lonely exile here,

until the Son of God appear.

Humanity groans in it’s wretched state- in lonely exile and captivity, enslaved to sin and without hope.

O come, O Bright and Morning Star,

and bring us comfort from afar!

Dispel the shadows of the night,

and turn our darkness into light.

But in the midst, God enters in, bringing Light in the form of a baby born in a stable. Immanuel, God With Us.

O come, O King of nations, bind

in one the hearts of all mankind.

Bid all our sad divisions cease

and be yourself our King of Peace.

And that’s not where the story ends. Through the Saviour, the King of Peace, who will bid all our sad divisions cease, there is a hope for the future.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel

shall come to you, O Israel.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas, with the hope that the message of this song, written over 1000 years ago, will bring you hope and comfort, and a reason to rejoice, in this Christmas season.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

(I recently learned that this beautiful hymn, one of my favourites, is an 8th century antiphonal chant that was, in 1851, turned into a seven verse hymn. In Latin it was originally “Veni Veni Emmanuel”.)

Upcycled Christmas Card Gift Tags

diy wrapped gifts with upcycled christmas cards turned into gift tags

I love Christmas cards! Whether I make them myself, or buy them (usually the year before on-sale after Christmas) I love picking out a sweet design and mailing them to friends and family far away. Traditional Christmas cards seem to be a dying tradition, with many people opting for photo cards or e-cards these days, but I do still receive a few old fashioned cards in the mail.

There are some really pretty card designs, and I always hate to recycle them after the holidays, so last year I saved all of the cards I and my family received, and upcycled them into gift tags to use this year! I love wrapping gifts, and it was nice to be able to reuse the cards, coordinating the wrapping papers and ribbons to go with each tag. This was such a quick and easy DIY, it’s can’t even be called a tutorial, yet I did want to share the idea with you, in case you also hate to toss greeting cards!

supplies needed for the craft all laid out on the cutting mat: templates, blades, hole punch and greeting card

I used my Creative Memories oval templates and blades to cut the tags. This is the cutting system I got a long time ago…maybe 18 years? After all these years, it’s still going strong and I love it!

lining up the template and oval cutting guide

Centre the template onto the artwork and cut it out.

lining up cutting system template and blade onto old greeting card

Punch a hole in the top of the card, and then string a piece of twine or ribbon through. I used the Fiskars small holepunch. A few of the cards had writing on the back, so I cut out an oval the same size out of green paper and then glued the two ovals together to cover it up.

Punch a hole in the top of the card and thread a string through

That’s it! As I said, not really a tutorial, but more of an inspiration for gift wrapping. I know Fiskars makes some large tag punches, so that could work if you don’t have oval/circle cutters. Or, if you don’t have any punches, you could cut the fronts of the cards off, measure a 45 degree angle across the top corners and cut them into traditional tag shapes.

I wrapped all of my gifts this year in reused kraft paper bags and wrapping paper. I also reused old pattern paper as tissue paper.

finished upcycled christmas card turned into a gift tag

I even wrapped one gift in an old parchment paper document. And all of the ribbons were saved from previous years as well…these are very zero waste packages!

Do you like wrapping gifts? How did you wrap yours this year?

zero waste christmas wrapping

kraft paper wrapped gift with twine and an upcycled card tag

Cozy Christmas Decor | Bedroom Tour

garland of juniper with red and tan berries and fairy lights hanging over a window with a lace curtain over it

Is it too early to start wishing everyone a Merry Christmas? I don’t know why, but I’m just feeling the Christmas spirit early this year! And by early, I mean the last week of November instead of the first week of December. Growing up, we never put up our Christmas decor before December, and because we always get a real tree, you truly can’t put it up too early or it will be dry and dead by Christmas Day. However, I do now like to put up my other Christmas decor before then. And for some reason, this year I was just itching to pull out my boxes and get my room in holiday mode, so I decorated this week.

top of the bookshelf styled with christmas decor including mini christmas trees and a candle on top of a vintage book

As always, I used pretty much all the same decor, but styled the pieces in different ways to keep things interesting. The only new acquisitions were the adorable mini Christmas trees, which I picked up a few weeks ago from the thrift store for $3.00. (There were also some larger bottle brush trees in the bag, but I gave those to my sister) Honestly, no one ever need buy new Christmas ornaments, trees, tablecloths and tins ever again; I’m sure there are more than enough available at the thrift stores!

I also only used about a 1/3 of the Christmas decor I have, because it would look like a decorating store exploded in my room if I used it all. I only have two storage boxes with decor, but it’s not that big of a room either.

mini christmas trees sitting on the tops of picture frames in a gallery wall

As for those new mini Christmas trees, I arranged a couple on the top of my shoe shelf, but wasn’t sure what to do with the others since they are a different colour and style. Then I realized they fit perfectly on the picture frames in my gallery wall! It’s a subtle detail that makes this wall look so festive.

gallery wall with mini christmas trees interspersed

top of my dresser with a vintage wooden bowl heaped with pinecones and orange slices

Another recent acquisition, though not holiday specific, is this wooden bowl from the thrift store. It was a salad set of 5 pieces and I only wanted one small bowl for another project, but decided to keep them all rather than split off an incomplete set. The bowls were in pretty bad shape; cracked, and in desperate need of an oiling, but for $3.00 for the set, I took a chance. I sanded them smooth, glued and clamped the cracks back together and then oiled them with linseed oil and they look gorgeous now! (I didn’t remember to take a before picture, so you’ll have to trust me!) The large bowl was the perfect place to display some dried orange slices and pinecones on top of my dresser.

antique dresser with a mirror over it. A few books are stacked and on top is a jewelry box and a hat and necklace stand. A wooden bowl with pinecones and dried orange slices is sitting beside it.

I also redecorated the top of my dresser with some of my fashion books instead of a tray. I’ve been wanting to try this for a while, but I’m not sure whether this was a smart idea because I’ll have to move everything off if I want to look at my book! But it does look nice in the meantime. And again, this year my woodburned garland found it’s way to the top of my dresser mirror.

woodburned garland hanging on top of an antique dresser mirror

juniper garland with red berries and tan berries and fairy lights over top of a window

Now for the statement piece of the room: the garland over my window! I decided to try a garland across my window this year, rather than doing a bouquet with berries and branches like I’ve done in the past. We have a massive juniper thicket growing at the edge of our treed area; you can gather branches from it every year and never even notice they are gone, so it’s perfect for winter decorating! (I don’t know how I’ll decorate if we move!)

juniper garland with berries hanging over top of a window

Juniper has a fairly long cut life. I’ve had bouquets last 2 months before in a vase, and even when it starts to dry, it just gets lighter in colour and crispy, but doesn’t drop needles. So, I don’t know how well this is going to last, and if it’s going to make it to Christmas Day, but I thought I’d make a garland out of live branches. They are up high so even if they do get dry and crunchy, they’re not going to get mussed around. I think if I just leave them there, and don’t touch them, they should be fine.

juniper and berry garland over top of a window

They did smell very strong and earthy when I first brought them in, and I wasn’t sure about the smell since it’s in my bedroom, but after an hour it dissipated as the branches warmed up.

And I love how the window turned out! The red berries are festive, but not too bright, and the tan berries really give it a nice natural feel. And of course the fairy lights add the perfect sparkly touch (and they make a great night light too!)

evergreen and berry garland with fairy lights over a window, lit up in the evening

garland with fairy lights lit up over top of a window in the evening

For the rest of the room, I added my paper crafted house and tree made out of book pages that I made last year, and some pinecones to my bookshelf.

paper crafted miniature house sitting on top of a stack of antique books

miniature paper crafted house and christmas tree sitting on a shelf with antique books

I also hung up my favourite little winter scene by encaustic artist Donna Hanson on the wall by my closet. I always get so excited to hang this one up in Winter- I love it!

encaustic artwork of a winter snow scene by Donna Hanson

And as a final touch, I hung my mini silver wreath over my gold oval mirror, placed an evergreen bouquet on top of my shelf, and scattered a couple of beeswax candles around. I have been enjoying burning them in the evenings when I read, which just adds such a nice hygge atmosphere.

top of bookshelf styled with christmas decor including a vintage book, miniature trees, beeswax candle and juniper bouquet

silver wreaths hanging over a vintage gold oval mirror

I think we’re going to decorate the rest of the house this week, which I’m looking forward to. We’ve got some renovations going on, so the areas to decorate are fewer than previous years, but it’s still nice to put out a few festive touches despite, or perhaps as an antidote to, the chaos.

Did you get your Christmas decor up early this year, or are you still planning to wait a while? Do you like to try new things each year or stick to a tried and true formula? What is your favourite Christmas decoration?

view of the window side of the bedroom with christmas decor including mini trees in the gallery wall and a garland hanging over the window with a lace curtain under it