Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Decorating with Apothecary Jars

 I love changing the contents of my apothecary jars from season to season.  And, it make me really happy when I can use items found in our very own yard.

With just a few tree trimmings, some pine cones (that we spray painted gold) and some ornaments, we turned this jar into a festive masterpiece.

It's like Christmas in a jar!

Now, he sits happily merrily on a shelf in our living room.

Let's take a closer look . . .

And of course some extra sparkly things to add more of a festive touch.

How do you use any natural elements in your Christmas decor?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Beautiful Christmas Countdown

I am so excited to share this great project with you!

Wouldn't every child LOVE a Christmas Countdown like this one? Actually, wouldn't every adult love one as well?

Head on over to Queen B and Me for a tutorial on how to create this little beauty!

This project is so adorable, I'm sad that I didn't come up with the idea myself!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

DIY Advent Calender?

Is anyone else swooning over this advent calender featured over at http://www.potterybarn.com/?

It would be so easy to recreate, but I just don't think it's going to happen this year.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Walking in a Winter Wonderland . . . Or Not.

Since we live in sunny California, a White Christmas is just a dream, but I wanted to create something that would give our home a White Christmas kind of feel. So, I secured a few manzanita branches in a plastic planter and used spray pant to make the branches white. After the paint dried, I gave the branches a quick coat of pearlescent paint.

Then, I placed the planter in a pretty, white tin and covered up the base with some fake snow. Pretty crystal ornaments and classic, silver ball ornaments completed the look.

This would be a great project for someone that doesn't have the room for a traditional Christmas tree.

I'm pretty sure that we'll be using this tree for Easter as well. Wouldn't it be beautiful with pretty Easter eggs hanging from it?

With our living room decorated in very traditional Christmas colors, we're changing things up in our dining room. This tree looks beautiful in a room filled with silvers and icy blues.

 Shimmery and beautiful!

What colors are you using in your Christmas decor?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas Card Crafts

Year after year, we receive beautiful Christmas cards that we like to display throughout the holiday season.  But what should we do with the Christmas cards from the years past? The genius that is Martha Stewart has shared these ideas with us.

How do you display your Christmas cards? 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Stocking Stuffer Madness

Have you checked out Uncommon Goods yet? They have a ton of great stocking stuffers. I would be happy with any of these gifts. (*Ahem . . . Honey, are you reading this?)

Don't Water Down my Drinks!
Whiskey Stones: $19.50

Help Me Find My Suitcase!
Set of 6 Luggage Tags: $10

Wish Me Luck!
Bag of Luck: $12

Light Up My Life!
Bird Light: $17

Grow me a Garden!
Pocket Garden: $15

Let Me Have My Cake and Eat It Too!
High Heel Cake Server: $15

Entertain Me!
Temporary Hand Tattoos: $12

What do you hope to find in your stocking this year? 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas in Your Fireplace.

If you are one of the many people with a non functional fireplace, then this post is for you!  Heck, these ideas are so beautiful, you may want to use them, even if your fireplace does work.

Why not fill your fireplace with firewood? You won't be using it for a fire, but it sure does look cool.

Apartment Therapy

Why not make your fireplace glow with a ton of candles?
Colonial Candle

How about using a variety of Christmas decor to decorate your fireplace? It looks like a Christmas forest in there!

The Robin's Nest

This one is my favorites.  Today, Mary over at JPM Design featured this fireplace. Isn't it gorgeous? It has just enough shimmer and Christmas feel. This look could be easily duplicated by using a few old wine bottles as candle holders.

How do you decorate your fireplace for the holiday's? Do you enjoy a roaring fire? Or the flicker of candlelight?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Need to Find a Great Hostess Gift to Give This Holiday Season?

Looking for a creative Hostess gift to give this year?  How about making Peppermint Marshmallows?

Photo taken from MarthStewart.com

Here's what you'll need: 

• Nonstick cooking spray
• 3 (1/4-ounce) packages unflavored gelatin
• 1/2 cup cold water
• 2 cups granulated sugar
• 2/3 cup light corn syrup
• 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
• 1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
• Confectioners' sugar, sifted, for coating


1. Lightly spray a 9-by-9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Line pan with plastic wrap, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides; set aside. (This will make it easier to remove the marshmallows when finished).

2.  Sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water; let stand for 10 minutes. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water. Place saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil; boil rapidly for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Using an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, mix on high, and slowly pour the boiling syrup down the side of the bowl into gelatin mixture. Add salt and continue mixing for 12 minutes.

3. Add peppermint extract and mix until well combined. Spray a rubber spatula or your hands with cooking spray. Spread gelatin mixture evenly into pan using prepared spatula or your hands. Spray a sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place, spray side down, on top of marshmallows. Let stand for 2 hours.

4. Carefully remove marshmallows from pan. Remove all plastic wrap and discard. Cut marshmallows into 2-inch squares using a sprayed a sharp knife. Place confectioners' sugar in a large bowl. Working in batches, add marshmallows to bowl and toss to coat.

Marshmallows can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Holiday Bits and Pieces

We've decided to tone down our decorating just a little bit this year. We'll still be decorating two trees, but I don't think we'll be decorating every nook and cranny of our home this year. Instead of covering every room in holiday decor, we're adding a touch of Christmas here and there.

An easy way to add holiday cheer to any room is to simply infuse your regular decor with some holiday sparkle. Below, we've added shimmery ornaments to bowls that sit in one of our bookcases.

Below, you'll see a wintery centerpiece. Normally, this bowl holds only the clear, glass balls. Now, the bowl also holds silver ball ornaments. Ooooh, pretty.

Have a staircase that needs to be decorated?  Head on over to Strictly Simple Style and check out some beautiful ideas.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Another Crafty Christmas

Last year, I made these fabulous trees. Click here to read last year's blog post and find out how I made these sparkly, little gems.

Hard to believe that Christmas is almost here! What are you doing to get into the holiday spirit? 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Make a Ladder Tree for Christmas!

If you guys haven't checked out the CB2 blog yet, you're really missing out. Take a look at this great idea!

Repurpose a tall ladder—and save a tree!


1. wood ladder
2. light strands
3. ornaments


1. It’s going to create drama, so position the ladder where it can be the center of attention.
2. Test light strands then weave them around and through the ladder’s steps and sides.
3. Hang ornaments and top as desired—careful not to overweight any one strand of lights or throw off the ladder’s balance.
hint: for safety reasons, think twice about your roommates—cats, small children—before installing.

Photo and instructions came directly from the CB2 blog.

Friday, November 26, 2010

We're Kicking Off the Holiday Season!

The Holiday Season is officially here! Be sure to stop by for our daily Christmas posts. We'll have tons of great DIY projects and decor inspiration. If you have a great project or idea that you would like to see featured on our blog, please send us an email at ourfinehouse@gmail.com. We'd love to see your ideas!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

If you're like many people, you'll be spending Thanksgiving with family . . . perhaps your in-laws. Go ahead and make your Thanksgiving Holiday a tad more enjoyable by making yourself a stiff drink. Here are some ideas:

Pumpkin Mojito

1.25 oz Rum (Or more, depending on how much you like your family)
A Handful of Mint Leaves
1 Tbsp Pumpkin
1/2 Lime
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
2 oz Club Soda

First, muddle the mint leaves and sugar. Next, add the rum, pumpkin, club soda, and juice from 1/2 a lime. Mix well, add ice and garnish with extra mint leaves.

Apple Pie Cocktail

1 tsp Grenadine

1 tsp Lemon juice
1 oz Light Rum (Again, feel free to use as much as you feel necessary)
0.5 oz Sweet Vermouth
0.5 oz Apple Brandy

First, fill a shaker half full with ice cubes. Pour all of the ingredients into shaker and shake well. Strain drink into a cocktail glass and drink up!

Cranberry Margarita

1 1/2 oz Tequila
1 1/2 oz Triple Sec
1 oz Lime Juice
2 oz Cranberry Juice
1 1/2 oz Sweet and Sour Mix

Pour all ingredients into blender with ice. Blend until smooth. Enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

This little light of mine . . . .

While strolling through Downtown Santa Cruz, we came upon a lovely store that sells beautiful lighting.

Wouldn't a couple of these be great in a nursery?

How about some funky lighting in your home office?

 I think a cluster of these would look fantastic in a sun room.

How about you? Which room in your home needs a new lighting fixture?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Meeting Amy Sedaris

 Who doesn't love Amy Sedaris?  As a longtime fan, I was thrilled to attend her book signing this evening for her new book, Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People

Her last book, I Like You, is a favorite of mine, so I was super excited to get my hands on her latest book. Even if you don't read the books, the photos alone are amazing! I'd love to try on all of her costumes!

She could not have been more gracious this evening. After doing a quick craft, she took questions from fans, then signed books.

The bookstore was packed full of fans hoping to have their book signed by Amy. Those of us lucky enough to score seats were surprised to find a small gift on our seats. Yes, each chair had a small craft waiting for us. Isn't that a nice touch?

She was a doll and I'm so happy that I was able to attend her book signing. Don't you just love her dress? Adorable!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Festive Autumn Tablescape

Take a look at this Autumn inspired tablescape!

A beautiful tablecloth, gold chargers, red plates and fall colored napkins made this table feel warm and cozy.

Gold holiday poppers acted as place cards and sprigs of wheat were placed at each place setting.

Cheerful sunflowers brightened up the table and flickering candles gave the room an intimate feel.

This tablescape was created for an "Autumn Harvest" themed Supper Club, but could also be used for Thanksgiving.  How do you plan to decorate your table for Turkey Day?