Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Set the Scene: If we were hosting Thanksgiving

This year we will be spending Thanksgiving at my sister & brother-in-laws place. And the menu is sounding a little relaxed and fun. Turkey pot pies, roasted veggies and salads. But I was getting a view of what our table would look like if we were hosting. And frankly it's been too long since I pulled the "good stuff" out of cupboards! 

So I went ahead and set a table. I like a mix of natural and sparkle, just like the mantle and went from there. The "placemats" are actually fun papers from my favorite paper place Spruce. I have tablecloths but they really aren't my thing. The place settings are just some paper tags, gold twine and rosemary. I did the initial by placing a letter sticker on the tag, painting lightly over it, then peeled the sticker off! 

Then I just scattered some filler paper that I will show soon how to make (I use it all the time!), pumpkins, the pinecones from the pinecone garden (yes, I took it apart), white pumpkins, and some rosemary that grows like crazy in the yard. 

It made me realize that we need to host a dinner soon to get all this fun stuff out and use it. The only reason to have it is to use it. The girls may find themselves eating takeout pizza on it and drinking root beer out of crystal! But it will be worth it! Are you hosting this year? 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Field Trip: Theo Chocolate Factory Tour

This past Veteran's Day Steve planned a family activity that made us all happy. A tour of the Theo Chocolate factory. It's something that he has been wanting to do for a long time. As a Plant manager of a peanut butter plant, and a major chocolate lover, this field trip worked for him on so many levels. And well, us girls loved the chocolate. 

I love a factory tour. It makes me remember the little films they would show on Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, or the show Unwrapped. And this one was pretty cool. They do everything, from roasting the beans to preparing  the add-in's like coconut and nuts. And there is a special room where they enrobe caramels and other special chocolates. I wanted to just park myself there and make friends but we had to move on. 

I did mention the samples right? They are not stingy. And then there is a store at the end of the tour where we spent plenty of time picking out treats including seasonal ones. We may have to make one more visit before Christmas, as someone who will remain nameless has already scarfed them up (Steve!). And we will be sure to value these chocolates a lot more after seeing what goes into them. Are you a chocolate lover? I encourage you to check out a tour here. Reservations are highly recommended. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Set The Scene: Christmas Advent

I know, it feels early to be talking Christmas. But there are just some things that take planning, and an Advent calendar is one of them. My lovely friend Carly has re-stocked her Etsy shop with her clip frames that I love year round for use as inspiration boards & photo boards. But at Christmas time they are perfect for Advent, especially with her free PDF forms.

I've set up a little corner in our kitchen with the frame and the related activities. Of course it looks colorful and crazy, a bit like our family. Activities include watching our favorite movies, paying for the coffees of people behind us in line, eating holiday chocolate, etc. It was a good exercise with the family deciding what to include!

Here is the overall look of it which makes me happy and very excited about the Christmas season. You should go and check out Carly's set-ups which are very elegant and lovely, much like her. You will find them here, along with her PDF's and the link to her store! I invite you to check it out! 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Make it: Pinecone Garland

My daughter Samantha and I are what you would call impatient crafters. We are the type that are a bit down and dirty. If we can't have quick results, as in pretty right away we aren't really interested. So, this craft was for us.

 A group of pinecones, some gold & silver paint for some gilding, some twine, a bit of hardware in the way of little o-ring thingies, and we were in business. I like the combination of earthy and gilded. They easily compliment the pumpkins and the rest of the mantle. And I think they will be re-imagined as gift toppers at Christmas! Bonus! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Set the Scene: Thanksgiving Mantle

I realized I had yet to share our Thanksgiving mantle. It's a bit quiet, but I have to say it's the calm before the storm of Christmas and all that decorating. I like a mix of the found and what I have around the house to make things easy. So I dragged out a bunch of our pumpkins, books, random glass pieces and voila! 

And working at a vinyl company made it easy to make a centerpiece. The "gather" is something that we have been shipping out to the companies that we supply with vinyl and I knew that it would look lovely on a platter. As it's vinyl it's not permanent as I will need that platter in the future! You can find our products at the suppliers listed on our website, Decorating Your Life. I honestly made things as easy as possible since things are about to get busy and fun with Christmas coming!