Christmas Recap

Christmas 2012 was a blast. I’m very sad it’s over, which is why it’s taken me so long to write up this post!

My family and Andy’s family traveled to Chicago to celebrate all together. So all 10 people of two clans spent the days eating and lounging in our apartment. It was so much fun, even though our place isn’t huge. Our families were such good sports and helped us so much with the food and gifts.
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When Andy’s parents arrived, him and his mom were wearing (almost) the same sweater! Ha. It was a great way to start off the weekend.

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On Christmas Eve, we had a big fondue fest. We had fondue pots of oil and cheese, then another at the very end with chocolate. As you can see, it was hard not leave stuffed!photo-8

The tablecloth is actually just a large piece of $1.99/ yard muslin! Since fondue can be messy and oily, I was afraid to use any of our nice, new tablecloths. One long piece of muslin was perfect–and it was so nice to just throw it away at the end of dinner.

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On Christmas Day, we spent the morning opening gifts and eating a super-relaxed brunch. Then… we settled in for a movie marathon.

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Getting the time to relax together is one of the best parts of Christmas. And Bernie seriously, seriously loved having so many people around. He’s just so social and loves our families, so it just always having someone new to play with or snuggle up with was the best present he could ask for. Of course, he also got several other little gifts.

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For Christmas dinner, my dad and Andy cooked a beef tenderloin perfectly. I pre-made baked artichoke hearts and a roasted butternut squash galette that just needed to be popped in the oven. I also made some fingerling potatoes and carrots, and crescent rolls since no holiday feast is complete without a basket of those!

Andy and I loved hosting our first Christmas together. We are just so lucky to have families that enjoy spending time with each other so much–and were willing to travel to be with us! 

Christmas Tree Skirt

Andy had a pair of XL pajama pants that (a) are too big for him and (b) he just doesn’t wear. They are a cozy and traditional red, blue and dark green plaid–so I thought the fabric would make a perfect Christmas tree skirt.

Originally I thought I would make a quilted tree skirt, perhaps something like this. But this fabric is just so perfect! So the plan changed. Plus, this was much faster.

To make the tree skirt I first cut off the waistband, then cut the two legs apart along the seam. Then I cut the inner leg seams open and then trimmed off excess fabric to form two rectangles. I matched the plaid print and sewed the rectangles together. Then I marked the inner circle using a small plate and cut it out.

I measured 16 inches away from the inner circle to create the outer circle and cut one side open. I then ironed the edges under twice and topstitched all around, placing white ribbons on the open edge. Viola!

DSC00126Super simple, but very classic and pretty! I love projects like this.

DSC00127Have you made any decorations this year? I’d love to see them!

Some Yuletide Swag

Christmas is in full swing here in our little home! We bought our first real tree and spent the day yesterday setting it up and decorating it. After browsing at a small tree yard, we decided to go to Home Depot and grab a cheaper one. Thankfully, it turned out really well!

Andy and I will host Christmas this year, so we want to spruce up the apartment but not break the bank. A little craftiness is just the solution.

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For decorations, we used the felt star and birds that I made a few years ago using PurlBee’s tutorials (with a few adaptations). We also dried orange slices and used some scrap red yarn from my stash to hang them up. Drying oranges makes the apartment smell so good! We also received many beautiful ornaments for wedding presents. Gorgeous ornaments are such a treat!

I think it’s still missing something. Maybe I’ll string cranberries or make some sort of other garland. Not sure.

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I used the bottom row of branches that were trimmed off at Home Depot to make a few more decorations. I cut off lots of needles and small branches to decorate the mantle. Aren’t the stockings cute? Andy’s mom so kindly sewed them up for us.

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I used the rest of the branches and some ribbon from my stash to make a little decoration for the door. It’s certainly not going to last a lifetime, but it’s a fun way to use up extra branches. The red string with a bell on the door is for our puppy to tell us when he needs to go outside, and the red wooden shoe holds our keys. While these are up all year, I think the red color makes the door hanging look even more festive!

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We can’t put any presents under the tree because of that little snuggle muffin. While Bernie is pretty well-behaved for a 9-month old puppy, the wrapping paper and cardboard are just too tempting. So I think the presents will just stay safely in the bedroom or on top of the bookcase.

How are you decorating for the Holidays?

Advent Calendar

I love the tradition of Advent Calendars–they are just so beautiful and make enjoying the anticipation so much fun! I wanted to make one for our home this year, and after paging through the Martha Stewart Living Christmas issue I found the perfect simple calendar to replicate:

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Our apartment has a narrow hallway perfect for this calendar, but since the wall is painted a light sage-y green #gross #renting, I decided to use white envelopes instead of red. I did find a super pretty red and pink padded envelope to use for the trunk.

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I placed rolls of painters tape on the backs of the envelopes and spread them out to form a tree pattern. Once they were all stuck onto the wall, I wrote the dates in the corner of each envelope in red pen.  Sorry about the bad picture–the hallway is very narrow and not well lit.

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Instead of small gifts, Andy and I decided to just write small notes to each other every day. Oh and Bernie is our dog, if you’re wondering! We just write something we’re thankful for, or a little joke, or a reason why we love the other person. It’s been so fun and much more special than a piece of chocolate. Hopefully this will become a new Christmas tradition for us!

Have you made any Christmas decorations or crafts recently? Since the weather is turning colder, I’ve been sewing and quilting much more. Can’t wait to share them with you soon!