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I’m wearing my favorite winter sweater today. It’s a really deep purple with a really warm but comfortably loose neckline, somewhere between a turtleneck and a cowle. I got it as a Christmas gift last year and I love it! Today’s tea party is all about dark purple, warm natural wood, and christmas spirit. I had a difficult time finding the right teapot for the job. I envisioned something really modern and made of natural wood, maybe square cast iron teapot encased in some kind of sturdy wood, but it appears that I’ll have to design that one if I want it so I opted for this Staub La Theiere instead.

The color is about right and I really like the spout. Plus, I imagine it’s very sturdy. It looks … substantial.


Lovely Crocheted Purple Chri…

$22.00

MAGNOLIA CHRISTMAS WREATH-Pu…

$52.00

Crochet Baby Blanket / Afgha…

$45.00

Set of Three Barn Wood Chris…

$40.00

large hand dyed silk scarf …

$29.00

Salvaged wood Christmas tree…

$45.00

Vintage Christmas PURPLE Mer…

$9.99

15 Natural Pear Wood Slices …

$10.00

Paper Stars – Eggplant Purpl…

$5.00

purple christmas tags, rusti…

$7.20

Rustic wood Christmas gift t…

$6.00

Wood Christmas Tree Ornament…

$14.95

As for the party, I picked out some stockings, a wreath, and a baby blanked to set some ambiance around the room. Next, I opted for some natural wood trees in different styles for centerpieces and a beautiful, large purple scarf decorated with purple mercury glass ornaments as a table runner. At each place setting: a variety of purple stars, white and purple gift tags, and wood gift tags along with a carved wooden christmas ornament each guest can take home.

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I’m loving all of the creative, non-traditional Christmas trees that are out in blogland right now. Before my parent’s gave me their old tree, I was dreaming up ways that I would decorate for Christmas without a tree. There’s so many fun materials that you can mold, stack, or bend into a tree shape, so I rounded up all of the ones from the blogosphere that caught my eye.

This one from Martha Stewart’s site. I’d love to even just do this outside or on the front door. Is it too late to hang lights? I feel like the last three weeks got away from me. How’d that happen?

These reclaimed wood trees I love! They are from Wood Wool Stool and they cost 25 Euros so about $33. So cute!

Here in Austin there are loads of people decorating their agave plants. It’s so cute and festive. On my drive to work, I pass a ton of these that people have decorated. Creative and fun! This one captured by Gardening Gone Wild is perfect (via Pinterest)!

This fun toile and dryer sheet tree is from Myric at Petite Passions and featured on The Artsy Girl Connection. This one is tiny but it’d be awesome to do a large scale of!

This one from  Home Life via Hello Little One is an awesome way to use all of those cards you get for Christmas. You could even just take the cards from the previous year and put them up. Then see how much other families have changed in a year. Creative and sentimental.

What unique, non-traditional trees have you seen out there? I’d love to know! Hope today is a great start to your week!

 

 

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Before I dive into this “how to”, I have to ask…What do you watch/listen to while you craft? I watch Glee. It’s fun, easy to listen to, and I don’t have to keep my eyes on the TV the whole time. Anywho…

I grabbed a whole bunch of frasier fir tree trimmings in the fresh tree section at Home Depot. Did you know that they just pile up all of the tree trimmings and you can grab as much as you like? Isn’t that cool? I’ve also heard that you can do this at most places where they trim the fresh trees for you. The nice guys at Home Depot put it through their netting for me so it created and easy way to carry it all back to my car.

I grabbed a bunch of the bottoms that were cut off the trees. That’s how I made the “M <3 B” part. You could use those for so many things. Coasters, ornaments, bunting, etc. I’m still on the fence if I like my final design or not, but hey there’s always next year!

Alright, here goes….

Along with my pile of tree trimmings, the supplies I grabbed were: floral wire, hot glue, red fabric, grapevine wreath for $3 at Hobby Lobby (I used a coupon), and scissors.

I also grabbed my tree trimmers, some of the branches were too thick for kitchen shears.

Next, I just grabbed each branch and laid it on my wreath.

 I used the floral wire to secure it to the wreath. I used a lot because you could barely see it. You can see it here at the tip of my scissors.

 After I had the whole wreath wrapped, I secured it more. Then I grabbed my scissors and tree trimmers and trimmed away.

 I love that it looks rustic and woodsy. It’s not perfect but it only cost me $3!!!

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Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend!

I was so inspired by the art Emily Henderson made for the HGTV Holiday Special. I thought the vintage map art with Joy to the World on it was beautiful. I wanted one of my own!

But, remember when I said I was on a budget. Yep, that still applied. So, no awesome expensive vintage map for me. In my search, I started off at Half Price Books and dug through every single on of their travel maps. I came up short after finding the perfect map that someone had unfortunately cut part of it. Sad. I decided to buy this map off of Amazon for $6 and with shipping it was around $10.

Here’s the supplies:

I bought some stencils from Hobby Lobby with a 50% off coupon making them $5. Everything else I already had. The Q-Tips came in extra handy!

Next, I laid out the stencils. I decided to go with “Peace on Earth” instead of “Joy to the World” because I could only find stencils that were 5″. The stencil pack I bought only had one stencil for each letter. Oops. I improvised by laying them out just to get an idea of how it looked. And, I just used the latitude and longitude lines as guides. It worked! Yep, that says “Peach on RT”…totally works…

I used a very small amount of painter’s tape just to hold the stencils in place. Then, I painted three layers until I couldn’t see the map through the letters anymore. But that’s probably because I used super cheap acrylic paint.

Try to keep your cute, mischevious pup from threatening to walk all over your fresh paint. (Hi, Jackie-O!)

After I peeled off the stencils, there were spots where the paint bled through. This is where my awesome Q-tips and paper towels came in handy. It was actually pretty easy to just clean up the lines.

I decided to go with painting the “on” freehand because I didn’t think I liked the look of the other letters. I’m so glad I did. I love it! It’s now my favorite Christmas decoration!

Stay tuned for my hanging solution!

 

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As I mentioned yesterday, I’m really in the mood to put together some Christmas crafts but my next opportunity to do it is the week of the 19th so I’m not sure that real Christmas crafts are worth my time. The crafts I have planned are mostly big projects that aren’t crafty at all: finishing the pantry, drywalling the reach-in closet, retiling the shower floor. BORING BUT REWARDING (I hope). So I probably need to plan for something that will outlast this Christmas and can stick around through Winter when the tree and the santas are gone.

Here are some of my favorite inspirations for this season:

Over at Bright.Bazaar, I’m loving his Three Ways To Festoon Your Living Room. I love all three which is probably a sign that I have interesting and diverging tastes right now because they’re super bright, really cozy, and super dark but I can’t pick a favorite most days.

Poppytalk’s Mini DIY Round-Up featured these junk-mail snowflakes. I’m so excited to have a way to reuse the junk mail that I’m so tired of… and really need to opt out of… and to turn it into something so colorful and pretty. Even better? You really can’t tell that it’s junk mail.

I love how simple these cone trees are. They’re such an easy way to add texture and color to a room while increasing it’s holiday spirit.

The coasters in Oh Joy!’s this & that… would be a really fun product do do your own DIY spin.

These Simply Silhouette stockings could be as elegant or whimsical as you wish. I like the tradition of the stocking with a more personalized (and less campy) spin on it! (via Scissors+Thread)

Well, I think that’s enough crafts to make my list way over-ambitious! Hopefully I’ll find the time to make some of these projects a priority during my Christmas decorating.

 

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The museum where I work hosts an annual festival of trees every year called the Winter Event. People come in on the first Saturday in December and we raffle off about 20-25 decorated Christmas trees and about as many gift baskets. It’s a lot of fun and we really get some beautiful trees! Last year, I decided that I’d get on the list to make a tree for this year so I was loosely brainstorming for about a year.

At first, I thought we’d do a tree that had decorations that were also dog toys and call it “A Doggone Good Christmas.” The problem is that our dog is particularly good at sniffing out dog toys and likes to punch at cabinets that hold them. She’s so good in fact that last week she tricked both Kyle and I into getting her a new bone because she kept knocking at that cabinet. So, collecting dog toys on sale and hiding them around the house wasn’t an option which meant we’d have to buy them at non-markdown prices to get our tree ready. Also, the theme this year was “My Favorite Cartoon Christmas” and I was having a hard time getting excited about connecting cartoons to my dog tree.

Then, I had the idea of using Dug from Up as the dog and calling the tree “Dug’s Doggone Good Christmas.” But then I discovered that finding Up stuff that was specifically Dug-related was a little difficult. And I started looking around for inspiration and realized it would be pretty easy to make a tree just inspired by the movie. Plus, the tree would be all bright colors and balloons and fun!

The balloons were going to be the thing that made the tree different than just a tree decorated with Up characters. And all of those balloons would make the tree very colorful too. I bought a strand of rainbow-colored mini-lights, silver ornaments, and a tinsel garland. Before putting it on the tree, I tied 200 balloons to the tinsel garland.

To add some more cartoon fun, I used Disney’s Family site to get some printables for the Up decorations on the tree. I slid finger puppets onto the end of branches.

I also printed and made a Russell 3D Character, a Carl 3D Character, and an UP House!

 

After I had the tree decorated, I decided it needed more color so I added some little blue glittery bells, red glittery stars, and red glittery snowflakes. I also added a box of multicolor warhead candy canes and a box of solid (but bright) color Lifesavers candy canes.

By the time it was done, I secretly wanted to win the raffle and get to take it home! I’m not sure how well it did in terms of competing with the other raffled trees, but I know that a lot of kids brightened up when they saw it and recognized the characters. It was so different than my tree at home and really a lot of fun to make.

Before the actual event, I added helium balloons as a tree topper. Obviously this wouldn’t last all Christmas season, but it would make the tree a lot of fun for a kids’ Christmas party. Unfortunately, with all of the fun of the event, I didn’t get a picture of the tree with the balloons so I had to add those later. Luckily, one of our photographers caught a shot of my completed tree so I just cropped our guests out of it!

This year’s theme really let me have fun and be creative. I hope the family that won it is really enjoying it!

 

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After spending most of my day working at a computer and a good portion of my evening glued to a book (usually on kindle), I often find myself looking for something a little more mindless to relax. The problem with most TV is that it’s so mindless that I can really split my attention between the TV and the Internet. I think that’s a lot of the reason why I love the Nate Berkus Show. It’s too visually interesting not to watch so I pay a lot of attention without having to think too hard about it. Yesterday, I was catching up on DVR and I was so inspired by his asparagus green + navy black + bronze color palette at the end of the show. It was just so beautiful together, and I think green + bronze + cream makes a great holiday palette so here we are with our first Thursday Tea Time of the Christmas season and a great all-etsy tablescape for an asparagus green and bronze holiday party!

I decided on a simple coffee pot for this week’s party. This Vintage Brown Coffee Pot set by JSsJunk on Etsy is a great place to start because the bronze is so beautiful. I also really prefer a cup that’s white on the inside even if it has a dark outside. Maybe that’s weird, but I’ve been on a hot apple cider kick lately and it’s weird to drink apple cider that looks like coffee in our black cups so the cups we have that have white insides have been getting extra attention.

For the rest of the table setting, I went with a green and bronze palette with some creams thrown in where I could.

‘Asparagus Green and Bronze Tea Party’ by static


Bronze Incense Burner Foo Do…

$37.99

Wool Craspedia, felt Billy B…

$40.00

Burlap and Bronze Christmas …

$35.00

Vintage earthen vase

$9.00

Table Runner- Organic Colorg…

$32.00

Gift for the Foodie…No kne…

$50.00

Organic torn edge placemat, …

$24.00

Mint Green Tailored Dinner N…

$16.00

Bronze napkin rings

$25.00

Broken China Mosaic Tiles – …

$12.50

Holiday Gift Tags, 9 Pearle…

$6.75

Sale Item – 15 Dark Bronze C…

$1.90

My thought is that the incense burner could burn a subtle Christmas scent and the felted craspedia could sit inside the wreath and add some height. I love craspedia so much and it’s very pretty as a felted fake flower. I almost included some felted acorns too. The wreath I found is absolutely gorgeous too. I love the texture (and price) of burlap and it’s so easy to glam up. That gold looks great against it.

I also found a little earthen vase, a beautiful table runner, and a no-knead bread baker that beautifully combines all of the colors.

I thought I’d include the broken china mosaic tiles and the dark bronze leaves to sprinkle in the center of the table and/or at each place setting. The gift tags would make great place cards!

I’m really excited about this holiday party. I really want to host one (or two or three) holiday parties this year for various groups of people we’ve been trying to gather at our house. I’m starting this weekend with a movie and football marathon with Kyle and our best friend Kevin. Plus, it’s the winter festival of trees at my museum this weekend. Hopefully, I can score some great decorations through the raffles!

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So Eclectic is a blog dedicated to great ideas for home design. Austin, Texas-based writer Mary Marcum and Savannah, Missouri-based writer Jess Rezac feature affordable decor, decorating solutions, and inspiration. At So Eclectic, we experiment with design together. So Eclectic posts new content every weekday.

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