Thursday, March 31, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Being the very-do everything you possibly can in the last minute and try to remember to breathe-type of person I made a goal for myself this holiday season to be completely done with everything "commercial" by Dec. 1st so that I could really enjoy and focus on the true spirit of Christmas; therefore allowing my family to do the same. Somehow when I'm racing around trying to get everything done days before Christmas (like I have done EVERY year) I tend to lose the spirit and become grouchy, frustrated and stressed out! And when mamma's stressed out-everybody's stressed out. Right? Maybe that's just at our house. Anyhow, I have to say it has been wonderful to be done since Dec. 1st (well mostly...I had to sneak in a few extra craft projects this past week b/c you can't surf blogland and not be so inspired that you have to stop exactly what you're doing and do that craft right now! I digress...) But you know, the major stuff was done-shopping, wrapping (mostly), decorating (mostly), etc. This has also given me some time to find and start some fun family traditions throughout the month of Dec. (much to Bobby's dismay-he's not a "traditions" type of person-so weird; i know- and I'm sorta driving him nuts with all my ideas. BUT we're finding what's working, what would just add more stress to the holiday, and what it's important so it's been fun!

I grew up with a mom who loved Christmas and our whole house transformed during December! With the freshly cut Christmas tree, the decorations everywhere, the lights, the music and all the holiday baking; you could see, feel, hear and smell Christmas the moment you walked in the door. I absolutely loved coming home everyday to the little world she had created for us and it was the thing I missed the most once I left for college. Now that I'm a mom, I want nothing more than to create that same atmosphere for my family so they love to be "home for Christmas"! I know they're too little to appreciate all the glam right now, so I'll be honest-it's mostly to fulfill my need to feel what I felt every year at Christmas as a child. :)

So welcome to the Bricker Christmas house...

First off you have to know, when you walk in the door you'll be hearing Christmas music (from our local radio station that plays solely Christmas music in dec.). It plays pretty much all waking hours of the day-unless tyler begs me to let him watch thomas the train. Gosh, he's so selfish.

You also should know that it will smell like Cinnamon and oranges because this is on my stove simmering:

This is what my mom uses and it's just not Christmas if my house doesn't smell like this! If you want to try it out (there's not really a recipe per-say) but you put a couple cups of water, couple TBL of Cinnamon, maybe 1/2 TBL of allspice, a dash of nutmeg, a spoonfull or so of vanilla, and a little freshly squeezed orange (my mom leaves this one out I think, but I love it!), stir it all together to mix the flavors, bring it to a boil (med-high) and then let simmer. I usually leave it on for an hour or so and should keep your house smelling pretty good for several hours-even once it's turned off! You can just leave it on your stove (keep adding water as it will evaporate) and add more spice as you think you need it to keep it smelling great. I promise if you try it, people will tell you your house smells WONDERFUL!

Okay, so on to the fun...
First the mantle, cause it's my favorite.

Starting on the right is a beautiful red vase I got for $4.99 last year at Thai Pan (right alisa?) after Christmas. I put it on a metal plate I had, surrounded it with red, sparkly spray painted pinecones (that I made last year), filled it with newspaper up to the top and stuck in some red and silver berries that I then surrounded with fresh cinammon stick/potpourri that i got at Micheal's for $2. (berries were .59 each)

The lantern that I've used for a couple holidays now, with a big red candle wrapped with a black ribbon (same candle from last year). The thing around the bottom of the candle is a decoration I got for $1 I think at Hobby Lobby last year (I picked up 2 of them-you'll see the other in a bit)

The "peace" sign was $2 from Walmart after Christams last year and the angel (which is plastic, but I still think is beautiful!) I've had for a couple years-can't remember from where.

Love it! But guess what I love almost more? (okay maybe more, I honestly can't decide!) See the picture on the wall to the upper-right of the angel?

It's this...

If you don't already know (shame on you!) it's from Elf! Our family's FAVORITE Christmas movie! It has a little extra special meaning to us as it was Bobby and I's first date! (oh my...7 years ago almost to the day!) Although I can't take the credit for this awesome find-my best friend ash knew we'd love it and sent me the link. If you want some fun craft ideas definitely check that blog out-oh and my friend Ashlie has a blog too that is AWESOME-you know...if you want to be inspired!

Moving on...
So I got the idea for this somewhere in blogland and I can't for the life of me find it anymore. Although I'm not super worried about it because it turned out nothing like what the "real" craft looked like-and her's was WAY cuter-so I feel ok posting this without a link because mine didn't really turn out. But I spent money on it so no way I was taking it down! (and if you know what the link is feel free to share!)

I spray painted the lids of spaghetti jars black, spray painted wood toppers black (bought a bag of 6 for less than $2 from Hobby Lobby which I split with my sister), filled them with peppermints (used three $1 bags from Walmart) and hung metal letters (that came with the black ribbon) around the topper ($1.5o each on sale 50% off from Hobby Lobby). Candlesticks I already had.

Another one of my favorite Christmas Nativity. I can't even say how much I LOVE this! It's the first thing I put out each year because I have to make sure everything else works with it! My mom gave this to me a couple years ago and I love the rich colors, and fabrics on the figurines that adds such great texture to the look of everything.

Behind the nativity is a little bling :) I added this year. I've never done a "theme" before, but when I found these great glittery ornaments at the dollar store I was hooked and new it was going to be a red and silver year!

I just put some ornaments (the large silver and red one are from walmart) in a large vase with pinecones in the bottom to add texture and height then placed it on a candlestick (remember the blue one with the orange cats that I spray painted black for Halloween? I bought 3 of them at the same time-.88 tues at the dollar store!-painted the one black and the other 2 red. The Silver tree I found at the dollar store this year as well.

Like I said, i love my nativity, but I needed a little silver on that side of the mantle and I think it was the perfect fit!

Ta Da!

I picked up this at Thai pan after Christmas last year as well and totally forgot that I had bought it till I opened up my Christmas decorations this year. It was like an early Christmas present!

He fits perfectly right there and surprisingly the kids never mess with it!

With our letters to Santa written...

...and our reminder to keep calm... (free printable you can download here)

,,,We're all waiting patiently for our stocking to be filled!

*And not 1, but TWO elves have left their hats here so our children are on their best behavior knowing there are santa's reporters close by!

Fun JOY blocks we got as a Christmas gift from a friend a few years back.

Favorite Christmas book!! (a gift from my sister Alena several years ago)

Tired of the festivities yet???

Another one of those-oh i totally forgot I bought this last year-moment. yay! The kids love to ring these jingle bells!! All. day.

My sweet Grandma and Grandpa Olson, gave us their "old" Christmas tree b/c they wanted a pre-lit one and i LOVE it! It's so nice and full and big and Christmassy! Problem is...b/c of where the tree needed to be, the couch no longer fit where it was so we had to switch where the couch and fireplace were to make room for the tree. Make sense? Which was fine until I had the whole mantel decorated and realized the picture we had (centered) above where the fireplace was, was not even remotely centered above where the couch now was. The perfectionist in me was going nuts and I couldn't even look at the wall without cringing. And I especially hated it b/c it's the first thing you see when you come in the front door. No problem. I just found some fun crafts I could do to even things out a bit. Yay! A project! :)

So I present to you...the open frame!

Bobby HATES it. (so if you could share a little love I'll sleep better tonight.) A little too modern for him he says. Silly man.

I just sort of stacked the ornaments in rings. I hot glued 8 ornaments together to make the bottom (from the dollar store), glued a jingle bell in the middle of every 2 ornaments (pack of 9 for $1) and then glued one large ornament on the top of the bells... it comes out at you from the wall. make sense?

Then I just looped some ribbon between the top 2 ornaments and tied it in a-LARGE-bow. :) (glittery silver ribbon from the dollar store). The frame was one I had in a box in my garage just taking up space and collecting dust. So sad. It was a light wood color before I bathed her in this red beauty.

To balance out the other side of my unbalanced picture I printed some subway art (free printable here) and spray painted another dusty frame red to give the grey a little pop.

So all together...

I still don't 100% love how everything's laid out, but since there's no way we were moving that picture of Jesus, we had to work with what we could. (we're putting the house back the way it was after Christmas) The Card holder I got for $1 at a party store. (do you see your Christmas card up there?!)

Moving to the kitchen...
fun Christmas jars I got at Kohls after Christmas a couple years ago. I wanted to add some height to the jars so it wasn't so 1 dimensional so I put the middle one up on a round, red, glittery candle.

And are we getting sick of free printables yet?!

No? Oh good, cause you can find this one here!

I wanted something a little more "glitzy" for the table centerpiece this year. (last year I used those Christmas jars) so I came up with this...

A plain wreath I got from DI a while ago, wrapped in silver ribbon (dollar store), with pinecones poured in around the middle of it. I did that so that I could place the ornaments in a circle inside the wreath, without having them actually inside the wreath. I wanted them to sit up higher.

The candle stick is the other red one I talked about earlier, the hurricane vase I had, pinecones I had, candle I got for .50 from Michaels after Thanksgiving, ribbon is the same as on the wreath, Letter "B" is actually a stocking pin I got at Hobby Lobby for $2.50 and I'm just using an ornament hanger to hang it to the vase. I decided not to glue anything down so I can use the wreath/ornaments/vase for other things throughout the year, or to change things up next year.

Other Decorations I've had for a long time (but love equally as much!)...

The snow globe in the corner is from my good friend Maranda and it makes me smile and think of her every time I put it out! (and my kids LOVE it-don't worry maranda, they know they can only touch it if they're sitting on the couch!)

A fun way to display those cute Christmas platters...on an easel!

Moving Outside! (almost done!)
Remember the post I bought at the DI to use outside?! Best $5 I've EVER spent! Wrapped her up in garland from last year, strung around some white lights, and glued on some extra ornaments from the dollar store.

We had a really bad wind storm the other night and it blew some of my ornaments off (and buried them in the snow!) so it's not looking as great as it first did, but I love her!

A couple candy canes to line the walk-way (.50 each from Walmart last year)...

And that's a wrap!! Whew! If you stuck it out this long you truly have the Christmas spirit! (or you're just bored!) Is your house beginning to look a lot like Christmas too?!


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