Deck the Halls

Somehow I just couldn’t get my act together fast enough for Christmas. I’m usually relatively on time in getting things decorated etc., but this year…not so much.

I don’t know if it was the faltering economy etc. that was dampening my spirits, but I knew I needed to snap out of my funk soon so I didn’t become a complete grump.

So Larry and I finally went out and bought a fab tree etc. I honestly think I just needed to smell pine and that got me kick-started to decorate.

I think I’ve got our holiday decorating down to a science – do a little outside and then work my way in – there’s something about decorating for the holidays that just makes it so cozy.

Here’s a little recap of what we did for this year:

One thing I love to do when decorating for the holidays is to use mostly natural items for my projects – greenery for the roping, wreaths, dogwood, paper birch etc. The scent is wonderful from the pine and it’s just makes me happy. Here are some of the how-to's on what I did this year:

The Mantle Project - Using 3 glass hurricane vases - was really easy and I think adds a nice touch and a “woodsy” feel. First, add “snow” (I think it’s just plastic shavings)to the vases, a little winter/holiday potpourri and then a festive candle. To top it off I added some birch twigs around the candle. Because we already have the holiday lights wrapped around the roping, there is no need to light the candles - and actually since the twigs etc. are pretty flammable...not a good idea.

Door Swag - The door swag took 2 seconds because all I did was attach a bow I made and some festive bells. I got a fabulous deal from Trader Joes on the swag - I think like $7 bucks. I get the swags there every year and they truly look the best and are the cheapest.

Holiday Planter - Every year I kind of dread doing the planters because they are usually frozen from the cold weather and I can’t work with them unless I thaw them out - but this year I caught a break. Crystal Lake had some freak weather pattern where it was 50ish on a Saturday. So I ran out and bought my greenery before it started to get cold, which wouldn’t you know it it dropped to the teens the next day - that’s Chicago weather for you!

For the planters I just buy various greenery (pine, cedar, boxwood, birch branches) and a small tree topper and work my way from the center of the pot (with the tree topper) and work my way out. To top it off I usually add red birch branches, but since all the nurseries were selling twigs for $12 bucks I drew the line. So Lar helped me out and painted the branches a bright red and voila...festive branches! And finally I added a little extra sparkle with some green sparkle painted pine cones and red ornaments. It looked great until the next day when we got hit with a blizzard and the planters were completely covered...but what are you going to do?!?

Corner Display - During the fall I bought a small, simple bench to put in the corner for decorations. I tried to do a special paint technique with a two-toned effect but somehow I ended up with a salmony color that was just horrid. So I added some paint we had lying around and I think it ended up pretty nice. Plus leaving it outside to the elements gives it a nice weathered look.

So for the holiday display I started by adding some greenery, painted twigs and some paper birch branches (compliments of our wonderful neighbor Sharon - thanks Sharon!) to a galvanized bucket. Then we had an old sled that we found on the curb in Madison (we love free finds!)that I added a swag and some roping. And then I added a festive basket and lantern to the bench. Instant holiday charm!

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