Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

While perusing some pins last night I found a random, but darling, idea for a Christmas tree garland. Yes, I know it’s a bit late to create a new decoration, but making a garland that combined two sentimental elements was more than I could resist.

The holidays were always a very special time with my grandparents and I have been trying to come up with some type of Christmas ornament to honor their memory. For my Pop-pop, my solution was a traditional Polish glass ornament and for my Nanny, I had originally filled a glass ball with some of the teeny tiny buttons from her collection but it seemed to lack something special. I think the button garland is a better alternative because not only did she have a large collection of buttons but she was also the one who taught me how to crochet (plus it’s super duper cute!). Now, I haven’t crocheted in about 10 years, but I immediately went to town and even with my lack of recent experience it was an incredibly simple project.

How-to: Crocheted Button Garland

Materials needed:

  • An assortment of random buttons in the color scheme of your choice (I used a little over 100 and my chain is around 23 feet))
  • Yarn of your choice (can’t be too thick/fuzzy but needs to be durable)
  • An appropriate sized crochet hook (dependent upon the yarn you choose)


  1. Thread all of the buttons onto the yarn
  2. Create a continuous chain for about one foot
  3. Pull up one button and create a stitch around it to keep it in place
  4. Crochet a 1-2” chain (about 5-10 stitches)
  5. Pull up another button and stitch around it
  6. Crochet another 5-10 stitches
  7. Repeat, repeat, repeat
  8. Finish it off with another foot or so of chain stitches

The most involved step in the process was the first and that’s only because it’s hard to shove a hearty sized yarn through the holes of most buttons. Once you get that down (I taped/rolled the end of the yarn to make it easier), it’s pretty simple. I finished mine without too much of a hassle and still had enough yarn left to make a matching pot holder.  It’s too bad our tree is already decorated because the garland will have to wait until next year to be put to use. That’s okay though because it’s absolutely precious and goes well with our homey Christmas décor.

wrapped around some cardboard to prevent tangles


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Deck the Halls

So the Geek Squad came to my rescue and got my laptop working once again… YAY! I feel like I’ve been talking about our decorations for awhile now, but couldn’t post pictures without my working computer, so get prepared!

This is only our 3rd Christmas living together, so we haven’t had much time to accumulate a Christmas ornament/knick-knack collection yet. I cannot wait until the day our home is overflowing with Christmas goodness but, for now, what we have feels just right. My ultimate goal is to have my own little version of the North Pole right here in PA, but I’m a few years off from that point. One of the things I love about my husband is that he more than just tolerates the things I get fanatical about and he supports me in every way; this year, he got the tree ready a day early, hung all of the outdoor lights, and then let me buy whatever I deemed necessary. I’m lucky to have a guy like him because I’d be miserable if I was married to a Scrooge.

Our house:

I’ve seen so many inspiring TV specials, blogs, and pins that have given me ideas for Christmas Future. I realize I still have time to keep decorating for Christmas, afterall the 12 Days of Christmas are just beginning, but I think it’s best to sit back and enjoy what I have finished. I already have big plans for next year (yes, I plan a whole year in advance for decorating) so something tells me that I’ll start the Christmas crafting in September. Tee-hee. 🙂

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Coquito: The New Nog

Ever since my laptop died I’ve been in serious withdrawal from updating the blog. I’ll be praying to the Geek Squad gods tomorrow and hopefully they’ll get my little baby to turn back on. In the meantime, my wonderful husband is letting me steal his computer. This is great because I’ve been waiting patiently to share the recipe for my favorite holiday drink: coquito (pronounced koh-KEY-toe).

Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without coquito in my husband’s family and I love it as part of our yearly tradition. It is practically a Puerto Rican egg nog (with no need to use eggs). If you’ve never had an opportunity to try coquito, you’re seriously missing out on the best beverage ever. Best beverage ever, you ask? YES! Best. Beverage. Ever. It’s creamy, seasonal, rich, and alcoholic… yum! Just like chocolate chip cookies, everyone has their own way of making it but I have started using the recipe below. It comes out *almost* as good as my mother-in-law’s but hers just can’t be beat so I’ll take that!


  • 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cans of coconut milk
  • 2 cans of coconut cream
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 cups of dark rum (DARK not spiced)

Simple Directions

  1. Pour everything together in a blender.
  2. Blend until combined — I’ve found that it’s easier to do the recipe half and half since it yields too much for an average sized blender. This means 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, 1 can of coconut milk, 1 can of coconut cream, 1.5 cups of rum, and some cinnamon and salt blended together and poured into a pitcher and then repeat.
  3. Refrigerate, serve cold!

Try it out, you won’t be disappointed! It’ll warm up the coldest night… and give you a serious blush!

"His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!" Santa must've enjoyed our coquito too...

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captain [3M] hook

Decorating our house for the first time will probably be something I’ll always remember. Finding a home for each and every knick knack has been a lot of fun and getting more decorations to fill the voids is even more fun.

This is the first year we have had a mantle to hang our stockings from. At our apartment, we hung our stockings around the doorway and it was cute and all, but nothing compares to stockings over a fireplace. The thing with our mantle though is that it also serves as the home for our TV so putting up those chunky stocking holders wouldn’t work. They would have partially obstructed the view of the tv. Another option would have been to put those hook screws in, but drilling holes for temporary hooks is definitely a no-go. Solution? 3m hooks!

Lowes, Home Depot, Target and even the grocery stores have them and there are a variety of shapes and sizes to choose from. I had considered getting the expensive metal-looking ones; however, they cost about $6 a piece! I’m thrifty and settled for the 6-pack of white medium hooks because they were a little over $6 for all of them. I affixed them flat onto the mantle top rather than vertically on the face of the fireplace. Messless success? I think so. And they’re virtually invisible amid the garlands and stockings so no worries about cheap plastic showing.


a bird's eye view of the hook


the stockings were hung by the chimney with care

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I say it all of the time, but I’m addicted to Pinterest. Like, addicted may not even cover what I have. Our internet was out last night and I was so disgruntled that I couldn’t go on Pinterest that I went to bed at 8:30!! I just love finding new and exciting (and random) things to love on there. One thing I found recently were these adorable twig stars. I knew instantly that they would be the perfect accompaniment to our rustic holiday décor and since I had tons of precut twigs from the wedding, I got started immediately.

The process was easy…

  1. Gather twigs of a similar size (or cut them)  — mine came precut
  2. Arrange them in a star figuration
  3. Tie each intersection/joint together with twine/hemp. Start with the 5 inside intersections and then move to the 5 outside points.

I only had 28 branches so I was limited to 5 stars, unfortunately. The directions were quick and easy and took less than 5 minutes total to create each star. While I liked the idea of the start being a wall decoration as it was portrayed in the Pin, I couldn’t fathom putting any additional holes in the walls downstairs so I sprinkled the stars in random areas of decor…


On the mini tree


In a floral arrangement above the sink

On some artwork with ornaments

On the shelves

How would you use these?

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Every year, I make a Christmas card to send out to all of our friends and relatives. Before we were married, it really made our family unit feel “official” for the holidays. I absolutely love doing it and this year is such a momentous year for us (married and new home!). I’m looking forward to having 10+ years worth to create a  timeline of Christmas cards that will show our family’s progression over the years. My favorite site by far is Pear Tree Greetings but this year the sales only applied to orders $75+. Well guess what? The whole point of using a coupon code is to NOT spend that much! Snapfish had emailed some great offers (40% off cards sitewide, free shipping, and 20% off entire order) that I could not refuse. So despite my love for Pear Tree’s high-quality cardstock, I decided to move myself over to Snapfish.

Creating a card is not a quick process, there is a lot of back and forth and editing that takes place. I already accomplished the first step which is picking the site that you find to be the most user-friendly (or the one with the best deals if you are like me). In order to create a beautiful card online you must:

  1. Pick a couple of really nice pictures that you’d be happy to use. Preferably, some would be in a horizontal and others in a vertical format so that you have options when looking at the cards. 
  2. Figure out which of the adorable layouts works best with your photos of choice, taking colors, patterns, and style into consideration (this can be hard considering most sites have at least 200 cards to choose from).
  3. Edit the pictures (crop/sepia/b&w) and insert your text (font type, color, size, position, etc.)
  4. Finalize it. This means examining the proof, zooming in and out to review the details as well as the “big picture”, and to doublecheck spelling.

Following these steps was simple. We have gorgeous wedding photos that I decided to use, which meant that Aubrey was not included. Snapfish is awesome though and they allow you to put a photo on the back of the card as well… Problem solved! I saw the most adorable picture on Pinterest of a little boy wrapped in some Christmas lights and thought it would be perfect for Aubrey’s Christmas picture. Not so…

After taking about 20 unsuccessful shots, and Joe laughing hysterically at my attempts, I finally gave up. I added some pictures and found some attractive girly fonts on the site and just went from there. The card turned out very simple and jolly if you ask me. I cannot wait to share our Christmas card! Since it’ll be a surprise, here’s a preview of our little Grinch on the reverse side of the card 🙂

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All That Shimmers

…Is not always gold.

I love how whimsical glitter and sequins are but other metallic elements can be very lackluster. If you don’t know what I mean, think the red/gold/green wrappers that are around the poinsettia pots this time of year. BOR-ING!

I picked up the cutest rosemary tree at Home Depot to serve as our secondary Christmas tree (for the kitchen). It’s so quaint and perfect, except for the cheap wrapper around the pot. I was looking for something to go with our rustic, charming Christmas theme –more of that to come– but this screamed “plain-jane is trying too hard.”

Hmm… What to do? What to do? Luckily, I have some TONS of burlap left over from the wedding, so within moments I was chopping off a square from one of the table cloths. I layered that with a cheap ikea saucer to catch any water and then tied it all together with some elastic cording. It was only a matter of 4 minutes before my tree went from dull to darling.

Much better. This little baby will need to wait a few more days before it’s decorated with tiny wood ornaments and homemade garland; I simply cannot wait! Then again, come Black Friday, our real Christmas tree will be up and that will be even more fun to decorate.

‘Tis the season!

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