Warm holiday wishes

Nick and I are spending the holiday with our families in Wisconsin.  We hope you have a fun- and family-filled holiday celebration too! 

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Happy new year to all of our friends and family; cheers to 2016!

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Merry Trees

Two winters ago, one of my favorite bloggers, Inspired by Charm, DIY’d the cutest little wooden forest for the holidays. As soon as I saw it, I added this to my list of must-do projects.

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While it took awhile, I finally have my colorful holiday forest. Michael’s blog post includes all the instructions you’ll need to complete this simple project, so I’ll skip quickly through the details of how Nick and I tackled it.

A few weeks back Nick and I bought a 1 x 10-inch pine board at the hardware store. Our board was only half as thick as the one used in the tutorial, because our cutting tool (a Dremel Saw-Max) only has the capacity to cut through a 1-inch board. Even though the wood is considerably thinner, the 1-inch boards stand stable and still work well for this project.

As usual, no project gets done around here without my trusty partner. Nick set up a cutting station outside with saw horses  and after lots of math and measuring, he cut the board down into eight varying sized triangles.

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Nick said our Dremel worked fine for this project, but a circular saw would probably work best. Here are all of the cut, but unfinished, trees.

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Following the tutorial, after Nick cut the trees, I sanded and painted them with craft paint, which I cut slightly with water so the wood grain was still visible through the paint. Once the trees were dried, I used the handle tip of a craft brush to dot on the white paint snowflakes.

I love how the trees turned out – festive, modern and so colorful!
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We currently have the forest set up in the kitchen, along our window sills, and I can’t help but smile every time I walk past them. These will definitely be making an appearance in our home for many holidays to come.

Anyone else tackling any holiday projects?

Holiday Highlights

The holidays seem to have gone by so fast, but before we say goodbye to December and the end of another year, I wanted to share some photos from our time in Wisconsin: the week was filled with lots of time with family, giggling nieces, licks from puppies, cold and snow, and plenty of good treats and cheer! Nick and I enjoyed every minute of it, and we are so thankful for being able to spend time with the ones we love.

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Brrr – so much cold and snow

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Yoda – the newest addition to my Dad’s family

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The Packer game with great friends

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Cookies

Cookies decorated by little girls

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Annual day-after-Christmas bowling tradition

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My favorite gift from Nick, he originally refused to buy it but eventually gave in

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday with friends and family as well. Goodbye 2013, you were a good one, but I think 2014 is going to be a great year too!

It’s very merry

It’s become a tradition for Nick and I to put up our Christmas decorations the day after Thanksgiving, and this year was no different. I just love the glow of the lights on the tree and the extra cheer that holiday decorations bring to our home – so the sooner we put up our decorations the longer we can enjoy them.

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I mentioned last year, that we always decorate two trees – a real tree in the front window of our main level, and a fake Charlie Brown tree downstairs in our den, where we relax and watch TV.

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After trimming our trees, we also put out the rest of our holiday decorations, including the nativity set that always gets displayed on our mantel; our other decorations get changed up from year to year.

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I like simple holiday decorations and often decorate with natural elements, so I spread some extra cheer around the house by putting out a few glass containers filled with red bulbs and scented pine cones.

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Since we frequently use our fireplace, our stockings get hung downstairs – I also set out a holiday poinsettia and some large pine cones that I spray painted silver.

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The lighted garland was a recent purchase and I absolutely love it – it’s pre-lit and decorated with pine cones and red bulbs and was so much easier (and cleaner!) to hang than the real garland we’ve hung the past few years.

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While I enjoy decorating our home for Christmas, I dislike the time it takes to put everything away in January; so my strategy is to simply add holiday touches to decorations that I already have displayed.  I added a green ribbon and some red ornaments to the lantern below and covered a book in holiday wrapping – and just like that it looks like Christmas!

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We also decorated the outside of our home, we attached a simple wreath to the front door and hung our icicle lights to brighten up the exterior of our house.

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Nick and I also spent some time creating a new display for our holiday cards. Last year I made a yardstick Christmas tree to display our cards, but I had an idea for something new this year. A small ledge runs along the stairwell between our main and lower levels, which I think is the perfect place to display the cards we receive. So we purchased a 6-foot length of 1 1/2 x 3/4-inch poplar from the hardware store for a couple of dollars.

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Our first step was to distress the wood. Nick heavily sanded some of the edges and then we randomly banged on the wood with the edge of a hammer and pounded some nail heads and screw marks onto the top of it.

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After it no longer looked like a brand new piece of wood, we added a couple of coats of stain (which we had on hand from another project) to match it to our hardwood floors.

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Our next step was to add a cut down the middle of the entire length of the board to insert the cards; our cut was about 1/2-inch deep (a circular saw would work great for this, but we just used our Dremel Saw-Max). Since holding the board and cutting the wood was a two-man job, there are no pictures of this step – but below is a close-up photo of the finished result.

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Here’s a photo from further back – the board blends in well with the color of the wood steps and it looks like it could have always been there.

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And here’s what the display looks like filled with our holiday cards (note, we’d only received a couple of Christmas cards when we worked on this project, so I pulled out some of the cards we received last year).

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I’m so happy with how the card display turned out, this was a super easy project and it’s working really well for us…and it’s especially nice to see the faces of our family and friends every time we walk up and down the stairs.

Anyone else have a great idea for displaying holiday cards? I can’t believe that Christmas is only a few days away!