Monday, November 28, 2011

Branching Out

Look no further than your own backyard to create this affordable and totally dramatic holiday look!

There are many variations you can take on this centerpiece and it is really an easy way to make a big impact!    Find an oversize pot or tall glass vase to house your branches.  The star of the show can be as simple as a bare branch from your yard or you can "branch out" (I know, I know) and use magnolia branches, berry twigs, curly willow or even a winter-variety flowering branch if you are lucky enough to track one down.  Add some great ornaments to the tips and possibly some greenery or moss at the base of the twigs and voila... your masterpiece is complete!

dwellings design | inspire bohemia | nj | inspire bohemia | digs digs

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Countdown to Christmas

The fall has been an eventful and busy time in the Clark house this year - having spent more time away from our house than in it.  Now that things are slowing down and we are heading back home tomorrow, I am anxious to get our house cozy and festive for the holidays!  With only weeks left until the Christmas season begins, here are my thoughts to kick off the season... 

I've said it before and I'll say it again... this is one of the key ingredients to a great holiday season.  If there is no heart behind the festivities, then you are missing the point and missing out!  This is important whether you have young kids, grown kids or no kids at all.  The magic of the holidays are the memories made together... so get creative, be flexible and have fun!

Since our son is only 2 years old we are still in the process of creating our family traditions.  This year we are getting a "Jesse Tree" which is a really neat type of advent calendar that goes through all of the old testament stories that anticipate the coming of Jesus!  Preston loves to hear stories and what a better way to teach him what Christmas is all about.

If you are crafty then you may really enjoy making the ornaments yourself, but if you are like me then you may not finish until your kids are in college.  If that is the case, please visit Etsy for cute ornaments that you can simply order online!

That is decorating day, not doomsday.  I realize it may sound like a fantasy to get your family, spouse or even friends to help with this one, but it's all what you make of it - so make it FUN!  Turn on some great Christmas tunes or holiday movie, light a crackling fire and serve hot cocoa and s'mores... oh ya, and then put those little elves to work (sneaky right?)!

A few of our family music and film faves....

In honor of the generous Saint Nicholas, secretly "adopt" a family in need to lavish with gifts... make this really fun and meaningful by praying for this family, shopping and wrapping together, and ending with an exciting delivery of dropping the gifts, ringing the bell and dashing off like Rudolph and the gang!  After all it feels even better to give than to receive!

Ho, Ho, Ho!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Haute Halloween!

Tonight I took my 2 year old son on a stroll through the neighborhood and stumbled on a disturbing scene... a house so over-the-top creepy (including a zombie baby) that I started to wonder where they hide their victims. 

This got me to thinking "what is the formula for a festive and inviting front porch for this spooky holiday?".  

Here are my thoughts...

DANCING LIGHTS - we all love the flickering lights of a jack-o-lantern, but there are many other creative ways to draw in trick-or-treaters or party guests in a way they will remember.  Candle light is an easy way to create mood and set the tone for a fun night... it's hard to go overboard in this category.  Create a pathway to your door with paper lanterns, carved pumpkins placed over a strand of Christmas bulbs or use a variety of pretty iron lanterns.
 Martha Stewart | Martha Stewart | Martha Stewart | Pottery Barn

PERSONAL TOUCHES - what a fantastic way to have a classy and fun look for halloween.  In lieu of a traditional jack-o-lantern, carve your families initials or a haunting message into your pumpkins.  I especially love the way these oversize pumpkins make a statement right at the entrance.  And the puddle of tiny pumpkins at the base are a great touch.  I will probably be borrowing this idea next year.  ;)
 Better Homes & Garden | Martha Stewart

WHIMSICAL DETAILS - I am obviously not a fan of scary, gory or otherwise grotesque decor for Halloween, but that doesn't mean it has to be boring.  Take a playful approach to your decorations!  Make a totem pole out of your family's jack-o-lanterns.  Instead of traditional spooky faces, create a dreamy swirly face or other unexpected shapes that you can easily create from cookie cutters.  Or make imaginative monsters and ghouls out of varieties of autumn produce.

 Better Homes and Gardens | Martha Stewart | Martha Stewart | Martha Stewart | Better Homes and Gardens

PLAY DRESS UP - And I'm not talking about your costume!  Mixing materials is always a great way to create interest.  Contrast rustic fall textures like twigs, raffia and burlap with pumpkins adorned in gold or silver spray paint.  You can use stencils to make girly and playful designs on pumpkins and gourds. This is such an easy and inexpensive way to decorate and is so unique!  Let the boys revel in all the goopy glory of their jack-o-lanterns, while mom and the girls have a sparkling good time with this project!
...and lastly a reminder that it is a holiday, so take a break from worrying about the decorating to enjoy a hot cup of cider and mounds of candy with your family!