The Main Event

11.30.2009

OK, I am finally done with my Christmas tree. There was a little drama, a lot of glitter, and a bit of tomfoolery, but it turned out pretty nice. And when Alexa walked onto the balcony, looked down, and said, "WOW!", it was all worth it. Of course she then said, "Halloween!"

When we were married, we bought the biggest, fattest Christmas tree we could find. We got it home and it took up half of our dining room (it looked a lot smaller in our cavernous Lowes). Not only was it huge, but it was one that you have to assemble limb by limb. And every row had a coordinating letter. It took us on average 9 hours to put up the tree every year. Finally, when Cooper was 2, I broke down and told Marc that I love decorating for Christmas, but assembling that gigantic tree was sucking out all of the joy. Marc really did like that tree, but when faced with his frazzled, surly wife, he did not object to my replacing it. (Fun Fact: We could not even sell that darn tree in a yard sale and ended up giving it away!)

Monster Tree, Circa 2003 (It dwarfs my poor angel- we used to have to move the table to get it in the dining room):

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So I found a cute little skinny 7 footer. And since we had decorations for a much larger tree, we could pretty much cover Skinny Tree with ornaments. This year, I updated Skinny Tree (hence Skinny Tree's submission into the Blog Parties). Every year, we have done a red and gold tree. This year, since we are in our new home, I wanted to update the tree and blend it in with our decor, but not go too theme- y since it is the family tree.

I added a black and gold damask ribbon, wound around the tree:

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I took the ribbon and tucked it into the branches, crinkling it a bit so it blended. I did not want it to look like I had just draped it on the tree. Then I bought three boxes of black ornaments from Hobby Lobby, just to add some drama, as the decorators say. I was reading a Christmas mag the other day, and they interviewed a professional Christmas tree decorator (now THAT is a job!). He had plenty of tips, and the one that stuck out was that he separated his ornaments according to color, size, and style. That was right up my Type A alley. Cooper was my assistant, and we separated all of our ornaments into boxes (the apple does not fall far from the Type A tree, it seems). It was definitely needed, we ended up throwing away a garbage bag full or ornaments that were broken, faded, and stained.

By this time, Cooper had lost interest (apparently playing tennis ball with the neighbor is more fun that decorating a tree all afternoon). Having all of the balls separated really made the difference in deciding where the ornaments should be hung. Mr. Tree Decorator also said to hang the larger ornaments first, and then work your way down to the smaller ones. Another wise move. I also separated my non-ball ornaments into a box. These are a few of my favorites:

My Waterford ornament from our first anniversary:

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Bloomingdales ornament from NYC:

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And my letter ornaments (we each have one). I would love to say I made these, but nope, I confess- $2.50 at Pottery Barn:

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I was finally ready for my tree topper. I have used a hand me down angel from my mom every year since my first tree in 1996. But this year, I wanted to try something new. I kept seeing these different glitter sticks toppers on designer trees and I wanted to try that look myself. I bought gold, red, black, and one green (to match my bows) glitter stick doohickies (I really have no idea what they are called). It took a bit of arranging, but I think it works (Marc disagrees, you should have seen the look on his face when he saw it, but he is the epitome of traditional):

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For a tree skirt, I just use a plain red quilted skirt since it is usually covered up. I chose red and white polka dot and black and white hounds tooth wrap (but tied green bows to keep with traditional Christmas colors):

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So here it is!

Skinny Tree, 2009:

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If anyone has any tips on how to take a non-blurry picture of a Christmas tree, I am all ears.

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I think it is the perfect blend of trendy and traditional (or at least I hope so!). I know that the topper looks a little crazy but maybe it looks less crazy in person? Because it just seems to work on top of Skinny Tree.

This Week's Parties:

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DIY Day @ ASPTL



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Thank you for stopping by and reading through that very long-winded story which pretty much could have been summed up by, "Hey, here is Yoga Gal's tree!". I do tend to go off on tangents sometimes. :) Please pop back in again!

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Wow!

This is so awesome- I have another little box to add over >>>>>>>>!

My reconditioned (or is it refurbished, like electronics) wreath was featured over at Reinvented!

To read the original post, Go Here.

I just want to say a HUGE thank you to Kimm for letting me join the party, and including me in the weekly roundup! I think this deserves.......

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Another Easy and Tasty Dish

11.27.2009

My cousins ask me to bring this dish to every family dinner. And considering that I am not the next Paula Deen, that is very high praise for me! This Pineapple Casserole is so easy that my five year old and almost two year old helped me prepare it tonight.

Ingredients:

2 20 ounce cans pineapple chunks
2 cups of cheddar cheese
8 tablespoons of pineapple juice
8 tablespoons flour
1 cup of sugar
1 sleeve of Ritz crackers, crushed
1 stick of butter, sliced

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine pineapple, pineapple juice, flour, and sugar. Spoon into 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Top with crushed crackers and butter slices. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Your finished dish should look something like this:

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Enjoy!

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Fun Stuff

Exciting things have been happening at Yoga Gal! I was so excited to find out that our wainscoting project was featured at Better After! To read the post, click on the link:



And if you want to read the original posts with more beginning, during, and after photos, Go Here and Here.

I want to take this opportunity to say a big thanks to Lindsay at Better After! I am just thrilled that she included our project on her blog! In fact, I am so thrilled that I think it is time for a Snoopy dance:

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Happy Turkey Day!

11.26.2009

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From our family to yours, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving,

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Warning: Squee! Pink Christmas Tree Skirt

11.25.2009

Alexa has a super fun fiber optic tree in her room. It is pink and super girly. But it needed a skirt and my Christmas budget has been eaten by the massive amounts of ribbon that I keep buying. Please, someone stop me!

So I used my noodle and came up with the perfect solution. What about using one of her old tutus?

Here she is wearing her pink tutu in her one year picture. She is so squeezable:

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The waist band is too wide so I bought a mini pink furry garland for a dollar at Hobby Lobby and layered it on top of the skirt. It turned out pretty good!

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Why didn't I take a picture of the entire tree? My Christmas tree pictures are always terrible. They never look like the tree in reality. If anyone has any suggestions, I would be very appreciative. This was an easy and affordable fix, and tutus are very popular right now, so you can find one in pretty much any kid's store.

Today's Party:

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Thanks for stopping in! For my American readers, I hope that you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving full of family, friends, and good food!

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Dessert Casserole

Need a last minute dish for a Thanksgiving meal? This is what I am taking to my family's lunch tomorrow and it is so easy it is RIDONKULOUS:

Dessert Casserole

Ingredients:
-2 sticks of butter
-2 cups of sugar
-2 cups of flower
-4 teaspoons of baking powder
-2 cans of the fruit of your choice (I chose cherries)

Melt the butter and pour into a casserole dish. Take the rest of the ingredients (except fruit) and mix in a separate bowl. Pour bowl into casserole dish. Then pour in the fruit (without draining). Cook at 350 for 45-55 minutes depending on how hot your oven cooks. Voila! Dessert casserole:

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It looks sorta like a volcano.

It is yummers too but how can it not be with all that butter and sugar! Happy Turkey Day,

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Repurposed Christmas Wreath

11.24.2009

When we were newlyweds and had just purchased our first home, I bought that most beautiful outside holiday decorations. They were lush and classy and I loved putting them out every year.

In their heyday:

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This picture would be lovely without Yoga Gal's reflection in the glass.

Years go by, and of course, they started to fade and droop. This year, I decided that in our new home, I needed to freshen them up. I took the swags and used them Here. The wreath was going to be a little more tricky. I found my new bow at a Christmas bazaar a few weeks ago. Local businesses had set up booths to sell their items and benefit a local private school. I found this gorgeous bow in one of the booths:

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It was being used as display and I asked if I could purchase it. It was the last in that material. And it was only $10! They tucked it behind the register, and while I was standing in line, two other women tried to purchase it! It's mine, hussies!

I started working on my wreath. I cut off all the faded berries and the droopy bow. I also have a matching mailbox swag that needed a little TLC. I found a coordinating red bow for the mailbox at a local florist. This net-like fabric seems to be all the rage this year, I have seen it in a lot of stores. More fluffing ensued. Today, they were displayed proudly at our new home:

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(There I am again.)

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Total Cost for front door wreath, mailbox decor, and mantle garland: $20. Much better than the small fortune that I would have spent replacing all of these. I know sometimes this stuff is just beyond repair. Especially when it has been outside. But I admit to being a recycler- I like to be green when I can, and I feel like I am doing something good for the environment (and my wallet) when I re-purpose something old and worn out. Maybe you have some decorations tucked away that just need a little love to regain its fabulousness (yes Spell Check, that is a word)!

Today's Parties:

DIY Day @ ASPTL

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Tree Trimming

11.23.2009

I had fully intended to enter some of my Christmas trees in the Monday blog parties today. But my main tree's topper is not on yet, and two of my smaller trees are not even decorated. I thought that my Disney tree would be my best bet until I plugged it in and duh duh duh! RIP Disney Tree:

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I am looking on the bright side, just yesterday morning I told Marc that I had so many Disney ornaments that I had ran out of space and probably needed a larger tree. I started collecting ornaments the first year that I put up my own tree in 1996. Every year, I add another favorite Disney ornament to my collection- maybe from Disney World, or Disneyland, or the Disney Store, or sometimes from the local CVS. My friends and family have also been sweet enough to buy me ornaments over the year. Hanging my Mickey ornaments is one of my favorite parts of decorating for the holidays. I have always been super careful, but yesterday, I also cracked one of my oldest Mickey Mouse ornaments. Sigh.

Hopefully, I will have a new and improved Disney tree to share soon. I don't know when I will be able to get to the store, Miss Alexa had a mild reaction to her H1N1 shot and has been under the weather this weekend. Poor little monkey.

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Easy Mantle Decor

11.22.2009

I used to drape my 18 ft. garland on my mantle. Until the year that the sides hanging off the mantle were too heavy and the garland crashed to the floor, breaking a majority of my sage green Martha Stewart ornaments. Yoga Gal was not happy that day.

This year we have the added danger of hardwood floors in the living room so I decided to pack up the sage green glass ornaments and go a little more traditional. I had two beautiful fake swags that usually hang on the two lamps beside my front door. To see them in their glory, Go Here. In our new home, we do not have those lamps, so I needed to find a new place for my swags. They were beat up from the outdoors, and the ribbon and berries had faded, so I removed them and just left the greenery. A little fluffing, a little arranging, and voila! Instant mantle garland:

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The stockings are Ballard Designs- on sale for 12.99. Sometimes they put their stockings on sale before Christmas, so check them out if you are looking for new stockings. My husband despises them but I think that they are COOL:

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I just laid them side by side on the mantle and it really gave me the lush look that I was looking for. I am mulling over a couple of sconces above the mantle because I do think it needs height, but I am undecided. So if anyone is looking for any mantle ideas, this was mondo quick and easy.

Today's Parties:

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Off to go pull out ornaments-

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"And Presents Under The Tree...."

11.20.2009

Or in my case, "Presents Sitting in My Foyer......". Not doing a lot of blogging today 'cause I am busy decking the halls and working on these:

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We are headed up the road to Bridge Street in Huntsville tonight to see their giant tree lit for the holiday season. Maybe that will convince my five year old that it is in fact, Christmas (as I have been pulling out decorations this week, Cooper keeps informing me, "But it's not Christmas yet!"). He is too much like his dad for his own good. ;)

Have a Good Weekend!

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Banister Garland is Up!

11.19.2009

I promise you, I was only playing with the garland to see if I needed anymore supplies before hanging it next week! Two hours later and my banister is decorated for Christmas. I can't help it, this is the first time that I have ever lived in a two story house and I am excited!

I am too cheap to buy a fresh garland- plus, I keep my decorations up from the week of Thanksgiving (normally) to Jan 1, and it would look rather brown and ratty by then. I found a fake pine and pine cone garland at Big Lots ($9 for 6 feet)and cleaned out every one they had. When I arrived home, my husband, bless his heart, asked, "Don't we already have a garland?" He was referring to the one which is over twenty years old, inherited from my mom's gift shop, and only 18 feet long. We needed roughly twice that to cover the banister. I had a vision of him hanging this old garland, and when it stopped half way up, brushing his hands off announcing, "Well, it's hung!" Engineers.

Behold:

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Fake garlands by themselves can look kinda plastic-y, so I will share with you my design secret: magnolia leaves from my momma's house. Magnolia leaves will instantly give your garland or centerpiece or table a lush, Christmas look.

If you want to make this magnolia garland, this is what you will need:
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-pine garland, or garland of your choice
-twine
-ribbon (I used a 1.5 in wide black and white plaid from Hancocks)
-Magnolia leaves

I tied the garland to the banister with the twine, then added the leaves (tucking them between the banister and the twine), and then tried to cover all of the twine with the ribbon- tied in a double bow:

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I did not cover every piece though, but the twine is beige and rustic, and it works. Make sure you triple knot (at least) the twine, or it will come loose, which could be disastrous!

The trick is to leave a large piece hanging at the bottom to wrap around the bottom of your banister. Or you can leave it hanging like I saw in a decorating mag. The magnolia leaves will probably need to be replaced at some point during the holidays but that is no big whoop- you can pull them out easily and replace them. And they are F-R-E-E!

ETA: One week later and these leaves are drying out mondo fast. If you use magnolia leaves inside, I just want you to be prepared. I have always used them on my front porch and this is the first time that they have been inside. I think that the heat is drying them out. So expect about a week shelf life before you have to replace them.

Today's Party:


The Shabby Chic Cottage



Thanks for stopping by- Happy Decorating!

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