Christmas

Christmas Card Reveal

I started looking into newlywed Christmas card ideas back in November, and finally finished them yesterday. Technically, I can’t mail them until Monday, but I cleaned up the Christmas Card craft abyss in my living room, so it feels as though I’m done.

If you recall, I wanted to use leftover wedding vellum to make these cards. All of my inspiration pics are on this post. We ended up only having enough supplies left to make cards for some aunties and members of our bridal party, so I thought I’d share the results with the rest of you here. Think of it as your Christmas e-card :).

Torie & Tristan Christmas Card - www.torieandtristan.com

Note: Addresses shown are not real 🙂

Dec 29 2013 11Torie & Tristan Christmas Card - www.torieandtristan.com2

Up close:

Torie & Tristan Christmas Card - www.torieandtristan.com

Torie & Tristan Christmas Card - www.torieandtristan.com

The best part about these cards is that they ended up rivaling Costco for total card price. Since I already had the envelopes, gold brads, and most of the paper, the costs were mainly postage and printing. I went to Office Max to print the photos on matte photo paper, “Married & Bright” on velum, return address stickers, and text on the back. I bought red A-2 flat cards and a scrapbook tape runner at Paper Source. The most timely aspect was cutting out all of the components.

Side note: I’m all for DIY projects that are actually “D”-able. You will never find a project on this blog that requires intricacy AND mass production. Frankly, I just do not have the attention span, and get beyond upset when the results aren’t as nice as expected.

Since we had a short Christmas season this year with Thanksgiving being so late (it’s the same thing next year, too – booo!), New Year’s Eve is totes the new Dec. 15 for Christmas card delivery. I did get a few cards from friends in the normal time frame, but I’m definitely still receiving them. Here’s to being late and it being A-OKAY!

-t&T

T&T

Deck the Halls

I thought I’d share a few vignettes of the rest of our holiday decor.

Here is one vignette “in the nude,” before we moved in.

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And here she is in holiday best:

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This was the backdrop for our Cocktail and Cookie Party for Two.

Now for some close ups. I was able to use my “O Come Let Us Adore Him” phrase that I felt was too many letters for this project.

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For the picture to the immediate left, I was able to use one of the leftover fat quarters from the pillow project. Look at the charming metropolitan shoppers!

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On the top left, I threw together one of those obligatory wedding anniversary signs. This will be upgraded to some sort of official Etsy version at some point (I personally love this one), but it’s nice that it’s not Christmas-exclusive. I plan to fill the other frames with wedding photos after the holidays.

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The top right frame was another DIY project. Borrowing the H and O from my Christ Is Born bunting, I traced the letters onto glitter paper, velvet, and felt, cut them out and glued them onto a piece of white scrapbook paper.

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The topiaries received a holiday makeover as well. As seen in this post, they came in simple white terracotta pots. I wrapped each in a leftover holiday fat quarter and tied them with festive plaid ribbon.

Facing away from this wall, you can see remnants from Parisian Christmas motif of years past (swag, metallic candles galore, fur and sequin stockings):

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Side note- taking pictures of candles is hard. My cell phone has about the best camera on the market (which was why I bought it). One day, I might just make the move to a “big girl camera,” but in the mean time, bare with me. Any cell phone photography tips are welcomed :).

Up next – our Christmas card debut! And then we can all take a nap until New Year’s.

-t&T

T&T

A Torie & Tristan Tree!

This year, I was really inspired by the worded bunting trend, and wanted to incorporate it into our tree-scape. I just made up both of those terms – “worded bunting” and “tree-scape” … but you still with me?

This Michael’s Dream Tree from eighteen25 is one example of worded bunting:

Michael's Dream Tree

Here’s another:

Tree Inspiration 1

And Pottery Barn:

Pottery Barn

As I mentioned earlier, I really wanted to spice up my Christmas decor with some red this year; a tree sign like the above being one of the simple DIY ways to accomplish this. Since you need to buy each letter separately ($1-$2 each), I originally was going to do “FA LA LA”  as the words, since less letters equals less $$. But, I wasn’t sure how well that would lay spacially across the tree.

Since Tristan and I are Christians and my shopping/gift-obsessed self can always use a reminder of the Reason For The Season, I thought something Christ-y would be ideal. “O Come Let Us Adore Him” would’ve cost a small fortune in wooden letters, so I ultimately went for the abbreviated “Christ Is Born”:

Tree

Torie & Tristan's Tree

Here’s a close up. The red is a bit brighter and more coral in person, to match the new pillows on the couch.

Torie & Tristan's Tree

For this project, I got the whole family involved. Tristan and I painted two coats on the back and front of each letter, then I hot glued each letter to twine, leaving about a foot on each end of extra twine. I have CHRIST on one strand; IS BORN on the other. It was actually easier than I thought it’d be to affix the sign to the tree; I just tied the extra twine to a branch.The total project cost $20, not including the glittery bow ornaments on each end.

I give this worded tree trend a shelf life of one more year, after which time I will need to find something else to do with the sign. I think hanging the bunting on a mantle, table or piano will be quite charming. Some peeps are already on board:

Etsy:

Tree Inspiration 5

Pottery Barn via Glitter Guide:

Tree Inspiration 4

What do you think of this trend? What holiday trends were you crushing on this year?

I’ll share the rest of our decor in the next post; I’m thisclose to finishing our inaugural Christmas cards as well.

Happy Christmas Week!

-t&T

T&T

Christmas Cocktail & Cookie Party for Two!

Since August, I’ve dreamed of this post. I was glancing through my copy of Sips & Apps by Kathy Casey and came across the Douglas Fir Sparkletini, which uses a Douglas Fir Branch-infused gin. I thought, how darling would it be if I made the gin with a branch from my Christmas tree and then drank the cocktail whilst decorating the tree?!

A few weeks ago, we went and got our tree, and then the REAL work started.

Torie and Tristan to Tree Farm!

I pruned off a branch and some garnish twigs and gave them a rinse in some Trader Joe’s produce wash. You know… so as not to contaminate the hard alcohol with anything bad for my body…

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After they’d dried off a bit, the longest branch went into the gin bottle for 24 hours – festive, no?

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As it turned out, my gin got extra flavor infusion, since I wasn’t able to decorate my tree for a full week after purchasing it… long story. I was REAL ready for that cocktail when we finally had everything we needed for the in one place. #storageunitjoys

I gathered the ingredients, and per usual, I made it as complicated as possible for myself by wanting to make homemade simple syrup and lemon sour.

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I had also purchased some adorbs cookie cutters at an event earlier this winter, and at 76 cents each, they were right in my price range:

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Sooo “on brand” … how could I not?!

I didn’t exactly want to make homemade cookies, but did want a little nosh to accompany our cocktails. I purchased a Pillsbury break-and-bake package and attempted to meld the scraps together and roll it into another dough ball to try out my new cookie cutters. Not the worst idea, however my shapes kind of blurred in the baking process :(.

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Whatevs! I believe the pros would pipe the edges with icing and then flood the center to get the clean, sharp edge effect. And, they’d probably have a less ghetto way of baking than my strategy :).

Onward!

I doubled the cocktail recipe and it was exactly enough for two shooters and two small glasses. Oh yeah, and I lost the garnish sprigs I had set aside a week before, but those would’ve been a fun touch, or perhaps some sugared cranberries.

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Bon appetit and cheers!

Here are the recipes:

Douglas Fir Sparkletini

makes one drink

  • 1 5-6 inch sprig of fresh-picked Douglas fir branch; rinsed
  • 1 750ML bottle gin (note: this bottle would make 16 drinks)
  • 1-1/2 oz. Douglas Fir Infused Gin
  • 3/4 oz. white cranberry juice
  • 1-1/2 oz. Fresh Lemon Sour
  • Splash of brut Champagne or dry sparkling wine (but let’s be real, I bought a huge bottle and drank the leftovers!)
  • Tiny sprig of Douglas fir or fresh/frozen cranberry for garnish

To make the infused gin, put the rinsed fir branch in the gin bottle and cap; remove branch after 24 hours. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Measure in the infused gin, cranberry juice, and lemon sour.  Cap and shake vigorously. Strain into a martini glass and top with a splash of Champagne. Garnish with a fir sprig and float a cranberry in the drink.

Fresh Lemon Sour

  • 1 c. fresh lemon juice (this was about 6 lemons)
  • 1 cup Simple Syrup

In a medium pitcher, combine ingredients. Cover and keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Simple Syrup

  • 2 c. water
  • 2 c. sugar

Mix the water and sugar together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Let boil 1 minute, them immediately remove from the heat. Let cool to room temperature before using. Store in a clean glass bottle or container at room temperature for up to two weeks, or refrigerated up to three months.

Stay tuned for my next post for our TREE REVEAL! 🙂

-t&T

T&T

 

 

 

A Christmas Couch – 2 Ways

One of the ways I’m spicing up my Christmas decor this year is by adding a bold punch o’ red. Pillows are an easy way to make a big impact. Easy to make; plus, I have an obsession with buying fat quarters of fabric. Just ask my mom – during college, I amassed a collection of 12 different (clashing) patterned fat quarters, and one summer, she turned them into six pillows which I proudly displayed on my XL twin bed that fall.

Before fabric shopping, I needed to research and see what type of Christmas pillow look was speaking to me. Click on the image for the source.

I definitely need to have something Moroccan Wedding Blanket in my life at some point:

Pillow Inspiration 10

But I’d settle for cable knit:

Inspiration 5

I’m almost sick of pillows with words on them, but these are exceptions:

Pillow Inspiration 11

Pillow Inspiration 12

I love plaid, and the coziness of these textures are definitely appealing:

Inspiration 7 Inspiration 8

And Parisian, always:

Inspiration 6

I was most inspired by these retro Christmas pillows from Etsy (speaking of reverting back to childhood):

Pillow Inspiration 1

Pillow Inspiration 2

Pillow Inspiration 3

Pillow Inspiration 4

Last week, I initiated my hunt. I unfortunately couldn’t find ice skating children (and I went five different places), but I eventually settled on a few spunky prints with red:

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I decided to make two pillows with two prints, one on each side, so I could create two different looks.

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Here is LOOK ONE:

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Here is LOOK TWO (note the plaid pillow in the middle – I took a Forever 21 scarf and safety pinned it around an existing pillow. The plaids don’t line up, but whatevs. “Good enough.”)

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I settled on the first look, but if I get sick of it in one week… Hey! I have options (well, at least one other option). I also have options with the 4 other fat quarters I bought.

Up next: A Christmas Cookie & Cocktail Party for Two!

-t&T

Top 5 Newlywed Ornament Ideas

I’m a sucker for “limited time only” crafts. Give me a deadline that will require an action plan spreadsheet and major stress when that plan deviates,  and I’m IN! I can’t seem to muster up the motivation to re-vamp my dresser, despite already determining the colors and hardware required for the end result, and the fact that I’d get to enjoy the new version 365 days a year.

No, instead I obsessively figure out my Christmas decor and all of the ways I can introduce the color red to my normally Parisian palette of metallics, white and ivory… and then take it all down three weeks later. Plus, the deadline of “this is the only year I’ll be able to do all things newlywed,” including make a newlywed ornament, and start all of the traditions that our future children will remember for the restoftheirliiiiiiiiiiiiivessjhdfkhsf!!! I get a little wound up. My poor husband.

So after major Christmas decorating stress the last two weeks, I’ve worn myself out. I’ve now decided that this is the Christmas of “good enough.” Nothing is perfect. But I got it all done and am happy with the results. I spent two hours researching the following newlywed ornament inspiration back in November, then spent about five minutes on the actual execution, which you’ll see at the bottom (it’s “good enough”):

Click on the image for source.

I love the hammered metal/engraved look, and cute wording, no?

Cute Phrasing

Spoon

Cute style

I am not wild about these fonts, but I am interested in DIY etched glass techniques:

Different fonts etched on glass

It looks like they used their save the date on this one … nice matching:

Different style

I love the wrapped look using a wedding invitation (and glitter, obvs), and ultimately went this direction:

Yay Glitter

Wrapped style 2

I think this one is just darling. I didn’t read the instructions, but a mini embroidery hoop would work well:

Monogram!

Here’s my end result. I kid you not – 5 minutes. I took one invitation and cut it into strips, put each slip writing side out in a clear ornament, dumped in some glitter and tied some bows. Then, according to Christmas Murphy’s Law, it took me a week to find my black number stickers. But once I found them, applying the 2013 took 30 seconds.

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New Ornament

Hope this post gave you some ideas for your newlywed ornament, or perhaps Baby’s First Ornament, or a gift idea!

-t&T

T&T

I’m Dreaming of a Red Christmas

It’s bizarre. Ever since I got married, it’s as if I proved to myself once and for all that I am a grown up, and now my interests and aesthetic are free to become childish once again.

For instance, on my honeymoon while laying on the beach, all I wanted was a Saved By the Bell marathon session; the season where they work at a resort during summer vacation… Oh, the bliss of high school! I wanted Tristan to watch the marathon with me, of course.

During UW Husky season this fall, I would try to guess which fans were still students, and fantasize about what they were doing after the game – is there some sort of mixer? Do you have a cute little final you’re stressed out about? YOUR LIFE IS SO EASY. I miss those days (in that moment, I did, anyway).

Now a few months later, I’ve decided sacrifice my grown-up, candle-centric muted Parisian Christmas decor palette and add some fun red! Just last year, I swore off red forever, or something dramatic like that. Here’s what my last year’s decor looked like (sorry, a bit blurry):

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Old Decor 3

Old Decor 4

Old Decor 5

Old Decor 6

Old Decor 7

Old Decor

As I type this, an episode of Sex and The City is on, and Samantha just goes, “Women with candles have replaced women with cats.” HA! That was me. But I still have a candle addiction so I don’t think it was just single person behavior. Anyways. Back to RED.

I’m thinking that the best way to integrate a new color without breaking the bank (a real possibility) is to do red Christmas pillows, add a few (red) candles, replace some of the wall art with some DIY red art, and make a red word sign for the tree – you know, those ones that say Tis The Season or something jolly.

Won’t you join me as I perk up our apartment with some RED this Christmas?

-t&T

T&T

From the Island to the Stadium to the Tree Farm!

Here are some shots from our whirlwind 4-day weekend.

 

Headed to Camano Island, Wash. on Wednesday evening. The tradition is to eat at the Mexican restaurant the night before Thanksgiving. The next morning, my cousin Danielle made everyone lefse, a Norwegian flatbread, which she buttered and cinnamon-sugared.

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After lefse and some pumpkin liqueur coffee, I left Tristan on a chair watching football and went on a hike with my mother-in-law and aunt around Camas Beach. It was beautiful!

 

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We stopped at the most charming bed and breakfast on the way back to search for my father-in-law rumored to be enjoying a bloody mary at the bar.

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After we got back, I saw that Tristan was exactly where I left him. So I took his lead and parked myself in front of the fire with a magazine and fresh cup of coffee.

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Before we left for the hike, Danielle and I had collaborated on Ina Garten’s mulled wine recipe. I know I married into the right family because they just so happened to have vintage gold-embellished mugs AND festive glass stir sticks on hand. It was the perfect stress reliever as I made …

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… my first-ever stuffing! Talk about grown up. Last year I brought a salad.

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On the table it went:

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After dinner and a power nap, some of the gal cousins and I went into the hot tub, and decided to paint our nails and watch a Christmas movie. When there’s teenagers involved, the color quota goes up by like, one million:

 

 

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Lots and lots of glitter. Stay tuned for my DIY Manicure #3 post with the sparkly results.

The next morning, we left the island bright and early to head to the annual Apple Cup between University of Washington and Washington State University back at Husky Stadium in Seattle.

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Here’s our stadium’s view. As I mentioned in my last post, we are never far from water and/or boats. When he was a kid, Tristan’s dad used to bring him out on their boat  next to the stadium and they’d listen to the game on the radio.

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The next morning, we met some friends at Trinity Tree Farm, where we picked out (and chopped down) our very first tree as husband and wife.

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Ta Da!

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We will be decorating the tree this upcoming weekend because I only grabbed one of my Christmas boxes from storage, and apparently it wasn’t the one with the ornaments. So, I can’t get very far without them!

Does anyone else feel majorly behind already since Thanksgiving was so late this year!? I’m trying to be so festive but there’s NO TIME!

-t&T

Monogram

 

Torie’s Fave FREE Things

Typewriter

Image from This Is Glamorous

Every Christmas, I come up with a list of my Favorite Things, clearly inspired by Oprah. I give different combinations of these gifts to my friends and family for Christmas. Since I was busy this week “building content” for the blog (AKA too busy to blog!), I wanted to post a Thanksgiving-inspired list of my favorite FREE things – experiences and items that are free which I’m thankful for.

1. Looking at photo vignettes including some combination of the following: coffee in a mug, wine in a glass, book or magazine, laptop, a cozy couch, soft blanket, roaring fire. Bonus points if a Parisian dessert is featured. I think it just transports me into the relaxing moment, wherever I am. My favorite blogs that frequently include these pictures are The Mannequin and Classy in the City. Instagram usually has something, in particular, follow Paris In Four Months (also has a blog).

2. The smell of salt water. As a Seattle native, I grew up going on boats and have lived within walking distance of a marina for the last several years. It just smells so fresh and so clean clean!

3. When the house smells good. I am partial to amber/spice/fig type scents, but this time of year, I’m all about the pine needle smell and orange cinnamon. I am currently using an amazing Glade plugin that makes the house smell of Christmas trees, though ironically called Fall Walk or something like that (can’t find a link – bum bums!). I am eager to try this new DIY Clementine Candle as well. I also love the way dinner in the oven makes the house smell – doesn’t necessarily have to be a candle involved.

4. Walking through Watson Kennedy. See entire blog post devoted to this subject here. I’m sure you all have some destination that just tickles your creative fancy.

5. Google Image baby animals. Do it. It’s a great 3 p.m. mental break at work – I do this at least twice a week.

6. Re-purposing old furniture or doing crafts using supplies I already have. A simple example of this would be taking an old picture frame, painting it another color, and putting my new wedding pictures in it.

7. Sleeping in and waking up to cool, crisp air. So often (especially now that I permanently share a bed), the air ends up a bit… stuffy. I love cracking the window just a tad so that my face feels refreshed the rest of me is engulfed in layers of fuzzy blankets and down, especially if it’s past 9 a.m.

8. When someone brings in treats to work, or if there’s lunch leftovers from a meeting.

9. Laying out on the beach.

10. Free sites online. Laughs at BuzzFeed, Some Ecards and Happy Place. Many new artists found through Pandora. And DUH – Pinterest  (please-stay-free-please-stay-free!).

11. Making Lists. Didja see that coming?!

I started building this list when I did a women’s group study on One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp. The premise is that you write down at least one thing you are thankful for each day – “embrace and chronicle everyday blessings” – so that you can find moments of joy in the midst of our chaotic lives. At times it got a little artsy fartsy for me — sorry, I’m just not going to get that excited about wind whistling through a mountain top accompanied by the smell of fresh moss (this is an example I made up, but perhaps you get the idea). The book comes with a free app where you can record your own moments of joy, and once those moments are your own versus reading the author’s, it becomes a lot more fun.

What are your favorite free things? Have you read anything that inspired you to be grateful?

-t&T

 

6 Flawless Christmas Exteriors

There’s something about those homes in iconic holiday movies — Christmas Vacation, Home Alone — that have me convinced that Christmas decor is only “done right” if it’s on a colonial home on Wisteria Lane, with tons of snow (jealous!). This of course is not reality…but like, isn’t it?!

COME ON:

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Here’s the Home Alone one:

Top 5 Flawless Christmas Entrances - 6

Love the matching wreaths, 1-2-3!

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Fun lanterns, no?

Top 5 Flawless Christmas Entrances - 1

I’m ALWAYS down for some topiary action, but I think even the neutral-to-mild topiary fan would find this version using gift boxes charming:

Top 5 Flawless Christmas Entrances - 2

I love “mossy” monograms! Totes on my DIY list for the front door.

Top 5 Flawless Christmas Entrances - 3

Aside from the architecture and snow, I’m gauging that swag, wreaths, and topiaries must equal “flawless” in my book, as those are the common features amongst most of these examples. Oh well… fact is fact!

Side note — I think it’s a blessing that I don’t have a front porch to obsess over because I just don’t think my mind has room to obsess over one more thing. Several times a week I post on this blog things I’m obsessing over and it’s NOT just a figure of speech. This newlywed Christmas business is exhausting!

What are some of the best Christmas exteriors you’ve seen? I know, tall order, as clearly I’ve captured them all. Just kidding! 🙂 I didn’t really explore the holiday lights realm. That might be an interesting research project! See? This is how the obsessing starts… some mild Google image-ing and a “quick” Pinterest search and before you know it, obsession!

Images from Wonderful Palmetto Life, Active Rain, The Gifts of Life, Style State, Decoration for Life, A View Along the Way

-t&T

Monogram