DIY Christmas Sweater Sleeve Trees: VMMV Sweater Week Part III

diy sweater sleeve trees

Even evergreens need an extra layer in December. These trees are made from the sleeves of old cable-knit sweaters! My favorite, cozy sweater finally shrank, pilled, and stretched in ways that I could no longer really be seen in public with it…however comfy it still was. It still was so wintery though, I cut off the sleeves, stitched up the seam, and made it into cozy, Christmas sweater-sleeve trees for part III of VMMV sweater week. (check out part I and II as well if you haven’t been following along!)forthetreediy sweater sleeve trees

For the tree, you’ll need construction paper, an old cable-knit sweater, and a needle and thread:

  • Start by forming a cone from heavy construction paper.
  • Then, cut the sleeve off of the sweater and make another cut down the length of the sleeve so you have a sort of blunted triangle shape.

diy sweater sleeve tree

  • Wrap the sleeve around the cone. For one cone, the wrists were wider than the arms so these sleeves went wrist first over the cone with the wrists forming the widest part. For a different sweater, the wrist was tighter so this became the tip of the cone. Play around to see how it best fits the cone and then stitch up the back of the sleeve so it fits tightly.
  • Tuck in the edge of the sleeve into the hole formed by the paper cone at the top. If the sleeve doesn’t form a nice border at the base of the tree, tuck that edge under as well and hot-glue to the inside of your cone.

sweater sleeve tree

Embellish! That’s the fun part, I added little pom-poms and a few stars made with sweater scraps. forthebasediy sweater sleeve tree

You could just leave the cones by themselves, but a little rustic base made it looked so whimsical I had to add it. You will need some short, straight sticks, rubber-bands, and floral foam:

  • Gather twigs (I used grapefruit twigs) and tie them together using a rubber-band. Make sure your twigs are fairly straight and mostly all the same length.
  • Push the tight side of the twigs into a piece of floral foam that just fits into the base of the sweater-sleeve cone. The foam needs to fit tightly so it can support the tree!

diy sweater sleeve tree

Push the twigs and foam into the base of the tree. You’ll have to play around with the twigs a bit to get an even base that will stand up straight but once you get it just right, it’s very steady!diy sweater sleeve treechristmas sweater sleeve treesdiy sweater sleeve treediy christmas sweater treessweater sleeve treediy christmas sweater sleeve trees

 I love this project. It’s so cheap, recycles something you’d otherwise probably throw out, and looks so adorable. Each one looks different depending on the sweater and the embellishments you use, and they’re so simple yet make quite the statement if you make a little grove of them…Baby, it may be cold outside, but even your evergreens can be cozy in their sweater-sleeves…Now go get a sweater a get busy!

– <3 A. 

A Homemade K.R.E.A.M. Christmas

vintage christmas

This past weekend, the four ladies who have filled my life with laughter ever since I was six years old gathered for our annual mother-daughter Christmas party. Kim, Reagan, Ellie, myself, and Mckenzie  (K.R.E.A.M.) all decided this year we were going homemade for our celebrations, and we definitely outdid ourselves with creativity. A bread exchange, handmade ornaments, hand-stitched sleep masks, chocolate-ganache and peppermint-creme phyllo cups, and a soup dinner with the ladies I love most made for a pretty fantastic day.

vintage christmas

It’s unspoken, but we all have a sort of (completely friendly) gift-wrapping competition each year. This year was a pretty close one, with the decision to give small gifts, also came the decision to be extra-crafty and everyone came up with the cutest ideas. I decided to make another advent tree for the party to hang all of my mini-gifts on. Instead of numbers though I put the ladies’ initials on each gift. It was so fun to watch them find their initials and unwrap everything, it’s sort of a unique twist on the traditional stocking stuffers:

vintage christmas

vintage christmas

vintage christmas

vintage christmasvintage christmas

christmas desserts

I love my dear friends; they inspire me everyday and confirm that just by being a little creative, you can show someone a whole lot of love. There’s still some time for creating last-minute-homemade-love for whoever you’re celebrating with this year and if you’re feeling inspired, check out “posts like this” for a few ideas. Merry Christmas Eve everyone!

– <3 A. 

Posts Like This: 

anthropologie ornament DIY Christmas pearl-tree
DIY Anthro Ornaments      DIY Pearl Tree

Picture Perfect Poses

vintage christmas

Happy Friday everyone! I can’t believe it’s the last weekend before Christmas. If you’re in denial, sorry for breaking your bubble, but if you’re still stressing about creating the perfect, Norman Rockwell Christmas, read this to calm yourself a bit.

I’m sort of blogging on the go today, I have a train to catch so I’m keeping it simple. I found this lovely link on Olivia Palermo’s blog. I’m not the biggest Olivia Palermo fan, usually because she lives a life sooooo unrelatable to my own that the tips and things on her blog are a little bit out of reach. But her “Glam Tip, Perfect Your Picture Pose” I thought was a pretty appropriate one for just before the holidays. It’s a little vain, I know, but no one wants a perfect family picture EXCEPT for the one person who looks half asleep, askew, or pretty much just all bad. And you most certainly don’t want that person to be you. Check it out! It’s a short list of a few simple things that might just make every photo this year, card-worthy. Happy Weekend!

– <3 A. 

Posts Like This: 

vintage christmas outfit    the bishops wife


Stylin' it White Christmas          Being A Dudley

DIY Anthropologie Inspired Ornaments

anthropologie ornament

Aren’t these little “alpha-branches” cute? I stumbled across them while drooling over Anthropologie’s website. I have a serious case of Anthro-envy, because, more often than not, I really can’t afford to bring a little of Anthro into my world and besides that, my hometown doesn’t boast of a local Anthropologie. When I saw these ornaments on their gift-idea page though, I  immediately knew I had to try them as a DIY.

They were a bit more time-consuming than I thought, but, if you’ve got a little bit of patience they’re such a great, cheap, last-minute gift idea!

DIY Alpha-branches:

diy anthropology christmas ornaments

Supplies:

1.) Yarn: I wanted each ornament to stay in the 
same color family so I cut up long strands of the same color.
Also, cutting off pieces from the whole skein is so much 
easier to deal with when you get to the yarn-wrapping stage. 

2.) Floral wire.

3.) Krazy glue (or you could use hot glue or Elmer's glue instead).

4.) Thick thread.

I already had the thread and the glue so I only spent $2.00 on the yarn skein and $2.00 on the wire. Pretty cheap, yes?

Ok, so the first step is the most complicated:

anthropology diy ornaments

  • The letters are 4.5 inches tall. I decided to double my wire to give the yarn something thicker to wrap around so I pulled out 9 inches of wire and doubled it back on itself to make the longest side of my letter. Then, just work the wire into whatever shaped letter you want.
  • Next, cut out about four or five 1 inch pieces to make the little “branch” marks on the letter. Wrap one end of the “branch” securely around the letter at random intervals (around the ends and joints are the best places). I needed some needle-nose pliers to help me squish the wire down so it wouldn’t slide around.

anthropology inspired ornaments

  • Tie a piece of thread into a loop and then onto the letter BEFORE winding the yarn onto the wire.
  • I kept forgetting this step and had to do a lot of yarn-unwinding so don’t forget!

Step Three:

anthropologie inspired ornaments

Not too bad, right? You just have to work a bit with the yarn to get it to lay right. When you run to the end of a strand, tuck the end under the beginning of the new strand and glue the new strand into place. Don’t worry about matching up colors of new strands, it’s supposed to be a bit rustic:

anthropologie inspired ornaments

anthro inspired diy christmas ornaments anthro inspired diy christmas ornaments anthro inspired diy ornaments anthropologie inspired ornaments

I think they turned out pretty adorable, and for a few dollars, I brought a little piece of Anthropologie home. Hope you’re inspired!

– <3 A. 

Stylin’ it “White Christmas”

white christmas irving berlin

December isn’t December, and Christmas isn’t Christmas without watching “White Christmas.” I’m always envious of how absolutely picture-perfect their holiday is: an adorable inn set in the woods of Vermont, snow, some Irving Berlin tunes, and hot milk and sandwiches eaten by an open fire.

Probably my favorite part of the movie though isn’t really Christmas-ey at all, it’s the Haynes sisters’ chic wardrobe: perfectly tailored and unfailingly classy, their sweater sets, pumps, gowns, and even robes just scream “feminine.”

white christmas haynes sisters

white christmas haynes sisters

Regardless of where you’re spending your Christmas, even if it’s not the ideal, snowy woods of the East Coast, you probably (or, rather, hopefully) have a few holiday parties on your calendar: perhaps a coffee date, a meet the parents night (eek!), the looming office-Christmas-bash, or an evening at the Nutcracker. If you’re fretting about what to wear, channel a little Haynes sisters this year and go for a modern view on some classic, feminine chic:

Downloads2 copy

1. J. Crew “Sara” dress | 2. Modcloth Tracy Reese Orchestral Arrangement Dress | 3. J. Crew “Heidi” gown

Downloads3 copy

4. Modcloth A Lady and a Collar Top | 5. Etched Stretch Bracelet | 6. Scalloped Teardrop Princess Earrings

Downloads4 copy

7. Rosemary Pumps in Wine | 8. Modcloth Back to classic Skirt | 9. Modcloth Lace Your Love Grosgrain Cardigan

Pictures6 copy

10. Modcloth Just Teal a Story Dress | 11. Over the Moon Heels | 12. Modcloth My own Rendition earrings in Mint

Shopping isn’t really one of my favorite things, but with a little vintage musing, it’s so much easier to brave the stores in search of a modern version of the picture-perfect image in my head. I think with a little help from the Haynes sisters, this year’s round of holiday meet-and-greets will be such a breeze, hope you’re inspired!

– <3 A. 

A Christmas Miette

I love when friends suggest blog-ideas, it makes me feel like I’m writing for the people I love instead of just writing for myself. It was one of these dear friends who suggested I use the term “miette.” It’s a french word meaning “crumb” and since recipes are a little piece (crumb) of this blog, I thought how perfect it was!

So, here’s a Christmas crumb for this week’s recipe: Persimmon drop cookies with dark chocolate chunks…yum, yum!

Persimmon Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Persimmon cookies are a rather dark-horse in the holiday recipe list. I’ve discovered that many people have never heard or even tasted them, and I’m always shocked because they’re so delicious and a nice change from the usual flavors of Christmas.

Persimmon Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Persimmon chocolate chunk cookie recipe

1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup persimmon puree
2 and 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. each ground cinnamon and nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 cup chocolate (or raisins) 
1 cup chopped nuts

A note on Puree:

Really the only thing unusual about this recipe is the persimmon puree, otherwise, it’s just like a chocolate-chip cookie. If you’ve never had a persimmon, and are getting a little worried at this point about including a strange fruit into your Christmas-treat-list, don’t be! The flavor, once baked, is extremely mild and oh-so-delicious. There are two common kinds of Persimmons floating about that you might have heard of: the Fuyu and the Hachiya. The ones you need for this recipe are Hachiyas:

Persimmon cookie recipe

If you wrinkled your nose at that picture, sorry! To bake these fruits into yummy little miettes though, you have to wait until they are super soft and ripe. Once they are, just cut out the little top-notch and spoon out the inside of the fruit. I needed about three fairly small persimmons to get a cup:

persimmon cookies

If the persimmon is ripe, the skin pretty much slides right off, but I always put the puree into a glass measuring cup to make sure no little pieces slide off into my cookies. Stir the baking soda into the puree and let it stand for about 5 minutes until it thickens.

  • Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt (I usually add a bit more spice if you like an extra cinnamon/nutmeg flavor but you don’t have to).
  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar; beat in egg, then stir in the persimmons.
  • Add flour mixture to the large bowl until it forms a soft dough, then stir in the nuts and chocolate (or raisins). I used crushed, dark chocolate pieces from a larger bar but you could, of course, just use chocolate chips.

Persimmon cookies

persimmon cookies

  • Place on an ungreased, baking sheet and bake in a preheated, 350° oven for about  12-15 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned and centers spring back. (makes about four dozen)

persimmon cookies

And that’s it! These cookies are the perfect mix of spice, fruit, and of course chocolate, that just screams– Christmas!

holiday dessert recipes

holiday dessert recipe

holiday dessert recipes

I’ll admit, while taking these pictures I couldn’t resist eating far, far too many of them, and even crumbs, once compiled, are quite the meal! Hope you enjoy, I’ll warn you though, they’re irresistible!

– <3 A. 

DIY Pearl Tree

Every year when the Christmas boxes come down from the attic, it’s always fun to see familiar things. It’s like a yearly time-capsule with memories attached to almost every item. I know this bearded-Claus goes here, this garland there, and these candlesticks always behind the couch. As essential as tradition is to the holidays though, it’s also fun to do a little something different. With a new, blue-shade coloring the walls of the entry-way this year, the usual gold and Christmas red just wasn’t cutting it.

So, with piles and piles of leftover pearl garland bought for $2.50 a spool in an after-Christmas-get-everything-out-of-our-store-to-make-room-for-Easter-sale one year, I decided to make a little winter wonderland forest of pearl trees:

DIY pearl trees

DIY Pearl Trees

I love these trees because they really are so simple, surprisingly quick to make, and yet look so glamorous!

DIY Christmas decorations

1.) A base for your tree: I used a super cheap, glass 
candlestick.

2.) Something to wrap around your styrofoam cone 
before attaching the pearl garland: I used seam binding
I found in my great-grandmother's old craft box.
Seam binding is very inexpensive but if you have some 
extra ribbon lying around that would work as well. 

3.) A styrofoam cone: I used two different sizes to make a more 
interesting tablescape when I was finished. 

4.) Pearl garland: the garland is very cheap when bought by the 
spool. And, if pearls really aren't your style, gold or silver
garland would look just as fantastic!

STEPS:

Using a glue-gun, start at the base of the cone and work up, gluing the binding down one strip at a time. If you don’t do this step, you can actually see the styrofoam through the tiny gaps the garland makes when you glue those on so even if it seems a little redundant, this extra priming really does make a difference in the finished product:

DIY Christmas decorations

Next, repeat the gluing process with the pearl garland, starting at the bottom of the cone and working up. When you glue on the strands, make sure you off-set the beads a bit so each new row fits into the gaps created by the bottom row, minimizing any gaps between rows:

DIY Christmas decoration

Finally, even a pearl-tree looks a little sad without a tree topper so I found a sparkly, silver star at Michael’s for just a dollar in their ornament section and pinned it on using some pearl-tipped straight pins:

DIY Christmas pearl-tree

DIY Christmas pearl-trees

I already had the pearl straight-pins. Of course, if you don’t have them or can’t find them at a sewing or craft store, any straight pin or even some wire looped around the bottom of the star and stuck into the styrofoam would work perfectly. Then, just stick the tree onto your base and you’re done!

DIY Christmas pearl-tree

DIY Christmas pearl tree

DIY Vintage Christmas

I think they turned out fabulous, and for about $7.00 per tree, they’re a cheap but chic, modern twist on the traditional green and red Christmas. Another plus is that even after the holidays are over, the sparkle and wintery feel of the pearl-trees could look great even extending through New Years and January.

– <3 A. 

Being A Dudley

Post-Thanksgiving marks a crucial time for most people. It’s the changing of the seasons from a sleepy fall into a full-blown, countdown to Christmas. I can feel it in the air. People are either quivering with excitement to release their energy on decking their halls, or are dangling on the precipice between stress and a breakdown over arriving at this time of year again and beginning to realize what needs to be done to”prepare” for the holidays. Or, throw in yet another factor. Perhaps you can’t even imagine spending a moment on Christmas preparations because life has, once again, accelerated at a ridiculous speed come the last month of the year.

I tend to stand on the side of those quivering with excitement to begin this season. So, this past weekend, even though Thanksgiving came early this year, I couldn’t help myself and decided to spend Friday in my sweats with nothing on my to-do list except officially initiating the house with the first of some Christmas cheer:

christmas mantle

christmas mantle

Christmas mantleAs I was hanging garland, straightening bows, and distributing some sparkle on Friday, I thought about the two approaches most people have to this time of year: Utter dread and disinterest, or unabashed obsession and excitement.

If you’ve never seen it, the 1947 Christmas classic, The Bishop’s Wife pretty much sums up these dichotomies. The film is about a Bishop (David Niven) who is so distracted by his ambitions for raising money to build a new cathedral, he has made his wife (Loretta Young) completely miserable by his selfishness and drive for the latest, greatest things. He never spends time with her or his daughter anymore, believes her small attempts to bring joy into their house childish and wasteful, and begins to treat everyone in his home as slaves.

the bishops wife

Into this disgruntled family, an angel (Cary Grant) enters disguised as a man applying for a secretary job to assist the overworked Bishop. His real intentions become clear though when the angel, or “Dudley,” shows the Bishop’s wife how to be happy again, how to be kind and show love, how to appreciate small things, and how to bring joy back into a home. While the Bishop obsesses about how to impress people so that they will give him money, Dudley seeks out lonely people to cheer with some of the joy of the Christmas season. And, while the Bishop is focused on building a spectacular cathedral, Dudley focuses on rebuilding a home that is crumbling under the burden of supporting the Bishop’s ambitions.

the bishops wife

the bishops wifeAt the conclusion of the film, it’s clear that Dudley’s simple ways have made a far bigger contribution to the Bishop’s parish and family than the Bishop’s overblown attempts at perfection. So, this year, be a Dudley. Even if you don’t have the powers of an angel, you do have the power to make some magic just by keeping it simple.  the bishops wife

Don’t let your ambitions for a perfect Christmas run away with you, or, don’t let the fear of not creating the perfect Christmas paralyze you from enjoying a very, very special time.

nativity

Christmas pearl trees

– <3 A. 

Between Seasons

Gallery

I’ve been posting a lot about food lately, I know. But I simply can’t help it with all the beautiful bounty from Thanksgiving yesterday. Hope everyone had as lovely and as tasty a day as I did. Black Friday doesn’t … Continue reading