Our Home for the Holidays, 2014

Our Home for the Holidays | Christmas 2014 | Striped Red & White Knitted Stockings | PepperDesignBlog.com

We hosted a little Christmas party this weekend and I took advantage of the opportunity to take a few photos while our house was in a festive (and clean!) state. It turned out to be such a lovely night – cranberry & lavender mocktails & cocktails were served, Ella Fitzgerald was playing in the background, and a seriously awesome white elephant exchange was had. I almost ended up with a belly dancing kit (stolen from the pregnant lady though).

First a little tour of our home. Soon I hope to post a few shots from the party, too. Plus snippets of the tablescape that we prepped for food and drinks. This post is brought to you by Shutterfly & Tiny Prints with whom I partnered for several of the ideas I’m sharing today :). PS those striped red and white stockings above? I made those guys this year (thanks to several long car trips and my knitting needles). I’m not sure it’s a tutorial-worthy project because I really pieced them together, but they make me so incredibly happy every time I look at them. Hoping to finish the 3rd one before Christmas day!

Our Home for the Holidays | Christmas 2014 | Pink, Gold & Eucalyptus Mantel | PepperDesignBlog.com

I had the most fun I’ve ever had decorating this year because I had the BEST little helper. Liv was so into Christmas decorations and every night following Thanksgiving asked eagerly what we could ‘decorate’ that evening. I’m on to pouf and cranberry garland to keep her little active and creative hands busy.

To mix things up just a little bit, I added eucalyptus leaves (faux from West Elm from the summer) to our traditional pine garland strands (originally from Ikea). I love, love eucalyptus and have kept a dried bunch of it on our buffet for as long as I can remember. The faux version looks so very real and doesn’t fall apart when brittle and dry. Bonus.

Our Home for the Holidays | Christmas 2014 | Pink, Gold & Eucalyptus Mantel | PepperDesignBlog.com

For me, garland + twinkle lights is the simplest, most perfect way to create a cozy Christmas atmosphere. So that combination went everywhere. The gold candle diy project can be found here and the gold glitter trees were found at Jo-ann’s.

For the couch and Liv’s little rocker (see top photo above), two Christmas pillows (one handmade ‘merry’ pillow made by me and one customized ‘joy’ pillow from Shutterfly). A new herringbone throw blanket (with a monogram) helps to create that cozy, just-curl-up-and-watch-a-movie corner on the sectional.

Our Home for the Holidays | Christmas 2014 | PepperDesignBlog.com

You can see the start of the party buffet along the back there (with one of my little helpers).

Another favorite for me is our oversized paper star ornaments (from World Market or Pier 1 so long ago) that we hang in our dining room. I try to fill them with Christmas lights so that they light up the space in their own way.

Our Home for the Holidays | Christmas 2014 | Giant Paper Star Ornaments | PepperDesignBlog.com

A few more pics of the dining room table before appetizers were added (the party was an appetizer and dessert potluck so with the exception of a few hors d’oveurves,  I just made room for all of the yummy food that friends brought over).

Our Home for the Holidays | Christmas 2014 | Miniature Tree Party Tablescape | PepperDesignBlog.com

Our Home for the Holidays | Christmas 2014 | Tiny Tree Scape | PepperDesignBlog.com

Oh, those miniature trees!

Our Home for the Holidays | Christmas 2014 | Tiny Tree Scape | PepperDesignBlog.com

Our nativity scene is usually nestled into the garland on our buffet (we have an adorable kid-friendly set that my friend, Liv’s godmother, made for her last year that she plays with regularly) but for party prep I needed a bit more space for food. DIY gold rimmed marble tile cheese plate featured here.

I made the table runner from a white Ikea runner and spray painted a line (using painter’s tape) down the center. Attempting to mimic this guy.

Our Home for the Holidays | Christmas 2014 | Miniature Tree Party Tablescape | PepperDesignBlog.com

Liv covered our Christmas tree with every plastic ornament we own (one day we’ll be able to upgrade, but for now the fewer the shards of ornament in the feet the better :)). Our tree was covered in head to toe with red, green, blue gold, pink… the rainbow.

Our Home for the Holidays | Christmas 2014 | Hand Dipped Ornaments | PepperDesignBlog.com

The one exception to that plastic-only rule were a few dipped ornaments that Liv and I painted together (from Michaels and on sale for $1/each).

Our Home for the Holidays | Christmas 2014 | Hand Dipped Ornaments | PepperDesignBlog.com

I usually stock up on wrapping paper early in the season. I love white, gold, shimmery… and paired that this year with TinyPrint’s custom paper (I chose the Perfect Montage layout for each of my designs – the first a black and white version and the second a mix of the girls playing at the beach during our Maui trip. This one is sentimental for so many reasons and is the perfect wrapping for a photo book of the same topic as a gift for my mom. The black and white I love so much because it has played double duty as a coloring book for Liv to customize her wrapped presents, which was my original thinking when desaturating the photos.)

Our Home for the Holidays | Christmas 2014 | Gold Wrapping Paper, Shutterfly Custom Wrapping Paper | PepperDesignBlog.com

Our Home for the Holidays | Christmas 2014 | Gold Wrapping Paper, Shutterfly Custom Wrapping Paper | PepperDesignBlog.com

Our Home for the Holidays | Christmas 2014 | Shutterfly Custom Wrapping Paper for Coloring | PepperDesignBlog.com

The photo book is one of my favorite presents this year. I think that personalized gifts are always amazing and always so treasured. I was really happy to find a bit of time to put together a special book that documented our special family adventure (especially of the girls).

I chose the ‘Everyday Sentiments’ (usually I always opt for blank and start each book from scratch) and was so happy with the simple embellishments that that design offered. They’re perfect for this book. ‘Modern White’ is also a great template.

Our Home for the Holidays | Christmas 2014 | Shutterfly Photo Book | PepperDesignBlog.com

A few snapshots of the templates you can play with for this book – I dropped the opacity using the Shutterfly tools for the cover and I love that it looks a bit filtered.

Our Home for the Holidays | Christmas 2014 | Shutterfly Photo Book | PepperDesignBlog.com

Our Home for the Holidays | Christmas 2014 | Shutterfly Photo Book | PepperDesignBlog.com

In the kitchen sits the new olive branch wreath.

DIY Olive Branch Wreath | PepperDesignBlog.com

DIY Olive Branch Wreath | PepperDesignBlog.com

We also moved the fiddle leaf fig to the far corner of the kitchen and it’s a great spot – might have to buy a second for this space permanently. I lined it with a battery operated set of twinkle lights (there’s no plug nearby).

Here’s Liv hard at work painting more wooden ornaments – the perfect wrapped present topper!

Our Home for the Holidays | Christmas 2014 | Liv Painting Ornaments | PepperDesignBlog.com

Outside, keeping it simple with just a gold, brass and pink bulb covered wreath for behind the antlers above our fireplace.

Our Home for the Holidays | Christmas 2014 | PepperDesignBlog.com

A simple feather wreath to brighten up the bathroom:

Our Home for the Holidays | Christmas 2014 | Striped Knitted Stockings | PepperDesignBlog.com

I had this adorable set of photos of the girls with the lights from the tree before we strung all of them up and created Thank You cards with a TinyPrints template (Divinely Dotted in Raspberry). Liv has already begun filling out a few to her grandparents, aunts, uncles for thoughtful gifts sent these last few weeks (with requests for opening early – Christmas PJs and what not :)).

Shutterfly Thank You Cards | PepperDesignBlog.com

That’s a shot of the cover of the folded thank you notecard above.

There’s our Christmas home tour this year! Hope you are having a very merry last few days before Christmas. We are feeling very blessed over here.

PS what to do with all of those pretty holiday cards post-Christmas, a great felt Christmas gift for kids, our home for the holidays in 2010 (feels so different to me – but might look awfully similar to everyone else!)

This post was sponsored by Shutterfly and Tiny Prints, thank you for letting me share about the brands that support this site :).

A DIY Wooden Dollhouse

Handmade Wooden Dollhouse | PepperDesignBlog.com

Project dollhouse is complete! I’ve been looking forward to creating a dollhouse for the girls for a while now and this Christmas felt like the right time to put that in motion. Liv is just the right age to play house, and Taylor wants to do anything that her big sis does :). The problem with most dollhouses that you can purchase pre made is that they are so big. We don’t really have a designated play room and the girls’ room doesn’t have much free space to store something extra large.

A while back I was wandering a Madewell shop and they had these adorable little house displays for some of their accessories. The houses sparked an idea and I knew immediately how I could build something size appropriate for the girls that also might be a pretty manageable task. Project miniature dollhouse was born!

Handmade Wooden Dollhouse | PepperDesignBlog.com

These two little houses are extra awesome because the little one can be nestled into the bigger one for storage.

Handmade Wooden Dollhouse | PepperDesignBlog.com

Handmade Wooden Dollhouse | PepperDesignBlog.com

Perfect for a small space! The middle floor (shelf) removes from the larger house to stack the houses for tucking away or travel.

What’s also great about a two part design? Liv can play with one and Taylor with the other when they each need their own space (sometimes it can be frustrating for an almost-four-year-old to share with an 18-month-old).

Handmade Wooden Dollhouse | PepperDesignBlog.com

The houses themselves aren’t super big, the largest is about 18″ tall by 11″ wide and the smaller is roughly 16″ by 11″.

Rather than worry about creating my own dollhouse furniture, I decided that Santa might help the girls furnish the house a bit by delivering a sweet little bedroom and living room set from Hape (along with a family of dolls). Santa and I are in cahoots this year ;). I’m thinking that we can eventually add a kitchen or nursery (or even a little bathroom!) in the future for Liv’s birthday or another special day.

Handmade Wooden Dollhouse | PepperDesignBlog.com

Handmade Wooden Dollhouse | PepperDesignBlog.com

Handmade Wooden Dollhouse | PepperDesignBlog.com

Let’s talk about building these guys for a moment. I wish I could take the credit for these adorable houses but I have to hand it all to my very talented neighbor (the one that built the beautiful built-ins for the girls’ room) who helped me make the cuts and ended up assembling the houses (as a surprise!) as well.

I sought some advice from my neighbor – who is an expert in all things woodworking – on the cuts for the house (from a list of measurements that I had drawn up) and on what kind of wood to use. I was also hoping to steal some time with his miter saw. He recommended 1/2″ birch drawer stock (it is already glossy and sanded making it slightly more expensive but the edges and finish are perfect) and helped to calculate the angles for the pitched roof (which aren’t in my measurements because it was sort of a trial and error process – the top is probably close to over 100 degrees and the point where the walls meet the roof maybe 160).

Handmade Wooden Dollhouse | PepperDesignBlog.com

Handmade Wooden Dollhouse | PepperDesignBlog.com

My measurements looked something like this:

Handmade Wooden Dollhouse | PepperDesignBlog.com Handmade Wooden Dollhouse | PepperDesignBlog.com

I started with 11 1/4″ drawer stock boards (because they came in that width without any cuts) that were then cut to length with a table saw. As a bonus, my neighbor also routed the bottom and middle shelves into place, something that I wouldn’t have thought to do had I assembled these guys myself. They’re so clean and pretty! Assembly included wood glue and brad nails (with exception of the removable shelf/floor in the larger house).

Handmade Wooden Dollhouse | PepperDesignBlog.com

The backing of the houses is a thin plywood cut to size. To make them a bit prettier, I covered the top of one and bottom of another in wallpaper samples from wallpapering the girls’ room. I attempted wallpapering (following this method) the paper to the plywood but it didn’t want to stick, so I turned to my trusty friend:

Handmade Wooden Dollhouse | PepperDesignBlog.com

Then using paint samples from my stash, I painted the opposite ends of the backing. I can’t believe I had all of these supplies on hand, it worked out perfectly.

Handmade Wooden Dollhouse | PepperDesignBlog.com

Finished! They’re just as I pictured them and I can’t wait to share them with the girls in a week :).

Handmade Wooden Dollhouse | PepperDesignBlog.com

I had so many wonderful handmade gift ideas this year in the works, some of which have worked themselves out (yay!), many of which haven’t (so goes life but still hate when that happens…), this is the one big project that I’m so happy is complete! I couldn’t be happier with the new dollhouse!

PS the play kitchen (loved this one, too) for Liv two years ago and the set of art boards for her last year for Christmas (though I was still – shhhhh – finishing them up this summer :)).

A (Happily) Simple Olive Branch Wreath

DIY Olive Branch Wreath | PepperDesignBlog.com

This is probably the simplest project in the book but it’s my first go at using a wire wreath form so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.

Win for the home team! I was so surprised and happy with how quickly this wreath came together that I might ditch all of the artificial wreaths we have around the house and replace them with live greenery next year. For now, this guy is making our kitchen feel just a bit merrier.

DIY Olive Branch Wreath | PepperDesignBlog.com

I picked up a wire wreath from Joann’s a long while back (they’re only $2-3 each) and had it in my Christmas stash. I think that what made this project so easy is that it wasn’t just a wire form but actually has the wire ‘claws’ built in (here’s a similar one). My understanding is that simpler wire forms require floral wire as well (sort of like this technique but on a more heavy duty scale).

DIY Olive Branch Wreath | PepperDesignBlog.com

Kevin was pruning our olive trees and it was the prime opportunity to collect fresh branches. Moving in the same counter clockwise direction, I just began to wrap. And wrap. And wrap. And wrap.

DIY Olive Branch Wreath | PepperDesignBlog.com

I was going for something a little crazy.

DIY Olive Branch Wreath | PepperDesignBlog.com

Then I stole a few ornaments from the Christmas tree and strung them together on a strand of floral wire. I used wire hooks (the type you use to hang ornaments on the Christmas tree) to position them in a little bouquet at the bottom right of the wreath. It was sort of a trial & error process of wiring, stepping back to hmmm about it a bit, wiring, stepping back.

DIY Olive Branch Wreath | PepperDesignBlog.com

DIY Olive Branch Wreath | PepperDesignBlog.com

DIY Olive Branch Wreath | PepperDesignBlog.com

The old frame for the chalkboard in the kitchen eventually found its demise… I’m working on another one right now but it’s on the back burner this holiday season.

My wreath is making up for the pretty!

DIY Olive Branch Wreath | PepperDesignBlog.com

love when projects work themselves out this way and end up being much easier and quicker than you’re expecting. Our house is pretty much done in the decorating department, I’ll pull together some photos very soon. Happy nine-days-till-Christmas :).

Lavender wreaths, our Christmas cards this year and a bigger look at this kitchen chalkboard/breakfast table nook area.

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