Simple Gift Wrapping & Afternoon Tea

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It’s that time of year again; time for family, shopping, busyness, and lots and lots of sweets! It’s a time of year that is indicative of happiness and merriment, but often times leaves people feeling conflicted. Some of us have lost loved ones, have family that is far away, or maybe there’s something that just makes Christmas too painful. Busyness, it seems, has become our answer for the loneliness. Maybe these are just words from a writer who likes to think (or who would prefer not to think), but Christmas makes me more contemplative than usual. Whatever it is this season, in the midst of all the busyness, don’t be afraid to take some time to be introspective and get with God.

Wrapping presents allows me to slow down and appreciate the last remaining days until Christmas. This time I paired it with a hot cup of black tea for a moment that was cozy and rustic. Although there’s nothing wrong with buying loud and shiny wrapping paper and bows from the store, it’s just not my style. I use brown craft paper with some twine or ribbon, then I stick in a piece of foraged greens and a tag to finish it off. It’s a simple look but it goes a long way – people who receive your gifts will appreciate the personalized touch. There’s no hard and fast rule to this; so feel free to play around with it and see what you like!

If you’re looking for ideas for gift tags, you could buy some from the store, but there are so many free printables available online! I used these black and gold tags and though I found them too late, I also like these handwritten tags. Simply click on the link to download, print out on card stock paper, and cut out using the outline.

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I encourage you to slow down when you wrap this year, if you can. Have a hot cup of tea or listen to Christmas music while you work. Lock the door to your bedroom if you need to shut the kids out. You’re going to have to take the time to wrap anyway, why not enjoy it? At the end of the day nothing else matters than the time we spend with friends and loved ones, and the birth of our savior. So I like to keep things simple – especially when it comes to gift wrapping. Whatever your style is, go for it and most importantly anticipate each day until Christmas!

Cheers!

Adele

Made from Scratch | Make Your Own Holiday Wreath

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Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you are all prepared for today’s festivities! There’s nothing more warm or comforting than spending quality time with the people we love. Even though I love Thanksgiving, I’m really looking forward to Christmas! And if there’s one thing I despise most during the Christmas season, it’s tacky and fake decorations. There is so much beauty in the natural world and it is just waiting to be discovered. You could pay around $20 for a pre-made wreath that doesn’t look that great anyway, or a couple bucks for a wreath you can make yourself. All you need is a wire or wooden frame, some scissors, and twine. Most of all you need some greenery. Real pine is free and it’s beautiful. The only downside is the needles fall off like crazy after a while. So, if you want your wreath to last until next season, you can do fake pine. You’ll still save money by doing it yourself.

Other than saving money, why would anyone want to make their own wreath? Nobody has time for that. Just go to the store and buy one, right? Well, it’s all about being more connected to our surroundings and appreciating what goes into making a product. Convenience has become our alma mater in the United States, particularly. The truth is someone somewhere had to take the time to make that wreath. And we take their handiwork for granted as we snatch up that product before someone else has the chance to get it. Although I don’t make everything myself, I do try as much as possible to take the load off others.

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The beauty of wreath making is the possibilities of how you want it to look are truly endless! A few weeks ago, I made a simple foraged pine wreath with some dried flowers I stuck in for embellishment. But I knew I wanted to expand on that. This time I did an off-set wreath with blue spruce and holly berries. I also did a wreath with Italian Ruscus I had leftover from my gathering. The only greenery that cost me anything was the Italian Ruscus; everything else was foraged.

Something else kinda cool is hydrangea wreaths. The bunches of hydrangea create a lush and beautiful wreath. Since hydrangea can range from brown to green to pink in color, you may want to spray paint it to give it an even color. Or, you can let it keep its natural color. After that, you can decorate with pine cones or berries if you’d like.

And once you start doing wreaths, you’ll want to do other natural decor too like garlands and swags, and maybe a real Christmas tree instead of a fake one (trust me, that’s all on my list for this season).

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My main point out of all of this (other than to show you pretty wreaths) is to demonstrate that the Christmas season can be less hectic if you choose it to be. Foraging and making things from scratch forces you to slow down. You can’t do this stuff well in a hurry. I know as I was making these, I appreciated the nature God provides and the ability to work with my hands to create something beautiful.

It’s not about being like Martha Stewart as my dad so lovingly puts it (although she does have a lot of good ideas). It’s about getting back to our roots and living how we were meant to live; in touch with our surroundings and working with our hands. We’ve become so desensitized by our modern culture that we no longer appreciate where something came from, how it was made, etc. It’s time to turn the tides on that. You can make a difference just by choosing to make something from scratch instead of buying it from a store.

I hope I gave you some inspiration for your “made from scratch” Christmas! What are some of your favorite wreath designs?

Have a lovely Thanksgiving everyone!

Cheers! – Adele

A Thanksgiving Gathering: DIY Linen Napkins with Foraged Pine

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Happy saturday everyone! In lieu of my gathering coming up, I thought it appropriate to show you how to make your own napkins! You can use any type of fabric you like, but linen napkins add a sophisticated yet simple look to your table. Add a little sprig of green to your napkins, tie a little bow of twine and you’re all set!

If you’re planning on a simple, cheap gathering it can soon get expensive. Linen particularly is on the pricier end of fabric, and if you buy linen napkins from a store it can start to stack up.

Now I don’t have a sewing machine and my mom’s sewing machine is currently broken SO I had to find an alternative. Though my mom was skeptical, it turns out fabric adhesive works just fine! I think it’s easier than having to worry about needles and thread (especially if you’re not an avid sewer), but if you have a sewing machine handy and you think it’s easier go ahead!

What you need:

– 2 yards of linen fabric
– ruler
– scissors (preferably fabric scissors)
– steam activated fabric adhesive tape
– an iron

Directions:

Cut your fabric into 20.5″ squares. This makes 6 napkins. Start by placing adhesive tape on each corner sticky side down, peel off the top strip, fold the corner over and iron for 10-20 seconds to activate the adhesive.

After you’re done with the corners, do the same thing to each side of the square. After you’re all finished, fold your napkin into a long rectangle (optional: wrap in twine and garnish with a sprig of green).

And that’s it! Pretty simple right?? Gatherings don’t need to be complicated or expensive. You just have to know what you want, and know how you’re going to get it at a reasonable price – even if it means making something yourself.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! What are some of your favorite DIY projects for dinners? I’d love to hear from you!

How To Make Hydrangea Christmas Wreaths

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When my boss told me we were making wreaths with dried hydrangea I thought, “What? How’s that going to look?” But after it was all said and done it looked great! This isn’t my only wreath tutorial this season, but I thought it was interesting enough to show you in case you wanted to try it! It’s pretty simple and you only need a few things to make it work.

– dried hydrangeas (it’s okay if not all of it is dry)
– straw wreath outline (you can find these at any craft store)
– scissors
– hot glue gun
– spray paint in green or any color of your choice (optional)

The process is pretty straightforward and simple. You’re going to take pieces of the hydrangea and cover every inch of the front, so you can’t see anymore straw. There is no need to cover the back side. If you don’t have a hot glue gun you can stick the pieces in the straw or the wire that’s wrapped around the straw. (Just be careful when you’re cutting the wrapping off that you don’t cut the wire).

After that how it looks is up to you! You can leave it brown like it is which I think is a really pretty and rustic look. It looks nice too if you spray paint it green. Then you can add pine cones, berries, etc. to give it an even more festive look!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and that you try it yourself. Let me know how it turns out if you do!

I’m looking forward to showing you more festive wreath ideas for your holiday season!