Saturday, December 20, 2014

Gift Wrapping

One of my favourite parts of Christmas are the gifts.

I love finding that perfect gift for each person on my list. But what I love nearly just as much, is wrapping them with beautiful ribbon and pretty tags, and placing them under the Christmas tree where they lie until Christmas morning.

There's something about packaging that I love. Tags and twine, ribbon and paper. I love making something like plain old kraft paper look elegant.

As I mentioned before, this year I made my own gift tags. It was quite easy.

On a completely unrelated note, these beautiful flowers are called Star of Bethlehem, which I thought was perfectly fitting given the season.

I also love the look of sprigs of natural greens tucked into the bow. Favourites are bits of Cedar, Leather Fern and Seeded Eucalyptus.

When I went under the tree to pick out a few wrapped presents to photograph, I found this tucked at the back. I knew that Willen had brought home a gift he made at school, and had asked me for a box to wrap it in. But I hadn't seen what he had done, nor did I know that he had carefully placed it under the tree with all of the other gifts. I thought it was the most beautiful thing.

While I was busy packaging other gifts, I wrapped Willen's gifts for his teachers, as today was their class party at school. I figured they were looking forward to some much deserved "me time", We picked out a favourite movie (It's Complicated and The Holiday), a box of sea salt chocolate covered toffees, an Essie nail polish and a tin of Harney and Sons tea. To me, it seemed like a lovely way to spend an evening in.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas in the Living Room and Handmade Gift Tags

After nearly a week of dull, rainy days, last night brought the most wonderful of surprises.

Our family had attended Willen's Christmas play at school, and then came back to our house to spend the evening celebrating with him. When they opened the door to leave, the sky was a flurry of thick fluffy snowflakes. And by the time my mother in law left, the ground was covered and we couldn't help but exclaim "It's snowing!".

The thought of enjoying a classic white Christmas was beginning to seem more unlikely with each passing, dismal day.

However, with less than a week before Christmas Eve, our hopes of a white Christmas may just come true.



Once again, I've wrapped our gifts in classic brown paper and an assortment of cream ribbons and twines. I've also made some pretty handmade gift tags.

I made these gift tags a month ago. The blank tags came in packages of 16 for $1.50 at Michael's. I used a collection of Christmas stamps I had purchased last year online to make my own gift tags.

Another delightful white surprise yesterday was a blooming Paperwhite bulb. We had picked some up when we bought our Christmas tree. It's the first of a few bulbs to bloom that we are forcing around the house.

I couldn't help but laugh at Hudson, who was cozy on the chair beside the Christmas tree. He just snuggled, blanket in hand, the whole time I took pictures.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Antique Finds

I love ironstone.

It's one of my favourite things I collect, and probably my most extensive.

And while most of my collection consists of pitchers, I love finding different pieces that I don't see very often. These are a few small pieces I've picked up over the past few months that I especially like.

To be honest, I don't actually remember where I found this ironstone soap dish. I believe it was locally, but all I remember was that I think I paid $5 for it.

Fresh flowers and my glass soap dispenser sit with it.

It sits beside my kitchen sink and holds my brushes. It's an old soap dish from a vanity set, but it works just as well as a brush holder.

I also picked this tiny little pot up at Oliver and Rust.

It's beautifully aged, with crazing and a lovely browning. And it has the most beautiful faces in the sides.

I also picked this other one, of the same size, from the same show. It has beautifully detailed handles, and a charming little lid.

It's marked Coxon and Co., a name that I hadn't yet come across.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Snowball Cookies

My sleigh, stacked with gifts all wrapped for Christmas morning, has found it's place under our Christmas tree.

We've been having the most dreary of winter days lately, with the sun making no appearance at all. It makes it quite a challenge to photograph, so unfortunately that will have to come later.

In the meantime, the boys and I have kept ourselves busy baking cookies and doing activities around the house.

This is a new cookie for me, and has quickly become one of my favourite recipes. I've actually made it three times this week, never daring to keep more than a few in the house.

They're my take on a Melting Moment Snowball Cookie. The basic recipe was found here, and then I added the following ingredients to it.

1/2 cup of good quality milk chocolate, chopped
1/2 chopped pecan pieces. chopped
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp espresso powder

The cookie plain was delicious, but with the combination of cinnamon and chocolate and nuts and coffee... divine.

While still warm, each cookie is rolled in powdered sugar to give it a bit more added sweetness.

These are perfect with a cup of coffee. The texture is crumbly, and true to their name, they really do melt in your mouth. They're also super easy to make.

As you can see, it's hard to keep them around for any length of time.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

An Antique Sleigh

I've spent the past few evenings with a pot of tea and Bing Crosby - his voice, that is - wrapping Christmas presents.

I'm nearly finished decorating the living room, but in the mean time I wanted to show you something wonderful I've had stashed away for quite some time.

Back in the summer, I found this gorgeous antique wooden sleigh at an antique store in town. It was a steal, which was mainly because the top of the frame was broken, but that didn't matter. It was perfect for how I envisioned using it.

Part of the decorating today included rearranging my cabinet. I moved a collection of ironstone pitchers to one of the shelves, and tucked a few pieces of greenery between the rest.

 I'm looking forward to finishing the rest of the room tomorrow.

I also have an appointment to go view two lovely wing chairs I'd like to recover, but that has to wait until after Willen's Christmas brunch at school.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Red Transferware

Anyone who has known me for a while - okay, maybe not even that long - probably figured out fairly soon in our relationship that I love white.

White walls, white furniture, white china.

I simply like white.

So it kind of goes without saying, that aside from fresh greens and mercury glass and maybe a bit of rust and wood, that nearly all of my Christmas decor is a shade of white.

Quilted cream stockings. Kraft paper packages with white ribbon.White Poinsettias.

There is however one bit of Christmas decor that isn't white. 

Over the past couple years, I've collected bits of red transferware to display during December.

They have a lovely traditional Christmas feel to them.

 I've actually sold quite a bit of my collection, as it was simply too much to display. What remains were a few of my favourite pieces, and place settings for four.

These Mason's teacups came from an older lady who brought them with her when she immigrated from Europe. She only had one saucer in tact, so they're paired with a newer version.

The dinner plates are Johnson Bros., and are a fair bit newer.

But that's the beauty of transferware. Different patterns mix well, and in my opinion, look more flattering together.

You can see in the photos above that another hint of red that comes out at Christmas is a beautiful stitched tablecloth made from old European grainsacks. It's three lengths stitched together, and it has that thick, worn-soft from use, feel to it.