just fir kicks : crafts of christmas

I really love Christmas decorations. I was remarking just the other day how nice it would be if we left lights strung from our homes and balconies year-round – how much prettier the world around us would appear. But let’s face it; that’s not realistic. If we saw it every day, Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas.

That’s what makes this time of year so magical – the fact that, for just a month or two, it affects every aspect of our lives. The music on the radio, the decorations downtown, the commercials, the television offerings, and even the way our own homes look and feel on both the inside and outside. The sights, the sounds, the smell – nostalgia is where it’s at, y’all. 

So now that we’re a week away from the Big Day, I figured the thing you’re all truly worrying about is whether you have enough decorations and, if you don’t, how you can get more. Well have no fear, Type-A Anxiety-Ridden Perfectionists, because I have a few more things that you can do!

Don’t worry, though, they’re pretty simple. Easier than getting a goat to pose for a Christmas card picture, at least. 

You see, I’m a BIG fan of the quick-n-easy craft project – if it can be done in the length of Elf or less, I’m a happy gal! So as I’ve accumulated various ideas of items I’d like to see in my household this Christmas season, I’ve figured out how to make them a reality. Hobby Lobby is quickly becoming one of my best friends. 

First off, we got a slightly scrawny tree this year. A perfectly-lovable Charlie Brown tree, if you will. It’s a cypress, so the needles and branches aren’t quite as strong as your average pine and the layout isn’t as symmetrical as a store-bought selection. That, along with the fact that we’ve got two feisty felines in our midst, meant I needed decorations that were lightweight, simple, and wouldn’t be completely destroyed if someone got a hold of them.

I got it in my head that all I wanted was a felted-wool-ball garland. I’d seen one at Target in November, and it was the first weekend in December so they’d have to still have it, right?

Wrong. It was no longer at any of the Targets…or even online.

So I bought a bag of balls (no snickering!) off of Amazon and sat down one night to string them all together with a needle. Easy. Peasy.

Once that was done, I needed something else to do.

Another quite simple, though slightly more time-consuming project, was a little idea that spurred from my annual guilty pleasure of picking and reading a holiday chick-lit sensation. This year’s winner was Pride & Prejudice & Mistletoe.

Now, as many faults as I was able to find in this plot line (anyone who starts discussing marriage after two drunken kisses and some mild decade-old high school flirtation seriously needs to reevaluate their decision-making skills), it got me thinking about mistletoe

I do recommend this for some cutesy, feel-good feels.

How sweet would it be, I thought to myself, to have one of those felt letter banners hanging over our bed spelling out “Meet Me Under the Mistletoe” with a little bough of mistletoe hanging there too? 

(Coffee optional, but always recommended)

So I got to work!

Although my idealist vision of this project would have been made with felt letters, it was a little bit cheaper (and easier to stencil) on some good ole card stock paper. Red, white, and green – 2 pages of each. I opted for some classical shades of the colors, but the beauty is you can make it whatever you want! Vintage teals, pinks, and glitter? You go for it, girl!

The most difficult and time-consuming part of this project was the stringing. I used a needle, once again, to sew through two sides of each letter. The card stock helped in making sure the paper didn’t tear into bits, but it still required some gentle aiding of each letter down the string to ensure that everything was properly spaced before we hung it.

‘New Expert’ Tip: Hang this with nails or push pins. Our Command strips decided to get a little volatile and crashed down on Webb’s head just before we turned the lights out. Talk about the all-too-real risk of convincing your S.O. to not meet you under the mistletoe by covering his face in mid-sleep paper cuts.

The little sprig of mistletoe came from the Hearth & Home holiday collection at Target. Y’all would not BELIEVE how hard it was to find decorative mistletoe….it must not be as much of a thing as it used to be, I guess. I got the very last one out of several stores I visited over the course of a week. Talk about an uggggghhhhhhh moment met with some serious relief.

As I’m writing this post and choosing these pictures, it strikes me how hard it has been to make this post something I’m “alright” with. Since the dawn of time, one of the hardest things about crafting and decorating is the difficulty in curating a “look”. There’s a lot of senseless pressure in it. Most of my design inspiration #goals come from Instagram – and they come from the Instagram accounts that are perfectly assembled. You know the ones. They’ve got brand endorsement deals from Nordstrom and Wayfair – they get a piece of whatever they can convince you to spend?

I’ll admit, I’m guilty of their influence. I want what they have sometimes. But I can’t, no matter what I do, live my life in shades of white and grey. We live in the country. We’ve actually got dirt on our boots. Assembling decorations that not only make the house look “perfect” but also don’t completely clash with everything else that’s going on? It’s SO not a walk in the park. Plus, stuff gets expensive. I know you think this, too. 

So that is my goal today – to show you that you can make your home fit into whatever category you want it to. You can create the look that you want to see. You can fit in dashes of glimmer and sparkle, even if you don’t have the white-sheet backdrop that social media would convince you is required for a seamless look.

What I’ve come to love about this year is that, somehow, all the pieces have come together. Webb got out an old vintage sled that had been hiding in the garage and we propped it up on the wall. I painted a canvas with some copper paint and stencils paying homage to one of my favorite Carpenters Christmas songs. Target sold bottle brush trees in the dollar bin and they happened to accentuate my vintage ceramic deer just perfectly. We baked cookies. We made the Shutterfly family Christmas card. You can curate your own Insta-perfect moments. And enjoy them. Worry about the filters later. Like me! I mean, is this post belated or what? (Sorry, not sorry, I’ve been trying to learn how to take decent non-flash pictures in a mirror with a real camera.)

Merry Christmas, y’all. Auld Lang Syne. This may easily be the last you hear from me before we start talking Resolutions (ahem, Fierce & Fabulous Personal Challenges) in January. So I wish you all the best. I hope you have the best of holidays. And if you feel so inspired, I hope you try out some of these ideas. If it’s too much, I’ll see if we can’t get this started a little earlier next year 😉