DIY snowflakes made from toilet paper rolls

It’s no secret that I love DIY holiday decorations. Last Christmas I made a wreath that looked similar to this one from Bonnin Designs (I stupidly didn’t take a picture of mine) from toilet paper rolls I’d been collecting.

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I tossed it at the end of the season because after a month of hanging on our front door, it had sagged badly at the bottom and resembled more of a deformed oval than the circle I created.

I’ve mentioned that I’ve had to get creative with the holiday decorating here in Switzerland. We didn’t move any decorations and aren’t willing to invest in festive flair since we head home in April. Here’s this year’s tree and our shelving unit decked out for the holidays.

Snowflake photo

This photo by Bob King popped up in my Pinterest feed the other day. I love the intricacies of these snowflakes and decided to mimic these perfect specimens of nature with the toilet paper and paper towel rolls I had been hoarding over the last eight months (I’m lazy about taking my recycling out).

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Anyone who knows me knows that it’s killing me not to be able to redo this apartment we’ll call home for a year. I’ve done what I can, working with what I have, and I’ve done it again for the holidays.

Our furnished apartment came decorated with this hideous lime green bookshelf. Until now, it’s been a place where we display photos, but that changed yesterday. I went to a Christmas tea on Tuesday and came home with a bag full of beautiful greenery, pinecones and berries. In an effort to holidize our temporary home, I rearranged the ugly shelves, and I quite fancy them now—proof that you can make just about anything work. Here are a few of my Christmas decorating ideas.

green shelf final

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Oh Christmas Tree

Christmastime is my favorite season in the city. When I lived in New York, I loved watching all the buildings and storefronts decorate for the holiday. Lights, ornaments, Macy’s famous windows, and Christmas tree lots on every other corner. I love it all. Living in the center of a city once more, I was hoping it would begin to start to look a lot like Christmas by now. Don’t get me wrong, stores have decorated with oversize ornaments and lights galore, but I have not found one Christmas tree lot. That’s because they do it Griswald family Christmas-style here and cut down their own. Oh Christmas tree indeed!

Griswald family circle

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Last-minute Thanksgiving decor

Happy Thanksgiving! If you’ve been working all week and need a centerpiece or stoop decor stat, I have a super simple idea for you and your home with these last-minute Thanksgiving decor ideas. Head to the one open grocery store, and scoop up pumpkins—lots of them.

A dear family friend and Wendy James Designs reader, Cynde Garrett, sent me this photo from outside a Scottsdale, AZ resort. Cynde can only be described as the queen of holiday decorating. Her Christmas tree always twinkles brighter than any other, and her mantel looks like it belongs on the cover of a magazine. Her comment with this photo? She just needs a fountain!

Pumpkin fountain

I love the combination of pumpkins and twigs. So easy if you happen to have a huge fountain in your front yard, but let’s use this photo as inspiration only.

Here’s how you can achieve this organic beauty on a much more manageable scale—and in a pinch.

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In the garden, add fallen leaves and other trimmings from the yard to the bird bath, then place a pumpkin on top. Skip making a bouquet, and simply arrange several pumpkins and gourds around the base.

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Or float several small pumpkins in it instead.

Screen Shot 2013-11-28 at 9.53.21 AMHas the greenery growing in the front urns seen better days? Stack a few pumpkins on the top of each, then dress the front steps with the remaining pumpkins and gourds you buy.

Screen Shot 2013-11-28 at 9.57.32 AMPhoto from EAB Designs

Or keep the front steps simple, and tuck grocery-store greens around the base of each pumpkin in the urn.

Screen Shot 2013-11-28 at 9.59.34 AMPhoto from Common Ground

Another idea: Skip decorating the outside of the house, and focus your efforts around the area where everyone will be, your dining table. Start with a small pedestal urn or compote dish. Fill it with just a few dry leaves and berries from the yard, and place a single pumpkin on top.

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Want more height? Stack your urn on top of some old books, and place more than one pumpkin on top.

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This one is my favorite. I love the touch of glam the silver urn adds to the monochromatic display of white pumpkins and candles.

Don’t forget to dress the rest of the table. My easiest idea? Just use dry leaves. You can read all about it here.

How are you decorating your Thanksgiving table? I would love to see pictures.



Best gifts gift guide

Continuing on with the best gifts gift guide series, today I bring you a piece with some history. (If you’ve missed any, you can revisit to see Scott’s and my favorites, something I gave an old friend, presents I made coworkers and ideas for collectors.)

Blogger and artist Susie Harris received a treasure her dad found in New Orleans: an antique carousel horse that she keeps atop the bookshelf in her home. You can read all about it here.

Susie’s carousel horse got me thinking. Tiny rocking objects and animals look so sweet in nurseries. While Scott and I are not currently looking to design such a space, I’m still collecting furnishings and accessories for it (don’t read anything into that; I’m not pregnant, just a collector, remember?).

Here in Switzerland, swans are everywhere. We don’t live far from Lake Geneva, and watching the swans glide through the water is so peaceful. They are truly majestic and beautiful birds. I’m toying with the idea of printing one of Scott’s swan pics (we have lots) from here in black and white to hang somewhere in our house. Maybe above his dresser?

Swan 1

So here’s what I’m after in terms of nursery décor inspired by the bird in the water.

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