The Homemade Gift

I recently bought dozens of clementines for a brunch I hosted and knew my family couldn’t eat them all over the next week, so I tried my hand at a very traditional Christmas centerpiece.  These fruit centerpieces were all the rage . . . back in the Colonial days.

I bought a styrofoam cone form at Michaels, had skewers leftover from a spring fundraiser, clipped some boxwood from outside and found an appropriate container.  I picked up a mercury glass bowl on the cheap at HomeGoods.  To steady the styrofoam, I used four strips of floral clay and then just went to work skewering the clementines.  Some of the boxwood are wrapped in floral wire but most are just stems that I stuck right into the styrofoam as well.  I topped off the centerpiece with few cranberries on a skewer.  This would work with apples, lemons, limes or any combination thereof.

Anyone else notice that vanilla extract prices have gone through the roof?  The Nielson Massey vanilla I have always bought at William Sonoma was around $15, now it’s $30 for a 4 oz bottle.  I decided to make my own and ordered 24 Madagascar vanilla beans for roughly $90.  I was able to make 15 four oz bottles of vanilla with the beans.  The fun part was figuring out the label.  The personalized stamper is from Etsy and brown Kraft labels from Amazon.

Produce Junction sells cut flowers for $2-$5 a bunch, so I decided to try my hand at an arrangement.  I ended up having enough flowers left so I will make a second.  This is a great hostess gift.  Again, container came from HomeGoods.


This is one of my favorite ways to give gift cards for Christmas.  It’s so simple – a ball jar, water, glitter and some small ornaments.  The water doesn’t hurt the gift card and the recipient will love the unique presentation.

Last night I popped into Terrain to see if anything was on sale.  The store is at its prettiest at Christmastime and especially at night.  I really should have taken more pictures!  In any case, I took this one of an adorable terrarium idea that could easily be replicated.  This would be a great gift for a family with young children.

And, a few more Christmas moments from around our house.


Fresh Greens

This year I bought greens the first week of December and kept them stored in our cool garage until just this past weekend.

The mantle is cedar, magnolia and a few mandarins and pinecones.  Very simple. I love seeded eucalyptus and bought a bit to tuck into the greens.

Magnolia and cranberries.  Tried and true.


Dried Limelights from my summer garden and some more seeded eucalyptus.

White poinsettia with some gold pinecones in my favorite container.  The lemon cypress topiaries got some moss and dried holly berries for a festive touch.

December Snippets Part II

A freshly cut tree and just the right fit for the space and for the few ornaments we have left that haven’t gotten lost or broken during our many moves.

A new fern in a dark spot in the room.

The mantle is simple and green this year.  I may add some clementines and boxwood closer to Christmas.  Most of my fresh greens are waiting outside.  I will bring them in this week so they last through Christmas.

I potted narcissus bulbs in pots all over the house.  Here are two on a sunny windowsill.   I started them late this year but a bit of color in January will be most appreciated.

More greens and bulbs in a back hallway.  A white poinsettia will soon replace the dried hydrangeas.

December Snippets

A few pictures from our December life.

Garland is up!

First snow of the season.

Greenery is starting to go up indoors, too.

Nandina berries are beautiful this time of year.  Squirrels not so much.  This one devoured every last one of my Osage oranges in these planters.

Our town does Christmas well!  I will take everyone on a photographic tour with my better camera.  This is one of my favorites.


And, a kitchen inspiration picture.  We received the first set of design drawings this past week.

Stair runner was installed last week.  I love the quiet it brings and the color and pattern.  Will be even happier when the hallway paint color is changed.  Waiting to paint until we decide whether or not to open up the left wall.