A Belated Christmas Roundup!

My very first Schuster family Christmas was filled with all sorts of goodies, including the famous monkey bread, which makes Pete and the rest of his siblings make this face:

I tried to get him to take a normal photo with the two of us, but he insisted on making a crazy weird expression. I still love him, anyway.

I love these Vaillancourt Folk Art decorations…how fabulous is that super proud polar bear?

I could definitely get used to the delicious Mimosas, quiche and frittata yums every other year (we swap between our families for the holidays).

To give you a speedy summary of some of our gifts, I’d like to start with Betty White’s new chair pillow, which she is currently sleeping on.  Another favorite is the vintage map Pete got me for above our couch…I am a lucky lady.

Stocking stuffers are usually my favorite part, and I lucked out with new tights, slippers, and socks (is it sad I get excited over new socks?).

This fellow was a gift from my parents, who even drove the 2+ hours to drop it off the week before Christmas. When he’s not busy haunting the visions of passersby, he’s petting his dog, who I’ve named Norman (almost every stuffed animal in our house has this same name).

Pete got me this canning kit and book, and we can’t wait to get started on making jams and pickled foods. We’re going to can our own homemade jam for our wedding, so we’re looking forward to testing it out. I also got Pete some much-needed homebrewing supplies, so we’re also going to be making our own beer for the big day.

Pete’s parents gifted us with a handmade tray/bowl from Italy, where they vacationed this summer…it makes me excited for when we’ll honeymoon there in 2013. The flowers on the right are from the ginger for our anniversary…n’aw.

We also got this adorable welcome mat from Pete’s parents, which goes with our house’s bright & cheerful color scheme really well. I gave Pete these Northern & Southern Hemisphere prints by Brainstorm Print & Design, which he had been crushing on at the Holiday Art Star Craft Bazaar.

I treated myself to this vintage picture frame to showcase the boy’s proposal in our bedroom. It makes me smile lots.

That just about sums up our Christmas adventures and some of our presents…how was everyone else’s holiday?

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Decking the Halls: Holiday Decor

Dressing up our house for the holidays was loads of fun—from hanging ornaments on the tree to decorating the outside with giant colorful bulbs. Betty White especially likes her santa mouse friend, which my grandparents always had around during the holidays, so everyone in my family has one to remember them by.

My brother got this Budapest ornament for me when he was on tour for one of his recent productions. It’s definitely one of my favorites.

These old ornaments passed down from my grandparents are pretty hilarious—my grandfather crafted this ninja-looking snowman.

I snagged this Michael Bolton ornament a few years ago from Five Below and was pretty proud of my find…then I felt bad and bought a Miles David ornament too so our tree wouldn’t totally lack music cred.

After my grandfather passed away, I remember going through a box of ornaments and stumbling upon this gem…I guess my grandpa decided to keep the plastic bag over the baby’s head as a joke. I know it’s a little deranged, but it always makes me giggle when December rolls around.

These guys were passed down to me by my parents, who have other mouse/elf duos to keep their tree company. I have always loved their stylish outfits and tend to make them talk in goofy voices whenever I put them on the tree (they discuss the latest love triangles on Gossip Girl mostly since it’s their favorite show).

This satanic looking elf toting a lamb (?) was also from my grandparents. He is absolutely terrifying to walk past at night, but at least there are some cute critter ornaments on the tree to distract me.

It probably comes as no surprise that our angel with unfortunate yellow hair is also from my grandparents’ decoration box. Luckily Pete is supportive of my desire to showcase all things nostalgic and he puts up with our weird-haired angel and the baby with a bag over its head.

I can’t take any credit for the colorful lights, which Pete put up by crawling, army-style on the roof. I did, however, make the little bushes all festive-like with white lights. We both grew up with multi-color lights outdoors, so we wanted to keep the tradition with the large rainbow bulbs.

I like that you can see our Christmas tree through the bay windows from out front…it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy when I pull into the driveway.

What are some of your favorite ways to show your spirit during this time of year? Please tell me I’m not the only one with a Michael Bolton ornament…

Choose & Cut: Christmas Trees

Last weekend, Pete and I headed to Hague’s Christmas Trees with Betty White in tow to search for our very own Christmas tree. This was our first time cutting one down all by ourselves, and I must say, I liked the farm experience much more than picking a pre-cut tree. We ended up going with a Scotch Pine, which had loads of adorable pine cones on it (although most of them didn’t survive the bumpy ride home).

Sorry for the unfortunate photos of us—the sun was harsh and made us look crazy, but at least it was warm out.

They had loads of wreaths, berries, glittery pine cones, and other goodies to choose from. Where do you guys get your seasonal decor—did anyone else go to a local tree farm to spread some holiday cheer?

{A Day of Crafting} Our Festive Wreath Roundup

This weekend, Pete and I went to the Holiday Art Star Craft Bazaar with our friends Valerie and Daryl. Although we showed great restraint in not buying anything, we gained lots of inspiration and motivation for wreath-making. You might recall my wreath ramblings from a while back, so I was excited to officially make my first ever wreath.

Us girls got to crafting and enjoying a 30 Rock marathon while the boys went on a man-date which consisted of record shopping. Pete came back with A Chipmunk Christmas, so I have that to look forward to.

While I had only finished a few inches of my wreath, Valerie had already made two gorgeous, festive wreaths that look particularly moody in this lighting. Her looks were inspired by this crow wreath (how cute are those burlap flowers?!) and this black and white striped wreath, while mine was inspired by this yarn wreath. Valerie made her wreaths from fabric she already owned and some materials from the dollar store…yay to us being thrifty! Oh, and thank goodness for Pinterest. I love me some holiday inspiration.

My wreath materials consisted of some sparkly ribbon, yarn, felt balls and hand-sewn, felt birds I purchased a few years back from the lovely and talented Alexandra Hunt (aka Mrs. Shortcake from Weddingbee). And most importantly, a whole mess of hot glue gun sticks.

Although I ended up covered in glitter and ripping off my freshly painted nail polish with hot glue, I felt a sense of mini Martha Stewart-esque accomplishment that I can only hope will repeat during the week ahead.

Pete always peeks at me through our front door, thus the face and finger prints that are in desperate need of some Windex attention.

Has anyone else crafted their own wreath or holiday decor this year? I would love to see your latest creations if you want to comment with links below!

{DIY} Holiday Wreath Love

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As much as we may not care to admit it, the holidays are approaching at the end of the month, which means decking the halls with all things festive. There will be some wreath-crafting taking place in my not so distant future, so I’m trying to wrangle up some of my favorite DIY holiday wreaths to inspire. I tend to be drawn to the not-so-obvious, colorful wreaths with lots of detail. I haven’t settled on a design just yet, but I wanted to post these to share with readers who are interested in making their own decor.

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Who else is considering handcrafting an alternative-looking wreath this winter season? Be sure to comment below to show off your creations if you’re crazy ahead of the game and you’ve already made your own holiday decor!

Brace Yourself. I’m Already Posting About Christmas Cards.

I have never been one to send out holiday cards. The most I’ve ever done was pick up a box of cards at Borders and mail them to my close friends and co-workers. Now that I am getting a wee bit older, my desire to dress up our mini family in Christmas sweaters is pretty tempting. Seriously, imagine a chinchilla wearing a mini sweater with a puffy paint reindeer ringing stitched-on jingle bells. Sounds pretty much like the most awesome thing you’ll ever see. So, that is why I will soon be going on a hunt for ugly holiday sweaters for Pete, Betty White and I (realistically, the idea of forcing three bunnies and a chinchilla into Christmas gear doesn’t sound like a good idea).

I went on a search for cute Christmas cards (sorry, I am politically incorrect and totally biased in my celebration of Christmas) and discovered a ton of fun options at Shutterfly. Here are some of my favorites (I’ll have to run them past the boy):


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In addition to holiday photo cards, they also sell photo albums and desk calendars, which are always cute stocking stuffer ideas for the fam.

Are any of you sending out holiday cards this year? I get so excited to see a handwritten envelope in my mailbox during the winter months, so it’s about time I return the favor! If you have recommendations on where to find cheap, hideous holiday sweaters, please let me know.