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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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?

Our First Year Hosting Thanksgiving: A Recap

Thanksgiving has come and gone since my last post, but I wanted to share a recap of our festivities, since it was our first year hosting Thanksgiving with my family. As you might recall, my family of seven requested a 24 lb turkey, so my sister-in-law, Pete, and I woke up early and prepped the turkey while watching the Macy’s parade. My sis-in-law and Pete did most of the dirty work (aka rubbing herb butter under the skin) since I was on a hunt for sage in the supermarkets (we just used rubbed sage since I wasn’t able to find any fresh sage all week long). I included this gross photo so you could see the unfortunate “before.” Sorry if I’ve scarred you for life!

Thank goodness for Pete, who did all of the heavy lifting. He was a total godsend when it came time to basting, flipping, and cutting the bird.

You’ll see our menu on the left, which consisted of the following:

While our table might have been a bit mismatched, everything was delicious and that’s all that counts.

My mom wore sunglasses like a domestic rockstar while helping Pete serve the turkey since our bay windows let in a ton of light and we don’t have curtains. Thanks to everyone for your help, we had a blast hosting for our first time ever and hope to do it again! Special thanks to the best sister-in-law ever for helping Pete and I out all day long and easing my stress while I burned walnuts and caught bread cubes on fire (not sure if anyone saw that).

Hope everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving with lots of leftovers!

{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!

Holiday Art Star Craft Bazaar

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This weekend marks the Holiday Art Star Craft Bazaar, with festivities beginning this Friday night, November 18th with a VIP preview party from 6pm to 9pm for $25. My friends at Love Me Do Photography will be providing photobooth fun, so be sure to check it out! The craft show will be free and open to the public on Saturday, November 19th and Sunday the 20th from 11am  to 6pm at the 23rd Street Armory in Philadelphia. I am looking forward to attending with friends and afterwards, we plan to make our own holiday wreaths inspired by the talented Philadelphia area craftsters. I’m all stocked up on yarn and can’t wait to get started and share what we’ve made with you guys. I am hoping mine vaguely resembles a wreath by the time I’m finished, but if it ends up being a bundled mess of hot glue and yarn, I can always give it to my parents to hang on the fridge (only half serious, mom). Hopefully this will inspire me to give our front door a fresh coat of white paint since it is looking sad and yellowed.

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Anyway, if you are in the area, be there or be square! I haven’t attended the holiday bazaar before, but I’ve been to all of their summertime craft shows in the past and they’re always a hit—especially when it comes to scoring original items for your friends and family.

{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!

Our Pop Culture Pumpkins: Star Wars + Firefly Love

Pete took a personal day today, so our afternoon consisted of a Firefly marathon, followed by much-needed pumpkin carving—Pete carved Boba Fett and I worked away on Wash from Firefly. I’m sure people will recognize Boba Fett, but I have my doubts that the sci-fi deprived neighborhood youngins will pinpoint my homage to this fabulous guy:

I’m really looking forward to handing out Costco-sized candy to trick or treaters this Halloween…we are striving to be the cool house on the block that spoils kids with oversized chocolate (if we don’t eat it all first).

Is anyone else handing out candy to trick or treaters for the first time this year? Hopefully we won’t get egged too much…