Bookcase: A Christmas Update

December 17, 2014

Any surface is fair game when it comes to decorating for Christmas.  My white Ikea Kallax bookcase serves as my entryway table (I blogged about it here), and it's the first thing you see when you walk into the apartment so naturally, I had to decorate it for Christmas!  But first, let me tell you about the fabulous sequined ornaments in the photo above.  I found them at an antique store recently and they are giant sequined Christmas light ornaments that are also sort of like Easter eggs because they open up right in the middle.  Ok so maybe they aren't exactly giant, but they are 7 inches long, so that's pretty sizable.  I snagged 7 of them with the intent of selling them in my soon-to-open Etsy Store...but I love them so much so I don't know if I'll sell them or not.  If you're interested in them let me know.  You may be able to change my mind :)


Decorating a surface for Christmas really isn't too difficult if you decide to have fun with it.  Remember the jingle bells I put on my mantel?  Well, I had a whole bunch left over so I threw them in an apothecary jar.  I did the same thing with those sequined ornaments.  You can find lots of apothecary jars at TJ Maxx, HomeGoods, and Hobby Lobby, and you can use them with different items all year round.


Next, I added a mini Christmas tree (mine is a vintage ceramic one that lights up from the inside that I found at an antique store).  It's a little kitschy but I LOVE it!  My grandmother has a green one and I grew up admiring it, so when I saw this one I had to have it.

  
Next, I added some Christmasy art.  I replaced one of the pictures in my gallery wall with my "Merry Christmas Y'all" print by Stephanie Creekmur.  It's a fun seasonal touch that reminds me I'm a Southern girl even though I'm not in Georgia anymore.


Finally, add some candy in a pretty dish and whatever other little Christmas knickknacks I had laying around.  I chose a disco ball and a shiny gold star.  I was done with the whole look in about 5 minutes.  

I hope y'all are having as much fun as I am while decorating for Christmas!  It's such a perfect opportunity to change things up a bit, and thankfully it's totally acceptable to go a little "over the top" with color and whimsy :)    


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Bar Cart Revamp

December 15, 2014
You know how sometimes you just stumble upon something that's just too good to be true?  Well, that's exactly what happened a few weeks ago when I found my new (old) bar cart.  I shared the images of it all decorated for Christmas a little while ago, but I never shared what it looked like before hand.

When I found the bar cart at a flea market it was just sort of blahhh.  It had good bones but the color was off, so I fixed it with my trusty gold spray paint!

This is what it looked like before:

Not all that remarkable, is it?


And after:



After a coat of primer and 2 coats of gold spray paint it now looks sassy and ready to party, and it fits perfectly in our living room!  I loved my old oval bar cart, but wanted one with a little more space, which is why I decided to switch things up once I found this beauty.  Lucky for you though, the oval bar cart is officially for sale for $250 to anyone who wants to drive to Columbia, MD and pick it up.   Send me an email at katie@lifewithadashofwhimsy.com if you're seriously interested!!

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On my Mind...Lately

December 12, 2014
Happy Friday y'all!  Can you believe there are only 13 days until Christmas?  December seems to be flying by, and I can't wait to get home and see my family.  Are you all done with your Christmas shopping?  I'm nearly finished, just need a few more little things for a few folks.

Here are a few things that I've been thinking about this past week.  I hope you all have a lovely weekend!  Oh and Go Army, Beat Navy!  (See below if you don't understand.)

1.  Albuquerque, NM.  Has anyone been to Albuquerque before?  Tom and I are heading there on Sunday (he has work stuff and I'm just tagging along).  Where should we eat?  Do you know of any good antique shops, flea markets, home decor shops?  I'd love to hear your thoughts because I have no clue what to do and we will be there for a week!  

This was taken at the Army Navy game in 2008.
2.  Army Navy Game.  This weekend is the Army Navy football game.  West Point has lost to the Naval Academy every year for the past 11 years, which is fairly depressing even though I'm not the biggest football fan.  Every year all the West Point cadets travel down to Philadelphia or Baltimore (where ever the game is that year) with high hopes of winning, then wake up super early to march onto the field before the game in cold weather while wearing funky looking coats (that are very heavy yet they aren't even warm), and then they get to watch the Army team get destroyed.  It's heartbreaking to watch.  Hopefully Army will win this year, because it has been long enough.  Go Army!

Image via Family Fresh Cooking.

3.  Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts, Blue Cheese and Cranberries.  Do you all like brussels sprouts?  I love them, and blue cheese, and walnuts...oh and cranberries too...so this recipe by Family Fresh Cooking looks AMAZING.  

Image via Endlessly Elated.

4.  Eggnog French Toast.  I haven't had any eggnog yet this Christmas season, which is kind of sad now that I'm thinking about it.  I love how rich, creamy and delicious it is, which is why I think it's such a genius idea to use it when making french toast!  I haven't tried it yet but I'm sure this recipe by Endlessly Elated is delicious.

Image via Furbish Studio.
5.  Christmas Ginger Jars.  I have to say, I'm pretty crazy about this piece of art.  Ginger jars plus Christmas lights...it's the perfect combination if you ask me!  Furbish Studio has the most unique Christmas decorations and gifts, plus they have free shipping right now with the code "PRESENTS" so now is a great time to check out the shop if you haven't already!


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DIY Gold Leafed Letter

December 10, 2014
So you know how sometimes you buy something so you can "Do It Yourself" when in reality you could buy pretty much exactly what you created for less trouble and not much more money?  That's the story of this DIY.  Granted, this was my first experience with gold leaf flakes, so I was probably much slower than I should have been.  All in all, this project took about 80 minutes of hands on time...a little more than what I normally have patience for, but I'm happy with the result so it was totally worth it!

I bought a letter "V" a few months ago at an antique store because my new last name starts with a V.  It was bright orange though (and I'm not a Tennessee Volunteers fan), so I knew something would have to be done to fix it up a little bit.


The letter looks alright, but I knew it could look BETTER!

I primed it at first with some spray paint primer, because I figured I'd just paint it gold, like I've done to everything lately.  My mom suggested I gold leaf it though, and I'm so glad she gave me this idea!  I think the primer was smart even though I didn't go through with spray painting it because it prevented the orange from coming through when I missed a couple of spots with the gold leaf adhesive.


Here are the materials that you need to gold leaf something:

-item to gold leaf (obviously)
-work surface that can get dirty (the gold flakes and dust go everywhere...I used a foam poster board)
-gold leaf adhesive
-small brush for adhesive
-cloth gold leafing gloves (you don't want the gold to stick all over you)
-gold leaf flakes (1 packet will likely last many, many projects)
-brush for applying flakes (I used a Martha Stewart brush specifically made for this, but the bristles kept falling out and sticking on the letter, so I ended up using a foam brush and my gloved fingers)
-top coat to make it more durable once your finished (I skipped this step, for now)


I don't have any pictures of the actual process, but all you do is paint the adhesive on the surface you want to gold leaf, and let it dry for the required time.  It's sort of weird because when it "dries" it's actually really tacky.  Once it's "dry" you just put the gold leaf flakes all over it and overlap the pieces until the whole piece is covered.  Then you rub it down with silk fabric or tissue paper (or your hand if you have on gloves) and the whole surface will be smoothed out and most of the small spots you missed will be covered.

So much better huh?


 

While I probably could have bought a gold leafed letter very easily, I am really happy with how this turned out...and...I'm happy I'm finally not afraid of gold leafing!  Once you get the hang of it it's really rather simple and not nearly as intimidating as it seems!


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Event at Sherman Pickey Canceled

Hi everyone.  I'm sorry to announce that the event we had planned for tomorrow evening has been canceled.  Due to unforeseen circumstances we will have to postpone this event until sometime in 2015.  Thanks to those of you who were interested in attending.  It truly means the world to me that you expressed interest in the event and I hope you can come to the event once it's rescheduled!!


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Christmas Simmer

December 9, 2014

This time of year is full of delicious smells, most of which invoke magical memories from childhood.  Growing up, my mother always kept a pot of water simmering away on the back eye of the stove.  She did this to make the air less dry, and to make the house smell cozy and delicious.  She would often throw a cinnamon stick, cloves and some halved oranges into the water, and the whole house would be filled with a wonderful Christmasy scent.  (She would also often forget that this pot of water was going, and we would frantically have to refill the pot when we heard the hissing of an empty pot on the stove...I say this because you need to keep an eye on it to make sure the water hasn't completely evaporated, and ensure you remember to turn this off if you leave the house.)

This year, I'm bringing back this tradition but putting a little twist on it.  Here is what you need to make your house smell yummy and help keep that essential moisture in the air (two birds, one stone!):

What You'll Need

-a pot or teapot (I'm using my white dutch oven because it's pretty)
-a handful of fresh cranberries (I have some stashed around a candle on the dining table, so I had some laying around)
-2 cinnamon sticks
-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
-2 clementines, halved (or oranges, but I had clementines on hand)
-1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (or a sprinkling of cloves, but unfortunately I don't have any at the moment)

Note: feel free to adjust the recipe according to what you have on hand.  You never know, you may come up with a fantastic new creation...and if that's the case you'll have to let me know about it!


What to Do

-Throw everything into a pot and then add water.  I filled mine so that the dutch oven was just under half full.  You can add less water to make the scent more concentrated, but you'll have to refill the water more quickly.
-Put the pot on the stove and set to a low simmer.
-Enjoy the festive scent and rehydrate your dry skin!

The only problem with this is that the smell starts to make you hungry after a while...and makes you wish your mom was baking some delicious Christmas treats!

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Stylish Storage Solution

December 8, 2014
I love pretty furniture.  I also love practical furniture.  That's why I'm obsessed with the affordable, chic and versatile IKEA Kallax bookcase with 8 cubbies.  It's only $64.99, and can work perfectly in an office, in a playroom (with baskets to corral toys), and as an entry table (which is how I'm currently using it).


We are in a pretty small apartment right now, which means that storage space is extremely important. This bookcase serves as a place to store some vintage china, books, craft supplies, paperwork, and random knickknacks.  I've seen may people use storage boxes or baskets in every cubby hole, but I've opted to only use two baskets and attempt to organize the rest. 


The top of it is also nice and sleek, so it's the perfect spot to showcase some pretty lamps, faux topiary plants, an orchid...pretty much anything!



This piece has recently had a Christmasy makeover, so stay tuned next week to see how it looks now!

NOTE:  The holiday event at Sherman Pickey that I announced last week has been cancelled for the time being.  I apologize for any inconvenience, and thanks to those of you who expressed interest in attending!

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