You guys — I got a new toy. It’s called a pyrography pen (aka it burns stuff) and I think I’m in love. Now, before you take that as an admission of my pyromaniac tendencies, let me explain. These nifty little pens come with interchangeable tips that heat up and let you etch pretty designs on things. While many people use these pens to burn designs into wood, I had an aha! moment during one of my holiday brainstorming sessions with Joanna and decided to take my favorite new toy to leather. What came of this flash of inspiration is this beautiful leather stocking etched with a hand-drawn Fair Isle pattern and finished with colorful tassels for a look that combines classic Nordic charm with festive style that feels perfect for the holidays. And since the stocking is made from vegetable-tanned leather, it’ll patina beautifully with age, making it perfect to keep and reuse each year as part of your holiday decorating tradition. Today I am going to teach you how to make your very own Fair Isle Leather Stocking!
I feel like I say this every year, but this year it’s especially true: I can’t believe it’s almost Christmas! We’re just about a month out from the big day, so it’s officially time to get festive up in here. While I was doing some early holiday perusing in the past couple of weeks, I kept coming across beautifully wrought garlands from some of my favorite home decor retailers. And while these styles were beautiful, why buy something when you can make it — right?
I wanted something delicate and beautiful, something that I could use year-round if I wanted to, and I definitely wanted something that twinkled. With these criteria in mind, I armed myself with a roll of 36-gauge aluminum and a pair of scissors and got to work fiddling around until I had something I was proud of. The result of that hands-on brainstorm was this wonderfully delicate falling-leaf garland, strung from fairy lights and gently antiqued for a chic, expensive-looking finish.
Has anyone else noticed that Christmas posts seem to be popping up earlier and earlier this year?? We did! It felt like good time to share our first holiday DIY: Modern Door Swag! The coolest part about swag is that it is truly customizable. You can make it as simple as a pretty evergreen branch that you dress up a little with a ribbon… or it can be layers and layers of beautiful greens and flowers! Because this holiday season we want to be a bit ‘extra,’ we combined different types of greenery and foliage for a modern take on traditional door swag. It’s the perfect way to welcome guests next week for Thanksgiving (and pretty easy, too).
I’ll admit, when Joanna asked for “no pinks” in this year’s Thanksgiving arrangement, I was a little disappointed. I LOVE autumn pinks and use them ubiquitously this time of year. Our Thanksgiving centerpiece and tablescape last year is a great example of how you can use pink to decorate for this holiday. However, as is usually the case when I’m pushed outside my comfort zone a little, I had so much fun not using pinks in this arrangement. Instead we embraced golden-yellows, shades of ivory, and some pretty dried tidbits like dried baptisia pods and dried branches. It was really fun to mix together traditional fall flowers (like the mums) with unexpected elements — and all in a modern vase!
So I know that spring cleaning is a thing, but what about fall freshening? There’s something about the changing of seasons that makes me want to refresh my life — my closet, my home, my mind. It’s a great time of year to clean out your closet, wash those flannel sheets that have been hanging out in your linen closet all summer and generally make your house a little cleaner and a little cozier. (Joanna’s note: This is especially true when your closet is as tiny as ours!)
For me, this process always involves scent. At night, I love to light some fall-scented candles and during the day, I love to spritz a bit of DIY essential oil room spray around my house. I keep a stash of a few different scents so I can use the one that best suits my mood. Right now I can’t get enough of eucalyptus essential oil spray since it smells so peaceful and has the added benefit of boosting immunity due to its antimicrobial properties (stay away, flu season!).
Making Shampoo Bars Is Easier Than You Think!
I’ll admit, when Joanna asked me to try my hand at making some shampoo bars, I was intimidated. Soap making always seemed like a big undertaking done by the likes of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other sturdy prairie women who had to make do with what they had. But once I started researching the process, I realized how incredibly easy (and satisfying!) it is. After a little bit of math and some crazy scientist-style mixing, you’re left with wonderful-smelling shampoo bars that are way better than store-bought liquid shampoo. Today we’re sharing our customizable shampoo bar recipe made with rose essential oil, shea butter, coconut oil, and other good stuff!
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The more I work with all sorts of flora, the more I love the entire life span of the ingredients I work with, including their death phase. In autumn, plants begin to die, producing seed pods and dried crunchy leaves. The texture alone is dreamy. I also love how the colors of the foliage shift and change as it begins to dry. In this low, dramatic Halloween centerpiece arrangement, I combine these dried floral elements with freshly bloomed dahlias to create an effect that reminds us all of the circle of life and how these seed pods will result in new flowers next year… plus, it is the perfect way to bring a floral element into your next Halloween-themed gathering!