Happy New Year

Happy New Year friends!  I hope everyone had a restful and relaxing holiday.  I’m still nursing my second cold in the last 3 weeks so it’s been slow going on the restart here at Chez Sledge.

What is it about the last 2 Decembers that they just flew by?  Another holiday season, I blinked, and next thing you know Jefe and I are hauling our sad, dry skeleton of a Christmas tree to the curb for recycling. We had all sorts of plans this year, most of which we accomplished.  It did, however, leave little time for blogging.  So here’s a little recap of the Holidays with Sledge:

Black Friday – Jefe and I continued our tradition for the 5th year in a row of braving the masses at Disneyland.  It truly is the happiest place on Earth and best place to start getting in to the holiday spirit.  Everything is covered in lights, ornaments and general festiveness.  This year we decided to try out a few new restaurants as we’ve done all of the rides so many times.

After watching CHEF, we were craving beignets and heard raves about those shaped like a Mickey at Cafe Orleans.  Our lunch was delicious, especially Jefe’s Croque Monsieur, but we were left so full that there was no room for beignets.  Sad Mickey :-(.

For dinner we trekked over to California Adventure to Carthay Circle.  It looked like something you’d find in Beverly Hills in the 1920’s.  Just a stunning combination of art deco meets spanish mission.  And the food was good enough to rival any trendy restaurant in Weho.

Disneyland - Sleeping Beauty's Castle

Disneyland - Jefe & Sledge

 

The next day we piled in the car and headed to our favorite tree lot to pick this year’s winning Noble Fir.  After little deliberation, we decided on the fullest pine tree I have ever tried to decorate.  He stood about 7 feet tall.  We debated whether we could have gone taller, but the 8-9 foot Firs were not looking nearly as Noble.

Chauvet Farms Tree Stand - Culver City

The Noblest of Firs

We invited Jefe’s parents over that night to help decorate and quickly realized that next year, we can definitely go with a taller tree thanks to our 9-foot high ceilings, but I’m still more than pleased with this year’s selection.

Holiday Coffee Spread

 

A holiday coffee spread to invigorate for tree decorating!

So the next 24 hours we spent decking the halls.  The only new addition to this year’s festive artillery was a $2.99 traditional star tree topper from Ikea and a few ornaments from Disneyland.

Morning Coffee Done Right

Hines Ward Ornament!

 

Xmas Tree 2014

Stockings

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Nutcrackers!

 

More Nutcrackers

 

Nutcrackers!!!

Holiday Cards

 

Little Village

The following weekend Jefe and I jetted off to New York to celebrate my birthday and decorate tree #2, Jefe’s brothers.  We did it last year and it was so fun to be able to continue the tradition this year.  I also managed to drag Jefe to the ballet for the first time to see “The Nutcracker” at Lincoln Center, did some holiday sight-seeing, did an awesome #museumhack tour of the Met and caught up with my high school friend Beth!

The Met

NY Public Library Lions

Rockefeller Tree

The ballet!

SM #1 and #2

This brings us to mid-December already!  After 5 months of living in our new place, we finally decided to host a housewarming / holiday / birthday party.  Things were a little harried prepping for guests so I didn’t manage to get any photos but I can say that Trader Joe’s can make a mean appetizer.  You really can fool anyone in to thinking something was homemade when it’s fresh out of the oven and artfully displayed on a Santa platter.  I’m pretty sure 95% of the food we offered came from TJ’s.  Seriously, it’s the best way to host – no cooking, just artful arrangements.

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Falalala sign courtesy of Oh Joy!’s line at Target

By the following week, Jefe and I were packing our bags to head back east.  Within the span of 7 days, we slept in 5 beds and traveled via UBER, plane, train and mom’s automobile.  We made merry in Los Angeles, Lancaster and Tyrone, PA and New York City.  It was quite the whirlwind.

Family Cousins

Cousins reunion in Tyrone, PA

Jefe & I Xmas Eve 2014

Jefe & I on Christmas Eve

Casey & his Elf

My brother Casey and his “elf on a shelf” (our nephew Raylen)

And here’s a little tour of my mom’s place all decked out.  I get the Christmas love honestly…

Mom's Dining Room

No fireplace means stockings go on the chairs 😀

Mom's - Dining Room

I love me a good tartan tablecloth!

Mirror on display

I love this old window-turned-mirror.  Wouldn’t be Xmas without some lit garland though.

Mom's Xmas Tree 2014

Excuse the lack of focus.  This was prior to 9am and I hadn’t had ANY coffee yet….

And some of Christmas in NY (Jefe was so bummed he missed the Met #museumhack tour, we went again!):

The Met - Again!

30 Rock

Time Warner Center

And then I caught the plague which had me laid up on my mother’s couch for the next 5 days.  New Years Eve was spent with my family, one good friend who braved my contagion thanks to a hearty dose of antibiotics, and a piping hot mug of green tea.  No champe this year for the Champe Champ.

Then Jefe and I headed back to LA where we undecked the halls and dragged our poor tree out to the curb.  Nothing makes me sadder than seeing Christmas trees on the side of the road.  Their time is so short….

Packing Up

Leftover Candy Canes

We have a lot of candy canes to get through in January….

Boy and his toys

Jefe got distracted from un-decorating by a Christmas present…

And to wrap it all up, one final shot of our beautiful tree of 2014:

Christmas Tree 2014

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Gobble Gobble DIY

As promised last week, we’re going to do a little time traveling here on SWS and travel back to the days of yore – holiday season so that I can recap some of my fabulously festive projects for you.  Today I’m sharing with you the little last-minute DIY burlap runner I whipped together in the few days before Thanksgiving.

Threshold Trellis Runner

This idea came to me when I realized that my new, lovely fall-themed Threshold runner from Target probably wouldn’t make it through Turkey Day unscathed.  It also didn’t look like it would hold up well through a cycle in the washer, so I decided that I needed an alternative runner option for our holiday table.  Enter free burlap fabric I had stashed in a drawer for the last year.

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I knew I wanted something Thanskgiving themed and after seeing more than my fair share of “Give Thanks” signs across Pinterest, I decided to make my own.  As my painting skills are seriously sub-par, I headed to Michael’s for some stencils provided by the god of craft, Martha.  Her stencils are pricey, so I searched for one with the highest likliehood of reuse, whipped out my coupon via iPhone, and dolled out $31 to the cashier (note: this was for ALL supplies purchased).  Now, I realize that this is $11 more than I paid for the finished runner I purchased at Target, but I really was looking for a one-of-a-kind piece that I made myself and the supplies I can reuse for many projects to come.

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Had there been more time this holiday season, I would have attempted to hand-make most of my gifts included a few of these bad boys for family members, but as we all know, December was a BLUR this year.

So, down to the nitty gritty.  First, I took one look at my burlap and knew it needed finished edges.  I used this tip (and overall DIY as a base) from Inspired By Charm and for the first time managed to cut a clean edge with the this type of fabric.

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Then I whipped out my handy no-sew hem type (who has room for a sewing machine anymore?!) and really cleaned up those edges.

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Half-way through I also realized I *might* want to iron the rest of the fabric – just keeping it real folks.

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And it wasn’t until I had already done 2 corners that I realized I should be paying a *bit* more attention to detail, and decided to neatly fold the ends to give them a more finished and professional look.  (Did I mention it was VERY late at night when I finished this?!)

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Once I had the finished edges, I decided on my stencil design which I didn’t want it to look like a stencil – I chose to use a small brush to connect any lines.  When planning the spacing, laying the stencils out side by side left too much space between the letters in particular.  So I traced them on to a piece of paper with the desired spacing and laid them out.

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The blue painters tape represents both the horizontal and vertical centers of the burlap.

With that done, it was time to pull out the paint.  I kept the pencil tracing versions for reference and moved VERY slowly.  We don’t want this looking like a craft project, now do we?

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Once I had the middle painted, I decided it needed just a little more punch, so I pulled out another stencil to finish the ends.

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(Ignore the pulled thread in the middle of the fabric.  A casualty discovered too late in the game to stop crafting…)

After a few hours dry time, I had myself a new table runner!

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On Thanksgiving Day, I was a bit preoccupied cooking an entire dinner for Jefe’s family to do much decorating, but I did manage to throw together an acceptable table setting.  At the time I was so busy and decided that ironing the table cloth was not worth the added fuss, but now that I see these pictures, I’m quickly regretting that.

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Kudos go to Momma Sny for the turkey place card holders courtesy of the Dollar Spot at Target.  Dishware is Ikea 365 (5+ years old) and the napkins and water glasses were new from World Market.

The menu included a brined, 16 lb.  turkey (World Market’s Turkey Brine has done me well twice now), Momma Sny’s sweet potatoes, some mashed potatoes with a touch of garlic, stuffing, Jenny Hobick’s Bacon Green Beans, homemade cranberry sauce, my grandmother’s secret recipe apple pie and 2 pumpkin pies from Magnolia Bakery.  We capped it off with some fabulous wine and some VERY tired feet on my part.

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(secret Snyder family recipe apple pie, before baking)

So naturally the next day I did what any sane person would do after spending the previous day on her feet, cooking a meal for hours on end: ventured to Disneyland for Black Friday!

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