Hello everyone, I know I've been MIA, but like many of you, the holidays have had me rushing around to a million and one stores. Mainly I've been wrapping gifts and making list after list of things I've forgotten to pick up. There is light at the end of the tunnel...I am down to just 3 more people to shop for, and of course I've saved the hardest for last :) The holidays also mean a lot of mixed emotions. Joy and excitement at seeing my sister and brother in law when they fly in from Alaska, but also sadness and heart ache that Nick is no longer here with us. It's hard managing both feelings without feeling bipolar. I just keep blaming it on hormones, but the truth is that the holidays will never be the same without him. That's all you get on that subject, on to the more cheerful stuff...our tree.
I've been trying to keep up with some of my favorite blogs, and I honestly don't know how they do it to have their stuff all together. It just makes me realize that I am probably the worst blogger ever. I am MIA a lot and my house is always in some sort of disarray. I haven't even finished decorating, ay, ay, ay....bad Veronica.
One thing that has been ready for a while is our tree. Every year since my husband and I got married, we have had a traditional red, gold, green tree. We've reused the same decorations, bows, garland, etc... Last year I had my tree in the living room in the corner that is now taken up by the expedit bench I put together:
I knew that the tree would have to go in the dining room this year, and I was totally okay with it, since the dining room window is at the front of the house and I have always wanted to have my tree visible from the street. Don't you just love driving down your street and seeing all your neighbors' trees lit up in their windows? I do. I adore it.
I also knew that the traditional color scheme wouldn't fly this year since I went completely neutral in that room. That was okay too, I have been itching to try my hand at a neutral tree. I wish I could say that my tree ended up super fantabulous, but nope, it's kind of a hot mess. The tree itself is a sad, cheap little thing that my husband and I picked up probably 7 years ago when we were still living on a single E3 income. For those of you who don't know about military pay, an E3's income is not a whole lot. So we bought this sad little Charlie Brown tree (as I like to call it) and have loved it year after year despite its poor looks. Sure he's scrawny, missing lots of branches, and kinda leans a little, but he has so many great memories attached to him, I just can't bring myself to part with his scraggly butt. So without further ado, here is our 2012 tree:
I know I said it was totally neutral, but I just couldn't leave out our choo choo Christmas train. We love this thing. It plays Christmas music and makes train sounds. My mother in law sent it to us last year and my daughter is obsessed with it....okay, alright, I'll admit I am too.
I figured since we had some red in the train, it was pointless to switch out the skirt, so I kept our old tree skirt.
We've always used a shiny maroon star tree topper, but in keeping with the neutral theme, I made a big pom pom bow using two types of gold ribbon. I used the same gift pom pom bow method. The ribbon wasn't quite the right texture, but it turned out okay. I only wish I'd thought to string lights through it because it looks dark at night.
I didn't use any of our red or maroon bows, but I did use our old gold bows.
Though I tried to keep the tree as neutral as possible, I couldn't help putting up some of my old, favorite ornaments:
My husband laughed when I chose this cactus at Bronner's Christmas Wonderland one year. He knew it reminded me of my home town: the place we met, were married, and where my grandparents still reside.
I also kept all the Army ornaments we've collected over the years. They are hanging next to an ornament that bears his name.
Since I didn't have any silver ornaments, I picked up a few and added words to them using glitter glue. I need to go back and touch them up. I have a sneaking suspicion that a certain 3 year old got her hands on them before they were dry.
I also picked up clear ornaments and added our names and some decorations, again using glitter glue.
Yes, even the dogs get an ornament:
Since I had picked up so many ribbons on sale at Michaels, I used some of them to make new bows for the new color scheme:
I also wrapped the tree in several ribbons to try and cover up its nakedness. Sometimes I think I like the vertical and horizontal ribbons, and sometimes I just want to pull them all off and start over again. I guess the only reason I haven't yanked them is that I haven't had any time!
My adorable, nosy, elderly neighbor was snooping through my window one day and when she rang the doorbell, she asked, "Veronica, where did you get that beautiful ribbon with the words on it?" I was like, how did you know I had ribbon with words on it? Then I put two and two together and realized she'd been looking in my window. It was so funny. Anyway, the ribbon is from Michaels. I went back to get her a roll and it was all sold out, so I guess it was pretty popular this year.
The ribbon didn't cover up all the sparse areas so I added some gold and clear garlands (also from Michaels).
So that's the story of our tree, poor little thing.
The only thing it's missing are the photo ornaments I picked up half off at Hobby Lobby a few weeks back. I am loving all the photos I've been seeing on trees lately so I couldn't pass up these little beauties:
These plain beige frames aren't ornaments, but I had them leftover from another project so I figured I'd add them to the tree too:
As you've probably noticed from the photos, I have some gifts stacked up next to the tree. They used to be on my dining room table, but they started interfering with my gift wrapping so I had to come up with a display solution. First I considered adding a box under my tree to raise it up and allow enough space underneath for the gifts. The only problem was that there are so many gifts, they would have to go on the track too and then I wouldn't be able to use the train. Eva's huge princess castle goes in this corner, but I decided to move it to her bedroom in order to open up space for the gifts. Since I didn't have a small table for the gifts, I improvised and stacked some holiday rubbermaids and the emptry tree box, then I covered it all with a white table cloth.
No one will ever know, muahahahaha....unless they read this blog...crap!
Here are some of the presents, stacked on my rubbermaids:
I tried to stick with gold, silver, and white for the paper, but added greens and grays to my stack of gold and silver ribbons. I also copied something from my talented mother in law. She always attaches a glittery ornament to every gift, and I've always loved it because in addition to receiving a gift, you are also receiving an ornament to add to your tree. So this year I picked up tons of glittery ornaments at the Dollar Tree and Big Lots, and added them to the gifts:
I wanted to take some good pictures of the tree at night, but I don't have a tripod to hold the camera super steady, so here are some of the attempts I made while playing with the ISO and aperture:
I also wanted to capture the way the Christmas lights shine on these glitter ornaments, but I have no idea what settings would capture it perfectly. I just know that I love walking into the dining room and seeing all the shiny sparkles everywhere.
With this cold front that came through, and the gifts accumulating around the tree, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas :) and I, for one, can not wait!
I will try my darndest to get a home tour up this week, which means I need to kick my butt into overdrive or we may end up having a very Griswold Christmas!