In pursuit of a simple, fabulous, imperfect life at home.

Packing Up Christmas

I know that many of you won't even be thinking about packing up the Christmas decorations until after New Years, and that's fine. I love how fresh and simple my home looks after the decorations come down, so I eagerly ditched the tree yesterday.  Let me share some tips to make packing things away (and pulling them out again next year!) a little bit simpler.

  • Sort items into totes labelled for different types of Christmas Items.  I have a tote for the tree decorations, one for miscellaneous indoor decor, one for holiday linens and dishes, one for wreaths and one for garland and extra lights.  I also have a large tote for all of the exterior decorations, but I will leave them up at least until the new year. Totes labelled for each area of the house would make sense too.

  • Now is a good time to consider purging anything you didn't use this year.  Some things, like favorite ornaments that didn't fit on a smaller than usual tree, are no-brainer keepers.  But Maybe you have some lights that are are missing so many bulbs that there is no sense packing them away again?  Or ornaments that never seem to actually make it to the tree because, lets face it, you don't like them them very much?
  • Shop your recycling bins for storage containers. Egg cartons are the perfect size to safely store mini glass balls.  Re-purposed cookie tins work well for larger ornaments.  
  • Place sparkly things in zip top bags to keep them from shedding sparkles on everything else.
  • Place things in the totes in the order you expect to need them. For example, my tree tote has lights at the top, followed by bead garland, then ornaments and then a star at the bottom.
  • If you have young children, consider packing all of the non-breakable tree ornaments together in one little container. Next year when you are unpacking everything with excited little hands around you can pass them the whole box of felt and plastic ornaments and let them have a blast  decorating the bottom branches of the tree while you place the more breakable ones higher up.

Thank you so much for visiting The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking.

What to do with Old Christmas Cards

As we've received Christmas cards this year we've been hanging them around our pantry door. I love to display the cards we've been sent. It makes me feel so loved to see them all taking over that corner of our kitchen!  But it's almost time to take them down and I need to decide what I'm going to do with them.

I've searched the web and found some great ways to use up all those lovely cards we've received over the holidays.

Why not create a lovely Christmas card wreath?
via Good Housekeeping

Or make a simple bunting from those recycled cards!  I absolutely *LOVE* this idea!
via HomeLife

This recycled greeting card ornament looks fairly easy to make and is really cute!
via ScoutieGirl
Or you could turn cards from this year into sweet gift tags for next year!

via Hudson&Co.

What do you do with the cards you've received once the holidays are over?

Christmas Pizza (and my homemade pizza dough recipe!)

Today's activity on our Christmas Advent Calendar was Christmas Pizza.  Which is really just ordinary pizza in the shape of Christmas trees.  Our regular toppings became decorations, and our normal Friday night meal became something really special!

Easy and Delicious Homemade Pizza Dough
Makes two large pizzas

2 tsp active dry yeast (I use quick rise yeast for everything because I am impatient!)
pinch of sugar
2 scant cups of warm water
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil

1. Combine yeast, sugar and warm water.  Let sit for a few minutes to get the yeast going.   Dump in the remaining ingredients and stir, then knead until you have a slightly sticky dough.  If dough is too sticky to handle, add a tiny bit more flour. I knead mine in my stand mixer with a dough hook, but I've done it by hand too and that works just as well.

2. Let dough rise for 20 minutes while you cut up the toppings and grate the cheese.

3. On a floured counter, roll dough out.  Toss it up in the air and catch it a few times just to make your toddler squeal with delight. 

4. Top with sauce, cheese, and other desired toppings.  Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.


2011 Christmas House Tour

Today I'm participating in the Christmas Home Tours Linky Party at The Inspired Room.  I've had so much fun dressing my home up for Christmas, and I'm thrilled to give you a tour.  Grab a cup of cocoa, I snapped a lot of pictures!

I like for my Christmas decor to be both rustic and elegant, classic, simple and inviting.  I use armloads of greenery (fresh and fake) and wide satin ribbons.

My husband and I got married on Christmas Eve, so I use some of the mementos from our wedding as tree ornaments.

My So Simple Christmas Centerpiece

My Christmas stockings made from old sweaters

I made a tiny cedar wreath to go around this little elephants neck and it makes me smile every time I see it.  I believe that the little things like this can really make the difference between stale mall decor and a cheerful Christmas home!

My Advent Activities Calendar

I hung some faux mistletoe and a red ribbon on a photo above our bed. 

 Even a basket full of Christmas presents in the making got a touch of Christmas Cheer!

My favorite thing about decorating for Christmas is the way that twinkling lights can draw our attention to the magic of our every day lives...

...and they are pretty magical, aren't they?

Thank You so much for stopping by my Christmas House Tour.  Please take a second to "like"me on Facebook or follow me on twitter.

Christmas Stockings Made from Sweaters

As many of you already know, we added two adorable new members to our family this year.

Which means we were in need of two adorable new stockings.  So I made some out of thrift store sweaters!

I laid the sweater inside out on the table.

And put a stocking I already had on top.

I traced the shape and pinned it so that the front and back of the sweater wouldn't shift while sewing.

And then I machine stitched on the lines before cutting so that the sweater won't unravel. Then I cut around the stitches.

 And turned the stocking right side out.

And then, just like everything else a mommy of twins does, I did the same thing all over again!

I hung the stockings on an extra baluster I found on the basement. I just drilled some holes in it and hung it on some removable adhesive command hooks so that I can remove the whole thing after Christmas!

I can hardly wait to fill them with small gifts on Christmas Eve!

How is your Christmas decorating coming?  Have you made anything Christmassy lately?  Feel free to share a link in the comments below to share your own Christmassy crafts...I'd love to see them!
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