Happy Happy Nester

Friday, December 19, 2014

Holiday Decorating

happy holidays! 

i’m getting this post out just in the knick of time! whew! the end of this year, has been a pretty busy one for me. between my daughter’s 13th birthday party, halloween, and multiple guests posts, i was non-stop busy. also, my husband has been working long hours, so i’ve been holding down the fort! i feel this time of year is kind of difficult for me, since my father passed away in december, exactly 7 years ago. so i think i’m subconsciously, and emotionally paralyzed. i do feel that this melancholy mood seeps into every other part of my life. i miss him terribly and i try not to think of it most of the year, for fear of becoming sad again. i do have a fond memory of him. every year, he always took a photo of my brother and i, in front of our christmas tree. it was a photo taken in that 1970’s fashion, packages on our laps, and the tree behind us. he wasn’t a very sentimental man, but every year he would pry us from our activities, so that he could take our photo. today, our family traditions are very few, and about the only one we have during this time of year, is taking our holiday photo. this year, we are breaking our tradition and it will be a new year’s photo, since i’m so behind on everything. oh well, better late than never. i have had a fun time with some holiday craft projects and i will post one of them in the new year. anyway, i hope you are having a wonderful holiday season and are able to enjoy the festivities with friends and family.

~ a note about the nester ~
when i was a kid, my father loved going down to our local mall on christmas eve. he just loved watching all the people scurrying around shopping. he really never had any shopping to do, he just loved the hustle and bustle of the shoppers. i usually accompanied him since i was the youngest, and basically had no choice in the matter. 
now, looking back, i’m happy that i tagged along!

here are some of the holiday decorating i did this year.

this year, my porch decor is pretty simple. we usually, get a garland up around the front door, and also snowflake lights line the porch. but alas, we ran out of time and energy and so, i placed some little touches on the door and the seating area.

for a longtime, i've always wanted to make this paper garland made from book pages. it was a little labor intensive, but of course it was so worth it! i got a little carried away, and ended up making two garlands. one for the entertainment center and the other for the mantel. i really think that my husband believes i'm a tiny bit compulsive.

i bet you can't tell what i'm up to here? yes, those are vintage ornaments lining the top of the bowl. well, scroll down and see what i planted in this beautiful bowl that i bought at goodwill. 

i love this old wooden box, and i especially like it with these fun tinsel trees. it has now found a new home on our dinning room table. i repainted the box with annie sloan's chalkpaint, french linen. don't you just love the richness of the color? 

since having children, i've never had a christmas tree that i could decorate all on my own. well, this year i decided to buy a little elf tree and decorate it will all my vintage ornaments. as you can see, i placed it in our family room, and it turned out that my son is still allergic to pine trees. oh well, i ended up relocating it to our front porch. it looks rather cute there, too.

here is our main tree, but i think this is it's last year with us. one branch is broken, and one tier of branches has non working lights. it has been a good little tree and we'll probably donate it to our local thrift store. i do have one funny memory of this tree with our old english sheepdog, named mollie. she would try and go between the tree and a chair and she would squeeze her 100 pound body through this tiny space. well, you can imagine what happen to the tree. it quickly became a rotating tree, the whole tree as well as the ornaments would rotate with her! oh my goodness, was she a spazzy, and funny dog! 

here is the vintage ornament wreath that i made for a guest post. here is the link on how to make it: wreath tutorial

 here is the link for this cute mason jar craft: bottle brush tree tutorial

i'm not sure if any of you know, that california has been in a serious water drought for the last three years. well, this december we have received a ton of rain, which is such a relief! i'm sure we are still way behind on our water levels, but it definitely must be helping. the hills instantly went from a golden brown to a lush wet green. here is my favorite tree and it's wonderful green grass and misty fog!

so, from our family to yours, i wish you a very happy holiday!


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Home Good Giveaway!

hi friends! would you like to win a $25 gift card from home goods? it is really easy, just comment on any of my posts and i’ll enter your name into the hat! the winner will be announce here on wednesday. so, come on back to check if you are the lucky winner.

i will be posting a few photos of our holiday décor next week, so now you have a double reason for a return visit. i hope you are having a nice holiday season and not too stressed out. i’m slowly getting things decorated, this year i changed things out, since i just painted my walls a lighter color. so, now i have more projects to post in january and february!


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Vintage Ornament Wreath

Vintage Ornament 

this is a beautiful vintage wreath that is easy to make, and only requires basically four things. i feel the hardest part of the project is gathering all the vintage ornaments. if you have a difficult time finding them at your local antique stores or ebay, you can always use a blend of new and old, or possibly just create your wreath with all new ornaments. the end results is still fabulous and you won’t be disappointed. hop on over to my guest post for. vintage wreath instructions. also, you can get to know me a little bit more since, i had a sweet interview with coco!


i’ve had a few projects that i’m working on. so let me share them with you.

~ our living room wall color. in the midst of getting ready for the holidays, my new slipcover sofa from crate and barrel arrived. i’m not one to jump ahead and get a room done over when a big piece of furniture will influence the look. so, i waited until the sofa arrived before i changed out my wall color. i’m going with a lighter look and i finally got the color up on the walls, and i’m loving it. so hopefully, for the holidays i can include some photos with my holiday décor.

~ our family room wall décor. i’ve been looking for a solution for our wall above our sofa. i’ve tried everything from various picture frames to finally an ikea mirror. i pretty sure that i’ve found the look this wall needed, and i’m hoping to get it all together for a blog post in the new year.

~ holiday décor. i’ve been trying to figure out what road to take on our living décor. there are definitely certain colors that would not go well with the room’s look. within the last day or so, i’m so happy to have found the colors that go best in the room for this holiday season. to my surprise, the room kind of decided the colors without much help from me! isn’t that funny how that works.

~ trying to get my blog post lined up for the coming months. i would love to hear from you as to what you would like to see more of in 2015! could it be that you would like to see more cooking posts? or possibly more crafts? more home décor? it is easy to write a little comment and tell me what you think. i would love to hear from you!

~ i’m planning on having a monthly san francisco post. my friend, marci and i just adore the city of san francisco, so we would like to discover and share all the nooks and crannies of this wonderful town by the bay. this will include quaint boutique shops and delectable eateries. so, in the new year, come on back for all these exciting posts!

i hope your holidays are going swimmingly? i’m slowly warming up to the spirit, and i’ve got a few projects that i’ll be posting soon. so, stay tuned for some pretty fun and inspiring décor.



Friday, December 5, 2014

Cute Iphone Cases that are Easy to Make

cute iphone
cover case

so are you ready for the holidays? i'm slowly getting into the spirit now that our weather in northern california is starting to turn a little bit more like winter! i'm now no longer wearing flip flops and shorts! anyway, one of the things that i do with each season, is i change out my iphone cover. no, i don't buy a new cover every time i want a new look. i have an adopted clear iphone case and i change out my image whenever i want. the possibilities are endless, and if you are creative and want to put a little bit more effort into this project, you could scrap book a fun little collage. or, use a cute black and white photo of your children or grandchildren for one of the covers. this adopted case would be quite nice for my teenagers! i don’t know about your teens, but my two must have about a dozen iphone cases. luckily, they pay for their new cases, otherwise i would have spent quite a bit of money so far. either way, the adopted clear iphone case is the most versatile cover and accommodates you with an endless amount of changes whenever you want!

~ a funny note about the nester ~

my husband has the same iphone case as me, and he plans to take a really silly holiday paper full of santas and cutesy gingerbread characters and draw on the images. i'm sure he'll create cynical collage, no doubt. as you may have noticed. we couldn't be so opposite! oh, but i love him dearly...

alright let's get started on this project. first off you'll need the adopted clear iphone case. ok, it is a bummer that i couldn't find it on amazon, but i know they still carry it in apple stores. sorry, that i couldn't provide a link for you.

then you’ll need a cute paper which could be scrap booking paper, wrapping paper, a card, a postcard, or a photograph.

all you have to do is just trace your phone case. if you use scrap booking paper and the print is different on each side, make sure to trace it with the paper right side up with the case right side up. otherwise, you’ll have the pattern on the wrong side.

here are a few of my past fun and colorful iphone covers.

here are my summer covers. the polka dot paper is wrapping paper from the papersource, i just love polka dots! here is the link to this blog post: iphone blog post

here is my autumn cover. 

here is my spring cover. i bought this paper at the papersource store, and i believe it might be a rifle paper product. don't you just love the flowers?

this project makes me smile every time i pull out my phone! also, i hope it inspires you to get this special adopted case and make your phone cover that celebrates the seasons! the cool thing about it is that it only costs a few cents to refresh your case and you can personalize it to be one of a kind!


Saturday, November 29, 2014

How to Make Bottle Brush Holiday Trees

Bottle brush
holiday trees

how are you all doing, now that thanksgiving has come and gone and christmas is just around the corner? don’t you just wish that thanksgiving and christmas had a little bit more space between them? march is a slow month for holidays, let’s just add christmas to it! this would mean we would have more time to get all our shopping done, decorate our houses, get greeting cards out and most importantly eat more delicious desserts that accompany the holidays!so, now that the holidays are upon us, i'm excited to begin the crafts and decorating projects. i have a ton of things lined up and one of the crafts involves those cute bottle brush trees. i have done a few craft projects involving mason jars. recently, at my daughter's birthday party the girls put the trees in mason jars, and they came out so cute. here is the link to that blog post:   birthday party     my daughter created another craft that is a wonderful spring project, here is the link: spring mason jar

so, i thought it might be nice to show you how to dye your trees a fun color as well as decorate a mason jar, and a glass cloche.

~ funny note about the nester ~

When our kiddos were little, they wanted to have their picture taken with santa. Well, my husband couldn’t see paying the exorbitant price for the cheesy photo session, so he promised they could meet santa up close and personal. Well, he dressed up as santa despite not having any of the costume pieces. Let’s just say, he was the funniest santa I have ever seen. To give you an idea of how funny he looked, he used cotton balls for his beard!

here is my inspiration for this project. it comes from a wonderful scrap booking shop in berkeley. when you first walk into their shop, you are greeted by not only the shop owner's dogs, but these very cute trees! they have every color imaginable, i only got a few of them in this photo. don't you just love the colors? of course, the minute i saw them, i knew i would be making my own.

so, let's get started. you'll want to buy the standard bottle brush trees. if you want to skip this stage, i believe you can buy them in their natural state. i bought these green trees from hobby lobby. but here is the link from amazon:bottle brush trees

~ next you’ll want 100% bleach, the kind that will take the color off your clothes.

~ then you’ll want to pour it into a glass bowl, a combination of bleach and water. i used 1/2 bleach to 1/2  water. the more water you add the longer it takes to get rid of the color in the trees. just a little note, watch the trees at this stage, if you leave them in too long in the bleach solution, the bristles will fall off. believe me, i had this happen. :)

once they are bleached, rinse well with water. then allow them to dry thoroughly.

next you'll want tim holtz distress ink spray, here is the amazon link: sprays . i bought 3 colors and only used 2 of them. the colors can be pretty intense, and if you are looking for a lighter look, dunk your sprayed tree in a bowl of water until you achieve the shade you want. next you'll want tim holtz distress ink spray. once they are bleached, rinse well with water. then allow them to dry thoroughly.then you can paint a layer of elmers or tacky glue on the outside. sprinkle or roll it in the glitter of your choice. i had bought the colored glitter, but ultimately i loved the white glitter. here is the link: white glitter

then you can paint a layer of elmers or tacky glue on the outside. sprinkle or roll it in the glitter of your choice. i had bought the colored glitter, but ultimately i loved the white glitter.


 You can decorate the tree with beads and jewelry and a cute ribbon.tada... here is the simple mason jar version. i added a string of battery operated twinkle light. i attached the battery part with tape to the inside top of the lid.

tada... here is the simple mason jar version. i added a string of battery operated twinkle light, i bought them off amazon: lights. i attached the battery part with tape to the inside top of the lid.here is the jar that my daughter decorated at her birthday party. she used the decorated trees as is and skipped the bleaching step.

here is the jar that my daughter decorated at her birthday party. she used the decorated trees as is and skipped the bleaching step.

this is definitely a fun and cute project and will brighten up a room. have fun decorating for the holidays and thanks so much for your visit!


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Beautiful Succulent Table Decor

Since the holidays are just around the corner, I’m inspired to share with you a table décor that is not the traditional autumn leaves. But, rather a Thanksgiving table that incorporates the ever popular succulents. As some of you might know, California has been in a severe drought for the last couple of years. I guess our stressed out weathermen are saying that we need 60 days of non-stop rain in order to return to our average rainfall levels. Well, it’s not surprising that this summer, I found succulents to be the perfect plant for my outdoor table. They need very little water and they seem to thrive in the heat! In the Bay Area, gardens are bursting with succulents. They almost look like they would naturally take over neighborhoods. I thought it would be such a nice change to bring them indoors for our Thanksgiving table décor. As you probably have noticed, succulents have so many subtle beautiful shades of green that they quickly take center stage. To read more of my post make sure to visit: A Blissful Nest

Monday, November 17, 2014

10 Helpful Holiday Holiday Cards Ideas

                                                                                                                        photo source: mark yamamoto

10 things i consider when it comes to our holiday card

the holidays are close upon us and i’m starting to think about all my projects for this time of year. when it comes to holiday cards, it’s my observation that there are families that send holiday cards and those that don’t. you have probably guessed by now, that i’m the type who sends them! i feel like it’s kind of a nice way to mark the end of a year. and honestly, i look forward to receiving cards and notes from our long lost friends. don’t you think it's really wonderful to reconnect with various friends? if you are like us, we have lived in so many places and have made so many friends, that a photo card is just a nice thing to receive. when you think about it, our world is pretty electronic these days, so a card that is mailed is somewhat refreshing and tons more personal. additionally, i feel that it celebrates paper in a way that can’t be conveyed on a computer screen!

back when the kids were really young and before there were tiny prints, shutterfly, minted and costco, i was a crazy lady and made our cards by hand! i’m not sure what i was thinking, but i guess i needed a creative outlet that did not include toddler activities! for instance, i could only draw in a coloring books so much, before i realized i was adding shading and highlights to the cartoon characters! anywho, every year, i plan our holiday cards during the month of november. so, i thought it would be nice to share my process and the 10 things that are good to consider in planning your photo. 

one thing i should mention is that i decided to highlight tiny prints, since i’m an affiliate for their company. as a blogger, we can make a few dollars by writing an article and generating some sales. i only blog about my advertisers when i feel it naturally fits into something I truly believe in. i have always wanted to write a post about holiday cards, so it made sense to include tiny prints. also, i have bought their cards and i feel they make a great product. here is the link: tiny prints

 ~ A funny note about the nester ~ 

i'm saving up for a serious camera since, 
most of my photos for this blog are taken on my little old iphone camera! 
i have a teeny, tiny, stash of mad money, so wish me luck!

10 things to help you plan for your holiday card photo

1. choose your card first 
in the past couple of years, i used to take the family photo first. then, i painstakingly tried to figure out which card worked best with the photo. last year, i decided to switch up the process and picked the card first. this arrangement works great. here is what i realized, your card choice will dictate most of the photography choices. for instance, horizontal vs vertical, color vs black and white, and possibly subject matter. if you choose the card first you'll also be guaranteed that a card and photo will work together, i've had many a years in which my photo just didn't quite fit with the layout or the color scheme.

photo source: tiny prints

2. choose either a black/white or color photo
most card companies allow you to edit your photo, so if you have a color photo you can change easily change it to black and white. also, a lot of camera apps have the same feature. 

photo source: tiny prints

3. choose either an indoor or outdoor photo location  
since, the weather here in northern california is pretty predictable, we pretty much shoot outdoors. i feel that natural lighting can be gorgeous, and plus most of us don't have professional camera lights! in regards to an outdoor location, some fun possibilities are porches, fields, barns, cars, paths, ponds, parks, trails, a christmas tree farm, and some interesting inner city walls of all things. indoor shots could include, couches, in front of a christmas tree and fireplace, on the floor, on your stairway, or on a big comfy bed.

photo source: tiny prints

photo source: tiny prints

photo source: tiny prints

4. camera position 
do you like a close up or a far away photo? do you want the shot straight on, looking up, or looking down? my brother is a professional photographer and has done a few celebrity photo sessions. when he photographed brooke shields, she insisted that he shoot her from above. of course, she was right and according to portrait photographers, the angle from above is more flattering. photographing people straight on, captures us at our widest angle… yikes!

5. decide on a pose 
classic or candid, this is a personal choice. you can all hold hands, kiss, hug, lying down, etc. if you are like us, we are pretty silly and we are always in a big a hug fest. we like the real us to come through in our photo, so we always choose candid. 

photo source: tiny prints

photo source: tiny prints

6. choose your clothes ahead of time 
there are some pretty amazing blogs out there that actually give you examples of clothing schemes. some ideas that i have seen are, denim and white, tan and light colors (neutral colors), greens and tans, orange and browns, mint, plaids, aqua, tan and maroon with a pop of yellow. i like mostly the same color on all of us and then have a pop of one warm color repeated on one adult and one child. it works best if the color is repeated twice for consistency and a visual statement. 

photo source: tiny prints
here is an example of the color being repeated twice, note the purple on the woman and the daughter’s leggings. 

photo source: janine waite

here is our photo, where we are mostly dressed in grey and i repeated 2 bright colors. note the red on my daughter top and the red in my scarf.

7. horizontal or vertical orientation 
this will be determined by the card you choose. so making that decision before taking the photo, helps so much! it took me quite a few holiday cards to figure this out! 

8. decide if you want to use props  
there are so many ideas out there on pinterest! i’ve seen people use benches, kid’s wagons, bikes, old cars, balloons, letters, hats, umbrellas, and much more. design mom has a great post on her photo session with her children. here is the link: design mom blog 

photo source: tiny prints

photo source: tiny prints

   photo source:bmcblog 

photo source: tiny prints

9. consider the lighting and time of day you want to shoot 
i took a wonderful photography class on-line from a husband and wife team. there blog, white on rice is all about photography, travel and recipes. here is the link: white on rice. they have such a great style and have a ton of good ideas. one thing that they suggested is to take notes on the light in a specific place during the day. natural lighting varies throughout the day, and so it is important to find the best lighting for your photo. i have each room in our house logged with the best lighting, it is quite fascinating!

10. take a snap shot 
with your phone camera, take a pre-snap shot to check out if the location and light will work. this will save a lot of time and effort. 

i found this great make-up video from cara's blog, maskcara. the video is so helpful and it's not too complicated. something i learned from watching it was to not only powder your face but, also powder your neck! this makes your make-up look more natural and consistent on camera. so check out cara's blog and video: maskcara blog

thanks so much for visiting!
definitely planning before the photo shoot pays off! i thought with all the holiday craziness, i would help provide some helpful holiday card ideas. i'm going to take each day one at a time and try and enjoy the festivities and not stress too much. i hope this post is informative and that you are now inspired to design and order your photo holiday card!


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