Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Gallery Wall

This year, I forbid myself from spending on Christmas decor, save for a few items that were $5 or less. We live in a small one-bedroom apartment, and with three totes full of Christmas decor stored in the basement, I couldn't bear the thought of more stuff. Oh, and I wanted to save money ;)

Our living room has a gallery wall arranged around our television. It seemed like a great place to decorate, since I would simply be replacing items on the wall, instead of cluttering up our space. Here's what our wall looks like normally:

… and after a little holiday spruce up:

The only item that I purchased was the "happy holidays" sign from our local grocery store for beans. I snagged the wreath from our bedroom and replaced it with a simple framed image. The skating Santa and Mrs. Claus (who's crazy thin, eh?) came from a Mary Englebrit journal from 2007 and I tacked the page up with a couple of strips of washi tape. I always have a stack of canvasses on hand, and I had one that I was stuck on. I covered it over entirely and started fresh, and made the simple red canvas. I think I may keep it up for longer than just December!

I stuck an artificial evergreen garland and white lights on the top of the bookshelf, along with a set of three wooden white trees that came from Wicker Emporium a year or two ago that I purchased with birthday money. The red "joy" marquee sign was purchased at Target a couple of weeks ago with this year's birthday money. Simple, plain, but jazzes up our space just enough.

Side note: I'm attempting to learn how to use my dSLR in manual mode, so forgive my blurry pictures, would you? There's a learning curve that I'm desperately clinging to and it's taking some serious time.

How about you? What approach do you take to decorating for the holidays? Do share!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Christmas Invitation

I'm popping in to extend an invitation to you for this upcoming Sunday. Our church is putting on a community Christmas carolling event that all are welcome to attend. I had fun designing the mailbox stuffer invitation for the event. Please join us if you're in the area!

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Ornament Swap

This year, I participated in a fun blog swap organized by Leigh of All You Need Is Love . It was for Canadian bloggers (score!) to exchange Christmas ornaments - great idea, right?

For the swap, I was paired up with Jen of Daydreams & Shoestrings. (You can see what I sent to her in Jen's post on the exchange.) We were encouraged to share our decorating style or theme with our partners. I told Jen that at Christmas, I love to decorate with white, red and natural ornaments and decor. She took that and ran with it! Look at the goodies that she sent me:

Such sweet choices! Two little owls made out of natural fibres, and a wooden tree with the year and occasion written on the back. Even the red bag with the vines and moose was spot on with my decorating style (a bigger shot of it is back at the top of the post). A package of peppermint sticks was a fun addition. The Christmas card was cheery and sweet, too:

To top things off, Jen had checked out my blog and noticed our little nugget. She sent the sweetest little soft penguin for Violet! Thanks Jen, Violet snuggled up to him right away. He's a new favourite around here. V only let me snap one picture before Mr. Penguin started being swung around for dear life.

If you have the opportunity to participate in a blogger swap of any kind, I highly recommend it. I've enjoyed my experience every time that I've been involved in a swap. Canadian shipping is a real downer, with the cost and speed, but the benefits of the swap outweigh that.

Thanks for the swap, Leigh and Jen! Those ornaments are getting me one step closer to being decorated for Christmas :)

Friday, December 5, 2014

Shutterfly : My Own Experience

As I mentioned last week, I've been ordering from Shutterfly recently. Back in June, I had a graduation photo shoot done with my graphic design classmates. One of our instructors, Wendy McElmon, is a professional photographer, and she did our session. With a hot-off-the-press Violet in tow, we strolled the streets, looking for the perfect locations. We got some really neat shots!

I'm bad for leaving my photos on my computer, but since this was a professional shoot, I was determined to take advantage of it. After consulting with a few friends, I chose Shutterfly to design and print my photo book. Their program was easy to use, and had great, simple page layouts. 

If I have any advice to share, it's this: cell phone photos don't print super clearly straight from the phone. If you have access to any photo-editing software, take the time to change the DPI to something a bit more print-quality. Some of the other items I've had printed that were phone photos didn't turn out so hot. I've had great luck with the album, though!

The great thing about Shutterfly is that they always have a deal or promotion going on. Don't ever order full price! If you're patient, the deal that you're looking for is right around the corner. 

I have one of those promos to share with you today! From today through December 8th, you can save 50% off of select photo books, cards, stationary and calendars with the code BESTOFFER . Can't beat that! I'm not sure if your item will arrive by the holidays, but the books make fantastic Christmas presents. I may or may not have ordered one as a gift myself!

Thanks for letting me share my grad book with you today. Let me know if you cash in on any offers! I'm an affiliate of Shutterfly, so I'll get a small percentage if you order anything through my links, but I was not asked nor will I be compensated for this post. I just wanted to share with you. Have a great weekend! 

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