Dec 25, 2014

Seasons Greetings

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season with much love and fun. I'll be taking a few much needed days off on the blog and return in the New Year.

Below are some pics of the beautiful lights down at the Beach Boardwalk by our place. We took the kiddos for a walk along the lit path and then treated ourselves with hot chocolate.



Dec 24, 2014

Simple DIY Holiday Open House

Hi friends,

The holidays are upon and it's a race to the finish here at Casa Marshall. Over this past weekend, we hosted a Christmas Open House for friends and family. It was a fun way to catch up with everyone and celebrate the holiday season.

Today, I will share how we set up for the open house and some of the DIY things we did. We hosted about 70 adults and kids over a 4 hour period. People came and went so it wasn't all at the same time thank goodness.

I kept things really simple and didn't go over the top. I gave serious thought to hiring caterers but in the end I just couldn't justify the expense. After combing Pinterest for ideas, I decided on simple cold platters that would be self serve.

We set up the following spread for our guests:

  • A cheese and fruit tray with sliced baguettes
  • An antipasto tray with prosciutto, salami and olives
  • Veggies with dip ( I tried to use more exotic veggies like steamed asparagus, beets, mushrooms, and beans plus the usual carrots and baby tomatoes). 
  • Samosas from the Samosa King
  • Christmas Cookies (bought from a local bakery)

Here are some pics of the arrangements:




These cookies were shortbread for our local grocery store. I iced them and added toasted almonds and sugared ginger. The look I was going for was homemade ;)

It was a mid afternoon event and the casual nibbles worked well. I probably should have re-stocked the cheese tray mid way through the event and it would have been lovely to have a bar tender who restocked drinks and tidied glasses but we did okay.

For drinks we set up a DIY bar with punch (virgin), wine, prosecco, beer and spirits. The Prosecco was a huge hit. We put it out in ice buckets so it was easily accessible and it went quickly. The punch worked well too and the kids really enjoyed the self serve container. We also had vodka, gin and rum plus mixers but there wasn't many takers on those (likely due to the afternoon timing).

The decor was kept very simple too. I tried to use seasonal greens and leverage what we already had. I purchased some 50% off carnations and made the following arrangement for under $8


And my wonderful hubby bought me these lovelies for the party:


I used gold wrapping paper as wall paper to add some easy festive glamour (this is a shot from before we set up the cookie buffet)


Overall, a fun afternoon that we pulled off on our own for a reasonable price. It was a lot of work though. I don't see us making this annual tradition due to the effort involved but maybe every few years.

I leave you today with this inspirational thought:
Thanks for stopping by!

Dec 18, 2014

Stylish Christmas Tree or Family Heirloom Tree?

Hi friends,

I've struggled a little this year with my Christmas tree decor. Usually, pulling out my treasured ornaments is a delightful exercise which brings back memories. We have inherited a substantial collection of vintage bulbs and these have been complimented by cute ornaments I've picked up over the years. And in recent times, we've began to amass a collection of hand made items by the kids. Suffice to say that we have an amazing collection of ornaments. Most years, I spend time just looking at the tree and reveling in its beauty.

But this year was a little different. I feel like we've had the same tree for the last five years now and I needed a change. Not too different though as I had to put up all the old favorites for both me and the kiddos. So I decided to change up the color scheme using bulbs. Traditionally my tree is red and white. Here is a pic from last year:


This year I tried to do more of a 'multi' color theme using the bulbs. Now it must be said that I have not been using a lot of my good vintage bulbs because the kids break them so easily. I've given in for the time being and purchased plastic bulbs. I really don't like them as well but they get the job done and prevent tears from being shed.

Without further ado - here is what our tree looks like this year (as decorated by my kids with help from me):


 Honestly, I don't love it. I've been seeing all these gorgeous styled up trees around the blogosphere and I want one. Really, what we need is two trees. The family tree and the chic, stylish tree with a well coordinated color theme, extra large baubles, and tassels.  I think a rent a tree business idea could really work. It would be totally fun to rent a tree with the latest themed ornaments and then return it after the season is over. No fussing with storing all those ornaments and the ability to easily change up the tree based on the latest trends. Somebody start this business!

Anyhoo....how is everyone else's tree doing this year? Have you had as much angst about your tree or are you simply enjoying it (as you should!)

I leave you with this amusing item:


Thanks for stopping by!

Dec 17, 2014

Decorating with Orchids

Hi friends,

It's been a long day today with ups and downs. I am officially ready for the holidays. Only a few more days to go.

In the meantime, let me share more of my fabulous holiday greenery with you :)

I found this darling copper potted orchid in our local floral shop and knew immediately that I needed it for our front hall

It will look good even after the holidays are done.

Next, I found this gorgeous gold mason jar at Boutique Target and am loving how it looks with these fake orchids.


I am planning to use this arrangement on the gold themed desert table at our holiday open house. I am using gold wrapping paper on the wall and I've bought a gilded mirror. It's going to be super glitzy. Oh and I'm planning to take a lot of store bought goodies and make them look homemade. Shhh... I just simply don't have time to bake for 60+ people but I have found a lot genius ideas on Pinterest for customizing cookies and baked goods. I hope to capture some pics that I can share on the blog. Stay tuned.

I leave you today with this amusing item ( I hope my cookie decorating turns out a little better than this!)

Thanks for stopping by!

Dec 15, 2014

Holiday decor updates

Hi friends,

Earlier, I shared some 'in progress' pics of my holiday decorations. I am now pleased to be able to share some updates with you. Sometimes my plans are longer term, but with the holidays almost upon us and our open house next weekend, I had to take immediate action. I wouldn't call my holiday decor perfect....but it's good enough and certainly helps put us in festive spirits.

So without further ado, here is the run down :)

1. I've added more gold ornaments to the front planters and hung a simple boxwood wreath on our front door
2. I've re-vamped our holiday mantel decor. I admit the first attempt was not my best. I've added more greenery and ornaments.

So there you have it. Better yes? I have more holiday decor items to share this week. Stay tuned :)

I leave you today with this amusing item:

Thanks for stopping by!

Dec 14, 2014

Modern Geometric Christmas

Hi friends,

Hoping you are enjoying this Sunday. Relax, take it easy before the holiday madness starts! I've rounded up some inspiring holiday eye candy from the talented purveyors on Etsy.  Modern geometric is so fun and new feeling. Adding one or two of these elements to your holiday decorations would really kick things up a notch.

Thanks for stopping by!