The bedroom is one of the most romantic rooms in the house. There's no TV to distract us from being present with each other. We usually have our heart to heart talks in here. It's very much a place that we live and I wanted to include the coziness of Christmas romance in here too. Lace is an important part of this year's theme but I've learned to use it sparingly. If you follow my Facebook page or Instagram you'll see the first version of this room which was just a tad over the top with lace. This is a more restrained, elegant arrangement that highlights the lace without letting it over power the room.
Paper lace doilies are cheap but add romantic texture. I found these in the bottom draw with the casserole and serving dishes. The ring box with a bow is the one that Sam gave me when he proposed.
The little clock belonged to my mother. There are memories of her in each room of the house because I need to feel her presence at Christmas time. The little leaf dishes belonged to Sam's mum. I want him to feel her close by at Christmas also.
The en-suite has been prettied up with festive trinkets. The gold tone lantern had been outside and was very dirty but it cleaned up like new with dish-soap and warm water. I placed it on a cake stand and sat that on the gold tray which lives in the en-suite year round.
I made a lace bow and attached some ornaments. Inside the lantern is a battery candle, some more of the gold swirls from a broken decoration and a necklace of pink quartz beads. On the tray below is a faux pearl necklace some pink things, washi tape in silver and a crystal. It feels romantically glamorous to me.
The perfume was a gift I gave Mum so it came back to me. I bought the trinket box when I toured Windsor Castle. That's a bit glamorous too.
Fluffy towels speak luxury to me. I chose my very best to display. Mum gave me the embroidered hand towel for Christmas about seven years ago. The grey with white polka dot towel is cute but Christmassy because it reminds me of falling snow. I scrounged a fat quarter from my quilt stash to add pink and gold tones.
This room took on a romantic glam theme as I began to decorate with what I had left after doing the rest of the house. I confess to spending $4.50 on ribbon to help this room have some softness and romance and $10 on this lantern from spotlight on sale.
Thanks to Arlynn's Country Craft Corner, I learned to make a funky bow. It takes a lot of ribbon but the effect is charming. This is nothing compared to what Arlynn creates but I'm grateful to her for all the inspiration her YouTube channel provides. She's such a sweet warm hearted person too.
Oh dear, the reindeer fell over. Didn't notice it when I took this shot. But never mind, I'll stand him up again. Being hopeful at Christmas is always a good idea.
Christmas at my desk includes little gift cards I gave my mother when I was at primary school. One hangs from the candle and the other, with the mini perfume bottle still attached, sits on some note pads.
When decorating my home for Christmas, I'm using my heart. I want to create a cozy retreat full of warm memories and a lovely space to create new ones. I'm thinking ,how does this make me feel?, when I finish and look at what I've put together. If I don't feel what I want to it gets changed. Several attempts are required for every vignette before I feel warm and want to smile but I know it's worth all the effort.
At a time when I'm thinking about spending time with my family and friends I'm also feeling the loss of those who won't be here this year. Decorating helps me cope with painful emotions. Doing what gives me joy helps to create a scale that is balanced. There's sadness and happiness. That's how life can be but it's okay.
I'm hosting Christmas lunch this year for Sam's and my families. I'm really looking forward to that and am currently planning the menu. Next week I'll be blogging about how I prepare for a traditional Christmas lunch for thirteen. I'll be including the menu, the shopping, baking and preparation schedules and my Christmas tablescape.
I hope you'll join me next week.
This last week I've been working on creating a romantic Christmas theme for the family room and kitchen. I told my girlfriend that I'd done a pink color scheme and she said, 'Oh so you've been out and bought a whole new lot of Christmas decorations.' I told her I didn't. The catch was I mustn't buy anything new. I had to make do with what I already have from previous years and make new decoration from my craft stash. I found a way to do it even though it was quite a time commitment. She's coming over next week to see it in person.
This is the corner below the TV. I painted the roses on the remote control box about fifteen years ago, but they still look fresh. I added my favorite Father Christmas. The nutcracker used to have a green coat and black boots but he was given a touch of romance and brought into line with this year's pink palette with folk art paint. I also painted the picture frame I found in the garage and put a piece of lace from an old curtain inside. That lace curtain certainly came in handy.
I dug around in my linen press to find some pink pillow covers. I also discovered a pretty rose patterned throw which I put over the back of the couch.
I made the wreath using baubles that I painted using folk art paint. I mixed shades of red and burgundy with a pearl white to get varying shades of pink. I made lace ribbon by cutting strips from the before mentioned, the old lace curtain which I also discovered when exploring the linen press. I used hot glue to stick all the ornaments and lace in place.
The gold scrolls came from a broken Christmas tree that was made up of them. I broke them all apart and wove them in. I like the lux effect they add.
Last year I spent ages hot gluing wooden pegs together to make stars. This year I painted them and made mini lace rosettes from the curtain strips, scrap ribbon and glued faux jewels in the middle. I tied the stars onto a strip of bias binding from my quilting supplies to make a garland for the wall behind the couch.
That curtain came in handy when I looked around for a lace cloth for the coffee table. I folded it into a triangle and then halved it and cut it to size making a round piece of fabric, much like cutting paper for the bottom of a round cake pan.
Santa in his sleigh was given a makeover too. I used the same paint as for the baubles to lighten his coat and make him a pink Santa.
Fiddler Santa was given a pink coat also. I sat him next to framed card from last year and a hunk of pink quartz which is meant to give off love energy. Well, it is romantic Christmas after all. The lace cloth is one of my mother's special handkerchiefs.
The kitchen only has a few decorations as there isn't a huge amount of bench space. I added poinsettia picks to the pots of faux sage that sit next to the stove and hung pink check and pink and red striped tea towels over the oven handle.
On the window sill above the kettle, I placed a reindeer that I dressed up with a bow and painted bauble. On the other side is a sign with some ribbons, lace and a pink holly pick to make it more romantic.
I always have roses next to the sink. For Christmas I used a bunch in shades of pink and added some berries and a Noel sign. I teamed it with a Christmas dome and bowl with a pink candle. The water bottles are mine and Sams. I thought they looked cute standing there so I didn't put them away.
The lights over the island bench got some festive attention this year. I added picks that I found at Savers a couple of years ago. I added white paint to give them a frosted look and painted the deep red berries and fruit a lighter shade of blush pink.
I'm hosting Sam's and my family for lunch this year. I wonder what they'll think of our romantic pink Christmas theme? The good news is the decorating is done for this part of the house and I haven't spent any money. That's right, zero dollars. I'm feeling proud of that. I only need to think about making a plum pudding and buying a huge turkey.
Next week will be the last in the Romantic Christmas series when I show you the master bedroom, en-suite and my study/guest bedroom. Again, without spending any money so there will be more home made decorations being used.
Thanks for dropping by to see what I've been doing to get ready for Christmas.
In past years I've enjoyed a traditional red and gold themed tree but this year I'm newly engaged and so a romantic tree fits my mood.
I sprayed the tree with a can of white primer that I had on hand. It didn't turn the tree white but created that frosting of snow effect which I'm happy with.
The white rosettes are DIY. After watching a YouTube video from Olivia's Romantic Home I made these romantic decorations from old lace and scrim curtains, tulle and blingy bits from my scrap-booking supplies. If you'd like to make them too, here's a link to her YouTube video .
I went through my ornaments collection from years past and selected the pinky reds and every shade of pink I could find. I cobbled together some ornaments from broken things but I don't think you'd know it I didn't tell you.
I shopped my home for romantic elements to use as tree ornaments. I found stems of pink silk roses that once belonged to my mother, I also found the peony roses from Kmart used in a previous post. From my jewelry box I chose long strands of pearls (which are my go to necklaces) and around the house I selected picture frames with Sam and one of my kids when they were little. In the craft cupboard I found a length of lace which I draped like a streamer down the sides of the tree.
Lastly I added an old pink blanket as a tree skirt and put some pink gift boxes on it with a pink Santa and rose gold reindeer. The green box in the middle I painted and decoupaged years ago, to be used as a Christmas card box. I love the romantic Victorian feel this tree, created with timeless elements of roses, lace and pearls.
I didn't spend any money to get this look. Well not much, beside the candy canes which need to be fresh, I just used what I had. I have to say it makes me happy to have this girly, pink and ruffly tree where I spend so much time. I can see it whether I'm cooking dinner or relaxing later on with a Netflix Christmas movie.
Next week the Romantic Christmas series will continue with decorating the kitchen and family room.
As a craft lover I'm promiscuous. I really need to spend time doing lots of different crafts. In past posts I've talked about this but, I mention it now because even though I've been quilting since high school, I don't have much to show for it. I do, however, have a lovely stash of fabrics. It gives me great pleasure to get them all out. I view each fat quarter as a work of art. I think of my fabric stash as a gallery of fabric.
Besides this wonderful pile of pinks, greens and the odd blue is a few project patterns picked up at the numerous craft fairs I've been to over the years. I never got round to making these ones up. I have started others not shown here. One currently on the go is a very pretty quilt called Noontime. Using printed foundation paper, fabric is sewn together along the printed lines on the paper for an accurate placement of all the points. I enjoyed sewing the tiny blocks by hand in front of the TV. I still have to sew together the last block and then put it all together using the sewing machine.
I tend to sew smaller quilts because they are able to be machine quilted at home. It quite expesive to have them done professionally and I don't have the skill to hand quilt. The two I machine quilted myself are almost complete. They just need binding. The first one I made has buttons sewn on one of the blocks to cover the fact that I didn't line up my points very well. But I think I'll take them off and live with imperfection. The second one was done as a study in creating contrast and using all my absolute favorite fabrics.
I did start a large quilt, when I took a class in machine quilting. But as you're starting to notice, I've done a lot of starting and not much finishing of quilts. However, it was a revelation to learn how to draw with my sewing machine. I particularly like the lilies. It might make a nice center for a quilt hanging or a large quilt.
The block was sewn with the fabric layered on batting. My lines are very squiggly but I still love the effect and my quilts only have to please one person, me. I don't know if I'll ever get around to making it up into something. That doesn't matter to me because it's having something that I can get out and look at whenever the mood takes me and gives me joy.
I think of my boxes of fabric as boxes of possibility. They inspire me every time I sort through them. As a writer, they give me creative energy. The pretty colors and patterns jump-start my imagination.
So while I have justified my casual approach to sewing projects the situation is, I don't have any out where I can enjoy them everyday. Now I need to focus on completing quilts. My plan is to finish the binding on the unfinished quilts this month. When they're done, I'll post pictures on Instagram (which is also linked to my Facebook page) of them displayed in my shabby chic guest bedroom/study.
Why would I remember to take boring shopping bags to the supermarket? But I don't think I could forget these customized pretty grocery bags.
The reusable bags that you can buy at the check out are so uninspiring. No wonder I'm one of the huge number of people who forget to take their reusable bags grocery shopping, since Australia went single use plastic bag free.
But, I have found a way that will make me want to have them with me. I've prettied them up with some patchwork fabric from my stash. If you want to see how I did it read on.
You'll need some fabric that you love, cotton is a good choice because it's not stretchy and has a bit of stiffness to it. As I said, I used fat quarter fabric but for non quilters that is just a small piece of pre-cut craft fabric that is a quarter of a yard.
Supermarket bags like the ones in the picture.
A low temp hot glue gun and at least four glue stick refills.
I only covered one side of the bag, where it had the big writing but you could do both sides if you wish, just remember you'll need more fabric. I put the fabric over the bag and cut around leaving an extra 1/4 to 1/2 inch or 1 cm all round for folding under the raw edges
I turned under the edges and hot glued it to the face of the bag. I began gluing the middle section at the top of the bag and then the outer edges just back from the corner. Then I went and filled in the between spaces. This made it easy to get an even line of fabric. After that I worked on the sides
I glued the corners last. Before gluing the bottom down I put my glue gun under the faric and ran a line of glue down the centre of the bag from the top to the bottom and then finished gluing the bottom closed.
I kept getting the odd hot finger but using a low temp gun meant it didn't burn me. You could use some cardboard of the end of a pen to hold the fabric down instead. A little bit of glue smeared onto the green bag but it rubbed away when dry.
For anyone who likes needle work, the fabric on these bags could be sewn into place using an applique stitch. A patchwork block would be gorgeous and could even be quilted with some wadding placed underneath the fabric.
So next time I go to the supermarket I will be using these pretties. How could I forget them now?
Dora Bramden writes contemporary romance and loves making life as romantic as possible. Even her shopping bags!
To find out about Dora's books click here.
Yesterday, on my way to meet a girlfriend for coffee at a shopping center I passed a shop that had a granny square poncho in the window. I smiled remembering when I was a teenager in the seventies and proudly wore the one my grandmother made me. She filled her hours with craft projects. For my poncho, she had unpicked old jumpers and dyed some of the wool before beginning to crochet. She had a practical approach to life which came from being raised on a farm. She made everything, the dresses she wore, even her soap.
When I was little, Granny looked after me a lot. She taught me to crochet granny squares and to paper piece patchwork. I remember the cut and paste activity that kept me entertained for ages. I think Granny had a considerable role to play in my love of craft later on, but also she’d instilled her can-do attitude in her daughter, my mother.
Mum took my craft skills to a grown-up level. We went shopping for sewing patterns, and she taught me to sew my own dresses. She also taught me to knit. At school, I learned to paint with acrylic on canvas. When I went to work, I didn’t paint much, but I could afford to buy wool for myself, and I made jumpers and cardigans in my spare time.
After I was married and had small children of my own, I knitted for them and took up painting again. I found a local shop devoted to folk art and decorative art painting. I joined classes and practiced until I could reproduce the beautiful folk art roses adorning plates and jugs on display in the shop. I painted them on trays, flower pots and a box that I use for remote controls just to name a few. Anything I could find in the house that could be painted got roses painted on it.
Perhaps being a Pisces has something to do with my eclectic taste and desire to do many kinds of craft. The discovery of annual craft fairs opened my world. Talented designers/crafters displayed what was possible, and that led me into collecting a stash of gorgeous fabric and patchwork quilting kits. I also discovered scrapbooking. I’d found the luxury version of what I did as a little girl at my Granny’s kitchen table with a pot of homemade glue.
I found a company that creates paper templates for paper piecing and bought a kit. I’m still working on finishing this. I’ll be sad when it’s done because the fabric is so beautiful I love looking at it while hand stitching in front of the TV.
I also joined scrapbook classes for a little while. I created an album of my first overseas trip to England but have found I prefer to make collage pictures with the patterned papers. I also like to make cards for special occasions and have shared some of those on Facebook.
Busy fingers make me happy, and calm. I love my hot glue gun. What a brilliant idea this is. It’s so quick and instant and last Christmas I made a constellation of wooden clothes peg stars.
As a writer, I know that crafting helps to keep my creativity flowing so if I’m feeling a bit flat, doing craft is one of the methods I employ to light my creative spark again.
I’m not the only author who likes to do a craft. Jane Austen and her sister Cassandra crafted a patchwork quilt made of diamonds cut from scraps. It was the thing I most wanted to see when I visited her home in Chawton, England.
In to be released novel, the Australian Billionaire’s Secret Proposal, Ruby the heroine is a fashion designer, who has a hands-on, can-do attitude inspired by the women in my family.
The hero, Jarrod, is inspired by the part of me that knows about running a business and the many powerful men I’ve read in romance novels. He’s unique because he’s got an art critics eye and knows what great design is. He’s a supporter of creative people and makes their dreams come true. Who doesn’t love a supportive man?
Jarrod admires Ruby’s independent nature but is also challenged when she creates a plan of her own and acts on it without telling him. A secret in her family connects them and pushes them apart at the same time but working together in the fashion industry keeps reminding them of why they’re so good together.
Ruby can create beautiful clothes, this is the world where she feels strong and retreats to when her personal life isn’t happy. Jarrod and Ruby first met in high school where she was bullied because she was different and individual. She was hiding out in the library drawing dress designs at lunchtime when Jarrod, the son of a respected fashion manufacturer, spotted her talented drawings.
I think crafting has also been a solace for me at times. I blogged last year about how making wooden stars helped me cope with the first Christmas without Mum being there.
But I also do craft just for the joy of it. I don’t have to feel like I need a lift to pick up a needle and thread or spread out a drop sheet in preparation for painting. If I had to choose a favorite, I’d say it’s paper crafting. I love mixing and matching the pretty papers and adding embellishments.
Are you a crafter like me? Does craft help with your peace of mind? If you’d like to share with me which crafts you love, I’d enjoy reading your comments. I always love hearing about other peoples craft projects.
Romance author and lifestyle blogger
My whole life is inspired by romance. I write romance novels of course but also love creating DIY's and decorating in a romantic style. I'm rejuvenating an old garden, recusing roses and planting new ones.