Monday, December 31, 2012

Ella Claire Top 10 Posts of 2012!

Happy New Year!

As I have reflected on the last year, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all of the love and support I have received during this new blogging venture. I have met so many wonderful people, been inspired, learned lessons, and been blessed with many uplifting friendships. 

Watching my sweet Ella grow this year has been the most amazing experience. Being her mommy is the highlight of my life. She is the most darling, kind, funny, sweet, talented, and smart little being and it is such a privilege and honor to be her mommy.

I look forward to this upcoming year, full of lots of adventures with my little one, and lots of home decor adventures as well. I already have a to-do list a mile long chock full of home decor and DIY projects! I am excited to dig in, get my hands dirty and, of course, share them with all of you.

Before I say goodbye to 2012, and hello to 2013, I wanted to share my top 10 most viewed posts from the past year~ AKA the favorites :)

{These are in no particular order, and the links are below the graphic}


1. Pottery Barn Burlap Table Runner Tutorial {click here}
2. Simplified Chalkboard Drawing Tutorial {click here}
3. Our Living Room {click here}
4. 6 DIY Fall Decorations under $6 {click here} & Autumn Sign Tutorial {click here}
5. Handmade Vintage Snowflake Ornament {click here}
6. Our Dining Room {click here}
7. My Top Favorite Fonts {click here} & Valentine Fonts {click here}
8. Halloween Chalkboard Template {click here}
9. Vintage Napkin Pennant Banner Tutorial {click here}
10. Washing and Cutting Burlap Tutorial {click here}

Truly, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for sharing in this adventure with me.

I look forward to 2013 in all of its vintage inspired loveliness here on Ella Claire :)

Linking up at Stone Gable!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

My Top 16 Favorite FREE Fonts for Valentines and Love Letters

Hello friends!

I have already been working on some fun Valentine's Day projects and decor for my home {Yes, I realize it's only the day after Christmas... ;) }. I thought I would share my top 16 favorite free fonts for Valentines and love letters with you in case you are working on projects, too! 

{I know I said I was going to take a few days off... but I had so much fun putting this together, I just had to share! These colors are SO out of my comfort zone, so it was actually really fun :) }


1. Lunagraph {Here} 2. Belphebe {Here} 3. Loverboy {Here
4. Janda Happy Day {Here} 5. Halbstarke Pica {Here} 6. Candy Heart {Here
7. Fatty Heart Filled {Here} 8. Wedding Nightmare {Here} 9. KrisHart {Here
10. Simon Script {Here} 11. KG All Things New {Here} 12. Dead Hardy {Here
13. Fiolex Girls {Here} 14. Love Letters {Here} 15. KR Scribble Hearts {Here
16. Odstemplik {Here}
** Please be respectful and abide by each font's terms of use. Some are only free for personal use**

What do you think? Time to write some fun love letters?

Happy Valentine creating!

P.S. You can see my previous post with my top 16 favorite free fonts {Here}, and you can follow my Valentine board on Pinterest {Here}.  Now, I am going to officially take a few days off to spend with the family! See you next week! 

Linking up at Stone Gable!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas! and Santa Scares Ella

Merry Christmas everyone!! 
I just wanted to pop in to say I hope you are having a wonderful day spent with your families!

Last week our local RC Willey furniture store had an adorable Santa and Mrs. Clause, so of course we had to take Ella to see them. 

I was so bummed that I forgot my camera! This is the freebie picture they took to give us. I laugh every time I look at it!! I love it {despite the horrible picture quality} and I am sure I will cherish it forever.


I don't know who looks more scared, Ella or Santa. Hahaha... She couldn't get back to her daddy fast enough. :)

I am taking a few days off to relax and enjoy my family and then I will be back with those pictures of my craft room that I promised as well as some other fun projects! 

Merry Christmas! 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Rocky Road Fudge~ A Family Favorite


Today I am sharing one of our very favorite family Christmas recipes~ Rocky Road Fudge! 
It is one of the easiest things you will ever make... and oh my goodness is it delish! 
I got this yummy recipe from my dear friend Nicole a long, long time ago and we have been making it ever since! 

It only takes a few ingredients, and under ten minutes to make!
{I made a bunch to give to friends this year for Christmas and it hardly took me any time at all.}


 I am going to share the recipe that I use {which is actually double the original recipe}, because it makes a nice, thick 13x9 pan of fudge that looks gorgeous when cut into squares. 




4 T butter
4 cups chocolate chips
2 14-ounce cans of sweetened condensed milk
2 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
2  10-ounce bags of marshmallows
1 tsp. vanilla



On medium to medium high heat, melt butter in a big, deep pot until mostly melted. Turn heat down to low. Add chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk, stirring over low heat until creamy. Remove from heat as soon as creamy~ do not over cook.  Add vanilla. Then, stir in walnuts and marshmallows. Pour into your dish of choice {fits perfectly in a 13x9}, lightly greased or parchment lined.  

For my little Christmas gifts I used those paper loaf pans you can purchase online or in specialty stores. I was lucky and found these at TJMaxx! 


 I put my fudge in cellophane bags and tied them with cream rick rack, super thick baker's twine, and a fun wired red puffy ball ribbon. 


So easy, and so yummy!


In the next couple of days I hope to show you pictures of my craft room. Here is a little sneak peak with my dress form all dressed up for Christmas.


Happy Baking!!


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Peace, Hope, and a Gorgeous Burlap Banner

Last week I was lucky enough to win this beautiful banner from Simply Burlap {here} and I wanted to share a few pictures with you. But, more than that I wanted to share something else. 


As I found myself in tears, off and on, for the majority of the time since the tragedy in Connecticut, one of the most comforting and inspiring messages I read was on her sweet blog as well. As a teacher herself, she had such an inspiring message to share along with that of the true meaning and hope of Christmas. 

She truly spoke to my heart. 

I won't even attempt to paraphrase what she said because any attempt I would make would fail in comparison to her beautiful post. You can read her post {here}. I hope it gives you a little peace and comfort as well. 


Besides her beautiful heart, and wonderful posts, Allison makes the most beautiful burlap banners. I felt so lucky to win one in a giveaway she had recently. 


I think it is so fun and I am hoping to take Christmas pictures with it with Ella next year. 
She even has the most adorable packaging! 


As I hold my sweet baby ever closer, my heart hurts for the loss of those families. 
Something else that spoke to my heart was this little video {click here} and I hope it brings you peace too. It sure did bring perspective and comfort to my heart.


I hope you find peace and hope this Christmas season, despite the darkness of the world around us. 

Much love to you on this Sabbath day.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Chalkboard Template {Tutorial}

I am so sad about the violence and sadness in Connecticut yesterday and my heart truly aches for the innocent victims and their families. What a horribly senseless tragedy.

I squeezed Ella and cried yesterday. I squeezed her and poured a thousand kisses on her, as she tried with all her little might to wiggle away. I felt like I couldn't love on her enough. 

Let that be a lesson to me. 

~~~


Today, I wanted to leave you with a pretty simple template for my Chalkboard {I showed [here] in my Christmas Home Tour} in case you wanted to add some chalk art to your home for Christmas. You can see a tutorial on how to easily do chalkboard art for yourself {here}. For this one I used the new {old school} overhead projector my awesome hubby bought for me off of Craigslist. But, if you don't have a projector, the tutorial is a super simple way to do it. Trust me, I have done it many times! Don't be intimidated! You can do it!!


For this template, all you have to do is click on it to open, then right click, copy, and paste it into a document, make sure it is centered, and print. 
Please remember that this is for personal use only. Let me know if you use it! I love to see people's fun chalkboards. I actually have a whole Pinterest board {here} dedicated to chalkboard inspiration!


I have some fun {pretty eye candy} things planned for next week... including a tour of my craft room! 
See you then :)

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, spent enjoying and appreciating those you love.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Details of Our Christmas Tree


Decorating our Christmas tree is one of my very favorite things to do, and it is one that I look forward to with so much excitement and anticipation! 


I absolutely adore flocked trees, and when I got mine 3 years ago, I was in heaven! 


I wanted it to have a very vintage feel, so I decorated it with mercury glass, vintage pictures, ribbons, frosted berries and pinecones, german glass glitter snowflakes and more. 




I added this black and cream striped ribbon this year, and I loved the way it looked with the rest of the ornaments. It is not something I would normally think would match, but I felt the tree definitely needed some black so I tried it out. I really liked the way it looked. 


As I mentioned in my Christmas Home Tour post, I use a few of these jars in my tree holding timer battery operated candles. They give a fun extra glow to the tree~ especially at night. The nice part is that they have timers built in so I never have to worry about turning them on and off. 


This year I added these branches and big faux frosted berries. I think it adds some fun texture to the tree. I had to go to a couple of different Michaels stores just to find enough; They sold out fast!


All throughout the tree, there are various vintage pictures/ postcard images as well as these German glass covered giant skeleton keys. 


Also, there are some of these giant pomegranates. I love the way they look next to the mercury glass. You can see a little bit in this picture {below} these giant snowflakes. I got these at the dollar store. They are huge! I covered them in German glass glitter and Epsom salt inspired by Kristin's beautiful ornaments {here}. 


I also used them at the top of the tree with other berries and branches



I kept my old door here behind the tree to add texture. I love that it adds just a bit of a darker tone behind the white of the tree. 


I also showed in my home tour post that I used a vintage tablecloth as the tree skirt. I don't remember where I got this one... just one in my stash :)

I love, love, love vintage linens! 


The music and script thick paper ribbon you see in the tree below is actually one I made a couple years ago. I used long, wide strips of a wrapping paper that I loved. I folded the top and bottom edges over long pieces of floral wire to give it shape-ability and then I backed it with a fabric to give it the fluidity of ribbon. I just used a glue gun to glue the whole thing together.  Then I mod-podged the paper side to give it a little added strength. It just looks like big, long pieces of sheet music and script paper ribbon. 


Well, there you go... a few more pictures and details of my tree... probably a couple hundred more than you ever wanted to see :) 


Makes me smile just to look at it. 
Ahhhh... I just love Christmas.

I hope you have a wonderful day!

P.S. If you have a minute, and a pinterest account, would you vote for my tree!? It is in the Country Living contest... all you have to do is "like" it {click HERE} Thank you!!

P.S.S. Do you notice a sweet little someone in this picture? She likes to climb into her toy cupboard :)  


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Our Christmas Mantel



Thank you so much for all of your kind comments about my Christmas Home Tour
I love decorating for Christmas, and it was so fun to share it with you! 


Today I thought I would show you some more pictures of our Mantel. 


At least show it in a little more detail. 


I love the mix of bottle brush trees, mercury glass, vintage Shiny Brite ornaments, fresh geens, german glass glitter, and old sheet music.



When the candles are lit the whole mantel just lets off the prettiest glow of vintage loveliness!  

  
I will be back tomorrow with a few more pictures of our Christmas tree! 

Thank you for reading! :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Our Christmas Home Tour


Hello friends! 
I wanted to share a little Christmas tour of our home with you today. 
This post is overflowing with pictures of my Christmas decorations and lots of my favorite things. 
There is nothing more fun to me than decorating for Christmas! 

So grab a cup of hot cocoa and make yourself comfortable while I show you around our Christmas home.


In the entryway, my chalkboard hangs with my latest doodle and the table is a collection of a few of my favorite Christmas things all ablaze with candlelight.



{Of course I will be posting the chalkboard template freebie and tutorial soon! See my chalkboard drawing tutorial here}

Opposite my chalkboard are the doors to our office where I made and hung two live wreaths, bound by cream, black, and champagne colored ribbon.  




Walking in to our living room, you can see the mantel all prettied up. 



I got a lovely 25 ft. long live garland from Costco, and I used it all over our home, including here on the mantel. I love the smell and look of live garland! 


I added bottle brush trees, candles, and vintage silver Shiny Brite ornaments. I also hung one of my vintage sheet music and German glass glitter "Noel" banners on the mantel. {see banners here}.

I love the look of all of these things layered together! 



We have a flocked Christmas tree and I decorated it with lots of mercury glass, berries and twigs, frosted pine cones, vintage pictures and fun ribbons. It is a hodge podge of ornaments I have made and collected.





I got these jars last year to hold a few pillar candles in the tree. The tree is so big that these big jars don't overpower the rest of the decorations. I love the warm glow it adds to the tree~ especially at night.



I used a vintage tablecloth from my stash for the tree skirt. One of these days I will get around to making a real one. Until then, I love the way this dainty little handmade beauty looks with the tree. 


On the end table, behind the couch, I have a set of tiered metal baskets that hold extra ornaments and bottle brush trees. I also put a couple of candle holders and have been lighting the candles in the evenings occasionally. It lets off such a lovely glow. 



Just had to throw him in here. Isn't he so cute!?  



I have been on a hunt for the perfect nativity scene for several years, and last year I found this one that I love. I think it is so sweet and beautiful. I want to paint the frame to match my decor a bit better, but I just haven't done it yet. 



I had put a few things together for a little party I hosted a few days ago at my home. I liked the way they looked, so I left them out in my dining room. 





Mugs, straws, spoons, napkins, plates... and of course take out boxes lined with red and white striped parchment paper for guests to take treats home! 


I haven't put my tinsel tree up yet! I am a little behind this year. I will be doing that soon {for a party} and, of course, I will post pictures when I do. 

***  

The best part of decorating for Christmas is grabbing a cup of hot cocoa at night and sitting in the soft glow of the Christmas tree. 

Actually, the best part is the "ooooooooooo" my Ella says every time I turn on the Christmas tree lights. 
:)


I know I am doing this a little backwards, but I will be posting some of these vignettes in a little more detail this week. I will also be posting a couple recipes soon. I have some fun things planned for the next couple of weeks! 

I hope you enjoyed a little glimpse into our home this Christmas. 

***

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