Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree! 2016

Ok, real talk, I honestly feel like this month has gone by really quickly. TOO quickly. The holidays are almost over and it makes me sad! I want more time!

Anyway, if you know me at all you know I take my Christmas trees very seriously. Every year we get natural tree and usually have it flocked in white, but for some reason this year was particularly difficult. It took visiting five different tree lots to find the perfect one, but we finally found *the one* and I love it. When you know you just know. You know?

Without further ado, here is this year’s tree!

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It’s chockablock full of candy colored ornaments, gold garland, tons of tinsel, and my trusty DIY tree skirt.

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It’s the perfect tree to display my vintage ornament collection. I especially love vintage Shiny Brites and threaded bulbs. Speaking of, The Christopher Radko Company has resurrected the Shiny Brite brand and has been producing ornaments based on classic Shiny Brite designs. I got some this year to fill out the tree and they’re gorgeous!

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I also got a finial from them to top it all off.

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I want to keep it up all year round!

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I’ll try to post a Christmas home tour, but until then you can see what’s going on over on Instagram.

Easy DIY Felt Pom Pom Pillows

Accent pillows are one of the easiest things you can use to change the look of a sofa or chair in your home, and they’re also one of the easiest DIY projects to do. I wanted to bring a little color and fun to a bench I have in my living room so turned to my fabric scrap collection for something to make pillows with. I had some felt and pom poms and thought they would be perfect pillows for the holiday season. To be honest they might stay well after that.

To make a basic pillow you just need to cut a piece of fabric to the size and shape of the pillow you want to cover. Leave about an inch on each side for seam allowance. Sometimes I cut the fabric on a fold so I end up with one longer piece rather than two pieces. Either way works fine.

DIY Felt PomPom Pillows.jpgSew the pieces together at the sides, leaving one side open.

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Turn your pillow case inside out so the seams are inside. By the way you can do these steps with fabric glue like liquid stitch if you don’t have a sewing machine.

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Insert your pillow stuffing and then use a slip stitch or fabric glue to close the open end.

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Next figure out where you want to apply your pom pom trim and use fabric glue to adhere it! Easy!

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I also cut some of the pom poms off and glued them on in a random pattern.

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There you have it. Easy pom pom pillows!

Poached Pear Mummy Pies

Awhile ago I was watching The Great British Bake Off and Paul Hollywood challenged the contestants to recreate his mini pear pies, which are poached pears wrapped in pastry. My husband and I immediately commented on how we wanted to make them, but then as I watched the bakers wrap the pears in strips of dough like little pear mummies a light bulb went off in my head…PEAR MUMMIES!

poached-pear-mummy-pies-5This adorable dessert will take your Halloween shindig to the next level. Here’s how you make them.

Adapted from Paul Hollywood’s Mini Pear Pie Recipe

Ingredients:

Store bought puff pastry
6 large, firm pears (preferably ones that are straight and tall)
10½ oz caster sugar
18 oz white wine
14 oz water
2 cinnamon sticks
1 orange, zest only
12 whole cloves

Directions

Peel the pears, keeping the stems intact. In a large saucepan combine the water, white wine, cinnamon and orange zest and slowly bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Boil for three minutes.

Poached Pear Mummy Pies Add the pears to the pan. Bring back to the boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Reserving the syrup, remove the pears from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool on kitchen paper. Use a melon baller or small teaspoon remove the core from the pears.

Return the syrup to the heat and boil rapidly for 10-15 minutes until the volume of the liquid is reduced by half and the syrup is thick. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

When the fruit and syrup are cool, roll out the chilled puff pastry to a thickness of no more than 1/4 inch. Then use a knife to cut into thin, long strips, about 1/3 inch wide.

Poached Pear Mummy PiesBrush the pears with the cooled sugar syrup and starting from the bottom, wrap the pastry strips around the pears. When you come to the end of the pastry strip, brush the end lightly with syrup and press to adhere to the next pastry strip. Leave an opening near the center of the pear for the eyes. Continue wrapping until you reach the top of the pear. Place two cloves into the pear where you want the eyes to be.

poached-pear-mummy-pies-3Preheat the oven to 400F. Place the pastry covered pears on a baking tray. Brush the pastry with beaten egg and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10-15 minutes then serve with a drizzle of the reduced sugar syrup.

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DIY White and Gold Light-Up Halloween Pumpkin Makeover

Autumn is just around the corner and it’s time to start decorating! First up, Halloween! I absolutely love Halloween, but it’s not really my personal style to do a lot of gore or tons of orange and black in my home. One of the things I like to do with my Halloween decor is try to make it fit in with my home’s existing style. Here’s a really quick and easy way I updated a pre-lit, cheapy plastic pumpkin that I found for for $6. Isn’t he cute?

DIY Gold and White Halloween Light-Up Pumpkin (4).jpgSpray paint. That’s all you need. I went with gold and white of course.

DIY Gold and White Halloween Light-Up Pumpkin (3).jpgI painted the entire pumpkin with white satin paint (satin or gloss work best) and then sprayed the stem gold. I didn’t use tape or anything around the stem because I like the way the gold over-spray looks on the top of the pumpkin.

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Cute, right?! I think I’m going to have to pick up a few more pumpkins and try different colors.

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Anyway, easy peasy! Super cute and fits in perfectly with the rest of my decor.

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Mid-Century Modern Ginger Bread House Cookies

This holiday season I have learned an important lesson. I have learned and accepted that I am not very good at decorating cookies. I’m swell at baking them and they taste amazing, but when it comes to the fancy piping and frosting I am challenged.

Growing up in older neighborhoods of Southern California, especially the time capsule known as Palm Springs, I didn’t really get to see any houses that looked like traditional homes depicted in wintery Christmas scenes. This Christmas I wanted to create something that felt a little more familiar and “me”. MidCentury House Gingerbread Cookie TemplateThis was originally a concept I had for a gingerbread house but I thought they made perfectly fine gingerbread cookies and gave up on the other four walls. Can you blame me based on my questionable cookie decorating skills?

I still think the idea is cute and I bet you guys can do a really great job so here’s the template I used to create the cookies! Just use your favorite gingerbread and frosting recipes. Use a small knife to cut out the shapes and score the markings for the details. Throw some candies and sprinkes on if you want to get really fancy. Anyway, download templates here! Have fun and be sure to tag me on Instagram (@melodramablog) to show me what a great job you did.

Printable “Get Lit” Christmas Bar Graphic Print

I always decorate my bar for the holidays and one of the easiest things to do is switch out my framed prints. This year I came up with this adorably cheeky, retro-themed  “Get Lit” sign and wanted to share it with you guys!Get Lit Print

Printable Christmas Themed Bar Print

Click here to download your own on standard 8.5 x 11 paper.

Printable Christmas Bar Themed Print via Melodrama

Disclaimer: For personal use only. Do not replicate for resale. The Christmas tree graphic was taken from a late 1960s government pamphlet and had no copyright listed. Any copyright infringement is not intended.

DIY Mid-Century Christmas Village Putz Houses

I’ve always had this wild fantasy that I would become one of those people who collect and make elaborate Christmas villages. I just love the idea of making perfect make-believe Christmas towns and being able to look at them all season long. The first time I ever walked into a Department 56 store I almost died. Alas, those things are expensive and I’m not a millionaire (Yet.) (Kidding.)

However, to fill the Christmas village hobby void I started making DIY Christmas village houses, otherwise known as Putz houses! Porcelain versions became popular around the 70s, but cardboard versions were very popular in the mid-20th century. Just my style.

Traditional cardboard putz houses were just that – traditional. Most were the standard cottage or a-line box. I have a love affair with mid-century modern architecture, so I sketched my designs pulling inspiration from some of my favorite architects and homes I grew up around in Palm Springs and LA. Then when I started to render them to be printables, a quick little internet search for putz houses led me to one of the best retro blogs out there called Retro Renovation! I’m so glad it did because they have some pretty amazing and inspiring Putz house patterns and tutorials! Great minds! Check those out immediately.

Anyway, this is a pretty easy and straight forward craft that can be done a few different ways. I personally printed the patterns out on cardstock and used hot glue to assemble them. DIY Mid-Century Christms Putz HousesDIY Mid-Century Christms Putz HousesYou can also trace the pattern onto cereal or gift boxes. To color them you can digitally fill the pattern in with color before printing, or you can use paint, crayon, or colored pencils to fill it in. Then use cardboard pieces for the roof and base. Whatever works for you!

After assembling the walls and roof, I covered a piece of cardboard in white felt and attached it using hot glue. I applied a hefty amount of white glue to my roofs and piled on the buffalo snow.

DIY Miniature Christmas Village Mid-Century Putz HousesYou can use miniature trees and accessories like cars, animals, and snowmen to bring the scene to life, and as you can see every house has a tree up in the window.

DIY Christmas Village Mid-Century Putz HousesFor this one I used paper straws to hold up the carport.

DIY Christmas Village Mid-Century Putz HousesAnd for this house I cut light shapes out of scraps of felt and glued them on. DIY Mid-Century Christms Putz Houses 4

So fun! Get out your exacto knife and start cutting!

Click here to download my variation of the patterns that I used here, and be sure to visit Retro Renovation for the originals and even more great putz templates, ideas, and step by step photos.