Simple Holiday Decor – Deck the Halls Blog Hop

I would be lying if I told you I love winter. In fact, I feel the opposite. However, I do love the holidays, the extra time I get to spend with family, ALL THE FOOD, baking, and the first snow fall. ONLY the first one though. πŸ˜‚

This year I decided to take a more simple approach with our holiday decor. I used a lot of items we already had on hand which made the hubby happy. That’s a win, win my friends! Honestly, I wanted to make this year and really every year moving forward about giving back. I want my children to know that Christmas is not about getting gifts, but about giving back.

Enough with the talk, right? Right!

Entryway

The Sitting Room

Shop The Entryway & Sitting Room

Dining Room

After photographing the dining room I decided to add napkins, then decided no. πŸ˜‚ But I did get the cutest shot of baby K trying to blow out the candles as he said, “oh, no!”

Shop the Dining Room

Kitchen

Do you see that light fixture? πŸ‘†πŸΌWe just had that put in and I am loving it! Way better than the old outdated ceiling fan for sure. πŸ™ŒπŸΌ

Shop the Kitchen

Well friends, that’s a wrap! I hope you found my post inspiring to start decorating for the holidays.Β Make sure to check out the other talented bloggers I teamed up with below. Click on any one of the pictures below to be directly taken to that bloggers site.

 

 

DIY Holiday Embroidery Hoop Wreaths

Wreath making is one of my favorite DIY projects to do. They are an easy way to decorate a space. Don’t you agree? Last winter is when I attempted my first embroidery hoop wreath and it was crazy easy! CLICK HERE for the details on that wreath. So I decided to attempt some holiday inspired embroidery hoops for the upcoming season.

For this post I made three simple designs using cedar clippings, and honestly I love them all. 😍 Bonus, I made all three in less than 30 minutes! Crazy fast, right?

I have made several wreaths using various types of greenery, but the greenery that has stood the test of time is cedar. The cedar wreaths I made last year lasted about a month before drying out. That’s a long time when your house has no moisture in the air. However, my florist told me to spray the cedar with a water bottle and that should prolong the life of the wreath. I hope that works!

Last year I made a flimsy cedar wreath (shown below) that I absolutely loved and I definitely intend to make one again, but for this post I used embroidery hoops as my base. If you want the details on the wreath I made last year CLICK HERE.

Below are the three designs I will cover in this post. 🌲

First things first, gather the materials. Please note, for the small wreath I used a 7″ embroidery hoop and for the large wreaths I used a 12″ hoop, but honestly you can use whatever size you want.

Large Hoop Wreath Materials

6 – 8″ cedar clippings
Floral wire
Scissors
Pliers
1 – 12″ embroidery hoop

Small Hoop Wreath Materials

2 – 8″ cedar clippings
Floral wire
Scissors
Pliers
1 – 7″ embroidery hoop

Accessories

Christmas tree candles
Clip on candle holders
Twine
Cow Bells

Once you have all your supplies gathered follow the below instructions. Please note, the instructions apply to both wreath sizes.

Step 1: Cut the cedar clippings.

Tip: If you don’t have easy access to any cedar trees, try calling your local florist. That’s how I get mine. 😊

Step 2: Take one of the cedar clippings and place it on the inside of the hoop.

Step 3: Secure the cedar clipping to the inside of the hoop with the floral wire.

For the small wreath, wrap a piece of wire, starting the wire in the center of the cedar clipping.

For the large wreath, wrap a piece of wire starting the wire about an inch from the end of the cedar clipping (shown below).

Tip: I recommend wrapping the wire at least 3 times around and pulling the wire while wrapping to make sure the wire is tight.

Step 4: Take a second cedar clipping and place it alongside the first one. Then repeat step 3.

If you are making the small wreath, you’re done! Just attach the clip on candle holder to the hoop and secure the candle to the candle holder. Then hang your new wreath!

I purchased the candle clips and candles from Amazon a few weeks ago, as I plan to clip them to our Christmas tree this year. 🌲Aren’t they cute?

 CLICK HERE for details on the Christmas tree candles and CLICK HERE for details on the clip on candle holders.

If you are making the large hoop wreath continue with the following instructions. 

Step 5: Repeat steps 2-4 on the opposite side of the hoop, but do not let the ends of the cedar clippings touch. You’ll need about an inch of room for the candle clip or cow bell. The clip on candle holder will not clip to the hoop correctly if not. The space left for the candle clip/cow bell becomes the center of the wreath.

Step 6: To hide the wire I added a cedar clipping to each side on the outside of the hoop. For extra security I wrapped the floral wire on both ends of the outside cedar clipping.

Step 7: “Fluff” the cedar clippings after all pieces are secured to the hoop to make the pieces lay as desired.

Step 8: Add the accessories and hang your wreath!

For the candle wreath, clip the clip-on candle holder in the center of the hoop.

For the cow bell wreath, tie the cow bell to the center of the hoop using a piece of twine. My inspiration for this wreath came from Chip & Joanna’s new Hearth & Hand line at Target. 😍 Once I saw that wreath I knew I wanted to recreate it.

The cow bells were actually part of a door hanger I found at Michaels last year for $5.  I couldn’t find the exact same door hanger, but it looked something like this.

 

I cut the bells off the door hanger and voila!

And that’s a wrap! I hope you enjoyed my tutorial. If you have any questions or need clarification please comment below or message me on Instagram @acarriedaffairdesigns

Until next time. Xo

My Story

This is not the typical blog post I share. It’s actually something I’ve never shared in writing. For a long time. I mean a very long time, I was ashamed. Ashamed of my childhood. Ashamed of who I was. My story.

I decided to share this intimate part of my life because I want you to know that even if the odds are stacked against you, you can become more. The better version of yourself. You can break the cycle. Beat the odds.

If you follow my Instagram you’ll see meticulously curated squares. Those are the things I typically share. My home. Fashion. Baking adventures. It may appear that I have a perfect life & home. But behind the squares there is a person that for a long time was extremely hard on herself. Who had little self-worth.

At a little over a year old my biological mother murdered someone. Another woman. She was heavily into drugs and made a series of bad decisions that ultimately led her to a maximum security prison. My biological father is no more than the name typed on my birth certificate. I have never met him. I’m honestly not sure if that’s my real father.

After my biological mother was arrested, my maternal grandparents adopted me & my brother instead of letting the state take us. At that point they had already raised their kids. They were done. But being the selfless, loving, and compassionate people they truly are, they took us in and raised us as their own.

Growing up, my maternal grandparents still wanted my brother and I to have a relationship with my biological mother, so we would make the 2 hour drive monthly to visit her in prison. Getting scanned and taking my shoes off as I walked through the metal detector was normal to me. I vividly remember visiting with my biological mother. The concrete walls. The beige tiles. When the weather was nice, we were allowed to visit outside in an enclosed brick wall with the tops wrapped with barbwire & guards standing in the towers. Rifle in hand. As a very young girl I didn’t shy away from telling my friends and classmates that my mother was in prison. I didn’t know any better. I remember telling my classmates the story and they would attentively listen.

By the 5th grade most of the kids I went to school with knew the story about my biological mother. Something I wish I would have never told. I became the girl with a murderer for a mom. I started to act out. To the point where I would be forced to see the school counselor.

As I got older, I became rebellious. Questioning everything and trusting no one. I was ashamed of my past. What my biological mother did. I remember the school counselor telling my grandparents that the chances of me being anything more was slim. That I would basically be a statistic. That day will forever be with me.

Fast forward to my teenage years, my behavior became worse. But my grandparents, my grandma especially, never gave up on me. She would tell me that I was destined for great things and she would be there for me no matter what. She was true to her word. And for that I will be forever grateful for her love and support.

At the age of 20, I had my oldest son. Before having my oldest son, I had no aspirations. I was falling in line with what the counselor had told my grandparents. But after my oldest was born, everything changed. I knew I wanted to give my son the best life I could. For him to know I loved him with my whole heart and that I would always be there for him.

With the continued support of my grandparents, I became the first family member to enroll into college a couple of years after my oldest was born. Four years later, I graduated with a bachelor degree in business marketing. Two weeks after graduation, I got my first post-college job and now working for a financial company where I am valued.

Although my upbringing was far from “normal”, I can honestly say that I am grateful. It shaped me. It’s the reason I hug my boys a little tighter. The reason I make sure to tell them I love them. Every. Single. Day. The reason I get up and go to work. The reason I am eternally grateful for my life now. The reason you’ll never hear me say “I hate my job”. The reason I work hard. The reason I genuinely care about others. The reason I show love with no remorse.

I look back and know now that the things that occurred in my childhood were out of my control. I am no longer ashamed of where I came from, because I am where I am today because of it. I may not have had what society looks at as a normal upbringing, but I grew up in a house where I was loved. And that’s what really matters. It took me a long time to realize this, but as long as you have someone, anyone, in your corner. Someone that shows you unconditional love, that is enough.

I shared this intimate part of my life in the hopes to help others. To let you know you should not be ashamed of things you cannot or could not control. That you can rise above your circumstances. That you control the version of yourself that you want to be. If I can help one person realize that he/she can beat the odds, then sharing my story was worth it.

Xo, Carrie

My Favorite Baking Accessories

Fall is here and that means I’m ramping up for baking season. I already have a few orders and I am so excited to create art in baked treat form.

I have been baking for a few years now and there are items that I swear by. Since I get a lot of questions about my baking utensils I use, I decided to share them all here. Clicking on the picture will take you directly to the site to purchase. πŸ˜‰

Marble Pastry Slab

If you have been following along on my IG then this marble slab probably looks familiar. I literally use it to roll out all of my dough and use as a prop to photograph my baked treats.

Marble Rolling Pin

Of all the rolling pins I own this is my absolute favorite. I use it almost every time I bake something. The marble prevents he dough from sticking and it’s easy to clean.

Glass Heritage Jars

I keep all of my primary baking ingredients in these jars, except brown sugar. There are no seals on these jars, so I keep my brown sugar in one of my copper lid jars that has a seal.

Ruffled Pie Dish

If you’ve been following along with me then it’s no secret I love white. These pie dishes are classic and simple, just how I like it. I have baked dozens of pies in these as well as the individual sized ones and they have never chipped or discolored.

Simple White Cake Stand

 

All-Purpose Scoop

I love the simplicity and sturdiness of these scoops. These are the scoops in all my glass canisters.

Ruffled Individual Pie Dish
French Rolling Pin
Copper Lid Sealed Jar

These are the jars I keep items like brown sugar in because they have a seal. They are amazing and it fits right in with the copper trend I am seeing.

Flour Sack Tea Towels

After purchasing the first set of these I donated all of my other tea towels. They are so absorbent and clean very easily. Bonus, I use them as props in a lot of my baking photos.

Rectangle Cooling Rack
Round Cooling Rack

I LOVE this cooling rack. It’s great for photographing. Note, I would not recommend putting it in the dishwasher. Hand wash only.

Collapsible Funnel

This collapsible funnel is so versatile and has been used 100 times over. My husband liked it to, which is why I had to buy a second one. ☺️

Copper Measuring Cups
Copper Measuring Spoons
Kitchen Aid Pro Mixer

This is the ultimate baking accessory for an avid baker. I live by this thing. It was actually a gift to my hubby after graduating culinary school. However, I have taken it over.

Fall Pie Cutters
Fall Pie Cutters
Floral Pie Cutters
Winter Pie Cutters

Give me ALL THE PIE CUTTERS! I am not ashamed to say I use these every time I bake a pie. I know it is simple to use these to design pretty pies, but there is a lot of thought and art that goes with that.Β 

 

Pastry Brushes

 

Now you know all of my baking utensil secrets. I own all of these items and I swear by all of them. If you have any questions about any of the items please feel free to comment below.

Please note, all of these photos were taken directly from the site purchased from and are not mine.

Until next time. Xo