It’s funny how different traditions are family to family. Especially when it comes to decorating your house for Christmas.
The weather is glorious in Ireland at the moment. I mean, really and truly glorious. Hot – and I am not talking Irish hot (ie. 17 degrees C), oh no! I am talking proper walk-your-kids-to-school-in-sandals-and-tshirt (and trousers of course) hot! no cardigan! Glorious!!!!
Sunshine makes you feel better, more alive, full of energy. We do more when the sun is shining (my garden has been transformed in a week!). Food also tends to be different when the weather is good. I am always looking for something lighter, fresher, less complicated. Anything that would helps me get the food ready quickly and back outside to soak up as much Vitamin D as we can.
I guess that, as a good Spaniard, I love tapas, pintxos… a large variety of small quantities of food to share. Mix and match. It is my favorite way to eat. In the Basque Country we do pintxos rather than tapas. Pintxos are a small, individual snacks eating at the bar while hanging out with friends. They usually come on a slice of bread and spiked with a tooth pick. Bars tend to have on display an enormous variety of pintxos and Mr B and I spend our summers tasting every single one of them… for research purposes obviously… 😉
This DIY pintxo is easy to put together, full of flavor and perfect for sharing. Perfect for when you have people coming over to the house for drinks. It requires minimum effort and it provides maximum satisfaction. And if you team this with the Rosemary Roasted Almonds your friends will love you forever and ever and ever.
You will need:
- A jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil
- Serrano Ham
- Manchego cheese
- Crusty bread
Blend the whole jar of sun-dried tomatoes in their oil to make a lovely paste perfect for spreading on the bread. This paste is amazing with anything: pasta, sandwiches, soups, salad dressings…. just yum!
Open the packet the Serrano Ham and cut the Manchego cheese and the bread into thin slices.
Make it look pretty on a board – very important!
Now, let’s get eating. This is self-asemble, DIY, so there are no rules. It’s a mix and match.
I particularly like spreading the sun-dried tomato paste on the bread and topping it up with cheese or ham.
We are already in February and Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! Are you a Valentine kind of person?
Mr B and I never celebrated it until we had the boys and they became aware of the day. We are just not very romantic. Now we have a “family date”, exchange cards and have breakfast in bed, all together. It’s lovely. The boys call it Love Day, and for us, that is exactly what it is.
Whichever way you celebrate, on your own, with your partner, in family, with friends… t is always nice to have some inspiration for the day.
VALENTINE’S DAY DECORATION
If you like embracing Valentines Day to the fullest and go all out decorating your home, this balloon arch is just super cute and it can be used from breakfast bar to cocktail bar as the day evolves…
I. Am. Totally. In.Love. With. This. Chandelier. I just have to make it.
And what about these love-heart garlands? Easy to make and ever so adorable!
VALENTINE’S DAY PRINTABLES
If you are too busy to make anything, or you are feeling lazy, or just not feeling at all, there are some amazing free printables that you could use to decorate your home and get you in the mood.
VALENTINE’S DAY FOOD
Now, if you are traditional and you are planning a Valentine’s romantic dinner, this caprese salad as a starter would be only delightful, delicious and super romantic!
An antipasto platter is totally down my alley and it means no cooking for anyone… It doesn’t get any better than this!
Or if you want to something a little bit more special, you could have the seafood option.
And I believe that tradition dictates that chocolate must be had for dessert in Valentine’s Day, right? This walnut and chocolate cake is just the perfect treat, don’t you think?
So, whether you are having a quiet one, a by yourself one, a family one or a romantic night, I hope you are now inspired to make the day a little bit special. For you at least. Because you deserve it!
Have an amazing weekend!
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I love having photos of the family around the house. They are everywhere. In the kitchen, the hall, the bedrooms, the sitting room…
Photos are memories. Of course, we have all those memories stored somewhere at the back of our head but we are often too busy to be able to access them. Photos remind us of those memories, those silly moments, the family moments, different places, the fun we had on holidays, how the kids were so small at one point… As cheesy as it sounds (and it is going to sound cheesy) photos warm my heart.
For the sitting room, I knew I wanted to make a statement display with loads of photos. I was really inspired by Ashley’s one from TheHandMadeHome but it had to be smaller as my sitting room is not as big (or bright, or lovely, or have her couch, or…) as hers.
I knew I didn’t want a permanent fixture on my sitting room so it had to be a frame that could be moved, but where to find a frame so big without having to give up one of my organs at check-out? I had to think outside the box.
One day, I was walking around a furniture shop dreaming of a new kitchen when the light bulb when on!!! I could get a kitchen door glass cabinet as a frame! (like this one, or this one). It is always worth checking out the second-hand kitchen shops for these kind of items. As well as having second-hand kitchen furniture they also tend to buy the remains of stock from big companies or builders so you can get brand new kitchen counters, fab sinks and other bits and pieces for half the price. It is in my local shop that I found my one for only €10!! I think I danced in the shop!!
I wanted square photos but not too small so I decided to print the photos in 8×6 and cut them to fit the frame. I then cut a large piece of cardboard to fit in the frame and I attached the photos to it. Once everything is ready, fit it in and secure it at the back with some tape.
It is a lovely collage of memories that can be updated as often as you want, although I don’t think I will be updating my one anytime soon. The kids love looking at the photos, trying to remember when they were that small, listening to us telling them stories about the photos or making up their own one. It’s so sweet.
It is very personal, you made it yourself and for little money – that is officially categorized under Win/Win/Win… Totally!!!
If you want to go ahead and decorate it also, you can find the tutorials for the paper flowers and the colorful paper garland on the blog.
I hope you are now inspired to look at different ways to display your photos. They make you smile.They are good for the soul.
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It’s funny to see how different things are in every family. What is normal in one household might be something totally alien to another. You really get to appreciate all these differences when you start living with people, be friends, partners… everyone brings something different and new to the mix.
Where am I going with this? In my parent’s house in Spain, there has always been (or at least as far as I can remember) a painting brush in the kitchen. This “bug standard” painting brush was not for painting… oh no! it was to clean out the breadcrumbs left after cutting the bread. So, we would have the bread board, the bread knife and the bread brush. Perfectly normal. Or so I thought. Mr B always found it amusing. Useful, but amusing.
This got me thinking about what other uses I have around the house for painting brushes that were not, well, painting that are totally normal to me but other people may not know?
1. GETTING RID OF BREADCRUMBS
Brushing the breadcrumbs will make it easier to clean them as they will remain dry, not scatter around the place and won’t get stuck to the cloth making it all yucky. Also, you’ll be able to get the breadcrumbs that tend to hide in the corner…. the little feckers that make you stick your tong out when you are cleaning… those ones! They will be brushed away with your dignity intact!
2. CLEANING KEYBOARDS
For those moments after haven shaken your keyboard upside down and you realize how filthy it is, clean between the keys with the paintbrush to get out the hard to get dirt bits of stuff (or whatever they are!). Easy!
3. CLEAN THE VENTS IN YOUR CAR
By using a brush to clean the vents, you not only will you dust them but also you will push out any bit of dirt that might have got into them.
How cool is that? and how simple?
But I hear you (or maybe it’s just me!): Do I really want a manky old brush around my house in plain sight? Of course not!!! And that is why someone invented washi tape – to make everything prettier. By covering the silver part of the brush with washi tape and adding a pretty ribbon at the end, you have transformed a plain boring painting brush into something useful and pretty that you don’t mind displaying in your kitchen or your office.
So next time you are in a hardware store, get some brushes for home, give them some love and they will love you right back. As simple as that.
What do you think? Would you give it a go?
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The boys are tired. We all are really.
The weather has really turned from cold to just pure evil in the last couple of weeks. We’ve been having storms, strong winds, rain, rain, more rain and when you thought you couldn’t see any more water… yes, you guessed right, more rain! The skies are grey and the forecast is not looking good. Between the weather, the extra-curricular activities and the darkness, we are all exhausted and very much looking forward to the break at Christmas. And did I mention we are going to Spain for Christmas? I am so excited!!!
In order to make things a bit fun for the kids until we get the holidays, I made some notes to go in their lunch boxes and cheer them up at lunch time with random notes from their mum.
They were very easy to make and they can be as goofy or as deep as you want, whatever you think will put a smile in your kid’s face. I used colored paper, punchers, reward-chart stickers and markers. Some cutting, some sticking, some drawing. That is all.
The boys are loving them. They are coming home with big smiles and are then looking forward to seeing what they’ll get the following day. I have been instructed by Big Monkey not to give him cards that say I love you, although he does love me. I guess I’d better get used to get to that, it is the age. As long as I keep getting big cuddles and kisses at home, I’ll play cool mum outside.
Sometimes I even put a little note in my lunch at home to cheer me up. It really is the little things…
I love looking around the web for handmade Christmas decorations.
Handmade decorations always make a house truly feel like a home and they add so much character to any space, plus the satisfaction of knowing that you have made something yourself.
As you know, I love creating messes and making things. I like getting the kids involved. They get so excited! Chaotic Monkey starts with loads of energy and gets distracted about 5 minutes into it and runs off covered in material and glue. Big Monkey usually lasts 10 more minutes before he has the urge to draw something, so I tend to finish it on my own. I don’t mind. I find it therapeutic, except the cleaning. I don’t like the cleaning part…
MollyMooCrafts has an abundance of amazing craft projects to make with the kids but I find this tree garland particularly adorable, don’t you think?
I find the colors in these decorations by Picklebums very uplifting and they would bring an extra personal touch to any tree.
The amazing Martha Steward has the most beautiful place setting ever, but we wouldn’t expect anything else from her now, would we?
Pompoms. Who doesn’t love pompoms? They are so whimsical! And Northstory has a such fun way to make them look delightful for Christmas.
This wreath by That is My Letter would not only make you stand out from your neighbors but it would help you clear out all those fabric bits and pieces that you have in that basket somewhere in your house and you will then be able to buy more!!! or not… 😉
These beautiful trees by Beautiful Matters, are easy to make, beautiful and so versatile… a little forest in your house!
I love, love, love this simple and yet stunning center piece by InspireMeHeather. Did I mention that I love it?
If you are lucky enough to have pine cones in your area, you can make the cutest tree out of them. Yes, you heard me right. Just ask Tapelu2. So cute!!!
So, between all these amazing examples of beautiful and yet easy hand-made Christmas decorations, plus last year’s ones, plus the ones I’ve made on the blog(here, here, here), you have no excuse not to personalize your home-decor during this festive season with your very own hand-made Christmas decorations
Share your projects on #ChaoticChristmas so we can all see them and appreciate them.
Today is the 1st day of December. The 1st of December!!! Which means that there are 18 more sleeps until Star Wars: The Force Awakens!! I can’t wait!!!!
Oh yeah, and 24 sleeps to Christmas!
This year I wanted to make an Advent Calendar to help with the countdown to Christmas at home, to build it up more and, to be honest, to blackmail the kids into being on their best behavior for the month. Oh yeah, mother of the year and all that… that’s me…
I wanted to make something simple but pretty. I decided to use 4 different patterns with just a couple of materials. Nothing complicated.
I made Christmas stockings and mittens from felt and I made parcels with toilet rolls and wrapping paper.
Once I had all the parcels together, I added the numbers with washi tape and I hot-glued them to some red ribbon.
It will definitely help with the build-up to Christmas.
24 sleeps. 24 treats. All waiting for them right there, on the wall.
This month is going to fly.
Are you ready for it?