One day it's a green - the next everything is covered in beautiful white blanket of snow. The kids were all excited asking to go skiing and it was contagious, although driving in windy country lanes (at parts also foggy) was no joyride.
But it felt magical to drive in these tree-covered tunnels. And since the snow was a bit on the wet side, I got to wear my wellies fir the first time in a year or so (with pink and red butterflies - although I am dreaming of the some fab Burberry ones inspired by the horse racing we saw...).
Oh the beautiful, magical, ever-changing nature - I thee adore!
Winter pretty - these little covered windy roads become so romantic when covered in snow
So pretty, but a driving nightmare as branches keep snapping and bending down to the country lanes - it's an obstacle course for the driver
This school field is waiting for the kids to make some giant snowmen and just run around
And just a day or so before we were enjoying some traditional horse racing in winter green racecourse
Inspired by the country life I am hearting these Burberry Belted Equestrian wellies - so fab!
..yes, the snow! I've been before in places colder than this (the lowest in Beijing I've seen by far has been -19c/-2F) but normally this coldness comes with snow. So where is my snow? Maybe we need to head to a skiing resort next weekend to get the real feel.
Meanwhile, the kids got to explore first time ever a frozen lake and some ice skating is planned afterwards. Oh those memories, I still remember when I went with my husband for his first walk on the frozen sea in Finland. Apparently it is a pretty memorable thing - walking on water (albeit frozen, but still)...
First time on ice and it's so much fun! Slippery and things to see: layers of ice, oxygen bubbles, cracks, frozen leafs...
Poor ducks can't get into water...
Ice fun the Chinese way for non-skaters
Ice fishing - the fishermen keep fishing no matter what the weather is like!
This little fashionista has been skiing in the garden every day - and is now ready for larger slopes
So cool, I can jump into the ice...this is fun!
This is winter Beijing style - not much, but this little amount of snow & ice has been on the ground for over a month already...
Yes, it's the 24th but what can I say. This is our Christmas (the tradition of Finland - apparently when the darkness fell in the evening it was considered the start of a new day, so technically they also celebrate Christmas in Finland on the 25th). But, as our family is great adapting all other cultures' important dates, our Santa won't forget us on the 25th either (the US and UK way), or the last day of the 12 days of Christmas when the three kings finally made it with their presents (the Spanish way).
So Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Today we celebrate Christmas in Indonesia, tomorrow in Malaysia, and in January in China. How wonderful and exotic life can sometimes be!
...and there were many presents waiting under the tree! Is your house ready for the celebration? Decor, presents, ambiance, little trays of nuts and other snacks in place? The longest day of the year is behind us and the festival of light (as we often call Christmas in Finland) is almost here...
We've been opening the door the past few days into the warm sunshine and it's been great. Now I wish I could at the same time come back to the hotel, open the door and have this waiting for us. Lovely decor for the season, and what better than the season's must-have item - garlands with rustic and home-made flair...
At least yesterday we got to enjoy the compnay of giant turtles with a hindu shrine topped up with a Christmas tree and plenty of bling. Life is about new and unsuual experiences...
Few days to go for Christmas and today I'm dreaming of this cozy living room. Beautiful, old-fashioned and oh so rustic decor, this room looks like a little country haven ready for the Santa's arrival!
I heart this room with its modest, and yet so beautiful natural decor of wreaths and garland - and even the bay trees look very suitable for the occasion. Of course it helps to have a gorgeous backdrop of a room with those black shutters and all. Green and red - always suitable colours for Christmas and winter season!
Snow has that magical effect - those first flakes falling down, the soft white quilt covering the ground and the trees... We've been enjoying a few days of snow already, and yes, it's definitely feeling more Christmas-sy. This morning the kids even skied to the school bus - and would have liked ski all the way to the school. Way to go!
Add some gingerbread, gold coins, Christmas cards. The fire is on, a slide of Italian Christmas delicatessen - panettone - is on my plate along with a cup of mulled wines. Kids are singing Christmas carols. 10 days to go!
10 minutes after this got placed on the table I head" Mom, can we eat it now!" No sweetie, let mommy at least take a picture first...
...the side view...
...and Mr Santa on the front. Today here, tomorrow maybe gone...
Opa Beijing style. Note the lovely broom, made out of flowers and twigs. Not for rigorous sweeping - mine flew over the fall when I was trying to speed-sweet and burn some calories...
This ski patrol did not want to stop skiing even though it got dark!
Faster, run faster!
Yes, it's getting white everywhere
A walk in the snow would be great now
There is just something so magical with red and white that I keep looking for more - I just love these coordinated present piles, cute trees - pretty much everything red and white! Now, where can I find this fab Santa sign..?
Next year I am voting for a simpler Christmas, more home-made presents, ecological wrappings, customised cards. Stamped brown paper for presents, snowflakes in every window, paper chains, jolly bunting maybe, simple red and white instead of all the blingy silver and gold we've had the past years for other decoration (and this year too since the kids are in charge are everything goes!). I like the English Not on the High Street-store and it's the source of my inspiration for this lovely look!
I love this idea of a personalised Christmas tree decal
Personalised stamps for cards and gift tags - or party invites
Snowflakes for every window
Paper chain nostalgy
Handmade felt decorations
decorated brown paper figt wrappings and gift tags
Personalised printed gft sacks
Fillable Christmas cones
One just got to love these simple and funky alternative Christmas tree ideas - a simple and very eco-looking wall-hung driftwood version,a cute combination of wall-mounted display shelves with presents accompanied by a pile of presents on the bottom. Or this simple, wooden candelabra, which warmly shimmers light into the room. All very different, but beautiful and unforgettable in their own way.
Who says a Christmas tree needs to be a real tree anyway, or even a plastic tree-looking replacement? These are definitely still tree and I would love to have any of them in the house (although I bet the kids would prefer the present tree). Personally, I'd probably choose the simplest one, the candelabra tree. Which one would you choose, if any?
What could be more romantic than a candle-lit dinner table dressed with natural tree branches. Green, red and soft glimmer of light brings the romance out for most people. I am ready to light a few candles and, enjoy a glass of wine and let the winter spirit take over. Maybe it's even time to try to turn of the fireplace (sadly gas rather than real wood-burning logs, but still looks pretty nice)...and enjoy the darkness of December!
Today I was going to post about our lovely little Christmas tree that we decorated with silver birds, reindeer and stars, glittery icicles and other cute things in theme of silver and white. But before I managed to take the picture, the attached lights started malfunctioning, and the dear husband tried to fix them - and managed to break the base of the tree. So out came the decorations, and the poor tree shall we recycled to tree-less backyard with outdoor lights (as the base can be poshed into the grass).
And now we are looking with kids an alternative activity for the day - such as crafting a cute little table-top tree from egg cartons... albeit these look a bit challenging for the 3-7 age group, but one can always try...
Cute idea of glittery table-top egg carton trees with step-by-step guide from Shakti Dove
We got some egg cartons stashed away, but sadly not enought to try to this fabulous tree...
What a beautiful Scandinavian home with white base and natural wood and brown shades. I love the way they have decorated the home for Christmas with the same theme - white, silver, natural branches, twigs - and blended with existing decor elements such as sea shells. Details have been spread in every room and the kids rooms have their own little trees also. Sweet, elegant and stylish!
All so pretty! I am looking for inspiration for home-made Christmas calendars and have come across so many beautiful ideas from creative people. Some might recall that last year I crafted with miss A. a little bucket garland that ran down the stairs of our home - and our kids loved it (and even the husband commented that it looked nice...). Let's see if we manage to choose and make something else this year!
Looking at these calendars one realises that simple ones can be really pretty too, and that many objects at home - starting from clothespins - can be used for quirky, cute calendars. It is so hard to choose from them...what would be your favourite and have you made a calendar of your own at some point?
By Shethanie Lynn guides how to create a cute Pottery Barn -inpisred ornament calendar
Carnets Parisien has a cute Japanese paper star calendar (just use your Google translator if French doesn't work for you)
Stylizimos sleek and simple DIY guide for chothes pin surpirse calendar
Hanging and wall calendar inspiration from Sheralyn
Bumblebee and Sophie share their tutorial on how to create a wall tree similar to this Pottery Barn model
Fab modern calendar ideas from Curbly
50 fun ideas for calendars from Shelterness
Cone calendar - 25 DIY calendar ideas from Babble
My bucket calendar from 2011 (see the old posting here)
Step-by-step tutorial from Paper and Cake via Cricut
So rustic, home-made and cozy - that is the red and white Christmas the country style. Cute little paper and felt garlands, pillows, table runners, curtains, angels, wreaths - all just so delectable and pretty. Oh, how I love colour-themed winter decor!
I can't help it. Light and decorations in winter bring some happiness to the darkness for us, so I'll be talking about Christmas themes quite a lot these coming weeks! Thus said here's our masterpiece of a tree for this year - in red, white and gold.
It feels so nice to turn off the room light, turn on the tree, have some mellow music and just relax and look at the decorating shimmering in the tree...
Our tree of red, white and gold is up thanks to our eager little helpers. And we only have broke one ball by far
Little helpers at work. Somehow the bottom of the tree has the most decorations now...
Today is a family day. This is the kick-off for the winter season and we are ready to add some light and sparkle to our house. Numerous boxes of decorations are waiting for us to put them to good use. This is the Christmas Decoration day no 1!
The goal is to get one tree up, fluff the branches, add lights and ribbons and have kids to start adding their little decorations. We'll see if they manage to finish it off today...
Snack time of mulled wine and cookies from school market (we had the school Christmas tree lighting yesterday)
Quick and simple table decor - silver pines and stars
The tree is finally up, Kids have fun looking for letter markings in branches and then placing them in correct levels on the structure. I was thinking though that it would be nice to have one of those ready-made trees with lights and all, but this tree still looks fine after all those years; so maybe in a few years time...
First tree is going to be decorated with red and gold again - I hope (as the kids might decide otherwise)
New this year are icicles among a bunch of silver-colured reindeers and birds
Mix and match of home-made and store-bought decor
Hip hooray - we got the lights on and they are working...
I love gingerbread cookies!
Crafting, painting, cooking, swimming, musicals - this dark season is the time for all artistic and indoor-sy expressions. We've certainly started strongly for over the weekend we've been painting canvases (as the resident artist never seemed to have time to put those canvases into good use), created Christmas decorations of all sorts and practised Christmas songs in various languages/ We've a;sp learned to make mini pizza faces as master Hugo borrowed a kids cook book from the school library and insisted on the pizza faces- and finally today we've seen the school musical called Ocean Commotion where Miss A. was a shiny little herring. So much fun, but also tiring as this little herring fell asleep in record time of under two minutes!
I hope you get some fun ideas from these, or can share other great ideas with us as there certainly are plenty of cold and dark days to come and new ideas would be highly appreciated...
Our sparkly herring in the Ocean Commotion - musical
Guess who loves gluing...
Creating felt tree decorations and learning to stitch
His and hers traditional Finnish Christmas decorations - angels, elves and Christmas tree ornaments
Making yummy and fun pizza faces
What is Christmas without red hearts. We heart Xmas...
Guess the favourite colour of this little 'Picasso"...
Happy flowers for the girls!
Going to visit a friend or to an impromptu meal but have no present for the hostess? Here's a cute and tasty idea that is easy to put together even in a rush - ingredients for a batch of cookies with the instructions in a cute bow-wrapped jar where the ingredients are nicely layered. I have bought a stock of these quart-size jars, and they only cost around a dollar fifty or so. But some pasta sauce jars and other household jars look really cute too - just spray-paint the lid or cover it with cute piece of fabric or decorative paper.
Then just add the ingredients in the jar for two dozen cookies, write the instructions and you are set to go. The recipient will need to add some butter, an egg and water, mix the dough and get baking so it's easy for everyone!
Here's the recipe we used (in the order I put them in, and this is more for aesthetics than anything else as you want to have a clear layers of ingredients) with Miss A, but one can easily modify it depending on the kind of cookies the recipient might prefer...
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup plain all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda and baking powder
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries or tart cherries
- 1/2 cup rolled oats (not instant ones)
- 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels