Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Great Gift Idea: Timeless Meets Today

If you're anything like me, you've almost got the Christmas shopping wrapped up, but are still on the hunt for that elusive, unique gift. I love finding things that are out of the ordinary or are beautifully designed to be something special. This gift fits the bill... the Aphrodite USB Hub. I love it!

 The handy USB hub keeps your desk neat while adding a timeless and elegant touch with the lovely bust of Aphrodite, goodess of love. Too fun! It's perfect for those of us who are totally wired, but enjoy classic beauty. Any bloggers on your list? I think this could be the perfect thing!

Have you found any unique gifts? I'd love to hear what's on your to-buy list...or your wish list!

{live beautifully}

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Our Christmas Tree and DIY Ornaments

Hello friends! Today I want to share our Christmas tree with you and also how I created some vintage-inspired ornaments.

I was really happy with how our tree turned out. Shame on me though, because I used to have this exact faux Christmas tree (from Target) and got rid of it when I was purging things before we were married, thinking we'd buy a big, full tree. I should have known our first place would be small, because I ended up purchasing the same slim 6-foot tree I had before. Lesson learned : )

I wrapped the tree in burlap ribbon, which I already had on hand.

Most of the ornaments I already had and probably came from Target and Hobby Lobby.

I was so thrilled to find this mercury glass tree topper at JoAnn's for $7! It was perfect!

The silhouette ornaments and the vintage paper bundles are the ones I made myself. Want to know how I did it?

 DIY Vintage Christmas Ornaments

To create the vintage silhouettes, you will need:
- Picture frame ornaments (mine were raw wood ones from the Hobby Lobby Christmas craft section, and cost 75 cents each on sale)
- Black craft paint and a brush
- Silhouettes you'd like to use (I grabbed mine from Google images, but you could also create ones of your family members. Here is a tutorial)
- Vintage backgrounds (I downloaded vintage ephemera from
- Twine for hanging (my ornaments came with ugly red and green string tied through them)

This craft couldn't be easier! Simply print out your background, then print out your silhouette and cut it out. Or, I put mine together in Photoshop and printed the whole shebang so I wouldn't have to trim the tiny silhouettes. Then, paint your photo frames black and allow to dry. Trace the print outs with the backing of the photo frame, place inside and tie with twine. An easy (and cheap!) vintage Christmas ornament!

DIY Vintage Christmas Bundles
If you thought the ornaments were easy, try these vintage ephemera bundles. I just printed old documents from, cut the remaining paper off so only the document remained, then rolled them up and taped them. I tied them in bundles of three with twine and ribbon. They are the perfect Christmas accessory! I have them on the tree, in vignettes and even in our Christmas bedroom decor. This would also be great with vintage Christmas music.

 Of course the best part of a Christmas tree is the glow at night. There's just nothing like it!

{live beautifully}

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Living Room

Good morning friends! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and a relaxing break! Mine was filled with family, eating, shopping and more eating : ) How about you?

Since the Christmas season is officially upon us, I spent the weekend decking the halls and trimming the tree in our little apartment. It's so exciting to have our first Christmas together and I went all out with the decor. Needless to say, I have lots to show you over the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

For this year's Christmas theme I wanted to go with sort of a casual farmhouse look mixed with vintage sparkle. Luckily I already had a lot of decor that fit that bill, so I only had to buy a few additional items. It was so fun to open the Christmas box and unwrap everything, because I hadn't seen any of it since December 2009. It was like a big surprise with beautiful treasures I had forgotten about. Here's how it all came together...

Christmas 2011
Casual Farmhouse Meets Vintage Sparkle

I tried to mix casual textures like linen, burlap and twine with natural elements like evergreen boughs and pinecones.

I'm going to use the branches in the galvanized bucket to display Christmas cards as they come in. I absolutely love the little wire and twig sleigh that I found in the Target $2.50 bin! (PS- if you want to see where I got many of my ideas and inspiration for this year's decor, check out my Christmas pinterest board. I spent months pinning and planning : )

The vintage door all decked out.

So I was dying to have fresh pine wreaths all over the house this year, but the cost was just too much. But I think these $2.50 faux wreaths from Walmart worked out just fine. I tied a big burlap bow on this one and added a $1 sparkly Christmas ornament (also from Walmart). Budget was the name of the game this season!

Mmmm...vintage books and mercury glass.

 Can you tell that white ball is broken? Half of it shattered because I didn't store it properly, but I couldn't bear to throw it out. Works great in a bowl like this! More on the vintage paper bundle coming soon...

I have to say I'm really happy with how the room turned out! The pictures are not my favorite as I picked a bad time of day to photograph and there were annoying patches of light streaming in, but oh well. By the end of the photoshoot, poor Matt was standing on that chair with a piece of cardboard trying to cover the light patches for me. He gets lots of husband points for that! : )

The Christmas mantel. Are you so impressed that I managed to totally redo my arch nemesis shelves for the season? I am. Only took me about two hours : )

I've had these numbered plates from Target forever, but never had something to do with them. I think they add a touch of whimsy to the Chrstimas decor. Plus there's always room for typography!

I am so in love with our new stockings! My mom made them for me, which makes them even more special. I fell head over heels for these stockings on etsy, but just couldn't bring myself to buy 4 at $25 each (though that was one of the better prices I found). So I bought the material myself and my mom sewed them up. I think I spent $20 total...much more reasonable.

The stockings are made of a painter's drop cloth from Walmart, which really is "poor man's linen" as I've heard it called. The white fabric and crochet trim are from JoAnn's.

This basket of poinsettias turned out to be one of my favorite things in the room. They are faux poinsettias by Better Homes and Gardens from Walmart, and were $3 per bunch. I debated and debated about getting them because, again, I was trying not to spend much, but in the end I'm so glad I did. I think they look great in my antique wire basket with burlap and fresh pine.

I love the little details like the vintage books for texture, pine boughs, and bottle brush trees. All the silver glass ornaments are from the Dollar Tree. They are sooo much cheaper than you will find glass ornaments anywhere else, so be sure to go pick some up!

Thank you so much for taking time to tour our little holiday living room. I had a blast bargain hunting, crafting and decorating, so I truly hope you enjoyed seeing it as much as I loved creating it! I'll be back soon with details on our Christmas tree and DIY vintage ornaments. Thanks for stopping by!

{live beautifully}

I'm linking to:
- Tuesday's Treasures at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
- Good Life Wednesdays at A Beach Cottage 
- Farmhouse Fridays at Laurie Anna's
- the Mantel Party at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
- Christmas Mantel Party at Southern Hospitality

Monday, November 21, 2011

Winner and Thanksgiving Break

Happy Monday, friends! I am so glad this week is here because it means a two-day work week, Thanksgiving, black Friday shopping, and the start of the Christmas season, all rolled into one. A pretty great week if you ask me!

Thank you so much to everyone who entered the giveaway for a giftcard to my etsy shop. Your support means the world to me. The lucky winner is #15, Stacey aka Rella who said, "Posted on my Facebook Page!!" Stacey, please email me at courtneymbrowning (at) to claim the giftcard!

I'll probably take a bit of a break from blogging this week to enjoy time with my husband and family and prepare for the holidays. But I'll be back next week with tons of Christmas decor and inspiration. I've already done all my Christmas decor shopping and am so excited about the projects I have planned!! I'm so looking forward to Matt and my first Christmas as husband and wife, I can hardly stand it. I think it will be one to remember : )

If things go well this week, I should also have another fun, non-Christmas project up my sleeve. The images in this post have something to do with it. Can you guess what it might be?

Have a happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
{live beautifully}

Friday, November 18, 2011

If I Had a Daughter...

...this would be her Christmas present : )

{live beautifully}

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The French Do It Better

On a recent trip to Barnes and Noble, Matt and my favorite date destination, I was browsing the shelter mags as usual. I spotted a title that was new to me... Campagne Decoration. I French decor magazine! Yes, please!

Though I can't understand a single word, the photos speak for themselves. Why is it the French seem to be so good at aesthetics?

Every picture is beautiful. The rooms boast age and patina most American spaces could never touch.

Even the ads are prettier : )

Sigh... to be French!

{live beautifully}

PS- don't forget there's still time to enter the giveaway to win a $25 gift card to A Prairie Market etsy shop. Click here to enter.
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