The Real Housewives of Bucks County is now East Coast Creative!
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Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas {What it means to us}

So we've spent the month sharing all kinds of Christmas themed decor, projects, and ideas. We even had 12 full days of Christmas DIYs.  We love all that stuff and everything about the Christmas season, but we wouldn't be keeping our promise of being Real with you if we just left it at that.  
See, there's one thing that we could never DIY and that's what Christmas is all about.  

We believe that the Christmas story is just the beginning.  You know that DIY I mentioned?  Well, what we can't do ourselves is take care of the fact that we're not perfect...nope, not even close.  Christmas is the start of God's relentless pursuit of us.  He loves us so much that he was willing to send his perfect son to earth to forgive us from our sin.  Yikes, did she just say "sin" on a light, fun DIY blog?  You heard it... let's be Real.  I sin... Jess sins... I'm willing to take a guess that you might too? It's so sweet and comforting to think of  little baby Jesus and get the warm fuzzies, and don't get me wrong, I'm so dang thankful that Jesus came as a baby, but Christmas doesn't end in that manger scene.  Christmas, the true reason for Jesus coming, ended on a cross, and ultimately with an empty tomb.  It might not make for as cute of a piece of wall art, or printable, but it's the best gift we'll ever receive.  Jesus not only came, but he died for us, taking our sins upon himself.  You know what would totally bum me out on Christmas morning?  If my kids didn't want the gifts I'd gotten them (especially the ones I got at 3am on Black Friday!)  Parents want their children to accept their gifts, and it's exactly the same with God.  We didn't deserve for Jesus to come for us, but He did and all we need to do is acknowledge that we can't do it on our own and accept His gift of salvation.  If you haven't really thought beyond the manger scene before, I encourage you to do so this year.  God's gift to you will be the last gift you ever need and man, I guarantee it will be a Christmas you'll never forget.  
We sincerely wish you a Merry Christmas, but more than being merry, we wish that this Christmas will be life changing and focused on God's gift for us (because seriously, what does being merry even look like?  I picture cheesy sweaters and really big smiles).  So, that's what Christmas means to these Real Housewives.  Thanks for letting us share with you.  
PS-If you want to know more about this whole God thing, email us any time.  There's nothing more we'd rather talk about with you! 
PSS- Here's the info about our Christmas church services if you're looking for a place to attend.

Monica's Church- Calvary Church of Souderton 

Christmas Celebration 2011 Services
Friday, December 23, 6:00 & 7:30pm*
Saturday, December 24, 3:00, 4:30 & 6:00pm
*Deaf interpretation offered at the 7:30pm service
Childcare birth thru pre-k offered during all services

Jess' Church- Hiltown Baptist
Christmas Eve Candelight Service
"Lessons and Carols"
Saturday, December 24, 6:30pm
Childcare provided through age 3

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Favorite Things Party

After being inspired by Hayley,  I hosted a Favorite Things party with 7 of my best girl friends last night. I asked each of them to find their favorite thing under $10 and wrap it up; one for each girl, as well as a favorite appetizer or dessert to share. We had so much fun that I completely forgot to take any pictures of my friends, but of course, we got a few of the goods! :)

Both of us had fun wrapping our gifts up pretty. I printed my adorable {free}tags from Jones Design Company and they were the perfect addition to my gift. Can you guess what our favorite things were based on the packages?

There was such a wide variety of favorite things, which made it that much more fun! Each girl wrote what she thought the other one brought and then we revealed our guesses just before we opened each gift. Some guesses were really accurate, and others were waaaaayyyy off. (Based on the packaging, I guessed that one of my friends brought trash cans, but really it was a tub of popcorn!) So what were our fav things? (Clockwise from top left corner.)

1. Homemade Iced Coffee with the fixin's & a Starbucks gift card. Jen used this recipe from The Pioneer Woman, and let me tell you: it was awesome! And that's coming from a non-coffee drinker.

2. Mrs. Meyer's Basil Hand Soap. If you guessed that this was mine, you were right! I've already gone on and on about my love for Mrs. Meyer's, so I'll stop now.
3. A thermal "sippy cup" for adults.  Don't call it anything else or Jen might bite your head off.
4. Popcorn in a Christmas tin. Man, we used to get loads of these from my dad's co-workers etc. and so this brought back memories of eating more popcorn than is legally allowed.
5. J.Crew t-shirt and Land O' Lakes Mint Hot Cocoa. Yes, it's good to have friends with good taste, folks.
6. Spelt Flour. A bit unusual, but my friend Steph is unusually passionate about the stuff.
7. My sis made her famous Puppy Chow, because, duh, it's peanutbutter, chocolate and powdered sugar. Everyone's favorite mix!
8. Monica's gift was chocolate chip cookie dough and a pair of tight-fitting ankle socks. She actually buys the children's sizes because she's so particular about the fit. And you wouldn't believe how much cookie dough we consume in a year. It would probably break a record.

Of course, we had great food too! A yummy hot chocolate bar:

And I also made Cheddar Bacon Ranch Bread (aka Crack Bread) that is absolutely to die for. I'm sorry, but if you don't like this, your taste buds must not be functioning correctly. This has been my go-to appetizer lately. No joke- I've made this 3 times in the last 4 days, and it never fails to please.

 I'm so thankful for good friends and sharing the little things that make us happy. I'm adding this to my list of annual traditions!
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Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Before I write anything else, I first need to say that yes, I am crazy. If you follow us on facebook, then you might have seen that my hubs and I started a major renovation to our kitchen this past weekend. (To others it is a major project. In my head, it seems minor! However, my hubs begs to differ. Ha!) Why did I do this the week before Christmas, you ask? Right about now, I'm asking myself the same thing! But really, my hubs works a lot, so we have limited time to do projects together, and this past Sunday, we were child-free until late in the day, so after church, we maximized our "free time", and got moving! Plus, we just got a new oven, and I knew that relocating appliances was in my long-term plans, so why wait?! 

 I'm so excited to finish this project, but realistically, it's going to take us a loooong time to do everything I want to do in our kitchen. I'm super excited that we got the process started, though, and will, of course, keep you updated!

Please tell me I'm not the only one to have started a major home project the week before Christmas!

Nate's 12 Days of Holiday DIYs {Day 12 Monica's Details...}

Happy 12th Day!! Can you believe we made it?  Who would have thought 48 hours could have provided us with over two weeks of projects to post about!?! We've really loved sharing everything with you, although if you want us to be completely honest... since we've been seeing these rooms since OCTOBER, we're sort of glad to be done with all of it! Bad bloggers!

To finish off the final day I'm going to be sharing the itty bitty little details that don't quite deserve a post of their own, but do need a shout out at least!
One of the projects that was so simple it made me laugh, was the bracelet Christmas tree.  Like most of my projects it came about by accident (and hey, so did Penicillin, so don't knock it!) 
I was moving the bracelets onto my workspace and stacked them... Hmm, looks sorta like a tree.  Could this be the World's Easiest DIY?  And that's how it went down.  It's a bit hard to see in the "After" pics, but in the room, the gold looks nice and shiny and kind of adds a funky element that I love.  

Jess had this metal letter J floating around, but rather than thinking  Jackson I was thinking Joy! I grabbed a black frame, printed out some holiday text and put it all together.  I'm sooo bummed I can't figure out where I found the holiday text, but I know I googled something like "Holiday words typed" or something really obscure like that... did I mention I was short on time? Here's the picture I used.  If you know the source let me know and I'll gladly add it! 
For me, little details like these make such a huge difference.  Even if they're never even seen on TV, I just couldn't do a room without them.  

Ok, now for a whirlwind of final details...
This no sew gal was thrilled with how the sweater accent pillow turned out! My Epsom salt faux snow made me feel ready to hit the slopes.  I'm a wrapping addict, so chunky stenciled presents were right up my alley.  Seriously, who can have a horse without an ascot??  That would be just plain wrong! (hehe)  And finally, I was inspired by this blog post to try a lighted felt garland.

Well there you have it! Thanks so much for hanging with us for these 12 days! We'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow! And can I just mention that I'm fairly certain I'm more excited than my kids about Christmas?? 
 Only 5 more days!!!

P.S.  Tonight Jess is hosting a "Favorite Things" party and we're both pretty excited about it.  I can't wait to see what our gal pals' favorite things are! Have you ever been to one before?? We'll give you all the details later this week! 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Nate's 12 Days of Holiday DIY's {Day 11: The Details}

In case you didn't notice, we did TONS of projects in that short 48 hour period, so there's just too many to break down with tutorials, and I'll be honest, some were so easy that anyone can figure them out without me giving you the play by play. But, even so, the details are really fun, so I'll give you a glimpse of the little stuff that makes me happy.

I hung the silver chargers on the wall on either side of the fireplace to add some interest. I used a little trick to hang them that was super easy: I took a safety pin and hot glued it to the top of the center of the plate. Then all you have to do is hang it! It works awesome for things that aren't heavy, but I wouldn't recommend it for big pieces of art or picture frames. I loved how the metallic color added a modern contrast to the rustic  accent branch and stones of the fireplace, and how it mirrored the circles in my modern snowflake garland.

One of the other fun things I did was to add whole cloves to limes in fun patterns for some of my mantel decor. I used to do this with oranges every year with my Grandma, and it's such a great memory. The limes add a  pop of Christmas color, but they also smell amazing. Love this for easy decor!

I made two stockings out of burlap and hot glue. Ha! What I wouldn't be able to do without the help of my glue gun! Would you believe that Monica and I don't sew? We get around it pretty well, but man, you should have heard the Nate Show producers when we told them that we were DIYer's who didn't sew. :) I didn't even use a pattern for the stockings, just drew a shape I was happy with and cut them out. I also made faux metal ornaments out of, wait for it...rolled cork! I used two different metallic spraypaints for the finish, and they turned out cute! Granted, they are soooo flimsy, but they worked perfectly for the show!
One of my absolute favorite additions to the room was the galvanized steel tub I used for holding the base of the tree. Unfortunately, the base of the tree didn't quite fit, so my hubs cut out the bottom of the tub with something (I just gave instructions and he made it happen. I didn't watch so I don't know how he did it! Sometimes that's better. ;)

Because of the tub around the tree, I didn't have a ton of space for presents, so I used them as accents on the hearth.  I love the simple look of kraft paper and traditional ribbon.  

Ok, here's the truth. This pillow stinks. I was totally not thinking about the right way to make a pillow cover and so I folded, folded some more, and hot glued in place. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME! But still, I like the sentiment of "Be Merry". However, Monica, feel free to rip that thing to shreds any ol' time. :)
These two are the pillows I made for the couch under the window. I took my time with these, so they're tons better! I can't get enough of the burlap against the green velvet- such a mix of textures!

Taking a cue from Monica's anti-wreath, I hung several pinecones from festive ribbon in a large frame. Even though it was super easy, I totally dig the pinecones. Actually, I adore pinecones now that we've used them in everything from placecard holders, ornaments and now art! They will be making a regular appearance in my Christmas decor from now on. Mark my words.

These two little frames make me smile. Nothing is easier than decoupaging a cheap wood frame from Michaels, and you already saw how simple it is to use artificial moss here. I lined the backs of the frames with burlap, took apart a necklace for the pearl tree on the left and a dismantled a  few strange-looking earrings for the specimen art frame on the right. It's nothing if not non-traditional, and I think it's pretty darn cute.

This felt garland was a bear to make because it took forever! At least, it seemed that way. I like quick and easy projects, and this one was easy, but NOT quick! Lots of cutting squares, alternating colors and threading the squares with a car tire repair kit (yes,, you read that right. I didn't have a needle and thread, so I used what was on hand!) and then repeating a million and one times. The end result was so cool, so I guess it was {almost} worth it!

Tomorrow is the last day of our Nate DIY's, so don't forget to check back for all the little details from my basement family room. Thanks for stopping by today. :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Nate's 12 Days of Holiday DIYs {Day 10 Pillow} & Fab Find

Want to hear a sad story?  Jess and I were supposed to be in NYC this afternoon having lunch with the fabulous Mandy from Vintage Revivals and Emily, one of our favorite Nate Show producers, BUT... my oldest is really, really sick. I fear it might have turned into pneumonia, so we're headed to the pediatrician instead of the Big Apple.  Boo! I'm bummed about our trip, but even more so I just want my little lady to feel better! 
(Pic courtesy of Salvatori Photography)

Anyhow... Can you believe today marks the final weekend before Christmas?  I seriously can't! I still have a few gifts to buy, some serious wrapping to do, and lots of fun holiday festivities to partake in! 

I guess we should get on with it shouldn't we? Today the girl that can barely sew a button is going to blog about pillows.  Oh boy, this should be fun! 
I saw this Pottery Barn Pillow and thought it was pretty adorable.  I have no idea why it popped into my head during the challenge, but it did and I figured that I could DIY it without any sewing.  

To be completely honest it was one of my LEAST favorite projects in the room and then good old Mr. Berkus had to talk on air about how much he liked it and how he wished he could buy one. All the while I'm thinking, Oh my word. It's a Pottery Barn knock off, just go to the mall, but I can't say that because we have to be super careful about using brand names! I was sweating it big time! They even asked me to write a tutorial for their website, so if you want the directions you can head over to Nate's site for the steps. 

Here's my finished product, but don't look at it too long or you'll see some of the effects of only having a few hours to do a whole room (and yes, I know my stockings look more like hockey sticks!)
Ugh! It pains me to show you this! Ha! It's good to keep away the pride I guess! 

Since it's Friday, I also have a Fab Find for you! Woohoo! 

Fab Find Friday- Journey through Bethlehem

Living Hope Church in Dublin, PA hosts an amazing semi-annual event and it's this weekend! A huge field is transformed into the town of Bethlehem. It's an incredible experience for your whole family.  2 Christmases ago my kids went with their grandparents and they talked about it for weeks! It's an amazing way to remind ourselves about the true reason for Christmas.  
Here's the info directly from Living Hope's website 

Come.  Experience.  A Journey through Bethlehem.  Follow the path that Joseph & Mary walked in a dramatic outdoor presentation of the original Christmas Story.

Show start promptly*
Fri, Dec 16   5   6:30   8pm
Sat, Dec 17   5   6:30  8pm
Sun, Dec 18   5   6:30pm
*Dress appropriately for the weather.  It is an outdoor 45 minute presentation.

Jess and I will be there with our families and friends on Sunday at 6:30pm. 

We hope to see you there! 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Nate's 12 Days of Holiday DIY's {Day 9}

By far, the biggest challenge I had in decorating Monica's family room was filling it! It is one big space, and trying to get that cozy, holiday feel was very difficult. Part of my dilemma was the huge bay window that pretty much covers one whole wall. So I decided to create a modern take on a snowflake garland to fill in that blank space!

Here's the window before I attacked it with a wreath and scrapbook paper. {Gasp} That thing is GINORMOUS!

Although, once this started happening...
...and the power went out, I was super grateful for the light it gave me to finish working on projects! (By the way, we filmed this in October! I have lived here my entire life and do not remember it snowing in October EVER! Wierd things happen in TVland, I tell you!)

I tried to use as much stuff from the crate as possible, which included loads of scrapbook paper in various holiday colors, and although I would have preferred whites and silvers, I only had red, green and dark gray to work with. Of course, I have no photos of this project in process because during these 48 hour challenges I completely lose my head and only focus on one thing: gettin 'er done. (Blogger foul!)

Basically, all I did was search for 3 different size circle templates. I found plates that worked perfectly and traced about 50 circles (it felt like a million!), making sure I had an equal number of circles in each color and patterned paper. Then, believe it or not, I actually spray painted the backs of some of the paper in silver so they coordinated better. I would not recommend this because once they dried, they began to curl a bit, but desperate times call for desperate measures!  I then laid them out on the floor to figure out the arrangement I liked best. I ended up with 3 strands on the two outside windows (I hung the grapevine wreath that I spraypainted silver and wrapped in plaid ribbon in the middle window). I alternated the number of circles on each strand, so that it looked random (5 circles on two of the strands, and four on the middle strand). Once I figured out how they were going to go, I cut an "x" at the top and bottom of each circle with an X-acto knife, so that I could run the twine through. Why did I cut an "x" and not punch a hole, you ask? I really didn't want the circles to slide down the twine at all, so the "x" allowed the twine to go through, but still held the circle in place. Finally, I simply hung them from the ceiling in varying lengths.

I really like how the garland added a pop of Christmas to an otherwise expansive, empty space. Plus, for the price of a few sheets of scrapbook paper and twine, you have an easy, big-impact project!

Hope this leaves you feeling inspired!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Nate's 12 Days of Holiday DIYs {Day 8: Pallet Wall Take 2}

Before I could do any Christmas decorating, I had one major problem to take care of... the huge broken TV and the massive custom shelving built around it.  It's funny because this was a HUGE part of my 48 hours, but because it wasn't just decorating, they hardly even mentioned it in the episode!
I knew that the TV was broken and the little one was being used temporarily, but I didn't know what to do with shelving that was made specifically for a ginormous box TV.  I considered building shelving within the shelving and then remembered that I didn't have a clue how to do that and only had about 8 hours... onto plan B. One thing I did know how to do was build a pallet wall.  Remember this project we recently finished?
I thought Jess and Kev wouldn't mind if I covered up the gaping hole in the wall with some cool pallets, and so I went to the garage to see how many they had sitting around and then sent the hubs on a little search for more pallets!

The first step was removing the molding all around the edges.  (Oh, and removing the beast of a TV...good thing I'm super strong! hehe)
Next, we used 2x4s to create studs that we could nail the pallets into.  This wasn't quite as easy as doing it on a normal wall because we had a lot of open space.
The process we used was exactly the same as our last pallet wall, so if you want all the directions head over to this post.
My favorite part of this wall is the awesome pattern that some of the pieces of wood had.  I feel like the circles are a great contrast with the natural tones of the wood.
I think the finished product is just a wee-bit better than before, don't you?  
Once that little challenge was taken care of, I could breathe a sigh of relief and move on to some decorating! 

I hope that seeing another fun wall 'o pallets is sparking your creativity! I think the two walls I've done have turned out to be some of my favorite DIYs in a while!

And just because it was too fun not to share... Tonight the hubs and I hosted a dinner and cookie decorating night.  35 of us had a blast eating, decorating, and spending time together.  Jess and I are so thankful for the awesomely fun people in our lives!