Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Best of 2011 {take 3}

It sort of feels like I was just writing this same post for last year yesterday. I cannot believe how quickly 2011 has passed up by! When reviewing our different projects from last year I had a hard time picking my favorites. It seems as though 2011 was a year of simple but beautiful projects from my blog mates, but I loved them all. After much deliberation though, here are my favorites from 2011...

I loved Erin's Sparkly Valentine's Banner. The burlap and the chalkboard were just perfect! It makes me want a giant chalkboard prominently displayed in my home too! Everything about this simple display was just perfect!

I loved, loved Tiffany's Bib Mania. I have always been impressed with her sewing projects, but these bits were just gorgeous! Having just had a second baby of my own, I wanted one of almost every single bib. They were simply perfect!
I am of course a sucker for any wreath, so I loved Jessica's take on the simple ribbon wreath. I think it is super sweet with the fun feather broach and great ribbon choice. I have always loved simple wrapped wreaths, so this one caught my eye immediately!
We love room makeovers here at LTC! I have to say one of my favorite projects of the year was L's Ballerina Big Girl Room. It was a combination of many small projects, but I love the fresh fun colors we chose! The bright and airy space is perfectly suited for my daughter's bright personality!
It's been a fast and fun 2011 here at LTC for me. Do you have any favorite projects from 2011? Add a link to the comments, I'd love to stop by and reminisce with you this week! Happy New Year friends!


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Favorites of 2011

Oh, how I love to look through a whole year's post and pick my favorites!  So much fun!  Although, it is a big challenge for me to pick just one favorite.  I gave it my best shot and here is what I came up with...

My favorite post of Erin's was this Men's Shirt Re-Do: Vest Applique.  Erin amazed me how she got a sewing machine one day and was sewing her daughter's baby bedding the next.  She seems to be a natural seamstress and an ambitious one at that!  I have always loved tie shirts but to add a vest makes it one of the cutest shirts ever!
Letters 20
Patrice amazes me with her beautiful classy decorating.  These Pearl Egg Topiaries were definitely a favorite of mine.  I think they are simple perfection.  And they are sticking out of little teacups!  A wonderful addition to home Easter decor.  LOVE.

Jessica's Valentine Card Holder was adorable and a girl's gotta get props for taking the time to place ribbon on that many clothespins!  I have never actually met Jessica in person (crazy, huh?) but I love how her personality seems to show through her crafts...happy and fun!  

My favorite for the year of mine had to be my son's big boy room.  I love, love, love to decorate anything, but designing my kid's rooms is my favorite.  I had so much fun with the details and I loved how my husband, sister and Mom put their love into the room too.  

Thank you for taking the time to visit Lemon Tree day after day!  We love sharing our projects with you!!!

Happy Tuesday!



Monday, December 26, 2011

Best of 2011

I hope everyone had a happy and wonderful holiday with their families!!

In celebration of the new year we wanted to take this week to review some of our favorite projects of 2011. I hope you enjoy them and maybe find a few that you missed during the year!

My favorite project of my own was my daughter's Vintage Inspired Nursery.

Nursery 19

I loved this project because I had so much fun on it and it was about a dozen mini-projects. Working on it was a labor of love that added to my excitement over the arrival of our sweet Hannah, and each completed project felt like crossing off a week until her due date. I love sitting in there now and looking around at all of the personal touches that I pulled together before I even knew her, something I barely remember now that I have my little sunshine.

Mygirl 4

My favorite project of Tiffany's was her daughter's Pinwheel and Polka Dot party.


Tiffany has a great knack for making the little details amazing, and this party was no exception. The colors, the fun mix of patterns, the vintage vibe and sweet paper details were all perfect. I was amazed that Grandma even got in on the action and added beautiful complimenting dresses for the girls! It is all too sweet!


My favorite project of Patrice's was her sweet Baby Boy Nursery.

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This beautiful nursery has a beautiful calm vibe with fun pops of whimsy. Don't you just love the hot air balloon mobile and wall art? I also love the sweet dresser re-do, it's classy, peaceful and lovely. I love every element in this room.

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I was so excited that Jessica started doing the Pinterest roundups each Friday, because I always love her pins. She finds some of the most fun little tidbits online!

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I loved this 150 stocking stuffer ideas because I am always on the lookout for little tokens for my loved ones at Christmastime. I didn't even have to hunt them down, there was a plethora of ideas waiting for me at this fun link.

We are owls

I also loved her scarf love board, I'm a sucker for scarves anyway and I'm crazy over this fun script scarf!! Thanks for pulling together such lovely beauties Jess!!

Did you have a favorite project of 2011? Are you doing a "Best of 2011" sometime this week? Link up in the comments, we'd love to see!!

And to our British readers, Happy Boxing Day!

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday Home {Pinterest Inspired}

While we casually stroll through my Christmas home, just know I get overjoyed with excitement as I go through old decorations, do some revamping and then of course add some new decorations to the mix.

Luckily, Patrice and I craft a lot together, so this inspiration comes from her. This is so fun and it adds some spunk to the outside decor!

I love finding old things and putting them together for something a little this Frosty hat! Check it out here.

Last year's Chalkboard

This year's Pinterest inspired advent countdown! LOVE!


The label says it all..thanks Pinterest for the recipes!

Merry, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Pinterest Year!



Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Our Christmas House

I am always anxious to decorate for Christmas each year! I usually head straight for the cutesy Christmas stuff, all bows and ruffles, but I want something a little different this year. This picture is from our front door wreath from last year, which I still might just pop back on the front door anyway!

This year I wanted more of a rustic, homemade feel around our house. I went with a combo of paper crafts, pine cones and branches, and a little pop of red to change things up a bit. So far I am really happy with what we have come up with!
Our coffee table centerpiece is low fuss and in one of my all-time favorite goodwill finds!
I love our three window wreaths, a Pinterest idea.
These pillows were another Pinterest idea from a few weeks ago! They didn't turn out quite as well as I'd planned, but I am happy with the little linen pillows. I just used iron-on transfer paper to recreate this favorite pin!
I picked this polar bear up at HomeGoods, and I love it! Polar bears are my favorite, and he brings a different little kick to things.
Matt and I bought our stockings the year we spent living abroad in Edinburgh. When Laurelei was born we lucked out and found a similar 'old-school' stocking at Joseph Beth. Now, we are on the hunt for Abbott's perfect mismatch too! If you see any, let us know!
Yet another Pinterest christmas project. I'm not overly excited about how this turned out either, but I'll take it! It adorns our farm house dining room table for now.
This little ribbon tree is something I made last year, and I still really like it. It's a surprising little find on our living room bookshelf!

And of course, last but not least, our Christmas tree.
I've decided it's pretty much impossible to get a good picture of a Christmas tree. But you get the gist. This year we added letter garland and paper stars to our tree, alluding to the homemade feel around here. I really like it, even if it is a bit unorthodox!
I am pretty happy with all of our changes around here this year. If you are interested in what we did for Christmas last year, here is last years post.You can check out my Pinterest holiday board to see where I got a lot of my ideas this year!

Happy Holiday Decorating!!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas House, Traditions, & Gifts

My Christmas house pretty much looks the same as last year so I won't bore you with all the details of that.  

The one change is the mantel and I do love it so I will share...

The Christmas tree is also different this year because I let go of my "themes" and own ideas.  I let the kids decorate it completely this year.  This means it has random ornaments all hung on the same branches.  My idea of the perfect Christmas tree has completely changed.  This is it.  Now if only I had read Erin's post before taking this picture, it may have turned out much better.

I changed up the frames again with Christmasy stuff printed off the computer.

We started the tradition of opening a Christmas book a day beginning on December 1st.  I first saw the idea on Pinterest and it came from HERE and I love it!  It has been so fun and now all our Christmas books have a chance and don't get overlooked.

We also eat dinner by candlelight every night that we are home in December.  What kid (or adult for that matter) doesn't love that?  Then to make it even more exciting and to make it work for us, the big kid that stays in their seat and refrains from screaming at dinner time gets to blow out the candle at the end.  It really works.  Blowing out candles is apparently a very cool thing.

My sister gets the kids Christmas jammies every year.  She sends them our way and we give them out on December 1st.  We surprise them right before bed and then call Aunt Beth to thank her!  : )  They are practically worn out by Christmas from so much wear!  

We have cinnamon rolls for Jesus on Christmas morning.  We light a candle and sing Happy Birthday to Him.  The kids LOVE this tradition.

As far as presents go, we made a lot of ornaments in our home this year.  I made about 24 of these mini pillow ornaments for friends, family, and teachers.  

Then the kids got a chance to make their own ornaments.  We made salt dough ones this year.  So easy and so much fun!  They went to town painting them and loved every minute.  Then they had fun choosing who would receive them as gifts.  The recipe I found HERE made so many that my oldest chose one for each of her classmates too.

I love everything about Christmas.  

What do you love about Christmas?  Do you have any of these same traditions in your home? Or do you have new ones to share with us? 

Only 5 days to go, my friends!  Merry Christmas!!!


Monday, December 19, 2011

Taking Pictures of that Tree

Hey everyone! Happy week before Christmas! I hope that everyone has a non-stressful week and can easily tie up all of the pre-Christmas loose ends!

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We thought we'd carry on our tradition of walking through our Christmas homes this week. Hurray!! I love looking at other people's holiday decor! :)

Sign 1

However, as I walked around my home with my camera this afternoon, I realized something. I didn't do a lot of decorating for Christmas this year.

Twine 1

My baby is 6 months old now, and at the (st)age where there is lots of "stuff." High chair, bumbo seat, exersaucer, baby swing, teething toys, snuggly toys, food props, etc. This is in addition to my 3 year old's things. You get the picture. Stuff.

Garland 2

So when it came time for my Christmas decor, I went minimal. My house can get cluttered quickly, and I didn't want the decorations to become "Christmas clutter," and add to "baby clutter" and "3 year old clutter" and "adult clutter."

Garland 1

So instead I'm going to give you a few pointers for getting a good picture of that Christmas tree. You have one more week with your tree, so don't put off that shot any longer!!

I'm sure there are lots of tutorials around blog land about taking pictures of your tree. But I thought I would share my tree photos and walk you through my settings and thought process a bit. I hope it is some help to you in getting that perfect picture!

(These photos are all straight out of the camera, no editing. I wanted to show you how adjusting the settings alone changed the photos.)

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Tree Shot #1

ISO 640, Aperture 2.8, Shutter Speed 1/4 second

This was my starting point in my tree pictures. I used a tripod since I was using such a slow shutter speed, but you could easily place your camera on a steady surface to get a similar effect.

I like it, but the tree and the room are too bright. I don't like the shadows that the branches are casting on the walls or how my curtains seem to play a role in this picture. Overall, I want the room darker.

Tree 4

Tree Shot #2

ISO 640, Aperture 2.8, Shutter Speed 1/6 second

I made my shutter speed slightly faster, but all other settings are the same.

This is better, I like how the tree isn't so bright, but I still think that the room should be darker, and I want my lights to be a bit more twinkly.

Tree 1

Tree Shot #3

ISO 500, Aperture 14, Shutter Speed 2.5 seconds

I changed my settings up completely, going a stop down in ISO so that the whole shot would be darker, a much smaller aperture for the "star effect" on my lights, and a much slower shutter speed to accommodate the small shutter speed.

This is much more of what I had in mind. I love the star effect on each of the lights. But I wonder if it is slightly too dark now?

Tree 2

Tree #4

ISO 500, Aperture 18, Shutter Speed 6 seconds

I made my shutter speed even slower so that the room would be brighter, and the aperture smaller so that it wouldn't be too bright, and I still kept the twinkly star lights.

Perfect! A not-too-bright and not-too-dark, sparkly tree!!

But now I'm wondering if I like Tree #3 best, hmmmm...

Tree 5

Tree #5

ISO 640, Aperture 2.8, Shutter Speed 1/6 second

And just for fun, if you want to throw in a picture of just the lights on your tree with none of the details, try this trick.

Switch your camera from auto focus to manual focus, and twist your lens until the tree is out of focus, and then take your shot. The smaller your aperture, the bigger your light blobs will be.

Fun, right?

Now, which tree is your favorite? #3, right? Or #4...hmmm...

Have you taken some pictures of your tree this month that you'd like to share? Or have you done a tour of your holiday home? Please share in the comments below!!

Have a safe and wonderful holiday!!!

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