Our 2014 Cabin Christmas Tree~12 Bloggers of Christmas


Let me start this by saying I'm so excited to be a part of the 2014 12 Bloggers of Christmas Tour sponsored by Balsam Hill. (Please check the bottom of this post for a special discount code).  
I am so in love with our new tree and I can't wait to tell you why. It's not only because it looks incredibly real, it's pre-lit with beautiful warm white lights and it was so easy to put up. It's because it solved a major design obstacle. 

Take a look while I explain…





(To see more of our 2014 Christmas Home, Please click here).

My dream has always been to have a full sized Christmas Tree in our small dining room. This is where we do a lot of entertaining during the holidays and a tree adds so much magic. Until now, a full sized tree wouldn't fit. It stuck out into the room and crowded the dining table. Balsam Hill to the rescue. My new Fifth Avenue Flatback Tree fits perfectly. The reason..it's only half a tree. 

The back is completely flat.







The flat back allowed me to push the tree up snugly to an awkward, angled wall.  From the front and sides, you cannot tell it has a flat back. It is lush and full so it looks like a complete tree, but it doesn't hog up all our floor space. We can still walk comfortably around the table.






Aside from fitting perfectly into the space, another huge plus is that this tree required half the amount of ornaments usually needed to fill a full sized tree. This made decorating a lot faster not to mention easier on the budget. This year I went with a new theme which meant I needed some new supplies. My wallet appreciated the fact that I was only decorating half a tree.







A few weeks ago, I shared my 2014 Christmas decor theme in this post. In case you missed it, I put together an inspiration board featuring elements I planned on using to create a "contemporary cabin" theme. It was inspired by the Holidays we spent at our family cabin in the woods. 







When our kids were little, we piled in the car every Christmas and headed up to winter wonderland in northern Michigan. This year, my goal was to bring the magic of our Christmas's at the cabin to our home in suburbia. With a contemporary and whimsical spin that would appeal to the kids. 




On the tree, I used a lot of natural elements to bring the sense of the outdoor fun we had during Christmases at the cabin.  Real antlers, pine cones and little birds brought the woods right into our dining room. These hand made, star shaped ornaments were a gift to my boys last year from my mom. She made them out of elements she harvested from the woods at the cabin. She used a hot glue gun to attach birch bark, acorns, sticks and feathers she collected from the property to cardboard cutouts.






To bring real, evergreen scent into the space, I used fresh greens on the plate shelves next to the tree. Balsam Hill also offers scented ornaments that bring the scent of a real tree to your home.  







Buffalo check ribbon bows play on the cabin theme. The large scale of the checked ribbon lends a striking graphic quality. Combining this bold, graphic ribbon with other black and white patterns keeps tree from looking too serious. A mix of bold checks, animal prints, stripes, hounds tooth all in black and white create a contemporary mix. 









One of my favorite things about having a full sized three in this space is the reflection in provides in our large mirror. At night, it's almost like having two trees. 






The problem is that I may never want to take it down.





Thank you Balsam Hill for providing me with this beautiful, life-like tree. In all my years of professional holiday decorating, I've never experienced a faux tree that looks this real. It truly reminds me of the pine trees at the cabin. When I look at this tree, it takes me back to this…



(My son, Cameron, at the cabin Christmas 2005).


Thank you for stopping by! Here is the rest of the 12 bloggers of Christmas lineup for the week! Be sure to stop by for some serious inspiration...




Jessica 
Lucy 

Kristen 
Jennifer

Melaine 
Liz 

Jamie 

Kelly
Courtney 

Vanessa
Jen

*If you would like to purchase your own Balsam Hill Tree, please feel free to use this coupon code for $25 off a purchase of $200 or more (expires 12/22/14)... 
12BSARAH25


For information on my affordable online design service, please click here.

Stylish Gifts For The Host/Hostess of Your Holiday Party


If you're like me, our mom's taught us to never arrive at a holiday party empty handed. I usually ask if there is something I can bring beforehand, but if the answer is no then it's up to me to think of something. Do you ever struggle with what to bring? Depending on how well you know the host/hostess choosing a gift can be challenging. To make it easier on us this year during the holiday rush, I teamed up with Lowes Home Improvement to create a handy list of stylish gift ideas any host or hostess would love to receive.





One of my favorite host/hostess gifts is a fresh centerpiece. This year, I put together beautiful centerpieces using fresh, vibrant red poinsettias from the garden center. To make them look extra special, I removed the foil wrap from the plants and placed them in eye-catching, black and white striped canvas totes I purchased at a craft store.






This arrangement is very simple and easy to put together, yet it's strikingly beautiful. I made these for myself as I am the holiday hostess this year, but any holiday host/hostess is sure to appreciate a centerpiece like this at their holiday gathering. After the holidays, they will have a chic storage tote.





Here are some of the other host/hostess gift ideas I came up with while shopping at Lowes:







The final gift suggestion I'd like to make is any combination of these items could be placed in an attractive container to create a generous host/hostess gift basket. A gift basket is ideal for the host/hostess that is hosting you overnight or even for a few days. I hope this list comes in handy as you dash out the door and stop off at Lowes on the way to your holiday party.
Happy Holidays.

P.S. This post is sponsored by Lowes. In order to facilitate this post, I received compensation. However, all opinions are my own.

Christmas Home Tour 2014

Welcome to The Yellow Cape Cod 2014 Christmas home tour. My home is number 26 on The Holiday Housewalk, a week long, online tour of Christmas homes presented by Jennifer Rizzo and sponsored by Balsam Hill. 



If you are visiting from Between You and Me thank you for stopping by and continuing the tour with me! Wasn't her home absolutely beautiful?





If you did not stop by as part of the tour, please be sure to hop on here and then go back to the beginning to see some absolutely beautiful homes, all dressed for the holidays from all parts of the country. This is the second year I've participated in the housewalk. If you missed last year's tour, you can catch it here. But first, let me show you around our home and share what we have going on this year. 



If this is your first time here, let me introduce myself.  My name is Sarah Macklem, I'm a professional Home Stylist from Detroit, Michigan.  This blog is where I share daily design adventures, DIY tutorials, entertaining ideas, exciting room makeovers and more. I also operate a busy online interior design studio and often share my professional design work here on the blog as well. In addition to being the title of my blog, The Yellow Cape Cod is my home where I live with my husband, our three children and our dog, Murphie.  





Enough about me, come on in from the cold and I'll show you around.  
 As you can see, we've already experienced our first snowfall in Michigan. A little of the white stuff was definitely what my Holiday planter and front porch were missing. Mother nature knows her stuff.




I'm going to share more than just our holiday decorations in this post. This year, in addition to showing you around, I thought it would be fun to talk about our family traditions. I'd like to share what goes down in each room during Christmas and why these decorations have meaning to our family. 









But first, coffee…

Coffee is our number one holiday essential. When family is in town and the kids are home from school, just one Kuerig doesn't cut it. To keep up with demand, I set up a holiday coffee bar in the kitchen with twin coffee machines, fresh greenery and a little sign I made with chalkboard paint inside a thrift store frame.








Now that we have that taken care of, come with me into our breakfast nook. This little area is where we have our Christmas morning breakfast. Every year on Christmas Eve when we return from church, my daughter and I head straight for the kitchen to prepare our special recipe for "Overnight French Toast". If I'm not too tired, I get the table set so that Christmas morning is all about fun. 






This year, the table setting I am using for the breakfast nook and for the dining room is made up of black and white transfer ware, mix and match dishes I've collected over time and beautiful carved wood chargers I picked up at Pier 1.





On to the living room. This is where we do most of our holiday entertaining with family and friends. The mantle is the center of attention when it comes to holiday decor in this space. We also have our family Christmas tree located in this room, but I can't share it with you just yet. More details on that to come soon. 







This year, Balsam Hill offered to sponsor the Holiday Housewalk. They sent me this beautiful pre-lit garland to use on the mantle. For variation in color, added texture and evergreen scent, I added fresh greenery clippings to the faux green garland. It is absolutely beautiful at night when the lights are on. The black and white chair next to the fireplace is my littlest's favorite place to sit. This is the spot where he curls up during our holiday movie marathons. To cozy up his chair and give it a little Christmas spirit, I added his favorite throw and this fantastic reindeer pillow from a local Etsy Artist, I Screen You Screen .




The main decor in our home is neutral by design. Lots of black, white and gray. This allows me to incorporate different accent colors though the four seasons. For Christmas, I use traditional red and green, but have a little fun with patterns like this black and white wrapping paper. One tip that I'd like to share is when selecting your holiday gift wrap, look beyond the Christmas wrap aisle. This paper was found with the traditional gift wrap, it has an amazing flocking detail.







Another way I had fun with pattern this year is with these fantastic snowflake throw blankets from Balsam Hill.   The bold, graphic print brought a little drama to our sofa's and pays homage to the cabin theme of our Christmas tree (more on the tree in a bit).








 I use a lot of the same Christmas decor items every year. Like most families, we have things that have special meaning to us and the tradition of having these things displayed every year at Christmas is something we look forward to. However, I do try to mix things up by using these items in different ways. For instance, our favorite monogrammed stockings (the stockings that Santa fills each year) are being displayed in other parts of the house. This left the mantle a little bare, so I grabbed these red velvet stockings from PB. 






A bold, black, striped ribbon draws the eye to my favorite antler stocking holders. The oversized monogram and framed silhouettes personalize our mantle. I painted the monogram on a sheet of MDF. The silhouettes were made from digital photos of our dog and three children that were traced and cut out of black card stock. 









In the corner of our living room I have a bookcase that during the holidays serves many different purposes. During our family Christmas party, the top shelves are used to create an adult beverage station. In between parties, I use it as a place to keep serving pieces handy. On Christmas morning, the bookcase becomes a place where we put our sweet treats out for all to enjoy.








Many of the items on this shelf were purchased from estate sales and thrift shops. I scored the nativity set at the Goodwill for a few bucks. I gave it a little makeover with lighting, paint and glitter and will share that project here on the blog next week.




In addition to our usual family traditions, this year we started a new one. I found these adorable muslin bags on Etsy and used them to create an advent tree. Each bag contains either a candy, a bible verse to reflect on or a Christmas carol for us to sing as a family while we count down to the big day.  










Our powder room is located across from the formal dining room. This location is not ideal as you can see into the bathroom from the dining table. But, we make it work. I try to keep the powder room looking pretty and festive during the holidays so the view into this little space is pleasing.






Speaking of the dining room, this is my favorite room in the house during the holidays. This is where our family and friends gather to share holiday dinners that include our favorite family dishes. We have recipes that have been in our family for many generations that every year make their way onto this table. 







To honor the tradition of these recipes, I like to incorporate heirloom pieces into the table setting. Having a young, modern family I also have the desire to keep the overall look young and fresh. This year, I accomplished this by creating a fun mix of patterns and prints in a high contrast palette of black and white with a large dose of Christmas red. Combined with our vintage pieces, it's the perfect mix of old and new. It honors memories of our loved ones no longer with us while keeping the mood light and happy.




Speaking of memories, this year our family Christmas tree theme is based on some of the most magical memories of our Christmases spent at the family cabin in the woods of northern Michigan. When our kids were little, we piled in the car and made the trip to the cabin each year where we spent a week during Christmas in the snow. I'll be sharing our 2014 cabin themed tree as part of the 12 Bloggers of Christmas Tour next week so stay tuned. 

Until then, here is a little sneak peek...












Thank you for stopping by and letting me share our Christmas decor and family traditions with you. On your way out, take a peek at these guys...









My husband picked them up at our local greenhouse. I'm not the only one in the house that gets excited about decorating for the holidays. While I'm inside decking the halls, my husband is up on the roof creating his magnificent Christmas light display. Maybe a blog post on that will be coming soon.






In the meantime, Merry Christmas from my family to yours. 







Now, it's on to the next stop in the tour, City Farmouse. This is one you do not want to miss! She has the most beautiful and playful theme this year; Playful Woodland Retreat.




Thank you Jennifer Rizzo for inviting me to take part in this fantastic tour of homes. Thank you to Balsam Hill for being such a generous sponsor. 


For information on my affordable online design service, please click here.
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