Tag Archives: Christmas

How To: Get a 9.5-ft Frasier Fir Out of Your Family Room

Today, I’m going to share an easy How To, which may come in handy for those of you who still have live Christmas trees in your home. Let’s start with giving your tree a look-see. If it’s dried and droopy, like Exhibit A below, it is ready to be removed. A good indicator of this is when limbs have fallen so low, your tinsel and/or light strands slide off.

2012 Christmas Tree -- TwoPurpleCouches.com

First, remove all decorations, including any tinsel, lighting, ladders, ornaments, toppers, etc.

ornaments -- TwoPurpleCouches.com

ornaments -- TwoPurpleCouches.com

Assess all exit options, i.e. windows and doors, for the best fit. Trim any excess/excessively large branches as needed. Helpful Hint: place branches on a spare sheet or towel to catch any dripping sap.

tree trimmings -- TwoPurpleCouches.com

Attempt to cover tree with tree bag. Laugh when bag barely covers half of the tree. Say to yourself, “maybe we should only get a 7.5-ft tree next year so it fits in these 8-ft tree bags?”

bundled tree -- TwoPurpleCouches.com

Carry tree to pre-determined exit. I would recommend wearing gloves, as there is lots of sap, and a potentially molding stump to contend with.

TwoPurpleCouches.com

If exiting via a deck, heave it over the railing. Remove bag.

TwoPurpleCouches.com

Drag into wooded area.Creepy grainy photos are optional.

TwoPurpleCouches.com  

TwoPurpleCouches.com

Now all that’s left is to sweep up lots and LOTS of needles!

Congratulations! You’ve now successfully removed a 9.5-ft fir tree from you home!

Holiday Traditions: Krohn Conservatory Pointsettia & Train Display

mini Krohn Conservatory - Two Purple Couches

One big holiday tradition in Cincinnati is the train and pointsettia display at Krohn Conservatory. I remembering going as a young child and being mesmerized by the trains; I always loved watching them wind their way around those tiny tracks, and I still do!
The Conservatory was built in the 1930’s and has a cool Art Deco style. The annual holiday display features tons of pointsettias and evergreens as a beautiful backdrop for an impressive train display that snakes all through one of the main areas of the Conservatory. Scattered among the train tracks are replica buildings of some Cincinnati landmarks, all make out of natural materials! There’s even a lifesize Nativity scene on the grounds outside the Conservatory, with live animals (apparently a lamb was born the day we visited, but I didn’t get a pic b/c there were tons of people crowding into the stable to see it).

train tracks - Two Purple Couches

replica bridge - Two Purple Couches
This is a replica of the local Roebling Suspension Bridge that connects Covington, KY and Cincinnati, OH. It served as the prototype for the Brooklyn Bridge, which was also built by John Roebling. The “stones” of this bridge were actually tree bark, cut and applied to look like stone.

pointsettias - Two Purple Couches
I have never seen a speckled pointsettia before. So beautiful. I’d love to fill my house with them, but I’m sure Molly would eat them and get sick.

natural flower - Two Purple Couches
The giant Christmas tree in the Conservatory lobby was full of ornaments made from natural materials. I loved this flower; the petals reminded me of pistachio shells, but I’m not sure if that’s what they actually were.

While we were there, we also wandered through the other Conservatory greenhouses. Here are a few images I snapped in the desert room and the orchid room (my fave!).

succulent - Two Purple Couches

orange orchid - Two Purple Couches

green orchid - Two Purple Couches

orchid - Two Purple Couches

Hope you didn’t mind that this post was so photo-heavy. I took all of these pictures with my iPhone 4s… and am pretty impressed with the quality! Not a bad little camera in that thing!

Do you have a favorite holiday tradition in your city?

I’m Dreaming of a White Day After Christmas

This morning, we woke up to this!

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Cincinnati rarely sees snow at Christmas, much less in the entire month of December, so I’ll take a White Day-After-Christmas if that’s what I can get. Plus, it really helps my case for staying in my pajamas all day today.

We had a wonderful holiday; the past 5 or so days we’ve been going non-stop with holiday dinners, parties, post-party cleaning, food prepping, family time, etc. I’ll back up and start at the beginning to give you all a recap of my very merry diy’d Christmas!

On Saturday, we hosted some couples for dinner. We got to use our dining room for the very first time since we moved in! Yea! Only took a year, haha. We don’t have a formal dining room set, so we used two folding tables instead! I put the table centerpieces together out of things I already had around the house: hurricane vases, ornaments, festive berry sprigs, loose tinsel, snowflakes, etc. I put a clay lollipop at each place setting in lieu of a place card, and asked everyone to take them home with them. I got 2 red paper tablecloths at Target for about $3.50 a piece.

www.twopurplecouches.wordpress.com    www.twopurplecouches.wordpress.com

I like to cook most/all of the food myself when we have parties versus getting pre-made meals or asking everyone to bring dishes. I just think if you’re invited to someone’s house for dinner, you should be able to go and enjoy yourself without worrying about bringing food along, keeping it hot, etc.

This was our menu for Saturday:

Appetizer: smoked sausage, garlic and herb cheese spread, olive tapenade, crackers, and cashews.

Main Course: mixed greens salad with toasted pine nuts, dried cherries, fresh parmesan and balsamic vinaigrette; baked salmon with herb seasoning (a “coastal blend” purchased from a local spice shop); and orzo with pesto and peas.

Dessert: homemade truffles and peppermint bark. Here’s my truffle assembly line: chilled ganache, toppings (chopped pecans, pistachios and cocoa powder) and a clean baking sheet to set them on!

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(Scroll to the end of this post to find links to the recipes I used)

On Sunday, we celebrated Christmas with Tom’s parents. In year’s past, we celebrate on Christmas Eve, after the larger Kennedy family gathering. But with the new pup in the house, we decided to space things out a bit this year. We even took Molly with us to Tom’s parents’! She was pretty well behaved, and by the end of the night, had shredded a lot of wrapping paper. Girl loves to shred paper.

On Monday, we went to Christmas Eve Mass and then to the Kennedy family gathering.

On Tuesday, we hosted Christmas for the first time! My parents came over early in the day for brunching and gifting; then my extended family came over later in the afternoon for dinnering and gifting. Then we cleaned up real quick and went to Tom’s Grandma’s house to see his mom’s side of the family. Whew! Hence, why I’m staying in my pajamas all day today.

Here’s our Christmas Day Brunch menu:

Spinach, Bacon, and Red Pepper Quiche with Sharp White Cheddar

Portobello and Crimini Mushroom Quiche with Apple-Smoked Gruyere

Maple and Brown Sugar Sticky Biscuits

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And some shots of the day’s various festivities:

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Yes, those are official Clark Griswold Moose Mugs! Tom’s parents gave them to us. They are just as awesome in person as I could have imagined them to be!

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Molly opened her own gifts! Smart girl shredded the paper, then plucked out her toy (a squeaky gingerbread girl), and started playing! I got to clean up her soggy paper shards.

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Tis the season for owls! I got this awesome owl stuffie (from Kohls), an owl ornament, and an owl tealight holder. My family knows me well…

For out Christmas Day table, I changed out the table cloth (another paper find from Target; this one’s got a bit of Scandinavian flair!), and added paper trees underneath the clear plastic plates for a bit of color.

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www.twopurplecouches.wordpress.com

www.twopurplecouches.wordpress.com

I added some other decorations around my chalkboard-inspired painting.

And lastly, the coolest gift I received, from the most awesome husband in the world 🙂

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I hope you all had a wonderful holiday with family and friends!

Recipes via: Coastal Blend Seasoning / Pesto Sauce / Homemade Truffles (I rolled mine in cocoa powder, chopped pistachios and chopped pecans)/ Peppermint Bark / Basic Quiche (I always reference this for baking temp, time, and the number of eggs; I usually skip the half-and-half because Tom is lactose intolerant) / Sticky Biscuits

Chalk It Up to the Holidays

If you saw my recent Weekly Wishlist, or follow me on Instagram (@onuwriter06), then you know that I’ve got a thing for Chalkboard prints. It’s a recent thing that has come on quite strong, too. And once you’ve fallen head-over-heels for a typographic print, there’s only one thing to do… try to recreate it yourself.

I started off by trying to free-hand my own versions of ones I’ve found online (mostly on Esty), carefully studying how the letters are created, connected and filled out. Here’s one example from my “sketchbook:”

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The next step was to decide on the phrase I wanted to write (so hard! there are sooooo many great Christmas song lyrics), and sketch it out. This way I could decide which words I wanted to emphasize, which would be serif or sans serif, etc. I also had to decide on a color. I didn’t want to do a black background because I wanted the colors to feel a bit more Christmasy. I chose Americana Hauser Light Green Acrylic paint (purchased at Michael’s, and also used on my clay lollipop ornaments. Such versatile paint…). I think the canvas size is 14″x18″, if you’re wondering.

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I prepped the canvas by painting the whole thing with the green paint. I only did one coat, and didn’t worry about making it too perfect or uniform. So some parts are darker/have more coverage than others. One of my friends described it as “rustic.”

Then I used a pencil to lightly sketch out the words “Christmases” and “White” to get the placement where I wanted them. And then it sat on my kitchen table (i.e. crafting space) for a few days while I got up the courage to put paint to paper, err, canvas.

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Here’s an action shot. Lucky for me, Tom was hovering with my iPhone camera on.

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And here’s the finished product:

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Snitch-eriffic

Looking for a cool ornament DIY? Why not a Golden Snitch!? I made this guy last year, following this tutorial via Tiny Apartment Crafts.

IMG_2105

All-in-all, it was pretty simple, though shaping the wings was a little challenging (maybe I bought the wrong wire?). I also purchased a set of small gold ornaments from Target that came in all different patterns, so I skipped the painting step.

If you make one, send me a pic so I can see how it turned out!