The decorating begins....

Welcome to the 12 days of Christmas decorating, baking & cooking on my blog!

I am just starting my Christmas decorating today...I'm not one that has to have my Christmas decorations up the day after Thanksgiving. I prefer to do it a couple weeks before, so my tree still looks & smells fresh on Christmas day.

I make my annual trip up to Spencer to Del's Garden Center to purchase tree, roping, wreaths, spruce tips & whatever great things they have for holiday decorating the first Sunday after Thanksgiving. The scent of fresh pine fills the nostrils as you open the door of the garden center. Inside the building you will find several woman feeding fresh cut pine into a noisy machine that staples, twists and whatever else it does and out the other end comes the freshly made pine roping. Pretty neat to see your pine roping made right before your very eyes! Their wreaths are hand made there as well and are always nice & plump....just the way I like them!

I hang 5 wreaths on our house, 1 on the front door & one for each big window.
This year I am using a candy cane ribbon...sort of stepping outside of the box here!

The weather was a very mild 30 something degrees today...warm enough to be outside in just a big warm & woolly sweater.

A perfect day to start the Christmas decorating on the outside of the house. Come along with my to my backyard as I add some Christmas decor to the outdoors...

Big red bulbs are simply hung in our young Service Berry trees throughout the yard. A quick & simple way to add some Christmas cheer to the yard!
So far the squirrels haven't been too curious about them & have left them alone! See all the squirrel tracks in the snow? I was hoping the bulbs might be a diversion for the squirrels and they would leave my bird feeders alone....

I like to add a touch of Christmas to my gardens as well. Here an old wheel barrow that contains flowers in the summer has spruce tips simply tucked into the dirt. Plan to tuck an old pair of ice skates in the barrow tomorrow.

And don't forget about your birdhouses...they look great decorated for the season as well! Here I simply wired fresh pine and a bow to the base of the house. This church birdhouse is one of my favorite birdhouses and is handcrafted by a local Iowa artisan, Ken Bose of Skeeter Creek Fabricators.

Check his website out, his birdhouses are absolutely wonderfully handcrafted & the detail is amazing!

I enjoyed the company of Mr. Cardinal this afternoon as I was outside doing my decorating. He just sat up in the tree and took in what I was doing & would blurt out a chirp every now & again.

Again more fresh pine and viburnum berries picked from our hedge & simply tucked into the snow on my old bench. A great natural holiday vignette for the birds to enjoy.

Here is a piece that I receive as a gift that I have fun with each season. In the summer I line it with a coconut liner and fill in with annual plants. In the fall it was filled with bittersweet and 3 various colored pumpkins. Here I have simply tucked fresh pine and rose hips in it for a cheery holiday planter.

The dried rose hips that I bought from Del's Garden Center are exceptionally big this year...

Aren't they wonderful!

I'm hoping to have our tree (a 9 foot partially sheared Fraser Fir) brought into the house this evening. It is on my honey do list for tonight. I will let it set overnight and the decorating begins on the inside of the house.....

"A great drink to warm the kids up after a day of sledding or snowman building."

4 cups whole milk

3 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate, chopped

4 peppermint candy canes, crushed

whip cream in a can

2 to 3 extra candy canes

In a saucepan, heat milk until hot, but not boiling. Whisk in the chocolate and 4 crushed candy canes until melted and smooth. Pour hot cocoa into mugs and garnish with whipped cream. Serve each with a candy cane for stirring.

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After a day spent outdoors placing garland, hanging wreaths etc, this is what greeted me as I came in the door....our "fur child" Agassi!

Yep, I could use a catnap myself!

Happy Holidays,



My*Prim*Cottage said...

I just love all of your outdoor decorating! The wheelbarrow is my fav! How much chocolate and what kind do you use in that cocoa? Thanks!! ~Beth~

craftingaplenty said...

How beautiful, can I hire you ?(lol) I justcan't wait to see what else you come up with!Thanks, this helps put me in the christmas spirit. loretta

Sherry said...

I just love your tips and ideas! I will be following all 12 days of your Christmas fun!

Carrie P. said...

All the decorations are wonderful but Mr. Cardinal was perfect.