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12.01.14 / Holiday Card Idea

3-in-1 holiday card

We love our candid family photo books from Artifact Uprising so much I knew I would turn to them for our holiday cards, too. (The kids flip through the photo books on a regular basis…still!) What I wasn’t expecting was the clever 3-in-1 card design that the company introduced a few weeks ago.

3-in-1 holiday card 3

The 100% recycled 3-in-1 photo card comes as a single flat card with a photo of your choice. You can choose from more than a dozen unique designs. Each card includes a kraft envelope. I went with the “May Joy” design in red watercolor and added a photo of the kids from our recent vacation.

3-in-1 holiday card 2

Each card is perforated and can be used as a greeting card, photo print and / or gift tag. Recipients can tear off the photo square and display it on their fridge. Likewise, the watercolor font can be torn off and repurposed as a gift tag. It’s the greeting card that keeps on giving! If you have extras, use the photos and tags on gifts you’re giving this season.

3-in-1 holiday card 4

I’m keeping the gift wrap pretty simple this year. The plaid and black kraft papers are leftover from last year but I saw them at JoAnn’s a few weeks ago so they should still be available. The burlap ribbon is from JoAnn’s, too. I always have jute string on hand. I use it for everything. I can’t tie a bow to save my life so I usually resort to bow alternatives. Last year it was DIY poms; this year it’s rosemary. I had to empty the planter at the front door due to the frost but salvaged the rosemary and added fragrant sprigs to the presents for a natural touch.

Also, I really want the Australian word “pressies” (meaning presents) to catch on here in the U.S. It’s adorable. PRESSIES. You can’t say it without smiling.

*BONUS* - Enter below to win a 25-pack of Artifact Uprising’s 3-in-1 photo cards. Giveaway ends 12/8/14. Best of luck!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

A few coffee table items for those who enjoy inspiring (mostly home-related) reads and simplicity…

gift guide : coffee table


1 – The Public Library – An homage to public libraries across the country.

2 – acacia square plate – Use it as a kid-friendly tray for corralling loose coins, photos, remotes, coasters and lone Lego pieces.

3 – Eichler: Modernism Rebuilds the American Dream – A legacy’s modern-meets-comfort vision in book form. Informative eye candy that deserves a spot in any home lover’s collection.

4 – A Frame for Life – A look at interior design from a human (not purely visual) perspective focusing on comfort and practicality.

5 – Neutra: Complete Works – For 20th century architecture geeks or those who just love good, nature-inspired design. Neutra’s works have a profound way of connecting the indoors with the outdoors.

6 – stone hexagonal coasters – Protect surfaces with these shapely coasters, available in black soapstone or white marble.

7 – Commune – On my personal wish list this year for its mix of texture & pattern, old & new. I love that it comes in an eye-catching book protector.

8 – paperweight magnifier – A sculpture with purpose. Great for young and old alike.

9 – bamboo vase – A non-glass vase for displaying blooms or stashing pens and pencils.

10 – rubber vase – For especially active households ;)

Need more ideas? Good reads for home lovers.

*BONUS* – Score 30% off (up to $10 off) one book from Amazon by using the promo code “HOLIDAY30” at checkout now through 11/30/14.

P.S. – Click here to see who won the Interior Define giveaway!

image: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

Everyone knows the kitchen is the heart of the home. A few gift ideas for those who keep it warm…

gift guide : the kitchen


1 – acacia pizza peel – Perfect for pizza night.

2 – Thug Kitchen – Because cooking should be healthy and fun(ny).

3 – oil pourer, cruet – Hands down, the best oil / vinegar dispensers on the planet. No drips, no messes. You get a perfect pour every time. (We use the large one for olive oil and the small one for balsamic vinegar.)

4 – melamine bowl – Great for the kids’ snacks.

5 – gold foil kitchen print – Dancing makes everything better.

6 – sustainable bamboo trivets – Earth-friendly. Countertop-friendly.

7 – salt & pepper bottle grinders – Functional and beautiful. Two qualities of a perfect gift.

8 – One Pot – A fresh and easy take on comfort food. *BONUS* – Less dishes to wash.

9 – stainless steel straws – Eco-friendly. Kid-friendly. The only way our kids will drink the green juice we make.

10 – shallow maple bowl – Display fresh produce, or corral coffee and tea brewing supplies.

P.S. – Our juicer is still going strong after two years of almost daily use!

image: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

ghost lights 1

Other than displaying carved pumpkins, I haven’t really decorated for Halloween in years. (I’m more of a seasonal decorator than a holiday decorator.) This year the kids were hounding me more than usual and I’ve been on a recent “life’s too short” kick so I finally came around and spooked up this place. It’s nothing over the top but I think I have a chance at Mom of the Year 2014. (You know I’m kidding, right?)

ghost lights 2

I spent $6 (coupon included) on two yards of tulle and black poster board at JoAnn’s to create ghost lights over the kitchen island. I rolled out the two yards of tulle and left it doubled over (for a layered effect) then cut it into three equal sections, one for each pendant. I cut a hole in the top of each section, slipped the tulle over the pendants then secured it with string. I trimmed the tulle to my desired length then “fringed” the ends by cutting ~2″ wide strips on the bottom half of each ghost. I freehanded three ghost faces and cut them out of the black poster board then secured them to the tulle with double-sided tape.

ghost lights 3

They turned out pretty creepy. I think the key is to use a really thin and airy tulle (not the stiff, scratchy stuff) and to scrunch the ends. (Where are all my ’97 high school grads at? We hella good at scrunching.) The moaning ghost faces portray way more emotion and despair than two black eye holes. The cat is real. Yeah, you’re going to need to rescue a kitten to pull off this look in its entirety.

spider web

I attempted to make a spider web out of jute string that I already had on hand. It turned out okay?? There’s a good reason why I’m not a spider. Apparently, webs take patience and a certain amount of skill. I immediately felt horrible about all the real webs I’ve swiped.

First, I hung three lengths of jute in an asterisk formation. I tied the ends to anything I could find: antlers, cords on the side of the cabinet, a doorstopper, etc. I rigged it so that we can still open the cabinet and door. Starting from the outer most part of the web and working my way in, I knotted off sections of jute in a hexagonal pattern. I taped a paper spider to my creation to better designate it as a “spider web.” I don’t know. It reads more like an unfinished, ginormous dreamcatcher to me.

All the spiders are crying, “You call that a web?! You disgust me.” In my defense, I don’t extrude silk from my nether regions.

halloween living room

I couldn’t boo the kitchen and not the living room.


I bought two sets of removable 3D bats and filled the area above the TV with them. (A ladder was involved.) I love these bats! Don’t let the reviews fool you. A few people were disappointed that the bats aren’t larger but I actually prefer this size. The bats are plastic and you bend them to get the 3D effect. They also come with removable stickers. I’m not sure how the adhesive will hold up after one season but I can always break out my trusty putty tabs if necessary. These bats are definitely going to be a mainstay of our Halloween décor.

halloween mantel 1

I grouped pumpkins and squash on the mantel on either side of the TV wall. They were a steal at Trader Joe’s and were left over from a Thanksgiving tablescape shoot. (It goes live mid-November.) That’s where the eucalyptus branch came from, too. I laced the mantel with these copper string lights. They are the best! The delicate LEDs put off a warm white glow and the copper wire can be easily manipulated. Unlike traditional string lights, they’re barely noticeable when not lit. I can see myself using these throughout the holiday season.

halloween mantel 2

I sprinkled in a few paper maché skulls. I bought them for pennies at Michael’s several years ago during one of their post-Halloween sales and they’ve been stashed in the attic ever since. I’m very proud of myself for remembering to bust them out this year. FINALLY.


Likewise, I scored these window decals during a post-Halloween sale a while back when we were living in our previous house. They were originally two large window-sized poster decals but the size and shape were all wrong for our current home’s windows so I cut the spiders out from the background. I wasn’t sure how well the spiders alone would stick to the window. I used a damp rag to wet the window first to help with adhesion. So far, so good. I may end up laminating the spiders after this season to protect them. (You could easily DIY something similar with a little black craft paper or poster board. I was just trying to use what I had on hand.)

And now for some nighttime pictures because that’s always fun…

ghost lights 4

spiders 2

spiders 3

Ah, the ol’ spider in the lampshade trick. It’s a classic. There’s also a little spider in one of the windows on the front door that I failed to photograph. Have I mentioned Steve is terrified of spiders?

Anyway, I threw all this together one day last week while the boys were at school. It was fun to see their reactions when they came home. They were so surprised! Everett’s favorites are the ghost lights. Layne likes the bats and skulls. I like the fact that I can reuse almost everything.

What are some of the ways you decorate for Halloween? I need to up my game for next year.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking