xmas in july :: wish list

To wrap up the "Christmas in July" series, I'm going to share a few of my wish list items. Maybe it will give you some ideas as well.

I am a firm believer that there is always more to learn. The online cake decorating classes available from Craftsy look fabulous and I would love to take them.

Continuing on the theme of always learning, I also want this book by Lena Malouf. 

I might be too practical, but this handset would make my life much easier. I am constantly on my iPhone while working at my desk. Holding this between my shoulder and cheek would be much more comfortable. I also bet it would be easy to hear as well as speak into - call me a traditionalist, but I like old school handsets. There are many colors available, but I have to go with purple obviously! 

xmas in july :: winter's night dessert table

Last year, I donated a dessert table to a fundraising event at my daughter's school. The event was held right after the holidays, but I thought I would still share photos as part of the "Christmas in July Series" since the event theme was "A Winter's Night". In addition to my dessert table, guests were spoiled with delicious food from Park Central Tavern, drinks from Cork & Barrel and top-notch entertainment including music, dancing, comedy and poetry performed by parents of the school. There was also a silent auction with terrific items. It was a first class evening and will definitely sell-out again this year!

In addition to my donation, I was also asked to decorate the tables for the event. Given the limited budget, I thought the venue looked really nice all aglow with white, ivory and blue. The fact that we had several inches of snow fall the same day as the event, was so apropos.

xmas in july :: simple dessert trays

This is a dessert tray I quickly put together for my husband's office last holiday season. Mini cupcakes and macarons... Even though they are simple desserts on a simple platter, I think they look pretty tasty. When entertaining during the holidays, make your presentation easy so you can enjoy the party, too!

xmas in july :: new home christmas card

Every year, my husband and I design our own Christmas cards. On Christmas Eve of last year (crazy, I know!), we moved into our new house. Since the timing coincided (and it reduced my workload!), we wanted to combine our holiday card with our moving announcement. I didn't know what I was going to do until I saw this design from my friend, and the always creative, Kim from The TomKat Studio. 

Along with the 3-D ornaments, I added "We are decking NEW halls this holiday season". I thought it captured both purposes of the correspondence beautifully.  

(As much as I love visitors, I want you to call before you come, hence fuzzing out the address. Ha!)

xmas in july :: ice cream and christmas

So, I'm a day late and a dollar short - what's new!? Yesterday was National Ice Cream Day and I had a post prepared to share, but missed the actual day. I couldn't stand not showing you these adorable ice cream ornaments though. National Ice Cream Day and Christmas in July are surprisingly a perfect match.

Some you can buy...

Or how about making your own...

xmas in july :: holiday cards

It's never too early to start thinking about your Christmas cards - they always sneak up on me anyway. I was recently contacted by The American Cancer Society about their new holiday greeting cards launching this month. So timely with my Christmas in July series. I am really excited to share these with you. Not only can you accomplish an annual chore, but you will be donating to a great cause as well! A win-win.

It seems that just about everyone knows someone who has had cancer or who has been affected by cancer. The American Cancer Society has a greeting card website in which 100% of all proceeds go toward the fight against cancer: www.ACSgreetings.org. Most cards are customizable with personalized messages, photos, fonts, colors, styles and more. There are a number of holiday cards to choose from as well as invitations and thank you notes. A message stating that 100% of the proceeds of the card go to the ACS will appear on every card.

Here are a couple of my faves...

xmas in july :: sugar cookies

Did you know today, July 9th, is National Sugar Cookie Day? Nope, I didn't either! But it fits in perfectly with the Christmas in July series. Each year, millions of sugar cookies are made and decorated to feed the hungry and hard working Santa Claus. Here are a few gems I spotted in my search today...

(via Tidy Mom)

xmas in july :: tree decorations

Today I want to share the rest of the creative idea and detail pictures I took from last years Ronald McDonald House Trees of Hope event.

A cupcake inspired tree... If I had a bakery/store front, this would definitely be how I would display items for purchase! Sprinkles, liners, etc.

Here are a couple of tree topper options I thought were pretty cute...

In addition to a chef's hat, I might have to add the wooden spoons to my kitchen tree this year.

I like this flag idea if you have a region specific tree or as a way to share your heritage around the holidays.

Not that I was crazy about the "Cars" umbrella, but I think the idea of using an umbrella as a topper could be very theme-fitting on some trees. What about a Spring/Easter tree!?

Feathers will never get old as tree toppers. This was a very naturalistic tree and the pheasant feathers fit beautifully.

Now for some overall themed trees... So whimsical

Giddy Up! A cowboy tree complete with a hat and red bandana.

Definitely the most unusual at the event had to be this tree. A true forward thinking fashion tree.  Pretty creative wouldn't you say!? They pushed and pulled branches until it resembled a body shape. Then proceeded to dress and accessorize her to the max. 

I enjoyed the bounty and detail of this school themed tree. Kids would LOVE to help with the whole process. Designing, buying, making the pieces (ruler star topper, paper chain garland, etc.) and of course decorating the entire tree. This would be a great way to support a school or church program for charity.

Woodland creature trees have become very popular in recent years due to Pottery Barn, Pier 1, Restoration Hardware, etc. selling rustic animal ornaments. I thought the fence detail on this woodland tree was adorable. The fake snow definitely adds a nice little touch too. 

And finally, a unique way to add detail to christmas tree lights. Do you have a beach themed tree? A beach house? This is for you! 

Enclose each individual bulb with seashells. Watch with wonder as this craft takes you back to the tranquility of the beach where you picked up the shells. Even if it is in the dead of winter!

xmas in july :: red, white and blue tree

Every year, I attend a holiday fundraiser called Trees of Hope put on by the Ronald McDonald House of Connecticut. My attendance is two fold - 1) I will support anything with the children in need being the beneficiaries and 2) a selfish curiosity to see new creative decorating ideas for Christmas trees. I will share some fun trees I spotted at last year's event in the coming days, but today it's all about the
 red, white and blue
Check out this Patriotic Tree...  Like using a black tree for both Halloween and Christmas, you could use a white tree for both Christmas and the 4th of July. More bang for your buck - I'm all about that!

There are also a couple of specific details I want to call your attention to. I love the flag bunting used as the tree skirt. (Promise me you won't put an American flag on the floor. Okay? Okay.) I also love the clumping of the ornaments. It reiterates the red, white and blue of this tree specifically, but image it on another tree with it's own special color scheme. I'm making a mental note of this decorating technique for my clients' trees as well as my own tree this coming season.

Happy Birthday, America! 
Hope you all have a wonderful and safe holiday!

xmas in july :: holiday dessert table

Last December, I was asked to do a dessert display for Overseas Ministries Study Center's (OMSC) Christmas party. The event was held at their beautiful facility in New Haven, CT right in the heart of Yale University campus. Since my display was set-up in the gorgeous dining room, I used the traditional and stately decor as inspiration.

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