Weekend Getaway to Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake

The first weekend in December, Nic and I drove down to Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake for a nice date.

What an adorable squirrel!

Love dat husband.

Our bed-and-breakfast room was real into the Captain theme.

Of course, I had to go into the Christmas store.

For dinner we went to Kitchen76, the restaurant of The Two Sisters Vineyard. We shared a margherita pizza and one with spinach, truffle oil, mushrooms (I didn’t hate them cuz they were so small!) and pesto. The pizza was great, especially with the homemade chili sauce they provided. I also loved my Riesling, but that’s almost always the case.

Every year in Niagara-on-the-Lake they have the Candlelit Stroll, where we donated some money to get candles in containers, then walked around the beautiful homes listening to carollers and other acts.

It was really great weather for it, especially since I was wearing a skirt and tights for our dinner. Afterward, I got a caramel apple spice from Starbucks.

Saturday morning we had breakfast at the B&B, then walked around the town to check out the waterfront.

Oh Christmas Tree! – The Stories of my Ornaments

Nic and I picked up our first Christmas tree from Michael’s when they had a 50% off sale on all trees. It’s a bit taller than a meter, so a great size for a small apartment. We also got it pre-lit with white bulbs. It was about $25, which is great since it’ll last us through until we get a house and can have a full-size tree. (And let’s be honest, I’ll still decorate the smaller tree!)

Since the tree is so small, we had to be selective about which ornaments went up. For the gold baubles, Mom had given me all her gold and red ones when she changed her own decorating scheme for Christmas. I used a mix of “brushed” and shiny ones.
Next, I had brought some of my favourite ornaments from home. There’s a good mix of childish ones, keepsakes, and vintage.

In high school I started one of my favourite traditions, inspired by my Mom. Whenever Mom goes on a trip, she buys an ornament to remember it by. So of course on our honeymoon, Nic and I had to get an ornament. We chose this lobster trap from Cheticamp, which is the town right outside the Cape Breton Highlands Park where we camped.

This angel is from the Esterhazy Palace in Hungary. In grade 12 my music department toured Austria and Hungary. This was my first purchase for my keepsake ornaments. I think she’s adorable, and it makes me happy every time I look at her.
The palace was owned by the Austrian royal family, and is gorgeous.
We had a ridiculous time getting to the palace from Budapest: of the 3 tour buses, ours caught on fire… Wait, what? There was smoke coming out of the engine, so we had to get off, (all of the instruments got taken off!) and wait for one of the other two buses to double back and get us.

Reading Week of first year university my residence sent about 40 of us on a Mennonite Disaster Service trip to Mississippi and Louisiana to help rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. My group worked in Pass Christian, Mississippi for the week. The depressing thing we learned while there was that even though most of the press focused on New Orleans, the most damage was around Pass Christian.
I learned how to put down laminate flooring and ceramic tiles.
We got to do some touristy things in New Orleans, (loved the French Quarter) so I got this Santa Claus riding a gator. One of the days I went on a short hike through a swamp, where you could see some baby gators a meter away, and big ones further away from us.

The hummingbird is one of my favourite ornaments. I got it from my great-grandmother who passed away when I was 5 or 6. I only met her a couple times since she was in Manitoba, but I’ve treasured it. I have always loved hummingbirds (second favourite bird after Canadian loons) and it’s so delicate and beautiful.
I do usually have larger ornaments (it seems like 50% of my ornaments are ballerinas or ballet-related, but they’re all too big for the scale of this tree) so someday we’ll put them up on a big tree.

Of course, I can’t forget this ornament that I cross-stitched for our first Christmas together!

What ornaments do you have on your tree? What stories go with them?

The Toronto Christmas Market!

If you’re in Toronto in the month leading up to Christmas, check out the Toronto Christmas Market. It’s in the Distillery District, so all the bars and shops have fun stuff going on. This year they decided to charge $5 for entrance on the weekend, and we had friends who wanted to see it then, so we paid. 

You can even buy your Christmas tree there!
Their huge tree, and they often have acts on the stage.
Lots of food and drink vendors. 
The boys got mulled wine, and Sarah and I got apple cider.

Himmeli Orb DIY

Nic and I really love Scandinavian decor, so I knew I had to make one of these orbs for Christmas. And every other time of year. Be warned, this project (and other Himmeli projects) require serious focus (to get the right tension in your rope) and some patience. Once you do get going, it feels so great!

This was a pretty cheap project for me to do. I had a bag of straws from IKEA for less than $5, twine from Dollarama, and gold spray paint leftover from the wedding.

Follow the instructions at The Design Confidential

Here are some more projects I would like to try out over the years!

1) DIY Himmeli Wreath – TheDecorFix
2) Himmeli Side Table from Copper PipeBrittanyMakes
3) Basic Geometric Himmeli Ornament – Vintage Revivals
4) DIY Brass Himmeli Hanging Planter – Nalle’s House
5) Dodecahedron Himmeli Mobile – Aunt Peaches

Our First Christmas Ornament

Yesterday marked 5 months of marriage with Nic! I decided I needed to make a “first Christmas” ornament for our first tree. I looked at different things on Pinterest (see my Christmas ornament board below) and eventually decided I wanted to x-stitch/embroider a hoop.

I love how simple the design is, but who knows, I may add some more red on it (it seems to not have enough red, now that I’m writing this post…) Lots of ornaments I found were tacky sculpey things of the wedding cake, or dried petals from the bouquet in a bulb, and this seems to go along with our Scandinavian/thrift store decor style. (I just made that theme up.)

Follow JanessaMann’s board Christmas Ornaments on Pinterest.//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js