Monthly Archives: December 2012

The Halls are Decked: Our Christmas Home Tour

Christmas Holiday Decor Tour | The Borrowed Abode

Welcome to the 2012 Borrowed Abode Holiday Decor Tour.  I’d like to thank Jen on the Edge for hosting a Holiday Homes Tour, which helped motivate me to actually decorate this week.

On this tour we’re pretty much going to stick to the living room, because – what with my not being Martha Stewart and all – I haven’t made enough decorations to include other rooms yet.

2012 Christmas Living Room | The Borrowed Abode

This year’s tree is not the best we’ve ever had.  Ok, it’s really the worst.  It’s been shedding needles like crazy, and it’s fat and awkward – a sharp contrast to our overly skinny 2010 tree – and poorly pruned.    That’s what we get for going to Home Depot late at night.  I first dragged Ryan to a small, family-owned tree market in our town – but the trees we liked were all so expensive.  I couldn’t justify spending $90 on what was, essentially, a dead tree that would end up being mulched in a few weeks.

Fat Christmas Tree 2012 | The Borrowed Abode

Because the tree is so fat, it looks bare. I don’t have that many ornaments – or lights – for it. I’m working on collecting the vintage glass Shiny Brite ornaments.  The ones I have now were my grandmother’s, and even though the paint is wearing off they are my favorite.  Favorite Vintage Christmas Ornaments 2012 | The Borrowed Abode

I have a few other special ornaments, too – I love the spun glass iridescent ornaments in the top right.  Then there’s the white “repurposed” leaf that I gave to Ryan as a joke, and a new addition – the Canon Memorial Chapel from my college (shown with the white leaf).

There was no good place to put such a fat tree, so it’s in the weird space between the dining ‘room’ and living room.  It makes for an awkward transition, and pretty much dwarfs the dining table.

Christmas 201203

I attempted a little festivity on the dining table with my favorite white wood-grain candles and some snowman votives.  Boy, does the winter table runner bring back memories.  I sewed it with a broken sewing machine about 10 years ago, when I was dying to learn to make home decor.

Christmas Tea Lights Wood Grain | The Borrowed Abode

Now I have a kickass sewing machine, I’ve created Janery, and I can whip up some pillow covers with invisible zippers (like those below)  in no time.  (The smaller sequined pillows are from last year at Crate and Barrel.) 

Christmas Pillow Covers Invisible Zippers | The Borrowed Abode

The little red shoes on the end table are vintage candle holders that first belonged to my grandmother.  I made the wreath by wrapping leftover pine garland in a circle, securing the loop with a few pieces of fishing twine, and adding a bow I saved from last year’s wreath.

For those of you who don’t sew, I made these easy no-sew Christmas tree pillow covers by using fusible webbing to adhere fun fabric to an existing Ikea pillow cover.  Tutorial coming this weekend. You can do it in 10 minutes, flat.

Christmas No Sew Pillow Cover | The Borrowed Abode

Behind the chair you see our Christmas Stocking Wall.  It was my solution to our lack of a fireplace mantel in our rented home.

The entry wall has an empty space behind the front door, so that’s where we’re hanging our Christmas cards this year.  The entryway table displays a few of my yarn trees from three years ago, as well as a huge pine tree candle I splurged on at Crate and Barrel this year.  I will not be burning it – it’s a perfect decor piece.

Christmas Entryway Front Door | The Borrowed Abode

When it comes to Christmas decorating, it’s definitely the little touches that I enjoy the most.

Christmas Accessories | The Borrowed Abode

Above, clockwise from top left: 

1.  Loving the handmade candles from Sydney Hale – the amazing scents are totally worth the splurge.  2.  A tiny vintage Santa is climbing my yarn tree.  3.  Love my red yarn trees in my coffee-table-scape. This year I added some green pine tree candles from Crate & Barrel.  4.  The candle lanterns looked a bit bare, so I added some small silver ornaments and glittery pears as filler.

I’m so glad I did finally decorate this year.  Last night I came home from work, determined to get it done.  I put on my striped Santa socks and a dorky red sweater vest, and stuck some glitter twigs out of my pony tail.  It helped me get in the spirit.  I powered through, and Ryan loved the results.
If you’ve shared photos of your holiday decor, please leave your link in the comments! I’d love to check it out!

Weekend Roundup: Christmas Crafts & The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm

Raise your hand if you still haven’t decorated a Christmas tree!  Oh, good, I’m glad I’m not alone!

This past weekend we managed to get our tree into the house, and I sewed a Christmas Tree Skirt (without a pattern!) but . . . we didn’t quite get the decorations on the tree.  Also, the tree has an enormous girth, and I’m feeling a little intimidated by its awkwardness.Christmas Tree Skirt Progress

The highlight of our weekend was, without a doubt, another brunch at The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm outside of Leesburg, VA.  It’s an hour drive from our house, but the ambiance, the food, and the company are all totally worth it.   It also forces us to relax for a bit.

This week, as we walked down the path to the greenhouse (i.e. the dining room), we were greeted by the best surprise:  turkeys!


The food was so beautifully presented, as always, that I had to take photos. Again. I’m not a food critic, nor am I a food blogger – so I don’t know how to accurately explain the dishes or the flavors. But they do say a picture is worth a thousand words!

First, a few appetizers:Patowmack Farm Appetizers December 2012Top to bottom:  Bay Scallops & Oysters (raw) with radish and mint.  Seared pork belly.

And the equally mouth-watering entrees:  Patowmack Farm Entrees Dec 2012

(Top to bottom:) Diver scallops with frisee and beets.  Oh my word, this was just to. die. for.  Others had the Chicken Paillard or the Turbot (fish).

Ryan and I are looking forward to introducing some of our best friends to this farm restaurant on New Years Eve.  One of them is leaving for a 6-month stint in Afghanistan a few days later, and I’m glad we’ll be able to do something so special with her to send her off in style.

Patowmack Farm Dining Room Greenhouse

But before NYE, I have to survive Christmas.  Which means it’s time to package up the final Janery orders and wrap those presents.

Oh, and there’s some pine tree in the living room that’s asking to be decorated. Maybe then my dog will stop waking up in the middle of the night, growling at it like the tree is a massive burglar.

What’s on your schedule for the final holiday countdown?  Are you all ready, or like us, are you racing against the clock?

Janery Holiday Shipping Deadlines & Special Reader Discount!

Hello, Friends! I’m speedily sewing and packaging last-minute orders this weekend, and hopefully decorating our tree, but I wanted to pop in and let you know the Janery holiday order deadlines.

Janery 2012 Holiday Order Deadlines

If you’re planning to purchase any last-minute gifts from my shop, please note that you can order this weekend with standard shipping and I’ll make sure your package arrives by Monday, 12/24 – if not sooner.

Starting Monday, you’ll want to upgrade to Priority Shipping by purchasing this $4.00 upgrade along with any item(s) you put in your cart.

As a small token of my appreciation for you, my readers, I’d like to also offer you a last-minute coupon to use: SAVE 8% THIS WEEKEND ONLY by entering the code ONEDAY at checkout.

Janery Products December 2012

Clockwise, from top left:  Merlin Mats (lightweight & portable crate pads for pups), Waterproof Coasters, Hoot Owls, and Sunglasses Sweaters.

Speaking of the Merlin Mats, have I shown you how portable they are? They come with nifty little tie straps so you can roll them up and take them with you when you travel with your pup.

Janery Merlin Mat Portable Dog Bed |

There’s still a few Catnip Cuddlers left in the shop as well – they’re a smaller version of the Merlin Mat, with catnip inside to make them even more tempting to the felines. :)

Also, I’ve still got a few more Reusable Produce Bags left – but once they’re sold, they’re gone for good!

Janery Reusable Cotton Produce Bags |

Please note: these cutoff dates are for US (domestic) mail only.  The deadline for international shipping has passed.


No Mantel? No Problem! {Faux Holiday Mantel Wall for Renters}

Christmas decorating can pose a problem for apartment renters and even home renters like me, because we often don’t have a fireplace and mantel to decorate!

Ok, so maybe it’s not a huge problem, but because I love to hang stockings it bugs me.  My solution?  A rustic branch, hung on the wall and draped with a pine garland, creating the feel of a fireplace mantel and a safe place from which to hang our Christmas stockings.

Christmas Stocking Branch on Wall for No Mantel | The Borrowed Abode

Think of this as a not new, but improved project.

During our first Christmas in this borrowed abode, I solved the problem by hanging a branch on the wall with some Command Hook products.  Thanks to Pinterest, I now see that Christmas Stocking Branch pinned all over the place – and it bugs me because every time I look at it the branch looks like a massive centipede crawling on our wall:

So here’s how I did it this year.  Not only did I find a sweet, weathered piece of wood at a river, I also used a different hanging system.

I used two small Ook Hooks because they use small nails but create a strong hanging system.  I installed them about 1 foot higher than I wanted the branch to hang.  Then I created two long loops of fishing line to hang the branch from, since fishing line is clear.  You can also find clear, strong line in the bead section of the craft store.

Hang Christmas Stocking Branch on Wall With Fishing Line | The Borrowed Abode In real life you really don’t notice the clear string that the branch hangs from.  But what you would notice are the hooks – so I created a small “Let it Snow” sign to hang over them.  I simply used a board, some craft paint, and glitter.

Holiday Stocking Branch No Greenery | The Borrowed Abode
Charlie and I thought the wall still looked a little sad with the stockings hanging on a naked branch, so I added a fresh pine garland.  I wound it around and held it in place with by tying it with a few more pieces of the clear fishing line.


Holiday Stocking Branch for Mantel with Garland | The Borrowed Abode

Faux Mantel Stocking Branch Details | The Borrowed Abode

The fishing line is strong enough that we can put some small treats in the stockings.  The key is to get twine that is rated at 10 pounds or more.

No Mantel Stocking Branch & Winter Sign | The Borrowed Abode

I was so excited to finally, finally get this project completed.  We’re still working on setting up the rest of our decor, like the Christmas Yarn Trees and our actual Christmas Tree.  Let’s hope it’s not an insane saga like it was two years ago. :)

Christmas Stocking Branch Wall Faux Mantel | The Borrowed Abode

If you rent, how do you deal with your lack of a mantel when it’s time for Christmas (or winter) decorating? Or are you one of those lucky people who actually has a fireplace to hang stockings from in your rental home?

Shared at Ten June: Holiday  Mantel Party