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more christmas decorating


I’ll admit it.  I was a bit of a loaf yesterday.  I would try to get some work done, but I would end up standing in a room, staring around blankly.  I finally surrendered to the fact that I was tired and just needed to chill.  I watched some TV, worked on e-mails and just let the rest of the Christmas decorating and house cleaning wait.  Today, I was ready to check some more things off the list.

Instead of putting up two full-sized trees (like I have the past couple of years…sometimes twice), I decided to do the full-sized tree in the family room and a table-top tree in the living room.  I’d get the exact same feeling, but with less work (and less expense.)

The pickings were slim for little trees at the tree farm.  They were all a bit more plump than I wanted, but I just went with it.  It ended up being just the right size.


I kept the decorations simple…dried magnolia from my in-law’s tree, sheet music bunting, white lights and some mercury glass balls.




I am in love with the olive basket used to hold the tree.  I used a smaller galvanized pail on the inside to hold the water.  Four bricks standing on end hold the trunk up.  I have to admit that I was pretty proud when I thought of the brick idea.  I really wasn’t sure how to hold the tree upright and I had one of those decorating strokes of resourcefulness hit me.  It held the tree in place and it’s perfectly straight and secure.



 I put lights between the two buckets and it looks really pretty when they shine through the holes in the olive basket.



An inexpensive metal star that I glittered last year tops it off.  I couldn’t get the star totally straight, but it looked sort of cute sitting at a slight angle.   My husband was pointing out that it’s crooked and I said I didn’t mind and thought it was kinda cute.  “Well, if it’s good enough for Miss Mustard Seed, it’s good enough for our house.”  I have a full blown alter-ego now that we’re talking about “her” in the third person.


I also thought I would slip a couple of holiday tips into this post.  For starters, I have grown a great fondness for fresh greenery and like to tuck it here and there when decorating for Christmas.



Some varieties will survive quite a while cut and won’t shed too many needles even as they dry.  Others will dry to a crisp and sprinkle needles all over the house.  For the former, I just clip them and tuck them in as is.  For the latter, I wet a paper towel, wrap it around the base of the stem and tuck the entire thing into a small baggie.


It’s a very simple way to extend those fresh greens.



One last little tip for your photography of your holiday decorations…  Everything looks better in pictures when there are tree lights in the back ground.  It screams “holiday” and sets the mood instantly.


You don’t have to get technical or super fancy with lenses.  Either set your f-stop to a low number or, if the term f-stop is totally foreign to you, set your camera to the closeup setting.  Usually that’s a flower icon on the dial.  Set what you want to take a picture of a few feet in front of your tree and get nice and close to it.  Focus the camera on the object and snap away.  Make sure the exposure is reading the object you’re shooting, not the lights.  It’s best to have a light source on the object as well (like a window) so it’s not just back lit by the tree.  Try it out!



One more holiday picture just for fun…


Apples and candy canes.  You can’t get much simpler than that!

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  1. Beautiful and so is your new blog design!
    Merry Christmas,


    Thought I’d share this for people that want some more explanation for the Christmas tree back ground! :)

  3. Marian, I mean Miss Mustard Seed Ma’am, you are so creative! I love your Christmas decorations. Who would ever think candy canes surrounded by apples could be so” purty”! Thanks for sharing all of your creative ideas with us!

  4. Simple decorating can have the biggest impact…and these are great tips, especially about the wet paper towel and a baggie!!! Thanks for those!

  5. I love all your tips…and have to SAY THANK YOU>>.so much! you were one of my inspirations for my blog…I am not saying I have made a huge impact…but little steps feel good, of the 9000 plus who have read my blog almost 300 came via YOU! so my thank you is heartfelt and I need to get one of my garlands made( they all sold) to you…love the little tree. like the quirky off center…it makes it real, and your comment about a off day…like that too…I did Christmas from 10 to 70 trees over a 38 year career, I get it…
    Nothing is better them blue, you take a store window and fill in shades of blue,and the whole air takes on the color and feel

    Have a blessed day

  6. Gotta admit- love the new “ribboned” web design- It made me think of Blue ribbons at
    the fair or a first place ribbon !
    Love the simplicity of the things you did- and extending the life of a piece of Christmas
    greenery in the baggie is a great idea.. we do it for flowers, but wouldn’t have thought
    much about the greens.

    Have a Merry Christmas


  7. Loved the little tree…simple and cheery! Glad you took a day off…travel can be tiring!

  8. Donna says:

    Lovely, love it! Sometimes the little trees make the biggest impact. You should be taking time off for yourself, you have been a very busy lady!!! Enjoy the holidays, Merry Christmas!

  9. Love the olive bucket there. Fantastic idea! I actually taught myself how to make a 6′ fresh boxwood garland yesterday. I love it, but it took quite a while. I wrapped it around one side of my ladder. It’s such a nice compliment to my ornament wreath. The shiny balls against the rough wood and green leaves are just so cool together. Yay for fresh greens!

  10. I love all your photos and ideas, but never see a glimpse of any children living at your home..I also do 2 trees, but love all the handmade ornaments my children, now 15 and 17 have made over the years.

    • Miss Mustard Seed says:

      :) You just haven’t read my blog long enough to see the pictures with Legos and Goldfish on the floor. I showed my “fun” tree last year… Since we were so late getting up the tree this year, we didn’t pull out the fun ornaments. I plan to do that again next year, though.

      The ornaments my boys bring home this year, though, will have an honored place on our family room tree…even if they don’t match. :)

  11. Hi Marian…as always – brilliant tips (stealing a few!!). Love the wet paper towel idea (have to add this – will save on the vacuuming!) adding the bricks and the olive bucket (love it!) – and the photography tips – and the glittered star!

    I ma finding that more and more people are doing natural decorations this year.

    Loved Everything! Merry Christmas!


  12. PS – love your new banner!


  13. As my favorite person used to say….”Pretty, pretty, pretty!”

  14. Did that olive bucket leave any sisters or brothers behind???? I would love one of those. A Great Decor Steals pick of the month by Miss Mustard Seed, hint, hint. In case I’m not on the grid by Christmas, Have a Merry, Merry Christmas, to you and your family AND your blog family, too!!!!

  15. julie says:

    Your photography never ceases to amaze me. Love it…love your blog!!

  16. Beautiful! I love the shots of the tree and all your decorating. Thank you also for the tips. Never thought about putting fresh greens in wet paper towels.

  17. Everything looks so beautiful. :)

  18. Elaine says:

    Great job Marian! I have really enjoyed seeing your creativity blossom…and your photos are lovely!

  19. Oh, my goodness…what a great tip, the baggie for the greens….mine always dries out!
    LOVE your sled!

  20. I love your photos Marian, everything looks so festive. I particularlly like your tree stand-an olive bucket I think with the lights inside they just sparkle thru the slits. Always enjoy your post, and so happy about the success of your book. If you had a book signing closer to Gridley, Cal, I would come and meet you. Merry Christmas.

  21. Love your tree and thanks for the great tips for keeping the greenery looking fresh! Happy holidays!

  22. laura says:

    Hi, Marion! I’m also loving using fresh greenery this year! I bought your book for my friend Andrea for Christmas, so she’ll know just who I’m talking about when I say, It was a Miss Mustard seed idea! She’s never read a blog in her life!

  23. Beautiful! And I love that you now talk about yourself in the 3rd person – LOL!

  24. I am just laughing at the second sentence. Loaf would NEVER be a word I would use to describe you! EVER!!!! You do more in a day than I’ve done in months. Please dont ever think of yourself that way! I think you’re a dynamo!

  25. Thanks so much for the tip on the camera close up setting. Who knew that’s what the flower icon means? Of course, if you read the manual that does with your camera , you’d know that. Love your blog and all of the other featured business ads on your blog.

  26. Marion, love, love your decorations. I finally, finally got my blog up and somewhat running. There are still a few quirks. I wanted to have it up so I could post Christmas pix but I’m still having some issues. But please come by and look at it. Can I mention your name in it for helping me? The address is

    Happy Holidays, Cindy

  27. Nancy says:

    Oh my! I’ve got an olive basket and no idea what to do with it. This is a great idea, even for other indoor plants the rest of the year. Yeah!

  28. i think one day you should write a blog post (if you have not already) about where you got your creativity from. you may not realize it but people like you are quite unique. fill us in!!!

  29. Denise T says:

    The olive bucket is on my wish list. Lovely Christmas decorating. Thank you for sharing a great post .

  30. I’m saddened to say that this is the last post I will see of your wonderful blog and on your Facebook page. What saddens me is that there hasn’t been even a mention in either places of the great loss of the children in Connecticut. I wasn’t expecting a whole post or a day of silence because I know this is your business. However, I did expect at least a comment or mention of it.

    • Miss Mustard Seed says:

      Judy, I appreciate your comment. As the mother of two small boys, one almost 6, it breaks my heart to imagine the pain those parents must be experiencing from losing a little one in such a tragic way. I started to write about it, but it felt wrong to me. I had a difficult time writing my personal thoughts and it seemed so out of place surrounded by decorating and home related posts, so I chose to keep my thoughts and feelings about this tragedy personal. I’m sorry if you found my silence offensive, but I believe everyone handles tragedy in a different way. I chose to keep this private. I hope you can respect that.

    • Cindy says:

      if everyone who was so impacted by the devestating event spent time addressing the issue of access to weapons by citizens, perhaps there would be no need to worry that bloggers on home decor hadnt spent time on this tradegy. We all handle devestating news in our own way and I respect the right to do so.

  31. Loving all your Christmas decor! and where have I been hiding?? (under a rock for sure!) Im just now seeing all your amazing milk paint!!!! This is so awesome and I am so happy for you!! and Im chomping at the bit to try that Boxwood! Im on a serious green kick right now in my decor.
    Hope you and your family have a wonderful and Merry Christmas!!

  32. L. Thompson says:

    Wher does one look for an olive basket? I like the idea of lights showing through. Thank you—-Sorry I could not make your signing in Warrenton Saturday. Such a gorgeous shop Janet has created.

  33. That is a great tip on the lights and setting, thanks Marian!!! Everything looks wonderful by the way!


  1. […] metal star found for a dollar at a thrift store that topped the Little tree in the living room last […]

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