We’re back to share the second half of our tree-decorating adventure (sped up with a bit of festive music to get you into the spirit). We last left off with this video of us setting up our pre-lit artificial (faux? reusble?) tree only to discover that a strand of lights in the middle of the tree was out. But fixing it was as easy as listening for the buzzing bulb and replacing it with one of the extras they included along with our tree. Then it was time for the ornaments, and this year we decided to deviate from our usual white/glass/silver scheme (seen here). Maybe it was a weird citrus-pregnancy-craving-inspired decision, but out of nowhere I was jonesing for bright oranges, lime greens and lemon yellows… and a new color scheme was born. So here we are hanging some store bought ornaments mixed in with a bunch of DIY ones that we whipped up on the cheap. Oh yeah, and there’s a quick shot of baby belly at the end for everyone on bump watch:
And because we like to include a little video rundown for those at work who can’t just push play, here’s a shot of our tree all citrus-ified thanks to a ton of orange and lime green ornaments we picked up (on clearance at Michael’s) along with a bunch of DIY ornaments that we made to really hammer home our love of all things lemon and lime (after all, it was the theme for our backyard wedding). And adding pops of orange really complemented the green tree for a super festive and fun finished product.
We mentioned that beyond the glittering store-bought ornaments we jumped at the chance to hand make a few “natural” accents, so John came up with the idea of drying slices of oranges and lemons and turning them into ornaments. Love it. He’s really the brains of this operation in case you guys haven’t noticed.
Not only was it a fun and unexpected way to bring more of that festive citrus color to our tree, but it merely set us back a few bucks for two oranges and three lemons at the grocery store.
And luckily when we googled “dried citrus” we actually found a few tutorials (woo hoo!) and were thrilled when we pulled one up that was beyond simple. Step 1: cut citrus into quarter-inch slices.
Step 2: bake in oven on cookie sheet (actually a cookie rack if you have one, but we didn’t so we made do) for 2-3 hours at 225 to 250 degrees, checking often to be sure nothing’s burning. It helps to crack the oven door from time to time to release a bit of the built-up heat to encourage drying as opposed to singeing.
After a few hours (and a bunch of checking) we ended up with gorgeously dried orange slices that we couldn’t wait to add to our tree…
… and marginally less gorgeous lemon slices (they cooked less evenly and the seeds were a lot less attractive, so we’d recommend oranges over lemons for those of you looking to do something simple and stress free). Of course there were still some pretty lemon slices that we used as well (the good ones actually looked like stained glass when they dried) so they weren’t a total loss.
Then we just popped them onto pretty silver ornament hooks snagged for a few bucks at Pottery Barn (they’re a smidge cuter than those green wire ones from Target or CVS) for a delicious looking end product that’s especially eye-catching when it’s illuminated by the lights on our tree (so we learned to hang them a few inches in front of a white bulb for that sweet “glowing” effect). Favorite project ever. And we ended up with dozens of ornaments for just a few bucks.
*Bonus: we’ve heard that citrus can be used to discourage curious cats from climbing your tree, so if you have a faux or natural tree at home that you’d like to protect from a cat attack, these dried citrus slices might be just the thing.
We also turned three dozen faux lemons (we grabbed two large plastic tubs of them for $8 each at Ben Franklin) into “ornaments” by wiring them onto the end of a bunch of branches on our tree- just to inject more hits of yellow and add to our quirky citrus theme.
It was as simple as sticking “v-shaped” green wire (we purchased a spool of it for 99 cents at the craft store) into each of the foamy faux lemons so we could wind it around each branch to secure it. It was also a nice complement to all the hanging ornaments since we now had a bunch that appeared to be “sitting” on the ends of the branches. Easy and almost mouthwatering, no? Again, maybe it’s a pregnancy thing, but I could eat an entire lemon every day of the week.
We also picked up some pretty green pears from Target last year (during an after-Christmas sale) that were meant to be used as vase filler (see the little pear in the bottom right corner of the photo below?) so we just tied a loop of glittering silver ribbon to each of the stems to create a way to hang them up on the tree. Sure they’re technically not citrus but they work with the whole edible theme- and they’re perfect for our playful green, orange and yellow color scheme.
So that’s the tree-decorating rundown for ya complete with all of the homemade “ornaments” that we fashioned from things like vase filler, faux fruit and real fruit alike.
We love the punchy colors (which actually fit right into our living room thanks to the lemon-yellow rug) and the happy vibe that it brings into our entire home for the ho-ho-holidays. Oh and stay tuned for more seasonal decorating posts along with our favorite roundup of cheap-o holiday gifts coming soon.
But enough about us- we wanna hear all about your holiday decor. Do you have a new color scheme that you’re dying to break out this year? Or a tried and true “theme” on your tree that makes you smile every year? How about those whose theme is to have no theme at all? Anyone with a penchant for popcorn garland or edible candy cane ornaments? Do tell.
Psst- Looking for more holiday decorating and entertaining ideas? Check out this post, this post, this post, this post, this post, this post, this post, this post and this post to tide you over until we share even more in the coming weeks.
Update: You can check out all of our favorite holiday decor finds here – many of which are under $15!
What a terrific idea! I love the way the lemons and oranges look like stained glass ornaments! Merry Christmas!
Love the color scheme guys!! The tidbit on drying oranges/lemons will come in handy, thanks for sharing.
I am all about color schemes and themes for trees, this year magenta is all up my alley … or maybe its because last year I scored on magenta ornaments at an after Christmas sale at Pier One!! I wont lie though, I really love the citrus colors you used, hhmmm, maybe next year!
Janis from Scotland says
Love this so much……….very talented pair you are. The smell must be lovely as well even if they are dried. Notice you have three stockings up and assume it’s Burgers. I found this hilarious since we put ours up and that of our four cats………..mad but funny and nice. We’ve been out buying them surprise for their stockings on Xmas Day.
Oh yes, Burger gets his own stocking and not surprisingly it’s the one that gets packed with the most stuff. Lucky dog.
This is such a neat idea! I love the way your tree turned out.
Love it! At our house we have a tradition that we buy a Christmas ornament whenever we go on a trip or a vacation. Then when we are decorating the tree we can reminisce about all of our fun family trips. My parents started this tradition when I was a kid and now my husband and I have started doing it in our house. Can’t wait to see more of your Christmas decorations :)
Love it. Every year I try to mix up the color scheme. This year I used plum, lime green and a sort of orange color and mixed in lots of clear glass and the tree just absolutley glows. I like to really layer the ornaments so, I tuck some far back in the tree and then place some more to the outside of the tree. It gives the tree much more depth. I also tuck in shiny ribbon here and there, I hate for it to look to uniform and perfectly wrapped. I then use shiny twigs covered in iridescent beads and place them in various places and also use them as the tree topper. The tree is in our entryway and is 9 feet tall so, the whole tree usually takes me a good day and a half. Mostly because my two year old will only allow me to work on it for short periods of time!!
Stormy Smith says
We actually bought a real tree for the first time ever this year and went with a red theme. We bought led lights that glow a light blue and all red ornaments with the exception of our annual homemade ornaments. Every year since we moved in together we’ve handmade an ornament. We plan to continue the tradition when we have our own little “bean” and someday have a tree full of our own ornaments that tell the story of our life together. We spend less than $10 on the supplies and it is always a fun day!
love the new theme, and the peeking out behind the tree at the beginning of the video had me cracking up! it’s great to see that the decorating is a joint effort. we did our tree on sunday. we got halfway through the first box of ornaments (of 3) and my husband declared that there was no more room left on the tree and that he was done! so i kept at it empyting the boxes, and at the end my husband says “wow, it really does look nice with ALL the ornaments on it.” Go Figure!
happy holidays, and adorable baby bump!
Can Christmas trees be ‘yummy’? Because I think yours is! I’ll say it again, Yummy.
We went with a green, white, glitz and natural Christmas scheme. You can check out some pics on the slideshow at http://housetweaking.blogspot.com/ with a Christmas decor post coming tomorrow!
Elisa @ whatthevita says
Yay!! Everyday ever since we put up our christmas tree ornaments, we’ve been arriving home to find ornaments scattered all over the floor. The lemon slices just might be the perfect solution for us, since our color scheme this year is gold and black! PERFECT. Thanks for the cats vs. citrus tip!
Sherry, your adorably cute little baby bump makes me squee.
The oranges were also a very fun and unique idea! I bet they smell lovely too!
beeeee-u-tiful! so fresh. great idea. I’m hoping to add some nice orange and purple decorations to our tree! love it.
ps. i didn’t see that “bump” picture anywhere?
My little belly full of baby is actually easily seen at the end of the video, right when we high-five. Of course you can also spy a glance of it in the video screen grab (which indeed shows the high-five and my growing bump). Hope it helps!
opps – just realized the “bump” is shown in the video – i’ll have to try and watch at home.
Megan – my husband and I have the same tradition! Whenever we go on a vacation or a weekend away, we always get an ornament. It is great to reminisce about the places we have seen or gone. We have high school ornaments, college ornaments, etc. I love it!
John & Sherry – do you guys have more sentimental ornaments? For instance, I am sure a “baby’s first christmas” ornament is in your future! What do you do with them? Or do you prefer not to have those?
We have a few vacation ornaments as well, along with some other super sentimental ones (like the moose one we picked up on our Alaskan honeymoon) and of course we foresee lots of baby related things in years to come. The great thing about ornaments in our house is that they go everywhere- far beyond the bounds of the tree. In glittering bowls, atop silver candlesticks, inside our glass based lamps, etc- so although you might not see the sentimental ones on the tree (depending on the color scheme, last year they all made it on because it was less punchy and citrus themed) they’re definitely strewn throughout the house in a plethora of places to be enjoyed. In fact, stay tuned for more ornament ideas and general holiday decorating posts coming soon…
Oooh that is so cute. Did it make your house smell all nice and citrusy?
Oh yeah the house smelled delicious while we baked them and even once they dried the citrus smell lingers on. Kind of like subtle all-natural potpourri. Mmmm.
wow! that looks awesome and delicious! haha! i’ll have to tell my brother and sister-in-law about the dried fruit idea to keep their cats from climbing their tree (their 3 cats have ruined 2 faux trees within the last 3 years!) my husband and i also have a tradition of buying an ornament whenever we go on vacation so our tree is a mish-mash of different ornaments, but hopefully one day i can have a fancy tree like yours!
Very nice! Perhaps this is one custom that’s gone by the wayside, but as a child I always received an orange or clementine in the toe of my stocking on Christmas morning (in addition to all the other goodies), and Santa has repeated that tradition with our kids.
I’m not sure what the significance is of this old Christmas custom, but I like your twist (ha ha) on it, intentional or not!
Love love love using artificial fruits in holiday wreaths, swags etc. I do it every year, but never have I dried some slices how awesome is that!!! It’s very colonial classy! I also love the colonial type fruit decorations they make on a half circle of wood with a pineapple in the middle and surrounded by apples, oranges, etc. and hung above a doorway outside usually if it’s real fruit. Never tried that yet, but I want to.
DE – J
Love love love the color! And drying fruit to further the citrusy theme – what a great idea!
Pardon me…I feel the urge to go get myself a glass of orange juice…
My cat isn’t a fan of my decorations (I’m trying the citrus for the tree!!), so I hang ornaments from my pot rack! It hangs over the kitchen island and the bottom is a grid. This year I hung cute multi-colored bells from Target and a big snowman ornament from it. It’s a fun way to decorate my kitchen but not take up counter space.
just noticed under your tree you have those sheep-skin (faux i believe) mats – were those from ikea? Sarah Richardson from Design Inc. had a christmas show on a couple of weeks ago and she used them us well – i love them! They look so good and add some nice warmth and romance to the tree. They are $40 at Ikea (at least in canada they are) – wish they were a little more affordable as i would need about 3 to cover the bottom of my tree. Maybe they’ll go on sale soon!
So funny to hear that Sarah Richardson also uses faux sheepskins for her Christmas tree “skirt.” We love her so we feel like we’re in good company! And we’ve actually been doing it for years (check ’em out under last year’s tree). Oh and of course ours are from Ikea (and they’re definitely faux). For around $20 a pop here in the US they’re the best deal around and they last forever and can live in so many places year round (on the backs of chairs, sofas, benches, floors, etc). Hope it helps!
Ashley M. [at] (never home)maker says
Citrus! What a great tip — not only do those slices look great, but if they deter cats from climbing the tree . . . I’ll have to give ’em a try.
Love the colors going on here.
<3 Ashley M.
So pretty! For my first Christmas in my new place two years ago, I purchased “out there” colored balls: fusia, electric blue, lime green, and silver. I really enjoyed having the array of colors on my tree. But this year, I went for a more subtle look and only used the blue, green, and silver balls on my tree and throughout my apartment. I love that I’ve been able to switch up the look without having to spend more money!
By the way, I noticed you guys didn’t have a tree topper. How come?
We were waiting for that question to come up. And we don’t really have much of an answer other than: we haven’t seen anything that we love enough to take home. So for the past three years our tree has been topper-less but we still think it looks finished and gleaming when we turn on the lights each evening. Maybe someday we’ll find something that we have to have and our tree will no longer be topless. Haha.
That looks awesome! I bought *shame* a dried orange this year as I had no idea how to make them! Now I’ll know for next year and the whole house will be smellin’ fruity!! Your bump is massive! Are you sure you are only 4.5 months?! ;) xx
Very creative! I love the colorful tree and the stockings too. Can you tell me where you got the stockings? Thanks.
Your tree looks beautiful. I would have never thought of citrus, but it is fun and festive.
I am going for silver, pearl white and teal. Silver and pearl white bulbs. I purchased 4 small bird houses at the dollar store and painted them white and teal. I am now looking for white artificial birds to sit on my branches. A few of the birds will be painted teal the rest will be white.
Any ideas where I can purchase the artificial birds and strings of pearls (for garland) inexpensively?
Beautiful! I absolutely love it=)
Ooooh where did you get those stockings hanging from your mantle? I’ve been looking for some nice neutrals ones (my usual color scheme is actually blue, silver, and white) and those look kind of perfect!
Paige and Alicia- We got those stockings a few years back at Target. They’re deliciously neutral so they pretty much go with everything. Hope it helps! And stay tuned for more detailed shots of the decorated mantel and other areas of our house coming soon!
TG- Off the top of our heads we can only think of craft stores like Michael’s for artificial birds and strings of pearls- but you might want to google around online and on ebay too. Hope it helps!
It looks amazing!
You know, they say some of the first christmas tree ornaments were fruit! So you are kinda “going back to basics”!! Haha!
I had that tree topper problem too, so until we found the one I love (a silver beaded snowflake-star on sale after Christmas at Pottery Barn) I used this little yarn-and-button fluffball that Anthropologie gave for free as a bow with their gift wrap! Their holiday giftwrap (free with purchase) is always great for decorating purposes!
Briel K. says
Yay baby bump! ;)
Cool theme idea! I was going to ask if your house smelled awesome after you baked the oranges and lemons but I see you already answered that above. Yuuummmy!
[email protected] Paradise says
Sherry and John,
Do you guys put a tree up in your little patio area? I was just curious if you were a one tree home.
Love the ideas!
Yup, for now we’re a one tree household (although we imagine when bambinos come along we might have a kid’s tree full of their handmade ornaments and adorable DIY projects). Hope it helps!
Jacquelin Hicks says
LOVE the tree! So colorful and festive. My first thought was my dog would go bananas with that tree… does Burger bother any of your holiday decor?
We totally hit the jackpot with Burger because he is always so respectful of our stuff. No blanket/pillow/sofa chewing, no Christmas tree attacking, heck he doesn’t even think dropped socks are toys for him (amazing, right?). Of course when he was a puppy he chewed on everything (our hands, the bottom of our jeans as we walked, etc) but then we did about 20 obedience classes with him, so that probably shaped him into the well mannered dog that he is today. Or we just got lucky.
Our best tip is just to reward your pooch for playing with the right toys (praise, happy clapping, excited smiles, even the occasional treat) and give them a stiff “no” when they play with something that’s not a toy (and then redirect them to the right toys and praise and reward them for that behavior). Hopefully soon enough they’ll realize that it’s a lot more fun to play with their stuff and get lavished with attention and praise. Hope it helps!
I love how fun and unique your tree is! It really seems to suit you. What an awesome way to celebrate the holidays.
I can’t resist sharing this link to my cowgirl Christmas tree. This year, I just might have to add a few orange slices…to match the baling twine I used for garland.
We’re loving all the links to your beautiful trees! Thanks so much for sharing everyone. And Carson, your cowgirl Christmas tree is too funny! Yeee-haw.
i love it! i’m also a fan of citrus, so i think i just might have to copy this.
did your drying research tell you how long those slices last? are you planning on throwing them out after this season, or do they live forever?
We do plan to carefully store our dried ornaments in a cool dry place (probably sealed in tupperware between rows of tissue paper) for next year. Only time will tell how well they hold up, but people sell dried fruit in potpourri and things like that (which seems to hold up pretty well) so we have high hopes for ’em. Stay tuned next year for the update I guess. Haha.
Amy @ Renovation Innovation says
The tree is beautiful. I love how you went beyond traditional holiday colors and did something unique. I would never have thought about drying fruit to hang on the tree, so big props to John!
I absolutely love your tree! What a unique theme!
Our tree is a total hodgepodge of the ornaments that we collect on vacations, sentimental Hallmark-y ornaments, and the usual glass balls. No theme. Maybe one day we’ll live somewhere that can accommodate a second tree so one can be pretty and themed out and the other can be the usual mess. Or maybe I’ll just discover new ways to display my ornaments around the house like you do. I already have some glass balls in hurricanes, but that’s the end of it.
I just re-read your tree post from last year where you mentioned that you like the idea of being able to reuse your tree rather than tossing it to the curb every year, which reminds me of a study that I recently read. Apparently, the average artificial tree must be reused for 10-12 years before it has a smaller carbon footprint than a real tree. That number seemed high to me at first, but it makes sense when you think about the environmental benefits that a real tree has while its still in the ground, and the fact that they’re grown local(-ish, depending on where you live), but a fake tree is made from plastic and ships from China. This is probably old news to you, but I thought you might find it interesting. We’re totally on the faux bandwagon too, I just hope our tree stays pretty and functional long enough to make it count!
We’ve read the same thing (although there seems to be an eternal debate among experts about which is better- faux or real- and so we always say that whatever works for your family is best since we never want to pressure people either way). We definitely plan on using (and reusing, and reusing) our tree for as many decades to come as it permits (heck, we’ll lean it against the wall when it no longer wants to stand on it’s own). Hope it helps!
Great color scheme I love the idea of dried fruit for ornaments.
We don’t have a traditional tree, because the year I moved into my first apartment it was Dec 15, I didn’t have any money for a tree so I set up the 10′ ladder my parents lent me that I’d been using to paint. We decorated it with a dental floss and star sticker garlands wrapped around it, Christmas cards taped on it and decorations from around the house sitting on the steps for ornaments, a BIG stuffed Batman body pillow for the ‘angel’ and then we piled the presents underneath.
We’ve kept the tradition, I pulled the ladder out earlier this week, it’s a little better decorated than the first year, but it’s a fun (and eco-friendly) alternative to a regular ‘tree’.
Carol N. says
My tree is a sentimental mess of ornaments that I’ve gotten over the years for special occasions. It goes up in our sunroom every year. But the rest of the house is color-themed decorations. In the living room we have browns and oranges so that is the colors we use for the decorations. And last year I was able to score a bunch of orange and bronzy ornaments on deep discount (like 80% off) so stocked up. In the dining room it is more traditional reds and greens but the greens are more of a lime color than your usual Christmas green. We are still only a 1 tree fammily but I do have a second one that was my mom’s and will probably end up with a golf-themed one in the downstairs den.
Your tree looks beautiful Sherry and John, so creative!
Paige and Alicia – Target has plain cream colored stockings this year that are really nice looking. We have an addition to our family this year (our puppy) and we wanted a stocking that was neutral and would go with the stockings that we bought last year.
I have the sudden urge to redecorate my already decorated tree with a citrus theme. Looks fantastic! Love love love.
My house sticks to a Green, brown, cream, and gold kind of little women, old fashioned Christmas feel.
Citrus green and orange were the colors of my wedding, so of course I love your tree!!!! I think I’ll do a smaller tree similar to this in my dining room, thanks for the inspiration! My darling, though ultra traditional husband has to have the tree with the mixed collection of ornaments or he would go crazy!
Loved the music and your tiny baby belly. I had a baby in May, too, so I was the same size around this time :). Happy holidays!
I love your theme and how much it suits you as a family! And the diy dried citrus (especially the oranges) look so beautiful! It reminds me more of traditional Christmas trees.
You guys never cease to amaze me with your creative genius. Your tree looks amazing!
Do you have wrapping paper to tie into your Christmas decor theme?
I love your new scheme- very fun!
I’m in the market for a full size tree. Gone are the days of my “college” 2 foot tree. Yours is beautiful and has great shape. Do you have any recollection of what it is called or where it’s from?
Do the oranges still smell after the drying process? It’s the smell that deters cats and I’ve got two curious kittens to keep away from my tree this year. I wonder if hanging fresh orange slices would be a problem??
Lindsay- We have yet to purchase our wrapping paper this year, but we usually like to either go super neutral (kraft paper with ribbons around it) or we get inspired by the colors on the tree (which means we could grab some orange, yellow, and green paper to keep the citrus theme going). We also love using any and all “wrapping” that can be reused or is actually part of the present so there’s less paper headed for the trash bin. Here’s an old post with a few ideas for ya: https://www.younghouselove.com/thats-a-wrap-2/
Amanda- We snagged our tree after Christmas a few years back from Target (so it was suuuper on sale). We don’t know the name of it offhand, but it’s a basic 7.5′ tree that’s not too fat (we thought a skinnier silhouette would work with our home’s small-ish footprint). Oh and we plan to use it til the cows come home since faux trees are only eco-friendly if they last long term since there is energy spent making them and shipping them – usually from China- and of course they’re not super biodegradable when they hit the landfill. So the key is to find something that you love and use it forever. Hope it helps!
Brianna- The oranges smell a lot more when they’re being cut and dried but even about a week after the drying process they still give off a faint smell, sort of like subtle potpourri. And since cats have more sensitive noses than humans we’re pretty confident that your kitty would definitely still be deterred. I guess you could try hanging fresh orange slices but the only issue with that would be that they might drip/be messy and after about a week they would be all curled and rotten so maybe trying the drying method first is the way to go? Good luck!