Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Enchanting European Christmas Markets Part 1

 
(Strasbourg, France)

I was intending on writing this post a few days ago, but this week Matt and I have traded our perfume and cologne in for Vicks and our spiced wine for Nyquil... Better late than never, right??? If you follow me on Instagram, you know we have been busy visiting as many Christmas markets as we can, and some of these pictures may be familiar! For the rest of you, come along and tour some markets! You need to take a break from all the baking and wrapping you have been doing anyhow!

There is nothing that invigorates my holiday spirit more than the scent of hot spiced glühwein floating through the crisp December air, chestnuts roasting on an open fire (literally), and booths adorned and dripping with festive ornamentation, nestled amongst ancient structures and towns. You can hear street music of French accordion, jazzy bass, and clarinets echoing through village alleys. This dazzling music adds to the ambiance of these magical markets. Christmas in Europe in incomparable to anything I have EVER experienced and is hands down, my favorite time of year to be here (in Germany that is). Christmas markets have been a European tradition since the middle ages and each one has its own spirit and flavor unique to its city or village. The food here is nothing short of gourmet. You can get fresh crepes with creamy Nutella or homemade jams and cordial, beautiful cheeses, grilled meats, honey, and  many more foods from all over the world. Each vendor has made homemade gifts and crafts that are for purchase and are also completely unique to the goods found at American street fairs or farmer's markets. This is the stuff Fairytales are made of. 
(Strasbourg, France)

 If you are traveling through Europe or reside here, many of the larger markets go through the end of December, so you still have time to savor these markets. This will most definitely be part one of a several part "Market" series. This post contains pictures from several different markets, and I will have another post that covers more! Also, please note these pictures were taken on my phone because it is hard to scarf down crepes sip wine and take quality pictures. 
Strasbourg was completely enchanting and I can't wait to go back this weekend to see the market in full swing. When I was there with my incredibly talented friend from CA, Jessica (above), they were hanging chandeliers in the streets and draping lights around the store fronts!  It was so inspiring viewing this city with another designer. It was incredible talking architecture, displays, and design with her. This girl is incredible! She has blessed and inspired me more than she will ever know. Also, she is a display coordinator for Anthropologie...HOW COOL IS THAT!??

I took a few pictures of how the city looked when we went, but can't wait to get some more now that the Strasbourg is completely decked out! Strasbourg has the oldest Christmas Market in Europe and is a MUST. Forget the Paris one and go here.
Can you believe this is only partially finished Christmas decor???
(Strasbourg, France)

Love the little flying pigs below...
(Strasbourg, France)

(Strasbourg, France)

(Strasbourg)
To read more on Strasbourg, click here!
Isn't this one of the most majestically, beautiful creatures you have ever laid eyes on? Jessica and I came across this French cow and a beautiful, scarlet-red fox when we got lost in the French countryside. 
(French Countryside)

Off we go to the Trier Christmas market! To read more about this ancient city with Roman ruins click here!
(Trier, Germany)


To see more pictures of the Trier Christmas Market, Click here!

Just as I was moving on to talk about Esslingen and Colmar, my computer decided to act up and not let me edit my photos! I reckon that is my cue to get off the computer and start cooking! So, stay tuned for part two, Colmar, Esslingen and Paris! 
Merry Christmas Eve, everyone!





Friday, December 20, 2013

Tartan Love and a Few Classic and Fabulous Finds


 Bon Jour, mes amours! If you follow me on Instagram, you know I just got back from the "city of love" and wow, it was stunning! What an experience to go there during the crisp, cool winter! Ah, I feel so revitalized after roaming the streets of Paris with my handsome hubby and our dear friends.

Because I have so much holiday preparation to do, I am going to keep this post short and sweet and just share with you a few Christmas decor updates that we have made around the barn. I will be sure to post our Paris photos soon but first, I want to share with you my love for Tartan (or in The States, plaid) this holiday season. I am also so excited to show you a few new goodies Mr. PS and I have found at a few flea markets! 

A touch of tartan adds a sharp, classic sophisticated look to a
a space and I can't get enough of it this winter. The more I add to our home, the more our barn feels like a British or Celtic, country home (well, my version of one at least). My husband really digs it since it is such a classically masculine look. It reminds us of a pub we went to in the English countryside. Also, I am part Scot and am having fun paying tribute to my heritage. 
(My wonderful cousins in the pub that inspired me to do this "look")

After I posted our Holiday Home Tour a couple weeks ago, I stumbled upon some tartan pillowcases for a Euro and have added them to our Christmas decor! I think they look great with some of the antique tartan we already had in our living room. The pillows really complete the space, and add the perfect pop of red to that corner. The red really makes that part of the room come to life. 
My husband even helped out with the decorating by piling all is dirty tartan boxers in the corner of the room.
I have added these pictures to our Holiday Barn Tour post, so you can see all of our holiday pictures together!

Our home isn't the only thing we have decked out in Tartan,
Matty and I are sporting it this winter season as well! 


Now, on to some of the vintage goodies we scored last week.
We found these gorgeous Florentine trays at a flea market while hanging out in Trier and were so thrilled to add them to our collection. I couldn't believe they were hiding on the floor under a pile of junk... The vendor must have known I was coming and was keeping them hidden from the crowds of people for me to discover.

At the same market, we also found this kitschy, faux, oil painting from Rome. It is classic, quirky and just what I like. The masculine gentlemen's pipe is from a shop in our local area. I am loving how it all looks on top of our WWII Russian Ammo boxes from European Vintage Chic in Landstuhl, Germany! The Gold glitz of the fancy foil painting (faux oil) and florentine tray are a great contrast to the roughed up and bleached ammo boxes. 

To see our  Barn Holiday Tour and more touches of Tartan in our home, click the image below and head on over! We would love to have you over! 

To learn more about the history of tartan, click here.

So tell me, how do you feel about Tartan? Love it as much as I do?



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

DIY Holiday {Or Anytime} Pedestals {Handmade Giving Series}


Are you all getting in the Christmas spirit yet??? I am so thrilled for this holiday season, happiness is beaming out of my ears! Anyhow, today I am doing a tutorial over at the incredible blog, Le Famille, for Alicia's Handmade Giving Series. If you haven't had a chance to see all the gift tutorials done by these incredibly talented women below, click on over to Le Famille to check them out and be inspired! Alicia is an absolute sweetheart and has a gorgeous and inspiring blog that I just adore. 
Today I am showing you all how to make these fabulous, eclectic and totally customizable cake, organizational and decorational pedestals. They make the perfect gift for anyone and everyone.

You will just have to head over to Le Famille and see why they are great for everyone and all the zillions of ways to use them.

Let's get gifting, friends!


If you haven't seen our Barn Holiday Tour yet, click the image below to cheek it out! 


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

2013 Branstetter Barn Holiday Tour


Welcome, welcome, everybody, to our holiday barn tour! And if you are new around here, I am super happy to have you! I am so ecstatic to a part of this 24-blog, Christmas home tour, hosted by the wonderful Krista from the "Happy Housie" blog. How truly giddy I feel.
I hope you all can kick up your feet, grab something hot and delectable to drink, put on some jazzy Christmas music to set the mood, and come tour our barn with me! 

My husband and I moved to the German countryside last year with the military. We were so blessed to have found this 130 year old barn that was converted into a home next to the largest castle ruin in Germany! My landlord let us paint over its vibrant, pastel orange, yellow, and purple walls and we switched out all the light fixtures (we can take all the lights we purchased wherever we go) and started making it home. Fresh paint and dazzling lights can make all the difference in the world! It hardly feels like a rental anymore. Because we are on a strict (military) budget, everything you see in our place was built by us, someone else's throw-aways (that we have fixed up), or things we scored for next to nothing at flea markets. We want to save our money for traveling while we have the opportunity to live in Europe. We have had a blast creating a home here in Germany. We really feel as though it is an expression of the two of us and our journey together. 
We are having the time of our lives exploring Europe and implementing old world, and folk design and traditions into our own home.
(To see before pics click on the "Home Tour" tab)
I will have to get a picture of our village castle (above) with snow once it decides to stick! 

These little red mushrooms actually exist here in Germany, Can you believe it?! I thought they were just in the Mario Brothers video game!! Silly me...They are simply darling and the Germans love decorating with them for fall and winter festivities. I had to use them in our Christmas decor too.

Felted wool is commonly used in Germany and you will see booths decked out at the Christmas markets with handmade felted-wool clothing, crafts and decor.  I was stoked to find these little felted  acorns at our local discount market! Especially since velvet ones in The States cost a fortune! 

My sweet husband and I designed and built the mantle in the picture below with old barn wood, a barn door and beams our landlord was about to dump. The decoration on the front was dug out of the trash, and after it was cleaned and painted, it added the perfect amount of embellishment to our cozy little fireplace. I am thrilled to be able to take the mantle we built (from parts of the old barn we lived in) any where we go! What a wonderful keepsake my husband and I have from our time here. 

Recently, my girlfriend Jessica (also an interior designer) came to visit me and she suggested that I add a  tartan bow-tie, donated by my friend Jackie's husband, to help make our little deer friend look a little more dapper! 
Doesn't he just look so sharp!??




Move over Victoria's Secret, there is a sexy new angel in town!! I added a miniature set of wings to our golden hippo and he looks fierce...



I am loving my one Euro Tartan pillows (below), what a score they were! They sure give our room that English/Scottish country home feel!

We just got this wonderfully tacky and kitsch faux oil painting in Trier along with some gorgeous Florentine trays to add to my collection. The pipe is also a vintage flea market find that has a fantastic "gentlemen's" look. To learn how to create a mason jar snow globe, like the one pictured below, click here.



Our Christmas tree, which is popping out of vintage luggage is adorned with antlers, more angel wings, mercury glass acorns, antique brass stars, petite pictures, silhouettes and tartan Christmas balls.
Our vintage skis were an amazing birthday gift from my friend, Ivona! I LOVE them and use them year-round! The tartan from the inside of our flea market luggage really compliments their warm wood tone.


Now, come along to our dining room!

It sure comes in handy that my husband and I have the same initials when we shop for monograms! 


We have rearranged our dining room quite a bit and I love it's natural "flow" now! The pops of black make it a little more masculine and bring out the vibrant colors of our humongous vintage map. 

Since candlelight changes the light and clarity of the pictures in our uber dark barn, I have some photos with and without the candlelight.                                                       



I also use our cocktail bar as a dessert bar! Decadent Christmas goodies go perfectly on my DIY holiday cake pedestals! These are so easy to make, check out the tutorial I did for my friends blog here





Even our silhouettes are dressed and ready in holiday attire. 

I placed some ornaments on our French bottle dryer to turn it into a bar-top Christmas tree. 

 Our DIY Drop-Cloth Gold Zebra Hide Rug is a nice back-drop for our Christmas decor. 




Because we are known as the village hoarders, we received some gorgeous old doors and this antique drafting stool from our generous neighbors! The industrial stool is the perfect contrast to the frilly and more feminine sconce and chandelier.  Our time zone clock wall has now moved into this striped hall since the map is now where the clocks were. I think the clocks look even cooler on the stripes! We love knowing what time it is in our home states (California and Kentucky) and imagining what holiday fun our family is up to. 


We love our monogram from Southern Proper Monograms...It makes the perfect "wreath".

Let's move on tour cozy kitchen!
I recovered our kitchen chairs in this ikat chevron print, just in time for this Christmas tour! I am so pleased with how it turned out! It adds just a touch of funkiness to the kitchen.









I have painted the tips of our antler candlesticks gold to give it some extra pizazz... I am so thrilled with how they turned out!

During the holidays, my husband and I really enjoy sipping on our own version of Glühwein/ Vin Chaud/ Glögg (spiced, hot mulled wine)! We have a little bar set up for our guests to enjoy some as well! To get the recipe for this European Christmas-Market favorite, click here!


and fin!
Thank you so very much for coming to our home and celebrating the Christmas festivities with us! To see more of our home click the home tour box in the tab section above! Different seasonal looks will be in the side bar under seasonal.

Penny and I are off to visit our neighbors!!! Tschüss!

Be sure to check out all the other fabulous Holiday home tours by clicking the links below!

Christmas Party Tour of Homes Thumbnail Graphic

Here is a sneak peak at what is in store...

Tuesday, December 3rdChristmas Party Tour of Homes Tuesday December 3rd

Christmas Party Tour Wednesday


Thursday, December 5
Christmas Party Tour of Homes Thursday December 5th option 2

Friday, December 6
Christmas Party Tour of Homes Friday December 6th
5) Patricia from Little Cottage on the Pond 6) Emily from Two Purple Couches

Each day this week, you can come here and click on these beautiful homes to get loads of inspiration once each tour goes live!
Note: You cannot view the homes until the actual post date that is listed above the set of homes. They go live at 7pm Eastern Standard Time.


Enjoy and be inspired! You don't want to miss any of them!


Linking up to:

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