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Our Family Christmas

It’s no secret… We love celebrating big, and the holidays are no exception to that! I know it’s popular these days to slow down and simplify everything so you don’t lose sight of what Christmas is all about, but we have loved filling our days with holiday activities, creating new traditions and watching our kids truly enjoy the magic of the season. We thought it would be fun to give you a peek into our holiday home and share some of the traditions, old and new, that are special to our little family.

Part 1: Trimming the Tree

I’ve always loved decorating for Christmas. Even as a college student I chose to spend my money on Christmas decorations rather than buying required text books for classes; a decision I still fully stand behind! With every tree we set up and every garland we hang, the joy of the season seems to fill our home even more.

One of our traditions is to hand-make the garland on our tree. Over the years we have done everything from paper chains to even making a garland out of paper clips and fancy tape! This year we chose to make a classic popcorn garland. While slightly tedious, we found it relaxing and enjoyable, especially with a holiday movie playing in the background. If you want to give this garland a try here are a few tips we learned along the way: Pop your popcorn the day before you want to make the garland, so it can become stale and more styrofoam like. This makes the popcorn more firm and less likely to crumble. Use a sharp needle threaded with fishing line, and only work with four to five foot sections at a time. Also, make sure to leave enough fishing line at the end of each garland section so you can tie the ends together as you place it on the tree. It takes a little bit of patience, but it really was fun to see it all come together.

Part 2: A Tree of Their Own

I love having multiple trees throughout our home. When Jamie and I lived in a 632 square foot apartment, I somehow managed to squeeze eight Christmas trees into that tiny space. Out of control? Maybe a little, but the more the merrier right? With that mindset, we added a new tradition this year of decorating small trees for each of our kids in their own room. Grey has decorated, undecorated and redecorated his tree more times than I can count, and I just love watching his creativity blossom. He picked out his own ornaments and has clear opinions about where each one should be placed. I think we have a budding wedding designer on our hands!

London’s tree is filled with everything pink and girly to match her room. Each time we turn on the tree lights when she wakes up, she’ll wave and point to her tree and say “wow”. So until she has a voice and an opinion to tell us otherwise, we are really enjoying all the pink that has entered our home since she was born!

Part 3: All Decked Out 

In the same way that we deck the halls for the holiday and make our home a little fancy, we also love to get a little dressed up throughout the season. While I fear some might think this is pretentious, that is really not our heart behind it. Dressing up is not something that happens on a normal day, so getting all decked out feels special and makes this time of year feel even more extraordinary.

We started yet another new tradition this year. Every year we are going to get dressed up and head to downtown Seattle for a family date. This year we went to an interactive concert for little kids at the Seattle Symphony and then we stayed at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel where we visited the Teddy Bear Suite, enjoyed a classic holiday tea in the Georgian Room and then visited Santa. It was such a special day for our family and the start of a beautiful tradition I am excited to see unfold each year. I think my favorite part was when Grey discovered that his personal tea sandwich tower also had macarons on it, he declared at the top of his lungs (for all to hear!) “It’s a macaron Da-Da!”  Meanwhile my 10 month old baby quietly sat next to me delighted to be eating her own scone.

We also continued our annual tradition of hosting a dress up holiday party. I started doing this in college for all of my friends. Instead of studying for my finals, I would spend the week baking and preparing for my big Christmas party at the end of the week. I loved spoiling them with abundant food, desserts and drinks. It was my gift to my friends, and a way to cultivate a deeper sense of community by using my talents and passions to serve the people I love and care about. Eighteen years later, our holiday party looks a little different, but the heart and purpose behind it has not changed and it remains one of my favorite holiday traditions that I look forward to each year.

In keeping with the tradition I mentioned earlier in this post, we also made our lunaria garlands. I’ve been a bit obsessed with lunaria as of late; I love how natural it is while still feeling ethereal and whimsical. I had a pile of it left over from a wedding, so I decided to put it to good use in our home for the holidays. We created the garlands by cutting down the lunaria bundles into smaller bundles, and then taping them together with classic masking tape. We then taped those little lunaria bundles to a long piece of wire, overlapping one bundle on top of the next until we reached the length we needed. This was also a bit tedious and time consuming, but worth the results. We didn’t put many ornaments on our tree this year as we loved the statement of simplicity that the lunaria made.

Part 4: Let Them Eat Cake… and cookies and every other treat! (in moderation of course)

We love to bake. It’s almost therapeutic to me… well until I see all of the dishes I need to wash! During the holidays, we make marshmallows, caramels, pies, cakes in addition to rolling out countless sugar cookies and gingerbread men. Another yearly tradition for us is to host our friends for a cookie making party. It might take months to clean up the last of the sprinkles that fall to the floor, but it is totally worth it for the joy that comes from what we create together!

This year we are sharing our soft gingerbread cookie recipe. It is absolutely the best! You can control how crisp your cookies become by adjusting how long you bake them, so make sure to experiment with your first round! You also need to think ahead. This recipe is best when you let the dough rest in the fridge overnight before rolling them out. I have found this to be the perfect recipe for the holidays and we hope you enjoy it too!

Whatever your traditions may be and no matter what holidays you choose to celebrate, our family wishes you a season filled with joy, love, laughter and perhaps a few gingerbread cookies.

photos: Alanna Maria Photography

calligraphy and recipe design: LaHappy

download and print our gingerbread cookie recipe

2018 workshops

I can’t believe this will be our fourth year of offering workshops in our Seattle based design studio. It feels just like yesterday that I nervously announced our first workshop, afraid that no one would come. Much to my surprise, every workshop sold out that first year, and they have continued to sell out year after year. It has been humbling and rewarding to have the opportunity to teach and guide each attendee and to be part of their creative story.

Universal Purpose…

Since we opened our studio for workshops, we have had attendees come from all across the globe… Australia, France, England, Portugal, Singapore, China, Korea, Japan, Mexico, and Canada, not to mention all of the people from all over the United States that have travelled far to get here, and those from our own back yard here in the Northwest. It doesn’t matter where each attendee has come from, or how well they speak English, or what their level of experience was… the common thread that brought us all together was a passion for bringing beauty into this world… the beauty of floral design and creating celebrations that will be remembered for a lifetime… and the beauty of dreaming big for your life, and believing in the power of those dreams.

Our Heart…

You see… our workshops are not just about the techniques and mechanics of floral design. Our purpose to is teach, encourage, inspire and empower people along their creative journey. Yes, we will absolutely teach you how to make our signature lush arrangements and bouquets, how to build and install an event, and how to design all of the details of a beautiful tablescape. But… we go far beyond that as we push you to define your dream and really identify what it is you want out of the creative journey you are on in addition to helping you figure out how to get to the next level of where you want to be.

One of a kind, hands on experience… 

I’ve had a lot of people ask if we would continue to do our workshops since we recently launched an online workshop. The answer has always been “YES!” I’m thankful we had the opportunity to launch an online course, but nothing replaces being in person with someone, building a real relationship, listening and having eye contact with someone as you speak with them face to face. I can show how I create bouquets in a video but walking you through the process in person while you have flowers in your hand, and offering constructive feedback of your work is a completely different experience. Nothing can ever truly replace a hands on, face to face experience. Our in person workshops are one of a kind.

The 2018 Schedule: 

This year we will be offering the following four workshops in our studio.

February 22nd- 24th “The Art of Floral Design Workshop”

March 22nd- 24th “The Art of Floral Design Workshop”

April 26th-28th “Event Design Workshop”

June 7th-9th   “Real Wedding Workshop”

Check out our  workshop website for complete descriptions of each of these courses and for more details including information on pricing and payment plans!

No experience necessary for any of these workshops! We’ll teach you everything you need to know!  

Registration for all of these workshops will open on Thursday November 15th!

We are offering early bird pricing through December 1st before increasing the rate of each workshop.

WORKSHOP SCHOLARSHIPS!!

Simply put… a lot of people just can’t afford the investment of a workshop. I was one of those people when I started my business… I didn’t have any money to my name. I wouldn’t be where I am today if a few people didn’t believe in me and lend me a helping hand. This is why I offer scholarships; it’s part of my way of giving back. I want to believe in someone’s dream and give them that extra help they may need so they can get closer to where they want to be.

This year we are continuing our scholarship program and offering 4 scholarships for 2018. The submissions will be done through Instagram. Please check our Instagram feed @sinclairandmoore on Thursday evening November 9th for details on how to enter a submission. Submissions will be accepted Thursday, November 9th through Monday, November 13th. Recipients will be announced on our blog on the evening of November 15.

Anyone is eligible to apply.

Big things to come! 

We have a lot of great things planned for our 2018 workshops and hope you will consider joining us! Remember to check out our Workshop Website for more detailed information, and as always, please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions to the e-mail provided on our site!

Photos taken of our April 2017 workshop by Kristen Honeycutt Photo Co. 

A new perspective

Today is my thirty-eighth birthday. I woke up early this morning intending to spend time setting new goals and dreaming big for the year ahead. This is a yearly tradition for myself; I like to think about where I am, where I want to go, who I want to become, think big for our future and then figure out the steps I need to take to move closer towards seeing those dreams come to fruition. It’s no secret that I am a dreamer… Jamie would probably tell you that sitting down and dreaming about the future is one of my love languages and the way to my heart.

But something different happened this morning. As I started thinking to the future and worked to define new goals, something inside of me told me to just stop, reflect and give thanks. As my mind wandered through the blessings in my life, my heart nearly exploded as I thought through the people who fill my life with greater joy than any accomplishment, dream, wedding or project ever will. My family… my tribe… my people. They are my dream and the best part of life.

Dreaming big is a beautiful thing… but sometimes it causes you to rush past the beautiful life you might already have. It can be a struggle to find the balance of wanting more for your future while just being content in the moment. In the past I’ve feared that contentment would lead to complacency, but as I’ve grown older I’ve come to realize that contentment leads to greater joy.

So this morning I am going to hit the pause button on all my dreaming and scheming to be still, give thanks and enjoy the people I get to call “mine”.

And… of course I walked away with a few new goals for this beautiful year ahead. What are they? To love more fiercely, to give thanks more often, to choose joy and to be content through whatever my circumstances may be. Something tells me these new goals will give me the strength to soar to even greater heights.

Thirty-eight… you might be the best year yet.

photography: Alanna Maria Photography