bash, please: a folksy-mod holiday

Happy holidays, D*S readers! We are taking a little break from going around the world and bringing you our own homespun take on holiday festivities. This past year when designing our events, we fell head over heels in love with wooden flowers, vintage medicine bottles, eucalyptus leaves, cotton ribbons and twine, felt crafts, paper garlands, driftwood, homemade syrups and copper. We decided that all these elements needed to be celebrated in our holiday decor. Naturally it was leaning toward an earthy concept, but we still wanted it to have a current edge. We decided to sum it up by calling it “folksy-mod.” Take a peek at our color palette and creations.

If you don’t know this about Bash, Please, we LOVE paint. It usually gets incorporated into our designs one way or another. Whether stenciling love poems on walls at weddings, making a paint-by-numbers guest book or dipping driftwood in contrasting colors, we are big fans of the painterly ways. So when the debate came up about real tree vs. fake tree vs. rented tree, etc., we quickly evolved to PAINTED TREE!! You can easily paint over it after the holidays; it can be put up right after Thanksgiving without the fire hazard of it drying up too quickly; and no need to find storage in the attic for the fake one. Done!

Image above: A preview of decorating ideas to come after the jump.

CLICK HERE for the rest of the post and more entertaining ideas (from wreaths to signs made of holiday lights) after the jump!

We chose a corner nook, but a flat wall can easily look just as cool. We had a master helper (Paige’s hubs) make the hand-drawn stencil, but we think a simple Charlie Brown tree would be just as cute. We took another non-traditional route and strung a frame of white lights around it to illuminate the painting rather than covering it up. We hung our copper-, gold- and forest-colored balls from the ceiling along with pinecones and felt snowflakes to create depth in the installation. Stack presents at the foot of it, and it’s also quite space saving. Functional and festive. We then looked to the mantle and decided it needed (what else?) a wreath.

Mixed in with our own eclectic house objects, we added acorn garlands and adorned the mantle with pinecones, vintage bottles with green and white flowers, mini-Christmas trees, walnuts and snow candles. We took our favorite modern West Elm felted wreath and hung a large acorn from the middle to bring in a homespun addition. Other vignettes around the house included brown and clear glass medicine bottles with cedar greens, eucalyptus pods, wooden flowers, white ranunculus, red berries and silver kochia. We also incorporated our favorite holiday cards from Rifle and tucked them into the vignettes for added whimsy. Another super simple craft is Mason jar scenes. Fill a large Mason jar with powdered sugar (snow) and place cinnamon sticks, acorns, mini-pinecones, jingle bells and miniature figurines for a mantle or countertop decoration.

When the house was all set, we had some friends over for a white elephant gift exchange, holiday spirits and comfort food. Mini-burgers, young onion tarts and gals fighting over the cute Kate Spade coffee mugs. It was quite the rough and tumble brawl; there are still sequins embedded in our rug (kidding, of course). We made a super easy holiday punch that we adapted from this Martha Stewart recipe. We added a little orange juice and Cointreau to give it a more citrus punch. Make your ice ring for the punch bowl with fresh cranberries and ginger beer in a bundt pan. It was delicious! And no one could taste the gin, which is key for making a pleasant-tasting punch. We also made homemade rosemary and basil simple syrups that mix tastefully with vodka and juices. Our favorite is basil syrup, lime juice and vodka. It tastes like a tangy herbal infusion of cheer.

Easy craft alert! We used an old sweater and felt garland to adorn the bookcase. Simply cut out squares of felt and wool sweaters, sew them over one side and string up on twine. Cut out your “Happy Holidays” letters in the colors of your choice and glue onto the felt squares. Cheery bunting that will last for years.

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy New Year’s and all that is festive this month! We wish you love, peace and merriment this season. We thank you for allowing us to be a part of Design*Sponge. See you in 2011!!

Photos by Annie McElwain

  1. tiina says:

    Oh, everything is so pretty. So many lovely details and atmosphere. Gotta love this time of year! Happy weekend! x

  2. Matrioshka says:

    Wow, that is so inspiring! Not sure I have teh artistic talent for that tree, but it is a beautiful idea.

  3. I love shot of the bench with the piled firewood – that evokes such a sense of the season to me.

  4. Suzanne says:

    Love the snow ball wreath!

  5. Allie says:

    is there any way we could get the HTML color codes for the color scheme? it is just perfect.

  6. I love love love the white felt (?) wreath on the door. Was that crafted or purchased?

  7. Ashley says:

    This is, by far, the most gorgeous collection of photos I have seen all holiday season. Design*Sponge does it again. Thank you for the wonderful ideas and unparalleled style.

    1. grace says:

      thanks ashley- the bash, please girls really knocked it out of the park ;)


  8. charlotte says:

    that paint-by-number-tree-in-the-corner thing is awesome!

  9. Martha says:

    This is my kind of holiday decorating. Lots of natural, organic elements. None of the ticky tacky red and green crap from the big box stores. Love it!

  10. Katie says:

    What great creative ideas! Bash is Uh-mazing! My favorite is the painted tree-way to be inventive!

    Nice post.

  11. Cheryl says:

    I am in love with this entire post. Everything is holiday party perfect!

  12. Barbara says:

    PURR-fection! That’s a tree my cat wouldn’t climb and knock over. And the hanging decorations could keep him happily hopping. Thanks for a truly pet-friendly Christmas idea.

  13. Barbara says:

    OOOHH: and the whole set is absolutely gorgeous. That almost goes without saying where D*S is involved ;-P

  14. Tobi says:

    Lovely, homey and warm holiday ideas. Anyway I can get that recipe for The Bubbly Boxer?

  15. LOVE IT!!! (and I’m so lucky to have attended the party…)

  16. Jenni says:

    this is lovely. the painting (or DIY decals) make for a very affordable way to change things up a bit from year to year.

  17. Stunning post! I adore every part of it :) especially the bench outside with the JOY sign. Think I might do that too! Of course, mine will have four feet of snow involved… just moved into a house from an apartment and have discovered that the best way to string outdoor lights up here is at the end of SUMMER!

  18. Andy says:

    Very fun stuff….

  19. Justina says:

    Go Paige, Kelly, Annie (and of course Kevin!) I was lucky enough to be at this Holiday fete, and the decor, drinks and company all rocked my world. what a beautiful and inspiring post!

  20. zakiya says:

    this is so dope! love it!!!

  21. rebecca says:


    acorn #683716
    copper #c9611a
    gold #f0b41e
    snow #eff5f5
    spruce #709456
    olive #8f7d29
    forest #003e21

  22. Lindsay says:

    This post made me smile. It reminds me of my childhood. So vintage and awesome!

  23. katie says:

    yes, yes, yes.
    i’ve started looking around the house thinking, where could i paint a tree??
    favorite holiday post ever. thank you!!!

  24. Its great to see some American christmas decor.

  25. beautiful tree and colors. very unique

  26. Tamara says:

    That tree totally needs to be a big Blik wall sticker! What a supercute way to have a tree without all the extra space.

  27. Beautiful! I love the painted wreath / tree ideas!

  28. Cinny says:

    What a cool concept but either I missed something or I’m confused – probably both! Are the wreath and tree permanently painted or are they decal?

  29. KoKo says:

    Where did you get the letters for JOY lit up over the bench? Stunning!

  30. Love this déco!!! Charmant…

  31. Susannah says:

    Cute cute cute.

  32. Jürgen says:

    I’m dreaming on a white christmas….wow what a great decoracion, very great the ideas to paint the tree on the wall…i like it very much…thank you regards

  33. Paige says:

    Hi guys! The tree and wreath are painted, not decals. And we made the JOY sign by soldering zinc metal together and wrapping it in lights.

  34. What a super idea to get a painted Christmas tree- the perfect solution when you have not too much space!! Love the whole vibe- great stuff! Happy holidays!

  35. wow…all the things are very nice and cute…marry Christmas to all

  36. twocreatives says:

    you saved me tonight! daughter just lost a tooth and home alone without enough coins in sight. but the MASON JAR scene is perfect, just need to add a bit of glitter. THANK YOU.

  37. these are such fantastic ideas I can’t even pick one i like the most! the 3-d but not christmas tree is so creative and I love the simplicity of the bubble wreath!

  38. We just need to add:
    Feliz Navidad!!! Joyeux Noël!!

  39. Mike says:

    Epsom salt in jars is also a great snow alternative and is easy to reuse every year

  40. Grace, editors, & Bash, Please:

    This is beautiful, amazing, and truly brilliant.

    I request that “folksy-mod” be turned into a regular column. Seriously! That kind of aesthetic seems to appear in lots of sneak peeks and other projects around the blog.

    Thanks so much for your always-fantastic content, Design*Sponge!


  41. Sam says:

    Thank you! This post just made my night. What a folksy/mod bash!!! Thank you for the inspiration!


  42. giulia says:

    the tree is wonderful!

  43. Paige says:

    Thank you everyone for the kind comments! We love you.

  44. Kersten says:

    I think Emily has a GREAT idea: Folksy-mod as its own category!

  45. Rachel S says:

    This post makes me miss the East Coast, Arizona Christmases just aren’t the same.

  46. Karolina says:

    Love! I will admit I became a bit obsessed with the JOY sign and made one of my own this year. For anyone else considering it, here’s how I did it:


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