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Sunday, December 18, 2011

My Castaway Christmas - Over 20 Gorgeous Creations to Inspire

Having been very inspired this Christmas by all the wonderful creations out there that people have handmade, my Christmas decorating took a slightly different path this year to what I had originally planned.

You see I had full creative intentions of going tropical in the spirit of Oceania Island Living and this would fit quite nicely as it's summer at Christmas in Australia.

However, we've had a mixed bag on the weather front and it's made me pine a little for an English Christmas, plus with all the Christmas cooking shows on TV at the moment courtesy of Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson etc. and the quirky crafty country girl Kirstie Allsopp I've been inspired to return to a white Christmas with a good splash of vintage, ample helpings of Scandi and festive glittering crystal galore.

So I've weaved my own Nostalgic, English & Coastal roots through my Christmas decorating this year and these are the results. I'm three quarters done so the final sparkle still awaits - I hope these ideas inspire you this Christmas - you'll also see I've been a very busy little elf this year.

These are angel wings I bought from a dressing up shop. I added bits and pieces in neutral colours and hung it up. It needed something more so I added the raw MDF word and now it feels complete as a beautiful ethereal Christmas artwork adorning the dining room wall.

These are so easy to make. I ended up having 2 different Christmas looks in the house due to the insistence of my 7 yr old for colour.
So in the lounge we have a very elegant white Christmas theme and in the family/dining/kitchen we have a colourful look.
Both looks have a vintage coastal theme running through them to connect the decor.
Here I've used blue, green & silver on a back drop of white to keep things fresh, modern & summery.

Simply hot glue magnets to the back of Christmas baubles - they really look great.

I'm not a big fan of Christmas cards scattered all around, so I like to group them. This year I had some fun with my daughter and we created a collage of Christmas cards within a frame and put it on an easel to display. This sits in her play room as it delivers a good dose of cheery Christmas colour.

I fell in love with Crabtree & Evelyn's Noel scent 3 years ago. To me it's the perfect essence of Christmas. It largely smells of pine and when you take a sniff it magically transports you to a Narnia snow covered forest.
I bought this Noel candle last year in the Jan sales and have been waiting for whole year to light it.
I love the porcelain container & the mirrored lid - it is so magical, so its the star of the show on my Christmas tray-escape on the coffee table.

Another detail from the tray-escape.

I really think hand painted white Moroccan tea glasses are so festive, so I've added one to the tray, it's so beautiful I want more of them for next year.

These are 2 wood carved decorative pineapples and my link back to the tropical style I love.
Their royal crowns remind my of star bursts and add a regal touch to the festivities.

 I've taken India Hicks printers tray concept a step further. I found a small wood jewellery box, stained it in walnut colour and added beachcomber finds and some vintage Christmas inspired items - it's so cute and sits on the coffee table in the family room for all to admire.
The beauty of this is that you can use it all year round and fill it with whatever you want - so it's not just for Christmas.

 I found these little metal angel wings last year in Villeroy & Boch. They have spikes on them so you can stick them into candles to create little illuminated angels - aren't they delightful?

In the family room I have a large white cubed open bookshelf. Each cube has its own little vignette, and I've added a couple of Christmas ones to add to the festive spirit.
Here I've played with coastal blues with a small Nordic inspired laser cut Christmas tree - I love these colours.

Insider collectors tip - crystal/glass decanters are now becoming collectible. I've always loved them, like large cologne bottles they sit so pretty on a silver tray adding a nostalgic yesteryear touch to a decor scheme. Crystal always makes an appearance in my home at Christmas time. I love its sparkling, twinkliness at this time of the year - its very magical.

Do watch out for these Ranleigh stainless steel trays too. You can pick them up for a song at the moment in op shops. They have a such a wonderful art deco look and as you can see work really well as a display item.

This is the only red & green festive display vignette, but I do love it. The jug & book where finds from op shops in Wollongong NSW (very cool place for vintage gems).

To create coastal inspired Christmas decor simplicity to the best way forward. Here the bowl in filled with silver baubles and only 1 seashell nests in this glittering display - you can see how effective just a little touch can be.

My Christmas tree this year was bought from Bunnings (hardware shop) and is a tomato trellis covered in willow. It can be used time again and lends itself to many different looks.

Here it is in full. I've elevated it off the floor onto my Z table.

I have boxes of precious vintage finds waiting to be released (this will happen when we finally get around to renovating the kitchen).

Here a vintage tea strainer has been upcycled as a quirky and rather unexpected Christmas decoration - I love it.

I've always said that starfish make the best Christmas decorations.

Inspired by a Nordic Christmas.

I found this in Spotlight (Haberdashery store) I think it makes a cool little decoration.

This white carved wood Christmas tree was bought from Freedom Furniture about 5 years ago. It hasn't dated a bit and I love the cockatoo on it - very Aussie. The decorations are from Freedom this year (on sale so be quick to get some). Aqua glass baubles look so beautiful on this white tree. I have it perched onto some white covered books on top of an old bar stool I spray painted red - it looks so Christmassie.

If you do see things like this go grab them. I always look at decorations in the Jan sales to add to my collection - you'll thank yourself when you rediscover them the following Christmas.

Christmas decorations do not have to cost a fortune.
Keep it simple and it can look a million dollars.

And finally whilst I was tinkering around creating all these wonderful visual festive delights my little puppy Charlie was busy creating his own festive delights in the garden.
This is a photo of a busted puppy, yes he's been digging up the garden again and yet he's so happy with his creative work that Santa just has to put him on the good list this year - right?

So whilst I go fill up the holes in my lawn, do let me know how you've all got on with creating your own gorgeous festive endeavours around the home.

(All images & Styling by Zoe Milburn for Oceania Island Living. The term 'tray-escape' is credited to Zoe Milburn and is copyrighted).

Merry Christmas Island Styling.


  1. really gorgeous!! i love everything you've done :)

  2. Love what you did with the jewelry box!! And that aqua starfish glass ornament is gorgeous!! Happy Holidays!!

  3. Zoe (Oceania Island Living)December 20, 2011 at 6:40 PM

    Thanks Guys for your lovely comments. I hope you both have a truly lovely Christmas enjoying all the festivities. Zoe x