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Christmas on Beechnut 2019

I know, I know. It's barely past Halloween and Thanksgiving is a few weeks away but yet I find myself already decorating for Christmas! Honestly, I just can't help it! I love the coziness of the lights and the greenery and the layers of blankets and pillows. If I could decorate 365 days of the year....I would. 

*NOTE: don't fret! All links will be shared at the end of the post!*

When it comes to Christmas decor, I like to keep it classic, simple, and (here's the word again), cozy! This means lots of layers, textures, warm lighting, and semi-monochromatic touches. This year we dressed up our flocked tree (LINKED HERE) with lots of natural elements in a white/brown/gold color palette. It's simple but layered with texture making it the perfect focal point this holiday season. 

Here's a little closer look at the tree and all the little items tucked and twisted into the flocked layers. Again, nothing crazy! Just a lot of little touches that all make up the tree of our dreams this holiday season. 

Layer 1: LIGHTS
I LOVE the lights we have on the tree this year! Past years we've used smaller, bright white, bulbs. This year, we went with a bolder + warmer look. We purchased the lights last year AFTER Christmas for next to nothing and truthfully, I forgot about them until a few days ago when I pulled the boxes of decor from the closet. It was a nice little surprise and turned out to be the perfect base layer. 

This pack from Amazon is EXTREMELY similar, have great reviews, and are half the retail cost.

Layer 2: BURLAP
This one doesn't need a ton of explanation. This was a random piece of crafting burlap we had around the house that was about 2' in length. I simple twisted it up and wrapped it around the tree a total of three times. 

TIP: Twisting the burlap adds depth and texture which helps fill up all those small bare spaces. 

Originally I didn't plan to add these branches to the tree, but after a trip to Hobby Lobby and no luck finding any pompous grass, I made the switch. Luckily the 50% off Christmas decor sale was still happening (is it ever full price???) and I scooped up two bunches of the "ice" covered branches for less than $10. I brought the two bundles home and used wire cutters to separate each twig out of the bundle. I then just started placing the branches in random places around the tree making sure to leave space for additional ornaments. 

These were also a Hobby Lobby find that was 50% off. They are a creamy white color and have a tiny little bit of sparkle to them. I purchased four total and the total cost was less than $8. These I simply stuck in the tree around where the branches were. If i'm being honest, I could have used a few more, but I made it work....just don't look for any on the backside of the tree. Ha!

We typically don't add a ton of ornaments to the tree and this year was no different. We have a little family tradition to get three new ornaments (one for each of us) every Christmas season. So, we only have a small collection of ornaments for the tree but that makes each one even more special. We also added in a few gold silk stars to create more depth and fill the final spaces on the tree. 

....and here's a few more shots below.

Birthday Coconut Cake!

If you missed it...Eddie turned 38 this past weekend! What did he ask for? COCONUT CAKE! It's his favorite dessert (according to him) and it's what he asked me to make for his birthday I did of course!

I'll start by saying's not an easy or quick cake to make but it's also not something completely from scratch. There's only a few ingredients with very little prep so....ANYONE CAN DO IT!

What You Need:
Yellow Cake Mix (and all needed ingredients on box!)
Cool Whip: One Large + One Small
Bagged Coconut: 2 Bags

1. Bake cake according to box. Make sure you choose the 8inch round pan option!
2. Let cool completely-this will take over an hour. DO NOT RUSH THIS!
3. Once cake is cooled, you can begin to mix the "icing." The icing is a mixture of the cool whip and 3/4 of a bag of coconut. Mix lightly with a cake spatula. 
4. Spread a layer between the two cake rounds and stack on top of one another make sure it's level!
5. Now it's time to add the Cool Whip mixture! This cake calls for thick icing! It'll end up being about 1/2 inch thick on top and all the way around the sides. 
6. Turn over to broil and place a sheet pan with the remaining coconut inside for 5-8 minutes or until coconut is golden brown + toasted!
7. Pat toasted coconut all around the sides of the cake + add a generous layer on top! The crunchy coconut makes this cake!
8. Here's the tricky have to wait to eat it! This cake is meant to refrigerate overnight before cutting. IF YOU MUST make and eat the cake in the same day, I recommend starting early and getting the cake made and in the fridge as early as possible!

Best Ryobi 18V Tools

It's no secret that Ryobi is a huge part of our woodworking shop + small business production studio. We are constantly using the products and adding more to our collection so we thought it was a perfect excuse to share some of our favorites with y'all. 

All of these items have been tested by us for months and we truly will only share the ones we like the most. 

1. 18V Workbench LED Light: This has been a lifesaver and one of our MOST USED SHOP ITEMS! It puts off a ton of light and the battery setup lasts forever with this product. We love that you can adjust the settings and use the light bar at top and bottom separately or combine the two and have an extra lit up work space!

2. 18V Random Orbit Sander: We purchased this sander during a Black Friday sale in a pack with two other hand sanders in different shapes (18V Corner Cat Finish Sander + 18V Quarter Sheet Sander). This was by far the best one of the set. We use it a ton while working with reclaimed wood items we build for our small business, Whiskey Boat Goods. You are left with a smooth, swirl-free, result every time. 

3. 18V Dual Function Inflator: This item stays in our vehicle at all times! It's the best + easiest inflator out there. It has enough strength to air up large truck tires very quickly. The best part? You can set the pressure gage, press start, and sit back and wait. The inflator turns off when it has reached the selected pressure.

4. 18V Hybrid Fan: This item is so good we have TWO! It's the most used Ryobi item in the shop! These move a ton of air and last 6+ hours on high with the 6hr battery. They are lightweight and easy to store by their fold-down hook! For $39 bare tool you can't beat it!

5. 18V Power Caulk + Adhesive Gun: This is a tool we don't use on a regular basis, but still like. It's a great choice for caulking quickly and easily. One but of info....The only downside that exists with this gun is the fact that it is a little bulky on the back side. Other than that it is a solid purchase. I have already used it a ton around the house and it is consistent and gives you a lot more control on the amount of silicone that comes out.

6. 18V Wet / Dry Vacuum: This is another item we use A TON! The portability is what I love best about it. It is powerful enough for the shop but portable enough to use when we clean the car. ⁣

1. 18V Jet Fan Blower: This is an item that we decided not to purchase after comparing their model to other brands. For the price, you can find much better options with higher MPH air speeds. We went with the Kobalt version instead but there are several other options out there. 

2. 18V Hybrid Forced Air Propane Heater: We cannot recommend this product at all. We've used it multiple times and it's honestly not worth the money we spent on it. The amount of heat generated is next to none and the overall throw distance is less than a foot. It's probably the one item we purchased that we feel is a complete waste of money.