Friday, December 9, 2016

our christmas home

Happy Friday!  I'm currently sitting as close to the fire as possible trying to keep warm.  It feels so cozy in my living room, which I'm excited to share with you!  Over the last few months I've made some changes in this room.  They have been small but sometimes moving things around a bit and changing a few patterns is enough to bring new life into a space and help it from feeling tired and dated.  While some of these changes I've shared on instagram, it's still not completely finished and I'll be making a few more tweaks in the new year.  This is our 10th Christmas in this home so it felt like a good time to freshen things up.  Even though my style hasn't really changed I think it's part of what makes a home feel good, the little layers we add over time.  Here are a few pictures... (my camera ran out of battery before I was finished, so I might be back with a bit more before Christmas!)

^^ I moved our little Martha's Vineyard secretary (picked up on a spring trip with Jimmy many years ago) along the staircase.  I added an Ikea parson chair with a Bemz slip in a dusty gray-blue linen.  I also added a vintage bamboo coat rack (estate sale) to our "foyer".  Everyone in my family thinks the old walking stick and canes are funny and they have all sorts of jokes about them (and me). I keep telling them to pretend we live in an English country home somewhere. :)  The vintage rug is new here too (Actually picked it up when sourcing for a client.  I might swap it out for a striped rug in the summer if it feels too warm in the space.  For Christmas, I used faux garland with fresh magnolia leaves tucked in.  The copper ribbon was purchased last year.  Fresh greens on the door with my brass temple bells.^^

 ^^ When I moved the secretary this little area just had too many dark wood antiques in a small space so I added a tablecloth to the gateleg table.  This is just an old burlap cloth intended for a round table and doesn't fit properly. I will have a new one made eventually, maybe change it up for different times of year, but I love the way it changed this part of the room and styling the tale became much more fun too!  The old brass lamp base got a new custom lampshade that I adore.  When I took down my old floral drapes, I felt I could add pattern in a few other places without things looking too busy.  One was on the lamp shade and another is on a side chair that I will show below.^^
 ^^ Fresh greenery in the pitcher that is probably getting ready to be replaced.  The holly was looking a little crispy. :)^^

^^I added a couple plates ,picked up at an antique mall, on either side of the mirror.  I like that they pull all the colors of the room together.  I always felt like that wall was missing a little something.  I added faux magnolia branches to the top of the wreath on the mirror and mini brass bells^^

^^Ummm, THIS CHAIR deserves it's own post.  And boo, this is when my camera ran out of power.  Is this not the prettiest?!  Slipped in a favorite Peter Dunham fabric.  This chair was once in Charlie's room, then in our family room and now the living room.  I'm obsessed with it.  The throw pillow is Lisa Fine fabric.  I will be adding a standing lamp on the right side just as soon as I stop debating which one I want. The bench that used to be by our staircase now serves as a coffee table.  The glass hurricane is filled with whole hazelnuts and a candle for the holiday season.^^

^^My little table top tree is covered with mini brass pinecones  I bought with Jimmy last year in Beacon Hill and large brass pinecones found a few years ago when antiquing with Andrew.  I added some new ones this year too from Crate and Barrel^^

Hope you enjoyed this little peek!  Hopefully I'll be back before Christmas with a bit more - once I charge my camera!!  I've got fun ideas for baked treats and gift wrap that I'd love to share! ^^

Sunday, December 4, 2016

cozy and warm christmas inspiration

Traditional Home
As I mentioned in my last post, I went with a bit of a muted and natural color scheme with our Christmas decor this year as a way to mix things up and make decorating for the season fun.  I think it all started with the addition of magnolia, which naturally encouraged more brown tones since the back of their leaves are brown.  I'm sure red return in our Christmas home in future years, but it's nice to take a little break now and then too.  I thought it would be fun to share some of the images that inspired me this season.  This feels a whole lot like a blog post I would have done about 6 years ago, before pinterest and instagram changed the way we all share inspiration.  These images (at least most of them) and links to their sources can be found on my Christmas Pinterest Board too.  

Now I'm off to trim our tree. Literally, trim the tree, because it is taking over our family room.  And smells quite heavenly too! Happy Sunday, friends! 

Southern Living
Southern Accents 
Pinterest - Christmas Board

Cottage Living
Pinterest - Christmas Board
Martha Stewart
Instagram: Wisteria 
Pinterest - Christmas Board
Instagram: Remy_Renzullo
Instagram: Sinclairandmoore (Steve Moore)
Instagram: Tomsamet (Tom Samet)

Friday, December 2, 2016

Pinecone Garland Tutorial

Welcome December! I started decorating our home for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving and will continue to add little touches here and there throughout the month.  Each year I find myself opening a few less storage bins and looking for ways to make our house feel festive without feeling fussy.  If you have been a long time reader you might recall me mentioning last year that I didn't quite get into the holiday preparations with the same enthusiasm as I typically do, I felt myself going through the motions rather than enjoying the process.  I think some years are just like that and it's ok to give yourself a little grace and take it easy if you aren't feeling it.  This year, however, my Christmas mojo is back! :)

I felt myself being pulled in a more classical, less whimsical direction and it's been fun to change things up ever so slightly.  I do think, as an instagram friend mentioned, that as your children get older you feel a shift in how you create a cozy holiday home.  At least that was the case for me this year.  I also took a little break from the traditional red (which I  LOVE) and went with a more coppery, gold, green and brown scheme.  I will post more photos later in the month, but I thought this pinecone garland was such a fun and easy project, I didn't want to wait too long to share how we made it.

Another change I've made as I grow older and wiser, is less fresh greenery (unless it's in water or outside) and adding other natural elements that have staying power - pinecones. cranberries, acorns, etc.  I like to start decorating early and keep it up till New Year's day (or later), so using fresh greenery that needs daily spritzing (a mess that doesn't really work and soaks my woodwork and frames and art...) and requires eventual replacing, isn't practical.  I have little bunches in pitchers and planters that I can water, but when it comes to garlands and indoor wreaths, I find good quality faux to be a game changer even if it isn't the bloggerly thing to say.  For our dining room I will add fresh greens to the chandelier a couple days before Christmas but till then it will be bare.

Speaking of garlands with staying power, I have always loved the idea of incorporating a pinecone garland.  Like here with magnolia and pine:

I shared this Carolina cottage a few years ago back from Southern Accents. It still remains one of my all time favorite Christmas homes.  When I made the first garland for my mantle, my plan had been to copy this and use it to frame my ship painting, but the garland started to get pretty heavy and I was afraid it might come tumbling down.  I'm guessing they used nails here to secure it.  I'd be worried Command Hooks might not hold up.

I also love it here just simple along the banister. From an old Martha Stewart Living magazine.

It is so easy and fun to make your own. I wish I had done this years ago!  It gives you a good excuse for a long hike to gather pinecones too, which makes it fun to have a memory attached to the garland.  For the garland on the mantle I did supplement with some store bought pinecones to add some variety in shape (I bought the rounder, very open, pinecones from Save on Crafts (dot) com. I think there is a new google policy about not using direct links to products in posts unless it is a sponsored or incentivized link.  I need to look into it, but in the meantime, I will just list sources.  Sorry, a bit annoying for all of us, but I've had to go back and remove old links from one company already and it wasn't fun).  I used about 100 pinecones, give or take, to make a 5 foot garland.  

Here's the 3 step process:

You'll need:
Pinecones in different shapes and sizes.  About 100 for a 5 ft garland.
Jute twine (any craft store or Walmart sells this)
Wire cutters
Thin craft wire or brown pipe cleaners (I used a thin wire on the mantle garland and grabbed the pipe cleaners so you could see how they attach, but they worked just as well and might be gentler if you  have little hands helping you!)
Optional: greenery (fresh or faux to weave in after the garland is in place)

Step 1: Cut string to the desired garland length.  Tie off the ends in loops, this helps if you want to hang it, but it also makes it much easier to carry around.

Step 2: Wrap a small section of wire or pipe cleaner around the base of the pinecone, tucking it so you can't see it.

Step 3: Twist the ends of the wire or pipe cleaner around the twine and keep going, layering more pinecones as you go.  It's best to weave in the smaller (filler) pinecones in at the end.

In process... you can make it as full as you like.  I did clip the pipe cleaners after twisting them on the twine to hide them a bit better.  The pinecones are very flexible and easy to position and move around even after they are attached.

Here is the garland I made above, over a frame with greenery tucked in.  I just draped it over and it stays fine.  Longer garland will be heavier and require hooks or nails it you want to hang over mirrors or artwork.

Please let me know if you give it a try!  I'd love to see pictures if you post on instagram too.  This is my kind of holiday craft, simple with quick gratification and the whole family can help out in the process.