Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Our Christmas Tree

Our Christmas tree is the star of the show in my home.  I have a two story great room and have a ten foot tree in the corner of the room.  When we first moved into our home we had a six foot tree from our townhouse days.  I can't tell you how sad that little tree looked the first year in this room.  So sad, in fact, that the next year I moved the six foot tree into the living room where the ceilings are only nine feet tall, and put in on a small stand to try to make it look bigger.  It still looked like a small tree on a little stand.  So that year, the day after Christmas, I went to Treasure Island and bought this beautiful tree for 75% off. 
The tree is about seven years old now and still is perfect.  I did not get a pre-lit tree (I'm not even sure if that was an option seven years ago).  Instead I wrap each branch and have approximately 1300 white lights on the tree.  For me an artificial tree is the way to go for several reasons.  One, I like to put the tree up the day after Thanksgiving and I never have to worry about it drying out.  Two, I have alot of ornaments...alot of heavy ornaments.  A real tree wouldn't be able to hold all of my ornaments.  I often bend branches up to hold some of the heavier ornaments.
Here is a view of the tree from the kitchen looking into the great room.  There is some jockeying of furniture that goes on to fit the tree each year. 
An angel bought from Fortunoff tops our tree.  Handmade bows surround the top.  The bows were made using wired ribbon and floral wire. 
The tree skirt is from Pottery Barn from several years ago.  It is quilted and matches our stockings hanging by the fireplace.
After the lights and ornaments are added to the tree I use wired ribbon as garland and wrap it in and out around the tree.  Above it the tree lit up at night.  My favorite time to sit by the tree and enjoy it.
Above is the tree in during the day lit up.
A good view of the ribbon wrapped around the tree.  It is two different patterns of ribbon to match the bows on top of the tree.
This angel is of my favorite ornaments.  Also from Fortunoff.  The paper mache mouse is from when I was a child.
A close up of the angel and the bows at the top of the tree.
I think a tree should be filled with tradition.  Each year our family collects the Hallmark ornaments.  Each person gets at least one, sometimes more if Santa brings extra.  Each year as we unwrap each ornament to put it up we remember when we got it, who we got it from etc.  It's like seeing old friends each year.
But my all-time favorite ornaments are the ones my children make.  The blue yarn ornament above was made when my daughter was four.  It did start out round (I think they glued yarn around a balloon and then popped the balloon).  Over the years it has flattened.  I hung it front and center this year as it still makes me so happy to look at.
Some of my favorite ornaments

Of course, what tree is complete without a train. 

Let me know what you think.  I love and appreciate your comments.

Come check out The Nester and Kelly's Korner Christmas Tour of Homes

Monday, November 29, 2010

Decorating a Mantle for Christmas

As a tradition, the day after Thanksgiving we decorate for Christmas.  I love everything about Christmas and to get into the spirit of the season, I enjoy decorating the day after Thanksgiving.  My mantle in my great room is one of my favorite places to decorate.

I start with green garland which I wrapped with white lights.  Next I draped the garland from one end of the mantle to the other.   The garland I chose is artificial, however, it is as real a fake as I have ever seen.  With our cat,  real pines isn't a good option.  We have our boy and girl snowman standing guard on either side of the fireplace, waiting for Santa to arrive.
I decorate using gold, cranberry and green.  I like to have my Christmas decorations coordinate with the colors of my great room.  I have sugared pears, apples and other fruit (also artificial) tucked into the garland.  The word PEACE holds each of our stockings (one for myself, my husband, our two kids and Sara, our cat).  A ball of sugar plums hangs on the "A" in the center of the mantle.

Close up of sugar plums

Two sugared topiaries stand at either end of the mantle.  Using wired gold ribbon, I made several bows and mixed them throughout the garland.  The stockings and the PEACE holders are from Pottery Barn and were purchased several years ago.  I love it at night all lit up.

A close up view of the topiary and the bows.
This bow is very easy to make.  All it takes is wired ribbon and some floral wire.

Close up of topiary

Close up of sugared fruit

There are also flowers mixed throughout the garland

Let me know what you think.  I look forward to your comments.

The Lettered Cottage

Friday, November 26, 2010

Door Sign

This is a door sign I made for my daughter's room.

It started out as a cross-stitch.  I then thought it would be fun to make it into a pillow.  So I took a piece of fabric the same size as the cross stitch and sewed them right sides together and stuffed it.  But that still seemed a little too plain to me.

So I crocheted a granny square the same size as my pillow in a super soft pink yarn (I taught myself how to crochet last year - it's not really hard to do at all).  I hand sewed the granny square to the back of my pillow.  I then cut hand sewed a ribbon on top to hang it on the door.

Last I glued the pom pom trim to the edge of the granny square using fabric tac.

A cute use of my cross-stitch project.  Hope you try it.

I'll be busy all day today doing my Christmas decorating throughout my house.  Have a great weekend.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving.  May you enjoy every moment. 


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Last minute dessert idea

Are you looking for a last minute dessert idea for Thanksgiving?  Here is a recipe for the yummiest peanut butter pie...EVER.  The best part is  - it is super easy and it is no bake. It is a tradition at our Thanksgiving.  My parents make it every year and everyone loves it.  The only bad thing is there is never an extra piece left after Thanksgiving (wait...maybe that's a good thing - I can't be trusted near this pie).

The shredded chocolate gets added at the last minute 

1 - 8oz Philadelphia cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup (6oz) Jiff creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup whole milk
1 pkg - 8oz Cool Whip (original)
9" graham cracker crust pre-made pie shell
Whip cream cheese untill fluffy, then beat in peanut butter and sugar.  Slowly add milk-- beating until well blended.  Then fold in cool whip until color is consistent.  Pour into pie shell-- replace plastic pie-shell cover and freeze for at least 2 hours. 
Optional:  Before serving shred chocolate on top.

I hope you all have a very Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving.  On Friday we begin decorating for Christmas in my home.  I'm excited to share all of that with you.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Reclaiming Space

Last year we decided it was time to reclaim a portion of our finished basement for more of a family space.  We had finished it nine years ago when my kids were one and four.  For the first few years it was a giant play area which was perfect for us at that time.  But as the kids have gotten a little older, we needed more of an area where they could play the Wii and we could hang out as a family.

 Prior to this, we had a smaller television on a small stand from Target.    I wanted a wall unit that would cover the entire wall, hold a larger television, and have space for my kids' ever expanding trophy collection.  However, wall units are expensive and so many of them were just too formal for this downstairs space.   In addition, it was really difficult to find one that had adjustable shelves for their trophies.   Our solution...IKEA.  What a great store.  We put together this combination and got everything we wanted plus tons of storage.  It was a great deal.  As a side note -  the saying above the television was there prior to the wall unit.  I love it and didn't want to  remove it.  The phrase wasn't moveable, which is why it's not completely centered.

The sectional sofa is over thirty years old.  This was in my parents home when I was growing up.  They gave it to us when we moved into our townhouse.  We used it in the basement there.  When we moved into this home,  it started in our great room, but as we redecorated, it was relocated to the basement.  My mom recently pulled the bill and discovered that it was $5000 then...I guess it really pays to buy quality.  It still looks amazing.  I'm thankful they picked a neutral fabric that works with everything.
The coffee table/bench is from Home Goods.  It opens up to reveal storage for all of the Wii games and components.

This artwork set the tone for the color scheme.  I bought it at Bombay when they were going out of business.  I got it for a steal.  I later saw it at Ballard Designs for triple the price.  The lamp is from, where else, but Home Goods.  Most of the pillows are from Pottery Barn.

The side table is one of the trash to treasure saves from my grandmother-in-laws home after she passed away at almost 105.  It was in terrible shape, chips all over it and ring stains on top.  I sanded it down and re-stained it.  It works perfectly downstairs.

This piece is also from Ikea.  It is technically a shelving unit, but it makes a perfect console table.  The lamp and accessories (except for the carved brown vase which is from a trip to Arizona) are from Home Goods.

Here is a little seating area by the scapewell window.  Chairs are from Target, pillows from Pottery Barn.  To see how I embellished the drapes and refinished the lamp, click here.

It is nice to have an area of the playroom where we can all hang out now.  Let me know what you think.


Monday, November 22, 2010

An Organized Closet

I love an organized closet.  My husband says sometimes our closets are even more organized than the visible spaces in our home.  I find that when everything has a place and there is a place for everything - all is good and calm in my world.  I love looking at organized closets and getting inspiration from them.

Image from The Container Store

Once a year the Container Store holds their Elfa sale.  It starts December 24th this year.  Each year I wait for the sale so that I can try to organize another closet.  Last year I organized the walk-in closet outside of my bedroom, affectionately known as my shoe closet.  It had been someone of a disaster prior to this.  All of the closets came with basic organizers when we closed.  This closet had one bar that went around the perimeter.  Not really very functional.
After removing the old organizers and patching the walls, the first thing I did was paint my closet a color.  This is such an easy thing to do, but it makes a huge impact.  I used the left over paint from the ceiling in my master bedroom...a Robin's Egg blue.
The Elfa system is really easy to install.  I am always so impressed with the customer service at the Container Store.  Honestly, I've never met such nice, helpful people.  Everything is cut to size and they send you home with instructions.  The closet system takes less than an hour to install (not counting the prep and painting).

This new closet design uses every inch of this closet, and actually makes the closet look bigger than ever.

The closet on my list this year is my guest room closet.  I would like to make half of it a "craft" closet to keep all of my fabrics, gift wrapping and crafts and the other side for some clothing storage.  Here are some of the pictures giving me some inspiration.
Image from The Container Store
This closet is painted, which I love.  Also, this closet uses drapes instead of doors.  That's an option I am seriously considering.  Right now I have by-pass doors on my guest room closet.  That means I can only see half of the closet at any given time.  I don't have room for doors than open up, and even bi-fold doors won't work in that room.  I love the use of drawers in this closet.

Image from The Container Store
I am loving the color combination in this closet.  My guest room is a more subtle blue and green combination.

Image from The Container Store

Image from The Container Store

Look at these awesome craft closets.  I can't wait to be this organized with my crafts.

Image from The Container Store

Anyone else out there as passionate about an organized closet as I am?  I'd love to hear all about it.  I'd also love any ideas on alternatives to closet doors which maybe I haven't considered.  I love and appreciate your comments.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Upholstered Headboards

Upholstered headboards seem to be back in a big way.  They are a great way to add color and pattern to any bedroom.  The possibilities are endless in the shape and design you can create.  Not to mention they are just plain comfy to be able to curl up in bed to read a book or watch television. 

Roger Davies
 I love the calming blue and white color schemes in these two pictures. 

Tria Giovan

Tria Giovan
Look at how fresh the cream and green look in this bedroom.
Roger Davies
This is the bed I've been looking for.  I love the combination of wood and upholstery.

Laurey W. Glenn

Roger Davies
So different.  So interesting.

Megan Thompson

Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn
I love the fabric.  Not sure if it's very calming...but it's an eye catcher.

Photo: Antoine Bootz and Jeff McNamara; Stylist: Charles Birdsong; Designer: Cathy Kincaid
 Tradtional beauty.

Let me know what you think of upholstered headboards.  I always love and appreciate your comments.


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