Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Day 550: holiday transition

This morning I reluctantly took (most of) our Christmas decorations down. Our neighbors were out early on 26th untangling garland from their porch banister, but us? No sir. I feel like I just finished putting everything up! I did finally decide to put all of the ornaments away, and now we're left with what would make lovely decor for a New Year's Eve celebration (though it's looking like our celebration is going to consist of eating a pot of soup on the sofa).

I always love how the tree looks with just the lights. Or maybe I'm just saving the hardest part -- wrestling the lights off and getting it out the door -- for tomorrow when Wes is at home, who knows?

I patiently waited until the after-Christmas sales before picking up these antique church bells (half off! sweet!) in a favorite store, and I'm just not ready to pack them up just yet. Paired with my mercury glass votive holders, they look quite festive.

On the table, I tucked a few mercury glass ornaments in a footed bowl, along with a card leftover from wrapping Christmas gifts. And you'd better believe I'm turning on our lighted garland one last time tonight!

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Day 538's pretty

I'm currently counting the hours until my two weeks (!!) of holiday vacation begins! Don't be too jealous though, as my lap top is coming home, and so it a little bit of work. But I will be working from my sofa, so I'm happy to have that ability. I'll be in and out (probably mostly out) and want to wish a very Merry Christmas to those who won't be back around until 2009.

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Day 536's garland ... finally.

I was determined to make my own garland this year, and I'm glad I stuck to it. After the lot where we bought our Christmas tree tried to charge us $3 for a bunch of discarded branches of Fraser Fir, I got a little discouraged, but Courtney suggested hitting up the big-box hardware stores. Sure enough, Wes came home from is seemingly-weekly Saturday morning trip to Lowe's with a car load of branches. And all for free, my friends! Thanks, Courtney!

I made the garland by gathering small bunches and wiring them together with floral wire. Then I added them one on top of the other (so that the next covers the wire of the first) and wired them together. Some of the heftier branches were helpful in created a "template" to attach the bunches (Courtney also suggested that).

Hanging it was a little trickier. I made two long pieces and intended to attach them to the door so that the branches went "down" both sides, if that makes sense. But, that turned out to be a little too heavy. Plan B seems to have worked better. I attached the two side pieces to nails on the door frame with twine, then made a seperate piece for the top (also attached to nails with twine).

It's a little wonky, and uneven, but I kind of like it that way! Next year though, we'll have to hang it a little farther from the door, as we are now using the side entrance exclusively to keep from shutting the garland in the door multiple times a day. Oops.

I also made that wreath! It was super-easy, and I followed the same basic guidelines, except attached the bunches to a wire wreath form. And even after the garland on the television cabinet, I've still got some branches left over! I may just have to pick up a smaller wreath form and make one for the kitchen window. Can one have enough Fraser Fir during the holidays? I think not.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Day 535's alternative

Our Christmas tree is definitely not huge. When we were bringing it home, I had a pang of "oh, maybe we should have gotten a bigger one," but as soon as it came into the house, I knew we'd hit our max. Our little 1959 rooms just can't handle a big tree!

The more I see these gorgeous tabletop trees, the more I like them, and I can certainly see their value. After all, our's is bare on the bottom fourth to keep the ornaments out of Maddie's reach anyway (Wes was worried she'd confuse the round ornaments with her balls, but so far so good).

They'd be a great place to really showcase a collection of ornaments that might get lost in the shuffle of a big tree. We have a box of Wes's grandmother's ornaments, and I'd love to have a place to really show them off. Eddie Ross (the second tree) suggests trimming the weaker branches to make room for more ornaments, and it looks like Martha's team employs that strategy, too (the first and third trees).

Photo by Don Freeman for Country Living magazine

And it goes without saying that this is great for a small space. What about you? Do you have a humongous tree? Would you consider giving it up for one of these?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Day 534's last-minute project

Ten days until Christmas, and we don't have any stockings. Last year Wes' stocking was a paper gift bag. Neither of us can remember if he did one for me. This probably shouldn't be as big a deal as I'm making it, but I can't seem to help myself.

My mom used to make a big deal about stockings by insisting that we open them first on Christmas morning and always filling them with tiny goodies and surprises. I think that filling our stockings was her favorite part of playing Santa, and it showed.

I have been looking all over town for stockings and Wes has been scouring the Internet. Everything is either too glittered, too sparkled, too tacky, too cheesy or -- if it's just right -- too expensive. $45 for one stocking? Sorry, not this year (and probably not next, either).

All I want is a simple pair made of a pretty fabric. Linen, wool, or even an old handkerchief would be lovely. And I love, love the red ones Martha (er, someone over there) made from a vintage damask tablecloth. TJ Maxx has about one million damask tablecloths ... all with glittery gold stitches running through them.

Then, last week, I acquired five yards of Ralph Lauren's Wittenhurst Plaid, a pretty wool fabric in our favorite colors. I intended to save it until we can cover the big blue chair in Wes' office, but, silly me, I still probably need five more yards.

It looks so great in our bedroom that I'm tempted to take if all off the bolt and fold it at the end of our bed as a makeshift blanket. Then, hello!, it occurs to me that this will make a fabulous stocking! (Martha says it's easy) Now if only I knew how to sew ...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Day 531's enviable space

Photo by Lara Robby for Country Living magazine

Wes had dinner with some co-workers last night, and I took advantage of his absence by wrapping a couple of his Christmas presents. This morning, I woke up to a dining room table still strewn with rolls of paper, spools of ribbon, a pile of raffia and at least three pair of scissors. In other words, a mess. Wouldn't this wrapping station be so nice?!

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Day 530: garland envy

Oh I just love real garland! The house I grew up in had a gigantic (overgrown, really) hedge of juniper, and Mom and I used cut branches and put it all over the house at Christmas. It smelled so good. Fake garland just doesn't do it for me anymore, which is why my mouth fell open when I saw what Eddie Ross has been up to in a stately Colonial house in Connecticut.

I know I promised to show you our little garland project today, but the weather's not cooperating with my camera, and it could use a little tweaking anyway. Promise it's coming soon! Enjoy Eddie's work in the meantime.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Day 529's project

I have been feeling super-crafty this holiday season. It's probably because I want the house to be all festive and decked out, but we really don't need to spend a ton (or any, really) on decorations (and I don't really do knick-knacks, anyway). Our moms took care of the ornaments for us, but just a pretty tree isn't quite enough, you know? Enter, my formerly-suppressed crafty side.

See that wreath and garland up there? I totally made those! The first time I saw this, I thought "I could so make that," so I did.

I bought an 18-inch straw wreath form and two packages of preserved sheet moss at Michael's. Martha says to use floral pins, but I already had some 20-gauge floral wire and some wire cutters, so I saved my pennies. I just started with the big pieces, and worked my way around. It was kind of no-brainer. Then I used my last hot glue stick to reinforce some place that seemed loose.

Two yards of wide double-faced satin ribbon and tack nail later and we have Christmas above the television cabinet (you may know it as my "mantle").

Stay tuned to hear about the garland!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Day 527: motivation to finish

Heather at Habitually Chic can always be counted on to find beautiful interiors with inspiring ideas. Today's inspiration came from this gorgeous blue sideboard by Morgan Harrison Home, which reminds me that I have one of my own that needs painting! We already have the paint, so I don't even have a good excuse.

A couple of clicks revealed a beautiful portfolio. Love the pretty white sofas.

Gorgeous gray bedroom.

Looks like I'm not the only one with a slight obsession with cake stands!

Now this is a good-looking kitchen!

Be sure to check out her holiday decor on Habitually Chic. Happy Monday!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Day 524's pretty


Looking forward to getting a little rest this weekend, finishing up the Christmas decorations, and hanging out with my favorite girlfriends!

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Day 523's antique browsing spot

I had a few minutes to kill last week while waiting to meet a friend for lunch in Homewood, my favorite area of town to shop. Naturally, I headed into one of my favorite antique shops to browse away a little time.

"Shop" doesn't really do this place justice. It's more like a warehouse filled to the brim with ... pretty much everything you can imagine. A lot of the stuff needs to be repurposed or cleaned up, but the hunt is half of the fun, right?

Benches all stacked up and waiting for an new upholstery job.

Mmmmm it was all I could do to make it out of the door without dropping $185 for this set of 12 (12!) knives with mother of pearl handles. I thought it was a little steep until I found this yesterday.

Gilded mirrors and silver tea sets galore.

There are always plenty of beautiful marble lamps (this is only half) -- including several pairs. They range from $120-$170 each. Love them.

Vintage wooden bowling pins -- so fun!

Love this Chinoiserie-esque tole chandelier.

How pretty would this have been on a Thanksgiving table?

The main room is surrounded by smaller rooms. This one is packed with architectural salvage pieces like doors, windows and shutters.

Red transferware of every shape, size and pedigree. There was also blue, purple, and a few green pieces, of which I haven't seen many.

I loved this English chest. It was in an out-of-the-way corner, which is typical of this shop. Furniture is literally stacked on top of other pieces.

There were ten of these French-inspired dining chairs. I don't think they are antiques, but would look fabulous with new fabric, and maybe a little paint.

Hundreds of empty frames and tole trays. If you collect something, odds are you'll find some pieces to add to your collection here.

I've had my eye on this set of nesting tables for more than a year (a third is out of the picture). And, once again, I've always considered the $125 price tag a little more than I would want to spend (especially for something I have no real place for), but here is a similar set for much more!

Beautiful old lanterns that just need a little love (and probably some new wiring).

Gorgeous copper cookware. Just imagine what Eddie Ross could do with these!

Just so you can get a sense of the place, I snapped this photo from the top of the stairs that lead to the second floor. It's definitely a little overwhelming, but it's definitely fun, too.

Tricia's Treasures
2700 19th Place South
Homewood, Alabama 35209

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Day 521: holiday decorating inspiration

Have you decorated for Christmas yet? It sure seems like many of you have. We have not. I pulled out a couple of boxes a few days ago to start taking inventory of what we have and what we'll be using.

Our moms have both been collecting ornaments for us for much of our lives, so we have a ton to choose from. I think we actually have more ornaments than my own mother does, and there is no way they'll all make it to one tree. Sheesh.

{ BTW, I have a slight obsession with hanging wreaths over mirrors. Is that weird? }

The ornament editing I can handle, but I'm hung up on the outside of the house. Fresh boxwood wreaths on each window would be ideal, but hello budget buster! Wes would have to return all of my Christmas gifts and give those to me instead (which frankly, is kind of tempting).

But our windows are kind of close together, so one on each might look a little crowded. Besides that, half the people on our street have already beat me to that idea.

Enter, Martha Stewart. This is my inspiration for our front door. I think I'll beef up some fresh garland with the cuttings from our Christmas tree (if we ever get around to buying one!), and I've already got the supplies for the moss wreath. The mums in my pair of urns are past their prime, and a little bit of evergreen would be nice by the door. Now if only we had those gorgeous transom windows ...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Day 520's thanksgiving wrap-up

We're back from a fun (but quick!) two days in Dallas, where we spent Thanksgiving with my dad's family. We ate lots of delicious food, watched some football, caught up with folks we don't see often enough (including my best friend from childhood who now lives in Dallas, hi Kirsti!), and admired my aunt and uncle's spiffy new kitchen, which they finished just before we descended upon their house.

Pictured here is the dining table, which is made of reclaimed wood. A custom banquette is one side, and on the other are upholstered dining chairs.

You can see that we were a little tight (there were 17 of us!), but the table was lovely.

The new dining area is in the first addition made to their 1940's cottage in Highland Park. They opened the back kitchen wall and created a family room on the back of the house.

Where there was once a TV, there is now an enviable butler's pantry.

During the 2008 remodel, they opened the kitchen to the front room to create a living and eating space that extends from the front door to the back door. Where there was a wall diving the kitchen and dining room, you now see the breakfast bar.

This made space for two seating areas in the living room. Here, a leather sofa faces a wall-mounted flat-screen television.

And at the very front of the house, this pretty sofa and chair are perfect for reading or catching up. Love your cow-skin rug, Aunt Cynthia!