Christmas Card Garland



or otherwise titled "What to do when you have a blank wall in your house already filled with millions of holes and your usual spot for displaying your Christmas cards is out because your 15 month old toddler will surely just rip them all down to play with".

I decided to fill the blank wall in our living room (that already has a bazillion nail holes in it from this gallery wall fiasco - don't worry, I've learned my lesson and will not be making the same mistakes again. Slightly embarrassed that I even posted about it and showed you guys) with all our Christmas cards. Just used more of the same jute twine I had lying around (also used to make pine cone garland here and a "peace" banner here), a couple of clear thumbtacks and some mini clothespins from Michaels (would have preferred the natural wood ones but apparently there was a run on them when I stopped in so I had to go with the pastel colored clothespins from the baby shower aisle).

All in all a super easy, quick project that really brightens up this room. The hardest part was waiting impatiently those first few days of December to accumulate enough cards to start:) And of course, I didn't calculate for how extremely popular we are (ha!) and ran out of room, so I have a few cards from the past couple of days that didn't make it up. Silly me.

I added a few of these painted wooden ornaments that I inherited from my mom (we used them at Christmas all while I was growing up) in between some of the cards for dimension and a touch of that vintage vibe that is going on our mantel on the adjoining wall.

How do you guys display your Christmas cards? This will be my last post before Christmas, so I want to wish each and every one of you a Happy Holiday! And just in case I don't see you around these here parts next week, Happy New Year too! Thanks for making 2011 so great:)

Our Christmas Home Tour



Hey! Just wanted to share how a couple more spots in our house look for the holidays. Melissa of the Inspired Room is hosting her annual Christmas Home Tours linky party today and Jennifer Rizzo is having her 2011 Virtual Holiday House Party, so I wanted in on the action.

***Edit: The Nester's annual Christmas Tour of Homes
is now live...linking up over there too! And just found out about Rene of Cottage and Vine's Room by Room Christmas Tour, so I'm adding mine into the mix as well. This is so fun!

When it comes to Christmas in general this year, I've been trying to balance my love for all things metallic with my desire for a rustic, natural look. I just decided to try and mix them together and hope for the best;) (Oh yeah, and I'm trying not to spend any money!) Here's how the bookcase in our foyer ended up:

I bought this chalkboard for Maura's first birthday party in September and later realized that it will definitely be good to have around. Hoping everyone gets my "Winter Wonderland" lyric reference (figured this would be a fitting saying to have up there on the night of our holiday party).

I used one of my Pottery Barn birch sleeves to hold branches from the yard (covered with a bit of moss I had left from my DIY faux terrariums this past spring). Then hung 2 of my beloved mercury glass ornaments from them with green ribbon.

Some of my little white pitchers, etc. with greens from the yard and a couple of empty boxes wrapped with pretty organic (and metallic) paper (plus pine cones!) round out a couple of the shelves.

I always like to still leave out some of our normal, everyday stuff (gotta be practical), but at least adding books in the right holiday palette help tie it in to the new seasonal stuff.

Another spot that usually gets a seasonal update are the ledge shelves in our family room above the couch. So excited that I finally hung these huge mercury glass ornaments my mom got me from Wisteria from the ceiling!! They add a nice touch of whimsy to the vignette.

To balance out all that bling, I framed a botanical print of some sort of winter holly berry stuff (a page from a wildflower guide book I already had) and used embroidered kraft paper and ticking fabric, plus sprigs of fresh greenery, red ribbon and jute twine to wrap up some more empty boxes.

If this is your first time stopping by (thanks!), here's a couple pics of our mantel (read more about it here) and the pine cone garland I threw together for our dining room (more

I can't wait to take some time and check out all the other homes on the tour! Thanks for hosting, Melissa! Are any of you linking up? Happy Holidays, everybody:)

Our Christmas Mantel



Hi! This year I'm breaking out a lot of the same Christmas decor I have done in the past - I think that's part of what makes this time of year so special, all that tradition, the memories of doing this same sort of thing year after year - but I'm also trying to add in some new stuff, or move things around, etc.

I love metallics at the holidays. Mantels are a good spot for collections (lots of the same thing grouped together always has big impact) for the past few years I've been filling our holiday mantel with some of my mercury glass. And one of my fake garlands, of course. This year I decided to add a DIY banner and some vintage graphics.

This "peace" banner was super easy to make. First I found a nice old school font and printed out my letters. Then I cut them out and mounted them onto metallic copper card stock (I wanted something slightly sparkly and warm to tie in to the copper leaves I've been adding to the green garland for the last few years). I sized the copper card stock to twice the height of the finished banner letters so that I could fold half over the jute twine and then adhere it to itself to keep it in place (I taped the printed letters to the bottom half of the card stock before folding it in half.)

{sorry, when I took these pics we had not decorated our tree yet, just brought it inside. put it in a different spot this year too!}

I also love paper. And its such a versatile medium, you can use it at anytime of the year. Plus I have a lot lying around, so it helps me keep my seasonal decorating budget down! I thought it would be nice to add some vintage images to the mantel as well and I had these mirrored frames (from HomeGoods) that I wasn't using anywhere else. My first thought was old Christmas cards, so I scoured my stash and found this lovely sleigh ride image.

After searching the hundreds of cards I've saved from over the years I couldn't come up with another one that fit my requirements to frame for the other side of the mantel (pathetic, right?) - I mean, it had to be horizontal, the right colors, size, the right feeling, etc. (plus most cards are photo cards nowadays). So I went elsewhere and found this snowy, serene image of reindeer in the woods at The Graphics Fairy that said peaceful vintage Christmas to me:)

I'm loving that its all a nice combination of old and new. What about you guys? Do you switch it up every year or are you a sucker for tradition? Hmm...who thinks having a blog forces us to reinvent our Christmas decorating year after year, ha?!

I'm linking this up to the Holiday Home Mantel Linky Party over at Rhoda's Southern Hospitality today. You guys, there are over 275 mantel posts already linked up! You have to check them out if you get a chance:)

DIY Pine Cone Garland



Christmas is a lot about tradition to me, even when its come to decor. But this year I actually added something new (and changed up a few things, more on that to come later)!

This was the easiest, cheapest (read free) project. At the same time, its holds special meaning to me...Maura loves being outside and she loves exploring nature. She took a liking to all the pine cones in our yard and would always bring them to me. So we started a collection, and then I thought it would be cool to actually do something with them. Like make a garland:)

First I baked the pine cones in the oven for about 20 minutes at 250 degrees to kill any bugs or anything that might still be hanging around (read about this here after doing some research). I would definitely suggest using an old sheet pan, I got a lot of melted sap residue.

Then I cut a really long strand of jute twine that we had lying around and literally just went along tying the pine cone stems onto it. I made note to alter the sizes of the cones and the spacing in between, so that it would look random and natural.

After I had a pretty long garland done, I ran around the house holding it up to everything to see where it would look best:) In the end I decided to make two and hang them on the windows in our dining room. (Remember I stole these linen drapery panels from the living room where I didn't like them all that much and moved them here to the dining room? And then I was going to get some bamboo matchstick blinds to replace the ugly roller shades? Yeah, that hasn't happened...yet.)

{sorry about the terrible pics}

I really like them. And they're versatile, I can break them out next fall.

You guys been doing anything with pine cones lately? Or have a toddler that likes collecting things?!

**Linking this up to the DIY Project Parade over at the DIY Show Off Bio. Thanks, Roeshel!!

The DIY Show Off

Next Up



Hello there! How was everyone's long weekend? Next up around here...besides decorating for Christmas!! a small project for the kitchen that I've had in progress for awhile now. But I really want to push and get it done in time for our annual holiday open house party (which is the weekend before Christmas). Sounds pathetic, but for me this is ambitious!

Here's a really old photo of our kitchen. A lot has changed since then, most significantly the floors and those pendant lights over the island. See that art on the far wall next to the fridge (blank canvases wrapped in scrapbooking paper)?

They're coming down. And a little mini art gallery wall is going up! Here's a sneak peek of some of things that will be included.

I've still got to frame a couple of things and figure out the layout. And then make all the holes. I've got 3 weeks. Hold me to it, guys!!!

Anyone else trying to cram in some projects during this already busy time? Or are you just focusing on holiday stuff?

Real Room: Updated Traditional Living Room



Hi! Maura and I recently took a visit down to see my aunt Peg and I couldn't help but take some pics of her living room while we were there to share with you guys. If you remember, I posted two years ago about how we helped her move in to her new place and how I wanted to steal her secretary:)

Here's how the room looked that day when we left (we helped her unpack a bit, and rearrange the stuff she had just to make it liveable until she could really start working on the room).


Well, its come a long way since then. We'll call the pics I took the other day the afters for now, because I can't speak for exactly how complete this room actually is.

First thing you might notice is the new layout. Second thing you might notice is the new rug, new sofa, new window treatments, reupholstered chairs, stuff on the walls and accessories in general!!

My aunt kept some of her old furniture (like this secretary, she does have good taste! and the coffee table and that side table in between the two chairs) and took out/put up some of her personal items, artwork, family photos and things that make a house feel more like a home.

She updated the space with a new rug, a new sofa (its like a muted dusty sage..from Boston Interiors) and some other key furniture pieces. She had a lot of yellow already, like the throw pillows, so she added the yellow striped drapes and then mixed in the green for a new fresh palette.

{that's the Ballard Designs Olivia Mirrored Side Table in the mom (her and Peg are sisters) suggested she get it, and its really nice in person}

Peg wanted to keep her two side chairs but wasn't in love with their fabrics anymore, so she had them reupholstered, one in a lovely goldenrod with a crewel vine pattern (love that texture) and the second in a soft sage and cream thin stripe.

{Isn't that sideboard/chest beautiful?! It's also from Boston Interiors.}

So much better, right? I love taking a peak at real spaces. Even if they might not necessarily be your exact style, we can all respect a good looking room and maybe even learn a thing or two.

And to prove that traditional doesn't have to mean stuffy, plus to keep it really "real", here's Maura enjoying that new crewel:)

Have a great Thanksgiving!!

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