Christmas in Green

The last few years—OK maybe forever—I’ve been decorating the house for Christmas in red and white and lots of sparkle. But sometimes you just want to shake things up. I could have gone with a pink-and-blue 50’s theme tree or aqua and seashells for that beachy look, but that’s just not me.

Sweet Miss and Baby Girl were home over Thanksgiving and I had them start putting all those ribbon trees I’d made on the china hutch, and it just kind of worked. Before you know it, we had santas, and snowmen, and angels scattered through our own little forest.

top-of-hutch

I like how all the little knick-knacks look like they belong nestled amongst the trees rather than random figurines on a buffet.

penguins

With this woodsy feel in mind, I thought the sparkle and glitz of past mantels would look odd. That left me with boxes of decorations on the floor and a lot of indecision. But I saw this sweet little birdy on the Target website and fell in love.

little-bird

He was supposed to come in a set of three, but they were sold out. Luckily, I found this little guy when I stopped in at the store with the MR. Later on a more leisurely shopping trip, I went to HomeGoods, and picked up some twine-covered bells and random decorative balls. Target had lovely wood snowflake lights and more nature-inspired balls to help fill out the scene. The snowflake lights glow and look quite sweet at night.

mantel

I used leftover ribbon from the trees to swag across the mantel along with some burlap ribbon I picked up at Wal-mart. I simply ran the ribbon through small rings and hung them with 3M hooks.

ribbon-swag

Bows could be used to cover the hooks and rings, but I didn’t want it to get too fussy.

The MR put his foot down when we went to the tree farm, so our tree is a little shorter (around 9-feet) this year, but it still feels like we’ve brought a bit of the forest inside.

tree-corner

I’ve been decorating bit-by-bit this Christmas. The nativity set my folks made when they were newlyweds is still waiting for a spot, and the girls santa collages haven’t found wall space. But I’m giving myself a pass. I don’t have to be perfect and have my house all together all the time to enjoy this wonderful season.

Me and Baby Girl went shopping this week, and we made tasty cookies/candy with a recipe from MeeMee. If everything’s doesn’t happen, it’ll still be a great Christmas with my family. And there’s always next year.

How’s your decorating coming along? What’s a favorite thing to do this time of year?

 

 

 

Worth the Wait

Last summer I mentioned we’d gone out and ordered a new dining room table and chairs. The table was available immediately, but the chairs were going to be a bit. And so we waited, and waited, and waited. I’ve mentioned before I have a problem with patience.

Lest you get the wrong idea, I’m not some crazy mega-consumer who gets new furniture at the drop of a hat. The MR bought me our last table for Christmas when I was pregnant with Baby Girl.  Seeing how she’s a sophomore in college; it’s been awhile. Over the last 20 years, that table has hosted many celebrations and joyous occasions. But since it was the only table in the house, it’s seen a whole lot of use. It’s been up-close and personal with Sharpies and glitter. There was a Spirograph incident that it’ll carry for life, and we know for certain that Ikea veneers can only handle so much scrubbing.

img_3408

It was time. Let’s also factor in the size. This table was great for an eating area in the kitchen or a small dining room. This room is 15-feet wide from the built-in buffet to the french doors, and it’s even longer length-wise.  We needed a table with some weight.

So color me happy when Leathers Furniture in Issaquah gave me a call earlier this month to say our table and chairs were in. Unfortunately, with our travel schedule, the earliest we could have them delivered was November 23. Why yes, that’s the day before Thanksgiving. We were cutting it pretty close, but the Big Guys delivery company out of Woodinville came through without a hitch. They even complimented me on all the good cooking smells.

So this Thanksgiving our small group of six gathered around this beauty.

thanksgiving-table

Thanksgiving is one of those times we all get to help in the kitchen.

putting-them-all-to-work

Here’s a look at the table a little less fancied up. I mean after all, we don’t live like this all the time, but then again maybe we should. That platter is looking really small. I love the grain of the wood and the the live edge.

live-edge

The table is solid wood, so even though we’re dedicated to avoiding unfortunate toy incidents, if they happen, we have options. We chose a very modern base, but the table is made to accommodate a variety of legs and other supports. So if we get tired of this choice, we can choose something more traditional.

base

The chairs are the Alfa from Bontempi Casa. We had tons of choices with these from leg color, to chair color, to upholstery. We went  medium stain on the legs with a bi-cast leather in a chocolate brown to bring out some of the table’s darker tones. The graphite back adds a nice contrast.

row-of-chairs

The chairs were a place we added some design interest without going too crazy. Another huge factor was comfort. If we’re sitting here for hours, we want our guests as well as ourselves to be comfortable. And these fit the bill.

chair

Another great feature is that the pad is removable. If we decide a different color or perhaps microfiber would be a better choice, we have alternatives. I could buy bright red for Christmas. Note: I didn’t say I was going to—that would look over-the-top—just that I could.

We went with a wood table and the wood and leather chairs in an effort to add warmth to the dining room. With the long line of counter flanked by the white cabinetry and glass of the china buffet, we thought something natural would soften it a bit.

in-situ

As you may have noticed, we have a giant tree in our great room. Our family tradition has been to cut down a Christmas tree and decorate the weekend after Thanksgiving. Since the girls both come home for the holiday, that tradition has served us well during the college years.

This year, Baby Girl had a final today (Monday), so she flew in late Wednesday and out late Friday. We were able to go to the tree farm down the hill, but a bug problem slowed decorating for a bit. Then there was dinner with my family down at Papa’s and the trip back to the airport.

christ-tree-cutting

As you can see, we still had a lot of fun.

christmas-tree-crazy

No, that’s not a worker at the tree farm diligently sawing away. That’s Sweet Miss’ Fella. Apparently, he didn’t hear when I called for everyone to smile. The MR was amazed at how much faster it is to cut down a tree when you have another guy around. I don’t think he’s had a turn with the saw for a few years now.

Sweet Miss and the MR decorated the tree while I was at work Saturday, and we drove her to Seattle this morning to catch the train for home. Our full house is back down to just us two.

I have the mantle, and bookcases, and windows crying out to be decorated, and boxes the MR wants me to put away. So with that I hope you all had a very happy Thanksgiving weekend with friends and family.

When do you get your tree? Fresh or frozen, errgh I mean fake?

 

 

 

 

 

Super Size It

Sometimes you’re just kind of stuck with what you’ve got. It’s serviceable, it’s fine, it’ll do.

We had a traditional rug by the front door when we moved here. It was fairly new and would be just fine, if a bit bland, and small, and boring.

We’ve lived with it for a four years.

Old Rug

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a rug on Joss & Main that caught my eye. It was on sale and matched our color scheme. Who could say no to a little gray, a little orange, a little beige in a playful geometric print? Not me.

New Rug 2

Ok, so obviously the candle and the door stop are just there till the corners stop rolling up. Hopefully nobody breaks a toe before then. Eventually the rug will relax a little. But even now, it adds a punch of color to our neglected entry. This area has simply been a pass through zone. Not that I want to hang out in the entry, but it would be nice if it matched the vibe of the rest of the house.We want it to set the tone, and a little funky color is a great start.

What kind of message does your entry send?

Problem Solving

Often, me and the MR can be found watching a show come evening after a bit of hanging out on the deck and some dinner. It’s nice to have a little time to unwind.

Unfortunately, I’ve watched the first half of dozens of movies and TV shows never to see the end. Snuggled up next to my guy on the couch, I conk out without fail. While it’s nice to be cozy, I do actually want to know what’s going in my favorite shows and to be able to tell you without reservation that the guy did get the girl, or that the good guys won, or the aliens have been vanquished. The MR’s recall of events tends to be limited.

So I’ve started knitting or crocheting. This keeps my hands occupied, my mind working, and my eyes open. We have lots of overhead lighting that sadly tends to bother the rest of the viewers. Back in February, I talked about Rethinking Light and perhaps repositioning some of the overhead lights. It’s been six months, and it’s still no closer to happening. We don’t have a ladder tall enough to reach the lights, and if we did, I wouldn’t want to climb it.

While the MR’s folks were visiting, I took to moving my chair under a spotlight of sorts, but who wants to move your furniture every night?

Spotlight

Besides, if left me feeling a little anit-social. I still want to be part of the group. Task lighting is a problem with all of our main seating area floating in the center of the room.

So, I went into problem-solver mode. This week, I spotted a floor lamp on Joss & Main for just $61.95 ($0 tax, and $0 shipping because I did a little more shopping). It seemed like a no-brainer. The area back by the fireplace has plug-ins, and still feels like part of the seating area. A floor lamp would actually help balance the plant on the other side of the arrangement. And if we truly hated it, Sweet Miss is in need of floor lamps; we can always ship it off to Oregon.

I was totally shocked when it arrived this morning. It was in a few pieces that simply screwed together in a matter of minutes. The light is totally positionable so I can direct it on all my projects. No more dropped stitches, no short rows, and no mistakes of any kind. OK, maybe I won’t go that far, but you get the gist.

It’s a bright sunny day with no need for lights of any kind, and I have plans with my guy after work tonight, so I’ll have to try out my new lamp sometime later this weekend. Don’t worry; I’ll give you the low down in the monthly recap.

I know; I’ve made you wait long enough. I think the new floor lamp is quite charming.

New Light

In some ways, it reminds me of the big dryer that they put over your head at the beauty salon—thankfully, only a little.

If you’re in the mood for new lighting, this is the Vanessa Floor Lamp from Joss & Main. We used to go to church with a lady named Vanessa who was quite fabulous. So far, her namesake is living up to the reputation.

Any creative prolem-solving going on at your home?

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Little Color, A Little Softness

While I was away visiting the girls last month, the MR went shopping. I guess he was taking a page out of my book.

He bought some new deck furniture on Overstock that looks great. It’s a little small in scale. My advice is to always read the reviews. Sure, some of the people are crazy, have a bone to pick, don’t know what they’re talking about, but there’s always some bit of truth sprinkled in.

It still makes for a great place to enjoy a cup of coffee in the mornings or to while away an afternoon.

Outdoor Furniture Alone

While I like the clean lines and the plain cushions, I think a little softness and color add a lot.

Outdoor Seating 2

I found the outdoor carpet that over-wintered in the garage and whipped up a few pillows in outdoor fabric in an afternoon. A little more of this and that, and the seating area outside our bedroom will be truly fabulous.

Outdoor Seating

A side table and the lanterns from the front porch would add some color and some fun. Then I could watch Cocoa chase the deer away in style and watch the hummingbirds visiting the sage and ticking at me for not putting out their feeders on time.

If you’re outdoor furniture is falling behind in the “cushy” department, a few well placed pillows can work wonders.

I’ll post a tutorial on pillow making later this month when Sweet Miss has graduated from college, everybody has been moved where they need to move, and Baby Girl is home for the summer. Let’s just say, my to-do list is a bit daunting at the moment.

Any tips on buying furniture online? Where do like to while away an afternoon?

 

 

Bit by Bit

Sometimes pulling things together takes awhile. Remember how I had this painting that I loved and I hung it up even though the wall was totally off balance and really needed something more? (If you have no idea what I’m talking about and think I’m just rambling on again, check out Now That’s Art.)

That lack of balance drives me a little crazy, and since my Etsy art purchases have gone so well, I decided to do a little more shopping. That’s when I found a tiny 6×6″ beauty. I know it’s still not big enough to balance out my other artwork, but I just really loved it.

It reminded me of Rome, and me and the MR’s 10th anniversary when we wandered the streets, admiring the beautiful, honey-colored buildings. We’re talking about going back someday. Until then I can look at my little gem and dream.

BbB Up close

I know, and now you’re squinting, and looking again, and saying really, Kim? Rome? But oh my friend, take a step back.

BbB in place

It’s a tiny city, a magical place, that just draws you in. I bought this piece from Terri Edwards on Etsy. Part of the joy of shopping online is being able to support artists from around the world.

I did find a few pieces that would balance out the other side, but the MR gently reminded me that we’d paid two college tuitions, property taxes, and traveled extensively last month. He suggested I wait. At least, he didn’t balk at my visiting the girls.

Wishing all the mothers, aunts, sisters, and women who’ve loved and supported children, Happy Mother’s Day.

BbB Me Girls Whales

I know these two make my heart sing.

What are you hanging on your walls? Any plans for Mother’s Day?

 

 

A Matter of Scale

The bed in the master bedroom has given us fits since day one.

This is how it looked in the realtors’ photos.  It was a little dated, but not bad. We’d add some warmth and bring it into the 21st century.

Once upon a time

Then as we’re moving in, the MR sends me a cryptic text that “the bed is king”.  What is that supposed to mean? Well, our queen-size mattress was woefully small on the built-in platform.  https://bigwhitehouseonthehill.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/206/ highlighted how a new mattress got rid of the hop-skip-and-jump of getting in and out of bed.

All Prettied Up

The MR had already painted the wall behind our bed making the navy shower seem intentional.  Now we just need new bed linens and updated artwork.

The MR headed off to Europe for a few weeks in 2013, and I went shopping and brought home what I thought would be a better piece for over the bed.  It had blues and yellows with a nice strong horizontal layout. I picked it up at Cost Plus on sale.  It was perfect—sort of.

Picture

As you can see, it’s a little small for the space.  That’s why when we were at a gallery back in February, we started looking for art for over the bed.  Something to fill the space with a little more presence. We found the perfect piece, but it was too tall and too much, so we kept looking.

Last week, I shared our lovely Etsy find for the great room/entry alcove.  Well, that same night we found a bold graphic painting from itarts on Etsy.  It was the perfect size, a great price, and we could support a local artist—in Hungary. Sometimes I miss these important details.  The canvas was being sent from Europe in a tube; this was going to require some work.

I went to a local art supply shop.  They don’t stretch and mount canvasses, but they’d be glad to give me some tips.  Well, this painting is 3×6-feet.  I didn’t want this to be my beginning art project.  I wound up at the local Ben Franklin, and 10 days later it was ready.

I don’t miss driving the old minivan often, but Friday as I was hunched over the steering wheel with barely room to breath so my painting wouldn’t get crushed in the cargo area, I remembered it fondly.

And now, we have a new painting over our bed.

S Pic over Bed

From this angle, it looks a little crooked, but it’s not.  The MR had out the level and everything.  As you can see, the silver candleholders have been moved.  I had an incident fluffing pillows that led to picking up glass and changing sheets.  Maybe a nice wood vase in white and navy would finish off the headboard.

I was hoping the sunshine would highlight the metallic glints in the painting. The problem is, I’m not in charge of the weather.  While it wasn’t technically raining when I took these photos, it was overcast and thinking about raining.

S Pic Closer

The old picture hasn’t found a home just yet.  I was thinking it could join the silver candleholders that survived my bed making skills over the bookcases in the bathroom. If that doesn’t work out, we can always hang it over the TV.

Where do you find your artwork?  Ever supported struggling artists in Hungary?

(Looking back at the beginning photos, it’s fun to see all the changes.  The weird lights are gone, we have the fresh navy wall color, the ugly mauve tile is a thing of the past, instead of fabric panels for privacy (or nothing for the exhibitionist former owners) we have blinds. So much more than paintings have changed in the past four years. I did really like the super low angle the professional used for the bedroom.  I’m going to steal that idea in the future.)