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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A walk through the woods-Christmas Mantel 2012

Hey guys!

Well, obviously we made it back. And obviously I'm not a very consistent blogger! New Year's resolution for sure! Definitely need to work on that!

But in the...ahem... two week that we've been home I furiously decorated my home for Christmas the first week and played hostess to a very special out of state guest all last week. Throw a couple of birthdays in the mix and sadly, I wasn't left with much time to blog. I've got plenty of material though! :)

 I promise to share pics of our AK trip soon, but today I wanted to show you my Christmas Mantel!

Eeek, I am SO excited to show y'all this! I will say right out of the gate, that pretty much everything on this mantel is new this year. For the past three years the mantel has remained the same with our Willow Tree nativity scene making it's home up there. But, I've never really liked it up there. It's difficult to see, therefore difficult to appreciate and I've always felt the mantel is too shallow and long to really show off the nativity properly. So the nativity found a new home this year and left me with an empty mantel and quite honestly no idea what to do with it!

But, after a few meandering, late-night, by-myself trips (I love those, don't you?) through TJ Maxx, and HomeGoods and a little Pinterest-perusing, inpiration finally hit! And this is what I came up with!!

This is the first symetrical mantel I've ever created and I LOVE it! I think it looks like a wintery forest wonderland flanked by metallic glittery grapevine trees and birch candles. And all the mercury glass is reminiscent of sparkly snow.
How 'bout a little walk in the woods? Let's take a closer look, shall we?
We'll need to bundle up for this little journey, but no need to worry, I've got scarf and mittens ready. Layered on top of my mirror and tucked behind a few glittery mercury glass votive holders is the centerpeice and focal point of my wintery wonderland scene. It is a huge understatement to say that this is by far my most favorite wreath I've ever made!! I'll post a tutorial this week.

That knobby knit scarf, sweet little gloves and cute ski's ornament just make me swoon! And all of the yummy texture of the grapevine wreath and warm cozy accessories just scream winter/ Christmastime to me!
A very close second in my favorite decorations this year are these awesome Pottery Barn twig reindeer. They were a gift from Grandma Rhonda, our out-of-state guest last week, and I "deerly" (haha) love them!

The reindeer are two different sizes, one larger and one smaller and I originally had only picked up two- one of each size- while we were shopping. But Grandma Rhonda insisted that we needed a family- two parents and two little ones. :)  These were actually the final, unplanned touch to the mantel and now I can't imagine it any other way. Twig reindeer belong in a wintery forest wonderland afterall. And donning their deep crimson ribbon scarves they look right at home.
Mercury glass candlesticks...what's not to love?! I've wanted some for quite awhile now and Christmastime seemed fitting to finally cross that off my wishlist. And topped with DIY Pottery Barn knock-off birch candles they almost seem like glistening-snow flocked birch trees.   A mercury glass ornament snowball sits ready at the the reindeer's hooves. They're a playful bunch. :)
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care... from antique irons and wooden pulleys. Now quite honestly, I have no idea what place iron's and pulleys have in a winter wonderland scene, but Hubs traded out our brushed nickel snowflake hangers for these and I instantly loved it! I love the visual weight they add. With all the mercury glass going on, these were the perfect anchor for the wreath and created a beautiful juxtaposition with all the light and airy elements. Plus, I just love the antiquated home-spun feel of it, don't you?
This is our second year using these fairisle stocking from Pottery Barn. We've got a scarf and mittens in our wintery wonderland, we definitely need warm knit stockings as well!
I kept the hearth decor pretty simple. I have a ton of better ideas, but quite honestly by the time I reached the hearth I was running out of time and money! LOL! A little bit at a time...maybe next year. 
I hope you've enjoyed our little jaunt through the woods.  Let's head to the kitchen and warm ourselves with a cup of hot chocolate and a cookie from the bar I created. :)
I'll show you that next!


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Touches of Teal Fall Tablescape

Hey everyone!

As I write this, I have a million things to do to get ready to leave to Alaska tomorrow! I need to finish the kids laundry and get them (and myself) packed, my house needs cleaned, and of course I can't forget all the important plane entertainment "stuff." In addition, tomorrow is the last day of school for Thanksgiving break and I volunteered for Trinity's classroom Thanksgiving festivities.

But, I really wanted to share a fun little tablescape I put together for fall/Thanksgiving. I know, I know... I'm not even going to be home for Thanksgiving so what's the point right? Well, it's fun, it's festive, it's fancy- which always makes my little girl smile. And, we did use the table all gussied up for Charlie's birthday a couple weeks ago, so it was worth it.

(Right here, in writing this post, is where the school called me because I had forgotten to pick up my child! Ooops!!!)

Raise your hand if you played house when you were little. Me! I did! Well, putting this table together felt just like that. It was fun to fancy up the table for really no reason at all. :)

My original plans for the centerpiece didn't come together like I hoped, but I'm still thrilled with the result. I had planned to make a deep teal houndstooth runner from fabric I picked up at Joann's but I just never did get to it. I also planned to build a long narrow trough to run down the middle, but again, even though I bought the materials, I never got around to building it.

Instead, I put down a burlap and linen table runner that I already had and in place of a wooden trough, I copied entirely took a cue from Tonya at Love of Family and Home and painted a long narrow cardboard box that I already had with folkArt acrylic craft paint in Midnight Garden.

I placed my yellow mums into the box first and them filled in between them with floral foam. I put both the taper candles and pillars in jars down into the foam for stability.

Then I went to town tucking berries, feathers, glittered pears, pumpkins, pine cones, acorns and leaves anywhere that they would fit, being sure to cover the floral foam. There are a few places, especially around the clear glass pillar holders, where the foam is peaking through a bit, but in person it's really hardly noticable.
I am THRILLED with the way this little box of fall goodies came together! I also love that it can be totally customized to the season or holiday! Versatile, multi-purpose decor is totally up my alley. :)
The next piece of my tablescape came about during a trip to Joann's when I found these AMAZING, super cute fall kitchen towels. They had the aqua/teal color that makes my heart go pitter patter AND they had owls!!  The only drawback was that they were towels. I snapped up three of them, took them home and cut them in half and sewed the hem. Perfect napkin size!!
I made the napkin rings by slicing up a paper towel holder, painting the rings with the same acrylic craft paint as my centerpiece box and hot gluing on mini pine cones and acorn.
The rest of the table was a cinch to put together. I simply layered my amber colored Pottery Barn salad plate on top of a large PB buttercream dinner plate. I placed my napkin with rings on top of the plate to help them pop a bit.
Each place setting was completed with silverware and an amber-colored goblet. I purchased these at Pier One about 6 years ago and I still absolutely love them!
And because I love this tablescape so much, I'm going to share a few more photos. Hope that's ok. :)

I really wanted to show you how it all looked with the candles lit...

...but someone thought they were just lit for him. He's totally ready for his 2nd birthday next month!:)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Teal and Orange Fall Mantel

Hello Friends!

How many of you had a three day weekend for Veteran's Day? We did! Hubs was off work and Trinity was off school. We spent our extra day as a family. We played at the park, hubs gave Trin a long, frustrating lesson on riding her "big" bike that I'm sure neither of them liked. Lol! But, it was a great day.

Now, we're gearing up  to fly home to Alaska on Friday for Thanksgiving next week. Yes, I just said Thanksgiving is next. week. How did this happen?! 

Well, just in time, I have my Fall Mantel to share with you today. I've actually had this mantel up since the middle of September. To the chagrin of my (almost) 6 year old, who desperately wanted Halloween decor this year. She's never cared before, but since she's made it clear that now she does, I'll have to change it up next year.

But without further ado, here's our fall mantel.

In keeping with my teal theme in my fall wreath and entry table I carried the sublte hints of teal to the mantel as well. 
I began with the hearth by changing out my summer candles for a couple of fall colored candles tied with teal raffia and I added a bit more interest by topping the tallest candlestick with a grapevine pumpkin. I wrapped the same teal raffia to the stem and pushed a few richly-hued leaves down into the grapevine.
Ironically, my September issue of Real Simple matched my decor perfectly (thanks Real Simple!) , so when I received it in the mail, I grabbed my magazine holder and plopped it down on the other side of the hearth. Cheap decor- I love it!

Moving up to the mantel, I layed the foundation by keeping most of my standard mantel decor pieces and just changing them up a bit and/or layering in the fall themed items. I like to decorate this way in general. I think it keeps costs down and storage space in check and it's just plain simpler. I love a beautiful home, but I really don't want to spend the time or money to re-invent the wheel with each new holiday or season.

I began on the left by keeping my antique iron right where it was. In and of itself an iron isn't exactly fall-ish, but it's beautiful aged petina definitely lends itself well to the season. I placed a cute little pumpkin beside it and moved right along.

Not pictured well in this photo or the one above, is my large apothecary jar. Again, this is a piece that typically resides on the mantel. For the summer it held sand and sea shells, but it is now filled with a burnt orange candle surrounded by mini pine cones and pumpkins.
Beside the apothecary jar, I line up a few books who's covers had the gorgeous teal I was after. My husband bought these books for me in a thrift store in Ohio when he was at school there this past summer. Gotta love a hubby who will go thrifting for you! Without even being asked!!
Beside that I put a decorative ball on top of a gold pillar holder I already had and threw a funky pine cone I found on a walk, up there for good measure.

Moving to the right side of the mantel, I balanced the teal books from the left side, with these beautiful teal insulators I already had. And here I scattered a few more pinecones.

Capping off the right side of the mantel, I kept the ginger jar that was already there and the ornate aqua candle lantern. I simple stacked the lantern on top of a couple more books for added height and filled it with faux leaves. To complete the look, I added one more small pumpkin just like the one on the other end next to the iron. This one is orange though.

These are also books that Hubs picked up for me in Ohio. I LOVE that the top book is titled Early Autumn. Serendipity? :)

And finally, I took the wreath that has adorned my front door for the past few years and doctored it up a little. I added the felt flowers at the bottom and filled it in overall with more picks. Then I took a basic wreath hanger and wrapped it in teal ribbon and hung it from my mirror. Because of the frame on the mirror it prevents the wreath hanger from scratching the mirror.

And that's pretty much it! With the exception of the grapevine pumpkin on the hearth and the fall decorative ball on top of the gold candle holder, everything for this mantel is stuff I already had. Like, I said, I kept the basics in place and just filled in with fall items or by shopping my house.

Here are a couple more "beauty" shots for you.

(That pumpkin doily hanging in the middle is slightly "old fashioned" but really reminded me of my mom.)

There you have it! I hope you enjoyed my fall mantel. This is probably by far my favorite mantel I've put ever put together.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Owls and Mercury Glass Fall Table Vignette

Hello Lovlies!

Is anyone else as happy as I am that it's Friday?!

I am stoked! My husband comes home this afternoon, I have a date with my favorite 5 year old girl tomorrow and it's a 3 day weekend!!

I hinted on Facebook yesterday (do you follow me?) that I would be sharing something teal and fallish today and here it is!
Ok, so yes, the teal is very subtle, but I LOVE it!! I have quite a bit of blue/aqua in my home decor. I purchased the teal pumpkin at Kirland's a couple of years ago and this year I knew it was going to be my jumping off point.

This vignette is a great mix of new and old. I knew I couldn't completely throw out all my old fall decor, but I could add a few new pieces to the mix and totally freshen it up. And what better way to do that than with a beautiful, non-tradtional jewel tone like teal? And since metallics almost always play a role in holiday decor, I decided to liven it up with the ever popular, and one of my new obsessions, mercury glass.

I started with an old pumpkin embroidered place mat that I've had for several years. I think I bought it at Bed, Bath and Beyond. I knew I wanted a messy/scattered look. I was inspired by an image from the Pottery Barn catalogue where they were featuring none other than their mercury glass pumpkins. But I really didn't know how to pull it off. It kept coming out looking too symetrical and not as organic, flowy and "collected" as I was envisioning.

So I called in the Big Guns.

 My husband. :)

He's pretty amazing y'all. He cooks, he cleans, he can build or fix anything, he is the most intelligent person I know, he darn easy on the eyes, he hunts and write's love notes and yes, he even decorates (Pretty much he's waaay out of my league, but somehow I am SO blessed!!)  And he's great at it too! He has amazing taste and an even better design eye.

So in he swooped and saved the day! (and my fall entry table vignette- it'd seriously still just have a placemat without him!)

I LOVE how he nested the green owl in a pumpkin basket and added some sticks from the yard. She seems more at home. No?

 And this little mercury glass guy was definitely coming home with me the second I saw him at TJ Maxx. I love how he's perched on top of  my thrift store Pottery Barn pillar holder (only $4 at Goodwill! There were three- I snatched them all! The PB stickers were still on the bottom- regular price- $30!)   He's keeping watch over the whole "pumpkin patch."

 Here's another PB pillar holder topped with a thrift store glass jar. I put a candle inside and threw in some tiny acorns and pinecones. I bought an unopened package of acorns, pinecones and leaves for only a $1 at an estate sale just the day before. Perfect timing! :)

Charlie added another jar filled with a burnt pillar and some wierd "thingy's" we found outside and we have another little teal owl tea light holder rounding things out down below "in the patch." :)

We flanked the whole "pumpkin patch" and watch-owls with a lamp on one end. I simply tied some raffia around the shade and tucked a leaf/berries/acorn pick behind the raffia.

And on the other side, we balaced it out with our large PB (we may or may not need PB rehab...) jar brimming with fall vase filler and topped with a gorgeous display of sticks and dried flowers. I tied teal raffia around this jar and I just love the way it pops against the burnt orange!

This basket always resides on the lower shelf of this table. Unless my (almost) 2 year old is sitting in it or trying to take it trick-or-treating. Seriously. That happened.

Anyway, I tucked a comfy houndstooth throw inside and plopped a large faux white pumpkin beside it.
And finally, (because I don't know if this post could get any longer! ) we set the whole scene with a backdrop of a Thomas Kincade print that I've had for years. It's title Autumn's Gate and it is stunning! I apologize for the poor picture quality. It was so difficult to photograph because of the glare from the front windows and my front door.

So there you have it. Our 2012 Fall entryway table Owls and Mercury Glass teal vignette.

(whew...say that 3 tims fast...)

PS- I just noticed that the Thomas Kincade totally looks crooked... keepin it real folks. :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I'm Back with a new Wreath!

Well hello there friends! It's been soooo long since I've posted! Almost 4 months. Pathetic right?

Anyway, when I last wrote, my husband was gone and I was missing him something fierce. Well since then, he has returned and, ironically, left again. Ha! Only for a couple of days this time, but I still miss him. I never sleep well when he's away and I find myself staying up waaaay too late. Does this happen to you?

Well, things in our house have been eventful over the past four months. We've had quite a summer here in So. Cal. We were blessed with a ton of visitors over the summer and even extending into the fall. My sweet MIL just left last week and we're expecting another family member next month.

Probably the biggest change to our lives, however, has been our sweet Trinilynn starting school. As most of you know, we homeschooled for Kindergarten. While that was an amazing experience and one that I'm glad we did, in the end it wasn't a great fit for my social butterfly. She longed to be in a "real" classroom and interact with other kids and as she put it, "...see things in real life." She began First grade at our local public elementary school and let me just say...she is thriving!! She LOVES school and it is never hard to get her up in the morning. She has made great friends and I have {mostly} been impressed with her teacher (is a protective mama ever 100% satisfied?!)

Wow...she's growing up right before my eyes. I've been so aware these past few months just how grown up she's becoming. She's learning and experiencing so much... it makes me sad and so proud and just so unbelievably humbled all at once. My first born, my baby girl... becoming such a beautiful young lady. 

So, I promised a new wreath didn't I? Well, lets get to it before I melt into a puddle of tears over my daughter's impending womanhood. :)
This wreath was ridiculously simple. I took inspiration from two sources. The first was an idea from Linda at Craftaholics Anonymous. I simply wrapped a straw wreath form with strips of burlap to create a "base" that can be used over and over again whenever a new wreath idea hits. Perfect!
The second place I copied exactly drew inspiration from was this wreath by Kellie at Nest of Posies. The moment I saw this wreath, I knew I would be making one for my front door this year!
Unlike Kellie, I didn't have a die to cut my leaves from, so I just did it the old fashioned way by printing a leaf template, tracing onto my felt and cutting them out by hand. I did, however, follow her lead and I too, hand-stiched the leaf veins for extra dimension. I truly believe that simple, albeit time consuming, step is what makes this wreath!  After that I simply laid out my leaves onto my wreath form until I liked it and pinned them into place with straight pins, ensuring to hide the pins as I went. By the way, using pins is what makes your burlap wreath base reusable. Perfect, so you're not storing a bajillion wreaths and you're saving money to boot!
I have to admit that I do like Kellie's version better, but I'm pretty darn happy with mine too. She wrapped her wreath with yarn, which I adore, but I opted not to since my prior wreath was yarn-wrapped and I was wanting something a little different.
You know what this wreath reminds me of?  The indian "head dresses" we all made in elementary school. You know the ones...the strip of brown paper bag with three or four construction paper feathers.
Fitting, I'd say. :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

TDY: Total Downer Yo! I miss my husband!

It's been nearly two weeks and there's still three more to go.

I know I shouldn't complain, it's only a 5 week TDY. I'm supposed to be a strong military wife. Confident, brave, independent, resourseful and all that other who-rah crap. But I miss my husband.