Holiday Home Tour 2014

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Ours was fantastic. We celebrated two separate Thanksgivings so as you can imagine, our pants feel a smidge tight. 'Tis the season for stretchy pants, right? Right. I'll keep telling myself that.

As soon as Thanksgiving was over, I immediately started decking the halls. There are many things I love about the holiday season, and Christmas decorations are right near the top. I buy a little bit more every year so I can spread the tidings of good tidings of great joy to even more rooms than before! Scott hates hauling it down from the attic but he loves seeing the house looking so festive, so he tolerates my growing collection of holiday decor.

Here's the hard part: There are so many types of decorations that I love, and I don't like to commit to only one style/color. This year I have two very separate "looks" going on, but I tried my best to make it work by confining the themes to separate rooms. It helps that I have two Christmas trees for the first time ever (more on that in a future post), so I get to create two different schemes.

Christmas Decoration Look #1:

Cozy Christmas

Since the den is our cozy, casual living area where we spend most of our time, that's where I focused the traditional, homey decorations. It just feels right to put the traditional stuff next to the warm brick fireplace, don't you think?

Our formal living and dining room already has a very neutral and serene color scheme, and I didn't really want to overwhelm it with a lot of red. So for this space, I opted for a color scheme inspired by my favorite fruit, along with some metallic accents.

Christmas Decoration Look #2:

Green Christmas

Here's how I translated that theme into our house:

The kitchen is directly in between these rooms, so it needed to help make the spaces flow better. Both rooms have some black and white patterns, so I used a black and white tablecloth in the kitchen to tie the rooms together.

I spent most of my time decorating the main living spaces, but I did add some touches of Christmas to the guest room and guest bathroom. I found this red and green quilt at the flea market a few years ago, and I think it adds a nice holiday vibe to the room.

When in doubt, add a poinsettia. Home Depot and Lowe's both had poinsettias for $1 on Black Friday, so we bought a few for the house.

Now that you've seen both schemes, which one do you like better? Do you have a favorite space? I can never decide which style is my favorite, so I'm curious to hear what you think!

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Around Here Lately...

We just returned from a lovely trip to El Paso where we visited family, decorated my nephew's nursery and ate WAY too much food.

We took a photo in front of the mountains because my sister-in-law's view is just too nice to pass up. Doesn't he look handsome? Haha! What a goofball.

I wish I had better photos of my nephew's nursery, but I had to take these at night on my phone. Isn't it cute? My sister-in-law wanted a nautical/under the sea vibe in there, and I think we accomplished that goal. Keep reading for the shopping sources if interested!

Rug •  Curtains: Home Goods • Sailboat Decals (but we got ours at Home Goods for $6) • Lamp • Dream rope wall decor: Pottery Barn Teen (no longer available)

Bedding & MobileGliderLetters (font: Century Gothic)

Dresser: Ikea Hemnes •  Mirror: Home Goods • Shadow Box: Home Goods • Anchor: Hobby Lobby

In other news, I added DIY pom poms to this Ikea Eivor throw after being inspired by Cassie at Hi Sugarplum's original version of the project. It's a bit tedious, but I love how it turned out. Everything is cuter with pom poms! I also consulted Mandi's (Vintage Revivals) tutorial for the same type of project. I used an embroidery hoop to wrap the yarn around like she suggested, which worked well.

We also transitioned our guest room into a workout room! I told the husband that I would really like some sort of cardio machine so I can work out at home, and he found me this awesome elliptical for a steal on Craiglist. My new favorite workout is hopping on the elliptical while watching an episode of Gilmore Girls on Netflix!

Because we turned this room into a workout space, we have to make more adjustments in the next couple of weeks. We'll be installing a flush mount fan with no lights so we don't bump our heads on the lights, and he's going to put in some pot lights to make the space brighter. The Craigslist Master Scott also found an awesome TV on Craiglist that we're going to mount on the wall so I can do workout videos or stream Netflix through the TV. I'm so excited about this space! While it's not very aesthetically appealing, sometimes you have to give up on a room being stylishly decorated to allow it to be extremely functional for your lifestyle. I'm totally OK with that.

We've already had one Thanksgiving dinner with Scott's family, so I'm trying to find some fresh recipes for the upcoming dinner with my parents on Thursday. One recipe that is a must-have is this corn casserole. I made it a couple years ago after finding it on Pinterest, and now it's a staple. If I can cook it, anyone can do it! (Cooking is NOT my thing.) Have any alternatives to green beans and stuffing that you could share? Let me know in the comments!

I'll be back next week with my full holiday home tour. I get so excited to decorate for Christmas, and this year is no different. It took all of my self control to hold off until Thanksgiving is over, but I will be throwing myself in headfirst as soon as the last plate it cleared!

Happy Thanksgiving to you! I hope you have a wonderful holiday filled with happy memories and turkey-induced naps. Thanksgiving naps are simply the BEST.

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Simple, Elegant Thanksgiving Table

I absolutely love coming up with different ways to decorate our dining table for the holidays. We will be hosting a small gathering for Thanksgiving in a couple of weeks, so I decided a Thanksgiving tablescape was a must.

I started out with one of my favorite tablescape tricks – using wrapping paper as a table runner. I found this classy black and gold polka dot paper at Home Goods, and it was love at first sight. To use it as a runner, I simply tape it under the edge of my table on each end. It's doesn't get much easier or cheaper than that!

I wanted the table to have a touch of nature along with the glamorous black and gold table runner, so I used my new faux greenery that I picked up at Hobby Lobby to run the length of the table. The garland forms a pretty frame around the dried and ceramic gourds. Without those autumnal touches, this table could be appropriate for any occasion. I think it would be equally pretty with some small vases of white roses or magnolias.

Doesn't the garland look real? I can't wait to use it during for my Christmas decor. I found it in the normal faux greenery section at Hobby Lobby for $7.50 for 6 feet. (It was 50% off that day, so the normal price is $15.)

I was searching through my craft paper for place card inspiration when I spotted this box of thank you cards we've had for years. I was originally going to cover the "thank you" part, but then it occurred to me that it was actually completely appropriate for a Thanksgiving table. It could even be a fun way to interact with your guests, by asking everyone to write down what they're thankful for on their thank you card.

To make it lay down nicely on the plate, I simply folded the back side of the card in half, hamburger style. I added the sprig of greenery from my own front yard to each setting for another natural element. Just like the greenery on the table runner balances out the modern/sleek lines of the wrapping paper, this little sprig helps soften the hard, masculine pattern of the notecard.

The goblets are another DIY touch. I found a set of 6 on sale at Home Goods for $7, and I used a gold Sharpie to add tiny gold dots. I love the way they turned out; it reminds me of champagne bubbles.

I think this is one of my favorite tablescapes I've ever done, and it was so easy to put together. It took less than 30 minutes from start to finish, and that was with me brainstorming and coming up with ideas as I went along. It's SO simple.

Table runner/wrapping paper: HomeGoods; thank you notes: Target; garland: Hobby Lobby; chargers: Michaels; ceramic gourds: Wisteria; dried gourds: garage sale; candlesticks: Pottery Barn; table, china: thrifted; chairs (wooden): World Market; chaird (upholstered): thrifted

I created another Thanksgiving table with wrapping paper last year:

Do you decorate your table for Thanksgiving? Am I the only crazy one who does hers weeks in advance so she can enjoy it longer? (We never use our formal dining room unless it's a special occasion, so I can just leave it out and enjoy the scene for however long I want!)

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Four Years of Projects

It almost slipped by me again this year, but somehow I remembered: This week marks my 4th blogiversary! I know this is a small blog within the grand ol' blogosphere, but I treasure this piece of the internet and those of you who stop by to read what I have to say. THANK YOU!

I thought I would mark this grand occasion by recapping my top 10 blog posts of all time. Blogging is a weird thing: Sometimes you write a blog post that you think is going to be incredibly popular, and NO ONE CARES. But then you whip out a post about these Christmas cookies your mom used to make and the internet goes wild! It's a fickle beast, that internet.

1. Let's start with my most popular post of all time – thank you, Pinterest! Scott made me this fantastic outdoor fountain out of flower pots, and we are still using it three years later. People must search "flower pot fountain" on Pinterest all the time, which is how people find their way to my blog. Not that I'm complaining!

2. Back when I was trying to pretty up my dark dungeon of a closet in our first house, I came up with this idea to DIY a crystal chandelier with wedding supplies from Hobby Lobby. This is one of the few things I miss since we moved away.

3. I have to thank Erin at House of Earnest for my third most popular post of all time. It was her original idea that inspired the DIY dipped, colorblocked spoons I made for her friend's bridal shower gift. I liked this project so much that I've made it over and over again – one for myself, one for my mom and many more as gifts. Everyone needs kitchen utensils, especially cute ones.

4. My 4th most popular post is another DIY project that I continue to reinvent – most recently for the wall treatment in my guest bedroom makeover. These paper wall flowers are the easiest and cheapest wall decor of all time.

5. My #5 most popular post of all time is a repeat of #1, but one of the flower pots is tilted on its side. Ooooooh! I should just specialize in flower pot fountains because apparently those are really popular. Making a mental note...

6. This is one of our coolest projects of all time, so I'm thrilled that it has become one of our most popular posts. The husband worked so hard to build this full wall of custom closets from scratch.

7. This is one of those random projects we did that I'm surprised became very popular over time. (Again, thank you Pinterest.) We had a problem with our dogs digging up the garden in our old house, so we came up with this affordable way to build a custom garden fence.

 8. I don't have many food-related posts on this blog, but these Christmas cookie gift ideas are a big hit. Those Santas may be time intensive, but they are so cute and so tasty!

9. Our guest bathroom makeover is moving up the ranks and becoming one of the most popular posts on the blog. I think the finished product is one of our most dramatic makeovers, and the guests really love the new-and-improved bathroom.

10. This popular post was another project born out of necessity. Our dogs are so destructive, and they were destroying the bottom of our fence because they wanted to be able to watch what was going on and "patrol" the yard. We created a custom doggy peephole in the fence. We must not be the only ones with destructive puppies because it's a very popular post these days.

I know I've been a lackluster blogger lately, so I appreciate those of you who have continued to stick with me as my posting has become more sporadic. I've been working so much that it's becoming harder to keep up with the regular posting schedule. But I still love this blog and I'm going to keep going with it as long as anyone still reads it, so thank you so much for following along!

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