Christmas decor · Home decor · seasonal decor

Christmas At My House

My pantry door chalkboard is a great place to add holiday greetings!

Happy week before Christmas! I’m posting pics of our house this year, albeit, my house is NOT the overdone, beautiful Christmas showcase. There are a couple reasons my decorations are minimal. First is because my husband and I took two weeks vacation in December. Therefore, we’ve been gone a good chunk of the month. Secondly, I’m really scaling back on my holiday decor, and instead am trying to simply decorate for the season as I explained here.

But I do love all the holiday things, and have tried to add a little pop here and there to make the home Christmas-cozy. I’m reminded that it’s more than just what you SEE. I’m hosting our family (Lord willing), so all the smells, sounds and warmth of the season will also be present when everyone gathers! I can’t wait!

Here’s a little tour of what I have done so far…

My kitchen is the hub of our home. The counter just has a runner with my tiered stand. I used my red and green Fiesta Ware cups for my salt pillar and measuring spoons. A little sprig of fresh greenery was tucked in the top. Oh, and baked goods like this sour dough Cinnamon Bread add to the fragrance of Christmas!

My living room coziness starts with this rug that feels like the softest blanket you’ll ever wrap up in! I adorned the mantle with fresh greenery from my yard. I hope to add my white lights there when we return from vacation!

The fireplace in our bedroom adds such a visual warmth. Liza enjoys it, too! My little Memory Tree is a special treasure and the perfect size for a bedroom. My sweet friend gave me this tree several years ago. Each ornament has a special memory written on it – the name of a loved one, a place we’ve gone, or a ministry we’ve served in. What a precious treasure the entire tree is!

Our “big tree” is back in our family room again this year, but in a different spot. I’m in the final stages of redoing this room and I can’t wait to reveal the whole project, but for now, here’s a little corner for you to see. My new rug has pops of bright pink and light blue, so I added those colors of ornaments to my tree and I love it!

You just can’t have Christmas pictures without a Christmas Cat! Liza has adorned our Christmas tree for 15 years. I think she approves of the new room and the location of the tree! The next picture also gives a better view of the colored ornaments I added to our HUGE collection of “special” ones we’ve been amassing through the years.

Our tree is a very full tree, but it’s appropriate because Christmas reminds us how full our lives can be. His Word tells us that in the “fullness of time” God sent His son, born of a woman, under the law to redeem us out of the law and to adopt us as His own. When we trust in Christ, we become a child of God! We have the rights and privileges of a full-grown son! Now that is a reason to celebrate!!

I pray your heart is even more full that all the decor in your house because you know the Christ of Christmas. If you don’t know Him personally, let me just say, He’s waiting for you with open arms.

Merry Christmas, Friends!

Home decor · Winter

How To Winter-ize Your Home Decor

I hear people saying, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at my house!” But I wonder, did the house transform into the winter season before the halls got decked with Christmas trees and holiday decor?

I’ve shared several posts with you about Myquillyn Smith’s book, The Cozy Minimalist and how it’s changed the way I look at decorating my home, but another lesson she’s taught me is to “winterize” before you “Christmas-ize.” I love this philosophy because when Christmas is over and the holiday decor is put away, it can still look like winter in our homes. It won’t have that bare, undecorated sadness that usually prevails in early January! Let me explain what this would look, smell and feel like…

All the senses need to see, smell, hear, touch and taste winter.

  • Fresh, Green boughs on the mantles, complete with the red berries that are on the bushes outside.
  • Logs in the fireplace.
  • A warm fire burning.
  • Thick, warm throws adorn the couch or chairs.
  • Throw pillows have thicker covers over them, adding warm colors and textures.
  • Candle scents are winter smells – citrus, evergreen or pine, and cinnamon.
  • Flickering candle light adorn the tables.
  • Tablecloths or placemats are heavier. Runners added are winter fabrics.
  • Serve soups, stews and chowders. Cups steam with coffee or hot chocolate.
  • Cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on brown pieces of toast, Snickerdoodles and Cinnamon Rolls baking in the oven.

It’s kind of like changing the clothes out in your wardrobe. In winter we wear heavier layers; the same goes for textures in our home. Add layers of texture, scents and vision that warm up the space. That’s what it means to Winter-ize!

If you need a lovely scent for your winter smells, here’s a potpourri that will make your home smell wonderful! This recipe is from my dear friend, Vickie Stykes.

Christmas Fragrance Simmering Potpourri

Ingredients:
5-6 cinnamon sticks, broken
1 TBSP. lemon peel
½ cup whole cloves
¼ cup whole allspice
1 TBSP. orange peel
1 TBSP. nutmeg
1 TBSP. bay leaf pieces
2 slices apples, optional
½ orange, cut into quarters, leave peel on, optional

Directions:
Combine all ingredients and place in a simmer stove pot or in a crock pot. Cover with hot water, turn on high to bubbly, then on low to enjoy simmering scent. May be placed in refrigerator and reused several times. Just add more ingredients if scent loses aroma
.

Have you winter-ized your home? Does this idea make sense to you?

Refresh your home with winter,

Home decor · refreshment at home

Free Floral Arrangements

I love what beautiful flowers can do for the beauty of my home. They’re welcoming on the entry table. They make the dinner table inviting and intimate. They take a guest room to that next level. But fake flowers and greenery are so chintzy and fresh are too expensive to keep on hand.

What to do? I’ve found a way to have free florals and like Dorothy from Wizard of Oz who had the ability to go back home with her the entire time she was in Oz, I have always had this resource and didn’t realize it!

It’s called foraging.

for·age/ˈfôrij,ˈfärij/ – obtain (food or provisions)

I go out in my own yard and cut greenery from the bushes. I snip colored branches from my trees. I use the real green things or colored things to fill vases or to fill in fresh flowers I’ve purchased.

Okay, I’ve always cut my roses or hydrangeas, but to cut bush branches and fill a vase instead of using plastic greenery, was just never a thought. Look what my fresh bushes did to a $4 purchase of sunflowers from my sweet husband!

Everything except the sunflowers came from my yard. Those flowers are pretty, but all that greenery bumped them up to a florist grade arrangement. Thank you, Lord, for a yard full of beautiful plants that I can snip!

Here’s another arrangement I made with the last of my roses. I took my Halloween mug and filled it with the roses, some thyme and Creeping Jenny. It looked adorable on my book shelf.

This next arrangement is on my foyer table. I used branches from two different bushes and some small limbs from a tree in the backyard. I add water to the containers so the branches will stay fresh for a VERY long time!

Lastly, here’s a small pitcher that fits into my tiered stand on the island. I love the pop of color it gives. The green bush addition really fills it out, don’t you think?

I’d encourage you to think outside the box. Don’t just use a standard vase, look for other containers that will hold your flowers and the water…a tea pot, a pitcher, a pretty vintage tin (put a glass down inside to hold the water), a mug, a bottle. The sky’s the limit!

When winter comes, use those evergreen things outside to add the lovely floral touches. I’ll still use some where the sap might ruin a piece of furniture, but in arrangements, I’m hoping for fresh!

Look out your own window and see what you could use to refresh your home and add some floral beauty! That gorgeous red and orange tree branch in the front yard is just begging to step into your living room!

Tell me…do you use fresh things from your yard? What different container are you thinking about using for your next vase?

home accessories · Home decor

Just Keeping It Real, Folks!

Last year I read The Cozy Minimalist and I loved it! Myquillyn Smith, the author, doesn’t tell you to clear everything off your counters or have an undecorated home. Rather, she tells you how to use what you have in a wise way. I read the book because I felt like I was being inundated by stuff. I still have lots of it, but I’m learning to decorate with less, and I love the look so much more!

Recently, Myquillyn shared a live chat on Instagram about how to use greenery in your home in a way that is beautiful. She went to Michael’s and World Market looking for branches of leaves that looked real. She’d pick up a branch of silk fall leaves and say,

We can do better than this!

I have to agree. Plastic leaves that LOOK fake won’t fool anyone else’s eye if they don’t fool mine.

Her strong suggestion was to go outside and cut branches from your own yard, or from the area (with permission, of course!). Arrange the branches in a vase of water and enjoy! Every few days you may need to switch them out, but they’ll look far better than the cheap ones do! Here’s my recent attempt to add some greenery to my dining area ~

The very next morning while I was walking, I found a beautiful tree branch that had fallen from a tree on the street and was on the side of the road. I picked it up and carried it home with me and here’s where its new home is…

I look forward to finding some branches with colored leaves in the weeks ahead. I may not always have fresh branches in my vases, but I’ll definitely look for fresh more often!

Take a look around you and consider fresh greenery for fall, and even in winter. Those trees and bushes that need a little trim could add just the right touch to mantles and table scapes!

Have you ever used branches from your yard to add green touches around your home?

Consider refreshing your indoor greenery by keeping it real!

Here’s how I “minimalized” my home last year after reading The Cozy Minimalist. Be sure to scroll down and see the side by side before and after pictures!

Fall · Home decor · seasonal decor

Fall Touches Around My Home

Rather than inundating my rooms with pumpkins and fall foliage, I’m only adding a few touches of fall around my home right now. I’m really trying to just pick out of my own resources things that are fall colors, textures and fragrances. I love the Yankee candle pictured above. It’s Sweet Maple Chai and smells just like fall.

The candle sits on my kitchen counter and beside it is my tiered stand. I keep a salt pillar in there for my cooking. I chose my orange Fiesta ware cup, to add another touch of fall and it sits beside a tiny ceramic pumpkin. This is an example of using my daily dishes and accents that just happen to be the right color!

I love this mint plant because it looks so realistic. The green against the colors of the orange cup and pumpkin are perfect for this time of year since there’s plenty of green still in our yards.

Of course my chalkboards are some of my favorite ways to “decorate” for any season!

The bike drawing below was done for summer,e but I loved it so much that I decided to just change out the colors of the flowers in the basket and add some fall leaves all around.

My mantle has a branch of bittersweet and a little pumpkin. The taper candles’ jewel tone also speaks of autumn.

Fall wreaths welcome our guests and also the family who come in through the garage door (in the next photo).

My sweet husband brought me yellow roses this week “to go along with my fall decor.” Love him!

I’ll still be adding a little more in the way of throws and pillows, but that’s about it! Simplicity is the name of my game this year! I’m holding out for Christmas, which is just around the corner!

Refresh your fall decor with colors and textures,