Home decor · refreshment at home · spring

Spring Decor Refresh

Spring is a time of freshness, new life and so much beauty. Our homes can reflect all those characteristics simply by adding a few simple touches. I love to shop around my yard and my house for those items. I try to keep it light and airy with not too much on tables and shelves.

I have mentioned before that using fresh greens is so much better than buying fake plants – unless they really look real.

Here are a few vignettes that I added this week…

Bar counter tiered stand. Boxwood limbs and lemons add the pop of yellow and some fresh greens.
The succulent on the bottom tier is artificial, but the real ones look artificial, too, so I’m happy with this little pot.

The entryway needs a fresh welcome. Greens, some chocolate to share with guests, and my guest book all rest on the entry table.

My little church chalkboard is the message I want all my guests to do!
I broke my fake flower rule here, but they do look pretty real., so they’ll work until my roses begin to bloom again!
Kitchen table

A bamboo tray on the kitchen table holds a darling tea pot from a sweet friend, a succulent, a tray of encouraging quotes from another dear friend, and the salt and pepper. Small baskets like this are so versatile!

Coffee Table

To my wooden decorative balls, I added some moss covered balls. I made these for less than $3 with items from the Dollar Tree. Styrofoam balls, hot glue and Reindeer moss were used to make them. So easy! I’m going to be on the lookout for a small strand of tiny white battery operated lights to add to this bowl. I think they’d add the perfect touch!

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I removed the mirror from the mantle and changed it out with the old window, just for something different. I added branches from the backyard for greenery and then used only white decor. Something about green and white just feels fresh!

I love these curly branches!

What do you love adding to your decor in the spring? Maybe some of you had to add a snow shovel to your front porch this week when that cold front blew through! Crazy weather! Here’s to warmer temps and some lovely vignettes!

We have some super-fun plans for this weekend I can’t wait to share with you! Hope you have something fun planned, too!

Home decor · refreshment at home

My Cozy Minimalist Family Room Makeover

Myquillin Smith’s book, The Cozy Minimalist has helped me to transform yet another room in my house. You may remember my living room makeover that was completed at this time last year. You can find that post here. The transformation made such a difference and created a space we still love so much.

Soooo, I was very excited to move to our bonus room upstairs to give it some much needed minimalizing. What is crazy is that we called it the Family Room, but our family spent little time up there because it just wasn’t inviting. All the leftover pieces of furniture got put there and it just didn’t flow. I’ll prove it by this embarrassing Before photo…

It pains me to even look at this before photo!

First, I want to say that I prayed about how I wanted to use this room. and I also prayed the Lord would give me wisdom to purchase what was needed and stay in a budget that I had saved for. Use:

  1. We wanted to have groups of people – our family, small group Bible study, folks we would counsel and also guests. We needed good seating, and a place for coffee cups or tea glasses.
  2. I also wanted a place where my grandsons could play and join me for Bible Club.
  3. My husband needed a spot that was good for rest and relaxation; a place to watch football
  4. I wanted and a place where we could be together in the evenings

When I decided to redo the room, I used a beautiful horse painting we were given by the dear man who painted it to guide my colors and style! It’s quite large and I could never find a spot to hang it. Now it’s the centerpiece of the room. I painted the wall behind it a deep blue to accent the colors in the painting and make it “pop.”

One new piece I purchased was a love seat. I looked everywhere for one I loved and finally found one at Robert’s Furniture Store in Greeneville, TN. The sales rep there was so helpful! I couldn’t be happier with our Made in America purchase!

Here’s the first peek at the room…

Per the clear and precise guidance of The Cozy Minimalist, I emptied the room of everything except the big pieces to “quiet” the room. Then I could really focus on what I felt the room needed.

Our sofa was about 25 years old and I was ready for something I was in love with. I sent it to another home where it’s being put to good use because it’s still in perfect condition! Then I went to Facebook Marketplace and searched for a replacement. When I found a white slip covered sofa in perfect condition I knew that’s what I wanted. She was asking more than I felt I wanted to spend. I prayed about it and offered her less. She took it!

Part of the way through the redecorating

Again, following the advice in The Cozy Minimalist, I purchased my rug before choosing paint. These had all the perfect colors from the horse painting and is large enough to go under the sofa and chairs.

The leather Ottoman came from a store in Brevard, NC – MANtiques. I wanted the room to feel masculine and like a library kind of feel, and when I found the leather Ethan Allen ottoman, I knew it would be perfect in our room. I called the store with an offer lower than the price tag. She came down a little, but it still didn’t fit in my budget. I told her I would pray about it and get back to her. The Lord gave me a price to offer. I called back and she said, “I’m happy to give it to you for that!” “Thank you, Lord!” It has storage under the lid, so it’s a great place to hold our games!

We did some furniture swapping in our house and had two chairs that worked perfectly for more seating. Shopping your own house is great and free!! The only other thing I purchased is the large round mirror over the sofa. It came from Hobby Lobby and was purchased at 50% off! I love that it reflects the painting, the blue wall and the good light from the wide window.

I’m still contemplating my curtains. I’m thinking about going with a blue.

The television armoire was built for us by my father-in-law many years ago. I love having the television tucked away from view.

I’ll end with a before and after. Simply click in the middle of the next picture to slide the picture over to reveal the whole before and after photos!

Click in the middle of the picture and slide it over to see the Before and After!

The planning, purchasing and work of the transformation took six months, but it was worth it! We have spent so much more time up there already!

Is there a room in your house you don’t use because it isn’t inviting? I urge you to consider using Myquillen Smith’s techniques. I’m clearly not a minimalist, but her step-by-step guide is so helpful in making decisions in every step of the process. You can’t even imagine how easy it makes decorating! Don’t forget to pray about each decision and let the Lord make the room a blessing for you to use for His glory!

I hope you’ll refresh a room in your house!

denise a
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?