12.09.2011

It's that most wonderful time of the year again...

Last year I did a horrible job preparing for Christmas. I'm pretty sure I started AND finished my shopping on the 24th. Yes, that's right, of December.
Utter Craziness.
This year, I'm determined to have everything done BEFORE Josh finishes up his finals, which means I have until next weekend to get it done.
Today, I am hoping to finish up my shopping (which I already started online last week),
and as for my decorations.....
well, I'll show you!
The first year Josh and I got married, I bought two evergreen wreaths from the tree lot and probably blew about $30 on them. At the end of the season, I pulled all of the greenery brownery out of the wire forms, and I have been reusing the forms every year to make my own. They're really simple to do, and it's saved us a ton of money on wreaths since you can usually get free cuttings from the tree farms. Our tree farm was kind enough to oblige us with some branches again this year, and I found the berries, the holly, and whatever those spikey red things are all growing in the woods around the house. Pop on a wired ribbon bow, and you have an economical, natural, and pretty decoration for the front door!

So come on in...
Since our front door is glass, I hung this berry wreath (from Michael's several years ago) on the inside at the same height - that way, the backs of both wreaths are hidden, and you get a little bonus color peeking through from both sides.
I have a little cabinet right next to our front door that holds all of our "Harvey" stuff.
His cabinet got decorated with some pinecones.

You can see how impressed he was...
Incidentally, in case you're wondering if we actually drank that much wine (as the jar of corks might indicate), the answer is, No, we didn't drink any of it. Someone gave me a bunch of corks to use for craft projects, and I haven't gotten around to doing anything with them yet, other than filling up random jars.
So welcome to our dining room. This apple/boxwood tree has been a family tradition for as long as I can remember. I think my Mom got the idea on a visit to Colonial Williamsburg, which is a-maaa-zing at Christmastime. I love it and have kept the tradition going in my own home.

Some more greenery and berries and Christmas-y dishes for our plate rack...
Please excuse the Santa Clause.... I'm not big on Santas, but this tray was part of my childhood, and I feel a little nostalgic about it.


Continuing with the Williamsburg theme, I always go for candles in the windows. I'm sure at one point in my life I would have loved flashing colored lights plastered all over the yard, but not now. No sir-ree, give me plain white lights on my tree and one single candle in each window or give me death.

See my little village in the background? I'm not sure where my yard guy has been lately.... things are looking a bit overgrown back there.

Moving on to the kitchen....

I added a little reminder and a quick sketch to my fridge...
...and in the hallway is my Christmas village, another childhood favorite...
A little peek into the living room...
Harvey didn't get the whole photo shoot thing.
Here's our tree, which we had so much fun picking out at a great little tree farm we found with friends...
It didn't go down without putting up a good fight.

And then, of course, it got covered with all of our special ornaments...

See Harvey running around in front of our house? :o)
Which, apparently, is located in Paris....


A Nativity ornament I made with my nephews in one of our art classes, a special hand-painted ornament from my friend Sarah, a Moravian star that was a favor at our wedding (Yes, I made them myself....yes, there were about 350 of them...yes, I have about 50 of the leftovers on my tree now....and yes, I can still make them in my sleep... :o)), and a little pewter chair that was a souvenir from our honeymoon, which was in - you guessed it - Williamsburg, VA.

A bulldog ornament for Josh, since he had a bulldog named "Beth" before he ever met me (he named her after the Little Women character - how could I not fall for him???), a little army man that belonged to my Dad when he was a kid and which my Papaw dug up about 7 years ago in the spot where Dad's sandbox used to be, a crystal snowflake ornament (with one branch broken off) that my Mom felt obligated to buy when I bumped into the rack at the store and about 10 of these things shattered all over the place... the store people were very nice about it since apparently these things had been shattering if people just breathed on them or spoke with too nasal-y of a voice in the general vicinity of the display, but my Mom still felt like she had to buy one.... just looking at this ornament still makes my eye start to twitch; also an "Our First Christmas" ornament (one of two identical ornaments we received as wedding gifts, both of which are on our tree), and a pewter Nativity an old Sunday school teacher gave me. You can also see the top of a beaded ornament that my great aunt made... I have a ton of these things on our tree, and I love them, because they were always on my family's trees growing up.... but Josh thinks they're hideous. We have reached a compromise - I am allowed to hang Aunt Julie's ornaments, and he is allowed to hang the Scooby Doo and Shaggy ornament with the missing arm. Give and take, that's how we roll.
Hi there! Are you bored yet? Also, Josh likes to fish.
Some little "Russian doll" ornaments I got on a mission trip to the Ukraine; another Moravian star; some handmade ornaments from family members, and finally, yes, that giant star is sporting the Mona Lisa with my face Photoshopped onto it. Here's the story.... Josh and I were going to do our own "family photos" one year, and I was setting up the camera/tripod to get the lighting and such adjusted. I sat down and snapped a practice shot of myself to make sure I liked the setup. Unfortunately, I was still getting ready, and I had hot rollers in my hair. That photo wound up being the only one where I had a "normal" looking facial expression, but I didn't know what to do with the curlers.... Not being a whiz at Photoshop at that time, I made a few attempts to switch my face out with the weird faces in the normal-hair photos. Needless to say, they flopped, so I started fooling around and this is what I wound up with.... I e-mailed it to a friend as a joke, and she presented me with this ornament when Christmas rolled around....

And no, you'll never know what I'm smiling about either....
:o)

OK, so enough with the ornament tour already... back to the big stuff....

Here's my big homemade wreath. I added a little gold bling to this one to match the ribbons and mantle greenery, but other than that, it's got the same natural elements as the wreath on the front door.

And speaking of natural elements, look what I found in one of the free cuttings from the tree farm...

This tiny bird's nest was tucked into one of the branches I picked up! I carefully pulled it loose when we got home, sprayed it with some clear acrylic sealer, and added it to my little nest collection in my studio.... Since I didn't have any tiny eggs lying around, I took a little egg-shaped pebble I found at the beach and used my rubber alphabet stamps to write a little message - "hope"... It reminds me of that Emily Dickinson poem that begins with, "Hope is the thing with feathers..."

But back to Christmas-y things...
(although hope is certainly Christmas-y).

My monster bookshelf got some more greenery and my Nativity set....
... as well as my little spinning angel candle thingy and a gorgeous bowl made for my birthday by my uber-talented brother....

"Bowl?" you say...
Oh, you mean this giant bread dough bowl! Isn't it gorgeous? It's made out of poplar, and I absolutely love it....

I had it filled with little pumpkins, gourds, and Indian corn for the fall, and now it's sporting some greenery, pinecones, berries, and Christmas balls.... I can totally see it with some mossy bits, smooth stones, and a birds' nest in the spring, and maybe filled with sand and seashells in the summer.... The possibilities are endless. Love, love, love it.

It's normally on my dining room table, but it temporarily moved to the monster bookshelf to make room for the apple tree.

My coffee table got some berries and bling...
My mirror got a tiny Nativity set I carved when I was probably in Junior High.

I made our stockings the first year we were married.... The plaid on the top of the red stocking was left over from the trim on my bridesmaids' dresses.

Even my little studio got decked out a little bit, in spite of the fact that I keep mostly "perpetual spring"-like decorations in there (like the nest collection).

So there you have it!
I hope you've enjoyed this little Christmas tour of our home....
I will be linking up this post over at The Inspired Room's Christmas Home Tours on December 12th, and again over at the Nesting Place's Christmas Tour of Homes on December 15th.
If you need some more Christmas gift ideas, please visit my Etsy Shop...


...and in all the hustle and bustle, remember the true Reason for the season....
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
- Luke 2:8-14


...Thanks for stopping by, and from our home to yours....
Have a Merry Christmas!
Linking up at:
The Inspired Room

Nesting Place

20 comments:

  1. Beautiful! Loved the tour (planning to put my tour up next week), and everything looks wonderful and Christmas-y! The bowl from Z. is beautiful. I have a carved angel blowing a horn from him on our Christmas tree (I think it started out as a necklace at that craft show we did all those years ago) and it always reminds me of our little homeschool group. :-) Good times.

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  2. your home looks amazing, i love the details...i need to settle down this week and decorate our home too...

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  3. BETH!!! I feel like I'm looking at a magazine!! Your decorations are BEYOND gorgeous!! Your homemade wreaths are BEAUTIFUL! That picture of Harvey being "impressed" is HILARIOUS!! =D He is SUCH a cute dog! Your living room is a dream. That FIREPLACE! I would LOVE to spend Christmas in that room lol!! The shot of the Christmas tree on top of someone at the tree lot is hysterical -- as is the Mona Lisa ornament!! HAHA! And that BOWL from your brother?! Ahhhh!!! OH! And I totally hung our Moravian star on my parents' tree a few days ago and reminisced about how it came from your wedding!! Wow, I feel like I could gush over this post forever!!! Love, love, love it!!!! You do Christmas BEAUTIFULLY!!

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  4. Thank you all for the kind comments and gushing. (;o), Kaysi!) Glad you enjoyed the little tour....

    Kaysi, that is Josh under the tree.... he is quite the ham. :o)

    Merry Christmas!

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  5. "wise men still seek Him"..great reminder. Merry Christmas!

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  6. Everything is beautiful from your wreath you made on your front door to your little chalk board drawing on the fridge to your hand carved nativity to your stockings! I love all the personal touches in your decor! And the bowl made by your brother...to die for! :) Thanks for all the inspiration! ;)

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  7. Your centerpiece and plate rack are beautiful!

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  8. What a beautiful job you've done! I'd love for you to link up with my Christmas Photo Scavenger Hunt. Today's prompt is wreath. Just let me know which one of these fabulous wreaths you'd like to enter into the hunt. Hope to see you there!

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  9. Very pretty;love what you have done! Good idea on the wreath!

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  10. Beth... your home is amazing! It is warm and cozy and welcoming and beautiful. Love Harvey's cabinet... too cute! I love all the ornaments and the stories. We are the same way with ornaments. We love them with a story! Such a sweet little bird nest you found. Did you spray it with a sealer so it would 'stick' and stay together? I had never thought of that before! Your home is full of special touches. I just love that. Thanks for the wonderful tour! :)

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  11. Thank you all for stopping by and for the nice comments! Glad you enjoyed the tour!

    Jennifer - I did spray the nest with a clear matte acrylic sealer. Partly to help preserve it, and also to help kill any little critters that might be lurking in it. :o) I've done that with all of my other nests so far, and it seems to help hold them together too.

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  12. Your home is so beautiful and I've enjoyed my tour.
    Be a sweetie,
    shelia ;)

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  13. WOW!!! It looks so great. I love how cozy it seems.

    Love your canister of wine corks, the shelves look perfect, and everything else is great!

    Merry Christmas!

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  14. It all looks wonderful!

    I love the wine corks in the canister, the shelves look amazing, and everything looks so cozy.

    Great job.

    Merry Christmas!

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  15. Your living room looks so inviting and festive. I love how you have incorporated lots of sentimental and traditional touches around your home. I enjoyed visiting.

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  16. Everything looks so pretty! I'm totally smitten with that boxwood apple tree!!! Any chance of posting a tutorial for it?! :)

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  17. Kindred spirits on the tartan ribbon, pewter and silver, and not so high on santa bit ;O). Loved the tour.

    Thx,
    RubberChickenGirl

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  18. {Hi Sugarplum!} - I'm sorry for just now responding... Anyway, the apple tree is very simple, but it does require a special stand made for the apples - which we found at Colonial Williamsburg (it's basically a rack with rings in it in a pyramid shape - they make them for cupcakes too, but this one is specifically for the apple tree). You just place the apples in the rings, then stuff the empty spaces with boxwood clippings! Maybe next year I'll post some photos since I missed it this past Christmas. We had a crazy month!

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