Happy Holidays House Tour, Inside – 2016 (with helpful hints & tips)

 

2016 has been a rather mad year (broken foot in March, graduating my tattoo apprenticeship in July, getting married in September, hubby’s surgery in November, and that crazy election). I am very much ready for 2017, but that won’t stop me from sending 2016 out with a good time. We have so very much to be thankful for…

I scaled back just a bit this year (I know, it’s still completely over the top 🙂 We now have a smaller tree (I’ll describe what I did below) and I left a few decorations packed in the basement this time.

The table isn’t too different from last year, I did add a fuzzy leopard runner just for fun. (I had bought it at a yard sale for $5 years ago). Everything else I had, just moved things around a bit. The beautiful flowers are from Trader Joe’s. (Tip: They have the best price on flowers in town! Better than wholesale in most cases.) Everything you see has been collected from thrift stores and yard sales over the years.

The one addition to the mantle this year are the gold “pine” branches, a thrift store find from a couple months ago. (Everything on the mantle has been collected from the thrift store over the years). I usually add some fresh pine boughs but decided to stick to the fake garland this year for easier clean-up :-).

I was lucky enough to find a second set of clear bubble lights at the Goodwill this year for $3.99 (I LOVE bubble lights! I’d happily cover the house with them.) and put them on a garland by the front window. I usually put all the peacock feathers in the tree, but since we scaled down the tree this year I made a little display of them with the green balls in a vase in the corner.

I love our tree this year! A bit smaller and fits the space better. It is still covered with all our delightful Asian/Indian inspired ornaments along with feathers and new this year, flowers! (see below for a step-by-step on the tree).

Because I went so nuts on the front room, I keep the living room a bit more simple. Just my favorite pink tree and the big pink ornament. And of course flowers (Trader Joe’s again) Holiday Decor Trick!: Many places that sell fresh trees will let you take the branches they trim off the bottoms for free! I use these in my flower arrangements and outdoor pots. Just be sure and ask first if you can take them 😉

Here is the step-by-step on the tree:

Our new tree. It is a 6.5′ fakey with white led lights. I put it on top of 4 paint cans to make it taller (and keep the pups off it). Stage 2 I added 4 strings of pink lights as well as my favorite string of color-changing star lights. (Hint: wrap the light strands around the branches for a professional look). Stage 3 I layered extra bits of fabric to form a tree skirt. Next came 3 pink feather boas tucked inside the tree and a few pretty pink silk orchids. I love the way the pink feathers add a glow to the tree. Next came all the ornaments. (Hint: layer your ornaments throughout the tree, from inside by the trunk all the way to the tips, saving your nicest ornaments for the outside.) And lastly, I added some jewel-toned feathers to fill it in and top it. The only new thing this year is the tree, everything else I had from previous years or was re-purposed from other projects.

Happy Holidays everyone! I’ll post pictures of the outside tomorrow.

Holiday Decorating 2014, Part 4 of 4…Outside…It’s a Multi-Colored Good-Time Christmas, on a Serious Budget.

Here it is Part 4 of the 4-part Holiday 2014 Decorating Series…Outside! Firstly, allow me to apologize for the picture quality. I use my iPhone and it just takes crappy low-light pics. Below are pictures taken both a dusk and after dark.

I changed things up a bit outside this year, as I managed to accumulate a decent amount of multicolor light strings over the last couple of years and decided to change the front to all multicolored. Every one of these light strings came from the thrift store, many of them new in the box, and most of them only a couple bucks. That amazing lit garland over the porch? The one with all the ornaments and multicolor LED’s? Believe it or not, someone threw it away! That, along with the lit wreath on the door, were found in a near-by alley. (This garland was inside on the stairs last year.) The tree in the yard was our old Christmas tree before we upgraded to the big one we have now. The tree next to the front door was yet another fabulous alley find. All the pine cones are leftover from previous years. The only new things are some assorted pine boughs I bought, which are in the pots and along the porch’s half-wall where the bubble lights are (yes, even those were found at the thrift store.)

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Next up, the 2014 Holiday Video!

Unique Christmas Holiday Decorating, Part 3, Other Spaces…

Happy Holidays people! It’s time for the third installment of the 2014 Holiday Decor, Other Spaces! In Part 1 & Part 2  you saw the entry and main room, now for those little touches of the holiday season in other rooms of the house.

The Kitchen.

I’ve been looking for the right place to display these sweet handmade ornaments my friend Gina made, and finally figured out the perfect spot in the kitchen. I found a fun way to cover up the nails with these colorful kids plastic magnet letters spelling out “XMAS”. They are simply hung on the nails, but a dot of glue from the hot glue gun would hold the letters more securely in place. (My friend Gina also made the ceramic chicken plate on the wall, and the rest of the art above the molding is some my old painted polymer clay art work. The colorful dimensional painting below the molding is a $10 thrift store find.)

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The Living Room.

This room is a tad more modern and funky than the rest of the house, and this hot pink tree fits it perfectly. This is one of those things that is the same every year (so far.) See the DIY on those chairs here. (The painting on the right is by Sandi Calistro.)

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The Master Bedroom.

I like to have just a little Holiday touch in the bedroom for us to enjoy. This is new (well, recycled) this year. All the bits were on a little fake white tree I’d had for years that just wasn’t looking so hot anymore, so I took all of the bits off and tossed the tree. I strung up the sparkly garland over the mirror and hung some of the ornaments from that, and put all the round ornaments in a silver dish. It’s subtle and elegant and suits the bedroom well.

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That’s it for the inside of the house! Next time, Part 4: the Outside. (And I promise a Holiday Decor Video soon as well!)

Elegant, Unique, and Sorta Victorian Holiday Decorating, Part 2, Christmas in the Main Room.

Welcome to Part 2 of my yearly Holiday Decorating series, the Main Room! This is the room we go all-out in. It’s in the front of the house and can be seen from the sidewalk, and is where we wind up doing the majority of the entertaining, so it’s where most of the madness happens for every holiday.

I really didn’t add anything new, just a couple odds and ends I picked up at the thrift store since last season and some new glittered ribbons. If anything I actually toned it down a bit from last year. I do like to change it up a bit every year, using things in different spaces and in different ways, leaving some things in storage, and finding new goodies from my “stash” of supplies to add to the mix. Moving things around is the key to keeping it fresh and fun.

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Coming into the main room from the entry.

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To the right as you walk in the room.

I kept it simple here, using the ornamental cabbage I already had in the white pots for Thanksgiving and adding in my old pine cones and purple balls. Nothing fancy, everything is just sitting in the pot.

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Going counter-clockwise around the room, next comes the bookcase. I simply added some pine boughs to the purple glass vase collection that live there most of the year as well as a couple candles. I hung our stocking (it’s just the two of us big kids so we share one) on the book shelve this year, and put a pine branch behind it. I still love this wacky stocking. I found it years ago at the thrift store.

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Next comes the mantle. It is very similar to last year, just toned down a bit. I used fresh mixed pine boughs instead of the faux garland and added in a new gold glitter ribbon. It has an Old World feel that I really like.

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Daytime mantle.

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Mantle at night.

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Display case to the left of the mantle.

I had some fun creating a little vignette in the display case to the left of the mantle. I put monochromatic ornaments in the glass jars (the same ones that had candy in them for Halloween) and added a little purple light-up tree from the thrift store, some purple glittered ribbon, and a few pine cones. I also added some fresh pine greens and cones around the candle on the little stool in front of the case.

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Next comes the tree. Again, it is very similar to last year, just toned down a bit. The one new addition is the teal ostrich feathers (the same ones I used on the stairs.) I still love our Bohemian India-Asia themed tree with all it’s feathers and unusual ornaments. I do want to get more of the glittered ribbon to add to it.

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Here are a few more shots of the room. I’m very happy with it this year!

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One of my favorite things, the giant gold ornaments hung from the chandelier (purchased at the thrift store a couple years ago).

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Looking into the main room from the living room.

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Next time in part 3, the funky stuff in the Other Spaces!

Elegant, Unique & Sorta Victorian Holiday Decorating (On the Cheap of Course), Part 1 of 4: the Entry

The Holiday decorating is finally done! It only took me 3 days this year 😉 I really didn’t add anything new, just a couple odds and ends I picked up at the thrift store since last season and some new glittered ribbons. I do like to change it up a bit every year, using things in different spaces and in different ways, leaving some things in storage, and finding new goodies from my “stash” of supplies to add to the mix. Moving things around is the key to keeping it fresh and fun.

Today for Part 1 I’ll share the Entry Way. (The Main Room, the Outside, and Other Spaces are coming to the blog soon!)

I actually toned it down considerably from last year, when I had the stairs done in ornament-packed multicolor garland (which is now outside, you’ll see it soon!) This year, I stuck with my jewel-toned decor and just made a few subtle changes. I still used my favorite decorating trick, peacock feathers (sooo cheap and what a great visual impact! Find them in bulk on Ebay), but added some dyed teal ostrich feathers left over from a big party decorating job I did a couple years ago, as well as a new wired purple glitter ribbon I fell in love with.

Instead of adding tons of feathers all up and down the garland like I usually do, I just used them in groupings at the newel posts and center point. They are simply tucked into the garland (this is the same garland I’ve been using for about 7 years now, purchased half-off at Target the day after Christmas.) At the bottom of the stairs I also added a couple of strings of big purple Mardi Gras beads from my supply stash that I acquired from a party years ago. The new purple glitter ribbon is simply added on top and held in place by the wired garland.

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The view upon entering the front door.

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A closer look at the stairs. That’s one of our Dogvacay guest dogs, Cleo the Weimeraner, towards the top of the steps.

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Here’s a close-up of the newel post. Yes, that is a taxidermy peacock “Herman” to the right, one of my most prized possessions. He “lives” there year-round.

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This is at the bottom of the stairs, just to the left of the front door. The big lamp is simply adorned with a bit of gold glittered ribbon (I used more of it in the main room) and a sprig of fresh pine. In the mirror is a “sneak-preview” of the Main Room, coming to the blog next!

Holiday Decorating: It’s in the Details, Like FREE Pine Boughs (Here’s Where to Get Them)

This post is #100! Thanks for celebrating this milestone with me. Enjoy!

Nothing screams “It’s Christmas-time!” quite like the fresh boughs of the humble pine tree. Green, needle-y and great-smelling. I used to buy a big box of cut mixed pine boughs every year. They are beautiful, but pricey. Last time I checked a box was $40, and that’s wholesale! I swore to forgo the greens this year. Problem was, I missed them. Then it hit me. The tree lots all over town are always cutting off the bottom branches. What happens to them? They usually go in a big box and get tossed out or composted. But if you bat your big eyelashes and ask real nice-like, they will probably let you have some. Do note that not all lots will give away the boughs. Some sell them as well, and some just aren’t so nice, but it’s worth visiting a couple lots if you have to. I got lucky at my local Whole Foods. They had a big bin of boughs and told me I could have as much as I wanted. I went back twice 😉 (Note: this was the Cap Hill Whole Foods. I asked at the Cherry Creek store and well, they weren’t as nice). The WF trees are locally grown (at least here in Colorado) and so are very fresh and long-lasting. (Do be warned that, just like a fresh tree, as they dry out they drop needles!) I’ve got boughs all over the house. It smells great and is, obviously, rather festive. Here are some ideas for using fresh pine boughs:

Use in flower arrangements instead of or in addition to regular greens.

Tuck into plants.

Tie a few together with a pretty ribbon and hang on your door, on the backs of dining chairs, or any vertical surface that needs some cheer.

Lay a few along your dining table, bar or buffet.

Is your holiday tree a little thin? Tuck in a few boughs to fill it out.

Wrap them around vases, candles, & plant pots.

Make your own fresh wreath or garland.

Weave around a chandelier (just keep it away from the sockets).

Lay along window sills with pine cones and lights.

Here’s what I did with my free pine boughs…

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In flower arrangements.

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Tucked into houseplants. (This one also has a couple bird clip ornaments, a few feathers, and a little velvet deer.)

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Hung on the curtains.

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Boughs tied together with ribbon. (This one is on our back porch door.)

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In a vase, here with some peacock feathers.

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Under a candle.

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Laid along the dining table.

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An unexpected spot, here tucked into a tall lamp.

Get some boughs and get creative! Happy Holidays!

My Holiday Decor Video, as Promised.

Here is the video of our holiday decorations as promised. You’ll see my infamous bubble lights and ornament spinners in action, and the funky assortment of ornaments on our Asian/India-inspired tree. (FYI the spinning ornaments featured in the video are all hand-blown/painted Polish glass purchased at Neiman Marcus Last Call during the big pre-Thanksgiving sale for an average of $10 each. They retail around $50. I get a new one or two every year.) You can see the blog on the mantle HERE and the blog on the tree HERE. The video is all shot on my iphone, I know it’s a bit shaky, so be kind, I did the best I could. (It was edited in iMovie) Now if Santa would just bring me the Cannon 5d Mark II camera I want, my pictures and videos would be much improved 😉

Enjoy! and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!