Christmas 2014 House Tour

I, like most of you, have been very busy the last few weeks decorating, entertaining, shopping, wrapping presents, cleaning.  You get the idea.  I wanted to share some photos of my home decorated for Christmas before it was too late!

Please enjoy this little tour of my decorated home.  I am not going to comment much.  I am hoping the photos will tell the story. 

With the exception of the wreath on the front door, which was a gift from family members, (I made the bow) all the designs are either arranged or created by me.  I apologize ahead of time for the quality of some of the photos. I'm hoping Santa will bring me a nice new camera for Christmas.  But, until then, I'll do my best with what I have :).  (I guess that's a good motto for life, isn't it?)

My husband suggested I put a sheet on the outside of my window in order to get the best light exposure.  I argued with him, but in the end, it was the only way I could get any kind of picture of this area.

I wanted you to see that I do actually have a nice view outside my kitchen window.

 I added this photo because everyone who comes into my house absolutely loves this arrangement.  It looks better in person, of course.

I found this sign at a gift shop and since it corresponded well with my company's tag line, "bringing joy and beauty to home and office", I bought it.  I love the sentiment anyway.
I Wish All of You a Very Merry Christmas!

Decorating the Front Entry for Christmas

The front entry of your home is usually the place that first greets your guests.  At Christmastime, it becomes the perfect space for lovely holiday decoration. I was asked to decorate this front entry for Christmas last week.  So, I thought it would be fun to take you through some of the process.

Here is the list of materials used:

                            Two Black Plastic Garden Urns
                            One 25' Length Garland of Fresh Greens
                            One 16" Fresh Wreath
                            Three Sets of Christmas White Lights
                                     1 Set of 100 Lights for the Garland
                                                        2 Sets of 50 Lights for the Urns
                                          Red Purchased Branches
                            Natural Branches from the Yard
                            Burgundy Red Ribbon
                                          Fresh Greens
                            Variety of Artificial Red and Burgundy Berries

As you can see, this was a fresh canvas with which to start, very clean and traditional.

I found these garden urns at Lowes.  They were the only affordable choices available in my area at this time of year but , they worked out wonderfully.  I also purchased a fresh 25' long evergreen garland to drape over the front door.  Before putting it in place, I intertwined a set of 100 electric lights into the garland.

The urns were moved out a bit from the front door.  Visually, I thought it looked better this way.

Next I needed to create a receptacle for the greenery that would be added to the urns.  I used some flower pots from the yard.  Since they didn't fit perfectly, some wood spacers were added to stabilize the pot.

The wreath was embellished with a handmade burgundy red bow {made by me :)} and Christmas artificial berries, very subtle but lovely.

For the urns I placed branches in the center with fresh greens arranged around the bowl of the urn.  I used a variety of greens including spruce, pine and boxwood.  Using a variety gives texture to the arrangement.  At this point I added the two 50 set of electric lights running them up the branches in the center of the arrangement.  Finally pinecones and artificial red berries were added for color and interest.

Naturally pretty!

The finished product....almost!

I added two bows in the corners of the door garland.

Now the finished product...almost...

Finally the lights!  Now it's finished...except for hiding the extension cords :)  That would have to wait until later.  It was late and cold by that point.  Better to wait until tomorrow.
Happy Decorating!

Fake Fur Wreath Inspiration

Sorry it has been a while since my last post.  Holidays!  You know how it is!  Thanksgiving immediately became the Christmas season and now it's time to bring out the Christmas decorations.  In fact, today I started decorating the inside of my house.  (I spent previous days decorating the outside.  Busy, busy!)  The inside of my house is in that terribly messy stage right now.  The one where you have boxes of decorations piled up and it makes you feel like your house is never going to look pretty again!  So, for that reason, I am unable to show any photos of finished rooms yet but, I did want to share these interesting wreaths that I found at Homegoods a few weeks ago and how they have inspired me.

I thought these fur wreaths were so cool.  I just had to have them. So, I purchased two!  They turned out to be the inspiration for my entry hall this year.

Next I went searching for ribbon.  I found this burgundy ribbon at Cataldo's in Littleton but there were only 1 1/2 yards left of it.  Therefore, I decided to tie it sling style.  Still feeling like the wreaths needed something else I found some rhinestone pins in my jewelry box and voila!

Loving this look, I was spurred on to design my entry hall around the fur wreaths.  I decided to go with a hunting lodge theme.

I found feathers at Michael's and added some to this swag I had made a few years ago.  I was getting on a roll!
And, then I remembered these antlers.  They were a treasured possession of my husband's.  His dad had given them to him years and years ago.  I found them in a dusty corner of the basement where I had hidden them a long time ago.  They used to gross me out but, I figured they were decades old and I might as well use them since antlers are now in and they would go perfectly with my new theme.  I hope to share the finished room with you but until then, Happy Decorating!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am sharing a photo of my three-arrangement centerpiece for my Thanksgiving table.  No time to post all the other photos.  I'm hosting Thanksgiving this year.  Lots and lots of cooking and baking.  I'll try to post them later in the weekend.  Enjoy your day with friends and family!

Harvest Centerpiece

I had an over-abundance of flowers from a Halloween project I was doing so, I used the extra flowers to make another harvest arrangement.  Normally, I wouldn't have chosen white flowers to go in a harvest design but, they were there and I thought, "Why not?"  To my surprise, I kind of liked the outcome.  It was a little unexpected.  I found the interesting dark brown pods in my garden.  They are what is left from my spent Siberian Iris.  I added them to give the arrangement a different kind of texture.  I'm sure there are similar things in your garden you could use also.

My advice is to never throw away any leftover flowers.  Always try to find uses for them.  I happened to have many leftover blossoms and was able to make a fairly large arrangement but even if I hadn't, I would have made a smaller design or a nosegay or two.  Nosegays are always fun and they are great to give a friend as a "thinking of you" gift.

Happy Halloween!

I had so much fun with these pumpkin and gourd arrangements, I just had to post a few more designs.  Check out my "White Pumpkin Arrangement" post for directions on how to make similar centerpieces. 

I was going to leave the lid off of one of the gourd arrangements simply for variety but, they were so cute I just couldn't resist using the lids every time!
If you are still able to get pumpkins and gourds after Halloween in your area, these arrangements would be great used on your Thanksgiving table.
Happy Halloween and Happy Trick-or-Treating!

My Last Rose of Summer

I was on my deck the other day and saw that there was a rose blooming on the bush that a very good friend of mine gave me on my birthday way back in January.  Somehow, I didn't kill it over the winter and decided to put the small bush in a pot and place it on my back deck for the summer.  Since June it has been blooming, not profusely, but blooming none-the-less.  I was thrilled because whenever I looked at the rose bush, it reminded me of my friend. We have been friends for over twenty years and I felt the rose blooms were a testimonial to our friendship.

Knowing that I was going to be away this week, I decided to share the picture of my rose and perhaps share a few rose facts I found in various flower books from my library.  I thought it would be fun!  Here goes:

Just for basic information, roses need at least 6 hours of sunlight daily, morning sun is the best because it dries up moisture on the leaves reducing the chance of disease and spotting.  If summer heat is very strong, roses will do better with some afternoon shade.  Miniature and climbing roses do not need as much sunlight as other varieties.  Protecting them from the wind with a hedge or fence is also a good idea.

Newspaper soaked with water works well as a mulch for roses. Place a 16-page depth of newspapers under your rose bushes and then top with pine bark or some other kind of compost.  This will hold in the moisture, help with weed control and encourage earthworms to the soil.
Spread a 1/2 cup of epsom salts around the base of a mature rose bush and the color of the blooms will be more intense.  Do this in May and June to encourage blooming also.
Evidently roses like the tannic acid in tea.  So, why not try sprinkling some tea leaves under your bushes along with some water and see if you get bigger and lovelier blooms?
You should prune roses in the spring when forsythia starts to show its yellow flowers.
***One final tip, here is a recipe for spraying your roses to guard against fungal diseases.
*1-2 tablespoons baking soda/1 gallon water/a few drops of dish liquid
Spray roses once or twice a week.  This is a safe, non-chemical way to keep your roses healthier.
With the fall weather coming in, I do believe this is the last rose I will see in my yard until next spring so, I'm enjoying it!

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