Thursday, December 10, 2015

CHRISTMAS DECORATING & FINDING TREASURES EVERYWHERE


I hope all of your holiday plans are underway and going well.  I know so many of us are shopping, wrapping gifts, decorating and baking.  And well, if you aren't, call me over and give me a hot drink and a few cookies so we can relax and chat and feel the real spirit of Christmas.  I need the diversion!  Actually, I've been slacking off.  I get  few things done here and there and then I get immersed in a book or movie or making an involved dinner for The Husband and that is totally unnecessary.  I guess it's all about playing the relaxation thing by ear.  And procrastination, which is my middle name.   ;-)

I think I showed you the hot mess of Christmas stuff my guy and I brought up from storage last Saturday.  I've barely touched it.  When I packed everything away last January I thought I was so clever storing decorations from each room in separate bins.  That's just not working for me now.  It's just not in me to overload each and every room right now for so many reasons.  So I'm picking and choosing a few things for rooms as I peek into the bins.  It's going to be a minimal year, that's just how I'm rolling right now.

I received a text from Abigail on Tuesday that she was coming home for a few days.  Since the guest room is still sort of her room (she's been our only guest by the way), I decided to add a few little holiday touches here and there in her, errr...guest room.  I kept it a little whimsical with a bright red throw, a simple wreath above the bed, a reindeer pillow and greenery around the window with candy canes hanging off it.  She was always my 'candy cane kid".  To this day, as fast as I can get them on our Christmas tree, they simply disappear.  And we know who the sweet tooth culprit is.  So she has her own supply in her window.   



The dresser has a little bowl of colorful ornaments and a mini Charlie Brown Tree. It has a lone red ornament and that little blue blanket wrapped around the bottom, just like in the classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas.  I found this at Kohl's years ago and I love it.  I also found some weird little green sticks at Michael's that smell so much like a real fir tree.  I poked some here and there in the room and it smells like a freshly cut tree. I think she was honestly impressed and happy that we did this for her.  She works a 10-12 hour day teaching and it's finals time.  She also coaches 11th grade girls basketball and some games take them all over the city and she might not get home until after 9:00 p.m.  I know she's young but she's also exhausted.  Having her old familiar room (albeit it much neater), I hope, is a sanctuary for her.  



I did a little work on my mantel.  I'm doing a sort of winter wonderland tree theme.  I had everything nailed until I came to a little empty space.  I wanted to keep things neutral and the only thing I had on hand was this little old tree that I can't even remember using in recent years.  I looked up my friend, Sherry, at Thrift My House.  She recently gave a tutorial on how to 'flock' a tree with ingredients you have on hand.  You can see it here.  Alas, I had everything but shaving foam.  The Husband uses the old fashioned mug, bar of soap and little brush.  Gramps.  Ha!  So I remembered a little box of craft things I had and sure enough, I had a can of white spray paint.  



After a few wickedly cold trips out to the garage and 1000 coats of paint, I had this.  I hope it doesn't look too lame.  The look on my mantel is white so I wanted to keep that.  And don't worry, no trees were killed in the process of decorating the mantel.  :)



Some things show up in the most  unsuspected places.  In our storage room downstairs (Emily's old room) there is a closet.  I lifted up a few odds and ends and found a box filled with various holiday pieces from years ago that I had forgotten about.  And here was my swan.  He used to be out year round and one year I tied a ribbon around his neck and we were perfect for Christmas.  I don't know how I forgot about him but I can honestly say, it was a happy moment.  It's not anything really special to anyone but me, but aren't these little things close to our hearts, the little touches and secrets (like making a guest room a wonder filled and merry place for a certain someone), sometimes the greatest gifts of all?



I did a little bit in the den, too.  Just a few months ago it was a dark dreary room with old Victorian style wallpaper and outdated furniture.  We simply didn't use it at all.  Now it's my favorite little room.  I read, watch TV and use my laptop in here.  I added a lantern with a Christmas candle on a cabinet, a little boxwood wreath on the wall, the little swan, and this berry garland on the French door that leads to a hallway.  I'm learning that less is more.  After 30 years!  Ha!



Today Emily called me last minute, she had to pick up some holiday gift certificates in a little area not far from us near the Metra train that goes downtown.  There are a few streets around here that have many independently owned shops; everything from coffee, antique and gift shops, to bookstores and art galleries   A sort of 'small town' life right here in Chicago.  After getting her gifts and a stop at a little Italian deli where I needed a few dinner things, we popped into a little consignment/second hand shop and my eyes gravitated to these wrought iron tree sculptures.  They are a minimum 24 inches high and very heavy.  And the shocker---$10 for the set of two.  I've never been in this shop and can't wait to go back.  I saw a few other things that I think would be perfect for the lakehouse.  And by the way, I know I haven't  brought you up to date much on the progress there, mostly because there has been no progress, but we are in week three of the demolition aspect.  I am so beyond happy.  I pray that by the time the warmer weather comes that we have heat and plumbing and we can go up on weekends and do our outdoor thing.  Oh, how I miss that place!



I've never been able to get a good sunset picture here, the trees and homes and power lines get in the way.  I happened to see this vivid pink sky about 5 p.m. last night when I let the dogs out into the backyard.  The photo doesn't do it justice.  Our temps have been in the 50's, maybe that's why we had such a beautiful sky.  How pretty can it get?

I wish I could catch the Christmas Home Tour train but I'm just a little too slow.  I do love looking at all of the blogs participating, I get so many ideas!  Thanks to those who share, you are all incredible!

Happy Holidays!

Jane x

52 comments:

Art and Sand said...

Boy, can I relate to your daughter - teaching and coaching. I don't miss the long hours.

I love the little touches you have added. I kept looking at the picture of the tree sitting on top of the old window and my brain is twirling with some ideas for an old window I have on hand.

laurie said...

you're not the first person I have heard to say they are keeping things more minimal this year,, mmmmm, I wonder whats up with that,, I LOVE that swan and your painted tree is lovely,, you have such a wonderful relationship with you r children, that in itself is a gift!

Stacey said...

Hi Jane. I think what you've done looks great and you know what...that's about as much as I always do. I'm totally with the Christmas spirit but too much clutter bugs me. How many times have you heard me say that? Anyway, things stand out more if there's not too much.

Abigail will love what you've done with her room. :)

Debbie Freitag said...

Your Christmas décor is perfect! I love your guest room. I am in the same mindset as you. I haven't even pulled out my boxes yet but I picked up some swags at home depot and after I put them around the house I almost felt like that was all I need! I like the less is more idea! I was driving home on I294 last night and saw that amazing sky. It was over O'Hare airport and it was really pretty. I wanted to take a picture but I'm not very coordinated when it comes to taking pics while driving! I love all the Christmas home tours as well but I think I'm spending too much time reading all those blogs and not enough time decorating my own house! At least I'm making time to get some baking done!

Bluebird49 said...

I love minimal more and more, and it's been that way a good while now. I do love to see other places decorated, but I just haven't seemed to be inclined to do much here. Hubby doesn't want to move boxes and furniture, etc. anymore, and I just don't have the energy, I guess. Hope it will come back someday!
I know Abigail loves her new room. And I love the Charlie Brown tree... seems I've seen a few this year. Your idea for your own flocked tree was great Jane. The perfect mount of paint. :)
It's looking a lot like Christmas at the Blondie house and it's looking good!
Trudy xx

Lorrie said...

As a teacher (part time) I can relate to your daughter's exhaustion. I'm counting the days until the 18th! You are the sweetest mama to make her (oops, the guest) room a beautiful retreat for her.
Making do is a good way to use up stuff. Your tree looks great!

Val said...

How pretty! Simple is best, I find myself thinking more and more.

I taught school briefly and well-remember the looooooooong hours--and that the work doesn't stop once you get home; it's more just a change of scenery as you begin the next round of it. I hope she enjoys every relaxing bit of her vacation!! She'll love her room, I'm sure. :)

Pink sunsets are the best, and photos rarely capture them. What a wonder, though!! ♥

It's me said...

Hi Jane....enjoy the season love from me ....Ria x❤️

Courtney@Golden Boys and Me said...

Hi Jane. I admire the slow and enjoyable pace that you are taking this year with your holiday decor. How wonderful that you found that box of "lost" Christmas treasures just at the right time of year. I would have found it in July and then forgotten about it again by December. Love that swan. And it looks like the painted white tree was a success too!!

deb @ frugal little bungalow said...

You did a great job with that little flocked tree..it looks wonderful. I love that swan!

Theresa said...

The sky has been SO pretty but I have trouble getting a good picture where my house sits! I have left lots of Christmas tubs packed up! It just wasn't in me to put it ALL out:) Have a blessed day and I know you are looking forward to your special guest:) HUGS!

Simply LKJ said...

Love all the little touches. Our youngest arrived home yesterday. Decorated early as I hosted a large gathering on Monday.

Sonny G said...


Love your holiday bedroom and that reindeer pillow is just too dang cute~!!
Holiday Blessings to you and your family.
Sonny

podso said...

You are a good mom. It's obvious you care deeply for your children. Your house looks very festive, the sunset is glorious, and I'm happy to hear there is progress at the lake.

Penny @ The Comforts of Home said...

Things are looking perfectly festive at your home. I am glad you found your swan...it's beautiful!

Greatfull Dazeez said...

Look how green your grass is! And the sunset was su pretty. Mother Nature gives us gifts all year long!

Kim said...

Hi Jane! I used to cover every surface with Christmas stuff, but lately, I am going minimal and I really like it. When I go into shops or see people's home filled with treasures, I still love that, but in my own place, lately less is more. I totally get where your daughter is right now. As a former teacher, I can remember the craziness of this time of year. I'm sure your daughter will love coming home to a little comfort!

Deserae said...

I love all your touches of Christmas sprinkled thru out! My husband always eats all the candy canes off our tree too! LOL!!!!
Have a great weekend!!!
~Des

Shirley said...

Hi Jane, I have been trying to catch up with friends this morning. I don't do a lot of decorating because I go to the kids house. This year my oldest will be flying in Christmas Eve for a few days. My Christmas present is having all of the kids together for Christmas. I would love to have a car back because I hate relying on other people. The soreness and losing independence has been the bummers. Have a very Happy Merry Christmas. Your grand daughter is so cute. Hugs and Prayers from Your Missouri Friend Shirley

Lisa @ Texas Decor said...

I think you've done a beautiful job of decorating. I'm trying to get with the whole "less is more" thing too. It's sure going to be nice when it's time to box it all up and I don't have a million things out. :) I love those wrought iron trees and what a deal! Enjoy your weekend and stay warm!

Susan Freeman said...

I think your Christmas decorating touches are really lovely.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Vel Criste said...

I still think everything in your home is coming along beautifully dear. I have a Charlie Brown Christmas tree in my son's room!

Town and Country Gals said...

Jane,
sometimes, less is more, that's gonna work for me also since I've been in CA for the last 3 weeks, going home tomorrow. What I get done will be fine, not going to worry about it! I love opening a box of Christmas stuff and seeing something I love but have totally forgotten about! It's kind of like getting a surprise present!
I know you'll have a fun time with your daughter home, she's going to love the Christmas touches you've added to her room!
Merry Christmas
Rebecca

Primitive Stars said...

Hi Jane, love your sweet trees, your decorating looks wonderful. I'm trying to keep it simple but is not always easy. Blessings Francine.

Benita Roberts said...

Well, you've seen my decor and minimal is working for me! And from what I've seen, it's working for others this year also! Love the decorations in your, er, guest bedroom ;-). The bedding is beautiful and I do love your hardwood floors. I'm finding I prefer relaxing to the hustle and bustle of it all. If I'm not careful, I find that I turn into a regular Grinch, so I back off from the crowds when I feel that coming on. LOVE that pink sky...sunsets are always so amazing with the vibrant colors, don't you think?! And your tree looks so pretty with the "faux flocking"...you did a good job...come do mine so that I don't make a mess of it all! :-) f you come over, I will make sure you have some eggnog! ;-) Hugs to you sweet friend!! Hope you enjoy this coming weekend!

Junkchiccottage said...

Hi Jane,
I am keeping things very low key this year too. I am liking my soft and serene simple look too. Love all your pretty decor.
Kris

Doreen@househoneys said...

It seems minimal is 'in' this year. Who knew we would be so on trend? ;)

Abby sounds a lot like her mom. Busy and productive. The apple didn't fall far from that tree ;).

I think you did a great job with the little tree. Sarissa bought fisherman one of those old fashioned shaving sets from J. PETERMAN, but he never uses it. I'll send it to your hubby.

XXX

Doreen@househoneys said...

It seems minimal is 'in' this year. Who knew we would be so on trend? ;)

Abby sounds a lot like her mom. Busy and productive. The apple didn't fall far from that tree ;).

I think you did a great job with the little tree. Sarissa bought fisherman one of those old fashioned shaving sets from J. PETERMAN, but he never uses it. I'll send it to your hubby.

XXX

Kathy Moreland said...

I love all your Christmas touches. I'd love to see a picture of the full mantel. :) I just keep adding things to the decor, but it's still not overwhelming (to me). I know you'll enjoy having your daughter home for a few days. My daughter, Pam, is Director of Secondary Schools, and over the testing process. She said she was in "testing hell" today. Georgia changes the rules/programs every year or so, and there is always glitches she has to work through! Wouldn't have her job! She's over 6 schools! Grades 6-12. Another lady has k-6th. Glad you are at least getting a start on your lake house. I know this has been hard. Take care, have fun shopping!!

Gypsy Heart said...

I love what you did to the guest room! I'm sure your daughter is very appreciative. Seems so many people are doing more low key decorating this year...I certainly am! Of course, I don't have the space to do a lot. If I did, it makes me claustrophobic after awhile. Christmas is just not the same since losing Abby. She loved it so much! Family is not what it used to be either so it's kinda "whatever".

You have some lovely decor already so don't push it. You're enjoying reading, movies, etc. I think those are quality things that most need to do more of.

xo
Pat

Row homes and Cobblestones said...

Jane,
Evening my sweet friend, I fear I'm late in my response but please know I adore you and your journals. I did see Sherry's flocking of trees and I thought she did a beautiful job. I am au natural this year... Plain simple and rustic. I've been concentrating my effort on my Christmas theatre presentation for my blog. Oh us bloggers!!! I love the little Charlie Brown tree and was sent to Target for one ... they had none. So it was Kohls from a few years ago.
Your home is looking very cozy and festive, pace and enjoy the countdown to Christmas sweet Jane. For in the end this long anticipated season is too quickly rushed and over with and not enjoyed because of the constant hurry we put onto ourselves.
Sending love,
Vera

Fox and Finch Antiques said...

Hi Jane,
You have the special touch that good decorators have. Your family must feel so welcomed and glad to come home. I have lived in houses where the sunset is ruined by power lines. Don't ya hate that? And they can be hard to capture on the camera anyway. Your home looks so lovely.
Ginene

Kit said...

Good Morning! Everything looks wonderful around your place. I love how you have done up your daughter's room. So festive and pretty. Your new find is wonderful and it makes me excited for my trip to the antique mall today. Maybe I will find something wonderful! Have a great weekend! :) Kit

Kimberley Seasideave said...

Hi Jane,
I just love what you have done so far, and the painted tree looks really pretty!
Those metal tree candle holders are amazing, and what a deal!
I feel your pain about the plastic bins...I have tried to do the same thing, organize them in some way, shape or form...and every year it looks like a giant mess on the basement floor, as I tear into the bins and can never find anything! ;)
I love your little Charlie Brown tree, I have to look for one of those, so simple and perfect!
Enjoy your weekend, it's going to be a warm one here in Illinois!
Hugs, Kimberley

Linda said...

Everything looks wonderful...very festive!
Your guest room is dreamy...
Love your Swan and your wee flocked tree...
You have been very busy!!
Enjoy your weekend...guests for dinner tonight...Rack of Lamb...yum!!
Cheers!
Linda :o)

Susie said...

Blondie, I missed this post...but I still wanted to look . I love the things you did to the bedroom. You made me smile when you remembered your daughter likes candy canes. Love the swan. I like decorating with things we have by just adding ribbons or greenery. Hope you are feeling well and loving this warm weather. Today (Sat.) it got up to 67-70 record breaking. Blessings, xoxo,Susie

Jen Kershner said...

I think going a bit more minimal for Christmas helps you not get too tired of it too early! I bet it's nice for your girl to come home and be taken care of a bit. A nice change from her regular busy routine! I'm hoping these days will slow down. I do not want December to pass in a blur!

chateau chic said...

Hi Jane,
Your Christmas decorating is so perfect!! Love what you did in Abigail's old room to create such a lovely sanctuary for her, incorporating those special touches from meaningful memories.
I hope you can enjoy all the blessings of the Christmas season! Thank you for your very sweet and encouraging visits to my blog!
Mary Alice

Melanie said...

Your touches are Christmas are so pretty...

I did with Tim's room/the guest room with what you did to Abby's - just added a few things to make it a bit Christmas-y and welcoming. That is, if Tim even gets to stay here over Christmas! He might have to work. His birthday is also Saturday, so lots going on right now.

It was good to hear from you on my blog - I was wondering where you'd been! You asked if I had put up our tree yet...on my Christmas post, I had said that the small tree on the buffet was our Christmas tree. You might've missed that. It's the only tree we put up since Phil passed away. We have no desire to put up a big tree anymore. Also, the new kitchen chairs are from Overstock, not IKEA. They're solid wood - heavy and sturdy. Just ordered two more since we're pleased with the first two we ordered.

Hope you have a good week...I haven't even started wrapping yet! I'm also a procrastinator. ;-)

Sylvia said...

Oh, I always enjoy reading your everyday moments... and I love your Christmas thouches, especially these stylish iron tree sculptures! Wishing you and yours all the joy of the season!

Nancy Crowley said...

Hi Jane,
I am in between stuff tonight, and had to stop by and say hello. Why are you going minimal? it's probably in another post so maybe i will catch it later tonight. Are you just not feeling the effort required to pull out everything this year? I do love your garland on the french doors. A) I wish I had French Doors and B) this is what i would totally do as well. For me this year, my decorating is done, but presents for my sisters are not, and they live on the other side of canada, so crap, i've not been a good sis this year. I will likely buy this weekend, and mail off. can't stress about it. It has been an oddly peaceful time, I just want it not to come too quickly. Like you, I'm looking forward to my older daughter being home closer to christmas eve. it will nice to have both girls around. now i have to go eat some of the goodies i made on the weekend. when in rome. xx Nancy

Sherry @ Thrift My House said...

Hi sweet Jane! I had to scroll back up and look at the Charlie Brown tree again... seriously, I would be happy with that being the main tree.. I know right? I've kept things to a minimum this year, not stressing at all.. the mantle is not even complete and probably won't be this year. Oh well. I wish I could pop over and chat over coffee and cookies.. that's what I need about now! This last minute shopping and such is soooooo.... well, I'm doing things different next year... I always say that but this time I think I mean it ;)

Rue said...

Between having the flu and all the stuff in the news, I was too slow to join the Christmas tour train as well and I haven't even been looking at the tours... bad rue! lol

Your home is looking great, Jane. I bought a Charlie Brown tree too! I'd been wanting one for a long time, but they were always sold out until this past November. Yay us! ;)

xoxo,
rue

Jill said...

Hi! I just found your blog and it's lovely! Your decorations look very nice. I noticed in your sidebar you dedicate this to your sister, and it really connected with me. Cancer has taken many I love from me and now I have close friends still battling it. I hope one day there will be a cure. Looking forward to visiting again! Have a wonderful day!

Blessings,
Jill

Traci said...

I'm having a baking day Saturday. Yep, you read that right. ME in the kitchen! I sort of got roped into it but a bunch of friends are coming over & we're going to bake together. Should be interesting! You house looks great! THere's a house in my neighborhood that has a Charlie Brown tree in their front yard. One ornament & a blue "tree skirt". So cute!!

mary scott said...

I saw that Charlie Brown tree for sale on Amazon tonight. I know youR daughter will love HER room! thanks

Kathleen Grace said...

I love the gust room bed and décor, cozy without looking cluttered :) I am thrilled to hear that work on the lake house is under way, I know the loss of it has been getting you down. Hopefully you can get it in enough working order to enjoy it this next year. I have been so busy I am just now catching up on posts! I begin to look forward to a January slow down and the clean start the New Year brings. Blessings Jane :) Enjoy the last week before Christmas!

Dewena said...

How does it go, Jane? Just like you but even worse, I'm so behind. And I don't have nearly the things planned to do that you do.

I've scrolled down through your previous December posts to see what else you've been up to while I was away and your Christmas decor is lovely. As you know I love the first picture with the oranges and the little Christmas tree! But you little pig in his Santa hat stole my heart. Whimsical touches always do, don't they?

Your family plans sound wonderful and I'm sure when those all take place it will have been worth every effort.

Merry Christmas and God bless you,
Dewena

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