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!