December 28, 2012

Decorating for the Holidays

Our steel deer head from The Steel Fork gets in the holiday spirit.

We hope you've been having a wonderful holiday week and finish to the year. Tim and I were both able to take a little time off to celebrate Christmas with our families and are enjoying getting a few little things done around the house that have been in the back of our minds to cross off the list.

We wanted to pop in today to share pictures of all the holiday decorations we were able to get up and around the the house this year. When we look back at the holiday decorations we had up this time last year, we realize just how far we've come in this new house over the past 12 months — from paint colors, to furniture, to just plain old more decorations. All the important things have remained the same — getting to spend time with family, friends and having Basil around to keep us all in line.

Speaking of last year, you might remember the reclaimed barn wood Christmas trees my mother gave us as a housewarming gift:

We were excited to pull them out from storage and actually updated them each with a new string of LED lights. They sat in our front hall leading into the parlor where our Christmas tree and majority of our other decorations were hanging out.

Just behind the barn wood trees, we moved the antique sewing machine table (that Tim's parents had given us) caddy cornered in the room and placed all of our Christmas cards on it as a way to welcome everyone coming into the room:

We got so many different kinds of cards this year — from photos to postcards and more. While we both loved displaying them on the sewing table, Tim and I both agreed we need to come up with a better DIY solution for displaying them next year. Just like us to assign ourselves a good DIY project a year in advance.

For our own Christmas cards, we kept with our tradition of ordering from an independent designer and went with these letterpress greetings from Echo Letterpress on Etsy:

We got the Christmas Ham and Wishbone versions, which were both a little whimsical and vintagey feeling at the same time. Not only did we love the look/feel of the cards, we thought they fit us perfectly given their food related nature.

Tim even photographed the ham card with our own Christmas ham before he began cooking it, ha:

When it was time to really get decorating, we brought out the big bins from storage and things started to get real. Not gonna lie, we had this sort of mess going on for an entire weekend at one point:

Our downstairs mantles were filled with stockings, nutmeg clementines and magnolia trimmings:


Then there's the tree. Here's Basil wondering what's about to come through the door while Tim was getting the tree ready for the stand:

Tim got this year's tree from Mark and Suzi at Farm to Family — we were so excited to get one almost as tall as our 11ft ceilings. After we got the tree inside and decorated, we had something that looked like this: 


We went with colorful LED lights and filled the tree with all of our favorite ornaments. We have some from his childhood, my childhood, ones we've picked up together along the way, ones of Stephanie and Brandon's and little random ones here and there. It was fun to pull them all out from storage and re-tell eachother the stories about each one we could remember. If you look closely, near the top left of the tree you will see a stuffed reindeer ornament. That one started out near the bottom of the tree but Basil couldn't help himself and kept ripping it off the tree, thinking it was a stuffed toy for him.

Tim picked up a handful of burlap coffee sacks from Blanchard's here in Richmond to stack under the tree as a tree skirt — I'd love to make a real tree skirt with them at some point, and love their natural and rustic feel — there's always next year!

You know who begged to be photographed in front of the tree:

Here's the tree all lit up on Christmas morning after most everyone had arrived and filled the room with gifts:


As for the outside view of the house, you may remember it looks like this:

You can really see the tree all lit up inside and remember the tomato cages we turned upside-down and strung with lights to make them look like Christmas trees:

This year we also got candles for each of the front windows in the house. This was something I really wanted to do last year, but every single store in Richmond was completely sold out by the time we'd moved into the house.

Needless to say, I went on a candle mission in late November this year and found these guys at Target. We love that these candle lights are battery operated, completely LED and have little sensors to automatically turn themselves on at dusk and off at dawn — there were completely set to go once we got them in the windowsills.

As for getting them in the windowsills, the main floor windows were pretty straightforward. We did, however, have to hack a couple of the windows to get the candles to appear "correct" from the outside view. Take our doorway window in the center of our bedroom for example:

Yes — we stacked a little suitcase on a stool to rest the candle on for an entire month to make it look even from the outside view. Maybe we are crazy, but if you scroll back up and look at all the candles in the windows — they all line up, ha!

Tim also hacked displaying two candles up in our attic. We have two windows at the very top of our house, making it look like a 3rd level, though it's really just an attic in the eaves. He put cardboard boxes up to these windows since they don't really have a proper sill to rest on and we were good to go:

The funny thing about any time we go up in the attic is the onslaught of anxiety Basil gets:

We pull down the ladder in our bedroom which makes a lot of noise in the first place, then we proceed to climb up a rickety ladder into a dark hole in the ceiling — one Basil doesn't know how to climb. He sits and stares up at us, lightly whining:

Sometimes he will even place a front paw on the first step of the ladder as if he is thinking about trying to climb it. We always wonder what he is thinking about when we go up there — it's pretty funny.

We also had a small faux topiary tree in the family room this year:

It wouldn't be Christmas without the sentimental decorations we look forward to bringing out each year. One of our favorites is this old Santa photo holder that displays 6 different photos from Christmases during Tim's childhood:

We placed those on the front secretary desk along with the little diy deer and wooden stamp vignette we made earlier:

Tim's parents brought this mistletoe decoration over to our house this year as a present for Tim's son, Brandon. We will keep it here until Brandon has a house of his own and is ready to put it up each year. Tim's mother teared up as she explained how it's been a decoration they've put up year after year over the past 40 years, remembering how Tim and his brother, Mike, would try to jump up and hit it each year to gauge how tall they'd grown over the past year:

I'm looking forward to bringing this new-to-us decoration out over the next several years until it's Brandon's turn to carry on the tradition.

The following little Christmas house is one I look forward to pulling out each year. It's a house my grandmother made that has those old school colored glass bulbs inside that actually rotate to make the marbles on the roof of the house change color every so often:

I remember when my parents would pull it out each year and I would just sit and watch it change colors, wondering how it worked. Here it is all lit up at night:

It's also Basil approved:

All in all, as you've probably gathered, we were excited to get all of our collective decorations out and use them this year. It's been the first official year we've really pulled everything out, had a tree and decorated the house all at once (we'd either been in the middle of moving, living in separate homes or just in a transitional year). We're already looking forward to how we'll put it all together and add to the fun this time next year.

How about you? Did you decorate this year or are you in one of those transitional stages where it just didn't pan out? Do you have sentimental ornaments or pieces of decor you look forward to bringing out and enjoying over the holidays each year?


  1. I have a bunch of battery operated window candles and they just are not bright enough--- you can barely see them from the street. You sound happy with yours. Who makes them and do you find them as bright as electric versions?

  2. That Etsy seller had a bull card, which would have been dandy for my nephew who just killed and hung the bull they were feeding, in Missouri, in the country. They like meat they raised themselves. Also two hogs so both cards fit them very well. Too bad none of us can afford $22 a box but really think they are lovely cards.

    I made a twig tree, painted white and held upright by a red plastic funnel, draped in snow colored tinsel with tinfoil ball decorations. Took a lot of time, and it was great fun to make snowmen out of tinfoil, toothpicks, tissue paper and a wee bit of felt, too.

  3. Dear Basil
    Had a lovely time touring your new house and you do seem to have your people so well trained!
    They make lots of interesting things for you to look at, have places for you to hide your treats (people are so.nosy!) And they make you lots of different types of wonderful treats, they sound some yummy that I want to eat some too!
    They bring over people to entertain you - oh yes, you really do have it all sorted out.
    We are still being trained but Taz seems seems to have it well in hand and has been taking lots of tips from you Basil. We now have started to make your treats for him. He said he would just love to shake your paw and thank you so much as he has nearly finished grooming us really - still, there is always tweaking needs to stay in top of thing!
    Woof, hurrumph, must go as head butt needed as they are late with my dinner.


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