Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Have yourself a SPARKLY little Christmas!

So I'm participating in TWO Holiday Parites in blogland! If you're here from Hooked on Houses, welcome! I'm participating in Julia's Hooked on Holiday House Tours Party! I've also signed up for Kimba's Holiday Open House! Both of these parties have FABULOUS hostesses and lots of eye candy on their tours. Be sure to check them out! Let the party begin!

Anyway, onto the Christmas decor you'll see at my house these days: Above is a close-up of my mantel this year. I LOVE decorating my mantel at my house. It's huge, and flanked by two symmetrical square windows. The mantel itself runs the full length of the living room wall so there's lots of room to put STUFF. And come Christmas-time, I do. I Put Stuff.

Here's the mantel when you step back a bit. The garland is made of curly-willow branches, spray-painted silver, that I had left over from the wedding I designed last winter. I stuck in several SPARKLY picks of berries and leaves, plus some aqua Christmas ornaments. I interspersed my little collection of mercury-glass candleholders and voila! Can you tell I like SPARKLY things? (There's also a little garland made up of small square mirrors that is draped below the mantel that you'll see repeated later on my tree.)

Here's the scene on top of my piano. (You may remember this post where I lamented over the empty space above the piano. Well, as you can see, it's empty no more!) I filled a simple hurricane with a large white pillar candle and ornaments from Target (they look glass, but are only $8.99 for 24! Can't beat that!) Also, my very first snow globe. I'm not a fan of them, but my daughters are, so the day I spotted one that matched my living room, I bought it for them. (I know, I know - it's a sickness. But I want them to match the decor and not be cheesy...what can I say?)

Here's a closeup of the hurricane. These cute little trees I bought at a clearance sale at Pottery Barn after Christmas one year (which, by the way, is my number one tip for affordable Christmas decor - buy it the day after Christmas for the following year!). If you like the look of these little trees, they have similar ones at Target right now - although the bases are red or gold - for only $6 to $9 each. Super cute, simple, and somewhat realistic-looking. Also, you can see the base of the mirror that I bought at a garage-sale this summer - it was only $7 but painted gold - I finally spray-painted it white and now I think it feels somewhat relieved!

Here's the shelf above my TV. You can't tell in this pic, but the three trees are VERY SPARKLY. Crate & Barrel, After-Christmas Sale. (Spotting a theme, anyone?) I backlit the aqua vase with a $6 light from Ikea and I have to admit it looks very cool and dramatic, especially at night. The vase is filled with silver branches and branches with silver and glass berries.

This PEACE sign is also SPARKLY, though you can't tell here. Only $7.50 at the new Real Deals store here in Oregon City. (For you locals, it's on Washington just down from Home Depot. Love their Christmas decor!)
And here's the tree. So, every year I use my SPARKLY and clear and white ornaments, and add a different accent color. So far I've done silver + purple, silver + red, silver + green & blue, silver + red & aqua, and now this year....what happened? It was supposed to be retro-inspired, with silver (of course) plus aqua, lime green, pink, and orange. Crazy, huh? The problem is, I can't find my lime green ornaments (yes, I really do have some!). AND, I'm wishing I had done pale pink rather than the hot pink, because that hot pink is sort of grating on my nerves a little, but the other day my daughter said (in a somewhat breathless, dramatic voice) "THANK YOU for doing that bright pink on the tree, Mommy!" So at that point, there was no turning back. My daughter loves the pink, as bright as it is, therefore, it stays. You know how it is. (When you see her playroom decor, you'll understand!)

There's a story with this tree-topper, too. Every year we've used a silver and SPARKLY star that lights up. Well, this year, it didn't light up. Last year it didn't light up either, and my husband spent a ridiculous amount of time (bless his heart) painstakingly taking it apart and making it work again. This year, I just don't think he could bring himself to do it again. I didn't blame him. So, after looking at a dark star on top of the tree for a few days, I just couldn't take it. I pulled some of these silver and SPARKLY picks out of the branches of the tree and wired them to the top of the tree. Then, I added this SPARKLY turquoise ribbon and voila! It was budget-friendly, because I already owned all the components to make it. And it's fun cause it's just something a little different.

Some closeups of the SPARKLY-ness. (Is that a word?)


We have picture frame ornaments on the tree from the year we were married, and from each of our children's first Christmases. I'm going to start buying a frame for every year, whether it's a kid's first Christmas or not. They're much easier to find these days and very inexpensive! It's fun to dig out the ornaments and relive the memories from the photos. You can also see a little bit more of that mirrored garland - which I love - that is on both the fireplace and the tree.

Here's one of the two silver SPARKLY trees that we have in front of our two little windows over the mantel. This is the view at dusk.

And here it is during the day. I think these were a JoAnn's purchase a few years back; they often put their Christmas decor down to 70% off (often even before Christmas!) and that's when I scored these pre-lit beauties for about $10 each. They have glass-beaded branches. I love them.

Okay, moving on to the kitchen now. In case you are dying for a glimpse of traditional red and green, never fear! It's here. In the kitchen. Actually, I recently painted the walls a soft green, so I am using some of my red Christmas decorations in here. It's a more casual feel - a little less SPARKLY - but no less festive. Above is a silver wreath with a red ribbon. I like the fruits on it - goes perfectly with the kitchen. (They aren't really this bright - the flash made them look almost flourescent.)

I hung red star ornaments with fishing line over the window above the sink. I love the simplicity of this look.

Here's my easy-peasy centerpiece for the kitchen table. A Christmas plate, red candle, and more simple red ball ornaments. I tried a few other centerpieces, but the girls couldn't see each other over them, so I made it smaller and shorter. Now they're happy.

And speaking of the girls, here they are! My little elves, who love helping me put up Christmas decorations. The ones I'll let them touch, that is. ;-)

And last, but not least: the pink foil tree, complete with pink lights, in the orange/pink/lime green playroom. This tree is all girl (as if you couldn't tell!) and is being slowly decorated with one tiny ornament a day from our little advent calendar. By Christmas Day it will have the full cast and characters from the Nativity on it.

Phew! If you stuck with me all the way to the end of this long post, bravo! I guess my posts are more about quality than quantity, these days. :-) I am missing blogging but have managed to fill my time with many, many other things. It feels good to be getting caught up, but I do miss my Nesting Instincts blog and business. You can bet I'll be checking in more between now and March, when the baby's due.
Have yourself a SPARKLY and Merry Little Christmas!! xoxo.