Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas in our Dwelling

One of the ways I like to deck the halls is to play off the pieces that are already in your home.  And you know I couldn't resist adding a little *razzle dazzle* to my buddy in the bathroom...

We have a few new additions to our Christmas decor this year.  First, the stockings.  I spotted these last year in the Crate and Barrel catalog and loved them, but decided to wait until after Christmas for a sale. Then they ran out of stock (joke's on me).  So this year I emailed the hubs and told him how much it would mean if he would buy them for our Christmas.  They arrived at our door the next week.  :)  Sure, I could have pulled out the debit card myself. But it meant so much more that he gave them to me as a gift... even if I personally requested it. :)
George, aka "Sweet Sweet Scared Scared" may as well be resting by a fireplace. :)
We also have a new tree this year... even though last year we bought a brand new one! Seth's parents didn't have a spot for their lovely 9-foot-taller so we inherited it.  It wasn't pre-lit, so Seth strung the lights on himself, the old fashioned way.  The next morning we woke up and realized (if I may speak frankly) they looked really bad (I'm not being mean... Seth agreed after awhile).  He spent the next five straight hours doing it the right way, albeit huffing and puffing a bit. But what a pay off!  Really proud of him for putting in all that work.  It looks beautiful in person! I don't think he's worked this hard on a project since demo-ing bathroom tile. :)

You know I'm a jewel-tone girl with a turquoise and magenta love affair, and we keep the theme going with our Christmas ornaments.  Silver, gold, white, magenta and turquoise make it for me.  Seth likes it too. We don't have quite as many ornaments per inch/foot/surface area as we did last year on the smaller tree , but surprisingly they still work without needing any additions. :)

Love these little reindeer.  I'm pretty sure they came from the Dollar Store last year. Don't you think they're wonderful?

You may notice the paisley pillow that was in the living room has moved to the dining room.  We have two now... one for each chair.  George chewed the corners of the first one the day after I bought it (during a brief period trying to wean him off crate training), so I bought another one... cursing that doggie's name the whole way.  

But just like the last time he intervened, this time it somehow turned out for the best.  Eventually I decided even the chewed-on pillow could be salvaged by mending the corners if it wasn't on showcase in a front-and-center position like the sofa.  They bring a lot of interest in the dining room for now, and tie in the turquoise hues from the living room pillows. I mean, should George get a degree in interior design? It's kinda' weirding me out.  Like he's giving me hints or something... Anyhow... 

These lighted branches are another new addition. I mixed them in with the other branches we already had so when they aren't turned on they aren't an eye sore. On a whim, I placed a few feathers in there... wish so badly I had bought more of those!  I've found so many places for them this month. (Update: Seth just informed me he dislikes the feathers.  Ahhhhh, ya win some, you lose some....).

And those are the highlights... 

How are you decking out your place for Christmas and the holidays?  Any new additions for you this year?

Monday, December 19, 2011

TV Wall - Finally Un-Empty

I can't tell you how many ideas I considered for the wall behind the television.

(in case you don't believe me, here's proof....)

This is one of several considerations.  (Those are cutouts of wrapping paper of various things I was considering). I't could have turned out really well, but I wasn't completely sold.  So  I went back to the drawing board (once again).

I don't know why it took so long to make up my mind.  Maybe it's that I wanted to do something different.  Maybe it's the fact that I hate putting holes in the wall (and we're not talking one little hole here.... we're talking about a lot of 'em) makes me anxious.  Maybe it's because whatever ends up hanging on this wall could potentially crash on top of our vintage dresser and tv - ruling out some of my wilder ideas (which I will spare you).  But for whatever reason, that bare wall just kept calling out "C'mon, Erin... Please... Do something...So I decided to keep it fairly simple with a grouping of seven frames: five above the television, and one on each side.

Here's how the process went, and some details about resources that might be helpful if you're planning one yourself. 

The frames.  I decided large (14x18) frames would do the trick, but after shopping around I realized seven frames that size could get crazy expensive, fast.  If I was certain that I would be in love with this wall for years, I would be willing to invest in some nicer pieces.  But I ain't real certain, Paw, so I wanted to tackle this as inexpensively as possible in case I change my mind down the road (for whatever reason). On top of that, I couldn't find 14x18 frames in the big box stores.  Thank goodness my little fingers can walk all over the inter-web to find some deals.  I finally found simple gold frames here for $14.44 (plus shipping, about $17) a pop!

The art.  Believe it or not, I bought the frames before I even knew what I wanted to go inside them.  I  was at a point where I was determined to move forward, and reasoned that even if I used the free art sources I posted about awhile back (here and here), we would be moving in the right direction, and that empty wall wouldn't be driving me bananas.

Shortly afterward (and completely by luck), I stumbled upon Dreamery Studio and knew I found the answer.  Such a charming idea: "Vintage illustration is printed on a page from a tattered antique book. The page has beautiful golden patina of old age and nostalgic charm to it."  

Dreamery Studio prints on vintage paper
Talk about incredible selection and great prices.  They're around $8.50 a print, and I snagged a buy three, get one free deal) to make the deal even sweeter.  I chose a combination of black and white and color images for some extra interest and moved on the next step.

Matting + Art, Part II.  Next, I set out to find equally good deal on the matting.  You pretty much need to go custom for 14x18 mats to 8x10 size, so I was seeing dollar signs all over again.  Eventually I bought custom mats for the prints online here.   I ordered eight (the minimum) at $3.13/piece!  The shipping was $10, so it was all done at around $35.  Super-cheap for this large custom mats!

I measured another 8x10 mat that I already had hanging for the inside dimensions and waited for everything to come together.  But sadly, when the prints were delivered they were too small!  SAD!  NO!  I was almost done!  Apparently the matting I measured wasn't a standard size. (What are the odds?) So I contacted Jo at Dreamery Studio to see what we should do.   You guys - I can't tell you how helpful she was.  Not only did she insist on replacing them without charging me again, but she also hand-selected books with larger pages so they would be large enough for the mats I ordered and let me choose the format (two column v. three column, etc.).

As if that wasn't enough, she emailed me the sweetest idea (even though it meant more work for her!): "I was thinking since we are most likely be using the dictionary pages, you could perhaps choose a dozen or so of desired words, like happy, love, passion, etc..."

After weeding through the pages that were too heavy on illustrations to work with the prints, we were done. I had art that is not only full of character and interest - but also full of meaning for our home.  *smiles*

Hanging It Up!  I was planning on doing a step-by-step of the process of hanging and arranging these, but my process didn't go too smoothly.  I was originally planning on using Command strips, which I tested on one frame.  The frame ended up falling off the wall and I ended up changing game plans. So I'll just give you a couple of tips that worked for me.

1. Paper cut-outs. I cut out some wrapping paper and hung it on the wall to get the spacing and leveling just right.

2. A new toy!  This Hang & Level picture hanging tool really helped me out, too.  This video does a great job explaining how to use it.

And finally, here she is. Remember the lonely blank wall from ages ago?:

Gallery Wall Behind TV -- After

Here's a close-up of the one of the pages. 

What do you have on the wall behind your television?  Any experience working with gallery walls or good resources for frames, art, matting?  

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Gift Picks - Part 2

Okay, ya'll...  First a personal life Christmas update: 98% of shopping is done. AND the wrapping.  It was quite the task. Because my gifts are beautifully wrapped, if I do say so... I even took a personal day from work on Monday. But it's DONE!  And now I can enjoy the season.  I'm planning on posting some more decorating pics later on, but for now I'd like to share some more gift ideas--all inspired by things that I for one would love to find in my stockin', . Some are stylish, some are practical, some.... let's get moving.

Gorgeous iPhone Cover.  It's my pleasure to introduce you to two gorgeous iPhone cases.  Can you believe these beauties?  At around $50 a pop, these prices are impressive considering the work it must take.  They are glamorous... so pretty. Enough said.
iPod Touch and iPhone4S 3GS Swan Case Cover from Gullei Trustmart

iPhone4 Pearl Flower Shell Cover, via Gullei Trustmart

Deadly-free scented candle.  I love to smell lovely fragrances around my home, but do you guys have any idea how many health hazards are involved with these unregulated scents? So here's an idea... Instead of poisoning your gift recipient (to be clear, this is not condescending. I poison people I love every other year or so), consider a lovely scented candle that uses essential oils instead of the junk in other scented candles that's known to cause health problems - including nerve issues. 

Now, I will admit, scents are a very personal thing.  Some people like fresh spice smells like vanilla or apple cinnamon like me, and other people can't stand them.  It's tricky.  But, if you know your recipient (and your recipient happens to be moi) then it's an easy choice.

Lavanila The Healthy Candle, Vanilla Coconut
Here's what the site says:
Offering a clean burn that does not release harmful pollutants, toxins, or soot, you can feel good about this beeswax blend.
  • Infused with essential oils
  • Does not release harmful pollutants, toxins, or soot
  • Free of paraffin, dyes, and harsh chemicals
BeautyBar.com has the best price I've found at $16 + free shipping right now! I love Vanilla and Coconut, and smelled an amazing Vanilla Coconut candle at Anthropologie last year that was in-cred-i-ble.  Hopefully this one smells even close to that dreamy!

Letterpress Desk Calendar.  Last week I featured a gorgeous yearly calendar featuring positively gorgeous art.  This week I'd like to share a daily pleasure that I've enjoyed for the last two years. 

2012 Letterpress and Silkscreen calendar by Ilee- $22
A co-worker of mine gave one to me as a gift and I liked it so much much I bought one for myself last year.  It's not only lovely; it's also practical.  I reference it when making timelines and whatnot almost daily at work.  And it's so nice flipping those pages each month, enjoying the new look and all. 

And ooh-wee, here's another option for you I also adore! 

flora + fauna 2012 eco-luxe designer art desk calendar - $16
Isn't it wonderful? Now here's another idea....

Spice Organizer. Not the sexiest gift, but who cares? Check out the Swivel Store.  It's not sexy, but if you're low on space like we are, it's perfect for storage. Organization and storage is a gift beyond measure, friends. 

Happy Christmas!  Leave a comment a let me know if you like these gifts, or if you have any recommendations for last-minute ideas! We need to have each other's backs!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas Tree Peek

I think we're almost done decorating the tree. Here's a quick peek. :)

Have a great weekend! Are you decorating or starting your Christmas shopping?  I'm doing my best version of Karen's Christmas Pledge so it's full speed ahead!