Monday, December 29, 2014

A New Coffee Table

This year, with most of our Christmas gatherings being after Christmas, I haven't felt the need to pack up every single bit of Christmas on Boxing Day.

With that being said, our tree was beginning to look tired, as we had enjoyed it for over a month, and the fresh greens around the house were hardly fresh anymore. And after dinners and visits and brunches, the house was in need of a good clean.

Yesterday I spent the day in the living room. The tree was dismantled, decorations tucked carefully away for another year. Floors were vacuumed and furniture was moved back into place. Slipcovers were washed and replaced all fresh and bright. By the end of the day, the room had wonderfully settled back into place with only a few small hints that Christmas was here. 

For Christmas I had received some money, which I tucked away to save for a future antiquing trip. I wasn't planning on using it so soon, but while browsing kijiji, (a regular habit, along with MLS), I came across this beautiful old trunk. 

It was a great find for $35.

I've been looking for a new coffee table for quite some time, not really loving the feel of the Ikea one we had. It felt very new in a room full of old. But it was quite practical, with it's large surface.

Here you can see the old coffee table. I won't be getting rid of it, it will just be going down in our family room in the basement.

This old chest, which was likely used as a blanket box, or possibly a hope chest, has so much character to it. It's worn and used, and that makes it a lovely piece. The original dove tailing has been reinforced with screws, and it's been fitted with hinges so that the front now folds down. The previous owners were using it as a television stand. I love the simplicity of the feet, and the worn latch.

While it has half the surface size of the previous coffee table, there is still plenty of room for cups and saucers and things.

I think it adds nice warmth to the room. In the past couple of years, I've been drawn to more wood pieces, and while I have a few darker pieces in the room, I didn't have any light wood. It's a nice contrast.

Putting freshly laundered covers back on is always a wonderful feeling. I am constantly asked "How do you keep your white furniture white?" The answer is, I don't. No matter how hard I try, eventually they will need to be freshened up. I try to keep food out of the room, but occasionally we entertain. And every now and then, Oliver is let in with dirty paws. And of course, where else would he go first but my white chairs? They are lived in. But that's the beauty of slipcovers - they can be removed. And white? It can be bleached.

And completely unrelated, I wanted to share my favourite Christmas gift. Ever since I was pregnant with Hudson, I haven't been able to wear my wedding bands. At least not comfortably. Finally, after 3 years, they're back on my finger. Ryan surprised me with having them sized. He wrapped them in a sheet from an old dictionary, which was actually the laws for husbands and wives, and tied it with twine. He's creative like that. I also got one thin band for each of the boys for on my other hand. I've missed them so much.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Very Merry Christmas

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas.

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is well pleased."
Luke 2:14

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Collection of Ornaments

Over the years, I've curated what I think is a lovely collection of Christmas ornaments. Most of them are mercury glass, and have that vintage feel to them, despite being new. Some were quite a bit more expensive than others, and were picked up a couple at a time, here and there. Others are very dear to me, and are a special part of my tree.

Together they make for a beautifully decorated Christmas tree. One that I rather wish could be a part of our home for more than the few short weeks it is.

I love the different shades of mercury glass and the rustic feel the twine adds to them.

There are some that are quite in expensive, but are beautiful despite their cost. These little pine cones were found a few years ago at Target for a couple dollars on clearance.

There are about 20 ornaments that came together in a box when Zellers went out of business. I scooped them up for less than a dollar an ornament. They are all different shapes and patterns, so visually they add lots of character to the tree. But really, they're my low ornaments. The ones that curious little fingers like to turn and watch the sparkling lights in. The ones that have, on occasion, dropped off their boughs and broke in pieces. They're my "bottom bough" decorations. 

Home Sense and Winners are great sources for cheap ornaments. I purchased these round ones after Christmas last year. It was $3 for a box of 12! It was a steal.

Then, near the top, are my more expensive ornaments. The ones I've recieved as gifts and slowly collected from stores like Pottery Barn. They're beautiul.

And finally, my sentimental ornanments. The really special ones that are very dear to me.

Each year, on December 1st, I would give Jess a Christmas ornament. When she passed away, I picked out the ornaments I had given, and now at Christmas, they hang as little reminders of many Christmas memories shared.

I can hardly believe that tomorrow is Christmas Eve. We're so excited. I have lots of do around the house, but I can't wait!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Gift Wrapping

One of my favourite parts of Christmas are the gifts.

I love finding that perfect gift for each person on my list. But what I love nearly just as much, is wrapping them with beautiful ribbon and pretty tags, and placing them under the Christmas tree where they lie until Christmas morning.

There's something about packaging that I love. Tags and twine, ribbon and paper. I love making something like plain old kraft paper look elegant.

As I mentioned before, this year I made my own gift tags. It was quite easy.

On a completely unrelated note, these beautiful flowers are called Star of Bethlehem, which I thought was perfectly fitting given the season.

I also love the look of sprigs of natural greens tucked into the bow. Favourites are bits of Cedar, Leather Fern and Seeded Eucalyptus.

When I went under the tree to pick out a few wrapped presents to photograph, I found this tucked at the back. I knew that Willen had brought home a gift he made at school, and had asked me for a box to wrap it in. But I hadn't seen what he had done, nor did I know that he had carefully placed it under the tree with all of the other gifts. I thought it was the most beautiful thing.

While I was busy packaging other gifts, I wrapped Willen's gifts for his teachers, as today was their class party at school. I figured they were looking forward to some much deserved "me time", We picked out a favourite movie (It's Complicated and The Holiday), a box of sea salt chocolate covered toffees, an Essie nail polish and a tin of Harney and Sons tea. To me, it seemed like a lovely way to spend an evening in.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas in the Living Room and Handmade Gift Tags

After nearly a week of dull, rainy days, last night brought the most wonderful of surprises.

Our family had attended Willen's Christmas play at school, and then came back to our house to spend the evening celebrating with him. When they opened the door to leave, the sky was a flurry of thick fluffy snowflakes. And by the time my mother in law left, the ground was covered and we couldn't help but exclaim "It's snowing!".

The thought of enjoying a classic white Christmas was beginning to seem more unlikely with each passing, dismal day.

However, with less than a week before Christmas Eve, our hopes of a white Christmas may just come true.



Once again, I've wrapped our gifts in classic brown paper and an assortment of cream ribbons and twines. I've also made some pretty handmade gift tags.

I made these gift tags a month ago. The blank tags came in packages of 16 for $1.50 at Michael's. I used a collection of Christmas stamps I had purchased last year online to make my own gift tags.

Another delightful white surprise yesterday was a blooming Paperwhite bulb. We had picked some up when we bought our Christmas tree. It's the first of a few bulbs to bloom that we are forcing around the house.

I couldn't help but laugh at Hudson, who was cozy on the chair beside the Christmas tree. He just snuggled, blanket in hand, the whole time I took pictures.