Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sparkly Christmas Table 2010

All right, People, prepare yourselves, I went a little photo crazy on this one!!

If you've checked out my mantle and Christmas tree posts, you probably noticed that the theme of the year for my 2010 holiday season is SPARKLY! With a little bit of blue and pink thrown in for variety... :)

To achieve the greatest level of sparkle, I used a combination of mirrors, crystal, rock crystal and glass.

For the centerpiece I pulled the mirror out of the back of my fireplace (cleaned it REALLY well!), then layered on a couple of my crystal candle holders, two very cool rock crystal tealight holders I picked up at HomeGoods, and the large glass mosaic goblet-style candle holder (also from HomeGoods). The white stuff in between is a trim from Walmart that is really just little white pompoms on a wire. Fun stuff to play with!

I love the way the mirror made everything have twice the impact it normally would!

And for those of you concerned that the plates that are half-on the mirror will wobble, don't worry! I folded white napkins under so they didn't clank around!

The tablecloth is a damask stripe from HomeGoods, the blue ribbon used as a runner and for bows on the sconces (also the same ribbon that's on the Christmas tree!) is one roll from Walmart for 5 bucks! It went pretty far!

White sheers in both windows are the summer swaps from the master bedroom (there's velvet up for winter!). Both windows are layered with the silver snowflake ornaments from Target and strings of twinkle lights.

I covered the door to the garage with a bedspread/tablecloth my fab-o Mother in Law brought me from India. (I normally cover it with a brown and maroon bedspread to keep the cold out, but I wanted to lighten things up for this layout!)

Over on the sideboard there's more blue and sparkly going on with a length of fabric folded up as a runner, and more mirror and glass. I'll talk more about my "floating centerpiece" another time!

Another mirror from the fireplace supports wine bottles as candle holders and two Swedish crystal bubble tealight holders.

Cellophane snow adds even more sparkle (because I can never have enough!), and some of the mini pompoms wrapped around the bottles tie it in with the main table.

Back on the table I used my good ol' Noritake china, gold flatware, Christmas Tree Shop monogrammed napkins, and gold painted pine cones as name-card holders.

And finally, flanking the door I replaced the usual paintings with these sconces (that normally live in the guest bedroom) that are from Sturbridge Village like... 20 years ago...

And, PHEW! That's the Christmas setup in the dining room!

I'm linking up to Susan's Tablescape Thursday over at Between Naps on the Porch, so head on over there to see all the other pretty stuff people are putting together!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Quirky Christmas Tree 2010

Hey All!

I had fun with my tree this year!

I started out with all my usual sparkly ornaments, some ribbon (blue this year!) then swapped out some of the traditional reds, purples and greens for this year's blues and pinks.

When that all wasn't quite enough, I stuck a parasol in the side of it- HA! I loved it!

That still not being quite quirky enough, I strung up some popcorn (kettlecorn!)- it's driving poor Tembo-dog absolutely bonkers! He can smell there's SOMETHING up there!

For the tree skirt (because the red and gold regular one clearly wasn't going to go!) I dug into my miscellaneous fabric storage and pulled out some pink fabric that we used to decorate our wedding venue, and that blue is actually a cotton sari!

Of course I've gone out and gotten a few more pink and blue ornaments since I took these pictures, so the tree is filling in a bit and looking more complete, as I'm sure it will until Christmas day itself!

And finally, here is a (bad) shot of the tree and the mantel together:

Is this angle any better?

Meh, not really... oh well! You get the idea- I'm having lots of fun stringing things up and hanging them around the room!

I'm linking up to Sarah's Christmas Tree Party over at Thrifty Decor Chick, so head on over there if you're looking for some more holiday eye candy!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Sparkly White and Metallic Holiday Mantel

I am LOVING my pretty, sparkly mantel this year!
I've had a whole year to work on my mantel decorating skills, and I think I've finally figured things out since last year's (somewhat skimpy) traditional setup.

I decided to go with a white/cream and metallic color scheme this year with pops of pink, turquoise and light green to go with the colors I have going on in the rest of the first floor. Though none of the color pops made it onto the mantel, they'll be one the tree about four feet away!

I also decided to throw caution to the wind and put a couple of taper candles up there since the cat hasn't shown any interest at all in jumping up there, despite Hubbies concerns!

I first set it up like this, which was lovely. But in the full floor-to-ceiling view (which I somehow didn't take a picture of!) lacked that over-the-top factor I was going for! SO, I got all crafty and decided to make a garland of sparkly snow!

Which I did by threading a whole bunch of cotton balls together in varying lengths, spraying them with hairspray and covering them in Martha Stewart Coarse Crystal glitter. (You can't really see the glitter in the picture, but I promise you can in real life!)
That not being over-the-top enough for me, I added on some of the gold glittered snowflakes I got at Target a few years ago. (They still sell them, now they have them in all sorts of crazy colors, I'm using silver ones in the dining room.)

More cotton ball "snow" went into the hurricanes with the tall branches I sprayed silver last year.

Like that wreath? I made it! Yup! It's my first... : ) I started out with a wire form and five floral picks (two pearl and 3 white sparkly plastic ones) from Joanne's, which altogether cost about $9 (floral was on sale.) Then I hiked my butt out into the woods with Tembo-dog, cut some bittersweet and dragged it back home. (Hubby told me today that I left a Hansel and Gretel trail of bittersweet berries all along the path on the way back to the house- oops!) A little more hairspray and glitter went onto the branches once they were wired on, then I just sort of stuck the white parts on, tucking them into the wire that was already on there. I should probably add some glue or something to that before I store it away for the season!

These two cute dear tealight holders came from Christmas Tree Shop and were the only new thing (other than the wreath parts!) that I bought for the mantel this year. But at $2.99 apiece I almost don't even count that!

The gray furry thing is actually a fur scarf that was a gift to me about 10 years ago. It's seen better days and... erm... molts a bit too much for wear, but it works pretty well as a fluffy snow-scape!

The crystal candle holders are HomeGoods/TJs finds over the years, and the mercury glass votive holders are from Target last year, but I saw them there again this year. And the little angel tucked in on the left was also from Christmas Tree Shop last year.

So, total cost for new winter mantel-scape that's totally staying up until, like, next April because I so love it to bits and pieces: $15!

Yay :) .

I'm linking up to Susan over at Between Naps on the Porch for Met Monday, so head on over there to check out everyone else's holiday splendor!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Distractions and What They can do to your Coffee

A couple of weeks ago our furnace died. Actually, it's been dying for awhile judging by the smell, but it wasn't until a couple of weeks ago that a repairman actually took the time to confirm that. He removed the side panel to reveal a 6-8 inch gash in the wall of the heat exchanger- fire was practically spewing out into my basement! It was kind of terrifying. What was more terrifying was the visual confirmation of my olfactory suspicion that there was carbon monoxide leaking through me heat vents! (My contractor said it shouldn't be lethal levels, but maybe I should sleep with a window open!) So, of course, I immediately shut the thing off! I've since been living with space heaters, having contractors through, waiting for quotes and all sorts of fun things like that...

So on about day three of that process, totally stressed, not sleeping great (you try sleeping when it's 45 degrees in the bedroom!), I decided to make myself some coffee. So off I went to the kitchen, cleaned out yesterdays grounds, filled the pot with water and hit go.
About four minutes later, I smelled something burning... oops! I forgot to pour the water from the carafe into the the coffee maker! Dolt...
So, in the water went, and again, I hit go....
Can anyone guess what I found when I went back a few minutes later?

Some nice warm... water. I'd forgotten- TWICE!- to put in either the filter, or the coffee! OY! Talk about being driven to distraction!
Anyone else ever had this problem?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Stairway Project

Little by little these things around the house get done... this little one was the risers on our stairway. I had painted the baseboard on the left, but hadn't bothered with the one on the right, and as you can see, the risers on the stairs were pretty banged up!

So I grabbed some leftover primer and paint from the kitchen makeover and got to work!

I had been trying to decide how to decorate the risers once I got the white paint on, and I like the stencils and things I've been seeing around, like you can see a tiny bit of here:

There's a much better picture of that around somewhere, but either I didn't save it, or it's in with the Christmas pictures or something... That's from Maryam's place, and if you haven't checked it out, you must!
I didn't think I had the patience for something quite that involved, but I also had a tile collection that I'd been looking for a spot to display. Tiles have been my souvenir of choice since about my third trip out of the country, so I've got quite a few, and I thought this might be a nice place for (at least some of) them!

I was a little worried about them getting kicked and broken (someone messed up the stairs in the first place!), so I put them off-center. Playing around a bit I liked how it looked alternating left and right sides.

And it totally accidentally worked out that if you're right handed (footed?) you end up walking on the open side of the step! Love when things happen like that... : )

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My Fairy Dog-mother

Being ridiculous as I am (on occasion), I just had to dress the dog up for Halloween.

He was a fairy dog-mother. Hubby protested wildly. But you know, I win...
I bought the wings at Walmart for $5

I just altered the straps a bit to fit better.

The halo I made from a coat hanger and some Christmas tinsel. (Thank goodness they start putting out the Christmas decorations before Halloween is over! This is the second time I've made use of it- the first being when I dressed Hubby up as a Christmas Tree for an unexpected last minute party. I thought it was a brilliant idea, until I found girls coming up to him, fingering the plug on his Christmas lights asking if they could, "turn him on"!)

The straps would have looked better in a lighter color, but sometimes you've got to work with what's on hand, and I had red!

Tembo loved his outfit. I swear!

Have you ever seen such a happy dog?.... Well... he got got used to it, anyway!

While we were playing dress-up we tried a little something that might make an appearance for the Holiday season.

He's so cute, hee hee.... I just need to figure out how to attach it a little better!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Coffee Table Love and Confusion

This week I found two coffee tables that I absolutely adore. The first:

I saw in Elle Decor and love the look of. I've been thinking for awhile that something just a little industrial with maybe metal legs for a little sparkle and a reclaimed wood top for warm would really go well with all the different looks my living room goes through during the year. This one from 610 Home looks like it hits all those marks! However, they don't sell online, and as they are located in Geneva, IL, the likelihood of my acquiring it is very very low. Nonetheless, the idea remains- slightly industrial, green glam.
But I have to wonder if I love it and have been wanting it because it's so very in right now, or is it actually right for us? I can't quite tell...

Then just yesterday I found this second one, from Wisteria:

Which I LUURRRVE! (Pardon me while I try to drool and speak simultaneously...)
Talk about sparkly! I love the metal, I love the Indian style etching:

I love the detail on the legs, the vague campaign styling implied by the cross supports at the bottom... love love love!
BUT, is it too decorative? I always have a lot going on style-wise in the the living room, and I'd been thinking that rough wood and metal would sort of ground it all, keep it from getting too froufy... would this do the opposite? Would it push it all right over the frou-frou top? And if it did, would that be bad?... I don't know!
And the price on this is so very good- I seriously thought when I first saw the picture it would be at least twice as much- that it makes it a real possibility that I could own it... whereas I still haven't found a table in the other style at a price I would pay, which leaves me contemplating making something myself, which could be disastrous!
What to do?
What would you do??

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Labeling the Trash

Ok, not really the trash, but the recycling. Since my parents and Hubby's parents come and stay with us periodically, and we have very helpful friends, all who try to clean up after themselves, I was pretty often finding trash and recycling all mixed in together.

I took some gold vinyl letters (the kind you use on a mailbox) leftover from a project from our wedding (being a crazy pack-rat pays off!) and labeled the recycling bins. And VOILA! No more mix ups!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Back from Istanbul!

Hey Everyone!
We've just returned from a wonderful 11 day trip to Istanbul. I'm still a bit jet-lagged (meaning disorganized), so I'll sort through my 500-odd photos in the next couple of days and get a post up!
Here are a couple of shots for now that sort of epitomize the new/old juxstaposition all over Istanbul that is part of what makes it such a wonderful place!

Click on them to see them full size to get the full effect!