Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas at our house 2015

I had so much fun decorating our new/old house for the holidays this year. Last year we still had a long list of work that needed to be done and didn't quite feel at home yet. We still have that list but it's not as long. 

I had a couple more decorating projects I wanted to do but ran out of time. I usually keep it pretty simple, but I really enjoy taking my time putting everything together. I fuss and fiddle, craft and make until I run out of time. 

We hung the garland right before Thanksgiving and I worked on the front urns on and off for a couple days. The garland is from Home Depot. I cut it in the center and reattached it so both sides of the garland is hanging in the same direction. I learned that nifty trick from the talented Deborah Silver @Dirtsimple

In the living room I mixed fresh evergreens and an old faux magnolia garland from pottery barn on the mantle. A fun deer basket is filled with silver and black ornaments and paper white bulbs planted in mercury glass pots are starting to sprout. I planted them late but they have grown so much since I took this picture. 

I made a little forest of bottle brush trees on the coffee table and included a toy truck hauling a Christmas tree in the back. 

This is Hank the Christmas moose. Our daughter has a huge collection of plastic animals that she doesn't play with anymore so they usually come out for the holidays. 

A peek into the family room. It has lots of windows that look out to the backyard, we always seem to gravitate to that room. 

Last minute I added some greens to our tiny banister. When we first moved here I got really excited one morning when I was looking at a picture of a beautiful staircase decked out for the holidays. I realized I had a banister to decorate (This is my first house with a second story) and came running into the living room to take a look at what I had to work with (the risers were in terrible shape and ugly wallpaper lined the walls) and laughed at how small the banister was. In my mind at that moment, I thought I had a much bigger space to work with. That is the funny mommy story that will go on around here for a long time:)

We have trim work to finish here in the family room and I still need to paint the white switch plates but we are getting there. 

I wrote a post about the dining room tree here. 

I made this huge wreath for above the mantle but it was too big, so I hung it on the chalkboard wall. Super easy to put together. I bought the grapevine wreath at a craft store, stuffed preserved moss and a variety of evergreens inside and called it done. 

I have a thing for cloches. 

I was inspired by Emily Henderson to make the Joy to the world map. It fills a big space over the banquette and buys me more time while I decide what to hang there more permanently. A lot of our Christmas decorations stay up for the winter, this is one of them I'm not in a rush to take down. 

From our home to yours, have a Merry Christmas!

I am sharing with The Nesting Place for her annual tour of homes. 
christmas tour of homes

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Dining room Christmas tree

This time last year we had only been at the new/old house for a few short months. House projects were still in full swing and we didn't exactly feel settled. 

The dining room was still untouched, wearing busy red wallpaper and needed some major TLC all around. So this year I thought it would be nice to have a Christmas tree in here as well as the living room. (I'm planning a post about the changes we made in the dining room soon.)

We brought the chandelier from our previous house and it turns out the ceilings are higher here, so its hung a bit high for my liking. But we are here to talk about the tree, not what I want to change or what isn't finished. 

This is the first time we've had two full size trees. In the past I've done table top trees, so this was fun for me.


Every year we go to a tree farm and cut our tree down. But for the dining room tree I decided to try something different. I ordered a fresh cut tree from Green Valley Christmas Tress in Oregon. It was pretty cool because it was delivered right to our door. This is what a seven foot fir tree looks like in a box! I have to say I was impressed with how well it shipped.

I couldn't wait to unwrap it...

This is how it looked after we fluffed up the branches.  I tried a new to me variety called a Nordmann Fir. I did have to trim it up in the back a bit to fit our space, next year I'll go with something slimmer. I will definitely order this way again in the future. This tree holds its needles really well and smells so good.

I'm calling this our merry and bright nature tree. Lots of pine cone, wood and acorn ornaments. With some sparkly white and black balls thrown in.

Someone special is getting that cute vintage basket filled with a few goodies for Christmas. I love how it looks next to the tree,  I kind of want to keep it now!

Christmas music is in full swing here and I love every minute of it. It was nice sitting down to write our cards here at the table with the tree in the background. Last year I couldn't stand being in this room for more than ten minutes.

I'll be back soon with some before pictures and I'll talk about what we've done in here and what the future plans are.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The new old house exterior editon

I'm blowing the dust off my blog to share some pictures of our new/old house. I miss blogging and want to document our progress as sort of a scrapbook to look back on.

Time has flown by, we have been working away on house projects and living life here in our new town. I have to admit I was completely overwhelmed on and off for the first six months or so. We gutted the kitchen and downstairs bathroom before we moved in so living without them for over six weeks didn't help. The the little one was starting a new school in less than a week and life was chaotic. We still have lots more projects to work on but at least we feel more settled.

Today I'm sharing the exterior all dressed up with an evergreen garland and urns that stand about as tall as me. (I'm 5'3) The font of the house got the most attention this year with a new front door, landscape, lights, a new doorbell and fresh paint for the molding and cornice around the door. The back of the house and garage are another story.

Our house was built in 1940 and is a cape cod style. Our street has seen a lot of tear downs with new homes built to look vintage. Two streets up towards town the lots become wider and the original homes are grander, built around 1920. The streets closest to town are mostly from the turn of the century again with new homes mixed in. Total eye candy for the house lover with so many different types of architecture in a small area.

This is the house when I saw her for the first time. Tons of landscape rock with 7 huge stumps hiding underneath that we found later and an old storm door that would slap our guests in the butt. Work would have to wait out here until we got things going on the inside. I was trying to be patient but I missed having flowers and landscape.

Weeds started coming through those rocks and it was getting worse as fall wore on. We were still busy working on the inside so I got a great idea to put an ad on Craigslist for free landscape rock. A few people came and took all of them within a week or so! One step closer and we didn't have to dispose of them. After removing the 7 giant stumps that hid under all that rock we were left with this. A new roof, a couple new lights and a rock free garden bed ready to be planted in the spring.

We planted 40 baby boxwood that will eventually form a hedge, (patience) and 10 little lime hydrangea along the foundation. I also planted annuals in front of the tiny boxwood since the hydrangea wouldn't bloom until later in the summer. 

Then the day came to have the new front door installed. (This is the primed color) We are a mix of DIY and hiring out. This was one we didn't want to tackle. The installer did a great job preserving the original molding around the door inside and out. 

He even removed the railings for us. No need for them since there are only two steps and it really closed the stairs in. I was doing a happy dance right about now! You can see the hydrangeas were doing great at this point. The empty space is there to allow everything room to grow and will be part of stage 2. We did plant a bunch of tulips in there this fall so I'm excited to see if they come up or if the bunnies ate them.

The steps are not in great shape with holes where the railings were so the plan is to have them covered with some type of stone and widened a bit. A black door was my first choice but that would make us three in a row so I tried to go outside my comfort zone. I had a grayish green color picked out but changed to this last minute. Its a pretty color it just wasn't working for me so I painted it again before the cold weather came.

A black door it is! It feels more like me now.

It feels like home.

Thursday, July 31, 2014


We have been very busy over here.  We put our house on the market this spring and buckled in for a wild ride of house showings and house hunting.  When our house sold we still didn't have a contract on a new one so the pressure was on.

Not our ideal situation and stress was high for a while.  Mr. 65th even had a crazy father of the bride moment and wanted to buy our house back when we couldn't find a new one to buy!  But we had to remember why we wanted to sell in the first place, better schools.

After signing a contract on a much larger house, it didn't feel right and wasn't in the neighborhood we really wanted so we got out of it.  We would be buying for location this time around and that is what we did.

As of last Thursday we are the new owners of a cozy 1940 fixer upper in a wonderful neighborhood. Great schools, walk to train and a trendy downtown complete with a vintage movie theater.

The new owners of our house are letting us stay until next week so we have been able to get some work done at the new house before moving in.  I will be back soon with pictures!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Fiddle leaf fig

It's been freezing and snowy here in the Midwest.  School has been cancelled five times so far which has to be a record.  Instead of being cooped up in the house for months on end we try to participate with old man winter by snowshoeing, ice skating and just getting outside.  Sadly none of that is happening lately. 

One way I am keeping my sanity is by bringing plants and flowers inside.  Greenery in the house makes me happy.  So after admiring the ever so popular and trendy Fiddle Leaf Fig in design magazines and blogs, I finally got one of my very own.  I've heard about people finding small ones at Ikea for cheap but never saw one there until this past Saturday. 

We headed out early hoping to find one of the elusive fiddle leafs.  I was happy when I found about six of them to choose from. 

This is Mr. Fig.  He's just a baby but I think it's the perfect size for this spot in our living room.  For twelve dollars it won't be a huge loss if he doesn't make it.  I've read they can be kind of tricky to keep alive.  I found the basket at an estate sale this summer.

This glossy green guy is called a goldfish plant.  It gets little orange flowers on it that look kind of like goldfish. 

It seems to be in the succulent family and has been really easy to care for so far. 

Having a few new plants will get you to clean and organize your house.  I bet you didn't know they could do that for you.  It's true.

Have you had any luck with a fiddle leaf?  I will let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas at our house 2013

Hello! I am feeling better and I'm ready for the festivities to begin.  Today we are making lasagna for our annual Christmas eve party.  And tomorrow we will stay home in our jammies and play all day, I can't wait!

During a snow storm a couple weeks ago I ran out and took a few pictures.   

To see our exterior remodel click here.
We were hoping the snow would stick around until Christmas but it didn't. 

I bought a couple five dollar wreaths from Home Depot and used one here on the front door.  I pulled off the wrinkled red bow that it came with,  hot glued some pinecones and added our glittered H.

I think it's a blogger prerequisite to use black and white ribbon this year.  I really love how versatile and sophisticated it is.

The playhouse window boxes are filled with evergreens and icicle ornaments.  The little boxwood wreath was leftover from last year so I popped it on the door. 

Is all this snow making you chilly?  The high is supposed to be 16 degrees here in Chicago, Brrr.

Here on the kitchen chalkboard wall I hung another one of those five dollar wreaths and glued on a few more pinecones....

The buffet in the kitchen got some fresh greens and paper whites. 


Our tradition is to cut a fresh tree the day after Thanksgiving.

Pretty tree, just a very crooked trunk.  When looking straight on you can't tell but from the side it looks like it's falling over.

Mr. 65th strung about 2500 lights this year. 

I thought I was late to plant my paper white bulbs but they bloomed just in time. 

More fresh greens on the dining room table and on the mantle....

Everything smells so good!
The little one didn't have her room clean in time to share her tree with you.  Maybe next year;)

From our home to yours, have a very Merry Christmas!!