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Filtering by Tag: decorating

holiday decorating tips

Emily Oster

It has been 8 days since Thanksgiving, which of course, means we are 8 days into my favorite time of year - the Christmas season! Upon returning home Sunday, I got right to decorating the house. I finished up on Monday and have been enjoying our festive home all week long. I don't like to go overboard with the decorations usually selecting items that are in line with our style and go with the house. That being said, I do like things to feel special and will incorporate a little more whimsy into my decorating than I would otherwise. Below are a few of my holiday decorating tips. Above all remember to keep it simple. 

1. Build on Decorating Traditions

The holidays are all about traditions and that applies to holiday decorating as well. Over the years, I have slowly and selectively been collecting my Christmas decor. As I have said, I don't like too much so I want each piece to be something I really love and has meaning. Something that when I bring it out of the box brings back memories of holidays past.  Each year, I like to build on my collection by either treating myself to something new or by taking on a little project. Last year, I created this simple holiday card display. It adds just a little something extra to our kitchen without being too fussy. This year, I am thinking about trying to make a pinecone garland. My Mom collected a whole bunch from our yard and I love how a garland of them looks over a mantle or arched doorway. 

from top left - via My Domaine - via DIY & Crafts - via Country Living - via Real Simple

2. Use Greenery - Lots of It

One reason, I like the idea of the pinecone garland so much is its a greenery element that will last year to year. Winter greenery, while not necessarily in line with point 1, is my favorite thing to decorate with around the holidays. It adds a freshness and warmth that just can't be matched and maybe the best part - its still appropriate after December 25th! I could easily spend a small fortune on wreaths, garland and swags so I have to control myself. This year, I am going to get a large wreath for over our fireplace. I also might indulge in garland for the staircase. I love the simplicity of this one. 

And yes, even though you will be cleaning up pine needles till May, I do think winter greenery should be real. Sorry no exceptions on this one. 

3. Don't Forget About The Outside

There is nothing quite like coming home to a house with lights. I am usually home before Jeff. But on the occasion that he has beat me to it, I love pulling in the driveway to see our christmas tree in the front window and our few lights on. We only have one back outdoor electrical outlet so I hang white stars in the front two french door windows and then have light up candles in the windows above. Its simple and symmetrical just how I like things. I also want to attempt an outlined lighted tree on a blank porch wall that is visible from the street. I hung one last year - which quickly fell down - so I am hoping I can come up with a more reliable means this year. 

source unknown

source unknown

I also really love some wintery outdoor pots. I usually just save the trimmings from our Christmas tree and plop them in our front pots. Super easy to do and requires no extra purchases.

4. Candles

I am not usually a candle person but around Christmas and really throughout the winter, I like to have a lot of them. All are white in color and most are unscented except for maybe that one that just smell like Christmas. My favorite holiday candle is the Fir & Grapefruit scented one by K. Hall Designs. 

via  Digs Digs

5. Play Holiday Music

Not so much a decorating tip but highly important. I find that having my eyes, my nose and my ears all involved in this festive time of year is key. Check out this past post for some of my favorite holiday tunes. 

For other holiday posts see Christmas Wrapping, Christmas Tree and Advent Calendars

McGrath II

Emily Oster

McGrath II is my newest design resource find. Voted as one of the best design blogs of 2015 by Domino Magazine, McGrath II is run by mother daughter duo Suzanne and Lauren. The two, which also operate their own interiors business and have written a book, blog about all things design related and seem to have a format that is somewhat similar to THE PLACE HOME.

*from the design portfolio of McGrath II

All the posts are archived into easily navigable sections such as Artist Spotlight, Decorating, and Styling and include such posts as The Best Light Blue Paint Colors, Arne Jacobsen , Back to Back Sofas, 6 Tips to Enhance An Entryway and so much more. 

Another cool feature of their blog is their resource section where they present a curated list of their favorite stores. There is honestly so much to check out with this blog that I feel like I could spend an inordinate amount of time on their site. And perhaps the best thing about McGrath II, is how easy and pleasant it is to use - well designed, interesting content and good taste. So check it out!

appreciating the winter months

Emily Oster

Ok let's try this again - happy 2015! Tuesday, January 6th will be my official start to the New Year as one - the New Year and its resolutions don't start until you are back home and two - yesterday was just one of those days which is no way to start off a new beginning. 

First a recap from the holidays - we spent a lovely Christmas at home with Jeff's parents and sister and enjoyed a quite Christmas Eve and Christmas watching movies, cooking, listening to holiday music and just relaxing. On the 26th, we headed up to Chicago to break up the drive to Northern Michigan and also picked up my sister and her fiance. We arrived to the Harbor Springs area on the evening of the 27th and celebrated my Dad's birthday as well as did Christmas part two. We enjoyed a week of skiing, sleeping in, eating WAY too much and reminiscing about how last winter we were in throws of wedding planning. The Harbor Springs/Petoskey area is truly one of my favorite places on earth and I just love being up there. Its so beautiful and relaxing which, of course, makes leaving rather difficult. We started our trek South this past Saturday and arrived home late Sunday afternoon. While it was definitely sad to leave Michigan and end vacation (not to mention come home to water in our basement) it is nice to be home and get back into the routine of things.

Now onto the start of the New Year. Yesterday, I read this post on House of Earnest and could totally relate. While the beginning of January is filled with a sense of newness, I am always sad that our time in Northern Michigan and the holidays are over. Last year, we had our wedding to look forward to in February and were crazy busy with planning and ops an unexpected appendectomy. This year, we have a few plans for the coming winter months but obviously nothing like our wedding. As such I want to try to maintain some of the specialness that is the holidays throughout the rest of the season. Its not anything major just small things that help to make winter feel cozy and warm rather than dark and depressing. I am not entirely sure what this means yet but I do know I want to do the following.

  1. Keep the candles burning - I tend to only light candles around Christmas which is really a missed opportunity as a little candlelight can instantly brighten a space and my mood.
  2. Keep the music playing - I am a holiday music junkie and with only four weeks of the year to listen to it - I listen to it a lot! However, much like the candle thing, music (not holiday themed) while spending time at home is quite enjoyable and I often forget this when its not the Bing Crosby time of year.
  3. Enjoy being at home - This is a general one but in winter its easy to feel trapped inside but with a simple, change of mindset winter can be the season to APPRECIATE being home.
  4. Make fires ALL THE TIME - We are really loving our wood burning stove and having it going really makes the house so much cozier. Not to mention it is becoming an invaluable heat source as, yesterday, I had to crank our thermostat to above 75 just to get the house to have an indoor temperature of 60!
  5. Baking - While I am not a baker and definitely need to detox from vacation, I want to keep baking. And the winter, when you aren't sweating in the kitchen because its 100 degrees out and the oven is set to 400, seems like the perfect time to do it. I am especially interested in learning to make bread...
  6. Flip the holiday decorations to winter seasonal decor - This was the tip I gained from House of Earnest and I love this idea. Up North our family house is sort of always in a winter seasonal mode and it makes it that much more enjoyable to be up there from December through March. This will be harder to accomplish here in St.Louis, seeing as we are not living in a vacation locale that receives a ton of snowfall, but I think I can make some small changes go a long way.

Below are a few winter themed rooms and vignettes that I have been looking at to gather some inspiration. 

from top left - spruce pot via  Accessorize Your Home  - wreath via  BO BEDRE  - Aspen home of Aerin Lauder via  VOGUE  - sheep skin sofa via  veronica loves archie  - house plant via  The Unexpected Houseplant  - interior via  love maegan

from top left - spruce pot via Accessorize Your Home - wreath via BO BEDRE - Aspen home of Aerin Lauder via VOGUE - sheep skin sofa via veronica loves archie - house plant via The Unexpected Houseplant - interior via love maegan