Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Family Room Mantel

I'm not sure why, but it took me a really long time to decide how to decorate the mantel this year.  I spent probably 2 hours on this, and about 1 hour 45 minutes of that was in fussing with various items!  The whole thing really only took about 15 minutes once I decided what to do!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Living Room "Santa" Tree

This year our living room tree is themed as a "Santa" tree.  I thought this would be a great way to showcase all of our Santa ornaments that we've collected over the years.  I also picked up a couple new ornaments this year, just a few that caught my eye for one reason or another, nothing extravagant.  And last year in the "after Christmas" sales at Michael's, I had picked up a few Santa ornaments then.  So I figured we'd have plenty to do a whole tree.

Straight No Chaser - 12 Days of Christmas

In other parts of my life, I sing in a barbershop quartet. I love a cappella music! Here is a top notch example of some awesome a cappella music, though not in the barbershop style. Straight No Chaser is taking the nation by storm, all because of a YouTube video that appeared on the scene a few years ago.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thank you! "Stylish Blogger" Award

I'm humbled and surprised to receive a "Stylish Blogger" award from Mandie, of the Whispering Christmas Dreams blog.  You're very sweet to think of me.  Thank you so much!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Kitchen in Peppermint

Yesterday I finished decorating the kitchen for Christmas.  In years past, I've used themes of red apples, cinnamon and gingerbread for the kitchen. Last year I expanded that to include more of a "candy" theme, by simply adding a garland of fake sugared candies on the small tree, and a few candy-themed ornaments.  This year walking through the crafts store, I saw cute little floral picks made of peppermint candies (fake of course), and saw cute peppermint stripe ribbon, and this year's theme idea was born!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Holiday Traditions - courtesy of TodaysMama and GameStop

TodaysMama and GameStop are giving away a sleighful of gifts this holiday season and to enter I’m sharing this meme with you.
1. What is your holiday wish for your family?
For my local family and my extended family across the country, I wish the blessings of good health, love and prosperity.  These times can be tough on folks, and I wish everyone an easier road ahead in 2011.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Christmas Village Display How-To

Thought I'd show how I set up the foundation for the Christmas village display.  This is something I learned from Martha Stewart about 10-15 years ago when she still had her TV show.

Christmas Village Display

Our Christmas village display is a bit different from most.  It is not from Dept. 56, or from any other collectible manufacturer.  It is a hand-painted village, painted by my husband and I long ago, early in our marriage.

A Grateful Heart

I woke up early this morning, earlier than usual, earlier than the rest of the house.  The skies outside are grey and damp, hiding the sun that is trying to rise.  I can see that the yard is wet and the trees are dripping from last night's cold rain.  The house is quiet but for the quiet hum of the furnace and the soft, insistent meowing of the cat awaiting her breakfast.  This is a magical time of the day, one that comes rarely for this so-not-a-morning-person, and I want to capture it, hold on to it, and remember it forever.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Tablescape

I'm new to the concept of "tablescaping" as it's found here in blog-land.  However, I do enjoy putting together a pretty table using what I have on hand.  I don't have much of a collection of dishes or table ware, as compared to others I've seen, but what I have, I enjoy using.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Christmas Mantel Idea - Frames with Seasonal Images

A few years ago I saw a magazine spread that featured gold frames arranged on a mantel with seasonal photos, and thought we could pull that off in our house.   I've looked around my house in all my stashes to see if I can find the original idea photo to share with you as an "inspiration" photo, but no such luck.    But I do have photos of our version from a couple of years ago.

My husband and I went to Michael's craft store and picked out a variety of gold frames to use for this project.

Monday, November 22, 2010

2008 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Back in 2008, we had the delightful opportunity to travel to New York City to see our son, then a high school senior, march in the Macy's Great American Marching Band in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Our son was one of 3 representatives from our state of Maryland who were invited to participate.

Our adventure started on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, when we all rode the train up to NYC together.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

New Dining Room Tree On The Way!

I'm excited to report that I've splurged and ordered a 7' slim pre-lit Christmas tree for our dining room.  As noted in an earlier post, I was debating whether or not to do this.  I've been thinking of it for a couple of years now, but was holding out for a good price.

Table Runner Craft Project

I am planning this year to decorate the kitchen in a "peppermint" theme.  Every year when I choose a theme, I try to do it in a way that doesn't break the bank.  Who can spend a ton of cash just to change things up every year?  Not me!

So to start off my peppermint theme kitchen, I decided to make a table runner.  Well, that's not really how it happened.  I was wandering the aisles of Walmart last week, and found this vinyl tablecloth that was peppermint striped, and I thought "Hey! I can use that in the kitchen!"  But then I thought that a whole table full of peppermint stripes might be visually overwhelming.  So then I thought "why not cut it apart and make a table runner?" Bingo!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Here Comes Santa Claus

In other parts of my life, I sing barbershop music in Sweet Adelines International. I sing with a chorus of 65 women (Harbor City Music Company), and I sing in a quartet (Lustre). The hobby is wonderful as a creative outlet, and my membership in the chorus and quartet have turned into real, true family experiences.

Along about November, we start to bring out the Christmas music and dust it off. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas we have a flurry of performances all related to Christmas caroling. It's one of the most fun aspects of the holiday season for me!

I don't have any "authorized" recordings of my quartet or chorus doing any Christmas music, so I thought I'd share this. I think it's awesome, hope you do too!

Friday, November 19, 2010

"Vintage" Santa

I have what I loosely call a "collection" of Santa figures as a major part of my Christmas decorations.  About 15 years ago, I attended a local craft fair, found three or four Santa figures, and declared that I was going to collect Santas.  Never mind the fact that at the time we had no money, and I had no idea how to make a real "collection."

My collection does not contain anything of any monetary value.  Mostly I just purchased Santas that caught my eye, sometimes while traveling to commemorate a special trip.  Often my family gives me Santas that they think I would enjoy.  My father has hand-carved some caricature Santas, and those are especially wonderful.  But as far as "value" goes, I don't think I'd get much if I sold most of my Santas.

This Santa is a case in point.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Christmas Decorating Outside

In years past, we have done a variety of types of decorating outside - everything from a simple, minimalist wreath on the front door, all the way up to stringing mini white lights all around the outline of the front of the house.

We have settled into a groove lately.  For the last few years, we have had:
  • wreaths on the windows and front door, with red bows
  • one electric candle in the base of each set of front windows
  • a lighted garland around the front door
  • lighted artificial trees in planters on the front porch, with red "berry" balls
  • spot lights on the front of the house at night, and
  • small wreaths on the garden shed in the back yard.
Here are some photos from years past.  The snowy pictures were from the winter of 2009, when our area received record breaking snow fall amounts.  These pictures were taken in mid December, when we got about two feet of snow.  Later in February 2010 we would receive three more big storms in a row, for a grand total of 80 inches of snow this winter!  We usually get 12 inches or less per year, so this was a big deal!

This is how the house looks most of December in a normal year.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dining Room "Sugared Fruits" Tree

Last year (2009) was the first year I've put a Christmas tree in the dining room.  See, I have this empty corner, where I think it's just crying out to have a tall, slim-line Christmas tree there.  It would be so pretty, you know, with luxurious ribbon and delicate gold ornaments.  I could theme it from year to year with various food-related themes - "vineyard" one year, "sugar plums" one year, and so on.  Lovely idea, yes?

The problem with this plan is that I already do a 12' live tree, a 9' artificial tree, and a 4' table top tree in other parts of the house.  And one year we had a 6' artificial tree in the basement too.  So the idea of, first, purchasing another tree, and then, second, decorating another tree was not appealing.  Well, it was kind of appealing in theory, but in practice it was unrealistic.  

So I struck a compromise.  I found a 3' pre-lit table top tree on sale at Walmart for $20.  Score!  And then I put it on an old round accent table in the sad, empty corner.  Once I decorated it to match the chandelier, the room was now beginning to really feel festive!

The tree was pretty simple to decorate.

Dining Room "Sugared Fruits" Chandelier

From year to year, I like to decorate our house in different ways, mostly re-using the stash of supplies I already have, but sometimes adding in a small purchase of new themed items.  Case in point:  our dining room.  In previous years, I had simply done a nice centerpiece and called it done.  But in 2009, I decided to add a little more to the mix, and play up this pretty room.

Christmas Decor Storage

It's almost time to begin pulling the Christmas decorations out of storage.  Here's a peek at how we store our large collection of holiday decor.  These photos show the boxes last year, after they were pulled out of the basement storage room.  At last count, we had about 25 boxes of varying sizes and types.

Welcome to the Harris Home

Hi there!  Thanks for being one of the first visitors to my new blog.  I hope to share decorating ideas, holiday planning ideas, and whatever else pops into my head.  I hope you'll visit often, and share your ideas too.

Happy Holidays!