17 December 2010

Christmas: Cramming it all into a TINY house

I was pretty excited to decorate for Christmas this year. Our decorations have been in storage for 4 years, since we sold our house, moved overseas, moved back and bought another house. This is the first year since 2006 that I've been able to break out this stuff!

My goal this year was to buy as little as possible and make use of what we already had. The only things I bought were 2 tiny bottle brush trees, 2 candle stands/holders for my bell jars and a small artificial tree for the front porch.  All said, those items cost me LESS THAN $4. Sweet. Thank you, local thrift!

I had one problem, though. I couldn't think of anywhere in our hobbit-sized house to put our full-sized Christmas tree. No worries. It is possible to decorate without one. :) Here's my solution: 

Living Room:

I appropriated this tree from my Mom. She usually sets it up in the kitchen. Afterward I felt a little guilty. I kind of strong-armed my way into getting it for the month. But not guilty enough to give it back. :) As you can see, though, the lights on the top half of the tree aren't working. They work maybe 30% of the time. That's what I get, I suppose. Anywhoo, as you can see, it's a pretty narrow tree, so it works to put it on the console thingy behind the sectional.


Candles on the piano - I should probably put something under them. The frame usually lives on the piano, with a family photo in it. For the holidays, it holds a Christmas card someone sent us years ago. Free art.

Wrapping paper & ribbon I already had.

Back to the tree: It's decorated with my mercury glass ornaments that I LOVE. Also, it has the ornaments that my Mom gets for us every year. For several years she's been getting us sparkly, shiny ones with not a lot of color. I think they all look great showcased on the tiny tree!

No mantle for stockings, so this is where they go this year.

I think I need one more fake amaryllis. And I wish they were white instead of red. But I already had them and I still like them. The vintage village is also my mom's, but she gave it to me this year with some other old decorations. I remember this town from when I was a kid.

More of the village, and my vintage stamp holder. I really should figure out something cool to do with it other times of the year.

Dining Room:

More village! This time under the bell jar my sister bought for me for me last year. I wish I had more surfaces for more bell jars. The one with the bottle brush tree under it isn't actually a bell jar. I'm pretty sure it's upside down & goes in a candle holder. Actually, that, and the white candle holder under it and the tree are all from the local thrift and cost less than $1. That makes me happy. :)

And those are the vintage glass Christmas balls that were damaged with water in poor packing.  I think they look like bubbles.

And my angel, who was also damaged.  I really should glue her hand back on.

I don't have a stable for my nativity scene. That's ok. This year they are hanging out on a street somewhere in South America.


Complete with "flying" angel. This one is from Kenya and made of banana leaf and is the only surviving one of a whole choir of angels, again, from poor packing. Mice like banana leaf.


I remember taking these crocheted snowflake ornaments with me to Kenya 13 years ago, so I guess I've had them for a while. The pot was free from a pile of clay pots found in a barn. I like that the paint finish was already like that & I didn't have to be crafty or anything.

Our other nativity, still with no stable. They don't seem to mind. I should put some sort of background behind them, though. Maybe next year.

Front Porch:

This is the little tree I got at the thrift. Only $3! It's decorated with stuff Vino went out and bought one year. I think I like the decorations better on a small tree than a large one. They look more substantial! I raised the tree with one of my plethora of vintage suitcases (I have an addiction). The burlap "skirt" was a remnant I had leftover from a project. And the GIANT stars can have a light inside. Again, maybe next year. I'm all decorated out.

(notice how I angled this picture so you only see the parts of the room I want you to see?? Except I really should put a shade on that bare bulb!)

And there you have it. I had plans to go out out and cut fresh evergreen boughs so the house smelled Christmas-y (SOMEONE won't let us have a real tree!) but then it snowed and got really cold and I didn't know where I'd put them since I decorated first. NEXT YEAR.

So this proves that you don't need a spacious place or a bunch of new, expensive stuff to make your home Christmas-y. Even if you just light a few more candles than usual, play Christmas music and simmer a pot of water with orange slices, cinnamon sticks & cloves. That's enough. You don't even need to go broke on gifts. Fragrance, warmth & twinkly lights can go a LONG way.

Merry Christmas!

19 November 2010

Before & After: FREE Record Cabinet Saved from Dumpster

Out for a run one day, I saw this little gal sitting forlornly in front of a dumpster. I thought "How sad." Then I kept going.

I thought about her over the next two days. While it rained. I considered driving the truck over to see if she was still there, but I didn't know how badly she was wounded or what I would do with her when I got her home. But I finally decided to see if she had been picked up yet. I drove over, still in the rain, & there she was. A little worse for the wear. You see, this little record cabinet has a wood veneer. It does not play well with lots of water. I looked her over, looked around to see who else was looking, and when I saw that I was in the clear, I hefted her into the back of my truck. Sometimes I wonder if Vino sees me as the little kid who brings home injured birds & frogs in my pocket because they need "rescued". But he never complains. :) Here's what I did to this gal:

The veneer on the top was bubbled & peeling off. I peeled off the rest of it, and was glad for the rain that softened the glue. Underneath was the wood planks of the top.

All it needed was a good sanding, then some stain & poly. The rest of the body needed a little more work.

The veneer on one side couldn't be saved, so I stripped that off, too. It was stuck on good on the rest of the body, so I just patched the chips with wood filler. A coat of primer & a couple coats of creamy white paint, and she's as good as new! She is missing her drawer, but for a temporary fix, I'm just using a tray that fits the spot.

She is now living as a night stand in our guest room. Happy in her new home!

She & I are participating in some parties today. You should head over & check out the creative things that other bloggers are doing around their homes!


Furniture Feature Fridays

15 November 2010

The Extent of My Fall Decor

This is it. Two fall-ish colored old books and a fake pumkin.


The dish filled with candy corn was my first variation. It was a bad idea. I had to eat some of the candy corn to get the lid to shut, but even with the lid on, I still knew they were there.

(By the way, if you get just the right ratio of candy corn to peanuts, it tastes just like a Salted Nut Roll. That tidbit was free. You're welcome.)

They didn't last long. Thus, the fake pumpkin, which was not tasty in the least.

Have I told you that vintage books are only $1 a piece at our local thrift? Thank you, church ladies. I could probably fill the built-ins with old books from there. I have to restrain myself from buying some every time I go in. I look for cover colors I like, catchy titles, illustrations and things stuck in the pages (personal notes, newspaper articles, leaves, etc.)

Back to the fall decor: I also threw in some bittersweet and a berry branch snagged from the neighbor's bush that grows over our fence.

I don't get into fall decorating so much. Now, I will decorate for Christmas. I'm looking forward to dragging out our Christmas stuff that's been in storage for...what? 4 years? Wow. I'm excited to use my mercury glass ornaments and put evergreen boughs on our built-ins and the piano. Still haven't figured out where a whole tree will fit in our little house.

But for now, this is it. And it's enough. :)