Thursday, December 23, 2010

All is Calm..All is Bright

~The fireside is blazing bright...~

Every year I find myself in the same position...In disbelief that Christmas is HERE and wanting it to slow down before it whirls right by.

{Our front porch}

I've never looked forward to a break like I have this one. After moving, moving IN, starting my first job, and now starting a second new job, I am going to appreciate a "stay-cation" like never before.

We're still in the process of "everyday" decorating, but I could not neglect to sprinkle a little Christmas spirit around the house.

Our Christmas tree is ginormous and lovely. I didn't realize just how big until I set out to decorate it and realized that what was once a large assortment of ornaments, barely covered it. But like everything else, I am learning, it is a process and will be built up over time. It also took me hours to string the lights...

I have always wanted a train around christmas tree, and dad delivered. He gave us an unopened Lionel train set from a few decades ago to put around our tree. We LOVE it! Watching it ride around and whistle with smoke blowing still hasn't gotten old.

I used pinecones, snowflakes, and decoupaged music sheets on canvas to fill in spots for a natural, rustic feel.

I couldn't find a natural tree topper so it was made by placing an already constructed birdhouse into a small wreath. I added branches from the yard and pieces of random greenery and berries then spray painted silver lightly in places. I wanted the red cardinal to pop as the only bright color on the tree. I couldn't seem to get a good picture with it being 9 feet in the air, but it looks adorable on the tree.

I threw garland, lights, more pinecones and vases of ornaments on the mantle. I found the nativity scene pieces in the garage in a box of Meemaw's old stuff. The pieces are greenware; unfired, unpainted ceramics. I liked the way they looked plain white and put them in this wooden, rugged nativity.

The star above the nativity scene was a gold basket that I spray painted quickly with silver spray paint.

"The stockings were hung by the chimney with care..."

I'm trying to share Christmas decorations without showing too much of the living room. It still needs alot of work and I want to save it for the after pics!

One of mom's paintings:

I found my old Precious Moments nativity to sit on my very first bible.

Our dining room is still void of chairs, so the table was perfect to display my Christmas village. It's not Dickens or Dept 56...It's way cooler. All the houses, people, and trees...everything you see, was made by Meemaw. Poured into ceramic molds, handpainted, and fired in the kiln.

I also love that it's so colorful and whimsical.

{The carolers outside the church}

{Santa on the roof}

{Ice skaters and snowball-fighters}

~~City sidewalks, busy sidewalks
Dressed in holiday style
In the air there's a feeling of Christmas.

Children laughing, people passing
Meeting smile after smile
And on every street corner you'll hear
Silver bells...~~

The entryway is my little hallway of hope...devoted to my hopes of waking up to a white Christmas.

Here in the mid-south, the weather is showing a chance for a "White Christmas". This area has not seen "measurable" snow on Christmas day since 1913! Flurries have fallen a few other years, but in all, 4 out of the past 137 Christmases have had snow. But I'm hopeful and pulling for it!

~May your days be merry and bright,
And may all your Christmases be white~

The weekend before last, we woke up to a surprise light snow. We had no idea there was even a chance and it was a beautiful scene come morning.

"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful."
-Norman Vincent Peale

I know our boys would love a white christmas morning too!

Sean and I agreed to get each other one thing. We both need new digital watches for work and went shopping for them together. But we both ended up secretly slipping extras under the tree, the contents of which neither of us know. That too will be a surprise which is exciting!

As lighthearted and joyful as Christmas-time is, it is also very "heavy", as the radio dj I listen to during drive time describes it. The season evokes a homesickness and a longing for loved ones like no other time of year. And as exciting as it is for those of us who are fortunate, it is the most difficult time for those who are not.

At Sean's family Christmas last weekend, his little 5 year old cousin blessed the food with a precious and pure prayer in his little voice:

"Dear God,
Thank you for our food.
And please help all the people who are homeless, to not be homeless anymore.
Please give them a warm home and food to eat and a place to sleep for the wintertime.

Out of the mouths of babes.

I want to enjoy my own Christmas as much as possible, and pray that all others can do the same.
Merry Christmas everyone. God bless you all.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Kitchen Before and Afters!!

The heart of the home, our kitchen, is the coziest, most frequented place in our house. The cabinets aren't updated yet, and there's more art and decor to come, but it has molded beautifully into the place I envisioned. Are you ready??
To remind you, here's what our kitchen looked like
The empty BEFORE:



The painting should look familiar. You see it every time you come visit my blog!

I found this baby blue pitcher at my favorite flea market for $8 to hold kitchen utensils.

The first step in the transformation was a new coat of paint.

The color is "Hot Chocolate" by Olympic. It's rich, warm, and comfy.

Next, we removed what Sean called the "Tom Sawyer" window treatments. Black and white, with a touch of toile. Nuh Uh!
My cousin Phillip worked with me to remove the 86 thousand staples.

I found 3 yards of this beautiful fabric at my favorite flea market.

Mine for $5.
Phillip and I recovered the cornice boxes with a staple gun and the windows got an instant face lift.

Our resident tall boy hanging them.
My farmhouse kitchen table was my Meemaw's.


A coat of creamy white paint and clear gloss made it charming and chic.

The chairs are a collection of garage sale, street-side, and fall-in-my-lap finds, each recovered in a different fabric.

1. On the street in Sean's old neighborhood, free, recovered in Hobby Lobby remnant fabric.

2. Bought at garage sale down the street from my dad's house for $7, recovered in an old dress of my Meemaw's.

The other chair was left in the house by the owner and covered in leftover window fabric.

In the sitting area of the kitchen, is this adorable settee. It's an antique and was in my room as a little girl. Here's what it looked like sitting in the attic.

I picked out fabric and Joan reupholstered it using the cushion as a pattern.

After:It was a beautiful transformation!

Dad gave me this antique china cabinet that use to display my porcelain doll collection.

The feet remind me of a claw-foot tub.

I love the curved lines and character. I put my old white dishes and wood sign on display.

My "Southern"sign and a vase of cotton sit on top.

Our backsplash and countertop is our favorite aspect of the kitchen. It's more interesting and cozy than granite and is pretty much fool-proof...No worries about scratches, burns or stains. And I love that!

I had never seen this same tile in a kitchen before, until just after we moved in. I was snuggling up for a Food Network night when I noticed a familiar look...

The Neely's from Food Network's "Down Home with The Neely's" have the same in their kitchen. How beautiful are those white cabinets against it?

Our own piece of Memphis made it on the wall. Our signed Rendezvous menu:

I was going to refinish this old secretary of Meemaw's, but went ahead and pulled it inside to begin using. That spot was made for it and we're able to come home and drop mail, checks, and papers in an organized way. We've labeled the slots for unpaid and paid bills and keep our mail sorted.

I love having the chalkboard in here. Just a few weeks ago, I went through the kitchen drawers of my great aunt's house. She is now in a nursing home and the family is clearing our her house to rent. I found these TRUE vintage aprons and couldn't think of anything I would rather have found. She made them all herself and they are adorable.

My little house key rack was the first item to be hung on any wall in our house.

Although a cabinet redo was originally one of the first projects on the list, priorities shift like a crazy carousel when you move into a house. I haven't even entertained the idea yet. And while it is still my vision to have them white, they will stay as is for now. I'd still like a coffee table for the couch and maybe a little tv, but I love how it's all come together.

Mangia! Mangia!