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November 18, 2017

Our Holiday Home, Part 1 | Playing with Pillows & Linens, Pears & Pomegranates

I would not say I'm officially decorating for the Holidays, yet.  I'm more testing things out.  We are not hosting Thanksgiving, but we are hosting our entire family the day after Thanksgiving for a post-ice skating and Christmas shopping dinner.  You know how Santa brings up the end of the Thanksgiving Day Parade?  I sort of feel like that is what will be happening at our house on Friday.  We'll have had the feast, and then completely throw ourselves into Christmas the day after.  I want our house to really feel decked out and full of holiday cheer when everyone arrives... although we won't get our Tree until the following Sunday.

So, I spent yesterday playing with pillows, linens and greens and did some holiday cozying.   I fluffed and played, debating prints vs. velvet and rich reds vs. neutrals and greens.

Our house is so neutral (intentionally so) so I'm really able to change the entire feel of the house each season.  The addition of these rich colors completely transforms our home for the Holidays.  In January, I'll sink back into the comfort of soothing, soft neutrals.

Red Hydrangea Block Print Pillows, $28-38
Red Velvet Pillows
Army Green Velvet Pillows
Plaid Blanket Wrap, $26
Red Berry Block Print Pillows, $28-38

My paper whites are just starting to shoot up.  Time for the vodka!  Tessa recently shared her tip for non-drooping paperwhites.  A bit of vodka in the water when they start to grow.

Speaking of Tessa, she recently helped me pick out this new lamp for our hearth room.  I sent her some ideas of what I was thinking via text and about 3 seconds later she sent me a photo of this lamp.  It was 100% exactly what I wanted.  She's so good.  Thank you, Tessa!!

I'm sorry these pots have sold out - I'm sort of obsessed with mine.

I love this combination of the Rich Red Velvet with the Red Hydrangea Block Print Cushions.  The Army Green accent pillow grounds the bright reds and makes them feel warm.

Red Hydrangea Block Print Pillows, $28-38
Red Velvet Pillows
Army Green Velvet Pillows

Darn - I love this star garland, too, but it is also sold out.  Ugh  : (

Cozy, rich, but clean at the same time.

My Plaid Blanket Wrap has found its home on the sofa.  It is the perfect inexpensive accent to warm the room up.

Plaid Blanket Wrap, $26

Or, should it go here, by the fire with the pillows?

I also tried some looks without velvet, just mixing and matching the prints.  They both have the same red color which makes them really coordinate nicely together without feeling to matchy-matchy.

Red Hydrangea Block Print Pillows, $28-38

Red Berry Block Print Pillows, $28-38

For this look, I moved the red velvet pillows over to the dining room (photos below) only rely on the red in the Block Prints.  This feels a little more transitional and might be the look I need until the Tree goes up.

 But then again, this does feel so warm and festive.  I can almost hear Bing Crosby singing...

I rolled out our cozy season runner in the kitchen.  Amazing how switching out our sisal runner for this antique completely warms everything up.

Here is our kitchen last year (or maybe the year before?).  I haven't hung greens or garlands yet this year, but it is always my favorite part.

Oh, this sort of makes me want our tree up now!  See the rest of the tour from years past, here >

Moving over to the dining area in our house - all part of our big great room.  

I made these arrangements on Instagram a couple of days ago.  They are a really nice transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas with its orange and rust spray roses and magnolia leaves.

I used the Red Berry Runner with Red Berry Napkins mixed with Red Hydrangea Napkins.  Mixing the two coordinating napkin patterns helps me set the table for 8 without having two by 8 matching napkins.

I used my Tree Tags ($4 for 10) as a place card tied on each setting.

I also tied some Brown Velvet ribbon too add another level.

I think this would be a beautiful Christmas Brunch table.  It is bright and festive, but still cozy.

As I mentioned, I brought the Red Velvet Pillows to the table to add yet another level of comfort.

I just swapped out the accent rectangle pillow in the center of our living room sofa to help transition this room.  I love the mix of prints in this room, with just touches of the rich velvet.  It feels a little more elegant and sweet.

Products Featured : 

Red Hydrangea Block Print Pillows, $28-38
Red Velvet Pillows
Army Green Velvet Pillows
Plaid Blanket Wrap, $26
Red Berry Block Print Pillows, $28-38

November 17, 2017

Thanksgiving Countdown Day 4 | Pumpkin + Flowers Centerpiece

Thanksgiving Countdown, Day 4 : The Centerpiece

Thanksgiving is special, and the centerpiece of the holiday is the table (ok, maybe the turkey, but really the table).  Fresh centerpieces can be a big part of making the day and meal feel special.  They provide a sense of "this moment is special."  Did you know that flowers stir and intrinsic emotional response from humans reminding us to celebrate the moment, as it is fleeting, as flowers are only fresh and beautiful for a short time.  When you sit around that table, taking in that moment, enjoying the company and being in awe of the feast, the fresh centerpiece will help your guests feel that, too.

See the rest of the Thanksgiving Countdown, here >

Of course, I'm a fan of the homemade versions.  While florists centerpieces can be wonderful and beautiful, we enjoy making them ourselves.  This is the Pumpkin Floral we created for our Thanksgiving last year.  I loved the soft pinks and orange mixed with the deep brown, purpler and rust colors.

Emma loves to help make floral arrangements and I love watching how she carefully and thoughtfully places each stem and gathers things from around the house and yard to decorate the table.  For family holidays, I'm not as interested in perfection as you might think.  In fact "perfection" is one of the words I loathe the most!  Ugh.  When I watch her create something that she thinks will be beautiful and make the holiday special, I know we're doing it right.  As long as she sticks with my color scheme.  Joking!  Sort of : )  

These flowers can easily be found at a good grocery store or Trader Joe's.  The small spray roses are very easy to work with and stay fresh longer than large roses.  Here are the florals we used : 

Spray Roses : Blush & Orange
Berries : Hypericum Berries in a Deep Red/Rust
Dark Purple & Green Leaves
Broom Cob

I LOVED this so much.  It was giant!  It made quite the statement on our table.

Below, is a version we made a couple of years ago, along with Step-by-Step instructions for how to make the centerpiece in a pumpkin :

I started by selecting my flowers and colors - getting a feel for what the colors will look like with the table setting, in the room.

I chose these apricot roses with burnt orange and deep red mums.  I needed something that would drape downward in the arrangement, so I selected the wheat-looking stems.

As you can see (and you might remember), we received a large collection of Spode Woodland china that I always use during the Fall and Winter holidays.  I have admired them for years and am so glad to have them - and I still LOVE them every year when I get them out.

I will use this glass vase set inside the pumpkin to make the arrangement in, so I cut the top to be sure it would fit into my opening.

I cut the opening, then scooped out the insides with an ice cream scoop.

I put the vase in with a square of oasis foam, then filled it with water.

I started by putting in the best roses, trying to achieve the shape.

And then, because flowers look best in groups of the same, I bunched 2-3 flowers next to each of those roses.  I like to use different sizes of roses in these groups to add interest - and it looks more natural.

Then, I started plugging in groupings of mums in the same fashion.

It is starting to take shape.  At this point, I realized it was a little 'tight,' so I pulled the bottom roses out by an inch or so, so it didn't look so much like a ball of flowers on a pumpkin.

To soften the entire arrangement and to add some drape, I placed the broom cob around the collar.

Done!  You can see the groupings of flowers look more appealing than if it were homogeneously arranged - it would look polk-a-dotted!

To keep it fresh, keep it in the refrigerator (or in the garage, if your garage is really cold like mine!).

See the rest of my Thanksgiving Countdown Tips, here, along with Recipes, Table Settings and Planning for Guests >

November 16, 2017

Thanksgiving Countdown Day 3 | Tips for Getting Ready for House Guests

There is an extra level of prep required for overnight guests.  Not only does your living room, kitchen and dining room need to feel festive (and clean!), but now the rest of your house (even the nooks and crannies... and closets) are up for grabs. 

I try to think of all of the things they might need and have them ready in their room.  Guests don't want to feel like a burden, so saving them from having to ask for a phone charger or the wifi password will make them more comfortable.  Also, it is better being prepared than having to go searching for these items while you're trying to make Thanksgiving dinner.

Tip 1 : A Warm Welcome

A warm and festive welcome is always important.  I go an extra mile when we have family staying with us for the holidays.  I like for them to be completely enveloped in the holiday spirit.

Here, I've filled my hanging basket with bittersweet.  You can use fake or real - they both look good from outside.  After Thanksgiving, I'll swap it for red berries or really big and full evergreen cuttings.

Tip 2 : Clean Counters & Fresh Bottles

Now is the time to declutter those spaces (like kitchen counters) that we get used to, but can be areas that collect things.

I'm introducing some new bottles today - The Amber Bottle Collection.  I still love my clear, but this time of year I really like things that add a warmer feel.  These amber colored bottles really warm up our kitchen sink, powder room and shower.

Tip 3 : Add Seasonal Touches to the Guest Room

The Guest Room is the obvious place that needs the most care.  You can see our entire Guest Room Tour, here.  I've updated it for the season with a scented candle and some orange and rust colored roses. I try not to go overboard with "stuff" but I like a couple of considered items so make it feel cozy and homey.

This little creamer is part of my Cream & Sugar set (also one of my favorite gifts to give) but mostly gets used for flowers : )

Tip 4 : Wifi Password Ready

I like to write the Wifi Password on a tablet for them so they don't have to ask, and then I have to rummage around the junk drawer to find it.  It is easier to just always have it written in the room and I get it out when we are getting ready for guests.

Tip 5 : Chargers!

Every single time I travel, I forget my charger.  I'm going to assume our guests do the same.  Again, it saves them from having to ask and feel like a burden - so an extra goes in the room.

A big stack of fluffy towels is essential, too.  But the charger is probably more important ; )

Tip 6 : Add some Cozy Pillows & Throws

When you own a pillow store, your guests will likely expect to see some seasonal pillows spiffing up the room.  I warmed up our all pale blue guest room with some velvet and print pillows.  This is the Cashew Velvet Pillow + Red Berry Sprig Pillow.  

I actually love the combination of light blue and red - unexpected and chic.  The grey-brown of the cashew makes the room feel much warmer.

I have this light-weight herringbone throw ($68) on our bed and on the guest bed.  It is the perfect weight to use while curled up reading.  I've also been putting mine over my shoulders when I come down for breakfast in the morning - very cozy and soft.

Tip 7 : Stock the Shower 

I keep a set of Shower Bottles stocked in the guest shower with Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Wash & Lotion.

I love how uniform they are.  Also, since they aren't clear like my other bottles, they color of product doesn't show up - which is nice if you have products you like that are colorful.

Tip 8 : Extra Toiletries 

I also keep general toiletries in the guest room bathroom, too.

Tip 9 : Clean the Closet

One of the bigger tasks for me is making sure there is plenty of room in the closet.  This is our only spare closet so it is usually full of out of season things.

Tip 10 : Create a Relaxing Spot

If you have room in your guest room, it is really nice to be able to offer a private space for them to relax - instead of always being on the living room sofa.

One of the best things about our guest room is the view of fall colors out of the window.

Which are only visible in the photo when I lower the exposure.  Now you can see what I see.  Sort of : )

Tip 11 : To-Go Cups

Another Guest staple at our house is Paper To-Go Cups.  It is so nice to offer a hot cup of coffee, cocoa or cider when you set out on a walk in the morning or after the feast.

Tip 12 : Wraps for Walks & The Fire Pit

 Also, make sure you have an extra stash of cozy wraps for those chilly walks or gathering around the fire pit.


Wraps, $30-36 >

Thanks for continuing to follow along the Thanksgiving Countdown.  Read the rest of the countdown, here >
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