December 17, 2010

  • It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…


    Oh, it’s been a good week! A busy, fun-filled week!

    It started out last Friday with a weekend getaway with my husband and me – something we haven’t done in far. too. long! A weekend with no schedules, no deadlines, no responsibilities, no children… Those kinds of weekends are every-few-years kinds of weekends! Just so fun!

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    [front door wreath]

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    [front porch table]

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    We returned home on Sunday, and some dear friends from Ohio stayed with us for a few days. We all enjoyed our “COM-pa-nee” [Zoe's term of endearment for them) so very much. You know how some people you just love hosting and some people you just can't wait for them to leave [though you'd never say it aloud]? Well, these were definitely the stay-as-long-as-you-want-cuz-we-couldn’t-get-tired-of-you kind of friends…

    And now, it’s just our little family, soaking up the 70′ weather. Yep, that’s s.e.v.e.n.t.y. degree weather. We had a cold spell the beginning of this week, but that didn’t stick around long… I’m already seeing visions of the air conditioner running on Christmas Day, and I can’t say I’m too thrilled with that idea. I’ve been going back in the photo archives [definitely glad I paid an arm and leg to rescue pictures] and just gazing at snow pictures from a trip up north last winter. I just feel a little snow deprived right now! :)

    [music room mantel]

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    Christmas decor 1

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    So, about looking like Christmas… The house is all decorated, the fireplace has been keeping us cozy if we’re in the living room on chilly days [which is needed, because the term "drafty old house" has definitely taken on new meaning since we live in the Cottage].

    [the little tree in the girls' bedroom]

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    But somehow, I was telling my husband last week, it just doesn’t feel like Christmas. I was explaining to him how the whole month of December normally has this aura about it – a festive feeling the whole month long, just a happiness. It just, well, feels like Christmas. And somehow, this year, it doesn’t.

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    He kinda chuckled when I was finished with my long explanation, and I looked at him extremely puzzled. “You’re just so funny,” he began [which I'm glad he didn't end there, because wives don't like to be told they're funny if they're disturbed about something], “you’re all about the Christmas spirit for weeks and weeks, and me? Well, I just like to get together with family on Christmas Day. That’s all I care about.”

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    At least I understood where he was coming from. Maybe my expectations are still that of a little kid. Christmas was my most favorite time of the year as a child – not that we even received a lot of gifts, but we did all kinds of fun things, went to lots of Christmas plays and programs and concerts, baked dozens of cookies, visited elderly people… Maybe I’m just expecting a childhood Christmas even now that I’m an adult?!

    Or maybe I’m expecting a perfect world, like my world felt when I was a child? And right now I am very aware of an imperfect world.

    Yes, in some ways I feel incredibly blessed, and in other areas I have such a longing for Heaven for when everything will be absolutely perfect. No pain, no sadness, no separation in death or relationships.

    [Christmas carolers, minus poor little brother who has only shoes]

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    So last week we invited an older man to eat supper with us, someone who has lived a very sad story of a life. He’s someone Ben and I want to especially care about this Christmas, in different ways. And I think we need to do more of that kind of thing – to not just interact with people who have happy stories and have something to give me in return. For me to realize that Christmas isn’t just about festivities, but about Jesus coming to save the world… And for me to brighten my little corner of the world…

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    Because, you know, Christmas isn’t about me and my childhood memories, however delightful they are.

    [pillows I made for the living room, inspired by Pottery Barn]

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    Christmas is about Jesus,
    and sharing Jesus with people who don’t know Him…

    It’s about getting to know HIM –
    whether He chooses to reveal Himself as
    Sovereign God,
    Holy Father,

    ‘Sovereign God’ is how I am learning to know Him right now.

    Some years it feels like the ‘Sweet Baby Jesus’ learning center.
    Now it’s about His Sovereignty.


    Along with that, I love to decorate the house for Christmas. This year it didn’t seem to “flow” like it did sometimes, but still, fun. I should have gotten pictures of the girls diving into my boxes, and the disaster for half a day – a whole day?? – before we finally got a bit of order. Because these pictures show everything once it’s in place, and well, it doesn’t really look that way for long around here. Two little girls, a father, and mother, make a house look very “lived in” quite quickly. :)

    I was reading somewhere about adding Christmasy touches in unexpected places, like the kitchen, or the bathroom. I liked that idea, and added just a few simple things…

    I mostly decorate with greenery – cedar and pine. It makes a mess by January but I LOVE how it smells and it makes everything seem so cozy!

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    [this makes me go, "EEEEeeee, too much bling-bling." But it stays nonetheless.]

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    The dining room:

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    I made a mini-garland for the curtain rods, with hanging ornaments. These almost blend into the wall too much, but it sparkles and adds just a bit without overpowering.

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    girls bathroom:

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    This was inspired by my friend, Bethany, who is an amazing floral designer. She just goes outdoors and finds all sorts of nature and brings them indoors. This is bark with dried moss that I found around our property that I just loved!

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    Master bath:

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    Master Bedroom:

    little snips of greenery…

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    A Christmas stocking hanging on a coat rack, now turned hat rack. I have a fetish for hats.

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    Living Room:

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    The nativity set. Within eye-sight of the girls. I must say too, Mary and the wise men have quite the conversations, courtesy of Zoe’ and her wild imagination.

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    This is the only snow found in the state of ________, unless someone else uses faux snow. :) Zoe’ thinks it’s the coolest thing ever. :)

    Pottery Barn sells it for $12.99 for a bag. Target sells is for $1.99 for the same size bag. Just in case someone else wants some – don’t want you to be ripped off like I almost was! :) You know, fellow bargain-seeker here…

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    Did you notice that I now have a mantel for the living room here?? Very simple and rustic, but definitely easier to place things on the shelf without my items feeling very precarious.

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    [yes, that is a c.a.t. in the house. he normally stays outside, but it was so cold the beginning of the week we felt so sorry for him... and he gladly took up the offer]

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    And that’s a little house tour for ya!

    Enjoy your Christmas, but most of all,
    enjoy JESUS…



Comments (28)

  • your lovely cottage and Christmas decor ministered to me today! Reminds me of being in my 20′s with little ones in a beloved cottage. I would put greenery on all the valences over the windows, and hang apples in the kitchen, pines in a bucket became a mini tree in the boys room. This Christmas I have to take care of my FIL, and I am so tired, so the living room and dining are all I have had energy for. It was fun to relax here with my lunch and take your tour!
    I admired those same pillows at pottery barn, and hope sometime to make some too! I also bought some pretty fabric to make covers for some of our throw pillows like theirs.
    I think it is good you have those sweet desires about Christmas as you will be creating memories for your girls too. Thankfully some of the various activities will come about as your girls grow. A good time to be a witness to others. When we have caroled at Christmas we have had many people willing to talk, or receive prayer.

  • GAH!!! This post is making me SICK, everything is just, so….Glorious and ENCHANTING!!!!!! You need to send these photos in to BH&G and if you don’t, I WILL.
    And you just told me yesterday “i’m not really in the mood to decorate”…whatever!! Yada yada yada….I don’t think it could get more charming than this!!! DROOL DROOL DROOL!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe i’ll reconsider coming to GA over Christmas afterall…but on second thought, maybe not. I’d be too flabbergasted to come back to my bleak quarters at home. :) All the little touches in such an antiquated house…all you need to do is move the house up North, than everything will be well. ;)

  • I can totally relate to how you want to have a childhood Christmas. I have been thinking about that a lot this year too. It just isn’t the same when you’re an adult. I have been trying my utmost to do all kinds of Christmasy things and get myself in the mood as much as possible. It’s not the same as when I was a child, but I think it’s working a little.
    I love the decorations! You have a knack, girl! I love all of the natural accents all throughout the house. I love seeing what new stuff I can come up with each year without spending too much extra money. But I have to admit, I have a thing for a little bit of “bling.” I’ve always been that way, and I’m glad you decided to keep it up in the kitchen.
    Hope you have a very Merry Christmas despite the warm weather!

  • I just love your blog, and your cottage.  I really like the wreath on your mirror!  I love taking little things from outside, and brining them in at Christmas time too!  It’s so cozy. Your house is adorable! Thank you for the tour.
    Hope you have a Merry Christmas! =)

  • How do you manage all that decorating with 2 small children? Amazing – it looks so lovely, I esp. liked the wreath over your bed, are those walls wood? It looks so old and nice and just what I like. Totally enjoyed this post!

  • I always love looking at your cute little home and lovely decorations. so cozy!

  • it’s sooo beautiful! i love all the little touches throughout your home…makes me want to come over and just take it all in!
    i had to laugh at your ‘too much bling’. i have a few decorations like that, and this year, i decided to let the kids have them in their rooms, and they were De-Light-Ed!! (and, i don’t feel bad for not using the decorations that have been gifts from well meaning givers! ;O))

    wishing you a very meaningful Christmas!!

  • A few questions: What is painted on your front door?  I can make out the house number, but cannot figure out what is in front of that.  Secondly, on the music mantel picture, what is on the left wall?  music print I think in the shapes of . . .? I would love to see a larger view of that.  Did you make all of your wreaths?  Is the one above your bed really above or is it also behind the bed and able to disguise falling greenry?

    I guess there ARE evergreens in GA!?  It has been very cold up here this week but no snow, as I’m sure you probably know.  (‘Cepting a few teaser fluries!).  My Christmas season activites/decorations are a bit lacking this year.  I am doing what I can but there is only so much that this body can do.  I had remembered the second trimester to be a return of energy but I am still waiting for that!! Merry Christmas!  Here’s to hoping that Christmas is at least a little cold for you!

  • You have a wonderful sense of style- your home is just gorgeous!

    I remember 70 degrees in December last year.  Right now, I’d take it!  We had a high of 18 one day this week and I am already dreaming of SPRING!

    Have a very Merry CHRISTmas!

  • @grandpas_gurl - sistah, you’re too funny. :)

    @embracingbeauty - II would LOVE to see pictures of *your* house!

    @RICHK1200 - yes, those walls are old wood, and I attempted to faux paint them. :) maybe a post on that bedroom later! and decorating? I did it a little at a time, not all in one day. But it’s mostly just little snips of greenery around, and that really doesn’t take long but it makes it look good quick! :)

    @mel5680 - On the front door is written “No. 341″ with the “no” in fancy script. And to the left of the mantel is music in the shape of a tree. :) I looked back on the picture above and it looks strangely like a spider!! But in real life it’s definitely a tree! I made all my wreaths, and the one above the bed is a pine and cedar mix. I normally hang paper lanterns above the bed but for Christmas I hung the wreath. And the pine is imported from North Carolina. :) I just go to the Christmas tree stands and pick up their leftovers because they are no where to be found here! And congratulations on your pregnancy! I don’t think I had heard about that yet!

  • Very beautiful, Clarita!!! I especially loved the mini garlands on the curtain rods with the pine cones and ornaments. And your bed is gorgeous with the wreath and canopy and pillows and the walls…all of it. :) Cute idea for your ice skates, too! I really hope sometime we can be your “COM-pa-nee.” OH, guess what, they have a snow fall here every night! There’s a huge Christmas tree in Altantic Station (part of the city) and they make it “snow” every evening. :) I want to take Zachary. Oh, and we DID have real snow last weekend!!!! See, you should’ve come right over. :)

  • man, just when I thought your house couldn’t get any cuter…you decorate for christmas :) Love every detail. It looks picture perfect :) The wreath in your room and the hats are my favorite touches. I love hats but don’t have too many…I need to expand my collection :) One question, what’s the newspaper tree? in the music room. I can’t really see it but it looks quite cute. You should post a picture of it ;)

  • Just adorable. I find myself wanting to sleep in that bed with all the pretty pillows!!! I wish I could give you about 20 degrees of our cold. I finally got the Thanksgiving stuff off the porch (so yeah, I”m behind) and I wanted to go get evergreens to put with the sled and well, it is so freezing cold and I guess I didn’t want to badly enough after all. ;) I love, love, LOVE that moss and bark with the off white candles in the girls bathroom. I can never pull off a look like that but I enjoy it so much when other people do.

  • Your house is beautiful!
    But what I was really struck by was how you talked about Christmas being about seeing Jesus for who He is…whether HE chooses to reveal himself as…(Fill in the blank in regards to whatever He is teaching you about Himself at the time). Loved that thought!!
    And I totally know what you mean about the month of December being full of anticipation and having a certain “feel” to it. Maybe I’m still like a kid when it comes to Christmas too! I always feel like I’m about as anxious for the kids to open their presents as they are!

  • *Ahem*…not to mention your dear sister spent brutal HOURS sanding those faux walls???!!! Sorry, thought i deserve just a wee bit of credit. LOL. :) ;) Kudos to you for being the brains behind the idea though! ;)

  • Lovely,looks so inviting!Wishing you a Blessed Christmas!

  • In my mind I’ve been thinking of my next update and the title that I had in mind was, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”.  You beat me to it. =)  Everything is so, so beautiful!…. So, so Clarita.  I think my favorite it the front door and the wreath suspended above the bed.  So truly lovely.

    I really like what you were saying about reaching out to the people around us who don’t have anything to offer in return.  So true….and think what it’s teaching your lil girls!   

    Thanks so much for the lovely Christmas card.  Beautiful family!  Merry Christmas Clarita.

  • I love your decorations! So inspiring! Simple, but elegant. I’ll read the post as soon as I find my glasses. LOL! For now, the photos will have to do.

  • thank you for the “kick in the pants” to clean up my house. right now it`s TRASHED from running here and there. your beautiful pictures were just what i needed to press on.
    i was especially in love with the rolled up magazines in the tin pail. i will be doing that (and giving you the credit of course) LOve that idea.
    i adore the wagon/tree in the girls room too… and the curvy mirror over the mantel. i also love the textures of your walls. the wall in the bedroom– especially cool. :)
    it`s all so special looking– i can feel the love. your family is so lucky you make your palce so cozy and meaningful. blessings and MC to ya!

  • your home is so cozy and beautiful, clarita! loved the tour!

  • Thanks for sharing these pictures! My Christmas decor has been pathetic this year. We have been on the go so much and will not even stay here for Christmas weekend, took the desire away for much ado. Your natural colors and soft cozy touch, totally love it! The bedroom inspired me to “get busy” with mine again. The walls are awsome! Have a wonderful Christmas season!!

  • @twofus_1 - Oooh, I hope TOO you can be our “COM-pa-nee”!! We’d love it!! And you really have a snowfall every night kind of life NYC and the Rockefeller center?!!? WE ARE COMING! You home this weekend?! No, not this weekend, but sometime! :)

    @appalolly - ahhhh, so glad you “get” on the whole month of December “feeling” a certain way! I’m so relieved, at least I’m not alone! :)

    @grandpas_gurl - absolutely, absolutely! you get all the credit. :)

    @clearlyhis - you go right ahead and do a post with that title as well! i just borrowed it from the song, so you wouldn’t be copying me! :) merry christmas to you too!

  • oh my goodness!! lovelovelove your place~ it’s such a great mixture of pottery barn/anthropologie/ and original YOU! :) the wreath over the bed is my favorite touch. you have such a gift.. and i love most of all that you can sense, even from your pics, that your home is one that BLESSES, not just impresses! :)

    merry christmas friend. <3

  • @grace2be - those are some of the best compliments I’ve ever received! :)  thank you! ♥

  • i might just cancel some of my home decorating magazines…they got nothing on you! i have a trashed house which will stay that way for app. 3 more years so i am so glad to come here and get my Christmas fix.

    love your bedroom with the wood walls and hanging wreath. i have been trying to salvage a wall somewhere in this house and leave the original lathe and plaster show…any ideas?

    i am still waiting for Christmas to make me feel like a kid again…maybe Jesus has other plans….

  • I love your Christmas decor! Simple but just enough to feel warm and cozy. You really have a talent.

  • ooooohhh, you *should* expose a wall!! our house has almost all plaster walls, which can really be a pain sometimes, but the texture looks really really cool. other than expose them, you don’t really need to do much because the texture speaks so much for itself. that’s just me.

    and yeah, i’m not feeling so “kiddish” myself this year… :(

  • I think Christmas brings out the child in all of us and that is a cool thing!  I’m finding out that though my hubby and I used to have very different conceptions of Christmas. I am learning from him and he is learning from me.  Now, he almost get’s as excited as I do about the season.  I love that!  Great post!  Great decorations!

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