I hope you all had a wonderful holiday! We enjoyed a nice, quiet Christmas here at home, which I am grateful for.
We try to focus on the real reason for celebrating Christmas, so our kids don't grow up thinking it's just about santa and getting presents. That's not to say that the Elf on the Shelf doesn't flit around our house each December, because Clyde most certainly does that!
It is now officially time for the annual documentation of Christmas at our house...
You may have noticed these 2 new small sectionals...I decided to sell our other couch and get these because the other furniture arrangement, although attractive, was not very family friendly. The velvet chairs I refurbished are beautiful but not extremely comfy and I was always paranoid somebody was going to damage them...not a very good situation in a family room! The chairs are still with me, just not in here at the moment. Still deciding what to do with them. I will eventually make upholstered ottomans to go in front of each sectional.
I'm loving how the gold tones really warm up the grey in this room. I went with a mostly monochromatic theme in here so the metallic tones can shine to their best advantage without looking overly blingy. If that's not already a word, it is now.
As you can see, my greenery of choice this year is the magnolia leaf. I love it.
I did discover, however, that of the 2 types of magnolias that I'm familiar with, the kind that doesn't have the brown undersides does not hold up as well for decorating. The first round was with the greener leaves, but they dried out super fast and I replaced them with the kind that has brown undersides.
How did I get my hands on so much magnolia? Well, at first I took some leaves from a big tree on the side of the highway (hope that's not illegal...they would have been trimmed by the road crew anyway) and then a few weeks later I happened to drive by a tree crew who was about to shove a bunch of magnolia branches through the shredder. They probably thought I was a little weird asking for all those branches, but into my van they went! Sweet.
So, as you can see, I have magnolia everywhere.
Except on this one. I bought the wooden plaque and the Merry&Bright letters at Michaels, then painted them and glued them together. Much faster and easier than painting all those letters on myself!
Wreaths, wreaths, and more wreaths...this one is made of magnolia leaf clusters that I put together the same way I made the evergreen wreath in the first wreath photo. Using floral wire and a wire wreath form, I took clusters of greenery and wired them, cluster by cluster, all the way around the wreath form. Not difficult to make, just a little time consuming.
I FINALLY have some family photos up in our family room! The weather here has been ridiculously warm this month and, not to complain or anything, it's beginning to feel a lot like spring instead of Christmas! Even the daffodil bulbs and cherry trees think so - they're already sprouting spring growth. Not good. Anyway, I decided to drag my family to the beach for a photo session a few weeks ago (they had to be dragged due to the picture taking, not because it's the beach, in case you were wondering) because we haven't taken any in 2 years and I needed something to put on our Christmas card. 80 degrees in December = crazy, but it sure made for more comfortable pictures! I did the ol' timer on a tripod routine, which yields reasonable results but nothing spectacular due to the focusing issue.
The white frames were originally plain white, like the small square one to the far left, but on the larger ones I added gold leaf to the corners of some and to the inside edges of others. I wanted the frames to all relate to eachother without being completely matchy matchy, so this was my solution.
On to the dining room...
Big surprise, more magnolia leaves! I love how they bring so much festive color and sculptural form to the table, without being overly pretentious. Added bonus - no brittle, dried out, messy fir needles to deal with.
This photo has funky color = a photoshopped image gone wrong. An expert at photo editing I am not. Lots of time to edit I have not. Weird color in my indoor photos I have plenty of.
I went crazy with the magnolia outside too, making a big swag of both fir and magnolia and also big garlands of it on the front porch rails.
As you can see, the garland is past its prime in this photo, but it's still braving the warm weather reasonably well.
I have less and less energy to do a big light show outside as the years progress, especially living in the country where there are no passersby to ever see the place. This is about as good as it gets for me these days!
We had a wonderful nativity event at our house with some of our friends, it was so much fun. The kids all really seemed to enjoy it.
Hazel has come to the realization that she doesn't want to be a wiseman (person) ever again, though - too much waiting around while everybody else gets to do their part, and she didn't get to come in until the very end. She has a tough life, I know.
Christmas Eve in shorts. At the beach. In Virginia, NOT the southern coast. Like I said, C*r*a*z*y*.
We even got to inspect several jellyfish that had washed ashore.
This pier is totally cool. I wonder how deeply those huge poles are buried in the sand, and whether or not they are rooted in cement, and how long they're expected to last before rotting/weathering away? Some of life's most pressing questions, I know.
Back to our Christmas card photo session: we only had 20 minutes of daylight left, so some of these were taken in less than ideal light conditions and then tweaked considerably in photoshop.
Awww, aren't they so cute?
And yes, Eliza is now (almost) as tall as me. She says she's officially as tall as I am, I say I've still got a half an inch on her. But not for long, I'm sure. Here's hoping you all have a wonderful New Year!