Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Welcome! Open House Tour 2008

Welcome everyone! Today I am participating in an open house tour courtesy of Kimba at "A Soft Place To Land". This year, I tried to utilize what I already have (other than buying a new 9' tree) and not spend too much money. I would have liked to have more natural greens to make things a little more lush but I decided to make do with what I have and not spend the extra money. I did go ahead and buy a natural wreath. All in all, it seems to have turned out pretty well. I hope you have some time to spend, it's kind of a long tour.

I tend to like a simple, full wreath so this year, I just went with the greens and a pretty bow.

I found this sled at the Goodwill store a couple months ago. Until I started blogging, I didn't even know that Goodwill had stuff other than clothing. Now that I know, I've been finding many good things there. This was only $5 and I knew it would look super cute! The wooden ice skates were inherited from my mom's collection of Christmas decorations... I'll tell you more about that in a minute.

As you come through the front door, you're greeted by our new 9 foot Christmas tree! This is our "fancy" tree . I feel a little guilty about moving to the dark side with artificial trees this year but it's SO much easier and in the long run, so much more affordable. Yes, I miss the fragrance of a real tree but this one is so beautiful that it's almost as good. The photos just don't do it (or any of the decorations) justice and as I'm going on all of your tours, I'm realizing that you are all saying the same thing about your own decorations.

A few close-ups of some of my favorite ornaments and touches. A few years ago, I managed to find a store in my neighborhood that was getting rid of beautiful ornaments after Christmas, for a fraction of the retail cost. I ended up with a huge bag for about $20, last year I didn't have a tree because of construction on our City Home so this is the first year I'm using them. They are so pretty. I was lucky to find that sale, the ornaments would have cost hundreds if I had bought them retail!

See that pretty pink ornament above, the small blue one below and the "Minnie" ornament? Those were my Dad's when he was young. We think the blue one dates back to the late 40s. Last December, we lost my mom to brain cancer which makes Christmas (and everything) really difficult but my Sister and I decided to divide up the family ornaments/decorations so that we could use them in our homes this year. Dad isn't much of a decorator and I think he was actually pleased that we were using them. It was bittersweet as we were doing the "divy-ing" up but I'm so glad that we did it because I really enjoy seeing all those special memories of my childhood and my mom. The little angel with the Kwanzaa kinara is one of my favorite ornaments, she's just a Hallmark ornament but she's SO pretty and as silly as it sounds, I enjoy finding culturally diverse ornaments.

Some more of those "sale" ornaments from 2006! Did you notice the red roses and berries? I inherited the berries from my Mom and I've been putting the roses in for years. They are artificial but from afar they look great. I used to add real baby's breath into the tree and it looked fantastic but that was always for a much smaller real tree, I imagine it would be difficult to get out of my new tree after the holidays were over and I didn't really want baby's breath "crumbs" all over my house so I stuck with roses and added the berries...it came out really pretty!

On to the family room, Here's our mantel with my Santa Claus collection. We had four fireplaces in the City House and the two that I used to decorate were large so it's been a little change figuring out what to put on this one smaller one. My Santas seem to be happy here though!

I have my Lenox snowflakes on my wreath above the mantel. They come out with a new one each year and I've been collecting them for a while. I really enjoy them and like to "feature" them in my decorating, somehow they get lost on the tree so this has been a great solution for me.

Some Santas...notice the African Santa with the lion, I love him...

My patriotic Santa is a fave too!

More decorations on our entertainment area. I have cousins that give me the most beautiful holiday items every year. The Peggy Karr plates are really special to me. I really like her style.

My snowman collection practically doubled this year because my mom used to collect them too. I have all kinds from Waterford to handmade crafty guys. I'll be keeping these out this year for the month of January and using them on the mantel.

These little Natalie Silitch guys are so cute and have been with me for years. All the little guys in front of them were my mom's. So sweet...

This big guy is one of my favorites! Remember those cousins I mentioned before? This is from my Dad's Aunt, their mom, he's a giant Waterford glass ornament and I get a little panicky about him each year until he's securely in place. The guys around him are from the same Aunt...she spoils us with beautiful things at Christmas and is the only person I know who has the full Lenox holiday set of dishes that we use every Christmas morning at brunch...it's always so beautiful at their house, she's a big reason why I have so many special holiday decorations.

Here's our Family Room tree, he looks a little puny from this angle but he's actually quite pretty. I put all our "cute" and "rustic" ornaments on this tree. It was a pre-lit tree with white lights but I also added a few strands of colored lights. It turned out looking cute. Please excuse the mass of cords at the bottom. I have a four-year-old and a puppy, we're lucky the tree skirt is even close to the bottom of the tree.

I laugh every year when I pull out this paper chain. Back when I was a classroom teacher (in the early '90s) I used child labor asked my fourth grade students to help me make it. It always looks a little crunched up when I take it out of the box but somehow it ends up on the tree and looks good. See that little Snoopy with his tongue sticking out? He was my favorite ornament as a kid and has been around since the 70s!

Lastly, I'll show you my dining room decoration...it's very simple. I just took my cloche and hung one of my mom's Lenox snowflakes from the top with some fishing line I then put the cloche and it's base on my cake holder (with the lid off) I put all of that on an oval mirror I have and placed the rest of the Lenox snowflakes around the cloche. I finished it off with a silver ribbon tied around the top. Sweet and simple!

Thank you so much for stopping by my house today! I'll be over for your tour soon! Can I bring The Son? He's usually very well-behaved.

If you'd like a tour of my City House decorations from the past, go here. Then you can head over to "Hooked on Houses", to check out yesterday's house tour party there. I'm actually still working on getting through all of those, but so far, it's been a great party!

Please come back tomorrow for my first ever GIVEAWAY! I am having one in honor of my 200th post! (this one!) Tomorrow will be 201 but I didn't want to do it on the same day as Kimba's party so it will start tomorrow! I sure hope to see you then!


Kasey Hunt said...

I'm country girl to city girl!!!! I love both. But if I'd had to choose today, it would be the country. Beautiful home. Love your decor.

Cathy said...

Looking gorgeous!! Loved the tour even though I saw it in person a week or so ago. Looking forward to seeing it in person on Christmas day too.
(I have been looking for a time to call you back....I didn't forget you!)

Darlene said...

Hi Caren,

I LOVE your decorated home. WOW how neat to have a 9' tree! Your snowman collection is FABULOUS. I also LOVE those swirly trees on your mantle in the pink, purple, etc. Everything looks so festive and fun!!!

Darlene said...

Oh, and I forgot to say your Santa's and plates are beautiful too!!!

aimee said...

Everything looks delightful! I love your snowman collection. I have a thing for snowmen and ice skates. Probably because this California girl never saw either until I was 20.

Thanks for visiting my blog today. Happy Holidays!~Aimee

Running Jen said...

So beautiful Caren!

T Lyn said...

Hi Carmen,

Thank you for stopping by my blog. I love your title to your blog. I feel like you should have been on HGTV house hunters.
Your home looks great.

Amanda@Imperfectly Beautiful said...

Everything looks beautiful! I especially love all of your fun platters on display.

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

I love your decorations~absolutely adorable!
I hope you'll visit soon, I will have my last giveaway of December this Friday.

The Unconventional Doctor's Wife said...

Hi! Thanks for your visit on my site!

I love your decorating! I have always wanted a sled by the front door! Love it!

Laura B. said...

Your house looks beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing.

Kim Layton said...

Your home is beautiful and the ornaments are amazing! What a nice collection!

shannon said...

Caren, it all looks great!!! I love all the ornaments, and how great that you got to use so many of your mom's things in your house this year. Very special.

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

I love my real tree but it occurred to me today that my burning, teary eyes are not the result of emotional joy for the holiday season. Your faux looks fabulous!

Marie said...

Everything is so pretty!!!! I love all your snowmen. I have a pretty large collection of them too, but most of them never made it out of the box this year. How scroogy. :o) OH! Your front door looked a LOT like mine... I did a double take. lol I have a sled with skates hanging on them too. Funny!