Sunday, December 30, 2012

When Christmas is Over

Well the big day has passed and I've begun to dismantle my Christmas decor. I love the feeling of having so much space after everything is tucked back away. But I don't want the house to look bleak and depressing just because the holiday is over. So; it's time for some Winter dressings. I bring in all fresh evergreens and tons of white candles. I was lucky enough to receive some gorgeous mercury glass globes and votives from my husband for Christmas and am in the process of displaying them now. I have urns and hurricanes filled with Winter filler: pinecones, faux snowballs, grapevine and silvery accents. Mirrors and silver or pewter trays are also being used for their cheery shine and reflection of candlelight. Woodland animals and snowmen are also great props for the season. Some of the prettiest decor is made from things we have lying around, ice skates and old skis or sleds, knitted hats and mittens look adorable on a wreath or just displayed with some greens.
Evergreen looks the most stunning to me against a silver or white/ivory backdrop so I prefer pewter, mercury glass and white ironstone to display them. Natural elements such as birch branches, twig wreaths and burlap accents make lovely touches. Your Christmas vignettes of snow covered  bottle brush trees don't need to be packed away yet and look especially pretty under glass cloches and displayed on trays or cake stands for added impact. Here are some of my favorite Winter looks, I hope you enjoy them. Happy New Year and Happy Winter!!

This precious wreath is so fun and unique I would leave it up till January's end.

Chunky knits are one of my favorite things to decorate with.  These candleholders are made from old sweaters~absolute genius. Texture is always an important design element. You should incorporate all five senses in decorating and varying textures keeps things fun and inviting.

Greens and berries, so simple and beautiful. I incorporate natural elements in my decor as much as possible. The energy and feeling of groundedness they bring to a home is amazing.

 Urns, cloches and topiaries are three of my favorite things. They always put a smile on my face. I love keeping the palette simple, just greens and whites/ivories. Pewter and glass for cheery shine and a rusted patina on the urn makes for interesting texture. The graceful curves of a cloche or urn keep the eye stimulated and everything becomes visually appealing.

Candles are one of the most inexpensive and overlooked design tools. They should not be underestimated! Again, add visual interest and keep the eye stimulated by varying textures and colors but keep the palette limited to avoid everything looking too busy. I love the mix of mercury glass with the bronze and this sweet, little deer is too adorable.

 This door decoration is genius and the best idea I've seen to welcome you home.

It's all about touch and layers for warm, Winter decorating. Add furry throws everywhere. Knits, chenilles, thermals. So cozy and inviting.

Stay cozy friends! xoxo ~ melissa

All pics are from Pinterest.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

DIY Ice Candle

So I've been thinking a lot about candles lately. Following along with that theme I am bringing you a DIY ice candle tutorial. These are so amazingly gorgeous lighting a walkway to your holiday home and they are so easy to make.


          Tools needed: ~plastic bucket
                                   ~ a tall glass
                                   ~rocks to weigh down the glass
                                   ~ cranberries and snips of boxwood and or holly.
                                 Other filler can be used: evergreen, orange slices, cinnamon sticks, star aster, fresh fruit or flowers etc.
                                  ~your freezer
                                  ~votive candle

Steps:    1) Fill the bucket with water a couple of inches below the desired height of your candleholder, make sure you allow for displacement.

             2) Place rocks inside the glass. Place the glass in the center of the bucket. The glass will create a void where you will later place the candle.
             3) Drop the fresh cranberries in the water, they will float.

             4) Freeze the bucket until the water turns to ice.

             5) When you're ready to use your candleholder: run the outside of the bucket under hot water to loosen the glass, then pop it out of the center.

             6) Place your votive in the center hole where the glass used to be and light.

How gorgeous is this?

Photo: courtesy of Shabby & Charme

Note: for a more neutral, non-holiday, look you can leave out the cranberries. Various sized and shaped containers can be used to add variety.

These are made with fresh fruit:

 One of my favorite ideas is using fresh flowers for a wedding or special event. The ideas for filler are limitless.

These are so fun and so different than ordinary luminaries. Enjoy! ~Melissa

Photos: courtesy of Google Images

Friday, December 14, 2012


There is nothing so pretty as candle glow and a home bathed in candlelight is warm, cozy and welcoming. Candles give off a positive energy and make every room look better. It never ceases to amaze me how much more pulled together my rooms look with candles scattered throughout. My favorites are just simple white or ivory. Pillars or votives are lovely anytime and  tapers are a bit more formal. I absolutely adore mercury glass pillar holders and votive cups, the candlelight shines right thru the beautiful glass giving off a magical glow. Mercury glass has such a lovely, worn patina that makes them look beautifully aged and sophisticated. Candles are gorgeous anytime of year but I admit they look prettiest to me at the holidays. Here are some lovely ways to display candles around your Winter home.

This is one of my favorite looks, so natural and incredibly easy to make. Simple Mason jars filled with Epsom Salts, to give the look of snow, and beautiful white votives give such a rustic, country look.

I think these are so sweet! Tiny, clay pots cost practically nothing and look adorable when they are "dressed up" for the holidays. You can use dirt, pebbles or sand as filler to hold your candle. Use a short taper, not a votive as you don't want to worry about it burning down to the greenery too quickly.  You can add moss, holly, evergreens and even baby pinecones. I love how these are grouped together in a vintage wire basket. An old milk crate would be precious as well. I always group like objects together as it adds impact. To me that is a cardinal rule of decorating. You want to look at your display and say, "Wow!".


These tapers are so sweet. Placed in tiny, clay pots with an aged patina, they have an Old World look.
Covered in moss and sprigs of evergreen tied with a tiny satin ribbon. I love the juxtaposition of the natural, rustic clay next to the more formal satin ribbon. If you want to do a more natural theme I think burlap ribbon would be absolutely adorable. I'm a burlap junkie!!

These votive cups are sweet and would look so pretty grouped over a dinner table. Take any sheet music you love, which makes it more personal, and wrap it around your votive cup. Tie with a string of twine with evergreen and berries tucked inside. I also love the idea of using a favorite poem written out in beautiful script. Something like "The Night Before Christmas" would be sweet or a Bible verse. I love this idea for wedding tables. Simple, thin, brown paper each with a single word that has meaning to you, "peace", "joy", "love" etc., would be beautiful. Even plain, unadorned, rice paper would be pretty.

I am always wondering what I could do with old, random pickle jars etc. I always have recycled them, never thinking of using them as candleholders until I saw this pic. These are filled with arborvitae, a long lasting evergreen and one of my favorites. A bit of faux snow sprinkled within the greens completes the look.  I would only use a tea light, as pictured, because it contains the wick more safely and you would not want to catch the "snow" on fire. I love how they secured frosted pinecones at the rims for added cheer!

This table scape is lovely if you enjoy tapers. They are a bit more formal and give, to me at least, a Colonial feel. I have studied much the decor of Colonial Williamsburg as it is one of my favorite places and a timeless style I love. Note the gorgeous, mercury glass votive and how it shines.

This is totally adorable and gives me "visions of sugarplums"!  A simple, cored apple with a thin taper inserted, garnished with greens and faux raspberries and candy canes.  Displayed on a lovely, ironstone plate adorned with Christmas cookies. What a lovely look for an informal Christmas lunch or tea.

I hope this has given you pleasure in viewing and possibly some inspiration for your holiday decorating.

~ "Man loves company-even if it is only that of a small burning candle."- George C. Lichtenburg ~

All Photos Courtesy of Shabby in Love

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Around My Home

Well folks I've been practicing my photography skills and thank the good Lord that Santa is bringing this good little girl a new camera!!
 Until then I thought I would take a few quick photos of the house as I know many of you have asked for pictures and I am honored to share a little of our old farmhouse.



Our home was built in 1831 for the Robert Hilands family, a prominent landowner and leader in the community. The property originally spanned over 300 acres but was sold off piece by piece. It is now nearly an acre. This is a side view with one of my sons, Noah, playing in the yard with our two Golden Retrievers, Beau and Max.

The marker placed by our local historical society

Our front porch

This chandelier is in our front entry hall and many people ask if it is original to the house. I actually purchased it about 5 years ago from Nieman Marcus.

The view from our front entry hall to the back door

A view of our living room with the original bookcases, fireplace and moldings.

 A slightly dark pic of the living room but I love this view


Another view of the living room. I adore old architectural pieces and found this old moulding at a lovely shoppe here in Pittsburgh. I had no idea what I would do with it but knew I would find a place. It sits on top of the living room mirror and I absolutely love it!

A closer look at the molding


 I hope you enjoyed getting to know our home a bit better and I hope you'll visit again. You're always welcome!

Proud to be sharing here~Open House Party                                       

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

White Christmas

Christmas is soon upon us and I don't know about you but I am more in the spirit than usual! I hope you're all getting your decorating and preparations done so you can relax and enjoy this magical season.
As I get older, and my design aesthetic has changed, I am gravitating much more toward minimalism in my Christmas decorating. And in my general, year round decor as well. Now I adore a multicolored tree and have one in our living room as you may have seen. And in my kitchen, my white tree is adorned in pastel vintage ornaments, silver beaded garland and vintage look floral picks and it is jam packed, hardly minimalist. I love the way it looks but just once I would like to have a more simple, natural bent on my decorating. With small children it is difficult as they want the big, colorful trees and lights everywhere. Maybe when they grow older I will finally be able to try something different, more simple and rustic. Until then, I'd like to leave you today with some of my favorite simple holiday rooms and vignettes. Various shades of white on white, an abundance of natural evergreens and lovely white candles everywhere. These give me such a peaceful feeling and I hope you will enjoy them. A good snowfall here in Pa. wouldn't hurt either! At least I'd have a semi-white Christmas! Enjoy!

Photos Courtesy of Shabby in Love

Friday, December 7, 2012

More Fabric-Covered Art

If you saw my post on my Christmas mantle redo then you know I covered some old art I had with fabric to give me a new look, rather than buy new art. It was so easy and inexpensive. I used electrical tape to secure the fabric on the back of the piece and it works perfectly. This way your art isn't damaged in any way and the fabric can be removed easily to uncover the original picture or to be recovered again. Well I was so happy with the turn out I decided to do the same thing with a piece of art I had hanging in my front entryway. When I bought the off white muslin for the Christmas mantle I spied some beautiful jute. I am a big fan of using natural materials whenever possible. Jute smells so good, like fresh hay, it makes me smile. This particular jute is printed with an allover French script which I fell in love with. It looks like something I would find in the Ballard Design catalog. So, I purchased the jute for 8.99 a yard. The art is somewhat large so I bought three yards just to be safe and because I wanted extra for future projects. It took a matter of minutes to cover the piece and rehang it in it's original spot. Here are some pics of this quick and easy project : )

                                           I apologize for the picture quality. I don't have enough good daylight in my home. I am getting a new camera for Christmas though!  Here's the before...
                                   And here's the after...

One of my many iron urns with some Wintery filler. I bought a box of assorted filler at Target for 9.99 and picked up the large, glittery snowball at Pier One for 1.99 :)

I'm sure I will be adding more goodies to the display. Greenery and candles and such. One of the most enjoyable things about decorating is that it is never "done".  Homes and our design aesthetic are always  evolving and it's such a treat to see how far I've come.

Happy Decorating : )