Wednesday, December 5, 2012

thanks for sharing in our joy.

We were blessed by the number of people that toured our home on Sunday as part of the Christmas Tour of Homes in Oakland, Nebraska... and by all of you who are touring it in cyberspace though our blog. Thank you.

I may have the house decorated for Christmas by December 2nd, but that doesn't mean I will have the gifts wrapped until December 23rd!  In my shoes? How about wrapping white toile netting around the bottom of the tree... it doesn't look empty when you do.

How can red and white pack such a powerful punch?  Try your own collection of "red things".

Sometimes one simple thing is all you need to say 'Merry Christmas'.

If new stockings seem like an overwhelming expense, how about mittens?  It is what our grand kids are getting at Grandma & Grandpa's.

Sometimes 'what you have' makes the best decoration.  The Guest Room is featuring my girls' childhood teddy bears with parts of a treasured advent calendar.  In a former life I was a needlework designer for The Cross Eyed Cricket and these advent pillows bring back warm memories... and are meant to communicate MERRY CHRISTMAS to YOU...

reading room takes a holiday.

This is the room that was transformed by the Pottery Barn Design Consultation.  (I am not even going to show you what it looked like before Shelli and Kathy showed up from the Omaha Pottery Barn store.)  They moved the leather Manhattan chairs to the living room and put my slip covered ones in here.  They gave us the confidence to fill the walls with our kids photos.  They told me we needed three lights (and we knew they were right).  And they told us about the amazing flameless candles that look like real! They are made of real wax, they flicker like a real candle - and - they are on a timer so they come on by themselves every night!  They are on Karen's Favorite Things for 2012.  (They run on 2 "C" batteries and cost about the same as a "real" candle.)

In this room, people often comment on the PB Eton Mirror above the fireplace.  I bought it early in the renovation process when we were spending $ and $ and $ on tuck pointing and insulation and duct work - and I thought we should buy a mirror before we ran out of money - ha.

In my opinion, every house needs some kind of Advent Calendar.  The one above the coal burning fireplace in this room is from Garnet Hill several years ago.  This year each little knitted pocket is filled with a 'couple activity' for Mike and me.  We gave up too many date nights working on the house this past year so December will be about ... "reading together on the chaise lounge for an hour" or "bringing homemade bread to someone on the prayer list at church"...  We need to spend some time sitting in this room now that the house is done!  Don't tell Mike but one of the activities actually says "sit and drink a glass of wine in every room" - ha.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

mike's basement space.

Have you ever seen such a neat work bench?  Mike took much pride in squaring away his basement workshop for the Christmas Open House.  He keeps a clean & organized work area anyway, but you could have eaten off the floor on Sunday.  One of the great things about our basement is the tall ceilings and natural light from the big windows.

Replacing the basement windows was the very first project we tackled after taking possession of the house back in 2010.  I remember thinking 'windows cost this much??' when I wrote out the first check... and I knew then that we were in for a real ride.

Mike added a basement "outhouse" which he sided with real barn wood. It is a conversation starter for sure.  Actually, Mike has a story about almost everything in his workshop.

my office.

To say that I love my office room would be an understatement.  And in a perfect world, every woman would have the Pottery Barn Bradford Project Table. 

I decorated my space with things that I love... actually things that I treasure.  The glass bowl contains vintage glass ornaments that were my Grandma Eunice's... too precious for the tree.  And nestled among the netting and Christmas balls is one yellow & green "bubble light" from my grandma's tree.  I have enchanting memories of these candle lights on the freshly cut tree in the corner of my grandma's living room.  I cannot believe I am lucky enough to have one.   The candle angel has been around as long as I have so I asked my mother if I could adopt it.  My desk adorns a photo album that contains my family's photo Christmas cards from 1960-1978.  If you look closely you might be able to see that the shelf behind my desk is adorned with my childhood Christmas stocking... and a collection of my Top 40 favorite movies!

I included this photo because the real magic of my office is the light that pours in the beveled leaded glass windows and dances around the room.  It sparkles like Christmas even without the decorations.

still in love.

We are still in love after the two plus year renovation.  Here is a picture to prove it.

merry Christmas.

We are waiting for the first falling snow to get a photo for our Christmas Card... but are very thankful for the warm and delightful weather we have enjoyed into December.  Amazing.

welcome to our kitchen.

An added blessing was actually enjoying the Open House itself.  The Women's Club had a record number of tickets sold and almost 200 people came through the house in four hours.  One of my favorite parts was watching people's faces when they walked into the kitchen.  We want to thank Barbara & Preston McAfee in Dallas for having a kitchen that we wanted to copy.  We want to thank our brilliant architect, Gary Bishop for creating the plans and the most exquisite lighting of any kitchen we have ever seen. And we want to thank our very skilled finish carpenter, Dave Grimm for making our custom cabinets.  A common question was: Where did you get your cupboards? Answer: Dave Grimm.

ready for Christmas!

December 2, 2012.  The Finish Line. 
We participated in the Oakland Women's Club Christmas Tour of Homes on Sunday, December 2nd.  Not only did it provide the deadline to have the house decorated for Christmas - for us, it marked the goal to have our house projects completed.  Every last bag and box unpacked.  Every hook hung.  Every shelf filled.  Every picture hung.  We are officially settled in!

When we moved into the house in mid July someone said to me "And maybe you will be settled in by Christmas."  At the time I thought that was the rudest and most unkind thing I had heard anyone say  ...But it was also true. ha. 

The sense of thankfulness, satisfaction and pleasure we feel at "being done" after a two and a half year renovation is nothing short of overwhelming.

The night before the Open House I snapped these photos to celebrate that "we were ready!"

the stockings were hung by the staircase with care...

The grand staircase seemed like the perfect spot for our numerous Christmas stockings.  Many people have asked where I got them.  The answer: Sundance Catalog under the name BH Crafts.  The fun part is that they are 100% wool and are hand knit in Bosnia by underprivileged women that have been taught the skill to support themselves.  I got to add to the "collection" this year with our new son in law and it was fun to see that they have added new patterns.

With a large blended family of 10 children and 4 spouses (so far) our stocking count is already up to sixteen.  And in a 12 month period we added 5 grandchildren - yes, 5!  Bella, our first, was born in 2010 - and we added Harper, Eleanor, Charlotte, Thea & Avery from October 2011 to September 2012.  I made an executive decision about the "stocking situation"... the grandchildren will have MITTENS!