christmas house tour: northwest coastal edition

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Today I’m hoping on the Blogger Stylin Christmas Home Tours hosted by Lindsay at White Buffalo Styling Co. Normally, I would show my own home (like I did last year and the year before that) but we just found out that Better Homes & Gardens Christmas Ideas Magazine will be coming in January to shoot photos for next year’s publication (so fun!) and so I can’t share our christmas house with you on the blog this year. Truthfully, this arrangement works in my favor because I’m dragging my feet getting our house decorated.  I’m hoping all of these amazing homes on tour will stir up some inspiration.

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Instead of showing our home, I asked my friend Erica if I could come take pictures of her cute new house. We met Erica and her husband Scott at college, they were in our wedding and even though we don’t get together often (they live about 45 minutes away), its one of those friendships where we just pick up where we left off. Their family just moved to this darling house on an island with the Puget Sound for a front yard. Even on the cloudiest days, it is still so beautiful to look outside and see the water and she’s found that she doesn’t need a lot of decorations with a view of nature out every window.  Her house looks simple and classic all dressed for Christmas and I’m excited to show you!

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kitchen

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console-table

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Isn’t it great?! I love how bright and open the space feels, but still cozy and christmasy.

/ SOURCES/

wall color: Sherwin Williams Sensible Hue
couch: ikea ektorp
living room rug: ikea
red plaid pillows: ikea
chairs: world market
curtains: made by Erica, ikat fabric from fabric.com
silent night pillows: etsy
kitchen table/chairs/bench: world market
Noel marquee letters: made by Erica

Continue on with the blog tour with Laura at Finding Home and to start at the very beginning head over to Lindsay at White Buffalo Styling Co. I hope seeing other homes brings you inspiration for your own spaces and the permission to make your home reflect your style!

BSHT-Christmas-2014-Graphic

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when the holidays magnify heartache

This is a re-post from last year – it just felt like the right post to share again today. I adore this time of year as much as the next person, but it never fails that the joy and twinkling lights and peppermint candies are always accompanied by some type of undeniable pain and sadness and loss. If you find yourself not quite in the holiday spirit today, may this post be an encouragement to you …

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I’m a dreamer.

Not in the sense that I’m a visionary with lofty ideas or plans. I’m not that type.

I’m literally a dreamer. I wake nearly every morning having dreamt the night before and can usually remember large portions of these dreams. Sometimes they are off-the-wall, make-no-sense types of dreams. Other times, I wake with a deep impression, a clarity, a sense that my dream was not just a dream.

Sunday morning, was one of those moments.

I’ll spare you the details, but the gist was that I quickly delivered a baby boy and he only lived for a few short minutes.

I woke with a broken heart.

I am not pregnant, we are not trying for another baby, it’s not a story I recently read or watched or had a conversation about. There is no logical reason why my sleeping brain would dream about this. Someone told me once that when interpreting dreams, pay less attention to the details and focus on the emotions instead. So I woke, thought about my dream and was compelled to pray.

This time of year is about joy and cheer and merry and bright. There is so much to celebrate, so many delicious smells and cherished traditions, festive parties and happy moments. It is the most wonderful time of the year.

But the holidays also magnify heartache.

The loss of loved ones. Broken marriages. Sickness. Financial struggles. Unexpected hardships. Unrealized dreams. Fears coming true.

These things happen all year long, but it sure seems they pile up during the holidays. Heaps of sadness, heartbreak, struggle, loss come pouring down during this time of year when we should be singing merrily.

I don’t mean to be a downer. I just know there is a lot of pain underneath our glittery sequins – sometimes hidden masterfully, other times oozing out in the least expected moments.

You are not alone.

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As I lay in bed on sunday morning, I prayed. I prayed for the mothers who have lost babies. I prayed for the families who are fractured, for those with scary diagnoses, for the heartache and brokenness we all feel. Will you join with me in praying? For relationships healed and bodies made well, for jobs found and hope restored. But most of all, for an unexplainable peace to cover and comfort in the face of trial.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

You are welcome to download and print this quick scripture reminder I made for myself. Share it with a friend who needs hope today or keep it for yourself as a reminder of His loving gift of grace and peace in the midst of ugly circumstances.

grace-and-peace-print (click image to download)

 

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how to make the most delicious holiday drink at home

homemade-eggnog-latte

Eggnog.

You either love it or you hate it.

I happen to fall in the love it category. Like, really, really love it. Served cold, as punch, in french toast – I’ll take it any way because eggnog tastes like Christmas.

And my favorite way to drink eggnog is as a homemade latte.

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It’s easy as can be and tastes delicious. I actually don’t drink coffee in the morning, but most days I enjoy an afternoon decaf latte. Here’s what you need to make them at home:

homemade-eggnog-latte-ingredients

1. tassimo single serve coffee maker
2. gevalia decaf espresso disc
3. darigold eggnog (or your favorite brand)
4. whole milk
5. beville milk frother (best kitchen gadget ever!)
6. microplane grater
7. whole nutmeg
8. favorite monogram mug

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Really, it’s quite easy. Just brew a cup of espresso, and add half eggnog, half milk to the frother and push the start button.

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When the coffee is brewed and milk hot, pour the eggnog over the espresso, then grate a little bit (or a lot) of nutmeg on top.

pour-and-nutmet Mmmmm.

eggnog-latte

I heard that some starbucks around the country are not serving eggnog lattes this holiday season (what?!!). But don’t worry … now you can make you own at home. Enjoy!

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craft night: book page angel wings

book-page-angel-wings

A few girlfriends came over this week for a Christmas craft night. A couple of us had seen book page angel wings and it seemed like a fun project to do together for the holidays.

There was nothing fancy or exceptional about my craft night … just a few treats (like trader joe’s dark chocolate covered peppermint marshmallows – yum!), hot cider and basic craft supplies.  One of my sweetest friends pre-cut all of the old book pages – mostly from a hymnal which we loved – and everyone brought a glue gun.

I don’t have accurate step-by-step photos because we really just made these up as we went, but I’ll run through the steps just in case you want to make wings for your home.

Start by cutting out a wing shape from cardboard. Some of us cut two separate wings, others cut one piece for both wings. We all just free-handed and made them different shapes and sizes (examples below).

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We used old hymnal pages cut to 5 x 5″ squares to make the cones, hot gluing them to hold. You have to make about 100 (depending on the size of your wings) so just keep rolling and rolling and rolling.

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Then comes the fun/tricky part of arranging and gluing the paper cones to the cardboard. It was fun to see how everyone did them differently; some wrapped their paper into small cones, others a little larger. My friend Krista put her paper all in one direction (left) while others went around the perimeter, filling in the middle by cutting the tips of the cones to make them fit.

angel-wing-samples

Aren’t those great?! The only thing we all wished we had done before was to cover the cardboard in flat book pages before gluing on the cones just to make sure none of it showed at the end.

Here’s my end product: fluffy angel wings that maybe don’t look all that much like angel wings, but I like them all the same.

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I looped a ribbon and hot glued to the back to hang.

Just for fun, I hung them above our bed. They look very pretty against the dark blue.

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Our girls night was refreshing, as always, and it was nice to start and finish a project in one sitting!

There are endless ways to recycle book pages into gorgeous pieces – wreaths (see two of mine here and here), ornaments, paper chains, taping the paper directly to your wall (my personal fave).

Have you made anything great with book pages? I’d love to hear your ideas …

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our house refresh (new floors + white walls)

Over the past month and a half, we’ve done a bit of a house remodel. For years we’ve been itching to tear out the carpet downstairs and replace it with hardwoods. We finally took the big step and finished the work right before thanksgiving.

To start at the beginning, here is the post where I tore out the carpet in my office and painted the subfloor because painted subfloor was better than the worn carpet (I kinda miss the white floors, if I’m telling the truth. But it was not practical, at all).

Several months later, we decided to just go for it and choose new floors. We tried out lots of samples and finally settled on this one from Build Direct.

Then came the fun (and really messy) part: demo. We did that part ourselves – had the kids join in and made quick work of destroying our house.

Once the floors were torn up, we took advantage of the chance to have the walls freshly painted. We’ve lived in the house for 8 years, so it was time to lighten up and give the walls a makeover. We went with white – heron white, to be exact – and couldn’t be happier with how bright and clean it looks.

After a week of painters came a week of floor install guys, then a day of trim and then a whole lot of cleaning and moving furniture back in and ahhhhh … it’s complete!

Do you want to see?! I snapped a few photos on thanksgiving day before our family came when everything was mostly put back together. It looks a little different today with Christmas decorations going up, but those photos will come.

So here it is, our house with white walls and new floors.

LIVING ROOM

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sofa / jute rug / cross rug / coffee table / stag

KITCHEN

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stools / striped towel

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THE L WALL  

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(details on the L wall here and here)

SMALL BATHROOM

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shelf / step stool / hand towel

OFFICE

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wallpaper / chair / sconces

MASTER BEDROOM

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bed frame / wall color / duvet / coverlet (similar) / sheets

We are so happy with the results. The consistent floors make the rooms flow together and the dark color grounds the space. Add in the white walls through most of the downstairs and it really gave our whole house a new look.  Of course now we look back and wish we did it much sooner!

P.S. I’m over at Build Direct this week answering design dilemma questions. If you have any specific questions, hop on over and the team will be happy to answer (plus you’ll be entered to win $1000 to Build Direct).

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