Blue Christmas

Chameleon plate. Salad servers.

Christmas wish list, that is!

In my second wish list post of the season, here are some pale aqua
(one of my favourite colours)
lovelies I am dreaming of finding under the tree this year.

Chalkboard storage jars.

Wouldn’t they look perfect in this incarnation of my dream kitchen?

Kitchen design by Albertsson Hansen Architecture.

 

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Quick & Easy

Today I picked up a few little Christmas presents.
Three of them were very simply gift-wrapped for me in kraft paper bags and bright green tissue paper.

I really like to have some element of the handmade in my gift wrap, so I had to add a little something to the packages.  Since I am planning to use kraft paper for my gift wrap this year, I decided to keep the gifts in the kraft bags and just add my own tags to them.
What could be easier?

I printed on each tag, added some festive washi tape to two and used a paper punch to tart up another one, added an oversized jingle bell and some pretty ribbon to each one and tied them onto the handles of the bags. It took a wee while, as I individually hand-lettered each tag, but you could speed up the process by using handwriting or calligraphy instead.

I LOVE these gifts– I got one for my BFF, one for my mum and one for my brother. I’d love to tell you what they are, but my mum is a regular reader and my BFF drops in now and then, too, so I can’t let you in on what’s inside the bags.
But I know it will drive at least one recipient nutty trying to figure out what the heck I could get that would be appropriate for both her and for my brother!

Gift tags & washi tape from The Paper Place.

 

Santa, Baby

We don’t do Christmas lists in my family– do you? I am not a fan of the kind of list that contains lots of practical things like screwdrivers or snow shovels. Rather, I like the idea of dreaming up a wish-list of lovely things and then not  knowing whether or not any of them will wind up under the tree on the 25th. A true wish list, a dream big, extravagant, frivolous kind of wish list. Not to say you can’t put practical things on your wish list, just aim for the most beautiful version of said practical things.

Fr’instance, if someone were to ask me this year, I’d want to replace all our horrible, old, cheap glassware with these beauties from Anthropologie. I would love to sip from these every day; I’d feel decadent and elegant. And lucky!

And I could use them with this gorgeous platter.

And while I’m on the subject of wish lists, Santa….

Kitchen designed by Paola Navone.

Be My Guest

Stuck for hostess gifts? Teacher gifts? Something small and thoughtful to give a neighbour or a colleague?

I have a solution for you.
Make The Barefoot Contessa’s Parmesan, Thyme & Black Pepper Crackers. They are incredibly quick and easy and they are beyond yummy!
I make a whole gigantic bunch of them and keep them in the freezer so I have them on-hand during the holidays.

I like to give them away in vintage mason jars, but glassine or paper bags, or pretty little boxes would be sweet, too.
Add a nice bottle of red wine and you have the perfect hostess gift for the festive season.

They are so quick and easy that you will have time to sit down and enjoy a few with a nice glass of wine while congratulating yourself on your cleverness in making such a thoughtful, delicious gift!

You’re welcome. 😉

Let It Snow

Source.

I have long had a fantasy about being a professional gift wrapper. If that is not a real job, it darn well should be! Ever since I was quite little, I have LOVED wrapping presents. As a teenager, I used to shut myself in my room with all the bows and paper and ribbons, sing along to Christmas tunes and wrap prezzies for hours and hours. It was one of my favourite days of the year and I looked forward to it for months.

As an adult, I still look forward to a day spent doing nothing but wrapping gifts. In my 30s, I started to pick a theme each year and wrap all my gifts the same way. One year it was blue paper, wide satin ribbon in chocolate brown and a single chandelier crystal on each gift. I often use kraft paper– one year I added a single magnolia leaf with the recipient’s name written on it in gold ink to each package; another year, it was organza ribbon with glass ornaments embellished with the recipient’s initial or a loving phrase; still another year, it was packing-stamp inspired stickers, red or gold jingle bells and red twine wrapped around and around and all over each package. I am also a huge fan of black paper and one of my favourite schemes involved it with oversized rick-rack in red or white and miniature glass Christmas balls.

Those are Liberty covered buttons on the right!

Source. Source.

I start thinking about my festive gift wrap months in advance, so now I am getting down to the wire and am narrowing down my choices for this year. You will have to wait and see what I end up doing, but in the meantime, I hope these inspirational images get you in the gift-wrapping spirit!

Source.

Facelift

The living room “freshen up” project is now finished. The room had been done by a decorator in the 80s and was ready for a facelift. The homeowners are in their 70s and have very traditional tastes and did not want to spend an enormous amount of money, so the project really was just to update via new upholstery, paint and lamps. There was no budget to replace the upholstery on the oversized salmon-pink chair or the drapes in the same hue, so we had to work around those two elements.

The paint on the wall is a slightly more grey-green version of the Wedgwood blue that was already there. The rest of the transformation comes thanks to tailored, modern upholstery. The blue linen allows the lovely line of the back of the sofa to take centre stage; I had wanted to have one single cushion made for the seat of the sofa, to make it more modern and more inviting, but the upholsterer talked the homeowner out of it, alas. Luckily she followed instructions on the wing-back chairs, whose crisp ticking suits their tailored shape to a T.

The clear glass lamps bring a bit of contemporary sparkle to the room; I particularly love the ikat lampshade & the covered cord of the lamp on the console.

In the end, the new fabrics and a slight switch in paint colour make a big difference. The room looks fresh and updated, but still traditional and suited to the homeowners’ aesthetic.

Clearly Curvacious

In the end, this lamp was not at all right for the living room “freshening up.”
But I found two lovely, tall, simple glass table lamps that worked perfectly.
The shape and the shade are classic and timeless; the clear glass adds a bit of contemporary chic to the room.

Untrimmed, the lamps were a bit austere and cold.
The shades looked very clinical in a way that did not contrast well with the curvy bases.

So I added a bit of ruffle trim to the tops of the shades.
It’s a subtle detail, but it ties in with the trim on the sofa throw cushions and draws the eye upward, adding harmony and height to the room.

It was a very quick and easy trick: I used glue dots to stick the ribbon to the top of the shades. It’s a nice way to tart up a simple shade or one of which you are bored.
Into the fancy and the frou-frou? Add some pom-pom trim or fringe!
Is yours a crisper, more modern aesthetic? Grosgrain ribbon is simple and elegant– you can use varying widths of ribbon to add one or more stripes of colour to your lampshade. It’s a little project that has a big impact.

Abracadabra!

I have been acquiring lamps since August, in a bid to find a couple that would work in a living room “freshening.”
As a result, I have had a basement full of table lamps, all of which needed a bit of, um, tweaking to help them reach their full potential.

Last week, the lady for whom I made these cushions called to say that her furniture had all been recovered and that she was ready for the final touches. That meant I had to figure out the lamp situation, stat!

I found this one at Homesense.

It was uuuuuuuugly, but it had great bones, including some great texture, so I knew I could transform it with a few coats of paint.

I liked the finished product a lot.

Simply Done

I know it’s early, and I  know that not everyone is ready to think about it yet, but there is the smell of snow in the air and even a few flakes floating down.
And that has me thinking about how I am going to approach Christmas this year…

I am planning to go with simple, pared-down decor.
My hope is that I will only use about 1/4 of my festive stuff and give it all some space to breathe.  I love the simple ideas in these images.

Are you thinking about your festive decor yet?

Images from here and here.

Please & Thank You

Today I spent a few happy hours in my sewing room, whipping up a few little projects.
One of the things I did was to put together little “thank you” packets for some young ladies who helped me out last week.  Each packet contains a set of button magnets.

I just love the little wooden bird tags and have been saving them for a couple of years. I finally decided to use a couple of them to make little name tags that can also become Christmas ornaments or just hang on a doorknob, over a bed post or on the corner of a mirror or picture frame.

I added some glitter because, let’s face it, pretty much everything is better with glitter!