Organize Simplify Create Design

It is perpetual, living life and keeping it simple. Peace of mind comes from having a place for things. As I watched "Horton Hears a Who", with my grandchildren I thought about no matter how "tiny" the thing, it deserves a home. So I live by the old adage, a place for everything and everything in its respective place...

About Me

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Houston, Texas, United States
Ten things I am or have been: 1 Wife, 2 Mother of five, 3 Grandmother of 16, 4 Hair Dresser, 5 Bookkeeper 6 Bank Teller, 7 Scrapbook Store Owner, 8 Reporter, 9 Gardener, 10 Photographer,

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

How to decorate a Christmas tree like a pro

Decorating a Christmas Tree and your home for the holiday can be a chore or a delight. 
I recommend doing your home over a 7 day period. This way you won't feel so overwhelmed. And depending on the extent of your decorating it may take you less time. 
Day 1
Decide where you want to place your tree. Decide if you will use what you have or if you want to incorporate new colors or themes this year. Pull out your tree stand and take it along if you are shopping for a live tree. When our children were little, choosing a tree was an event. We went as a family, sometimes to a Christmas tree farm, or a lot. Everyone had a say. :)
Now the we are empty nesters, my hubby fluffs and I assemble the tree. (see step two below, I put my lights on as I assemble the tree.) We purchased a quality artificial tree 11 years ago and it still looks lovely as you see above. (I still put up a live tree on my patio because we spend a lot of time out there even during cooler months here in Texas) We decorate that one with cute beachy themed ornaments that we have collected over the years, we call it our Jimmy Buffet tree. 
Begin with purchasing your tree or assembling if you own an artificial tree. Keep it away from the wall making it easy to decorate around. I purchased furniture sliders at Lowes, the kind that slide on wood floors, so the tree scoots freely to decorate and slide into place when we are finished.

Day 2 
[As mentioned above I arrange my lights on the tree branches as it is assembled. I weave up and down each branch. I like a lot of lights. If you have a pre lit tree obviously you get to skip this step.]

Gather your lights, test them to see if you have to replace any. There is nothing more frustrating than getting lights strung on and then they don't light. I purchased an electric outlet strip that is green. I ziptied it to the trunk of my tree about midway up, this plugs into my hand foot peddle for turning the whole tree on and off which plugs into the electrical outlet near the back of the tree. Most Christmas lights can only be strung a maximum of 3 per strand. By having numerous plugs on your trees trunk  this enables you to follow important safety instructions for your lights that could otherwise be a fire hazard.

Day 3
Time to haul out the decorations. Mine are in labeled bins. If yours are not, don't fret, you can easily do this as you take your decorations down this year. It makes decorating an easy task as you pull out only what you will need as you go.

 I store all "like" ornaments together when taking the tree down.

If you want to adorn your tree with ribbon or garland, now is the time to place this on the tree. You can measure several lengths of ribbon for the height of your tree and pull the ends together and anchor it with florist wire to the top of your tree. Arrange the pieces to drape down the tree like pieces of a pie. Now tuck adding poofs as you track down the tree. My ribbon has a wired edge so I can wrap it around a branch to secure it. You can use an inexpensive wire ornament hook if yours is not. You should tuck the ribbon into the branch far enough to hide where you are securing the ribbon. 
If you are using garland. Beginning at the top and working down, drape the garland around the tree, trailing down as you go. Step back periodically to be sure you are keeping it spaced and even as you go.
(Hint: Save special keepsakes like these little bells I kept from our sons wedding to hang on the tree each year)

 Go to your larger ornaments and place these spaced from the top down, depending on how many you have. You should have at least seven to nine large eye catching pieces, I like to have the same ones to bring eye candy appeal to the tree. (you may have more or less depending on the tree height) You can also wire together groupings of smaller ornaments in colors you like to bring a larger feel to the groupings, they will seem like one piece to place on the tree as well. (Hint: Items do not have to all be exactly the same.)

As you have probably guessed, my tree has been done in primarily golds and reds in years past. As I have shifted my decor this year to a more shabby, farmhouse, antique feel, I will be adding my new robin egg blue color to my tree and giving my red a rest for now. I plan to add in the lime green and brown bringing all the colors together. I can show you photos if you like. (although not to many people comment to me here) : ( I'd love to hear your tree deco ideas)
You can now begin to fill in the rest of your tree with beautiful ornaments you have collected through the years. The little "hot tub snowgirl" shown above was my ornament for last year. We have had a tradition of collecting one special ornament for each year we have been married. We did the same for our children and they took their collection to their own tree when they left home.
The last thing that goes on my tree is the angel. She has been with us since our first Christmas. I finally had to redo her gown. I decided to cut up my wedding veil and not only remake her, but made each one of my children an angel for their own tree with a special poem attached. You might prefer a star, a huge bow, even a sparkling spray of Christmas florals. It's all up to you! We have a huge parrot on our tree top outside. (see below for explanation)
The finale...add your tree skirt and presents. No tree skirt, drape a tablecloth, a piece of fabric or grab a piece of burlap (so inexpensive) and drape it around the bottom. The presents are going to hide that skirt anyway. I found mine at Marshall's. They have beautiful skirts every year and are reasonably priced.

I put up two additional trees at our house. One in the game room, that is a completely traditional old fashioned decorated Christmas tree. Also, we put up the Jimmy Buffet tree on the patio, because we love sitting by the fire in the winter and enjoy our only LIVE tree!

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Old Antique Hutch Makeover

The Basement Hutch

It was a cold winter in 1971

It was college days and I was a young mother living in a rent house converted into two apartments. I became friends with my 80 something landlady and her sister, who lovingly gave me my first lessons on china painting. They were so amazing. During our painting session I told them about my china that was still boxed up from my wedding. Not long after that conversation she was on my doorstep and took me down to a dark basement beneath the home we were living in and gave me a cute bookcase for our daughter and sold me "the basement hutch" for me to put my china in for $25, which I paid for over a period of WEEKS! ; )

Here she is after following us back and forth across the country until she began to break apart and ended up in our storage..... :(

The Old Hutch was literally falling to pieces. It was not only covered in dust but had  a Yellow Antiquing kit from the 1970's era.  
The smoked glass panes were removed and we put plain glass back.
The original crystal knobs were still in good condition. My landlady said the piece was more than 100 years old back then. So the piece is close to 140 plus years now. It was handmade, quite primitive.

As you can see this was a major undertaking. Completely re-glueing. I'm just glad that my hubby knows how to do this!

The transformation begins.

I had plans to do Annie Sloan French Linen and distress from there, but the yellow popped out neon.  So I decided to go with the ASCP Duck Egg Blue on the inside, and go French Linen over the top. I have a corner piece in the dining room that I will show you soon that also had the French Linen on it.

I am pleased with the rustic look, even with a tiny bit of yellow showing. 

I found these adorable apliques that added charm to the doors.

The key still works! 

It's so fun to have her back in the house. 

The OLD Hutch