Christmas Home Tour

I'm finally getting a chance to share my Christmas home tour with you all.  I actually started my decorating a few weeks before Thanksgiving because I really wanted to enjoy my decorations a little longer.  Sometimes I feel like the month of December flies by and I barely get to enjoy everything.  I'm going to start with my downstairs and then share the upstairs with you later in the week.  

I kept things simple this year and tried to use mostly things we already had.   

This swan wrapping paper from Target was the inspiration for my tree this year.  I'm loving swans lately so adding this paper to our decor was a no brainer.  I had the pink ornaments from my daughters tree last year and the pink sticks were leftover Easter decor.  

I kept the entryway simple with my DIY art, a few accessories, and a small nativity.

The office got a few touches of Christmas cheer as well.  We actually wallpapered this room recently too, I can't wait to share it soon!

My daughter and I did a little Christmas crafting one afternoon and she made me this tree for my office.  I love it and I love that she smothered it with pom poms.  Homemade decor is the best!  We found the idea for them here.

I love the smell of a real tree, but sadly all of ours are fake this year.  I grabbed this greenery from Trader Joe's and stuck it in a bowl with some ornaments.  It actually smells up the whole room without all the mess and it took me about 2 seconds to throw it together.

We had to add one more stocking this year for our little guy so I picked these up at Homegoods.  (You can find similar ones here)  I personalized them with these letter ornaments from Target.  I love the modern, streamlined look of them.

This is our first year doing a family tree and it definitely won't be the last!  I normally go with a more streamlined look for our main tree, but I always miss seeing the sentimental ornaments.  The playroom seemed like the perfect spot for this colorful addition.  It makes me so happy to see all our memories on display.

Check back later in the week for the kids trees and a small touch of Christmas in our bedroom!  If you are looking for a little more inspiration be sure to check out our tours from the past few years below.

Salt Dough Ornament Recipe

I can hardly believe we are already talking about Christmas.  I know it's still a little on the early side, but as always it's going to be here before we know it.  One of my favorite traditions is making salt dough ornaments with my little girl every year.  She loves it and it's something we always look forward to doing together.  It's also really cheap and easy to do!  You probably already have all the supplies in your pantry.  Here's the recipe we use.  I've tried others but always come back to this one.    

Salt Dough Ornament Recipe

1 cup salt
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup water

Combine all the ingredients together in a large bowl until a soft dough forms.  Kneed the dough for a few minutes until it's soft and no longer crumbly.  Roll it out on a lightly floured surface just like you would cookie dough.  Cut out the shapes using cookie cutters of your choice.  If the dough sticks just add a little flour to the cookie cutters.  Place the shapes on a cookie sheet and bake them in a 200 degree oven for 2-3 hours.  The amount of time will depend on the thickness of the ornaments.  After they have cooled, paint them and seal them with a clear sealer of your choice.  I've used a clear spray sealer and modge podge, both work great.

This year it's all about unicorns and everything girly and pink.  I picked up a small, hot pink Christmas tree at Walmart after Christmas last year and I think these ornaments will be the perfect addition.  I used this set of cookie cutters from Amazon (affiliate link) as my inspiration.

Here's a peek at a few of the ornaments from years past.

Have you started your Christmas decorating yet?  I held out as long as I could, but I gave in and decked the halls last week.  I felt like I really wanted to be able to take my time putting everything up this year and enjoy the decorations for a little longer than usual since the season always seems to fly by.  The only downside is my daughter has been asking every day if it's Christmas yet!


Affordable Sputnik Lighting

I'm always on the hunt for affordable lighting because I think it's one thing that can totally transform a space.  We are planning on making a few improvements in our master bathroom in the next few months and I've been searching for vanity lights.  In my searching I came across these great lights from World Market.  They look very high end and they are super affordable.  And they are an extra 30% off right now with code FALLFF which makes them an even better deal!

It's hard to find a good sputnik chandelier for less than $300 and this one comes in at less than $200 after the coupon code.

This Starburst sconce is so inexpensive and looks very high end to me.  I think two of these flanking a powder room mirror would be stunning.  

*This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for your support!


Fall Home Decor Pieces

Who knew I would be so excited about the temperatures dipping into the 80's?  This week it's supposed to cool off just a tiny bit and it makes me so excited for the cooler temperatures to come.  This past week I pulled out a few of my fall decorations and started switching out my pillow covers for the new season ahead.  I know it's a little early for some, but I was itching for a change and, for me at least, September always feels like the beginning of fall.  One of my favorite ways to decorate for fall is with textures and layers, rather than loads of fall themed decor items.  Here are a few decor pieces that feel like fall to me and can mix in well throughout the year.

Have you started decorating for fall yet?  


DIY picture ledge shelves

Things are always changing and evolving around our home.  It's part of what I love about decorating. I like to change things up as my style changes and I also tend to tweak things after living with them for a while.  That was the case with this wall in our living room.  There was nothing really wrong with it, but I knew it could be better.  This wall is pretty large and I felt like the shelves were getting lost on it.  I also wanted to be able to pack as many family photos on this wall as possible since it's one of the few spaces we have for photos. 

So here's what it looked like before, not bad but like I said, could be better.  

I also felt like the bottom shelf was just a tad too high and it always sort of bugged me.  I knew I wanted the new shelves to be long, really long.  Like 12 feet long.  So I called my brother in law who happened to be itching for a wood working project and asked him to make me some new shelves.  He graciously agreed.  I had him make the shelves deeper than my original shelves as well so I could layer some of the frames.  There are lots of tutorials out there for these types of shelves and they seem fairly simple to make.  (This one from Ana white looks similar) Home Depot or Lowes will cut the wood to size for you and all you have to do is screw the boards together.  My brother in law also added some wood glue for extra stability.  In case you are interested in making some of your own, he used poplar wood so it would be more straight but any type of wood would work really.  He used 1" x 3" boards for the back, 1" x 4" boards for the bottom and 1" x 2" boards for the front piece.  And all of them were 12 feet long.      

I chose to paint the shelves the same color as our walls (Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray) for a more seamless look.  I wanted the pictures to get the attention, not the shelves.  And here's what it looks like now.

It really is amazing what a difference it makes, especially in person.  That wall feels so much more substantial now and we have room for so many more pictures.  You may have also noticed the chairs are different.  We switched them out after a few people bumped their heads on the lower shelves.  The higher backs on the new chairs eliminate that problem.  Plus we've had those chairs for several years and it was nice to have an excuse to change things up.     


Inexpensive Acrylic Curtain Rod

Every now and then I come across a deal that is too good not to share.  We are in the process of having our office wallpapered and I think an acrylic rod would really pop off the faux grasscloth.  I can't wait to show you guys when it's finished!  In my searching I came across this one from urban outfitters for only $34!  

Unfortunately it's too small for my space, but if you have a single window it would be perfect!  I think it would also make a great towel bar.  I'm thinking about trying this tutorial for a longer rod.  I'll  let you know how it goes!


Free Animal Prints

This may be the most drawn out nursery reveal ever, but I promise it'll all be shared soon.  Today I wanted to show you how I got these animal prints for next to nothing.  We have one large wall in the nursery that was pretty much a blank canvas and I knew I wanted to fill it with a gallery wall of some sort.  I went back and forth on how I wanted to do it, but settled on the idea of doing eight identical frames to keep things looking streamlined.  I found the frames at Homegoods, but these (affiliate link) look similar.

  Then I had to decide what to put in them.  Since I had 8 frames to fill I knew I didn't want to spend a  lot.  After a little searching I came across The Biodiversity Library and it was like a dream come true.  I could easily spend hours searching their site looking at all the beautiful old pictures.  The best part is they are all free!  You can download the pictures and print them however you would like.  The best/cheapest way I found to do this was to print them at the UPS store.  Just choose copies/quick prints and then pick your size.  I needed 11 x 14 so I just chose the 11 x 17 paper and cut off the excess.  They run specials often so be sure to check for a coupon code.  Each print cost me less than $2 which is a steal for something this size.  The paper is pretty thin, just like regular copy paper so you just have to handle them carefully until you get them in the frames.   

When it comes to searching for different images, the best/easiest way to do that is to check out their flickr stream.  You can scroll through hundreds of different images and then just download the ones you want.  I found the images I used here and here.  I removed the background and made it white in photoshop for a more cohesive look.  I do love the look of the vintage background as well though.  The hardest part is narrowing it down and picking the images.  There are seriously so many good ones!  And they have more than just animals.  There are tons of flowers, plants, sea life, pretty much anything you could think of.  I actually found the prints for my guest room here as well.  You can find that post here.  

And I should add that this post is NOT sponsored in any way.  I just like to share a good thing when I find it.  So, I hope you enjoy this amazing resource as much as I have and if you spend the better part of your afternoon browsing their site, don't say I didn't warn you :)