Merry & Bright Home Tour I am so excited this year to be part of a Christmas home tour blog hop with some very talented blogger friends! If you just hopped over from Paper Rose, welcome! This is my first home tour ever, so I hope you enjoy! The first room we're touring is the living room. This room houses one of two fireplaces in the house although we don't ever use it so I keep the wrought iron candle tree in there to add some warmth. You may remember this room got a color change this year as well as a mantel makeover so I had to start from scratch with new decorations to complement the new decor. I loved the bright green of the wreath from Joanna Gaines' Target line and thought it would go well in the pale blue room. This pic is before I added in the kids' red stockings. I found this snow globe at Home Goods that also plays music - it is so pretty to look at close up - the sparkly snow and music even mesmerize my boys. The small Christmas trees in the silver urns were something I've had for several years and I can't remember where I purchased them. Finally, I wrapped the books that the intertwined rings sit on with some green holiday paper to make them look more festive. I'm not sure how I made it to 2017 without a holiday pillow in my home, but I set out to remedy it this year and I've added a total of three. This one was neutral and pretty enough for the formal living room. The Christmas tree also resides in our living room and even though the color scheme of the room changed, I didn't change the overall look of my tree. It's not as Pinterest-worthy or coordinated as some trees I've seen, but with three young boys, some traditions are important to keep. They help with the lights and are in charge of hanging the cranberries - until they can no longer reach. They love opening up the ornament boxes and finding their favorites or talking about ones they've made at school. I've decided to cherish this time as long as it lasts. Here is the room with the stockings and the tree lit. The second fireplace is in the family room - which is our casual space. It's equal parts TV room, playroom and football field, so it has a decidedly more casual feel. I found some votive candle holders wrapped in bark with Christmas tree cut outs that I put on the mantel between my reindeer and small potted Christmas trees that I found in the bargain bin at Target. Another one of the Christmas pillows I bought this year at HomeGoods on a chair in our family room. Quick shot from the kitchen. I might have a small topiary fetish. Finally a view into the foyer. I hope you enjoyed the tour and have a a very Merry Christmas or holiday season! Be sure to hop on over to Cheyenne's beautiful home tour at Sense & Serendity! Enjoy! Kristen p.s. you can check out all of the other homes on the tour here: Back to the South (Lynn Woods) www.backtothesouth.com At Lane and High (Wendy Duffy) www.atlaneandhigh.com Brown Dog Vintage Blog (Melissa Clifton) www.browndogvintage.com My Pear Tree Home (Morgan Murray) www.mypeartreehome.com Lantern Lane Designs (Jenna Campbell) www.lanternlanedesigns.com Create Pray Love (Jolene Tang) www.createpraylove.com Paper Rose (Darlene Brink) www.paperroseblog.com DIY Felted Wreath Ornament This holiday season, I am joining a group of talented bloggers to share some great Christmas DIYs with you. I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I've been loving the simplicity of the felted wool ball holiday decor. Well, I've been trying my hand at making my own felted wool balls, and in the process came up with this cute DIY felted wreath ornament that's quick and easy to make! And could be a fun project to do with kids. It's the 2017 ornament at our house and will look great on the tree. Here's how I did it... This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. When you purchase a product through one of the links, we get a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information, please see our disclosures page. In keeping with my less is more, neutral Christmas theme this year, I choose a winter white felted wool to work with and purchased it here. To make the felted wool balls, you need a few things: a towel, a squirt bottle of warm soapy water (dish soap), a bowl with warm water, and some very hot water. You take a piece of wool - I cut off a piece about 8 or 9 inches long - and spread it apart gently so you can see through it. Then you squirt some of the soapy water on it and get the wool pretty wet. Once it's wet, ball up the wool in your hand and begin rolling it in your palm, very gently. After a bit, you can add some of the hot water - being careful not to burn yourself! Keep rolling it loosely in your hand Once you've formed a decent ball, you can rinse some of the soap off the ball in the bowl of water, squeezing out the excess water gently as you remove the ball. Keep rolling and now you can apply more pressure. If you find as you're pressing harder that you have more soap on the ball, go ahead and repeat step four. Keep rolling until the ball is round and very firm and then set it aside to dry overnight - and start on the next one : ) Once the felted wool balls were made and drying, I made a makeshift form for my wreath by twisting four pipe cleaners together and shaping it into a circle. Then I covered it in some of the wool felt, using a glue gun to attach it. After that, I added my felt balls. I had made them in slightly varying sizes to add some interest and so I distributed the different sizes around the wreath. I cut a length of red ribbon to make a hanger and glued it to the wreath before adding the final balls. I added a coordinating red bow with the same ribbon; again, attaching with the hot glue gun. Finally, I added a bit of decoration by pulling a few red berries off of a bunch that I bought at the Dollar Store. Wanting a bit more bling, I went back and added some silver berries from another bunch I had in my stash. The great thing about the winter white wreath is you can decorate it anyway you want. I hope you like it and be sure to check out some of my blogger friend's other DIY crafts below! Kristen Subscribe and get access to our library of free printables and resources updated each week (like this great Christmas printable!) An InLinkz Link-up The Big Foyer Reveal: ORC Week 7 This is it - the final week of my first One Room Challenge (an online design event started by Linda at the blog Calling It Home, that challenges featured designers and guest bloggers to re-imagine one space in the span of six weeks - this time the challenge was extended to seven weeks due to the storms and wildfires), and it's time for the big foyer reveal. It's been a fun project and with the extra week tacked on, less stressful than I thought. So without further ado, on to the reveal! This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. When you purchase a product through one of the links, we get a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information, please see our disclosures page. This week was all about the new light fixtures and a bit of neatening up so the final photos could be had. You'll remember I was agonizing a bit over the lights. Since they would be replacing fixtures that (a) worked perfectly fine, (b) were ones that I had picked out, and (3) weren't that old - I didn't want to spend a ton of money on them. My inspiration was an old schoolhouse style semi-flush mount from Pottery Barn. At a price of nearly $200, coupled with the fact that I would need two for the entryway and hallway, I quickly began looking for alternatives. (The foyer budget wasn't big, or even existent, really :)). There were a lot of affordable schoolhouse style fixtures with white diffused or frosted glass. I was really hoping for a clear glass shade. The other complicating factor was that I wanted to keep the overall height of the fixture at 9" or under so that it didn't hang too low into the entryway and block my new mudroom set-up. So I kept searching and finally stumbled upon this fixture that was inexpensive, but got great reviews from the hundreds that bought it: The only problem with it that I could see was that it was offered in only chrome and oil-rubbed bronze. But I've been down this path before with the sconces in my living room, so I just ordered the oil-rubbed bronze and got out my trusty can of matte black spray paint. I taped up the wires and the bulb socket and spray painted the fixtures. It was as easy as that. Then came the hard part. Getting the old fixtures down and the new ones up. That involved bringing in my husband which made me think of the immortal lyrics from the late, great Tom Petty, "and the waiting is the hardest part." Let's see if he reads this 🙂 He actually got them up pretty quickly and I really was happy with the result. So, let's look at the whole space put together with all of the new elements. But before we do, just to put everything in context, here is the "before" shot: And now for the transformation: My new DIY welcome print. Shots from the hallway. The new mirror. View from the stairs. Close-up. The updated umbrella stand. A view from above. All in all, I really enjoyed the process. I found having a deadline really kept me accountable. I'll definitely do it again when they run it in the spring - and I already have a space picked out. Just don't tell my husband 🙂 You can check out any previous weeks from the foyer update that you may have missed here: ORC Week 1 ORC Week 2 ORC Week 3 ORC Week 4 ORC Week 5 ORC Week 6 And as always, be sure to hop over to the Calling It Home blog to see the reveals of the featured designers and some of the other guest participants on the One Room Challenge Page! Kristen Subscribe and get access to our library of free printables and resources updated each week! Neutral Christmas Pillows I feel like the only person celebrating Christmas that doesn't own a holiday-themed pillow and I am out to remedy that this year. I found a great neutral option at Home Goods for my blue living room, but need to buy some for the more oft-used family room. In my searches, I've put together a short list of neutral Christmas pillows I think my family would love to lay their heads on. This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. When you purchase a product through one of the links, we get a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information, please see our disclosures page. First, here is the pillow I found for my living room: I found this pillow at the bottom of a big basket at my local HomeGoods store. It was just the subtle touch needed for my formal living room which is blue so red and green would just clash. I love the embroidery and the beading on the pillow and knew that the off-limits-to-the-kids living room was just the space for such a delicate work of art. For my family room, I am looking for casual, fun and cozy - in a neutral pallet of gray, white and some red. And it can't have any pointy, sharp or otherwise uncomfortable appliques, lest I get yelled at by my comfort-first brood. Here's my short list: One or more of these will feature in my family room design this Christmas. What's your favorite? Kristen Subscribe and get access to our library of free printables and resources updated each week! Christmas Decor Do-Over Even though we haven't hit Thanksgiving yet, this year as soon as November arrived, I couldn't help but start to think about Christmas. More specifically about Christmas decor to deck my halls - because this year I am ready to make some changes. The past few years I have been in a bit of a holiday decorating rut. I realized my cache of holiday decorations is a potpourri of mismatched items acquired over the years and in various ways that lacked any cohesion. Do I really have to hang every ornament everyone ever gifted me on my tree, even if I find them *ahem* less than palatable? Must the large-royal-blue-unnamed-decoration find a home yet again this year on my sideboard, just because it was expensive and passed on by family? I respectfully say no. It's time for a Christmas decor do-over. This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. When you purchase a product through one of the links, we get a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information, please see our disclosures page. Maybe it was my recent birthday, but whatever the reason, I feel like I am at an age where I can say "enough!" and reclaim Christmas in my own home. This year, I want to start fresh and be intentional about what I display. Taking a page from Marie Kondo's revolutionary cleaning book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, I have decided to take each item out of storage, gaze at it, hold it in my hands and see if it brings me joy. If it doesn't, I will thank it for its years of service and pack the offending piece back up to live another year (or two, or twenty) under the eaves. With that as my mindset, I've set out looking for new decorations and here is my first purchase from Joanna Gaines' new collection at Hearth & Hand with Magnolia at Target (that's a mouthful!) - her artificial lamb ear and white berry wreath: I think this captures the vibe I am looking for: simple, neutral, calming. Yes, this wreath brings me joy. So, I have begun a journey to find other pieces that speak to me. And as I embark on my Christmas decor re-do, I wanted to share some of my finds with you: Is any one else obsessed with felted wool garlands (like the one above) that are so popular now? I love the simplicity of the material. You can buy them - or make them - in a color scheme to match your space. These will definitely be hung from my family room mantel this holiday season. When I lived in Germany, I was struck by the use of natural materials for holiday decorations. Ornaments were made from wood, straw and fabric. There was nary any plastic to be found. I have a good friend with Swedish ancestry who achieves the same look with traditional ornaments from that country. Same idea. Lots of red paired with neutral tones and natural materials. This is what I am after and I'll be sharing more of my redo as part of a Christmas House Tour the first week of December, so stay tuned! Kristen Subscribe and get access to our library of free printables and resources updated each week!