Monday, December 7, 2020

Dressed for the holidays

Nothing says "Happy Holidays" like a wreath. There is something so wonderful about seeing a cheery wreath embellished and adorned with personality that makes me giddy with delight during the holidays! A true traditionalist, my two favorites are the classic evergreen with a simple yet lavish bow and trailing ribbon, or the most lovely boxwood simply tied with a gorgeous ribbon.

I am not keen on anything too over the top and I don't really like the over done faux wreaths with busy ribbon, big bows, and silk flowers. I think a wreath, by design, is so classic that it begs for simplicity. It is also the perfect form to be personalized.

While I tend to stay with the classic shapes year after year, my ribbons and embellishments change with my mood. It all depends on how I am feeling that season - some years it's all about the glitz, other years my mood is classic and holiday red with holly is perfect, and then there are years I yearn for a simpler, more natural look and I gravitate towards raffia, burlap, browns and whites.

I find it is fun and easy to take something off the shelf and dress it up to match my style. All it takes is a little creativity and a lot of glue sticks! Here are some ideas on how you can embellish a bare bones wreath found just about anywhere!

Embellished Stock Wreaths
Gold ball picks from Michael's and a wide satin ribbon in gold dress up this basic wreath.

Red holly berry sprigs and a wide satin ribbon in red are added to this classic Douglas fir wreath and topped with a dusting of faux snow.

This stock juniper berry wreath is dressed up with a peacock blue satin ribbon - simple and elegant.
One of my favorite 'go-to looks' is the boxwood wreath. This one gets some personality from the monogram letter in shimmering gold.

A colorful satin ribbon (left over from a present from last year) weaves through this inexpensive wreath. Add a large snowflake - viola!

Adding handwritten tags with holiday greetings and your family name is the perfect way to personalize this 'off the shelf' basic wreath.

Small branches spray painted white and snow berry picks have been added to this mixed green wreath. A black and white check ribbon plays off the black door. This theme is carried indoors.

Simple! Simply wrap this boxwood wreath with red ribbon and add a small, tight bow. This would make even that red plastic ribbon look good!

It took me a while to understand that not all wreaths have to be round (a MENSA card holder I am not). In fact ovals, squares, and other unique shapes make for a perfectly lovely wreath!

Red berry holly in a large oval is dressed with a very elegant moire ribbon.

Evergreen myrtle makes a beautiful square, as does boxwood and bay leaves.

These monogram wreaths can be found at Ballard Designs and are super fun for a newly married couple or baby!
The window makes a perfect frame for this star shaped wreath.

And of course, there is the swag - a wonderful alternative to the classic wreath.

Wreaths are not made with evergreen boughs only. They can me made out of just about any material. Fruit (dried or fresh), vegetables, spices, boxed presents, paper, and old ornaments make fun and festive wreaths that showcase your personality. These might take a little more time then simply adding a ribbon, but with a little creativity and a lot of hot glue you can create your own unique wreath for your front door!

Fruits and Vegetables
Thinly sliced and oven dried orange slices are glued to a form and embellished with fir,  few small ornaments. and ribbon.

I am not sure I even know what all these vegetables are, but I have to say, it's the artichokes. My mother would dry artichokes every year around this time and display them in a bowl....always ahead of her time my mom.

Faux (a much nicer word than fake) citrus are hot glued over a layer of fir sprigs on a wooden board.
Sweets and Treats
Seriously, how fun is this!
Large and mini marshmallows are glued to a form and tied with a silver ribbon - yum!

Grapevine, Cones, Spices and More

Grapevine wreath from Michael's is embellished with berries, leaves, birds and a pretty gold ribbon.
Pine cones are hot glued to a form, lightly sprayed with white paint, and then embellished with snips of sapphire blue ribbon, also lightly sprayed. The stunning reindeer commands attention and is the perfect addition. 

Cinnamon sticks hot glued to a flat board form is hung by a country ribbon.

Ornaments and other sentimental objects

A wonderful way to showcase your treasured vintage ornaments

Gather together toys, ribbon, or any special collection and combine them to make a purely personal wreath no one else will have
Pages from an old book are glued to a round wire and topped off with a sweet sentiment in the middle.

Small, medium and slightly larger boxes can be wrapped, hot glued to a base and tied with coordinating ribbon. Martha Stewart design
Colorful felt cut in circles are looped through a hanger and tied with a red felt bow.
Peacock feathers are tucked and glued into a foam base.

While wreaths make the perfect adornment for the front door, I love them used inside the home for classic holiday decorations. 

The black and white theme from one of our front door wreaths is carried in to this country kitchen

Preserved classic boxwood wreaths make decorating a breeze year after year.

You will hear Santa, and any eager ones before you see them with this silver bell wreath from Martha Stewart hanging on your door knob

A favorite way to dress up a table - tie small wreaths to the backs of dining chairs

My dear friend and neighbor makes her own cranberry wreath most years and it is lovely! Anne, Martha has nothing on you!
A small wreath dangling off a buffet cupboard keeps it simple, yet festive!

And of course, wreaths are not meant for the front door or the indoors alone. I find them charming just about anywhere!

Cheers up barn doors....
a property gate....

and even your car!
Don't forget gates and windows. 

So, whether you spend hours crafting a truly unique wreath or simply add a bow to an off the shelf evergreen, I hope your wreath makes you smile coming and going this holiday season.

In all my postings, my goal is to provide inspiration and insight into home ownership, real estate, and to provide valuable resources. 

Mail Order Wreaths

Craft Stores (forms, glue gun and glue sticks, flower and berry picks)

How to attach a wreath to your car:
Buy plastic ties at the Dollar Store. These are thin plastic strips that you fit one end into the other for a tight fit.  Attach the wreath on the grill using these ties - the wreath will not fall off. Simply cut the plastic ties after the holidays to remove the wreath.

Ribbon Sources

Until next week,

la chasse au bonheur

Monday, August 31, 2020

Welcoming fall into your home

To say we are spoiled in the northwest is an understatement. Our Indian Summers, with clear skies, crisp air, and orange and yellow blaze create the backdrop to the most gorgeous days!
Crisp fall days in the Apple State!
Yesterday was one such day, and I couldn't help but spend the day unpacking our plaid throws, blankets and autumnal items from storage. 

Just like your wardrobe, interiors can change to reflect the season. If you're thinking of bringing fall indoors, consider adding any (or all) of these tried and true autumnal elements!

no. 1     PLAID






no. 7     BAKE

no. 1 PLAID - I grew up in a suburb of Portland, Oregon and Pendelton Woolen Mills (just across the Columbia River from us) was everywhere in our home - from coat to throw, pillow to blanket, we were covered. I have inherited some from my mom, found more at vintage stores, and even purchased some new. 

When I traveled to Scotland a number of years ago, I fell in love with the lambswool and cashmere plaids I found in Elgin. To say I am slightly addicted to plaid is an understatement. 
Johnstons of Elgin - Reversible Tweed Lambswool Throw
There are lots of ways to use plaid in your home -
Stacked like art
as upholstery fabric
as a tablecloth
in the kitchen - plaid dish towels from The Weed Patch Country Store
tossed about
fabric for throw pillows
and bedding

no. 2 THROWS AND BLANKETS - I love the idea of 'killing two birds with one stone' by utilizing plaid with throws and blankets, but sometimes you want cozy without the impact of a plaid. 

Chunky Cotton -
Chunky Throws and Blankets scream COZY!
Chunky cotton used for bedding
Oh my! I would sleep all day!
Reversible cable knit and fleece make ideal throws in our TV room.
Adding a vibrant orange throw (with a pillow that nods to the girls' Canadian background)
offers so much punch, that there's little need for anything else!
and of course - soft, creamy neutrals can often make a
bigger statement then its brighter hued brothers!
Quilts - I'm not sure there is anything that says 'American Harvest' like a vintage quilt. My sister-in-law, Sharon quilts, as did my Grandma Fanny - I treasure their works!
Gorgeous American and European Quilts
Squash Blossom Pattern - such beautiful colors to build around!
Quilts used as bedding add warmth and charm!
Fur - A fur throw adds instant warmth to any interior decor - it is one item that can read rustic AND glamorous, making it an ideal element for any interior. 

Found just about everywhere, fur throws and blankets add cozy glamour!


Gourds - they are so 'fall obvious' that I tend to overlook them most year. I don't love bright orange so I use the muted, more neutral colored gourds and ghost pumpkins - they work better in my decor. There is no question, however, that a vibrant orange pumpkin screams Fall! So, I use orange sugar pumpkins on my porch the week leading up to Halloween - making sure to chuck them at midnight. 

I prefer to decorate with the more muted gourds.

You cannot deny the impact of the traditional bright orange pumpkin,
especially when mixed, as in nature with the more muted one!
Pinecones - last weekend, my daughter and I drove over to the Roslyn Cemetery. If you haven't explored that cemetery, I highly recommend a trip over (it is on the list of National Historic Cemeteries). I digress, we went over because that's where you can find the most gorgeous sugar cones two layers thick. We were a bit early this year, but we did come home with two baskets full, including a few critters still hiding in my car - eew!
a fun DIY craft project - fall inspired ribbon (plaid of course),
sugar cones, berries and leaves - tada! A happy greeting
Tossed in a wooden bowl with a candle - so simple!
(use faux candles or place in a glass/ceramic container and never unattended)
Three pinecones and a few fallen leaves dresses up this vintage milk pitcher -
usually used for spring blossoms!

Branches - such a versatile element - branches add height, fill in corners and bring rustic nature to a room. 

Bring fall color in with snips from your garden
Add a subtle fall feeling with branches 
Branches add the perfect touch in a guest bedroom -
fills in the corner and adds impact to a minimalist room. 
Wood - my oldest brother was a sawyer (yes, he wore plaid) and is an avid hunter (he lives in Northern Idaho and before you say anything, his hunting is like us going to the grocery store). I spend a weekend in October hunting with David and the best group of guys you can imagine. I admit, I hike - they hunt. While hiking the backwoods of Northern Idaho, I come across birch bark and old wood that makes fall decorating a piece of cake. 

Wood cut into chargers is perfect for a fall table. 
Floral arrangements I created for an annual dinner for the homeless
using birch bark my brother sent.
Any one of these wooden items, or all, make a great addition to fall decorating!


Whether used outside or in, nothing says rustic charm quite like rattan and wicker. It is my 'go-to' item because it adds texture and interest.
Use outside, instead of a pot.

Charming with brunches and berries tucked inside.
Where else are you going to stack those throws?
Not everyone loves this look (I certainly do!), but it definitely adds rustic warmth
and can easily shift to summers at the beach!
My theory - 'you can never have too many baskets' - they work hard in my home -
in fact, my trash can happens to be a wicker basket!

If you want to add some authenticity to your decor, try using hunting elements. Some people are turned off by the subject, I love it. Here are some ideas -

Audubon Turkey
Vignettes using china, ceramics and other details like feathers 

A pretty china pattern.
Love the ceramic birds mixed with the green Majolica plates.
Love this simple arrangement using feathers, bird seed and nuts - cleaver!
Not everyone is into the recent antler movement, and honestly, I'm not sure how I feel, but I did pick up some beautiful antlers while shopping in Port Townsend a few weeks ago. I am excited to use them in my Thanksgiving dinner centerpiece!
Whatever side of the fence you are on (remember, antlers are shed by the male and regrow the following year), these ideas convey the outdoorsy side of fall.  

Used with pumpkins, nuts and pinecones!
A proper fall welcome.
Spray painted and tucked on a shelf!
Love the muted color palette.
Love this simple vignette!
Neat idea to use tree branches as antlers.
and of course, using china with a hunting theme!'
I love this Woodland pattern - every animal is bordered in an acorn design. 

Whether using pillars or tapers, real or faux, candlelight is like the icing of any cake - it creates a warm, cozy atmosphere like nothing else can.

Adding nuts (acorns are my favorite) to a glass container
makes decorating with candles a breeze. 
Fun to use cake stands and tiered serving pieces in the kitchen. 
Use apples, mini pumpkins, and gourds to create a glowing centerpiece!
Soft white tapers makes this vignette glow!
Wrapping burlap and plaid around a mason jar
creates the perfect outdoorsy candleholder!
no. 7 BAKE
Noting can be more welcoming than filling your home with the smells and flavors of fall. This recipe for Pumpkin Bread is truly the best. It fills the house, and its inhabitants, with love!

I hope this post has provided some inspiration - here's to welcoming friends and family into your home over a cozy and delicious meal!

Until next time,

la chasse au bonheur