Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Merry Mantle

Today Layla over at The Lettered Cottage is having a Christmas mantle party and I thought I'd join in since my mantle is decked out for the holidays. Well actually we don't technically have a "mantle" but I have a nice built-in buffet that works just the same without the fireplace. It's much prettier in person or in better lighting but this is all I could capture since the sun sets so darn early around here. In fact, today Chicago got their first snowflakes but luckily they aren't sticking yet. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.......

Here's what I did to complete our Christmas mantel.
  • Fresh greenery along with pine cones sprinkled throughout to bring the outdoors in. We use an artificial tree but the greenery is real and brings that Christmas smell into the house without the fire hazard.
  • 2 green sparkly trees  and 2 red glitter candles from Crate & Barrel to add a bit of color and sparkle
  • 2 reindeer, 3 stockings, and a silver ornament garland from Pottery Barn
  • A large tall vase filled with artificial snow and filled with greenery, snow covered branches, and a pop of red flowers to add height and drama.
  • And last but not least, my pine cone wreath that I made over the weekend. You can read all about how I made it here.
 Another view of the entire mantle right next to our Christmas tree.

 A close-up of my pine cone wreath that I am oh so proud of.
Looking for more inspiration to "deck the halls " for the holidays? Visit the Holiday Home party over at the Lettered Cottage.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

DIY: How to Create a Pinecone Wreath

I was hoping to complete this project before Thanksgiving but I ran out of time. I wasn't worried though because pine cones are everywhere for Christmas too so there is always time to make your own pine cone wreath and incorporate it into your holiday decor.

See this pine cone wreath below - beautiful but is it worth $50 at Crate and Barrel or would you rather spend only $5 and make it yourself? That's what I thought, let's save the $45 and put it aside for another decorating project down the road.
All you need is a $5 styrofoam wreath, lots of pine cones from the backyard, brown spray paint, and a glue gun with tons of glue sticks. I had everything except for the styrofoam wreath which is why the cost was so low.

Step 1: spray paint the wreath a brown color to match the pine cones.
Step 2: start gluing the pine cones to the front part of the wreath. I tried to fit 2 in each row.
Step 3: glue pine cones to the outer edge of the wreath.
Step 4: glue pine cones to the inner edge of the wreath.
Step 5: attach bow and hang it up.
Step 6: admire your handiwork - it looks great! Even my hubby was impressed with it.

What do you think? I think it was well worth the $45 that I saved by making it myself. It took about 2 hours to make but I found it to be a very relaxing project to work on except the few times that a pine cone wouldn't cooperate. I hung it on the door but I've since moved it to hang over the mirror above our buffet, it looks nicer and now I don't have to squirm in fear that every time the door opens or closes that it may break. So far it's surprisingly sturdy and not a single pine cone has fallen over. I hope I've inspired you to try to make something yourself and save some money in the process.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A little bit Nantucket & A little bit Cottage Chic

Who doesn't love a personal style quiz - right? I love them and Sproost has a great one to try and I liked how the results turned out. It said I was 67% Cottage Chic and 33% Nantucket which tells me I am one beachy kind of lady. I dream of living near the beach someday but until then, I'll incorporate the beachy feel into my house.

 I love the furniture and how it's laid out in the room above.
It's so airy and relaxing.
 The furniture and room layout still has me wishing for warmer days at the beach.
 The coffee table and accessories are perfect.
 And here's my favorite room of all.

 One beautiful picture wall.
 Love, love, love this coffee table!
I've been eyeing one just like it for about a year.
 Furniture and rug are perfect.
And look at that cute dog relaxing on the coach - reminds me of our living room.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

All Lit Up

Last week I asked everyone which outdoor lighting options they liked the most and I got a real mix of responses. I love seeing how everyone picks something a bit different but I ended up picking none of the options that I posted. We were under a bit of a time crunch and needed to purchase lights that were at a store versus on the Internet. I'm happy with my selection and they installed the lights today - now I'm wishing I had purchased new lights for next to the front door but they are good enough for now. I did however listen to all of you and went with clear glass versus the opaque glass. I hope you like what we picked!

 Dont' the lights look all regal and proud to be next to the garage door? I love them but most importantly they work and will make me feel better about getting home in the dark, no boogie mans to jump out and scare me thanks to the motion sensors.
Now we have one more thing to check off the house to-do list. Don't you love that feeling?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

You Capture - What Inspires Me.

This week's You Capture topic over at I Should Be Folding Laundry is all about what inspires me. Here's a few pictures that I took that inspire me.

Seeing the world differently through my camera lens.

Trying something new - taken during my macro class this past weekend.
 Appreciating the beauty of the simplest things.
 Getting up early on a Sunday morning to go for a nature walk.
 Beauty from a different perspective.

The list of things that inspire me go on, and on, and on but this is what has been inspiring me lately. Interested in joining the You Capture Challenge, learn more here.  

P.S. Santa is coming early this year and I am getting my present on Thursday. A new camera? Possibly....

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Light 'Em Up

Thanksgiving break will be here in a few short days and now that I have my photography class under my belt, it's time to get some much needed projects done around the house. First on my very long list is to get outdoor lighting installed on the garage so that our house is better lit and will provide the lighting we need to shovel our driveway in the winter. I know, I hate to admit that winter is on it's way and unfortunately in Chicago we get a lot of white fluffy snow. In addition to installing more lighting, we are also going to have an outdoor outlet on the front of the house installed so it'll make it so much easier to put up holiday lights. Gosh, we'll have to do that over the Thanksgiving break too. In the meantime I would love your advice on the following lighting options that I am pondering. Please let me know which of the following options you like. Thanks in advance for your advice!

Light 1
Light 2

 Light 3
 Light 4
 Light 5
 Light 6
 Light 7
 Light 8
 Light 9

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Photography Assignment - Final

Monday night is our last night of class and we had to put together a slide show of 25-30 pictures based on our subject. I decided to do abstract flowers since I was going to be taking a macro class over the weekend. The macro class was a workshop taught by the same instructor who teaches the Composition class I am taking on Monday nights. He is a great instructor and I learned that macro photography isn't as easy as you may think! I felt like my composition was strong but I struggled with the technical stuff...still. So much to think about - depth of field, white balance, ISO, lighting, lighting, and more about lighting. You get the idea, I love it but I have a whole lot more to learn.

Here's a collage of my final project, I hope you enjoy it. Gosh I wish I had another week to work on it but this is as good as it gets at this point.