Sharing one way to customize your stockings this Christmas on A Beautiful Mess today. Head over to see how simple and inexpensive this little project was!
Sharing one way to customize your stockings this Christmas on A Beautiful Mess today. Head over to see how simple and inexpensive this little project was!
I was craving something different for our Christmas decor this year - a break from all of the vintage Shiny Brites in hot pink and teal that we've used the last six years - but didn't want to go out and buy a whole new set of ornaments and decor because, duh, baby on the way. Himmelis have been on my radar all year as seen here, here, and here. I love their shape and that they're new to me but rather traditional if you're Finnish. There's a long history of people making himmeli ornaments for Christmas or mobiles throughout the year from straws and brass but I wanted something sparkly and inexpensive that I could pump out in about an hour. Gold pipe cleaners! Yes!
1. Each ornament takes three pipe cleaners. You will also want yarn or twine to hang them. First, fold two pipe cleaners over each other to form an X. Don't just lay them on top of each other, they need to fold back so that they are two right angles that hook in the middle. 2. About 2" up from the center, fold each end up to the ceiling. 3. Take your third pipe cleaner and fold it around one of the bends about 1/4" as shown and then wrap it all the way around the next bend. Make it as tight as you can without bending everything out of shape. 4. Continue to bend that third pipe cleaner around each bend until you come back to the beginning. Fold over and trim extra if there's any. You'll want to make sure you're leaving an equal amount of space between each of the bends. 5. Take the shorter two pieces at the top of your open himmeli and fold over each other. 6. Then take the next two and fold over. Trim edges. Gently reshape any bends in the lines if you need to. Attach some yarn or twine to the top and hang.
I really love the way they look against the white tree. I've got no plans to get rid of any Shiny Brites but it's fun to have so many different colors in my collection that I can change things out every year or two. This year I added a finger-knit garland (only one half of it has been hung because I'm still working on the other half!), wrapped the tree in a thrifted afghan instead of fussing with yet another handmade tree skirt, pulled all of the gold bulbs from my stash, and made the tree topper out of leftover pipe cleaners. It was more of the same twisting and folding of pipe cleaners. I'll be sure to share more of our holiday decor in a future post.
Ruby got in on the pipe cleaner action while I was working and made herself a handful of candy cane pipe cleaner ornaments for the shorter white tree we have. We also made some twisty hearts and she climbed on top of that deer and hung them all near the top. It's quite charming.
The great thing about this kind of project is how versatile it is. You could string together a dozen or more himmelis to make a garland for your doorway, add them to a wreath, or make mini himmelis and attach them to presents. Feel free to link back to this tutorial to share your own!
The kids' room is getting a little makeover. If you've been following me on Instagram (@smileandwave) you've probably seen the slow progress of finally getting to IKEA, bringing home some new furniture, putting together a bunkbed, and piecing together new matching quilts for said bunkbed.
We spent most of two weekends ago clearing out and cleaning their room, switching dressers with them, rearranging both of our bedrooms to make sure things would accomodate space for the baby, and figuring out how to reorganize both rooms. Two full days of work still left us with a lot of work to do. My motto became 'worse before better'. This past weekend I hunkered down to start these two quilts for the kids while my sweet, sweet husband did loads of laundry and dishes, guided the kids in cleaning their room, took Sebastian out on a dude date, and never once rolled his eyes at my to do list. It's been weekends like these that I realize just how much I missed him while he was deployed!
Since we'll be in this two-bedroom rental with three children for about eight more months after this baby comes in March it's been important to me to rethink our limited space. The kids have shared a room since Ruby came along but the bedrooms here are a bit smaller than our last two homes so thinking about fitting a bassinet in our room and later on a crib in their room has been challenged me to think more creatively about how we utilize our square footage and storage options. We took care of most of that earlier this month so now the fun part of adding in new elements and reworking old ones has started.
Here's what we've tackled on the to do list so far:
* Switch twins out for a bunkbed.
* Switch dressers for more clothing space including a drawer for the baby.
* Switch shelving by adding an IKEA expedit unit and move old shelving to our bedroom to use for the baby's stuff.
* Add a rug.
* Bring in secondary lighting.
* Purge the toys and books they've outgrown that I don't want to save for the baby.
* Add a chair for bedtime reading or lounging.
Here's what I'm still hoping to accomplish:
* Finish matching quilts customized for bunkbeds.
* Possibly paint the bunkbed.
* Add purchased black and white artwork from online sellers.
* Possibly paint a chalkboard wall that we'll repaint white before we move.
* Add pully system and twinkle lights to the bunkbed.
* Give wooden dollhouse a face lift.
* Blow up a photo of the kids at Kinko's and use it as artwork.
* Adhere temporary white or patterned wallpaper to built-ins to lighten the space.
I'm planning their space to keep up with their current needs but I'm also making sure I can easily rearrange things once we add in a crib sometime next summer. The Expedit can double as a changle table area with at least one cubby for diapers and wipes underneath and baby clothes can be stored in one of the dresser drawers and in their closet. I'm also trying to coordinate the colors in their bedding without overly matching the kids' stuff to the baby's stuff but when things coordinate well even the messes are a little more tolerable, am I right?
Do I sound like a nesting mother? There's no rush to get this done before the baby comes but I do want to have it mostly finished before Christmas so we can go in to the new year with that under our belts. There are also other things on the horizon that will need much more of my attention so I'm trying to take advantage of this little window of motivation.
I'll be sure to share bits and pieces on Instagram and do a new room tour once it's all as it should be. There may even be a DIY or two involved. Of course there will be!
What's been taking up most of your to-do list lately? Lots of little projects, something big? Do you feel like you're just treading water trying to keep up with the essentials like dishes and laundry? By the way, I've never felt so buried in housework and unable to spend time on anything creative like I did during the time Brett was away. It's also made me appreciate how valuable that creative time is and all that it does for my spirit. I hope you get some of that time in soon!
I'm sharing an easy DIY on A Beautiful Mess this week. Head over to get the details on how to make your own color blocked mood board. Can we say renter friendly?
It's already helping me forget that my studio space is now in the basement!
I love having a mantle and fireplace in our living room even if it's just for looks because it's so fun to decorate through the holidays. To create a fall mantle I pulled some things I already had around the house, DIY'ed a little bat art, and added a variety of mini pumpkins.
1. Stick to a strong color palette-In this case, everything is black, white, or gold with orange as the standout color. If you want things to look cohesive choose three to four colors that repeat. It'll look good close up and from across the room. Too many colors start to compete with each other.
2. Layer, layer, layer-I have a large mirror to help frame the space and then stacked art work over that and then had pumpkins and books in front of that. Everything is slightly overlapped but not completely covering up the thing behind it. Another element in layering is staggering sizes of things. Larger to smaller, wider to narrower as you layer. It keeps your eye moving.
3. Texture is Important- I've mixed the hardness of glass, metal, and metallics with the softness of paper, flowers, and pumpkins.
These are all guideliness I keep in mind when I'm creating vignettes in my home. If you're feeling stuck just switch something out and look at it from the other side of the room. Leave it for a day or two and come back with fresh eyes and you might see what needs to be tweaked. If all else fails, you can never go wrong with flowers!
To keep this year's mantle feeling fresh even though I used a lot of elements I've had on hand for years I created some Halloween art. I found a chipboard bat silhouette at Hobby Lobby and painted it with black acrylic paint. Then I thrifted a frame and fitted it with a thick piece of white cardstock (also from Hobby Lobby) and mounted the bat with double-stick tape. It's graphic and was really easy to make.
Have you already started decorating for fall?
It's been a mini dream of mine to have a house tour on Apartment Therapy for years. Not one that I shot myself and sent in to see if they were interested but one where someone that actually works for AT came to our home to work their magic. Earlier this year that little dream snuck up and presented itself thanks to Instagram.
Kathryn, the sweet gal that shot the tour, came down from Denver on a very snowy day in April after we'd already rescheduled once due to everyone in my house getting sick the same week. I'd spent the week cleaning and getting things just so knowing I'd probably still forget something (note the burned out light bulb up top).
The night before I'd stayed up late to clean and Ruby kept waking up moaning about her head hurting. Around midnight I realized she had an ear infection and took her to the ER where we stayed until around 4 a.m. We were supposed to get up early to attend Brett's promotion ceremony that morning and then get back in time to tidy up before Kathryn arrived - all while it was snowing buckets outside. Needless to say, Ruby and I didn't make it to the ceremony.
Kathryn arrived and was instantly adopted by the kids as their new favorite person. We got a few family shots in before Brett had to take Sebastian back to school and head back to work himself. In all the fuss of running to and fro I'd not given the bathroom much attention thinking it probably wouldn't be shot being so small and unexciting. Halfway through the shoot I brought it up and Kathryn kindly shared that she actually did need to shoot it to get a thorough tour. I had a moment of quiet panic and then got to work scrubbing and decluttering the sink that all four of us share.
The regular shower curtain was in the wash so I had to think fast. I grabbed the brightest vintage sheet I could find, folded it near the top, and cut little holes to hang it from the hooks. I managed to hang a fresh hand towel and wipe the dirt off the stool just in time. I'm now really attached to this happy curtain and have given away the old one!
I could've chatted with Kathryn all day about decorating, being Colorado transplants, and her job at Apartment Therapy but the snow was getting heavier and she needed to get back. After she left I just wandered around the house marveling at how clean and put together things looked. What you'll see in the house tour is our little rental's Sunday best! Most days we have toys scattered through the house, laundry piles on the blue couch, books all over the table, and plenty of dirt on the floor. I love a clean house as much as the next gal but I also love going on little adventures, working on house projects, and making pretty messes with the kids.
We move so often that house tour photos are more than just for sharing the insides of our home with readers. They're visual reminders of what our life was like during that time - what we were in to, how old the kids were, and what vintage finds I'd discovered to fill a new space. Click through to see the full tour and interview. Kathryn did such a lovely job shooting our home on an overcast, snowy day!
Thanks for letting me share!
Note: All images c/o Kathryn Bacalis for AT.
The top half of our fridge is covered in my favorite photos of our sweet little family. There are Instax Wide instant film photos, photobooth strips, random polaroids from a photobooth downtown, photos I made into magnets years ago as Christmas gifts, and thumbnail Instagram photos c/o Stickygram. I've also got some state puzzle pieces made into magnets that I found at an antique store in town, a few sweet cards I've received recently that really felt special, and the cutest little succulent in a cork that my friend, Jess, sent over.
It's a visual pick me up spot. I tend to stand right across from it to make coffee, get everyone breakfast, figure out dinner, stare at my dirty kitchen floor, etc. Sometimes I wind up in that same spot when I'm chatting on the phone with my mom or sending out texts to Brett at work. It's the spot where I remind the kids for the 756th time to shut the fridge door when they're done getting a snack, leave notes for Brett, and stop to take deep breaths when life starts to feel overwhelming.
For some reason I've never been one to plaster a wall with family photos. I'd like to hang some special ones from the shoot we had with Rebecca and I have one from Elsie's wedding of Brett and myself that Sarah took that is just my favorite ever. I suppose our fridge has always been our family photo gallery. The bottom half is covered with Ruby's art work. Like three layers of water colored family portraits, made up animals, and chalk drawn flowers.
Evidence of life is what it is.
Do you keep photos on your fridge?
We have been enjoying mostly lovely weather these last three weeks which means more time spent in our backyard. Our apple tree has finally bloomed so we have all kinds of shade in the afternoon and end up only going inside long enough to cook. There's still a little bit of work to do to get our yard feeling summer ready but one new addition has made it a lot prettier already!
The lovely people over at The Makerage, a brand new consortium of artists, engineers, and designers, recently sent over one of their new products. It's a hexagon-shaped, concrete lazy susan and is absolutely perfect for our outdoor patio set. It's just the right size to hold all the condiments for summer cookouts but also works to create a lovely centerpiece and it won't get ruined if it accidentally gets left outside. I'm always a fan of pieces that are both practical and beautiful.
Also, I need to give a shout out to Mel, one of the lovely people behind the company, who also happens to be the girl that introduced Brett and I after English class our freshman year of college. Let's all give Mel a round of applause for that, okay!
Also, let's give Colorado a round for not having many mosquitos! It's not it's best feature but it's definitely in the top five.
Do you enjoy eating outside? Have you done anything to make your outdoor space a little more special this year?
Note: Lazy susan c/o The Makerage.
I've had a thing for String of Pearl plants since college. They remind me of the Midwest for some reason. When I was thinking about plants to add to my wine crate corner I first thought of just putting small succulents in them but that didn't feel exciting enough for a place like...the bedroom. Hehe.
This is the corner behind one of our French doors that felt underutilized. The crates on the wall helped create a little bit of storage and turned our dirty laundry basket corner into something less mundane. I found the vintage filing cabinet at a thrift store last year and loved the details. It's not really a traditional item in the bedroom but that's another reason I love it. I use it to stash out of season clothing and it doubles as a plant stand so I'd say it's earning it's keep in there.
The large gold candle was a sweet gift from Elsie, Emma, and Katie, the brownie was my grandparents', the Chinese box was thrifted, the smaller candle was just a simple votive that I spray painted with some metallic spray paint, the white vase is from IKEA, and the wire file basket was thrifted.
What I love about this corner is how the plants helped create a little drama and added to the composition with their unique shapes. The spikes of the bottom plant contrast nicely with the smooth, curved leaves of the one above and even the little cactus on top adds a little something way up there. I like dramatic plants.
I like small space solutions even more.
Right before Christmas last year, I moved all of my succulents and tropical looking plants out to the sunroom because they just didn't feel right surrounded by Christmas decor. A few of them froze when the temps dropped when we were in Oklahoma with family so I came home to a sad little floppy-leaf party and a determination to take better care of my plants.
As soon as Christmas was put away I went out and replaced what had died and brough home a handful of small plants to spread around the house. They were all pretty low-maintenance because I'm just never going to be an orchid kind of gal. As winter wore on here at 6, 000+ ft., I just kept bringing plants home. I was seeing signs of spring near the end of February and March in blog posts and my Instagram feed kept blowing up with cherry blossoms, bright green grass, daffodils, tulips, bluebells, etc.
My California heart knew it was time for all of these things but my Colorado yard was still under snow every other week.
It started out with just a few extra on the piano, and then my first big tropical hanging plant, and then a few philodendron, and then as we crept towards April I bought a few big bushes for the backyard. I think I was trying to fight my winter blues with more green!
I got ahead of myself about a month ago and bought a handful of beautiful blooming plants that I was hoping to put in a large container outside before realizing we were going to have a really late spring this year. For two weeks I kept it that way because the beauty of it all inside my home-right up there on that countertop-got me through some low spots.
They say having indoor plants is really good for your health. Yeah, they cleanse the air of toxins and add color and texture to your home but they really helped connect me to the growth and new life I was so ready for in the natural world.
One thing I've tried to do is find beautiful and interesting vessels to put them in. I have had great luck with thrifting vintage ceramic planters so I use them for the smaller plants. I also like to look for interesting shapes at the thrift store that I know I can just spray paint whatever color I like. The honeycomb patterned planter below was originally silver so I gave it a metallic face lift. I have another for the backyard table in a shade of celery. The tin above came with a set of four canisters. I just propped the inner pot on a clean tuna can that was turned upside down so that it could properly drain into the canister. The only thing you have to watch for with cans is rust. I am going to need to place a tray or some sort under this one if I bring it indoors.
I found a few bullet-knock off planters at Target at the end of the summer that were deeply discounted so I brought a few home knowing I'd someday use them. Ace Hardware has had some surprisingly beautiful planters over the years so I use that as a reminder to always check around to see what unique pieces you can find.
When you're in a pinch, buy an economy sized can of hominy or cheap coffee from the store, empty it (I threw my hominy away because I can't stand the stuff), wash and dry it, and spray paint it with a few thin coats. Instant planter. Poke a few nail holes in the top, string it up with twine and you've got a hanging planter (see kitchen photos above). For the record, if I'm using a can or tin without drainage holes at the bottom, I always put something in there (clean yogurt cup, tuna can, etc.) to create air so the drainage holes from the actual pot can drain. I don't over water them in their can, either. I take them out and saturate them and then let them drain a bit in the tub or sink before returning them to their cans.
I've made sure to buy in stages so that I'm not blowing the whole budget on plants and to make sure that I can handle taking care of them. Once a week I walk through the house and water everything except for my small succulents. I water them every two-three weeks. I set my hanging house plants in the shower or sink and soak them and let them drip dry before returning them to their posts.
I make sure to always check the soil to be sure it's not still moist before adding more water to avoid root rot. One of my philodendron was getting too much light so I've moved it and it's doing much better. My forsythia bush in the kitchen (that will soon be moved outside) is getting spoiled with water everyday and looking great but if I skip a day I can really tell those leaves are floppy. It's been a learning experience and thankfully I've only lost one small succulent since the big freeze over Christmas break. Elise has also recently posted a great rundown of how she cares for her indoor plants for anyone hoping to bring some home.
Every now and then I'm still going to need some fresh flowers for the table. There's just something extra special about such fleeting beauty.
I really do think having plants in your home improves upon your quality of life and when you spend almost all of your time there, it's worth doing some research and buying the kind of plants that will do well in your care. Singing to them supposedly helps. Just kidding. I don't sing to my plants.
My new favorite plant set up is something I arranged recently in our bedroom that I'll be showing you next. Maybe we should call this Plant Week on Smile and Wave? Much less dangerous than Shark Week.
Details: Chevron Sun Catcher, Glass by Lisa.