Friday, November 5, 2010


I am not good at decorating.

I have very little practice, for one thing, and for another, it's just not something I'd ever given any thought to. I am timid when it comes to color and picky when it comes to everything.

I prefer natural tones and things that remind me of nature. Greens, browns and maybe a little touch of blue thrown in, but I don't really like all-blue rooms (except Jordan's room at our old house, which we did in cornflower blue and white, and it was precious for a baby boy.)

Anyway, we moved in this new house and one of the things I liked was that the walls are all neutral, natural colors. The exceptions are the library, which is a pretty dark plum I'd never have chosen but I really like it, and the guest room, which has 2 light green walls and 2 brick-red walls that are really ugly, but it's the guest room so whatever.

I adore the living room. It's 2-story and has tall windows through which you can see the woods. It also has a fireplace. We don't have any experience with fireplaces, but the thought of having a fire is both tempting AND terrifying. I envision something going wrong and burning our new house down. Anyway, we probably won't be having a fire anytime soon. We'll see.

The previous owners had a huge mirror over the mantel. I didn't particularly like it. They seemed to have a thing for mirrors because there was an even bigger one in the master bedroom (Like, 9 feet tall. It was crazy!) Here's a photo I ripped from the listing of this house, showing the previous owners' mirror over the fireplace.

Well, they took the mirror when they left (I thought for some reason they'd leave it) and they left us a big huge bolt in the wall and some lovely soot marks.

This glaring, dirty, empty space has been bothering me since we moved in. It's just ugly. The problem is, I didn't want to just put up any old thing. I want to find something really special, preferably something that reminds us of the Traverse City/Sleeping Bear Dunes area, which is our favorite vacation spot.

The thing is, I don't think we're going to find just the right piece anytime soon. For one thing, something as large as we want will be expensive and we've already had to pay a lot of money to fix a few things around here, plus Christmas is coming.

So, that left me with that space mocking me every time I was in the living room.

Well, this week I got to thinking that a wreath might be a nice temporary fix. All the holiday decorations are coming out, after all. So, I made a trip to a couple big-box craft stores and checked out the wreaths they had. None were what I wanted. Too small, too Christmasy, too expensive, etc.

What's a girl to do? Make one herself, of course!

I should say, I don't particularly enjoy crafts. I was being quite brave for shelling out cash for supplies to make this wreath. I spent about $50. The plain artificial pine wreath alone was $20. But, the already-decorated wreaths that were about half the size of this one were selling for $35 to $50, and one this size already decorated would have probably been in the $100 range. Plus, of the $50 I spent, I didn't use everything, so I will be able to use the rest--like the stars--somewhere else in the house.

So, here's the naked wreath and the goodies I got to go on it.

And here's the finished product. I like it. The colors match our living room furniture and stuff, and it's not too Christmas-y so I can actually leave it up all winter. It took me probably a half hour just to make the bow!

I also put a candle arrangement in the fireplace so it's not this dark, dirty cavern. Now it's glowing and friendly and warm.

And, while I had the ladder out this morning, I decided to put my beloved collection of commemorative bottles up on the high window sills for a sort of stained-glass effect. These are gifts from my Grandma Anna, who has always displayed bottles like these in her own windows. I love it.

I think the finished product turned out quite nicely. I think my living room looks much more welcoming now. (Yes, the soot marks are still there. Hubby's planning to paint over them as soon as he gets a spare second!)

So, my next project is the boys' rooms. They are just bare and boring and un kid-like. I have considered rain gutter bookshelves like the ones Samantha made and wrote about on her Mama Notes blog. I am also thinking about possibly painting a mural, although I've never done anything like that before, either.

I would welcome any ideas you have to make these rooms more welcoming for children. I would also prefer NOT to paint the walls.

Here's Jordan's room now

And here's Logan's room

Like I said, I'd welcome any ideas to decorate these rooms!