Are you ready for the L'Casa Wharzinger holiday house tour?
Before we begin, as loathe as I am to say it, I actually vaguely had a theme with our decor this year. Since we were in the process of replacing a lot of the stuff that was falling apart after five years of use, I kind of committed to a look in my head that was less of the all silver-and-blue attempt at grown-up sophistication and went for what I've been loosely calling Merry & Bright -- lots of color, lots of sparkle, and a good dose of the parts of the season I want my kids to come away with -- love, hope, laughter, joy, and peace.
Because that's the thing -- once you have kids, the holidays really kind of become about them. And now that they're old enough to get that this is a special time of year, I really wanted them to remember the brightness and magic of this season (regardless of everything else going on in our lives).
I may have gone slightly overboard. I have no shame.
So, let's start outside, shall we? Here's the view of the house from the street, sans awesome light show.
As you can see, this year is the swag strand's last. All of it was lit up for about three days, then one section went out, then another, and finally, two days ago, the whole thing went kaput. I'm all out of incandescent bulbs that fit these specific bases so sadly it'll go into the recycle pile next year.
Which, coincidentally, is how we ended up with all of the colored lights you see -- Home Depot runs a recycling program each year for old incandescent strands and you get a discount off of LED strands, so I went for it and bought colored bulbs.
The around the door is my favorite this year. Ignore the pumpkins. We threw those out yesterday.
When you come through the door, the foyer is modestly decorated.
We have about twice as many cards as this now, but at the beginning of the week we were holding out at just these four. I have no room to judge as we didn't get any out this year, but there you are.
The peace word art sign is new this year -- because I MADE IT. I used all stuff we had around the house so it cost me nothing and I'm pretty proud of myself, to be honest.
If you look closely, you can see it has a coat of glitter on it. Because GLITTER. The wood plank was left over from building the storage wall upstairs and all of the paint colors were from leftovers in the basement. The glitter paint I had on hand for a project I never built, and the ribbon was ganked out of our holiday wrapping stash.
I was going to write a whole tutorial on it but I figure most of you all can figure out how to paint a piece of wood. If not, let me know and I'll be happy to oblige. I have faith in you.
From the foyer, you can see the dining room in all it's holiday glory (which we've already covered a bit here):
SO MUCH SHINY! And a Cheech.
Our table still has the leaf in it for some reason but I went with it and tried to create a simple yet fun tablescape.
Some of this stuff I already had, while the rest I collected throughout the season. The runner and green mercury glass votives are from West Elm; the placemats are from HomeGoods; the silver tealights are from Home Depot; and the ornament tree is from Target.
Over on one side of the doorway to the kitchen, we have a little faux-bar cart action going on.
We'd had that mirrored frame for about a year -- I'd bought it for something else and it didn't fit, but I really liked it. I finally hung it and plan on nabbing something from Etsy here soon to fill it.
The purple foil tree I've had since I was a teenager, and the sparkle reindeer is new from Target. I changed out the frame for a holiday word-art-esque card. This is my new favorite trick.
On the other side of the doorway, the vitrine has been decked out for the first time ever.
On top there are new glittery lime green tapers from HomeGoods, the ornament garland from last year, and a word art tree from Target (also glittery!). There are two more West Elm votives tucked in there, but whatever.
Now you might have to brace yourselves. We're moving on to the living room.
I told you I was going for bright.
Let's concentrate on the mantle, yes?
I actually had an art project I was desperately trying to finish for the space above the mantle, but I just couldn't find the time to complete it. Maybe next year.
A close-up of the explosion of merriment that slowly overtook my mantle over the span of a month:
Don't worry, I know it's a lot, so I broke it down for you.
From the left, we have teal sparkle tree candle from HomeGoods, a large ornament tree from Target, a purple nutcracker from Home Goods, a silver tree candle from HomeGoods, and the beginning of tinsel garland from Target. The star stocking hook and American Girl snow globe (Samantha 4eva) were things I already had. Another angle:
Now for the center part of the mantle:
The big JOY sign is from Target, as are the glittery reindeer ornaments. The ribbon twist is left over from my crafts from the dining room (and is from Home Depot) and the photo frame stocking hooks we already owned (but are from Pottery Barn Outlet). It should be noted that I had to put a piece of wood under the JOY sign for it to stand up high enough out of the tinsel. Good thing we have a pile of random cuts in the basement.
For stockings, I replaced the mismatched dark-toned ones we had with these bright (nearly neon) ones from Target. The kids were stoked to have colors they recognized (pink! blue!) and I was happy to get my purple stocking back. The bells were ornaments we had and the ornament garland is new from this year's line at Target. Truth be told, I like last year's better, but whatever.
Finally, on the right side of the mantle, we have two giant apothecary jars (on clearance from HomeGoods) filled with three different sizes of shatterproof ornaments from Target and out of our own collection.
To be sure, it looks amazing, but I'd be lying if I didn't say that it took me HOURS to get those balls in there just right and it was MADDENING. Holy crap. I may or may not have actually broken a couple of shatterproof(!) ornaments in the process. Because I can break almost anything.
In the hearth, I put some red glittery pinecones (from HomeGoods) and green tinsel garland (from Target) into hurricanes we already had, and then I took some firewood from our back yard and spray painted it silver to pretend like we might ever light a fire in this fireplace that doesn't in anyway shape or form accommodate for such activities. But it looks festive.
And on our mirrors I had this sad little attempt at some kind of glittery snowflake garland thing from stuff on hand from our wrapping supplies. Also, you can see our much-neglected mistletoe hanging in the doorway between the living room and foyer.
Finally, our tree is the same one we've had, with pretty much the same ornaments we've had.
I spent the better part of an afternoon replacing bulbs so a whole section of it would light up again, and then I made the bold (if you have small children and cats) decision to add a bead garland to the tree. It took five strands to make it all of the way around. And yes, they're purple. And from Target. I've never done garland on a tree (I grew up with tinsel placed in small clumps) and I really like the way it looks. Next year I may even branch out into ribbon. YOU NEVER KNOW.
Then, Christmas morning, this is what it looked like.
Stupidly exciting thing? The yule log looping video streaming for free on Amazon Prime. Perfection.
The tree with presents underneath it, wrapped in boxes and paper mostly from Target so conveniently it all kind of matched.
Including the box that summed up what I wanted this holiday season to be all about for my family.
So that's it! Though, if you were paying attention, you might have caught the very beginnings of a new project coming in 2014...
But for now, I hope you had the best of holidays with your family and friends and have minimal returns and copious cookies and gift cards and most of all, joyful memories to hold on to for years to come.
Happy Merry to you all, from our dysfunctional home to your hopefully less-so one.