Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Decorations at Last!!

Today has been so lovely and special. We heard yesterday about an oncoming storm overnight and today, and this seemed to give us permission to stay up late last night watching a movie and sleeping in until almost 9:00 this morning. I woke up to a beautiful winter wonderland outside my door, with the snow falling all around. I spent some time in prayer and in God's word and I have to share with you ladies that God DOES answer prayer, and sometimes I am so humbled by how quickly He does it. I was praying for my dear husband this morning, as he has been working so hard and has a hard time knowing when to stop. Then, after breakfast this morning, completely unlike him, he asked if I wanted to watch an episode of one of the TV shows we have on DVD. My first thought was, "well, I have a lot to do today.." but the Holy Spirit stopped me and said, "Woman, this is exactly what you just prayed for!" So we cuddled up for an hour on the sofa and I crocheted and he cuddled the dog. And then he went for a walk later in the day, my night in shining armor, to fetch me a diet coke in this blizzard, and we had lunch and as I type this he is taking a nap! He actually took part of the day off! I am so proud of him and so thankful to God that He shows us that He does answer prayer.

We had planned to have friends over for dinner tonight, but with the blizzard we have rescheduled for tomorrow night. That means I have this evening free to blog, work on some Christmas gift, and just enjoy and be thankful for the warm home I have to enjoy in the midst of this storm outside.

I am finally posting the pictures of my Christmas decorations! I must confess that last night, as I was uploading them from the cd I had made from the disposable camera, that i felt a twinge of insecurity. When you compare my home and my decorations to so many others, mine seem pretty meagre. But I stopped that and reminded myself that this post will represent huge progress in my life. In years past, I put up the tree and put out our nativity set, and that was it. So, please be excited with me as I share these photos not because I am Martha Stewart, but because I am Mrs. Recovering Armchair Housewife. :)

The first thing I want to share is that I so wanted to have some wreaths for the house, I love natural-looking decorations and wreathes of all kind are so lovely. But have any of you ever checked out the prices of wreaths? Yikes! But, I was in the Canadian Tire (an auto and homewares department store) a couple of weeks ago and found these:

Which is basically wound up wicker-type material, meant for garlands and the like. I bought four of them and decided to make wreaths out of them. I had no idea what I was doing, but I just started unwinding the first one and re-shaping it into a wreath. I then took some ribbon i bought from Michaels and some decorative fruit ornaments I got from the dollar store and made this:

And in truth I sort of got excited,because i thought that looked pretty nice. And the wicker garland cost me five dollars, the ribbon probably 30 cent and the pears were three for a dollar. And, I can easily redecorate this by changing the trimmings.

So, i carried on and came up with four wreaths:

All of the wreaths were decorated with ribbon and little ornamentals from either the dollar store, the sale bin at Michaels, or the thrift store. Then, at the thrift store I found four pretty little brand new glass candle holders for two dollars each. They have a triangular cup that sits in a larger fishbowl-shaped glass holder, and this allows you to put decorative items in the fishbow part and burn a tealight candle to illuminate whatever is in the bowl. As you can see it's hard to explain, but above you can see I made one to match each of the four wreaths, simply putting some of the matching ribbon in the fishbowl and it looks very simple and pretty.

The winterberry wreath, with a matching garland that I picked up at the second hand boutique our church held in the fall on our inside front door.

Next year I'd like to have much more around the door, preferably with some lights and more garland. But this was a good start this year.

After I took the pictures, I switched the two above wreaths. it's hard to see but the one above the window has pretty metalic bronze and brown circles on it, and they went much better in my warm yellow and brown bathroom, whereas this festive red and green wreath looks nicer over he window in the livingroom.

This is a little tablescape I created on the far end of my bookshelves. Above is the pear wreath, and I have my bible open to the Christmas story in Luke and an Advent devotional surrounded by some candles, my pretty snowman, and some simple glass vases of bulbs and greenery (and you know I got both the vases and thebulbs at the thrift store... did i even have to say that?).

You may remember I got this topiary tree at the same second hand boutique and didn't know what to do with it, because i've never decorated anything in my life. :) i think I did ok with this.. just used some of hat beautiful ribbon and a few red bulbs to dress it up. It looks very warm and festive in our livingroom.

Speaking of our livingroom...

Next year I want to make better use of my "mantle" space above the piano, but this year it's home to my nativity scenes and some lovely candles. If you can see the book on the piano, that is the Norman Rockwell's Christmas that I picked up at a flea market down in NJ at Thanksgiving. It's beautiful.

And I'm still totally in love with the winterberry wreath that I bought at Michaels at 75% off at the end of November.

One of my favorite ideas was taking that big green brandy glass vase and putting a red votive candle in it. When it's burning and the livingroom lights are down low, it is the prettiest thing and casts the loveliest geometric patters on the wall around it.

A simple but bold red and gold ribbon has been wrapped around a closet door in the livingroom to hold our Chrismas cards.

My mother gave me this candle holder the last time I was down visitng, and I love the look of my two dollar store red pillar candles on it. Next year I want to get a small green leaf wreath to hang around the two candlabras, I think it would make it look all the more festive.

Our dining room. Very simple, but this was the first thing ever hung on the wall in this room, period, so it's a step in the right direction. I got the lovely silver leaf wreath at Zellers (sort of like KMart) on 40% off. If you look closely, you can see my green class collection decorating the table.

More of my dining room. Next year I want to hang a pretty wreath in front of the mirror.

The three green square plant holders on the tray (that i also bought at the second hand boutique) are filled with little winterberry ornamentals I purchased at Michaels, held in place by some floral styrofoam. I think it looks very festive. And yes, those ARE red and green MnMs!

This Apron and the "Merry Christmas" on the chalkboard is all of the "Christmas" that made it into the kitchen this year, but I am working at hanging things on the wall, and I have big hopes that i can make it more festive next year and even before with other seasonal decorations.

Thanks for coming by and checking out my Christmas decorations.!! I know they are simple, but for me they are such an exciting step in the right direction. more than once now i have had a visitor say they thought the apartment felt warm and festive and cozy, and full of Christmas cheer, and that has blessed me immensely. My earnest prayer is for any of you out there who struggle as I have to feel like you have any domestic or home-beautifying skills what so ever, not to mention a lack of budget, that if I can get started, so can you! Oh, and I just found this amazing scripture over at Ruthanne' blog:

"Do not despise this small beginning, for the eyes of the Lord rejoice to see the work begin."
~Zechariah 4:10
God Bless, ladies, and Merry Christmas!


Sarah D. said...

Thanks for taking the time to post those great pics of your house! I feel like I've been over to visit for a cup of coffee! Keep up the good crafting. You may appreciate this web page if you haven't already discovered it - where people sell their handmade craft online: Have a great night!

Angela said...

I LOVE winterberry. Is that what's it called,? I love the vine looking winterberry above your window. I have a VERY small wreath of that type in my kitchen. You did AWESOME with those wreaths girl!! Yahooo.

You know, I KNOW the feeling of wanting to share your 'home' but thinking of all the beautiful amazing blogs that are SO decorated graciously, lovely and inspiring.

What your doing here is exactly what God has been speaking to my heart. "Angela, make your house a home with what you have. Bless each corner of your home with love." God set me free from the mentality of 'when I have a big house, or more money, I can do this or that'. I CAN NOW make my house a home and beautiful. A haven for my loved ones and those that are brought here. You have beautiful pieces of furniture. That candle set your mother bought you is gorgeous, I can't believe those candles were so cheap, my favorite colour too. Just delightful to look at. Thanks so much for not allowing insecurities to stop you from posting such a wonderful 'vignette' of your home. I love that word 'vignette', learned it on the blogs..LOL..I say it all the time now, my husband thinks I'm silly!! lol.

OhLookADuck said...

I love your creative spirit! And watching the sales and shopping the thrift stores are so much fun.

You've done so many things in such a short time--you have a lot of reason to be satisfied with your efforts--I especially love the wall over your piano. Lovely!



sunshine said...

Ditto what everyone else has said.
Everything looks simply beautiful. I especially love the candle that your Mother gave you. It's lovely!
Thanks so much for giving us a look.

Walking on Sunshine... said...

I agree...everything looks beautiful and as you said we need to stop comparing ourselves to other blogs and enjoy making our homes a special place! Yours looks special from all the decorating! Enjoy your day!

Armchair Housewife said...

Thanks so much, ladies, all of you. Sarah, i had head of "etsy" but didn't really know what it was. Ill check it out because I really love hand-made stuff. I just wish ou *had* come over for coffee! :)

Angela, you nailed it on the head. I am so glad that the Lord is also encouraging you to make the most of your home and make it a haven.

And thank you all for the encouraging words and for liking my decorations; that's a real encouragement to keep going! :)



the voice of melody said...

Thank you for sharing your decorations with us! All of them are beautiful and I thought you did a great job with the topiary. :)

50s Housewife said...

Everything looks so pretty! You did a great job. :)

Angela said...

Just popping in to say Merry Christmas. May God be gracious to you and your's and bless you and make His face shine upon you. You've been on my heart! ((hugs))

Anonymous said...

Nicole The house looks great and my thought is that you are the new martha stewart, cadadian style. Christmas was good and would have been so much better had you been here. I love mom

Lady-in-the-Making said...

I was so taken with your blog comment on Lady Lydia's site which read:

HI ladies!

I've been on hiatus from reading the blog for some time, as I found I was struggling too much with working-woman envy. I long to be a homemaker but my husband does not support this. He is a wonderful Godly husband in nearly every way, but he does not want children and while at one time he was open to my being a stay at home wife, he is now opposed to the idea as he sees it as my back-door attempt to have children.

Very sad I know but I am trusting in the Lord and His direction to me has been very clear: seek first His Kingdom, and love my husband, and those things which He has for me will be added in HIS timing. But that doesn't mean that it isn't hard. I only work 3/4 time so I do get to engage in some domesticity, but nothing like I wish I could. I desire so much to be a home maker, and I find sites like these can help sometimes, but also if I am not walking closely with the Lord, they can make me long all the more for what I do not have.

All this to say thanks for being a good source of encouragement for women who want t be homemakers, whether they are full time or just part time-hoping-to-be-full-time. :) And if you're having trouble getting motivated in the morning, think of ladies like me, rushing off to some unfulfilling job, and perhaps that will encourage you to be excited about your day ahead.

That is precisely where I am. It is good to know I'm not alone. Just love your blog - I'll visit again soon!

Walking on Sunshine... said...

When you pull yourself off of the armchair of your sweetie...come get the award on my blog for YOU! Hope you had a great Christmas and it was everything you dreamt it to be!!