Tuesday, December 16, 2014

My Use-What-I-Have Chirstmas Decor

Two short weeks ago, I believed this would be the first year I skipped decorating for Christmas.

Then this print showed up, made by my talented friend, Aliza Latta, who sends notes saying things like, "Please don't think you have to share this. I just wanted you to have it!"

It inspired me instantly, and of course I knew I'd want to share it.

I love that it's Christmasy without trying too hard. My Christmas spirit is left-of-center this year, and this made so much sense to me. I love the look of it, and I especially love the truth of it, because God packed up and moved to earth as a squaking baby in order to kill fear forever. That's a year-round truth, guys. (Plus, white hand-lettering on black? Hello.)

As often happens without warning, I immediately wanted to change almost everything in the room. So I did. And now I'm here to dish.

{I'm going to try to keep this brief, because you and I both know those pork chops on the counter aren't going to sear themselves.}

The first thing I did was lovingly yank down the Mexican Fiesta curtains. They just never work with Christmas, and I'm sorry about that, Baby Jesus, because I know you love slightly-spicy salsa as much as I do.

Since we have bamboo blinds (bought online from Home Depot a few years ago), our windows would still be covered at night while I embarked on a hunt for some type of mistreated "curtains".

I looked everywhere. I looked at fabric. I looked at sheets.
In the end, it was all more cash than I wanted to spend. Also, I started to feel like we were rocking a sort of spare, Scandinavian vibe, and Scandanavian vibes are my second-favorite, after British. (And, well, Mexican.)

If you think I'm talking right now just to hear my own voice, all I can say is that when I went to Belgium for a month as an 11-year old, the Finnish/Norwegian people stole my heart, mostly because I didn't realize they existed before then, which was both stunning and amazing, not to mention their inherent style and the fact that they spoke really good English.

After ditching the curtain idea, I thought I'd buy some greenery to drape across the empty curtain-rod brackets. I even saved coupons so I could get them for 50% off.

Early last week I realized I just didn't have it in me to care.  Ironically, I had this distinct thought as I was running into my favorite thrift store. Little did I know my mind was about to be blown by strands of wiry, strange greenery sold for $1 per bundle.

Two bucks later, voila.
I shouldn't have let on that it was fake...I'm sure you never would have caught on.

Kidding. But guys, sometimes good enough is good enough. Especially when it's almost free.

I bought a few maps from an antique store for $2 each, but had never used them. So I taped them to the wall, randomly overlapping them. I bought a pre-cut photo mat from Michael's (using my 50% off coupon, so this cost less than $3.) I taped the print to the back of the mat, then Cory hung an empty, black frame, and tacked the print in the middle. There's no glass here, no fancy custom-framing, no nada. I find it all very swoony.

I searched around for some pink pillows but came up with squat. Maybe next year, although who are we kidding? I'll probably have a different idea next year.

Actually, no. I'm keeping this idea every Christmas for infinity.
It's my fave.

A note on the Swedes: this is our first Christmas with the Ikea Karlstad sectional. It has revolutionized our propensity for laziness. It also takes up our entire living room, which is why the Wonky Christmas tree had to be shoved in a most inconvenient corner.

Exhibit A:
{While I could use a scapegoat right now, the Swedes had nothing to do with us accidentally switching the order of the branches, resulting in its hour-glass shape.}

My dad found this aqua crate in their barn.
How does this happen, this magical finding of magical things in barns????

Magic is also mysteriously found at Aldi.

(Sidenote: Please buy all of their dark chocolate salted caramels and eat them until your teeth rot out, then thank me. I promise not to stare at your mouth when you do.)

I think Howard might be part Norwegian.

The tall, narrow cabinet-of-many-drawers-that-incites-all-your-envy-that-I-bought-at-a-garage-sale-for-$15-but-now-I'm-just-rubbing-it-in was topped with white trees, a creme brulee dish, a page I tore out of a kids book, and an old fair ribbon.

This old painting seemed like the most Christmasy thing I could imagine.

Okay, you've got me. The nativity is Southeast Asian.
I'm babysitting it for my sister and have contemplated abducting it, not just because Joseph's hat (?) says "Honda" and I drive a Honda.

 Moving on.

I hung the gingham curtains (made by a friend, hate me) in the dining room. QUALITY!

Silas filled a sticker chart that he conceptualized and created on his own, earning a strand of his own Christmas lights, with which he decorates something different every single day.

A friend sent us two puzzles, so we've been pretty busy around here...

I hope you believe me when I say living in our house is like living in a single room. I'm  plagued with messy-house angst, because no matter where you are, every mess is visible. There's just nowhere to hide around here. Literally. And figuratively. (I have tried both.)


Every Christmas our cow gets a bow on his horn.
It's complicated.

And I added a few wintry thrift-store mugs into the mix because I have discovered the limit to my self-control and it's THRIFT-STORE MUGS. I'm especially bedazzled by the pedestal mugs. They're tall, like me.

I also hung new napkin curtains, because Dutch is practically Finnish.
And I shoved some more old, fake greenery into a rando chicken feeder I rediscovered in the basement of doom.

 That poinsettia plate is plastic perfection.

And if I have to explain why I love that monkey snow globe, we should probably just part ways amicably before things get ugly.

Let's end with the creep babies.
They never disappoint, amiright?

Merry Christmas, Party People!
Wait a sec...

God jul, Partymanniskor!

That about sums it up.

PS - Here's the link to Aliza's shop, Choose Brave. Lots of good stuff here.

PPS - I read EVERY SINGLE ONE of the posts you guys linked on the Christmas link-up. You're all the best! I loved peeking into your worlds so much.
PPPS - In a happy coincidence, Nester's Christmas link-up is happening right now! 
PPPPS - This post took about 80 hours to write. I had to pee twice while I was working on it. THIS IS ME TRYING TO BE BRIEF.