tree trimmings

cottage Christmas

Our holiday decorating is a wrap at this point.  We’re enjoying the warm glow of the tree every night and we’re watching the pile of wrapped presents slowly grow.  We went with a smaller than usual tree this year but propped it up on my favorite vintage card catalog table.  As for the ornaments, we kept fairly traditional.  I’ve been known to go all one color or theme in the past but not this year.  Christmas 2014-5331

The only big curve ball I threw on the tree were arrows.  I guess I should say I “shot” at the tree.  arrow Christmas tree decor

Since we had no specific color scheme, I thought these bright vintage arrows were a fun addition around the top of the tree.   What do you think?

vintage arrows Christmas tree ornaments

You may remember the arrows and antlers from my fall mantel.  Yep, they easily transitioned to the next season…along with the cotton stems too.

antler ornament

Both have been a hit in the shop along with some other outdoorsy and almost season-less ornaments like the vintage style chairs, acorns & lanterns.

ornaments

For garland this year, I simply used chenille ribbon.  I love this stuff!  It can go around your gifts or on the tree.  We still have some available to trim your own tree with!

cottage Christmas

Tonight is Serendipity of Doylestown’s open house from 6-9.  Check out all of these ornaments and more!

 

Christmas is coming

 Aside from tree ornaments, there are very few things we pulled out of storage to create a warm, seasonal home.  Instead we opted to use everyday and season-less items with just a hint of Christmas ambiance in a relatively traditional color palette.

Organic Christmas 2014-Circa Dee

Our decor this year is very organic with the exception of the vintage chippy mirror and salvaged pillars.  The blooming paperwhites whimsically frame a live succulent wreath.  Why go for evergreens when you can have succulents?  You must ask yourself.

live succulent wreath

Preserved boxwood topiaries add a bit of formality as they anchor the ends of the mantel plus they will last for  years.

Christmas mantelscape with cotton & candles

I continue to obsess over cotton stems.  I simply laid them on their side to create a nice, full garland across the mantel.

cotton garland

Fresh holly from the yard nestles amongst the cotton.

cotton & holly Christmas garland

Firewood is accompanied by a nearly blooming Christmas cactus.

Christmas firewood

The firewood tea light candle holder adds just a bit of warmth to the holiday display.

firewood log candle holder

How are you decorating your mantel this holiday season?

Natural Christmas 2014-Circa Dee

Many of these items and similar ones are available at The West End Garage.

Bonus:  they can easily transition into the new year with the omission of the holly and ornaments!

holiday door decor

We’ve been decking the halls for weeks already yet somehow we’ve barely scratched the surface at our own home.  That is about to change though.  Over the weekend we rolled out the welcome mat and pulled the vintage sled out of storage.

holiday door decor - vintage sled, mistletoe wreath, lantern, retro chair

There is a simple formula for holiday door decor that I like to follow every December: vintage sled (always), seasonal wreath and fresh greenery.

holiday door decor - vintage green sled, mistletoe wreath, mixed greens tree

We’re going bold this season with blue, yellow and layers of green.  Sort of nautical, sort of traditional.  I painted the sled in boxwood milk paint this time around and framed it with a joint ruler star and holly.  The felt mistletoe wreath, from Uncommon Goods, fits right in as it is traditional yet unexpected.

felt mistletoe wreath, brass anchor door knocker

The folks at Uncommon Goods contacted me last month to check out their Christmas gifts.  I love the texture of the mistletoe wreath and the adorable white berries.  I’ve been a fan of Uncommon Goods since I learned about the company a few years ago.  They provide a platform for uncommon artists and designers to sell their handmade wares while also highlighting their work spaces and studios so you can see where the products you’re about to purchase are made.

felt mistletoe wreath

Uncommon Goods is a B Corporation which means they use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.  Ryan and I have consciously sourced inventory for our shop from other B Corporations since earning the B seal means the company meets a rigorous standard on a range of issues, including wage levels, environmental impact, and giving back to the local community.  We can certainly get behind that especially in the season of giving.

Later this week, I’ll share details about that little statement tree by the door.  You’ll never believe how easy it is to make!

mixed greens Christmas tree

bringing out the blues

I’ve got a good old-fashioned ‘before and after’ to share today.  Here is a 1960’s barrel back caned chair.  I love the shape of these chairs and the upholstery is in excellent condition.  The problem was the dark, shiny finish.  It was muting the pretty blue fabric.

chair before

With the addition of lighter paint, the texture and colors of the fabric pop and give this chair a fresh look for 2014.

barrel back caned chair-5033

First, I applied a coat of Artissimo (navy) with bonding agent while carefully getting the paint in all of the crevices of the caning.

barrel back caned chair-

Next, I used the wax puck in a few places around the edges and raised areas to create a resist between layers of paint which is evident in the final distressing.

shutter gray chair leg #mmsmp

I brushed on a coat of shutter gray over the entire chair carefully applying it lightly over the caning so the navy would really peek through.

painted barrel back caned chair-5036

The final steps involved lightly sanding back the wax puck to reveal the navy blue under the gray followed by topcoating with furniture wax.

The upholstered back of this style chair is one of my favorite features.  Such a great shape.

barrel back caned chair-5047

I’m not usually a glitter and gold kind of gal but I’m loving these pinecone branches which are popping up in our holiday displays and juxtapose rustic accents well.  They’re festive and easy to mix into a vase arrangement, mantel or wreath.  What do you think?  Love ‘em?

glitter pinecone branches

Here’s a look at how the Circa Dee holiday window display is evolving at Serendipity Shops of Doylestown along with the barrel back chair.  Speaking of Serendipity, I’ll be conducting a Milk Paint Demonstration there on Sunday at 1 pm.  Be sure to join us as this will most likely be the last one of the year.

holiday window display

The Sleigh Rides sign did not last long so I’m off to paint more!  Hope to see you at the demo this weekend.

glitter and rustic holiday vignette

 

urban legend of milk paint

Milk paint naturally wants to absorb into a porous surface.  When there is a previous “shiny” finish present like poly or latex, the paint may “resist” it causing flaking paint and the chippy look.  I love a good ol’ chippy finish but it is not for everyone and every piece.  If you want to avoid chipping, you should mix bonding agent right into your mixed milk paint.

Every once in a while you get a curve ball though…

For example, this dresser seemed quite porous.  The surface wasn’t very slick and there wasn’t evidence of poly.  I was working on this with a friend and we made the executive decision to apply milk paint without bonding agent expecting absorption and subtle chipping.  (Dry time is much faster without bonding agent added which requires 12-24 hours between coats.)

dresser before

About 30 minutes after application we got chipping. Major chipping.  Paint flaking right off of the top in large patches.  It certainly wasn’t a good look.

milk paint resist-4302

We lightly sanded before applying the 2nd coat to smooth out the texture a bit.  The next coat was applied with bonding agent in the paint mixture so we’d get the adhesion we wanted.  Ultimately we overcame the flaky issue, however an explanation was still needed.

MMSMP Linen Dresser-4597

Alas, the urban legend of milk paint!  You’ll never believe what it is…

Raise your hands if you’ve ever used furniture spray like pledge to dust.  The chemicals left behind on your furniture will resist milk paint when you try to apply it.

Can you believe that?  Really, it makes perfect sense.  It also explains why we saw so much more chipping on the top of the dresser versus the drawer fronts and sides.  When dusting, aren’t you more likely to put more effort into cleaning the horizontal surfaces?

The urban legen of milk paint

When buying used furniture you have no idea how the piece was maintained.  How can you avoid the above scenario when trying to achieve a near perfect finish?  Again, you can use bonding agent for best adhesion.  Additionally when prepping your furniture for milk paint, you can degrease it to eliminate any oil build up.

MMSMP Linen Dresser-4596

If that sounds like too much prep work, you can always roll the dice and see how the milk paint reacts!  This piece, painted in Linen, ended up really pretty with a primitive texture to it.

DIY pumpkins

Halloween is just a week away!  Fall is my favorite season and about a decade ago, Halloween was my favorite holiday.  Although celebrating Halloween has slipped from my radar, fall decor has not!  Earlier this season Ryan and I made pumpkins out of materials we already had on hand.  They are a bit abstract but they were fun to make none the less.  Check them out…

crafty DIY pumpkins-4897

Ryan cut a few logs to create wood slice pumpkins. Using a drill press, he made a hole in the top to insert the branch stem.  So rustic!

wood slice pumpkin-

I put a monochromatic spin on the popular fabric pumpkin by using just burlap and jute twine.  You’ll never guess what I stuffed the pumpkin with…shipping peanuts!  The shapes on these guys greatly varied just like in nature…

Burlap Pumpkin

In addition to DIYing pumpkins, we’ve been working with real ones as well – mostly in the kitchen.  This season we’ve enjoyed spiced pumpkin bread, pumpkin pizza and pumpkin pizelles. Yum!

What pumpkin inspired crafts & treats have you made?

DIY pumpkins-4900