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Festooning Mi Casa for Christmas!

December 11th, 2010

For the past several years, I have blogged about creating winter pots for outdoor holiday decoration.  Making the pots have become one of my favorite holiday traditions.

The Garden Center where I work, sells a wonderful variety of fresh evergreen boughs.  I recently brought a car full home so that I could put together my own pots.

I really enjoy working with natural materials.  They just make me feel so dang wholesome!

I used a shorter pot this year because I thought they would fit down inside of the urns in front of my house a little better.

The pots are filled with sand and then I filled the center of the pots with bright red dogwood stems.

After the stems are firmly in place, I began to add the fresh greens.  I work with them until I am happy with how they look and then I spray them with a waxy substance that helps seal moisture into the needles so they don’t dry out too fast.

Voila!  Winter pots!

Aren’t they pretty!

I used the leftover greens in a watering can by the door.

And then a few days later a fierce wind storm ripped the greens out of one pot and carried it who knows where.


One of the things I managed to accomplish during my recent blog hiatus, was to re-paint the center hall, and finally hang up some family photos!  I considered painting the above bench in one of the colors on the paint chips, but by the time I had painted the hall (in the same boring off white that it was before) and hung up all the photos, I was far too limp and pale and weak and exhausted to paint that bench.  





To hang the photos, I found a pleasing pattern by laying them out on the floor.  Some of these photos were taken by Mrs. Mama last Fall.  Some of them are wedding photos taken by Rick Mitchell in Lawrence, Kansas and a few I took myself.

I got the frames with the wide mats at Target.  I couldn’t decide which style of frame I liked the best, so I eventually bought a few of each variety.  The wedding photos were framed a long time ago in the cheapest frames I could find.  





I cut newspapers to the size of the frames and hung them up just like I had laid them out on the floor.  I quickly decided that the frames were going to go up too high on the wall and they seemed to draw my eye right to the ugly doorbell and the unsightly wall vent… so I trudged back to the drawing board and started all over again.  





I re-organized the photos to have less height and more width.





I re-hung the newspapers….

And I re-hung them

and re-hung them

and re-hung them…

Until my freshly painted walls were covered in enough newspaper ink to completely disguise the fact that they ever were freshly painted walls.






I eventually found something that I thought I could live with and I started hanging photos.





I started in the center, screwing the wall mounts right through the ‘x’ I had marked on the newspapers.





I kept going…





And kept going…






I am not much of a perfectionist, so I was relying heavily on gestalt and luck and an innate reckless abandon that has guided me throughout my entire life.  














I think it turned out pretty good!  The hallway is not nearly as bleak and soul-less as it was.  Did you know that I did this exact same project once before?  The problem with family photos is that they just keep changing.  How many more times will I re-do this wall?  And what about that bench?  Do you think it could use some color?








And how long until I find a spot for all the left-overs?

Versatile Stair Hall

April 16th, 2008
When I drew the plans for our new old farmhouse a center stair hall was a must have.


A traditional center stair hall seemed to signal everything that was right and good about classic home design. It added a bit of grandeur to a simple design, and created a vital main artery for traffic, as well as cutting off views to the main living area for impromtu visitors who I might not want to see the dirty socks, scattered toys and forgotten cereal bowls that typically decorate every surface in my house. But I had no idea of the one other very important purpose that a center stair hall could serve.


The length, and width are just about perfect.



The front door provides the perfect spot…


For a basketball hoop. 

Who knew?!?