Monday, December 14, 2009

it's the most wonderful time of the year

decorating a small space? decorating with little to no wall space? decorating with a small (oh wait, a zero, zip, zilch, non-existent) budget? decorating with no mantle? decorating with no kids? decorating for your favorite holiday?

welcome to my life.
(and my blog). we live in a tiny home, with little wall space and no mantle to show. we have no christmas budget to speak of (who does?), nor do we have any little tots running around. this makes for a lot of reusable, cheap, and totally impractical decorations. take that tree up there (from here) for example. it is balancing (i'm not really sure how) on my table; defying gravity. (side note: for the last two years, my husband has said this is the last year we are doing this). will we do this when we have two toddlers running around our house? are you crazy?! for now, why not balance our trees on tables surrounded by candles? i like this tree, because in small spaces, you have to go UP and this tree does just that. draws your eye upwards.

i love my home. i do. i really do. we have done so much to fix it up ("we," as in my husband and father-in-law), but when i say it's quaint, it is quaint in the literally, smallest of ways. our living room holds 4 people, uncomfortably. we can squeeze them in, but that means you will be sitting on my lap. because of that, i have learned to make do by purging unwanted or unused items, and trying to get creative in our small space. thanks so much for stopping by! if you're here for the first time, you will quickly learn that christmas is my favorite time of the year. if you're not new, you are probably tired of hearing me say that. either way, won't you join me as i show you around our quaint little 800-square foot house? it won't take too long. remember, i said it's small.
the living room
come on in...

the tight space makes bringing in a christmas tree very tricky. last year, our tree was here. this year, because we had central air and heat put in our home, we removed my favorite little heater. i was extremely sad to say good-bye to my faux-fire place, but happy to have 2-square feet more of living space for our christmas tree. (because that's what really matters 12 months out of the year, where you put your christmas tree, right? that's what i thought).

the christmas village that my mom started for me years ago is one of my favorite things to set up. every year i wish i could sneak into this little christmas town and live for the winter.

my husband became a firefighter back in may, so a crew of firemen joined our christmas village this year.

i wish i had a lake outside our house where we could go ice skating...

penguins became my favorite animal when i was 9 0r 10 years old. this is one of the figurines i actually allow to come out of hiding.

remember i mentioned the totally impractical decorations around our house? these are some of them. the village sits on every shelf of our book case, and is covered in an inch of snow. the first couple shelves are easily reachable by little hands. will i pour 3 bags of fake snow on the bottom shelves of my bookcase when we have kids? probably not.

this really is the point of it all. jesus coming to earth as god, in human form. a gift. a miracle. my mom gave this ceramic nativity to me when i first got married. her aunt made it for her years and years ago. i don't think i need to say that it is very special in our home.

this is where the "reusable" and "cheap" decorations come in. i gathered a few ornaments, beads, snow and a few candles, and placed them on a special cake plate. it's nothing new or innovative, but it sure looks cute and festive, doesn't it?

since my husband and i are equally obsessed with christmas and winter, it was no surprise that we would get married in the middle of january and have a wedding full of wintry trees and snow. lucky for me, i have a couple trees and snowy branches that i reuse to decorate my house with.

can you tell i painted the windows on our door? i guess you can say we are a bit over the top with wanting that "winter" feel in our home. oh, and when you don't have a mantle, where do you hang your stockings? this year we're trying the window. we'll see how that works out.

more easy and cheap decorations. it makes for that cohesive feel in the living room. :)

i think the winter table is always my favorite. since this scenery doesn't exist outside our home like it does for many people, we try to create it for ourselves inside.

last year, this table was full of candlesticks. this year, i decided to add some birch, evergreen, and lots of ornaments. i like it so much more.

and i finally found a home for my little reindeer!

the last stop in my living room is at my christmas jewelry tree. aside from my nativity, it means the absolute most to me. it was made up of my grandma's jewelry one year, while she was still alive so she could enjoy it. you see, christmas was her very favorite time of year. she loved the decorating, the shopping and the gifts. oh, she LOVED the christmas gifts. and the greatest gift she ever received was on christmas day, 1997.

she had been very sick and was in the hospital several days leading up to christmas. we took her presents to the hospital one evening and opened them for her so she could see what we had gotten her. that's how much she loved presents. however, none of our presents that year would compare to the gift she was yet to receive.

early, early christmas morning, while it was still dark outside, my grandma went to be with jesus. she was finally free of her hurt and pain and she walked into this pain-free world on her most favorite day of the year. her entire life, she knew jesus was her greatest gift. but, on that christmas day, she received jesus like never before. every time i see my grandma's gaudy jewelry tree, i think of her love for this beautiful season, and the grace god gave her when he brought her home early that christmas morning.

the kitchen (this is real quick. don't blink, or you'll miss it.)

when you live in a small space, you decorate your refrigerator. and your stove-top. and your message board. and your adjoining door. and your empty wall. you squeeze it all in. everywhere.
our kitchen doesn't really match the rest of the house at all. it's pinks, reds, and greens. but i like it that way. although my favorite decorations are the blues, silvers, whites, and golds, i love the playful colors in the kitchen. who says it all has to match anyway?

the dining room

our dining room decorations are some of my favorite! i love the combination of evergreen with birch, snowy branches, and all my little rustic animals.

i purchased the birch tree on the left a couple years ago for several dollars at an after-holiday-target-sale. i also had a bag of birch chips from pottery barn (that i never really knew how to use), so i decided to make a little tree to go along with the big one. i had some left over birch, so i decided to make a wreath too. not much beats cheap, and nothing beats free. birch chips, a foam wreath (that i already had from michael's), fresh cranberries (yes, they will die and i will pull them off after christmas), fresh evergreen trimmings from our tree (again, they will die, and i will re-glue new ones next year), and lots of hot glue.

i am loving the combination of natural elements with ornaments... here i have pinecones, snow, birch, and more evergreen mixed in with ornaments.

*thanks for stopping by! i wish you the happiest christmas season as you celebrate what's most important: jesus, love and life* AND, if you haven't gotten enough of christmas decorations, head on over to christmas tour of homes, and check them all out!


Marci @ All Things Wonderful said...

Hi! I just came over from the Nester's. Your decor is breath-taking! Your Jeweled Tree is beautiful...what wonderful and precious piece. Merry Christmas!

Mrs. Dunbar said...

I love how you decorated all of the main living area including the kitchen. It's so festive that way. Cheers.

Marie {Make and Takes} said...

So festive! I love that red star made out of tinsel and balls. Did you make that? What a fun Christmas home!!

Budget Wise Home said...

I think you've done a fabulous job!! I'm loving your ornament displays. Love your style and budget-friendly ideas.

Musings of a Housewife said...

Your house is just precious and the photos are lovely. I kept taking mental note of ones I wanted to mention, and the list got too long!!! It is all just gorgeous and I particularly love the displays of ornaments and beads and things.

Amanda said...

Wow, your pictures are great. I just love your natural elements you incorporated. That branch tree is awesome, and your snow...... Happy Holidays!

Gina @ The Shabby Chic Cottage said...

Everything looks so pretty! Love all those special touches.

Can you please share your light aqua wall color? I am looking for the perfect shade for my living room and I think you've got it!

Amanda said...

very beautiful!! and I have to ask what paint color is that blue on your living room walls- it is just gorge!!!

Anonymous said...

Your home is beautiful! The story about your grandma was so touching it brought tears to my eyes.

Merry Christmas!

Michela said...

Oh my goodness. I love your house. I too have a small space and no Christmas budget this year! I have been trying to talk my husband into letting me paint the kitchen cabinets white, and I just showed him the picture of your kitchen.

Guess what? He said "ok!" So thanks for the involuntary Christmas present! =)

Jamie said...

WOW...WOW...WOW, is all I can say! I am completely amazed! Your decorations are beautiful! It was a blessing to see your Grandmothers jewelry tree and to hear how much she loved Jesus. I love how much you love Jesus Rachel! I just love you!

rachel said...

Gina & Amanda, I apologize because I after several awful attempts at finding the perfect blue, I can't be positive on the name of our final decision. However, I DO know it was from Frazee Paints, and my husband and I both THINK it is called Arctic Chill. I also know that we only went 50% of the color, meaning they added white to make it 50% of the color on the swatch and it ended up being perfect. So many blues end up being so much brighter (or darker) on the wall than they look in the can. Sorry I couldn't have been more helpful. :)

rachel said...

Michela, I am so happy to have given you an early Christmas present :) The white cupboards were not a specific choice. Our farm house is so old and the wood cupboards are not up to date. Our only way around it was to paint them white, and I am happy with the contrast against the light yellow walls. Good luck!! :)

rachel said...

ah jams... i love you so much!!!!!!!! :)

Cindy Mandernach said...

i absolutely love that tablecloth, i love it!!!! did you make it??? i love your space so much..


Debbie said...

You've done a beautiful job with a small area. I think your home is just beautiful! And best of all, I love that Jesus is the reason for the season. That says it all.

Happy New Year. Glad to be visiting a bit late for the Nester's Christmas Tour of Homes but I'm glad I stopped by.

Blessings and happy new year,

themom said...

Rach, your home is soooo beautiful! Your story of Grandma's special Christmas present brought happy and sad tears to my eyes.....thank you for sharing. She would be so proud that her jewel tree is on the web! For those of you only visiting Rachel's home on cyberspace, KNOW that it is even more lovely, warm, and cozy in person!

*Sarah* said...

I found your blog by accident, but have to let you know that your home is (by far) the prettiest one I have ever seen! The jeweled tree is precious.