Our Welcoming Home!
by Jolene Hanig-Jones
Welcome back to our home. I wanted to achieve a warm, cozy look for winter. I began with my general principles: use what we love, use what we have, and upcycle/reuse favorite things in new ways. With that in mind, I decided to use black and white buffalo check, silver mercury glass, silver in general, twinkly lights, crystal, and natural elements. As I stated in an earlier post, I like to keep some of those sparkly, glittery, and natural elements that were used during the holidays. Originally, I had planned to use red and black buffalo check for color and coziness, but thought the white helped brighten the gray, winter days that we have here. Above are some of the favorite finds and elements I used to add winter charm to our home.
One of the first things I tackled were the bookshelves in the family room that flank the fireplace. I was all exited that I was going to use symmetry and leave the shelves uncluttered to show off the pieces on the shelves. I chose to highlight the hypertufa stone village pieces, teapots and art. For the most part, I had one piece centered on each shelf. I used books to add some height. The first little bit of "twinkle" were the lights in the lower right hand shelf. I did use the same red and black buffalo check paper as shelf liner that I had used for the holidays. I thought it added interest and grounded the vignettes. (The buffalo check paper was actually wrapping paper cut to size.)
This look was just too, boring and stark for my taste. I admire symmetry, It adds calm. The pieces are definitely highlighted. In the end, I am more of an asymmetrical kind of gal and I like quirky! I decided this was a good starting point. Now for the fun!
Here is the finished look (as of today.) Can you find the black and white buffalo check, mercury glass, sparkle pieces, the things we love, and the every day things with personality that add to the composition? I'm much happier with this arrangement.
There you have the family room bookshelf displays. Bookshelves can be tricky and can easily get cluttered. Using a theme, clever storage, and even some symmetry can help create a pleasing display.
The fireplace mantle seemed all too bare, once the holiday garland with the red jingle bells were packed away. I decided to make a simple swag featuring pinecones as the natural, winter element. I used an existing evergreen floral pick with apples and a berries, pinecones, and made a black and white buffalo check ribbon. The pineapple luminaries remain on each side of the mantle. (Pineapples are a symbol of welcome from colonial times. These were also a gift from a student and his family.) I wrapped a sting of white, crystal beading around them that I had tucked away with my floral supplies. I have to admit that before I rummaged through what I had, I looked high and low at hobby and decorating stores to find just the right candle rings. It wasn't until I went looking for the fake snow that I discovered I already had the accent I wanted in my own stash! Lesson learned (again!): Check what one already has, first!
Additional Note: Many home decorating professionals do not like to have a TV displayed above the fireplace in such a prominent space. As I've shared before, we live in our home and the family room is probably the most lived in room of our house. This works for us and allows us to have seating on an adjacent wall, which affords the pleasure of viewing the woods in our backyard. We've also used the TV as an art slideshow of Bob's paintings or favorite photos. This can all be accomplished using the computer and a USB port. It's been fun to do this when entertaining friends. The TV becomes a piece of art and the black screen of the TV disappears. All in all, this works for us. I think everyone has to ultimately do what pleases them in their own home.
Living Room and Dining Room
I decided to use winter scarves as the runners for the coffee table, dining room table, and kitchen island. I was able to get them on sale after Christmas at very good prices. Along with my prized Tonka truck, you will see my Baby Kissy, my last baby doll, sitting in the rocker my parents bought for me, when my mom and dad were expecting my brother, Jeff.
Here's another view of the coffee table, truck, runner, and of course, Tucker. He is quite convinced that this is his couch. He likes having the couch arranged in front of the window for his viewing pleasure. I made the black and white plaid pillow and I think it pairs nicely with the store bought red pillow. These were some of my pops of red, along with the buffalo check.
The dining room table features a scarf runner and blooming violet in a white, fluted container. (The large Christmas cactus in the bay window was started from a plant that my great-grandfather originally gave my grandmother. Many of us have started plants from the original plant. My plant is over 30 years old now and is my pride and joy.)
It seemed only right to feature a rooster to help "crow" in the new year. Once again it is a favorite piece given to us by our dear friends, Janet and Joe, who know about my experiences of hatching chicken eggs with 3rd graders. I used the red and black buffalo plaid wrapping paper to line a wooden tray. The garlic and gourd salt and pepper shakers round out that vignette. The heart shaped plate was from my Grandma Hanig. I think it needs some candy!
I love this galvanized, coal bucket. It was part of the holiday decor. I wasn't ready to pack it away, so I kept it as a key part of the winter decor. All I did was change out the bow, and kept all of the greens, birch bark logs, and pine cones in place. I kept the twinkly lights in it, too.
I cleaned up another bucket and put a second Christmas cactus in it. This one could probably use a buffalo plaid bow.
I made the square table mats from dish towels I found at Marshalls. I simply cut one side down to make a square. Then I hemmed the one side and it was good to go. The geode is another memory piece. It was given to me by one of my 3rd grade boys almost 25 years ago. I always had a small geode on my desk, and I told my class that geodes were like people. You really can't tell much about them from the outside. You have to crack a geode open to see the beauty within it. Likewise, It is only when you get to know a person, that you can see a their real beauty and sparkle. Ryan's father was a jeweler and that Christmas, Ryan gave me this beautiful geode. It was in my classroom, until I brought it home when I retired from teaching. It has been touched and admired by many young hands. My students/kids and the geode are all part of my treasures!
I hope this post inspires you to cozy up your winter home with memory pieces and all things that bring you happiness!
Product Sources: (Click on product source for links.)
White and Black Buffalo Check Wired Ribbon (and more!): Ribbon Source: The May Arts Retail Store
Unique Teapots: A Bit of Britain
Birch Bark Log Bundle: Wilson Evergreens through Amazon
Some of My Favorite Sites