Christmas House Tour – Part 2

Welcome back!  Sorry for the delay in getting the rest of my Christmas pictures to you!  Emmie was in a local production of the Nutcracker, so our weekend was quiet full.  It was so much fun, and quite exhausting at the same time.

A few days ago, I shared Part 1 of my Christmas house tour.  Thank you for coming back to see the rest of the house!  I won’t add much text….just scroll down to enjoy some more pictures….lots of pictures!

I ditched the standard tree skirt this year and went for a $12 galvanized bucket from Home Depot instead.


We only have one Christmas tree. So it holds all of the ornaments.

Emmie helped me decorate the tree this year too, so the spacing isn’t perfect.  And the tree has a slight lean to it. And we were short on lights this year, too.

my tree with kid ornaments

It’s not magazine worthy, but it makes us smile.


Our powder room has a bit of a neutral feel….

Neutral shelves in powder room

And yet another burlap wrapped tree!


neutral bathroom shelf



And the front porch…





 Thanks for coming on my holiday house tour!  And if you missed part 1, click here.


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My Front Porch

Happy summer everyone! The kids are out of school and we’re enjoying a slower pace to our days.  Yes, the kids get to go on errands with me (you can image the excitement when I announce “Today we’re going grocery shopping!!”).    But we’ve also had our fair share of lazy days…movies on the couch and playing with friends.

Flowers are starting to bloom and my pots are starting to fill out nicely.  So today I’ll show a few pictures of my front porch with you!

 I discovered I had tall grass that survived a long winter of neglect in some pots from last summer.  I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it. Plant it in the garden? Or add it to a giant pot with other flowers?  After I took on the sweaty job of digging the grass out of last years pots,  I set it in one of my galvanized buckets for a minute until I could decide where I would put it permanently.


But I happened to love how it looked in the old bucket!

porch swing and bear grass 2

Sometimes it pays off to think outside of the box!  You never know what creative look you may discover!

Years ago, a neighbor had tossed the chair below in the trash.  I immediately brought it home, tightened the screws and gave it a fresh coat of black paint.  Over the years, it’s weathered quite a bit, which makes me love it even more.

rustic chair and impatiens


If you live in the greater Seattle area, you’re probably aware of the wonderful gardening store called Ravenna Gardens.  I went to University Village to Ravenna Gardens several weeks ago and had a great time putting together some arrangements for two big pots in front of our house.


There are a few different shades of purple flowers and I paired them with a variety of greens.

potted flowers 2

I even used moss in the pots.  Have you ever done that?


I think it adds a lot of interest.

That’s it for today!  I hope you enjoyed taking a peek at some of my front porch decor!


Recycling Pinecones and Faux Berries

Did you survive Christmas?! It’s hard to believe it’s already over with.  If you’re like me,  today is a day to deal with the clutter. Everything needs to find a home because I’m done looking at the piles.  Before you pick up all of your Christmas decor, I wanted to share one of my posts from last Christmas.  I hope you find it helpful….

So Christmas is over and you’re probably ready to clean up your holiday decor….or maybe you already have!

But before you throw out that Costco wreath….

…make sure you remove the faux berries and pine cones!

They are probably attached with some wire.  Simply untwist the wire from the back or grab some scissors and cut them off.

Then next year, when it’s time to decorate for Christmas, you’ll have a few extra pine cones and faux berries to help dress up your house! You’ll be amazed how many you will accumulate over the years!


Target Joy Sign Hack

Yes, this is a Christmas post.  And today, party pooper me took down all of my fall decor.  Maybe I should blame Target….

Like many of you, I recently received the Target ad showing the cute marquee ‘Joy’ sign.


via target

While we were out of town, the mail really stacked up. So when I saw the ad in my mail, I immediately got competitive. {For those of you who don’t know me well, I get competitive about the small things.  Not over a football or pickle ball game.  But over a parking spot. Or a place in line at the grocery store. Or a ‘must have’ darling tin marquee sign from Target.}  Anyway, I looked online…not available.   I looked at the two Targets here in town… was out of stock, the other was rather vague with their stock status.  So the kids and I buzzed out to Target last night, in the dark, to search for the sign.

And lucky me.  I got one!

But I confess when I opened up the box, it was kind of simple looking. And of course there was the cord.   I assumed it would stand on its own, but you have to hang them.  So I got to thinking….how could I make this work!

Off to the bin of scrap wood I went.  I found some red spray paint too.

And after a bit of working, I got just what I was looking for!

TARGET JOY HACK  at home in the northwest

Something more substantial. Something to prop up or hang on my porch, or over the mantel.

Something really fun! I love it!

If you’d like to do the same thing, here are the steps that I took:


Grab some wood from the scrap bin, or buy some from Lowes or Home Depot {they can even cut it for you!}

Decide how wide you would like your sign.  Line up the wood {I used paneling leftover from my bookshelf project}.  Then secure two pieces to the back, as shown here.

Target joy sign hack  how to build a sign  at home in the northwest


Spray paint the wood.


When it was {almost} dry {I was too antsy to wait til it was completely dry}, I sanded the edges a bit and added some wood stain over the entire piece. It gave the sign a bit of depth and interest. Then spray some nails since they will show when the sign is hung.

spray painted nails  target joy sign hack  at home in the northwest


Lastly, hang the letters and  you are done!

TARGET JOY HACK  at home in the northwest

Target Joy Sing Hack Closeup  at home in the northwest

I’m so excited to hang it up, though I will wait!  My fall decor may be in the attic, but I won’t dig out Christmas just yet {though believe me, I’m tempted!}

Thanks for reading and let me know if you make one of your own!! I’d love to see a picture.


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Wooden Pumpkin Face

Today I stopped by the store and picked up some mums and a pumpkin….


And I pulled out a fun wooden pumpkin face that my mom and I made years ago.


We cut the shapes with a saw. Then painted and distressed them. And hammed a long nail through each part.

Decorating the pumpkin is the easy part…just press the nail with your finger through the pumpkin!


Two seconds later, the pumpkin is decorated. And it won’t rot like a carved pumpkin!

wooden pumpkin face 2 at home in the northwest

Isn’t it cute?!


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Recycling Pinecones and Faux Berries

So Christmas is over and you’re probably ready to clean up your holiday decor….or maybe you already have!

But before you throw out that Costco wreath….

…make sure you remove the faux berries and pine cones!

They are probably attached with some wire.  Simply untwist the wire from the back or grab some scissors and cut them off.

Then next year, when it’s time to decorate for Christmas, you’ll have a few extra pine cones and faux berries to help dress up your house! You’ll be amazed how many you will accumulate over the years!

I hope you all had a great holiday!


My Front Porch

My Christmas house tour continues!

Today, let’s take a look at our front porch…

 As I looked at last years pictures of my front porch, I realized that this year doesn’t look all that different!  But there are a few slight differences, and that alone warrants new pictures!

I picked up the red toolbox a few years ago. Christmas is one of my favorite times of year to put it to use!

I cut some fresh greens off the bottom of our Christmas tree and some from our yard.  Then laid them in the toolbox and arranged a few pine cones and faux berries on top.

Gasp! Is that yet another lantern!?

The greenery was cut off the bottom of my Costco garland {that hangs around my front door}.  I wrapped it around  the lantern and twisted some wire around the ends to form the circle around the lantern.

I love pulling up to our house.  With the Christmas lights on the house, and our front porch decorated, it feels so festive!

Have a great weekend!

{to see more of my Christmas 2012 house tour, click here:  entry, mantel, vignettes}


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a thoughtful place, home stories a to z

Adding natural greenery to your home for a fresh holiday look

Lori from Lori May Interiors is here today with a guest post!  She has some great ideas for using fresh greenery in your holiday decor.  Welcome, Lori!

Hi all, I’m so glad to be back with you and Jen here at At Home in the Northwest. I know that many of you are right in the middle of holiday decorating. Today, I thought I would share some ways to add natural greenery to your holiday decor this year.

Let’s start with the outside of your home. What I really like about this entry is that it doesn’t feel holiday specific. You could easily leave this up throughout the winter. If the garland feels to Christmasy, then you could remove that and leave the wreath and planters. The evergreens in the planters can be used year round. Can’t you see pansies for the spring and impatiens for the summer around the outside edges of the planters? This a classic simple look that makes the most of the investment you make on the greenery by giving you an extended time to enjoy it!

This is a photo I’ve had on my Winter Pinterest board since last year. I love, love this sweet snowman and even though you can’t see the greenery around the garage doors, you get the idea. I love the whimsy of the snowman with the classic greenery.

As we enter the house, we come to the staircase. To be honest, I haven’t always been too keen on decorating our staircase. Most of the ideas I would see were too “fixed” or perfect for my taste, but this one is perfect in my book. The garland is not perfectly equal and drapes beautifully onto the floor. The ribbons add a laid back softness. You could use any color of ribbon or even cut up strips of burlap to make your own ribbons.

Here’s another option for the staircase that I thought was a great idea. You could probably take a nature walk with your dog or your children and collect enough materials to do this one for free. Add some leftover ornaments, ribbon and a bit of florist wire to keep it all together and you’ve got a wonderfully unique look.

I usually have the same issue with mantles that I do with staircases. I prefer a more laid back effortless look. (You can translate effortless to less work and I’m all about it!) This simple garland adds a fresh festive look to this space without being too overwhelming. I also love the small touches of natural elements on the stool and the top of the mantle. If you wanted to add some sparkle, you could easily add a strand of twinkly lights to the garland.

Here’s the mantle in our kitchen from last year. I filled mercury glass containers that I already had with nandina berries from our own bushes and added fresh pine garland from Walmart. Total cost under $10. I love how it turned out.

Another idea for your mantle that could take you into the new year. We should all use those beautiful pieces that we have put away in the cabinets. Get them out and put some greenery in them. What a wonderful way to add a fresh holiday look to your home! Once the holidays are over, remove the star and add a heart for Valentine’s, a clover for St. Patty’s Day and pastel ribbons for spring.

This is a great way to add natural greenery to everyday accessories in your home. I am in the process of designing a half bath for a client and we decided to add a red lantern to the space. Since it’s Christmas time, I’m adding a sprig of berries and greenery much like these above to add a festive look to the small space. You might not think about decorating the bathroom, but just this small touch is all that’s needed to add that festive touch to accessories that live in that space year round.

One of my absolute favorite pins of this year. What a great idea to hold all those beautiful holiday cards that we all receive. No reason to let them sit in a pile on the counter. I love that this garland is over the doorway to the kitchen. You can enjoy the amazing smell of the garland while looking at the cards from family and friends each time you pass through.

Here’s another great option for the kitchen that I’ve had in my files for a while. We will be doing something similar to this in our kitchen this year.

Don’t forget about magnolia leaves. If you are blessed to have one of these gorgeous trees in your yard (or your neighbor’s yard in my case) take advantage of it! I made this wreath and arrangement last year and it stayed beautiful for weeks.

As you can see, there are many different ways you can add natural greenery to your home for the holidays. Many of these ideas last well beyond December 25th!

Thanks again for having me today Jen! Happy Holidays everyone!!









Fall Porch Update

I love our porch swing.  We sit on it every single day while we wait for the school bus.  But the pillows I bought this summer aren’t cutting it with the pumpkins and gourds that are also on the porch.

I recently bought these two striped outdoor pillows from etsy. They’ve been the prefect update for the fall and winter season.

 And then I added a fun pillow from Target.

I’m especially fond of it because Dan is a doctor.  {Though Dan is neither evil nor able to write prescriptions for poison!}

The star pillow is one I’ve had for years.  I found it tucked away in a closet and am happy to have found a fun place for it this fall!

I love the update that new pillows gave my porch!


My Favorite Things…No Soliciting Signs

On school nights, the kids and I are often in pj’s earlier than most people. Especially if Dan is at work.  Curtains are closed.  Porch light is on.  We’re snuggled in for the night.  To the passer by, they would {should} know that the porch light and closed curtains mean “do not knock on my door if you are selling something”. But there are those people who don’t understand those unspoken rules.  So I thought a simple sign might communicate with them better.

I started searching for a ‘no soliciting’ sign.  But I didn’t want a sterile, boring sign like this…


I figured I could paint a sign but didn’t feel overly motivated.  Thanks to ebay, I was able to track down the perfect answer…

 I was tired of answering my door to someone wanting to clean my carpets or selling the sharpest set of knives when I was all ready for bed.  But I didn’t want to discourage the neighborhood kiddo selling wrapping paper or raising money for fifth grade camp from knocking.  I think this sign kindly gets the point across to those visiting my front porch. {And it happens to look cute, too!}

Our door is black so the sign fits right in…

Thankfully, I have noticed a great decrease in the number of late evening knocks on my door, so our little sign is doing it’s job perfectly!!  Thank you ebay!


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