Outdoor Living

Christmas Home Tour 2015

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is spending time alone at home making wreaths, hanging ornaments and decorating every corner of our home while I watch corny Hallmark movies and listen to Christmas music. I love the stillness of the empty house and the time alone with my thoughts as I reflect on the year and put my hands to work crafting and being creative. I was reflecting today on all of the Christmas-y things that I so love to do and enjoy. The lights, the shopping, the events, the parties. Yesterday, after a day of celebratory events, I ended the evening thinking about how I didn't feel as much of the "Christmas magic" as I should have.

The reason is that no matter how many beautiful decorations I hang, cups of hot chocolate I drink, or movies I watch, I will still be left with an emptiness if not for one thing.

Jesus.

I have kept such a busy schedule that I have cut down time with the One person we are celebrating. Today I sat down and just spent some time with my Savior, and that "magic" I was looking for came not from lights and scheduled activities but from the richness of His word and time with Him.

He truly is the reason for the season, and he shines much brighter than the lights on my tree.

But I love that I get to decorate in celebration of that :-) That said, welcome to my Christmas home. (You can also check out my 2013 Tour and 2014 Tour).

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We got a new Christmas tree this year from Home Depot. The little pencil tree is exactly what we need in our living room.

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I used a lot of accents of black and white this year. Come on into the eat-in kitchen. Our newly renovated white kitchen is such a great backdrop for the traditional red and green.

Now come on into the reading room where I've decorated my antique mantel with metallics and greenery.

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Now I wanna take you to the basement (which underwent some major renovation in the last year), but I want you to come in through the carport door, so let's walk around back of the house.

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I filled this vintage box (an early Christmas box from my mom) with some twinkle lights, free greenery, and sticks from the yard. Come on in. This mudroom is new this year too!

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I made the little wreaths from boxwood clippings and free greenery from the tree lot on a simple wire hanger base. I found those cute vintage cards at a local boutique. They were selling the whole set for a dollar! We have been spending a lot of time in this basement space lately. It's fun to have such a cozy spot! This is the blog debut for our new organ that Jeremy got for FREE. No house tour is complete without my shadow, Jack the Cat.

Thank you so much for stopping by!

A Pretty Little Patio

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Ever since we moved into our home 2 and a half years ago, I have wished we had an outdoor living space. I love being outside, and we have a big beautiful yard here that we hardly ever get to utilize. After considering building a deck which is too expensive at this point, Jeremy suggested converting part of the carport into a little sitting area. We are still able to park a car in the carport, and it's been so nice to have a little place to sit outside and enjoy the weather...rain or shine!

In order to convert it from a boring carport to a cute and functional space, we just did a little clean up. We powerwashed the floor and the concrete wall. Then I painted the half-wall with a light gray Drylok. We also added a gutter to the outside of the structure to allow the water to drain into the yard and keep everything dry during rainstorms. Last week, it rained for a week straight, and everything stayed pretty dry. Success!

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We created two little spaces. A sitting area and a bistro table for eating.

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We found that adorable church pew at the Nashville Flea Market. It was taken out of a church in Evansville, IN. The coffee table was $5 at a yard sale, and I painted it with some homemade chalk paint. I already had both of the chairs hanging out around our house. I picked up the rug at Target, and the round spools were free on Craigslist.

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I think the best part is how cozy it is out there in the evenings with the cafe lights on.

Now everyone is invited over for dinner and a long chat on the patio!

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My Thumbs Are Turning Green

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This past weekend, my mom came into town, and we had the best time. She is so creative and she always made our home such a beautiful and wonderful place to live when I was growing up, and I know I take after her in my love for homemaking. Until this weekend, I knew basically NOTHING about gardening. I didn't know what ground cover was. I didn't know that there are different kinds of garden clippers. I could barely tell the difference between a weed and a pretty plant (well, I still have trouble with that). We have a half acre of land with TONS of plants everywhere, and I would just look at it and feel overwhelmed, so I needed my mom to come from Texas to save me...and teach me how to have a green thumb.

I learned a few things about gardening: 1. It takes a lot of time. You can't make plants grow faster, and you can't make weeds stop growing (without some chemical help, at least). Gardening takes patience. 2. I need to take it a step at a time. I have so many parts of my yard that need love, but I can't do everything at once. Mom helped me start slow and start with projects that I can manage. 3. There is so much to learn. I learned so much during our weekend crash course about different types of plants, what it takes to care for plants, when to cut back and when to let things grow, etc. 4. God rocks. And not like all the rocks that are scattered across my yard. Although He made those. No, God is amazing; He makes beautiful things. And plants are beautiful...and so unique, and they just grow all on their own. Some of them even have babies, and those babies grow. It's really cool. And even when I trim bushes I'm not supposed to trim, new flower buds pop up and bloom despite the fact that I don't know what I'm doing.

There are a lot of metaphors for life in gardening.

So, this weekend, we did a few things: 1. We cleared out the weeds and cleaned up two major beds in the backyard. 2. We moved plants around in a way that makes sense 3. We cleared and cleaned up the vines around the carport 4. We planted a few new things 5. We made plans for what I will work on in the future

The most immediate thing was to tackle the two most visible beds in the backyard, clear the weeds and intruding vines, and plant a few new things! Things are already feeling better. I also discovered that I have rosemary, lavender, and lots of hydrangeas!! You know you're a grown up when you get excited about plants in your yard.

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garden before after

It might not look like much, but to me it means progress!

We spent Saturday morning at the Franklin Farmer's Market where I picked up my first plant purchase: a Butterfly Bush. Isn't it pretty?

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Mom also brought some plants from her yard...one of which she has had since she first got married to my dad almost 29 years ago. So, we planted some Kolanche, and Katie Ruella, and two baby Red Bud trees which we planted in pots with the bottoms cut off so that we don't mow over them while they grow up to be big beautiful blooming red bud trees.

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I don't want to bore you with too many pictures of plants. So I will leave it there for now. I'll be back at some point to show you more garden progress.

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Backyard Dreaming & Scheming

**Before I get to the post, I want to warn you that I have a slew of decor projects coming to the blog in the next couple of weeks--including a desk transformation later this week. We have been busy, and my decoration posts have been coming along slower than usual. Thanks for being patient, and keep coming back for some more fun before & afters soon. Jeremy and I transitioned from having absolutely no yard at all in our little apartment to a half acre of land. We are still adjusting to the upkeep of a yard, but we feel blessed to have a yard to keep up.

Here is what it looks like now. I spared you from what it looked like right before it was mowed...it was bordering on wilderness.

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backyard-allpreciousandpleasant

Here is the view from the left side of the house by the kitchen door. And the view of the back of the house from the back of the yard The grilling patio on the side of the house & the kitchen door. Here is the jungle on the other side of our fence. And there are two raised garden beds that have fallen to disrepair.

Now dream with me...

firepit - backyard dreaming & scheming
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backyard dreaming & scheming
backyard dreaming & scheming
deck - backyard dreaming & scheming
backyard dreaming & scheming

One of our first goals is to have a fire pit by the autumn. Don't you just love s'mores and late night fireside chats while the leaves turn colors? We are inspired by this one and this one. Jeremy loves cafe lights, so we have to find a place for those somewhere. At the side patio where the grill currently is, I would love to plant some flowers along the fence like this. And plant a lovely garden filled with vegetables after we bring life back to the raised beds. We also plan on building a deck over the carport for lots of outdoor dining. Finally, I have no idea where I would create a space like this, but I cannot help but be inspired by Kristin from The Hunted Interior and her incredible outdoor entertaining space. I will take one order of that kind of style, please.

This lovely Spring weather just makes me want to be outside, and I know with time, we will create just the right outdoor entertaining space. Many of these plans probably will not come to fruition until next year, but it is fun to dream in the mean time.

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