As those of you who follow my blog know, I do love a touch of bling on pretty much everything, especially when it comes to holiday decorating. This year, I decided to try a more rustic vibe using fresh greens, burlap and jute in our recently repainted family room-sooo country pretty!

Christmas Flowerpots Candles

Here are a couple of just-completed projects, as I continue to race against time to get the house in shape for the holidays! Colorful Pinecones: On a recent episode of Sarah’s Holiday Party (for those of you who are not HGTV fanatics, Sarah Richardson is a Canadian designer

Christmas Sarah's Housewho creates breathtaking interiors in everything from a secluded island summer home to a rustic pigsty), Sarah shared many holiday decorating ideas with her assistant and “quick-to-quip” sidekick Tommy. One that I immediately fell for was colorfully painted pinecones.

Photo Source: Stich, Craft, Create
Photo Source: Stich, Craft, Create

Hers were tinted in various shades of pinks and greens, but I needed to use these for family room decorations, so I went with my recently-painted contrast color, Steel Blue by Glidden. (more on that later) This is a simple but slightly messy project. First, gather all of your materials (we happen to live near conservation land, so there is a never-ending supply of fresh greens and pinecones : )

Christmas Pinecone supplies

Take a leak-proof container with a sealable top that is large enough to accomodate the pine cones you wish to paint.

Christmas Pinecone Paint

Add a paint color of your choice- about 1/2 cup, then dilute it with some water, about 1/4 cup- you just want to make the paint the consistency of whole milk.

Christmas Diluted Paint with Water

Drop in a pinecone

Christmas Pinecone in Paint on Country Design Home

seal lid, shake, (If you have ever attempted to paint a pine cone, you know how hard it is to get the paint into all the crevices- this is brilliant!!!)remove and allow to drip, then place on wax paper to dry. Christmas Pine Cones Blue  (if you place on newspaper, the cone will stick to it when dried).

Christmas Glitter

I added a little glitter while the paint was still wet for my touch of bling.

Christmas Painted Pinecones

When dry, decorate! In this case, I had an old tin bucket from the porch.

Christmas Tin Pail on Country Design Home

Added some pine boughs that Coach and I had gathered along with the pinecones. Add the colored and plain cones, some votives and you’re done!

Christmas Tin Pail Decorated on Country Design Home

Speaking of pine boughs, I needed to decorate the mantel, and staying with the natural theme, had gathered some a few days ago while Coach and I were pinecone hunting. No bling here, just tied the boughs in lengths with jute rope until I had the desired length to create a garland.

Christmas Pine Boughs on Country Design Home

Added some berries and draped it along the mantel for a fresh and natural holiday decor.

Tree is up, family room is done-the dining room is all that remains! Susan

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Loving Christmas carols this time of year. One of my favs is “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas“…but I’m not really. Although I love a bit of white on the ground, the rest of it (shoveling, boots, cleaning off the car, dodging giant icicles hanging from the roof, etc) is not my cup of tea.

My Little Red Ice House

But, we live in New England, so we take what we get! So far, no snow to be seen-yay! So I wanted to make some decorations with a little fake snow to give the illusion of winter, without the hassle. So, this week’s High Five For Friday goes to Santa Snow in a can!! Makes everything merry and bright and cheerful and white : )Wreath Santa Snow & Glitter My latest D.I.M. project: needing a new holiday front door wreath, I found an old autumn wreath in the barn.

 

Wreath Autumn

It was a little beat up, and quite a few of the berries had little bites taken out of them. Hmmm…

Wreath Berries

I think one of our barn critters thought they were having themselves a feast! So I pulled out all of the autumn leaves, and sprayed an undercoat of white enamel paint. I always keep a few of these around- at 99 cents a can, you can’t go wrong!

Wreath White Quick Color

 

Wreath Painted

Then I hit it with my new favorite decorating tool- fake Santa Snow in a can!! This week’s High Five For Friday! LOVE. And some sprinkle glitter- it’s bling in a bottle. LOVE. So then the berries looked like this (well, it looks prettier in person- this kind of looks like a magnified science experiment…)Winter Berries on Country Design Home Added a cheery bow (thanks to my new bowmaking skills I learned on Pinterest : ) And we have a pretty new Christmas wreath!!

Wreath Winter White

Total investment: $2.99 for the Santa Snow, $4.99 for the glitter (but I had a 40% coupon, so do the math on that) $.99 for the paint. But I only  used a fraction of those supplies, so I have plenty left over to decorate more stuff! Ribbon: $1.50 for a 5 yard roll. The wreath was a free reclaimed castoff!  Total investment: $3.00 tops! (Disclaimer: just be warned that it is very possible that you are having soooo much fun spraying snow and tying bows that you forget to go to work on time. Just saying…)

My other High Five goes to this amazing Krinner Christmas Tree Standsation.

Krinner Tree Stand Box

Nicknamed the “marriage-saver” for a reason, this is the absolutely world’s best fresh tree stand!

Krinner Tree Stand

For many years, Coach and I have done the annual tree dance of anger using one of those old screw-in type stands. There was always lots of hammering and sawing and rope-tieing and occasional yelling and frustrated sighs…Tree Stand

It would typically take a couple of hours for us to get the tree up in the stand, straightened and tightened, and then tethered to the wall. This year, putting the tree up took…1 minute!!! Straight and secure, no worries about toppling over. Simply amazing. To watch a YouTube how-to video, click here  (Note- this is NOT me and Coach!!!) We purchased ours last year at Orvis.com, but this year every major retailer has them, including Amazon.com. Best investment you will ever make, guaranteed!!! Now we just need to decorate it…anyone have an easy way to string lights?!10 Days til Christmas- make every minute count. Susan

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I am still playing catch-up from our tropical weekend, and slowly but surely I am making the final push to get the house decorated for the holidays! For quite some time, I have been wanting a chalk board for the kitchen, not so much for notes and memos, but to add a bit of my own brand of humor to our environs. Not wanting to go out and purchase a chalkboard, and knowing that we have dozens of bins of holiday stuff that I could upcycle, I found this old tavern sign hanging around the basement. Cute, huh? Mistletoe Sign       Time for some simple D.I.M! (Do It Myself,  because if I don’t, who else will!? ) I really didn’t want to ruin the cute pic on the front, in the event that I would want to use it again. So I flipped it over to the back side, where there was a nice, clean, even surface to work with. You can pretty much transform anything into a chalkboard! Here’s how:

1. Clean, then sand the surface lightly to remove any dust or surface imperfections. Then, wipe it down with a tack cloth (you can pick these up at your local hardware store). The tack cloth is a little sticky, so it picks up all of the extra fine dust that your rag may not.

2. For the first coat, I used Martha Stewart Magnetic Paint, so the surface becomes a magnet board as well. If you don’t want that, then proceed to the next step.

Chalk Magnetic Paint Marthat Stewart

3. In between coats, lightly sand and wipe down with the tack cloth again. See what you missed with that damp rag!?

Chalk Tack Cloth

4. Paint on the chalkboard paint with a sponge brush to avoid lines.

Chalkboard Paint finish

Make sure you don’t leave any streaks or blobs of paint. Wait an hour, apply a second coat. Allow to dry for 24 hours.  Chalkboard Plaid Paint

5. Take a piece of chalk on its side and rub it all over the board- this “cures” the surface and allows you to write easily on your new board. Now write some funny, witty holiday greeting for all to see and enjoy!

Chalk curing

6. Hang it up. Decorate around it. Add a few candles. Done. So my niche in the kitchen went from this fall vignette:

Chalk board Fall Vignette

To this holiday greeting!

Chalk Finished Wall

Time to tackle the mantel! Susan 

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Have you ever found yourself perched on the top of a step-ladder on your front stairs, attempting to hang a decorative Apple Fan Board

Fruits of Labor Apple Fan

to enter a Holiday Front Door Decorating Contest in your town? And once you were at the very top, having the centerpiece pineapple fall off the fan board, hitting you in the head and nearly knocking you out, then having to chase it as it rolled down the sidewalk and into the street? No? So that’s just me. A little back story…

The first time Coach took me to Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia for the Christmas holidays, I immediately fell in love with all of the natural decorating elements that were used to adorn homes Fruits of Labor Apple Wreath

front doors

Citrus Wreath from Colonial Willamsburg Decorates for Christmas
Citrus Wreath from Colonial Willamsburg Decorates for Christmas

dining tables Fruits of Labor Table Setting

and front gates. Fruits of Labor Gate Wreath

No giant blow-up snowglobe lawn ornaments here! Fruits of Labor Snow Globe

Just fresh fruit, greens, pinecones, nuts and berries were used to create beautiful centerpieces and fresh garland door decorations. Since we live in an old colonial home that is perfect for this style of decor,

288

my thoughts turned to natural decor when our town announced its annual Holiday Front Door Decorating Contest a few years ago. This book, Colonial Willamsburg Decorates for Christmas“, has instructions on how to create your own fruit-laden garlands, wreaths and mantels. Perfect!

Colonial Williamsburg Book

Coach  I got out my jigsaw and cut out the half-moon shaped piece of plywood, hammering in the nails in rows where the fruit would be attached. (See illustration below)

Colonial Williamsburg Decorates for Chrismas Apple Fan Board
Colonial Williamsburg Decorates for Chrismas Apple Fan Board

Once that is done, simply staple some magnolia leaves (yeah, I know, we have plenty of those in the Northeast in winter!) to create a fan border. Impale the apples on to the nails in rows. Now here is the part I skipped…”Drive 3 tenpenny nails (that’s the size in colonial jargon- they are big) into the center of the frame in a triangle. Drive the fourpenny nail into the frame above the triangle. Twist a piece of #22 gauge floral wire around the nail. IT WILL BE USED TO SECURE THE PINEAPPLE TOP.”  No need for wire, I thought! That pineapple will stay on those nails just fine. Finished with my masterpiece and anxious to hang it for all to see and admire, I dragged out the ladder and hoisted the board over head. Now I am not certain as to the weight of this piece of art, but figuring a large plywood board with dozens of apples and a large pineapple, you’re talking 20lbs., easy. The rest, shall we say, is history. Fruits of Labor Pineapple on Street

I retrieved the rolling pineapple, stuck it back on the board after I had secured the board to the house. Perfect! Now I know you are wondering if I won the Holiday Front Door Decorating Contest, right? I think I came in second, but you really can’t hold me to that, since I had a bit of a head injury. Hope you enjoy the fruits of your decorating labor! Susan

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Emerald PantoneFor all of you decoristas and fashionistas out there, the 2013 “Color of the Year” was just announce by Pantone– and it is luscious Emerald Green!

Valentino Coat via Fashion In Details

Gotta say, I am just a bit envious that this company gets to determine the color that the entire world-wide fashion and design industry will set its collective sights on, but this spring you most definitely will begin to see sprinklings of emerald on runways and in design showrooms. By the summer, emerald accents will be on every shelf in every big box store and gracing every magazine cover. Which is kind of a bummer, because I am still crushing on orange, and orange, as if I need to remind you, was the color I chose for my hall of shame mirror (no, the hall is still not done, and now I have to repaint!!) Hall of Shame Mirror Luckily for me, the painter’s tape is still on it…

Emerald Ring Gemvara
Ring from Gemvara.com

The Emerald is thought to possess powers of luck and hope, and more kinds of physical healing have been ascribed to the emerald than to almost any other stone. It is supposed to improve mental skills, bringing clarity and focus to the workplace. Emerald is also known to have physical healing properties that boost your immune system and improve eyesight, healing infections of the respiratory system (which really might come in handy, since I have developed this barking cough in the past couple of months that is so real, I am actually scaring the dog.) I am thinking that perhaps one of these  in my Christmas stocking might help chase those germs away! At the very least, it could help me focus on writing more blogs : ) In the meantime, I thought I would share a few pics with you to get your next decorating project in focus. I, myself, would not consider painting an entire room emerald, unless, of course, it was in my castle. Emerald Castle Walls

Otherwise, an emerald accent pillow would add a little drama in a white room

Emerald Accent Pillows via Better Homes and Gardens
Emerald Accent Pillows via Better Homes and Gardens

Or to brighten a neutral interior

Lilving Room via Martha O'Hara Interiors
Lilving Room via Martha O’Hara Interiors

You could add green with these amazing buffalo plaid curtains (you all know how much I LOVE buffalo plaid!)

Living Room via Alexandra Rae Interior Design
Living Room via Alexandra Rae Interior Design

Or to bring focus to the amazing bed in this divine bedroom.

Bedroom by Edwin Pepper Interiors
Bedroom by Edwin Pepper Interiors

Try adding a touch of bright color to a charming white country kitchen

Kitchen by Katie Ridder
Kitchen by Katie Ridder

or a rustic outdoor dining space- magnifique!

Emerald Chairs in Rustic Courtyard via La Belle Vie
Emerald Chairs in Rustic Courtyard via La Belle Vie

After all, Emerald is the color of nature- manicured green lawns, Emerald Lawn

sprigs of clover, mossy caverns. I wonder where the name Emerald Gorge came from?

Emerald Gorge Oregon

So if you happen to be redecorating your space, consider adding a touch of emerald. I cannot guarantee that it will make you smarter or healthier, but your friends will be green with envy! Happy Friday everyone!! Susan

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Welcome To Country Design Home!

Inspired. Rustic. New Country Style...in the suburbs. Because you don't have to live on a farm to create a warm and inviting country-styled home. Follow my DIY junkin' journey as I give tips of the trades and inspired fresh country design ideas to create your own Country Design Home.
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