Finding rusty old junk is fun! Nevertheless, I have found that no matter how much "stuff" I find and collect, only God can fully satisfy my heart. Matthew 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Home For The Holidays at Grammy and Poppy's!

This Christmas I had an opportunity to play interior designer for my in-laws, (Grammy and Poppy) in their new home! The charming 1940's cottage is quite a downsize from their previous home, but its just perfect for the two of them now that all the children are grown. 

Around Thanksgiving I began to notice that Grammy didn't seem to have much holiday spirit and wasn't as excited about decorating as I figured she would be. After talking with her I realized she was feeling a bit overwhelmed about how to incorporate her old decorations in the new place.When she and Poppy moved into the cottage they updated their decorating style, so most of their country/primitive Christmas decor just wasn't going to work  anymore. Unfortunately, they had even sold their Christmas trees in their moving sale because they did not think they would have room for more than a small tabletop tree.

 Nevertheless I wanted to do something extra special to help them celebrate their first Christmas in their very own home and to provide them with a warm and beautiful place for family and friends to gather during the holidays. My husband and I had installed a faux fireplace for them back in the summer which is the focal point of the room, so it gave me an easy place to start creating Christmas magic.
If you can't find the perfect spot for one Christmas tree, use two!  Each tree is filled with various reindeer ornaments and  traditional red garland and green bulbs. I made some faux burlap sacks out of linen placemats to wrap the bases of each tree in lieu of tree skirts. The adorable shabby-prim screen door was a $4 yard sale find. The gorgeous faux fireplace deserved to be all decked out for the holidays.

 I decided that a very traditional Christmas look was the best choice and would really make them feel like they were finally home for the holidays.  I also wanted to give them some ideas of ways to start new decorating traditions to use year after year. Using lots of reds, greens, golds, and plaids, the whole living room took on a much larger and grander feel and really created a beautiful Christmas setting.
Boughs of holly, poinsettias, tartan ribbon, shimmering pinecones, golden beads and ornaments, a large Santa and sleigh with lots of tiny, glittering reindeer-----its definitely Christmas at Grammy and Poppy's!

I love that my mother-in-law trusts me enough to play around with her things and will just leave the room and let me get to work. This was one of the most enjoyable decorating challenges I have ever had because it was a 100% "use what you have," or should I say, "use what we had" FREE project. I had no idea what decorations she had kept or what things she had already started decorating with. I only knew that she wanted a more elegant look than what she was coming up with. She had some good ideas and cute decorations for me to work with however, and luckily I am enough of a Christmas hoarder collector that I had several boxes of leftover decorations in storage to put together a whole room for them and to add to what they had. When she gave me the go ahead to come on over and decorate, I loaded up a large tote full of Christmas odds and ends and went straight over and got to work. I think I finished in about two hours and I feel they were pleased with the end result. 

      I found this awesome Santa in the corner behind the front door and decided that he needed to be the focal point of the mantel and started building from there.

  The mantel turned out looking as if it cost a fortune by using just whatever was lying around!

The stockings were hung by the chimney with extra care! I hung a stocking each for my son and niece, and hung an ornament frame with their baby pictures on each of them so that Grammy and Poppy can fill them with special Christmas treasures year after year!
Love the bronze reindeer ornaments. They tie in perfectly with the bronze tile
embellishments Poppy added to the fireplace.

Did I say use two trees in small spaces to make a big impact? Why not use three??? The third tree in the corner pays homage to a "Clan Ferguson" Christmas! Poppy decorated his tree with his collection of  Celtic inspired Christmas ornaments. The Scottish nuctrcracker was a gift from my husband and I last year.
Being that I am of Scottish heritage by birth and marriage and a collector of  Celtic things myself, I just love Poppy's tree!
These Belsnickel-style Santa ornaments were some of my favorite finds as I went scavenging through their house looking for decorations. I also found some vintage books to use, and I especially loved, "The Friendly Hour." It just seemed like a fitting title for such a friendly little trio!

Although duck is still sometimes served in a traditional Christmas dinner, this amazing guy is just for admiring. Grammy began collecting primitive style ducks upon moving into the new house so I wanted to incorporate the ducks in some way. I created a dining room table centerpiece using this large wooden duck and dressed him with pine cones, pine branches and lots of white bittersweet garland. He is nestled in a large burlap coffee sack. A primitive-style woodsy tree provides a perfect backdrop.

Smaller wooden duck with a red apple wreath and Christmasy!

   After working on this post I am getting excited to visit on Christmas Eve. The house feels cozy and welcoming and the grandkids absolutely love visiting too!

 Merry Christmas Grammy and Poppy!!!!  May your first Christmas in your new house be the merriest ever and may you have many more happy Christmases there for years to come!!!


  1. What a wonderful Christmas present to Grammy and Poppy! I can see how the whole thing can seem overwhelming as one gets older and downsizes, but you made it a fun experience for everybody. Merry Christmas! vickie

  2. Greetings from Southern California.

    I am your Newest Follower.

    Merry Christmas :-)

  3. So pretty! Wishing a very merry Christmas and the happiest of holiday seasons to you and yours!...hugs...Debbie

  4. Hi Amber~
    What a beautiful blog and a truly wonderful post!!
    Thank you so much for becoming a new follower of my humble blog and I am now your newest follower as well! I look forward to getting to know you this year and wish you every blessing!!
    Warm Hugs~~


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