Christmas Prep

Hallmark’s Ornament Debut is this weekend, and I can’t wait. I caught a peek of their Christmas merchandise over the weekend. We bought an adorable ceramic Snoopy on Friday, and I’ve already figured out my 2017 gift wrap favorites. We will pick up the rest of our pre-order ornaments on Saturday. Here are a few ornaments from July.

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As soon as retailers start introducing their holiday merchandise, I’m ready for Christmas. September is when I usually catch the bug. I start planning my décor, purchasing new Christmas items, purchasing more gifts (I buy throughout the year), and impatiently waiting to transform our home. I know some of you won’t even think about Christmas until Thanksgiving, which is fine. Christmas is my absolute favorite, and I want to spread that joy out as long as I can. The way I see it, my love for Christmas and early decorating are only going to impact my household. So pour me some hot chocolate and turn on my holiday Pandora station.

I’ve curated ornaments for approximately eleven trees over the past five years. As I’ve mentioned before, all of my trees are themed. I coordinate everything from ornaments to gift wrap. Since we have furry friends in our home, I can’t just put a tree anywhere. I usually place the trees in rooms that our cats are not allowed in, like my craft room. I’ve also been slowly introducing trees into the common areas as the cats get older. This year will be a true test, because I’m hoping to put up three in our living area. All of that said, the first step is deciding on location.

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The second step is figuring out which trees I want to display, because I can’t put them all up. I usually only display 5-7 and rotate from year to year. This year I am introducing a circus themed tree, which I’m really excited about. Now once I’ve determined which trees, I then have to figure out what I’d like to add or change. I am continually adding to my trees, thus making them fuller and better. I also watch a ton of videos with designer tips, and I take photos of ideas I like when I shop. So I figure out what I need, and I start shopping.

Once I’ve gotten a grasp on the trees, I start focusing on other interior décor for the holidays. We change out all of the table linens, plates, bedding, and add our villages.  I try really hard not to buy a bunch of new stuff every year, but I always find something I’ve got to have. One year it was new pillows, last year it was stockings, and this year it’s bedding. I’ve actually already ordered it!

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Finally, it’s all about planning the exterior lights. Ryan and I both love Christmas lights.  Thanks to television shows like the ‘Great Light Fight’, I envision a grand display. Those shows really get my mind going, and then I’ve imagined fifty new possibilities. Ryan typically agrees to one or two ideas every year. One day I’ll have the display that’s in my head. We actually sit down together and map it all out so that Ryan knows what to do. I’ve been banned from the lights due to my perfectionistic tendencies. Imagine that. I at least get to decorate the porch.

Now that I’ve explained the ‘planning’ process, you’re probably wondering when we start decorating. I start putting up the trees on Halloween or November 1st depending on my schedule. It typically takes me a week and a half to get the interior done. We don’t put the lights up outside until the week of Thanksgiving. How do you decorate for the holiday season? I’ll be sharing all sorts of holiday related things as we get closer. Stay tuned.

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Envisioning a Beautiful Exterior

I can’t honestly say that I loved the exterior of our home when we purchased it. It was the interior and endless possibilities that got my attention. Our little house just doesn’t have curb appeal, but we can change that. Until now, the exterior simply was not a priority for the two of us. I’ve now drawn up a plan to fix that.

Before I share our plan, I want to share the look I am hoping to create for our home. Our home is quite different from the home in the photograph, but it is a perfect illustration of the look I’m trying to create. The welcoming porch, beautiful color scheme, and manicured landscaping are just a few reasons to love this house! This home is my inspiration for our complete exterior overhaul.

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Photo from Provident Home Design

 

  1. With the end goal in mind, I can start working on pieces of the puzzle. The first piece is the front porch. That probably sounds like a weird place to start, but our front porch needs immediate attention. We’ve decided on a very similar look to the one in the photo; however, we will use black metal balusters versus white. I like the contrast. We’ve also decided to widen our stairs a foot to allow for better flow. Trex composite decking will be used for the floor of the porch and the steps to create the look above. The composite decking cost more upfront, but will save us time and money later. It’s also very easy to work with.
  2.  We will eventually skirt the porch as part of phase two of the porch renovation.  Ours will be much taller than the image below since our porch is raised several feet. The skirting will make the front of our home look cleaner, and it provides visual interest.

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3.   I suspect the next step will be replacing our tan siding with gray. I’d like to get that done next spring, but I’ve got to wait on a couple of things. I haven’t found a money tree yet…still searching. Gray is classic, and I want to use a color that I love. After all, I have to look at it every single day. I also love the way white trim looks next to gray. It pops! I’d like to remove our shutters and add thicker trim to the windows.

4.   I’m not sure who picked out our roof color, but they clearly had no idea what they were doing. The roof is almost a clay color, and I can’t stand it. It doesn’t look good with anything, therefore we will replace it with a darker roof. We’ve got 12-18 months before we really need to consider replacing the roof. I have selected a product from Timberline that I really like, and we know a roofer we trust to do the job once we are ready. I haven’t quite selected the shade, but the image below is pretty close.

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5.    We’ve actually been working on the landscaping over the years, but I am continually frustrated with it. Some plants have gotten too large, others struggle, and we just can’t seem to get it right. I think we might bring in a professional to create a plan that we can implement. Ryan’s parents did that, and their landscaping is stunning.

6.   Ryan and I have discussed screening in our deck, and I think we’ll do that when we take care of the roof. It will require adjusting the current roof line, so we might as well do it all at once. Georgia weather is awful most of the year, and I feel like a screened in deck would make it much more pleasant. I would at least be able to escape the mosquitos. Why do they insist on biting the hell out of me??? I also think our cats would enjoy an outdoor space too.

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So that’s pretty much the plan, and I’m not sure how quickly we will implement it. We did remove our porch over the weekend and are currently rebuilding it. It already looks a million times better. I can’t wait to share photos.

As with anything home related, I think you’ve got to plan it out. You need to have a clear vision of what you want, and you need to know what you can do. We knew that the porch was something we could handle, but the roof should be left to a pro. Knowing these things, you can save yourself money. I’d love to hear about your exterior alterations or complete overhauls in the comments below.