January 15, 2018

Winter Home Tour

Welcome to my Winter Home Tour! Along with pictures of my
home, at the end of the tour I'll share the details and tips on 
how I got the look very inexpensively.  

We'll start in the living room.  Over the mantel is a print that 
was made to look like a painting. The "painting" features birch
trees which I think have a winter-like feel. 

I repeated the birch look in the arrangements in the urns.

To keep a cohesive look, I mostly tried to keep the decor
items on the bookcases (other than the books, candles and 
 containers) to things that you would see in a forest.

Also many of the battery-operated candles used in the 
living room were given a birch wood look.

These faux wood signs have winter sayings on them.

Some wooden candle holders that were a crafted gift from
 my son and daughter-in-law several years ago were 
freshened up by gluing some shed birch bark pieces on them.

For a cozy look in the winter I like to bring out the easy

Adjacent to the living room is the kitchen area.
Here the table is decorated with the sleeve portion of the
sweaters (used to make the pillow covers) pulled over vases.
Real and artificial stems make up the winter arrangements.

In the dining room more of the same elements are used for
decorations. Pine cones were used in each of the rooms not
only for their winter feel but because they are inexpensive
and can be used in abundance. 

Here are some of the ways that I got the winter look
inexpensively and you can too!

Scrapbook paper (these are from Michael's) that resembles 
birch was cut to fit around some of the battery-operated 
candles and taped together in the back.

If the paper obscures too much of the light from the candle
you can rub some olive on on the paper with a cotton ball.
That makes the paper more translucent. 

To get these candles to look extra tall I stacked a battery
operated candle on top of a real candle about the same size. 

I also wrapped a couple of the boxes on the bookshelves
with the scrapbook paper to give them a white wood look.

So the above photo reminds me of a tip I want to pass along.
If you are going to try to bleach your pine cones, do it way
ahead of time of when you want to use them. 

I got my pine cones at the craft store on big markdown at the
after Christmas sales. When they came out of the bag they
 looked big and fluffy like this...

After sitting in bleach water for 24 hours the cones closed
up like this...

Even though I baked them at 200 degrees (like the tutorials
suggest to get them to open up) the large ones stayed tightly 
closed. They will probably open up eventually.

Birch trees do not naturally occur where I live so to get 
birch-looking branches for the urn arrangements I gathered
brown branches and spray painted them white. I didn't try to
get every nook and cranny because birch twigs are not all white.

Before paint

After paint

At an after-Christmas clearance last year I found these faux
birch twigs on sale. They are actually foam wrapped in birch-
looking paper. The maker even added little offshoots.

I used worn-out floral foam in the urn to help hold up the
faux birch stems and branches at the angle I want.

To make the tiny greenery arrangements in the dining room
I also used old floral foam to help hold the greenery in 
position. Floral foam that has been wet and then dried out
is not very effective to be reused except to hold stems in place.

To help hold stems in place in a vase you can make a grid of
 clear transparent tape over the mouth. This is a good tip to know
 especially if a vase is clear and you need invisible support.

When I was trying to come up with a centerpiece for the 
dining room table I initially did not like the white long candle
 holder (that I put greenery in this time) and the dark lanterns
together. They didn't seem to go together. After I put all three
 elements together on a table runner, they seemed more unified.

I also wired pine cones to the tops of the lanterns and added
the large pine cones to "connect" the elements visually.

I try to keep most of my accessories in neutral colors so they can
be used all year just be adding seasonal touches to them.

The long candle holder, the urns on the mantle, the large lantern
in the living room all were dark colors when I bought them. 
I found that I tend to use lighter colored accessories more often
so I painted all of those with white chalk paint.

If you see an accessory that you like the shape and price of but 
not the color, consider if you could just paint it a better color.

Another way to save money in decorating is to DIY projects.
Here are full tutorials for some of the items that are 
used in decorating for this winter look:

Click on the highlighted text to go to the tutorial

Thanks for visiting me. Stay warm and cozy this winter!


  1. I believe you really love birch bark, Gayle! You've shared so many wonderful techniques for making the look of birch bark - down to oiling paper to make it look translucent! I'm very impressed! Your designs look absolutely stunning! And I love how you include it in your blog design, too!

  2. Post Christmas can be a difficult time to decorate, but you've done such a lovely job. I particularly like the paper-covered candles and boxes. I shall have to look out for some birch paper! Sue via Before & After Wednesday


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