Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tiny Bubbles


Monday, December 19, 2011

Time Out

With all the hustle and bustle that comes as the clock runs out on yet another year, I'm having to stop and give myself this little reminder more and more. Even a Hipster needs a little time out to take stock and replenish before diving head first into the next busy calendar.  I may be in and out for the next couple of weeks as I re-group and re-prioritize. Maybe I'll even return with some new DIY reveals. 


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bottle Brush Trees

Popularized in the 1940's, bottle brush trees have become a Holiday mainstay in homes across the US. Today, they can be found in every color of the rainbow. I especially fancy an unadorned grouping of them in various heights and hues of the same color.

There are even wreath versions...

I love the subtlety of this blush and bashful version. 

Though rarely in the punchy shades shown above, vintage versions can be found all over eBay, in thrift stores and probably your parent's attic.

Feeling crafty? If you're interested in custom dyeing your own, a great little tutorial can be found here.

All images via

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


The other night I found myself in front of a blank canvas layering on a little color with some left over craft paint. Amazing what a little downtime can do for the heart and mind. A glass of the red stuff never hurt either.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Red Light District

Jordan Ferney's 2006 monochromatic masterpiece on a budget served as the inspiration for our "rouge on rouge" holiday display.

As we gear up for an All-White Holiday this year at Holtwood House, I'm taking a moment to reflect on another monochromatic color scheme we went with two years ago at my parent's place. A quick trip the morning before to the Flower Mart and Mom and I arrived back home with a carload of red blooms- and a red tree we could not resist!

Sticking with a single color and/or bloom is one of the best tricks in the playbook. It's easy to create a stunning floral spectacle by playing with multiple hues, height and texture variation.

As night fell and the candles were lit, it made for a festive backdrop for our Holiday dinner party.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Current Fixation: Agate Housewares

Hypnotized by the rough edges, beautiful hues and crystalized patterns found in agate housewares these days. I find myself drawn to both the natural earthy tones as well as the vibrantly dyed specimens.

 Via: 1 /  2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sucker for Packaging

I admit it. I'm a sucker for packaging. I toss items into my shopping cart at random when I see a well designed label or uniquely packaged item sitting amongst others on the grocery store shelf. I have a whole file of magazine tears displaying products with sleek, modern logos, throw back vintage fonts and unexpected containers. All this inspiration eventually surfaces in the tables I set, the parties I plan and the gifts I wrap up.

Birthdays offer a unique opportunity to go all out with special details- sewn elements, expensive papers and ribbons. But when you have mountains of Holiday gifts to wrap for family and friends, strategy is critical. Time and money spent on detailed wrapping can detract from time and money otherwise spent with family and friends and the purchased gift itself.

That's not to say I don't take my gift wrap to another level at this time of year. I think the packaging is a big part of the gift itself. Have you not squealed in anticipation when presented with a pretty package? Even if you didn't spend a fortune on the gift, thoughtful details go a long way in communicating to the recipient that you invested time on them, that you feel they are special.

I personally have a lot of folks I want to make feel special. So a small handful of wrapping strategies have served me well at Holiday time.

The run on wrapping paper begins in late November. Retailers are putting out the paper by October. Take it as an opportunity to get first pick and avoid rummaging through the mob's leftovers. It's not going to go on sale until the Holidays have passed- forget about it.  Besides, you can get this expense out of the way early enough so that it doesn't feel like a big hit to the wallet right before gift giving time.

Is it not part of your home's holiday decorations as well? I'm not suggesting you match your ribbon to your couch, but complimentary papers present a polished, buttoned down look on your mantle or under your tree. 

Estimate how much you'll need- and be a little liberal. You will run out if you picked up that one extra bulky gift you hadn't planned for at the local Club store. Pick up un-pattered paper so that any that leftovers can be used later in the year.

Most times, I'm not feeling it- the nostalgic patterns, the velvet embossing, the plethora of snowy paperscapes. My strategy typically involves either a single color or multiple hues of the same color with a similar assortment of ribbons. A snapshot of navy crocodile textured paper tied off with a cerulean blue satin ribbon in the December 2005 issue of Domino sort of set me on fire- and I have never looked back.  I find it easier to mix and match and with a little embellishment, make each gift look somewhat unique.

Permanent gift wrapping stations are great, but you don't have to be a master of organization to make things easy on yourself. I usually go for two containers- perhaps a tall, cylinder glass vase to house my papers and a box or basket to contain my scissors, tape, tags and pen. I position them somewhere in the house where they'll be out and available for the duration of my wrapping. It helps me keep my head instead of tearing through the house looking for that lost roll of tape. 

By this time, my paper has already been purchased and is at the ready for some serious gift wrapping fun. The look I went for this year- well you'll have to wait until every last gift is opened for me to share. But I had a lot of fun browsing through inspirational images like these while I was deciding.

All Images Via Here / Here 

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