Break Out the Bubbly

Make Celebrations Convenient with Win RacksIt’s 2016! Happy New Year! I always love this time of year. It’s a great time to reflect back over the previous year; all that has happened, what goals I reached and what challenges stood in my way. It’s a learning experience every year and one from which I usually emerge energized and ready to make a fresh start.

Our New Year’s celebrations have varied widely over the years. Some years we are traveling back to our current residence after visiting family for the holidays. Other times we spend the evening quietly, just my husband and I fighting off the sleepiness as we watch the TV and wait for the ball to drop on Times Square before heading off to bed. And still other times we invite the neighborhood over for a rousing good time, entertaining children and adults alike and enjoying food and frivolity over a few cocktails.

Even though we are never sure what our New Year’s Eve will shape up to be, I still enjoy the celebration every year. The quiet, the chaos; it’s all a consequence of our military life, where it takes us, and the people we are surrounded by. I usually imbibe in a bottle of bubbly every year; it’s my own New Year’s tradition – whether I’m drinking alone or with a bunch of my friends.

No matter the party atmosphere, it’s a little more festive and inviting when the champagne is displayed on our beautiful rustic Glacier Country Countertop Wine Rack. It is the centerpiece of our buffet, showcasing the local wines I enjoy and the special holiday selections this time of year.

Happy New Year to all of you, no matter what your celebration shapes up to be this December 31st. Cheers to you and me and Auld Lang Syne!

Dear Santa

Vanities with multiple drawersDear Santa: I’ve been good this year. Well, I might have slipped up a few times. Okay, maybe a lot of times. But I always try to be good! Eat well, exercise, be nice to others (even when I really don’t want to be!). I know this sounds selfish, but I’d really like to get a present for myself this year.

You see, I am in love with rustic barnwood furniture. I could easily fill my whole home with it, and the deck, and even the garden shed in the backyard too. The only thing holding me back is my checkbook and that whole “trying to be good” thing.

But I found a blowout deal on a barnwood vanity, Santa. It’s a real bargain. I know I don’t really need it for my bathroom. But I have a craft room that could sure use some organization. You see, it may be called a vanity, Santa, but it would sure fit the bill for my craft room too. It’s nice and sturdy so it can be a handy work surface too.

So, Santa, I hope it’s okay if I go ahead and place an order for this 48″ Wall Left Barnwood Vanity – Blowout Special!. After all, shipping is free so you won’t even have to figure out how to haul it on your sleigh. And it will last me a really long time, since it’s made out of real wood and all. It’s kind of a no-brainer, Santa. I have to act fast, though, ‘cuz there is only one left and it has my name all over it.

I know you’ll approve, Santa. After all, I have been pretty darn good this year. And it will make me so very happy.

Red Barns: Fashion or Function?

These Tables are Designed to Last LongMost of us have admired numerous barns across the countryside, but have you ever wondered why so many are red? Have you ever wondered why red was the color of choice for barn painters of the past?

Farmers often used linseed oil to seal the wood of their barns. This treatment yielded a rustic earthy color, and varied according to what additions were made to the oil. It has been said that farmers would commonly add ferrous oxide, commonly known as rust, to the oil. Rust was cheap and plentiful, and provided the benefit of a natural mold and moss deterrent. Of course, the addition of rust also yielded a red-orange color to the wood to which it was applied. Hence, the red hue of the barns.

Over time, barns bedecked in red paint became as much a reason of fashion than function. The bright red color provided a striking contrast to the traditionally white farmhouse. Once paint began production with chemical pigments, red was also the most cost efficient color to buy. This was, of course, appealing to the pocketbook of the typically frugal farmer.

While the barns of our landscape are usually some form of red, the beautiful barnwood furniture that some of us incorporate into our homes is anywhere from a chippy red color to mostly bare weathered wood. Lumber reclaimed from barns no longer has to be sealed with linseed oil to protect it from the elements. Its days of braving Mother Nature’s weather patterns are over; instead its natural enemies are pets and children who play on or around it. The stately Rustic Mountain Barnwood Farmhouse Trestle Table is now a treasured accent piece of a rustic home’s interior, sheltered by a roof and walls. The reclaimed barnwood furniture that now resides in our dining room is envied by its friends in the countryside, still left with their red coats to brave nature’s fury.

Outside In

Upholstered Aspen ChairsMany of my friends ask me why I have such a love for rustic furniture. I invite them into my house and they look around disapprovingly, looking for any trace of the décor they consider to more acceptable; posh, modern, sleek and sophisticated. I just smile and offer them a hot cup of coffee and a seat in my comfiest Beartooth Aspen Upholstered Log Chair.

My affinity for rustic is rooted in a deep appreciation of nature. I can spend hours hiking in the woods, sitting beside a creek, admiring a waterfall, or perched on a mountain overlook. Furniture that so closely resembles all that I love outdoors brings all those wonderful experiences and adventures into my home. I feel like Mother Nature knocked on the front door and delivered a big warm hug.

Although I love my friends, I also love my “sticks and twigs” furniture. I’m not about to give either one up anytime soon. Unless, of course, one of my friends makes me choose between one or the other…then someone’s feelings might get hurt. Haha!

Deer Hunter Husband

Chandeliers make great centerpieces!The upcoming Christmas holiday makes for a festive and exciting time for many people. Shopping, baking, camaraderie, and family all abound at this most special time of the year. But for some folks like my husband, December signifies something else of great excitement…hunting season!

Although he gets giddy like a schoolboy, my husband’s excitement is not completely focused on hunting deer. No, his ideal deer season is more about camaraderie with his buddies; chasing down whitetails during the day and sharing beers and stories at night. These are guys he grew up with, went to school with, that he has known almost his entire life. Hunting deer with them is close to one of the best things in the world to him.

He does get his deer & fill his tag. As if the meat for the freezer isn’t enough, he also deems it necessary to mount his trophy. The big rack that simply cannot be cast aside, but instead must somehow be treasured for infamy. Every year a new trophy comes along. The first couple received the traditional treatment…a trip to the taxidermist to become a wall mount. But then my mighty hunter husband tires of the “same old” and seeks out new ways to display his bucks.

The trophies from a year or two can be combined into an antler chandelier. Speaking from a personal view, I’m a little more pleased to display his “trophies” in this fashion. I can imagine that other ladies with a hunter in their life might feel the same way. Everyone is happy; he can proudly point out his catch to visitors but the chandelier is stylish enough for the wife to allow it a prominent place in the dining room.

This deer season, if you have a hunter in your home, you might encourage him to consider turning his bounty into a beautiful Tamarack Whitetail Deer Chandelier. Remind him that a happy wife means a happy life! (And more cooperation when he wants to spend a week with the boys.)

Happy hunting!

The Perfect Marriage

Modern and Rustic End TablesI am an HGTV junkie. Have I admitted that before? I may or may not binge watch on an occasional weekend day (don’t judge!). I get a boatload of inspiration from the programs! (Although, HGTV, if you’re reading this: enough with House Hunters & Property Brothers already. They’re great and everything, but I’d love some more Flea Market Flip!) But, I digress.

On a recent episode of House Hunters Renovation, the couple searching for a home had wildly different tastes in design. He liked rustic style with a lot of wood while she preferred a more contemporary theme in a home. It seemed this marriage was doomed to find a home that was decorated to suit both their tastes…or was it?

If this sounds like the story of you and your spouse, do not despair. Your marriage is not in jeopardy – after all, opposites attract – right? Or, maybe in the case of home décor, opposites call for a challenging but unique decorating theme. In the case of the aforementioned couple, the GroovyStuff Pronto End Table satisfies his love of rustic and reclaimed wood while the curved lines and funky features are a reflection of her contemporary style.

By combining characteristics of two styles, you make your home uniquely yours. Even if you and your spouse have completely different taste in design, you can create the perfect marriage in your home.

From Trunk to Shining Slab

Dining Tables with a Shiny SlabAh, the splendor of the holidays! It’s a time of year that many love, but also causes a lot of stress for a lot of us. From meal planning to gift buying, travel plans; fulfilling holiday traditions, decorating…it can be a lot of commitment and demanding of an already overfilled schedule. Somehow “happy holidays” has turned into “stressful season”.

This year I see signs that some people are changing things up. Efforts like the #OptOutside movement by REI encourage folks to enjoy simple pleasures instead of the madness of Black Friday shopping. Stores are announcing their intent to stay closed all day on Thanksgiving so their employees can enjoy time with their families.

At my house, we are doing things like buying fewer gifts and trying to create experiences instead. We are focusing on the true meaning of Christmas and spending time together as a family. I am even eliminating some of the clutter around the house and adding accent pieces that remind us of the simple joys in life.

With this mindset, replacing our too-small, too-rickety dining table took on a different flavor. We weren’t interested in getting the biggest or the best or the fanciest, but instead something that fulfilled our needs, was sturdy enough to stand the test of time, and was made of natural materials. When we found the Black Walnut Slab Dining Table on Cedar Stump, a table crafted from a slab taken from a walnut tree trunk, we knew it was perfect for our family. Gathering around its natural beauty at dinner every night is a perfect reminder of all that we want to experience in life. And, at the holidays, it is the perfect place to display the centerpiece we create as a family project.

Here’s to more happy this holiday and less stress for your season!

Winter Wear Hideaway

Be Ready for Winter with Entry BenchesIt’s November, and even though it’s a little difficult to believe…the snow will start flying here any day now. This year we’ve been blessed with a warm and colorful fall, but the cold winds have blown a couple of times and darkness of night comes a little earlier every day.

A couple of weeks ago, I dug into the storage closet and dug the winter wear out in preparation of colder weather. Even though I’m excited to enjoy the first snowflakes of winter, I dread the layers and pieces of clothing that comes along with outdoor fun in the snow. I cringe when I think of boots and mittens and hats shed inside the front door, littering the entry and cluttering up the floor.

This year I decided to combat the clutter with a handsome hideaway for all the boys’ winter wear. I invested in a rustic reclaimed barnwood trunk with drawers that fits neatly in our front entry and offers three drawers in which to stash mittens, hats, scarves…and maybe even some toy snowplows.

Even though I’m a little sad to see the beautiful autumn leaves flutter away, I welcome winter to join us with all its snowy fun-filled days. Bring it on, Old Man Winter! With the Cottage Barnwood 3 Drawer Entry Bench, I’m ready for you now!

Seasonal Switch

Snow Themed Art PrintsI am a Christmas fanatic. It has always been that way; my paternal grandmother used to go over-the-top with Christmas decorations and I think some of that rubbed off on me, even when I was very young. Many years later, I don’t even approach the amount of decorating my grandmother reached, but I do love to deck the halls of our home.

For most of the year, we display our patriotism and proudly drape red, white, and blue in every corner of our house. But after Halloween, and when the calendar turns over to November, a transformation begins to occur. The colors that never run take a long winter’s nap as the snowmen come out to play.

Even the artwork gets a facelift for a few months of the year. Framed pictures are covered with seasonal prints like the Joy of Snow, snowmen, winter scenes, and Santas. The scented wax burners are filled with pine scented goodness, and the smell of evergreens permeates our living space.

Every fall I’m excited to make the seasonal switch. It’s the bright spot of shorter days and colder temperatures. And somehow, when springtime rolls around again, I’m sad and hesitant to put the creatures of winter back into hiding until November rolls around again.

Season’s greetings to all!

The Center of the Home

Kitchen Tables for the Dining AreaAt this time of year, when the sun comes up late and disappears below the horizon so early in the evening, outdoor activities with the kids are limited to the short daylight hours. No longer do they play outside until bedtime; evening entertainment moves inside and mom & dad have to devise creative ways to channel all that youthful energy.

There is one tool I’ve found in the home that provides the center for hours of activities: the dining room table. I’m sure many would argue, but I consider it the center of the home. It’s the foundation and gathering space for craft projects, homework, family game night, Lego towers, cooling cookies, and of course – family meals.

With all this activity, you want to be sure you have a table that stands up to the rigors of your family. Be prepared to suffer a scratch or ten as your kids create masterpieces on its surface. A rustic real wood table is the perfect choice to withstand the test of time and active children. If the table top happens to get scratched, consider it part of the character of the wood. Or, grab a little sandpaper and get to work on the spot, then cover it back up with a bit of varnish and voila – back to perfect!

Don’t let daylight savings get you down. Invest in a sturdy Homestead Barnwood Square Kitchen Table to make your days – and nights – much brighter this winter. And then enjoy the giggles and wiggles that happen all around it on a daily basis!

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