The 613 Holiday Special | Oh Christmas Tree

Hope your Christmas preparations are going well.  Mine are, two trees up, two homes decorated, presents all bought, some are even wrapped, almost all my Christmas cards sent, however, no baking done yet. I guess that is this week’s priority.

Today is the third instalment of 613 Holiday Decorating – today’s topic Oh, Christmas Tree!  So come along and see what we’ve all been up to.


In keeping with my previous post, I’ll be showing you my two very different Christmas trees. I’m excited as this is the first time we’ve had a real Christmas tree at the cottage, in previous years I’ve dressed up a large Christmas branch 🙂

I do have a few rules with my trees. Number One is a ton of white lights, so my trees always have at least hundreds of lights on them.  Number Two is the style of garland sets the stage for my trees and Number Three is I love personal ornaments, though I have been know to buy some boxed sets, but mostly I like personal and homemade ornaments.


I keep the silvery sparkly theme going at home with the tree.  I use a ton of white lights, pearl garland and as many ornaments as I can squeeze on.  These are some of my favourites.


Starting from the top left:

1. A  lovely little Christmas gate, that was a present. Doesn’t it looks so inviting, like there is a little cottage just down the way and everyone is waiting for you to arrive.

2. A sparkly chandelier, from a trip to Niagara on the Lake.  I know it’s not really representative of the area, but I couldn’t resist it’s prettiness.  I always try and get a Christmas ornament on our travels. It’s a great souvenir that doesn’t clutter up your home and you get to relive your travels at least once a year.

3. My Mom and me made these beaded ornaments one year when I was a teenager and they have been a favourite of both of ours ever since.  This is Rudolph (sorry he’s a little blurry).

4. Crystal tree in a clear ball from Rockefeller Center in New York City.

5. The beaded Christmas tree my Mom and I made, and;

6. our Santa’s stocking. They have all held up remarkably well, considering their age.

I use a pearl garland on this tree and this year I added in some silver mesh ribbon for some fullness.

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For our cottage tree, we went with a real tree….so exciting for me. It’s been years and years since we’ve had a real tree.  I bought some of the new LED lights in a mini globe shape and  I’m loving the look of them. But considering the size of the tree we ended up getting, I’m wishing I had about 4 more boxes (see Rule #1)….oh well, that’ll have to wait for next year.

I’m loving that there are tons of natural pinecones still attached to the branches. You can see them in the middle of tree below.


So for this tree I used burlap garland which gives it the rustic country feel I was going for. I even used some of it for the large bow on top of the tree.


A view in the evening.
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You can see the little San Francisco street car (another souvenir) and in the one below our little sock monkey, which is my hubby’s favourite ornament.

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One last look!

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So check out my fellow five Ottawa bloggers as we set our tables, deck our halls & try to survive the holiday season with style & cheer. Grab your eggnog and toast to the season with us every Monday until Dec 23rd. Happy Holidays!   Check out all the holiday decorating below!

613 holiday special



The Sweetest Digs

Just Settle Down

Keep it Beautiful

Next week, it’s all about our holiday traditions!

And a big congratulations to Newberry|Sykes for their fabulous articles in the Ottawa Citizen this past Saturday.  Click here to read all about Meredith’s DIYs and Susan’s decor tips. Congratulations ladies!


The 613 Holiday Special | Holiday Decorating

Welcome to the second instalment of the 613 Holiday Series.  This week’s topic  –  Holiday Decorating!

613 holiday special

Holiday decorating should reflect the style of home that you live in.  So with that in mind, I’m showing you how I seasonally embellish my two very different homes for the holidays.

First up, my city home, where I try to keep everything sparkly, elegant and simple. I do this with natural and faux greens…particularly magnolia leaves, pearls, crystals, mercury glass together with silver and snow white pieces.




I found these little birds last year and love the little touch of whimsey they give the mantel.



Here’s how it looks in the evening with this year’s addition of the new type of wired LED light strings.  I love how the wires are barely visible.


I’m still looking for this year’s addition to my mercury glass tree collection.


After seeing birch logs wrapped in these LED lights in the Pottery Barn store in Miami last year, I was determined to do the same in my home.  I so love the look they may just stay past the Christmas season.  And you can see here the ornaments that I hang in the window above the fireplace. I do the same thing for the transom window over the front door.


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Now, at the cottage, which is a log home, I use natural elements, like pinecones, evergreen boughs together with vintage pieces and a few touches of red.


My adorable Santa seagulls nestled among my vintage encyclopedias.  They make me smile, every time!


Vintage pieces, such as this sap bucket are the perfect touch for a country or rustic home.  It literally took me a few minutes to put this display together.  Some fresh evergreens, birch branches, a few frosted faux stems and berries and you are done!

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A vintage green glass jug with some faux branches and cotton stems help to add some height to the top of my dining room hutch.  Loving the jingle bells!


This chalkboard banner was picked up while shopping in Almonte a few weeks ago.  I’m thinking it has found it’s permanent home here and I’ll be just changing up the message per the season.


Well that’s it for me but be sure to follow five Ottawa bloggers as we set our tables, deck our halls & try to survive the holiday season with style & cheer. Grab your eggnog and toast to the season with us every Monday until Dec 23rd. Happy Holidays!   Check out their holiday decorating below!


The Sweetest Digs

Just Settle Down

Keep it Beautiful

Oh yes, stay tuned as next Monday’s instalment is Oh, Christmas Tree!



The 613 Holiday Special | Gift Shopping Ottawa Style

So for something a little different, follow five Ottawa bloggers as we set our tables, deck our halls & try to survive the holiday season with style & cheer. Grab your eggnog and toast to the season with us every Monday until Dec 23rd. Happy Holidays!

613 holiday special

Alicia @

Fiona @

Gemma @

Meredith & Sue @

Here’s the schedule –

Dec 2:  Gifts, gifts, gifts 
Dec 9:  Holiday Decorating
Dec 16: Oh, Christmas Tree
Dec 23:  Holiday Traditions 

So without further ado, here’s my tips for some serious holiday shopping in the Ottawa area.

First, make a list, of who’s naughty and nice,  of who you need to get gifts for.  I always start this as early as possible, in case you need to order items that are hard to find or get.  This also helps to keep you on budget, or at least that is what I tell myself.  I then organize my shopping excursions to try and avoid hitting the same stores more than once. which saves on gas and perhaps some parking rage during this busy time of year.



1. If you are heading to the Originals Craft Show (December 12 -22 at the Ernst & Young Centre) check out Cori Lee Marvin’s artwork. It is so whimsical and detailed, they are sure to please almost anyone on your list.  I have a little piece of her artwork at my cottage, it makes me smile every time I look at it.

2. You can never go wrong with a spa certificate. There are so many wonderful spas in the Ottawa area, finding either the one that they frequent or one near them, will ensure that it gets used quickly.  I have to mention Le Nordik Spa here, located in Chelsea, Quebec (only 10 minutes from downtown Ottawa) it is an absolutely relaxing and breathtaking spot to spend a few hours or most of the day.  **Photo courtesy of Le Nordik Spa website

3. For the environmentally conscious on your list, head over to Terra20 for some environmental friendly and ingenious gift ideas.  Like this Preloved Roma Scarf. made from recycled sweaters and at 8 feet long, very warm and cosy for our cold Ottawa winters.

4.Another green gift idea is this 3 piece set from Purple Urchin. Check out their online site to see their other natural products, which are available at many different locations across the city.

5. Believe it or not, these adorable Canadian style pillows are from Shepherd’s. This would be perfect for a cottage or log home loving person on your list.

6. This placemat from Terra20 that’s green and great for the feline or feline lover in your life.

7. If the man in your life, wears cuff links these Billy Cuff links are a cool find.  Reused and dyed wood make an original statement. also from Terra20.

8.  If I had a dog, I would so buy this adorable dog jacket from Bark and Fitz, for him/her to wear.

9. Close to my own heart is my love of trinkets and bling. So this is usually my go to gift for the ladies on my list.  A piece of handmade art that you can wear, what more could you want?  Urbanite Jewelry – makes pieces inspired by cities around the world, and they are based right here in Ottawa (that’s right no customs or duties and a quick delivery).

SHOPPING2tiffFor the Senators fan in you life, there’s always tickets to a game or games, a jersey, scarf or hat, therefore a trip to one of the Sens stores may be in order.

For Grandparents, how about enlarging a special photo and having it framed or made into a canvas from PosterJack?  And yes they are Canadian.


And if you haven’t heard about it yet there’s always Givopoly, it is an online site which features Ottawa area shops and small businesses.  The perfect thing to help with the hard to buy for.


As I previously mentioned check out, OttawaStart, to find a list of local craft shows.  So no more excuses, get shopping so you can finish up and enjoy the rest of the holiday season. And a big thank you to Meredith and Sue from NewberrySykes for including me in this 613 Holiday Special.

**Please note I have not been compensated in any way for my selections above.

Be sure to check out the rest of the 613 Holiday Bloggers posts!

613 holiday special


The Sweetest Digs

Just Settle Down

Keep it Beautiful




Farrow and Ball’s 2013 colours & some media

If you are having any thoughts about repainting in 2014, be sure to take a gander at the gorgeous new colours from Farrow and Ball.  I’m posting all about them over at the TBB blog today.

Click on the picture below to read.


Photo courtesy of Farrow and Ball

And for some other exciting news, I was one of the Ottawa area decorators/designers mentioned in an Ottawa Citizen Style article on how to deck your halls.

Click on the picture below to read it and see some of my pictures.




Silver and white holiday urn

This year I was feeling the sparkly and white decor, especially after I found this great wreath at Home Sense.
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Now to tackle the interior.