Deconstructed holiday

In our previous house, we had a cutout of a tree that slid together to make a neat four-sided wooden tree that conveniently stored flat. It barely made it through last holiday season (it was a bit flimsy and had a good bit of duct tape), so it didn’t make the move.

This year, we opted to try a new strategy for a Christmas tree – a bit of a deconstructed tree – a garland hung from one of our beams. It seemed like a good small-space solution, allows us to have fresh greens and that lovely balsam smell (cedar, not so much; it’s a bit cat-pee-like until it’s settled in a few hours), and takes a good number of ornaments. I had a lot of greens left over from last week’s wreath & wine, so it was also free!


Each year, we make or buy one ornament to add. We always hang those special ones, and rotate through older ones or ones that other people have given us. This year’s new ornament is a small little white mouse (about halfway across, on the right side) to signify that we’ve moved in and the mice are out!

Note: We are also constructing, now that we are just about wrapped up at work, and will have an update soon on finishing the storage built-in in the bedroom.

More decor

We are in a holding pattern on a lot of bigger projects while we finish out work prior to the winter break. So, just a bit of decor work this week. I got a new (sale!) rug for the kitchen. The previous one was a tripping hazard, and didn’t look right. I love this one (sale at West Elm), except that it has long tassels that I will need to cut off. They are a bit too silly or something.


Then, we went for a quick hike and got some evergreen tips so that friends could come over for a quick wreath-making session¬†(and mulled wine – this recipe). Now that’s a holiday tradition worth keeping.

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Update: World’s Skinniest Cabinet – Done!

All we had to do this evening (after much day job-work) was to install three little screws (attached to big toggles) to attach hinges to the bathroom walls. It’s a very non-kosher application, where we just have Durock and no studs behind the hinges (don’t look, Tom Silva). But it worked and is totally sturdy! As I told K before we started – this will either take a half hour or four hours if we screw it up at the beginning. Fortunately, it was on the half hour end of things.

Behold: a 6.5″ wide cabinet (space we can’t waste in a 590 square foot house):

December sunshine?

OK, Care tells me it’s been too long and is looking for some eye candy! Truthfully, we took a little break after selling the house, then we had to confront the remaining stuff that came from the house. We didn’t have too much to bring here (most went to storage), but even a few boxes in a small house creates clutter. And figuring out how to integrate or downsize again is not the stuff of great photos. We’ve sold a few more items and are finally feeling pretty organized again.

So when it was clear that it would be a sunny, 45-50 degree weekend (in December, in Maine!), we realized we had a golden opportunity to finish up some projects (and start some) that need warm temps.

First up: finish restoring my pair of Risom chairs. We bought these for a handful of change when we saw them driving by a yard sale at 50 mph, and I knew we needed to turn around. This was maybe 8 years ago? They were relegated to the basement in the other house, but we knew they would be perfect here. I had once covered them in aqua fabric, but their original (!) upholstery could not be a better color. I removed the covers, went through a variety of upholstery cleaning procedures (came out OK, not perfect), sewed one little bit to repair it, and waxed the wood. Et voila! I love them. One in my office, one in the living room.

They pair perfectly with a set of two of end tables I recently scored (did I mention this? We are supposed to be getting rid of stuff, and I find the deal of the decade, perfect accompaniments to my Risom chairs). I actually restored them over the Thanksgiving break Рthey needed a little work but mostly cleaning. They once were stored in The Manhattan Storage and Warehouse Co., according to a tag stapled to the bottom of each, but are otherwise unattributed.

Then: I started on making doors/frames for various little storage areas. One is in the bathroom, and will probably be just about the skinniest cabinet ever created. The other is in the bedroom; it’s only just started so I’ll save details for later. The bathroom cabinet is almost done – I need a few items from the hardware store – but it already is making it look tidier in there. It was great painting weather!

K installed the snow wedge, which is a big (expensive!) piece of hinged stainless steel that breaks any snow on the roof so it doesn’t rip off the stovepipe. Plus, he did concrete work, finished winterizing the water pipe, and helped with all of the above. Phew!


And of course, we put up a few holiday decorations, just some lights (which, coincidentally, might help the UPS guy keep from wiping out on the stairs) and a few little things. More to come.


Funny to hang your Christmas decorations the same weekend that you are able to hang sheets outside to dry!