Paperwhite Progress

Some of you might be wondering where I’ve disappeared to lately. Just know, I am trying to catch blog posts and leave the odd comment, but these last few weeks have been consumed with something I’ve been working on for a while. And I’m down to the crunch.

This is currently my can’t live without tool!

Nothing too festive about this, right?

So, I thought I’d update you on the progress of my Paperwhites instead!

You might remember back in early November when I planted the bulbs.

If you missed that post, you can catch it here.

Well, one month later this is where they’re at!

We’ve even had a few bloom!

They are getting a little leggy, and I was warned they would, so I’ve tied them together with some jute. But for a first go at growing them, I’m pretty impressed they took!

Do you plant Paperwhites? What are your tricks for keeping them upright and looking nice for the Holidays?

P.S. – here’s what my desk looks like right now!

Can I just say, it doesn’t usually look like this!

Thank you so much for stopping by! I really appreciate that you did 🙂

Photographs by Sheila Zeller

DIY Your Own Cedar Swags

With the weekend behind us, I’m happy to report that we’ve actually got our decorating well underway. The tree is up, the decorations are scattered placed around, and we’re down to the tweaking touches. We also got our cedar swags hung up outside. If you were reading my blog this time last year, then you already know that hubs is the swag maker in the family!

So this tutorial is per hubs!

Step 1:

Lay out at least 3 or more larger boughs, depending on how long and full you want your swag to be.

Notice the thicker branches? These are great for the back layer of the swag, and then you can build out from there.

Make sure all the boughs are flipped with the same side up.

Here we’re seeing the underside of the boughs.

Step 2:

Flip right-side up, layer smaller boughs on top, and then secure them together by wrapping the branches tightly with twine.

Tie about 3 inches down from the end of the branches.

Step 3:

If you’re adding a bow, now is the time to secure it to the swag.

If not, you’ll want to do extra wraps with the twine to give the swag a finishing touch. Cut off excess twine leaving only about an inch or so.

Step 4:

Cut the extra length off the ends of the branches, about 1 to 2 inches from the twine.

Step 5:

Tie another length of twine, about 12 inches, to the branches. This will be used to hang the swag with.

Here’s a look from the back…

Step 6:

Hang your swag!

This is the swag on our front door…

And one of three on our garage.

By the time I got my camera, the wind had already rearranged the bow and the boughs! I decided to leave it for you to see, you know, just to keep it real!

You might remember, we did swags last year, too. To see last year’s curbside view of the swags on the house, click here!

I still have to put together an arrangement for our front porch, but for now our house has joined the others on the block in showcasing a little festive flair!

How are you doing? I bet you’re all finished with your decorating, aren’t you?

Thanks for stopping by!

Photographs by Sheila Zeller

Winter Pinterest Challenge: Light Please, Capiz

Yup, it’s that time again!

The Winter Pinterest Challenge is up, and today is the big reveal day. I can’t wait to see all the projects that everyone did.

After participating in the Summer Pinterest and Fall Pinterest Challenges, I was eagerly awaiting the Winter Challenge, too.

By now I bet you know how it works. First, you have to share your inspiration pin… So here’s what I pinned way back in October.

A faux capiz shell chandelier made with wax paper by Jessica over at Decor Adventures. Thanks Jessica!

Photo: Decor Adventures

Jessica is one of my blogging buddies, and her blog is full of awesome DIY projects and tutorials. Her tutorial for this chandelier was easy to follow, and not too finicky – my kind of project!

Here’s where the chandelier is slated to go. This is our office, and so the chandelier is one more step in the redo!

I had a few mishaps along the way.

Started with this black basket…

And wanted to spray paint it white.

But my can was empty! See the spots on the basket? That’s the end of the can! Somehow my inventory system failed me 🙁 I was sure I had more than that left!

I couldn’t see the point in halting production, so I ended up painting it by hand.

Besides, I had my trusty saw horses set up and ready to go.

Remember them from here?

Once the basket was painted I realized it was missing the metal bands I needed in the middle! How did I overlook that when I bought it?

So I had to improvise by wrapping wire around the basket in two sections.

Not so pretty, but it’ll all be covered in the end.

Onto making the faux capiz shells. Now back in November when I was buying all the stuff to do this project, I couldn’t find a basket and had to put the project on hold… I was ok with that, because I couldn’t find a circle cutter either.

And Jessica strongly recommended using one. Just to be safe, this is what I bought to make my circles with.

And since I just recently found a basket, I wanted to get going on this challenge, so I started to tackle the circles… as in drawing and cutting them by hand…

And, as in just 2 days before ‘reveal’ day (eeek!)… I knew this was going to take awhile.

So I asked my hubby to go on a circle cutter hunt since he was already out and about. And I just knew hitting craft supplies was SO in his plans 😉

He actually found one… but by the time he got home it was kind of too late. Oops! Sorry honey, I owe you one! 🙂

I just got on a roll, and kept going so I could start sewing the circles together. In case you’re wondering, my circles are 2 & 1/4 inches in diameter.

I ran out of bobbin thread – not a biggy, just a pain to stop and refill when you’re on a roll.

And then finally I began hanging the strands on the basket.

And… ran out of circles, so I had to make more.

See, told you there were a few mishaps along the way!


Ready to hang.

And I needed the help of my hubby for this. We discovered the distance between the basket hooks was different for each one!

Handy, right? So hubby drafted up a template for where to put the hooks in the ceiling

And then he got the fun job of transferring that data to the ceiling 😉

Putting the hooks in…

And hanging this puppy up. We would’ve preferred to suspend the chandelier from the ceiling a bit, but as you can see, this fixture didn’t give us much option for that.

It all went pretty well… until we realized we forgot to put the light bulbs back in!

Once that was done and the chandelier was rehung… well, we discovered one of the bulbs had burned out!!! Seriously, how did that happen between removal and putting them back in? And… we don’t have a replacement on hand to match the other one!

Did I say there were a few mishaps along the way?

But in the end the chandelier is a great change from where we started…

Here’s another look at the BEFORE

And the AFTER

And that’s another Pinterest Challenge wrap!

Check out all the other Winter challenge submissions here (mine is #105). To see what was done in the other challenges, the Fall 2011 submissions are here (mine is #100), and the Summer 2011 submissions are here (mine is #201).

Thank you so much to these ladies for another great Pinterest Challenge…

Did you join in the Winter Pinterest Challenge? What submission # is yours?


Seeing Beyond the Fog… of Parcels!

We still don’t have snow, but are getting another layer of white these days.

Like this fog lying low over Quamichan Lake.

And floating across the ball field.

The cloud of white in the background is steam from the Crofton Mill… I had a hunch you might ask!

And here’s a glimpse of what another type of fog looks like…

The back of this van is full of parcels being delivered to road-side mailboxes by Canada Post employees.

Do you think they’re able to see beyond the fog of Christmas parcels yet?

I bet this week is going to be a busy one!

Did you enjoy this post? By subscribing to my RSS Feed you’ll receive each new post without missing a beat! And you can find more posts here… If a thought comes to mind, comments are always appreciated and I read them all. I’d love to hear from you…



Caught in a Pinch: Revamping a Tree Topper

Do you have a tree topper on your Christmas tree?

I had an angel I really loved for many years. But last year I noticed the lights under her skirt were melting the plastic casing they were in. Yikes! Can we say ‘fire hazard’?

So my beloved angel had to go. And I’m still searching for something really nice to replace her, only this time I want a star. So this year we have an interim star that I made a few revisions to. This star is from the Martha Stewart collection, but it came in chrome. And chrome does not work with the rest of our decorations.

So I got out my trusty can of gold spray paint left over from the mirror I painted for Kaleigh.

Here is the star ready to be painted.

I used a cardboard box with one side cut out for a mini spray booth, and hung the star from the top.

It actually worked really well.

Here’s the star with its first coat.

I gave it 2 good coats and a final touch-up. And I was surprised that it took 24 hours before the paint fully dried.

Once it was dry I gave it a test-run on the tree.

Not so bad for an interim measure.

But once we got the lights on the tree, there was still something missing with the star. Since the star doesn’t light up, I tried to weave the lights into it, but that just looked silly.

So instead I decided to weave a crystal into the middle of the star hoping it would catch the light and twinkle a little bit.

And it did, a little bit…

But not as much as I had hoped.

Since this is our interim star, I decided to leave it as is.

Here’s the tree with the lights on it, but no ornaments yet.


I was really hoping the crystal would catch the light, but as you can see, no such luck.

Did you notice Santa in the tree? He’s hand-knit by my grandmother, and as a child we always had one in our tree. So now I do the same, and by the time the tree is all decorated,  you hardly even see him hiding in there… but I know he’s there!

Here’s the tree fully decorated.

Can you see Santa now? Did you recognize the straw stars from Sea to Canvas? I think they really tie the topper in.

So this is our traditional tree. It’s full of meaningful ornaments, a jolly old Saint Nick… and a revamped star on top!

How do you finish the top of your tree? Do you leave it without a topper, do you have an angel, or a star, or something else?

It’s about coming home… If you want a remarkable space that tells your story, contact me to see how we can help!

Did you enjoy this post? By subscribing to my RSS Feed you’ll receive each new post without missing a beat! And you can find more posts here… If a thought comes to mind, comments are always appreciated and I read them all. I’d love to hear from you…






And the Sea to Canvas Giveaway Winner is…

Good morning and Happy Friday! I know one of you will be very happy today!

For the last week I have been running a giveaway sponsored by Sea to Canvas, and today is the day a lucky winner has been drawn at random! A big thank you to Ursula from Sea to Canvas for providing SZInteriors readers with an opportunity to win their choice of…

2 sets of traditional handmade straw star ornaments


2 handmade keepsake Christmas cards


One of each!

But first, a big thank you to all of you who entered. Ursula and I both appreciate your support!

And now, without further ado, I am super excited to announce the winner…

LEIGH DAVIES of Mid-Island Ink Dep0t!

Congratulations Leigh 🙂

Christmas Curb Appeal: Cedar Boughs and Bows

Here’s a little glimpse at our boughs and bows Christmas curb appeal.

On the weekend, collecting cedar boughs was the focus – hubby did that!

And then he made our exterior swags.


Do you think he knows he has an annual job yet? 😉

The planter was next, and that was my job… but I didn’t get at it until later.

I plan to add some holly, maybe even a few bobbles for extra colour and shine. What do you think?

And we still have to decide how we’re putting up our lights around the porch area, but here’s a look at where we’re at so far.

Now all we need is a little dusting of snow for that real Christmas feel. But not quite yet… I still have too much to do!

How are things coming along at your house?

It’s about coming home… If you want a remarkable space that tells your story, contact me to see how we can help!

Did you enjoy this post? By subscribing to my RSS Feed you’ll receive each new post without missing a beat! And you can find more posts here… If a thought comes to mind, comments are always appreciated and I read them all. I’d love to hear from you…


P.S. Don’t forget to enter the Sea to Canvas GIVEAWAY! How can you go wrong with authentic handmade straw ornaments, and keepsake Christmas cards? 

Holiday Splash in a Dash

With calendars booking up and days filling in, here are some quick and easy holiday decorating ideas that will make an impact without impacting a ton of your time.


Working with anything glass is a great way to bounce light in your room. You can have a little sparkle or a lot. It just depends on how you put the glass to use… and you can probably find something that will work just right already in your cupboard!

Like this Brandy snifter filled with silver bells.


Any style of glass will work, if you let your imagination do the work!

How about a serving bowl?


See how easy it is to dress it up in style?

Take a look at what’s inside these apothecary jars.


I bet you have bobbles and bows in your mix. If you don’t have an apothecary jar, clear vases will work too.

Glass cloches aka bell jars or domes are always a great way to make a statement display.


Though not everyone will have bell jars on hand, it’s more about the setting than it is the bell jar. Any clear container filled with shiny bobbles will do. It’s the blend of weathered wood and cones with the red of the bobbles that creates the wintery Christmas feel.

Do you have a 2 or 3 tiered dessert plate in your mix?


With just a few springs of greenery combined with winter berries, cones, and a handful of silver bobbles suddenly you have an eye catching display for your decor.

Even a little pedestal dish can quickly be turned into a decorating statement.


Perfect for a candle, great on a table or mantle… or wherever a little extra flair is needed.

And with candles… I say you can never have too many!


Their flickering light makes everything else in the room dance. You can dress up a collection of candle sticks with a little added greenery, and it’s easy to replace as it dries. If you don’t have a silver tray to amp up the sparkle and glam, a mirrored tile or an empty picture frame with glass works well too.

Greenery is always a great way to bring in a festive feeling, because with it comes the bonus of its fresh scent.


For a little splash of colour mix in some holly, or maybe add a small bow.

There are so many ways to get your home ready for the holidays. And they don’t have to take a lot of time or mean buying everything new. It’s all about taking a look around you and seeing what you have on hand to use.

Recycled jars count too!


You can change up the ribbon to match your scheme, and maybe add in some winter greens.

Sometimes keeping it simple makes the biggest statement of all.

What do you do for your Christmas decor? Any time-saving, budget friendly tips to share?

It’s about coming home… If you want a remarkable space that tells your story, contact me to see how we can help!

Did you enjoy this post? By subscribing to my RSS Feed you’ll receive each new post without missing a beat! And you can find more posts here… If a thought comes to mind, comments are always appreciated and I read them all. I’d love to hear from you…


Firewood as a Feature

Does this remind you of your youthful years? Anyone?


Well, maybe not the cabin, but how about packing firewood?

As kids this was a chore my brother and I had to share. My Dad had a huge shed where the rounds were cut and stacked to dry. And then in our basement there was a floor-to-ceiling area framed off in two sections to the stack wood in. One side was mine to keep filled, the other my brother’s. And this was the wood we used for our fireplace. So by the time we burned it, it was well cured.

This photo reminds me of our firewood in the basement, complete with the bike!


Except that the stack of wood would’ve been divided in two, and the end was framed with 2x4s instead of rounds of wood. Oh, and my 10-speed was blue!

So with that little walk down memory lane, I thought it would be fun to share some photos featuring firewood in decor. With the weather getting wetter and colder outside, it’s important to keep your firewood dry.

Did you know that burning wet wood can cause creosote, which can in turn build up in your chimney and be a potential chimney fire waiting to happen?


The moisture content in your firewood should not exceed 16%. You can check this with a moisture meter.


How about this for storing firewood?


Not only is this Mid-Century Modern living room fab, but honestly, what about that firewood container? Isn’t it an incredible piece of creativity?

I love the way the firewood frames this fireplace.


What’s not to love about stacked firewood when it’s featured like this? I think it really emphasizes the chalet feeling of the roof line… how about you?

And when I see this Bertoia Diamond Chair nestled beside the stacked wood…


All I want to do is curl up. Do you think the fire is burning?

I love the feeling of this space, especially the firewood featured beside the glass-faced cupboard. And I really like the way the panes are trimmed in unpainted wood.


Can you spot the fireplace in this room?

Wire and wood. Wood and wire.


Side-by-side. This time it’s Bertoia Side Chairs partnered up with sideboard trollies loaded with firewood. Pretty cool.

But stacked wood and champagne?


I’d say it’s a great fit… and it looks like someone else thought so too 😉

But if all this wood is feeling a little too, well, woodsy for you…


You can always add colour!

Don’t let the function of storing dry wood get in the way of a great interior. As you can see from these spaces, stacked wood can be an added feature in your decor. It’s all in how you choose to embrace it.


They key to featuring stacked firewood without it overpowering the room is to keep the space around it bright and airy. Did you notice, most of these spaces are finished in neutrals and there’s a lot of natural light coming in too? Just something to keep in mind.

Do you have a wood burning fireplace? How do you store your firewood?

It’s about coming home… If you want a remarkable space that tells your story, contact me to see how we can help!

Did you enjoy this post? By subscribing to my RSS Feed you’ll receive each new post without missing a beat! And you can find more posts here… If a thought comes to mind, comments are always appreciated and I read them all. I’d love to hear from you…


Shiny Brites: Vintage Glass Christmas Ornaments

This time of year brings back many memories for people from different times and moments in their life. And for me one of those memories would be of the ornaments on our Christmas tree. I find myself saying this a lot lately, but I’ll say it again… ‘If I only knew then what I know now!’

I grew up with an Angel for a tree topper, and Shiny Brite glass ornaments on the tree.

Do you remember Shiny Brite’s? Shiny Brite was actually the trade name of the ornaments, but the name has been confused over the years as the style name of the ornaments.


And that’s probably because there were Shiny Brites in many colors, shapes, and sizes.

Like this assortment here.


Do they look familiar to you?

Ornaments like these were all the rage in the 1950’s and 60’s, and remained popular into the 70’s and 80’s. But Shiny Brites have been around since before World War II. And now they are some of the most sought after vintage ornaments from Mid-Century times.

Before World War II Max Eckardt, an American businessman, had been importing Christmas tree ornaments from Germany. This was where most decorations came from at the time, but Eckardt’s company specialized in hand-blown glass ornaments similar to these ones from Poland.


These imported glass ornaments, so colorful and fun, were extremely popular.

But as the war drew closer, Eckardt realized his ability to import ornaments from Germany would end. It was this foresight that led to the decision to start making glass ornaments in the United States. And so… Shiny Brite was established. The rest they say, is history.

And if you’re after vintage Shiny Brites, don’t be fooled. If you don’t know what you’re looking for in the vintage aspect, just be aware that today many of these designs are in reproduction by Christopher Radko. And that’s not a bad thing, it’s just a reproduction thing. But you also need to make sure dealers aren’t duping you! Just because the box says Shiny Brite doesn’t mean the ornaments inside are Shiny Brites!

So what do you look for in a vintage Shiny Brite ornament?


Well for one, classic colours and designs like these.


Or a ribbed, scalloped cap that’s been marked ‘Shiny Brite Made in U.S.A.’, which was introduced post World War II.


Shiny Brites pre World War II won’t be stamped with ‘Shiny Brite Made in the U.S.A.’

But you might be lucky enough to come across a rare Shiny Brite with a paper cap.


These were made during World War II when not only were the caps constructed of cardboard, but glass ornaments that were normally coated with silver nitrate were left clear, and then hand painted in bright colours and pastels. And that’s because silver nitrate and metal were needed for the war.

So how else can you identify a vintage Shiny Brite?

Shape and colour palette.

Early styles were ball-shaped and featured a striped design in pastel shades.


These ones are c.  early 1940’s.

More vivid colors were added in the ’50s and ’60s…


And you’ll find ornaments decorated with the glittering effect of crushed mica (minerals), also post World War II creations.

An assortment of shapes was introduced as well, which you see here on the popular aluminum tree of the 1950’s.


Kind of fits with the streamlined, futuristic look of Mid-Century Modern times, doesn’t it?

One of the more intricate designs after World War II is a concave starburst, called a reflector.


I love these ones! But these are also the ones you need to be very careful in double-checking if it’s vintage you’re after, because you’ll find many beautiful Radko reproductions in circulation, and Radkos are dated from 1985 onward.

But you know, it’s like anything. In the end, what you really need to decide for yourself is if you’re after true vintage ‘Shiny Brites’, ‘vintage’ glass ornaments that aren’t Shiny Brites, or if you’re seeking ornaments that have this look, but vintage authenticity isn’t necessary. They are very different things. Once you know what your attraction is and how you place value on that, it’s much easier to move forward in finding what you’re looking for!

What do you remember about Christmas decorations from your childhood?

Thanks for stopping by!

Signature 100x47 b&w