Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas in the North Woods

Here in Washington State, we have had frigid temperatures for over a week. 

While it has been bitterly cold outside, I have been busy crafting and decorating by the fire. 

This year I have used natural gatherings to create a woodland style Christmas. 

Step inside and I will show you what I have done. 

Let me take your coat...

I'll hang it here on the treasured coat rack my Dear Father made years ago
 from hand cut and painted metal.
He was a tool and die maker. 

The red plaid woolen jacket on the end was his. I wear it every day to feed the birds. 
It wraps me with the warmth of his love. 

I made this 'tree of life' weaving when my children were young. 

I will light the candles as the days are not too bright this time of year. 

I have collected brass candlesticks over many years. 

The silver star was my Mr.'s since he was a young boy. 

It hung on his childhood bedroom ceiling. 

I created the garland over the window as you look to the left. 

I simply tied pine cones to garden twine and added dried orange slices hung with ornament hangers. 

They create a lovely glow when the sun shines through.

Nature's stained glass.

To make your own, dry fruit slices on cookie sheets 8 hours in a 140 degree oven, then air-dry. 

This works for lemon, lime, oranges, apples and even star fruit. 

It fills the house with a wonderful scent. 

Come in and sit down - I'll put on the tea kettle. Lately I have been enjoying Twinings Chai tea spiced with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and ginger. I think you will like it!

I've created a holiday mantel display from my woodland gatherings. 

Pinecones and mossballs and votives in tart tins. 

And a pinecone wreath. 

(I will give a tutorial in a later post)

Two stags and a hemlock cone garland complete the scene. 

I made this delicate garland by tying waxed twine around each cone in a simple knot. 

I made the same garland for the tiny tree. 

Nestled in a large blue bottle and decorated with tiny white lights, 
small white and silver balls, and garlands of pinecones and cranberries. 

The idea to use the bottle was inspired by this post on Vicky's Home

If you have never visited Vicky's blog, you are in for a real treat. 

After the holidays, the cranberry garland and pinecone/orange garland over the window
will go outside for the birds. I will pack the large pinecones with peanut butter and bird seed. 

Rustic twig baskets hold paper-white bulbs. 

Potted with fast draining cactus soil in a plastic liner
 and marked with hand made clay markers I bought at a local botanical garden gift shop. 

A rustic wood planter holds hyacinth bulbs just beginning to sprout. 

When the dark days of winter become cold and dreary, 

these will brighten the house with reminders that spring is on the way. 

And of course I had to create a kissing ball! 

Created by covering a styrofoam ball with moss (using hot glue)
 and then gluing on tiny hemlock and alder cones. 

To create the hanger, wrap the moss covered ball (before adding cones)
 in waxed twine just as you would wrap a present with ribbon.

Knot it tight on top and leave the long ends to tie together for hanging. 

I added a garden twine bow on top by tying to the waxed twine. 

Hung between the living room and kitchen, this ensures lots of sweet kisses. 

I hope you have enjoyed my simple woodland decorating. 

And I hope this inspires you to add some woodland touches of your own this holiday season. 

Please come back soon to see my Christmas Cottage Kitchen. 


The bird a nest,

The spider a web,

Mankind friendship. 

William Blake (1757-1827)

English poet, painter


  1. Everything is so charming, and I love that you feed the birds after the holidays. I just love all of your decor and those garlands are really special!!

  2. love your use of the pine cones and the orange slices. very neat.

  3. Hello my dear friend! I am quite charmed by your sweet home. I love and enjoy seeing pictures of your darling place - it looks so cozy :) I am a big fan of pine cones so I adore your pine cone decorations. The wreath is stunning! You could leave it up all year :)

    I look forward to visiting again! May you have a blessed week. Sending you warm hugs!

  4. Your woodland decorating makes you home look so cozy and comfy! I love the idea of feeding the birds with the dried fruit after the holidays. The Chai tea sounds wonderful too.

  5. Ah friend!!!!! This is just so spectacular!!!!! I love that you wear your dad's coat everyday! That just brought a rush of emotion over me. And that tree of life that you made is gorgeous!!! I will be drying fruit this week as I have always wanted to do that! So beautiful over your window! And your mantel is stunning...I was taken with your delicate garland on the mantel!!!! Such beauty in every nook in your home!!! Stay warm you...we are going to be at negative 15 tomorrow!!! I can't wait to see more!!! Nicole xoxo

  6. Dearest Karen,
    Your home resembles so much that of a Swiss, Austrian or North Italian Alp chalet, built entirely of wood like yours. They too work with natural elements for Christmas decorations, adding star anise, hazelnuts etc. to create lovely things. Like your dried oranges, the smell, if adding cinnamon sticks to that, is heavenly! That belongs to winter...
    Enjoy the inside of your home and stay cozy inside your Dad's plaid coat. Love that coat rack what he crafted!
    You did a great job on weaving the tree of life, even though I was counting for all family members but you probably didn't create it such.
    Hugs to you,

  7. Thanks for the tour of your lovely home. So cozy and you decorate it beautifully. It's still chilly here, not above freezing day time, probably Wednesday, rain Thursday or Friday. No smow here either. Take care!

  8. Wonderful, just wonderful Karen! It looks so festive and cozy with all these natural trimmings and decorations. And the forest outside, the wild nature at your doostep! Wish you have a magical Christams time, sharing affection and love with your beloved ones.
    Enjoy! Many hugs from me, Olympia

  9. What a great job! Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!



  10. Very cozy! I love the view from your window.

  11. Love how you have used the cones...Beautiful wreath... your home looks so festive & inviting...I adore all the natural trimmings.......Simply Gorgeous... Hugs May x x x

  12. Very cozy What a great job! Beautiful,

  13. I love your woodland Christmas theme, Karen! I would like to do that some day. I usually string cranberries and popcorn for my kitchen tree, but I haven't done it yet: not enough time, it seems:( Your house is filled with memories too, I think that is the best. I was really drawn to that tree of life wall hanging, so cool!
    Thanks for the kind words you left on my blog. Have a great week!

  14. Hi and thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving the sweet comment about rescuing my dog! I love your natural decorations for Christmas and they go beautifully with your house! When I was little we used to string cranberries and popcorn for our Christmas tree! I love your tree. Take care and have a wonderful holiday! Julie at Julie's Lifestyle

  15. Your home is beautifully decorated, warm and inviting , I love all of the natural touches!

  16. So inspiring! Thank you for taking the time to share your home! :)

  17. I love the new header - and all the woodland touches - it is so restful. A nice hot cup of tea sounds perfect. I had a big egg basket full of cones - and gave them away - I guess I need to collect more this coming year.

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  19. So nice cozy love Karen. The hooks and the jacket of your daddy these are beautiful memories. Beautifully also the tree of life and the candelabras. So cuddly ... because we would love to have some tea. A magical forest decoration. I'm looking forward to the Christmas country kitchen.
    Greetings Rita

  20. Your home looks so cozy and inviting. Love all your beautiful touches including the coat rack and the jacket that belonged to your father. Your pine cone garland is such a fun idea.

  21. Thank you for making us so welcome. I could imagine catching up over a nice cup of tea in your lovely cosy home. I love your garlands and will make some this weekend. I love the smell of oranges in decorations! xx

  22. I love love love your decor! I am totally into using natural items, so I especially like your use of pinecones! Your candlesticks are gorgeous, too. I love everything about it, Karen!

  23. I am delighted, everything is so charming, cozy, especially your home looks like a fairy tale. I love all your decorations and garlands these are really special! I have a coat of my father and I know what these palavrras -
    It wraps me with the warmth of his love.
    I really want to see how the pinecone wreath was taken ....
    Chai spiced tea is a pleasure to take with you!
    I'll try the orange dry and then I'll tell you ....
    Kiss and a beautiful week Karen

  24. Wow. I love your post, is very beautiful. You are very creative and wonderful. Kisses and hugs. happy holidays.
    This is my blog, see you:

  25. Your home looks like the perfect place to be on a snowy day.

  26. Hi Karen, so beautiful and very special. If I was able to visit you, I don't think I would ever want to leave! Thanks for sharing.

  27. Hi, thanks for visiting my blog and leaving that nice comment on my Christmas decorations! Enjoy the rest of the week. Julie

  28. Lovely. You have inspired me to try making a garland. I live on a tiny island so I think I will make mine out of little shells.

  29. Oh Karen, I so enjoyed your woodland decor and taking a peek at all your creations. I wish I was there enjoying a cup of chai tea with you and seeing it all in person. The coat rack from your dad is a treasure and having his coat to warm you is wonderful! xo

  30. Your home looks very cozy again Karen! Lovely!

    Greetings! ;-)

  31. So earthy and natural - thank you so much for a most delightful tour of your home and decorations.

  32. Lovely, warm (cozy) and indeed inviting living spaces.. I would so like to sit there in your livingroom - look out the window and watch the wildlife - it looks so peaceful and I just bet it smells good with the nature woodzzz decorations around - totally love it all... That 'tree of life' weaving caught my eye - wow - A LOT OF WORK - it's beautiful - glad you still have it - cherish it because it should be... Have a safe weekend..

  33. Your Christmas home is so beautiful! I love that you were able to include so many natural elements in your decor. I wish I had the same resources at my home! The photo of your dried orange garland includes some green depression glass that my mom owns as well. I recognized the bowls, the cake plate, and the juice reamer. I can't believe you both have the same pieces! Merry Christmas, Karen!!

  34. Hi Karen,
    It was so nice stopping by and tour your home! Everything is so lovely and cozy and can feel the warmth (and yes it has been cold!) I am smitten with your garlands, the oranges and tiny cones.. beautiful! We made a tree for the birds once, with the same offerings as you, it was so much fun! I'm gonna have to do it again!
    Hugs & Happy Weekend!

  35. I love the simplicity and rustic look of your woodland decorations. So beautifully crafted. The pine cone garland looks great over your fireplace. How sweet that you wear your father's plaid coat--it looks so Christmasy hanging on the rack and special that he handmade it. What a creative and moving post! xx

  36. As always, your posts are relevant and thoughtful like a real fairy tale.

    Warm greetings from my family.
    Yannis Politopoulos

  37. It looks beautiful, Karen - I love the woodlands look and how it invites winter into the house, but with a warmth. <3

  38. I love your woodsy decorating, Karen...I want to make some of your charming pine cone garlands! Thanks so much for stopping by my ideas house posts! Merry Christmas!

  39. You are lucky women.You home is warm.Tree of life is my favorit :)kiss from Serbia Cale

  40. I love your little tree! I can't wait to fill the floor around it with presents!! I'm so used to walking in and mindlessly hanging my coat on the coat rack that I forget Grandpa made it for us. He was so talented. I really do miss his happy eyes and genuine excitement every time we visited. I love you...

  41. I have just stumbled on your blog. I live in sub-tropical Queensland in Australia so everything is such opposite to what we have at Christmas. Your tableau is wonderful.

  42. Good afternoon! I am preparing a round up of "orange peel" ideas and would like to include a picture of your garland along with a link back to your blog sometimes this month. Would this be okay? Thank you for your time! :) You have a lovely blog!

  43. What a delightful tour! Lovely home and lovely way of sharing it with us! Your decorations are inspiring. Would love a tutorial on the tree of life you made.


Thank you for stopping by! Your comments are important to me and are very much appreciated. xx Karen

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