A Rustic Porch for Christmas!
Sophisticated Decorating with Laundry Baskets and Underwear

When I was growing up we never had a laundry basket in the house.   That’s because we were so privileged and averse to any form of manual labour that we simply threw our dirty clothes in the woodland forest behind our house and had Yves (St. Laurent) make us new stuff.

By the time I was 8, the pile was so high we could ski down it in the winter.  My skis were made of diamonds and if I ever fell down and cut myself, gold coins spewed out of me instead of blood.

No wait.  That was Richie Rich.

We never did have a laundry basket, but it was because we had a great big wine barrel instead.  That’s where all the dirty clothes got thrown.  A great big wine barrel in the basement.  Actually, chances are it wasn’t a “fancy wine barrel”, but probably a whiskey barrel.   I wish I could say at this point, No wait.  That was the Clampetts.  But it wasn’t.  It was us.  Our dirty bloomers were kept in a whiskey barrel.  And sometimes my mom sent me to school with Sandwich Spread sandwiches.  Nothing else.  Just bread and sandwich spread.  She also used to make me play with a potato.  To this day she insists it was a legitimate toy.

From the moment I was born until the day I moved out, that wine barrel acted as our laundry basket.  And I’m sure my mother will refute this, but we never actually got to the bottom of the barrel.  There was one grungy old tea towel at the bottom of it, that in 25 years never got washed.  It’s true.  Believe me, not my mother.  My mother’s a notorious liar.

So when I visited my mother in the summer to borrow some money, or tell her how much I disliked her multi coloured quilted jacket, or some other daughterly thing, I was rattled to my core when I saw the barrel out for the garbage.  THE GARBAGE!  I rescued that barrel, shoved it in my car and took it home.  What kind of nut case gets rid of a perfectly good  whiskey/wine barrel/laundry hamper?

I stuck the barrel on my porch and put a Boston fern in it.  It’s winter now.  The fern died.  Barrel’s sad and empty.  I have to refrain from throwing underwear and tea towels in there.

Losing the fern turned out for the best actually, because the same way my mother got sick of her wine barrel, I got sick of my normal birch log planters in the backyard.  I grabbed those birch logs and dragged them out to the front porch.   Same logs, different place.  And I love them again.  Often times you can instantly fall in love with things you’re sick of just by moving them.  Your bowels are a perfect example.

So this year for Christmas I changed everything up.  Everything.  I used all the same stuff  I already owned, I just used it in different ways, in different places.   I’m feeling a pull towards a very farm-like, rustic Christmas this year.  It’s probably the chickens.   It’s definitely the chickens.  Chickens DON’T like wearing Christmas hats by the way.  Just so you know.

Here we go … picture time.  No explanation necessary I don’t think, so here, at this point I bid you adieu for the day.


barrel boots & bench

birch logs

barrel and boots

out of focus barrel2

barrel lit

Out of focus door

Porch 4

HOLD YOUR HORSE AND BUGGIES!  I do have something else to say.  It’s almost impossible to get a picture of my front door because there are two porch pillars right in front of it.  So … sorry for that.  AND, when I got inside and started reviewing and editing my pictures at night, I realized I completely and totally forgot to make and put up a door swag.  No wreath this year … a rustic swag.  Looking at the door, I’m not sure I need it now.  Opinions?  Not that I’ll listen to you.  I rarely listen to anyone … but just for fun … opinions?




  1. Amy says:

    Okay, so I’m at work reading all of your blogs. Yes, this is me working oh so hard! But I found myself having to hold back my laughter! Thank you so much for that! You crack me up and have very creative ideas! I love it!!!

  2. Maureen says:

    If you ever need to put a sweater on a chicken (hey this stuff happens!) go to http://www.cobblehillsanimalsanctuary. My daughter runs a rescue farm and takes in hens from battery farms. They have no feathers and all wear sweaters until they grow some. She can answer all your pressing chicken questions!

  3. Gayla T says:

    I’m a bit late commenting on this but of course you would know I’d have an opinion. Actually, I’m torn. Being a retired floral designer I want you to make a swag. As a snoopy old lady I want to know what happened to the pots with the lit up globes and sticks? I thought those where by your front door. Your door is so dark, does greenery even show up? Mine is brown too and I really had to punch up my fall wreath. I haven’t put up my Christmas one yet but it may need some work, too. I am wondering if I’m writing to a dead woman. If I were your mom you would be by now but she is probably used to you by now. Any hooo, the swaggy stuff with the lights is ok but I can’t imagine you letting yourself get by with ok. Can’t wait to see if I’m right. LOL

  4. KittyCardea says:

    Yay for using old things fabulously!

  5. ev says:

    Door looks great, as do the barrel and the wintery logs. You are very artistic and I sure do enjoy your posts, especially the humor! Thanks Karen!

  6. Kat says:

    Love the story of the barrel, love it on your porch, but really love that bokeh shot of your front door. Until a year ago I had no clue what bokeh was, now I just like to use it whenever possible so that I sound like a “real” photographer…well at least when I write it anyway since I have no clue how to pronounce it correctly!

    I have all of my fingers and toes crossed in hopes of winning your giveaway from Rough Linen, love Tricia and her wares! I tried to get my dogs to cross their paws but they said they have no use for a tablecloth…#*&$ dogs!

    Kat :)

  7. Carol says:

    Absolutelyy LOVE it Karen,,,no swag needed! I always feel a strong pull towards farm-like rustic and I don’t have any chickens. : ) About 15 years ago I bought a a bunch of those gigantic sugar pine cones, still use them every winter in a large wide rim black bowl – they’re my favorite. ~ C

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Carol! – I was just wondering where you were yesterday! Haven’t see any Tweets from you. Must be busy designing! ~ karen!

  8. Cheryl in Wisconsin says:

    I love your door knocker. I am a huge fan of door knockers, don’t know what prompted it, really. My front door has a lion’s head, my bathroom door has an Amish man’s head, there are several more scattered throughout my house…but I digress.

    We had to have a laundry basket when I was young or our cat would not have had anywhere to sleep.

    I second the crocheted capes for your chickens, it would make them feel special.

    And my immense front porch has but one artificial greenery garland hanging from my porch light. It was meant to be a pathetic cry for help, but so far I have not received a satisfying amount of pity. Half of every strand of lights I pulled out this year didn’t work so I staged a decorating coup, and so far nobody’s noticed.

  9. Gig says:

    LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Del says:

    We didn’t have a laundry basket either, but I never knew how deprived we were until I watched American TV (Leave It to Beaver etc.) I don’t have a laundry basket these days either – old habits die hard – so there you go. Rustic is nice, love the lights, you can never have too many lights. Well done.

  11. mimiindublin says:

    Lol re have to refrain from throwing underwear in the barrell!
    You could put underwear on the door?

    Noooooooo! It looks gorgeous and minimalist as is.

  12. Erin Hall {i can craft that} says:

    i think you should swag it.

    Did you go all rustic and find your birch logs and branches or did you buy them.

  13. paula says:

    Karen, sandwich spread sandwiches! You guys must have been rich, we only got margarine spread sandwiches, and a plastic cheese slice if we were lucky!
    Your house looks awesome, don’t change a thing! Loving the birch poles especially. :)

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