Christmas House Tour

I would like to interrupt today’s regularly scheduled post with this brief announcement.

There are 2 days until my annual Christmas Eve party and I still haven’t planned out, bought the ingredients for, or decided on a menu.   As of now the menu looks like this:  store bought cookies and hairbrushes.

There may not be any food, but there’ll be plenty of Christmas decorations for everyone to look at.  Here’s hoping the 3 foot tall antler on the mantle distracts everyone from their hunger pains.

I’m happier with my Christmas decorating this year than I ever have been before.  I’m not sure why.  Every year when I step back and look at everything, I feel like something just isn’t right.  I like it.  But I’m not certain.

That feeling when you answer your front door and you’re not wearing a bra?  It’s that same feeling.  Everything might look fine to a stranger, but YOU know there’s something making you want to cross your arms over your chest and scowl.

This year though … I think I’ve done it.  It may not be the way you’d decorate for Christmas and in fact, it wasn’t the way I decorated last year … but that’s the great thing about Christmas decorating.  It’s a month long opportunity to reinvent  the style of your house.

For me, it all started with a pinecone …


Christmas Tour 1


Christmas Tour2


Christmas Tour3


Christmas Tour 4


Christmas Tour 6


Christmas Tour 7


Christmas Tour 10


Christmas Tour 8


Christmas Tour 9


Christmas Tour 12


Christmas Tour 13


Christmas Tour 14


Christmas Tour 15


Christmas Tour 16


Christmas Tour 18


And in closing, a special note for the holidays from the fella:

Drink just enough to get through it, but no so much that you end up hitting someone.   

I think it’s a quote from one of his Buddhist books.  But I’m not certain.



  1. Larita says:

    Your home is gorgeous. There’s just so much character instead of just a bunch of trends, the way a home is supposed to be!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Larita – That’s exactly what I was going for. A few trends here and there, but a house that’s comfortable and a bit quirky. ~ karen!

  2. Stefanie says:

    As always, stunning. Question- what’s in the ball jars? Are they really lit up or is it a reflection?

  3. Marti says:

    You’re such a tease! Toss out the “bra-less at the door” comment and then show us your nekkid chalk outline art (did the fella do that hisself?) as a statement all its own.

    The mason jar snow globe jobbies are definitely eye-catching. That entire shelf arrangement is luscious! Did I miss the “how-to” post on that one? You know I hate missing out on anything.

    Which is why I now have to clock in at midnight and again at midday, in case you have TWO major, can’t-go-any-further-without-this-SECOND-post per day during the Christmas holiday, right? (Still trying to figure if I shaped that sentence correctly. Ack! I’m a total loss today.)

  4. cheri says:

    ok, just finished reading your last 5 or 6 posts (since “I” have been getting ready for C’mas) and I must say…you always make me laugh out loud. (I can’t remember what you are serving along with your hairbrushes but …gawd, I ’bout died!!) You are so flippin’ random. I. Love. It. And your commentors are just as ridiculus. It makes me feel happy with the world.

    However. I can’t believe you aren’t telling us how you lit up the jars NOW. Because I would be running to ?The Dollar Store? to get materials and get it done in all the free time I have left in the next…..two days?

  5. Nancy says:

    What???!!! We have to wait until next year for the glowing trees in Jars??? Ack I can’t stand it.

  6. Lucy says:

    Is it safe to assume my invitation was lost in the mail? I don’t drink but 1/2 a glass of wine and would be happy with a fried egg from one of your chickens. If you really want to go all out, I’d be overjoyed with an omelet. Everything is stunning! You have reason to be proud. I, on the other hand, still have 60 Christmas cards to get in the mail. I’m thinking about just considering them REALLY early for next Christmas. It’s probably because I need more protein (kind of like eggs) in my diet.

  7. Jo says:

    Oh, I see you use one of my favourite decorating touches — a Siamese cat. I just move my elegant Py around to different parts of the living room. He classes up the joint! I always say if you have a Siamese cat and fresh flowers, you don’t really need anything else.

  8. Robyn says:

    It all looks stunning! I really love the Christmas trees in the jars as well. Going to pin that for next year 😉

    Did you like my Aussie Christmas Tree btw?

  9. pve says:

    you and your pine cones have put us all to shame. this year the tree is up – just white lights. no ornaments. i’m fine with it.
    and some battery operated led strand lights. i’m fine with that too.
    now you and yours have a fine and merry little christmas dear.
    kiss those chickens.

    • Karen says:

      PVE – I actually love a tree with just white lights. Every year when I decorate my tree, I get the lights done and think … I could leave it just like that. Merry Christmas! ~ karen

  10. Linda says:

    Hey Karen,

    Can I just move into your house for the holidays? Please? I’ll bring booze!

  11. Bev says:

    Gorgeous, warm and inviting – perfect!

  12. Angela says:

    Note for anyone who wants their gifts to all be wrapped in a certain ‘motif’ or ‘theme’: tell your husband. This is two years in a row that we’ve had a discussion about what he’s using to wrap gifts for me and I’m tired of sounding like a spoiled brat demanding that my presents, that he picked out for me and bought out of love, be wrapped differently than what he’s doing. Or, just make sure that the only wrapping paper and ribbon that is available is what you want him to use. I made wrapping paper snowflakes to put on top of kraft paper-wrapped gifts and instead he wrapped the gifts with the red paper. And on one he used the other side of the reversible paper and it’s white with red polka dots. That does NOT match my theme!!

    • Karen says:

      Angela – LOL. One year the fella wrapped all my presents in birthday paper and signed his cards “from”. From?? FROM??!! And the paper … ohhh. You make an excellent, excellent point. Hide ALL other paper. ~ karen

  13. Susan says:

    Those mason jars are amazing! And that is just teasing! At first I thought they were radioactive eggs or something… I know you have clever chickens but sheesh! Your house looks amazing just as you are. You are one creative Chickie! But do not buy store bought cookies! I am baking at home and will do some for you! Call me if you get real desperate but somehow I know you have all your baking done! BTW… What menu? Just throw some stuff in the oven with fresh herbs and garnish with pine cones and serve beside a frosty bowl of shrimp and a huge bowl of chips! What more do you want? Oh and lots of beverages!….Merry Christmas Karen!

  14. Jen says:

    Looks so welcoming, and lovely. Now, hurry up and plan your menu and get shopping! Hairbrushes are not that tasty….well…maybe if you had a good dip recipe.

  15. marilyn says:

    it really is so pretty karen..great job and Merry
    Christmas to you and the Fella xo

  16. Sarah says:

    Everything looks so nice that I don’t think people will even notice that the cookies are store bought. However, the hair brushes probably won’t taste too good, so you might want to reconsider that one. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!!!

  17. Sherry says:

    I would be smug too. Well done and I doubt anyone will notice there is no food. Love the tree, mantel, and……well all of it. Nice photos also.

  18. Brenda says:

    Karen, Your home looks lovely, so peaceful and natural. Just beautiful!!

  19. Nicole2 says:

    Karen. It is breathtaking. Love, love, love it. Magazine worthy. Your white tree is sooo pretty! (I finally convinced my fella to get a second tree this year!)

    I’m obsessed with bottle brush trees and cloches. (Stop by my blog and see for yourself.) I love yours. And the snowglobes with the old mason jars! I have a few of those, I may try that next year.

    And your cat posing there, like the perfectly coordinated accessory, how did you manage that?

    I’m sure you will whip up a wonderful menu for your guests. Or just serve a lot of eggnog and brandy until they think they have eaten. (The downside to this is you have to keep everybody overnight…and then deal with the hangovers…not pretty.)

  20. Dru says:

    you. win. damn it.

    looks beautiful! garlands on the drapes?! uncle. I can’t keep up..our drapes need ironing and I can’t put anything near them to draw attention..

  21. Sally says:

    Beautiful, beautiful. Good luck with the food.

  22. Linn says:

    Absolutely stunning! I am so attracted to the monochromatic color scheme even though my favorite color is red. Go figure!

  23. gogothrift says:

    can’t believe we have to wait until next year…you’re such a tease : )

    love how you fearlessly mix silver and gold…you’re my hero (seriously)

    • Karen says:

      gogothrift – LOL. I know people have issues with mixing silver and gold, but there’s an entire Christmas song that revolves around it so I’m not worried. 😉 ~ karen

  24. Barbie says:

    I LOVE those ball jars too! Can’t wait to read about those! Lovely decor! Understated and elegant, creative and inventive, Cozy and warm. Like I said just lovely.

  25. Elise says:

    Ahh those lighted ball jars! You’re such a tease! =) Can I fly you down to Florida to decorate my house?

  26. Tracie says:

    Your house just takes my breath away….I love everything. I can’t wait until next year so I can copy you from this year…I don’t mind being a year behind! I do think it’s torture that we have to wait til then for your beautiful craft tho, 🙁

  27. Thera says:

    Love those lit up jars as well and the Skinny Tree!

  28. Jen says:

    I think you nailed it. So, much room to breathe – the words light and airy come to mind. You turned on the Christmas ambiance.

    Its not stuffy or claustrophoic or overly done… it’s just right.

    Merry Christmas Karen!

  29. Jen A says:

    Nnext year for the glowing marshmallows in the mason jars?? Karen, Karen … The season for giving is *now*. You won’t feel right without sharing the secret. It will be the spiritual equivalent of rancid lard in almond chocolate bark.

    Your home is gorgeous.


  30. Stephanie says:

    I really don’t appreciate the way you keep flaunting that rolling pin. Otherwise, I love it all;)

    A very Merry Christmas to you and your family. I’ve enjoyed your blog tremendously and can’t wait to see more in the new year.

  31. paula says:

    Karen, your house looks absolutely gorgeous. So full of personality and special touches. LOVE the fella’s advice too, it’s spot on. Merry Christmas.

  32. Really beautiful!! I love the greenery swags and pinecones. Really stellar outcome – no wonder you’re so happy with it!

  33. kelliblue says:

    Gorgeous, cozy, homey and Christmassy, all wrapped up in brown paper and twine – love it! I am hitting my local dollar store today and hope to find even a fraction of the fun stuff you’ve found.

    I also really want to know how you did the trees in the lit ball jars – so FAB!

  34. susan w says:

    The feature that makes everything looks so lovely is that the visible parts of the house are clean and clutter free. If I did this now it’d look like I was working in the yard and clipping got stuck to my clothes when I came.
    Of course artful arrangement makes a big difference as well.

    Jar lights – better candles buried under the epsom salts? It’s such a cool toned light rather than flame toned.

  35. susan w says:

    oops not “better candles” battery candles

  36. Patti says:

    Oh, Karen! It looks beautiful!

    I hope that your Christmas Eve party is everything you wanted and more! We put so much pressure on ourselves to make everything perfect, but at the end of the day – everything works out! Enjoy yourself!

  37. JulieB says:

    It’s beautiful. If I had accomplished that, I’d probably keep it that way for years. 🙂 I can’t wait to see how you made the little trees in jars. I didn’t notice them until the close-up shot. Then my jaw dropped.

  38. Lou Cinda says:

    It looks FABULOUS!! Many details…and it is ALL in the details….magazine worth!

    Now on to the food…..

    Hope you have a Merry and Blessed Christmas! (And a wonderful party)

    Lou Cinda

    Love the fella’s quote…

  39. Jane says:

    I sincerely need to know more about those jars with little trees and a hint of glow. You my dear are a Christmas Tease.

  40. Nancy says:

    Looks great those big pine cone ornaments on the white tree..tell the fella thanks for the wonderful holiday advise..I assume this will also work for both Christmas and New Years Eve..right??

  41. Eric says:

    I want a reindeer antler!

  42. Barbara says:

    I am speechless.
    It ALL took my breathe away.
    All of the above postings and Adjectives are in my head!
    Warm,friendly uncluttered……

    A very MERRY CHRISTMAS to you,and your family Karen and all of your friends on this site.

  43. Another Karen says:

    Wha?? Where are the elves?

    Everything is beautiful. Have a Merry Christmas!

  44. Natalie says:

    It’s beautiful and inspirational! 🙂

  45. Karen B. says:

    You have done a beautiful job of decorating… me it says, “all is calm, all is bright”!!
    Happy Christmas eve party!!

  46. Debbie says:

    Please please please please do share the jar lights….. Love your home – truly gorgeous.

  47. debbieo says:

    Very beautiful. Merry Christmas and I hope YOU have fun at your party.

  48. Larraine Murphy says:

    Lucy, it’s all in the name. Stop calling them Christmas cards. I still have 30 Whenever cards to write….

  49. I’ve no doubt you’ll pull something amazing together food-wise for the eve party too!
    Those decorations are amazing, all of them. Soooo beautiful.
    I’d love to see one picture of the room where you dump everything that isn’t in the pictures, you know..old newspapers, bags, stuff waiting to be done, all the junk that I’m looking at around me!
    Please don’t tell me you don’t have that room, please don’t.

  50. joanne says:

    I know the secret to the glowy-mason jars…. all the little Christmas fairies have moved into Karen’s house, and are “hiding” in the snow.

    And all I have here is an elf who lives on a shelf. Hmph.

  51. Carole McGinnis says:

    Wow – you are amazing. I have said it before but I will say it again – I love everything you do! I want to do everything you do. 😉 I love the fact that you can take something so simple and make it into something amazing. You inspire me all the time. Keep it up – I so look forward to your posts every day. Have a wonderful Christmas and my wishes to you for a healthy and happy 2012!

  52. Gayla T says:

    This will long be remembered as the year of the pinecones. It’s all stunning! But there you go with those darn jars, again. I’d finally erased them from my Christmas list and now I have to call my kids and tell them to put them back on it. Not that they will be able to find blue jars in Kansas. We are getting together tomorrow and I haven’t been to the store yet but I’m going as soon as my pain meds kick in. My house is done and yes, I’ve got pine cones here and there. My faves are the long skinny ones that often have a bit of a curve to them. The create a great “line” in a floral design. I don’t think I told you about washing pine cones, did I? I have over the years found places to go get my supply when needed and have one of the larger zip lock bags full of the ones about the size of a nickel. They are hard to find and take a while to pick up and when I got them out to decorate for fall there were BUGS! in the bag. I quickly dumped them in the sink and ran hot water over them. That took care of the miniscule bugs but I had to pick them out one by one and shake off the residue. I tried to dry them off but they were closing up into tight little balls. I kept blotting them with towels and put them in the oven to dry them and that resulted in some burning….no flames, just like a burned cookie so I had to sort them again. Bottom line, it took over a week with me blotting and fluffing several times a day. I was able to save enough to fill a bowl to set on my coffee table but I’m going to have to go pick up more in the spring. So you can see that I do love my pine cones, too. TTYL Granny Gayla

  53. Regina says:

    First and foremost your post are the bright spots of my day! you make me laugh so hard and outloud. THANK YOU!! I have coop envy, my girls are stuck in a 70 yr old run down coop. Someday…..

    I love the faux fur you used as a tree skirt. Is it a throw or a bit of fabric? I’m obsessed with the stuff. I’ve been searching online for weeks for a striped thick gorgeous one. Just like what you used.

    Thanks for all the joy! Many blessings!!!

  54. Those bottle brush trees are everywhere this year but I cant seem to find them… where did you get yours?

    • Karen says:

      Erin – I got that tree as a present from my friend Anj who buys me a Christmas tree of some sort every year. She gave it to me yearsssss ago. I think it was one of the first I got from her. ~ karen

  55. Elle says:

    Your house is decorated so beautifully! serve some alcoholic drinks and with all this beauty around no one will notice there is nothing to eat apart from store-bought cookies. If it was me at the party, I would just spend the evening staring at all those magnificant little lights. cannot resist xmas lights.
    Maybe I wasn’t paying attention (sorry! mast have been distracted by pictures of little lights…) but how do you do those firefly-like lights in the jars?

    On my part, The house is barely decorated as the kids are away and will be back tomorrow and they want to decorate themselves. I do have the menu planned and I even went to the store and spent an outragous amount of money on the groceries (about 3 weeks worth or regular grocery shopping! there better be tons of leftovers! or we’ll eat only pasta for half of January) but of course I forgot a few important items and need to go to the store again tomorrow.
    At least all the presents are wrapped (except for one which is home-made and is still in the works).

    Happy holidays! Love your blog!

  56. Alyson says:

    I think the Guy is right – I’m sure it’s in a Buddhist text somewhere – words to live by…wish I’d heard that when I was 17 (sigh)…gorgeous house! Does the cat help you keep the silver table dust free by sitting on it?

    Merry Chrissy!

  57. Brenda j says:

    Your home looks just lovers!! But I did ask you not to put my portrait out for everyone to gawk at! For the love Karen….geeez.

    Cheers,and Merry, Happy Christmas and 2012; despite what the old Mayans say about it.

  58. Shauna says:

    I can’t take it anymore… everyone’s talking about you’re balls, but really…. no one mentioned your pussy!! Seriously!! That’s one pretty cat!! Merry Christmas Karen!! & my fella is on your fella’s same strategy!!

  59. Janet says:

    Thank you for the entertainment, for the decorating ideas,Have a wonderful Christmas Karen and Fella.


  60. Violet says:

    I love the white jug pitchers. If I ask where you got them, you’re going to say “The Dollar Store,” aren’t you?

    • Karen says:

      Violet – Hah! No. Those are from Ikea, but they haven’t had the X-Large size for some time. I love them too … I get all kinds of inspiration from them. ~ karen!

  61. susan w says:

    I discovered it helps to have the jars clean. Or artful drips and smudges to illuminate

    LED push lights from Dollar Store buried under epsom salts? – too large of a light source for the twinkly little things around the tall pine. Hmmmmm

  62. Dana says:

    this sounds so cheesy, but you’re what i want to be like when i “grow up”. between your hilarious wit, your realistic yet light-hearted outlook on life, and amazing personal style, i wish you were my super-cool aunt! i even chuck things.

    • Karen says:

      LOL. Thanks Dana. I love The Carpenters, made for TV movies and cards that play music when you open them, so clearly I’m a fan of cheesy. Merry Christmas. I’ll be sure to point this particular comment out to my actual nieces. ~ karen!

  63. Merry Christmas, Karen! Your hone looks *beautiful*!!!



    • Karen says:

      Thanks Erin! I had an absolutely fantastic, one of the best Christmases ever. Hope you did too. 🙂 And now I absolutely can’t WAIT for Boxing Day so I can shuffle around in my p’jamas doing NOTHING. ~ karen!

  64. Cheryl Warren says:

    Love the jars, I guess I will have to wait till next year for the tute! 😀

    You did a great job with all the decorating – it’s just lovely!

  65. cathe says:

    hi i am a new reader it is the new year can we find out now??? or must we wait till christmastime? love your home

  66. Michelle Bracken says:

    Wow! This is so lovely! May I ask where you purchased your silver table? I love your style and how it IS so personal and not cookie cutter! Just beautiful! And your blog is adorable!

  67. Sarah says:

    This is such a weird, random question but can you tell me what you use for window blinds? My home was built in 1860 and has the original woodwork everywhere. We’re trying to lighten things up(not the woodwork, but the walls) but most of my windows are still naked because I cant settle on something that will keep peeping neighbors at bay at night yet be pulled up in the daytime without looking crappy cheap. Oh yeah and we have 20 windows on the main floor alone. $$$$$ Help!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sarah. I had the same dilemma with my house when I did everything over. I ended up getting cell shades. They’re standard cell shades, cut to fit, so they aren’t custom made. They allow some light in, even when the blinds are closed which is something I wanted. Plus, they’re neat and tidy and barely noticeable. ~ karen

  68. Love the white pitchers in the kitchen!

  69. Laura Bee says:

    If I didn’t say it before – I love your home.
    Now I have a real itch to dig the box of decorations out of the basement. Waiting until next week…ahhhh!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you. I’m afraid there won’t be too many Christmas surprises this year because I was so happy with how it looked last year. I do have a *few* new tricks up my sleeve. ~ karen!

  70. Diane R. says:

    Hi Karen,

    When do we get the tutorial on how to make these
    beautiful lit mason jars? Did I miss it already?

  71. Joanna says:

    Love all you do!

  72. shirley in the NE Arkansas Delta says:

    When I told my 75 year old friend Dianne I was getting a divorce, she said, “Oh good! Maybe you’ll feel like putting up a Christmas tree this year!”

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