Christmas House Tour 2014



Welcome to my home.  Please don’t stay long.  You’ll mess the place up .  It hasn’t been this tidy since last Christmas’ photo shoot.





The foyer.  On the centre hall table is a glass cake pedestal topped with styrofoam balls sprayed with fake snow to give them some texture.  As always, the tree is all antique balls.  Every. Single. One. Of. Them.  I’m slowly building my collection of antique tree ornaments up again after the great tree falling of 2012.    I don’t worry about whether there’s a colour scheme or if they match.  If it’s a vintage ornament I put it on the tree. One of my favourites, the largest pale blue ornament near the bottom right was a gift from a reader.




The diorama presents.  They took forever but I’ve never had so much fun wrapping presents in all my life.  Every SINGLE thing on them came from Dollarama.  I’ll be putting up a special extra post in the next few days featuring all of the gifts and what I did to each of them.  So, a close look at those soon.





I found the silver pedestal in the centre of the table at a local antique store (Valley Antiques) for the low, low price of $18.  It may have been $16 actually.  I was on such a buying high that I can’t quite remember.  I do remember fist bumping an elderly looking woman who was looking at Royal Doultons.  Sadly she wasn’t familiar with the fist bump and thought I was assaulting her for a moment.




You know how sometimes you buy something and it isn’t until after you’ve owned it for years that you think WHAT WOULD I EVER HAVE DONE IF I HADN’T BOUGHT THIS?  Well that’s what I think every time I look at my skinny, white Christmas tree.  It is, and always has been decorated in pine cones.  White pine cones, gold pine cones, real pine cones.  The skinny greener wrapping around it is from Dollarama.




Here’s that tray again because anything that comes with a potential assault charge  deserves a second look.  This is how it looked until about the middle of December at which point I filled it with nuts and clementines for anyone who came to visit.




So far no one has eaten anything off of it other than myself. That’s the problem with things that look like a display.  People think they’re just for display.  Alert to anyone who visits me over the holidays: the nuts and clementines are not just for display.  There’s something ridiculously fun about cracking nuts right out of their shell.




Trees, trees and more trees courtesy of my friend Anj who brings one every year.  What do I always have for Anj?  Usually a warm smile and an apology.  This year she’ll get nuts and clementines though.




Did I mention that I pared things back this year? Because I did.  I don’t know if you noticed that.  I thought you might not notice it since every surface in the house is still covered in Christmas crap, so I figured I’d better mention it.




I mentioned in my interview for Canadian Living magazine that featured my house at Christmas, that every year I insist the house is perfect for Christmas and I’ll never change a thing. Then the next Christmas rolls around and I change everything completely.  This year was no different.  My newest addition to the Christmas decorating is this Stamp Drawer with antique balls displayed in it and my new favourite thing ….





… this antique, steel runner sled.  It was $48.  Which for this type of sled, is cheap.  Really cheap.  Embarrassingly cheap.  I’ve been looking at them for years now and I’ve never seen one for under $150.   I got the sled the same day I got the silver pedestal.  The sled find didn’t result in a possible assault charge though.  It resulted in an actual one.  I’m writing this post from the clink.  Jumped up into a elderly man’s arms cartool-style.  Totally worth it.  Besides, who knew a man with such a wide stance would be so unstable.  He toppled over like a bowling pin.  Kind of his fault really.









Ahhhh my kitchen.  I still love it.  Which is a good thing since it’s only been finished for 6 months or so.  Mind you I’ve been known to become sick of an outfit between the time I put it on upstairs to the time I walk downstairs, so really liking the whole kitchen thing could have been touch and go.





Notice the deer standing court in the corner by the crocks.  And the festive glowing red light of the television “on” button.  The dish towel, which I love, was a gift from a blogger you know by the name of Lynne Knowlton of Design the Life You Want to Live.  The thing is HUGE. it’s great.  It’s by Sprouted Designs which you can find on Etsy.  The curtain is Rough Linen, and hides open shelving with my pots and cook books.  It feels very warm and cozy in the kitchen with it up.   I’ll keep it up in the winter and take it down in the summer when I  like a more open, airy feeling.




Ah the pig’s head.  I’m so glad I bought it.  It’s one of those things, like the white Christmas tree.   For the holiday season I took down my collection of rolling pins from the wall and put up glass lanterns with remote controlled candles.  The lanterns are actually glass vases from … wait for it … Dollarama.  Then I just siliconed some twine around the top and hung them from the curtain tie back brackets.

And that is the holiday house tour for 2014.  Feel free to wander around a while.  Have some nuts.


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  1. jainegayer says:

    Remote controlled candles??????? OMG!! I must get those!
    BTW, the house looks beautiful, Karen!
    PS- Is that a giant sheepskin on the chair in the living room? How did you get one so big?

  2. Bobbi says:

    How do you keep your cat from destroying everything ? I can’t even leave a coffee cup on a table. They have chewed all my lampshades.
    I wonder if a trip to Canada to the Dollarama a few times a year would work for me. Our dollar stores in Ohio cannot compare.
    Lovely, as usual, Karen.

  3. Deana says:

    Today I decided I needed a white flocked bottle brush tree for a display in an antique 2 quart jar I have. No problem, I’ll just scoot on down to Dollarama and pick one up. Funny thing, not one to be had! Now I know where they all went. Your presents all look great though, my jar….not so much.
    Your home looks great, especially all those little white trees.

  4. Kelli says:

    GAH. Karen your house is wonderfully, beautifully, quirkily perfect. Old, new, modern, antique, everything is just annoyingly lovely. Like a snuggly warm blankie….that’s been thru the wash a few times: comfy, cozy, homey, and relaxing, everything Christmas should be.


    • Karen says:

      I hear ya. The downstairs kitchen on Downton Abbey brings out the same Dammit in me. It brings out a lot worse actually. ~ karen!

  5. Ruth Vallejos says:

    I will be throwing up the elf barf (see what I did there?) in the next few days. You have inspired me to barf carefully and beautifully!

  6. Vanessa says:

    I have one of the type setter’s drawers, I actually found it in my next door neighbor’s TRASH! I love it. I think I’ll put it up instead of a wreath…
    Everything looks great!!!

  7. Ella says:

    Beautiful! Love the sled!

  8. Lucie says:

    Thanks for the lovely tour! Going to adorn a few objects with Clémentines and amp up the festive.

  9. The stamp drawer with the vintage ornaments in it! I’ve been hanging on to this little wooden A-frame house for years that holds miniatures. Now, I know what I’ve been saving it for. Boom! Everything looks fun and gorgeous, Karen! The chicken. Heh.

  10. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Everything is so so pretty..your Scandinavian roots really show in your it all..

  11. Lis says:

    rocking the stamp drawer, the tiered silver tray___ and the diorama gift wrap. Except I do not have to wrap up any fancy this year because (1) friends agreed not to do any gift exchanges this year – dont need any more stuff and (2) kids are old enough that they’d rather have the gift card or cash to get or save up towards what they really want or need. ive been reminded too t h at items of clothing are not generally viewed by them as presents….!
    So im just gonna enjoy your decorating by proxy. happy holidays.

  12. kate-v says:

    It is beautiful – I do love to see how you’ve filled your home with Christmas decorations and good ideas. One thought – if you want your guests to enjoy the clementines and nuts – put a few little plates and napkins on the table near the arrangement to make it less like an arrangement and more like an invitation to snack.

  13. brenda says:

    LOVED the tour. Thank you!

  14. Jodi T. says:

    It’s beautiful! I wish I had your eye for decorating. I absolutely love everything you do. Can you come decorate my house?

    P.S. THAT STAMP DRAWER… On my Christmas list. Love it.

  15. Ev Wilcox says:

    Antique sled is really nice. Your whole house is decked for sure! Wondering how “the girls” are doing. Did they get any decorations? Have they accepted fully the blue chicken? Anyway thanks for sharing, and well done!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ev – I’m posting an Outdoor Christmas Tour of the House later this week. Friday I think. So you can see what I’ve done out by the coop. I’ve simplified out there too. The chickens are great and the blue chicken, Mabel is still lower on the pecking order but she’s definitely integrated and everyone gets along and they all smash together at night up on the roost for sleeping. So it worked out just fine. ~ karen!

  16. Julie says:

    you have made me realize my tree needs bigger balls…and more of them, too! beautiful home…thanks for sharing :)

  17. Becky says:

    I love looking at your photos, and trying to find the Ikea sheepskins, to see where they will end up. I didn’t like them when I was actually AT Ikea, but I have since fallen in love after seeing what you do with them.

    Sadly, Ikea is too far away for me to regularly go back to get more, and I despise paying for shipping, so I’m sheepskinless.

  18. mickey says:

    Love it all! My favourite is the antique sled.

  19. Feral Turtle says:

    Your house is just gorgeous Karen!! Definitely magazine worthy! I love your white tree too and what’s up with the nuts? Why don’t people eat them? I have the same problem here.

    • Becky says:

      I would be afraid to eat the nuts—but you must understand I suffer through a family of jokesters, who would put out plastic nuts just to watch someone (usually me) try to crack it.

      There have been rumors flying of a plastic version of taco dip. I’m terrified.

  20. Melissa in North Carolina says:

    I like the scaled back version!!!

  21. Heather says:

    I can almost smell the mulled cider on the stove. :)

  22. Karol says:

    Very cozy! Nice job, Karen.

  23. maggie van sickle says:

    Beautiful Karen, simple but elegant. I also bought the green garland that you have on your white tree but it is on my mantel with other things. Love Dollarama and some folks cannot believe what you can do with stuff from there. A little imagination and ten or twenty dollars and WOW.

  24. Teresa Messick says:

    Absolutely love your home and Christmas decor. There is such a peace radiating from it. Blessings to you from the great (insert eye-roll) of Alabama!

  25. Su says:

    lovely… just festive and lovely

  26. John David Richardson says:

    Sure all looks great. I know for sure because I have been there.

  27. jennifer says:

    simply smashing! so glad i discovered your post— how the hell are the chickens????????????

    • Karen says:

      The chickens are A-okay Jennifer. Still moulting and not producing any eggs but they’re romping outside every day and are all healthy. ~karen!

  28. Tigersmom says:

    Your scaling back looks a lot like my scaling back. Still Christmas stuff everywhere.

    I love that you do two trees. It makes me feel slightly less ridiculous for doing two trees.

    It looks like you thoroughly enjoyed doing your decorating and you did an amazing job, as always.

    I don’t do a color scheme on my trees and I do a mix of old and new and lots of glittered ones for sparkle. The most beautiful tree I have done was when I introduced antique pink ornaments into the mix. The less limiting of colored ornaments (not lights, I only do white lights) on a tree, the more I seem to like it. That being said, in some places I do like to limit the color palette. My mantle this year is all crystal candlesticks of varying height topped with and surrounded by gold, silver and champagne glittered fruit in varying sizes. It works really well with the very colorful painting I have on the mantle, as this year, I opted not to switch it out for the mirror I put up there last year for the holidays.

    • Karen says:

      See? That’s true Christmas commitment. Moving artwork or furniture in the name of holiday decorating. ~ karen!

      • Langela says:

        I take stuff off walls and shelves in order to put out Christmas stuff. I just put it in the tote that the Christmas decoration came up in and then it’s all ready to switch back at the end of the season. I love the cozy feel of the Christmas stuff, but I’ll admit, I also really love the clean look when it’s all put back away.

  29. Zoe says:

    I love your mantlepiece (I love it all) – I must show my mum – inspire her to do something a bit different to ours at Christmas – if I had a mantlepiece I’d do something similar – it’s lovely.

    Question though – the drapery (cloth) hanging over your fireplace – you aren’t afraid of sparks flying out and it going on fire?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Zoe! That’s a valid concern, but the burlap is far enough away from the actual fireplace opening that it isn’t likely. Plus, I always, always, always have the screen in front of it and sparks don’t get through it. So it’s doubly protected from fire. ~ karen!

  30. Susan Gentry says:

    Such enjoyment to look through your pictures. Your unique style, like you, is truly admired. AND… boldly confess I will copy any of your ideas but somehow they never look like the original. Sadly, one cannot copy the gifted artistic qualities of another person. Thank you for the tour!!

  31. Suzanne says:

    I wish my house looked like yours at Christmas time… Or any other time really. My Christmas tree has lights on it and all the ornaments (not many, we gave up pretty early this year) are on the tree about half way up and above since I have 2 cats and a toddler… One day it’ll be nice and magical like yours… One day….

  32. Debbie Bashford says:

    A wonderland when I need a splash of Christmas I’ll come back and look again, I have not decorated in many years, it’s just me so I just don’t bother

    • Mary Werner says:

      I didn’t decorate either until I bought a strand of white twinkle lights and wound it around an angel on the dresser in my bedroom. The only thing that I had out was the Christmas quilt I made and when I tucked into bed under the quilt with only the twinkle lights on, I felt so good, warm and special. Get some twinkle and add magic to your life, Not for others but just for you. You are Worth It!

  33. Grammy says:

    Your home is, as always, beautifully “done up” for Christmas. My favorite things are the nuts and clementines in the silver stand, the family of deer living among the utensil crocks, Santa and his missus on the open shelf, and the ornaments on the foyer tree — not the individual ornaments, but the spectacularly artful display.

    Merry Christmas!

  34. Linda Moore says:

    Simply beautiful decorating. I especially love all of the greenery…bringing the outdoors in.

    Your stamp case looks like a typesetters case to me.

  35. kath says:

    It’s official. You have taken me to a whole new level of craft.
    And this, just so you know, is not a good thing.
    I can feel the hot, moist breath of the man with the big net behind me even as I write. They’re coming to take me away, it’s only a matter of time. I’m sure when the paperwork clears I’ll be whisked off to the land of rubber rooms and rubber utensils. Not a bone folder or pom pom maker in sight. Never mind Fiskars spring action chisel tipped scissors. By the gross.
    It’s just as well, really. Had to happen eventually, and I can’t blame you.
    Not entirely, anyway.
    O.K. maybe a little.
    I mean, seriously, what were you thinking when you casually tossed out a concept like diorama present toppers? Did it not cross your mind that someone could get hurt?!
    For God’s sake, woman, I’ve been known to roll small sick children in wheelchairs out of my way for a lot less.
    Like when the Stanley Cup was 5 feet away from me.
    Or that time when there was only one Snickers bar left after Halloween.
    Those incidents pale in comparison to the psychosis that manifests at the thought of teeny tiny worlds of wintry wonderfulness stopping everybody in their tracks.
    The “oooh”s
    The “aaah”s
    The “When was the last time you had a CAT scan?” s.
    Anyway, assigning blame does little good, so I have chosen to forgive you (& o.k., Martha, let’s be honest)
    and to try to move on. Change my name, leave town, stay one step ahead of the guys with the nets.
    It’s worked before. It can work again.
    Wish me luck.

  36. Sherry says:


    I love the pig with her wreath the most. And the fact that you have a real fireplace adds to the perfect feeling of your HOME. And it is a true home – that’s what makes your blog the very best.

    Merry Christmas Karen!

  37. Jane says:

    Beautiful as always! Now I am mad I sold my stamp case a few years ago at a yard sale! And I also wish we had a Dollarama instead of The Dollar Store…your store is way cooler! Merry Christmas Karen!!

  38. sandra says:

    Lovely, warm and inviting. Merry Christmas!

  39. shuckclod says:

    I love 99% of it. (no to fur & skin) The pigs head should stay all year. I love the candle lantern wall. The Glass (or plastic) deer is beautiful. Great job and thank you for sharing.

  40. Jennie Lee says:

    Really great, Karen! Never having seen your home before, I must say I like the bookshelves in the foyer, the white paper lantern, the log table (It’s big! It’s heavy! It’s wood!), the butterfly on the white tree, the painting (who’s the nice lady?), the antlers (how’d you make them stand up?) and your chicken towel. If you use the pig at Hallowe’en put a mask on him! Oooh! Funny/creepy!

  41. Karen Dyck says:

    Your home looks beautiful. Well done!
    On another note, I believe your “stamp case” is a case for movable type, commonly known as a “California Job Case”. For more information, see

    • Karen says:

      Hi Karen! Yes, it’s actually called a typeface case. The stamps ( and I’m not even sure they were called stamps ) were what they held. I’ve never heard of it referred to as a “California Job Case though!”. ~ karen!

      • Robbin says:


        LOVE what you did with the stamp case! I found one up north and it is currently on my son’s bedroom wall to display his MANY Lego Mini Figures. It’s really perfect.

        Happy Holidays!

  42. Jane says:

    Although your entire house is Merry and Festive, my favorite thing is the white tree. It is both elegant and natural. Exquisitely beautiful!!!

  43. Meg says:

    I love looking at all your new decorations all the time. love all the whimsical bits like that stamp drawer. I hope you have fun doing this, cause it looks like you have fun. :)

  44. Tracie says:

    Love the pig’s head, I really do. My most fave is the white Christmas tree…always wanted one. Then you have your dioramas, awesome! I made one for my niece’s birthday a week ago. So cute! I will try to upload or download or something, the pic…xo

  45. Auntiepatch says:

    Beautiful job!

  46. Paula says:

    Wonderful, thank you for the tour. We get the keys to our ‘new’ century home tomorrow and I will be full on decorating! Fortunately, we have a Dollarama in our small Ontario town!

  47. DanniS says:

    Beautiful as usual, love the white Christmas tree, it just captures nature in winter. The tall log on the wall would make me nervous that it would fall lol its pretty though. Great job Karen!!

  48. Amber says:

    I really hope you use the pigs head in next year’s Hallowe’en post. It would work on me.

  49. meagan molenda says:

    I love your decorating! And I have to ask, is that a glowing tree under the cloche with the strand of tiny LEDs? It is beautiful :)

  50. Ahhhh ! Your chicken tea towel looks smashingly beautiful in your kitchen. Glad you lurve it !

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