It's probably no surprise that we here at 2nd and Strand enjoy beautiful toys for children. Toys around the house can count as decor, right? Or is that just what I tell myself when I constantly see toys thrown all over every square inch of my apartment?
Christmas clearly has me thinking about presents for my two young boys. I did a post about pretty wooden toys
a little while back, so this post will fit right in. Both boys, especially my 4 year old, love to build buildings with blocks. Our block options at home are lacking, so I want to get a set with some interesting architectural features to it, but still with flexibility to be creative with it.
Here are some great options below-
Really, I wish more than anything I could gift these amazing blocks
from Torafu Architects in Japan to my boys. They seem like endless fun (seriously, follow the link to see more pictures).
Do you have any favorite wooden blocks in your household? I'd love to hear your opinions.
I've never really been an animal lover. Ever. I know a dog is in my future when I move into a home because my husband has been easily convincing our boys how awesome that will be, so I'll simply be out voted. But since I know my feeling towards most animals, I've been shocked with how many animal decorations have been catching my eye, that (if I had room) I'd love to bring into my home to help me decorate during this special holiday season. Every time I walk past the stag head (shown below) it practically begs me to take it home with me...unfortunately I have to keep breaking both our hearts and leave him there on the shelf.
What do you think of all these woodland creatures? What is your favorite item/theme to decorate your home with for Christmas?
Do you have your Christmas tree up yet? On Thanksgiving we had our feast as a late lunch, and that way we were able to set up my mom's Christmas tree that evening. As you can see, decorating that massive tree is no easy feat!
Last night my little family was finally able to put up ours as well. Although it wasn't quite the project that my mom's was, it still takes a little strategy, especially when you have a 4 and 2 year old helping out!
So here are some simple tips that may help you this year with your Christmas tree decorating -
Christmas tree decorating tips
1. Get your ornaments organized!
Before you start putting ornaments on your tree, organize them into piles of similar decorations. I had piles of shiny gold, shiny red, shiny green, childhood ornaments, then my small filler red and green ornaments. By organizing them into piles you make sure your tree can stay balanced.
2. Keeping your ornaments spaced appropriately.
Grab two of one item at a time and put that on the tree, then move onto the next pile doing the same thing, and again and again.This way making things spaced properly and keeping the tree balanced is much easier. If you don't have a large tree like me, and you know you can't fit all your ornaments on the tree, then start with your favorite few to make sure you get as many of those as you can on the tree, then use your least favorite as fillers. This way making things spaced properly and keeping the tree balanced with what you like is much easier.
3. Gaps in your tree?
The problem with fake trees is that even though you fan those fake branches out like you're supposed to, there still are gaps (or is that only super cheap trees like mine??). The best way I've found to avoid being able to see straight through the tree is to put ornaments on the inside of the tree as well. Don't feel like you need to only keep them on the outside of the tree. Clearly you want your favorite ornaments easily seen, so those wouldn't make good candidates for being partially hidden inside the tree. I used my least favorite, though still cute, mini red and green bulbs to hang on the inside of the tree (still trying to stagger their lengths as much as possible) to help fill in the holes. As you can see from the picture above, it did a pretty good job. Another benefit is that if the ornaments are shiny that you put in the middle of your tree it helps to bounce the light around more. There are some cute foliage options that you can space out as well that help to fill in gaps.
4. Kids + Ornaments = ?
Finding the balance with kids and breakable ornaments can be tricky. There are a select few I put at the top of the tree and don't let my boys touch because they are more special to me. As for the rest of them, I usually just remind my boys that decorations are not toys (which is something they hear from me often... not just with Christmas decorations!) and tell them that I'd love them to help, but that means they have to be careful with them. Of course they were so excited to see all the ornaments (we have a lot of cute ones from my husband's childhood) so touching was fine... I like their curiosity, but had to continually remind them to be soft. To help, I put toys at the bottom of the tree. You can't see in the picture above, but I have a big industrial looking airplane and a fire truck that get to hang out under the tree. My boy's don't usually get to play with them so its a special thing that they get access to them this time of year... and it keeps them from automatically going to the tree to find something to play with. Surprisingly it actually helps out a lot.
So there you have it! My basic Christmas decorating tips. Do you have a method for decorating your tree? I'd love to hear any tips you have to add!
Restoration Hardware Baby and Child Catalog
I find this space incredibly inspiring. I love the neutral palette that is made interesting by lots of textures and white washed wood. I love the shiplap ceiling, I love the mobile that actually makes sense for a baby (dark and light contrast is the only thing that newborns can see), and the twinkly lights would be nice touch for a Christmas baby. Why is this space so intriguing to me? Because I'm expecting my fourth and probably last baby (tear) this Christmas season. I am dreaming of warm things to wrap my New England winter baby in, and cuddly places to rock with him, Having a new baby is magical, but having a nice place to be with him is icing on the cake.
My daughters, 7 and 4, love to listen to books on CD. They head off into our sunroom, shut the door on their little brother, and listen for hours. Currently they lay on a fairly thin rug with their feet up on the wall. It doesn't seem to bother them, but I've been thinking of ways to add to their fun. I have a round-up of kid-sized lounge furniture for y'all today, in case you're like me and already thinking of Christmas presents :)
Since my oldest is 7, and her 4 year old sister is exceptionally tall, I am looking for larger pieces; I want to get them something that will last a few years. Along those lines I turned to PB Teen. They have a cute double lounger that could work well, if they don't mind sharing.
That's kind of a big if. Sharing and lounging don't always go hand in hand. There is the standard issue pb anywhere chair, oversized for the slightly older child. A safe choice, and worth consideration as you can get them second hand so inexpensive.
The Company Store Kids offers this double seater that folds out into a make shift bed. The color ways are less than awesome, but it does look comfy.
Fatboy has a piece of my heart because this girl is ADORABLE and their color options are the most fun. The also look like the easiest to clean and could work in a pillow fight. My kids like to flop!
Garnet Hill Kids has a different shape, multiple patterns and color ways and good reviews.
There are also a lot of options on etsy, and of course the DIY route of making your own bean bag. I'll let you know which direction we head! Any thoughts on your own kids presents? Or are you sane and not even thinking about Christmas yet?
Here in Boston we've already had our first snowfall of the year, and it was beautiful. Luckily that first snowfall, in October, was followed by many 60 degree days or I wouldn't remember that October freak-snow so fondly. For those of you who live in places where you will get no snow, say Santa Monica for instance, I thought I would throw together a post on some easy ways to bring snow into your decor. My home will get plenty of the real deal snowflakes, but I can't help but love snowflake decor for for a few reasons. I love that snow is pure, I love that they are a bright white highlight. I love the geometry of every snowflake, and I love that they are timeless. In the sampling below we have everything from ornaments, tree toppers, tablecloth, snowglobes, a wreath, and nightlight.