Light Me Up

I’m fast-forwarding to December today. There is a sullen mood in LA and there is Thanksgiving to come before Christmas, but I am fast-forwarding to December. If ever I needed some Frank Sinatra singing ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ it is this week. So I am going there. With haste.

I have favourite things I like to do in the run up to Christmas and decorating the tree is one of them. I love it. It’s like some sort of first date that develops into a love affair over a December (ok, sometimes November) evening, accompanied by red wine and a festive soundtrack in the background. I’ll be getting creative with my decorating this year because I don’t have room for a tree.  But for those of you who do have the space, here are some tips on how to make your tree gorgeous.

Decorating your tree is a layering process.  Get each layer right, and you’ll end up with a beautiful full tree. It starts with lights. My choice is always white lights, and lots of them.  I use four to five sets of lights on my Christmas tree.  You will curse, and swear, and have to walk away every now and then when you’re putting them on, but I promise it will make your tree look magical at night. I’m talking taking each individual branch and threading the lights through them. I know, it’s tedious, but worth it.

Next use your garland and what I call your base decorations (simple shaped decorations) to build out the first layer of your colour scheme.  I’ve gone for a metalic and blush base with pops of burgundy and black for this post. The garland comes first. I’ve used anything from ready made garlands, to wide ribbon, to pieces of fabric as a garland.  Get creative with what you use. Start from the top, and bring the garland in a spiral shape all the way down your tree.

When your garland is in place, start layering your base decorations. I cover the tree with LOTS of these. It’s the foundation for making your tree look full.  You can always take some off later, but more is better here.

01silverbellsgarland_crateandbarrel
Garland: Silver Jingle Bells Garland, Crate & Barrel
03blushglass_westelm
Base Decorations: Metallic Ball Ornament (Blush), West Elm
02copperandwhite_crateandbarrel
Base Decorations: Copper & White Ornaments, Crate & Barrel

Stand away from your tree when that’s done and you should see a great foundation ready for adding accent decorations.  This is where I like to go big with the size of decorations and add lots of texture.  Don’t limit yourself to Christmas tree decorations here. Silk flowers are brilliant to use, especially ones with large heads, like hydrangeas.  Keep an eye out during the year for these (they’re not necessarily seasonal), especially if you’re keeping away from traditional colour schemes.

04blushpaper_westelm
Accent Decorations: Paper Ornament (Blush), West Elm
05mythicplume_anthropologie
Accent Decorations: Mythic Plume Ornament, Anthropologie
06copperpoinsettia_aldikhome
Accent Decorations: Beaded Poinsettia, Aldik Home
08pomogranate_anthropologie
Accent Decorations: Pomegranate Ornament, Anthropologie

The tree should be looking full and textured now. The final step to make the tree look complete is to add some contrasting colour. This will make the tree pop.  I’ve gone with two strong colours, black and burgundy, to contrast the shimmering metallic and blush background I’ve used. Place these decorations in a zig-zag shape down the tree. Finally, I’ve added some *sparkle* for the top of the tree to complete this non-traditional festive look.

09blackdecorations_ikea
Contrasting colour decorations: Hanging Ornaments Vinter 2016, IKEA
10burgundyfeathers_target
Contrasting colour decorations: Burgundy Matte Feather, Target
01crystaltreetopper_target
Crystal Christmas Tree Topper, Target

I don’t go too over the top after the Christmas tree, but I do like to decorate the mantelpiece. Simply place two or three Ferm Living candle holder strings along the mantelpiece (I would prefer to have these in white – spray painting is an option here). Dot a selection of Skandinavisk Jul Christmas candles, Crate & Barrel snowflake porcelain candle holders and some of the West Elm blush metallic ball ornaments we used previously amongst them. This is a festive look, yet some of these pieces can be incorporated into your living space once the Christmas decorations have been put away.  (On a side note I have a big thing for the Skandinavisk brand at the moment. I have their Ö (Island) candle burning in my apartment. Beautiful packaging and a lovely narrative behind this brand – check them out.)

11candlestring_fermliving
Candleholder String (Nature), Ferm Living
13skandinaviskscandles_huset
Jul Scented Candle (Christmas), Skandinavisk – Available in Rolling Greens, 7505 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036 & Huset, 1316 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291
12porcelaincandelholders_crateandbarrel
Snowflake Porcelain Hurricanes, Crate & Barrel

It is trivial to be talking about decorating Christmas trees this week. I know it is. The most inspiring thing about the US presidential election has unfortunately been Hillary Clinton’s concession speech. She spoke such dignified words at a time of defeat. I will be taking one of her closing messages with me into 2017 to light me up. “I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but someday someone will — and hopefully sooner than we might think right now”.  

Now, go get all the white lights you can find folks.

S&O x

Misty Blue

Abstract art, photography, prints, originals, album covers, objects, ceramics, textiles.  I’ll have it all, please and thank you!  But there is so much choice, isn’t there? And yes, that is a wonderful thing. But it’s also why I find myself with a first world conundrum all the time.  The conundrum being that I have only so much space where I live (which is also a good thing, small space = less cleaning), and only so many walls where I can plaster my ideas. So this is my new living space extension, where I’m indulging all my visual daydreaming.

This week I’m curating by colour.  Misty Blue.  Here are my top four picks.

And yes, Etta James on Spotify, on repeat, all this week.

Artspace Warehouse LA, Crossover – Amber Goldhammer

I love original art. I love that it has its own story. But original art can be expensive, especially if you like your art to be of substantial size (I do).  You can imagine how chuffed I was to discover Artspace Warehouse in LA, which showcases art that is original AND affordable. This piece by Amber Goldhammer totally and utterly had my attention once I saw it.  I’m calling that my visual intuition, which conveniently lets me justify all my choices! This piece is a winner.

Amber Goldhammer Crossover
Amber Goldhammer – Crossover

Enrou, Horizon Pillow – Pacific Blue (Also available in Atlantic Grey)

There are some very smart people doing some very clever things in the tech start-up space in LA. Enrou are part of that world. Ann Wang and Jessica Willison bring beautiful handcrafted products from developing communities around the world right to your doorstep.  You are getting a gorgeous product when you shop with Enrou, and know that it comes with a socially responsible tag.  Check them out.  Quickly! (And while you’re there you might also want to have a look at this fabulous leather basket.) My second pick is this Horizon Pillow in Pacific Blue from Enrou. I gave it a home this week.

Enrou_horizon_pillow
Enrou – Horizon Pillow (Pacific Blue)

Crate & Barrel, Marin Blue Serving Bowl

Salads, or any sharing dishes look so much more appetizing when they’re delivered to the table in gorgeous serving dishes. Crate & Barrel is a great go-to for all things dining and entertaining.  This simple Marin Blue serving bowl has gorgeous subtle colour and shape, just enough to show off your extraordinary gourmet talents. Or, if you don’t have extraordinary gourmet talents, then it disguises that fact nicely.  Deviating slightly from my misty blues, I’m complimenting this with a fabulous marble platter, also from Crate & Barrel. Because. It. Works.

Crateandbarrel_marinblueservingbowl
Crate & Barrel – Marin Blue Serving Bowl
french-kitchen-marble-platter_Crateandbarrel
Crate & Barrel – French Kitchen Marble Platter

Artspace Warehouse LA, Silver & Blue Contemplation – Hilary Bond

My final pick is another piece from Artspace Warehouse in LA.  Hilary Bond’s work is very cool. She’s made me think about Pop Art in a completely different light, and like me, she has a thing for Kate Moss.  Enough said.  Check her out!  There were lots of pieces in Hilary’s collection that I absolutely loved, and most of them were already sold. Keep an eye on this lady, it’s obviously not just me that has a serious art-crush on her work!

Hilary_Bond_Silverandbluecontemplation
Hilary Bond – Silver & Blue Contemplation

Have you suggestions for where to find more abstract art, textiles and ceramics?  Well I would love to hear from you. I’m LA based, Irish born and raised, and internet addicted.  So you can direct me to locations in LA and absolutely ANYWHERE on the internet for daily indulgence, and locations in Ireland for home visit indulgence. Just pop your suggestions in the comment section and I’m there!

S&O x