Monday, December 27, 2010

Swedish Winter Retreat in Vail

Several months ago a reader sent me these photos of a beautiful ski home in Vail, Colorado. She thought I would love the Swedish decor which is so unusual in a ski home. The dramatic entry immediately caught my eye.

Of course I fell in love the hand painting on the walls and the beautiful Swedish Mora clock.Most ski homes are predominately wood and stone, but I loved the lightness of this space. The cathedral ceilings and natural wood floors are enhanced by the pale green painted cabinets and soft yellow painted furniture. Notice the chairs are each embellished with the birth dates of owners and their children. I love the gorgeous natural light streaming into the kitchen area. The living room also has incredible light. The blue delft tile fireplace is lovely. Again notice the painted furniture, lace curtains, light upholstery and rugs - so unique for ski house.

I like how designer, Jan Chenault, mixed antiques with reproductions, like this amoire with a mirrored front to disguise the weight of the piece and to reflect light around the room. Very smart!

But my favorite is the Ski Locker Room. I love the paint combination on the ski lockers.
It also looks like the owners names are painted on them in blue. What a wonderful retreat for a lucky family.

To see more of this beautiful home click HERE

(All Photos Mountain Living )

Friday, December 24, 2010

Memories of Christmas' Past

Let's travel back to a Christmas forty years ago.

It's Christmas Eve in 1970. I am 6 years old and anxiously awaiting Santa's arrival! That is me in the front on the left, my Mother and other sisters are behind me and to the right. My Father is taking the picture of his wife and four girls.

My Mother is a hairdresser and every Holiday we MUST have our long hair curled. My memories of Christmas Eve will always be connected with the smell of shampoo and the uncomfortable feeling of sleeping in sponge curlers. We do not have much money. We have just exchanged "Sister Gifts", small things we have bought or made for each other. Exchanging them on Christmas Eve makes them seem more magical and important.

I am dreaming of getting a Teeter Totter watch from Santa. It seems like a grown up gift for a 6 year old who likely can not tell time, but I want to be older like my sisters.

Unbeknownst to us my Mother has been saving oatmeal boxes...

And fashioning them into doll cradles, like this one above. Money is tight, but she wants us to have lots of presents to open on Christmas morning. Over the years it becomes a reminder to me of how blessed I was being surrounded by such a loving family.

I will be spending Christmas with my sisters and their families, as my parents have been gone for quite some time now. So I send on my Christmas wish for you: To be surrounded by people who love and care about you. Thank you, my friends, for allowing me into your homes for another wonderful year.

I am sending you all very heartfelt wishes for a joyful holiday from my family to yours.

xoxox - Gina

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Childhood Bedroom & Giving Back

Two wonderful bloggers, Claudia from StoneHouse Love and Beth from Hello Splendor recently announced their charity campaign: Blog for Digs to support Dwell with Dignity. This organization has a mission to help families escape poverty and homelessness and to help them maintain a standard of living they can be proud of and thrive in. To raise awareness they are asking over 55 bloggers to blog about their childhood bedrooms.


The bedroom above is pretty close the bedroom I dreamed of having as a little girl. It was in the big Sears catalogue - a lovely confection of pink rosebuds and white. Above is a modern day version by Laura Ashley of my childhood dream.
We were not a wealthy family but my mother was very resourceful - She found wallpaper very similar to this one for $1 a roll at a discount warehouse. Luckily there was enough to cover my entire bedroom that I shared with my younger sister.
She also bought us two small desks and painted them lime green!

My mother was a great seamstress and fashioned us curtains that looked like awnings out of pink and green striped fabric, similar to the ones above. Though not my dream of pink rosebuds, it was a happy room and I have many memories of staring at the floral patterns and planning my future and dreaming my dreams.


If you have a moment do visit Dwell with Dignity and perhaps help other families create a place for dreaming dreams and planning for better futures.
Also visit Doryn's Dish to see her childhood bedroom.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Simon Pearce Evergreen Trees and 3 Fine Grains Giveaway Winner!

Several Christmases ago Dave presented me a beautiful box tied with a purple ribbon. I unwrapped the most gorgeous crystal evergreen tree. I had never seen one before, but Dave spied it in the city and knew I would love it. It remains one of my most cherished gifts. Each year he adds to my collection. My Simon Pearce Crystal Evergreen Trees remain my favorite collection.

I keep them out all year, but during the holidays I add my collection of antique mirror and mercury glass trees. All together they make a spectacular display in the Conservatory on our piano. They reflect the snow and sunlight during the day and Christmas tree lights in the evening.

They are really stunning and a true work of art as each one is hand blown by master artisans in Vermont.

This year Simon Pearce added the bubble trees. These have tiny air bubbles in them to imitate snow. They are very pretty too, and prefer them mixed in with the clear ones.

Simon Pearce has a wonderful video showing the intense process and mastery needed to create one of these beautiful trees. You can view it HERE.

The Boston store has this wonderful table display using the trees as an interesting centerpiece. I just may want to create a similar display on Christmas Day on my own holiday table. The way they sparkle and catch the light is just magical.
Finally congratulations to Morning T for winning our Grain Sack Christmas Tree. Enjoy, Enjoy!!
And another big thank you to Kymberley Fraser of 3 Fine Grains for such a generous giveaway!
May you all enjoy this wonderful week!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Last Chance to Enter!

The 3 Fine Grains - Grainsack Tree Giveaway is winding down - don't forget to enter - you can enter HERE.
Also remember our blog friend Kristin at Covetable Designs? She has launched an on line design business. Kristin is an incredibly talented designer, check out her latest before and afters HERE. As a Holiday gift to here readers she is giving away a free design session. Wow- isn't that fantastic?!

To enter click
HERE. Thanks Kristin and best of luck to all of you!! Have a great Saturday!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cookie Exchange, Miracle Chase Giveaway Winner & More

Tonight is my annual Cookie Exchange. I have been hosting a Cookie Exchange almost every year since 1995. During the early years we moved often, but even though I barely knew my neighbors, I invited everyone over for some Holiday cocktails and a cookie swap. It was a great way to get to know people and have some fun. This year we are having a big turn out. My neighbors and I always look forward to it as a nice and welcome respite during the crazy Holiday season.
I usually make Pizzelles. They are a traditional Italian wafer cookie. You make them on a special waffle-like iron. My kids love them.
I wanted to make these adorable snowmen I saw over at The Decorated Cookie blog, but time got away from me. You can see the step by step directions to make him HERE.

Congratulations to PVE Designs for winning The Miracle Chase Giveaway. She will receive the 5 Miracle Chase books and the $25. Starbucks Gift Card. We will be anxious to hear how she and her girlfriends enjoy the book, and hopefully how it brings them even closer together. The authors have offered to Video Chat in to the women's get together. We will be anxious to hear how it goes.
Finally, please remember to enter our 3 Fine Grains Giveaway. Enter by Sunday at 6 pm to win this gorgeous Grainsack Christmas Tree. To enter click HERE.
Enjoy this wonderful Holiday week and check back on Sunday night for the winner!! I am off to make Pizzelles and get ready for the party.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The 3 Fine Grains Giveaway!!!

Several years ago when I met Kimberley Fraser, owner of 3 Fine Grains, she was just starting out. An accomplished Interior Designer turned Antique Textile Artist, Kym had the wonderful idea of creating, furniture, pillows and other accessories from Antique French and German Grainsacks.

Her textiles are authentic, original, antique grain sacks. As I have mentioned in the past, these textiles are very expensive and as such Kym's beautiful items are really heirlooms to treasure

Today we are seeing the grainsack trend everywhere but Kym was a pioneer and one of the first. You might have recently seen Kym's pillows in Country Living Magazine. You see a magazine editor was visiting me and admiring my pillows from Kym. I was so happy to tell her all about 3 Fine Grains. She contacted Kym and several months later there were Kym's beautiful pillows on the pages of the October issue of Country Living! I was so thrilled for her!!

Kym has become so popular via the blog world and through her website that she has just opened up her own shop in Agoura Hills, CA called A Beautiful Mess.

The shop is gorgeous and chock full of antiques, textiles and other fabulous goodies.
I am always excited to hear about her new designs. In my experience 3 Fine Grains will always be on the cutting edge of the home accessory trends. In fact, watch for the January Issue of Romantic Homes Magazine for an article about Kym's store A Beautiful Mess! Kym's designs are getting very sought after and she is on the rise.
Unfortunately we don't all live near A Beautiful Mess, but you can call Kym and she will send out what ever you see here on Willow Decor ! Here are some of my favorites:

I love these grainsack rosettes ($25), created with found objects and bling! They can be Christmas ornaments or tie them to a wine bottle to create a really spectacular gift.

Or look at these amazing grainsack Christmas stockings ($69). They also come embellished with the grainsack rosettes ($95).

Or these spectacular doves made with antique French Linen and antique button eyes. They really stole my heart. As with all of Kym's designs, because they are antiques and one of a kinds, there is a limited supply.
Because Willow Decor was the first to introduce the blogsphere to 3 Fine Grains, Kym has always had a special place in her creative little heart for us.
So in the spirit of the Holiday season Kym is giving us this wonderful Grainsack Christmas Tree. It measures 15 x 15 and retails for $325.00. Handcrafted out of antique German Grain sacks, the tree would look gorgeous in any room in your house.

The trees come in three sizes - Small which is our Giveaway Tree, Medium which is 19 X 19 and retails for $400, and Large which is 23 X 25 and retails for $495. I almost don't want to give it away. Nevertheless, it will be sent next Monday to a lucky reader. Here is what you need to do:
Visit the 3 Fine Grains website HERE or if you are lucky enough to live close by go to A Beautiful Mess in Agoura Hills, California.
Come back to Willow Decor and leave a comment on what other beautiful items Kym creates that inspire you.
For an extra chance to win become a subscriber or follower.
I will announce the winner on Sunday, December 19th -and mail the Grainsack Christmas Tree out on Monday so you can enjoy it for the Holidays.

A big Hug and huge Thank You to Kym of 3 Fine Grains for her generosity.
This is so much fun -I feel a bit like Santa - Ho Ho Ho!!!

To Contact Kym at A Beautiful Mess call 818-874-9092
To visit 3 Fine Grains click HERE
To visit A Beautiful Mess on Facebook click HERE
To read my previous posts on 3 Fine Grains click HERE.

(all photos property of 3 Fine Grains)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Splendid Willow Launches a New Store

I am so excited for my friend Monika at Splendid Willow. She has such incredible taste and wonderful eye for style. Monika just launched her new web store Splendid Willow Avenue - click HERE.

She is representing the most wonderful boots and coats from Ilse Jacobsen. I truly love European quality - and these boots are fantastic. They are stylish, waterproof and your feet don't sweat like so many others

And the color choice is amazing!

But perhaps my favorite items are her coats - aren't they so fabulous?!

So check out Monika's new venture HERE.

And don't forget to add your comment to The Miracle Chase Giveaway HERE to win a $25 Starbucks Gift Card and Five Books to share with your closest girlfriends.

Finally, pop back on Sunday to check out my FABULOUS GIVEAWAY from Kym Fraser of 3 Fine Grains or start browsing her store now HERE.

It's turning out to be a very exciting December!!
(all photos property of Splendid Willow and Willow Decor)