A basketcase! A basketcase, I tell ya!!

No, literally, a basket-case. It’s a suitcase that’s a basket. See???

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Obviously this pic was taken in No Mans Land.  Our resident dumping-ground.  Anyways, it’s Spring-cleaning time at Joey’s parents house and Mac no longer needed these suitcase baskets, so I was more than happy to take them off her hands. Woo-hoo for neat, free stuff!!

They’re casual but cool. And I like ’em. I thought they’d be a neat texture for under the sofa table. The only problem was that they were a lighter, more yellow tone than we currently have going at our house.  So, (cracks knuckles) I decided to change that. I picked up a can of this glorious stuff for 12 bucks at the store…

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Polyshades. A stained finish plus poly requiring only a light sanding to rough up the surface. NOT requiring that every trace of varnish be removed (And angels sang). Where were you, polyshades, when I was refinishing our eight dollar chairs? I definitely would’ve saved myself some grief if I’d known about this product then. For sure.

Anyways, the only parts of the basketcases with a glossy finish were the handles and trim, so I gave them a light sanding with 220 grit sandpaper. Then, I applied one coat with a brush…

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And the following day, I applied another…

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It’s hard to tell the difference in tone in these pics because of the lighting change (I applied the first coat in the evening and the second the following morning when it was light and bright with lots of shadows), but just trust me when I say that there was a significant increase in richness with the second coat.  Here’s what we started with for reference…

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…And dunzo. Shortest tutorial ever, eh? It was that easy. I definitely recommend applying this stuff outside as it’s pretty fumey, but aside from that I have no other notes. It was straight forward and easy to use. I let the basketcases sit outside for a good day and then brought them in and put them to work. And here they are in action….

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Their actual color is definitely closer to the farther pics… the close-up shot makes them appear way more yellow than they are in real life.  I have to say, I smile every time I see them.   They add some great natural texture to contrast the sleek metal-encased succulents. And I love that they aren’t just another basket. They have interest and detail. And the new rich tone goes SO much better with our coffee table and media cabinet. Plus, they provide additional storage!  Three cheers for that!! Now, if only the perfect chair for the head of our table would enter my life… Then, this area would be pretty complete (for now, anyways).

Treeeeeeeeees!!!

Our Christmas tree(s) are up. Hallelujah! And here’s our main tree…

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I know what you’re thinkin’… Why there?? The logical, practical place for a Christmas tree in our house is in the front room, centered on the window. There’s more room up there, plus the tree would be seen from the street, which is nice. The thing is, when it comes to my (ahem, our) Christmas tree, I’m not logical. Not practical. I’m selfish. TOTally selfish. I want that sucker visible for us to admire as much as humanly (treely?) possible. And while we definitely use the front room, we’re not in it as much as the living room. So, after trying a few spots for the best placement, we settled on this.  Squeezed between our media cabinet and fireplace. Visible from living room, kitchen and dining nook. It’s the first thing we see when we walk out of our bedroom in the morning. Nice. I can deal with a bit of space crampage if it means a month of sparkly tree enjoyment.

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For adornment, we went with a silver, burgundy and deep green theme. Partially sheer, striped silver wire ribbon simply looped down from the top. Strands of silver beads. Colored, round ornaments in various sizes. Plastic, glittery snow flakes and a few randoms to break it all up. Super simple.

We have a nice tree skirt, but it didn’t mesh well with our dark floors (it’s a dark olive color that looked great with the floors in our last house, but here, not so much). So, I used an old white curtain and draped a faux sheepskin over top instead. FYI, the Santa dances. And is awesome.

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We need a tree topper, so I’ll have to think something up for that. We’ve gone without one for years now because I was lazy uninspired. I’m more motivated this year, so we’ll see what comes out of my crazy brain.

Our other tree is our Charlie Brown Tree….

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Ignore the cord… it’s been too icy over here in TEXAS (right???) for me to drive to the store to get a suitable, hideable extension cord which will allow for cord camouflage. But it will happen.  Anyways, doesn’t this teeny tree remind you of the spindly, little tree from A Charlie Brown Christmas??? It even has two (yes, two) blinking lights (the rest are constant), which remind me of the random enlarging/spinning stars in the sky at the end of the show when Charlie’s trying to save the tree. We originally wanted to decorate it using some wooden ornaments (made by Joey’s dad) along with some other homemade gems. So, it started out looking like this….

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…Meh. The basket was a bit blah, and the ornaments were too big and too few. I decided to paint the bottom of the basket to make it pop. I used simple black craft paint that I’ve had for a hundred years (I’m totally channeling Dane Cook here… “I got home from work today and took, like, a Hundred Hour Nap… NO YOU DID NOT..You’d be very sick if you were taking hundred hour naps. That’s a coma, say you took a coma after work and I can follow the story!”). So, anyhoo, this paint is ancient. But it worked….

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I simply chose a row on the basket roughly halfway up to use as my stopping point and free-handed the top row with a small craft brush. Then, I filled in the basket below with paint (sorry, no pics). In the end, it looked like this (It’s still partially wet in this pic)….

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I hung three stockings that my mom embroidered for us below it.

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I tried them on the fireplace first, but they were GINORMOUS. Our fireplace looked like it belonged in the Keebler Elf House while they were up there. I couldn’t bear not displaying them, though, so I decided that our little hallway alcove was as good a spot as any and went for it. I used a few 3M utensil hooks to hang them. Easy peasy.

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I decided to use the ornaments atop the stockings, instead of on the tree. I definitely prefer the tree bare to decorated now that I see it. For sure. Then, I added a few burlap bows to hide the hooks (which might not stay… I’m not usually a bow person, so we’ll see if they survive the holiday season.  They’re annoying me in these pics.  But are strangely charming in person. So, it’s a toss up.).

So, those our our trees this year. What kind of trees do y’all have this year?