Archive | December, 2015

On Taking Down the Tree

Taking down the Christmas tree is always bittersweet, isn’t it?  There’s a part of me that wants to unpack from our travels, clear out the clutter, purge the unnecessary, and get back into our “routine” as soon as possible.  That same routine I couldn’t wait to depart from just weeks ago.  Ironic, right?

But as soon as I start undressing the tree, removing each ornament, I’m overcome with a desire to savor, to treasure, and to remember.

I start with the simple ball ornaments.  They’re easy to find and easy to remove.  Most of mine are shatterproof, too.  They get tossed into a big plastic box that was labeled “ornements, ornements, ornements, Merry Christmas!” by an enthusiastic 7 year old.  Sometimes when I’m setting up the tree in late November, surrounded by flailing overly-excited children, I think I will leave it only with these.  They look pretty and bright. Easy to put on, easy to remove and pack away.  That would be much easier wouldn’t it?

taking down the tree 3

But I always continue.  The next layer for me are breakable ball ornaments.  I bought these because I like the color and I love how they shine.  They are more fragile, so I had hung them myself, a little higher.  This year, as I’m gently removing them one by one, my thumb goes right through one.  Just a tiny cut, no blood, and little thin shards of glass everywhere that are almost impossible to find.  Now an empty spot in the box that will remain.  I already know what it will remind of next year- the pain of an impending loss in our family.  My grandma whom we dearly love, awaiting her last breath in a hospital in another state.  That pain is much worse than my thumb and I feel the tears burn my eyes.

taking down the tree 2

The next layer of ornaments I can’t really fit into a category because they are all so different.  Every one has a memory and a meaning-  we have so many by now and we’ve only been married 11 years.  Many were given to us, some bought as souvenirs of travels or markers of big events in our lives.  “Baby’s First Christmas.”  “Our First Home.”  A framed ultrasound from 2009.  A blown glass New York City taxi.  Many were from Paul’s aunt and uncle as he was growing up, one for each year. His uncle passed away just two years ago, but his aunt continues the tradition now, one for each of the kids.   They will have their own collection of ornaments when they’re grown.  Some have their own boxes that must be carefully wrapped and returned.  Taking these down is the sweet and careful work of re-wrapping and remembering.

taking down the tree

Then there are the hand made ornaments: the pictures, the snowflakes, the preschool photos, the hot-glued reindeer.  Back when it was November, I was wondering did we really need this many?  I was in a rush to get a jump on the holiday season, get my house ready for the friends we would host, prettied up for the pictures we would take.  I just wanted to get it just right so I could enjoy it all and take it all in.  We take these down in a bit of a rush too, ready to be finished with this chore by now.  They go into a bag, stacked on top of everything else.

We remove the garland and lights, our hands pricked by the dry branches.  The once feathery cypress is now brittle and cracking, leaving evidence of Christmas past all over the floor.  I reach both hands in to steady the top while Paul unscrews the base and the fresh evergreen scent is unexpected and overwhelming.  It still smells like it did when we first put it up, even if it doesn’t feel it or look it anymore.

Now is the slow work that doesn’t end with a pretty picture.  There is no reward of cozy lights.  Only a pile of needles that blend with the toys as I reflect on the year.

taking down the tree 4

There has been simple beauty, for beauty’s sake.  There has been fragility, pain.  Maybe even a “shattering” or two.  There has been great joy and meaning.  Fulfillment and celebration.

And now, as I vacuum up the remnants of the once lucent tree, I know that there is also hope.  Because isn’t that what the New Year is for?  One of my favorite songs says about the New Year that it’s “another chance to catch a glimpse of what is coming true.”  Because He’s making all things new.  He’s already with us… Immanuel.  Its what we’ve celebrated and now cleaned up and put away.

And now, Lord, make us new.

Happy New Year.



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Merry Christmas from The House of Figs

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, from our family to yours…

In lieu of Christmas cards this year, Paul made a fun video of our tree cutting and decorating… be sure to watch all the way to the end.  Those crazy kids were so hyped up on Christmas cheer and at that point, I told them to take it outside, haha!

The other videos he’s made for this site can be found here.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

xoxo Bethany

Merry Christmas // The House of Figs

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Last Minute Gift Ideas

Do you have all your Christmas shopping done?  I’m pretty much finished, just have a little more wrapping to do.  I thought I’d share a few last minute gift ideas though in case you’ve got a few more people on your list to buy for!

For the creative in your life:

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic

This one is on my Christmas list, so I haven’t read it yet but I’ve been hearing good things about it from several different sources.  I’m excited to read and share more but the tagline already has me hooked: Creative Living Beyond Fear.

For the kids in your life:

The Book with No Pictures

The Book with No Pictures

I bought this for my kids this year after reading it in the store and laughing out loud.  They still love being read to and I know they’re going to think its hysterical.

Ella Bella Ballerina

Ella Bella Ballerina

We have several of the books from this series and they are just dreamy.  I love the stories just as much as my kids do and the illustrations are beautiful as well.  They’re educational too because Ella Bella always learns the story of a famous ballet (in this case, Cinderella).

For the fashion lover in your life:

HUGG Bracelet

HandUp Global Goods has a couple of beautiful new bracelets including this new Lou-Lou chunky wrap bracelet that comes in black & silver.  All of their products are hand made in Haiti by artisans paid a fair wage.  I LOVE this company!!

Horn Lariat Necklace

Next up, I love this Horn Lariat necklace from Noonday Collection.  Its actually on my Christmas list this year.  Noonday is another company that I absolutely love and if you order today it will arrive by Christmas!  They also have the option for e-gift certificates.  Perfect if you’re just not sure what to get.

Slip-on Women’s Converse

Shoreline ConverseI just bought myself a pair of these and while I do have a pair of the traditional converse, let me tell you these are so much easier.  I love not having to tie them.  Maybe I should have titled this one “For the lazy person in your life.” Ha!  They’re perfect really for anywhere.  They look great with skinny jeans, leggings, my black sweatpants that I wear to the bus stop in the morning that I try to pretend like I didn’t sleep in…

For anyone in your life:

A gift from Compassion’s Gift Catalog

Compassion Gift Catalog

Earlier this season, we got a copy of this catalog in the mail.  I let my kids look through it and they each picked out a few things they wanted to “get” for Christmas.  I was then able to pay for them online and then personalize these cards for my kids that they’ll receive on Christmas morning.  It was so sweet for me to see their faces and glimpses of their hearts while they were picking out what they wanted.  They were each drawn to completely different things.  Compassion is a ministry near to our hearts and I love that its a way we can involve our kids.  I pray that they will always have a tender place in their hearts for others, that they will love God and love others, not just at Christmas, but all the time!

Compassion :: The House of Figs

Its not too late to still order something from their catalog online and then have a card emailed to you to print out and give to someone on Christmas morning!  My mom did this for us last year and it is such an amazing gift to receive.

So what are some of your favorite gifts to give and receive?  I’d love to hear!

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Christmas Tour, Part Two

Last week I shared with you our living room and today I’ve got just a little more to share.  I don’t do much Christmas decor anywhere else, but my big kids like to decorate their rooms a little.  They each have their own small trees and ornaments and we also do a little tree with colorful lights in the playroom.
Christmas Playroom // The House of Figs

After she decorated her little tree, my daughter kept saying, “I want it to be MORE Christmassy!!!” Ha!  I dug around my boxes and came up with what I had.  This seemed to make her happy.

Christmas Girl's Room // The House of Figs

Christmas Tour // The House of Figs

Here’s my oldest son’s room- a tree and some garland with twinkle lights.

Christmas Boy's Room // The House of Figs

One of my favorite decorations we have are paper snowflakes.  The first year I started making them, I stayed up super late on Christmas Eve trying to make an Elf-inspired Christmas morning for my kids.


Ummm, yeah I’m no Buddy the Elf.  I made about eight snowflakes and then went to bed.  But I saved the ones I made, and that winter, my oldest son wanted to learn how to make them too.  Ever since then, he and I have been making more and adding to our collection every year.

Christmas Tour // The House of Figs

Christmas Tour // The House of Figs

I love that these are the cheapest and simplest decorations that I have but they definitely have the biggest impact and were the most fun to make and hang.  Especially on our new black hallway.  There are a million paper snowflake tutorials out there, but we just usually cut willy-nilly and then are surprised when we unfold and see what we made.  There is a little technique in the folding though.  Here’s a great step-by-step tutorial (with pictures!) on how to fold your paper.

Snowflakes // The House of Figs

Thanks so much for stopping by!

To see the first part of the tour, click here.

If you’d like to see my house when its not Christmas time, click here.

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3 Things I’m Loving Right Now: Video Edition

We interrupt the holiday cheer to bring you cheer in another form: funny videos.

Every once in a while I like to break out of the box and share some things I’m loving at the moment.  You can find the other installments here.  So today I’m sharing some fun videos that have been floating around the web this week as I’m prepping for a big Nutcracker performance that my kids are in tomorrow and a family gathering at my house tomorrow night.  Hope you enjoy and get a few laughs as well as some inspiration.

Anyone else a Downton Abbey fan?  This had me laughing out loud.  Can’t wait for the new season!

This one gave me a laugh…

…and then I had to ask Paul if he needed to join a support group, haha!

This last one is short but so good.  I relate to these words and I think you other creatives, makers, bloggers, writers, etc will get it, too.

THE GAP by Ira Glass from Daniel Sax on Vimeo.

One last thing… thanks for your sweet comments on my Christmas room tour post earlier this week.  That was so fun.  I’ll be back next week sharing more from the upstairs and the kids room, so be sure to stop by.

The House of Figs

Have a great weekend!

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One Room Christmas Tour…

Twas the night before the blog tour and all through the web, I was searching and fretting; it was going to my head.

One Room Christmas Tour

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, “but they’re old, they don’t match, they’re not cute enough to share!”

One Room Christmas Tour

Christmas Decor

The children were nestled all snug in their beds, and I freaked about garlands and flocked trees dancing in my head.

One Room Christmas Home Tour

Away to Instagram I flew like a flash, “why did I enter this contest??” I asked.

Christmas Tour

“I don’t belong, I’m not as good, I need to run back to Target” the thoughts all say.  When what to my wondering eyes should appear?  But a tiny plastic baby nestled in fake plastic hay.

Christmas Home Tour

And then in a twinkling, my doubts disappear.  The decorations are fun and they’re meant to inspire.  But the true inspiration was there all the while.

Christmas Tour

He’s humble, He’s meek; His yoke is easy to bear. He invites me to rest and be at peace with him there.

I so often turn Him down for what I think will fulfill. But tonight, for now, I just need to be still.

Christmas Home Tour

True joy is in Him, and in my darkness, He is the Light.

So, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

One Room Christmas Home Tour

See the rest of my Christmas home here.

If you’re here from My Blessed Life, welcome, and thanks so much for stopping by.  I don’t always write in rhyme, I promise, haha! Next up on the tour is Decor Chick.  You’ll definitely want to check out her beautiful home.

You can find the entire list of links to all the rooms and talented bloggers at Just a Girl Blog.  I am so very honored and crazy excited to have been chosen from my Instagram picture to participate in this tour among all these fantastic and talented bloggers, many of whom have been inspiring me for years.  xoxo- Bethany

Christmas Room 1

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A Modern Farmhouse Bathroom & Guestroom {The Montgomery House}

Last week I shared with you the Montgomery house playroom that I designed (and you can also read a little of the backstory there on the Montgomery house if you’re new around here).

Today, its on to the rest of the upstairs!

The Montgomery House - Upstairs Bathroom WM 1

Just like the rest of the home, I was going for a modern farmhouse feeling.  The cabinets are painted Benjamin Moore’s White Dove and the walls are Olympic’s Silver Dollar.  You can read more about my favorite neutral paint colors here.  We went with simple shaker style cabinets and a mirror with a reclaimed wood look.

Modern Farmhouse Bathroom

Modern Farmhouse Bathroom

You can just barely make out the shower in the mirror above but below are the tile finishes- the white is inside the shower, the black is the rest of the bathroom floor.

Modern Farmhouse Bathroom Tile

The guest room is small and simple, so we wanted to keep it open and fresh- with lots of room for guests and their luggage.  It’s painted the same Silver Dollar as the rest of the house.  My client has a collection of old hand me down quilts and we used one in here on an iron bed frame with simple white sheets and pillow shams.

The Montgomery House - Upstairs Guest Room WM 5

The bamboo shades and collection of baskets on the wall give texture and warmth to the room.

The Montgomery House - Upstairs Guest Room WM 3

We found this fun piece at Homegoods and since it’s a small room, I decided to hang it on the wall instead of using a second nightstand.  For a small guest room it works great as a place for a clock and a few display items.

The Montgomery House - Upstairs Guest Room WM 1

The Montgomery House - Upstairs Guest Room WM 4

This was an amazing house for me to work on, you can see the rest of it here.  I had so much fun with these clients (and friends) and it was even more fun going back on two different occasions for photo shoots with Paul.   He really does make my work come to life in a way that I could never share with you otherwise!

Thanks so much for reading!!  Be sure to check back in on Wednesday for my Christmas home tour!!

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