Come On In...It's COLD Outside!!!

Every Christmas...And I mean EVERY CHRISTMAS, My husband (bless his heart) questions the size of our Christmas tree. He thinks it can only be 7 feet tall and I always say 8 or 9. Our home has old and new bones with low ceilings, but my theory is - buy it taller and cut from the bottom so you still get a nice full tree. Genius right?  We may look like we're having fun, a happy couple bundled in our winter gear, eyeing one tree after the next, up and down, but kid you not, we are bickering back and forth until Jay finally throws up his hands and says, "Fine, get whatever tree you want." Romantic yes?  At this fun point, I usually go back to the car to get warm as Jay and the nice young men strap the tree I picked out to our car. Magically, by the time we get home and get the tree cut and up, Jay realizes once again, that it is the perfect tree!  Every year I say, "Now remember this next year," but he never does. So it looks like our Christmas tree bickering will continue for many years to come. JOY!

I usually am so excited to get all the decorations out, but this year, I pulled out all of my Christmas buckets and bins and nothing looked worthy. I didn't know if I should  try to recreate what worked last year, or start completely over. I questioned EVERYTHING that I pulled out of those boxes. Is this too old? Does this look country? Why do I still have this? This year, I had to ask myself over and over, "How am I going to make this special again?"

It always starts out as a struggle (just like buying the tree with Jay) and somehow ends up over the course of many days (actually weeks) to be just the right feeling I wanted to portray. The sad part is, I finally get it the way I want and then it's time to take it all down again. Ahhhh...So much work, but so worth all the effort!

living roomThe light off Lake Minnetonka creates a stunning winter warmth. Here, the mantle, in my opinion was still missing something...But what? It would be a few more weeks before inspiration would kick in (Thank you Mark D. Sikes for your book, "Beautiful,") and I added blue and white touches to get just the right look. 

2c630e70-1dfc-476b-8d0b-e19da1c126dfI went through my pantry and decided that this stunning  Juliska soup tureen would be a beautiful touch of blue and white. There is something so fresh and classic about this, that I am just in love with it. The lemon cypress tree was a gift from a wonderful friend and florist, Designer Blooms. 

19b748b5-c9da-4535-87fe-2a80f22bf697I have always been obsessed with boats, clipper ships in particular (I have an obscene amount.) My boys always try to steer me away from antique stores that have boats in them, because who has time to watch mom pick up every boat in the store? Living on a lake, I am now in love with all kinds of boats. My tree shows this love with one of my favorites from John Derrian and Company.  Honestly, if you are in NYC head to the East Village and browse his shops. Yes, plural!! There are three in a row and honestly, it's a wonder people don't see me skipping around like a lunatic. So many sweet finds, this pretty paper boat being one of them. a3ba40eb-5925-4440-876f-08b573275269AHHHH-MAZING isn't it? Also, a John Derrian find! Vintage art painted on wood. Look at him dashing through the snow...Honestly, I think my heart stopped beating for a good ten seconds here, which is a good indicator that this special piece HAD to be a part of Sweet Shady Lane.


More blue and white and can you even stand that it is in a clipper ship container? Again, heart stopped beating! Found this gem at English Traditions in Florida. This charming nautical nutcracker has an anchor on his hat and I love him! Flowers by, Designer Blooms never cease to make me happy!04618497-499f-45fb-bffe-f2dad654a623Traditional greens look too heavy in my house with all the white wood work, so I opt for preserved boxwood to add just the right amount of Christmas magic. I found this particular boxwood on sale (YAY) at Ballard Design two years ago and it has held up very well. I love the different shades of color and depth in the balls that hang from champagne colored ribbon. It's not your traditional red Christmas, but it's warm, classic and inviting. 

img_8842The mantle is finally finished! I added two small blue and white containers with greens to carry out the inspiration from the soup tureen. And now I'm sitting back looking at it all, wondering why I ever questioned myself in the first place!  I have to remember that good design doesn't happen over night...It shouldn't. Let things EVOLVE. Be INSPIRED. And find JOY in the little details.



dd1d3bf8-5e86-47ce-9192-fd2211d595f8 P.S Are you following @sweetshadylane on instagram? Lets be friends.