December 31, 2010

See you all next year!

I've had a wonderful time this year starting the Barker House Love blog and sharing all the craziness in our lives.  I hope you've enjoyed it!  

We'll be opening our presents today after Andrew gets home, then we'll be off to travel up north to visit family for the holidays.  If I don't hear from you before the new year, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas filled with laughter, good food, and gratitude to our Savior on His birthday! 

Happy Christmas!!!

Happy New Year!

December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Cheers to a Christmas filled with loveliness.

December 22, 2010

super cute holiday freebies!

Fossil is spreading some Christmas cheer with free e-cards and wallpapers!  I love how whimsical and slightly vintage they feel.  My favorites are the air-brushed candy canes on the bottom and the plaid trees on the upper left.

Cute, right?  Download the e-cards here and the wallpapers here.

December 20, 2010

Get Inspired: The art of Anthropologie

Anthropologie's Rockefeller Center store front windows just won some huge awards for excellence, so I thought I'd share.  If these windows don't inspire you, I'm not sure what will!  I frequent the Northlake and Southpark locations often for creative inspiration.  And really amazing clothes. ;)

 If this next image was of better quality I would totally want a canvas print of it to go over the fireplace for the holidays.  LOVE all the texture, color and whimsy.

These next two are a lot of fun and totally doable on a smaller scale for a house.  How fun would it be to have something like that in your foyer?!

This image is my fav.  The thought of an oversized branch and pine cone is genius, I tell you, genius!

Did you know that Anthropologie takes volunteers for their store front windows?  They all get together in the mall after/before hours and repurpose everything from glass jars to damaged books to make these lovely designs each season.  One of these days, I'll have to go to one.  I'd probably learn a lot!

When I look at most Anthro displays, the first thought that pops in my mind is that I wonder how much TIME it took to do that.  Seriously.

December 16, 2010

Ideas For Next Year

While I'm officially spent on DIY decor for this year's holiday season, I've already started pulling ideas for next year.  I'm SO EXCITED to decorate the outside of the house next year with uplights, festive wreaths and lots of white (and possibly a touch of red) mini lights.  It will be my first attempt ever at exterior holiday decor.  SO SO EXCITED!  I'll also be attempting a cable knit tree skirt, a few more ornaments, the amazing crown tree topper mentioned in an earlier post, wreaths for the hallway, fun soaps for the guest bathroom, etc.  Eventually I'd love to have holiday replacements for every canvas print I have throughout the house.  That means I'll probably have to go out in the snow and take some pictures this year.  Sigh.

I have always wanted a Christmas card holder.  This one is perfect for right above the fireplace and seems pretty easy to do as well!  Get the how-to here.

These lovely cookie inspired ornaments are made from clay and baked in the oven.  The color scheme here is lovely, but it doesn't exactly go with my tree, so I'll opt for a more monochromatic look.
Full DIY here.

Next year, I will definitely do some fun things with wrapping paper.  A gift is so much more personal when presented in a way that the recipient knows you spent time on it.

Now that I have just under 4 lbs of unused felt in my guest bedroom closet, I may attempt a project like this.  It's so simple and so chic.  I know, I know.  It will take a ton of time.  But it's fun, right?!

I need to go through our old photos and do this ornament idea.  It's just too cute not to use.

Do you have any holiday-inspired DIY projects in the works?  If so, I'd love to hear what you're thinking of doing!

December 13, 2010

Get Inspired: Photography {Summer}

I want summer back.  I realized it this morning when I got out of bed and was cold from head to toe. After a long shower that did not fully raise my internal temperature, I was sure of it.  Here's a few images that remind me of summer in a soft way.

This color palette is on my radar for my living room.  So maybe I'll have a hint of summer even in the coldest of months!

December 8, 2010

Trust Your Instincts

"I am not crazy!"  I shouted this at the top of my lungs.  It was 11:30pm.  I was lying in bed.  Andrew was snoring, of course.

It all started when I told Andrew of the idea I had for a tree topper I had in mind to make.  I told him I'd love to do something relating to Jesus without being corny or too literal.  So, how about a crown?  A white, snowy, almost mystical crown.  You know, like something you'd see in Narnia or an old book of fairies.  I explained that all I'd have to do would be to cut branches and spray paint them white then add silver and cream touches like balls of wool felt or ornaments or glass balls.  I didn't get through my whole explanation, though.  You see, he was looking at me like I was certifiable.  A crown for the top of a tree.  Yeah, OK.  Whatever you say, Rachel.

So, I dropped it.  I thought maybe I would just buy a star like everyone else on the planet.  Then, at 11:30pm at night while lying in bed looking through, I came upon this:

This amazing piece of art is available for a mere $428.00 from  It's a tree topper and if I could have put a picture to what I was trying to explain to Andrew, this would have been it.  I was planning to make mine for about $12, though.  My screams woke Andrew up, which was so convenient. (hehe)  I then proceeded to rub the $428 price tag in his face until he began to snore again.

I will not be buying a star for the top of our tree like everyone else on the planet.  I will be making a tree topper next year in the shape of a crown, and it is going to be fabulous.  And that's that.

Trust your instincts.

December 6, 2010

Oh my doodness what a wittle cutie patootie

Emma is totally getting into Christmas this year.  And she won the ugly sweater contest, too. :)

Festive Centerpiece

My dining room table needed a little holiday cheer, so I used what I had...and a little candy. :)  The entire arrangement cost me $4, thanks to already purchasing the apothecary jars.

I bought a bag of pine cones last year after Christmas on close-out at my local grocery store for $1.  The acorn tops, I found in our neighborhood during one of our daily walks.

I have had the multi-colored ornaments for a few years now.  Way back when, I hung them from our dining room chandelier.  It was super cute, but I thought this was just as cute - and a lot less work!

December 3, 2010

Barker Christmas Traditions

I have always LOVED Christmas.  But Andrew is a scrooge.  When I realized this, I may have said out loud "Oh my gosh, how did I marry you and not know this?!"  Drama queen?  Yes.  To offset Andrew's scrooginess, I decided to create a few new traditions that could possibly get him into the holiday spirit.  The first?  A second Christmas tree.  If it was up to me, we'd have a dozen trees,'s not up to me. :)  This tree has a special purpose, though!  Every year, we make something together for the tree.  It could be cute, funny, or even down-right ugly.  That's the fun of it!  Over the years, we've gathered these decorations and attached them onto the saddest, Charlie Browniest tree ever.  And here it is.  The Barker tree.
Another tradition is to buy an ornament to add to our tacky tree.  We hunt and hunt for the ugliest ornaments we can find.  Andrew's for this year is on the left.  Mine is on the right.  Andrew totally won for ugliest ornament this year.

Since I made an entire tree of new ornaments this year for the other tree, I was not wanting to put a ton of effort into my homemade ornament for the tacky tree.  This is supposed to fun, right?  So I made a family of acorns.  Easiest ornament EVER.  Two felt balls, acorn tops I found on our daily walks with Emma, hot glue, and a power drill to create holes in the top of the acorn to thread the wire.  

I would LOVE to hear about any fun or interesting family traditions you have!  Christmas or not.  But preferably Christmas. :)

December 2, 2010

Get Inspired: Photography {Winter}

Yeah, yeah. I know there are actually people out there that like winter. I am not one of those people, but I thought I'd try a color palette that reminds me of those snowy days...that I could also live with. :)  The wispy, pale colors in these inspiration images are what I plan to go for in the guest room.  Calming, peaceful, relaxing.  But still warm.  Even in winter, still warm.

A Very Merry Living Room

This is our first Christmas as homeowners.  When I was growing up, I tried to redecorate my mom's Christmas tree in a less shall-we-say tacky way.  She used to get so mad!! haha  She would say, "Rachel, when you get your own house you can decorate it however you want.  Until then, we're doing things my way!".  Needless to say, as soon as I was able, I decorated however I wanted. :)  

We set up our larger tree in the living room right by the fireplace.  I love waking up, turning on the fire, plugging in the lights to the Christmas tree and cuddling up with Emma before breakfast.  It makes the cold of winter almost worth it.

I have lots to do to finish up with my tree, but I'm thinking that will probably happen next year.  A tree topper is at the very top of the list, but I'd also like to make a sweater-like skirt and a few more ornaments.  Next year, Rachel.  Next year.
So, this is the felt garland I have been pining for.  I first saw it at West Elm and thought "Sixteen dollars for six feet of garland?!  I could totally make that."  So I ordered 4lbs of natural sheep's wool from Pennsylvania, looked up how to roll felt balls on youtube, and got to work.  What I didn't realize is that it takes approximately fifteen minutes to roll one ball.  Yes, one ball.  So, I went back to the internet and noticed it was possible to roll them in pantyhose and stick them in the washing machine.  So I bought a bunch of pantyhose and rolled about 75 balls.  I was so excited at this point for finally cracking the code.  Only when they came out of the washing machine, they were cracked and mis-shapen.  FAIL.  I tried recovering, reshaping, etc.  I ended up with a total of a little more than 50 small balls in a total of 12 hours of work.  I estimated that I needed about 800.  That ended up being a gross underestimation.

I cried.  Andrew saw me cry.  Andrew bought me nine strands of felt garland from West Elm.  Fin.

The other two ornaments on the bottom?  I actually made those as well as about 50 others for the tree.  You can read about them here and here.

The rest of the living room area was decorated very simply.  I've had the pillows for a few years.  Got them at Pier 1 Imports I think.

Next year, I'll do something more elaborate with the mantel, but I had to at least show you our cute-as-a-button stockings.  

I'd love to hear from you! Have you done anything crazy fun for decorations this year?  Show me, show me!