Home Comforts

I am growing very tired of communal living.

I know that it could be worse. I no longer live in a dorm full of women, I no longer even have a roommate. However, I do have to hear things from my neighbors every day. Upstairs neighbor has a barking, restless dog and has been known to have the TV on high volume 24 hours a day. Next door neighbor occasionally screams at her kids or gets drunk and sings Christmas carols. Plus there are some wind chimes that are annoying the heck out of me. At least I don’t have to live like my brother when he was in his twenties, with six to ten squatters at a time in an unheated Quonset hut.

However, I am ready to have my own house. And when I do, I will splurge on something that I really, really want but don’t want to install (let alone leave) in an apartment: The Nest learning thermostat.

This is the best thermostat out there. It learns. Yes, that’s right. As you adjust your thermostat, it determines when you have the most need for heat and when the heat should be turned down. It meets your needs before you tell it. It also shows you when you’re saving energy. I can’t explain it as well as the video, but it is pretty amazing.

In other house-related news, I inspired someone! After my post on the Christmas branch, my friend Elizabeth decided to give it a try, and tweeted me this picture:

Look how gorgeous her nature-inspired branch is! The tree component came from her own yard, the ribbon she had on hand, and then she bought the glass ornaments. Inexpensive, lovely, and safely out of the hands of her pre-schoolers. Yay, Elizabeth!


Oh, Christmas Branch!

I have spent a couple of Christmases in Scandinavia with my extended family.  My parents have always embraced the Nordic Christmas traditions, so it was all pretty familiar.  But my aunt, the perfect hostess and decorator, showed me something new–a Christmas branch.

Similar to the branch seen here, my aunt instead took a piece of curly willow about a yard long, and hung it from the ceiling horizontally.  Then she put a small selection of gorgeous ornaments on it.  It brightened a corner of the living room that otherwise had no Christmas decor.

This is the perfect solution for a small apartment with no room for a tree.  Those who are traveling for the holidays and don’t want to have to worry about a dying tree in their house would also benefit.  Even a house with a tree (or multiple trees) could use this idea to decorate a corner, hang over a doorway (put your mistletoe on it!), or to act as a swag over your holiday table.

Of course, if yo0u choose this, you have to put your swankiest, most bedazzled ornaments on it!  No scratched up or boring ornaments.  My choice would of course be Danish–high-end Danish design jeweler Georg Jensen has new ornaments every year in limited editions.  I collect these; every time someone goes to visit the fam, they bring me one back, even if it’s in the middle of summer.  They are plated with 24-carat gold.


One way or another, break out the pretties for this idea!

Do you have a great Christmas decorating idea to share?