Homes for the Holidays Photo Tour

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Christmas is magic, a sparkling promise wrapped in tinsel and strung with lights.  As I grow older, I become more and more aware of the gifts this life has given me, and Christmas is by far one of my most cherished.

Our extended family wasn’t a close one, but on Christmas we were. The grandparents and cousins and aunts and uncles would all gather together around a majestic table in their Sunday best, the fine china was brought out and annual treats like lefse and fudge were savored.  The message was clear, Christmas was a special time where treasured traditions were unrolled and shook out, ironed and fluffed, decorated and admired.  I felt all cozy and sparkly just being a part of it.

So when I was asked to participate in the 31st Alpha Gamma Delta Homes for the Holidays Tour my first feeling was sheer excitement. Quickly followed by paralyzing panic. Which was then followed by my frantic calling of all the women in my personal decorating army and begging for back up.  Thankfully, the holiday troops parachuted in and the end result was . . . magical.

Come along with me and experience our Christmas creation we made together. (It only  took two days, one scary tall ladder, 35 plastic totes, gabillion pine needles (that I am still counting) and a whole lot of imagination.) Enjoy!

DSC_0457 (2)DSC_0462 (2)DSC_0468 (2)DSC_0455 (2)My partners in crime on this endeavor were the super talented duo Carrie Brusven, owner of Gathered Boutique Rentals and Events  and Allison Lunde, owner of Floret + Foliage.  When we met to brainstorm just a few weeks before the tour I pleaded with them to make my very unexciting no curb appeal house look oh so inviting from the street.  I definitely think they achieved their goal, don’t you? It was AMAZING. Seriously.

Once our guests arrived indoors, this is the view that greeted them:

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Allison and I did this space and her live garlands were absolutely magical.

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Rounding the corner into the kitchen that included collaboration from all three of us, we made sure every nook and cranny had a Christmas infusion.

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(Yes, you’ll notice that some of these photos were taken at night, others during the day. I was a picture taking machine over the course of the weekend while all of this stuff was up, what can I say?)

The next two rooms were completely decorated by Carrie from Gathered.  We emptied out our personal furniture and contents the night before and let her work her magic in our parlor and formal dining room. Are you guys ready? It is absolutely breathtaking.

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Wide Angle Parlor

I first met Carrie when our wedding planner suggested we hire her to decorate our wedding in 2013.  Her inventory is spectacular! If you are looking to create a wedding day with the stuff dreams are made of, give her a call. (She also styles for anniversaries and corporate events. Any time you need to insert some amazing homey pieces into your atmosphere, give Carrie a call. She is one of the most talented designers I have ever met!)

Now then, that’s not all. Remember I said Carrie decorated the formal dining room, too? You had better be sitting down when you see this. Pull up a chair. You won’t want to leave.

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I could not stop taking pictures of this room.  Her tablescape is one of the most unique and prettiest I have ever seen.  And note all of the wonderful greenery on the chandelier and tucked into the table setting and dessert display?  That was all Allison. Their teamwork epitomized perfection.

Here are a few more shots of these rooms, a few of them were taken at three in the morning when I got up for a glass of water. I could not resist freezing that moment in time forever. This space by the glow of the Christmas tree felt like a dream I wanted to savor.

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The last room is my sun room that I utilize for my home office. I decorated it with pieces from Grace 1972, with a fantastic dough bowl on the ottoman (borrowed from Carrie, of course!).

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In parting, I’ll share additional images of all the little corners we found to sprinkle a little Christmas into . . .

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This two day adventure was one of the most rewarding on the creative front of my life! I am so grateful to have found such talented spirits to share not only this massive creative collaboration with but friendship as well. (You guys are the best!)

Here they are on tear down day, the truth behind the music . . . Carrie Brusven and Allison Lunde. (They had actually just finished tearing down the front step display and were heading in to work on loading up the inside items and I insisted they pose for a quick pic!)

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May their dedication to their personal passions inspire you as much as it inspires me!  This Christmas is already starting out as one of my favorites.

In closing, more than anything my goal for participating in this tour was multi-faceted. Not only was it a great opportunity to give back to the community, as tickets proceeds benefited the Great Plains Food Bank Backpack program, but it was also a chance to inspire others. Our home is very nice and I do feel so blessed, but it is certainly not high end. From the street, it is very unassuming and looks like every other  1990’s house around it (basically).  I was hoping that the guests who toured my home would see that even a very basic home can be decorated for the holidays on a spectacular level! You don’t have to have a fancy address or all the best of this and that, your creativity and love of the holiday is all you need to create a little slice of Christmas magic of your very own.

Peace, Joy and Blessings,

~Audra

P.S. Like I said, at the start I have always loved Christmas.  And to prove that statement, I found a photo of me at my very first Christmas. I am 5 and a half months old, and from the look on my face it is pretty obvious that I have loved this time of year from the very start.

Merry Christmas!

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For to us a child is born, to us a son is given . . . And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

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