Monday, November 30, 2015

Kit Kemp: Design storyteller, adventurer, memory-maker (1/4)

Every Room Tells a Story by Kit Kemp
10/29/15: Hardie Grant Books, Melbourne
256 pages, 296 full-color photographs
12.25 by 9.25 by 1 inch


Storytelling is at the heart of everything I do…

It’s what makes a space intriguing 

beyond being just lovely to look at

it draws you in, captivates your imagination, 

makes you become a part of its narrative 

rather than standing on the outside, 

simply looking in.

—Kit Kemp 


And so begins designer Kit Kemp’s latest book, Every Room Tells a Story, which makes us a part of the narrative of some of the most luxurious boutique (and boho) hotels in the world, if only for the few hours it takes to turn the pages. 

Photos are drawn from Firmdale Hotels in London and New York, which Kemp co-owns with her husband Tim, as well as the couple’s Caribbean vacation home. Fabric, shape and color may move from one room to another, and even one hotel to another, but each hotel and every room within it is unique. 

Linger in these spaces as long as you can, pine over the gorgeous photos, sigh with pleasure at the sumptuous furnishings, and when you reach the end, begin again.

That’s what BoHo Home is going to do, and we’ll bring you four days of Kit Kemp’s storybook spaces this week to relish. Here’s how we’ll parse it:

  • Monday (that’s today, mind you): Story, adventure and detail 
  • Tuesday: Be bold! 
  • Wednesday Design CRUSH: Kit’s whimsical upholstered headboards 
  • Thursday: Words and pictures 

Without further adieu…

Every room should hold surprises to delight both the eye and the mind. Traveling through any of my buildings should be like going on an adventure, full of fun, personality and humor. There should be an intelligent thread that binds the stories of each room together, and only by doing this does a building make sense.
—Kit Kemp

Simon Brown

Lampshades resembling bowls and hats but made from recycled plastic bottles gave the “shade bar” of London's Ham Yard Hotel its nickname. Visible from either end of the long, narrow space, their placement draws guests into the bar...

Simon Brown

...and toward the entrance to the orangeriean atrium filled with comfy seating, folk art, sculpture and, of course, plants. It's the oasis the hotel's public spaces revolve around.

Simon Brown

If that gorgeous and wildly upholstered chair doesn’t draw you toward check-in at the Ham Yard, this glimpse of the library will. There’s so much to take in just in the lobby area, that, I wouldn’t mind a wait.

If we do continue on while the desk clerk finalizes arrangements for our stay...

Simon Brown

…this is the reward—a feast of the eyes for booklovers and design-lovers both! Kemp’s tip for displaying books? Remove the dustjackets to soften the look and then let the colors play.

I gauge the success of a room by how I carry it in my mind’s eye when I leave its presence. The most memorable rooms aren’t necessarily the most dramatic, but the ones where a detail makes me think twice.
—Kit Kemp

The Ham Yard drawing room is nothing if not dramatic, but it’s also been layered with detail. The result? Unforgettable, for sure. 

Simon Brown

The three crystal galleon chandeliers set the pace. Kemp says they remind her of “a sailor returning from his travels with all his treasures intact.” 

From the hand-painted Swedish dresser at the back of the room to the mounted Robina Jack plates flanking the fireplace bookcases, the room is a whirl of precise detail. The mix of fabrics by itself is to die-for.

Simon Brown

We see Kemp’s Moondog design on the wing chairs and a crewel-work fabric in a pattern reminiscent of a Kandinsky painting on a sofa and chair in the same grouping. An 1835 Scandinavian marriage cabinet seems to call out to the Swedish dresser at the opposite end diagonally, which adds to the energy of the room. And Kit says she likes to think of the many-drawered spice chest from India and the white bird on top as two of the treasures that sailor she conjured up brought home with him.

Simon Brown

The crewel "Kandinsky" fabric is repeated in the larger sofa in this secondary conversation area. A smaller sofa in the foreground wears a Raoul African Asafo-inspired fabric. At closer range we notice the whimsical painting and intricate inlaid veneer on the cabinet, which also functions as a desk. “I can imagine a wife writing letters at this secretaire on dark winters’ evenings,” Kit says. The sailor's wife perhaps?

The Philippa Stjernsward painting is the calm spot in the sea of color and pattern, its bright blue pop near the center the room's bindu point. A curated selection of books is available in this room as well as in the library for guests to enjoy stories of their choosing. Everything about the furnishings say sit down, relax, read, take a nap.

These are fun spaces to say the least, and Kemp has designed them with all the care one would give a home—a home away from home in every sense of the word. At upwards of the US equivalent of $560 per night, I would expect no less.

Simon Brown

In a video on the hotel’s website, Kemp says the console beneath the large mirror in the drawing room is “just” an old draper’s table—“a piece of junk really”—that’s made to look important with the placement of the impressive mirror over it and the elegant accessories on top—a tip to remember for our own houses. Who wouldn’t want to take coffee or tea in here?

Simon Brown

Even the china rates Kit's special attention. Mythical Creatures is a collection she designed for Wedgwood, and it calls to mind many of the creatures seen throughout the hotel in textiles and art.

You can imagine someone’s hopes and dreams just by looking at a piece carefully and tracing its newly dyed threads. What matters most is that the piece has soul.

—Kit Kemp

Folk art is a connecting thread not only from public to private rooms within individual Firmdale properties, but also from hotel to hotel.

Simon Brown

Nowhere is the designer’s love of folk art more apparent than in Suite 907 of Firmdale’s Crosby Street Hotel in New York, where the collection she designed for Anthropologie takes center stage. 

The orange Winged White Rhino chairs not unexpectedly “flew” out of stores in a matter of days after their release. The rugs in patterns inspired by Native American weavings, used here both on the floor and as throws on the sofas, are also part of the collection, as is the staggered-plank coffee table and the upholstered dining chair in the foreground.

Simon Brown

The Terrace Suite at The Soho Hotel features one of many uniquely embellished headboards Firmdale rooms—and Kit—are known for. In true folk-art fashion, this one is comprised of cut-out felt and fabric leaves against a denim background. The autumnal hues work throughout the year with the Carey Mortimer painting.

Simon Brown

In the adjacent sitting room, over the door leading into the bathroom is another work of folk art—a lounging woman made from a Monopoly game board by outsider artist Mimi Chanard. The sofa fabric is another of Kit’s design—Bookend—and appears in various colorways in other hotel spaces.

Check back tomorrow for Part 2 in this series: 'Be bold!'

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Friday, November 27, 2015

Friday READ: Menagerie, movie$, maps and makes

Oodles of poodles

So these poodles must be the losers at the French groomers' convention, right? I'm groovin' on those barrettes, though. I think I had ones like them when I was a little squirt, and I've been looking around for something to clamp down my cowlick.

My hair issues aside, get the full scoop from Design Love Fest on this most Parisian of breeds who, it turns out, isn’t French at all.

Panda, peacock, fox or horse?

You’ve heard of a spirit animal, but how about a decorating patronus? Take the quiz to find out which animal defines your style. Eight questions, track how many times you choose A, B, C or D to find out “your” animal. Each comes with a description and link to a style guide.

Heads up on question #3: It asks you which TOUR you most identify with, so follow the links and see each home rather than making your decision based on one photo.

BTW, I am a peacock. Do you think that fits me? Sometimes I do and sometimes not. Share your results and whether you agree in the comments.

How much to live inside a Christmas movie?

Still dreaming about that cute little Cape Cod from Miracle on 34th Street? Turns out it’s not so little and it’s in the Chicago ‘burbs, not the Big Apple. Find out how much you need to save to make it yours, along with the value of five other homes from some of our fave Christmas movies.

Map out your design style

I live about halfway between Chicago, IL, and Columbus, OH, which appears to be in a design/décor vacuum. Do damask and plaid mix? If I lived somewhere more chic, I’d know. Never thought I’d be interested in moving to Texas, but I’m liking that geometric/paisley vibe.

Data is based on print sales at Spoonflower. Follow the link for the full dose.

Where you live also impacts your chances of getting asked over

Well, that’s not exactly how D&B worded it, but you get my drift: If no one’s playing host where you live, no one’s getting asked over either. Again, I seem to be on the western fringe of the eastern vacuum.

Follow the link for the full story, plus popular décor purchases by state, where I lose out once more. Someone show me the middle road between bar carts in Illinois and mule mugs in Ohio, please!

Time to get those hands craftin'! 

Gather your cookie cutters, a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter and a bag of birdseed, and have some fun. I may try these myself and hang them from my squirrel corn feeder. Love them birdies!!

How did I miss this one for my Have a snowy birch bark holiday with me post on Monday? The hardest part will be cutting out those bark squares. Maybe you can buy them pre-cut? Be sure to check out my Birch Bark shop for crafting supplies. If you don’t see what you need, use the Amazon search window.

These sell for mega-bucks whether they’re made from vintage ornaments or new, mercury glass or plastic. This giant one uses swim noodles for the base (who'da thunk?) and looks surprisingly easy. A great way to give your space a rich look and/or give pride of place to ornaments you saved from childhood. 

Or five plus this cool paper one made from old book pages. A great gift for booklovers and a wreath that could work year-round with a change of accessories. Follow my link for photos, then look at the source links beneath each one for tutorials.

Since one of the ideas is to “make it messy,” some of us will always be on-trend. Follow the link for the full list and some darn cute suggestions, including this Nordic-boho tree.

Happy Black Friday to all!
Here’s one of my favorite chanteuses to kick off your holiday shopping orgy

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

This is your lucky day

When I first saw this photo I swear I didn’t notice what a richly beautiful bathroom this was. I only saw the simple message taped to the mirror, and it stuck in my mind just like it's stuck to this mirror. 

Now I see it in my mind’s eye every time I stare into my own bathroom mirror, which, by the way, isn’t gilded and, in fact, needs replaced. It doesn’t matter. Lucky is what I am, no matter what my décor says, no matter what the future holds or doesn’t hold.

You may say we make our own luck through hard work and perseverance, and that’s true to some extent. But how do you explain who’s in the World Trade Center when the plane flies into it? Or listening to rock music at the Bataclan when gunmen start firing? Or sipping espresso at a café where a suicide bomber decides to detonate himself?

If you’re reading this, you’re lucky. 

Not because of any words of wisdom I’m sharing but because you can read it. You’re here. You’re present. You’re alive. And all that may change before the day is out, or tomorrow, or next week, or next year. The only thing any of us really know for certain is that no matter how long we do manage to live, life is too short. 

I get out of bed every day with the same aches and pains and go to work writing. Most of the time I have no idea who, if anyone, reads my words. It doesn’t matter. It makes me happy to write.

I look out a window as I tap away on my laptop. I watch the birds at the feeder, the squirrels digging up nuts buried in the yard, an occasional cat wandering by, the leaves on the Japanese maple deepening to garnet. Soon, too soon, they’ll fall, and the snows will come, but eventually buds will swell and the tree will wear its pinkish leaves again.

I hope I’m lucky enough to be here still to see another round of that.

But for now, I’m going to enjoy today. Our daughter is coming down for brunch, and then we’ll either watch a movie or do some Christmas shopping together on the Internet. Maybe we’ll go out to dinner in the evening. Our holidays are seldom about fuss anymore, and that’s the way we like it because we know just how lucky we are to have each other, a warm house to hold us, food to put on the table, and the freedom to do pretty much as we please.

Whatever you have planned for today, don’t lose sight of the moment—each moment. However full or empty it seems, it is. We are. Here. Now. Just this one time this way.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Gift of recordable storybooks keeps on giving

My nephew Ryan texted me a couple photos over the weekend of his children listening and reading along to the Hallmark recordable holiday storybooks I helped my Dad personalize for them five years ago.

Mom had just passed away in September of that year, and Dad’s health was precarious.

Ryan and family planned to come for Thanksgiving that year, along with his parents. My brother’s family traditionally visited at Thanksgiving, and the day after we always had our Christmas with them. We hadn't exchanged gifts in several years, but when I saw a magazine ad for the books and a coupon, I decided to make an exception.

Turns out Dad was a natural-born narrator (we already knew he could spin a good yarn), and I was a pretty good technical coach. We had fun preparing the books together, and we both enjoyed surprising his great-grandkids. I think their parents—my Dad’s grandkids—were just as thrilled.

This is a gift that keeps on giving, year after year, to all within its reach.

This Friday, a few minutes after midnight, marks two years since Dad passed. But thanks to these books, his great-grandchildren still know his voice and his love for them. My only regret? I wish I'd known about these books sooner and done the same with my Mom. 

Shucks, I wish I had one of these books for myself so I could hear both their voices again!

Building a family tradition

“Each year we bring out the books when ‘Elfie,’ the elf of the shelf, shows up,” Ryan says. “Each night Pap—‘Great Grandpa’—reads to the kiddos.”

Jack—who is 7 and shares a first name with his grandfather (my brother) and two now-deceased great-grandfathers—received Frosty the Snowman. Big sister Kylee received The Night Before Christmas.

A way to talk about the cycle of life

“Kylee was super-emotional last night, but we just hugged her and listened to the story over and over,” Ryan says. “I think she was emotional because she understands more now that she is 9 and knows Pap is in heaven. I tell her that her great-grandparents are always watching and enjoy seeing her and her brothers grow up.”

Ryan’s wife Christy snapped this picture Saturday. "I came up, and she was quietly listening to your Grandpa reading The Night Before Christmas," Christy said to Ryan. "I had to leave the room because I started to cry.”

My brother Jack, responding to the texted photo of his granddaughter making the family rounds, replied, “I DID cry.”

Good therapy

“Honestly, the books are great for the kids and therapeutic for me,” Ryan says. “It's awesome to hear Pap’s voice still. The kids are always excited about it and say, ‘I want Great-Grandpa to read to us.’ Cameron joins in the fun, too.” 

FOUR GENERATIONS (clockwise from upper left): My brother Jack, his son Ryan, Ryan's son Cameron, my dad (a.k.a. Pap and Great Grandpa), and Ryan's older son Jack.

Cameron, who’s 4 now, only “met” my Dad once, when he was about five months old, at dad's 90th birthday bash. Because many miles separate us, I mostly know Cameron through pictures (that sweet smile and those dancing eyes!) and through stories my brother and sister-in-law tell me. He’s full of spirit and fun—lots of attitude—all of which means he and Dad would have been thick as thieves.

Many options

Hallmark offers 22 different recordable titles on its website. Of those, five are Christmas or winter-holiday themed. Read the reviews, but keep a box of tissues handy. Adults with terminal illnesses use these books to say good-bye to and comfort their adult children as well as grandchildren. My nephew is testament to the books’ effectiveness at any age.

These three interactive books allow for both parties in the title to respond to the same questions, providing a unique interchange that lasts a lifetime.

All the books come with easy-to-follow recording instructions that take you through page-by-page. You get infinite “do-overs,” and when you’re satisfied with the “take,” there’s a lock feature so it doesn’t get accidentally erased. One page down, then move on to the next, easy as that punkin’ pie Great-Grammy used to bake.

Did I mention the books also help pre-readers put sounds to words? Well, now you know. So there!

Seriously, neither Kylee nor Jack could read when they received their books, but at 4 and 2 they loved them anyway. The illustrations are beautiful, and the books are extremely durable. Your littles ones will follow along the script while playing each page, just as Kylee and Jack did, and play it over and over to learn the words. 

Special savings for a limited time

Book prices are $24.95 and $29.95. But Hallmark has some special offers coming up for the holidays, so plan ahead and follow the links for details.

Pap Jack’s tip

I initially suggested buying one book for Ryan’s family to share and another for his sister’s family. But Dad immediately and emphatically said, "No," that each of the four children should have his or her OWN book. So that’s what we did: Frosty for the boys, Clement Moore’s famous poem for the girls.

Turns out Dad was right. Again. But this was one time I didn’t mind admitting it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Holly’s colorful cabinet of natural curiosities

Ever since the fall 2015 One Room Challenge reveals a few weeks ago, I’ve been looking and looking and looking again at the boho fun family room done by Holly Hollingsworth Phillips. There’s so much home decor eye-candy here, it’s hard to know where to start the sugar binge. My eyes have put on 10 pounds each just trying taking it all in! 

She promised at the outset it was going to be a wild design, and she wasn’t kidding. But every time I look at it, I find more to love. After all, how can you go wrong with a purple velvet sofa?

The road in

Whenever I’m mesmerized by a particularly well-designed, many layered, and fabulous space like this one, I think subconsciously I’m looking for its “key.” I hate to call it a theme, because that’s so cliché, and if the room is done well, it’s more subtle than that.

It’s more like a secret road in, if you get my drift. Like I said, I don’t consciously go in search of it; it just all of a sudden pops out at me. Like this…

Why these three books, Holly? Here’s what I think:

  • A Visual Life by interior designer Charlotte Moss. The subtitle is “Scrapbooks, Collages, and Inspiration.” Phillips’ room is a sort of scrapbook, collage AND inspiration for color lovers like me who don’t have the guts to take the chances she has. If she can pull it off (which she did in spades!), well, maybe I can try harder. 
  • Cabinet of Natural Curiosities by Albertus Seba. The title speaks for itself, and Phillips’ room is full of “natural curiosities.” No detail, no matter how small, has been overlooked. Phillips' keen eye assembled vignettes with the stunning precision of Seba's painstaking illustrations.
  • La Tour de 300 Metres by Gustave Eiffel, which includes engineering drawings for the Eiffel tower. Interestingly, people called the plan for the tower “grandiose” at the time, and even ugly. Since it was the tallest structure attempted at the time, many also said it couldn’t be done. My guess is Phillips might have drawn similar reactions when she tried to explain (if she tried) what she wanted to do in this room. But like the Eiffel Tower, it now speaks volumes for itself.

This view is from the opposite side of the room, looking into the conversation and TV-watching area. I love how the black ceiling and woodwork pop against the white walls. Together they make an incredible backdrop for this riot of color and pattern.

Under the microscope

Wallpapering the backs of the shelves in this unit was truly inspired. Can it be possible that the books and objets d’art pop even more against the colorful swirls of this paper by Lindsay Cowles? The print, which resembles an ikat to me, is a major unifying factor in the room. It contains the purple of the sofa, the green of the draperies, the pops of yellow and orange. Because the print is itself indistinct, it helps our eyes pull the whole room together.

The black of the cabinet helps make everything stand at attention as well, and within its frame the TV disappears. The animal figurines are more “natural curiosities,” as are the agate slice cupboard knobs. In fact, there’s a real gemstone palette going on here. Rather than the weary emerald/ruby/sapphire combination of precious stones, she gives us the second tier of semiprecious stones—amethyst, malachite, shades of citrine, peridot, blue topaz, and rhodolite garnet.

See? The Cabinet of Natural Curiosities book sits on a cabinet filled with curiosities of its own—mineral-slice lamps with gold-lined shades, a brass skull, and silver and gold boxes topped with turquoise and shell. Even the inset panels of the cabinet doors are a natural curiosity—capiz shell from the windowpane oyster.

This photo also provides a great closeup of the carpet, Karastan Exotics Aberdale Antelope. I’ve been seeing this more and more lately. I love its delicate fawn color and geometric pull of the undulating darker lines.

A compelling collection of art

I always admire a well-put-together gallery wall. I’m pretty good at putting items together, but the tough part is choosing the right art to begin with. The two central prints, between the lamps, are by Kristi Kohut and from Minted. They carry over the color values from the bookshelf side of the room but orient them horizontally instead of vertically, as in the wallpaper backing.

Isn’t the white fur of the ottoman against the carpet just to-die-for? This room is such an exotic romp! BTW, don’t miss the bird on a perch in that far corner and the animal skull over the French doors—more natural curiosities. I told you every little detail was taken care of.

The draperies hung as high as possible help keep the black ceiling from feeling stifling. And while we’re on the subject of those draperies, let’s have a closer look.

The drapery fabric, also used in one of the throw pillows, is Tonic Malachite. Green against purple has always been one of my favorite color combinations. The “lady” painting is by Hayley Mitchell, and I’m groovin’ on her earrings. The orchid is a nice touch, too!

You can see more Mekenzie France photographs of Holly’s new family room at The English Room. Don’t forget to check out links to all six weekly posts that show “before” photos, inspiration boards and project progression.

All I can say is, this room is my new inspiration for my own great room. I’ll be looking at these photos over again and again and trying to bring a bit of the wild and crazy cabinet of natural curiosities to the Lawson domain.

Thanks, Holly!

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Have a snowy birch bark holiday along with me

Nothing says “home” to me quite like the bright white trunk of a paperbark birch tree.

This tree speckled the forests of upstate New York where I grew up. We even had one in our front yard, and I used to compete with friends to see who could peel off the biggest piece of bark.

In Indiana, where I’ve lived since age 13, we have river birch in abundance, but I seldom see a white birch—occasionally in someone’s yard, but never in the wild. Betula papyrifera doesn’t do well here, thanks to heavy clay soil and our regional smorgasbord of pests.

So why not give myself an early Christmas present and decorate for this holiday season with a little shot of white birch bark home sweet boho home?

Sheets and rolls of bark, as well as birch twigs, are available from most craft suppliers, and there’s a seemingly endless variety of birch-bark-themed products out there. Birch partners well with cardinals, bright red berries, pinecones and pheasant feathers. It can be dressy (think flocked snow, silver and white lights) or casual (think burlap, rusty metal and craft paper).

At the very least, it’s a theme I can put to use all winter and possibly beyond. If the birch-bark look is part of the year-round room design, it makes it even easier to dress up for winter holidays.

See what I mean:

a. Birch Trees on White by Avery Tillmon, high-quality paper; 36 by 24 inches, unframed, $17.99; 41 by 29 inches, framed as shown, $143.99. 
b. Safavieh Lightwood Tree Table Lamp, ceramic, clear acrylic base, cotton shade, 27.5 inches high, 100-watt maximum, $129.99. 

c. Candlewick Stripe Bedspread, platinum, 100-percent cotton, tufted and embroidered mirrorwork inspired by Moroccan wedding blankets, $69.99. 

d. Brooklyn & Bond Fine Stripe Sheet set; in grey, navy, red or yellow, all with red-stitch trim; 100-percent cotton, 200 TC, $39.99 to $65.99. 
e. Birch Tree Design Sheer Curtain Panels, 30 by 84 inches, one design split between 2 panels, 100 percent polyester chiffon, $76.99. 
f. Chandler 4 Corners “Gone Skiing” Hooked Pillow, 8 by 24 inches, 100-percent wool front, cotton velveteen back, zip closure, insert included, $45. 
g. Christopher Knight Home Finlay Fabric Chaise Lounge in Grey, hardwood frame, 32.5” H by 27” W by 62” D, $290.99. 
h. Ralph Lauren Winter Lodge Holiday Plush Throw Blanket, 60 by 70 inches, 100-percent polyester, machine wash, tumble dry low, $37.73. 
i. Birch Forest Yellow Lab Hooked Throw Pillow, 18 by 18 inches, 100-percent wool front, velveteen back, removable cover, insert included, $74.99. 
j. Saro Knitted Tassels Chunky Throw, mustard, 50 by 60 inches, acrylic, machine wash, $83.99. 
k. Chandler 4 Corners Back Country Skier Throw Pillow, 18-inch square, 100-percent wool front, velveteen back, zip closure, insert included, $85. 
l. Pillow Perfect Ikat Argyle Throw Pillow, birch, 18.5 by 11.5 inches, 100-percent cotton exterior, 100-percent polyester fill, $28.99. 
m. Red Pickup Truck Yellow Labrador Dog Hauling Tree Throw Pillow, 16 inches square, 100-percent wool front, cotton velveteen back, $74.99. 
n. Flat Owl Birch Forest Throw Pillow Cover, 16-inch square, hidden zipper, 100-percent spun polyester poplin, insert sold separately, $20. 
o. Fred the Moose Recycled Cardboard Sculpture, 25 x 12.5 x 2.8 inches, available in 2 smaller sizes, $54.93. 
p. Bundle of Birch Logs, 8 logs 1.5-2.75 inch diameter, 18-20 inches long. Clean, kiln-dried northern white birch, basket not included, $39.50.

And look how birch bark dresses up a holiday table...

a. RAZ Lighted Birch Grove, 88 warm white LED lights with 10-foot cord and AC adapter, 50,000 hours, indoor use only, $107.99. 
b. Martha Stewart Living Spun Glass Icicle Ornaments, set of 24 in three sizes, $35. 
c. Carmine the Cardinal tabletop figurine, set of 2 handcrafted natural birch bark and powdery snow, 5.5” H x 7.5” L x 3” W, $28. 
d. Birch Bark Taper Candles, set of 2, wax designed to look like birch bark, $20. 
e. Birch Tree Pattern Placemats, set of 6, 20 by 12 inches, subtle white and grayish-brown realistic trees, 100-percent cotton, polyester batting, $44.99. 
f. Mercury Glass Letter Ornaments, in red or silver assorted letters, 4” H x 2” W x 2.4” L, $4 each. 
g. Mary Elizabeth Arts Birch Tree Glasses, set of 2, 8 inches tall, hold 16 ounces, silkscreened, dishwasher safe, $19.95. 
h. The Lovely Glass Jar Birch Tree Mug, rustic white coffee mug, handmade to order, patterned on one side, dishwasher safe, $18. 
i. Kikkerland Birch Bark Straws, box of 144, biodegradable/compostable paper, 7.5 inches, $7. 
j. Evergreen Berry Napkin Rings, set of 4, $14.99. 
k. Oh Little Rabbit Birch Tree Cloth Napkins, set of 4, 19-inch square, natural cotton, handmade, silkscreened. Machine wash warm, tumble dry, $22. 
l. RAZ Faux Birch Bark White Stick Deer Figurine, 9” H x 7.5” W, $14.99 
m. Artificial Red Berry Garland, 6-feet long, easily separates into 4 reattachable pieces, $16.99.

It makes a great packaging theme too.

We can't use ribbon at our house because Maisie, our cat, tries to eat it. I'm always looking for ways to pretty up the packages that she either can't destroy, or, if she does, won't harm her. This year I thought I'd try these pretty bark and berry garlands instead of ribbons, as well as the bark package tie-ons and colored baker's twine.

a. Real Birch Bark Tree Tags, set of 8, 3.5 by 4 inches, $3.84.
b. Country Cabin Glitter Birch Wooden Star, 4.25 inches in diameter, handcrafted ornament or package tie-on, $3.99
c. Caspari Birch Gift Packaging: 30" by 8' roll, $9.99; bottle bag, $10.61; large gift bag, $5.70; tissue paper, 4 sheets, $11.57.
d. Red Pip Berry Garland, single ply, 18 feet, $9.25.
e. Martha Stewart Frosty Elegance Treat Boxes, set of 8 with tags, die-cut window, boxes assemble into 9.5 by 5.6 by 0.5 inches, $15.95.
f. Kate Aspen “Winter Dreams” laser cut snowflake favor boxes, set of 24, boxes assemble into 20 inch squares, ribbon/bow included, $20.60.
g. Felt Holly Garland, handmade in fair trade production center in Nepal, 100 percent natural wool, nontoxic azo-free dies, on-site recycling, $19.59.
h. Glittered Birch Bark Star Garland, 65 inches, twine threaded through 3-inch bark stars, $6.99.
i. Vickerman Birchwood Snowflake, 4.75 inches diameter, use as ornament or package tie-on, $8.99.
j. Regency Baker’s Twine Cone, red and white, 2300-foot roll/half-pound cone, professional grade, $7.99.
k. Vickerman Furry Birch Bird, 4.5 inches, wings and tail are birch bark, sits on twig with pine/berry sprig, $3.59.

You might also like these additional decor ideas and timesavers... 

a. Snowy Birch Prancer the Reindeer Tabletop Figurine, set of 2, 9.75” H, handcrafted bark deer wear burlap boots and artificial pine wreaths, $28.
b. Vickerman Birch Bark Wreath, 13-inch diameter, 14 by 14 by 5 inches overall, indoor use only, $18.99.
c. Caspari disposable plates: silver faux bois birch dinner plate, 16/pack, 10.25", $17.99; Silver Leaf salad/dessert plates, 8/pack, 7.25", $7.91.
d. Caspari Birch disposable napkins/towels: 20/packs, dinner, 7.8", $8.99; luncheon, 6.5", $6.30 ; cocktail, 5", $4.95; guest towels, 15/package, $6.95.
e. Snowy Bob the Rustic Birch Bark Bear Tabletop Figurine, set of 2, 5.5” H by 11” L by 4” D, handcrafted, $28.
f. Lightshare LED Birch Trees, indoor/outdoor: 4-foot, $64.99; 5-foot, $79.99; 8-foot, $134.99.
g. Caspari Birch Celebration Crackers, set of 6, 12.5 inches; each includes a trinket, a tissue crown, a joke; $17.62.
h. Birch Bark Banner Garland, 57 by 8.75 inches, $8.79.
i. Vickerman Birch Christmas Trees: medium, 12 inches high, $14.83; large, 17 inches high, $22.39.
j. Birch Bark Candleholders: set of 5; 3-inch diameter; heights run 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 inches; tealights included; $22.95.
k. Birch Tree Musical Snow Globe, 3.5-inch diameter, 5.5 inches high, $29.

Stay busy until Christmas Eve with these 10 birch bark craft tutorials:

1. Birch yule log favors from Martha Stewart

2. Birch bark pine cone ornament from Craftberry Bush

3. Birch bark garland from Dream a Little Bigger

4. Gift tags made with free printable download from Home Work

5. Birch twig stars from Lark Nest Design

6. Birch bark Father Christmas from Styrofoam Crafts

7. Birch bark topiary trees from Alderberrry Hill

8. Birch stocking ornament from Home Stories A to Z

9. Birch canoe ornament from Lil Fish Studios

10. Birch vase/planter from Lolly Jane

If you try any of the DIYs or other ideas, I'd love to see results. Just post a picture in the comments section. Happy shopping, happy decorating, and please follow my blog with Bloglovin so you never miss a batch of boho fun.

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