This post is brought to you in collaboration with my former weird self. I’m having a real resurgence over here, it’s been bubbling up for a while but it’s taken me a bit to understand what I miss about my former self. If you are sensing a mid-career crisis, you are right. With the blog turning 10 in two weeks, I’ve been deep in self-reflection, looking at every single year with a personal, design and business lens. Here’s one thing I miss: I used to be SO BRAVE, stylistically. No rules. So many risks. I PLAYED. Looking at all my past Christmases, I see so much creativity despite all the fails.
She’s back. We aren’t going to call her “old Emily” because that implies A. I’m old AND I’M NOT, I’M VERY YOUTHFUL and B. one can become a former version of oneself. You can’t. It’s been 10 years and I’ve changed. So, we’ll call her “Weird Emily.” Hmm…I think I need to work on the branding of that, that’s not quite it. Maybe it’s Emily The Brave? Stay tuned.
So as we close out this holiday season, I thought it would be fun to revisit all the weirdest things I have done for my holiday decor and hear my current thoughts about it.
10 YEARS AGO. Probably my favorite and WEIRDEST holiday DIY was the GLOBE snow-person family. Don’t let that shitty photo fool you, we had to source a lot of likely expensive vintage globes to create those three lovers. We drilled holes in them, put long bars (I don’t remember out of what) through them to keep them together and created a base to hold them still. I don’t recommend butchering vintage globes to do this, but I do love the creativity they came from.
We also took thrift store books, ripped off the covers and spines and turned them into snowflake-shaped accessories. We had readers who wanted to craft. I can’t find that episode of Secrets From A Stylist anywhere, but maybe that’s good. However, it was full of off-the-wall ideas that Orlando and I created. Including a huge vintage map that said JOY TO THE WORLD.
That map inspired many, many people to do something similar and I have to admit, adding simple white letters that read JOY TO THE WORLD was brave and had the sense of humor that only Orlando and I together like to come up with.
Also, we didn’t stop there with our subversive DIYs, we did a “wreath” in the shape of an oversized peace sign, we also put birdhouses all over that tree and made those yarn ball ornaments…those last two ideas I still love. I love taking traditional holiday icons and doing a weird twist on them.
Hot pink had a huge moment nine years ago. Remember when I did a Celebrity Holiday Homes episode for Cheryl Burke (and HGTV)? If you don’t, see the post here. Well, she loved hot pink, or more accurately I loved hot pink at the time, and I really went for it with a GROVE of hot pink and white trees in her living room, which was admittedly nuts but undeniably striking.
More importantly, I found that vintage nutcracker lamp in Palm Springs and spray painted it white (Cherly loved nutcrackers). I wish I had that so badly for me now, not that you need to switch out your normal lighting for holiday-themed ones, but man was it fun (and stood over 4-feet tall).
I also believed in untraditional wreaths at the time (and putting a lot of ornaments in cloches). We made that paper wreath out of tissue paper and while I didn’t have a good photographer at the time, I think this idea would transcend time if we made it now.
I painted a ton of thrift store tchotchkes and candlesticks in our color palette, including a ballet dancer as holiday decor. I also painted those cakestands with marbled paint. They weren’t good, but the idea was solid (and likely NOT food-safe or long-lasting).
We created MORE Christmas themed DIY art, with our Now Dasher, Now Dancer piece (again, Cheryl Burke was a dancer).
You are about to see a theme…
That same year, I decked my house out in more hot pink (clearly inspired). I left NO surface undecorated; balls EVERYWHERE. I continued my “snow” in place of real greenery likely because we shot way before December and didn’t actually have access to real greenery. Also if you have a 200lb cement dalmatian, I clearly recommend putting a wreath collar on it. Could also be a huge bow around the neck (see below).
Brass deer + snow does say “glam holiday” in a way that I apparently wanted to. BY SCREAMING IT.
‘Sup, hand chair?
That was the same year that I made a wreath out of REAL flowers, which cost probably $200 (peonies in December are $$$$) and lasted two days. I do NOT recommend this and did not predict its quick demise. But I did put my vintage Ban.do headpiece on one of my many busts (and note the same DIY marble painted cake stands).
I also hand-painted all the “wrapping paper” and stacked up presents in the shape of a tree. QUICK NOTE: This was before any sort of Instagram backdrop moment “OPPORTUNITY.” I just wanted to show how you can make a big impact with easy DIY’d presents. Imagine that???
Orlando and I kept up our subversive “art project” by painting a Ho Ho Ho, Ho art piece. It still makes me smirk.
More than I reminiscing about weird holiday decor, I love that man (who helped me create said weird holiday decor). I am extremely excited to collaborate with him more in 2020, stay tuned for that but it’s likely more in the form of a podcast, not holiday fashion posts where we wear different forms of bows around our tiny necks.
I’m not saying that these ideas were amazing, nor that I would do them again. But boy do I appreciate the former creativity and lack of effs. I also know that I had SO much more time to DIY, and willingness to put my ideas and creativity out there because my audience was a lot smaller, and therefore rarely a troll in sight.
Anyway, seeing these projects, despite their bad photography and questionable color palettes does inspire me and make me want to, you know, be more creative, write more editorially, and do more “Emily The Brave” in 2020…and not just in holiday.
Perfection is boring. LET’S GET WEIRD.
What do you think? I know that there are a lot of you out there who remember, who have been there since day 1 (THANK YOU, I LOVE YOU), and more than likely weren’t here and don’t remember. What do you all think? Should you want this type of brave DIY and odd innovation from me/us? Or does this just strike you as amateur creativity and bad DIY? I’m honestly open. I guess for me I just appreciate the risk and the lack of traditionalism and conformity.
Also, I know you guys are busy, it’s two days before Christmas, so thank you for taking the time to write any comments or feedback.
Happy holidays. See you tomorrow for my Christmas post.