99. My 6 Ingredients for Warm Winter Decor

Hands up – who doesn’t think that wood is warm? I thought so – everyone agrees that 1. wood adds warmth – wood furniture, wood floors, firewood, botanical stuff brought in from outside, wicker and rattan.reclaimed stairway

But, who thinks of stone when I say “warmth?” I thought not – inherently a cold hard material, in This Green House 2. stone is what holds the heat from the thermal mass fireplace, the hot tea in the pot, the smooth sensual stones in the pottery bowl.

And, 3.Textiles – a quilt, sweaters as chair covers and footstools, carpets, cushions, window coverings and quilts on the walls – not only do they insulate, but just looking at them elicits warm cozy thoughts, maybe memories of a grandparent’s cuddles.art quilts

In the dark months of winter, even here on the balmy Pacific Coast, 4. light is a sure-fire cure for the grey blahs. Whether you have a fireplace or candles, firelight is the coziest. Artificial light is next best, and I keep the seasonal decor up until at least the beginning of spring.

I love 5. colour – It just happens that our living room set, handed down from my parents after they used them for fifty years, is green. My favourite decor colour is red. So, these are not just the colours we use at Christmas – they’re my favourite all year. They make me feel happy and cozy. I know the trend in sophisticated decor is white and neutral, but I can’t live without colour. One of the guiding principles in building green is to avoid trends, because discarding last season’s decor is wasteful, or remodelling an off-trend house will likely involve tearing up and discarding still useful materials that could be pressed into service for another generation. I shop the house for decor, and occasionally the thrift stores. We designed This Green House  to be classic and traditional Craftsman style, with enduring materials like real stone, cedar shingles, steel roofing, fir floors (themselves reused from 100-year old houses), and subway tiles.

And 6? Books, of course! Like textiles, books always make me feel brighter. Not just the reading of them, but also the seeing of them. Perhaps we were read to as children, or use books to escape, or maybe even get an education. I’m so lucky that books are in my world.

I’m lovin’ livin’ in my cozy world.cozy decor Collage


Partying with: Cozy Little House, The Dedicated House, Stringtown Home, Coastal Charm, Between Naps on the Porch, Women in Real Life, Home Stories A to Z, Savvy Southern Style, Stone Cottage Adventures, Fluster Buster, Winter Blues Wednesday, Handy Man Crafty Woman, Home & Garden Thursday, In The New House Designs (FEATURED!), Thoughts From Alice, Lavender Cottage, Domestically Speaking


52. Green Tourism

studio with waterfallart crawl signAfter the Sunshine Coast Art Crawl in the fall, I was approached by Sheila, from “Catch Our Drift.” She was starting an experiential tourism business on the coast, and wondered if I (along with others) might be interested in offering some workshops/tours/lessons.

I have long had an interest in cultural tourism, so decided I would support her efforts by working up some short (2-3 hour) hands-on tour experiences here at This Green House.

As a Home Economics teacher and quilting instructor at home and abroad, I have plenty of teaching experience. I thought about what I would like to do as a visitor to an unfamiliar area.Gail Hunt in Dye Garden

Since we have a baby (but growing!) garden of dye plants, I reasoned that a visitor (or group) might enjoy picking dye plants and dyeing a scarf as a takeaway.Natural Dyes from the Garden

dye cotton naturallyAnd, since most tourists would be from somewhere else, we could make a fabric postcard, slap a stamp on it, and they could send their handiwork to loved ones back home. (This tour featured on Trip Advisor)Sew a fabric postcard

At the house, we offer a tour of This Green House (my sole occupation for the past three years has been building this house – see the whole history here.)this green house Collage

Our organic garden is on the roof of my studio.rooftop garden with wrought iron fence

I love eating, so thought that a cooking lesson/vegetarian feast would be fun and appropriate.vegetarian feast Collage

We have had the pleasure of hosting some interested tourism people and the local cable TV.Andrea, Taylor, Gail and Emilie at Dyeing Cotton Naturally

Some of the other “Journey Guides” offer painting lessons, cattail weaving, petting farm tours, tasting tours, and so on.  It’s a heck of a good idea Sheila had. I wish her luck and good marketing! It takes a while for even great ideas to catch on.

Sharing with:

The Creative Homeacre Hop 

The Brambleberry Cottage

Little Red House

Coastal Charm’s Nifty Thrifty Tuesday


49. The Lift of a Gift

Life at This Green House has been pretty difficult the past couple of weeks.

There has been illness in the family, and our sweet little Mom, who had suffered from Alzheimer’s, passed away at the age of 92.Ruth at 90

So, imagine my surprise and delight today to open an unexpected parcel in the mail from my friend, quilter extraordinaire and nationally-acclaimed quilt teacher Heather Stewart. Inside the big box was a red and purple quilt (my favourite colours). Forty-eight blocks (my favourite number!) No one has ever given me a quilt. Out of the blue. For no particular reason.red quilt

Heather’s accompanying letter tells me:

“The enclosed gift was made at a retreat that I attended in January. When I got it done, I knew it was yours! Who else would like such a “red” quilt? It’s my hope this quilt keeps you warm on those damp days. I’ll picture you snuggled under it reading a book in front of the fireplace.”

Heather could not have known about my sadness at this time, nor what a lift such a generous gift would give me. Unless she’s got e.s.p.

Today is extra special, because I also learned that my family member’s latest tests came back clear, and that is just the best news I could hope for.

Sharing with:

Cozy Little House’s Tweak-It Tuesday

Mockingbird Hill Cottage’s My Favourite Thing

Creative Cain Cabin’s Budget Decorating Party

Boogieboard Cottage’s Masterpiece Monday

My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

Rustic Pig’s Creatively Tuesday

Elizabeth & Co

Savvy Southern Style




41. Quilt-Painted Headboard

alcove bed with New York Beauty

I won this New York Beauty quilt in a raffle at a conference. I was in the men’s washroom when my name was called as the winner. (Wait – men’s washroom?? Yes, at quilt conferences, the men’s washrooms are converted with plants and real hand-towels and hand-lotion into women’s washrooms.) I was having a lovely chat with the washroom housekeeper about her landscape-painted fingernails, when a delegate ran into the washroom calling, “Gail, Gail, you won, you won!”

(The only other time I have won something is when I stayed up all night on New Year’s Eve when I was twelve, listening to the radio’s clues for a contest. The prize was a Herman’s Hermits album, and I won! I adored Peter Noone. A few years ago I went to a Peter Noone concert, and, at 55 or so, he looked and sounded exactly like my 12-year-old idol. I was in pre-adolescent love all over again.)

I found a free plain headboard at the swap shed. Got out my acrylic paints, my rulers and pencils. Drew the same-sized quilt blocks and a border onto the wood, then colour-by-colour painted the quilt blocks.headboard close-upquilt-painted headboard

And, it JUST fits into this little bonus sleeping alcove in our loft. How lucky is that?

MMS Furniture Feature Friday