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I’ve wanted to host a game night for a while but everyone’s schedules were really busy. So we freed up the whole weekend and let the gatherings happen when they could. What fun!

First of all, I wanted warmth and light. Right after Christmas is always so dreary. All the prettiness of Christmas is packed away and all that’s left is cold. So I did a little searching and gathered a bit of warmth from around the world.

First and most important, there had to be fur from Russia.
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I have a large fur throw in the living room but needed something smaller for the dining room chairs. I found the perfect fur at JoAnn fabrics and made two throws from 1.5 yards of fur to drape over the backs of the chairs.

I adore knits from Scandinavia and found a beautiful heavy knit, also at JoAnn Fabrics. 1.5 yards made two more comfy throws for the chairs. I also used another yard of fur and a lovely wool throw that a friend had given me.

On one chair is a pillow I made using Floral Wood Carving Stripe fabric from Spoonflower.  2 carved wood flower stripe fabric pillow.jpg Roostery sells premade pillows using the wood carving fabric too. The wood buttons were fun to carve while watching Gilmore Girls. :) 3-hand-carved-wood-buttons

On the table, more softness. “Go ahead and put your elbows on this table!” Oh the softness! 4 Winter Game Weekend soft table.jpg

I’ve never leaned on a table so soft that your elbows sink in, and there are no words to describe how comforting this is!!! If you want your guests to linger, you’ve GOT to try it!

To get it soft enough, I used these layers: Felt-backed plastic tablecloth, cotton table cloth, fluffy old blanket, chenille bedspread-turned into a tablecloth and a thick cotton throw. 5 Winter Game Weekend table throws and blankets.jpg

Our table belonged to my grandparents. Decades of love and laughter have taken place around this table. The only thing I’d change is if it were a trestle table with rounded corners and center pedestal so we could fit more people around it without bumping the table legs. My father made the family trestle table and I’ve always wanted one. This trestle table is beautiful! But really, all these tables are gorgeous here.

The first two nights I used the white bedspread/tablecloth as the top layer. The last night I put the maroon spread on top. You simply must try this! Make sure you use washable throws though, in case there are crumbs and spills. From now on, I’m going to be watching for thick, washable throws that can be layered on tables. I might even make one for my desk. Yes! … um… zzzz…. maybe too much comfort for a desk… ;)

For lighting, I wired old chandelier crystals and glass icicle ornaments to the light fixture. The crystals were salvaged from a family heirloom and I cherish them so much. 6 Winter Game Weekend icy chandelier.jpg They add a delightful sparkle and look quite wintery.

7 Winter Game Weekend chandelier with crystals.jpg Two corners of the dining room have lamps. The terrarium is still unfinished, tied together with cord but the plants are growing fine. They’re over a year old now. I finished all the carving but have yet to cut the wood base, glue it all together and line it with copper. The glass top of the terrarium is the old dining room light fixture that we removed when we bought this house.

8 light fixture and wood carved terrarium.jpg I also keep white mini lights on top of the china cabinet and dining room bookcase until winter is past. To me, mini lights don’t remind me of Christmas, they mean health and well-being. The more light in winter, the better!

While visiting my daughter in Tokyo, I learned about Japanese tables that were warmed underneath. What a great concept! To mimic the comfort of a kotatsu, I put an electric blanket under the table to tuck our stocking feet into. 9 Winter Game Weekend electric blanket floor.jpg

On the table I put a beautiful leaf plate from Arhaus. It was perfect for holding cookies – German Springerli and Viennese Chocolate Hazelnut Crescents.10 Winter Game Weekend Springerli Chocolate Hazelnut Crescents.jpg

One of my sons made me a gorgeous chalkboard tray for Christmas. He did a beautiful job on it! It was jolly fun writing on the tray, playing tic tac to and keeping score. 11 Winter Game Weekend Arhaus leaf bowl.jpg

We warmed our hands on cups of rich cocoa, Swiss chocolate of course. 12 Winter Game Weekend Chalkboard Tray.jpg

Friday night was just the girls. We played Old Maid, the very cards that I used in my childhood in the 60’s. So much fun!! 13 Winter Game Weekend playing Old Maid.jpg It had been so many years since I played with those cards. There was Fifi and her poodle, Greenthumb Gert, whose plantings were being nibbled up by rabbits as fast as she planted them, and Milkman Mo with his begging cats. Love the humor in these old cards, which probably would be deemed totally “politically incorrect” now-adays. 14 Winter Game Weekend vintage Old Maid cards.jpg

Saturday night, children and adults together played Clue. We did our best using  English accents and Oh the mystery and laughter!

15-winter-game-weekend-clueMiss Peacock, how can you be capable of such a deed! Mr Plum’s strategy was quite scientific. And Colonel Mustard actually held the pistol and knife. This view of the chandelier is only possible if you’re a game piece lying in the billiard room. haha 16-winter-game-weekend-professor-plum-looks-up

One of my favorite warming strategies was loading fireplace videos on tablets and displaying them in the bottom of the china cabinet. Fire where there is never any fire!  17-winter-game-weekend-china-cabinet-fireplace I sure wish some company would create a mini fake fire device that could play a simple, looping fire video like this and fit in a small space like a china cabinet. I would buy several in a heartbeat. Fire amongst the plants in the living room? Yes! Fire on my nightstand as I go to sleep? Yes! The last time we had a fake fire was when we made a fireplace in the oven. There’s something comforting about flame, even if it’s fake.

Sunday night’s beer and poker game ended up being postponed because the flu visited. Alas. But even as I write this, I’m feeling quite toasty. The throws are still on the chairs and I feel the warmth radiating against my back. My laptop is set up on this table and my arms are leaning in on the softness as I type. A Winter Game Weekend after Christmas has definitely become a tradition in our home.

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