Great Reads 2012

Monday, December 31, 2012

Hello strangers!  I hope that you have all been enjoying the holidays with your loved ones and that Santa was extra good to you!  Things should be back to normal around here in the next few days after the confetti settles.  For now, I would love for you to jump over to Jennifer's wonderful blog, Rambling Renovators and catch up on the Great Reads 2012 series.  I'm super honored to be a part of it this year!  And while you're at it, you might want to go back and check out the older entries - there are some incredible blogs out there that you might not know about!

Last but not least, thank you for your support over the last year.  To everyone who reads the blog, to those who hire me to work on their homes, and to those who shop in my store - THANK YOU!  Your support means the world!  Now go have fun and make this last day of 2012 count.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sending you peace, love, and joy this holiday season.  From my family to yours, Merry Christmas!

I Feel Fine

Friday, December 21, 2012

Once upon a time, when I worked as a fashion merchandiser, my colleagues and I happened to find ourselves in front of Radio City Music Hall in New York after a long day of shopping.  The band, No Doubt was playing REM's "It's the End of the World".  The MTV music awards were airing that night and No Doubt was performing live from the roof top when we happened to see.  As much as I love REM, I might just like the No Doubt version of this song a little better.  Thanks to the Mayans, that song was stuck in my head all day yesterday!  Fortunately, a friend posted on facebook that her 4th grade daughter heard that the world wasn't going to end after all. Apparently, someone dug a few holes and we are all going to be OK.  Whew!  That was a close one!

Anyway, how could the world end if I had not put together my dream home?  If I did have a dream home, it might look something like this.


foyer and stairs 

dining room


living room




It's always fun to dream isn't it?

Have a great weekend!

Easy Last Minute Gift Tags

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I love finding ways to add a personal touch to a gift.  Even better if it includes something fresh from the garden.  That is why when I happened across this pin and this post I knew that I had to make some fun gift tags.

Here are the supplies I used.  The labels came from Office Depot.  I always have a stockpile of ribbon in my gift wrapping arsenal, but decorative tape would also work.  The fresh cuttings are boxwood & leland cypress.  I used a glue gun to attach the trimmings.  Super easy!

I love these little tags and the you can personalize any way you wish.

I used colored markers to add words to a few.

Five more days...are you ready?

My Christmas Mantel and a Secret Santa Update

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I absolutely love the holidays!  The season of giving just feels good - do you agree?  I love it when the delivery trucks pull up and deliver the packages that are thoughtfully chosen for loved ones and are then carefully wrapped and placed under the tree.  This year I was asked to play a little game of Secret Santa by the folks at Kirkland's.  So I was able to spread even more gift giving love around.

Before I share the recipients of the Secret Santa gifts, I want to show you what Kirkland's gave me for participating.  They were generous and let me choose something for my own home.  With Christmas decor in mind, I chose the pre-lit pine branches.  

I was really excited to try something different on the mantel this year.  I love the extra sparkle and lights!

I brought in branches from the cypress trees in our yard and scattered them around the candlesticks.  Then I added the pre-lit branches.  By the way, they are battery operated and flip on with a simple switch - cord free!

I wanted to bring in more color so I filled these vintage Italian pots that I scored at a tag sale with hollies from the yard.

I really like they play they play well with the pillows on our sofa.

Thanks so much to Kirkland's for the fun and festive gift!  I love it!

Now for the fun part...

As mentioned before, I was asked to play Secret Santa and send gifts to three of my blogging friends.  Giving gifts to Emily, Courtney, and Cassie was such a blast!  Those girls are so sweet to me and talk about style mavens.  Sheesh!  Anyway, I've been stalking paying close attention to what my friends are saying and I'm pretty sure they are happy with their surprises.  Here are some pictures, but please click on the links to read more.  There is much, much more in their posts.

As the saying goes...'tis better to give than to receive.  What a treat it was being Secret Santa.  Thanks again to Kirkland's and thank you to Emily, Courtney, and Cassie for playing along!

And the Winner is....

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Thanks to everyone who entered the Wrist Soiree giveaway and a huge thanks to Lakeitha for sponsoring!

The luck winner is ...

Congratulations to Coastal Cottage Dreams!

Bringing Christmas Cheer

I promised myself that I would get caught up with work and make the last week before Christmas special for my family.  So far, so good.  The store is closed and the last client appointment of the year is today.

I wanted to share a few scenes from our house as I wind down on the posting.  My plan was to keep it simple and really, I did.  Probably even simpler than last year.  For me, holiday decor doesn't change much from year to year, but in case you are new around these parts, you might see something new (to you).

Last year Mom gave me a box of vintage ornaments.  They are too delicate to hang on the tree so I placed them in an old milk glass dish along with ornaments that belonged to my great-grandmother.  These colors make me happy.

Most days our chalk board hanging on the pantry door holds a running grocery list.  Recently I added the tree.  Can't wait to see the panic when everyone realizes the grocery list is gone :).

Traditions are so important to my husband and me and I'm pretty sure we got it from our parents.  Childhood stories hold a special place in my heart and I vividly remember reading 'Twas the Night Before Christmas every year.  I think many of us can relate to traditions that we treasure.  This stack of storybooks didn't go unnoticed when they were placed on the ottoman.  Even really cool teenagers enjoy a good picture book once in a while - which gives me hope that these traditions will carry on.

I'm joining Courtney and friends - join us!


If you haven't entered the giveaway, there is still time.  The winner will be drawn today at 5:00.

A Wrist Soiree Giveaway!!!

Friday, December 14, 2012


Today I am thrilled to share a fun little giveaway for all of you fashionistas!  Wrist Soiree on etsy has graciously offered one of my readers a bracelet!  We all know that jewelry is a great way to add a special touch to any outfit and Wrist Soiree has something for every occasion.

I'm really loving the Jada bracelet in the color of the year, emerald.

The Sparkle bracelet would be perfect for that special celebration.

If you aren't a gold lover, the Bella might be up your alley.

To enter the giveaway:

Visit Wrist Soiree to see which bracelet is your favorite.  Come back here and leave a comment.  That's it!

If you do not want to wait around to see if you are the lucky winner, Wrist Soiree is offering my readers 15% off your entire order.  Use promo code THANKS15 at checkout.

Winner will be announced Tuesday.  Good luck!

My Kitchen Window

I'll be honest, I'm always stumped with what to do in our kitchen window.  You'd think that a bay window would be ideal for the area behind the kitchen sink.  It is easy to water plants and I do keep a big pot of succulents there most of the year.  Around the holidays I like to make it make festive though.

Color lovers, you'll be happy to know that I forced myself to add a little color this year.  And if I'm being honest, I do like seeing a little bit of red.  My apologies for the blurry picture.  

This is the wreath that I made with Mom last weekend.  It is hung with jute twine on a small nail.  Nothing fussy, but it serves its purpose.

Normally I plant paper whites & amaryllis early in the season, but this year I waited until the last minute and had to search high and low for them.  I found the amaryllis at Home Depot and the rosemary at Earth Fare.

Decorating is officially finished here and I'm ready to begin baking and slowing the pace a little.    Can you believe Christmas is in eleven days?!

Be sure to stop by later for a new giveaway announcement.  Have a great weekend!

Stocking Stuffers For Her From Etsy

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Just in case Santa needs ideas...I've come up with a few suggestions for stocking stuffers.  All items are from etsy and most are under $20.  And by the way, if Santa happened to leave any of these in my stocking that would be just fine ;).

1 * 2 * 3 * 4 * 5 * 6 * 7 * 8 * 9 

In other news, if you haven't left a comment to be entered in the Staples $100 giveaway, you can do so here.  The giveaway closes today.  Also, be sure to stop be tomorrow for a fun giveaway that you will love.  Have a great day my friends!

Spreading Cheer...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My friends at Kirkland's invited me to help spread some holiday cheer by participating in a little secret Santa fun.  Of course I happily agreed - who doesn't LOVE to be a part of something so fun?  And the bonus is, I get to be Santa and send three of my blogging friends a gift!

If you are still in the market for holiday decor, Kirkland's has quite a selection and at great prices too.  I recently found some adorable plaid stockings, an ornament wreath, and green & white damask table runner.

I was asked to pick out a little something for myself and the package arrived just the other day.  Do you have any idea how excited I get when a package arrives?  How darling is the wrapping paper?

I have big plans for these pre-lit pine branches that I will share with you next Wednesday along with links to my secret Santa recipients.  Until then, I'd better get busy.  Santa has work to do...Ho Ho Ho!

A Mini Boxwood Wreath

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I love using evergreens just about everywhere during the holidays. So last night I made a little wreath to hang around our deer's neck.

These are the items I used to make the mini wreath.  This is my favorite wire and I use it for all things wreath and floral related.  It is so easy to use and strong - double bonus!  Plus it practically disappears once you are finished.  You can find it at most craft stores.

I began by slightly overlapping the cuttings.  It looks best when you cannot see the beginning or end of a stem.

I continued doing this until I had a length long enough to fit around the neck of the deer.

Once I had the length I needed, I bent the wreath around the neck of the deer and connected the two ends with wire.  Any stray sprigs were trimmed or tucked back into the wreath.

Tada!  Easy boxwood bling!

I Need a Weekend...

Monday, December 10, 2012

Three consecutive weekends away from home is a bit too much for me - especially around Christmas.  I am so looking forward to this coming weekend and being home, hopefully catching up, and relaxing?  Last weekend was an absolute blast.  Sadly, our weekends in the mountains have come to an end for the year as the house was winterized and closed up until next spring.  Mom and I were able make wreaths together.  (You know that she is the wreath master right?)

The weather was nice (even for the mountains) and we were able to do our work outside.  I need to find the perfect place to hang my wreath and will share pictures when I get my act together.

We went to a new (to us) tree farm and found our tree.  For the first time in 3 years all four of us were able to do this together.  This mama was happy about that ;).  And yes, the sign is correct.  They were trying to get rid of the larger trees and were practically giving them away!  Trees upwards of 10 feet even.  Crazy!

Once we finally made it home late yesterday, we began decorating.  Currently our house looks like we are moving with boxes everywhere.  I'm sure you can relate.

So, how was your weekend?

Gift Wrap & Free Printable Gift Cards

Friday, December 7, 2012

Hi everybody!  Happy Friday to you!  So what's going on this weekend?  Have you finished your Christmas shopping?  I have been thinking about gift wrap and you know me - I like to keep it simple.


Kraft paper is one of my favorite papers to use.  I like colors too, but tend to stick with solids.  

I do like to jazz up the package with a pretty ribbon & gift tag though.  And, there are so many free downloads out there that you can customize your packages for the gift recipient.  I really love this monogram gift tag from Martha Stewart.

I have used these before from Jones Design Company and absolutely love them!  I think she has added more color options that you can explore here.

These are also darling - created in 2010, but still just as cute!

I really like the non-traditional Christmas colors on these and might just have to download and print a few.

Red & white chevron would look festive on just about any paper!  Now it is your turn - do you have any gift wrap tricks up your sleeve?

P.S.  Have you entered the giveaway?  All you have to do is share your favorite organizational tip to be entered to win a $100 gift card from Staples.  $100 could buy a lot of kraft paper ;).  To enter click here.