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A Holiday Home Tour

Hello friends!

I hope you are all relaxing and enjoying the holidays.  We have a winter wonderland going on outside right now, and the snow was perfect for making a snowman!  I pulled out my snowman-in-a-bag, and we went to work!

I thought I would share some photos I snapped at my friend Hollie's house over our break.  Hollie is a wife, mother of four (with a set of twins!) and a business owner, yet still manages to do much for others.  I honestly don't know where she gets her energy (I'm thinking she doesn't sleep, or is really one of Santa's elves in disguise).  Her home is always beautiful, and she is always changing things up with new ideas.  She is the one who had the adorable Advent calendar idea I shared recently. 

One of these days I'm going to do a full fledged tour, but for now, take a look!  (Apologies for the photo quality - I had to use my iPhone.  But even with the iPhone, the house still looks fantastic!)

Here is her family room.  I'm in love with the brick wall that they've added, and the sofas are new since I was there last.  I also love all over their stockings on the mantel and all of the colors tie together, even with their holiday decor.

A close up of her gorgeous mantel and adorable stockings.

I love the little berry wreaths in her windows.

Hollie always has great vignettes around her home - even more so during the holidays.

And how clever is this?  This little Christmas tree is a salt shaker that is covered with old costume jewelry!  Love it!  You could do a solid one like this, or a multi-colored one with your grandmother's old costume jewelry.

The dining room - so festive!

More gorgeous vignettes.

This photo almost looks like a painting, doesn't it?  Great mix of old and new with the architectural shelving.  Gorgeous.

Cute idea with the gold pinecones and white feathers.

Great impact with the large vase of ornaments and the pop of the red amaryllis.

This is in her entryway.  I'm particularly smitten with the giant silver pinecone.

And let's not forget the outside.  Gorgeous planters that will last through the winter.

I should have snapped photos of her kitchen - my apologies.  That could be a tour all by itself!

Enjoy the rest of the holidays - be safe!


Shutterfly Photo Gifts - Deal Ends Today!

Hello friends,

The clock is ticking on holiday gifts, and I love giving my parents and my grandmother personalized photo gifts.  Every year I give them a calendar and a photo book (well, except last year, since I procrastinated got behind schedule).  But this year, I actually got it done ahead of time, and I always love the end result!

It's not too late!  Shutterfly is here to save the day!  They're offering 50% off photo books and 40% of calendars (my favorites), along with a whole bunch of other great deals on fun and creative photo gifts (mousepads, magnets and playing cards - oh my!).

There are lots of great styles available too - I'm really loving the Chalkboard Chic style.

Lots of fun, trendy prints too.
Their calendars are great too - also 40% off!

Always a big hit with grandparents, and a great way to recapture photos from the prior year.

So get cracking and head to Shutterfly before it's too late!


Rainbows and Random Acts of Kindness

Hello friends,

I've been having a hard time pulling it together to post on something DIY-related, while we, as a country, grieve the utterly senseless loss of so many innocent souls.  As the mother of three, my youngest in 1st grade, this tragic event leaves me with a hole in my heart, and a sense of helplessness.  What can I do to help?  What can I do to help heal such a deep wound?

In Newtown, CT, we're witnessing a community that is pulling together, and supporting one another in every way they can.  We're hearing stories of heroism by teachers and staff that are unparalleled, and most certainly saved lives that surely would have been lost.  In times like this, you see the humanity that weaves us together as a country.

So, what can we do?  Here is my suggestion - start with small random acts of kindness.   Their purpose is twofold - not only do they make others happy, giving is truly better than receiving - I always feel happier when I take the time to do something like this.  Here are a few suggestions: 

  • Donate to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund -
  • While waiting in line a the Starbuck's drive-through, pay for the coffee of the person behind you in line, with their only "charge" to be to pay it forward.  
  • Take cookies to your local fire or police department, and thank them for their service. 
  • Pay for someone else's gas while filling up. 
  • Visit or call someone who is lonely. 
  • Write a letter to a friend or family member.
  • Send flowers to a friend.
  • Write a thoughtful note to your child's teacher, or better yet, have your child write a note of appreciation to a teacher.
After my brother died in 2007, I found myself asking for a sign that he was ok, and shortly after that, I saw a rainbow.  Now, whenever I see a rainbow, I'm comforted that he is still with me, watching over us.  Well, on Saturday, after this tragedy took place, I saw a rainbow, and the song, "Celebrate Me Home" was on the radio.  I think these precious angels were welcomed Home, and felt a glimmer of peace in that moment.

I cannot fathom the depth of the loss these families feel, but I am with them in prayer. 

Be kind to others and hug your children - I certainly have been.


A Unique Gift Idea


How are you?  Have you finished your Christmas shopping with Christmas just two weeks away?  I have gotten a pretty good start on things, but need to do an inventory so that I can figure out what I have left to do.  No matter what, I'm always hustling around at the last moment for SOMETHING, despite my best efforts.

However, I wanted to share some fun and creative gifts that I've stumbled upon this year.  Things that are unique and different - perfect for someone who doesn't "need" anything, you know?

One thing I love finding and giving is handmade gifts - even if I didn't handmake them. :-)  Exhibit A - I could never pull this off, but the idea is SPECTACULAR!  Handmade mittens from 100% recycled wool sweaters.  Love.

I loved them so much, I picked up a second pair for myself.  The wool has been felted, and they're lined too.  Super warm and super cute.

The button sealed the deal for me.  Better yet, I purchased these from a small business at our local Christmas festival.  They were $25 each or two for $45, made by All About You - 513-217-5678 (sorry, all I have is a phone number).

Now that it's getting cold here, I'm going to put these lovelies to work!

Have you scored any unique Christmas gifts this year?  Stay tuned for a new giveaway I know you'll love!


Our Holiday Home Tour - Part 1

Hello friends!

Even though throwing a party the weekend after Thanksgiving made me a bit crazy, the upside is that my house is now decorated for the holidays.  Well, some tweaking is still going on, and my fireplace isn't done (yet), but you know what I mean.  Here are some highlights!

When you approach our front porch, you're greeted with festive winter planters that can work well beyond the holidays.  And of course, the wreaths on the windows - I have a wreath problem.  I admit it.

The planters are a mix of purchases and tree trimmings from my own yard.  I purchased the red branches from a local nursery because I love the red and the great impact they provide with their height.  I added the berries (faux) from Hobby Lobby and another faux pick that has pinecones on it.  The rest is all real from my yard.  Can I just tell you how happy I am that I kept my holly tree?  Really comes in handy this time of year.

I also added some swags to the stone facade that I purchased from the same nursery that had red branches. I added the gold ribbon, but the swags were a steal - $8.99 each.

I found great outdoor inspiration this year in the December 2012 Better Homes & Gardens issue.  Of course, I can't find any of the images online to share, but trust me, it's there!  I also found great ideas at my local nursery.  These planters are really easy to emulate at home - they had some beauties too.

These were particularly spectacular!  I love the tall birch branches - such great impact!

Once inside my home, you'll find my staircase adorned in garland.  Since all of my prelit garland died this year, I started from scratch and used faux prelit garland, mixed with fresh garland for added interest and a more natural feel.

If you go downstairs, you'll find the space where we do most of our holiday entertaining.  Again, I went a little haywire with the natural garland and used it along the bank of windows.   And yes, my wreath obsession continues inside the house.  I told you I have wreath issues...

The basement color here lends itself to traditional red and green (and yes, I did paint it recently - haven't blogged about it yet).  I pulled the ottoman from upstairs to tie in the red down here a little more.  The "JOY" pillow is a new purchase from Kohl's, and the little trees in the corners are actually intended for outdoor use, but have a tendency to tip over with a brisk wind, so I'm using them inside this year.
I dressed up my IKEA lanterns with some Christmas ornaments.

Inspired by Pinterest, I filled my wooden tray with fresh and faux greenery and then added mason jars and mercury glass with flameless candles.  No fire hazard!   

Here is the Pinterest inspiration.  Easy peasy, and totally cheap!  The only thing I had to purchase was the flameless candles - I had all of the rest on hand or snagged from the yard.
Boxwood wreaths ala Ballard Outlet, with $1 felt ornaments from Target.

More to come!  Have you decked all of your halls yet?

Linking to:
Jennifer Rizzo - Holiday Housewalk Linky Party
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia - Countdown to Winter Linky Party
The Nester - Christmas Tour of Homes


The Most Creative Advent Calendar


Just when I thought I had seen every Advent Calendar idea out there, my uber-creative friend, Hollie, posted this on her Facebook page...

Don't you just love it?  It made me want to smack myself on the forehead and say, "Duh!  Why didn't I think of that?"  I swear, I could follow Hollie around town and have a blog dedicated solely to her creative ideas and be one busy lady.  I'm working on getting over there for a house tour to share, so sit tight my friends.

I, on the other hand, am totally behind on my Advent Calendar this season, so I need to get cracking!!

Happy Wednesday!


Holiday Entertaining and a New Rug


I hope you all had a great weekend and are ready to kick off a new week.  I had my cookie exchange this weekend, and honestly, I'm beat!  While I love to entertain, I tend to try to accomplish too many other things at the same time (um, fireplace makeover?) and it just wears me out.  Entertaining shouldn't be so enterdraining, right?  It's all my own doing though - need to work on that for next year.

But, it was a lot of fun.  Lots of my favorite women were there, and I do look forward to it every year.  I'm really fortunate to have such a great bunch of friends in my life.

And the cookies are always amazing!

And no, the fireplace wasn't completed in time for the party, despite my husband and I working past midnight every night last week.  But, it wasn't the end of the world, and I threw some garland up to cover the work-in-progress.  Maybe the new rug was a good distraction...
This was even before I got the tree up - yes it was insane in the membrane at my house this weekend. ;-)

But, now that the party is over, I'm hoping to relax a bit and enjoy the fact that my home is now decorated for the holidays, and focus on the real meaning of Christmas!

Looking forward to sharing my holiday home with all of you!