December 31, 2012

guest post - Design Thoughts

Hi all! Hope you all are enjoying a peaceful New Years Eve. I'm over at Design Thoughts today talking about something I don't mention much - motherhood. Head over and check it out!




December 24, 2012

merry vacation to all

I had grand plans to have a whole house tour and shovel out one last dose of Christmas cheer. However, the cheer of real life got in the way and I'm having too much fun to sit still long enough to put together a proper tour. So these pictures will have to do.








Merry Christmas and see you in the new year!!

December 19, 2012

upholstered walls

Several weeks ago I went to an estate sale in an amazing house. Each one of the SIX bedrooms had upholstered walls in a different toile. Coordinating but not matching custom made silk curtains in each room (because what is toile without some silk) and custom bedding as well. A little too much toile for most, but as Martyn Lawerence would say it was 'delicious'. I went back to that sale twice, mostly to just look at the house. It was my first encounter with upholstered walls and I'm telling you, they are no joke.

And I'm not talking one flew over the cuckoo's nest padded walls. I mean upholstered goodness. Like this.

Peter Dunham via Veranda
Martyn Lawrence
Alison Womack Jowers via Inspiring Interiors
Musso Design Group via Design Indulgence
Vogue Living via Brabourne Farm
Encore Decor Atlanta via Pinterest
Sarah Richardson
Celerie Kemble
That Celerie Kemble dining room is upholstered in my very favorite Betwixt fabric. Bananas.

What do you think? A fan or not so much? Ever tried it? Jenny has a great tutorial (of course) about it if you are looking for a winter break DIY.

December 13, 2012

the sea of swirly twirly gum drops

I have sick babies today, but wanted to share the gingerbread house we made a few days ago. The pre-made kit we had didn't give us nearly enough candy, in our opinion, so we added many many gumdrops left over from Eve's birthday celebration.


Gumdrops can make anything look a bit better and the colors were a great tie-in to the Christmas mantel in the living room.

Can you tell we were watching Elf when we made this?

December 11, 2012

child's play - the christmas mantel

Last year, the Christmas mantel was all about the ribbon. This year however, I wanted to do something like...I had no idea. I never know when it comes to the mantel. I've accepted the fact that I will have chronic paralysis in this area- especially at the holidays. So I just thought I'd wait for inspiration to strike. And then I saw this.


My 5-year-old, Amelia, took it upon herself one day to delicately remove everything from the coffee table and do her own decorations. "Mommy I made you a centerpiece. Isn't it beautiful?" She comes by it honestly.

I am an encourager (and the enforcer, but that's a different post) so if she's got the styling bug, who am I to deny her the pleasure. So I decided that this year's Christmas mantel would be all about crafts ala Amelia. Eve would offer all the moral support that 20-month olds can provide.

I had pinned this last year and thought it would be a great jumping off point.
The Wool Acorn via Pinterest

We went the speedy route and opted for pre-made little pom poms from Hobby Lobby instead of making our own. And we raided my mom's Christmas supply for a bunch of pinecones.


Amelia picked out the color schemes and decided on the placement.


She would hand me a ball and say, "put that one there." I was merely the hot glue gun operator. The whole thing went really fast. I think we were done in about 4 Christmas songs (love Pandora). A perfect craft with little ones who don't have very long attention spans.


She did a great job I think. This girl has got some mad color dispersing skills. And she practiced great restraint  I would have been gluing balls all over those things. That sounded weird.


Of course, I had to get into the mix a little bit. My contribution - an pink ombre pinecone.


So with our pinecone Christmas tree village ready, we made some garland. And what kind of garland do you make when your husband works for Dunder Mifflin? A paper chain of course.

Again, Amelia was in charge of picking out the colors. We talked about red and green but she wanted her favorite color - rainbow. She's learning about creating patterns at school, so this was a perfect activity.

 An afternoon of quality girl time produced one colorful Christmas mantel.


The jewel votives work really well with the colors in the trees and garland.



Birds eye view.
Christmas is the ultimate kid holiday, so I thought this was rather fitting. And since I get free reign of the house the rest of the year, I thought the girls should have some input into how our living room should look for Santa's arrival. As Amelia pointed out, the fireplace is like Santa's front door to our house.


So, welcome Santa.


How about you? Ever put the holiday decorations into someone else's hands? Any good holiday crafts you recommend for kids?  Have you ever tried to explain to a 5-year-old that rainbow is not a color, but rather a whole group of different colors? Don't bother, it is a loosing battle.

I linked up to Clean & Scentsible and A Thoughtful Place.

December 10, 2012

i paint my own jewels

Happy Monday to ya. Hope your weekend was good. If it was half as crafty as mine, I bet you are nursing a few glue gun burns as well. We Christmas'ed up the place and are now in full holiday mode. And all this week I'll share the results. Super exciting, I know.

First up is a little Pottery Barn hack.

I was looking at my 7th Pottery Barn catalog of the month on Thursday and feel in love with these mercury glass votives. I instantly thought of Mary McDonald ala Million Dollar Decorators. Loving the jewel tones. And of course the mercury glass, I'm always a fan of mercury glass.

Pottery Barn
However, the last thing I need are more votives, and I've got way bigger fish to fry...or gifts to buy right now. (I've got rhyme skills) So I recycled the catalog and went on with my day. It was very responsible of me.

When I started pulling out Christmas stuff the next day, these fell out of an overstuffed cabinet. I mean, I noticed them perfectly in line on a shelf labeled votives.


I got about 10 of these from the dollar bin at Target a couple years ago. And it just so happens I also have a drawer full of paints left over.  I could hear Mary McDonald's voice in my head, 'jewel tones. I'm in love with jewel tones.'

Who needs stinkin' Pottery Barn?  I can make my own colorful votives damn it. It was all very Norma Rae. Before I knew it I was painting one, and then another. I did it all so quickly that I didn't even take any progress pictures. Although, what is there really to photograph? Dip your brush in some paint and paint the inside. The end.

To give them a bit more of a weathered vibe and stick to the spirit of the mercury glass, I did make sure not to put on too much paint. Just a washed out effect.

Now I didn't have the exact colors I wanted so I mixed a few and made due with others. Not exactly jewel tones, but certainly jewel tone inspired. (Have you started a drinking game with the word 'jewel tone' yet?).


They look magnificent lit up, and work perfectly with the 'theme' of this year's mantel. (Although I really hate decorating with themes, so I shouldn't use that word). Anyway, take that Pottery Barn.


Come back tomorrow and I'll show you the mantel...if you show me yours.

Any luck with holiday DIY? What is your favorite holiday project? Need any votives? I've got a bag full of the suckers from IKEA circa 2002 and I'm STILL not out of them.

December 6, 2012

they are kind of a big deal

There is nothing I hate worse than bragging on myself. Beyond ironic statement as there is this whole blog thing going on, I know. But that is a post for another time.

I however, have no problem bragging on those that I know.

So as I get ready to do some heavy duty Christmas wrapping this weekend, I thought I would share two wonderful and very different gift wrapping options by people I just happen to know.

First up we have my college friend Keely. Girlfriend is a mega talented graphic designer and her house is always amazing (which you know I love). She gives Martha Stewart a run for her money and the cherry on top - she's funny. Really funny. Enter her Snarky Gift Tags.

These are right up my alley as there is nothing I love more than a smart ass comment to go with my holiday cheer. Check out her Etsy store and buy these suckers up before they are all gone.

Secondly, I'm lucky enough to know Carrie Kiefer. She is my cousin's wife (so my cousin-in-law?) and half of the Ampersand Design Studio. Carrie's talent is just beyond - you should have seen her wedding. And to top it off, she's just about the sweetest girl around. She and her partner are making major waves with their prints, their fabric and their all around killer talent.

Their printable gift tags were featured in the best gift guide ever, To & From, that I mentioned last week.


Two great ways to add some major style to your packages this year.

So was I right or what? I know some pretty talented people! Have you wrapped anything yet? Have you bought anything yet?

And btw, thanks for all of the great advent advice, you all are the best!!

December 5, 2012

advent calendar blues

I'm feeling a bit behind already and it's only December 5th.

I've got lists made, presents half way complete, decorations underway and meals/parties planned but I'm slacking in one area. The advent calendar.

We have a lovely felt calendar we pull out each year, and each year I feel under pressure to find stuff to fill each day. So I usually end up buying a bunch of crappy little things to hand out that break an hour later or I give the girls candy and treats when they already get enough of that at this time of year.

Pottery Barn Kids
I tried going to Pinterest for some inspiration, but have you ever done a search for 'advent calendar' in Pinterest? It's like googling 'mysterious cough'. You are going to get way more information than you'll even need.

I love the idea of filling each day with an activity or something, but it's hard to find an activity that works well for both a 5 year old and a 20 month old.

So I'm all ears. Do you do an advent calendar? How do you do it? What do you fill it with? Want to come take care of mine?

December 3, 2012

from coast to coast

Happy Monday everybody!

It's like spring here today and I'm loving it. The girls and I are going to go outside for a nice long w-a-l-k (shhh. we can't say walk out loud, it sends the dog into hysterics) to the park and finish some outdoor christmas prep. But before we head out I wanted to share a quick before and after with you.

Nothing too crazy, but something that has bugged me for years.

The stairway down to our finished basement/family room/playroom/doesn't-get-cleaned-often room. It is hard to tell from the picture (as it's an awkward place to photograph) but it is just a big huge vast space of...nothing. And nothing drives me bonkers more than a HUGE blank wall.

I know, 'Get off your arse and hang a picture then, big deal'. But a piece of art or a picture that would fill up that space would be mega bucks and a gallery wall is not an option as this requires a crane practically to hang one nail. The hubs would not go for that. And since he's the one that gets up on the ladder, good man that he is, I thought I'd be nice. Want to save up my 'will you please do this crazy project with me' points for bigger spaces.

After keeping my eye out for something big and cheap, I finally found a great solution at my favorite salvage place.

So the ladder came out,


some circ de soleil moves happened,


and problem solved.

An old map from a school that had closed in the area. Now we grab a bit of education on our way down to watch TV. And we hung it just high enough so that little hands can't rub, rip, pull or whatever else little hands tend to do.

Do you have any area of your house that drives you crazy? Have a precarious spot that you've had to hang something? Wanna come to the park with us?
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