Thursday, December 17, 2015

Blogging It Forward with Wayfair


For the month of December, is challenging bloggers to spread holiday cheer by doing a good deed. Deeds can include any act of kindness, no matter how big or small. For every blog that participates and includes the badge, Wayfair will donate $50 to Habitat for Humanity! What a fantastic organization to assist!

When my friend, Benita, of Chasing Quaintness invited me to participate in this philanthropic project, I was honored and thrilled to be a part of it! Allow me to pause for a quick moment to encourage you to visit Benita's blog...she is amazing, funny, generous, and won't be disappointed!

Now, on to the "challenge". Wayfair is urging as many bloggers as possible to spread kindness. I have shopped with Wayfair in the past and have loved my experiences, but let me say that now I love Wayfair even more! I don't think we can ever do enough acts of kindness...our world certainly needs every little bit of goodwill available these days.

One of my personal favorite ways to give back is by doing a special little project. For the past 3 years, I've created and sold handmade items at a local holiday craft fair. Then, by dividing the profits, I give each of my family members a signed check for Christmas and ask them to donate it to an organization that is close to their hearts. This way, the money aids multiple charities and gives each of us that warm feeling of helping out.

Wayfair also offers these suggestions for ways to pay it forward:

Surprise a stranger by buying them a cup of coffee
Pay the tolls for a car behind you in line
Offer a spare umbrella to someone in a rainstorm
Surprise a neighbor with freshly-baked treats
Bring a donation to a cause you support
Leave a gas gift card at a pump
Surprise a service worker with an extra big tip
Offer to do grocery shopping for an elderly neighbor
Rake your neighbor's yard or snowblow their driveway when they are at work
Send flowers to the office staff at your child's school


And in the spirit of giving, I'd like to invite Sally of Cottage Fix and Rita of Panoply to consider participating in the Blog It Forward challenge. I hope you ladies will enjoy spreading cheer with Wayfair :)

Thanks Wayfair, and hugs to my friend, Benita!


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

December Meditations

My Grown-Up Christmas List
composed by David Foster (music) and Linda Thompson-Jenner (lyrics)

Do you remember me?
I sat upon your knee.
I wrote to you with childhood fantasies.
Well, I'm all grown up now,
But still need help somehow.
I'm not a child but my heart still can dream.

So here's my lifelong wish,
My grown-up Christmas list,
Not for myself, but for a world in need:

No more lives torn apart,
Then wars would never start,
And time would heal all hearts.
And every one would have a friend,
And right would always win,
And love would never end
This is my grown-up Christmas list.

As children we believed
The grandest sight to see
Was something lovely wrapped beneath the tree.
Well, heaven surely knows
That packages and bows
Can never heal a hurting human soul.

No more lives torn apart,
And wars would never start,
And time would heal all hearts.
And every one would have a friend,
And right would always win,
And love would never end
This is my grown-up Christmas list.

What is this illusion called, the innocence of youth?
Maybe only in our blind belief can we ever find the truth!

No more lives torn apart,
Then wars would never start,
And time would heal all hearts.
And every one would have a friend,
And right would always win,
And love would never end
This is my grown-up Christmas list.
This is my only lifelong wish,

This is my grown-up Christmas list!

Sharing with: Simple Details, French Country Cottage, Shabby Art Boutique, Rustic & Refined, Between Naps on the Porch, Dwellings the Heart of Your Home, Cozy Little House, A Stroll Thru Life, Domestically Speaking, Lamberts Lately

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas Mice Cookies

Baking and cooking are not on the list of my talents...Martha Stewart of the kitchen I am not! In fact, my husband does almost all of the holiday cooking. I do the house-fluffing, tree-trimming, gift-buying and wrapping...basically everything EXCEPT the cooking.

Years ago, though, I came across a recipe for "Night Before Christmas Mice" cookies in a magazine. Our kids weren't young at that point, but these cookies really appealed to me because my daughter danced annually in The Nutcracker ballet. If you are familiar with the story line, you know that the Prince battles the Mouse King, along with his corps of mice. So, in my daughter's and my mind, the "Night Before Christmas" mice quickly became Nutcracker mice...and a tradition began.

These cookies are not only fun to make, but also delicious! Here is the recipe if you'd like to add them to your holiday festivities. (Actually, they'd be fun to make any time throughout the year.)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter or margarine, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder (preferably Dutch process)
1/4 tsp salt
Decorations: sliced almonds, shoestring licorice, cinnamon red-hot candies, prepared icing

1. Preheat oven to 325F. In medium bowl with electric mixer on medium speed, cream first 3 ingredients. In small bowl, combine flour, cocoa and salt; sift over butter mixture. Reduce speed to low; beat until incorporated.
2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; form balls into elongated egg shapes. Pinch 1 end of each into a slight point for mice heads. Place on ungreased baking sheets about 1 inch apart. Carefully insert 2 sliced almonds per mouse in the pointy end for ears. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until just set. Do not overbake.
3. While cookies bake, cut licorice into desired length for tails. Immediately after baking, insert tails at the rounded ends of mice. Remove to wire racks to cool. Then attach red-hot candies with icing for noses and pipe dots of icing for eyes.

My daughter is 26 and married now, but that hasn't stopped her from wanting to make these cookies. In fact, this year I put together a gift of mouse cookie ingredients and the recipe so that she can carry this fun tradition into her new family. Maybe someday my (hoped-for) grandchildren will help their mom in the kitchen...while nibbling on mouse ears and tails :)

Happy baking!

Sharing with: Cozy Little House, StoneGable, A Stroll Thru Life, Domestically Speaking, Ivy and Elephants, French Country Cottage, Shabby Art Boutique, Rustic & Refined, Between Naps on the Porch, Dwellings the Heart of Your Home, Lamberts Lately

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Decking the Halls

It will be a quiet Christmas season here...our favorite newlyweds will be spending the holidays in Cuba, where our son-in-law was born and raised. For that reason, I'm going simple with décor again this year.

On the front door is a wreath I made from some faux greenery that was left over after our daughter's wedding last December. This natural, unadorned piece can welcome guests throughout the winter.

Also, simple faux greenery, a wreath, lights, and metallic-toned ornaments dress the mantel.

Here are some of the Christmas tree pictures I love to make using vintage and repurposed baubles. I'm especially fond of the green jewelry...

And finally, this nativity set is one that was actually sold as a kids' craft kit years ago. Maybe I'm just a kid at heart, but I painted the figures myself (no kids involved) and really find beauty in its simplicity.

There will be a bit more decking of the halls happening in the dining room, incorporating my very favorite holiday symbol...snowflakes!

See you soon,

Sharing with: French Country Cottage, The Charm of Home, Shabby Art Boutique, Pieced Pastimes, Between Naps on the Porch, Cozy Little House, Tea Time with Trina, A Very Thrifty Christmas

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Holiday Shopping with Parrot Uncle

(Post sponsored by Parrot Uncle)

Have you begun your holiday shopping yet? As the mom of adult children, and not yet a grandma, my gift preparations consist mainly of purchasing assorted gift cards and wrapping cash in small, pretty boxes ;) At the risk of sounding self-indulgent, though, I now consider the holiday sales a great time to stock up on bargains for myself! It probably doesn't come as much of a surprise that one of my favorite things to spend money on is home décor.

Whether you're shopping for yourself or someone else, I think you'll love the unique lamps and lighting at Parrot Uncle, and their Big Holiday Sale (up to 50% off!) runs through Christmas.

The collections of Parrot Uncle Wooden Lamps and Chic Wooden Floor Lamps are definitely some of my favorites...they are like pieces of art and would really add personality to a room. Take a look at just a few here, and click on the links for more information...

Modern Style Floral Wooden Pendant Light

2 Lights Rustic Wooden Table Lamp with Twisty Wood Piece Decoration

8 Lights Rubber Wood Chandelier with Smoky Gray Transparent Glass Shades

Drum Shape Wooden Pendant Light in Nut-Brown Color

Modern Style Adjustable Paper Glass Shade Floor Lamp

Modern Style Wave Shape Wooden Pendant Light

220V Bean Pods Shaped Natural Wood Table Lamp

Aren't these beautiful? And this is just a small sampling of a really wide selection. In addition to these great pieces, Parrot Uncle also offers art glass lamps, novelty lamps (think fun animal shapes...perfect for kids' spaces), outdoor lighting, and ceiling fans. All products are 20-50% off, and they offer free shipping/free returns on orders over $50. Go check them won't be disappointed!

Thank you, Parrot Uncle, for sponsoring this post. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Sharing with: Shabby Art Boutique, Share Your Cup, The Charm of Home, Pieced Pastimes, Between Naps on the Porch, Cozy Little House

Monday, November 16, 2015

November Meditations

Today I'm sharing my Thanksgiving tablescape and the poem I am using in quotes at each place setting (see my previous post, Personalized Placesettings for the Thanksgiving Table.)

Be Thankful

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.
It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.
Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.
Author Unknown

I wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving and pray that you have peace and serenity.


Sharing with: Between Naps on the Porch
, Dwellings the Heart of Your Home, Cozy Little House, StoneGable, A Stroll Thru Life, The Dedicated House, Domestically Speaking, Elizabeth and Co, Ivy and Elephants, Share Your Cup, Northern Nesting, A Delightsome Life, The Charm of Home, French Country Cottage, Pieced Pastimes, Interior Frugalista, Reinvented

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Personalized Place Settings for the Thanksgiving Table

If you visited my blog last year at this time, you may remember my post about using quotes at our Thanksgiving table (Thanksgiving Blessings Place Cards.) This year, I'm taking the idea one step further...

I found a poem online by an unknown author, entitled "Be Thankful". By taking the verses apart, I was able to match them nicely with the circumstances of each of my family members.

After working a little bit of simple Photoshop magic, I used each quote and an oak leaf design and framed them individually. Our tradition has been to go around the holiday table and read them aloud in lieu of saying a works for us :)

Since I am using the framed quotes this year, it gave me the opportunity to create different place cards as well. To make these, I traced pre-cut leaf shapes (purchased at Michael's) onto perforated cross-stitch paper, and then painted them with copper craft paint. Next, I stitched each person's name on a leaf and glued it to the wooden shape for stability.

You could easily use the wooden shapes and a sharpie for a quicker and simpler project. I just so happen to love to cross stitch...and I tend to love to make projects more labor-intensive than need be whenever I can...haha!

At any rate, this is a very inexpensive and creative way to personalize a holiday table. I hope you'll join me later this month as I create my full Thanksgiving tablescape for "November Meditations."


Sharing with: Rustic & Refined, 2 Bees in a Pod, Between Naps on the Porch, Dwellings the Heart of Your Home, Cozy Little House, A Stroll Thru Life, StoneGable, Domestically Speaking, The Dedicated House, Elizabeth & Co, Share Your Cup, A Delightsome Life, Dwell Beautiful, The Charm of Home, Shabby Art Boutique, French Country Cottage

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Fall Into Thanksgiving - Cornucopias

cor*nu*co*pi*a (noun)
a symbol of plenty consisting of a goat's horn overflowing with flowers, fruit, and corn
an abundant supply of good things of a specified kind

November. The month of gratitude for our blessings. Thanksgiving is upon us and I, for one, prefer to give the holiday its due justice (in between the buzz of Halloween and the bustle of Christmas.)

The cornucopia is an important symbol of this season. It reminds us not only of our own blessings, but also of the gratitude which was felt by the Pilgrims on that first Thanksgiving.

Here, I share an upright, iron horn of plenty which I have filled with dried hydrangeas and faux leaves and picks. I worked in shades of greens, soft oranges, and creams for a hint of seasonal color.

This cornucopia is one I made years ago and still enjoy. It incorporates rich, jewel-toned reds, golds, purples, and greens into an open-weave grapevine horn.

It would be beautiful to do a tablescape using a cornucopia overflowing with fresh fruits, gourds, pumpkins, corn, leaves, flowers, etc. for an even more natural display. Mother Nature gives us so much to work with in the Autumn. I hope you'll enjoy the bounty of this beautiful month.

Happy November.


Sharing with: Natasha in Oz, Between Naps on the Porch, Dwellings the Heart of Your Home,, A Stroll Thru Life, Domestically Speaking, StoneGable, Cozy Little House, The Dedicated House, Elizabeth and Co, Ivy and Elephants, Share Your Cup, I Gotta Create, A Delightsome Life, Shabby Art Boutique, French Country Cottage, The Charm of Home

Friday, October 23, 2015

From White to Bright with Chairish

I'm teaming up with again to create another style board, using a few of the great pieces that are currently available on their site. If you would like to read about Chairish and view my previous style board, you can find it here: Discovering Chairish.

This time, I was asked to create a design scheme based on an accent chair (see selection here), and to take a room from white to bright. My inspiration began with these Bergere chairs, because a bright pop of orange can be so playful! The French styling is very transitional, in my opinion, and is mixable with many other styles.

I next selected the Peacock Garden painting with its orange tie-in to the chairs and gorgeous teals and blues. (Orange and blue are complementary colors on the color wheel, so this makes for a nice balance.) From there, I went "shopping" to build my virtual room. I envision these pieces in a space with moody paint (deep blue?) and rich woods. The dramatic black sideboard is one of my signatures...if you read my blog, you know how important I consider black in design. The Turkish rug is an overdyed beauty which incorporates the teal color in a luxurious, textural way.

Making a statement with Asian influence is the lotus brass chandelier and ornate mirror. For accessories, I found a contemporary figure drawing (to keep the scheme from feeling too heavily-traditional) and a brass mask to echo the faces in the drawing. The lamp is lucite, which provides a visually lightweight, sleek feel with a black shade, which relates to the sideboard. Pillows, vibrant coral, and a Chinese ceramic blue and white planter complete the look. If I were designing this room in "real life", I'd add some beautiful books and fresh flowers, pulling tones from the artwork (think orange, magenta, plum....)

The possibilities for creating stunning rooms are endless with Chairish's extensive and ever-changing inventory of furniture, décor, lighting, and rugs. They made a customer out of me after I created the Discovering Chairish inspiration board. If you've never visited, I encourage you to head over there. Hundreds of treasures are awaiting you!

Thank you, Chairish, for allowing me to create and share some design inspiration once again :)

Sharing with: Pieced Pastimes, Between Naps on the Porch, Dwellings the Heart of Your Home, Cozy Little House, Ivy and Elephants, Share Your Cup, Shabby Art Boutique

Saturday, October 17, 2015

October Meditations

For this month's "Meditations" I am sharing photos that I took at Sunken Gardens in my city of Lincoln, NE, and some inspirational quotes.

Sunken Gardens was developed in 1930 on a landfill site. Men were given jobs to be able to support their families during the Depression. Originally, the design of the gardens was based on mountain scenery from England and incorporated mostly rocked terraces.

In 2004, a major renovation took place. Trees, shrubs, ponds, sprinklers, and a parking lot were added; and later a pavilion and restrooms were installed. Now, employees of the City Parks and Recreation department, along with dozens of volunteers, plant as many as 30,000 annuals using a different theme each year. Sunken Gardens is a popular place for weddings and photo shoots. We are fortunate to have this little gem in our city.

"Mother Nature has the best box of crayons." --Unknown

"Nature's beautiful dancers - flowers, water, leaves
Dancing to the music of God's sweet breeze."
--Terri Guillemets

"Sometimes you just need a a beautiful place... figure everything out." --Unkown

"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sharing with: Pieced Pastimes, Share It One More Time, Natasha in Oz, Between Naps on the Porch, Cozy Little House, A Stroll Thru Life, Dwellings the Heart of Your Home, The Dedicated House, Ivy and Elephants, Share Your Cup, A Delightsome Life, French Country Cottage, Shabby Art Boutique

Monday, October 12, 2015

Elevate the Look: Desk Chair

This wooden folding chair was cast off and unloved when I found it on sale at an antique shop for $9. It works well with our clean-lined black desk and just needed a little TLC.

I started with some metallic gold paint on the seat, and after taping that off I spray painted the rest of the chair black. When the tape was removed, however, some of the gold came with it. I wasn't sure if the distressed look was good...or not so great.

While tossing that around in my head, I knew that leaving the entire seat gold was going to be too much bling, though. So I needed to decide between black, or ivory to tie in with the cabinets and trim in the room. (I had also considered a pop of aqua or persimmon, but that would have required my incorporating more color into the space, and at this point I don't have the mental energy to go there, haha.) In the end, ivory was the clear would have looked too "checkerboard", I think.

My husband ended up liking the look of the distressed gold, so I left that alone. Truth be told, I have a habit of rotating things in, out, and through this house often, so it probably isn't worth stressing too much over a $9 chair and a little paint ;) It does look better than it did before, so that's a thumbs up in my book.

Sharing with: Between Naps on the Porch, Dwellings the Heart of Your Home, The Dedicated House, Cozy Little House, A Stroll Thru Life, A Delightsome Life, I Gotta Create, Ivy and Elephants, Houseologie, French Country Cottage, Shabby Art Boutique, My Thrift Store Addiction