Tuesday, November 29, 2011

shopping local

I like to stay as far away from stores this time of the year, especially on Black Friday! I do not like crowded stores, the pushing and shoving, long lines, tear gas!!(saw that on the news at some store). I remember as a kid all those big fights over Cabbage Patch Dolls. Can you imagine! I love the Christmas season but find more and more that I don't like all the shopping - trying to find the right thing, making sure the kids are happy. But maybe if I wasn't such a procrastinator it wouldn't seem so bad. I do love holiday decorating (the lights, the tree, the music), although I am really not fond of my neighbors giant blow up Santa riding a polar bear. Last year I don't think they took it down until March!
Instead of all those big stores with tons and tons of people I like to go to all my favorite stores(then do the rest online). You know, the stores that feel like they are just your own, smaller local stores where they may know who you are and you can talk to someone for a few minutes. I have my favorites for this and that, where I can find unique new holiday treasures or those that I know are great for buying gifts. This holiday season, make a point to support your smaller local stores.

photo via Talking Chester County

photo via Talking Chester County
This is one of my favorite stores in West Chester, PA called, A Taste of Olive, it is the most amazing specialty olive oil and vinegar shop. They have these great silver vats of all the oils and vinegars for you to sample before you buy, everything from, 18 year aged Balsamic vinegar(my favorite), to fig, chocolate, hot serranno chile honey, and blood orange just to name a few. They are also available online but if you live nearby it is totally worth the experience to go in and try them, they are amazing.
As I shop my favorites stores this holiday season I will share them with you- would love for you all to share your local stores so I can check them out online!  Happy shopping!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

At this point now I am sure we are all preparing either to travel, cook, clean, iron our table cloths(just got mine done, I do not like ironing!)  My Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow has now grown from a small 8 to 18, yikes! I don't think it has sunk in yet- but no matter what it will be nice to share with family and enjoy a wonderful meal.
The one tradition I do every year is a couple of days before Thanksgiving I get my paper whites in  containers. I love paperwhites and it's great to watch them grow- the kids love it every year, plus it's great to have them bloom right around Christmas. I think that they make a great house warming gift too, instead of a bottle of wine, take a few bulbs potted in a pretty container - it's so nice for someone because they can enjoy them for weeks to come. I also love the idea of giving a Lemon Cypress tree. They are so cute and such a beautiful shade of green. I keep on one my window sill in the kitchen all year round. But put a holiday ribbon on it and it's like a miniature Christmas tree.

Country Living
Happy Thankgiving, hope it's a wonderful day to enjoy with friends and family and to be thankful.
Stayed tuned for my Winter Warmer give away in the next couple weeks.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Giving Thanks

Martha Stewart
Is it me or does it seem like Thanksgiving and Christmas are starting blend into one holiday? The music is already playing and the holiday decorations all up before Thanksgiving is even here. I may or may not be guilty of listening to a little Christmas music already. I know a few people that are already done their Christmas shopping, but as for me - I may just have a list started somewhere.
But with Thanksgiving just a few days away, I will be thankful for not having the pressure of making the turkey this year and I have a found a new useful way to get rid of all those monkey balls in my yard, leave it to Martha Stewart- I did one of my first blog posts on monkey balls, wanting to patent a way to use them in decorating- darn her!

Martha Stewart
But regardless of all our fussing to make our tables look just right and the food taste perfect,  it's a time to give thanks for all that we are blessed with. I have been sharing ideas over the last few weeks on ways to decorate for your Thanksgiving, but Thanksgiving should be nothing but sharing time with friends and family. There are no gifts to worry about, just a time to reflect and be grateful. It makes you feel a little guilty when staring at a huge amount of food on your plate.
We have started a prayful time with our kids at dinner and it is amazing how much they remember to do it each night, even when we might forget. But we go around the table and say one thing that we are thankful for- some nights it may be for applesauce, but that's ok. After that, we say one thing that we would like to pray about. The kids come up with many different things, but it gets them thinking and realize how much they should be thankful for.
No matter what this time of the year brings, it's nice to be a part of a tradition where we should reflect and stop for a short while and be thankful. I reflect often of my relatives that have passed and think of all the time that has gone and how much older I've gotten. (and hopefully a little wiser?) I remember every year at Thanksgivng my grandmother would always talk to the Thanksgiving turkey and give it a little pat and tell him how good he is going to be. I now catch my own mother doing that with a tear in her own eye remembering her mother. I wonder if one day I will do that as well, just because. Finding thanks in my kids and husband, family and friends, that is my biggest blessing. I do have a love for design and art but without the people in my life what would there be - I give thanks for them. May we all celebrate the people in our lives this Thanksgiving as we sit around the table this year.

(Love the old photograph place cards, how great to place old photos of those who have past as rememberance or of younger days)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cutest Acorns Ever

BHG via Sweet Paul
Just when I am getting my love of plush pumpkins under control, look at these most adorable acorns!
I came across them in the new December issue of BHG. They are the inspiration of Sweet Paul, you have to go to his blog to see the rest of his images and holiday ideas from his article he wrote for BHG. His blog is really pure eye candy, the images are so beautiful and so artistically done, I am now a huge fan.
In the BHG article it tells you just to take cotton balls and wrap the velvet around them and then hot glue on the acorn tops. If you look at Paul's blog you will see how meaningful his color palette is because of his upbringing in Norway. Just when I thought I didn't have enough to do before the holidays, now I have to go outside and find some acorn tops so I can make these!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

This week's project - new life for an old buffet

I am loving my new piece that I found. This walnut buffet was in need of a face lift, and I think it turned out pretty well. I was going to paint it black but decided to go with ASCP in French Linen again, I think that it really shows off the detail and the hardware of the piece really well.  I gave it two coats of paint and then distressed it, then put on the clear wax. After that I buffed it with a dry cloth, it gives it a nice sheen, not too shiny but creates a really smooth finish. Here it is below in the picture still in the shop, I couldn't wait to get it home and start painting it!

Then later in my living room ready to go!

From the start, my husband told me that I was not allowed to keep anything if I buy it with the intention of selling it after I am done fixing it up(we are plannning on moving in the upcoming year and he does not want to move with newly acquired things). But after putting it in my dining room for these pictures, he may have slightly changed his mind. We'll see what happens, but it did turn out better then I thought.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Open Season

Traditional Home
I am loving antlers right now...I've been seeing them hung on walls, some in unusual places... they don't quite fit in with my house, but I would love to make them work somehow, for now I can enjoy seeing them in places they do look good.  This kitchen above is amazing and the antlers above the range are totally unexpected.

Traditional Home
They are found again in the same home completing this space of total symmetry, makes me want to move things around a bit.

Love the contrast here with the dark blue walls and white antlers.

Ballard Designs
These Atelier Antlers are in Ballard Designs, I have been a little tempted to buy these for my walls, I love how they look like pieces of art .

House Beautiful
Here the moose antlers are used as an accessory on a table, they're very sculptural.

House Beautiful
What a surprise to come around the corner and find these huge antlers hung on the wall!

via Pinterest

This is actually really beautiful and can I say almost elegant?

Elle Decor
I love the pictures mixed in with the antlers in this space.

via Pinterest
Tis the season...

via Pinterest
Ok ladies, if you are not freaked out by antlers hanging by your head every night, how clever are these antlers used for hanging jewelry.

Country Living

via Pinterest

But however you display them, as chandeliers, accents or hung on the wall, I don't think, as you can see from all the pictures, you need to live in a cabin to enjoy them!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Creative Place Cards

 My daughter loves to create place cards for everyone when we have guests over for dinner. For Thanksgiving last year we cut paper squares and then she drew turkeys on them and she had so much fun painting them and writing everyone's names. The one thing she did, which I wasn't aware of at the time, was she threw those little foil turkeys all over the table - you know the kind, multi-colored little shiny things that you find years later somehow still on your carpet! My table was shiny for sure.
There are so many creative ways to make place cards just to add a little extra surprise on your table.

Home Made Simple
These corks make a great place card holder and would work for any type of dinner party- I love this easy idea.

Martha Stewart
This is a similar idea with a little more work involved,  more appropriate for the holidays, maybe for Thanksgiving instead of greens glue on acorns.

Home Made Simple
This is a really cute idea and could double as a little gift for your guests to take home.

Martha Stewart
I love these small trees- they look great on a table to add festive greens around without too much fuss.

Home Made Simple
How fun is this- if your guests are sitting around waiting for dinner it doubles as an appetizer or to enjoy with their coffee after dinner or take home for a snack if they have a long drive with kids.

Home Made Simple
This would make a great favor as well for your guests. Use chalk paint on small terracotta pots,  then they can take the pots home and reuse it and write whatever they want.

Home Made Simple
This is a great way to get the kids involved. Send them outside to collect colorful fall leaves and have them write names on the leaves with gold or silver markers.  It would also be cute to write in the gold or silver on little mini pumpkins to place on each plate.
Whatever you do, make it fun and try to get the kids involved. Your guests will love that you took that little extra step to make them feel special.