House Tours

So in the last post I suggested that if anyone wanted to send me photos of their favorite Christmas decorated rooms I would do a post on them and to my surprise I received two responses.
The holidays are always so exciting for me.  I love looking at how others decorate their homes for Christmas.  I think decor is personal and it will always be a reflection of the person.   I received 2 emails from two blogging friends.  I was so excited to post them.  Thank you so much for sending these photos, it's so great to share.  Both of my guest posts are fans of Mary Carol Garrity.
The first one comes from one sweet lady who goes by the name Jaybird.
Jaybird says: "My favorite Christmas picture of our dining room.  Starting at the right, the trunk on the floor belonged to my husband's cousin who passed away in 1913!!  I use it to store tablecloths.  Sweet husband built a frame that fits the top of it to display my Christmas village....at child height....the grands and great grands love it!! The hutch, bonnettopped cabinet on the left and the wooden santa and sleigh on  the top right shelf were all crafted by my Dad who was a master woodworker.  On Christmas week, a tree will displace the small round table in the "L" of the wrought iron railing."

Thank you Jaybird.  I have always adored Christmas villages.  I would spend hours as a young girl staring inside of them and watching the little villages sparkle in the store windows.  Your home looks so warm and inviting.  I can tell that you love Christmas as much as I do.   Thank you for sharing.  

My second post comes from Topeka Kansas, his name is Ramon and he also attended Mary Carol Garrity's House tour.  Originally from San Diego, he loves Christmas and loves decor.  It is obvious in his photos that he is extremely talented and should probably have his own home on a Christmas House Tour. 

 First of all I love the front of his home.  Look at the entrance with the elaborate branches illuminated in white.  Dramatic and beautiful.  I love it.  I'm sure anyone walking by must stop to admire it.
 I love the chandelier with the greens and twigs and ornaments.  Mary Carol always does that with her light fixtures.  The back brick wall is stunning behind the server and matching lamps.
Below is another view of the garland around the doorway.  I love how he positioned the ribbon in it.  Take a closer look below.

And last but not least, Ramon's tree. He said that " one of the details on the tree, which took 10 lbs of concrete, 45 of sand, 535 gold ornaments, 25 yards of ribbon, 9 ponceitias and 15 hours of work."  

This tree is truly stunning.  Love it.  It reminds me of Frontgate Magazine and the trees that the designers create for the magazine.  I am so impressed.  I actually went back and worked on my tree a little more after looking at these photos.  
Thank you Ladybird and Ramon for letting us peek into your lovely decorated rooms.  It puts us in the Christmas spirit. Enjoy decorating!
By the way Mary Carol's last post was wonderful to use as a checklist for decorating your home for the holidays.  Make sure you read it.  Thanks again.



Hard to believe Thanksgiving is behind us and here I am about to blog about my Christmas Decorations.  Every year I plan and plan and spend so much time studying Mary Carol Garrity's books, talking to my friend Lisa and KC and Susan about Christmas Decor.  Every year I want to do something different.  Well yesterday I spent the entire day working on my house, taking care of detail and trying to duplicate things I saw at Mary Carol's open house, at Susan's store and in books I have collected over the years.
Strange how life is.  How in one second something can change.  I was sitting in my dinning room decorating my white tree when I got a phone call.  It was one of the guys from our landscaping company.  I have had the same company for around 10 years.  The owner of the company, Jessie, has always been someone kind to us who has taken care of our 4 acres.  His foreman called me to tell me of his tragic passing.  He continued to go on and say that Jessie, who was 35 and a father of a 4 year old boy, tragically took his own life on Sunday a few days before Thanksgiving.  I had just seen him last week as he came to do my leaf clean up and we talked for a while on the porch.  It was very cold outside and I had put my coffee urn out so that his crew could have some hot coffee.  I can still see his smile and how he thanked me.
Details.  What were the details why he felt he needed to take his own life? Leaving a small child without a father?
My husband and I went early this morning to his memorial service at a Quaker Friends Meetinghouse.  It was my first time outside of my Catholic church environment.  Sure I had been to Baptist service and gone to many worship services in nondenominational gatherings but this was really different.  We sat quietly in what looked like a large white barn like building with cushioned benches all around it's perimeter.  Every seat was taken and it was an overwhelming turning out for Jessie.  He was obviously and truly loved and cherished by his friends and family.
There was a quiet, a stillness as a woman minister of the church spoke and told us that a Quaker memorial service was done in silence in order to allow true worship to happen and when moved, one could share and speak to the group.  At the end, after long silence the meeting would end by a sharing of handshaking with everyone around.
It was a very sad day and my husband and family felt a shock and a loss even though we never got to know Jessie on a personal level.  I had met his beautiful son Jake and his small face with deep set blue eyes shall haunt me forever to know that his father, for a second, was too overwhelmed, too consumed, to think of what it would be like for his son to grow up without him.  I shall never understand that.  
After I got the call and told everyone last night it took me awhile to finish decorating.  I held back my tears as I hooked a few ornaments and hung them on the tree.  I thought of how that phone call changed everything. 
We all are fragile beings.  Some may not show it initially, other's may show it too much, but clearly we all are in need of help at different periods of our lives.  I pray that we may be able to reach out to others this season and every day of our lives and be a positive supportive strength to others when we can.

Okay, I needed to share that because in everything I did today, I thought of Jessie.
I went to Lisa's home today and took photos of her lovely decorations and then I took of mine.  I thought of an idea.  If you read this and you want to share your decorations or a room that you really loved the way it came out, email me a picture and I'll blog about all the photos I get.  I think it would be fun.  As much as I would love for all of us to visit one another's homes and do house tours, geography plays an important role and unfortuantely prevents that from actually happening in the immediate future so this might be the very next best thing.  
Anyway, I went to Lisa's today and I took a few photos.  
 Lisa's foyer is grand.  Her staircase is lovely with three levels and the foyer is warm and elegant as you enter her beautiful home.
 Her love for flowers is evident in her decor.  (Now I need to clarify that my flash distorted the actual color of the burgundy flowers appearing more red than the warm dark color they actually were.)
 This year all I've seen are these sweet little cherubs everywhere.  I saw them in Kansas, and see them in magazines in this year's christmas theme and decorations.
 Lisa and I shared the use of natural objects like pinecones this year.  We also so them in the greens Susan had in her store.  Tiny pine cones, large pinecones.   This was my favorite tree in Lisa's home.  She also gave me a great tip of using a tablecloth instead of a tree skirt for the base of the tree.  Note to self:  Stop at homegoods tomorrow after church and get a satiny green tablecloth.
 I loved the cascading greens on her picture window.  She inhanced them with lovely burgundy ribbons.
 These two feather filled elegant trees were twins on either side of her hutch.  Love the gold feather effect.
 I took this photo for all of us Nell Hill Groupies.  Hopefully Mary Carol will see this post.  Lisa has two of her favorite christmas books at hand at all times on her table top.
Here go the pinecones.  I like this idea on the sconces.  Very pretty with the gold ribbon.

I hope I captured the vibrant colors.  Here is a close up of her tree with so many gold cherubs.  I loved it.  Thank you so much Lisa for letting me take photos of your home.  Hopefully I can blog about some of my blogger friends christmas decorated rooms in my next posts.  

I took some photos of my home tonight and wanted to share them.  I get so much from photos I see, books and house tours and believe me when I say none of my ideas are original.  Susan and Mary Carol and Kc have taught me so much when it comes to putting things together and creating a certain look.  So nothing I've done is original.  But I don't care.  We learn from one another and I enjoy passing along what I've learned.  
 Okay so do you see the garland hanging in the opening?  Okay it's from Ballard Design. It's the Magnolia and Pine garland.  It arrived yesterday to help me duplicate the look I saw in Kansas.  It is six foot long and beautiful.  I love it.  It is soft and flexible and the pinecones are beautiful.  It is not real so I can use it every year to come and it was 89.00 each.  I had to get three but I figured it is a wonderful investment and did give me the look I was looking for.  I have a ballard design box you can click on my side bar and if your interested get it fast while supplies last.  I am so happy with it.
The tree you see on my table is not a full tree.  It is the frontgate tree I've always put in my sunroom.  I didn't use the bottom part and only used the top two parts.   I unfortuantely couldn't use an urn that would fit since my ceilings are only 8 ft high.  But I wrapped a plastic boxwood garland around the bottom to hide the stand and then used a trees skirt which I'm going to trade for a nice table cloth in green thanks to Lisa's suggestion.

 I bought about 10 huge pinecones.  Some from Susan's store Black Eyed Susan and some from Joannes that were on sale and painted them with glue and then sprinkled silver glitter.  They are wonderful to hide the holes in between your branches.
 This is my garden statue that I brought inside.  I wanted to make her festive so I put a small little wreath around her neck.  I love it!  I think she does too even though she looks mad.  I guess it's from carrying those heavy pots forever in her hands.
 Here is a close up of my tree.  I love the way the pinecones came out.

 Now I realized today that the center of my frontgate pencil tree that used to be in the dining room, now placed in the sunroom, needs more lights in the center.  I will be adding more tomorrow but didn't want to waste another day without blogging.
On both my trees I love to hang crystals on them.  Some crystals aren't really crystals they are from Michaels and they are plastic balls and diamond shapes with small holes that I stick a string through it.  Green string for my green tree and white for the white.  
Then the real crystals I actually got from the dollar store.  They are real glass and over the last few years I keep adding to them.  I love the results and it works well if you don't have alot of ornaments.  The more you put on the more your trees will sparkle.  Ornaments can be very expensive.  I like to have a few good ones and then add to some inexpensive ones. 

 These were the little frames I got at the Briarcliff store (Nell Hill) I adore them.  I bought this sweet Santa at Susan's store.  I love how he looks near them.  I copied my photos on regular typing paper in black and white to get that vintage feel.
Here is my white tree.  I couldn't capture it with my camera the way I wanted to.  You can't see the crystals that well and I also noticed that a section of lights went out so I have to fix that tomorrow as well.  But I wanted to show you my little victoria, the plaster bust I bought from Pottery barn and painted her white.  I put a small boxwood wreath and around her neck too.  I love her.  She is dressed for the holidays.
Well, I don't have photos of my family room because I have to wait for next week when we pick our family tree at the tree farm.  I will blog about it then.  I hope you enjoyed my tour of Lisa's house and mine.  Please feel free to email me photos of your favorite rooms with a little description and I would be honored to blog about them.  
And remember, God is in the details and paying attention to details is what makes your home unique and special but let us also remember eachother and the people in our lives whether directly or indirectly.  Let us this holiday season and always remember that each life is precious and each person is like a fragile ornament.  I pray that I may only share positive and supportive words to those around me.


My Lanterns Are Ready

So I know I said I wasn't going to post until I have the house decorated but I made these today and needed to show them so that you can get ideas and do something like them too.
I love sharing ideas.
So the lanterns Rob bought for me from Nell Hill, I decided to change them for Christmas today, just to see how they looked.  I love it.  I used the thick ribbon I bought when I was in Kansas, some greens, put moss on the bottom with my battery operated candles and I used two little cherubs I bought today at Homegoods.  I still have the chubby one I bought from the nursery with a third one that I bought today that I'm saving for after Thanksgiving to do my other porch lanterns.
I wanted to show you how they came out.  I was very happy.
(I sorted through all my greens and trees and they are all out in my basement and now I can relax and concentrate on Thanksgiving knowing I am ready for Black Friday.

Above are the little cherubs I bought from Homegoods.  12.99

 I adore this ribbon I got at Nell Hills.  It's so thick and I love the texture.  I believe you can buy them on line or just call the Briarcliff store.  (816) 746-4320  I believe the roll was 19.00 and it's huge, I used a good amount on each and still have on the roll.  You can email the girls my picture too.  I 've done that so many times.  I call the store and say I saw this can I email it to you and they are so kind and gracious and immediately say "sure dear" and they give you the store's email.  You can also buy these lanterns on the online store, they have three sizes.

I've realized that this Christmas I want to focus on the natural, back to nature, more pinecones, berries and lovely greens that I got at Black Eyed Susan's this week and less of gold leaves and gold balls and gold gold gold and silver silver silver. 
Well at least that's what I'm saying tonight, tomorrow might be another idea.  Hee Hee.
Okay, now I need to concentrate on Thanksgiving and my menu.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving!


T minus 5 Days For Thanksgiving and Then The Madness Begins

I honestly should not be showing these photos but I thought well, why not.  I wanted to bring everything over from the barn today and not wait until Black Friday becuase I knew it would be alot. As much as I love my Barn, and I do, and wanted to have that for storage it is such a pain to bring everything from the loft of the barn down the stairs over the river and through the woods.  Well that's what it feels like.  Rob doesn't let me help him bring it from the barn and he uses the wheel barrel to bring it over on the deck where I yank it inside and then Matt and I bring it down to the basement.  Here is a look at all of it.  Aye!

 There is Rudy rumaging through the Frontgate boxes.
It's alot.  And as much as I try to be organized, omgosh it's a lot.  I only bought a few little greens from Susan this year I didn't buy ornaments and I'm going to sort through everything this week before Thanksgiving so that on Friday I can begin.
So I have a few changes this year that I want to try out.  
If you have been reading my blog for a while you know that one of my dear friends Lisa, loves to decorate for christmas as much as I do.  She has a lovely home in the next town and her and I spend about two weeks figuring out what the heck we are going to do different.  
I enjoy her company and we can laugh so hard at eachother because we get each other and the "christmas frenzy" we both fall into at this time of year.  She promised me I can blog about her home sometime next week after we are both finished decorating this coming weekend.  
That is after we have made at least 5 trips to Michaels, Joannes, AC Moore, Black Eyed Susans, Feeneys and memorized all of Mary Carol's Christmas books and looked over the photos of her home at least 100 times.  
I bought this little guy today.  I so love him.  His little fat belly and his pudgy face.  I sure hope he's a small child and not an overweight almost naked middle aged man cause that would ruin it for me.  Hee Hee.
I want to try to do one of these that I saw at Mary Carol's house tour.

They are so elegant.  I love them!
Also I'm obsessed with this photo and have looked at it atleast 100 times.  I want to do this in my formal livingroom.
So I was thinking, hmmm I need a round table for my livingroom.  I have one in there but my lamp is on it.  How can I do this?  And then it dawned on me.  My bedside table upstairs in my bedroom.  I brought it down into my living room today already.  I love it.  It looks great.  I don't think I'm going to put it back.  She normally has tons of books on it and I love that so I just piled some books on it until after Thanksgiving.  
I know my photo looks yellow.  I couldn't get to my canon rebel without climbing over all those boxes so I just took it with my phone.  
Anyway, I was thinking I have 2 frontgate trees and one of them I'm sure comes in 2 parts.  I want to pull off the top part and stick it in one of my urns that I have alongside my deck.  Then I can lift it up unto this table for the same look.  I'm excited to do different things this year.  So I will blog sometime next Sunday on the end result.  If I survive until then.  I will also blog about my friend Lisa's home and her decorating ideas.  It's fun to see other homes so that we can get inspired to do things for our own. I've learned so much just from photos in books and on blogs.  
Until then, I pray you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  There is so much to be thankful for.  
I pray that you and your families may always be blessed.


New Light

So remember when I told you about Susan's tag sale a week or so before I went to Kansas?  Susan Taylor from Black Eyed Susan is doing her entire house over and she opened her home to her clients and friends and family to come and have first pick at many of her treasures.  I posted about it a few posts back.  Well I fell in love with one of her light fixtures.  Let me refrase that, all of her light fixtures.
Let me refrase that again, all of her things.  Hee Hee.  Well anywho, the lovely crystal light fixture was too long for my tiny foyer with low ceilings.  As much as I measured there was no way it was going to fit.  Well then, of course because I had it in my head already, everytime I passed my foyer, which is about 100 times a day, I kept looking up and thinking "I want a new fixture."  I didn't need one, but my foyers light fixture was small and I thought if I had something a bit more fancier it might make the foyer appear to be more than it actually was.  So a few weeks later Susan text me to tell me she had a lovely vintage light fixture that might work for me in her bathroom but she would need some time to plan what she was going to swap for it.  I was thrilled when she sent me the photo to my phone.  I loved it the minute I saw it.  It also reminded me of my chandelier in my dinning room that also came from Susan.  So I waited, texted, waited, emailed her.  "So did you get something yet?  Did you get something yet?"  Poor Susan, she must have been wanting to rip it out of the ceiling just so I could stop texting her.
Well the electritians came on my birthday and it took them literally 10 minutes.  I love it! Love it! Love it!  (I like to say Love it in 3's.)  I'm ordering new wires for the crystals in gold in a great website I found.  If anyone has an old chandelier and needs parts, crystals etc. this is awesome.  Antique Lamp Supply.  I love how the light shines and sparkles on my ceiling.  Thank you Susan.  Also a quick tip, so the top of the light fixture had the wires exposed.  There were 2 cream colored and one green.  I went and bought gold duck tape from my craft store and taped them together.  I thought it was a great solution.


Happy Birthday To Me!

(Photo above curtesy of the internet.  It is not me)
Today is my 47 birthday!  I guess when your this age (above) you seem to be a little more excited about birthdays.  I must admit the idea of turning 3 years less than 50 is not fun.  
I am having a lovely day with wonderful blessings.  That is all anyone can ask for right? I spent the morning waiting for my electrician to put a lovely vintage light fixture I got from Black Eyed Susan's.  My husband wanted to take me out for dinner but we went out yesterday after church and last week we went out for our anniversary.  (Also had the Kansas trip) and for some reason I kind of wanted to stay home today, not go out to a restaurant, I finished laundry yesterday and wanted to stay home and spend the day doing as little as possible.  
I started to think of what I've learned.  What have I learned this year that was different from last year?
And I began to think. . . 
I've learned that. . .  patience is a gift, a luxury, a virtue that I do not possess.  
 sometimes listening is more important than giving advice.
 a card means more now than it used to.
my dad was the wisest person and kindest I've ever known.
 I have more from my mom that I thought I had.
 a single moment can change your life forever
 friends should be cherished.
 I don't love working out.
Scrubbing a stain on the clothes you have on two minutes before going out is a major mistake.
I really hate repeating things over and over again.
 saying I'm sorry is extremely important.
you can never take enough photographs
a good chair, a throw and my favorite book is a wonderful evening
going the extra mile for people doesn't make you a pushover 
compliments are free, so give as many as you can
peace of mind is a luxury
worrying is useless, but it takes such a chunk of my daily thoughts
a baby wipe can pretty much do anything
fear can be crippling
I hate flying more than anything else in the world
at 47 you pretty much have the people in your life that your ever gonna have
counting to ten and refraining from speaking your mind can help prevent regret later
you can never thank God enough 

I am happy that today was uneventful.  Didn't have to run and pick up anybody or do food shopping or laundry, although I did throw 4 towels in the wash and ran out for chicken thighs and 60 watt light bulbs oh and I ran to Joannes for elastic.  Hmmm, I actually did do stuff.  
Oh well.  Thank you God for today, for my home, family and friends and my little blog that brings me so much joy.  Thanks for your comments they are always appreciated greatly.  


Black Eyed Susan's Christmas Unveiling!

So tonight me and my friends KC and Lisa attended Susan Taylors lovely "Best Dressed Holiday House."  It was postponed originally to be held last Thursday but because of the hurricane it was changed to tonight.  I hate that it's so dark now at 6 pm.  We met a little before 6 and then my friend Lisa drove us.  Thanks Lisa.
The store is about 25 minutes from my house, long dark country roads that are not well lit and the deer are everywhere.  Thankfully we made it there safe and sound chatting excitedly all the way to the store.  I love being with them.  We like the same things and enjoy attending Susan's classes and events so very much.
The colors in these photos can not compare to the colors all around the store.
 Here was Susan explaining what we were going to see dressed elegantly in her shimmering silver.
 These faux marshmellows were so pretty.
 There were wonderful lemon treats made by Susan.
 This golden copper color adorned this tree from top to bottom.

 My flash kept casting a glare on these sensational trees with hues of copper, brown and red.

 These candles were extraordinary.  They are not real, but have a fake flame that moves and you can touch it.  They are spectacular.
 Here are Lisa and Susan stopping for a photo op.
 Here are KC, Susan, and Me.  Why do I look bulky and bumpy?  Note to self, burn this sweater.
 Here we all are excited about our shopping spree.

 There were so many lanterns and cloches and glass jars with topiaries and tiny little sweet trees wrapped in burlap.  I loved them.
 This tree had signature Susan colors of the old store in Yardley.
 Excuse me but can someone let him out! Please!!!!!!
 I was very happy to buy some greens for my mantle.  I love these two symmetrical trees/topiary? on either side.  They were all lit up.
 I loved this tree.  The colors didn't come out as vibrant as they were in person
 This centerpiece was luxurious with it's bold colors and greens placement.

 This looked magical as you stood by the table and looked up at the hanging ornaments and ribbon cascading down from the chandelier.

It is always a treat to spend an evening with Lisa and KC and go to any of Susan's classes.  We always learn so much and enjoy figuring out how we can interpret what we see here in our own homes.
I have been blessed by friends, and family, by witnessing beauty in simple things like trees and christmas ornaments.  Life is fleeting and we all carry so much.  My friends and I all have aging mothers who need constant care.  Stress becomes part of your everyday routine when you care for someone so it's nice every once in a while to have a little distraction from the daily worries and fears.  Whether it's watching your favorite show or reading a good book or attending a class on decorating your home or going to an open house.  Whatever it is that lifts you a bit and helps you relax and take your mind off of the things that are heavy in your heart, as long as your not hurting anyone, then treat yourself to it.  Happy planning for the holidays.
Thanks again for all your comments.  I am delighted everytime I read them.
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