simple is beautiful

Happy New Year!!!

Friday, December 31, 2010

It is hard to believe that another year has rolled around.  My family and I agree that this has been the best holiday season ever.  It wasn't about the gifts we received, but rather the special memories we have made together.  I truly believe that this is only the beginning of good things to come.  To all of you who read my blog, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.  Thank you for visiting, leaving comments, and staying in touch.  You all are the best.  Also, thank you to my November and December sponsors!  I really appreciate you.

Happy New Year!

image:  Martha Stewart

It Snowed

Sunday, December 26, 2010

For the first time in over 60 years,
we had a white Christmas here in Greensboro. 

It's a pretty big deal.  

Merry Christmas to You

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas everyone!

Wishing you a holiday season filled with joy and peace.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.
I really appreciate you.

Fun & Festive

Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's Christmas Eve, Eve.  
Take a deep breath. 
You're almost there.
Are you tired of looking at Christmas decor yet?

Joining Layla.

Prettifying My Winter Entry

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A recent cold snap left my urns on the front porch looking like this - not exactly the warm welcome I was looking for.  I really wanted something a little nicer looking both for the holidays and the days following, but didn't want to invest in plants at the moment. Here is a solution that has worked in the past and will work for you if you have an assortment of plant materials in your yard.

The soil was literally frozen the day that I did this so I used a dowel to make holes for the greenery.

Visually, three textures mixed together make a nice arrangement.   So I started with Leland Cypress branches.  I cut them in lengths of about 15" and used around 5 per pot.  A trick, odd numbers work better in arrangements.

The next layer consists of branches from our Christmas tree.  I tucked them in around the bottom of the cypress.  Now all of the ugly stuff in the pot is covered.

Next, I used Nandina sprigs to give the arrangement a smooth, waxy texture.

Finally for a splash of color, I used Nandina berries and a sprig from another Nandina that happens to have red foilage.  The birds beat me to the berries or I would have used 3 clusters per pot instead of one. 
I'm so happy with they way the reds all work together.

Just a little reminder about the 2010 Christmas Tour of Homes that begins tomorrow.
Cottage and Vine

Feeling Festive

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thanks for the comments yesterday about the letter to Santa. I thought you might like to know that on the way to the breakfast table yesterday morning, Parker mumbled under his breath, "I sure hope Santa saw the letter."   Deep down inside, I think we all would like to keep the magic going forever.

Here is a little project that I finished last week.  I wanted something festive for the dining room table during the holidays so I painted these containers with a coat of white and filled them with fresh cypress.  Talk about easy - does this really count as a "project"?

The needlepoint table runner is one that Mom made and I adore it.  I'm really loving the way it looks with the new chairs.  Normally our dining room isn't so fancy, but if there was ever a time to turn up the fancy dial, it would be around Christmas.

School has been canceled today because we received a dusting of snow.  That is how it is here in the South - like it or not.  Actually, I love snow days...

The Co-Editor Has Spoken

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dear Santa,

I have been the best pet a family could ask for. At the top of my wish is that no dog goes hungry or cold this Christmas.  Also, sometimes I surf the internet and have made a wish list of things that look dogtastic in case you have room in your sleigh for me.  By the way, I think a dog would do a better job than a reindeer.  Have you ever seen the movie, "Olive the Other Reindeer"?

Anyway, Merry Christmas Santa!  Oh and another thing, if no one leaves you cookies, please don't accuse us dogs of eating them.  It's probably those meddling kids.

Mattie Gray, co-Editor


Bookshelf Styling

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Are bookshelves ever really finished?  I am forever tweaking mine because items and books on the shelf are constantly being pulled and used in other rooms.  Then there are times when something just doesn't look right, so I start playing around with everything.  When I search on line for bookcase styling tips and images, most shelves are narrower than the ones in our master bedroom and they are filled with books.  We have books, just not enough to fill our shelves.

Until a month ago, this is what our shelves looked like.  To simplify, I took out all of the small stuff.  Also, to make the colors appear more monochromatic, I removed the dust jackets from some of the books.

Here is how one side looks now.  

Glass and silver were brought in from other rooms and also simplify the overall feel of the shelves.

Every room needs a touch of green, so I added the small moss covered balls in glass and the large ball to the silver bowl. 

The other set of shelves looked like this and again, were too busy to me.   

After removing the small things here is what it looks like.

Simplifying the colors and accessories made all the difference.  

Thanks for the comments yesterday about the bed skirt.  It sounds like Velcro might be the way to go.  Stay tuned.

How to Make a Fresh Boxwood Wreath

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

 Thank you Mom for convincing me to keep our boxwood shrubs 13 years ago when I was young and foolish and wanted to get rid of them, because I love them now. Every year, I make a boxwood wreath for our front door.  I use the same $5 wreath form year after year.  Here is what I do (and by the way, you can do this with most evergreens).  Take enough cuttings to get started.  I wanted a tighter wreath so my cuttings are around 6".

 This is the form that I use and you can get these at any craft store.  This one measures 18" across.
 You will also need a wire paddle.

 This is really technical :) Grab a handful of cuttings and begin wrapping the wire around it securing it to the wreath form.  Be sure to affix one end of the wire to the form so that it doesn't slip.

 I usually wrap the wire around each new section twice.  Does this make sense?
 Continue adding more sections of boxwood to cover the secured wire, pulling the wire tightly as you go.
My camera battery was just about to die so the pictures are getting blurry.

It's Beginning To Look Alot Like Christmas...

Monday, December 6, 2010

Oh how I love the smell of a fresh Christmas tree.  It is the first thing I smell when I walk in the front door.  It is hard to believe that just yesterday we cut this tree down in the snow.  Now look at her all dressed up.

Our tree is full of meaningful ornaments that we have collected over the years - both gifts and handmade.  It is always fun to pull them out of their boxes and reminisce.

I'm pretty sure that even really cool kids like to see the ornaments they made in preschool.

Today has been a busy one filled with catching up from being unplugged over the weekend, running errands, and working on the etsy shop.  I did manage to squeeze in a live boxwood wreath though. 

Stop by tomorrow for the tutorial.  It is easier than you think.
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