simple is beautiful

Great Reads 2012

Monday, December 31, 2012

Hello strangers!  I hope that you have all been enjoying the holidays with your loved ones and that Santa was extra good to you!  Things should be back to normal around here in the next few days after the confetti settles.  For now, I would love for you to jump over to Jennifer's wonderful blog, Rambling Renovators and catch up on the Great Reads 2012 series.  I'm super honored to be a part of it this year!  And while you're at it, you might want to go back and check out the older entries - there are some incredible blogs out there that you might not know about!

Last but not least, thank you for your support over the last year.  To everyone who reads the blog, to those who hire me to work on their homes, and to those who shop in my store - THANK YOU!  Your support means the world!  Now go have fun and make this last day of 2012 count.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sending you peace, love, and joy this holiday season.  From my family to yours, Merry Christmas!

I Feel Fine

Friday, December 21, 2012

Once upon a time, when I worked as a fashion merchandiser, my colleagues and I happened to find ourselves in front of Radio City Music Hall in New York after a long day of shopping.  The band, No Doubt was playing REM's "It's the End of the World".  The MTV music awards were airing that night and No Doubt was performing live from the roof top when we happened to see.  As much as I love REM, I might just like the No Doubt version of this song a little better.  Thanks to the Mayans, that song was stuck in my head all day yesterday!  Fortunately, a friend posted on facebook that her 4th grade daughter heard that the world wasn't going to end after all. Apparently, someone dug a few holes and we are all going to be OK.  Whew!  That was a close one!

Anyway, how could the world end if I had not put together my dream home?  If I did have a dream home, it might look something like this.


foyer and stairs 

dining room


living room




It's always fun to dream isn't it?

Have a great weekend!

Easy Last Minute Gift Tags

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I love finding ways to add a personal touch to a gift.  Even better if it includes something fresh from the garden.  That is why when I happened across this pin and this post I knew that I had to make some fun gift tags.

Here are the supplies I used.  The labels came from Office Depot.  I always have a stockpile of ribbon in my gift wrapping arsenal, but decorative tape would also work.  The fresh cuttings are boxwood & leland cypress.  I used a glue gun to attach the trimmings.  Super easy!

I love these little tags and the you can personalize any way you wish.

I used colored markers to add words to a few.

Five more days...are you ready?

My Christmas Mantel and a Secret Santa Update

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I absolutely love the holidays!  The season of giving just feels good - do you agree?  I love it when the delivery trucks pull up and deliver the packages that are thoughtfully chosen for loved ones and are then carefully wrapped and placed under the tree.  This year I was asked to play a little game of Secret Santa by the folks at Kirkland's.  So I was able to spread even more gift giving love around.

Before I share the recipients of the Secret Santa gifts, I want to show you what Kirkland's gave me for participating.  They were generous and let me choose something for my own home.  With Christmas decor in mind, I chose the pre-lit pine branches.  

I was really excited to try something different on the mantel this year.  I love the extra sparkle and lights!

I brought in branches from the cypress trees in our yard and scattered them around the candlesticks.  Then I added the pre-lit branches.  By the way, they are battery operated and flip on with a simple switch - cord free!

I wanted to bring in more color so I filled these vintage Italian pots that I scored at a tag sale with hollies from the yard.

I really like they play they play well with the pillows on our sofa.

Thanks so much to Kirkland's for the fun and festive gift!  I love it!

Now for the fun part...

As mentioned before, I was asked to play Secret Santa and send gifts to three of my blogging friends.  Giving gifts to Emily, Courtney, and Cassie was such a blast!  Those girls are so sweet to me and talk about style mavens.  Sheesh!  Anyway, I've been stalking paying close attention to what my friends are saying and I'm pretty sure they are happy with their surprises.  Here are some pictures, but please click on the links to read more.  There is much, much more in their posts.

As the saying goes...'tis better to give than to receive.  What a treat it was being Secret Santa.  Thanks again to Kirkland's and thank you to Emily, Courtney, and Cassie for playing along!

Bringing Christmas Cheer

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I promised myself that I would get caught up with work and make the last week before Christmas special for my family.  So far, so good.  The store is closed and the last client appointment of the year is today.

I wanted to share a few scenes from our house as I wind down on the posting.  My plan was to keep it simple and really, I did.  Probably even simpler than last year.  For me, holiday decor doesn't change much from year to year, but in case you are new around these parts, you might see something new (to you).

Last year Mom gave me a box of vintage ornaments.  They are too delicate to hang on the tree so I placed them in an old milk glass dish along with ornaments that belonged to my great-grandmother.  These colors make me happy.

Most days our chalk board hanging on the pantry door holds a running grocery list.  Recently I added the tree.  Can't wait to see the panic when everyone realizes the grocery list is gone :).

Traditions are so important to my husband and me and I'm pretty sure we got it from our parents.  Childhood stories hold a special place in my heart and I vividly remember reading 'Twas the Night Before Christmas every year.  I think many of us can relate to traditions that we treasure.  This stack of storybooks didn't go unnoticed when they were placed on the ottoman.  Even really cool teenagers enjoy a good picture book once in a while - which gives me hope that these traditions will carry on.

My Kitchen Window

Friday, December 14, 2012

I'll be honest, I'm always stumped with what to do in our kitchen window.  You'd think that a bay window would be ideal for the area behind the kitchen sink.  It is easy to water plants and I do keep a big pot of succulents there most of the year.  Around the holidays I like to make it make festive though.

Color lovers, you'll be happy to know that I forced myself to add a little color this year.  And if I'm being honest, I do like seeing a little bit of red.  My apologies for the blurry picture.  

This is the wreath that I made with Mom last weekend.  It is hung with jute twine on a small nail.  Nothing fussy, but it serves its purpose.

Normally I plant paper whites & amaryllis early in the season, but this year I waited until the last minute and had to search high and low for them.  I found the amaryllis at Home Depot and the rosemary at Earth Fare.

Decorating is officially finished here and I'm ready to begin baking and slowing the pace a little.    Can you believe Christmas is in eleven days?!

Stocking Stuffers For Her From Etsy

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Just in case Santa needs ideas...I've come up with a few suggestions for stocking stuffers.  All items are from etsy and most are under $20.  And by the way, if Santa happened to leave any of these in my stocking that would be just fine ;).

1 * 2 * 3 * 4 * 5 * 6 * 7 * 8 * 9 

In other news, if you haven't left a comment to be entered in the Staples $100 giveaway, you can do so here.  The giveaway closes today.  Also, be sure to stop be tomorrow for a fun giveaway that you will love.  Have a great day my friends!

Spreading Cheer...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My friends at Kirkland's invited me to help spread some holiday cheer by participating in a little secret Santa fun.  Of course I happily agreed - who doesn't LOVE to be a part of something so fun?  And the bonus is, I get to be Santa and send three of my blogging friends a gift!

If you are still in the market for holiday decor, Kirkland's has quite a selection and at great prices too.  I recently found some adorable plaid stockings, an ornament wreath, and green & white damask table runner.

I was asked to pick out a little something for myself and the package arrived just the other day.  Do you have any idea how excited I get when a package arrives?  How darling is the wrapping paper?

I have big plans for these pre-lit pine branches that I will share with you next Wednesday along with links to my secret Santa recipients.  Until then, I'd better get busy.  Santa has work to do...Ho Ho Ho!

A Mini Boxwood Wreath

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I love using evergreens just about everywhere during the holidays. So last night I made a little wreath to hang around our deer's neck.

These are the items I used to make the mini wreath.  This is my favorite wire and I use it for all things wreath and floral related.  It is so easy to use and strong - double bonus!  Plus it practically disappears once you are finished.  You can find it at most craft stores.

I began by slightly overlapping the cuttings.  It looks best when you cannot see the beginning or end of a stem.

I continued doing this until I had a length long enough to fit around the neck of the deer.

Once I had the length I needed, I bent the wreath around the neck of the deer and connected the two ends with wire.  Any stray sprigs were trimmed or tucked back into the wreath.

Tada!  Easy boxwood bling!

I Need a Weekend...

Monday, December 10, 2012

Three consecutive weekends away from home is a bit too much for me - especially around Christmas.  I am so looking forward to this coming weekend and being home, hopefully catching up, and relaxing?  Last weekend was an absolute blast.  Sadly, our weekends in the mountains have come to an end for the year as the house was winterized and closed up until next spring.  Mom and I were able make wreaths together.  (You know that she is the wreath master right?)

The weather was nice (even for the mountains) and we were able to do our work outside.  I need to find the perfect place to hang my wreath and will share pictures when I get my act together.

We went to a new (to us) tree farm and found our tree.  For the first time in 3 years all four of us were able to do this together.  This mama was happy about that ;).  And yes, the sign is correct.  They were trying to get rid of the larger trees and were practically giving them away!  Trees upwards of 10 feet even.  Crazy!

Once we finally made it home late yesterday, we began decorating.  Currently our house looks like we are moving with boxes everywhere.  I'm sure you can relate.

So, how was your weekend?

While Everyone Else is Decorating for Christmas...

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I am doing other things.  Before I share what I have been up to, can I just confess that not one single Christmas decoration has gone up?!  No worries in that department though because I am about to flip the switch on and sprinkle this place with some holiday lovin'.  Nothing too crazy, but once we get our tree this weekend, it's on!

Anyway, last weekend I shared my little project on paint for the built-ins in the master bedroom.  Urbane Bronze, I love you even more now!  If you have followed my blog for a while, you might remember the grasscloth that I applied to the back of the shelves waaay back when.  News flash - it's gone.  I kept the backs white for a while until I could get the rest of the room figured out.  White was just a clean backdrop that kept me from being too confused.  Once I decided on pillows, etc. the other colors fell into place.  Still to do are the window seat cushion and throw pillows - so please overlook what is there now :(.

This entire project was about using what I have - including the paint.  By the way, you can read about the pinch pleat curtains here and the DIY monogram box here.  It's kinda hard to see in the picture, but there are two dark boxes stacked in between the books on the shelf third from bottom.  In person it looks good.  You'll just have to trust me on that one.

I began by arranging the books, then started filling in with other items.

Most of the paintings were done by a family friend.  Cassie, do you recognize the elephant?  He's gold now...Thanks!

Yes, I like elephants, thank you.  I'm sure these shelves will be tweaked as nothing is off limits around here.  It doesn't help that this is the last thing I see before turning off the light at night ;).  Gotta run.  Someone is texting me saying their ear hurts...

Inexpensive DIY Art

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Thank you for all the nice comments about the recent client project!  One of the challenges in the dining room was to fill in the long wall.  There was really no budget in mind so I could have gone in any direction with this, but my first thought was to use a calendar and frame up the images into a grouping.  I know this isn't a top secret trick - many others have done it before me, but it works!  The bonus is that it only costs as much as the frames and calendar!  And, in most cases you gain a big visual pop of graphic color.

Cavalinni makes the prettiest calendars that are really nice when framed if you are in the market for quick, inexpensive art.

You can see them here in one of my favorite bedrooms - EVAH!

I also love what Holly did here in her guest room.

Framed note cards is another great option like these that Emily framed in her old breakfast room.

I have always loved the idea of taking images from botanical books.  This wall the Jenny created in her mother's room is so beautiful!

Now it is your you have any inexpensive art secrets?
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