Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Pineapple Tree

 Give me a small themed tree any time. 
I love them.

Don't get me wrong a big beautiful tree is eye catching but I love (and have) little trees 
(here, here and here for starters!) 
tucked all over the house during the holidays!

This little pineapple tree sitting on the sideboard in my kitchen makes me smile.

A few weeks ago I saw a sparkly pineapple ornament 
in a bin at a bargain store and bought it.
Then I saw another one somewhere else and picked it up. 
And then it was like "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie."
I had a couple of ornaments and  I wanted more. 
And a tree to hang them on.

And then I found that big sparkly one on top and knew I could cut the string off,
 drill a small hole in the bottom and, voila, a perfect pineapple tree topper!

Are you a one tree or multi tree kind of person?

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Chinoiserie Ornament DIY

I never do this...
until I just did!
We have been decorated since December 1 because we kick off the season on the first Saturday in December with a merry get together.
My shopping is completed. 
Things are relatively calm around our house. 

But I kept thinking about making Chinoiserie ornaments
 and putting them on a little champagne colored tinsel tree.
So I dragged out the crafts supplies, moved the wreath off of the mirror in the entryway and made a little tree with ornaments to go on the chest in front of the mirror.

A last minute project!!
I have tried soooo hard the last few years to avoid the LMP (last minute project.)

These are so simple and easy. 
You, too, can succumb to the LMP :)

These little ornaments could be tied to packages or garland, given in a set of 4 or 6 to a fellow Chinoiserie fan or simply put on a tree like I did.

A few supplies are all you need.
I used 3" flat wooden discs. I purchased mine at Wal Mart and this was all they had
 because it's a LMP. 
I wanted flat, round papier mache ornaments but they are sold out this close to Christmas.
(I'll be ordering some for next year!)
You need Mod Podge. Please see this post for Very Important Info on Mod Podge.
A brush to apply the Mod Podge.
A large circle punch makes this quick and easy and the circles are perfect. You could cut them out with scissors or use a different shape of wooden ornaments. The punch is not a necessity but I bought mine on sale for 1/2 price so it was barely over $10.00. 
And it is so quick!

I painted my wooden discs with my favorite gold spray paint.

(Late at night on a baby gate box because puppies mean baby gates!)

And then you "Google" to find your images. 
I googled "copyright free chinoiserie images" and "free chinoiserie designs." 
I also googled "historical chinoiserie papers" or designs. 
Any of these combinations yields a variety of images. 
You must be careful to use images that are not copyrighted which is why the historical images  or images from museum collections work so well for this.
Then I printed them out on plain copier paper. You may have to work with the sizing at first but it's very simple to get 4 repeats on one sheet of paper that will work with the punch size.
Then you simply punch out the designs (turn the punch and paper over so you can see exactly what you will be punching out!), glue it down with Mod Podge 
and top coat with Mod Podge.

I actually put an image on each side of my disc so that both sides are pretty. My tree is in front of a mirror so it ensures a nice reflection all the way around.
Let it dry and add a hanger and ribbon. 
That's it. 
You could add more details - glitter around the edge, velvet ribbons and more.

Then find a cute little tinsel tree or add them to your "big" tree!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Oyster Shells at Christmas!

I love oysters.
 I love oyster shells.
I bring my oyster shells home from restaurants after I eat the delicious oyster. 
(Some people in my family find this embarrassing!)

And even though oyster shells may seem coastal and Summer-y they are actually a very traditional Christmas decoration. 
I remember seeing them tucked in to wreaths and Christmas trees in Williamsburg and Charleston when I was growing up. 

I have used them around my house - in plants as "mulch", piled in glass hurricanes, in flower beds, around my pond and more
I've even painted a few gold.

And I have wanted an oyster shell wreath for ages!
But they can be a bit pricey. 
I considered drilling the holes and making my own and then this Summer on a trip I found one for a price I could live with!!

So, for Christmas, I backed it with a store bought, Black Friday $6.00 evergreen wreath, added a string of fairy lights
 and stuck some fresh magnolia in where a bow would normally be.
I love it.

 There are some really creative things going on this year with oyster shells.

I found these on IG:

is making the BEST blue and white oyster shell ornaments!

And how fun are these contemporary oyster shell ornaments?
You can see them on this IG Feed:

Do you like oysters? 
Do you eat them? 
Or just decorate with them?
If you have seen some other awesome oyster shell Christmas decorations then be sure to share.
I want to see!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Meet Cooper!

Merry Christmas to us!!

I have been wanting, wanting a dog since we lost both of our sweet, 
almost 14 year old Goldens, Biscuit and Chloe,  
in a period of 6 months or so. 
I've missed a dog in the house so much!

For a variety of reasons it just had not worked out and
 THEN last week I found this sweet guy!
He was born on my mom's birthday and I knew it was a sign!!
This was going to be IT!

We are smitten!
He has moved right in and within hours he was in "Chloe's spot" on the couch.
(Yes, we are those people)
He's a cuddly "lover" like Biscuit!

He's 15 weeks old and full of personality plus!

Cooper is named after the Cooper River in Charleston SC.
Crossing the Cooper River Bridge is one of my favorite things to do in the world!

Friday, December 7, 2018

#throwback Christmas Projects for Children

I'm throwing it back to when I used to design craft projects for children- 
just in case you are looking for some meaningful projects for this season and a way to spend creative time with your children or grandchildren!
(Follow all of the links for early blog posts with details and/or instructions)
Oh, and these posts are very old - pardon the primitiveness of my blogging! 

First up, an inexpensive and easy Advent Wreath. It just takes a little bit of time because of drying times but it's not too late to get this going for this year and the whole family could make it together.

This Advent Calendar was a huge hit. It's reusable and cost about $2.00 to make. Seriously!
I still have parents tell me that it's the first thing they pull out when they decorate and I taught their children a decade ago! Some of them are in college! 
But Christmas traditions are strong!

I wish I had a better picture - it's so cute filled with all of the ornaments and #25 is the star!
It's so, so simple. It's made from a Dollar Store cookie sheet, some spray paint I had on hand, craft paint and some foam shapes. Most people have to buy magnet tape for this but if you have some of the free advertising refrigerator magnets people send in the mail then you might have everything you need on hand. 

And here is a tiny Nativity that anyone and everyone can make! 
I've taught 3 year olds all the way up to senior adults to create these.

I used Altoid tins for a while that I spray painted black. They were free but it became difficult to collect the hundreds I needed when my craft camps were full so I switched to the little paper mache boxes and I really liked the simplicity and texture they added to the project. They are less than a dollar so it's still economical. 
You can also put the verse sticker on the back of the box, use the lid for another tiny Nativity and add a hanger to the top and hang it on the Christmas tree.

So gather up some supplies and found items, dollar tree finds and things on hand and create some Christmas crafting memories.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Mollie's Bottlebrush Tree Obsession

Mollie's bottlebrush tree obsession is strong!

It started with a few and then she saw sweet Paige's mantel last year and from there the hunt for bottlebrush trees took on a life of it's own!

Mollie said "I want to decorate the mantel this year."
And she did!
Our mantel this year: 

They are so fabulous that they are the focal point in the family room. 
The "big tree" is having to play second fiddle to the colorful "forest" on the mantel.

PS. I painted my brick fireplace white last year and I'm still loving it.
 If you are thinking about it - do it! It changed the room!

This one escaped the mantel and found a perch in a little blue and white bowl!

We found our bottlebrush trees everywhere.
Target. Hobby Lobby. Lowe's and more. 

Warning: Bottlebrush trees are addictive.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Peachy Pink Poinsettia Preference

I love poinsettias in the house for the holidays. 
I like red ones just fine. 
Just not in my house. 
The peachy pinks, white or marbleized looking ones just work best for me. 

This gal has her "do" for the season!

I found these huge coral ones in VA on the day after Thanksgiving. 
They rode home with us in a place of honor to keep them "safe" 
so I guess they are "imported!" :)

They look right at home in our Library (which used to be our dining room years ago!)
It's sort of our version of a British "snug" - a small cozy room filled with books and comfy chairs. 

This miniature white one was irresistible.
It's spending the holidays in the downstairs powder room. 

When it comes to poinsettias are you Team Red or Team Pink/Peach/White??

Monday, December 3, 2018

Get Merry!

A couple of years ago Mollie and I decided to host our favorite ladies
 for a festive kick-off to the holiday season. 
It has become a tradition!
We have our "Get Merry with Mimosas" brunch on the first Saturday in December. 
This way we can catch up with everyone before the day and the season gets too busy.

I highly recommend it. 
Brunch food is fun and easy- we do a brunch charcuterie board
 and everyone helps themselves.
 Plus minimal cooking!
We get the house clean and decorated by the first of December
 and then we just enjoy the rest of the month!

 :) When I started looking through the photos for this blog post I realized we never got the cheddar cheese out!! No one ever asked about the sign without any cheese!!
 Mollie and I plan the charcuterie board components in advance
 and I make up the little signs the night before.
 It's supposed to keep us from forgetting anything!! 
Our pickier eaters have said they like that everything is labeled and doesn't touch!! 
But if you want some serious charcuterie board inspo (where it ALL touches) then check out @ainttoproudtomeg on IG!! #goals

 I took these before everyone arrived and it was pouring soooo hard.
 The light wasn't great but it's a simple set up on the island.
I use gift wrap as my "runner" and top it with a huge breadboard.
 This year I ran a strand of small globe lights around the board. 
We just gather our favorite blue and white dishes, rattan trays, vintage cake stands and other favorites from around the house.
We usually have 3 or 4 cheeses, ham, prosciutto, salami, and candied bacon.
There's fresh fruit, candied lemon and orange slices, ground mustard, mayonnaise, 
TJ cranberry relish and strawberry jelly. 
Fresh croissants from the bakery and 
 GF bagels from TJ with whipped cream cheese and cinnamon sugar cream cheese.
I made GF sausage balls (best recipe so far!) and the empty trivet in the picture above was waiting for GF hash brown casserole to come out of the oven. I made it the night before and I made an extra one for us to "test." It was so good. Tasted just like, or better maybe, than the canned soup version!

We tried to "class up" the OJ with a silver champagne bucket! :)
And look at that big silver beauty of a champagne "tub" - easily hold 3 bottles!
I found it at Goodwill a week ago for $10.00. It was practically black but I figured it was worth the $10.00 to see if it would polish up!
It came out beautifully - not a scratch on it!! I guess someone got tired of polishing it!

We added strawberries, pomegranate seeds and cranberry juice to the regular line up of OJ and bubbly!

We love BRUNCH. And we love this tradition! 
And in case you are wondering about the exact definition of Brunch...
Both of these made me laugh!

From Urban Dictionary: Contraction of breakfast and lunch, usually occurring around the hour of 11 a.m. Typically reserved for snobs and biddies who like tea and jam.

And from Wikepedia: Brunch is a combination of breakfast and lunch eaten usually during the late morning to early afternoon, generally served from 10am up to 2pm, and regularly has some form of alcoholic drink (most usually champagne or a cocktail) served with it. The word is a portmanteau of breakfast and lunch.

We just hosted a brunch and we didn't see any "biddies"
 but there was definitely "some form of alcoholic drink!"
And bonus points if you can work the word "portmanteau" into a sentence this week!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Plaid Ribbon for the (Christmas) Win!

Mollie and I saw this ribbon at least a month ago and we both instantly loved it!
I recycle my bows for a year or two, until they start to look rough,
 and then I like to change it up. 

You can see last year's sparkly stripe here in the kitchen windows.

We have started "decking the halls" and we are loving it everywhere we put it!
It has so many colors in it and the blue background is such a beautiful shade.

This one is on the front door.
Evergreen wreath is a Black Friday deal from Lowe's,  magnolia leaves from a friend's tree and a BIG bow. I may add some battery operated fairy lights. I'm not sure because I tend to forget to turn them off at the end of the night
 and then the batteries are kaput in no time flat :)

Trader Joe's boxwood wreath, more magnolia leaves (it's the South - we can't help ourselves!), fairy lights (the wire is far less noticeable in real life)
 and the fabulous blue plaid ribbon!

Our giant gold Santa got in on the blue plaid ribbon too!

We are just getting started. 
There's more Christmas decorating to come!

Friday, November 16, 2018

Annie Ray Art!

I want some.
You're going to want some!

I went to a fair in October (I've been meaning to post this forever!)
 and saw Annie Ray's art from across the parking lot. 
And I instantly loved it.

What a great painterly style. 

 I've always loved the skewed perspective tablescapes and interiors of the Impressionists.
So Annie's paintings are right up my alley.
Her tablescapes are my favorite. 

The radish on the napkin gets me every time. 
And the crab, corn and lemon slices in the top picture.
I love all the pattern and the embellishment. 
There is so much to look at in one painting. 
Follow @annierayart on Instagram.

*This is not an affiliated or endorsed post. I just wanted to share some really beautiful, fresh and unique artwork. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Elephant on the Porch and More!

I was scrambling to get my One Room Challenge post up on deadline 
so it was mostly pictures.

But I wanted to share a little bit about how I created what we think is a beautiful, relaxing spot without spending much at all.
It is an outdoor space and even though our porch is screened and under a roof 
the elements still take their toll.
This means that things do wear out or fade or suffer
 in our humid, damp weather most of the year.
I can't justify spending a lot, but it is our favorite room "in the house" so I want it to be comfortable for us and welcoming since we do the bulk of our entertaining here.

Almost everything on this porch
 was found at a thrift store, yard sale 
or online thrifting forum. 

I've already talked about the great deal I got on this large wicker chaise here.
I can never, ever leave an elephant garden stool behind. 
This one was at Goodwill a couple of months ago. It's large and had great detail. Sadly it had been broken. Someone had very carefully, practically seamlessly, glued the base back together but the glue had yellowed and they donated it. 
I grabbed it for less than $10.00 and brought it home. 
A coat of the BEST gold spray paint in the world (here here, here and you can't even find the cracks.)
The British say, "It has a wee blighty."
You can't even tell the poor boy had a blighty!
Trunks up!

Now for the big, fabulous bar cart!
If you are lounging around in that hanging bed you might need a refreshing drink!

I found this bar cart a few weeks ago in a non-profit thrift shop. 
I actually left it behind, thought about it for 20 minutes (what was wrong with me?) and then rushed back to get it. It is from a company in Bradenton Fl and I'm sure it spent many sunny days on someone's porch in South Florida.

Humble beginnings. 
We gave it a coat of fresh, glossy green and then added a ton of thrifted, vintage bar cart accessories. 

It will be so much fun to change it up for the seasons.

Literally everything here was thrifted and so inexpensive. 
 The straws are in a thrifted pineapple pitcher (99 cents at GW) and the gold straws came from the party section at Wal Mart. The gold polka dot tea towel is from the Target Dollar Spot. The silver pineapple snack trays are from the dollar store too!

 Tortoiseshell pitcher? Goodwill. Less than $5.00. 
And so far no one has noticed - we drank that wine the night before the photo shoot :)

The pineapples were all thrifted
 and the big pineapple canister also got a coat of my favorite gold spray paint.

No monkeys left behind either!

The brass tray cost less than $5.00 and is holding leopard napkins from the dollar store.

The mantel was salvaged. Read that story here.

Everything on this mantel is thrifted. 
The bamboo mirror was $6.96 and it's plastic!! It's definitely vintage - you can tell it has some age from the back but it looks great and you have to get close to tell it's not real bamboo!
Plastic bamboo is perfect on a porch.
Lamp and lampshade - GW on separate trips. Under $10.00 for both.

Seascape? Yep, Goodwill for $4.94. We love it. The gold frame is thrifted and the contemporary black and white art is just something I painted quickly to work with the black and white from the zebra rug.
The big yellow vase was a quick buy at GW a few weeks ago because the background of the wicker chaise is a nice soft, creamy yellow and I thought this would be fun and a nice modern addition to the mantel or bar cart.

So, see, you can find a lot of great items for not a lot of money. A little paint , fabric or freshening up will do the trick. And a lot of items don't need a thing done to them- they were just donated because people got tired of them. 
This is the ultimate recycling.
And because I don't have a big investment in my decor I don't feel bad if I want to pass something on and change things up. I can resell some items but I often just text pics to friends, someone is usually willing to come pick it up and it gets a new home!

I'll try to share more details about the other thrift finds on our porch in future posts.
And you can always see what I'm finding if you follow along on Instagram!

I hope you have some thrifting luck soon!