Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spring Thyme Style Blog Hop

Today I am excited to be participating in a spring blog hop with 9 of my blogging friends. You will find links to their posts at the bottom of this one. If you are here from Totally Tailgates, welcome, and please take time to look around.

I’m sharing a couple of spring vignettes in my home. I have quite a collection of rabbits that stay out most of the year except for Christmas but I add a few more for spring.

rabbit topiary

One of my favorites is this rabbit topiary. I’ve had it for years and love bringing it out for spring. I usually put it in this urn on the den coffee table and add some live pansies.

spring vignette 4

Seeing it on the coffee table puts a smile on my face.

spring vignette 7

Another favorite spring thing is this little basket of Belgian chocolate egg molds that I purchased at Scott’s. I’m heading back to Belgium in a few weeks and hope to find more to add to my collection.

spring vignette 9

The spring looking floral fabric on my sofas helps remind me that spring is coming during the cold days of winter.

Foyer Easter Basket

I like to use a seasonal plant or floral arrangement in the foyer but for now I have a silver bride’s basket of Easter eggs that I have collected over the years.

Easter Egg collection in foyer basket

The egg collection includes some big dyed goose eggs that I’ve had for years. It also contains some other handpainted eggs and some ceramic eggs that I made when I was in college many years ago.

1-Share Your (4)Spring blog hop

Lisa is up next at Clutter Cafe with a recipe for Cheese Babka, a Polish Easter bread. Be sure to click the links to see what all the girls are sharing and come back next week for part 2!

Have a great first week of spring!

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Viva La Vintage For Your Home

Swirls of Flavor

Confetti Style

M Jones Style

Positively Southern

Linda G Loving Home

Plum Doodles

Totally Tailgates

Life At Lydias House

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Planning for Christmas 2017

I am sure that my age has something to do with it but it seems to me that Christmas gets here faster and faster every year! Many bloggers start publishing Christmas posts around the beginning of November. By Thanksgiving, all of their decorations have been complete for a few weeks and they can’t wait for Christmas to get here so that they can take them down. I would not be numbered among those bloggers, not that anything is wrong with that. I am probably the very last one to the Christmas party in blogland every year. Because I have some paid commercial decorating jobs I complete those first before I do anything in my home. Then I make a special effort to savor the season regardless of how long it takes me to get the decortions up. Because I am expecting to pick up another one of those decorating jobs for 2017 I am doing some preliminary planning to get as much done early as possible!

foyer tree and garland

A major task that I just finished was going through all of my Christmas decoration bins! I purged and donated some things that haven’t been used in more than 15 years! I also discarded some items that were broken, faded, or just out of date.

labeled Christmas storage boxes

While I keep just a very few items in their original cardboard boxes, almost everything is kept in a plastic bin. All of the bins are labeled and I try to stack together as they are used together. For example, both of the bins above are for the “nutcracker tree” so they would be stacked together. Note to self: identical boxes stack together better than a variety of shapes and sizes.

Dorothy nutcracker w broken arm

Obviously, before packing up, I gave everything a quick wipe down and made any needed repairs. Dorothy has had her arm reattached!

foyer tree and garland

I made a few notes of changes and additions to make before next year. I had already made new bows for the foyer garland but I decided to add one more color to them so I have already ordered additional ribbon and made changes to the bows so that they are ready to go up. Putting up the garland along the stairs is somewhat time consuming because every year I have to figure out the spacing! This year I put a very small piece of ribbon at each spot where the garland is attached to the rail and counted the stair spindles and marked the ribbons. I also put a few notes in the bin with the garland to remind me of the plan. For example, on the second bow in the photo above, there is a tiny ribbon stapled to the garland with “5” written on it. That means that I count 5 spindles up and attach it to the rail there using a zip tie.

tree storage 1

I have to share one of my biggest time savers for Christmas. At home and for the commercial jobs I use a rolling tree stand with an attached storage bag. It keeps the tree upright and helps protect the lights.

tree storage 2

The zippers go all the way to the bottom and there are handles on the outside that can be used to pull the bag. At home I pull the bags to the garage and put them in a storage area there.

plastic wrapped tree

The photo above is not of good quality because I snapped it quickly with my phone but I think you can get the idea. Last year before zipping up the storage bag I wrapped the tree, decorations and all in plastic wrap. This was a two person job! The plastic wrap held all of the decorations in place and not a single one was broken. I did not do this at home with my collection of costly and sentimental ornaments because the doorways are very tight when taking the trees through the house.

firepit filled with gifts

My daughter has a knack for coming up with thoughtful gifts. She got this fire pit and filled it with fun things like Smores ingredients, hot chocolate mix, marshmallow roasting forks, firestarters and blankets for her brother and his wife to enjoy at their new home. Since that is not my knack, I have taken a different approach.

gift box 1

I try to keep a list of gift ideas in my phone but most of my gifts to extended family are either gift cards or cash since everyone I know has so many “things.” A few years ago I started using these Chinese takeout boxes for the gift cards and cash. I use my Cricut to cut a simple tree from pretty paper and glue it to the plain white boxes.

small chocolate bar

So that the box doesn’t get mistaken as “empty” like one of the gift bags did once, I use ribbon to tie the gift card or cash to a chocolate Santa and put it in the box with the crinkled paper filler. That creates a little weight so that you know something is in it!

gift box 2

The feedback from those gifts has been nothing but positive! My plan is to go ahead and get the boxes ready for next Christmas!

mass cake baking

Another project that I do every year is baking a small chocolate pound cake for my husband’s coworkers. I can’t find a picture of the finished product but I put them on a Christmas theme paper plate, wrap them in plastic wrap and tie a pretty bow. This past Christmas I baked 50 cakes. I am asked over and over how I have time to bake so many. It’s not as difficult as it sounds. I use a tried and true recipe. I use 6 cup bundt pans so that one recipe makes 2 cakes. I double the recipe when I mix them so in effect I am mixing 4 mini cakes at one time.

baking 12 cakes at one time

Because my oven has 3 racks, I can bake a dozen small cakes at one time. It does take me all day to mix, bake, and wrap but I can do it in one day with concentrated effort.

Amazon bundt pan 6 cup

I use this bundt pan and will be replacing some that have lost their nonstick coating after many years of use! I also use the pans throughtout the year because unless we have company it’s hard for us to eat an entire full recipe cake while it is still fresh. If I use the small pans, we can eat one cake and I can give one away.

Have a great week!

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This post contains an affiliate link. By purchasing through this link I will make a small commission at no etra cost to you.

I’m linking to Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style and to Grace at Home at Imparting Grace. Click the link for lots of inspiration.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

2016 Projects Review

It always helps me see what I have accomplished when I go back and review the projects that I got completed in the past year. There are many gaps in my blogging story each year because I do so many projects that I don’t consider “blog worthy.” I rarely publish any of my Christmas decor because I have some paid decorating jobs which I do first and by the time I get my own home decorated the blogosphere has been overdone with Christmas photos out the wazoo! One project that has not yet made an apearance on the blog was a fixer upper home that my son and daughter in law purchased this past fall that our family and my daughter in law’s family spent many hours making cosmetic improvements on. You can click on any of the green highlighted text to go directly to the post about the photos.

My biggest project this year was updating my dining room for the One Room Challenge last spring.

complete dining room 2 You can read about that project by clicking here. That post also has links to previous posts with all of the details.

updated porch 2

I gave the screened porch at our summer cottage a much needed update. You can read about that by clicking here.

My son got married in May and I completed a couple of projects for the wedding.

mason jar chandelier-2

I made this mason jar chandelier for the reception tent. You can get the details here.

lazy susan on table 1

I also made these lazy Susans for the rehearsal dinner tables. You can see those here.

pagoda chair

I refurbished this chair for my mother.

beverage stand close up

Even though it has a plant in it in this photo, I completed this beverage stand as a Home Depot DIH workshop project. Unfortunately it was not a positive experience. My hope is that my local Home Depot will work to improve these workshops.

a painted teapot

This copycat tea kettle was a quick and easy project.

Of course my year also included plenty of travel, most undocumented on the blog. I did blog about our trip to Arkansas to visit Allen Smith’s Garden Home at Moss Mountain Farm.

garden home exterior 1

I can’t tell you how many homes I have toured but this is one of the few that I could move into today and not change a thing! There is so much to see in that post!

driveway border garden planter

The gardens were the icing on the cake. I did 4 posts on them so you can start with this one and follow them through here, here, and here.

Wow! That was a busy year! I’m linking to the Top Projects Link at Southern Hospitality. Click over to see lots of inspiration!

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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Reindeer Recipes Blog Tour Week 3

Today is the third and final week of the Reindeer Recipes blog tour. Today I’m sharing my snowman table that I leave up through January. Sometimes everything looks somewhat stark immediately after removing all of the Christmas decor so I leave this up to transition from Christmas to winter.

snowman table

This table makes our sunroom feel cheerful even on a cold and gloomy day!

Snowman Mugs

Those cute snowman mugs were gifted to us several years ago and they make me happy every time I pull them out. Even when you don’t have time to cook, this tablescape makes eating a sandwich fun.

snowman tree and table

The snowman tree centerpiece was made by my daughter in law. Isn’t he the cutest thing you’ve seen lately‘

snowman tree closeup

I’ve had the plaid ribbon that’s around his neck for years because it goes with the mugs so well so I added it to his scarf.

Sun Room at Christmas

Just as a side note, that big pink geranium on the urn in the corner is 18 months old and still going strong. My mother gave it to me for mothers day in 2015. I plan to do a blog post soon on houseplants and keeping them alive!

Be sure to visit my friends who are also participatingin the blog tour. Their blogs are linked at the below.

TT_RR

Positively Southern

M Jones Style

Swirls of Flavor

Clutter Cafe

Confetti Style

Brittany's Pantry

Life At Lydia's House

Totally Tailgates

A very special thanks to Heather at Totally Tailgates for getting the tour together!

I hope that you are taking time to enjoy the season! Because I have been enjoying the season it has taken me a little longer but I have finally gotten the decorating done and the house will be clean today. Merry Christmas!

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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Christmas in the Dining Room

Welcome to week 2 of the Reindeer Recipes blog tour! I am so glad you are here. If you’re new, I hope you will take some time to browse around a bit. The first few days of December are so busy for me that I don’t have time to do a lot of cooking so instead of sharing a recipe today I am sharing my dining room tablescape.

dining room with nativity dinnerwareI tried to change things up just a little but it just didn’t feel right so my table decor this year is very similar to previous years.

dining room angels

Dining Table Nativity Set

For the centerpiece I’m using a favorite jewel tone nativity set and a few angels from my collection.

dining room mirror at ChristmasThe mirror is decked with greenery, beaded fruit, and cherubs.

Bethlehem Christmas Platter

Christmas tabletopI have also used greenery and beaded fruit on the table. For added sparkle, I used silver trays instead of place mats. The dinnerware is one of my prized possesions. It is Bethlehem Christmas Dinnerware that I designed and had produced in 2003. I had searched for years for Christmas dinnerware that told the Biblical Christmas story and finally decided to design it myself. It took a tremendous amount of effort but I was finally able to pull it off. I have other Christmas dinnerware but this one is my favorite! There are eight different scenes that depict the Christmas story.

Mary and the Angel plate

Joseph  and Mary on the donkey

Shepherds in the fields

the Angel of the Lord

Heavenly Host Plate

Star of Bethlehem Plate

Mary, Joseph, and the Babe

the Wisemen

dining room Christmas setting

Setting a beautiful table for the holidays creates a big impact for a little effort. Since most of our meals are eaten in the breakfast room, this table will be decorated for the enitre holiday season. I hope that you are taking time to celebrate the season and you are making the most of the holidays!

Please stop by and visit my friends on the tour today. I have included links to their blogs and the bottom of this post.

Reindeer-Recipes-Graphic

Positively Southern

Confetti Style

M Jones Style

Swirls of Flavor

Clutter Cafe

Life At Lydias House

Brittany's Pantry

Totally Tailgates

As always, thanks for stopping by and especially for leaving a comment!

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