Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 A Wonderful Year!!!

As the year winds down, I am truly grateful for many blessings. 2012 has been an absolutely wonderful year for our family. As I look back through my blog, I am delighted that I was able to complete so many projects. We were able to travel a good bit. We had a trip to Arizona, including the red rock canyons of Sedona and the Grand Canyon; we took our “last” spring break trip to Disney World; I spent the month of June preparing for a three week teaching trip to China which was in July; we had our usual week at the beach; we had several weekend trips to the Washington, DC area including Old Town Alexandria; and lastly, we had a short trip to New York just before Christmas.


  I am delighted and humbled that both of my children graduated from college in May!! (Can you say cha-ching!) We welcomed a very special niece into the world in June and a special nephew graduated from high school in June. In December, another special niece graduated from college, the first person in her immediate family to do so. All of these were tremendous blessings this year. In addition to travel and lots of celebrations, I was able to pull off a few projects.

Last January, we started a major reno of our kitchen. I still have not posted the big reveal but I did post snippets along the way. This post is about my experience purchasing my new microwave and this post is about how I got the best prices on my new refrigerator and range. I shared here how I transformed my existing dishwasher from this


into this.


This post shows how I transformed our pantry doors.


The “before” picture above also shows where we had started removing the carpet for new hardwood floors.


I also painted all of the trim in our kitchen and den white where it had previously been stained dark walnut. It took 2 coats of primer and 3 coats of paint and a LOT of patience!

This post showed how I repurposed one of my kitchen cabinets to use in my laundry room.


The before shot shown above was taken in the garage. No wonder my car is always dirty!


I shared several lamp transformations,here, and here.



I did a tutorial post on how to make a slipcover for a lampshade here.

As I am very slowly updating the living room, I also updated the lamp tables here.

living room table before


Our powder room went from this


to this.


Click here to read the powder room post. I also updated the built-in cabinets in the den here.


My last big project was updating the guestroom here.

Braemore Wonderland

I completed several furniture projects, the biggest probably was building this entry table from parts of my grandmother’s piano. You can read about it here.

table from piano parts

I also rescued these French chairs from a thrift store and updated them, shared here about my Annie Sloan dining table project, and updated an armoire here.


painted dining table 1


A couple of favor small projects were this DIY sunburst mirror

diy sunburst 4

and this cute little tool caddy built by one of my children several years ago


that I updated here.

tool caddy 1

Our summer cottage has been an ongoing project and I shared some details of construction here and showed part 1 of the tour here.

summer cottage 1

I have had a very busy but very productive and rewarding year. I am looking forward to another wonderful year in 2013!

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I’ll be linking to Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch and to Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style. Click over for lots of inspiration.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Bethlehem Christmas Dining

For the past several years I have used my Bethlehem Christmas Dinnerware in the dining room. I am partial since I designed this pattern several years ago and have a lot of blood, sweat, and equity invested in it! I still get excited when I pull if out each year. I’ll let the pictures do the talking but if you would like to see the complete line of dinnerware you can click here.

dining 4

dining 6

dining 7

Bethlehem Christmas 1

Bethlehem Christmas 2

Bethlehem Christmas 3

Bethlehem Christmas 4

Bethlehem Christmas 6

Bethlehem Christmas 7

Bethlehem Christmas 10

Bethlehem Christmas 11

Bethlehem Christmas 12

Don’t forget to take time to Savor the Season! I certainly am!

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I’ll be linking to Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch. I’m also linking to the Homespun Christmas Recipes and Tablescapes at Stone Gable. Click over to see some beautiful tablescapes!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It’s My Birthday!

I guess you could say this is my birthday of the century! 12-12-12! How exciting! I am delighted to be another year older as several women in my family never made it to 50 so I’ve got 3 years on them! I wanted to share a gift from my daughter. It can see it on her blog here.

capitol Christmas

I will be doing a follow up to her post with my own post on our tour of the White House! It was super exciting!

At the end of her post, she gives information on my birthday gift. It was a gift of education to Pakistani girls!

pakistani girl

You can read more about it here. For a woman who has way too much stuff, this was a wonderful gift idea! Perhaps you would like to honor someone with this thoughtful gift too.

Don’t forget to Savor the Season!

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I’ll be linking to Tips, Tidbits, and Tutorials at Stone Gable. Click on over for some great inspiration!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas in the Den

Our Christmas d├ęcor is very eclectic to say the least. It’s the one time of year when I just mix everything together, no matchy matchy themes here!

bell ringer 3

Our den is probably the most eclectic.

nativity mantle 2


You can read about the nativity mantel by clicking here.

snow village 1

Our snow village is displayed on a table in the corner.

snow village 2

The skiers and sledders at the top of the hill are my favorites.

snow village 4

Living in the south, this is all of the snow we will see during the holidays!

nutcracker tree 1

The tree in the den does have a nutcracker theme. It is decorated with nutcrackers, ballerinas, and red and white ornaments. Our “memory” tree with our collection of hundreds of sentimental ornaments stands in our foyer.  Our collection of nutcrackers is displayed on the built-in shelves of the den.

nutcrackers 1

nutcrackers 3

Most of the nutcrackers are inexpensive and have been collected over several years.

nutcrackers 5

Several years ago, I added the foam core wrapped in blue wrapping paper to make the nutcrackers stand out a little more. Because we have mostly books on our built-in shelves, the nutcrackers get lost in the visual clutter without a solid background.

nutcrackers 6

My favorite nutcracker was not inexpensive but part of the cost went to a good cause.

bell ringer nutcracker 1

Can you guess which one it is?

bell ringer nutcracker 2

My Salvation Army bell ringer is by far my favorite! The Salvation Army does great work for those who are down and out. A couple of years ago I issued a challenge to my children who are now young adults. I challenged them to drop something in every red bucket that they walk by. I also included myself in the challenge. My challenge is multi-fold. Number one, the money that I put in goes to a good cause. Number two, by dropping money into the bucket, it encourages others around me to give too. I live in a very rural area. We don’t see homeless people out here in the middle of nowhere. But when we visit big cities, I often see the Salvation Army food truck in the evening. I have seen many homeless people lined up to get a sandwich and a cup of coffee. There is something to be said for a ministry with no forms to fill out and no questions asked that is supported completely by donations. I encourage you to drop something into the buckets as you pass them.

Don’t forget to take time to savor the season!

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I’ll be linking to Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style and to the Holiday Vignettes Party at Southern Hospitality. Click over to see lots of fun stuff!