Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014 Project Review

It’s been a while since I have posted due to an extremely busy month of December. As some of you know, I have a small business Bethlehem Christmas Dinnerware, as well as several Christmas decorating jobs. Throw in decorating the house, hosting a party, baking 48 cakes, attending a few Christmas functions, doing a little shopping, wrapping gifts and a birthday trip and it’s pretty obvious why I haven’t had time to do a blog post! So many times I don’t feel like I have accomplished much until I review my blog posts. This online project diary helps me feel much more productive. I had a very busy year! My biggest project for 2014 was planning and taking a trip to Europe with my daughter. We had such a wonderful time and look forward to going back again some day.

Keukenhof Gardens 8

You can click here, here,here, here, here, here, and here to read about our trip. I actually spent a lot of time traveling this past year. I spent about nine weeks in hotels!

Zapp Hall in Warrenton

I was also able to get to the Round Top Antiques festival. You can read about that trip by clicking here and here. You can read about my birthday trip to New York by clicking here.

While at home, I did manage to complete a few projects.

blanket chest from piano parts

I used pieces of my grandmother’s upright piano that I had deconstructed to build this blanket chest.

refrigerator cabinet pantry 1-16

I built a slide out pantry on the sides of my refrigerator using the existing cabinetry. This is a great use of otherwise wasted space. You can read about that project by clicking here.

I made some lamps from various objects. You can read about them by clicking here and here.

parrot lamps with blu and green shade

new shade- close up

I completed several chair projects. I converted this one to a swivel rocker for a friend’s nursery.

Converted Rocker 1

I did a total makeover on these.

PicMonkey Collage red chairs

I rescued this one from Goodwill.

new home for old chair 2

You can see how I staged my niece’s house to sell by clicking here.

I also helped my daughter build corn hole boards for some fall fun.

finished at last

I also managed to do a little shopping. You can click here, here, here, and here to see some of my finds.

collected tablescape 1

I have some long overdue projects planned for 2015 if I can just pull them off! I hope that each of you had the most wonderful Christmas ever and wish you the very best New Year! Thank you for every visit and especially for taking time to leave a comment!

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I’ll be linking to Southern Hospitality and to Between Naps on the Porch. Click the link to see lots of inspiration.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Staging A House To Sell

I spent last week helping my niece prepare her house to sell. Her husband owned the house when they got married but they have since moved closer to Charlotte(NC) due to work schedules. The house is in a resort community on Baden Lake which is on the edge of the Uwharrie National Forest and is about an hour from Charlotte. It would make a great weekend getaway. The house has a small footprint but lives very large due to the open floor plan.

living room after

It is very spacious and open. Let’s look at the before and after pictures.

living-dining rooms beforeliving room after

Below is a picture of the kitchen.

kitchen beforekitchen after

And another view of the before.

hallway beforeentry after (2)

The first thing we did was use a steamer to remove the wallpaper borders in the living room, dining room, and kitchen. Then we painted the walls a neutral color.

living room after 2

We also removed the window treatments except for the blinds.

living dining after 3

A little paint makes a big difference.

dining after

kitchen after

entry after

bedroom beforebedroom after 2

The bedrooms were already a neutral color so we just switched the blinds and removed the window treatments. bedroom after

We used shutters for a makeshift headboard and a queen size air mattress for the bed.

bedroom 2 after

Because we already had a single air mattress we used it for the second bedroom.

Below is a photo of the bathroom before our little makeover.

bathroom beforebathroom after

Again, we took down the wallpaper border and removed the window treatment and gave it a fresh coat of paint. We also added a new shower curtain for a little color.

bathroom after

bathroom after 2

A spacious deck stretches across the back of the house and there is plenty of storage in the basement. Sorry for the poor quality photo but I was shooting into the sun and I have very limited photography skills!!

back deck

There is a marina just down the street.


There is also a beach area and a playground as well as a community swimming pool.


Baden Lake

If you know of anyone who is looking for a weekend home please share this real estate link with them!

I hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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I’ll be linking to Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style,  to Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch, and to Grace at Home at Imparting Grace.

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Christmas Visit to New York City

I recently booked a trip to New York City for my birthday in December. I love to visit the city when it comes alive with the Christmas spirit. Since we have made this trip many times before I am often asked what we do while we are there. Actually, I am content to simply stroll and enjoy the atmosphere. While it costs a little more, we always stay in midtown for the convenience of being close enough to walk most places. We do use the subway whenever we get tired or if the weather is uncooperative.

Columbus Circle Holiday market

We enjoy browsing and shopping at the various Christmas markets. We often start our day at the market at Columbus Circle (see the map below) where we purchase the best Belgian waffles ever from Wafels and Dinges. Trust me. This is not your typical Belgian waffle. It is the real thing and it is delicious!! Wafels and Dinges also has a stall at the market at Union Square and we have been know to hit both in one day!


While we are in the area, I always enjoy browsing at the MacKenzie Childs store located at 20 West 57th Street. This store is almost visual overload and I love it.


Next we make our way to the wonderful FAO Schwarz toy store at the corner of 5th Ave and 58th Street. It’s a fun store to visit for big kids as well as little ones.

nyc chocolate

One of our favorite restaurants is Serendipity 3 on 60th Street between 2nd and 3rd Ave. We always share a frozen hot chocolate for dessert. It is delicious!!

Our next stop is usually Bloomingdale’s- 3rd Ave at 59th Street. We shop there and enjoy seeing the Christmas window displays.

Next we check out the windows at Barney’s – Madison Avenue at 61st Street.  From there we make our way down 5th Avenue to check out the Christmas windows.


Some of our favorite window displays along 5th Avenue are

Bergdorf Goodman  5th Ave at 58th Street

Henri Bendel   5th Ave at 56th Street

Sak’s Fifth Avenue    5th Ave at 49th Street

Lord and Taylor  Fifth Ave between 38 and 39th Streets

We also enjoy the Christmas Market in Grand Central Station.

nyc rock

We usually take a family photo at Rockefeller Center and watch the ice skaters for a bit.


The trip would not be complete without a visit to Macy’s at Herald Square where the windows are always wonderful! When our children were small we always made time for a visit to Santa at Macy’s.


We always take in the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City. Several times we have been able to purchase discount tickets on the day of the show at the TKTS booth at Times Square.  We also take in another Broadway show and our selection is usually made from the list of available shows at the TKTS booth.


Another favorite spot is ToysRUs at Time Square. We have even ridden the ferris wheel a time or two.

salvation-army-bell ringers

Let me remind you of a family policy that we have. Every time we pass a Salvation Army bell ringer between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we drop something in the kettle. As we are strolling, every member of our family drops something in each kettle we pass. For some crazy reason seeing someone else give seems to prompt others to give too. For the last few years, the bell ringers have started dancing. Often, we watch the dance for a minute or two then make our move to drop something in the kettle. We enjoy watching a little longer to see if others follow suit. Usually they do. Click on this link to see a video of a couple of dancing bell ringers!

At some time during our visit we also go to the Christmas market at Bryant Park. Depending on who is traveling with us, we may also visit the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State building, the 911 Memorial or take a bus tour. Regardless of what we do, I always enjoy the trip and am looking forward to another one in a few weeks and I will have a purse full of small bills to drop in the kettles!

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I’m linking to Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch.

Monday, November 17, 2014

3 Holiday Preparations To Do This Week

I just checked the calendar and Christmas is 5 weeks from now! I don’t know about you but I’m making lists and lists and lists and checking them twice so that I will get everything done but I also want to take time to savor the season. I have 3 items that can be done this week.

shoe box labels

My daughter and I spent yesterday afternoon packing and wrapping shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. We’ve done this for many years and look forward to seeing how much we can pack into a shoebox every year. One of us claims to be a professional shoebox packer. You can guess which one it is! (wink wink)

treats for shoe box

The professional packer uses the layer system for packing.

shoebox layer 1

All of the flat items go in first: coloring books, notebook, sticker book, crayons, tissues, a bar of soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, a small mirror, a small flashlight, extra batteries.

shoe box layer 2

The next layer included a small hairbrush, small tubs of play dough, sunglasses, hairclips, hairclips, and did I mention hairclips, and small candies.

shoe box layer 3

The next layer was a small teddy bear, pens and pencils, more candy, and additional hair ties.

shoe box top layer

The soft items went on top: a couple of washcloths, a hat, and pair of socks, and a pair of gloves. If you are not familiar with Operation Christmas Child you can click on the link to find out all about it but the nutshell is that you fill an empty shoebox with small gifts, print a label for the box and take it to a collection center. You can even get a bar code so that you can follow your box to see where it is delivered. National collection week is this week. You can find your nearest collection center on the website.  This is such a wonderful project and I encourage you to participate this week.

The next item on my list for this week is writing my gift list. I don’t like to be scrambling around at the last minute trying to get everything together. Last year I posted about a book that is a great gift for the men on your list and I want to mention it again.

Ten Was The Deal book

My husband got the book last year and I cannot tell you how much we enjoyed it. I say “we” because as we were watching TV at night he was reading his book, had many pauses for a good belly laugh, then said “I have to read this to you.” The book is filled with humorous and heart warming stories by a true Southern outdoorsman. Click on the photo above to purchase this great book.

Third on my list is Christmas dinnerware. I have had many readers and friends comment “one day I am going to buy that dinnerware for myself. Time slipped up on me and I didn’t get it this year.” I am referring to the dinnerware that I designed and had produced that tells the Christmas story. Disclaimer: I do not do self promotion. It just is not me. (For grammar freaks I know that should be “it just is not I” but in the south me sounds better here.)  So if you are one of those procrastinators who doesn’t like spending for yourself, today is your gentle reminder to place your order. Most orders ship next day so you have time to get it and enjoy it between now and Christmas. You can click on the picture below to go to the page for purchases.

table with Bethlehem Christmas dinnerware

I hope that you have a great week and get lots of things checked off your list!

P.S. I love a bargain and if you missed Marty’s Thanksgiving table that she purchased from Goodwill you must click here to see it!

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I was not compensated in any form for any of the above promotions. All opinions are my own.

I am linking to Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch, to Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life, to The Scoop at Worthing Court, and to Grace at Home at Imparting Grace.