Friday, November 30, 2012

Do You Fake It at Christmas?

We have discussed if you use artificial flowers in your house.  Many of you faked it--only a few purists among you.

My Christmas decorating starts tomorrow.  Every year I use fake lighted garland on my front rails. I add live Magnolia leaves, Red Nandina Berries, Holly clusters and some fir tree clippings.  The fake stuff serves as a good based.  The live stuff kicks it up and when bows are added it looks tres magnifique!  (However, my garland in no way resembles this gorgeousness.)

Of course, the live swags look best!

Doesn't it the have to be changed out mid-season?  $$$ Who has the time before Christmas?

I live in NC.  Monday the temperature will be 69 degrees.  Can you say limp lettuce?

Do you use fresh garland?  How do you keep it from becoming wilted?

Happy Friday, y'all!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My Christmas-Crush Needs a Clone

I have had a Christmas-Crush on this Pier 1 "Pre-lit Mirror Ornament' for over a week.  It was just on sale -20% so I snagged it. (Had to go across town because my neighborhood Pier 1 sold out.)

I was so excited! I stopped by Virginia's house so she could admire it.  (You know she had to plug that bad boy in for us to oooh and aww over.)  It got Virginia's vote!

Then it happened.

On my way home from Virginia's, Crazy Linda (who-so-yearns-to-be-a-DIY-er) started whispering to me:
"I have an old mirror!"
"I have a string of lights!"
"I have Command Strip hooks to hold the lights!"
"I can buy little ornaments to put on it!"

And that's as far as Crazy-Linda got.

So my gentlereaders, how would you approach this copy cat project--or would you! HA!~

Monday, November 26, 2012

A New Spin on Celebrating Christmas

I started a 'Christmas Game' with my family a couple of years ago. We have fun with it.  I thought I would share it with you.

Christmas 2012 Game  
This is a year when so many have so little.  In an effort to focus on fun, frivolity, helping, sharing, caring and giving, let's share our wealth of spirit and generosity.

1.  From today through Christmas, greet a stranger with a roaring, "Merry Christmas!"
2.  Send a Christmas Card with a personal note to a distant relative, old friend, or business associate that you don't typically connect with during the holidays.
3.  Take a cup of coffee or hot chocolate to a bell ringer, construction worker, traffic cop, parking lot attendant, or human billboard.
4.  Make someones day!  Leave a $5 bill or dispense five $1 bills on a sidewalk, park, parking lot, store aisle or playground for someone to discover.
5.  Contribute to an organization, individual, or family and share the reason and what it means to you.
6.  Be a not-so-secret-Santa!  Buy a $5 book of fast food coupons and enclose it in a Christmas Card.  Present the card to a grocery clerk, receptionist, vet tech, or bank teller, etc.
7.  For our family gift exchange, find a book, CD, DVD, picture, poem, quote you already own and cherish.  Wrap it with a note to explain the meaning behind it.
8.  Also for our family gift exchange, re-gift something foolish or of no use to you. Present it creatively in anything but store bought gift wrap.
9.  Make an ornament for our family tree. Be original and creative!
10. Bring a prop or costume to wear for our family Christmas Holiday photo.

You can do as many or as few as you like.  Part of the fun is sharing our experiences on Christmas Morning.  One year, our son and his wife made Christmas special for a young family when the mother had cancer.  I enjoyed handing a sealed Christmas card with $20 to a grocery store clerk.  #3 has yet to be fulfilled. We had warm weather last year and we all kept waiting for a cold day.

I could only find a couple of old Christmas pictures. I think someone else took pictures that I didn't get.
Silly Hats - Christmas -09
In the picture below, John was re-gifted a coffee set my husband received at his office Christmas party.  Can you tell he was thrilled!
Yippee! A Crappy Coffee Set
Our Christmas stuff hasn't been unpacked yet.  One year I made an ornament for our tree using vintage buttons.  It still swings from a lamp in my bedroom!
  We enjoy this fun game.  Maybe you can adapt it for your family and friends.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Fall Fun

Hi Guys!
What a perfect Thanksgiving weekend!  I can't seem to get in the swing of a relevant post.  Think I must share pictures of playing in the leaves with my grandson, Jack.

A picture of me buried in the leaves. Izzie, trying to rescue me.

Jack up to his shoulders in leaves!

Jack's had enough.

Hope you all enjoyed a grand Thanksgiving weekend!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Leaves Are Free Fun

Hi Everybody,

I hope you are enjoying your Thanksgiving eve!

I just got back (again) from the grocery store.

Been polishing silver.

Ironing napkins for a friend to use tomorrow. 

Slicing, dicing and prepping for the big day...

Now, I am wrapped up in a sweatshirt and gloves to go outside. Our huge yard of hardwoods is carpeted in leaves. (The Oak leaves are as big as dinner platter!)  I'm blowing leaves in a huge pile for our two year old grandson to play in tomorrow.

No leaves at his Mom and Dad's house.  Won't this be a fun special Thanksgiving memory for us?
It doesn't get any better.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve.


Monday, November 19, 2012

What Goes Around

....comes back around, at least according to Justin Timberlake and House Beautiful.
In fashion, it is touted that if you wore it when it was first in style, then you are too old to wear it when it comes back into style. To that end, you won't find me in bell bottoms or low rise jeans (in my day, we called them 'hip huggers').
So I wonder if that same rule applies to decor?

Here's some of what the December issue of House Beautiful is bringing back in 2013.

Grass Cloth
In my first house,  I papered my entire hallway and family room in Grass Cloth. Oh yeah--it was teal blue grass cloth. LOL! I thought was soooo trendy!

Calming Colors
In the 80's I was the queen of the popular restful colors of the Southwest: Desert Tan, Grey Mist, Oasis Blue, Green Goddess, and Saffron Yellow.

OMG, did you say brass?  I have had an entire house of Baldwin Brass switch plates. Then there was my vast collection of brass animals, chandeliers, coasters and cricket boxes.  My family room end tables had gigantic brass table lamps so tall they could guide a plane in for a landing.  Bookshelves and mantles displayed brass candlesticks and picture frames out the waazooo.

Latest 2013 Trends
What do you think about the resurgence of these blasts from the past?  Can they only be pulled off in an uber contemporary room?

Hope you are enjoying your countdown to Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sentimental Journey

Norman Rockwell

I love Thanksgiving. 

It is a holiday that requires so little of you-

only feasting, family and friends,

and gratitude.

It is a day to reflect on that sacred American value of thankfulness for all the blessings we share in this Country.

Retailers, really?
The Guardian

Retailers are now open on "Grey Thursday" as well as "Black Friday".

I know two 'kids' that work retail. They are working 14 hour days Thursday and Friday.  Asking off for Thanksgiving is not an option.

I am thankful that I have many memories of celebrating Thanksgiving. (Oh yeah, we've had our "Griswald" moments. The colorful moments add to the charm.)

I makes me sad those folks that have to work on Thursday.

Thanksgiving at the Food Court just seems wrong!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Easy Guest Room Staging

I often show you major staging transformations.  Here are 3 Guest Rooms where only a few changes were made to kick 'em up a notch for selling.

This bedroom I exchanged the small lamp for a candlestick lamp, placed art between the windows, and added a large velvet pillow for texture and color.
Guest Room Before

Guest Room After

This bed was set in an old waterbed frame. It appear a bit deflated.  I changed the bedding and used a bolster pillow to prop up the bed pillows.  A picture of a Tuscan Landscape was displayed above the bed.
Guest Room Before

Guest Room After
Here is the third  lovely Guest Room. The end table under the windows was stored to help the room appear larger. The owner was concerned about the walls being damaged and requested that the picture hook above the bed not be removed.  I placed a small picture where the misplaced picture was and displayed a larger picture below it.  A large burgundy pillow with beautiful looped ribbon trim (that coordinated perfectly with the bed treatment, go figure) was added to mound of pillows. Again, a candlestick lamp was placed on the night table.

Guest Room Before
Guest Room  After

I wanted to illustrate how easy and inexpensive staging can be.  Fortunately, these sellers had nice furnishings with which to work.  I just added a wee bit of spice.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

I am so excited to discover that I have won a $50 gift certificate to Novica.  Kerry Steele of Design du Monde hosted a giveaway and I was the lucky winner.

Novica has the coolest handcrafted global treasures.  I poured over a zillon items.  The decision was tough--then I saw this scarf.

I fell in love with this Alpaca Snood.  Folks, it is SO me.  I love the color and the texture.  Don't you think it will look great looped over a top or under a jacket.  Thanks Kerry!

Check out Kerry's blog:

and Novica for some unique presents:

What do you think about my choice?


Monday, November 12, 2012

My $5 Weekend Makeovers

This little table is at the top of my upstairs landing.  As you can see, there are no electrical outlets.  It is kind of a black hole.

Isn't she pretty pretty?  A couple of years ago, I purchased her off of Craigslist.  The fret work and painted top make my heart sing.

This birdcage has been used in countless houses for staging.  It was purchased from a consignment shop.

A friend wanted to stop at Big Lots to pick up some Christmas Candles.  I bought one for $5. It is  battery operated and can be set on a timer.
I spray painted the candle bronze. I loaded it into my bird cage.  Then added vintage ceramic birds and 'nested' them in Spanish Moss. 

The finished product.
Oh, and I added a touch of ivy and a key with a small tassel.

Color me happy! A wee little light at the top of the stairs. Let there be light!


You know I love me some grocery store flowers.  I got 3 stems for $4.99.  Two stems of mums and one of daisies.

I used an old vase and floral foam. The only trick with floral foam is to totally saturate it before you add flowers. Next, "green the vase'. I always use yard clippings, in this case azaleas greenery.  Cut the long flower stems down.  I was left with 2 clusters and many individual stems. Put the clusters in the center.  Then fill in the remainder of the arrangement with the other flowers.

I wrapped it in burlap and a bow.  Bada-Bing-Bada-Boom--only $5 for a cute arrangement!


Friday, November 9, 2012

Staging Style for the Powder Room

A Power Room is an opportunity to have some fun with your decor.  It is the one wee space (even if you are selling) that you can let your freak flag fly.  I love to add a little zhush to a Powder Room. Forget the staging chat touting, 'keep everything neutral'.  I say, "No Way, Jose!"  A Powder Room isn't going to make or break the sale of a house.

Check out this before staging picture. Isn't it interesting that you can't tell anyone lives here?  That's right. It is in an occupied home.

Powder Room Before
Start Marti Gras early this year.  Break out those Peacock Feathers!

How about that space near the wall and towel bar?  Show it some love, too!

Powder Room Before

Place a petite lamp on a bathroom vanity for instant appeal. It is amazing that a little light can add so much ambiance.  The gold bowl of potpourri adds subtle fragrance. The bowl serves a higher purpose by hiding the lamp cord.  (I have a thing about lamp cords showing... I'll save that for another post.)
Powder Rooms scream for a little 'fancy'. Time to break out those "Company" towels.  Here, I used lush, fluffy towels with ribbon borders and fringe.  (I have a love affair with bouillon fringe.)
Must tell 'ya, I hate the old fashion mini-shag-rubber-backed rugs typically used in the bathroom. Faux Oriental rugs are inexpensive and available at all home goods stores.

What's in your Powder Room?  Anything fun?

Happy Friday, y'all!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Crazy for a Cloche

I don't know what brought on my sudden desire to have a cloche, make a cloche, display a cloche. 
Restoration Hardware
Martha Stewart
Between Naps on the Porch

The Cloche Gods whispered, "you can do this". The spirit fill my soul. I had to act on it pronto.  There was no time for shopping.  I decided to dig, dig, dig into the archives until.....


BEFORE--Wedding Cake Topper in a Dome
My wedding cake topper!  The dome would work.  My beloved bells... This was no time for sentimentality.  I had a cloche to create!

Taa! Daa!

I used Fall potpourri from my staging stash. Then tied a grosgrain ribbon around the bottom. This is the step where I always screw thing up. I can never leave well enough alone.  A cloche doesn't need a knob.  But I HAD TO HAVE A KNOB ON TOP. I have no clue about the origin of the little glass thing-y is I used.  Old drawer pull? Broken crystal candlestick?  Anyway, it's on there now.

Then I placed the whole shebang on a Tuscan plate. I love the rope trim on the plate.

Here's Mr. Cloche on a console table in my living room.

Gotta say that I love it!


Monday, November 5, 2012

Mz. Smarty Mouth Stages Master Bath

This is the largest Master Bath that I have ever staged.  You could literally park a car in here.  It was cavernous before staging--every whisper echoed.  Here are the Before photos:
See what I mean?
It is cold and sterile...
It took  A LOT of accessories to warm it up and make it appealing. Check out the trash can on the left. There is a story that goes with it.

Here are the AFTER staging photos:

Dark green towels pick up the colors from the master bedroom. The 8'x10' rug was supposed to be used in the living room staging. (The rug I brought for the bathroom looked minuscule.)  A geranium print above the towel rack has the dark green and incorporates the wall colors. It picture also has the shades of brown and gold used to stage this room. Candles add romance.  Here is a picture of the Master Bedroom.
The master bedroom was fine. No staging needed. I just picked up the dark green and red accents.
This is the long shot of the vanity.  I brought in an ottoman to use as a bench. The dark wood and fabric add some much needed warmth. The tall grass brings the eye up to the high ceiling.

Close up of vanity. The woven mat with fabric border anchors the tall grass in the gorgeous black with gold container and large decanters of bath oil and salts. Silk red orchids in Tuscan vases flank the upper level of the vanity on both sides.
The right side has a jumbo candle, decanter of bubble bath and pedestal bowl with decorative soaps and bath sponge.

So here is the story about the trash can.  When the husband saw the staging of the Master Bath Room all he said was, "so where is my trash can?"  I told him it was out of sight, behind the door.  He replied, "What am I supposed to do when I need to throw something away?"  I said, "You neeeeed to walk across the room. "

Bitch Stager.
(uummmm, I was very tired after staging for 11 hours.)