Christmas Quickie #5: By the Fireplace

I wasn’t sure if I was going to share my family room mantle with you this year because it was far too easy. It’s simple to the core. Then I figured, what the heck. I like it! I hope you do, too.

See, I told you! The red organza fabric was on a spool that came 5″ wide by 15′ long. It went perfectly down the mantle. I then just draped 2 strings of red, glittery garland and a strand of icicles that didn’t work outside. (Note to self: stringing lights around a palm tree can cause serious stab wounds… not worth the effort with these icicles!) As an added bonus, the icicles light up at night. They look great for a party. The finishing touch was 5 hanging ornaments I bought for $1 apiece.

Posted in Christmas, Christmas, Decorating, Holiday, Seasonal Decorating, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Christmas Quickie #4: Small Trees

Back in August, I read a blog post from The Creativity Exchange that I thought was pure genius! It’s a tutorial on how to make beautiful Christmas tree decorations using recycled candle sticks, poster board and fabric. I began my quest for cheap candle sticks and had fun making a few of these myself. Here’s my results:

Burlap trees for my living room:

These candle sticks came from Goodwill and cost about $9 for all 3. The burlap scrap was from my fall wreaths and the sparkly fringe was from my leftover stash of Christmas wrapping supplies from last year. Total time to make all 3 was about half an hour.

My next trio was for my kitchen and took a little more time.

Mind you, not all 3 took a lot of time. The white tree on the left was made using a feathery trim I picked up at Joanns. I just laid down my clear hot glue and wound the trim around. It took about 5 minutes! The other 2 trees were a bit more challenging.

The white tree on the right is made from silver and white pipe cleaners. I just wound them in circles and hot glued them to the cardboard cone. At first, I thought it looked like a wedding dress! I got this idea from a tree I saw at Tuesday Morning. It was red and green and also made from pipe cleaners. It cost $20. This one cost about $2.

The last tree was the most time consuming. But I think, it’s the most fun. Many of you know how much I love my sparkles! And of course, I still have a lot of rhinestones from when we blinged out my daughter’s crutches last spring. It’s a very easy technique… I first painted the white poster board cone with a silvery, metallic paint. I then painted on Elmers glue in small, workable areas. From there, I just placed the rhinestones. I started with the smallest on top and worked my way down the cone with larger pieces of bling.

The candle sticks were also a Goodwill find. I think I paid about $2 each.

Next up… my family room trees…

These are a little more contemporary, to match the room they’re in. I found some fabric in the colors of the room. I wanted to honor the fact that we live in Florida and I was lucky to find some fabric that had my colors and looked very tropical. After covering the cones with the fabric, I added the sparkly trim with hot glue.

The candlesticks are from Goodwill. They were originally black, but I took the time to paint them with Annie Sloan Chalk paint. The color is Versailles. I thought the distressed look would go well with the furniture.

Here’s a wider shot… so you can also see my handsome son in his senior portrait. (I’ve dedicated this corner of my family room to him this year in honor of his high school graduation.) I’m sure he’ll be so happy to know I’ve posted this online. Most likely, he’ll never even know… so SHHH!

That’s it for my little trees. If you’ve got the time, this is a really fun project.

Posted in Christmas, Christmas Tree, Decorating, Holiday, Seasonal Decorating, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Quikie #3: The Kitchen Table

For everyone who liked the simplicity of my dining room table, you’re going to love my kitchen table. It’s located at the back of my house and you can see it from my kitchen, family room and pool area. The back of my house is where we spend the majority of our time, and it’s much more casual than the front of the house. I love it this way… I can be a grown up in the front, but play like a kid with more vibrant and upbeat colors in the back.

Ta da! Here it is:

I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it this year, until I found this gorgeous peacock feathered tree at Val’s. For those of you unfamiliar, Val’s is a giant decorating warehouse in Tampa. They have beautiful floral pieces at really great prices. I picked up this tree for $20.

Once I had the tree, the rest was easy. I had some leftover burlap from my fall wreaths. The red organza came on a spool… 5″ x 5 yards for $5. The perfect size and price. The mirrored bowl came from the warehouse sale at Robyn Story this fall. It’s already been in several places in my home. The mirrors make it so versatile. The glittery balls are ornaments that I also picked up at Val’s. The tall glitter candles are battery operated and I bring them out and re-use them every year. They don’t even melt in my attic and the batteries have lasted several years now. The glass container they’re perched in is part of a covered cloche that I had on my kitchen counter, but the cover broke. It’s now perfect to hold candles and other objects that don’t need protecting.

Here’s another view… I hope you enjoy!

The Lettered Cottage
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Christmas Quickie #2 – The Dining RoomTable

As promised, I’m taking you inside. We’ll stop first at my dining room table. It’s one of the first things you see when you enter my house and I always like to have it “dressed” for the season.

In the spirit of the times, I’ve definitely scaled back this year. Everything I’m seeing in all the trade magazines is about simplicity this year. I’m doing my darndest to keep up with the trend!

In the past, I’ve used just about everything I own and tried to make groupings that were interesting. I’m still using what I’ve got, but I’ve pared it down. For example, I bought the table runner about 4 years ago when it was on sale at Target. (I do love Target holiday items!) Because I got such a good deal on it, I bought 3 of them. I normally run all three going across the short side of the table. This year, I just used the one and put it diagonally. Funny, but I like it just as much or more.

Most everything else is also from the past. Santa’s been around my house for several years but for the past few, he’s taken center stage on the dining room table. Really, the only new items are the mirror under the “Believe” sign, the pinecones (which I got for a steal at Robin Story Designs during her warehouse sale), and the glittery, round, red candle. Those of you who are regular readers will recognize my trusty old Pottery Barn candlesticks. I use those bad boys everywhere and all the time!

Two more mentions… the wreath behind the table was new last year. I bought it on clearance the year before and thought it was a perfect addition to the dining room. And this year, I have really minimized my efforts on the chandelier. I have all kinds of twinkling jewel garland that I have enjoyed hanging every which way and the other. But this year, even though I had, early on, envisioned somehow turning it into an upside down Christmas tree, I kept the chandelier very, very simple. And I like it. Less time on the ladder for me and I think it works just fine.

Here’s a closer peek before I go:

The Lettered Cottage
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Christmas Quickie – The Front Door

Okay, so my title may be a little off-color. Sorry to offend. But it does describe my next series of blogs. Rather than do one long blog of all my holiday decorating, I’m going to break it down into smaller pieces. Today I’ll start with my front door.

Not a lot had to change here, since we just painted the house and bought the chairs this fall. One of the things I just love about the color scheme of my house is that it’s perfectly suited for Christmas. I swear, I did not plan it this way… but I’m so happy because the red and gold make it easy to figure out my decorations. I bought the wreaths on sale a few years ago. And the small tree to the right came from last year. I had nothing on it before… this year it took me all of five minutes to dress it up with some bulb garland from Target. It  lights up, too. I’ll show you that on my future “Quickie at Nighttime” post. Or maybe it will be my “Quickie with the Lights On.” đŸ˜‰

My favorite new item on the porch is the Christmas tree in the planter on the left. Here it is close up:

And closer still:

I admit, it was more than I like to spend, but I couldn’t resist. I had the pot it sits in… I had a pumpkin sitting in it last month. For this arrangement, I purchased a pinecone wreath from Target and laid it flat across the planter. I got lucky that the diameters of the pot and the wreath matched exactly. The tree is also from Target. The flowers are made from red dyed wood shavings. I know it will probably fade, but I can always spray paint it in the years to come. The tree was on sale, but the wreath wasn’t. I probably could have made both… but these were so gorgeous I knew I’d fuss and fret and would not be happy with my own creation. Sometimes it pays to just get what you like!

Hope you enjoyed this “quickie.” I’ll bring you inside with my next post.

Posted in Christmas, Christmas, Decorating, Front Porch, Holiday, Seasonal Decorating, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

20 Rooms, 20 Designers, One Remarkable Transformation

For the past several months, I have been busy helping to coordinate a project at Alpha House of Tampa called, A Room of Her Own. I wrote about the project origins here.

Today, as we’re heading into the Thanksgiving weekend, I feel nothing but gratitude for the people who made this project possible. We held an open house last week to show off the fruits of our labor. To see for yourself, watch this short video. It includes before and after images of the courtyard and 19 rooms. I promise you, you will be inspired.

Click here to go to video.

Posted in color choices,, Color News, Decorating, Painting, picking a paint color, Teen Bedroom, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Am I Really Supposed to Park in Here?

It’s time to clean the garage again. Ugh!

Cleaning out my garage is not my favorite chore. In fact… it’s probably one of my worst. It’s not the cleaning I mind so much, it’s the guilt associated with having let it get this out of control in the first place. You see, my mother (Hi Ma!) is the MOST ORGANIZED WOMAN IN THE WORLD. It’s something I love about her. Space planning and organization are her specialties. Unfortunately, it was not passed down in her DNA.

Every blue moon I get the urge to make sense of the mess. And then it usually takes another blue moon to get me to actually take action. I’m thinking about it now, which is a good thing. Maybe by April it will be clean again!

Until then, I thought I’d share my before and after pics from the last time I felt the urge to purge.We have a 3 bay garage with only 2 bays actually used for cars. In Florida, storage space is limited, so the area behind the shelving on the right is actually the third bay with lots of junk stored behind it. I’m easing you into this… behind that wall of shelves is not pretty!

In the next shot, I’m bringing you into the far right corner. It’s where I had all kinds of crap. I’ve had lots of hobbies through the years, and they all seem to meet in my garage. It starts with my favorite hobby, eating, with the fridge to the left. The yellow shelves are from my daughter’s nursery. My dad made them for her when she was a baby. She’s now 16. The shelves had been against this wall for ages. They are perfectly repurposed here and are great for separating and organizing…if you happen to be into that kind of thing!

Moving into the corner you can see studio lights for photography, a kiln for ceramics, and lots of plastic bins that hold the supplies for both interests. Thrown among all of it is our recycling, a bag of clothes for goodwill, picnic and party supplies, sports equipment, art supplies, etc. And don’t you love the red flower poking out from the back? Pretties the whole space up, don’t you think?

This next shot is a closer look at that mess. Is it any wonder I didn’t like to go out there?

Next is a shot directly behind the wall of shelves. Looking back, I’m pretty impressed that I at least had the bikes towards the door. They were about the only things I could easily access in there!

So, after looking at this for several months and watching it get progressively worse, I decided to take action. I was beginning to accumulate tools and samples for my decorating business and thought I might like a bigger workspace. The only place to do this was in the garage.

Here’s the end result:

The biggest transformations I made were to the shelving. I painted everything black. The yellow shelves from my daughter’s nursery are now standing vertically in the corner. I moved the old dresser that was dividing the space up against the wall and added a tool organizer above it. Of course, this project could have taken even less time if I hadn’t stopped to paint the flowers on the dresser… but I like it and that’s all that matters! The kiln is still there (anyone want to buy it?) and now all the accessories are stored in the flower dresser. One day I hope to have the floors painted. Looking at these photographs makes me want it done NOW!

And finally, ta da! Behind the shelf wall was totally cleared out. But whoops! Wait! I didn’t take a picture of it. And I’d show you a picture of it from right now today, if I were only my mother’s daughter. But, alas, I’m not and you know, it’s been awhile since blue moons! Maybe next time?


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Home Exterior Color Reveal

If you were holding your breath to see if the Sherwin Williams color visualizer was accurate in helping me to select “Ramie” as my exterior paint color, I am sorry. But I am also VERY impressed. Two and a half months is an awful long time to go without breathing!

Okay, so maybe it is with baited breath that you were waiting. Again, I apologize. I’ve been wanting everything to be perfect…. right down to new flowers in the flower beds. I finally shot some photos this morning, and guess what? You can’t even see the flowers!

So anyways… remember my yellow house before? Here it is:

Back in August, I wrote a post about how I was using the Sherwin Williams color tool to finalize my color choice. If you’re interested in that post, click here. Here’s the photo I created to visualize “Ramie” on my house before it was actually painted:

And now, without further ado…. here’s my house… complete with a pressure washed roof, new flowers and beautiful paint:

Home Exterior with Ramie

I just love it!! Our house looks brand new again. And I think the Sherwin Williams color tool did a pretty accurate job, don’t you? For those in the Tampa area, here’s a shout out to Lou Phillips Painting. His painters were experienced, dependable and very conscientious. Contact me for Louie’s information… they are the best!

Posted in color choices,, Color News, color wheel, Painting, picking a paint color, sherwin williams, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Seasonal Decorating Made Easy

Click here to see my latest article in the Westchase WOW.

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My Pumpkin Addiction

Actual text conversation between my husband and me:

Me (in innocent texting voice):R u still at the grocery store? Can u pick me up a big, round pumpkin?

Him: Stop. You have a problem. I may do a pumpkin intervention.

Suffice it to say, he came home with just the milk and eggs.

I can’t help it. I just love decorating pumpkins. I wanted to do a tutorial (as promised in my earlier post) on carving with my Dremel tool. So when Brian came home empty handed, I was disappointed…for about a minute. And then I remembered I had an extra foam pumpkin I could work on!

Here’s how it went:

First, I downloaded some clip art that I liked and printed it on my ink jet printer.

Next, I gathered my supplies.

Dremel Tool, Saral Transfer Paper, my design, a ballpoint pen and my pumpkin

To get my witch onto the pumpkin, I layered a piece of Saral paper on the pumpkin, topped it with the design, and taped them both to the pumpkin. Don’t worry about being perfect. It’s hard to get a flat sheet of paper to go up against the round pumpkin. Luckily, you don’t have to be very fussy.

Using the ballpoint pen, I traced the design on the paper. When I removed the paper, the red backing of the the Saral paper stayed on the pumpkin.

I’m ready to bring out my bad boy, Dremel.

I first worked on the outline making sure to stay as steady as possible.

Then I moved inward to carve out the rest of the design.

Voila! Here she is:

And here’s how she sits, now on my porch.

And this is what sits across her, on the other side of my entryway:

With less than a week to go before Halloween, I’m hoping to get a real one carved. Guess it means I’ll have to make a trip to the grocery store myself!

Posted in Decorating, Fall Themes, Halloween, Holiday, Pumpkins, Seasonal Decorating, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments