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New Years Eve Sparkle

I love planning an evening with friends and celebrating something special
New Years Eve is such a fun time to get together.
To reflect on the year and dream about the possibilities of the new one as you welcome it in.

This months Lowes challenge was all about adding some festive and sparkly touches
for New Years and the first thing that came to mind for me was twinkly lighting
and a bit of silvery bling.

My Favorite Posts of 2012

I cannot believe it is already nearly 2013!!
It seems like just the other day we were starting out 2012 and dreaming
about the possibilities the new year  held.
 2012 was incredibly blessed and filled with so many new experiences & opportunities
and it was also filled with lots of blogging and projects!!
We tackled some hefty renovation projects this year and some new projects too
  After taking a break from those big projects for a bit
 I really enjoyed getting back into the mix of swinging a hammer and transforming something.

I thought I would share some of my favorite posts from 2012
as we are getting ready to welcome in 2013
( I will share more about my goals for the coming year and reflections on 2012 soon) 

I chose just 12 favorites
 though I have to admit there were a couple more.

Back in January~
 I started off the New Year with a new look for a vintage table.
This vintage beauty had a broken glass top~ so we made a new one with planks of wood.

In February~ 
I shared the little cottage bathroom makeover that I did with Lowes
as part of their Creative Ideas Blogger team.

This library cupboard started out as a vintage china cabinet that my grandmother gave me
It didn't fit my home as it was but a little paint later- it became a beautiful bookcase
and was perfect.

We did some outdoor projects this year too ~ we made over
one of our patio areas and created an English Cottage sitting area.

we built muscles (and wore my leg muscles out)
climbing up and down the ladder with 
while building a vintage inspired rock fireplace in the backyard

The dining room got double the bling with a couple new crystal covered chandeliers.
Double bling is always a good thing in my book

In August~ such a huge dream of mine~  my home and style was published in Europe
It was the first time I was doing photo styling specifically for a project
and working with a professional photographer
 (even now I cannot believe the dining room made the cover)

We did a kitchen remodel with Lowes out in the guest cottage in August.
Love how this came out and that we could use that old antique cupboard and make it work
with the brand new cabinets

In September
I shared a few favorite flea finds~
 like these gorgeous Spode teacups and saucers

In October~ 
We had a beautiful warm Fall and so 
 a fantasy table in the woods was on my mind

I also loved decorating the fireplace in my bedroom
 using pinks and browns for Autumn~ totally a favorite look.

In December~ 
I started sharing  silver and gold inspirations
for Christmas and my rooms dressed for the Holidays

Which brings us to New Years
and a little New Years Eve inspiration and giveaway coming your way this afternoon

These are just a few of my favorite posts from 2012~ 
Did I pick any of your favorites?
Thank you so much for reading this year~ looking forward to 2013!

Speaking of something exciting to start the new year off~
I am SUPER  excited to share that my home is featured in the Spring issue of
Romantic Country Magazine!

A HUGE thank you to Fifi O'Neill and Mark Lohman for making this happen!!
It is absolute dream come true and surreal to walk into a store and find
a magazine with your home inside!
I'll share more when I get my copy

Happy Sunday everyone!!

sharing at

Feathered Nest Friday

Welcome to Feathered Nest Friday! 

French Country Cottage

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas!!
We enjoyed some much needed quiet time visiting with family and pretty much
 just sitting on the sofa for hours. :) 

 Here's what I shared this week~

A peek at my Christmas bedroom this year

 Christmas in the kitchen and a favorite Christmas cookie 

Holiday brunch inspiration

Simple Holiday Brunch

Amidst all the Christmas morning activity
and the oodles of wrapping paper covering the floor

I like to set a simple Holiday table where you can sit down
 and enjoy a few moments of conversation
 while the kids load their Ipods or play their new wii games

For this table~ I started with a vibrant Christmas bouquet of 
deep pink tulips, pales roses and pink alstroemeria in a simple white pitcher.
The colors set the tone a bit for a more traditional red and white table
with a touch of green and a little bit of bling.

I love adding a few candles for ambiance~ even for a daytime table setting.
These candlesticks from Mikasa from their Countryside collection 
are gorgeous and perfect for the occasion.
 I  absolutely love the white and silver combination and that they mix in perfectly 
with other pieces and colors as well.

The cake pedestal and water pitcher are also Mikasa from the same Countryside collection

Love the scalloped silver edging on the platter 

Vintage partridge plates from the thrift store 

mismatched flea find silver,  Mikasa Countryside stemware

 and a centerpiece with silver beads and vintage red ornaments.

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas! 
We spent the day with family ~ just relaxing and enjoying the quiet pace together. 
It was so nice to have some time to just visit after all the craziness.
It's back to work this week
I have a couple projects coming up and I am getting ready to start working on a room 
makeover this week- which I am super excited about.
 I am also starting work on making a few resolutions
 for my personal life and for my blog for the coming year.
I cannot believe it is already almost the New Year!

 See you this afternoon for Feathered Nest Friday!!

Sharing at

You can find out more about these and other pieces of Mikasa
on their facebook page
 I was provided with pieces of Mikasa Countryside 
but the designs and opinions of the pieces are my own

Merry Christmas

vintage greeting card-google

Wishing you and yours a Blessed and very Merry Christmas.

Christmas Kitchen

I always like to add a few touches of Christmas to the kitchen.
One year I had a big tree in the kitchen and another I had a smaller one on the island.
This year~ it's just a little garland,  boxwood wreaths and a couple rosemary trees.

Boxwood garland along the tall shelf and boxwood wreaths from Lowes in the windows.

Transferware plates bring a little touch of red
and a favorite holiday saying on the chalkboard in the breakfast area.

Simple but Christmasy.

I also wanted to share a favorite Christmas cookie~ Fudgy Bon Bons 
I have been making these for years- and the recipe is from Pillsbury.
Here's the original recipe  

1  12 oz package chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter
1  14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup finely chopped nuts (if desired)
2 c flour
1 tsp vanilla
60 unwrapped Hersheys hugs or kisses
2 oz white chocolate
1 tsp shortening or oil

1.  Heat oven to 350. In medium saucepan combine chocolate chips & margarine
Cook over low heat- stirring until melted ( will be thick) Add sweetened condensed milk
and mix well.

2.  In a large bowl
mix flour, nuts, chocolate mixture and vanilla and mix well.
Shape cookie dough around the kiss covering completely 

 3.  Place 1" apart on cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes.
Do not overbake- cookies will be shiny.
Remove from cookie sheet to cool.

4.  Mix the white chocolate and oil and drizzle over baked cookies.

5.  Be prepared to eat a BUNCH of them... don't ask me how I know. ;)

(photo courtesy of Pillsbury)

I have also made them with peanut butter cups and kisses with almonds inside.

Happy Sunday Everyone.

Joyeux Noel Bedroom

The Christmas Song pretty much epitomizes how I feel when I am decorating for Christmas.
I sing along while dressing the mirrors
laying greens atop the mantels and adding just a touch of the Season here and there

This year in the bedroom~I kept the look fairly similar to last year
and made just a few changes.

One of them was that I used boxwood instead of pine and cedar.
Turns out cedar tends to bother my allergies. A lot.
So instead of spending the season sniffly, sneezing and itching
 I was planning to go with faux in the bedroom but then I found a
gorgeous gorgeous fresh boxwood garland.

I was in love.
I knew it was perfect and haven't sneezed from boxwood yet ;)

Pretty silver letters from HomeGoods spell out Merry Christmas on the shelf
They are much smaller than the large NOEL letters I had here last year 
but I love how they look.

Do you also notice that striped something at the foot of the bed?
Yes, it is the faux grainsack tablecloth I made. 
 I saw a vintage striped wool blanket used at the foot of the bed in a magazine
 and just loved the look. 

I decided to use a different mirror for the fireplace.
I change it all the time and this time I was thinking big brassy old gold
Even though I probably have about 25 vintage mirrors
not one of them was the right size or color. 
Except- the one in the bathroom.

So we moved it for the season and I absolutely love it in it's new spot.
Keeping with natural and more simple decoration this year
a garland of boxwood dotted with gypsophila, pinecones, red berries (hard to see)
and a  boxwood wreath bring the natural while a collection of
 chunky white candles  and paperwhites bring the ambiance.
The flocked tree in the bedroom is my favorite tree
and it is absolutely glowing this year with added strands of lights.

This tree is heavily flocked and covered in gorgeous faux snow- 
which is pretty much the only kind of snow that I like. 
The decorations on the tree are very simple- just whites and silvers
 I just adore it with nothing but the lights on it.

In the master bathroom 
a large carved frame with a fresh evergreen wreath from Lowes sits on the shelf above the tub
where that big mirror used to be.
I love the green wreath and gold frame against the red toile wallpaper.

I tend to like to incorporate Christmas touches into existing
 rather than changing everything- plus it's less work when you switch everything back.
 I am behind on getting some of the decor shared but I will share a few other vignettes along with some
 snippets of things I didn't get posted in a holiday house tour recap coming up...
at some point! lol! ;)

 Feathered Nest Friday is going on all weekend
if you would like to link up any last minute decorating or inspiration posts!

sharing at

Feathered Nest Friday

It's that time again!
It seems like Feathered Nest Friday sneaks up on me sometimes.
The time is just flying by this week before Christmas. Are you done shopping? Wrapping? Baking?
Nope, not me. I will be braving the crowds this weekend to wrap everything up.
I know it's a busy weekend- with lots to do for most of us but I am putting the party up
either way this week~ for those who would like to join in.

Here's what I shared this week~
A look at our living room Christmas tree decorated in silvers and golds

French Grainsack Inspired

I adore French grainsacks.
Their neutral color and that bold set of stripes.


 I was thinking about a grainsack tablecloth
 and really wanted a big one for that big 9 foot long dining table we have
but when they are that big- they tend to cost a chunk.
So I thought I would try to make a faux grainsack tablecloth
with a drop cloth and a little red paint.

 I am not the first person to try this method ~
 so there are probably much better tutorials out there if you search.
I didn't follow a tutorial- I just winged it- and this is how I made this one. 

I started with a large drop cloth- in a 9x12 size 
I washed it and dried it twice to soften it a bit and then laid it out on the table.

 I used  masking tape and taped each 'stripe' down the length of it
 I decided on just 2 stripes for simplicity.
You can pick up thicker or thinner tape depending on the size of the lines you would like.
I used 1" masking tape.

I taped down the whole length of the dropcloth
for one whole line- being careful to keep it straight- and then taped the next line alongside, etc.

A tube of  Martha Stewart craft paint in Christmas Red and an old brush came next.
I simply dabbed the paint on the striped areas~ stippling it a bit more than brushing it.
(which is more like dotting it than brushing it) 
I didn't apply it heavy- I wanted somewhat faded looking lines.

The paint dried pretty quickly and then it was onto the next section.
The whole project probably only took about 45 minutes to complete.

Simple. Easy.
Much less expensive than a grainsack this size
and it gives me the look I wanted for a tablecloth and for somewhere else I used it
More to come...

I wanted to share something fun and exciting from the Sears Cheer Headquarters today too!

Are you familiar with the
Sears Cheer Tree & Headquarters
It's a fun place over at where Ty Pennington and George Hirsch
are sharing their decorating tips and tidbits.
 I am super excited to share that my Christmas bedroom from last year and a few photos
 and tidbits of my own are being shared over on the Sears Cheer Tree this week!