Monday, November 30, 2015

December Faves

Hi everyone!

It's time for another month of my favorites! December is probably the hardest of all to select just a few; it's the season of abundance after all. I do choose to write about things you can buy, but my life favorites are far from material. Things like fresh early morning snow, hugs, midnight mass on Christmas Eve, my family. Those are my real "faves!"

But, I do enjoy comfy, winter patterned socks. 

Vintage Tom & Jerry sets...and the occasional warm Tom & Jerry drink, topped with a sprinkle of fresh nutmeg.

Watching my all-time favorite movie with my family on Christmas eve.

The buttery goodness of spritz cookies.

The scent of Christmas candles - my favorite being Yankee' s Hollyberry!

More faves? Wrapped presents under the tree - just begging for a "shake, imagining what is inside. Neighborhoods dressed in holiday lights - from the grandest display, to a simple, heartfelt string of lights. Gathering with family and friends - sharing great food, lots of laughter and love. Playing board games while munching on Christmas treats. Seeing Santa at the mall!

So many faves, but that's a "wrap" for December and 2015!

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

At The Starting Line

Hi everyone!

With the fall decor now put away, Mr. Bluebird and I spent the day getting the outside of our home ready for the holidays.  We worked on the outside decor and also did a lot of pruning of shrubs, trees and perennials - so *fair warning* you might see leaves, branches and the like in this post, mixed in with holiday decor!  It was such a nice day, we just had to take advantage of the chance to do some fll cleanup.

I wanted to keep things simple this year - inside and out - and chose a wintery, old fashioned look for the outside.

Our pretty lanterns with the seeded glass - love them!  I put wreaths around the garage lanterns only, as I already had enough going on by the front door. Remember - trying to keep things simple.

My poor wicker table is on its last hurrah - and really looking much more shabby than chic.  I think its working okay with the old potato basket filled with trimmings from one of our pines.  Sadly, it will be heading toward the trash heap after the season.

Ditto for the Pier One red chairs.  They really took a beating this year from all of the sun, but are still working out for this year's Christmas display.

Red twig dogwood trimmings from our yard, along with $5.99 wreaths used as filler and a birdhouse decorate our porch pots this year.  The pretty wreath on our front door is from our neighborhood boy scout - an annual tradition for us.

That's it for the outdoor decor.  I started working on the living room mantel today and will be sharing that with you soon.  I have a "helper" that is being watched over by the elf on the shelf, a stern & cranky Santa and a Virginia Tech Hokie can tell by the look in his eyes these three will not be able to keep him in line this season!

Have you started your holiday decor yet? Are you already done? I'm just at the starting line!

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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Goodbye Fall, Time for Christmas Simplicity

Hi everyone!

Well, it's been a lovely three months of fall beauty and all the pretty fall decor.  The time has come, however, to say goodbye for another year.

Gathered on the kitchen table, waiting to be sorted into the storage bins.....

Thankful for the memories we made in our home with our family and friends this season...

My favorite pheasant and sunflower teddy bear will patiently wait for September 2016 to roll around...

Acorns, bittersweet branches, pumpkins - all need to be put away...

Now it's time to celebrate Christmas and the winter season!  I am vowing to keep the decor simple this year...we will compare notes on December 31st and see how that goes!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend my friends!  While you are shopping, decorating and baking, be sure to take time to look around you and really see those faces that are watching you this year. And take time to praise the Lord. That, above all, is what Christmas is all about.

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Monday, November 23, 2015

The Christmas Barn

Hi everyone!

With holiday shopping season well underway, I wanted to share a beautiful shop that opens its' doors for just six weekends each year. The Christmas Barn is located out in the southeastern Wisconsin countryside. Each year it overflows with handmade local artisan items, seasonal decor and fabulous antiques & vintage items.  The styling of the many vignettes is so fantastic and I always walk away with a ton of inspiration!  And a smoking credit card...just sayin'.....

Mr. Bluebird and I took a drive out there a few weeks ago and this year's offerings didn't disappoint.

How cute is this vintage red phonograph?

After this weekend's big snowstorm, I wished I had bought a pair of these handmade woolen mittens. Love these!

This  vintage travel sign caught my eye.

What more can I say?

There are two working fireplaces. Have you jumped on the snowy owl decor trend?

It wouldn't be Wisconsin without Packers and cheese merchandise!

I loved this has battery operated fairy lights inside.

The fireplace in the entry is stunning and beautifully styled.

This November/December store is a little gem and worth the visit. It's an easy drive from Milwaukee, Madison and Chicago. You could really make a day of it and head over to Lake Geneva, for even more unique shopping and dining in one of cutest towns you'll ever visit.

That wraps up today's Wisconsin travel adventures - ha! I just love poking around all the little shops and towns, how about you? At Christmas time, it is especially charming.

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Baby Bluebird's Bedroom Reveal

Hi everyone!

I thought I would break away from the norm and post about a recent room redo I did, rather than my Thanksgiving and fall decor.  No orange, yellow or browns here today, just cool grays, blues and turquoise.

As I have shared, our one and only child - Baby Bluebird to you all - moved to Virginia this past summer to attend graduate school at Virginia Tech.  This is a two year commitment and when she is done, she will be 26 years old.  Unlikely - sniff, sniff, tears - to return "home" to live.  In fact, when she left, her room was empty except for her furniture!   I couldn't bear passing by that vacant, forlorn room every day and so, what's a mom to do?  Well, if you are me, you head off to Marshalls and TJ Maxx for decor inspiration and whip that room into shape!

Here's a glimpse from the hall:  (Baby Bluebird is peeking at us from the left - this is a collage of all of her elementary and high school years.  I remember when it was just her kindergarten picture in the frame and all of the other spots were blank!)

But wait.....what did this room look like before, you say? It was a hodge podge of this and that, young and full of all the things that made her "her" during her growing up years. Her room had lots of looks and changes since we built our house and she was ten.  The last few college years it kind of suffered decor- wise, because every summer we had to cram her dorm or apartment belongings into this space.

Here her room is today:

Baby Bluebird is very picky and she has not seen this room in person yet.  I decorated it with her in mind, but it was still a risky undertaking, lol! I am  debating what to do about the hanging lamp cords.  I purchased some fabric cord covers, but I am not in love. I originally was going to go with Pottery Barn's wall lamps, but I found these cheaper alternatives.  Unfortunately, they have the cord issue.  I was going to wait until I found the right solution before I showed you all, but decided I would keep it real, as the saying goes!

The art piece above her bed is something her and I found at a builder's model home furniture and decor sale.  It is large, 3-D and very textural.  It originally had a cream and antiqued finish, as you can see in the "before" picture. The original finish was kind of dated at this point, but after a coat of glossy white spray paint, it has some new life breathed into it.  In the future, I think I will replace it, but I was already spending a lot of $ on this project and decided to make do.

This corner has a super cute chair that I bought at  I had a 30% off coupon, along with free shipping and picked it up for only $114.00 - plus I received $20.00 in Kohl's cash.  Love a deal!

My sweet buddy, Palmer, loves hanging out in this room and was my helper throughout the painting and decor process.  Baby Bluebird has only met him once, the day we "found" him, and we are all excited for them to spend time together during Thanksgiving!

Here's another view.  I made the "1991" art with some leftover wrapping paper, a $5.00 Wal-Mart frame, and chipboard numbers I painted turquoise.  Isn't the little fireplace on the dresser cute?  This bedroom gets so cold in the winter and when I found this little cutie, I knew it would be a perfect addition.  It can be used with just the "flame" effect or with the heat.

I have to give a shout out to my friend, Vel, who's version of the "1991" art was my inspiration.  She made one for her daughter's bathroom using the word "Love" that is amazing - be sure to check it out!

Besides being cold, this room gets terribly hot in the summer.  The white fan is original to our house and has served us well.  I looked for a replacement, but could not find one I liked better for this room.  But I knew it needed a bit of an update.  I just removed the fan blades and gave them a spray of silver paint.  I am so happy I did!  It really freshened it up.

The bedding was from Wal-Mart's Better Homes & Gardens Line.  It was less than $50.00 for the comforter and two shams. The navy duvet is Pottery Barn Teen Morgan, picked up on clearance for $17.99!

And now the headboard.  Aahhh, the beautiful, beautiful headboard.  You all know how pricey these things are.  We are talking way over $600, all the way up to thousands of dollars. Tempting, but no can do in this room!  I ended up finding the perfect headboard at an amazing price:  Better Homes & Gardens Grayson from....wait for! Yep, Wally World. And the price, you are wondering?  $120.00 and free shipping!  It is absolutely beautiful in person, well made and easy to put together.  It comes in a few other colors if any of you are looking for an upholstered headboard at a bargain price.

I am hoping Baby Bluebird will be happy with her room re-do.  I still have a few things I would like to add and even a few changes I would like to make.  I have a start on her end tables - I picked up a brass table on clearance from for $30.00.  But I would like to pair it with a round one eventually.  For now, I have slipped in a vintage oak plant stand to fill the need.  I am also contemplating a brass or gold bamboo bar cart for the other end table.

I am picking her up from the airport tomorrow - haven't seen her since the end of July, when Palmer was twenty pounds instead of the 60-plus he is today! To say she has been missed is an understatement.  I am so grateful she will be home for Thanksgiving and our traditional Black Friday shopping extravaganza.

Speaking of which, time to get my Thanksgiving act together.  Have a great week everyone!

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Christmas Pondering

Hi everyone!

Like many of you, I have been planning and preparing my home for the fast approaching Thanksgiving holiday - oh my gosh, is it really only a week and a half away?!  Anyway, I have been knee deep in some much needed house cleaning and other things around here, but while doing so I have been giving thought to the oncoming freight train known as the Christmas season.

For all of my years on this planet, I have loved every single bit, bauble and trapping of Christmas decor.  I never met a piece of tinsel, glitter or shiny orb I didn't like - or did not include in my decorating for the season. I have taken great pride in the comments of "your house looks like a Christmas store," and "I can't believe all of the Christmas decorations you have."  But.......

This year I have been doing some thinking.  Pondering, if you will.  Something deep inside of me is crying out for a simpler look, a quieter feel to my holiday approach.  In fact, I have been thinking about this since last Christmas.  A simple Christmas.  A Christmas where one or two Santas stand out in a vignette. Where a cozy throw and a pillow on the sofa is enough to say "welcome Christmas."

But, what about the boxes, bins and bags of holiday "loot" that holds my family's tradition of decorating excess?  What will the family think of this pared down Christmas style? What will the friends and relatives say?

I'm even "this close" to going with a four foot tabletop tree in the living room. Partly because of our puppy, partly because it would lend a simplicity to the room.

It remains to be seen whether I truly go through with the "look of simplicity" this year.  I may open up those familiar storage boxes and feel the magnetic draw of the Santas, the snowmen, the gingerbread, the 1500 plus ornaments.  I am hoping to show restraint and have a quiet Christmas look.

"And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”

― Dr. SeussHow the Grinch Stole Christmas!

What are your decorating plans for the holidays?  I don't think there is a right or wrong - just different ways of approaching the season.  This year I am trying to keep it simple.

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Monday, November 9, 2015

Let's Get Physical

Hi everyone!

I finally am able to show you the workout room reveal that I started sharing about herehere and here. It was a long process, interrupted by a puppy, work and a vacation! But, it is finally done and now it's time....

No headbands or matchy matchy  80's spandex for me, but I do plan on working up a sweat! 

Without any further ado, I now present the workout room! I decided to keep one of the single beds from this room's "guest room" days. I found a super deal on daybed bedding from Pottery Barn.

The weathered brick art piece really turned out great. I also love the three work lights we've used for the lighting. Just cheap clipons from the hardware store.

This is the gallery wall we face when using the elliptical. Just a collection of this and that. The mirror is from Home Goods.

I painted the closet doors with chalkboard paint. Mr.  Bluebird likes to keep track of his crunches,  etc. and I thought it would be fun to use the chalkboard.

I found this old gizmo at a Branson antique mall for a couple of dollars. It kind of has a torture chamber look to it - fitting for a workout room, lol!

My Stickley cabinet remains to be filled up and I have to put the third door back on. I had originally planned to paint this piece, but now I am enjoying the natural wood.

Eventually we will have a flat screen tv here, but for now, I 've dusted off an old tv that used to be in my daughter's room many years ago. At one time it sported a purple, fuzzy flower frame, lol - and it still has the adhesive residue to show for it! The picture is great, so for now, it's just fine.

The Pioneer Woman's "Charlie" dog cookie jar holds dog treats for Palmer, in case he gets bored while I am exercising. Yes, bribery...gotta do what I gotta do!

Now, instead of writing about it, hopefully, I will be using this room!  I am currently finishing a redo of Baby Bluebird' s room and giving some thought to Christmas decor.

What are you all up to?

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