Friday, October 28, 2011

Fall Mantle

We've finally gotten some cooler temps and I'm Feeling like Fall. Slowly I've been putting up some Harvest decorations.

Mantle Sap bucket

This is the fireplace in our Office. It's technically the formal Living Room - but that's not what we use it for.

Fall Mantle Display

The mantle used to be Honey Oak (our house was built in the 80's), and we added built in shelving and painted everything white. Some day I'll show the Before and After pics of that project.


I wanted this display to be rustic and natural.

Mantle Pumpkin

Using burlap, gourds, acorns and leaves.

Mantle gourds

I grew the birdhouse gourds in our garden at least 5 years ago. They have been sitting in a crate in the garage all that time waiting to be turned into the perfect little birdie home.

A quick seal of acrylic to add a little shine - and they mix perfectly with the fresh gourds.

Mantle Gourds

The sap bucket was purchased years ago at my favorite Flea Market in Chicago. I wanted to use it as a flower bucket - but it leaks.
No problem for this display - everything inside is dried.

Mantle Dried Gourds

I'll be using burlap at my husbands staff Party in a few weeks - for the table decorations - so I've incorporated it in several places throughout the house.

You can sure tell Burlap is a HOT decorating trend right now - I had to go to two different stores to get what I needed. Fun & Cheap to work with.....but oooh soooo messy - and itchy.

I have a few more details to finish up on some other fall decor - so I'll share the rest of the house later.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fall Harvest Party

Every year we host a Holiday Party at our home for my husbands staff. We skipped last year - having just moved, I was in no way ready to host a small intimate dinner gathering for....30!

Here we are - a year later - and I'm still not ready, but we're doing it anyway.

It's usually closer to Christmas - but we're doing it a little earlier this year, to try and avoid all the crazy hectic feelings that come with working in Retail at Christmas Time.

Cranky Retail Managers do not always make great party guests.

Step One - send out the invites:

Fall Invitation

I had so much fun making the paper folded "flowers". I'll be using burlap as the table toppers, so I wanted to incorporate some of that in the invitations as well.

Pleats and Buttons

Buttons - Buttons - you can't forget the buttons.

You're Invited

I'd love to say that's my handwriting - but it's rub on.

cocktails and dinner

The inside deets - we're calling it a Harvest Celebration....doesn't that sound fun?

Stamped and Decorated

Because the invites are so bulky - I wrapped them in bubble wrap and used an extra large envelope. A few little outside embellishments, and that plain manilla envelope is plain - no more.

Itty bitty Owl

There is even this sweet little owl peeking out from the back.

Ready to Mail

All packaged up and in the mail.

I made a few extra (since I wasn't exactly sure of the guest count at first) and they are available in the shop - in case you are interested. I left off the "you're invited" sentiment - so they can be used for anything as a blank card.

We've been busy putting up Fall decorations and now that the weather has finally cooled down a bit - I'm getting in the Harvest Celebration mood.

Monday, October 17, 2011

We're Going BOOing

It's that time of year. BOO signs are showing up on front doors and windows in our neighborhood.

We got BOOed last week - so now it's our turn to spread the Halloween Cheer.

BOO Bags

I usually love shopping for BOO bag goodies - there are always so many cute things in the stores, I can't wait for an excuse to pick up a few.

This year I couldn't seem to find much that I liked. Maybe because we are in a new (smaller) town, with not as many unique stores? Maybe I waited too long and all the cute stuff sold?

Whatever the reason, we needed to find some (family friendly, cute, not cheap, unique, fun) Halloween Goodies.

Our solution was to get a little Crafty - and make something.
Nutter Butter Ghosts

Cookie Ghosts

I can not Lie. This is not my original idea. I found it on
Pinterest (sigh).

Aren't they cute. Nutter Butter cookies tipped in white chocolate with mini chocolate chip eyes.

Kind of home made - but not too much work. Little K did the dipping and I applied the eyes (using my bento tweezers for precision placement of those tiny little bits)

This could easily be done with another cookie if you want to avoid the potential nut allergy issue. (I'm thinking these would be amazing).

Fabric Bow

We nestled them in a re-cycled plastic container (I think it originally help cherry tomatoes) and tied it up with a rag bow that matches the ties on the boo bags.

I'm a bit obsessed with banners and buntings these days. They can be made with so many materials - and are fairly easy to put together.

How about a Halloween Banner.

So where did I look for ideas? Pinterest (of course)

Paper Halloween Banner

We made this one completely last minute from things in my stash. I think it took a total of 5 Letter Size Sheets of Solid scrapbook paper, and a few scraps to make TWO of these adorable cuties.


This one is my favorite (it's an Owl in case you can't tell). We rifled through the basket of punches to find shapes we could use to make the details. The feathers are made with a decorative picture corner punch, and the feet are cut from a small scalloped circle.

Candy Corn, Frankie and Ghost

I cut all the wedge shaped pieces (you can get 3 from each sheet), but Little K did almost all of the decorating herself.


Frankie is Little K's favorite. I had to explain that the things coming out the side were supposed to be Bolts - not Arms. She kept wanting to put them lower. (I wonder if Bride of Frankenstein is appropriate for a 10 year old to watch).

As usual - when they were all done - we both said "why didn't we make one for ourselves?"

Everything is now safely tucked inside our BOO bags.

Rag Tied Bags

All tied up with strips of colorful Halloween fabrics.

Jack O Lantern Bell

Tonight's the night. No after school activities today. Hopefully not too much homework. We're going BOOing.

Maybe the Jack O Lantern Jingle Bell was not the best thing to include - if we're trying to be stealth.

Not sure what all this BOO talk is about. Find out more here.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Thirty Days of Gratitude

Several years ago I joined a flickr group that challenged me to find something to be Thankful for - and take a photo - each of the 30 days of November.

I consider myself pretty lucky - I have a great life - not much to complain about. But it's sooo easy to get bogged down by the every day things - and get just a little Cranky. Especially during the busy holiday season.

I love this challenge because it's like a slap in the face for me. Time to take stock in All the wonderful things I have in my life.

Here is a recap of my 30 Days of Gratitude for the past years:
(click on the links below to see more about each of the photos)


Gratitude 2009

1. Happy Thoughts, 2. Just the Girls, 3. Tchotchkes, 4. Time and Tolerance, 5. Wisdom, 6. Intervention, 7. The Beauty of Dance, 8. Reading, 9. Time Together, 10. A Helping Hand, 11. Sweet Girl of Mine, 12. Family History, 13. Going Green, 14. Slow Cooker, 15. It's Time to Decorate, 16. Glitter, 17. A Taste of the World, 18. A Table for Two, 19. Friends and their Babes, 20. Health and Well Being, 21. Sweet Little Mice, 22. The Arizona Biltmore, 23. Sunshine and Rain, 24. In Memory of..., 25. Amazing Night Sky


30 Days of Gratitude 2010

1. Moderation, 2. A Strong & Pleasant Scent, 3. Friends, 4. Dinner, 5. Moving, 6. Suburbia, 7. Children and the Arts, 8. A Clean House, 9. Grey Hair & Wrinkles, 10. Tooth Fairy, 11. Sweater Weather, 12. Home, 13. Freedom, 14. Game Night, 15. Fun, 16. Unconditional Love, 17. Quiet Time, 18. Nature, 19. Coffee Maker, 20. A Man is Only as Good as His Tools, 21. Inspiration, 22. Moving Cards, 23. Simplify, 24. Sweet Surprises, 25. Lights, 26. Snuggle Time, 27. Warm Cookies and Milk, 28. Willingness, 29. Natures Bounty, 30. December Memories

November will be here in just a few weeks. I plan on playing along again this year.

I invite you to come over to flickr and join this wonderful group with me. No pressure. No worries if you can't post every day (notice my first year didn't have 30 photos).

Hope to see you there.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Ten on Ten: October 2011

A little peek into my day. Playing along with Rebekah's fun Monthly Challenge.

A photo taken every Hour - for Ten consecutive Hours - on the Tenth of the Month.


Fruit Bowl
(because I'm tired of always having my cup of coffee as the first shot of the day)

Lo Mein Lunchbox

Laptop Lunch with Lo Mein

Morning Walk

The Morning Walk to School (before the rains came)

Rocky Bench Monday

I've got great crafty plans for these little rocks

Out My Window

View from my Window

Mom's Locket

Mom's Locket
(a gift to her from my dad, many years ago, that I'm now honored to possess)

Pouring Down Rain

Pouring Down Rain


Pretty as a Peacock



Fall Fabrics

Fall Fabrics (another project in the works)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

In Love with Doilies

Look what arrived in the mail today.


A package filled with crocheted goodness.
Each one a different size and pattern.
In all shades of cream and white.

doily stack

Handmade by my sweet Mother.


She's been working on them for awhile now.

Doilies in a box

At night, while watching TV. Her own kind of Crochet Therapy.

Doily stack

The plan was to make them into something like this:

But first, I'll just sit back and admire how beautiful they are.