Friday, December 30, 2011

Ooh, La, La...

Welcome to the final post of 2011. For any new brides and grooms to be, first let me say, CONGRATS!!! It's such an exciting time of year to get engaged. While I'm enjoying my week of vacation with my family, I thought I would tell you about some fun goodies I've stumbled across. Plus, an "Ooh, La, La!" post would be a fun way to end the year.

1. Make Your Own Monogram!

Go see how easy it is to make your own monogram...and the best part is, it's free!! This would be a great way to personalize something for a party or wedding...definitely nice freebie! Just print it out in whatever color scheme you're looking for, and you have a lovely sophisticated monogram.

A few ideas:

personalize stationary
invitation labels
save the dates
place cards
wine charms
hang them framed on the bride and grooms chairs
personalized guest book

Ruffled published their favorites from this past year, and it was so fun to look back through. I will say, start with the bouquets, and go from there. The fashion, flowers, and glam will have you oohing and ahhing for a while. Also, finding the flowers and fashion you love can many times lead you to the perfect style for your wedding.

3. Less Stress Entertaining

Then, finally, I saw this cute article over at Real Simple about the Less Stress Dinner party. I thought it might be encouraging if any of you are wanting to have guests over in the New Year, but struggle to feel like it's do-able. With these tips, you just might be willing to throw that bash after all.

I can't wait to start a new year. I'll have some fun surprises in the New Year to share with you that hopefully will only increase your love of joining me here. Thank you for all your support and love. It truly is a gift to be able share life in this little space.

Blessings to each of you as you start 2012!

Sunday, December 25, 2011


A few weeks ago, when I realized Christmas was on Sunday, I sighed, and thought how difficult Sunday mornings can sometimes be, with rushing out the door to get to church on time (or not so on time). I almost had decided to not go to the service, until my 7 year old said with enthusiasm...

"Mom, can we go to service all together today?"

I almost reluctantly reminded her that we had just been the night before, but she persisted. I'm so thankful she did.

As we hurried in, it felt different. Less chaos, more space in hearts and minds to worship.

We sat down in some available seats a few rows back, but my little girl quickly said to me in a pleading voice, "I can't see back here. Can we move up front?" So, to the front row we hustled.

As our children followed along with the carols, I thought how grateful I am that they desire to know Him. They long to know His love, and have a wonder that is unyielding.

Our pastor spoke of a message and a messenger that blesses my heart often, and as we pondered all that we are grateful for, I saw with new eyes the blessings from His hand.

Children with faith like gold and hearts to mold and shape, and please God, let me do it in grace. A beautiful marriage that continues to grow in love. A family who loves and cares for us. A church that loves all and speaks truth to faint hearts. A life with gratitude that I am so completely blessed to live. I couldn't let today slip away without giving praise to the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

For to us a child is us a Son is given.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

true story.

When my husband and I first had children, we talked in depth about what traditions we would celebrate at Christmas time. We knew that we wanted to focus more on Jesus coming to earth than a fictitious character giving gifts out, but I held tight to my Christmas traditions.

We loved that my older sister and her family made birthday cake for Jesus, and thought that was a great way to focus on the real meaning of the day. We started the Jesse Tree, and welcomed advent. When we knew that we would have to take a stance of whether or not to "do Santa", I was saddened at the thought of not having the mystery and magic of Old St. Nick coming on Christmas Eve. Though my husband was great with hanging stockings and surprising with little gifts, there was something he couldn't get past. I remember listening, and it hitting me hard.

He said, "But the story of Christ is true. It's not made up or just a myth...He really came, God made flesh...born of a virgin...and the mystery of that is so much greater than any man giving gifts. I want them to marvel at what is true."

In the hustle and bustle of the season, it's so easy to miss that He really came. He really showed up for us, and gave us the greatest gift imaginable.

This past weekend I went to see my favorite Christmas concert. The first time I went to this concert, I thought I was going to see Christmas carols sung by Andrew Peterson. I had no idea what I was about to encounter, and why some of my friends would travel hours every year to attend. Last year, I took my stepmom to the show for her Christmas present, so this year, she treated my little sister and I to see it at the Cove this year, which was amazing.

The talent of this concert is incredible. It's become one of my very favorite holiday traditions, because it's a night devoted to focusing on the true story of Christmas. As Andrew teared up talking about this at the beginning of the show, he reminded me of my husband's words so many years ago...

"You see, the best thing about this Story is - it's true."
~ The Jesus Storybook Bible

Linking up with Tuesdays Unwrapped over at Chatting at the Sky...join us for the last one!

Monday, December 19, 2011

EASY DIY Christmas Garland

A few years ago, I had all these excess fabric remnants and scraps. I knew that a little love could turn them from trash to treasure, but I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to make. It was around Christmas time, and I had been wanting to find a new way to display Christmas cards...thus the idea to make a Christmas garland came about. I made several, and sold out at a local Christmas bazaar, and totally forgot about them.

Until just a few weeks ago, one of my friends who had bought one, asked for me to make 10 for Christmas gifts for her. I brought Krista over to help cut, rip, and tie, and in a couple hours, we had it knocked out.

They are super easy (just a little time consuming), and don't require any sewing or glueing, which in my book means a true DIY project!! (see how lazy I am?!)

1. First, gather scraps, ribbons, yarn, whatever fabric you have lying around, and decide on your color scheme for your garland.

2. Cut your fabric into 6-8 in. strips, each being about 1-2 inches wide. If you like the rustic, whimsical look, you can tear some to leave the ragged edges exposed.

3. Choose your client wanted the rustic look, so I stuck with twine for her. You could do a wider ribbon, or any long piece of fabric you wanted.

4. Cut your base string at 8-10 feet. This is long enough to hang in a doorway, or over a mantle.

5. Space out your bows about a foot apart (I wanted to make sure that I had plenty of room between each little fabric tuft to hang either ornaments, cards, greenery, (insert whatever you'd like to hang).

6. Continue layering and tying fabric and ribbon until you have the size bow you'd like. I usually ended up having about 5-6 strips of fabric each bow.

7. Wrap up as a great gift, or hang in your house to have a fun festive garland to use over and over again!

Some ways to use these: mantle decor, wrap around your tree, place over doorway, use to hang Christmas cards from, hang ornaments over a window...the list goes on! Also, it's a great way to repurpose old fabric, clothes, ribbons, and bows!

happy trimming!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

2011 Christmas Tour

Welcome to the Christmas Tour!

I'm so excited to have you stop by. I love this time of year, and it's super fun to be able to share and get ideas from others lovely homes. I'll keep the words few and let the pictures speak today...

This year, I kept our Christmas decor more rustic and simple. Natural and somewhat vintage. It was fun to switch where we have our tree, and do a few new things.

Blessing of peace and joy to your home today!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Simplest of Gifts

Their eyes were giddy with excitement at the thought of cookie dough. I had them each pull up a stool to help mix the ingredients. Such simple ways to celebrate the season. All I had said was,

"Let's put on some Christmas music and make cookies!"

With cheers of delight they scurried down the stairs, so ready to soak in the joy of the moment.

It challenges me to see their eager hearts and open hands, ready to receive a gift.

Do I so willingly rush to the manger to see the child? Do we find the gift in even the smallest of joys?

As we rolled our favorite holiday cookies, I thought of how precious of a memory we were forming in our own lives. To see the gifts of the season, in the simplest of ways...lights on the houses, bells ringing out front of grocery stores, people humming carols to themselves as they look for treats for the under the tree... might I find these gifts today.

As promised the recipes from this weekend's dessert:

noel nut balls
(a.k.a. Snowballs, Mexican Wedding Cakes)

2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Sift flour, sugar, and salt together. Work in butter and vanilla. Add 2 cups of pecans and mix well. Form into 1/2 in. balls and place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 8-10 min. Roll in powdered sugar while still warm. So cute in cupcake liners and wrapped up for a gift! Or beautiful set out on trays.

(i love this recipe, because they are divine and only 3 ingredients!!)

mint oreo truffles

1 package mint oreos (finely crushed)
1 package cream cheese (softened)
2 packages of semi sweet chocolate squares, melted (chips work fine as well)

Crush oreos in plastic bag (or food processor) and place in large mixing bowl. Add softened cream cheese and mix well. Form into 1 in. balls. Then roll (or dip) in melted chocolate. (this is the only tricky part...using a spoon and kind of rolling it in the chocolate was easiest for us). Refrigerate for at least 20 min. to harden. (NO BAKING REQUIRED!)

chocolate covered strawberries

melt semi sweet chocolate chips, and dip strawberries in chocolate. stick in the fridge until time for party...then put on a pretty tray, and voila! your party just got fancy.

(picture credits:

Monday, December 12, 2011

An Island Makeover

This past weekend, we had a really fun gathering in our home. Some of the families in our neighborhood did a progressive dinner last December. I had always wanted to attend a progressive dinner, but we were out of town last year on the night it was held. All year I've been waiting, and this year we hosted part of it. After guests enjoyed being at a couple other fabulous houses down the street, we ended the party here at our home for favorite.

When I was thinking about the flow of the evening, I knew that I wanted to have stations around the house. Stations are a big thing with me...I love styling my receptions that way, because it makes for such great flow. It means no bottlenecks around the food, which is always a good thing! Another reason, is that we don't have a large dining room table...lots of smaller tables, and one big island. So, when planning where food would be, I had a couple thoughts in mind.

I wanted to make sure I had a main food table set up with most of the desserts, but then trays with dessert options set around at different places throughout the house as well. I decided that the island in our kitchen would be the best place for our main table...except I didn't really want it to look like our island. I wanted it to look like an elegant dining room table. So, in about three steps, I gave my island a weekend makeover.

First step...cover it! I used a vintage ivory tablecloth with lace around the edges, and then layered with a piece of fabric for a runner, and doilies over top around the sides.

Next, I brought in two large candlesticks as a prominent centerpiece.

Finally, to keep a more elegant look, I scattered an assortment of white, clear, and silver platters around the island. By choosing varying heights and sizes, it kept the look interesting while still being functional to what we were serving.

Just because it's Christmas doesn't mean that everything has to be red and green. I love a simple monochromatic look of mixing winter whites with silver and gold.

The end result was great. I wish I had a picture of all the food that adorned this spread, but I was too busy stuffing my face with treats to take pictures. However, stay tuned...tomorrow I'm going to tell you what I served on these pretty platters...complete with recipes for all your parties coming up!

Friday, December 9, 2011

New Venue and Photo Shoot!

A few weeks ago I was asked to style a wedding photo shoot for a brand new venue in the Triad. This sweet couple is so in love, and they had a blast doing their photo shoot. When the bride said to me that she wanted an enchanted, romantic, but natural feel to her wedding, I knew she'd love being at this exquisite location. It was a beautiful Fall day and a perfect time of year to be at Timberlake.

Timberlake is an amazing venue, full of natural beauty and elegance. There are so many places to be able to enjoy... from an amazing orchard, to lakeside settings, gardens, wheat fields, to a pasture with an old water tower...and plenty of trails to explore all over! It really is completely picturesque and gorgeous.

The amazing Becki Dickinson captured the beauty of the day, and Julie from Simply Scrumptious made a gorgeous cake. One of my favorite florists, Farm and Filigree designed beautiful bouquets and floral arrangements for our photo shoot. We had a terrific line up of talent, and I must say, it came off splendidly.

Not your average sweetheart table.

The cake table was gorgeous with these colors in the background.

I loved every minute of being a part of this wedding. There's something about being around people in love. They seem to make everything more magical, to which I am always grateful.