Organize Simplify Create Design

It is perpetual, living life and keeping it simple. Peace of mind comes from having a place for things. As I watched "Horton Hears a Who", with my grandchildren I thought about no matter how "tiny" the thing, it deserves a home. So I live by the old adage, a place for everything and everything in its respective place...

About Me

My photo
Houston, Texas, United States
Ten things I am or have been: 1 Wife, 2 Mother of five, 3 Grandmother of 16, 4 Hair Dresser, 5 Bookkeeper 6 Bank Teller, 7 Scrapbook Store Owner, 8 Reporter, 9 Gardener, 10 Photographer,

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Christmas home tour


a most wonderful time of year
I had a fall arrangement on top of these shutters. So I left the jars, added some old pink ornaments added these sparkly little presents, a little greenery and voila! I found these lovely mercury ornaments that I have hung from the chandelier, along with some three dimensional snowflakes and the beading I usually place around candles.

 Bear with me puuullease. I am new to watermarks. I've covered up part of what I wanted you to see. sigh...

The dining room underwent big changes in the fall. Walls were painted, window treatment changed. I finally found a wonderful corner hutch when we visited Canton, Texas flea market. It happened to be done in Annie Sloan French Linen with pink inside. I totally went with it as I have a favorite set of dishes by Michal Sparks, "Estate of Mind", ad they have a lot of color in them, and pink is major. So my point in telling you this is that is how Christmas in the dining room became pink this year. I'm just having fun with it. 

 I love forcing bulbs. My Paperwhites are lagging, but it's okay, I will love whenever they decide to bloom, my Amaryllis has bloomed and bloomed this year. The Christmas Cactus in the background is almost ready to pop her vibrant pink blossoms. :) So if you came to have breakfast with me, we'd sit here and chat. My grandmother embroidered that lovely Batten-burg table cover. :) she was a master at it. She taught me all kinds of fancy stitches, and she used to say....the back should look as beautiful as the top, and hers does. May be why I don't embroider much.  
My kids have always made fun of my angel. The first year we were married, we had NO spare change. I went to the craft store and found this doll head, I attached a piece of wire hanger, gave her a gold pipe cleaner halo, and put white netting on her for a gown. She even has a tacky plastic holly and red flower on her dress. She was supposed to do for the first year. 
After 30+ displays her gown began to come apart and disintegrate! That year I cut up my wedding veil and made all 5 of my children their own treetop angel with a little poem I wrote. She has been with us for 42 years now. She is too sentimental to part with, even with her crazy hair and overdone eyes. :) I have a grandson who is frightened by her..... lol When our 5 kids were small, after all the decorating was done we stood holding hands around the tree as daddy placed her on top and sang Silent Night. sniff... Each Christmas our children got to choose a special ornament. I would write the year and their name on each one. They each had a nice collection to take with them when they left home.

This is the banister decor, nothing special really. I made these swags a few years ago. I added in the teal this year to go with the rest of the den decor.
Here is the tree. I will try to post some close-ups of the themed ornaments. Most of them are birds, and dragonflies, butterflies, flowers and lovely French inspired burlap ribbon. I through in some teal high heels for girlie measure.

The following photos are close ups of tree ornaments.

love the French inspired ribbon
 lovely birds

lovely aqua Hummingbirds

 Drangonflies and cool mercury glass ornaments trimmed in metal with chain hanging from the bottom. Beautiful detail.

Every tree needs an elf and this one is 43 years old.

Every tree needs and elf, and this one is 43 years old....

I have had this little Charlie Brown tree for a number of years. Wrapped in burlap and only has bells for decor. 

I think this is my favorite piece in the house. Love looking at it. And it is filled with things dear to my heart.
lovely blingy candles nestled among the grand babies...
I fell in love with these simple clip-on flowers. Rustic pine cones, completely natural. This swag adorns the halltree in the foyer. I love this ribbon offered through Decor Steals, 


The dining buffet

Just feels of Christmas warmth

Thanks for visiting! I will post our backyard tree and decorations soon. :)
Enjoy the Season...

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas Mantle in Gold

Christmas Mantle Simply Done

First I must apologize if you waited for daily steps to decorating. I had to leave town for an emergency for a dear family member. I'm sure you got the idea though.

My decorations this year are more simply done than in years past. My sweetheart is facing surgery tomorrow and I know the taking down will be left to me.
Today I'd like to share my mantle with you. There is no greenery used and just a smidgen of aqua to tie in in with my tree.

 I used the three gold reindeer I picked up at Marshall's a couple of years ago. The pinecones I gathered near my home and the gold balls came from a floral arrangement a friend had sent a few years ago. I had the gold magnolia sprays in my Christmas stash. 
My favorite part of this years display is what you probably think is ribbon! Well, it is metal that I snagged from a cool shop in Utah called Kneaders. They had a beautiful rustic tree decorated in wonderful burlap, metal, and natural pieces. I bought it right off the tree! $15 for nine pieces. 

I wanted some letters to spell out a Christmas message this year, really difficult to find what I wanted. I settled for these Walmart letters for a couple of bucks each. There is a brown shiny branch thing under it all.
The finishing touch was wanting something drippy off the front. so I chose the beading you can buy for candles to add a tiny touch of aqua and hung the gold snowflakes with it. I burn a fire in my fireplace so I have to be careful about what drapes around the sides and the front.

 I should have lit a fire huh? It's been hot in Houston so it didn't even occur to me. Would have spiced up the photo right?
Stay tuned for glimpses of my pink and gray Christmas decor in the dining and other simple touches. 
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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

How to decorate a Christmas tree like a pro

Decorating a Christmas Tree and your home for the holiday can be a chore or a delight. 
I recommend doing your home over a 7 day period. This way you won't feel so overwhelmed. And depending on the extent of your decorating it may take you less time. 
Day 1
Decide where you want to place your tree. Decide if you will use what you have or if you want to incorporate new colors or themes this year. Pull out your tree stand and take it along if you are shopping for a live tree. When our children were little, choosing a tree was an event. We went as a family, sometimes to a Christmas tree farm, or a lot. Everyone had a say. :)
Now the we are empty nesters, my hubby fluffs and I assemble the tree. (see step two below, I put my lights on as I assemble the tree.) We purchased a quality artificial tree 11 years ago and it still looks lovely as you see above. (I still put up a live tree on my patio because we spend a lot of time out there even during cooler months here in Texas) We decorate that one with cute beachy themed ornaments that we have collected over the years, we call it our Jimmy Buffet tree. 
Begin with purchasing your tree or assembling if you own an artificial tree. Keep it away from the wall making it easy to decorate around. I purchased furniture sliders at Lowes, the kind that slide on wood floors, so the tree scoots freely to decorate and slide into place when we are finished.

Day 2 
[As mentioned above I arrange my lights on the tree branches as it is assembled. I weave up and down each branch. I like a lot of lights. If you have a pre lit tree obviously you get to skip this step.]

Gather your lights, test them to see if you have to replace any. There is nothing more frustrating than getting lights strung on and then they don't light. I purchased an electric outlet strip that is green. I ziptied it to the trunk of my tree about midway up, this plugs into my hand foot peddle for turning the whole tree on and off which plugs into the electrical outlet near the back of the tree. Most Christmas lights can only be strung a maximum of 3 per strand. By having numerous plugs on your trees trunk  this enables you to follow important safety instructions for your lights that could otherwise be a fire hazard.

Day 3
Time to haul out the decorations. Mine are in labeled bins. If yours are not, don't fret, you can easily do this as you take your decorations down this year. It makes decorating an easy task as you pull out only what you will need as you go.

 I store all "like" ornaments together when taking the tree down.

If you want to adorn your tree with ribbon or garland, now is the time to place this on the tree. You can measure several lengths of ribbon for the height of your tree and pull the ends together and anchor it with florist wire to the top of your tree. Arrange the pieces to drape down the tree like pieces of a pie. Now tuck adding poofs as you track down the tree. My ribbon has a wired edge so I can wrap it around a branch to secure it. You can use an inexpensive wire ornament hook if yours is not. You should tuck the ribbon into the branch far enough to hide where you are securing the ribbon. 
If you are using garland. Beginning at the top and working down, drape the garland around the tree, trailing down as you go. Step back periodically to be sure you are keeping it spaced and even as you go.
(Hint: Save special keepsakes like these little bells I kept from our sons wedding to hang on the tree each year)

 Go to your larger ornaments and place these spaced from the top down, depending on how many you have. You should have at least seven to nine large eye catching pieces, I like to have the same ones to bring eye candy appeal to the tree. (you may have more or less depending on the tree height) You can also wire together groupings of smaller ornaments in colors you like to bring a larger feel to the groupings, they will seem like one piece to place on the tree as well. (Hint: Items do not have to all be exactly the same.)

As you have probably guessed, my tree has been done in primarily golds and reds in years past. As I have shifted my decor this year to a more shabby, farmhouse, antique feel, I will be adding my new robin egg blue color to my tree and giving my red a rest for now. I plan to add in the lime green and brown bringing all the colors together. I can show you photos if you like. (although not to many people comment to me here) : ( I'd love to hear your tree deco ideas)
You can now begin to fill in the rest of your tree with beautiful ornaments you have collected through the years. The little "hot tub snowgirl" shown above was my ornament for last year. We have had a tradition of collecting one special ornament for each year we have been married. We did the same for our children and they took their collection to their own tree when they left home.
The last thing that goes on my tree is the angel. She has been with us since our first Christmas. I finally had to redo her gown. I decided to cut up my wedding veil and not only remake her, but made each one of my children an angel for their own tree with a special poem attached. You might prefer a star, a huge bow, even a sparkling spray of Christmas florals. It's all up to you! We have a huge parrot on our tree top outside. (see below for explanation)
The finale...add your tree skirt and presents. No tree skirt, drape a tablecloth, a piece of fabric or grab a piece of burlap (so inexpensive) and drape it around the bottom. The presents are going to hide that skirt anyway. I found mine at Marshall's. They have beautiful skirts every year and are reasonably priced.

I put up two additional trees at our house. One in the game room, that is a completely traditional old fashioned decorated Christmas tree. Also, we put up the Jimmy Buffet tree on the patio, because we love sitting by the fire in the winter and enjoy our only LIVE tree!

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Old Antique Hutch Makeover

The Basement Hutch

It was a cold winter in 1971

It was college days and I was a young mother living in a rent house converted into two apartments. I became friends with my 80 something landlady and her sister, who lovingly gave me my first lessons on china painting. They were so amazing. During our painting session I told them about my china that was still boxed up from my wedding. Not long after that conversation she was on my doorstep and took me down to a dark basement beneath the home we were living in and gave me a cute bookcase for our daughter and sold me "the basement hutch" for me to put my china in for $25, which I paid for over a period of WEEKS! ; )

Here she is after following us back and forth across the country until she began to break apart and ended up in our storage..... :(

The Old Hutch was literally falling to pieces. It was not only covered in dust but had  a Yellow Antiquing kit from the 1970's era.  
The smoked glass panes were removed and we put plain glass back.
The original crystal knobs were still in good condition. My landlady said the piece was more than 100 years old back then. So the piece is close to 140 plus years now. It was handmade, quite primitive.

As you can see this was a major undertaking. Completely re-glueing. I'm just glad that my hubby knows how to do this!

The transformation begins.

I had plans to do Annie Sloan French Linen and distress from there, but the yellow popped out neon.  So I decided to go with the ASCP Duck Egg Blue on the inside, and go French Linen over the top. I have a corner piece in the dining room that I will show you soon that also had the French Linen on it.

I am pleased with the rustic look, even with a tiny bit of yellow showing. 

I found these adorable apliques that added charm to the doors.

The key still works! 

It's so fun to have her back in the house. 

The OLD Hutch