Living on the edge of the woods with all that natural beauty inspires me in my Christmas decorating.  This year I purchased a skinny tree and filled it with rustic farmhouse Christmas tree decorations I made.  It's easy and inexpensive to create ornaments using the bounty of nature.   Remember the 31 Days of Handmade Christmas Ornaments that we were so inspired by back in October?  We enjoyed it so much that my friend, Mary Beth and I invited the group back for our First Annual Extraordinary Christmas Trees Tour.  Not everyone could join us, but we have 13 gals for a fabulous 3-Day line … [Read more...]

  Need a coffee table but don't have one? This DIY modern farmhouse tray is a cheap and easy solution with style.   In my home, I'm the beneficiary of a nightly ritual that will make most wives jealous...     My husband prepares a cup of cocoa or chai for me every evening before bedtime. He's been doing this for most of our married life and I love it.  It's a very special way to end the evening. Since we've been living in this postage stamp of an apartment my choice is to sit at the table or on my little loveseat.  Usually, I choose the loveseat.  But, it's risky for … [Read more...]

  Part 1: Ideas and tips for decorating your apartment or small space with holiday style and charm. This is the first of my series of small space decorating tips for the holidays.     It's not the size or construction of your dwelling nor the location that makes it home... what makes a home is the love that lives there, the memories created, and the friends and family who belong. And that, my friend, is the heart behind decorating your small space with style and charm this Christmas. My small space happens to be a tiny apartment which we thought would just be temporary.  Yours … [Read more...]

  Learn how to create a budget Thanksgiving table setting with dollar store items and more that is simple and elegant, plus a fun DIY pumpkin centerpiece project.   It was just the two of us that Thanksgiving. As usual, since we moved to the Southtowns of Buffalo, there was snow and lots of it.     There was no way I was going to get in the car and drive 8 hours for dinner.  So I set the table as elegantly as possible and roasted a turkey. Tim and I were having a blast in the kitchen together, making a week's worth of stuffing, potatoes, Far East Celery, two kinds of … [Read more...]

  It persuaded me just a little with its $7 clearance price tag. That small red tag pushed me from simple infatuation to head over heels in love. With a tablecloth.     Which is why this lovely dark blue and white tablecloth with the huge gingham checks jumped into my hands and came home with me. I couldn't wait to put it on my little table.     Do you know the difference between the hugely popular buffalo plaid and gingham? I didn't. Want to know? Lean in... Buffalo plaid is a larger square plaid of two colors... one is always black and … [Read more...]

  One of my favorite things about blogging is that I have an excuse to do the things I love and share them with you.     More than anything I would love for you to be able to join me for a little breakfast tea where we could swap stories and get to know each other.  But, since that's not to be, today I set the table for an early fall morning tea and I'm pretending that you are sitting here with me. It's a beautiful mostly sunny day.  The trees have a little bit of color, but here in the mostly oak woods where I live, it's still pretty green. I wanted to take time to encourage … [Read more...]

  Is there anything better than Christmas decor that's free and natural?  I think not!     That's why I'm excited to share with you my simple rustic handmade Christmas ornaments made from birch logs and pine cones.   But, before I do, if you’re here from Cupcakes and Crinoline (Didn't Mary Beth create the cutest retro vintage ornament ever?), WELCOME!  This is the 4th stop on our third annual 31 Day Handmade Christmas Ornaments Blog Hop. Just like each year past, you can expect to be inspired by all kinds of lovely Christmas ornaments created by 30 extraordinary bloggers, … [Read more...]

  This has been the summer of flowers.     It all started when my little grocery store started carrying locally grown flowers in the spring.  I almost did flips when I saw ranunculus. In the most beautiful colors, ever.  So, of course, I purchased some, and arranged them, and took their picture... over and over again. As spring became summer,  there was a constant flow of flowers each week into my store. And when I could, I purchased a bouquet and arranged it, and too more pictures.  For the past month, there's been a steady flow of sunflowers in every … [Read more...]

  Fresh ideas for creating a rustic fall farmhouse vignette that is simple and full of texture and charm.   The other day my husband came home from work and after he kissed me as he always does when he comes in the door, he turned and walked towards our little dining nook. I had just finished styling the console table there for fall along with a simple setting for two on our table. I was so happy he noticed the change. But it was his response that totally got me. He said, "That looks like us!" I don't think that he could have said anything that would have warmed my heart … [Read more...]

  Easy tutorial and TIPS for making and styling a modern farmhouse 3 tiered tray. And more farmhouse tray inspiration from 11 of my favorite blogging friends!     It was Tuesday... I dropped Tim off at work and then swung around to Walmart for a quick kombucha run, jumping back on the road for another busy day.  And then it happened! My car steered itself into a parking lot... and right into the first parking slot... smack dab in front of the Goodwill store. I looked over and a lady was just unlocking the door. There I was... the first customer of the day with the whole store … [Read more...]

  I wish my mom or dad would have told me this growing up... I wish people who live by this wouldn't keep it so close to the vest... I wish I hadn't lived nearly half a century before I learned this very big life secret...     It's never about me.    We think that everyone notices us. We think people care how we look. We think that people want our ideas or opinions. We worry and fret and spend endless time being concerned about something that we think the world sees in us. Brett Butler's last words to Scarlett O'Hara in the great classic, Gone with the … [Read more...]

  I think we take often take ourselves and our decorating too seriously.     We have a budget and a vision in mind and we put our blinders on and focus on getting "that look." Does that sound familiar to you? I can be guilty of that for sure. Because everything I'm doing is "new" these days, I am striving to look at my home decor more purposefully.  Maybe in an upcoming post, I will delve further into that mindset, but today... Let's talk about the floor cloth I created for my balcony garden.     As you know, I am crazy about my beautiful outdoor space … [Read more...]

  Some days I can hardly contain my joy.      Every morning after I wake up, I walk over to my sliding glass door, throw open the door and take in all the glorious beauty on my tiny balcony.  Happiness floods my soul. It's such a great way to start the day!     This small space... nearly 4 feet deep by 19 feet long has become my balcony garden oasis. Filled with beautiful hanging baskets, container gardens, and grocery store mark-down plants... everything is flourishing on this bright but mostly shady perch high among the … [Read more...]

  Have you ever had an idea to create something and it came out even better than you hoped? This simple water fountain I created for my balcony garden is the best thing ever!  I cannot tell you how much joy it brings me to have it bubbling and gurgling all day and evening. In the process of creating a garden for my balcony, I decided that it would be fun to have a water feature.  I had no idea we would enjoy it as much as we do.     Here's How I Constructed a Simple Container Fountain   With a few ideas in mind, I decided to go online and do a little research on DIY … [Read more...]

  Happy Fourth of July!     I LOVE everything about celebrating the 4th, but especially I love all things red, white, and blue. It's been a while since I've been able to set a patriotic table, but this year is finally my year... thanks to an unexpected clearance at Walmart way back in January.  Right smack in the middle of the main aisle was a display of deeply discounted housewares items.  Since I always prefer shopping anything house related over clothing, I was immediately drawn to the display.  Down on the bottom shelf, I noticed a stack of red plates.  Cute red plates with a … [Read more...]

  You might be surprised to learn this about me... but I rarely go to movies.  In fact, I rarely watch movies on TV. My husband will suggest we go to different movies, but somehow I manage to wiggle my way out of going.  I think it might be because I have to just sit and watch a screen. Asking me to go and sit in a movie theater is like asking me to go sit in a closet for 2 hours.  Yeah, I know, I'm different. All that being said, I do enjoy a good movie. (Up until now, the last movie I watched was Les Mis, which I thoroughly enjoyed, by the way.)  You've just got to get me to sit down for … [Read more...]

  There's an old saying, "A bird in hand is worth two in the bush." Though we could discuss that proverb and the pros and cons of risk-taking, when it comes to thrifting and DIYing, that's really true.  When you find something you think you can work with, even if you have no idea how you'll DIY it... get it.  Who knows if you'll find another one later.     One day I hit the local Goodwill shop and found a few items for a change.  I have a blogging friend who comes home with all kinds of fabulous finds for next to nothing from her Goodwill store in the Windy City.  Here in my … [Read more...]