Treasure Hunting

Treasure hunting has been instilled in my blood since I was a little child.  My Grandmother used to pick me up from school and we would walk home and go “treasure hunting”.  We usually found the usual sparkly rock or bottle cap, but once in a while something unusual and special came across our path. Oh the thrill of the find!

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed a few thrift store “treasures” I have acquired lately.  I have a love/hate relationship with thrift stores; lately the relationship has been full of amore;) I have a few stores that I frequent on the way back from errands or picking up the kids etc.  You really never know what you will find! Consistent drop ins are keys to success (in my opinion).  I have found original pieces of artwork, silver pieces, designer shoes and jewelry.  It is so funny, 9 times out of ten if I am wearing something from a thrift store or consignment, I almost always get a compliment. So, I thought it would be fun to share some “treasures” I have found of late and some from the past that are too good not to share;)

Let’s start with a recent piece of clothing I found shall we? I do not really buy a lot of clothing etc. while thrifting, but if something catches my eye while on the way to the artwork then I will pick it up; especially interesting jewelry.

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My style is pretty classic/preppy.  I do like a trend here and there, but for the most part this native New Englander likes to keep it classic.  I recently found this Rebecca Taylor silk sleeveless  top. The picture does not do it justice!  I had a hard time getting a good shot of this (maybe because of the silk/shine?).  I adored the bow detail and couldn’t pass it up.  I think I paid $5.99 for it?  It is a beautiful rich navy color with an empire waist.  Not sure when I will wear it, but that bow detail had me at hello;)

The following  pieces were acquired thrifting over time.  I love blue and white ware.  I found these neat urns (I guess that is what you would call them) for $5.99 each.  They are in pristine condition and are flanking my mantle as we speak.  The detail on the top is quite interesting and unique.  I love them and they are a nice addition to my flourishing collection so in the cart they went!

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This little blue and white dish is very old and has markings on the back….note to self check that out;)  I use it by my sink to hold every day jewelry $1.99.  

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That same day I found this silver plate bowl.  Swoon! Don’t pass up the tarnished silver….most of the time I only find silver plate pieces, but that’s ok!  This beauty was stained and almost black.  I took a chance at the $9.99 price tag, but thought it was worth the risk. I actually was keeping an eye out for something like this at TJ Maxx or Homegoods, but hadn’t had any luck. So when I found this beauty I may have had a heart palpitation!   A little TLC and silver polish and it is stunning!

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Here is another silver piece that always holds flowers (time for a cleaning;).  I like its handsome “trophy” shape.  So classic and timeless! I think a bit of silver shine in a room is necessary.  Sometimes a book case can look cavernous or just bland.  Try adding some silver pieces, you will notice it brings the eye to that space and will brighten it up!  Just like jewelry adds that extra something to an outfit, so does silver to a room…give it a try;)!

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I think my most favorite thing to find thrifting is art.  I consistently look for good, unique art that “speaks” to me.  I have a deep appreciation and am a huge lover of art.  I think old artwork (especially oil paintings) add such charm and character to a space(especially new construction or cookie cutter spaces). I also love anything coastal.  If it has water or a beach scene I most likely will pick it up;) 

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I found this piece for $2.99. It reminds me of coastal Connecticut where I grew up and evokes such fond memories.  I hung it as is, but may “tweak” the framing a bit.  

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This piece hangs in my dining room at the moment.  I liked the pop of color the flowers bring to the room.  Not sure if I will keep it in here, but everything in my home tends to hop around!  The frame was a dark heavy “70’s” looking wood, so I got out my trusty rub n buff and went to town.  Not bad for $5.99 huh?

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One of my very favorite art finds is this watercolor in a lovely frame.  I paid $20.00 for it, which for some may be too much for thrifted artwork.  However, it spoke to me, was professionally framed, and I found myself standing in the aisle not moving which meant it had to come home with me.  It reminds me of our vacations on Kiawah Island in South Carolina. Best purchase ever!  The picture truly does not do it justice. It has moved a couple of times, but is currently over my new tub in my bathroom until I find a larger piece of artwork to replace it.  It was well worth the $20 price tag and would work in any room in my home.

There you have it! If you have the patience, are willing to “spruce” up some finds and sort through the “junk” there are treasures to be found!  I sometimes will go weeks without one find, but that’s the thrill of it right?  I have learned over time what to pass on (even if I like it) and what to buy.  If I bought everything I liked thrifting I would have to open my own store!  So, buy carefully… if you really like it, and it speaks to you (i.e., artwork) then make it yours! This was a learning curve, believe me;)  I have re-thrifted many pieces because of impulsivity. Now, I pass up more than I buy.  A rule of thumb is: if I keep thinking about it after I get home I may go back the next day.  If it is gone…well then it just wasn’t meant to be;)

Have you done any thrifting lately and found some of your own “treasures?” Give it a try! You might be surprised at what you might find!

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Vignettes

Lately, I have noticed many bloggers sharing vignettes of spaces in their homes.  I am always intrigued by a vignette, aren’t you?  I think the visual appeal has one guessing as to what surrounds it as well as the angle it is shot at etc.  After all, a vignette can tell a visual story and is an art form in itself.  I also find them appealing, because I think some of the unique features of a room get lost sometimes and are much easier  to “read” in a small snapshot.  I believe this is why I am a big fan of Instagram, because it lets the eye focus on one shot, and not let the visual noise around it interfere with its beauty.

So, I thought it might be fun to share some vignettes found around my home.  Let me know what you think?

In cleaning my son’s room the other day, amongst the mess, I shot this side table vignette.  It gave me the visual fix I needed to power through the rest of the room! Doesn’t that always help;)

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Here is my foyer chest of drawers and is the first thing you see when you enter my home.  I change it up frequently, but it almost always has some sort of fresh “something” on it.  Today it holds fresh white roses;)

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I adore blue and white ware; always have and always will.  Even before it was the “thing”;). I love the traditional look and visual impact it has.  One can find a piece of blue and white “something” in almost every room in my home;)

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And finally, my “Winter” mantle.  After the holidays I keep that winter “magic” alive by keeping some sparkle and warm texture (yarn garland) to the mantle. However, truth be told it is not up there anymore due to the “extreme” Winter we are having….frankly I am over it and it has lost its magic! I’m sure most of you agree;)!

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So there you have it!  A few vignettes (isn’t that a fancy word;) around my home.  I hope you enjoyed them!

Master Bath Reno Dust Files Part 1

Well, hello there!  I have been a bit lax on my blogging these days because I am knee deep in a Master Bath reno.  The upside? Thank goodness it isn’t a kitchen reno.  Kudos to all who tackle that while LIVING in your home! I don’t know how you did it if you did!  Don’t get me wrong, I feel fortunate and excited that drywall dust and debris is all over the house, but man alive it is never as easy as you think!

We bought this circa 1988 house (yes, the god-awful design challenged 80’s;) 11 years ago.  You know, the bright jeweled tone colors, bigger is better, taffeta balloon drapes, carpets in bathrooms…you get the idea;) Party on!

Just to warn you…don’t be scared;)  These are all very poor phone pics of the bathroom. I had to hurry before my husband started demolishing this 80’s charmer.  He literally started after I took the last pic. Let’s meet my 1988 Master Bathroom in all her glory shall we?

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This is the listing picture(a picture of a picture;)  Are you seeing what I see?  Yes, that behemoth whirlpool tub could fit 4 adults! Look at the lovely pine siding topped off with cranberry tile!  However, my two year old  twins thought this lovely “swimming pool” was the bees knees!  I never had to beg them to bathe!  They actually liked to wear their goggles once in a while and “dive” for their bath toys over the years (true story).  This tub took up 3/4 of my bathroom.  The shower, toilet and whirlpool were all an undescript shade of coffee.  Don’t get me wrong I LOVE my coffee, but on my bathtub…not so much!

At the time we closed on our home we were tapped out financially.  Meaning zero dollars for any type of major renovations.  However, after a few months I told my husband that I could not look at cranberry tile and pine cabinets anymore.  I had to do something that could “get us by” until we could do more.  So, in an effort to “fluff” up all that coffee colored, cranberry tiled, carpeted goodness, we painted and used every decorating trick I could to make it “look” ok.  I truly believe a space should rise up and greet you and this space couldn’t get off its’ knees;)

We painted the cabinets, changed the hardware on said cabinets, painted every surface, changed the fixtures to brushed nickel and hid the shiny brass shower door with a shower curtain(I know a run-on sentence;)  A couple of clearance Target shades and accessories and I called it a day.  Year after year we would have to re-paint the tile until we just gave up. I had no more tricks up my sleeve and after cutting my toe on the place where the tile met the disgusting carpet. I was put a fork in me D-O-N-E! I might have scared my kiddos with my antics when that happened, but whatever…

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(Again, excuse the dark phone picture above). Notice the carpet cut in an interesting pattern? Pretty fancy don’t you think? This is the place (where tile meets the carpet) where I cut my toe (really bad).  Remember this tile was painted a bazillion times.

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Here is another view from the other side of the room.  You can get a better idea of the scale of lady behemoth tub;)  It truly was a waste of space.  We didn’t even have a water heater big enough to fill this watering hole with hot water! What was the builder thinking?

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This is the side where Mr.’s vanity is, as well as a pre-formed fiberglass coffee colored shower with a shiny gold door;) I actually tried to cover it with a beige and white toile curtain!  A girl has to do what a girl has to do;)

A decade later here we are…finally had enough and ready to tackle the reno, but still wanted to keep it budget friendly.  So, my Mr. decided to demo the WHOLE BATHROOM BY HIMSELF!  Mind you, we aren’t 25 or even 35 anymore….but he did it like a rockstar!  Every last nail, piece of tile etc.  I tried to help, but he just wanted to do it himself. I secretly think he liked using the new reciprocating saw, but that novelty wore off after a few he-man cuts! I helped carry the heavy pieces of tub and debris down to the garage, but that was it.

So, the tub, vanities, tile for the shower and floor were all picked out. The tile is currently being installed.  We decided we would hire out the tile installation for the floor and shower.  My husband just simply doesn’t have the time and he knew his limit.  We saved on demo, so I think it was a smart choice.

I knew I wanted a freestanding tub since it wouldn’t require a “deck” or built in and I like the look. So, I scoured the internet and found a freestanding tub that was on clearance.  I actually went to the store to order it and low and behold I saw THE tub sitting lonely in the back and walked ran over to that baby and staked my claim. That’s what is called a “meant to be” purchase, don’t you think?  After talking with the salesperson, he said it was the floor model that they were replacing with a newer model.  Well, if you know me (bargain hunter) I asked if he would discount it further and he did.  Don’t you love when that happens? I got that beauty on clearance with a further discount and the manufacturer had a $200 rebate. Win! So it literally was a steal. Let’s just say the hardware for it cost more than the tub;)

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So, that is where we are…hopefully by the end of the week the tiling will be completed, the sink/cabinets will be installed and we can finish the job and do what I love best…install and decorate! Stay tuned for Part 2 and hopefully better pictures;) !

It Finally Feels Like Winter!

Yes, it finally feels like Winter around these parts!  I’m not going to lie; not having snow on Christmas morning was a bit of a bummer.  Looking out of the window and seeing decaying leaf bits left over from the fall didn’t cut it;) There is something about crisp white snow that is comforting to me; almost cathartic.  Maybe it is because I grew up in New England (Connecticut) where there was never a lack of it. It really was picturesque. Some of my fondest childhood memories are sitting by a crackling fire, skiing in Vermont and just BEING in the snow in my own backyard.

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Thankfully, one of my sons got the “snow” gene;)  He is a  TOTAL winter nut.  He loves all things snow…the more the merrier!  He can stay out in the freezing cold and it just does not bother him.  The other guy…not so much;) There is a video on my IG account (21sunshineave) of my boy doing what he loves best!  (for some reason the video wouldn’t download here).  Check it out on my page!

I held out taking Christmas exterior pictures of our home because it just didn’t look right without snow.  So, with my iPhone in hand I snapped a few pictures in the frigid cold (it was 2 degrees out;)!

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Of course I had to include a picture of beloved Wilson…he likes to photobomb all of my pictures;)  He, like my son, loves snow and thinks he is a puppy again when the white stuff makes its first debut!

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Oh how I love you snow, the cold…not-so-much;)  But I will take it!  Now I have to go bundle up and shovel my deck;)

Christmas Kitchen and a Special Birthday!

Happy New Year my friends!  Where did December go?  This month is always a busy one!

My precious twin boys are officially teenagers ( I am in denial as I write this;)  I could not be more proud of these young men.  (These were obviously from last year as they are now 13:) As you can see their culinary tastes are quite different!  I look forward to venturing into these unknown teenage waters;)  Wish me luck!

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I am sure you all are over Christmas decorating posts;) Well, I had all intentions of doing a post of my kitchen before Christmas, when my camera decided it did not want to cooperate.  Let’s just say I need to bring it in the shop again!  Ugh! I did manage to get a few shots.  Be prepared that some of the pics in this post are iPhone pictures.

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I love decorating now that my cabinets are painted white (White Dove-Benjamin Moore).  When we purchased this house 11 years ago we were fortunate the previous owners remodeled the kitchen and used a very good quality cabinet and loads of granite;)  However, the cabinets were hickory wood (not my taste) so we had them painted about 5 years ago.  Like my fireplace, it was the BEST decorating decision EVER!  It really opened up the space and of course made mama happy;)

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This vintage frame was a DIY chalkboard project.  It is a sentimental piece because it was gifted to me by my late Grandfather. I simply added the chalkboard. Love it!

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As you can see that lovely Ballard Designs harlequin ribbon is used all over my kitchen too;)

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We have done updates to the kitchen so it is more functional for our family.  In the bottom right hand corner you can see a bit of where we added a “bar” area with stools. This added more seating as our eat-in area is a bit tight in front of the sliding doors.

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This is my baking station.  As you can see Santa likes to oversee my culinary adventures and puts a bit of magic into my Christmas cookies every year;)

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That is my Christmas kitchen! Now I have to take it all down:( Although, I do love “cleaning the slate” and starting anew.  There is something refreshing and invigorating about that….don’t you think?

Christmastime in the Family Room

Our family room is right off of our kitchen.  So, if we are not in the kitchen, you can usually find us relaxing in here.  We are fortunate to have two fireplaces in this home, however, we only light the one in the family room.  It gets a lot of use during this time of year!   IMG_8985IMG_8901IMG_3078   Our family has collected Nutcrackers ever since the boys were littles.  There is something magical about these wooden treasures.  They aren’t fancy or expensive.  We usually find them at the big box stores here and there, but every year they end up standing guard ready for Santa!  I usually change up my decorations, but somehow these guys always make their debut on my mantle!

I think the details on them really stand out against the white brick which was painted about 5 years ago (the best decorating decision ever)!  By the way, please don’t be intimidated to paint your brick.  I hemmed and hawed for 5 years and finally took the plunge and never looked back!

The white brick is also a nice backdrop for our stockings (Ballard Designs).  The leopard ruffle on top really caught my eye a few years ago and I had to have them!  The leopard ribbon (Hobby Lobby) in the bow topper, echoes the ruffle on the stockings too. I added the Ballard Designs harlequin ribbon, to break it up a bit. We don’t want to be too matchy-matchy do we;). I think every room needs a bit of black and animal print. It just adds that extra punch…don’t you think?   IMG_2953   We even had to have one made for our favorite furry friend Wilson;)  How cute are those dog bones! IMG_9011   I keep it pretty simple in here, since I don’t want to detract from the focal point in the room (my fireplace).  For texture in this room, I added a large french provincial willow tray. I always like to have something fresh in each room and this mini European Cypress tree was perfect and aromatic as well!  IMG_8970 The clamshell holds my beach treasures year round, but to add a bit of holiday cheer I simply added red and white polka dot ornaments found at Hobby Lobby.  These tie in nicely with the red and white pillows on the sofa (covers from Ikea and Hobby Lobby). The needlepoint nutcracker pillow is vintage.

As you can see, Wilson likes to rearrange my pillows to his liking!  Love that dog! IMG_3115   In my desk area, I simply added a boxwood wreath adorned with my favorite Ballard Designs ribbon that has been used for years!  I never tire of this ribbon and use it everywhere; especially in my kitchen. I also felt this area needed a bit of red to balance this side of the room, so I added an old pillow cover (Pottery Barn) draped over my chair.  Some ornaments on my desk add a bit of Christmas sparkle while I work!

IMG_8989IMG_9007 I hope you enjoyed my family room during the holidays!  Won’t you come back for a tour of my holiday kitchen?

Winter Wonderland in the Dining Room

Welcome!  I try to “change it up” every year when decorating each room in my home during Christmas. This year is no exception. For today, we are visiting my Winter Wonderland dining room!

Each room in my house evokes a feeling or mood, and usually dictates how the overall style of the space will emerge. This rings true for the holidays as well. I happened to change the paint color in my dining room this year, therefore my holiday decorating  centered around the new color on the walls.

For example, I chose a beautiful blue/green in the dining room which brings me a feeling of calm, peace and an overall coastal (my favorite place) feel. So, for the holidays I centered the decor around a  peaceful coastal/woodsy winter wonderland.

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This room (when not decorated for the holidays) is decorated with coastal elements. It still feels coastal, but with a winter “feel”. The placemats add texture and a natural element found on the coast, along with the sparkly pinecones in the table centerpiece.  I also added antlers flanking this centerpiece, which ties in the deer prancing all around the room!

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 I chose to keep the coral (it pretty much stays year round) and add some woodsy deer friends on my buffet. The inlaid shell lamps stayed and actually adds an iridescent sparkle to the room. The deer were a new purchase this year at Michaels and were half off. I know I will re-purpose them again in my winter decor.  I added a bit of “wonderland” with the feather scarves on the deer and candlesticks, along with a bit of fresh greenery(free)!

I absolutely love deer and think they are so beautiful; especially this wintery time of year. We live in a wooded area so we get many that frolic around our property and make it feel so magical and special! However, not so good for the garden in the warmer months;)

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My table setting is repurposed with my wedding china (Royal Doulton), silver chargers from Target (many moons ago bought at an end of season sale), and Pottery Barn white deer dessert plates(end of season sale). I use these plates all winter long. The drinking vessels are my crystal wedding goblets and silver julep cups.  I love these little cups; they add a sense of sparkle and charm to any place setting I do.

The beautiful porcelain “Rue” candlesticks you see flanking the end of the table, were purchased from  Green Street blog’s sale.  (Please check her blog for inspiring ideas, it is a beautiful site)! I ADORE these traditional beauties;  they are prominently displayed on my table every day.  I used them on my Thanksgiving table right after I purchased them and now my holiday table.  Thanks Fran! They also compliment my wedding china very well.

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 The nests were a dollar a piece.  I thought they added a bit of sparkle and compliment the silver in my sterling flatware, the silver charger, as well as the silver tray holding my centerpiece. 

I am really not a “theme” decorator.  However, during the holidays it  is sometimes nice to stick with an overall “feel” of a space. Yes, there are a few deer displayed in the room, yet it is not a “deer” theme. Rather, a winter scene in nature(not Rudolph’s stables;).

Remember,  use what you have and give it a new look! The only new purchases were the deer from Michaels and the dollar nests. You really do not need to break the bank. Think outside of the box!  I never thought I would use white feathers in my decor, but (in moderation) it added a winter magic to the space that was otherwise just “ok”.  I have other rooms in my home that display traditional Christmas colors, but I wanted this space to be a bit different and unexpected (yet not overdone).  I think I accomplished that.

 Do you decorate around a “feel” of a space during the holidays or stick with traditional Christmas colors?

*****Of note….I am new to blogging and am having issues with font sizes etc.   If I fool with it anymore I might ruin the whole post! I have already spent all day trying to figure it out!  So, please ignore the various font sizes and be patient with this “newbie” to the blog world!  How frustrating! I might be changing publishing networks…we shall see!

Fresh tree or artificial…what’s your fancy?

I have been Christmas tree decorating ever since I can remember; both artificial and freshly cut from the woods. I started out as a newlywed with a crisp fresh balsam; needless to say it was our first and last that year.  Let me explain…I never grew up with a fresh tree.  We always had an artificial tree decked with homemade ornaments from school, shiny glittery glass bulbs and of course we cannot forget the (now dated) lead-filled silver tinsel dripping on the branches!  The lights were big glass colored bulbs that looked like the outdoor kind you see now.  Am I aging myself? Don’t get me wrong….I loved that tree and over the years it turned into the infamous Charlie Brown tree.  My family kept that tree for decades and is one of my fondest memories of Christmas.
 After acquiring my own home, I was bound and determined to put a fresh out of the woods, dripping with sap, evergreen beauty in the perfect spot.  After all, I was all about anything “natural”; kind of like when I told myself I would never buy tacky blinky, blinky toys for the twins when they were born.  Only Melissa & Doug for these babies; wood blocks and puzzles all the way! (Parents, you know what I mean right?)  Well, we know how that went.  After a week of chasing after twin toddlers and a mama who was sleep deprived and ready to lose her “natural” mind, I got every plastic blinky, blinky lit up contraption I could find to entertain double trouble. Let’s just say I should have bought stock in Little Tikes. I digress…back to the tree.
To make a long story short, after we hiked through the woods fresh with wonder and amazement, (of course after picking out the perfectly proportioned triangular beauty), everything went downhill when we returned home.  Let’s just say there was one large dog that almost lost his life,( and consequently wouldn’t walk by a tree in any house the rest of his beloved life), a red-faced dripping in sweat husband shouting unmentionables, a flood in our living room,  and shards of broken glass (yes I had to buy the”real”glass ornaments similar to the ones from my childhood) strewn all over my newlywed home.  So, now it is artificial all the way (in the tree department of course;). 
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Our “imperfect” artificial tree that is perfect!

Artificial trees have come a long way and now they even come pre-lit which makes my hubs a very happy man!  Now, with a family of 4 (5 if you include our “human” fur guy) I have always decorated the tree for the family with minimal help.  They always lost interest after the first few ornaments went up and headed straight for the hot chocolate.  Therefore, I was left  decking our tree the way I saw fit.  Our tree has never had a color theme or visually balanced for that matter.  It is imperfect and full of memories and l adore it!  Every single ornament on our tree has love and meaning and is from our many travels or one of the boys’ school projects.   I wouldn’t want it any other way.
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However, in the past few years, the boys have taken to adorning our out of the box pre-lit (in 3 minutes thankyouverymuch) tree themselves.  I get the itch to”tweak” some ornaments, but I absolutely will not.  The pride the boys have all over their precious faces after it is completed, is priceless.  It is “our” tree and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.   I quite enjoy perusing Pinterest and blogs and ooh and aah at the simplicity of some of the”natural” trees and think for a hot second “maybe I will do the minimalist look this year?”  But no.  For now, I will take our “imperfect” loaded with too many non-matching, somewhat tacky ornaments (except the school projects;) tree any day.  Don’t fret; this decorating mama always adds her own touch…how could I not?

I added my own touch with the topper and leopard ribbon of course!

  I know these moments are fleeting. Too soon when the boys are out of my home, sent with a box of their childhood ornaments I can do whatever “look” on the tree that suits my fancy. You never know, maybe one day I will venture into the woods, fresh with wonder and amazement one more time, and give the old “natural” fresh balsam a try.  But of course I will have to get the blinky, blinky lights to go with it!
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On We Go!

Hi and welcome to my first post!  Viewing blogs in the design/decorating world is a passion of mine.  My day always starts with a cup of coffee and “eye candy” aka my favorite blogs.  I have been procrastinating starting my own for far too long!  I have always felt a sense of “belonging” to this community.   So, it is now time to share my own decorating ideas and home with all of you! I have helped family and friends decorate their dwellings (on a budget) for years.  Well, family and friends, the answer to the question of “When are you going to start you own blog” is now answered. On we go…