For the New Year and beyond!

This sentiment is good for New Year's Eve parties and New Year's Day gatherings (which we are having here at our home) as well as into the coming year...
Wishing all the best to you in 2011!


Christmas is for the birds, part 2

I wanted to share this christmas greeting I received from my sister -please click on the message inside the card so that you can read my wish for you! 


Christmas wish

Silent night, holy night
             all is calm, all is bright

Wishing you all things calm & bright this season...merry christmas!


The perfect gift

It is the height of the holiday season...and everyone is rushing around from store to store to find that perfect gift...well, I have the answer right here - and you don't even need to leave your seat...

For a number of years I have supported Heifer International by purchasing a variety of items...
from a hive of bumblebees

to a flock of baby chicks

to a share of a  sheep.

For over 66 years, Heifer has been helping families achieve self-reliance through gifts of animals and training. Their program model proves time and again that a gift of one animal sparks a cycle of hope that changes entire communities.

At their website, you can read about the work they do around the world, preview their holiday catalog, select your gifts and even send an e-card to the recipient.  I love the fact that everything is done online with low administrative cost so the maximum amount of your donation goes to the program (spoken by someone who used to do non-profit fundraising in another life!)

Granted, there are many good causes out there...find the one that touches your heart or reaffirms your beliefs and support it this holiday season and then share that cause with others...because if you want to give a gift that will be memorable, wouldn't a water buffalo top the list...


Tried & true

Wrapping up a few gifts today...using what I have at hand to make each present special.  These ideas aren't new...just offering a creative reminder...

For the wrapping paper I used some green colored butcher paper - kraft paper would work just as well  - same for paper bags, the sunday comics or a stray roll of wallpaper.

For the ribbon, I ripped strips of cotton fabric.  Using lightweight cotton fabric, its easy to rip a "ribbon" strip across the grain of the fabric.  I like the frayed edge...I picked a green floral print to coordinate with the paper.  Likewise you could encircle a gift with an old sewing tape measure, a man's tie or a cloth belt.

For the tag, the front of a christmas card from years past, embellished with a fragment from some tacky decoration at the bottom of the ornament box...I like how the holly picks up the floral design in the fabric ribbon and on the tag.  Also since its the end of the year, you could use your 2010 calendar to make tags and gift enclosures.

Now with a glass of wine in hand, I'm settling in to write christmas cards...probably my favorite holiday tradition...keeping in touch with distant friends and sending good wishes near and far...


A little bit more cheer

After completing my "tree" decoration, I added a couple of shots of festivity to a few other places in our home...

The wicker chair in the front hallway was layered with a vintage wool plaid blanket topped with a pillow I made from another wool blanket.  My mom's sewing machine has a sweet vignette of old sewing items combined with Shiny Brite ornaments from my childhood...with the Utrillo print on the wall - which always hung in our living room when I was young.

The mirror in the living room needed a holiday punch.  Simple cones are rolled up from old sheet music and stuck behind the mirror...as if to herald the call of "Peace on Earth"!  A very old map of the world from a well loved atlas gives a spark of color.  The original pen & ink drawing was found in a thrift shop ten years ago...I think I paid $9.00...
The vintage wood type spills out on a large silver tray on the sofa table...
and forms its own exuberant message!
hope you are having holiday fun wherever you are!


Christmas is for the birds...

I had a day of luxury on Friday...the house all to myself and no pressing projects nor urgent requests...I spent the day decorating for the holidays!
I'm not much of a traditionalist at holiday time...and if you know me, I relish using what I already have and making something grand out of it...I have to say so myself that I'm pleased with how my "tree" turned out.

Decided to focus on a bird theme...gathered some bird art - John James Audubon, Sid Dickens, Wendy Lee Lynds and me.  Since most of my artificial tree is at Faded Elegance, I only had the bottom tier of branches that I didn't use at my space...I stuck these branches in a copper planter.  I then added dried poppy heads and three branches I trimmed from our birch tree in the front yard...I took the arrangement outside and gave it a mist of sparkle from the remaining hammered silver spray paint I used on the french side table.  Once inside, I completed the tree with miniature lights, pheasant feathers, a few vintage Shiny Brite ornaments and a couple of artistic flourishes...

At the base, I composed a little vignette.
With the tree completed, I was ready to tackle the rest of the house...


Small is Beautiful

Back in late October, I posted about being on the hunt for display pieces for shop owner Ted Watson.  Found pieces were delivered downtown Seattle in early November and his display windows at Watson Kennedy Fine Home were completed in plenty of time for holiday shopping...the end results....

Though I work at one of the big box stores (and they certainly get a fair share of my business), I always try to patronize local small businesses, especially for gifts.  It is such small businesses that form the heart of a community and will have a wealth of gift ideas for everyone on your list.

Since I tend to look for quirky, vintage, one-of-a-kind type gifts, here are other retail stores to shop for the holidays in addition to Watson Kennedy Fine Home and Watson Kennedy Fine Living.  (FYI - you can order on-line from a great selection of unique and/or goods at the Watson Kennedy website)

Faded Elegance in Snohomish...and I'm not just recommending it because I have a space there!  The owner, Kimberly McIlrath really has exquisite taste and always finds the greatest treasures - whether they are antique or new, you won't be disappointed.

Bountiful Home in Edmonds is housed in the cutest cottage in downtown Edmonds.  The owner, Todd Waddell, has just the right touch in home and garden decor.  Though its not prime gardening season (and so his backyard garden oasis will not be open), there will be many nature and garden inspired ideas to ensure that you will have a difficult time deciding on just one item...so don't - choose many!

J Matheson in Everett is a fantastic cook & kitchen cornucopia.  All the classics plus those great kitchen gadgets that you never knew could make your cooking so much easier.

Supporting local small business +
finding the perfect gift =
Happy Holidays!


Art makes a wonderful gift

a view of my booth

This past weekend was the Phinney Winter Festival - always one of my favorite art events!  There were so many wonderful artisans...here are just a few of many that caught my eye...

Patsy Design Studios shares my love of buttons...I was fascinated by all the configurations...

You rock! paper goods had darling notecards...

FCF Creations had touchable/textural felted purses...

BeMused Creations had charming pendants using old watch face cases to profile an eclectic assemblage of gears, beads and findings.

Even if you don't live in the Seattle area, there are artisans in your hometown who would love to show their work to you - a local art center or art supply store should be able to put you in touch.  Supporting local artists strengthens your community...and ensures that your gift will be one of a kind!


Shiny & Bright

Since I'm in a holiday decorating mode, thought I would share two more quick festive ideas...
First the Shiny...I picked up these star molds last summer at an estate sale sponsored by the Assistance League of Everett.

an aside - Assistance League of Everett sales are my favorite estate sales to attend...its a volunteer based non-profit that assists school children in need.  They have a thrift store in town and run estate sales- most of the members that I have met are elderly and/or retired women - I have enjoyed getting to know them and they have enjoyed seeing the various sundry parts I pick up and are always curious with what I'm going to make from all the junk I buy!

I thought right away that these stars would make great ornaments.  I punched a hole in the side with my metal hand punch (what a wonderful tool - thank you lisa & beth!) 

A little ribbon, one or two mother of pearl buttons and it's done...decided to go with a more minimalist feel.

And now the Bright...the tall columns of Mexican prayer candles are a classic...and so affordable.  I decided to give them some holiday bling. 

With a selection of patterned tissue paper, vintage wallpaper, old french text, a couple of transparencies of a clock photograph I took as well as ribbon, old keys, buttons and jewels, I went to work. 

I had a couple of vintage screw-back earrings that I wanted to use...I clipped off one end of the screw so I could remove it from the curved end.  Then I straightened out the bent metal end, ever so gently so it wouldn't break off. 

Now I had a jeweled bauble with a hole on the end so it could be strung on a ribbon - perfect!

The decorating themes with these candles are endless.  I like using candles throughout my house during the winter months- they give such a warm glow. 

Better get to a little holiday decorating around here...it will be Christmas soon!

worth a look...

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