EVENT INSPIRATION: 8 TIPS FOR A FUN-FILLED EASTER BRUNCH…

Easter is a family-filled time of celebration and festivities. And whether or not you’re religious, it’s next to impossible not to join in on the fun! If you’re planning an Easter event for friends and family, here are a few tips and suggestions:

1. Use your china. Play with your china. Mix and match your china!

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2. Florals and cupcakes. Need I say more?

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3. And lots of other mini foods…

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4. Hats. Especially for the kids!

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5. Speaking of kids, give them there own happy place.

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6. But don’t forget the adults…

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7. Simplify…

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8. But never let your guests go home empty handed!

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Of course, if you want to add a little extra pizzazz, I say go for the gold and add lots of bunnies! Preferably real ones….

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I couldn’t resist.

Hope you have a happy Easter ya’ll!

DIY THURSDAY: SWEET & TASTY MORSELS!

With a million errands to run, wrapping to finish, and a teeny tiny bit more shopping to do, I haven’t had the time to complete any large projects this week (as I’m sure many of you are in the same boat!). I did, however, cook up a couple quick and easy sweets, which I ALWAYS have time for…

Christmas Bark

Two-toned Peppermint Christmas Bark! Devilishly delicious.

Here’s what you need:

  • 12 oz. (1 packet) of semi-sweet chocolate
  • 12 oz. (1 packet) of white chocolate
  • approx. 2.5 oz. crumbled candy cane

First, I started off with a packet of semi-sweet chocolate and white chocolate Ghirardelli morsels. After nibbling on quite a few…I melted the semi-sweet chocolate over medium low heat, stirring constantly until it was smooth and delicious. Once the chocolate was completely melted, I quickly took it off the heat a spread it on a wax papered cookie sheet:

Melted Chocolate

To release some of the bubbles and even out the chocolate a bit, I simply shook the cookie sheet back and forth a few times, and then placed it directly in the fridge for the chocolate to solidify.

Once the chocolate had hardened (about 30 minutes), I started on the white chocolate. Although, I’m quite certain I ate at least a quarter of the bag – try not to do the same (you need all the white chocolate you can get)! *It’s also important to know that white chocolate morsels do not melt the same as milk chocolate. For these morsels, you need to heat them over very lightly boiling water – they do NOT do well with direct heat (believe me, I know this from personal experience…)! Use a double boiler, or simply place a pot over boiling water.

Stir the white chocolate constantly and as the white chocolate begins to fully melt, begin stirring in about half of your crumbled candy cane. I used about 1.5 oz. but feel free to use as much or as little as you wish! As soon as the chocolate is deliciously melted, take it off the heat source and quickly spread it over the solidified semi-sweet layer – but don’t take too long as the first semi-sweet layer may soon begin to melt!

Once your second layer is spread, sprinkle the rest of your candy cane crumbles over the top and once again, put your cookie sheet in the fridge so the chocolate solidifies – about another 30 minutes.

And lastly, take your Christmas Bark out of the fridge and break into delicious bite size pieces. Perfect for a last minute holiday party or hostess gift!

Oh yes, on a side note and to take just a little more advantage of your melted chocolates, I also dipped in a few strawberries…

Sweet Morsels!

Enjoy and happy holiday!

PS…have an inspirational, encouraging, motivational, and positive story to share? Don’t forget to link up HERE!

 

BROWN PAPER PACKAGES TIED UP WITH STRING…

Xmas Gifts

…these are a few of my favorite things!

With much travelling ahead of us, and with what will soon be a car full of presents, I decided to keep my wrapping simple this year. I’ve come across some beautiful wrapping paper that has been difficult to pass up, but frankly, brown packing paper is so much more durable! So I sucked it up and wrapped away.

Xmas Gifts 3

Of course, I couldn’t forgo the holiday spirit! So using materials I already had, I simply tied on some bows and sporadically added a few greens and dried lavender. And voila! A dozen packages done and a dozen more to go….

Speaking of presents, my lovely and thoughtful parents recently sent my husband and I our own Christmas present. It came a bit early, and since I already knew what it was, I figured there would be no harm in opening it immediately…

Mason Jar Chandelier

A mason jar chandelier from Pottery Barn!

I think it’s absolutely adorable and adds a bit of casual whimsy to the room. I also stumbled upon some cane-back dining chairs in need of a paint job and some simple reupholstering, but once finished (after the New Year…) my dining room will be so much more my style. Dining Room 2012

As a quick reminder, here is the before….I can’t wait to share with you the after!

A BIT O’ PICKIN’ & SOME DECORATING.

Well hello and I hope everyone had an excellent weekend! I spent my weekend picking up a few things for my new space over at Greenwood Antiques (more on this below…) and, of course, finally picking out and decorating the Christmas tree. I’m not quite finished with the latter – I’ll be adding a few handmade pieces throughout the week – but the lights, the bulbs, and ribbon are on and my home officially feels like Christmas. Hallelujah!

But, back to Greenwood! Greenwood Antiques has a bit of a Old Lucketts Store feel, but without the fan base….(yet!). It’s located on a beautiful country road with views of the mountains galore, and wineries and orchards located just around the corner (pictures coming soon). It’s quite heavenly, actually, so if you find yourself in the Charlottesville area, I highly suggest that you stop on by – 7572 Greenwood Station Rd., Greenwood, VA. I’m sharing a space with a friend that has her own fabulous pieces (I will have my portion of the space up and running in January) and we’d love to see you! Here are just a few things I managed to pick up over the weekend that you will soon find in my space…

Antique Finds 1

An old industrial arrow, and some iron (and incredibly heavy!) horse heads.

Antique Finds 2

Yet another industrial piece and a chippy green wire basket!

Antique Finds 3

A concrete foo dog (don’t you just LOVE foo dogs??!) and industrial iron letters.

I also picked up a couple of furniture pieces that I’ll be refurbishing soon.

Now, onto Christmas! I wanted to keep things fairly simple this year, and went with a white, gold, and silver theme, with a few birds thrown in there for good measure:

Tree

(I’ll be adding a handful more bulbs and some handmade vintage sheet music ornaments…)

Unfortunately, the twinkle is lacking in this daytime photo, but you’ve got yourself the gist of it!

Tell me, have you managed to get your tree up and fully decorated yet?

DIY THURSDAY: ENTERTAINMENT UNIT REDO.

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you may have gotten a peek of my entertainment unit redo last night. I think I let my excitement get ahead of me!

It’s quite amazing how easily a quick paint job can change the dynamic of an entire room. Initially, the entertainment unit was the monstrosity in the room – The Big Black Box was the focal point indeed:Living Room TV

I’ve been wanting to paint this sucker the moment we brought it into this house, and after finally convincing the husband that it was a go, I also had to convince him to unplug all the cables and go without TV for a couple of days, and it just so happened that it was during the SEC and NFL games. Oops…

But the weather was cooperating – almost 70 degrees! – and I could wait no longer. So we lugged it outside and I immediately went to work.

First, I removed the backing, shelving, and doors, and then sanded the entire piece down just to rough it up a bit in order to give the paint something to hold on to. I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint for the majority of the piece, which typically requires little to no sanding, but I wanted avoid applying a half dozen layers!

Entertainment Unit Sanded

I then applied a thick layer of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in French Linen to avoid any seepage of black when applying the Old White.

Entertainment Unit French Linen

Once this base layer was dry, I gave it an allover light sand with 220-grit sandpaper to smooth it down, and then began applying the Old White.

Entertainment Unit White

I applied two layers of Old White on the exterior and just a quick layer of the white on the interior and again, used 220-grit to smooth things out. *Typically, you do not need to sand between layers. Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint is meant to give that hand-painted and matted affect for that distressed and aged look that everyone loves so much. I wanted to go for only a very light distress, however. Sanding with high grit paper allows for a smoother surface and offers a very light sheen rather than a matted finish.

Once the Old White was fully dry, I painted the interior in a custom blue using Louis Blue and Old White.

Unfortunately, at this point, I noticed the weather becoming a little less cooperative – a large and dark rain cloud was blowing in – so I quickly finished up with the blue, allowed the paint to fully dry, lightly distressed the edges using 150-grit paper, and then lugged the piece inside. (And in my hurry, I forgot to take the remaining pictures!)

In between bouts of rain, I painted the backing in my custom blue, the doors in yet another custom and slightly lighter blue, and the shelves in Old White. And finally, once everything was dry, I lugged the unit back outside to spray the top and interior in a crystal clear enamel to give it a tough, protective finish (I knew the top and interior would get a bit of a beating over the years, so I wanted to avoid the waxed finish).

Finally, I left the putting back together of the unit to the hubby while I basked in my accomplishment. Once things were in working order, I added some ribbon detail to the doors, and here it is today…

Entertainment Unit Styled

Entertainment Unit Macro

Entertainment Unit Styled 2

Better, don’t you think? It really blends into the room and brightens things up! I’ve added a few more touches of blue throughout the room to tie it all together and now feel much more at home. It’s amazing what a little paint can do!

Linked to:

Furniture Feature FridaysCherished Bliss

AND THE HOLIDAY DÉCOR CONTINUES…

This weekend will be the main holiday decorating event, but in the meantime, I thought I’d share with you a few vignettes I’ve thrown together…

Dining Mantle

Joy to the World Wreath

Dining Centerpiece

Boxwood Doubled

Dining Buffet

Rosemary Tree

Living Room Window

Noel

I love Christmas and readily partake of the Christmas spirit, but I also like to keep things sweet and simple. I’m lucky enough to have a fir tree and a holly tree in my backyard, so I take advantage of these during the holidays by keeping things fairly natural. A few garlands, wreaths, bulbs, holly and fir stems, ribbon, and a couple of handmade pieces thrown in for good measure, and I’m golden!

How about you? Do you like splurging on the holiday decoration, or do you like to keep things simple?

ps….can’t wait to share the entertainment unit redo with you tomorrow!

LINKED TO:

Cherished Bliss

 

A VERY MERRY GIFT GUIDE: FOR HIM (& SOME HOLIDAY BLING!)

Well, it’s that time again! Panic is settling in and I am wracking my brain on what to get everyone for Christmas. Aside from my vow not to procrastinate on the gift buying…my husband and I will be travelling to NYC a little early this year to spend Christmas with his family, so really – I don’t even have the opportunity to procrastinate much more than I already have!

I have the hardest time shopping for the boys of the family. Not children, mind you, but grown men that can have a bit of a boy mentality (don’t they all??). But somehow, I need to find gifts for 6 grown men that already have everything they could possibly want.

In my desperate search, this is what I’ve come up with:

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Gift Guide For Him

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Aside from shopping, I’m also working on my Christmas décor…slowly but surely! We’ll finally be getting the tree this weekend and I have every intention of making a big day of it. We’ll be chopping our own tree this year, and much celebration and eggnog will follow – I’m so looking forward too sharing pictures of the aftermath!

I also plan on creating a garland for our mantles this weekend, but I already started on the details…

Glitter Fruit

I’ll have a little sparkle woven into my garland this year! All you need is adhesive spray, glitter of your choice, a few plastic fruit pieces, and voila!

Glitter Fruit Unfinished

You’ve got yourself some bling. Just be sure to place newspaper down before the glittering begins – it can get messy!

So tell me, how is your decorating coming along? Are you ahead of the game or are you only just beginning?

SHARING THE LOVE…HOLIDAY STYLE!

In the midst of holiday decorating, I thought I’d share with you a bit of inspiration…

This tree over at Thrifty and Chic is so simple and elegant. I love all white décor and am always envious of those that can pull it off. Unfortunately, with a little dog that just loves to get dirty, any white décor I have tends not to stay white for long! joy to the world

Trish over at Uncommon Designs created this adorable mantle piece using stained pallet wood, paper mache letters from JoAnn’s, and umbrella lights from World Market. And the burlap banner and stockings – oh my! You can find the full post here.

With $15 and hundreds of old ornaments on hand, Virginia over at Live Love DIY put together this fantastically frugal tree. Head on over to her post for a full tutorial!

Speaking of ornaments, this fabric covered ball was created by Whitney at Shanty to Chic. All you need as an ugly Christmas tree ornament, fabric of your choosing, a glue gun, twine, and ribbon. Viola – a brand new ornament!

And lastly, this no sew ruffled tree skirt is right up my alley! Get the full tutorial over at The Happier Homemaker.

Happy decorating!

ps…to really get yourself in the holiday decorating spirit, you can watch this video of Bo inspecting the White House holiday décor! (found over at Jess in Belgium).

DIY THURSDAY: SEASONAL WREATH & A BOXWOOD FIND.

‘Tis the season. I am slowly packing up my Fall décor and transitioning over to Christmas – I’ve given myself until Dec. 1 to get in gear! And while I have yet to unpack the boxes brimming with Christmas spirit, I have found a moment to get my holiday craft on.

Before diving into my DIY, however, I must divulge to you a most amazing deal! I mentioned in a previous post that Trader Joes was selling boxwood wreaths, but at the time I wasn’t quite sure of cost or size. Well, I happened to swing by Trader Joes yesterday and to my disbelief, these adorable and perfectly sized wreaths were only $9.99! Needless to say, I left with an armful (and a dazzling smile). At such a fabulous price, I highly recommend grabbing a few for yourself before they are all out!

Boxwood Doubled

I then headed to Michael’s and left with an armful of supplies…

My first task was to hang up my newly purchased boxwood wreaths. Two of them were perfect as is for my dining room French doors – I simply wrapped a ribbon around each and pinned them to the door. For my third boxwood, I wanted to add a little zest, so I wove in a few berries, added a couple of doves, a few pinecones, and again, hung with ribbon:

Boxwood Styled

Now full of holiday spirit, I moved on to my next project:

Twig Wreath Unfinished

I picked up this guy while at Michael’s, as well as this:

Materials

So with the Krylon in hand, I lightly sprayed the wreath to give it that frosted look, allowed the paint to dry, and then sprayed the snow in areas where snow would typically gather…

Twig Wreath Sprayed

I then wove in a few red berries and added a couple of cardinals for that pop of color (unfortunately, the Charlottesville Michael’s was out of a lot of supplies so I only managed to snag two of them, but as soon as a new shipment comes in, I’ll be adding more!).

Here is what it looks like in the meantime, simple and sweet:

Twig Wreath

Finally, since I didn’t quite complete the above wreath and my hands were itching for another project, I decided to fashion another, smaller, sheet music wreath for my living room mantle:

Sheet Music Wreath

(yeah, that’s an a/c vent you see there, right in the center of my living room wall! Not sure why the renovator decided to place it there…but it is the bane of my existence. I try to hide it as much as possible!)

You can find the tutorial here.

After this little bit of crafting, I’m now feel like I’m on a roll. Next: the mantles. Time to break out my big box of Christmas!