.         L i f e         .         S t y l e         .         B e a c h         .          G a r d e n         .         F l a v o r         .         H o m e      .

Monday, December 27, 2010

Slowing down....

Christmas brought us a fresh blanket of snow.
What a peaceful way to slow down and savor the warmth of the holiday as snow outside swirls around you. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Sensory spa treatment fallen from heaven.

All IS calm. All IS bright.
Merry Christmas everyone! See you in the new year!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A note for the soul...

I have bopped my way though most of December singing along to Bing Crosby and Dean Martin. I've rocked around my Christmas tree and fa la lahhh'd while decking my halls but December 25th is a couple days away and I'm starting to feel like I've eaten too much candy.

And so, I've readjusted my playlist to loop in songs that help my soul to be still...I hope they will refresh yours as well.

1. Coventry Carol- Loreena McKennit
2. The Holly and the Ivy- Erin Bode
3. Still Still Still- Found Wandering
4. Wexford Carol - Celtic Women
5. In the Bleak Mid Winter- Sarah McLachlan
6. Away in a manger- Sufjan Stevens
7. Ding Dong Merrily on High- Crouch End Festival Choir and Prague Philharmonic
8 The First Noel- London Symphony
9. Silent Night- Sarah McLachlan
10 God rest ye merry Gentleman- Loreena McKennit

While there is a sprinkling of traditional hymns in this mix...I love the freshness of less common carols and less traditional versions...I love when the music sounds peaceful and even a little haunting.

Can you imagine what it must have been like at the time when Jesus was born?
"Strange" things were in the air...maybe even erie. Lights in the sky, a new star, angels....these are not normal everyday things...But starlight is peaceful. And Angels are heavenly. And people knew to be watching based on what what had been foretold. I love Christmas music that reflects the wonder, and awe and fear of things we do not understand...

Do you have any wonderful, peaceful songs to add? Please share...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Festive need not cost a lot...

Be creative, use what you've got! Case in point, our peppermint hot Co-Co "bar"...

Now I didn't exactly have candy canes and marshmallows laying around. I bought them. But, they only cost about $4.00 combined and I have added a fun seasonal punch to our counter top.

Here are some other fun Christmas decoration ideas that you can do for a song...
  • Cut greens from your yard (or any yard) and tuck them around your mantle, candles, dresser top, bathroom vanity---anywhere!
  • Use scraps of ribbon to decorate your tree (see my friend Jillian's post on Christmas trees!)
  • Make a gum drop garland!
  • Use peppermints and foil chocolates to fill glasses, bowls, and jars and set them on your book shelves, tables, and counter tops.
  • Unused jewelry can add a little sparkle to just about anything. Add necklaces, beads, broaches and earrings to garlands, wreaths and ornament displays....If you don't want to use your own, buy inexpensive and even imperfect pieces for pennies at thrift shops!
  • Frame personal photos from Christmases past and set them out with your regular collection.
  • You can do the same with sheet music of a favorite carols (pick up a hymnal at a local church library and photo copy), special Christmas cards, and pretty wrapping scraps! Frame 'em and slap 'em up on that wall or switch out your year round frame for your seasonal creation!
How do you get creative with Christmas decorations???

Monday, December 13, 2010

Oh, there's no place like home for the holidays!

Hello! And welcome to our open house---a part of The Nester's 2010 Christmas House Tour!

My name is Lindsay, my husband's name is Matt, and this is how we do Christmas...

We do garlands and lots of fresh greens...

We do berries and bows...

We re-purpose pumpkins...

We keep the table set...

We find joy in unexpected places (here, it happens to be found in the bathroom)...

We hang wreaths on more than the front door...

We relish nostalgia...

We prepare our hearts for worship...

We celebrate our Anniversary...Two Years today, December 13!!!

We celebrate love, for this is God's greatest gift to us in the birth of his Son.

What do you do during this season of celebration???

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Link {Christmas} Party!!!

I'm thinking about joining this link Party at The Nester's 2010 Tour of Homes.

I've never really posted many photos of our house for a few reasons...

One, we are new home owners and furniture is scarce.
Two, I am a totally amateur decorator and bashful about my trial and error approach.
Three, I am wary of the "look at me, look at me" impression that posting your own photos can give...

However, I have also come up with some good rebuttals.

One, so I don't have a lot of "stuff", the best things in life aren't things.
Two, who is it counting for anyway? Everyone has to start some where!
Three, most of the time I like seeing photos of bloggers homes. I find it interesting and inspiring. Why not be a part of that? What I post is put out of genuine excitement for the season...just another way to pour forth joy!

And if those three reasons aren't enough, It's a Christmas House Tour, and I love decorating for Christmas possibly more than Buddy the elf.

So there you have it...I'm definitely doing it.

How about you? Link up too!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

All I want for Christmas is...

a. You?

b. My two front teeth?

c. A light blue convertible, Santa baby?

d. none of the above?

My mother in law asked us for our list a couple of days ago and I am having a hard time knowing what to tell her. My husband and I decided we wanted a "nice" camera since both of our old ones have been out of commission for the past few months (hence my lack of blog pictures). Anyway after I told her the camera idea she said... "Ok. What else?" Um. What else? I already feel guilty asking for a "nice camera". I am not complaining at all since it is so generous of her but how can I ask for anything else? But she's not the kind of person you argue with so...horrors! I have had to think of other gifts.

Here are a few of the sugar plums that have been dancing in my head....

1. Because I have never had a subscription to Martha Stewart living and I think it is time. Plus the cost of a subscription is a nice, reasonable $20.

***BTW, have you ever noticed that Martha looks like a wax statue on all her magazine covers? Martha, we know you can make origami out of bed sheets but don't you think think you'd be even more perfect...if you showed that you are actually imperfect? Let us catch a glimpse of a wrinkle or two! Enough with the airbrushing!!

2. Ok...stepping it up in case MIL feels EXTRA generous. This one is because every time I hint to my hubby I want a new fragrance he croons "But I like the one you wore when we first started dating". He is so sentimental it's sweet! I still wear Carolina Herrera 212 three years later--- and I really do like it. I'm just the kind of girl who likes mix it up once in a while.

3. Since William and Kate's engagement I am more of an anglophile then ever before--and what good Brit does not have a pair of Wellies? What Pennsylvania lacks in snow we get in rain and ballet flats just haven't been cutting it! I love Hunter boots. Navy is quickly becoming my wardrobe staple and the I think the "high gloss" adds a little sass. I can muck around in the garden, polish 'em up and head out shopping with dry tootsies on a rainy day! Practical and shiny!

It took me forever (ie three days) just to think of these things! Considering they are cute little ideas, three days is a long time.

Do you have hard time thinking of gifts for yourself?

Here's a chance to practice---what is on your wish list?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I hope you remember at Thanksgiving....

blessed banner by Joyful Joyful on etsy.

I hope you remember this Thanksgiving that you are blessed. If you have food on the table and a hand to hold than you are blessed. If you have clothes on your back and water to shower than you are blessed. If you have a song in your heart and laughter in your soul. Even if Grandma falls asleep at the table and Aunt Sue isn't speaking to half the family and that Thanksgiving table is the last place you want to be....you are blessed. If you have none of these things, but are reading this--- you are blessed. I often go through my days with an unrealized sense of entitlement to the things I enjoy. My computer, a new shirt, time spent with friends. These things seem normal and so are often taken for granted and yet none of these things are written in the code of life's must haves. None of these things are a "given"---and yet they are given.

Each day we are offered is a gift. Each day we are given is a blessing. Each day we are blessed with is a bit of grace. We aren't perfect. We don't deserve it. The life we live is a blessing. Lets open this package gratefully.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

And I thought I was excited about Carrie Underwood's wedding...

We can talk about that fantastic hat later, for now there's a wedding to plan! And I am most certainly looking forward to the royal dress details!

Oh dear Prince William and Kate, I wish you the happiest right from the bottom of my blogging heart.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fall is getting quiet...

My garden has been put to bed.

I've gathered nature's bounty and put it around the house.

I know that christmas is coming...
But I don't know if I will be able to part with my pumpkins once it arrives! I'm going to have to figure out a way to make them a part of my christmas decor, because to throw these little babies out with the trash just doesn't seem right!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dining Room Dilema

I need to go out and get paint samples today because this weekend we paint the dining room.
The previous owners painted it the color of mustard mixed with ketchup. It's about as appetizing to me as a left over McDonald's hamburger. Sorry that sounds a little harsh, but it really is that bad.

At first I thought I wanted a turquoise dining room...but this room doesn't get much light and really will be used as an evening room so that throws things off a little bit. All the photos I see on line are taken in the day time so aren't an accurate window for inspiration. They all look bright and fresh. When when we eat in there it isn't going to be bright at all...so the colors are going to look different. I can't really rely on photos. I am on my own here.

I thought about going around to all my favorite restaurants to see what colors they painted their walls. I think that would be the BEST way to search for dining room inspiration, don't you? But really, who has the time for that? I, do not.

We don't really want red or orange or brown...they just wouldn't work in our house or for us. The present shade has turned us off from yellows. Purple is definitely out. So that leaves us with blue and green. Hmm. Turquoise? Ah! We are back to Turquoise.

It will be interesting to see what we come up with.

What color do you like in a dining room?

Found this photo on House Beautiful when searching for inspiration and I know I don't want to paint our dining room brown and we are way more traditional than this---
BUT I think it's so fun!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Indian Summer Photo Shoot!

This past weekend we celebrated my Mom's birthday by having a photo shoot at the beach.
I have to say that in my mind we were all going to be wearing khaki's and white shirts---but after much deliberation and many phone conversations to coordinate I think the photo came out even better than the usual white and khaki deal. We wanted it to be easy. We could have gone out and bought crisp white shirts and JCrew summer sale pants, but we didn't. We showed up with our own clothes which made us feel comfortable in varying shades of cool hues.

What is most important is the fun that came with taking the picture. No fancy photographer. Just us trying to figure out how to use a fancy camera. We broke the rules by walking around in a protected dune area but it was worth it!

We could have spent a few hundred dollars to hire a professional, be late to the appointment and crabby about not matching outfits---- But instead, we just went with it! And and I think our pictures came out better than we could have planned. I'm so happy to have many lovely photos to frame of my family....and all from keeping it simple.

I think my mom was pretty happy too.

Happy Birthday Mom! We love spending time with you!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

My fantastic find: the story of a sweater coat.

Why I bother perusing the halls, walls, and creative troves at Anthropologie, I haven't the foggiest. I usually leave feeling frustrated because if I have a bag in hand it means I spent my clothing budget for the next three months, I and if I don't have a bag in hand---then I don't have a bag in hand!!!!!

I will admit however that while I don't often get to indulge, I am often inspired and my eye is opened to an idea---fashion or otherwise, that I may have overlooked before.

Case in point, the grand looking sweater coat you see below. It's dandy, divine, and $168. Ouch.
If I had bought it the usual "I spent too much" knot in my stomach would have surely ensued as well as a long discussion about spending and stewardship with my husband.

Then there came humble Old Navy number you see below. While Old Navy doesn't tend to have the best quality, lets face it despite their prices Anthro doesn't have the best quality either. And while it is lacking that certain jena se qua the Anthro sweater coat has (more specifically: the darling buttons, exciting pleats, and embroidered embellishment) it would look great with boots and leggings and get me through Pennsylvania's crisp but not cold fall.

Oh how I loved that moment I had with that Anthropologie sweater coat...blithely sipping hot apple cider while reading a paper back at an outdoor cafe.

It was but a fleeting moment however, and we know that even good sweaters do not last forever.

Oh humble sweater I think you shall be mine! It's time humility gets a bit more glory anyway.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Autumn Heirlooms

I had told my husband that I was not going to put up fall decorations until the official first day of fall, September 22. I don't want to say good bye to summer. What about beach trips? Sunny afternoons? Fresh summer fruit? Ahhh. All good things must come to an end.

But, don't other good things have a beginning? Yes they do.

I couldn't resist stopping off at our local nursery today when I noticed their pumpkins were out. While they had all the wonderful varieties that I usually chose as a child (perfectly orange, perfectly mid-sized, and perfectly round), my eyes were drawn to a carnival of fall colors.

Enter: Heirloom Pumpkins.

Why have I never noticed them before!?!? Their shades of green, grey, coral, and orange! Stripes, veins, curves and bumps! Lovely imperfection, come to me!!

Since we bought our first house this past June, I have been noticing a lot of things that I never used to notice. Like how quickly the bathroom floor gets dirty, and that you need to be careful when going up they stairs carrying heavy items---you might dent the wall, and you just had it painted and what if the color match you put over the spackle doesn't match!? As a kid I had the attitude of "Hey, who cares if my roller skates scratch the brand new floors...mom will take care of it just like she takes care of everything!" Now, my floors are so clean you could lick them---but I digress.

I was marveling over the wonderful discovery of new (to me) pumpkins as pumpkins are one of my favorite things about fall. I found one that caught my fancy. A lovely bright one in a hue which summoned the deepest orange hue of a sunset. It had the perfect curves, a few dents, some intriguing veins. She was the perfect one to put in our front yard. She would sit in that awkward landscaping void between the evergreen shrub and the Rhododendron. She was huge! She was...to heavy to lift. Now I have been going to a body pump class for almost a year now, so if she is to heavy to lift, at 69 cents a pound...I though her too pricey for me. I guess I could have asked the farm stand people how much they thought that orange, veiny, lumpy, bright, beautiful pumpkin over there cost. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I was getting hungry so I got in my car and drove home with a mum on my passenger seat where that pumpkin should have been.

Now lest you think I am going on and on like a nut without a reason, I have posted photos of what I learned about these pumpkin varietiesso you too can know the names of all these fun pumpkins. Now when I go back to that farm stand I'll know to ask "How much do you think that Rouge vif d'Etempes over there costs". Unfortunately I am reeeeally going to need to work on my french before I try that one out.

If you'd like to find out the uses (besides decorating, you know cooking, backing and such) check out this beautiful and informative slide show at the daily green.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Freshly Laundered

I should be folding laundry, but instead I am doing this.....

Perfect laundry room
Green Laundry Room Design

A laundry room face lift is a project I plan to tackle this fall so it's fun to see the directions that different people (designers mind you) have taken the little utility room with an unlimited budget. Then there is me. My budget is that of a shoe string, we have ugly brown carpet that will be staying put, and 80's style veneer cabinetry. All things a little paint and use of basic textiles should be able to help. Still, I've been staring at photos upon photos trying to come up with a plan that will ensure that our laundry room looks almost as good as these.
Here is what I have come up with:

1. Color scheme. Stick with it.
2. Repetition Repetition Repetition.
3. While things are being washed, keep everything else looking clean and fresh. Maybe extra hard for us in the winter considering our laundry room is also our "mud room"---but after years of apartment living and laundry mat Sunday afternoons, I am thankful thankful thankful.

While on my search I also found this fantastic DIY project created by Centsational Girl. Like Ms. Centsational, I too have craved those fancy lingerie laundry hangers sold at Ballard, but also like to save money. I don't know if I personally have the patience for the project...but the fact that this girl does, inspires me! And now, I feel inspired to go fold the laundry. Sort of.

drying rack final

laundry drying rack final

hang delicates

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Salty Soap

Back from vacation, far from the ocean, but thank heavens a dear friend gave me this salt water soap. The little whale and watery wrapper print makes me think of everything Nantuckety---my only problem will be unwrapping the pretty thing to use it.
Saipua Soap gets a thumbs up!

In other news, last weekend I was at the most wonderful wedding in Portland Oregon. Pictures to come!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Cape and Islands here I come!

I'm headed north today to visit my family on Cape Cod! If you need a little nautical New England in your life, but don't have any plans to go anytime soon, here are a few things that can help take you there.

1. Eat lots of Ice Cream. It's a fact that people in Massachusetts eat more ice cream than anyone.
2. A sweater tied around your shoulders IS ok.
3. Wear blue and white seersucker.
4. Stargaze.
5. If you can't get to the beach, comb your back yard! A twig or stone may be no moon snail, but it will feel good to find a natural treasure.
6. Go to the super market hand have a lobstah bake! Lobster dipped in a simple lemon butter sauce is just so good. No frills. Just buttah.
7. Take time to visit your local (quaint if possible) town at night. Eat ice cream while strolling the shops.
8. Don't blow dry your hair...ocean winds will just mess it up any way.
9. Sport a LL Bean Tote. Because they are classic and they'll rock the house forever.
10. Two words: Boat Shoes.

Sea you in a couple weeks!!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Grow Baby! Shower

This past weekend I had the honor of creating shower
decorations and favors for one of my besties!

I've known Stacy since elementary school so I'm sure you can imagine how special it was to whip up a theme and put it into action. Stacers LOVES plants and gardening, her mother a couple of friends and I designed a shower that would tie in one of her very favorite things!

The favors were wild flower seeds planted in peat pots. "Grow your own" instructions were tucked inside the ribbon tied around the pot.
*See the little kitty peaking around the corner? That was not part of the original decor, however Stace loves cats so it worked!!

Stacy's mother served as caterer, providing all the foods she knows her family likes, while I tied in "Grass" arrangements and dirty pudding cups to work in our growing theme.

Burlap, Jute, and bright colors complimented the grassy freshness!
A photo display showing Stacy and her husband growing up, finding each other, expecting a baby!
The dirty dessert cups had garden stakes labeled "baby" and little springy sprouts as accents.
The recipe was fantastic and I will have to share later!

Mother of mama-to-be made this cute little train with the first initial of the baby's last name. Baby Z is still a "surprise". *wink wink*

My lovely friend Leisel (left), myself (right) and mama to be!

Hooray for Babies! Cant wait to meet you little one!
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