Fall Home Tour Part 1 - The Basement

I've been busy decorating our basement for fall and thought it would be fun to take you on a bit of a tour to see what I've been up to. As much as I love decorating for fall, I love decorating for Halloween too. I have such great memories of Halloween as a kid. We dressed up in cheap dime store costumes and ran from door to door, covering a two block radius of our neighborhood without the accompaniment of parents. As we passed groups of our friends we would share the locations of the houses that gave out the best candy. I can still remember our next door neighbor inviting my friends and me in for homemade white cake with chocolate frosting. Halloween in the fifties was such a different time.

Back in late July I was wandering around Michael's one afternoon looking for Halloween inspiration when I spotted this.


When I first saw it I literally gasped out loud. Not because it was well made or well priced, because it was neither, but because of that text ribbon! I immediately went on a hunt for craft ribbon with text. (It's harder to find than you'd think but I did find some on Etsy).

 I knew I wanted to carry out the text theme in areas beyond my ribbon so I decoupaged a few cheap garish orange pumpkins.


I used tissue paper from Hobby Lobby for this one along with a French stamp from some old documents I purchased several years ago on our travels


and used pages from old brochures and magazines for a bolder, more creepy look on this one. 



 Then I incorporated them into a tired tray, along with pumpkins, black crows from Michael's and some creepy Spanish moss.







My crow plates are two years old from Nell Hills and I like how the twig placemats (World Market) and slices of wood add to the texture and rustic woodsy feel of the table setting. 


I carried out the text theme in my table linens from Pier1.





Originally I thought I'd do our mantel with skeletons but when I found this sign at Hobby Lobby I felt it was more me


and I love how my Mackenzie-Childs canisters look with the muted colors and black and cream ribbon.


Speaking of muted colors, I wanted to show you some before and after photos of the mantel garland.




I purchased the garland last year at Crate and Barrel and loved it, but this year I wanted a softer look so I just scrubbed the leaves with a super dry brush of off white paint. I love how it looks more like crispy fall leaves. I think this is a cool technique for those inexpensive leaves from the dollar stores. For some reason they always seem so garish and orange.


I also antiqued my Hobby Lobby sunflowers just slightly with brown wax from Annie Sloan and glued in some additional petals cut from the tissue and old papers that I used on my pumpkins.



I added some off white gauze cloth for a bit of creepiness and added texture.


The coffee table got an arrangement with a skeleton hand popping out of it along with a beaker of candy corn.


Another tiered tray...yes I do seem to have a tiered tray problem.


I found this cool Styrofoam skull at Michaels along with the beakers that I filled with snacks and added to our bar.


Notice that the regular candy corn has been picked out from the chocolate ones. (Me no likey chocolate candy corn).

Here's the same vignette  with some mood lighting.


 This next spot is our little low table with yet another tiered tray.


This is a perfect spot for some of my Lori Mitchell Halloween figurines.


Even the swym got a touch of the spookies



Well, I hope this tour has given you some ideas and perhaps has inspired you to try something new. Next time we'll go upstairs for a fall tour of the mantel, tables and kitchen area.

Love you more than candy corn,  Candycorn

Encourage one another.


Please let me know if you have questions. I'd love to hear about your holiday d├ęcor in the comments below.

How I Store My Stuff

When we started shopping for a new home in Kansas we noticed something about the homes here that we weren't used to seeing in California.


Some homes had completely unfinished basements that were just big open areas, as big as the house above, with concrete walls and floors and exposed pipes and support beams. Others had beautifully finished basements with bedrooms, bathrooms, media rooms, fireplaces, gyms, game rooms, wet bars and wine cellars. Then others were a combination of both, partially finished but with large open unfinished areas for storage. The common thread was that all the houses we looked at had some kind of basement and some kind of a storage area.

The house we ended up purchasing was perfect for our needs; a finished basement with just the right amount of unfinished storage. My philosophy has always been that your stash should not exceed  your given storage space, so not having a huge storage room would hopefully help keep my stash in check.

I must add here that in our home in California, Bill and I shared the massive built-ins that lined the walls of the garage. I kept extra dishes and seasonal decorations out there along side his lawn chemicals, car wax and whatever else men think they need. Smiley
When we bought this house we agreed that Bill would take the little storage there was in the garage and I could have the small storage room in the basement. Knowing that I needed to be able to fit the entire contents of my previous sewing room plus overflow dishes and seasonal decor into that small space forced me to carefully evaluate what was making the move. I purged heavily before moving, bringing with me only the things I loved. Once we got moved in we purchased six industrial shelving units to line the walls of the storage room and I started organizing.

My hope with this blog post is that you might get an idea or two that will help simplify how you store the things that you don't use everyday. I am by no means an expert. This is just what has worked for me.

Just off the main media room in the basement is a door leading to my storage area. I kinda think of it as my girl cave because it's mostly mine although I do share it with two AC/heating units, a hot water heater, media equipment and a few fishing poles.


I love that it's tucked away behind the bar and under the stairwell because I can shut the door and nobody knows that it's there and that it sometimes looks like this (insert scary music here)


This is how it often looks after a party or major decorating spree - or both.

So the other day, while tackling this room I decided to snap a few photos and show you how I store my stuff.

Below is a photo of the wall to the left as you walk past the heating units and water heater. On this side I keep all my extra dishes and linen. Across the top shelf are clear storage bins with Christmas decorations.

Tip #1: Buy MATCHING CLEAR storage bins when possible. It looks neater. Although most of my bins are labeled, being able to see at a glance what's inside is so helpful.

Tip #2: Measure depth, height and width of your shelves and space before purchasing storage bins to maximize storage space.


My shelves are not arranged neatly but I do try and keep like things together.


Mason Vista dish collection


Valentines and Easter dishes


Place mats and table linens.

On the opposite wall I store my fabric, again in mostly matching, labeled bins.

Fabric wall

I put like fabrics together, stripes, solids, dots, etc and label each box.

Tip #3: Label the boxes


This really helps me keep organized and helps since I sew upstairs so it's easy to grab a box of fabric I think I might need and take it up to the machine.


Across the top of the sewing and craft supplies are more big bins with seasonal decor. More Christmas, fall, spring and patriotic. Since I tend not to decorate the same each year I don't label the bins for areas (mantel, kitchen island etc). I just label and store them for the season and recreate each year.

Here's a view of the area under the stairwell. I keep luggage and oversized items in here - small fully decorated trees, a couple of big Santas, my big tiered tray from the kitchen island. It's dark and the ceiling is low so big things that we don't use often go in there.


Yes, we have a skeleton in our closet. I'm pretty sure every family does.


Probably the best thing that I did was

Tip #4: Hang wreaths and garlands



I had Bill insert long screws into the studs so I can hang my wreaths and garlands - four deep. This keeps them from getting crushed, I can see what I have at a glance, and they are up out of the way. If I had to put them into tubs I never would have had enough room to store them all. Also because they are in the basement there is relatively little dust.

Looking back toward the way you walk in is my eight foot Christmas tree, seasonal door mats to the right and two more wreaths hanging up out of the way on the rafters. Yes, that's fishing gear above the sound system equipment - I'm a generous wife. Smileyface


It's certainly not pretty by any stretch of the imagination but it's functional and I know where everything is. I love that I don't have to bug Bill to get something down for me when I need it and I get my exercise running up and down the stairs. It's all good.

I hope you got an idea or two on organizing bigger storage areas. I'd love to hear about how you organize your stuff and what works for you.

Until next time - love you more than labeled matching clear boxes.

Encourage one another,






Decorating with Tiered Trays - Part Three

This is the third post in my three part series on decorating with tiered trays. You can find part one here and part two here.

These last two tiered trays that I have to show you are rather primitive. I like the warmth that the wood provides and that they are easy to style. This first one was purchased at Nell Hills in February ($85) to go in a corner in the kitchen under the upper cabinets. Remember that rule I mentioned in the first part of this series; the one about knowing where you want to put your tray and measuring the spot before you buy?

Yeah, well I didn't do that.

Actually I did measure the height of the cabinet and knew the tray was a smidge too tall (24"), but I loved the tray and thought maybe Bill could cut it down so I bought it anyway.

Once I got it home I decided cutting it probably wasn't such a good idea so I sat it on my stoves grill until I could decide whether or not to return it. Seeing it there, made me think it just might work right there, so it has lived there ever since. 

Wood tray 11

I know this isn't for everyone but I love decorating above and around my stove for the seasons. I spend a lot of time cooking these days and surrounding myself with happy things makes me so, well... happy.

It all started quite by accident. I had made this LOVE banner for Valentines Day and planned to hang it on my range hood just below my heart wreath, but no matter what I tried I didn't like it there and ended hanging it behind the stove instead.


Once I took it down after Valentines Day, the area seemed sooo bare!

Wood tray2


I love hanging my ADORNit watercolors  on my "clothesline" over the stove and displaying them on my tiered tray. They remind me to be thankful, brave and happy while celebrating every day.

Wood tray9a
As I edited these photos I realized that the white film on the grill and around the lambs feet is flour! Ha I made my granddaughter a birthday cake the day before I took these photos and I guess flour fallout is real. Thankfully I dusted in the following photos. How embarrassing! (The cake was delicious by the way).

Wood tray10

For me, part of decorating is surrounding yourself with things you love and that have meaning.


A tiered tray is the perfect spot to create happy vignettes.


 Sadly I don't have a sewing room in this house but I styled the next tray as inspiration for those of you who do.

Wood tray

I gathered some favorite treasures to display on the two wooden shelves. Notice that the fabric and cookie sheet extends beyond the edge of the lower tray. You can't do that with trays that have a ledge.

Wood tray5

 Again, this little tower of happiness doesn't take up much counter space but adds some color and charm to the space.


Wood tray8

This next tiered tray is from HomeGoods. I saw it on a trip there recently but didn't buy it (it was $99). I couldn't stop thinking about it so when it was still there a few days later I popped it in my cart.

I have never liked this spot behind my basement sectional. I've tried trays and plants there but everything seemed flat and uninteresting



until I brought this 39" two tiered tray home. (There is 15" between the tiers!)





I added a few stacks of books and a small collection of porcelain boxes along with some greenery. I love the height and interest it adds to the table and you can style these so that they look good from all sides.

My most frequently asked question has been, where do I buy tiered trays?

I combed the internet to hopefully find some resources for you but didn't have a whole lot of luck. This first one is called The Charlotte from Vintage Farmhouse Finds  and is $129. I like that the tiers seem further apart (although they don't give those dimensions on their website and they didn't respond to my email).  


Here is the same tray styled and by their photo it looks like it has fairly good spacing between tiers.


This next photo is from Pinterest - same Charlotte tray just styled differently.


If there was a negative I'd say that the high ledge could be somewhat limiting.

Speaking of Pinterest, you might want to check out my board on tiered trays here.

Not to be too negative but I would not buy this one from Pottery Barn


I know some of you have it and have commented that the tiers are too close together (just 6"). I also think the sides are too high. Just my opinion.

Of course check out Hobby Lobby, HomeGoods, Nell Hills (they ship) and your local independent gift shops. They are there,  sometimes you just have to look since they are usually used as display pieces and buried under other merchandise.  

The other question I got was do I use the stuff I put on the trays or is it strictly for display. I usually leave them alone except for the times I'm having company for dinner and wonder what I did with those soup bowls...then I'll borrow.

I hope you have enjoyed this series and have found it helpful. Next time I'll be back with another sewing tutorial.

Until then,

Encourage one another,



Flamingo Fever

 My ADORNit fabric arrived last week.


OMGosh, how cute is this collection?


My assignment as an ADORNit Ambassador is to use the fabric they send me in any way I choose, so I went with something I was comfortable with: my embellished burp cloth. Colored burp cloths found here.


"HAPPY" and "mem0ries" words found here


After I finished sewing and while I still had the ironing board out I thought I'd quickly iron the cloth napkins that were stacked in the ironing pile. Well, a funny thing happened while I was standing there, mindlessly ironing. I got to thinking, why not embellish napkins too? So I started pulling out dishes and fabric and placemats and auditioning combinations until I got a combo that I loved.


Then, because I had a mini coloring book that matched my fabrics, I water colored a flamingo, cut it out and glued it to a toothpick. 

Voila -  instant cupcake topper! cute is that?  Kind'a makes you want to have a party doesn't it?

Life is a party

IMG_0704 (4)



I don't know if anyone is interested in a tutorial on these simple sewing projects. Just let me know if you do and I'd be happy to do a couple for you, but really, they are so simple that I'm sure you can do them without help. The most important thing is to start with cute fabric. The rest is easy.


These projects are such great ways to incorporate fun fabrics into everyday life and everyone knows  that life is so much sweeter when embellished. Don't you agree?

Love you guys! Hearts

Encourage one another,



Visions of Sugar Plums


One of my favorite local gift shops recently had these fabulous candy topiaries on display in their window


but when I inquired about purchasing one I was told they weren't for sale - that they were for display only.


So what's a gal to do when she is told "No"?

She takes a photo of the "NFS Display Only" items, buys a boat load of candy, plugs in her glue gun and gets to craft'n, of course.

Here's what I came up with:

 Candy topiary

Sugared fruits and large and small gummy round disks were purchased at World Market and are by Haribo. Vertical sugared sour tubes were from Target.

Candy Topiary Closeup





Jumbo red, green and white gumballs are from World Market.



Small gumballs, and all varieties of peppermints are from the Dollar Store.



Turns out I'm glad the nice people at J'Adore wouldn't sell me a topiary because I wouldn't have had the fun of making them myself - and they were FUN!

Here are a few of the things I learned as I made my candy topiaries. If you decide to make some I hope these tips save you time and some money.


First stop was a quick trip to Michaels for Styrofoam cones. I'm sure they are available at Hobby Lobby too. I purchased three cones from 9" to 18" tall.

Helpful Hint #1: Although the cones are available at least five sizes, I suggest starting with a smaller to mid size cone. These take a lot of candy to cover and the first one I did took me about three hours to complete. I did get faster with each consecutive one but you should consider any time constraints that you might have as well as the attention span of those doing the decorating. I think this would be a great project for teens as well as adults. Since you will be working with hot glue I feel it isn't an appropriate project for children.


 Next you'll need to purchase candy. Lots of candy! As I was constructing my topiaries I realized they were a lot like planning  and constructing a quilt with the same elements of design to consider: color, repetition, texture, shape and scale.

Helpful Hint #2: Try keeping your candy colors to two to four. Although it's tempting to use all the colors in the rainbow, in my opinion, your topiaries will be more visually appealing if you use fewer colors. You can create interest by varying the candy shapes, sizes and textures. Repeating colors and shapes as you build your topiary from the bottom to the top will result in a cohesive design. 

Gumballs, M&M's and peppermints are good candy choices. Peppermint disks and sticks are inexpensive and the sticks can be cut with a serrated knife. Candy canes add a fun shape while repeating the red and white theme. 

Helpful Hint #3: Start your candy shopping at the Dollar Store. I found lots of gum ball (my favorite) options there and was surprised at the large variety they carried. I spent over $100 on candy for the three topiaries that I built however I had lots of left over candy. Some candy that I purchased just didn't work well for topiaries (Skittles, Ike & Mike, Dots).

Helpful Hint #4: Consider the size of the candy that you purchase. Although M&M's work well for accent candies, smaller candies just take too long to cover the Styrofoam. Big gumballs and those big round flat disks I found at World Market were my favorite for making quick progress. 

Helpful Hint #5: Buy multiple bags of the same candy. Our Dollar Store had some bags of gumballs with all red gumballs but to get green or white gumballs I had to buy multiple bags of assorted colors to get enough of one color. Remember, the bigger the cone, the larger the circumference, and the more candy you'll need to go all the way around.

Once you feel like you have a good selection (again like quilting you'll need a stash) open, unwrap and sort the candy by color, shape and size.


It's good to have everything out so you know what your creative options are.


Working on a piece of wax paper or parchment start gluing from the bottom of the Styrofoam cone, building your way up in rows. I didn't plan my topiaries in advance, I just started gluing. Try to use just a small dab of hot glue applied directly to the candy and try to control the "spider webs" as you go.

Helpful Hint #6: If you glue something down that you decide you don't love, simply pry it off and try something else. These are forgiving and the Styrofoam is resilient.

Helpful Hint #7: I kept a pair of tweezers and an orange stick handy to help apply and remove unwanted candies. 

Once you have covered the Styrofoam cone look for stray hot glue webs and give your topiary a brushing with a stiff paint brush to remove any webs or candy crumbs. Display on a candle stick or cake stand if you have them.

I hope this has been helpful. Please share your creations and experiences with us here. Most of all Have Fun!

Encourage one another,



There's a Change in the Air


I can't tell you how excited I am for autumn to arrive here in the Midwest. This is actually our second fall in our new home but I think I was too exhausted from the move last year to fully embrace it.

This year I'm ready!



If you know anything about Shih Tzu's you know that they have a reputation for hating heat and humidity so Bailey has been loving her cooler morning walks with Bill and always comes home with wet feet from running through the dewy grass.


I think my favorite thing of the day is watching my two loves come walking up the sidewalk, heading for home.


Sometimes Bill unhooks Bailey's leash at the corner so she can make a bee line for me as I wait at the front door in my PJ's - first cup of morning coffee in hand.


Ears flying and tail wagging, she's one hot mess. My favorite thing for sure.


On our evening walks I gather acorns and berries from the changing trees, Bailey carries prized sticks home for Mr. Squirrels safe keeping just outside the front door. 

Inside, the house is decked out in all its harvest glory.


The sun has shifted and cast soft morning shadows, reminding me to be thankful for my many blessings and I am.


My house wouldn't seem decorated without a set table or three. Smileyface


The ginger jars, table cloth and napkins were added this year during a recent trip to Nell Hill's - my favorite place for inspiration.



Talk about inspiration!


While at Nell Hill's I picked up these three pieces of fabric for Fall pillows (the first fabric I've bought in over a year). I can imagine this is what my Strawberry Patches customers felt as they got caught up in the moment of impulsive inspiration. Will they ever get made into pillows? Only time will tell, but boy did I love picking them out so that's worth something, right?

I think some of you know what I mean.  


I was thrilled to find pumpkins in my new favorite color - some call it Millennial Pink - I call it perfection! Those blue greenish ones that compliment my wall color and furniture make me so happy.


I found the garlands and leaves on a trip to a local nursery - they were the inspiration for my look this year.  



Sorry for the pink pumpkin overload, but seriously, that color!


I may have gotten a bit carried away with the pumpkins. Ya think?!






I light candles every night and we bask in their glow as we eat dinner. I honestly don't know if Bill even notices, but I love how the flickering candlelight looks.There is just something so relaxing about candlelight.




Occasionally we'll enjoy a glass of wine together outside while we grill our dinner.


It won't be long before we can light a fire.


Everyone here keeps commenting on the beautiful, mild weather we've been having and compared to the rest of the country we have so much to be thankful for. We all know what follows autumn so we cherish each mild gorgeous day.

Until next time...

 Encourage one another,



What to do with Those Cute Little French Yogurt Pots - Part Deux

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Let's start this second part of our series, "What to do with Those Empty Yogurt Jars" by talking about lids. Several of you commented that you wish that they had a reusable lid. So I did a little research and guess what?




photo credit Oui Lids

These are from an Etsy shop, Oui Lids. Since they are custom made using a 3D printer they are a bit pricey but they fit well and because they are made of plant based bio-degradable material they help keep the planet happy. A win-win in my book.


Much to my delight I discovered that the small lids and rubber rings from one of my all time favorite canning jars, Weck (you know, the ones with the embossed strawberry) fits the Oui jars perfectly. The problem was that I couldn't find anyplace that sold just the lids, rings and clips until one night while combing the web I stumbled upon this website. These glass lids add the perfect amount of old world charm to your Oui jar while keeping its contents safely inside. I can't tell you how excited I was to find these.


Here they are with their new lids. Adorable!


 Now let's get going with more ideas using Yoplait's Oui jars.

Idea #1 Planters


About seven days ago I filled my empty Oui jars with sand, added some rye seed, kept them damp and watched them grow. Since then I found out that wheat seed might have been a better choice producing a broader blade. However my resident grass man assures me the rye will fatten up with time. I'll get back to you on that. (He was right, why do I doubt him? Four days later and I have a thick forest growing from my jars). See...


You probably will want to give your jars a good ten to fourteen days to grow before you need them. I love that you can see some of the roots through the glass too.


I think these would be such fun projects to do with children and would be a good way to get them involved with your Easter table decorations. 


Once the grass has sprouted and gets to the desired height just add chicks, nests and eggs. I added cut flower stems to fill in a bit. I think it would be fun to do a slightly different one for each place setting and if you're like me you probably wouldn't need to buy a thing.


 Can we take a moment to talk about chenille chicks?


What would spring be without them? As grandmothers I think it's our moral obligation to perpetuate the tradition of chenille chicks. Don't you agree?


Awk! The cuteness! Now back to more ideas...


Idea #2 Mod Podge

These next ideas all involve Mod Podge and a few other basic supplies.


I love these sweet Liberty of London cocktail napkins with their scalloped edges.


I simply separated the three plys and using Mod Podge, decoupaged the single ply of printed paper to the outside of the jar. 


I saw this next idea on Pinterest and thought it was so clever. I painted the outside of the jar with Mod Podge and rolled it in Epsom salts then added an embellishment and a candle  


to create a snowy candle holder.


The next one is a little hard to see but I added water and food coloring to Mod Podge, coated the inside of the jar with the solution then baked it until clear and dry. You can find complete instructions here.




Idea #3 Miniatures Under Glass 


I found the best place to buy itty bitty miniatures is Michaels. I think this would be an especially fun project for kids. I just cut a circle from construction paper then glued on the minis. Once dry I  applied Elmer's glue to the jar rim and attached it to the paper.


Idea #4 Snow Globe


To make a snow globe just add snowy beads (Hobby Lobby)


before gluing the jar to the paper round. I know what you're thinking - that glitter would be pretty, but trust me on this one. Glitter sticks to the inside walls of the jar. No Bueno.


Idea #5 Food

I love putting small bites into tiny jars and then serving them with little spoons (World Market). If you've attended BERNINA Club at Strawberry Patches in the past you've probably been served cheesecake, chocolate trifle, or banana pudding in a tiny glass containers. Gosh, one time I even served a class homemade tomato soup in small jars. Pinterest is full of recipes for desserts served in jars and I will link my Pinterest board here or some additional inspiration.

Oui jars are a perfect choice for serving and giving food.


Homemade jelly can be sealed with paraffin and topped with a cupcake paper. To secure the papers I lightly brushed the rim of the jars with a little Elmer's Glue and added a twine bow.


These would be cute as party favors. You'll have to imagine the above jar filled with candy corn. Candy corn is my nemesis so needless to say I can't be trusted buying it.


The very simplest dessert feels extra special in tiny jars and served with demitasse spoons


and because you have to take tiny bites you are forced to slow down and savor every delicious mouthful.


Here are some great additional ideas from some of our girl friends that were so generous to share:

Pam Vieira-McGinnis

Pam Vieira-McGinnis AKA Pam Kitty Morning - the jar is the perfect shape for the stem of her darling mushroom pincushion.

Karen Fabec

Karen Fabec used a vintage cookie cutter for a lid to her new sugar bowl. So clever.

Ginie Lewis

Ginie Lewis - sometimes labels are just too charming to remove. HeartsI love the Asian fusion here.


Margaret Palmer - first day of school flowers for the teacher.


Misty Cheshier - perfect. I love her addition of a charm.


Here is a link to my Oui board on Pinterest where you can find photos of all the ideas in my two posts.


Thank you Yoplait for taking a chance and introducing Americans to yogurt cultured in glass pots.  You've not only introduced us to the most incredible, fresh tasting, all natural yogurt but have provided us with an endless supply of crafting supplies.  HeartsNous vous aimons pour cela!

Encourage one another,


This post was not sponsored and all ideas, photos and opinions are my own except where noted.

Don't forget to subscribe to this blogs feed and I'd love for you to comment below. If you have questions or ideas for future blog posts please leave them in the comments. I love you guys.

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