Wednesday, November 30, 2011

12 Step Plan for Getting Organized This Christmas!


Do You Dream of a stress free holiday?  By thinking through your list, you can organize and group things together which will make getting those holiday chores done so much easier.  

I find that I must first sit down and make a list.  The problem is that each item on the list has a sublist that requires steps to be thought out and completed before the main item is done.   It looks a little like this...

1. Focus on the season at hand!  What does Christmas mean to you?
2. Have a family meeting and discuss what your family would like to do for others this holiday?
3. Christmas Cards
4. Gift list
5. Decorate
6. Shop for decorations
7. Shop for gifts
8. Mail any gifts that need to be mailed by Dec. 10th, just to be safe!!!
9. Deliver gifts
10. Holiday parties
11. Bake
12. Entertain

 Enjoy the fruits of your labor!
12. Rest!

1. Focus on the Season at hand!  

     Decide what you want your Christmas to look like?
    -Do you want stress free? (is that possible)
    -Read Christmas stories as a family (everyday, once a week?)
    -Watch Christmas movies (set dates for this) look at the local listing to see when things are coming on

2. Have a family meeting:
   - ask each family member what their favorite things are and make plans to incorporate in your plan.
  - Ask what your family would like to do to help others?  Work in local soup kitchen, provide gifts for
    a family.  
  - plan what charities your family would like to honor during the season. 

3. Christmas Cards -
       -picture for card (either use one from the year or get one made asap!)
       - revise my address list in my mac mail
       -peruse all the card websites for the perfect card(is there one?) & order - Black Friday is a great
        time to do this.  I saved 25% off at Tiny Prints by ordering then...
      - hand write or print off labels for addresses 
      -  Stuff & Mail!

4. Gift List-
     - I typically keep a Christmas file with a list of all the names we buy presents for.  I get the kids to
       make their lists before Thanksgiving, so I can shop online before Black Friday.  
     - Whose names did you get at Grandma's
     - Do you know sizes, wants, etc?
     -  Ask friends what they are buying for their families and kids
     - Look at your list and see who would appreciate a donation being given to a charity in their name
       instead of receiving a gift they really don't need.  
     - Go online and look to see who has the best prices for what you are looking for. 

5. Theme for Decorating House -
      -decide on the theme for the year
     - get out old decorations and see what you have you can use or remake for new theme

    What to Decorate-
     Exterior-  (if you are running behind get the outside done first, so you don't look like bah humbug)
     -Porch rails
    -any where else you want decorations - lights in tree, topiaries, planter boxes, back porch,etc. 

      Interior -
     -Dining table
     -Kitchen table
     - Mantle
     - Nativity
     -Christmas villages 
     -Christmas tree
     -candles in all the windows
     -Any special decorations your family likes to do.  In our family we do an angel tree for my son who
      is no longer with us.  We also like to put our Christmas card sleigh in a special spot.  The kids get
      joy out of placing old favorites in familiar places.

6.   Shop for Decorations:
    Make list of items needed-  This generally requires a trip to the tree lot, Michaels, Walmart, 
    Container store(yay, we finally have one!), other places to look for decorative items like West Elm,
    Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, Old World Pottery, Big Lots, Tuesday Morning, Homegoods,
    you get the idea....
     1.Tree lot:   (MAKE SURE YOU TAKE YOUR TREE STAND!!!!)
    -Christmas tree
    -wreath for doors (do you have wreath hangers? )
    -garland for porch (measure if you don't know how much you need before going to save repeat trips)
     I always have them trim out tree at the lot and we take our stand so they can put the tree in the stand 
     for us.  They give me all the extra greenery they cut off the tree and I always ask for extra which they
    gladly give me for free.  I use this to decorate throughout the house.  Some for the nativity, I tuck some
    over portraits, etc.  Makes the entire house smell fresh.  

     All the other stores:
    -extra candles for the window candles, in case some burn out.
   - while out pick up other things you might need like ornament hangers, pipe cleaners for hanging  
      garlands on porch rails and bannister , gift tags, wreath
      hangers, wrapping paper, gift boxes, tape, ribbon, extra hostess gifts (just in case) batteries, extra gift   
      cards, matches, candles, florist wire, picks,shipping boxes,tape, labels for anything you need to 
      ship, etc.

   7. Shop for gifts:

    -Dont' forget your list!  I keep mine on my notepad on my iPhone, along with sizes, favorite colors,etc
    - I find the best time to shop for gifts is at night, near the dinner hour because everyone else is eating!
   - The Apple store guy told me the best time to go to Apple is tues. after lunch, don't ask why but that 
      is what he said.  Typically all stores are less crowded midweek in the mornings.
  - Shop online at places that offer free shipping!  Why buy gas when it's free....
  - Shop local!  I always try to buy from my local stores when possible.  Smaller shops depend on our
    business!  I want to keep them around so I do shop local.  Most gift wrap for free and typically easier to
    get into than the mall.  

 8. Ship Gifts - 
     - If there is anything I have learned about shipping Christmas gifts, it's get it there early, the lines are
       typically good until about Dec. 10th, then you are better off to order something online and have it
       shipped directly to the person, to avoid the post office altogether.  

9.  Deliver Gifts Early:
    Try to get any neighbor, teacher, friend gifts delivered early, so that you aren't rushing around on
     the 12th hour trying to get it done.  Send the teacher gifts to school the Monday before the kids get
     out, that way, the child can take to each teacher as they see that teacher during the week.  Leave
     the post man, hairdresser, etc a gift the first week of December.  Get it done!!!!

10. Holiday Parties:
     - Make sure all your holiday parties are on your calendar
     - Plan what you want to wear
     -Do you need to take a gift, ornament?  

11. Bake:
    - Does your family have holiday favorites you make each year?  Get your list and shop each
      week, so that you aren't shopping the last minute.  Any recipes that can be made and frozen, 
     should be done now!  

10. Entertain:
     - This needs a post of its own.  I am not entertaining this year, so will not go there....

12.  Enjoy!!!

       I just made my list for the month and my blog all in one post!  I am sure you can take my
       list and tweak it to suit your organizational plan!  Hope it helps.  I know I feel better and now 
       I have a plan.  
Oh, one last thing...if you are wondering what I am dreaming about for Christmas this year...
here is my new favorite Christmas china....

Hermes Balcon du Guadalquivir!  YUM!!!!!

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas....

This cold rainy weather has me thinking of snow!  Why can't it be a little colder so we could get snow?  
Oh yeah, I haven't finished shopping or decorating...could be a problem if it snowed!  I know you are like me and getting your house either decorated or prepared for decorating (like me) so here are some ideas of things  to create your own little White Christmas...

Take an unused frame and paint it white, paint chalkboard paint on the inside and make a cute chalkboard so you can write all your favorite songs or sayings....

Bowls of nuts and ornaments create a festive buffet!  Just add a ribbon garland with ornaments!

White tree with gold and the buckets of goodies...

From West Elm a tree made out of newspaper.  I wonder if we could make our own if we had wire that was thick enough...???  you could also use this tree to hang your Christmas cards on...

Perhaps with all the white,gold and silver a little greenery would be nice.  
Try your hand at making a bay leaf tree...

Clusters of silver candlesticks always make the table or mantle merry and bright...

Love these pin cone ornaments from World Market...These would be great to hang
 on a garland or in a doorway...
Of course Christmas wouldn't be the same without the pinecone fairy.  
She is ready to grant your every wish...

Love this moravian star.  No need for electricity or candles, this star 
reflects the light in your room.

World Market 14.99

Wouldn't these make the perfect hostess or teacher gift for only $6.00
World Market $6.00

This little beauty would grace anyone's home...
Pier One
Of course one of my very favorites is Jo Malone's pine and eucalyptus candles...
Jo Malone $65.00

You would be invited back every year if you gave the hostess this beautiful cake stand...

Equally impressive is this beautiful cut crystal candleholder for only 12.99 from Zgallerie

For the wine drinker, these tree etched stemless wine glasses will be a fav....

West Elm

or these plates with just the right sentiment.....

Here's to sleigh bells's Christmas time...
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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Give Thanks in ....

In 2011 I give thanks for...

The last Thanksgiving I spent with my entire family because it was our last 
before Walker's accident in May of 2009.  

 This is a treasured photo of our last Thanksgiving with Walker.  
 Rebekah, Hiller, Walker and Thomas taken at our family cabin. 

I also give thanks for the cabin because it has become the gathering hub on family holidays. 

 ....My parents,  siblings and extended family.  
I was lucky to grow up in a loving family that taught we what family was all about!
 I know they will always there if I need them.  

.....My mission trip to China in July and to Maria's Big House of Hope because I met some amazing women on my journey who will be life long friends.  Thankful also for Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman, Robin and Joyce Hill for making places like Maria's available for orphans.  My eyes have been opened and I will never be the same after seeing the orphans in China.  

I am thankful for the obvious things like my home, my work and my friends.  
Every Thanksgiving I give thanks for a special young man who taught
 me a lot about being a better person.  His life taught the importance of enjoying
 every minute with family and friends because those are borrowed minutes....

I miss you Walker and I always will but I know you are at peace and
 that is ultimately my wish for all those I love on this Thanksgiving and all holidays
....Rest in Peace...

July 23, 1986 - May 8, 2009

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Fabulous Friday....

Hello Friday!!! You are finally here!  It's been a long week!

Ready to kick off my shoes and enjoy the weekend, but before that can happen, I have a busy day of work!!!  Meeting with a client #1 to (hopefully) make the final selections!  Client #2 is an install.  The walls are painted, the carpet is being installed today and furniture next week.  Everything seem to be falling into place with the timeframe for this install, then yesterday I got the dreaded call....  from my warehouse receiver....telling me to come look at one of the beds, "it has hairline cracks in the finish" he said...."it may be the way it is suppose to look but I think you need to see this"...darn it!  There is always freaking something right?  Hopefully it's not that bad....It's just a bed and we can get another one! (after the holidays, when the guests are gone, bummer!)
Here is a pic he sent me...I really can't tell by this pic, these guys are so particular,  there have been times when I went into the warehouse and couldn't see what he was talking about.  Keep your fingers crossed that these little things disappear before I get there!!!!

I'll breathe deep and take it all in stride, after all....

without further adieu here some fabulous but very random Friday finds, that I might have to ask Santa to bring to my house......

I am not a real techie gal but I do like these...

Something for work...

 A retro phone receiver that attaches to your cell phone!  If it's good enough for Gwenyth, it's good enough for me.  Keeps all those bad waves away from your brain  $29.00.....
Click Here If You Want to See Details
  Icooly phone headset with a stand.  Turns your cell phone into a house phone and charges it at the same time for a mere $39.00

Click Here for Details!

something for moi...

Vince Honeycomb sweater from Neiman Marcus....
Neiman Marcus $295

Frye Carson riding boots.......

$398 from Neimans

Another something for moi but also for the home...

This glam floor mirror with hidden jewelry storage....


sorry it's kinda blurry but see how it opens to hide all your jewelry!
if you want one, they are 1500.00 and I can order for you just drop me an email

That's it for my Friday finds!  Here's hoping Friday finds you happy, healthy and ready to enjoy the weekend!
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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

If Only I were Bewitched.....


tinka tinka tee

Yes, that's right, if only I could twitch my nose and get it all done!  
For those of us interior designers who remember Samantha Stevens aka Elizabeth Montgomery on the tv series "Bewitched" you have to admit that at times you have wished you had this magical talent...


Phone conversation with Client, Oct. 10th....
Client: "I have guests coming for Thanksgiving and I want a few things before they come", I need your help, do you have a couple of hours you could spare to help me pull this room together?
Me: "Oh, sure I probably have a couple of hours to spare" (Really?)  Me: "Of course, if it is only a few things....
How's Thursday at 10:00a.m.?"
(voice of reason: do you really think it is a few things, come on've been doing this for a while, you know the drill, be realistic.....)


10:00 a.m. on Thursday - Meeting with client....Here is the room I need help with.....

Client:  What do you think?  Could you help me pull this room together?  Could we get some drapery and a couple of chairs by Thanksgiving? Here's what I had in mind....
Me: Well, this is quite a task but I will see what I can do, I might be able to get the walls painted, some carpet and we will go from there.... 

Me:  I work overtime (of course hard to charge for that) source everything, arrange all the workmen, pick all the fabrics, all the trims, all the, work ,work...

In the meanwhile, my own home life.....

Children: "What's for dinner?"  Me: "Whatever you can find" "good luck!"  I haven't been able to go to the grocery in two weeks.  
There might be a hot pocket in the freezer....

My own house....where's my help?  Where's my cleaning lady, whose going to fix my kitchen and clean up this mess...."I swear this mountain of laundry is having babies".... 
One wave of the arm,  "Be Gone" (darn, it didn't work!) 
 It's still here!

Oh, the cleaning lady is finally coming,  quick I have to clean up so she can clean up, I'll hide the dirty laundry in here, the stacks of mail can go in the coat closet, I can put it all back after she is gone....

Did it all get done you ask?'s in progress...
In the meanwhile,  I'm still waiting for Calgon to take me away....

My husband:  Have you learned your lesson?
Me:  Well not exactly, I have a hard time saying "no".  But I know what I am asking Santa for Christmas so that the next time a holiday rolls around, I am a little better prepared....


Oh...and I think I will have deadlines for accepting holiday work
so I can relax and enjoy my holidays like everyone else...

Until then I am hiding out, hoping that the phone doesn't ring with another request for holiday help.....

Did you love Samantha as much as I did?
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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Nature at Its Best!

I wanted to share this photos of The Karen Robertson Collection showroom at the High Point Market.
Not only does she collect all these beautiful sea creatures and sea life from her home in Ponte Vedra, Florida but she arranges them in  a beautiful, artistic manner.  
 Her artwork embraces the beauty found in nature in timeless yet very current way.  

The collections are framed between glass without mats, so when hung
 on a wall they take on the wall color as their background. 

via PureStyleHome

via PureStyleHome

Sea algae framed like botanicals make a beautiful wall collection.

The sailfish is made from a mold of a real sailfish.  I especially liked these round frames, which
Karen's husband said is unique to their collection. 


Whether you are decorating a house at the beach or want to bring a little sea life into your home, this collection has some of the most beautiful creations I have ever seen. 

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Tired of Tangled Chains and Earrings without a Mate?

I spent 10 minutes yesterday trying to find the lost mate to the earrings I wanted to wear to church.  Finally I gave up and put on the ones I had worn the night before just so I could head out the door on time.  Frustrated, I have decided I need to reorganize my jewelry.  My system seem to work for a while but then I kept adding pieces to it.  The additional pieces required additional space so this got me to thinking about other ways to organize my jewelry.

How is your jewelry organized?  Can you find things at a glance?
  My friend Paige made a creative jewelry display with an old frame and wire to keep her things organized.  She now has a great looking display and can find her jewelry quickly.  She said it made her realize that she doesn't need to buy any more silver chains.   Wow!  To know what you have and to be able to see it easily!  

This is the final product....


To make this awesome jewelry organizer, all you need is:

1. an old frame, any size, whatever size you want it to be!
2. spray paint, to paint the frame whatever color you want
3. screen wire, can be found at any hardware store
4.  staple gun to attach the wire to the back of the frame

Steps to make your organizer:
1. Spray paint your frame
2.  cut your screen wire to fit the back of the frame
3.  staple the wire into place on the back of the frame
4.  The sky is the limit!  You are only limited by your own imagination!  

Close up photo of display for earrings...


You can use the same idea for necklaces and you don't have to use the wire, just attach a board to the back and hammer nails or decorative hooks into the board to hang your necklaces...


You could also combine the two ideas to create an earring and necklace display all in one.  Its kinda like having your personal boutique at home....


Another great idea is to use pretty bowls or teacups and saucers,
 of course this takes up drawer space, but if you have it to spare...


If you want to be a little more elaborate use a really beautiful large frame and mount your necklaces or any items you want to display, I think this is actually the art in this room but you could do this with your statment pieces....

via Uncoeur en Provence

Don't you love how these necklaces become art 
when displayed this way?  Much better than tangled in a drawer...
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