Thursday, January 26, 2012

May I have your Attention, please?

Attention, Attention . . . we have an announcement:

Chalk Paint Logo

is now available in Clarksville, Tennessee!!!

You’ll never guess where . . .

a hint?  Oh, alright . . .


look at you!  you’re good at this game!

Guess, what else . . .

I’ll be joining forces with Tawyna Norton, my friend who owns that fabulous shop in Brentwood called . . .

c'est moi

to represent Annie Sloan Chalk Paint at:

Jenkins vintage Marketplace logo

What’s the Vintage Marketplace?  Well, here’s the skinny, stolen straight from their website:

The Vintage Marketplace is a resource for home, office, or shop.

On the cutting edge of Vintage, Art, Design, & Antiques; this group of exhibitors are inspiring the next generation of enthusiasts
with their unique style, energy, and determination to share what they love.

The Vintage Marketplace is a new feature of the long running Tailgate-Music Valley Antiques Show, a nationally established event with a reputation as one of America's best shows. The Vintage Marketplace will help move Tailgate-Music Valley into their new home, the Hendersonville Expo Center with an exciting inaugural event February 2-4, 2012.

So there you have it.  I hope you’ll make plans to join us at the show.  All of the information is available at their website, just click on their logo above.  (You need to visit just to catch a glimpse of all of the wonderful talent you’ll find when you get there.)

Also, visit Tawnya’s blog (click on her logo) for information about a wonderful opportunity to meet Annie Sloan at a hands-on paint workshop.  More on that from me in my next blog post.

Thanks for your indulgence,


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Vintage Marketplace

I am not worthy.  Let the groveling and self-deprecating behavior begin.  I have had so much  good stuff happening lately, it’s hard to believe!  God is good.
First, I have been approved to stock Annie Sloan Chalk Paints.  I am thrilled beyond belief to add such an amazing product to the inventory at Hodgepodge. 
Then, as if that’s not enough, Tawnya Norton of C’est Moi, asks if I am available to help her represent Annie Sloan Chalk Paint at The Vintage Marketplace in Hendersonville, TN on Feb 2 – 4.  WOW!  (Note the  new badge there to the left of this blog post.)
This event is BIG stuff!  I was planning to go just to have the opportunity to meet some of my heroes . . . Sue Whitney of Junk Market Style fame . . . the creator of Urban Farmhouse, Lisa Maughmer . . . and Theresa Smith of Time Worn Interiors, just to name a few!
Now, I’m an actual vendor!   Tawnya and I are working on ideas for our booth—this is going to be a quick throw together, but Tawnya’s talents will shine through and I’m sure it will be wonderful.  As the emphasis will be the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint—you can bet there will be a lot of painted stuff!
Just make sure you mark your calendars and plan to join us—you will be glad you did!
Thanks for your indulgence,
ps--for the record, the best thing to happen in recent memory was having my mother come for Christmas and stay for a full three weeks!  I was so happy to have her here every evening when I walked through my door--ad not just because she had started (and often finished) dinner.  It was wonderful having her interact with my family for an extended period of time.  She is a very easy companion and I love her.  I'll revise my earlier comment . . .God is Great!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

January 1, 2012

(My Leaf Chronicle article for January 1st.)
Happy New Year! I’ll tell you, I for one am happy to see 2011 in the rearview mirror. We have some great memories and I’ve had a lot of successes this year, but the bad stuff was really, really bad and it’s taking some time to work through it. Of course, we started out 2010 with a house fire, so I better go back and read my article from Jan 1, 2010—I may be asking for trouble!
I am sure many of you have already taken down your decorations and have no remnants of Christmas in your home. That is not the case at my house. I am still enjoying our decorations. Frankly, I didn’t get to see them much, so I need to leave them in place a while longer. I generally leave my staircase and mantel décor up well into January (which is why I had to replace it after the fire—hmm, you’d think I’d learn).
Each year I make an effort to weed-out some of the stuff we haven’t used in recent years to make room for the inevitable additions we’ve acquired. I always think I’ll have plenty of time, once I make it through the holidays; while January is a slower month for retailers, somehow or another, my free time is at a premium. I will get it done, though, the same way I decorated—I will un-decorate in small doses.
The challenge is keeping the house feeling cozy and inviting. It seems that once the tree and garlands are gone, it feels a little cold to me. I try to leave a few winter touches throughout the house. I leave my winter pictures propped or hung in various rooms. I leave extra blankets and throws tossed on the furniture—even in the kitchen (we’ve got an old, breezy—no I didn’t mean to say ”drafty”—house). The chairs near the fireplaces are generally the first ones claimed in any of our rooms. I also enjoy leaving snowmen, snowflakes and icicles on display through the winter months. My crystal snowflakes—an extravagant purchase during our first tour in Germany—need to be added to my kitchen window where they can catch the light of our gorgeous winter sunsets.
I generally exchange out my lush Christmas wreath for my very simple, plain grapevine wreath. This year, however I plan to add some branches which have a snowy look, as well as some silver feathers and a snowy nest. I think I’m not ready for a stark winter look just yet—heck, didn’t I just get the house decorated for Christmas? I’ll post a picture on my blog when I have it up.
winter wreath
(Seems I got the wreath done before I posted the article—hard to juggle it all, isn’t it?)
One of my favorite new ideas was borrowed from a friend who found my blog—then found my shop! (I am referring to Auny Bliss—find her blog here.)  She has been collecting vintage pictures of children in their snow attire. She displays them in frames, but I’m going to display mine on a garland on a fireplace, as I do not have enough surfaces to display our family photos, let alone those of children I’ve never met.
ski girl
(I’ve decided to make the winter garland I’ve mentioned here during our Winter Spectacular crafting event on February 18th.  You can sign-up for a full day of crafting or choose your activity.  More info to come in a day or two—just go ahead and mark it on your calendar!)
I hope your house and heart are warm as we welcome 2012!
Thanks for your indulgence,

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Themed trees

My article for Dec 25th . . .

Well, I’m still planning menus and hoping to find time for another foray toward Exit 4 for a few more gifts—I’d rather stick hot needles in my eye, but I love my kids! (Which reminds me, I’d appreciate it if someone would open a book store downtown!) I know at some point I’ve got to just surrender, but for now I’m trying to plan out my last 12 hours pre-extended family time.

I am looking forward to the arrival of our Virginia sister and her family, but especially since Mom is coming, too. We’ve had a rough couple of months since the death of my Dad—“our” Dad—and this trip will be a difficult one—especially for Mom. I hope we are able to transition to happy memory sharing, rather than breaking down at the mention of his name. If, however, my emotional state as I write this is any indicator, there will be a lot of tears.

I have found that keeping busy is good for me. Dad was a busy guy—didn’t sit around much, until his joints forced him to do so. I guess my busy nature is part of his legacy. Thankfully, I have been very busy with the shop and home decorating. Therefore, in that vein, I will get busy writing my column about home decorating.

I recently overheard someone lamenting about the fact that, while she loved their traditional family tree—with all of the gathered ornaments representing their years together—she would love to have a themed tree or two. She went on to say she was hesitant to initiate a new tree due to the expense and space. Her thoughts were that it would be difficult to find somewhere to set-up another full size tree and very expensive to deck it in the ornaments necessary to outfit her proposed theme.

It was then that I, as I am prone to do, insinuated myself into her conversation and made a few suggestions. The first thing I told her was to buy tabletop trees to start her theme. A small tree is, obviously, going to be less expensive and will require fewer decorations to get started. My second suggestion was to use a lot of inexpensive filler until she reaches the desired level of ornaments for her collection. For instance, if you want a tree with only red to adorn it, buy only the red ornaments you really love. Use red tulle and red bows to fill-in the rest of the space. As you acquire more ornaments, you can remove the bows.

tree with tulle

(Here’s a sample I found on the web—turns out it’s on a very nice blog.  Take a look if you have time.  NOTE:  you do not just wrap the tree in tulle—you need to tuck it into place.  See below.)

Christmas 2011 384

Sticks (here I go again) are another great “go to” source for filler. They can be spray painted to match nearly any theme. Just stick them into the branches of the tree so they protrude slightly beyond the pine. There are also very good quality plastic ornaments which can be used to fill-in, as well. These are all items which can be used to transition to a larger tree when you feel you’ve got enough ornaments to justify it. I still use my filler ornaments on our family tree—we hang them on the interior of the branches or at the bottom of the tree, where presents and nosey pooches tend to knock them off.

Of course, by the time you read this, most stores have marked down their holiday merchandise, so you have the perfect opportunity to pursue that theme tree for next year.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas surrounded by people you love. Talk to you next year.

(Okay, that wraps-up 2011.  I’ll post that one later today, then I’ll publically make a bunch of promises I’m not wholly convinced I can keep—sometimes referred to as resolutions—but feel chances are better if I share them with the world!)

Thanks for your indulgence!


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Arranging Furniture While Hanging Decorations

(This was my article for Dec 18th—getting there, getting there!)

Well, I’m at about 70% completion with my decorating efforts at the house. By the time you read this, I have to be done, because I will have company coming to the house in the evening. (The great motivator—company is coming!)

I have been diligently working each evening after I get home from work; trying to slip in a few minutes each morning before I leave for the shop, too. Why is it, at times like these, when there is so much to be done, do I decide to make things more complicated and confused?

“Such as . . .?” you may ask. Well, I’ll tell you. Such as reconfiguring the furniture lay-out in the living room. Not necessary, but I had a bee in my bonnet, so now the sofa is facing the fireplace, not the TV. I also put away my computer table. I had purchased one of those old typewriter tables on casters, thinking it was a great idea to use it for my laptop—I could just roll it to the side when I wasn’t using it. The problem was, I never rolled it to the side, so there it sat in the middle of the living room. Not sure I love the new layout, but I think that’s the sofa, not the arrangement. I’ll wait to make my decision after all of the Christmas storage boxes are put away—hopefully when I get home from work tonight.

So while this created a little more work when I should have been adding ornaments to our tree, I may have come up with a solution to my room feeling a little off balance for so long. The sofa was too long for the space of the wall where we’ve had it since we moved here. A portion of the back was blocking a portion of the window on that wall. Now, the chair sits squarely in front of the window, which looks better—more balanced.

new lr

(The new layout—couldn’t find a “before,” for comparison, but I believe this works better.  That’s my nephew in the chair and the cooler is a football day allowance.)

Now that I think about it, I usually try different arrangements in the house during the holidays. Usually it’s out of necessity—we have to put the tree somewhere, right? But often, it’s just to try a new look. Sometimes it returns to pre-Christmas arrangements, but there have been a few successes which we’ve permanently adopted.

Unlike me, you’ve probably already made all of your adjustments and tried the new arrangements, but if not, you might consider a different layout for the holidays. Make a cozy conversation corner with two chairs and a table. Change the “U” shape of your furniture arrangement to face the tree or the fireplace, rather than the TV. Try something new over your mantle—several vintage mirrors arranged so they’re leaning against the wall and each other. You can enlarge some family photos—perhaps taken in the snow—print them in black & white, then have them mounted to foam core for an inexpensive eye catching focal point. Either of those arrangements will carry you into the New Year, too!

If you’re looking to add a few final touches to your décor, try adding garland and bows. When in doubt, that inexpensive wired pine garland is my go-to decorative touch. It’s on top of our kitchen cabinets, intertwined in our chandeliers and draped around the tops of wardrobes. The bows add an “I thought of everything” touch to the house, as well. Tie bows—big ones, don’t skimp—around anything needing a little boost. Put them in your house plants; tie them around candles and the dog’s collar.


(This is the regular, everyday arrangement atop our German wardrobe—all I did was add some garland—tah dah . . . Christmas!)

cabinet garlandrooster garland

(Same thing here in the kitchen—a little pine garland mixed with a white berry garland.)

I have one last inexpensive tip for the dining room. You can put a festive bow on your dining chairs by using 2 – 3 yards or tulle. Two yards will yield a nice square knot on the back of your chair; three yards will allow for a bow. If you don’t know how to tie a pretty, simple bow—google it. In either case, you can accent it with a sprig of holly, pine or rosemary from the garden.

I hope you’ve found enough time to do everything you wanted to do for your holiday decorating. Rest assured the day will come and all will be fine—even if you didn’t get the guest room painted.

Here are a few shots of the décor around our our house.  These were take after the fact—January 1st to be exact, so they’re looking a little rough for wear.  be kind!


One last picture, that dining room tablecloth I mentioned a while ago—the one that I was going “to make or pay someone to make it for me.”  Well, I ended up paying and it was well worth it!  Thanks to Vicki Aebischer for her skilled sewing and sense of adventure, I have my beautiful new tablecloth!


One more post before I can post the one that was published in the LC today.  The light is at the end of the tunnel.

Thanks for your indulgence!


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