Weekend Reading

Hello! Just like you I’m busy with all things holiday this weekend between baking and shopping. Saturday night I met some friends to share a drink and watch a lighted boat parade. Today I’m finishing up some last minute decorating then meeting another group of friends for another holiday party. ‘Tis the season!

I’ll be sharing more images of my holiday home in the coming weeks, meanwhile here are just a few favorite links spied online this week.


10 festive holiday front doors.

How cool: a DIY copper pipe reindeer.

Arched doorways are a classic detail, some great examples here.

30 handmade DIY gift ideas to consider.

I love National Geographic’s annual best travel and wildlife photos.

Did you hear? You can officially have Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

I discovered this new podcast on women who travel.

An interesting perspective on what self care really means.


Window Desk Ideas

I know it’s the holiday season but I can’t help but think ahead because with this next project I get a lot of practicality. Do you remember the old study I designed for the kids five years ago when they were in elementary school? It was a fantastic space for many years but since I’ll soon have one kid in high school and one in junior high, the space needs to grow up just like they have.

I want to install a built-in desk under the window as a place for homework and a shared computer. Here’s the space as it is now, you can see I never bothered to touch up the paint behind that bench I made for them under the window. 🙂


When we refinished the floors we removed all the old furniture and shelving and it’s sat vacant for a few months. This space is the perfect spot to recreate a more sophisticated den for study. Because it’s small and narrow I envision breaking it up into two smaller zones with a desk under the window and a sitting area on the other end of the room (not shown).

My first focus is that desk under the window with storage above and below and these window desks are great inspiration. In my personal home office, my desk is under a window and I find it helpful for my productivity, the light that streams in and the ability to glance outside and see what the birds are up to.


artisan signature homes


cottages & gardens


kelly deck


jessica helgerson


jill greaves


hazel and brown


avenue lifestyle


wb builders


o’hara interiors

Built ins are fab, but in case I ever need to rework this space, I’m going to make the desk only a semi permanent fixture. My idea is to install two freestanding white cabinet bases with drawers underneath on each side of the window. On top I’ll install a wood top that stretches the width of the space.

I’m working up plans in the next week, and hoping to complete the desk project in January for the kids to use for their homework. Of course I’ll share it when complete!


DIY Lighted Wood Bead Garland

Season’s greetings friends! Yesterday I worked up a little DIY lighted wood bead garland while I watched a movie relaxing in my family room. I like to make garlands at Christmastime while I sit fireside, it’s how I combine creativity with relaxation.

Last year I made a paper leaf garland and the year before a gemstone garland and the year before a sparkle confetti garland. This year I combined copper LED lights with wood beads to create a simple beaded garland.




Copper wire LED string lights are available in a lot of stores that sell holiday decor but I bought my remote control battery operated strand for $10 bucks on Amazon. You can find a lot of varieties of wood beads at craft stores like Michaels but I purchased my 9/16” oval beads online. I bought 3 bags of 100 but ended up with a lot of extras, so I think you could recreate this with just two bags of 100 oval beads. Or mix up bead sizes, that would be interesting too! A light strand and wood beads are the only two supplies you really need.

The beads’ opening is large enough to slide over the copper wire and the mini light. After I unwound the entire strand, I strung the beads four at a time.





As you create the garland, and to keep the beads from sliding up and down, simply bend the copper at each light to form a T shape, this exposes the small light and also stabilizes the beads.



It doesn’t take long to create, the whole project took me about 90 minutes, the perfect length for watching a movie. 🙂



My strand came with a tiny remote that changes the way the lights blink when activated.





If you want to add a bit more bling, use a large circle punch and with metallic foil paper create shiny circles. Use a regular hole punch to create a smaller hole, then scissors to snip an opening on the side of that smaller hole (like a door hanger), then adhere them to the lighted bead garland.






This method is an easy simple way to embellish a set of inexpensive copper LED lights with wood beads.



P.S. The decorative birch tree shown is the one I mentioned in the first paragraph in this post.




Weekend Reading

December greetings! Here we are approaching the end of another year. Despite the mad rush of the holidays I’m still feeling the benefit of taking it slow and keeping things simpler this year.

Yesterday I attended a matinee Christmas play then we picked out our tree and sent it into the tent to have it flocked. I’ve been flocking my tree since 2010 and I was talking to the lot attendant who told me it’s been a huge trend in recent years, she blamed “Pinterest”. Ha!

Today I’m finishing up the molding in my living room just in time for the arrival of the tree. I hope you’ve been enjoying your weekend as well!

Favorite links below:


I love the bright white, pretty blues, and fresh greenery in this home tour.

One of my favorite things about NYC: Bergdorf Goodman’s holiday windows.

So fresh: the citrus infused palette in Maria’s holiday home.

When in doubt, just add a pop of red.

Ready-to-assemble cabinets that aren’t IKEA (I’m using Lily Ann in a bathroom remodel).

Sweet and simple: mini rosemary wreath garland.

Thanks Diane for this ribbon bow hack.

Funeral styling? It’s a business now.

So great, this parent’s response to his kid drawing on the wall.

Thank you Mr. Harmon for taking the time to reply.

Impressive story of life on a sailboat.

10 of the world’s most creative cities to work.


Keeping It Simple: Evergreen Wreaths

I opened up the Christmas closet last week and brought out a few bins of favorite holiday things, the same sets of reindeer and bottle brush trees and ornaments that I love. They are once again layered around the house. My style has settled into a predictable palette: I mix metallic sheens with white ceramics and add fresh evergreens and it always pleases me year after year.

The same for my front door wreath, my plan is to work up a similar version of the copper cowbell wreath I made last year since it was so easy: just a few ornaments and ribbons and copper cowbells tied to a flocked wreath I bought at a local tree lot. It took me maybe 10 minutes to assemble and I loved it all season long. Perhaps this year I’ll add a string of lights.

Keeping it simple has allowed me to spend more time lounging in my pajamas with my kids like last night, or meeting friends at the pub for trivia night like tonight. It’s just not worth it to stress out over decorating the house, it should be a joyful time and not one filled with anxiety. So each year I find I do less and less and that means I have more time to actually enjoy the holidays.

Evergreen wreaths are as traditional as it gets, and a symbol of the season. If you’re feeling what I’m feeling, keep it simple by picking up a basic evergreen wreath at a local lot or grocery store to use as your base, then head over to a friend’s house and embellish it together with ornaments, ribbon, or contrasting botanicals.


one kings lane


I spied various evergreen wreaths online, these look simple enough to recreate with yard clippings or base wreath.


camille styles


carrie / christmas in London


made from scratch


garden therapy



darling Darleen

martha stewart


magical christmas wreaths



stone gable blog


forever green flower co


sources unknown


What choices have you made this season to keep things simple?


Budget Friendly Brass Lighting

On impulse I began a living room a refresh last week, right in the middle holidays! Crazy I know. I started by covering the existing gray walls with fresh white paint and I bought molding to add additional trim above the existing wainscot to frame my art. I also decided it was time to swap out the light fixtures and I started with a this new brass sconce on the tufted sofa wall.



When I went searching online for both sconces and mini chandeliers (I need two for the ceiling spots) I found several budget friendly and good looking brass light fixtures under $300.




mod angled / jasper / dauphine

metro / clarke / anglerlayla

feiss conant / opheliamodern gold with shade

mitzi 1 / savoy  / mitzi 2

mod brass geometric / uptown pendant

See also: Favorite Sources for Affordable Lighting

This week I’m adding new molding and art and I’ll share the finished space as we get closer to Christmas. 🙂