Utilitarian Twist!

December 7
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You know how much I love to recycle my items…I can hardly throw anything away because in the back of my mind I believe there’s a purpose for it somewhere!  Fortunately for my family’s sake, I don’t have a problem discarding things that I’ve not used for a long time…I can pass them along for someone else to create their own treasures!  I’m certain my husband is at least thankful for that!  But in general, I often find that hanging on to certain items and reusing them can save an awful lot of money AND these utilitarian things can be transformed into something really cute and unique!  Plus, there’s lots of common household goodies, supplies, and serving pieces that are just too cute to be tucked away in a cupboard…so why not find alternate ways to utilize them while they’re taking a rest from their intended uses!  At the urging of one of my friends, I’ve decided to share a couple ways I’m decorating for the holidays using some of my utilitarian favorites from my pantry and more!

holiday decor from the cupboard!

Wrap Station

December 5
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I’ve barely begun to shop for all my Christmas gifts this year.  When the kids were little I usually had everything purchased by Thanksgiving, wrapped, and hidden shortly thereafter!  Well, those days are certainly over!  It seems the older they get the busier we are…AND they either can’t come up with ideas for their wish lists or keep changing their minds!  So, I have yet to purchase one thing for my children…but I sure am ready to wrap!  Whether you’ve finished your shopping, are somewhere in the middle, or have not yet begun, creating a fun place to wrap up those treasures can make the holiday feel more merry!  It can be stressful to shop AND it can be stressful to wrap…but I find when I gather my supplies together before I start, the process is so much more joyful!  And since last week I shared some creative ways to wrap up your goodies I thought it would be fitting to share some simple ways to keep organized so you can enjoy the season!

pull out the wrappings…it’s Christmastime!

Merry Mantle

December 2
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Well, December is here and for me that means it’s time to finish up my decorating!  My oldest has a birthday on the 4th so it’s always been a goal to have all the halls decked before we have birthday celebrations!  And as much as I love decorating for Christmas, I always seem to struggle with my mantle!  I’m not really sure what it is…I just have to work a little (ok, a lot) harder to come up with mantle displays that I like!  I love what I see in the homes of others…it’s just my stumbling block in my own house!  This year I’m enamored with tiny houses…not the kind you dwell in (although they are fascinating!) but the kind you decorate with!  And I got lucky to stumble across plenty of options!  Each year my decor takes on a little different twist…not that I go and get all new decorations, I primarily use all my old ones but find new ways to embellish them!  This year I’m loving that homespun, traditional look…there’s something nostalgic to me when I see plaids, knits, and good old red and green!  So that combined with the inspiring thought of “home for the holidays” helped me to pull together a mantle that reminds me of the warmth of a home filled with love!  A little mushy maybe…but that’s how I feel when I look at it.  And isn’t that what decorating is all about?  Finding ways to create spaces that make you and those you dwell with feel happy…and at home!  So today I’ll share with you my labor of love…my mantle.

a little home for the holiday…

Holiday Wrap!

November 30
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I can’t believe that December is almost here!  And the weird thing is that even though we’ve had these extra few days after Thanksgiving, I’m feeling a bit rushed to get all my holiday plans in order!  I have to keep reminding myself that it IS still November, even if only for the remainder of the day!  So I’m trying to keep everything in perspective and enjoy the process of decorating, shopping, and preparing for all the Christmas festivities that fill the days leading to the New Year.  One of my favorite holiday preparations is wrapping gifts.  I know it can seem a daunting task…and even though I love it, I can feel overwhelmed at times!  But lucky us, each year it seems there’s more options for easy gift wrap ideas…cute bags & boxes, prepared bows, darling tags, and all the extra trimmings you can dream up!  And with all these options at our fingertips, it can leave us with time to dream up some out-of-the-box wrappings or special ways to personalize a gift or two!  I’d like to give a sneak peek at some DIY gift wrap ideas…

dress up your bags & boxes!

Hot Chocolate Time!

November 28
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On a day that gave us a record temperature for November, what was I doing?  Setting up a hot chocolate bar of course!  Even though it was a little on the warm side, the weather couldn’t have been more perfect in the evening for enjoying some cocoa and goodies with friends on the patio!  Honestly, I just couldn’t wait any longer to start setting up some Christmas cheer in my home!  And being blessed with such wonderful weather, on a weekend no less, gave us the opportunity to have the best of both worlds!  And then the very next day…it snowed!  I don’t know about you but I have to admit I loved both days!  But the reality is that hot cocoa weather is now here to stay and it’s easy to warm up with some…

cookies and cocoa!

Christmas Countdown…

November 21
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Well, Thanksgiving is only a couple days away…and since it’s early this year, it does give some hope for those of us who are feeling like there’s just not enough time to get all the Christmas shopping started or the decorations hung!  I love it when we have those extra few days after the feast is over rather than the years when December 1 seems to be the day after Thanksgiving!  And since we have those extra days in our back pocket, we also still have time to put together a Christmas advent calendar…something that’s been a tradition in our home since the boys were little!  It’s such a fun way to count down the days to Christmas by unwrapping a little trinket each morning!  And even though my boys are getting older, I don’t think that’s any reason to stop the festivities…who says the fun has to end when you grow up?  So let me share how I’m preparing our advent this year, and I hope you can find some inspiration for yours…there’s still plenty of time!

get ready to count the days…

At the Table…

November 18
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I can hardly believe that Thanksgiving is next week already!  The time really has flown this year…and my mom was right when she said that each year seems to go faster than the last!  But no matter how quickly it’s approaching, I still can hardly wait for our feast!  Each year my cousins and myself take turns hosting our family celebration!  But after we all got married we began serving up our Thanksgiving feast over the weekend so everyone could visit other family members on the actual “turkey day”.  This really became a fun tradition for a couple reasons…we get to spend the weekend together AND we get to have TWO fabulous meals!  This year we’re heading out to enjoy our holiday weekend, but for Thanksgiving Day itself I’m always happy to set a pretty table and collaboratively prepare a lovely meal!  And this holiday is extra special since we get to share our feast with family AND good friends!  So to have a little fun, I’m crafting up some whimsical place cards!  Let me share a peek at what will be on our table and I hope you can find some inspiration for yours!

whimsical & fun…holiday DIY!

Holiday Party Favorites

November 16
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Thanksgiving is just over a week away…and you know that means Christmas festivities will soon begin!  In fact, some people celebrate both holidays at the traditional feast, especially if this is the only occasion they can get together!  So I don’t really believe I’m rushing by sharing a couple holiday favorites now…giving you time to go out and grab them before they’re gone!  I love to entertain, and it’s especially fun during the holidays when the celebrations just seem to be extra festive!  But I also love easy decorations and disposable party supplies which make set up AND clean up a breeze!  Take a peek at a couple of goodies that are just right for celebrations without putting a dent in your Christmas budget…

easy, festive faves!

Feeling Thankful

November 14
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I think it’s pretty typical in November to be mindful of all the things we’re thankful for.  The Thanksgiving holiday is a nice reminder of what we should be doing all the year…counting our blessings, even in those times when they can be seemingly absent.  The fact is, no matter the situation, there’s always something to be thankful for…a kind smile from a friend, family that stands behind you, the chance to enjoy another day!  And I’ve also been trying to see each annoying hiccup in life as a moment to search for a blessing in there somewhere…kind of like the cup half-full attitude.  So for me, November is the cue to remind myself not just to be thankful at our traditional feast, but ALL the year through…or at least give it my best shot!  And with this thought in the front of my mind, I geared one of my DIY projects to tie right in!  So today I’m going to share my November centerpiece designed for us all to share a thankful thought or two…

counting blessings big & small…

Favorite Things!

November 11
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Aside from sharing all the goodies within the walls at Alice-Louise Press, I haven’t done a “favorite things” post for quite some time!  With Thanksgiving coming so soon, I wanted to feature some wonderful finds from another favorite place to shop…Target!  If I had the time, I believe I could wander the isles for hours…scouring even the most utilitarian displays in search of that perfect score!  They make it SO easy to stumble across items that somehow call to you!  I can’t even go in for a jar of peanut butter without leaving with at least one extra little thing…I guess they really know what they’re doing!  But that’s another story about the fine art of marketing…today I’ll stay focused on that feast at the end of the month and these favorites to help with the holiday!

get some goodies for Thanksgiving…