Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Garden Seeds: The Gift of Seeds

With less than one week to go to Christmas, it’s crunch time for buying gifts. An easy one to buy and assemble is garden seeds. Here are some tips: Buy seeds that will grow in our climate. Phoenix is Zone 9. If you are buying for someone outside Phoenix, check their zone here:

 Bundle your seeds to create a theme garden. Try a salsa garden, ecological garden (attracts pollinators), sunflower variety, fragrant garden or a lettuce mix bed. If harvesting your own seeds, store them in a dry container. For a gift, package seeds in glass jars or fancy envelopes. No plastic bags! Seed viability decreases with time. Encourage your gift recipient to use their seeds within one to three years. Include a pot with your seeds. Tie a bow with twine for the finishing touch. Two of my favorite seed companies are: Botanical Interests: the artwork on these seed packets is gorgeous. Save the packets and use for art! These seeds can be found in local nurseries or online at

 Seeds of Change: everything grows from these seeds! This company has a beautiful catalog that will hook you on seeds forever. They also have a huge seed donation program for community gardens. Learn more at

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Tree Tour Stop 6: The McKinnon Family Tree

As much as I love a themed tree, my sentimental heart won and we chose to go a more traditional route with the tree decor. My tree is a humble tree, but what it lacks in size and quality (next year we will fix that!!) it makes up for in tradition. Our little 5' scrawny tree (that is mostly pole!) is covered with memories. We have a family tradition where my husband and I pick one ornament every December to reflect that year somehow.

We also will find an ornament for each of our children that represents something special about them or an accomplishment that they made that year. Then we gift that ornament to them on Christmas Eve along with a note from us explaining why we carefully chose that specific ornament just for them. Our plan is to give all of their ornaments to them when they leave the nest, so to speak. Then they can actually have something to throw on their tree, because the reality is most college students don't have the funds for the trimming of a tree. I love this tradition and it makes decorating the tree even more fun. I will share a few of my favorites with you.

Here are Nora and Byron's 'First Christmas' ornaments. They are twins, so naturally we has to hang these babes together. I hunted for a 'first christmas' ornament that I liked that year and it proved to be difficult. Finally I had found these at Hallmark and had to call a store and put the last two on hold, only to find out after I had drove twenty minutes there and back I had purchased two African babies. They were very cute, but my sweet twins were Caucasian. After some discussion with the store they finally allowed me to return them. Then I was on the hunt again for these two little sweet peas. Victory was mine, as you can see.

This adorable knit reindeer was given to Nora in 2010 because she had taken such a strong liking to stuffed animals in her first year of life. I was excited to see that it is her favorite ornament on the tree this year. I chose well! Yay!

This Santa that is pretending to be a tree is symbolic of the year my husband and I couldn't afford a tree, so we got some garland, wire hangers and a star and made our own tree out of a coat rack. We were pretty proud of ourselves.
I really love my vintage glass glitter star I bought at Pottery Barn many years ago. I am also in love with my big frosted colored lights. They are so happy!
 Obviously, I am heavily inspired by all things vintage. I came across these darling poinsettias this year at Macy's and knew I had to have them. My favorite thing about them is that they are made from fabric, so when the lights in your house are off and your tree is lit, the poinsettias still let the light through the petals instead of creating black holes in the tree.
Maybe someday I will have a grand tree with all the fluff that wows visitors. But for now, I love my little itty-bitty tree with too much pole and nasty pine needles because of the memories its branches hold (barely...those things are weak!). 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Tree Tour Stop 5: The Clouse Family Tree

Today we are introducing a beautiful, fun tree that belongs to Denise Clouse. Her daughter, Auburn, is going to introduce us to this fantastic tree.

Hello again! My name is Auburn and I am pleased to share my mom's tree with you. First of all, my mom, Denise, has more talent in her pinky than I could ever dream of having. I learn more about decorating by watching my mom work then I could ever learn in any book. I was the lucky recruit that helped her put up Christmas this year, so I thought I would share some of the out.of.control cuteness!

My mom has (almost) ten grandkids that are at her house a lot. This year she decided to ditch most of the glass ornaments and switched almost entirely to the "shatter proof", aka plastic, ornaments. At first I was not sure if they would look as amazing as glass, but I can tell you... I AM A SHATTER PROOF FAN!!

Almost all the ornaments you see in these pics are plastic- and don't they look great?! No more worrying when all the grandkids are over! We dropped a good number- and not one broke. One was even dropped from the ceiling and it still looks amazing!

So.. you know that excuse that you can't decorate when you have kids?? Well, her house is totally kid proof!! And decked from top to bottom!

There are three things I love most about my moms tree. First, I love the assortment of reds and greens. I think its adds so much to the tree when things aren't "prefect"- it gives it some character! I love the lime, to the kelly, to the forest green assortment.

Secondly, I love the fabulous red bow topper. It is actually an outdoor giant bow from the Home Depot- and it is seriously even cuter in person!

Third, I LOVE her overall mix of old and new. Still the original stockings (from 1981!), skirt and several ornaments she made nearly 20 years ago. She still incororates the things she loves, regardless of whether or not they are still stylish, or even the same style.

This tree is certainly the center of attention in the family room, and it just makes you smile. You can't help but sing Christmas songs all day long when your tree looks this cute!!

And here is a bonus glimpse at some other festive decor in the Clouse home:


Thank you Denise and Auburn for sharing your festive tree with us!! Merry Christmas, indeed!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Treasure Hunting: Craigslist

Welcome to our very first Treasure Hunting Post! We're exploring the Phoenix Craigslist today in search of the very best finds- behold:

This gorgeous Provencial Dresser is just waiting to be turned into a sewing desk for me.... $350 in Tempe

These old fishing pails have so much charm & character and can be used for so many things......$25 in Scottsdale

Amazing Vintage Industrial File Cabinet would be awesome in a craft room to store all types of stuff.......$99 in Scottsdale

I have been searching high & low for a dress form- this one is perfection!...........$50 in Anthem

I'm seeing stacked suitcases EVERYWHERE...........$15 in Mesa

Those are my top picks for today- keep scouring the internets & thrift shops for some great deals on home decor!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Tree Tour Stop 4: The Dunton Family Tree

I am so excited to share not one but TWO fantastic trees with you all today from one of our delightful readers, Megan Dunton! It is my dream to have a bunch of christmas trees in every room in the house, and Megan's are oh-so-stylish! 

First up is this adorable red & green Candy Tree that has a ton of giant oversized ornaments that I love. Megan says, 

"My red and white candy tree, one of the things you can't tell from the far away shot is that there is actual candy on some of the branches and a new addition this year are "Santa 'Staches" which are white chocolate lollipop moustaches I made that are just too funny!"

Seriously? Cutest thing I've ever seen! I totally want to snag this idea and give out white chocolate peppermint Santa Staches to everyone I meet! Darling idea! 

Here is some of her holiday decor that coordinates with her tree-such a simple & sweet centerpiece that packs a lot of punch. And her wrapping paper wall art? Brillant! 

In her kitchen she has another fabulous table centerpiece, this time with elegant, chic reindeer in more bold tones. And last, but not least......

My absolute FAVORITE tree- A forest themed pine complete with glitter deer, feathers, leopard ribbon, and ANTLERS. I am drooling over here, people. Such a unique and stylish way to celebrate the holiday season! Thanks so much for sharing with us Megan! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Tree Tour Stop 3 : The Jones Family Tree

Hello! My name is Auburn and I LOVE all things fun and creative. One word that sums up my design style is "FUN". I want my home to feel happy... and happy to me means COLOR! So naturally my Christmas decor falls right into that same category. I am by no means a designer or an expert; I just know what I like and I go for it.

I don't really have any design rules. If it is something that I like, then its going on the tree! I think that is the greatest part about design... its so subjective, and its so up to you! What makes me happy, may not make another person happy- and thats ok!

I am a fan of collecting as you go. You don't have to purchase every box that comes in a certain line, or brand, of decorations... its ok to mix and match if you just fall in love with all sorts of different things. Believe it or not, the majority of my bigger ornaments are from Old Navy!

I guess the one major thing I keep in mind every year is my audience... aka two crazy little girls. So all the delicate ornaments stay at the top where little fingers can't reach them... and a few that I don't mind being spontaneously kissed or carried around the house, get the bottom row.

Oh, and I am not really a star person, so I like a clean glittered bow atop my tree... cause really, you can never have enough glitter!

 This is my attempt at a FUN tree... and it every time I look at it, it totally makes me happy! :)

Auburn also gave us a peek at her other Christmas decor and it is far too fabulous to not share:

What did I tell ya? Fabulous! Thank you, Auburn, for sharing your tree and amazing decor with us. Your tree makes us happy too!

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