Monday, December 31, 2012

~ Happy New Year - Mantel Decorations

Although I don't fancy a long list of resolutions which are unlikely to be kept, nonetheless, it feels good to re-focus and think about what is really important. For that reason maybe, there is a decorated mantel for New Year's celebration. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

~ The Decorated House ~ Christmas 2012

If you listen closely
You can Hear the
Angels Singing.
A pretty Mercury Glass container filled with fresh cedar, 
dusted with glued on faux snow,
& a simple White Candle.
Little snowflakes made of felt.
Bleached Bottle Brush Trees & Small Mercury Glass Ornaments.

Friday, December 14, 2012

~ Bleached Bottle Brush Trees & Pottery Barn Bottle Brush Dog & The Christmas Dog

Have you fallen in love with these wonderful little bottle brush trees? I haven't seen them in their natural state of creamy off-white in stores, although they can be ordered on-line. However for just a few cents, you can create your own because you can change them very easily. 

The first ones I saw a couple of years ago were vintage, but today you can find them new as well.
The trees on the left are how I found them. They are sold for using in those little villages people put up especially during Christmas time. Look in the area  where you can buy the miniature houses and furnishings and that's where you find those strangely colored blue green trees.

I started bleaching them a couple of years ago, and I haven't seen anyone coming up with a newer idea.  It's all the same very simple process. After they are bleached you can use any kind of dye to make them another color like pink or aqua if you wanted to. Or just leave them pretty and natural.

HOW TO: This is all you need to know!
All you have to do is fill a container like a plastic or glass bowl, or a plastic tub, with water and 1/4 -1/2 cup of bleach. Let them sit until they look like the ones on the right in the picture above! Really, that's all there is to it, and what a big difference. They will match other natural bottle brush goodies very nicely. Let them dry on a paper towel or sitting outside.
Because of the little character pictured below. The Dog takes on a whole new place in my decorating for even Christmas. With a face like that, you can understand! 

This is a special family member who has had a little influence over my decorating the last few years. He is very white, and he has a curly tail.

We celebrate "The Puppy's" birthday in October, but Puppy Day is just as important and it is the day after Christmas, Dec 26th. That is the day he found us. Even now it makes me smile to remember  the silly story that I shared here: Cody ~ New Year, New Love.

Just like with your kids, when I see that picture, I wish I could just pick up that little rascal and hold him in my lap. Well, he's about 65 lbs. now so he no longer fits in my lap.
I have said before, I really didn't understand those "crazy dog" people before Cody came along. Now they all seem perfectly normal to me after all. Well, most of them anyway, and we might all be considered crazy dog people in this home now.

Yes, there was the year that I went in search of the Nativity Dog. I had never seen a dog in the Christmas manger sets, and when I did, it was a mission to find one for our vintage nativity. And then... well we had three, just because. I like to collect in threes anyway. 

Here is the story of the Nativity Dog which you might like if you are one of those dog people, or if you like vintage goodies.

So this year, The Cody Puppy was the reason for hunting down these fabulous bottle brush Lab bottle brush (sisal) dogs. None of the Pottery Barn stores in my town received a single one! Shocking for such a big store.  I called their customer service; they told me how many of the dogs were in the stores in my state, and I selected one, called them up and purchased the dogs and they sent them right to my house. Free shipping on line, so they did free shipping from the store as well. If you can't find any in your stores, this is an option for you.

When they arrived, I was very pleased. They are so cute! Our Cody is not a full lab, he is a rescue pup! He is very white, and well, he has a perfectly curled tail which is very indicative of his personality.  The bottle brush dogs are natural dark cream and were airbrushed with some darker highlights. I was able to bend the wire in the tail so it  now has a curly tail like Cody, and add a dry brushing of white paint to make it more white like him.  Totally crazy dog people, I admit it.

The dogs are the  perfect complement to the little bottle brush trees and the wreaths as well. The arrangement on the entry table this year is very different than years before. I am enjoying the whimsical nature of it every time I walk by.

** Last tips:
The trees and dogs in real life actually have a bit more yellow to them. The first picture in this post shows a little more yellow. The last picture just above has been adjusted to show less yellow.  You can make them look more white by dry brushing the tips with white paint. And you easily glitter them by painting on some glue, and the sprinkle with glitter or roll the trees in the glitter and shake off the excess.

Also if you are going to bleach any bottle brush, make sure it is not plastic. The ones shown above are made of sisal. I am not sure  if the plastic material would bleach, although it might.

See Y'All Soon~

Monday, December 10, 2012

~ Christmas 2012 Mystic Nest - Inspired by Anthropologie Mythic Nest

This is my newest fantasy Christmas nest creation. I made some changes, although it is very similar to last year's that you can see here: 2011 Mystic - Mythic Nest.  Last year I called the Anthroplogie nest "mystic" instead of "mythic" as it was called on their site. So I went back and changed  the original post to the "correct" title. But the more I thought about it, I liked the idea of mystic as a better description for mine.  So that is what mine will be called. This is such an easy

Friday, November 23, 2012

~ Christmas Mantel 2009 White & Black with Silver & Lime Green

I'm looking back at some of the Christmas Decorating 
from the last few years. So I'm going to re-post
a few pictures. I hope you all enjoy them, too. 
I use so many of these same things each year and
it's always fun to see how they looked in previous years.  
Christmas Mantel 2009
White & Silver
with a touch
of Black & Lime Green

There were no new purchases of ornaments and decorations this year. (Except for my oldest Nativity set got a few "new" pieces.) The only reason was that I had boxes and boxes of decorations that I didn't even use. This was after I gave boxes of things to Sweet Daughter. It amused her when she called and said that she was thinking of doing purple and red this year. Hey I've got a whole box of purple ( and another one of all red) goodies I told her! Of course you do was her answer. Her tree was beautiful and I loved seeing one in purple again.

I do not know exactly how this stuff accumulates!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

~ Happy ThanksGiving!

From our home to yours, wishing you 
a Wonderful Day of ThanksGiving! 

Somehow the time got away from me and the entry table didn't really get a pretty arrangement this year. But I found a picture taken a few years ago. I need to go find that pretty urn to use again! I'm sure it is somewhere ...... I'm not sure this year was very good for getting more organized. It will be a goal again for the new year.

Time to get cooking, so.....

See Y'All Soon~

Friday, November 2, 2012

~ Helping After Hurricane Sandy

 Please Help!

Through American Red Cross

Twitter: #SandyHelp 
To donate, visit ,  
OR text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation 
OR  call 1-800-RED-CROSS.
If you would like to support those in need through the services of The Salvation Army, there are a few ways in which you can donate:
  • Online: Visit
  • By Phone:  1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769).
  • Text-to-Give: Text the word STORM to 80888, and confirming the donation with the word, “Yes.”*
  • By Mail: Checks may be designated and made out to:
The Salvation Army Disaster Services Center
PO BOX 1959
Atlanta, GA 30301.
For full details on The Salvation Army’s disaster relief efforts up and down the Coast, please see the official press release here, or visit

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

~ Happy Halloween ~ The Decorated House

By now you know that I love Halloween. A few years ago we sat in our home as a quick moving little cat 1 hurricane went over our city. Thankfully it was moving fast enough that it "only" caused tons of major damage and not quite the devastation we are seeing in the northeast of our beautiful country right now. It's tough to celebrate much of anything when you see others hurting. So I'll just post a quick little note to say Happy Halloween to you all.

A little close up of the white pumpkin which has been painted with Annie Sloan chalk paints, Old White and Pure White over that. The stem was made using paper clay. 

Because Beau Bunny and I both have a sweet spot for Snickers {No endorsement here, and we do consume in moderation only this time of year :) } This was totally a photo op. All candy had to be removed immediately so Bunny didn't eat it all. 

If you find it in your heart and and are able to help, please consider donating money or blood to the Red Cross, or to the Salvation Army or a Charity responding to  the needs of those affected by hurricane, superstorm Sandy.

See Y'All Soon~
Click on any of the pictures below to shop art from The Decorated House 

Monday, October 22, 2012

~ Halloween Decorating. Black & White, A Little More

 The only room that really gets any Halloween decorating is the living room area. A while back I thought I would stop decorating inside or outside, except maybe a Jack O Lantern. Our own daughter is grown, and there seems to be fewer kids coming out for trick or treat now. Then a couple years ago, when I opened the door for a few kids trick or treating, a little girl about 3 just came running right in the door. She stopped and looked around and smiled. Her mom was trying to catch her, but this little one was quick. It wasn't that I had done anything especially great. She just appreciated even the little things.  She reminded me of that special wonder that children have and that we often lose along the way. Doing even a small amount of decorating for Halloween keeps us in the spirit of Fall and the upcoming holidays.

The pillows with the black and white stripe trim were a part of the decor around here for several years. They have changed slightly as my color choices have changed.  Even though this is a very common toile, I happen to love toiles and this one is just fine with me. When I first made these I was mimicking some quite expensive pillows I had seen and the outside toile area was golden yellow. I  used fabric medium and paint on my fabric to get the same look that I had seen, and the gold was part of my colors. Since then that area has been painted a greige color. For  a while they have been in the closet because I was not using any black. This year I remembered I still had them and they were just what I needed to dress the sofa a bit differently and complement the Halloween decor which is black, white & silver.

I also kept the black and white transferware pieces from years ago and used one of the covered vases on the side table. These pieces look great with the seasonal decor as well. Funny how if you have things put away for awhile, sometimes they look fresh and new again. But not always... I know. There are many more things that went out the door in the last few years that are not missed at all.

Lots of us love white pumpkins. Here is another one I painted sitting on a harlequin plate along with some very old books from the mid 1800's, a quartz crystal sphere, a skeleton key and a spider just for the fun of it. The book was destined to be a book of spells, and still might get some more work next year. Since I love old and rustic books, it is perfect for the holiday.

See Y'All Soon~
Click on any of the pictures below to shop the art from The Decorated House!

Monday, October 1, 2012

~ Halloween Mantel 2012 - Decorating in Black & White 2

There were questions around here as to why Beau Bunny was being blamed for the missing Snickers. He is pleading the 5th, and hasn't confessed to eating them. Well the truth is he has been jumping from spot to spot, quite full of excess sugar energy, there are empty wrappers left exactly in places where he was seen. On top of that Beau Bunny always has a spare bandito mask, and one was left hanging on the mantel after he was seen there. I know, all circumstantial. We might need to set up

Saturday, September 29, 2012

~ Halloween Mantel Decorating - Black & White

Halloween decorating! I love Halloween. For those of you who might know Beau Bunny Rabbit Bandito, yes, that is his mask. I think he got into the snickers, took off his mask and took a snooze! Silly rabbit. That garland, banner of Trick or Treat came with skulls. I printed some smaller pictures  of Beau Bunny with his Jack O Lantern and Raven and added them instead. Much  better.

The mantel is mostly black and white again this year, with a few touches of light pumpkin to celebrate the Fall season. Our Halloween decor is never too dark and scary around here. But we do like a tiny bit of spooky, so the ravens are back again. Although I don't like spiders in real life, these glittered ones are such perfect accent so they come by to add another spooking touch.

The black and white art I've had for so many years and I've never thought of incorporating it into my Halloween decorating. It is a welcome addition to the black and white scheme.

Stay tuned the next couple of weeks for more Halloween ideas, close up pictures and a few tutorials on somethings you might want to add to your festivities.

See Y'All Soon~
Click on any of the pictures below to shop art from The Decorated House 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

~ Halloween Decorating!

Lots of Halloween Ideas:


Are you one of those people who loves Halloween and all the great decorating that goes with it? Me too!  I have a lot of ideas pinned for decorating and getting your home all ready for this fun season.  Stop by and see if you find something you like and of course feel free to re-pin anything. There are lots of ideas for Fall and Halloween decorating.

We pulled the Halloween storage tub into the house today so I could see exactly what was in it. Do you sometimes totally forget you have decorations? It is so much fun finding something you forgot about having.  Usually I do a few weeks of Fall decorating, switch to Halloween and then back to Fall. But it was a little too busy around here to do any Fall decorating yet, so I'm going right into Halloween.  

You can find some of my Halloween pictures from the past few years by clicking on the "Holidays * Halloween" link under Categories on the sidebar.  I might be looking for ideas there for myself as well.

See Y'All Soon~
Click on any of the pictures below to shop art from The Decorated House 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

~ Little Tips For Gluten Free Biscuits

Biscuits! We love biscuits, not just a little bit, but lots. Actually my daughter and I are crazy about bread, but we try to stay away from gluten. Biscuits was a tough one to convert to gluten free and really and truly keep a great tasting biscuit.  I have tried many recipes. But this is my current best creation.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

~ Ancestry, French Castles & Chateaus, Château de Montaigne

Did you ever dream of living in a castle when you were very young?

I fell in love with books of fairy tales in grade school and couldn't wait to go to the library to search for more to read. So many of those tales talked about castles, and it sounded like a fantastic place to live looking through the eyes of a child. Although Cinderella didn't have too great of a time in the beginning of her story.

The first time I saw the Cinderella castle at Disney World, it was shortly after it first opened.

Friday, July 20, 2012

~ Summer Mantel with Shells & Garden Ornaments

The cement garden ornaments were actually outside at one time.  They have been inside for quite a while, either in the house or on the porch. They have been inside for so long, that

Friday, July 13, 2012

~ Summer Decorating ~ Bringing the Ocean Home With Shells

Even though I have lived most of my life near the ocean, I've confessed before that shells have not often been a part of my decorating. Growing up here between the ocean and the gulf, I saw that people from the northern states who moved here mostly for retirement and lil' ol' ladies often had an abundance of shells or worse "shell crafts" in their homes. Sorry to say, that

Sunday, July 8, 2012

~ Summer ~ Blues, Shells & a Copper Ex-Voto

As the temperatures climb this time of year whites and blues look so inviting. Needing  a little change sent me looking for things collected over the years to do a little summer decorating. I think the vintage, flea market, blue bottles could make a comeback to the living room area. Maybe in the entry table this time. 

I love this copper and turquoise ex voto - heart more now than when I first bought it. Although a newer piece,

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

~ Succulents in Summer Bloom

When it is summer time I'm really craving blooms outside. Although I have a reawakened love of some succulents it is one of the ones from the past that I long snubbed as too easy or boring or whatever I mistakenly thought that is really making a splash right now.  It's the simple portulaca. I have no idea why it hasn't been used more in our flower garden over the last few years. I think it was because not too many succulents of any kind were invited to our garden parties.  This year though, the lowly portulaca are the perfect complement to the other succulents. Not only do they bloom without too much maintenance all summer long, but their blossoms really enhanced the beauty of the smaller blooms of  the same color on the other succulent. No idea what the name of that one is since they are all kind of new to me in the last couple of years and they all get that succulent around here still. I think they are here to stay though. 

The pots above are newly planted this year. I had neglected the ones from last year a little too much, and had to redo them, but only a little. Just needed some restructuring of soil and plant sizes. 

For some tips on making your own succulent dish garden check out this post. 

I'm sewing right now while it's so hot outside. Although sewing is never on my list of fun things to do, hopefully the summer will see some projects done inside while those pretty flowers dance outside. And I hope all your flowers are having a great summer  as well.

See Y'all Soon~
Click on any of the pictures below to shop  art from The Decorated House 

Friday, June 15, 2012

~ Blossoms of the Night

This is one of those totally fantastic things in nature that you feel lucky to see. And they do look like there are straight out of a fantasy landscape when you see them up close. About this time year,

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

~ Home Office - Get The Designer Look For Less

No room for a home office? Here are a few hints from a talented designer.

In this lovely home in Austin,  designer Sara Scaglione made excellent use of a very small area. This is one end of the sunroom which she turned into an office. I would guess that they have another area where the computer is, or there is usually a laptop or wireless computer being used here. 

She used vintage

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

~ Decorating with Rusty Old Things

Sometimes you don't know exactly how or when you started to really love something. It's that way with rust. Without a doubt I spent many hours with cleaners, navel jelly, sandpaper and whatever to get rust off of something that I wanted to paint.

When I saw this lock and the sister one that I found at the same time, I knew

Friday, May 25, 2012

~ Decorating with Antique Blue Bottles on The Mantel

 Although I seldom decorate with pink, sometimes it just fits the mood. This time of year when there are flowers outside, it is so enjoyable to have them inside as well.  So many times I look for something different

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

~ Home Office with Black Cabinet Built-Ins & Desk

A home office can be simply a tiny corner set aside for paying bills or copying recipes, or it an be a major design element including an entire room.

Recently Sweet Daughter purchased a large white desk so that she could create her much needed home office in an alcove of her den/family room. Since she knew this was what she wanted for sometime, I was busy looking for ideas of combining bookcases with desks to show her.

The picture above (photo by The Decorated House) of a  home office is from a showhouse a couple of years ago. Aren't those cabinets beautiful? Painted black with wire inset in the doors, this is storage with style. My daughter chose white instead of wood or black to keep the room lighter since gets less light than the rest of the house. She does not have enough room for full double door bookcases like the ones here, so we have been hunting for ones that are less than 20 inches since her desk is a large 63 inches. It had to be that size because she wanted a built-in file cabinet drawer. She did not think she wanted any doors, but with have Cody Bear in the house and therefore doggie hair, I'm tying to convince her to have at least the bottom half with a door and then leave the top for books and display. It has taken quite a while to find the right desk at a good price.

My own art room - studio has been in-the-making for such a long time, I wonder if it will ever be "done" and cleaned up as well as truly organized. Older homes usually have such deficient closet space and that certainly contributes to the problem of not enough storage when you are artists or someone who loves to create things.

Some of the pictures I have found online of  Home Offices & Studios  are here on Pinterest. There are so great ideas even though I need more inspiration and energy to get it done!

See Y'All Soon~

Monday, May 21, 2012

~ Bedroom Inspiration - Pretty Red Chest Style Nightstands

Aren't those chests pretty as nightstands? How easy it would be to make something just as stunning by painting a small chest or dresser that you were lucky enough to find at a thrift store or garage sale. This is such a charming bedroom created for a fundraiser showhouse. Simple design, no excess accessories. In our bedroom we have larger chests like these to help with the lack of storage. Works out really well.

See Y'All Soon~

Friday, May 18, 2012

~ Succulent Dish Garden ~ How-To, Tutorial

We are still working outside right now, and one of the last things to do is to freshen up some of the succulent dish gardens, or make new ones. My love affair with many of these succulents continues. I guess I just never saw many of these in my early years of gardening or plants like mother-in-laws tongue didn't hold much interest for me.

So even though this is a repeat, you might enjoy it again, or for the first time.
Making a succulent dish garden

Monday, May 14, 2012

~ Living Rooms ~ Which Would You Choose?

Aren't these two living rooms both beautiful and interesting?  When they first started appearing around the web, it made me take a closer look since they had different elements that I too really liked. The spaces may be very different in size in real life, but I'm only looking at what we see in the photos. 

The first picture is House Beautiful magazine chatting with designer, and Euro Trash owner Annie Brahler, who shares how she used gold accents, restored antiques, and large mirrors when decorating her Jacksonville, IL home.


 The second photo is from Sally Wheat Designs. We can look into the rooms from a similar entry point, and see what might have been the same space decorated by two different designers. Both spaces have light neutral walls, and wood floors with a natural rug, a very simple color palette, and gold accents. A simple and well used plan for good reason. The first house is a Victorian as opposed to the second one which is not as old. But you could easily visualize swapping the furniture and think that is the way each designer might have decorated the other space,  at least from the way we are seeing the rooms from the photos. The Victorian room might be much larger since the fireplace is probably centered between two windows.

 I've seen people on-line swoon over both of these pictures. How nice that we are all so different. Which one is more to your liking? Does one just suit your style perfectly, or you like something(s), or don't like something(s), from each one? 

See Y'all Soon~

Saturday, May 12, 2012

~ Happy Mother's Day!

Wishing you a wonderful Mother's Day

See Y'All Soon~

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

~ Update the Instant Garden ~ Fast Growing Summer Border ~

Click on link for an update on The Instant Garden.
(The last post didn't update in feedburner.)
The above picture is for semi-shade summer gardening,
with lots of watering.   
See Y'All Soon~

~ Instant Garden ~ Fast Growing Summer Border ~ Update

Here's an update for 2012:

This proved to be really a perfect little spot of flower garden. As had been the case previously, the Purple Coneflower did very will for about half the summer. As before, the combination of very dry to very wet with a short span of days, was too much for it. At least in this particular spot, though I have tried it in other places of the yard as well. So this year I probably opt for getting that same color with another flower and getting the look of the flower with an African Daisy.

Of course the Pentas, Purple Buddy,  Bush Daisy, Purple Fountain Grass, and Purple Heart did exactly as expected. They can take the heat with good watering, the bloom all summer long. The Mystic Spires Blue Salvia also lasted the the whole summer into fall. It is considered an annual but many slavias come back or re-seed. This area received not tender loving care over the winter, and the salvia did not come back. But it probably would have if it had been better care during the winter.

For 2012, I will definitely be using the same flowers that I mentioned above that did so well. That border was planted in the heat of May and somehow it happens to be May already! Time to get to it.
Here is the original post with before and after shots. The flowers have been in the ground a couple of weeks at the most in the pictures. The biggest difference was the green sweet potato vine took over everything, much to my delight. 

 When we began redoing all of the backyard in the fall 2010, the best thing to do was concentrate on shrubs and the foundation things that would be there for a very long time. It was a good idea. The only problem was that the whole area had been flower beds with no grass before we made a very big change to the backyard. I really missed the punch of color and flowers.  As the warm weather came around we were shopping for  mulch and rocks and of course you guessed it .... those little lovely flowers kept jumping out and saying buy me, buy me. I missed the flower beds, but I was trying to fight the addiction for them. Not very well though.

So as not to get too carried away, I removed just three sections of landscaping in three different areas, two in sunny to very sunny and one in semi-sun environment to make way for 3 small flower areas. I had just found an article that I had saved from P. Allen Smith about a fast growing border. It was just too much encouragement to resist. Especially when I saw his background included one of my favorite plants of color, the Purple Fountain Grass. So off I went to look for a few good flowers

I haven't had great luck with the Purple Coneflower in the past. We can get days and days of rain, and I think it just doesn't like wet feet. Of course I bought it anyway, because I can't resist a pretty face.

The yellow Bush Daisy over on the right and in the middle of the bed, is a very easy one to grow. The tall Mystic Blue Spires Salvia has the most fabulous true blue. More blue than many of the salvias I've grown before.

That bright green Marguerite Sweet Potato Vine always does very well. It can take the heat and sun as long as it has plenty of water, which can mean daily if we have no rain that day. The Blackie Sweet Potato is in another area, although it is the perfect companion color with the lime great. Instead I stuck some Purple Heart in for more purple color.

Most of these were purchased in gallon size pots, expect for the Pentas and Purple Buddy. It's an instant garden for someone who can be a bit impatient this time of year of color. It also is fast growing and will be much more filled in within a short time.

Now to keep them all alive and watered through the long hot summer! None of these should need replacing though. They all should make it through this year and into next if they are tended to. Just more time out watering every morning.
(Read at the top for update.)

See Y'All Soon~
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