perfect christmas - our fifth house

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hello, you Crazy Wonderful people!  I'm Carmel from Our Fifth House.  I just love Shelley as I'm sure you do, so I was super thrilled she asked me join in the Perfect Christmas fun!  Christmas really is the perfect time to wish and dream BIG!  Am I right?!  

My perfect Christmas would be spent right here in the middle of a snowy nowhere with a warm fire surrounded by my sweet family and friends. 

                                                    Source: via Carmel (@ Our Fifth House) on Pinterest

But since we're playing make believe, let's pretend this little house is just a little bigger (and that it has actual doors and windows) because Ralph Lauren is going to need some room to decorate.


                                                      Source: via Carmel (@ Our Fifth House) on Pinterest

He knows how to make everything - fashion, home, holiday - classic and current all in a totally effortless way!

While the food would be oh so delicious, the cocktails would be the real treat at our party!  Let me introduce you to the Happy Elf.

                                                       Source: via Carmel (@ Our Fifth House) on Pinterest

Happy is right!

Under the tree a little special something would be waiting just for me.

                                                          Source: via Carmel (@ Our Fifth House) on Pinterest

Clearly, I'm dreaming, but it's a good dream huh?

Thanks Shelley for inviting me over to dream today!  I hope this is a very special dream-like Christmas for each and everyone of you!


Be sure to check out more from Carmel at Our Fifth House!

perfect christmas - primitive and proper

Monday, November 26, 2012

Hey guys!  I hope everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving, and was able to take some time to reflect on all the wonderful things we all have to be thankful for.  Right now I'm so thankful for the amazing bloggers who are helping me out while I get to enjoy our new baby boy.  I'm sure you guys will dig the guest posters I have lined up for you over the next few weeks.  Each will be sharing their version of the perfect Christmas.  You might even get some great gift ideas too!

Hello Crazy Wonderful readers!  I am Cassie from Primitive and Proper and I am so excited to be here.  Shelley has lined up some  fabulous guests while she is giving birth or with her new baby.  Some are crazy and some are wonderful.  Today, you are stuck with crazy.

Can you guys believe that the Christmas season is already here?  I feel like this year raced right by me!  But that's ok, because this time of year is my most favorite!  So of course when Shelley asked me to write about my most favorite time of year, I mentally ran into the Candy Cane Forest, and started dreaming!

Where would I spend my perfect Christmas?  Frankly, my perfect Christmas would be right here at my home.  My kids, Sawyer and Emerson, are 7 and 5, and at such a fun age!  There is no greater joy than seeing them run to the Christmas tree at home on Christmas morning, and then spending the morning in our PJ's around the fire while they play with their new toys, or read new books.

BUT, this is a fantasy, right?  One place I would love to go to see Christmas....Sweden.


Doesn't that look so dreamy?  I am Lutheran, my grandmother was Swedish, and I have always felt connected to that part of myself.  It would be amazing to see it in person, especially at this time of year. But of course my family would be with me, because no matter where I was it wouldn't be Christmas without them.

How would it be decorated?  I definitely prefer the more natural, handmade, and vintage touches at Christmas.  That being said, all of those elements combine in traditional Scandinavian Christmas decor. I am in love with this mantle and I apologize because I can not find the original source...

Doesn't that image just make you smile?

What am I munching or sipping on?  We always sit around the tree on Christmas Eve before the kids go to bed, and we munch on my mom's cookies.  Each year, she makes a huge platter with almost 20 varieties.  They are all delicious, but I would me munching on the chocolate revel bars or the raspberry coconut bars.  And I am most definitely sipping my Irish coffee with whipped cream, and hoping I don't drink too much and forget any of my Santa duties!


What gift would I like to see under the tree?  I always have a hard time coming up with gift ideas for myself.  There are so many things I could ask for, but nothing I really truly need.  I always treasure the handmade gifts the most- the things people took time and care in creating just for me.  I love finding those gifts under the tree.
Last year my mom made me these fingerless gloves, and they are AWESOME.  I wear them all the time!  They were definitely a favorite!

And my bestie Ali made me this awesome pom pom ornament in my favorite colors with a special flag that represented when we would get to see each other again.  (PS she sells these cuties in her shop, too!)

I definitely prefer gifts of the heart versus gifts of the wallet.

What is my favorite Christmas Tradition?  A few years ago we started giving out kids matching pj's as their Christmas Eve gift.  That way in the morning they match when they open presents.  It's a tradition lots of people do, I know, but we still love it.....

It's so fun to go back and look at these photos of Christmas PJ's past.

Shelley, I wish you all the best with your new baby boy  This will be one special Christmas for you and your family.  Thank you so much for letting my crash your blog today!
Be sure to check out more from Cassie at Primitive and Proper!

we're having a baby!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Today's the day.
We're having a baby!
I'm going to take a break for a few weeks to enjoy getting to know this little man.  But, no fear, I've not forgotten you guys!  I have a new series, Perfect Christmas, kicking off next Monday.  Thanks to some great friends helping me out, you'll get to see what makes up their version of the perfect Christmas.  Here are the lovely ladies you'll be hearing from:

Aubrey from All Things Bright and Beautiful
Jessamie from Bird and Branch Redesign
Amy from Green Eggs and Hamm
Maggie from Midwestern Girl
Carmel from Our Fifth House
Julia from Pawley's Island Posh
Cassie from Primitive and Proper
Natasha from Schue Love
I'll be sure to pop in here and there to give you some baby updates.  You know, when I'm not a mombie and can actually function in a somewhat normal manner.  Ha!  Wish me luck.
Hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!    

guest post - balsam hill christmas tree company

Friday, November 16, 2012

I've never heard someone complain, "This house just has way to much storage".  More storage is something we'd all love to have.  Today Jessica Phan from Balsam Hill Christmas Tree Company is here to give suggestions on finding your home's hidden storage potential. 

Creative Solutions for Getting Additional Storage Spaces at Home
Sometimes, a home just doesn't seem to fulfill our incessant need for more space. As families grow and homeowners acquire more furniture and appliances through the years, there is always a constant desire to have more storage space in which to keep belongings.
With imagination and creativity, you can come up with fresh ideas on how to maximize existing spaces and surfaces in your home.

Walls and Surfaces
Mounting cabinets and shelves on walls is a great way to add storage without taking up additional floor space in the room. Whether it's shallow or deep, a wall shelf can house anything that may otherwise be left lying around your living area.
Look around and see what surfaces you haven't tapped yet. Maybe you can build a medicine cabinet on the dividing wall in your bathroom. When installing a built-in cabinet, opt for glass sliding doors that not only let you see what's inside right away, but also keep you from using up more space. In kitchens, you can hang a utensil rack instead of keeping all your cooking utensils in a cupboard, which can then be used to store other items. Another plus side of a utensil rack is that it offers easy access to ladles, tongs, and the like when cooking.

The staircase has always been a likely spot for a storage place. Even Aunt Petunia had a cupboard under the stairs where her nephew Harry Potter once lived. But there is much more you can do with the space underneath your banister. You can build a bookcase underneath the stairs to store common reference materials like phonebooks and recipe books. The stairway wall can also be turned into a storage space for magazines or picture frames while the steps can be hinged to store slippers and shoes.

If you have a deep-bottom cabinet, set up pull-out storage shelves. This kind of storage makes removing and replacing items more convenient, since you'll never need to dig around in the cabinet to find something. The shelves also keep the drawer uncluttered and organized.
For more storage, extend the topmost part of your shelf or cabinet up to the ceiling. This extra space lets you keep things that are seldom used. Needless to say, a step stool should be placed nearby for easy access.

The attic is usually identified as an area where you can store boxes and chests filled with childhood toys, embarrassing pictures, old clothes, and other memorabilia that you simply can't throw out or put up at a garage sale. If you want to keep it organized, set up small shelves where you can arrange photo albums or a DVD archive of videos and digital photos. With an attic library of memories, you can find relief in the thought that your family's growing history is safely kept.

Even the narrow recesses of your kitchen walls can be useful for storing your condiments and spices. The recessed shelves of your bar or kitchen island can store small items as well.

Mounted Storage Solutions
Garden shops are full of clever ideas for storage around the home. For example, a plant basket can be mounted on the wall to keep your children's books and toys in one place. Not only are they practical, they also give the walls a homey touch.

Bay Windows
Bay windows are promising storage spaces for pillowcases and blankets. To get the most out of the space, add a hinged seat. Turning part of the bay window into a small bookshelf or cabinet is also an ingenious way to add more storage space to your home.

When buying furniture, look for pieces that have compartments to help you keep a room organized. Some beds feature underbed drawers which you can use to store extra pillows and blankets or your children's toys and stuffed animals. A coffee table can also double as a magazine shelf while an ottoman may be used to store photo albums. Be a wise shopper and look for furniture that serves dual purposes.

Spaces under the washer-dryer should not be left untapped. Take advantage of these small spaces by installing drawers where you can store detergent, bleach, fabric softeners, and other laundry supplies.

With these creative storage ideas, you can make the most of your living spaces for a more efficient household.

Jessica Phan is a designer for, a purveyor of high-end artificial Christmas Trees. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area is perfect for her because she has a wide range of interests, including Art & Design, Fashion, Photography, Painting and Thrift Store Shopping.

Thanks for the tips Jessica!

christmas decorations are up!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ok, so the Christmas decorations have been up for almost 2 weeks now.  I was really wanting to do a lot more before taking these photos, but every time I thought about doing it I end up waddling over to the couch instead.  I'm sure you get me and understand.
Here's the entry which I posted about here.  Still loving my glittery deer!

Kept the living room pretty simple.

This years' mantel looks more rustic with some shed deer antlers tossed in and the topiaries removed.  This was one area where my energy ran out - I had bought some faux fur to use on the cuffs of the stockings and was SO excited about it.  Definitely doing it next year.  I did get around to making some glitter initials for the stockings.  Man, they would have looked so cool with the fur, darn it! 

The tree this year is exactly the same as last year.  Don't you worry tree, I have plans to make you fabulous next year!

Dining room is WAY simple.  As in, all it got was this wreath.  Let's just pretend I did this on purpose and was executing an "edited" look :D

You can check out past Christmas decor here {2011 . 2010}

Gotta say, it feels so good to know this is all out of the way before the baby shows up.  Now here's hoping the decorations don't stay up past their time ;)
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I'll be linking up to these fab parties!


inside my bag - small fry

Monday, November 12, 2012

I am ubber excited to introduce today's guest post!

Today I have the ever so talented Jenna over from the new blog Small Fry!


If you have kids, plan on kids, have friends with kids, grandkids, or just plain like kids in general, then head over and check out this new children's lifestyle blog.  Jenna is one of three gorgeous mommas in charge over there, posting on all things you and the kiddos in your life will adore.  One of my favorite reads is their From Head to Toe posts where they pull together a style for both boy and girl from one store within a small budget.  Love it, and it has completely changed the way I think about shopping.

Here's just a small sampling of what you'll find over at Small Fry.

 And, here's the lovely Jenna!

Hi everyone! So flattered Shelley is having me guest post in this hand bag series. When I dumped out the contents of my bag however I couldn't help but think "how boring!" but let's face it, I'm a mom & it's a time in my life to be simple & practical in what I carry!
1. ABC is for circus book: you never know when a child is going to need entertaining stat, so I carry around this wonderfully illustrated book to occupy busy hands for a minute while I'm waiting in line at the post office. groan.
2. Gap Coupon: Love these! Carry around them with me always because you should NEVER pay full price at the gap.
3. Hobo Wallet: My trusty sidekick weathered and worn from years of use. If you're going to invest in a wallet, Hobo is your girl.
4. Go Go Squeeze Apple Sauce Packets: Can't carry enough of these. I don't care if I just fed my 4 year old the largest meal on the planet, I will inevitably here from the back seat five minutes after leaving the house, "I'm hungry mom!" These are so easy, healthy & best of all NO MESS!
5. Doterra Peppermint Oil: My go to for after a meal or on the go. One drop on my tongue & I feel like a person again. A fresh breathed happy person.
6. Electric Sunglasses: My favorite brand of sunglasses, I own them in two colors. Perfect for my usually tired eyes!
7. Tide Pen: Little handprints & lots of spills make this bad boy a favorite. If I treat a spot immediately with this little pen, it saves me a world of hurt in the laundry room later.
8. Passport: Not sure why this is in here but I am a wanderlust at heart & love to travel. It's just a fixture in my purse!
9. Diapers & Wipes: ya know.
10. Keys: I lose these a lot, happy to see them in my purse for once.
11. Band-Aids: My 4 year old can be looked at the wrong way and need a band-aid, so these come in handy...A LOT!

Boy, oh boy do I understand the need to have a bountiful stash of band-aids on hand.  Izzy could have dry skin, and if there's not a band-aid being applied STAT to "fix" it, you better hold on to your hat.
Go Go Squeeze Packets - another lifesaver.  I need to be better at keeping one or two in my purse at all times.
Doterra Pepperming Oil - gonna be checking this out.  Izzy constantly cleans me out of gum when I'm not looking (she takes pride in this) and I'm always left with dog breath at the worst times.  Thank God my husband loves Mediterranean food as much as I do and can look past my hummus and garlic breath.
Thank you so very much for stopping by today Jenna!!!

glitter reindeer art

Friday, November 9, 2012

Thanks to my husband, I had a couple of free minutes to myself the other day and decided to tackle a Pinterest project I was wanting to try for Christmas.  Best part - it didn't cost me a thing!  I also drew up another quick piece of art (based off stationary I saw here) to go with it.  Oh free, how I love you.
Here's our entry table with its new, FREE Christmas art.
Here is the glitter reindeer pin I had saved and the link if you want to give it a go yourself.  Which I'm sure you will because it's pretty darn cute.

Speaking of my love of free, the log candle holder was also a freebe.  It's just a piece of wood from when we had to trim down some trees.  I drilled holes into it to fit some tea lights and bam!  Free, rustic candle holder!
Oh how I love that glittery goodness!
Have you tackled any of your Pinterest pins lately?  I'd love to know which ones!
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nursery reveal

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Seeing as how this little man is almost here, I figured it was time to call it quits on the nursery and get some photos snapped.  You know how it goes when putting together a space - there's always so much more you want to do, but you never end up getting around to it.  So, this space is as done as it's going to get!
I ended up changing my mind from my first plan.  Shocker.  Pregnant woman changes her mind... again ;)  I wanted it to have more of a masculine feel to it.  The rug my husband brought back from the Middle East was the perfect jumping off point.

I wanted the bedding to resemble menswear.  A crisp white shirt, gray pinstripes, and monogram.  Funny story about the monogram.  My machine and I battled over getting this monogram to work (broken thread, slips, broken needles, and cursing).  As soon as I pulled it off the machine I thought to myself, "Where have I seen this before??"  Hotel Sheridan.  Hahahaha!!!  Oh well, I really like it so who cares!
The glider isn't the most beautiful, but since this is our last child, I didn't want to purchase any new furniture pieces.  I made a white slipcover to cover the old fabric and called it good.

The dresser is also left over from Izzy's nursery.  It was an antique store purchase that was painted white.  I liked that it's not a dedicated changing table and can easily be transitioned for a big boy room or in other spaces.

The gallery wall was a simple toss together using random frames I had laying around the house.  You can read more about the mounted animal art here.  Man, I always intended to better position those frames.  Oh well. 


This little brass fox hook is one of few things left over from my original plan for the room. I just adore him.  Perfect spot for grabbing last minute items on your way out.

Ruffino LOVES this room. Any time I leave the door open I find him in here sunning himself.  He's going to be so mad at me when we bring another baby home. He has been a little mopey lately, I think he knows.

SOURCES: rug (purchased overseas) . DIY stenciled drapes . bedding (made by me) . sheepskin . metal accordion table . owl art . DIY mounted animal art . captains mirror . brass fox hook . fish mobile
That's all! Just need this little man to make an appearance... soon.
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I'll be linking up to these fab parties!


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