The Garden party, Coral Bells, Plant of the year 2012


Welcome to the party! I’ve returned from my vacation in TN and needed a few days for rest and relaxation. I love my family but I’m not used to so much activity all around me from 2 precious little kids and that long car ride with a 4 year old is exhausting!

Since I have been missing lately, I’ve decided to host my little garden party now and for the next few weeks. I really hope you will join in and show off your favorite pretty planties!



Let’s start with Heuchera, you probably know it as Coral Bells. It’s one of my favorites and has been named plant of the year by the National Garden Bureau.



I don’t know it’s name, but you will probably recognize this common variety.

This variety is called Georgia peach.

coral bells michigan bulb

Unusually colored cultivators are showing up at garden centers everywhere, in shades from lime to purple to black.

hosta coral bells

Coral bells usually prefer shade but new varieties tolerate sun well. While they do flower, I think the leaves are their best asset.  I have this combination of Palace Purple coral bells and a chartreuse hosta in my garden.

One of the things I really like about gardening is grouping plants to create beautiful combinations. You can spend hours at garden centers coming up with new combinations! So let’s get started! If you don’t have anything to link up this week come back next Tuesday for another plant party link up and show off your dirty fingernails! It’s fun digging in the dirt!

Please link back here in your post. Thank You!  Smile 

the new forty, ageless women

If 60 is the new 40, I’m almost there. Today is my 59th birthday! OH MMM GEE! I’m ancient! When I was in my thirties I thought 50 was absolutely archaic!

women 1

The older women of today are definitely not the older women of yesteryear. Meryl Streep, born in 1949, looks fabulous at age 63.

women sarandonwomen welch

Susan Sarandon was born in 1946 and Raquel Welch in 1940.

wrinkle me

Here I am with lots of photo editing on the left and the real me on the right…….but still not too bad for almost 60.  I say embrace it and let every line remind you of all the stages of your life, good and bad.


Goldie Hawn – 64            Lauren Hutton – 66

Sophia Loren – 75           Debbie Harry – 64

Jessica Lange – 61         Sigourney Weaver – 60

Susan Lucci – 63            Jane Fonda – 72

Suzanne Somers – 63      Olivia Newton John – 61

Peggy Lipton – 63            Diane Sawyer – 64

Cheryl Tiegs – 62              Jaclyn Smith – 62

Barbara Streisand – 68       Kate Jackson – 61

Diane Keaton – 64             Blythe Danner – 67

Stevie Nicks – 62              Martha Stewart – 68

I wonder what 60 will look like 20 years from now.

Thanks for visiting! Debbie (((xx)))

Decorating with pillows

Pillows add interest to your décor with a pop of color, texture and  interesting fabric.  I’ll admit to using a few too many pillows, occasionally ! But pillows are too comfy, cozy and homey to resist.

2012_04_20_4LR pillows

These flanged blue pillows add color to the living room. Pillows are a great way to add color in a neutral room. Changing out your pillows for the season or whenever the mood strikes is a cheap way to create a new look.


family rm

These great pillows on the new sofa in our family room came from TJ Max.You can always find the best pillows there. And tons of other décor accents too!

guest rm pillows 1

Pillow overload! Counting the 4 bed pillows, there are a total of 10 pillows on this bed. Which brings up the subject of where to put them when you crawl in bed…..on the floor of course.

guest rm pillows

I love the look of black pillows in this lime green room.


With endless fabric choices, they’re the perfect accent.  Smile

Linked to the party at




because pillows are so darn pretty!  




Thanks for visiting! Debbie (((xx)))

vintage dress forms

I purchased this vintage dress form at a flea market about 15 years ago. I think it was about 12 dollars…..pretty cheap, even back then. I had big plans for it at the time but never really did anything with it. So I finally got it out of the basement and put it in the family room, to see if I felt inspired to dress it up somehow.

dress form

Dress forms fit perfectly in  French inspired décor that’s so popular now. I don’t really have that décor in our family room…..actually I’m still waiting to get the slipcovers so I can finish up in there.



I love how the dress form looks in this office space.



Here’s an example of a dress form decoupaged with book pages.




Another pretty example of a banner displayed on a dress form from Miss Mustard seed.


Source: via Bungalow on Pinterest



I love the look of old necklaces displayed on this dress form.

My dress form isn’t the prettiest example but it’s still pretty cool…if I can ever decide what to do with it! I’ll figure it out eventually.


This week I’m in TN with my older daughter and granddaughter visiting my younger daughter and her family. We were expecting warm weather but it’s cold with a chance of snow flurries. I hope the sun shines mid week so we can get outside and play, staying in the house is making us all crazy. Confused smile


Added to Thrifty Treasures




Thanks for visiting! Debbie (((xx)))

Friday Feature, live love diy

Feature Friday today is Virginia’s blog, Live Love DIY, a little blog about living, loving, creating.

Click on pictures to be taken to the original source.

Virginia is a newlywed & new homeowner who loves decorating and DIY projects. Making something new out of something old inspires her and she’s always looking for affordable ways to transform every room in her house.entryway makeover (2)

Coming up from the foyer there’s a beautiful stone wall, with a fireplace on the other side.


Two couches work well in the living room. I love this look.

lroomLIVINGROOM (17)

In her words, “ One of my favorite parts of our house is the living/dining room area. It’s so unique & open, but at the same time has also created some interesting ‘design’ challenges. It’s also come a looooooong way since 2 years ago when we first bought the house. Seriously….this whole area of our house was an outdated wooden-wonderland of shame. This house had been on the market for a really long time (before we came along and scooped it up), and I’m fairly certain it was because no one else could look past the wooden nightmare that was this house.“


It certainly doesn’t look like an outdated wooden-wonderland anymore! The new light color palette has totally transformed this space and you’ll find some amazing before and after pictures of the progress on Virginia’s blog.


The kitchen is filled with light from 2 large windows.

office (1) - Copy

A home office features a made-over desk and pretty gallery wall. So pretty!


Spacious is how I’d describe the master bedroom! Look at all that space! I’ll admit to being a tiny bit jealous…sigh.


Can you believe that she created this completed this room with under $500, using a combination of Craig’s list and elbow grease!


The guest room feels welcoming and restful. I know I would sleep well in this room.

bath g

In the guest bath she created a striped accent wall, the bird art work and painted and changed out the hardware. All of her hard work in her home has totally paid off, as she’s created a gorgeous and airy space that she should be proud of!


More of her handiwork is seen in this chevron piece and the framed feather art.


A caned back chair gets a new look too! She’s quite a handy gal!


It sure seems like Virginia is not afraid to tackle any project and has truly put her own personal stamp on every room in her lovely home. 

                         Get inspired by Live Love DIY! 

With so many great blogs all over the blog-o-sphere, Friday Feature is a way to showcase other bloggers while gaining lots of decorating inspiration. If you have a project or makeover that you think is feature worthy, please email me or leave a comment.

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Follow Me on Pinterest google2


Thanks for visiting! Debbie (((xx)))

Making your own pie crust

A few days before Easter I got an insanely domestic urge to make pie. It’s so easy to buy pie crust and the store bought kind is easy and tasty, why would I want to make my own? I don’t know, maybe I like to clean up flour from every surface, the floor and my hair!  But when I get that urge to make pie crust, this is the recipe I use.

This recipe always works for me, it’s Martha Stewart’s Pate Brisee

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup ice water, and a little more if needed

It makes 1 top and 1 bottom crust or 2 bottom crusts.


pie crust 1

You can mix the ingredients by hand.  Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then cut in butter with a pastry blender. That’s the old fashioned way, or you could use 2 forks to mix the ingredients, that’s the ancient way.

pie crust 2

I use a food processor. Put flour and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger pieces, about 10 seconds.

pie crust 3

With the machine running, add ice water slowly through the feed tube until the mixture holds together. You don’t want it too wet or sticky. Don’t process more than 30 seconds.

pie crust coarse

If it’s still too crumbly, add a little more water, 1 tablespoon at a time. This picture is after I added more water.

2pie crust added water

To test the dough, squeeze a small amount together.

pie crust wrapped

Put the dough on a clean work surface. Divide it in half, and place each half on a piece of plastic wrap. Use the ends of the plastic wrap to help  push the dough into a disc shape.  Wrap each disc up real tight and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

pie crust 1

Flour your work surface and now you’re ready to rock and roll. I use my fingers to flatten the dough discs before I start to roll.roll pie crust2

Flour the top of the dough too. Roll roll roll your dough.

roll crust 2

To transfer the dough to the pie plate, wrap it on your rolling pin.

pie crust on plate

Ease the dough into the pie plate without stretching it. Cut off the overlap and crimp the edges any way you like.

weighter pie crust

Here are my pie crusts fresh out of the oven, I used rice to weigh down the dough so it would stay nice and flat. You can use dry beans too.

I made a lemon meringue pie and Rhoda’s ‘just like Shoney’s strawberry pie.’

catherine 2012 95

Catherine, my 95 year old mother-in-law could not keep her eyes off that strawberry pie. It was so cute. My husband Bill wanted to dig in too!


Pansies made the lemon meringue pie  so pretty and I was really proud of how it turned out but the strawberry pie was the favorite.

Are you a pie crust maker? Some people have a knack for it but I’m not one of those people. This recipe always works for me and I’ve tried many other recipes that made me feel like poking a fork in my eye!

What’s your favorite pie? Apple pie does it for me!


I’m finishing up a little chair redo today and then I have to get ready for a trip to TN to visit family. It’s gonna be so much fun!



Thanks for visiting! Debbie (((xx)))

Korean spice viburnum


It’s a little early in the season, but I love this time of year when everything wakes up and puts on a show of beautiful color. Some plants in our yard are bursting out in full bloom. One of those is a favorite shrub, Korean Spice Viburnum.

Korean spice viburnam5

This shrub grows to be about 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide.The flower buds first appear as a pale pink and turn white in full bloom.

Korean spice viburnam2

The most amazing feature of this plant is it’s exceptional fragrance, a sweet aroma mixed with a bit of clove. We love the smell.

Korean spice viburnam4

When I bought this plant, it was nothing but 2 sticks, but it was the only one I could find. That was about 10 years ago and it has grown into a well behaved shrub that awards us with that lovely aroma in Spring and lots of thick green leaves in the Summer. There’s always a bird’s nest nestled in it’s branches.

Korean spice viburnam

Plant in full sun to partial shade, in well drained soil, in zones 4 through 7. Make sure you plant it near your porch, patio or window where you can enjoy it’s fragrance.


korean spice viburnum

It smells so good I just had to bring some inside.  Smile


korean spice viburnum2

If your looking for a shrub, I can recommend this one.Korean spice viburnam1

As gardening season begins, I’d love to talk about plants of all kinds. What are your favorites? I think we should have a garden party!


Yes, let’s have a link party! Share all your favorite plants or your best gardening tips, like putting a match in the hole when you plant peppers or what colors look great together in pots. Show off your garden!



Here’s a button you can snag to help spread the word. Let’s embrace our green knees and dirty fingernails and get planting!


Thanks for visiting! Debbie (((xx)))


You can find me here!

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket google2Follow Me on Pinterest

I’ve added a Linky Follower.

Follow My Blog!



Friday feaTURE Thistlewood Farm

This Friday let’s take a looks at Karianne’s blog,  Thistlewood Farm. In her words,

Once upon a time there was a house (don’t all good stories start with a house)  that sat waiting for a family to bring it to life.  It sat waiting for a family to fill its halls with love and laughter.


Bring it to life is what they did! Take a mini tour of this gorgeous kitchen. I’m hoping to add some ceiling height, smaller cabinets on top, like these, at my house soon. I love this look and with glass doors you can see what’s up there.


From the beautiful floors to the shimmering chandeliers, this kitchen begs for family life. Karianne calls it her macaroni and cheese kitchen but I call it pot roast, mashed potatoes and apple pie. It’s pure comfort.


Right beside this pretty painted hutch is the doorway to every girl’s dream, a big, beautiful pantry.


Isn’t it gorgeous? I might just have to borrow her plate rack idea.


I might have to borrow this recipe wall idea too! She shares a tutorial on her blog of how she created this wall.


Moving to the library, there are more neutrals in grays and tans paired with old and new and classic toile.

master bed

Here’s a glimpse of the master bedroom with it’s own fireplace. You won’t believe the before and after shots of this room, on her blog.


guest rm

The cozy guest room in timeless blue and white


I think this picture of her guest bath may have been pinned a bazillion times. The transformation from the dark space it once was, to this spa like bath is amazing.



This spot is where she sits to watch her husband, the CEO of chaos, supervise their children, the village people.


Karianne shares many before and after photos of  projects in her old home. Her style is  casual and welcoming and with her personality shining through in her blog posts, it’s a treat to visit.

Go on over and pay her a visit at Thistlewood Farm!



You can find me here!

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket google2Follow Me on Pinterest

I’ve added a Linky Follower.

Follow My Blog!


Thanks for visiting! Debbie (((xx)))

Make an owl pillow-toy {tutorial}

My younger daughter sent me a picture of an owl and said,  “make this”. Well okay! I’m not going to show you the picture she sent me because I don’t know where she got it, but here’s how to make my version of the owl pillow/stuffed animal. The finished owl looks like this.


Well, kinda sorta, I forgot to take a picture of the owls after they were stuffed Crying face and I already sent them to her house for Easter.


owl pattern

First, I made a pattern from newspaper. You can use as many different fabrics as you like, that’s why the pattern is split in 4 sections. This works for the front and back. You’ll also need 2 feet and 2 wings and a beak.



For the striped owl, I used 2 pieces of fabric for the front and 2 pieces of plain denim for the back. For the flowered owl, I used 3 pieces of fabric for the front and 2 for the back. Hope that makes sense.

2012_03_28_top front

If using different fabrics for your sections, sew them together first.

owl tute 2

Sew the front and back top pieces together. Again, if you’re using different fabrics in sections, sew them together first.

Next, sew the bottom sections together.


The feet are cut from felt. In this owl, I left a section under the wing area open for stuffing.

owl wings

Pin in the wings, again these are made from felt, then insert the top into the bottom with right sides facing. Don’t forget to add the beak. It’s a small piece of fabric sewed into a triangular shape. Sew around the edge as shown below.


Now you’re ready to reach in the opening and pull the right side out.  Stuff it with polyester fiber and hand sew the open seam.

owl 99

You can embellish them any way you like. I added a pocket to this one before I sewed it all together. I left the bottom open for stuffing, but it looks better if you leave an open area under the wing.


For the eyes, I used peel and stick felt but I think fusible web may have been better. The peel and stick felt comes off easily.



The eyeballs and edges are colored in with a black sharpie pen.






owl fini


mud digger jake 

  Here’s Jake’s boy owl.

He’s so cute and so is his owl.

He loves playing in mud, as you can see! 

stuffed owl

Ttay pr 


Here’s my very pretty older granddaughter Taylor,

and here’s her girl owl. She even has blue toe nails.




This is a really good project to use up fabric scraps and you can personalize your owls any way you want.


Linked up here, PillowPalooza at Thistlewood Farm

CraftomaniacMondayButtoncreateHome Stories A2Z




You can find me here!

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket google2Follow Me on Pinterest

I’ve added a Linky Follower.

Follow My Blog!


Thanks for visiting!

Debbie (((xx)))


Spring Vignette andThrifty finds

It’s that time again! Yard sales are just beginning to pop up around here and I haven’t been to any yet, but I did get a few things at a thrift store. Once you start checking out thrift shops and yard sales it’s hard to stop because you see so many good things that could become great things.


The old tool box and shutter came from the Re-Build it store. The tool box was just a couple bucks and the shutter wasn’t a real bargain, I think I paid 20$ for it, but it was perfect for our family room.

antique stool

One of my favorite new junk shops, The First Floor Attic, is where I found this charmingly aged  metal stool. It was 16$ but I got it for 12 bucks. Haggling over a price used to be difficult for me, I just didn’t have the nerve, but sellers will almost always lower their prices. Make a  reasonable offer, be flexible and don’t insult the seller by making your offer too low. Usually you’ll end up meeting in the middle.


bombe chest vignette

I only bought the tool box because I liked the teal blue color. I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but it ended up  holding a Spring vignette.


tool box

It’s twigs, twine,moss, feathers, nests and eggs from my stash.

bird nest



I hope you had a wonderful Easter with your family. My husband’s mother was here with us. She’s 95 years old now and quite a character. It’s hard to talk to her because she doesn’t hear well, even with her hearing aid. I’m exhausted but it was a great day.

Added to

The Southern Institute




Debbie (((xx)))

Oh glorious day

O Glorious day, a beautiful song from Casting Crowns.

One day the grave could conceal Him no longer
One day the stone rolled away from the door
Then He arose, over death He had conquered
Now He’s ascended, my Lord evermore

Living, He loved me,

Dying, He saved me
              and buried,

                           He carried my sins far away

Rising, He justified freely forever

One day He’s coming,

               Oh glorious day




Easter blessings,


Debbie (((xx)))

Friday feature, Northern Nesting

This week’s feature is Northern Nesting, where Martina shares her beautiful home and projects, hoping to inspire others. She’s a stay at home mom to 3 children who’s turning her home into a place they love.

Pinterest users; Please be kind and click on the picture to be taken to the post at the original site and pin from there.


What I noticed throughout her home are the lovely vignettes she creates in every room. 

kitchen vignette nn

Wrapping burlap around a flower pot is a nice touch in this kitchen island vignette.

kitchen nn

Speaking of islands, hers was painted and distressed in black for a new custom look. Love that bead board!  You’ll find plenty of before and after pictures on her blog.


In her bright kitchen, a made over tray is part of this lovely Spring table vignette.


In the process of creating a plate wall, Martina features some beautiful inspiration pictures from  Charles Faudree,  on her blog.

table nn

She adds personal touches in each room. Isn’t this table cloth gorgeous?


I have pillow envy!

drop cloth curtains

Adding a bit of black trim on these drop cloth panels really makes them pop!  Great idea!

bombe chestnn

Here’s another pretty vignette and I want that tray! Martina has many Annie Sloan CP painted pieces in her home and I think if you stand still long enough she’d paint you. She claims to walk around with a paint brush in her hand…….a lot of bloggers do that too Winking smile


Her bedroom feels soothing and relaxing and her choice of fabrics in the pillows is perfection!

striped wall nn

Being a mama to 3 children, she’s given each child their own cozy space. Her son’s room has a neat stripped wall.

girls room

These are sweet rooms for little girls. Check out the bright color under the chair rail.

girls rm2

Done in cream and white, one of my favorite rooms is the powder room. I really love the black accents!  Just a few touches of black really make this room lovely.

bath rm nn

A big thanks to Martina for allowing me to share a glimpse into her home. Now got on over and be inspired! 


With so many great blogs all over the blog-o-sphere, Friday Feature is a way to showcase other bloggers while gaining lots of decorating inspiration. If you have a project or makeover that you think is feature worthy, please email me or leave a comment.

I’ve added a Linky Follower.

Follow My Blog!

Click here or in the sidebar to follow this blog and view my other followers…


Debbie (((xx)))

A sign made from pallet wood

One day when we were out and about for appointments, I saw this sign. Free pallets. Stop!  I couldn’t believe my luck, that I saw the sigh and we were in the truck! Now what to do with all that lovely wood? Pallet projects flooded my mind…you know how that is!

Here’s my first project, a pallet wood sign, but first prep the pallet safely!


We began with the pallet leaning against saw horses and a quick lesson on using the sawsall, to cut through the nails because removing them is almost impossible.

pallet cut page

We wore gloves, safety glasses and masks. Bill made the first cut as an example of how to do it correctly.

cutting a pallet2

His cut was so perfect because he’s, “an efficient machine.” He gloated. get over yourself already

pallet cut

No spiders were harmed in the making of this project.

My first time using the sawzall was not as perfect as his, but I got better with more practice. Pallet wood is pretty rough, so I sanded both sides then screwed them together using pieces from the bottom of the pallet.

tape back pallet

Because the screws were just a little too long and poked through the front, I covered them with duct tape to protect the wall and added wire for hanging.  I  Red heart duct tape.

pallet sign 1

Next, the lettering. I had no idea how I was going to do this, since I had a previous lettering project fail. After a little searching, I decided to print out the letters and rub a pencil over the back of each letter and then trace them onto the wood. This method is supposed to transfer the graphite from the pencil onto the wood. I should have printed out just the outline of each letter instead of using so much printer ink.

pallet sign 2

That didn’t work because the graphite was the same color of the wood. What worked was pressing the shape of the letters into the wood with a pen, like etching. I used a sharpie to fill in the letters.


After coloring in the letters, I decided to sand it a little more to make the letters a little less dark.


Here’s the finished sign.

a mantel center banner

I still have a bunch of pallets left, what would you make? I think I’m going to attempt some crates for magazines, pillows and stuff and I’d love to make a coffee table for the patio.

For more pallet ideas check out my Pinterest pallet board.

Skip To My Lou Home Stories A2Zmet monThe Southern Institute

Added to Best DIY projects at Beneath My Heart


Debbie (((xx)))

Annie Sloan unfolded in Leesport, VA

On Saturday morning I was on the road at 6am. It was early for me to be up, but I was excited about attending the Annie Sloan tour in VA. The 2 hour trip was quick and turned out to be a nice drive with beautiful flowering trees along the way to the conference center.

Inside, I was immediately greeted and sent down the hall to several vignettes of beautiful furniture painted with Annie Sloan paint, in various finishes and techniques.  They were amazing! I mean seriously! They were amazing!

as red 

Vignettes featuring blue and red pieces were my favorites. These two colors compliment each other beautifully. 

as grey

Every single piece was stunning, whether it was done in a soft finish, like the lovely gray above, or more casual and fun finishes, like below.

as green

It’s crazy what you can create with Annie’s paint!

ASCP mustard seed

This green dresser, a real stunner in person, was created by none other than the famous Marion Parsons, aka Miss Mustard Seed herself!

modern finish

Here’s a vignette that showed more modern examples of how the paint can be used with smooth, less textured finishes.

by janet metzger

I can’t even begin how to describe how this dresser looked in person. It’s by Janet Metzger from The Empty Nest.

red blue

I could barely tear myself away from these pieces. Again the blue and red combination grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. 


You can see what happens when you sand the paint to reveal the layers below, then work in a little dark wax. It’s magic and smooth as a baby’s behind!


The lampshade was stenciled with a stencil from Royal Designs.



And finally, here’s Annie Sloan.

Annie Sloan

She’s so down to earth. I could have listened to her for hours, talking about her passion, in that lovely British accent.

annie Sloan paint variations

So talked about complementary colors and combining colors to create new colors.

annie Sloan paint variations2

She showed us examples of different finishes, crackling, stencils techniques and even decoupage.


When she was finished speaking, something very exciting happened! It was the first in person meet up of Annie Sloan and Miss Mustard Seed. There was lots of hugging, but I missed that shot.

Annie Sloan and miss mustard seed

It was fun to watch their first meeting. Look at the facial expressions.

Annie Sloan  friends

Next was the workshop.


These were our pieces to practice on.


We did a practice piece using Barcelona orange but I forgot to get a picture of the finished piece.


Here’s how 2 of my pieces looked when finished. The workshop was fun and I really learned a lot.

miss mustard seed

Yes, It’s miss Mustard Seed and me

AS and me2

Yes, It’s Annie Sloan and me.

As ans me talk

She’s the kind of person you feel comfortable with and I could have talked with her for hours.


I left inspired, wanting to paint anything I can get my hands on!

If you’ve wondered about the real Annie Sloan paint and if it’s as good as the claims, I say YES!

Maybe even better.Smile



Debbie (((xx)))