Posts tagged ‘Holidays’

December 26, 2014

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas…

Ok, so technically, Christmas is over, but I’m never one to blog on time, right? This year, family photos were taken in front of our tree, so I had a really good excuse to out-do myself with tree decorations. This year, I went a bit nuts with silver and gold ornaments as well as bows and icicles.

I’m just tickled with how it turned out.

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Merry Christmas, Friends!

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November 29, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday full of family, friends, and food. Here’s this year’s Thanksgiving tablescape.

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Every year I try to change/add/improve something about the table. This year, I added gold chargers from Target. I had hoped to add a table runner made from Hmong indigo Batik fabric like these:

find on Esty


find on Etsy

And blueprinted Asian rice bowls like these:

But they were too expensive/unavailable/hard to get, etc, etc. So I did what I usually do: I made myself a runner. Using this tutorial, I cut, tied, and dyed a length of cotton duck cloth.

After all of this indigo dying, and blue printed dishes, I’m beginning to realize how much I really like the color indigo. I’m going to have to start keeping an eye out for this color.

Oh, and just in case you haven’t had enough of Thanksgiving food, here are some snapshots of the dishes I made for the holiday.

turkey brine

apple cider

broccoli salad


Happy Thanksgiving!

January 1, 2014

Good Riddance, 2013

If you’ve been following the blog this past year, you’ll know that 2013 has been a doozy for us and one we are thrilled to be finished with. Every year, I recap the year with a blog countdown. This year has been so overwhelming that I hardly have any material to recap. BUT, this is a blog for documentation, so I’m going to do my best to accurately reflect the haps and mishaps around the house on Penny Lane.


10 In January, we finished our Kitchen Improvement baby steps and recapped it here.


A bad taste was left in our mouths in February when a slab leak flooded our HVAC ducts.


8 In March, we continued to clean up the slab leak mess with cleaning and sealing our ducts.


7 On the bright side, our yellow chairs were reupholstered in March.


A trip to California in March inspired me to work on our Master Bedroom decor in April. I continued working              on the decor in June and September.


5 In May, I recapped our new front garden bed.


4 Although it was purchased in February, I finally revealed our healthy and growing Fiddle Leaf Fig in May.


3 In June, I deemed 2013 the Year of Ugly Money when our 30 year old A/C unit went out. The Year of Ugly               Money was further confirmed later in June, when a fender bender totaled my car. Not Penny Lane related,                but it helps to demonstrate just how excited we are to move on to 2014.


In November, I hosted my first all-matching place setting Thanksgiving.

2013 Tablescape


And as we excitedly reached the end of the year…


1 I crafted a DIY Advent Calendar for Christmas.


In an effort to save you from having that same bitter after-taste in your mouth about 2013, I will say this. While it has by no means been an easy year for us, the mishaps we experienced throughout the year have left us better off (aside from the new loan payments, of course). We have a more efficient heating and cooling system. We are paying significantly less every month to heat and cool the house. We are thankful that we can experience these mishaps and know we can find a solution that won’t devastate us. We especially want to thank our family who has been there to support us this past year. From borrowed cars to borrowed beds, the support has been much appreciated. And as always, we are so incredibly thankful for our family, our friends, their health and ours, and our continued success in our careers.

So how about you? I’d love to hear some stories about how great 2013 was for others!

December 31, 2013

Christmas Craftiness

I’m racing the clock to turn in a post about the Penny Lane Christmas before the new year rings.

Every Christmas, I get the urge to be super crafty. I think it’s because crafty Christmas decorations are far more acceptable than crafty Tuesday decorations. It’s late. I don’t know what I’m saying.

This year, my craft was an Advent Calendar. I’ve been wanting to put one together for the last few years, but never had a design fully conceptualized until this year. I have Pinterest to thank for a plethora of options from the store bought to the simple DIY to the crazy design-y DIY.

Here are some of my favorites.

image courtesy of

image courtesy of

image courtesy of

In the end, my final design was driven by circumstances and opportunity. Due to our beloved fig tree, we relocated the Christmas tree to our dining area. Opportunity came from a blank wall next to the tree that needed to be filled. Circumstances came from trying to create the calendar almost entirely from materials I already owned: a 24″x48″ canvas with layers upon layers of different paint color from its previous lives, white paint, colored construction paper, double stick tape, and gold paint. All I had to buy were the containers and velcro.

I painted the canvas white (the same white as our walls), laid out a grid for 24 boxes (yes, I was the girl who bought out all the 3 inch paper mache boxes from the metro area Hobby Lobby stores), painted gold numbers on construction paper, labeled the boxes, and attached them with vecro.

The boxes are currently empty, but over the next couple of years, I’d like to fill them with small ornaments each to symbolize a different bible verse telling the story of Christmas.

What about you? Do you get crafty during Christmas? What have you made recently? Tell me in the comments below!

November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

I’ve been away so long and feel a bit like I’m talking to an empty room, but I’m doing it anyway.

We just hosted our third (third?) Thanksgiving and I feel like I’m getting a little better each time. This year was all about acquiring a complete set of dinnerware. A typical table setting count for our Thanksgiving dinners has been 8, and in previous years, we have made do with glassware and flatware in sets of no larger than 6.

So what do I do when I want new flatware? I hit up Ebay for a 24k gold set, of course. I found a great, used, vintage set on Ebay called Florentine. It was much less expensive than buying new and further idealizes my Vintage-or-IKEA product selections.

And what do I do when I want new drinkware? I arrange an IKEA trip, of course. We also managed to get some additional folding chairs for when we have extra guests.

2013 Tablescape

Next year, I’ll work on a better Tablescape image. I get so caught up in getting the food ready that once it’s on the table, we all dive in. I did get talked into taking a picture of the bird in all its glory.

Bird 2013

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

December 31, 2012

Cheers, 2012!

It’s incredibly hard to believe that 2012 is already over. But looking back, it’s amazing how much was accomplished. Hey, I have a great idea. Let’s list it!

10 In January, I deemed 2012 the year of the exterior when we ripped out the front shrubs.

Shrubless Bed

9 In February, I recapped the renovation of Nate & Aurelio’s.

Nate & Aurelio's

8 We replaced the front door in March.

New Front Door

7 In April, we did some landscaping and picked our exterior paint brushes back up.


6 May was all about organization and more organization.

5 I planted Irises in June.


4 Art was thrifted in August.

Thrifted Art

3 Art was found in September.

Found Art

2 We hung swag and a new light fixture in November.



And last but definitely not least…

1 We began our kitchen improvement in December!

Kitchen Improvements


2013, here we come!

December 9, 2012

I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas

In previous years (2011, 2010, 2009), I haven’t felt very inspired by my Christmas decorations. So for the majority of 2012, I marinated on what kind of decorations I wanted. Growing up, I was always fond of my dad’s 7 foot cactus that he decorated with strings of chili lights. I brought up several similar, unusual ideas to Rob, including decorating a fiddle leaf fig, but he was sure he wanted a more traditional tree. So we compromised on a white tree.

I love it. The stark contrast between the tree and the ornaments took some getting used to, but I love how it simply acts as a backdrop to our sentimental ornaments.

I already had some bronze ornaments purchased from Hobby Lobby during our first Christmas, that I still loved, but I picked up some larger sized ornaments to add interest. The new white tree has a bit of a purple undertone to it, so I grabbed some purple ornaments to ease any clashing that it caused. I also picked up some fabric to act as a tree skirt. It’s a modern plaid with purple-toned grays and mustard yellows, which perfectly compliments the purple ornaments and the yellows I have through the house. Too bad I only purchased one yard when I should have purchased three, oops.

I also DIY’ed my own garland. First was wood beads that I simply strung onto fishing line. I didn’t buy enough of the wood beads either, so I’ll have to make another trip to Hobby Lobby. Woe is me (she said sarcastically).

The second garland is cinnamon sticks and star anise strung on that same fishing line. I purchased the spices in bulk bags from a local Asian market. Fun Fact: I used star anise as decorations at our wedding reception. So the spice has a special meaning to us.

Speaking of our wedding, we celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary this year in Disney World, where we spent our Honeymoon (of course). We have made a tradition of visiting some Disney resort every year since and we always pick up an ornament or two. This year’s official ornament we had custom painted to commemorate the anniversary.

And Rob picked out a Pixar ornament for himself.

Speaking of Rob, we were given an ornament that belonged to Rob’s grandmother featuring Rob himself. Don’t you just want to pinch those cheeks? I do it daily…

I had to include this image of last year’s Disney ornament from our cruise. The way the light shines through the blue-colored glass makes my socks go up and down.

I had a few ornaments left over to spill around the house. I continue to fall in love over and over again with the bronze and purple ornaments. I can’t, and won’t, get over them.

I’m much happier with this year’s decorations. Next year, I hope to elaborate on them. A Nativity and Advent Calendar are on my To Do list!

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November 23, 2012

Giving Thanks

This year’s Thanksgiving Tablescape isn’t the best and honestly, I wasn’t trying too hard. I’ve been focused a bit more on other things and for that, I’m thankful. But in honor of tradition, here’s our lackluster 2012 Thanksgiving Tablescape.


November 19, 2012

I’ve Got Swag

Well… I have A swag.

I’ve been working on holiday door decor since the townhouse days and could never get it quite right. I think I’m a little closer this year.

The difference has definitely been the fondness I have for our new front door.  These are our first holidays together (yes, I’m talking about me and my door), and I want to do it up right. I knew a swag style design would work better than a wreath next to our linear doorlite, so I started searching Pinterest for swag arrangements that I liked.

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source unknown – please contact me if you know the source

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All arrangements seemed to have few elements with some emphasis in the center. I have some sort of weird obsession with eucalyptus, so I decided to start there. I did a bit of window shopping, but ultimately found myself in the dried floral aisle of Hobby Lobby. They had several different colors of Eucalyptus, but purple stood out to me.

The purple was dark and moody, just the way I like it. Plus, I’m a huge fan of purple with orange and green – a triad color scheme. I grabbed the Eucalyptus, some barely green Dune Grass, and then paced back and forth through the Hobby Lobby aisles looking for the perfect centerpiece to my swag. Grapevine orbs? Faux bird’s nests? Faux Forsythia branches? All good options, but I ended up taking home a couple nameless faux tropical flowers that were dusted with purple and green. I also grabbed some deep navy ribbon that was so close in color to my moody purple that I could hardly stand it.

Once I got home, I spread all my goodies out on the dining table and started arranging. Jin helped by chewing rouge grasses and promptly vomiting them up.

My first step was cutting down the stems of the nameless tropical flowers and tying them together using twist-ties.

Then I laid out my Eucalyptus and Dune Grass, while Jin sniffed some fake flowers…

Then plopped my tropicals on top and called it good.

I tied it all together with a rubber band and began wrapping the base with my ribbon. I tied one end of the ribbon in a knot around the rubber band then wrapped until I could wrap no more and tied a knot in the ribbon on to itself.

I then knotted one end of the hanging ribbon onto the  knot of the base ribbon. You follow?

The last step was to holler at Rob to hold the arrangement against the door while I stepped into the front yard to eyeball exactly where the arrangement should be hung. Nail ‘er into place (on top of the door) and call her done.

Errr… no. The witch’s broomstick was not what I was going for. I let the swag hang for half a day, just to be sure of how much I hated it, then took it down and fussed a bit with it.

Ahh… that’s better. Simple is always better.

Now to clean up that cat vomit.

December 31, 2011

It Was a Pleasure, 2011!

As a blogger, this is my favorite time of year – when I get to look back at all that we have accomplished. 2011 has been  particularly good for us and the house on Penny Lane. Cheers to you, 2011!

Here’s our annual countdown!

10 In February, we hung room changing roller shades.

 9 We also made-over Rob’s office in February.

8 In March, we hung linen drapes in the dining room and began contemplating reupholstery for our dining room chairs.

7 I drove to Carrollton, Texas on a whim to purchase a CraigsList coffee table in April.

6  In June I recapped the gardening I did in April which was unfortunately scorched by September.

5 Our dining room chairs were given new life in August.

4 In September, I began the redesign of my buddy Nate’s living room. Check back for my final recap of that space.

3 I crafted up some Fall decor in October.

2 I was also generously gifted a Flag in October.

And finally…

1 Our master bedroom’s style was pumped up a bit with a new old bed in November.

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Here’s to 2011! We’re greatly looking forward to 2012!