So, I actually did this project in January, being the Christmas decorating nerd that I am. It’s strange to think of all the things that have happened this year since I started planning our Christmas decorations. It will be our … Continue reading
Category Archives: Entertaining and Holidays
Gruyere-Broccolini Puff Pastry Christmas Trees
My motto about cooking is that I don’t do it much, but when I do, it’s something I saw on Pinterest. We throw a big holiday party every year. Last year, I introduced these puff pastry Christmas trees, and they’ve … Continue reading
DIY Felt Wreath in Winter Whites
I’m here to share my latest project and also ask for your help! Here’s a felt wreath I made for Christmas decorating, and I really, really love it – but I don’t know where to display it, especially since it … Continue reading
DIY Knitted Sweater Ornaments
Okay, so maybe I shouldn’t be calling them ornaments, because I am pretending that I am being seasonally appropriate and not decorating for Christmas yet, but I think we all know the truth… So, you may have seen that I … Continue reading
Cozy Sweater Pillow Covers
I’ve channeling all the cozy winter feels for this holiday season (even if the California weather has other ideas!) To create a comfy atmosphere, my first project of the season was sewing these pillow covers from old sweaters. (More on … Continue reading
Brunch in Blue and White
Mother’s Day is coming up tomorrow, which is probably not news to anyone, except my family, who realized yesterday… Anyway, I have very mixed feelings about this holiday. It’s the day that makes me think of my mom the most, and those memories are very sweet, but it’s hard for me to push past missing her to actually feel happy and excited.
Life conspired perfectly this year, as one of my good friends celebrated her birthday the day before Mother’s Day, and I hosted a small brunch for her. It felt very meaningful to put together this event, using treasures that are full of stories for me. Sipping tea, laughing, and pouring our hearts out with my dear mom friends was something I could wholeheartedly feel good about, so I’m calling today my own version of Mother’s Day.
Lots of special stories behind our brunch table, which I hope you will enjoy as much as we did!
Tulips! These are among my favorite flowers and remind me of springtime growing up. We don’t see many in San Francisco, but I’m hoping to go visit a tulip festival some day.
The little succulent was rescued from a work dinner I attended, and it’s growing in a pretty Anthropologie mug I was given by my dear coworker. The small blue and white vase on the stand was my grandmother’s.
I started collecting tea cups when I was planning Nicola’s baby shower, and I love the stories behind each one – the one on the right was actually a gift from Nicola!
These plates were given to me by one of my mom’s closest friends, about eight years after my mom died. She told me that she had seen them in an antique shop while shopping with my mom, and my mom went back to buy them for her. I remember both of these kind, generous, and loving women, when I use them.
The ginger jar on the left and the Blue Willow tea cup are thrift store finds!
I am running low on stories, so just enjoy this picture!
Happy Mother’s Day to those of you who enjoy this holiday. And if you, like me, find it difficult or complicated, I hope you find something meaningful to celebrate… like a giant fiddle leaf fig that is “mother” to many cuttings I have propagated and shared!
Hmmm, some pictures of our food!
Sending love to all who need it,
Julie, aka “Jewels”
Valentine’s Day Pennant Banner
I’m not usually a big Valentine’s Day person, but then again, a holiday built around chocolate can’t be all bad! Anyway, a couple of weekends ago, I got the urge to make something – anything! – and I put together … Continue reading
I’m dreaming of a (Blue and) White Chinoiserie Chic Christmas
It has been a busy few months here, but I’m sitting by the fire and finally have a minute to share our Christmas decorations – just under the wire this Christmas Eve. If there were a graph showing how many … Continue reading
DIY Decoupaged Tile Coasters
I have a lot of craft projects “incubating” – I get excited, I buy supplies, and then… I wait for the perfect moment to create them! We could also call this hoarding of craft supplies, but that’s not in the spirit of the season!
We’ve got an enthusiastic new social committee at work, and they organized a “Secret Snowflake” exchange for the holidays. “Handmade is encouraged,” they instructed. Now that’s my kind of challenge. My gift recipient loves to host dinner parties, so I found her a cute serving bowl, some holiday dish towels, and I am finishing off the package with these DIY coasters!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- White 4″ square tiles – very inexpensive at the hardware store, or you can order online
- Decorative paper – choose thinner paper that absorbs the adhesive and molds to the tile
- Mod Podge
- Water-based varnish
- Silicon bumpers
Here’s how to do it:
- Cut paper to fit tiles
- Paint a thin coat of Mod Podge on tile
- Lay down paper and smooth out
- Paint a thin coat of Mod Podge over paper
- Letting dry between layers, add one or two more coats of Mod Podge
- Add three or more coats of varnish, for a more durable finish
- Add silicon bumpers to bottom
Here they are in my home and getting ready to go spread cheer in my friend’s home!
Next time, I’d like to try making these coasters, with the paper sandwiched between glass, because I think they’ll hold up even better. Next year’s teacher and coworker gift? Maybe!
Hope you are having fun sharing treats and gifts this season!
Julie aka “Jewels”
Dining Room Rugs for Families – Form Meets Function
I’ve mentioned before that we use our formal dining room for most of our meals. This was a tradition my mother started when my sister and I lived at home, and I enjoy continuing it with our family.
I’ve posted about durable tablecloths and table runners to give your dining room a more formal look while still holding up to the kids. Recently, I have been debating about adding a dining room rug. I never even entertained (ha) this idea until the last few months, now that the kids are older and (a little) less messy. I really wanted the finished look of a rug, but I need to keep things practical as well.
I’m going to share my inspiration rooms, our current space, and the rugs I’m considering. There are literally thousands of options out there, and I’ve narrowed them down to my favorites.
First, here’s how our dining room looks now, without the rug.
So, you know I have a design crush on Amber Interiors. These are a couple of my favorite dining rooms designed by Amber Lewis and her team.
The vintage rugs in these rooms feel accessible, because the complex patterns will hide small stains. This set me on a hunt for a vintage-style Persian rug for our dining space. While part of me would love to find a gorgeous high-quality wool rug, I am just too chicken – or too smart? – to put a few thousand dollars under my table for my kids to drop food on and my dog to lick… so, at least for now, I decided to look for an inexpensive synthetic rug that won’t make me cry every time something falls on it.
Here is my short list of rugs. My color scheme is greys and blues, and I was looking for something that had pattern but was still muted enough to feel neutral.
1 Unique Loom Rockwell Berkshire Area Rug
2 Safavieh Evoke Vintage Oriental Silver/ Ivory Distressed Rug
3 Freetown Distressed Vintage Inspired Gray/Ivory Rug
4 Willoby Vintage Oriental Charcoal Area Rug
And I have more rug ideas and inspiration rooms on my Pinterest board.
So, what do you think? Here’s another picture of the room currently. Our mantel is pretty busy, so I don’t want to add more busy-ness to the room, but I think it would really define the space and also show off the base of the table, which is a lovely Craftsman design.
I haven’t made a final decision yet, and I like all these rugs so much, that I might by more than one and put it in the living room or upstairs hallway…
So, whadya think?