it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas (our home tour)

this last Monday, i went on a cleaning frenzy and cleaned the entire house.

every square inch.

on Tuesday, i woke up to a very sick little boy with the stomach flu. (poor little guy)

i had to pretty much disinfect every square inch all over again. (never mind, that our house is only 850 square feet.)

oiy. motherhood has its challenges and its ironies.

the plus side, was that i was able to sneak in some pictures on Monday afternoon of our home decorated for Christmas. also, it’s been a quiet, lazy week at home and i have to say, i’ve greatly loved the downtime and an excuse to not rush around.

and also a chance to cuddle on the couch with my littlest man and admire the lighted tree (and watch way too much tv).

here’s what our view looked like:

i like to keep our Christmas decorations pretty simple. i pretty much just use what i have on hand. last year was our first time having a real normal sized (larger than 2 feet) Christmas tree, and i realized we didn’t have that many ornaments. we had been given a small set of vintage looking glass ornaments from my husband’s grandmother when we were first married, but it wasn’t enough to fill up the tree. so, i made some pinwheel ornaments out of book pages to fill in the empty spots.


(my son desperately wants to be a fireman when he grows up. can you guess which ornament is his favorite?)


do you have a Christmas pickle on your tree? i was kind of sad to find out that, what i thought was a German tradition, is not really German at all. nonetheless, we like to keep the tradition going every year.


i had been eyeing this great tree garland on instagram for a few months.


i finally scored one at The Holiday Market a few weeks ago.


i just love it!


i have a thing for trees.


my mantle has a little winter wonderland with loads of little trees.


and a little truck from the cabin, and a house i recently found while thrifting.


last year for Christmas, we got a bunch of hand made ornaments from my husband’s grandma (the same one who gave us our first collection of ornaments).


i can’t even imagine how long it took her to put each pin and sequin together to make these. we adore them and always will. especially, since she made them.

you know what else i adore?


this sweet little nativity. my hubby found it at the thrift store. i had mentioned to him that i really wanted to get a little nativity set that our son could play with. my goal this year, since he is of age to start understanding, is for him to learn the real story of Christmas. when i was a little girl, my most vivid memory of Christmas was playing with our nativity set that looked like a real rustic wood stable, complete with hay. i loved setting it up and playing with the figures. i’ve always been a visual/tactile learner, so it made it easier for me to understand the story of Jesus’ birth.


the first night i told him about Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the journey the wise men went on, he was wide eyed and wanted to hear it over and over again. it made my heart so happy.


(one of the wise men had a little accident. he’s been repaired thanks to some trusty hot glue.)

as much as i love the cute little trees, the sparkly ornaments,


and the soft glow of the lights throughout our house at night,


i really just want our son to grow up knowing the real reason for the season. the special birth of our Lord and Savior.

wishing each of you a very Merry Christmas.

The Holiday Market

tis the season to be busy!

i am amazed everyday, at the amount of things one can stuff into one day.

between Christmas parties, the everyday grind of school and work, and wrestling season just starting (my hubby is a coach at the local Lutheran high school), our days just seem to be filled.

despite the busyness though, we managed to have a little family movie night and watch, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” It’s a staple in our house this time of year.

as we were watching the movie, my husband blurted out, “look it’s Kelly!” at the part where Clark’s brother-in-law, Eddie (the one that shows up in the motorhome) is digging in the trash and “rescuing” his brother’s discarded items *ahem* treasures from landfill death.

oh great. awesome. just what i wanted to be compared to.

so, lets just add that title to the end of my description; Kelly: wife, mommy, talker, crafter, thrifter, diy-er, organizer, furniture collector, old house admirer, vintage lover, decorator, believer and dumpster diver.


the sad truth is, it’s not far off.

lets be clear….i do “rescue” other people’s unwanted items, or as i like to call them “treasures,” from the side of the road. however, i have never actually gone in a dumpster to save something.


no. nope. no, i haven’t. (instead, i’ve batted my eyes and nicely asked my husband)

i have, on the other hand, pulled awesome looking treasures out of people’s trash cans. they weren’t even dumpsters. so, there! 😉

and i like to think i use those items in a good way.

take for example, The Holiday Market, that i just got to be a part of last friday in Old Towne Orange.


(sorry these pics are so tiny. i forgot my camera and only had my iPhone.)

pretty much, all of the decor was stuff i saved from the side of the road (even the lighted garland was from my neighbor’s trash. she kindly mentioned that she had just thrown it away and thought maybe i could use it. it was brand new and still in the box!). if you follow my instagram, then you’ll remember the shutters i found on the side of the road (they were leaning against another neighbor’s tree and had a sign that said, “free.”).


i quickly stained them grey a few nights before the show. they were the perfect backdrop to hold the vintage music sheet wreaths, i was selling.


i also used the drawers from the old nineteen forties desk i had found to hold the oversized ruler growth charts and a smaller drawer for Christmas ornaments. the art prints were hand drawn by my new friend , and i used an old baby crib spring, that my neighbor was throwing out, to clip them to.

so, yeah. i guess i sort of am like Clark’s brother-in-law, Eddie. i like to rescue stuff and repurpose it.


but, please…i would never wear that robe with black socks. 😉

(thank you to everyone who came to The Holiday Market. your support means so much! xoxo)

design 101: how to style a hutch

i am hardly a design expert.

i just play until i think it looks good and when it’s to my liking, i call it a day.

lately, i’ve had a few people ask me for help or advice on how to style shelves, layout a room, or pick paint colors, so it got me thinking…maybe it would be fun (and helpful?) to do a design series on the blog of some of these topics?

ya know, kinda like design diy.

we can pretend this is trading spaces circa 2001. and i’ll pretend i’m Paige Davis!

what do ya think?

okay…here it goes.

welcome, to design 101: how to style a hutch.

i, unfortunately, did not get a before picture. i’m quite bummed about it. truly, i am.  (i think i’m already fired from trading spaces. oops). however, imagine a built-in hutch, in a kitchen, filled with only crystal goblets. when my client called me for immediate help on how to make her hutch pretty for the holidays, i headed right over.

this is what we came up with:


first, we pulled everything out of her cabinets (the bottom cabinets, too! that’s where i found most of the dishes, platters, and pitchers.)

then we slowly worked from the bottom section and worked our way up.


i found her big platters and leaned them against the back wall of the cabinet. then, i stacked all of her plates to give the pitchers, teapots, and creamers some height.


we had to move the bottom glass shelf up to allow room for the big platters, which left us with a tiny shelf space.

that’s when i noticed her set of tea/coffee cups. the tiny shelf space allowed just enough space to showcase each cup.


on the next shelf, we added the leftover dinner and salad plates. i wanted each shelf to be a little symmetrical, but i tried to add some interest in the middle section by adding the teapot and creamer to offset the dishes a little.


we then added the crystal goblets to the top shelf from tallest to shortest to give it a little uniform. this also let the light from the cabinet shine through the crystal and on to the lower shelves.


and there you have it. styling a hutch never looked easier, right?! just remember height, layers, symmetry, with a bit of asymmetry thrown in, group like kinds and you’re good to go.

now, all you have to do is pull all of those plates out and serve up the pumpkin pie. 😉

wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving! xo

diy refinish furniture {for only $2}

i love the rustic, farmhouse look.

but not when it’s on a piece of furniture that is neither rustic nor farmhouse.


my son so lovingly decided to help distress this piece of furniture in our dining room when he found a screwdriver that was accidentally left out.


it’s inevitably going to happen when a three-year-old is in the house.


a couple of years ago, i remember thinking i was going to have to probably sand down and refinish this entire dresser and the task seemed a bit overwhelming.

then i stumbled upon a pin on Pinterest about refinishing furniture with a couple of simple household items. i tried it and couldn’t believe my eyes!

i thought i would share this (probably not so secret) advice.


here’s what you’ll need: 1.) white vinegar 2.) olive oil

seriously, that simple! i bought each from the dollar store and came home and did half and half in a bowl and then used a soft cloth to wipe the concoction on (a little goes a long way!).

this is what the dresser looks like now:


what a difference, eh?


the shine will last for about six months and then it’s time to re-oil it again.


so, before you take that old beat up piece of furniture to the refinisher….grab yourself some oil and vinegar and give your furniture some love.

it’ll shine and say thank you!

finding furniture

i have always loved furniture.

i know. it’s kinda weird to love furniture, but i do.

when i was younger, most of my friends were saving up their babysitting money to buy clothes.

i was saving mine to buy furniture.

i bought my first big piece of furniture when i was fifteen. it was a solid pine armoire and i was smitten. it had hinge doors that revealed the closet portion (or the tv area…whatever i was using it as) and two giant drawers on the bottom.

it weighed a gazillion pounds.

when i got married, we took it with us to every place we lived. it first traveled with us to our move to Colorado and was carried up a flight of stairs. and then was brought back down those stairs, out in the snow and loaded up in the u-haul for our move to Chicago. we carried that gazillion-pound-armoire down a steep flight of back stairs, then up four more flights of stairs at our Chicago apartment. it was a lot of stairs. i nearly lost some fingers.

it was worth it.

i loved that silly piece of furniture. and though my husband didn’t have quite the affection for it that i did, he kindly helped carry it into every home we have lived in.

after moving back to California and moving the armoire with us for two more moves (and three more flights of stairs), we finally parted ways when my husband and i bought our first home. you would think that would be the time to keep it, right? well, after nearly twelve years together, it was time to let that cute, big, gazillion pound armoire go.

the kicker? i didn’t want to have to move that thing down two more flights of stairs and out of our apartment. the new proud craiglist owners did it for us (thank you, whoever you are. and i hope my big baby is doing well!).

well, since buying my first piece of furniture, many other pieces of furniture have come into our lives.

for example, this teak patio set:


i love its weathered grey finish.


and i had just mentioned to my mom that i would love to have Thanksgiving at our house.


now we’ll have enough room for everyone! (as long as it doesn’t rain.)


wanna know the kicker of this teak table set? (if you follow me on instagram, then you already know. cheater.)

it was free.

i didn’t even pay a penny. except for maybe gas to pick it up two blocks away from my house.

my sweet neighbor around the block sent me a text that someone had this on her curb and was trying to get rid of it. i thought for sure it was gone when i finally checked my phone and saw her text two hours later. my son and i jumped in the car and i found the house and the table and offered to pay for it, but the owner of the table said, “no, we are trying to get rid of it. please just take it.” um. ok!


i could hardly believe it. it fits perfectly in our backyard with our other free curbside finds.


like this old galvanized bucket that houses the fern. i found it in a neighbor’s free pile at their garage sale.


and our old chippy black farmhouse bench that another neighbor put out on the curb during their move.

i realize this look isn’t for everyone, but i love it!

people ask me all the time how i find this stuff….i’m really not sure. it just happens. maybe it’s our neighborhood.

or maybe i’m like the neighborhood cat lady who loves cats, only i love furniture. 😉

(side note: finding things runs in the family. remind me to tell you the story about how my husband finds things, too! like ten thousand dollar cashier checks in the middle of the road that he returned to a sweet couple that were about to buy a car. it’s a great story!)

happy looooong weekend, friends!

diy burlap pillow cover

i remember when i was about seven and i gave my grandmother the cutest little green heart chotchkie you ever did see.

(side note: can we please pause on the word chotchkie. is it not the strangest yet most fun word to say? say it three times fast, chotchkie, chotchkie, chotchkie. wasn’t that fun? did i lose you? i had to google it to figure out how to spell it correctly and this is what google told me: a small worthless piece of crap. well, gee thanks, google. it did redeem itself by adding a side note. how fun that google also likes to use side notes. no wonder we are friends. anyway, google also said in its side note: chotchkies can be pretty. indeed some are. and some are, unfortunately, worthless pieces of crap.)

well, my grandmother loved her new little green heart and she decided, at the time, to hang it in her bathroom. the only problem was that her bathroom was not green. it was peach. with absolutely no green in sight.

this new no-green-in-the-peach-bathroom sparked a redecorating frenzy and my grandmother was soon replacing all of her rugs and towels and such to make the cutest little green heart chotchkie look like it belonged.

i’ll never forget my grandfather giving me a half smile and telling me that he was really glad i gave her that cute little green heart. his words, if i remember correctly, were, “ya know you start with a green heart and before you know it, everything else must be changed.”

you might be wondering why on earth i am telling you this story?

well, besides the obvious, that i really wanted to use the word chotchkie in a sentence, i also recently experienced how one little chotchkie can spark a snowball decorating frenzy.

enter my cute little owl i received from the garland exchange i signed up for.


isn’t he cute?

you know what’s not cute?

yup. that welcome burlap pillow that sits on our front porch bench. not so welcoming, if you ask me.

it was time for some redecorating.


so, i grabbed some supplies: a sharpie pen, scissors, bakers twine, pins, brown twine (that i decided not to use and instead use white thick string), measuring tape, and of course, burlap. oh and a large sewing needle (i forgot to add it for the picture).

i started by wrapping my pillow insert in the burlap (if you’re wanting it to be more precise, use the measuring tape…i like to wing it).


then pin the edges together, so you’ll know where to sew.

this is where i stopped taking pictures because i wasn’t so sure how it was going to turn out. just take your needle and string and weave in and out around the edge until two thirds of the sides are sewn. are you following that? i’m terrible at tutorials.

next, take the sharpie and write your word or saying onto the burlap.


then take the bakers twine and sew along the letters (after you’ve removed the pillow insert).


you could also cross-stitch to make it more interesting, but i only had an hour free during my son’s nap time, so i had to work fast.


once that’s done, slip your pillow insert in and tuck the last edge inward and sew together and you’re done.


put it next to the cute little owl that started it all and stand back and admire.


and then notice that your thrifted two dollar pillows need pom pom edging and your front porch bench needs to be reupholstered.

Ah, yes, this is what my grandfather must have been talking about when he said, “start with one thing and everything must be changed.”

i guess i have some projects lined up for the next couple of weeks.

that’s okay. i’m loving my pretty little worthless pieces of crap. i mean chotchkies. 😉

chotchkie, chotchkie, chotchkie! such a fun, strange word! 😉


house tour tuesday: the hidden nest

you know that saying….

birds of a feather, flock together.

it’s so true.

i’m learning that more and more each day.

i took a lil’ break from blogland, from designing, from basically everything the last couple of weeks and became a bit of a hermit. if you know me, you know that means two things: 1.) either i’m sick or 2.) i’m being introspective. in this case it was 2.)

i’ve really done some soul searching (as emo as that sounds) and while i feel like i might have lost the drive or confidence to put myself out there for a little while……i’m back.

today seemed like the best day to get back at it….maybe it was the great thrifting time i got to do with a good friend (love ya, K!) and all of the treasures we found. or perhaps it was the friendly mom at my son’s school that mentioned that her cute, white farmhouse was all clean and decorated for Halloween and if i was interested i could take pictures for my blog?

did someone say farmhouse?


as it turns out, there were a whole row of white farmhouses. and in irvine. IRVINE! who knew? (for those that don’t live in California…finding a farmhouse in Irvine is about as common as finding a kangaroo in the mountains. that was a horrible analogy, but that’s all that came to mind. sorry. also, i might have just googled kangaroos to double check that they don’t live in mountains. i know nothing about kangaroos. and no they don’t. unless, you are counting what google said about them living on ‘desert plains on rocky mountains.’ in which case, just ignore everything i just said).

moving on…


now these are not your ‘old’ farmhouses; it’s Irvine after all. they have farmhouse like qualities, that i definitely swooned over. (side note: i have this thing about white houses in movies. if it starts with a white house, has a white house in it, i’m going to love the movie. hands down, every time. now that you know this, you too will love movies with white houses. don’t argue with me. just say, ‘ok.’) 😉


one of my favorite features was the front door.


besides the cute fall wreath and anchor knocker….


it’s a double dutch door. i’ve always wanted one of these. there’s just something so inviting about them. if they had a mouth and could talk, i’m sure it would be saying, “come on in.” or maybe it would say, “quit being a peeping tom.” however, since we were invited, i’m going to go with the first and not the latter.


upon first walking in, i saw this. i thought for a second i got my dream job and was the photographer for Pottery Barn (call me! wink wink). it was straight out of a catalog. it was so cute!


then i noticed the old work table that was perfectly imperfect! it had the most beautiful patina.


it was around this time in the tour that i learned about where some or most of the old treasures in the home came from.


apparently the mom of the mom of the house (who lives with them. we’ll call her grandma J from here on out) loves, LOVES old things. she loves to collect them, find them, re-purpose them.

does this sound familiar?


she walked me through each room and told me about each piece she had found.


how she had them re-purposed.


or rescued from a yard. again, sound familiar?


we had a great time talking about what it means to us to be collectors of these items.


how we each love art and finding art to grace our home. (she had this cat and cow painted on wood by a local Old Towne Orange artist! they hang in the playroom of the house.)


and one of the things that we both mentioned is that though we love the items and they bring us joy, it’s not about the ‘stuff.’


it’s about the history behind them. the story that each one holds. the lives that used to have them.


i was having a great time talking with her and admiring how she decorated the home and looking through her own hand drawn art collection of notecards (coming to Etsy near you! you can do it, grandma J!).


and then sweet grandma J offered me coffee,


with cream.


little did she know that’s my love language.


so you see, my perspective has changed the last few weeks. and i’ve been learning, that though not everyone will ‘get’ you or support you (and by you, i mean me), some will. it’s important to listen to those that do.


because birds of a feather, flock together.

so thankful to have my peeps (and for meeting new peeps) who have similar feathers and want to fly together.

thank you to the H family and grandma J for the tour of your lovely farmhouse and, of course, for the coffee!

diy: backyard chalkboard

remember the vintage sale i had a couple months ago?


well, i had a few things left over that didn’t sell and one of the items was this old door.


i was kinda glad it didn’t sell because i really liked it and thought it would be fun for something.

a few weeks ago, i was trying to convince my son to play in the backyard with me. he didn’t really want to and i can’t blame him. it’s hot, the grass is very dead, and there’s not a whole lot to do.

so, to tempt him in trying to play in the backyard, i made him this:


i think i might add some clips, so he can also use it as an easel and paint once in awhile.


it makes for the perfect spot to score our baseball games (mini baseball games that is. our backyard is tiny).


he was pretty excited about it for about a day and a half. he has now moved on. *sigh*

time to think of a new attraction for the backyard. i’ve got some ideas brewing.

happy Monday, friends. here’s to a new week ahead!

house tour tuesday: home away from home

this weekend my family and i went to Cambria to visit my in-laws.

they recently (actually more like four years ago), built their dream house on the central coast and i thought it would be nice to do a tour for the blog.

and then i forgot my camera.


so….i thought it would be fun to take you on a little tour of my home away from home: the thrift store.

i love to thrift. to me it’s like going on a treasure hunt.


you never know what you’re going to find.


sometimes there are big things.


and other times, there are just small items that catch my eye.


but, the one thing i’ve noticed is that i most always find something that i could decorate my home with.


sometimes there are vintage linens,


and old chippy farmhouse finds (my favorite!).


you might be saying to yourself, “what would i do with all of this stuff?”

well take this old dresser, for example, (which if you follow me on instagram, you know my latest obsession with dressers!) 😉


and then pair it with this oversized mirror (btw, i would probably paint the molding of this mirror),


and maybe some of these old milk glass pieces as catchalls:


and you have an instant nightstand or entry table that has a huge impact.

or take this gilded frame:


just pop out the center picture and replace it with some fabric and glass and then add some handles to the sides and you have a one-of-a-kind tray (thanks to my friend, Suzee, for that brilliant idea!).

need to decorate a little girl’s room?


how about this old iron bed (for only $10!!! what a score),


hang a vintage cross stitch over it,


and add a crystal chandelier and you have quite the girly room!

it doesn’t take a lot of money to have a beautiful space. just some treasure hunting, maybe a little elbow grease, and some creative thinking.

hope this inspires you to do a little thrifting!

the shop is stocked: oversized ruler growth charts

i just realized that i’ve never really talked about my job on here (except for the interior designs i’ve shown you from various client’s homes).

it’s hard for me to define my job, since i have a few i work on.

my most important”job” (if you can call it that) is being the mommy to this sweet boy.


but, when i’m not playing firetrucks or baseball in the backyard,


you can usually find me working on one of these in my garage.


and they come in three fun colors: 1.) Old American 2.) Weathered Grey 3.) Special Walnut

they’re great for charting the growth of your family, giving as a gift for a baby shower, a house warming gift, or even just a piece of art for your walls.

the best part, is if you move homes or decide to paint the door jams, it comes with you and the markings last forever.

and with Christmas coming up, i thought i’d make it really easy and give you the link where you can get some shopping done! 😉

IMAG1400 copy

happy measuring, friends! xoxo