Just 3 weeks to go until Christmas arrives.

You’re at the planning stage of thinking about the Christmas dinner menu and, of course, your tablescape.

You believe that a beautiful table presentation enhances the entire dining experience. You’ve used the same Christmas table design for several years and loved it. However, this year you have the urge to change it up a bit and give your family and friends a fresher look.

Freshome.com shares 4 different looks, each uniquely their own, that are sure to inspire you. Take a look and see what you think.

Include Cozy Textiles

We love, love, love this cozy, sweater-inspired tablescape. There’s something so different about it, yet it unquestionably radiates classic holiday spirit. This table setting just makes us want to curl up with a good book on a cold, winter day – one of our all-time favorite holiday activities.

Since sweater tablecloths are sure to be few and far between, this idea will probably work best for those of you who don’t mind doing a little sewing. You can buy the fabrics by the yard at your local craft store and make adjustments to fit your unique table. Here, they used wool and flannel, but feel free to experiment with fleece or another cozy alternative.

Colorwise you’ll want to follow the same guidelines as you would with your other interior design projects. Notice how the photo above keeps to the 10-30-60 rule. In this case, the cream sweater serves as the dominant color, the gold silverware includes the secondary color, and the patterned flannel serves as the accent color.

Add metals to give your table a modern feel. Image: Atelier Blanc

Design doesn’t always have to be directly related to your interiors. With the holidays right around the corner, we’re starting to think about how décor can be used when entertaining family and friends. Use our Christmas tablescape ideas to create a table setting that truly reflects your unique sense of personal style.

What do you think of our Christmas tablescape ideas? Do you put a lot of thought into your décor when entertaining? Tell us all about it in the comments below.

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,

Nancy
Dedicated to helping you create spaces that foster happiness and well-being

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Having just celebrated Thanksgiving, it’s tempting to take a break for these few days before the real push for Christmas begins in earnest.
 
However, by doing a few projects you can get a leg up that will give you breathing room in the month ahead.
 
And as busy as you get, don’t sacrifice sleep. Imagine feeling rested and refreshed this year as December 24th arrives. What a concept!!
 
I’m sharing a post written by LAURA GASKILL, Houzz contributor who gives 5 tips to do this weekend that will allow the month ahead to flow more easily with less frustration.
 
With Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror and a fresh new month on the calendar, this weekend is a good time to make plans and create some breathing space in your schedule. Stock up on cold-weather necessities, wrap up a few gifts and catch some extra z’s — the rest of your to-do list won’t look so daunting when you’re feeling rested and refreshed.
 
I hope 1 or more of these suggestions can help lighten your to-do list this holiday season and allow for a schedule that can actually seem doable and not so impossible.
 
Until next time…
 
Blessings from my home to yours…
 
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you create spaces that foster happiness and well-being
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Having just celebrated Thanksgiving, we’re in the midst of holiday entertaining and that means inviting guests into our home.
 
Sometimes, just the thought of getting our home company-ready can seem daunting. The good news is what guests notice in our home is not the dust balls under the sofa. Preparing for guests is easier than you might think.
 
Angela Elias for popsugar.com shares 6 ways to make sure your home is ready for company each and every time.
 
THE SCENT OF YOUR HOME

 

POPSUGAR Photography / Brinton Parker

Decor isn’t the first thing guests notice when they walk through your door — it’s the smell. Whether you’re concerned about the fish you cooked the night before or your dog skipping a bath — or worse, the scents you’ve become noseblind to — put your mind at ease by lighting a candle or simmering a small pot of citrus peels and cinnamon sticks a half hour before guests arrive. We can’t get enough of these yummy-smelling candles — all under $50.

A Well-Stocked Bar

Photo by Janae Hardy via A Beautiful Mess

After greeting guests, the first thing that you will want to do is offer them a drink. You don’t need to be full service, but make sure you have the home bar basics covered.

ADVERTISEMENT
 
 

Fresh Flowers

Flowers are the only decoration a house really ever needs, no matter the occasion (although we feel pretty strongly about candles too!). To get the most bang out of your buck, buy potted flowers like these orchids. They may look delicate, but with proper care, they will last for a month or longer.

The Lack of Clutter

Even if you don’t have time to do a deep cleaning, you can still organize your clutter. Get a tray or a set of lidded boxes for each room and corral all the odds and ends — remotes, keys, mail — in one place. Guests will feel relaxed in a space that appears organized, even if it is just for show!

A Tidy Bathroom

Before guests arrive, make sure your bathroom has clean hand towels and enough toilet paper. Extra points for wiping down surfaces and lighting a candle!

An Organized Entryway

Photo by Dana Miller via House*Tweaking

Not only is it the first place and last place that your guests will see, your entryway is also where they will be dropping their coats and bags. Depending on how much room you have, add a coat rack, umbrella stand, and a place to sit while taking shoes on or off.

 
Until next time…
 
Blessings from my home to yours,
 
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you create spaces that foster happiness and well-being
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It’s almost here.

For many of us our favorite holiday of the year—Thanksgiving.

It’s a day of giving thanks for our many blessings and sharing them with family and friends.

Thanksgiving is also a day filled with tradition. We have favorite recipes (many passed down through the generations) that we wouldn’t dare not serve lest we face the wrath of everyone at the table!

We tend to rely on the same table decorations as well. Maybe this year it’s time to change it up a bit for a fresh new look.

Freshome.com shares 8 different table decoration ideas that just might spark your creativity. They’re inexpensive and easy DIY. Take a look:

8 THANKSGIVING TABLE DECORATING IDEAS FOR A MODERN FESTIVE GATHERING

best thanksgiving table decorating ideas - freshome.com

Layer your thanksgiving table with linens, special dishes and a bold centerpiece of fall pumpkins and products down the middle of the table. Image: Tanya Capaldo Interior Design

Thanksgiving table decorating with fresh greens

Collect your favorite aromatic herbs like rosemary, thyme and sage or branches of eucalyptus, ivy or other leaves to create a gorgeous centerpiece. Add candles, pine cones or other items that go with your chosen color theme.

thanksgiving table decorating ideas and centerpieces - freshome.com

Fresh greens on a table runner create a modern Thanksgiving tablescape. Image: Blackband Design

thanksgiving centerpiece ideas - freshome.com

Artichokes, sage and olive leaves add a fresh look to this Thanksgiving table. Image: Rikki Snyder

Thanksgiving table decorating with candles

Nothing creates an intimate dining table setting better than candles. Whether you choose tall candlesticks or tea lights, you can never add too many to your table setting. Mix and match colors and heights for the best look. And opt for unscented candles that won’t interfere with your food’s aroma.

dining table setting ideas - freshome.com

A candle candelabra over the dining table diffuses a soft glow over the meal. Image: Amanda Carol Interiors

centerpiece ideas for thanksgiving - freshome.com

Candles are a great item to your add to your Thanksgiving centerpiece. Image: Kitchen Magic

Here are some candle-related products that will help you recreate these tablescapes in your own home:

 

 Blue Thanksgiving Tablescapes

Add a primary color to the typical Thanksgiving browns, oranges and earth tones for some pop. Some great colors to add include bright green, bold yellow and blue.

thanksgiving table setting ideas - freshome.com

If you’re looking to change up the typical reds, oranges and golds, try adding a blue tone to your Thanksgiving table. Image: Hayneedle

thanksgiving table setting ideas - freshome.com

Blue works well with earth tones and orange, so don’t be afraid to add this fresh new shade to your table setting. Image: Troy Spurlin

If blue is your accent hue, here are some great products to get you started:

1| 2 | 3

Decorating with table runners for Thanksgiving

A table runner is more modern than a tablecloth. It’s especially useful if you don’t want to cover up your beautiful table but would like to add some color and pattern to it. The best part is that a table runner is versatile and comparatively inexpensive. Choosing one that’s about 12″ longer than your table so that it hangs just enough off the ends.

table centerpiece ideas - freshome.com

A table runner is an inexpensive but effective way to add color, pattern and a focal point to your table centerpiece. Image: Robertson-Lindsay

how to decorate a dining table - freshome.com

Place table runners in the opposite direction on a dining table to replace the function of place mats. Image: Focal Point Styling

There are so many table runners you could choose from, here are some of our favorite holiday themed runners:

 

Plate chargers for dining table decorating

If you own a classic set of china, plate chargers are the simplest way to transform that everyday china into something special. Plate chargers are larger than your plates so they frame your dish nicely, adding some color or an interesting design to the edge of your plate.

dining table decorating ideas - freshome.com

A red plate charger adds holiday color to a neutral brown and white table setting. Image: Focal Point Styling

how to dress up the table for the holidays - freshome.com

You don’t have to invest in all-new plates and china to dress up your table for the holidays. Consider adding chargers to frame your plate, like the hammered gold ones in this image. Image: Brunchfill

A charger plate can really add a lot of elegance to your table setting here are a few of our favorites:

 

Holiday napkin rings for dining table decorating

To make your dining table special, choose cloth napkins or paper napkins with a special pattern to them. Don’t forget to complete them with a napkin ring. Here are some Thanksgiving-inspired napkin ring ideas.

table setting ideas for the holidays - freshome.com

A simple acorn and sage Thanksgiving napkin ring adds polish to this guest’s table setting. Image: Rikki Snyder

table decorating ideas for the holidays - freshome.com

Some raffia and a fresh cutting of wheat or berries is the simplest but loveliest napkin ring you can create. Image: Lisa’s Creative Designs

These napkin rings are sure to bring some bling to your table:

Pine cone table decor for the Thanksgiving table

Pine cones are the stars of the fall and holiday theme. Collect and use them in your table decorating.

fall table decorating - freshome.com

Paint your pine cones in metallic colors and work them into your table with colorful fall leaves. Image: Better Homes and Gardens

table centerpiece decorations - freshome.com

A rustic and understated basket with fresh leaves and pine cones is a simple table centerpiece. Image: This Is Happiness

If you don’t have a natural selection of pine cones in your backyard, try these suggested products:

Table centerpieces for Thanksgiving

If you do one thing to decorate your Thanksgiving table, choose to create a striking dining centerpiece. Scatter your favorite objects down the center. Add candles and items in different heights. Don’t make your centerpiece too tall or you may block the person sitting across from you.

decorating with white pumpkins - freshome.com

White pumpkins and succulents are two design items that are all the rage. And this image shows they work beautifully together in your Thanksgiving centerpiece. Image: Jane Can

thanksgiving table decorating ideas - freshome.com

Here’s an example of a lovely Thanksgiving table that includes most of the elements in our list. Image: Elle Decor

What Thanksgiving table decorating ideas would you add to create a festive holiday table?

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,

Nancy
Dedicated to helping you create spaces that foster happiness and well-being

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Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have gone from the gorgeous, halcyon days of early fall into our rainy, windy, gray and cool days almost overnight. It is a harbinger of what lies ahead as we edge ever closer to winter.

This is the time we want to be best prepared to enter the “cozy” season and love being indoors and enjoying our lives in a way we don’t the other 3 seasons of the year.

In this week’s article, Laura Gaskill, Houzz contributor shares 12 ideas to make this winter the best yet for living happily inside your home. You already know many of these, but a reminder doesn’t hurt. Enjoy!

There is a certain squirrel-like pleasure in stocking up for cold weather — and potential power outages — from the regular essentials, like flashlights and warm socks, to the fun essentials, like bottles of wine and new board games. Knowing you have all you could possibly want tucked tidily away is a wonderful way to kick off a season of coziness.

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,

Nancy
Dedicated to helping you create spaces that foster happiness and well-being

Photos via HOUZZ

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We live in uncertain times and this year has certainly tested that.

From politics to record-setting natural disasters, it’s easy to become unnerved and feel a bit shaky wondering what could possibly be next.

We feel sorrow for our fellow citizens who have been so badly affected and lost all they owned. Because we feel empathy, it’s not difficult to put ourselves in their shoes and grieve right along with them.

At the same time, we feel grateful to have the many blessings we have. Our home, as always, is our touchstone reminding us all is well in our world.

Just has nature can destroy, it also gifts us with extraordinary beauty and what better time to rejoice in it than during glorious autumn. As we move more and more indoors, we want our home to feel cozy and secure this time of year. We want our home to fee like it’s embracing us with a warm hug each time we enter.

Laura Gaskill, Houzz contributor has shared 10 ways to do just that. You’ll see that simple pleasures are often times the best of all.

The first crisp day, the first red leaf, the sky a richer shade of blue, the yellow school bus making its stops again — as signs of fall begin to pop up all around, take this opportunity to slow down and savor the little things that make the season meaningful to you. From simple, natural decorating ideas to library corners and cozy quilts, here are 10 ideas for filling the season with heartfelt delights.

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,

Nancy
Dedicated to helping you create spaces that foster happiness and well-being

 

photos via HOUZZ

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Here we are in the waning days of summer, but it won’t be long before we feel the cooler days and nights of autumn.

Now, while the weather is still good, is the ideal time for the home maintenance required to make sure your home is the cozy, warm, and inviting nest it should be this fall and winter.

Freshome.com put together a pre-fall maintenance list to ensure you and your home are ready before those first storms of the season arrive.

1. Paint

fall maintenance checklist and paint colors - freshome.com

A warm, fall orange, paired with earth tones like browns, tan and mocha add fall flavor to a living room. Image: Window Works

Summer is the perfect time to freshen up your walls. The weather is warm and you can leave your windows and doors open to air out paint odors. Why not paint with the latest eco-friendly paint formulations that are odor-free and contain low or no harmful VOCs compounds?

2. Check for (and repair) air leaks

home maintenance tips for fall - freshome.com

Air leaks in windows create energy waste and cold drafts. Image: DiGiacomo Homes

You can solve the drafty room issue and create a more energy-efficient space by taking a few minutes to find any places where cold air could potentially enter.

From the outside, walk around your home looking for cracks or holes around your windows, walls, doors or places where wiring might enter your home. Fill them with some exterior caulk in a matching color. Caulk costs around $5. And sealing the leaks in the summer is the best time, since caulk flows and dries best in warmer weather.

From the inside, look for cracked or dried out, shrunken putty around windows. Or see if there is light coming from a section of a door jamb. You can also hold a lit incense stick near a window or door on a windy day to see if the incense smoke blows from a certain section of the closed window or door.

3. Prep your fireplace

fall home prep checklist - freshome.comInspect and clean your fireplace annually. Image: Strachan Group Architects

Take a good look at your fireplace or call in a qualified and well-recommended professional to give it a good cleaning and inspection before you start using it again. It’s also a good time to order your firewood to have it ready to go.

Don’t have a fireplace and wish you did? Check out these cool electric fireplaces.

4. Clean out the gutters

cleaning out gutters home maintenance - freshome.com

Keeping rain gutters clear of leaves and debris protects your home’s exterior from water damage. Image: Mark English Architects

If you have a home with rain gutters, take a look at what’s built up in your gutters and clear it out before the rains come. Clogged gutters overflow in the wrong places and can damage stucco, roofing and other exterior elements.

5. Air out your winter jackets and bedding

Pick a sunny, breezy day to lay out your winter duvets, blankets, pillows, area rugs and outerwear that have been in storage all spring and summer. The ultraviolet light in sunshine is a great disinfectant. Exposing your fall and winter items to fresh air and sunshine will also kill odors and mild mildew.

6. Cozy up your space with heavier-weight fall textiles

fall decorating ideas - freshome.com

Layers of soft, luxurious textiles prep your home for fall and winter. Image: Adams Cougall

Swap out your white linens and light summer textiles with heavier fall textiles. Good fabric options for fall include, velour, velvet, corduroy, faux suede, microfiber and faux fur. Items to swap out to get your home cozy enough for fall include:

  • Curtains
  • Throw pillows
  • Blankets and throws
  • Sofa and chair slip covers
  • Area rugs

The key to creating a successful design is to layer. In fall and winter home design, more is more, so don’t be afraid to go over the top with a fur throw blanket, lots of pillows and a combination of colors, prints and soft fabrics. The more texture, the warmer and more inviting the feel.

7. Create a mudroom section in your entryway

mudroom ideas - freshome.com

Designate a small area near your entry for jackets, boots and other gear. Image: LDa Architecture

Regardless of how space challenged you may be, find a wall, nook or spot where you can catch all your fall and winter gear like boots, jackets and hats. The best elements to consider adding are:

  • A small, easy-to-clean rug to set your dirty or wet boots on.
  • A chair or small ottoman to sit on to remove your boots. An ottoman or bench that opens up for storage or a cubby-style bench or low bookcase would be a great seating option that also offers extra storage.
  • Wall hooks or a wall-mounted organizer to hold jackets, hats, scarves and other gear.
 

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,

Nancy
Dedicated to helping you create spaces that foster happiness and well-being

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What do you do when life gets you down?
 
We all know that during times of stress exercise, nutritious food and enough sleep are the order of the day to help us over the rough patches which we all experience from time to time.
 
But did you know that some of nature’s bounties can provide relief as well?
 
Think of them as natural antidepressants.
 
Take a look at the following 11 greenery and blooms that are stress reducing and promise to make you smile. Descriptions written by BRIE DYAS.
 

 
What do you think?
 
When I read this list, everyone of them made me feel happy just by looking at the photos and now I know why!
 
Until next time…
 
Blessings from my home to yours,
 
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you create spaces that foster happiness and well-being
 
Photos via  House Beautiful
 
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Do you suffer from allergies?
 
If so, and millions of us do, you don’t need the calendar to tell you spring has arrived.
 
Runny eyes and nose, headaches, hive-like itchy rashes, even asthma are the painful and annoying symptoms that occur during this most beautiful time of year.
 
Fortunately, we have medications that offer relief. It also helps to know what things you allergically react to so they can be avoided.
 
But sometimes we’re simply surprised. This week’s article highlights 9 plants that can set off an allergic reaction you might not have been aware of.
 
The good news is you don’t have to give up your garden and being surrounded by the beauty and balm to the spirit that flowers give us—surely one of nature’s gifts.
 
Just avoid those plants that are known to be common irritants.
 
Here they are:
 
1)  LOVE LIES BLEEDING
    A beautiful plant that is often seen in flower arrangements. However, their pollen can be a major irritant for hay fever.
 
2)  CASTOR BEAN
Contemporary Patio by Design for Conscious Living®
     Popular in tropical-like gardens, all parts of this plant are toxic.
 
    
3)  CHAMOMILE
Contemporary Landscape by Randy Thueme Design Inc. - Landscape Architecture
     Because chamomile is related to ragweed, the pollen is an allergen and the leaves and flowers can also be irritants.
 
4)  DAISIES
Tropical Landscape by Maria Hickey & Associates Landscapes
     Who knew the simple and beloved daisy could create allergy symptoms? Unfortunately, it, too, is related to ragweed. You could react to the pollen, leaves, flowers, and extracts derived from it.
 
 
5)  JASMINE
Traditional Landscape by Laara Copley-Smith Garden & Landscape Design
     The scent is divine, but beware of a sneezing fit due to its pollen
 
6)  JUNIPER
Contemporary Landscape by Jay Sifford Garden Design
     Often used as ground cover, the pollen can be an irritant, but the plant itself can cause hay fever and skin issues.
 
7)  RAGWEED
by Soils Alive
     Most of us think this is the main cause of allergies and we’d be right. It’s also so hearty that it grows almost everywhere in the U.S. Wouldn’t you know it?
 
8)  SUNFLOWER
Traditional Landscape by Missouri Botanical Garden
     Although this is more of a summer plant, this always cheery and happy-looking flower’s pollen and seeds can cause problems. It’s a cousin of chamomile. Look for pollenless or hypoallergenic sunflowers.
 
9)  WISTERIA
Mediterranean Porch by Arcadia Studio
     Who doesn’t love this beauty that drapes itself over patios or climbing up a trellis? Unfortunately, the pollen can trigger hay fever and even touching it can cause skin reactions.
 
There are so many beautiful and sweet-smelling plants that can serve as substitutes for the offenders just mentioned. Some examples would be: clematis, daylillies, goldenrod, rosemary, sweet peas, phlox, English lavender, woolly thyme, hibiscus, and chenille plant to name but a few.
 
Here’s to a happy spring full of flowers without dreaded allergies!
 
Until next time…
 
Blessings from my home to yours,
 
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you create spaces that foster happiness and well-being
 
Photos via HOUZZ
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Spring is but a few days away—on the calendar at least.
 
However, for most of us, we need only look outside to know that it doesn’t feel or look like this anticipated season.
 
No matter, the SCENTS of spring are something we can capture right now. Hopefully, they can help shed the winter doldrums until the real ones come into bloom.
 
Here are 19 different candles, diffusers and other delicious ways (including a “Happiness” scent) to make you feel the time has finally come to put away the wool clothing and unfold the linen—well almost!
 
So choose your favorite and let the sweet aroma work its magic.
home scentshome scents
 
Until next time…
 
Blessings from my home to yours,
 
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
 
photos via Elle Decor
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