Jacoby’s Halloween Doppleganger

When I got home from my trip, there was a package waiting for me from Yankee Candle.  I had seen this black cat tea light holder in the 2012 Halloween catalog and absolutely fell in love.  But it wasn’t in stock when I attended the Boney Bunch preview back at the beginning of August, and when I tried to order it online, it said it was out of stock.  A few weeks later, I checked the website again and it was available, so I snatched it up (along with a small jar candle in the Pumpkin Pie scent so I could use my $10 off $25 coupon…it’s my FAVORITE of all the pumpkiny Yankee Candle fragrances).

When I opened the candleholder, I was absolutely delighted with how much it reminded me of my Jacoby-kitty.  Don’t they look like they could be twins?

So happy with this purchase!  And even though I haven’t pulled out the rest of my Halloween & fall decor yet, this one is already on display.  I just adore it.  And so does Jacoby!

A cute little owl.

Recently Tadd and I were at Target in the Dollar Spot.  I don’t know about you, but I cannot make a trip to Target without making a stop at Dollar Spot.  I don’t always end up buying something, but I love that you just never know what kinds of things you might find.  I have bought wine stoppers, personal water misting systems (for hot days at the theme parks!), headbands, seasonal stuff, etc.   It’s also a great place to find stocking stuffers during the holidays.

While we were there, Tadd pointed out this one lonely little ceramic owl vase with a chip on his beak, priced at $2.50.  I love owls (Tadd randomly bought me owl pajamas several years ago for Christmas and I have been smitten with them ever since), so I had to take him home, beak chip and all.  Isn’t he cute?

A couple coats of spray primer and white paint, and he is looking pretty on my kitchen windowsill!

Quick, easy, cheap little projects like this make me happy.

Enjoy your weekend!

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Home Stories A2Z

Polka, Dot? Why not?

On special request of my awesome cousin Kerry, I thought I would do an inspiration post about something she and I both love; polka dots!

What girly-girl doesn’t love polka dots?  I don’t even particularly consider myself a girly-girl, but I love them just the same.  Which I am sure you can tell from some of my fabric selections in my sewing projects…

What other classic pattern can be demure, sassy, cute, sweet, jazzy, fun, and even a little bit sexy all at the same time?

Source: ShopRuche.com

Source: Kawaii-Nails.blogspot.com

Source: ModCloth.com

Polka dots don’t take themselves too seriously.  They are playful, but in an understated kind of way.  They can take something boring and utilitarian and give it volumes of personality.

Source: Flickr.com

Source: PBTeen.com

Source: brightbazaar.blogspot.com

Source: CraftZine.com

How do you feel about polka dots?

Source: GroomsSoldSeparately.com

Ah, weddings…

I love weddings, don’t you?  Aside from just sharing in the joy of the bride and groom, there are so many ancillary things I love about weddings.

  • I love seeing the personalization that each couple puts into their wedding to make it unique.
  • I love the creativity involved.  I very often find the settings, colors, flowers, and overall look of each wedding to be inspiring.
  • I find the gravity and sincerity of the occasion to be so moving.  It’s amazing to share such a special moment with a couple that I care about.
  • Weddings are just plain fun.  I get to dress up, slow dance with my husband, and have a great time with friends and/or family.
  • It always makes me reminisce about my own wedding, nearly 8 years ago…

I’m sure I could go on.  And it makes me SO happy that tomorrow I get to see my friends Lara and Tom do just that, get married!  I wish them SO much happiness on their special day and for the rest of their lives.  It’s going to be a beautiful day and I am excited!

On a related note, Tadd and I both went out and got new outfits to wear tomorrow.  Well, Tadd got a new shirt and tie that  he will wear with an existing suit.  I, however, got a new dress, cardigan, shoes, and jewelry!  That is another reason weddings are great…they are a great excuse to shop!  I purchased the below dress.  It’s the most lovely shade of yellow (it’s actually slightly deeper in person), and I love it.

I decided to do something I hadn’t done yet since I started sewing.  I decided to make myself something special…A wristlet to go with my new dress!  I used that awesome yellow floral fabric I bought during my birthday shopping spree.  I have to say, I think it came out pretty cute!

I used this same tutorial that I have used for all of my wristlets thus far.  I urge any of you sewers out there to give this one a try.  It’s such an awesome tutorial, easy to follow with great results every time.

Countdown to Mad Men Season 5.

One of my favorite TV shows of all time is Mad Men, and I am SO excited about the Season 5 premiere this Sunday night on AMC!  If you are a fan like me, I’m sure you are just as excited.  We have been waiting patiently for new episodes for almost a year and a half!  So to say this Sunday’s premiere is highly anticipated is an understatement.



If you know me, you know I love history.  And something that I find so utterly fascinating about Mad Men is the attention to detail when it comes to historical accuracy.  Even subtle, little things that might fly over the majority of viewers’ heads (especially those of us who did not live through the 1960s), they take the time to get right.  For example, the premiere of Season 2 took place on Valentine’s Day, 1962.  The end of the episode concluded with everyone being glued to the TV, watching Jacqueline Kennedy give a tour of the White House.  Sure enough, this little detail really happened…On February 14, 1962, CBS did, in fact, broadcast a special of the First Lady inviting the nation to see all of the restoration work that had recently been completed.


And for me, it’s not only the historical accuracy that I love so much, but also the way it’s woven in and out of the story with such a natural flow.  You never feel like these details are inserted intentionally with a wink and a nod to the modern audience.  There’s nothing clunky about it; it’s just really good writing (and acting!).


And I would be remiss if I talked about Mad Men without mentioning style.  The clothes, hair, makeup, and set design are all drool-worthy.  It’s as if the whole show is one big piece of art.  While I’m not sure that the mid-century style fits MY personal style perfectly, there’s just something about it that is so aesthetically pleasing.  The sleek furniture, rich colors, classic suits, and tailored dresses just ooze with class.  Again, it’s the little touches I love, like Betty’s tufted headboard (above), and Joan’s signature gold pen necklace (below)!



Did you know that Banana Republic has its own limited edition Mad Men-inspired line of clothing?  Some beautiful stuff too…








So we are getting ready in this household for our own little two-person season premiere party on Sunday night.  I broke out the Mad Men cookbook that my brother gave me for Christmas, and will be making a few items from it, including Don Draper’s favorite cocktail, the Old Fashioned (made, of course, with Canadian Club).  I had thought about making classic martinis (a la Roger Sterling), but Tadd is just not a martini kind of guy.  And he hates olives!  And to make a classic martini, you MUST have olives.

Only 48 hours to go!  Who else will be watching the season premiere with us?  Are you doing or making anything special for the occasion?

Spring Fling: My spring entry table.

I just put away the few St. Patrick’s Day decorations I had out, and was inspired by the Spring Fling Link parties going on over the next few weeks to very quickly throw together a springy vignette for my entry table.  Nothing special, and all put together in about 10 minutes with stuff I already had around the house.

It was dark outside by the time I took these pics, so again, I apologize for the poor quality.  When you work during the day, it’s hard to find time to take good pictures during daylight hours.

The birds were a Briar Patch clearance deal a couple of years ago.  I think it was about $8 for the set.  I think they are so cute!

These are Target Dollar Spot eggs, in a bowl that I got in a gift basket many years ago.  The “pedestal” is actually just an electric tart warmer (unplugged, of course).  I think it’s so pretty, and works great to give some height to the bowl of eggs when we aren’t using it as a tart warmer.

I used these same little vases as part of my Valentine’s Day decor last month ($2.50 for the set at Target), but I think they are springy enough to stay for a little longer, especially with the flowers.  The tray is from Dollar Tree.  The little bunnies are a new find at JoAnn Fabrics.  I think it was about $3 for the pair.  I love the medley of pastel colors.

Like I said, this was really quickly thrown together.  I hope to tweak and add to it over the next couple of weeks.

Happy first day of Spring!

The Lettered Cottage

Red Carpet Fashion at the Oscars!

We made it home on Sunday night with about 2 hours to spare before the Oscars.  I was thrilled, because I wasn’t sure that we were going to be back in time and I love the Oscars!  This year I was rooting for The HelpHugo, The Muppets, and Margin Call (what can I say, I have a thing for Zachary Quinto). Tadd and I have a tradition of making predictions and seeing who gets the most right.  I got 12/24 right, and beat Tadd’s 9/12.  Not awful, consdering there weren’t many films nominated that I had actually seen.  However, I do want to eventually see a lot of the ones that were nominated.

I don’t really consider myself a fashion diva or particularly up on celebrity trends, but I will admit that I do enjoy watching the red carpet coverage.  It’s a guilty pleasure of mine, I suppose.  So although my opinions don’t have much fashion credibility, I do know what I like.  I notice that I tend to be drawn to vintage looks, bright colors (especially red!), and feminine cuts.

Maybe I’m biassed, because I think I have loved every red carpet dress that Natalie Portman has ever worn.  Maybe she and I just have similar style?  I love that she wore polka dots to the Oscars!  And I love that it’s vintage Dior from 1954.

I think Viola Davis wins for best dress color of the night in her Vera Wang gown.  I love the green!

I wasn’t sure what I thought about Michelle Williams’ coral Louis Vuitton gown at first.  I wavered back and forth for awhile, but the more I looked at it, the more I loved it, especially the color.  It totally grew on me.  I also love the feminine ruffles at the bottom and the train.

I think Jessica Chastain wins my own personal “best hair” category.  I would LOVE hair that looked like this!  Both the color and style.

I know a lot of people didn’t like Emma Stone’s dress, or thought it was too much of a copy-cat of Nicole Kiddman’s red dress from a few years ago, but I loved it!  I think this is pretty much the perfect shade of red for a red dress, and I love how flowy the skirt was.  I even loved the shoulder bow.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Tom Ford caped dress is another one that I wasn’t sure about at first.  But for some reason the cape fascinated me.  I loved that huge bangle bracelet too, although I would never wear anything like that myself.

Congrats to The Artist for winning best picture!  I haven’t seen it myself yet, but I really really want to.  What films were you rooting for?  What were your favorite Oscar red carpet looks?  Did you find Angelina Jolie’s incessant leg-posing as ridiculous as I did?  Did you see Sacha Baron Cohen dump Kim Jong-il’s “ashes” all over Ryan Seacrest?  Priceless!

Credit for the photos I used in this post goes to CBSnews.com.

A little more holiday decor.

I thought I would share a few more photos of my home all decked out for the holidays.

We don’t have a fireplace, so we have to get creative with hanging our stockings.

A little “Ho Ho Ho” for the top of the TV (not sure why the walls look SO unbelievably bright yellow in this shot…the actual shade of yellow is much paler  in real life).  This stuff sheds glitter like no one’s business!  But it’s worth the annoyance, because I think it looks so cheery and festive.

I added little touches of Christmas to our wall of shelves.

My favorite part of the wall of shelves is this little Santa boot I got during the after Christmas sales at World Market last year!  Once we put it on the shelf, it just needed SOMETHING, so Tadd filled it with red Target Dollar Spot plastic ornaments.  Cute!

I don’t really go too overboard in the kitchen.  Just some green garland across the top of the back cabinet, a couple of finial-style tree toppers, and my little star-shaped wreaths on my dual pantries.  The plate in the plate holder on the right is a brand new purchase.  Found it randomly at Walgreens for $1 this past Saturday.  It goes with the red bird/cardinal holiday theme I am starting to see take shape in my recent purchases.  Ignore all the crap on the counters…I was getting ready to host a Christmas party when this pic was taken.

A closer look at my new $1 plate.  Cute for only a buck, huh?

Moving onto the foyer & dining room.  My little foyer shelf is always decked out for every season.  This year I used my trusty apothecary jar, filled with cheap ornaments.  The snowflake topiaries are from Hobby Lobby (50% off!).  The silver tray and candy dish are from Dollar Tree.  More cheapie ornaments on the tray, and a frosted cranberry candle, which was a gift from a friend.

The dining room is home to my new second tree!  The table is dressed simply with my snowflake table runner, my homemade Dollar Tree hurricanes, and some smaller Dollar Tree tealight holders, along with my regular year-round green & brown centerpiece.  Yes, I would say that almost half of my seasonal decor comes from my beloved Dollar Tree!  I think since my dining room is already green, a little bit of red goes a long way to make it look festive for Christmas.

And a few more shots of my trees, since they make me happy…

Hope you enjoyed this little tour of my home.  Happy Holidays!

A fall/Halloween non-mantel!

I am very excited to participate in the It’s Fall Y’all link party series hosted by some of my favorite DIY bloggers!

Today we get the party started with a Fall Mantel party  hosted by Layla over at The Lettered Cottage.  However, I must confess that I very regretfully do not have a mantel.  I live in the sub-tropics and very few of the newer homes down here come with fireplaces.  So sad!  Although we may not need fireplaces for practical purposes, I feel like I really miss out on the architectural interest and charm it would bring to my home.  I make do by treating my small foyer table in almost the same manner, so that is what I am going to show you.

Now, it may not be the most stylish or interesting or creative arrangement, but this vignette is truly filled with some of my favorite items.

The apothecary jar is something I bought at Homegoods back when we first knew we were buying our house.  I think it was one of my very first home decor purchases with the new house in mind.  Most of the year it is filled with artificial lemons, but during the fall, I fill it with some pretty Dollar Tree leaves.

I’m pretty sure the smiling-pumpkin-on-a-pedestal is my favorite singular Halloween decoration I own.  I found it randomly last year at Hobby Lobby and couldn’t leave it behind.  Not sure why I am so drawn to it, but I am.  I think it’s fun and whimsical.

The other touch of fun and whimsy in this vignette are my Boney Bunch pieces!  I love, love, love my Boney Bunch candy dish.  It’s my favorite of all the pieces in my collection.  You can also see my spider tealight holder next to the apothecary jar.

Below all of the items are two felt leaves that I’m sure many of you have seen at Dollar Tree.  I also have red and green felt ornaments that I use in a similar way at Christmas time.  And of course, I added some real baby pumpkins to add a touch of natural to the vignette.  Who doesn’t love pumpkins?

And there you have it!  My fall non-mantel!

The Lettered Cottage
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