The Gardens of Hansel and Gretel in the Snow

This house. I can't begin to describe how much joy I get out of this little cottage in the woods. Right now it is full of clutter and there are coats piled on top of blankets piled on top of theater seating and cherubs and jewelry and corbels…ugh. It's full!

Tuesday, Birmingham may have gotten a little snow storm. It may have only been 2 inches, but people, it shut this city DOWN! I was lucky enough to get my kids and a few others home to my house before the traffic got dangerous. There were so many that were not so lucky. Some that spent the night in their cars or walked miles, serious miles, in the snow. uphill. both ways. They can totally tell their grandchildren that story and not be exaggerating!!

I look outside after I got a phone call out of the blue that kids were getting out of school early. I had no idea. This place, what I call Hansel and Gretel, looked like a winter wonderland! It was gorgeous!! I was walking to the car snapping photos with my iPhone left and right. I just couldn't get enough! After the debacle of getting home and calming my nerves, I got out the Nikon and got some up close and personals.

Here is the tour of the Hansel and Gretel Gardens in the Snow.

This antique gate is from New Orleans. It is the entrance into the front gardens of Hansel and Gretel.

I could eat the patina off of this gorgeous gate. 

Upon entering into the front cobblestone walkway, you will see several characters that were here when we moved in. The angel at the end was my addition and I love the way she is looking over our home! 

This cutie was here and can't you tell she is a flirt? She's always smiling! 

This bike was featured with a bow for the Holiday issue of Fresh Style Magazine last year. 

Here's an upclose of that gorgeous angel. I know she is praying over our home.

When you pass her you come into the courtyard at the front of the original part of Hansel and Gretel.
The snow is covering the antique bricks that are in a gorgeous pattern surrounding the fountain.

This tree overlooks the courtyard and holds the twinkly lights in place. It is truly magical at night!

From our steps leading down into the courtyard, you see the front of the house. Kevin Palmer took an awesome shot of that red door and doorknob when he and Layla came by a few weeks ago. You can see some of these same spaces with no snow!

I just love these icicles hanging on our little cottage!

The back of the house was a true winter wonderland! 

The Magic Barn….I should have styled it for Christmas for next year with the snow.

We don't get very much snow this far south. I enjoyed it while it lasted…3 days! If it ever snows here, it usually melts within hours!

Birmingham Snow Shuts Down the City

Hansel and Gretel Courtyard

Tuesday morning I woke up with a smile on my face. One of my best friends, Ashlee came to Birmingham for my birthday party at Bottle Tree the night before and we were going to have a fun day playing. The kids went to school and we sat and drank coffee enjoying the view of Hansel and Gretel and reminiscing about the songs my new favorite singer, Davin McCoy, sang the night before. I heard him at the Songwriter's Fest the weekend before and fell head over heals. Connor surprised me on Friday saying he was coming on Monday! So incredibly blessed with that guy. Connor not Davin. (wink)

I was on the phone with another friend laughing about the events from the night before and I saw a few snow flakes. It was that whole, "Oh, look! It's snowing!" Ashlee asked how I could even see those flakes they were so small. She declared, "It's just flurries.". She had an appointment with TMB Skin Clinic at 11:00, I was going to go with her and then it was lunch, shopping and playing for a few hours. OH, I forgot Connor's car battery was dead and he had to jump it off before he left for work. I'm thinking that was around 9:00. Ashlee and I decided we should get up and get going, so we started getting ready. As we were finishing up, Connor called and asked if the I thought school would get out early. Why in the world would they? I looked outside, the ground was covered and snow was falling as fast as it could! How wonderful! 5 minutes later, I got the phone call, school would be out at 11:30. Ashlee's car was still at Bottle Tree, we needed to pick that up, go to her appointment and get back before the kids got out. We had an hour. Still just taking our sweet little time and trying to look cute for the day, we finally got upstairs and realized there was no time to get her car, that could wait. MY CAR HAD BEEN RUNNING SINCE CONNOR LEFT! #seriously

My driveway!

We start out of my neighborhood toward TMB, there's a hill to climb. It's covered in snow. There are cars going up…slowly. Ok, no biggie, let's get her to her appointment, I will drop her off, go pick up kids and head back to pick her up. We make it up the hill. People are turning around. I freak out a little. These people are panicking. They are worried about not making it over that hill and back. My kid's school is on this side of the hill. I look at Ashlee and say, "We have to go get the kids!". 30 minutes before they are letting them out. I get gas since the light is on….just in case. I tell Ashlee to get some snacks inside the gas station. I go in to help her, she has nothing. She's looking at Vienna sausages and mac n cheese single servings. No, Ashlee, we need chips and salsa, doritos and junk food! It's a snow day!

We jump on Hwy. 119 and this is what we see.

Not a lot of cars, but a lot of snow. I pull in the parking lot and decide to go ahead and go inside. I've since talked to two different parents and need to pick up 3 extra kids. The check out desk was diligent with her "rules" and I had to tell her each kids name one at a time and she had to double check that I was on each ones list. The last two? I was not on their list. She wouldn't let me have them. I told her I would just grab them in the parking lot. Abduct much? I stood in the hall as John Connor walked around the corner in shorts and a short-sleeved t-shirt. All the parents just stared at him, shook their heads and then found me. Yes, he's mine, he only wears shorts. If he's comfortable, I'm comfortable, ok? Sophie walked up next, then Emma with Caelis, "Can Caelis go home with us?", sure. Bryson, one of the kids I'm abducting and we set out to find her brother. I just tell them where the car is and we head out. Guess what? I have 2 seats. 6 kids and 2 seats. Pile in the back, kids. I know it's snowing, the roads are slick, but I was not prepared!! We pull out of the parking lot, to the left 119 is backed up, we can go the other way to pick up Conor from the high school. I'm crossing my fingers we make it the 3/4 of a mile home. As we turn the corner to the high school, it's pretty backed up but moving. We are trying to call Conor and get him to walk down the hill. There are high school kids walking around everywhere. The signal is horrible…has been for the last hour. We finally get him and he's already started walking. We pick him up at our road and he jumps in…that makes 7 kids, 9 people with 4 seat belts. We are on the home stretch, though! Our house is a winter wonderland!! We all pile out and snowballs start to form and be thrown. They can't wait to get on the trampoline and bounce all that snow off!

In the meantime, Ashlee is a little worried about her car, oh and getting home!! She's from Florence, Alabama where it isn't snowing at all. Our first priority is feeding all these kids. If you know me…I do not cook. Seriously, never. My husband cooks and buys groceries on the day that he decides to cook because we eat out 5 nights a week. I'm not kidding, at all. I know we have frozen PBJ and maybe some eggs. We did buy a loaf of bread. Toast? Emma starts making cheese quesadillas for everyone. She's 14. She's so smart. I thaw out some deer meat and find a chili seasoning packet in the pantry. We put on a pot of chili. (I know how to cook some things, I just choose not to) We feel pretty good about the situation. Then we start watching the news and I start getting text and phone calls from friends that are stranded or their kids are still at school. The buses in our district never even left. The next area over sent their buses out and had to turn around or leave their bus. My MIL had to be rescued with her bus full of kids. They were coming home from a field trip. There were teachers on the bus, but she was stuck on the interstate for 2 1/2 hours!!! She said there were so many people helping move cars out of the way. They got a police escort, meaning she still had to drive her bus full of kids through the mess! Thankfully, she delivered them all safely. I felt so much panic for all of those mothers. One of the mothers of the kids I had had to abandon cars and walk home. One was on an airplane and was rerouted to Memphis. She wasn't going to be home until Wednesday. That hill I mentioned earlier, well…those panicky people? They panicked, slid, got slammed by other cars, and realizing they weren't going anywhere anytime soon, abandoned their cars. Panick. I was safe at home, with my kids, my friend and I were panicking for them. Connor was in a meeting, remember? He was in Vestavia, which is not too close to home when there's a blizzard and cars are stuck ALL OVER THE INTERSTATE! He has 4WD and believe me, he was going to take advantage. He is not a patient-sit-in-traffic kind of guy. He was off-roading and taking the "back way" all the way home. Remember the panic? People needed to call people, the phone lines were jammed and not a lot of talking was going on. We were just texting to find out where he was and how bad it was. He was updating and it only took him a few hours to get home. On the way, he was picking up old ladies that had abandoned their cars and taking them up the hill to the church. One told him her car was sliding and she just opened the door and rolled out, letting her car slide away. STOP.THE.MADNESS! I was so glad when he made it, but we still had friends that were stranded. My other friend, Ashlee, really how many people have two besties named Ashlee with 2 EE's? Me. So, she and her mom were on their way to UAB to see her Mom's hubby that had been admitted the day before, when they realized they couldn't make it. Heading down 119 from HWY 280, toward home, they made the 5 mile trek in 3 1/2 hours!! Sliding, blocking traffic, creeping home. Her mom is in a wheelchair…no chance of walking home! They made it to the entrance of her neighborhood about the time Connor with the 4WD got home. He went to help and some other sweet samaritan had already come to the rescue. When he got home, he said it was terrible with all of the cars all over the roads, abandoned. What is going to happen to those people that got out of their cars in the snow and less than 20 degree weather?

We just sat and watched it all unfold on Facebook and the news. The kids were happy and warm and fed, so all we could do was wait. If there was someone in need that we could help, we were ready.

It took my brother 6 hours to get to his kids. Speaking of kids stranded at the schools, there were 1,000's, seriously THOUSANDS, that had to spend the night at school. Not just middle schoolers who were glad to hang out with their friends all night, but preschoolers, kindergarteners, teachers who rocked them to sleep that night.

So many were on the highway over night, in their cars, with limited gas and some without chargers for their phones. A friend's sister was on the highway overnight and sent a picture of around midnight when they were standing on the side of the road by a fire. Gas was limited and it was the only way to keep warm. One friend was sliding down a hill uncontrollably in her car and was hit multiple times. She got out of the car and walked to the hospital nearby. Thankfully, a friend picked her up so that she would have a bed to sleep in. Her husband stayed at work all night trying to get trucks in and her boys were safe with family or in college within walking distance of all that he needed. Another friend also slid down a hill, had a wreck and ended up in a hotel room with a stranger as a roommate. She gave a blanket to a fellow stranded driver that was sleeping in the hallway of the hotel!! There are so many more stories just like these, some a lot worse and some not near as bad. Never the less, we all have a story about this Snowopacalypse of 2014. We were supposed to get a dusting. Our friends on the coast cancelled school this day and the next because they were supposed to get snow. I think they did, but nothing like what we got. Our weather people got it wrong, but man, I don't envy that job. I know they do their best and we have some of the best in the country in our area. I sure don't blame them or anyone for what happened. We get made fun of when there is a chance of flurries around here. The grocery stores have bare shelves of milk and bread and some of my snarky friends make snarky comments laughing at themselves, us southerners. We just aren't equipped, we don't have to deal with it like those northerners do. Remember at the beginning when I said my son was in shorts and tshirt? He has one pair of pants and one small under armor lightweight jacket that I BEG him to wear when it's below 20 degrees. I had on a shirt, jeans and boots that day….with a scarf. No coat, no socks, one layer. We play in the sunshine 9 months out of the year. If it gets cold, it's usually in the 40's. Our city was shutdown on Tuesday and finally made it's way out yesterday, for the most part. My kids are home again today and yes, my son is sitting next to me dressed in shorts and a t-shirt. He's heading to Arkansas with his best friend to go duck hunting. He has his camo….he'll be outside for a long time in the cold. He can handle it!

My friend, Ashlee finally got to go home yesterday, we ate chili and soup and chips and crackers, made cookies and ate the dough. I enjoyed having her here so much and can't believe she's not sitting on the couch with me again today.

Happy Snowmageddon, snowpocalypse, brrrrrrmingham snow 2014!!!

Hansel and Gretel Barn

Fall Dinner Party with Southern Lady Magazine Preview

I am having a Fall Dinner Party tomorrow. Not really, but Southern Lady Magazine is in the courtyard today, styling for a gorgeous party! I want to invite all of my friends over to enjoy the beautiful transformation!

There will be food tomorrow, but it will be at odd times and probably not enough for everyone to enjoy! Too bad. I love that they took my dining room table and chairs and filled it with gorgeous fall china, decanters, and candles. There are doilies down the middle being used as a runner. It is amazing!

Here is a quick photo of them working on placement! So fun to have them here!

Mr. Kitty is enjoying the pumpkins in the fountain!

August in Instagram

Summer is over. It doesn't feel like it really began. Too much work, too much rain. Next summer will be better! Let's get ready for Fall! Heading out to a college football game tomorrow. Very fitting, don't you think?

August had us making videos for last days of summer, going to church, Haven in Atlanta, the beach, the beach! Exploring old buildings in downtown Birmingham, teaching cheerleaders, research for The Chapel Market, loving scenes from Hansel and Gretel, decorating for Christmas and friends bringing back prizes from New Orleans! Planning a new house!  It was a fun month!

Save the Tree

There was a big story coming out of Alabama last week. There were some trees being removed from Toomer's Corner. It was a big stink. You may not have heard about it if you aren't from Alabama. We take college football seriously around here. We also take tradition with those football teams very seriously! The teams I'm referring to are Alabama and Auburn. Sometimes pranks are played on the opposing team before a big game. Sometimes they are taken too far. A few years ago a man decided to poison the trees on Toomer's Corner in Auburn, Alabama. These trees have so much tradition behind the Auburn Football Family. After Auburn wins a football game, the fans will go to Toomer's and roll the trees. It's a tradition. After the Spring Game this year, the trees would be rolled for the last time. They were taken down this week. You can search the hashtag #toomerslastroll on Instagram or Twitter and see lots of pictures. I snagged this one so you could see the trees and all of the people that wanted to be a part of it. I'm telling you, we love college football here! 

So, I came home after taking the kids to school on Monday and Connor was flagging trees. This one had a flag on it. It's the Christmas Tree. (thats what we call it) I begged him not to take it down. He wants a yard to play in, you know, throw the football, baseball, etc. But, this one? Why this one? 

The heavy machinery got there to take down the trees and I asked for their support to save the tree. I told them to tell Connor it shouldn't be taken down and it worked! The tree was saved!  #thankful They started laying the sod and I realized it was going to be great. I love the way it turned out. I got to keep my tree and we have a great front yard to play in! John Connor got out and helped them, too.

After the best baseball game of the season on Saturday, we got home and wanted to hang out in our new and improved front yard. Connor went to the store for burgers and dogs and we invited friends over to play! They didn't get to throw the football or baseball because we need to let the sod root for a few weeks, so the basketball goal got put back up and the shot some hoops! Man, I love this place!!

A Walk Through the Garden

Ok, it's really not a garden. It's my yard. I can't wait to get some bushes and flowers planted! I'm itching to get started. Is it still too early? I pulled out the camera and walked around the grounds here at Hansel and Gretel. At 5:00pm the light is beautiful! I truly feel blessed every time I walk around and see something new. This little corner just has so much character and I'm so lucky to have found it!

I started toward the barn and saw these doors I picked up at DWS a month ago. I need to get Albert, the handyman, over here pronto to get these put up inside!

 As I step inside, I see the light hitting this wood. The window is a bit blown out, but I love the way the light is falling on this pile of bead board. I think it's time to start on those projects!

I found this screen door under the house after we moved in. I wanted to put it back up, but the Connor Farmer thinks it's old and dirty. Hmmmph. It's on the list to be cleaned up and hung! {oh, Albert?}

As I stood up, I saw this church birdhouse that Connor's grandfather built many years ago. It looks so beautiful in the light and that chippy old shutter just adds enough character to make me want to leave it right in that spot!!

 All I had to do was turn and turn and see so many spots that had the texture and character that I find beautiful. That stack of bricks is showing because the door has fallen off. {Albert better hurry}

 I walked over to the courtyard in front of the house. This bike was left behind by the previous owner. I don't know if it was parked there on purpose or left there in a hurry. I'm sure the ivy will take over and it may never be moved again!

As I'm walking back onto the porch, I see the light hitting this corbel. I picked this little guy up at Scott's a few months back. He needs to come inside! Those stars in the background are from Scott's and my mom. This place is full of treasures.

Modern Rustic Design Trend

Are you on the bandwagon, yet? It's been sneaking it's way in for a couple of years, but is full throttle right now! Modern Rustic Design is what I'm talking about. We built a house close to 8 years ago with this style before it really had a name. The best way I can describe it is texture vs. smooth. The modern has smooth, straight lines and rustic has texture and patina in it's natural state. There is also a sense of something old that has a story and a can't-recreate feeling. Wallpaper peeling off the walls. The texture and look that can't be found.

This is the house we moved from. I love that brick backsplash and walls!

 A lot of people think the copper tub was uncomfortable. It's very comfy and the water stays warm the whole time you are in it!

 Three years ago The Wall Street Journal described it as Rough Luxe:

Rough luxe is, at first glance, a study in Contradictions, an attempt to reconcile the antique or the just plain old with the contemporary, the accumulated with the newly acquired, the decrepit with the pristine. It’s artful dissonance. For those who have come to think of luxury as smooth, shiny, polished, refined and expensive, rough luxe will undoubtedly come off as unfinished, unplanned and somewhat chaotic.

That is EXACTLY how I love to decorate. Sometimes it feels masculine. I just love to use texture and natural elements in my designs. Our last house was on the market for several years. So many people came through and thought it was too masculine. The house we moved into is very rustic. It was built in 1964 with all reclaimed, salvaged materials. You may have read this post where the family came by that built it and told me many, many stories! The character at Hansel and Gretel is so incredible. Almost every person that comes in asks for us to call them when we are ready to sell. The idea of the Modern Rustic aka Rough Luxe is to use items that are not updated or cleaned up. It's also is to use items in unlikely places. There are no rules. I have really low ceilings with dark beams covering the ceiling in what I call the dining room. Then hanging from the middle of the room is the most gorgeous chandelier with more crystals than you can imagine hanging from it! 

I work with Southern Accents Architectural Antiques promoting ways to use the architectural salvage they get from homes that are being demolished. I created a Pinterest board to give you several ideas of how to incorporate this style in your home. I hope you will check that out and if you want to see more of what Southern Accents is doing, you should like their Facebook page. It wouldn't hurt if you told them I sent you....just makes it look like I'm doing my job {wink, wink}! 

Follow along on more things that inspire me on my Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!

It Snowed in Alabama!

I am humbled by the beauty of this house everyday. 

I couldn't wait for the kids to get out of school. I sat in the den watching the snow fall, waiting on the schools to say they were getting out early. I never got the call. I made an executive decision to go get them at 2:30. Wouldn't you know, it quit snowing. After we went home to get warm clothes, we headed over to John Connor's best friend, Reynold's house. He has a hill! On the way over, we noticed the snow was melting minute by minute. The sun was actually peeking through the clouds! We haven't seen the sun in a week!!! There was a little stress that we had missed it. 
As you can see, it wasn't a lot of snow, but it was enough to play in, make snowballs and have fun!

 Someone is going to be in trouble with that snowball!

 Sorry, Marie! WATCH OUT!!

She can handle those boys!

I love that girl's smile! Isn't it electric?

 These two are always laughing!

So thankful for best friends and snow days! 

Christmas with the Smoking Glue Gun Girls

My new craft group, The Smoking Glue Guns, was planning their holiday party. Um, they wanted hubbies to come? NO! All that's going to happen is the girls in one room and the boys in the other. The husbands will complain about having to go and then we won't even talk to them. NO BOYS ALLOWED! Well, that was my opinion and then it was decided {ahem, by Ashlee} that the party would be at Hansel and Gretel! Christmas at Hansel and Gretel, what would be better? Well, I'm used to having parties at my house. Um, the other house. The one that could hold lots of people and no one would trip over cords....sorry, Christy! I was ready, though. Hosting a party at Hansel and Gretel was one of the reasons I love this house. It has so much character and needs to have people see it and swoon over me!

It had been raining ALL DAY LONG! I was getting messages asking if we could just wear pj's. I'm so glad Ashlee is the "leader" of this group. She put her foot pj's! Glitter, sequins, sparkle, it's a Christmas party!! I'm glad she did. I love to get dressed up and I didn't have to go outside! yay!

Everyone brought food and a wrapped gift of their Favorite Thing and we would play Dirty Santa! This has become my favorite kind of party. We always just do Christmas gift for Dirty Santa. But, My Favorite Thing? Yes, that's a good one!! We drank some Jingle Jangle Juice. Too bad there isn't a photo of was so pretty and delicious!

Krista getting an earful! {laughing at myself, now. I'm so serious!}

Doesn't the food look amazing? {it was}

Champagne as a hostess gift? {yes, thank you, Ashlee!}

I have had so much fun getting to know these girls! Dirty Santa was pretty dirty! I was excited to get a BirchBox. I have been wanting to try it and I won a 3month subscription! Thanks, Lori!

As usual, Lori Gordon took the photos! She even teaches others how to take photos like these! Wanna learn? Check out Click Workshops!

Just a journal entry with no rhyme or reason....just my thoughts of today.

I love this time of year. Seriously, a New Year, it's like a bunch of Mondays! I love to reflect on the memories of last year. I LOVE to plan a new year! It's like starting over. What do you want to do with your life? What did you want to do last year that you did or did not do? It's not too late, people! Quit worrying about what might have been. Do it today! Or tomorrow! Or next week! Just don't wait too long. I don't like to give myself goals I can't complete. I have a hard time starting projects unless I have someone to push me....or fund the project!

I do love to decorate. My style has been a little uncommon for a while. It's finally THE thing to do. Texture, natural color, lots of hard pieces and very masculine for some. We built our "dream home" back in 2007 and it was all heart pine flooring, beams as posts with old paint still on it, a brick wall as the focal point in the main rooms. I used an old concrete trough for a sink in the powder room and lots of granite. There was tongue and groove breadboard 3/4 up the walls in the back foyer and keeping room, where we had a stone fireplace with a salvaged beam as the fireplace. You can pretty much see those pieces in a lot of homes now. I love it still. I hope it continues for a long time. All of our crown molding was pine wood stained dark.

We live at Hansel and Gretel now. It's exactly the same. Rock fireplace, heart pine flooring, beams as mantels, and beautiful wood all over the house. This house was built in 1964. Well, the original part of the house all with reclaimed and salvaged architectural pieces. It was a two story with spiral staircase in the middle. A built in bed for the master suite and one more bedroom for the 2 kids. Downstairs was the den, kitchen, bath and laundry room. I need to ask, but I think it was about 1200 square feet. They came by today. The man that built this house and his kids. I was so giddy. I couldn't wait to meet them. They brought pictures and a camera. Everyone had their phones out to video the stories from Pappy. I think I love him. He can do anything. He kept asking if I had questions. I couldn't think of one. The stories were flowing like faucets. I couldn't keep up! There's the part about Pappy building the original part of the house all by himself....literally, or the stones for the fireplace that came from a speak easy on old 280. How about Momma....she like to throw things out the door. The tv they had? had to be small enough for her to pick up and throw. Seriously, they said that....and she did! There was a M-I-L door. Didn't know this, but it's a door without a place to step, you would kinda fall if you tried to go out! She just threw things out this door! The door is still here and we have a deck to walk out on...thank goodness!! OH, the wallpaper! I really wish I could see it behind all the paint. Roosters, big roosters were on the walls in the kitchen! How fantastic is that? Baby girl took lots and lots of photos. Middle sis had lots of stories....there's one about a snake and I'm trying to forget that one! Big brother had lots of stories and kept asking if he was telling it right...I think he embellishes a little. $50 an acre or $500 an acre.....that's close, right?

It was a perfect day. They were so glad to be here and I was just as glad. Connor even said he liked the house more knowing all the stories. I can't wait to see the photos and the videos of stories. We might cook up something good out of this magical house. I hope so! I didn't take one picture or write down one thing...I was afraid I would miss it...and now, I'm teary.

Now you know why I'm rambling :) Thanks for reading...if you made it this far!

Christmas Mantel at Hansel and Gretel

I always have so much fun decorating my house for Christmas. Since we have moved, I have been chomping at the bit wanting to get all of my decorations from the storage units. It really stinks to not have my Christmas closet anymore! Shelves to the ceiling held all of my rubber maids! I also kept 3 trees in there! Only one was out of the box and standing. Now, I have to drive a few miles down the road and load up the car and a trailer and then make another trip to get it all to Hansel and Gretel! I really didn't mind this year since it was a new house and I could re-do everything! I had lots of fun over Thanksgiving weekend when my fellas were off in the woods hunting. I had the house all to myself and got so much done!

I have this HUGE fireplace. It's like chateau-in-the-mountains-huge! I can literally stand inside! I didn't really have an idea of what would make it onto this monstrosity. The area from the mantel to the top is not very big. It's just really wide. As I was opening all the boxes on the porch, I found my Penny McAllister collection. This stuff is gorgeous, y'all! I absolutely love it. It's all handmade and since she passed away a few years ago, my pieces have become even more special to me.

The window painted like a santa belt and believe spelled out is courtesy of my talented sister, Natalie! She made this for me several years ago and it's one of my favorite pieces!

A close up of a few Penny McAllister pieces and my favorite wood Christmas Tree!

There is a smaller den off the kitchen at Hansel and Gretel. We use this room a lot. It's where homework gets done and dinner gets eaten! I wanted some real garland for this mantel, but haven't found any. Maybe someone has extra and they want to share? Or maybe, I could actually go and buy some. hahahahaha, I'm still in my pj's and it's 2:15!

This mantel has a few things on it from my first decorating attempt. That's one of my favorite pieces, the clock, the 4 and the small foundry pattern were all there before. I added John Connor's first kill. It was hanging over the mantel last year with a Santa hat! Oh, that shed was there before, too. I just moved it over to allow for those fun trees to have a spot! 

The two frames are from one of my favorite frame makers, Leah. That santa is part of my collection that is in another room. I needed a space filler and he fit the bill! I picked up those two small reindeer in Tennessee at Marshall's. I am loving reindeer this season!

I'm linking this Christmas mantel to:

The Lettered Cottage

A Wood Project for Christmas

Ashlee called the other day and said she had a project for us to do on Tuesday. We had our day planned to hang out at the Barn at Hansel and Gretel. Well, Emma hurt her neck at gymnastics...that threw a kink in our plans.......literally! 
She is ok, but she couldn't move her neck at all! I took her to the doc and they helped her work it out! 

Ashlee and I changed our plans to Wednesday. She came over around 10am and brought some old wood from her neighbor's fence! It was old and grey and worn out! Perfect!!

We were making mangers for Baby Jesus! Ashlee saw one her friend's husband made and knew it was the perfect project for us. 

We didn't have a pattern, just a picture. We totally just figured it all out. First we cut the long side pieces. The first cuts were a little too long. The proportions had to be right. We just cut 5 or 6 inches off and then cut the other 3 the same. 

Next we cut the pieces for the ends. Those pretty much needed to be a square. It would square up on the ends. We did no official measuring. 

Here are several of the cuts. The top one is probably too long. We cut it to match the two smaller matching pieces. That little piece was going to be an end. We love the rustic-ness of it! 

We didn't have any extra hands to take pictures of us screwing all the pieces together. We just lined up the smallest piece to on of the longer pieces and put in two screws. Next we took the other "side" piece and screwed it to the small pieces matching up the corners. 
The next step was to cut the legs. All of our pieces were the perfect widths from the fence. These smaller pieces made the best legs! We just held them up to the bed area and cut them to fit. The last step was to screw in the legs under the base. We made it and X shape for ease. 

Our finished project! Do you think it is as cute as I do? I was thrilled with the outcome! We literally were finished in an hour. That included Ashlee going through the house looking at all my Christmas decor and finding screws as we went along! 

This project was so simple and fits perfect with my wood Christmas tree and tiny tree with burlap! I added a bit of straw. I do not have a baby to put in my manger, but I may take the top of a post or just a wood ball and wrap it up in a blanket to make it look like a baby!

Ashlee posted a pic of hers on Instagram with this precious star and her "baby Jesus". I'm smitten!

Sharing on Funky Junk Interiors SNS for the first time!

Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly!

Sing it with me.....fa la la la la la la la la! 

I was decking the halls this weekend! I really just finished. And by that I mean, I have 90% of it up! Seriously, like late last night, I decorated the last tree. I'm not completely satisfied, but it will have to do! I have a few odds and ends laying around and I need garland for one more mantel...but, other than that. Gah, I have a lot of stuff!

Tomorrow I am making a manger for Baby Jesus! Ashlee is coming over with some old wood from her neighbors fence. No, she didn't steal it. At least I don't think she did! He put up a new fence and this was laying-there-not-being-used! I can't wait to get it finished. It's going to be so adorable!

I thought I would share a few in-the-process pics of the house as I was up to my eyeballs over the weekend!

This is a portion of my front porch on Friday as my boys were leaving to go to the hunting camp.

This is THE tree. It will be full of red and white goodness when I'm finished with it! The lights. The lights are going to be the death of me. Every year, I say I am going to take all the lights off and start over. I never do. I add more lights on top of the lights that do not work. If I could fix those measly little bulbs that cause all the trouble, I would probably have thousands of lights on this tree! Notice how it is a couple of feet taller than the ceiling there. Thankfully, the ceilings are high in the middle of this room. The only spot for this tree is right where you see it. In the middle behind the couch and right next to the dining room table!

I love my upside down tree! It's so fun and non-traditional! This is how it came home to me from the storage unit. Mesh was all out of order and those paper flowers are a little catty-wompus! Notice how it is flush with the ceiling. It had to be tilted and shoved into place. We have low ceilings at Hansel and Gretel, like less than 8ft. ceilings! The lights. ugh

Just a pic of some of the sticks that go into THE tree! You will see those again, but that's another post!

I can't tell you how much I love this wood tree. It is by far, my favorite! I have several of these wood trees, but this is the one I love! Of course, Southern Accents Architectural Antiques is where this one was born. I went to Cullman one day with Daphney to get a tree for her. She had seen the one Shane delivered to me earlier in the week and she HAD to have one, too! So, off we go on a road trip. We were in the wood shop with Kolby, Garlan and Shane. We were picking through the pieces of wood and I saw this green trim on the floor. I picked it up and immediately saw a tree! The guys all thought I was crazy. This was before I started working for them and bringing them all of my out-of-the-box ideas. They were used to living inside their little world and not being too creative with it. I'm sure if they saw this one now, they would all gawk at it. It's like a Charlie Brown tree. It needed to be made and loved. Now it sits by the giant fireplace at Hansel and Gretel. I may not ever take it down!

So far, 2 Christmas Casualties

Thursday morning, aka Thanksgiving Day, Connor went over to the storage unit to get our Christmas tree and decorations. A full car and full trailer later, he brought back 85% of the decorations. We went back on Friday and got trees and several more boxes. I will be back again on Monday to see what's left!

We were heading out the door for our family gatherings. 2 stops for the day. We unloaded the trailer and filled up the front porch. Hansel and Gretel now looks like the Grizwalds/Clampetts.

As we were loading up the car for the day, I opened the back of his Yukon. I know better than to do this with my car. It is always full and something WILL fall out on you or it will break. Well, guess what? My most favorite Christmas decoration of my childhood was the first thing to fall out. I heard the crash and saw the bubble wrap and knew in that instant it was THE Santa. The one that as a child, I would go into the attic each year looking for. I would avoid everything else until I found that Santa.  I couldn't wait to put him on the mantel. He just looked like the sweetest Santa in the world and I knew that is what the real Santa Clause looked like.  Once he was on the mantel all the Christmas magic filled the house and the countdown could begin.

I cried. Real tears were streaming down my face. I was so upset that he was broken. I was also upset with myself that I had opened the back without looking. I wanted to blame in on the hubs, but how could I when I was the one that should have gotten it all myself. Then I would have known there was more back there. So, after assessing the damage and picking up every single shard of pottery, I can't give him up. My sister, Natalie, said I could cover it up with a hat. It was the whole hat that was broken. I don't know if it will look right. Maybe you have an idea?

After putting up 2 trees and covering one with lights, garland, sticks, and ornaments, I was fluffing the tree and off came a Radko angel. Ahhhhh, she already had a broken wing. I bought her when Emma was a baby. She shattered into many pieces. She got swept up and out the door. May she rest in peace.

It's too devastating to leave on a bad note. I will share this adorable snowman with his bokeh background to bring you happiness! He is a cutie!

I will get more pics up of Hansel and Gretel all aglow this week. I have several more runs to get more lights and I'm thinking I need real garland instead of the fake stuff this year. Which do you use? Real tree and garland or fake? 

Talk of Alabama TV/Christmas Crafts and Lucy Lockets

Hanging out with Nicole on Talk of Alabama! It's always fun and very last minute! Yesterday I dug around and called my friends to find a Santa Can from a past ornament party. Molly came through! Nicole came to a party several years ago and loved this can!

I took old vegetable cans and spray painted them red, added red ribbon and a square for the buckle, a little glitter and voila.....SANTA to hold the take home cookies! He is so cute and easy-peasy! A great hostess gift filled with your favorite treat!

We pimped out some of my Lucy Lockets, too. Always fun to show off some of the latest. Notice the display? It is an old corbel I picked up at The Depot and the antler shed that John Connor and his buddy, Parker found in the woods at Hansel and Gretel. Lori took a couple of photos last night to highlight how cute it is! She's an amazing photographer!

We made some of these crafty ornaments at the Smoking Glue Guns party last about that later's baby! 

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Linking up to these fun girls linky party!! Setting for Four, Cupcakes and Crinolines, Its so very Cheri, Three Mango Seeds

The Spotted Zebra

The Spotted Zebra belongs to my sisters. Natalie and Nicole. They are both equally important to this cute little place. Nicole pretty much runs the show being there all day every day. Natalie will come in and paint a room or re-style a section in her sleep! Bless her heart, she gets no sleep!  She paints furniture and does treatments to cabinets. She also has 2 boys, Bailey, a senior in high school and Grayson is in the 8th grade.

I got the pleasure of hanging out with Nicole on Thursday. They had their Holiday Open House. It was all day  Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We had a blast. The store looks gorgeous and there are so many beautiful things, I couldn't decide what to take home with me! I wanted to completely start over with my Christmas decor! I took home one bag of goodness. I can't wait to get it up at Hansel and Gretel! 

These are a few of my favorites and a few of my purchases!

This angel comes in small, medium and large. I got one of each! So cute, light and a great price!

Those reindeer? They are at my house!! I love them and think they will fit right in at Hansel and Gretel!

Just a close up of that gorgeous mantel. Daphne Donaldson does a great job decorating the store!

See that red mesh ribbon? Oh yeah, I have a roll of that! It's the

I love these burlap stockings. That ruffle at the top is precious. It's just not quite big enough for what Santa brings! ;)

These angels? I adore them! They are made from recycled products. Right up my alley!

I was so glad to see they had an upside down tree. Mine has to be my FAVE tree in my house! Where will I put it at Hansel and Gretel??

 This cute reindeer caught my eye! I think it is a great door hanger, but how cute just to hang behind or to the side of the tree? Create a vignette on the wall? adorbs

It just wouldn't be the south if we didn't have a tree with our favorite SEC teams!
 Roll Tide and War Eagle!

This has to be the most gorgeous Nativity Scene in all the land!

 If only I could buy all new holiday dishes....these would be in my house! I love that bright red and green and just a touch of black. 

Adorable towels. These are the BEST hostess gift! They are so cute and everyone needs a towel for the powder room or to hang by the sink in the kitchen! 

This store is packed with so many cute things. I left late on Thursday night and I'm sure a lot sold over the weekend. If you are looking for a gift or need something to freshen up your decorating....You should make a stop by The Spotted Zebra!

 I love these Santas.

Cute way to display your list. Hello? My list is a lot longer than this!

This is the new counter at the store. We brought the tins in from Southern Accents
They guys that built  it did an incredible job! 

Just a little silly Merry Christmas from me! Happy Holidays!

Hansel and Gretel Bathroom Before and After

This is my bathroom. Well, this was my bathroom before I moved in. See that light bulb? Yeah, that's inside the shower. I do love this wood that is on parts of the walls. I probably could have used it if I could have found more to match. Don't worry, I saved it all! I'm thinking picture frames and Christmas trees! These pictures were taken while the previous owner lived here. 

I also need to say, this bathroom is SMALL! Only one person at a time in this baby! You can see in this photo there isn't wood on every wall. We have a little plumbing showing and cinder block wall action. I really wish you could see that lamp. It's a Diet Mtn. Dew can. I love Diet Mtn. Dew! I totally could have used that lamp somewhere! He took it. :(

I called my handy man, Charlie. He's my brother and favorite handy guy. He doesn't enjoy my projects, but he does a pretty good job!! We decided just to do 1x6's on all the walls. We went to Lowe's a million times. There ended up being a lot of space to cover! We took the wall all the way to the ceiling and covered the ceiling in the 1x6 wood, too. I chose to paint the wood with Moonlight White by Benjamin Moore. This color is EVERYWHERE in my house! 

I found some old baseboard at a architectural salvage place in Chattanooga, Architectural Exchange. It is a great blue color! We took the baseboards and cut them in half to use as shelves. I also found some tiny corbels at Southern Accents to use a brackets to hold them up! 

Next, I went to World Market and found baskets to hold all of my essentials! (You can see my hairdryer sticking out! ;) The mirrors are small and hanging just so you can see your face. There isn't room for big ones! 

I love the way that blue Ball jar just pulls a small amount of color in and matches my key hole perfectly! It's a simple amount of accessories and it seems to make the space feel a little bigger! 

A wider angle shot so you can see how it all looks together....I had to stand in the utility closet to get this shot!

This is a lot smaller than my last bathroom. I can live with it, though. It's small and cozy and hey, who needs to spend a lot of time in the bathroom? FYI, I put my makeup on in my closet.....I'll show you that later! It's my FAVE place at Hansel and Gretel!

Framing Collage at the Hansel and Gretel House

 This wall was one of the first accomplishments after the move-in. I had two of my favorite decorating volunteers come over one day, Brandy and Laura.  I was still working with the electrician or the painter or the carpenter or maybe all of them!  I was so thankful. I mean, I couldn't have done this myself! I was non-making decision mode when it came to hanging pictures. They gathered all of these precious baby pictures and ran with it. Oh my, I absolutely love what they did! I was no where to be found while they were hanging. They didn't even ask me before they hung one thing. When it came time to fill in some of the holes, I took them out to the barn and we dug around for some pieces to hang. Actually, I think everything you see in this picture was there when I turned the corner. I could not believe they hung all of this and it looked so perfect! I think Laura used some Pinterest inspiration for the layout. I would have just nailed it up and moved it around! There would have been a million holes...eeek!

This house is built out of lots of wood! See this wall? Wood. The ceiling? Wood. I love this pattern of the wood for this wall. This house was built in the late 50's. This particular wall was part of the addition in the 60's. Nailing in this wall was not easy. At least we didn't have to search for a stud!

 I can't believe my kids were ever this small. That's not true.  I can remember how sweet they were. I do miss them at this age! 

That clock...I love it! Picked it up from Barney at Stray Cats several months ago!

This is a great shot of the whole wall. The staircase? It's huge! It came out of a courthouse. Man, have I told you how much I love this house? It has so much character!

I'm heading to Hendersonville, Tennesse on Friday. Get to meet up with Tracy and Leigh, again. We are going to the Vintage Marketplace. They are having a Tailgate-Music Antiques Show. I can't wait! One of my favorite Facebook shops will be there. Do you follow City Farmhouse? Swoon. It's amaze!

Hansel and Gretel Pictures!

I bought a new camera....yes, another one. Anyone get the feeling the problems are user related? help me

I have been dying to share photos of the Hansel and Gretel house. It's dark, people. Very dark. Yes, I have all of these cool, I mean really cool, light fixtures. They just don't put out a lot of light. We are in the woods. Not a lot of sunshine coming in! So, here goes. There seems to be a never ending supply of stuff to do around here. Lots more decorating and I need window treatments! I think I've taken a break from working all day on the house. I guess I need to get back at it this week!

This room needs some work. It still doesn't have a light fixture. I need Rhodas living room fixture over at Southern Hospitality! Or at least the same one at that price! The mantel needs a little work.  I guess I need to look at a mantel linky party and get some inspiration or just dig through my Pinterest boards? Just pretend you don't see the extra-large TV on the right. It's there and not going anywhere, but let's just pretend it's not there, can we?

I love this kitchen. LOVE IT! We added the yellow boards on the ceiling. Those cabinets? I am thinking about painting them? What do you think? The red light? My favorite purchase from Maine. The Sunbeam bread chalkboard. I die. It's so perfect there! My aunt gave me the closed sign. I find it fitting since I do not cook. Thank goodness for husbands that like to eat and can cook for the family! I guess that means the kitchen isn't closed, but it's still fitting! (wink)

Just a little framing vignette...with a little sparkly skull thrown in for Halloween!

My favorite window from Southern Accents. I love, love this window! Those antlers? They were outside on the barn and fell a few weeks ago. I thought they needed to come inside! A few pumpkins here, too. Just a sprinkle of Halloween on the inside. Most of our decor is outside!

Got corks? ha.....we like wine around here! FYI this collection has been accumulating for several years!

Words of Wisdom and Burlap Pillows

This July Emma and I went to America's Mart Atlanta for Gift Market. We stopped by Scott's Antiques Markets first. We found so many things we wanted! I think we filled the car and could barely fit another piece in!! Then we went to the Atlanta Mart! Oopsie, it's a good thing most of the showrooms ship!!

One of my favorite showrooms to stop in is Sugarboo Designs. You can read some of Rebecca's story on her website. Each piece is handmade.

We knew at this point we would be in our little Hansel and Gretel House. I was working hard at convincing her it was going to be a great place to live! She was undecided on which room she wanted. We all know....there was no decision! She was meant to have the built in bed! So, I let her pick out a pillow and a metal sign. These are what she picked!

It makes me happy that this is what she wanted in her room!

How could you NOT want this in your home? It's so me. I fall in love with everything and I fall hard! You will hear me say very often, "This is my favorite thing, EVER!!" Seriously, I say it about a lot!
Dandelions are kinda my favorite thing (EVER). Ha, told ya! I do love them and I had to have this pillow. I am a dreamer! 

I loved these metal signs. They are the stencil for the designs. I love this one for our new home!

This is one of my favorite quotes....ever....(oh, there I go again!) It means so much to me.

When you have a minute or an hour, go to their website and read through the quotes on photoboxes. These is probably the most popular item. I want them all over my house. It's one of my favorite places to buy gifts!