Christmas Tour 2015

Merry Christmas, everyone! Welcome to my lovely Christmas house. :-) I’ve had a lot of fun decorating this year, and hosting little gatherings with friends. Christmas is a wonderful time to get together with friends and share my pretty decor and delicious baked goods. (Cookies and fudge, anyone?! Would you like a warm cup of tea with that too?) Anyway, I wasn’t going to post a Christmas tour this year… BUT then I got Matt on board to buy a bigger tree (!!!), so I figured it would be fun to share the changes here too!2015_ChristmasLivingRm

2015_Tree_lightsI had a hard time convincing Matt that we needed a bigger tree. The big ones easily run between $600-$1000 if you want a pre-lit tree… and it was hard to justify the “need” for that cost. Then it dawned on me that people MUST have big trees they want to sell. So I checked craigslist and we landed a pre-lit, 9′ tree for under $100. Matt did spend some hours replacing bad bulbs, but to him it was worth it since the tree was so affordable. He was very patient and went limb by limb to replace the bad lights. (Thanks, Matt!) And now I have a 9′ tree in my big living room and I’m so pleased! Happy Christmas to me!


2015_ChristmasVintageOrnamentOur little tree fits nearly perfectly in the music room/library (a.k.a. the Jane Austen Room!) and it is SO PRETTY in there. The tree sits between the chairs, in front of the window. It can be seen from the street and I just love it. I selected “vintage” looking ornaments from our large ornament collection, as well as music themed ornaments for this tree. We just inherited some beautiful old ornaments from Matt’s grandmother, and they are perfect on this tree. I was short on garland since the big tree needed all of what I had, but I found a large spool of ribbon from my Grandma’s collection and used that instead. I love it. I topped the tree with a folded paper star from Target (and it was only $3.00!). The whole tree is just perfect!


I added some garland to the window in my kitchen. On it I hung food related ornaments, and I think it’s adorable. (It also makes me realize that perhaps it’s time to get serious about hanging some kind of window covering in that window..!)


I have a few fun little spots around the house too. Here are a few I love.





 Oh, and my cats are cute.




Merry Christmas! :-)

Fall Tour 2015 ~ Part 2

Happy Halloween! As promised in my post earlier this fall, here are some fun details of our Halloween decorations this year.

We’ll start outside. To begin, I’ll say that our cul-de-sac is a perfect fit for us. There are multiple reasons, and one is that Halloween is a big deal here. Two houses by us have large, glowing eyes in their upstairs windows, many houses have ghosts, tombstones, spiders, flags, and other yard decor, and everyone just seems to be in the spirit of spooky fun and candy!


My favorite piece outside is my light up cat that we put under the maple tree (which has turned to a beautiful orange-red color!).


Our porch is really the showstopper though, and it is almost 100% Matt’s doing… I occasionally get called in for a quick consult on placing something, and that’s about it! Halloween is Matt’s favorite holiday, so he goes all out and gets really geeky about it too. Our porch consists of electronics that he created and programmed that “perform” when triggered by the trick-or-treaters approaching the front door. These include flashes of light, sounds of thunder, a spider that moves across its web, and a ghost who rises up from behind tombstones. He even has a fog machine!


I will admit that I’m a big fan of the skeleton who’s been sitting in my basket chair all month. He’s pretty awesome.


If you survived the scares outside, we’ll welcome you and maybe even share some candy with you. Matt did the candy shopping this year, and he did well! Tonight we’ll have M&Ms, Skittles, Snickers, Twix and many others. Yum. I have mixed feelings between wanting so many kids to come and get a scare that we’ll have just enough candy, and having lots of left over candy for us to eat up later! ;-)

In our entry way I’ve slightly modified the table by the door… I added an adorable sign that says “Stop in for a spell” and also a few cats to the lower shelf! After all, what’s Halloween without a few black cats?



The Jane Austen room features my favorite Halloween display this year. In the window seat I added a spooky haunted house, a creepy tree, and a cute sign!


If you’re in the mood for an eerie read this Halloween, go pick up The Night Circus! (Pictured below) I just finished it this morning and it was fantastic: magical, mysterious, and even romantic. I loved it. Last year’s haunting Halloween read was Bellman & Black. It was also very good… very strange, but good!


In the living room, my mantel remains the same as it did in Part 1, but I have added my grandmother’s ceramic jack-o-lantern and a tray of Halloween books to the hearth!




Many of my Halloween books are from my childhood, but I have also added a few to my collection in the last few years. Here are a few of my favorites:

My last bit of Halloween fun is a few items on a side table in the living room! The print is from Rifle Paper Company; it’s a greeting card that I framed! I’ve had the little stuffed cat since I was a kid… I have to keep an eye on it though; for some reason my (real) cats love to pick on it!


I hope you have a very happy and haunted Halloween!

What litter boxes?

One of my dreams come true at our new house is hidden kitty litter boxes! I love my adorable kitties, but no one loves their litter boxes. So a goal in our new house was to hide their boxes somehow to make them not so ugly and annoying for ourselves and guests, but available and convenient for the cats.

Here are my cats:






And here are before pictures of their not-so-adorable litter boxes:


Laundry room. Litter box in front of utility sink = super annoying.

Laundry room. Litter box in front of utility sink = super annoying.


Powder Room -- When the cat box was here in the corner, we kept Theo's food and water by the sink. It was so annoying and ugly.

Powder Room. When the litter box was here in the corner, we kept Theo’s food and water by the sink. It was so annoying and ugly.

I couldn’t wait to get these suckers out of the way and hidden. Although, now that I say that, it seems that I’m all about hiding things at my house..! (Did you see my post, “Hide the TV“?) But I’m not — I don’t hide everything at my house! Seriously though, all of our spaces have things we need for certain functions, but that doesn’t mean we always want to look at them. So I try to make spaces beautiful while accommodating function.

Back to the litter boxes. I looked at some ideas on pinterest for hiding litter boxes and decided that the best way to hide litter boxes in our house was to store the litter boxes inside the vanities in the bathroom and laundry room (each kitty has their own space because of food allergies and medications) and then cut holes through the sides of the vanities to allow the cats to pass through.

Matt was adorable about this, “It will be dark in there. Maybe I should put some small LEDs inside the vanity so that they can see?” He’s so cute. :-) I reminded Matt that they go potty in the dark half the time anyway, and reassured him it would be fine! (And it has been!)

We did this project while my parents were visiting, because my Dad is super awesome and handy! We were also installing a new vanity in the laundry room, as well as new cabinets, and we definitely needed his help. Thanks, Dad!

Both of the vanities needed to have double doors to allow the boxes to be moved in and out for placement and cleaning. In the powder room, the vanity that we had consisted of drawers and a single door. This was not going to work. We headed over to the Habitat Re-Store and bought some new vanity doors… then the guys removed the existing drawers & door, cut away the extra pieces framing them, and installed the “new” doors. Perfect! (While they were at it, I also had the guys install a new counter-top and sink! Away with the gray! The new white one looks so nice!)

Powder Room Vanity

In the laundry room, we were installing a brand new vanity, so we just picked one out that had double doors. Easy! :-) (Also, I mentioned that the laundry room received a big update with cabinets at the same time… a post on that project will happen sometime soonish! Stay tuned!)

Due to the plumbing, their existing litter boxes wouldn’t fit, so I headed to the store and found some pieces that would work. I ended up with large plastic totes that we cut some pieces out of to accommodate the plumbing, as well as a cut out to line up with the hole in the side of the vanity so the cats can go in and out! Then I put a smaller plastic basin inside each tote that is actually the litter box. The larger tote protects the interior of the vanity from the kitty and box. I can also pull the whole thing out to clean it. Here is one of the totes with the litter box inside it.

new cat box

Finally, the sides of the vanity were cut to match the placement of the totes/boxes inside, and we were finished.  We showed the cats their new bathrooms and we’ve all been living happily ever after! The cats don’t seem to mind going into the vanities and I LOVE not having to look at the litter boxes all of the time! Hurray!

Here are the updated vanities and their litter boxes hiding inside:

Powder Room Vanity 2

Powder Room – Theo’s Room


Laundry Room - Kiki's Room

Laundry Room – Kiki’s Room… but that’s Theo in the picture. He followed me around while I took these pictures!

Cat Friendly Gift Packaging

Christmas Tree KittyChristmas time is a wonderful time of year for my cats. They love the all the fun decorations, the Christmas trees, and the gifts. I also have these little bells hanging from the garland on the stairs that Theo loves to bat at until they ring. Sitting, playing, sleeping, and hiding under the tree is a favorite pastime, but climbing in it or even eating the (artificial!!) tree is even more fun. Last week I cleaned up fake-Christmas-tree cat puke twice.  As far as the gifts go, curling ribbon and bows are apparently extra tasty to my kitties. They’ll do anything to get a taste of curling ribbon. (Which will ultimately end up on my carpet in the form of ribbon puke). My cats aren’t too bright.

Unfortunately I haven’t figured out the cure for eating trees, but I have figured out how to wrap my gifts in a cat friendly way. I use regular ribbons (think the fabric kind at Joann’s or Michael’s) and tie or tape them in simple ways to prevent them from looking extra tasty! The trick is to not have tiny loose ends. Here are a few pictures of some of my packages this year:

CatFriendlyGifts2And, so far, so good — the kitties haven’t eaten any of the gifts!