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We’re All An Event Planner for Christmas

If you were told you’d been volunteered as an event planner and decorator for a royal ball, you’d laugh your butt off right? But regular people across the globe did their best to plan and execute a special event, otherwise known as Christmas, on their own this past month mostly without professional help. And I’m darn proud of all of them.tree and mantlepiece on

feather wreath and teacups on

Christmas dinner table on

We pulled it off you and me. That once a year special event for which we have to send out a hundred invitations, cater quantities of food, and decorate huge floral centerpieces for (aka Christmas trees). We spend lots of time and/or money to gift everyone we know with the right present as if we’re all having a birthday at the same time. It’s truly a miracle we all don’t lose our minds feeling overwhelmed and incompetent. But then the end comes and you sigh with relief that it’s over and think perhaps there’s a better way to execute it next year. Until the next year comes and you have the same game plan as always.paper houses on the mantle on

the top of the tree on

At my house, I make it all look so easy to accomplish. Deep down I do love it. But I also would love if anyone could do the majority of it so I could just make the wrapped presents pretty and decorate the house for many many uninterrupted hours. The cleaning and card sending and even the cooking I could farm right the heck out. Alas this year, I accomplished the musts but fell short of the wannas.

Christmas morning faces on

Christmas morning on

Christmas morning on

But the kids were treated to a Christmas just as they should with sweets for breakfast and Santa gifts and stockings brimming with stuff. They played with their stuff, bickered about sharing each other’s stuff, and played at a couple playgrounds.

Playground post Christmas on Shalavee.ccom

Christmas movie watching on

Oh and watched multiple movies. And there’s still one more holiday get together to go.

Pooped out for Christmas on

Hoping you made sure to get your needs met during the siege of the event season. That your gratitude for being surrounded with the ones you love surpassed the anxiety of cookie baking and clean toilets. I’ve found relief and rest finally after the chaos and look forward to having the brain room to get back to regular creativity. And exercise for this ever growing bloat. Next time I talk atcha, it’ll be a New Year so Happy New Year !!!!!!!

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Christmas Floral Designs in 2015

The beginning of the Holiday season was rather busy. I was offered an opportunity to flex my floral design wings this year and I took it. A chance to make multiple Christmas floral design pieces and decorate a Christmas tree for a house on a charity house tour. I was asked to do it so I couldn’t say no. Starting in November. I designed and shopped for every room specifically according to the dimensions of the space. I designed with silk florals, feathers, twigs, and ribbons, as well as respruced a few things my client had. front hall piece on

I took two tours of the house to see what my friend needed. And there was something to be designed for almost every room. 15 pieces plus a tree. I was extraordinarily nervous. Could I design the right stuff to fit each space and would it be funky/uptown enough for my client?

front doorh wreath on

mantel on

Her house is very beautiful and neutral and although technically I was doing Christmas floral design, she really wanted more of a winter inspired theme than Christmas.

bedroom wreath on

bathroom tall cotton piece on

bedroom piece on

bathroon cotton piece on

The tree was a collaborative effort when the client sent me a picture of what she’d seen and wanted. A very Southern sumptuous tree inspired by birds, feathers, sparkling balls, magnolia blooms, and cotton ball sprigs. The ribbon technique was also new for me and I loved it so much I used it on my tree.Southern style tree on

Southern style tree closeup on

Southern style tree topper on

Other than the tree, my favorites pieces were the front door wreath and these little trees.

bedroom Christmas tree on

bathroom Christmas tree on

These were the little angels she’d already placed in the bathroom when I showed up with this little tree which worked really well with them.

bookshelf pieces on Shalavee.comAlthough the homeowner ended up not using these pieces on either side of the mantle, I was mostly pleased with their scale and design. She felt the red in them felt too Christmassy. And maybe red flocked manzilla branches are too funky for anyone but me.

bookshelf pieces on

reindeer on a tray on

The tour was a smashing success. The tree was a collaborative effort and was the fave of the tour. People begged to have their picture taken next to the tree. I was finally able to grab some pictures of my work today and wanted to finally show everything off “in situ”. All the designs are silks except the fresh garland door wreath and the magnolia leaves used here and there.bannister swag on

Gladly, now that this is complete, I can move on to finishing my house which has been decorated in fits and spurts due to child-free time and the flu. It will all happen eventually I’m sure. Five days and counting.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Weird Spaces and A Plan

My front hallway has been in a state of disrepair and flux for many many years now. I had done some funky “looks like leather but it’s made out of paper bags” treatment in the area below the chair rail (known as the dado) but I’d ripped that off. And an idea to put up bas relief type joint compound diamonds around the top of the room has now left me wishing I hadn’t. Because those are going to have to be sanded off. Lots of dust. I have been planning a remodel and these pictures sprinkled throughout are my inspirational pics. Yet I wondered what was the deeper meaning of my inability to decide what to do next.

After reading the following article from Kathleen Shannon at Braid Creative, I realized this state of my entry way representative of how I was feeling about me.

“No weird spaces.” by Kathleen Shannon

This has become my mantra as I settle into our new-to-us 1950s mid-century modern ranch my family and I just moved into. You see, we lived in our last house for six years and there was always that one room that was never quite right – it felt awkward, lifeless, and unfinished. In our new house I want every room to feel comfortable, full of life, and conducive for creativity – whether it’s cooking, writing, or playing.

darker floors on

Darker Floors

When I went through coaching training with Martha Beck she taught us the most interesting concept about the spaces we create. We all know our surroundings impact our attitude, but Martha Beck taught us that the spaces we live in are actually metaphors for our life. This showed up true for me when that one room that always felt funny to me finally found its purpose when I had a baby and it became his nursery (I got goosebumps when I finally made this realization). And every creative I know who is having a difficult time finding focus, clarity, and even clients has weird office space. For example, one of the creatives I’m coaching right now is officing out of her laundry room – yet the rest of her home could grace the pages of Dwell magazine, easily! I wonder how that alone is impacting her creative business.

looks a lot like my hallway but not on

Try this: take a mental tour of your home and office (whether or not you office out of your home.) Identify your favorite space – what do you love about it and why? Now identify your least favorite space (it doesn’t have to be a room – it can even be a closet or a drawer). What about that space isn’t working for you? How does it feel? How are these spaces metaphors for your life?

Now do this: give some love to your spaces this week. Do a few things to make the weird spaces not so weird. Put on some music, light a candle, and start decluttering and decorating. another kilim rug on

She asked if this struck a chord with anyone and of course I replied with this.

 The weird spaces piece got me thinking. I really believe this is absolutely true. My entryway/hallway is wounded. I began to reinvent it but have not finished the vision. And the same is exactly true for me.  After taking the Braid Branding course, I am still working to see myself as a new entity, artist, entrepreneur, and creative and writer with a “career”. It’s becoming clearer as I work hard to raise my esteem and create projects I like and make connections.
    So my feeling is I need to do something with the entryway even if it’s wrong. Add color and sparkle until a clearer vision comes. Because it’ll never be exact, it’ll always be a work in progress.
    Thanks Kathleen for this thought parallel.
Love it.

painted floor idea on

Kathleen’s gracious reply was this:

So glad this email struck a chord. 

I love your site – “Practicing the art and mystery of housewifery” is so intriguing! I can see a parallel in “inviting people in” and your entryway when it comes to the work you capture, shape, and share. 
Have a great week, Shalagh. 

 painted front door on

I was originally really inspired by the idea of painting the inside of the front door a happy color. I love love the painted ombre steps idea and I feel like the right rug will make the most cheerful impact.

another ombre stairs shot on

I’m hoping that by posting this post I’ll further my process along. And you’ll get to see the before pictures of the hallway when …wait for it… I do my next video walk through. Soon people. Soon. Just a few styling tweaks in the living room.

Wanna see the whole month of 2015 posts? Start here. Yesterday’s post, go here.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.


Fiona’s Second Birthday Party

So we made it to and through Fiona’s second birthday. And the party was a smashing success despite conceiving of it only a little more than a month beforehand. All of our efforts and plans payed off as 20 something of our closest friends and family came to celebrate with us.guests arriving for Fiona's party on

For me the party planning consists of theme planning, food planning, and project completion. Because duh, you partly have the party  to complete that project you’d be ashamed of not having completed since the last time they were here. In this case, the project was Fiona’s bedroom which I’d struggled with for some time. But the week before the party, I was hustling to finish up all the little details and photographing the room during a snow storm. See the room redecoration post here. Fiona's room styled on

Mark and I made the lasagna together. His request was not my forte. So I fussed over the meat sauce for two days. He said he was looking for that taste of hot Italian sausage. So I said you can go get some but you need to put the lasagne together.Making the lasagne on

We were a sight in the kitchen fussing over proportions of this and that. But let me tell you, it was scrumptious lasagna. And we used the no boil noodles much to everyone’s surprise. Because they boil in the sauce so why wouldn’t you. Yum me.

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Also made the homemade egg rolls because they’re just easy. And vegetarian.

Fiona for the card profile on

The invitations were made from a blown up ¾ profile picture of Fiona which I then used clear frosted acetate to simply trace over the basic lines of her face. Then I scanned it on the copier and put it through a Photoshop type program so that I could have it colorized.

Fiona's caricature for the invitations on

Then I put it back through a photo program and printed it on photo paper. I really love the simplicity and sweetness of it.

Fiona's caricature on the invitations on

As for the decorations, I wanted to keep it simple.

So I used the same picture and took it to a copy place and for $4, I had it blown up to maybe 20” x 30”.

Decorations for Fiona's second Birthday Party on

And continuing the theme of pops of hot pink from the bedroom, I made little tissue cheerleading pom poms.

Decorations for Fiona's second Birthday Party on

They were supposed to be tassels but they were fuller than I’d thought they’d be. Tutorial coming soon.

Flowers for Fiona's second Birthday Party on

The birthday party flowers are an annual treat I give to myself. I was rather stunned this year when Patty, the owner of Patty’s Petals here in downtown Denton, Maryland where I order my flowers from, charged me their wholesale price. She knows I’ve worked with flowers and said she wanted to see what I’d do with them.

Flowers for  Fiona's second Birthday Party on

I got dark pink ranunculus, light pink spray roses, white Shasta daisies, pink freesia, purple stock,

and yellow Solidago plus some tree-fern and a tiny handful of pussy willow.

Flowers for  Fiona's second Birthday Party on

And the cake. Oh the cake was stupendous.

Courtesy of my new neighbor Steve Konapelski the accomplished pastry chef ,

I asked for plain with pink, he laughed at me, and he got that vintage vibe going which is so lovely.

The birthday cake for Fiona's Second Birthday party on

He lent me the hobnail milk glass cake stand and I had the sweet vintage table-cloth. Perfect.

Present table clubhouse at Fiona's Second Birthday Party on

And that Birthday girl, she loved her a birthday party.

It was warm outside for the first time since forever so I let her run around in her bare feet as she prefers. She was so sweet in the Minnie Mouse dress. She never napped but took a time out on the couch with Elmo and then kept going.

cake and singing for Fina's birthday on

Me and Fiona at her second birthday party on

Eating her cake on Fiona's second Birthday Party on

Eating her cake on Fiona's second Birthday Party on

She loved being sung to and she loved the cake’s decorations most of all.

ute as a buttom cousin Emma at Fiona's Second Birthday Party on

Her cousin Emma was the best guest.

help opening the presents from Cousin Emma at Fiona's Second Birthday Party on

She was right in there opening presents…

ute as a buttom cousin Emma at Fiona's Second Birthday Party on

…and blowing out the candles…and running around with the balloons. They were so very sweet together.

They are our miracle girls with the same middle names.

 Fiona's second Birthday Party on

It was a lovely day for a lovely little girl. And I remarked to my husband that really, all those people were here because they love us and our children. That is kinda humbling and I’m happy to be part of a community that shows up for my kids. And for me through my kids. Love to all of you.

Fiona’s Room Reveal

And in the nick of time, I’ve finished decorating Fiona’s room. Finished as much as it will be this week. And of course, the moment the big girl bed goes in, the room shifts about again. 

Her birthday party is on Sunday and the surest way to finish an unfinished house project is to throw a party. That and commit to the room reveal online to your readers. Accountability people, it works every time. I was finishing styling the room and taking pictures while we had us a code red snowstorm today.

Into Fiona's room on

The closet nook Fiona's room on

There’s a closet turned desk nook on the left as you enter. The worst for first. 

I really haven’t rethought this cubby space out yet.  I’m making do with it for now.

Welcome to Fiona's redecorated room on

Beyond the chair, the changing table/dresser is to the left as you enter.

One of the two other projects in the room that I’m most proud of are the parent silhouettes I created.

The idea was based on these online beauties,

My inspiration for the Mom and Dad Silouettes on

Lily Bun Interiors via Decor Pad

Although children love to gaze at themselves, they also love their Mommy and Daddy. I thought the different colors were wonderful but I felt I just needed the gold and black and white for the traditional feeling.

Mommy and Daddy Silouettes on Shalavee.comI chose two old gilded frames from my collection and we took mug shots of ourselves, I blew them up on printer paper, and then cut them out while attached to the black card stock. There is no glass in the frames, just some muslin wrapped around the backing board and I carpet taped the silhouettes to that. Voila.

Dresser and silhouettes on
Aren’t they cool? Mark hates his but the mug shot was much worse. Yeah, and don’t look at the special unstoppable crack up that wall behind Daddy’s silhouette. There’s a chimney buried inside the house to the left and this is a forever problem of the shifting house and the stationary chimney.

To the right when you enter, behind the door, is the crib and the bookshelf and that’s where my mad styling skills were put to the test. My other “took forever” project was getting the bird lamp shade wired Thanks to Mark) and then hanging it with all the little vintage Chinese lanterns I had used in my own outdoor wedding decorations. And if you look closely, that pink duct tape makes another appearance covering the cords to the lamp and the clock.

bookshelf and lanterns and crib in Fiona's bedroom on

silk roses in Fiona's room on

Fiona's room styled on

The other project I was inspired to make were the embroidery hoops and the enormous faux embroidery hoop over the crib.

Hoola hoop with frog fabric on I had this fabulous fabric with the flirty frogs. And it needed a large space to show off its killer cuteness. So I had a eureka moment and thought…hula hoop! Yesterday, I stitched it in place with thin satin ribbon. If she pulls it off the wall onto her head, no harm done.Letters on a fabric backed frame on

And those hot pink F and P letters I’d thrifted forever ago for her eventual room design ? I hot glued them onto an opened up jeans leg wrapped around the backer board again. I got the bird lantern before Fiona’s birth at Bella Luna’s in Rehoboth, Delaware.

lamp and shelf in Fiona's room on

And those are silk flowers from a floral company called Allstate. They remind me of one of my favorite roses entitled ‘Lipstick’.

view from the door of crib and bookshelf in Fiona's room on

So many items were so personal from family and friends and that is exactly the way I think we should decorate. With items that were gifted and made by the people we love and stuff we made because we loved making them, or we had something to prove. How do you think I did? Do I have what it takes?

If you missed the other projects, you can find the Picture Display Chandelier here, the painted dresser is here, and the curtains here.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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