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I have never been one to make new year's resolutions.....
I guess I dislike being limited to making a change to just once a year.....
or maybe I don't like to set myself up for failure - ugh, probably
more likely.

But, at this time of year, I find myself taking stock of where I am in life and what I 
wish for in the new year {not technically a resolution, wink*wink}.

It's been a big year for our family, so many changes!  The changes
were sometimes difficult, heartbreaking,
 scary and challenging {oh so challenging}.

However, the changes were also joyful, wonderful and welcome!
My husband faced job loss and was successful in securing a position
with his company in our home state, we sold and bought homes in one
of the worst housing/mortgage markets our country has seen, 
we moved our daughters away from friends and public schools they loved and
felt at home with and then enrolled them in Catholic school {gasp!}, and
then, momma went back to part-time work!

But guess what?  We survived, we thrived and above all else we are happy!

When I think about the past year and where I sit today, the word that immediately
comes to mind is GRATITUDE.  I know I feel it, my goal for
2012 is to show it!  How about you?  What is your word/goals for 2012?


No, this is not our home.......

This awesome "Who-ville" themed home is on my route to and from
the soccer fields, where I take my big girl at least three times
per week.  I always smile as I pass, mostly for the neighbors
decor, a simple message of "Ditto" with an arrow!
I only wish I was that clever......

Well friends, I am signing off until after the holidays.
My parents arrive tomorrow and my brother and
his wife on Friday - we will enjoy a full house this year!

Wishing you all a blessed Christmas and a 
Happy New Year.....see you in 2012!

Make this!

We had company over {wow, totally sounding like my mom in 1973 tonight!} this weekend.
I wanted to make a festive dessert but lacked the time {or energy} for 
laborious Christmas cookies......I am saving that for later this week.

While doing a simple search on the internet, I came up with this oh-so festive bundt
cake recipe.  Not only does this pretty cake impress, it also tastes delicious.

I knew I had to share the recipe with all of you!

Chocolate Peppermint Bundt Cake
{courtesy of}

1 package devil's food cake mix
1/2 cup sugar
1 package {4 ounce} instant chocolate pudding mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 {8 ounce} container of sour cream
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup coarsely crushed hard peppermint candies

Heavily grease and flour a 12 cup bundt pan and set aside.  Combine first seven
ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat at low speed until combined.  Pour mixture in 
prepared bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or till a toothpick
inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool pan for 15 minutes then remove cake
from pan and cool entirely on wire rack.
For frosting, stir together powdered sugar and enough milk to make a dribbling
glaze consistency.  Drizzle frosting over cake and sprinkle with peppermint candies.

May the peace and joy of the season be found in your home!

Meg's Cottage ~

Reconnecting with my friends in Portland has definitely been the highlight
of moving back 'home'.  While I had hoped that my friendships, that had
been nurtured over great distances, would be resumed, I also set
realistic expectations that those friends may have 'moved on'.

I feel so fortunate to have basically 'picked up where we left off' with
so many fabulous women!  Woo-hoo!

This week I went to lunch at my friend Meg's cottage.  Meg's family
recently bought this adorable updated 1940's cottage that oozes
charm and coziness!

Lucky for you girls, I remembered to bring my camera!
With Meg's permission I snapped away!

Her kitchen is HUGE!  The former owners were both cooks and created
a kitchen that accommodates two cooks.  This means
there are two refrigerators, two sinks, two dishwashers and tons
of storage.  The pine cabinets and loads of windows just add to the charm
and warmth in the space.

Meg is one of my flea market hunting friends - she has great taste
and is so good at incorporating just the right vintage 
finds into her home.  This big, rusty Dayton scale 
found the perfect spot in her kitchen.

The living room is cozy and has a mixture of flea market finds, 
mass market and catalog purchases!

Don't we all dream of a tree with just white lights?

That's World Market's industrial coffee table pictured above!

Here we are back in the kitchen, serious discussions were taking place!

I love the Restoration Hardware pendant fixtures!

{Hi girls, I know you will love having your pictures here!}

Girlfriends are awesome, girlfriends with inspiring homes are the best!

Thanks to Meg for letting me share her sweet cottage with all of you!


Christmas in our Forever*Cottage....


I have to admit I had much more fun fluffing our home
for Christmas this year.  I think it's because I am hosting
my family for the holiday which definitely made me
"up my game".  The awesome sign on my mantel was made
for me by my friend Melaine of My Sweet Savannah!

Back in the day I purchased santa's and snowmen and glitter houses,
but over the years I have donated many of those items and the
ones I have left remain in my green and red tubs.  Like
many of you, I find myself embracing a simpler decor, using more 
natural items to bring the season inside.  

My decor is as simple as substituting pinecones for seashells in
my silver bowls.  I also pull together all my vintage red books for a 
festive touch.

Or adding a jar of candy canes to my tool caddy in the kitchen!

I love creamy poinsettias!

Here is a view of our dining area, simple boxwood wreaths on the 
window and red stripe grain sack pillows are all I added to
add a seasonal feel.

Here is our au natural tree!  My girls say it's a "Charlie Brown" tree
but I love it's imperfect qualities!  I have collected Christopher Radko
ornaments for years and I think a sparse tree allows them to hang 
so much better.  Hard to see, but the tree is sitting in a 
vintage galvanized metal tub.
{my large french doors are dying for some drapes, don't ya think?}

Paper whites are a Christmas must-do!

Can you guess what is holding those vintage ornaments on the center
of my table????

It's a vintage chicken feeder!
You often can find metal chicken feeders at flea markets but I had
not seen a wooden one until I found this one at an occasional sale
in Minnesota last year.  

  Overall I want our home to feel like our home,
just tweaked a bit for the season.  

Now, that our home is fluffed I can move on to enjoying the best
part of the season......baking!

Wishing you all peace and joy this season and always!

** I am linking up with Rene at Cottage and Vine!

Lark Nest Design

It's often been said that blogging brings special people into your life that you
might not have otherwise met or crossed paths with.  This fact
is certainly true for me and is probably the number one
reason that I continue to blog.  

A few years ago, Ki Nassauer asked me to style a tablescape
at the Junk Bonanaza Antiques Show with items purchased
exclusively from a Minneapolis thrift store.  The project
was one of the first 'gigs' I did after I began writing this blog and I was
lucky enough to go on and do other things for Ki, Junk Bonanza
and Flea Market Style magazine.  

Styling that tablescape meant I spent alot of time at the Junk 
Bonanza that year.  I met LOTS of great people.  One of the most 
memorable people I met that year was Kim Yeager, who 
at that time was the Home & Garden editor for the 
Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper.  I remember
feeling like I was meeting a 'celebrity', as I recognized her byline on
the home and garden features I enjoyed in my local paper!

You can't meet Kim and not describe her as "memorable".  She
has a mass of beautiful curly hair, often done up in a clip on top
of her head.  Kim talks with a familiar Minnesota accent, having lived in
the upper midwest her whole life and is just about the most outgoing,
energetic and friendly human being you will ever meet.
I liked loved her right way.

I was blessed to have the opportunity to get to know Kim
a bit more before I left Minnesota, we had coffee dates and worked
together on some Junk Bonanza 'stuff'.  Kim is immensely
talented and creative, her writing is impeccable and she
loves all things to do with pretty fabric and vintage-wares.

Kim has since left the newspaper business and moved on to bigger
and better things.....she is writing the Flea Market Style blog, doing press
and publicity for Junk Bonanza and helping homeowners style and decorate
their homes.

Kim recently created a website and began a blog to chronicle her adventures.
I encourage you to go check out Lark Nest Design and
get a glimpse into the crazy, beautiful, creative world of my friend
Kim Yeager!


...these are a few of my favorite things.....

The Nester had posted a linky this week asking bloggers to 
put together a post of their favorite things/gifts.  I began the post
and then the week just got crazy and I never finished in time to link
but still wanted to share with all of you nonetheless.

First up, Beth Quinn Designs.  I met Beth at Junk Bonanza a couple years
ago and besides being a sweetheart, she makes beautifully inspiring jewelry.
I recently wanted to give a special group of girlfriends here in 
Portland a little something to commemorate our friendship.  
I contacted Beth and she made five custom pieces 
and mailed them to me in less than a week!
How awesome is that?!

Beth Quinn Designs

The Elde shop on Etsy sells hand crocheted and knitted items to 
keep you warm and cozy in the winter months!  I love these fingerless

Elde on Etsy

I have a wardrobe of cuff bracelets thanks to my good friend
Becky from Farmgirl Paints!  I love to wear inspiration on my wrist!

I recently came across Michelle V Custom Leather Jewelry
on Etsy and fell in love with the verses and inspirational passages that
she includes on her leather cuffs.  She offers lots of custom options.
{shhh.....} someone on my list is getting a Michelle V creation!

Michelle V Custom Leather Jewelry

Anything with a monogram always sets my heart aflutter!  I love
these embroidered monogram pendants....adorable.  They
are from Etsy seller 'the merriweather council'.

the merriweather council

So, are you done with your shopping yet?  I am doing pretty good but
am not done yet.  We don't even have our tree up yet!  We have
four basketball games and two soccer games this weekend so looks
like the tree will have to wait till a free evening next week. All part of
life with active kids!
Have a fabulous weekend friends!

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