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Our family's holiday card and Minted's Black Friday Discounts!

These are my people - in this, our 25th year of marriage, I am 
immensely proud of this family we created…….

Marriage and family stuff can be challenging, but SO worth all
the heartache and hard work …. We are currently in the midst of parenting
teenage girls which can be tricky and mentally challenging - basically the 
'worry hours' do not align with my bedtime (thanks honey for handling 
the late nights)……but it is also SO fun! 
(I seriously look at this photo and think, "how did we get here so quickly?")

Thanks to Minted for helping me with my Christmas cards again
this year -  Minted offers so many awesome designs that
it is SO difficult to choose just one!  In the end I had to
go with the gold foil lettered cards this year!

Make sure you visit Minted over the weekend as they will
be offering 20% your purchase of $150+ and 15% off
with no minimum purchase!

**And for local peeps - our family photos were taken this year
by a talented friend, Jen Mahoney!  You can visit her
website to see more of her work -

And one more thing - when I count my blessings this weekend,
I will include each and every one of you.
I am so grateful for this space to express my creativity,
promote my business and connect with fabulous people!


Family Drop-Zones…..{aka} contain the clutter!

I think one of the things that stresses me out about the holidays is the amount
of things that come IN to my house rather than go out.  I admit, I have
a huge aversion to clutter - just ask my family!  But I truly believe
that good design and organization can go hand-in-hand.

I have recently worked on a few mudroom/entryway designs for clients
and thought I would share them with you.

Some of my 'must haves' include:

*  closed storage option (cause, duh, they hide the clutter)

*  hooks - cause for some reason husbands and kids are not
good at using hangers but usually have no problem finding the hooks.

*  good lighting

*  a durable rug - dhurries and kilims are favorites because they
hold up to lots of coming and going and are good dirt concealers

*  Inspirational words - to send your loved ones out the door!

* Memo/chalkboards

Happy Monday!!!!


Christmas cards from Minted.

Sending and receiving holiday greetings is one of my favorite
things about the season!  Our family has lived all over the 
United States so the expectation of hearing from friends and family near and far 
has me running to the mailbox each day during November and December.
In turn, I love to send cards that let the most important
people in our lives know we are thinking of them and 
wish them a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Minted is my absolute favorite source for our family's 
Christmas cards.  I love the number of choices,
the contemporary designs, options for customizing
and options for personalization.

We had family photos taken last month.  Shortly after,
I went to the Minted website to look at the options
for our card.  I chose some of my favorites to share with you.

I tend to choose simple designs and because our
family celebrates Christmas I always choose a
design that carries that sentiment.  But Minted
has 'holiday' greetings as well.  I will admit that a couple
years ago I totally did NOT get my cards ordered in
time so sent 'Happy New Year' cards and Minted
came to the rescue with that option too!

In our busy, modern world, this is one tradition that I am
really happy has remained.  

How about you?  Do you send holiday/Christmas greetings?

Minted always has such good discount offers on Black Friday. I recommend 
that you head to the Minted website and choose your design so you will be ready to
take advantage of the discount!

xo ~ Jill


Photos from around my house…...

 I can hardly consider myself a blogger anymore, my posts have
been so infrequent.  But I do still really love coming here in this space
I carved out long ago on the now very crowded cyberspace! 
 I hope you appreciate that I only blog when I feel like I have something
to share - I will never be the blogger who has posting schedules,
tutorials, holiday decor/baking/traditions/crafts/cooking……that's
just not going to be me.  This is one place in my life I embrace
being organic - ha!

And let's be honest - no one is inviting me to be a part
of the 'fall home tour' or 'holiday home tour' - 

SO - here is my own holiday/fall home tour!

In all seriousness, my design business has kept me very busy in
client homes.  And as much as I felt my own home
was suffering as a result, I recently took a look around and felt
a bit content so I grabbed my camera before
my prideFULL ego faded and decided to share with you.

I have recently added some touches of red - lest you think I am 
starting to decorate for Christmas, think again, it is purely coincidence!
The red Moroccan rug (on super sale at Pottery Barn of all places) inspired 
the red - I brought it in and really liked the pop of color.  I felt
the red needed some other red friends so added the velvet
embroidered pillow from Pottery Barn too - didn't want to go too
crazy so pulled out my cream sweater pillows from last year for texture
and to temper "Miss Red Velvet".
In my opinion the Schumacher 'Betwixt' is a neutral so 
that one stayed in the mix too.

The white stools are a relatively new addition - they are 
from Restoration Hardware. The family
declared the 'cold to sit on' but enjoy the back rests.
I enjoy the industrial style.

We will decorate for Christmas…..minimally this year.
I am liking my home's energy right now, the thought
of adding stuff just doesn't appeal.  I always love
a tree and natural elements so will keep to doing those things.
I see more red in my future.

Thanks for visiting friends.

I promise to be back soon!


Life lately……and THE winner!

The first two months of the school year have zoomed by at lightning speed
once again…..fall means both volleyball and soccer season for my girls
so that means dinners are on the fly or in a crockpot if I have my
act together, late nights finishing homework, messy bedrooms, lots
of laundry, hosting team dinners, playoffs, tournaments, teacher conferences,
Homecoming, Halloween middle school dance, pre-parties, post dance sleepovers,
treats to be made, costumes to help put together…….ALL I CAN SAY IS

My design business is humming along quite nicely.  I really want to
do a post about all that I have learned about design, working with
clients, myself etc….It has been a three year journey and provided blessings
that I will never take for granted……When I took the leap and started my 
own design business, I made a commitment to never try to be anything
other than myself and trust my instincts with how I wanted to work.  
Thankfully, that seems to have been the right 'business plan' for me.
As we approach the season of gratitude, I am thankful for the
clients near and far {e-design} that trust and 
hire me to help them in their homes.

I hope to find some time to work in my own home - it's feeling
neglected and when I recently had my friend Melaine from 
My Sweet Savannah visit, I sort of felt like all my unfinished 
and/or un-started projects were exposed…..hopefully she
doesn't do a post on how real bloggers live starring yours truly!

And finally - the winner of the $200 credit from
is Mysha from the blog Remington Avenue!
Congratulations!!!  You should have gotten an email from me!


Minted to the rescue….a space in my home that have you likely have never seen before! (and a giveaway, too!)

I confess, I do most of my living in our home on the first floor.

Our second floor has just our girls' bedrooms, their shared bathroom 
and a bonus room that basically serves as 
the girls' hang-out space for when their friends
come over or they watch movies.  I hardly ever go up there - that is
sort of what happens when you have teenagers…..I know that it will
likely be a mess and I just don't need that negativity in my life ;)…..

When asked me if I was interested in looking at some of 
their new art prints, I knew exactly the room in need of some improvement…..
our bonus room.  I actually have never hung a single thing on the walls  -
ok, stop, let's process that for a moment.  The lady with the obnoxious 
gallery walls has a bonus room with NO art……

Well, I thought if hooked me up with some great art,
maybe I might be inclined to visit my children upstairs more often - ha!

I sent the peeps a photo of my pitiful space and let them
choose the art prints they thought would look best.

So without further adieu, I give you my home's bonus space:

And I couldn't resist including a couple photos of one of the  upstairs
residents doing what they seem to do best……Cause it's important
for designers to show both form and FUNCTION.

Minted is such a generous company - they are giving one of YOU the 
opportunity to win a $200 credit so you can add some art to your artless walls too!

To Enter:

* Go to

* Take a look at the art prints

* Come back here and leave a comment
telling me which art print
your would order with 
your winnings!

Enter by Friday, October 23.

I will announce the winner on Saturday!


Feast Portland

It's no secret that I love my hometown of Portland, Oregon.
If you have never visited, you must - or you could just 
watch Portlandia and get an relatively accurate portrayal of my
lovable, quirky city.  

One of my favorite things about Portland is that
it is a total foodie town - a city that appreciates culinary creativity along with
 good wine and craft brews.

Portland is home to some of the most creative
chefs, innovative restaurants, microbreweries, distilleries along with 
being situated near many wonderful vineyards in the Willamette Valley.
Our growing season is long and allows for an abundance of locally sourced produce.

This coming week, Portland will host FEAST PORTLAND - more than
a food and drink festival, Feast Portland is referred to by it's founders
as a "movement that showcases the energy, creativity and enthusiasm
that's driving America's food revolution while celebrating two of the culinary
world's most inspiring places: Portland and Oregon." Wow!  

events, dinner series, hands on classes and 'drink tank' that will celebrate 
wine, beer and spirits…..

I am especially looking forward to attending the Widmer Brothers Brewing
Sandwich Invitational {Presented by Dave's Killer Bread}.  This event is the
Feast Portland's kick-off party where "wildly imaginative, cheffed up interpretations
deliciously redefine everything you thought a sandwich could aspire to be".  What?
A sandwich celebration?  Count me in!

If you are local or visiting Portland this week - you can checkout the full
list of events, locations, sponsors etc… At the Feast Portland website.

In addition to having a great time celebrating food and spirits, when you 
purchase a ticket to attend the festival, you are helping to end hunger
in Oregon and across the U.S.  Since 2012, Feast Portland has raised
over $162,000 to support Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon and the 
No Kid Hungry campaign which is part of the organization
Share Our Strength.  Win-win!!

I know that most of you come here to see pretty homes, bear with me,
this week as I am honored to have been selected as a local blogger to
provide information about and promotion for Feast Portland.  
I am receiving no compensation other than the ability to attend 
some events - How could I say no?  I love celebrating creativity, fun,
interesting, food, wine and beer!  Local peeps - won't you join me
to celebrate so much of what our city is about????

Yeah Feast Portland!


Shelf Styling with DIY Art….

Black and white abstract art has been making appearances in lots of gorgeous spaces.
The photo above is from Williams Sonoma Home.  The bookshelves are
styled beautifully and include Williams Sonoma Home's Abstract Brushstrokes.
When styling bookshelves for myself or clients I love the look of either
hanging or leaning art among the shelves.

With the change of seasons, I was inspired this weekend to quiet
the bookshelves in my own home.  I am a collector at heart but
was feeling the shelves had become cluttered and overwhelmed
with vintage items.  Craving a bit more updated and modern vibe, 
I wanted to try my hand at creating my own abstract art
inspired by Williams Sonoma Home photo above.

I have to say that I am pretty pleased with how they turned out.
I used acrylic paint on watercolor paper (I liked it because it has a texture to it).
The frames are from Michael's (and were 50% off this weekend).  I chose
to set the paper on top of the mats rather than behind them when I put
my art in the frame.  For whatever reason, I like this look better.

Simplicity - in the season of fall house tours, I choose to embrace simplicity.
It is what is working for me in this busy season.


Modern Master Bedroom Mix

I have been having a blast doing E-designs for blog readers near and
far!  A majority of the work I do via E-design would be considered
more traditional design - man, you all LOVE your neutrals!

The design above is a for a client who lives in the coolest contemporary
home and definitely leans toward a modern/mid-century vibe.
I loved mixing some traditional elements - like the pair of art prints and the 
garden stool with more contemporary furnishings - like the yummy modern chaise. 

Still working on paint choices/options - what do you think?  
Light and neutral or dark and moody?


I am booking E-designs for October (2 spots left) and November -
if you are interested, please send an email to me at!

Well hello August!

I am still trying to find my blogging mojo - I really am, but I appreciate any of you who visit and keep in touch.  I really do love writing and sharing but if I were to be honest, the blogging world has changed quite a bit and I don't know if I necessarily want to go where it has gone.  I refuse to make this just a place where I share only design-related posts.  And I just don't have time to take Pinterest worthy photos all the time with graphics that link to my post or do tutorials, or pretend I am Martha Stewart or Bunny Williams and give you cooking or decorating advice as if I am a nationally known figure.  As with my Instagram account, I will always include personal information and other things I might find interesting.  With that being said, perhaps my blogging style can be considered 'vintage'… sponsored posts, links, sponsored content, links to 'internet friends', etc….What I will continue to do is organic, entirely ME and often completely random……which brings us to today's post.

August is here and I have to say I was happy to flip that calendar page!  I think our family packed a full summer of activities into the month of July.  In addition, I am working more than I ever have during the summer.  One of the blessings of having a teenage driver is that I have help and one less child that needs me so much but don't let anyone fool you, it comes with an enormous amount of stress too!  We are ALL getting used to our new 'freedom' and just what that means.  And if I were being honest, I miss the car time and the conversations, catching the last few minutes of practice while waiting for her to get off the field…..I know, sappy for sure!


Working with so many different clients with different styles has me using Pinterest more than ever these days.  Pinterest continues to be a great resource for me in order to communicate design styles, trends, finishes, room layout and paint colors with clients.  I recently stumbled on this image and just loved it!

To me the minimal use of color, art, ottoman and light fixture are the show-stoppers 
of this space - also love the bits of black that really punctuate the space!
 What do you think?


The big news in our house is that my soccer girl verbally committed to play soccer for Saint Louis University!  Emma has worked really hard, dreamed big from a very young age and was persistent in reaching her goal……..She will begin her junior year in high school with this decision behind her!  As a parent, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing your children reach their dreams and learn that hard work, sacrifice and determination DO payoff!  I know there are LOTS of thoughts on children 'specializing' in sports at an early age and early college commitments.  I will say this about it - my girl fell in love with the beautiful game of soccer from the first day she played - when she was four years old.  She played on recreational soccer teams {including boy/girl teams} until she was 9 years old when she began playing on a club team.  Over the years, she also swam on a swim team, played lacrosse, basketball and even golf.  It wasn't until just last year that she ONLY played soccer (she played lacrosse for her high school team as a freshman), although it was always her favorite and the sport she excelled in the most.  SHE always made the decision on how much soccer she played, SHE set a goal to play college Division I soccer, SHE never complains about going to practice and all the social occasions she has to miss as a high school student.  We never pushed her more than she pushed herself.  So my advice to all parents of young kids playing sports is this…..allow your child to lead and you support.  Not everyone is cut out to play at a high level.  Some kids like to stay at a recreational level and that is OK.  Good Lord, I was a cheerleader in the 80's so hardly 'athletic' {as opposed to cheerleading now which is TOTALLY athletic}….all her athletic genes came from my husband! *You can read another post I did about her soccer 4 years ago when she was just 13 HERE!

Our family all went to San Diego in July to watch Emma play soccer.  Her sister's reward was a day at Disneyland.  {*We did something similar in 2011 and I blogged about it HERE.} Abby is a Disney-obsessed girl and I had taken her to Disney for her 13th birthday in April, but we did just one day in July and truthfully, I don't know if I can do it again… least for awhile.  But this girl below, I don't doubt that one day she will be working in some capacity at Disney. She loves it all……she became completely emotional during the fireworks show, just from the shear magic of it all!!!  This girl is my 'mini-me'{with the exception of the undying love of all things Disney} - creative, introverted, loves all things fashion-related, art, theatre, music ……Obviously, my girls are complete opposite and each have their passions and unique dreams!

We still have about a month until school starts - I will have a junior in high school and an 8th grader!!!  Unbelievable!  I think when I started writing this blog they were in 5th and 2nd…..see why I will never stop sharing the personal stuff????  This blog is really the scrapbook of their lives…..all those Creative Memories books that sit in the cabinet document the first five or so years of each of their lives but this blog will cover the rest …..  oh, and Chatbooks, they will have the Chatbooks too!

So August….here we are….hoping to see my friends, drink some  cocktails on my patio, hike, garden…..oh, and I signed up for a 14 day sugar detox that starts Monday….not a highlight for sure, but necessary… no cocktails till after I detox!  What was I thinking????? I apologize in advance to all those that might come in personal contact with me in the next week.


Summer Design Board and Design Question Sale!

My work in design really began here on this blog when I hit 'publish' on my
very first blog post and then when I began offering e-design services.  I have to
admit, that due to a full schedule with local design clients, I just haven't 
been doing much e-design which I really do love.

After a very busy July, I am looking forward to enjoying some time
at home in August.  Because many local clients travel and are busy getting
their children ready for school during August, my schedule is a little more flexible.
I thought it would be fun to offer
a few spots for e-design clients at a reduced rate! 

I am offering THREE e-design spots for $150 per room!
My rate is normally $300 per space.

In addition, I am also offering the opportunity to ask any single design
question you would like for $15 - paint color? design question? Floor plan?
Whatever 'issue' you have with your house. These are SO fun!!!

To reserve your spot to work together with me in AUGUST, send me
an email  I require full payment, via Paypal,  to reserve 
your spot - I try to be very fair and will schedule the projects who make timely payment.

For $15 design questions, just send your question to me at
and I will send you a Paypal invoice and answer!

This has always been fun and I want to keep it that way - you will be a big
help to me if you answer emails on a timely basis and are open minded, brave
and willing to take a few risks!  

Let's make your house pretty for fall!



Anyone else have trouble keeping track of what day of the week it is 
during the summer months?  Without routine and schedules it's
just so difficult for me…but I am happy it's Friday….
I am heading up to Seattle later this afternoon, mostly to watch
my girl play some soccer but also to see my country
crush Kenny Chesney in concert at Safeco Field!  I have
seen Kenny in concert many times but my hubby got us tickets
in the sandbar for my birthday…gotta love a guy who buys you 
tickets to see your country crush from the front row!

While in Seattle, I am also having brunch with some
of my favorite blogging pals….so it's going to be a busy weekend,
filled with lots of good stuff.

As you can see from the photo above, we have made a few little
changes in our kitchen - added the Ikea pendants over
the island.  I had an electrician convert the can lights for me.
I also have hung bamboo shades since this photo was taken -
both things I have wanted to do FOREVER…..I promise to
get a post up soon with all the little changes that
I have made in our home….

I had no takers on the pillows I had for sale in my last post -
a first!  If you are interested in any of them, please feel
free to make me an offer - I would like to pass them along.

Wishing you all a weekend full of summer good stuff!


Pillow Sale!

Well happy summer to you all…..
Life this summer is considerably different in my home…
I attribute the change to the ages of my girls {13 and 16}and 
having a child who drives {what?????}…..I love it and hate
it all at the same time…...
Basically, they only need me to fill the pantry and fridge 
and give permission to
go here and there and everywhere.

So what have I been doing to distract me from my
uselessness?  Mainly, I have been working with awesome
clients, but also doing a fair amount of digging cleaning
out many spaces in my own home.  

My pillow stash really needs to be lessened so I thought 
it would be fun to pass along PAIRS of some
pretty custom pillows my fellow pillow lovers!

*price includes shipping

And I apologize in advance for the less than 
stellar photos -

Bengal Bazaar Lumbars {12x20}
$100/pair $80/pair

Birds {22x22}
$90/pair $70/pair

Upside-down Ikat {my workroom's mistake!!} {22x22}
*these are trimmed in black linen

Pretty Foundation Pillow 22x22
$150/pair $100/pair

**This pair is brand new and never used.  I had them made for a client
and then the direction of the design changed.  They are gorgeous cream 
with a light blue/gray design - so versatile!

**All these pillows were made custom.  I recommend
filling them with a 24x24 Ikea down fill for a fuller pillow.

** If you would like to purchase please send me an email at and I will send
you an invoice via Paypal.  Once you have paid the invoice I will mark
the pillow SOLD on this post.

Happy pillow shopping!


Summer-izing your home with rugs - {discount code!}

I snapped this photo this morning of the current state of our living room.  You will
notice that I swapped my vintage Persian rug for this shaggy Moroccan - it
just felt lighter and brighter for summer.

I was recently contacted by an online rug pad
company asking if I would try their rug pads and write
a review.  While rug pads often get forgotten when we invest in
an expensive area rug - a quality rug pad is important for many

* protection of your hardwood floors
* cushion/comfort underfoot
* reducing slipping and stretching

I was thrilled to receive a felt backed rug pad from the Rug Pad Corner!
It is amazing how much more comfortable our PB Heathered Jute rug is
to walk on - even my kids noticed a difference!

Besides offering high quality rug pads, the Rug Pad Corner donates
a portion of EACH sale to a charity that you choose!

In addition - the Rug Pad Corner will custom cut your rug
if their standard sizes won't accommodate your rug!

And what I love the most is that the Rug Pad Corner is a 
green company - they use no dangerous chemicals in their pads or adhesives!

Rug Pad Corner ( is offering Forever*Cottage
readers a discount of 15% off any rug pad.  Just apply the code REVIEW15
at checkout to receive this savings!


Living Room/Office *Before and After…..

I am well aware that many of you will prefer this first
photo of my office when it was a living room….
and I am ok with that.  We loved this room.
That sofa was really the star of the show.  The slipcover
fabric was originally supposed to be drapes in a different
house.  When I still had the bolt of fabric and was tired
of the dark sofa, I had a custom slipcover made and voila! 
A star was born!

 As a designer, I am a HUGE advocate
of your home functioning exactly how you need it to function.
For us, that meant momma needed an office, not so much
a pretty sitting room.

I think these photos also illustrate the shift in my design tastes.
I will never tire of using vintage items but I am finding that
I really love mixing more modern elements in with the vintage…
I am loving a more bohemian vibe and I think
my office speaks to that.

I will do a sources post next week and talk about the budget 
for making this significant change!



So many thoughts swirling in this head of mine….but I'll
start by saying this:
I blog today for the same reason I started blogging almost
eight years ago….because I like to write, I LOVE design
and more than anything, I love the connections to 
all of you…..I have always been slightly uncomfortable
sharing my home because I never want to make others 
feel less than and I couldn't handle any unkind words.  
My hope is and has always been to inspire and show my 
personal style, how I use mass market stuff, stuff I have
had hiding in the closet, lots of vintage stuff and 
my quirky collections and personal items that
are only meaningful to our family but make our home ours.

With that being said, I present to you my newly
created office space.  

During the last year, it became very apparent that as my design 
business grew, I had to graduate from working at the dining
room table to a real office space like a big girl designer.

Our formal living room was pretty and we did use it - mostly
for studying and reading and taking phone calls.  My
family did enjoy the space so convincing them to 
turn it into my office required some negotiation.
I promised to keep the comfy chairs and make the space
still accessible to all…..and because the space was just
off our home's entry, it had to remain pretty and more
of a 'flex space' than just an office.

Being a creative kind of girl, it was important
that this space inspire that creativity and be a space
that I wanted to be in…..So I loaded the shelves
with my quirky collections and design books, 
insist on flowers on my desk at all times, have many 
candle options to burn while I work and 
for my birthday my family gave me a Bose Soundlink
speaker to stream music through. 
* Remember this all - no matter what your space looks like,
flowers, candles and music make it 500% better!

I found I totally fell for some of the quintesential blogger home
necessities; a moroccan pouf, a white garden stool, jute rug, 
cowhide rug and fiddle leaf fig…..gah! I guess I pave my 
own way with my cane collection {I can't even explain}, 
cat-eyed glasses collection {I got nothing???}, vintage art
and mixed lighting styles.  

And while I am really feeling a shift in my own
personal style to a more edited, modern vibe, I hung the
long 'FLEA MARKET' sign prominently above the shelves. 
 I really credit my work and relationship with Ki Nassauer, former
editor of Flea Market Style magazine with giving me
the confidence and inspiration to start my own business.
So the sign is a nod to that.

I really LOVE being in this space!
I know how fortunate I am to have a business
that allows me to be my own lady-boss, to set
my own schedule, to be creative and work
with awesome people who trust me to
help them love their own homes.
I think this space reflects that.

I promise I will do a separate post later this week with
all the sources for the space.  I really do miss blogging.
My work with local design clients and a busy personal
life have just left little time to create content.  You
can find me each day on Instagram though!

Happy Tuesday to you all! 

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