Holiday Mantel Envy

Come this time of year I always wish that we had a mantel. I lived in the same house (that my mom and dad built) until I was 18 years old and we had a brick fireplace that had a mantel and every Christmas we had the tradition of decorating it with garland and other Christmas decorations. I wish I could carry on that tradition but the one thing our beautiful fireplace doesn’t have is a mantel. It is a gorgeous fireplace though!

So today I’m living vicariously through some of you and sharing some of my favorite holiday mantels that are out there in blogland. These women are so creative and I always get awesome ideas from them so don’t forget to check them out and follow them too ;)

1. The 36th AVENUE

You have to check out the rest of Desiree’s Christmas decor. She is seriously one of my favorite bloggers and a go to for great inspiration. Check out her holiday decor here.

 

2. Cherished Bliss

You have to go check out stocking hangers Ashley and see how she made them. Incredible! You can also view her super cute burlap stockings here.

3. The Inspired Room

I love the clean look of Melissa’s Christmas Mantel from last year. You can view some of the details here.

4. My Blessed Life

I really just love everything about what Myra did to her mantel. All the vintage elements create such an beautiful and fun Christmas look. I love the splashes of wood intermixed with the bright colors. Check out more here.

5. It’s Overflowing

I love the simplicity of this mantel. Right up my alley! Stop by to see more of the details Aimee added to give it some holiday cheer here.

There are so many more beautiful mantels out there I could spend all day looking at them in awe. Do you have a Christmas mantel to share? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll pin it and share it on facebook!

And check out my mantel board on pinterest!

10 Fun Rope Inspired Project

Hi friends! Hope you all had a great weekend! I spend most of my time working in our tasting room which was a great time. If you want to learn more about our family vineyard and winery, Omero Cellars check out our website at Omerocellars.com. (Shameless plug, I know :) )

As fall settles into the valley it means one thing. Lots more cooler, wetter days to stay in doors and work on projects! I’m working on my project ‘list’ to help organize and prioritize my creations and on the top are a few projects using rope. I love how versatile rope is. It can bring in a nautical vibe or give a simple piece a rustic flair or add colorful excitement to a room.

 Today I thought I’d compose a list of some projects out in bloggy land to help inspire and draw inspiration from.

DIY Rope Basket from I Heart Organizing

DIY Nautical Rope Vase from Julie Blanner

Rope Handles from Design Squish 

Rope Bracelets from I Love to Create

Rope Headboard from Our Fifth House

Roped Wrapped Bar Stool from Apartment Therapy

  Woven Rope Pendant Lamp from Design Sponge

Jute Details on a DIY Tray from The Handmade Home 

 Rope Handles from Remodelista

 Anchor Pillow from Tea Rose Home

Such creative ways to use rope in each one of these projects! Stay tuned to see how I use rope in our home!

10 Veggie Stews and Soups

Despite the unusual heat wave we are experiencing here in Oregon, fall is right around the corner. I can feel it in the mornings as I walk out to let the chickens out and feed the sheep and goats. The crispness kisses my nose as I have to bundle up in a sweater before I head out. I’m trying to be a little more present and not long for what is not but it’s hard for me when all I want is a blustery cool day where I get to curl up on the couch next to a crackling fire while the delicious aroma of a stew is simmering on the stove. It will be here soon enough but until that day comes when I no longer need all the windows and doors open in the house, I will quietly search the web and compile a list of what I want to cook when that time comes.

And that is what I have done for you today! I’ve put together the top 10 veggie soups and stews I will be cooking when the temps cool down here and today I’m sharing them with you all!

1.  Seitan Porcini ‘Beef’ Stew from Post Punk Kitchen

2.  Veggie Stew from Healthy Happy Life

3. White Bean Stew from The Vegan Foodie

4. Spicy Fall Stew Baked in a Pumpkin from The Vegetarian Times

5. Kale, Sweet Potato and Chickpea Stew from Out of the Ordinary

6. Dilly Stew with Rosemary Dumplings from Post Punk Kitchen

7. Vegan Butternut Squash and Chickpea Stew from The Perfect Panty

8. Fall Vegetables and Red Lentil Soup from Crumb

9. Spicy Vegetarian Chili from Simply Recipe

10. Spiced Squash, Fennel & Pear Soup from Dessert By Candy

What is your favorite fall veggie soup or stew?

10 Ways to Celebrate the Fall

I love fall. Every single thing about it but I know that it can be a hard transition for some people. Especially those who are transplants from warmer weather places. But there are so many incredible reasons to be excited for this time of year and today I’m going to share 10 ways to find the joy and love of this beautiful time of year. They also happen to be ten of the things I love most about this season.

1. Visit a pumpkin patch or corn maze

I love pumpkin patches and corn mazes and nothing says it’s fall quite like visiting one. Gather your family or a few friends and go pick out a pumpkin and or play hide and seek in the maze. It’s your chance, as an adult, to be a kid again. And what is more fun then playing when life tells you that you are ‘too old’ to do so?

2. Warm drinks like hot apple cider (option: with a little spiced rum) or hot cocoa

Last fall D and I would warm some fresh apple cider on the stove and add a little spiced rum and sip on it while we enjoyed the comfort of our cozy home on a blustery fall day. You can go sans rum of course.

3. U-pick orchards

Where we live in Oregon we are surrounded by u-pick orchards. What better way then to know exactly where your food comes from then to pick it yourself! There are so many incredible things harvested in October; apples, pears, pumpkins, hazelnuts, and of course (and most importantly) grapes!

4. Warm and cozy clothing

I’m not a big shopper but there is something about fall that makes me want to run out to my nearest favorite store and stock up on cozy sweaters and big boots. It’s by far my favorite time of year for fashion.

5. Playing in the leaves

When I was younger my brothers and I would rake up the leaves in our year and jump and play in them. I absolutely love the smell of them. You are never too old to play in some leaves. I mean, you have to rake them up anyway, right?

6. Fall decorations

I love the colors of fall and I have been slowly transition some of our home decor over to autumn inspired items like my Autumn Inspired Yarn Decor Balls. I have a very long list of fall inspired projects and cant wait to cross them off one by one.

7. Football season

So I will admit, I’m not the biggest football fan and I can hardly sit through the first quarter watching it on TV but I do love the tradition of it and having it on in the background as I am cleaning or cooking something in the kitchen. I also love how excited and spirited everyone gets and in all fairness, I AM trying to like it. One thing is for sure, I do look forward to the football buzz in the air come this time of year.

8. Season premieres of your favorite TV shows

YES! I know, I know, we gave up cable but things change and D and I have decided that we are going to get it back. It’s nice to know that we can live without it but truth is, there are certain joys in having it like football season and um, Grey’s Anatomy and The Walking Dead!

9. It’s apple season so bake a pie!

Yep, fall is apple season and although they are in the supermarket all year-long, they really don’t taste as good as they do this time of year. Plus, Honey Crisp come back and those are my favorite.

10. Thanksgiving and Christmas are just right around the corner!

Do I even need to say anything more?

What are your favorite things about fall? Do you have a tradition that you do every year this time of year?

5 Things To Do With Twine

I’m a little late in the game but lately I’ve been obsessed with twine. I have several projects I want to do using the small natural fiber rope and I’ve compiled a little list of five of them to share with you.

The fun thing about twine is it adds a little interest to any project without a lot of added cost.

Here are five projects I want to do using twine!

1. Front Door Decorations: Wreaths and Monogram Letters

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2. Lamps Revamps

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3. Holiday Decorations

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4. Small Accent Pieces

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5. And finally, last week I posted this little project: Update to Planters Using Twine

Top 5 Inspiring Ways To Stay Organized

Over the course of the last year I’ve slowly started to realize something about myself. As hard as it is to admit it and as much as I’d like to just pretend it’s not true I think it’s time I finally tell you all. I mean, the truth shall set you free, right?

Okay, here it goes. I’m a stuffer. I stuff things away so I don’t have to deal with them. Now I’m not talking about feelings. Lord knows I don’t stuff those away. Most of the time I’m an open, emotional, wear my heart on my sleeve book. I’m talking about things we possess. Instead of finding proper homes or better yet, getting rid of it, I stuff it away so I just don’t have to look at it. Out of sight, out of mind. But I’m not so sure that is actually true. Even when something isn’t in front of you it sits there in your conscious always lurking around the corner waiting for you to open that cabinet or look under the bed, ready to jump out at you and say HERE I AM!

We live in a big old home. It has many places for me to stuff things and I’m realizing all of those things I’m just hiding away will eventually come back to haunt me…like if we ever decide to move. I’ll have to pack it all away, move it to a new home and stuff it away someplace there.

So here is what I’ve decided to do. Go through my cluttered little world and finally, really, truly, organize it. If it doesn’t have a home and I can’t think of a way to make a home for it, I’m throwing it out! Ek!

In the effort of getting me excited to de-clutter our home, which I’ll be starting immediately, I have put together a list of some ways to stay (and remain) organized. Actually, what I’m realizing is if you just take the extra few minutes to put something away or throw it out it will save you in the long run. It’s baby steps though people…baby steps.

Top 5 Inspiring Ways To Stay Organized (that I am actually going to use!)

1.  Crafting Cabinet/Dresser

I think my jaw dropped open to my desk when I saw this! How incredibly adorable. Just seeing this makes me want to run out to the nearest thrift shop and buy an old dresser, fix it up, and organize all my craft supplies in a neat and tidy way.

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2. Organizing THE KITCHEN!

This is a never ending battle with me. Sometimes I am moving so fast that I use something then just throw it back in the pantry or cabinet. You should see our spice cabinet. Oh man! But here are a few ideas that will definitely save my time (and my sanity) and keep me more organized.

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3. Entryway Closet

I already semi-organized this about a month ago but it still drives me nuts! Too much is stored in there and to be honest, it’s not very cute. I want cute when I got to grab a jacket. One day I’ll have a mudroom! Now I just need to get D on board with this idea!

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4. Winter/Summer Clothes

Let’s face it, I have WAY more clothes sitting in my closet then I ever use. It’s seriously time to pack up the winter/fall clothes and store them someplace safe… and give D back some space.

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5. The Garage. Ugh!

Let’s put it this way, I’d be so utterly embarrassed if any of you opened up our garage door right now. Fixing up and organizing our garage is a TOP priority this summer. First of all, the garage doors don’t even work nor does the light in there. We basically use it as a place to throw stuff…well, I do that is. And it’s creepy. Super creepy. In fact, my cat once got locked in there and when I opened the garage door he came shooting out of there with huge bug eye and his hair raised on his back I wouldn’t go in there for a long time! But, I think it just needs some serious TLC.

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So there. I’m really doing it this time. I’m letting go of the junk and getting serious about getting organized!

Do you have any organizational secrets to share? Please do! I need all the help I can get!

Favorite Kitchen Gadgets

There are certain things in our kitchen that I firmly believe neither D nor I could live without and since Kate over at Centsational Girl is having a fun link party today dedicated to all things Kitchen Gadgets I thought I’d join in on the fun and share with you all what our favorites are!

These couple items seriously make our life so much easier when cooking and I believe are necessities in every kitchen!

1. Citrus Juice Press

These things are seriously amazing! I use mine almost everyday and they really make cooking with citrus fruits so much easier!

2. Stainless Steel Tongs

This is something D introduced into my life and I couldn’t cook without them now. They make stir frying so much easier!

3. French Press

Need I say more?

4. Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls

D picked up a few of these from the restaurant supply store in Portland and they are the best. We use them for everything and have almost every size imaginable!

5. Tofu Press

Since we don’t eat meat or dairy tofu is a big source of protein for us and this little guy makes cooking with it so much easier and we always get the texture we want. Highly recommended!

6. VITAMIX!!

And we shall save the best for last…I got this guy for Christmas and my life is better because of it. We make everything in this. Our daily green smoothies, sauces, soups!, you name it.

What are your favorite kitchen gadgets? Do you have something you couldn’t live without?

Top 5 Garden Lessons Learned Last Year

Truth be told, I am still somewhat of a novice at this whole gardening and landscaping thing. Like a big novice actually! Until last summer, I thought annuals where the plant/flower that came back every year and perennials died off after each season. I quickly learned that was not the case.

As we were planting some seeds last night for our own starts I was thinking about how much I have actually learned over the past year. I also realized I need to stop being so dang hard on myself and just let this part of my life grow organically. Opps! No pun intended!

You see, I grew up with a mom who just taught herself everything she knows today. Really! She’s pretty incredible and has a beautiful green thumb, sewing thumb, decorating thumb, cooking thumb and really any kind of good thumb you can have. She also has a whole lot more patience then I do but I suppose that probably came with having three little children running around while she was discovering these parts of herself.

As I was sitting there last night separating tiny little seeds with tweezers, I started composing a list of my Top 5 Garden Lessons Learned Last Year and I’d love to share them with you in hopes that it if you are new to gardening like I am, it just may spare you some of the frustration and help shed some light on how fun it actually is!

1. Start small and grow each year.

This was our garden last year. We also had a few things planted in the flat bed garden to the left but we started small. Just two 3 x 14 raised beds and it was perfect. This year we are expanding by quite a bit but by how big is still TBD. However, wWe do know  we wanted to grow our garden significantly this year.  One thing we are changing though is the length and depth of our beds. These guys weren’t exactly cheap to build so we are going to make them one foot high and a little shorter.

I also planted a few planter boxes made out of old wine barrels cut in half. We live on a vineyard so hey, why not play off of that a bit!

I took some advice from my mom and mixed annuals and perennials and had varying heights.

Overall, I learned it’s best to start small so you can really observe what’s going on, get to know a little bit about what you planted and decided if you even like the final outcome. There is always next year to change it up.

2. Get organized.

List and Charts. Two of my favorite things. I wouldn’t say I’m exactly type A but I am a Virgo and I LOVE my lists and fortunately for me, so does D! This was my initial list of some of the vegetables I wanted to plant this year. I also have been jotting down various flowers I see or hear about that I think would add some interest to our yard and I have been taking note of what is needed in the various beds around our house.

For example, we have two beds in the front of our house that are thin and boring. Since this is one of the first impressions when people come by, I think it should be more interesting and set a kind of tone  of the house yet be functional and have a purpose all year long. To do this we are going to add more evergreens so it is not so bare in the winter and then some perennial  and annual flowers so that it really comes to life in the spring, summer, and early fall.

By having a list it’s easy to pick up a few things here and there when possible because trust me, it all adds up and rather quickly at that!

You can also organize your spray cycles by creating a spreadsheet of some sorts identifying the date of when you sprayed. If you garden organically, there are still organic ways to be preventative!

3. Map it out

I don’t have a picture of this because we haven’t made our map yet. We just planted the first round of our starts and need to build and place our other raised beds but as soon as we do, you better believe I will be sketching out where I want things to go! It’s also important to remember and something I learned last year, certain vegetables grow better planted next to others or with certain flowers that attract beneficial insects planted near by. It can feel a bit like a complex science and this is something we didn’t do last year but are going to try it out this year. Beneficial insects are important for controlling the bad bugs you don’t want in your garden such as aphids also known as plant lice. D and I purchased a couple hundred ladybugs last year and set them free in our garden as an attempt to eat those little guys. That was another experience in and of itself!

Overall, by mapping things out you can try to plant in a way that is preventative in controlling pest and other things that may affect your plants negatively.

4. Ask questions…lots of them!

My mom got A LOT of phone calls when I was planting my planter boxes or trying to decide what to plant in our flower beds and the internet has so much information pertaining to vegetable growing. Use your resources! Go up to employees at nurseries and ask them lots of questions. We found out last year that the man who helped us was very eager to talk to us about all things plant related. There is a reason he is working there after all :)

Look up questions you have on the internet in forums. D even went to YouTube for help with our starts this year.

Don’t be shy! If people love gardening, they most likely will love talking about it too!

5. Just do it! Get your hands dirty

You will never know unless you try, right? Last year when we started planting out garden I would barely even put my hands in the dirt while D was over in there with dirt up to his elbows. You gotta just dive in and do it by literally getting your hands dirty AND by just having fun. If you see something you want to try, plant it!

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by it but seriously, just make it fun and it takes a lot of the pressure out of having to have the perfect garden!

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Do you have any must know tips about gardening? We’d love to hear them! Please leave a comment sharing your green thumb secrets!

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5 Small Spring Changes to Revamp Your Home

I don’t know about you but I am dying to make some serious changes to our home now that we are into Spring but like most people, we are on a nice little budget and I have to get a little more creative with how I do things.

I don’t think that a budget should be limiting though. I’ve been back in Seattle this past weekend and spent a little time with my best friend Brooke who also happens to be incredibly talented in all things design related. Seriously, you should see her home. It’s INCREDIBLE! And…it leaves me inspired to make a few, inexpensive changes to add a little color, a little more of D and me, and a whole lot more love to our ever evolving country home!

Just like me, Brooke has the mentality that it doesn’t have to be expensive to be creative and beautiful or relect you and your family. While we were sitting around sipping on some wine the other night, Brooke and I chatted about all the things you can do to your home to add a little change that wont break your bank account. Here are a few easy and inexpensive ways to change it up when things get a little, well, boring. I know I am definitely doing a few of these in the next few weeks!

Paint and add various shapes and textured picture frames

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Change out throw pillows

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Repaint the fireplace mantel

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Fun window treatments

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And of course, repaint a piece of furniture you own a different color!

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I am so excited to get started on some mini transformations in our home. Also, stay tuned for my announcement on what room in our home in next for a little DIY makeover!

Do you have any fun ideas for small changes for Spring? I’d love to hear!

 

First Day of Spring Inspiration

Happy first day of Spring! I don’t know about you but spring happens to be my favorite time of year. I think it’s because everything gets the opportunity to start all over, begin again. But, still just as beautiful as it ever was.

Sunday was incredibly beautiful out and although it was snowing in most places around the valley, right above our little house on the hill was a circle of blue sky and sun. Honestly, it was exactly what we needed. After being in the sun and warm weather for a month straight, coming home to snow, cold and rain was a little disheartening

When I went outside in the morning to let the chickens out of their coop the birds were singing a lovely tune from the tree branches above and their was a hint of that familiar scent of spring in the air.

I love spring for so many reasons. First, I love watching all the trees, plants, grass and flowers grow again and come back to life. I get so excited when I see tulips starting to pop their heads out from beneath the dirt I can barely contain myself. And although we live in the Pacific Northwest and know better then to get too excited, I still always hope that this year we will get a dry, sunny and warm Spring.

I also happen to love the sound of lawn mowers being fired up and the smell of the seasons first fresh cut grass. I love the way the sun feels on my skin when I work in the yard or take the pups out for a walk around the vineyard. In a few weeks here I’ll be heading out into the garden to start getting things ready for the impending planting of an array of fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers.

Oh how I love spring!

Spring also happens to be a great way to clean out the old and organize what’s left behind.

So today’s post is all about the top5 things I’m most excited for this spring!

1. First and foremost, spring colors! There is nothing else like it when you are just coming out of the dead of winter when all of the sudden you start seeing beautiful pastels and bright and fun colors everywhere. It starts to wake your senses and gives you a new found energy. I’m mean, pistachio and horizon? Beautiful!

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2.My favorite flower: Pansies! My mom planted them every year and from the time I can remember I have absolutely loved this little gems. With their ability to withstand cooler temps they are often the first touch of life and color for many gardeners and will be a staple around our home as well.

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3. Lambing Season! We bread our girls with Goober Jr in late November, early December. If you missed the post I wrote about Goober Jr. well, you can find it here. We are hoping he got all seven of our girls and if so, they should start lambing within the next 4 weeks up until early June. If you’ve never held a baby lamb oh my, you are missing out. Seriously the cutest little things ever.

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4. Starting our garden. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am for this. Besides the fact that it’s just really fun to watch something you worked so hard on grow, it’s also equally as fun to walk out to the garden and harvest your dinner that day.

5. And last but not least, OUR WEDDING! How could I leave this one out? We are having a spring wedding in the backyard of D’s parents house in Las Vegas on May 18th, 2012! I’m already practicing signing my name Amanda Moore. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
Well, I truly hope today bring you a dose of inspiration, a little motivation, and a whole lot of warm and love!
What is your favorite thing about Spring? I’d love to know!!