11.29.2012

Christmas Stationery + A Giveaway!

I've got a fun and unexpected announcement: I'm offering Christmas stationery on my website from now until December 7th!


I wasn't planning on printing Christmas stationery this year, but having it on hand to give away just makes me happy! And while I'm at it, I thought I'd offer you a chance to order, too!


Here's a peek at some of the designs available online.


View all designs and order

A handwritten note or a "just because" gift is
such an easy way to spread some holiday cheer!

Speaking of spreading cheer and giving gifts...
I'd love to give some stationery away!

Just leave a comment with your favorite design,
and on December 7th, I'll draw 3 winners!

With great joy!

11.26.2012

Our Thanksgiving Day Project: The Screen Porch

Thank you for all of your sweet thoughts and prayers over Thanksgiving. We had our moments. Some were happy {date night in town}...some were sad and lonely {missed the girls}. We experienced the full gamut of emotions, and I'm proud of the way we worked through them and didn't let the sad and lonely overtake the happy.

I never in a million years thought I'd say this {my family in Houston will surely be in shock}, but the best part of our Thanksgiving was spending time outside with our pups. They are such loves!



Our handsome Buddy.

Beautiful Bella.



The funniest part of Thanksgiving Day was that we never got around to turkey! Instead, we completed a long overdue project: cleaning and organizing the screen porch. You should've seen it before. It looked like a garage sale waiting to happen...every outdoor thing dumped there by the movers back in July {not to mention three dozen paint cans}, and we hadn't touched it since!

Considering this is a breezeway we walk through every single day, you'd think we would've done something about it before now. I guess we've developed a crazy ability to walk past chaos and ignore it for months! But when JD offered to do anything I'd like on Thanksgiving Day, this is what I chose:

A freshly organized screen porch!

New screens and fresh paint were finished last week.

White Dove walls and a custom blue gray ceiling.
{We'll add ceiling fans to keep it cool in the summer.}

We didn't finish until after dark, and to celebrate our good work, we sat outside and enjoyed a good bottle of wine, three kinds of cheeses, olives and salami...with music and candlelight! {Our screen porch days are numbered; it's getting chilly here!}

The details...

This fabulous, chippy mantel was left for us by the previous owners.
What a gift! All I did was rehang and accessorize.

Remember this table? I bought it in Round Top before we even owned this house, 
but I was dreaming about the country and thought this would be perfect!

This used to hang inside in an upstairs hallway in Houston.
I love a mix of textures and elements in a home...
and love bringing the outside in.

This wagon came from a dear friend's ranch in Texas.
It reminds me of home...and of her sweet mama who lived life to the full!

I can think of a dozen things to do with these olive harvesting buckets
{also a Round Top find}, but for now, this one holds dirty shoes by the back door.
{I've learned that when you live on a farm, shoes are better left outside!}

A generous gift from the sweetest neighbors back in Houston.
Cried when I opened it; smiled when we finally hung it.
{From James Avery.}

And my new farmgirl sign above the door...made by a sweet blog friend, Tiffini!

Found the garden table in the barn.
Dusted it off, tightened it up and put it to use!

The tractor seat stool has finally found a spot
after its test run in the kitchen.

Did you know I have a small pot fetish?
Collected over the years at Marburger/Round Top, Urban Market, HeightsUnion...
that list pretty much sums up where I've found most of my treasures!


Bought these at Excess last spring.
Love that they came from the coast of Maine.


And a little touch of Christmas.
{From Wisteria.}

When I woke up the day after Thanksgiving, I had to go peek outside in my PJs to see if it was real! It felt like Christmas! {Do you do that...smile over your work after you've finished?} It was so fun to see all these outdoor things I love finally find their home. I couldn't help but wonder what took us so long!

We didn't do a thing on Friday...mostly moped around the house missing our girls. {Friday is our annual Christmas decorating day, so I missed them more that day than Thanksgiving.} But Saturday, we were back in project mode. I finally finished unpacking our bedroom! {Almost five months later.} I'll photograph it soon, but for now, it's back to the studio to design cards. {Wish my studio were fully unpacked. Maybe in another five months! Wink!}

Happy Monday, sweet friends!

P.S. We did finally get around to turkey. We decided to save our Thanksgiving feast until Sunday when the girls would be home. JD is an incredible cook and knows how to make a mean herb-infused turkey, but our oven has been giving us trouble since we got here. I think the burnt turkey may have put him over the edge. Time to get the chef a new oven...and a gas cooktop. {Now THAT will be a project!}

{Sorry if raw meat makes you ill, but the herbs didn't look very pretty in the end.}

11.21.2012

A Dating Kind of Thanksgiving

It's going to be a very different Thanksgiving for my family this year. And to be honest, I've been feeling a little sad and lonely about it. My girls are going back to Houston; JD and I will stay here.

{My dad's photo from our Natchez Trace adventure.}

This wasn't the plan when we moved. Of course I thought we'd go back to Houston for Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is a time to gather with family, right? But I didn't think through the details. One, I had no idea how expensive plane tickets are during the holidays...a small fortune! Two, I failed to consider my work. Nine years into this and I forgot how FULL this part of the season is for me. I've never taken more than one day off this time of year, so going home for four or five days wasn't really an option. I'll have to rethink things next year, because I'm really going to miss being around the table with family.

Figuring out the holidays when you live far from family is HARD, isn't it?!?! This is my first time. How do those of you with far away family do Thanksgiving and Christmas? Do you leave town for both? Does family come to you? Do you change it up every year? I know we'd like to create some kind of holiday tradition in our own home. How do you do that if you're always leaving? Maybe we'll leave for one and stay home for one? I'd love to hear your ideas!


Instead of focusing on what I'm missing this Thanksgiving, I'm going to give thanks for what I'm gaining: time alone with my husband. Maybe staying here is a hidden blessing. We haven't had any alone time since we moved {and Lord knows the months leading up to the move were a crazy whirlwind filled lots of emotions...a strain on any marriage}.

Here we are in a completely new place {both in location and in life}, yet we haven't had time to stop and get to know each other in this place. Even after 15 years of marriage, there's still a lot of "getting to know you" needed. I'm a big believer that you have to work at continuing to know each other over the years...or else you wake up with a stranger down the road.

{Thanks for taking this picture, Dad. It's the only one we have together since we moved.}

So while the girls are in Houston, JD and I plan to date each other again. Did you know it was 16 Thanksgivings ago that we first met? I was home from my senior year at Vanderbilt for nine days, and we had five dates! I flew home to Houston from Nashville...and now here we are living just outside of Nashville 16 years later! {In a nutshell, our story is we met over Thanksgiving, fell in love over Christmas, and got engaged on Valentine's Day.}

Even though I'll be missing my girls and the tradition of a fantastic feast with my family in Houston, I'm hoping to make the most of this time with my husband...to be fully present and thankful for this hidden blessing.

Wishing you a heart full of thanks today...
wherever you are!


P.S.
Thankful for the love and joy our puppies
will provide while the girls are away!

11.20.2012

Our Bella

A few weeks ago, my husband told me he couldn't get Buddy's sister out of his mind. Oh, my. What exactly are you saying? I had no plans to bring home a second dog, but I could tell he was in love. He called the breeder and asked if she'd be willing to part with Buddy's sister...expecting the answer would be no. It was hard to let her go {she's a beautiful and sweet spirited specimen for breeding}, but after seeing how happy Buddy was here on our farm, she said YES!

So yesterday, JD drove 7 hours to bring Bella home.


She's a more slender version of Buddy...with a softer, lighter coat.


I don't know who's more in love...JD or these dogs!
They adore him...and each other!



She's already so trusting and loving.





Isn't she beautiful?!?!
She seems right at home in our barn.


This is where Bella and Buddy sleep:


I know to those of you with city dogs or house pets, this may seem cruel and unusual. But this is where they were born to be...and where they feel most at home. They have a 6,000-year history as livestock guardians, and the real work of a guardian takes place at night. These dogs lounge around in the daytime and are very alert at night. They like to be close to the animals they are protecting. {Bella still smells like goats, but it's chickens that will come first on our farm.}

And a few recent shots of our handsome Buddy:


He loves to run free in the field and around the pond.


Here's his "don't leave me" face:


Such a puppy in that picture!
And we love his squinty-eyed face:


I think these two are going to have a lot of fun together!


 One thing's for sure...
we love hanging out at the barn with them!
I could sit there all day!


Now that we're spending daily time at the barn, I'm going to need a new pair of boots.
Waterproof and hardworking. No city slicker rain boots here!
Any suggestions???

Thanks for taking a peek at our sweet Bella today!

With a grateful heart,
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