Dollar Store Martha

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I have always loved the festive look of
simple wreaths hanging from kitchen cabinetry. There is something so "Martha" about it.
I decided that I could still have that Martha look,
even without Martha's pocket book or her staff.
Don't you just love the dollar store!

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Old and Dear

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Every Christmas there are certain decorations that I take out and display first, even before a single tree goes up. I've had them for years and they're very dear to me. None of them cost a lot, but they mean a lot to me.A vintage looking Santa, given to me more than twenty years ago by my mother. I love him. A few years back, he had a little mishap. Thank goodness for super glue.
I love to stand him next to the little family of carolers that I bought for myself many, many years ago when I had just two children.
A buggy filled high with gifts and a happy couple, given to me several years ago by my mother-in-law. Each of these decorations, with their vintage look, remind me of years gone by when Christmas was a lot less chaotic.I always display them together in a prominent place in my home. And even though my decorating tastes have changed over the years, these decorations still bring a smile to my face and warm my heart when I unpack them from their boxes.
Do you have a favorite decoration that you enjoy bringing out each Christmas?

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Simply Sweet

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I KNOW that I am so very blessed
to have one of
sweetest daughters in the world!!!!!!!

Thank You My Darling Daughter!
(For all of you young mommies who are struggling through temper tantrums, that last post is evidence that they DO grow out of it and turn into WONDERFUL adults. So have patience, and give them an extra hug on those days when that's the last thing you want to give them.)

Speaking of sweet, I thought I'd share some sweet little scenes from around my home.

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I may get in trouble for this...

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Hey blogland, this is Joys daughter! I hacked into my moms account because I wanted to tell ya'll what an amazing mom I have. I am a newlywed who lives about 2,000 miles away from my parents in a TINY apartment. Growing up in Joys home was wonderful because she always made every holiday special. It was hard for me to move so far away.
But my sweet mom knew how important the holidays were to me and last week I received TWO HUGE boxes in the mail from her. Guess what they were???
CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS just for me and my husband! I was so excited!
I wanted to share with you some of the things she sent me:

{A Christmas tree. Yes. She sent me a Christmas tree, and ALL of the ornaments with it. Can you guess where she bought this tree??? The thrift store. It was $6, and it fits perfectly in my home. The ornaments fit my sparkly style exactly. I love the silver and green Christmas theme I have in my little home.}

{She even sent me Christmas hand towels}
{I love all the star ornaments she sent}

{And even a little tree for my kitchen}

{This is only a glimpse of everything she sent.}

So, sorry that I hacked into your account mom, but I just wanted to let you know that I love you and that I appreciate everything you do for me!

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At last! A LIST!

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May I first say thank you for your words of kindness, empathy and encouragement and most of all for your patience. Hopefully this post will make it worth your wait.

Before I begin my list, let me share some great ideas from my very creative readers.

*Bonnie wrote:
I had my kids draw pictures of what they thought Christmas was about (my daughter is quite prolific). Then I copied the pictures onto muslin and I am going to stitch out the picture with a cute Christmas saying, frame it and give it to my mom and Grandmother. I bought the frames at a second hand store for about a dollar a piece. Other than my time, it will cost me about $3.00 per gift.

Also I bought cute Christmas plates for about 33 cents a piece at the second hand store and I am going to give some of my neighbors their treats on them with a plate stand. Total cost under $3.00.
*Andrea posted some wonderful ideas. Be sure to spend some time looking through her December and November posts where she shares ideas for making your own ornaments, topiaries, coasters, bath salts, and MORE!
*Amber made and posted three great gift ideas here, here and here.
*Immortal Beloved shared her recipe for yummy peppermint bark.
*Cheryl has a great recipe for five minute fudge wreaths that would make a delicious gift.
*MARYANNE420 has a TON of Martha's ideas that she's been crafting.

If YOU have a some inexpensive gift ideas to share, please add them to the comments on this post!

Now, on to my list.
I purchased almost everything from the dollar store to show you these ideas. Remember that I am giving you a SIMPLE version. It's up to you to customize it and make it special.Practical gifts are always nice. Who can't use an extra extension cord this time of year? Attach a tag that says, "EXTENDING special wishes your way, for a Happy Holiday!"
A multi-purpose lighter is nice for lighting candles. Give it with candles and a tag that says, "We're de-lighted to have you as our neighbors."
The tall glass candles (referred to as religious candles) look very special when covered with foil wrapping paper, beautiful scrapbook paper, or vellum. Add on ribbon, bells, a monogram, or scrapbook letters that spell out JOY or NOEL.
Give a gift of art. You or your children can paint a special picture on canvas. Or paint your child's hand and print it onto the canvas and mod podge the saying, "Hands down, you're the best grandparents in the world!" You could even use spay adhesive to make a collage of special photos.
Paint or cover the wood plaques with scrapbook paper. Add a monogram or spell out a name, or another word with small wooden letters. Mod podge on
a meaningful scripture or poem, or paste on several words that describe the person. Don't forget to replace the string with pretty ribbon. Give a photo album with a tag that says, "Have a picture perfect Christmas!" If you want to spend a little more money, add a disposable camera or place the album in a basket filled with travel sized toiletries.
Try filling a basket with a board game and lots of edible goodies and present it to a family with a tag that instructs them to "Enjoy a Family Fun Night!" You could also fill the basket with drinks, packages of popcorn and a movie.
How about giving a cute apron with a tag stating, "Hope you're cooking up a Special Christmas and a Happy New Year!" Include some hot pads and say, "From our PAD to yours."
Who doesn't love cinnamon sugar? Pour it into a pretty container, tie it with a ribbon and include a recipe or two that uses this ingredient (snicker-doodle cookies, for instance).
Give a box, refrigerated roll, or a frozen home-made batch, of cookie dough with a tag says, "Everyone could use a little extra DOUGH this time of year!"
Bake a batch cookies, stack them in a bag of cellophane, and place them in a pretty glass or mug. Write on the tag, "Santa's not the only one who loves milk and cookies."
Or fill a mug with packages of hot chocolate and add a pretty spoon or two that's been dipped in melting chocolate.
The cute ice cube tray could be given with packets of drink mix and a tag that states, "It's such a TREE-t to be your friends!" Or how about filling the tray with delicious melting chocolate and sprinkles and tying it with a pretty bow? Or use the tray to make several batches of chocolate trees and present them on a pretty glass or festive plate.
Tie a ribbon around a seasoned salt grinder, or two, along with a tag stating, "SEASONS Greetings."
Another easy treat idea is to make a batch of chocolate rice krispie treats. Press portions of the mixture into a large funnel sprayed with oil. Wait a minute or two and gently remove the mixture from the funnel form. Notice how you now have what appears to be a big chocolate kiss? Repeat this process until you have several. When cool, wrap the krispie kisses in foil and include a long, thin tag that says, "We wish you a Merry Kissmas!"
I bought these simple gift ideas from a friend. The star is made from branches tied together and spray painted. Wouldn't it be extra special when given with scripture or quote about a star?
The tag is made from thin wood with the word stenciled on. It would be so fun to give a stack of these tied with string or hanging from a small wreath or tree.
My theory for giving gifts is much the same as decorating, you don't have to spend a lot to make it look like you did. What you save in money, you should make up for in presentation. Put a little time and love into your gifts. Adding a tag with a cute/corny saying can make the gift seem special. Tie your gifts with REAL ribbon or at least be generous with the curling ribbon (use five strands instead of one). Add on a bell, unbreakable ornament, or a candy cane. You can even use wrapped candy for filler in gift baskets.
When a gift looks like it's had love, time and thought put into, it doesn't really matter how much it cost. It really is "the thought that counts."

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Amazing minimalist home design

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Amazing minimalist home design
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Amazing minimalist home design3
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Amazing minimalist home design8
Amazing minimalist home design9

Minimalist style is based on the ideas that “less is more” meaning the less objects the better the space will look. Here is a spectacular list of 7 clean minimalist homes. Whether you like or dislike the minimalist style these homes should leave you calm and less stressful. 1. Casa C by architects Duilio Damilano 2. Garden and Sea by architect Takao Shiotsuka 3. Orr House by Swatt Architects 4. Woodside Bay Home by Hillery Priest Architecture 5. Openhouse by XTEN Architecture 6. Boso house by Kiyonobu Nakagame Architects

7. Somosaguas home by A-cero Architects This is a post from Home Design Find 7 Clean Minimalist Homes Related posts: Szirtes House by Chenchow Little Architects Remuera House Xten Open House

How to Create a Minimalist Home
There are actually no set steps to making your home minimalist, except to change your philosophy and shoot for the ideals in the previous section above. But here are some tips that I would offer to anyone trying to shoot for minimalism:

1. One room at a time. Unless you’re just moving into a place, it’s hard to simplify an entire house at once. Focus on one room, and let that be your center of calm. Use it to inspire you to simplify the next room, and the next. Then do the same outside!
2. Start with furniture. The biggest things in any room are the furniture, so you should always begin simplifying a room by looking at the furniture. The fewer pieces of furniture, the better (within reason, of course). Think of which furniture can be eliminated without sacrificing comfort and livability. Go for a few pieces of plain, simple furniture (example of a minimalist coffee table) with solid, subdued colors.
3. Only the essentials. Whether looking at your furniture or anything else in the room, ask yourself if the item is truly essential. If you can live without it, get it out. Try to strip the room down to its essentials — you can always add a few choice items beyond the essentials later.
4. Clear floors. Except for the furniture, your floors should be completely clear. Nothing should clutter the floor, nothing should be stacked, nothing should be stored on the floor. Once you’ve gotten your furniture down to the bare essentials, clear everything else on the floor — either donate it, trash it, or find a place for it out of sight.
5. Clear surfaces. Same thing with all flat surfaces. Don’t have anything on them, except one or two simple decorations (See Tip 9 below). Donate, trash or find an out-of-sight storage spot for everything else. It will make everything much, much more minimal-looking.
6. Clear walls. Some people hang all kinds of stuff on their walls. No can do in a minimalist home. Clear your walls except for one or two simple pieces of nice artwork (see Tip 8 below).
7. Store stuff out of sight. This has been mentioned in the above tips, but you should store everything you need out of sight, in drawers and cabinets. Bookshelves can be used to store books or DVDs or CDs, but shouldn’t have much else except a few simple decorations (not whole collections of things).
8. Declutter. If you are clearing flat surfaces and the floor, and storing stuff in cabinets and drawers, you’ll probably want to declutter your storage areas too. You can do this in a later stage if you want. See How to Declutter for more.
9. Simple artwork. To keep a room from being boring, you can put a simple painting, drawing or photo, framed with a subdued, solid color, on each wall if you want. Leave some walls bare if possible.
10. Simple decorations. As mentioned in the above tips, one or two simple decorations can serve as accents for a minimalist room. A vase of flowers or a small potted plant are two classic examples. If the rest of your room has subdued colors, your accents could use a bright color (such as red, or yellow) to draw the eye and give a plain room a splash of energy.
11. Plain window treatments. Bare windows, or simple, solid colored curtains, or simple, wooden blinds are good. Too much ornate stuff around the windows is clutter.
12. Plain patterns. Solid colors are best for floor coverings (if you have any), furniture, etc. Complex patterns, such as flowers or checkers, are visual clutter.
13. Subdued colors. As mentioned in Tip 9 above, you can have a splash of bright color in the room, but most of the room should be more subtle colors - white is classic minimalist, but really any solid colors that don’t stress the eyes is good (earth colors come to mind, such as blues, browns, tans, greens).
14. Edit and eliminate. When you’ve simplified a room, you can probably do more. Give it a couple of days, then look at everything with a fresh eye. What can be eliminated? Stored out of sight? What’s not essential? You can come back to each room every few months, and sometimes you’ll discover things you can simplify even more.
15. Place for everything. I’ve discussed this in other posts, but in a minimalist house, it’s important that you find a place for everything, and remember where those places are. Where does you blender go? Give it a spot, and stick with it. Aim for logical spots that are close to where the thing is used, to make things more efficient, but the key is to designate a spot.
16. Sit back, relax, and enjoy. Once you’ve simplified a room, take a moment to look around and enjoy it. It’s so peaceful and satisfying. This is the reward for your hard work. Ahhhh. So nice!

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