Top Posts of 2016

Letting the Lights Shine at Christmas

Well, it is almost Christmas and if you are like me you are pretty busy with everything that goes along with the season.  Hopefully, your shopping is done and you only have the "last minute" things to do.  This will be my last post before Christmas and I wanted to share the "lights of Christmas" before the all important day had passed. 

One of the things I enjoy most about Christmas is decorating my house.  I think you may already know that about me if you follow this blog at all.  Adding Christmas lights inside and outside of the house is a big part of my decorating. As I add Christmas lights all around my house there seems to be a crescendo of brightness that leads the path to Christmas Eve and Christmas itself.  I think this crescendo of light can be thought of as literal and/or symbolic and truly enhances the overall Christmas season.

Nothing says, "Welcome!", like a wreath on the front door and adding lights only makes the welcome better!

A Price-less Christmas Treasure Collection

Wow!  Ten days before Christmas!  If you are like me, you are VERY busy with the shopping, the wrapping of gifts and the festivities of the season.  Thankfully, I finished decorating my house a week ago and have thoroughly been enjoying it.  Seeing the Christmas decorations around the house that are so special to my family and me, really adds so much to my holiday season.  I am sure you have Christmas "treasures" in your home, as well.  So in that spirit, I thought I would share a few of mine with you.

My daughter, Amanda, gave me this set of whimsical Christmas plates from Pottery Barn a few years ago.  They feature Santa's eight reindeer and they make us laugh every year.

Making an Entrance

I started decorating my home for Christmas in the middle of November.  I find doing so helps me enjoy the season all the more and takes away some of the stress of the season as December approaches.  Still, it takes me weeks to finish the process.  In fact, I was still working on finishing touches just yesterday!

I am very excited to show you the foyer of my home.   I found the items below at places like Homegoods and Michael's.  I was especially inspired by the faux fur Christmas ball garland shown in the below photo.  Every decision I made for decorating this space revolved around that one piece.  Do you find that happens with you sometimes, too? 

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen some of these photos already but, now I can finally "reveal" the whole room!

Christmastime in New York City

As I mentioned in my last post, I had the opportunity and pleasure of visiting New York City last week courtesy of my husband needing to go there on business.  By coincidence, my son also had business in the city.  So, lucky for me, he and his wife took the kids out of school for a few days and we all made a mini vacation out of it, traveling caravan style!

The traffic was horrendous since we were traveling down on the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  Bad timing on our part but, it couldn't be helped.  The husbands needed to be in New York City early Monday morning. All of the frustration was worth it after we checked into our lovely hotel and decided to take in some of the city sights.  Our hotel was on 53rd Street East and it was only a short walk to this...Saks Fifth Avenue!

Thanksgiving Centerpiece 2016

I know this is not the most timely post considering it is after  Thanksgiving but, I hope you don't mind if I talk about my Thanksgiving table centerpiece. I am late because everything was busy before the holiday, as I was hosting the big dinner at my house.  Then, as soon as the meal was done the weekend took right over with Christmas decorating and finding the right tree and family dinners.  I'm sure you understand.  I'm sure you were out doing "stuff" as well.  And finally, to add to the chaos, on Sunday my husband and I headed to NY City with my son, Sam, and his family in tow.  We drove caravan style all the way to New York.   Both of the guys were traveling to New York on business so we wives decided to make a family trip of it.  I'm still here in New York and hope to share some of my NY experiences with you soon but, for now it is on to my Thanksgiving Tablescape.

I really loved my Thanksgiving table this year and wanted to share it with you, even if I am a little late.  It is somewhat of a transitional tablescape anyway.  You might be able to use some of the ideas for your Christmas holiday season.  Maybe this post will be more timely than I thought...maybe?

Well here goes:

I started with my rickety old dining table.  I had to put a brown tablecloth on it to hide its many imperfections.  I then added a white burlap table runner down the middle with my ol' faithful barn board piece on top of the runner, as well.  I then placed some white mini pumpkins and one gray/blue pumpkin on the barn board to anchor the design.

A Ladies Wreath Making Party in the Shed!

Last week I mentioned that I was going to host a wreath making party in my shed this week.  It was supposed to be a "kick-off" of sorts for the holiday season.  It was also a way to get a few friends and family together and to check out my new shed in a "workshop" kind of way.  I am trying to determine if it is really feasible to host floral workshops in the shed.  Since it is only a seasonal shed, I felt this was my last chance to test it out before the really cold weather set in. 

My daughter-in-law, Jessica, had mentioned having an interest in making a wreath a little while ago.  I was thankful for the suggestion and decided to "just go with it"!  The party was going to be an intimate affair, just the women in my immediate family, my sister-in-law and a close friend who had helped me with one of my weddings.  Unfortunately, my young friend, Nicole, was going away for the weekend and couldn't come so, my granddaughter joined us instead!  I'll make sure we do something else that Nicole can come to soon.

I did some research and determined that eucalyptus greens, seeded and otherwise, would be a good choice for the wreaths because, supposedly, it dries "beautifully".  I made the wreath below as a prototype and played around with decoration using ribbon and Christmas ornaments.

Wreaths from Mitchell & Company Designs and Events

Happy Veterans Day!  Thank You, Veterans!

I invited a few ladies to my house this weekend to make seeded eucalyptus wreaths.  It's a little get-together to kick off the holiday season.  I have been busy this week preparing for that.  I hope to be sharing the festivities with you in a post next week.  For this week I thought I could share some of the wreaths I have made in the past.  Some were purely seasonal and some were used for home decoration.  Wreaths are a fun way to dress up your home or business and they are also a great way to express your creativity!

The wreath below is the prototype wreath for my little workshop party this weekend, just to give you an idea of what we will be up to!  Seeded eucalyptus is an interesting fresh green to include in your holiday décor.  It can even be incorporated in a traditional evergreen wreath to give it a different look.  More on this next week :).

The Official Photos From Keri and John's Wedding!

Since we are in between Halloween and Thanksgiving and are in a bit of a lull holiday-wise, I thought I would brighten things up and share some of  the professional photos from the wedding I did back in August for Keri and John. You can read my previous posts about their wedding here and here if you would like. Keri shared the photos with me several weeks ago but, I haven't had a chance to write about them until now.  It was so nice of Keri to do that and allow me to share the wedding and the flowers by way of professional photography. Nothing really compares to professional photographs and I truly appreciate them.

All of the following photographs were created and provided by Benoit & McCarthy Photography. Thank you to them for this wonderful visual opportunity.

The bridal party bouquets as they were being delivered to The Commons 1854 in Topsfield, MA:

The wedding ceremony and reception both took place at The Commons.

Instagram Photo Shoot

Happy Saturday, Everyone!  I don't usually publish posts on Saturday but, I wanted to get this one out before the end of October and I didn't want it to compete with Halloween on Monday. October is almost over and I thought I would share an Instagram photo shoot I did for #ShowMeYourHoliday a few weeks ago.  I am relatively new to Instagram and for those of you who know me, I am not very tech-savvy but, I have really been trying to learn.  Instagram has been a joy, so far, for me.  So, when an invitation came from pnwgirlsdesigns on Instagram for me to join in a contest of sorts, I was pretty excited.

Decorating for Fall: Vignettes from Inside the Home

Last week I shared some photos of fall decor on the outside of my house.  This week I wanted to show you some vignette photos from inside my home.  As I have said previously, I can't seem to help myself when it comes to seasonal and holiday decorating.  I think it's in my blood.  My mom and my grandmother both had the "bug" and taught and inspired me to carry on the tradition.

So every year, I bring up the plastic tub from the basement labeled "Halloween", even though I really meant for it to read "Fall Decorations", and get started.  I generally am a "harvest" decorator instead of a "Halloween" one.  I might add a few truly Halloween items to the mix about a week before the holiday but, for the most part my decorating is for the whole fall season.  That way I am all set until Thanksgiving, giving myself a little break until the heavy duty Christmas decorating starts!


This general display below has been on the buffet in the living room all summer.  I simply updated it for the fall by replacing summer silk stems with fall ones. I added an orange ceramic pumpkin and a few puffy bunny tails too.

Outdoor Decorating for Fall

Since I was sooo wordy in my last post, I am going to try to keep the chatter to a minimum this time around.  I have told you in the past how much I love summer but, I have to admit autumn comes in as a very close second.  I love the clothes, the sports, the colors, the activities...I guess I'm getting wordy again!!

As much as I tell myself I am NOT going to go through all of the work of seasonal decorating, I always end up doing it anyway.  I enjoy it too much! This fall appears to be no exception in that regard.  I'm still lugging home pumpkins and bringing up my stash of fall goodies from the basement.

So in an effort to be less-wordy, here is a view of my side deck decorated with pumpkins, guords and seasonal plants.

Foliage Trip to New Hampshire and a Stay at the Mountain View Grand Resort

Last week my husband and I decided, in the spur of the moment, to take an overnight trip to the Franconia Notch area of New Hampshire to get away and to see the foliage.  We had been talking about doing this for months and once we saw that the weather forecast was good, we took some work time off and headed North.

There are two things we wanted to check off of our "mini" bucket lists this year.  I say "mini" because both of these things involved going to tourist attractions in our neighboring state of New Hampshire.  Not exactly like seeing the Great Wall of China but, we wanted to do them just the same.  One was to go to The Flume and the other was to take a ride on the Cog Railroad to the top of Mount Washington.

The Flume or Flume Gorge was on my bucket list.  I hadn't been there since I was a little girl and really wanted to go again.  My husband had never been so, now finally seemed to be the right time to go.  So, we packed the car the next morning and set the gps for Lincoln, NH.  {Not sure that is the  town where The Flume is located but, we knew we could get lunch there along the way :).}

The Fall Wedding Journey Continues: Bride and Bridesmaid Bouquets

The journey of Kiersten and Chris' wedding continues with the bride and bridesmaid bouquets. I am not sure if I mentioned in the first installment of this wedding journey just how much fun Kiersten was to work with. She really loved flowers and was eager to embrace the colors and textures of fall.  She seemed very excited to experiment with different kinds and shapes of flowers.  Often, I would suggest a flower I had seen at the flower market to see if she would like to incorporate it into the bouquets.  Sometimes she did and sometimes she didn't.  It was always fun discussing the possibilities with her, however.  She told me she loved ferns and berries and liked the idea of cascading bouquets which made creating these bouquets all the more enjoyable for me.  In the end, I think they were exquisite, mainly due to the lovely choices Kiersten made.

Another Wedding Journey: Kiersten and Chris!

Last January, my niece, Kiersten, contacted me and asked if I could do the flowers for her wedding.  I, of course, said, "Yes!".  I was thrilled.  At our first official meeting a few weeks later, I met her fiancé, Chris.  They were such a cute couple!  So much fun!  With that first meeting, the journey for me had begun.  I would soon learn that Kiersten had a clear vision for her special day and that she has impeccable taste!  More on that later...for now I will share the journey from my end of the days leading up to the wedding on September 25, 2016.

As always, I collected the flowers a few days before the wedding.  They were cut and conditioned; meaning they were placed in fresh water enhanced with special flower food and set in a cool, dark place. In this photo below you see a tiny, tiny sampling of the flowers (after conditioning and ready for arranging) used to make the bouquets, centerpieces, corsages, etc. for the wedding.  My whole shed was filled with flowers.  It was kind of awesome!

There was a fairly substantial Items List for this wedding.  I started with the creation of the mom and grandmother corsages because they are quite time consuming and they keep well in the refrigerator.  Time is always a factor with weddings.

Kiersten wanted the moms to have delicate wrist corsages made of white roses and a touch of burgundy astilbe.  She also wanted to add a bow made of twine.  I added dusty miller and the "berries" of seeded eucalyptus.  Oh, and there was a little white waxflower mixed in, as well.

Simple and lovely

Kiersten wanted the fathers' boutonnieres to match the moms' corsages.  All the flowers were the same except for the added ferns in the back of the boutonnieres.  Kiersten had told me that she "loved" ferns so, I included them in many of the pieces.  I have become a real fan of ferns now and have Kiersten to thank!  She opened my eyes to a whole new flower world.  I love it!  I love the woodland feel.

The grandmothers wanted pin-on corsages so, Kiersten and I discussed what they might look like and came up with this-- 

The corsages were all white in color with the mixture of standard and spray roses, waxflower and some lemon leaf.  An ivory ribbon covered the stems and then was tied in a bow.  A twine bow was added also.  The theme and attention to detail continued :).

Among other items on the list were these small galvanized buckets filled with baby's breath. 

Kiersten had added the burgundy ribbon to the buckets and then had given them to me to be filled with baby's breath.  They would line the aisle of the church for the ceremony.


I made two of these large baby's breath and white rose arrangements for the altar of the church.


Here is a taste of the reception flowers.  I made two of these arrangements.  So many cool fall flowers.  Kiersten loved all the colors and textures of fall which made this wedding so much fun.  I was able to ramp up my creativity!


Next it was on to the centerpieces for the reception.  These little vases were to be part of  an ensemble of centerpieces.  I will share those photos in a future post :).  Here the arrangements sat waiting to be delivered to the reception site in my shed.

Brittany, my daughter and assistant, was actually able to take prettier photos of these little guys while Judy, my other assistant, and I were inside the shed working on other things.


I usually make a complimentary ladies powder room arrangement for my weddings.  I always have a great time creating these somewhat insignificant arrangements.  Because there is no pressure, I can do whatever I'd like in terms of floral design.  It's so enjoyable choosing from the leftover flowers to make these little arrangements.

Well, that is it for now...the beginning of the journey of Kiersten and Chris' Wedding.  My next post will probably be the creation of the bridal party flowers.  Hope you can stick around to see the next step!

Joining the Parties at:

Taking a Foliage Tour

Since today is the first day of fall and I am beginning the process of doing the flowers for a wedding this weekend and am super busy, I thought I would re-post my foliage tour of my town from last year.  I hope you don't mind. I'll be back "live" next week :).

 My  husband gave me a new camera last Christmas to help me create better photos for my business and, perhaps, this blog.  To be honest, I need to take a camera course to take full advantage of my camera but time just hasn't allowed for that.  However, I have enjoyed playing around with it and I do think I have certainly taken nicer photos than I did with my old camera.

Well, the views looking out the windows of my home and driving around town have been so beautiful that I decided to take my camera and shoot a few pictures. To my surprise, it turned out to be lots of fun!

I started the journey in my own backyard.  The views I see looking out the windows of my house seemed picture worthy, at least to me.  This maple tree is the view I see from my kitchen window.  Truth be told, the maple is getting a bit too big for where it has decided to grow.  Every summer I contemplate having my husband cut it down but, then the autumn comes and I can't bear to do it.  The battle will probably continue next year when it overtakes the driveway!

The side yard

Here you can see the little pond across the street.

Isn't it pretty?  Same little pond...different vantage point

I really hope I never take living in the Northeast for granted, especially in the fall.  It is just toooo lovely!


I finally decided to leave home and travel down Route 40.  I headed to the center of town.  On the way, I stopped at Gibbet Hill, a lovely hill  featuring a local farm, restaurant and event venue.  I parked and hiked up the dirt path to the top of the hill.
Almost to the top of the hill and you can see the town of Groton below...


somewhere to the left (I think) and thirty miles away is Mount Wachusett.  

Near the top of the hill are the remains of what some call the "castle".  Evidently, the "castle" has a storied past.  From what I have read, the "castle" was originally built as a retirement bungalow for a General Bancroft in the early 1900's.  In 1918, it was a transformed into sanitarium.  In the 1920's, it became a private tuberculosis hospital.  In 1932, a fire, which seemingly was caused by "careless fireworks," left only the stone structure in place.

Now, it is part of the Gibbet Hill Angus Farm property, I believe.  Weddings can currently be been held here.  It's really a cool place!


Next, I continued on Route 40 to the center of town.  I stopped along Main Street (Route 119) to take a photo and encountered another photographer who decided to take a photo of this vibrant tree along the sidewalk.  I think this is quintessential New England.  I guess the other photographer thought so too! 

Finally I was able to take this photo of the First Parish Church and part of Lawrence Academy, also in the center of town.  Sorry about the power lines but, not much I can do about it.  Because of the power lines my other photos of Lawrence Academy were not worthy of being published.  Too bad because Lawrence Academy is an impressive centerpiece of the town.

I wanted to take a photo of a farm that runs along Route 119.  Often times they have cows in the fields grazing.  The cows are unique because they look like Neapolitan ice cream, minus the strawberry.  They have large stripes of white, black, white on the sides of their bodies.  It can be a very pretty site. However, the cows were not grazing this day and Route 119 is really too busy a road to get out of your car to safely take a photo.  So, I opted NOT to try that!

Not to sound like a travel guide advertisement, but taking a Sunday drive on Route 119 through Groton and parts north is truly worth your while, especially in October.  It can be totally breathtaking.

Enjoy the ride!

Update of the Non "She Shed" Shed

The last time I spoke about my shed it was last spring and it looked like this.  I had written about the construction of the shed and how it would eventually be where I would do my floral designing and, hopefully, host parties and workshops.  I also wrote about how I didn't want to call it a "she shed" because I had wanted a shed loooong before "she sheds" were in vogue. You can find that story here, if you would like.  Back then, the inside of the shed still had a long way to go.  It has taken a while but, the shed is finally at the stage where I can actually use it, although there is still a little more work to do.  You may have gathered that my husband and I are not speedy about getting projects done.  My daughter, Amanda, says that is because we can easily be pulled away if we are invited to do something that is more fun than working on the house, like going to the beach or meeting up with family for lunch. She could be right about that :).

Welcoming in Fall Colors

I am a little late in getting a post out this week.  I think I may still be in summer mode or, perhaps, I am simply trying to catch up from the carefree schedule of summer.  I think the latter is probably more correct.  I've been doing laundry, cleaning up, trying to give SOME attention to my poor dismal garden.  All of these things are done haphazardly (at least for me) in the summer.  On top of all that, I am doing another wedding in two weeks.  Yay!!  It's going to be great but, it has been busy.

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