Monday, December 21, 2015

eclectic cottage Christmas tour 2015

I want to begin this post by thanking all of you for being so incredibly supportive.

I haven’t been able to keep up my blogging schedule lately and still, you bless me with your visits. I just want you to know how much I appreciate YOU—and how much it means to me that I keep this little place in the blog world so we can keep connecting.

For those of you who are wondering about that fixer upper we bought last year, well…today I thought I’d share a few Christmas photos. 

I really pared my decorating down this year…honestly, I was just too tired to go scour through Christmas decorations after all that work moving everything around for our new floors. And things are still not put away.

But at least you can see that our TV wall is finally done... along with some simple decorations. 

I hope you enjoyed some of our recent changes. A cheerful blue and white rug I found at a Newport Beach consignment shop. Two white slipcovered chairs bought from an estate sale.

The hardware that finally got put on our living room cabinets.

And of course, the big dramatic change from the new wood floors. We still have to get baseboards installed. And for those of you who asked, we chose engineered wood because apparently being close to the ocean means lots of moisture.  

I plan on sharing some Before and After pictures--especially of our TV wall.

But for now I’m off to finish my shopping because yep, I'm one of those still wrapping presents to the very end.

Wishing you a safe and peaceful Christmas surrounded by those you love.


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*excuse the weird spaces and fonts. I'm missing my WLW and struggling to adapt to Blogger. Anyone having good luck with WLW these days?

Monday, December 14, 2015

I'm just happy to be here. (with a dining room update)

On a sun-drenched afternoon a few days ago I walked into our yoga studio and hugged my friend who proceeded to tell me why she's been missing from class lately. Turns out she's been caring for an elderly friend who is in the last days of her hospice care, and I listened to her describe her first experience bathing a frail body.


Then on Saturday night, when I was a guest on a yacht draped in glittering white lights and floating in the middle of the annual Holiday Boat Parade in Long Beach, there was more. Against the backdrop of jolly Christmas music and flowing wine, I sat in a corner and spoke with a mother who was grieving the loss of her adult daughter during this holiday season.


Wouldn't it be powerful if we could hear a faint bell each time we came in contact with love and compassion and tenderness?

Just to bring us back to what really matters?

I've been noticing these little heart-opening moments more lately, maybe because of my yoga practice or maybe because I'm trying to be more intentional about slowing down and observing myself.

I'm especially aware of my tendency to focus on all the things I'm not getting done and I can see how easy it is for me to get stressed and feel "behind" on my list of things to do.
And then suddenly

I find myself brushing shoulders with someone who is struggling with loss or sadness or sickness and boom.  And I'm instantly reminded of what's truly important. The love and the kindness...and the generosity that we share with each other.

And slowing down long enough to experience these moments when they happen.

These days this is my favorite mantra.

I don't know why, but I saw this little phrase somewhere and it resonated with me; I've found that when I take a deep breath and say these words, it really helps me come back to a grateful place. 

It's such a joyful little line.


(the floors aren't actually this dark)

Ok. Speaking of gratitude and moving on to a practical topic, I have to say that I'm really thrilled with our new wood floors. Even though they were installed some weeks back I'm just now getting our house put back together after being away for Thanksgiving, and then for our annual Christmas visit to Salt Lake City hosted by the hubby's bank.

And today I thought I’d share some pictures of our newly repainted dining room.  It's interesting how changing one thing leads to another.

You might remember how it looked before. Even though I loved the dark drama of BM's Kendall Charcoal, once I saw the wood floor in here I instantly craved a warm white and now I absolutely love it.

We also had French doors and beadboard installed in this room and although I still need to finish painting the doors, you can get an idea of the peaceful ambiance.

Ikea's Linen white curtains got hung today.

I hung my boxwood wreaths on the French doors. And I found three swags of glass crystals that I had bought at Pottery World years ago and hung them along with green garland to dress up the chandelier.

I plan on adding fresh garland and berries into the chandelier.

On this side of the room I decided to hang white plates and found all my plate hangers today at Wal-Mart. The plates are courtesy of the thrift store.

I was having a hard time getting the candles to stand straight in these brass candlesticks so I added moss to the bottoms and I really like the look.

I can't wait to add some flowers in here.

Here's a close up of the corbels we found when we picked up our reclaimed lumber for our living room bookshelves.

The lighting was poor when I snapped this photo but you can see how they frame the dining room.

(what you can't see: the paint cans and the roll of plastic near the bottom of the curtains)

Oh, here's another project I finished today, my fur-lined candle holders.

They're kinda funky, kinda chic, but these are so easy to make.

Are you in the mood for a quickie project?

Here's what I used:

Cylinder glass vases for candles
fur fabric cut in strips to fit around the vase
ribbon of choice
(I found my suede piece in the jewelry section of the crafts store).

I added bells for a Christmasy touch.

While I had my hot glue gun out, I glued some starfish to ribbon and hung them on our tree to celebrate our beach location.

And voila! Here's my furry candle holders in our shelves

A close up view.

The lighting fixture is from Restoration Hardware.

Well that's it for now. Sorry I bombarded you with pictures but it's been awhile since I've been here. As always, I am so grateful for your visit and I'd love to hear how your December is going.
Have you been hearing the faint sound of bells lately?

 peace and love 


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Monday, November 30, 2015

our Thanksgiving table 2015 …tips on how I did this



Our Thanksgiving Table

I just got back into town late last night and I thought I’d take a moment to share some photos of our Thanksgiving table setting with you (this is for you Kim).

Hopefully you can use something from this post as possible inspiration for your own holiday tables.

As I mentioned before, this year my Mom wanted to use miniature white pumpkins for the place cards, but we soon discovered that white pumpkins of any size—were no where to be found in her area. We went everywhere before finally locating enough of some battered, discolored ones at a grocery store.

Even though my Mom was discouraged by the looks of them I knew that a can of white spray paint would fix all the imperfections.

Here’s a Before and After shot:



discolored, bruised pumpkins




a can of white spray paint

*even though I prefer the creamy color of a real pumpkin, once they were all sprayed they looked fine on the plates.





She had a pack of miniature orange pumpkins that she didn’t know what to do with and while we were shopping she found these gold tealights which we decided to use on her coffee station.

My Dad brought out his wood cutting set and we sat together and cut holes in the pumpkins for the candles. All you do is trace the outline of the candle onto to pumpkin and then cut inside the lines so the candles fit snug into the hole. You’ll need to scoop out the insides to fit the candles.





Remember all those old brass candlesticks we found at the thrifts stores?  Well, they added the perfect touch of gold to our tables.

We also got lucky and found all our glass vases at the same local Goodwill store too.

I think we paid less than five bucks for them all, so cheap and the perfect height too. I always prefer to use low sitting vases so we can keep the flowers on the tables while we eat.


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My parents don’t have a dining room so they move their furniture out and set up the tables and chairs in their living room. It goes to show you that you don’t need a big house to entertain. Every year Mom likes to rent the tables, chairs and linens from the same place where the owners know her.

This year we had white tablecloths and black napkins.

All the china, glassware, silverware and chargers belong to Mom.



The flowers couldn’t  have been simpler to arrange. Even though I had big plans to add a variety of red and orange hued flowers they were all picked over by the time we got to our favorite floral vendor. So roses it was.

We added the baby’s breath later for a filler.

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To avoid the hassle of cutting green foam I decided to use little plastic cups inside the white pumpkins and it worked fine. Although it bugged me that I could see the white rim. In a perfect world I would have loved to tuck green moss around the edges to hid that rim.



This year we did something different. I really wanted to emphasize our theme of gratitude, so at the last minute we decided to forgo the name tags and instead, we placed the word “Gratitude” at each setting. Then at dinner time we went around the table and asked everyone to say one thing they were grateful for….

Honestly, we weren’t sure how it would go, but it ended up being the best part of the whole night. Everyone ended up being surprisingly open and really thoughtful about what they said. It was one of those little risks that ended up adding so much to the dinner.




In the center of the table that’s a piece of white felt peeking out from the centerpiece. We did this to protect the linens from candle wax. It’s something to use if you’re renting linens (that charge for wax damage) or have a family heirloom on the table.



Before the candles were lit…





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the sign in my parent’s kitchen.


In case you’re wondering why we like to fix such a special table for Thanksgiving, it’s because we always celebrate my parent’s anniversary which is the following day.



This year marks their 56th year of marriage.



Whew, that’s a whole lot of blessings to be thankful for.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and thank you so much for stopping by,

I’m off to get unpacked and settled in again. One of these days I’m going to get caught up around here. I can’t believe Christmas is around the corner, I haven’t done one single thing for it yet.

peace and love to you,




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