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Sunday, November 30, 2014

10 Gift Ideas Each Under $50


It ‘tis the season of giving!

Sometimes it is hard to come up with gifts for certain people, but with the internet, looking and researching has become so much easier and fun!!

Today I am going to share some fun things that I think would make a great gift for Christmas.

First I am going to start with something warm and cozy and under $50 just use the code HOLIDAY at checkout!….

jcrew gold slippers

Cozy, stylish, a little glitzy and furry, a win-win!!


This is so fun, one end is pink and the other is a glittery polish that you can wear alone or on top of the pink. What a fun little gift for $16!!!

personalized ice bucket Graham and Mark

How about a personalized ice bucket for $45?!! I love the clean lines of this one from Mark and Graham.

Speaking of a personalized gift, How about this?…..


A variety of colors are available and you can choose the color of the cap and the thread for the monogram, plus the style of monogram you would like. I like the above style. For $24 this would make a fun gift!


I bet you are wondering what the heck is this? It is a projector for your smart phone. It will project your pictures onto the wall……..

Very fun,  for only $28, since so many people use their phones to capture photos now.

Starbucks white and gold double walled travel mug would make any girl smile at only $19.95!


I love this pinch salt box from West Elm for $29. Wouldn’t this be fun to add different salts from around the world. They sale them at Cost Plus and I have even purchased some at Homegoods as well. Love this idea!!


For $6.99 this would make a wonderful hostess gift with some monogrammed hand towels.


This is a wonderful gift, in fact I got my girls these for their stockings year before last. Guaranteed to make them happy, at $34 a real winner.

For the techy person on your list, how about a charging station for multiple devices all in one spot! For $25.99 it is a great deal!!!

Remember to enjoy the process of gift giving, it is not about the cost, but the thought that goes behind the gift.

I will post more gift idea post throughout the Christmas season!! 

Have fun shopping!!!

♪♪♪ Fa-la-la-la ♪♪♪


Saturday, November 22, 2014

I Learned Something New This Week!!


falling rain

This was the first week  that we had what I would consider winter weather here in California. I was waiting  to clean out my closet until I knew I would want to start wearing my winter clothes. With the onset of the rain, and cooler temps now was the time to begin the process!

The Spring/Summer items were put in storage boxes
(I only allow myself two boxes of extras clothes to be stored,) and the winter sweaters, and warmer clothing was brought out.


My uniform in the winter is cashmere pullovers with a   blouse underneath, solid, gingham, plaids and stripes are my favorites. 

I did not realize that I have quite a few cashmere sweaters that I keep stored in a cedar storage bench at the end of my bed.

When I bring out my winter clothes I like to freshen them up, and have them cleaned, or laundered. 

Once I counted how many cashmere sweaters that would need to go to the cleaners, I decided it is time to find an alternative method of freshening up my sweaters.

stack of sweaters

This is where the investigating took place and after reading several articles on how to clean cashmere, every single article said NOT to clean cashmere but to hand wash it , even though on every single label my sweaters say to dry clean.

Apparently the chemicals will break down the fibers in cashmere. I even watched a video done by Martha Stewart on how she recommends hand washing your delicate sweaters.

After reading all of these articles I came up with the best method for me.

First I de-pilled all of my sweaters with this……..

velcro roller

Yes you read that correctly …… A velcro roller for your hair. 

I can not tell you how well this worked. I was so pleased. It did take me awhile to do them all, but it was well worth my time. From what I read the shavers for sweaters are not the best thing to use on cashmere. They can, if you are not very careful,  create holes. I did not want to risk that happening.

Next I put 1/8 of a cup of this in my HE washer……

Laundress cashmere shampoo

Don’t let the word CEDAR scare you! I don't want to smell like my cedar chest, but I found this to be a wonderful fragrance. They combined fragrances that are appealing to we humans, but not to those pesky moths…..

Our modern take on the traditional woody scent. Combining sandalwood, orange, and rose with a base of cedar, this sweet and spicy blend naturally repels moths and critters.

I found it interesting that it is called shampoo, don’t you? Once I thought about it, cashmere is hair so it is the perfect name.

I will say this, when I took out my cashmere it did have a wet hair smell, or at least it did to me, but that goes away during the drying process, and a very faint  lovely fragrance is left behind.

After adding the shampoo to the washer I filled the tub with water before putting in my sweater. I washed one color at a time on the hand wash cycle.

My machine does not have an agitator blade so it is gentle enough to do hand washing of delicate pieces.

The machine also extracts most of  the water out of the sweater so it is ready to reshape and lay on a towel to let air dry.

I have actually put the damp sweater on to get it in the right shape for my body, and that method works well for me. 

It will take a couple of days and for a couple of days my guest room looks like a laundress lives here.

After all of the years of having my sweaters cleaned, which I now find is the wrong thing to do, I am now a laundress in my own right.

I just had to share this discovery with you all, just in case you are taking your sweaters to the cleaners.

Happy Washing!!!


Friday, November 21, 2014

14 Ideas To Take Your Holiday Table Over the TOP!!!


One of the simplest things to take your Holiday table over the top is a special place card. 

It does not have to be fancy, nor does it have to take a great deal of time. In fact  all of the ideas I am about to show you could be done easily and quickly.

By doing this one little extra detail, it will show your guest you think they are special, and that you were thinking of them personally. 

After all how can you write someone’s name without thinking about them!?


Mini pots and moss from any craft store and you can find clear votive holders cheaply at the dollar store or places like Cost Plus and PierI.

A little twig to hold the simple name tag that can be made out of brown grocery bag paper, we all have that on hand.

Super easy a leaf and a can of spray paint and a black marker. Voila! You have a place card!!

This little bag has the menu type written on the front, but you could just as easily do this with a pen and at the very top write the guest name, such as KATHYSUE’S MENU FOR TODAY!

A trip out to the backyard could offer up a few twigs to use as place cards by writing with a marking pen on the twig. You could even spray paint them gold or silver or white!!!

Another use for the brown paper grocery bags!

So simple and so festive.

I really love this idea and you could use any fruit that fit your theme or color scheme. Brown parchment paper you can but at the grocery store a little twine and Voila!!

I know this does not have a name on the plate, but it could. Purchase inexpensive dollar store clear plates and write your guest name on them. 

You could then use them to send home some leftover dessert with each guest using their own personal plate. A dual purpose plate!!

I love this whole set-up the little pumpkin looks so cozy all nestled in the bowl, and napkin. Notice the way the silverware is displayed and tied with twine.

Button mums are so inexpensive and placing them in an oasis ball that has been soaked in water they will stay fresh for quite awhile, well over a week.

Paper card, ribbon and calligraphy pin for the name and place fragrant rosemary on top of the napkin and you have a festive place card.

A little chalkboard tag with rosemary, lavender and a feather and each guest has a fragrant little bouquet at their plate. 

Another take-away from this is the use of cloth tea towels for napkins. Casual and very functional as well.

Feathers leaves and cloves! Use some brown packing tape to write the persons name, and you have a beautiful, and fragrant place card.

All of the above ideas are so easy to do and you still have time to make them before next Thursday!!!

You can find all of these ideas, and more on my Thanksgiving pinboard on pinterest where I have over 380 ideas pinned!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Kathysue's Christmas Decor Formula In 10 Easy Steps

via Martha Stewart

When it comes to decorating for Christmas I realized I have  somewhat of a formula. 

After years of decorating there is a method that has evolved.

Today I am going to share with you the easy formula that I use when decorating a home for Christmas.

There are 10 key elements you will always find in my Holiday décor........

Choose three key areas to highlight your holiday décor.

Look at the main focal points in the areas your guest will be seeing.  This is where you  need to concentrate  your Christmas decor. 

christmas room 1

If you have Christmas décor sprinkled heavily everywhere it begins to look cluttered, and messy, and to be honest it defeats the purpose of making your home festive, and welcoming. 

Try to highlight these three areas………

Dining Room
Family/Living room mantel

Make an introduction

Christmas entry

Remember your porch, and front door are the first introduction your guest will be greeted by. Make their first introduction a representation of what they are about to see, and experience in your home.

Choose a color scheme and have it flow from room to room.

Any of these would make a gorgeous accent color for the girl cave!!

Looking at the color scheme above you would not need to use each, and every color in the three areas of your home you decide to decorate.

For instance, let’s say the above is on the family room mantle. Then in the dining area you could use a combination of three of the above colors, making one of them the dominant color and two others accents.

Maybe blue is the dominant with green and raspberry the accents.

Next your porch could be just the blue and green. Doing this will make the colors flow effortlessy from space to space.

Use a piece of art, or a pillow to set the theme, mood, or color scheme.

Using pillows or a Holiday framed piece of art is such a fun and easy way to set the mood for your home. I have found Etsy and Furbish to be a wonderful resource for both pillows, and original artwork.

(unfortunately this pillow is no longer available from Furbish)

Declutter before you decorate.

This is a big one for me. I have seen so many homeowners plop down a figurine, or some greenery among their everyday décor, and before you know it, they have a cluttered looking room, and wonder why their home never pulls together during the Holidays. 

Since we are trying to add a Christmas spirit to our home sometimes our everyday elements will not work.

However, sometimes they will work, but you will have to be the judge of that. Personally I just find it easier to work with a clean slate instead of trying to fit it ALL in!!!

Use a word or Christmas saying somewhere in your room.


I love typography, and have it displayed with letter P’s throughout my home on a daily basis, but at Christmas time I choose a phrase, or a word and us it in my décor.

Try to find a spot in your home where it can be a focal point and set the mood, and/or theme for your Holiday décor.

Have yourself a merry little christmas prints and download by Dear Lillie
This is where you could use a piece of art or even a pillow with a Christmas saying or word on it. (dear lillie is a great online shop to find wonderful pillows and art pieces with wonderful sayings on them, HERE!)

Have a signature wrap that you use from year to year as your base.

Ribbet collage Christmas Wrappings 2013

Black and white awning stripe is my favorite paper, but you can pick what speaks to your own style. 

The other thing I do is choose one paper that is a stand-out that will help set the mood and wrap a few packages 3-5 and place in front. 

Stand-out papers can often be expensive so using it strategically is a cost saver.

It is almost like choosing different fabrics for your pillows and co-coordinating them on your sofa or bed.

Use good quality ribbons.

Ribbet collage Christmas Ribbons 2013

I prefer a good quality double faced satin, velvet or grosgrain ribbon.

Martha makes a mean cedar wreath

It is so easy to tie a simple loop bow, and it always looks elegant, and appropriate. I like my bows to drape, or sag a bit, no stiff, or over done bows please!

Create a festive ambiance!

Have soft Christmas music playing in the background.

Candles and soft ambient lighting, even in the day time!!

Add a pleasant Christmas scent. Nothing over powering. So many of the candles people purchase can knock your socks off. 

Try to choose a scent that evokes Christmas memories not one that is too sweet, or even noticeable, just one that lingers in your guest memory of your home.

Keep the Memories going…

This is actually the most important, so I saved it for the last! 

Every year our boys, wives and Grandchildren get a special ornament in their stockings.

When the boys were first born each Grandmother chose a themed ornament to give them, and for every single year of their lives they have received a new ornament. (you can read about our tradition here.)

I can not tell you how important these ornaments have become to each family member.  To this day my boys still love their stockings the most, even more than a gift.

Remember: Choosing your color, art piece, word, or pillow  can be your jumping off/starting point for this years decorating.

So there you have it!! 

Kathysue’s Christmas Décor formula!!!

Hopefully this post will inspire you to come to terms with what is really important to you, and your family, and help you express it in your own personal way.

“Enjoy the Process!”