colorful holidays

i have been inspired by a couple of my favorite color loving instagram feeds lately…



so, while we wait to cut our christmas tree until the day after thanksgiving, and the santa’s still stay in attic storage i have started planning for the crossing over of holidays that comes when thanksgiving and christmas collide.

i am also not afraid to make it smell like christmas before thanksgiving.

my parents will be visiting us for thanksgiving. while they have taken in the traditions of cutting down the tree and starting to decorate for christmas they have never actually been here for christmas.

i want a bit more christmas in the house when they get here so they can get a feeling for what it is like here on christmas morning. unfortunately, i cannot replicate the excitement of our children on christmas morning…something i will cherish even more this year as they are getting older.

my aunt gifted me with colored vintage glassware that my grandmother had collected for her. it will play a part as our thanksgiving centerpiece, and then i have some other plans for it during the christmas season!

the open shelving in our kitchen continues to be a favorite place to change up the displays for the seasons. this year i mixed up the fiesta ware and some of my vintage shiny brite collection. i also added some led uplighting which was super easy to do!

the pacific northwest continues to put on a beautiful show for us this fall.

our japanese maple is one of the last trees to lose its leaves each fall. the leaves are a purple color all summer and turn to a bright red.

the front garden is mostly put to bed except for some carrots, kale, herbs, and the strawberry plants.

i’ve been collecting leaves from our yard…we only have the douglas fir trees and the japanese maple, but we get leaves from the neighbors…this is a giant leafed maple!

are you a wait until after thanksgiving to bring out christmas?

or, do you let them play nicely together?

or, are you a “what’s thanksgiving?! it’s all christmas all the time after halloween” person?

no matter what, i hope you are enjoying whatever you choose!

{christmas collections} blow molds

it takes time for the christmas to come out and get organized.

lots of stuff to move around.

the last few years i have started to collect vintage blow molds.

it started with a small snowman and a santa…



last year, i added another santa…


today, i found this…


and, these…


it’s beginning to look a lot like, well, christmas.

home is…christmas collections {more to come}.

{31 days} joy all year

{31 days} header

~secondhand and created~

These are back at Target…

Lit Vintage Tin "Joy" Sign - Brushed Bronze

This year there is also HOPE, LOVE, a heart and a star.

Last year I bought the JOY…

When I brought it home and opened it I was in love, but I knew it could be better.

joy full 2

So, I painted it.

Then I hung it on a piece of wood that had been outside since we moved into our house almost 6 years ago. It’s nice and weathered.

I thought I would like the “JOY” to be horizontal, but the letters were taller than the board.

joy full 3

So, I went vertical.

And, I love it!

It hangs next to our fireplace year round.

joy year round

Last year I displayed it in our front entry as a Christmas vignette.

joy full 4

I also used it in our fall decor.

joy full 1

Today, I purchased LOVE and the star as they can also be  kept out year round. I hope to paint them and hang them on some more salvaged secondhand wood!

My mother-in-law arrives tomorrow night, so I am hoping that I can get some fun posts up while she is in town, and I might have some extra time for projects like this one!

{FYI…last year a lot of the stores ran out of stock on this item. Best bet is to check online and see if you can do an in-store pick up…they will hold it for you for 2 days!}

home is…{31 days} secondhand and created joy all year.

Join me while I link up with The Nester every day in October for #write31days.
Click here to find a list of all 31 posts as they are published.

annual playgroup christmas party

Can it really be only 9 sleeps until Christmas?!

This weekend we went to our annual playgroup Christmas party.

My friend Melissa hosts each year and it is always a fabulous success.

playgroup christmas 2

Her home is always beautifully decked for the holidays.

playgroup christmas 1

playgroup christmas 13

The past few years we have included the daddies which always makes it more fun!

playgroup christmas 3

playgroup christmas 4

playgroup christmas 7

playgroup christmas 8

playgroup christmas 9

As always, Santa makes a special stop at the party.

playgroup christmas 10

playgroup christmas 11

playgroup christmas 12

playgroup christmas 14

playgroup christmas 15

This year we took a group photo of Santa with the kids.

playgroup christmas 18

There were some tears…

playgroup christmas 19

a few escape artists…

playgroup christmas 20

but, we got *almost* all of the kids in the photo…without crying.

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I think there are SEVEN kids missing from this photo…

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and to think we started six years ago with one child each…

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and they weren’t even crawling!

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This last photo cracks me up beacuse the kids were told to raise their hand if they were good this year…notice the boy in the teal shirt (and his partner in playgroup crime) in the front row?! They are the ONLY kids NOT raising their hands!

playgroup christmas 5

She even had an adorable craft for the kids, but they were so busy playing that nobody did it…

playgroup christmas 6

Reece, however, knew there was a craft and wouldn’t leave until he had a chance to do it! So, we overstayed our welcome and did the craft. I love that my boy didn’t want to leave the party with out doing the craft!

playgroup christmas 17

We each bring something to eat and there is always plenty of food!

playgroup christmas 16

I neglected to get a good photo of my fruit plate garnish…a sprig of rosemary from our garden decorated with mini pom-poms and bakers twine! I was pretty happy with my last minute creativity!

I love this celebration every year.

home is…sharing traditions with friends.

’tis the season

tis the season

We’re kind of confusing holidays around here.

Thanksgiving is really my favorite holiday.

I love what it is about.

Being thankful.





However, there’s not much fun in the decorating.

I love to decorate for fall, but by the end of November I am ready for Christmas decor!

And, the kids get more excited about Christmas decorations and crafts than they do about turkeys.

So, a couple more days of confusing our holidays and then we will be in the full Christmas swing of things.

Of course, after we are thankful.

No matter what, we will be jolly.

home is…celebrating the season.


christmas unwrapped

I haven’t had the words to write lately.

I haven’t even taken as many photos as I would have liked, but I soaked up the holidays.









christmas program





Lorelai didn’t want to stand up on stage and sing with her classmates.






Reece was an “old pro” as a kindergartner. He nailed his lines, kept his costume on, and even sang a little bit!




santa at playgroup


Reece brought a handwritten note…


and necklaces that he made especially for Santa.



Lorelai was brave and sat in his lap and told him she wanted a princess watch and a sleeping bag.


After eating and drinking, we went caroling…a new favorite tradition!


our home








































And, just like that, it’s over.


Ryan and I decided that we need to have something to do on Christmas Day after the presents are opened.

We’re thinking of heading up to the mountain for some fun in the snow next year!

What do you do on Christmas Day?

home is…Christmas wrapped up.

simplifying christmas

We are blessed that the kids school teaches them the real meaning of Christmas. It’s just something I can’t teach them. Not that I don’t want to, I just don’t know the true story well enough.

I grew up going to church for Easter and Christmas, maybe.

Or, I would go with Honey and Pop-pop when they were taking care of us {again, very rarely}.

However, I married Ryan in Catholic church and vowed to teach my children about God…so I am. With help from Ryan and their wonderful teachers at school.

What I can teach them is that Christmas is not about presents.

It an experience.



The tree.






This year we are simplifying the gifts.

In the past, we have gone overboard. I buy gifts. Ryan buys gifts. We buy gifts from their aunts. They get gifts from Meme and Topher. They get gifts from Nana and Bops.




This year we are taking the money that my parents are sending and signing the kids up for swimming lessons, climbing camp, and gymnastics.

They received gifts from Nana and Bops that they will be able to open.

Beyond that {and a few small things in their stockings} they will receive four gifts.

{image from jones design company}

I have changed it up a bit and they will receive something to WEAR, something to READ, something for PLAY, and something they NEED.

I am hoping that something to wear, read, or need may also be something they want, so I changed “want” to something for PLAY.

Not only will it cut down on the “stuff” they get, but it has also cut down on my shopping.

I narrowed down the list and have stuck with it.

I am done…except for Lorelai’s “something for PLAY”.

She has so much, and has such a great imagination, that it has been hard to come up with something.

Of course, if I had been stealth and sewn the doll when she was sleeping or at school, I could have given her that  for her “something for PLAY”.

Any great ideas for a three year old girl?

Otherwise, I am able to spend the next couple of weeks crafting, driving around to look at Christmas lights, playing with friends and family, reading Christmas books, watching Christmas movies, coming up with more surprises from the elves {this may take another post…we don’t do elf on the shelf, but we surprise the kids with things, every once in a while, that the elves leave for them}, and enjoying the real magic, joy, and reason for the season.

home is…remembering what is important.

{our holiday home} sneak peek

When we get a sunny day {so my photos won’t be dark} I will take some photos of our home decorated for the holidays.

photo 1-1

Until then, here is a sneak peek…

photo 1

photo 1-2

My mom painted that bowl…isn’t it amazing? She needs to open an Etsy shop for all of her paintings, right?

photo 3

I haven’t been doing a traditional green and red christmas the last few years…just lots of color!

photo 4

I make ornaments for the family every year…this year it’s stamped salt dough!

photo 4-1

My little elf likes to help me decorate.

photo 3-2

Just subtle this year, but enough to make it feel like Christmas.

home is…merry and bright.


I’m not “beating myself up” for not getting this post up sooner, rather, I just would have liked to get it done the day my parents left.

The day I wrote it.

Just like I wish I had all the time {and energy} in the world to do everything I need AND everything I WANT to…everyday.

Life doesn’t work like that.

So, we make choices.

We make choices to let things that are important to us go so that we can do things to make other people happy.

We make choices to do things for ourselves and let other things go knowing that we might disappoint someone else. 



And, most important, forgiveness.

Moving on…better late than never.

the day before thanksgiving

Nine years ago, on the day before Thanksgiving, a very special dog came to live with us.

Oak was one of a kind.

She made everybody that she met feel like they were the most important person in the world, but I was her most important person.

She came to me at a very difficult time in my life.

After I had a miscarriage.

After I found out my mom had breast cancer.

After I walked in on a burglary in progress at our home.

We went everywhere together.

She even got to come to work with me when we moved to Oregon…sat right under my desk.

This year, on the day before Thanksgiving, I looked out the front window as I was talking to my mom.

I had spent the morning at the kids school and was trying to finish things up around the house before they came to visit. I had just gotten caught in a freak rain and hail storm while bringing wood into the garage for the fireplace. There was one clap of thunder and that was when I decided to head inside…I’m not a fan of thunderstorms.

As I looked out the window I saw a mud covered yellow lab running down the street. I told my mom I had to go get it and ran outside.

I called for the dog, but she didn’t hear me until I got right up behind her.

When she realized I was there she came running to me and just followed me home…running under the garage door as it opened.

She reminded me of Oak.

Sweet, happy, and older.


I dried her off, but she was too dirty to come inside. I took her water and gave her Odyssey’s dog bed.

She had a collar and tag, so I called and left a message.

Eventually, her owner called.

She asked if there had been thunder, and I said yes.

Kassi, as the dog was called, was afraid of thunder and would dig out of the yard to “get away from it”.

Oak was afraid of thunder, too. We would snuggle together during thunderstorms in Colorado.

In some way, Oak was giving me a little visit on the day before Thanksgiving.

It warmed my heart and made me smile.

and, finally, thanksgiving

{as written 10 days ago}

I dropped my parents off at the airport today.

The table that was filled for every meal the last 6 days is empty.

It’s quiet.

memories were made

As they are everyday, but there were special ones this week.

We celebrated our first Thanksgiving in our home.

We’ve been in this house for almost 5 years, but we’ve never celebrated Thanksgiving here. We were in Colorado last year and have been blessed enough to have wonderful friends and neighbors who have invited us to be a part of their family celebrations other years.

Each morning we woke up to a warm fire in the fireplace that Ryan had started before everybody woke up. Not sure if he just stayed up all night, or if he got up extra early. Either way, we all enjoyed waking up to the crackle and warmth it provided.

You see, we talked to my parents about converting our gas log kit back into a wood burning fireplace and thought it might be a project they could help us with.  Little did they know we had already hatched a plan with a neighbor who helped Ryan out in trade for our gas log set that he wanted to convert his wood burning fireplace to a gas fireplace. We had a chimney sweep come clean and check our fireplace and chimney, and the Friday before Thanksgiving week we had 3/4 cord of wood delivered. Lorelai and I spent most of the day filling our radio flyer wagon and stacking as many logs as we could before the downpour started here in Portland. I stacked almost 1/2 cord of wood to fill the log rack we bought, and left the rest for Ryan which he stacked in a steady rain on the Saturday before Thanksgiving in our unused dog run.

but i digress

We shared our own tree cutting tradition with my parents at Sleigh Bells in Sherwood.

oh christmas tree

The kids even got to “see” Santa, but were not yet ready to sit on his lap. We peeked around Christmas displays, but kept our distance from the man in red.

Our tree was up and decorated in record time with help from my parents and the kids. We actually put our “real” ornaments up this year…not the plastic and paper ones I used the last 4 years! Collected since we were married over 12 years ago…personalized…and, just like when I would decorate the tree with my mom, a story about where each one came from.

We made homemade pizza for dinner, drank wine, and enjoyed introducing my parents to Reece’s (and my) favorite, American Pickers.

Saturday morning, we took a trip to one of our favorite places for breakfast. Nothing fancy, but can you believe my parents have never eaten at Panera?! I know there is one within a couple blocks of my dad’s office because I used to go there when I worked in the same office 13 years ago! The kids love sitting by the big table next to the fireplace and for once I did not feel awkward taking up a large table for 8 because we actually had 6 to almost fill it! We split off into the “girl’s car” and the “boy’s car” to go the the craft store and the sporting goods store, respectively. That afternoon we got out of the house and caught another glimpse of Santa at Bridgeport Village. The kids, again, did not want to see him, but Ryan and Topher both made sure that they were not on Santa’s “naughty” list.


The unanimous decision was made to order takeout for dinner, so we had a cocktail at PF Changs while waiting for our lettuce wraps and lemon chicken to enjoy at home.

On Sunday, the boys went out to Sauvie Island and shared the Catlin family tradition of a Thanksgiving weekend duck hunt with Reece for the first time.


When they got home I asked Reece what he thought of going duck hunting with Poppa and Topher.


His reply was, “Best.”


I think he liked it.

Lorelai, Meme, and I spent the morning together creating gingerbread masterpieces, searching for the perfect princess nighties (for Lorelai), and trying a new recipe with some of the Thanksgiving leftovers.

post hunting nap

post hunting

The afternoon was spent relaxing by the fire, snuggled under quilts, watching football. Eventually we made a trip to Whole Foods to get more food and wine (like we needed it) and threw together another great meal of crab cakes, salmon, chicken satay, steak, and roasted vegetables.

Monday morning we raced to get the kids back into a regular routine. It is Reece’s turn to be Star of the Week, and although we had four days to prepare his Sharing Box and other information, we were pulling it all together before 8:30 on a Monday morning. The items were strongly focused on hunting, as the hunt from the day before was fresh in his mind.

While the kids were at school for a couple of hours, the adults ran some errands, got cleaned up, and turned the last of the leftovers into a delicious potato turkey soup that we all ate for lunch.

We had a great lunch together before Ryan had to leave to work in California for the week.

Tuesday was a very special day. We took lunch to Reece to be a part of his Star Week. We brought burgers from Burgerville and sat in the gym to eat with his class. He even saved a special scooter to ride around the gym with him. I could not keep up with those 5 years olds…they move fast!

sharing a shake

hoop walking




After lunch we were able to spend a few minutes in his class when I was able to read a letter that Ryan wrote about what we think is special about Reece, and Reece was able to introduce me, Lorelai, Meme, and Topher to the class.

red bike

After that excitement, we scooted to the car to drive Meme and Topher to the airport so they could get back to Colorado.

Hugs and kisses…and quiet.

Memories were made.

home is…thanksgiving with meme and topher.

feeling ducky, 7 random things, and a giveaway

I have 8 things to share with you…

1st…the weekend.

Last Sunday, we decided to have a fire in the backyard in the middle of the day.

It was about 40 degrees out.

We roasted hot dogs for lunch.

Snuggled under thrifted quilts.

Drank hot chocolate.

And, roasted marshmallows.

It was a perfect Sunday afternoon.

2nd…on a whim.

I decided to move the furniture in Lorelai’s room…again.

And, since I was moving the furniture around I decided to add a little vintage feel, too.

I’ll do a full post about her room in the future.

3rd…fabric is fun.

One of the best things about working at my old interior design job was the days when the fabric reps would visit. They would bring their fabric in, throw it on the table during their presentation, and we would pass it around oohing and ahhing.

I don’t get visits from fabric reps anymore, but I still ooh and ahh over fabric.

The last couple of days I have been filling hoops.

We have a big hoop wall in out un-dining room and I have rearranged and added to it thanks to Megan at Sparrow Mercantile. You should also visit her blog…Contented Sparrow.

Anyway, I filled some new hoops for Lorelai’s room and Reece asked if I would do some for his room.

Have you ever seen boy themed hoops? Me neither.

However, I had some fabrics that Reece had picked out on a few of our trips to the fabric store, and some that were left over when I made his {Colton} super hero doll last year.

So, I made him some super hoops…

4th…shiny and brite.

The kids are excited for Christmas.

When they are excited, I get excited.

I found these at Goodwill.

So, we started decking the halls…still being thankful, of course.

5th…crib sheets.

I used Lorelai’s old crib sheet for one of the hoops I made for her and decided to use the rest of it for another project.

I just cut strips of fabric (three crib sheets and a bunch of other fabrics that I had in my sewing hutch) about 2″ wide by 16-18″ long and looped them around a piece of jute. It took about 2 hours and I am so happy with the result.

I love that I was able to reuse her crib sheets to decorate her room!

6th…the un-dining room.

Getting a few things up on the wall.

A vintage metal tray with vintage flash cards (just added stick on magnets to the back of the cards).

A vintage seven-up crate filled with vintage juice glasses.

And the vintage tray above it was another great find from Sparrow Mercantile. It makes me laugh!

7th…vintage linens.

Filling hoops and decking the halls got me thinking about some vintage linens I had been holding onto for just the right project.

So, I filled some hoops with vintage christmas linens!

And, they are in the shop!

8th…a giveaway!

I would like to give one of you a happy holiday hoop!

To enter leave an answer to the question below as a comment:

When do you start decking the halls?

Deadline is Monday, November 19th at 9pm Pacific.

Winner will be announced on Tuesday, November 20th!

home is…always working on a project.