I never knew the emotional connection I had to all the familiar things I see from year to year or day to day until I took a few pictures in my yard and displayed these pictures in my home.  Spring is a great time to capture pictures of beautiful blooms right in your very own yard.  I know it is early spring and there may not be much to take pictures of yet, but I want you to ready your cameras and keep an eye out for new blooms and also wait and watch for flowers to reach full bloom.  I am always taking pictures in my yard.  I just can’t help myself.  I will even stand there and think “you know you took pictures last year” and then go ahead and snap some more.  After you have taken some great shots blow them up, print them out, frame them up and  put them in your home.  You will be amazed at the connection you make to these pictures and the enjoyment you will get from looking at them.

These are some beautiful big peonies that we planted.  I remember when, where and from whom we bought them.  The local garden club sponsored the sale and it was held at the beautiful farm/estate of a neighbors.  One of the ladies in the garden club had dug them up out of her yard.  I can’t remember what I paid but it was a deal. Early Bird Gets the Worm kind of thing. We were early birds.   Every time I look at this picture I am reminded of that fun day.

I was so excited when I found these frames.  They are so unique.  I like the casualness of just clipping the photo a little askew in the shadow box type frame.  The clips on these frames make it easy to change pictures whenever you want.  I haven’t changed them though.  I’m surprised how attached I get to photo’s.  There is a delightful “ah ha” moment when a friend or family member realizes that they are looking at a picture of something they have seen in our yard. 

The statue you see is my favorite birdbath.  Surrounded by beautiful plantings chosen by my husband, the resident gardener.  I also am reminded of whom we got this from and all the places we have used it.  When taking pictures be sure to include items that you love like a tried and true container or urn that you use from year to year.  This item will tie  the location where the picture was taken in with the beautiful plants.  

Of course here in the South we love our hydrangeas.  They come in many varieties and I love them all.  I have taken tons of pictures of them and am so glad to put some of  those pictures to good use.  This picture is actually of a chinese snowball bush (viburnum) which has a similar bloom to a hydrangea.

One of the most beautiful things in my yard is this peach tree.  The bright pink blooms just put a song in my heart.  Bringing this beauty into my bedroom year round was a wonderful idea.    Just a few days after I took these photos the blooms began to turn brown so be watchful.  Timing is everything with these blooms.  Thankfully newer digital cameras make it easy now to take quality photos. 

I chose these beautiful silver leaf frames to honor my peach blossoms.  They compliment the  silver leaf mirror that hangs over my Henrendon dresser which has silver drawer pulls.  The wall is painted with Valspar Paint. The color is 5006-8A Swim.  A beautiful color that I think I will never tire of.  Combined with this wall color the pink blossoms just pop out of the frames.

I hope you will try this little DIY home enhancement activity.   It is an inexpensive and personal way to add art to your home.  Truthfully I had never been a big fan of adding photographic art to my personal surroundings until I took these pictures of things in my own yard and framed them.  And now you can tell I am a really big fan.  I have also added some professional photographic art to my home.

Now it’s your turn.  Go ahead and get out in your yard.  Just don’t forget your camera!  –  Marianne

Footnote: If you read this earlier and notice some changes you can thank my resident gardener.  He gently reminded me that the tree in the backyard was a peach and not a cherry.  We even had tiny fruit last year.  How could I forget that?  He also let me know the picture with the big white blooms was of our Chinese snowball bush not our hydrangea.  This is why he plants them and I just take pictures and enjoy them.

I can’t believe my order came in two days!  It’s actually funny how excited I have gotten over this.  I’m talking Christmas and Birthday worthy excitement.   I’ve always said that it is the little things for me.  How cute is the sticker that greets you on the outside of the box? You just want to smile.  Nice touch.

Contents revealed. Certificate, book and a pack of goodies.  The enclosed book by Laurie Wisbrun did not disappoint.  All cylinders in my brain were firing as I thumbed through it. Real instructions, real information and tips, a great resource.  I feel empowered to give it a try.
The goodies included a swatch book, a doodle notebook, quick start instructions and more.
Samples of printed fabric, wall decals, and wallpaper.
Another nice touch, the box was securely mailed in this 100% biodegradable mailer.  There was even a second sticky strip you could pull the covering from and reuse the packaging before you recycled or trashed it.  It is really great to see a company taking extra steps to be responsible.
Goodness Awaits You from Spoonflower.  – Marianne

Have you ever had trouble finding the right fabric in the right color in a print you like and then thought, “hey I should just design it myself”.  Well I have been there on more than one occasion.  If you have ever wanted to try your hand at fabric designing then I have a resource for you.  There is a company called Spoonflower based right here in North Carolina that allows you to do just that.  I ordered the starter kit today that includes several goodies and a book about designing fabrics.  I am really excited about giving it a try.  You do not have to purchase the kit to get started but I want to learn as much as I can about it.  I’ll be sure to update you on my adventures in fabric designing after I receive my kit and learn the basics.  What should be my first attempt?  I am sure it will be colorful.

I first heard about the company back in 2009 when I read an article in the Greensboro News and Record.  The above picture is of the article I kept.  Am I the only one who holds onto stuff like this?  Back in 2009 I did check out the website and created an account with the thought of trying it out.  The whole concept behind Spoonflower is to allow you to print custom fabric, wallpaper, and wall decals on-demand.  You simply upload your design.  No minimum order amount.  Fabrics start at $15.75 a yard.  You can purchase a sample swatch of your fabric for $5.00.  Can anyone say affordable?

Over time I have enjoyed seeing the designs of others and seeing the weekly contest that they have.  Members can vote on the design that they would like to win and after a period of time Spoonflower announces a winner.  Well, here I am over three years later finally getting around to giving it a try. 

If designing your own fabric seems a little adventurous don’t fret.  You can purchase already designed fabrics from their site.  There is a wide variety of designs and styles.  If you are a quilter or crafter you will go crazy over all the options that are available.

Click on the link below to check out their website.  That is if you have resisted all the other links before it. 

I almost forgot to tell you.  They have a great blog that features fabrics, projects and give aways.  You might want to check that out too.  Now go and have fun with fabrics.  You know how I am wild about fabrics.  – Marianne




These little critters are so easy to do and nothing seems to amaze kids more than making something out of their thumbprint or handprint. I did this craft with my granddaughter when she was in kindergarten. It celebrated her new found skills and love for reading and writing and my joy of assisting her in anything creative. We decided to make book marks for all of her classmates and of course for all the loved ones in her life.

I have a few work spaces I like. The island in my kitchen is a definite favorite. Depending on how messy the job is I will either use an old plastic place mat or cheap vinyl table cloth to protect my counters.  For this project all you need is a black ink pad, some google eyes, adhesive, and a black marker. The adhesive I used was purchased from creative memories. It is like a pen with glue in it so you can put glue on small objects accurately.


I love these chubby little fingers hard at work. I used her thumb for all the prints, drew some examples from a few and then let her have at it.

EASY, FUN, and PERSONAL. Should I say Spooktackular. Happy crafting.














Yes, creativity is a messy business.  And this mess makes me extremely happy.  This is the toolbox and planning sheets of a extraordinary floral designer and friend, Jim Gardner, who was responsible for the flowers in the September Wedding post. I know it may look like chaos to most people but I see it as a peek into how a creative mind works.

It takes more flowers then you would think and they all have to be prepped.  My kitchen was turned into flower central. The smell was amazing! It may surprise you that it actually takes more than one day to put together arrangements, bouquets, and corsages for an event.  Flowers come in with tight heads and then continue to open over time which allows you to work over a few days.



Eventually we see some progress and can check arrangements off our list but the flowers are now overflowing to the dining room.







We were exhausted when it was all over with but the results could not have been more perfect thanks to my very talented friend.


Jim Gardner of Jim Gardner Designs & Marianne Millikan Living With Color Designs