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Simple, Seasonal: The Happy Hostess

I spent the last weekend with my two sister-in-laws and both asked me for something a little different in terms of ideas they were looking for this holiday season.  One, for good hostess gifts that aren’t boring, but also aren’t crazy expensive.  One for some really simple, but impactful ideas for projects or decor DIYs. I decided that I would start a little holiday only column entitled, Simple, Seasonal.  It would be easy, go-to ideas to make this season a little less hectic.

First up on the list is a hostess gift that anyone throwing a soiree would love to receive – breakfast.  As they wake the day after their gala with dishes in the sink, and maybe a little headache, provide them with a little something to wash down with their morning coffee.

It doesn’t have to be hard.  These scones are Pumpkin Cranberry from a mix sold by Trader Joe’s but they still have a homemade texture. If you have a really great bakery in town, picking up some delicacies and wrapping them up nice is just as thoughtful.  Your happy hostess will be thinking of you the next morning and how thankful she is you are friends.

Have a LOVELY Thursday!


p.s. for the other sister-in-laws request for simple, easy decor projects, I have a few really fun ideas coming your way after my WEEK of giveaways next week (get excited for some awesome prizes!


Before & After: Holiday Pop-up Bar

There’s nothing quite like some of the sweet, spicy, rich drinks that lure us through the holiday season and definitely put some of the ‘fest’ in festive.  If you don’t have a bar area in your home, but are entertaining this holiday, don’t feel underwhelmed and set up a quick watering hole of your own.

In my house, the kitchen is a little tight and rooms are closed off (no open concept here).  To help prevent bottlenecks in the kitchen, I move the bar into another room to help keep people moving around and mingling. All you need is a couple of Command hooks and some garland to define the perfect space to wet your whistle during all of that carolling (wait, you don’t carol?)

I showed this pop up bar that I’d created in my Holiday Style Challenge post for The Home Depot and got a lot of feedback about where in my house this gem was located.  Don’t be afraid to make some moves in your house for the holidays, and think of creative ways to get people moving and mingling.


Now, how about that drink, shall we?

Have a SPLENDID Wednesday!




To and From: For Holiday Giving

Gift giving just got easier.  This holiday season Katie Anderson of Modern Eve and Meg Biram of MegBiram.com put their lovely little heads together to come up with an entire magazine dedicated to gift giving called To & From.  I put in my two cents for when you’re buying gifts for the entertainers in your life, but there are 138 other pages of gift guides for moms, dads, tweens, babies, friends, travelers, cooks, and more.  Some of my favorite bloggers chipped in with their suggestions and another one of my faves even shows a good handmade gift idea (and you know I love those).

Here is a sneak peak at my page, but hop on over to To and From Magazine to see the links, read about my favorite Christmas tradition and get ideas for every single person on your list.

Whats more, the duo is planning multiple issues of this mag throughout the year with gifts for every season (mothers day, valentines day, birthdays, etc).  How sweet is that?

Have a Happy Tuesday!!


Holiday 2012: Color Direction

It’s that time!  I’ve been waiting for it, and it’s finally here – Holiday decorating time! I spoke last year about decorating ‘themes’ and although I don’t like a lot of kitsch, I do think that establishing a theme helps maintain focus when overwhelmed with possibilities.  In the past few years, I’ve taken a rustic, woodland approach and although this year, I’m not making a big departure from that theme, I do have a swing in my color choices.

My theme (if you will) this year is Woodsy Gilded White.  I want to use a lot of white, but not in a fancy way.  The theme will utilize textures like felt, fur, and birch to create layers of cream and white and the ‘gild’ will come in the form of rich browns and metallics.

The whole look will be grounded with woodgrain and green (the tree) to keep it from getting to formal or serious.  Gifts wrapped simply in solid colors will further reinforce the color scheme.

I’m so excited to share my projects that support Woodsy Gilded White over the next few weeks.  I’ll have a mixture of hands-on projects, really simple style (that anyone can do), and some tips, treats, and ideas for a perfect holiday!  Get excited!

Now, how’s that for a happy Monday?


Friday Faves 11.23

ONE Sydney Hale Co candles strike the perfect balance of good product and appealing packaging.  I love the classic, minimal label. $28; TWO after yesterday, you’ll want to write down all of those recipes.  Rifle Paper Co. hanging garden cards are $12 for a set of 12. (Hint: Give the written recipes back to family for Christmas).  THREE just popped in for a quick hello!  Hello pillow cover is $38 from Society Social; FOUR I love the simplicity of these canisters from West Elm.  Keep, Contain, Store range from $19-$39. FIVE personalized, but not in a cheesy way, this ‘casual poet’ tote from Ecolution is perfect for hauling around hostess gifts this season and your laptop the rest of the year; $155.


I barely survived my turkey coma last night and now I’m heading into work!  Although I wish I could take some more time to relax, I need to jump back in the game if I want to work off the mountain of food I ate yesterday.

I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful and filled with friends, family, and lot and lots of food!


Have a FABULOUS holiday weekend!


Splurge and Save: Graphic Rug

I know many of you have seen this rug before.  If you’ve been around House of Earnest for a while, you’ve even seen it in my own kitchen.  It’s both easy and hard to make the decision to splurge or save when it comes to a rug.  One one hand, a good rug that is well woven with quality, natural materials is worth its weight.  Good rugs clean well, tend to be heavier, stay in place, and not warp or wear harshly over time.

On the other hand, rugs are just so damn expensive that choosing to save is sometimes an easy move.

So this morning I ask you… Do you splurge?  Or save?

Madeline Weinrib Black and White Buche Flatweave Rug | Ikea Stockholm Rand Flatwoven Rug


DIY faux ceramic wine collar

Wine gets a bad rep for being boring as a hostess gift.  I, for one, will stand up for wine and say that I LOVE receiving it as a gift.  For those of your friends or family who really love wine and a unique bottle would make their day, go ahead with the wine, I say!

But… Make it special. Put a little thought into the presentation with the handmade faux ceramic ‘cheers’ tag for the bottle.  This one took about 5 minutes to make, then 30 minutes to bake (in an oven) so there is no excuse not to flourish the gift with a little trinket.

I know we all have plenty of parties headed our way over the next few weeks, so make a bunch of these in one sitting, then adorn away.

Keep reading for the full step-by-step instructions!

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Minted Holiday Jackpot (sneak preview)!

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to my holiday cards since Christmas is right around the corner.  I loved my cards from last year that I made myself, but I needed something a lot less time-consuming for this go-around.

Enter minted. They’ve got fun, understated, modern designs and good quality, heavy weight paper.  I was looking around the holiday cards on their site and am totally smitten with a few different designs. The last design is really where I’m leaning (with the little photo message back and kraft envelope), but I’m still just a little on the fence… if there ever were a four way fence.

The jackpot part – the people over at minted wanted to collaborate with House of Earnest on our holiday cards, but we’re going to forward on the gift and give it to YOU.

That’s right.  One of you will get complimentary holiday cards from minted!!! Are you jumping out of your seat yet?

Here is the deal.  In two weeks from today, I’ll have a full WEEK’S worth of give-a-ways here on House of Earnest, with Friday, December 7th being the grand finale – the day of the minted give-a-way. Between now and then, I’d like you to hop on the minted website and design your own card. You can save your design and when Friday, December 7th gets here, we’ll have you share your design for the chance to win your holiday cards for free!


Do you like that surprise this Monday?  I thought you would!


cards shown above: Casual Chalkboard  |  Bundled Tight  |  Our Home to Yours  |  Merry Christmas Foliage


Friday Faves 11.16

Today is a special day because I’m posting eight of my faves for holiday entertaining over on The Girls of Lincoln Park!  The remaining four picks as well as all pricing and sources are over there, so check it out!


Later today, I’m heading to Lexington, Kentucky to meet up with a couple of friends who are driving up from Nashville.  We decided a half-way meet up would make for a nice visit, and a cozy boutique inn (sourced by my dear friend, Lacey) will make for an all around perfect weekend! I’m taking my camera so I can share some of the highlights with you next week.  Be sure to follow on @houseofearnest on instagram or twitter for live pics!

Have a great weekend, ya’ll! (I’m channeling my inner southerner already)


Marigold Shibori Tablecloth

I’ve been a fan of washed linen since who-knows-when, and the thought of a washed linen tablecloth sounds so casual, but luxe.  With all of the dip dye, tye dye, and shibori going around, I wanted to give a subtle color to my linens that would add dimension to my table without being distracting. I wanted to use a warm marigold color to give all my other moody browns a greens a little lift.

It was much much easier than I had built it up in my mind to be.  The longest part was washing the linen pre and post dyeing. Keep reading below if you’re interested in the step by step directions!

If you need more holiday dining room style in your life, today my Christmas dining room is being featured on Home Depot’s Style Challenge!  Go see it!


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