Hello, friends and a belated happy New Year to you! After unexpectedly taking an extra week off last week, I’m here. I’m in the saddle. My coffee cup is large and it is full to the brim and I am so excited to see where this year goes. While it has been quiet on the blog front so far this year, behind the scenes the wheels are already spinning. I’m pretty sure this year will be one for the record books! We have a new little baby (of course), my sister is getting married (plus I’m in two other weddings as well), I’m already lining up some amazing partnerships, and I’m most likely looking at speaking at two different conferences. And it’s only the second week of the year. Wild! Before all of that gets underway and the year starts running away from us (as they always seem to do), I wanted to take a quick moment to look back on 2015 and share a little bit about what’s to come in 2016. (I personally love reading this type of post!) We’re talking goals and plans and dreams, both personal and professional. Let’s do this!
If I wax poetic right now about how I can’t believe that we’re in the final hours of 2015, I’d be about the one millionth blogger to do so. Regardless, this is me officially proclaiming that I can’t believe that 2015 is just about a wrap. I’m still marveling over all the huge, crazy things that happened this year (like this one) and I’ll definitely be reflecting more on the year that was in the coming days. In the meantime, I thought I’d share a little recap of the top 15 posts of 2015! This is a semi-scientific round-up of your favorite posts of the year, presented in no particular order. Any other favorites not on the list? Fill me in! I’m brainstorming for 2016 and I’d love to know what you loved this year!
This post was sponsored by Valspar. Thank you for supporting the
sponsors that help make The Sweetest Occasion possible!
The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is always one where I start thinking about the year ahead. I think that’s a pretty natural tendency for a lot of us following the craze of the holiday season. To start mulling over resolutions, setting goals, wanting to get organized and in general seeking a sense of renewal as a new year kicks off. As we prepared for the baby’s arrival, I was a flurry of nesting and organizing and decorating, but I definitely have a handful of projects I’ll be tackling early in the year. Today I wanted to share some of our progress around the house since moving late summer with a mini home tour. I’m also sharing three easy tips for choosing a paint color palette for your entire home! I know choosing paint colors can be a really daunting task for some people so hopefully this will give you a few ideas for making the process easier as well as give you the inside scoop on some of my current favorite paint colors! You know by now that I’ve become a total Valspar junkie so all of these rooms were painted with Valspar Optimus, available at Ace Hardware, which is hands down my favorite paint formula.
Choose a Neutral Base
I love using one great neutral for all of the main rooms throughout a home. Think gray, taupe, ivory or beige. As a rule, using a single shade throughout most of your public rooms allows for great flow and creates an open, airy feel versus visually chopping up your house with different colors every time you move from room to room. My favorite gray shade at the moment is Modern Gray 25-1B by Valspar, available at Ace Hardware. It’s an amazing mid-tone gray shade that doesn’t read too cool (blue or purple) or too warm (yellow or brown.) We’ve used it throughout our living room, entry, dining room and hallways, and paired with the tall ceilings and white trim it’s just stunning.
Once I have my neutral selected for all of the main rooms in our house, my next step is to add a bit of interest to our overall paint color palette with soft, subtle shifts in color. In our current home, our kitchen is located at the back of the house and you can see a peek of it from both the dining and living rooms. I loved the idea of changing up the color in that room, but I still wanted something light and airy to keep everything feeling really wide open so I chose Cool Mint VR079D also available at Ace Hardware. The hint of watery blue is gorgeous with the gray in the other rooms. Likewise, upstairs in the nursery (which I’ll be sharing a full, super detailed tour of soon), I went with another neutral, but this time I went a bit darker and a bit warmer with Moon Shot VR095D. It’s a really lovely warm gray that provided the perfect backdrop for all the bright colors I wanted to work into our little girl’s room while at the same time not overwhelming the tiny little room.
Take a Risk
After preaching about neutrals and how they’re my favorite (I love how they allow you to work so much pattern and texture into a room without things getting too crazy), my final piece of advice is to shake things up and take a risk! Usually I like to do this in a bedroom or a tiny little bathroom or some other room where it’s completely unexpected. In this house, that place is our master bedroom where we went with Sooty Lashes VR115A from Valspar’s Color Trends 2016 palette. Hands down, this is one of my favorite paint colors of all time and I’m so glad we took the risk in going dark. I always love dark bedrooms in theory, but I tend to stick to something soft and light. (Remember our last master bedroom?) This color is dark, moody and inky, reading blue, teal or gray depending on the time of day. Our room is really large and paired with our existing white bedding and black rug along with the blonde hardwood floors, the final look is killer. When in doubt, take a risk! Chances are you’ll love it, but if you don’t it’s easy enough to switch things up and start over, which is the beauty of paint as a design tool.
[Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]
Dining Room – Paint color is Modern Gray 25-1B by Valspar, available at Ace Hardware | China cabinet from IKEA | Rug c/o FLOR | Table from Pier 1 Imports (10+ years ago) | Buffet is vintage | Chairs found on Craigslist | Curtains from IKEA | Large yellow art print c/o Minted | Pineapple print by Ez Pudewa | DIY gold leaf frame
Nursery – Paint color is Moon Shot VR095D by Valspar, available at Ace Hardware | Crib from IKEA | Crib skirt + blanket c/o Land of Nod | ‘E’ pillow c/o Land of Nod | Rug c/o RugsUSA | Crib sheet + wooden toy crate from Target | Pouf from Amazon
Master Bedroom – Paint color is Sooty Lashes VR115A by Valspar, available at Ace Hardware | Bedding by West Elm | Jewelry stand from Target | Art print by Paul Lee | Throw pillows + basket from Target | Rug from RugsUSA | Lamps from Christmas Tree Shops | Nightstands from this IKEA Rast hack tutorial
If you’re still looking for a few pretty ideas for decking the halls, I have one last holiday DIY idea to share with you today! And in the spirit of all things last minute, we’re keeping this one appropriately simple. It’s the sweetest little rosemary wreath garland made with tiny little embroidery hoops and it’s seriously adorable to boot. You could also nix the garland and use these little wreaths as ornaments, too! So so pretty, don’t you think?
- Mini embroidery hoops
- Twine, string or ribbon
- Fresh rosemary
- Scissors and/or floral snips
- Floral wire
Begin by separating the two pieces of your embroidery hoops. For our purposes we will only need to smaller, inner hoop without the clamps. Then cut several lengths of floral wire about 3″ in length to have ready as you work. For each wreath you’ll want approximately 5 or 6 sprigs of fresh rosemary. Begin with the first sprig, twisting a piece of floral wire tightly around the stem to secure it to your embroidery hoop. Gently bend the rosemary around the hoop, securing it with floral wire every inch or two as you work. When it comes time to add the second piece of rosemary, be sure the stem is tucked underneath the first piece so it overlaps to give it the most wreath-like look. Continue working in this fashion until the hoop is covered, then snip off the excess ends of floral wire.
At this point you could add a simple loop of twine or ribbon and you’ll have some really cute ornaments! Or you can take it one step further and make a cute little garland like mine. To do so I cut a long length of red twine about six feet long, then folded it in half to find the middle. Thread the twine through your first wreath so that it rests right at the middle point of your garland, looping and knotting the twine to hold the wreath in place. Then work outward in either direction, spacing the wreaths evenly as you go.
And there you have it, friends! One very festive little Christmas garland that’s really a cinch to make. Also, if you haven’t noticed, I’m kind of a junkie when it comes to Christmas DIY ideas. You can check out all of my holiday DIY tutorials and follow along over on Instagram with the hashtag #thesweetestholidays!
[Art direction + styling by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]
The fine print: Please link with love! As with all of our posts, DIY projects featured on The Sweetest Occasion may not be copied, distributed or reproduced without express written permission. Love and links are always appreciated! If you’d like to share a maximum of 1 – 2 images from this post, please link to this post directly for the DIY tutorial and do not include the instructions in your own post. Thanks so much! xoxo
This post was sponsored by The Glad Products Company. Thank you for supporting
the sponsors that help make The Sweetest Occasion possible!
Over the last few years, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about ways to give back as a family during the holidays, but this year we really wanted to take it up a notch. I’m not sure exactly why, but for some reason knowing that we’d have a new little baby joining us just in time for the holiday season (one still too young to care about material things or fancy gifts) really made us start talking about how we could focus less on gifts and more on giving back this year. We had already decided to cut way back on the number of gifts we purchased this year (have you heard of the Four Christmas Gift Challenge?) and we also wanted to make a point to donate coats to a family in need. So when the folks at Glad reached out to see if I’d be interested in teaming up with them this holiday season for their Glad to Give campaign, it was a done deal! Together we teamed up to host a fun cookie swap where we also donated a bunch of coats to One Warm Coat, an organization committed to providing coats to those in need. I have been so excited about this and couldn’t wait to help spread a little extra love this year!
If you’re hosting holiday festivities this week or next for the New Year, the idea here is simple! You can invite guests to bring along their favorite homemade cookies and a coat to donate, then enjoy cookies, hot cocoa and a splash of champagne while sharing a bit of holiday cheer. To make it feel extra festive and fun I borrowed this clothing rack from our laundry room and decked it out in garland and twinkle lights to hang up the coats before later bagging them up in a Glad bag and scheduling a pick up. Your coats don’t need to be brand new either! Gently used coats will work just as well to help keep someone nice and warm this winter. You can visit One Warm Coat to get more details or make arrangements for a donation!
While we were at it, we made a few cookie care packages, too! Using festive green GladWare containers and a whole bunch of pretty gold ribbons, labels, stickers and bows, it’s super simple to create bundles of cookies that guests can take home at the end of the night. Or take it one step further and invite guests to join you in creating cookie packs to give to those who could use a little something sweet this holiday season. As a kid, we would go caroling at a local nursing home and we always brought little boxes of cookies along for the residents. I love the idea of doing the same thing with Glad’s awesome reusable GladWare food storage containers to help spread a little joy! You’d be surprised how much a simple package of cookies can really transform someone’s holiday!
For more ways to give this holiday season, be sure to follow Glad on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and keep tabs on the #GladtoGive hashtag to see how others are getting in on the action! And tell me, how are you giving back this holiday season? This is something we’re becoming really passionate about in our family and want to do more of, so I’d love to know what inspires you and how you get involved!
[Art direction + styling by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]