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Fall, puppies & peace

Oh y’all…oh oh y’all.  We have two new puppies.  And two HAPPY little boys.

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Working from home is suddenly not as peaceful.  Pray for me and my attitude about these puppies. I know boys need puppies so here we go . . . While I am dealing with the puppy chaos, and dreaming of our North Carolina mountain trip in two weeks, I am going to repost this fall West Elm post from last year.  West Elm sponosored this great “Gather Around the Table” last year and it was fun to style with some of their goodies…and yes these photos do make me miss my old backporch just a bit.

Last but not least the “Gospel is Peace” sign pics are for you my dear friend Hadley;…remember you can get these great signs from my friend Lindsey Letters…I have been getting some emails about them and all you need to do is visit her great site!

Happy Tuesday! (and I can’t help but thinks what these puppies might do to this tablescape given a chance!)


I am so excited to be a part of the Gather Around The Table campaign being sponsored by West Elm.  They have asked bloggers to talk about their traditions and favorite things about the holidays and share how they incoprorate some of their products with those traditions and ideas. I visited the West Elm Market store in Brooklyn in the Spring and was so impressed with the store and products.


In South Texas, we often have warm weather off and on throughout the fall so dining on our porch is a wonderful tradition this time of year.


We are finally getting a break from the heat down here and its a great time for my family to enjoy this space in our home.


I also love using heirloom pumpkins in my fall decorating every year as well as my favorite Spode dishes. And every fall and winter we love to gather items from our family land for decorations whether its leaves, Christmas trees or berries.  I love your using things from nature in our decorations and going out in the nice weather to hunt for the best of nature’s bounty. My hubs might have even snapped photo of me driving our “mule” to gather leaves for this project.  Honestly, not something I do too often (are you shocked); Maybe I will share it on the next post or instagram, but for now let’s keep moving with the good stuff;


So along with the leaves and pumpkins, I decided to use Shanna Murray plates from the West Elm collection with my Spode plates.  I like the idea of using something traditional, something we always use, with a fresh new accent from a more modern store like West Elm and West Elm Market.  In case you don’t know, West Elm is the hip cousin of Pottery Barn; Or at least that is how I see it…their products are bit younger and more modern…but they mix well with many things. AND I love that they support and feature a lot of etsy artists including Shanna Murray. I was so pleased to see these Shanna Murray plates (and coasters) in their collection and her cute teal towel in the West Elm Market.  I have been following her work for years!


The napkins are also from West Elm’s fall collection, I love the red stitching. My mom often used cloth napkins when I was growing up and I love doing the same.  Not every night I admit but often.  And these have a casual enough feel they work with my pine table.


 Speaking of pine tables, I have rustic farmhouse tables both outside and in our dining room.  I love the patina and finish of the wood so I rarely if ever use tablecloths or even runners, these plaid blankets from the Brown Shed worked great to add some warmth to this table but not totally cover my beloved pine.


These old tables are a part of our family traditions as well as daily life. I love that my kids are using old items daily and are engraining a sense of history into their “growing up”memories and traditions.


I am also adore how the Shanna Murry plates and West Elm napkins are working with my other fall decorations I already had like my burlap banners and also my new Lindsay Letters canvas. I love to change it all a bit each time so it’s great it all mixes well.


 My new canvas is really for Christmas, its a verse from Silent Night, but I think words are perfect for fall and Thanksgiving too..being grateful for those we love and gather with to count our blessing and remember what is truly important. It used to annoy me how the seasons mingled this time of year.  More and more I am okay with it as I understand the joys of fall and gratefulness and how that all CAN and SHOULD mingle with the coming celebrations that are the core of our faith and our family.


 I will be back to share a few more of the fall touches on the porch…and later in season I will share another festive table setting.


 Thanks again to West Elm for sponsoring today’s discussion on fall decor and traditions.  What is your  favorite tradition or thing to use in decorating this time of year?

The Fine Art of Family

Some of you may recall a series of posts I did last year on decorating with photographs and family items.  I was pregnant at the time and pretty emotional about the topic, I think I droned on and on about how this could be done in a tasteful way and why it is important.  I asked others designers and bloggers their thoughts and really tried to capture this topic.  I don’t know if I even scratched the surface but I have found a source.  Monica Rich Kosann.  She “gets it” and more. She is an amazing fine art portrait photographer, jewelry designer and CURATOR of family memories!  She has been blessed with an amazing talent in this area. When I heard about her new book, Living With What You Love, I knew I had to discuss here on the blog.  I love this topic so much and Monica has put together an amazing source on this subject. She has captured the importance and beauty of living with the things we love whether they be family photos or collections. 

 I love what Monica, pictured above with a huge photo canvas,  says in the forward of her book:

The fine art of family is far more than taking photographs and hanging them on the wall, or finding the right place for an old heirloom. Each of us has the power to transform our personal living space into an area where family memories are kept alive, where we pay respect to our values and accomplishments, express our tastes, communicate our enthusiasms, and create memories and experiences that friends, relatives, and children will forever associate with the place we call home. 

Wow. This is powerful.  So not only is this a beautiful book, like everything Monica creates, but it also has heart and soul.  And I love that.  And it’s not just about photographs and heirlooms she also covers ideas for display in public spaces, stairwells and intimate spaces like closets and tablescapes. 

This book is comprehensive and a great source for designers as well as homeowners and photography and antique lovers.  As fans of her jewelry and home items at Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus know, Monica  is a skilled artisan at mixing photos and heirlooms to create unique pieces…you see this in the book and more. Where else can you find one volume that will give so many display ideas on groupings, types of frames and more?!

For instance, the book shows Monica’s office in her own home [pictured below].  She had this cork applied like wallpaper.  We visited recently and I asked her about sticking pins through the cork into the sheetrock. She said “yes it’s a commitment” so this isn’t a temporary treatment but it is very cool.

So if you are like me and love photography, antiques and collections, you must check out this new book and also Monica’s website,, it is full of inspiration and beauty for the everyday. And I’m hoping we can twist her arm and get her to show us more nooks and crannies of her lovely home in the looks amazing! Just like Monica and her artist’s eye.

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