Oh boy, am I excited about today's post!!  I had this idea months ago, and I am so happy to have brought it to fruition, and I am even more happy to finally share it with you! The story begins on a trip this past summer to see a good friend of mine who lives in Northern California.  She took me to the most amazing restaurant in St. Helena called French Blue.  (I wrote about it here)  The food was amazing, but I was completely swept away by the decor.  It was light and bright and organic feeling, and at the time, we were just finishing the 300 square foot addition off of our kitchen that had a similar feel as far as natural light and lots of windows.  I fell in love with these shelves, and it is hard to tell from this photo, but they are made of an iron grid material. Shortly after I returned home from this trip, I emailed French Blue and asked about the shelves.  I wondered, "Could I order them?"   The reply was swift and disappointing, as everything was made on site specifically for French Blue.  Super kind of them to respond back to me though, right?   I thought I could order the iron material, but after a little research, even that was a little out of my price range.  Since I had splurged on lighting (see here and here) more than planned (totally worth it by the way), I knew I needed to make this happen on the cheap. And then, my friends, the DIY stars aligned, and I found two eight foot pieces of iron in a local salvage yard for $30.  It was a complete surprise, as I was looking for something totally different.

Side Note:  My husband, when previewing this post, called the above photo "Inspiration" and the below photo, "Desperation", ha! Now to most people, these pieces probably look like bad locker room shelves, but I knew they could make shelves just as amazing as the ones at French Blue.  The problem was the sizing.  They were 24" wide, and I needed them to be cut down to 12"; therefore, cut in half.  (The two pieces would make four shelves, which was what I was wanting.)   I also needed them to be six feet long, instead of eight feet long.  And because of all the cuts, the iron would probably need some extra strips of bracing.  Now I'm pretty handy, but welding, I cannot do.  Lucky for me, there was a guy that worked at the salvage yard that told me he could do all of this for $40.  Done and done. A couple of weeks later, I went to pick them up, and that's where the fun began.  Painting these babies.

Stringing cranberries for Christmas trees is a tradition that probably began back in the 1840's with the earliest Americans who decorated their trees with fruits, nuts, and candies.  I prefer a simply decorated tree - some white lights and some sentimental ornaments are all I really want or need.  This year, I thought it would be fun to sit down with the kids, listen to Christmas music, and celebrate traditions past by making our own cranberry garland. Here's how we did it...

DIY Holiday Hostess Gift

(this is a fun little gift for friends, too!)

With the Christmas season upon us, many of you are heading to holiday parties and get-togethers with friends.  With so many things to do (so many, right?!), it is easy to forget a little gift for your hostess.  Clearly, no hostess is expecting a gift, but it is nice to be able to bring a little something to say thank you for all of the work she has undoubtedly put into the gathering. My advice is to put together a little batch of these gifts to make it easy on yourself to grab and go.  The premise is very simple - cute napkins, ribbon, a few decorations, a little stamping - done.  These napkin gifties take minutes to put together, and are easy on your pocket.  (LESS THAN $10!!) Here's how to make them...