Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How to Make Architectural Letters

Sometime last spring I was busy working on a few holiday DIY tutorials for How fun to finally be able to share these projects with you! Even earlier, when working on the Master Bedroom Redesign, I had such a great time making the "M" and "I" Architectural Letters for the art wall that I thought this could become a fun holiday project as well, using letters to spell a word fitting of the season.

Here are the steps to create your couldn't be more easy!
{paper mache letters available at JoAnn Fabrics}

Materials Needed:

  • paper mache letters
  • tinted primer
  • silver metallic paint
  • rust-colored acrylic paint
  • foam and bristle brushes
  • rag

Gather Supplies

Select letters, gather paint, brushes and rag.

Apply Primer

Brush a layer of primer over letter surfaces, leaving noticeable brush strokes in varying directions. Let dry to the touch.

Apply Metallic Paint

Brush a layer of metallic paint over letter surfaces, leaving noticeable brush strokes in varying directions.

Wipe Letters

Wipe away excess metallic paint with rag.

Add Rust Accents

Mix or use rust-colored paint to brush highlights over letter edges and any rough or raised areas.

Wipe Letters

Wipe away excess rust-colored paint.

Apply Second Coat of Metallic Paint

Brush on second layer of metallic paint to diffuse rust accents.

Rub In and Wipe Away

Using rag, rub in metallic paint and wipe away any excess.

Display the Letters

Spell out the season's greetings on a table, mantel or location of your choice to spread a little holiday joy.

To see this and other holiday decorating ideas, visit

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Are You Making Progress on Your Gift List?

Did you take advantage of all the sales over the last few days? 
I did, and a good deal of my holiday shopping is done!
This certainly makes me happy, as I don't enjoy last minute dashing around for the perfect gift.

The gift finding seems to be going a little smoother this year,
and perhaps its due to the tips I got from Pauline's article!
If you have yet to begin, a good starting point might be a quick read of these tips.
{beginning on page 64}

And if you haven't already, check out the Graphic Image Givaway here.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Easy Holiday Decor Ideas

When it comes to holiday decor, I prefer simple! Here's how my table is looking.

Simply dress up an existing candle tray by wrapping glittery garland around candles 
and scatter ornaments among the branches for a bright, colorful look.

See this and other ideas for creating a festive home this holiday at

A Giveaway From the House of Fifty Gift Guide!

I have not hosted a giveaway in forever, so today I have a fabulous one that will make a wonderful gift...for yourself or to give away!

In HOF's Gift Guide for Women we featured a leather iPad case from Graphic Image. After seeing their item in the Holiday issue, Graphic Image contacted me asking if we'd like to host a giveaway! Well yes, thank you!!

The winner will receive an item of their choice from Graphic Image valued up to $120, with a complimentary addition of personalized initials in gold or silver foil.

You could choose the iPad Envelope Brights Leather in a range of beautifully bright colors, or a number of other wonderful items, to store electronic devices and much more!!

To enter, simply visit Graphic Image and leave a comment on this post sharing what your selection would be. The giveaway is open to residents in the USA and Canada, and will run through next Monday at midnight, PST, with the winner selected by and announced the next day. For an additional entry each, Tweet or Facebook a link to this giveaway and please make sure to let me know in a comment.

Also, to help with your holiday shopping, Graphic Image is offering 20% off orders from their site during the duration of this giveaway! Simply use code FIFTY at checkout.

Finally, need more gift ideas? 
See the HOF Gift Guides for Women, Men, Tweens & Teens Girls and Boys, and The Little Ones,
beginning on page 72.

Good luck! Janell

Friday, November 25, 2011

Countdown to Christmas

Can it really be? A short 31 days until Christmas?

 A wonderful way to enjoy the season is through the modern Advent calendar.
 Courtney Fernan provides several ideas for creating your own in the Holiday issue of House of Fifty! 
Read here beginning on page 152.

One charming way to countdown the days until Christmas is with the adorable Danish Garland Calendar.
 Available at Splendid Willow Avenue, it has 24 pockets to put a little something into.

"My three kids take turns sharing. One child per day! And they do not expect sweet treats all the time. A little personal note from their Mom make their day!", says Monika of Splendid Willow Avenue.

p.s. Readers can receive 15% off orders at this shop through December 10th.
Use code LIVESPLENDID15 at checkout.

Let the season begin!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Have A Wonderful Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, Have a Wonderful Day!
Now guick, it's back to cooking (or assisting my husband that is) before the guests arrive...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

One Year Ago

One year ago, I was sitting in this house wondering what was next.

While spending a few days with my family at a friend's beach house, I was trying to figure a way out of a slump brought on by a little run-in with "ageism".

See the post on that event here: Doesn't Everyone Know 49 is the New 29?

I knew I had to find something to get excited about, for myself and my career, if I didn't want to buy into the message that my best days were behind me.

That is when the idea that led to the launch of House of Fifty began...
{three issues to date with another in the works}

One year later, I'm thrilled. It was been such a rewarding venture to work on and I am so thankful to all the people who have become part of this project, and to the reception it has received from you. I think it is very fitting the "anniversary" of the idea for House of Fifty falls on the week of Thanksgiving!
{now available in "print to order", and as an App from the iTunes store}

Here's to being thankful for all life brings to us.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Perfect Saturday Outing

Wine tasting in the Willamette Valley on a gorgeous fall day! What a perfect way to spend an afternoon.

Add in some delicious food, great views...

...and girlfriends, celebrating a birthday!


And key? A party van to transport everyone between stops.

Another winery...

...specialty vinegars...

...and a final stop for a delicious meal! 
{obviously everyone received the boot & skinny jean memo}

If you are ever in Oregon, take time to visit the wineries of the Willamette Valley!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Couple Sweet Treats & Two Wonderful Blogs

I enjoyed learning a bit more about how two women I've met through blogging celebrate during this time of year recently, sharing their stories in the Holiday issue of House of Fifty. Meenal from Delhi (Maison Marigold) and Sukaina from Dubai (Sips and Spoonfuls). If you've not been to their blogs, you must!

And if you are looking for some sweet treats to prepare for Thanksgiving, how about trying something new? Sukaina shares two of her favorite recipes, see here beginning on page 119.

Enjoy your weekend and the holiday preparations! Janell

Friday, November 18, 2011

I Can't Find A Single Reason Why This Shouldn't Be In My House

No. I can't think of a single good reason.
{well, okay, the money thing}

Would it be strange to ask for wallpaper for Christmas?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Today I'm At Party Resources

Well, actually I was yesterday...but, if you are not familiar with the blog Party Resources, you should be!
{particularly at this time of year}

Stop on over to read an interview with me, they asked questions that were fun to answer, and here is a sampling of what you'll find at this site:

very nice...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

House of Fifty is Now an iPad & iPhone App!

When we first launched House of Fifty six months ago, the most frequent feedback I received was the request to be able to read the magazine on the iPad.

So we got to work and finally, I am excited to announce that House of Fifty is now available as an app through the Apple iTunes store!

The images and text just pop off the screen, with easy to use functionality and share options.

Take a look here, and share the app with friends and family that will also enjoy reading House of Fifty!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Decorating Smarts: Using What You Have

Do you think you need to wait until you have a decent budget to start in on a room? If you look around your house, in the garage and perhaps in the basement, making use of what is already on hand you might just be surprised with the progress that can be made by using what you have. Case in point: Lakeitha's "new" living room!

As Lakeitha wrote: "Last night while I was painting the last cabinet in my kitchen, I got the urge to pull together my living room on the fly using what I have."

"For the past year, my living room had been bare. Ok, who am I kidding, it has been my catch all room when I’m working on projects! So last night when I saw one of the boys riding the back of my sofa like a horse, I decided right then that I had to make better use out of my living room and I started by moving the sofa in there. After pulling pieces from different rooms and from my garage, I ended up with this:"

"I still have A LOT to do to say that this room is “finished”. I need to add some pictures and art to the walls. I need more pillows and I know exactly which ones I want! With the holidays knocking at the door, I had to do something fast. Next is the dining room and then I’m going to finish the kitchen which is really really close to being done. Using what you have is a great way to decorate when you’re in a hurry and on a limited budget (and believe me, my budget is teeny weeny!)…. So, what do you think?"

I think you rocked it! When I saw the first "after" picture, for a moment I thought it was an inspiration image. Great job, enjoy!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Frost On Windows

It's that time of year again! Are you waking up to frost on your windows?

Painting by Kerri Rosenthal 
To see more of her beautiful work and the story of how she began her flourishing painting career, visit here.
{Beginning on page 50}

Pomegranates, Sweet Pomegranates

Is there any better treat than opening a pomegranate?

Little Bursts of Tartness, Sweetness & Crunch.

Pure Deliciousness...

Friday, November 11, 2011

What I'm Thinking...

This has rung true over the past week! I'll share more soon, but in the meantime...
Enjoy your weekend and the people that make life great!

{mod art poster via Modmenento}