by laura janning

Oh Burlap Tree, Oh Burlap Tree.....

November 30, 2012

Did you know that some sources claim that the first Christmas Tree in America was put up in Connecticut in 1777?
The National Christmas Tree has been lit every year since 1923 at the White House. 

1847 was the beginning of the decorated tree tradition and the candy cane's that you would see on trees were all white.

 The original purpose of a tree skirt was not just to look pretty, it was to catch dripping wax from candle lights that were used on Christmas trees before electric lights were introduced.
 The first aluminum tree was introduced into the market in 1958.  Although very popular until the mid 60's, it was made from flammable foil.

I often wonder how burlap trees will be written into our history,
or how they would look decorated with a few icicles or angel hair on it? 
Remember decorating with that stuff?
For tutorials on each of these trees click here, here, and here
To be participating in the "Reindeer Run" this weekend with the family.

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The Last Outdoor Project of the 2012 Year

November 28, 2012

First- Apparently there has been some nonsense changes going on over at Facebook where some of you may not be getting notified when I publish new posts, if that's you- when you are on my Top This Top That Facebook page click on the little gear at the top right and click on add to interests list, then you will show up on my fans page and not miss any posts!
Now on the project!

Not only is my husband is happy to hear that we are done with outdoor projects for the remainder of the year (honey don't get to excited, that's only 33 days) but so are the kids as they swing with delight over some recent changes we made to the outdoor place set.
Ah, it seems like just yesterday when we set this up in the backyard. I remember the day that we brought this contraption home from Toys R Us. I thought it would last a lifetime. Wrong! See, it wasn't the quality that didn't hold up, it was the kids. They got bigger and outgrew it!
So we began the upgrade process.
We started by dismantling and moving the old one. The roofs will be re purposed for another project and the play set will be used as the kids "Pirate Ship".
Moving this beast was not fun.  My husband and I were able to tip it over, scoot it to the edge, slide it down the ramp and then scoot it over to it's new home. Looking back at this picture and how we moved it,  makes me wonder where I get my mojo from!
The Pirate's Ship in the middle of the forest!
And a new "kid approved" swing set.
I'd say the kids look happy, don't you think?

Head to the backyard if you would like to swing or you can send me an email for details on how we constructed the swing set. 
What end of the year outdoor projects are you working on?
 Grateful for:
My three dogs, 2 donkeys, 1 pony, 1 cat, 3 goldfish

My Favorite Room

November 26, 2012

In case you missed my favorite room of the house over at Kim's  Favorite Room Series a few weeks ago, I wanted to share my Keeping Room, aka "Mom's Zone".
Keeping Rooms are generally located right off the kitchen and back in the day it was used to gather the family and keep them warm, as it was close to the main heating sources of the home. But for me it's a place to look out the window and enjoy nature from the indoors. The room is actually the reflection you see in our backyard pond.
A place to read the Sunday paper and drink my tea.
A place to meditate, look out the window and be thankful for what I have and for a room that is mine! 
A place when girlfriends visit we can sit and chat. 
In fact, it's also a popular staging area for a lot of the projects you see here at Top This Top That.
Curtain details are here.
 Occasionally when the mood is right I will invite my hubby in so we can sit back and appreciate all of the hard work that went in in constructing this room and the details that make it special to us me.
Like the wood beams on the ceiling that came from Cypress Trees on our property.  
Or the transformations and journey that it took to get to this point. This is how the room looked when I decorated it when we moved in 10 years ago. My husband swore that the valance looked like a circus tent! I happen to like it, it's the red tent roof that perhaps was over the top!
And when my color senses settled down a few years ago and the room was a bit more serene and calm.
And the room as it is today. A room that is more of a reflection of me, who I am and what I want others to see.
Simple, clean and quite, unfortunately that's  generally less then 1% of the time when the kids aren't around.
See my table transformation here.
 A room that was meant just for me but I do have an extra chair in case you want to come over!
What's your favorite room in your house?

 If you want to see where the rest of the family hangs out in my house, you will want to visit my Home Tour .
Hope the week is off to a great start. 
Grateful for:
A safe trip back" Home" from spending the holiday with my family in S.Florida.

Sharing at:
Between Naps on the Porch
At the Picket Fence
French Country Cottage

Kicking off the Holiday Season And A Winner!

November 21, 2012

The first thing that I usually do when decorating for a new holiday is to hang some wreaths on the front doors.  This year, the day after I have completely stuffed my face and think about how I will work it all off, the colors of the passing season will come down and be replaced with all signs of a new season. 

This years wreaths will reflect the simplicity and beauty of the season. Natural elements combined with evergreens and a slight touch of bling will grace our front doors and greet you when you come to visit.

Before they go up though, I need to push the pumpkin pie aside long enough to make another one.
 I wonder if that counts as a workout? 
I am happy to announce the winner of  my burlap wreath giveaway.
 I am So Vintage
I will be in touch so I can get your mailing details.
Thanks to the rest of you for entering and for your sweet comments. 
My wreath and I both appreciate it!
PS- Taking the rest of the week off to be with my family. 
My very best to you and your families for a very Happy Thanksgiving.
See you back here on Monday!

Grateful for:
Family time in Florida

What lights you up?

November 19, 2012

I am taking the week off  with my family to completely enjoy each other and to celebrate and appreciate all of the many blessings in my life.  I will be back on Wednesday to announce the winner of my Burlap Wreath giveaway that I am hosting here.
 Until then, I wanted to share some images from a beautiful lighthouse that we passed while on my girls trip this past weekend .

Have a wonderful Week!

How to make a Flower Arrangement go the extra mile and other Fall Arrangements

November 14, 2012

When I have to spend money on flowers , it makes me cringe particularly when I can grow and use my own. This time of the year though presents some challenges when some of my favorites are not in growing season. So when I bought this bouquet for $25.00
(yes, it pains me) the other day at the grocery store, I knew that I wanted to get every bit of my money out of them.

The first arrangement that I made was this centerpiece. You can read more about my Aunt Mable and the centerpiece here.

From there I wanted to create a smaller centerpiece for the lunch table. For my base filler I used fresh fruit and then tucked the flower stems in the center to conceal.
And with a few blooms left, I created smaller arrangements for some hostess gifts. I used mason jars and tied them with burlap. I added a few sticks from the yard to create a more rustic, woodsy feel to the arrangement.
 So tell me, how far have you gone with your flower arrangements?

Grateful for-
The beauty from flowers

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3 Ways to "Up Cycle" your Mini Pumpkins

November 12, 2012

In years past I always seem to scratch my head as I wonder what to do with the mini pumpkins used in my decor when the season was wrapping up. By most accounts they got thrown out or my kids play with them in the yard. I mean who wouldn't want to play with a pumpkin and see it come through the kitchen window! 
All kidding aside, what do you do with them?
Please tell me I am not the only one who feels like this?
This year I decided, this would be the year of change- for my Tiger Pumpkins anyways- and created 3 ways to up cycle them. 

How about using the top of the mini pumpkin to create a lid for your soup bowl.

Just imagine jaws dropping when they lift it up to see a bowl of your favorite soup waiting for them. 
Or how about craving out the inside of the pumpkin and using it to hold your seasonal colored candles?
And if that's not enough pumpkin mojo for you, how about using the bottom of the pumpkins to serve up your favorite dessert?

What creative ways have you used with your mini pumpkins?

Grateful for:
Upcoming girls weekend with my mom and sisters.

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