Are you searching for a last-minute decor idea for your table or tree this Christmas?? Come on by and check out this super easy one that will have your home looking (and smelling) fantastic in just minutes!!

A gorgeous set of orange pomanders

A gorgeous set of orange pomanders

If you haven’t heard of orange pomanders before be assured they are amazing and you’ll love them! I remember seeing them and hearing about them from my Grandma and her friends. I’ve seen gorgeous photos of them all over the web and have always wanted to make some. So this year we decided to give them a try! And they were so easy and fun for the whole family to make!!

The joy of creating!

The joy of creating!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Oranges (clementines, tangerines, etc.)
Whole cloves

orange and cloves

Optional:
Toothpicks or other sharp tool
3 Tbs. ground cinnamon
3 Tbs. ground cloves
3 Tbs. ground nutmeg
3 Tbs. ground ginger
3 Tbs. orris root powder (dried and ground root of certain iris’ used as a fixative) ¬†Although I have a couple sitting in my office that are a couple of years old and had no fixative used and they still smell great!

Directions:
1. Pick out orange with good solid rind. I picked up a bag of Cuties the other day and not only were they delicious but just the right size for little hands.
2. Decide what pattern or design you’d like to make. You can draw it on beforehand or just ‘wing it’ and see where your imagination takes you! (Anyone else like the idea of planning when it comes to crafty projects – but secretly you’d rather just see what happens?) :) If you are going to hang it sometimes it’s easier to attach the ribbon or thread before you start placing the cloves.

Hole poked with toothpick pre-clove

Hole poked with toothpick pre-clove

3. If your orange rind isn’t too tough you can simply push them through the rind by hand in whatever design you like. If it’s too tough or your little ones need some help you can use a toothpick or other piercing device to make a small hole so that the clove pushes in more easily.

Tiny hand pushing in clove

Tiny hand pushing in clove

(or if your kids are anything like my helper, they may just enjoy playing with the toothpicks!)

Concentrating hard on her craft!

Concentrating hard on her craft!

Be careful as the whole cloves can be very sharp. My fingers have built up a tolerance from all of the cloves that we use here in the shop though. Here are a few examples of some designs that the tiniest Spice Grove and I came up with!

4. Step back and enjoy your work!
5. Let the orange dry for 2-3 weeks in a dry place. A sunny window is the perfect place! If you want you can let it dry in a delicious spice mix of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and orris root powder. The mix will add an even more delicious smell to your beautiful orange. If you do this last step, just turn the orange in the spice mix every day or so, so that it gets coated evenly. (Sadly I don’t have any photos of this last step as I was too anxious to get this post done and share it with you!

Pomander display in a deep vase

Pomander display in a deep vase

Have fun with it and get creative! Remember there is no wrong way to make these! They will look (and smell) gorgeous in a simple bowl on your holiday table or hanging on your tree! The beauty is they will last for years!! If you’re really prepared you could have these made up early and give them as gifts for the Holidays. I’d love to see photos if anyone tries these out!

Our smiley face and toothpick pomander!  He may just be my favorite!

Our smiley face and toothpick pomander! He may just be my favorite!

I know there are only 6 days until Christmas – but I wish you peace and joy this wonder filled week before Christmas! Take time to enjoy and see the little miracles!

Blessings friends,

CharlotteCharlotte

In keeping with our series theme of “using what you have,” welcome to our autumn DIY post! I hope you’ll enjoy these easy and low-cost ideas for freshening up your Fall table! Read on to see our 5 simple table centerpieces!

1. Use what is in your yard. Since we live in the desert our yard is mainly rock with a few cactus and other desert plants. Our girls are constantly bringing me rocks to add to their collections so one day we decided to see how they would look as a centerpiece.

Rocks
Using the rocks and a few pinecones that I’ve collected over the years we were able to make a simple and rustic centerpiece that was FREE and took only about 2 minutes. (More if you are having fun looking at the rocks with your little ones!!)
Rocks and Pinecones
2. Nature provides us with so much beauty, why not use some of it inside your home? Whether you have a herb garden with some fragrant lavender, some mini pumpkins or beautiful branches lying around your home don’t be afraid to use them!! Get creative and see where your imagination takes you!
LavenderPumpkins or flowersBranches
3. Now as much as I love the branches and pinecones, the desert doesn’t provide many of these naturally so I have taken to using what grows naturally here.
Prickly pear
I found these amazing prickly pear fruit in our front yard and just simply arranged them in this large cylindrical vase. Again, super quick, easy and FREE!! (Important note!!! Make sure you are wearing thick gloves to handle these little guys as they have amazingly small little needles on them!!)

Prickly pearPrickly Pear
4. Another sweet idea is to take a peek into your spice cabinet and see what whole spices you have available!

SpicesThen take the lovely seeds and berries and let them arrange themselves into whatever container or bowl you have available. Now you have a beautiful and fragrant centerpiece that evokes the scents of Fall all found in your own kitchen for FREE! (My favorite Fall scents to use are probably, cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice, star anise, and rose hips for a splash of Autumn color!) Buying these in bulk or online will save you money if you want to purchase more than just a little bit!
Pinecones and Spice BallsRosemary and cranberriesCloseup pinecones and spice balls
Besides the spices, I also love using some coffee beans or natural herbs from our garden in various vases!!

5. The last idea features one of our rustic spiced candle wreaths. I love that they have four different uses! (candle wreath, napkin holder, flower holder or vase decor) I’ll show you how I used the wreath in a vase decor and flower holder here.
IMG_0079closeup of vase with candle wreath
Now since we don’t have abundant flowers here in the desert I just used some tiny little ‘weeds’ that the girls are always bringing in. They are just the perfect size for the tiny votive candle holder and the yellow looks so pretty with the Fall hued candle wreath!
I also made a tiny centerpiece with just the wreath and the flowers. I know it won’t last long but we loved the understated look of this one. (our household thrives on simplicity and creativity!)
Candle wreath with flowers
I truly hope that some of these easy tips and ideas will spark your imagination and let you come up with some new Autumn decor for your own table! I’d love to see pictures if you do!

Autumn Blessings to you friends,

Charlotte
Charlotte

Happy Father's Day

Hero
Provider
Protector
Strong
Brave
Larger than life
Smart
Silly
Love

So many qualities that made my Dad special…..but my favorite……that he is MINE!!!

I’ve been so blessed to have a Dad that served not only his country, but his family too. Whether it was teaching us how to ride our bikes or letting us practice hammering on his extra 2X4’s, Dad always let us know we were important to him by the TIME he was willing to spend with us. I think we spent more hours with him in his beloved garage than in the actual house. He loves creating things with his hands. Even now, (many) years later, he is always coming up with projects or special things for our girls to invest in their lives. There really is nothing he can’t build/fix/invent/or change to make something work better! I pray I am half the parent he has been to me! I love you Dad!
My Dad

I’ve also been blessed with the most amazing Husband who is an amazing Dad to our girls!! Their faces light up when they hear him crack the door upon coming home from work!! Like my Father, he also served his country selflessly and also daily serves his family at home. Whether playing a rousing game of ‘tickle fest’, ‘chase me Daddy’ or ‘wall-softball’, it is pure joy to see the three of them together. He gives of his TIME to umpire little league softball games, go on mountain hikes and to read books to the girls. We all love our books and I’m so thankful that the 3 of them can share stories that they’ve read and scenes they’ve imagined. And they adore him in return……. I think they would do anything for him and I’ve seen him move mountains for them! We are truly blessed, thank you Todd!!

Happy Father's Day

To all of those Dad’s, Step Dad’s, Grandpa’s and other amazing guys out there…….we are so thankful for you and all you mean to our family and to your families. Wishing you a blessed and wonderful Father’s Day with your loved ones today!!

Blessings to you friends,

Charlotte

Charlotte

A gorgeous rose in Mom's garden

A gorgeous rose in Mom’s garden

Mother’s Day.
What does that mean to you?

Flowers, chocolate, a meal out, a Hallmark card, a nap (my personal favorite?)

Or is it a job description? Taxi driver, short order cook, nurse, laundry service, counselor, nightmare comforter, supporter, cheerleader?

While ‘thank-you’ will never ever be enough to voice our appreciation for all our Mom’s do for us….here’s my feeble attempt at doing just that! I hope you enjoy!

Here are some of my favorite things my Mom taught me that still ring true today, whether in my family life or in business.

~ Have more faith than fear.
My Mom, while not perfect, really tried/try’s to walk her journey of Faith out. I don’t remember any morning growing up that didn’t start with her doing a devotion and talking to God. This was regardless of good or bad times our family was having. How this still inspires and challenges me. Taking a step of Faith, knowing that someone is there to catch you is never a bad idea……even if you fall you’ve learned something you’d never otherwise learned!

Mom and I enjoying Nature

Mom and I enjoying nature!

~ Appreciate Nature and all of Creation.
I credit my Mom with the sense of wonder I have for Nature. Whether we were up to our elbows in plaster of paris taking a tracking sample, or hiking in the mountains or camping under the stars, she always approached the outdoors with a passion and reverence that has rubbed off on both of her children. My love of flowers and growing things stems from my Grandmother’s love of her rose garden and the memories of my Mom fighting the big fat tomato caterpillar worms in our large vegetable garden. How wonderful these dirt filled memories are! (I still catch myself singing an old girl scout song to my girls that Mom us kids used to sing while hiking……)

~ Show kindness, no matter how small it may seem.
My Mom was always the first to reach out when someone was hurting. Whether it was baking a casserole or driving kids where they needed to go she was always willing to help out. She taught us to think of others first. Even when we didn’t have much we learned to give first!

~ Hold tight to your family, through good and bad.
These are the folks that will be there through good, bad and otherwise. No one has the perfect family of course, but we all have the people with us to teach us the lessons we need to learn. The folks that know us at our best and our worst and still love us anyway!

~ Learn how to do it on your own.
My Mom was great at encouraging us to try things on our own – to make mistakes while thinking for ourselves. With trial and error came creativity, thinking out of the box, and learning to deal with failure and success.

~ Follow your dreams, they will lead to an amazing life!
My parents both encouraged us to follow dreams that fueled our passions. Now that I’m a Mom too, I can only imagine how it tugged at my Mom’s heart when I announced that I had decided on being a music major in college, yet she rarely voiced her concerns, but let me find out what chasing that dream meant.

Another rose from Mom's garden

Another rose from Mom’s garden

I have been truly blessed with an amazing Mother and I’m thankful for everyday that I can learn from her wisdom and bravery. She has no idea how strong she is, but I’ll always pray she knows how very beloved she is……

I love you Mom…..and I pray that I can pass on these lessons to our girls as they grow up….

Our girls in my beloved Aspen trees....

Our girls in my beloved Aspen trees….

Wishing you all a beautiful Mother’s Day,
Charlotte
Charlotte

ocotillo birds with Thoreau quote

As signs of Spring seem to be peeking out all over in the desert, I wanted to share with you a glimpse of our amazing views! We have 4 huge Ocotillo plants in back of our home and I was struck the other night at sunset with how much the budding blossoms look just like birds from a distance. Aren’t they amazing!?!

backyard birds

A close up of our ‘Ocotillo bird.’

backyard birds, ocotillo in bloom

The ‘flock’ at sunrise.

Perspective is everything isn’t it? Who knew the delight I’d find in some blooming cacti in the backyard? Here’s the important part though……I never would have seen this, or noticed had I not stopped for a second to really see!

From birds to the smallest details in life, so much of our outlook depends on how we perceive each situation we are given. Here’s hoping that you find inspiration and joy in the smallest parts of your vision today!!

sunrise ocotillo birds

Sunset as the 'flock' goes to sleep

Sunset as the ‘flock’ goes to sleep

Take a moment and stop to ‘see’ what you ‘see!!’ You just might find a flock of birds waiting for you!!

Blessings to you friends,
Charlotte

Charlotte

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