December 2013 Inspiration

Hello Lovelies!

I finally had a chance to zip through a few magazines this week and I’m sharing the highlights of my tear-outs for this month. So, if you didn’t catch your moment of zen for magazine perusing… no worries!

Here’s the best of bestin my opinion – and hopefully you’ll find something here that trips your trigger, too.

(Note: I’m a voracious magazine reader/page ripper-outer – I’ll try to credit my sources if I can find it on the gosh-darn page – or what’s left of it!)

December 2013 Inspiration

Hot Butterscotch

Signature Drink

This Hot Butterscotch recipe from Southern Lady became my signature drink for the holidays this year. It’s as yummy as it looks and if you substitute the schnapps with virgin flavoring, the kids can enjoy it, too.

Assembly of Text

Bunting Bonanza

There was a fabulous article in Fresh Style about Caitlin Van Horn of and she transforms jute (something I have spools and spools of in a basket on the porch) with these little monogrammed letters she gets from the

I’m putting in my order this week – love these little guys – and such an awesome idea! Aside from just this gem, the entire article has tons of inspiration – so if you can get your hands on the Fresh Style article, I think it’s a keeper.

Goblet Inspiration

Ribboned Goblets

Last Spring, I used a thrift store find of wedding goblets filled with Winter Wheat for my spring mantle.

This photo from Victoria Classics, inspires me to do it again this year – and I’ll add some ribbons for texture and color.

Succulent Corks

Succulent Corks

January’s Good Housekeeping featured this idea as a way to bring in the outdoors – turning wine corks into little planters. The idea here is to turn them into little magnets by gluing a little magnet tab to the back of the cork.  

I love this idea and I’ll definitely be doing it in January with the kiddos. GH said to add a little potting soil – that seems tricky and unnecessary to me.

I’ll be soaking the corks, drilling a small hole with my mini-drill, and then just popping the stem in that way – sans soil.

By March, the succulents will probably callus off and then I’ll pop them in a larger succulent bowl which will ultimately end up on the deck for summertime.

Orchid Trinity

Orchid Triumvirate

I loved this orchid display from a photo in Domino. It’s a great reminder that orchids don’t always need to be a one plant per pot scenario.

Occasionally, I run across large vessels (like the pot in the photo above) at thrift stores or garage sales. Unfortunately, I pass it up because I can’t imagine a use for it.

Not anymore!

This year, I’ll be keeping a eye out for one just so I can pop in three orchids and get this look – I love it.

Snow Stick

Snow Stick

This little snowfall measuring stick (from Martha Stewart Living Magazine) is so stinkin’ cute – and such an awesome craft for the kiddos.

Next walk in the woods, I’ll have the boys look for the perfect stick and we’ll be making this to measure the snow on our deck (which is pretty substantial this year).

Antlers 2014

Antlers 2014

I have a few must-try’s for the new year – and one of them is getting a pair of antlers! This photo of a Kate Thornley-Hall advertisement will go on my 2014 inspiration board.

I’m on an antler quest…

Kitchen Garden

Kitchen Garden Redux

The last vestiges of my summer kitchen garden are all gone – the final stems were dried the week before Thanksgiving. This photo of a kitchen garden from New Old House, is a reminder to me to start a fresh kitchen garden in January. That said, in Minnesota, we need to be a little more selective and realistic about what will survive indoors in our dry, winter climate.

This past December, all the folks who fell for the $20 rosemary topiaries on sale at all the nurseries and grocery stores know all-too-well how fast those babies dry up – I’m guessing they started to go brittle inside of a week. #notworthit

Black Front Door

Black Front Door

Here’s the photo (from October 2013 Southern Living), that finally inspired me to go for it and paint my front and back doors a glossy, high-shine black lacquer. (Bonus! No more messy paw prints from Sonny!)

I’ve been collecting photos of black front doors all through 2013 – and I’m so glad I finally did it!  I’ll show the photos of my doors next month as part of my January Home Reset posts – so stay tuned.

Photo Garland

Photo Garland

I tell you what – if there’s one thing that tough for me to take down after Christmas, it’s the garlands.  They’re on the mantles, the windows, the banisters, and the mirrors. My mood drops just thinking about boxing them up until next year.

That’s why I totally fell for this photo garland idea from Susan Hable Smith in Martha Stewart Living.

It’s a great option all year round with lots of possibilities…

Celebrate a birthday – with a birthday photo garland.  

Celebrate President’s Day – with a garland of President photos (also educational!).  

Thanksgiving garland – with photos of blessings.

Endless options. Fantastic project. Best part about it? Once I get the photos printed, the kids can make it for me. It’s on the list for January DIY.

Suitcase Bar

Suitcase Server

I found this photo in Flea Market Style of a bar setup atop a suitcase and I immediately saw this coming to life the next time I host something – book club, bunco, cards, etc.  

So cute, so simple, and a great place to stash all the party supplies that need a home – paper plates, napkins, etc. Boxy, flat, suitcases are always on my thrift store shopping list.

Soup Server

Brass Server

The isle in Goodwill that can be the least inspiring is the one with all of the old brass, silver, pewter, etc. Lumped together, these old babies can look pretty sad.

But, pluck out a fabulous server and give it some love (and a little tomato soup) – and you can have something pretty awesome.

This photo was in Flea Market Style and it’s a reminder to me to spend a little more time seeing the possibilities of metal serving pieces at thrift stores this year.

Winter Spruce

Winter Spruce

This photo inspires me to get a few after-Christmas spruce for Winter decorating in January and February. I find the healthiest and cheapest little spruce at my local Lowes. Of course, I love the burlap.

Tray Inspiration

Tray Time

January is a time for trays and containers of all sizes and manner.

I’m partial to 0ld jewelry boxes, cookie jars, office bins, old tin canisters – and all of that gets commissioned to help corral the clutter in January and February around here.

That’s what this photo from Domino does for me – it serves as a friendly reminder to keep an eye out for all manner of ways to get the house in order as another year begins.

Urn and Orchid

Urn & Orchid

Urn & Orchid – that could totally be the name of a store.  

“Where’d you get that?”

“Oh, that little thing? Urn & Orchid.”

Love it!

Urns are always on my junking list. This photo inspires me to add some pussy willow to an orchid container for an adorable display this Spring. It’s on my March t0-do.

Spruce and Urn

So, to recap, how do you make a simple houseplant or arrangement look amazing?

You have to urn it.


Swing Arm Lamp

Swinging for Swing-Arms

I cannot count the number of pages I have ripped out of magazines over the years simply because there is a swing-arm lamp mounted on a bookcase, or in a nook, or by a bed, or above a chair, or over bunk beds, – you get the idea.

It was part of my lighting strategy – yes, I just wrote the words lighting strategy – for 2013.

This past year, I managed to replace/upgrade some lighting with swing-arms and I. love. them. so. much.

And, I’ve applied a few installation tricks to make them a bit more kid-proof (no swinging on the swing-arms!).  

Anyway, this photo from Domino made the cut just because of the lamp. No other reason needed for me.

Window Wreath

Window Wreath

Here’s an idea I have never implemented – but I totally love to look at – Window Wreaths.

I can’t find the name of the magazine I ripped these photos out of, but I found the wreaths and windows in these photos inspiring. Maybe next year…

Hanging Wreath

I’ve typed the word wreaths too much.

I’m starting to mentally substitute the word for wreaths for youths from My Cousin Vinny.

“oh, I’m sorry, sir. The two wreaths…”

Christmas Chalkboard

Christmas Quotes

I managed to make a few Christmas Chalkboards this year – using lyrics from carols and holiday movie quotes. I loved this little board (source unknown).

And, I’ve started a file of Christmasy Quotes that inspire me – like this one…

Vermont Christmas Quote

Fresh Style featured some fun holiday movie quotes…Christmas Quotes

Spruce Party Favor

Evergreen Cutting Party Favor

Ta-da! Here’s my Christmas Party Favor for next year.

I couldn’t get my act together this year in time for my caroling party – but it’s on the list for 2014. 

Super sweet and super easy.

I might try using old tea cups or little terra cotta pots.  We’ll see what spin I put on it… 

Here’s a close-up (sorry, no source).

Spruce Party Favor Close Up

Isn’t that holiday string adorable?

Pine Cone Cloche

Pinecone Cloche

When some pinecones need a home, you must cloche it.

Have an ornament to show? You must cloche it.

(I hope you’re getting the Devo vibe here.)

Anyway, I just loved this simple cloche of pinecones (no source).

Miniature Cloche

Speaking of cloches, this great idea from Flea Market Style caught my eye. Top a glass vase with an old miniature and viola! A charming cloche.

This will make for a quick DIY with Emma this winter.

Mantle Inspiration

Mantle Trim

I found the ribbon on this mantle completely enchanting.

The ornaments add a harlequin touch that is elegant and captivating.

It’s a simple way to upgrade my Christmas mantle and it’s definitely going in my idea book for 2014.

Statue Necklace

Statue Redux

Need a place for all your pearl necklaces?

No…. but, now I want to find some old pearl necklaces just to put on an old statue

… and now I want to find an old statue or lamp base of a lady with her arm in the air… 

Entry Table Staging

Table Styling

Here’s the photo that I’m using for my entry table inspiration.

After I take all the Christmas stuff down, my mind turns to mush and I can’t remember how I had things decorated before the holidays.

Photos like the one above (no source), help me pull some things together to style my tables.

Rosemary Centerpiece

Garden Garland

This photo from Country Living November 2013 is on my 2014 inspiration board.

It’s great for a number of reasons – it’s simple, it’s green, and it’s a forehead slap for me to get my butt out in the garden and harvest like crazy in 2014.

Put this type of arrangement on a butcher paper runner and it is something the kids can draw on and become completely engaged with – tracing leaves, making prints, etc.

Shelving for PJ & John

Sports Storage and Display

This photo (source unknown) is going in the idea book for the little boys’ room.

I’m not collecting helmets, but they have plenty of gear that would look rather awesome in this kind of display.

It’s something to keep in mind once I repair the walls and get around to actually doing something for them this summer…

Well, those are the curated pages from my magazines this month. I get so much energy and inspiration from pages like these – I hope you found something that inspired you, too and I’d love to hear what magazines you rely on for ideas.

The kids are standing in the hallway looking at me  – which can mean only one thing… they want some lunch.

Still growing...

Jennifer Ebeling
Jennifer Ebeling is a proud Minnesotan and U of MN alumni. Gooooooo Gophers! Each week, Jennifer produces and hosts Still Growing - a gardening podcast dedicated to helping you and your garden grow. The show is an in-depth interview format. Guests featured on the show share a passion for gardening and include authors, bloggers, professional gardeners, etc. Listeners and guests of the show can join the Still Growing community on Facebook. It's a place to ask questions, share garden stories, interact with great guests featured on the show, and continue to grow and learn. Jennifer and her husband Philip have four children, a big golden lab named Sonny, and live in lovely Maple Grove, Minnesota. P.S. When she's not teaching her four kids a new card game - or teaching them how to drive a car - Jennifer loves inspiring individuals and groups to maximize and personalize their home & garden.
Jennifer Ebeling
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  1. Lou Ann Warren on January 7, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    The sweet little Aspen branch with the numbers in Martha Stewart December issue is an Advent calendar stick but I love that you can measure snow with it!

    • Jennifer Ebeling on January 7, 2014 at 1:43 pm

      Lou Ann –
      OMG. I died laughing when I read your comment! Just goes to show my Minnesota Blonde state of mind. Of course 25 inches of snow seemed so right to me. Thanks for your gentle correction – it’s definitely going in my top ten for 2014! Thanks for stopping by and stay warm.

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