Tuesday, January 22, 2019

DIY Houndstooth Winter Wreath and Valentine Button Tree

Crafting Easy Winter and Valentine's Decor

Hey Everyone! I'm excited to share two do-it-yourself decor projects that I have recently completed. First off is this pretty houndstooth winter wreath that is now hanging proudly on my kitchen wall!

This project held a bit of drama as I had originally only purchased one roll of the houndstooth ribbon and found that I didn't have enough to wrap the entire wreath. Several trips ensued back to A.C.Moore, where I had purchased the ribbon, and then to other craft stores when I found that A.C.Moore no longer had the same ribbon in stock. I had almost given up hope of being able to finish the project and was about to change out to another ribbon when I checked one more time at A.C. Moore today and, lo and behold, they had one roll of the ribbon I needed on the shelf! Hooray! I came home and immediately got to work finishing my wreath!

The final touch to the wreath are these pretty clear plastic snowflakes that I added to each side of the wreath, securing them with straight pins. The wreath form that I used is styrofoam which I like to use for wreaths because it is so easy to secure the ribbon and decorations using straight pins. It is also easy to remove should I want to create a different wreath design at some point! I dearly love the houndstooth patterned ribbon and think it looks great against the brick wall in the kitchen!

I'm also happy to have created this Valentine's Button Tree craft today! I think it looks pretty in the midst of my white winter decorations on the side table in the living room. 

I've been wanting to try to create a button tree for awhile so I picked up some red buttons, a styrofoam tree form and straight pins with white balls on the end at A.C.Moore today. This was an easy craft to do. I simply picked out various sizes of the buttons and placed them around the styrofoam tree securing them in place with either one or two of the straight pins pushed through the button holes. I finished off the tree with white ribbon tied at the top in a bow with the ends cascading down the sides.

I love to do easy crafts that are completed fairly quickly (I need quick gratification!) and take pride in displaying home decor that I have made myself. Both of these projects were perfect crafts for me!

And here's another little Valentine decor idea for you. I picked up this cute glass covered in red and white hearts at the Dollar Tree. I filled it with red/white paper straws and placed it on my kitchen counter. It's easy to grab a straw for iced tea and is also an easy and cute Valentine decoration!

Do you enjoy easy DIY crafts? Would you like to make a wreath or a button tree of your own? Grab some supplies at your local craft store and go for it! And, if all else fails, stick some colorful straws in a pretty glass! Who says home decor has to be expensive? (wink)

Until Next Time,

Monday, January 21, 2019

Belting It Out

Which Belt Is Best?

Hey friends! Today, I'm belting it out. Trying a couple of belts with this plaid shirt from Tractor Supply trying to decide which belt I like best with the shirt. Yes, this is the other shirt I purchased during my after Christmas visit to the Tractor Supply Co. 

I had tried a red plaid belt on first but decided I liked this thrifted pattern belt in pink better. It adds a pop of color and a contrast to the plaid pattern. Kinda fun and different. A little unexpected!

One last look before we move on to the next belt. This is a bit different for me to try such a different belt with this shirt. But, I do like the pop of color. Hope it doesn't look too "mismatched."

OK, here's the "playing it safe" belted look. This thin black belt matches perfectly. It accentuates my waist, but no pop of color. I like this look, too. It doesn't look like I was half asleep when I pulled a belt out of the closet!

What do you think? Which belt would you choose? Let me know in the comments. I love this shirt by the way and have been wearing it repeatedly. Very warm for our 14 degree morning today! The shirt brand is Wrangler. Untucked by choice!

Hope you're having a great start to the week! Let me know which belt you like best!

Until Next Time

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Shirt Tucks and Teacups

To Tuck or Not To Tuck and Butterfly Teacups

Today's post is going to serve two purposes. One is to discuss whether or not to tuck a shirt for the best overall effect. The other purpose is to show you the sweetest little teacups I have ever seen! You may not think shirt tucks and teacups are topics that go together, but I think they are a perfect match...just like cups and saucers😉.

You know, for quite awhile now, I have stopped tucking shirts into my jeans and pants. My reasoning for doing so was that wearing the shirt untucked would cover the stomach area and make me look slimmer. Recently, however, I have decided to try tucking again and I like the result!

Buying this pretty new belt was a major influence in rejoining the shirt tucked in club! It's so pretty and I want it to show! I'm also realizing that at age 60, I can't expect to look exactly like I did when I was in my 20's, 30's, 40's and 50's! Our bodies change as we age, even if we don't add additional weight. My stomach was never totally flat, but it is much more rounded now and you know what? That's perfectly OK. I don't have to try to hide it behind an untucked shirt. 

Does this mean I'll never wear a shirt or top untucked? Of course not! But, rather than make my choice based on trying to look slimmer, I want to make my choice based on whether tucking or untucking will give the best overall effect. I like the way tucking this black/white plaid shirt looks with my jeans, belt and the longer black cardigan. The overall effect is stylish in my opinion. Casual and comfortable and yet put together. 

In a recent post, I styled a blue/white plaid flannel shirt (untucked by the way) and I mentioned that the look was a "Debbie look" in retirement. Today's post also shows a "Debbie look" with just a little more spit and polish! This look takes me to run errands, to have lunch with friends and to lounge around the house. It sometimes also takes me to church! Casual can look put together with that little something extra added to the overall effect! Kind of like adding butterflies to teacups...

Which brings me to these beauties! When I saw these gorgeous teacups, saucers and kitchen towels offered on Katherines Corner Shop's going out of business sale, I knew I had better snap them up while I could! And, I'm so glad I did. 

The teacups arrived wrapped securely in bubble wrap and kept in place inside netting. 

Whenever I have ordered from Katherine she always includes a personal note. Yet another example of that "something extra" that increases the effect. She is the sweetest person and I'm so happy to have met her via blogging! I'm very sorry that she has closed her shop, but you can still read her blog at katherinescorner.com

Aren't these kitchen towels pretty?! I can see using these as towels hanging from the oven door, napkins on a pretty Spring tablescape and even as bathroom hand towel decor. I know I will get lots of use from these pretty towels!

And the teacups will be multi-use as well. Great for sipping my breakfast tea from, but also wonderful for small flower arrangements! The teacups are by Darice and this appears to be a popular pattern. You know I have a love for butterflies, so these items are right up my alley!

Just as tucking a shirt can increase the overall effect of clothing style, using pretty teacups and towels can add to the effect of a lovely tablescape or kitchen style. It's all about noticing how little things can have big effects! 

So, tell me....do you tuck or untuck? And what is your opinion of teacups? Do you love butterflies like I do? Do take a moment to share. I love hearing from you!

Until Next Time,

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Blue Plaid Shirt

Shopping At The Tractor Store

Not a sponsored or gifted post. 

Hey Everyone! Today I'm styling a blue plaid flannel shirt purchased at the Tractor Supply Co. As you know, I don't let shopping for clothes in odd places stand in my way. I have previously shared clothing purchased at drugstores, so why not the Tractor Supply store? Never let it be said I don't bring you unique places to shop!!

When the Mr. took me to this store before Christmas to pick out some Trisha Yearwood decor items, I didn't even know that Tractor Supply sold clothing. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they carry quite a large range of comfortable and stylish clothing for women! I always enjoy wearing warm, comfortable flannel shirts like this one. It can be worn over pants as you see here, tucked in at the waist or worn under a sweater. 

This shirt by Bit & Bridle is 100% cotton and is good quality with a woman's fit. I paired it with an aqua blue tee underneath for more warmth and a bit of color contrast. I actually ended up purchasing two shirts from this store and I'll style the other one for you in another post. 

I must say that this is a typical "Debbie look" now for me in retirement. I love the ease and comfort of wearing comfy clothes, pants and shoes and adding just a touch of bling, like the blue earrings I'm wearing. If you are looking for an equally comfy look you might want to browse a bit at the Tractor Supply Company!

Do you love flannel like I do? Hope you'll leave a comment. I love hearing from you. 

Until Next Time,

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Good Reads and A Few Snowmen

Book Recommendations and Snowmen Decor

I hope your 2019 is off to a great start! I'm sharing some things I think you will enjoy in this first post of the new year. I got sidelined by a bad cold/sinusitus right before the New Year so haven't felt like posting until now. If you missed my end of year blog recap and my new 2019 word for the year post from last week, you can catch up here

Since I've been laying around a lot this past week I have had plenty of time to read! I have enjoyed these two books so much. Rhys Bowen is an author that I have shared with you before. This 2017 title, "On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service," certainly did not disappoint. Bowen writes several series and this is part of her Royal Spyness series. This series is set in the 1930's and features Georgianna, a poor relation to the Queen of England. Although she is 35th in line to the throne, the Queen often calls on her to do a little spying and Georgianna always finds herself embroiled in a murder mystery. Luckily her beloved, Darcy, believed to work for British Intelligence, always comes to her rescue at just the right moment. I've read a few books in this series and found this one to be my favorite so far. Rhys Bowen also does a great job incorporating the history of the pre-WWII era into the story. 

A new author to me is Jacqueline Winspear, author of the Maisie Dobbs mysteries. Her series was recommended to me by my friend, Sharon, and I found, "Birds of A Feather," at a local used bookstore. Also set in the 1930's this book finds Maisie working to find a missing heiress only to discover that a series of murders may be connected to the missing woman. I missed reading the first book in this series, which gives a lot of background info about Maisie's early life and upbringing and her role in WW I, however, Winspear does a great job of filling in the blanks in this book so I didn't feel out of the loop at all with how Maisie came to use psychology in her role as a detective. Several side stories add to the enjoyment of this book such as the post war issues her assistant, Billy Beale, is dealing with as well as her relationships with the Inspector and her father. 

I am so delighted to have found a new series to read with Maisie Dobbs and to have renewed my interest in The Royal Spyness series and I highly recommend these books to you, too! Let me know if you give them a try! Now, how about a little snowman decor?

In anticipation of my 2019 word, Simplicity, I decided to keep it simple with winter decor this year. So, I kept a few of my most favorite, and small, snowmen and took the rest to Goodwill. The upper foyer table holds three jolly snowmen and a new piece that I thought would work well for winter. It is a vintage spice can topped with snow, a bottle brush tree and two sweet deer. I added a wooden snowflake in front of the can for good measure. 

The lower foyer table holds another snowman, my winter bears and a wooden mitten that says, "Let It Snow." My wooden sign says, "Home Is Where They Love You" and was a retirement gift from the art teacher at a school where I taught. 

The lower shelf holds my white snow deer and to the right is a snowman box that was part of a Christmas gift we received. I think the box could use something in it, but I haven't received inspiration for that yet. Can't say I love the wall vent shining through the table either, but you work with what you have, you know?!

Our side table in the living room holds an assortment of wintry items in white. This little display is my favorite! The sparkly Let It Snow sign and the polar bear snow globe have been displayed in previous years as have the clear dishes filled with small battery operated candles. I made the little rectangular snowflake sign by painting the wood and adding glittery snowflake stickers. The mesh candle holder was a gift from the Mr. that I picked out at the Tractor SupplyStore. They carry a line of home decor that I like by Trisha Yearwood and this is one of her designs. I added a large flameless candle and it is so pretty when all of the candles are flickering with all of the white in the background. A lovely winter scene! If you would like to browse the Trisha Yearwood decor you can check out the link here. I did a little more shopping at the Tractor Supply Store (including clothes) and will share that with you in some upcoming posts. Hope you have a great week ahead and please leave a comment. Read any good books? Adding some winter decor? 

Until Next Time,

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Good-bye 2018 and One Perfect Word 2019

Looking Back and Moving Forward

“For last year's words belong to last year's language 
And next year's words await another voice.” 
― T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

Happy New Year, dear readers, and welcome to 2019! 

I know I'm just a hair early with the New Year wishes but I'm anxious to welcome 2019 in and begin living more with simplicity, which is my one perfect word for the new year! I'm excited to see where I find this word living in my life in the coming year. It is a word that I actually began to notice and pay attention to back in September when I went on my annual weekend retreat with my group of amazing ladies that I meet with monthly to pray together, share life and support one another. One of our leaders gave us a sheet of words about growing in faith to ponder and see which ones spoke to us in some way. Simplicity seemed to really grab my attention and I began researching about how simplicity applies in the Christian faith and with life in general. Life can get hectic and complicated at times, or at least it seems that way to me, and, frankly, I'm ready for a little more simplicity. How about you? 

But first, a little recap of how this last year has gone on the blog and personally. 2018 has brought some challenges on both a blogging and a personal level. This is the year that I changed my blog name back to the original debbiethisandthat blogspot name and then to the new name of Debbie Styles Life. In retrospect, I realize that these changes came as a sort of "whiplash reaction" to fears over the new GDPR European Union rules that went into affect in May of 2018. I also now realize that I didn't need to be as worried about all of these changes as I was at the time. But, after reading blog after blog announcing these changes and asking "are you ready for the GDPR compliance?" I got a little nervous and felt like I had to make changes. So, that is when I went back to using my blogspot name so my blog could be completely under the Blogger platform. Then, about the time I was ready to go back to my original dot com domain with debbie this and that I found that someone else had bought the name! I realize that we're just talking about a blog name, but that was really a hard blow for me. I had spent three years of my life working on my blog as debbie this and that and I just couldn't imagine identifying blog-wise with another name! 

You may recall that I chose four words as my perfect words for last year. One of those words was "chance." So, I decided to take a chance with a new blog name, thus debbiestyleslife.com was born! It's taken me awhile to adjust to this name, but I now realize that this name is the perfect blog name for me and my blog. Styling life is exactly how I approach living whether I am decorating my home, cooking meals, choosing clothing, being a friend and family member or growing in my faith. We all have a "style" that we use to approach life. So, I now realize that my unfounded worries over GDPR compliance simply served as an impetus for timely change on my blog! And, I am thankful for these changes and so many other blessings in my life!

Another of my four perfect words for 2018 was "thankful." I am so very thankful for healing of health issues within my family this year and on a personal level. I won't lie, folks, it's been a tough year for me and for my family health-wise. Between my husband's family and my family we have had all manner of surgeries for heart, kidneys, eyes and breast as well as illnesses related to heart, lungs, edema, sepsis, pneumonia and flu. On a personal level, I have struggled with shoulder pain issues related to frozen shoulder/impingement and experienced a broken rib which led to tests which uncovered other issues. Pain has been the name of the game for me this 2018 and I won't be sorry to see its backside! But, in all of this, my concerns and worries with family and my own health issues, God has been so faithful to comfort, heal and assure me, and others in my family, that we don't walk alone in this life. And for that, and many other blessings, I am so thankful! 

2018 was the year when I turned 60 and this milestone for me has caused much introspection and joy! Yes, it's a wonderful thing to be 60 and to look back on 60 years of life and to experience gratitude for the many blessings that have come. Granted, not everything in those 60 years has been joyful, but, even in the tough times, there has been love and laughter and God's grace, yes even when tears were falling. I am thankful for 60 wonderful years and look forward to many new adventures in future years!

My other two perfect words for 2018 were music and commitment. I found my pull to these words interesting and, when they came to me, I had no idea how they would play a part in my life. For a couple of years I had been helping out from time to time with the handbell choir at my church. Just ringing on an as-needed basis and doing some occasional directing of handbells and the chancel choir. I was even offered the job of directing handbells at the end of 2017 and ended up declining for several reasons. It just didn't feel right at the time. However, when our church music director resigned in October of this year to move North, I was again offered the position of handbell director and, this time, I felt it was the right time to make this commitment! Bell ringing and directing give me so much joy! And, this aspect of life was so very unexpected! Had you told me a few years ago that I would get such a kick out of ringing and directing the handbell choir I would not have believed you. But, God knew, and that is what makes ringing and directing so special to me. His plans are always so much better than our plans! Handbells suit me musically in so many ways that I won't bore you trying to describe. And, using my music and the knowledge gained from my music degree earned years ago is gratifying and satisfying to me, as well. 

But, going into this New Year of 2019, there is just one one perfect word. Simplicity. I like the sound of it. The way it rolls off the tongue. I'm eager to begin the adventure of simplicity. I wonder what I will be writing about this word next year at this time, God willing?

So, that's my blog recap for 2018. I cannot leave the old year behind and welcome the new without sending heartfelt thanks to you, my dear readers. Without you, this blog would be quite lonely. I cherish each one of you and hope that 2019 brings only good things to each of you! 

I've come to accept that being a small-time blogger is where I'm meant to be at this time. I hope numbers continue to grow. As each new reader finds me and introduces themselves to me through comments I feel so happy. If you like what you read here, pass on my blog address to others. And, please let me know what you have enjoyed reading about on the blog in the past and what you would like to read about in the future. I love hearing from you!

Happy New Year!

  • 1 Chronicles 16:11-12. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
  • 1 Chronicles 16:8. A blessing for you, because the Lord your God loves you.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Creativity With Zendoodling Art

What Is Zendoodle?

Looking for a relaxing way to use your creativity and produce something pretty that is your own design? Zendoodling may be the answer! I was first introduced to Zendoodling a few months ago when a friend and I attended a class at our local library about Zendoodle. It is an art form that is distantly related to Zentangle and you can look online to find all sorts of info about each of these terms. In my own words, I would explain Zendoodling this way. You take a mostly empty shape or picture and embellish it with repeated doodle shapes. The doodling can be left black and white or you can add color if you wish. In the Zendoodle above, which I worked on at a Fall retreat, I added circles, hearts, music notes, dots and straight and squiggly lines and just added a bit of blue to the center. I decided to frame this particular piece, but you can just do it for fun and not worry about framing. Zendoodling is meant to be relaxing and fun, so worries about perfection in artistry are left at the door!

This is another Zendoodle that I worked on recently. I looked online for free printable winter/holiday coloring pictures and printed the ones I thought were "empty" enough for my doodling. 

This is what the coloring sheet looked like before I added my doodling. 

I also doodled this candy cane. 

And this is what it looked like before the doodling. Since I don't consider myself a good drawing artist, this is the perfect art form for me! I simply add my own doodles and create whatever shapes, squiggles, etc. I want to add to the  picture! I find Zendoodle to be quite relaxing and easy to do. And, perhaps you would enjoy trying it too!

As, I mentioned, there is lots of info online about Zendoodling and also Zentangle. I don't claim to be an expert, but I have taken what I learned at the library class and rolled with it! My understanding of Zentangle is that you start with a sort of square shape and add three points that you connect to create all sorts of interesting shapes. I haven't tried any Zentangle yet, but some of the online examples are beautiful and quite intricate! The important part of Zendoodle for me, however, is the relaxation part of the doodling. My mind relaxes while I doodle and time passes very quickly and calmly. A good thing!

I sure hope you had a good Christmas day, dear reader! Ours was very low-key. I'll be transitioning to snowman/winter decor in the next week or so and will share that with you in a future post. I hope, though, that you will join me for this Sunday's post as I do a little reflection/blog recap of my thoughts about 2018 and will also reveal my "one perfect word" for 2019. Until then, have a great weekend and keep on doodling!

Until Next Time,