Gift Ideas Under $20

With only a couple of weeks left until Christmas, I have been busy finishing up my holiday shopping.  I still have a few gifts to buy for friends, teachers, co-workers, etc.  But I’m all set and now so are you. I have compiled a list of some of my favorite gifts and they are all under $20.


The Criss Cross Minimergency Kit includes 17 items to solve everything from a hair crises to a chipped nail.  Some of the must have items included are hair bands, double sided tape, earring backings and more. It’s small and compact and can fit right in your handbag. $15.99  The Container Store



The PocketMonkey is not only cute, he’s useful to have around. This little guy is a 12-in-one utility tool that’s thin enough to fit in a wallet’s credit card slot.  It boasts 3 screwdrivers, hex wrenches, a bottle opener, a ruler and more. People who have purchased this have come up with even more uses for it.  Best part, it comes in a pack of 2. Buy one for a friend and keep one for yourself.  $19.95  The Grommet



Coloring Books for Grownups are one of my new favorite obsessions. I have loved to color since I was a child and these new style coloring books are sophisticated and beautiful. I prefer to color flowers and mandalas, but there is truly something for everyone. $5.99 and up  Michaels


gallery-1448390173-outdoor-bookHow to Split Wood has to be one of the coolest books I have ever picked up.  You can spend hours reading through tasks such as brewing the perfect cup of coffee, fording a stream and reading the sky. Once you pick it up you can’t put it down. $18.34  Amazon



Brooklyn Candle Studio Soy Travel Candles are absolutely my favorite candle line these days. The scents are pure without being overwhelming and they burn so clean and evenly.  So much care goes into the making of each one as they are all hand poured in small batches. $14  A Fine Feathered Nest





My Home on the Holiday House Tour

Just as soon as Halloween comes to a close, I’m ready to start decorating for the holidays. Truth be told, I would leave the holiday decorations up all year if it wouldn’t annoy my family.

Every year, I put a great deal of thought and energy into creating a new holiday design for my home. I always have a formal tree in our Living Room and if I’m feeling particularly ambitious there may be a tree in the family room and another in the finished basement. The staircase and mantle always coordinate with the trees.

Several years ago, before the house makeover, I had the honor of being on our town’s Holiday House Tour. I was excited for the chance to share my home with others and decorate to my hearts content. Here are some photos…

xmas tour family room   xmas tour fam rm2

This is the family room, sans makeover. This was a fun tree to decorate as it contained a great deal of special ornaments. Some had been passed down  to me and others I have collected to commemorate special moments.  I enjoy going through the boxes and recalling special moments as I placed each of the ornaments on the tree. To tie the look together, I added pretty bows and a matching tree skirt.

xmas tour lr edited            xmas tour LR tree edit

I always do something more formal in the Living Room.  This is my favorite room in the house.  We spend many hours gathered around the piano either listening to my husband play or singing along to the hundreds of song books we have.  This particular year, the tree was done up with gold and ivory ornaments.  A gorgeous green ribbon ran through it as well as formed a bow at the top.

xmas tour candy tree         xmas tour candy tree2

The third tree was in our basement. I let my son choose the theme and he suggested candy. So, that’s what I did.  I covered the entire tree in real candy.  Candy buttons, candy cones, lollipops, gummy rings, rock candy and more filled the tree and left the sweetest scent.  I filled in areas with colored tissue paper and also used it to create a tree skirt.  Slowly, over the course of a few weeks, the wrapped candy began to disappear.  My son insisted it was a mouse.

I have recently started working on my home for this coming Christmas.  I’ll be sure to post soon.