Month: December 2017

Christmas Greetings + Weekend Reading

Hello my friends and Merry Christmas to you! The last 48 hours have been so much fun! Last night a group of us shared a seafood dinner in Sausalito overlooking the San Francisco Bay and city skyline. Christmas morning is always joyful, handing out thoughtful gifts to family members. I’m taking a long walk with my best friend today, then this evening we’re going out to a local restaurant owned by a friend, it’s where we dine every Christmas.

2017 was an amazing year, I faced some hardships with the devastating wildfires, and some friends received difficult diagnoses with their health. However, as I look back on the year I choose to focus on the good times, the laughter, the travels, the memories. I’m taking the week off to relax with friends and recharge for 2018. Wishing you all much happiness in this final week of the year.

Favorite links:


This is such a pretty green and gold table setting.

So charming, Christmas in a camper!

Home decor trends of 2017.

I just love these striped oars.

Sweden’s approach to “outdoor parenting”.

Yes! Lessons from the biggest hit of the year.

Giving up everything to travel.

Very cool adventure photos.

Tired of Monopoly? Alternative board games to play.

Facebook acknowledges social media may be bad for us.

The 50 “best” places to travel next year.

For winter, I bought this highly rated parka for half off.

Made me laugh: “a tropical oasis”.

This video is a great reminder of all the little things to be grateful for.


from Home Improvement

Holiday Ready Dining Room

This is a sponsored post by the maker of Orange Glo™ cleaning products.  I received compensation and/or a free sample for this review but the opinions are 100% my own.

With so much to consider during the holiday season, one way I like to be prepared for entertaining is by keeping my dining room holiday ready. I find if I can keep just the living room and dining room prepped and ready in advance, it takes a lot of the pressure off of me and gives me extra time to take care of all the extra obligations this time of year.

In autumn and in anticipation of the holidays, I made a few changes to the space, swapping out the old light fixture and curtains with newer pieces. I have two dining hutches, a built in and also a freestanding one, where I I store all the things I use to decorate and entertain throughout the year.

As you know, I love white and bright spaces in my home, but in the dining room I love the cozy feel captured by mixed dark and light wood tones.



Having recently invested in refinishing the hardwood floors, I’m taking extra care in keeping them clean and preserving their beauty. I was invited by the maker of Orange Glo™ cleaning products to share how I get my home ready for the holidays, and my dining room is the perfect place to demonstrate.


Clean  & Polished Surfaces

My floors have a darker stain that I love but to keep them clean and glowing. I need to give them a quick sweep everyday and I’m loving the fresh smell of the Hardwood Floor Everyday Cleaner. I do this while I return a phone call or listen to a favorite podcast for a few minutes before carpool.

The wood cabinetry is ten years old and the hutch is 15 years old. They don’t require daily cleaning, but I restore their natural beauty with a weekly wipe down of 2-in-1 Clean & Polish spray.




Layer Festive Greenery & Ornaments

During the year I rarely keep the table set, but during the holidays I like to, simply because I’ve added sparkly things around the house so why ignore the dining room table? I’m not a big believer in themed linens or dinnerware, I prefer to invest in placemats and dishes that I can use throughout the year. Add a botanical napkin wrapped in a gold ribbon “belt” to the plates, then fresh eucalyptus with ornaments nestled inside and voila, a fragrant and long lasting organic table runner.

When the weather is cold outside and the house glows with twinkle lights, that’s the time I want friends gathered around drinking wine and sharing stories.




Vary the Lighting

A warm and welcoming atmosphere is one I crave most of all. Candles and twinkle lights always do the trick! With both, it’s easy to create a mood where you can dim the light fixtures to create ambiance so guests relax and linger around the table.







Wherever you have wood in your home, be it your dining room, living room, or bedroom, look to Orange Glo™ cleaning products to be holiday ready! They’re available at your local Walmart or Home Depot store.

*This post brought to you in partnership with the maker of Orange Glo™ cleaning products and their line of fresh smelling clean and polish products for your floors and furniture. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog! All opinions are mine.

Wishing you all the happiest of holidays!!

from Home Improvement

Merry Christmas!

The tree is up, the garland is draped over our banister, and the fireplace mantle decoration is a little lacking. It’s Christmas, 2017 style! Mostly good, but with some disappointments. Such is life!

(Honestly, the home feels warm and cozy, and will even more so when friends and family arrive.)

Oh Christmas Tree! (Making it Lovely's Library for Christmas)

Things are very much as they were last year. A few new ornaments that the kids made are on the tree, but the rest are the same. The background has changed slightly, as we have our lovely rugs in the double parlor and custom pink linen curtains behind the tree. I am planning to have a custom curved curtain rod made for that bow window, so the too-slender rods that are there now are only temporary, but the effect is still so pretty.

The presents under the tree are looking cute too. White wrapping paper with gold foil (Sugar Paper sent some over and I liked it so much I went and bought some more) plus ribbon in various widths and shades of pink, coral, and red complete the scheme.

Christmas in the Lovely Victorian Library | Making it Lovely

The library doesn’t need much more for Christmas, but I do tuck a some greenery and berries on top of the secretary on the other side of the room.

Things Will Work Out

The stairs look as they usually do this time of year. They’re at their best for Christmas.

Victorian Oak Staircase Banister with Christmas Garland | Making it Lovely

The fireplace, well. I was trying to work with the decorations we already had, but also to come up with something I haven’t shown before. If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen the earlier incarnation in my Stories: white bottle brush trees a’plenty. I took them all away, changed it up to some greenery and my peacock, and called it a day. It’s a peacock forest scene? Not my best work, but what I really had in mind needed a beautiful, huge mirror.

Christmas Peacock

This was the vision.

Christmas Fireplace Mockup

Still weird, but a prettier weird. So I think a giant Louis-Philippe-style mirror is in our future? Time to make that fireplace really shine like I should have from the start. (Not just for Christmas, obviously. The mirror will be a welcome year-round addition.)

And then outside the house looks like this. Hey there, roofers!

Patching the Roof on a Leaky Victorian Turret

We have some house stuff to discuss, but that’s a story for another day.

Merry Christmas!

© 2017, published by Making it Lovely as Merry Christmas! | No comments | This post may contains affiliate links; I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

The post Merry Christmas! appeared first on Making it Lovely.

from Home Improvement

Happy holidays!

Christmas is just few days away and I have only bought a handful of presents… The time is running fast and so much to do before I can switch off the computer and the studio for the holidays!

December has been such a busy month and I can only thank you all for your amazing support. Honestly I feel so grateful every time we receive a new order, knowing that one of our print, paper cut or box will be looked after in a loving home.

It’s only 4pm and it’s already getting dark here in Amsterdam, but the fairy lights are shinning in the shops and on the street. It’s so festive!

I wish you all a wonderful time with your loved ones.

Happy holidays!

Julie XX

Little Christmas icons I made with Lucien, to turn into a little garland to hang in front of the window.


from Home Improvement

Simple & Natural Christmas

Christmas greetings from my house to yours! I’ve teamed up with a handful of bloggers this week, we’re sharing pictures of our homes decorated for the holidays.

Other than the birch trees mentioned here, I didn’t buy any new holiday decor this year. I’ve reached that saturation point where I have enough stuff and don’t want to accumulate anymore so I just reuse what I already have, in new ways. I pulled out old favorites from the bins in storage and scattered them around the house.

I ran into a friend at a holiday gathering last weekend, he’s a florist and I asked him to get several bunches of eucalyptus for me when he went to the flower market in San Francisco. He obliged and a few days later I had so much of it I could layer it everywhere. So in additional to traditional fir and cedar, fresh eucalyptus also makes an appearance in my simple and natural approach to decorating this season.



Welcome to another holiday tour of my home where I’ve decked the halls with fresh greenery, simple ribbons, and a few sparkly things too.





















Don’t miss these other home tours from my fellow bloggers!

Just a Girl     Home Stories A to Z   Honey We’re Home
Tatertots and Jello   Hi Sugarplum    A Thoughtful Place
Not Just a Housewife      Pretty Handy Girl
The Inspired Room    320 Sycamore    Thrifty Decor Chic

from Home Improvement

Our Dining Room, Set for Christmas

Our old metal dining chairs were great for kids. Indestructible and easy to clean! So what did I replace them with? Wooden chairs with easily stained beige upholstery seats. Brilliant!

(I don’t intend to keep the stock fabric on them forever. Keep reading.)

Someone spotted the new chairs in a recent post, but here they are in full.

I had been saving up for a long time for new dining chairs and I’d had my eye on either Noir’s Abacus or Redford House’s Abigail. Noir discontinued the Abacus dining chairs earlier this year though, and before I could get them quickly enough at the clearance price, they were gone. But then I found these on Overstock.

And then I realized that the manufacturer, Baxton Studio, has two outlets — both in Chicago. I was able to get the chairs for just a little over $100 each while they were having a big sale.

Dining Chairs with Traditional Details

Until I can get some more kid-friendly fabric on there, I bought a couple of these waterproof dining chair covers to protect the kids’ seats. They blend well and aren’t terribly noticeable (and they really work). The seats are not the easy to recover kind that are just screwed on, and I’d like to replace the nailhead detail with piping. They’ll need a trip to the reupholsterer when I’m ready for a change.

The table is set with with Ballard Designs’ Jacqueline dinnerware. I photographed the dining room for a holiday campaign they’re running, and I was able to chose a bunch of my favorite pieces to shoot and keep. We always host Christmas dinner, so this is what our table will look like this year! The cups and saucers will be especially cute when we have coffee with dessert.

A few things are no longer available, but here are the direct links to everything I used from Ballard Designs (and a near match for the vintage silver candle holders on the table, too).

Ballard Designs Holiday 2017 Christmas Tabletop

I have so many ideas in mind for where this room could go! I’m loving the mix of traditional/Victorian with more modern and unexpected touches throughout the rest of the house, but I’ve yet to really bring that in here. The new chairs are a great start.

© 2017, published by Making it Lovely as Our Dining Room, Set for Christmas | No comments | This post may contains affiliate links; I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

The post Our Dining Room, Set for Christmas appeared first on Making it Lovely.

from Home Improvement

DIY Picture Frame Molding

I decided to make a few changes in my living room right in the middle of the holiday season. 🙂 I swapped the old sconces and chandeliers for more modern brass fixtures. I also painted the walls white and added picture frame molding to the top half of the walls, above where I installed picture frame wainscoting way back in 2010.



I wanted to highlight some of the art groupings in my living room and also hang some new art as well. To highlight the artwork, I thought I’d paint the walls white so that the art takes the spotlight, and also surround it with the same thin curved trim that sits on the wainscoting down below.

I’ve partnered with Arrow Fastener tools to show you just how easy it is to add architectural detail with simple molding. You can also add trim to ceilings or doors to add dimension or pattern, and it’s easy to do with the Arrow Fastener Electric Brad Nailer.



To add interest to your walls, ceilings, or doors, arm yourself with the Electric Brad Nailer, then head on down to the home improvement store to select trim. I found my pre-primed wood trim at Lowe’s, they have a great selection for projects like this.



I used 1 ½” curved balsam wood for this wall molding project.



I used the same Electric Brad Nailer that I used to build this DIY tiered plant stand. It’s super easy to load, and accepts multiple sizes of brad nails. Plug it in and off you go. Bam bam bam, new trim everywhere!


To add picture frame molding, measure out your rectangles on the wall, then cut 45 degree angles using a miter box or miter saw.



Attach the first corner to the wall with one nail. Use a level to make sure your molding is perfectly straight, then secure the middle and remaining ends of the pieces with the brad nailer to create a full rectangle.


The brad nails may leave small indentations, so cover them up and fill those imperfections with spackling.


Once dry, paint the new picture frame molding the same color as your wall paint.


Step back and enjoy your new architectural detail!

I added four new rectangular frames to my living room, the first on the wall next to the fireplace where I rotate art throughout the year.


Behind the sofa (which I moved out of the way for this image) I keep the same artwork, all special for various reasons, either inherited or acquired through travel.


I also added two more pieces of abstract art from an artist I’ve long admired, Nancy Knight. I’ve loved her ethereal landscapes for a long time, and now I have these two hanging on either side of the window in my living room.




I love the simplicity of the art framed in black, surrounded by the picture frame molding. Exactly what I’ve always wanted.



I’ll have more holiday home photographs to share on Wednesday!


*This post brought to you in partnership with Arrow Fastener tools. Check out their staple guns and get creative in your home too! All opinions are mine.

from Home Improvement

How I Choose A Rug

My stepdaughter lives in San Diego while she’s in nursing school. To soften the terra cotta tile floor in her rental and as a layer under her small navy blue sofa, I shipped her this simple coastal striped rug from Overstock.

Overstock has been a go-to site for me for years for stylish affordable decor, I’ve purchased soooo many things from that site over the years: rugs, light fixtures, faucets, kitchen hardware, furniture, etc.

I was happy to learn about Club O Rewards, the membership based loyalty rewards program offered at Overstock. Customers enrolled in the program receive free shipping on every order, and at least 5 percent in reward dollars for all purchases, and up to 20 percent in reward dollars on hundreds of select products.

Out of curiosity, I totaled up my purchases from Overstock in the last year, and the 5% I could have earned in rewards being a Club O member was way more than the $19.95 annual fee. So I signed up for Club O Rewards to not miss out on future benefits. If the total amount of my rewards for a year is not equal to the cost of the membership, the difference will be automatically added to my account when I renew the next year. But since I shop there so much I have no doubt I’ll get my money’s worth. 🙂

As a long time customer, today I partnered with Overstock to talk about how I choose an area rug when I’m styling a space. First, I imagine a particular style that will complement the décor. Next, I narrow it down to the rugs that have quality, durability, an affordable price, and a good review. I’m always looking for a bargain, but the rug has to look good, feel good, and stand up to wear and tear.

When shopping for a rug online, my rug choices default into one of three categories: a classic stripe, a subtle pattern, or a no fail neutral. If you’re ever nervous about what style of rug to buy, my advice is to choose one of these three.

Simple Stripes

I bought a wide stripe green rug from Overstock for my rear courtyard last year, I loved it! The rug was soft, the quality was excellent and the color divine. It lasted through two summers in direct sunlight, and at such a great price.

Stripes are classic and never go out of style. It’s a universal truth, you can never go wrong with a simple or bold striped rug !


melun flatweat wool stripe


Subtle Pattern

Earlier this year I pulled together a family room for veterans for my local Committee on the Shelterless, and in that space I added this gorgeous blue rug from Overstock because it provided a dose of deep blue and also a subtle pattern underneath.

This is one of the easiest ways to choose a rug: pick a color that you’d like to repeat a few times in any space and then find a rug with a subtle pattern in that color to add interest underfoot. I especially love rugs with mottled patterns that mimic the look of old world textiles.

vintage blue

persian pink

williamsburg distressed

Basic geometric patterns in small scale with a simple repeat are another great option in the subtle pattern category. On top you’re free to layer bolder patterns with textiles in larger scale or busier patterns.

flatweave cotton trellis



No Fail Neutrals

But who says you always need pattern or color? If it’s a practical runner or just softness you seek, a basic neutral rug is a no fail solution.

paris shag

mohawk cream


Hop on over to Club O to check out the perks of being a member. If you’re active or retired military, a student or a first responder like a firefighter or emergency medical technician, your membership is free! Club O rewards never expire, and are available to use toward any item on With your membership you’ll receive 5% rewards on all purchases, free shipping on all orders, and up to 20% rewards on select products. Check it out!

*This post brought to you in partnership with Overstock and their Club O Rewards program. I’m a long time shopper and love their products and service, all opinions as always are my own!

from Home Improvement

Free gift wrapping for all your orders!

To save you time on your last minute Christmas shopping we’re offering to wrap all your orders for FREE.You can also add a pretty card with a note, just let us know when you place the order.
Your presents will be ready to go straight under the Christmas tree!


And to make it easier, we have selected some very special gift pack!


from Home Improvement

My Sims 4 Pink Victorian House

It’s a mix of twee and cute with creepy and sinister elements. Much like my own house, hey-o!

The Sims 4 Pink Victorian House with Wraparound Front Porch, Making it Lovely

A few of you had asked to see my Sims house when I shared our 2017 video games recommendations, and I’m happy to oblige. I’ve shared my Animal Crossing home before, but the building mechanics here are so much more open, meaning I could make a much more interesting and true-to-life house!

This one isn’t completely ‘done’ since it’s my active household. As my family makes more money, I remodel and add on. The social interactions and leveling up of abilities in the The Sims 4 are fun, but I play the game as a big virtual dollhouse and the building/decorating aspect is my favorite part.

Living and Dining Room — Sims4 Pink Victorian House, Making it Lovely

Dining Room — Sims 4 Pink Victorian House, Making it Lovely

The living and dining room are open to each other, and the kitchen is at the rear of the house.

Kitchen — Sims 4 Pink Victorian House, Making it Lovely

Kitchen and Back Door — Sims 4 Pink Victorian House, Making it Lovely

There’s a back door that leads out to a porch and the yard.

The Backyard— Sims 4 Pink Victorian House, Making it Lovely

Back inside on the first floor, there’s a hallway with a bookshelf at the end, leading to the first floor bathroom on one side, and an art studio on the other.

Main Level Floor Plan — Sims 4 Pink Victorian House, Making it Lovely

1st Floor Hallway — Sims 4 Pink Victorian House, Making it Lovely

Victorian Bathroom — Sims 4 Pink Victorian House, Making it Lovely

There are two more bathrooms on the second floor that look very similar, so I’ll just show the one.

The art studio! Ah, this is my fantasy. Painting in my jammies while my well-behaved toddler dances cutely beside me. (So close to real life.)

Painting in the Art Studio — Sims 4 Pink Victorian House, Making it Lovely

Art and Painting Studio — Sims 4 Pink Victorian House, Making it Lovely

You can see from the floor plan that there are stairs heading down to the basement. It’s mostly empty down there for now. Then I learned how to make the attic usable while building a different house, so I did the same to this one. The exterior is a tiny bit different from these screenshots since I popped up the room along the sides with their Victorian dormers.

1st Floor Overview — Sims 4 Pink Victorian House, Making it Lovely

Stairs — Sims 4 Pink Victorian House, Making it Lovely

Basement — Sims4 Pink Victorian House, Making it Lovely

Up to the second floor! Three bedrooms, two baths.

Master Bedroom — Sims 4 Pink Victorian House, Making it Lovely

2nd Floor Overview — Sims 4 Pink Victorian House, Making it Lovely

Kid's Bedroom — Sims 4 Pink Victorian House, Making it Lovely

Toddler Twins' Bedroom — Sims 4 Pink Victorian House, Making it Lovely

I wish I could upload this to a sharing gallery, but I’m playing on our Xbox and they don’t have that feature. It also means that my builds have no CC, just base game, Vampires, and Vintage Glamour Stuff content. (I have zero interest in playing as a vampire but the furniture and decorations are the best.)

I hope it’s still fun to see though, even if it can’t be added to your Sims’ town. (And even if you don’t play The Sims!)

The Sims 4 Pink Victorian House with Wraparound Front Porch, Making it Lovely

© 2017, published by Making it Lovely as My Sims 4 Pink Victorian House | One comment | This post may contains affiliate links; I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

The post My Sims 4 Pink Victorian House appeared first on Making it Lovely.

from Home Improvement