Decorating With Real or Painted Birch Trees.

There is something so beautiful about a tree bark that is white, orange and peeling!  
Enter, the BIRCH TREE.

If you remember, last year I had a landscape friend that collected birch wood for me while he was cleaning up a site.  I ended up stacking it by my fireplace and by the front door.  What an easy way to add a rustic, warm and woodsy feel to a home.

Here it is just stacked by my front door.  EASY!

I also have stacked it in a's a fun different look.

When I ran across this birch bed, I knew I'd have to do another birch post!  I love the natural monochromatic feel of this bedroom.  (and then a pretty little dash of pink in the flowers!)

I have also thought, painting birch trees as an accent would be a very nice addition to any home.  Here are a few examples:

I know this is more a cherry tree than a birch, but I still loved it :-)

House and Home

Or how about stenciling on some birch trees to the front of a dresser?

What do you think of this birch coffee table? I think I would have stained the bottom wood piece a nice deep mahogany color but it's a pretty fun item of furniture.  Better Homes and Garden has a full tutorial on how to make one yourself - it even didn't look too hard!

There you have it!  Lots of great birch ideas.  

Next time you talk to your landscape friend, ask them to save you a few logs!

Using Graphic Letters in Home Decor and Fun Christmas Cards

Using letters in decor has always been a great way to add a custom touch to your home.

Isn't this Christmas mantel sweet using the decoupaged "O Come" letters!  Of course, you guys know I love the old door used on top of the mantel too! (Anything old = full of character to me!)

the house of belonging

Making your own letter decor is EASY!

All you need to do is buy some plain letters at your home craft store, draw an outline of them on top of ANY fun scrapbook paper and then use mod podge (a glue/water type mixture) to decoupage (attach) them onto the letters - SIMPLE!

OR try using FABRIC (and ribbon) to decoupage letters too!  You can see this full fabric letter decoupage tutorial on another post of mine.

If you are very ambitious, make your OWN letters out of wood or metal!

 I like how BOLD this lettering sure makes a statement in that home!
(along with the acrylic moon seat LOL)

JULEP Blog (photo by Seth Smoot)

What about putting your last name initial on your Christmas wreath?   It really makes the wreath stand apart and personalizes it!

Creative Ideas for You

Talking about Christmas.....

Tell me, is this not the BEST CHRISTMAS CARD EVER!  Just makes me laugh!

And on a serious note..... :-)

I LOVE this Christmas Card!

I know it requires some photoshop knowledge but just capture a good picture of your family on a sled and away you go!

Minted, a custom Christmas card company gave me some credit to use on their all I have to do is collect some pictures and make the card! (Simpler said than done - hahahaha!)

Have a WONDERFUL weekend friends!!!

Sponsored by - please see my full disclosure policy

Easy Holiday Appetizer Ideas

If you are like me, I'm ALWAYS looking for easy appetizer ideas for when friends or family come over to visit.  

I had the pleasure of John WM Macy Cheesestick company sending me a bunch of samples to try.  I really liked the fact that they were baked (not fried) and didn't contain any artificial ingredients or preservatives.

They were really good! (especially the sweet sticks, you could just set out a bowl of them next to the coffee pot!)

 I liked that they were a PERFECT combination to classy up any type of dip.

My favorite EASY dip to bring to a holiday gathering is a block (or ball) of cream cheese with a red pepper jelly poured over the top.  It looks pretty and tastes amazing.  Pair it with the bread cheesesticks and you got yourself the nicest looking (easy) holiday appetizer!

Cream cheese, red pepper jelly and CheeseSticks (very similar to fancy breadsticks)

Doesn't that just say HOLIDAY!

Or how about making this Greek Salad Snack Dip
It's EASY!

1 box John Wm Macy’s Melting Parmesan CheeseSticks
8-ounce container sour cream
1/2 pound crumbled Feta cheese
Drained and chopped sun-dried tomatoes
Finely chopped cucumber, basil & olives (to your taste)

Mix all ingredients except CheeseSticks and season to taste. Chill overnight. Before serving sprinkle with fresh parsley or chopped chives over the top and don’t stir!
Serve with CheeseSticks on the side and maybe a couple sticking up from the dip.  This will look as beautiful as it tastes.

Another easy but classy appetizer is putting fun ingredients on top of a cracker and set it on a nice serving platter.
 (This is their cheesecrisps)


1 box John Wm Macy’s Cheddar & Asiago CheeseCrisps
1 tablespoon red onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 pound smoked salmon, cut in 24 one-inch squares
4 ounces cream cheese
24 springs fresh dill and 2 teaspoons chopped dill


Combine onion, mustard, honey and chopped dill in a small bowl. Mix well and chill. Spread cream cheese on CheeseCrisps. Top with a dollop of mustard mixture and one square of smoked salmon, rolled. Place sprig of fresh dill in rolled salmon and serve.

To be honest, the SWEET JAVA CINNAMON STICKS were my favorite.
Here was a fun recipe that would make a great holiday treat!


1 box John Wm. Macy’s Java Cinnamon SweetSticks
1 14 oz. bag of caramels unwrapped
2 tablespoons water
1 11.5 oz bag of real milk chocolate chips
1 cup pretzels, crushed

1. Heat caramels and water in a saucepan; cook on low heat until caramels are completely melted, stirring frequently.
2. Spay a cookie sheet with cooking spray, lightly.
3. Dip SweetSticks 3/4 into melted caramel, twirl until nicely covered. Set on cookie sheet. Allow to cool.
4. In microwaveable bowl heat chocolate chips on medium power (50% or level 5) for 4 minutes. Stir, until it’s smooth.
5. Dip caramel covered SweetSticks into smooth chocolate, twirl until even and dip into pretzel crumbs.
6. Place on cookie sheet until chocolate is set.

And let's not forget how EASY it is to do a tomato mozzarella balsamic vinegar combo!  I recently found the very BEST balsamic vinegar called Ariston Balsamic Vinegar.  I could drink the stuff it was just that good! (I ordered a gallon of it after trying a small bottle!!) 

I hope this has given you some inspiration for easy appetizers to bring (or serve) at your next holiday party!  


Tina St. John Jewelry Giveaway!

I am delighted to introduce to you my newest sponsor, Tina St. John Jewelry.

Original handcrafted jewelry
made from fine silver, sterling silver, gold-filled metals, copper and bronze.

She is giving away one of her $68.00 Odyssey Bracelets with Within bead!!  Everything she makes is one of a kind and tells a story.

above is the Odyssey bracelet with the Within bead
It's the JOURNEY along the way, that makes up your LIFE....

The fun part about the bracelet is you can keep adding beads to it. Here are what each separate bead represent: 
SWORD OF TRUTH.....courage 
WITHIN ...the journey begins within. 
THRIVE...growing and expanding. 
FLOW OF LIFE....harmony 
VICTORY...triumphantly overcoming obstacles 

She has specially made it so that Creative Juices Decor readers can get FREE SHIPPING (US only) from now till end of December on any item purchased! - That's very cool as Christmas is right around the corner  - these would make a special gift.  

I have had a lot of fun looking through her collections.  I'll display some of my personal favorites:

(see her ad on the sidebar!)

I really enjoy the "folk art" feeling of this piece.

Simply Classic!

I love the handcrafted loop on top with the small ball.....

These are her personal "go to" earrings - 
I can see why- they would go with anything and look amazing!

and the.....

Copper silver and bronze! "The sun and it's many rays of light"

Of course, I could keep adding to the list but it's YOUR TURN!!!  

Leave me a comment with your favorite piece from TSJ store AND be sure and check it off in the official giveaway entry form.  You enter your email in the form so no need to leave it in the comments. 

Have fun!  (Giveaway ends Nov. 24th)

Thank you Tina!

Landscape in the Fall - My Vision

Hello lovely readers!  I just got back from a vacation with my hubby.  He has been working so hard all summer long (like almost EVERY weekend!) so we decided to do a little getaway to Mexico!

It was AMAZING!  Just what the dr. ordered :-)

So, sorry there was a little gap in my regular postings.....but I had promised earlier that when fall hit, I would take a picture of the beginning of our new landscape.  I'm SO happy we got a FEW trees planted this year.  We are going to just take it ONE step at a time.  (Can you believe it's already been almost 2 years since this house was built!) 

Landscaping your yard is EXPENSIVE!  Shoot!  We have a lot of deer in our yard too so keeping them off the newly planted stuff is always fun - ha!

I did buy two cute little blueberry bushes for $2.99 at the grocery store the other day.  Landscaping a yard works just like an investment - the sooner you get them in the ground the better!  It takes FOREVER for them to grow or in regards to the little bushes, to produce fruit!  I am supposed to wait two years (prune off any fruit flowers they might produce) before I let them have an opportunity to give me some blueberries.  And at the size I got, we may be looking at even more years LOL!

Vintage Garden Gal

I also read that feeding your blueberry bushes coffee grinds are fantastic!  If you live in a condo or apartment, blueberry bushes also grow well in large pots.....just be sure and get two different blueberry varieties, it helps them grow better and have a more abundant crop.

I would LOVE LOVE to have some raspberry bushes too, I just need to figure out where to put them.

AND, my dream is to have a few apple trees, a plum tree and maybe a pear and peach tree.  Is there anything better than picking fruit from your own back yard?

The house we rented for 5 years had a pear tree and every year I would make this EASY crockpot Pear Butter and give it away to teachers and friends for the holidays.  It's hard to justify buying the amount of pears or apples you need to make the "butter" because they condense SOOOOO much!

Anyway, I had mentioned earlier, that when all the trees were turning color I was going to take a shot of them to show you guys.  We only bought trees for our front yard.  Bushes barking or rocking the area will probably be next year.  The year after that?  I'm hoping the backyard trees which will include my much wanted fruit trees!

Look what the deer did to my left geranium plant! She actually walked UP MY STEPS to my front porch and chewed off every flower.  I thought deer didn't like geraniums so I googled it and they said a hungry deer will eat just about anything......SIGH.  Oh well

Did any of you grow up with fruit trees?  Any tips for me?  Do you like the area designated for trees barked or rocked?  I'm new to all this fun landscape stuff and need all the tips I can get for Spring:-)

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