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forest in a jar centerpiece

December 19, 2014

forest in a jar pleasure in simple things blog

Originally, holiday 2014 in my house was intended to have a sea glass theme using aqua as an accent color. But, as you know if you read my blog, I was so wrapped up in last year’s outdoor theme that I had to continue it for one more year…I just had too many ideas left to use! The sea glass theme is being pushed out to 2015…can’t wait!

easy to make  forest in a jar pleasure in simple things blog

You may also know, one of my fascinations this year has been with jars, bottles, (even salt shakers) …any type of glass container. I just can’t seem to get enough! Putting some favorite items in a jar can really elevate them to the status they deserve and it puts a smile on your face in the process!

DIY forest in a jar pleasure in simple things blog

Case in point – my favorite trees from Terrain this year. The trees are just so beautiful, I wanted to highlight them in some way. I decided to make a very simple forest in a jar! Rather than use the typical snow for the bottom of the jar, I used white beans. I love the simplicity of the design!

outdoor theme holiday decor pleasure in simple things blog

The jar? I bought it at Target. In fact, I bought quite a few. They come in 3 sizes and are very reasonably priced – ranging in price from $3.99 to $14.99.

easy forest in a jar pleasure in simple things blog

neutral tree cookies pleasure in simple things blogThen, I got so stuck on the forest in a jar idea, I made one out of cookies also! On this one I used sugar ‘snow.’ I made gingerbread cookies and let them sit around for a while so they got really rigid before I used them – better for standing!  The cookies can easily be decorated to match your decor!

Happy planting! What will you use to make your forest in a jar?

Thank you so much for stopping by.  I hope you enjoyed Friday field trip’s quick and easy way to create a holiday centerpiece!  Have a fabulous weekend and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at House of HipstersThe Shabby Nest, Crafts a la Mode, and Craftberry Bush.



diy feather ornaments

December 16, 2014

white feather glitter ornament pleasure in simple things blog

It is hard to believe Christmas is only a little over a week away! But, there is still some time to make some ornaments as gifts. I am sharing two easy DIY ideas on making feather ornaments. A woodland holiday theme needs to include feathers, nests, and birds – don’t you think?

One way is to put a feather or feathers into a clear hollow glass ornament. I did this in three different variations this year:

1.  I used a clear drying glue to add silver glass glitter to the outside bottom of the glass globe and added a spotted feather inside the globe.

dotted feather ornament pleasure in simple things blog

2.  I used a cotton swab to add dots of clear drying glue and glued white glass glitter to the dots. When dry, I added a white feather and a pinch of silver glitter inside the globe.

white dot and feather ornament pleausre in simple things blog

3.  I dipped two feathers into some silver glass glitter before placing them into the globe. To keep them positioned correctly, I used a glue gun to glue the tops of the feathers near the top of the ornament. This doesn’t show, because the place where the feathers are glued is covered when the metal piece for hanging the ornament is repositioned on the ornament top.

close ups of glitter feather ornaments pleasure in simple things blog

The second way isn’t using an actual feather, but rather… using heavyweight cardboard to create a feather design. Simply draw or trace a feather onto cardboard (I made mine black for purposes of demonstration – it is best to use the same color as your glitter so a different color will not show through). Cut out the feather shape using a craft knife and cut a hole for adding a string or ribbon. Use clear drying glue to cover the cardboard with glass glitter – one side at a time.

process of making a feather glitter ornament pleasure in simple things blog

Add a ribbon or string for hanging. I used black and white baker’s twine because I am giving my feather ornament as a gift, and the black and white color scheme best reflects the taste of the recipient.

packaged feather ornament pleasure in simple things blog

I decided to package it with a favorite Emily Dickinson quote. I used my computer printer to print the quote onto a clear label and used the label to seal the ornament in a clear cellophane bag. I think it makes a thoughtful gift.

emily dickinson quote pleasure in simple things blog

I hope these ideas have inspired you to create some ornaments using feathers.  Have fun with it!

Thanks for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Elizabeth & Co., Sand & Sisal, and Coastal Charm.

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salt shaker snow globes

December 12, 2014

Salt Shaker Snow Globes pleasure in simple things blog

With the current bottle and jar love I have going on for my holiday décor, this post should not surprise you!

Remember a few years ago when Anthropologie carried salt shakers with little trees in them?  Many crafters were inspired by this cute idea and I saw a number of versions created soon after the little beauties hit the Anthro stores.

Salt Shaker Snow Globes pleasure in simple things blog

I didn’t hop on that bandwagon and create a batch of salt shaker inspired items back then. That changed recently when I inherited quite an extensive salt shaker collection…(don’t ask – that interesting story is for another post!)

So, now in possession of so many salt shakers, I was prompted to create some salt shaker ‘snow globes’ and I am sharing some of my creations on Friday field trip today.  (Okay, so technically they are not snow globes since I haven’t added water.)

Salt Shaker Snow Globes pleasure in simple things blog

And, because of my preference for neutrals, I made my salt shaker snow globes with natural bottle brush trees.  I just added a little ‘snow’ and a tree to make a wonderful little favor or piece of holiday décor. (My recent inheritance gives me enough salt shakers to fill a mantle a couple of times over!)

Salt shakers are easily found at thrift stores or can be purchased very inexpensively at restaurant supply stores. Cute, aren’t they?

Salt Shaker Snow Globe with snowflake  pleasure in simple things blog

The best thing about them is that each creator can add a personal touch by choosing a favorite tree and ribbon or embellishment. For example, in one of my creations, I hung a little snowflake from a piece of thread. The variations are obviously endless!  Create something that matches your decor.  The stainless tops to the shakers can easily be spray painted with an oiled bronze or rusty look finish if that is your preference…or, spray in a glossy red or green!  You can also tie on a rusty jingle bell or other favorite item around the top of the shaker.  Or, glue a little ornament to the tree like I did with the Santa ornament my friend Phyllis gave me below. ;)  Group a bunch together and add some lights for a wonderful glow! :)

Salt Shaker Snow Globes and light pleasure in simple things blog

I hope I inspired you to create some salt shaker snow globes that coordinate with your individual taste and décor.  You don’t even have to ‘hold the salt’ – you can use it for the ‘snow!’

santa salt shaker snow globe pleasure in simple things blog

Thanks so much for stopping by. Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Thoughts from Alice, Finding Silver PenniesHouse of HipstersCoastal Charm, Crafts a la Mode, Shabby Nest, French Country Cottage, and Craftberry Bush.


zip code pillow gift

December 9, 2014

adding a zip code to a pillow gift pleasure in simple things blog

I love using zip codes in gifts! Giving a gift with the zip code from a special place – a hometown, the location of a new home, a vacation or honeymoon spot, or a college town – is such a thoughtful way to recognize a favorite or significant place of the gift recipient.

You may remember the decorative zip code tray I made a while back. (Click here for instructions to make a zip code tray.) Today, I am sharing instructions on how to add a (no sew) zip code to a homemade pillow!

I made a pillow with the zip code for Breckenridge – one of my son’s favorite snowboarding places in Colorado – to add to a group of snow themed pillows I had made for his apartment.

pillows for snow boarders pleasure in simple things blog

I had planned on using an iron-on fabric adhesive to keep the zip code numbers in place and then to add decorative stitching around the edges of the numbers. As it turned out, the instructions on the adhesive I choose said “do not sew” on the instructions so, I ended up not including the decorative stitching to my design.

I chose linen for the pillow and gray felt for the zip code numbers. I used a product I purchased at a fabric store called HeatnBond Ultrahold to adhere the numbers.

zip code pillow on a bed pleasure in simple things blog

I decided on a 12” x 16” finish size for my pillow and cut the fabric appropriately. (If you decide to use a pillow form for your pillow, be sure to create a size that will accommodate it. If you are using polyfill to fill your pillow, you obviously do not need to be exact in your measurements.)

So, before proceeding to make the pillow, the desired zip code needed to be added to one of the pillow pieces. This was not hard to do, but took a little time and patience.

zip code pillow collage of instruction photos pleasure in simple things blog

First, I printed out numbers from my computer in a size and type style that looked appropriate for the finished pillow size. I cut out the five numbers from the computer paper.  (Cut only one paper number for a duplicate number.) I cut a piece of felt in an appropriate size to accommodate the five numbers I cut out. Following the instructions on the fabric adhesive, I used an iron to adhere the fabric adhesive to the BACK of the felt. Then, I flipped the numbers and traced them onto the paper of the adhesive. BE SURE to trace the numbers BACKWARDS (flipped on reverse side) so that they will come out the appropriate way when cut! I carefully cut out each number from the tracings. I removed the adhesive backing from the felt numbers and positioned them onto the right side of the linen piece I was using for the front of the pillow. Following the instructions on the adhesive, I ironed and bonded the numbers to the fabric.

Zip code complete! I then proceeded to finish sewing and stuffing the pillow. It is perfect for the snow themed holiday gift for my son…the perfect addition to a snowboarder’s apartment!  Now I am thinking I should make more – so many snowboarding states, so little time!  I also made one for a new home owner.  (For my own home I am thinking zip codes from favorite beach towns in neutral and sea glass hues!)

Love a themed gift! It’s snow much fun! ;) I can’t wait to coordinate the wrapping!

snow themed pillows pleasure in simple things blog

Note: The snow pun pillows in this post were ordered from Tiny Prints. Every year when I order my Christmas cards, I go a little crazy ordering other products I see on their site…this year; I couldn’t resist all the wonderful pillows that were available to personalize. If you want a zip code pillow and would rather not sew it yourself, you can easily personalize one using this website (click here for website)…or, even add a photo to a pillow. If I had a photo of my friend’s new home, I could have made a pillow with a photo of the home on the front! Next, I may order a pillow with a photo of my son snowboarding to add to his gift!  Another option to create a zip code pillow is to buy a pre-made pillow cover (Ikea has some nice ones) and follow the instructions I’ve provided to add a zip code.  I hope I have inspired you to create a themed gift for someone special!

Thanks for stopping by! Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing with Thoughts from Alice, Elizabeth & Co., House of Hipsters, and Sand & Sisal.


shop hop 2014

December 5, 2014

putting together lunch for Shop Hop 2014 pleasure in simple things blog

Planning a shopping day filled with holiday inspiration with friends – what could be better?  Today’s Friday field trip is a special seasonal road trip to visit shops across Connecticut.

holiday shop hop 2014 pleasure in simple things blog

I made a holiday music CD for the car (actually my son made it, but hey –it was my idea!), decided on a box lunch menu (don’t want a restaurant lunch to slow us down!), and planned an itinerary for Shop Hop 2014!  The destinations?  Well, these are a surprise…but, I will share them with you in this post!

photos of Grace in Niantic pleasure in simple things blog

Shop Hop invitations are sent out in advance – promising a day of friendship and inspiration touring favorite shops in Connecticut. My 2014 ‘south central’ edition is spanning four counties in Connecticut – all easily accessible by highway I95. (I am including my hop locations in this post in the event you live in Connecticut and would like to replicate my hop.) Be sure to like my Facebook page by clicking here, so you can see a gallery of photos from each of the hop locations and share some of the inspiration – even if you don’t live in Connecticut!

photos from Taken for Granite pleasure in simple things blog

This is how our day goes… I pick up the gals at a designated location in the morning. They are not informed of our predetermined shop locations. ..makes it so much more fun this way! (For the most part, Shop Hop locations are best as isolated areas…save your clusters of stores in a town or a favorite local spot, for a day all on its own.)

Christmas at Terrain pleasure in simple things blog

A Christmas CD sets the holiday mood…this year, it was definitely a very eclectic mix! Click the three links below to hear three of this year’s selections:

This is my very favorite Christmas song by my very favorite entertainer.
Do you remember which recent fun holiday movie featured a version of this song?
Got to love my son’s sense of humor on this one!

2014 shop hop no 299 pleasure in simple things blog

A box lunch is the best way to avoid schedule interruptions. Believe me, this is for the best! A restaurant lunch wastes far too much precious time better devoted to inspirational adventures! Just be sure to use a cooler if you pack anything perishable!  I packed mine in take out containers and added a label on the outside that I cut from chalkboard contact paper.  A selection of flavored waters and ice tea rounded out the refreshments.  We can always pick up a hot tea or coffee on the road to go with our rosemary shortbread cookies. :)

boxed lunch for shop hop 2014 pleasure in simple things blog

For 2014, these are the five locations I chose for our hop:

Grace, 46 Pennsylvania Avenue, Niantic
Maynard Gardens Holiday Shop, 87 Ingham Hill Road, Old Saybrook
Taken for Granite, 409 Leetes Island Road, Branford
No. 299 Fairfield, 318 Villa Avenue, Fairfield
Terrain, 561 Post Road East, Westport

favors for Shop Hop 2014 pleasure in simple things blog


Lastly, I like to leave my friends with favors – what fun is a special event without favors!



We visited some beautiful shops, but spending the day with my friends was the special part of the day! :)

I hope you are inspired to plan your own Shop Hop! Feel free to send me an email if you have any questions or need suggestions. Have fun with it!

car at Grace in Niantic pleasure in simple things blog

Have a fabulous weekend filled with holiday inspiration, Jackie

P.S.  The movie was Elf.

Sharing with City Farmhouse, Coastal Charm, Crafts a la Mode, The Shabby Nest, and Craftberry Bush.

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december book giveaway!

December 2, 2014

Dec2014 book giveaway pleasure in simple things blog winter cocktails

December is upon us!  Today I am announcing Tracy in Connecticut as the winner of the November giveaway book, Mast Brothers Chocolate.  Congrats Tracy!  The recipes in this book are super for creating holiday gifts of chocolate!  Next Friday I will be sharing the chocolate granola recipe, so be sure to stop back to see how cute it can be wrapped for giving!

The December giveaway selection is a great seasonal choice – Winter Cocktails by Maria Del Mar Sacasa.  Leave a comment to be entered to win this great selection and make some wonderful drinks (both with and without alcohol) – from mulled cider and hot toddies to lavender hot cocoa!

Recently, when I was in Anthropologie, I saw these cute 2015 calendar pages that seemed to fit in with this month’s giveaway perfectly!  So, I decided to pick up two and I will be giving away the calendars also!  Three chances to win this month!  Good luck!

cocktail calendar giveaway pleasure in simple things blog

Thanks so much for stopping by!  As December continues, I am excited to share inspiring ideas for the holiday season!  Please join me all month for creative ways to celebrate the season!

For those of you on Instagram, this month’s challenge is to share tree ornaments!  Let’s use hashtag #pleasuregram to share some of the wonderful variety of ornaments you may find.  I can’t wait to see your favorites!

Instagram december 2014 challenge pleasure in simple things blog favorite ornaments

Remember – especially during this holiday season – to find pleasure in simple things, Jackie


expressing gratitude

November 28, 2014

count your blessings quote pleasure in simple things

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks..for me, also a time of reflection. And, here in the U.S., Thanksgiving is the official kickoff to the holiday season.

gratitude quote angelou pleasure in simple things

What better time to count blessings…and, to express gratitude.

gratitude quote pleasure in simple things

For Friday field trip today, I am sharing some words that inspire me at this special time of year.

gratitude quote pleasure in simple things blog

Have a wonderful weekend. Thank you so much for stopping by – you are certainly one of my many blessings! :)

Love & thanks, Jackie

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diy book a day advent calendar

November 25, 2014

DIY making a book a day advent calendar pleasure in simple things blog

I love to read.

So, I guess it won’t come as a surprise to you when I tell you that books have always had a place as part of my holiday celebration.

In my home, reading holiday books is as much a part of preparing for Christmas as leaving cookies for Santa or trimming the tree.  Every November, the stack of holiday picture books packed away with the rest of the holiday trimmings, makes its way downstairs.

A great tradition I am sharing with you today is to create a more formal celebration of holiday books by making them into an Advent calendar. Wrap up 25 holiday books to stack by the fireplace or a cozy couch and have the children open one to read each evening during Advent.

using books for an advent calendar pleasure in simple things blog

stack of books advent calendar pleasure in simple things

The books don’t need to be about the holidays in the literal sense. You can choose stories of love, family, friendship, travel…or, even cooking –all appropriate themes relating to the holiday season.  There are so many great books – you don’t need to limit yourself to How the Grinch Stole Christmas or  ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.  If you need some suggestions, here are a few titles we have enjoyed to get you started:

Santa Calls by William Joyce
Christmas in New York City by Roxie Munroe
The Finest Tree by John and Anne Hassett
Penquin and Pinecone: A Friendship Story by Salina Yoon
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
The Tree that Came to Stay by Anna Quindlen
Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

diy book a day advent calendar pleasure in simple things blog

Be sure to include some titles with beautiful illustrations:

Old Turtle by Douglas Wood
Santa’s Favorite Story by Hisako Aoki and Ivan Gantscher
Simon and the Snowflakes by Gilles Tibo
The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

Also, it is fun to include titles that promote activities:

I Spy Christmas by Walter Wick and Jean Marzollo
Snowmen by Peter Cole, Frankie Frankeny, Leslie Jonath
Recipe for Adventure Series by Giada deLaurentiis and Francesca Gambatesa
Kids in the Holiday Kitchen: Making, Baking, Giving by Jessica Strand

book advent calendar pleasure in simple things blog

When wrapping the books, you can choose a color theme to match your décor, holiday theme, or favorite color of the child(ren). I used kraft paper this year to wrap the books and added stickers I personalized with ‘book a day advent’ at Tiny Prints (click here for the website).  Their stickers are great – so many cute designs to choose from, they can be personalized as you wish, and a set is very inexpensive. I added numbers to my personalized stickers using rubber stamps and added one to each wrapped book.

When adding the numbers, be conscious that you can be strategic by coordinating number placement with book selection. Number an activity book for the weekend, time a relative’s visit with an appropriate theme/title, or read  ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas on the appropriate evening.

book a day advent diy calendar pleasure in simple things blog

You can use books you already own and/or library books for this activity…no need for it to be an expensive project!  Your local children’s librarian can help with your title selection if you need it.  And, if you own the books, when opening your gifts this year, use the discarded wrapping paper to wrap up the books for next year’s book calendar!

I hope you are inspired to create a book Advent calendar this year! Have fun with it!  I would love to hear your favorite titles!  The children will love this activity  – and, what better tradition than one that promotes a love for reading? :)

Thanks for stopping by. Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing with Finding Silver PenniesHouse of Hipsters, Thoughts from Alice, Crafts a la Mode, and Sand & Sisal.


rooms with a view in ct

November 21, 2014

neutral room from rooms with a view pleasure in simple things blog

rooms with a view banner pleasure in simple things blog


Today we are taking a peek at a weekend in design featuring an Opening Night Gala; vignettes of interior design; a marketplace; a holiday fashion show and luncheon; and dinner with event chairman, Thom Filicia. (You know I love Thom…click here for our first meeting!)

Now in its 20th year, Rooms With a View has helped Southport Congregational Church help others by raising well over a million dollars for charitable causes.


The room vignettes are always inspiring…

Rooms With A View designer inspiration pleasure in simple things blog

My favorite room this year was designed by Forehand + Lake – a bright and styling cabin…

ski house rooms with a view pleasure in simple things blog

Every year I find different takeaways from the event.  A couple of the lighting choices were really interesting this year…How cool is the lighting in this “Starry Night” themed room designed by NYSID students and alumni?

starry night rooms with a view pleasure in simple things

And, I found this light fixture, used by Jenny Wolf Interiors, as a unique choice…

light fixture rooms with a view pleasure in simple things blog

Rooms With a View provides a great opportunity to get a jump on holiday shopping by offering a marketplace of vendors.  You can see these items fit right in with my holiday theme!

wares from Rooms with a View pleasure in simple things blog

Much like Susan Leggitt’s artwork inspired by the Maine Coast, I found these hand painted stars really awesome!

Artist Susan Leggitt at Rooms with a View pleasure in simple things blog

The meal and fashion show is always the most fun for me.  The clothes from Millie Rae’s in Westport were my favorites and it is great the way the event people mix some thrift store finds in with the new fashions from local stores.  This year, I loved that Borrowed (a rental company that specializes in bringing unique, mismatched, and whimsical touches to an event) provided an eclectic mix of plates to the luncheon service.

eclectic mix of vintage plates pleasure in simple things blog

The meal provided by Festivities was delicious…

luncheon served at Rooms with a View in Southport,CT pleasure in simple things blog

But, for me, the plates stole the show!  How many more plate photos can I add?  I just loved them!

vintage place setting pleasure in simple things

vintage plate from Borrowed plesure in simple things blog

The other wonderful design touch to the tables were the wallpaper runners provided by Farrow & Ball (no, those wallpaper scraps aren’t just for book covers)…

wallcovering as tablerunner pleasure in simple things blog

Rooms With a View is a great way for friends in Fairfield County, Connecticut to get together and be inspired. I hope some of the photos of the event on today’s Friday field trip have inspired you!

Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a wonderful weekend, Jackie

Sharing with Liz Marie Blog, Crafts a la Mode, and Shabby Nest.


tiny houses diy advent calendar

November 18, 2014

advent calendar with birch log pleasure in simple things blog

I love Advent calendars!  Every year I end up making a least a couple!  I’m not one to make a hanging calendar…I much prefer the 3D variety.  The first one I am sharing with you this year uses a collection of simple paper houses.  (Last year I shared one made from baby food jars, remember?  Click here to see.)

advent calendar house plesure in simple things

I used white card stock to cut out a two piece house.  I had planned on using gray card stock for the roofs, to create a nice contrast against the white ‘snow,’ but since the copy center was out of gray, I ended up painting the white card stock gray for my roofs.  I used rubber stamps to add the numbers to the front of each house (and added a little glitter).  I then added glass glitter ‘snow’ to the roofs…

making an advent calendar with paper houses pleasure in simple things blog

You don’t need a mantel to display an Advent village…here is the village on a birch bark lined tray…

advent calendar houses on birch bark lined tray pleasure in simple things blog

Or – you can use any shelf, table, or little corner in your home to add these tiny houses.  To make them really magical, they need some snow and lights…don’t you think?

advent calendar village pleasure in simple things blog

I am keeping mine pretty simple…just the houses with some snow – and, to go with my woodland theme, I added a white birch log…

small house advent calendar pleasure in simple things blog

So easy and so pretty!  This is a wonderful project to create with children.  I have another Advent calendar in the works to share soon!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Craftberry Bush,  Sand & Sisal, Thoughts From Alice, and Finding Silver Pennies.


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