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a shopping trip & a cleaning day


A few weeks ago, I received an invitation to “breakfast at Ballards” a celebration of the opening of the new Ballard Designs store in the King of Prussia mall near Philly.  Usually, invitations like this are too far for me to travel, but this one was just a couple hours away, so Kriste and I decided to take the day to attend the event and do some non-antique shopping.

We started super early, so we could make it to the mall in time for the breakfast and to tour/shop the store.  I’ve never been in a Ballard store before, but I have to say that it’s worth it if you have one near you.  I’ve been getting their catalogs, but everything is even prettier in person.

I now have the distinction of being the second shopper ever at that Ballard store.  I bought some blue and white checked pillow cases for the studio and a basket tree skirt.  I had never seen one before, but Kriste informed me they are a “thing.”

So, in case you were in the dark, as I was, they are a thing.


I just love the texture of it and the fact that I don’t have to vacuum and fluff it every day.  I do have a skirt I made from grain sacks last year that I love, so I guess I’ll just have to have two trees this year.

 Oh, the sacrifice.

At the event, I also got a swag bag with a couple of magazines and the book Modern Mix by Eddie Ross


…who was there as well and signed my book.  I saw him on Top Design years ago, so it was fun to meet him in person.  (Anyone remember that show?)


The book is really beautiful with a lot of information on finding, repairing, cleaning and caring for antiques.  And then decorating with them.  It’s right up my alley.

So, while we were at one of the biggest malls in the country, we decided to do some shopping!  I live in a pretty rural area, so it’s a treat when I get to an area with stores that I usually have to buy from online.  It happens about twice a year, so I don’t mess around!


From Sur La Table, I bought some wooden dish brushes that I’ve been hunting for quite a while.  I’ve been using a plastic dish brush, which is just fine, but a wood handled one makes me smile.  There was actually only one and Kriste had it first.  She saw my face when I spotted it in her hand, so she offered it to me.  How sweet was that?  They actually had more, so we both ended up with both sizes.


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I also found these herringbone napkins and didn’t hesitate to put them in my basket.  (They have towels and a runner in this pattern, too.)

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From West Elm, I bought white felt pom-pom garlands to go with the smaller ones I bought from Antrhopologie last year.


I bought some clothes from Anthropologie, Gap (at 40% off) and Madewell (I couldn’t find the shirt I bought on clearance there on their website).  Here’s what I purchased…


  1. Charcoal Ribbed Leggings (these were more thick and forgiving than other leggings I’ve found)
  2. White Motion tee (I love these for layering)
  3. Ribbed Poncho (I picked this up off the rack on a whim and it was sooo cute on)
  4. Lexington Shirt Dress (this one was mixed in the sale room, but it wasn’t on sale.  It looked so great, though, that I splurged.)
  5. Chambray Dot Shirtdress

It is so rare that I go clothes shopping, so it was nice to be able to find a few things I really loved.

And, we drove a little out of the way to hit Terrain, which was a total feast for the eyes.

They had some ornamental oregano that was much less than it is online and it was 50%, so it ended up being $12.


And I bought a couple of huge lemon cypress topiaries for my dining room table.  I’m still experimenting with what plant will do best in there.  I bought a couple of earth fired clay pots to put them in.

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My little white pumpkins were starting to yellow and spot, so I pitched them as I was cleaning today.  I’m not quite ready to decorate for Christmas, so I nestled a couple of pinecones in antique cups with a little moss around them.  Festive, but a nice bridge between fall and winter.


I lost one myrtle that I bought back in May, but the other one is hanging in there.  I’ve moved it to see if it likes life in the living room.


I’ve been so busy lately, with workshops, photo shoots, etc., so my house was getting a little fuzzy.  I stayed home from the studio yesterday and today to clean and get caught up with things at home as well as e-mail and computer work.

I was recently asked how I clean my waxed furniture, so I thought I would share.  I just use a mild soap and a towel.  My kids get this table really crusty with yogurt and oatmeal, so it needs a good scrub now and then.


I also thought I would share how I use the chalkboard wall in the kitchen.  Most of the time when I show it, it has some chalk art on it, but we actually use it day-to-day.  All four of us write things we need or want from the store and whoever is going will snap a picture of it with their phone.  It’s quite handy.


I have a bit more catching up to do, but the house is mostly cleaned and picked up and I’m ready to hop back into my to-do list.  My mom has been in Thailand, so we haven’t been working on her room, but she’s back now, so we need to pick out the wall color and start working on the sewing projects for her room makeover.  I hope to have some progress to show next week.

I’m also getting ready for an event I’m speaking/teaching at Saturday, November 14, 2015.  It’s the Holiday Show & Expo at McLean Bible Church (near Washington DC.)


I’ll be sharing on the main stage about setting a simple and beautiful holiday table and then teaching a hand’s on workshop where we’ll be painting and glittering a papier mache ornament.  If you’re local and can come, it sounds like it will be an amazing event.  Here’s a video promo for it…

You can purchase tickets HERE.

Well, that’s probably more than you needed to know about what I’ve been up to the past few days, but there you have it!


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  1. Loved all the things you purchased…isn’t it fun to do a big shopping day like that once in a while? Looks like you got some great deals.

    I cleaned today, too…which also feels good.

    I want that myrtle topiary…gorgeous!

  2. Christmas tree basket shopping is now on my list of “to-do’s”. :)

  3. Hi Marian –
    It was nice seeing you and Kriste at the Ballard event on Monday. Looks like you had a fun day of shopping.

    Love the lemon cypress and the basket tree skirt. I made and posted about one I made from a huge basket I found at a thrift store for $6.90. I transformed it with some DIYing and stain. I think you won’t miss your grain sack skirt at all. :-)

  4. Shelley says:

    I’m again feeling envious!!! I live in Maine and we don’t have a Ballard Store-I didn’t even know they existed…I’ve always loved their catalog! We do have a Pottery Barn store, but I mostly window shop there for lack of extra $$$. I’d love to visit a Pottery Barn Outlet along with a trip to a Ballard Store.

    I love your eye for things and your blog is the first thing I do with my morning coffee. So I just pretend I’m right there along side of you. You do such a great job to include all of us!!!


  5. Morgane @Bear, dolly and moi says:

    It looks like it was a great trip!
    I had not heard about the holiday show, it sounds like it could be fun, since it is not too far I hope I can go…. I have a question about the workshop you are doing there, I am coming to the glitter workshop you are doing in PA, so it is worth signing up for that one too? Thanks

  6. Nancy says:

    Marian, I hope you view imitation as a form of flattery because I ordered that same Lexington shirt dress this morning! Cannot wait to pair it with tights and boots. Thanks for the link; I love it!

  7. Oh I love Eddie Ross, I follow his blog… wish I was invited to the KofP Ballards… didn’t know it was there and like you, I love their magizines…

    Definitely making a trip to KofP and Ballards!

  8. Great finds! That cute pom pom garland and those shirt dresses! I love a day of shopping :)

  9. April says:

    How fun. Love the shopping trip post. I would really love to see how you plan your days. You, like me (all of us) have many projects going at once and you are SO productive.

  10. Oh man, that’s a goooood day!! I love everything you purchased and have a few of them bookmarked. I crocheted a tree skirt a few years ago which I love (1- because it’s really pretty…and 2- because it took me FOREVER to finish) but this new tree basket thing you speak of is pretty tempting :).

  11. Stephanie says:

    Oh, my gosh.. I don’t get out much either… Recently, leaving a store, I saw; “bottomless baskets”, which puzzled me… NOW I know!

  12. Love my wood scrub brush. I bought mine from Schoolhouse Electric. They have a small pan brush as well as a longer german bristle brush with wood handle. I saw a basket tree skirt at Michaels the other day. Planning on going back with my 50% off coupon to pick one up. I thought it was pretty much the coolest thing ever. It’ll be great to keep my littlest man’s hands out from the tree stand! p.s. Your clothing options are soooo cute!

  13. Stephanie says:

    I attended McLean Bible for years – I attend a much smaller church now, but I am so excited that you will be there on the 14th! I’m definitely going to come!

  14. MaryLisa Noyes says:

    I had no idea Ballard Design had an actual store. My 2 chandeliers in my upstairs hallway are from their catalog and I love them. They have excellent customer service. I need to get some of those wooden handle brushes.

  15. Susan says:

    That was fun. I felt like I got to go shopping with you ?

  16. Sharon Morton says:

    I spied Watkins Hand Soup in your one picture…….Good for you. 😉 I love Watkins and sell it too, (though not as a business any more).

  17. Kitty Kat says:

    I LOVE Ballards! They have a store in Atlanta,
    and wait for it…………………..

    ……an OUTLET store there also!!!

    Next time you’re in Atlanta you have to go!!

  18. Peggy Terrell says:

    I always love everything you find, and/or refinish!

  19. Sounds like you had a great day! What can you tell me about those beautiful napkin rings shown in your photos? I love their gorgeous antique look.

  20. Denise says:

    Aww, I want to visit Terrain soon. I would love to go to Holiday Show and Expo.

  21. Kimberly Bruhn says:

    I so wish we lived closer to your coast so I could pack up my vintage-loving gang and go to the Expo…sounds like an amazing event! It’s so funny, I’ve been looking at thrift stores for a big basket to DIY a basket tree “skirt” because I saw the idea on Diane’s blog….and she posted on here, too! Great minds…not mine but y’all!
    Sending you love and peace from Oregon…

  22. It was a fabulous day! I also should have this cleaning day soon. I am expecting guests for the holidays and I need to get many things cleaned! I also need few ideas for decorating at home so your post is really pure inspiration source for me! Thanks for sharing!

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