layering for winter & DIY book lover’s giveaway

Marian ParsonsAll Things Home, Decorating, Holiday247 Comments

I was planning to get this post up sooner, but today ended up being busy!!  I did some work this morning, ran a few errands, went to PT for my shoulder (I can put on eyeliner again), had a meeting, did a few photoshoots and editing, then Marshall wanted to make chicken pot pie when he got home from school, and here we are.  Pot pie made and eaten, Jeff and Calvin are out about Rochester delivering hot chocolate and doughnuts to Salvation Army bell-ringers and I have a few quiet moments to write.

When I think about winter decorating, I think about layers.  Of course, there is the obvious…layering throws on a sofa, more blankets on a bed, a textural throw pillow on a side chair.  But, I also think about layering when putting together vignettes.  The layers add a hominess, a visual warmth if that makes sense.  A single item can look clean and airy, which is perfect for summer.  Multiple items, layered and nestled, speak to bundling up when the temperature drops.  It just works.

Last year, for our kitchen table, I layered an ironstone tureen nestled in greens and pinecones on top of an ironstone platter on a silver tray on a breadboard.  Lots of layering happening as well as a play on materials, textures, and finishes.

I learned that I can’t put an arrangement of faux greens tucked into place on the table, because Esmé will pull put the sprigs one-by-one and make her own arrangement.  She doesn’t like things clustered.  She wants the spread-out, wild, effortless look.  She wants the someone-just-threw-a-bunch-of-sprigs-around-the-room look.  We do not see eye-to-eye on this matter.  But, since she’s more persistent than I am, I am waving the white flag and doing something else.

So, this year, I started with the same silver tray and used it to gather a grouping of smaller items that I already had.  One practical advantage of putting a centerpiece on a tray is that it’s easy to scoot for meals, homework, and board games.  Jeff and the boys sometimes grow impatient when my decor is in the way, so I try to make it as easy to move as possible!

I layered two small ironstone bowls in a footed compote and filled it with some nuts.  (Oddly enough, the cats haven’t played with those!)

I also added a candle and another ironstone bowl filled with small candles.

Layering the bowls in the compote added a little more height and it just looks more interesting to my design eye.

I put a faux sage plant in an ironstone pot on top of the wood base for a cloche.  The Ikea plant is just a placeholder for a gingerbread house or a cat-safe wintry plant.

It’s layered, it’s simple, it looks wintry, and it was using things I had on hand.  I’m sure it’ll evolve as we get deeper into the winter months, but it’s a nice starting point.

And now to the giveaway!  Jen from Girl in the Garage brought together a group of bloggers/authors for a big home & DIY-lover’s book giveaway!


One lucky winner will receive all 6 of these popular DIY & decorating books!  This is a great collection!  I’ve read all of them except The Gift of Gathering, but I love Bre’s work, so I’m sure the book is beautiful and I’ll be adding it to my collection!  Here are the books the winner will receive…

1. But Where Do I Put the Couch? & Answers to 100 Other Home Decorating Questions, by KariAnne Wood of Thistlewood Farms and Melissa Michaels of The Inspired Room
2. French Vintage Decor: Easy & Elegant DIY Projects for Any Home, by Jamie Lundstrom of So Much Better With Age
3. The Home Design Doodle Book: Unleash Your Inner Designer, by Marian Parsons of Miss Mustard Seed
4. The Gift of Gathering: Beautiful Tablescapes to Welcome and Celebrate Your Friends and Family, by Bre Doucette of Rooms for Rent blog
5. Creatively Christmas: Inspired Yuletide Decor, by Jennifer Rizzo of
6. Amazing Furniture Makeovers: Easy DIY Projects to Transform Thrifted Finds into Beautiful Custom Pieces, by Jen Crider of Girl in the Garage

Follow the directions to enter below. Giveaway open to US and Canada through Dec. 7, 2019.

Good luck!

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layering for winter & DIY book lover’s giveaway

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247 Comments on “layering for winter & DIY book lover’s giveaway”

  1. Oh the book titled where do I put the couch…resonated with me. It’s so hard to get a room the way you think it looks beautiful…and not have to make sure you are across from a TV? Help?

    1. I need help selecting a new couch and help finding the right place to put it . These books would be perfect.

  2. My daughter bought her first starter home this year. There is a narrow enclosed breezeway between the house and garage with a door on each of the four walls. We have no idea where to begin when it comes to decorating this type of space. Any tips, pics, or ideas will help greatly at this point. Thanks for the opportunity to win such inspiring books to help a first time home buyer.

  3. We just moved into a much smaller house and I can use all the help I can get decorating our new home. I’m sure I could find many great and useful ideas in the books. Thanks.

  4. We just moved into a new home, from an 1875 Victorian farmhouse to a 2005 modern open concept home and those books look so inspiring!

  5. Wow! Thank you for the chance! I have a huge expanse of wall and high ceiling above my dining room buffet (which has no upper cabinet). I LOVE interior design books and these would be great inspiration for that very blank wall!

  6. I have so many decorating dilemmas I do not know where to begin. I have no vision so need a lot of handholding. The book Where DO I Put The Couch seems like the perfect book for me

  7. Everyone thinks that interior decorators are **always** inspired and **always** creative. It’s just not true. We hit road –and mental–blocks, too. I hoard decorating books, magazines, Pins, pictures, swatches, and color cards to jump-start a design or inspire my holiday decorating scheme. The book collection would have a happy home!

  8. I feel like my house is getting that cluttered look. I’m retiring AGAIN next Friday and would have such fun with these books and maybe be able to have fun doing some rearranging and redecorating.

  9. It’s difficult to decorate in some open concept areas with few walls for definition. The books, especially the one on where to put the sofa, are just great. Thanks for the opportunity.

  10. I would love to peruse the books for inspiration and guidance to decorating. My home was built in the early eighties and it’s hard to arrange furniture and decor to look “just right.” Glad you are feeling better. Have a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year🥳!

  11. I just bought a new–to me–1920’s house, and need help getting it to look like it should, and not tossed together haphazardly like itis now! These books could be a life saver for me!

  12. Like another, I have moved to a smaller place and do have a very difficult time thinking that I need to get rid of things..I have given much to a charity shop but still find that I have drawers and closets filled to the brim! …we do get attached, dont we! Thanks for the giveaway…and pet those sweet kitties for me…Our dog would not tolerate one, so sad to say there will not be any at our house in the near future..oh …and Sebastion needs a hug toooo!

  13. I’ve recently retired after 25 years in the wonderfully challenging nonprofit world tasked with revitalizing our historic downtown. I loved what I did and take great joy in the accomplishments made with the help of dedicated volunteers and supporters. Our downtown is back from the brink and I’ve passed along the torch! Now, I have the time to focus on home and those personal projects long neglected. The vision that came easy for downtown has not been as easy coming for this new, but long overdue personal challenge. I need some inspiration!

  14. What a great collection of books. I have recently downsized to a much smaller home. Need all the tips i can get to maximize my spaces. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  15. All of these books look so yummy! I love decorating, decorating ideas, decorating books… you get the idea. I have a new home and putting it all together is what I need to do now!

  16. I could use some new ideas for all of my decorating needs-I feel like I’ve done everything and it all seems so-so. Looking for tips on homey, but not junky; eclectic, but not too grandmotherly; fresh, but not too sparse. Inspiration! That’s what I’m looking for! These books would be a great help. Thanks for the offering. 😊

  17. Talk about a great Christmas gift! Not just books, but decorating books! Thanks for making this generous offer. Merry Christmas to the Parsons!

  18. I would love looking through all those books. But I especially love gathering around the table, so I think the gift of gathering would be right up my alley.

  19. I could use all the decorating advice! I tend to have a lot of trouble with how to put different pieces together in a room and make it work. I can’t visualize the big picture without have the actual stuff present. It’s hard! Since I’m not sure what to do, I don’t do anything…not good.

  20. I have a corner fireplace in a great room which leaves very awkward space for arranging furniture as the tv is above the fireplace. Very high ceiling too. Wall next to fireplace is mostly windows. The rest of room is kitchen! I’m stumped so hopefully these books will give me some ideas.

  21. I love reusing vintage furniture , so I would love to read more about how to customize these pieces!

  22. Oh My Goodness!! I so need some Creative Inspiration. Been in our Home for 16 years, and because of some medical issues, I have boxes that haven’t even been unpacked… I have had the guys move the couches around a bunch of times and still can’t get to a point that I Love it. Doing better now, I’ve been trying to decide what to do first. What a Great Christmas Gift these Books would be. Thank You for offering these for the give away…

  23. Whoa, I moved to a new house in August and none of the “old treasures” look quite right in the new abode. These books would work as a road map I think!

  24. I am 75 and my husband is 86. We have just painfully downsized after 30+ years in our family retirement home, and I need help, with what to keep and how to arrange furniture and everything. We know that our ages and health this will probably be our last home, and we want it to be warm and inviting but also functional for aging and safety. We want our children, grandchildren (from Germany!), and great grandchildren to still want to come to see us and be comfortable in our smaller place. I love your style, Marian, and your collections, but sadly need to part with some of my collections. P.S. We love your cats! I look so forward to seeing what you are doing next and it takes me back to when we moved away from family with 2 young sons fro NC to Ohio to start a new adventure. I still want the adventures but now need all the help I can get!

  25. omy!! i have all of these on my wish list. i just retired and this would be such a fun inspiration for my second act!

  26. All of these books are wonderful and I would live to win them. I love your blog and your decorating style. Your home looks lovely with your Christmas decorations.

  27. So much fun to see how others do this. While I am not much of a diy furniture person, I loooove, love, love to see how it can be done and what others come up with. Thanks for your ideas.

  28. I am interested in updating my Christmas decorations now that my children are grown and I can choose more of the decor.

  29. I have a lot of furniture projects lined up for when the weather warms up. These books will be very helpful for all of my projects. Thank you for the giveaway.

  30. Love your new About Me picture – it’s very flattering. Though I loved the cute walking pic-taken-from-sideways wearing your painting smock, too.

    I would absolutely freak out with giddy delight if I won those books. Count me in with a big thank you for the generous giveaway!!!!!!!!

  31. Wow six books of pure beauty!! I so hope I win! Thanks for having the contest. I love your blog and I love the fact that your willing to change up your Christmas decorating because of the cats, you are awesome!

  32. I love reading blogs and looking at books for inspiration. Such lovely decorating ideas you have! May you have a blessed Christmas season.

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