Creatively Christmas {a book, some crafting, our home and a giveaway}

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Last January Jennifer Rizzo came and captured our home still decorated for the holidays.

After months of Jen writing, photographing and creating for her book I believe we were one of the last homes that she needed to photograph.

It was a fun time of working and playing during her visit and a sweet honor to be included in her first book!

I was able to see a draft of the book before it went to print and as I looked through it I had tears in my eyes for my dear friend that had created one of the most gorgeous Christmas DIY books I had ever seen.

This book is so packed full of things you can make for your home, as gifts, with your kids and friends.

When we finally had our own copy of the book in our hands Maddy and I went through picking out all of the things we wanted to make and yesterday Ben and Maddy made a few things.

I am pretty strict about following my own rule about no Christmas until after Thanksgiving but I had to break that to share this beautiful book.

The book is full of DIY decorating and gift ideas but it is also overflowing in decor photos of different homes dressed up for Christmas and the traditions of the holidays.

This book has many layers and brings you much more than crafting.

Here is a glimpse into our creating day inspired by Jen’s new book Creatively Christmas: Inspired Yuletide Decor.

Did I mention that the first printing sold out weeks ago? Yep, it’s that good:-)

I purchased two extra copies of the book to give away!

To enter just leave a comment on this post telling me one thing you love about Christmas or the holidays in general.

We will pick the winners next week.

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Want To Get Your Heart Into The Holidays? {This year make it simple and meaningful}

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One of my most popular online course is Creatively Made Home {home for the holidays}.

This three week course is all about the heart of home and how to make the holidays all about the people you love.

I wanted to offer this beautiful and rich course at a discount for the next 72 hours.

For the next 72 hours you can get this course for $29! 

This is 50% off!

*There will be 65 videos.  30 project videos and 35 discussion videos.

These will be incredible videos that include everything from cooking, gift giving and decorating

*Tons of beautiful house photos from each of the nine women

*Supply Lists and PDFs for each project

*A digital recipe book of the recipes shared in this course

You will have access to the videos for TWO YEARS!

Course Description:

Join eight of my friends and me as we celebrate loving on your home, friends and family through the holidays.

You will be encouraged as you hear honestly from each woman about the times things did not go as planned during their holidays.

You will hear honest discussions about their own journey of hospitality.

You will walk away inspired as you hear about the traditions and special moments from their childhood and how they create special moments with their families today.

You will be able to watch beautiful videos with gift giving ideas, decorating projects and favorite family recipes.

We all want to create authentic moments with our friends and families.

We all desire for the ones we love to leave our homes knowing that they were welcomed and loved.

My hope is that this course will help you slow down and find the joy and beauty in the holidays.

I promise you that this course will help you look at your home, your traditions, your family and opening your doors in a whole new way!

Won’t you join me in Creatively Made Home {home for the holidays}?

The teachers in this course are some of your favorite bloggers (or they are about to become)!

Here is a peek into what you will create in this INSANTLY available online course.

 I am so excited to open my doors to friends and family again this year!

Just seeing these photos makes my heart skip a beat and makes me excited to love on those in my life in sweeter ways all year long.

To read more or register click HERE.

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For people that are not already in the site here are directions:

To take a class on Jeanne Oliver’s creative network please follow these instructions:

1. Become a member of jeanneoliver.ning.com (this is free)

2. Once your membership is approved you can watch free art videos, the popular free interview series Creativity Takes Courage and even pay for more in depth courses.

3. Want to take an online course?  We currently offering 30 courses and free videos and you can find them all along the left hand side of the main page under “Courses”.  If you do not see the course you are looking for please click the “View all” at the bottom of the list.

4. Click on the course you are interested in, click the +join in the upper right hand corner, pay and you will be instantly in the course.

5. If you have ANY questions please email jeanneoliverdesigns@gmail.com

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Holiday Tablescape Ideas

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One of my very favorite things in the whole world is having people in our home and feeding them well.

One of the ways I try to make the meal special is the simple details I put into the tablescape.

I rarely need to buy much and try to use what I have but make it special just the same.

I love to mix and match my dishes and to also pull elements in from the outside.

Here are some tablescapes from the past few holidays…

 

Remember to use what you have and to have fun with your decorating!

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Your Love Is Deep {Your Love is Wide}

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Life has been particularly busier than normal these past months and I do not do busy very well.

Busy makes me feel like I am treading water and just keeping my head above water.

Each morning I try to focus on what really needs my attention whether it be home, business, children, friends, marriage or myself.

These days lately it just feels like everything is needing my attention.  Hence the treading water.

We will figure it out especially with all of the school changes this year but it is taking longer than we expected. Maybe we just don’t handle change well. Who knows.

We have been in such a need for a huge exhale and opportunity to disconnect that we were so excited about the chance to escape to the mountains for five days.

My mom spoiled the whole family with a beautiful getaway to the mountains and it was just what we were needing.

She rented a huge house that held all of us and we had days of hiking, slow mornings, sleeping in, good food, games, art, hot tub and fires.

Today as I was dropping one off to school, taking another to a doctor appointment and then heading back home to record videos this song just connected so deeply with me.

There are busy times in life.

Whether I was a new mommy or chasing after toddlers.

Whether I am homeschooling my children or dropping them all off to different schools.

Whether the business is growing or we are on a new path…I need to rest in the Lord.

I am tired. So tired some days and so many times the rest I need is so much more than physical.

So, if you need rest too I hope you will take a moment, close your eyes and pray for rest…

“Tonight”
(feat. All Sons & Daughters)

Jesus Christ
Will You guide me through this life
Wake me with each morning’s light
And restore my soul’Cause through Your strength
All my fears will fade away
As you lead me in Your ways
I will trust in You

Your love is deep
Your love is wide
And I will rest in Your arms tonight
Your love is deep
Your love is wide
I will rest, I will rest
Tonight

All I see
Is Your beauty chasing me
And the love that sets me free
Oh, I’m found in You

Your love is deep
Your love is wide
And I will rest in Your arms tonight
Your love is deep
Your love is wide
I will rest, I will rest

Your love is deep
Your love is wide
And I will rest in Your arms tonight
Your love is deep
Your love is wide
I will rest, I will rest
Tonight, tonight
Lay Your peace
Like a blanket over me
And as I lay down to sleep
I will rest in You

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When Life Wakes You Up {uncovering spontaneity}

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Last September while walking around Arlington National Cemetery with my family I received a message from my doctor that some recent tests had shown some abnormal cells and I needed to come in.

I immediately called the nurse back that had left the message and asked, “Are you saying they are cancer cells?”.

She told me she couldn’t tell me any more and would have the doctor call me back the next day.

The next day?

I slowly sat down on a stone wall as I hung up the phone and my family was around me asking what she had said.

I am not even kidding when I tell you the first thoughts that went through my head.

Before I tell you those first thoughts I would like to say that I feel like the luckiest girl in the world!

I am married to an amazing man, have the children I always dreamed of, I get to use the gifts and the skills the Lord has given me and I get to use them in ways that knocks my socks off.  I have beautiful friendships that are deep, silly, supportive and loyal.  I am surrounded by a family that sees all of me and loves me just the same.  If you would have shown me my future life at 18 years old I would have known that I would be winning the lottery on creative and blessed lives.

I am hoping that it is because of the above and so much more that I first thought this…

“Crap! I am going to die of cancer and I have never dyed my hair red and gotten that nose ring!”

I am not even kidding.

When we got back to Colorado I went in for a second exam and it can back positive that I had cancer cells and I would need to have surgery to remove them.

Last fall I had the surgery and over the past months I have been checked every two months to make sure everything was looking good.

Last month I was told that everything was clear and that the doctor wouldn’t need to see me for a year.

So here it is fall again and for the past five falls I have wanted to dye my hair red.

I can’t watch a movie with Julianne Moore and not instantly dream of red hair!

My hairdresser had always talked me out of it because of all her practical and wise advice like my hair was so blond that the color wouldn’t hold, I’m not good at hair maintenance and red hair is high maintenance and if I wanted to go back to blonde it could take awhile.  Each year I said, “OK, just do a regular highlight.”

This year I didn’t let her talk me out of it.

You get what you want when you say, “I had cancer cells cut out of my cervix and I want the red hair.”

She shut up, smiled and said she would do the red hair.

As long as I have wanted red hair I have wanted to get a nose ring.

I blame it on my dear friend Amanda Purvis and my new friend Danielle Burkleo.

All of my years of wanting a nose ring was pushed over the edge by their awesome hotness.

( I really wanted the hoop but they said I had to wait 8 weeks to put that in)

One of the main reasons I hadn’t gotten my piercing is because my mom hated the idea and parts of me let that hold me back from doing it.

My mom doesn’t really care but just knowing she didn’t like the idea was enough to talk me out of it.

As I had red dye slathered all over my head I called the local tattoo and piercing shop and scheduled my piercing for the next day.

My heart was pounding and I didn’t feel like I fit into the tattoo scene that day:-) but I stayed, sat down and let Ryan poke a hole in my face.

Sure, Maddy almost threw up but I did it!  Kelly thought I looked super hot right away and Ben kept on playing his video game.

I texted a photo to Jack at high school and he thought it was awesome.

It didn’t hurt. At all!

Maybe it hadn’t been my mom but the pain that had kept me from getting it done.

Maybe it was going into a place where I felt out of my element and like I didn’t belong.

I don’t know but I did it.

I am good and I don’t have cancer.

I have a beautiful life in all of the big ways but I don’t want to stop doing those little, fun, silly, brave, crazy things that make life…life!

I don’t want to NOT do things that I really want to do because someone else talks me out of it or because it may not be practical.

I don’t want to not do things because of the opinion of others and what they think is acceptable or lovely.

My heart is in the right place so obviously the things I would want to do wouldn’t be hurtful to others of myself.

I feel like that call that day in the middle of Arlington National Cemetery woke me up to being more me, more spontaneous and more silly.

What have you been really wanting to do and something is holding you back?

If it won’t hurt you, won’t hurt others and is not against your faith…what is holding you back?

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Living Room {Before and After}

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The next two weeks most of my posts will be about our recent remodel projects.

I love these kinds of posts and I hope you enjoy them too.

Today I wanted to share our living room before and after.

We extended our cherry floors from our kitchen into our living room and it made an amazing difference in the appearance of space and the ease of visual flow.

I love the color and minimal grain that you see in cherry floors but the softness of the wood is a huge drawback.

We already had cherry throughout the entry and large kitchen and it was cost prohibitive to start over with another wood.

Over time the cherry darkens and I believe gives the home a wonderful warmth.

We have a lot more dust bunnies and the kids don’t love all of the sweeping we now do (obviously they aren’t pros in the sweeping or we wouldn’t have the dust bunnies).

I am loving the updated space!

{BEFORE}

{DURING}

{AFTER}

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For Such a Time As This {You are included in the adventure}

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This morning I went on an early morning jog real quick before I needed to make breakfast for Jack and Maddy.

Jack started high school last week (he has homeschooled up until now) and Maddy is starting a new two day a week school program for homeschoolers (that is 30 minutes away).

I will still be homeschooling Benjamin this year and he will continue to go to his one day a week enrichment school.

I love early morning runs or walks because I am quiet, the world is quiet, the air feels different and I am more likely to HEAR…really hear the Lord.

Today I was just asking for guidance with the children, school, the “to do” lists and the busyness that the past two weeks has brought.

I love lists and getting things accomplished but I don’t want MY plans and MY goals to get in the way of HIS plans.

I don’t like busy.  I actually get pretty mean and grumpy with busy and lots of driving around.

The older I get the more I have realized that we are given gifts and skills for our own joy, to bless others and to ultimately honor the Lord.

I talk about this deep belief in some of my online courses and when I teach in person.

I also know that he won’t beg you to use your gifts and skills.

The hard truth is that he doesn’t need us to do anything.

He can do anything he wants and needs without us but here is the best part…he WANTS to include us!

We are asked again and again to be a part of his adventures.

Are we too busy to notice or do our own plans get in the way?

Do amazing adventures pass us by and another person with an open heart and mind join him instead?

I love the story of Esther and this verse especially has made a lasting impact on me.

There are two aspects about this verse that bring me back again and again.

1) If you are not able to do this it is OK…but I will find another that will

2) Have you ever thought that maybe this is why you are here in the first place?

For such a time as this!

What are you being asked to do with your gifts and skills?

Who around you needs encouragement or support?

Do your children need extra time?

Does your husband need to be reminded that he is loved and appreciated and that you don’t want to live this crazy life with anyone but him?

Do you need to stand up for a wrong?

Do you need to forgive or be forgiven?

Are you not using your gifts and skills and keeping yourself busy with things that don’t really matter?

Are you afraid to step out boldly with your gifts?

Are you afraid you will fail?

I am adventurer at heart!

I love to travel and learn and to meet new people.

I love the Lord and want a heart for the things of him.

I get bored easily and want to jump in my car and just drive.

In fact, my kids laugh whenever I fill up the Jeep with gas because I get all giddy because I feel like I could just take off and head out on an adventure.

I want my children to see the world, meet people different from them, love people that they didn’t know they could love and taste life in a different way.

Whenever I travel I look up real estate in that area and wonder if I could live there.

I have always thought I had a bit of gypsy in me:-)

The truth is I have the Lord in me and he hopes I want to join in on his adventures!

I do. I do.

Here is a little inspiration for you:-)

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