Just Dreaming About It Won’t Get You There

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In the new year there can be long lists of dreams for the year and maybe even a yearly bucket list.  What I have found to be true is that me just dreaming about something has never led to the actual doing and experiencing.  If I want to learn something, go somewhere, spend time with someone… I have to make a PLAN OF ACTION.

There have been more times than I can count that I had no idea how I was going to make something a reality but I jumped in anyway.  When I know something is important to me, my family or my creativity I get really creative to make it a reality.  That “dream” doesn’t need to stay that way.  What fun is an incredible “dream” if you don’t walk it out and make a plan of action?  That dream can become a reality through planning, sacrifice and just jumping in.  That whole just jumping in is really the first step of action that leads to more action and then something wonderful being accomplished.

I get to travel to some pretty incredible places for my business and to teach art.  I also have traveled to beautiful places just for me or for my family.  I hear many people say to me, “I dream of going there too or someday I hope to have the money to…”.  The thing is that we never know how long we have on this earth and there is never enough money.

I remember the first time I went to France and I remember originally showing my husband the retreat and just KNOWING this trip was for me.  My pretty amazing husband took one look at my face and said, “I don’t know how we will do this but we will figure it out”.  Guess what?  We did!

Going to France that first time and spending time in the south of France and then Paris changed my creative heart.  It CHANGED it!  What if I hadn’t asked?  What if my husband wouldn’t have said that we would figure it out?  That first trip has opened up more trips and relationships.  It has made my world smaller and more intimate.

Did you know that I found one of my closest friends on that first trip to France?  I actually met one of my closest friends that also happens to be a lover of travel, family, art and the Lord!  I now believe with my whole heart that I was supposed to go on that trip to meet HER.  The Lord knew I would need an artist/heart friend that I could grow, travel and create with.  I don’t know what you have been “dreaming” about lately and the things you want to do in your life.

I would just encourage you to take steps of action this year.  Don’t wait.  What is waiting for YOU if you step out and figure it out as you go?

I have some pretty incredible heart, exploring, creative retreats coming up this year.  These are trips of a lifetime.  I will tell you about each of them below.

The thing is if you have an exploring, adventuresome, creative heart you don’t have to go on one of my retreats…just find one!

Maybe you don’t need to travel across the ocean and maybe you just need to open your home, step out your front door, go to a museum or find those women just like you in your community.

I just want you to not regret not doing things that are a part of your heart because the timing isn’t perfect.  It never will be. Believe me..I know. We make it perfect by our actions and sacrifice.

* If you are looking for something creative, here in the United States, historic, full of good food, warmer and within the next five weeks…

You might be interested in joining me in Savannah, Georgia for the first stateside Living Studio Retreat! If you do not sketch or paint please do not let that stop you!  This retreat is for the creative heart. This is for the painter, photographer, writer, entertainer, cook etc.

This retreat is February 23-28th, 2015.  We are staying at the artsy and stunning Brice Hotel!

To read more and/or to register click HERE.

Price is based on double occupancy, $2150. Single occupancy is an extra $550.  Local price for those not staying at the hotel, $1650.

* If you are looking for something creative, in Italy, with time at the pool, incredible food, history, time on the lake, faith based and sure to leave you with your faith and creativity at a new level…

You might be interested in joining Stephanie Ackerman and me along Lake Como this summer for Laura McCullough’s art and faith creative retreat!  Laura knows the town of Bellagio intimately and takes you on a luxury adventure that will leave you dreaming of the food, people, the pool, Lake Como, smells and villages long after you are home. I should know…this will be my third year teaching in Bellagio!

This retreat is July 11-18th, 2015. We are staying at the apartments of the world famous Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni and neighboring Hotel Florence.

To read more and/or to register click HERE.

This retreat is $3250

Attention to detail, people focused, life long friends made… The ONLY way to see Italy is with Laura.  No other time spent will you make friends, feel the cobblestone streets, meet the butcher, the baker and the leather shop owner, all friends of Laura’s, and sip Prosecco under the stars as you thank God for every Italian moment… ~ Lora-Lori Rutt

*If you are looking to explore France in the fall, experience the Paris flea markets, stroll the villages of Normandy, sketch along the beaches, stay and create at a French chateau walking distance to the ocean, tour ancient ruins, experience true French cuisine, be escorted by locals, study local art, visit the markets of the countryside, be invited into a local art studio and so much more…

You might be interested in joining me for The Living Studio Normandy.  I am collaborating with Cat Bude and her husband of Sunday Brocantes at Rabbit Hill to bring you a truly luxurious and inspiring retreat. If you do not sketch or paint please do not let that stop you!  This retreat is for the creative heart. This is for the painter, photographer, writer, entertainer, cook etc.

This retreat is October 9-16th, 2015.

To read more and/or to register click HERE.

This retreat is $3995 double / $5495 single US Dollars

I can’t wait to see what you guys do this year!  I know that so many of us sit on the fence waiting for things to be perfect or for things to settle down or for the money to appear.  Whether your dream is to plant a garden, write more, find creative friends in town, paint, cook, take a class, learn a new language…I hope this year is your year to take stop dreaming and to start doing.

Love you guys!

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2014 Holiday House Walk

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{If you like the images on our mantle you can print them out HERE. We are all crazy for them and love how whimsical they are! Alice, I think you are the bees knees.}

I am so glad you have stopped by and I can’t wait to welcome you into our home.

I have loved home, making home and loving on the people I love for as long as I can remember.

The older I get the more I know…truly know…that loving on others and loving on my family is far better than a pretty home.

In this home you will find that art is made often, music is usually playing, a candle is burning, books are being read, the house is rarely really clean and I forget about dinner until around 4:30 each day.

More than anything I hope that our children remember how much they are deeply loved and accepted.

I hope they always carry with them their faith and how it will guide their steps all of their days.

I hope they will also know that a pretty house is nice but the people in that house are the best!

Welcome to our home.

Our whole family wishes you the most Merry Christmas!

I am so honored each time Jennifer Rizzo has asked me to be a part of her Holiday House Walk.

It is so much fun to be included with such a talented group of women that love family and making home comfortable and beautiful!

To begin the walk from the beginning click the icon below or go directly to Jennifer Rizzo.

If you are stopping over from Four Generations Under One Roof I am so glad you are here. Jessica and her family create such a gorgeous home!

Go grab something to drink and I hope you will take a moment to look around.

I decorate pretty simple for the holiday and over the years my Christmas bins have gotten fewer and fewer.

I really love to pull the outdoors in and use what is easily available out my front door.

We decorate our tree as a family and at least this year the ornaments seem to be scattered out evenly.

We have had many years where the tree almost fell over from having it too weighted from the front or they were all really low.

This year we are hoping for the tree to stay up!

Last year we made an Acts of Service Advent Tree and we all loved it.

This year we are also going to use it again because it really helped our days to be more focused on others and not just what we were hoping to receive.

I had to throw this shot in because I play my record player all day long. It is one of my favorite things and brings me oodles of joy.

This on the other hand brings my husband joy:-)

During my fall house tour I created a drink cart out of my IKEA art cart.

I loved it so much I decided to do it again but this time make it a permanent part of the living room at least through the holidays.

Just a peek into our library.  This is where we hold some of our books and the piano.

This is where my littlest loves to play on the floor and we all love it when the fire is going and it is toasty warm.

See that pillow?

That is from Craftberry Bush and her home is next!

We made the star our of twigs, tied them with string and strung copper lights from Anthro. It is truly one of my favorite pieces.

I use it year around all over the house.

The gorgeous Advent cards are from Naptime Diaries.

Go get yourself some twigs and twine and make yourself giddy happy.

Honest.

For those of you that haven’t seen the kitchen since last year’s house walk I bet you can’t believe the difference.

We aren’t done yet but we are getting there. I hope we are getting there. Things take WAY long in this house to get finished. I like to say that we are fashionably late. Are you buying it?

You can read more about it here, here, here and here.

One of my favorite things to change up each month is our hanging paper roll.

This month was inspired by the art work found HERE.

Pretty much one of my favorite Christmas songs!  Beautiful and powerful song. THIS is one of my favorite versions.

This sign is from my dear friend House of Belonging.  It is always a little hard to put this one away each year.

This is my studio and where I create and tape many of my online courses.

I love that this room used to be our dinning room and it is so close to the rest of the house and my family.

That is not always true…but most of the time.

I am so excited to tell you why this tree doesn’t have an ornaments on it yet.

We just started Unwrapping The Greatest Gift and each night in December the kids will decorate the “Jesse Tree” with ornaments we printed out.

We already have placed the first ornament on during our first night of Advent.  It was thought provoking and meaningful.

I am excited to see what the Lord reveals to us over the next month.

I usually include more of our upstairs but I was taking photos the morning we were leaving for our Thanksgiving adventure trip and there was nothing up there you would want to see.

Please check out our previous Holiday House Walks so you will know that the bedrooms are cleaned every once in awhile!

Thank you so much for taking a look at out home all dressed up for Christmas.

Please come back again!

You are going to love, love the next home.

Have so much fun going through Lucy’s home at Craftberry Bush!

I would love to have you check out my creative network where I have over 35 free and paid for online courses.

It is truly a lifestyle network with courses about home, cooking, bee keeping, art and so much more!

Come on over…

Other posts you might enjoy…

If you like the photos above of our home I think you would like these posts too…

Becoming: A free study that begins THIS January!

Fall Home Tour 2014

Fall Home Tour 2013

Christmas Home Tour 2013

Our 13 year old son’s bedroom makeover

Our daughter’s bedroom makeover

Going from baby to big boy room makeover

Hallway collage wall

Our home decorated for Christmas

How to add character to a new home

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Rosemary Gin Fizz {bottoms up}

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Sometimes you have the week that calls for mid week cocktails.

Did anyone else realize that it isn’t even midweek?

I am clinking my glasses with all of you and if you need a cocktail too…

{This recipe is found in one of my very favorite cookbooks}

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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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Some of My Fall Favorites {2014}

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Fall is my most favorite season because the beautiful change in season, cooler temperatures and the desire to create a more cozy home.

This is the time I find myself cuddling next to the fireplace in the morning with my coffee, a book, devotions or just talking to my family.

My studio calls to me even more than usual when the temperatures start to drop and the light is flooding in over all of my supplies.

Sweaters, boots, hats and bonfires are the norm and the crunching of the leaves underfoot keeps you company on early evening walks.

Fall is when we were married and when two of our babies were born.

Fall to me is a reminder to me how much the Lord loves us.

Even as everything is dying is puts on the most incredible show…for us!

I went walking through our home this morning and wanted to share just some of the little things that make fall a little more cozy.

 

1. I love a day when the turntable is spinning and these records are constantly playing this fall.

* The Civil Wars

* Mumford and Sons

* Carol King

* The Lumineers

2. I love this scent from Anthro but the best part is the new copper lid. Perfect for fall!

3. I start each morning with warm water with lemon, tea or coffee and this cup is my new favorite. I don’t know if it is the cool waffle patter or smaller size but I like everything about it.

4. How can you resist a watercolor painted buck?  I know, right? This beauty keeps me company in my studio.

5. I love to cook in the fall and winter and these are a few of our favorites right now…

* Butternut Squash and Sausage Soup

* Pumpkin Pancakes and Apple Cider Syrup

* Pumpkin Spice Latte

6. I love this tea so much! I buy mine from Whole Foods.

7. This was my gift from Kelly this month for our 16th wedding anniversary.  We took it to the mountains with us when we stayed in Estes for a mini getaway and it is so fun and easy.

8. This course just helped me so much to notice this season and appreciate the changes around me. I may just need to do a course specific to fall each year:-)

9. Sure I drink Earl Grey…but did you know I wear it too?

10.  This movie is one of my all time favorites and just begs to be watched in the fall.  Who agrees?

11. I have this print on the wall heading up our stairs. I read it hundreds of times a week and love the song and the story behind it.

12. I have used essential oils in our home for as long as I can remember but I have been so much more intentional with them the past four months.  I add the lemon in my water, the deep relief on my temples when I feel a headache coming on, the peppermint in the diffuser while I am working or the kids are doing homework, Thieves to ward off sickness, lavender in the diffuser and on my skin, peace and calm in Benjamin’s diffuser to help him sleep and so much more.

13. These are one of my favorite pairs of earrings and the best part is that they were made a crazy artist:-)

14. Coolest book I have seen in awhile. My friend Danielle gave me the heads up on this one and I am so glad and listened.

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Some of my favorite things about fall that don’t cost almost anything…

long walks and crunching leaves

hot cider

wrapped up in a blanket in front of the fire reading your favorite book

crispness in the air

leaves changing colors

bonfires and s’mores

drizzly days and time in the studio

sweaters, boots and slouchy hats

jumping in piles of leaves

pumpkin carving

pumpkin anything

gathering with family

If you want to see our home all cozied up for fall you can check out our recent fall home tour with Finding Home Blog and Better Homes and Gardens.

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My Thoughts On Our Marble Countertops

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I have found that so many people have very strong opinions about having marble countertops.

A few days after we had our marble island counter installed an acquaintance was in our home and this was her response as she ran her hands over our marble…

“Oh, my!  You went with marble!  Are you going to regret that?”

Hmm

I won’t even go into the next five minutes of me defending the honor of my shamed marble.

This wasn’t my first experience with the opinions and gratefully I was better prepared this time to stand strong in my choice and to be proud of it.

Let me go back just a bit and explain how we came to getting the marble and what I think about it after living with it for 6 months (the good, bad and ugly).

This was our first big remodel of our home and I was so excited to add new character and design elements into our home.

Keep in mind that it had been 12 years since we had picked out flooring, tiles etc. while we were building our home and obviously there is always a budget. Dang budget…I hate you.

Kelly and I headed out to find the stone that would be the icing on top of our newly built island.

I was so excited!

I wanted to keep an open mind about what kind of stone we chose but I also knew I wanted the island to be a light color because I did not want it to become a dark hole in the center of the room.

We went to many different showrooms and even walked among the huge slabs that were outside (in 7 degree weather I might add).

All of the men working with us kept telling us how awful marble would be, completely ignored me and then proceeded to show me the most manly granite you can even imagine.

I think they thought I was building a manly cabin in the woods.

Each showroom left me more and more discouraged and everything I was being shown I truly hated.

I sank into the car seat as we headed home, turned to Kelly and said, “This isn’t as much fun as I thought it would be.” I think I probably sulked the rest of the ride home like the mature woman I am.

Kelly had made it clear from the beginning that he could care less what stone we got and this decision was up to me.

I forgot for a moment that I know what I liked and I just needed to stand up for it.

When we got home and I had sulked some more I gave one of my closest friends a call.

This girl is my artist in crime, travel companion, cocktail expert, best Halloween costume maker, designer extraordinaire and the funniest story teller.

I called her feeling defeated and I told her that I wanted marble for the island and every showroom was trying to talk me out of it.

The rest of the story is why I love her so much and I should have re-created it on video so you would all get a good laugh out of it.

“I hate when people know what they want and people try to talk them out of it!”

I want you to know that I have known Alexis for years and the following phone conversation was the most heated I had EVER heard her.

Alexis has one of the best homes of anyone I know because of her eclectic style and amazing design sense.

She told me that when they were remodeling her home that many of the installers of the tiles, counters etc. made her sign a waver because they didn’t agree with her choices (isn’t that a laugh) and they thought she would later regret what she wanted and they wanted it documented that they had warned her against it. Serious.

Of all of her choices she only regrets one and loves, loves, loves everything else she did.

Who cares what anyone else is saying…even the “experts”. Go with your gut and stand your ground.

When I got off the phone I thought I could take on the world…or at least the guys at the showrooms.

I have traveled to so many beautiful parts of the world and in so many of the hotels, restaurants and museums there is marble that has yellowed, dipped, stained and I find it all gorgeous!

I had originally hoped to find a vintage marble slab so all of the “beautifying” would already be added. No such luck for such a large slab.

As soon as I got off of the phone with Alexis I went immediately to Kelly and let him know that after Alexis’ pep talk we had some marble to pick out.

We then went to an amazing stone showroom with so much stone that we joked that it was God’s art gallery. Incredible stone that I had never seen in my life.

We picked out many different styles of marble and really made our final decision based upon price.

So, what do I think about it now that we have been living with it for 6 months?

We went with a honed carrara marble slab.

1. It is SOOOO beautiful. Truly gorgeous.   I love it so much and we have plans of adding it to the bathrooms when we update them.

2. It will not be perfect for more than 5 seconds…if it was even flawless when you got it.  I went into it half way relaxed and knowing that it would have marks of some sort immediately. Lucky for us our installers messed it up right away so that even relaxed us more.  Half of the things in our home are chipped or scratched because they are vintage.  I only want things in our home that we use and this ain’t no showroom. This is real life and I want to use what we buy.  It helped that I have lots of friends that have marble and they prepared me to just go with it…it is worth it.  We have flat marks, we have a few scratches etc. but I think it is still gorgeous. I really wish I could age it a hundred years and enjoy THAT beauty but I am sure with five of us in this house we will do our part.

3. It is easy to clean.  We only clean it with water.  We do need to look into a sealer that we can apply every once in awhile so if any of you have a great suggestion please speak up.

4. It is exactly the look we were going for.  No other stone would have done it for me.

5. We use it!  We make art on it, do homework, do devotions and enjoy the conversations that happen around it all of the time.  Jack has been known to take naps on it:-)

6. It softens the space so beautifully and will work with whatever direction we want to take the kitchen next.  The marble is a perfect neutral for any other color we want to paint the cabinets or walls.

7. Marble is timeless.  No matter what is in style or trending at the moment marble has been used in kitchens, bathrooms, floors, walls etc. for hundreds of years and they are holding up beautifully.

I am so glad I didn’t settle or compromise on a look I didn’t really like.  Every day when I come downstairs I have never regretted once getting the marble and the investment we made.

I think the moral of the story is to keep your opinions to yourself and let people enjoy their choices, don’t be talked out of what you really want and everyone needs an Alexis in their life!

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