event planning

Party Animals!

It’s February! In our house, this means its time to celebrate my No. 2 – one of the sweetest little guys you ever will meet. I’ve written before about his nursery and transition to a big boy room (still getting around to that final room reveal post), but at the end of the week he’ll turn three, so right now I’m focused on planning a sweet, simple, and fun afternoon party for family and friends.


I love planning events for children – it’s just fun to make things fun for them! Sometimes I have a party theme in mind and other times I’m inspired to create a theme based on a photo, activity, color scheme, or any other random element that catches my eye. This past December, I found this adorable photo of a gummy animal menorah in a magazine. My first thought was that the little gummy creatures would be adorable on a birthday cake, so I tore out the photo with this party in mind.


Planning with these little cuties in mind, I decided to go with a party animal theme. I found these fun invitations on minted.com and personalized them for my own little cutie’s birthday.


And what’s a party without a party hat? For children


…and animals, of course!


Any good party needs some fun and festive, DIY garland. There are so many options, it’s easy to go overboard!


This beautiful mix of pastel and foil strands courtesy of the always fabulous Martha Stewart.


An equally cute and perhaps less time-consuming option, thanks to Jones Design Company.

Let’s not forget the food. Along with veggies and fruit, frosted animal crackers and goldfish are kid-pleasing favorites and will tie in well with the theme.  I also love the idea of animal shaped PB&J sandwiches for picky eaters.


These dipped oreos aren’t animal-themed, but the colorful sprinkles make a festive addition to any party.  They would also be super-cute to send for a school party treat instead of cupcakes.


And finally, favors.  I’m not a huge promoter of party-favors, but these DIY animal-topped jars are pretty cute.  You can fill them with a variety of treats if the kids are too young for gum, and the jar can be reused to house a variety of trinkets and treasures. Perfect for have boys who love to collect rocks and bugs and equally as cute for little girls’ baubles and bracelets.


It’s completely unrealistic for me to think I will accomplish all of these projects before the party on Sunday, but it’s fun to dream a little and have some inspiration as I’m preparing and decorating. I’ll let you know what I do accomplish and be back soon with photos of the day. I hope this post spurs your imagination as you plan future celebrations for any littles in your life. I always strive to find a balance between making my kids feel special and not going overboard when planning their parties, probably erring on overboard more often than not! Here’s to keeping parties simple, fun, and kid-focused!


Going Grey: Choosing a Paint Color

Happy Thursday! Thanks for all the Facebook feedback after my last post.  Grey is such a popular color and it’s fun to hear what shades all of you have chosen for your own homes.  Two colors many of you mentioned were also colors I’d considered for our living room:  Chelsea Gray and Revere Pewter (both Benjamin Moore).


(via Southern Living)

I’ve had the above photo pinned for quite some time now. I just love the deep warmth of the lighter gray walls (Revere Pewter) as it contrasts with the island (Chelsea Gray). Both colors give off a vintage vibe and I love that they pair well with a variety of accent materials such as copper, oil-rubbed bronze, natural wood, gold, silver, and marble.

Knowing Chelsea Gray was darker than I desired, I choose to start my paint search with Revere Pewter. I’d  heard so many great things about the color, I was sure it would be perfect before I even opened the sample can. This would be the easiest paint choice ever.


Chelsea Gray


Revere Pewter         

Wrong. I loved Revere Pewter when I first painted it on our walls, but as it dried, it got much darker than I desired. Still a lovely color, but not what I was going for. After seeing Revere Pewter on the wall and observing the contrast between trim and wall color, which was greater than I expected, I knew I’d need to go lighter than I thought to obtain the seamless look I wanted. I took a second look at my inspiration pins and realized the wall color was barely darker than the trim, so I headed to Lowe’s and Home Depot to look for a paint color that would fade gently into the background and let my furniture make a statement. With more direction and focus, I grabbed a handful of light gray paint color cards even crossing over into the tinted white color section. When I got home, I held each color up against the trim in various location in my dining and living rooms, easily crossing out all but two options.  I set those two cards on the edge of my dining room table and left them there for a week so that I could monitor them at various times of the day to make sure they worked in all kinds of light.

I also searched online and found the following colors that helped guide me to the right shade and intensity:



Cloud Nine (Benjamin Moore)

While I monitored my paint cards and pondered over Pinterest recommendations, I made one last-ditch effort to make Revere Pewter work.  I took it to my local Sherwin Williams store and had them lighten it by 75% by adding white to the original color.  Again, I came home, sure that I had made the world’s best paint color even better, but again was not pleased with the results when I painted it on my walls. It just looked purple.

By this time, I was starting to warm to one of the colors that had been sitting on my dining room table for the past week: Silver Birch by Glidden, picked up hastily at Home Depot.


Silver Birch, Glidden

I decided I liked it enough to buy a sample. When I painted it on my walls, it looked nearly white, but as it dried, it took on a subtle warm-grey tint that just slightly contrasted with the trim.  I let it dry fully and then continued to monitor how it looked in the morning, noon, and afternoon light, and most importantly in the evening with artificial lighting.  I was pleasantly surprised that I loved the color variations throughout the day.  As different light hit the wall, Silver Birch ranged from a white to a warm grey, but never took on yellow undertones.  Sold!


 The physical work of painting lies ahead of us, but the hard part of choosing a color is done!  If there’s anything I learned from choosing a color, it’s that natural lighting makes all the difference.  What works in one home might not in another simply due to lighting. The paint-card-on-the-table was a great trick that worked well for me.  It required some patience, but it really helped me to see how paint colors varied throughout the day before I purchased and painted a sample on my wall.

I can’t wait to show you the final results of the room.  We’re planning a paint party within the next few months – anyone care to join us?


Going Grey

It’s a long story, but when my husband I decided to move back to our hometown four years ago, we were lucky enough not to have to hunt for a house we loved. It was one of those “perfect timing” things that led to our house never actually going on the market. We sort of fell in love with it at first sight during the restoration and claimed it for our own. Because of our relationship with the previous owner, we were able to have input on many finishing details, consult about certain aspects of the rehab project, and even help out with a few tasks. A win-win for all involved.

Of course, we were fortunate that the previous owner also had good taste, so most of the chosen paint colors were ones we also loved. The dining and living rooms were painted a calming neutral called Canvas Tan (Sherwin Williams). When we moved in, the only furniture we owned to outfit these rooms was a dining room table and a couch. The color has worked well as we’ve collected additional pieces and defined our style over the past four years, but the time has come to make a change.


We’ve decided to go grey.

While Canvas Tan is a fantastic neutral that I will keep in my paint color arsenal, it’s beginning to feel too yellow to me. I’m craving walls that disappear with a grey that is warm, but barely noticed. Both living and dining rooms receive plenty of natural light, which we take advantage of by leaving the curtains open most of the day. In searching back through my pinterest board, I came across the following photos that capture the look and feel I’m hoping to achieve.

02-pretty-little-things-living-room-0414-lgn-83250734   via Country Living


via  Coco Lapine Design


via Country Living




via Vintage Whites

Choosing a warm, pale grey that acts as a quiet canvas will enhance the architectural details of our old home and the vintage pieces we’ve had fun collecting over the past few years.  It’s a small change that I’m hoping will make the perfect difference.  Check back soon for a reveal of our pale grey paint color candidates, our completely informal and unscientific process for narrowing down our choices, and, of course, the big winner!




…and make it your ambition to  a quiet life, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands…

These words, found in Thessalonians 4:11 -12, have been running through my mind lately anytime the conversation turns to resolutions.  There was a time when I made resolutions for myself and strictly stuck to them.  Giving up carbonation my sophomore year of high school just to challenge myself?  Check. Being a nazi about how many miles I ran a week? Done that too.  All in the name of personal improvement.

But in recent years – since getting married and having kids – it’s so much harder for me to stick to personal goals, I suspect due to my somewhat serious case of mom-guilt that makes me feel like a jerk when I spend time on myself.  I know I’m not alone here, but lately I’ve been thinking about personal goals – for my career, for my health, for my family, for this blog.  I’ve resisted the urge to write them down and make them specific.  I prefer to keep them swirling around in my head.  Goals, I call them. Goals, not resolutions. Resolutions are too strict and permanent.  They have no room for the twists and turns and unexpectedness of life.  I would feel like a failure for breaking a resolution, but a goal can always be re-routed and carried over to the next year. Life happens, you know?  Goals have room for grace.

So what does all this have to do with design? I keep asking myself the same question.  Why did I start this blog? Is it important? Is it making a difference?  My answers to those questions trace back to those opening words.

lead a quiet life

Believe it or not, my goal for this blog isn’t merely to showcase our design work. Sure, that’s part of the purpose, but not the main goal.  What I hope you really glean is the feeling of comfort and quiet that our rooms tend to generate. If anything, I hope our work emanates peace and tranquility – a quiet life – in the midst of the everyday chaos we all experience.

mind your own affairs

In terms of blogging, I struggle with this one.  I fully realize that following and commenting on other blogs, sharing via social media, and virtually “connecting” with others will grow this blog.  But, you know what?  It feels so insincere and fake to “connect” with the underlying purpose of increasing my own blog traffic. I feel a little self-promoting even sharing posts on my personal Facebook page.  I secretly hope people will stumble on this blog, feel a connection, and start following and commenting.  Maybe that’s unrealistic. Do any of you struggle with this?

What I think I’m getting at is that I desire for our work and our words to be sincere.  That we will not get caught up in design trends, but listen to our clients.  That we won’t provide content that is popular for the sake of a few more “likes” and “shares” on Facebook.  That we will continue to be true to ourselves and that beauty will flow from that truth.

work with your hands

Literally and symbolically.  One of the most satisfying parts of this adventure is the search – the hunt, if you will. It requires us to get off the computer, get out and about, discover new places, meet new people, and experience life. We take great care to get to know our clients and source pieces that fit each of their lifestyles. Often, we get creative – remaking,  reinventing, repurposing the old into something new.  It’s life-giving to each piece, to the project, and to our spirits. And finally, putting a room together for the first time really is invigorating and exciting.  To see all the things we’ve collected  come together, to work out a room so it is both practical and pretty: gathering. This is what we love doing.


So somehow, in some little way, I hope this blog makes a difference.  It is my goal that it inspires you (and me) to look for peace, joy, and love amidst the craziness of life.  It is my goal not to focus on blog stats, but to be true to myself and sincere in content.  It is my goal to do more working with my hands – to delve into the real relationships that the hunt brings about and to gather graciously so that all feel welcome.


The Mimi Rose Chair

I have a confession.  I’ve been hiding one section of the nursery update from you.  This photo explains why:


My glider doesn’t match. It doesn’t match because It. Is. Maroon.

Recovering this chair is the project that I never got around to before Sweet P was born…or after.  All Mamas have one (or more) of those projects.  It’s allowed. No, REQUIRED.

But, we like to look on the bright side on this blog, so here are some good things about NOT having a perfectly new, soft and cozy, white cotton covered glider:

1. Babies spit up. A LOT.

2. Colors really don’t make a chair more comfortable.

3. A $60 estate sale find that once belonged to someone who was practically a grandmother to you is much more comfortable and comforting to feed and rock your sweet baby in than the $1500 Pottery Barn model.                          

5. Knowing that this grandmother figure spent hours praying in that chair (often for you and your family) increases its value tenfold.

4. Amen.

This glider belonged to my Mimi Rose.


A woman who loved me like a granddaughter – so much so that I didn’t realized she wasn’t my grandmother until I was about 5 or 6 years old.

A woman of great faith who prayed me six long hours home from college every Christmas break and countless times in between – and before and after for that matter.

A woman of great strength – coupled with a good dose of stubbornness – which really is the best kind of woman, don’t you think?

A woman who, though she’s gone from this earth, reminds me daily of the power of Love poured out freely and abundantly.

It is only fitting to name the chair after her:  The Mimi Rose Chair.


My Mama recently helped me to craft a makeshift slipcover for the Mimi Rose Chair out of a white matelasse blanket.   With this white cover, the chair now matches the room, but retains its comfortable, well-worn shape that cradles me and my babies when we rock and read, bringing old memories of comfort and warmth and creating new memories of the same.

I’m not sure what it is about chairs and what makes me love them so much.  Perhaps it’s the fact that they cradle and keep us, supporting us when we feel too burdened to take another step. As a mother, I can think of no better chair for this purpose, for this journey is hard and long, and often I feel burdened beyond what I can bear.  But, the Mimi Rose Chair reminds me that I am loved, that I am supported, that there is rest and peace and calm.

I may never get around to recovering it, and I’m okay with that.


Design Crush DIY: Greeting Card Art

So glad to have you back for Design Crush project No. 2.  Today we’ll put those cute and clever greeting cards to use. Here’s the Rifle Paper Co. card that inspired this project for updating the art in my master bedroom.


A clipboard is a cute and easy way to display cards, but I bought this card with another idea in mind.

Here’s the artwork above the bed that needed a little tweaking.


It took me the longest time to decide what to hang over the bed.  The wall needed something extra due to the ceiling height, but  a large piece of artwork would compete with the bed frame. So, I dusted off some old frames, popped in some scrapbook paper, and painted our initials. That was three years ago.

However, something about the “A” had been bothering me for awhile, and when I recently found the Happily Ever After card, I knew it would be the perfect piece to make a subtle yet satisfying change.


Once you have your framed paper ready, it’s easy to create




Framed paper / Greeting Card (envelope optional) / Double-sided tape / Scissors / Photo Corners / Scotch Removable Foam Squares



This was an important step in my case.  Since I was trying to hide the “A” I realized I needed to use the envelope as well as the card.  Laying out the envelope and card before applying adhesive ensures that you get the placement perfect.



I chose not to cut the cover off of my card before framing.  Instead I cut several pieces of double-sided tape, placed them on the inside of the open card, gently closed the card and pressed it together to ensure that the card would stay closed when hanging on the wall.



Place the taped card aside and cut several more strips of double-sided tape to adhere to the back (flap-side) of your envelope.  Then gently press the envelope to the scrapbook paper to secure in place.



Slip one photo corner on each of the four corner of the card.



Four adhesive foam squares should be enough to securely attach the greeting card to the envelope/framed paper. I made sure to place the foam squares over the back of the photo corners to  ensure that they stayed in place.



Flip your card over and double-check the placement before gently pressing the card in place on top of the envelope/framed paper. The foam squares  will bring some dimension to the piece.  You can achieve less dimension by putting the entire piece behind glass or by using photo splits or double sided tape instead of foam squares.




I’m pleased with how this simple project turned out.  Not only does the card pick up the colors of the scrapbook paper perfectly, but the hand-written font and sweet little message are gentle reminders that, even amidst the struggles of life, I can choose to love and live happily ever after.


Next in this DIY series, I’ll show you an easy and fool proof way (I promise) to create beautiful, hand-painted lettering.



Design Crush DIY: Framed Paper

Welcome back to the blog! I hope the previous post got you thinking about stationery in a different way.   Today, I’m looking forward to showing  you one of my favorite (and one of the easiest) ways to get your favorite paper goods out of your desk drawer and onto the walls of  your home.

But first, here are the three Rifle Paper Co. products that I own:


Wildflower Wrapping Sheet / Happily Ever After card / 2013 Cities Calendar

I splurged on the Cities Calendar last year because I loved all of the prints and knew that I would reuse them long after the calendar itself was outdated. More recently I found the Happily Ever After card at Anthropologie and fell in love with the color scheme and the font. It sparked an idea for my bedroom, the results of which you’ll see later on this week.  And finally, I fell for the wildflower floral print on a recent trip to visit my sister-in-law.  Again, it was the colors that got me.  In particular, the faint blue-green flower that perfectly matches my kitchen walls. I knew just the spot to hang a framed section of this beautiful print.


Here’s an upclose view of the floral print.  This is a singular sheet of wrapping paper that I got for about $5, which is expensive for one sheet of wrapping paper, but completely affordable for a framed print.  I love that the flowers are thick and chunky with visible brush strokes. A little Matisse-ish if you ask me.

Follow along as we work with this lovely little print today in


STEP ONE:  Gather Your Tools


Paper / Scissors / Frame / Pencil

I’m using a wrapping sheet, but scrapbook paper also works well and is very affordable.  Any paper with a design or pattern that inspires you is perfect.  I’m using a frame I already owned, but of course you could purchase a new frame or find one at a flea market, yard sale, or wherever suits your fancy.



Open your frame, remove the glass and other inserts, and move it around on your paper to find out what section you want to frame.  My paper has a repeating pattern with no clear direction, which made it easy to place.  Other patterns may take a bit more time to find the correct placement. This will also give you a good idea how much of the pattern will be hidden behind the frame.



Place the glass insert over the section of paper you’ve decided to frame and trace the edges with a pencil.



Take one last look at the section  you’ve outlined to make sure it’s what you want, then grab those scissors and cut out along the lines you just traced. I always try to waste as little paper as possible when tracing and cutting so that I can save as much paper as possible for future projects.



Place your cut out paper behind the glass in the frame and secure.  Now it’s ready to hang on your wall.

Unless…you hang it on your wall and decide it needs a little lagniappe. Then you scrounge around in your craft closet for those two plates you purchased last fall and decide this is the perfect opportunity to add them to the mix.


In that case, you’ll need these handy plate hangers.  I purchased two at Hobby Lobby.




For plates that are larger than the disc, simply follow the instructions on the disc:  Wet back of disc, let stand for 5-7 minutes, then press to adhere to back of plate. However, if the disc is slightly larger than the plate back, you may want to first give it a trim.


Once trimmed to fit your place, follow the instructions on the disc (described above) to securely attach the disc to the plate.



I know this is can be torture for some of us, but I promise you can do it! This will ensure that your plates don’t fall off the wall and break due to poor adhesion to the disc.



The most fun part! I chose to hang my framed paper and two plates next to my  kitchen door.  It brings a little personality to my everyday comings-and-goings and livens up this little space. What do you think?  Do you have any favorite paper designs that are worth framing?


Up Next:  Design Crush DIY: Cards as Artwork


Design Crush: Rifle Paper Co.

Confession:  I’m kind of a stationery nerd.  I love pretty paper, cute notecards with handwritten sentiments, creative calendars, and fun little prints.  Recently, as I was online searching for the perfect planner for 2014 (i phone calendars just don’t do it for me), I decided to check out the website of Rifle Paper Co.  For the past several years, I’ve been drooling over the bits and pieces of their whimsical stationery line and art prints. I think it is the combination of their hand-painted designs and hand-lettering that speaks to me.  Last year I bought their “Cities” calendar as inspiration art for my office.  Did I mention I also have a crush on cities, especially maps of cities? But, that’s another story…


 Source // Rifle Paper Co.

Turns out, Rifle Paper Co. is a husband and wife team that began as a small business only four years ago and is now a world-wide brand that can be found at Anthropologie, Land of Nod, Paper Source, and countless other stationery and gift boutiques nationwide. Talk about inspiration! Now, I’m not only enchanted with their artwork, but also with their story.

Here are a few of my favorite things:


/ The World is Your Oyster Print /


/ Merci Card /


/ Pram Card /


/ Vintage Blossoms Notecard Set /


/ Custom Illustrated Notes & Calling Cards /

I can’t even describe how much I love these! Click the link above to see all the different illustrations.  ADORABLE.



 / Comb and Bobby Pin Prints /


/ Ant Print /

So what does stationery have to do with decorating your home?  A lot, I believe.  Over the next few days I’ll show you the handful of Rifle Paper Co. products that I’ve gathered over the past few years and how I’ve used them in unconventional ways in to easily add a bit of whimsy and nostalgia to my walls. I hope you’ll join me!

And in case you’re wondering, Rifle Paper Co. does not make a planner. If they did, I’m sure it would be fabulous. They do, however, recommend this one, which I decided to splurge on and have been happily jotting in for a few days now.

Here’s to the handwritten – or hand painted – word!


New Year, New Possibilities


Brandie and I are excited about the possibilities and opportunities that 2014 holds for Hunt & Gather Home.  We’ve got big plans for this little endeavor and want to thank  you for following  us as we get started on this  journey.  Your comments and encouraging words really do inspire us to keep reaching for our dreams!   In the coming months, we’ll have some exciting news to share.  We’re just getting started and hope you’ll stick around for the ride!  Cheers to 2014!


Christmas Eve Gift

My mother’s extended family has a tradition of trying to be the first one to say,”Christmas Eve Gift!” to other family members on Christmas Eve.  I’m not sure how far this tradition goes back in her family or from where it originated, but I do know that it’s a tradition that I love and am doing my best to pass on to my kids.  With cell phones, caller id, text, and modern technology in general, the game has lost a bit of its excitement and intrigue. I remember timidly answering the rotary phone with, “Christmas Eve Gift!” every time it rang and being slightly embarrassed when the caller, a non-family member, responded with a confused, “Excuse me?”  But, when the caller was a family member, it was fun to “get” them! I think the person who never got caught was awarded with a gift to open on Christmas Eve.  Apparently, that was not me!


For most of us, Christmastime is full of traditions, and it is difficult not to add more and more each year. This season, I’ve tried hard not to busy our family with too many activities, but to focus on a select few ,time-honored family traditions.  Like many mothers who have gone before me, I’m learning the art of embracing tradition in a  simple and meaningful way, rather than filling up everyday on our calendar with a holiday activity.

This year I left most of the Christmas decorations in the box, pulling out only those I really love.  The only decorations I purchased were a Christmas tree and cedar garland for the mantle. I’m always surprised that year after year, just by varying their placement, the same decorations feel new.

HGH _Christmas Entry

While I admire all the beautiful themed homes that I see in magazines and on other blogs, I just can’t bring myself to decorate our tree in anything other than family ornaments. Each tells a story that I love sharing with my oldest son as we hang them on the tree. We almost opted for white lights this year, a first ever for our family, but my boys insisted on old-school colored bulbs.

HGH_tree and cat

One of my most favorite things to hang is a strand of vintage Christmas postcards from the 1930s that I found several years ago at a flea market.  Each card has such a charming illustration and contains a note written in the most beautiful cursive script. Since our home was built in the late 20s, I like to imagine that many cards just like these passed through our door.

HGH_vintage cards

We’ve started our own tradition with Christmas cards that we receive during the season.  We hang them in the hallway (and often leave them up all year) so that we are daily reminded of the blessing of sharing life with friends far and near.


Our stockings find a new location every year.  This year, they chose the old chest of drawers-turned-tv console.  They don’t match, but they do coordinate.  I like that each stocking reflects a bit of its owners’ personality.


My kitchen is always a bit more whimsically decorated than the rest of the house.  It is where I display the boys’ handmade gifts and keepsakes. The boys decorated their little white trees with colorful, shiny garland.  A vintage santa cookie jar found its spot next to my coffee mugs, and the boys’ growing collection of Nutcrackers stationed themselves on the kitchen scale.

HGH_Kids tree



Decorating for Christmas helps us share the peace, hope, and joy of the season with our family and friends. What I love is that everyone shares the season in a different and unique way.  There is not right or wrong way to decorate a tree or display your Christmas cards.  Decorate as much or as little as you like.  Continue traditions and start new ones.  Sincerely sharing peace, hope, joy, and love is what Christmas is all about.