Seasonal

Again this year, I was notified by an email from Jeremy Bernard, the Social Secretary at The White House notifying me that I was again selected to be among the volunteers to decorate the house for Christmas.  My method for applying was the same as last year.  I wrote a letter to the Chief Floral

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Summer is always a favorite season at Casa Real. We love this garden. After the hail storm here in Knoxville in April, it was crippled. Mother nature has been a fast healer, and finally, in summer’s final days, it has become beautiful once again. Enjoy these photos of our little paradise in Summer’s final days.

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Wednesday evening, after having worked on the decorations for the past five days, all of the volunteers were invited to a reception at the White House. This would be the first of many holiday parties at the house this season. Mrs. Obama estimated that over 100,000 people would get to enjoy the decorations we had created.

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It took an hour for 90 people to get through three security checkpoints to get inside the White House. They were super thorough.

[White House Reception 322]
Green room with trees and wreaths made from recycled magazines and newspaper

Once inside, it was easy to move about the public areas of the house. There was a screen set up in the lower cross hall to screen the President and First Family as they came and went. I am certain they have little privacy, so this was understandable. The house is really beautiful. It feels very intimate for the President’s residence, which surprised me. It is a big house, don’t get me wrong, but the overall feeling is very approachable and welcoming.

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About the second week of October I got a wonderful surprise. It was an email from the Social Secretary at the White House asking me to be one of the 100 volunteers they select each year to help decorate the White House for Christmas. I had written a letter to the Chief Floral Designer and to the Social Secretary back in January telling them of my interest, and finally word came. As I talked with the volunteers once I was in DC, it was clear that we all had done the same thing. We were not really selected on our ability to decorate….or who we were….or what we did in our daily lives. We were selected because of our passion to want to be a volunteer in the People’s House, and to help make it beautiful for the People of the United States. If I learned anything during this week of decorating, I learned that being a proud, helpful American is one of the most important things we can be.

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We start shopping for our Christmas season in January.  Yes, it is hard to beleive, but it takes us a full year to prepare for a selling season that is a short two months.  At the January gift market in Atlanta, we hit the halls running, searching for new and exciting products to bring you. 

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  Traditions are a huge part of my family Christmas celebration.  My mother and I have made a Williamsburg style cone arrangement every year since we visited Williamsburg when I was 10.  This is an easy and versatile centerpiece, and a great Christmas Eve tradition.  To start with, you need the green painted wooden cone

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  One of the joys of walking Chicago’s streets in December were the decorations that lined Michigan Avenue.  All of the stores and buildings along the Magnificent Mile took great pride in decorating not only their windows, but the beds of landscaping that lie between the sidewalk and the street.  Everywhere you looked was a

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Recently, I was asked by the team at Live at 5 at 4 to appear on their show and discuss the recent recognition by House Beautiful as being one of the Top 20 Next Wave of designers.  They also asked for some simple Christmas decorating tips since we were in the middle of the holiday

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I have had some requests to see how our home looks during the Christmas season.  This morning, we awoke to the season’s first snowfall, and the view from the bedroom window inspired this post.  Nothing says Christmas like snow.  It was so beautiful here this morning, I had to share.  The first photos are of

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