Holiday Party How-To

cookie swap

With the winter holidays sneaking up around the corner, now is the perfect time to begin planning a gathering of family and friends. Choosing a theme for the festivities makes things easier to pull together … and more fun, to boot!

cozy cookie swap

Party Idea No. 1: A Cozy Cookie Swap. First up, we have the classic cookie swap. I vote for giving this party a cozy twist by serving hot drinks like apple cider, hot cocoa, or hot toddies, and setting out a stack of plaid throws for guests to wrap up in. Invite your friends to bring enough cookies to share, along with a tupperware container to bring home their assortment of cookies, and get swapping! If you would like to provide food as well, choose an easy and comforting one-pot dish like chili.

Harvest Potluck1
Harvest Potluck

Party Idea No. 2: A Harvest Potluck. Whether you are hosting a ‘friendsgiving’, or simply want to hold a fun and low-stress gathering, a harvest-themed potluck is a wonderful way to do it. Give guests plenty of notice, as they will be expected to contribute a dish or drink. Pick up some seasonal fruit and greenery to decorate the table, and keep table settings simple with rustic linens and clear glassware or jam jars.

Christmas Candlelight1
Christmas by Candlelight

Party Idea No. 3: A Candlelit Christmas Celebration. Embrace the Christmas spirit with a peaceful candlelit evening filled with magical details. Warm your hands on mugs of hot drinks wrapped in knit cozies, hang wreaths of greenery and white twinkle lights from the rafters, and light candles all around. Make the dining area more comfortable with throw pillows and blankets, and play a soundtrack of holiday tunes, either modern or classic. For a handmade detail that will really set the evening apart, make your own menu cards using white pen on black cardstock in the style of a chalkboard sign. Your friends will be super impressed!

Rug Picks

No matter which party you choose to throw, consider warming your toes on a festive new plaid area rug. Or, change out a piece of art for the season with a Christmas-themed sign, like the one shown above. And remember, less is more! Just one or two decor tweaks is all you need to transform your home for the season.

What about you? Will you be hosting any parties this holiday season?

Shopping Guide: (clockwise from top left) Joy Carpets Whimsy Bit O Scotch; American Rug Craftsmen Dryden Billings rug; Joy Carpets Whimsy Bit O Scotch rug in Bark Brown; Barn Owl Primatives Dasher Dancer Print.

Photo Credits: (from top to bottom) Style Me Pretty100 Layer CakeThe Yellow Table100 Layer Cake.

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Inspiration Board to Room: Modern Folk Arts & Crafts

maryanne moodie

modern craft

From modern weaving to embroidery, cross-stitch, quilting, and more, handmade folk arts are more popular than ever, and many are getting a fresh, modern twist with new colorways. If you love the handmade, folksy look, but aren’t sure where to begin, not to worry! I’ll show you how to translate this look into a room, plus share top picks to complete the look with fun, colorful rugs. The first step is to pull together a few inspiration images that speak to you, and capture the colors and feeling you want to achieve. Above, I have chosen an image featuring a handmade paper chandelier (a traditional Polish craft) by artist Lena Corwin, and woven textile art pieces by Maryanne Moodie. These share a warm, rich color palette on a neutral backdrop. Now let’s look at another option.color and pattern

Above, I have chosen two much more vibrant examples featuring watercolors (top) and modern cross-stitch inspired homewares (bottom) in a palette of bright pink, turquoise, and chartreuse. Notice which colors you are more drawn to: warm and rich hues, or cooler brights? Figuring out your color preferences early on will help keep your room looking and feeling intentionally designed.


Another tip for pulling off the modern folk art look is to keep some elements in your room plain, pale, and embellishment-free. In the home of Paula Mills, shown above, notice the white floors and walls, with just one accent wall painted pale blue. It is this calm white space that keeps the bold, colorful elements (a red and a blue couch!) from feeling like too much.

rug picks

A beautiful, colorful rug works just like artwork in a calming, neutral space, so don’t be afraid to go a little wild! Refer back to your inspiration board as a reminder about which colors, tones, patterns, and styles you gravitate towards, and choose a rug that is likely to mesh well with the other pieces you add to your room. I am loving the rugs shown above, with designs reminiscent of needlework, paper cutouts, watercolors, and other folk-crafts-made-new.

Now it’s your turn: what do you think of the modern folk art look? Love it or hate it, share your thoughts in the Comments section!


Rug Shopping Guide (Clockwise from top left): 1. Surya Felicity rug in hot pink  2. Surya Verona rug in ivory, olive, poppy, hot pink, and lime 3. Surya Wilmington rug in rust 4. Surya Sanibel rug in Cobalt

Photo Credits: Maryanne Moodie; GAN via decor8; Lena Corwin; Sweet William.


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5 Fall Decor Trends to Try

1 - knitted

Trend No.1: Chunky knits. Deliciously cozy and warm, what could be better than a room filled with knitted accents in the fall? Try a chunky knitted pouf, a vintage knit blanket, or knitted pillow covers in the living room. For smaller accents, seek out knit cozies in neutral hues for your tea pot, french press, or mug.

2 - dark-floral

Trend No. 2: Dark florals. Dramatic and moody, these are no spring florals. Look for painterly floral prints on dark backgrounds. Wallpapers, like the stunning paper by designer Ellie Cashman, shown here, make a big statement in a small space like an entryway or powder room. For a less permanent take on the trend, pick up a pillow or two with dark floral prints and toss them on the couch for a fresh look.

3 - cognac

Trend No. 3: Cognac. As rich and warming as its namesake beverage, cognac color is an ideal hue for fall. It makes soft neutrals like khaki and cream look fancier, and works equally well as a foil for pops of brighter hues like teal and cranberry. Wondering where to add cognac? You can’t go wrong with anything in soft, buttery leather, from a couch to a stool.

4 - artisan

Trend No. 4: Artisan accessories. From traditional folk art from around the world, to delectable handmade finds from Etsy, artisan accessories are more popular than ever, with good reason! These colorful, creative finds can instantly give your space a personal touch. So even if you have the same Ikea bookcase as everyone else on your block, your home will look and feel really unique and special thanks to your creative use of accessories. To get this look, seek out at least one or two artisan finds for each room in your home. For example, place a hand-carved wooden spoon in the kitchen, a colorful rug in the living room, and pretty napkins with Mexican embroidery on the dining table.

5 - curated

Trend No. 5: The curated look. As well put together as a museum exhibition, the curated look entails carefully selecting your favorite objects and putting them on display. The most goof-proof way to embrace this trend is by sticking with a monochromatic color palette (all white, for example) and pulling together artwork and objects that fit within the palette.

Fall Trends

To get your folk art-inspired decor fix, check out the new Traditions Made Modern collection of pillows and rugs from Jaipur Rugs. Nearly every piece can mix and match to create a happily jumbled, eclectic look.

Ready to try this at home? Share which trend is your favorite in the Comments section!


Shopping Guide: All pillows and rugs shown by Jaipur Rugs Traditions Made Modern Collection.

Photo Credits: (From top to bottom of post) Anne WeilEllie Cashman DesignPetite Modern LifeNot Perfect Linen (on Etsy)The Everygirl.

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Cozy Up Your Living Room for Fall


A first hint of crispness in the air; the markets overflowing with apples, pumpkins, gourds, and fall flowers; your favorite sweaters and boots pulled out from the back of the closet; hands wrapped around a hot latte… The signs are all around: fall is here! Boosting the warm, cozy vibe of your living room for fall is easy, and well worth the minimal effort. For a quick update that you can do right now, set out stacks of coffee table books and fall-inspired cookbooks on your coffee table, and pull out a few candles and place them around the room. To go a bit further, add a few plump new cushions and a fluffy throw to your sofa, roll out a kilim or soft wool rug, and change up the artwork on your walls.


Decorating with nature is another super easy way to update your room with the season. This fall, instead of the traditional orange pumpkins and warm-hued flowers, why not go more sophisticated with heirloom white and green pumpkins, green persimmons (pick some underripe fruit for display only), and branches snipped from a tree? The pale color combo is unexpected, but still rich and comforting.


If you are looking to pick up a new living room rug, rich color (like the deep purple or overdyed blue shown above) is always welcome in fall, but don’t be afraid to go with something lighter, if that’s what you’re drawn to. Lighter-hued rugs with lots of great texture (like the two shown above on the right) can feel just as cozy as a dark rug, and give you more options to mix in colorful throw pillows. Here’s to a beautiful, cozy fall!

Rug Style Guide: Clockwise from top left Artistic Weavers Metro Riley rug in purple; Loloi Rugs PromenadeSurya Maori rugShalom Brothers Vibe rug in Blue

Photo Credits: Apartment 34DominoEmily HendersonSacramento Street.

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