Country style, country love, country life. Sharing my inspired, vintage, rustic DIY designs and decor on my blog.


So, I feel like I have some serious catching-up to do for the Christmas holiday that is just three weeks away!! I am receiving hundreds of emails from vendors and bloggers with so many great ideas for gifts and holiday decor- a wee bit overwhelming, as I have not even made my list, never mind checking it twice. Wenham Santa-Wish-List

This time of year I especially enjoy local craft fairs and events that highlight the Christmas season without being too “mall”ish. Because of our crazy schedule last month, I have missed many of my favs already. However, on Wednesday, December 5th, I am hoping to check out the Holiday Shop and Sip at the Wenham Tea House,

Wenham Tea House Shop logo

to benefit the Wenham Village Improvement Society. Formed in 1893 by a small group of women,  its original objective was to beautify the Town of Wenham, Massachusetts and make it a better place to live. Today the mission statement of the WVIS is “To serve the changing needs of the Wenham community, while honoring the history and traditions of the Wenham Village Improvement Society.” The Wenham Tea House, owned by the WVIS, hosts various events, including breakfasts, luncheons and teas, Wenham Teacatered by Henry’s Market of Beverly, a favorite local gourmet grocer for over 65 years.

Wenham Tea House

So I am hoping to make a dent in my shopping at the Shop and Sip, while listening to some Christmas music and having a glass of cheer. And if that doesn’t get me into the swing of things, there is always the Gingerbread House Construction Party on the 8th!

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

Now that would be a sweet way to start the holidays! Susan

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While I was whiling away the hours ocean-side in a tropical paradise called St. John this past weekend

Tropical Paradise

I was only too aware that upon our return to Boston, we would be in for some dramatically different weather. The virgin white sands

Tropical Beach on Country Design Home

would be replaced by drifting white snow (although today is it 60 degrees, so there’s that!)

Holiday Snow Covered Street

and the tropical green palm trees swaying in the gentle breeze Holiday Palm Trees

would be replaced with tall evergreens bedecked in Christmas finery.

Holiday Christmas Tree

Other than a few evergreen-swagged railingsHoliday Swag Railing

and balconies (which looked oddly out of place in this land of pastel blues…)

Holiday swag

or a lighted palm tree (although I suspect this was a year-round part of the decor)

Holiday Palm Lit

and an occasional surfing santa Holiday Surfin' Santathere wasn’t much in the way of holiday decor. So while I was hanging around the pool in between all of the wedding festivites, I found a few online suggestions for decorating your sea-side villa for the holidays. A simple seashell ornament could be the start of a dramatic tree design using blues and golds Holiday Seashell Ornament Or you could do an entire tree in seashells and starfish for dramatic tropical effect

Holiday Interior Yellow

Some colorful twinkling lights and baubles on your palm trees or Holiday Free Christmas

multi-colored lights reflecting on the water make a dazzling display that will surely attract Santa’s attention!

Holiday Outdoor display

Or you could go full-on tropical holiday with starfish trees- so pretty!! Holiday Starfish Tree on DIYnetwork

One final tree image today…one of the most ridiculously scrumptious desserts I have ever tasted! Deep-fried Key Lime Pie. I know, right?!?

Deep Fried Key Lime Pie on Country Design Home

Take a big slice of pie, wrap it in what appears to be jelly donut dough, deep fry it and then dust it with sugar and cinammon. Add the fruity red and green drizzle for a holiday effect. AMAZING. And with that, I need to unpack (both my suitcases and the Christmas decorations-yikes!) Have a sunny Monday, no matter where you are! Susan

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You know when you have an idea in your head of the perfect gift you want to buy, and you wander around the mall or scour the internet for hours trying to find it? Only to settle for something less than perfect because it just doesn’t exist!? Then this week’s High Five for Friday is for you! Gemvara is a Boston-based online jewelry company that allows you to create your own custom piece of gorgeous jewelry. Recently featured on Oprah’s “My Favorite Things” show for military spouses, these Naked Cushion Triple Earrings were worn by Oprah during the show,

and she presented a pair to each of the incredibly deserving recipients in the audience. Not to be outdone, this is me modeling my “Mother’s Day” ring that I received this past May. With both of my children’s stones, it was a meaningful and so special gift. LOVE. On the website,, the offerings are endless, as they provide the inspired original designs for custom rings, necklaces, earrings and bracelets and you take it from there. Any stone, from brilliant top-quality diamonds (I know, right?!?)and exquisite emeralds are available, and they have golds I have never seen before- check out this Whirling Heart Pendant in 18k Rose Gold-amazing!! The description: “Lined with tiny round gems, this heart pendant whirls into abstraction, forever suspended in a blissful dance” Couldn’t have said it better myself!

So if you are looking for a bit of sparkle and bling to light up your Christmas morning, check out And if you happen to see Coach wandering the mall, could you mention it to him? Thanks and have a gem of a Friday! Susan

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It’s Wanderlust Wednesday! This week, while we are wandering off to our next (and final!) wedding of 2012, I am sending you back in time to the 1700’s to Williamsburg, Virginia!

This past summer Coach and I went to the revolutionary epicenter of America, Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, one of our favorite touristy-type spots. Anything you want to learn about colonial life in Revolutionary times, you will find it here in intricate detail,

where actors and performers portray colonial men and women working and living as they did in the 1700’s, in startlingly realistic fashion.

Stroll down the Duke of Gloucester Street, which appears as it did in the 1700’s, and you will find most shops and taverns lovingly restored and maintained through the efforts of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

This is one of our favorite shops, owned by Mr. Prentis,

a purveyor of authentically fine colonial goods.

Since there is so much rustic architecture and beautiful hand-wrought brick and iron works, I decided to attempt to photograph the alphabet letters that spell Williamsburg. Not as easy as one might think! So use your imagination as I take you on the tour…

ig Makers Shop. These two lovely ladies patiently answered questions about where and when wigs were made and worn…by the colonial men!

ron Works were being created in the Blacksmith’s Shop, where despite the blazing heat and the roaring fires, the workers answered questions from the crowd.

Throughout Williamsburg you can see their handiwork, like this beautiful garden gate at the Governer’s Palace.

ivestock abound throughout Williamsburg, and can be found pulling carts and supplies.

When they weren’t working, they were resting behind post and rail fences, munching on lush green pastures.

ittle Lambs having their lunch-baaah!

nspired signs decorate the buildings, telling the story of the offerings inside. This mug of ale beckons the thirsty traveler into Chownings Tavern.

rchaeological dig sites spotted behind the buildings. Since Williamsburg has so much history buried beneath it’s pathways, dig sites are set up to unearth treasures from the 1700’s.

Many of the items for sale in the local shops, like this blue Delft jug

these salt and pepper vessels

and this politically-inspired teapot, are replicas of period pieces discovered under the ground. (you’ll have to ask Coach about the Stamp Act)

illinery Shop. These ladies spend their days stitching and creating hand-sewn dresses, skirts and accessories.

tomping the clay to created the thousands of bricks used annually to build and maintain the streets and pathways. Many of the characters that perform in the town are actually students at the College of William and Mary, whose campus sits adjacent to Williamsburg Proper.

irds for pie-baking. Four and twenty at least!!

nder the hot summer sun, women wore these colorful straw bonnets to keep cool and protected.

einactments are performed throughout the day, as soldiers and town folk tell the story of the days leading up to the American Revolution.

loves from the Milliner’s Shop, worn by the town’s gentrified elite.

So that was my walking tour, sharing some of my fav pics from Williamsburg. If you have an interest in American History, and you have the opportunity, Williamsburg Virginia is a must-see! Have a revolutionary day! Susan

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…that my holiday prep is over!! Sorry I haven’t been blogging much, it has been such a busy time around here and something had to give. Thanksgiving is absolutely my favorite holiday, and we love to entertain family and friends with a traditional turkey dinner with all the fixins! This year we had special guests from Ireland, New York and Oregon, so we tried to make it especially festive.

Since last year, my plan had been to host a primitive dinner in our re-furbished barn, but those hopes were dashed when we were rejected by HGTV. Sooo, necessity being the mother of invention, I decided to hold our annual feast on our newly vinyl-clad porch. After three long hard weekends of cutting and taping and grommeting, we had this:

So I hung thermal-lined drapes, added three tables and chairs for 22, twinkle lights and candles and then it looked like this:

Each table had its own centerpieces and decorations, using autumn leaves, burlap runners, rustic vases and candles to add a warm glow:

Once the candles were lit and the twinkle lights were glowing, it made for a pretty special (if not a bit chilly-could only use one portable heater as the others kept blowing a fuse!) outdoor dining room.

One of my young nieces walked in and said “Wow, awesome, it looks like a wedding!”

Mission accomplished. I would like to thank everyone who joined in to celebrate this special day, bringing wine and sides and pies and last-minute, hand-made place cards

and delicious hors d’oeuvres to make this dinner the best ever! Funny story about the hors d’oeuvres. My brother texted me to ask what time the party started. This was my unintended response (thank you, auto correct!)

Look for it on Ellen’s Clumsy Thumbsy : ) Hope you all had a lovely holiday as well.

On to wedding #6! Susan

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Inspired. Rustic. New Country Style.


Welcome To Country Design Home!

Inspired. Rustic. New Country the suburbs. Because you don't have to live on a farm to create a warm and inviting country-styled home. Follow my DIY junkin' journey as I give tips of the trades and inspired fresh country design ideas to create your own Country Design Home.

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