Welcome January

A fresh start to the new year and free printables to use this January.

Happy New Year's Eve Day!  I hope that the Christmas holiday was an enjoyable one for you and that the new year starts off with the hope and optimism that it should.

Today I wanted to quickly pop in to welcome you to a new month (and year) here at anderson + grant as well as share this month's free printables with you.

Cookies and Hot Chocolate Christmas Tablescape

Forget the hot chocolate bar and set a pretty and creative Christmas tablescape for serving some homemade cookies and cocoa to your holiday guests this year!

Cookie and Cocoa Tablescape

Around the holidays, we all tend to have dinners to go to and friends and family to visit.  And of course you want to put a little extra effort into making things nice and memorable for your guests.

A few weeks ago, I shared a few ideas for setting a beautiful dinner table for the holidays and there are so many more tablescapes out there to inspire you with ideas for your own home, but what about just a casual gathering between friends?

My Farmhouse Style Christmas Mantel

An inspiring picture and a few more seasonal touches is all you need to design a fireplace mantel vignette you'll want to see all Christmas season.

Farmhouse Christmas Mantel

So, are your stockings hung and the tree decorated yet?

I know so many started decorating after Halloween and the stores are quickly becoming sold out of holiday merchandise, but I am pretty much in the group of those who don't start with the red and green until after Thanksgiving.

All this week, my friend Kendra from Joy in Our Home is hosting a tour filled with DIY projects, decorating ideas, and recipes.  And today I have the honor of joining in with some fabulous ladies to share our Christmas mantels....one of my favorite things to decorate each season.  The tour ended yesterday with a recipe from Beyond the Butter and links to everyone involved appears at the end of this post.

The Best Peanut Butter Fudge and More Treats for Christmas

The perfect sweet treat for the Christmas season (or anytime of the year!), this Peanut Butter Fudge will have you craving piece after piece!

Free December Printables

Download one or all of these free December printables to help organize your month, tackle some must-do chores, and stay inspired.

Free December Printables

December is one of my favorite months of the year.  I mean, who doesn't love a month that is filled with pretty decorations, gifts, shopping, eating, and spending time with friends and family?

Amid all the stress and chaos of the season also exists a calm and peace that isn't found at any other time of the year.  Maybe it is the music playing in the background or the glow of the lights on the tree, but there is a magic to the month of December that always makes me sit back and savor the blessings around me.  Would you agree?

Rustic Woodland Christmas Tablescape

This Christmas tablescape inspired by some silver deer napkin rings is a perfect blend of rustic and elegant decorating for your holiday table.

Deer Inspired Placesetting

Designing a tablescape for the holidays is one of the best ways to really find freedom in your decorating.  There is no right or wrong way to do it.  No rules to follow.  Your table can be elaborate or kept very simple, colorful or neutral, trendy or classic.  And at the end of the evening, it can all be undone allowing you to design again.

That surface that your family will be gathering around to share a meal is your chance to experiment with different styles, colors, and decor while ultimately creating a space where everyone is comfortable and welcome.

Christmas Greens Printable Recipe Card

These pretty printable Christmas recipe cards will help you to organize all of the recipes you want to try for the upcoming holiday season and could even be used as an inexpensive gift idea for those on list.

Free Printable Holiday Recipe Cards

Do you find yourself returning to the same holiday recipes year after year or do you like to experiment and try new ones?  While Christmas dinner is pretty much set in stone, I do find that I like to do a mix of new and old when it comes to holiday baking.  As much as I love my grandma's old family recipe for Sour Cream Cookies, I'm also loving the Rapsberry Gingersnaps that I decided to try this year.  And Christmas morning breakfast is always a chance to try out something a little different than the previous years.

Raspberry Jam Gingersnaps and Other Christmas Cookie Recipes

These soft gingersnap cookies with a layer of raspberry jam sandwiched between will be a favorite served on your Christmas cookie tray.

Free November Printables

Download one or all of these free November printables to help organize your month, tackle some must-do chores, and stay inspired.

Free November Printables

November seems to be the month that many of us try to embrace the idea of gratitude a little more in our lives.  And this year, it is more important than ever to look at the good we have in our lives.  To give thanks for the loved ones we get to share a little space of this earth with, the places we are able to call home, and small reminders we get everyday (if we open our eyes) that show us that we are not alone and part of a bigger picture.

Friday Favorites | No. 2

Good Friday morning to you!

Where I am in PA, the weather seems to have jumped from early August to late November temperatures in a matter of about two weeks.....and this girl is not loving it!  It has not been a peaceful transition to say the least.

The change in the weather has reminded me that Halloween is quickly approaching, so for my Friday Favorites post today, I wanted to share some of my favorite ideas for incorporating a little of the spooky into your decor.  While I don't normally decorate for the holiday, I do always love to see how others are embracing their inner witches and ghosts.

Friday Favorites | No. 1

Happy Friday my friends!  I hope that your week has gone well.  It is hard to believe that we are close to halfway through the month already, isn't it?

Today I'm excited to bring back a series that was once very popular here called Friday Favorites.  For various reasons, it got to be time consuming to put together so I stopped doing it each week.

But lately I've been missing how connected the blogging world once was where we were all sharing each other's work and lending support to one another and decided to start the feature up again.  Each Friday, I plan on sharing images that have caught my eye from other blogs or social media, as well as some more useful links towards the end for other posts, things I'm purchasing or reading, and new-to-me blogs I'm enjoying.

Creating a Simple Fall Flower Arrangement

Create a beautiful flower arrangement for fall without spending any money at all.

This past Saturday was an absolutely beautiful fall day.  Temperatures were in the 70s and the sun was shining.  Looking forward to next weekend, however, doesn't look nearly as nice so it was the push I needed to get outside and finish some necessary fall clean-up like cutting back flowers and putting away the outdoor furniture.  It is so much more enjoyable to do this work in the warmth and sun than a cold and dreary day.   As much as I love to dream that the warm weather is going to continue here, I'm also a realist who knows the weather conditions are not going to sustain the plants much longer.  There is no time like the present for getting things tidied up.

Creating a Rustic Fall Vignette | 25 Ideas Inspired by Fall

Decorating for fall doesn't have to involve lots of vibrant colors and pumpkins everywhere.  This rustic vignette keeps it simple adding just a few pumpkins to a mantel decorated with neutral colors and texture.

Birch bark pumpkins

Today I have the pleasure of joining in with some ladies sharing fall inspiration all week long as part of the Fall Festival Blog Hop hosted by my good friend Kendra from Joy in Our Home.  In this tour you'll find mantels, tablescapes, recipes, porches, and vignettes.  Links to everyone's posts appear at the end of this post.

Olive Pecan Cheese Ball Plus More Appetizer Recipes for Fall

Whether you are having a fall gathering with family and friends or just want to sit down to a snack, look no further for delicious fall appetizer recipes.  This Olive Pecan Cheese Ball is quick and easy to prepare and makes a beautiful presentation for the season.

Free October Printables

Download one or all of these free October printables to help organize your month, tackle some must-do chores, and stay inspired.

Free October printables

Well, we are fully immersed in fall now.  The weather is cooler, the house has been decorated, and pumpkin spice has been added to just about everything.  Now is the time to watch the leaves change from green to vibrant shades of red, orange and yellow and to take in all that the season has to offer like trips to the pumpkin farm and hayrides.

Trick or Treat Free Halloween Printable Sign

Halloween decor doesn't have to be scary or complex.  This simple "Trick or Treat" free printable is just what you need to add a bit of festive decor to your home.

Halloween Printable

Before you know it, Halloween will be here and you may have already started adding spooky decorations to your fall leaves and pumpkins.  I don't typically gravitate to witches and ghosts this time of the year, but there is nothing wrong with adding a few things here or there to acknowledge the holiday.

Nature Inspired Fall Tablescape

Nature provides wonderful inspiration when designing a tablescape for fall.  See how a cohesive place to enjoy dinner was created using oak leaf plates as a starting off point.

Oak Leaf Tablescape

Just because summer is over doesn't mean that it is time to stop entertaining and dining outdoors.  After months filled with really warm temperatures and high humidity, I'm actually finding it more enjoyable to have dinner outside on the deck now that the fall weather is starting to set in.

6 Delicious Apple Recipes for Fall

Apple season is here and it is time to experiment with new recipes using the ripe fruit.  Whether you are looking for breakfasts, desserts, or a warm beverage to drink, this post is filled with ideas for adding apple flavor in the kitchen.

Whether they are ripening on trees in my neighborhood, filling a favorite pie, or used for the scent of candle brightening up my home, apples are unavoidable as September begins and they last throughout the season.

Pick Your Own Pumpkins DIY Fall Sign

If you are looking to decorate your home with new autumn decor, you may want to consider picking up a paintbrush and making something yourself.  This simple DIY fall sign is something anyone can make and takes almost no time at all!

DIY Pumpkin Sign for Fall

There is something very satisfying about making things yourself.  Sure, there are plenty of pretty things out there to buy and I love shopping just as much as the next person.  But to be able to construct something with your own two hands that you can pull out and enjoy each year is special.

Acorns and Oak Leaves Free Printable for Fall

No need to spend money on fall decorations when you can print them from you own computer!  Today's post contains 30+ beautiful free printables, including this one with an oak leaf and acorns, that you can download and display in your home.

Free Fall Printable Quote

I know I say it year after year, but fall always gives me a feeling of being able to have a fresh start.  Thinking back to all those years of returning to school in September reminds me of shopping for school clothes, fitting in with different groups of friends that you shared classes with for the year, and the opportunity to participate in new activities and learn new information.

7 Easy Fall DIY Projects To Add Style to Your Home

In the mood to make something new to decorate your home this autumn?  These six DIY projects are easy, quick, and some are even free to put together!  They will add a stylish seasonal touch to your fall decor.

Fall is the season where decorating is definitely inspired by nature.  Either we showcase the fresh from the outdoors symbols of fall like pumpkins and branches of leaves or we use the same faux versions year after year.  And if do-it-yourself projects and decorating are something you enjoy, then there are countless ideas for using both the real and the fake to create a festive and cozy home during the autumn.

I've gathered together six of my favorite (and most popular) fall DIY ideas here for you.  Hopefully one or more will inspire you to get out your paint brush, gather some freshly fallen leaves, or do a little hammering to create something beautiful for your home.

Pumpkin Spice Cranberry Muffins with Streusel Topping

Pumpkin season is here and you need to look no further for the most delicious recipes inspired by the seasonal fruit.  These Pumpkin Spice Cranberry Muffins are perfect fall breakfast and when warm and slathered with a little butter, you'll be craving them all month long.

Everything You Need to Know about Renovating Your Home on a Budget

No one wants to spend more than they have to when renovating or redecorating their house.  This post will teach you nine ways you can create the beautiful, homey space your desire while still staying on budget.  

A few months ago, I announced that I was in the process of acquiring my grandparent's home to fix up and style.  And then I've said no more about it since.

It is still happening and you should be seeing  more pictures of the house in it's before state in a few weeks......fingers crossed.  Nothing has been done to the house as of yet because we have been trying to empty it out of all the things that my grandma had collected over her 97 years.  It has been a much longer and more labor intensive process than we ever imagined it could be.  But I'm finally able to see some light at the end of the tunnel and should be able to start making the house a home very soon.

Free Printables for September

Download one or all of these free September printables to help organize your month, tackle some must-do chores, and stay inspired.

Free monthly printables

With September starting in just a few days, it is time to release another set of monthly printables for you.  This month is filled with many tasks that must be completed to prepare your home inside and out for the fall season, but it also includes fun things like enjoying a pumpkin spice latte if those are something you look forward to.

Apple Cider Pound Cake | Over 15 Apple Flavored Recipes for Fall

Recipes for easy fall desserts are a must and today's post is filled with many delicious options.  This Apple Cider Pound Cake combines all the flavors of the season and can even be frozen to enjoy later on.

8 Inspirational Books that You Must Read This Summer

A little known fact about me is that when I read a book that I'm really enjoying, I read really fast.  I'm talking, like I could finish a good book cover to cover in a day or two if given the time.  It is like I become so immersed in what is on those pages that I just can't wait to get to the end.  I want all the knowledge that those pages can share with me. (On the other hand, if it is a book I can't immediately get into......I will never finish it.)

8 Inspirational Books that will Change Your Life

Free Printables for July

Free  printables for July that will help organize your month, tackle some must-do chores, and stay inspired.

Beautiful printables to download for free each month - calendar, monthly to do list, and inspirational quote.

Good morning my sweet friends!

I hope that your summer has been going well and that you've had plenty of time for relaxing and enjoying all that the season has to offer.  It goes by all too quickly and we should be savoring each and every day.

Hand Tools You Need to Be a Successful Gardener

Gardening doesn't have to be difficult if you are prepared with the tools you need.  Be ready for keeping your flower beds weed free by having these five essentials.

Essential Garden Tools

The weather has been beautiful here.  Lots of sunshine and warmth and just enough rain to keep the grass looking green and hydrate the flowers.  Of course, these conditions are also prime for helping weeds to sprout up in the flower beds.  And if you don't stay ahead of those weeds, well, it sometimes feels like you wake up to realize you've somehow lost complete control over your garden just while you were sleeping.

French Vintage Decor | A Must Read Book for Any Home Decorator

One of my very first blogging friendships was formed with Jamie from So Much Better with Age.  Not only do we share the same first name, but bonded over our passions for vintage treasures and painted furniture and shared similar dreams and frustrations concerning our blogging journey.

It has always been my belief that Jamie is crazy talented and possesses a keen eye for all things French style.  There are some people that I think are blessed with a gift for design and putting the right pieces together and she definitely has it....along with the ability to be able to capture it all with her camera.

12 Useful Gadgets for Quick and Easy Summer Food Prep

Be prepared for handling all things food this summer with these twelve handy tools.  Whether you are cleaning and cutting fruits and vegetables, cooking outdoors, or entertaining, these tools will help you be fast and efficient giving you more time to enjoy the season.

The summer season, more than any other, is when people tend to eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables thanks to backyard gardens and farmer's markets with fresh produce.  There is nothing better than slicing into a a fresh-from-the-garden tomato for a BLT or biting into a juicy, ripe peach as an afternoon treat.

These warm months are also when we do a lot of outdoor cooking whether it be on the grill or over an open campfire.  Why warm up the house turning on the oven when you can just as easily prepare dinner outdoors?

I'm not typically a fan of kitchen gadgets because they tend to turn into clutter rather than be helpful tools.  But.....I've actually found a few over the years that have made all the summer food prep quick and easy whether it be preparing those fruits and vegetables for eating, entertaining friends, or cooking your meal outside.  And best of all, they can help you create a special treat or meal to enjoy in less time and with less stress.

Do you have any favorite kitchen tools that help you be more efficient in your food prep?

Affiliate links are provided in this post for your convenience. View my disclosure policy for more information.

8 Things You Can Do to Make This Summer Special

Take some time away from all the things that "must be done" this summer and try a few of these ideas for enjoying the season and what is really important.

June is a month much like January and September.  It can be seen as a time to start over.  You've got three months ahead of  you to move life in a completely different direction or get caught up on the things you've been putting off.

There are so many possibilities in summer....it's a season of being able to enjoy all the little things in life like tweeting birds, the warm sunshine, sweet smelling flowers, and great tasting fruits.

How many of us really take the time to enjoy these things, though?  Are we more concerned with mowing the yard, painting the porch, and trimming the trees?  I'm not saying that these aren't important things to do in the summer (your neighbors wouldn't be too happy with the grass in your yard being six inches tall, I'm sure).  But I think we all need to take time from worrying about the important "jobs" we have to do, and spend some of it enjoying everything the season has to offer.

Best Macaroni Salad for Your Summer Picnics

A few special ingredients in this macaroni salad give the traditional summer picnic food a unique flavor everyone will love.

An Anniversary and Some Exciting News

Hi friend!  Today is a very special day because.....it is my blog's fifth anniversary!

It still amazes me that although I am a person who normally gives up quickly on things that don't go perfectly the first time around (character flaw I'm attempting to work on, by the way), there is something about this space and blogging that keeps me coming back.

Sure, there have been plenty of extended "breaks" and a long list exists of things I could and should be doing to make my blog more successful.  And yes, many times the thought has popped into my head that it would be so easy to walk away from it all.  But......I'm still here.

Blogging is tough.  There is so much behind the scenes work that readers can never fully understand unless they are a blogger themselves.  You are a one woman (or man) show and must learn to be a creator, photographer and photo editor, writer, proofreader, promotion team, and business owner all tied up into one.  And as the industry grows, it changes, especially when it comes to social media and getting your blog out there into the world.  You've got to constantly be learning and experimenting to see what works.

Those many hats a blogger wears is part of the reason why I love what I'm doing, though.  I've enjoyed seeing things through the lens of a camera as far back as I can remember.  Creative writing became something I enjoyed my senior year of high school and continued after graduation.  And during college, the show Trading Spaces opened my eyes to realizing that I had passion and talent for decorating and designing rooms, while Martha Stewart has always been my role model in terms of homemaking and creating a thriving multi-faceted business.  Suffice it to say everything I love is rolled up into one exciting occupation with blogging.

One thing that I can say is true with just about every blogger out there is that as the days and months pass, you get better and more proficient at what you do.  When looking at old posts that I've done, I sometimes have to cringe at just how bad the photography was or how off-the-point my writing could be.  The good thing is that those posts were back in the days when few people were reading my blog or even knew it existed.  The bad part was that they were still basically good posts that no one has really seen.  So one thing I'm doing after five years here on anderson + grant is going back to some of those old posts and updating them for you to find and enjoy now - recipes that I continue to make time and time again, DIY projects and furniture before and afters that you can make for your own home, and tips for keeping your home clean and organized.

When my new blog design went live earlier this year, I included the tagline "Learning to Make a Home" in my logo.  After honestly years of trying to come up with an accurate way to describe the direction I wanted to take this blog, this phrase came to me last summer and has been guiding my thoughts from that day forward.

Regardless of your season of life, where you live or who you live with, or the income that you have coming in each month, we all have to make a home somewhere.  We all have space that needs to be decorated in a way that inspires and makes us happy.  And those spaces need to be kept clean and organized for us to thrive.  We all have to eat and feed those we love.  And we all have to find ways to make everything function together well so that we are productive and efficient.

As Emily Ley points out in her book A Simpliflied Life, "The work you do in and for your home - cultivating a space full of order and love - is called homemaking...."  So thinking along those terms, we are all homemakers to some extent and need to understand the basics of what needs done in that role to make the best use of our time, money, and energy.  There is so much we are expected to know and be able to do well whether it be painting a wall, cooking breakfast, or maintaining routines to keep everything running on schedule.  And my hope is that moving forward here we can really dig in together building a foundation of what you'll need to know to feel confident and successful in what you must get accomplished in your own home.

My real struggle all of these years has been with believing in myself and trusting the path that I want to take with my blog.  And not owning my own home has always kept the vision that I have had contained to what I could do where I am.  I haven't been in a position where I could rip down walls, landscape the yard, or take you on an entire house tour.  That has probably been the toughest part of the past five years - knowing what I want to share with you and what could help you in your own homes, but not being able to do it in the way that I would like.

Well, although there are still things to be worked out, I'm excited to say today.....that it looks as though I'm finally going to be buying a house!  My grandma's house, actually.  It is quite the fixer upper, but that is what makes it so fun.  It is literally going to be a blank slate that I can make my own.  The plan is to guide you step by step through the process of transforming any home into a sanctuary for yourself and your family......without spending a fortune and completely gutting the inside of the house to do it.

Don't get me wrong.....I adored watching Fixer Upper and the other shows that go in and basically start from scratch to create a beautiful place.  And over the years so many of my favorite bloggers have had the opportunities to completely update their spaces.  But my guess is that many of you are like me and don't have $100,000 just to spend on renovating your home.  And while new and completely fresh is wonderful, it isn't always possible.  But I don't think that anyone should have to live in a place that doesn't fill them with joy just because they are constrained by a budget.

I don't have a timeline for when all this might be happening yet as we are still trying to get the house emptied out to have an estate sale.  But that doesn't mean that I haven't started thinking through design plans and scouting out light fixtures!  I'll be sure to keep you updated as to when all of this will be happening and I'm also going to soon start posting some foundational posts such as how to renovate on a budget and how to build a cohesive design plan for your house.

I am beyond excited for this opportunity to really take anderson + grant to the next level.  I don't want to just renovate a room and show you the before and after.  My goal is to truly take you behind the scenes and show you exactly what I've done to update each space and give you tutorials on things like how to choose the correct light to hang over your dining room table that you can use in your own home.  I'll also be sharing some posts that include variations of the things I'm shopping for at the moment like furniture or rugs.

And.....I'm planning on starting to incorporate some videos of the process as well.  I am a behind the computer screen kind of gal all the way and do not love the idea of being in front of the camera at all.  But I also know that I love being able to watch as well as read what my favorite bloggers are doing and this seems like the perfect opportunity to start branching out.  So I'm going to attempt to step out of my comfort zone for you all.  We'll see how it goes!

So if you have made it to the end of today's lengthy post, give yourself a pat on the back and pour yourself a cold summer beverage to sit and enjoy as a reward.  From the bottom of my heart, I want to say thank you for joining me at this space.  Whether you are a new reader, you've been following since the beginning or you fall somewhere in between, I am so grateful for your support and following.  Here's to another five years and beyond!

And by the way, if you aren't currently a subscriber who receives my newsletters in your email inbox, be sure to subscribe in the box just a bit further down in this post so you don't miss a single thing!
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