The museum where I work hosts an annual festival of trees every year called the Winter Event. People come in on the first Saturday in December and we raffle off about 20-25 decorated Christmas trees and about as many gift baskets. It’s a lot of fun and we really get some beautiful trees! Last year, I decided that I’d get on the list to make a tree for this year so I was loosely brainstorming for about a year.

At first, I thought we’d do a tree that had decorations that were also dog toys and call it “A Doggone Good Christmas.” The problem is that our dog is particularly good at sniffing out dog toys and likes to punch at cabinets that hold them. She’s so good in fact that last week she tricked both Kyle and I into getting her a new bone because she kept knocking at that cabinet. So, collecting dog toys on sale and hiding them around the house wasn’t an option which meant we’d have to buy them at non-markdown prices to get our tree ready. Also, the theme this year was “My Favorite Cartoon Christmas” and I was having a hard time getting excited about connecting cartoons to my dog tree.

Then, I had the idea of using Dug from Up as the dog and calling the tree “Dug’s Doggone Good Christmas.” But then I discovered that finding Up stuff that was specifically Dug-related was a little difficult. And I started looking around for inspiration and realized it would be pretty easy to make a tree just inspired by the movie. Plus, the tree would be all bright colors and balloons and fun!

The balloons were going to be the thing that made the tree different than just a tree decorated with Up characters. And all of those balloons would make the tree very colorful too. I bought a strand of rainbow-colored mini-lights, silver ornaments, and a tinsel garland. Before putting it on the tree, I tied 200 balloons to the tinsel garland.

To add some more cartoon fun, I used Disney’s Family site to get some printables for the Up decorations on the tree. I slid finger puppets onto the end of branches.

I also printed and made a Russell 3D Character, a Carl 3D Character, and an UP House!


After I had the tree decorated, I decided it needed more color so I added some little blue glittery bells, red glittery stars, and red glittery snowflakes. I also added a box of multicolor warhead candy canes and a box of solid (but bright) color Lifesavers candy canes.

By the time it was done, I secretly wanted to win the raffle and get to take it home! I’m not sure how well it did in terms of competing with the other raffled trees, but I know that a lot of kids brightened up when they saw it and recognized the characters. It was so different than my tree at home and really a lot of fun to make.

Before the actual event, I added helium balloons as a tree topper. Obviously this wouldn’t last all Christmas season, but it would make the tree a lot of fun for a kids’ Christmas party. Unfortunately, with all of the fun of the event, I didn’t get a picture of the tree with the balloons so I had to add those later. Luckily, one of our photographers caught a shot of my completed tree so I just cropped our guests out of it!

This year’s theme really let me have fun and be creative. I hope the family that won it is really enjoying it!


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We wrote about I Need Nice Things a little while ago because it’s a great way to get prints for decorating your walls. I recently came across a great find for our Thursday Tea Time in their set called “Object Art:”

A “This is a teapot” print would look great and a little cheeky displayed with a teapot collection or alongside the other prints in the series. You have to buy them all as a set, so I think I’d put this one with my teapots and spread the rest out around the house to tie together the decor. You know the grey works great with my walls and I love bright colors.

What about you? Would you want to keep the series together or add a touch of its playfulness to many rooms in your house?

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Tahir Mahmood was inspired by ancient techniques and forms when designing the substantially-sized Sawan pestle and mortar. And, it’s beautiful! (via Oh Joy)

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USB Locket


(via ardor: locket love)

Jess posted here about a super cool octopus locket, and I completely share her love of lockets. So, check out this one that I saw on Ardor.  It has a built in USB. How awesome is that?! I really needed this in grad school. Stylish and practical. Fantastic.





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I  mentioned last week in Choosing Secondhand Furniture: Know Your Shared Style that I think Kyle’s style is a little more fun than mine is. I’m not totally grown-up and boring around my house, though. I have one weakness for cute things — animals. I especially like it if I can get an animal thing that’s also functional. Maybe you remember my excitement about the elephant teapot in the Calypso St. Barth collection at Target way back when? Well, when I come across a cute animal at a thrift store I’m always tempted to buy it.

I try to curb my crazy ideas by thinking about what kind of use something might have.

When I saw the crazy winged zebra for $350 while shopping a few months ago, I had to think about whether or not it was worth $350 to have an item that had really no purpose except I thought it was hilarious. For the record, I decided it wasn’t.

Sometimes, though, I deem something worthy of acquiring. Last week, I saw these Bojensen era teak hippos on Vintage Scapes:

Friday, she posted that she had discovered one of the hippos for sale on ebay. I decided to try my hand at the deal and managed to score one for $20.49 when shipping & handling was said and done. It was a bit of an impulsive purchase, but I set my maximum bid fairly low and I was enticed by the seller saying it needed teak oil and describing the wood as very thirsty. I know the seller meant the wood was very thirsty, but it sounded like the hippo was thirsty and needed me to rescue him. … So, I did.

I think his mouth will be the perfect spot to catch all of my hair ties when they come off of my head so Kyle can stop complaining that he finds them all over the house and has no idea where to put them.

He should be here by the end of the week! I can’t wait!

We’re linking up at Flea Market Finds so go check out everyone’s finds after you check out our site for a while.


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Hammocks in the House

I don’t think that I’ve mentioned before why I do these “Home Inspired” posts, but it’s because each photo that I post here makes me think of something in a new way. A lot of the elements in the rooms/photos that I write about you might think to yourself, “I’ve been seeing that in the design world for months” and you’ll probably be right. But when I post an inspiring photo of decor here, it’s because something in the photo or article makes me think about an element of design in a different way than I have before. It can be a piece of furniture, a basket, a tree, or a hammock.

So, this post and photo are no different. I’m so inspired by the warmth and comfort of this room. It just feels like somewhere you can go and relax. No rules, stuffiness or discomfort allowed; which, I hope my house always feels that way. The hammock is just awesome with all its colorfulness. Love it.

Any design or something random inspire your home recently?



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Indoor Citrus Trees

Little Green Notebook: Calamondin (Indoor) Orange Trees.

After seeing a post from Jenny over at Little Green Notebook on citrus trees, I was so inspired to try this in my own home. Unfortunately though, I don’t really have a window that allows enough light in for the trees. Especially, since I live in a home built in the 1950s (that hasn’t been updated much), the isolation just isn’t energy efficient enough for me to leave the blinds up and curtains tied back all day. Also, I live in Austin, Texas where it’s like 159 degrees everyday. I’m on a mission now to find a way to do this. Maybe a small lime tree in the kitchen?

Another bonus to having these plants inside, is that plants in your home help to filter out harmful toxins. Not to mention, they produce yummy fruit. By the way, did you know that ivy in your kitchen filters out harmful gas from your stove. Making the air better quality.

I’m inspired in more way then one.

Do you have a indoor citrus tree? I’d like to know any tips or ideas you might have about owning one.

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Welcome to So Eclectic

So Eclectic is a blog dedicated to great ideas for home design. Austin, Texas-based writer Mary Marcum and Savannah, Missouri-based writer Jess Rezac feature affordable decor, decorating solutions, and inspiration. At So Eclectic, we experiment with design together. So Eclectic posts new content every weekday.

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