Style Scouting and a Few DIY Ideas

It’s Friday… I don’t know about you, but it is my day to take a break, especially when I have plans to work all weekend on projects around the house. I am in the process of two painting projects… one big, the other fun. I will share both with you over the next two weeks.

With the holidays approaching, my mind has been on getting myself organized as I shared with you in this post. This week I focused on finding unique gifts I still need to get or make. I shop all year long and make a list of items that I think my friends and family will like.

I try to get stuff that my friends and family will use, nothing to clutter up their home. Food gifts are always a winner especially when they are…

Bruges Chocolates - Dark Chocolate Nut Clusters on a plate

…delicious and CHOCOLATE!

Ed brought these Dark Chocolate Nut Clusters and a few other chocolate goodies home for me after a meeting he attended with the owner of Bruges Chocolaterie, a local chocolate company. 

In case you’re curious, the meeting he attended was One Million Cups Columbia, which is part of a national entrepreneurial network, One Million Cups meets weekly in the morning. I like their tagline: Caffeinating an entrepreneurial nation! Ed has met some very interesting creative business owners.

If you are looking for a delish gift for friends, family, teachers, co-workers, hostesses and more? Take a look at their website: Bruges Chocolaterie. They specialize in corporate gifts, too.

Gift-giving-idea-for-everyone-on-your-list. Bruges-Chocolates

The chocolates so good and they offer a wide selection from bars to artisan chocolates.


All are all beautifully packaged for giving. So much better than mass-merchandised chocolate you buy at the mall.  If you like to  support small companies, this is one to check out.

The Gift That I Have Been Trying to Find

For the past few weeks I have been trying to find this…


…, not only to give, but as a gift to me, from me… :-)

I am a tea with jam and bread kind of person and think this calendar is so cute. I buy the regular size, Bonne Maman jam and preserves at the supermarket and save the jars after I finish the jam. You can see how I repurposed one for this table centerpiece.

This Christmas Countdown Calendar was something I wanted to get last year, but it sold out before I had a chance to order it.  This year I got on a list to be notified as soon as they were available for Christmas.

When I got the email, I wasn’t quick enough, it sold out in hours.  :-(  I found out that re-sellers were buying them in bulk and then selling them for $80 and up on Ebay. I will pass on these, but just couldn’t get the calendar out of my head.  You know how that happens sometimes? I wanted it badly and was willing to keep searching.

Luckily, after lots of time online and then going to 3 World Market’s, I scored one…. kind of.  I am keeping my fingers crossed.  The manager at a nearby World Market found one in the Atlanta store and is having it sent to me.  I hope it doesn’t get lost in transit.

Clever Ideas I Want To Give, Make and Do

If you like Margaritas, but only in the summer, you may want to try this fall inspired Margarita to serve your guests on Thanksgiving.

Need a non-food gift to give a hostess, teacher or friend? I like this mini tree idea.

Have you seen these stencils? I am thinking about using the Buffalo Plaid in my house. Maybe on the wall I just painted in my kitchen. I will be sharing soon!

This console table is one of the best no-paint needed furniture makeovers I have ever seen. I love it. I think it would look nice in my bedroom.

Do you grow rosemary in your garden?  This is a pretty and an easy DIY to use it in a decorative way for the holidays.

A holiday tradition that I have always done with my daughters was read one of their favorite Christmas books every night. We have gathered many over the years. I wish I had done this… such clever and festive idea.

That’s a wrap for my week… off to the movies and dinner tonight. Then I will don my paint clothes and be painting and if the weather stays sunny, maybe even stain the dock.

Have you found any unique items that you are giving family and friends this year?

Enjoy your weekend!

Edible gifts to give this year to family, friends, teachers, hostesses, and for corporate giving. Bruges Chocolaterie sells many types of delish chocolates that they beautifuly package to be sent anywhere. The chocolate is so much better than any mass marketed chocolate you buy at the mall.


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  1. Dianne, love your blog and I hate to be “that commenter”. But, I did want to mention my personal conviction concerning chocolate. For me, it is important to know where my chocolate is being sourced. A lot of the chocolate sold today is a product of child slavery. Again, this is my person conviction. But, I just wanted to encourage you and those buying chocolate to be cautious and think about purchasing fair trade products. Thanks!

  2. Denise LaPointe says:

    I’ll look around for your advent calendar here in Quebec, let you know if I find it.

  3. Denise Rogers says:

    Cannot help but to comment on the store “Loblaws”. If I had never read this particular blog I would NEVER have remembered that blast from the past – the grocery store in the early days of my life, growing up in Buffalo, NY. Thank you for that, Linda St. Pierre!
    And thank you Diane, for some great gift ideas! Have a great weekend, everyone!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Denise – It is always fun to get an unexpected “blast from the past”. Thanks for reading.

  4. Helen Moss says:

    When I start on gifts too early, then it has been the case that I can’t find them when the time comes, and have to scramble to replace them .

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Helen – I used to do the same thing, and then unearth something I bought months later. :-) I now keep a big basket in an upstairs closet and everything I buy goes into it. When I go through it, like I am doing now, it is fun to see all the items I gathered. A few I had totally forgotten about buying.

  5. 1960s girl says:

    I just have to look for the Bonne Maman calendar in Canada. What a great find!
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Linda St Pierre says:

      Loblaws and Your Independent stores sell that brand

      1. Linda St Pierre says:

        Check out small confectionery shops, too — the fancy gift-y type, kitchen stores that sell specifically Christmas treats and treasures…
        Hoping your search is successful!

      2. 1960s girl says:

        Thanks but I know that brand is sold here as I buy that jam all the time. I’m just not sure that I can find the calendar. What I want to find is the calendar with the little jars. I should have looked for them when I was in France a few weeks ago…

    2. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Chantal – Isn’t it unique and is something I would use on a daily basis. I sure hope the one that was ordered for me, gets to me. I hope you find one.

      1. 1960s girl says:

        Great news! I just ordered it on a Montreal company Website. I even think they deliver to the US (I guessed that after seeing that you can choose “State or Province” in the address you want it delivered to).

        I can’t wait to put the calendar on the table on Christmas morning for my family!

        1. Diane Henkler says:

          Hi Chantal – Thanks for the link. I checked out the site… :-( only for Canadians.

  6. Elaine Williams says:

    Nice find Diane. I am all about supporting small business. You will never find me or my husband in a chain restaurant either. I like local and locally sourced places to eat, especially if they are a mom & pop place. Here in Baltimore we have Wockenfuss. They have been family owned and operated for decades. Shop small! Support your local economy!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Elaine – I love when I stumble upon something from a local or independent shop. I live in a small town where most of the shops are a small business owned by the locals from coffee shops to boutiques where I find the best clothing. Plus I love engaging with the shop owners and getting inspired by the passion they have for their business. Wockenfuss looks like a pretty sweet place. :-)