Dining Room tour {glass cabinets}

decorating, DIY By January 22, 2020 No Comments

Our dining room is a really beautiful space. The previous owners of our home remodeled the living area–so the family room, kitchen and dining room all flow together.

If you’re new here, my family and I have been in our new home almost a year. It’s a beautiful space with lots of little nooks to read and sip coffee while looking out the window. We live in San Luis Obispo, California and my husband and I run our own businesses making jewelry and gifts.

Okay, so back to the dining room. There is a giant window in this space with a window seat. The light that comes into this room is magical. There’s just one little problem–it’s hard to see inside the glass built-ins. They kind of get lost with all the light. But I found a quick, easy fix!

We added puck lights to each shelf and it really illuminates the glass cabinets beautifully! Look below and you can see the difference a little lighting makes!

Crazy, right? Keep reading and I’ll tell you more about the puck lighting.

The built-ins have a wine rack and wine fridge and even though we don’t drink a lot of wine, we’ve managed to fill a lot of the space! I like wine but I love a gin and tonic!

Lately I am really into gold frames, real plants, textured wood, pottery, textiles and natural light. Put those things together and it’s a magical combination!

One big take away from photographing my dining room is we need more plants!

I love to search thrift stores for plant containers with texture–like that aged silver urn or a cool basket. Also can we talk about this incredible chess set my husband created?

It’s called the Endgame Chess Set and it’s truly an heirloom. The chess pieces are hand carved and the board is handmade. It’s beautiful. See more about the Endgame Chess Set here.

I found this little painting at a thrift store. I’ve collected colorful pitchers for years. I just found that little cake plate in the dollar section at Target. I think it was $5. My husband asked if we have enough cake plates but I assure him we don’t.

I love mixing glass, paintings, weathered wood and rusty metal. So good! Also can you see those puck lights sitting there in the middle of each shelf?

These puck lights are a game changer! My mom found them on Amazon and told me about them. They take 3 AAA batteries and they have a remote to turn them on and off.

I literally just set the puck light in the middle {towards the back} of each shelf and it really illuminates the space.

This window seat has become a favorite spot. I often sip my coffee here in the morning and Matthias will come talk with me. I love it! The cushion is custom made from Heritage and Folklore on Etsy. I really didn’t use the window seat before we got the cushion–but once we got the cushion we started using it all the time! Cozy matters.

The macrame wall hanging is by Tied and True on Etsy. Lindsey, the owner of Tied and True is our nanny and we adore her! Check our her creations here.

A weathered bench, cozy blanket and a few pillows finish off the space just right!

Please check out my handmade jewelry! The brave love ring, open circle necklace and artisan pearl earrings are some of my favorites right now! And we’re having a sale in the shop!

And that friends, is our dining room! We love having friends over and gathering around this table. I wish I could have you over and sip coffee with you and hear your story.

Do you have a formal dining room? Do you use it regularly? Tell me everything!

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searching for the perfect blazer

shops i love, what I'm wearing By January 21, 2020 1 Comment

I’ve been looking for the perfect blazer–something that I could throw on and it fits great, feels put together {without being too dressy or business-y}. I wanted something I could use as an alternative to my denim jacket. So when I found this velvet blazer second-hand I was thrilled. And it fit just right!

Lately I’ve been wearing these jeans, booties and a white tee almost every day. It’s become kind of my uniform. Most days it’s too cold to wear dresses and these jeans feel easy and comfortable.

When I added in my new-to-me blazer it took my uniform up a notch! And can you see my necklace?

The older I get the less I can tolerate wearing something uncomfortable. I want to feel good and I want to look put together. We don’t need a ton of clothes, we just need the right clothes–the ones we want to wear over and over because they help us feel our best.

These jeans are Madewell and they are just so dang comfortable. I find I usually have to try jeans on in the store to make sure the fit is just right. On a recent trip to Nashville I was able to pop into a Madewell store. These jeans are true to size and have become an everyday favorite.

Louis wanted to be in the photo too. He’s my sidekick. He’s only in it for the treats but I’ll take it!

Have you guys seen the new My Monogram necklace? It is so easy, simple and full of meaning! After all, it’s my initial and represents me and the things I’m passionate about. I think everyone needs a My Monogram necklace.

The Brave Love spinner ring is another favorite. Layer on a gold spinner for each of your loves!

The next day, I layered the blazer with a black sundress and knee high boots for a completely different look! I think this blazer might live at the front of my closet so I can keep it in regular rotation.

For those of you who are new here, I make personalized jewelry! My heart is to create jewelry that’s one-of-a-kind and helps you tell your story. In this post I’m wearing My Monogram necklace, Full of Love necklace and the Brave Love spinner ring. See all my jewelry here.

Do you have a blazer you love? Are you on the hunt for the perfect blazer? Tell me all about your blazer journey.

Jeans, Madewell
Blazer, Second-hand from Ruby Rose {similar here}
Booties, Marc Jacobs
Knee-high boots, Rag and bone {similar here}
White tee, H&M
My Monogram necklace, here
Full of Love necklace, here
Brave Love Spinner ring, here

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a unique space for a unique kid!

david, decorating, DIY By January 19, 2020 4 Comments

Lately I’m inspired to create a space that’s fun and fits David’s needs. Of course I’ve always wanted his room to be a great space, but I’ve been watching him closer–which toys he plays with and how he spends his time. Every kid is unique and deserves a space to thrive and play. David has special needs and we want to fill his room with the things he loves.

David has a syndrome called Cornelia de Lange and people with his syndrome sometimes have difficulty sleeping. He’s up a lot at night. His room is safe and fun–with a cozy bed that he can climb in and out of as he wants to!

It seemed like David’s bedding was falling off his bed more often than not–so we got a Beddy’s comforter for him. It’s like a soft sleeping bag that goes on like a fitted sheet. No more blankets falling off the bed!

David loves keyboards and toys that light up and make noise. He loves books and sensory toys–like a slinky or a tambourine. That basket is full of more toys that we rotate out to keep things fresh and new.

We put a big keyboard on his dresser and David really gets the music going—drum beats and all! He likes to turn up the volume full blast. Typical teenager, right?!

This wall collage makes me so happy! The sunrise print is by Summer and Dreamer. It speaks to me of hope and new beginnings. Summer, the owner of Summer and Dreamer was one of our first employees at Lisa Leonard Designs years ago. She is seriously talented, creative and I am forever grateful for her friendship. Go check out Summer and Dreamer!

The framed Dr. Seuss quote is a gift from our dear friends Rob and Susie who know how much David loves a good story book! The basket is fair trade and my first children book, Your Spark, is a regular read around our house. After all, David is a big part of the inspiration behind the book. He shines so bright! Find Your Spark book here.

This adorable prayer plaque hangs on his wall and we say this prayer before bed. I wrote the poem so we could memorize it and make it part of our bedtime routine. You can find it in my shop!

Good night, Sleep tight. May angels watch you through the night. To keep you safe, to calm your fear, to whisper peace. Your God is near. Amen.

Personalize a prayer plaque here for your little sweethearts.

David has a walk-in closet with double doors. We leave the doors open and created a space to play. We used to have a big floor cushion with pillows but he never used it. For Christmas he got this desk {actually a side table I found at a thrift store for $40} and red chairs from Pottery Barn kids. {thank you, Nana!}. He has started sitting down on chairs independently–a new skill–and it’s so fun to rotate the toys and books on his desk.

Here’s a picture of David’s closet–with lots of his favorites toys and books,.

This desk area is getting a lot of use and it makes me so happy!

We found this little red piano on Amazon and it’s one of David’s go to toys.

That’s David’s room! A work in progress but a very loved space. Do your kids spend a lot of time in their rooms? Do you rotate toys and books to keep things fresh and new?

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DIY photography filters

inspiration, jewelry, photography By January 11, 2020 3 Comments

I love taking pictures–I’m an amateur with a lot to learn and that’s okay. Maybe that’s what makes it fun. I love to experiment and try new things. I use a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and I’m not sure if that camera can take a bad picture. Because my husband and I have a business creating handmade jewelry and accessories, I take a lot of pictures of my jewelry {and other things too!}. I want to create that magical shot that captures the heartfelt meaning behind every handmade design.

Today I tried partially covering my lens in 3 ways to see what kind of results I would get. I used a hair band to attach the object to my lens. I tried an olive branch, tissue paper and twinkle lights. The images are straight from my camera and unedited.

Check this out!

To start I cut a twig of olive branch leaves and attached it to my 50mm fixed lens with a hair band. This is high tech, folks!

It created some natural streaks in the foreground. I think it adds interest to the image–especially with the olive branch next to the jewelry box.

This is the sunburst necklace. Do you know that feeling; when you’re walking through a dark time and you’re wondering if hope or joy are even possible? Your heart is grieving. and then you feel it–just a hint of light. The smallest ray of hope and you hold onto it as tightly as you can. The sunburst necklace captures that glimmer of hope

The sunburst necklace has powerful meaning–you can see why I want the photography to tell that story! Find the sunburst necklace here.

The second filter I used what tissue paper, torn in the. center and the attached to my 50mm fixed lens with a hair band. {I still haven’t put away all our Christmas wrapping paper–so it was right there, available for me! Sometimes it pays to procrastinate!}

Oh my gosh aren’t these results magical? The tissue paper creates soft, blurry edges and with the center of the lens unblocked we get a clear image of one of my favorite necklaces–the Open Circle necklace.

A circle complete and whole. Each of us is part of the whole—together we are stronger and better. Every person is unique and precious. Every soul matters. This is the meaning behind the Open Circle necklace. Find the Open Circle necklace here.

I pulled the tissue back a bit more and got this shot of the Sunburst Necklace. It created softer bits of blurriness–so pretty.

I really went on a limb here and tied some twinkle bubble lights around my 50mm fixed lens. I was laughing as I did it–and also super curious to see what kind of results I would get. Check out this pic of my Artisan Pearl earrings. The lights created some bokeh around the edges of the photo. This image isn’t edited! So magical and fun.

These earrings are forged by hand to create an extra long, gold-filled stem and finished with a freshwater pearl. The result is clean and absolutely stunning. The pearl represents grace and beauty. Perfect with jeans and white tee or your favorite black dress. Find the artisan pearl earrings here.

Louis allowed me to photograph him with twinkle bubble lights tied to my camera lens in exchange for some dog treats. He’s such a cutie. He’ll pretty much do anything for a treat–even give me a head tilt!

I decided to try these same techniques with my iPhone.

The first image above left is with a small olive branch partially blocking the lens. I could have taped it to my iPhone case but I just held it with my other hand. I think it’s fun–like I’m looking through leaves to take the pic.

The second image I used some tissue paper with the center torn out. The blur isn’t quite as soft but it does create some foreground noise that’s kind of fun.

The last image is using bubble twinkle lights. This one was a lot trickier and I didn’t love the results. It’s just some round orbs in the foreground without that magical bokeh.

Which one is your favorite? Have you tried playing with real life filters? Hmm, I wonder what other things I could use for filters?

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10 reasons we don’t ask for help

david, family, the meaning behind the jewelry By January 10, 2020 9 Comments

A few years ago my husband, Stephen, and I had to take a last minute business trip. My twin sister offered to watch our two boys, one with profound special needs. When we got back from our trip and I asked her how it went, she said, “It was really, really hard.”

I looked in her eyes and I felt seen. I broke down crying.

If you’re a mother of young children, caring for someone with special needs or aging parents–you understand. It is hard. Years ago, I almost never asked for help. I tried to do it all myself. My husband was willing and able but I still tried to shoulder most of the load. I didn’t want to burden my husband, friends or family. I thought I could do it on my own. I thought it was my JOB to do it on my own.

It wasn’t any one task that was hard. Giving a bath wasn’t hard. Changing a diaper wasn’t hard. Giving medication wasn’t hard. Scheduling a doctor visit wasn’t hard. Feeding a child wasn’t hard. Even dealing with a tantrum, while exhausting, was still do-able. But all of it–all of the tasks, to dos, emotions and being available 24 hours a day was HARD. It was overwhelming. Honestly, it was suffocating.

Why don’t we ask for help? I’ve spent time thinking about this and asking friends for their perspective. I’ve worked hard to overcome false beliefs in my own life and start to ask for help–and I still have a lot to learn.

Here are 10 reasons we don’t ask for help.

  1. We’re so tired we can’t figure out HOW to ask for help.
  2. We think we should be able to do it alone.
  3. We worry someone else won’t love this person as much as we do. Even worse, what if they hurt the person we love?
  4. We’re afraid we’re not doing a good enough job and you’ll judge us.
  5. We can’t ask for a favor because we don’t have room to repay the favor.
  6. Paying for help is expensive and we can’t afford it.
  7. We don’t want another person around. Life is already complicated without adding another personality.
  8. It’s easier to do it on our own–that way we have control.
  9. Our house is a mess, our heads are a mess, life is a mess and we don’t want you to see our mess.
  10. If we ask for help and take a break we might realize how overwhelming it all is and completely fall apart.

Our family is in a season with lots of doctor visits. David has a big spinal surgery coming up and we will see all of his specialists for clearance before the surgery. I counted last week and we 9 doctor visits in Los Angeles before his surgery. It’s big and overwhelming and we need help. I can’t do it alone. So I’m slowly looking at what we need, thinking of practical ways people can help and then I’m doing something crazy–I’m asking. We’re hiring caregivers and showing them how to care for David. We’re asking friends to bring meals. We’re planning overnight care for David during the surgery recovery. It’s imperfect and messy but it’s necessary. I’m learning how important help is–and I’m feeling hopeful.

My word for this year is ‘simplify‘. I want to make space for David’s medical needs, surgery and my emotional well-being. I want to keep our calendar manageable and avoid overwhelm. I want downtime to read, walk and rest–even in this stressful season. I want to feel my feelings and speak honestly. I want to build a community of people who love and support us–and who we can love and support. We have help and it’s amazing. My heart is full of gratitude. I want to continue building a team of people who help us. I want to make space so we can help others too! I truly believe our burdens are lighter when we carry them for each other.

My word this year is S I M P L I F Y. I’m loving this necklace. Click image for details.

Do you have a word of the year {or a word of the season}? What do you want your life to look like? How do you want to change and grow?
Click here for the Word of the Year necklace.

How can you ask for help? I see you mama–pouring out love on your kids. I see you friend, caring for your aging parent. I see you teachers and doctors and nurses and therapists–you pour out love and care for others. You matter–your needs and wants, thoughts and feelings MATTER.

Personalize with a meaningful word, special names, dates or a phrase.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Does this list resonate with you? Why is so hard to ask for help?

Click here for the Word of the Year necklace!

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how to: heart-shaped pancakes

food & goodies, inspiration By January 7, 2020 No Comments

We’re a BIG pancake family. We eat pancakes a few times a week and we love them! Sometimes we keep batter on hand so we can make some pancakes quickly on busy mornings. The pancakes we make are fairly low carb and gluten free. You can find a similar recipe here {I use half the amount of oats and I add cinnamon and a little bit of vanilla}. With our love of pancakes and my love of all things heart-shaped, it seemed like heart-shaped pancakes were in order.

The secret to making heart-shaped pancakes in using one of the condiment bottles with a little bit of thinned down batter to create an outline. I found this condiment dispenser on Amazon but you can find them anywhere!

Make sure your pan or griddle is hot. Create an outline of a heart and let it cook just a bit so the pancake holds it shape.

Then fill in the heart with batter. I use regular batter for this part–not the thinned down batter from the condiment bottle.

Add chocolate chips, blueberries, sprinkles or other yummy ingredients.

Stack them up and enjoy with butter, syrup, whip cream, strawberries–the works!

A special breakfast is fun but breakfast for dinner is a great option, too!

Once you’ve mastered the technique try making different shapes like flowers, Mickey Mouse, stars, etc!

Do you plan special breakfasts? Are you a pancake lover like we are?!

Check out my handmade jewelry. So many pieces have hearts–I just can’t help myself. I love hearts and I love LOVE!

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creating a cozy hearth

decorating, get creative By January 6, 2020 No Comments

We’ve been in our new home about almost 9 months. Wow, time flies! We loved our last home and it holds many wonderful memories, but I’m loving this new space and how it works for our family.

The house has a large, stone fireplace that’s the focal point of the family room. The first time we looked at the house I thought for sure we would paint the stones cream but as we moved in I started to really love the warmth and texture of the natural stones. For now, they aren’t being painted!

The house also came with a large television over the fireplace which I wanted to move ASAP. But with the windows there really isn’t another spot for it in the family room. We love watching movies together and, I’m not sure I should admit this, but having a big TV has grown on me.

Last summer we spent time in Scotland and I fell in love with old-timey pubs and antique shops. There was a restaurant called Mitchell’s that we visited twice and I loved the warm decor, texture and plants. I also fell in love with a restaurant called Forgan’s. Beautiful! And don’t get me started on cozy bookstores, pubs and home decor shops. There’s so much inspiration to be found while traveling.

I started to see a pattern of natural stones {and bricks} weathered wood, baskets, antique brass, candles and tons of plants. The combination is calming and cohesive.

We spend a lot of time in this room–and because our home is an open floor plan, the dining room, kitchen and family room are basically one big space. The candles are all LED with timers. Anyone else nervous about using real candles in their home? The candles automatically turn on at 5:30pm and stay on until 10:30pm. It creates a cozy glow.

And Louis says it’s definitely his favorite spot in the house. I wish I had a cozy bed right by the fire.

This room is also where we play board games. Lately our two favorites are telestrations and chess. Has anyone played telestrations? It’s SO FUN!

And this handcrafted chess set my amazing husband designed for his brand, Stephen David Leonard is truly an heirloom to hand down to the next generation.

That’s our cozy hearth! I should probably go water all those plants–but maybe I’ll relax and finish my sparkling water first!

Do you mix up your living room decor periodically? Do you lean to warm natural textures or bright fun colors?

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new {and adorable!} stacking rings

inspiration, jewelry, the meaning behind By November 6, 2019 No Comments
Brand new stacking rings just in time for Christmas!

They are here! I have been so excited to share my new stacking rings with you. I can’t believe how CUTE they are!

Eight new stacking ring designs–each full of meaning.

There are eight new designs and each one has their own meaning. As you pick the stacking ring designs that reflect your heart, you’re telling your story.

There are three colors of stacking rings; sterling silver, gold plated and rose gold plated.

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The new stacking ring designs include tiny hearts, happy dots, twists and turns, and more!

Stack four or five rings together to tell your unique story! Each stackable ring is handmade and holds deep meaning.

I love to mix and match metals–don’t you? It adds interest and depth. What is your favorite metal for stacking rings–sterling, gold or rose gold?

I love to stack the forward arrows ring, tiny hearts ring and tiny sparkles ring with my classic stacking name rings. Isn’t is sweet?

You are brave. You are full of love and light. You make the world a better place. Tell your story with stackable rings!

This is your beautiful, imperfect, amazing, one of a kind story! These are the stacking rings that tell your story!

I love mixing metals–gold, rose gold and sterling silver, don’t you? Let your jewelry be as unique as you are!

Hold my hand sweetheart and we’ll walk together. This is our family. This is our love. This is our story.

Here are some of my favorites–forward arrows, tiny sparkles, tiny sparkles, tiny hearts and forward arrows! Aren’t these stacking rings beautiful?

Your story is matters! Tell your one-of-a-kind story with my new stackable rings. Find them here!

Don’t miss my BIGGER than Black Friday Sale! Click here to SHOP!
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Our Christmas tradition advent calendar

christmas, decorating By November 1, 2019 1 Comment
Create anticipation every day of December with this adorable Advent calendar!

One of our favorite Christmas traditions is counting down every day of December with an Advent calendar. It creates excitement and fun!

Did you know Advent means ‘coming’ in Latin? An advent calendar is a reminder that Christmas is coming!

The star at the top of the advent calendar reads, “Christmas is coming!”

My adorable, handcrafted advent calendar includes 24 pewter ornaments–one for each day of December leading up to Christmas Day! The advent calendar is not only a beautiful Christmas decoration, it’s also full of meaning.

An advent calendar is perfect for table decor at Christmas.

Parents and kids are going to love this advent calendar. Each day of December a new ornament is revealed. It’s like an early Christmas present every day!

There are 24 numbered bags and 24 tiny ornaments. One December 1st, find the first ornament in the bag labeled ‘1’ and hang that ornament on the advent calendar tree.

There are 24 adorable advent ornaments!

Oh my gosh friends these advent calendar ornaments are just adorable! They have so much detail!

How cute is this little vintage style ornament? These handmade Christmas ornaments are unique.

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This gingerbread ornament is so cute it might inspire you to bake Christmas cookies! The advent calendar is one of the Christmas traditions that makes the holiday so memorable.

How precious is this handcrafted ornament?

This tiny bell ornament is handcrafted and a sweet part of the advent calendar. Every ornament is so special!

Kiss me under the mistletoe {or the holly!}

Holly leaves and berries feel like Christmas time! The advent calendar makes a perfect Christmas gift for your family or dear friends!

Get your Christmas tradition advent calendar today!

On December 24 all of the ornaments will be revealed and the advent calendar is complete! Christmas is here!

The advent calendar comes with 24 handcrafted ornaments. Each ornament is full of meaning and tradition.

The Christmas nativity ornament shows the holy family under a bright star. The advent calendar helps remind us Christmas is a time for celebrating the birth of Jesus!

Now is the time! Christmas is right around the corner. Don’t wait! Purchase your advent calendar now! Very limited quantities. Click here to shop.

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How to display your Christmas nativity scene

christmas, decorating, DIY By October 28, 2019 3 Comments

Decorating for Christmas is one of my favorite parts of the holiday season! I love to set up the tree with all its sparkling lights, hang stockings and burn cinnamon candles!

Every year we set up our Christmas nativity scene with Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, the wise men and of course, the adorable animals. The nativity scene is a favorite part of our Christmas decor because it tells the story of Jesus’ birth!

My handmade Christmas nativity scene is absolutely adorable–with pewter figurines and a wooden stable. I love the texture and feel of it!

A savior is born! Let’s celebrate!

Adding a few simple touches to the Christmas nativity scene will take it from beautiful to absolutely breathtaking. You want your Christmas nativity to be eye catching–a perfect reminder of what Christmas is all about.

This year we introduced the adorable Angels On High to add to your Christmas nativity scene. Aren’t they sweet?

Okay, so let’s get down to business. I have four easy and adorable ways you can display your Christmas nativity scene.

Each of these ideas is easy to carry out and will make your Christmas nativity scene the centerpiece of your holiday decorations. The supplies are available at Target, Michaels or any craft store.

Idea 1. Display nativity with bottle brush trees and snow

The first idea for displaying your Christmas nativity scene is to use bottle brush trees and fake snow. I placed the nativity on a wooden tray to keep the snow contained.

So precious! I sprinkled some snow on the roof of the stable.

I’ve heard the animals breathed on baby Jesus to keep him warm. I’m not sure if it’s true but it’s a sweet thought.

Adding bottle brush trees and a little snow really gives the Christmas nativity scene a wintery feel.

And don’t forget your sweet Angels on High! They proclaimed the birth of Jesus!

Idea 2. Display nativity with cake stand, wood tree and natural garland

I kept the second display idea very natural and simple. This cotton ball garland is so sweet and very Joanna Gaines, don’t you think?

The angles are on the cake stand behind the nativity looking down. The wood tree completes the Christmas nativity scene!

These angels on high are so sweet. One has a star, one has a heart!

Idea 3. Display nativity with red cake stand and red berries.

Don’t the red give a beautiful POP to the Christmas nativity scene? It’s bright and cheery!

Add some red berries inside the stable and some around the outside. The whole Christmas nativity scene is placed on top of the red cake stand.

Idea 4. Display nativity with white berries and green wood trees.
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These white berries sprays are simple but add good impact to the Christmas nativity scene. The green wooden trees in the background are so simple!

The white and green are both Christmas neutrals but make the Christmas nativity scene eye-catching.

Which way is your idea for displaying your Christmas nativity scene?
1. white berries with green wood trees
2. bottle brush trees with snow
3. cotton ball garland and wood
4. red cake stand and red berries

Christmas is coming fast! It’s the perfect time to get your Christmas nativity scene! And don’t forget a set of Angels on High.

We have very limited supplies of the nativity and angels! Don’t wait!

Click here to shop!

It’s our BIGGER than Black Friday Sale! Click here to SHOP!
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