White House Christmas 2020

Picture of me at WH, featured on the Flotus account!

I’ll dive right in.

This was my 6th year decorating the White House for Christmas and it was my best and biggest as far as my growth as a creator. Even after last years almost 1,000 paper flowers made for the Blue Room tree it couldn’t exceed what I learned to make and how much it harkened back to my childhood.

These were almost all the ornaments sent. Missing are the flags, which my sister Reisha was making in Florida and the last minute “requested” Secret Service ornament.

I was asked by the First Lady and her team to create ornaments than pay tribute to the essential workers and first responders. It was an obvious choice because of the year we’ve had and one that I was prepared to take very seriously. It hasn’t been until later in my life did I realize that my gift to create is my gift of service. In this instance, I knew if someone visiting the White House sees their profession realized on the Red Room tree that they will experience some sort of joy and happiness even if for a moment. That the Peoples House acknowledges their efforts and sacrifices.

Each ornament was made with felt and sequins. I used the Canva program to create and find images, created a template and started layering, cutting and hours and hours of sequining. I’ve done this type of Bucilla craft growing up but there were no existing kits for our theme, so I made everything from scratch.

The houses were a last minute addition believe or not! Houses were something I had never attempted but honestly you don’t tell the White House or my boss “No” or ” I can’t”! Two weeks before ship date I started these precious houses using felt, cardboard and LOTS of sequins. I knew all along they needed to be lit from the inside and that I’d make a red barn, hospital, firehouse, grocery store, fast food restaurant and post office. ALL essential to our lives during the pandemic of 2020!

These were sleeves that I created using the same technique. This was the first time in White History that the famous fresh cranberry trees would have this kind of fun treatment.
One of my favorite ornaments was a grocery bag with small loaves of bread and eggs!
This was my idea of a care giver, nestling sweet kids in her arms. This was a visitor favorite!
The Secret Service ornament was a later request. Funny thing happened, one day these really big fellas dressed in suits were at the tree and looking at this ornament. Turns out they were the agents for President Pence who at the time was at the WH. Very proud moment that I met their approval and had requests to make more…and I did!
The teacher was my very first one. After this I knew I was up for the challenge!

Well, another craft, another year and I felt like I did the White House and First Lady proud. I get asked all the time what happens to all the decorations? I am very proud to say that mine from this year, along with my other crafts created for the White House will be archived and used at the Presidential library. That means I’ll forever be part of history forever!

God Bless America!

English Country Rabbit meets Vintage Lace

Very rare lace cloth is from Pandora’s private collection!

A perfect Easter table doesn’t have to be the traditional pinks, and blues with gingham, but what it does need to have is a story. This Easter table all started with my rabbit motif Spode china. Its story was to be sophisticated and charming using pieces that fit in a country color scheme…the English countryside that is!

I love to create boxwood chargers (charger base form here) for elevation and color. In addition to being just fun, they can be made a week or even two ahead of time.

Ok, here is the charm. Use vintage brooches, like this wagon of my grandmothers, and pin it onto the ribbon used to tie your napkins.

These napkins are from Pier One picked for their off white color and detail, again charming and country! The ribbon was a Christmas Ballard Designs purchase still in stock with other fabulous color choices.

Garden concrete bunny is from Michaels and has an opening in its basket for wet foam & fresh florals.

Fringed garlands are an easy DIY with BIG impact. I purchase most of my crepe from Cartefini, the color choices are amazing! It’s as easy as rolling out the paper, cut your desired width and length and fringe.

Basket is from the Williams Sonoma outlet. I filled it with two bunches of traditional Gypsophilia or baby’s breath. There are newer types of gyp like “Million Star” but in my opinion, it is not as pretty for use in baskets.

*This dried amazingly!

I’m a loyal Whole Foods fan when it comes to tiny cakes and pies. So this chocolate pie was perfect for my story and sat perfectly on a vintage pie stand.

Look around your home for things you love that can inspire an Easter table that tells your story. Maybe it is your grandmother’s china or a great wrapping paper you’ve held on to, or how about yard cuttings and blown out white eggs tucked into it, regardless, take this time to celebrate and decorate.

Happy Easter!


Little chicks and honey buns make for a lot of Easter fun!

Hopping right to it… I LOVE Hester and Cook table runners! I use them to wrap gifts, as backdrops and for there original purpose pictured here as a table runner. The fun thing with this orange one is that I stenciled it with something that resembled carrot tops to give it something eggs-tra!

The cookies were to be the focal point on my table, so I placed them on top of a vintage cake stand that sat inside a boxwood wreath, the boxwood was cut from my yard, and is something that will last for weeks and eventually dry for continuous use.

Honeybuns, aka cinnamon rolls, were placed on some tiny Target cupcake stands, very inexpensive and cutest Easter colors!

Cupcake stand linked here.

Whole Foods keeps in stock mini cakes that are perfect for smaller buffets or when you may have lots of other goodies to offer. They taste delicious and are perfectly decorated. All I did with this mini was add a bunny kit from Walmart and I think he looks absolutely precious.

I hope that with this post you feel inspired to create an Easter or spring table that gets your little bunnies egg-cited about the day.

That’s all, yolks! Happy easter!

It’s a very Bunny Day… for crafting that is!

Fringed crepe paper, dipped in german glitter!

I wasn’t going to buy a bunny this year! NOT a single one! But how could I resist the cute wood bunny silhouette (with stand) that was under $10 at Michaels? He needed me! So, I took him home, fringed crepe paper in shades of orange, dipped the crepe tips with my favorite german glitter, added a bow with a paper flower and all of a sudden, like bunnies do, I had another one!

This is Bunny after I painted him orange using my favorite paint by Handmade Modern.
I use Italian crepe paper from Cartefini however you can use any crepe streamer from a party good supply, you just may be limited in color.

No bunny is complete without carrots and flowers. It also provided the perfect opportunity to use a very special yellow linen cloth from Pandora Balthazar. I knew my color palette for this table was shades of orange and yellow. But one couldn’t overpower the other and the yellow cloth was the perfect shade.

Pandoras pieces are not sold online but please email me if you are interested in this yellow linen!

Vintage yellow linen cloth from Pandora Balthazar. The crochet border is large and the crochet rectangle pattern repeats on top of the cloth. A very special piece for sure!

Napkins are Pandora Balthazar, leaf placemat is from Michaels and the shred is from scraps of crepe paper I keep for reasons just like this!

I love to incorporate fresh produce in Easter decor like the carrots shown here as well as cabbage, radish and anything that reminds me of a country farm during spring.
The mechanics behind it are easy when you use florist wire and green picks to secure and insert into wet floral foam. Same with the nest, I hot glued a green pic to the bottom of the nest for easy insertion into the foam.
All these mentioned supplies can be found in my amazon storefront.

My Easter wish is that everyone finds that element, or thing, that will inspire an entire Easter tablescape. For me, it was this silly craft bunny and I’d say he was a good investment.

Happy Easter!

Shamrock Blessings

I married into a family of Irish descent and embraced it as if I knew St. Patrick himself! It is also the day before my husband’s birthday so that adds a bonus celebration and a great reason to decorate the table and count our blessings!

This years table is one of my favorites. It has everything; shamrocks, green plaid, sweet pea florals, and anything in ANY shade of green.

It is fun, light and happy, just like the Irish tradition of St. Patricks Day.

I didn’t stop once to think about matching my greens and I think I got LUCKY!

Sweet peas in yellow and white loosely arranged in a recycled Anthropologie candle jar. Mint green napkins from Pier One and vintage green goblets gifted to me by my friend @stylinbrunnette.

I crafted these tiny little sequined clovers with pockets on the back for money, hung them on white branches which I plastered for weight and stability.

Plaster DIY link here.

Printable Clover Template here.

Meet Shamrock Sally! Made from green card stock, wire and a little paint!

Shamrock Template with instructions can be found on www.thehousethatlarsbuilt

I’ll end with my favorite Irish Blessing…until next time, Happy pinching!

“May your blessings outnumber
The Shamrocks that grow
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.”

The Land I Love…

Celebrating being an American is easy, how can it not be? We live with so many freedoms and I for one want to celebrate those every chance I can. I heard something one time that resonated with me, and it’s something I think about almost every day. It is that we are standing on the shoulders of giants, those people that came before us and helped create the foundation for our liberties and basically our way of life that we live today. I think Pomp and Parade does just that! Let us remember those sacrifices, let us celebrate and enjoy those freedoms. I hope you enjoy this Red, White and Blue Declaration through decoration!

Ok, easy start, a white tablecloth, flag banner, and red, white and blue round pendants all purchased from Walmart. Use straight pins to attach from underneath the cloth…its a southern designer trick which leaves no trace and you won’t have to use those awful plastic attachments.

Red gladiolas are a prefect floral when you’re looking for height, longevity and most of all, the perfect RED!

*Note, pinch the very tops of your glads off. You’ll see more color come to the top and less brown when they start to wilt.

Layers! Use cake pedestals laced with ribbon, and large trays with footed glass containers so that you can see the fun going on! I personally have a ton of glass which I love to use for food, drinks, candles…It’s so pleasing to see a food table that has elevations to it!

One of my favorite projects to make for an outdoor event is the ribbon chandeliers. They are very inexpensive and make a BIG impact! I made three for this party because my tree is so massive that I knew just one wouldn’t do!

Ribbon Chandelier DIY here.

Happy July 4th! I hope I’ve inspired you to celebrate and create!

XOXO, Amanda “Mandy” Barkley

A paper peony for your thoughts?

Earlier this year during the ALT Summit, a conference for women influencers and bloggers, I took a crepe paper flower class taught by Rebecca Thuss and her gal pal Sarah. Rebecca is the author of Petal to Paper and has a resume that includes years of styling and designing for Martha Stewart. She is a delightful person and an excellent teacher. I was hooked and knew this would be my new crafting addiction.

It was probably ‘faux pas’ to use glitter stamens in the world of paper flowers but honestly, I couldn’t help myself. I wanted my crepe babies to have a sense of humor. Nor was I completely married to the idea that each flower must represent an existing flower. Maybe the flowers of my dreams all have glitter and are a little quirky? I found the best German glitter at Rose Mille along with fabulous vintage stamens and ribbons.

My other addiction is wrapping paper. Not your normal paper, but the kind that could stand as art by itself. The kind that has me reeling with ideas. However, with Mothers Day around the corner, I used it for its true purpose and wrapped a gift or two, or three!

**Always add extras like vintage black and white ribbon from Rose Mille, died burlap from Michaels and festooning purchased from Etsy.

TIP: I never use tape on packages, only dabs of hot glue. Be-leaf it or not!

Wrapping paper and Matches jar from Feliz Modern

Strawberry cake from HEB. BEST EVER!


Italian Crepe Paper can be found at Cartefini and Rose Mille. I personally love the doublette colors at Rose Mille and their vintage ribbon and stamens. I’m still learning about paper weight and which is best. So far I like 180 gram and 140 gram which can be found on Cartefini. Be sure and purchase green options for foliage!

Other supplies like the spun cotton and German glitter I’ve found at Smile Mercantile. They sell the spun cotton balls I use for centers.

Rebecca Thuss and book including templates!

At any age, I believe it is possible to learn a new craft. Something that inspires creativity and thought. Something that encourages your soul to dream and create. Crepe paper and making flowers does that for me and that is why I wanted to share this post. Happy Creating and Crafting!

Thank you!

Hippity Hoppity it’s Easter!

Easter, in my opinion, is the BEST holiday, second to Christmas. So much life, color, traditions, and happiness. New clothes for church, new spring florals to work with and ALL the candy imaginable. And it’s for all those reasons mentioned that I love decorating for Easter.

Here is my Easter tabletop! Enjoy!

Blue checked runner from Feliz Modern, placed on top of simple white cotton cloth. I didn’t have to get fancy with the plates, I just kept them white.

Can we talk about those bunnies? They are flocked and are the BEST colors for Easter. I purchased mine from Feliz Modern weeks before Easter knowing they’d sell out quickly and they did! So heads up next year bunnies, I’ll be watching to add to my collection.

I love balloons! So “Honey Bunny” had to make an appearance at our table. The crazy thing is, that darn balloon lasted a full week after Easter was over. So, he was well worth the price. I think they average 45-50 each, BUT what an impact they can make and great for a photo op!

It’s no secret I make candy jars for every holiday. So easy and inexpensive. I prefer the plastic jars from Michaels and spray paint the tops. Add a themed topper with ribbon and fill with holiday candy. Easy Peasy!

Ok, let’s talk runners. They are so many choices, colors and products out there that runners make our jobs easier. It gets dirty and we can trash it. There’s no real cost or commitment to it forever! So, why not cut the ends and add a extra large pompom? I’m not addicted to pompom making, yet, but it is an inexpensive addition or tool to have in my crafting closet. In one hour I had exactly what I needed to take this paper runner by Hester and Cook to the next level!

Cake stands for varying height. Added bows to bunnies for extra color.
Insert adorable Mallory holding “Honey Bunny” balloon. Thank you!

Ok, that’s a wrap with sharing. Hope I inspired your inner bunny skills for next Easter! Until then, thank you for dropping by!


Alpaca and Taco Bar Birthday

My Mallory was turning 12 and she finally was getting her long-awaited Alpaca themed birthday party along with her favorite food, Tacos! Alpacas and LLamas are trending right now so it wasn’t hard to find themed products, like Target llama plates and an Alpaca Pinata. Luckily they were in Mallory’s favorite colors, pink and green which set the mood for the rest of the decor.

Planning and Concept: Amanda Barkley / Photography and Contribution: Twinkle Twinkle Little Party


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