photo credit:  RTM Connect

This is the very first photograph I ever put on my blog.

December 9, 2011.

And it isn’t even mine.

Well….it’s my library and my Christmas tree and my french doors leading out to my back porch and my chairs and my tufted ottoman and my photo-shopped fire.

But I didn’t take the picture.

Not even close.


photo credit:  RTM Connect

You see….I had big plans for Thistlewood Farms.

I was going to write the perfect decorating blog with well-written witty posts about how to decorate…..

….and insider tips for the perfect room.

It was going to be fancy.

And amazing.

And super-educated with brilliant ideas on “how high to hang your chandelier” and “how to mix colors and patterns and textures and color with dramatic flair”.

But before I embarked on the blogging journey…..there was just one problem….

….I didn’t know how to take photographs.


It was totally embarrassing.

I had those cameras that you threw away after you took it to the photo booth to get it developed.

So to put my best foot forward….

….I hired a photographer who worked for a local magazine to come to the house and take pictures of the Christmas decorations.


photo credit:  RTM Connect

And so he photographed every room and took these amazing pictures…..and I was so all about myself and the photographs and the house decorated for Christmas and that tufted ottoman….

…..and the sparkling, twinkling silver and white tree.

So I sat down at the computer to begin…..and….

….oh….the post I was going to write.

I think it was going to be on the scintillating topic of using neutrals and textures in your Christmas decorating.  My fingers hovered over the keyboard….post swirling in my head….and I looked at the pictures one more time for inspiration.

And as I stared at those wonderful, brilliant, amazing photographs….willing the decorating words of wisdom to leap onto the page….

…my heart sank.


photo credit:  RTM Connect

Because right there in the middle of my about-to-be-brilliantly-written-post on expert Christmas decorating…..was my Wal-Mart Christmas tree….with it’s plastic feet and scraggly trunk….

….without a tree skirt in sight.



I was going to be an expert.

I was going to be a professional.

I was going to be the voice of decorating for the twenty-first century.


And so it was….two years ago….my blog determined its own voice.

When on that long ago December day….I sat down at the computer with my tattered pride and my shredded dignity….and introduced myself.

“Hi!  My name is KariAnne….

…and I don’t have a tree skirt.”  🙂


photo credit:  RTM Connect

PS  I was so thankful that I didn’t go with the whole expert decorating approach…when I posted the pictures later that week of my nativity set in the hutch in my dining room….

…next to my pumpkins. 🙂

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Regina Regina

    Oh, KariAnne . . . I love you. If you had maintained the idea of perfection, just THINK how many of us would be AFRAID of you! Honestly, if you hadn't mentioned it, I would have focused on everything BUT the lack of tree skirt! LOL!!! The pictures ARE beautiful - even the nativity/pumpkin ones . . . :)

  2. Image for Amber Amber

    Love this! I much prefer honesty over perfection any day. I just found your blog and have subscribed! I am also in Kentucky - in the Western part of the state. Keep keeping it real, it works!

  3. Image for Tanya@takesix Tanya@takesix

    Dear sweet Karianne, I love you first and foremost for your words. (Although your photos are drop dead gorgeous!) The tree skirt matters not! Christmas blessings to you and yours. :0)

  4. Image for Charlotte Charlotte

    I discovered your blog several months ago and I wanted you to know how much I've enjoyed "spending time" with you this year. I'm looking forward to getting to know you even more next year. Happy Holidays!

  5. Image for Beverly Beverly

    Aha! I do remember this well. And, you have been making my day before and since. Sending Merry Christmas love to you and your family.♥♥♥♥♥♥ Six hearts for six sweet hearts.

  6. Image for Mary Mary

    I'm so glad you didn't have a tree skirt! I love the way you do your blog. It makes me feel like I can do the decorating you do. And with all your stories you make us feel a part of your family. Never change a thing!

  7. Image for Kris Kris

    I didn't even notice the lack of tree skirt when I looked at the picture because everything else was so beautiful. There are eleventy billion (I've counted! Ha!) blogs out there on "how to decorate correctly" and reading them is like watching paint dry ... or chewing sawdust ... you are fresh and funny and heartwarming and real and that's why wonderful things (like BH&G) happen to you and why you have so many people who read your blog.

  8. Image for Marisa Franca Marisa Franca

    Perfect is so booooooring. You've got quirks! You've got personality! You girl, have style!! And I love anyone who can laugh at themselves. The pictures are beautiful but I must admit you are a quick learner as far as photography goes because your pics are amaaaaaazing!!

  9. Image for Pattie @ Olla-Podrida Pattie @ Olla-Podrida

    This post does indeed need a "Love" button. I am struggling through this season -- the first without my mom -- wondering how I am going to do it all without collapsing in a sobbing heap, and then I read this post and laughed out loud. Thanks for this.

  10. Image for Linda Linda

    This is SO hilarious...and after my own heart. Your house looks amazing...even without a tree skirt. Thanks for my laugh for the day. Keep on keeping on. We love you just the way you are.

  11. Image for Diana W. Diana W.

    I adore your wit and honesty over 'texture and expertise' any day of the week! Your mind is an amazing place of creativity and you seem to have the gift of actually appreciating today. Thank you for doing what you do and know that I look forward to reading your blog everyday. My morning cup of tea, and a visit with a good friend. One that I've never met, who is slightly goofy, has much better taste, is more creative, but I bet gives great hugs and is a complete chatterbug! My kinda gal! Keep up the good work Karianne!

  12. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    Well, I for one, am so glad you DIDN'T have a tree skirt! Your stories are what keeps me coming back! Now, don't get me wrong, I know I could use some decorating help...and you do have a gorgeous home, and lovely ideas...but I come for the stories! Like this one! ;)

  13. Image for Kathie Kathie

    It is the candid oops that I love. I can so often relate to what you have written. And this year my new table top Walmart tree has no tree skirt and only spray snow greenery from my yard. Some years are just like that

  14. Image for Jill Jill

    Thanks for my morning laugh! You are a girl who has a special place in my heart. Thanks for being you and showing us that a beautiful home is designed with love. Your blog is beautiful, funny and creates a fearlessness in the rest of us who are most-likely-to-forget-a-tree-skirt.

    1. Image for Aunt Lou Aunt Lou

      Jill, I just prayed for you. This is my sixth Christmas without Mom & we've settled down, but at first... well, I know what you mean. As my son said, that first Christmas, "It's kinda like - what's the point?" There are a whole bunch of us out here, missing our Moms. Do what you need to do, is my advice, not what you think you have to do. I polled my guys, including Dad, to find out what they would miss most, if I didn't do it. That has helped a lot. <3

  15. Image for Aunt Lou Aunt Lou

    I'm from New England, so I don't know if I'm allowed to do a, "Bless your heart!" - but I gotta tell you, sister, if yours was that kind of a blog, I would have kept on scrolling. :)

  16. Image for Dawna Dawna

    Oh.. you make me smile!! I have been zoomin around my house trying to get that perfect picture!! Yikes!! That is so hard to do and then I read your post and I think I LOL!! and the one good picture I did get of the kitchen reno all ready to be revealed...has an chair in the middle of it!! Oh dear!! I will keep trying..... and by the way, when do you find out if your lovely Industrial Farmhouse display over at Lazyboy is the BIG WINNER??

  17. Image for Andrea Andrea

    Karianne, what a beautiful post. I have a feeling the real you would have come out eventually! So glad you didn't a tree skirt. Turns out, you were meant to be doing exactly what you're doing.

  18. Image for Michelle Michelle

    You absolutely crack me up, love it!! Maybe I will start my long dreamed of blog in the new year after all. I still photograph in AUTO, am not witty at all.......but maybe, just maybe I will go ahead anyway! You are a treat! XOXO

  19. Image for Kathy d Kathy d

    I started following you mainly because you live in the country, but I love your wit and style and home also! I would love to keep hearing all about your country living experiences along with your advice on how to make your home gorgeous and real.

  20. Image for Julia G. Julia G.

    KariAnne - you are so witty and an excellant decorator and so real! Thank you for reminding us that none of us are perfect expect the One that was born in a manger, right next to the pumpkins! Merry Christmas and Blessings for the New Year!

  21. Image for Patty Aslin Patty Aslin

    What a beautiful room! Thank you for sharing your personal family space with all of us. MERRY CHRISTMAS & may GOD Bless you and your family in the New Year! Blessings, Patty from Colorado

  22. Image for revi revi

    You've come so far in 2 years, and it's YOU that has made it happen. Your mess is your message. Hot dog pot pie and AWOL tree skirts and Lee Press-on Nails and all that makes you and your lovely home a real place for real people. Congrats on your 2nd blogiversary!

  23. Image for KellyinPA KellyinPA

    Well, if it makes you feel any better, there is a tree in my dining room right now, completely decorated minus the topper and the skirt. I believe we will be without both this season because I'm not braving the stores in search of them. I dare anyone to say anything to me about it.

  24. Image for SharK SharK

    You are hilarious and with your amazing decorating it's nice to hear you make a few mistakes like the rest of us...I went with a rustic theme this year and when I flocked the tree my husband brought up an old paint spattered dropcloth to cover the floor. That is my tree skirt this year. How's that for unprofessional?

  25. Image for Maureen (Grammie to my 5 beauties) Maureen (Grammie to my 5 beauties)

    Ha-ha-ha! This is priceless - I love to start the day by reading your blog. It puts a smile on my face for the rest of day and keeps my creativity flowing to over burst. Thanks!

  26. Image for Linda Linda

    This is what has kept me coming back to your blog. It represents all that can be done without a staff of 20 and real life demands. Reality is more fun!

  27. Image for Gloria Gloria

    I am so glad you're normal like the rest of us. Welcome to KY, there's somethin' in the water. I blame it on the sweet tea..... Merry Christmas

  28. Image for Kimberlee Kimberlee

    Oh, KariAnne...that's exactly why I love you and your blog so much! Your home is perfectly imperfect, and that's what makes it so beautiful. Honestly, I didn't even miss the tree skirt until you pointed it out. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, and a happy new year!

  29. Image for Garden, Home and Party Garden, Home and Party

    Keri Ann, I only recently found your blog, I can't remember how, but I'm so happy I did. This post is what I knew I liked about your site from the start...your conversational, girlfriend to girlfriend communication is perfect and way better than formal tutorials on how to make your room look like a designer had a hand in it. Your home is lovely, tree skirt, or not. Karen

  30. Image for marti rippy marti rippy

    Karianne: I love the way you are...I'm thinking you need to take your act on the road...oh, but you do everyday and we are the ones who are so blessed by your style and humor. Thank you for stepping out on faith even if you did forget your skirt! You are truly a smile giver! Thank you for being who you are.....

  31. Image for Christa Christa

    I love that you tell us great stories and admit to being human! Its the only reason I read every post you write. Your humor does more for me than another old decor blog. Here's to the skirtless tree!!! May your Christmas be filled with love and laughter.


    Hey Karianne,Wouldn't have even noticed the absence of a tree skirt unless you hadn't mentioned it...was too busy looking at your GORGEOUS room,it is absolutely should be very proud of what you do,you are very very good at it!!!!Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and all the best in 2014. :-)

  33. Image for Elizabeth Elizabeth

    Before i even read the post i had decided today was the day i would tell you... YOU are my favorite! I read at least 5-6 blogs almost daily. But you are hands down the one I look forward to the most. Your wit and humor and happiness come through in every picture and word. THANK YOU for writing for us all. Not to mention your stunning pictures, guess you figured that out:) I hope this puts a bright spot somewhere in your heart! I would love to have you over for tea to catchup, as i have a feeling we would be wonderful friends. Wish there was a way for me to send you a few pictures of my world. I only started reading blogs last winter and would love to write and post one...someday! Have an amazing holiday season! cant wait to read more tomorrow! Be well, Elizabeth.

  34. Image for Sheryll & Critters. Sheryll & Critters.

    Dang it girl, you really expect to be perfect? Yes, like so many of us. But I think you have crossed the bar on it and far surpassed us. Everything is beautiful. And I am VERY unhappy about having to wait till NEXT year to see your decor for this year...... but oooooooooooh well..... such is my life. lol God Bless and Merry Christmas To You And Family & All Your Followers..... ya know?

  35. Image for Trish Trish

    Your lively personality makes up for your lack of a Christmas tree skirt all. day. long.!!! It's what keeps us coming back. Love your blog and all you do...skirt or no skirt!

  36. Image for Lisa Lisa

    Such good timing with this post. I have a lovely 'new' camera that my husband got me 2 YEARS ago because I had stared blogging! I haven't even dared use it yet---I'm afraid of it. Sooooo as I trudge along posting on my blog (sporatically at best) I was hesitant to post my Christmas Tour like everyone else does. Then I remembered my blog is for ME!!! To diary my life through my home decor eyes. I clicked away on my iPhone and while many pics did not have the right light or were grainy, I didn't care! My pics have been taken and I so enjoy looking at them over and over again. One day soon I will learn my new camera and then I will become the Oprah Winfrey of blogland, but until then....I enjoy my blog nonetheless :-) Fondly-Lisa

  37. Image for Wendy Wendy

    Oh KariAnne how I love thee! You make me laugh and smile and I adore you! Thanks for keeping it real! Wishing you and yours and your tree skirts a wonderful and happy Christmas! xx Wendy

  38. Image for Anne Manly Anne Manly

    It's been a long day and I just had to find out what you were up to today before I give up and give in to sleep - and I will sleep with a smile on my face now! Somehow it is now okay that our tree isn't up until tomorrow and I still have to get the turkey and all the fixin's and the kids arrive soon - life goes on and it's all okay - who wants perfection anyhow? We're going to be together and it's Christmas and I'll just pull out that old soft linen sheet I can't seem to lose and wrap it around the tree stand and call it done. Thanks for all you give us by sharing yourself with us. Have a wonderful Christmas - many blessings for the new year.

  39. Image for Miss Charming Miss Charming

    I'm so glad that you started writing that December (tree skirt or not.) You have such a fun personality combined with impeccable style, KariAnne. It's no wonder your blog is such a smash. I hope you have a fantastic holiday with your loved ones. Merry Christmas! (And for the record, I think your own photos now are so much lovelier than the professional ones.)

  40. Image for Gracia Gilbertson Gracia Gilbertson

    Reading this made me feel just a little bit better about how inept I am at blogging...and taking pictures. Thanks for your honesty. God has a way of humbling us and then using us as He intended in the first place. Hope to contact you in the new year for blogging advice...I'll be in touch. Hope you have a wonder filled Christmas with your family, KariAnne.

  41. Image for Keasha Keasha

    I absolutely love your blog. I find myself laughing at almost every post and look forward to each one. Your home is beautiful and I am planning on using some of the colors in your home. Thanks for all the inspiration and ideas. Hope your family has a wonderful, safe Christmas. God bless.

  42. Image for Julie Julie

    I love your blog! Your room is over the moon beautiful. While I decorate much differently than you because of time constraints and space, I would miss a chance to view every idea you have. Thanks for providing so much inspiration.

  43. Image for melissa @ DaisyMaeBelle melissa @ DaisyMaeBelle

    How do you do it? How do you continue to write posts that make me want to know what you are going to write next?! Most blogs, I only want to look at the pictures. Not here, I want to read every word. Even when I am at Disney World with my family and reading the posts on my phone while we are waiting in line :) My goal for 2014: Write posts that are "Karianne" cute! Merry Christmas! Melissa

  44. Image for Susan Susan

    I can not recall a year that I have ever had a tree skirt. I was laughing to myself as I looked at photos I have taken and nothing is ever right and I never have enough light and I noticed on my daughter's tree she put up had no tree skirt but some how it's perfect. Your home is perfect and lovely and expresses the wonderful open, funny and happy person that you are...with or without a tree skirt. Happy day. Susan

  45. Image for Raquel Raquel

    You're so funny you make my skirt fly up! Merry Christmas Christmas! And may you need forget your skirt in 2014!

  46. Image for Heather Heather

    I love how you are keeping it real girlfriend!!! Your room still looks amazing tree-skirtless!! I used a faux fur throw for my skirt this year!! It's turned out to be wonderful - I literally 'threw' my throw under the tree and voila!! Instant tree skirt! Ha!!! Wishing you a very Merrrrrrrrrry Christmas Kari and I can't wait to see what adventures you'll be up to in 2014!!!! xo Heather

  47. Image for Rosanne Rosanne

    You crack me up girl! I wish we lived closer I know we would be great friends. I would come over and not say anything about a missing tree skirt and you would come over and not say anything about how the darling stockings I made, the one on the end is slightly :)

  48. Image for ColleenwithJustPaintIt ColleenwithJustPaintIt

    This is just . . . synchronistic. Or somethin'. You see, just 2 days ago I went back, back, back and found your very first post. It's one of my 'things', to read the very first post of my she-roe bloggers - along with other early posts. And I saw the missing tree skirt. Or I didn't see it. Whatever. My point it, I thought I'd left the post open in my browser. Am I the only one that has 10+ sites open at once? But no, this is a new post from one of my favorite she-roe bloggers! All I can say is, if you can learn to take such beautiful - and I mean BEEUTEEFULL - photographs in such a short period of time, then maybe, just maybe, I can too. It's on my 2014 goal list. Somewhere. Near the top, I think. Oh gee, I'm rambling again. Merry Christmas KariAnne. Thank you for all the joy you bring with your posts - and your photos - throughout the year. ♥♥♥

  49. Image for Elizabeth@ Blue Clear Sky Elizabeth@ Blue Clear Sky

    You are awesome! Merry Christmas and all the best to you and your loved ones in the New Year.

  50. Image for Elisabeth Elisabeth

    I think of you as an expert. You inspire me to improve my decorating style but you never come cross condescending. I love your writing style. You're a fun gal and I read your blog everyday! Have a wonderful Christmas! Elisabeth

  51. Image for Christina from Dallas Christina from Dallas

    Maybe that tree was a boy tree so he didn't wear skirts? Anyway, your little "mistake" actually turned out to be brilliant as your readers felt like they could relate to you and we are not perfect either. Merry Christmas!

  52. Image for Shannon Shannon

    I love and appreciate that you keep it real! I enjoy reading your witty posts and your blog gives me hope! Thank you for sharing your talents. Merry Christmas from a woman whose tree skirt is a sheet from her daughter's bed- it works! :)

  53. Image for Elaine Elaine

    Its good to see you are just like the rest of us, human. Your blog inspires so many and usually brings a smile to my face. Merry Christmas!

  54. Image for

    I am soooo in love with this room! Even without the tree skirt it is just beautiful.....and to be honest, the room holds its own so well - I never noticed the MIA tree skirt! lol! I think this is my favorite room, although the dining room wows me.....and then there is the kitchen and your "to die for" bedroom.....Oh, heck, Karianne, I'm moving in! hey...I'll do the cooking! Have a great weekend...... L.

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