Welcome to Inspiration Friday No. 44

Hello lovely friends! We are so thrilled that you are joining us this week for Inspiration Friday after our little detour last week to the Blogger Block Party. We have seen so many incredible projects and ideas that we now have ridiculously long lists of things we want to try and make NEXT year! 

Before we get to the features from 2 weeks ago, we wanted to let you know that you can also visit us on Friday over at Homemaker on a Dime! We were so honored when SJ asked us to be apart of her fantastic series entitled “Blogging for Dollars“. We would love it if you would stop by and see us over there and we know you will wind up being taken in by all of SJ’s incredible projects and ideas!
Now, with Christmas a little over a week away (is that possible?) we just couldn’t let any more time pass before we share with our Christmas Trees!
First up, Heather’s tree….

This year was a huge milestone for our family! It was the first year we have purchased a real tree since we’ve had kids! 

I had wanted to do something different this year.  I decided to forgo the traditional tree skirt and place our tree in a planter of some sort.  I looked high and low for the perfect one, only to grab this huge copper stone planter off the deck!
I also went with a smaller tree than usual.  We don’t have very tall ceilings so we can never do an ginormous one anyway, but this year I wanted a refined rustic look, so we chose a smaller tree

I stuck mainly with golds, silvers and whites this year on the tree…but it will always include some of our most sentimental ornaments.

Even though having a smaller tree and putting it in a planter took some getting use to for everyone…I think we’ve all agreed we’re really happy with our tree this year!

Now, let’s take a peek at Vanessa’s Traditional Christmas Tree Trimmings!
Well friends, what can I say? Every year I’m certain I will try something new with our Christmas Tree (aka Mama’s tree!) and then every year I just fall in love all over again with this traditional look.

Simple strands of gold beads draped over the branches and favorite ornaments from years gone by mixing in with some new finds here and there.
Of course, these sweet faces peering through the boughs always melt my heart!
And yet, with all of that crystal and beading and bejeweling, my favorite ornament still remains the same. I know what you are thinking. 
“Ummm…Vanessa, you realize that is a 
cheap-o red ball ornament from Wal-Mart, right?”
But tucked inside that cheap-o red ball ornament is a little slip of paper. 
And on that slip of paper is a prayer written with all the hopefulness one young couple could muster.
And the next year, 2003, we took out that ornament and slipped that piece of paper out and rejoiced that our prayer had been answered in the form of a precious baby boy!

Last Sunday at the Cookie Exchange I hosted for our Community Group, I gave each gal their own cheap-o ball ornament and little slip of paper.
I watched as they wrote out their prayers and hopes and tucked them down inside.
And I prayed for them, as I pray for all of you, that their prayers will be answered.
Maybe not this year, maybe not even next year and maybe not in the way you thought they would be answered. But that you will find rest and peace in the security of His love for you and His desire to give you “immeasurably more than you could ask or imagine“! 
Thanks for letting us share our trees with you! Now onto our Features from the last Inspiration Friday!
We absolutely adore these Vintage Paper Trees shared with us by Barb of Keeping Up with the Times!
She includes a wonderful tutorial on how to make them and the “Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come” foretells a few of these in our future!

This is such a darling Pallet Christmas Tree created by Our Little Nest on the Lake. We love that it is on her front porch and the little presents attached at the bottom were the perfect finishing touch!
We loved all of the projects which were linked up by The Artsy Girl Connection and these two are just a sampling of the gorgeous creations she makes!
These are her TP Roll Burlap Stuffed Ornaments.

And this is her recipe for Peppermint Bark. Yes please!

There are so many unique and gorgeous “wreaths” showing up in Blogland right now…and this one by The Turquoise Piano is no exception!   The bright colors and crisp white pop against the brown door…gorgeous!

We LOVE the makeover that Christie from Three Pixie Lane gave her French Hutch! Every detail is so beautiful!

These homemade cards and gift tags from The Farmhouse Porch are the perfect mix of vintage and glam…and the message it sends couldn’t be more special…A King IS Born! Amen!

Thank you to all of our features this week as well as to all of you who share your amazing ideas, projects and inspiration with us each and every week! If you were featured today (or have been featured in the past) please grab the featured at button code located in on our Buttons Page found under our header!

Are you following At The Picket Fence on Facebook? Don’t forget we feature many of your links during the week on our Facebook Page! If you’ve been featured there, grab a button as well! Thank you to everyone who shared so many fabulous posts with us last week! We appreciate you!
Now it’s time to share with us what has inspired you this week!
Thank you so much for joining us for Inspiration Friday at the Fence,
When you are done linking up head over and party with the other Friday Party Friends:


Now all ya PARTY PEOPLE it’s time to link on up…here’s the rules!
  • Friend At The Picket Fence in some capacity
  • Link Up any post you’ve written that has Inspired You and will Inspire Others-it can be a home improvement project, craft, recipe, story, devotional…if it inspires link it up!
  • Be sure to link back to your original post (MANDATORY) and not just your url (main blog address)
  • Please post our button (code on our Buttons Page found at top of blog) or a text link on your blog so others can join in the fun! Tutorial on how to link up a button: Blogging 101
  • Visit another guest. Please try and visit at least the link directly above and below you! We try to visit as many posts as we can but as Inspiration Friday grows sometimes we miss some and for that we apologize. It makes us feed good knowing others are visiting people as well! Thank you..it truly means a lot to us!

Are you new to linky parties and kinda confused how they work? Have you wondered if you’re following “linky party etiquette”? 

We invite you to pay Donna at Funky Junk Interiors a visit and follow her great Linky Party Series


  1. says

    What a beautiful story of the answered Prayer. So much to give thanks for. Your trees are beautiful and such lovely features from last week! How did you ever decide with all the beautiful inspirational shares. Thank for hosting your lovely party.
    May you and yours have a Blessed Christmas.

    The French Hutch

  2. says

    Both of your trees are fabulous. I love them both. I especially love your special/favorite ornament. What a wonderful ornament full of your answered prayers. I hope both of you have a Christmas filled with all of God’s Blessings. Hugs, marty

  3. says

    I love having the tree in a planter! What a great idea! They are both beautiful and I really love Vanessa’s ornament sentiments. Just what this season is all about. Thanks for hosting!

  4. says

    Love the fresh trees. Wish I could have them but we are an allergy house – sigh…

    I also was quite taken with your prayer ornament. I love the sentiment and I love the idea of saving it for the next year, and also sharing it with friends and praying together. Beautiful.

  5. says

    I am afraid my only inspiration is what I wore…On Wednesday.. :) We have been getting Rain all day ( which is LOVELY ) but it has also messed up my internet service… ( were on satellite… ) So I haven’t been able to get a new post up… So I am off to see what I can get done before we loose service again… :) OH I LOVE LOVE LOVE those paper tree’s… They are so very pretty… :) Happy Friday Ladies

  6. says

    I love both trees ladies, each so very unique and perfectly suited to each family!
    Thanks so much for hosting and linking up to “What’s It Wednesday”.
    It’s always a pleasure to have you.

  7. says

    I love your trees! The first one is beautiful, and I absolutely adore the two “family vintage” ornies, now I totally want to do this. The second one is also beautiful, I love the pics of your kids (I have one of my son but alas…er, need to get one for my girl:). And I really love the idea of taking an ornament and putting a prayer inside. Thanks for sharing both your trees, and thanks for hostessing another great party!


  8. says

    Beautiful trees, love all of the sentimental ornaments. I just love going through my ornaments every year and remembering where they came from. Thanks so much for hosting and for those wonderful features!
    Marianne :)

  9. says

    Wow you guys have been busy!!! They are both sparkling and lovely.

    Imust be tired. Linked up an shot and a title that don’t match. Sorry!!!!!

    Merry Christmas to both you fabulous girls.

  10. says

    Your trees are beautiful! I’ve been on your blog a million times in the last few weeks, joining in the party, looking through the gorgeous other posts, and had missed your story of the ornament. What a lovely story, and what a lovely gesture to do that with your friends as well. I will adopt that tradition at our home as well. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Courtney ~ French Country Cottage says

    Hey girls!! Have you recouped from last weeks craziness yet!? lol!! So much fun!! All linked up- thanks for hosting!

  12. Angie says

    Acckkk…I’ve got the same link twice, if you’d like to delete one – I didn’t think it worked, so I tried again. #129 & #131 (different photos).

    Thanks bunches for hosting such an inspirational party!

    Angie @ Knick of Time

  13. says

    I love that special ornament with the prayer and then the praise. That’ one of my favorite things I’ve ever seen on a tree.

    And Heather, I think real trees are beautiful. We have one. I also love the idea of a tree in a planter. My niece did that with her tree this year, and I think it looks wonderful.

  14. says

    Your trees are beautiful-just wanted you both to know how much I love your blog and your parties-wishing you and your families a very merry christmas and a happy and healthy new year! See you in 2012!!

  15. says

    Vanessa, I can see why your “cheap-o” ornament is so special. That’s a wonderful idea, and I’m glad you’re continuing it with your community group. How exciting to see what answered prayers the new year will hold!

  16. says

    Both your trees look gorgeous! Having a decorative tree is nice but having the traditional christmas tree is the best as it holds sentimental memories and stories hanging with the ornaments!

    I was thrilled to know you liked my little dryer sheet project! I cannot afford to but laces and fabrics yet so I use whatever I could find :)

    I love this blog hop!


  17. says

    Love the picture of the sailor hanging on the tree. vintage pictures of all kinds in black and white or sepia toned would be great on a tree.

  18. says

    Both of you have stunning trees. I love the big copper pot as a tree holder — beautiful! I tend to be more traditional, so I love your tree, Vanessa. I did veer bit to the trendy with mesh ribbon this year. Great party as usual. Thanks so much for hosting!
    xoxo, CAS

  19. says

    The trees look lovely. I’ve never been one to like too tall of a tree. Ours is typically 6 feet give or take, and I LOVE the use of a planter vs. a skirt. They do this a lot in Europe and South America, sometimes on top of a table. So pretty.
    Thank you for hosting.

  20. says

    So happy you both shared you beautiful trees !

    Your homes are so beautiful, so warm and wonderfully decorated for the holidays!

    Thank you for sharing and linking to Potpourri Friday at 2805!


  1. […] Shrimp and Grits Casserole December 15, 2011 · by Amanda · 5 Comments   If you have never heard of this dish, have never eaten grits, or perhaps do not even know what grits are, please keep reading!  I pinky swear this dish will be one of the most delicious you have ever tasted! For my non-Southern readers, grits are made from coarsely-ground corn, or “hominy.”  South Carolina boasts the original “shrimp and grits,” starting when fishermen would eat the two together, calling it “breakfast shrimp.” Although typically served as a breakfast side dish, grits have made a name for themselves over the years, and now are served at brunch, lunch, and dinner!   Paired with shrimp and spices, you can find grits in top restaurants all over the South!   There are countless versions of Shrimp and Grits, and everyone down here has a favorite.  For years, I have loved the Shrimp and Grits at City Grocery in Oxford, Mississippi where they top the cheesy grits with shrimp.  And last January, I had Shrimp and Grits Casserole for the first time at our annual Mississippi cousins’ reunion.  If the word “casserole” scares you, be assured it is not packed with cream of anything…it’s simply shrimp, grits, and lots of other delicious flavors mixed together to create one amazing dish!  I recently served Shrimp and Grits Casserole at a luncheon and am eagerly looking for a reason to make it again soon! This recipe is elegant enough for a special Holiday meal or perfect for company who love seafood! Recipe Adapted from Mississippi Magazine, Sept/Oct 2011 Shrimp and Grits Casserole 1 cup regular grits (quick cooking, not instant) 4 cups chicken broth 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided (grate fresh) 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided (grate fresh) 2 T. butter 4 green onions, chopped fine 1 lb fresh shrimp, cooked and peeled, chopped (for cost and time’s sake, I used Kroger’s frozen “raw white shrimp” in a bag and followed cooking directions) 1 (10-oz) can original Rotel tomatoes 1/2 t. garlic powder Salt and pepper to taste Cook shrimp according to directions.  Peel and pat dry with paper towels to remove moisture.  Cut each shrimp into 4 small, bite-sized pieces, if desired.  Cook grits according to package directions in chicken broth as liquid.  I used about 1/2 cup extra broth, but you could add a little water to get creamier grits.   Stir together cooked grits, 3/4 cup Cheddar cheese, and 3/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese.  Saute green onions in butter for about 5 minutes.  Combine grits, green onion mixture, shrimp, tomatoes, garlic powder, salt and pepper.   Pour into lightly greased 2-quart baking dish.  Sprinkle top with remaining cheese.  Bake for 20 to 30 minutes.   Serves 6. **Easily doubled and baked in 9×13 baking dish. Printable Recipe Serving suggestion:  Spinach/Spring Mix Salad with Poppyseed Dressing, Buttered Garlic Bread (prepared frozen from grocery to save time), Almond Torte for Dessert Linking to: Tempt My Tummy Tuesday Comfy in the Kitchen Addicts (Not So) Anonymous Link Party Weekend Bloggy Reading Tidy Mom Inspiration Friday […]

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