Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Mobile Azalea Trail Maids Court 2019-2020

For those of you who have followed my blog and the Mobile Azalea Trail Maids, I know you have been waiting (me too! me too!) for the official announcement!

Here they are!

No automatic alt text available.
This image is property and courtesy of the Mobile Azalea Trail Maids Organization. 
The Azalea Trail Maids are a right of passage to young adult women in Mobile, Alabama and the group dates back to the 1920's. Over the past several years, I have followed the application and selection process as well as final court choices and each year, I become more intrigued in this special group of young women.

At the very heart of this program is a desire to serve and bring pride to the great state of Alabama. Southern girls are taught at a very early age that it's both a duty and pleasure to serve our committees and make our world a little better each day. The Azalea Trail Maid program instills this tradition and obligation in a whole new generation of girls. 

The large, initial application pool of 250 is cut to 100 girls by representatives from area high schools. It is then that out-of-town judges decide the 50 who will represent the Azalea Trail. The 50 girls are notified via US Mail (I love that!).

A few nights ago, the Meeting of the 100 was held and the candidates are in full interview mode. The interview process is famously difficult and challenging and can include questions relating to current events, the girl's resume, career goals, national/world issues, social change or Mobile history.

Becoming a Trail Maid is a family affair. Many of the mothers of Trail Maids have a “Trail Room” in their homes. Each girl receives a wooden holder to display the dress along with a hat, parasol, gauntlets, cummerbund, a bow with a sash, pantaloons, a long-line bra, shoes dyed to match the dress and a faux fur-lined cape (for cold weather). As you can imagine, many mothers also served as Trail Maids and want their daughters to carry on the tradition.

As with anything of quality, all of this does come at a cost. The dress alone starts at $3,000 (for a base model) and girls try to get on a seamstress’ dress list four years before even applying or being accepted to be a Trail Maid. Each dress is unique and takes roughly 200 hours to create and weighs 40-50 pounds.

Although the colors of each dress are assigned randomly and are separated into five groups of 10 (blue, green, yellow, peach and lavender), the queen is assigned the lone pink dress of the group.  One of the many benefits of being chosen to wear the pink dress is a full-ride scholarship to Auburn University. 

Get a behind the scenes look at the dress making process here

From our home to yours,

Wendy Q
CEO, The House of Qs

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Saturday, November 3, 2018

***UPDATED*** Black Friday 2018 Deals Are HERE!

It's the most wonderful time of the year!! The last three months of the year are by far my favorite and when I feel that I have the opportunity to thrive and display my creativity. Also, people just seem nicer this time of year and that always puts me in a good mood!

Anyway, I plan and shop for the winter holidays all year and (impatiently) wait for Black Friday deals from my favorite stores. Luckily, Black Friday sales and deals are released earlier and earlier each year and I am happy to share what info I have thus far.

Be sure to check back before Black Friday and see what additional deals that I've added to the list. 

To help you get more organized for the season, check out my free holiday planners post here.

From our home to yours,

Wendy Q
CEO, The House of Qs

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Saturday, October 27, 2018

Early Holiday Shopping and Gift Ideas from B's Boutique

Seven weeks. We have seven weeks until Christmas. There's just something about this time of year; it's a feeling of happiness, love, charity, and glee. It seems like most people are just happier and more thankful during the holidays and I wish the feeling could last forever.

Let's focus. Now is the time to order those holiday personalized items for you, your family or for your holiday card pictures and events. B's Boutique has tons of holiday and everyday options at very affordable prices. The owner of B's Boutique, Becky, just happens to share a hometown with yours truly.  We are both from a small town in West Virginia called Man. Yep, that's the real name. She, her husband, and adorable kids now live in Ohio. Her husband's family owns the local dairy farm that has been in operation for 165 years!

When Becky first started out making embroidered items, she didn't really have plans to open a business. She started by making an embroidered turkey shirt and a bib for her daughter with a little fabric from Joann Fabric. She posted her creations on her Facebook page and people started inquiring about placing orders.  B's Boutique was born!

I love the items currently available from B's Boutique. To purchase any of the items in this post or to see other available products, visit B's Boutique on Facebook. 

How cute is this onesie? The long-sleeved tee below is also adorable!

This cozy blanket and hat would make a nice gift for a sports mom or dad.

Sometimes it's hard to find just the right gift for a new baby or toddlers who are growing quickly. These personalized teddy bears are also wonderful keepsakes.

How precious is this? The minkie blanket is crib sized and could be used on a toddler bed in the coming years. 

Looking for a blanket and hat set? I bet this matches little Lily Marie's nursery. :) 

If you are looking for those adorable holiday picture outfits or maybe matching shirts for a holiday event, here is a great start! FYI- B's Boutique also sells personalized family pajamas.

Even though the holiday pieces are wonderful, B's Boutique also offers embroidered items for every day too. Get ready for a big birthday party or a family Disney trip!  The unicorn shirt is so cute and on trend.


Be sure to visit B's Boutique for more information or to inquire about orders. I hope you have enjoyed this little tour of B's Boutique and maybe gotten a few gift ideas in the process.

Since I started this post by talking about the holidays, I have to mention Hallmark Channel's Christmas Movie premier begins this weekend! I have included the movie schedule for you below. Don't forget to check out my Pinterest Winter Holidays board. I have everything organized into sections to quickly locate decorating ideas, recipes, themes and more!

From our home to yours,

Wendy Q
CEO, The House of Qs

Keep in touch!

Monday, October 8, 2018

Southern Spotlight: The Farmer and The Southern Belle

Recently, I was chosen to be a contributor to Country Woman Magazine and to say I am elated is an understatement! Country Woman Magazine has a very simple mission: connecting with the heart of American women and shares a passion for family, community and country values through cooking, crafts and a dedication to home. I may live in metro Atlanta but the values and lessons I learned in rural West Virginia are still with me.

One of the perks of being a contributor is I that get to network with other contributors. Let me introduce you to Hayley Carraway Moss. Hayley is a native of Mississippi but life led her to Iowa. Hayley’s blog, The Farmer and the Southern Belle is delightful and enjoyable.

Take a look at our interview below.

Hayley with her husband and boys on the farm in Iowa. 

Describe yourself in five words.
Silly, Crafty, Friendly, Girly, Organized

Are you a native to Iowa? If not, how did you land in the “Field of Opportunities”?
I am originally a Mississippi girl! I moved to Iowa eight months after I met my husband. He was born and raised on a northwest Iowa farm (where we now live!), so I knew when we got engaged a couple months after I moved here, that this would be my forever home! It is different than where I grew up, but I have grown to love it!

Tell me about your day-to-day life in Iowa…
I am a momma to two rowdy buckaroos, so most of my time is taken up by running them to school and their activities, cooking, cleaning etc... I also like to try and fit baking, crafting, and blogging into my daily routine!

Your blog, The Farmer and The Southern Belle is adorable! Tell me about why you started your blog.
I actually started my blog in 2009 to document our entire wedding process and it just grew from there! Now I blog about crafting, party planning, travel, decorating, DIY, and just our everyday life on the farm!

What're your favorite types of crafts and where do you find inspiration?
I love to peruse Pinterest for ideas, it is a huge time waste, but I usually come out with a few fun ideas! I don’t know that I have a favorite type of craft but I am currently obsessed with Cricut vinyl projects!

Take a look at some of Hayley's craft projects below. Be sure to follow her on Pinterest for more inspiration!

Living on a farm has to be hard work. How do you manage your family and a working farm?
I am actually more in charge of all things indoors! My husband and his daddy run the farm. The boys have ponies that I help with and I garden, but otherwise, I keep to the housework and the kids!

Could you share some of your favorite bloggers or influencers on social media that keep you inspired with your crafting, DIY home decorating and life in general?  
I love the Certified Celebrator, she has such fun ideas about celebrating and sharing joy intentionally, so inspiring! Also, love the Ranchin_Mama, she has amazing style and her photos are drool-worthy!

What is your favorite holiday and why?
Christmas! I just love the magic of it all, and now getting to share that with my boys makes it even more fun! We have elves that come a week before Christmas and leave surprises in magic buckets, we make and decorate Christmas cookies, we look at Christmas lights, we make a gingerbread house, we have a naughty Elf on The Shelf...so we basically do all the things we can squeeze into one month!!

Enjoy the pictures below from Hayley's Christmas adventures and traditions!

How would you describe your decorating style?
Colorful Western Farmhouse is what I would call it! I adore vintage Wild West posters and lots of colors! Also anything distressed or antique! I am also an avid Fiestaware Collector, so that is a huge part of where the color comes from! I like my home to feel bright, happy, and welcoming!

What are five things that you MUST have to make it through the day?
Wild Strawberry Crystal Light, my phone, Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer, Clorox Wipes, and of course Coffee!!

We met through Country Woman Magazine Circle of Friends Group. What have you found to be the most beneficial part of the group?
I just love being a part of such a great publication! I have gotten to share so many of my ideas and gotten inspiration from some amazing women! It’s such a fun community!

What advice and suggestions would you give to someone looking to start their own blog?
Just go for it! It really is therapeutic to write down your thoughts, and if you are genuine, people will love it!


From our home to yours,

Wendy Q
CEO, The House of Qs

Keep in touch!

Monday, October 1, 2018

Free Holiday Planning Kits Are Here!

The holidays can be stressful if you don't get ahead of the chaos and commotion. It seems like with each passing year, we all get a little busier and consumed with balancing our schedules for both work and personal obligations.

My everyday planner, designed by Fringe, is spiral-bound (a must!!!), a manageable 5"x 8" which is a perfect size for my purse or bag but still large enough for me to write in my work obligations/deadlines, etc. I prefer to keep only one planner for my personal and work life. and tend to stay more on task and by keeping all of my appointments and deadlines in one location. However, to organize myself (and my personal life) during the holidays, I use a separate binder to help me plan and ensure that things so as smoothly as possible. To me, the worst feeling in the world is being unprepared or caught off guard.

Last year, I used a holiday planner from Laura over at OrgJunkie.com. You can see my post about the planner here. 

For 2018, I'm loving The Scattered Squirrel and the a la carte options/docs on her web page.  My favorite printables are Hostess Cheat Sheet and Holiday Preparations. These whimsical printables from Domestic Executive Online include free printable gift tags, activities, baking, dinner, and gift planners as well as card tracking sheets. 

This planner from Nina Hendrick will keep you organized from November 1 until New Years Day.

If you create your own lists/organizers but need a cover for your binder, Organized Christmas some really cute options. You can view them here. 

Another goodie that I have to share is from a talented artist named Victoria Thatcher. Victoria has created hundreds of printable theme sets for paper planners (and Cricut!!!) that are free for you to download. She literally has hundreds of themes to choose from including Disney, NFL, Avengers, holidays, TV Shows, and (my personal favorite), a theme for the 2018 Hallmark Christmas Movies schedule! All of the themes I mentioned (and dozens of others) are available for free download on Victoria's webpage. When you land on her webpage, click on each of these options to see all of the design sets- EC1, EC2, Big HP, and Cricut. She also has a variety of other social media platforms including Pinterest for you to visit and follow.

Picture is property and courtesy of Victoria Thatcher. 

Looking for the best holiday light displays? If you happen to be in the metro Atlanta area, check out this link from 365 Atlanta Traveler. Learn more about the ladies who run the dynamic and robust webpage here.  One last freebie I want to share is this Thanksgiving Planner from Pinch a Little, Save a Lot

For more holiday planning, shopping and decorating ideas, visit my Winter Holidays Pinterest board and be sure to follow me!

From our home to yours,

Wendy Q
CEO, The House of Qs

Keep in touch!

Friday, September 7, 2018

5 Best Places to Buy Gorgeous Fabric

Being a "maker" is rewarding in so many ways. Although I'm still learning, I do take pride in the things I make with my hands. Like most other arts and crafters, I want to purchase the best quality materials at the best price point possible.

The five resources listed below are my tried-and-true, go-to resources for fabric. Each offers a little something different with either product, fabric lines or services to customers.

1. Fine Fabrics- (Snellville, Georgia)- If you are in the Atlanta Metro and haven't visited this place, you should do so ASAP. I have honestly never seen anything like it. Currently, you can't make purchases online from Fine Fabrics but please know that if you can do it, the drive is well worth your investment. The store is located a little over an hour from where I live and I never regret making the trip. The physical store is roughly 40,000 square feet and is fully-stocked (literally floor to ceiling) with industrial/commercial sized (54" and taller) rolls of upholstery and apparel fabric as well as any trim or sewing notion that you can imagine. You get a lot of bang for your buck at this store. The first time I visited, I thought I would go in and get inspiration while walking around. It's too overwhelming. Have a list of items and projects in mind before you make the trip. Make a plan.

2. Sew Stitching Happy (Iowa City, Iowa and online)-  Best.Etsy.Store.Ever. I don't give that endorsement lightly. Cassie Putney, shop owner gives world-class service and is relentless when it comes to making her customers happy and providing a quality product. You'll love her attention to detail and the love that goes into ever items/product that she offers.

3. Bloomerie Fabrics (Fredricksburg, Virginia and online)- I'm a wannabe quilter and hope to have more time to devote to this craft in my retirement years. In the meantime, I get to practice on weekends and holidays. Bloomerie Fabrics has darling quilt set kits, fabric bundles, home decor, and apparel fabric, patterns, notions, and more! The prices are very reasonable. All of my purchases/buying experiences with Bloomerie have been wonderful and exceeded my expectations.

4. FabricWorm (Paso Robles, California and online)- FabricWorm has the absolute best prices on name brand fabric fat quarters that I have found anywhere. The webpage also has a ton of free sewing tutorials and patterns. Free is one of my favorite words :)

Photo is courtesy and property of Missouri Star Quilt Company

5. Missouri Star Quilt Company (Hamilton, Missouri and online)- Full disclosure: I love the Missouri Star Quilt Company. I browse the webpage (even when I'm not looking to buy fabric) because it's Skittles for my eyes. It makes my heart so incredibly happy! The reasonably priced quilt kits, fabric bundles, and designer fabric line choices keep me coming back time-and-time again. The quality of products offered by Missouri Quilt Company is second-to-none. Owner, Sarah Galbriath has an inspirational story that you can read here. 

What I'm Currently Reading:

Country Sampler Magazine: (Fall 2018)
Magnolia Magazine: (Fall 2018)
Southern Living Magazine: (September 2018)
The Total Money Makeover (Dave Ramsey)

What I'm Currently Watching:

Sharp Objects (HBO) - We actually finished the eight-part miniseries a few weeks ago but I'm still processing the characters and storyline. The show is haunting, to say the least.

The Crown (Netflix) - Starting this series tomorrow and excited to get a different perspective of the Queen.

What I'm Currently Making:

A wedding scrapbook for my niece (It's over a year late... still looking for the motivation to finish...)
A baby shower/baby's first-year scrapbook for my niece's sister-in-law (I'm also way behind on this project!)
Two toddler dresses made of plaid/festive holiday fabric.

From our home to yours,

Wendy Q
CEO, The House of Qs

Keep in touch!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Fall is in the Air "At Home"!

If you've never visited "At Home" you are missing out in a very big way. I first visited At Home two year's ago and it quickly became a favorite and go to for my home decor needs. 

I'm lucky to have two At Home stores close by. The inventory for everyday decor as well as furniture and outdoor furnishings is pretty amazing but when it comes to holiday decor, At Home really takes the cake. On my latest trip, I saw a set decorator buying tons of Christmas decorations. I talked to her for a few minutes and she was buying for a Christmas movie set but (for privacy reasons) she couldn't tell me the movie/production company, etc.  It's still neat to know that I might be buying the same items for my house that movie/production set decorators are buying!

Also, during my latest visit, I decided to take pictures and share some of my favorite items that are currently in store and available. If you don't live close by to a store, it's worth the drive! Check store locations here. 

On with the tour of a few of my favorite items!

For Fall/Thanksgiving:

This pillow is larger than it looks in the picture. How cute would this be on a couch or guest room bed?!

The next several pictures have tons of things I love! I'm not sure why, but I love pillows so much. I can't get enough of them in a variety of sizes, shapes, themes, etc. The autumn greetings pillow in the picture below is just gorgeous. I also love the pumpkin platter to the right that has an attached bowl for dips, etc. 

How cute is this sign?

This is a picture of more items in the same line as the gourd sign above. There are so many unique items that I haven't seen in other stores.

More pillows of course :) I love the woodlands animals in this display too.

One of the dozen or so aisles of fall decor currently available At Home. There are so many pieces I want to add to my own collection. It's hard to decide what to pick!

Another aisle of fall decor...

I couldn't do this post without sharing a few options for fall table linens.

So many gorgeous choices in this picture too. 

Some people may think it's a little outdated, but I still have a yard/garden flag and a house flag that change with the seasons. There are so many options available.

I couldn't agree more with this sign! Fall is such a magical time of the year.

Happy Halloween:

For those of you who know me in real life, you know that Halloween is my birthday. Halloween is a HUGE deal for us and we tend to go over-the-top with decorations and costumes. It's such a fun day for a birthday! 
I love this shadow box! This would look cute tucked into a vignette in my foyer. I will definitely add this to my collection. 

 I'm a sucker for the movie "Hocus Pocus". This pillow has got to come home with me.

I might have to get a tray that also says "Hocus Pocus". Why not, right?!?!

The displays in the store are pretty amazing, elaborate and impressive. Imagine having this butler greet people for your Halloween costume party. He would be a big hit!

This collection called "turq or treat" is a cute alternative to the traditional Halloween colors. I can picture pieces from this collection in a dorm room or part of a pre-teen girl's decor collection.

Such a cute sign...

More pillows and unique Halloween decor...

These leaning signs are so trendy this season. I might have to add this to my collection too!

So cute for a house with kids.

At Home has a ton of spooky Halloween decorations too...

This witch is spooky looking but I really like her!

Harlequin print anything gets my attention...


I love to decorate for Christmas and somehow find new themes/items that I must add to my collection every single year. Well over half of our garage is dedicated to Christmas decorations and trees but somehow, I still don't have enough.

Just to give you a little perspective of how large the store is, the picture below is what I saw on the right side of the entrance. The rough estimate for an At Home store is similar to a Lowe's or Target.

At Home organizes holiday decorations obviously by the holiday but also by theme. I will focus on three of the dozens of available themes. 

First up, Lavish & Luxe. This collection is perfectly suited for a little girl's room and even a special tree for her room. There is a definitive feminine tone but also a nod to the ballet, Swan Lake.

Here is one of the aisles dedicated to the Lavish & Luxe collection. So many gorgeous items to choose from! 

I love these trendy and magical looking unicorn ornaments. 

Can you imagine having a display of these horses (or the feathered swans) as part of your Christmas decorations? Absolutely gorgeous and over-the-top!

The ideas are endless with this theme. I can see using a lot of the items for a Victorian theme as well.

This ballerina is just as gorgeous in person!

This glitter and bedazzled dragon is so unique! Talk about a conversation piece!

All of the collections I saw have a coordinating Santa to match the theme.

More gorgeous picks for a tree, wreath or swag. 

Next, is the Winter's Evergreen theme. I decided to take a video of this collection just to show you the enormity of how many options you have as a customer. Keep in mind that this is only one half of one aisle. I saw at least two aisles dedicated to the Winter's Evergreen theme. 

One other theme, the trendy coastal/beachy option called Seas and Greetings

I hope you have enjoyed this brief tour of At Home. When you visit the store for yourself, plan on spending a few hours just to take it all in. Good luck with your treasure hunting and Happy Shopping! 

From our home to yours,

Wendy Q
CEO, The House of Qs

Keep in touch!