2014 – A Year in Review

Whew — What a Year!!  I am going to End this Year, by revisiting the quote that topped my Vision Board for 2014.  It turned out to be self fulfilling prophecy.

“The Well Rounded Adventurer is adaptable, flexible, and versatile.  They know that things don’t always go as planned, so like trees, they bend with the wind, course correcting as often as necessary.  Their capability to do many things competently keeps them pressing forward, staying mentally alert and undistracted in focus.  Frustration has no room in their minds to sabotage their determination or to kill their confidence.  Prepare, Posture, Position, Arise and Be Wise in 2014!!” – Author Unknown


This year has truly been one for the record books, or at least “My Record Books”.  And, the journey has been that much more interesting for the many amazing people that took it with me.  My friends and family, who were always there to encourage and support.  And, yes, even the naysayers, who helped me to push myself over and beyond what I thought my limits were.

On February of this year, we launched Our Etsy Store.  It was our original intention to just sell Decorative Throw Pillows.  After all, we knew that we could make those and were pretty confident in our choices when it came to fabric/texture/quality. So easy enough… Stage Presents went from just a Lifestyle Blog to an actual store.  As time went on, we ended up adding physical prints, digital prints, Vintage Items and other One of a Kind Home Decor Finds. And, with each change, our following and our audience seemed to grow.  What an amazing feeling to have a vision and have it received by so many.  We jumped on the Social Media Bandwagon and joined Instagram and Pinterest and Twitter.

We shared with you Trends in Home Decor, Asked your Opinions, Gave you some Amazing Free Printables and even offered you the Option to Subscribe to the Blog for Exclusive Materials.(We will be doing so much more with this in 2015.)

This year we also hosted Our Very First Handmade Holiday Gift Guide, and a corresponding Giveaway.  We got to interact with amazing vendors, sponsors and shops.  And, it was truly a fulfilling experience.

Over the course of this year, I invited you guys into my life, more than ever before.  Sharing the struggles of balancing all aspects of my life, of excepting change and of “progress versus perfection.”  The joy of family outings, our favorite recipes and a little bit of the pain, that comes with just living. And, the joys of decorating my home, as the seasons changed.


As always, I look back and think how quickly the year flew by.  And, of all the things I wish I would have been able to pack into this year.  But, all things considered this was a great year full of love, laughter, and great memories.

 “Surrender to what is.  Let go of what was.  Have faith in what will be.” – Sonia Ricotti

I project that 2015 will be ever more epic, than 2014!!  And, I’m claiming it, Hang On We Are Taking 2015 By Storm!!

For Taking this Journey, with us here is a Free 2015 Device Wallpaper.  Enjoy!!

Click Here to Download the Take the World by Storm 2015 Device Wallpaper.

For Directions on How to Install Your Wallpaper  – Follow this Link.

We Wish You a Happy New Year and Infinite Blessings for the New Year!!

From Your Stage Presents Family!!

What I learned about hosting the 2014 “Handmade with Love” Holiday Gift Guide?

What I learned about hosting the 2014 “Handmade with Love” Holiday Gift Guide?



  1. First and foremost the most crucial component of prepping a Gift Guide is TIME.  Make sure to give yourself enough time on the Front End and on the Back End, FOR LIFE.  Because, it is definitely going to go on regardless of what you have to do.
  2. Be Clear.  Decide up front who your target audience will be. Research and Reach Out to those who you feel will meet your criteria.  Pick Your Categories and Advertise in Places that you think you will find participants best suited for each category.
  3. Create a Detailed Marketing/Advertising Plan.  Decide on the front end what is expected from each participant, and what you as the host have to offer your participants. (Provide information on how many people you reached in previous years, if applicable.  And, what avenues you utilized to advertise)
  4. Create Realistic Deadlines.  Stop accepting Applications After that Time.  Provide Participants with Hard Deadlines that you can stick to.
  5. Work your Plan.  Use All Available Social Media Outlets to get the word out for your Gift Guide.  Create a HashTag (#stagepresentshandmadewithlove) and Encourage All Participants and Sponsors to Share Info Across the Board Using the Same Hashtag.

Things I would probably do differently.

  • I would probably charge a nominal fee for those wishing to be showcased in the Gift Guide.  For no other reason than, time is money. I would also hope that if you put money out for advertising, you would be more likely to do your best to promote the Gift Guide.
  • I would probably start the Entry Process out at the end of September, beginning of October.  I feel this would give applicants, more time to get their entries in.
  • I would publish the completed Guide Mid-November.  I feel this would allow the items and shops that are showcased a greater lead time to get their items noticed.
  • Now, that I have Year One, under my belt.  I have a template within which to work and I will request all necessary information up front, as to avoid the constant need to reach out to applicants, and wait for their responses. **I know everyone is busy during the Holiday Season.**

Things I would not change.

  • The completed project.
  • The amazing artist/shops that were showcased.
  • The opportunity to help share their talent with consumers.
  • The opportunity to promote Hand Made.

Again, I want to take the opportunity to thank all the participants and the Sponsors that contributed and participated in the Gift Guide, the corresponding Giveaway and its promotion.  I could not have done it without you!!

“I feel like every project I work on is a dream project, so long as I am learning.”
Simeon Kondev

Our Delayed 2014 Christmas Home Tour — Welcome In…

This Year’s Christmas Tour was delayed, obviously.  But, things got so busy leading up to Christmas that there honestly wasn’t enough time to post.  This years Tour will be more pictures than words.  Welcome to our Little Piece of Heaven — Enjoy!!

Our 2014 Christmas Home Tour

2014 Christmas Home Tour - Front Foyer

Kid's Tree - Decorated with Kid's Handmade Ornaments

2014 Christmas Home Tour - Holiday Mantel

2014 Christmas Home Tour - Joy In The Kitchen Window

2014 Christmas Tour - Formal Living Room - Decorator Tree & Front Door Area

2014 Christmas Home Tour - Decorator Tree + Stage Presents Exclusive Holiday Deer Pillow

Coffee In Front of The Tree - 2014 Christmas Home Tour

2014 Christmas Home Tour - Putting Gifts Out Under The Tree

Decorating brings me much joy, but decorating for the holidays brings me enjoyment on another level.  This time of year is still wrapped in magic for me, even now.  Watching the excitement on my children’s faces as the whole house comes together, and knowing that we are creating life long memories leaves me totally blissful!!  I believe that my love for decorating and this time of year, was passed on to me by my amazing mother and I only hope that it is something my kids will do with joy, for their own families years from now.  Our whole family, hubby included gets wrapped up in the excitement, of the Christmas Elf, Santa, and the real reason for the season.  I hope that you all had an amazing Holiday and wish you Only the Best for the Year to Come.

— Sheree

image1 (13)

Featured Shop/Artist Interview: OpenHandCreations

FeaturedShopOpenHand When did you fall in Love with Handmade?

Since I was a young person I have always enjoyed making gifts with my hands. Knitting, card making, sewing… you name it I wanted to make it. I especially love that I can transform a raw material into something usable… and the fact that I can help put a smile on someone’s face even for a moment makes it so worth it!

15 years ago I started my business as a paper crafter. I made greeting cards as well as wedding invitation & birth announcements. However in 2012, I decided I wanted to work outside my usual style of perfect straight measured lines and neutral colors and OpenHandCreations was born.  I love painting with my hands, not measuring anything and using all the colors of the rainbow!

What does your Shop have to Offer its Patrons?

Every item at OpenhandCreations is made by me. From choosing which materials to use to the final assembly of the item I pour my heart into every project.

At OpenHandCreations I offer one of a kind artful and useful gifts. I also welcome custom orders. You can expect special detail and attention to your order and superior customer service… I value and am so very grateful to all my customers who support me and my work.

Do you have any upcoming sales or local appearances?

For the holidays I am offering 10% off all OpenHandCreations purchases (no limit) until Dec 24, 2014 by using coupon code: HWL2014 at checkout. Also each purchase will ship with a handmade felt/collage gift tag.

Please like my Facebook Page, for updated info as well as a very special Black Friday/Cyber Monday discount.

Where can you be found?

You can find my work at OpenHandCreations ( www.openhandcreations.com on Etsy) as well as several storefront locations.

-The MUSE In Frederick, MD
-Uni-T at the Natick Mall in Natick, MA
-Hibiscus Jazz in St. John, US Virgin Islands
-The Shop at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown, MA
-Mosees in Barnstable (Cape Cod), MA

I will also participating at two winter fairs in time for the holidays:

  • Saturday Dec 6 (10am-3pm)

At the 77th Annual Christs Church Cambridge Christmas Fair at Harvard Square (Zero Garden Street Cambridge, MA)

  • Saturday and Sunday Dec 20/21 (10am-5pm both days)

at Etsy Artists of Boston Winter Bazaar (485 Arsenal St Watertown, MA) http://www.thearsenalproject.com/events.php

 You can connect with me via :

Etsy: www.openhandcreations.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/openhandcreations

Instagram: http://instagram.com/openhandcreations

Email: thoughtfulcreations22@gmail.com

Blog: www.thoughtfulcreations.wordpress.com



The 2014 “Handmade with Love” Holiday Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And, we’re LIVE!!

Details on how to enter: It’s simple.  Perform the actions listed below to be entered into the Giveaway. The more actions you perform, the better your chances are to win.




Items for the Giveaway were provided by the Official Sponsors of the 2014 “Handmade with Love” Holiday Gift Guide:

  1. Gorilla Fitness Push Up Bars:      GF_logo_V1
  2. Grill Brush – Set of 2 Stainless Steel Wire Brushes – 12″ and 21″: 3
  3. Futurepace Tech Stainless Steel Insulated Water Bottle – BPA Free logos.pdf
  4. Bad Ass Beard Oil Conditioner – Classic Blend – 100% Natural Softener Formula BADASS LOGO
  5. CrossFit Jump Rope – Fast High Quality Cable Rope with Metal Ball Bearings. DS logo with barbell on both sides in color copy (1)
  6. Flip Flops for Kids by Mottos features Custom Charms on the Sandal Straps mottos-jpg FINAL LOGO
  7. Wizard of Oz Graphic Reproduction Poster – 11×17 STAGE PRESENTS LOGO

For more information on these vendors and their products follow the Clickable Logos shown here:

This thing called… an Advent Calendar

This thing called .... a Advent Calendar

Hubby and I have been contemplating purchasing an Advent Calendar for the past couple of years, but neither of us were sure exactly what purpose it served.  And, the last thing we wanted to do was to add anything to Christmas that would require us to exert any more effort than we already do during the Holiday Season.  So year after year, we have passed.

This year (2014) however, they seemed to be all over the DIY circuit, which of course sparked my interest again.  And, some of the ones that I was coming across seemed like they would be something that I could tackle and actually be pleased with the outcome.

So I was off to do my research, little did I know that this would be much more involved than I thought. Literally, every one seemed to have their own way of doing it.  Some folks gave a gift for each day, similar to Hanukkah   Some folks did it for the entire month of December. Some people did it for the 12 days of Christmas.  Others made sure that it corresponded with the Advent Season.

After learning about how other’s did it.  I decided, which I am sure is of no surprise to you, to do it MY WAY!!  I decided that we would do it for 12 days and I really didn’t think it was important when we started it, as long as we got in 12 days prior to Christmas Eve.(we started today)  I decided that for the first 9 days, we would discuss the Fruits of the Spirit, in a way that a 10 year old and a 4 year old could both comprehend.  And, then for the remaining days, we would discuss 3 character traits, that we thought were vital to being good people.  We choose Empathy, Forgiveness, and Honor.

After being woo’d by all the great DIY Advent Calendars, I took the easy way out and created a printable version.  Maybe, I will do something more complex next year.

Do you think this is something you would like to do with your little ones? Join us on our journey, here’s a free printable for you. Right Click – Save – Print and Enjoy!! (Just right click and save and you are good to go!!)


Fruit of the Spirit Advent Calendar

Enjoy the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year”