Home & Decor Updates: The Good and The Not-So-Good

Welcome to the 406th Metamorphosis Monday!

I have several small Before and Afters updates I’ve been wanting to share, so I’m grouping them all together in one post.

Before we get to those, a couple of folks emailed and messaged me recently to let me know the Better Homes and Garden dishware that many of us have been collecting over the years, is back in stock again. (Thanks for that!) They have added a new salad plate this year that I’m dying to collect. Any idea which one it is in this set below? ๐Ÿ™‚



Yup! It’s the woody car with the tree! Oh my gosh, I NEED that plate! lol I’ve collected all the others in past years but the woody car is new for this year. I’ve been to two Wal-mart stores so far and both had the other three salad plates in stock (the ones I already have) but neither store had the woody car plate.

Of course, one way to get that plate is to buy the 12-piece set below, but I already have plenty of the dinner plates and salad plates in the other patterns, so I’m waiting to see if they get some of the woody plates in. They may just be slow getting those in since they are a new addition to the pattern for this year. This Christmas dinnerware has apparently been a big hit since they continue to bring it back, adding new salad plate designs each Christmas.

If you haven’t collected this pattern and would like to, you’ll find this 12-piece set available for $39.92 here:ย Better Home and Gardens Christmas Dinnerware



Update: Thanks so much to Thea who spotted these online here: Woody Salad Plate. I just ordered a set of six because I know these are going to go fast this year, just as they have in year’s past. If they show “Out of Stock” check back in a day or so because sometimes they don’t keep their website updated even when stock is available.


If you would like to see it in a table setting, here are three previous tables where I used this delightful and very affordable dishware. (Click titles to view those tables in detail.)

Christmas Table Setting Inspired by Nature

Christmas Table Setting Tablescape with Plaid Dishware and Pierced Chargers 09_wm


Dashing Through the Snow



Sparkle with a Touch of Whimsy

Christmas Table Setting Tablescape in Red Dining Room


Office Chair Update

Okay, now for a few updates that I’ve been wanting to share for a while now. Remember this chair that I fell in love with a couple of months ago? I loved its design/style and the price was really good. I brought it home, super excited to have found such a beautiful chair for my home office. Unfortunately, I ended up returning it after just a week. ๐Ÿ™ Broke my heart to return it but it had several major issues that I just couldn’t ignore.

White Upholstered Desk Chair for Home Office


The first issue I ran into, but was willing to work with, was the deep apron on the front of the chair. It felt kinda awkward sitting in it, not like a standard office chair that you can kind of curve your legs/feet up under. Hard to explain, but it was just a little awkward, very bulky. I figured I just needed some time to get used to that.

The second issue I noticed was that the seat is sorta dome-shaped. There’s no “indention” or sculptured area for your tush like so many chairs have. Sitting in the chair was a bit like sitting upon a giant block of thick foam. Once again, I figured that would get better and it would begin to feel less dome-like after a while.

Unfortunately, after sitting on it just a few times, it began to make the strangest popping sound whenever I stood up, as if there were a giant piece of cardboard under the seat that flexed downward when I sat down, and then popped back up (loudly) when I stood up. I have no idea what was making that sound, but it made the chair sound very cheap, which of course, it was.

White Desk Chair, Nailhead Accent


Despite all that, I still didn’t want to return it because I LOVED how it looked here in the office so much. I rationalized that if I only got a year’s use out of it, that would be okay since it wasn’t very expensive. But in the end, it had one truly fatal flaw that I couldn’t get past no matter how hard I tried.

It reeked!

The chair had a super, strong “chemical” smell, and totally not in a good way. The smellย was so bad, after just 10-15 minutes of sitting on it, I had to switch back to my previous desk chair.

I thought the smell would get better with a bit of time, so I pushed the chair over to the other side of the room to give it some time to air out. The smell was so strong, I couldn’t even keep it in the same room with me while I worked. I pushed it down the hall into the bonus room where I let it sit for a full week. At the end of the week it still smelled just as strong, so I sadly returned it.

Wish I could find a chair in this color and in a similar design that would work. I’d be willing to pay more, but it has to be functional and not smell like it’s going to give me lung cancer within the week. No exaggeration–it was that bad!

After returning it, I saw it again in the store a week or so later and yup, it still reeked. A couple of weeks later it was gone, so apparently someone bought it.

White Upholstered Desk Chair for Home Office


So, I’m back in this chair again. The first one of these that I ordered was super comfortable, but when it wore out after a couple of years and I reordered it, this one has not been as comfortable. It seems to lean a bit too far forward. One day I’m going to find a good chair for this office. One day!

Pottery Barn Office with Bedford Furniture and the Airgo Desk Chair


Acorn Escapades

Wanted to give you a little update on my latest acorn escapades. lol The side yard has gone from looking like this…



…to looking like this. The shop-vac method has worked beautifully and I will definitely continue using this method each year when the acorn avalanche hits.



I filled up the shop-vacย up six times during two sessions of vacuuming and twice more on another day. So all in all, I vacuumed up 8 shop-vac containers full of acorns from my side yard.

So far I’ve dumped three bags of acorns into piles in the back yard. Hope I don’t live to regret that. Even though there were still a lot of acorns left in the islands near the oak tree, I thought the squirrels and chipmunks might need a few more to stock away for the winter.

If you missed my previous post on how I’ve been removing acorns from my lawn, you’ll find it here: Erma Bombeck Would Have Loved This!



Bird House Update

Remember the copper-roofed bird house I added to the front garden when I landscaped this past summer? I absolutely love how it looks here and have gotten so many compliments from friends and neighbors. It’s such a beautiful accent piece for the garden. I’m trying to decide what I’ll plant around it. I need to get on that!

Copper Roof Dovecote by Lazy Hill Farm


I couldn’t get a very good picture, but this cavity is filled with a nice, cushy nest. I’m not sure who I have homesteading here, but I managed a brief glance recently as I walked by on my way to the mailbox. A bird flew out and into the nearby magnolia tree. I’m excited to know this house will provide a bit of shelter this winter for some of my feathered friends. (Birdhouse is available here: Birdhouse)



By the way, if you live in Georgia or any of the areas that are suffering from lack of rain, please consider adding a bird bath to your deck or garden. The birds really need help with getting water right now. My bird bath is more popular with the birds now than my feeders!

Goldfinches on Birdbath


I have the heated version which is wonderful for wintertime when so many water sources are frozen over. You’ll find the heated version here:ย Heated Bird Bathย and several unheated versions here: Bird Baths

Cardinal Enjoying Heated Bird Bath


The squirrels really appreciate it, too! Sure hope we get some rain soon, we desperately need it.

Squirrel Drinking from Birdbath


Metamorphosis Monday

Metamorphosis Monday is a party that’s all about Before and Afters.ย If you are participating in Met Monday, please link up using the “permalink” to your MM post and not your general blog address.

To get your permalink, click on your post name, then just copy and paste the address that shows up in the address bar at the top of your blog, into the “url” box for InLinkz.

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Only link up Before and After posts that are home, gardening, crafting, painting, sewing, cooking or DIY related.

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  1. I love the Woody car plate! I think that will be next on my list to buy. Have a wonderful week and as always thank you for the party!

  2. Susan, I am having problems linking to the party this morning. I am not the most computer savvy person in the world, and I am having trouble understanding the permalink issue. My husband who usually helps me with these things is out of town. How do I go back and add the permalink to the particular post. I have joined several of your parties and have never had this problem. Thanks for your help, Shannon.

  3. What a frustration your office chair has been. I know what you’re talking about though. When you sit at the computer as much as we do, you’d better have a comfortable chair. Good luck! I love your bird house, and what a great idea to have a heated bird bath. Your photos of the birds and squirrels are beautiful. Thank you for the linky.

  4. I found the Woody car plate at my local Walmart so be patient!!! Love the collection! I enjoy your blog tremendously.

  5. Always look forward to seeing the beautiful table settings. Loved the sleigh on the plate. Where did you find those? They are adorable.

    • Thanks, Judy! I found those in the ornament section of Wal-mart a few years ago. They carried them several years in a row. I’m not sure if they have them back again this year, but might be worth a check. I love using ornaments as place card holders or even napkin rings because they are often less expensive than actual place card holders and napkin rings, and sometimes a lot cuter. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I’m a new subscriber to your blog, but have read it off and on for some time. I am also a lover of many of the movie houses you have listed (Practical Magic and Something’s Gotta Give are two of my top favorites). It was wonderful to see that I wasn’t the only person that drooled over movie homes and watched some movies over and over again for the location and homes (not because the movies are so great). Howard’s End is another favorite of mine (but also because it’s an outstanding film – and book!

    Just to note, I don’t know if it’s already been mentioned or if you already know, Crate and Barrel has a dish towel (I’m a collector) with the very same theme of a Christmas tree on top of a car. Quantities are probably limited, so if you want to get the towel, you should check online as soon as possible.

    • Oh, I need to check out Howard’s End…thanks for that tip. Will check out the towel, too! I think this is the year of the car with the tree on top, they seem to be popping up everywhere, which I love! Winnie, thanks so much for being a subscriber, really appreciate that! XX

  7. That chair sounds like a nightmare, I can’t believe it smelled, yikes! I have a very old and ugly office chair from Office Depot that is super comfortable…I just made a cute cover for it and so it looks great now too- Thanks for the fun today, hope you get that plate ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Thanks so much for the tip about the Christmas pattern. I am ordering mine now! I understand about the outgassing of the chair. I ordered a lantern style lamp for my breakfast room and a punched metal shade to go with it. For a couple of days afterward, my hubby and I noticed a smell that reminded us of burning plastic. We were concerned because that odor could well be electrical, and that’s not good. After following my nose, it lead me to the new lamp. I immediately unplugged the lamp. But in doing so, I realized that the odor was coming from the shade! There was a coating inside the shade that was omitting the odor. It took days for it to completely out gas and is fine, but I never had this happen before. So many items are made in China today. Who knows what they use.

    Big Texas Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

    • Susan, I’m glad your’s quit smelling. It really makes you wonder what the heck that are using when they are creating these things! I kinda wonder if mine would have ever quit smelling. It was so strong!

  9. What a beautiful birdhouse. Does clematis grow in Georgia? It would be pretty. I confess to being almost clueless on gardening, but they are lovely. I have been waiting to go to walmart for the plates, thanks for the heads up. Love those salad plates.

    • It does. The only thing about using a vine (which I love) is it could draw bees to the flowers/house. So I need to plant something that will stay pretty low around the post…maybe some flowers or low shrubs. I love Clematis, though.

  10. It’s almost as if BH&G were designing with you in mind! Love seeing that multi-occasion Mr. Rabbit. Hope he can make an appearance again.

    • I’m beginning to think they have my phone tapped! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Seriously, how did they know?!
      I’ll have to bring Mr. Bunny out of his fall/winter retirement sometime this winter. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Thea Reynolds says
    • Thanks, Thea! I just ordered those. I figure the small amount I pay in shipping is much better than the gas and time I’ll spend checking the stores over the next few weeks. Appreciate that link! I think those are going to be quite popular.

  12. Don’t you just love the woody car plate! (I sent you a link). Your front yard looks so pretty. I love seeing things with copper accents. I emptied my bird baths of the leaves the other day and filled them with fresh water again and while I was doing it a chickadee came over to drink right away. I talked to him so we had a good moment! LOL…

  13. The acorn vacuuming still makes me laugh, but what a great idea! You are a genius! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the party!

  14. That plate is cute! So sorry about the chair. Don’t give up, Goldilocks, your perfect chair will find you! Love the shopvac solution, and I have passed it along to local friends. ๐Ÿ™‚ Your birdhouse and bath – great photos!

    • lol I hope so! I decided that not being able to find a chair must be a sign I need to quit sitting so much at the computer and spend more time gardening or exercising. It’s the universe telling me to Get Up! The shopvac really does work. I vacuumed up two more bags full yesterday. I think one more session of vacuuming will have them all up…what a job!

  15. I, too, collect the B H&G plates. Will definitely be checking on availability at my local Walmart.
    That chair was super cute, but I totally understand your comfort vs. beauty angst. Re. smell, I have had similar issues trying to find faux boxwood tabletop arrangements that don’t smell.
    Love your update posts!

  16. Gayle Kesinger says

    Susan, have you tried Wayfair.com to see if they might have a chair for your office? I bought mine there and it is very comfortable and doesn’t smell. I had a carpet a long time ago that smelled so bad I had to take it out of the house so I know what you went through.

    • Yeah, this was similar to that obnoxious new carpet smell. I checked Wayfair a long time ago but haven’t lately. I will have to give them another try. I may just tough it out with my current one for a year or two until I wear it out.

  17. I’m still loving my same-style office chair I bought from Marshalls about the time you bought yours. Fortunately, mine doesn’t pop when I get up, the apron front and domed seat don’t bother me (and I figure my big behind will eventually make its own indentation sooner or later!) and thankfully, the velvety dark blue fabric on my chair doesn’t have any odor at all.

    If you haven’t already, you might want to take a look at this office chair from Pier 1. It’s on clearance and marked way down. I was actually seriously considering it when I found the Marshall’s chair but at that time, the price on the Pier 1 chair wasn’t as low as it is now. The Pier 1 website does have a small selection of ready-made Dana slipcovers for it but if you know someone who can make slipcovers, it could be fun to pick your own fabric and have something custom-created for your space. (I love the idea of having a washable slipcover for a chair I spend a great deal of time in so I hope after these chairs sell out from Pier 1 I don’t deeply regret not going in that direction!)


    • Thanks, Shari…I’ll check that link out! Yeah, that’s what I was thinking, that eventually it would mold to my bottom. lol
      I’m so glad the navy fabric didn’t have the chemical smell that mine did. Glad it doesn’t pop either. I wish they would have had a velvet one in a color that would work in my office. They had the blue one that you purchased, but that color just wouldn’t work with the chair and draperies in my office. Maybe they’ll bring it back again in some different colors. I’ll just have to smell it really good before buying it, if they do! ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Susan, thanks for hosting! I just bought 12 of the woody salad plates…thanks for the info. I have had a red dining room for thirteen years and can’t part with it because it shows up so pretty at Christmas. Yours is always lovely as is your home’s exterior. Traditional style is timeless! Pam @ Everyday Living

    • Pam, I know exactly what you mean. I can’t part with mine either. Not sure what color I would paint it if I ever did decide to change it. Thanks, Pam!

  19. I have a chair saved from a trash pile that works for me when sitting long hours at the computer. It is a black painted dining chair that isn’t anything special to look at but is built for really good back support.

    • I’ve been tempted to buy one of those pricey black leather desk chairs, but my “decorator” side wants it to coordinate with my mostly white office, too. lol One day I’ll find that perfect chair…one day!

  20. I didn’t realize the Better Homes and Gardens plates were available at Walmart! I found them on Replacements.com and a few more on EBay. It looks like there are more salad plates than the four. They’re a bit more at Replacements (lol), but if anyone wanted to extend their collection…

    • Yup, they’ve made quite a few designs over the years. I usually buy 3-4 of the newest design each year. They really come out with some cute designs every year!

  21. Thanks so much for hosting!!

  22. bobbi duncan says

    It’s so hard finding just the right comfortable office chair. Our office is our fox hunt themed room so we couldn’t really use a normal office chair. We have a Chippendale corner chair with leather seat, and it is not all that comfortable if sitting for long periods of time, but it looks good LOL! If I really want a comfortable chair for a good long sit down, I have to use a great one that’s in our basement–too heavy to haul upstairs because it’s made of wrought iron with a thick cushy faux leather seat. I do all my gift wrapping sitting on that chair. Hubby wanted to throw the whole five piece old table set out, but that’s not happening–best seat in the whole house! I love the woody salad plates! Woody dรฉcor seems to be very popular the last few years.

  23. Woody Salad Plates! Love! I received the PB Pillow with Santa driving. I think of you as it makes me smile everytime I look at it…just like you said. Makes me happy. Thank you.

  24. Susan, I’m glad you found the plates online. You definitely need those! I’m still keeping my fingers crossed that the last year’s model of the Target pillow surfaces. We just got a new queen size bed for one of our guest rooms, so now I’m eager to play with Christmas pillows. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  25. Wish you could take all the acorns and put them out in the country to feed the deer for the winter….

  26. Love your shopvac acorn trick! I have seen lovely picture frames and mirror frames covered with acorns……maybe you could save, bake, and use some in a craft project later……acorn trimmed charger plates or something cute…..

    • I bet there are some cute crafts for these. I’ve seen them used as vase fillers, which looks really nice. I have bald acorns though, they always lose their hats when they fall. Have to glue them back on . lol

  27. Great tip about the acorns. We just moved to NC and had a banner year with acorns too. You would go outside and all you heard was acorns dropping all over the neighborhood. Kind of freaky at night. Anyway…thanks! Have a great week!

    • That’s exactly how it was here…need a helmet to walk in the yard. lol That went on for about a week, thankfully it seems to be finished dropping them.

  28. when you put water out for the wildlife do you boil the water first or just use tap water? I was wondering if the animals can drink the chlorine.

    • I just use tap water. I change it almost daily because raccoons come and drink from it most nights, so by morning it’s usually pretty dirty. You don’t want the water too deep, I find my birds love to bathe in it when it’s not too deep.

  29. Just checked Walmart site: the Woody plates are out of stock! Bah humbug! I hope the stores get shipments – I want only one or two! Thanks, Susan, for the update on this new plate!

    • I noticed that, too. I ordered a set online and I know a couple of other folks did, too. Then it started showing out of stock online. Hopefully they are just slow updating the site and it will show more available soon. I really do think they’ll be available in the stores soon. This happens every year, they are always slow to get the plates in all the various locations, then gradually I start hearing from the BNOTP readers that they are in the stores in their area now. So I bet you’ll see them in a store near you soon.

  30. Love your gorgeous tablescapes, your wonderful birdhouse, and those dishes are a great bargain….sorry to hear about the chair….it is like a beautiful pair of shoes that are not comfortable…you want to keep them as they are beautiful but them hurting your feet outweigh the prettiness…as the chair!
    Thanks for hosting and have a great week!

  31. Cynthia Lambert says

    What a great post! I always said that if I won the lottery, the first thing on my wish list is a woodie. And that tablescape is so festive. The photography is masterful as well. The picture through the window of the cardinal in the snow is like a postcard. And you keep your office so tidy. It’s a wonderful space, and don’t worry – you’ll find your chair, and appreciate it so much the more, since it took a while to track down. Your thoughtfulness to the animals in winter is commendable. I put out a heated water bowl in winter also, but never thought of a heated birdbath. Great idea. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Thanks so much, Cynthia! Trust me, the office gets out of hand often…I just always tidy it before taking photos. lol In fact, it could use it right now. I think I’ll work on that some this weekend. I don’t know how I create so much clutter, but I do.
      The heated bowl is great. The birds don’t really bath in it during the winter so it’s just a heated bowl come wintertime. They do love splashing around in it in the summer, though. I love watching them do that so much! ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. Walmart in Commerce, GA has plenty of the Better Homes and Garden Christmas dishes, including all 4 of the salad plates. Lots of the woody plates!

  33. FRANCES TROY says

    Susan, check again. I was at Walmart this morning and they had one cardboard “sleeve” of the Woody/Christmas Tree plates. I got 2 for me and 2 for my sister and at that point 1/2 of the supply was gone. Who knows if they will get more.

    • Wow, they are going fast, aren’t they? I was able to order six online but I’m tempted to go check and buy some in case the ones I ordered don’t arrive. They were showing sold out online very soon after I placed my order, so it made me wonder if I’d actually get them. Thanks for letting me know, Frances!

  34. Susan, I found the dishes. I got one boxed set and the rest I had to buy separately I got the bit platter and the huge bowl too. $$$ If I see them again I might have to pick up a couple more dinner plates. LOL
    Thank you for the heads up.

  35. Cyndy Cook says

    Hi Susan! I got this desk chair in the navy twill for my daughter’s room. It’s very comfortable and on sale right now! http://www.pbteen.com/products/tufted-desk-chair/?pkey=e%7Ctufted%2Bdesk%2Bchair%2Bnavy%7C135%7Cbest%7C0%7C1%7C24%7C%7C1&cm_src=PRODUCTSEARCH

  36. Susan,

    I was reading about your chair problem and the smell and I bet the chair was made in China. I bought a mini crib from Amazon. I didn’t look at the reviews nor where it was from. When it came it was great, the size and everything. I put it up and left the door closed. Later that day I went back in and the room smelled like dead fish, I kid you not. I did the same thing you did but moved it to the garage. Within 6 hours the whole garage smelled the same way. It was the wood board that came with it to hold the mattress. The problem is they use formaldehyde in the wood and the smell cannot be removed. I bet your chair had a thin wooden bottom. (this could have been the popping noise). My daughter also got a storage bench that was made in China and has the same problem. I solved mine by buying another piece of plywood at Home Depot and replaced the other. The smell was gone. I have now started to look closely at reviews and also where the particular thing is made. Just my two cents but the smell I will never forget :-).

  37. Susan, Thank you for sharing the “Woody” salad plate info. I had looked last week and they only had the tree, deer and santa’s sleigh. If I hadn’t seen your blog I wouldn’t have known about a fourth pattern. I tried a different Walmart and found six of the car plates. I would like at least 4 more but I suspect that they will be hard to find. I tried the online link you shared but they were sold out. For now I am thankful to have six of them. We cut a tree every year and tie it to the car roof so these are perfect. MM

  38. Susan, love the acorn story (and those plates). One of my former neighbors told me she gave her acorns to the feed store because they had a pot belly pig that loved them.

  39. Susan, I had to share that today I found 6 more “Woody” plates. That makes a total of 12, and I think that is enough! I had every intention of resisting holiday plate temptation this year. Oh well, I failed. MM

    • That’s awesome! Glad you found them! I know, every year I say that, too! lol I’ve resisted buying the plaid Pottery Barn plates since I have some that are similar, but I couldn’t resist the woody car. I only bought six. They haven’t arrived yet, still waiting, but I did get a notice they had shipped. Hope they don’t arrive broken!

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