Wednesday, February 29, 2012


The sofa and chair.  These are usually the most used and often the most abused pieces of furniture in the home.  We sit and rest in our favorite easy chair or take a Sunday nap on the sofa.  Our upholstery makes a fashion statement and reveals our taste and style.

This year marks my 15th year of design work at Chestnut Hall, and while the styles have come and gone, some things remain the same.  Quality.  Craftsmanship.  Value.  These are the words that are thrown around daily in my line of work.  I have worked with people who replace their sofas every few years, and I have clients who buy a new sofa once in a blue moon.  With the economy being what it is, everyone is looking for value in everything that they buy.  This includes home furnishings.  A lot of people ask me the following question, "Should I reupholster my furniture or buy new?"  Well, I have played around and done my research, and I have realized that unless it is something that you absolutely adore, like your Grandmother's rocking chair, it's better to buy new. Reupholstering a sofa has gotten very expensive over the years, and if you have cushions that have been broken down and worn out, then you will find that the piece will never sit the same.  So you ask, "What do I need to look for in new upholstery?"  

 Here is the guide to buying new sofas and chairs...

1. Buy American!  You really can't go wrong with American made products and we should do what we can to support our domestic economy.

2. Buy hardwood, hand cut frames that are dowelled, screwed together, and reinforced with glue.  The following picture is from a factory tour that I went on last year.  As you can see, this company makes their frames from totally organic product.  

3. Look for frames that use "8 way hand tied" spring systems.  A lot of stores take a cheaper route and try to convince their customers that with new engineering, this is not necessary, but I know more people who have gone that route and have chairs and sofas that sag extremely badly.  You want this 8 way hand  tied system in your upholstery.  The term "8 way hand tied" means that coil springs are placed around the deck of a sofa or chair and then a twine is tied to each spring in 8 different places.  This reinforces durability and comfort.  The following is a video of the process of "springing up" a sofa.                                                

4. Next, cushions.  Usually most companies offer a variety of cushions to give you the feel that suits you.  Older people tend to want a firm cushion with lots of support, while the young 20-something wants a relaxed, plush feel.  Get the cushions that suit you best, and always make sure that they are wrapped and not just a piece of foam covered by your upholstery fabric.  This picture is of me in a pile of cushions.  You can see that they are all wrapped.

5. Fabric...pick something that is suitable to your lifestyle.  Silk is obviously not something you would put in the family room.  Don't just think that when shopping for a sofa, the higher the grade means the higher the quality.  Look for something that expresses your style and holds up well, too.  I prefer a simple fabric on my sofa and give it pops of color with pillows.  There is nothing wrong with a patterned fabric on a sofa, but take into consideration that you might just get tired of it after a while.  

6. Maintenance...It amazes me that people think if they buy a sofa, especially a top of the line sofa, then it should hold up like a piece of iron.  It is important to perform some maintenance weekly on your upholstery.  I usually advise people to NOT buy an attached back sofa.  The back cushions tend to sag and if someone spills something on a cushion, then you can't flip it!  I tell people to rotate and flip your cushions on a weekly basis.  This way you are not sitting in the same place all the time and the cushions will last longer.  Also, remember that pets are some of the worst abusers of upholstery.  Try to train your pets to stay off the furniture.  Not only will it help your furniture last longer, it will also keep a warranty in tact.  Most companies will void any warranty if there is any evidence of a pet spending time on your sofa.  

I hope that this helps if you are in the market for new furniture.  I do believe in "you get what you pay for," so my advice is to buy the absolute best that you can afford.  Enjoy a relaxing time on your sofa or chair and remember to take care of them!!!  

Until next time, Happy Decorating!


Stacy McSpadden
Manager of Interior Design Services
Chestnut Hall Interiors
3075 Forest Hill Irene Road
Germantown, Tennessee 38138

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


This is a Land of Lakes recipe. They recommend eating these warm by making them in advance and then baking them right before serving. I can just imagine how wonderful these would be with a cup of hot chocolate.  Can you tell I love chocolate?!

1/2 cup butter
3 (1 oz.) squares baking chocolate
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
32 Hershey Kisses (dark chocolate), unwrapped
1/2 cup sugar (this is to roll your cookies in before baking)

Preheat oven @ 350 degrees.
Place butter & baking chocolate in microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave on high (stirring every 30 sec until melted)  COOL 10 MIN. 

Add  sugar & egg to melted chocolate mixture--beat at medium speed until mixed well. Reduce speed to low; add flour, baking powder & salt.  Continue beating until well mixed.

Shape into 1 inch balls.  Press one Hershey Kiss into each ball; form dough around candy to completely cover.  

Roll balls in sugar.  Place one inch apart onto slightly greased cookie sheet.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes  (DO NOT OVERBAKE) 

Makes 32 cookies.

To reheat: place 2 cookies on a dish in the microwave and heat on HIGH until centers are melted, 15-30 seconds. Do not over-heat.

Monday, February 27, 2012


Aren't you so thankful for God's promise to take your hand, lead you, and help you when you feel immobilized by fear?

Friday, February 24, 2012


Parents sometimes feel like the most unlikely people in the world. But God thinks otherwise. Here’s some encouragement from our student ministry. We believe in you!


By Tim Walker

The concept of “unlikely” is nothing new to parents, is it? Just think about it. As parents, we are constantly realizing we are unlikely people God uses in unlikely places to respond in unlikely ways. Let’s break that down (insert crazy beat, okay, maybe not):

We are unlikely. No matter how much we thought we knew about being a parent before we actually were one, there is nothing that makes a mom or dad feel unlikely than coming home with a newborn baby. Being a parent changes everything. We never hear a screaming baby in the store or a restaurant the same way again. We never look at a tired parent chasing a toddler the same way again. We never look at the parent of a teen standing there dazed and confused the same way again. Becoming a parent brings the reality that no matter how much we thought we knew, we realize it’s not as simple as we once thought.

There are times when we feel like the most ineffective parent, and then there are times when we get a sense of hope that maybe the future therapy bill of our children may not be as high as we feared it would be.

As much as parenting may seem like a roller coaster of a ride, God placed us in this role on purpose. He gave us the role to be our child’s mother, or our child’s father. Even though we may have considered ourselves an unlikely person to be a parent, or wondering since becoming one if we are as qualified for the job as we think we should be, God thinks we are. That’s why He entrusted our child to our care. The Bible is filled with examples of God using unlikely people—people who had counted themselves out, and people others counted out as well. But the more these unlikely people leaned into Him and made themselves available, the more God worked through them.

God uses us in unlikely places. It seems like there’s no more unlikely place to find God than cleaning up after a sick child in the middle of the night. Or waiting in a long line at an amusement park. Or driving the kids to practice or class. But God can use even the most mundane, ordinary, unlikely places in our lives to impact others. Sometimes it’s in the places we would least expect to find God that we run straight into Him.

But it isn’t just the physical places that seem unlikely for big things to happen. Sometimes life throws us curve balls and with little to no warning and we find ourselves in the midst of a job loss, an illness, or a divorce. It’s in these places that we wonder, “Can anything good come from here? Can this be used for anything bigger than just hurt and pain?” Fortunately, God has a reputation for showing up in the places we least expect Him to, to do the things we would least anticipate. After all, He chose a stable to make His appearance on Earth and a cross as a way to conquer death. Not exactly what we may have had in mind. But God isn’t limited by an unlikely situation or an unlikely place.

No matter how broken your home, no matter how financially messy your life, no matter how stressful your job, don’t count God out. He just may show up when you least expect Him. Look for Him.

God calls us to respond in unlikely ways. One of the more tricky things about parenting is, just when it seems like we have it figured out, our kids change, grow up and throw a wrench in our whole philosophy. We can never stay comfortable where we are for very long.

There will be times when we will best love our kids by providing boundaries and discipline, and there are times when we will best love our kids by extending grace in the midst of some big mistakes. Unfortunately, there is no formula or equation to figure out when to do what. Parenting keeps us on our toes—requiring us to grow and change in our parenting skills just as our kids grown and mature.

The one constant is our need to remember to love. At all times. At all costs. Sometimes that seems like too big a request. An unlikely response when our teenager has pushed every last button and challenged every last rule. But those are the times we can best demonstrate the heart God has for them—and for us too. Responding in love is a lesson worth learning. It may not feel natural. And it may not come easily. But it can be the beginning of you and your child better understanding the love God has lavished on us.

So just remember, even though you may feel like an unlikely candidate in an unlikely place to be the parent your teenager needs, God can use you just as you are, just where you are, to respond in unlikely ways. 

© 2010 The reThink Group, Inc. Used with permission.

Get connected to a wider community of parents at 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Today marks the beginning of the Lenten season. If you've grown up Baptist, like me, you've had no clue what Lent is.  As I've gotten older, I've become curious about it and its significance.  I've questioned whether to observe it or not.  Perhaps you, too, have some questions about it. But this year, I read another article that truly interested me and made me wonder whether to give up something for Lent...or take on something.

Noel Piper tells us about Lent in her book Treasuring God in Our Traditions.  You can download the book for free here, but in the meantime, here are a few excerpts:

"Over the course of the Lenten and Easter season, we are      remembering the lowest points of sin and the highest peaks of what God has done for us through Jesus...

Traditionally Lent is a season of sober, realistic reflection on our own lives and our need for a Savior. It is a time for turning away from anything that has kept us from God and for turning or returning to him. It is a time to pray that God will renew our love for him and our dependence on him...

In some churches, fasting has been a traditional way of expressing dependence on God during Lent. Of course, like any other religious observance, fasting is only as significant as the intent of the heart. The practice may be nothing more than legalism, or on the other hand, it can be a way of saying, 'Oh, God, I want you more than I want any of the good things in my life—food, videos, crossword puzzles, shopping, etc. You are the one who fulfills my desires.'

We may find that a fast of some sort helps us recognize our reliance on God. Whether it’s a fast from some particular food or meal or from some activity, such as watching TV, reading the newspaper, or surfing the Web, we need to remember that fasting is two-sided. It’s not just turning away from something for a while, but it is also turning toward God..."

Karen Ehman tells us that in recent years, she has stopped giving up something for Lent; instead, she takes on "serving in a soup kitchen once a week, taking a hurting soul out for coffee every Saturday, or acquiring a new habit like walking or reading the Bible before hopping on the computer."  While her take on observing Lent may not be "traditional," it does meet the objective. She is turning toward God and giving of herself. You can read what she's doing this year here. She even invites us to join her and has a free give away.

Ann Voskamp has her take on Lent as well along with some free material. You can check it out here.

So, the options are front and center for you.  Would you like a tangible way to remember and thank Jesus for dying on the cross? If so, are you going to give up or take on something?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


I made this recipe for a bridal luncheon and everyone raved over it.  Also, our Care Group had breakfast this month and I took this. 
1 lb. ground hot pork sausage
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 1/2 to 3 cups frozen cubed hash browns
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups( 8 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 3/4 cups milk
1 cup all-purpose baking mix (Bisquick)
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
1/4 tsp. pepper

Topping: Picante sauce or green hot sauce, sour cream (optional)

Cook sausage and onion in a large skillet over medium heat 5 minutes or until meat crumbles.  Stir in hash browns, and cook 5 to 7 minutes or until sausage is no longer pink and potatoes are lightly browned.  Drain mixture on paper towels: spoon into a greased 13 by 9 inch baking dish.

Stir together eggs, cheese, and next 4 ingredients: pour evenly over sausage mixture stirring well.  Cover and chill 8 hours.

Bake, covered with foil, at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Uncover and bake 10 to 15 more minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven, and let stand 5 minutes.  Serve with desired toppings.

Garnish, if desired.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


I'm sure you are all familiar with Matthew 25:35-40.  You know, it's the passage where we're told that when we feed and clothe and invite in the stranger, we are doing it to Jesus. For a very real application of these verses (which took place in Memphis, Tennessee, just last week), please go read this blog:

Friday, February 17, 2012


As I write this post in my small living room, I look around and see that within a short reach are my laptop, television, iPhone, and iPod.  Within my iPhone alone are numerous texts, emails, and Apps that can consume my attention and focus.  I want to check Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Path, and the list goes on.  Technology has become a god in our world today.  We “need” it. We can’t live with out it.  I love technology, but I also see what a drain it can be in my life. 
I would be embarrassed to see the calculation of hours spent on social networking sites, the internet, and time in front of the TV.  Let’s just be honest, girls. How many of us have spent a ridiculous amount of time on the computer “Facebook stalking” or pinning until you can’t pin anymore on Pinterest?  Do we spend as much time studying the Word, praying, and loving others as we do on the internet?  Are we as constant in our pursuit of Christ as we are in pursuing the things of this world?

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Rom. 12:2).  

Is your mind being renewed daily by spending time with the Lord, or is your mind cluttered and drained from chasing the world? Are you allowing the Lord to give you fresh strength and life for your soul everyday?  I fear that we spend too much time examining the lives of others and comparing ourselves to them rather than examining the life of Christ and learning who we are in Him. 
Don’t waste your life and time on the internet, your phone, or whatever else it is that is consuming too much of you.  Time flies when you’re wasting it.  Let’s be diligent women of God by being good stewards of the time He’s allowed us.  Psalm 63 says, “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”   I urge you dear sisters, SEEK the Lord, SEEK Him.  He chooses to love you. Love Him back with your whole heart.  Choose to spend more time with Him than the fleeting things of this world.  I think it all comes down to this - Do you really want Jesus and how badly?

I’ll leave you with one last thought.  As you strive to spend more time with the Lord, I encourage you to spend more time with your family too.  When you spend time with them, don’t allow your phone to be glued to your hands.  Have good conversation and really listen. You might be surprised how fun it is to just talk and listen!  

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Day two, the saga continues!   Sometimes I can be guilty of “word vomit” - that would be when I spill my guts about whatever is in me at the moment.  Yesterday, I spilled quite a bit about the down side of “women’s words.”  Today, I want to brush my teeth with some “peppermint toothpaste” from the Word and blow out the freshness of God and the life-giving impact of a woman with a freshly brushed mouth from the Word! 

“Do not let ANY unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but ONLY what is HELPFUL for BUILDING OTHERS up according to THEIR needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Get rid of ALL bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with EVERY form of malice. BE KIND and COMPASSIONATE to one another, FORGIVING each other, just as in Christ, God FORGAVE you.” Eph. 4: 29-32
There you have it – four verses that can pretty much take care of every aspect of the womanly words and ways.  God is a master of “any,” “all,” “none,” and “every.” He covers all the bases, so I don’t get any “buts” in the backtalk – just a “Yes Sir” followed by fruitful freedom.
Let’s look:
            -no unwholesome talk – I always know when I go sour (unwholesome milk is memorable)
            -only helpful – timing and presentation are everything (my husband teaches me that regularly) - helpful may be speaking truth as much as giving/aiding in a matter
            -building – what a great gift to put bricks, stone, and mortar in another’s foundation in their walk or seeking of the Lord
            -benefit the hearer – to know that the listener, even if I don’t know another is listening or watching, is gaining benefit/good from my words and that the Holy Spirit was released freely through my words is fresh breath
            -opposite of grieve would be to “gladden” – I can gladden the Holy Spirit with my talk
            -get rid of… (“the list”) – to me/ for me this is the “crossroads” of the whole mouth thing!  “Out of the heart the mouth speaks.”  Once I get rid of “the list” (v.31) in my heart, my speech issue is changed!  Again, the speech issue is a heart issue.
Results of this passage of scripture are wrapped with a bow from verse 32 – kindness, compassion, and forgiveness!  Three things I need on a continual basis, not only to give but to receive.  Now, this is “the rest of the story” and the fruit of good sowing!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


What do you think – is that a true statement to your heart or not?  I almost wrote “women – can’t live with them and can’t live without them,” but I thought I might offend somebody!  Keep in mind I am a woman, so I am not slamming someone I am not familiar with experientially! 

During the Bible study break (between being thrown overboard with Jonah and now the startup of James), I took on the task of paraphrasing the book of Proverbs for the grand project of presenting it someday to my grandchildren.  I am well aware my sons have outgrown my thinking and intellect (that is now their wives’ jobs to impart to them), so I am now attacking the grandchildren!!! As I went through the book I saw several themes, but one that screamed at me was the destruction a woman can bring on with her power of influence, her tongue, and her manipulative heart. Gossipy, adulterous, divisive; just be attentive to God’s intent when He speaks of the female.  He also is very descriptive in the truth of a woman who is godly. So please know I am not just pouncing on the negative, but also on the power of a woman washed, dressed, and fragranced in the Word!

God is very direct when speaking to women.  Not being a man, I can’t speak to the issues God tends to equate with their natures (lust, work priorities, loving a wife as Christ loves the church), but it seems to me, He talks a lot to women about their mouths.  In other words, deal with your heart because out of the heart the mouth speaks!  It is an amazing thing to watch little girls begin to whisper, pair off, laugh at others, and exclude at a young age.  I wonder – do they learn that/catch that from us big girls?  Also, as girls get older, to see them begin to use their bodies (dress, eyes, words, behaviors) as enticers. Proverbs has much to say to us about these areas:  the adulterous woman has several chapters dedicated to her! Then, to be a part of women in a group (work, home, church, friendships,) who are hurtful, exclusive, harsh…that can be a real joy-stealer.  I remember when I became a Christian and the excitement of being in a family that was going to be functional and “new.” I watched everything, soaked in every word, and believed these women were going to be my new sisters and I would learn how to be a “church lady,” something I had only admired from afar. I did learn much and now, I have lived long enough to “reap” some of the truths of the principles God gives about a woman’s place or sphere of influence...good and bad reaping.

I guess if I have to sum up this dissertation, I would say:
         Have a fragrant mouth
         Be an example of purity
         Realize others do watch and listen (big and little)
         Encourage others with your response and behavior

There are women all around us that motivate us to be more like Christ; my desire is to be that woman to someone else. What a rich community we would enjoy if all the sisters would be “that” woman who motivates Christ’s ways to be emulated!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Nothing says "I love you" quite like chocolate! This pie is like a rich, thick, decadent mousse.  No one will ever guess it's just made from candy bars and so very easy.

6 Hershey’s Almond Bars (regular size)
2 (8 oz.) Cool Whip
1 graham cracker or chocolate cookie crust

In microwaveable bowl, carefully (don’t scorch) melt 5 ½  Hershey Almond bars until smooth.  Mix with 1 (8 oz) Cool Whip until well blended.  Empty into graham cracker crust.  Top with the other container of Cool Whip and shred the remaining ½ of chocolate bar on top of Cool Whip.  Quick, beautiful, and absolutely delicious.
You can use the individual mini pie crusts for a special dessert.  Can top with raspberry or strawberry too.

Friday, February 10, 2012

JEWELRY TIPS by Kristi Childs

Five Necklace-Wearing Guidelines
1. Layer up! A mix of necklaces in varied shapes and lengths can look festive. Stop at a few strands. You don't want to look weighed down.

2. A wide choker demands attention and should be your sole statement maker. Forgo lots of other jewelry when wearing such a fetching item.

3. An open neckline on your top highlights your glitzy accent. The same goes for a solid-color shirt.

4. A draping necklace is lovely with a long dress. Choose a shorter strand with higher hemlines.

5. Consider the vibe you are going for. Add colorful beads for a boho feel, silver chains for a touch of punk, or pearls for a prim and proper air.

Fashion Accessorizing Tips
Create a Theme –
Wearing a small gold chain necklace with a thick bangle bracelet isn't going to look like you've put any time into getting ready. A thick beaded necklace with a bangle bracelet will look a lot more put together. And a small gold bracelet would look much more appropriate with a small chain necklace.

Add Color –
Many individuals believe that the color of their jewelry must match the color of the clothing they are wearing. This is untrue. Contrasting the colors of your accessories from those of your clothing will actually add personality and will intensify both elements of your outfit.

Here’s another youtube video featuring the new jewelry items from Premier Jewelry in the 2012 Spring & Summer Brochure (released in mid-January):

Kristi Childs
Premier Designs Independent Distributor

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Tiffany Epps is a member of our church who is serving as a missionary in Brazil along with her husband Aaron and family. She has begun writing a blog, telling how God is working in her life right now.  What she has to say can certainly apply to all of us.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

PILLOWS, PLEASE by Stacy McSpadden

Pillows.  Those little pieces of heaven on earth that welcome us to rest every night when we climb into beds after a long day.  As I am writing this, I am lying in bed surrounded by the obnoxious amount of pillows I require for a good night's rest.  Pillows are one of the biggest assets that we have in our arsenal of decorating delights.

Pillows are the easiest (and dare I say, cheapest) way to change the total look of our bed, sofa, or chair.  If you are a seamstress, then sewing four straight seams is simple.  They don't require much fabric, yet have a huge impact on the overall feel of your room.  Pillows were my Market "buzzword" in January.  I was determined to find fresh and exciting pillow lines for the store. The problem was that I liked so many!

We traditionally had only carried needlepoint and petit point pillows in the past, and honestly, while they still have their place in the decorating landscape, I am tired of them.  I wanted to find something fun and fresh (and well-priced wouldn't hurt either!) Our CFO, Janet, that was traveling with me, spotted a fun new pillow line that totally fit our expectations.  We received them last week and I am in love!

I love the combination of patterns and colors. Most of these are done in linens and crewels, so they offer a different texture for your room too.

We also found another line at the end of our trip that I fell in love with!  There weren't many choices, but the simple offerings were divine!  We haven't received these yet, but I know that they will live up to all of our expectations!  See the one with the red circle that is really bright?  Yeah, that may be Chez Stace when it comes in!

The most important thing to remember when purchasing pillows is to get down or down essence pillow stuffers.  Poly-fill forms tend to lose their shape very quickly and look old and tired.  You can totally change the look of a sofa or even a whole room with a pillow upgrade!  I will try to show you more pillows as they come in over the next few weeks!  Until then...Happy Decorating!

In Him,


Stacy McSpadden
Manager of Interior Design Services
Chestnut Hall Interiors
3075 Forest Hill Irene Road
Germantown, Tennessee 38138

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


I carried these mini muffins to Bible Study this morning and quite a few asked for the recipe.  They are my favorite muffin.

Sift all the following ingredients together in a large bowl:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Whisk all the following ingredients together in another bowl:
2 eggs
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup canned pumpkin

Mix the flour mix with the egg mixture, stirring just until combined. 
Fold in 1 (6 oz.) pkg. butterscotch chips. 
Pour into each cup of a mini puffin pan to about 3/4 full.  
Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for about 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. 

Makes 48 mini muffins.

Monday, February 6, 2012


For God
        so loVed the world
             thAt He gave His
             soN so
                 That whoever
                iN Him shall
            havE everlasting
                                   John 3:16

As you give and receive Valentines this month to show your love, remember Who gave the very first One.