Thursday, December 22, 2011


I don't mean literally but my family has suffered a great loss.  My father passed away on Wednesday, so the holidays will not feel the same this year.   Services will be held the Monday after Christmas so I will off the blog for a bit to take care of my family.

David Joseph Belford III 

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David Joseph Belford, III

Toms River

David Joseph Belford III, passed away Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011 at his home. He was born in Elizabeth, NJ where he resided before moving to Toms River 10 years ago. He attended Sacred Heart High School and Delta State, Mississippi obtaining a Bachelor's Degree and for 37 years he was an educator and athletic coach for the Elizabeth Board of Education, before his retirement in 1999. He served in the United States Army and had been an Inductee in the Elizabeth Athletic Hall on April 26, 2007.

Surviving are his wife, Marie Dolores Belford of 20 years; his children, David J. Belford IV and his wife Kim of Marlboro, NJ, William S. Belford and his wife Kathleen of Lanoka Harbor, Melanie L. Joseph and her husband Brian of Sewaren, NJ, Brianna M. Belford of Toms River, NJ, John D. Pagliarulo of Jersey City, Patricia A. Pagliarulo of Bayonne, NJ and his 14 grandchildren.

Visiting will be Monday, 5-8pm at the Silverton Memorial Funeral Home, 2482 Church Rd., Toms River. Funeral services will be Monday evening at the funeral home. Cremation will be Private. www.silverton memorial.com
Published in Asbury Park Press on December 22, 2011


God saw you were getting tired,
and a cure was not to be,
so he put his arms around you
and whispered, "Come to me"

With tearful eyes we watched you,
And saw you pass away,
Although we loved you dearly,
we could not make you stay.

A golden heart stopped beating,
hard working hands at rest.
God broke our hearts to prove
to us.
He only takes the best.

I wish you all a Happy Holiday with your family.   Life is short, make sure you spend time with your family and make peace and tell what you want to say.

- MJ

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I love Christmas trees, I need to have more than one because of my love for different styles and themes.  From a young age I remember my mother pulling out tons of boxes (it was the 70's not plastic tubs back then...lol)   and she would decide what the year's theme would be for the Christmas tree.

I thought I would just share some of the trees in my home this year

Our BIG outdoor tree year round

This year's Peacock tree in the living room

Simple red/green trees on the table for Christmas morning breakfast

Prayer card tree in the dining room

Dove tribute tree in the dining room

Trees in the studio w/ Shiny Brites

My 1st white tree in the studio

Trees in the kitchen for a party

My Nonna's eucalyptus tree with cookie press ornaments

And the latest....simple woodland tree to accent Santa (on loan from my mother's home)

I didn't count many we have this year, but I know we didn't do our tree downstairs in the football room like last year.   Just too much going on right now, but we will back in action next year!

How many trees do you display in your home for the holidays??

Happy Holidays...from my home to yours!

- MJ

Monday, December 19, 2011


Well as most of you know this is a very hard time for my family.  I am full of nervous energy not knowing what the next day will bring.   I didn't know what to do with myself today so I dismantled the exsisting tablescape of bright red/green.

I have faith and hope that my father is in peace and will go when it is time, although we are hoping that we get as many days as possible.

I chose to do a simple tablescape using little white doves and champagne colored ornaments on a vintage style tree.  I surrounded it with praying angel candleholders and lots of candles.

HOPE banner

Simple long length centerpiece

Vintage style trees with white doves and champagne ornaments

Praying angels

Gold charger, white square plate

Handmade vintage prayer card image tag ornaments

The altar table with golden angel and tinsel trees

Love, Peace and Hope

Full tablescape view from kitchen

This tablescape was created as a tribute to my father who is battling cancer. I used white doves and champagne colored ornaments on a vintage style tree as the centerpiece. 

The dove is known as a sign of love, peace and hope. I have hope that he will hang in there a little longer and celebrate Christmas with all of his family around him.


Here is a short video featuring this same tablescape

Sunday, December 18, 2011


This is an open letter to Cancer personally from me.   This post might not be for everyone, but I share things on my blog about life!  The good, the bad, the ugly doesnt just apply to decorating.

Dear Cancer

I loathe you, despise you, get sick at the thought of you, when I hear your name...it makes my skin crawl.  I HATE YOU CANCER.

You want to know why I can say that I HATE YOU...I mean hate is such a strong word and all.  Well I feel not only qualified but justified in my right to hate you...and here is why!

I was born way back in the 70's to my unwed parents, my waitress mother and an alcoholic-abusive father.   Thankfully my mother walked away and we moved on from that.

When I was about 8-9 years old while on a vacation to Florida for one of my brother's basketball finals, my mother was introduced to a man named David.   He was a recently divorced father of 2 boys and they started dating.

This is David (a.k.a Dave)

Well we did family vacations and all sorts of stuff for the next 10 years and in 1991 after his youngest son and I had turned 18 he and my mother were married.    He was officially my father by law.

I didn't have a close relationship with my father at all, and he in fact was diagnosed with CANCER (yes you in 2006 and died).    I didn't like you then, but you didn't cause me pain because of my estranged relationship with him.  However you stole a grandfather to my children...even if they didnt know him the way I did.

During this same time my stepfather David was battling your wrath as well, you started in his colon, then you attacked his lungs, liver and kidney.   Basically you just kept tryin and tryin...... I guess you really wanted to get your point across.

Guess what??????   You were messing with the wrong man.   David was a stubborn Irishman who wasn't gonna let some Cancer take him down.   He fought you, and fought hard.    His medical file is over 2 inches thick and the doctor's called him a champ and a fighter.    

That makes you a loser!!!

Now I guess you came up with a plan sometime this year while he was in remission and decided you wanted to attack him once and for all and win this battle.    So a few weeks ago we found out , you now were not only in his lungs, kidney but you played dirty and went for his brain.  

Now he wasn't discouraged, he started his radiation and did what he needed to do, but being the sore loser you are you just couldn't let him defeat you again.  So you became more aggressive and now attacked him so hard that he is in bed and can barely speak.


This man deserves a better way, a better life... you have no idea the man he is or the things he has done in his life.

He was a father to me from the time I was 8 years old even if it wasnt official.   He gave me 2 brothers I didnt have before and a life and childhood that I enjoyed and appreciated in comparison to the one I was born into.  He was there at my wedding, and was there for my children.  He was their grandfather!

He took in my sister's son when she wasn't capable of raising him and raised that boy to 18 yrs of age.  He then took in her daughter as well, he and my mother adopted her and have been raising her for the past 11 years since she was 3 months old.

This is the type of person who you choose to take from this world?   How about you attack the low life murderers and killers who prey on little children and helpless people.   Why would you take someone who helped to save a child's life.   Who chose a career to teach and guide children.

He was a teacher and a educational administrator for 37 years in a trouble school district, but he was there and did his job.   This is the type of person who you choose to attack??

Your a coward, a punk...you can fight but guess what you will never win!  

Anyone who knew my father, knows that he fought you and kicked your ass as best he could.   If you would've kept it even,  and not got dirty you would've never got him down.

He may be in his last days of life, but he is loved by all of his children and his 14 grandchildren.  He is respected by his family and friends.

What are you????

You are a sickness, a disease that makes people sick.  You are nothing good, you are evil.    You are hated, despised and nobody has anything good to say about you!

So in the end, which will be any day now.   David....my father won, because you are nothing!   He is everything you aren't good, loved, respected and most of all will be received by his God and will finally be at peace.

To me he is Pops and although he won't be able to read this....I know that I have stood up for him and told you that I hate you for taking him from my family.

I love you Pops and will miss you very much!!!

To my friends and readers I remind you.....get you yearly checkups and required tests.  Do not let this bastard CANCER get the best of your family!


Saturday, December 17, 2011


It doesn't take much to get me to do another tablescape.    So after the video was shot for the more elegant tablescape, the table was cleared and was bare for a day.   Then I had an idea.....why not set another table for our Christmas Breakfast.

On Christmas morning, the kids (all 5 of them) wake up at the sight of light sky and coming running down to wake us up and open presents.

After all that fun and mama has taken all of the photos of the smiley faces and video of the screams, then Im off to the kitchen to make breakfast.   We started a new tradition when we moved to the new house.   We have french toast but instead of using your everyday white bread.   I slice up our holiday Panettone and use it for the french toast...............so delicious.

So this will be our simple breakfast table for Christmas morning:


Simple and Fun

My favorite NEW vintage looking trees

Place Settings

I love this pattern on the white plate, these are so old I don't remember where I go them. I believe my mother gifted them to me.

Some mini glass ornaments adorn the tree

My casual centerpiece

Greenery, ornaments, gift boxes with a playful holiday tablecloth



Thursday, December 15, 2011


This year the motto is less is more......I'm not a fan of huge lighting set ups on the roof and obnoxious amounts of blow ups all over the front lawn.

My normal color scheme throughout the year is red/white/turquoise on my porch.   My house is tan and I always have up my Black metal stars on the windows frames and my wicker furniture is painted black and so are my Pottery Barn trunks which I use for storage out there.

So this year it's a simple rustic Christmas here at our home.....How about yours?

Our humble home....Casa Joseph

Our very own HUGE REAL Christmas tree adorned w/ some bows
I will put out presents underneath the tree and around the 2nd sled.


Repurposed chalkboard, handmade holiday crafts

Love displaying vintage on the porch....sled, waste can, lantern. 

My vintage screendoor (newly painted red) w/ my custom made for me wreath from my South Carolina crafty chick LP ..her line of wreaths are amazing...check out her shop SHENANAGAINS

Some cozy moose love on the wicker settee 

This little moose is 17 years old, she and her partner were bought for my oldest daughter

Other sitting area of the porch...vintage wooden wagon

Love this....it's not about the most popular toy or the best gift.

Let's also remember those who can't be home with their families for the holidays.
GOD BLESS.......the men and women of  The U.S. Military!



I'm from Jersey, I'm always ready for a party

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


This year I wanted to keep my dining room color scheme simple and not have to change out everything just for the holidays.   Im still loving my trellis panels in Black/Creme/Tan so that is the color scheme I stayed within.   Adding along the way touches of gold and silver.

Simple Shimmer is this year's theme

Very Simple Place Setting 

We Wish You A Merry Christmas

Shimmery gift for guests
Handmade utensil holders

Full view

Main piece in our simple center table arrangement

Simple handmade chair accent

Small tree with handmade prayer card tag ornaments

Buffet display

Angel on the left

Angel of the right

The handmade nativity set my grandfather made filled with pieces from Italy

Altar shelf with some accents (dont mind the wreath..I forgot it was there)

Another angel.....



Well we have had a few minor problems with the loss of the camera.   But I decided to upload the video to my youtube channel anyway.   Hope you like it:


Chargers: My mother & Dollar Tree
Dinner Plate: Dollar Tree
Bowl: Dollar Tree
Wine Glass: Dollar Tree
Glass candlesticks: Dollar Tree
Garland trees: Dollar Tree
Glass Ball Ornaments: Vintage Shiny Brites
Tree Centerpiece: Family Dollar
Place Card Holder: Bombay Company (1995)
Angel Candlesticks: Bombay Company (1995)