I always say what you see on my blog IS my real life, but just a slice of it. We usually live with StoneGable decorated the way you see it on the blog but on “photo shoot” days it can look pretty different!  Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the camera? If you have today is the day!  So get ready… I thought it would be fun to show you a never before look at photo shoot day!

Years ago there was a saying “keeping it real” meaning if you have a mess or mishap show it! I never bought into that way of blogger thinking. I figured you had enough messes in your own home and what you wanted when you came to visit StoneGable was something beautiful and inspiring to look at and words that helped you be a better decorator and lots of cheerleading and encouragement! So I pretty much kept my messes to myself.

Last weekend I was styling a table for an upcoming Christmas table. My assistant Katie was helping as well as bringing up all my Christmas decor for this year. I was taking pictures on my iPhone to get another “eye” and perspective on balancing the tablescape when I turned around to see my foyer filled with “stuff”. 

I took these pictures with my phone so they are not as sharp as my usual. 

Here’s my assistant Katie. I could not do all the styling I need to do without her! What a blessing!


Here’s a look behind the scenes of Christmas decorating at StoneGable.

This is the table I was styling. Balancing the centerpiece took lots of adding and editing and stepping back to critically look at it. Styling this table also made a bit of a mess. Styling always makes a bit of a mess! And takes lots of coffee!


Deciding what would go on the table.

It’s snowing! I have bags and bags of snow I use from year to year. You can see a couple of ziplock bags of snow in the image above. I always have to dust and vacuum very well before I take pictures.

Behind me, as I was working on the tablescape, Katie was setting up the utility tables in the foyer and bringing the Christmas boxes we had decided on for this year’s Winter Wonderland Christmas theme.

These are the boxes with my Christmas decor. They look pretty neat right now, but as we get whipped up into a frenzy of Holiday decorating they get a bit more disheveled. Not shown is my decorating toolbox and a laundry basket to gather up decor and take it from room to room.

Hobbes loves to find a sunny spot and likes being close to all the activity… aka mayhem! And my foyer also acts as an “intake center” for all the boxes I get with more “stuff” to use on the blog. Two of those boxes hold gorgeous Mongolian fur throws I’m using in my Master bedroom reveal the last week of November.

How cute is this cat?

Boxes, boxes, boxes of Christmas cheer. I pulled these boxes from the table in the foyer to see if I needed any of content for styling the table.

As you can see I’m still in an aircast. It’s been two years! Who knew?  You can just see the part of my foot in the picture.  Hopefully, I’ll be out of it by Christmas.

We try to corral all like decor together. 

Leftover candles sticks and candles that are not going on the tablescape. My buffet will be candle central until the downstairs is decorated. 

Can you tell my favorite kind of candlestick?

Ooops! That’s not where those trees and candlesticks belong! Sometimes, we miss a few items. Grouping like items together is the most important thing when I’m decorating. I can find things easier that way.  Oh, there’s my decorating toolbox. I’ll put it at the end of the utility table so I can find it everytime I need it.

If I were not a blogger I would transition from fall into Christmas. And I did do a bit of transitioning at the end of October. You can see an easy way to go from fall decor to Christmas decor HERE. Unfortunately, I cannot transition as much as I would want this year because I have so many home tours at the end of the month. I really need to get the whole house decorated in the next week and a half.

Tonight Bobby is putting up a new flocked tree in the dining room and I’ll decorate it before I go to bed. But next Monday is the real TREE DAY and a whole new set of boxes will come up from the basement to decorate our big living room tree. This year I’m thinking white and silver! 

I can’t end this post without a personal note…I could not do what I do at StoneGable without the help of my dear friend and assistant Katie! Katie, you are one of a kind!!!! I am so blessed by your friendship and all your help! We make a great team! xo

If you like the way I organize Christmas than you will love THE BEST CHRISTMAS DECORATING TIP YOU WILL EVER GET. I’ll show you how I keep Christmas decor organized and ready to use!

Now, you have just a little taste of behind the scenes decorating here at StoneGable. See, my home looks just like everyone else’s!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. First of all, I often wondered about your ankle. Two years! Such a very long time. Yet you work so hard for us. Thank you so much for all you do to encourage us in our journey of creating a wonderful place to call home! I remember when you showed us your organization. That was so neat! I was not well so I did not get into any of my Christmas things for several years. I used a few items I purchased. That was all. This year I’m hoping to look through what I have. I think I have more than I remember!
    I love your theme!!! It will glisten and sparkle!! I’m so glad you have a helper.
    I used to put my totes lined up in one space. It was easy to see what I had. Things were organized by tote. Most of those totes are gone now. I store most in old suitcases. Not sure it’s easier or not!
    I’m looking forward to your reveals and tours!
    I’m thankful for you!!!

  2. Katie is a true Christmas elf – just love Hobbes. He seems to love what you are doing.

  3. Chris Wells says:

    I love your organization! I also have clear totes for my decorations, but I really need to go through them and get them better organized. I really love your little tool box idea. That is a real time saver! Thanks for all you do and I hope you get out of that air cast soon! I love all the silver and white!!

  4. I usually feel anxious when I bring up the boxes and my house feels in disarray. A scented candle and an old black and white movie help!

  5. Ruby Barnave-Lopez says:

    Thank you for the behind the scenes peek. What is in yhe decorator toolbox?

  6. Bonnie G. says:

    Yvonne, even your “mess” looks pretty! Sorry about your leg but glad that you have a friend to help.

  7. Peggy Bryant says:

    Yvonne, I’m sorry to hear you are still in a cast. I think of you often and how you manage your RA. I also have RA and have been living with it for over 36 years. Prayers you’re out of your cast soon. Hugs, Peggy

  8. Thanks for showing this! Having those messes, especially while decorating, is a part of life. I enjoyed seeing how you and your assistant handle it. Good luck with the rest of your decorating!!

  9. How fun to get ready for the Holidays. I am in the planning stages now and trying to decide what I want to put where this year. I do know that my breakfast room will be done in black and white this year with a touch of red and apple green. Looking forward to seeing the end results of your Christmas décor.

  10. Tammy Martinkovic says:

    I’ve always wondered where you store everything and how you stored it. As always cant wait to see the end results…beautiful…

  11. Chris Wells says:

    I didn’t know you had a cat!! Hobbes is adorable and should definitely show up in more photos!!
    Love the white and silver Christmas theme!

  12. That’s IT! I need a label maker! And the clear bins are a great help to see what you have. Thanks for your inspirational posts! You are one energetic & creative lady!

  13. Loved this post! Yes, I usually prefer to see all the inspirational stuff, but this time of year my house starts to get overwhelmed with bins, and seeing that the same thing happens in your lovely home just reinforces the idea that that is what it takes to have a beautifully decorated home for Christmas.

    Also loved seeing Hobbes. Didn’t know you were a cat person. We now own our fourth & fifth cats – we just love them!

  14. Decorating The White House has nothing over on you!

  15. Went back to read your best tip for decor…looks like you have added a lot more bins this year?Beautiful decorating is always on your blog. I have a condo so am limited with storage and space. Thanks

  16. I can only imagine what your basement looks like! A department store warehouse? lol

  17. Jo Cooper says:

    Thank you for sharing the behind the scenes. I truly appreciate you appreciating your assistant and friend, who apparently is
    a kindred spirit! I plan to begin my decorating process this weekend and love the energy of it all, as I can tell you do. God bless you
    and your team!!

  18. I loved the paper lanterns you used in 2016. I want to do a tree with them this year where did you purchase them? Any help you can give would be appreciated.

  19. Yvonne, this has been a most fascinating post! I always wondered about the process that goes into all the beautiful rooms decorated for holidays. We have a small home with limited storage so I will just have to admire all you do to get your home ready for Christmas. You have a lovely assistant! It’s always fun to do things together and I’m sure she is a huge help. Hope you are out of your cast soon! Hobbes is just precious. Maybe he will come out for more photo shoots.

  20. KittyLuvr says:

    I am just overwhelmed by seeing all the “stuff” and resources you have…I so enjoy your blog and your tips are always so helpful…I would say the most important tip you have is to find a “Katie”!! She is amazing and I so appreciate all she does to help you create such beautiful photos..and styling ideas. Katie, I hope you know that this blog post is going to create a whole new fan club just for you! LOL…and Yvonne, I had no idea you were still in an air cast..prayers for great news for your at the end of the month when it comes off. You certainly have not missed a beat in blog land while you have been recovering. Thanks for a great post today!

  21. Deb Wostmann says:

    Thank you, Yvonne… I always feels so bad that my house looks like a tornado hit it while I’m trying to decorate for the holiday, but it comes along with the territory. Your home is lovely and always exquisitely decorated. Happiest of Holidays to you and yours.

  22. I would love to see the contents of that decorating tool box and examples of how you used it!

    1. This request is so popular I am doing a post about my decorating toolbox next week.

      1. I’m so glad you are doing a post about your decorating toolbox…I will be looking forward to it!!
        All you do is a vision of delight!

  23. As always, I love how you think! Only wish I could be that organized ~ we don’t have basements down here in Alabama – I do know that the grandmother of one of my former students who, when building her new house, added a Christmas Closet right off of her living room!! Guests sometimes think the wide door is the foyer coat closet – when they open the door….surprise!!! Lots of luck with the rest of your decorating and home tours!

  24. Margo Arel says:

    Love the ideas. I too have a tabby that loves to get into all the pictures and enjoyed seeing your cat included.

  25. You mentioned you are in an air cast and it has been 2 years. A week ago I broke my ankle in three places and will have surgery when the swelling has gone down and the fracture blisters are healed. Plates and pins to mend this mess. So I am stuck in bed ! Just wondered what in the world has taken 2 yrs to heal? . I am hoping for a walking cast by 3 rd week of January if I can have surgery 3rd week of November. My heart and hat goes out to you!

    1. First of all, Barbara, I am so sorry! Most surgeries work out wonderfully! I had some bad luck with a bone infection. I wish you God’s comfort and a very speedy recovery! I hope StoneGable can keep you company while you are recovering

  26. Karen DiNardi says:

    Yvonne your home is lovely, but can I say one thing? I think your dining room mirror should be painted, get rid of the gold. White maybe with a dry brush of silver or all silver. What do you think?

    1. Karen, thanks for the advice, but I LOVE the mirror. So it will stay… for now!

  27. I appreciated this post because it’s real. “Perfection” doesn’t just happen! I want to give a shout out to Katie. I personally know how hard she must work as I also work as a Personal Assistant as well and do all my ladies decorating. I could only wish she was like you Yvonne and worked alongside me! Christmas can be especially exhausting as she has 2 trees and 45 bins of decor items!! Those trees along with my own two trees plus often helping another friend with hers can be overwhelming at times. I need ME a Katie! But thankfully I love my job, as I’m sure Katie must. I’m thankful God has blessed me with strength and energy at 68. Can’t wait to see the end results of your lovely Christmas home.

  28. Dorette Rakoz says:

    Thanks Yvonne now I don’t feel so bad about my ‘before’ messes too. I love to change seasonally also. You are the first blog that I have followed. More behind the scenes pics helps us appreciate your talent and effort even more. My husband has late stage Alzheimer’s and you give me a place to escape to. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience and keeping it real.

  29. Donna Milazzo says:

    Yes, I have often wondered how things look when you are organizing for photos. So fun to see the behind the scenes details. Fun to see your helper Katie too! Wish I had someone like her. Thanks for posting!!

    1. Donna Milazzo says:

      p.s. I think you should include Hobbs on more of your photos!

  30. Christine says:

    I always wondered whether you stored things on site. You must have a great decorating “wonderland” in your basement. Wish I had a Katie, too! Hobbes looks like a great supervisor.

    1. It is! Bobby says that when we leave StoneGable ( I can’t imagine) he is holding one big basement sale! And I say, oh no!

  31. Help! I need “a Katie” in my house too. Glad to see there is a cat in the picture ( I have three plus two chocolate Labradors). I had no idea you had a helper. You both do a great job on the blog. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I need Katie because it is sometimes hard for me to get up and down the basement steps.

  32. It’s always overwhelming when the tubs of decorations come out, how will it all get done, somehow it always does.I’m keeping it simple this year with adding more faux greens.In my previous house I had a storage room, this home has limited storage so buying new items is minimum.Everyone likes a behind the scene tour, looking very organized with the help of Katie !

  33. Elaine Wesselman says:

    Yvonne, It is so nice to see that we are not alone. That we are not the only ones who have terrible messes when decorating for Christmas! Thank you! We do need to know that fairies do not come in and decorate your home for you while you are sleeping with you getting up in the morning to everything in its place and finished! lol I feel better!
    Sincerely Elaine

    1. I’m glad you feel better, Elaine! Yes, we are all in the same messy life

  34. christel vogel says:

    Cute! Just want to note that the ‘butterscotch kitty” is sure cute too and matches ALL decor lol (or MOL meow out loud) Love for the holidays!

    1. I know! Isn’t that funny. Hobbes is a tiger. Most tiger cats are males and sooo sweet!

  35. I’m actually happy that my life and my decor is so much simpler. Each to their own.

  36. Fran Braun says:

    Can’t wait to show this to my husband. He thinks I am the only one! I have six bins and stuff tucked in places where they will be displayed and then they jump back into the nearest drawer or closet. He never notices!

  37. Julie Briones says:

    You know me… I like it when the ‘real’ is revealed! Love this post, AND meeting Katie! 😉 Can’t wait to see your tours! Hugs!

  38. First of all, you were the first blogger I followed. I love your classic and elegant design. Somehow I missed how you’ve been dealing with your foot situation. And RA too!? This makes me admire you even more! I was thinking you were SuperWomen. I feel better now knowing all along you had such a great assistant, Katie. How lucky you are to have her! I think we all need an assistant. I know I do. Every year I decorate for each holiday, especially Christmas. Each year I choose a different color theme. This year I’m trying to decide between white/gold or white/silver. I can see already your choice of white/silver is going to be so beautiful!!
    Since I do “everything” by myself and have limited mobility and I’m trying to keep it simple, I may choose white/gold only because I have more of that on hand.
    You are such an inspiration! I will continually keep you in my prayers. Oh, and I love Hobbes, he seems so sweet! I’d like to see more of him too! God bless you and Katie as well!

    1. I did everything by myself until my first ankle surgery 2 years ago. And when I’m out of the boot I’m keeping Katie! There is no going back!

  39. Yvonne, loved reading this behind the scenes post. I too have switched over to clear bins for all our storage needs. So so much easier finding things now!

    Looking forward to your inspirational Christmas decorating posts!

  40. Dear Yvonne,
    Wow! I’m going to start changing my bins to clear ones. I actually made a binder and over time (almost 6 months ) sorted and inventoried my spring , fall and Christmas items. I needed to not duplicate some of my purchases (over 30+) yrs. Sending prayers your way to get you well . I don’t know if you swim, but it’s the most underreported form of exercise I have ever been exposed to!

    1. Thanks, Susan! Yes I love to swim. I think I’ll be able to get back in the pool next week. I can take my air cast off to sleep and I will be able to be without it in the pool.

  41. Thank you for this, Yvonne. How refreshing to see normal life. But even in their containers, your ornaments and decoration look lovely. Have fun!

  42. Aw, Hobbes is sooo precious! Named from calvin and hobbes? sorry you still have that cast, and glad you have such a great assistant. just looking at all that collection of boxes about wore me out :). Looking forward to seeing the culmination of y’alls hard work.

  43. Yvonne, wow, I just need one container… or maybe two and a few candlesticks…!
    And, does Katie need an assistant?? Talk about a dream job!!
    Thank you for a glimpse behind the scenes… <3

    1. Katie is truly a blessing and so amazing! She literally RUNS up and down my basement steps.

  44. Love the large white vase! Could you direct me as to where I could possibly purchase one? Thank You,love your blog!

  45. Got a kick out of this post!
    I have now come to terms you cannot be completely organized and tidy when decorating for the holidays.
    Heaven knows I’ve tried, it just doesn’t work that way. Now I don’t stress when the doorbell rings. I love
    Holiday decorating even though it is messy and a lot of work. At the end of a couple of days…the Christmas
    Music, and a hot cup (pot) of coffee helped turn our home into all the wonderful memories and traditions of family.
    But, above all else we cherish the reason we celebrate this glorious season!
    May Peace and Love be yours.

  46. Laura Corbett says:

    Gorgeous! It is funny, I have been planning a Winter Wonderland on our ledge in our great room! I love all your ideas and inspirations! ❤️

  47. Karen VanLoo says:

    I love seeing the behind the scenes! I’m glad i’m not the only one who makes a mess when I am decorating. I love that “snow” as well, and while it’s messy it’s easy to clean up and looks so pretty. I just love everything you do!

    1. Karen I feel as if I know you so well. Thanks for being a very precious member of our StoneGable family! xo

  48. Love your blog. You inspire me. I do have a quick question about your jute area rugs and Hobbes. Do you have trouble with him using the rugs as a scratching pad? I just got 2 natural jute rugs for my living and dining rooms and I’m worried my cat may like them too much. So far so good but you never know. Suggestions? Thoughts? TIA

  49. Never have shared your blog with my husband but when I saw your bins I had to show him I was not the only one! He is the one who goes out to the barn every year and carries them into the house after I direct him as to which ones I want. So far our marriage has survived over 50 yrs even with the battle of the bins!! He is a wonderful man and puts up with my decorating whims . Thank you for sharing a another piece of your life. Love your new glam Christmas theme. Just beautiful.

  50. Marialaina Goeke says:

    Ohhhh thankkkk yooouuu. You have no idea how much grief I get for having so much Christmas decor. Now I will simply pull out yoooouuuurrrr Behind the Scene pics and shut some folks up . Thanks for sharing.

    1. LOL, LOL, LOL!!!!! And tell them that I have lots more in the basement!

  51. I feel right @ home seeing your ‘stuff’! I think it’s wonderful you’re sharing – makes us all feel we really know you more & more!
    And here’s a big ‘Katie’ blessing!
    Thanks for sharing your mess! ?

  52. Edward A Stankowski says:

    Enjoyed this post, Yvonne. I also love all of your plastic see through containers. I am in the process of switching from paper boxes to plastic containers much like yours.

    I’m sure everything will turn out beautifully at Stone Gable for Christmas! Plus, you are blessed to have Katie! I sure everyone wishes they had a helper, too! Love your ideas and can’t wait to read your upcoming posts!

  53. Yvonne,
    You mentioned your home will be on some tours….are they public tours? If so, I would like information on dates.

    1. Hi Teresa, No they are virtual blog tours. You can stay right in the warmth of your home and see my home! Every day the last week of November and a couple days in December. Look for them, here at StoneGable!~

  54. Hello, just the thought of decorating for Christmas makes me happy. I love all your sparkly things. Your carpet, even covered in faux snow, is gorgeous. Can you share where you found it? I am in the hunt for a new dining room rug. TIA

    1. It came from Ballard Design but I don’t see it on the site right now. Maybe give then a call and ask

      1. Thank you. I will definitely contact them.

  55. Hobbes is a beautiful feline! Do you have to vacuum more with him in the house?

    Who is holding the white vase with the evergreen boughs?

    Your winter wonderland is going to be beautiful!

    1. Hi Linda,
      Hobbes is an indoor/outdoor cat. He is not too messy. I vacuum often anyway. I have a robotic vacuum and LOVE it! Here is one for you:
      And I’ll never tell who is behind the tree!

  56. I store all my Christmas decorations in large plastic boxes as well. I like to be able to see what is inside before I bring it out. Every year I choose a different theme. I love reading through your site and look forward to your home tour.

  57. Stunning and beautiful.

    I must be a year behind you in the decorating schema, I just bought a bunch of mercury glass, going to start with the dining room this year.

    I want an orange cat (my black and white disappeared 4 years ago and I still miss him) and a basement!

  58. Thank you for sharing . My home is in disarray, fine tuning for a family Christmas open house. Lucky I called ahead and grab my favorite cater. Your new home reflects your exquisite taste. Merry Christmas ?

  59. Amy Siverd says:

    Where can I find a white hobnail pot like yours? Any ideas?
    Thanks so much!!

      1. I like that one, but was looking for the larger one that is pictured with the pines. I’d like to do something like that for my buffet in the dining room. Thank you for the link you shared!

  60. Maxine Hamann says:

    I call it controlled chaos…and the cats….I like your color selection for the LR for this year. My bedroom is all sil

  61. CarolbinTX says:

    I think I’ve been following this blog for a year or two. Occasionally, I get sort of overwhelmed and admittedly jealous over all the stuff you have, but then I say, “well, Yvonne is a blogger and it’s her JOB, while you sit in front of a computer all day looking at medical claims processing information!” During a lull yesterday, I looked through some of your historical blogs (over 300 of them – it was a long lull) and realized that you re-use things and re-purpose them and combine them with other colors, etc. from year to year, season to season…the green eyed monster was somewhat relieved! You add to them year round too. I’ve been buying Christmas decor since August this year! I wasn’t much of a seasonal decorator until a few years ago when I learned that switching things out with the seasons and putting things AWAY, as I decorated, was the way to go. I do use the clear bins…I know I don’t have one tenth of the amount of bins you do…but again, you are a blogger! Storage is a constant issue – no basements in TX. My garage (no cars there, but anything we need to store) and the closet under the stairs is what I use. At least it’s all organized! My favorite was your dish closet/s. I love dishes too!

    1. Carol, don’t let that green-eyed monster anywhere near you. I decorate to INSPIRE you! And you are right, this is my JOB albeit a most wonderful one!

  62. Thanks for a peak at the ‘behind-the-scenes’ happenings! It is A LOT of work to do what you do for all of us to enjoy and be inspired. The Christmas tree is the item I least like to decorate. :/ I love creating vignettes in different areas.

  63. Love this! Thank you for keeping it real! And your trips through the organizing may be my favorite. Now, to find a Katie!!

    1. She is one-of-a-kind! WOW, she keeps me organized and is beyond helpful.

  64. Karen VanLoo says:

    I love seeing behind the scenes and how you store things. I also love to sprinkle “snow” all around my vignettes. Along with my floral and garlands I cut up for “fluff”, it’s the icing on the cake! It makes such a mess, but I just vacuum everything after I put away Christmas to start the new year all nice and clean. I live in Texas, so I don’t see snow often. I have to fake it!