A Place Called Northfield

I just returned from another weekend at the Northfield Plantation in Cumberland, MD. The story of Northfield is quite amazing...

A few years ago, one of my fellow "curtain ladies", Christine Shephard, fell in love with Northfield. She had driven by the property many times and always thought the home was beautiful. One day she saw some people gathered around a tree in the front yard praying. She soon learned the home was being turned into a safe, Christian environment for young girls with eating disorders and unexpected pregnancies. The dreams for Northfield were great, but the house needed an entire renovation before it could be opened.

Christine introduced herself to the owners and offered her assistance, but she didn't know how she could help. After several days trying to think of how she could make a difference, she realized something, she knew how to make window treatments and she had lots of friends in the industry. That was 3 years ago and since then, Christine has reached out to all of us in the industry to help. She organized 3 work weekends in the last 3 years. Women from all over the country came together over those weekends to make window treatments, bedding, head boards and even built upholstered furniture for the entire house! I had the pleasure of being involved in the upholstery weekend last spring. The experience was truly heart warming. Many of us didn't have any idea how to upholster furniture. But with the help of a few industry experts, we were able to make about 20 pieces of upholstered furniture.

The Northfield Foundation still needs to raise $450,000 before they can open. Stepping up to the plate once again, Christine organized a learning weekend at Northfield to raise money. Last weekend, about 30 of us showed up from all over the United States with our air mattresses and sleeping bags. Only this time, we left our tools and staple guns at home. Some of the top industry experts donated their time and knowledge and we all came to the house to learn. All the money that was raised will go to Northfield.

I feel blessed and privileged to share the Northfield experience with so many wonderful people. Christine Shephard is a true pioneer, her commitment to Northfield is unwavering, she has a heart of gold and she is a true inspiration to all of us.

If you are interested in learning more or donating money to Northfield, go to The Northfield Foundation. To see more pictures from my 2 trips to Northfield, go to my Facebook page under Madella's Decorating

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The Fall Ritual


It's that time of year again. The warm days of summer are officially over and the cold days of fall take over. For our family, that means I have the dreaded task of switching out all the summer clothing in our closets and drawers for winter wear. I hate this grueling task because I have to do it for Madi, Ella and myself. I don't seem to mind it so much in the spring when I'm pulling out flip flops and bathing suit tops knowing we are only a few weeks away from vacation at the beach. But in the fall, its not fun. The kids try on all the clothes I've put away the year before just to be absolutely sure I can't squeeze one more year out of them. They both complain the entire time as I pull sweaters over their heads and try to convince them they not only fit, but look great too. I typically loose that battle. Despite the fact that I really don't like the whole clothing transition, it forces me to clean out closets and drawers. This is a good opportunity to edit clothing that doesn't fit or is out of style.

I try to teach my clients the art of editing. You can't decorate a space until it has been cleaned, cleared and organized. That task is more difficult for some of us as we tend to hang on to items. This year when you are pulling out your cold weather clothes, pay attention to each piece. If you didn't wear it last season, you won't wear it this one.....let it go and give it to someone who needs it. The same rule applies for your summer pieces, before you even pack them away for next year, think about how many times you wore it this season.

And while your at it, take a look at the inside of the closet. Are there other items that can be donated? Clean it out and then consider painting it; give it a fresh look. There is no reason for your closet to be white. If it is a walk-in closet, think about installing a nice looking light fixture instead of the standard boring ceiling mounted globe.

Yes, it is true I always wait until the last minute to move the clothes, but I always feel so much better about the closets and drawers once its finished!

If you are ambitious enough to decorate inside your closet, please send pictures. I'd love to see them!