Armed with a background in fine arts, graphic design, and interior design, and her family’s love and support, Jennifer started her own Etsy boutique as a creative outlet. Dear Lillie, now an independent online shop, is a place where you can find one-of-a-kind home items and typography artworks – from pillow covers and signage to dainty greeting cards and chalkboard prints.
Jennifer offers free downloads of her printables as a way of giving back and inspiring others. She has gained quite a reputation for her lovely work, having been featured in several magazines and websites such as Christmas Ideas by Better Homes and Gardens, Romantic Homes, The Nate Berkus Show, and HGTV.
A stay-at-home wife and mother of two, she designs for the family business while focusing on the Dear Lillie Blog, where she shares snippets of her family life and her personal projects. I learned more about Jennifer, her sense of style, and her decorating theme this Christmas in her exclusive interview with Balsam Hill.
BH: How did you come up with the name of your blog? How has blogging changed your life?
Jennifer: We got into a car accident and hit a deer a couple of weeks before I was due with my eldest daughter. Lillie arrived shortly after and my dad gave her the nickname Deer Lillie as a result. We started our business when she was six months old and Deer Lillie seemed like a good name. We realized people might think we had misspelled the word Deer or might not be able to find it when searching for it online so we decided to go with the more natural spelling of the word and went with “Dear Lillie.”
BH: What are some holiday decorating dos and don’ts you like to share with your readers?
Jennifer: Do stick with decorating that you enjoy! Don’t worry about what other people’s homes look like or what their style is. Just decorate with what feels most festive for your family. I think what’s most important is remembering why we celebrate Christmas and the birth of our Savior, and focusing on spending as much time with our family as possible. If you have children, make fun memories with them through different activities like making Christmas cookies, gingerbread houses, driving around looking at Christmas lights and other simple activities. Although I really enjoy decorating for Christmas and adding holiday cheer throughout our home, there are other things that certainly matter more.
BH: How would you describe your holiday decorating style? Are you more inclined to stick with the classics or do you like to experiment?
Jennifer: I believe I have a natural elegant style with a little bit of glam, but still family-friendly. I like to stick with the classics, although I personally enjoy more neutral colors than what most people would consider classic Christmas. I like to bring in some simple natural elements like fresh greenery, but I also like adding some sparkle with mercury glass, and lots of twinkle lights.
BH: What is your must-have ornament or piece of Christmas decor, and why?
Jennifer: I have a special ornament that my husband got me the first Christmas after we got married and I always find a perfect spot on our tree for it. We also have a nativity set we got this year and a figurine of Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus on a donkey that we make sure to have a special place for.
BH: Do personal memories play a significant part in how you decorate for the holidays? Would you mind sharing a little bit about a holiday memory that left a great impression on you?
Jennifer: We had so much fun decorating as kids. One of my favorite memories was going with my parents and siblings to my Uncle’s Christmas Tree Farm and riding on a horse-drawn sleigh out to the Christmas trees. We would pick one tree out then have hot chocolate and donuts in the stand afterwards. We take our girls to do the same thing when we are up there visiting.
BH: What was your thinking process when you chose your Balsam Hill tree? Did you have a specific type of tree in mind beforehand, or did the tree you ended up choosing just strike your fancy?
Jennifer: I just knew I wanted something that had a very natural look and didn’t look too perfect. I loved the way the branches kind of tipped downward on this one!
BH: What do you like most about your Balsam Hill tree? How do you plan to decorate your tree?
Jennifer: It was very easy to put together, and I love the bag that it came in. Because we put this tree in our family room, we stuck with golds and browns, and we had lots of natural elements thrown in like turkey feathers and other more rustic touches.
BH: What can we look forward to on your blog this holiday season? Do you have exciting new holiday décor or party ideas?
Jennifer: We have a fun tutorial for a wooden tree advent calendar and all sorts of decorating images, including some fun ones from our girls’ playroom and bedroom coming up! Our hot cocoa station is always one of my favorite things to feature on our blog as well because it is something fun and festive that’s perfect for the holidays, yet is also used every single day.