Grocery Store Floral Arrangement

I had a holiday dinner party a couple weeks ago, and grabbed some roses from my nearest Trader Joes, as well as some extra filler flowers from my local grocery store to put together my own centerpiece arrangement. I’ve never tried this before, so for my first attempt I was really pleased with the results!

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The colors in this arrangement are perfect for Valentine’s day, too – so if you’re already in planning mode for a special dinner date, this would be a great addition to your table!

Thanks to Pinterest, I’ve learned a couple great tricks that helped turn my grocery store stems into a beautiful arrangement.

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I used a simple, short & square glass vase for this one – but next time I will definitely be branching out with my vessel choices. The first step is to tape off (simple scotch or masking tape will do) your vase into partitions. You can tape it into either four or six sections – I went with four.

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Start with your hanging greens/filler stems, and balance out each of your four quadrants. I used a mix of greens – like ferns, some form of evergreen, and some other green stuff that I don’t know the name of. I also used some gold-painted leaves for some added glam.

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Next, I added the white mums, again filling each quadrant so they were equally balanced. The roses went in last – plus a few glittery decorative pieces that were in the filler bunch from the grocery store.

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I was pretty proud of my first attempt at arranging flowers like a grown-up, considering my typical practice is to do a quick diagonal cut on the stems and plop them in a vase. Flowers make me smile, no matter how you plop-em, BUT I totally love this!

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Where do you buy your flowers? Are you lucky enough to have a market or local florist where you can pick up pretty blooms – or are you a grocery store flower girl like me?

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A Rustic Christmas in the City [Holiday Home Tour Part 3]

Welcome to the final installment of my photo tour of my little city home all decked out for Christmas. I started on Monday with my festive kitchen, and then I shared my ‘woodsy-glam’ living room, which, I’ve decided, basically feels like living in the woods – if everything was covered in silver and/or gold, glittery, rabies-free rodents hung from trees, and bar carts were aplenty. (Sounds like a pretty awesome camping trip, no?) Anyway, you can see the first two installments of this tour marathon here:

Kitchen

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Living Room

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Our “dining room” is really just an extension of our open living space, that tries to act fancy with its pedestal table. Since we rarely eat at the table, the whole room is really just an excuse to display more pretty things.

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As you can see, I’ve continued the theme of mixing natural and rustic elements with pretty, shiny things. If I were a bird, I’d have a super chic twig nest.

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My handmade burlap stockings are hung by the… uh.. console table with care from the tree branch my doting father cut for me. The table features some of my (growing) collection of trees. Emma’s “Christmas portrait” from two years ago makes a reappearance each year.

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Some more burlap elements, some bottle brush trees in glass pedestal, and a pretty artificial poinsettia that won’t poison my dog.

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And, to complete the tour, a look at my holiday touches in the bedroom:

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I traded the burlap wreath that was hanging on my DIY Wooden Headboard for a more festive one with pretty red berries (again, fake, so they don’t kill my dog. If you’re a dog owner out there, I hope you’re all read up on the dangers of holiday foliage to pets!)

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Well THANKS for joining me on this marathon! Now that the house is set, it’s time for me to get wrapping!

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Today’s post linked up at The Nesting Place’s 2013 Christmas Tour of Homes – head over to see more amazing decor & follow along on Instagram with hashtag #idhtbptbbchristmas (Translation: It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful Christmas! So true!)

Decking the Shelves [Holiday Home Tour Part 1!]

Welcome to the first installment of my Holiday Home Tour 2013! I’ll be sharing glimpses of our decorated home for the next few days. And I say glimpses because for every neat and clean photo you see here, there is a giant pile of stuff waiting to be organized/put away/wrapped. So, if you would like to join me in the pretty illusion that my house is nice and clean at all times, we shall begin!

It’s Christmas in the kitchen over here – and boy are these open shelves making my day!

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I loved having a pretty new kitchen to decorate this year [psst – you can read more about our kitchen reno here]. With the mostly white canvas to work with, I took advantage of my open shelves and put some of my favorite holiday dishes on display. I try to keep my counter top clutter free (try being the operative word here).

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I hung some pretty white, clear & silver ornaments from the top shelf – making sure they were strategically placed so that I could still easy reach my dishes. (Speaking of the dishes – the adorable appetizer plates are from Target, and the Santa mugs were a wedding gift from Pottery Barn last year).

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And, for an unexpected twist, I glued some bottle brush trees to the TOP of a few mason jars, and used them as a good and cute excuse to put lots of chocolate within easy reach.

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On the top shelf, with my cake stands & pitchers, I framed a holiday postcard from Rifle Paper Co.

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That garland I made from canning jar lids is hangin’ out below the sink.

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On the little pub table, I’ve got my drink-accessory station:

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Mulling spices, cinnamon sticks, and marshmallows in an easy access position so I can whip up some mulled wine or hot chocolate within minutes. (Both of these things have happened within the past 24 hours, because it has just been that kind of week, ok?)

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That adorable wooden advent calendar house is from Target several seasons ago. We’ve discovered that the boxes are the perfect size to hold dog treats. If you haven’t ever taken the time to fill an advent calendar with treats for your dog…you probably have a life.

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Do you decorate your kitchen for the holidays? Or do you simply “decorate” it in flour, shortening & chocolate chips? Yum… Christmas cookies…

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Thanks for joining me in the kitchen today- stay tuned for more of my holiday home this week!

Canning Jar Lid Christmas Garland

My three favorite things about this project are: 1) it is adorable, 2) it was SO easy to make, and 3) it did not cost me a dime!

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Unbelievably, I still had a collection of canning jar lids & rings even after making my canning jar ring pumpkin. I’ve also had a set of Martha Stewart Adhesive Alphabet Silk Screens sitting untested in my collection of craft supplies for over a year (picked up at Michael’s with a different project in mind, but never put to use).

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And yes, in case you are wondering, I DID want to make this garland with burlap at first. But after some experimenting, I found that the intricate design of the silkscreen letters was difficult to achieve in a crisp fashion on burlap. So instead I used some leftover white muslin.

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I covered each jar lid with fabric, hot gluing it into place on the back of the lid. Then I used some Habeñero (“spicy” red?) Martha Stewart craft paint (from my paint stash) and a foam pouncer to gently apply each silk screen stencil to the fabric.

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Once the paint dried, I secured the lid into the ring with a few dots of hot glue. Then I racked my brain to try to figure out how to hang my pretty jar lid letters in a garland. I did some thinking, got discouraged, ate a spoonful of Nutella right out of the jar (come on, like you haven’t done that?), and voilà, inspiration struck! Oh, the magical powers of Nutella.

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I hot glued some silver jingle bells to the top of each ring, and was then able to thread my red & white baker’s twine through the top of the bells to make my garland!

And then there was much rejoicing. And patting myself on the back for being so clever. And asking my husband if he thought I was so very clever. And rewarding myself with, yes, just one more spoonful of Nutella straight from the jar.

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Easy, cheap, and cute – just how I like ’em! (My crafts, that is, don’t get fresh). So why don’t you put your spare canning jar lids to use and make your own pretty garland? I think I may hang mine in my kitchen, since its semi food-related and all.

Butterfly Shadowbox

A few months ago, I purchased a box of artificial Monarch Butterfly vase filler on sale at Pottery Barn. It took me a little while to get around to doing anything with them, but mounting them in a shadowbox was a very quick and easy process, with a beautiful result!

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Materials:

Artificial Butterflies (can be purchased at craft stores, but mine are from Pottery Barn)

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Decorative Pins

Hot Glue Gun

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I attached my butterflies directly to the back board of the shadowbox, which was too firm for the pins to directly pierce. So after figuring out the spacing (I did not measure – just eye-balled it), I used my hot glue gun to secure the butterflies directly to the board. Butterflies1

Then I just pushed the pins through the plastic center of the butterfly (and felt slightly guilty about it, even though these beauties were never alive). I used wire cutters to trim the pins slightly, since they were a bit too long to fit inside the shadowbox.

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There you have it – a quick and inexpensive little piece of nature. By the way, those little purple flowers have literally been in that milk jar vase for over a month. They were filler in a birthday bouquet (my birthday was in April!) and they’re still just as vibrant (and not dry!) – do any of you know what they are and/or how that is possible??

By the way, as a child, I was always fascinated with the migration story of Monarch Butterflies. I’m looking forward to seeing their pretty colors decorate my mother’s garden again this summer.

My Workspace // Progress

Last week, half of our bedroom looked like this:

messyroomThe desk was a hand-me-down from my husband’s parents, and is a super nice, sturdy piece of furniture that I just can’t bring myself to get rid of – even though it isn’t quite my style. But style or no, this desk has not been a usable workspace for a long, long time. It has pretty much been a dumping ground for anything and everything (although it doesn’t look quite this messy on a daily basis, this picture was taken after I unloaded & removed a big bookcase that just wasn’t working for me (it’s headed to our next garage sale) – so the desk is covered in some books & random items that had lived on that bookcase.

I wanted to re-work my desk area, to make it not only usable, but an attractive & inspirational workspace for me to sit and do school work, blogging, etc. I also wanted to create an inviting reading nook in the corner where I have my newly DIY-ed re-upholstered chair, since that space gets great sunlight.

So I’ve been busily working for days – filling garbage bags, re-thinking my desk & filing system, re-organizing books and binders full of music and school materials, crafting some solutions (like my drawer-organizers-turned-shelves), and hanging pretty artwork.

By Sunday, the room looked like this:

progressandnotesNearly completed, but still too cluttered. I also wanted a replacement for that very officey-looking filing cart. But I am IN LOVE with my newly decorated walls.

workspaceThe fun new ‘shelves’ are great for stashing craft & office supplies, and the white organizer is a collection of pieces from Martha Stewart’s Wall Manager office organization line. The interchangeable pieces are customizable for your office needs. I’ve got a magnetic white board (featuring my two-cute-for words nephew & my brother’s save the date!) and a file folder for pertinent items (like paperwork for all of my name-changing steps on credit cards, passport, etc.), a ‘clip & lock’ caddy and clips for coupons & reminders.

MSWallOrganizerAbove this organization-zone are some of my favorite pieces of art – both of which I’ve had since I was in college, traveling with me to all of my different homes. The cheerful flower arrangement is a Picasso print that makes me smile all day long, and the smaller print is one of my favorites – a Brian Andreas StoryPeople piece that reminds me to take pleasure in letting go every now and then.

BrianAndreasMy desk is sporting lots of fun desk-type stuff. (I am seriously in. love. with office supplies. As in, I dream about a Christmas stocking full of binder clips and post-it notes.)

WorkspaceProgress2I’ll show you what’s going on on the desktop in more detail later this week. But how amazing are those two watercolor prints hanging above my desk? I snagged those from Joss & Main a few weeks back – mostly because they made me think of springtime & happiness. They are by the super talented Laura Trevey of Bright, Bold and Beautiful, an amazing blog full of fantastic ideas for home decorating. You can add some of her beautiful work to your own home by checking out her Etsy shop! (I am particularly in love with this Essie nail polish painting & this seafoam green watercolor crab).

DeskWallI love the cheery colors of these beauties. They are just what I needed to make this space fresh & inviting. Adding to the inspiration are the photos and things pinned up to my bulletin board (the edge of which I covered in washi tape).

BulletinBoard2I love looking up from my desk to pictures of family, friends, and naturally, my hubba hubs. A little Audrey Hepburn doesn’t hurt when you’re in need of inspiration, either – and that is a square canvas print found at Michael’s for $1. Score. The Washi Tape Initial C was an easy project, and the map is a drawing of the historical grist mill turned B&B where the hubs & I tied the knot.

So progress has surely been made – and there’s even more to come! See you soon!

So We Have a Big TV

My husband, like so many other men before him, loves his big TV. I enjoy our big TV too, but wish we had a home with many rooms, one of which could be the “TV room”. Sadly, like most one-floor apartments, we have one big living/dining/etc. room, in which our big TV has a prominent spot. So for the time being, I’ve come to terms with the placement of our TV – yet I’ve tried to make a few updates in our living room to avoid the bachelor-pad look, and achieve the newlywed-homey-the-TV-is-not-our-life look. It’s not easy to compete against a 50-something inch flat screen, but I’m doing the best that I can.

The setup that we’ve had for the past few years featured the big TV, an IKEA TV stand and 2 IKEA bookshelves.

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I am very much still working on developing my true home decor ‘style’ – although as I’ve mentioned before, it is growing more and more similar to my mother’s style (scary as that may be…).

With the purchase of our new reclaimed wood coffee table, the IKEA TV stand and shelves just no longer fit the bill. So the hubs & I soon agreed on our next furniture purchase – a new TV stand.

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We found this beauty at Home Decorators – and ended up ordering it online. A week or so later, it was delivered – and OH how I love it!

It’s got that rustic, weathered look, plus a fun industrial feel with the iron drawer pulls & hinges. The doors on either side hide deep shelves that hold TONS of video games/DVDs/controllers, etc. It doesn’t magically make our TV look smaller or less obnoxious, but it is sure beautiful.

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The next step was to address the space on either side of the TV stand – as our TV lives against a wall that is framed by our front door and coat closet. (I like this arrangement because when you walk into our home, the TV is around the doorway – rather than directly in full view.

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We found these two little ottoman/stools at Target on a weekend shopping trip – and I loved them immediately. There were only two left in the store – so I grabbed them immediately. They’re from Target’s new Threshold line, and while a tad bit pricier than what I’d planned to spend, with our 5% Red Card savings and a gift card in my wallet (left over from Christmas), they didn’t put me too far over budget.

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I love these pretty little stools for two reasons.

1) The floral pattern looks awesome with the weathered wood of our TV stand, and is a nice complement to our geo-print blue rug.

2) If we’re entertaining & need some extra seating or foot-resting surfaces, these portable little guys will be just the ticket!

I’ve topped them with matching wooden trays (also from Target), and a few of my favorite decoration pieces.

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The glass blown orange vase was a gift from my hubby (and who doesn’t love that complementary orange and blue combo?). I hate the extension/power cord on that wall – so we need to consult an electrician about moving that outlet to behind the TV.

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On the right hand side, we have our ampersand (a Target purchase a few years ago- and used at our wedding), and our Willow Tree cake topper.

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While the overall look still screams TV, I’m very happy with the new look on this wall. We’ve got some work to do to deal with the power cords/cables/etc. to clean that whole look up, but this was definitely a step in the right direction!