Monthly Archives: April 2012

Pinspiration Monday (Guest Post): DIY burlap-wrapped candle holder

Good morning and happy Monday to you! John and I are catching a plane to our tropical honeymoon destination as you read this – Wish me luck as this is my first time flying and I’m sure my nerves are a bit frayed…Can’t wait to share all of the wild stories, which I’m sure we are bound to fill up on. In the meantime, we have Amanda of Bullfrogs and Bulldogs here today to share a precious DIY craft with you. Enjoy!

Hello! I’m Amanda from over at Bullfrogs and Bulldogs and I am so excited to be guest posting today while Carrie is off on her HONEYMOON! A big congrats to you two, Carrie and John!

I’d love for you to stop by my place and say “hi” sometime! You can find me here or on facebook, twitter and pinterest as well!

Despite our mutual love of budget friendly decorating and thrift store hunting, Carrie and I actually have something else in common. She just got married and I am on my way to the alter in just about two weeks! So, in the spirit of love, today I’m here to share my super easy (and super inexpensive) DIY Burlap Love Votive Candle Holder inspired by something I saw on Pinterest a few weeks ago.

Source: Gilt Groupe

Instead of the numbers, which I may have to do down the road, I decided to stencil the word “L.O.V.E” because well, right now there is a lot of celebrating of just that very thing going around!

So here you have it! Enjoy!

How to make burlap love votive candle holders for yourself:

1. Find any votive candle holder that suits your fancy.

2. Get enough burlap (there are so many colors to choose from!) to cover the votive. Cut the burlap to fit your needs.

3. Use foam glue or some kind of clear glue to prime the edges of the burlap from fringing. I just used a paintbrush and literally painted it around the whole parameter.

4. Once I knew the look I wanted, I used masking tape as my stencil and created the lines and the lettering. Using a foam brush, I dabbed the paint on where it needed to go.

And viola! Here is the finished product!

I hope you are having the best time on your honeymoon, Carrie and John!

Amanda is the blogger behind Bullfrogs & Bulldogs, a personal account of her transition from living in the city to living a more sustainable life with her fiance on the family vineyard and farm.  Amanda’s blog is full of storytelling, beautiful photos of the farm and its many furry friends, vegan/gluten-free recipes and DIY projects – All elements that keep me coming back from more! Bullfrogs and Bulldogs can be found here, here, here, and here.

Stay tuned Wednesday for a guest post from Lisa of SpareFoot Storage Finder – She’ll be sharing her tips on achieving an organized, balanced home.

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One Word: Wedding

Good gracious!! Tomorrow I am getting married…Like any girl, I have been waiting for this day, dreaming about this day and praying for this day ever since I was little.

Life has thrown me some major curve balls along my journey to this moment, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’m the kind of person who has no regrets – Everything that has happened to me, good or bad has led me to this fate. I am marrying my very best friend tomorrow and, if that’s the culmination of my choices over my 26 years of life, then I’m happy to accept it all…I can’t wait!!

Although we will be jet setting to the tropics for a week-long honeymoon next week, I have made sure to line up some fun features via guest bloggers – You’ll get an adorable tutorial for fun burlap-wrapped candle holders, tips on organizing your home and ways to kick the excuses and get on track with a healthy diet (as long as my remote publication works as it should, that is – Not sure if we’ll have internet access to double check…). I hope that you enjoy them.

See you in a week!!

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Chevron jewelry box

Hope your week is going well! I am feeling surprisingly chipper and excited about the weekend’s big event – With only three days until our wedding, there’s really nothing more that I can do. Projects are wrapped up, my planner is coming over this evening to check out all of the many DIY projects we’ve put together and now I can finally breathe knowing that I’ve done the absolute best I can.

I told John that the one time I will probably break down and cry during the big day is when I see our reception space filled with all of the things I’ve created with the help of my family and friends. I’m sure seeing everything finally pulled together, knowing that it was all thanks to dedicated creativity and effort on our part will be very emotional. (Not to say that our wedding ceremony won’t be FAR more emotional, but I have a feeling we will be so focused on saying the lines correctly that we won’t have time to cry. But I’m sure that could all change in the moment. We’ll see!)

Today, I am back to share a non-wedding-related project (I know, crazy – right?). After using Martha Stewart’s metallic craft paint on my frames, I decided that I couldn’t stop there. With a recent affinity for fashion and accessories, I decided to amp up my table-top jewelry display starting with this little wooden box that I use for my rings and stud earrings.

The piece came from a craft store and was originally raw, unfinished wood. After bringing it home I quickly took care of the plain wood situation by painting it a creamy pale green (although, based on today’s trends of color dipping, I probably would have painted it only partially green and left part of the raw wood showing, sort of like this  – Maybe next time). It turned out nicely but a couple of years later and I was ready for a little upgrade.

So, using Martha’s gold paint once again, I added a fun chevron pattern to my little green jewelry box.

To get the pattern right, I unrolled a long piece of masking tape and stuck it to the edge of my ruler. Then, using scissors, I cut a slit in the tape every inch – That way, I could remove the tape from the ruler and could carefully and accurately cut out multiple little pieces of tape in 1-inch lengths.

Then I simply smoothed the tape against the box, making a zigzag pattern by alternating the direction of the strips. I just kind of eye-balled it and used the width of the tape as a “ruler” of sorts for where to start the next one. I wasn’t going to worry about perfection with this project. It was at this point (twenty minutes into the project with only the amount of taping seen below complete) that I realized I would need to switch up my method or else I’d be there all night. So instead of using 1-inch lengths of tape, I removed what I had started and began again with 2-inch lengths. It still gave me the chevron pattern I wanted, but with a quicker completion time.

Just had to share my line of tape strips…Although tedious at times, you get a sort of system down and pretty soon I was barely paying attention, instead focusing on the Friends marathon on TV.

An hour and a half or so later, my little jewelry box was looking ziggy zaggy and ready for some gold paint.

Using a small foam paint brush, I lightly painted the box with one coat of the craft paint. I let it dry for about twenty minutes before putting on a second coat. If you want a solid finish with none of the undercoat showing through, you may want to put on a third coat. My particular box has always looked a little shabby chic, so the idea of a little undercoat showing through seemed fitting – I liked the idea of a washed look, so two coats did the trick for me.

Here is my newly styled jewelry box, sparkling it up in our master bathroom. I love how you can see the subtle sheen in the metallic finish towards the bottom of the box pictured below. It is just enough of a pattern to give it some much-needed personality, but not enough to make it scream in our soft green, peaceful space.

For a grand total of about $1, I’d say this was a DIY well done. What do you think?

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Pinspiration Monday: Wooden hangers

I have really been into fashion lately…Not sure when my focus shifted from home style to clothing and accessories, but I can’t deny my love of a great outfit any longer. Now, I wake up every morning motivated to craft a colorful, cohesive ensemble down to the bracelet. It’s fun to mix and match patterns, colors and metals to make a balanced and sophisticated look – In fact, it’s really not much different than styling a shelf or arranging fabrics in a living space. The same principles still count here, just in clothes.

Obviously, a new love and longing for style means a little shopping was in order. I’ve bought a good amount of new clothes in the last month, but to keep myself on track I kept a list of must-have essentials with me and have kept to it like it was the law. So now I am rewarded with a closet of thought out pieces – Here’s my latest (and, as promised to my bank account, my LAST) big haul, this time from Target and T.J. Maxx.

One of the most affordable ways I’ve been able to feed my new need for fashion and style in my closet (beyond sticking to a list when shopping) is to work on making the most of what I already have. In the past month I have spent long periods of time in my closet getting rid of things I no longer fit into or that no longer fit into my style. Shout out to our local consignment shop though (Salvaged), I don’t donate clothes anymore – I bag them up and take them straight to consignment. So far, I’ve made over $100 – Pretty fabulous when I think about how I was just going to take everything to Goodwill for zero profit…

Another thing I decided to do was find ways to amp up the display in my closet, right on down to the hangers…After seeing these two Pinterest images of clothing hung on natural wood hangers and how it gave it a high-end boutique look, I knew I had to upgrade.

Source: The Everygirl


Source: barefoot contessa

My closet as it was, came dominated by plastic hangers. Now, I do think that plastic is a big upgrade from plain wire hangers, which tend to bend…But I could envision just how much better and more cohesive the space would look with matching wooden hangers.

Have you guys seen on Pinterest or heard this tip from a friend? Essentially, to make the most of your clothing, you turn all of the hangers backwards and then, as you wear something, you turn the hanger right-ways. That way at the end of the season, you’ll know what clothes you didn’t utilize by seeing their hangers still turned backwards – Time to get rid of them. I attempted this at one point (as you can see in the photo above and below), but eventually gave up. I have a pretty good handle on what piece make me feel good and what don’t. It was just about finding the motivation to actually get rid of things that I’d been holding onto for years.

My motivation? Upgrading the hangers. I eventually found my collection on Ebay for about $50 shipped for 80 wooden hangers (with pant bar in the middle). I knew that 80 wouldn’t be enough for the amount of clothes I had, but figured it would be that motivator for purging that I was looking for – Only the best and most important pieces would get hung back up in the closet, while the rest would get consigned.

First things to get lovingly hung on their new boutique hangers? The three pieces I bought for myself at T.J. Maxx. I could already get the sense that the new wooden hangers made them feel straight out of a fancy designer clothing store – In my own home, no less! Exciting news for a girl like me…

I spent about two hours in my closet that afternoon, making sure to choose wisely as to what stayed and what would be bagged up for consignment. With each new hanger put into place on the bar, the whole feel of the wardrobe started to shift from cheap to luxurious. It really is amazing how wooden hangers can do that to your clothes. As I purged and rehung, I started a new pile of plastic hangers – They eventually made their way into the box that the wooden hangers came in. SO MANY HANGERS!! I plan on donating them to a thrift store soon.

And now to show off the new look – Again, I just love how things look more high-end after the hanger upgrade. No more light “click click” of plastic hangers when I go to pick out an outfit. I’m loving the more substantial wooden ones.

Unfortunately, despite letting go of what felt like a TON of clothes and half of my wardrobe, I still ran out of wooden hangers. I just couldn’t muster the will to get rid of the last bit of dresses to make it even. I resolved to get some more hangers later on to remedy the mismatched situation.

UPDATE:  I went out to Target over the weekend for wooden hanger supplements hoping to buy no more than 10, but left with a value pack of 24 hangers for only $14. They don’t match the Ebay hangers perfectly, but they certainly do the trick, and I doubt anyone would notice the inconsistency other than me.

So what tricks do you all have up your sleeves (pun intended) for making the most of your closet space and wardrobe? How do you “dress things up”?

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Wedding favors = DONE!

So pleased to have finally finished up our wedding favors. This project took a bit longer than originally planned, but I suppose that’s bound to happen when dealing with lots of fragile and tiny materials. When last I left you, we had completed 1/3 of the project, having filled the first round of test tubes with wildflower seeds.

The other two batches of test tubes were to be filled with mini m&ms and lavender-infused bath salts (not together – m&ms + bath salts = yuckkkk). These two took a bit longer to complete because apparently mini m&ms are nearly impossible to track down (we finally found them at Sam’s) and I was waiting on mom to make the bath salts (I’ll share the recipe for that in a post after the honeymoon).

Soon enough, the supplies were acquired and the rest of the test tubes were filled to the brim and topped with a pretty natural cork. As you can see pictured below, the test tubes fill a large basket nicely, but they crowd each other so much that there would be a lot of digging to find the favor of choice.

To make things easier on our guests, we (“we” being mom and I) decided to separate the three types of favors into individual baskets. We found these for 40% off at Michael’s craft store for only a few bucks apiece. They are long and thin, perfect for our long, thin test tubes. Plus, the natural wicker texture is pretty, simple and a nod to the vintage garden party theme that has emerged.

But you know I couldn’t just leave it at that… if you want to find some really great party decor and accessories, you can read more here.

To dress up the baskets a bit, I picked up three solid-colored cloth napkins at Pier One. This decision was sort of more complicated than that though…You see, I stood in the aisle for about five minutes staring at the array of cloth napkin options (while John found a comfy perch on a bar stool for sale, occupied by his smart phone). The issue was that I really wanted a patterned napkin, but all they had were solid colors and a stripe that just wasn’t “us.” With fingers to chin in thought (no kidding), I contemplated making my own from the box full of fabric at home, but did I really want to add ANOTHER project to my always overflowing list of things to do for this event?

After finally breaking John’s concentration from his phone and asking his thoughts, he quickly suggested just getting the solid colors because “No” I did not want to add more projects to my list.

Isn’t it funny how men can sometimes break down a decision in .3 seconds?

In the end, I brought home a white napkin, a yellow napkin and a blue one. There is a little bit of detail in the stitch work, which almost satisfied my desire for pattern.

When opened to their full capacity, they were way too big – I really just wanted something to lay across the bottom and inside edges of the basket. But keeping them folded into small squares and laying them at a diagonal did the trick.

Once I finally was able to lay the three different types of favors into their respective baskets, I knew John had steered me in the right direction. If I had gone with patterned fabric, the look would have been entirely too busy. All of the colors and natural texture in the seeds, candy and salts would have been lost in patterned liners. Hooray for happy accidents!

And now for tons of aerial and side detail shots!!!

To accompany the presentation, I used one of my revamped wedding frames (although, if you click back, you’ll notice that I redid the insert text). I think the neon blue kind of balances out all of those spring time pastels. Gotta have a little bit of a pop somewhere, after all.

If you can’t quite read the swirly text via the computer screen, it says “Please take your pick! Grow a plot of wild flowers. Indulge in sweet candy pieces. Relax with lavender bath salts.” Also, I added a little note about the glass test tubes being fragile: “Please handle with care.”

Sorry to any wedding guests who are missing out on the surprise come wedding day by seeing these in advance! I hope they are enjoyed by all next week.

P.S. If you didn’t see via my Facebook page and Twitter feed, I guest blogged for Breathe Magazine yesterday – This time, I shared my tutorial on how to make silhouette portraits. Click here to check that out!

UPDATE: Here are few snippets of the favors as they were set up at our reception venue during the wedding – They were grouped together on a simple hand-cut burlap runner, and I think our guests really loved them…

Photo credit: Katie Stoops Photography

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“Thrift Store SCORE!” {4/18/12}

This past weekend, while John was away on his Bachelor Party outing with friends, I took a little “me time” to do what girls quite possibly do best: Shop. I bought a couple more things for the wedding and also a few more pieces to add to my spring wardrobe (both of which I will explain in later posts). But I also made sure to squeeze in a little time to go thrifting. My mission? Brass animals.

As mentioned in Monday’s post, I am looking forward to arranging a little shelf/art display in our master bedroom. I even made this (awful, oh-so-terrible, yet gets-the-point-across) mock-up for you in Photoshop to illustrate my plan:

We are going to set up the new leaning shelf against the wall in our bedroom and then stack pairs of the prints on either side. Once all the nailing, hammering and drilling is all said and done, I get to focus on styling those rows and rows of lovely open shelves…To carry the new gold tones of the frames throughout, I plan on adding a few brass figurines to the display – Namely brass animals. Of course, I’ll also add some books, vessels and boxes (ala Emily Henderson).

Since most of my brass menagerie is taking up residence in other rooms of the house, I needed to add to the brood. Main stop – Estate Specialist downtown. While there, I came across two new additions to our golden collection, all for only $6.30. Thrift store SCORE!

First up, we have Mrs. Golden Duck (or is she a goose? Any bird experts out there?). She came a little worse for wear, but I still love her. She’s sculptural and feminine and just the right size (about 7 or 8 inches in length and 2 or 3 inches high, although don’t quote me on that since I am terrible with estimations).

When I say she’s “a little worse for wear,” you may have already noticed the piece missing from her tail feathers. There’s a pretty sizable chunk broken off and, since I don’t have the piece, there’s really no way to fix it. I’m hoping a new coat of paint will mask the issue.

Speaking of paint, when I took off the sticker price tag, a bit of what I thought was a solid gold finish came off with it revealing a red undercoat. Looks like I’ll need to give the entire surface a brass-colored facelift – Nothing a good can of spray paint can’t fix.

I also picked up this little guy – He’s more of a palm-sized brass friend, but I love imagining him sitting at the corner of a framed photo or on top of a stack of books. He is the real deal when it comes to brass figurines – Heavy, solid finish and oh-so shiny.

I love the hammered texture along his back – Reminds me of a raw sculpture only half complete. He is also a great reminder of my little sister, who adores elephants. If I remember correctly, she told me once that elephants with their trunks raised are a sign of good luck – We can all use a little mystical luck in our lives, so I’m happy to snag a bit for myself through this trunk-happy brass elephant.

Authentic too! Check out his “Made in India” sticker.

While I don’t have photos of them set up quite yet, I hope to have something to show you after our honeymoon. I am putting myself on project withdrawal for the next week and a half as we wind down to wedding day. But don’t worry – I’ve got plenty to share until we head off on our week-long vacay, and I’ve lined up some great guest posters to keep you guys occupied with tips, tricks and suggestions to maintain and beautify your home. Stay tuned!!

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Pinspiration Monday: Golden corners

Welcome to a new week! I am feeling super motivated and energetic right now – Probably because of a productive weekend full of knocking off wedding projects and taking care of a few things around the house that have been neglected. It feels good to come home and know that my closet is organized, I have a few new pretty things to look at on the walls, the laundry has been done and the new window treatment hardware I bought ages ago has finally been installed.

::happy sigh:: Literally.

A big “Thank you!” to my amazing fiance for his patience and help in getting all of that accomplished with me! He’s such a good sport…We even managed to sneak in a Red Box movie last night – Anyone seen “Ides of March” yet? Pretty good flick.

Today, I am sharing one of the long-awaited craft projects that I completed over the weekend – It all started with this inspiration image, snagged from Pinterest:

Source: A Thoughtful Place

As subtle as it seems, I was instantly drawn to the idea of metallic gold corners on black frames. I am all about brass and warm-toned  metals at the moment, so I just knew I had to give it a shot. If you follow the link above, you’ll see that Courtney actually used metallic spray-painted masking tape to achieve the look of gold corners without the permanence of painting directly on the surface. A genius idea for those who aren’t sure they want to commit, but I was sure about the look and decided to go for it, all in.

This is the set of frames I chose to update:

They look nice on their own, but just “nice.” In my head, I imagined that new lux gold corners would really bring some added sophistication to the frames and the art itself.


  • Gold paint (I got Martha Stewart brand multi-surface craft paint)
  • Masking tape
  • Small foam paint brush
  • Sand paper

First, I taped off my corners. The glass (or in this case, plastic) inside my frames is glued to the inside, so I couldn’t simply remove it and just tape the frame. I had to tape both the edges of where my gold corners would end up and the plastic surface as well. To make my corners  even, I used a ruler and measured/placed them two inches in length from the outside edge.

After all of the taping was finished, I took some medium grit sandpaper and roughed up the taped-off corners. This step helped with giving the paint something to “grab” onto. I highly recommend this step – I thought maybe I could get away with not sanding and went ahead and painted three out of four corners on one of my frames, but ended up having to give them an extra coat of paint in the end. So sand, sand, sand for best results!

Time for the paint – I brushed on a thin coat of the metallic paint between the masking tape and then allowed for 30 to 45 minutes of dry time between. I had the TV on in the background for my multiple coats to keep me occupied. I didn’t end up counting, but I think it took about four or five layers of paint for the corners to look good and gold – It probably depends on the material of your frame (wood vs. metal vs. plastic). When you can’t see the color of your frame through the paint, you are good to go.

Here’s a quick photo progression of the first couple of coats:

From this close up below, you might be able to see some scratches from sanding the surface of the frame through the paint. Don’t worry if you can see this – After you get a few coats of paint on and it dries, the texture will even out to a smooth finish.

And now for the final reveal of the gold-on-black frame collection:

I think the new golden corners add so much interest, more than I could have even anticipated. The frames originally cost me about $10 apiece and the gold paint, only $1.99. For a total of about $11 each, this project really transformed the look of the collection – Of course, it’s just my opinion, but I think they look much more expensive now. So excited about the end result!

To try to convince you further, here’s a little side-by-side action of the frame before, and then after with newly-painted corners. I think the gold really pulls out the warm tones of the print too (speaking of, these photos came from Honeytree Etsy shop).

In fact, I love the collection so much more now, that I plan on beefing up the area. If you can’t tell, they are hung in our master bedroom – We recently received the shelf pointed out below as a generous wedding gift. I think I’d like to center the leaning shelf on the wall and then stack the prints, two each, on either side of the shelf. Of course, I’ll layer in all sorts of brass animals and bowls, etc. to carry that new gold tone throughout. Can’t wait to get that project styled and ready to share – Stay tuned.

Source: Crate and Barrel

Hope you all have a great beginning to your week…

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Behind the scenes look

When I think on what makes me like certain blogs over others, it usually has to do with (1) the quality of photography (I’m a sucker for crisp, colorful, well-composed photos) and also (2) a good balance of “the personal stuff.” By that, I mean that my go-to bloggers get real with their readers and spill ALL of the beans. They share photos of themselves every now and then and are willing to chat about daily family life rather than simply their blogging niche (ex. styling, DIY projects, graphic design). I want to know the person behind the words – When I get to know the life behind a blogger I respect, it makes me feel almost like a friend instead of just an audience.

So, I am going to do my best to share a little bit more about my life with you all – I think the majority of you know my hands more so than my face, since photos like these are about as close as you get to seeing me in action:

So here’s to getting to know the girl behind the hand!

As you may know (or at least understand), the most pressing personal topic on my mind has to do with wedding bells, white dresses and an hors d’œuvre menu. Only 15 days to go until the big day!! So, even though is happened back in February, I’ve been itching to share photos from my bridal shower. It was a lovely event with friends and family and I had so much fun celebrating with the main ladies in my life.

My best friend’s younger sister Marlee (who also happens to be our oh-so talented cupcake baker for the wedding reception, as gushed about here), was kind enough to take photos throughout the party and they are such a great testament to the memory.

You can’t really see here, but the glass I’m holding is painted with sweet wedding words like “bride,” “wedding bells” and “love.” Cute as can be – I took it home after the party and John served me a chocolate milkshake in it the other night. Was a nice little pick-me-up to remember the shower.

This is me and my little sister, Kat. I’ve talked about her on the blog a good bit as well, but she’s someone nearly impossible to catch on film. She avoids cameras like the plague, but we set up an agreement in advance that she would be open to picture-taking during the months leading up to my wedding. So far so good. You’ll even see her in one more photo in this post – It’s a miracle…

P.S. Can you believe that that’s our natural hair texture? Mine is sleek and straight and Kat’s is a wild mane of curly goodness.

This is me with two of my best friends, Savannah and Erica. We’ve known each other pretty much since birth – In fact, Erica and I joke that we truly have known each other since birth as we share the same birthday (which happens to be next week!). I am so lucky to have kept the same friends for all these years…26 years and counting!

I should mention that the hosts of this shower are more ladies whom I have known for my entire life. They are all mothers of my good friends (Savannah and Erica’s included) and have been there for my mom all these years. They are each so special to me in their own way and, again, I’m so lucky to have had them support me throughout my life.

They worked so hard on the party to make it special, complete with games and little tokens for me to take home – Including this little table, which featured a glass bowl and precut hearts. Guests would take a heart and write a little word of wisdom for me to share with John throughout our marriage. Some were silly (“Never fart in front of your spouse”) and others were more serious (“remember to laugh”). When we get our photos back from the wedding, I think I’ll use them to decorate scrapbook pages.

Although you can’t tell from these happy warm photos, the day happened to be the moment our town was hit with a massive snow storm. For our sleepy little town of Lynchburg, Virginia, it was almost like a blizzard – So I was super impressed and surprised when everyone made it to the party. As guest after lovely guest arrived, Marlee offered to take some portraits.

This is me with John’s mom and sister:

And this is me with my mom’s best friend, Kim:

And me with my best friend, Bethany (who I’ve chatted about here):

After playing a few games, like “Guess the Seasoning” where Miss Barbara came around with a tray of powdered seasoning in mini cups for us to identify by smell and looks only…

…it was time for gifts – I will never be able to thank my friends and family enough for all of the amazing things I was given that day! The shower was kitchen themed so I received things like a white porcelain punch bowl, an owl measuring cup set (seen also here), a food chopper and cupcake tupperware.

Even though we are not having a rehearsal dinner (we opted for a private ceremony with just us and immediate family members), my friends still wanted to follow the tradition of making me a bouquet from all the ribbons and bows taken from the gift boxes. Another fun memento from the afternoon.

It was an awesome day and I felt more special than I think I ever have in my whole life. It was so much fun to have all of my favorite women in one room – Can’t wait until the reception when I get to see EVERYONE important to me in one big space.

Has anyone else thrown, been thrown or heard of some fun bridal shower themes? I’ve seen outdoor themed ones, dessert-only themed ones and even a “Stock the Bar” theme! I love hearing all of the creative ideas out there…

Hope you have a great weekend!

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In bloom

Now that the weather is holding steady at a comfortable temperature (well, except for this cold front which had me hurrying through a 50-something degree morning), it’s time for some outdoor projects around the house. I have been itching to whip our back deck into shape, but just haven’t budgeted enough for it. I’m also a little lacking when it comes to outdoor decor vision…But I’m not giving up yet.

Today, I wanted to rehash a very simple outdoor in-celebration-of-spring update that we recently made to the patch of grass and vegetation in front of our townhome. Meet our cheerful planter, Mr. Frog (boy am I creative at naming our inanimate objects, as also seen here).

His big gaping mouth is actually quite pretty when spilling over with blooms. Sort of reminds me of the cartoon fish in the “Kiss the Girl” segment of “The Little Mermaid” – You know, the ones that open their mouths to reveal a school of tiny singing and dancing fish inside? Well we don’t have any schools of theatrical fish for you, but we do have some lovely flowers to show off.

John and I picked up these two pots of pansies at the grocery store for under $10, planning to fill Mr. Frog’s wide-open jaws with them.

Time for the rest of the supplies:

  • Potting soil
  • Gardening gloves
  • Trowel

For some, properly filling a planter isn’t rocket science – But I actually had quite a time with it. So much so that my mother, who was coming over to help with wedding crafts at the time, had to take the project on for me as I stood over her shoulder trying to get the steps down mentally for the future. From what I could gather, this is what you need to do:

  1. Fill your planter with potting soil, and a lot of it – The more soil the better.
  2. Use your hands to shift some of the soil to the back and/or sides of the planter to make room for your flowers.
  3. Remove flowers from their temporary containers (if they came in plastic pots, just squeeze the sides a few times all the way around, tip over and they should come out intact).
  4. Nestle the flowers+roots into the space dug out of your potting soil and gently push down into the space. It’s okay to be kind of rough with the roots to make them fit since they’ll grow back to adjust to their new space.
  5. Fill in with more potting soil around the flowers and water according to the tag’s instructions.

After admiring Mr. Frog and his new blooms, we trekked out front to situate him amongst his live-in green neighbors. As you can see, our bushes are a little worse for wear – They seem awfully threadbare to me. We are just coming out of winter, but do you guys have any suggestions for weak-looking bushes? Are they worth keeping? We have landscapers come out and take care of our lawn and plants every few weeks, so I’m quietly hoping that they will do something about it…

On a happy note, isn’t Mr. Frog looking oh-so-happy with his new flowers greeting passers-by and visitors?

Any tips for sprucing up an outdoor space would be vastly appreciated. I think everyone has a certain aspect of their home that they just don’t know where to begin – This is mine. It’s possibly the only project list that I would happily outsource to a willing professional or friend. Help!

P.S. In an effort to purge some things from the house, I’ve decided to sell a few pieces of furniture. I wanted to throw out the offer to our locals (or willing near-locals who don’t mind traveling) first before Craig’s listing things or taking them to a consignement shop. Here is the short list in case anyone’s interested:

Two mid-century office chairs: $50 for the pair

Retro queen bed frame (mattress/box spring not included): $150

Grass cloth/wooden arm chair (pillow not included): $45

(If anyone is interested in the upholstered vanity bench, let me know – I might be persuaded to part with that too)

Solid wood nightstand with drawer and lower shelf, recently revamped: $50

If you are interested, email me at (or if a friend of ours, just shoot me a text or Facebook message).

Hope you have a great Wednesday!

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Pinspiration Monday: Wedding sign

Only 19 days to go until the big day!!

With our wedding right around the corner, I am in “go” mode with all of the little details we still need to get done. There are a few more crafts that I want to finish up before April 28th, but luckily I was able to wrap up a few and call them DONE over the weekend. Today’s post will focus on a reclaimed pallet wood sign that I had my dad build for me. I’ve seen sweet little rustic wedding signs all over Pinterest when searching DIY wedding crafts, and knew that I just had to try it out for myself.

Source: Unknown

Source: True Connection (via Etsy)

Source: Southern Weddings

Sometime last year, John and I managed to snag some weathered pallet wood with big plans to use it in a neat way. Search “pallet wood” on Pinterest and you are bound to see miles-worth of scrollable projects using this inexpensive, pre-distressed wood. Unfortunately, no one aptly explained just how difficult it is to use. I don’t know if it was just our pallets or what, but the wood was nearly impossible to dismantle from the structure and kept breaking/splintering apart. We managed to save one slab of wood before John and I both gave up and took the rest of the pallet to the dump.

With that one little piece of wood in hand, I finally decided that it would be perfect for a weathered, rustic wedding sign – One with a little arrow to direct guests to the reception venue. So I asked my dad to cut the piece of wood in half and attach it to a stake, which is exactly what he did:

Alas, I forgot to mention that I actually wanted the weathered, darker side to be the front of the sign rather than the brighter, fresh-looking side. Here’s the sign flipped around so that you can see the more rustic edge on the back. You can probably notice the darker, almost gray coloration from sitting in the sun and rain for who knows how long. Love those rusty nail heads peeking through too.

So I bit the bullet and decided to flip the wood slats. I did mess up my dad’s beautifully calculated drill holes by flipping the wood around, but it’s still nice and steady in the end. Sorry dad!

Next, I needed to figure out what to write on the sign…I would have loved to put something like “Waller/Williams Wedding” or something descriptive, but I didn’t really have that much room. The wooden slat, once cut in half to create a rectangular sign big enough for writing, was only about a foot and a half across – Not a huge amount of space, and definitely not enough for a long cutesy phrase. So I opted for short and sweet and decided to write one single word across the sign: Wedding.

Not wanting to risk ruining the sign with a typo or botched design, I grabbed some black paint and a sheet of extra paper to practice. I painted the word both in print and in cursive and then asked the opinion of my sister who was in town for Easter. She immediately voted for print, so print it was.

I went slowly during this phase and did my best to take in the entire space visually while painting the words. I wanted to be sure I had enough room, so I just kept looking beyond the letter I was painting to envision the entire word on the sign. Somehow, I managed to fit the whole word and it seems pretty centered too.

Beneath the word, I painted on a simple arrow pointing to the left. My sister and I debated about which way to point the arrow since I’m not entirely sure where this sign will go, but my gut was telling me to make it go to the left so that’s where it went.

After painting another layer of white paint over each word and the arrow for a nice saturated color, we were all done.

I can’t wait to be able to share photos of all of these little crafts I’ve done once they are all situated and in-place at the wedding. Between this project, this project, this project and today’s post, I know it’s a little difficult to see how it will all come together, so I’ll definitely share the wedding photos once we get them back. Then you can truly see my vision.

Hope everyone enjoyed a lovely Easter weekend!

UPDATE: Here’s the wedding sign in place on wedding day! I think it was a fun touch and I was so happy to see it in all its handmade glory…

Photo credit: Katie Stoops Photography

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