Category Archives: Food & Drink

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

*This post was sponsored by Snapfish

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen | dreamgreendiy.com + @newsnapfish #ShareWithSnapfish #snapfish

Okay, guys. No more stalling. If it wasn’t “officially” crunch time for Christmas shopping before, it definitely is now! With Thanksgiving 2018 memories in the bag, we’re turning our attention to crossing “gift hunting” off our holiday to-do list.

We actually keep things relatively low-key among our two families (John’s immediate family and my own) by agreeing to gift one item apiece to each other, but it’s still a task we take pretty seriously. We hate the idea of giving gifts they don’t really need, so we think long and hard about what we can give them that serves a purpose. The number one item on that list? Coffee!

This season, I’m teaming up yet again with my favorite folks over at Snapfish to show how you can treat the coffee lovers in your own lives to something fun (and functional!) this holiday. Scroll on to learn more about the custom photo mugs and other kitchen accessories I put together as experiments for gift ordering later this month, plus the step-by-step tutorial for our new DIY coffee mug rail in case you really want to wow them come Christmas morning.

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

First, the mugs. This was my first time ordering custom mugs from Snapfish, and I’ll admit that I was a little worried about being able to find designs among their pre-built templates that would suit our mod, clean-lined aesthetic. I’m not a big fan of ultra bright patterns, but I was excited to find out that that’s not all the website offers in terms of templates.

I was able to choose four really simple designs for our mugs—one with John’s initial for his daily cup of coffee, a wood-look labeled design with my own name on it, plus a couple of custom photo mugs with our engagement pictures printed on them.

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

I actually kept my cart open in its own separate tab in my browser so I could refresh it every time I completed a mug design and added it to my collection. That way I could be sure that the photos and designs I chose would look good together on display in our kitchen. That might be a little too OCD for everyone, but it worked for me!

Oh, and I should mention that the interface for creating custom designs was super easy to use, too. The do-it-yourself layout allows you to get really creative with multi-photo arrangements, and, whether your style is classic like ours or punchy (think: chalkboard designs, metallics, and even botanicals), the site has plenty of design options for you to play around with.

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

It’s also a cinch to upload your own photos to the product builder. You can pull directly from places like Instagram, Facebook, and Google Photos, which saved me so much time. If I hadn’t had that option, I would have had to dig out my external hard drive to access the older photos I wanted to include. Being able to pull from my social media accounts saved me at least an extra half hour of hassle.

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

Now for that DIY I promised! I wanted to figure out a way to really show off our new collection of custom kitchen items (did you see we also picked up a custom tea towel with our last name on it?!), so I built a quick DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail to go under our new open shelves. Scroll on to learn how to recreate the project.

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail

Step One: Figure out how long you want your rail to be. I ended up using a 1/2-inch unfinished copper pipe for my rail because we already had it handy, and I also really liked the look of the patinaed copper against our wood shelves with their matte black brackets. The rod was already cut to a size that worked for us (34 1/2 inches long), but if you need to trim yours down a bit, you can use a pipe cutter, like this.

Step Two: Next, choose your spot for the rail, and mark where you’d like the hooks to go that will attach it to the underside of your shelves. I used three 1-inch white hooks to support our copper rail, spacing them roughly 12 inches apart from each other under the shelves. Mark where your hooks will go with a pencil, pre-drill the holes, and then screw the hooks in place.

Step Three: Slip your rail gently through the hooks, making sure that it feels strong and sturdy. If you feel like the rail needs more support, screw in a couple more hooks between the others.

Step Four: Loop S-hook hangers over the rail, and then slip your custom mugs right over the hangers to allow them to swing freely for easy grabbing in the morning.

NOTE: When figuring out where to hang your rail, make sure you keep it away from the wall by at least a few inches. Otherwise, the mugs could bang into the wall and break.

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

We love how the custom collection turned out (it’s such a treat to see them swinging there on our DIY rail every morning!), so I’m definitely planning on ordering more to give to friends and family this Christmas. Wouldn’t they make for the perfect personalized stocking stuffers? I vowed that this would be the year that we finally find functional gifts that look cool, too, and I think this idea definitely nails that criteria.

What types of personalized photo gifts would your family like? I love trying to think beyond the standard photo gift (remember my custom ’12 Reasons Why I Love You’ photo book from last year?), so if you have any clever ideas, tell us about them in the comments below. Whatever inspiration strikes your fancy, be sure to use the code ‘SANTA40‘ now through December 31, 2018, to enjoy 40% off your order sitewide.

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen | dreamgreendiy.com + @newsnapfish #ShareWithSnapfish #snapfish

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Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets

*This post was sponsored by Tuesday Morning

Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad #TuesdayMorningFinds

I don’t know about you, but I really struggle when decorating a kitchen. I’m all about pretty thrifted art, overstuffed upholstered seating, and cozy textiles, but you really can’t put much (if any) of that in a kitchen. Walls are typically taken up by cabinetry so there’s no room for art, and there’s usually not enough space for a seating area filled with throw pillows and blankets. The other issue I run into when decorating a kitchen is that I can’t stand cluttered countertops, so even cute “for looks” tabletop décor makes me go cross-eyed.

As I explained last week, I decided to really buckle down and try to crack the kitchen code when it comes to décor, and today I’m excited to reveal the new updates in partnership with Tuesday Morning. After stepping back to survey the results post-styling and rearranging this past weekend, I’m finally comfortable calling this room “done”—and just in time for Thanksgiving, too! Scroll on for a few of my biggest takeaways from this project.

Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad #TuesdayMorningFinds

Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad #TuesdayMorningFinds

Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets

Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad #TuesdayMorningFinds

Hidden Storage

I figured I’d go ahead and start with one of the most obvious ways to add function to a kitchen: hidden storage. Things like lidded baskets and ceramic jars are great for hiding extra kitchen rags, dry ingredients, and even pet treats.

As an example, I picked up a tall white ceramic container at Tuesday Morning for $14.99 (compared to $36 full price!) that I’m now using to hide Rocky’s dog bones in. The retro-inspired pattern on the side is so perfect for our 1960s kitchen, and you’d never think that it held smelly, crumbly dog treats.

I also grabbed a marble jar from the bath aisle (priced in-store for $9.99, $20 retail value) that I use for sugar nowadays. The marble pattern is so much prettier than the wrinkled sugar bag I would otherwise have had to plop out on the shelf.

Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad #TuesdayMorningFinds

Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad #TuesdayMorningFinds

Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad #TuesdayMorningFinds

Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad #TuesdayMorningFinds

Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets

Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad #TuesdayMorningFinds

Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad #TuesdayMorningFinds

Exposed Storage

On the other hand, hidden storage isn’t the only way to make use of countertop and shelf square footage. I also love having select items at-the-ready in exposed storage—things like open bowls and metal baskets—so I can grab them at a moment’s notice.

One of my favorite purchases from my shopping trip was the wood and brass bowl we’re now using as a fruit container. The rich wood tone of the bowl speaks to our cabinetry, and the punched-out design in the brass rim accent is so eye-catching. I also love that it was marked down from $54.99 to $29.99.

Another exposed storage upgrade we made was where our coffee pods are concerned. At the last second, I grabbed an oversized serving bowl from the kitchen aisle (cost me $19.99, compared to $35 full price) that we use for our Keurig K-cups. It’s a lot easier to pick one off the top of the pile first thing in the morning instead of having to dig around in a cabinet for the box of pods. Oh, and I should mention that the name brand K-cups, themselves, came from Tuesday Morning, too—at practically half price. I’m not making this up.

Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets

Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad #TuesdayMorningFinds

Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad #TuesdayMorningFinds

Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad #TuesdayMorningFinds

Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad #TuesdayMorningFinds

Soft Textures

I know I mentioned that you can’t have soft textiles in a kitchen, but that’s not altogether true. I lingered for an extra long time in the towels section in-store to make sure I stocked up on pretty towels for our kitchen that would add a bit of color and texture. I also chose a pair of black and white check oven mitts while I was at it ($5.99, compared to $14.99) because we keep those out by the stove and I wanted them to look just as nice as they functioned.

Of course, another place to add softness in a kitchen is on your floors. I knew I wanted to lay down a rug in our space—something that pulled the blue color from our curtains—and I think I found the perfect one. The jute rug I grabbed has a modern zigzag pattern in it that I love, plus that blue hue I was looking for, but it’s not so bold that it distracts from the rest of the space.

Here’s another random tip for you: pick up an ergonomic kitchen mat to lay underneath your main rug! It doesn’t have to be pretty or expensive—in fact, I grabbed mine from the clearance section—because you’ll never see it, but your feet will really come to appreciate that extra cushion when you’re slaving away over dinner.

Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad #TuesdayMorningFinds

Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad #TuesdayMorningFinds

Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad #TuesdayMorningFinds

Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad #TuesdayMorningFinds

Maximize Wall Space

I finally got around to upgrading our DIY open kitchen shelving, which has really helped me maximize the empty wall space we originally had in our kitchen. Now the extra deep shelves have plenty of room for stacking extra plates, bowls, and cups on, and we don’t have to worry about opening the kitchen cabinets when we want a quick snack or easy lunch.

I bought six white plates for $2.99 a pop and a set of four cereal (read: ice cream) bowls that cost $3.99 each. I also added eight new glasses to our collection since we seem to go through those too quickly for our dish washer to keep up on a weekly basis. Oh, and don’t worry—I plan to share the full tutorial on how to hang and style those shelves in just a couple of weeks!

Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad #TuesdayMorningFinds

Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad #TuesdayMorningFinds

Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad #TuesdayMorningFinds

Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad #TuesdayMorningFinds

Blend-able Neutrals

To me functional décor needs to look nice but also serve a purpose. I’m over the whole “just for looks” decorative phase I was in for so long, and want to make sure every item in our home serves a real function. So, I tried to keep that in mind when choosing replacements for some of the pieces in our kitchen that were looking a little worse for wear.

One way I managed to make the more boring purchases for our kitchen look great, too, was through color—or, really, lack thereof. Our toaster, for example was pretty dingy, so I knew I wanted to replace it. The new one I picked up for $17.99 (compared to $49.99 originally) sports this really nice rose gold face and a white finish on the sides, so it blends right in with the subway tile backsplash. You hardly even see it! I also picked up an angular white cup that we’re using to hold our dish brush by the sink, so the dirty bristles are hidden from view and you see mostly just the glossy white finish of the cup instead.

When in doubt, grab items and containers that match your backsplash or cabinetry (like the new set of wooden-handled utensils I bought and now keep by the oven) so they don’t shout, “Look at me! Look at me!”

Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad #TuesdayMorningFinds

Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad #TuesdayMorningFinds

Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad #TuesdayMorningFinds

Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad #TuesdayMorningFinds

I know I have more to share on this topic (especially when it comes to drawer storage) but I’ve already rambled quite a bit and don’t want to overwhelm you! Did you notice our new under-cabinet lighting? I’m so excited to talk more about this extension of our functional kitchen upgrades, but the topic deserves its very own day, so stay tuned for that after we get back from Thanksgiving break.

Did I leave any advice or tips out that you put to good use in your own kitchen? Do tell in the comments below. And don’t forget to add a Tuesday Morning drop-in to your holiday shopping spree list! Find your closest Tuesday Morning store location here.

Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad #TuesdayMorningFinds

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Reveal of DGD Pottery Collection No.2

Reveal of DGD Pottery Collection No.2

I’m so excited to announce that a brand new collection of pottery just went live in the DGD Pottery shop on Etsy! In case you’re just catching up, this is my second shop update since launching earlier this month, and includes a whole bunch of fresh-from-the-kiln work that I made over at Make Waynesboro Clay Studio. Scroll on to learn a little bit more about the pieces in this new collection, and then click here to grab your favorite before it sells out.

Reveal of DGD Pottery Collection No.2Reveal of DGD Pottery Collection No.2

Reveal of DGD Pottery Collection No.2

Last month I started a pretty intense glazing class with a handful of other members taught by Jake, the co-founder of Make Waynesboro. I learned so much about different techniques and all the various ways a person can make their ceramics pop with hand-mixed colors, wax relief designs, and carving into glaze to create crisp lines.

The little white dish you see above is an example of my after-hours experimentation with wax over bare clay with a glossy white surround. I love the minimalist look and think this miniature bowl shape might just be my favorite to make and use around the house for things like jewelry and keys.

Reveal of DGD Pottery Collection No.2

Reveal of DGD Pottery Collection No.2

Reveal of DGD Pottery Collection No.2

Reveal of DGD Pottery Collection No.2

Reveal of DGD Pottery Collection No.2

Reveal of DGD Pottery Collection No.2

I’m excited to share about two new cups with floral carvings this go-around—one a subtle blue-on-blue look, and the other has a neutral, earth-toned vibe. The latter actually went up last-minute earlier this month when I launched my Etsy shop, and has already sold out, but the dark blue one is still available here.

Reveal of DGD Pottery Collection No.2Reveal of DGD Pottery Collection No.2

Reveal of DGD Pottery Collection No.2

Reveal of DGD Pottery Collection No.2

I also included some new watercolor-inspired work in this latest shop update. That plate above is easily my personal favorite of the entire series. I’m so drawn to the almost translucent look of the glazes, and how they layer over each other. I also feel like I’m getting closer to nailing the asymmetrical look I’ve always been aiming for with this series. See how the colors are sort of more to one side than the other? It just looks more abstract and organic to me, and is definitely something I want to try doing intentionally in my next batch of watercolor pieces.

Reveal of DGD Pottery Collection No.2Reveal of DGD Pottery Collection No.2Reveal of DGD Pottery Collection No.2Reveal of DGD Pottery Collection No.2

Another piece that snuck its way into the first collection and has since sold out is the mint “You Got This” cup. I’m absolutely smitten with that color and the calligraphy look, though, so I’ll definitely make more for later in the season. Do you have any particular sayings or quotes you’d like to see on a mug or tumbler? Do tell in the comments and I’ll work on making it!

Oh, and as for that curvy bottle with the dashes? I’m in love with that one, too! So much so, in fact, that I tried the same look on a new bottle that I made last week, so don’t worry if you miss out on it in this shop update. There will definitely be more added to the shop with this design soon.

Reveal of DGD Pottery Collection No.2Reveal of DGD Pottery Collection No.2

The two vases you see pictured above and below are some of my most ambitious pieces yet. I can’t take credit for their designs, of course, because I based them off of the work of Hsin-Chuen Lin, but it was a lot of fun to give these Asian-inspired silhouettes my own flair. It will be tough to part with them, but I’m hopeful that someone out there will appreciate the concepts and shapes as much as I do. That would make it so worth it.

Reveal of DGD Pottery Collection No.2

Reveal of DGD Pottery Collection No.2

So, there you have it, folks! Click over to Etsy here to shop the new pieces in Collection No.2, and feel free to let me know what you think (or what you’d like to see next) in the comments below. I’m still just as infatuated with pottery as ever, and can’t wait to get back to the wheel.

I’m also planning on creating a whole series of Christmas ornaments, which should be available in the shop just in time for your holiday decorating and gifting. Stay tuned for that, and thank you so much for your support—it means more than you’ll ever know!

Reveal of DGD Pottery Collection No.2

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DIY Thanksgiving Wood Ring Trivet Mat

DIY Thanksgiving Wood Ring Trivet Mat

Is it too early to talk about (let alone think about) Thanksgiving? I can’t decide, but the holiday is right there looming just one month away on the calendar, so I’m taking it as a sign that you guys have started making plans for the big event. The good news is that today’s quick craft project can really be used any time of year—Thanksgiving and beyond—so I promise you’ll feel extra productive while putting it together this month. Scroll on for the step-by-step tutorial to make your own DIY Wood Ring Trivet Mat!

DIY Thanksgiving Wood Ring Trivet Mat

DIY Thanksgiving Wood Ring Trivet Mat

Here’s What You’ll Need:

Not only is this project super easy to make—it’s also super cheap. The 1-inch wooden rings I used cost just $6, and the yarn was on sale for a few bucks. Since I used only a handful of feet from the spool of yarn for my DIY trivet mat, that figure could even be knocked down to a few pennies to be totally accurate. Other than those two main supplies, you need to grab a pair of scissors, some clear tacky glue, and maybe your phone to crank up the tunes or a podcast while you work.

DIY Thanksgiving Wood Ring Trivet Mat

DIY Thanksgiving Wood Ring Trivet Mat

Step One

Open your bag of wooden rings, and lay them out on the table so you can play around with different designs. My ultimate plan for this trivet mat is to use it under my favorite rectangular casserole dish come Thanksgiving, so I decided to follow suit with the same shape for my mat. You, of course, can run with any kind of shape you want, though—a square, a semi-circle, anything!

DIY Thanksgiving Wood Ring Trivet Mat

Step Two

Once you have your shape laid out, start connecting the rings to each other using small lengths of cut yarn. I would suggest cutting your yarn pieces a little longer than you actually need them to be, just to save you some headache while tying knots between the rings. The longer your yarn, the easier it will be to grip and tie a knot. I went with a triple knot on each, by the way, and my yarn pieces were each roughly five inches long.

DIY Thanksgiving Wood Ring Trivet Mat

DIY Thanksgiving Wood Ring Trivet Mat

Step Three

Even though I used triple knots between each ring, I still felt like my mat could stand to have a little more strength, so I dabbed a bit of tacky glue over each knot. I was careful not to get the glue on the rings, though, because I wanted the rings to twist under the yarn knots for easy folding and storing. Just dab the glue right on top of the knot to keep it from unraveling. Since it dries clear, you’ll never see it.

DIY Thanksgiving Wood Ring Trivet Mat

A Quick Note

You might have noticed that side-by-side image a couple photos up. I included that so you can see the difference between the knotted underside and the top of the mat. It’s much cleaner and less chaotic when you flip it right side up, which I was relieved to see. If you want an even more minimalist look, choose a colored yarn that matches the wood tone of your rings.

DIY Thanksgiving Wood Ring Trivet Mat

After the glue dots have dried, you’re ready to flip the finished DIY Wood Ring Trivet Mat over and use it under anything hot you might serve this season. I personally love using it under my kettle now that I’m craving afternoon cups of coffee and tea (it’s so cold here already in Virginia). Tell me what you think of our little heatproof trivet mat in the comments below, or, better yet, tell me what you’d like to serve on top of it this Thanksgiving!

DIY Thanksgiving Wood Ring Trivet Mat

P.S. Click back here to take our fall dining room tour for even MORE Thanksgiving-themed inspiration!
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Creepy Classy Black & White Halloween Party

*This post was sponsored by Oriental Trading

Creepy Classy Black & White Halloween Party

I hope that your start to October was a great one yesterday! Ours was pretty toasty at 81 degrees for a high, but it just made our anticipation of those cool, crisp days to come even sweeter. At any rate, Halloween is only a handful of weeks away now that we’re into the new month, which means that your party planning needs to start…well…now.

Back in September, I had a chance to play around with a few boxes of monochromatic Halloween décor care of Oriental Trading, and today I’m sharing pictures of the spooky (yet still sophisticated!) soirée I was able to throw together using my favorites from the collection. Keep scrolling to see a few snippets of the full party, as well as a quick rundown of the process I go through when planning these types of coordinated holiday gatherings.

Creepy Classy Black & White Halloween Party

Creepy Classy Black & White Halloween Party

As with most parties that I put together, the longest and hardest part was definitely the planning. I tend to start with a color palette in mind—this time, black, white, red, and wood tones—and then I usually go online to search out any accents and accessories I want to use. For this event, I clicked and dragged product photos right from the OTC website to the desktop on my computer, and then I pulled all of those icons into a folder on my hard drive so I could preview how everything looked together.

I pulled absolutely anything and everything that caught my eye online, and ended up with way more than I needed. That was intentional, though, because, after that, I could just drag out and trash the digital items I didn’t think I really needed until I was left with a reasonable collection of pieces to make up what I’m calling our Creepy Classy Black & White Halloween Party.

After that I submitted my order and, when everything arrived in boxes, I carefully unpacked each item and set the gathering up just as I had envisioned when I was pulling inspiration online. By pre-planning in advance and considering where everything might actually go, I was able to order fewer items and it took much less time to set up once it had all arrived.

Creepy Classy Black & White Halloween Party

Creepy Classy Black & White Halloween Party

Creepy Classy Black & White Halloween Party

Is it helpful to learn a little bit more about my party-planning process? Many of you might already do something similar, or have your own tried-and-true hostessing routines, but I thought it might be interesting for me to share my perspective on how to bring a festive fête together with minimal stress and on a tight budget, too.

Hop over to the Fun365 website by Oriental Trading to see and shop the full party, and don’t miss my step-by-step tutorial for a DIY Spooky Silhouetted Halloween Gallery Wall while you’re at it!

Creepy Classy Black & White Halloween Party

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Should We Go ‘Open Concept’?

Should We Go 'Open Concept'?

I’d love to start this brand new week off with a design question: should we go open concept between our dining room and kitchen? Call me crazy, but now that we’ve been project-free for a few weeks, I’m feeling the itch to make more changes around here. Our hall bathroom renovation is complete, and our new roof is all done, so now I’m setting my sights on something we’ve never tackled before…Removing a wall!

Should We Go 'Open Concept'?

Should We Go 'Open Concept'?

Should We Go 'Open Concept'?

One of the things I appreciated so much about this house when we first toured it was the fact that the kitchen is separated from the dining room by a partition wall. That said, now that we’ve lived here for three years, I’m wondering if this layout really is the best for our particular space.

It’s a little hard to explain without you being here, but in the front room of our house (which consists of the kitchen, dining room, and living room) there’s a wall that extends from the middle of the space to just a few feet from the exterior wall. On the dining room side, the wall has a giant framed photo on it, whereas the other side faces into our kitchen and has open shelving on it just above some lower cabinetry and the dishwasher.

As you can see in the photos above, the wall has a cool angular cut-out detail at the top to allow a bit of natural light from the open concept dining and living room to spill into the kitchen—a fact I love because that room gets very little natural light otherwise. I really do appreciate that the rooms have a bit of separation between them, but then I came across this inspiration image below and the wheels in my head started turning.

baac0054a43c258c5f23efb81d6297e8.jpg

Should we consider removing the wall to let more of that gorgeous sunlight into our dark kitchen? The inspiration photo stopped me in my feed-scrolling tracks on Pinterest the other day because it gave me such a good sense of what our own home could look like if we just removed part or all of that separating wall.

Similar to the inspiration image, we have light-colored, speckled countertops and dark wood cabinetry. We also have white walls, and a similarly angled mid-century-style ceiling. I can totally see this translating into our own retro home, but don’t want to regret embarking on another chaotic renovation project if it’s a terrible idea.

Should We Go 'Open Concept'?

Should We Go 'Open Concept'?

The picture of our home just above gives you a pretty good sense of the difference in lighting between the spaces. The dining room is filled top to bottom with glorious sunshine, while the kitchen (mere inches away!) gets barely anything because of that partition wall.

One option is to leave the wall between the kitchen and living room as it stands (the one right behind the liquor cabinet you see there), and bring the partition wall perpendicular to it down to about counter height to allow more light to get to the kitchen. There would still be a bit of separation and we wouldn’t have to move the dishwasher, but the light could be shared between spaces.

Should We Go 'Open Concept'?

Should We Go 'Open Concept'?

What do you think? Am I crazy to be considering this? Those of you who have truly open concept homes: do you appreciate being able to see right into your kitchen from the dining room, or do you wish you had more separation between the spaces? I’m dying to hear your opinions and personal perspectives, so please spill in the comments below!

Should We Go 'Open Concept'?

**See what our home looked like when we moved in here!
**Inspiration image source unknown, all other images are by Meredith Sledge
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DIY Countdown To Halloween Candy Calendar

*This post is sponsored by Oriental Trading

DIY Countdown To Halloween Candy Calendar

How is September almost over already?! Halloween is a little over a month away, and I just don’t know where the time has gone. Didn’t it feel like we were wrapping up another whirlwind Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year’s season only a few weeks ago?

Well, that time is nearly upon us once again and, despite the disbelieving start to this blog post, today’s the day that I officially quit saying how surprised I am that we’re already in the midst of the holidays. I’ve said it (multiple times, probably), so it’s out of the way. Now’s the time to get PUMPED for another round of overindulging in the name of this extra special time of year, and I’m kicking things off with a brand new craft project for Oriental Trading: my DIY Countdown To Halloween Candy Calendar.

DIY Countdown To Halloween Candy Calendar

This numbered box project is a cinch to recreate thanks to the free printable and shopping list I made available here. But that’s not the best part, though…See those 30+ boxes? Every last one is filled with candy so you can placate that sweet tooth of yours every day leading up to Halloween at the end of the month.

You can choose to make the countdown more of a scavenger hunt by mixing up the numbers, or put them in order from 1-31 if you’d rather simplify things (great for kids, too, so my OTC editors/mamas tell me!). Let me know how you’d arrange your own DIY Halloween Candy Box Countdown in the comments below, and then hop through to Oriental Trading for the full tutorial and clickable shopping list.

DIY Countdown To Halloween Candy Calendar

*For more Halloween fun, click these links for inspiration and tutorials: DIY Halloween Pumpkins With Painted Dashes, DIY Cartoon Eyeball Halloween Wreath.
**Don’t forget to sign up for the Dream Green DIY newsletter! The next issue hits everyone’s inboxes tomorrow, and will include an in-depth discussion about my favorite essential oil blends for the home. Sign up here!
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Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

Waynesboro’s close proximity to Charlottesville, Virginia, is actually one of the things that made it to the top of our “pros” list three years ago when we were deciding whether to move to the area or not. It’s just 35 minutes from Waynesboro, making it an easy place for us to visit on the weekends or even on the odd free weekday afternoon.

If you’re not already familiar, Waynesboro is pretty teeny tiny in terms of the shops and restaurants available to us within a quick drive, but Charlottesville helps satiate our need for fine shopping and dining as long as we’re willing to make the drive into town. Scroll on for a list of a few of our favorite places to browse and wander on any given day trip to Charlottesville, and don’t miss the brand new video I put together, which shows an in-motion peek inside each place, too.

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

Great Outdoor Provision Co.

Now, I know a lot of people will probably be disappointed that I’m starting off with a chain (there are nine stores in total between Virginia and North Carolina), but I’m going to do my best to be as realistic as I can with my picks, and this is just one of those stores that we seem to always be popping into. It’s really well laid out, and offers so many great options for outdoor adventure-ing.

The store carries Patagonia, too (one of our favorite brands for clothing and hiking gear), so we love looking through the store’s racks—even if we’re just “window shopping” for fun. The other cool thing about Great Outdoor Provision Co. is that it’s in the Barracks Road Shopping Center, so it’s part of a huge collection of stores that could occupy a family for hours.

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

Circa Inc.

Even when we lived over an hour away in Lynchburg, I would make the trek to Circa Inc. every other month or so. It’s that good! This store is ideal for anyone in the market for decently priced vintage furniture, art, décor, and other types of home goods. It’s where we got the console cabinet in our dining room, countless lamps, and also a few of my favorite secondhand paintings.

I’ve currently got my eye on a set of mid-century dining chairs they have right now, so I might be making a return trip sooner rather than later. Oh, and I should mention that there are multiple buildings and rooms to wander through, so if you’re in the market for vintage goodies (or just like to dream about having space for new-to-you things, like me!), then definitely make time for Circa.

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

The Habitat Store

Right up the road and around the corner from Circa is The Habitat Store. As you can probably guess, this shop and donation center is in partnership with the local Habitat for Humanity organization, so proceeds from your purchases go right back into the community—win, win!

What will you find there? Anything from original church pews and 1950s desks, to washers, old brass light fixtures, lawn furniture, tools, and laminate flooring. There’s so much stuff to look through, it’s overwhelming, but that just makes it one of our go-to places to walk through on a Saturday morning. We actually donate a whole lot more to this store than we buy, but it feels better to give than to get anyway.

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

Goodwill

Okay, yes. It’s probably a little strange to mention Goodwill as a Charlottesville destination…but I promised a real-life review, and we truly love the Goodwill stores in Charlottesville! Because the city is a “college town,” there are lots of young people moving in and out, which inevitably means that lots of designer clothing, books, movies, and furniture end up getting donated to Goodwill rather than packed up to move wherever these college grads are heading off to. I’ve found so many amazing like-new J.Crew, Madewell, and Target clothes at these stores that cost next to nothing.

The three locations are 34 Mill Creek Drive, 1720 Seminole Trail, and 1242 Richmond Road. Heads up that I’ve always had the best luck at their Richmond Road location. It’s a little tough to get in and out of the tight parking lot, but totally worth it.

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

Historic Downtown Mall

I ran out of time this particular day to actually do much shopping on the Mall, but you must, must, MUST make time for Darling Boutique and Rock Paper Scissors the next time you’re there. I know I’ll be prioritizing these two local shops on my next visit.

Darling Boutique is a beautifully curated shop full of top notch consignment clothing and handmade jewelry, and Rock Paper Scissors is stocked with gorgeous paper goods (think: stationary, invitations, notebooks, cards, etc.) for any occasion. The shop owners of both are so sweet, too, so ask them for their own recommendations for things to do while you’re in town. I’m sure they’ll have lots of hidden gems to tell you all about.

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

The Whiskey Jar

Whenever John and I are in Charlottesville and get to the topic of where we want to eat, we almost always default to The Whiskey Jar. There are soooooooo many amazing restaurants in town (more on those later in this post), but we just can’t get enough of this one particular place—especially in the summertime when they open up the sliding glass doors to allow the fresh breeze inside.

The menu is small-but-mighty, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better drink menu. If you’re able to go in the next couple of weeks, get the Les Petits Roucas Sauvignon Blanc. It’s unbelievably good and the perfect complement (last hurrah?) to summer.

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

HomeGoods

Again, don’t hate me for mentioning a chain, but the fact of the matter is that we don’t have a HomeGoods in Waynesboro, so I love making time to pop into the store location in Charlottesville whenever I’m in town. We went this particular day for seasonal home décor, and I can’t wait to show you what I picked up from their fall-themed aisles.

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

Click ‘Play’ on that video a couple of images up (or watch it here on YouTube) to see our Charlottesville adventure in motion! We had such a blast driving through town and browsing a few of our favorite stores. We didn’t get to go everywhere we wanted to, but here’s a big list of other favorites we already love or have heard about and can’t wait to try soon:

Lone Light Coffee // The Pie Chest // Oakhart Social Restaurant // Tilman’s // Mas Tapas // Three Notch’d Brewing Company // Kardinal Hall // Brazos Tacos // C’ville Coffee // Sweethaus Cupcake Café // Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint // IRON Paffles & Coffee // Citizen Burger Bar // Roots Natural Kitchen // Feast! // Continental Divide

Have you been to Charlottesville, Virginia, lately? What’s your favorite shop? Are you a regular as any one restaurant? Do tell in the comments below because we’re anxious to try a few new places this fall.

Our Favorite Spots In Charlottesville, VA

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All The Mugs I Wish I Could Buy

All The Mugs I Wish I Could Buy

There’s practically nothing that I need less of in my life than coffee mugs. And I truly say that with only a small amount of sarcasm. The fact of the matter is that I’ve already got more than I need stuffed into our kitchen cabinets, so I have zero justification for adding more to my collection. Even still, I’m constantly pining after pretty mugs that I see in local shops and online, too. I just can’t help but feel like a really beautiful mug helps get the day off on the right foot, so I thought I’d put together a list of the dozen mugs I wish I could buy in the hopes that you can adopt one of them into your own collection.

1. Wheel Thrown Porcelain Mug with Green Speckle Glaze

2. Speckled Stoneware Mug

3. Handmade ceramic mug in sandstone

4. Size 4 Ceramic Mug

5. Yellow ceramic mug

6. White Ceramic Cloud Mug

7. Ceramic Porcelain Tea or Coffee Cup

8. Handmade Pottery Mug

9. Turquoise Pottery mug

10. Ready-to-ship blue drop mug

11. Hand Crafted Ceramic Mug

12. Handmade Leaf Print Mug

Are you a mug person? Or, maybe more importantly, are you a coffee person? I can’t start my day without a little caffeine. No, really. I get a terrible headache if I skip my morning cuppa Joe, so it has become a natural part of my morning routine. I barely even think about it. I’d like to get into the routine of an evening cup of hot tea, so that’s next on my to-do list come fall. Let me know which of the mugs above caught your eye in the comments below!

All The Mugs I Wish I Could Buy

*I earn a small percentage from purchases made by the affiliate links above. Affiliate links are not sponsored. You can rest assured that I would never recommend a product that we don’t use and love ourselves.
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DIY Hanging Herb Plant Garden

DIY Hanging Herb Plant Garden

Just think how impressed your favorite celebrity chef would be if they could see your very own handmade hanging herb garden suspended from the ceiling in your kitchen—at least that’s what I like to imagine when I spot ours out of the corner of my eye. Do you think Ina would give it a satisfied smirk of approval? I’ve got my fingers crossed. Anyway, my DIY Hanging Herb Plant Garden is the most recent afternoon craft that I put together for Hunker, and you can see the whole 7-step process for making your own here.

DIY Hanging Herb Plant Garden

Have you had much success with growing your own herbs? I think the main reason I’ve put a project like this off for so long is the fact that I just forget that we even have fresh herbs to cut from. My habit is to reach inside our dried herbs drawer in the kitchen, but I’d love to get better about making the most of our brand new collection of fresh potted herbs. I went all out at our local nursery in honor of our DIY Hanging Herb Plant Garden, grabbing everything from chives and rosemary, to ‘Crimson King’ basil and chocolate mint. Tell me below: what are your favorite fresh herbs to tend (and use!) at home?

DIY Hanging Herb Plant Garden

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