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Pinspiration Monday: Counter top styling

Time for another installment of “Pinspiration Monday” – This time we are talking about the kitchen counter and a couple of quick ways to dress up those every-day things that we need to have on hand that aren’t exactly the most stylish of kitchen accessories.

The first is a “pretty” way to corral the usual won’t-ft-in-the-cabinet-because-they’re-too-tall suspects – For us that includes a coffee French press, an assortment of bottled vinegar and oil, a jar of napkins and my owl measuring cups (although that last one isn’t an eye-sore at all – You know me and my hoot obsession…). To remedy the situation, I took a cue from this pin:

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

The idea is to put all of the random pieces inside a simple wicker basket. Having a special spot for these seemingly-unrelated pieces would allegedly bring a sense of order to the counter top. SPOILER ALERT: It worked.

Here’s a quick peek at those kitchen essentials in question (oh, and please ignore the open upper cabinet doors – I did some paint touchups and they were drying):

They aren’t the most unsightly pieces in the world (again, isn’t that little owl just adorable?? – Thanks to my bff, Beth, for that sweet addition to your kitchen!), but I’m the kind of homemaker that likes “a place for everything and everything in its place.” For whatever reason, putting it all inside a basket would alleviate my stress just a touch and that’s good enough reason for me. Anyone else out there just as crazy and agree??

First, I needed a basket.

When I went out-of-town two weekends ago to visit friends and my sister for my bachelorette party, I ended up getting my first chance to check out a Hobby Lobby. I had a blast curling around each and every aisle looking for fun things to decorate and/or organize the house. One thing I came home with was this pretty rectangular basket – At only $5.99, I couldn’t say “no.” I thought the angled weave was a tad unique and modern – At least as far as baskets go…

Taking yet another cue from my Pinterest image, I tucked a patterned linen napkin inside the basket, a gift from John’s mom at my bridal shower last month.

Here is the newly arranged basket, full of our favorite kitchen accessories! I really do feel like they look a bit better grouped together in an orderly way – I know…My OCD is clearly out of control in this moment…

The next Pinterest counter-related project I worked on was pretty easy and not mind-blowingly creative, but I love it nonetheless. I wanted to join the bandwagon of folks who keep their dry pasta in pretty glass jars on the counter. It looks good, keeps noodles fresh and empties out a little extra room in the pantry – All good enough reasons for me to give it a shot.

Source: beach bungalow 8

 Source: Better Homes and Gardens

These three glass jars below, complete with brushed nickel metal screw tops, also came from my maiden adventure to Hobby Lobby. I walked out with one tall jar for only $4.99 and two medium, shorter jars for $4.79 apiece. Definitely didn’t break the bank on this project.

Here’s a quick look at our pantry, one I’m embarrassed to show you since it’s not very organized. Hopefully someday soon I can tackle it, armed with Tupperware and my label maker. But that’s another day…As you can see, we have a pretty good collection of pastas going (to the right of the photo).

Once I got all of it onto the counter, I was able to take stock – We’ve got an assortment of long pastas (is there a technical term for this?) such as spaghetti, fettuccine and angel hair, and then we’ve got the bite-size options like rotini and penne. We are trying to weed out our plain pastas to make way for whole wheat options (read up on our new dietary goals in this post from last week), and you’ll even see some gluten-free options from that phase of our eating habits.

The penne and rotini got their own jars (to be revealed in full in a moment), and the tall jar was saved for the long pastas. Now to decide who to put in there…So many varieties to choose from!

In the end, I decided to dump all of the boxes except for the gluten-free option into the jar. With the exception of the rice, gluten-free pasta, the rest were too similar to segregate. Our pasta dishes might look a little wonky until we run out of our multi-shaped supply, but I’m happy to get rid of all of those boxes. The jar had more than enough room to fit the four boxes-worth.

Here they are all filled up:

And they are now happily gracing the corner of our counter top. I love the balanced symmetry and there’s something really organic and natural about seeing plain dry pasta outside of those brightly colored and labeled boxes. I feel like Giada would approve.

All together now!!

All in a good day’s work…

What have you guys been organizing lately?

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Confession time: Healthy living

I’ve got a lot to catch you guys up on…
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So a few months ago, I made the big announcement that John and I were going gluten-free with our eating. This new pact was based on the assumption that, after years of upset stomachs, a gluten allergy must be our culprit. Except for one blatant disregard for that new promise (as seen here), we were doing pretty well, even choosing to eat out only at restaurants that offered gluten-free options (for locals in the area, this meant Mangia and La Villa).
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Then something pretty major happened that, in a way, helped us to explore the REAL root of the issue…John lost his job.
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By no fault of his own, John was forced to reconsider goals, routines, finances and the direction he wanted to take in his life. In fact, what could have been the biggest let down of the year, ended up being a major blessing in disguise. Suddenly John had all the time in the world to really get to the bottom of the dietary issue, so he made the appointments and got tested for gluten allergies once and for all.
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What we didn’t really anticipate though was the negative result…I think we were so stuck on the idea of a gluten allergy, that the sudden reality of it NOT being the case was a little bewildering. All-in-all, the real issue was nothing more than nutrition. (As a sidenote, I wasn’t able to undergo testing and doctor appointments, but John and I are pretty symmetrical in discomfort so I’m just following his lead.)
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Enter Jessi Haggerty of Bee Rooted. Our second major God-send was a random message I got from Jessi, a Registered Dietitian, Personal Trainer and Movement Instructor from Boston, MA.
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A blogger herself, Jessi approached me in the hopes of helping John and I out with finding better and healthier balance in our lives in terms of what we eat. Since then, I have learned the ins and outs (no pun intended) of good food and just how much of an impact diet has on our lives, moods and energy.
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As I am by no means an expert on these things, and since Jessi is, I’ve gotten her permission to share some simple tips with you all here on DG-DIY to possibly help you along with your own nutritional journey. She started me off by listing some “do”s and “don’t”s for good digestive health:
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Things to increase:
-Soluble fiber:  whole grains like oatmeal, barley, and brown rice, starchy vegetables
-Omega-3 fatty acids from whole plant sources: walnuts, flaxseed meal, small portions of fish
-Antioxidants: berries, green leafy vegetables, foods high in vitamin C & E like citrus fruits and strawberries
-Sprouted foods: sprouted quinoa, grains, beans, breads and tofu.  Sprouting is a process of soaking and rinsing the seed, grain, or bean for a number of days to literally ‘sprout’ it, and works to pre-digest it making it easier for your body to breakdown.  It also allows the nutrients to be more available to your body to use.
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Things to decrease:
-Large portions of concentrated fat: oils, butter, lard, most processed foods
-Concentrated sweets: juices, sugar/sugary foods like cake and cookies, large portions of dried fruits; can cause excess water to be drawn into your digestive tract
-Dairy: it just doesn’t do good things for the belly!
-Meat/animal products: stick to no more than 3 oz. portions of fish, meat, chicken, etc. per meal.
 
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Quick Tip:
-When you are cooking beans and grains, try soaking them overnight, then drain them and cook as directed.  This helps pre-digest the fibers and prevents excess gas build up.
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Who knew?! This first feedback email was incredibly eye-opening. I proceeded to print it out and race home to show John all of the fun new things I had learned. Not kidding. I literally ran inside, practically jumping up and down. In the course of my nutritional health journey up to that point, I had been told what not to eat but not really what TO eat. Well Jessi’s quick “Things to increase” list was only a taste of (again, no pun intended) of what she was to help me understand in terms of my future diet.
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To begin the nitty gritty part of the process, Jessi asked me to keep track of what I ate with a food diary spanning the length of three days.
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Source
(and no, that’s not me, but I’m all about the visuals today and wanted you to see how poised and focused I MIGHT have looked while keeping my food diary) 
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After the three days were up, I had a pretty keen awareness of my normal diet, which is fairly consistent. This is (or was) my typical day’s worth of food:
  1. fried egg cooked over extra virgin olive oil
  2. piece of whole wheat toast (no butter)
  3. blueberry muffin
  4. cup of fresh fruit
  5. cup of plain cheerios
  6. 8 saltine and peanut butter cracker sandwiches (homemade/assembled, not packaged)
  7. brown rice with asparagus, almonds and soy sauce
  8. 3 Hershey’s kisses
  9. a few handfuls of lightly salted peanuts
  10. 1 oatmeal, chocolate chip cookie
  11. Homemade pizza subs (fresh French bread, mozzarella cheese, pepperonis, pizza sauce, shredded turkey lunch meat)
Right away, Jessi was able to point out the aspects of what I ate that might be giving me some trouble. Here’s a quick overview of her suggested “this-instead-of-that” changes:
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  • Do away with the egg, toast and muffin since it’s heavy on the saturated fat and a little light on the fiber and plants
  • Instead eat a bowl of plain whole rolled oats (add things like fruit, nuts and a touch of honey for flavor)
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  • Do away with the saltines in the peanut butter cracker equation because saltines tend to be more processed
  • Instead eat Triscuits with a bit of peanut butter since the only ingredient is wheat
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  • Do away with salted peanuts
  • Instead eat an unsalted trail mix combo with an assortment of nuts and dried fruit rather than chocolate
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  • Do away with lunches and dinners high in dairy and meat
  • Instead eat a whole grain wrap for lunch with things like hummus, avacado, lettuce and tomato; for dinners, focus on beans and grains (check out these recipes on Jessi’s blog for delicious-sounding and healthy alternatives to a meaty, cheesy, buttery dinner entree)
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Since reading over Jessi’s advice, I have been super focused on transforming my diet. I now start every morning with a bowl of plain oatmeal with honey, brown sugar, bananas and strawberries added to it. For the first time in years, I am able to get to work after breakfast without feeling sick. The other thing is that I’m actually full. I used to get to work at 8:30 a.m. after my fried egg breakfast and feel the need to start munching on snacks right away. Now though, I am able to stave off the hunger until around 10:30 a.m. – This feels like a small miracle to me. I’ve also worked hard to all but eliminate meat and dairy from my daily routine. So far, I don’t even miss it!
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I think we are well on our way to regaining control over our food rather than allowing it to control us…
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Stay tuned!! I hope to continue to get advice and guidance from Jessi as we work towards our health goals – We’d love to have you guys along for the ride! Also, feel free to provide your own input, advice and/or experiences with us in the comments section.
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P.S. In case you were wondering, John is now happily employed and our routine and outlook on life is better than ever!
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Want more information and advice from Jessi? Be sure to check out her blog, BeeRooted.com, for TONS of helpful thoughts on food, diet, exercise and general healthy living. In case you were curious, I am not being paid to talk about her blog – I am just so thankful and appreciative of her help and want to pay it forward. Maybe she could be the answer to your prayers as well!
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Speaking of, if you DO need a some guidance, Jessi is offering her readers (and now mine!) a super sweet discount on her consult – Instead of $125 for an initial personalized consult, she’s only charging $50. The consult can be done via phone or skype. If you want to take the first step to a healthy lifestyle, then I highly recommend getting in touch with her. This is starting to sound like an infomercial (which I assure you, it’s not meant to be), so I’m going to stop here.
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Have a GREAT weekend everyone!
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Newest post for Breathe Magazine

I’m over on Breathe Magazine’s blog today getting a tad bit emotional  – At least for a Thursday morning! Read up on my legacy as a DIY-er and why I am the way I am by clicking here. Also, feast your eyes on some tree trunk coaster eye candy while you’re there…

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Simple card art

This year for Valentine’s Day, John and I decided to save a little moolah by forgoing a gift exchange. Instead, we simply swapped cards to express our L-O-V-E for one another. After getting a brilliant recommendation from a blog (one I have since forgotten the name of and can’t link to…kicking myself) I went ahead and purchased this little beauty to give to my beloved:

Simple. To the point. Perfection.

It originated from My Little Buffalo Design – Affordable and oh-so-cute, the assortment of cards and art listed on this Etsy shop are worth your time even if you just gaze longingly at them…

But I digress. So after writing a little something special inside the blank card and giving it to John the morning of February 14th, I decided that I wasn’t done with it yet. While John isn’t the type of guy to toss my cards in the trash after reading them, I knew I wanted to put it on display rather than let it be put in a box for safe-keeping.

Enter one of the extra painted frames that we recently made over for the wedding:

This fun, punchy yellow frame was the perfect little place to memorialize the card. All I did was cut a piece of white computer paper to fit in the back of the frame since the card was a bit smaller than true 4×6 dimensions. I layered the card on top, put it behind the glass and tucked it all inside the frame – Voila!

I love the combination of the rose-colored text against the pale yellow frame – Pastel hues are sooooo pretty together. The perfect way to celebrate my Valentine and how we really do go together like bread and butter…

UPDATE: Right as I was heading off for wedding weekend, I grabbed this little framed card thinking it might be a sweet addition to our favors/gift table. It worked like a charm!

Photo credit: Kate StoopPhotography

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Pinspiration Monday: Brass bed

I must sincerely apologize if this blog post is (#1) much shorter and to-the-point today, and (#2) slightly erratic. Whether it was the fabulous, ubber-girlie bachelorette party my dear girlfriends threw for me over the weekend or this DARN time change, I am absolutely exhausted this morning. It’s a miracle I’m posting at all!

Okay, mini selfish pitty party over and on to the good stuff…

So. You all know that I am crushing hard core on brass right now (as evidenced here). I just love that extra glint of rich warmth brass gives a space – Balance is obviously key as we all know how brass can easily turn “bad,” but when done right it can be soooooo good. One thing I’ve really been craving is a brass bed, as you can see from this recent pin on my Pinterest board:

Source: The Blooming Hydrangea

Yum – LOVE that pop of rustic gold. I decided to go in search of a twin bed brass headboard for the bed in our studio guest room. The one in there has been in our family for a looooooong time and just screams “child’s room” to me. There are no children in our immediate future, and this room is a beloved adult getaway space for me and I wanted it to read “sophisticated feminine” instead of “kid-y.”

With a look in mind, John and I made a quick trip to our favorite local estate shop and I was able to pick up the perfect brass headboard for only $25! It didn’t come with a foot board or an actual mattress frame, but I knew I could use a plain metal mattress frame and just sandwich the thrifted brass headboard between the bed and wall.

And here’s the bed with its new crown of brass…

After giving the new set up a long hard look, I decided that I loved the brass headboard but that the bed space still looked a bit adolescent for my tastes. Maybe it was the combination of the bold flowery fabric and canary yellow bedspread, but I just felt like it needed to be a little less match-matchy.

So I took my beloved wrapped canvas art down and put it in storage for future hanging, and instead filled the space with a few pieces of random art for a more ecelctic look. I also folded the yellow blanket to the foot of the bed and covered the rest with a pretty quilt my aunt gave me as a gift. I think the look is much more subdued and mature. I can definitely understand if it’s not everyone’s taste, but having lived with it like this for a week or so, I am falling more and more in love with it every day.

Here’s a look back to what the bed looked like before, with its wooden bed frame – And then afterwards, with new spontaneous art, brass headboard and colorful, vintage bed coverings.

What do you guys think?

Hope you have a good Monday and are faring a bit better than I am with this time change nonsense! I do appreciate the lighter/brighter evenings…

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Trash to treasure: DIY Chalkboard Menu (Part 1)

Remember this little gem? One of my best friends, Savannah, salvaged this sad and disheveled frame from her grandfather’s house and generously offered it to us for use at our wedding. It sure needed a lot of work, but envisioning the final product kept me focused.

In this post of yore I explaining that the plan was to clean him up and outfit him with a chalkboard center, fit for our wedding reception as a big menu by the buffet. Something sort of like this:

Source

First order of business? Get rid of that crumbling and slightly spooky portrait. It was a little sad not to be able to salvage what could very well have been a valuable piece of art, but there was nothing that we could have done. In the end, I’m just happy that we were able to salvage at least part of the piece – i.e. the frame itself.

Incredibly (and so not what I had been expecting) the removal of all the junk on the back of the frame was a snap. It was so badly in disrepair that the four pieces of wood holding the glass and portrait to the frame lifted right away. Other than that, it really just needed a good cleaning.

After taking the frame down to the garage so as not to dirty up the kitchen, my mom and I  brushed away the grime and dirt using a little hand-held bristle tool (can be picked up at any grocery store in the cleaning section). A light hand and gentle sweep across the surface got rid of the grit without harming the pretty details on the frame.

Still looking pretty grimey, huh? Well the next step was to wipe it down with a good bit of alcohol. Using a couple of rags, my sister and I took our time rubbing all the way around the frame, careful to get into the little curves and recesses. As you’ll see by our nasty, dirty rags, we were able to get it pretty darn clean!

Parts of the frame came away from these two cleaning steps looking lux and shimmery, such as this section:

But most of the frame still looked a little dirty and definitely not fit for a wedding reception – Not yet anyway. Even with the brushing and alcohol bath, the frame had tons of discoloration and broken/nicked sections that just couldn’t be fixed with a simple cleaning.

The section below is the worst, with a big chunk of the wood missing. Plus, if you look to the upper left of the photo you’ll see what almost looks like a burn mark. But I wasn’t too anxious – I had a plan.

Nothing a coat of spray paint can’t fix! I admit that I debated going with a bright color, like teal, to freshen up our inherited frame…But eventually decided to start off with something as close to its original finish as possible. My thought on that was, if it ended up looking dull and/or boring, I could always paint over it.

So I bought a can of Rust-Oleum spray paint in a metallic hammered finish. I liked the idea of the textured spray paint because it would really help to cover the frame’s imperfections, while also giving it the look of a still-vintage piece. I was a-okay with the idea of an uneven finish in this case because I didn’t want it to look brand new – Just cleaner.

A few coats of paint later and we were GOLDEN.

We even managed to camouflage that broken section with the spray paint – It’s not P-E-R-F-E-C-T, but I think it’s a lot less noticeable now.

Want to see that “Before” photo again?

And now “After”…

I am so excited with how much better the frame looks, with its bright new finish and clean surface. It’s not quite the yellow-golden sheen of its original state, but I think this fresh, almost milky bronze color really makes it stand out. The next step is to fill the center with a chalkboard surface so that we can write out the buffet menu – John and I picked up the wood on Tuesday and, even though my friends are throwing me a bachelorette party out of town this weekend, I am hoping to get the whole project wrapped up by Monday.

Stay tuned for Part 2 next week! Have a great weekend.

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Fit for a wedding: Thrift store frames

We are continuing a run down of our epic wedding craft day this past weekend – Monday I chatted about our DIY favors made from glass test tubes filled with things like wildflower seeds and bath salts. We are moving onward and upward today with a quick, affordable craft involving my favorite DIY supply: spray paint. The goal was to create a colorful collection of frames to sit on various tables throughout our reception space to denote things like gifts, cupcakes, favors, guest book, etc. Rather than pay top dollar for said frames, I scoured our local thrift stores to find affordable options that I could give a face lift.

Here are my victims:

I was hoping to find elaborate, traditional frames with scroll work and filigree because all of those beautiful details really pop when painted a bright color. Alas, as you can see, I only found one that was even close to what I was searching for, but that’s okay. This was one such project that I didn’t feel needed a ton of leg work and multiple shopping stops. The frames didn’t really need to be the stars of the show anyway.

Can’t beat the final price tag! Only $10.05 for seven frames.

Time for their fashion-forward makeovers! I removed their “fillings” of glass and backing board and then put them out on the front sidewalk on top of some cardboard. Then my sweet and accommodating fiance did the rest – Spray painting each with either a pop of neon teal or canary yellow. We don’t actually have any specific color scheme for the wedding since we are using colorful mismatched vintage china in place of rented serving ware, and we are also just using whatever wildflowers are in season for the centerpieces, so I simply chose two of my favorite spray paint colors that we had in stock in the garage.

While John took care of the painting, I got to work on what went inside of the frames. To do so, I typed up a few quick phrases for sections I knew I wanted to label for guests’ benefit:

  • “Enjoy a celebratory cupcake!”
  • “In lieu of a guest book, please seal a note of encouragement or advice and toss it in the suitcase for future reading.” (I’ll explain this project in a post very soon)
  • “Favors – Please take your pick:” and “Grow a plot of wild flowers,” “Indulge in sweet candy pieces,” “Relax with aromatic bath salts” (these will all go into the one frame I bought that has two openings in the mat board)
  • “Thank you for your thoughtful gift!”

Oh, and don’t worry – I’m now aware that I misspelled the word “Indulge”…Will need to redo that one at some point ::sigh::

To cut them to size, I used the glass that I had removed as templates. Since the glass is clear, I was able to lay the glass on top of each phrase and then eye-ball it until it looked centered. Then, using a pen, I traced around the edges of the glass and got the perfect line to cut across to fit inside the finished frames. For the two phrases going inside of the mat board, I centered the words in the middle of the mats and traced the edges. I cut a little outside of those lines though so that the mat would overlap the edge of the paper.

Before I show you the final results of our newly-stylish collection of wedding frames, I have to show you one last quick fix. When purchasing anything from a thrift store, you have to know that there might be some less-than-perfect conditions to deal with. Case in point, one of my frames (the largest, in fact) was feeling a little unsteady due to a bent/creased backing arm.

I debated reinforcing it was a dowel rod, but in the end I went with a piece of ribbon and some tape. I cut the ribbon to the length of the distance I wanted the frame arm to swing out (with a little extra on the front and tail of the ribbon). After it was cut to size, I taped one end of the ribbon to the frame’s backing board and then the other end to the arm. This meant that the arm could swing out only so far from the frame, steadying it on whatever surface it sat on.

It’s not the prettiest thing you’ll ever see, but it did the trick.

Here are the finished thrift store frames looking lovely, colorful and definitely fit for our big day in April.

As you can see, we didn’t touch the little brass guy (you know how much I am digging brass these days), and we also didn’t fill all seven frames. I stole one for a project I’ll tell you all about next week, but the rest are empty and waiting should we think of anything else needing signage. Once I fix the spelling of “Indulge,” we will be golden (or should I say “teal”).

Hope you have a great Wednesday!

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Pinspiration Monday: Wedding favors

Woa. Yesterday was wild. The biggest wedding crafts day that I’ve initiated so far. Only 54 days to go until the big day, so my still-to-do list is heating up:

  • Create a chalkboard menu display for buffet out of a vintage frame
  • Spray paint lots of vintage frames in bright colors to set on tables denoting where gifts go, favors, etc.
  • DIY favors
  • Decorate a vintage suitcase for the guest book
  • Secure a coral flower hair clip for my up do
  • Meeting with florist to talk flowers
  • Purchase burlap for table runners
  • Make about a million more paper pinwheels
  • Create some kind of ribbon garland
  • Am I forgetting anything? Probably…
Thankfully, we were able to knock a few things off of that list yesterday. My sister and mom came over and we got to work right away. Our first order of business was the favors. My inspiration for this DIY favor project came from, you guessed it, Pinterest and I couldn’t be more excited with how they turned out.

Source: DIY with Stef

The idea was to buy glass test tubes (the kind topped with natural cork stoppers) and fill them with something fun that guests would enjoy taking home – None of that monogrammed stuff for us that guests likely won’t use, will toss or will get stuffed in a junk drawer somewhere. Instead, I decided to fill our glass test tubes with three different options, that way guests can choose exactly what they’d like to take home with them. Here are my fillers:

  1. Wildflower seeds
  2. Mini M&M candies
  3. Homemade lavender-scented bath salts
I thought those three options ran the gamete enough to please everyone. To make it easy for guests to find the test tube of their choice, I paired each of the three favor options with a word: The seeds are tagged with the word “Grow,” the candies are tagged with “Indulge” and the bath salts got “Relax.” This will make a bit more sense in a moment…
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First, we needed some test tubes. I bought mine here based on a link in the comments section of my Pinterest inspiration source – The 80 test tubes that I ordered came in under $40, which seemed pretty cost-effective to me!
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In addition to the test tubes and the various fillers, we also needed a funnel to make “stuffing them” a little bit easier. Mom forgot to bring hers, but we made one out of tape and a piece of computer paper – Worked like a charm!

Truth be told, the only filler we had on hand yesterday was the wildflower seed, but I figured we could at least get the process started. Once my mom and her friend, Kim, have time to make the bath salts and we are able to track down some mini M&M’s, we’ll fill up the remainder of the test tubes to complete the process.

Here are the completed tubes of wildflower seeds – I love how natural they look and hope that guests will enjoy sprinkling their gardens with the seeds after our wedding!

The last step before calling this project done (for now) was to add those tags I mentioned. A few weeks ago, I went ahead and made little paper labels for my test tubes. All I did was type up a couple of pages of the words in a Word document on my computer and then printed them out on different colored pieces of paper. “Indulge” got yellow paper, “Grow” got green and “Relax” got blue. After cutting them out with a pair of scissors, I finished off the edge with a quick hole punch for a small piece of twine that would eventually hold the tag to the test tube.

So yesterday, my mom, sister and I started a quick assembly line where my sister cut the twine using a templated string of about 3 inches, my mom threaded the twine through the hole punched in the tags, giving it a quick knot near the paper, and then I snipped off the excess. We had to make the twine a little long or else tying the knot would have been a nightmare.

In my Pinspiration image, you may have seen that the tags they used were just tied around the glass test tube – I didn’t think that would be strong enough to stay in place, but wasn’t really sure what our other options were. Mom came to the rescue though with the idea of putting the twine inside the test tube and then squeezing the cork in place on top to hold it in place. It worked like a charm!

Although, word to the wise – I broke four test tubes because I tried to slip the cork all the way back into place, not taking into account that the twine needed a little extra room. So if you try this at home, just be very gentle with this step or else you’ll get super frustrated like I did – It’s not fun to be around a frustrated bride, just ask my mom and sister…

Live and learn! Hopefully stuffing the rest of the tubes will go more smoothly (with fewer casualties). I’ll be sharing the details on the rest of the many projects we did on the blog Wednesday and Friday, so stay tuned.

What do you guys think?? Would you all appreciate something like this as a favor? I wish I could make one for all of YOU guys! You all have been so sweet and supportive of our upcoming wedding…

Hope you have a great Monday!

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For the love of brass

Things have been a little quiet around the house lately – No massive projects (or even small ones) to speak of. After the unexpected joy and excitement of stumbling upon our new-to-us bar cart last weekend, we’ve sort of taken a backseat to “doing” and have focused more on “living.”  The past week has been full of Mad Men watching, eating out with friends, random trips to Target just ’cause and enjoying some quality chat time at home just the two of us (with our three crazy, wild animals pacing around us).

But to keep your eyes and senses occupied this morning, I wanted to let you in on my most recent obsession – Brass. This is definitely a new thing for me, as I have always been loyal to shiny silver and brushed nickel. That loyalty is still there, but I have come to really appreciate the warmth of a good brass accent or piece of furniture. Rather than acting as a neutral like silver often does, a nice polished brass adds color and richness to a space. Metallics have been trending a lot in the past year and brass is right up there on my list of favorites.

Sure, there are definitely “bad brasses” out there (I’ve even been known to cover it up, as seen here), but I think even the bad ones can be used stylishly in a space as long as you know how to balance the sheen out in the rest of the room (without going overboard). I have unconsciously begun to pepper brass accents throughout our home, especially in the living room  – It’s subtle but a few pieces here and there has really given the room a lux retro feel.

To further convince you sceptics, feast your eyes on these gorgeous spaces – You’ll notice that brass never overpowers, but instead enhances a color scheme and gives just a touch of needed sparkle.

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If you’re still not convinced, I really can’t blame you since I used to cringe at the sight of it not too long ago. Maybe it’s an acquired taste.

Anyway, I have big brass-hunting plans for tomorrow – John and I are making our now-standard trek downtown to scour the Estate Specialist for a brass bed frame for the twin bed in the studio. I’m hoping a more sophisticated and sleek shape will get me one step closer to a perfect space. I know the look I’m going for, it’s just taking longer than necessary to get there…

So what are your thoughts on brass? Love it? Hate it? Not sure yet?

Have a great weekend!

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Newest post for Breathe Magazine

Click on over to Breathe Magazine online to see my latest post, all about bringing the outdoors in to style your space. See how spray painting a branch can create something sculptural and interesting for your shelf displays. Click here for all the deets!

Enjoy!

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