Thursday, August 19, 2010

Inspiration is Everywhere

Inspiration for decorating (or life for that matter) is everywhere. Take today for instance. I was walking Duke along the lake in our neighborhood and was overcome with a sense of awe at the beauty surrounding us - the water, birds, blue sky, and this gorgeous willow tree.As I walked home, I was so inspired, that my mind began to race with excitement about creating a special floral arrangement for my friend Erin's Baby Shower this weekend. She is a very hip chick so, I wanted to reflect that same spirit in her arrangement! I also knew my budget was slim (whose isn't these days?) With that in mind, I wanted to use elements from my own garden and yard and since she is having a boy, browns,greens,and creams were a perfect choice! Then, as I approach my house, I am instantly drawn to my front garden and have a plan! My new friend, Annie, had just taught me how to create a gorgeous centerpiece using a simple cream urn. How perfect is the fleur de lis embossed on this rich, creamy pottery urn? I knew Erin, my hip, mommy-to-be would love it!After a big glass of water, Duke and I headed outside to the back yard to begin playing with our flowers (well Duke napped in the shade)!First, I recycled the floral oasis Annie had shared with me. Then I created a "collar" around the top of the urn with hosta leaves... I chose these hostas for their varigated color.
Then I added a row of this fun shrub... not even sure what it's called, but love it! It brought a sense of whimsy just like Erin does when she enters a room! I loved these fun chartreuse and brown clusters of texture!
Next, I added stems of hydrangea flowers, giving the arrangement a feminine, vintage feel. The newest trend in decorating is mixing vintage with modern... did you know that? You should have a party with me, so I can share more tips with your friends!
For the height, I decided to go with the leggy stalks from the hosta plants. They seemed to be that masculine punch I was looking for... even though the flowers had already done their thing, it was a nice touch.I thought I was done when I started back into the house, I walked past my fern and decided why not add some fern? What do you think? Do you like it better with the fern or without? Remember, this is a special arrangement so I need some feedback!
All in all, I think it looks okay. Annie, did I make you proud?! Thanks, my friend, for the lesson, letting my borrow your urn, and for our new friendship! It's what I love most about our business!

Now go my friends, look for inspiration in everyday things. Decorating doesn't have to be expensive. It can actually be free!

Stayed tuned for more pictures from the shower! And Erin, you better not have that baby until after the shindig!p.s. Isn't Duke cute? This is his idea of "exercise"... no wonder he's so "fluffy" and me too!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Spring "Fall In Love With your Home" Workshop

So many ideas for Spring decorating and entertaining and it can be done on a budget! So many ideas and pictures to share that it may take a few days to share them all...

Ideas for Confirmation parties, Mother's Day...

Simple Spring florals...

And thanks to Rachel for all the incredible ideas for creating Spring Floral arrangements... loved ALL the tips!

Oh, and the Cinco de Mayo theme ideas... Can hardly wait until our next gathering girls! It was a BLAST!

Welcome - Ya'll Come On In

We all want our homes to say, "welcome come on in and stay a while", but how do we get that message across? SIMPLE... is your front door colorful and bright? Is there a place for people to sit and linger a while?
No need to have a wreath for every season - ugh... who wants to store all those wreaths?! A simple container can be a wonderful value! Cut fresh branches and flowers from your yard or invest in nice seasonal florals (at Hobby Lobby for 40% off using weekly coupons)! Mix it up and use both...
Add candlelight for ambiance for evening entertaining...

Just makes folks want to come on in and visit!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Family + Memories = HOME

Spring is when I miss the South the most! I LOVE Chicago, but the winters are long, windy, and often downright cold!! I long for dogwoods, azaleas, as my Granny calls them, "buttercups", or daffodils. But boy do I treasure Spring Break every year, as it means "going home" to visit my roots at our farm in Tennessee. For five generations this farm has been the very essence of what family means to us... being close to God, nature, and creating memories! This is where I discovered the meaning of HOME! It was nothing fancy, just place that made my heart warm and where I felt safe and happy! I laugh as I recall memories of the rooster chasing my sister and pecking her or the time our horse, Dolly, stepped into swarm of bees and went crazy bucking and Bridget screaming (almost in delight)! Oh, and my precious great-granddaddy who taught me a passion for sweet potatoes. I'll never forget and a dear grandmother whose heart is bigger than any other I've ever known! HOME!! It's where memories are created and treasured... Today we have to embrace our havens and enjoy the happiness and comfort "home" brings to us.

Check Out My Kids in Rachel Ray

Several months ago a dear friend emailed me and said she sent my name into the "Everyday with Rachel Ray" mag for Family Matters, a feature dedicated to families cooking together. Next thing I know, we are cooking Asian Sloppy Joes, takings pic (oh my kids LOVED that), and being selected for the May issue.

We had a GREAT time... Check out my son's veggie smiley face featured on ... of course, my Italian Stitch platter! We LOVED the Swiss Chard addition to a family fav! Hope ya'll enjoy....

Three Elements of Decorating and Entertaining

3 Basic Elements to Setting a Beautiful Table: COLOR, TEXTURE, and HEIGHT
Appeal to all the senses – smell, sight, taste, touch, and hearing
COLLECT: ANYTHING around your house that reflects your theme (something might seem crazy at first - remember, this is going to be amazing & inexpensive!) Make this fun by sending your kids on a scavenger hunt! Pick pinecones or cut branches from your trees. Use things you already have! Go through the pantry… seeds, beans, coffee beans, pasta, fruits, veggies all add texture! Make your invites, napkin rings, centerpieces with scraps of ribbon, fabric, felt. Make it personal… family pictures, old books, collectibles, antique boxes, anything sentimental helps “tell a story” and makes guests feel special.

#1 Rule: Prepare as much in advance and keep it simple! Entertaining on a budget is easy… it takes some planning and creativity, but make it fun! Involve your kids (creates memories), make things, use things in unusual ways! See ideas below under “collect”. Have some “basic” pieces that you can “change up… see ideas below…
THEME: Choose a theme and use it for your invitations, tabletop, buffet, and even a small gift for your guests
Casual Holiday: rustic and natural, Fancy Holiday or Occasion: decadent, shiny silver, appealing colors.
Contemporary: clear containers, clean lines, simple.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Creating a Warm and Welcoming Home

The most common remark I hear after the holidays is that after the decorations come down, the home looks stark, boring, and down right cold! No one wants to welcome family and friends into their home feeling this way! Most women strive to create a warm haven for their loved ones. Well, there is hope! And it doesn't require a second mortgage!! You may even have some of these items around your home!

Let's take your mantel. It is usually a focal point in your home, right? And don't you love memories created sitting by the fire with your family? But where do you start in making this empty space look inviting and warm? Simple...

First, decide on a color palette or theme. Look at other colors in the room, say your rug or fabrics. Take a trip to your local craft store. I LOVE Hobby Lobby and they often offer floral stems 50% off... if not visit their website for 40% off coupons! Take pictures of you rugs, fabric, as well as paint chips from your wall colors. Then take a walk down the floral isles... Remember the three key elements to any decorating project... (height, texture, and color in case you have not been to my parties or workshops!) Find some branches that offer the height you want in the back... green, leafy branches are perfect. Maybe add some brown, earthy tones with some branches... curly willow is a great choice! Then add some varying shades of your dominant color... for this example I used reds and oranges (the color from my rug and throw pillows). I always buy stems in odd numbers to mimic nature. Then grab a vase or container of some sort. I chose the hand glazed cache pot.Next add balance to either side of the floral with sconces. Then flank each side of the floral with varying heights of candlesticks, lanterns, and hurricanes. To me nothing warms a home like candlelight! Now we even have safer option of battery operated candles... even comes with timers so they come on every night!!

Now the final "sprinkling" of personal touches... add some personal items that reflect something special about you and your family... a plate that was your Grandmothers, your grandfather's books, a metal cross, even pictures of your family in decorative frames. I also used a Luminary Chapel from our newest catalog! LOVE this item!!

Now you want to "complete the look" so don't stop at the mantel. A fireplace screen can be that final accessory that makes an outfit! Next add a bucket to house your firewood or ferns in the spring and summer!

Now you are ready to have your friends over for a relaxing and enjoyable night, knowing they will feel welcome, loved and special!

Click here to see ideas