Thursday, November 4, 2021

Quick Tip To Fill A Vase

 Don't you just love the pictures of beautiful mantels or tables with a vase full of perfectly placed flowers or some tall sprigs spraying out from the top? Me too! 

But when I tried to get that look it ended up looking like this:


As a young woman, I worked in a florist shop in Denver, Colorado and my boss was great. She taught me how to make corsages, small arrangements and how to fill a vase... 

Somehow, over time, I had forgotten that I possessed that information until this happened!

This is how to fix it:

A florist will use florist tape (green, stretchy tape) to make a grid pattern on the top of the vase. This grid pattern will hold your blooms/greens in place. (New info to me-it comes in different colors now.)

I found these images online.



I didn't have any florist tape on hand so I used painter's tape. I doesn't matter because the vase is on the mantle and you won't see the uglies. 

I was only using 2 sprigs so I didn't need to make multiple holes.

Now you can put the stems in. They won't flop to the side but stay where you put them. 

Maybe someone out there needed the reminder, like me or perhaps this in new information for you. Either way, happy decorating! 

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Tips For Your Fall Table And Mantel

 Today, I am going to share with you my process for decorating my dining room for any given season. 

Yes,  I did decorate for autumn this year but you know it is always hard for me to let summer go. My summer table was very simple this year. I pulled a woven runner down the center and loaded it with all my beach finds: shells, rocks and glass. Add a little greenery and some twinkle lights and call er' done. 

The mantel got a similar treatment; seashells, driftwood and twinkle lights are my jam. 
(Do people still say that?)

But summer can't last forever, especially here in New England. So, it was time for a clean slate.

When I begin I gather all the items I have for that season. I am not limited to using just these items nor will I use all these items but I want to see everything that I have and develop a plan from there. Remember to shop your stuff. Not everything has to be used in the same way or same place every year. 

A recent trip with a friend to Hobby Lobby gave me my starting point this year. The royal blue, velvet pumpkin and the squirrel are new additions. I love that pumpkin and it gave me an idea! 
I pulled out my grandmother's blue and white pottery that I usually use for summer.
 Yup, I'm gonna sneak some summer in there. 

I use risers in my decorating. They can be cake stands, candle holders, books, a flat lid... anything to give some rise and fall in your arrangement. I also pulled out a scarf to use as a type of runner. 

In this case I decided to put the risers under the scarf and then scrunched it in a messy s-shaped arrangement. I added a driftwood garland and the pottery. 

At this point I add twinkle lights because I don't want them to just lay on top of the arrangement. I want them woven into it. I wrap them around a rolling pin to get the spiral effect and then nestle them into the arrangement. 

Once the base is set I add in the accents and fillers. In this case I used my painted dollar store pumpkins, seashells (still holding onto summer), and hydrangea picks I made several years ago for the autumn season.

I nestled in some candle sticks and added my great-grandmothers turkey plates. I topped them with blue and white plates Mister picked out a few years ago. Can you find the pretty velvet pumpkin? 

The mantel got a dressed up. My teal pitcher that is usually only used for summer made its way out of storage. A riser holds a fake pumpkin. Painted dollar store pumpkins, a large starfish, sand dollar and wood beads accompany the inspiration squirrel. Twinkle lights and some springs of greenery along with some of the hydrangea picks finish off the coordinating look. 

When I decorated the table I did so with the table being its normal length. That was a mistake! I needed it to be ready for guests so I had to undo the whole thing, add the leaf and put it back. That is when I decided to change one of the risers to a shorter one. The ginger pot that sat on that one was too tall and kept me from being able to see the people on the other side of the table. 
I also added some green apples to break up the blues a bit. 

In hind sight I should have arranged the whole thing on some sort of moveable board for ease in changing the leaf in the table. My table has been at its super-sized length for almost two months- which is silly for when it is just Mister and me. I will work on the for next time. 

So, here's the take away: 

1) Shop your stuff-you don't always have to buy new
2) Use risers                                                                
3) Add twinkle lights                                                   
4) Use unexpected or out of season items  
5) Make sure sight lines are not obstructed                      
6) Don't be afraid to adjust as needed  
If you use any of these tips, let me know! 

Ready your home for guests, friends, and family. Share a cup of tea or a meal together.
 Encourage one another. 

So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Galatians 6:10

Party Links 
Blue Sky At Home, Katherine's Corner, Shabby Art Boutique

*Mantle has been changed to mantel. Sorry for the misspell. 

Saturday, October 23, 2021

I Got Stuck


The craziness of the past two years has had me stuck in a very weird place mentally and spiritually. I think about writing blogposts but then I struggle with "why". I follow the news and have filled my brain to the brim with politics, world news, videos, articles and books. All it has served to do for me is to make me anxious, mad and honestly, a bit hopeless

"Does anyone really care if I decorate for the new season?" That is one of many questions I replay in my mind. "In the grand scheme of things, doesn't decorating my home seem rather bourgeoise?", I ask myself. People are losing their lives, their loved ones, their jobs, their freedoms. If I manage to muster up some creativity to make a new wreath in this out-of-my-control environment whose going to care? Why bother to decorate at all? 

Maybe, you're feeling a bit like that.  

I was stuck. But, I am a Christian. Words like anxious, mad and hopeless shouldn't be words that describe me. While I have been wallowing in these worthless attitudes far too long God has not been absent. I have been all too eager to engage in conversation with strangers and friends about current events; discussing and commiserating over temporary things that will come and go and not about what is really important-eternal things. Why? It is because of what I am allowing my mind be consumed by.  

But God....

They are my favorite two words in all the Bible! 

But God, in his Word, has told me that I am not supposed to give in to those feelings of anxiety. He speaks to me as he did to Martha, 

Luke 10:41 - But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, (Jolena, Jolena) you are anxious and troubled about many things,

Matthew 6:27 - And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

And then he tells me how to fight that feeling and why I can let the anxiety go...

Philippians 4:4-6 - Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

I forgot, Lord. You are at hand. You are in control of everything that seems to me to be quite out of control.

I still feel mad about the images and stories I see and read, though. I wonder if people are believing things of me based on my medical standing, skin color, economic status or faith that are just not true. I look at their faces, read their comments, hear the false narratives and have conversations in my head. 

But God says...

James 3:8-9 - but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.

Psalm 4:4 - Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. 

Ecclesiastes 7:9 - Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools.

Ok, so what is at the heart of my attitude of anger? All the information and divisive rhetoric out there has planted seeds.  Am I looking at complete strangers and old friends as if they are now enemies because of what I imagine they may be thinking about me? I have inwardly questioned the motives of people I have known for decades. This took some real sole searching for me and it brought me full circle to a rather profoundly hurtful situation we experienced several years ago but this time am the guilty party. I am supposing the worst of people and friends! How did I let my heart go there?

Lord, help me!

Philippians 2:3b - ... in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

1 Corinthians 13:7 - Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on it's own way; it does not rejoice at wrong doing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Romans 12:10 - Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

And, so what of feeling hopeless? As I look around I am overwhelmed like Peter, not by one colossal wave but by wave-upon-wave and I feel I cannot catch my breath. 

Lord, save me.

But God points gently shows me that I have focused on the wrong things and redirects my gaze. "Take your eyes off the waves. Look at me."

Hebrews 12:2 - looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 -So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

1 Timothy 4:10a - For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God...

Uh-oh, where have I been setting my hope? On government, my country, relationships, science, feelings... I have let my mind, imagination, and heart drift away from truth. 

Psalm 42:5 - Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation. 

God has answered all my anxiety, anger and hopelessness. Today, I am anchored in God's Word and if I stay keep my eyes on him I will not drift. 

Hebrews 2:1 - Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.

Psalm 19:14 - Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

Friends, as we go forward I hope to have more posts that encourage you to take your eyes from things that not within your control and trust the One who sovereignly holds it all together. 

In the meantime, go ahead-make your homes beautiful.

Open your doors to the weary and have those conversations that really matter.

Encourage one another, love one another. 

Speak truth. 

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Picturing A New Fall Wreath

After being inspired by different images on the internet I decided my front door would benefit from a new wreath on the front door. 

My goal was to do it as inexpensively as possible, using what I had and what I could find at the Dollar Tree Store. 

I have said this before but I will say it again in case you're new here... Shop Your Stuff. "What does that mean", you ask?  Look around your home. What are you not using? What can be refreshed or used in a different way? I do not throw stuff away often. I will cycle items in and out of use in my home. Sometimes things will sit in a closet or on a shelf for a couple years and then be used somewhere else in a different way. Sometimes, I get tired of looking at something but simply moving it to different room or into a different arrangement makes me love it all over again. 

So, I did look around and found an old picture frame. I had painted it with white chalk paint a few years ago for a gallery wall that has since been dismantled and it sat in my stash. 

It was a little too white for my liking now so I took some sandpaper to it and sanded back to the wood on the high points. 

I spent less than $10 at the dollar store for leaf sprigs, pumpkins, flowers and wire-edged ribbon. (I did not end up using the fall sign here.)

I layed out my leaves and flowers for an idea of where I was headed and then I just jumped in. I began by cutting the excess stem and hot-gluing the leaf sprigs in place. 

Using my wire cutters I clipped the flowers from their bunches.

I made a bow using Nick's method here. He does such a great job that I'll just leave it to him! 

I wired and glued the bow into place and then added the flowers and pumpkin picks around the bow. This really is where you need to just feel your way. I don't want to put too many of these in place before my bow because I don't want the bow to cover them all up. 

And here it is. 

My front porch is the first greeting my guests receive when they come to my home and now it is ready for Autumn! 

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Monday, October 4, 2021

A Guiding Light

Mister and I celebrated our 25th Anniversary this year! In 1996 we spent our honeymoon on Nantucket and it was perfect. There is a beautiful little lighthouse on the island called Brant Point. It is iconic, quintessential New England. But lighthouses, while romantic and beautiful to look at on a beautiful summer day, are vitally important in the storm to mariners who are in dangerous, uncertain waters. 

Totally unrelated (but bear with me),  few years ago I had mister change out the light on our front porch for something more beachy looking. That old fixture became my inspiration piece. The metal was rusty and yucky but I tucked it away because it was telling me to! (Mister had wanted to throw it away!)

With a lot of time on our hands and not much to do during the pandemic we decided to build our own lighthouse as a homage to that memory. 

Planning it out took some conversation. We considered doing it out of wood. The cost of wood is prohibitive, the angles to be cut were mind boggling, and rotting would be a factor considering it was to sit in the garden. So, concrete seemed a reasonable option. 

Using an inverted tomato cage as our shape was part of our plan but that was going to be a LOT of concrete. We purchased a sonotube from Home Depot. Sonotubes are thick cardboard tubes that you fill with concrete to form columns or footings to build upon. We placed it in the center of the tomato cage and filled the space between the cage and the sonotube with concrete- leaving the center hollow. I TOOK NO PICTURES OF THIS! I get caught up in the project-sorry. 

This project took about 10 bags of quick setting concrete. We mixed one bag at a time and packed it into place. Use thick gloves or this stuff will destroy your manicure! Because this is quick setting product time is important. You cannot stop, take a call, or go to pick up the kids in between. 

Once everything was packed well another bag was mixed a little soup-ier (loose). Mister used this as a smoothing coat over everything.

The metal prongs that would normally be pushed into the ground on the tomato cage were still sticking up past that first circular ring. He cut them off with wire snips. Level out the top where your base and light fixture will sit.

I attempted to make a concrete disk to sit on the top using a plant tray, the kind that catches water under a potted plant. Without rebar it broke apart. 

Plan B. We purchased two round, wood disks at Home Depot, a can of black spray paint and solar lights (we bought 2; one for backup) used to light up walkways, doweling, small eye hooks and black chain all for less than $35, I think.

Mister glued and screwed the two wood discs together. He then drilled holes around the outer edge to accept doweling. I cut the dowels to length, glued and inserted them into the holes. After the glue dried, eye hooks were screwed into the tops of each dowel.  

We had some pvc board and mister cut and mitered pieces into a hexagonal shape to elevate our light fixture as it just sat too low and looked wimpy. That was screwed into the round discs. We did cut a large hole  through the center of the wood discs to allow water to pass.

Very little sanding happened (because that was my job)

I painted it black. When that dried we added the chain through the eye hooks.  The base got a few coats of exterior white paint.

A little deconstruction of the original light fixture, a little black spray paint and the insertion of our deconstructed solar light and we have a mighty fine (or at least functional) lighting mechanism. 

Mister used silicon to attach the disc to the top of the concrete structure. Also, lesson learned during a storm, that a dab of silicon to secure the solar light was necessary. Good thing we bought 2! 

On hot nights we sat on our porch watching the light from the summer sun retreat. Just as the last bit of sun goes out the lighthouse shines bright!  25 years of marriage... wow. 

In all the craziness of the past 2 years I am most thankful that when 
I am with my husband I am in a safe harbor. 

God has blessed us both in this marriage.

 And, though these times are dangerous and uncertain He has been our guiding light. 


Friday, March 12, 2021

Spring Basket

It's been a while since I have posted. For me, and maybe for you, the political and civil unrest in our country has just had my mind preoccupied. I have found that my peace is easily affected by what I allow to come in. More time in prayer and in the Word always serves me well. Too much time on social media or watching the television and I get discouraged. So the obvious answer is to spend more time with Jesus and less time with all the other stuff, right? A simple "I'll just check Fakebook" turns into a wasted hour and more stories and images and "I-can't-believe-that"s than I ever wanted in my day. I know I am not alone and just wanted to let you know that if that is how things have been for you, you are not alone.

I need to refocus! Spring is here and I decided I could use a change. For now I will concentrate on my arrangement for the front door. I thought I would show you what I had up the past two Spring seasons but apparently I only shared it on IG. 

Armed with a coupon and a small budget I went off to my local Michael's store. Their spring florals were 50% off. I found some ribbon in the discount section that went well with the sprays I picked out. Because everything was on sale I didn't even need to use the coupon and I spent about $20!           

I have a Longaberger basket that I have used for arrangements in years past and I always have some sort of floral foam hiding in my stash. Any basket would do. I just used what I have.

I put the floral foam into the basket. 

My basket is about 10" tall so I want my arrangement to extend about the 10" above the rim of the basket. (A good rule of thumb is to make your arrangements 1 1/2- 2 times the size of your container height.)

I left the main flowers, peonies, in the cluster they were purchased in and just moved the wired stems around. I shoved that whole stem right into the foam! The first time I inserted I realized my arrangement would be too tall so I moved them to the back side of the foam block and adjusted the blooms.

I used wire cutters to separate the cosmos and purple flowers from their bunches to allow for individual placement.

You can dip these in hot glue as you are placing them in. I tend to use and reuse and didn't want to make them so permanent so just stabbing them into the floral foam was enough for me. 

To keep the whole thing from blowing out of the basket on a windy day I crisscross floral wire through the flowers, securing the ends to the top of the basket rim. 

Lastly, I fashioned a bow. I started with one small center loop and two larger loops on either side, adding long tails. I tied the whole thing together with floral wire. For $3 worth of ribbon I am happy with the outcome. I attached it to the basket with the floral wire. 

For now it is hanging indoors but will be moved to the front door once St. Patrick's Day has passed and my wooden shamrock makes it's way back into storage for the year. 

Are you working on any springtime projects? I would love to see them. You can share them with me on either Instagram or Facebook.

Thanks for visiting! 

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