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Skeleton DIY Wreath

This fun skeleton wreath is simple, easy, & inexpensive to make! It only required a few items that were easily sourced from Michaels craft store & Target – links to exact items used are in the instructions below.

Wreath prep – 18″ wreath spray painted black, while the paint is still tacky, sprinkle iridescent glitter all over. Tip- do this outside! Let dry and then glaze over the wreath with clear acrylic spray. This will prevent the black paint from fading or bleeding caused by sun or rain. 

Next, grab a few bolts of ribbons you like and make a bow. I used three in different styles of black & white but if you prefer more Halloween colors, go for it! There is no right or wrong just be creative. I made my bow with extra long loops to accommodate the skull in the center. Instead of tying off my bow with wire, I used a long ribbon tail and double knotted. This technique allows me to attach the bow to the wreath using the ribbon itself and left enough length to weave through the skull’s jaw. 

Once I had the skull bow secured, I hung some gauze cloth behind the bow and wired in the top hand. Then I draped the cloth over the center of the wreath in different places. No wire or glue needed for the cloth since it caught on everything & wouldn’t let go easily. 

I wired in the other hand on top of the gauze and glued a cute pumpkin into the hand. 

The finished product turned out great! I had other items on the table to add but it really didn’t need more than this. I set this up on a wreath stand and decked out the table with a few other glittering finds from Michaels. The hand print gauze can be found here.

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DIY Live Edge Desk

I searched & searched for the perfect desk. I spent hours pouring over websites and Pinterest in hopes that one would strike my fancy and be the perfect size, color and price. I found a few that I really liked, but my wallet hated them! I started thinking about what attracted me to certain desks and breaking them down. In essence, they were just a wooden rectangle with 4 legs and if I wanted to pay an extra $300 I could get a few drawers along with them. Most desks were averaging $399 – $899! The ones that were under $300 were all pressboard or plastic creations that would fall apart just by looking at them.

My husband and I began looking into making one – after all it was just a wooden slab with a few legs, it would be easy right? One option we tossed around was using an old door but it would be too long and cutting it would effectively ruin the look we were going for. I mean, it would be a door with legs so really not that cool or unique. During our months long search, we happened upon a salvage business that had live edge wood slabs that they were selling as mantles. And then the angels sang. A ray of sunlight fell on the smiling face of my husband and then passed over to illuminate the stack of wood in the corner of the store. A bit melodramatic I know, but honestly that was the way it felt. Just look at these beauties – store slabs

Euphoria quickly passed to dismay when we saw the price tags, nothing under $700 for raw wood. If we got the slab sanded and an epoxy coat it would be over $1000. Wasn’t going to happen, not in this lifetime! We talked the whole way home at how disappointed we were at pricing and were about to give up and go with some cheap mass-produced desk. Once home I searched the web for slab wood and came across a local sawmill that advertised raw live edge slabs for sale. The next day we made a trip to said sawmill and we were overjoyed to find the pricing to be affordable. We picked up a beautiful maple slab for $78! Here she is in her primitive state – rough slab

The sawmill offered sanding and epoxy finish services for an additional $150 so we said yes to the desk! Here is a couple of pics of the sanded glazed slab below; we did a photo with flash and one without so the true color of the grain comes out –

We picked it up a couple of days later and went to work installing in the office. It was actually pretty easy to do, we picked up a 2×4, two galvanized pipes with threaded ends, two metal flanges, and two round threaded pipe end caps. Total cost for those materials was about $40 and they are easily sourced at Lowes or Home Depot.

We bolted the 2×4 to the wall after sizing the height of the pipe legs and desk top. Then we pre-drilled holes in the bottom of the desk for the flanges that the pipe legs would screw into. We put the pipe legs on, added the round caps to the bottom of the feet and set the back edge of the slab on top of the 2×4. Once we had it positioned, we attached the back to the 2×4 with really long wood screws. The thread feet of the pipe caps came in handy when trying to level with the floor, we were able to twist adjust just like on the feet of a bed frame or couch. Here is the finished result – desk installedWe love how it turned out and best of all it is movable! This photo was taken in our former home, we have since moved and the desk came with us. I would show an updated shot, but my hubby is kind of messy with his desk and I honestly do not feel like cleaning it off for a picture! In all seriousness, we have had many compliments on the desk, it is unique, it is us and it is functional.

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Wreath 3 Ways

If you are like me, you’re always looking for shortcuts, time savers and deals! That is exactly what I will be showing you with this next creation, wait…creations! I call this big little guy ‘Wreath 3 Ways’ –  because that is exactly what you will get, a wreath that you can add to over the holiday season. It will get you through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Also, this wreath has no glue as well, just simple mechanics for easy dismantling.

So before we get into the play by-play, just a little background on this process. The changing wreath is an old tradition with designers, it was not born of desire for change rather, necessity. Often times fall wreaths wouldn’t sell or designers were stuck with fall supplies such as berries and foliage. Same thing with Christmas silks and ornaments. Rather than store them to sell the next year, we try to use them up in other ways. You see, we love shopping for new things also and not being able to buy the latest and greatest from suppliers would crush our spirits.

Another old trick designers use is smart shopping – I’ll show you what I mean in the pic below. Basically designers buy simple pre-made wreaths. Most are just foliage, berries or a vine of one type of flower. Pre-mades are pretty cheap, skimpy and could never probably make it as a standalone wreath. You can find them at every craft and big box store the world over. Here are two that I will be working with today, plain berry and wheat grass –  wreath 3 ways 1

First order of business is to fluff the wreaths. Fluffing is not difficult, lay the wreath on a flat surface and pull the individual stems toward you. It should look odd and like your wreath just exploded. If you have achieved that look, you did it right. Next, I take the berry wreath and lay it over the wheat wreath. Once I have it centered, I pull the wheat stems between the berry stems, twisting them around as I go to secure the wreaths together. Not all stems have to be twisted together, but at least in four key places to hold them together. Once finished, it will still look as if the wreath exploded…perfect! wreath 3 ways 1-2

I added a gourd to the center for an autumn look wreath 3 ways 1-5

Next up, Christmas! I removed the gourd and added pinecones and that’s it. Pretty simple I know, but you can add an ornament or two if you like or even a bird’s nest with a cardinal – the possibilities are endless. No need to glue, just wire them in.wreath 3 ways 1-3

And finally, a little extra for after Christmas. I left the pinecones in and added iced hanging berries for a winter look. Only 2 stems needed and they were of course wired in.wreath 3 ways 1-4

And that’s it! One wreath, 3 ways and I am set from September to February!

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Home Grown Goodness!

Although I am no longer a practicing florist, my love of flowers and arranging them has never faded. I also love gardening and harvesting the bounty of mother nature. Some of my favorite flora to plant and work with are roses, peonies and variegated greens of all types. Any ornamental foliage you can name I love! Typically I leave the flowers in my garden alone, save for the occasional pruning for health and beauty, but every now and again I can’t resist taking a few of the really showy ones indoors.

If you want to create arrangements from your garden grown beauties, keep in mind they will only be beautiful for a day or two. Is it really worth chopping into your rose bush for blooms that will be short lived? Some varieties are bred for larger blooms with longer life on the stem, but even those will wilt after 5 days. Now, if your willpower runs dry, (like mine does), cut them from the plant with as little damage as possible and only choose the blooms that have already begun opening.

Here is an example of a gorgeous all natural, backyard grown arrangement I created for the young lady who had bought our previous home. I wanted to welcome her home and show her just how beautiful her new garden is, but also secretly hoped it would encourage her to continue caring for my blooming babies.

I used pink Peonies, yellow roses, variegated sedum, and lemon thyme to add some scent and create a cascade effect. When cutting the peonies, I took blooms that had lots of leaves on them to use as filler in the vase. The leaves also served the purpose of lacing, which held the bouquet together without using a tape grid, florist frog, or wire. I personally do not use tape grids and never have, I let the natural leaves of flowers to do the work for me.

If you want to grow plants that you can cut and bring indoors with ease here is a list of easy grow, easy cut blooms –

Roses

Peonies

Sedum

Lavender

Thyme

Rosemary

Heather

Stock

In a future post, I will do a video tutorial on how to arrange flowers in a vase without using grids or other mechanics so stay tuned!

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Easy Fall Centerpiece

Before the first leaf drops, I get the ‘twitch’. This uncontrollable urge to buy mums and pumpkins and every single item with pumpkin spice in the description. Every year I make a fall wreath, arrangement or put out some sort of display. Every year I spend way too much money on fall decor and honestly it is such a short season I am not sure it is worth the trouble. Before halloween arrives, I am already buying up Christmas ornaments and garlands for my next project.

This year I decided to challenge myself with spending under $30 for my fall decor but I still wanted something beautiful. I set off to Walmart with nothing in particular in mind except for my budget, (which my husband was very happy about), and I started adding things to my cart. As a former florist I will say that usually I would not work with Walmart brand silks. Nothing against them, but they are lower quality than the high end stuff hence the better price. That said, when it comes to silks that will be used outdoors it doesn’t matter if they are high end or not – mother nature destroys them with equal prejudice. Also, fruits and veggie silks are basically all made the same way so the cheap stuff looks about the same as the ones that are twice the price.

I picked up a medium size pumpkin for $5, a few pumpkin picks that were $1.29, and a bag of mixed gourds & pinecones for $3. I also swiped a few small/medium glitter pumpkins for under a buck each. Below is a peek at what I brought home.DSC_0201

I also picked up a small fern plant for $6. I already had spanish moss, (the grey squiggley stuff in the upper right of the photo), regular sheet moss, & green glo plant polish on hand. Those three items are part of my crafting staples. I had a total of $17 invested so far. I did cheat a little on the cost since I already had a few containers sitting around the house that were keeping the dust off the shelves in the closet. I picked a large metal one that I bought eons ago because it was on sale and beautiful but never found the right place in my home. DSC_0203

First, I sized the plant and leftover space for my styrofoam. Then I wired the styrofoam in. I chose this method for a couple of reasons, first – it was easiest! In all seriousness, hot glue does not adhere well to metal and the other alternative is to use this green stuff called stickum which is nearly impossible to scrape off. Oh and did I mention this centerpiece project is no glue? That’s right, no hot glue is used here, just some wire and God’s good grace holding it all together. DSC_0205

Once I had the foam wired in, I slipped the fern into place and covered my work with spanish moss. Moss is fairly cheap and a little goes a long way, don’t waste moss or money by grabbing a handful and stuffing! Stretch it as if you had slime in your hands and you’ll see what I mean. DSC_0208

Notice I left the top of the foam uncovered – more on that later. Next, I add the floral picks. I had 3 so I placed them first around the bottom of the foam. DSC_0209DSC_0221

I placed one on the bottom left corner and another on the top right corner diagonally. The final pick went in the bottom right corner making a triangle shape. Next, I created some picks of my own using the loose pumpkins, leaves and berries. I inserted wire, (folded in half to make more durable), into one of the pumpkins and then grabbed a leaf and a sprig of berries and wrapped them all together with brown floral tape. I did not glue the wire into the pumpkin since my plan is to take this all apart when the season is over. Glue ruins the styrofoam and can damage the pumpkin when trying to remove. If you want it more secure by all means, glue to your hearts content. DSC_0215

Finished pick –

DSC_0216

I made a couple of these picks and filled in the empty space in the front of the arrangement.DSC_0217

Then I added some individual leaves and pinecones to fill in gapsDSC_0226DSC_0231DSC_0230

Now that the front is filled in, I added sheet moss to the remaining visible styrofoam and around the flower pot. Notice there is is still empty space in the back corner of the arrangement and only a lone flower pick I placed there in the beginning is looking kinda pitiful.DSC_0223This area is designated for the larger pumpkin. The finishing touch!DSC_0242The larger pumpkin is just resting between the picks which support the weight easily and is not glued or wired in. Again, this is for easy breakdown without damaging the foam made pumpkin. If you desire to make it more permanent, use wire stemming instructions from the self made picks with hot glue. Here is the final result – DSC_0244Looks gorgeous! This beauty can be used on a table indoors or out. When fall is over, just pull the pick out for easy storage and the plant, which is already in a container, can provide some lasting natural beauty in any room that needs a little pick me up. I did use a terra cotta pot with a small saucer so it can be easily watered and removed without having to re-pot. A $17 investment with a huge wow effect! This fell below my budget of $30, but if you do not have wire, florist tape, moss or a container on hand, you could easily purchase the extra items for under $20. This can also be made on a smaller scale, 4 inch pots instead of the 6 inch I used and a couple less of the picks. It really depends on your preference and the size container you want to use.

Happy Fall Y’all!

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Why I Blog

I started this blog for a few reasons. First, I love designing – be it my own home, for a friend or even just fantasy rooms in my head. Secondly, I find myself being asked for advice with color choices for paint, cabinets, fabric and so on. Lastly, because I am hesitant to give my honest true opinion on design directly to said friends and family. You can never tell when they want real advice or if they are just looking for affirmation. I figure a blog is the best outlet for me to share my opinions on design without directly insulting anyone’s design choices. I’m sure it will happen in some form though.

That is the nature of design, it can stir such feelings of pride and passion because at it’s root, design is a reflection of who you are as a person. A good designer is one who can help you express yourself through style choices, so if you have one that tries to understand you, hang onto them! There are more than a few who only know their own style that try to force it on your home. Others only know the style of the moment, HGTV runs their business and your wallet. I still struggle at times with finding my own style, but not because I am a poor designer. My problem is that I love them all! I love all the possibilities, the colors, fabrics. Mid century modern – yes! Traditional – yes! French country – yes! Contemporary – yes! Don’t even get me started on textures…

So, why should you trust my opinion? You don’t. I am simply here to inspire and offer my experience, my failures, and my successes. I come with a bit of street cred though, I was a florist for many years and an interior designer. I’ve also been to trade school for horticulture so that means gardening tips will sneak in here from time to time. Who am I kidding? In spring that may be all you see from me, I have this weird thing for plants to!

This design blog will not be like others that show you artsy staged rooms and poetic photos of lone chairs with an apple on it. I am committed to designing around real life. I see so many beautifully staged design blogs that promise a better life if you just paint your dresser a sheik new color; but in reality, that crap won’t look right or work in your home. I’m gonna save you some heartache or cause it. This is about harsh truths that your best friend wouldn’t tell you. That chalk paint doesn’t always fix the funky table you have in the corner, sometimes it is just junk and you need to throw it out and move on. That is my life’s motto by the way.

Enjoy the blog!