Yard to Table // Making your own flower + greenery arrangements from the yard

I've probably mentioned this a thousand times by now, but my mom is the queen of making what she has work. Her latest bent has revolved around pulling greenery from her yard and using it around the house. Sounds simple. And potentially unimpressive, right?

Soooo not the case. She was just in town for Rosie's 1st birthday and had fresh little arrangements from the yard sprinkled around my house by the time she left. So I asked her how she did it?! Lets be honest - I don't see ANY potential when I look at my front yard and yet, she threw together simple, fresh and cheerful little arrangements in, like, a minute! So what does she look for? How does she concoct her petite bouquets? She came back to me with her top tips for crafting arrangements from the yard:

  A sampling of the arrangements she has pulled together from our yards!

A sampling of the arrangements she has pulled together from our yards!

Mom's tips for creating arrangements from the yard:

  • Look for firm leaves, interesting structure and varied color. Buds, blooms and berries are always wonderful! 
  • I'm drawn to using a bunch of one thing in an arrangement - like a large bundle of branches, or a hearty handful of leaves in a jar.
  • Don't be afraid to put the smallest stem or single leaf in a tiny little bottle or bud vase. It's the perfect way to spruce up your sink or nightstand, especially when you're expecting overnight guests.
  • Teeny tiny arrangements made up of a few buds and greenery make for a great "pick me up" for a friend. The tinier the better. Everyone needs a little happy sometimes. 
  • Speaking of friends - if you are at a friends house and see something interesting, don't shy away from asking for a small cutting.  Chances are your friend won't miss a small branch or a handful of leaves. 
  • Scavenge your cabinets for pitchers, jars and tiny votives. I hardly ever use a classic vase.
  • Before having guests over, have a trial run with your pickings from the yard. Some wilt more quickly the others - you'd rather they wilt for you the day before then when your guests are arriving!

I'll will be capitalizing on these tips the next time we host a dinner part or get together at the house. Fresh arrangements always brighten up a home - and they don't have to cost you a thing! Head out to the yard (or the sidewalk, you New York folk) and start trimming!

Thanks Mom! 

One Fabric - 5 WAYS!

I'm always more inclined to do a project around the house when I have the proper supplies already in place. Having scrap fabric is one of my staple supplies. But not just any fabric. IKEA fabric :) This to be exact -

I have a longtime love of IKEA and many of there products. It started 20 years ago on family road trips from Dallas to Houston. I remember begging my parents for one of those loft beds staged in one of the 750 square foot mock apartments. Who would have thought this would have been foreshadowing of my 7 years in New York. Never needed the IKEA loft bed, but the Brooklyn store sure became a staple for me while I lived there! I also had the unique opportunity to produce a handful of IKEA photo shoots, as they were one of the clients I worked on while I was at Ogilvy. Needless to say - I love IKEA, but REALLY love this fabric they carry!

It's heavy and hearty and looks way more expensive then $7.99 a yard. I originally bought it to use as a table cloth for a baby shower. The stripes where sharp and striking. I wrote about that shower here. But since then I have used it in countless other ways. This fabric can do wonders! 

From the top left moving clockwise: Simple Sink Skirt (materials: hot glue gun and pinking shears) // Table runner // DIY Bunting // Table Cloth // Beer Box Liner

And just for kicks, I'll throw in a 6th way to use this great fabric - as a photo booth backdrop!

 This was taken about a week before I had Rosie! 

This was taken about a week before I had Rosie! 

Go getchyourself some of that fabric! 

For your toolbox - Chalkboard Tape

I was in Lowes last week and stumbled upon something interesting - chalkboard tape! Maybe I'm late to the game, but this stuff is awesome! What a great thing to add to your DIY toolbox! You can skip the drying time and permanence factor with this little product and jump right on over to using it around your house. Here are 4 ideas to get you started! 

Gift Wrapping

 I'm always scrambling around my house to find gift wrapping materials in decent shape, and rarely do I have cute ribbon on hand. Chalkboard tape saves the day! I wrapped this gift with leftover christmas paper and cut out a ribbon and bow to apply to the box. Then I scribbled a quick design to make it look intentional . 

I'm always scrambling around my house to find gift wrapping materials in decent shape, and rarely do I have cute ribbon on hand. Chalkboard tape saves the day! I wrapped this gift with leftover christmas paper and cut out a ribbon and bow to apply to the box. Then I scribbled a quick design to make it look intentional . 

Weekly Meal Plan or To-Do List

 I'm trying to get better about keeping  a calendar and having a weekly meal plan. The most simple way to keep myself on track is to write everything down! I used a clipboard I had in our office and cut out 5 equal length strips of chalkboard tape. I lined them up on top of each other to create '5 days'. Then I used chalk to write out each meal for the week. It helps my shopping list and and also helps my husband know what to expect.

I'm trying to get better about keeping  a calendar and having a weekly meal plan. The most simple way to keep myself on track is to write everything down! I used a clipboard I had in our office and cut out 5 equal length strips of chalkboard tape. I lined them up on top of each other to create '5 days'. Then I used chalk to write out each meal for the week. It helps my shopping list and and also helps my husband know what to expect.

Vase & Table decor

 Ever need to doll up an existing vase or glass for something you're hosting? I do! You could do a million different designs using chalkboard tape. You could personalize vases with a name, note or quote. You could do a large scale design or even cut the tape in different designs. Lots of options with this one! 

Ever need to doll up an existing vase or glass for something you're hosting? I do! You could do a million different designs using chalkboard tape. You could personalize vases with a name, note or quote. You could do a large scale design or even cut the tape in different designs. Lots of options with this one! 

Labels (DUH)

 I'll leave you with the most obvious, but worth mentioning, use for chalkboard tape. Labeling! We don't have a printer, but I like to keep things organized. Jotting a quick label down using chalkboard tape makes for an easy fix! 

I'll leave you with the most obvious, but worth mentioning, use for chalkboard tape. Labeling! We don't have a printer, but I like to keep things organized. Jotting a quick label down using chalkboard tape makes for an easy fix! 

Q Women + DIY Part 3

If you're new to this series, you can catch up on Part 1 and Part 2!

Now, lets get to the DIY! Just to recap, I was tasked with coming up with a project that would act as the Q Women centerpieces for 50 tables as well as an actual DIY that over 300 women could complete. It had to be something simple but substantial and CHEAP. 

Brooklyn Boy helped me brainstorm and we landed on Puff Paint Vases. Sounds a little tacky/crafty doesn't it? Turns out, if you pick a simple modern design, your final product will look FAR from tacky! Lets jump in to our 3 step / 3 supply DIY:

You'll need 3 craft supplies: 

  • puff paint (can be found in the T-Shirt design section of any craft store. Any color will work because you'll ultimately spray paint over it.)
  • clear glass vase (could be a bowl, vase, votive, etc. whatever you have on hand)
  • spray paint (we used my favorite - Krylon's Gold Metallic. It is AMAZING.)

Lets get to it! 

Step 1: Choose your vase. We used round bubble ball vases for the centerpieces.

Step 2: Choose a simple pattern to carefully (but quickly, because you don't want to over think it or be too precious) cover the vase with in puff paint. Keep in mind, the puff paint can be any color, you will ultimately cover it with spray paint. Here are two examples! 

 The key with these vases is to pick one pattern and evenly cover. Repetition creates the look of intentionality! 

The key with these vases is to pick one pattern and evenly cover. Repetition creates the look of intentionality! 

 The puff paint can take up to 4 hours to dry.

The puff paint can take up to 4 hours to dry.

Step 3: Once the puff paint is completely dry, evenly spray the vase with thin layers of spray paint. Make sure you're in a well ventilated area and have a good surface to spray on (i.e. a cardboard box or drop cloth). I used gold for our centerpieces, but you could use any color of your liking. Here's what the spray paint process looked like: 

This project is super easy and fairly fool proof. I loved the final result, especially once I started experimenting with different puff paint patterns. One of the great things about this DIY is it's versatility. You could easily apply the same puff paint + spray paint combination to a Christmas ornament, decanter, pitcher, etc. So many possibilities!

Once we puff painted + spray painted all 50 vases, we loaded them with flowers and placed them throughout the venue. All flowers and bubble vases were sourced from Roy Houff Wholesale flowers in Nashville - affordable supplies, really kind staff for all you Nashville people! Smaller glass votives were purchased from the Pete Garcia company.

I had a ball putting the DIY together and loved the opportunity to talk to the Q ladies about why we love DIY. Remember, DIY Challenges us to use what we have, guarantees a perfectly imperfect result and gives us the opportunity to try something new!

 

Q Women + A DIY Part 2

Why Do We Love DIY?

---Part 1 can be read here---

Prepping (as in puff painting glass vases) for the Q Ideas Women's Event gave me time to reflect on why I love DIY.  I realized that DIY has become really accessible over the years. There are tons of blogs, sites, magazines and shows out there that help make us all capable of doing something ourselves. On one hand this is AMAZING. You don't have to be a professional to make something great! Anyone can try their hand at DIY - just tap into the loads of How-To content on the web and you're set! 

On the other hand, though, because of this accessibility, suddenly EVERYONE's an expert. What was aspirational and approachable has now become really noisy. Maybe it's just me, but even as a DIY'er, I think it's easy to get overwhelmed by the loads of inspiration online and even easier to compare ourselves to all the unbelievable projects and crafters out there - don't even get me started on everyones ridiculous photography skills. All this noise takes away from from the sweet and simple reality of what DIY is. It's making something with our hands. Learning by doing. Being inspired to create our own version of something. When we push the noise aside, there are actually wonderfully simple sensibilities to be learned from Doing it Yourself. 

Rather then focusing on beautiful before & after photos, our favorite Etsy shops or even our own crafting skills, we should reframe our perspective to see through the lens of potential. The lens of potential opens us up to a world of creative possibilities and even life lessons! Whether you have lots of DIY experience or not much at all, I have three insights I've learned over the years that I want to share with you:

DIY challenges us to use what we have. 

The start on any good DIY project begins with taking inventory. What do you have? What needs changing? What's the end goal? Starting with evaluation rather then action taps the brakes on impulsive buying. Growing up, my mom developed a serious habit of rearranging furniture. I remember coming home from school on numerous occasions to a living room that looked completely different. It wasn’t until becoming an adult, that I really understood and appreciated what she was doing. She was making the best of right then. Rather than buying a bunch of stuff, she changed the way she looked at her home, spruced it up using pieces she already had, and chose to be content. Challenging ourselves to use what we have pauses the “buy new, buy more, buy now” mentality that our culture encourages.  Lets simplify, organize and take care of what we do have and we might be surprised by what happens.

DIY guarantees a perfectly imperfect result. 

There is no such thing as flawless in the world of DIY, and you know what, that is OK. We were created to be creative, not perfect. Listen, I know how great it feels when a project turns out JUST as you had planned. But more often than not, we have to roll with the punches, and embrace our happy mistakes. Thankfully, there is lots to be learned in the process of making and it doesn’t just depend on our final product. Process is good for our soul.   I was a painting major in college and one of my drawing professors would never let us erase our work when we felt we had made a mistake. Instead, she wanted us to layer over our beginning sketch as the drawing developed. So I’d have layers and layers of charcoal as I continued working on the piece. Initially, I didn’t really get it, but overtime I grew to love the imperfections left on the white of the page and the remnants of where the artwork started. It was a reminder of the process, not the imperfections.

DIY projects give us the opportunity to try something new. 

I know that sounds overly simple, but I think it’s important that we take time to try new things. If we’re honest with ourselves, it’s really easy to only do what we’ve done before. Lucky for us, though, the world of DIY provides a safe little landscape to escape the monotony and try something new. I know this from very experience. In the past 5 months, I’ve transitioned from being a married girl working in New York City, to a new mom, who stays at home with a baby and lives in Franklin, Tennessee. Don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderful and such a blessing, but it is QUITE a change! As I’ve slowly gained confidence as a new mom, I’ve realized how important small successes are. For me, trying a new project during naptime has helped me feel like I’ve done more with my day then empty the dishwasher and change the laundry over. I’m sure you all know what I mean - it’s that feeling of being busy all day but never really accomplishing anything. I really believe, that sometimes we need to start a new project JUST so we can finish it! We need small wins! Learning a new skill or trying a new project could be just the shift your normalcy needs.

All this to say, We don’t love DIY because we like keeping up with the trendy crafts on Pinterest. “Doing It Yourself” has more relevance to your life then you think. It’s a practice of choosing to be content with what we have, celebrating imperfection and boldly trying new things.

Stay tuned for the DIY that accompanied this talk!