12.21.2017

New Year's Day Brunch Decor (Word of the Year)

My last post was all about hosting a New Year's Eve dinner party and how to create that dark, glitzy, nightclub feel in your own home. Today I want to show you how you can use a lot of those same elements to create a daytime table setting that is perfect for a New Year's Day brunch. You know those fashion posts that show you how to take a day look to night? Let's do that in reverse.

If you're wondering why someone would throw a brunch instead of a NYE party, hear me out. Some people have a hard time going out on NYE. Perhaps you are like me and you have small children. Since so many people have NYE plans, it can be almost impossible to find a babysitter. You know when I always have free time, thought? New Year's DAY. Most jobs, mine included, have that as a holiday, so we are all feel to luxuriate and have brunch. If one of my friends were to host a brunch at 11 a.m. on New Year's Day (enough time for others to recover from the night before) and told me there would be munchies and mimosas, I would be there in a heartbeat!


If you haven't read my last post, here's a quick glimpse at the same dining space and how I changed it from day to night while keeping a lot of the same pieces.


Let's get right to it! I wanted this brunch tablescape to feel fresh and hopeful, like the start of a new year should feel. I chose natural wood finishes and touches of purple (in honor of the Pantone color of the year!) to create a pleasant atmosphere for any brunch occasion.The disco ball ornaments are important accessories here, instantly taking this from party from generic brunch to New Year's brunch. I tried to mix the natural elements of the wood and plants with the more sparkly accessories to create a soft, welcoming look.

I kept the base of the table setting the same from day to night. The chandelier, mesh table runner, mirror centerpiece and place settings are all the same as my NYE dinner party decor, but they have a different look with natural light. You still get a little sparkle, which is a subtle nod to festivities.


I hatched the idea for those DIY candlesticks back in May when we were building our new media cabinet. Those are actually made out of furniture feet that you can find in the lumber section at your local Lowes. I used some of those low, round bun feet on our media center, and I remember thinking at the time that some of the turned feet really resembled some of the fancy, rustic candlesticks on the market. The table feet come with a screw sticking out of the top so they can be attached to furniture, so the only thing I needed to do to convert them to a candlestick was drill a tiny hole in the bottom of my taper candles with my power drill and screw the candle on to the top of the furniture feet. I love how they feel both traditional and casual. I painted the tops of the smaller ones to add a bit of color to the centerpiece.


You can see how different this mirrored table runner feels when it's layered with greenery from my yard and the raw wooden finish of the candlesticks. It really warms up the slick finish of the mirror so that the table feels cozy instead of glamorous.


For the table settings, I used an unexpected item - a shower curtain clip that I spray-painted gold - to hold a rolled sheet of paper. The curtain clips came with the little clamps, wihch I used to hold a flower and an abstract Instax photo of the tinsel chandelier. At $7 for 14 curtain rings with clips, you could use them as napkin rings, wine labels, etc.

You may be wondering why I rolled up a sheet of paper to put inside the ring. I thought it would be a great conversation started to have each guest write down their word of the year and take it home with them. Have you ever chosen a word of the year? The basic premise is that instead of a doing a New Year's resolution, you choose a word that embodies what you want to focus on in the year ahead. Some of the words I've chosen in the past have included focus, gratitude, hope, present, etc. 

I've always really enjoyed the exercise of choosing my word and think it would be really fun to discuss it with my close friends over brunch. You could even choose a word to describe 2017 and talk about the highs and lows of the previous years before discussing your hopes and dreams for the year ahead. I would love to hear what my friends pick and the rationale behind it. I really think you can learn a lot about a person through a discussion like that, and I love getting to know my friends better.


Over on the shelves, I used some of my favorite items from the Lowe's home decor section to really set the scene. How pretty is that carved driftwood mirror? I fell in love with its rustic charm right away. I am a total sucker for that weathered driftwood finish.


That rose gold lantern is a classic shape, and you could use it for so many things. Since it was New Year's Day, I decided to surround the inner candle with my disco ball ornaments for a little extra sparkle, but then I tied it in with the florals of the centerpiece by adding some greenery from the yard.

I asked my husband to build me this planter box, and he did not disappoint. He picked select pine (a little nicer and straighter than the normal pine) and used his table saw to cut 45 degree angles in each corner. Some quick screws brought the box together, and then I hot-glued the street numbers to the wood to incorporate the brand new year.


I filled the planter box with $5 clearance exotic angel plants and then styled it out with more disco ornaments and those LED orb lights from Lowe's that I love so much.


The other accessories on the shelves are my own, including the hammered copper tray filled with bar supplies, the crystal whiskey glasses and the original landscape painting by my father in law. I even grabbed our metallic ornaments with the paper holders to spell out a message to the party guests. That's just some scrapbooking paper I had laying around that I cut into different shapes for each paper holder. It's a subtle message, but I love adding interesting details to my parties.


You can shop the look here:


I love this New Year's Day brunch tablescape just as much as the dinner party. Which type of party is more your style?

If you want to see the dining room in person and listen to me walk you through my favorite DIY aspects of this brunch decor, come watch my story on Instagram (@jordanG106).

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This post is sponsored by Lowe's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.

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12.19.2017

Glam New Year's Eve Dinner Party Decor

If the holiday season doesn't already have you feeling glittery all over, get ready. I put together a glamorous, glowing New Year's Eve dinner party so you're about to see a lot of sparkle!


For this tablescape, I partnered with Lowe's to show you how to use your DIY skills to create a really special dinner party scene without breaking the bank. It was a blast to put this together, and I'm already thinking about how to have a dinner party every month just so I can break out the sparkly stuff more often!

Let's start with my favorite DIY part of the party decor, the 2018 projector light. I had a Pavlovian reaction every time I plugged it in - instant dance party. It's still pretty even during the daytime, and the twins were basically hypnotized every time I turned it on.


To fully appreciate how bringing this projector light inside (it's the same kind you use to project snowflakes on the outside of your house as part of your holiday lights) changes the entire vibe of my normally bright, casual dining room, you have to see it in Boomerang form. The light swirls around the ceiling, and it feels so much like a disco ball. It gives a fun nightclub vibe, perfect for NYE.




How did I make the projector look a little more like a lamp with a base? I stuffed it inside a quart-sized paint can that I spray painted with Valspar's gold metallic enamel paint. Did you know they sell empty paint cans at Lowe's? Me either, but it was perfect as a little base for my projector. Wondering where I hid the cord to the projector? It's taped to the back of the can so you can't see it and runs back behind my shelves to the closest plug.

Once you add the letters or numbers on the sheet of acrylic behind it, it becomes infinitely customizable. I'm thinking you could use this for graduation parties, birthdays, weddings, etc. For this party, I used my hot glue gun to adhere the nickle street numbers to the sheet of acrylic. To make it stand straight up (which is necessary so that you can project the shadow on the wall), we used some spare pieces of wood we had in the garage to create a base. Basically, two chunks of wood were screwed together (with the acrylic sheet in between) in each corner. Voila, an acrylic sign that is unique to your occasion!

I had so much fun playing with the shadows to see the best way to project it on to the wall. I'm no lighting engineer but I think the background shadow adds a little extra oomph.


And because I wanted the strobe light fun from the ceiling to continue down to the tablescape, I decided to use a $6 wall mirror for my table runner. It's hard to beat $6 for a table runner, and this one has the added bonus of reflecting all of the swirling lights from the ceiling so that even when you're sitting at the table and looking at your friends, you can still see the dancing lights in the center of the table.



There I am, obsessing over my Boomerangs. I'm telling you, nothing shows off the DIY projector-light-disco-ball-thingamabob better than a Boomerang.


Have you ever used decorative mesh ribbon as a garland for your Christmas tree or stair banister? I bought a 30 foot roll of the white/silver colorway to create this subtle, sparkly table runner and I'm so impressed with how well it works for this purpose. The silver threads catch the light beautifully. Sometimes they looked gold, sometimes they looked silver, but they always looked subtly glamorous. I was able to create a table runner and four place mats with my $10 roll, and I had a lot left over. The beauty of the white/silver combo is that it could be adapted to so many different parties, just like the acrylic sign. We all know that white goes with almost everything! I think it's so versatile that I'm going back to buy more when the holiday stuff goes on sale.


Did you notice my lantern chandelier hiding under a glamorous sheet of tinsel? How fun is that sparkly silver? It fits the theme so much better than my plain lantern, and it was so easy to do.

 

When you buy the silver tinsel (which some people call "icicles"), it comes in sheets that are folded into fourths. If you want to use the icicles individually to drape them on your tree, you simply tear or cut them off the top strip. I kept them on the strip instead and taped them to my chandelier, using two layers to create dimension while covering the whole chandelier. This is one of my favorite parts of the NYE makeover, and it was also one of the easiest. I have a new appreciation for tinsel.


The way the light from the projector bounces off the tinsel really helps it shine. I actually used my instant camera to take closeups of the tinsel for the place cards. It ended up being a glittery abstract photo that I felt like really captured the happy, playful feeling of NYE. For nights like this, there is no such thing as too much sparkle.


One of the most versatile products I brought home from Lowe's for this project was the LED string lights. I liked them so much that I put them everywhere - along the table runner, inside the bowls and glasses in the centerpiece, on my shelves behind the table. I even hid a strand inside my chandelier because I preferred that soft glow over the current light bulbs inside my lantern. Those tiny lights make every surface instantly feel like a party.


This NYE decor is really all about playing with lights and reflective surfaces. Between the projector lights, the LED copper light strings and the candlelight, everything really glows. By adding the mirrored surfaces everywhere, from the table runner to the disco balls and even the metallic candle holders, the light bounces around and makes it feel ever warmer and more festive. Dare I say, glamorous? As a mother of twin toddlers, it's been a LONG time since I felt glamorous.
 
I almost forgot to mention the LED orb lights! I found those at the last minute and Supermarket-Swept five of them into my cart instantly because I loved them so much. They come with clear string and a hook so you can hang them from trees like giant ornaments, but I chose to hang two from clear thumbtacks above the side chairs on either side of the shelf. I even added a few inside my planter box to have a tiny glow on that third shelf.


Speaking of shelves, I styled them out with this glitzy clock, which is a must for counting down to midnight. It's really this clock that set the tone for all of the decor. The silver frame almost looks like fireworks, and it just screamed NYE to me.


Then I brought our little bar (a flea market hammered copper tray with some random glasses and bottles of whiskey) from the den to the shelves, along with a few mini golden bottles of champagne for extra pizazz. *jazz hands* The shelves were dark at first, but the string lights solved that problem. When I was trying to accessorize this space, I basically just walked around my house and tried to find anything metallic. If it was gold, silver or copper, I brought it to this room I am a big fan of mixing metal finishes because I think varied shades adds more interest. If everything in this room were silver, it would be icy cold. That's still a fun theme if that's the vibe you want, but I'm more of a warm golden girl myself. GOLD SPARKLES EVERYWHERE! 

Thank goodness I already had a thing for disco ball ornaments because my extensive collection really came in handy for adding even more New Year's Eve vibes to the decor. I mixed both silver and gold disco balls throughout the table and on the shelves, wherever I found a surface that needed a little something. 


It always helps to have varying heights in your centerpiece even when you're like me and you prefer to keep it low so your guests can talk across the table without their view being obstructed. In this case I used a brass bowl and some crystal whisky glasses to elevate some of the disco balls off the mirror. The crystal glasses were perfect pedestals because I was able to stuff some of the LED string lights inside and get a glow from the inside out. The cut glass on those cups bounces light around the room almost as effectively as the disco balls. 



So, who wants to come to my party? As long as someone else handles the cooking, I'm in.

Hop on over to my Instagram (@jordanG106) to see me walk through some of the details in person with my Instastory. Warning: My voice is cringeworthy. I can't help it. Bear with me.

Guess what? I'll be back this week for part 2 of this series where I set this same scene with completely different decor for a fresh, happy New Year's Day brunch. Because why have one party when you can have two?

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 Photos by the lovely, talented Renee Fernandes. Boomerangs by yours truly.

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This post is sponsored by Lowe's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.

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12.05.2017

DIY Embroidered Photo Ornament

The holiday season has somehow unlocked my creativity (hooray!) and I've had so many random project ideas lately. This particular idea struck me when I received our family Christmas cards in the mail. The photo of the twins was just too cute to only have on a card -- I really wanted to use it to make an ornament to commemorate this adorable phase in their lives.

I used my elementary embroidery skills to create a couple different versions of this DIY stitched photo ornament, and they turned out well enough that I wanted to share the process with you.


If you have elementary sewing skills and a little bit of patience, you can do this. I took a 2-hour embroidery class last year (shout-out to our awesome teachers Nerd & Brawler and our host, Flea Style) which taught me the basics but obviously isn't long enough to get any serious skills. So I mean it when I say you do not need to be an embroidery specialist to make this ornament. 


Supplies:
- fabric
- scissors
- embroidery hoop
- embroidery needle
- embroidery floss
- photo (preferably printed on matte/linen cardstock or fabric)
- Mod Podge or fabric glue

Since I decided to do this project on a whim, I used products I already had around the house. I just made a felt board for the kids (tutorial coming soon!) so I had an abundance of felt in my fabric scraps. It actually worked really well, I think it made the hoop feel a little more wintry and cozy.

The first step is to cut your fabric to fit your hoop, making sure to leave excess around the edges. It may get loose as you work on your hoop, so you want to have some excess to be able to pull it tighter as you go. The tighter the fabric, the smoother the finish. You don't want it to pucker as you pull your stitches through the fabric.


Our family Christmas cards were printed by Vistaprint on their linen finish paper. I think the finish of the paper is a big part of why it worked well. I don't think a glossy photo would look as cohesive with fabric and thread. I cut mine out using a heart cookie cutter, but I think a circle would be just as cute.


I glued my image to the felt with Mod Podge, but I'm sure fabric glue would work too. 


You thread the embroidery floss just like a regular needle and thread, looping it around and tying a knot on the end. If you want your floss to be thinner and more precise, you can separate out each piece of thread within the floss to get a thinner line for embroidering. 


From there, it's just a matter of creating the look your want with your floss. I tried several different techniques and none were very precise because I'm just not a precise person. I love that embroidery is forgiving. If you mess up, you can just cut your thread, remove it and start over. 

I poked my needle from the back of my hoop and then back through the front, over and over again. 



If you want to learn specific stitches, there are a ton of resources on the web. Here's an Instructable called Embroidery 101 that explains it better than I ever could! But I'm impatient and I'm the type of artist who just wings it, so this is me just winging it with absolutely no technique. Real embroidery artists, please try not to judge!

Real embroidery artists take pride in how neat the "hoop butt" is, so this is the perfect way to show you that I'm a fraud. Look at that mess!


But really, I shared that with you to show that when I'm done with a certain color, I just tie a knot in the back of the hoop and cut the floss. It's just like hand-sewing something. I've only hand-stitched a few things in my life, and it was only the ribbons for my pointe shoes back in my ballerina days. 


I like the look of framing your photo with your embroidery pattern. I found it pretty easy to poke holes in my cardstock with my needle, but you don't want to get too close to the edge of your paper or it will rip and the stitch won't hold.

To finish your hoop, you can fold the excess fabric behind your hoop and secure it with hot glue. If you would to make it look more polished, you can cover your hoop butt with a circle of fabric to give the backside a clean appearance. I skipped that step. :)


Once I worked on the heart pattern, I tried another style as well. This family portrait is the photo from the other side of our Christmas card. (Thank you to my amazing photographer friend Allison at Silver Bear Creative for capturing the twins so well at such a squirmy age of life.) Again, I cut it out, glued it on and embroidered around it. I loved this version as well, although it was a little more tricky because the photo border is more intricate.


I was having so much fun that ended up doing three different ornaments. It's a relaxing hobby for a football-watching couch potato like me. But now I am officially stitched out!


I hope these ornaments spark some ideas for you this holiday season. Who knows, maybe you'll find a new hobby to enjoy during your next Netflix binge!



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