2.29.2012

Affordable Fresh Flowers

When planning the decorations for my friend's baby shower, I pictured a simple garland and lots of fresh flowers. The garland was easy enough to make myself, but I was on the hunt for affordable fresh flowers that wouldn't break the bank. I visited all of our local grocery stores to compare prices and see what I could come up with to fit the garden party theme and the pink/turquoise color scheme.

The first thing I actually did was collect different vases and vessels for the flowers. Interestingly enough, all of them were from Target. I was wandering around the aisles when I spotted these really pretty blue glasses for about $2/each:

Target
I had grand ambitions of painting mason jars to get the vintage blue look, but quite frankly, I ran out of time. These glasses would give me the colors I wanted without the DIY effort. Plus I liked them and would be happy to use them in our kitchen. Win/win!

Then I used other stuff I already had around the house, including a white ceramic pitcher and some country-ish metal buckets I had (both from Target).

Now, for the flowers. I ended up at Kroger because I had seen good prices on flowers there in the past.

Did you know that Kroger has clearance fresh flowers? Similar to the fresh bread and donuts, they do "manager's specials" when they want to sell the bouquets and plants quickly. I stumbled upon this at my Kroger and quickly snatched up every clearance plant in the pink family. They are marked with a bright yellow tag that says "Manager's Special."

I came home with two bouquets of pink carnations, two bouquets of pink alstromeria, one bouquet of a dozen pink roses ($1.99!), some potted pink tulips, a potted pink gardenias and a pink orchid, all for less than $25!

Sorry about the poor photography skills...



We ended up scattering the flowers onto the round tables and wherever we needed a little something. You can see the buckets and plants at work in the background of the picture above. It ended up being very cute and very affordable, which is always nice. 

What's the moral of the story? Kroger has affordable flowers! I will be frequenting my local Kroger now and probably treating myself to more fresh flowers now that I know where to find the "manager's specials." You just can't beat a dozen roses for $1.99!

While on the subject of flowers, I wanted to talk about sending flowers as gifts (1-800 Flowers, Teleflora, ProFlowers, etc). I have sent three different gifts recently and was really happy with each one. It's always a bit of risk, and you wonder if it will look as cute as the picture does online. In these cases, all of them were great!

I have started sending potted plants instead of bouquets. I figured it might last longer and be something they can plant at their home, which would be a bonus. I've tried sending these three gifts in the last month:

ProFlowers, $25




ProFlowers, $50



1-800 Flowers, $35

Aren't they all so cute? The recipients really loved them!

I will say, it is the delivery charges that really get you in this situation. It's totally worth it though, because there is nothing better than being surprised with something like fresh flowers at work!

Anyway, I just wanted to share these positive experiences with you in case you want to surprise your friends and family with a cute little gift at their desk. I love the idea of potted plants and hope these last a long time for each recipient. 

Well, I'm done blabbering about flowers. I'll be back tomorrow to show you the awesome piece I bought at the Wisteria outlet sale this weekend. I'm in LOVE with it!


* Stop and Smell Buy the Roses *



Best Blog Tips

2.28.2012

DIY Party Decor: Rag Garland

Let's keep talking about Kelli's baby shower, shall we? I already showed you the sweet diaper cake, but let's talk about the rest of the decor. It's almost all completely handmade and super affordable!

I wanted to keep it simple for the shower because there was no way we could decorate the entire youth hall at our church (where the shower was held). We just needed a focal point of cuteness and then some little extras around the room. I decided to do some garland, a baby banner and lots of fresh flowers.

For the garland, I was inspired by these two images from Pinterest:

Pinterest





Pinterest




So, using twine and fabric scraps, I created some rag garland for the shower. I was so happy with how it came out! I'll definitely use this idea again for other parties and holidays. 



It turns out that 1/3 of a yard is the perfect amount of fabric to buy for this project. Buy 1/3 yard of several different patterns, and it will already be the perfect length. Cut and tear the fabric into strips 1.5 inches wide, and tie them in knots onto the twine. Piece. Of. Cake. 

I made it while it was hanging on my fireplace, which helped me envision how it would work. 







As for the "It's a Girl" banner, I made that with brown cardstock, a black marker and white puffy paint. My mom made sure to point out the grammatical error in the "ITS," but I made the executive design decision not to include the apostrophe. I figured it was fine without it!


So there you have it– the world's easiest garland. I'm SO making this for my Christmas mantel next year. It's going to be fantastic!

* Ragtime *


Best Blog Tips

2.26.2012

Super Sweet Diaper Cake

My lovely friend Kelli had a baby shower today, and I was in charge of the decorations. We chose a simple vintage/garden party theme with shades of pink and turquoise to coordinate with the colors of baby Whitley's nursery. I decided to make a really cute diaper cake for her shower to get the ball rolling for the party decorations.

This is my second diaper cake (see my Very Hungry Caterpillar diaper cake here), so I had a little more confidence this time. I wanted to try something more grown up and less cutesy. The idea was to make it look more like a wedding cake than a diaper cake, but I had to be creative because I didn't want to buy any new supplies. I was able to make this using things that I had, except for buying the diapers.

Here's what I ended up with:






And here's the mom-to-be with the food spread and the diaper cake!


In case you're itching to make one of your own, here's how I went about it.

I started with a big water bottle for the center structure of my cake. You can also start with a tall bottle of baby shampoo, baby powder, etc. I wanted to do an oval shape this time, so I started off with a layer of rolled diapers (secured with rubber bands) and arranged them around the water bottle. To keep those diapers together, you take a rubber band and wrap it all around the layers, pulling them toward the water bottle. After my initial layer of rolled diapers, I decided to go with folded diapers for the rest of the first layer. That allowed me to create the oval shape.

Yes, I like to eat Oreo Cakesters while I make diaper cakes.




The next step is to cover the outside with something. Some people use ribbon, paper, fabric, etc. I used some Anthropologie wrapping paper I had in my craft room that looks a lot like burlap. I cut it into strips and wrapped it around the layers, securing it in the back with clear tape. Hot glue probably would have worked a little better, but the tape held up fine.



That was looking a little blah, so I decided to wrap some twine around the layers for a little added interest.






I don't have pictures of this part, but I made a bunch of tissue flowers and hot glued them to the cake. I went for an ombré effect, fading from light to dark pink.

How to make a tiny tissue flower? Cut a two inch x 8 inch strip of tissue paper, and accordion-fold that strip. Once folded, cut one edge into a point so that the petals are pointed. Then unfold the paper and form it into a flower shape. Trust me, it doesn't have to be perfect!

Lastly, I cut a strip of white cardstock, added a scalloped edge and hot glued Scrabble pieces to the cardstock to spell out the baby's name.

And voîla, you have a really adorable diaper cake!!

PS. The cake gets REALLY cute when you put it on an actual cake stand. It really helps the presentation!


I'm excited to share with you the other easy party decorations later this week. I have to thank Pinterest for all of the inspiration! :)

* Watching the Oscars! *



Best Blog Tips

2.21.2012

DIY: My Doodle Chair!

So... I've been wanting to attempt this idea for awhile. I finally got around to it late Sunday afternoon, and I'm digging the result!

First of all, I have four of these simple parsons chairs in our attic. My parents gave them to us a long time ago, but we haven't used them because the velvet slipcovers are really worn out. All I know is that my parents had owned them for awhile, so they aren't in perfect condition.

They look similar to these from Overstock, except ours have light colored wooden legs:


Our chairs are super plain, and I'm pretty sure they are intended to be slip-covered.  I figured, what harm could I do by doodling on them? In the best scenario, they would look awesome and we would keep them that way. Worst case, we would go buy slip covers and pretend like the whole doodling episode never happened. No big deal, right?

I love this bedding from Anthropologie. If I had endless funds, I would totally buy it. I decided to use it as my inspiration for the test run of my Doodle Chair. (Yes, I have officially named them my Doodle Chairs.)



The cool part about this project is that you can customize the writing to be whatever you want. I went sentimental for my chair, choosing to write the lyrics from the various songs at our wedding (first dance, ceremony, wedding video) and some of our favorite Bible verses.

It's an easy project to do while you watch TV!



The lyrics on the back of the chair? "Lucky" by Jason Mraz and Colbie Callait. That was our first dance!

I was encouraged enough by how that looked to just keep going with the writing. Before I knew it, I had covered the entire chair!






Keeping it real, people. That's how lovely and junky our dining table usually looks!




Is it perfect? Nope. Sometimes my writing went a little crooked, and it's not all evenly spaced out. Who cares? The overall effect is just what I wanted!

I think it resembles the script fabric I love in all of the expensive stores, but it has so much more personality and interest than those fabrics because the words on the chair actually mean something to us. Good conversation starter, right?

Overall cost for this project? A whopping $2 for the fabric pen! Can't beat that. Of course, we were pretty fortunate to be gifted with four old Parsons chairs. Thanks Mom & Dad!  By the way, I used the Pentax Gel Roller for Fabric in Black (1.0 mm).

Now I feel like I need to do the other three chairs (once I can convince Scott to bring them down from the attic, his least favorite place in the world) and create a set of four for the dining table. It will really come in handy now because our fabulous Pottery Barn bargain table can seat 12 when it is fully extended!

I'm not done with this particular chair, though. Don't you think I need to do something about those legs? Sherry from Young House Love spray painted the legs of her Parsons chair in oil-rubbed bronze, and I think it looks great! 

What do you think– spray paint the chair legs with oil rubbed bronze or stain them the same deep brown as our fireplace mantel?


* Doodle Bug *




Best Blog Tips

2.20.2012

Imperfection.

The Nester is hosting an "It Doesn't Have To Be Perfect to Be Beautiful" blog party in which we celebrate the imperfections of our home. Brilliant, right?!

The Nesting Place

Oh boy, is our house imperfect. Flaws galore! I chose three of my favorites (out of hundreds of flaws and imperfections) to show you how awesomely imperfect it really is.

First of all, we have a highwater problem in this house. Not highwater pants– highwater curtains in our living room! My infuriating adorable husband could not stand the way our extra long Ikea curtains were pooling on the ground, and he kept bugging me to hem them. I hadn't gotten around to it, so one day he decided to take it into his own hands.  

It worked out perfectly! Look how great our curtains look now!



Let's just keep going with the imperfections, shall we? How fantastic is this random spot that our painters forgot to finish? It's been months since they painted and we still haven't fixed it!



How hard would it be to grab a dot of paint and fix that? Clearly way too tough for us!

Now, onto the next flaw. 

Is it weird that I like weeds? I mean, how pretty are these weeds spilling out of our planter boxes?


 We do NOT have the perfect lawn or the perfect trees or the perfect planter boxes. Nothing green within our home's vicinity is anywhere near perfect! 

But these weeds spilling out of our planter boxes? I am totally embracing them because I like how they look. 

Is that really so wrong?!

So, what's imperfect about your home? Is there some small flaw that drives you nuts?


 * Embracing Imperfections *
Best Blog Tips

2.14.2012

... And the Greatest of These is Love.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. 
But the greatest of these is love. 
1 Corinthians 13:13


I would like to wish all of you a Happy Valentine's Day!

Say what you want about this holiday, but I believe love is a thing to be celebrated. 

Since I will hardly see my husband today (he has to coach two baseball games tonight), we decided to exchange gifts late last night. I wanted to share with you this sweet bracelet that he bought for me and let you know where you can buy one of your own. 

It seems important to show you what it looks like on my wrist. It's bizarre to see my arm/wrist/hand so closely! And I have no idea how I cut my hand... Oh well.



Isn't it a cute bracelet? It's attached with an adjustable brown cord so that it will fit any size wrist. I plan to wear mine every day!

You can buy one for yourself for only $18.95 at Amazon!

Silver w/ brown cord:


Silver w/ white cord (a little cheaper):


Gold w/ brown cord:


Silver w/ light blue cord:



Silver w/ red cord:



This one is cute and a teeny bit different from the others because it has a heart charm.





Check out the many Amazon options here:



There are more options available on Etsy, and you can find more by googling "sideways cross bracelet." I think the Amazon links above are the most affordable, though.

If you are more of a necklace person, I think this is really cute. I love a dainty necklace, especially one with a symbol that is meaningful to the person who is wearing it. Buy it on Etsy for $41.

Etsy





Random side note:

Last night I tried to make these Valentine's Day treats. I don't own cookie cutters, so I had to cut out my own hearts. This was also my first time eating an Oreo Cakester... WOW, delicious.


Anyway, my version wasn't quite as perfect as the ones in the picture, but it was just as tasty. Scott took them to school today and said his fellow coaches have been chowing down on them. I have a feeling he kept quite a few of them for himself, too...



* Happy Valentine's Day! *
Best Blog Tips

2.13.2012

The Evolution of a Doodle

Are hearts the most common doodle?

Well then, let's start with some hearts...


Ok, a lot of hearts...


Get out your colored pencils and start coloring in between the hearts, layering the shades until you gets the colors you like. Want something with more depth of color than the regular colored pencil? Try layering with a mustard colored pencil.


Nope, doesn't have to be perfect... Keep going...


Embrace your inner child and color, color, color

What? You're tired of coloring? Well, you don't have to color the whole thing if you don't feel like it. Throw a couple color blotches up top and call it a day!



Before you know it, you've gone from a doodle to a piece of art. 

Awesomely simple, right?

Bonus points if you buy a matted frame and hang up your colorful artwork!


* Don't forget to do something sweet for someone tomorrow. *
                                                           (Valentine's Day, of course!)



Best Blog Tips