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Monday, September 18, 2017

3 inexpensive style tips for a collected Fall table





I had a hard time coming up with the title for this post.

The truth is...

I'm not good at making up snappy post titles, especially when this entire post began on a creative whim, right after I bought my first pumpkin of the season. But if you follow me on Instagram you already know this.




And hopefully you enjoyed my DIY pumpkin centerpiece.


But you know how one-thing-leads-to-another?


The next thing I know I'm staring at this centerpiece and reaching for a few wooden bowls and opening cabinet doors to find my wicker placemats...







Maybe the point of this post is that sometimes it's nice to pull a few things together without a plan and see what happens.


After all, that's pretty much how I got inspired about this casual Fall table and ended up sharing a few quickie tips today.

Hey. Maybe that can be my title, I thought. How about three tips, that sound good?






Because once I put the flowers on the table
 suddenly I had to have plaid next to this old copper colander I used for my centerpiece. Maybe it's just me. But there's something about a warm plaid that reminds me of autumn leaves and mugs of hot cider, especially after the cool blues of summer.


But ....who has the perfect plaid tablecloth in just the right color that you're envisioning in your creative little head?

Definitely not me.

So my first tip is one you probably already do.






I headed to the local fabric store, found the plaid fabric I wanted and bought a few yards. 

So here's my advice. Because finding the perfect tablecloth can often be expensive and time-consuming, skip the tablecloth and go to a fabric store.



Tip #1
Use fabric remnants instead of tablecloths.

Know the measurements of your table before you go. And once you're back home with your fabric simply cut it using sharp scissors, fold it over and press the edges. You can use a no-sew fusible web product, or in my case, just fold the edges over... period).


(note to self: use your iron more)

Next tip, let's talk napkins.





Tip #2 Transform plain white napkins with fabric paint and stencils.

Once I find my inspiration colors for my tables, I think about the napkins. Although I've collected lots of colors over the years, lately I prefer the simplicity of white ones. 

At the risk of boring you, I can't stop raving about the napkins my friend Carol made for me; personally I love the bold, graphic look of black numbers against the white and I find they go with a variety of styles, especially with the plaid on this table.



 

Plus, after washing them repeatedly I've discovered they still look great. So next time you want to add a special touch to your table how about getting creative with your napkins?


Fabric paint and stencils is all you need.









Tip #3
Incorporate vintage items into your centerpiece


And now, back to your flowers and the choice of a plain vase.

Or maybe a not-so-plain vase.


Yes, thank goodness for funky little thrift stores where you can find vintage coffee and tea canisters, dried out cutting boards-that-you-can-spruce-up, wood crates, cheap baskets or in my case, worn looking colanders. 


I love that color of old copper.



There are so many unique pieces that can look wonderful with flowers inside.



In the past I've put flowers with apples in my colanders and this time it's flowers with a green bumpy pumpkin.




Fun napkins. Fabric remnants. Flowers and pumpkins inside old things.

How about you?


Do you have a favorite styling tip for your table?


xo
Leslie

i'm linking up with these friends:

Friday, September 15, 2017

DIY ....Easy Pumpkin Centerpiece


Well it finally happened! I always say I'm a turtle livin' in a hare world.
But I've been walking around happily in denial about the passing of summer, without any urge to eat or drink anything pumpkin, no hint of autumn pillows on my couch yet, and not one thought of buying a single pumpkin .......and all-of-a sudden-BAM! It just hit me.
Fall. It's really here guys..and here's my proof: this is my very first pumpkin of the season.
Ta daaaa!!

So what do you do with your first pumpkin anyway?



This is what I did.
I cobbled together a few things:

One vintage copper colander (gotta love those thrift stores)
a couple small ramekins 
Mums and Carnations
green florist foam
and Spanish Moss


And decided to make a very casual little centerpiece, maybe for a breakfast or lunch table.


...lots of holes mean a good job lining it 
(hint: I sort of rushed this part)



I put my foam around the ramekin and soaked it. You could use a small bowl too for the height. I added a second ramekin for this purpose.


The rest is easy.




When you're all finished fill the spaces with Spanish Moss and it's ready for your table


See? It's very simple but I'm loving the warmth of the copper.

And once I saw it finished I instantly craved a table with some plaid fabric, wicker, mason jars, wooden bowls and Carol's home-made numerical napkins which remain one of my favorite gifts ever.



.
But I'll have to show you my table next time since I'm heading into picture overload here.

Happy Friday friends,

xo
Leslie

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Romantic Bohemian Tablescape


What makes a dinner setting romantic?


What's your opinion?
Because I was thinking about this question as I typed out the title for this blog post. 


August 31st was my honey's birthday and I felt so blessed to have both our kids celebrating with us.

So I asked myself, "Must a romantic dinner only be a private tete-a-tete?"

And my answer was: no, of course not. 


Personally I think the feeling of romance is in the attitude set by the hostess... when she's busy creating a festive look for her dinner table, 



with her special guest of honor always in the back of her mind

(wow, hard to believe I've known this guy since he was twenty-two)

 especially since we've got a 22 year old now.




Personally I think romance is expressed in the attention to details on a table.



...Like when you pick out your napkins and browse through old napkin rings to find the ones that feel just right for your boho-chic table.



I think
romance is the contentment you feel when you're wiping down and lining up the silverware next to each plate.


(hard to believe I found this matte gold silverware at Target)



...Or when you're picking out table fabrics and flower colors, because it's all about making the guest of honor feel special.


Me? I think it's kinda romantic to stuff paper towel holders with candies and a personal horoscope for each guest ...



...then wrapping each one in gold tissue and vintage music sheets so that later, they can be read together out loud with a lot of eye-rolling and laughing.




I think 'romantic' is having pretty stemware that matches the table, especially when it's shatter-proof Dura-glass that looks  like fancy crystal.

(gotta love that William Glen summer sale)



(per urban dictionary)
if you're a fan, you can see more Boho favorites here


Putting together this table was what I love to do, but
in all seriousness whatever your table looks like... it's all about being together, eating good food and making the birthday guy (in our case) feel special ...



Happy Birthday
to our funny, generous, kind-hearted Dad and husband...



xoxo
Leslie



Monday, August 14, 2017

A strong woman can change the world.


My walk on the beach at dawn.... 

(Warning: a real-life post ahead)



This morning I woke up to an overcast, hazy mist in the sky that somehow felt right, sort of a mirror of the heaviness I was feeling in my heart. It's so painful to see the country I love in such a broken state; six months of a Trump presidency and we're closer to a nuclear war with North Korea than ever before, we have Nazis and KKK marching in the streets and we're floundering as a nation without real moral leadership in our White House. 


This isn't about Democrats vs. Republicans or conservatives vs. liberals...blah blah blah.

I'm so sick of all the labeling and finger-pointing.

We are Americans first.

Yet without a unifying President that reaches across party lines and instead bullies and labels his adversaries as enemies....we're more divided as a people than ever.

It's really pretty basic. Every person who has parented kids knows that setting standards of behaviors and values all starts at the top. You want kids that communicate constructively and treat each other well? You have to role model those behaviors, be that person. It works the same at a company. Most of us know the power of a boss in creating a healthy environment among employees.

Our political world is not much different. 

Now we have all this anger spilling over at the drop of a hat when regular, nice people try to talk about politics or issues, have you noticed this?  

Suddenly there are real rifts between family members and friends and every day it feels like a new "hot" topic emerges that you can't talk about in mixed company. 

 I mean ...come on.

We have a President that has to be pressured into strongly disavowing violent white supremacy and Nazi groups?! 

Sorry to state the obvious but you cannot be a Proud American and a Nazi at the same time, and yes, I do wish we had a President that would blast this fact out instantly, no Teleprompter needed. 

Oh well.

Strong women don't require any mansplaining before we call a spade a spade.

What hurts my heart is this. 

The United States of America was once a beacon of light in the world representing core democratic values. Yes we're flawed, but we always aspired to stand for freedom and hope and equality for all people no matter their color or race. Yet today right in front of our eyes there's an insidious erosion of these core values happening, and most alarming is the undermining of our free press which is crucial to any true democracy.

Do you want to make a difference?


My point is, let's be informed by our history.

Let's value real facts.

Because I believe there is strength in being knowledgeable. Following current events and news is not an option for me, but I'll admit these days I regulate how much news I watch because frankly, it's pretty depressing.


(See? Every town has a Main Street and they all should matter)


I won't sugarcoat things. As a former mental health professional 
I recognize emotional instability in our current President and it's scary. I'm deeply disturbed by the direction of my beloved country.

So yes.

There are times I post pretty pictures and get lost in creative projects and happily distracted from politics. But I never stop coming back. Because no matter whom are leaders are, it's on us to be informed citizens.

Our democracy exists because of us, we have to care.

Today I honor Heather Heyer, a young woman who had the guts to go out and protest against real evil and tragically lost her life in the most violent way. My heart aches for her mother and everyone who knew her. 

But I figure, maybe I can keep Heather's courage alive in my own little way by striving to be the kind of woman who will stand up for what is morally right. Be the kind of woman who really listens to others and if needed, speaks respectfully about my own views even in the company of those who may disagree strongly. 

Like this blog post for instance. Oh I'm sure I'll lose followers as a result.

It's crazy how divisive our culture is right now.

But I think we have to stop worrying so much about what others think of us and instead, we need to care more about doing the right thing. 

Now more than ever, the truth really matters.


Let me know what you think.

xo
Leslie




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Sunday, April 16, 2017

This is Easter

*This post got over 80K shares when I first published it on another blog. I thought I would share it today in the spirit of gratitude. 


Last night I had the sweetest conversation with the grocery clerk who was bagging my groceries.

Funny, I had never seen him before.

At first glance he might have been a college age surfer juggling a part-time job, but the terse movements of his arms and the deep lines in his tanned forehead suggested a seriousness about his years. And when I smiled at him I recognized the hardened face of someone who had been struggling for a while, so I couldn’t read his age when I asked if he had any plans for Easter.

But that was the magic question. The prodding that gave me an instant peek into his heart because his appearance immediately changed. His no-nonsense, working-for-a-living expression softened, his eyes turned misty and with a shy smile he told me he’d have to be up early to hide the Easter eggs.

“Oh you’ve got little ones?” I cooed. Because there’s nothing that melts my heart more than the idea of chubby little fingers wrapped tightly around an Easter basket. With all those high pitched squeals and wild romps through the damp grass in search of those bright, rainbow-colored eggs.

Ah, Easter eggs, the gems of childhood innocence.

The young grocery man told me he’d just moved his family from the South area in search of a steady job and he was relieved when he got hired at this store. He’d be getting health benefits soon and he was promised more hours. Recently, he’d gone in to ask his manager for the holiday off and was informed that it was against company policy to ask, but when the schedule came out she’d given him Easter off with his young family.

The whole day, so he was pleased. Yeah, things were looking up, he said.

As he transferred the bags from the grocery cart into my car, I asked him about his girls. A one year old and a seven year old. All ready for Easter with their brand new bonnets and spring-colored dresses. He’d gone out that very afternoon to buy them with his wife.

“It’s the one year old’s first Easter.” he announced, shaking his head with a smile. “That’s the exciting thing.”

And I smiled back, because I remembered the gloriousness of a one year old so well, even though it had been a long time.

This is what I love about Easter; this is what the life and death of Jesus gave us.

Easter is a day that offers us the promise of hope and new beginnings no matter what our stage of life. 

And Hope is a powerful thing.


It can save us.

Wishing you the comfort of hope and faith
today and always,
Leslie

Friday, March 31, 2017

Installing Vertical Planks: ONE important thing i learned!


Well I'm finally putting together a post to tell you about our bedroom-turned-family room with the vertical planked walls that I installed. 

And yes, I'm sharing the one important thing I learned from my experience.

But I have a little confession to make. 
This post is not for experienced carpenters unless of course you're in the mood to grab a cold drink while you sit back, shake your head with pity, and repeat the phrase,

 "Lady! Why didn't ya just use sheets of beadboard?!"


That my friends, is the question I asked myself more than once when I was working with the 6-inch-wide strips of plywood that the Home Depot guys had ripped for me on their saw. 


Although to be honest I always have one of those what-did-I-get myself-into-moments when I'm working without my Dad. 

And even though I eventually finished this room, believe me, there was a lot exasperation about getting my vertical lines straight. 

When my Dad visits next month, I know he'll be smiling and really supportive of my job, but he'll definitely see my little mistakes.

After

 Here's the one mistake that bugs me the most although chances are, you might not notice it. I had to point it out to Jim.

1. Horiozontal vs Vertical Planks?

OK, so back to the topic of vertical planks. 

I don't see as many vertical plank projects, do you?  At least compared to the shiplap ala-Joanna-Gaines-Fixer-Upper look that's so popular these days. If you're still on the fence about shiplap here's an interesting article on whether it fits with your home.

 Me? I've been collecting pictures like this one forever:


And I find the look quite charming, especially for our home which is near the ocean. Still, I'm not sure I would've deviated from the horizontal planks which I've already installed in certain parts of my home, --if it wasn't for our low ceilings in this one bedroom. 

2. The Room

Here's the original Before 
(from the real estate pictures)

A dark room ....with little natural light and low (less that 8 ft) ceilings that made it feel claustrophobic.

The previous owners lowered the ceilings in this room to accommodate the can lighting, and according to our electrician, it's not uncommon around here. 

But since changing the ceiling height is entirely dependent on winning the lottery which I never play--installing vertical planks were my answer to adding to the illusion of height in this bedroom.

In the months before the planks were added, we began with a few basic changes to this bedroom:



The next stage was transforming this bedroom into a casual living space for everyone.

3. Choosing the vertical plank look: 
beadboard sheets or individual planks? 

For me the answer was easy. Because I was working alone I ruled out sheets of beadboard because of the sheer hassle of lifting and moving them myself, and no I didn't want to wait for weekends when the hubby could help me. I know that might seem like a weak reason to rule out beadboard but that's how I roll. 

Also there were two other factors on why I went with faux planks: first I prefer a wider plank beadboard which our lumber yard didn't carry and second, I didn't want to pay for the pricier tongue and groove planks. Since I already knew our local Home Depot would rip my plywood sheets for me I went that way.
...And (little naive Me),
 thought the "faux' vertical planks would be similar to the horizontal planks. 

4. To cut or not to cut my own sheets of plywood?

When using the 'faux' planks ripped from plywood sheets most of us choose to have our local Home Depot or Lowe's do it. Even though I've got a table saw, the thought of ripping all my own wood felt too time consuming. Although in hindsight, the time I saved cutting my planks, I probably wasted in added installation work.

After measuring the room I collected my planks over a week, by dropping into two different Home Depot stores and asking whoever happened to be at their saw. One of my helpers was the manager who was absolutely fastidious about his cuts. Those were the straight ones. The rest of the cuts were pretty irregular which wouldn't have been that noticable if I were laying them horizontally. But once I got started it was obvious that I would have to make a choice.


5. Deciding on the look:

Either I had to keep my vertical lines straight and give up the equal distance between each plank,
or I could use the spacers to guarantee uniform space between the planks, however the vertical lines would not be straight. 

I chose to keep the vertical lines all straight.

6. Confessions from a non-perfectionist carpenter

To further add to my novice carpenter woes, one of the Home Depot guys had pulled out a plywood sheet that was thicker than my others and I didn't catch it. And yep, it got mixed in with the planks on the wall. 

OK. So this is how I know I'm not truly a perfectionist, because if my Dad had noticed the slight difference between the planks on the wall he would've walked over to the flawed plank and yanked it off. Just like that, because it was the wrong size plain and simple. 

That of course, would've led to a few more planks being pulled off because of the newly open space that would have to be re-measured for the new plank to look an equal distance from the others. 

Are you seeing how one thing leads to another when it comes to measuring?

So this is what I did. I sat and stared at the thick plank with my mouth open, took a deep sigh, had a sip from my water bottle, cringed a little more and kept going. 

At that point the mere thought of going back to a crowded and under-staffed Home Depot and bringing back more wood made me want to jump head-first into shark-infested waters. 
(which is basically how I view swimming in the ocean).

This photo shows how each plank needed to be cut down to the size of the wall. Then new trim and new baseboards followed.

7. The finished walls

And so I'm left with what I jokingly call my rustic walls, in the style of a quaint cottage from the rural countryside.


What's wrong with a few odd planks here and there right? 


 Just add some white paint and voila!
  



I brought the rug from the dining room in here to warm up all the white.


I plan on sharing some photos of the REVEAL for this room shortly. Since we splurged on a new sectional in here, everything else in this room is either re-purposed from our old home or bought at a consignment or thrift store. 

Which makes decorating a fun challenge. 

Thanks so much for stopping by friends,

xo

Leslie

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