Baby it’s cold outside

And…. we’re back! It’s been a busy holiday season for BJ and I, but despite being busy, we had some time to continue working on our home projects. I just ran out of time to keep you updated! I’ve added “write more blog posts” to my list of new year’s resolutions this year.

Now that the holidays are winding down and we’re looking to the new year, we will once again change our home decor. The in-between seasons are always a fun time to decorate. They are sometimes a little challenging, but allow for a decent amount of creativity. Here is how we decorated after Christmas last year.

I like to use decor that will translate from one season to the next. Before Christmas, I picked out two new vases, corks and cranberries to dress up our kitchen island. I chose the cranberries for their rich warm color, perfect for fall to winter decorating. The corks are a nice earthy color, another warm color that can be for fall or winter.

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When choosing a candle in our decor, I almost always go with an led candle, unless I have no plans to light the candles. The candles in the picture below are led and have a timer on them. Every night they come on at the same time and go off at the same time.

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In our winter decor this year, I want to add some more greenery. I like this idea I found on Pinterest to roll candles in faux snow. I also like the birds because we have a few wooden birds that look like these. The pine in the vase might be a little harder to pull off because we do not have any pine in our yard and pine is hard to find after Christmas. The stores sell off all of their Christmas decor and move on to spring decor too quickly.

DIY: Add faux snow to candles for a new look.

Here’s an idea for a way to use branches from a real Christmas tree. Before you throw the tree out, cut off a few branches and display them in a nice bucket with a few lights, pine cones and berry sprays. DIY winter decor || Lover.lyTo decorate our kitchen chalkboard, I like this idea for a “baby it’s cold out here” sign. We still have several months left of winter and it will be cold outside. So, why not have this sign in your house after holidays?

Love this sign for winter decorating

For more ideas, search “winter decor” on Pinterest. There are so many fun things you can do with winter decor. Be creative! You don’t have to put away all of your favorite decor items from Christmas. Keep a few winter items out and use them to celebrate the season a little longer in the new year!

Enjoy!

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Pinterest Picks: Dinner Party Time!

It’s almost the weekend! Is anyone attending or hosting a dinner party or fun gathering with friends and family this weekend?

Even though the stores are already advertising for Christmas, outside it is still fall, and fall is the season of the ultimate fall dinner party: Thanksgiving. To gather some ideas for a fun dinner party, I searched Pinterest and here are a few of my favorite pins and ideas. I also started a new board called Dinner Party Time! for those interested in following as I continue to find more dinner party ideas.

I love decorating with pumpkins, especially unique looking pumpkins. A pumpkin can also make the perfect chalkboard for your party. You can use your chalkboard pumpkin for your menu or drink list. All you need is some chalkboard paint and chalk.

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Leftover small pumpkins from your Halloween displays can also make great centerpieces.

Beautiful for the Thanksgiving holidays or a fall dinner party

Speaking of chalkboard paint, I love the idea of using chalkboards to label each of your appetizers or desserts. Just be sure the chalkboard paint is food safe! You can also use slate dinner pieces. Slate is a natural chalkboard. In this photo, they painted the table runner with chalkboard paint.

BEER-TASTING PARTY - Host a pub-inspired beer-tasting party complete with cheese pairings, soft pretzels, burgers and, of course, a variety of craft beers.

The last few pictures are for a themed-dinner party. With the explosion of craft breweries, you can gather up your friends and invite them over for a craft brew party. Each guest brings a growler or bullet with their favorite local beer and then you can kick back and enjoy good food and good company for the evening.

We Set A Place For You/Fall FeatureCraft Beer and Cheese Pairingsmint love social club: {party inspiration: craft beer tasting party}

Have a great weekend everyone!

Bulbs, bulbs, and more tulip bulbs!

Chilly weather finally set in at our house this week, but before the frost arrived, we finished prepping our garden for the coming winter and spring. It may seem a little early to start thinking about spring, but fall is a great time to plant spring flower bulbs. After watching this DIY video from Lowes, I was feeling really ambitious:

In my ambition, I decided to buy 150 tulip bulbs to plant in our garden. At first, 150 bulbs didn’t seem like that many. They came in bags of 50, so three bags seems reasonable, right? I didn’t realize how much it would take to plant 150 tulips. Not to mention the 24 crocus bulbs I also bought. Note for next time: tulips should be planted 6 inches deep and 6 inches apart.Before we started planting, I had this grand vision in my head that we would just dig a few holes and spread the tulip bulbs out. That’s not exactly what happened after I read the planting instructions.

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fbfs_tulipsgalore2 copyIn order to plant all the bulbs in one evening, I recruited BJ to help me. He agreed to dig the holes and I would follow behind and plant each bulb, 6 inches apart and roughly 6 inches deep.

I arranged the bulbs in the on the sidewalk and in the grass near the intended homes of the bulbs. Once I laid out all the bulbs, I realized how much work it was going to take to plant 150 bulbs…

fbfs_tulipsgalore3 fbfs_tulipsgalore8 tulipsgalore7In other words, there were tulips bulbs everywhere.

We started planting during the daylight hours and had to finish well after the dark skies set in. A neighbor walking by commented that she once ran over a tree while attempting to garden at night. I’m not sure what that meant, but I was determined to get all the bulbs planted in the same evening. It’s important to get the bulbs in the ground before the frost comes so they have a chance to survive through the winter. We were getting dangerously close to the first frost of the season.

Thanks to BJ’s help, I was able to get every last bulb planted. We touch nearly every part of the garden while planting so during the following week, I added a fresh layer of mulch, to help protect the bulbs, and tame the unsettled dirt.

As I mentioned, it was well after dark when we finished planting the bulbs so I grabbed a few photos of the gardens the next day. Here is what the unsettled dirt looked like:

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And the finished gardens with mulch: fbfs_tulipsgalore13 fbfs_tulipsgalore11


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Now that all 174 bulbs are planted, I cannot wait to see how they look in the fall. Even if we only have a 50% survival rate through the spring, that is still 75 tulips!

Confessions of a Garden “Gone Wild”

True story: I let our gardens go a little wild this summer.

We were really lucky at the beginning of this summer. It rained every few days, and other than pulling out the occasional weeds, I didn’t spend much time in our gardens after Mother’s Day. As the summer went on, it rained less and less until we entered a drought. Even in a drought, the weeds kept growing and I didn’t stay on top of pulling them.

Last year’s drought was brutal. I spent every day hand watering our potted plants and flower beds just to keep them alive. By late summer, we lost the battle to keep our grass green, our potted plants were dying and I was exhausted. This year, I wasn’t in to spending that much time in the gardens.

Along with the drought and the weeds this year, our hibiscus plants decided they were going to take over. They not only looked overgrown, they covered up one of our sprinklers and it could no longer water the garden and yard effectively.

Instead of ripping the plants out, I wanted to transplant at least one hibiscus in the garden on the other side of the garage. However, I abandoned that idea when the plants put up one heck of a fight.

The hibiscus eventually lost the battle when I cut their roots in several pieces.IMG_7406

After I removed the hibiscus plants and the weeds, our gardens looked dramatically different.

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I also trimmed our cherry blossom bushes and dead-headed a few of the plants that were finished blooming for the summer.

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Lastly, I needed to split the bulbs for our gladiolus. Since I failed at transplanting the hibiscus, I planted the split gladiolus bulbs in the garden on the other side of our garage. Next, I’m going to plant a few spring bulbs in this garden and put down some fresh mulch.

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After I finished the gardens, the pots on our front porch needed some TLC, so I replanted them with mums and aster.

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The outside of our house is ready for fall!

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Until next time! Enjoy your home improvement projects.

An Easy Fall Wreath Project

Labor Day, the unofficial end to summer has already come and gone and I’m now thinking about decorating our house for fall, my favorite season. The other day, I came home and noticed that our neighbors were already decorated for Halloween (still a little early for that, maybe) so I decided to start our fall decorating frenzy by making a fun fall wreath.

In the spring, I made this monogram wreath for out front door. It was such a big hit, and I enjoyed seeing it on our door so much that I decided to make a fall version with a twist. Instead of a monogram letter, I decided to spell out “fall.”

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My fall hydrangea wreath is really easy to make and only requires a few supplies. If you would like to make your own version you will need:

1. A grapevine wreath
2. 5 or 6 hydrangea stems in your choice of colors
3. Wire cutters
4. Wood letters (I found ours at Michael’s)
5. Spray paint in your choice of color(s)
6. A glue gun
7. Ribbon to hang your finished wreath

Before you get started, cut off any tags from your wreath, flowers and letters.
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For our fall wreath, I chose gold, cream and green hydrangeas.

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First, I cut each hydrangea stem to about two inches. This is just enough so that the stems hang out of the back of the wreath, but not so far that they push the wreath away from the door.

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To cut each of the stems, I used wire cutters (and a whole lotta elbow grease!).IMG_7441

The letters I picked out came in a white-wash finish. I like the white letters, but since I chose cream flowers, I wanted to paint the letters something other than white.
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Since I only wanted to paint a few letters for my wreath, I bought this little can of spray paint in a maize color.
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Next, I took my letters outside and coated them with the maize spray paint.
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While the letters were drying, I attached my flowers using hot glue. You can also use floral wire, but I think hot glue is faster, and easier.

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Once my letters dried, I attached them using hot glue.

For the final touch, I added a ribbon loop to hang the wreath.
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And here the finished product!

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Enjoy!

Picking the Perfect Palette: The Loft

Fall is on its way and soon we will be diving in to our indoor home improvement projects. When it comes to painting our house, we always wait until the weather is cool enough to open the windows and pull in some fresh air. Fall is usually a great time because the air is not too moist and sticky. In the meantime, we are deciding on the color that we will paint our half wall in the loft and hallway. I chose a palette of yellow, blue and blue/green paint chips for our alma mater color scheme and taped them to the wall using painter’s tape. Now we can see our choices on the wall while we make our decision.fbfs_colorchoices (6)With this palette, I chose complimentary colors to our existing room colors. We have several different shades of blue in our room which is why I chose the blue and blue/green chips for our palette. I chose the gold and yellow chips to complement our maize yellow pillows. I like the idea of the golds being closer to the shade of the pillows because we do not have several different shades of gold existing in the room.

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The color that we choose for the loft will carry around the half wall and down the catwalk hallway. With that being said, we need to choose a color that compliments both the loft and the hallway. I think I’m leaning toward the golds,  but I can’t make up my mind. I also really like the blues. Decisions, decisions.

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On another note, you might’ve noticed that we have new curtains in our loft. I liked the previous curtains, but they were slightly to short. Some folks like their curtains to be just above the ground but I prefer the curtains to touch the ground. Finding out the curtains I bought were too short was definitely a lesson learned. Always measure before you buy! fbfs_colorchoices (4) copy

When I went back to West Elm, where I bought our gray curtains, I found the same pattern in dark blue. I like the dark blue even better than the light gray and this time I made sure to buy a longer length. fbfs_colorchoices (2) That’s it for now. I’ll keep you posted on our paint chip selection process!

Summer Gardening, Part 2

In our last post, I updated you on our front flower beds. Out in the back yard, our vegetable garden is really taking off. So far this summer, we’ve harvested our first zucchini and fresh parsley.

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Our basil plant is getting really big. We need to start incorporating fresh basil and parsley into our meals so we can use more of our fresh herbs.

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One thing I’ve noticed about our vegetable garden is that it does not need much as maintenance as I originally thought. Other than continual weeding, watering and harvesting, I haven’t spent much time maintaining the garden. I bought plant food when I first planted the seedlings, but haven’t used it yet. The vegetables look like they are holding their own without the extra food.

Our corn is doing really well. I did have to stabilize the stalks a few weeks ago. They were leaning after a heavy rain storm so I put a big clump of dirt next to each stalk and although I was doubtful of my “temporary” solution, the dirt clump did the trick and the corn stalks have stood straight ever since.

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We are starting to see a few ears growing on each of our corn stalks. I can’t wait for fresh sweet corn. Out of all the vegetables we planted, I think I’m most excited to enjoy our fresh sweet corn. Hope it is delicious! fbfs_corn_2

The green beans I replanted are up and hopefully we will have fresh green beans to harvest.
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Our yellow pepper is still going strong. I’m not sure when we will see peppers growing, but I’m still hopeful.

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We have a zucchini and a spaghetti squash that may be ready to harvest in the near future.

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How are your summer gardens?