The kitchen island and a home for my wrapping paper photo frames

After we moved into our house and began unpacking all of our existing kitchen dishes and appliances and then added all of our wedding gifts on top of that, we quickly filled up every existing storage space in our kitchen. We had things crammed in our cabinets and we were constantly digging around and stuffing to get everything to fit. Most people would consider getting rid of some of their items, but not us. Our solution: build more storage so our appliances and dishes could be spread out around the kitchen. The result: our fabulous kitchen island, built by us! Well, all of the pieces are from Ikea and we designed and assembled the whole thing.

Our goal with the island was to not only increase our existing storage space, built also to have a big workspace for preparing meals and a place to entertain guests in our kitchen while we prepare meals. We also wanted a place where we could eat dinner in our kitchen, but we weren’t interested in the traditional dinette table. The unit is also freestanding which will allow us to take it with us if or when we move out (some disassembly required).

The color choice of the island, which is different from our existing cherry kitchen cabinets was to create a contrast between the dark wood and the white cabinets. We also wanted to brighten up the kitchen. The dark cabinet and dark floor needed something that would pop against them! We chose the butcher block counters for a couple of reasons. First, they look really nice with the white cabinets and second, they were much more cost effective then the granite countertops we originally picked out. Because the bar and the work surface were two different pieces, the cost of granite skyrocketed.

Here’s our progress as we put the island together:

Zoey was also very helpful during the assembly. She supervised the entire project.

Some of the other fun features of the island include, the hidden trash can…
The book shelve for cookbooks and decorations…
And the cabinets to display our drink ware (with lights installed!):
So lastly, you might have noticed the new home for my Beating the Heat DIY project. I was originally planning to hang the frames in the kitchen on the backsplash, but I changed my mind after tapping the frames up to see how they would look. I’m happy to report that they still look great in the kitchen. I placed them on a few of the counters and I really like how they look. I think they’ve found their new home… for awhile at least!
They really brighten up the kitchen!

Reusable wedding centerpieces

Getting married? Just married? Or looking for centerpieces ideas that you can reuse later? When choosing centerpieces for our wedding, I wanted them to be fun, beautiful and most importantly… reusable.

My husband and I got married last year in a beautiful restored barn that was completely decorated in french country-style and didn’t require much work when it came to picking out the centerpieces for our wedding. Below is a picture of our hall sans flower centerpieces. I came to find out after the wedding that our florist didn’t arrive until around 1:30 (she said she would be there around 10 a.m.). Our wedding was supposed to start at 2:30 and our centerpieces were not finished. Thankfully, my mother-in-law quickly ran around and completely our centerpieces before everyone arrived. These little things happen on your wedding day, but the result (as long as you do not panic) can still be beautiful. And no one even knew… including me! But I digress, back to the centerpieces…

photo credit:

Unfortunately we didn’t get any photos of just our centerpieces at the venue, but they turned out beautiful. For half of the tables, we chose tall clear glass vases with glass beads and added with fresh-cut gerbera daisies to them. On the other half of the tables, we placed white lanterns with tea light candles. Our colors were bright pink, bright yellow and bright orange with splashes of green and blue. Below are our bouquets. They incorporated three of our five (yes five) colors.

photo credit:

At first, you might be overwhelmed by the thought of using five colors, but I tried to bring them all together in subtle ways. All of the colors reminded me of a bright summer party and that is why I chose them. To incorporate all of our colors together in each of the fresh-cut flower centerpieces, we filled tall clear vases with blue and green glass beads and then added two or three fresh-cut gerber a daisies in pink, yellow or orange. In the vases, we also added glass fish to make it look like there were fish swimming in the bottom. Because I ultimately couldn’t decide if I wanted just flowers or just candlelight, or both, every other table had a white lantern with star cutouts in the top. To create candlelight, we placed a LED tea light inside each lantern. We used the LED tea lights to keep the lanterns from being too hot to touch and the tea lights were reusable. Win!

It was completely intentional that I chose centerpieces that we could use later. The purpose behind the centerpieces was definitely the usability. I wanted them to be both fun and functional. They also played really well into our the atmosphere of a fun summer party. Now the centerpieces serve as decorations for our home, so and every time I see them, I am reminded our how much fun we had celebrating with family and friends on our wedding day.

Since our wedding, I also added a red lantern and a green lantern. Here are a few of the lanterns in our home:

Because we had sixteen tables, I had plenty of leftover vases and lanterns. I’ve used every vase and lantern somewhere throughout our house. Here are a few of my favorite ways I reused the vases:

I also put together some DIY arrangements for our escort card table. I arranged miniature pinwheels like flowers in brightly colored pails filled with floral foam. After I arranged the pinwheels, I covered the floral foam with leftover green (paper) easter grass and then found little white flowers in my stash for making floral wreaths. The finished products now sit on top of my office bookshelf:

Finally, we chose favors that we could use later if we had extra. We picked daisy wine bottle stoppers in our colors and gave them to each adult (each guest under 21 received a package full of Jelly Belly jelly beans in our colors). Now when guests come over to our house to enjoy a bottle of wine, we get out our wine stoppers and sometimes we even send them home with their own stopper.

Designing everything for our wedding was so much fun and I love that we can continue to enjoy pieces of our wedding everyday. It was also my own little way of being green :). The only thing we didn’t keep and incorporate from our wedding were the fresh-cut flowers. Everything else is somewhere in our home!