Starting spring inside

Image

As your Valentine bouquets begin to wilt, let’s keep the freshness inside until it’s time to throw open our windows!

I’ve recently moved and as I’m organizing my bedroom, I’ve been trying to figure out creative ways to bring nature indoors. Bringing color and texture to my white walls I plan to hang some air plants from the corner ceiling near my window. In the end it will look a little like this:

Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 10.18.41 AMYou can buy supplies separately, all you need is:

West ElmAmazon Twine

Or, you can get the entire look from one website.

A favorite hostess gift of mine are Twig Terrariums. These creative and funky vignettes give a little humor to the beautiful and natural terrariums.

Man on a benchCoupleBeachSkatingLight Bulb

Small, spiky, and simple are house cacti. The Old Lady Cactus, flowering annually with a ring of buds around her neck is a feminine accent to any mantle. Old Lady Cactus

I plan to hang earrings and necklaces from mini garden hooks. And although I adore the silver etsy hooks, I prefer a simpler line drawing me to the second choice.

EtsyLowe's

You can also make use of the 3″ x 42″ space on a window sill.

Window sill

Or order one of these amazing containers to hang on the wall or place upon a table.

MK

There are so many beautiful and intriguing species of cacti, choose what suits your taste. I love the soft haired cacti, tall stalks with hats, and flowering spikes. Below are a few favorites. Thimble CactiLiving RockSpikyBouquet

Cheers to an early spring!

M

Advertisements

Simple Gifts

Gallery

This gallery contains 8 photos.

I’ve recently finished an in-house position for a client and wanted to properly send myself off with thoughtful notes for everyone. Inspired by my love for salt and the Office Holiday Bake-off, I figured what better way than contribute to the December … Continue reading

No More Soap Scum!

Hello!

I am freshly returned to New York City and hyper-aware of continually washing my hands. Unfortunately, this is not always a cleansing experience. There is the soap cemented to counters, the Doctor’s Office scented pink glue dripping from containers, and the bathrooms and sinks without soap!

A list of beautiful and fun ways to proudly display New York City’s gold: SOAP.

Personally, I love using sponges for my own soap rest. They are absorbing (duh!), easy to clean (toss in the dishwasher), and just scream, “clean!”

(Remember to click on the images to find more information)

Some great options to reduce dripping hands are these handcrafted products:

A modern option to make out of old spatulas is here:

Don’t forget to add a little design to your soap dish!

Ribbed dishes prevent soap bars sticking to their dish.

The soap in your bath and showers shouldn’t be overlooked.

Take an artistic approach to the guest bathroom.

Of course, don’t forget the office and when you’re on the go.

No more Soap Glue, welcome to Foam!

Enjoy your day and keep it clean!

 

Summer Garden Sprouts

** Remember to click each picture for links to great websites**

My sister just adopted some tomatoes from the street in Boston. Yes, three orphaned tomato sprouts were on the side of the road next to a sign that read, “Looking for a kind home with lots of sun and rich soil!”

It’s difficult harvesting vegetables in the city, but the result is often well worth the effort. Below are some bright ideas for creating your own city garden.

Space savors! 

Begin your garden by using old eggshells… 

  • When cracking eggs for breakfast, save 3/4 of each shell, then rinse them with water and allow them to dry.
  • Using a safety pin, carefully poke a hole in the bottom of each shell, as this small hole will serve as an exit for future roots to use.
  • Fill the eggshell 3/4 full with dirt.
  • Plant your seeds! When they begin to sprout, you can plant the entire shell into the garden. Ultimately, the roots will break through the shell’s base and, as the shell crumbles, will absorb fertilizer from the surrounding soil.  

You can also skip the shells and simply use the cardboard to get them started. 

Or, you may even decide to skip saving eggs & containers altogether, in which case, you can just buy some starter kits!  While it’s not quite a ‘starter,’ as it is meant to remain a home to cute herbs, the eggling is still a fun gift… 

The Micro-Green grow box is also meant to be the end all answer to your city-gardening needs. All you need is a windowsill!

Now that your plants have sprouted, you have to decide where to put them; an obstacle that needn’t obstruct your urban garden plans!

Vertical Farming

One option is to hang them from a door.

Another vertical gardening option is to build shelves, using containers you can collect from recycling, Good Will, or other second hand stores.Additionally, you can create your own shelving (that is easily dissembled in the autumn and stored for next season) using a ladder and some boards.

And, of course, there is always the option to purchase something like this designer trellis.

Some of the best indoor growers from start to harvest are mushrooms. There are hundreds of kits out there, but the two I love most are below:

A DIY project! (Click for the steps)  And a purchase option (Great gift for the city gardener)… 

Choosing the right plant for your garden is also important. Peas are natural vertical growers that are beautiful because they climb towards the sun, sharing their flowers along the way.

  • Hint: Provide a small base and something for them to crawl up.

Spider Web Style – have fun with your strings; the peas will follow your lead!You can also finally make use of that ladder you’ve saved in case you might need it. By hanging wires from the rungs to each pot, you will encourage many happy vines to sprout with the additional benefit of creating a little privacy from your neighbor. Here’s another example of good, old-fashioned, resourcefulness. Use what you have (a ladder, old chair, fencing).
 And, if you are one of the lucky ones with a backyard… PLEASE get this amazing rocking chair/trellis: 

I’ve also recently started composting for next year’s garden (it takes about 6 months to begin a compost). Below you will find the tips that I use: 

  • Construct a bin by drilling 1/4″ holes 4″-6″ apart to allow the compost to breathe. 
  • Begin filling your compost by the green/brown rule: Three parts brown to one part green.
  • Begin with your three parts brown:

Brown: Leaves, shredded newspaper, twigs  


  • Wet everything until it has the consistency of a wrung out sponge.
  • Add your one part green to ‘activate’ your compost:

Green: Fruit & vegetable peels, weeds & lawn clippings, trimmings & rinds

  • Smell-you-later: top your greens with more browns to keep your bin working properly and avoid smelling. Continue the layering with one part green, three parts brown, one part green, etc.
  • Rotate or stir your pile weekly, checking for the bottom to smell earthy and to appear very dark and crumbly (this normally occurs after 6 months).

 (An amazing ready to roll compost unit… easy to turn!) 

  • Harvest your fertilizer to help harvest your crops!

4th of July Family Reunion!!!

Spending the 4th with my boyfriend’s family this year made me appreciative of how this holiday tends to bring America’s families together. So I thought what better time, than the kids’ summer breaks, a holiday where many professionals get off to host a Family Reunion!

Invitations

  • A ‘Save the date’ should be sent out 6 months prior to an event. Since this is a summer, destination party you must consider your guests’ travel arrangements, summer camps, and holiday plans.
  • Green save the dates are especially popular now electronically
  • Formal invitations should be sent 3 months out to remind people and encourage RSVP’s

*** NEW IDEA ***

For this party, a unique idea is to include postage and request that your guests send a red, white, or blue shirt that symbolizes their family. These shirts can be their hometown, favorite family vacation souvenir, sports team, or something new.

You can use these shirts to create your own Independence Day Flag or as a prize for relay races, event competitions. 

Decor

For the kids to play with, and engage your guests, include a range of games. Dominoes are great for those who want to sit. Croquet or Badminton for the lawn. The tent below can add accent and shade for little children and if the property is near a lake or pool remember to always provide towels in a container easily accessible to guests.

Floral

Recently as a houseguest I wanted to bring something more updated than my usual bouquet so I went to the local antique barn and found a lovely pail that I then planted some petunias in for a festive approach. Using some beautiful twine for the finishing touch you can create your own custom floral pieces for well over 70% savings. And they last all summer long!

Table Top

Incorporating colors sometimes reads better than literal interpretations of the flag. Below is a gorgeous charger and plate combination that adds style to this classic country event. 

To facilitate better conversation and sometimes avoid conflict, table assignments can be helpful.

  • Assign by generation so cousins may relate to certain shared memories
  • Make sure that table seatings are age specific for comfort (smaller chairs and benches, plastic cups, and high-chairs for children – extra cushioning and shade for elder guests)

A great idea for helping children with glasses that can become slippery are applying rubber bands to the glass or preparing with drink bands. I have to recommend color coordinating with red and blue of course!

To organize your place cards, use a recovered shutter, painted in whichever color you choose, slipping the names amongst the slits. Place some recovered bud vases and antique forks to hold table numbers and tie the metal pail floral arrangements together.  I have recently become fascinated with old postcards, both written and mailed & printed in the 30’s- 70’s. The world and vacation spots have changed so much that the messages and pictures return a sense of nostalgia to popular sites. At antique stores, these gems are organized by state and range 25 cents to $2.00 a card.

  • Use the postcards you provide as seating assignments, including postage and your mailing address encouraging your guests to write you as they travel through the summer.
  • Use saved postcards your guests may have sent you to signify seating assignments
  • If you don’t want to limit people to specific seats just lay a few on each table tied with leftover twine as gift-bags.

Lighting

I fell in love with these lunch pail inspired votive holders as well to add sparkle to each table. You can also place some individually wrapped bug repellant in them on each table, better for inhalation concerns! Adding some lanterns (powered not candle) and of course mosquito killing lights can add some color too without the fire! 

Another great idea are these origami, DIY, paper lantern christmas lights.  Food & Bar

Anything you choose to serve is great, but some grilling tips!

  • Always keep the grill open until you are sure it is lit
  • Don’t smoke while grilling! Or at all!
  • Don’t use matches or lighters to check for propane leaks
  • Don’t pour accelerant such as lighter fluid or gasoline on the grill

Cocktail

The Old One- Two

Naomi Schimek created a beautiful and tasty punch, perfect for large groups.

Muddle 40 blackberries into 1 cup superfine sugar until well mashed and sugar has dissolved.

Add 1 cup strained fresh-squeezed lemon juice and whisk, strain again and discard seeds.

In a punch bowl, add 1 cup cognac and some ice. Let sit for ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Top with 750mL bottle of brut champagne.

Serves 6

Dessert

Chop some blueberries, strawberry, banana (electrolytes for hot day activities!) and place in these delightful dishes! for cups of fruit and add whipped cream for sweet.  Carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, strawberry shortcake, or blueberry muffins can be served in decorative  A FAVORITE vendor who bakes fresh daily the most amazing cheesecake I have EVER been blessed to have (it is that good) is The Great American Cheesecake is Lawrenceville, NJ.

To serve ice cream cones without too much of a mess and line while scooping, pre scoop and serve your favorite flavors (black raspberry Mmmm) in an old milk container!  For a GREAT catering option, based out of Brooklyn, NY and willing to travel are People’s Pops. Their flavors are ingenious and their historic take to popsicles amazing. BIG THUMBS UP HERE!!!

Happy Summer & enjoy the ideas!!!

Marisa

Chalk it up to…

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, chalk boards have made a wild come back with products like

 and 

Below, I will list some of the more creative uses for “chalkboard” influenced paint and other fun products.

HOW cool is this!? Recently, the DIY Network renovated a kitchen in a similar manner to what is pictured below with magnetic paint. By priming your wall space with it, you can accessorize with cute magnets to truly make use of the space!

Invite chalk artist Dana Tanamachi to decorate your newly scribble-able walls with her unique style.

  
Here’s another great DIY using old wine glasses to identify dinner party guests.
Some other great products inspired by this age old concept are below:
First, we have stickers that may be applied to whatever your event or desire requires
These containers come assembled and are perfect for cereal, rice, baking products, rubber bands… you get the idea 🙂These cups are perfect for a forgetful husband or the tired mother who deserves an “I love you” upon waking… or just for some doodling on a fun, new surfaceAs a good host knows, one should always try to switch up courses, which goes for cheese as well! To label your choice of fruit and cheese, I give you the cheese plate!
Another labeling idea is the name cards below – soap stone chalk included!These table numbers (perfect for the country wedding) can be hung around a jar or wine bottle, on floral arrangements, or simply strung from a candle
My sister was decorating her apartment on a DIY budget and found this wall decal. We used it to write notes or affirmations to one another and to welcome people to parties when hosting guests; and the best part, No Holes in the Wall!! We are still renting 🙂Adorable for children’s rooms without having to buy and store a huge physical chalkboard… reminiscent of school days passed.
cupcakes
& ice creamPerhaps the cutest idea of the bunch, and great for mix and match decor! Sometimes writing on the wall can become tiresome. So, for playtime, a fun alternative idea is to use the craft table (shown below) for crafts and coloring.
As far as the older kids go, what could be better than this designer ping pong table for a mere $3k? Oh yes… a DIY version on whatever table you find at the nearest Costco, BJ’s, etc.Now that we’ve got your kids hooked on their chalk boards, they will need one when on-the-go! The designer of these boards uses a variety of fabric to match the board with its owner’s personality. It’s the perfectly versatile coloring book / sketchpad for restaurants, waiting rooms, and anywhere else your kids’ attention may need to be occupied.
Let’s not forget the CHALK! Here are just a few cute ideas:
As for a last minute tip: always wet the end of chalk before using it to get the cleanest lines. Additionally, there are chalk markers that come in a wide range of colors that leave less mess!
Finally, a GREAT DIY idea for gifting, storing, or recycling other products!