Thursday, November 20, 2014

Our Thanksgiving Tablescape

Exactly one week from this moment I'll be chopping apples, basting a turkey, stirring cider and preparing stuffing for a room full of some of my favorite people. This is exactly what I envisioned for our dining room—the reason we built a massive 9 foot table that can easily fit our party of 10 on Thanksgiving.

Yesterday I put the finishing touches on our table setting and now we're ready for the big day. I'm going to call this style "simple cozy country casual meets refined rustic"... so many adjectives, I can't choose.


Since I plan to spend a lot of time and effort on Christmas decorating this year, I decided to keep it simple for Thanksgiving and use mostly what I had. I think I spent around just $30 for everything.

The jumping off point was this table runner—2 yards of $3 fabric from fabric.com (looks like it's not available on their website anymore, bummer!). No sewing involved, just cut it in half, folded and ironed the edges and plopped it down. Easy peasy.


Then I layered a super inexpensive (I think it was $5 or $10?) runner I found at Walmart in the candle/home/wedding section...


I had all but two of the woven Ikea placemats, so I picked those up last weekend. I already had the dishes (scored them at our flea market—$30 for a full set!)


The wood box centerpiece was a DIY project from this past spring, and I filled it with pine clippings, berries and pinecones from the yard, along with pillar candles and candlesticks.


A few mini pumpkins were added to keep things festive, along with some branch wood coasters I purchased for a steal on Ebay earlier this year.


I didn't want another pattern to compete with the plaid runner so I found these brown cloth napkins at a wedding supply store for just 53 cents each! I'll definitely be using them again in the future.


I was gifted my Grandma's silverware set so this was the perfect occasion to break it out—a simple twine bow holds them together.


The name tags were printed on card stock, cut and hole punched, and wrapped around more pine clippings from the yard.


Instead of wine charms, I bought a package of gold alphabet stickers for a couple bucks on Ebay and added each guests' intials.


And in lieu of a thankful tree, guests will write what they're thankful for on blank tags. Then I'll age them and hang them on our Christmas tree as ornaments to enjoy until next year (I'll make sure to post that later!)


Neutral pillows and blankets line the bench seat for added coziness.





 
I set the table for 8 for these photos, but we'll be adding one person to each end of the table on the big day.


You may also notice the lack of slipcovers on our chairs. We've actually been living without them for months now (per Brad's request) and I kind of like it this way, so they'll stay for now.


Can't forget the chalkboard DIY...


And that's that! My very first Thanksgiving table and first time ever hosting Thanksgiving. Fingers crossed we don't burn the turkey :)

I have a special treat for you all next week... something that has been in high demand—my free printable planner for 2015! I'll be working on it this weekend and should have it up early next week. I'll also be getting a head start on my Christmas crafting, so keep an eye on instagram for sneak peeks!





Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Recent Shopping Trips: H&M Home, Ikea + A Balsam Hill Contest

Yesterday I shared my Favorite Things, and today I thought it'd be fun to show you my latest purchases and what I've been stalking online for the holidays!

I mentioned H&M Home as one of my favorites and I know some of you hadn't heard they've expanded to a Home line. They've basically replaced Ikea as my favorite home decor source ever.

There's way too much good stuff to highlight (their prices are unbeatable I'm obsessed with pretty much everything), but here are just a few of my favorites right now...

Knit Cushion Cover - $24.95


Jacquard-weave Cushion Cover - $17.95 (I came so close to buying this!)

Checked Cushion Cover - $17.95 (almost bought this too!)

Cotton Cushion Cover - $5.95 (that price is not a typo!)

Checked Throw - $34.95
Ceramic Jar - $5.95

Storage Basket - $9.95

Pillowcase - $9.95

Pillowcase - $9.95

King/Queen Duvuet Set - $59.95

King/Queen Duvet Set - $59.95

Tea Towel - $4.95

Metal Container - $12.95


Ceramic Bowl - $5.95
Patterned Plate - $5.95
Wooden Cutting Board - $12.95

I could go on forever... you'd better just head over there and be prepared to spend hours! Here's what I bought last month:

Linen Cushion Cover - $17.95 (I bought 4!)


(I picked up several of the 16x16" pillow inserts to go with them).


 
Christmas Tree Mat - $12.95


I also bought another fun pillow but it's a Christmas gift so I can't reveal it in case they're reading ;) I wanted to buy everything but I had to practice some restraint since I was planning an Ikea trip...

If you follow me on instagram, you may have caught a glimpse of my trip this past weekend.


I'm a huge fan of their holiday items this year. I pretty much had to start from scratch with my Christmas decor, as we weren't moved in yet last year and the year before we hardly did any decorating. As usual, I ended up spending a lot more than what was on my shopping list... but it was worth the splurge!

Top row:

Ornaments Set: We have no ornaments whatsoever so I picked up this set of 56 silver ornaments for just $10! I'm going with a more natural theme this year so I spray painted them white.

Lantern: This wasn't on my shopping list but at just $4, it stole my heart.

Tree: Oh how I love this baby tree. I picked up some mini red ornaments to decorate it.

Throw: This red cable knit throw is the perfect accent for my color scheme this year.

Frames: I always stock up when I'm there!

Watering can: Perfect for our garden window in the kitchen.

White Pitcher: I had been looking for one of these forever!

Bottom row:

Plant pot: Love the woven texture on this.

Candles: Can't beat the price! I bought two sets in white also.

Bulbs: Brad says these are the best price on LED bulbs. I bought a bunch for future remodels.

Ursula Cushion Covers: I have two of these covers already and they're some of my favorites. Can't get enough!

Checked cushion covers: At $6/ea, this might be my favorite pillow in the world right now. I have two in gray and am obsessed. I bought 3 but kinda wish I would have bought more!

Placemats: I own 8 already but we're hosting 10 for Thanksgiving so I grabbed a couple more.

White cushion cover: Love the ruffles on this. And it's only $10!

Curtains: I'm actually using these as a shower curtain in our upstairs guest bath. It's so hard to find ceiling length shower curtains that are cute and these are just $14! I'll have to modify them a bit but I love the style and fabric.


I forgot to photograph this pillow but I also grabbed this while I was there... it's actually tied with the red checked covers as my favorite pillow ever:



Also not shown in the photos is this metal tray which is currently holding some candles in our living room, and a bunch of cushion inserts. They're so inexpensive and you can never have too many! It was definitely a successful trip and I can't wait to start my Christmas decorating.

While I'm sharing... anyone interested to see what I found at Forever 21? I know this isn't a fashion blog but I'm just as excited about winter clothes as I am winter decor!

My fashion style is really the same as my decorating style... cozy, neutral, comfortable, a little feminine and on a budget! Forever 21 has always been one of my favorites. It's hit or miss for me, sometimes I'll leave completely empty handed. But I spent a couple hours shopping last weekend and am super excited about my finds!

Part 1:

If you live in warm leggings like me during the cold months, you need to get to your nearest F21 stat! They have so many cute styles... I wanted to take them all home with me but my collection is becoming out of control so I stopped at 3. How cute are the two patterned ones? So festive (and so affordable).

The lace pink top is fun for going out and the color is gorgeous. I also needed plain long shirts to wear with my leggings so I grabbed some in a variety of colors (tan, off white, dark gray, and gray/black). Along with a few others I have at home, these are versatile enough to wear with any bottoms I have.


I had been looking for a pair of white pants forever, and these fit great and were on sale (love the zipper at the bottom too!)

The booties have to be my favorite find. I'm super picky about shoes—I won't wear them unless they a) are super comfortable, b) make me at least 5'4" tall, c) are inexpensive. That's a hard combination, but this $26 pair fits the bill.


I'm also ordering them in black online (they didn't have my size in the store). And you can't forget about the jewelry! There's pieces as low as $2, people. Perfect for someone like me who wants a lot of options, gets bored of things fast and/or loses their jewelry.

My total for 5 tops, 4 bottoms, a necklace, 3 bracelets, hair ties and booties was just $177. Wow, that money goes so much farther than home renovation dollars!

And while I'm at it, here's some very wintery cozy finds from last week's Kohl's and TJ Maxx shopping trip:

via Instagram
The leggings are from Kohl's, and the sweater, stocking and blanket are from TJ Maxx. I am head over heels for this blanket!

And last but not least, I've got a little holiday Pinterest challenge for you...

Balsam Hill reached out to me to help promote their latest Decorating Challenge, "My Balsam Hill Home"


I know you've heard of them by now, right? They specialize in super realistic trees, garlands, wreaths and holiday decorations for any style. I ordered their 24" Stratford Spruce Wreath and can't wait to see it in person! I have the perfect spot for it in the kitchen.

There's 4 $200 Balsam Hill gift cards up for grabs, and all you have to do is submit an entry form and Pin your favorite products!



Here's the full details/links:

(1) Complete and submit the entry form on the Pinterest contest tab found in the Balsam Hill Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/balsamhill)
(2) Follow Balsam Hill on Pinterest
(3) Create a Pinterest board entitled "Inspiration Starts At Home". Pin at least 5 products from http://www.balsamhill.com/ and add several other images that inspire them to celebrate an unforgettable season that begins with Thanksgiving and continues to Christmas.
(4) Pins and board description must include the hashtag #MyBalsamHillHome

Limit: One (1) entry per person and per Pinterest account. Voting is limited to one person or Facebook account per day.

Official Rules: https://www.facebook.com/notes/balsam-hill/my-balsam-hill-home-decorating-challenge-pinterest-contest-2014-official-rules/984279604932560
More details can be found on this post: http://blog.balsamhill.com/2014/11/join-my-balsam-hill-home-decorating-challenge-on-pinterest/


Submissions end this Saturday, so start pinning now!

I'll be back tomorrow (hopefully, Friday if not—whoa, three posts in one week!) to share our Thanksgiving tablescape. Putting the finishing touches on today... can't wait to show you how it came together!



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

My Favorite Things in 2014

Today I have the honor of linking up with 11 other bloggers to share our Favorite Things 2014—hosted by Melissa at 320 Sycamore!



This is a fun break from the usual DIY talk—a chance to hear what everyone else has been obsessing over this year, find some new favorites and maybe even a holiday gift or two. My list includes items I've discovered this year along with old favorites I can't live without. Let's get started!

1) Black & Decker Mouse This is one of those things I am kicking myself for not buying from the beginning. I've spent the last three years dreading furniture refinishing projects with my inefficient old $2 garage sale hand sander. When it finally bit the dust this summer, I replaced it with a Mouse and couldn't believe the difference. Pretty much the best $30 I ever spent.

2) Hitachi Lithium Ion Cordless Drill and Impact Driver This is probably the single best/most useful purchase we made this year that made our lives easier. We'd been using an under powered, old cordless drill for years that barely got the job done half the time and this drill is like night and day. We haven't needed the impact driver yet but there's really nothing like a high powered drill.

3) Mainstays Scented Candles I try to avoid the "Walmart shopping experience" as much as possible, but these candles are so worth it. I use them all year round, but their holiday scents are nothing short of amazing. They start at just $1 and there's so many to choose from! I can't help but grab a few every time I'm there. The cheapest/easiest way to get into the fall/holiday mood!

4) 16" Boxwood Wreath I've been eyeing boxwood wreaths all year, trying to figure out if I should go real or faux. All of the faux ones are seriously expensive (have you looked lately?), and I love the look of real, so after much searching I found the best price I could on these wreaths at save-on-crafts.com (this website deserves a whole post of its' own, if you've never shopped there before!). They're still not exactly cheap at $34/ea, but if you want real preserved boxwood that will last years, it's the best I've found. I bought four a few months ago and love them!

5) H&M Home Warning: Don't click on that link unless you want to spend hours drooling over their stuff. H&M launched a home line earlier this year and I'm hooked. I've already bought a few things and it's quite possibly my new favorite home decor source of all time. I plan to post a more comprehensive review soon!



1) Batiste Dry Shampoo This is one of those "how did I ever live without it" products for me. I've been using dry shampoo for a couple years now and Batiste is definitely the best I've found, and a great price! I'll spot them at TJ Maxx every now and then and scoop them up, otherwise they go on sale at Ulta pretty often.

2) Victoria's Secret Beauty Rush Lip Gloss  I'm a lot little obsessed with anything sugary/sweet/candy flavored and this is like dessert on your lips. I don't leave the house without my Love Berry, Candy Baby, or Pink Goes Pop.

3) Mio Liquid Water Enhancer Around 2 years ago I developed chronic acid reflux and water is basically the only drink that doesn't irritate my throat. Unfortunately, I'm not a fan of plain water so I wasn't consuming as much of it as I should have... but these little miracle water drops change everything. If you're trying to cut back on soda/coffee/whatever, try this stuff! The Berry Pomegranate is delicious and I could drink it all day.

4) Downy Unstopables I tried this for the first time this year and our laundry has never smelled better. The purple bottle is my favorite, but the blue smells great also and after some research, I found the best deal is at Target ($11.99 for the big 26.5 oz bottle). Target is offering free shipping on everything for the rest of the year so I just stocked up!

5) The Mason Bar Tumbler  I don't know what it is about this tumbler but it hasn't left my side ever since I got my first 24 oz a few months ago. It makes me want to stay hydrated all day. I just got the vinyl cuff to go with it and I'm even more in love. It fits nicely in car cup holders and I take it with me everywhere I go (with my Mio flavored water, of course!)

6) Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla Milk When my reflux began I had to change my whole diet around. I started reacting negatively to dairy so that meant I had to give up my daily serving of milk (which I love). Fortunately, I discovered this stuff and not only does it taste WAY better than any dairy milk I've tried, but it has less than half the calories of nonfat milk AND no sugar. I'm a believer and I'll never go back (I also prefer Almond Breeze to Silk).

7) Pure Komachi Knife Set  In the past I've always considered cooking a chore. I was gifted this knife set last Christmas and have not only cooked almost every night since, but I've actually enjoyed it—I'm sure Pinterest recipes and our kitchen remodel also helped, but I give a lot of credit to these knives! Cooking is no fun when you don't have the right tools. I love sweet potatoes but I just stopped buying them in the past because they were so difficult to chop. Not anymore! These have to be my best kitchen tools yet.


And that wraps it up for this year! It was tough narrowing them down—there's a lot of products I'm loyal to but these ones really stood out. Anyone else equally as obsessed with anything on the list? What are your favorites I should know about? On Thursday you'll all have a chance to link up at 320 Sycamore so by the end of this week we all should have lots of new finds!

Make sure to head on over to Candice at She's Crafty to see her favs!







Friday, November 14, 2014

Fall Front Porch, Foyer & Free Printable

Now that Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away (!) I decided to give our front porch and foyer a welcoming Fall makeover for our guests.

With the help of some flea market finds, I was able to decorate both spaces for very little money. It's starting to feel very festive around here! Starting with the front porch...


The planter boxes I made last week really help to anchor the space (and help hide the eyesore hose!). Best idea ever.



To the left of the door you'll find my $5 chair, $2 crate and $2 bundle of corn along with pumpkins and gourds. Very harvest-y, don't you think?



These mums are so colorful & pretty. I'm really hoping they last until at least Thanksgiving.


I didn't want it to be too busy, so on the right side of the door I placed more flea market finds—a barrel with mums and a crate, along with some wood I rescued from the rainstorm that rolled through yesterday. Hopefully they will dry out here in time to use this winter.



To the left of the porch is a bench that came with the house, so I made it more inviting with a flea market plaid throw and a couple pillows. The rusty milk jug (another flea find) holds dry grass stalks clipped from my parent's yard. Don't be jealous of our 70's textured gold window.



Susie was very curious about this photo shoot and came outside to sniff out the new display.


She's usually terrified of anyone/anything new, including outdoor environments, but I think she's been getting jealous of her sister (who's a part time outdoor cat) so I've been opening the door and letting her out to explore a little bit each day (under my supervision).

It takes her a minute to build up the courage to step outside...



But once she's there, she's rolling around on the ground and taking in all the sights, smells and sounds. Sometimes I wonder if she resents me for not letting her run free but I'm too scared to let go... there's cars and foxes and mountain lions out there and I couldn't forgive myself if anything happened to her. Am I being an overprotective cat parent? Sigh...

Moving along... now that the door is open, let's take a look at the foyer.


This arrangement didn't change much... umbrella, rain boots and a basket...


But I tucked plaid flannel into the top of the boots and filled the basket with cinnamon scented pinecones (that has to be the best smell to walk into... heavenly).

And of course the shelf was switched up.


I thought it would be helpful for guests to have the wifi info as they walk in, in a central location, rather than having them search through the hall closet to find the small writing on the modem. It's also much prettier this way, don't you think?



The frame is a $3 5x7" from Walmart that I fancied up with some crochet lace from Joann. A bit of double sided tape and a few minutes was all it took. Love the romantic touch it adds!

I also filled a dollar store vase with river rocks and stuck a votive in it for a little nature inspired ambiance.


I can't get enough of these berries. They're on every other bush and tree in this town in shades of vibrant orange and red... so perfect for fall (and winter, too).

 

Opposite the shelf wall is our closet door. I dressed it up with these hanging metal pinecones I found in my parents garage.


A boxwood wreath + bow adorn the inside of each door—I'm not quite ready to decorate for Christmas yet but these versatile pieces are great for the transition into the holidays.


And there you have it... we're (almost) ready for Thanksgiving! The only thing left is our dining table, which I'll tackle next week. I'm road tripping to Ikea this afternoon (woo hoo!) to grab some last minute decor and then our fall decorating will be complete... just in time for Christmas ;)

Anyone else hosting family this year? Getting tired of having to repeat your wifi network/password to everyone? How about a free printable?



It's blank so you can add your info, and it's sized to it fit nicely in any 5x7" frame. These work great in guest rooms as well.

Just head over to my Facebook page to download! (You may have to click Continue or OK to be redirected).

Tune in next week for a list of my absolute favorite things this year, along with the reveal of our Thanksgiving table. Happy weekend!