About Flowers

I learned a little something this morning. But, before we get to that, let’s travel back to this past weekend.

I was an assistant to a wedding planner at a gorgeous wedding this past weekend. It was at a beautiful, prestigious country club here in town, and had 250 guests! One thing that I did, was greet the guests as they entered, and take their gifts off of their hands. Standing at the front door, I must have heard people exclaim at the beauty of the entrance flowers at least 50 times. And they were gorgeous. And that was just one piece. There were similar grand centerpieces at the dining tables, and many, many small arrangements throughout the venue. I couldn’t identify all the flowers in them- I saw roses, hydrangeas, peonies… and some gorgeous gigantic flowers that I just LOVED. Here was the entry piece:

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There were flowers everywhere. I have no clue how many thousands of dollars were spent on them, but they were beautiful. And at the end of the night, they were still there… Somebody paid a fortune for these flowers, and they were only to be enjoyed for a few hours? Not on my watch! With permission, of course, at the end of the night I gathered up as many small arrangements as I could.

I think there were 8 vases of flowers here.

I think there were 9 vases of flowers here.

 

just gorgeous

just gorgeous

Although it would have been wonderful to have these all over my home for a while, I knew they’d be better served elsewhere. The morning after the wedding, (after church and plenty of coffee), we brought all but one of these to the assisted living center where our family volunteers each Sunday. As soon as we pulled up, an elderly couple that we both really care about were going out to their car. Chris plucked a rose out of a vase and told her it was for her. She said it made her feel like a young woman again and made her day. I loaded up a rolling cart with the rest of the flowers and wheeled them inside. Before I could begin to distribute any flowers, the nurses swooped in on them and started putting them where everyone could see them. Which is great- I want as many people to enjoy them as possible- but it wasn’t quite what I had intended for them. So, while the nurses fussed over the arrangements, I grabbed up two vases – one in each hand – and took off with them. I placed one of them in a room where there are often seniors who can’t move or communicate, just to brighten up that room.

As I wandered a hall looking for a place to put this last vase, I looked in on a room. There was an elderly lady sitting at the edge of her bed, looking down. Her walker was in front of her, and I couldn’t tell if she was looking through it, or if she had dozed off. I quietly knocked on her door, and noticed a birthday card was taped to it. She looked up right away and clearly said, “Come in!” I guess she had been waiting for a staff member who said he was coming back, and was surprised when it was me. I introduced myself as a volunteer, and she told me her name was Frances. I told Frances that I had brought her some roses to brighten up her room, and asked if it was her birthday. It had been about a week ago, and I asked her to consider these a belated birthday gift from a new friend. I asked if I could sit and talk with her, and she seemed delighted that I’d spend the time. She said that the flowers were so beautiful and fragrant. When I told her I had others throughout the center, she said they would really make the place seem so friendly to so many who, like her, don’t have any family. I asked her if she gets any visitors, and she said not until me…. She did later mention a nephew, so hopefully he comes to see her sometimes.

I’m so glad that I poked my head into Frances’ room that day. I hope she remembers me when I check in on her again, too. But even if she doesn’t, I hope she’s enjoyed the roses that I placed in her room. The roses seem to have lasted longer than the other flowers, so I hope they are still bright and happy for her and remind her that somebody cares.

That one vase that didn’t go to the center stayed in my home. I just had to have one arrangement for us. It has been on our console table since that day, looking fresh, and bright, and summery. I just love that it’s the first thing to greet you when you come in the front door. The last couple of days, petals started falling, so I have thinned out and rearranged the flowers. Some of them are so large, though, that even with some being tossed out, they still fit into two smaller vases! I hope they last just a little bit longer.

the original arrangement on the console table.

the original arrangement on the console table.

closer - what are those huge, coral colored, wide-open flowers?

closer – what are those huge, coral colored, wide-open flowers?

one of the arrangements I made as the flowers began to wilt

one of the arrangements I made as the flowers began to wilt

another arrangement I created out of the first one. This is on our mantle.

another arrangement I created out of the first one. This is on our mantle.

So, remember how I said I learned a little something? I didn’t just mean that flowers really can brighten up someone’s day, or change the look and feel of a room. When I was disassembling the arrangement I had at home, to remove the wilted flowers and create new arrangements, I learned a secret! I’ll share it with you. The square vase was segmented into a grid using tape!

can you see the clear tape?

can you see the clear tape?

I’m sure it’s some kind of waterproof florist tape, but I imitated that on my vases with regular old scotch tape just to see. And who knew? That really helps you place flowers in a pleasing, well spaced way. In addition to that. The flowers had been cut short to use in a squat, square vase. The vases I was putting them in would normally be way too tall for these short stems. But, with the tape grid in place, I was able to place the bigger, bushier flowers in first, and the grid held them up out of the water. I just inserted single stems all around those, knowing they first set flowers would keep those lifted, too. It’s so simple and smart!!

Yay flowers! I just love them. What do you love about flowers? Do you have other floral arrangement tips to share?

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Crazy Good

Aside

As Memorial Day weekend was approaching, Chris and I were keeping our fingers crossed that our uncommonly clear calendar was going to stay that way. With all the meetings and goings-on around here lately, a three-day weekend with nothing on the agenda sounded uh-maaaa-zing. I had visions of trips to the park, and getting fro-yo, and lazy afternoon naps in my head. I saw me in a hammock… I don’t know where, but I saw it. Ha. Continue reading

Storage Bins (take one)

We have these bookcases in our living room. They are from the Billy series at Ikea.

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Well, there are some scrapbooks and photo albums at the bottom of them that I just can’t make look like they belong there. They are awkward shapes and sizes for our not-so-deep shelves, and it always looks cluttered down there. For the longest time we had planned on putting doors on the bottom half of these bookcases, so I didn’t let the mess bother me. But now I have decided that I no longer want to put doors there, and even if I did, they wouldn’t close because there are scrapbooks sticking out past the shelves.

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So I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for some storage bins that we could use. But again, the sizes were not what I needed. Not to mention finding some in our style was not easy, and when I did run across some that i liked, they were expensive! Even the cute bins at Ikea are not exactly cheap. So I decided to make some.

With a little one in diapers, we always have a box in the nursery, and these were the perfect depth and width for what I wanted to hide in them. And I already had them, so that was an added bonus! Unfortunately, I already was using them to put old baby clothes and such. So I asked some neighbors, and got an assortment of boxes in different sizes. I may use a couple of them, but the size box I like the best is the kind I use, so I just had to wait until I finished up a case of diapers- which was earlier this week. Yes!

I actually want to make two or three of these, but I’ll just have to wait until I  finish the next case I guess. I bought enough fabric to make two boxes, and maybe a third, smaller box. When I was writing down my measurements, though, I forgot to double the length of my ribbon, so I’ll have to head back out to get more when I do make the second box. Watch the store not carry that ribbon anymore. That would be just my luck!

Anyway. I was lazy this go around, and did not iron my fabric. I also used spray adhesive and scotch tape instead of being patient and precise with a glue gun. It worked, but didn’t produce the nice, clean look I wanted. I should have known better. Oh well. I’ll be sure to do a better job on the next box. Here’s how I did it, anyway, so you can see what I threw together this afternoon.

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supplies:
diaper box, fabric, scissors, tape, spray adhesive, ribbon

First of all, I cut the flaps off the top of my empty box. Now that I can see my finished project, I know that next time, I will try to be more precise with my cutting. The uneven edge makes the box look all wonky, and it’s pretty noticeable in the finished product. Next, I folded my fabric in half so I could cut two templates at the same time. See, not only do I cut boxes and fabric, I cut corners.

I sprayed the bottom of the box with adhesive spray, and then firmly pressed it on the center(ish) of the fabric. I then cut the “sides” of my cover by cutting away the four corners of the fabric, leaving a bit of extra fabric so that the panels would be slightly wider than the sides of the box.

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Then I sprayed the side of the box and pulled the fabric up over it as tightly as I could, trying to smooth out any bubbles and ridges. (Which I did not do very well…) I repeated this for the opposite side, and then taped the edges of those flaps down onto the side panel. (I cut little slits in the bottom corner to make them fold smoothly.) Then I took the edges of the first side panel and folded them over so that they had a nice, neat edge, and I taped them down. Ironing them here would have made them very crisp. Next time…. I taped the little handle hole thingy shut, sprayed the side, and stretched the fabric panel over the box.

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I repeated this on the last side of the box, and then sprayed around the upper inside of the box to keep the fabric flaps in place. I didn’t worry too much about the inside of the box since i had made the flaps deep enough that you won’t be able to see down into them once there are items in the box. I hope. I have extra fabric if I do decide later that I want to cover the insides as well.

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Next, I decided where I was going to place my ribbon. At this point, I had decided that the adhesive spray was probably not the best tool for this project, and I plugged in my trusty glue gun. While it was heating, I made a rosette with a scrap of fabric to see how I liked the flower embellishments on the ribbon, but I decided against it. In this case, (and I’m sure my husband thanks me,) less is more. I glued the starting edge to the box, wrapped the ribbon around the box, and glued it “closed”.

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and Voila!

Finally, I ran downstairs with my box, grabbed up all of the albums and scrapbooks I could fit into the box, and hid them away inside my new storage bin. Not too shabby, and much neater looking!

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Now I just need Austin to go through another box so I can do it again, and take my time with it. The next one will not have wobbly edges or air bubbles if I can help it. And hopefully I’ll be able to find the same ribbon.

Austin’s Winter ONE-derland

As promised- the birthday party post. Since it’s so overdue, it will be brief and heavy on pictures.

In preparation for the party, the week prior, Chris was busy childproofing the whole first floor- including removing houseplants the day before the party. We got a couple extra panels for our playpen, and we set the newly grown pen in front of the fireplace. Me? Well, I’ve been cutting out snowflakes since the beginning of November.

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I had seen this fun first birthday theme online, and decided to turn our home into a winter wonderland for Austin’s first birthday. So, we’ve had snowflakes slowly going up on our walls all winter long. We even hung tissue snowflakes from the ceiling. Our Christmas tree had a backdrop of snowed up windows, and was themed blue, silver, and white. It stayed up for the party.

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We decided to make a photo booth so people could take pictures with their friends and families- and Austin, of course! So we cut out some props, made a yarn frame, and set up the camera on a tripod. We got some great shots!

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Just to make things a bit more difficult, (but more themed and fun!) I decided that all food, serving ware, and decor had to be white, silver, or blue as well. Or, as close as possible.

We had a sweets station/candy bar with blue and silver sixlets, white gumballs, rock candy, rice crispy treats, caramel apple cookies, white chocolate cranberry cookies, snowcaps, blueberry yogurt covered pretzels, puppy chow, rice crispy treats, meringues, powdered donuts, vanilla tootsie rolls, white and blue swirl lollipops, blue & silver Hershey’s kisses, and cinnamon sugar kettle corn. I swapped out our normally red pictures above the buffet for some pictures of Austin throughout his first year that I tinged blue, but came out looking more black and white.

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Planning a near-white menu is actually much harder than I realized, but I think we pulled it off. We had a white bean salad, curry chicken salad sandwiches, sour cream onion dip, spicy bacon mac-n-cheese, chicken bog, deviled eggs, potato salad, white cheddar popcorn, cheese and crackers. Of course, the morning of the party, as I was finishing the chicken bog on the stove, I ran to the store and forgot to turn down the heat. I came back to the smell of scorched rice and chicken, and I frantically tied to save the dish and air out the (previously good-smelling) house of the smell of burnt food. Grrr.

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And no Winter Wonderland would be complete without hot beverages, so we had a hot drinks bar- complete with hot apple cider, hot chocolate, and coffee available. We had caramel, whipped cream, and dehydrated marshmallows next to our sugar and half and half, and in another part of the kitchen, liquors and spirits for the grown ups to add.

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I also made icicle blue cupcakes, caramel apple cupcakes, and mint hot chocolate cupcakes with marshmallow icing.

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And we had a store-bought organic vanilla butter cream cake for the main event. We put the “1” on it with sparkly blue frosting.

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We set the stage with a little banner….

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…and let Austin dig in to his giant slice of cake!

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He didn’t go too crazy, but it was clear he was enjoying every bite! (We didn’t let him eat the whole thing.)

I can’t believe over a year has passed since we brought him home and he changed our lives. I’m glad we celebrated it this way! We had a great turnout, and a lot of fun. It was so great to have so many of our friends gathered together. Some we had not seen for a long time. I think the kids and the grown ups all had a good time. Austin was very spoiled and got a lot of attention. So many people came to celebrate our little guy! He really is so loved!

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The official birthday pics aren’t ready yet, but here is a sneak peak from our phenomenal photographer.

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Falling

Autumn is my most favorite time of year. Since moving to the Carolinas, I’ve been blessed with being able to watch the leaves change color and slowly shake free of their branches. It’s calming, and beautiful, and makes me so happy. This season is too short, but I will take what I can get! Bring on the shirt layers and boots, apple and pumpkin everything, soups and stews, and warm drinks! I love fall decor on door stoops, fire pits with friends, candy corn, and the planning and anticipation of upcoming winter holidays.

Yay for Fall!

 

Last weekend we hit the pumpkin patch with two other couples from our neighborhood who have baby boys. It was very warm, and all the boys had rosy cheeks not long after getting there. We had a great time, and now have a few orange pumpkins on our porch. Hooray!

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pumpkins

I also participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure walk with my mom Saturday morning. It was a fun event, with over 40k participants. Afterwards, we had a vegan lunch and spent some time at the farmer’s market.

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I even made it out to a concert with my BFF this week. Now that’s rare! We had dinner at the Beer Garden at the Music Factory, which we really enjoyed. The food was yummy, the beer selection was great, and the atmosphere was friendly and fun. Later, at the Fillmore, India Arie was amazing and spoke right to my heart! I’m so glad we went!

India Arie

 

I hope you’re enjoying the crisp mornings and comfort food as much as I am. I also hope you are looking forward to lots of time with family and friends. I know I am. My California family is coming to visit for Thanksgiving and I can hardly wait. But I’m not going to rush through this lovely October. I’m going to try my best to enjoy every single day of it. Yappy fall y’all!

Saturday Morning Blog Update

This is the first lazy Saturday morning I can remember having in I don’t know how long. Well, lazy for me anyway. Chris was up and out early this morning to help a friend move. I woke up around 8:30, and didn’t get out of bed until after nine, just enjoying my quiet time under the warm covers, and in my dimly lit room. It was glorious.

In a little bit, my neighbor is coming over, and we are going to an outdoor yoga class together. But for now, cleaning up breakfast and updating you on our week.

Let’s see… Remember a couple of weeks ago, we were helping my brother move? Well, that day we found a cool dumpster find. This neat mirror. When I saw it, I immediately grabbed my husband, because I knew he would like the shape and color. I had been looking for a large mirror to go over our entry table, and this one just might work. It was in great shape, and I wondered why it had been thrown out. My guess is the top section used to be mirrored, and the glass came out. Oh well! One man’s trash…

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So, to make this our own, (and because once it occurred to me that there was probably mirror in that top grey section, that’s all I could notice,) I put a little creativity to work. I hopped over to this etsy shop, and ordered a custom decal. Now our mirror looks like this:

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Isn’t it great?! I love how it turned out. Chris really likes it too.

The weather is starting to warm up, and it’s staying light out a little longer, so we took advantage of it. I went out with Chris to play disc golf on Thursday evening. Chris loves the sport, and I really could care less, but it was nice to just walk around together and enjoy the outdoors and each other’s company. I, apparently, am a quick study, `cuz Chris kept praising my… shots? Throws? Whatever. I did good. 😉 We followed the game with fajitas and beer. Yum!

We also started on a new art project this week. I am hoping it will be done soon and we can hang it over the big empty space on my desk. I’ll show you a few peeks into it, but it involved leftover 2×2 lumber from the construction site dumpsters, (are you noticing a pattern here?), some leftover white paint from when we repainted the townhouse, Chris’ saw skills, and some glue. Cheap (almost free!) and hopefully substantial and cool. We shall see!

Last night we had dinner at our friends’ house. They bought their home almost one year ago, and it really feels so homey and welcoming. I can’t wait for ours to feel more that way. But it will take time, and I am learning patience. Chris and our friend, Jacob, were working on a couple videos that Chris is going to submit to this inventor’s contest, and I hung out with Sarah and her adorable children. It was really nice to just spend time with them, as usually we see them in a larger group. I hope we do it more often.

Today, after Chris get’s home from helping our friend, I am hoping we can tackle our yard. It looks pitiful. Since the front yard is the first thing people see when they visit our home, I want it to be nice and welcoming. And, well, it’s just not. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we can start a couple of projects out there today and enjoy getting dirty in the nice weather on the one “free” Saturday that we’ve had this year.

What is your weekend shaping up to look like?

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