frugal spring centerpiece

spring centerpiece 3

I had a few people ask me about the centerpiece in the background of my last post showing my free Easter place cards. Check that post out here.

The centerpiece was something I put together for Easter. I’m still not sure of our Easter plans but if we have company I’ll be ready. And instead of fussing over something to go on the table, I opted for a less formal arrangement that can be moved around as needed. This centerpiece is great for spring but if you change the flowers and a few little details, it can be a year-round solution too.

spring centerpiece 4

The bonus is that it costs very little to do and even uses recycled glass jars!

Here are all the materials you’ll need:

A variety of recycled glass jars {from olives, pasta sauce and jellies}; a bouquet of flowers; 3 total yards of ribbon in 4 different varieties; a roll of wrapping paper, glue gun and scissors.

Here’s what I did:

glass jars

1. Collect and clean a bunch of glass jars. I love the variation of widths and heights of the different jar types but you can go for a more uniform look and stick with the same brands. Remove the labels and wash throughly.

ribbon on jar

2. Cut and glue the ribbon around the center of the jars. You can layer the ribbons as you’d like. I love the twine tied in the center of the thicker ribbons. My ribbon patterns were: multi-colored stripe, a 2″ burlap, white-on-white polka dot, and a thin green twine.

spring centerpiece detail 2

3. Cut and arrange your flowers as you like in the jars.

spring centerpiece 2

4. To construct the centerpiece, I used a roll of wrapping paper as a table runner. Then I arranged the jars in the center of the table, varying the position of the flower heights, colors and the ribbon patterns. I added some Easter touches like candy eggs, mini birds nests and colored egg holders – all of which I had as part of my Easter decorations.

spring centerpiece detail 1

This frugal centerpiece cost me under $20 including the flowers, ribbon, candy and wrapping paper table runner. And when my hydrangeas, tulips and peonies bloom outside, I can easily change up the look of this centerpiece for $0. I love that!

For more centerpiece ideas, check out my pinterest board here. Enjoy!

4

FREE printable Easter place cards

Easter place card detail 2

Add a festive touch to your Easter table with these FREE place cards I made. I had painted a small Easter egg watercolor last year and I have it in a frame in our kitchen. It’s simple and sweet. So I thought it would make a great image for place cards. I’m not sure what our Easter plans are right now but I’ll be prepared in case we’re hosting! And hopefully you can use these too!

Easter cards

To make your place cards, simply print out as many of my free printable place cards as you need – I always bring mine to Staples to print because they do such a great job and they can print on card stock. Using cardstock will make each card stand up better. Trim the cards then just stamp or write each person’s name in the space provided {I love the stamping option!}.

You can display these cards several different ways. Here are a few options:

card 2

Use as flat cards and insert them into a place card holder. Just trim the cards along the solid line and then trim off at the dotted line.

bunny place card holders

I bought these adorable bunny place card holders at Target. Gold & white. love.

or

Easter folded card detail

Use as folded tent cards by trimming them along the solid line and fold on the dotted line so they are free standing.

You can also add some unique touches. I added a strip of green felt {you could also use green paper} to the bottom of the cards. I just cut it to look like grass and glued it on each card. This adds a nice 3-dimensional element to the cards. Or incorporate something fun like a mini bird’s nest and some candy eggs. Place the card in or around the nest.

Easter folded card overview

Click here to download the free Easter place cards. Enjoy the place cards – however you choose to display them!

5

DIY tiered dessert tray

tiered tray finished

Happy spring everyone! Even though the weather in the Northeast is still so stinkin’ cold, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. And I’ve been doing some spring DIY projects lately to help me move on from the awful winter we’ve had. If you missed them, check them out here:

newspaper & gold dipped eggs

no-sew Easter & spring pillow

burlap converted frame with calendar

With the warm weather and upcoming holidays, this seems to be a great time for get togethers with family & friends. So I have a quick DIY project that would work for any entertaining you may be doing this spring {or anytime really!}. Tiered dessert trays. Anyone can do this project. anyone. And It’s easy and cheap – two of my favorite DIY criteria!

Tiered dessert trays are great, versatile serving pieces for a party, holiday, or even a baby or wedding shower. Plus they can make any dessert – or appetizer – look so much better. I put cheap, store-bought cupcakes and cookies on mine and don’t they look more appealing on this cute tiered dessert tray than on a regular plate?

Here’s a list of the materials you need. You might even have these already…

materials

- 3 different sized plates. I bought acrylic ones at Target, a dinner plate, a salad plate and a dessert plate. You can match your plates or mix them up. I liked the mixed up look and even changed the plate shapes.

- 2 candlesticks. These can be ceramic or glass. But I suggest they not be too wide so they don’t take up too much plate space. But they should be thick enough to be supportive. Mine are 3″ at the base and 1.5″ at the top and 6″ high.

- hot glue. My research suggested silicone adhesive or even gorilla glue but the hot glue seems to be holding fine for me. I don’t always have good luck with gorilla glue and I’ve never tried the silicone adhesive. But if you have trouble with hot glue, try one of those options.

INSTRUCTIONS:

base

1. With a pencil or sharpie, measure the center of the bottom plate and then mark where the outer edges of the bottom of the candlestick will go so it’s centered. Glue the first candlestick onto the center of the bottom plate. Let dry.

measure 2

2. Flip the bottom plate/candlestick over and measure the center of the middle plate and where the outer edges of the TOP of the candlestick will go. Glue the top of the candlestick to the center of the middle plate. Let dry.

middle

3. Continue with the top plate and let the entire piece dry.

tiered tray detail 2

Oh-so-easy! And now you have a functional and adorable serving piece for your next party. And this piece cost me under $10. Not bad.

tiered tray detail

Now just fill with you favorite treats and enjoy!

21

no-sew Easter & spring pillow

easter pillow detail

I do not sew. Not even a little. Alright, maybe a button here and there but it’s not pretty. I so wish I could sew. My mom just gave me her sewing machine and I have looked into taking sewing classes but just haven’t taken the plunge yet.

I see ideas or projects that involve sewing and it makes me very jealous. For example, pillows. I love pillows and I think they are one thing that can really transform a room. I change mine depending on the season or holiday as much as I can. If I could make my own pillows I would be in heaven. I’ve seen pillows made with all sorts of materials including old jeans, T-shirts, burlap… with fun embellishments and trims. So someday I will learn to sew. But for now, I will just keep adding no-sew embellishments to existing pillows.

And since my home is desperately in need of some spring touches, I decided to “make” an Easter pillow that could also be used throughout the spring. I had done a bunny stencil last year and figured I could paint this on a roll of pink burlap and add that to a pillow I already had. But then I went to Target. And, oh their pillows… I found an adorable gray and white chevron outdoor/indoor pillow for $8. How could I pass that up? So my bunny stencil, pink burlap and my new gray and white chevron pillow. Bam! We have an Easter/spring pillow.

pillow

Here are the instructions for my no-sew Easter/spring pillow:

stencil

1. Download and print out my FREE bunny stencil. Click here to download. I provided 2 sizes of bunnies – I used the smaller one for this pillow. After you download and print, cut the bunny shape out with scissors or an Xacto knife.

pillow materials

2. Gather your other materials: white acrylic paint, a 1/2″ pom pom, a small paint brush, glue gun, scissors, buttons, thread & needle, and a 4″ burlap roll {I used pink burlap}. The roll works better than a piece of burlap because the edges won’t fray. But if you want a rougher more free-form look, go with a piece of burlap cut to your desired size.

cut burlap

3. Measure and cut the burlap so that it wraps around the entire pillow, adding about 3 more inches.

glue burlap trim

4. Fold over the trimmed burlap edge and glue a hem on it.

stencil painting 1

5. Mark where the bunny image is to go on the front and remove the burlap. Place a piece of scrap paper under the burlap and paint the bunny stencil on it in the correct position. To get a good image, I kept the stencil down with paper clips and also held the edges down while I painted. I used inward strokes with my paint brush to prevent the paint from bleeding. Burlap is rough and the image will not have perfect edges. That’s the beauty of it. But you might want to try the stencil on a piece of scrap burlap to get the hang of it. This is also why I didn’t glue the burlap piece on the pillow until after I painted the stencil – just in case I messed it up.

bunny pom pom tail

6. Glue the pom pom on the tail.

attaching burlap

7. After the paint dries completely, attach the burlap to the back of the pillow with the glue.

pillow back

8. Pull it tight and attach the hemmed edge with glue also. Be sure to use the glue sparingly – it can seep through the burlap and create big clumps.

sewing pillow buttons

9. Add 2 buttons to the back if you’re feeling it. I think this step adds a nice finishing touch and allows you to turn the pillow around for a more generic springtime version.

easter pillow done 1

pillow with buttons back

What do you think of my no-sew Easter/spring pillow? If you don’t feel like tackling a pillow project, here are a few other options for the bunny stencil. Enjoy!

all samples

15

gold dipped & newspaper Easter eggs

done 1

I am really loving the gold dipped trend. Click here to see my gold dipped step stool I just did for my kids bathroom. I figured I could do this technique on Easter eggs for a fun decoration.

I wanted to pair the gold with contrasting material so I went with something we all have around the house, newspapers. Black, white & gold – so classic and yet modern. And since I have so, so many of those plastic eggs from our annual Easter egg hunts, I thought they would be the perfect eggs to transform. If I made mistakes, I had plenty more to work with.

before

Plus the plastic eggs are already split in half – making the DIY dipped dyed look a little easier to achieve. Half of the eggs could be spray painted gold so they looked like they were dipped dyed and the other half could be decoupaged with the newspapers. Voila! Easy and cheap.

Here’s the step-by-step easy instructions to these pretty dipped dyed gold eggs:

decoupage eggs materials

1. Gather your materials: plastic Easter eggs, newspaper, decoupage glue, small paint brush, gold metallic spray paint & scissors.

2. tear off pieces of the newspaper into approximately 1/2″ pieces. I found that it was easier to decoupage the eggs with smaller newspaper pieces. I also only used pieces of newspaper that were black & white {no color printing} to keep that classic newspaper look.

decoupage

3. Take apart the plastic eggs. Using a generous amount of the decoupage glue, attach the pieces of the newspaper to the outside surface of one half of the eggs with your paintbrush. If you’ve never decoupaged anything before, it’s a super easy and forgiving process. Spread a layer of glue under your peice you’re attaching then also paint the glue on top of the paper too. So it works like a glue and a protective coat or sealer. Be prepared though, it’s a messy job…

edges

4. Continue to layer the small pieces of newspaper until you cover the entire outer surface of the egg halves. I used the scissors only to cut a straight edge for any pieces the lined up along the bottom of the egg halves. Normally, I would just wrap the newspaper around to the inside of the eggs. But since we are putting these eggs back together at the end, I didn’t want them to be too thick with newspaper that they didn’t fit together.

more decoupage

5. Let the decopaged eggs dry and if needed, fill in any areas with more newspaper.

spray paint

6. Meanwhile line up the opposite half of the eggs on a scrap piece of paper and spray a light coat of metallic gold on them. Add additional coats as needed. Let dry completely.

done 5

When eggs are dry, put halves back together and arrange them in a basket, a bowl or however you want to display your oh-so-trendy plastic eggs.

done 3

I got this ceramic egg crate at Anthropologie a few years ago. Find a similar one here. I love it! When it’s not Easter time, I use it as a jewelry holder.

Enjoy!

DIY burlap frame with clip | & calendar discount

frame after hung

I was asked to donate some of my artwork to my daughter’s school auction this weekend to {hopefully} help raise money for her school. I was so happy to do this but I was also a little nervous. What was I going to do? Which pieces should I donate in the hopes of raising some money? I decided to donate my biggest Etsy sellers – which happen to be some of my favorites too.

prints

I framed my 16 x 20″ watercolor stag print along with my 11 x 14″ rainbow connection print. I included 2 unframed 8 x 10″ prints: this dream big one and this April showers print. I made three sets of thank you cards that will be on my Etsy shop very soon and included those too.

calendar cover with clip

I wanted to also include my watercolor calendar. I’ve received so much positive response on this piece. It’s a calendar with 12 cards – one for each month – and each has it’s own watercolor image with a simple type treatment and quote for each month. I include a magnet clip with my calendars so they can be hung on a refrigerator, file cabinet, locker. Or they can be put in a standard 5 x 7″ frame, which is how I hang mine. But for the auction, I wanted to do something a little different, a little more special. I liked the idea of a frame but wanted to incorporate the clip too so all 12 cards could be kept together and easily changed throughout the year.

I came up with a super easy frame solution. It works great for these 5 x 7″ calendar cards but would also work for a photo or any other artwork, postcard, or inspirational type.

All you need to make this is a frame, a small piece of burlap {or fabric of your choice}, your glue gun and a small piece of ribbon.

calendar 2

And since I have only a few more 2015 calendars left, I reduced their price to $10 each, whaaat? Click here to purchase one of my calendars – use code 2015SALE for the reduced price. Hurry though, there’s only a few left and we’re already into March!

Here’s the DIY instructions for the fun frame:

before

1. I bought an 8 x 10″ frame for the 5 x 7″ calendar. Take the backing off and discard the glass {I’m looking for a good DIY project that uses glass…} but keep the rest of the backing.

cut burlap

2. Cut a piece of burlap a few inches larger than the hard backing. Mine was 12 x 14″. Place the backing over the fabric and wrap the fabric around it and hot glue it to the back. The picture doesn’t show it but I cut the corners off the burlap so it wrapped neater.

ribbon wrap

3. Cut a piece of ribbon a few inches longer than the backing width. I placed mine towards the top of the piece, where I wanted the clip to go. Hot glue the ribbon to the burlap and wrap it around to the back.

back in frame

4. Place the fabric-wrapped backing back in the frame {where the glass would have gone} along with any other cardboard pieces and secure.

frame front

5. Attach the magnet clip with hot glue and clip on the calendar or your favorite art.

frame after 1

This is a super easy DIY and a great way to turn a basic frame into a unique display piece.

And if you’re interested, click here to order my watercolor calendar for $10. Use code 2015SALE for the reduced price. Enjoy!

st. patrick’s day FREE art prints

st patricks day free prints

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and I designed 2 free art prints for you. You don’t have to be Irish to enjoy this holiday – or download these fun art prints!

We don’t do much on St. Patrick’s Day. We wear our green and maybe a “kiss me I’m Irish” pin. When we were younger, living in Boston and being part Irish – then there was a lot of celebrating, ahem. And when my kids were little, I used to make an all green dinner. I actually dyed the pasta water green and their milk green and found every green fruit and vegetable I could to make it fun. I know, kinda silly. Oh yeah, and we had Lucky Charms for breakfast. kidding. not really.

But now that I’m older, things are a little more tame. It’s not a holiday for much decoration and fuss but these art prints can add a fun touch.

Irish blessing framed

I love this Irish Blessing. Again, you don’t have to be Irish to enjoy. Click here to download this print.

lucky print framed

This kitschy print is in my home office – goes great with the green walls. Click here to download this print.

I hope you enjoy these prints – free is good, right? And I hope your St. Patty’s Day is full of fun and maybe a few green touches. Like pasta.

gold dipped step stool

gold dipped stool done 2

I love the gold dipped look! This dipped technique is all the rage in design and I’ve been seeing it done on things like furniture, baskets, accessories and jewelry. It’s a simple detail but it makes such a big impact on even the most basic items.

It seemed like a fairly easy process to do so I took our little bathroom step stool that was in need of some TLC and elevated it to a chic accent piece. A little spray paint, some painters tape and sandpaper is all I needed.

stool before

Here’s what I did:

stool sanded

1. Since my step stool was a little worn {teething puppy and 3 kids}, I had to do a little sanding first. Even if you’re piece isn’t worn, some furniture has a sealer or top coat of varnish on it so you might need to sand the entire piece lightly so the paint will adhere.

gold dipped stool black

2. Next, I picked 2 colors that I love together, black & gold. Spray the entire stool the top color. I did 2 coats and let them dry completely between each coat. I didn’t worry too much about the paint coverage on the bottom where the gold will be.

stool with bag

3. Figure where you want your dipped area to start. There are no rules for this. The step stool I have is small so I didn’t want the secondary, bottom color to come up too high. Measure up from the bottom and use painter’s tape to mark where your secondary color will begin. Cover the portion of furniture you’d like to remain untouched. I used a plastic bag and secured it with more painter’s tape.

4. Spray the exposed, sanded surface with thin, even coats of a metallic gold spray paint. Let dry and repeat with another 2 thin coats.

gold dipped stool done

5. After the paint coat is dry, remove your plastic cover and painter’s tape to see your new, chic piece of furniture!

So even though I didn’t actually dip anything, this is a much easier technique and you get the same one-of-a-kind, dipped look. I think this trend will be around for a long time! If you need some more inspiration, check out a few of my favorite gold dipped projects from around the web:

gold dipped trend

1 // 2 // 3 // 4

How sweet is that necklace??!!

This is a super easy, inexpensive project that can be done in a day. Have a great weekend! Maybe you could squeeze in a DIY dipped gold project?

recipe round-up | March

I just reorganized my spice and baking cabinets. In case you missed it, check out that post here. I has made a world of difference with my cooking time and helped me feel like things are cleaner and more organized. It has also made me want to cook and bake more.

So I’ve been searching the web for some recipe ideas. And now I’m in recipe overload. There are so. many. recipes. out. there. But I subscribe to a few cooking and baking blogs so I thought that was a good place to start. And then I researched meals I have always wanted to try and found a bunch more. Now comes the fun art – trying these newfound recipes out. Luckily my family are always willing guinea pigs!

Once I got to making some of these recipes, I realized how nice it was to try something new and even though I might not be a great cook, I do love to create things. That’s kinda how I’m looking at this.

So after all this searching the web and testing out recipes, I thought it would be a good idea to share them with you. And go even further and make it a monthly feature on my blog – 4 new recipes every month. A recipe round up! Maybe this will help you feel a little inspiration to try something new and improve your cooking and baking skills too. Or at least expand your recipe horizons.

recipe round up March

I did have a few criteria that I had to stick with:

1) the recipes had to be easy to moderate on the difficulty scale. I don’t have the time, patience – or skill – to do anything too crazy.

2) I have to feed a family of 5. All with different likes and dislikes. So, the recipes have to be pretty flexible. I have to be able to change a few ingredients if I think my family will like it better. For example, one recipe called for a whole can of green chilies, but I only used half. Basic stuff like that.

3) The ingredients have to include things I would use again. Sometimes that’s how I research recipes – by the ingredients. I didn’t want to buy a new spice only to use it once. Not in my new, pretty, organized cabinet!

4) I’m not going to pretend any of these are my recipes. I will link directly to the original sources. But I will give my two cents on what worked and any tips on what I did to change it or make it better for my family.

Here are my 4 recipes that I rounded up for March. All really good, easy meals that you can make with limited time. One even uses a crock pot – love that!

Shredded-Beef-Enchiladas-iowagirleats-01_mini1

Crockpot Shredded Beef Enchiladas from Iowa Girl Eats. Meat cooks in the crockpot and then it’s a simple wrap and bake. Loved the avocado and sour cream toppings. I only added half the green chilies and went light on the chili powder. Two thumbs up from the kids – even my picky pasta-only eater.

blueberry-crumb-cake-slice

I made this as my husband’s birthday cake and it was de-lish. We’re not big cake people so this was a nice change. One note: the streusel makes way too much. You could easily cut ingredients for that portion in half. This is from Ina Garden at the Food Network.

Bacon-and-Brussels-Sprouts-Spaghetti-Carbonara-iowagirleats-01

Another Iowa Girl Eats recipe {she’s good}. Bacon and Brussels Sprouts Spaghetti Carbonara, yes please.

Eggs-baked-with-herbs-pic2-w1000-x-750h-1

Baked Eggs from White Gunpowder. I’ve been trying to eat more eggs and this was such a yummy alternative to the scrambled option. I cut down on the heavy cream and butter a bit. Also, I use dried spices versus fresh herbs so I just reduced the portion of dried spices to accommodate for this. But a big yes to freshly grated Parmesean Cheese!

I hope you enjoy these March recipes. And I’d love to get your feedback and comments.

Continue to look for my recipe round-ups each month. Manja-manja!

organizing the kitchen cabinets

organized spices

I love the idea of open shelving in the kitchen but currently I am not a good candidate for these. My cabinets have a lot of stuff and they’re not always organized or look pretty. That’s what the doors are for. am I right? But I do love to see those pretty open shelves and I think it makes a kitchen look so open and airy. Someday, I will have open shelving in my kitchen and they won’t look like a disaster.

So I figured I should start cleaning up my cabinet mess, organize them and keep only what we really use and need. Then maybe they’ll be open-shelf worthy. If not, at least they’ll be organized and it will be much easier to find what I need. Cabinets simplified.

spice cabinet before

I started with my spice cabinet. baby steps. I am an ok cook, I don’t love to do it. I cook dinner almost every night but usually stick with a few standard meals and once in a while I’ll mix things up and try a new recipe. This is where my spice problem comes in. My spices had their own shelf and I would just keep adding to them. It was a little out of control. I had 4 nutmegs. I don’t use nutmeg. So I cleared out this cabinet which also included some other random kitchen items and baking ingredients. Then I had to add baking items to my organization project.

spices after 1

This is what I did for the spices:

- went to Bed, Bath & Beyond and bought 15 small clear glass spice jars (.99 each), and a stacked spice shelf ($5.99). I had to switch my spices and baking cabinets so that I could fit the shelf.

- went through all my spices, threw out what was old, gave away anything that was unopened to our local food pantry and then poured each spice into it’s own brand new glass jar. So pretty.

- The spices I use a lot and frequently (garlic powder, parsley, pepper, cinnamon) didn’t fit in the smaller glass jars. So for now, I’m keeping them in their own containers but I just grouped them together on a separate shelf, making it easier to find them.

- I made very simple spice labels. Attached them to each jar and put them on their new shelf.

baking after

For the baking items: 

- bought a few clear jars also at Bed, Bath & Beyond in different sizes to hold some of the smaller items I had {sprinkles, birthday candles, cupcake holders}

- cleaned out all old stuff {I had lots of food coloring???} and kept the necessities.

- I could have gone crazy and put all the baking items like the baking powder and baking soda in their own pretty jar but that was little too much for me.

- I discovered cute silver canisters stuck way back in my cabinets that held sugar & flour. I put them together and they’re open-shelf worthy now.

That was really about it. The most time consuming part was pouring the spices in their new jars. But a few snow days was the perfect opportunity to tackle this project.

lables & jars

If you are feeling the urge to organize your cabinets too, I’ve included my spice, sugar & flour labels as a freebie for you. Just download the file and print onto label paper {or regular paper and use a little glue stick to attach}, cut them out and attach. My only suggestion is if you’re using a stacked spice shelf, attach the labels towards the top of each jar so that when they’re on the shelf you can still see their labels.

Have a great weekend!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE LABELS.

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